Friday, September 29, 2017

Manview observations #11: A Novel with Romance versus a Romance Novel

Welcome to another Manview observation. It seems Mr Manview has read enough romance to know the difference between romance novels and novels with romance in them. Here's his take on the topic.

I hope you enjoy this installment of Mr Manview's observations.

Couple with tattooed fingers

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Books I have not finished in 2017 #2

Every now and then there's a book that doesn't work for me. Here are a few that have been like that in the last few months.



The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms) by Jeffe Kennedy

While the writing was good, I had a hard time with the pacing of this story combined with Andi's combination of antipathy and indifference. Andi is the invisible Princess. She's also willfully ignorant of what's going on around her. Even when things do start happening TO her she willfully hides her head in the sand and digs in. Part of her wants to explore what's beyond her understanding but mostly she is held back by a sense of complacency and an aversion to change even when change is happening all around her. Her attitude combined with the slow pacing of the story made me very impatient. I wanted things to happen faster and I wanted Andi to be a little more proactive. I got to about 38% and by then, I had only caught little glimpses of Rayfe. Rayfe fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about him but again I got impatient because he was absent for so much of the narrative and he only appeared for a short period each time. I would have liked to find out more about the magic surrounding the Tala and learning more about them but ultimately, I didn't have the patience to get further into the book to find out. This is supposed to be a fantasy romance from my understanding but I think it leans more high fantasy than it does fantasy romance. Certainly, I felt the romance element was missing in the 38% of the book I had read because of the limited interactions Andi had with Rayfe. I really wanted them to connect earlier and spend more time together - you know, like a romance. I tried very hard to keep going with this book but unfortunately, I eventually ran out of steam and wanted to spend my time more productively elsewhere and perhaps with a book I enjoyed more rather than a book that I kept thinking about stopping. One thing that stood out to me though was that Ms Kennedy's writing has a very lyrical quality to it which draws the reader in. I enjoyed that aspect of the writing even as I struggled with the pacing of the story itself.



So I Married A Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Review: So I Married A Sorcerer (The Embraced #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks

I had read the first book of this series and quite enjoyed it, so I was excited about the second book. Unfortunately, this one didn't grip me. The beginning of the book was slow, a bit bland and at times felt quite juvenile. I had the same issue with the first book in that it took forever for the hero and heroine to get to know each other in reality. For this story Rupert hid his identity from Brigitta even though they had met. There's a deliberate secrecy for Rupert hiding his identity but I don't even know why he was doing it. How do you build a relationship and fall in love with all that secrecy and hiding who you are? As for Brigitta, she's kind of immature and perhaps that has to do with the fact that she's only 19. Her internal dialogue is quite juvenile and the repeated mentions of her "overly dramatic" stories she makes up is quite silly. Overall, I like the premise of the stories in the series and fantasy romance in general but I think this one simply felt a little too "young" to me. This feels much more like a young adult read to me and that's not my thing. Don't get me wrong, they do some rather adult things in a few intimate moments (especially when they get on with the naughty nooky business) but what I read felt almost teenager-ish to an extent. It was not holding my attention and it felt like a slog getting through the book. The pacing for the first half of the book needs to pick up a lot more than it is right now for it to be a page turner. I think I was more interested in the secondary romance between Fallyn and Stefan than what happened between Brigitta and Rupert.


Pursued by the Imperial Prince by Mina Carter

Review: Pursued by the Imperial Prince (Imperial Princes #1) by Mina Carter

First off let me say I'm a huge fan of Mina Carter's writing and I have enjoyed most of her books. Alas, Pursued by the Imperial Prince is not for me. To say that Jaida annoyed the heck out of me is an understatement. At the beginning of the book, she's very young. Only 18 and just about to make her debut. Unfortunately, she's young and naive, she makes a mistake and misunderstands Seth's intentions with the gift he has left her. So she runs. For five year. And Seth pursues her because he's besotted with her plus he's pissed she's run from him. I got to about 30% of the book with Jaida resisting Seth but not really resisting Seth because she can't help her reaction to him and I couldn't go on. Jaida's reasons for running are ridiculous. If she had stayed long enough to figure out what was going on instead of throwing a fit (1) there would be no story and (2) I would have been much less aggravated. Of course, Seth doesn't help matters because he's hurt and because of his wounded male pride he behaves like an macho, alpha jerk but I tend to be more forgiving of the heroes in romance stories. I didn't have it in me to read through the two of them battling each other, hiding their true feelings and continuing on with their original misunderstanding until their happy ending. Perhaps there is more to the story than what I've encountered and I got it completely wrong, unfortunately, I didn't hang around long enough to find out. That said, I'd happily read another book by Ms Carter because it was not the writing that turned me off. It was freaking Jaida ... okay, so went on Goodreads and read a few reviews. Turns out there's more to Jaida running than what I thought based on what I read (there's still the misunderstanding!). Still not sure I want to go back and read the rest of the book. I really don't like Jaida.



Digital Velocity by Reily Garrett

Review: Digital Velocity (McAllister Justice #1) by Reily Garrett

I really should not read books with serial killers in them. I have a weak stomach for them and some are worse than others. This one falls in the "worse" category because the author devotes entire chapters to the sick inside workings of the serial killer's mind and how he goes about torturing his victims. There's also way too much internal dialogue of a rather gruesome kind going on. By the time the serial killer got his hands on the heroine and was going into detail about how he was going to torture then murder her, I had enough.

Aside from how gruesome this was, I also had a hard time connecting with the main characters based on the writing style of the author. The writing compared to the prequel, Tender Echoes, has smoothed out a bit but it is still ponderous and cumbersome. The prose is heavy and bogs down the pace of the story. There's too much descriptive narrative and most of it drags the story along like dead weight. Plus let's not forget Ms Garrett's penchant for being graphic about all things serial killer torture.

While this is supposed to be a romance, romantic suspense rather, and it had the requisite sex scenes to make it a romance (and probably a happy ending), I didn't feel like I was reading a romance. It did not feel romantic at all. Basically, the whole thing dragged and when it wasn't dragging, it was horrible and gruesome.



London Bound by C J Duggan

Review: London Bound (Heart of the City #3) by C J Duggan

This sort of contemporary romance is not what I would normally read but since I was offered the book, I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I found Kate to be annoying and negative. I did not like her behaviour even if her attitude and feelings were justified. I found I could not connect with her because she seemed immature and petulant to me. Perhaps I should have researched this book before I decided to read it because upon further inspection it is a New Adult story and I generally greatly dislike New Adult stories because I find the characters shallow, petty, immature and selfish. I'm not saying Kate was like that but she did a great job of starting off close to that and with me not liking her. I've seen other reviews saying how much they enjoyed this book, but sadly this was not for me. I could not handle her personality and attitude.



There you have it. A few books that were a bit lacklustre for me.

Tell me, are there any hot buttons that don't work for you in books? Something that will make you shut the book and not keep reading? How many books have you not finished so far this year?


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Manview: The Lotus Palace (The Pingkang Li Mysteries #1) by Jeannie Lin

Welcome to another Manview. For those of you who are new to Manviews, these are reviews of romance novels specifically from a man's perspective, the reader today is my very own Steve. You can find previous Manviews here.

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

The Lotus Palace (The Pingkang Li Mysteries #1) by Jeannie Lin
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame