Monday, November 28, 2016

seriously romantic: winterblaze by kristen callihan

poppy ellis lane is miranda and daisy's eldest sister, though she didn't have much of a role in either of her sister's novels. but at the end of moonglow she's had to reveal to her sisters, and to her husband, winston, that she is involved with the society for the suppression of supernaturals (aka the s.o.s.). and that she has always been aware of miranda and daisy's supernatural abilities.

this does not go over well. there are still more secrets that poppy is keeping. and the thing is winston, in particular, is devastated because he has spent 14 years adoring a person he realizes he didn't know. not really and truly. and here's the other thing: i can sympathize with that. it was harder to sympathize with poppy. so this book, which is about how these two married people find themselves torn apart and who are still desperately in love with each other, was a bit of a challenge. because we are meant to empathize more with the woman, as a woman, i hate when i can't empathize more with the woman. we're supposed to be mad at him for leaving her, but she lied to him. and even when we find out the secret lurking in his past, it's not something poppy is even mad about. so even though he feels guilty, you end up feeling like he's feeling super guilty for no good reason.

i struggled with this because some of the conflict felt so manufactured. but the star of the novel here is really winston. maybe as he came around on poppy and we got more flashbacks to their original love story, he made her more likable, but he was just a great character all around and more familar to us given his presence in the previous books. unlike every other one of the characters so far in the series, he is truly human. [though, technically archer is human now that the demon that was possessing him was vanquished.]

this book actually served to do a lot more world-building, so that we could really understand the connections and provenance of the s.o.s. and it provides a peek at the next set of characters to get their own novel in mary chase and jack tallent. something i'm looking forward to. there was so much chemistry and angst there that felt real, rather than the rather tame love story of winston and poppy. it's hard to write a romance novel about two people who clearly love each other from the get-go and the only conflict between them is a silly argument. yes, there are other things happening in the story, but i like stories about relationships and how they build so this was less interesting to me.

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