Short Take Reviews: The Ranty Edition



Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1)
Ilona Andrews
Publication date: October 28, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world. 

This book has crazy high rating on GoodReads (4.35). And I was excited to read it. Find a new urban fantasy series to get into. But that didn't happen. To be fair, I don't think it's really the story. I lay 90% of the blame on the narration. It was BAD. And I really, REALLY disliked it. And basically, it ruined the book for me.

This was the first time I encountered Renee Raudman's narration and I've gotta say: not a fan. To start, there's the twangy country accents. Yes, the story is set in Texas but it's in metropolitan Houston, not hillbilly central. Then there was the voice for the main character's grandmother - an active woman who was maybe sixty and yet sounded like a frail little grandma at age 101. It was just such a cliched "little old lady" voice that it was like something out of a cartoon. In fact, most of the characters sounded years beyond their stated age - including Rogan, who sounded like a crusty old cowboy instead of a 30 year old badass.

The story was okay but a mostly unsatisfying. Nevada tried to bring in a fugitive while verbally sparring with Rogan. In one sentence she was referring to him as a psychopath, in the next she was drooling over his abs. *eye roll* But it was the narration that made Nevada unlikable, every character sound decades older than they were, and as if every Texan was a country bumpkin. Ugh. I could switch to the books instead of the audio and continue on, but I'm afraid the bad experience with this one has pretty much ruined the series for me.

2/5 STARS


This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Kheryn Callender
Publication date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.

Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hern├índez, his childhood best friend.
After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?  

Oh, the high hopes I had for this one! It's contemporary, it's YA, it had a synopsis that hooked me, my trusted book buddy gave it 4 stars. But no, I have no love for this set of miserable characters.

Main character Nate was thoroughly unlikable. He was moody and taciturn. He was standoffish and treated his friends poorly, often to the point of being intentionally hurtful. Worse, he knew what he was doing and did it anyway. Yes, he was dealing with a recent break-up (and losing his father as a child) but I couldn't see how any of it excused his behavior.

He "best friend" (ha, some friend!) and ex-girlfriend Flo was horrible. She cheated on him when they were together and then had the audacity to insist he be friends with her new girlfriend. WT-actual-F? And when he showed any emotion about her cheating, she copped an attitude. When he showed interest in Ollie, she got mad and quit speaking to him. Note to Nate: this person is not your friend!

The only one I actually liked was poor Ollie. And I felt like telling him to run-don't-walk back to Santa Fe and ditch these toxic people.

They argued, they gave each other the silent treatment, they made up. Rinse and repeat. I'd had enough.

DNF @ 192 pages


WHAT'S THE LAST BOOK YOU DNF'D?


17 comments

  1. Aw, sorry you didn't like this. And bummer you DNFed Epic Love Story. Nate definitely had a lot to work through and he didn't treat people well all the time, but I kind of felt it was realistic in a way and I like that Ollie did stand up for himself! Plus, things get better. lol

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I know, I know... Sam told me the same thing basically but I just couldn't do it. LOL I was so over the back and forth between Nate and Flo, and Nate and Ollie... gah! I did like how Ollie stood up for himself. He had no problem telling Nate "you'can't talk to me that way." Go Ollie!

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  2. Ouch for the narrator Tanya! OK the last DNF was Captive Prince by CS Pacat ;-)

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    1. Yeah and that narrator apparently does all of Ilona Andrews books so I'll definitely be avoiding those. Ha!

      Captive Prince definitely seems to be a love it or hate it book/series. Not a lot of middle ground there.

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  3. I feel so bad that you hated Epic Love Story, because I swear, Nate grows. It's that armor he put up, because of Flo (I'm blaming her).

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    1. I know, me too. But just an example of not every book working for every person. I sure tried - making it to almost 200 pages. I have another friend who read it and she was messaging me earlier about Flo. The comments were *not* flattering. LOL

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  4. I feel like even when you rant, you're still nice Tanya! That sucks when the narrator ruins your enjoyment.

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    1. LOL This was nice??? :) And here I thought I was being all mean and ranty. Bahaha!

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  5. EEP Epic Love Story sounds a MESS. I could not have rooted for any of those people, I feel you. And yeah, Ollie needed to RUN from this group. Like- sorry your dad died decades ago but uh, definitely not an excuse for awful behavior! And wow, that narration DOES sound bad. This is another reason that I am afraid of audiobooks- even the good narrators irk me, I'd probably throw this lady right out my car window hahah. Great reviews, but I am so sorry they didn't work for you! (P.S.- I am with Amber, you ARE very nice! Honest, but not too mean or anything at all!)

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    1. I was so sure Epic Love Story was going to be a hit so that kind of made it even more of a letdown. Blah.

      I've done a total 180 on audiobooks over the years and now love them. But there are those rare occasions when I just don't mesh with a narrator and when that happens there's no getting past it!

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  6. I have a really hard time with books where the main characters are all pretty unlikable, so I don't think Epic Love Story would be for me either. And a bad narrator can definitely ruin a book!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I had high hopes for Epic Love Story but when practically every character is unlikable... well, it certainly didn't make me feel invested in their outcomes.

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  7. Oh sorry these were both bad for you!!! I have Epic Love Story on my TBR ( I think) but might not run for it now.

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    1. Epic Love Story seems to be a "it's me" thing because everyone else seems to be enjoying it. I hope you will, too!

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  8. I read Burn for Me years ago and loved it. I tried book #2 on audio last month and I STRUGGLED. Not a fan of that narrator and I just plodded through. I doubt I'll read the third.

    And I liked Epic Love Story but you're right about all of it and I don't even know why it worked for me lol I think the timing was right because that kind of thing pisses me off too. That's why I won't even recommend it to people because I doubt any of my friends would enjoy it. But I thought it was kind of messy and realistic in that selfish teenage phase.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Yeah, I think if I had just started with the ebook I would have been fine. But now that the narrators voice is in my head... nope. It pretty much botched the series for me. Ugh.

      Oh my gosh, your comments about Epic Love Story are too funny. It's like, "Yeah all that stuff makes me mad, too... but I liked it." Hahaha! But I do get that teenagers are generally self-absorbed and even sometimes selfish and mean. And I tried to keep that in mind. Like you said - realistic. But after almost 200 pages of it I was just done. *sigh*

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  9. I don't think either of these books would be good choices for me either. The narrator can absolutely make or break a story in audio form so I think I've been lucky to only get one bad fit in all the ones I've picked.

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