Pick of the Week and Mini Review

There are a couple my guilty-pleasure books that were released today, but thanks to the delivery gods I actually got my hands on both Bound Together from Christine Feehan and Wake a Sleeping Tiger from Lora Leigh a day early. Then I had the endless debate about which one to read first, but Bound Together won out. And since I actually finished it, it is my pick of the week.

bound-togetherSynopsis…

For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind…

Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist…becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she knew about good and evil—and the dark desires of the heart…

So, I liked it. Quite a lot, actually. The Sea Haven books are the only Feehan series that didn’t have a style/tone change during “the questionable period”, and it has stayed a consistent favorite of mine. It managed to wrap up the Sisters of the Heart arc, link with the Drake Sisters books, all while setting up the upcoming Torpedo Ink series.

There is only two things I can say didn’t quite work for me – one is style, one is subject. On the style side, Christine once again introduces a ton of new characters in a relatively short period of time, and trying to keep a ton of Russian names – and nicknames – was tricky. Thankfully, there are only a few of the Torpedo Ink gang who play a major role in this book, so while they were all introduced in a big jumble, it was necessary to only remember a couple of the new gang.

My second quibble might sound cold, but I am hoping that Christine moves on from the whole human trafficking/child rape angle really soon. I know it is a real world issue, but it has come up in pretty much every book of each of her five series for the last couple of years, and honestly? I am getting a bit numb to the brutalized children thing – especially since it seems like it is getting more intense. In early books, there were characters who had suffered in the past (like Skyler in the Dark series), to those who had been recently abused (like Nicoletta in Shadow Riders) to walking in on the abuse as it is happening. Maybe if it was only featured in one series, but when it is a theme across the board, it gets a bit overwhelming.

Now, I’m off to dive into Wake a Sleeping Tiger. And of course, when I was flipping to the back to see if there were any excerpts for the next Breeds book, I saw a major plot point that can’t be unseen. I always do that crap. Always. Arrgh.

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18 thoughts on “Pick of the Week and Mini Review

  1. cheryl says:

    I love your comments because it is so true… you can only beat on a subject so long before the story gets old. In reality… it probably is an issue but I read for entertainment not to get depressed and preached to.
    I love her Sea Haven and Sisters of the Heart books but they remind me of an old time author Katherine Stone, that always wrote about 3 traumatized women in every book and she knit the story well but by the time you hit the 10th book … you absolutely knew where the story was going. Her constant angst in the stories just burnt me out and I quit reading her stuff.
    I really don’t want to give up on the Ghost series or her sisters series… I already gave up on the Carpathian stuff.

    • kaleigha says:

      Yeah, I felt guilty saying that it was time to move on because it is a horrible real-life thing, but like you said it can get a bit depressing. Not a huge fan of brutality in books at this point, either. Fight scenes are great, action is great, and pretty much every character nowadays has a tragic past, but constant torture is different. It was why I tapped out on the Dark-Hunters books – each character’s past was worse than the last.

          • kaleigha says:

            It was too bad, but I just got tired of the emotional wringer. I know not every character can have rainbows and unicorns in their past, but it would be nice if one or two had a “Normal” past.

            • Dawn says:

              Only thing about the Dark Hunters series, the whole reason why they get to become a DH is that at the moment of death their soul cries out for vengeance. If they had a “normal” past I don’t know how that would work.

              So, having that reason as a premise for their existence (among others, you know, with the whole cursed by Apollo et cetera going on), I can get and deal with a certain amount of abuse and darkness. What I really had trouble with was the first half of Acheron’s book — that is one I will never re-read again. Second half in present day is ok, but 1st half in past, forget it. Even having a general sense of what was coming — there’s clues from the beginning of the series, let’s face it — that part of the story was too emotional and disturbing to ever read again.

              • Gabrielle says:

                I agree. I thought Styxx was even worse. When he’s gang raped when he’s practically a child, I felt physically sick. Its like a contest on who had the worst childhood. I was a huge fan of her books until Acheron, the Dark Hunters were what got me hooked on the whole genre, then they just started going too far and I don’t bother anymore.

                • kaleigha says:

                  I was lucky since everyone had warned me that things got dark and stayed dark, so when I found I was having to brace myself before I read them I knew to get out.

  2. Dawn says:

    I got Wake the Sleeping Tiger — I was actually worried there would be another delay last minute! But no, it was there on my kindle when I got up yesterday. I started it, and just a couple chapters in, I started feeling like I had missed a book or novella. Lately it’s been like that with the last couple of Breed stories, it just feels like there’s a gap and something’s off. Hopefully by the time I push through to the middle it’ll be like old times and I can’t put it down.

    And now you’ve got me wondering about the plot point near the end — that’s the one thing about the ebooks, it’s not as easy to flip to the end and then flip back to where I actually am at (at least for me – I know it can be done, but it just seems like too much effort sometimes).

    As to Feehan, I never got into any of her other series besides the Carpathians (although I did read Shadow Riders when it came out, as it was something new). Now I’m kind of glad.

    • kaleigha says:

      So glad you said that…I have been feeling like there is a bit of a disconnect between installments, too. Not enough to throw me off, but enough difference in tone and situation from the last book that makes me feel like I missed something.

      • Dawn says:

        Exactly! I don’t know if there were story threads planned in-between the last couple of books or if LL just “forgot” that she hadn’t included certain details. But everything up through Lion’s Heat, even though they were written out of order and with different publishers, seems to flow fine. It’s after this point — I noticed it with the stories that picked up on the Navajo Reservation, and especially The Devil’s Due (I think, as long as that’s the one that begins in Europe? It’s been a while since I read it.) — that the stories seem to start as if they’re actually in the middle of something already.

        I really enjoy this series as a whole. But if these plot irritations continue, on top of the ridiculous delays of the books, I don’t know how much more I can take.

        • kaleigha says:

          I am not a fan of the Navajo setting, honestly. Too many factions and agencies and secret groups to keep track of. And this series is, absolutely hands down, the worst one to try and do for the character guides. Backstories and details change so much from book to book that sometimes it feels like I have to re-write character bios with every new release.

          • Dawn says:

            Agreed, it all seems to be getting out of hand. Although the native American setting in general does sort of fit, if there just weren’t so many different groups like you said. I can’t imagine doing the guide for the series — which I love, so thank you for suffering for us and doing it!

            It’s almost like either someone didn’t do their job and keep track of all the details so they would stay consistent throughout the books, or if LL had a series “guide” of her own (like several other authors with long standing series do), it got lost and now she makes it up as she goes.

  3. library addict says:

    This book was a very mixed bag for me. I mostly liked the romance, though the whole storming in on them having sex subplot got old quickly.

    I didn’t even try to keep all of the new characters straight. While it was realistic Viktor would have a much closer relationship with these others it was disappointing not to have more page time with the actual Prakenskii brothers. We never really got to know Ilya in his book with Joley, I had hoped this series would feature him much more than it ultimately did so that was a letdown. I also thought Viktor was a jerk for being angry and dismissing his biological brothers’ suffering because he’d had it worse than they did, yet he refused to tell them, particularly Ilya.

    The internal monologues of the characters were very repetitive. I also thought the heroine wanting to spare her sisters (of the heart) so kept secrets from them was irksome. I get that it was to provide conflict, but it’s the same conflict we’ve watched play out in too many of the books in this series as well as the latter half of the Drake Sisters books.

    As with the last book, the big bad über-villain was entirely too easily dispatched. The bad guy has been seen as untouchable since he was introduced in the previous series. So much build up and then he’s easily dealt with in a single chapter the same as the guy from their childhood was last time.

    The huge continuity error regarding the heroine’s mother kept yanking me out of the story. In Safe Harbor all six of the aunts were at the hospital with Hannah so how has Blythe’s mother been dead for over three years? I asked about this at CF’s board and apparently she has said that was a typo. But I had a very difficult time buying this rewrite of the elder Drake sisters’ relationship. Suddenly Blythe’s mother was this horrible monster and her sisters (a) didn’t know anything and (b) allowed her to do such a malicious and terrible thing to Blythe and then didn’t help Blythe but made excuses for her mother? That’s a total rewrite from the previous series and it bothered me a lot.

    Despite all these issues, I did enjoy the book. There were a lot of fun moments and it was nice to see all of the Drake sisters again as well as most of their husbands, even if they weren’t featured as much as I’d hoped.

    The whole motorcycle club storyline does nothing for me, but I was intrigued enough by a few of the new characters (particularly Alena and Lana) I will at least give the next spin-off series a chance.

  4. Maria says:

    I don’t know what to think overall of the Sisters of the heart book. I did like some parts of it, but I also found myself skipping whole pages because it didn’t interest me at all. This was the last series of her that I followed and I’m almost relieved that it is finished, as I won’t have “guilty conscience” for abandoning it.
    The motorcycle club does nothing for me either, but I could overcome it if her writing inspired me as much as her early books. I am going to give myself a holiday of Christine Feehan.
    Regarding Lora Leigh… that was the last book from her I buy. I’ve had it with her. I feel completely disconnected from the story, I had to read the guide because when I started the book I didn’t remember the characters, and by the time I finished I couldn’t care less. I only finished it, because it is really really difficult for me to DNF a book. After 30 something books from her, that’s it. I quit.

    • kaleigha says:

      I found, personally, with Wake a Sleeping Tiger, that it felt like a filler book to set up Cassie’s story, and that happened in the last chapter. I can’t say it was bad, I kept waiting for something to happen in Cullen and Chelsea’s story, and it didn’t. Pretty much the only highlight was Gideon/Graeme.

  5. Crystal says:

    There was a point…several years ago, where I read 3 books in a row, by 3 different authors, and they all dealt with human trafficking. I was almost afraid to pick up a romantic suspense for a bit after that. I’ll read this one, because I’d like to finish up the series, but I’m done. As an aside, she should really try to reenact some of her sex scenes. That one on horseback (previous book in series) had me polishing a Darwin award for the H/h.

    I gave up on Leigh when she discovered a new word – vivisection.

    • kaleigha says:

      Hehehe…ah, yes. The galloping whoopie. I just kept reading it over, and over, and over again, trying to get the visual. I kept thinking it was a joke, honestly, but nope.

      I don’t miss the vivisection, either. I was glad to skip that particular jem this time around.

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