Friday, June 13, 2014

Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux


Sidewinder - Book 2

First thing - this has got to be one of the most beautiful covers I have seen in a long, long while. Especially on a M/M eBook where the covers often tend to the cartoonish or headshots of two bare-chested men.

Secondly - the magic is back! I love Abi's books, don't get me wrong. There's not one that I've read that I've not liked, a lot. But with Crown & Cross, everything that I love about Abi's stories is here - two distinct, different, still surprising, fun and sexy main characters; a cast of supporting characters that's not too unweidly nor do they intrude on the story, fun banter back and forth, twists and turns, no over-the-top emotional or physical cliffhanger, wonderfully hot and steamy sex scenes, affection and love. I had become worried over the past few releases if Abi was losing her steam for this whole universe. If felt more like she had written this book saying, "Look here, look what the characters did, isn't it fun?" instead of "Look here, look how I wrote this for all of you. Did you see I gave you what you wanted?" I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me though. *LOL*

So... the book...

I never saw - even after going back and re-reading - the instant connection between Nick and Kelly that many other fans of Abi's Cut & Run series did. It seemed like wishful thinking to me and continued to do so through the beginning or their relationship in Shock & Awe. There was a glimmer of fun for me to find in Nick and Kelly's appearance in the latest Ty and Zane, Ball & Chain, but I was too annoyed to really enjoy it because I felt they were taking screen time away from the real stars of the story, Ty and Zane.

But in Cross & Crown, the first full novel of the Sidewinder Stories, it all clicked for me. I've been in love with Kelly since day one and I have to admit, and I've always enjoyed Nick, even when he was being the tragic, love-lorn figure in Ty and Zane's relationship. *LOL* And now? THEY WORK!! And I want them together and I'm rooting for them to be together, to fight and love and dream and tease and get into trouble and out of trouble.

The plot of C&C is interesting and fun. There's an amnesiac who gets a crush on Nick (and I wonder if we've seen the last of him), a lost treasure, a historical puzzle, some mob interaction and a couple of murders to start things off. It all hangs together fine enough for me, and doesn't get overwhelmed by Nick and Kelly's romance. And we have a visit, well more than a visit, from Julian Cross, one of my favourite Abi characters.

And it's the perfect springboard to the adventures of the New Sidewinder Team the boys (and another surprise erstwhile team member) are going to embark on with Ty's sister who we met in Ball & Chain.

In the end, I had a hard time putting C&C down, it's one of those page-turning books and when I finally finished it, I had a huge smile on my face.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell


Mick Oberon - Book 1

So a fae-based urban fantasy set in 1930's gangster Chicago. How cool is that? And I will say that the world-building was one of the reasons that I enjoyed this one.

Mick Oberon is a private eye and is also one of the aes sidhe - an elf, if you will, a very old elf in terms of actual existance. And it seems a very high-ranking one in the Seelie court once upon a time. He left that court - or was banished - it depends on which story you prefer and we really don't get a good idea why, but that's okay - this is a series of detective novels and it doesn't do to let all of the Mick's secrets out at once. It's not really necessary to the plot either. Knowing that Mick is not really welcome in the Seelie court any more is the important part.

So, hired by a mob wife to find her child who was kidnapped and replaced with a changeling child 16 years ago, Mick does his detectivating in the real world and the Otherworld in order to find out the truth and hopefully the child and bring her home.

As I said, the world-building was great; the characterizations of the characters, important and walk-on, well done; the plot cracked along quite nicely and was a lot of fun. Very film noirish, Dashiel Hammett (Sam Spade) or even John D. MacDonald (Travis McGee) - like there was also a feel of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files about this first of a series.

I have questions though. Questions about Mick and the how and why of him being a detective in 1930's Chicago. Questions that I'm certain will be answered as the series moves along and I can be patient for those answers.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bound to be a Groom by Megan Mulry


Regency Reimagined - Book 1

Exactly as advertised. An erotic menage romp. Here we have the story of Anna, illegitimate convent-bred girl with thoughts of independance; Pia, the convent-bred orphan and Anna's BFF; Sebastian, every girl and boy's wet-dream and Anna's hastily-wed-to husband; and Farleigh, the English duke, Seb's one-time lover and friend. All of them are beautiful people, forward thinking, kinky as all get-out and are very quick to fall for the loves of their lives.

It was just all so convenient. Too convenient. While the characters showed promise at being interesting, it was a promise never truly fulfilled because... we need more erotic sex scenes! Whenever the characters would start to do something that had nothing to do with sex, it stopped pretty damned quickly so someone could have at least one orgasm. And they felt too modern to me, despite some pretty purple-ish dialogue. For instance, how does Anna go from a girl raised in a convent to a domme who makes no mistakes? When she's only had sex with her BFF and her husband?

Megan Mulry writes well. Her writing is easy to read and engaging (despite the outlandish at times dialogue) but I found myself wishing for some actual insight into the characters thoughts. Not just that things were hot and sexy and submissive and dominating, but WHY this appealed to them so much and how they managed to find it in themselves to open up to the others as quickly as they did. I also found myself wishing for something more to the story than just how the quartet comes together. Maybe it was that there were no real obstacles for any of them to overcome? (There were also a few spots, especially in the early chapters where POV switches - 3 in two paragraphs at one point, darned near gave me whiplash. )

So, that being said, for an erotic, historical, BDSM, menage sexytimes book, it was great! But overall, for my own enjoyment, I felt left wanting something of more substance.

Oh and... how do they know who the fathers of dem babies is? *g*