Catching Up: Reviews That Just Missed Making It

Catching Up
I read a lot of books that I always mean to review but then I end up reading a book that I decide I have to review and the others get pushed to the back burner.  I still keep all of my notes and things, they just never quite make it to the full review stage.  So while they’re still pretty fresh, I thought I’d catch up on some of my more recent reads all in one spot with some shorter reviews.

PossessionPossession (Possession #1)
By Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Publisher

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them…starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous–everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Goodreads Summary

Vi is a tremendously resilient kick-butt heroine.  She gets banished, dragged all over the place, finds stuff out that would make anyone just sit down and quit and then gets dragged around some more but she still keeps fighting.  She had a very strong sense of right and wrong and wasn’t shy about having to mete out justice.  If only she hadn’t been dragged all over to do it.Too many of my thoughts about Jag are colored by what I found out at the end, I think.  While reading I remember wondering why on earth he escaped with Vi to the Badlands only to go back (so she would follow to break him out of the Tower again), then make plans to go back again.  He seemed to love Vi very much and I don’t know what will happen with that – if there’s a second book, I’m not sure, but there’s a doubt – but maybe he’ll be more clear.

The action was all over the place, there were too many characters and too many places that were designated for different things for the story to get into any kind of groove for a long time and by the time that it did, there were other problems.  There were Water People, Green Lands, The Tower, Badlands – nothing was really explained.  I have no idea what the Green lands are, just that Vi came from there.  Every character but Vi had a deep, deep secret and dead people kept popping up all over the place, alive.  It was uncomfortable reading a book when I couldn’t trust any character but one.  Even Vi, who I thought was wonderful, was committing the horrible crime of perpetuating a YA love triangle – she couldn’t stop loving Zenn despite some rotten things he did and she couldn’t stop loving Jag after she found out some rotten stuff he did.  Ugh.

This had flashes of being a really, really good book but it was weighed down with too many plot twists, hurried attempts at world-building and character introductions.  I have to admit, the ending gave me serious chills though.

My Rating: C

Dragon BoundDragon Bound (Elder Races #1)
By Thea Harrison
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Published

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

Goodreads Summary

The reason I never reviewed Dragon Bound is two-fold: I figured the blogs would be saturated with reviews for it and I thought my review really would consist of nothing but some drool smeared on the screen anyway.  It may still only be that.  This is probably my favorite book of the year so far.

Dragos is funny, sexy, fierce, charming and just gorgeous.  If an ageless dragon could be considered adorable, then it would be him.  I’m sitting here running through the book in my head and trying to remember one thing about him that irritated me and I’m coming up blank.  Can you imagine the last time you read a book and nothing about the hero bothered you – even more, everything about the hero was positive?  That’s Dragos.

Pia’s not quite as larger-than-life as Dragos but she’s just as funny, especially when they start arguing or when she starts talking out loud and he has no clue what she’s thinking.  When her true Wyr form is finally revealed – yes, I sniffle a lot when I read and I was sniffling like crazy for pages after that one.

The story takes place in a short number of days so after I sat and thought about it, of course Pia and Dragos had a sort of insta-love.  Reading it, I didn’t feel like that because I was pretty caught up in the story and it has a lot of action (fighting and dragon stuff).  The supporting cast is wonderful – so wonderful that I know the author has some really, really good sequel material.  I just finished Storm’s Heart a couple of days ago and while it wasn’t as good as this, it was still one of the better paranormal romances I’ve read in a while.

My Rating: A+ 

Chasin' EightChasin’ Eight (Rough Riders #11)
By Lorelei Brown
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Western
Source: Purchased

Bull rider Chase McKay has finally landed in a pile too big to charm his way out of. Caught with his pants down, he finds himself bucked right off the PBR tour until he can get his act together.

Hollywood actress Ava Cooper became the tabloids’ favorite target when her longtime boyfriend was outed as gay. Now she wants a place to lay low and a chance to prove to herself that she can satisfy a red-blooded man between the sheets. The sexy, rugged cowboy she finds holed up in her Wyoming hideaway seems like the answer to her every fantasy.

But Chase has sworn off women. Forever. Or at least a month. Whichever comes first.

When they take to the road to get Chase more hands-on bull riding experience, they have every intention of keeping their hands off each other. But the two headstrong stars quickly end up riding a hot and heady rodeo circuit all their own—until the press gets wind of their affair. When the dust clears and the lights of the paparazzi fade, are they ready to give up chasing the dream for a chance of finding forever?

Goodreads Summary

Well, I can honestly say this is the first romance I’ve ever read where the hero is 5’8″ tall, the heroine is 5’10” and wears 4″ heels.  The story rarely makes any big deal out of it and it’s only when there’s a mention of Chase wearing his boots with the 2″ heels or Ava thinking about whether or not she ought to wear flats instead did I think about it.  It seems like an odd choice but maybe that’s the point of it.  Normal heroes aren’t always big and tall.

Chase was a big ol’ man ‘ho, the poor guy.  It seems to be a popular affliction in the Rough Riders series which makes me hope there’s nothing in the water in the rodeo circuit – it’s one of the reasons I’ve been skipping a book here and there in the series.  This one’s a little different because Chase is out of the regular circuit and into a secondary one with other characters and it’s more of a road trip between he and Ava than the typical rodeo story.  This also had my favorite friends-to-lovers trope, although it barely qualifies since they only became friends in the book – hey, I’ll take it where I find it.

Ava and Chase had nice chemistry and when they finally became lovers the sexy stuff was super hot as expected in a Lorelei James book.  Having them away from the regular rodeo circuit and the usual gang made things even better – it felt like they could be together without people metaphorically knocking on the door constantly.  Chase had a tendency to put on a hair shirt and mope around a bit too much in the beginning which bugged me.  I didn’t believe that the famous actress Ava could pull off wandering around unnoticed as much as she did either – it’s not like the rodeo is in Siberia.

There were a lot of tearful emotional moments in the story.  Chase and Ava had a lot of big decisions to make and there was a huge assumption he made that he was an ass about that he had to grovel for – I love a good grovel.  There’s a good message in here about bull-riding safety that feels more like a PSA than something woven into the book in places but the story around it is powerful and sad.  Overall, this is probably my favorite of the Rough Riders books to date.

My Rating: B-

Barbara

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Comments

  1. Possession just sounds a little too much like Matched to me. I have seen a few reviews of it and it seems to get s solid C grade with every review. I may end up reading it if I come across it somehow but I will not search for it. The other two I had not heard of before.

  2. I heart Dragon Bound! Dragos is defintely drool worthy. I've only read a few of the Rough Riders books. The horrible menage that I told you about and then a few others. The characters and stories all tend to be the same for me. I like the books, I just couldn't read them bck to back. Love the post idea!

  3. Hi Joni! I've heard Possession is a lot like Matched too. I haven't read it so I can't make much of a comparison though. I think if I had to pick one word for this though it would be overcomplicated. Maybe convoluted? lol Two words then. It takes a long time to actually get what's going on and by that point the story starts to get frustrating because you know the tally of characters that were lying is growing.What, you really liked Dragon Bound, Cait? Seriously? No way? I think you should read it again to be sure. We should do a read-along, chapter by chapter and compare notes, trade favorite quotes, etc. 😀 I'm up for my..what am I up to, 10th read? lol Feels like it.Rough Riders are an acquired taste, huh. I have to pick them carefully after a couple of menages – it sort of helps if you know which characters are in them. Chase's cousins/brothers have good books.I may have to do one of these posts every couple of weeks at the rate I'm piling up reviews I leave stranded. Maybe when the kiddo goes back to school soon I can get back on track. (crosses fingers)

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