Conquered by M.A. Wilder

Blurb:
20810385Beckit Wright has survived a string of attempted murders that spans her entire young life. And as Crimson’s attacks grow bolder and bolder, Beckit is faced with the grim reality that safety is no longer a possibility for her loved ones either. As the té-trad’s four members finally come together and Beckit masters her té-trad ability, Beckit is committed to defeating Crimson once and for all. However, the balance between work and her growing family is a precarious one, and she soon finds the cost of her success comes at too high a price. Powerful and gripping, this highly anticipated conclusion to The Té-trad Tale promises an epic ending to the tragic narrative of loss and love that has captured the hearts of readers.

WARNING: This book contains some adult language, violence, and sexual content. Reader and parental discretion is advised.

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My Review:
4 stars — This was a solid conclusion to what turned out to be a very entertaining trilogy!!  I think the strengths of this story lie in their diversity, the rich and varied world the author describes, and the humour mixed with emotion.

This book, like the previous ones, gave me things I both loved and not so much.  It was a bit of an up and down read, but balances in the good (obviously, since I gave it 4 stars).  Since I finished this while on a vacation where I didn’t have my laptop, this review is going to be more terse, since all I could do is send myself bulletpoints to try to remember.  Here goes…

I wasn’t super happy with the way certain conflicts were resolved with very little explanation, it seemed really easy and kind of like a copout.  But then the author did bring it back in the end and gave it more purpose, so I’m not as disappointed as I initially was.  But I still kind of wish that things weren’t resolved in that way.  And yes, I know that’s super vague, but I don’t want to spoil things.

I was disappointed that Aaron suffered from a case of assumptionitis not once but twice…  Once made sense, the second time was annoying and I was disappointed that there wasn’t another reason for the wall.

I loved some of the developments with some of the secondary characters, particularly Ran and Frost.  Thinking back on the series as a whole, I do wish we’d learned more about Frost and his backstory, but since I got some great developments in the Ran and Frost area, I’m still satisfied.  I also really enjoyed all the new creatures that were introduced, both bad and good.  The Tables amused me.  And Era and Hakeem Wyvem were cool, I liked knowing more about those other members of the Té-trad.

Strangely, I didn’t feel quite as much emotion at the first battle with the losses that occurred there, but I liked how it changed the story entirely, and kind of stepped things up a notch.  I just wish that I’d been able to feel those losses more…not sure if it’s because of the way they came about, or just the mood I was in when it occurred.

On the other hand, I felt a LOT of emotion with the final battle and climax, and really felt the sacrifices and desperation.  Like really felt it.  It was so well done.

One of the things that was vexing me at the end of the 2nd book was the lack of development with the overarching plot…like who was Crimson?  What is the Té-trad?  And what is Beckit’s ability?  Thankfully I loved the twists and turns of who Crimson was and other bad guys.  And I was thoroughly satisfied with the way the Té-trad stuff played out, and Beckit’s ability was really rather cool and added some great twists of its own in how the battle would play out.

So yeah, like I said…solid conclusion to a very entertaining series.

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Honored by M.A. Wilder

Blurb:
18912410Beckit Wright thought she would be safe on Traterra. However, she soon discovers that safety is no longer a possibility thanks to a shaky relationship with her new erone and the ever-increasing unrest across the planet. As she confronts issues of love, loyalty, and responsibility, Beckit must do her part to protect Traterra before Crimson stops her once and for all.

WARNING: This book contains some adult language, violence, and sexual content. Reader and parental discretion is advised.

 

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My Review:
4 stars — YAAYYYYY!!!  Much better!!!  I’m not sure if I just got used to it, or if it was really done better (I’m convinced it’s the latter), but the 3rd person felt more limited and less omniscient to me…or else it just wasn’t as jarring.  But really, the majority of it was in Beckit’s head, and I just loved it a lot more.  I was able to stay absorbed in the story.  And I didn’t notice the use of “the human” and “the poh iverstànt” as much.  I’m not sure if they were eliminated, or if I was just so absorbed in the story it didn’t matter, but whatever it was it was MUCH BETTER!!!  And the editing in general was much better, a lot less missed typos…

Holy schnike a lot happens in this book.  Well, a lot of different things.  We have a few strange twists and turns, some villains to play out, and new creatures to meet.  And overall I really enjoyed myself along the ride.  There was tension, and action (some gruesome), and oh the feels!!

Normally I’m not a fan of drawn out romantic drama, but I kind of felt for what Beckit was going through, and her reluctance made sense in terms of her background.  But I did enjoy how that all developed and played out over the story line.  And the steamy scenes fit better somehow, or maybe I’d just accepted them…it’s funny how things that will bug me about a first book just won’t matter as much in later books b/c it’s my choice to continue on, so I just accept that this is the way it’s going to be.

I also really enjoyed that Beckit put Aaron in his place a bit about the jealousy and high-handedness.  *high fives Beckit!*

And the secondary characters are still freaking amazing, and make up a great cast for this story.  And we just ended up with even more in this story, from ones that were constantly present (Xoe, Denzin and Dozen are da freaking bomb), to ones that only appeared for short times (Penn).

And as always, the diversity is still quite present in this book, even adding a little glimpse at transgender as well.  I kind of like that not a lot of time is spent on it, it’s just present.  You know, like real life.

So on the reasons this didn’t make 5 stars, I still feel like some of the plot devices? used felt a bit contrived (the whole tension and action at the end of a chapter that is quickly resolved)…or maybe not contrived, but just not my favourite tactic in writing?  And I was disappointed that more people didn’t clue into what was going on with Beckit and the villain in the first half of the story.  It was sort of explained away with other things occupying her friends minds, but it didn’t feel like enough for me.  And finally, I wish we had learned more about what the heck is going on in the overall plot.  Like who is Crimson?  What is the Té-Trad supposed to be doing?  When is she going to get her abilities?  How in the world is this war going to play out?

But despite those little things, I am so sucked in and already eagerly reading the final book.  And can I just say that the humour is fantastic?  It’s the little bits of levity and sass that really win me over every time.

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Armored by M.A. Wilder

Blurb:

17619234When seventeen-year-old Beckit Wright joins Aaron, a mesmerizing and mysterious knight, on a dangerous adventure to a world that she is destined to save, things get complicated when her safety and heart wind up in jeopardy. As the two struggle to keep their professional relationship from turning personal, Beckit and Aaron begin to wonder how long will they be able to fight both their enemies and their fierce attraction for one another before one of them ends up hurt or worse.

WARNING: This book contains some adult language, violence, and sexual content. Reader and parental discretion is advised.

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My Review:
3 stars — Wellllll…*beep*  I mean seriously.  I am a big ball of torn.  I don’t even know what that means, good start Lenore.

So here’s the thing.  There were two things about the way this book was written that just bugged the crap out of me.  I mean SERIOUSLY drove me batty.  And I will get into them.  And then there were a handful of things that kind of annoyed me, but not horrendously.  And then there were things I loved.  I spent the first half pretty sure that I would just finish the book, give it an OK rating, and move on with my life.  But the problem is that the good things have me compelled!  I want to know where the story goes!  And it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger…sort of…I never know the definition of cliffhangers, but it wasn’t all neat and tidy.  So I’m going to read the next one!  Even though GAH!!  JUST GAH!!!

OK, so let’s get the really bad out of the way and work our way to good.  Bad thing #1: this book was written in what I believe is 3rd person omniscient, and I do NOT read 3rd person omniscient, so I’m not sure exactly, but I don’t think it was done very well.  MOST of the time, and for a good chunk of the beginning it was in 3rd person limited (Beckit’s head), and I was enjoying that.  And then all of a sudden we definitely weren’t in Beckit’s head.  And it confused the crap out of me.  First because I wasn’t entirely sure whose head we were in, or if we were in any head…and it happened sporadically for the rest of the book.  We’d be going along as Beckit, and then wham…something else.  Sometimes I could figure out it was probably Aaron, but other times I just couldn’t tell.  And because it was so sporadic, it was really jarring and I honestly feel like the book would have been better served to stick to Beckit only…I don’t think the switches really added much given how confusing they were.

Bad thing #2: Sort of related, because sometimes when the POV was switching, it would almost be sort of like a narrator, and so the author would continuously switch out Beckit’s name with “the human” or “the poh iverstant”…  It really didn’t fit.  I don’t understand the point of doing that.  It felt like when someone is given the advice to change things up to provide variety, but it just again made me confused about the perspective.

OK, so those were the bads that drove me batty.  Onto the meh things.  1) The pacing was a bit off for me.  I felt like things moved really rapidly at the beginning, but without much explanation, and so I wasn’t invested.  I tried to explain the book to my husband and he laughed because I sounded like a run on sentence (“and then they got to the planet, and then they were attacked, and then they ran to a village…”).  And I didn’t like that the chapters would end with a sort of cliffhanger, but then would not immediately resolve in the next chapter.  Like (and this is not an actual example, b/c I don’t have one handy), she would turn around and scream, but then the next chapter would start off with her lounging hanging with her BFF, and eventually they would explain what made her scream.  It felt like contrived tension.

2) The love triangle was unnecessary in my opinion.  I mean, yes, it’s no secret I don’t like love triangles, but this one really didn’t serve a purpose, or at the very least it should have served a short purpose and been resolved.  (it kind of felt like we were getting into the trope of everyone falls in love with the heroine who thinks she’s an ugly duckling, and that’s just not my fave…especially because I kind of liked that Beckit was not a usual size/shape).

3) Aaron.  He was inconsistent as all heck.  He would have a few swoony moments, but I really didn’t know enough about him to really understand why he was drawn to Beckit, or what he was thinking, or heck, what he was like (which given that the perspective jumped, we could have had more moments in his head to enlighten us)??  And then he would become childishly possessive.  For a thousand year old Knight, he behaved like a child with a temper tantrum too often for me to swoon.  And I just didn’t get the pull that Beckit felt for him.  It felt like a crush and lust, I don’t think I got enough interaction to get where it turned into more.  Heck I don’t understand if they’re even friends.

4) The sex scene didn’t fit the tone of the book.  I’m a proud reader of all levels of steam, from squeaky clean to erotica, but the sex scene was hella explicit for a book that felt more YA than NA.  And for characters that were goofier.  But maybe that was just me (and at least there is a warning in the blurb).

5) Beckit and Tameka (but mostly Beckit) were way too accepting of things.  And for Beckit it was based on some feelings.  If those feelings were then explained to be some magic pull between an erone and his poh iverstant, then I would accept it.  But just because you acknowledge to the reader that she should be more wary/skeptical, but just isn’t, doesn’t really satisfy me.  And what are Tameka’s parents thinking?  And does she not care about them worrying about her?

Damn this review is getting long.  Sorry guys.  THE GOOD!!!  1) THE WORLD!!  Colour me intrigued.  I kind of love that there’s this planet that contains all these supernatural creatures, and that’s just the way it is and everyone just lives together.  It amuses me, I enjoy it.  And I ADORED the way the Knights were added, and how they’re kind of shifter like with their armor being a part of who they are as creatures or something.  Like seriously cool.

2) When the writing was on, I really felt for Beckit and the things she was going through, and she got me in the feels.  It wasn’t consistent, but when it was there it was amazing.

3) The bits of sassy humour!!  Seriously, the characters had me grinning in a number of places.  And I know this is a downside for some readers, but I enjoyed the youthful slang that Tameka and Beckit used.  It just fit their personalities and brought out their teenagerness.  And the games night!  It was a great moment of levity that was sorely needed.

4) Beckit was smart!!!  I ADORED the scene in the council meeting!  I wanted to high five her all over the place!

5) While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance, and it was inconsistent, when the chemistry was there I really felt it.

6) The motley crew of friends!!!  Tameka was sassy and pretty funny (though she would probably get on my nerves after a while in real life).  Linnie was an interesting addition, and I hope we see more of her in the future.  I really hope Frost has a lot more secrets to tell, b/c while he’s interesting, he will be even more interesting if there is something to the little hints we see every now and again.  Royce is even intriguing, he’s a nice foil for Meka.  And RAN!!!  Ran is my total favourite.  Love that guy.  I can’t even.

7) Even the smaller secondary characters were intriguing!!! (Denzin, Dozen, Xoe, Hakeen, Gwon)

8) Particularly Atlas!!  I love me a father/son dynamic, and he really added to the story.

9) And I can’t stress this enough, DIVERSITY!!!  A black heroine!!  A hispanic BFF!!  A gay werewolf!!  A bi vampire!!  And even secondary characters were a colourful array of ethnicities.

And this can go in the bad and good: the overarching plot!  It’s intriguing, but it was really shuffled to the background a lot.  I mean, I still don’t understand what the Te-Trad even is, or what they’re going to do, or much about where the whole conflict is going to go.  But nevertheless I’m intrigued!  I want to know!

So there you have it.  Next book has been purchased, about to be started.  We’ll see if I can tolerate the bad enough to enjoy the good for the rest of the series.

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Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

Blurb:
41qzzukgasl-_sx335_bo1204203200_Still mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother and shaken by her mysterious, dying request to “find the baby,” Abbi has just arrived at UW Madison for her freshman year. But on her second day, she wakes up to a different world: 1983. That is just the first stop on Abbi’s journey backward through time. Will is a charming college freshman from 1927 who travels forward through time. When Abbi and Will meet in the middle, love adds another complication to their lives. Communicating across time through a buried time capsule, they try to decode the mystery of their travel, find the lost baby, and plead with their champion, a kindly physics professor, to help them find each other again … even though the professor gets younger each time Abbi meets him. This page-turning story full of romance, twists, and delightful details about campus life then and now will stay with readers long after the book’s satisfying end.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well damn.  This book was sooooooo weird for me.  I was extremely compelled to read it, and couldn’t put it down (staying up until the wee hours of the night to finish it).  But I was also kind of unsatisfied with many aspects of the story, and I’m not exactly sure what was compelling me.  Honestly, I think I just wanted to know the answers.  I wanted to know the different mysteries, and I wanted to know how the time travel was going to work and be explained.

I can honestly say that the mysteries were my favourite parts of the story, from how the time travel was working to the lost baby plotline, even though the lost baby mystery wasn’t really remembered and reintroduced until fairly late in the story.  I think it’s so odd when something is part of the blurb, or mentioned at the very beginning, but ends up only being a small part of the plot as a whole.  I wasn’t expecting that, and it was kind of frustrating how it kept getting lost in the shuffle.  But at the same time I was really interested in finding out, and while I had some theories pretty early on that ended up coming to fruition, I was still really satisfied with the way that worked out.  I think I just would have liked for it to play a more central role in the book, instead it felt a bit tacked on…even though there was groundwork laid earlier, we as the reader didn’t know that.  I don’t know…

And then there’s the time travel.  I found it really compelling, but I have to say the explanation was very underwhelming.  But I think it still ended up being enjoyable for me, just because of the way the time travel was working and the theories I would come up with in my head, and that anticipation, that even though I was unsatisfied with the explanation, it still made for a fun read.  I think time travel is extremely hard to get right, and in the end this book just left me with a lot of confusing questions and plot holes, which is a shame.  Also, if you’re looking for a time travel book that’s science based, this book isn’t for you.  This was more just hand-wavy in the end…which would have been ok if a major part of the book wasn’t about the Physics Professor making it his life’s work to figure it out.  *shrugs*  See?  Mixed bag.

Honestly, I could write a lot more negative things about this book than positive things.  Abbi was not a very well-developed character, and I really couldn’t tell you what she was like, what interested her, any of that.  She was extremely shallow.  She was really just a vehicle for the plot I guess.  Which is kind of disappointing when she’s your MC and voice.  The Professor, Sharon, Ruby, and even Walter a bit, were more interesting and 3 dimensional.

The love interest, Will, was very sweet, but we really don’t learn much about his journey either.  And I was even less satisfied with his reasons for time travel than I was for Abbi’s (I was satisfied with Abbi’s).  And while the romance was sweet, it was a bit insta-lovey just because of the nature of the way their stories intertwine, and because we don’t really get to see them connect, it’s sort of glossed over in that they share time talking over weeks or whatever.  I want to see that chemistry and connection, not just have it exist out of nowhere.  And it really wasn’t a very prominent part of the book either, just a small section.

So see?  Not a lot of positive to say, but at the same time I really was entertained.  It was a quick read.  I’m not sure how well Ms. Stanton did getting the historical stuff right, but I’ve never been a historical book reader so that wasn’t what drew me to the book.  In the end it was pretty light on history, mostly just shallow details there as well.  So I guess I would mostly recommend this to those who enjoy a good mystery.  Because in the end that’s what drew me in and had me turning the pages to find the answers.  I’m just not going to guarantee that you will be satisfied with the time travel resolution.

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The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

Blurb:
23252517If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

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My Review:
4 stars — I’m often loathe to read books that are so highly regarded by so many people, b/c I’m always worried I will be the black sheep.  And I sort of am in a way for this book, in that unlike my friends, this was not a full 5 star read for me.  In fact, part 1 was not super compelling for me.  Ms. Harmon’s writing is really beautiful, but it’s not always my favourite style personally.  It’s really…lyrical?  Or you know, just more formal and literary-like than is usually my bag.  I just end up enjoying more straightforward writing sometimes.  Ms. Harmon is actually one of the few authors that tends to break me from my norm b/c her storylines are just very heartfelt and emotional, and they are worth taking me outside my comfort zone.

I was so glad that a few of my friend’s reviews mentioned that this story had a paranormal aspect, b/c I would have been really surprised otherwise.  Not that I don’t love a paranormal touch, but I hadn’t expected it from this story when I bought it so long ago.  But it was really intriguing, and I loved the way it was woven into the story, and the way it was described.  And how it changed and molded Moses, and how it affected his relationship with Georgia.

So why did Part 1 not compel me?  It was Moses.  He was kind of a dick.  I mean, I could sort of understand why he was the way he was, and I sort of understood how he became that way and why he acted the way he did towards Georgia…but at the same time I needed something to pull me in, and I don’t feel like I got enough from his perspective to really have me give him enough benefit of the doubt.

And Georgia was definitely more interesting of a character, but I couldn’t always understand who she was all the time either.  But I think that’s my failing, not the failing of the book.  I enjoyed how different she was, how spunky and straightforward and how she saw something special in Moses.

I didn’t expect all the different aspects to the story…not just the paranormal aspect, but the mystery as well.  And while I could see that the mystery was going to come into play, I can say that I didn’t predict the outcome to that at all.  And while I knew this book was going to slay me, I don’t think I knew in quite what way and so it still really got me.  I’m definitely glad I packed my pockets full of kleenexes for the end of this story, b/c I used them all.

So in the end it was part 2 that really made this book for me.  It was full of heartache and beauty and growth and just sucked me in and made me feel and gave me exactly what I was looking for.  And now I’m definitely going to have to read Running Barefoot.  Super intrigued.  And that’s my distracted review.

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Don’t Speak by Katy Regnery

Blurb:

33222262From New York Times bestseller Katy Regnery comes a new twist on a beloved fairytale.

A fisherman’s daughter.

The governor’s son.

Two very different worlds.

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of North Carolina’s governor at a fancy party where she’s working.

Laire, who wants so much more from life than her little island can offer, is swept away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate leads them back to one another, they will discover the terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

All novels Katy Regnery’s ~a modern fairytale~ collection are written as fundraisers. 10% of the e-book sales for in March and April 2017 will be donated to P.E.O. International, a non-profit organization that celebrates the advancement of women, awards scholarships and grants, and provides motivation for women to make their dreams come true.

**Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity, adult themes and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well darn.  I just didn’t connect to this book like I was expecting to.  I love Ms. Regnery’s Blueberry Lane novels, but this is the first of her Modern Fairytale stories that I’ve read.  I’ll still give the others a try, but I think I had some expectations for it from seeing people gush about those stories, and so I kind of set up roadblocks against myself if that makes any sense.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  It’s like, I wasn’t sure how the retellings would play out since they are contemporary stories, but I guess I just kept expecting one major plot point in this particular story, and didn’t quite get it.  I can’t really say more without giving minor spoilers.  While I have never read the original Little Mermaid fairytale, I do adore the Disney movie and I do know the basic gist of the original story…and I guess I felt that the absence of that major plot point was disappointing.

And those anticipations and expectations hindered my enjoyment in other ways too.  I kept trying to guess when certain things would happen or how certain parts would play out, and so I was never fully absorbed in the story.  Again, that was my fault.  Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood for a retelling.  Perhaps the pace of the first half just didn’t work for me, it was a lot longer than I was anticipating, and I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

One of the little things that threw me off were the many subtle references to the Disney film.  It’s funny, b/c while I adored the movie, it felt odd to me that there should be such obvious references (from character names, to subtle song nods).  This is TOTALLY a personal preference thing, but I often found those references, and even some of the ways in which Laire thought of Erik as the “Prince of Utopia Manor”, or Erik thought of Laire as a “little mermaid”, to be kind of forced, or contrived.  That doesn’t mean they were, that’s just how they felt to me.

I spent a lot of my reading time thinking that all the building blocks for a great story were there, but I just couldn’t connect with the characters.  And there weren’t any obvious reasons why, I’m not entirely sure if they were flat or if it was just me.  But while they did most things really right, I didn’t swoon as much as I expected, or get as many tingles, or even bawl in the places where I should have been crying…I didn’t shed a single tear.

I think part of my problem is that I felt a personal disconnect with Laire’s extremely sheltered upbringing, and those conservative views that often result in women being shamed just rub me the wrong way entirely.  It really fit well and made SO MUCH SENSE for how naive the little mermaid is supposed to be.  That was soooo well done (seriously, the set up of a sheltered island girl and a Governor’s son was a perfect way to make the story work in a contemporary setting).  But I didn’t end up feeling ANY good feelings towards her family, and perhaps I needed a little something to love about her father to understand her reactions later on.  But maybe that’s because they made me so angry that I didn’t care for her family at all.

OK, so I know…this review is ridiculously long.  I just…I like to understand what went wrong for me, especially when so many felt differently.  I DID love the romance.  I think I held myself back from Laire because of how naive she was, and so it made it harder to connect to both of them as fully as I might otherwise.  I LOVED that while Erik looked like he would be a party boy or something, he was not what I expected at all.  It was definitely a lot of strong feelings in a short amount of time, but young love can be like that sometimes so it didn’t bother me.  And can I just say that I love that he called her Freckles?  SO CUTE.

And I actually really enjoyed the part after the Interlude.  I felt like that was paced really well, and I adored a certain major character in that part.  I felt a lot more feelings in the second half, and started to connect more.  It definitely started hitting me in the feels more, but of course that part was shorter.

So yeah.  There you have it.  My thoughts.  *sigh*  *shrugs*

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Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken

Blurb:

31345293Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Oh dear.  I’ve had a hot and cold relationship with books written by this author.  I’ve read books that I really loved, but I’ve more often read books that just rubbed me the wrong way.  Strangely, this one wasn’t a full on hate, but it’s just not a Lenore book.  It’s not that I can’t see why people would enjoy it, it just wasn’t a good fit for me.  I have a few other books by this author that I’ll give a shot, but I think I’ll steer away from her normal contemporaries, or romantic comedies, b/c I just don’t think I have that sense of humour.

Oh, and yeah, this was kind of a weird one to request for me b/c cheating is one of my button issues (I just don’t have a good tolerance for cheating in books, and it will likely make me dislike a book), but I thought perhaps in exploring the topic it wouldn’t be too bad.  And actually, the cheating wasn’t the part that really didn’t work for me.  The author didn’t delve as deep into the reasoning as I had hoped, but it still addressed some interesting questions.

So what didn’t work for me?  The humour in this book was cringe-worthy.  I’d been telling my husband about it, and quite honestly the two MCs were just too over the top for me.  So much yelling.  There’s quirky characters, and then there’s these two…particularly Avery.  I cringed through parts of this book.  It was like watching Meet the Parents.  I could understand why people would find it funny, but I just couldn’t.  And quite frankly, I ended the book and I couldn’t help but think that if these people existed in real life, the people surrounding them must be so exhausted.

And the crazy humour kind of got in the way of their chemistry with each other.  There just weren’t enough moments that got to my heart and made me feel for them.  And for *this* particular reader, that was a shame.  I like my humour mixed with more depth I guess.  I would see glimmers, and then one of them would say something outrageous.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t laugh at all in this book, or that I didn’t enjoy parts.  But I just got tired after awhile.  I guess I just do better with moderation.  *shrugs*

Oh, and on a strange side note, the author would use dramatic periods in weird ways.  You know, where someone is trying to emphasize their point and so they break. The. Sentence. Up.  But she would use them in places that didn’t make sense, at least to this reader.  Was I the only one that noticed that?  And mostly in the beginning of the book too.

So yeah.  I can see this book being popular, it just wasn’t the right fit for me.

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Royal Affair by Parker Swift

Blurb:

30364208One seriously sexy son-of-a-duke . . .

Behind the posh British accent, Dylan Hale possesses a down-and-dirty sexiness. Off-the-charts gorgeous, a ruthless architect . . . and did I mention he’s a future duke? Every time we touch, it’s wildfire. All need and lust and heat. But Dylan has rules: just sex, no one can know, and in the bedroom he gets complete control. All I have to do is follow the rules, because falling in love with Dylan Hale is all it would take to screw everything up . . . royally.

 

 

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

So I’m probably one of the few erotic readers in the world that still hasn’t read FSOG, or seen the movie.  It’s not the BDSM, it’s more that I’m a hipster that doesn’t tend to get into things that are especially popular.  I’ve read a lot of BDSM erotica, I couldn’t imagine what that story would give that I hadn’t already read.  So why am I even mentioning that book?  Because even having not read it, I couldn’t help but think to myself many times while reading this story “this feels like FSOG.”  It also gave me a Harlequin Presents line feel.  So if you’re the type of reader that doesn’t mind books that stick to well known tropes, and you enjoy either of those reading experiences, then this book is perfect for you.  If that’s not your bag, then you might want to proceed with caution.

So I’ll go with what was meh for me: I became a bit bored.  I hate to say this, but I wasn’t expecting it to be an erotic read, and so there was just way more sex than plot for me.  I’m not saying the sex wasn’t hot (it totally was, and OMG can Dylan dirty talk like no one’s business…*fans self*), but after awhile I just wasn’t as engaged, and I really wanted the book to hurry up and get back to the plot.  Which was kind of weird.

Also, I saw the conflicts coming a ways away, and they made me roll my eyes at times.  I’ve never been a fan of the misunderstanding thing, and Lydia (fabulous name btw) had a bad habit of jumping to conclusions.

And quite frankly, I hadn’t realized this would be a series all based on Dylan and Lydia, often times these series are about connected love stories.  But this is in fact a series of 3 books about Dylan and Lydia.  Which isn’t terrible by any means, but I felt like this one dragged a bit and could have been edited down, which makes me wonder how well the plot will be paced in the next two installments.

So saying all that, let’s get to the things I LOVED.  The chemistry and bantering between Dylan and Lydia.  THIS is where the author NAILS it.  I can’t tell you how delighted I was in Lydia’s sassy comebacks, pushing Dylan’s usual control.  That girl seriously made me laugh out loud.  And I enjoyed the bit of backstory about Lydia and how she came to be in the fashion industry, while not being super fashionable.  There is definitely some insta-love going on in this book, the relationship develops incredibly quickly, but I did feel like they had a connection outside of the sex, even if most of their connection WAS the sex.  I felt like we got to see them getting to know each other enough that I could believe there were deeper feelings involved.

And speaking of chemistry, while I did get a bit bored with all the sex, it was fairly smoking…particularly their first few encounters.  Heck their first kiss was just tingly.  And like I said, the dirty talking was very well done (especially given I recently read a book with unnatural dirty talking, I was like “THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”).

My problem lies in how to round this.  My hubby just shamed me about wanting to round up, saying how could I 4 star a book that bored me.  But he doesn’t understand how GOOD the good parts were.  Or how much characters and banter really weigh for me personally.  But alas, he is kind of right.  It was a bit predictable.  GAH!!!  Stupid logic!  So there you go.  Rambly review complete, you’re welcome.

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Hot Licks by A.M. Arthur

Blurb:

33238136Benji Moore is living his dream traveling as the lead singer of his band. His life would be perfect if he could get his boyfriend, Josh, to commit to an exclusive relationship.

Even though Josh loves Benji, he has good reasons not to trust in long-term relationships. So Josh decides to take some time to himself and sublets a room at a friend’s beach house. But when he walks into the nearby Off Beat bar, he finds a bartender who may be a good distraction from his relationship problems.

Van Holt doesn’t do anything deeper than sweaty one-night stands. But when Josh sets his sights on him, Van is surprised by their connection. Except Van also doesn’t do complicated, and the situation between Josh and Benji defines complicated. But the more time Van spends with them, the more he’s realizing how hard it would be to let Josh and Benji go.

Can the three of them find a way together, or will they all end up going solo?

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well damn, that was even better than I was anticipating.  Again, with this series I dove in to the 2nd book without reading the first, and I had some conflicting feelings about that story and the amount of angst it contained.  So when I was offered a widget for this book, I took it with some trepidation.  Because I don’t mind angst, but I don’t seek it out as some do.  But I was really intrigued finding out that this was Van’s story, and while I didn’t really know much about Benji and Joshua b/c they were probably more heavily featured in the first book that I missed, I still really wanted to find out what their story would be like.

And can I just say before I get to the meat of my review that the blurb really doesn’t give a good feel for the story and what all in contains?  Because it’s really just a taste of the very beginning of the story, but there is so much more to it.  And as another side niggle, they usually called him Joshua, rarely Josh.  And also, can I just say I’m not a fan of the guy on the cover?  I’m assuming that’s supposed to be Benji, but I really didn’t get the impression that he was that cut.  Van’s really the only one that would fit that physical description for me.  OK, enough with the superficial.

So while this book still had the problem of having angst up the hoo-ha, it didn’t have a lot of the side story angst that the previous book was bogged down in.  I still feel like it seemed a bit much for each main character to have their own tragic childhood story, but I could deal with it a bit more for some reason.  Maybe because I expected it?  Or maybe it just was because at least there wasn’t outside tragedies happening as well that we had to encounter.  And even though Van’s tragic story was left til the end, it fit with his character and I wasn’t surprised by this.  I thought each of their childhood traumas were given the proper respect and resolution within their relationship.

I had no idea that this story was going to deal with the gray asexual spectrum, and I actually found that it was dealt with quite well, b/c it is really complicated and all over the place, and Benji’s story gave us a flavour of someone within the spectrum.  I ADORED that part.  And I was satisfied in the way it played out in the story.  I was a bit disappointed that Van’s pansexuality was never explored, but I guess it didn’t really need to be.

I also really loved the way the story addressed poly relationships, and how much time and thought all 3 men took when considering it for themselves.  I was especially intrigued since this story contained an established couple, but I never felt like I missed out on anything.  It all flowed really nicely, and I loved the way it all expanded when Van was added to the mix.  I felt the chemistry between all 3, and the steamy scenes were fantastic.

Honestly, I have no idea why it doesn’t get full 5 stars.  Just a gut feeling.  Probably because of my personal preference away from angst.  But yeah, it was nice to see all the things that bothered me about book 2 not becoming a problem in this book as well.  And it was nice to see glimpses of the characters we knew from the other stories, I always love that.  One tiny note: if you read this book first, you will get a bit of a spoiler for book 2.  But I don’t think it would spoil it enough that you couldn’t go back and read it and enjoy it.

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