Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Audiobook Review: Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt



Rating: ★★★ | 384 Pages | Sourcebooks Casablanca | Contemporary | 9/6/2016 

Framed for triple homicide, Apollo Greaves escapes his abusive guards at Bedlam and takes refuge  in the burned down pleasure garden he is secretly financing. With his throat damaged from a beating in Bedlam, Apollo is intent to pose as a mute, “dumb” gardener working in the garden. That is until he takes the interest of Lily Stump, a blacklisted theater actress living in the remains of the garden’s burned theater with her son.

And he solves crime ?

And I guess this is supposed to be a Beauty and The Beast type story because Apollo is sups big and not traditionally handsome ?

I literally picked this book at random because I wanted to read a genre I haven’t read this year. I  guess all the historicals I’ve ever read have been  light hearted Regencies romances because I was thrown for a loop by this emotionally wrought Georgian melodrama with the angst switch turned to 11. So. Much. Angst.

That said, Darling Beast is perfectly crafted historical romance. Apollo and Lily’s story blend together with these chapter epigraphs from the Grecian Minotaur myth to create a wonderfully solid narrative with a few twists and turns I didn’t even see coming. Seriously, there were some driveway moments with this one.

The setting of this romance is so specific.  Apollo and Lily are kind of outcasts from their social circles, so their courtship takes you completely out of the ballroom and into this burned down pleasure garden that Apollo is trying to rebuild. Also, if learning about 18th century horticulture is a thing you want Elizabeth Hoyt's got you.

Now, there are some oddly racist references in this book. At one point she describes watching Apollo squatting down  like a "hulking native" and "veritable savage"  and at one point a character is described as an "Oriental potentate." While that may have been how people talked back then, it felt in poor taste  for the author to include them in her book..

Narrator Ashford McNab has this great husky, feminine voice for Lily and masters all the different British accents. Her performance of Apollo is especially noteworthy because throughout the book Apollo (spoiler alert) slowly gets his speech back and she has to change her voice as his voice heals.

A story about identity, the meaning of humanity and of course the feels.






SIDENOTE
So….why is this series called Maiden Lane ?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Addicted by Elle Kennedy (Outlaws #2)


Rating: ★★★ + .5 | 354 Pages | Signet | Dystopian  | 6/28/2016 

Time to dive back into Elle Kennedy’s post apocalyptic America where citizens live in heavily regulated cities while the rest are are outlaws, surviving as free people in the nuclear wasteland.

In this sequel a group of outlaws introduced in the first book are headed out to Foxworth, a fortified outlaw town, to train the townspeople how to fight. Included in this group are Jamie and Lennox, childhood friends who’ve survived every hardship life has thrown at them as a team. But when Lennox and Jamie start sleeping together it gets complicated.

I could go either way on Jamie and Lennox’s relationship, they had some great moments but never felt as fully fleshed as the characters in book one did.  That said, I liked how Kennedy used them to expand the world. We learn more about what it’s like to be an outlaw child and how hard it is to keep a family together.

Kennedy has also kicked up the spice level in this book, because everyone is sleeping with everyone, everywhere all the time. Although, the more I read this series the more I have to handwave that they live in a nuclear wasteland where food and fuel are scarce but for some reason there are condoms everywhere and no one has an STI or unwanted pregnancy.

Elle Kennedy delivers another dystopian scorcher with a complicated friends to lovers scenario and some intense action scenes.






SIDENOTES

There are some character deaths I did not see coming because I legit though they’d be in future books. This tweet was literally me:



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Midnight Alias by Elle Kennedy (Killer Instincts #2)


Narrated by Allyson Ryan | 11 hrs 39 minutes | Tantor Audio

In book one Kennedy introduces Trevor Callahan, an ex-solider so deep in grief over the murder of his fiancĂ© that he joins an undercover mission as a suicide job. While undercover he is paired with former-FBI agent turned undercover operator Isabel Roma, a former Mafia princess who can be anyone except herself.  Just when Trevor is staring death in the eye. . .Isabel saves him then walks away for the last time. Or is it ?

Midnight Alias . . . is not about them.

Nope. It’s about a Ragin' Cajun (okay, I don’t think he’s Cajun but he's from New Orleans) adrenaline junkie Luke Dubois and Olivia Taylor, a 25 year old college student taking care of her sick mother. To make ends meets Olivia works in a strip club where one night she is attacked by a customer, the strip club owner kills the customer, hides the body and pays off all her school and medical bills so she’s in debt to him. He holds this over her  and he’s like in love with and controlling  over her and she’s just playing nice until she can graduate and escape.*breathes*.

So, helpless stripper with a heart of gold being saved by a big strong man is one of my least favorite tropes,  the only reason I was reading this book is to follow the Trevor/Isabel arc. Who by the way, get just as much page-time as Luke and Olivia.

 Kennedy does provide thrilling plots and wonderful banter. I thought the portrayal of Olivia’s controlling relationship with the strip club owner was realistic and Kennedy had this great way of getting inside of her villain’s heads and giving them dimensions.  Audiobook narrator Allyson Ryan’s really intuitive and charming performance amplified the story. 

Okay, now I finally get to read Isabel and Trevor.

Side Note
I don't understand the cover for the audiobook or the book for that matter. It's just like being shirtless outside wearing a concealable holster seems  . . . beside the point.