Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Down to You by M. Leighton

Amazon recommended this to me because I bought everything Tammara Webber has written (you should definitely read all of her stuff, it’s pretty great).

The scorching tale of one girl, two brothers and a love triangle…that’s not.
Olivia Townsend is nothing special. She’s just a girl working her way through college so she can return home to help her father run his business. She’s determined not to be the second woman in his life to abandon him, even if it means putting her own life on hold. To Olivia, it’s clear what she must do. Plain and simple. Black and white.
But clear becomes complicated when she meets Cash and Nash Davenport. They’re brothers. Twins. Cash is everything she’s always wanted in a guy. He’s a dangerous, sexy bad boy who wants her in his bed at any cost. He turns her insides to mush and, with just one kiss, makes her forget why he’s no good for her.
Nash is everything she’s ever needed in a guy. He’s successful, responsible and intensely passionate. But he’s taken. Very taken, by none other than Marissa, Liv’s rich, beautiful cousin. That doesn’t stop Olivia from melting every time he looks at her, though. With just one touch, he makes her forget why they can never be together.
Black and white turns to shades of gray when Olivia discovers the boys are hiding something, something that should make her run as far and as fast as she can. But it’s too late to run. Olivia’s already involved. And in love. With both of them.
Both brothers make her heart tremble. Both brothers set her body on fire. 
She wants them both. And they want her.
How will she ever choose between them?
(via Goodreads)

Ignore the first 2 parts of the synopsis, just about everything that wasn’t related to the main characters fucking/thinking about fucking/trying to fuck was glossed over. And since it wasn’t erotica, a plot would have been nice. And since there wasn’t a plot, more than a token attempt at character development could have been made. Olivia never learns anything/grows up/has an epiphany/does anything but whine about how much she likes these boys/can never have these boys. And Cash/Nash are never developed beyond their super-secret secret, which didn’t even come into play until at least halfway through the book.

And hooray for manufactured conflict, Olivia’s ex-boyfriend was a bad boy and he hurt her feelings so she’s sworn off bad boys forever.  Yeah sure, having your heart broken sucks balls, but here’s a protip: just because a boy has tattoos doesn’t make him bad. BEING AN ASSHOLE WHO CHEATS ON HIS PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND makes him bad.  Also, guys in suits are not necessarily good guys either.

There were few terrible grammar/editing distractions and the story was well-paced (mostly). The author was definitely heavy-handed with the exclamation points and italics but that’s more a style issue than anything else (reading about people who are that excited! about! everything! was exhausting). I will admit that this was kind of compulsively readable; I almost missed my bus stop because I was reading. The dudes were super foxy and the sex scenes were pretty steamy. However, and this is a BIG however, the last quarter of the book takes a sharp turn from oh-this-is-mildly-entertaining to holy-shit-WTF. And then the epilogue crashes into now-this-is-a-suspense-novel-what-the-hell and surprise-there’s a-sequel!

Should you read this? If you like reading about people who are magnificent jerks and you’ve got a couple of free hours and don’t need to go to the dentist or something, sure. If the ending wasn’t so utterly bizarro, I’d have left off the caveat about the dentist. Regardless, I’m glad I borrowed this and didn’t use the last of the Amazon gift card I’ve been saving for a rainy day.

Series: As yet untitled
Next book in series: To be announced
P.O.V.: First person, present; alternating narrators
Language: Salty
Sexy business: Plenty and semi-graphic

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow

I just glommed the Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow a couple of weeks ago. Since I mostly liked it, I went ahead and bought this book and also the Jill Kismet series which just happens to be available on Kindle for $9.99 if you pre-order it (yes, all five books).

Demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, so Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do-she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don't tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she's just stepped into or just how special she is. Orion is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn't expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn't expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan's got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising. Now Chess is Ryan's only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess's only hope of survival because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide. If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn't know he's been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle survive, he won't ever be able to touch her again. . .

(synopsis via Goodreads)

So! Librarians, secret books, demon hunters, mysterious order protecting us poor little humans, a little romance, everything about this story sounds awesome, right? Well, not quite. It’s good but never quite makes the leap into amazing. Chess is a likeable protagonist, she’s smart (a librarian!), she’s feisty (but not that absurd-feisty that too many UF lady-protagonists tends towards), she’s pretty brave, she’s independent. Although sometimes she’s a little too independent for someone who’s only killed one demon and who now has a certified demon-hunter at her beck and call.

Ryan sounds super foxy and he’s definitely a good guy to have in your corner, what with the super strength and healing abilities, but I am not a fan of the mate-instinct that we got to deal with when Ryan’s POV was at the forefront.  I got a little tired of the but she’s so pretty and she smells so nice! This must be Twue Wuv! Also, things could be a little scary from his perspective because he was fighting his instincts (read: major boner) all the time.  And he goes from “You give me a boner” to “I love you forever” really damn quickly.

On the other hand, the romance was almost totally undeveloped on Chess’ side, because she spent most of the book going “Fuck, demons! This is scary, run, no, fight, wait, I have a knife!” and passing out and only very occasionally “That Ryan guy is a little scary, but he’s kinda good looking”.  

There isn’t much in the way of world-building since it’s basically just real world + demons but there’s enough to make it convincing. It’s a bit of a shame because Lilith Saintcrow is a master world-builder (seriously, the world-building aspect of her Dante Valentine series is mind-blowing).  

Final Reckoning

Read this? Sure, why not. It’s entertaining and over quickly.  I realize that isn’t quite a ringing endorsement but I would have liked it better if there were a couple of follow-ups (or even just one) because the epilogue was kind of ridiculous. It reads like a first entry in a series, right up until the epilogue, where things get wrapped way too neatly, but it’s a stand-alone.  It’s kind of hard to categorize too, since it’s PNR from Ryan’s POV and UF from Chess’ POV.  It was at least worth the 7 bucks I paid.

The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow
Series: n/a
P.O.V: Third person, past;  alternating perspective
Language: Mostly clean with a few dingers
Sexxxoring: Zero action, lots of (mental) talk