Friday, December 12, 2014

"If I leave you alone you will leave England."

Awaiting the FireAwaiting the Fire by Donna Lea Simpson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If this book was written as a "horrid novel that corrupt innocent young feminine minds" in the Victorian times, I think it would have been a bestseller. It has all the requisite: a feisty heroine, a dark, brooding hero, a tempting yet menacing villain, isolated grand mansion/castle, supernatural entities, perilous moments, misunderstandings and torrid resolution.

Sadly, I find the melodrama overwrought, the heroine AND hero annoying in their inconstancy and immaturity, the plot unnecessarily plodding and tiresome, the exposition clunky and the deux-ex-machina unsatisfactory. Not to mention that I've never enjoyed any books that feature Judeo-Christian angels anyway.

Seriously, I should stop being surprised at how much blurbs and recommendations by "notables" can disappoint.

Male protagonist: 2/5 stars
Female protagonist: 1/5 stars
Storyline: 1/5 stars
Pacing: 0/5 stars
Fun Factor: 1/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 0/5 stars

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"I parked there yesterday and my Range Rover exploded."

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a reason I didn't read more book in 2014 and it's because of this author. I just got this book a few weeks ago and it's now pretty dog-eared, thanks to the multiple re-reading because I enjoy it just *that* much.

The novel is set in a world where magic is real and is the main currency for power and wealth. A small-time private investigator was tasked to persuade a powerful pyromage to surrender to his family after a series of high profile arson. She has a competitor in the chase, another catastrophically powerful mage who can level cities. A lot of mayhem and high octane action, peppered with tickle-your-ribs humour and steamy sexual tension.

The book is peopled with characters who are not just larger-than-life but also wonderfully likeable. The primary characters sucked me in and kept the book glued to my hand up to the very end. C'mon, how am I to resist when the male protagonist was described as such:

He'd traded the suit and shoes for faded jeans, a pale grey t-shirt and heavy, dark boots. The effect was staggering. The suit had toned him down, smoothing harshness with a veneer of wealth and civilisation. Now he was all rough edge and rugged strength. He looked like he needed some jungle ruins to explore or some bad people to hit with a chair. Trouble was, he was the bad people

I also adored that the female protagonist was no Mary Sue; she had a complement of vulnerabilities along with kick ass determination, wilyness and intelligence. Her Mom was a magically enhanced sniper, her Grandma talked to tanks and the heavy weaponry that she crafted, and a cybermage cousin as her sidekick. Her family was insane and fun and I can't wait to see more of her crazy sisters and cousin in the next books.

Even the psychopath was pretty endearing and made you want to root for him.

Pierce did have devil eyes. Deep and dark, the rich brown of coffee grinds, they were unpredictable and full of crazy.

Burn for Me is a new tangent for the husband-wife writing team, a book that is closer to a traditional romance in the action-adventure genre. However, the romance aspect developed more slowly, paying out over a three-book series. By the last page you are jonesing for the next book and gosh, can't they write any faster?

Favourite quotes:

1. "... Had I known that you were going to pull a pretty ribbon out of your sleeve like some two-bit magician, I would have shot you. Many times."

"Two-bit magician?"

"Men like you enjoy being flattered."

2. Small talk with the dragon. How are you? Eaten any adventurers lately? Sure, just had one this morning. Look, I still got his femur stuck in my teeth. Is that upsetting to you?

3. "I was conceived because my mother skipped bail. Her boyfriend at the time threatened to call the cops on her, so she had to do something to keep him from doing it."

4. And then he had felt her. She was warm and golden and she tore through the sterility of the ascent and reached for him. She kissed him and as she shared all of her fears and wants, he felt alive. He had shrugged off the cold serenity for her, and the world around him bloomed.

Seriously. Go get this book. You won't regret it.

Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Female protagonist: 5/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 5/5 stars
Fun Factor: 5/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 5/5 stars

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