My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I met the author at the Ohioana book fest and thought this mystery sounded fun. I enjoyed it mostly but there were things that kept me from liking it as well as I wanted. Eve Angelotto works at the family Italian restaurant after an injury sidelined her dancing career. She’s the main chef and walks into the place one morning to find her grandmother’s boyfriend dead ontop of some opera collectibles. Naturally the police suspect Maria Pia (Nonna to Eve) is the killer and Eve takes it on herself to clear Nonna’s name. Here was one of my first problems. We see no reason to suspect that the police aren’t doing their due diligence, or incompetent or anything really. They aren’t very well drawn.
Eve with the help of a lawyer friend and her large family begin to peel back the layers of the victim’s life and he was not who he seemed to be. The mystery wasn’t bad but there were things that bothered me, like how easily the lawyer breaks the law. I wanted way less of the attempted rom-com because a) it made Eve look clueless and it distracted from the romance. I just didn’t think it worked and while I understand the pressure an Italian grandmother can bring to marry, Eve’s desperateness to find a man irked me.
Nonna was something of a...handful, is the nicest way I can say it. Maybe she reminded me too much of my own Italian grandma who was a hard woman some ways so there was that. I wished there was less of the romance and more on character development. How did she get hurt? Why come back? There could have been more there. Would I read another? Yes, I think so but hopefully Eve will gain a clue or two in the future.
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Deathwish by Rob Thurman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I let a shocking five years go by since the last book. I tore through the first three but needed a break then lost this in my huge TBR pile. What as shame because I do enjoy Cal and Nik’s story. It’s more of a 3.5 read for me but it kept me well entertained on the plane. One of the things I really like about this, as opposed to some of the other urban fantasies I read is that while it may be a year between books, it’s not a year in the story. The first four books take place in a matter of weeks. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of repeat bad guys and the first three books, and this one too, are all about the Auphe, the demonic heritage Cal carries in his blood. My first thought was please let this be the end to the auphe storyline.
In this Cal and Nik are once again faced with the Auphe hunting Cal down and every time Cal uses his magic, he gets closer to being Auphe, to the point that he’s realized they’re now all females after him and that this utter destruction of the Auphe last book were all male. And it takes him WAY longer to figure out what this means for him than it should (Okay he can be dense but still).
On top the Auphe hunting them down for mating rights, Nik’s vampire girlfriend first gets them a job protecting her ex, the vampire Seamus and then something from her past resurfaces bringing a deadly supernatural from South America with her. So Cal, Nik, Promise and Robin have to fight a war on two fronts which puts them in a bad position to say the least.
The good parts: the brotherly bond and snark (Fans of Dean and Sam would probably like this), Robin the pervy Puck, two decently plotted villains.
The less good parts: I hated the ending of the Promise subplot because this could have easily ended far less darkly than it did. It felt gratuitous. The endless angst over Cal being half Auphe and Nik not always being able to protect him. Seriously, you could have a deadly drinking game with this book. Every time Nik or Cal angst over Cal’s half Auphe side, take a drink. Every time Nik or Cal whine about how crappy a mother Sophia was take a drink (take a second if they call her a whore), take a drink every time Nik calls Cal lazy or Cal calls Nik a Buddhist bad ass, or when Cal worries he’ll go Auphe and kill some one or Nik is called a super warrior. You get the picture. This book would literally be 50 pages less if not more if that had been trimmed. Subtle this book ain’t. Still I’m looking forward to the next one. Did I get my wish about no more Auphe? Read and find out.
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