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Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter 2.5/3 stars

Interesting book. First urban-fantasy? book I think I’ve read. Took a while to catch onto facts and the time setting. I’m still not sure if this is set in the future or is current era just more modernized and futuristic. I wish the author acknowledged the time setting at some point considering a whole year passes throughout the story. The world-building in this was non-existent which surprised me. I get this is part of a series but I feel there could have been more attention to detail to the time setting and even some of the characters.

I almost quit this book a few pages in. The main characters and dialogue just didn’t jive with me. But I forced myself to keep reading and it got a little bit better, the story had potential but it was riddled with things that bugged me as the story progressed. One too many WTH moments for me that prevented me from enjoying or liking the overall story.

Promising beginning but the payoff was dragged out till eternity that I ended up not caring much for the story or characters two thirds in. And when I mean dragged out I mean dragged out like pulling teeth. Plus there were one-too-many plot holes and contrived plot points for me. Noelle is an interesting heroine, definitely brazen and very eccentric. She reminded me a lot of Anya from Gena’s LOTU series, and I saw a little bit of Kaia in her as well. It was a little eye-roll worthy how Noelle was constantly described by the author and several other characters as being completely perfect, a walking Amazon, a sexpot with curves and legs for miles and she knows it blah blah blah. Yeah yeah I get it. And there were moments that I found Noelle a little silly and a lot reckless. She's not for everyone. Her brazenness and ridiculous silly sense of humor can get under your skin sometimes. She was too flighty for my tastes. There were one or two stunts that she did that I thought were kind of over the top and not ‘normal’ behavior and turned me off a little. The whole boob-flashing incident for one. No woman in her right mind no matter how confident or self-assured would flash their goods to an entire training camp just to ‘distract’ her instructor. What are you 12 years old? That's a touch too loosey goosey for me. The other WTH? moment would be her planting a big wet one on her BFF Ava during her wedding ceremony. O_o The whole making out in front of an audience and in front of the groom-to-be was just ick for me. It wigged me out. And it's also in part to Noelle's severe possessive territorial streak when it comes to her only friend Ava, at times it almost seemed like she was in love with her. I thought their whole dynamic and relationship was weird and a little crazy cooky unhealthy at times. I just at times found myself annoyed rather than endeared to Noelle's constant checking up on Ava and crying over losing her when Ava gets married. It was eye-roll inducing rather than sweet to me.

As for Hector, he really intrigued me in the beginning. He's quite a different hero which I liked. He was/is pretty stoic at times and has a dry sense of humor that peeks out a few rare moments. His physical description and brooding quiet attitude was just yum. He had a very sad traumatic childhood and that plays a lot in his adult life and the decisions he makes here. I felt for him but once again the never ending 'drama' that unfolds between him and Noelle just made me really frustrated with him and the story. He has the ability to set things on fire and turn anything to ash with just the touch of his hands or arms. What triggers it are his emotions mostly anger, frustration and lust. Once he meets Noelle his reaction to her causes his arms to react uncontrollably. So that opstical and this never-played-out (or resolved) vision that his friend Dallas has are the catalysts for the long drown out 'yes no!' merry-go-round these two go through throughout the book. And the vision was like a huge elephant in the room that was never fully resolved and in my opinion half-assedly thrown in there. Which brings on my other problem, there were some serious story pacing and editing issues in here. It made the story and characters for that matter come off moronic. We get this big doom and gloom vision Dallas has that we don't see but rather just have Dallas explain to Hector and drives Hector's decision from there on out and it was never resolved. But it was a major wrench and one of the factors that kept having Hector pull away from Noelle constantly. It just came off like a wishy washy plot point to throw in there.

Since a whole year passes through this book there seemed to be a lot of summarization and scenes/dialogue that happen off the page that bugged me. Made the whole plot seem disjointed and just screamed poor editing. You have characters leaving/going to places you don't have a clue about until they talk about it the next day or summarize a 'discussion' they had w/ a character that happened off the page. That's a big pet peeve of mine in general when it comes to reading books. Don't give me over-generalized watered down summaries, give me dialogue and action. I just think there were a lot of poor editing decisions made in this. I felt like huge chunks of the story/dialogue were cut out just to save time and move the story further. Made the whole pacing of the story really choppy and confusing to follow. I mean Noelle blurts out she's pregnant with another man's 'child' and we get ZERO reaction from Hector. The scene just ends there and we jump to the next scene which is the following day.....HUH? You can't do that and expect readers to follow along and understand what's going on. The reason I say this is because the fake pregnancy isn't addressed until later on when they are in the middle of having sex Hector feels a pang of guilt and uncertainty and I'm not even sure if he actually bought the lie or was going along with it?? It was never fully cleared up. I was really confused. The editing was really sloppy and there were some inconsistencies because of it.

As for the secondary characters, the more I read about them, the less I wanted to know and less I cared for them. The shine started to wear off as I kept reading. They just came off more erratic and unrealistic then anything. And by unrealistic I mean cartoonish. Dallas and Devyn in particular. Sure they are fine looking otherworlders but have the vocabulary and mind set of horny frat boys. Not. Sexy. This is a problem and something Showlater tends to do with her characters, she makes them sound juvenile and immature just for laughs and it comes off obnoxious and contrived rather than entertaining. It was like every character I started to have an iota of interest in quickly fizzled with how they acted in this. The dialogue was the most cringe-worthy thing. It's typical Gena style but it does more harm than good when it's used throughout the entire book by every other character. She got very heavy-handed with the 'omg, like really?' tone in here. McKell who's the king of the Vampires, Ava's husband sounded all kinds of delicious and dark until he opened his mouth. I don't like my vampires to sound like frat boys. Not sexy. Devyn and his bromance with Dallas, threatening to kill a female to protect his friend. Eh no thanks. Plus the whole watching a female butt naked cause it fancies him. Yeah NO. Another thing that I wish Gena left out was Hector getting turned on while watching a tape of Noelle getting brutally beaten by an instructor during interrogation training. WHAT. THE. FUCK?. *screeching halt moment* *crickets* Foul Gena! Foul! I’m sorry but that’s two shades too wrong. I thought it was in poor taste. I don’t care how badass and sexy it is to see a woman mouth off and not flinch during an interrogation. When she’s getting the tarp beaten out of her there is no room for kinky shit or fantasies. Love you Hector but no. The poor man clearly needed sexual release cause he couldn’t seem to control junior down there. Like ever. Oh Moses I lost count how many times that man got hard and revving to go whenever he was in near vacinity of Noelle. It just was overkill for me and I got tired of the man cave inner dialogue.

Pretty much the negatives outranked the positives in here for me. Too many stuff that bugged the crap out of me and made the story unrealistic and weird and dragged out. Two of the main reasons I forced myself to read this was a) it's Gena Showalter b) that gorgeous HOT as hell cover you can't ignore. Seriously that cover lured me in. Wish the story lived up to it. :/