Sunday, November 29, 2015

One Rogue At A Time By Jade Lee

I feel like the best way to describe what happens in One Rogue At A Time is to do it in the style of Stefon, Bill Hader's character from Weekend Update on SNL

Jade Lee's newest book is One Rogue At A Time


This book has everything; Side characters who should be on  American Greed : Regency , knife throwing, drunk pigs, accidental virginity taking, a Frenchman, a supportive prostitute mom  and TANGLING.

What's Tangling  ?

---Oh, you know,  it's that's thing where a female character hits a man over the head with a pan in self defense. . . well in this case it is some sort of foot warming pan, but I'll allow it.

---

To make it a bit more coherent this book opens up with Bram, the illegitimate son of a Duke. He's grown up around wealth and privilege but due to his status it's always out of his reach. His exsistence is something he constantly struggles with in the story. Like this conversation he has with his mother who works happily as a prostitute.

[Bram]"Why let a child be born as a byblow ? Don't you know we don't fit in anywhere ?"

"Of course you do. You fit on the outskirts with us." She caressed his arm. "I just never thought it would hurt you so deeply. I never thought I'd have a son who was so. . . so . . ."

"Stupid ?"

"Honorable. Why would you want to be like them ? Marrying for money, hated by your children, saddled with appearances that can never be wholly maintained. Why would you want that ?"


I like this kind of class conflict in a story. It's one of the things that  makes shows like Downton Abbey so interesting. Anywho, Bram's gained a reputation of  being a bodyguard/PI/fixer for the aristocracy. He's a fixer, basically your Better Call Saul type. He finds a way for people who are out of options despite not being able to find a way for himself.

His current mission has him getting a pair of high society swindlers to safety. A series of mishaps causes Bram to become stranded  in the small rural village of  Hull and at the mercy of Maybelle "Bluebell" Ballenger,  a local girl and herbalist. She agrees to help Bram get out of dodge faster if he helps her learn all a there is about being a high society lady, as she is on a mission to prove she is the long lost granddaughter of an Earl (as you do). When Bram and  Bluebelle aren't going back and forth making deals and trying to undercut one another, they find themselves in a relationship that runs up against society's rules.

This first half of this book was great. Lee juggles a lot of different characters and motives in the same scene, but you always know who is being swindled and who wants what and why.

One Rogue At A Time has a realistic focus on the unspoken rules surrounding class and marriage in the Regency. Throughout the book Bram struggles with what it means to be illegitimate, I mean he is even rejected by his father on his death bed. This means that if Bluebelle really is apart of the ton that Bram's illegitimate status can only harm her. I love that  Lee does not shy away from this topic.

The end of this book takes some liberal time jumps and the pacing gets a little all over the place. For someone who usually complains about prologues that take place in the future I would have liked to see one just to get a full picture of how this HEA is supposed to work.


P.S   I like how the blurb says "May the best rogue win"  I think this is hinting that both of our characters are a bit roguish as they are constantly trying to one up one another.


*ARC provided via NetGalley. Quotes taken from unfinalized copy

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Chase by Erin McCarthy (Fast Track #4)

"Sometimes she looked at him and didn't know who she was seeing--the boy she had loved, the man she hated or the man who was the boy grown up."
- Erin McCarthy, The Chase

I’ve been enjoying the ride of the  Fast Track series so far and while I like aspects of it, this installment stalled out for me-- especially the ending.

Stock car driver Kendall Holbrook is the sole female driver in this year’s stock car championship and after years of work she won’t let anyone shake her driving-- including fellow driver and  ex-boyfriend Evan Monroe, who laughed at her career ambitions when they were teenagers.

But while Kendall is at an all time high in her career Evan is at an all time low. When Evan needs more sponsors he is paired up with Kendall on a his-and-her deodorant campaign and they discover that maybe moment that broke them up 10 years ago wasn’t what they thought.

This novel just didn’t have the same sense humor the other books had, the only funny parts were when the other characters showed up.

I  liked Kendall as a character, who I admit I pretty much saw as  a Danica Patrick expy. At 28, Kendall is on the younger side of Fast Track series protagonists and she is just being brought into this community and has to figure out where she belongs. She straddles the world between the women who are the wives, mothers and staff and the men, who are her coworkers.

What left me most unsatisfied about this book was how the ending was tied up like everything was neat and tidy when a lot of things were left unresolved.So, here be spoilers.


-----SPOILERS-----


In the previous book, Hot Finish it’s implied that Evan hooks up with this random girl at a bachelor party and in this book we find out that random girl is pregnant and he may or may not be the father….and by the way he finds this out right after he and Kendall elope.


And then it’s just never fully resolved. We never find out if he is the father. Not to mention that he quits racing after discovering all of this.  Like even if Kendall could make all the money he’d still have to pay child support. Would he really make his wife pay that ?

And while we are on HEAs, one of the very last moments that happens before the end is Kendall’s friend, a well known race car blogger named Tuesday tells her that her father has terminal cancer. Tuesday is the protagonist of the next book, so I guess we are going to get more of this in Slow Ride, but it was kind of a downer ending.

While it was great to see a female driver in this series it felt like this book was mostly setting up for the next one...which I’ve already started and while it’s definitely more emotional I’m enjoying it.

 

SIDE NOTE

Also, there is a sex scene in this book that takes place on their lunch. Literally on their lunch. In a hotel room. With like ketchup and French fries and IDK that just seemed rude to the hotel staff.



Monday, November 2, 2015

Glory In Death & Immortal In Death

Trigger Warning - Child Abuse

Glory In Death (In Death #2)


Renowned prosecutor Cecily Towers is found dead in a seedy part of town. What was she doing there ? And could she know her killer? This case is personal for Commander Whitney, but he knows if there is one detective who won't be afraid to ask the hard questions and dig deep it's Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Now saddled with a high profile case and a Billionaire (with a B) boyfriend, Eve has to face some harsh realities about herself as her ruthless pursuit is criticized and pushed under harsh media scrutiny. 

 I hoped we were going to get more on Eve's love interest Rorake. I mean he comes off as such a typical love interest, he's basically there to play the rich and powerful fantasy trope to a T.   I mean there is this one interesting angle to their relationship that I want  get explore more; Eve is a strict  law-abiding cop and Rorake is a (mostly) reformed criminal. Also HE DOESN'T HAVE A LAST NAME (or first name ?) I WANT MORE ON THAT. I guess what I really want is more character building for Rorake. Sometimes when he swoops in to give Eve part of his fancy world, it feels like Eve's a reluctant heroine in a Harlequin Presents.
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