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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: How Beauty Met the Beast 
19th-Nov-2012 10:46 am
Summer
How Beauty Met the Beast, by Jax Garren. E-ARC. Urban Fantasy. Novella. First in the trilogy

Our beastly hero, Wesley "Hauk" Haukon, is a badly-scarred war veteran who has chosen to be an underground fighter for the right and good. Our beautiful heroine is Jolie Benoit, burlesque dancer, Ph. D. candidate, and daughter of a media mogul. They meet over a chance set of circumstances when the big bad evil underlords of America decide to do a little kidnapping in order to influence a news story.

This story starts with a stereotypical little chase scene on Hauk's motorcycle that is sprinkled with action/comedy dialog and little enough explanation. The two suspect good-guys decide to hide out at a friend's new burlesque show, where Jolie is introduced as she sidles down from the ceiling on her Lyra hoop to explain that her Christmas wish is to "be bad." She then has an anonymous triste with Hauk, and walks away from that pleasure into an assualt by more bad guys.

I can only guess that the shocking and titillating opener was supposed to bring the readers into alignment with Hauk's subconscious. The juxtaposition of soft porn scene, near-rape scene, then the violent rescue description done post-facto was a bit much for me. The action sequences themselves overshadowed what was otherwise an intriguing character - Hauk - and made him into a violent, blackout-prone caricature. More than once, I found myself squinting at Hauk's actions or statements in a vain attempt to learn more about him. But this is only the first in a promised triology, so hopefully we will see more than his little gifts.

Despite the modernized version of a blatant opener, and then the back-to-back action sequences, I was pleased at how Jolie's character unfolded through the story. She had sufficient backstory to be plausibly gifted, and sufficient strength to be an action heroine while still being feminine. Her sense of humor was easily digestible, and I often found myself smiling in sympathy with her. I was very pleased at how the story ending turned on her words.

I picked "How Beauty Met the Beast" for my monthly Geek Speak Magazine review assignment because I was interested in the Beast (current-war veteran).

I recommend this story to people who aren't easily shocked by sexual violence, who like strong heroines, and who are in the mood for a sweet Christmas ending.

New-to-me Books for 2012

January
House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan, YA fantasy. 282 pages; hardback; stand-alone. 3/5 stars on Goodreads (3 = "liked it"), 4/5 stars on Amazon (4 = "liked it"); straight into the giveawaybox (eta: gone)
Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey, Fantasy. 404 pages; hardback; stand-alone. 2/5 stars on Goodreads (2 = "it was OK"), 3/5 stars on Amazon (3 = "it was OK"); straight into the giveawaybox (eta: gone)
Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt, Urban fantasy. 336 pages; paperback; first in the series. 3/5 stars on Goodreads (3 = "liked it"), 4/5 stars on Amazon (4 = "liked it"); going to keep it around and loan it to friends
Hexed edited by uncredited, listed under the first author, Ilona Andrews. Urban Fantasy, 326 pages. Paperback; anthology of four novellas. 3/5 stars on Goodreads, 4/5 stars on Amazon; going to loan it to friends who like Kate Daniels, then likely give it away.
Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White. YA Fantasy, 335 pages. Hardback; first in the series. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
Stormwalker, by Allyson James. Urban Fantasy, 330 pages. Paperback; first in the series. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson. YA Fantasy, 423 pages. Hardback, stand-alone. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
Shadow Ops: Control Point, by Myke Cole. Urban Fantasy... sort of... 382 pages. Paperback, first in the series. [4/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox.

February
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy. 672 pages. Paperback; first in the series.[4/5 on Goodreads] Borrowed.
Westward Weird edited by Martin Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes. Hell-if-I-know, 302 pages. Paperback, anthology. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire. Urban fantasy, 360 pages. Paperback; first in the series. Keeping it for now.

March
Fair Game, by Patricia Briggs, Urban fantasy. 293 pages; hardback; third in the series. Keeping it.
The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, Urban fantasy. 308 pages; paperback; anthology. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Tempting Danger, by Eileen Wilks. Paranormal romance, 301 pages. Paperback, first in the series. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Too Much Information, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Comic book, 127 pages. Paperback. 9th in the series. Keeping it.
Touch of Power, by Maria V. Snyder. Fantasy romance. 390 pages, paperback. First in the series. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Out Whom Shall We Gross?, by Brooke McEldowney. Comic book. 87 pages, paperback. First in the series. Keeping it.
Sonata for Piano and Armpit, by Brooke McEldowney. Comic book. 87 pages, paperback. Second in the series. Keeping it.
Sphinx's Princess, by Esther Friesner. YA Fantasy. 365 pages, paperback. First in the duology. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads.
Sphinx's Queen, by Esther Friesner. YA Fantasy. 347 pages, paperback. Second in the duology. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads.

April
Bone Shop, by T. A. Pratt. Urban Fantasy. Online. Prequel to the Marla Mason series.
Kitemaster and Other Stories, by Jim C. Hines. Fantasy. e-book anthology. 3/5 on GoodReads, 4/5 on Amazon.
How is that Underling Thing Working out for You?, by Scott Adams. 128 pages, paperback. Comic. Keeping it.
Teamwork Means You Can't Pick the Side That's Right by Scott Adams. 128 pages, paperback. Comic. Keeping it.
The Sentinel Mage, by Emily Gee. Fantasy. 509 pages, paperback. First in the trilogy. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads; 4/5 on Amazon.

May
Dragon Ship, by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. e-ARC. Science Fiction. Fourth in the series; 14th in the Universe.
Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers, YA fantasy. 549 pages; hardback; stand-alone. Giveawaybox. 4/5 on GoodReads; 4/5 on Amazon.(eta: gone)
Eon, by Allison Goodman. YA Fantasy. 531 pages, paperback. First in the duology. It was a loan.
Silence, by Michele Sagara. YA Fantasy. 289 pages, hardback. First in the series. Keeping it.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth. YA Dystopia, paperback, 487 pages of story, 72 pages of afterwards. First in the duology.
Princeps, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Fantasy. 496 pages; hardback; fifth/second in the series. Keeping it.
Black Blade Blues, by L. A. Pratt. Urban Fantasy. 398 pages; paperback; first in the series. It was a loan.

June
Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, fantasy. 311 pages; hardback; seventh/eighth in the series. Keeping it for now.
Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn, urban fantasy. 308 pages; paperback; anthology related to the series. Keeping it for now.
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander, urban fantasy. 331 pages; paperback; first in the series. Giveawaybox.
Hex Appeal edited by P. N. Elrod, urban fantasy. 356 pages; paperback; anthology. Keeping it for now.

July
Spellcast by Barbara Ashford, fiction (urban fantasy). 433 pages; paperback; first in the series. Keeping it for now.
Monster in My Closet by R. L. Naquin. Urban Fantasy. E-ARC. First in the series.
Spellcrossed by Barbara AShford, urban fantasy. 448 pages; paperback; second in the series. Keeping it.
Cyanide & Happiness; Ice Cream & Sadness by Kris, Rob, Matt, and Dave. Comic books. 160 and 176 pages; paperback. Loaners.
Raven's Shadow by Patricia Briggs, fantasy. 334 pages; paperback; first in the duology. Loan.

August
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews, urban fantasy. 433 pages; paperback; sixth in the series. Keeping it.
Greywalker by Kat Richardson, urban fantasy. 352 pages; paperback; first in the series. giveawaybox.
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill, urban fantasy. 341 pages, paperback; first in the series. giveawaybox.
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill, urban fantasy. 357 pages, paperback; second in the series. giveawaybox.
Charming Blue by Kristine Grayson, urban fantasy/romance, E-arc, stand alone (I think). delete.
7th Sigma by Steven Gould, science fiction / western. 384 pages; paperback; stand-alone (I think). Keeping it for now.

September
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, urban fantasy. 325 pages, hardback, 11th in the series. probably giving it away.
Something Red, by Douglas Nichols, e-ARC. Stand-alone.
What Do You Want to Do before You Die? by Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, and Ben Nemtin. NonFiction, gigantic paperback, 224 pages. Giving it away to someone who needs it.
Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara, e-ARC. Book 8 in the Chronicles of Elantra.
Ashes of Honor, by Seanan McGuire. Urban fantasy, paperback, ?? pages. Book 5 in the October Daye series.
Last Wool and Testament, by Molly MacRae. Mystery, 319 pages. Paperback, first in the series.

October
Reason to Believe, by Diana Copland. Paranormal romance. e-ARC. stand-alone.

November
Matched by Ally Condie, YA Dystopia. 369 pages; paperback; first in the series.
Crossed by Ally Condie, YA Dystopia. 367 pages; hardback; second in the series.
"How Beauty Met the Beast" by Jax Garren, Urban Fantasy. E-ARC novella; first in the series.


Books abandoned in 2012:
Vamparazzi, by Laura Resnick. Accidentally picked up book 3; couldn't invest in the characters.

In case you want back references, here is the Books for 2011 round-up post
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