The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft, Lola Salt
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I loved Becky Wicks Before He Was Famous and Before He Was Gone and Sarah Alderson’s Come Back to Me so was looking forward to this collaborative book. Sadly though it didn’t work for me Sad smile I didn’t really take to Lara, she seemed shallow and celebrity obsessed. I need to feel for the main character, to be upset when things go wrong and happy for her/him when they go right, but really with Lara I just felt she got what she deserved. All the things that happened to her she made happen by her actions, she was careless of what she did and not bothered about the effect they had on others. Tyler was a typical example, she just thought about what she wanted, not about how he would feel and after, rather than tell him it was just a fling she let him think she’s be back.
The humour just felt too forced, and reminded me of those 70’s sitcoms where flash cards saying “clap/laugh/groan” were held up to the audience. It felt like the book tried too hard, that every bit of humour needed to be squeezed out of a situation, so in Australia we had the contrast of a Tourette’s type swearing done by a heavily bible thumping, Christian man, and in Dubai a very OTT stereotype gay prince with his brother being the multi-married, egotistical playboy type. I just didn’t find the humour in the situations Lara found herself in. Its a shame because I loved the other works from both writers, and they’re on my keepers file but this one – nope, not for me Sad smile
Its got a perfect ending though TBH I disliked Lara so much by then that I didn’t think she deserved it…Happily though this is just my opinion, and as ever we all want different things. Though it didn’t work for me I’m sure there’ll be fans that love it, for whom the humour is perfect and who root for Lara.
Stars: Two. Everyone gets it wrong sometimes and it was my error in choosing this book. I’ll still be happy to read others by these two talented ladies. Disliking one book doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the next.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers
Tainted Blood, Book 2 in the Hell’s Belle Series, Karen Greco
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
It’s a year since I read book one so I reread it to refresh the story in my mind, before reading this ( a year and several hundred other books..). I loved that one.
So, book two: The story picks up more or less where the last one finished, with Nina still staying with her aunt, Babe, who is teaching her spell craft, aided by the teenage, witch ghost that can talk to Nina. Frankie is out enjoying the day walking benefit gained from Demon Bertrand. I have to say I found Frankie serial shopping to be just plain odd, he’s a several hundred years old vampire but with a shopping addiction that just didn’t fit the image of him I had in my head, and I really wasn’t keen on the “new” Frankie. Luckily once the action starts he’s back to the vampire and man I love! Max is still earning to cope with being a Berserker and live with all things supernatural, though he’s still got those pesky Human ideas such as calling in the police when dealing with the supernatural crimes. He just can’t see the harm that would result, and poor Nina is at times irritated by that – and I understand her, he’s risking all their lives.
I loved getting the main crew back, though Dr O and Babe take a back seat in this episode of the series. There were times that I found Nina’s anger hard to take, she’s very definitely shoot first, questions later at the best of times, and that seems to have got far worse….and with the problems they face although they need to act quickly, they need cool heads and plans. Her gung-ho approach risks a lot. There are reasons for her behaviour though fortunately, as I really didn’t like “this” Nina. Of course the triangle of Nina, Frankie and Max is still running through – its not a paranormal romance per se, but there is that thread of tension and jealousy. Max is a great guy, but for me the Nina/Frankie team is the winner…ultimately we’ll see I guess.
When they go to what should be a routine callout, and discover a problem with vampires that Frankie hasn’t seen for a very long time they need to track the source fast. The infection sends them mad, finally exploding them and the blood contact infects all vampires it touches. At the moment its just Betas infected, they don’t bite, and aren’t aggressive, but should a full vamp get it mayhem and mass killing would result. Throw in to that problem a mass demon infestation, and there’s action, mayhem and madness all round. What I love about series like this is the way what seem like totally unrelated incidents slowly join up and become part of the whole, while seeds for future plots are also sown. I like to look back and see if I guessed correctly – usually the answer is No, I’ll get better in time maybe…
This was another great read but…I did find it a very slow start, and was very irritated by Nina’s OTT anger and Frankie’s shopping addiction – they just didn’t seem to fit the images I had in my head, but of course that’s my problem, and everyone “sees” characters differently. Clearly Karen and I didn’t have the same ideas, but its her book so I’m the one out of step!
Stars: Four and a half, that slow start knocked it back from five for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers