Quick Reads and Quick Reviews 7

Hemlock and Honey: Highlander Romance by [Preston, Elizabeth] Mae Day Revived (Foreverers Book 1) by [del Arce, Nina]

Hemlock and Honey: Highlander Romance by [Preston, Elizabeth]This was incredibly disappointing.  I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't like it either.  There was virtually no romantic build and a lot of voyeurism and self-shaming for having lusty thoughts.  I was sure that there would be more done in the way of trying to alleviate the suffering of the clan, falling in love, discovering what's behind one another, but, sadly, there was so little of that that I was left wondering what exactly I read.  I can see moments where Gus goes from lustful admiration to deeper affection for Sybilla but then there are moments where it's like she doesn't exist.  For instance, the stop at the "inn" on the way to the highlands.  Then from Sybilla's side it's more like fascination of a giant of a man who's so rugged that she can't help but be captivated and then she learns that he truly cares a great deal for his people.  So yes, there's some good foundational pieces here to make a lasting romance, but it was jumbled in with forest craziness, dungeon craziness, witnessing infidelity, and other things that just didn't make me like anyone.  Overall I struggled to finish this book and did only for the vague hope that things would improve.  Even the romantic conclusion was rushed and unsatisfying.  1.5 stars (rounded up to 2 on Amazon).

Mae DaySo I know this is a novella and that means it's short. This particular series is really awesome with well developed characters, solid world, good interaction between main and support characters, realistic reactions to drama, believable romance, and strong women.  With a novella a lot of that is usually only touched on instead of developed and it helps that it's set in a familiar universe, but with this particular book there was a bigger amount of drama than there were pages to do it justice.  I liked the pairing between Jason and Mae and had a desire to see that they came out on the other side successfully.  Jason was both hot and sweet with his devotion to Mae that was tender and had the potential to last even if things moved quickly between them.  When it's right, it's right, you know?  Similarly with Mae who built trust and affection with Jason even though things began with being interested from afar.  They were good together and the confessions were very sweet.  There were also a couple cringe-worthy moments that were a bit over the top.  The life purpose moments felt contrived, starry-eyed naive kind.  Yes, sudden realizations are good, but the way that part was written sounded like it shouldn't be coming from Jason's mouth.  The sentiments were genuine, but the delivery was cheesy...and not in a good way.  Overall this was an enjoyable story with a bit too much packed into such a short book.  Bombs, military, kidnapping, family connections, budding romance, broken promises...just a bit too much to be truly satisfying.  3 stars.

Revived (Foreverers Book 1) by [del Arce, Nina]This book has a lot of potential if we keep on with these two men. Rhys is a pretty typical vampire who feels unworthy of the goodness Dirk offers. Add in a murder with hints of vampire? Rhys can't seem to stay away no matter how much he feels he should. Dirk needs him in more ways than just vampiric sleuthing, though. Tired of denying his own desires in order to follow his older sister's dictates, he finds a measure of relief when he walks in on his intended's infidelity and proceeds to walk out on his own party only to find himself in bigger trouble than a broken engagement.

Throughout this story there's a lot of background that's given in pieces but only to the reader. When things are unsaid between the men it leaves doubt and uncertainty. When things come to a head they admit that what they really is each other. They go against their past and those that would bind them to it in favor of a new and perilous future with one another. The series is off to a really good start. Overall, this was a short story, a quick read that had enough depth for each character that we feel for these men individually and root for them as a pairing. There's a lot of turmoil that bodes well for a continuing series and I hope that these men are featured from here on out, though I wouldn't be opposed to introducing new pairings in later books. 4 stars (3.5 rounded up).

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