Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)

Hey you! Yeah, you! 

Are you feeling Grinchy right about now? 

Would you like your heart to grow three sizes?

Yes? 

Then please go read A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong immediately. It might be the perfect Christmas romance. It’s utterly charming and includes just enough of the obligatory “let’s do Christmas cheer” activities without being twee. It features two protagonists for whom *everything* goes wrong (#relatable, what’s up 2021!), but things end up just right in the end (and my heart goes pitter-pat).

I agree with everything Erin wrote about the characterizations in her review. What she doesn’t discuss is how crisp the writing is. Not just on the level of plot and characterization—because the way Grant builds up the tension between these two crazy lovebirds is masterful—but also on the level of word choice. 

Here are the first two paragraphs:

The trouble, Andrew Blackshear would later reflect, might have all been avoided if he’d simply kept to the main road. His first glimpse of the girl would then have been indoors, seated, with her hair bound tidily back, and their first dialogue would have been an inquisition so tedious as to temper the allure of those great swooping clean-edged curves that made up her prodigal mouth.

But with no way of knowing what lay in store, he hadn’t any reason to avoid the detour. The clouds broke above him, he turned down a lane whose towering yews promised a bit of shelter, and trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.

“Trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.” Just sit and savor that clause. I am egregiously bad at text analysis, so I can’t explain how amazing it is, but I can feel it, in my guts.

Look, both Erin and I thought this book was really really wonderful. You should probably just trust us. (Read on for Erin’s thoughts on the characters, plus general squeeing.)

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)”
Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)

I started reading Nalini Singh’s psy-changeling series after Erin binge-read them all and then texted me every day about how amazing they were. I thought the first two were mildly entertaining, but I promised Erin I would read up through Book 3 before I gave up on the series. 

I think I’m giving up. So here are some notes on Caressed by Ice from someone who didn’t love it. 

First, I do agree that the worldbuilding is excellent, and I love that Singh expands out what we know about both psy and changeling politics in each book. If I were to read another book, it would only be to follow the continuing story of the psynet. (However, I thought the one-book mystery of who was killing pack members was underdeveloped—the villain wasn’t actually a real character, so I didn’t care when he was revealed.)

However, the gender essentialism in this series is…a lot. So if you feel your skin crawl when characters say things like, “Well, you know that women are more in tune with their emotions than men” (ugh, Faith Nightstar, ugh), then this book might not be for you. If you hate it when characters refer to “her innate female sensuality” or “his male dominance”, then this book might not be for you.

If neither of those things are dealbreakers, then read on for Erin’s enthusiastic take about how awesome this book is.

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)”