Tag Archives: PNR

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Book Review: Tristan (The Hawks, #1), by Jennie Lynn Roberts

Jennie Lynn RobertsTristan was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight (a couple times actually). I didn’t agree to review it for the tour (so, I hope no one minds me borrowing the banner), but everyone who participated in the tour was given a complimentary copy. And since I think the cover is pretty darned awesome, I gave it a read.

His redemption might be her downfall…

Tristan has nothing left to lose. His best friend’s betrayal cost him everything. Now, he’s going to take it back. All he has to do to get the Hawks reinstated to their rightful position at the palace is track down the traitor’s younger sister and turn her over for execution. But Nim’s not the girl Tristan left behind years ago; she’s a stubborn, loyal, beautiful woman, and he can’t stop himself from wanting her.

Nim fled with nothing when the king’s favorite came for her. All she has left is the conviction that her brother is innocent—and her determination to free him. She’ll do anything…even if it means convincing Tristan to help her. But the man he’s become is a far cry from the boy she fell in love with so long ago. He’s formidably stern and deeply untrusting. She’ll just have to hope he still has a heart under that battle-scarred exterior.

When love and duty collide, will Tristan follow his orders or follow his heart?

my review

I generally enjoyed this. The writing is eminently readable, editing pretty clean, it has a gorgeous cover, and I liked the characters and the dynamic of the Hawks in general. I only really have one big complaint and a couple small ones.

My biggest complaint is the cliched use of rape to signal evil. I swear to the Goddess, I sometimes think authors have been told there is no other way to make someone truly evil, like this is required to be included or something. What’s more, it’s too often used as a proxy. Want the reader to know this character is evil, but don’t want to develop him? Just make him try and rape someone. No need for more; the reader will follow  the signal. But, as a reader, I don’t want a proxy or a signal. I don’t want something to stand in for character development and tell me a character is evil. I want to understand that character and their evil.

Roberts is guilty of that here. She wanted the king, his chancellor, and the guards to be evil. So, she made them all open, sadistic rapists. (Though there is no on-page rape, thank goodness.) Sure, I understand that the king is supposed to have created an atmosphere that allowed others to do as he himself does, maybe even surrounded himself with like-minded men. But it was just ridiculous and angering as a female reader. I want better from authors, especially female authors. There are so many other, more subtle ways to make a character evil. Why keep bashing us with this blunt instrument?

My first smaller complaint is that the love is insta (at least for the reader). Which I find especially amusing because the author says, “This book is intended only for readers who love slow burn romance, fast-paced adventure, soul mates and found family…” I wholly disagree that this is a slow burn. I literally laughed out loud when I read that sentence. The soul mates part makes more sense. The romance is a lot more like shifters finding their mates. The beast knows, and all that. I’d call it a lot closer to insta-love than a slow burn. A LOT closer.

Lastly, the main characters kept trying to sacrifice themselves for each-other, for example, “She had to get out. Get to Grendal. Hand herself in. Save Tristan…” when it was very clear that the villains would kill both, not one or the other. They were clearly dealing with individuals who were not going to let one go if they had the other. So, the fact that both characters repeatedly overlooked this obvious fact and kept trying to trade themselves irritated me. As did the contrived misunderstanding about Keely, at the end.

But really, other than the rape thing (which is huge for me and probably, sadly, one of my most common criticisms in reviews, which tells you something about why it needs to be pointed out if it’s that problematically frequent in general), I have very little to criticize. I enjoyed Tristan and will happily read another Roberts book.


Perfect Pending

Book Review: Perfect Pending, by Lucia Ashta

I picked up Lucia Ashta‘s Perfect Pending (Witches of Gales Haven, #1) as an Amazon freebie, last summer.
perfect pending lucia ashta

Marla’s ancestors saddled her with frizzy red hair, sarcasm on tap, the Gawama last name, and the urge to run from her problems.

Her bloodline was also supposed to guarantee she’d be a powerful witch.

She isn’t, not by a long shot.

Only those with magic are allowed in her hometown. Now that her teenage children are awakening, and sparking enough power to be a fire hazard, she’s headed back.

Even if she isn’t ready. Even if she’s fresh out of divorce court.

Home is where her family is. Her nan is head of the council, and her aunts claim multiple orgasms are the source of their limber joints.

But then Marla and her kids all but blow up the town on day one. And her first boyfriend, the one who broke her heart long before her ex did, seems better than ever.

He has his eye on her…

So does everyone else.

Somehow it’s on her, and the magical creature who won’t get out of her head, to save Gales Haven. Before her former mother-in-law redecorates the town in baby pink … and breaks the centuries-old spell that keeps it safe and hidden.

Perfect Pending is a Paranormal Women’s Fiction novel. If you love snarky stories with women so empowered they’re a force to be reckoned with, then you’ll love Perfect Pending, the first book in the Witches of Gales Haven series.

my review

You know, as a 43-year-old woman I am loving this newish Paranormal Women’s Fiction genre. Getting to have all the paranormal fun with heroines that are my own age is a hoot. As with any genre some of the ones I’ve read have been better than others. I’d call this one middle of the road. The writing and editing are perfectly readable. But the whole thing—with militant hedgehog mothers, talking mice, sex obsessed geriatrics, etc—was just a little too over the top cutesy for me. It felt very much like it was trying too hard.

Having said that, I liked Marla and her kids. (And the kids were tolerable. So often kids in such books are ridiculous in one manner or another.) I appreciate that the love interest was gentle and kind, no alpha ass-hole in sight. And the theme that family persists is a good one.

All in all, I’d read another Ashta book.


awakening Brianna West

Book Review: Awakening, by Brianna West

I’ll admit that I picked up a freebie copy of Brianna West’s Awakening (Promiscus Guardians #1) in order to cheat on a reading challenge a little bit…kind of. I set out to read eight books titled Awakening. I called it the Awakening Challenge. (I know, not overly creative). But as time went on, I picked up an extra Awakening or two, until I was at the end and had read eleven books. But that bothered me. Eleven just felt like such an odd, awkward number. So, I went in deliberate search of a free book named Awakening, so that I could finish the challenge on an even number. It’s kind of cheating because the point of the challenge was to read all the books called Awakening that I owned.

awakening Brianna West

Izzy is on the fast track to nowhere. Being ordinary really blew sometimes. That’s until she meets Lucas–a man that’s unlike anyone she’s ever met. Mostly because he isn’t actually a man. He is a supernatural creature that proclaims to police the Light and Dark in order to protect humans.

And Izzy–well–she isn’t the human she thought she was. She is actually a supernatural being as well. And now Lucas is going to do everything in his power to find out what she is and protect her from the Dark lurking around the corner.

Awakening follows Izzy as she navigates this new world of demons, vampires, angels, and many other supernatural creatures. Recruited by the Promiscus Guardians and partnering with the most brooding and devilishly handsome man she’s every met, Lucas, Izzy is suddenly knee-deep up crap creek. Discover the secret behind her power and why it’s such a commodity in her Awakening.

my review

Warning: there’s a pretty big spoiler in here.

Man, this was a serious disappointment. I’ll state for the record that the writing is readable and the editing, while not without errors, is passable. But the characters and plot…no thank you. I thought Izzy was an unpleasant, judgemental cow. All the gay jokes were bad enough (and they were noticeably frequent and gross). But the fact that the sole gay person in the book also turned out to be the villain was just beyond the pale when paired with them. The romance doesn’t really develop, it just kind of appears. And the hero is toxically jealous and not even particularly romance worthy.

But worst of all, there’s a whole good versus evil war going on IN THE BACKGROUND, while the book focuses on Izzy’s navel gazing, how hot the men around her are, and how neglected her ‘lady parts’ remain. For half the book, I was just annoyed by this. But as it went on for almost 400 pages (far too long) and the plot spiraled out ridiculously, I just wanted it to end and put me out of my misery. And that’s if I overlook the the giant plot hole of why the villain didn’t just take Izzy when she lived with him.