This review was posted today on Pure Textuality for Framed. It is by far the FUNNIEST review I’ve EVER read. I nearly peed twice. Enjoy!
Framed Review: (Jena Gregoire and Ginny Lurcock)
Note from Jena: I have been patiently…….ok….that’s a lie. A better way to put this would be I have been ‘quietly impatient’ for the release of Framed. A little over a month ago, Amber Lynn Natusch sent me an infuriating tease of a piece. The first twenty-something pages! Can you believe that?!?! What’s worse is the fact that it left off at a HUGE cliffhanger! No joke – she got an e-mail from me saying “you can’t do that to me!!!!” Well, I have sat (im)patiently waiting since then. Dropped little hints here and there (“how are edits going?” “do you have a solid release date yet?”) to try to get an idea of when I would see it. Not really “bugging” her, just trying to be all stealthy and get the goods! Well, a few weekends ago, she totally made my day! Not only did she send me a copy, she also sent one to the super fabulous and always hilarious Ginny Lurcock. Then I was chatting with Amber and she made a great suggestion about us doing a review together. So that’s what we are doing here today.
Jena: So I just finished Framed and I have to say, it’s not only a great addition to this series, but it’s officially taken the top spot as my favorite book out of the series so far!
Ginny: Oh my god… I’m glad you think so too! I was dying to get my hands on the third book in the Caged series, and it did not disappoint.
Can we talk about Sean first? I really want to talk about Sean first. I have to admit, I feel a bit bad looking back at my old reviews on how hard I was on Sean. After long LONG long discussions with Amber, I’ve become a total Seanvert. Which is a Sean convert… which I just made up… did you notice Amber makes me create new words? Yeah, her books require an improvement on the English language, that’s how good they are.
If I hadn’t been a Seanvert before Framed… I really would have been after. HO-LY-SHIT. It’s like someone took the best bits of Barrons, the Old Spice Guy, the Most Interesting Man in the World (from the Dos Equis ads) and the Ryan Gosling memes everyone loves (and by everyone, I mean me) threw them into a blender and out came Sean.
Jena: I SOOOOOO AGREE!!!! I will be honest. I couldn’t STAND Sean in the first two books! You know how your friends will HATE a guy that wronged you just on the basic principle that you are their friend and therefore he is the devil?? Well, that’s how I felt!!! Poor Rubes and all the jerking around and the emotional terrorism and all that crap. All it did was earn him a big black mark in my book. Framed has turned me into a Seanvert as well. (Great term, beeteedubbz!!!! That’s fantastic!!!!) Now, as is displayed in EVERY frackin’ book I read, I have always gone for the bad boy. Cheered on the villain. I don’t know why and I am sure there is something DEEPLY wrong with me because of it. Jericho Barrons, Eric Northman, Damien Salvatore, Cam, Frank, and Daniel the Devil’s Protégé. So naturally, the first time I read the Caged, I loved loved LOVED Eric. I had my hopes so high that Sean wasn’t going to be the hero. In Haunted, I was still a little bitter about Caged so I held out. Luckily, she had Coop around and he made things……interesting. In Framed, Sean 100% redeemed himself!!!! In a huge way!!!
Now, what are your opinions on Cooper??? I have always loved him as a character but not as anything more than a big brother type. Framed completely changed how I look at Coop too!!! Not that I am waiting for them to pick out wedding invitations or anything but Framed made me realize that he may not be totally out of the running for Man Meat of the Year.
Ginny: (I am so glad you went too Cooper next.) I had the opposite reaction to Coop. From the SECOND he appeared in Caged I was all *sits up and takes notice*. Even when he had his issues in Haunted I just wanted to give him a great big hug. So when you get to that bit in the hallway (trust me, you’ll know it when you read it), my heart was literally pounding and I was doing a little chair dance.
I’m not waiting for them to pick out China patterns either… but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the perfect wedding gift all planned out in my mind…
Which of course makes me feel bad for Sean. Which makes me feel like I’m betraying Coop… GAH! I do not envy Ruby the choice she’s going to have to make. You can feel it lurking there, just under the surface. Someday soon she’s going to have to pick between the man who makes her blood burn, and the man who is her rock.
Jena: I was afraid that The Hallway scene was going to take a massive turn for the violent. *dear readers – we’re not telling so go read the book!* Well, I guess it kinds sorta did in a way but I thought that there were going to be some very final consequences as a result of The Hallway. In a way, that sorta remains to be seen.
So let’s chat Character Development! That sounds incredibly boring but I can’t think of a better way to say “let’s talk about the ways a character changes to keep them interesting.” Anyway…
Everyone from the whole of the PC to Sean to Coop to Rubes to Ronnie to Peyta to Matty (What the WHAT?!??!) went through some serious changes in this book. Who and what stood out to you??
Ginny: Well obviously Ruby for starters… I mean our home girl ends up going through some seriously heavy shit in this book, probably more than in the first two if you can believe that. Even with everything though, she manages to handle herself with a certain grace that, faced with a similar situation, I doubt I would be able to muster.
Even with all that heavy shit though, I feel like Ronnie stood out even more. I mean after the ending of Haunted you knew shit was going to get real, but I couldn’t have even begun to predict how. There are a lot of curse words I can think to describe Ronnie’s journey in this one… but not a lot beyond those curses that doesn’t give key points away. Take my advice though and put aside any bad thoughts you have towards Ronnie… it’ll just make you feel guilty later.
Amber has this real sick way of building characters up just to tear them back down… and since you were there for their accent, you join them in their fall as well. This time she pushed Ronnie and the reader of the emotional cliff and smiled as she watched us fall. I can actually picture that smile too… that’s what makes it worse.
Jena: I totally agree with regards to Ruby and Ronnie both. I feel that they both morphed a bit in this book. I think that Ruby really learned a lot about herself in this book and it was growing that she really needed to do to move forward with her life and whatever path may lay ahead of her.
The one character that really stood out to me in this book is Scarlet! I think that Scarlet really stole the show. Not because she’s a big ‘ol bad ass. We already knew that. I think that she really had some moments to shine in this book and show us the stuff she’s really made of. Since ruby learned who/what she was in Caged, a part of me has really been hoping to see more face time with her and I feel that we are really moving that way. We are getting a glimpse of what makes Scarlet tick and as scary as it may be, it’s a fantastic view!
I also think that it goes without saying (after our earlier talking points) that Sean should be lumped in with this group. As we are both Seanverts, I think you can agree on that. There’s a reason that we ARE Seanverts and the events of Framed and the things we see in Framed are what did it.
Ginny: OH MY GOD HOW COULD I FORGET SCARLET?! I feel like such a bad Scarlet fan. Or maybe it’s just because I have that shrine to Scarlet in my closet that I think everyone else should too…
Scarlet really did steal the show this book. I mean, she did one really shitty thing to Ruby, REALLY SHITTY, but you can’t even hold that against her. I mean, every time Ruby got herself into trouble Scarlet was there to bail her out. Even when Ruby didn’t know she was in trouble. Jena is right, this time around Scarlet’s ubernicity wasn’t exclusively in the realm of “ass kicking” or “being a catty bitch to Sophie.” Shit needed taking care of, and she took care of it. We even got to see her put on her gum shoes and solve a mystery.
Hell, even Sean gave her props.
And yes, Sean did grow, but if I talk about him I’ll swoon over that line. You know… the line… Crap… I’m swooning just thinking about it.
*runs to get a glass of water*
Jena: Don’t hurt yourself with a swoon-a-thon!!!! Seriously. That’s been known to KILL people!
Yes, Sean definitely had his moment to shine in this one. The Line was a wonderful one. It totally redeemed him in my eyes. Obviously, that is not the ONLY thing in Framed that made me a Seanvert but it was a big one.
So let’s talk technicalities for a minute. One thing that I always look for when reading a book is the technical stuff. I don’t mean picking apart the book for a missed comma or an uncrossed T. I look for the framework of the story. I felt that Amber Lynn Natusch did a fantastic job with Framed. Caged and Haunted are wonderful books but this one most definitely took the cake, IMHO. She’s got a talent for urban fantasy as a whole but she also has a good solid grasp on writing a mystery. That was something that impressed me greatly about her writing style in the first 2 installments.
Well, I feel that she took it to a whole new level with Framed. This installment in the series is much darker feeling and……well, not that I sit around trying to predict the ending of every book I read but I wasn’t able to get a read on the big reveal in this one. Not even a little bit. And it’s a BIG REVEAL. It’s more like a landslide of several big reveals and I couldn’t have been more stunned!
Ginny: I do sit around trying to figure out whodunit. It’s just this thing… it’s like a sickness… Really though, crazy theories is what makes mysteries fun for me. In “Framed” I had an “I don’t trust…” an “I hope it’s…” and a “oh I wonder if…” All of which I sent to Amber. She was nice enough to not out and out laugh at me for the one that was so off base I think I owe the character an apology card.
And probably a basket of fruit.
None of which were the reveal I’m pretty sure you’re talking about, since I don’t think anyone could see that coming from a mile away. It was the literary equivalent of being hit by a subway train above ground… in New Hampshire… There was no way you could have predicted it. In fact, I’m preemptively calling anyone who says “oh I totally knew about that before it was revealed” a liar and a mystery hipster. Don’t be that person.
I totally agree with Jena, structurally the Caged series is aces. It’s not like one of those stories where you go “the idea was there but…” or “I really liked the characters but…” I love the characters, I love the setting, the idea is unique, and she has the mad writing skills to pull it all off.
Jena: Glad you feel that way! Well, I think we are going to wrap it up there. I don’t want to get going on a tangent and say things like “Can you believe that XXXXXXXX did XXXXXXXXX?!?!?!” or “I and blown away by the fact that XXXXXXXXXX is XXXXXXXXXX!!!”
Overall, Ginny and I both give Framed 5 toothy werewolf grins!!! Although this could easily be read as a standalone novel, you are most definitely screwing yourself if you don’t read Caged and Haunted first. All three are a fast-paced, quick read and you shouldn’t miss the story!!!