Amaryllis by Jayne Castle
Maybe it was the "InstaLove"? Maybe it was the crappy world building? Maybe it was the utter predictability of the story line? Maybe it was the copious amounts of jelly-ice?
Whatever it was - I. Could. Not. Stand. This. Book.
I only finished it because I was stuck in the car for 6+ hours and had packed my alternate books. Wow, this was not a winner for me.
Amaryllis takes place on a remote planet, St. Helen, that is closed off from earth. Forced to adapt to the planet that's remarkably like earth (except for the extremely handy plot twist that all advanced earth technology doesn't work and disintegrates on St. Helen), the human residents find themselves developing supernatural-like talents. These talents work in tandem with prisms (which also develop in certain people) that focus the talents to accomplish a specific goal. Amaryllis Lark, a professional prism contracts a job with sexy CEO Lucas Trent - who happens to be a talent with off the chart power. They quickly find themselves mixing business with pleasure as they embark on a steamy (jelly-ice filled?) love affair. Throw in a potential murder and Amaryllis and Lucas are in for a wild and bumpy ride full of jelly-ice and arranged marriage agencies.
Ok, so here are my issues with this book:
a) There was no character development. Telling me that Amaryllis is a stuffy, prim-and-proper Prism isn't developing her character. It's just giving me a description. I need more - SHOW me that Amaryllis is prim and proper. 'Cause seeing her rip off her shirt for Lucas in, like, chapter two isn't indicative of a prim and proper character...
b) Attack of the InstaLove! Ugh. I hate InstaLove. I don't know why authors think that you can introduce two characters, not develop them any, and then think it's ok to have them suddenly in love. In the second chapter. Nope...doesn't work for me. I don't buy it.
c) Jelly Ice. What a horrible name for anything. All I can picture is a jello jiggler shaking it's jelly ice bottom at me. Ick.
d) World building - or lack thereof in this case. I'm sorry, but you can't explain it as "it's a new world...but the same as earth...except that it's not because all convenient technology disintegrates". That's not world building...that's making it easier for you to include crappy substitutes like "jelly ice" and not develop it any further. I think if Castle could have spent a little bit longer fleshing things out, she could have created a really fun world. Instead it's two-dimensional and seems to be a lazy way out of thinking through the world building process.
e) Foreshadowing, anyone? It was super easy to peg whodunit and why WAY early on in the story. Maybe some non-essential characters would have helped add mystery to the story? I don't know...
So why, if I hated it so much, did I give it two gnomes? Well...I only did that because I have read some of Jane Ann Krentz's other stuff under various other pseudonyms (she has so many!) and enjoyed it just fine AND I am remotely curious about the other two heroes that were briefly mentioned in Amaryllis...so two gnomes because I have a small inclination to read at least one more...jelly ice and all.
[Read Sept. 2013]
Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
I liked but most definitely did not love the first two books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood...but Holy Zsadist, I loved Lover Awakened!
Ok, but before I go into all that - let me just say that adding the extra letters [like the "Z" in Zsadist...or the "H" in "ahvenge"...so on and so forth] DRIVES ME CRAZY. Also, the copious mentions of "shit-kickers", "leathers", and 50 Cent/G-Unit are just plain ridiculous. Ok, so these guys are bad asses. Got it. Can we just say..."Hey, the BDB are badasses...just wanted to let you know" and be done with it? I also can't stand the "what's doing, my brother?" or the other fake-jock-fratboy speak that Ward throws into the dialogue. What Ward is doing with all of this just seems like a cheap way to add pseudo-depth to the characters and cheap way to manufacture cohesiveness among the BDB. It doesn't work for me...rather than provide depth, I just laugh out loud and get thrown out of the story. And I shudder to think that it will be like this for the whole multi-book series. That's a lot of shit kickers, leathers and out of date rap music...you feel me, my brother? Sigh...
So, despite the shit kickers and leathers - I loved Zsadist as a character and I loved the story between him and Bella. I also enjoyed the background stories that are building up as well - I think there may be some good books coming up in my BDB future. Unfortunately, I had had some spoilerage happen regarding Wellsie and John so I wasn't too surprised by those developments [and I shan't say anymore about those plot points lest I spoil it for somebody else]. I think if I hadn't been aware of what was going to happen on those fronts I would have loved this book even more.
I am slightly worried about the future books I have yet to read...I was most interested in Zsadist and now I've read his book so...am I going to be as invested in the other BDBrothers? I don't know...I've looked ahead and see the next one is about Butch which is the character I (as of right now) care the least about so...we'll see. I am curious as to John's story and Phury's story...so hopefully those are in my future as well.
Looks like there will be more BDB in my future - here's to hoping they are all on Zsadist's level or higher.
[Read Sept. 2013]
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
I know I'm kind of late to the game with this series - but I really enjoyed Blood Bound! Such a fun read!
In Blood Bound, Stefan the vampire calls in the favor Mercy owes him and the two of them go off after a serial-killing vampire who seems more ruthless than usual for a vampire. Shifted as a coyote, Mercy discovers that the evil vampire they are tracking is actual a demon-possessed-sorcerer-vampire which spells trouble for the whole community - for regular humans and supernaturals alike.
Briggs definitely sets up a bit of a love...triangle?...quadrangle?...well, whatever it is, it's shaping up to be a hot mess. I usually am rooting for a specific party to win the romance war, yet with this series I am as of yet undetermined. I would be ok with any of the guys winning Mercy's affection...and I would NOT be ok with any of the guys being left out...so it's shaping up to be an interesting read as the series progresses.
The Mercy Thompson has some flavors of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (I'm not sure which series came first?)in that there are vampires, werewolves, and shifters (oh my!)...yet the characters are SO. MUCH. BETTER. I just can't stand Sookie or Harris' writing (hence why I gave up mid-series on that one)...but I really enjoy Mercy Thompson and crew. Mercy isn't your average female lead and it's nice to have a lead character who doesn't quite fit the average heroine mold. I like the world Briggs has constructed as well - she tries to make her world blend seamlessly into the world as we know it and I think she does a pretty good job with it.
Definitely a great read in a great series that will scratch that paranormal fantasy itch you have.
[Read Sept. 2013]