Review: The Prince

tl;dr: soul-shattering bliss that’ll have you begging “merci”


The story:

The Prince picks up where The Angel left off, picking you back up before throwing you to the ground again. Repeatedly. I find it so difficult to review books that have given me so many Feels(tm) and wrecked me, but in a way that has me begging for more. (Tiffany Reisz is as sadistic as her priest.) So, I’ll try my best.

The narrative is split between two stories; Kingsley and Soren as an erotic sleuthing team going into the past of their childhood at St Ignatius, the Jesuit private school where they met, and Nora and Wesley in Kentucky, the land of horse-racing and money. What links the stories together is the underlying threat that was introduced in The Angel: the mysterious thief who stole Nora’s file from Kingsley’s office.

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Review: Cinder

tl;dr: imaginative futuristic retelling that makes Cinderella better


The story:

Fairy-tale retellings and remixes are fairly [heh, pun intended] popular these days. My 5 year old is devouring Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories, which involves a myriad of fairy-tales and nursery rhymes in a delightful romp, all interconnected by immense world-building and an imaginative story. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles may be the YA version of this, incorporating other extremely popular themes for YA lit. It’s got a love story (although it’s not really the focus), an awkward teenage girl, and futuristic/sci-fi elements. I wouldn’t really call this a dystopia, although it borrows pretty heavily from a lot of other dystopian trends. There’s abject poverty, close living arrangements among the poor, a vaulted upper-class, copious technology, androids, and a plague that’s systematically killing off citizens.

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Review: King’s Captive

tl;dr: fast-paced sexy thriller that keeps you guessing


The story:

Some books, you need to just hold on to your hat and go in for the ride. This is such a book. Every twist and turn I kept chortling and saying “this is nuts!” but I couldn’t stop reading. I was 100% sucked in to this story, and devoured it with near obsession.

The story begins with our main character, having suffered a traumatic experience at her 18th birthday party, now the hostage of some shadowy figure who is apparently incredibly skilled at carving up animals for dinner. He stinks of sex appeal, and this woman is torn between a desire to keep her senses intact and to jump him. She keeps waffling about whether she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, plotting her escape.

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Review: Choosing You

tl;dr: novella that’s short, sweet, and spicy


The story:

There are a few writers out there that can impel me to click on the purchase button with very little debate, and Jenny Trout (or her pseudonym Abigail Barnette) is one of them. This short and sweet novella is new adult, meaning that it is a stepping stone between young adult and regular adult (old adult?) fiction, so basically this story is about college-age adults, who are so new to adulthood that these stories usually present with a few themes, like finding careers, discovering themselves as individuals, and immaturity.

Madison is taking a 6-week course in Wales, partly because she enjoys the subject of Arthurian literature, but let’s be real: mostly she wants to make goo-goo eyes at her devastatingly sexy professor. She’s shocked when it turns out that her desires aren’t unrequited, and they embark on a pretty sexy affair. Madison, however, begins to realize that the daydream of banging her professor and the reality of it are not quite the same, and she needs to do some soul-searching during her 6-week trip.

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Review: A Fare To Remember

tl; dr: no plot, just badly written porn


The story:

I’m no stranger to a racy novel. In fact, some of my favorites have some pretty explicit content. However, I do tend to require some kind of plot with my novels, and this book … did not have one. It had just as much plot as I imagine a pornographic film would, meaning it was pretty thinly developed and barely made sense, stringing together the erotic scenes rather than composing a story.

The description for this book is 100% inaccurate, especially since ‘Rex’ is not a character in this book. The handsome billionaire is Reid, and what the description also doesn’t say is that Stevie becomes entangled in a menage-a-trois with Reid’s roommate and business partner, Dylan (who is also a billionaire, but he’s different, he’s ‘bad’ because he has tattoos).

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Review: Coming Home

Ugh.

So the cover is beautiful.

But this was not a novel. Or even a novella.

This was a very rough draft of an interesting story, that started near the very end of it. I wasn’t invested in any of the characters, because all the backstory was filled in by a bunch of info dumps scattered throughout. The characterization, particularly for the heroine, was scattered and hard to follow, and honestly, not very well thought out. I mean, is she tough or not? Can she take care of herself or not? Is she sassy or sweet? And her BROTHERS. OH. MY. GOODNESS. They may have well have bartered for her worth with the hero, because that whole scene was cringeworthy at best.

The emotions didn’t resonate because they weren’t earned. The smut took turns being sorta hot and then being completely weird. (Second book in a row where the lines “and she loved it!” feature during a sex scene. Just… why? If she’s encouraging it to continue, the reader can figure it out.)

A lot of this book made me cringe. “If Kansas were his woman she wouldn’t be walking the streets by herself late at night.” HIS WOMAN?

and

“Kansas was naturally beautiful and didn’t need the layers of makeup some women felt the need to trowel on.” But some women DO need it?

and “He went to her bookshelves and perused what was there. You could tell a lot about a person from their personal belongings.” Or he could ask her?

And then Tobias goes back and forth several times on how his past experiences in the DEA affected him. He says that he hated the man it made him, that it didn’t even help anyone, but in the end he’s proud of the work he did?

Ugh. I just can’t go on.

***FREE EBOOK COURTESY OF NETGALLEY.COM***

Review: The Wingman

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun romance with some minimal drama, and I was eager to finish it. It wasn’t boring, and the writing is solid.

There were a few things that confused me a little, and partly it’s because I had a really hard time placing the book until about 20% in. It takes place in South Africa, a place I am wholly unfamiliar with. The cultural aesthetic seemed to be in between British and American, and so I kept wondering over and over where exactly this story was taking place. Finally, ‘Cape Town’ was mentioned, and I got it. I think that should have been cleared up within the first chapter. And because of my unfamiliarity with South African culture, some of the words choices may have been spot on but seemed a little too formal or too crude. For example, the words ‘bitches’ and ‘bitch’ were tossing around like pronouns, and it seemed excessive for what I’m used to. But maybe the word *is* tossed around a lot in South Africa?

The middle of the book was pretty good. Lots of believable family drama, and the insertion of Mason into the family dynamics was solid. Where the book lags is in the set up and in the conclusion. The set up was disjointing because there was a lot of exposition in weird asides, things that could have been weaved into the main storyline better. The conclusion felt laggy but rushed at the same time. I didn’t quite understand Mason’s reasons for pushing Daisy away. And of course, Daisy ending up in the hospital caused them to come together which is a little tropey, but it also made sense with the story and early plot developments.

Now, what most of you are here for: the smut. Ah, it needed a little work. Most of the foreplay was great – hot, leaving the reader wanting more, just enough to push the plot forward. But the actual sex was riddled with strange dialogue/thoughts from the characters. Example: “It was crazy, hot, and sexy, and Daisy loved it!” Complete with exclamation point. Also, it takes me aback when male bodies are referred to as “furry” and that’s supposed to be complimentary (in that instance it was his balls. I mean…?).

Overall, it was a quick read and I enjoyed it, despite the minor things that sometimes took me out of the story. Also, there’s a pomeranian named Peaches and a black lab named Cooper who fall in love. That’s excellence, right there.

**free book courtesy of NetGalley.com**

Review: Hard Knocks

The problem with reviewing this book, and others like it, is that it wasn’t very memorable. Nothing was glaringly awful about it, but it also wasn’t so great that all I can do is wax poetic over it. Partly, I think that’s because the most interesting parts about it were glossed over as the setting. Writing this review, I can hardly even remember the heroine’s name (it was Helen).

The author dances around the topic of her dad’s illness and subsequent descent into dementia, and having her try to battle her inward struggle between her attraction to a hockey player who likely could end up with the same time of brain injury from a violent sport. But there are all these reasons for her reluctance to pursue Adam the hockey player that don’t seem worth wasting the ink on. Her fear of brain injury should be enough. And then, the subplot where they duke it out in public over whether hockey should be banned and the weird Russian mafia guy who has apparently a cadre of concubines on every continent just made the whole thing weird. All of these little pockets of plot could really have been eliminated because they weren’t all that interesting.

I like a enemies-to-lovers trope as much as anyone, but this just seemed way too manufactured. We also get glimpses into Adam’s relationship with his own father but barely enough to go on. The author didn’t let the characters breathe in amongst the plot.

Also, I feel cheated that the adorable scene of ice skating on the cover was not in the book.

Review: See Jane Score

This book was one of those mediocre books that capture your attention just enough to keep going although the technical aspects aren’t so great. There were some weird choices in wording, strange repetitions, and the plot kind of rushed forward then stalled out a bunch of times. The characters were really great, though, even if the romance itself didn’t seem to be very believable.

Okay, I take that back. Everyone but the heroine was believable. I didn’t understand her motivations or her behavior at all, and I think that is the major shortcoming of the book. There’s a lot of her friend just telling her how she is about relationships, but that doesn’t really make it true to the character. Her development wasn’t very well done. Luc and the rest of the hockey players were great though, I enjoyed them, and I found Luc’s storyline fairly believable and true to an arc. I also loved his interactions with his sister, and how their relationship changes through the book. Jane was too plain.

Review: The Royal We

I found this book really hard to get through. There was a lot of story to lead up to what is really the main plot, all of which takes place in the last 50 odd pages of the book. I just wasn’t particularly invested in the story of Bex and Nick, and was way more curious about just about every other relationship. I didn’t see the plot twist coming, but that may have been more that I just didn’t care. I’m probably the wrong audience for this book because royals don’t interest me in the least. There just wasn’t a lot of meat in the story to keep me going. Now, I would 100% read a story about Lady Emma and Prince Richard, that story sounded really good.

And there’s really no resolution to the end. We don’t know if all the shenanigans paid off, or if they start a whole new problem. Is that because there is sequel in the works? Who knows. I probably won’t read it if there is.

This is one of those books that I feel bad for not liking because it was well written and the characters are decently fleshed out but I just didn’t find the story compelling. That’s the reason my rating is as high as it is, I’m sure lots of people would really enjoy this book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.