BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review of Blood and Fire by Shannon McKenna

Publisher: Brava Romantic Suspense
Series:  McClouds & Friends #8
Format Read: Trade paperback
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Buying Links:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  The Book Depository

Blurb from goodreads:
Restless and impulsive, Bruno Ranieri has the temperament to fit right in with the McClouds. And just like the McCloud brothers, Bruno has a dangerous past to contend with - one that's about to come crashing back into his life...Bruno Ranieri has always lived at a chaotic pace, and that goes double lately.
Since his uncle's untimely demise, Bruno is working himself to the bone, trying to keep his nose clean and save the family business. Not easy when the nightmares that plagued his childhood are hi-jacking what little rest he gets. So when exotically beautiful Lily Parr sashays into his all-night restaurant, claiming to be on the run from mysterious assassins, Bruno starts to wonder if sleep deprivation is finally getting to him. Especially when Lily implies that Bruno is involved. But the violence that accompanies her arrival is no illusion. Nor is the blisteringly hot, completely inconvenient desire that explodes between them.
Lily Parr has been a fugitive ever since her father's death a month ago in a mental hospital. Officials claimed it was suicide, but Lily's gut - and the savage murder attempt she barely escaped afterwards - say different. Snippets of information led Lily to Bruno's door...and his magnetic charisma compelled her right into his bed. But there are cold-blooded killers on her heels, with resources as limitless as their cruelty.
Bea's Thoughts:

I originally won this from the publisher but before I could read it, my brother gave it away (he was "helping" me clean *eye roll*) but I still wanted to read it. It took me a while to get around to it but I finally got it from the library. 

Once I started reading it, I enjoyed it although it was definitely over-the-top and the author has some odd word choices and an unfortunate tendency to indulge in purple prose. There were two word choices that pulled me right out of the story - early on the hero, Bruno, refers to his penis as a prong. WTF? That was an uncomfortable and disturbing image. I shared on facebook and someone commented that she thought it might be an old British term but still, eewwww. The other odd word choice was 'bimbo' used in reference to a toddler. The character speaking is originally from Italy, speaking the Calabrese dialect, and I thought child was bambino but an Italian acquaintance, when I asked for her input, replied
As for the word "bimbo", that's italian (sic), not a particular dialect, and it's short for "bambino", which is "child". "Bimbo" is male, singular, "bimba" is female, singular, "bimbi" is male (or if there are both males and females), plural, "bimbe" is female, plural. I have no idea if in Calabrese they often use "bimbo", but I think the Calabrese term for it would be something along the way of "picciddo" or "picciriddo": these are Sicilian terms, and Sicily is very close to Calabria, but as I said every region has its own dialect, so the Calabrese equivalent could be very similar or completely different.
 Still, while it may be linguistically correct, it's a skeezy word choice and hearing a grandmother refer to a toddler as a bimbo took me right out of the story. I did pick it back up again several hours later and continued reading. Things happen quickly and it's action packed; the book never feels padded despite being 503 pages long.

Lily has had a hard life; her mother died giving birth and she's spend most of life, starting in her teens,  parenting her father who is suicidal. Bruno's mother was killed when he was young and twenty years later he still has nightmares. He's made a successful life for himself and he is close to his aunt, Zia Rose, and his adopted brother Kev. Kev has recently found and reconnected with his biological family, the McClouds, and now Bruno feels left out. Lily and Bruno meet when Lily's father dies after babbling nonsense about people named Magda and Bruno. Bruno of course is our hero; Lily hares off to find him and things heat up quickly between them. Although the sex is great, Lily's tale sounds crazy to Bruno and he thinks she needs psychological help. Then they are attacked and the pace really picks up.

I haven't read any of the previous books in this series and at times, I was a little confused. There are a lot of McCloud brothers, most of whom have apparently had a book already. The book works as a stand alone but I think it might be best to read in order. The villain in this book is over-the-top and judging by references to other characters and their stories, over-the-top would seem to be McKenna's norm. However I enjoyed the storyline and would have liked to see it continued in future books but that seems unlikely now given the ending, which also over-the-top.

The story has insta-love, a big misunderstanding (though it occurs late in the story), a diabolical villain who needed more fleshing out but was interesting, a hot hero, a gutsy heroine, lots of purple prose, sexy love scenes, occasionally gory action, humor, interesting and fun secondary characters, a slightly implausible sci fi plot and it's all lots of fun. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, even though it was telegraphed early on, but overall I enjoyed the book and will probably pick up more in the series.

I borrowed this from the library.

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