Cassandra Reads

Most (likely all) of my blog posts are going to be for reviews.  I read a lot of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical romance and I'm one of those people that read nonfiction for fun.  My favorite kinds of nonfiction include science, psychology, history, evolution and religion.

Review: Born of Betrayal by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Born of Betrayal - Sherrilyn Kenyon

This one is a little confusing since before the book before this we assume that Fain's former fiancee is a complete bitch.  We find out in  Talyn's book the truth about her. It's hard to not hate Fain for what he left behind - not just that she was pregnant but the way his son had  to live because of who his father was.  

We find out in this book how hard a time Fain has really had since breaking his engagement off.  Every story has two sides, but that's hard to remember if you only get one side's story.  It would be easier for Galene and Taylan to hate Fain if he'd had a easy life since he'd left, but that's not the point here. There were a lot of people really hoping that Fain wouldn’t end up with his former fiancee.  That was mostly before Born of Defiance.  After that, I’m not really sure I (not sure about anyone else) would have been happy with Fain if he’d ended up with anyone else.


The end of this book also makes Jullien into a sympathetic character, but we don't see him in this book, so I'm still not sure about him really being a sympathetic character  (Note: The next book focuses on Jullien.)

Review: Tuesday's Child by Dale Mayer

Tuesday's Child - Dale Mayer

I didn’t really feel the relationship between Sam and Brandt.  I liked them both and didn’t hate them together but I didn’t really care about them ending up together one way or the other.  I don’t have that much to say about this one, since I’ve read a book and started the next book in this series since reading this one.  

Review: When Day Breaks by Maya Banks

When Day Breaks - Maya Banks

I was really worried about the whole beauty and the beast theme of this book.  I’ve been looking forward to Swanny’s book since we met him in Whispers in the Dark and I really didn’t want him to become someone’s idea of a “beast”.  I think part of my apprehension was due to my dislike of part of the last book. Turns out, I didn’t really need to worry.  No one does anything really really stupid in this book and there aren’t really any misunderstandings.  Swanny thinks he isn’t good enough for Eden but she tells him she thinks he beautiful and that’s all there is to it really.  

I really loved that Eden didn’t really notice the scar.  I loved her and Swanny together.  The summary/back cover is a little misleading since it suggests that Eden’s in danger because she’s famous and it’s really revenge for something her father did/witnessed years before.  I expected her to have a stalker or crazed fan after her.  


Review: After the Storm by Maya Banks

After the Storm - Maya Banks

The first part of this is just a huge rant about the last 100 pages or so of the book.  SPOILERS, seriously!!! 

This one is my least favorite of the series so far.  I really liked Eve and Donovan together at first but the last 100 or so pages completely ruined Eve for me.  Yeah, it all stems from a big misunderstanding that could have (of course) been avoided if they’d just talked to each other.  Donovan is planning on going after Eve’s stepfather, who is the main reason she’s been running for so long.  Eve overhears something that makes it sound like Van is going to betray her and give her to her stepfather in order to protect her siblings (Travis and Cammie).  I dislike misunderstandings in general but it’s what she does after hearing this that really pissed me off.


Instead of confronting Van (and I do understand why she didn’t, but still!) she holds Rusty at gunpoint (with a gun that doesn’t even have a safety on it - and that part wouldn’t have been so bad if it had a safety on it).  I’m not really sure which part pissed me off more - that she’d held a gun on Rusty at all or the fact that the gun didn’t even have a safety on it - what the hell was she going to do if the gun accidently went off?  I think it’s made worse by the fact that it was Rusty and I’ve always had a soft spot for her.  If that wasn’t bad enough, Eve has Rusty take her to the hardware store and takes all of the money out of the safe and cash register. Then she ties Rusty up and leaves in Rusty’s car (SUV? I can’t remember and it doesn’t really matter).  


That means that Eve has kidnapped someone and robbed a store.  She doesn’t get punished at all.  Yeah, she does feel guilty for it, but she still did it.  I know the KGI group gets away with more than they should but if anyone else had done those things KGI would have hunted them down.  I get that she was terrified and desperate but there should have been some consequences for her actions.  Maybe the KGI are too forgiving sometimes?


Sorry for all of that. I wrote all of that right after I finished the book and I couldn’t think about anything but the last 100 pages (and how much they pissed me off).  I’m still really pissed since this is also being written at the time.  I’m not going to post this for a day or two so maybe I’ll be calm enough to review the other parts of the book.

Update:  No, I really have nothing else to say about this one.  I can’t get over the last 100 pages of this book and think about the start of the book.  It still makes me mad, even six days after reading it. So, that last part of the book nearly ruined it for me.  I have read the next book in this series and I’m happy that it didn’t piss me off like this one did.


Review: Forged in Steele by Maya Banks

Forged in Steele - Maya Banks

These two jumped right into bed. I know they’ve known each other for a while, but they have sex the first time they meet in this book.  They sexual relationship seems a little rushed and they don’t spend all that much time together at first.  The I love you’s come a little too soon, since aside from their sexual relationship they don’t spend any time together until after some of the drama happens. Maybe they fell in love before this book happened, since they did seem to get close quickly (and I don’t just mean sexually).  This book has been the most sexual of the series so far.  Maybe that’s not a fair statement since the book before this was Cole and P.J. and they didn’t really have sex at all aside from the “one-night stand” near the start of the book.  

It seems like every time Steele and Maren have any time alone they have sex.  There isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s just that they don’t seem to really have any time together that isn’t either a dangerous situation or them having sex.  I really liked these two together, but the I love you’s seemed a little unbelievable to me.


Review: Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James

Three Weeks With Lady X - Eloisa James

I feel a little foolish for not realizing that Thorn is the son of the Duke of Villiers (it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t figure out why) whose book is A Duke of Her Own.  I was wondering why this book is (technically) the start of a new series. I know this new series is number focused - the second book is Four Nights With the Duke, but I’m guessing this series being the next generation from the original books is why it’s a new series.


Both Thorn and India had problems understanding the other.  She assumes things and then he does the same. They both make foolish choices that didn’t help with the misunderstandings. There were several times I just wanted to shake them both.  I did like that it was both of them being idiots, since it’s so often the man that assumes something completely wrong.  Not that I want them to have any misunderstandings, but if they do I want them both to have them.


Thorn is often an ass, but India had her moments.  They both had a bad habit of assuming things about the other they had no right to assume. I did really like them, but if they’d just taken a few minutes at some point to really talk so many of the misunderstandings could have been avoided.


Both India and Thorn have had less than “normal” childhoods.  Thorn was a mudlark for part of his childhood, he spend time in the Thames looking for things at the bottom of the river.  He’s also the bastard son of the Duke of Villiers who raises him and his siblings (after Thorn’s mudlark days).  India is the daughter of two parents most of the Ton assume were mad.  Her odd childhood is more due to her parent’s neglect than anything else. The neglect is never really explained but India does know what it’s like to be hungry and she use to collect mushrooms to trade for basic staples like flour.


Thorn has plans to marry another woman, which is part of the reason for his and India’s issues -  she often assumes that he’s still planning on marrying this other woman since he never says anything about India and himself getting married or even that he loves her.  They have sex several times during this book and he forgets the condom (yeah, it’s called something else, but that’s basically what it is).  He worries that she’s pregnant and assumes they will marry.  India assumes that he’s only offering to marry her because she might be pregnant and claims that if she is she’ll give him the baby to raise - abandoning their child the same way Thorn’s mother abandoned him - something that Thorn should have known she wouldn’t do, since they both have abandonment issues. This assumption leads to them breaking off their relationship and the special licence Thorn obtains leads (in a way) to India assuming that he really wants to marry another woman.

Honestly the more I think about this book the more it drives me crazy - so many misunderstandings and assumptions - Why don’t characters in books just talk to each other? There are other misunderstandings but it really boils down to Thorn not really thinking he’s good enough and India thinking that he just wanted her and didn’t love her. “A woman gives away her heart along with her virtue,” her godmother says and it’s very true in India’s case. There’s also the issue of Vander (Thorn’s friend and a future duke) wanting to marry India.  She assumes that some of the reason Thorn asks her to marry him (after the possible pregnancy) is a wish to win over Vanders.


Review: Softly at Sunrise by Maya Banks

Softly at Sunrise - Maya Banks

I’m really glad that I waited until after reading Shades of Gray before reading this one.  There’s a time jump of six months in that book and the events of this novella accor during that time jump.  Reading this one first wouldn’t have ruined that book or anything, but the assumed order is this one first, then book six.  


This novella focuses on Rachel and Ethan and if you’ve read Shades of Gray first, the general plot is already known to you.  (Possible Spoilers, depending)  Rachel has finally gone back to work and it starts out great.  She’s also found out she’s pregnant and is completely thrilled. One of her students is having a hard time because her parents are getting a divorce.  This divorce is the reason for the drama that occurs.  The father isn’t happy that his soon to be ex-wife wants custody of their daughter and shows up in Rachel’s classroom with a gun, threatening both Rachel and her students.  He demands Rachel call the police, which she does.  She also saves most of her students by telling him to release them, offering herself as a hostage.  KGI (unsurprisingly) shows up just in time.

I’m really wondering about the mental state of the man who did this.  Did he really think the courts would give him custody of his daughter after a stunt like that? We learn a little bit about the mother, who wouldn’t have cared about the other people under threat, instead leaving with her daughter.  This is the reason that the daughter stays too.  


Review: Shades of Gray by Maya Banks

Shades of Gray - Maya Banks

I really hate long time jumps.  I know No Place to Run as a five month time jump, but aside from Sophie being five months pregnant, it doesn’t really seem like that much time as past. In this one, there's some time before the mission that goes wrong, during the mission and at little time after the mission.  Then there’s the time six months after the mission.  I understand why, since this is the KGI series and P.J. wasn’t part of the KGI during those six months.  She also spend that time hunting down and killing men involved with the mission that went wrong.   

I had some trouble connecting to P.J. and Cole, at least partly due to that time gap.  They are both members of Steele’s KGI team so we do know them from previous books but them being brief secondary characters isn’t the same as them having their own book.  I did like both P.J. and Cole but it was hard to really care all that much about them getting together, although I did like them together. I guess I just assumed they’d get together so it didn’t matter that much if I wanted them together or not.  Maybe I need a break from this series?


Review: Echoes at Dawn by Maya Banks

Echoes at Dawn - Maya Banks

Like the previous book in this series, this one has a paranormal aspect to it.  It’s played off as genetics, with the two women being created in a government lab, but it’s not quite believable.


Grace is even more powerful than her sister, Shea.  They can both heal, but Grace can completely heal someone - taking the wound or illness into herself (which can be fatal to her).  This makes more people interested in Grace than her sister, since Shea can only temporarily block pain and help the healing process along.

I still find this unbelievable, but I’ve just decided to go with it.  I’m really annoyed with the idea of them both having powers.  Aside from these two women this series is completely modern with nothing about magic or powers of any sort.  I’d actually be less annoyed if more people in the series (like Rachel or one of the Kelly brothers) had powers.  I get that Shea and Grace have these powers because of government interference, but it really annoys me!

Review: Hidden Away by Maya Banks

Hidden Away - Maya Banks

The theme for these books so far seems to be trust and trust issues.  Sarah lets herself trust Garrett and learns that he lied.  I can’t blame her for being pissed.  The surprises in this one weren’t really surprising - Marcus’ had a reason for killing Cross and it didn’t take me long to figure out why.


The romance for these two is slower than books one and two in this series (although that’s not really fair, since both of those couples had been together before most of the action of their respective books). This is understandable given Sarah’s traumatic past.

I always feel like I have a lot to say about these books while I’m reading them,but when I sit down to write the review, I can’t remember any of what I was thinking about.

Review: Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks

Whispers in the Dark - Maya Banks

This one has some paranormal elements to it.  It could be argued that it’s more like ESP than paranormal, since paranormal is vampires and werewolves and there are no vampires or werewolves in this series, but the addition of Shea to the characters (and her sister, Grace, although we haven’t really meet her yet).  


I expected Shea to have some sort of ESP given the gift comments on the back cover.  The telepathy I can handle just fine but the healing seems a little much for a non-paranormal book.  Some suspension of disbelief is required for this one.


That ESP/paranormal issues aside, I really liked this book.  Nathan and Shea work really well together.  This is the first book in this series were the romance doesn’t feel rushed or too slow.  They did know each other before they met, which gets back into the telepathy.  

There are at least two groups after Shea and her sister Grace, one group that’s on her side (I’m not including the KGI in this list), but she doesn’t know it and another group that we don’t really know yet.  The group that’s on her side includes a big surprise that I wasn’t expecting (for once).

Review: No Place to Run by Maya Banks

No Place to Run - Maya Banks

The romance in this one seemed a little rushed.  Sam and Sophie were together for a while while Sam was undercover, five months before more of this book takes place, so that explains it. Neither one really trusts the other - both lied when they first met and things seem to just keep happening that make it hard for them to fully trust the other. This one seemed a little more action focused than the first book, although it also had it’s share of action scenes.


I was less interested in Rusty in this one then I’d been in The Darkest Hour. She wasn’t in this one as much as the first one but she’s more trusting of the Kelly family, more comfortable with them so she’s a bit bratty in this one.  

There are several surprises in this one.  First up is what Sophie iied about when her and Sam were together five months before (the first chapter is set when they were together before, but most of this book happens five months after Sam’s undercover mission).  This wasn’t really a surprise (I’d guessed before she tells Sam the truth, but it is a plot twist).  The second comes closer to the end of the book and it was something I hadn’t expected (not really that big of a shock when I thought about it, but still).  I’m not spoiling, even though this book has been out for a while.

Review: The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

The Darkest Hour - Maya Banks

I would have liked this one a lot more if Rachel remembered more.  I really hate amnesia storylines.  This one is less annoying since this is the first book of the series and I didn’t already know her story. I really liked this one as the start of a new series and it doesn’t suffer from first in series syndrome (no real world building needed for this series since it’s not paranormal or science fiction, but modern day).

There were parts of this book where I was more interested in Rusty then Rachel or Ethan.  She shows up at Ethan’s mom’s and gets adopted (basically).  I’m really expecting her to end up with one of the guys at some point.  She’s a teen, but I’m not really sure how old she is (Ethan’s mom calls her a girl, but she could be 18 for all we really know).


Review: Vampire in Conflict by Dale Mayer

Vampire in Conflict - Dale Mayer

The vampires and humans of this series just can’t catch a break.  They think, with the discovery of the blood farm and getting back out again, that the drama is over for them and they can go back to their lives.  It doesn’t happen that way.  They get a few days break before the drama starts again.  The humans as a whole aren’t happy about the vampires among them and there are still people involved in the blood farms out and about.  The core group isn’t sure who to trust (and that’s getting old), so they assume that anyone can be on the other side.  This one also ends in a cliffhanger, which I really should have expected since several of these books have. I read this one in just a couple of hours. They seem to get better and better as time goes on.  


Review: The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

The Perfect Hope - Nora Roberts

Hope and Ryder spend most of this book acting more like friends with benefits (although they weren’t really friends to begin with) then a couple.  The drama comes mostly from Jonathan, Hope’s ex.  He wants her back even though he’s married now.  We learn a lot more about their relationship, one that she believed was exclusive until he told her he was marrying another woman. There are some misunderstandings between Ryder and Hope, but they are short lived  and they get a HEA (no surprise there!)

This final book in the trilogy also resolved the Inn’s ghost “issue”.  Lizzy has been part of this series from the first book and even helps save Clare when her stalker goes too far.  We learn a little more about her as each book progresses.  The end result is Lizzy being reunited with her lover.  


Review: The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

The Last Boyfriend - MacLeod Andrews, Nora Roberts

I somehow misunderstood the back cover of this one.  I thought for some reason Owen was literally Avery’s first and last boyfriend (as in, the only one).  I didn’t think that was right, but that make for some confusion on my part when it became clear that wasn’t the case.  


We learn a little more about the Inn in this book.  There are other rooms I recognized: Jane and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre, Buttercup and Westley from the Princess Bride. I’m kind of hoping for a list at some point, so I can know for sure all of the rooms.  


Avery has some commitment issues (I’m noticing a theme in NR books - is it always the second book that has a woman with commitment issues?), from her mom leaving her and her dad when she was 12 (or close to it).  There are a few issues between Avery and Owen, but no real long drawn out fights/arguments.  

The Inn opens in this one, but it’s not really the focus of the book. I’m hoping the final book has more about the Inn in it.