Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Synopsis (back blurb):
Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he’s the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles—protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.
Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she’s asked to tutor the Home’s dour manager in the ways of society—flirtation, double entendres, and scandalous liaisons—Isabel can’t help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar—and his lips so tempting.
During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything—the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.

My Thoughts: Overall I was impressed with this book. I have read one other Hoyt book (The Leopard Prince) several years ago and both books share a few things in common. Both have women of a social standing much higher than the men. The men are working men, the women are women of leisure. She has money he doesn't. There is also a story within the story. I thought parts of the book seemed to drag a bit but overall it kept me wanting to get back to it. The story within the story was told in short parts at the start of each chapter and it made me want to hurry up and get to the next chapter.

Winter was a pretty good hero but perhaps not as 'mysterious' as Hoyt tried to make him. His 'inner beast' came across a bit silly as he is more of a Beta hero than an Alpha (I don't care what he does in his spare time he is still a Beta....but still wonderful...truly). Isobel comes across as cold and not quite likable but Hoyt does an excellent job of showing us that she really isn't cold despite her various actions throughout the first half of the book that would lead us to believe the worst of her. I think as characters go, standing alone, they would be average but together, as a couple, Isobel and Winter are just stunning.

And what can I say about the love scenes? You will rarely hear me say this but most of them were absolutely wonderful. For someone who tends to skip the moist parts I read a couple of them twice. 

As far as the plot goes, the pace seems a bit slow in spots but this is easily overlooked as we get wrapped up in Winter's need to save the innocent and Isobel's need to save Winter. The mystery aspect of the plot is a bit overshadowed by the romance between Isobel and Winter but not in a bad way, as this is a book one wouldn't read for the mystery anyway.

I am so glad I read this book and after reading a teasing sample of the next book in this series (Lord of Darkness) I can't wait until December.  Elizabeth Hoyt has made me a fan.

My favorite quote: "Never volunteer. Not even when pleasantly filled with warm scones and hot tea. Warm scones were obviously the work of the devil....."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Undead and Unstable by MaryJanice Davidson

Synopsis: Betsy's heartbroken over her friend Marc's death, but at least his sacrifice should change the future--her future--for the better.  But it's not as if Betsy's next few hundred years will be perfect.  After all, her half sister, Laura, is the Antichrist, Laura's mother is Satan, and family gatherings will always be more than a little awkward.

What's really bothering Betsy is that ever since she and Laura returned from visiting her mom in hell, Laura's been acting increasingly peculiar.  Maybe it's Laura's new job offer: Satan's replacement down under.  Unfortunately, the position comes at a damnable price: killing Betsy, her own flesh and blood.

Over Betsy's dead body.  And for that matter, Marc's, too, since he's not quite as buried as everyone thought.  Now a war has been waged--one that's going to take sibling rivalry to a whole new level and a dimension where only one sister can survive.

My Review: I'm officially done with Betsy. Her constant ignorant chatter and her inability to concentrate was annoying but to have everyone in her life call her stupid or remind her that she's easily distracted by shiny things is beyond palatable. She thinks she's as dumb as a box of rocks. Her friends think she is as dumb as a box of rocks. Her husband thinks stuff too but loves her anyway. Not only has Betsy not grown over the course of 11 books it is apparent that she is sliding backwards. If Betsy was this stupid in book 1 I never would have read book 2.

The actual storyline was all of 3 chapters scattered throughout the book. The rest was filler where Betsy drinks smoothies or semi-mourns her cat or gets chased by dogs or gets arrested. None of which is actually pertinent to the plot.

The time traveling aspect is just silly as there are some events that were altered for the sake of humor but for the life of me I can't figure out how they happened. Nick is now Dick and throughout the book (and the last one) Betsy calls him D/Nick or Nickie-Dickie or some other annoying name. I have no idea how Betsy's visit to the past could have changed one of the character's names but having her repeatedly calling Nick, De-Nick annoyed me.

The writing itself seems chaotic. It's written from Betsy's perspective which is just awful. As I mentioned earlier she is easily distracted by shiny things so her mind wanders. We, as readers, are unfortunate to get to read about how she wonders what hair products so and so uses while that character is talking to her. In addition to this, one chapter opens up with something along the lines of 'and that is how I got arrested' but the end of the chapter before that had nothing to do with being arrested. The explanation of her arrest and the actions leading up to it are explained after the opening of that chapter.

In addition to this the book is not friendly to new readers. You cannot pick up this book and read it without having read any other Betsy Taylor books. Things are reviewed at the beginning of the book on what has happened thus far in books 1-10 but I found some things were not explained. For example why does Betsy call Satan Lena Olin? A new reader wouldn't know and it's not explained.

So, because of the lack of growth on Betsy's part, the lack of a decent plot, the fact that the book is trying to be funny to the point it isn't and the chaos like writing I doubt I will ever pick up another Queen Betsy book.