I’m on a glomming reading session at the moment, and its a very serious battle against my TBR pile. So here are some quick-snap reviews:
Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
Blurb taken from Fantastic Fiction:
“Young Fawn Bluefield has fled her family’s farm hoping to find work in the city of Glassforge. Uncertain about her future and the troubles she carries, Fawn stops for a drink of water at a roadside inn, where she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, enigmatic soldier-sorcerers from the woodland culture to the north. Fawn knows the stories about the Lake-walkers: they are necromancers; they practice black sorcery; they have no permanent homes and own only the clothes they wear and the weapons; mysterious knives made of human bone they carry. What she does not know is that the Lakewalkers, as a whole, are engaged in a perilous campaign against inhuman and immortal magical entities known as “malices,” creatures that suck the life out of all they encounter, and turn men and animals into their minions.
Dag is an older Lakewalker patroller who carries his past sorrows as heavily as his present responsibilities. When Fawn is kidnapped by the malice Dag’s patrol is tracking, Dag races to rescue her. But in the ensuing struggle, it is not Dag but Fawn who kills the creature at dire cost and an uncanny accident befalls Dag’s sharing knife, which unexpectedly binds their two fates together.
And so now the misenchanted knife must be returned to the Lakewalkers. Together, Fawn and Dag set out on the long road back to his camp. But on the journey this unlikely pair will encounter danger and delight, prejudice and partnership, and maybe even love. . . .”
I love fantasy romance! It’s probably one of my favourite sub genres, and Lois McMaster Bujold nearly manages to deliver on all fronts in her first book of the Sharing Knife series. The budding relationship between the hero and heroine is a wonderful read. Both have been broken by different and separate events from their lives, and they come together and manage to heal one another in a way that I found to be very sweet.
I did have an OMG: How freaking old is he moment. There is a major – and I mean MAJOR – age gap between them, but I quickly got over that aspect as Fawn and Dag seem to be made for one another. And they work together in a partnership that was very believable, IMO. Since this is a fantasy world, and Dag is magical, I don’t think the ageing will be a problem for them in their future. Eek. I hope not!
The only downside was that the fantasy and action was too slow paced for me, and nothing really big happened, but the premise is fantastic. Hopefully the action will pick up in volume two.
4 out of 5 for Beguilement.
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
(I love this cover. It’s sexy, and has this super glow about it. Very awesome!)
Blurb taken from Lauren Dane’s official website:
“Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.
Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.
More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.”
I’m fairly a new reader to Lauren Dane’s work. I’d bought her first début book: Undercover and liked it. But for some reason, I didn’t buy anymore of her titles. I have now, though.
Coming Undone is a sexy and likeable read, but I found it lacking in tension. The hero, Brody, is a wonderful and vivid character, and Elise is a very likeable heroine who is having trouble putting behind a violent past, not only for herself, but for her daughter.
Elise did a lot of healing with Brody, and for me, that was one of the two strong aspects of the book; her learning to becoming independent and not letting anyone push her around. But the tension that was supposed to be the driving point and focus of the book was weak.
The sex scenes were sizzling hot! And with an extra sizzle! I’m very much looking forward to Dane’s Relentless, another title I bought that looks like a goodie.
3.5 out of 5 for Coming Undone.
Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine
Blurb taken from Anna Katherine’s (actually two authors) official website:
“One night six years ago, Allie and her friends got drunk and chanted a fake spell they made up… and accidentally opened a portal to Hell. Now it resides in the basement of the diner Allie runs, and it’s a pain in the ass — mystical crap is always coming out, and then it has to be killed. Demon guts get everywhere, stuff gets smashed up, there are salt circles and sigils all over the place… It gets tedious.
The up side is that Allie gets her own personal demon hunter guarding the Door and killing the demons: a sexy and mysterious, Stetson-wearing, snide-remark-making, dark-eyed demon hunter named Ryan.
But after six years of jibes and sexual tension, the Door disappears at the same time there’s a surge in demonic activity — and no one seems to know what’s going on. Not Narnia the bitchy psychic witch, or Roxie, a kickass demon hunter from the other side of town.
It’s not Allie’s idea for a team of demon hunters to find another Door and go into it to see if Hell is about to take over Earth, but she definitely wants in on that plan. After years of seeing the havoc a Door to Hell wreaks on the world, she’s ready to grow up, take responsibility for helping open a Door in the first place, and kick some demon butt.
Okay, and she’d also like some quality make out time with Ryan, and mortal peril is always a turn-on, right?”
When a friend of mine recommended this book, I went to the author’s website and read the excerpt, and liked it verily muchly. After reading the whole of the book, I didn’t like it as much as my first impression. The premise is interesting, and overall, the book is very much a light read, but the heroine was too shallow for my tastes and there was not much depth from the characters.
The heroine does not make for a very sympathetic one, and when you have the heroine’s POV in first narrative, the dialogue and inner thoughts have to grab you, and make you want to read and learn more about her. I was skating upon being amused, and nearly not liking her.
The hell portals is a cool idea – especially when it’s expanded upon in the story. While I didn’t love this book, I did like it – despite the heroine - and I managed to finish the book in one reading. I’m interested in how the second book will turn out, and hopefully there will be more depth and a tighter plot.
3 out of 5 stars for Salt and Silver.