Tag Archives: challenge 2013

Bound With Passion

Book Review of Bound With Passion, by Megan Mulry

Bound with PassionI received a copy of Bound With Passion, by Megan Mulry, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Lady Georgiana Elizabeth Cambury has been a “wild romping girl” all her life: dressing in trousers, riding astride, and doing just fine, thank you very much. Her father’s exceedingly generous bequest—and her mother’s liberal views of the world—have ensured that Georgie will never be a slave to the barbarous institutions of marriage or motherhood. Or so she thinks.

When she returns from five years in North Africa to boring Derbyshire for a brief, obligatory family visit, she finds herself in the midst of a legal snarl involving Mr. James Rushford and Lord Trevor Mayson—neighbors, lovers, and her two closest friends. Mayson’s father has declared that he must marry or forfeit his vast inheritance, so Georgie blithely offers to walk down the aisle, in name only. Problem solved.

But try as she might, Georgie cannot ignore the passion that quickly blazes between all three of them. When her marriage of convenience turns into something much deeper, Georgie must decide if she is willing to give up the independence she has fought so hard to achieve—or if love is worth the ultimate surrender.

Blerg. I mean seriously, blerg. I mean it made me want to toss my Kindle and have a Feminist melt down, blerg. I get that some people like this sort of heroine and this sort of story but I’m not one of those people and I feel a little tricked. Because I think the first couple paragraphs of this book’s description lead the reader to expect a strong, confident, capable main character. Instead, the only sentence you should really pay attention to is that last one about surrender.

I’ll start with a few quotes. That will make this all go by more quickly.

Trevor loved talking about her that way, as if she were some object that James and Trevor were assessing, like a fine brandy they were passing back and forth between them. And she liked it too, from the look of melting lust in her eyes.

Georgie’s body reminded him of the crucible steel he’d seen in Sheffield: all strength finally burning so hot that it nearly begged to be bent and molded into something new and useful, unlike what it had always been.

“Yes, picture him doing that to me you dirty thing.”

During the night, even after they had snuffed all the candles and collapsed onto the bed for much-needed rest in complete darkness, Trevor had somehow known how to best adjust her body in ways that were more comfortable than she herself knew how to move.

So, throughout the book she’s objectified and described as enjoying rough, dehumanizing sex (because she hates anything soft, loving and emotional–in other words anything feminine). She’s not seen as useful as a human person without a man to remold her. She’s dirty for even thinking about something that the men aren’t described as dirty for actually doing and she’s so unaware of her own body and self that she can’t even get comfortable without the man to do it for her. She’s also selfish and incredibly unpleasant. Of course she is, she has the emotional development of a child after all. BLERG!

But my main issue was with the absolute contempt for womanhood in this book. It infuriated me. But I so wanted that strong heroine that the blurb set me up for that I even spent half the book making excuses for her. I thought, maybe it’s not hatred of femaleness, but a hate for the constraints on woman of the time. But no, that didn’t seem to be the case. Then I thought, maybe she is trans and actually feels herself more to be a man. But no, that proved not to be the case either. The book simply presents the reader with a woman who despises all things female and needs to be summarily punished for being a woman before she can submit, as all good women must, to having sex with a man (which of course she loves and all is right with the world.) BLERG!

Then there is the odd fact that despite being a rare relationship model in the 1800s, everywhere the characters went they met with other poly families and LGBT+ couples. It’s great and all, but there were almost no straight people in the book at all, which isn’t so much a complaint about representation as of unrealistic simplicity of the plot. There were simply too many people in non-normative relationships who were very open about them during a repressed time period. If this had occurred only within the characters’ circle I wouldn’t mention it, just assume they surrounded themselves with people they could relate to. But its everywhere they go and everyone they meet.

Then there is the Egypt scene. I don’t want to be too spoilery, but this may be. James  is introduced to a man and has a 2 minute conversation with him about fabric, and then feels comfortable asking him if he can bring his lover and his wife to his house to let the man’s two wives seduce her in order to somehow excise the stubborn willfulness from her, so that she’ll be a more appropriately pliable wife (as they all secretly watch). First, how did he know that man would be ok with that outlandish request (or his wives)? Second, what on earth made him think being seduced by two unknown women would have that effect, especially since she’d never shown an attraction to women in the past? Third, how exactly does that work? It was this kind of magical, the author says it’s so, so it is, even if it makes no sense kind of writing that made me really dislike this book in the end.

No, this was not a winner for me. In fact, despite having a wonderful m/m pairing, it still basically represents everything that makes me reluctant to read het romance in the first place. Is it really so much to ask for a heroine who doesn’t need a man to teach her how to be human? Georgie, didn’t know herself, didn’t know her emotions, didn’t know how to love, didn’t even know how to get comfortable in her own body, family or home until these men came along and taught her. In fact, she didn’t even know that she didn’t know all those things. I say again, BLERG!

Burn for Me

Book Review of Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1), by Ilona Andrews

Burn for meI bought an e-copy of Burn For Me, by Ilona Andrews.

Description from Goodreads:
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

I almost passed this one up because I find that cover so horrible. But it was on sale at Amazon yesterday and I love the Kate Daniels series, so I gave in and snagged it. I’m glad I did. Turns out the heroine is nowhere near the limpid fashionista that cover makes her look like. In fact, that cover presents the entirely wrong tone/feel for the whole novel. Thank goodness or I wouldn’t have liked it anywhere near as much.

Nevada is awesome. She held her own, kicked some serious ass and still felt like a woman. Rogan is an alpha’s alpha type man and while he was an asshole, I enjoyed his upfront jerkery. Together, however, the two were just freakin’ hilarious. That’s the main thing I appreciated about this book, the humor.

Now, I did think there was an awful lot of, ‘Oh, his manly, masculine maleness is sooo sexy.’ *Rolls eyes* And, while I get that his moniker was Mad Rogan, it felt really strange to hear him introducing himself by that name, as if Mad was his first name. Lastly, the epilogue felt really contrived. But I stayed up until 2am to finish it and if the sequel was out (not until Oct. 2015 apparently) I’d have bought it before going to bed so I could start it today.

Edit: According to I. A.’s blog, the publication of White Hot has been pushed back. 🙁

Savage Hunger

Book Review of Savage Hunger, by Shelli Stevens

Savage HungerI grabbed a copy of Shelli Stevens’ novel Savage Hunger from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
Being the daughter of a world-renowned scientist, Sienna Peters has struggled to carve out her own career in the field. But her world is sent spinning when she discovers a secret species being held in the lab where she works, and the horrible things being done to them. Compelled to do more than hand off an information-packed jump drive to her father, she sets out to free the creatures.

The minute his team enters the compound, federal agent Warrick Donovan knows their mission will have more trouble than they bargained on. Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of Sienna Peters, the younger sister of his close friend. Now not only does he need to save her pretty ass, he needs to discover just how involved she is with the imprisonment of the shifters.

Sienna knows she should trust no one–not even the man she might still love. But as the danger escalates and past passion ignites, her heart has other ideas. Even when the shroud of mystery is ripped off more than one stunning truth…The man who vows to protect her may be her biggest threat.

This book has a cool cover (that really doesn’t represent the book at all), but that’s about it. I suppose a lot of it comes down to personal preferences in the books we read, but this one made me grind my teeth. Everything from odd uses of male and feminine as descriptors. For example: “…but instead a surge of confidence at the feminine awareness in her eyes.” What the hell is “feminine awareness?” Or when the characters say, “I love the way you feel,” she murmured. “So hard. So…male.” Which was why they worked well together. Why, because he’s a man and she’s a woman? Is that really all it takes to fit together? Remind me to grab the next man that passes me on the street, then. To the fact that as soon as they had sexy-time for the first time, Warrick was all of a sudden “baby” this and “baby” that was annoying. 

But mostly, I didn’t like the fact that I was bored silly for most of the book. Seriously, it was a fairly consistent pattern of 5-6 pages (or some similarly long time) of angsty, “I want him/her, but can’t have her/him blah, blah, blah,” a paragraph or two of plot-related action, another series of pages about how sexy Sierra is or Warrick is or how they wished they could be together or not. All multiplied by about a million. 

Plus, there’s just no joy here. Every-time the characters engage in anything that should be a moment of bliss–sex or cuddles or basic kindness–it is immediately followed a fight, anger and mooooore angst (mostly because Warrick is a total jerk). This left no light moments. 

Also, the plot is really pretty weak in general. I mean, Sierra is hunted by the organization for having a jump drive that proves their nefarious deeds (and “jump drive” is used about a 1,000 times, BTW). Sure, OK. But then it turns out the whole thing is legal–contracts are signed, etc. So, why hunt her down at all? What’s more, the big bad guy is just some random person who plays no real role in the book, you never get to know, and whose motives are never disclosed. Meh. 

Plus, everyone acts like Sierra is soooo stubborn to not give up the information she has. But a highly trained, hardened para-military group pretty much just politely asked her to tell them and then backed off when she said, “No.” What? Really? So unbelievable. 

Lastly, and just as important as the boredom, is the basic predictability of it all. At 50% through, I posted a status update that said, “So, we all know how this is going to wrap up and end, right? Right.” And I did. Everything worked out just the way I expected it to. 

For those readers who love a story that is almost entirely based on two people working their angsty out, drooling over one another, and moving toward sex, this is a good book for you. For those who need a little more plot or who have a low BS tolerance, maybe not. The mechanical writing and editing were all fine, one way or the other, though.