School Assignment – Prince of Cats by Ron Wimberly

I read this graphic novel for class (I’m getting my Masters in Information Science so I can become a librarian). This was an 80s style NY adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Pros – fantastic illustrations, violence, great concept. Cons – confusing, hard to keep track of plot and characters, big variations from R&J. But if GNs are you’re thing I think this one is worth a look.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

This puts me on interesting ground vis a vis Ms Roberts. I thought the beginning of this book was engrossing, but by halfway I was bored out of my gourd.

Naomi interrupts her serial-killer father doing his thing and goes to the police. Saves a human life. She’s 11 years old at the time. There’s fall-out – within her family, friends, and the media. This was all interesting.

Then Naomi’s an adult – weirdly shuttered and distant. She buys a huge rundown house, and thus begins 300 pages of remodel with occasional photo descriptions to shake it up (Naomi is a photographer). Her love interest, Xander, was ok – overshadowed by yard work and wall colors. A new serial killer begins hunting Naomi (bc sure – why not – they’re basically a dime a dozen) and everyone does stupid and unrealistic things.

I’m told this is fairly exemplary of Ms Roberts’ work. If that’s accurate I don’t want to read her again. This was my first of her books and likely to be the last. I felt like I didn’t know these characters nearly as well as I knew the kitchen cabinets in Naomi’s remodeled kitchen.

Once Burned by Sam Mariano

Ahhhhh. The Sam Mariano (and Mateo) that I know and love. It’s no secret that I despised the second book in this series. I felt it wasn’t true to the characters/actions/storyline from the first book. Mateo acted in ways that I felt were unrealistic and an awful love triangle appeared unnecessarily. Much of that falls by the wayside in this book.
Technically this is Adrian’s story. Really it’s not though. We certainly get more of a feel for Adrian. We learn what makes him tick, and we see him develop a nice relationship. But mostly we’re back on familiar ground with Mateo being a psychopath and Mia being his wood nymph/weak spot. Right where we should be.
I considered not reading this book bc I loathed the last one so. Totally glad I did though. The worst character I’ve ever loved was back in all his lunatic glory – and steadfastly making his way to the woman with whom he belongs. The nitwitted side dish barely makes an appearance. I’m excited for book 4.

The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter

I haven’t read a great UF for a while. Until this book. Flawless writing. Fantastic world building. And characters that are bad ass yet totally real and likable.
Ava hears voices. A photographer – she ends up in Istanbul where she meets Malachi. Lots of subterfuge on both their parts – which was frustrating as hell. They had information the other needed!
Things come to light. And it ends up Malachi and Ava both have super powers.
This book was tons of world-building and just got us started. A lot of questions were answered – but they opened up like 1000 more. Which is awesome bc I’m looking forward to seeing Ava become a super star. Now that everything has been taken from them they’re ready to be forged in the fire.

Open Season by Linda Howard

As with previous Howard books the draw here is the steady nature of this book. 34-year-old librarian Daisy decides she needs a makeover to find a man. (Right away I’ll tell you this should be a red-flag premise – it’s been done a thousand times. Plus it’s frequently insulting and insipid when a character magically becomes beautiful after a day at the salon. However Daisy is cooler than a polar bear’s toenails – her transformation is believable and increases her already generous likability.)

Jack is a cop from the big city transplanted to small town Alabama. He’s less alpha-male than previous Howard characters (and even her most alpha of alphas remain palatable). Jack and Daisy are both loaded down with common sense – even if Daisy is a little naive.

There’s a crime situation thingy in town, and Daisy sort of accidentally ends up in the middle. I liked the conflict. I loved Jack and Daisy – just the right amount of bossy man/sassy woman. They were adorable. This book earned my respect by being real and warm and constant. Linda Howard is cementing herself as a favorite author.

After the Night by Linda Howard

Pros
– strong story
– interesting
– fast-moving
– Howard writes with an eye toward realism
– The Who-dun-it made good sense
– the heroine had her stuff together
– once I got hooked the story didn’t let go

Cons
– the hero was a little much
– not sure about the basis of their relationship beyond their childhood
– one paragraph early on made it obvious who did it – and how and why
– the heroine should have kicked the hero in the knee cap at least once
– took me a bit to get into it

Faith and Gray grow up in the same town. She’s “white trash,” and he’s the town’s crown prince. His dad runs off with her mom, and Gray gets all kinda pissed and decides he hates Faith’s whole family. Years later Faith tries to figure out what happened to their parents that night and pokes a hornet’s nest. Faith is in love with Gray beyond all reason. I think that was the only so-so part of the book for me. He needed to be taken down a peg. But it wasn’t the end of the world. He’s a classic alpha-dude in an old school romance book. It was still a fun read – and after the first 20% I didn’t want to put this down. I can see why this is a favorite among Ms Howard’s books.

Dream Man by Linda Howard

Hmmmm. My thoughts on the book are colored by how incredibly, mind-blowingly, volcanically angry I got near the end.

Dane is a cop – and sort of a Neanderthal. Bossy. Pushy. Uses his size. Intimidates. Not my favorite. Marlie, a reluctant psychic, is kind of a pushover who spends most of the book reacting to Dane. They meet on a case bc Marlie can sense the killer. Dane thinks she’s a fraud – and he’s a dick about it.

I liked their issues. Dane was drawn to Marlie but totally freaked by her abilities. Truthfully, who wants to be with someone who could read their mind or tell where they are? It feels intrusive. Marlie is kind of bowled over by Dane. Aside from physical attraction I’m not sure what she felt for him. They had a kind of protector/protectee thing going on – not one of my favorite relationships bc it frequently leaves the heroine feeling a little weak and flat-footed.

All of this aside I was cruising along mostly enjoying myself until Dane did something SO AWFUL. This book is likely to go down as one of the dirtiest hero deeds of all time. I will never forgive him or like him. Ever. I’m gonna give this a few days. I want to give this book 2 stars, but I’m trying to give it the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see how that works out for me at the middle of the week.