Paper Fools by Staci Hart

Blurb:
34854820Bestselling author Staci Hart brings you an addictive romantic mythology series where love is the ultimate game, and Aphrodite always wins.

She’s everything I want, and she can never be mine.

I thought my heart was too mangled to love.

I thought my soul was too sullied to touch something so pure.

I thought I knew myself. But the truth is that it’s all a lie, and she’s the only one who can save me from myself.

But I don’t deserve her.

And she can never be mine, no matter how much I need her.

*This rockstar romance novel, formerly titled Deer in Headlights, has been rewritten and reedited for your enjoyment.*

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My Review:
3 stars — I snagged this one for free as this author will be going to a signing I’m attending, and the 3rd book in the series was coming out.  And I’m intrigued by mythology stories.  But there were so many things that just didn’t quite work for me personally…things that might not bug other people, but just made this not a Lenore read.

First: There was too much going on.  There are two separate stories in this book, and neither one got enough attention to truly capture me and suck me in.  This might be ok for others, but it left me disappointed and inevitably bored.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was mainly one story, with just a tiny bit of the other story thrown in, but it was pretty equal.  There’s the overarching story of the Greek gods and goddesses, and the competitions they are holding, and the challenge between Aphrodite and Apollo that is the basis for the story in the human realm.  And if it had just been a little bit of that, it actually could have been fun.  But within that realm we also get a lot of backstory about Aphrodite, Adonis, Apollo, and Ares (all the A’s!!).  And if that had been the whole story, I actually would have enjoyed it more…I found the backstories kind of intriguing and I was sucked in and even cried a bit.  But then there is the story about Lex and Dean, the humans that are part of the challenge.  And if they had been the main story, I might have liked it better.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  If any one element had been more prominent, I would have enjoyed myself more, because they all had potential.  But because we kept getting shuttled back and forth, I never really got a chance to fall in love and empathize with any of the characters.  I would start to, and then I would have to switch gears and go to the other story.

Second: There were too many POVs!!!  If it had just been the 4 main players (Lex, Dean, Apollo and Aphrodite), I would have been OK.  But we also got to hear from Kara (Lex’s BFF), Roe (Dean’s BFF), Travis (the boyfriend), and I feel like maybe another god or goddess…I can’t even remember you guys.  Now, there are two sides to this coin, because I actually enjoyed some things I learned in the other POVs, but it kind of left me whirling occasionally.

Third: I’m not a cheating girl.  It’s one of my button topics, it’s totally a personal preference thing, but it just puts a barrier towards liking a cheating character.  And while there wasn’t really a huge instance of cheating, there was an element in the human story (Lex has a boyfriend when she falls in love with Dean), and Aphrodite (Dita) herself is not a monogamous goddess.  At least Dita didn’t really promise monogamy to anyone, but I’m just a stupid romantic reader who likes to root for one couple, so watching her go from guy to guy never let me root for any one pairing, you know?  I’m serious when I say it’s just my own personality quirk, I’m trying not to judge, but…*sigh*  OK, I guess I’m a bit judgey.  If she supposedly LOVES Adonis, then the Ares stuff ends up feeling like cheating.  I don’t know.

I never really liked Lex or Dean, though I really did feel for Dean and his past.  I couldn’t help but wonder if he was on the spectrum, because that’s what his emotional coldness felt like to me.  I’m also not huge on love at first sight stories (lust yes, love no), and their love moved very quickly (but at least we could blame the gods/goddesses for some of that).  So I really had no investment in their love story at all.  That love story just ended up leaving me bored because of my lack of investment.  The bright spot were Roe and Kara, which is where having their POVs was a mixed blessing.  I rooted more for their romance than Lex and Dean’s.  And both Kevin and Travis were also very likable secondary characters!  It’s bad when you like the secondary characters more than the main ones.

And that brings us to the gods/goddesses story.  I actually really loved Apollo, and really felt for him (especially with all we learn about him).  His story made my heart ache.  His was done very well and added things.  Dita was harder to love.  She was as you would expect a goddess to be, so it was at least realistic…she was spiteful, vengeful, had a temper, all those less desirable qualities.  She did have good ones too, and I enjoyed how she developed over the story, and I did have sympathy for her.  I also really enjoyed her friendship with Perry, they made me laugh.  And Heff was so sweet, I just felt sorry for him.  And I actually really enjoyed the whole backstory of what happened to create this feud, and I liked how it resolved.

So as you can see, I’m seriously torn.  Like, I enjoyed quite a few elements of the story, but when you put them altogether it got to be too much, and not enough all at the same time.  Oh well.  Not for me.  I’m also not sure if Ms. Hart’s writing style is for me, because it was a bit flowery at times (which is not the right word, but I never know how to describe it).  I would catch myself stumbling over sentences, and growing impatient to get to the good stuff.  That’s all me too, just might not be the right match.

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