Eyes Wide Open: The Blackstone Affair, Book 3 Raine Miller.
ARC supplied by Eidleweiss.
I’d read part one and loved it, felt part two wasn’t quite up to the promise I expected from the first part, and sadly i’m still not entirely content with the ending. Maybe I’m just trilogied out – there seems to be so many of these trilogy/duo romances since shades of grey (which I loved) and they’re beginning to feel a bit formulaic. There was SoG followed by a myriad of similar – think “up in the air/the alpha group/the submissive trilogy/this man/the stark trilogy/the crossfire fiasco – oops no 🙂 /the crossfire trilogy that became crossfire series…/chasing series/disastrous series/avoiding series/love me with lies….you can see where I’m going. So many end on cliffhangers too, and have months between books that its easy to lose the impetus of the book. With S of G when I bought them they were all out, and its the gap between current parts of books that’s spoiling most for me and many readers. That’s what’s happened here I think. Each time I’ve gone back for a quick refresh of the past book(s), but somehow the moment has gone and it takes time for me to get into the story again, and its just not the same. Quite often now many readers – myself included – are waiting till all parts out (see my Crossfire blog rant on that one) and then buying, so we can read through without the gaps and the books read far better that way. With the beginning book here I was excited because it seemed to take a different path, but gradually that flawed but rich hero, and the problems they both have from pasts, along with that bit of heroine in danger seems to have taken over, and its become a story very much like all the others. Its a shame because though this is still a good trilogy it could have been a great one if it had kept the promise of the start. Some of the ones I’ve mentioned have done just that and become five star favourites, others well……and of course the London setting was great for us UK readers 🙂 Still, that’s just my opinion and I’m sure there will e lots of disagreements.
There was lots of potential here from the earlier novels, Brynne’s past impacted so much on the present and her actions, and similarly we’d read so much about problems Ethan had from his Services time and experiences that affected him and gave him horrific nightmares. Though we learned more about Brynne’s problems I felt Ethan’s were built up and built up, and yet when everything came out were over with so quickly, and it almost felt as if the explanations were only there to back up the plot at the end, and served as an excuse for how she may have felt after he pushed her away yet again, and then was in danger next day…it’s hard to write without giving things away 🙂 After all the drama and tension about the dangers to Brynne from earlier books I felt that in fact that part was over with far too quickly and easily, and the tension these situations create in the reader was missing because of that…
I enjoyed meeting Ethan’s family, loved the niece and the way she eavesdropped and let things out – that’s so typical of five year olds 🙂 the lighter moments like that were good, just the tension and deep emotion that was missing for me.
Overall the series was better than ok – but for me not great and I doubt I’ll read again. That’s a shame because I was so entranced by the potential in Raine’s characters from the first book, and the quality of her writing. It was so good to read a novel that wasn’t dumbed down to words of less that four syllables as so many seem to be. I just didn’t feel this trilogy had enough difference in it though to make it stand out from the crowd. Its priced at £5.88 for 272 pages/624 KB so not a cheap read.
Stars: well, that’s hard this time – three is too low but really four isn’t right so I’m giving three and a half.
ARC supplied by publisher.
Rancher Adam is heir to the local werewolf pack. For some time now they’ve had attacks from solitary jaguar shifters killing humans in the town, so when he catches the scent of one in a local café he investigates, pack law says they must be killed . One touch and he’s really puzzled though…he didn’t believe his dad when he told him about how he would recognise his mate but that’s just how he feels after touching Lana. But she’s not wolf, she’s a jaguar. He questions her closely wanting to know what she’s doing there and discovers she has no idea about her jaguar side, just thinks she blanks out when the new moon hits…He’s confused, he knows he should kill her and yet doesn’t want to – his wolf says protect their mate, but the human side finds that hard to accept. To further complicate things she’s under attack by a mysterious organisation called Nero. She doesn’t know who to trust and whether he’s safe, he doesn’t want to let her go – well the wolf doesn’t anyway- so he stays in contact with her when things quickly het up, gradually giving way to his wolf and getting into some smoking hot, sensual sex scenes with her. Lana doesn’t want to endanger him and thinks her attackers will target him, so its a divide with her trying to find out more about her background, she was abandoned as a baby, Nero and its motives for targeting her, and Adam trying to help and protect her from the jaguars sent to capture her who won’t stop at killing anyone who gets in the way, while trying to keep her and their relationship secret from the pack until they can sort out what to do.
I enjoyed this book, its got enough content and danger in to keep me absorbed, I love shifter novels and the worlds author create around them and this one seemed to set the scene for what would be a good series. At the end there’s a clip of book two – so clearly I’d read right in thinking it had enough content to go on for further novels. Lana was a great heroine, strong and intelligent and yet despite her awful upbringing she was caring and didn’t want to place anyone in danger. Adam, he was put in a tight place, knowing the visceral hatred his Pack had for jaguars. There’s lots more information coming out that expand the plots, and where the series is going, and that’s welcome as I love more complex novels. Clearly Nero and its machinations are going to feature in later books, along with many of the characters we’ve just met. I want lots of emotion, the sensuality of the scenes between Adam and Lana delivered, but I really wanted more involving others, more tears and more joy. The lows weren’t quite deep enough for me, there were a few moments when people were in danger and it came close, and even the events at the end which were sad and moving but they were over with too quickly for me. I need to wallow a bit on the dark times….masochist tendencies I guess.
Overall a good read, and I’m keen to read more. As it is its not one I’d re read, but a part of the series if it lives up to the promise then I probably with re read. It’s priced at £1.91 for 568Kb, 256 pages
Stars: Its tough setting the ground for a series so four for this novel from me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I love vampire romance, so Viper seemed a good read for me. Cara is very anti- vampire, works for law enforcement and is on the case of women that are turning up dead, drained of blood. The police are puzzled but Cara knows vampires are real, saw one years before drinking from a woman. As it happened that was Kane, president of MC Sons of Sangue, a vampire MC. He broke vampire laws not using his mental powers to wipe her memory of what she saw. He’s not sure why, and now he’s working with her on the murders it’s difficult for both of them. He’s really attracted to her, she’s terrified of him…Good team eh?
I was ok up to that point, but even though as with most vampire romance Kane is sex on a stick, I had a hard time dealing with Cara going from terrified aversion to (very) close contact in such a short space of time. They got together, danced around the attraction, Kane did his vampire “me protector you defenceless woman” Macho thing, and Cara fights back with her “no one tells me what to do” attitude. Kane is on the outs with his twin Kaleb over his stance on Cara, especially when they learn the killer has her in his sights, and he wants to bring her back to the club…..Add in one of her past work colleagues who she thought she’s left behind in her old town after a horrific experience, and now he’s been brought in as her boss temporarily, and poor Cara is in between rock and hard place.
There’s the usual hot vampire sex scenes ( very hot, Kane certainly has staying power), the developing romance between them, the danger from the killer, awkward scenes for Cara with the ex who’s been brought in, Kane’s skirting of the MC and Vampire laws and its one hot, enjoyable read. Still,the way Cara had such an about face so quickly, and the breaking MC rules and getting away with it felt a bit wrong for me. Laws and rules are made to be broken of course especially in fiction novels, but I felt Kane was going just that bit too far, that as the only suspect he was bringing danger right to their doors, and angering and endangering his brothers and their lives, and the Cara situation just felt rushed. I did like the jealousy angle behind the killer, I love something like that and would have liked to see that vamp take a greater role.
Despite the action everything seemed to be over with just a bit too quickly and I didn’t feel the drama and tension I need for a five star read. Somehow the novel just felt a bit too neat, too convenient, too slick with the answers, making it a bit of light read for me and not enough depth for more than a one off enjoyable treat.
Stars: four, a good one off read, and fair priced at £2.00 for 316 pages. I don’t have word count info but its 532 KB. An author recently contacted me to explain that due to differing formats page counts can be very varying and word count a better VFM guide.