Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cherime MacFarlane - Then They Were Six

It is 2001. He knows his business must grow or he has to give it up. But he just is not ready to quit so it's a last ditch stand to finish a vintage muscle car. If he can sell it for what it's worth he might make it. But the woman stranded on the side of the road is a distraction he cannot ignore. She needs help. She is desperate. Without the car she will lose her job. Running from an abusive ex husband, she and her daughter must have that paycheck. What is the mechanic going to ask of her? Are there strings attached to his offer of assistance?  

Comment: I came across this title when I was browsing some lists on goodreads. I don't remember exactly what was the subject that interested me but this book was there and by the blurb I got the idea it would be a good romance, even more so because it is set on Alaska and there aren't that many books set there or, at least, not that I have read so far. So I was interested enough to buy the book at Smashwords and now, a couple months later, I've started it.

This book tells us the story of Stu, a divorced man with three children, who works as a mechanic. Stu lives in one place and his ex wife and kids live in another city and Stu only gets to see his children on weekends but it's a lengthy trip and Stu feels tired all the time.
One day he rescues Margaret, a woman stranded on the road because her car broke down. He helps her and because she doesn't have much money, she offers to help at his shop with the books, something Stu spends too much time with and never that well.
While they get to know one another, Stu learns Margaret - Megs - has a daughter of her own, her ex is an alcoholic and there's something between the two of them. With time their feelings develop into a relationship and eventually they marry. But can happiness be that simple?

All readers know not to judge a book by its cover. But before commenting on the story, I just have to say the cover of this book is really bad. I can understand the need for a cheaper cover or something not as detailed like when it's published by bigger publishers that obviously have more access to designers and artists, but it's really sad to see the author didn't have much luck with the covers. If only they stuck to Alaskan scenery they would be mostly fine, but the photoshoped images of the couple and drawers is really too much unnecessary details. And ugly at that. Plus the couple has nothing to do with Stu and Meg...

Ok, so the story. I have to say that when I read that Stu and Meg both had children and the title sort of gave the idea they would all be a big family, I immediately thought about another book I loved, by Danielle Steel, that has the same concept. I really thought I'd get an amazing story, as emotional and focused on the changes in the family life like in mrs Steel book.
However, this book isn't like that and the talk and dealing with a new family situation happens more on Megs's daughter side. Stu's children have a role and we see them deal with the new way the family happens, but because they keep living with Stu's ex, the adaptation isn't as radical, the six of them don't actually live together permanently and I kind of expected that, I thought that would be the challenge and the interest. But no, the biggest issues were about how Margaret and Stu dealt with living together - 95% of the time pretty well - and how to solve daily life issues, like car related business.
Stu and Megs' relationship isn't bad, in fact I liked how slowly they started to look at one another, but then something happens, way before any real feelings were acknowledged and suddenly they are intimate and saying I do to marriage. I thought it was rather sudden. The passage from thinking the other is hot and special and someone they would like to know better to being married isn't much. I would have expected a bit more sexual tension, a bit more seduction moments if one can call it that so we could more easily accept their feelings were true and lasting. I just think the execution missed some key points to make it more romantic and realistic.
The author clearly loves Alaska and that part I liked. It was interesting to read about the region where the action was set, the type of living some people there have and how some things work. There is a lot of talk about cars as well, Stu is a mechanic after all, and although I didn't really feel interested in the details, it added some important background and veracity to his work and why he did certain things.
All in all, this had interesting elements that I enjoyed reading about, but I also confess I expected something a bit more romantic than this. Not that it is a bad romance, but it's very plain in development and a bit of fun and magic in the relationship would have added a bit more flavor to everything. Still, I respect the author's style and I'll try to read something else by her one day.
Grade: 6/10

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Laura Kinsale - The Prince of Midnight

They called him the Prince of Midnight - a legendary highwayman, once dashing and a tarnished, forgotten hero, exiled and alone.
She sought his fabled skills in the ruins of a French castle - a proud and desperate English beauty, drawn to the myth...but bewildered by the man.
Across perilous mountains and tempestuous seas, together they pursued their separate dreams - of vengeance, of passion, a glory reborn...kindling the all-consuming fires of a bold and unexpected love that would set the midnight skies magnificently ablaze.

Comment: I was given this book for my birthday last year. This isn't the first book I had to read by the author, I've previously read Flowers From the Storm, which is an amazing story and one of my favorite romances ever. I has high expectations about another title by mrs Kinsale and how the story would develop...
In this story we follow the lives of ST Maitland, an exiled highwayman who left England in disgrace. Looking for him was Leigh Strachan, a young woman masquerading as man, trying to find The Prince du Midnuit, ST's known alias. She wants him to train her in fighting and guns so she can kill the man responsible for the death of her family.
At first ST is wary of Leigh, then lust for her and with time tries his best to help her and be the man she thought she would find. In the way there's lot to happen and ST has to realize what really matters not only to achieve his goal but also to convince Leigh he is the man for her. But nothing is ever easy and Leigh isn't some silly, innocent girl. Can they be happy after everything?
Well, this story is certainly different from the other one I've read by the author. I can see her trademark writing but let me tell you, this book has a tone and content that isn't always easy to go through. Not that is badly done, or too awful or hard to read about, but it's certainly different enough from the other title that I found it hard to go through at times. It took me quite a while to read and it's not such a long book, ut I've struggled here and there because I lost focus.
I think I can pinpoint my biggest trouble with the heroine. She's just not very likable. At least I couldn't find much to empathize with her, despite all the problems in her life and the unfairness she went through. I do applaud her wish to change things to get revenge and to ask for help, but in general, her attitude and behavior were too clinical and cold to makes feel more tuned to her plight and thoughts. I had a hard time reading through her behavior and although I can understand her need to be cold so she wouldn't get attached and suffer more, her vulnerable side wasn't exploited much and her relationship to ST felt very impersonal. I just couldn't understand where the romance was.
In fact, this isn't a very romantic plot. Even while reading the epilogue, where we see what happened to them, I wasn't very convinced of their feelings. Somehow, it seems we are supposed to accept much more easily ST's feelings and vulnerabilities' than Leigh's. This means we root more for him and his success... I just couldn't understand why he would fall in love with her, even when it said so on the page. When she does admit she's in love with him, I didn't believe because it felt so weird... I really didn't like this couple more, I thought ST suffered too much not knowing and feeling miserable and all in all, it felt disjointed.
ST is a great character, not perfect, he has many doubts, does very silly things but his heart is pure. He has a reputation from his younger years and now lives isolated, alone in fact, with only a wolf for company. I really felt for him, his problems and hardships, the fears and little things that made his life being so small and lonely... I liked he felt needed and with a goal but the action of him and Leigh traveling and looking for to destroy a man wasn't very thrilling. I feel his character was downplayed and treated badly... in the end, when he is happy at last, it still feels like he was given a favor, so I feel sorry for him and not very happy with his happiness... it's weird.
The plot was weird too. I get it, it has a purpose but there's a sort of cult playing people's minds in the story and the content is quite weird. This doesn't give credence to the dangers of brainwashing in cults and how people stop having a personality but I really didn't expect this from the author.
The story didn't have a romantic structure to balance the different things and the feel of weirdness given to the action scenes which, in opposition to the weak romance, didn't really improved the expectations one could have.
The tone of this story is quite dark. Not horror, not bad, but it's like even happiness and good things only came at a price or on the heels of other awful things and to be honest I wasn't very ager to know what would happen.
All in all, this did surprise me but not very positively. I think the author's talent and work are there to be seen, there are some interesting passages, but labeling this a romance isn't very correct to me. I mean, I didn't think this is a very romantic story despite the I love yous and the sweetness of one or two gestures and conversations.
I still think this had positive points but it's a very weak grade 7 all things considered.
Grade: 7/10

Friday, February 5, 2016

Jeaniene Frost - Bound by Flames

Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

Comment: It's been a year since this book arrived in the mail but I've left it in the shelf for all this time, not that I didn't want to read it, because I did, but other titles got in the way, then time between titles' release increases and it keeps being delayed until today, I just picked and that was it.
In this third installment of the Night Prince series, Leila is adjusting to having become a vampire, Vlad is still looking for to destroy his greatest enemy and the two things will connect in someone's wish for revenge.
Both Leila and Vlad have agreed they love each other too much to let other things get in the way of their relationship but some experiences can be too strong to overcome...or can they?
Then something happens and Vlad and Leila have friends to help them fight their enemy and in the end the identity of someone unexpected will be quite the surprise.
I'm not sure how to talk about this book. I liked it simply because it followed a couple I rooted for in the previous books and because it's by an author whose work I've loved but to be very honest, there isn't much to be said about this book as it is very basic in its execution.
The story is basically about Leila dealing with being a vampire, the run from an enemy, destroying that enemy and getting over another hurdle in their relationship. Nothing truly advances and although I understand the need to tell the story and how well received it can be by the fans, there isn't much advance in this and I assume the fourth installment won't offer much news either, so maybe the two original books would have been enough.
I've read in GR someone saying the relationship should be developed and I agree. I fully expected to see more of the protagonist's personalities, their relationship, how being in love would affect their opinions and change in behavior. Yes, Vlad alone is older and has a lot of experience under his belt, especially when it comes to being a vampire and Leila doesn't but those things aren't addressed and I'm not certain why this story had to happen.
After all things considered, battling an enemy didn't improve or enhanced their relationship. I think it only offered some little angst scenes that were easily dealt with so the conflict didn't feel as strongly developed to me.
Some readers don't like Leila. I do and for the most part I agree with her behavioral patterns. In this book something bad happens to her, but she's quite realistic and overcomes that. In a way, I applaud her because that surely avoided repetitive whining but at the same time how could she deal with such a thing so quickly? I had the feeling, it was something to happen, to be dealt with and put aside for the next situation and that kind of removed the need for its existence in the first place. After all, we all can guess how special and strong vampires can be, even more so if they are in love and so on...
I'm giving this book a good grade in my perspective but the more I think about it, the more I want to get one number lower. Because this book didn't really move me. I struggled a bit to read despite the big letters and easy story. I really feel this is the weakest book of them all so far and what happens outside their relationship isn't enough to carry it out. I appreciate the author's work and writing and I want to feel glad for that but this story didn't seem solid or good enough if we are to remove the insta-appreciated parts first.
I also didn't remember many things from the first books. Really time between releases isn't easy and waiting more than a month to read following installments can be tricky on our fault too to have left the book waiting an year extra after having it but.. not a good thing if you barely remember important things.
All in all, a very weak 7 grade, only given for dedication reasons and for being a fan of the author's work. I really hope the final fourth installment is a great end and redeems this one.
Grade: 7/10

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Stunning Home Libraries To Give You Shelf Envy

The following link has a summary of 10 home library looks:
Which ones would you prefer?
I think it's a long life dream of any reader that it would be possible to have a library in our house, personalized and meeting our taste where we could enter and browse at will and change and fix the shelves any way we wanted. Mine would be organized by size, I'm anal that way.
For me the best out of the list here is the one I add here, but to be really honest, I wouldn't mind any of them (pictures #4 and #6 are also amazing)!
Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lauren Willig - The Secret History of The Pink Carnation

Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard's Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon's invasion.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation's identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?

Comment: I got interested in this book because I saw some reviews about the last of the series (currently installment #11) and it was set in my country or part if the action was. I really wanted to read it but I've decided I should begin with the first book so I could have a better idea about the main plot, despite it's been said some titles can be read as standalones. I've purchased this book in September and it is my most recent read.
In this story we meet Eloise Kelly, a student working on her thesis about the Pink Carnation, a spy from the 19th century whose identity is unknown. Eloise travels to England to be closer to her research sources and she attempts to have meeting to descendants from the spies whose identity they do know like the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian, both English lords.
Only one person accepts to welcome Eloise and lets her read a journal written by someone close to both the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation. But the friendly older lady's nephew, Colin, isn't as thrilled about her unmasking the spy's identity... can Eloise do her work and be fair at the same time?
Ok, so this sort of summary presentation isn't very correct because if I were to divide the percentage of the book dedicated to the contemporary plot and what really fills up this book's content - the historical section detailing how the Pink carnation came to exist and why - then I'd have to say this book has 20% of its pages about Eloise Kelly's life and reading the journals lent to her and 80% is about the historical part.
Basically there's a contemporary section, very short in development, and a bigger part about the Pink Carnation and the Purple Gentian, set in the past.
Now, I don't mind the historical parts but the blurb in my copy's edition kind of sells me the idea this would be about Eloise studying and finding ways to know more about the spies in the 19th century. Which means I thought I'd be reading about Eloise, her life, her work, things about her. I assumed some historical parts to make us understand better why and how things happened at that time, but I really thought the focus would be contemporary.
Of course I was left a bit disappointed by that. Because in the end, the contemporary part was only a setting up to why are we reading about the historical plot and that's it. I've come to realize the contemporary is rather pointless and why didn't the author stick to it instead of inserting a contemporary part that accomplishes nothing.
I assume those parts will be developed in the following two books in the series (based on the blurbs of those books) but maybe it would have been better to just tell the historical part and that was it.
As for the historical part, is quite interesting, the author added a comical side to the plot and character's actions, which can be fun but that made the plot feel like a caricature of those times and challenges. I understand the idea, the informal writing and the attempt to present us the story in a more funny "voice" but often I'd think it sounded too fake and it wasn't a success.
Overall I did like the writing but I can't say if it was the best choice for the type of story presented. I guess one gets used to it though, but the reality is it took me a long time to read and I admit I was slightly bored here and there.
The characters are interesting. The contemporary characters seemed the most intriguing but sadly there wasn't much development here and I missed that.
The historical characters make this book, especially Amy and Richard. Amy was funny but I didn't warm up to her. She has preconceived ideas about certain things but she acted rather childish and I care much for her, to be honest. I liked her sensible but more practical cousin Jane better. Richard is the hero, I liked him more, in particular his parents and their relationship, he was a good hero but because I didn't really love Amy's behavior, I feel he didn't get such a great deal in the end. Of course, for romance purposes, I liked they got their HEA.
In the end, I felt a bit disappointed by this book's structure, but what I thought I'd get and didn't and overall, the "voice" in the story wasn't the most appealing.
I'm still feeling curious about certain future characters so I think I'll read the 2nd installment and hopefully it will better or I'll be already used to this style.
Nevertheless, it was a pity the contemporary part - that caught my eye after all - was such a small section of the book.
Grade: 6/10

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Larissa Brown - Beautiful Wreck

In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.
Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart.
When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

Comment: I got interested in this book a long time ago and had thoughts about reading it last year in July. That was my worst month in terms of reading time because I've started a new job then and my reading suffered. Then I had other things planned and moved the reading of this book to this month. I had time to anticipate it well, considering the opinions some people whose opinion I trust had.
This is the story of Ginn, a young woman who lives in the 22nd century and in that time people live their dreams in virtual reality settings, and they even dress like the time period they prefer. Ginn is a programmer for one of those places and she specializes in Iceland 10th century. She's developing a new scenario and testing it when some glitch happens and she wakes up in Iceland in the 10th century.
Heirik is the chief of the community nearby and they rescue and help Ginn. As time goes by and without no means to get beck to her own time, Ginn falls in love with the land, the costumes, the reality of simply smelling a real flower and earth, her friend Betta and Heirik, of course. But their relationship is forbidden because of a curse on Heirik...
First of all, the cover is awful. It's so caricatured that I'm certain it gives the wrong idea to readers. I've seen another edition with a different cover, much better, but this one wasn't really a success even though it can be a representation of what Ginn could look like.
Second, this has a sort of weird beginning.
The story starts with Ginn in the 22nd century and then the majority of the action is set in the 10th century. The story is basically about her experience living what she learned and studied and how she dealt with things she couldn't control. Ginn didn't have it easy but she was a quick learner and took no time to get used to her new life.
Of course Ginn's new life is the focus on this book. But a bigger, more interesting part is about her developing romance wit Heirik.
the thing is, Heirik was born with a birth mark on his body, a bloodred mark covering part of his face, upper shoulder, torso and leg and that was considered a sign of the gods he was cursed. Therefore, Heirik is considered untouchable and no one has ever touched him since his mother. Heirik is the chief, he does everything to help and protect the community but no one touches him thinking that would anger the gods and have consequences for those who dared to touch him.
The biggest part of the conflict is about how difficult it is for Ginn and Heirik to express their feelings from the moment they fall in love, which is rather quick, all things considered.
This brings me to the best part of the book, something that lacks in so many romances nowadays, so focused on the sex. Ginn and Heirik fall in love and they convey that feeling and others by their looks, their almost touches, their moments together but not touching, all the little things in their routines have a new dimension because they can't touch each other. It surprising how much sexual tension can be slowly developed and adjusted until they can't hold on anymore.
The plot takes time developing. I'm not going into spoilers, but things have meanings, there are reasons behind certain actions and Ginn has doubts about things too, but what she's certain of is how much she loves Heirik. Step by step they start to touch and always something minimal happens to Ginn after which gives power to the curse idea. But with time we learn many things that can change our mind.
Because this is told from Ginn's POV I think we are limited to what we could know. I think having the POV of Heirik wouldn't detract from the story's intensity.
This was the first book by the author I've read. I liked but the beginning wasn't very explicit and structured. I still don't know many things and to be honest it was rather annoying how the whole time travel wasn't properly explained. I got the feeling the time period was just a handy tool to better put Ginn's experience in evidence. The writing is mostly pleasant but I confess there was a time or two where a certain scene was happening and I couldn't follow it very well.
I also didn't care for a certain plot move that Ginn makes when she thinks her relationship with Heirik isn't happening. The end of the book had interesting elements, Ginn travels in time again before the HEA but that seemed poorly executed. The HEA happens so fast and without the sort of information I wanted. I get the inferring notion to let us think and imagine but I wouldn't mind done deals...
The secondary characters were richly done, especially Betta and Hár. I did like how those were important to the main couple and helped the plot along.
the story's atmosphere was quite interesting and I liked to see so many house chores being done and the result of an obvious thorough research by the author.
All in all, a good book, I did like I could finally read it. It wasn't as spectacular to me as it was for some people, but I do appreciate the effort, the originality of the ideas in a type of story that has seen many attempts already and apart from some details, a great romance story, which was what I wanted to see and got.
Grade: 8/10

Friday, January 29, 2016

Francine Rivers - An Echo in the Darkness

A prosperous trader, Marcus Lucianus Valerian has made a fortune providing sand and slaves for the Roman games. But Hadassah, a slave in his family's household, has enchanted him with her quiet beauty and her staunch faith in Christ. When Marcus' sister sends Hadassah to almost certain death in the games, Marcus feels that his life has been ripped apart. Now he is on his way to Jerusalem to find out more about Hadassah's god, unaware that a miracle awaits him back in Rome.
The political intrigue of the imperial city provides a dramatic backdrop for Marcus' spiritual quest.

Comment: This is the second installment in the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. this is a Christian fiction story and it's the follow up from the first book, A Voice in the Wind. I was so curious to read this story and to know if the main couple would finally get the HEA they deserved! 
After what happened at the end of the first book, Marcus is feeling desperate and lost and is looking for answers to why certain things happened. He decides to travel, to se Hadassah's country and house and where God appeared to men from her old community and to demand the reasons why things happened the way they did.
At the same time, Julia is ill and her husband stole much of her money from her but she still has people who care, namely a veiled crippled woman who works as an assistant to a doctor and makes her duty to care for Julia in her last days.
But in the end, can everyone find what they need, what they require to survive or to be finally accepted? What about love, does it have hearts where it can flourish?
Well, I've read this book full speed and only stopped, tears in my eyes, around 2am the day before yesterday. It's a big book, it has some passages where I wasn't as interested, but overall, this has a plot and a way of developing I couldn't put down. I really needed to know what would happen and at the end of the book, of course I cheered the HEA despite the sad moments in it as well.
The book starts where the other left of, although we get a sense of time passing, if I remember well, one year. Marcus is still in mourning, angry at the way things happened, Julia is ill, Hadassah is...well, she lives on, despite what happened. Especially in the hearts of those she cared about.
The majority of the plot is Marcus traveling to search for answers, for God and the veiled assistant and the doctor helping and dealing with patients, etc.
Of course the whole book is centered about Christian Faith, devotion and inner struggles everyone has to face to embrace the faith or to understand it.
I'm a Christian, catholic, and many of the things "preached" are recognizable to me. In a way, it doesn't bother me much but I can understand why it would others of different faiths; there's a heavy, almost complete focus on the religious matters and that affects every character's actions, even those who don't care or don't believe.
I could put it aside, though. Not that I "dismissed" those sections, but they didn't had to convince me, I could read them but not feel their highlight in my enjoyment of the fictional story. Maybe not everyone can do this, but I was so interested in the story, it felt like just one other detail.
The plot is simple, but I was so curious to see what would happen.
There's a lot of human emotions and actions to wonder about here. Sure, we all know about religion and stuff and that does affect what we choose to do, in a way, but it was amazing how simple things like knowing what's right and what's wrong are things you need to think about in certain contexts, religion aside. But of course religion has a heavy weight here, so both are connected, but the lesson to get is you should help others, you should respect them, you should know which choices are always bad for you and others and that has nothing to do with religion, but simply loving and respecting people around us and trying to be a friend or a good person.
I liked I could have this notion even if I didn't believe in God or if I weren't a religious person.
As for the plot, I did like the historical atmosphere, the way certain daily life issues were dealt with, I liked to see the author wrote showing off how so many things never changed, human character related, I mean. I liked there's closure in this book. The end is very sad because a character finds redemption - although in a very cheesy way, but that's to e expected - but there's also love and hope and a wonderfully sweet HEA I really, really loved. And an epilogue proving things are alright, which was great too.
I still think some things were left unsaid or undone, though. Maybe it's the author's choice, maybe it's something that historically wouldn't happen, but I got the feeling it wasn't something chosen to be in the story...oh well.
Marcus and Hadassah find their HEA. Yes, this was what mattered, no matter how well done the historical context was, the romance was what drove me to keep reading and despite the super clean aspect of it, there's only one sweet kiss and references to future happiness, I still think it was romantic and special. I wouldn't mind a bit more proof, but I get it.
Julia has an expected end, Marcus' mother becomes a wonderful character again and even two or three secondary characters prove their worth.
I don't know, this book just convinced me. I could put aside all the things I'd change and just enjoy the story. Sometimes books talk to us in a certain they don't to others and so on. I'm very glad this book was good to me and that I can cherish it, even though some parts aren't things I'd like to re-read.
It's not for everyone, but for me it worked and was quite sweet.
Grade: 8/10

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Song # 30

This time I bring an oldie. I do love this song. In certain moods, it even brings tears to my eyes..
Enjoy the master.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Andrea Speed - Infected:Prey

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
The murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was "cat" obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.
Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind... and occasionally worships them.

Comment: This book caught my attention because I saw some positive reviews about it in some sites. I got curious and decided to get it. This is the first installment in a already long UF series - Infected - with an m/m romance in it. I don't regret having read it but it wasn't exactly the amazing story I was looking for.
This story present us Roan, an ex-cop now private detective, that is a virus child. He lives in a world where there's a cat-virus around and people can get infected and turn into one of several cat species. As with everything different, infected individuals are looked up with disdain and contempt and often are discriminated by others. Roan however, didn't become infected, he was born with the virus and not that many people survive that, so he's special.
Roan has a partner, Paris, a man infected by the worst cat virus, the Tiger. While Roan has  a lot on his plate professionally, he still worries about Paris but their relationship is a loving one and who knows what will happen in the future...
First of all, this book is actually two books in the same edition. I don't know why this happens, according to some other readers, it's not something you are aware of when you start the book, especially with the digital edition. In a way this was what saved the book for me because I admit I struggled a bit in the first book, trying to feel motivated to keep reading.
The world is interesting but the knowledge isn't given easily and in the first book the case Roan and Paris were investigating wasn't very appealing, which lowered my interested in it.
Basically the plots of the books are about Roan's cases and investigating. Somehow everything has a connection to an infected person or where an infected is involved and of course that will offer the reader more knowledge about infected people in general. The plots are very simple, but with clever developments. I just didn't enjoy much of that, especially in the first book, because I think I was too distracted by what was happening and trying to follow everything. I confess I wasn't very focused and that didn't help.
The story is told by Roan, mostly. Not in a first person narrator but everything that happens is through his POV. We also have Paris sometimes, which is good because it allows for a change. Not that Roan is a bad character, in fact just the opposite, he's a wonderful man and professional, but of course some things about him can only truthfully be told by somebody else.
Roan is an amazing character, we can tell he's special, not only because he seems to slowly get some "control" over his change, but he's a naturally good person and of course we want him to be successful in everything.
The relationship between Roan and Paris is a very subtle one. We know they are in love, we learn how that happened, we know about each one's fears bit the hotter scenes between them is kissing. In a way I liked this, that the author didn't insert a sex scene every chapter. But the fact they are an established couple makes me loose the appeal of falling in love and I kind of would have liked to see that instead.
Now I do have to be honest here. We are aware of a situation that might change things in the future. In fact, I know it will happen, I've read the blurbs of the following books. I'm not certain how to positively deal with that and I don't feel very eager to keep reading despite the promise of good things. It's just that I saw wonderful romantic and heartfelt scenes here and I don't think I want to deal with change. But Roan is a great character and I feel invested in him. Oh decisions, decisions...
I feel conflicted. I might read the second book one day but right now I'm on denial.
The world building is interesting, of course there are some parts where I feel the author is slightly repetitive but this is the type of book that if you can get into right away fine, if not it can become boring. As far as imagination goes, I liked it, but the execution wasn't always what I expected.
Nevertheless, it was positive enough for me.
Grade: 6/10