Archive for July, 2008

Werewolves and shifters, oh my…

So, thanks to Jen/Sarai I am now a newly inducted member of the I *heart* J.L. Langley fan club. If you read the last post you will know that I read her cowboy series and loved . SO with it being payday this week I went out and glommed the rest of her back-cat.

Now I don’t normally do reviews because I have a tendency to gush (no, you say) and because I am rubbish at it. But I feel the need to speak. After reading ‘Tin Star’ and ‘The Broken H’ I went and read J.L. Langley’s ‘With/Without’ series. In simple terms it’s about gay werewolves. Not a new phenomenon in m/m romance by any means.

There are three titles so far. A novella which kicks us off called ‘With Love.’

It’s about Dev and Laine who are both gay, meet and realise that they are ‘mates’ and after some bumps with the local pack’s alpha, live happily ever after. Short, sweet and simple. We are introduced to the mechanics of the Wolf hierarchy and what it means to be an ‘Alpha’ and an ‘Omega’ wolf. Dev is all Alpha. Big, dominant but lovable. Laine is all Omega, small, feminine and submissive. It set the scene, gives us some rules for the universe and had some hot sex. It wasn’t my favourite of the series by far, but it is a novella so I understand the constraints and forgive the niggles I have.

The second ‘Without Reservations’ was my favourite of the series so far.

It’s about Chay and Keaton. Chay is straight, Keaton is not. Chay recognises Keaton as his mate straight away and while is a little surprised at first has no reservations (geddit?) about starting a relationship with Keaton. Keaton on the other hand has. He’s tangled with straight men and been burned in the past so he fights the attraction and Chay’s advances for a while. Not for very long though. They move in together, go through the trails and tribulations of telling everyone and settle down. Only to discover someone is trying to kill Keaton. They solve the mystery and live happily ever after.

I loved this book for many reasons. Chay calls Keaton by all these cute nicknames that Keaton outwardly objects to but secretly loves. In fact, most of the time Keaton is referred to a ‘Bit’ as in ‘Little Bit’ because he is smaller than Chay. However, although he is smaller and White (Chay is Apache) he is the much stronger wolf. This makes up for some interesting issues within the pack and within their relationship. Keaton has a stubborn personality and a hot temper. Chay is even keeled and understanding. I liked watching them struggle with their relationship dynamics. Why is the stronger wolf the sub and the easy-going, even tempered wolf the dom?

They were also both men. Although Keaton was younger and had a slight build there was no mistaking him for a girl. This irritates me in m/m as I feel it’s a bit of a cop-out. If I’m reading m/m I want them both ripped with stubble otherwise what’s the point? Call me sexist if you will…. I know it’s maybe not realistic but if I want realistic I’ll go to the reference section.

Although there is a slight mystery sub-plot running through this book, it’s mainly a study in relationships. How to start one, how to keep one and how new relationships affect those ones around it. Plus teh smexin is hot!

On to the third book and the one that inspired this post. There were so many things swirling about my head days after I read this, I felt the need to put them down.

‘With Caution’ is the story of Remi and Jake. Remi was turned in ‘Without Reservation’. We meet him there and he is a asshole of the biggest order. Jealous of Chay and Keatons new friendship he is a complete bastard to Keaton and then when he finds out the true nature of their relationship he cuts them off. Later on he comes round and goes to Chay’s to apologise when he is attacked by the werewolf trying to kill Keaton and left for dead. Jake, Keaton’s bodyguard, turns him in order to save him, while recognising Remi as his mate.

We meet up with Remi at the beginning of ‘With Caution’ trying to come to terms with his new werewolf status and looking after his baby brother Sterling. You see, Remi has an abusive dad who is a dirty Reservation cop. He used to beat on Remi and now holds the threat of beating on Sterling over Remi so that Remi will toe the line even though he has moved out.

Jake is a P.I. and out. His business partner and best friend Rhys is also gay and out. Jake has a whole gay werewolf community around him in his closest friends. I think the only one not gay is Gadget who is married and has nine kids (one of whom is gay).

Remi is fighting his attraction to Jake. He doesn’t know about the ‘mates’ thing to begin with. Trying to hide his ongoing friendship with Chay. See Remi isn’t really an asshole, that’s just a front. Really he disowned Chay and Keaton because he was afraid of what his father would say. Right enough when his father found out he forbids Remi to see Chay and Keaton again.

And this is the problem I had with this book. Remi and Jake get together, bring down his abusive father (who had killed a childhood friend and tried to kill Remi when he was younger) and keep his family together, along with starting a new pack with Jake (it’s a new gay pack, I think I’ll called them the Pink Ladies.) Jake is an Alpha, Remi is an Omega. But Remi somehow transformed into this submissive martyr who sacrificed everything in his life, his hopes and dreams etc to save his little brother from the abuse he got at the hands of his druken father.

He had a complete personality change. The Remi we met in ‘With Reservations’ was a smart-ass prick of the highest magnitude. And even though you got glimpses and hints as to his domestic situation and how that affected his behaviour, I got the impression he was always like that with everyone. Almost from the first page he is different with Jake and his brother Sterling. A totally different man. Kind, considerate, smiling, loves kids, gregarious and out-going and tolerant. The set-up for his conflict about his relationship with Jake was really strong but the fear of his father etc was brushed away after a few stray thoughts which annoyed me.

Plus Jake was this big-ass Dom who was worried about his bedroom proclivities and wondered how Remi was going to cope with being a Sub after the abusive childhood he had, when it turns out he LOVES it. To the point where has no qualms about being ‘claimed’ by Jake in pubic?!?!?! And calls him SIR!!???! And because Remi is also a rare Omega wolf, he has healing powers to boot!

It was just too much of a turn around. I would have much rather seen Remi struggle with shedding his smart-ass persona and the conflict that brought to him and Jake than what we got. Which was a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘I’m gay’ lightbulb moment. Poor. Plus teh smexin’ was lukewarm. It might be cause I have no use for the whole dom/sub thing but it didn’t do it for me. As it was in the first book which had a sub/dom feel to it too.

However, the storyline away from the romance was great and I really enjoyed it. Much more than in ‘Without Reservation’. Remi’s dad was a real bastard, the mystery behind what he was hiding and how Remi was involved was great. It kept me turning pages when I would have maybe stopped. The set-up of Sterling’s character was fun and with them starting ‘teh gay pack’ you can see new books with tertiary characters coming soon. There were a couple of world-building snafu’s but that’s to be expected and I never judge an author to harshly for that. I don’t think this was ever meant to be a series so there is bound to be some conflicting items while she works out the kinks.

My main gripe is that ‘With Caution’ should have been my favourite. It had the stronger plot line, better drawn secondary characters and world-building. But for that one flaw. The main character had a personality transplant. I almost with we hadn’t met Remi or Jake in the previous book.

I hate being ambivalent towards books. I loved it but was annoyed by it at the same time. I don’t want to put people off reading it because I really enjoyed it, but it also annoyed me to the point where I had to spew this up. I still love J.L. Langley’s stuff and can’t wait to read ‘My Fair Captain’. I’m still a fangirl and can’t wait until it’s her time on DIK. Oh Yes, there will be squeeing aplenty! SO read them and let me know if I’m crazy or if it bugged you to.

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Cowboys…and more

I was updating my goodreads profile and I realised I had racked up 47 books read this month. Holy Shit! I mean most of them are categories but I noticed a theme this month as well. Usually the majority of my reading material is paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a sprinkling of contemporary romance but this month has been the month of the cowboy!

It started when Jen B pointed me over to All Romance E-Books. I went over looking and saw this book advertised called ‘Long Hard Ride.’ I know, subtle huh? I’d just been introduced to the fabulousness of the m/m romance by the ladies over at DIK and this had a bit of everything in it. So I bought it. Started reading it at something ridiculous like 11pm at night and finished it at about 4am. Yep, I couldn’t stop reading.

Of course, I had to go back and glom the rest and the series just got better with each successive book.

The books center around ranching dynasty the McKay family and all thier assorted cousins and relatives. I’m not going in depth cause I am rubbish at that kinda thing but although there are main couples in every book there are great b-plots in each book that twist and turn and are deftly woven into a-plots in the next book etc. Kinda like the BDB for cowboys. (but with a lot more consistency.) And damn, but these cowboys are hot.

So that got me started.

Then came Luann McLane. I saw a review on Book Binge that I liked for her newest title ‘A Little Less Conversation’. I coudn’t get that one so I went back and glommed a couple of her other older titles and just fell in love. Although they are all written in the first person from the heroines pov (which I fouind a little disctracting at first, cause I love to see a male perspective in my romances) they are just so much fun and really sweet. And she has the best titles. I read ‘Trick My Truck, but don’t mess with my heart’ and ‘Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk blues.’ I have more of her books to read but they are part of a series and I am waiting on the first one coming. I hate to read out of order.

Next up was author Cara North. I found her on Goodreads. Her books were mentioned on a ‘Best Book Title’ poll. They are also part of a series called the ‘Country Music Collection’. I assume it’s because the book titles are country music song titles or something? The first is called ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off’ and the next was ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.’ How great are those names? Anyway these books are again about a ranching family. They were fun and sexy. I liked the second better than the first. Much more angst and romance than the first. I am waiting on Book No. 3 with baited breath.

This month was also the month of the m/m romance. I bought books from Evangeline Anderson, G.A. Hauser and J.L. Langley plus Josh Lanyon. The Assignment from Evangeline Anderson blew my mind it was soo good. J.L. Langley does a series about gay cowboys. My two new favorite things. Just finished ‘Tin Star’ and loved it. I am now going to have to glom her entire back-cat!

However as I went a little mental buying e-books this month I am NOT buying anymore new ones until I have made inroads into the TBR pile. I means seriously. I caved and bought Lora Leighs ‘Nauti Nights’. ($12 was the cheapest I could find it!) I bought two new books of a paranormal series by Sydney Croft, ‘Riding The Storm’ & ‘Unleashing the Storm’. The newest title is out soon as well. I got Larrisa Ione’s ‘SnowBound’ just for the beautiful abs on the cover (I know, pervert!). I bought Nalini Singhs back-cat of category novels, plus I still have Jenna Petersen to read along with Julia Quinn (I am trying my hand at a historical!) plus all the Sookie Stackhouse and Outlander series to catch up on! Mamma Mia!

SO no new books…..except for new book in existing series…..honest!

Chart Madness

I have just been over to eHarlequin to have a look at next months titles and I look over at the Top Ten bestsellers because they are always so good for a laugh and what do I see? The infamous ‘Lie With Me’ is No.2 on the chart.

WTF?

Do people not know how bad this is? Obviously the seriously misleading blurb and hot cover are working for it but I would bet my house on the fact that there are a LOT of unsatisfied customers. I don’t really want to start a campaign or anything (much), I just hate the thought of people being bilked out of hard-earned cash for this.

The mind boggles. Obviously this author has her following and must sell well but I can only conclude that there must be a lot of brain-dead zombies buying Blaze titles nowadays*.

* Apologies to fans and this author but man, this book just sucks. But that’s only my opinion.

Toothache

Things that are impossible to do when you have toothache

1. read

2. watch TV

3. listen to music

4. do any kind of household chore

5. surf t’internet (seriously, I think I am dying while typing this right now.)

6. eat

7. drink

8. generally enjoy life

Not to be too melodramtic but I just want to die. I hate going to the dentist.

Life sucks.

Bookeen Cybook

I have been playing and reading for 24 hours and I’m still way too enamoured of my new toy to give a sensible and dis-passionate review of it.

Simply put

IT ROCKS.

I’m completely converted to e-books. I ain’t never buying a print version again unless it’s not available on e-book.

I love my new toy.

I promise I will tell you all why at a later date. For now, I’m having too much fun!

Overpriced

So I got a hold of Book 1 of Lora Leigh’s ‘Nauti Boys’ trilogy and really enjoyed it. So I went looking for the second book, couldn’t find it through my usual nefarious channels so went to Books On Board, found it, put in my basket and went to checkout only then to look at the price and was gobsmacked.

$12!!??!!??!!!??

$12 for a frickin’ e-book? Hello? Overpriced much? I may want to read it, but not that badly. I think we may have it at work so I might just bookloan it.

Hello greedy publishers, looks like you just lost a sale. Idiots! I mean, I’d be hard pressed to spend that much on a proper book, but an e-book? Not likely!

Anticipation

My new Bookeen Cybook reader is coming tomorrow. I am such a geek and I am super excited about it. A new gadget to play with. Eep!

I have all my e-books ready and waiting. I’ll post back more tomorrow once I have played with it for a little while!