Book Reviews

Book reviews in the first week this month, because I am giving a break from Writing Book reviews. I hope I have not bored my readers too much. These should be exciting, because I have three books in my did-not-finish shelf. I used to pride myself on always finishing a book, but now I have a different attitude. I don’t have time to read things that bore me, and I have even less time to read books that actively offend me.

So here we are, the first of my DNF list:

This one’s more boring than anything else

Palace of Silver by Hannah West

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, I did like the Nissera Chronicles. In the first, I liked the pacing and the hints at the fairy tale. I loved the expansion of that in the second book. The fairy tale almost disappeared within the story of the second book.

Both those things might have been true with the third book. Unfortunately, I never got to that, because there was so much backstory in the front of the book. By the time we got to any interesting parts, I no longer cared about the characters. Which is really disappointing, because I was looking forward to Glisette’s and Ambrosine’s tale. While Glisette grew a little in the previous book, she was not the main character, so I was really hoping she’d get a chance to shine. But West spent several chapters recapping what had happened in the previous books, so I was bored by the time something happened.

Perhaps I will go back and check out the book in physical form, rather than audiobook. That way I can more easily skip over the parts that are recap and get to the actual meat of the story. Until then, this is going to remain on my DNF shelf.

Too much whiplash and easily seen plot twists

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ok. I’ve stuck it out through fourteen Dresden books. I loved the series at the beginning, with the snarky Dresden always hitting above his weight and finding a sneaky way through. I made it through the frankly creepy and insulting Luccio arc.

Why do I draw the line here, one book before Peace Talks? Quiet simply, I am tired. I’m tired of the back and forth of the will they/won’t they Murphy/Dresden story line, I’m tired of the bad-but-not-as-bad-as-it-could-be plans and consequences, and I’m tired of Dresden’s chauvinistic attitudes.

Within two chapters, I knew how this story would end. I knew how Dresden would get betrayed, I knew that it was just a game by Mab. By the time we got to the ballroom and Dresden was recruiting by not recruiting, I was bored. I put the book down and looked up spoilers on the internet.

I was surprised by Butters. I love the idea of the Jedi knight of the Cross. I sorta liked the conclusion of the parasite arc, though it seemed a little anticlimactic. I was wanting the parasite to be some new enemy, not an ally. I’m getting whiplash from the Murphy/Dresden arc, though. One book they can’t be together. The next they want to, but he’s dead. The next they work so well together, but then she puts a stop to it. Then they’re together again. Give us a break, Butcher.

There is enough interesting in the summary that I will continue the series, but I will not read this one at all. I hope the next books is more like the previous two than this one.

Mistakes too numerous to count

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am so glad the I came to The Ravenels and Lisa Kleypas from the other end of the series! It means that I will give the author and the series another chance.

Imagine, if you will: Our heroine, the widow of the late Earl, meets our hero. He’s a rake from London who’s never had any responsibility in his life, and now needs to manage an entire estate. She scolds him, and the relationship sparks, inspiring him to change, to listen to the tenets, to seek creative solutions to the problems the estate is facing. Meanwhile, they develop a deep friendship where they understand and have compassion for each other.

Sounds like a great book, right? Well too bad, because that’s the relationship between the heroine and the hero’s brother, not the bastard that she falls “in love” with.

The whole relationship between Devon and Kathleen seems to be entirely based on looks, because Devon never even tries to look below the surface, and dismissed the glimpses he gets when she tries to show him. For her part, Kathleen does look below the surface, and hates what she sees. But she’s so consumed by lust that she gets herself seduced anyway.

Seriously, I could find no evidence of any tender feeling between these two.

Granted, Devon starts out as a deeply flawed character, and Kathleen as a deeply hurt one. I don’t mind that. But Devon shows absolutely no sign of character growth, even given ample opportunity. He never listens to Kathleen, and every set back is an opportunity for his temper to explode. And Kathleen? She doesn’t learn from her hurt. She doesn’t rise above it. She doesn’t even get comfort when she explains it. She gets seduced. Then, when there is a pregnancy scare, she blames herself for “not stopping in time.” And Devon lets her, retreating to stony, punishing silence.

I gave up at that point. I read historical romances for the manners and the fact that they are more likely to treat women well. This book, not so much.

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