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Kinsey Holley

Jane’s Reading List Ending October 31, 2011

Jane’s Reading List Ending October 31, 2011

Dear Readers,

It’s been three weeks since my last confession.  In that time, I’ve read two historicals, six paranormals (5 being about werewolves, the entire backlist of Meg Benjamin, and a couple of erotic romances.

Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel (ARC, release date Feb 7, 2012).  Enjoyed this different historical story of a wealthy woman who fell in love with a soldier.  She gave up her virginity to him and then he died before they could marry. She’s single out of choice because she never believed she could love again.  The hero is a former farmer found to be the male heir of a dukedom that was to revert to a crown. He needs to marry to gain respectability for his title.  Full review near release date.

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How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long (ARC, release date Dec 27, 2011).  I liked this one, but not as much as the previous release. I thought it was really well plotted, however, with the villains being truly awful but without being caricatures.  Essentially, a few of the young members of the ton decide to make a school teacher “popular” just to see if they can.  The hero, a Marquess, falls in love with the school teacher, but he’s supposed to be courting Isaiah Redmond’s niece.  If the Marquess marries the niece, he’ll get his mother’s dowry property back.  Full review near release date.

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Hot for Santa by Lacey Alexander (ARC, release date Dec. 13, 2011).  It was, well, Lacey Alexander without much of any emotional conflict or real plot.

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True Colors by Thea Harrison (ARC, release date December 13, 2011).  Harrison can write in the short story format and I think that fans of the Wyr series will enjoy this story featuring Riehl, who has spent ninety-six roaming years as a captain in the Wyr lord Dragos Cuelebre’s army and is ready to settle down and Alice, a different kind of Wyr.

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The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper. In my quest for a good werewolf book, I thought I would give this a try.  The heroine is the Alpha of her pack and she’s smart mouthed and competent. The hero is a researcher who believes in werewolves.  I liked this book while reading it, but when I put it down, I felt no compulsion to finish. I may go back. I may not.

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Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades of Darker by E.L. James.  These two books are purportedly edited by some publishing house but I don’t believe it.  They are also supposedly Bella and Edward fan fiction.  I did not see the resemblance to the Bella and Edward storyline.  What I do see is that readers long for a full length emotionally charged erotic romance in a publishing field largely populated by novellas and shorts.  I believe that is why readers are responding to this series.  It’s expensive (and I paid for both $7.99 for one and $9.99 for the other) and you have to buy both to get the entire story as book 1 ends with a cliffhanger.  Book 2 starts up like a week after the two have separated.  Essentially it is a story about a young woman who is just graduating from college and a control freak young billionaire businessman. (He’s 27 and reads like he’s about 37.  She reads like she’s about 17)  Grey, the businessman, is into hardcore BDSM because of his scarred and unhappy childhood.   Anastasia isn’t buying into his hardcore activities and ultimately Grey’s redemption is his finding pleasure without the bonds.

I may review these two books but I haven’t finished them yet.  They are each about 100K words and it’s about 100K words too many.  The middle of Book 1 really dragged for me and I skipped to the end and then read the beginning to about the middle and end of Book 2.

Konisburg series by Meg Benjamin.  I started out with Brand New Me and liked it so much I had to read the entire series.  Jayne has reviewed: Be My Baby, and Wedding Bell Blues.   Venus in Blue Jeans is my other fave of the series:

After re-reading Beauty Dates the Beast, I asked Jill Myles  to recommend another werewolf book and she said that I should read the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong. It’s a YA series but the heroine, Chloe, is very strong and the hero, Derek, is like Clay Jr. (Clay is the male lead in Bitten, my favorite werewolf story). I did enjoy the series quite a bit. Chloe’s powers of necromancy are very strong, she doesn’t know how to harness them, she’s inadvertently raising the dead (even in her sleep), and she’s on the run with three other teens from a powerful research group.  The romance between Derek and Chloe developed slowly over the three books in a very charming manner.  The stories all end in a cliffhanger so I am glad that I was able to buy and read one after the other.  I don’t think that these three can be read on their own:

Ready to Run by Kinsey W. Holley.  Again, with the werewolves, right? This is the third book in Holley’s werewolf series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think it can be read alone because while it features cameos from her first book, reviewed here, it’s plot doesn’t have much to do with the previous two books.  In fact, that’s one criticism I have about this book.  It references a lot of different people and I wondered at the coherency of the worlds that she is developing in the books.  However, I loved the heroine in this book who was meek in the beginning and then grew a backbone and literally kicked the ass of the bad guy.  I’ll do a full review.

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REVIEW: Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey Holley

REVIEW: Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey Holley

Dear Ms. Holley:

Thank you for sending your book to Dear Author for review.   I totally loved the excerpt that was sent and I waited impatiently for the rest of the book to be sent.   I am a big fan of pack stories because I love the pack dynamics and the feralness of the characters.   While there are pack issues and appealing leads in this romance, I struggled to see the connections between the emotional leaps that the characters took.

Allison Kendall, a human, lives in the trailer next to Guy and Gracie Fontenot.   Guy is a werewolf with a quick temper and Gracie is free with her favors.   This volatile combination ends tragically when Guy kills Gracie and then comes after Allison who had been housing Dylan, Gracie’s son and the boy Guy had called his own for five years.   That night changes Allie’s life forever.

Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey W. HolleyWhen Dylan grows older, he shows signs of being an alpha wolf. He needs a pack.   Allie and Dylan’s uncle Seth receive an invitation for Dylan and Seth to meet with Cade MacDougall, an Alpha of the Rocky Mountain Pack headquarted in Fremont, Colorado.   Cade’s pack contained a number of Alphas, lones and outcasts – the perfect place for lone wolf Seth and the burgeoning alpha wolf Dylan.

The worldbuilding in this story is not the basic werewolf created by disease but is actually tied to old Norse legends wherein the Old Norse word for wolf translates into Valkyrie Horse.   Valkyries and their mounts were metaphors for the ravens and wolves that would scavenge the battlefield. (It should be noted that I only know of this legend because I played Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Underworld about a month previous which was based on Norse mythology).   The wolves in Yours, Mine and Howls are touched by Eir, a norse goddess, and Cade’s line, in particular, is favored by Eir. I found the norse touched were mythology interesting and appreciated the freshness.

The real problem, as I mentioned in the beginning, was the emotional arcs.   Allie and Cade meet and move from lust to love in pages without meaningful transitions. We go from Allie being irritated that Cade and another Pack member finds her sexually attractive after she overhears them talking about her assets, but then in the next scene, when faced with Cade’s glorious good looks, she is breathless and agog.   Cade himself decides no sex with women in the Pack, particularly around his young daughter.     Cade’s intentions are soon forgotten.   I wished I had some scenes in which I could have seen the emotional transition being made.     There lacked a smooth flow from emotional scene to emotional scene, making the book almost episodic in feel, like I was reading a series of vignettes strung together.

I didn’t really enjoy the protrayal of Allie.   She’s physically gifted with heightened senses and preternatural speed and strength yet she is always blushing and crying around Cade. She is actually referred to as an alpha in her own right and regularly yells at Cade.   Despite this, I felt she came off as weak and posturing.   I had wished that she had a little more self confidence and appreciation of herself as a woman and an individual who had pretty much raised Dylan and kept her little tribe together for thirteen years.

Cade was a fairly typical Alpha male pack leader whose primary characteristics appeared to be portrayed through his uncertain pursuit of Allie. I did think that Cade’s four year old daughter was adorable as were his interactions with the daughter.

There is an intriguing story behind Allie’s power and a connection between Cade and Allie that is bound in myth.   Unfortunately, much of that story is told through long bursts of dialogue in the middle and toward the end.   In the end, I didn’t feel like this story lived up to its initial promise. Your voice is strong and I am ready to try out your next story. C

Best regards,

Jane

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