Coming over from Goodreads, dipping a toe in the waters over here.

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Fish & Chips
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Progress: 26 %

Reading progress update: I've read 84%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

My enthusiasm flagged for a bit, and I set it down and wandered off to do other things. I'm now ready to dive back in, hoping I can enjoy the rest of this book and stop wishing for S&S already.

Reading progress update: I've read 69%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

69% and they're back in bed together! Was that timing intentional? From what I know of Abi, I could easily believe it is. :D

Reading progress update: I've read 62%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

I did a lot of skimming and eye-rolling through the most recent bits, and am finding myself wishing this book were over already so I could get to Sticks & Stones. But I'm pretty sure this is just the draggy middle, and it picks up again soon.

Reading progress update: I've read 48%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

Jekyll and Hyde, there's the Zane of old! I love that he has character growth, of course, but is it too much to ask that it be consistent with the character?


But enough griping about the future, I'm having fun with the boys now!

Reading progress update: I've read 36%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

Zane says (to Ty), "...You're close to the same size. I'm just bulkier, is all."


I remember something in B&C where Ty is thinking about how Zane has lost weight, gotten leaner. But leaner than bulky seems like he'd still be a big guy. I stand by my statement that it was ridiculous to suggest that the Snake Eater was SOOOO much bigger than Zane, unless the dude seriously was at least seven feet tall.


Also? That fight was fucking awesome sublimation! :D

Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

Ty stepped outside the bathroom again without bothering to respond. The groan from Zane had sent an odd jolt through his body, and he wasn't sure he liked it. He needed... to shoot something, maybe.


Shoot something, Ty? That wouldn't be a pun, now would it? ;)

Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

"Usually I only don't bother people I want to see naked," Ty told him seriously as the elevator rose. "So stop it. You're freaking me out."


..."I'll keep it in mind," [Zane] said under his breath as they walked out. The slightly suggestive tones of Ty's words freaked him out, too.


I'd remembered their courtship was fun, but I'd forgotten just how fun.

Reading progress update: I've read 8%.

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

Aha! I just figured out how to get BL to do the update status post automatically. I'll figure this site out one of these days...


Anyway, trying hard to ignore the editing and plot issues and just focus on the characters. Thankfully, this is the Ty and Zane I fell in love with, and I've missed them. So it's fun to spend time with them again.

2% read

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

Oops, looks like I was off by an inch in my Ball & Chain review. Zane's only 6'5", so maybe the Snake Eater really is that much bigger...


Sidewinder #2, NOT Cut & Run #8

Ball & Chain  - Abigail Roux

This book is NOT Cut & Run #8, it's Sidewinder #2, so the labeling is deceptive marketing. Read as a continuation of Nick and Kelly's story from Shock & Awe, this book works nicely, but Ty and Zane are secondary characters. Actually, even Kelly is a secondary character in this book. It's really Nick's story, and I enjoyed it as such.


However, I really missed Ty and Zane. Zane in particular was almost invisible in this book, as Ty at least played a significant role as Nick's Best Friend. In fact, Zane was so diminished in this book, the physical descriptions of him made me question my memory of him as 6'6" to Ty's 6'3".


Sure, Zane was described as having more lean muscle, like a swimmer or runner, so I could believe plenty of other guys are broader and beefier than he. But there was so much emphasis on how BIG one of the Snake Eaters was, apparently so much bigger than anyone else around. Was Mr. English seven or eight feet tall? Even a lean 6'6" man tends to be noticeably larger than the majority of people around him, unless he's on a basketball court.


Another difficulty I had with the (too minimal) Ty and Zane storyline was that while I thought Zane was absolutely right that he and Ty needed to get to know each other again, and so turning down Ty's proposals made sense, in the end he accepted without that having happened. Ty finally made the right "big gesture" and Zane's good intentions and common sense vanished. It made it possible for this book to end with them planning to get married, without having done the work necessary to make that an appropriate place to be. Nick and Kelly's proposal and marriage plans actually made more sense. That didn't make me a happy camper.


In fact, overall it seemed like content editing was completely absent from this book. I have to wonder what happened to all the beta readers and editors who presumably edited it. Were they all high when they read it? The very first few pages, we're told over and over (and OVER) again how Ty was the only man Zane really wanted to see. No shit, Sherlock. We could've figured that out for ourselves without being told once, let alone fifty times. And the "ball & chain" metaphor was so over-used throughout the book, I started huffing and smirking myself at each new mention of it.


And while I read the Cut & Run books expecting a fun romp - which this was - rather than realism, this was one of the most ridiculous mysteries ever and there were a number of things that really bugged me. The "big reveal" was so over the top and convoluted, I just shrugged and was glad I hadn't been too invested in it. I was glad that at least it turned out to be based on Zane and the cartel, and I look forward to seeing where that goes.


But Zane and Ty had so little reaction to that information, it was like they'd been body-snatched and replaced with clones. The Zane of old would have gone on a mad rampage or something upon learning something like that. And Ty would have restrained him, even while completely understanding and agreeing with him, and then maybe distracted him with sex. But in this book, they barely batted an eye and the story rolled along to give us MOAR NICK.


Plus there was the implication that someone had actually accessed Zane's computer. Not just turned it on and got frustrated by their inability to get past his password, but apparently actually logged in. No. Nope. Nyet. Nein. There is NO WAY Zane doesn't have both password protection and encryption on his laptop. How do I know? Because I do, and I'm pretty sure Zane is even more aware of and paranoid about such things than I am.


I bet Zane even has autorun turned off, so the flash drive wouldn't have been able to spread its malware automatically. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a dummy partition for the operating system and another, hidden one for his real stuff. And maybe a few more hacks that I'm not savvy enough to think of. In other words, that entire plot point read like complete and utter bullshit. And it was pretty pointless, so why even bother to include it?


There was also a big deal about Milton's watch having stopped at a particular time. They ultimately concluded he set the time himself, to give them the information. However, the watch wasn't smashed until hours after his death. There's no way he could've known when he died that someone would smash his watch later. It's unlikely he even had a chance to tinker with it right before he died. So how/when did he know to set it like that and how did he get the watch to stop at the particular time he set it for, when that is apparently not a functionality built into it?


And why was it so difficult for Ty and Zane to figure out that the mole they'd been looking for was likely the person framing Burns? And that this person's ability to do so, and do it so well, probably gave some significant clues as to who the mole must be. I assume that will be dealt with in the next book, but it seemed bizarre to me that they didn't at least speculate on that.


I also would have liked some explanation as to why Nick had such a bad feeling about Burns way back when. If Burns had turned out to be a bad guy, it'd make sense. But my understanding is that Nick has a well-honed and trust-worthy gut, so if Burns is actually who he seemed to be, why did Nick's gut give him a false impression?


Lastly, it's a big pet peeve of mine when books set up sequel-bait at the end. And this one did that in a big way with the reappearance of Liam Bell. Clearly, he's going to be significant in Sidewinder #2 and/or Cut & Run #9, and this was set up as a teaser to make us want to read it. Unfortunately, obvious setups like that don't make me more eager to read the next book, they just cause me to finish the current one with a lot of eye-rolling.


And those are all issues I have with the book even reading it as Nick's book; don't even get me started on the issues I have with THAT when this is marketed as Cut & Run #8. But with appropriate expectations and suspension of disbelief and logic, it was still quite enjoyable.


ETA: It just clicked, I just figured out what the mystery reminded me of: Scooby Doo!

The king is dead, long live the king

Shock & Awe  - Abigail Roux

I finally read this so I can read Ball & Chain before I get too spoilered. I started out disappointed that reading this - and Ball & Chain - feels more like a chore than an anticipated delight. Where did my enthusiasm for these guys go? Sigh.


So, yeah, maybe my lack of initial excitement had something to do with it, but this story didn't rekindle my enthusiasm. I like Nick and Kelly, individually and can see them working as a couple. I'm actually looking forward to seeing more of them in Ball & Chain, especially how it goes when they come out as a couple to their teammates.


In fact, that may be my biggest enthusiasm for Ball & Chain, since it sounds like Zane has yet to reappear since Madeleine Urban stopped writing him. But I get ahead of myself. This book... I dunno.


I found Kelly's sexytimes enthusiasm at the beginning a little difficult to believe. Yes, he's a man. And yes, men (almost) always want sex. Got it. But, c'mon, he's in so much pain he can't even sit up without help. How freaking much libido can anyone have in that situation? Think about it, like the idea of it? Sure. But actually get it up and act on it? That stretched my suspension of disbelief a bit too far, making it difficult to get into the story.


Once Kelly healed enough for me to believe in his enthusiasm, things got better for me. Except that by then, the book was basically over. Hence my interest in reading more of these guys in Ball & Chain. Basically, I think this book was a setup to replacing Ty and Zane with Nick and Kelly. And it may have worked, at least for me. When I want more Ty and Zane, I need to go reread the first three Cut & Run books to get my fix.

Grime and Punishment

The Brothers Grime: Jack - Z.A. Maxfield

The career and meet-cute situation in this were both unusual, and I enjoyed that despite being pretty squeamish. I especially thought the explanation for why Jack became a crime-scene cleaner made a lot of sense and fit well with his character.

The humor was great, and I laughed out loud several times. I also really liked Ryan and Jack a lot, individually and as a couple. But while I understand that the situation could create a certain intensity, I wasn't thrilled with how quickly they got so serious. I often prefer HFN to HEA, because I usually find it more believable. But this was barely even HFN, as far as I'm concerned.


I could totally believe the book ending with them planning to give a relationship a shot and see how it goes, but I'd need to see them together a lot longer before I could begin to believe in them lasting beyond next week. And "next week" and "next week" for quite some time, given the circumstances; probably at least a few months, and then I might start believing in "next month" and "next month" for a while. I think this book needed to be a little longer, and give them a bit more time together, for me to really believe in their lasting potential.


I really loved both Dave and Gabe as friends, and was glad to know the next book was already out. I couldn't wait to see more of them, and see if they end up together. I'm particularly eager to see what was hinted at toward the end of this one - exactly what realization did Dave come to about how what happened to Jack affected him? And how did it affect Gabe? But even if the next book wasn't about Dave and Gabe finding HEA together (which I'd probably believe, even after just a few days, given their years of friendship), I was eager to read about at least one of them - preferably Dave - finding HEA.


I opened the book page on Goodreads as soon as I'd reached The End, eager to see which (or both) of them the next book features. I read the blurb, and all my eagerness vanished. Eddie? Really? What do I care about Eddie yet? He seems a nice enough guy, sure. I figured by the end of the next book, I'd be eager to read his story. But not yet; I don't know enough to care about him yet. I want Dave! And Gabe. Bah. I'll almost certainly read it, because it's ZAM, and I'll probably love it. But I think I'll wait until Book 3 is out, so I can hopefully get Dave and/or Gabe's story right after. Hmph.

*Scuttles out from under rock*

Hoo boy, I haven't been around in a while so I had a kajillion notifications waiting for me. At least, unlike GR, all the notifications were still accessible no matter how old. But since the discussions died long ago, sort of pointless.


But now I'm back and trying to remember how to use this site. And figure out what's changed while I was gone, since I know they make at least one major change a week. I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to post this. :)


So how's life over here these days? Has everyone gotten settled in and comfortable with the new site? Read anything good lately? I've been on a major Brockmann rereading binge, so that's most of what I've read in the past few months. I love that she's so prolific, and yet I still wish she'd write MORE, FASTER. Can't wait til her new one comes out in February!!

Dolphin Dreams

Dolphin Dreams - Jules Jones It wasn't nearly as kinky or freaky as I'd feared it would be, even with the sex in dolphin form. It was always made so clear that even as dolphins, they were still very much George and Patrick. That helped mitigate the bestiality/squick factor for me as much as for Martin. And the threesome was well done and made clear that it worked better that way than in any possible twosome combination.

So it turned out to be a surprisingly sweet story about lonely people finding each other, connecting, developing friendships, etc. - not just the three MCs, but also wonderful secondary characters who had great platonic relationships with them all. The dolphin aspects were a fun and interesting extra layer atop the solid foundation of a wonderful, very British story.

The Princess & the Penis

The Princess & the Penis - R.J. Silver Cute (inappropriate as that may sound) and amusing take on a classic fairy tale.

Mackenzie's Magic (Mackenzie Family, #4) - Linda Howard I'd remembered this as my least favorite Mackenzie story, and that was still true. But probably only because of how short it is, thereby giving less time to develop any real depth. And also because of the damn insta-love again. But it was a sweet and funny story, and I enjoyed the Mackenzie clan. I'd love to see more of them, even.