I've come to a place in my reading that isn't bitter or burnt out yet, but it's a bit tired. I love so many things about romance, and what I want to read always centers on it in some way. In different degrees, but it's the touchstone I need to make me keep reading, keep caring. But I'm done with so much of erotica. I'm done with the pages of sex and skin that lack the bones of a real story. As much as I love good sex in a good book, I can't even remember these people's names and I'm tired.
This is the story of Olivia and Dean West. I know their names and so will you.
As a romance reader, this is the book I'm dying to find in the piles of bare-chested covers. Finding out that it was about an already married couple, already seemingly past their HEA, forcing the question of what happens next made me immediately put it first in my TBR pile. I wanted to see it done, and from the reviews everyone seemed to be in agreement that here it's done memorably well. Hauntingly well.
Olivia is a woman who ran from her issues, intent on achieving her dreams by sheer force of will and that lent her a life that was to be isolated. She was okay with this. She did better on her own than with people, but then she met Professor Dean West. He's tall, dark and captivating and he's caught on her line that she hadn't even intended on casting. He's this wonderful concoction of medieval professor and lean muscle and he's delicious. Olivia is gorgeous and contained and together they've got an insane amount of chemistry. Like, honestly. I can't remember the last time reading a book with so much understated
chemistry. It wasn't pushy with cliches, didn't rely on purple prose,
but it was organically hot. It's was entirely Olivia and Dean. They
became solid and real.
This story is lush, simple and engaging. From the quiet setting that felt like falling into a dreamy oil painting of a college town to the lovely sense of pace of their current story stitched together with the story of how they met. How desperately in love they are with the other steals your breath as you watch their marriage begin to crumble. Quiet monsters have stolen into their tiny apartment; doubt, fear and regret. Questions and denials have taken root and watching this marriage come apart at the seams felt achingly authentic, and yet you never stop feeling their need for the other. They can barely talk, but they're grabbing and pulling and kissing and it's hopeless and desperate and so good. It's hot and gets you right in the chest, and no, it's not emotional crybaby Let Me Stretch Your Boundaries sex, and thank all that is sweaty and hot for it. It's good, lusty sex between two people who are driving each other nuts, and as I was reading I was dying for them both, falling deeper with every revelation and stupid decision. I was banging doors down, too. I was standing in that coffee shop when they met. I was rooting for Liv and Dean and then I was throwing confetti, because there's a sequel.
Like, serious business busy. Science and building empires kind of busy.
Summer is on the horizon and there's a crap ton of exciting New Adult on the deck and plenty of releases coming in the next few weeks. Because it's June now. Did you know? It's JUNE. That's just so crazy. Probably feels surprising cause we've been so busy.
I'm back doing another review that I was suckered into. And, truth be told, I'm kind of hating Kr and N right now. I can't be too terribly mad about Gabriel's Inferno, because I only made it 4 pages before I saved my eyes. This time, though, I'm pushing myself. I WLL get through these, come Hell or high water.
K threw the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day at me, for science and bullshit and my own humiliation. I guess that's a perk to having a best friend, right? They do just about anything for you? Well, I figured that after chucking the deuces at N's request, I had to do SOMETHING. I had to be better, dammit. And, hey, it's just bad lit. It's not like they're posting images of Pennywise all over my house to "surprise" me.
Seriously, guys, if you do that, I'll have to punch you in the tits.
I'm not sure why exactly I've held off on these for as long as I have. Anytime you're looking up popular urban fantasy or paranormals with a strong female lead, something I love, Mercy Thompson is one of the first to be mentioned. I love Kate Daniels fiercely, and I love the world building and pacing of a really good UF or paranormal, and I love when our lady lead is as tough as the obvious love interest. They both have to bring it to the table, and the simmering tension between such strong characters is something that just ties me in knots. I want to be invested in a series. I want to clamor for the next in line, and I want to lose myself to your world. And I'm happy to say that Mercy is delivering just as her reputation promised.
I'm intrigued by this world of vampires, fae and werewolves. And here she sits the mechanic coyote in the middle of all this Keep It Hidden From The Humans politics. Mercy is kind, unassuming and she's trying to keep her hands clean, but she also has a strong sense of honor. She's kinda going through things as if her volume is set down to six instead of eleven, but hey, she understands the werewolves because she was raised with them, and lives behind the Alpha of her area. This right here peaked my interest in a "Hey, hey now." I like that Adam is this former military dude whose presence is one you can't look away from. That our first glimpse of him is in a fancy note taped to her cat's cage telling Ms. Thompson to watch her cat or next time he's gonna eat it. And he's a dad to a sweet, spunky human girl who likes to girl talk with Mercy. Then there's the wolves right up the way in the Montana wilderness where Mercy grew up. One of which is Samuel, the head Werewolves' son, who just happens to be Mercy's first real boyfrand. Perfect.
In the first book I expect to feel sort of bogged down with world building but that didn't happen here. Instead I felt a little removed and outside of the emotional drama. I'm getting to know all these characters, and what I'm seeing I love. Bran is fascinating as the Marrok, head werewolf, with his control and boyish exterior. The whole town these wolves live in that Mercy has to return to when Adam is hurt offers so much insight into the werewolf mindset without forcing us through an info dump. I'm just not getting an emotional connection between Mercy and anyone else. I sense her loyalty and her frustration, but the setup for tension between her and Samuel or the supposed mate talk between her and Adam hasn't grasped hold of me. Yet. Listen, I'm not looking for anyone to bang it out yet.
Yes, I'm going to ship the crap out of my favorite couples a'la Kate and Curran or Barrons and Mac, but even in their books, sex wasn't an immediate plot turn. I dig Urban Fantasy. I dig tension over robotic humping. I'm not looking for boom make out time off the bat. I just want tension, and for these crazy strong characters to emotionally shake each other up with barbs and pushing and testing, because it's delicious, but with Mercy's heart so much seems to have happened before or without her telling us about it. I want to know her, and I want to be as invested in her world and in the relationships she has with everyone around her. I need them to matter, and the only way they will is by seeing them through her. Regardless, she's a quiet badass who saves the day like a beast, and I'm game to see where she takes me.
Crewel by Gennifer Albin Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars. Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own. Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die. Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls. Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power. Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it. So, here's where we're at, guys. We got this girl Adelice. And Adelice is a special, special snowflake. She can weave time. SHE CAN WEAVE TIME, WITHOUT A LOOM, GUYS. Adelice: She's a certified badass. Just like your grandma. Remember all those times I talked about my love for dystopian novels? Remember how I was all, GUISE I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT? Guys? Guys. I lied. I have officially had enough of this shit. Crewel was just so damn confusing. Yeah. I said it. I went there. WE WEAVE TIME NOW. Like, everything about life is just weaved. On a loom. By a coven of spinsters who can do this thing. Am I..does anyone else...WUT.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? WHY IS THIS A THING? How does it even make SENSE? Listen. Look. I literally just finished this book and I gotta be honest with y'all. My head hurts. My head hurts and I am confused. I read this thing and the entire time, I sat there scratching my head trying to wrap my mind around this concept of Arras, a city? World? Built on top of Earth with...woven threads of life? And...stuff? I literally do not know what is happening right now. There were brothers and there were backstabbings and there were gays being remapped because OMG NOT NATURAL!!1! and there was this heroine that I desperately wanted to love because man did that girl have a mouth on her, and there's plots and revolutions being whispered about and this was basically a recipe for awesome things to happen but instead I got caught up in this strange, strange world building where our world is literally being built by the hands of these sooper spechul Spinsters who have the ability to EFFING WEAVE LIFE.
Oh, and you know what else happened? A MOTHEREFFING LOVE SHAPE. I do not like love shapes, people. I cannot stand a love shape. Especially when that love shape has a bunch of flat, boring characters who spark roughly about zero sympathy. LOVE SHAPES. UGH. WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS? Basically, this is a book for...I don't know. Somebody. Somebody would probably like this confusing world with its catty mean girl moments and love shapes. But that girl was not me. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go scratch my head some more.