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Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

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1 hour ago, ants said:

You've got to be kidding me. I only ever read the first book but it was unmitigated rubbish. Although it was an older protagonist, it was written in the worst kind of young adult. The characters are weak, nothing actually happens, and the villain (and their plan) is cringe worthy.

I don't know, she seems like a decent facsimile of a Millenial graduate student.

But seriously, the pacing sucks balls.  They're not as bad as some other UF I've seen out there, but they still don't quite make Sturgeon's 10%.

Maybe I should have clarified that I wasn't finished with the book yet.

And still: why katanas?

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@Mandy I've started the Inn Keeper series.  So far so good.

Normally I would have burned through the two books by now but cross-stitch has taken over my life currently and I'm busy making christmas decorations

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4 hours ago, Chaldanya said:

@Mandy I've started the Inn Keeper series.  So far so good.

Normally I would have burned through the two books by now but cross-stitch has taken over my life currently and I'm busy making christmas decorations

I love your Christmas obsession.  Whenever I see something Christmassy that is awesome, I think of you.  

Don't forget the third book is released on her blog as well, every Friday piece by piece.  I believe the first 7+ chapters are up there now :)

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55 minutes ago, Mandy said:

I love your Christmas obsession.  Whenever I see something Christmassy that is awesome, I think of you.  

Don't forget the third book is released on her blog as well, every Friday piece by piece.  I believe the first 7+ chapters are up there now :)

Maud is pretty cool.

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Honestly, I really enjoy EVERY character in that series, but then I think I might be one of Ilona Andrews' biggest fans, excepting maybe the Edge series.  I haven't read her Alphas:Origins either though.  I wasn't a big fan of the Edge series, but sign me up as fangirl for everything else she has written so far.  

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ETA:

I'm reading Alphas: Origins now and I have a feeling this is... not my thing.  I'm not into ownership/hostage/rape fantasy crap, contrary to my quote in my sig block.

"Your mother is a slave.  Lucas owns her now."  This is said to a 5 year old.

.......

W.

T.

F.

Edited by Mandy

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I've got to say I have some real problems with Felix Castor series. On the one hand it's got cool prose, nice atmosphere and an interesting premise, on the other hand the plot is problematic. Very problematic. I found at least a couple of the storylines illogical and most fairly weak and it seems that the story progresses mostly by the protagonist getting beatten up, doing the most stupid thing he can think of so that he gets beatten up and his zombie buddy telling him what's what because he's basically omniscient. Add to that secondary characters that do nothing but exist as background, disconnected clues that either mean nothing to the reader or are blatantly obvious and extensive infodumps and you get books that are disconnected incidents the protagonists stumbles across.

To be fair the second and third books aren't that bad in that regard but they are nothing special either and not free of plot holes and the series as a whole suffers from a lack of substantiation of the protagonists main relationships, of a good reason of why the protagonists sidekicks, who do all of the work by the way are his sidekicks, and in the end why the protagonist himself gets involved in life threatening stuff other than because he's noir and edgy and has issues.

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4 hours ago, Mandy said:

ETA:

I'm reading Alphas: Origins now and I have a feeling this is... not my thing.  I'm not into ownership/hostage/rape fantasy crap, contrary to my quote in my sig block.

"Your mother is a slave.  Lucas owns her now."  This is said to a 5 year old.

.......

W.

T.

F.

I haven't read Alphas, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was traumatic backstory for current character development.

 

I have read the first three books of Pax Arcana and I am very very impressed. This is genuinely good stuff

 

I have also read the first two books of Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. Softcore porn and violence. And weird smell descriptions. Fur and Diamonds. Go figure

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17 hours ago, Mandy said:

I love your Christmas obsession.  Whenever I see something Christmassy that is awesome, I think of you.  

Don't forget the third book is released on her blog as well, every Friday piece by piece.  I believe the first 7+ chapters are up there now :)

Yay! It's only 186 days to Christmas. Gotta get my skates on :)

I'm just about to finish the 2nd one so I'll head on over to read the 7 chapters today. Thanks for the tip.

N

 

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13 hours ago, Andorion said:

I haven't read Alphas, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was traumatic backstory for current character development.

Unfortunately, it really doesn't seem to be.  Just the current plot where the single mom main character and her young daughter are kidnapped by a group of "good guy monsters" (seems like some Alphaholes and some straight up bad men) who want to use the mom for the special properties her blood has (the ritual to get said special properties involve laying down together in bed and sexually arouses the male.)  He thinks about raping her a lot, though it hasn't happened yet.  She's trying to cook for the men to ingratiate herself so they will let her daughter sleep in the same house as her and them. 

Like for real?  I swear this book feels like what might happen if only one of the Ilona Andrews authors wrote a book without the other's input to make it a shitload less creepy.

ETA: I don't like to leave things unfinished, but I don't think I can do it.  Moving on.

Edited by Mandy

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2 hours ago, Mandy said:

Unfortunately, it really doesn't seem to be.  Just the current plot where the single mom main character and her young daughter are kidnapped by a group of "good guy monsters" (seems like some Alphaholes and some straight up bad men) who want to use the mom for the special properties her blood has (the ritual to get said special properties involve laying down together in bed and sexually arouses the male.)  He thinks about raping her a lot, though it hasn't happened yet.  She's trying to cook for the men to ingratiate herself so they will let her daughter sleep in the same house as her and them. 

Like for real?  I swear this book feels like what might happen if only one of the Ilona Andrews authors wrote a book without the other's input to make it a shitload less creepy.

ETA: I don't like to leave things unfinished, but I don't think I can do it.  Moving on.

Yikes, that looks awful. I can't even begin to understand the mentality that thinks of kidnapping and abuse as romantic or sexy.  The Andrews' aren't entirely strangers to this trope, though.  Isn't that basically the premise to their Hidden Legacy series?  Still, that does look bad even from a genre perspective that is full of controlling and arguably abusive male love interests.

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No, it REALLY isn't.  At. All.

In Hidden Legacy, the main character is a woman named Nevada Baylor who runs her family's detective agency in a world where some people have magic genetic powers of various levels.and some who don't.  Those families who have several members with high-level magic abilities are called "houses" like nobility and they have power in the way that modern day corporations have, as well as having money because they use their abilities, etc.  Nevada investigates a crazy jerk who is also a high level magic user and who is protected by his house.  The love interest is also a high level magic user and he is looking into trying to find the same guy she is. They run into each other during their investigations and he snags her and questions her.  He doesn't hurt her and he returns her home safely.

I can admit that even the alphahole trope can get perilously close to "abusive douchebag" and at those times I'm grossed out, but Ilona Andrews usually does okay there.  I remember seeing her tell someone on her blog that the Alphas:Origins book was NOT like her others.  I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy it, but I don't.  I have to say though, if you're interested in world building and decent plot, she's the best I've found in the genre.  The worlds of Kate Daniels, the Innkeeper Chronicles AND Nevada Baylor are good stuff.

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6 hours ago, Mandy said:

No, it REALLY isn't.  At. All.

In Hidden Legacy, the main character is a woman named Nevada Baylor who runs her family's detective agency in a world where some people have magic genetic powers of various levels.and some who don't.  Those families who have several members with high-level magic abilities are called "houses" like nobility and they have power in the way that modern day corporations have, as well as having money because they use their abilities, etc.  Nevada investigates a crazy jerk who is also a high level magic user and who is protected by his house.  The love interest is also a high level magic user and he is looking into trying to find the same guy she is. They run into each other during their investigations and he snags her and questions her.  He doesn't hurt her and he returns her home safely.

I can admit that even the alphahole trope can get perilously close to "abusive douchebag" and at those times I'm grossed out, but Ilona Andrews usually does okay there.  I remember seeing her tell someone on her blog that the Alphas:Origins book was NOT like her others.  I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy it, but I don't.  I have to say though, if you're interested in world building and decent plot, she's the best I've found in the genre.  The worlds of Kate Daniels, the Innkeeper Chronicles AND Nevada Baylor are good stuff.

I had some spare time so I read through it. Several things

1. Its not part of Kate Daniels universe, I thought it was. Why she called it Alphas Origins is anybodys guess.

2. Its an extremely dark story, probably the darkest I have ever read from Andrews

3. This woman is basically in an impossible situation and does what she does for her daughter who is a hostage. There are very strong elements of Stockholm Syndrome here

4. There is actually no sex at all. There are situations that hint at it but there is no sex whatsoever in the story. 

5. I would characterize her captors on a spectrum ranging from psychotic to disturbed. There is no normal mentality here, so I realized afte some time that expecting normal interactions was a bit futile in the context of the world

6. Since this is a novella the worldbuilding is hurried an not really satisfactory though she does get one infodump in. 

7. The ending is very Deus Ex Machina and I didn't really like it.

8. I would dispute the Alphahole trope here. Two of her four captors are pretty near the psychotic sadist area. In any other Andrews novel they would be antagonists. The main male protagonist is a bit more complicated - if pushed I would say he is towards the darker spectrum of Alphaholes. 

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Right.  You quoted my description of Hidden Legacy (Nevada Baylor) though, not Alphas: Origins (that was described in the post above).

It looks like we agree on the Alphas:Origins novella though - I didn't finish it, but I don't think I want to, and even less so with your input on it.  I guess they were trying something different.

ETA: Even if there is no sex in the book, they mention "hard c***s" etc. and the dude thinks about raping her, a lot.  Even though he doesn't do it, I think that negates his ability to be an alphahole.  It makes him a POS.

Edited by Mandy

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28 minutes ago, Mandy said:

Right.  You quoted my description of Hidden Legacy (Nevada Baylor) though, not Alphas: Origins (that was described in the post above).

It looks like we agree on the Alphas:Origins novella though - I didn't finish it, but I don't think I want to, and even less so with your input on it.  I guess they were trying something different.

ETA: Even if there is no sex in the book, they mention "hard c***s" etc. and the dude thinks about raping her, a lot.  Even though he doesn't do it, I think that negates his ability to be an alphahole.  It makes him a POS.

Oh right sorry about the wrong quote. I left that reply in a bit of a hurry. 

The odd thing about rape here is that the guy in question seems to have to constantly talk himself through not raping her. After the first bit he does not really seem to want to rape her, but rather he is extremely aware how easy it would be for him to rape her and thus has to talk himself through not raping her. - which is extremely messed up. Basically you could say that the characters as a whole don't seem to have much of a normal idea about sex. 

This Novella being an Ilona Andrew creation is quite disconcerting as the books usually have a different take on sex than the stock UF/PNR books. 

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It's OK!  I just really liked the Hidden Legacy novel more than I thought I would and I don't want it confused with this strange novella.

Lucas mentions that, if he had tied the woman up, he would have raped her, but since he didn't, he doesn't rape her.  WHAT!?!??  It's just super creepy.  Really.  I know everyone has their own thing, but this borderline pisses me off.  Is this what they mean when the kids use the word "trigger"?  hahaha shit.

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@Chaldanya If you try the Hidden Legacy book, please let me know.  I have to know I'm not crazy for loving it.

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4 hours ago, Mandy said:

@Chaldanya If you try the Hidden Legacy book, please let me know.  I have to know I'm not crazy for loving it.

I'll give it a whirl and let you know.

Currently giving something non-fiction a whirl. We'll see how long it lasts.

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I have finished the first Pax Arcana novel. I mostly really dig it! The plot's zippy, the world-building combines mysticism and practicality in a way that I like a lot even if it does sometimes feel a bit haphazard to me in this first one, and the prose just reads itself; it's very appealing. Most of all, though, and of course this is key for these urban fantasy things, I really like most of the characters -- the leads, for sure, but also a couple of their monster-hunting sidekick buddies. The humour's pretty all over the place, but I'd say more hits for me than doesn't by a pretty wide margin. There's more men competing over a woman than I'd like and I found some of those sections pretty uncomfortable, in part just because of the male posturing, but particularly since the hero's rival / the heroine's current boyfriend is so clearly and unambiguously the absolute worst that it occasionally makes the heroine look bad. I feel like the book makes the tastiest lemonade possible under the circumstances out of these plot lemons and ends up in a good place, and it certainly does an excellent job of portraying the heroine as a powerful person with her own agency the vast majority of the time without making it feel like a "see? she does stuff too!" figleaf -- she really is the catalysing force of the story in many ways. But there are moments of awkward. I will read more of these! Thanks for the solid recommendation, oh board!

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