Outrageously terrible. I have to admit I'm intrigued by the idea of a forbidden romance between the President of the United States and a Secret ServicOutrageously terrible. I have to admit I'm intrigued by the idea of a forbidden romance between the President of the United States and a Secret Service agent, but not when the men in question spend the entire book sobbing hysterically and being absolutely abysmal at their jobs. (Incompetence = one of the least sexy things ever, amirite?)
Also, if you're going to write a story with a political setting, you need to actually know something about politics or avoid those aspects as much as possible and just focus on the fantasy. Bauer does neither, instead crafting a ludicrous international conspiracy plot that reads like something out of Dr. Strangelove. Also, I have to say: using "jihadists," terrorism, and political unrest in Africa and the Middle East to help two white guys touch dicks seems incredibly crass to me (especially, let's be frank, when it's done so freakin' poorly). It feels mere steps away from writing a Holocaust romance.
Basically: sobbing incompetent men are never hot, and this book's politics are at best ill conceived and at worst seriously gross. Downvote....more
I feel kind of bad giving this book one star, as it is essentially sweet and good-natured -- but god, I hated it. There was nowhere near enough tensioI feel kind of bad giving this book one star, as it is essentially sweet and good-natured -- but god, I hated it. There was nowhere near enough tension, sexual or otherwise, and very little plot. Thus, the book hangs on whether you like the characters and "the banter." I say "the banter," as it is called that several times by the narration itself -- generally a sure sign, in my opinion, that said snappy dialogue will feel forced and not funny or clever or enjoyable. I found the main character thick as a brick and was mostly annoyed by his immature emotional problems. I was also frequently pulled out of what little narrative there was by the author, who is from New Zealand, putting what I guess one would call Kiwi-isms in her supposedly American characters' mouths. I understand why other people are responding to this book, but stylistically, it rubbed me the wrong way. Pisces must be incompatible. ...more
Okay. So I read this because Smart Bitches Trashy Books said it was an unusual beast: a category romance that actually tried to deal with issues of raOkay. So I read this because Smart Bitches Trashy Books said it was an unusual beast: a category romance that actually tried to deal with issues of race and class. And...it is. Unfortunately, I found that having something be sort of, almost interesting just made me want it to be actually interesting. This book's aspirations toward goodness made me even more aware of all the ways it was not good.
Marcus Warren is sort of Tony Stark-lite: he's a genius billionaire playboyphilanthropist...yeah, he's basically just a billionaire with no personality beyond a whole bunch of mommy issues. Liberty Reese (seriously) is Pepper Potts but with no spine or spunk; she grew up horrendously poor and is biracial but passing for white which is potentially a really, really interesting premise. Unfortunately, I felt like this book's white author treated "blackness" as if it were synonymous with "poorness" and...it's really, really not. Setting that aside: it was really frustrating that Liberty doesn't give as good as she gets; so much of this book is just her long angst-ridden internal monologues about how everything is going to go so, so wrong. This could be in character for someone with her background, but it's not used effectively and it's really, really boring. Worse, it means she and Marcus have no banter, no spark.
They are both cute with the adorable abandoned baby they find; this book is tropetastic, and I suspect that if kidfic is super your jam, you might get more out of it than I did. But the tiny tastes of something provocative and interesting here only left me hungry for something more substantial.
I commend the author and publisher for trying to deal with these topics in a romance novel; I hope such things are attempted more often, and more successfully. ...more
A lot of contemporary romances seem like they have basically the same beats: attraction, hook up, emotional withholding, family drama, family drama, dA lot of contemporary romances seem like they have basically the same beats: attraction, hook up, emotional withholding, family drama, family drama, deepening feelings, FAMILY DRAMAZ, breakup, sads, get back together, happy ending. And this book does that exactly. But Erickson and Hassell are unusually good writers, and Dominic Costigan is just the best. The BEST. Not only is he repeatedly described as looking like Chris Evans, he is likewise an adorable soft bro. How can I resist?...more
The "curse words to total words" ratio in this book was way off. I have an extremely foul mouth, and I still started wincing at the number of f-bombsThe "curse words to total words" ratio in this book was way off. I have an extremely foul mouth, and I still started wincing at the number of f-bombs being tossed around by everyone's parents (!). That, and the fact that this novella couldn't really decide what it wanted to be -- was it about Tina and Blake? Was it about Adam? Did there have to be a perfunctory sex scene at the end? -- made this a bit of a let down for me, especially after how much I enjoyed Trade Me.
But I'm still looking forward to Hold Me, which will certainly be longer and, hopefully, a whole lot better....more
I know this is just the warm-up for Rag and Bone, but it felt really rushed, almost to the point of sloppiness. Fortunately, I am 99.9% positive Rag aI know this is just the warm-up for Rag and Bone, but it felt really rushed, almost to the point of sloppiness. Fortunately, I am 99.9% positive Rag and Bone will be better....more
This is set in the Charm of Magpies universe, but frankly I find Ben and Jonah a much more engaging couple than Crane and Stephen (who I liked more inThis is set in the Charm of Magpies universe, but frankly I find Ben and Jonah a much more engaging couple than Crane and Stephen (who I liked more individually than as a pair). Their shared backstory is full of angst and betrayal, but there's something so sweet about them! This was just a joy to read. Plus there was the added pleasure of getting to see Crane and Stephen from an outside perspective. What a clever way for Charles to continue, and freshen, this series. ...more
Still quite delightful, if less surprising in its delightfulness than The Magpie Lord. Poor K.J. Charles: now I Expect Things from her!
I continue to nStill quite delightful, if less surprising in its delightfulness than The Magpie Lord. Poor K.J. Charles: now I Expect Things from her!
I continue to not be enamored of the romance (although it was quite sweet here), but once again the magical mystery was suspenseful and scary. I enjoyed this take on the Giant Rat of Sumatra. Esther (the badass Jewish magic practitioner lady) was suitably awesome, and I'm looking forward to more of the other justiciars, particularly Jenny Saint.
Will probably gobble down the next one posthaste....more
No, seriously: as a romance novel, this did very little for me, even though both main characters are wonderful -- distinct persI read it for the plot.
No, seriously: as a romance novel, this did very little for me, even though both main characters are wonderful -- distinct personalities with rich, angsty backstories. I think their relationship would have worked better for me as a slow burn, though, especially since Stephen gets over projecting his hatred for Crane's family onto Crane very quickly. (As is sensible and therefore I suppose surprising for a romance novel -- but I still would have liked more build up.)
However, the magical thriller aspects of this book were fantastic: imaginative, suspenseful, genuinely exciting. Charles' world-building makes me eager for more in the best way; I can't wait to read the next installment, not simply because I want to know what happens to Crane and Stephen -- in fact, I primarily want to read it because I am curious to learn more about how magic works in her universe, and to get more of her side characters like Merrick and Esther. (Gosh, do I ever want to meet Esther! Give me this badass Jewish magic practitioner lady!)
Reasons I should have known better than to read this book:
1. The title 2. The cover
Reasons I read this book anyway:
1. Aliens! 2. Many, many, many enthusReasons I should have known better than to read this book:
1. The title 2. The cover
Reasons I read this book anyway:
1. Aliens! 2. Many, many, many enthusiastic reviews said the depiction of the alien culture was really cool and from the opening chapters this appeared to be true. 3. ALIENS. The first step is admitting you have a bit of a xeno kink. The second step is...well, I wish it hadn't been reading this.
GIANT HONKING REASONS I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN NOT TO READ THIS BOOK BUT DIDN'T BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INDICATED IN THE SUMMARY OR ANY OF THE REVIEWS I READ:
1. D/s. Extreme D/s. Public use of leashes and harnesses and all kinds of stuff that make me shudder -- and not in a pleasant sexy way -- to think about are employed. 2. Noncon. I say noncon instead of rape because the abuse isn't sexual, I guess, but Liam is chained up against his will. He is hunted down when he tries to escape. His free will is basically stripped away -- except he likes it because of course he's naturally submissive and OH MY GOD WHAT BAD FANFIC IS THIS 3. Slavery, basically, even if the author never cops to that. Just because you're like
doesn't make the slavery not slavery. I don't really care if your alien culture says it's okay. I don't feel okay about it. 4. Lines like:
"You need to be forced into that which is healthy for you"
“I would like to steal your control from you and force you to admit that even your body knows that it is mine, and it will react to me even over your own preferences"
GET AWAY FROM ME WITH THIS NIGHTMARE FUEL.
Look, I'm a big girl. I read a whackadoodle alien romance novel with a cover featuring a) a big purple guy with a tail and b) a scruffy naked dude whose neck looks sort of broken? I knew to some extent what I was getting into. Although admittedly, I did not think it would be this. This is so, so not my jam. I mean, good to know, right? I can definitely cross those kinks off the list. Buuuuuuuut I wish the summary for this book had been a little clearer. Or that I had been smarter and bailed once I realized the way this was going -- instead of grimly holding on in hopes that things would somehow get better for Liam. By my definition of "better," they didn't. The way Gala writes him, he would disagree, and hey -- who am I to kinkshame? If you like heavy D/s and vague sexual slavery, you will probably be super into this book, because on a prose level it's pretty well written and there is some interesting worldbuilding. But if you are not into those things...yikes.
I would have been safer reading a fic where Spock has some sort of weird flower penis or whatever. Lesson learned....more
Everyone seems to love this one and I'm bummed that I didn't. But I really, really didn't.
From the beginning, I had a hard time handling the fact thatEveryone seems to love this one and I'm bummed that I didn't. But I really, really didn't.
From the beginning, I had a hard time handling the fact that all of D's dialogue -- and thoughts! -- were in ridiculous tough-guy dialect. D's the assassin character -- so badass he no longer even has a name! -- but his dialogue reads like Third Mook From the Left's in some terrible mafia movie. Yet I squinted whenever he was speaking and moved on.
The other protagonist is an oral surgeon named Jack Francisco. Jack Francisco is a ridiculous thing to name your protagonist, even in the world of silly romance novel names. Jack Francisco should be a cowboy or rodeo clown, not an oral surgeon. But this is nit-picky so again I handwaved it and proceeded.
I was not rewarded. Jack and D's eventual hookup is abrupt and unsexy. I never felt the heat between them; I actually remember thinking, "I'm glad she's taking this slow" right before the first sex scene, because I was anticipating a ton more build up, as there had been next to nothing to signify mutual attraction at that point. But no. Sex happens about 1/4th of the way through, and then it's just dumb fights and idiotic self-endangering behavior for the rest of the book.
And the book is so long. For a story with dozens of hired killers running around, there is a shocking lack of tension. Maybe every assassin in this book is as droopy and inactive as D? Look, if I'm reading a romance novel about a hit man, it's because I want some sort of illicit thrill from a man who's highly competent and extremely deadly. I don't want some gravel-mouthed mope who's about as sexy and dynamic as the vampire Angel in guilt-ridden rat-eating mode. Let's just say this: Seville did manage to convince me that Jack could perform successful facial reconstructive surgery; I was not at all convinced that D had managed to kill undetected the 47 or whatever people he was always angsting about, unless they'd been on a bus that he accidentally drove over a cliff while blowing his nose.
So this is an excellent book if you want to hear about the exploits of a competent oral surgeon. Ladies.
Speaking of spicy stuff: oh, the sex scenes in this book! The numerous dull, interchangeable sex scenes. Seville's descriptions are either anatomical or filled with flowery metaphor: at one point D caresses Jack with "long, smooth strokes like raking a zen garden"; at another point, "Jack was just starting to spiral upward when D suddenly pulled out and seized Jack's waist, flipping him over as easily as one might a pancake on a slick skillet." Okay, so now I'm puzzling through mental images of zen gardens and pancake flipping. Hawt.
Basically, I think where I and this book part ways is that the book takes itself way too seriously. This is a ROMANCE about an ASSASSIN falling in love with his TARGET. That's a pretty cracky concept. Maybe...have fun with it? This does not need to be -- and probably shouldn't be -- a work of high literature. It should be sexy and fun. But in my opinion, Seville's 0/2 here.
One final example of my issues with this book: like I said, it goes on forever; it has more epilogues than The Return of the King. When you finally reach the last one, and you're expecting something like a depiction of D and Jack's happy life together, instead Seville gives you a graphic description of child murder. One that has nothing to do with the main plot, by the way. I guess it's just in there to remind you that life is terrible.
Anyway, that's what you get for a sexy feelgood ending. All in all, I think I'd rather read the adventures of Jack Francisco: Cowboy Dentist....more
A frustrating book, due to how good it almost was. On a technical level, Easton is a better writer than pretty much any other romance author I've readA frustrating book, due to how good it almost was. On a technical level, Easton is a better writer than pretty much any other romance author I've read in the last few months, save Keira Andrews or Courtney Milan. Prose, dialogue, worldbuilding, characterization -- miles above the rest. But this book's plotting is abrupt to a bizarre degree.
Toward the beginning, a dramatic event happens -- and the consequences are quickly glossed over. It's the inciting incident, so I was willing to go with it, but then Easton does the exact same thing with her main story. At the highest point of tension, she skips right to the epilogue -- and jumps over what would really be the most interesting part of the narrative. I have no idea what led to this authorial decision, but for me, it really let this story, and these characters, down.
On a shallow note, I must admit that as much as I've enjoyed some of Easton's other books for the plot-characters-world trifecta, her sex scenes have always left me cold. Unfortunately, they continue to do so here. Pooh....more
I wanted to read something warm and feel-good and this...almost worked for me. I liked Vince with his big crazy loving Italian family, finally comingI wanted to read something warm and feel-good and this...almost worked for me. I liked Vince with his big crazy loving Italian family, finally coming to terms with his sexuality at almost 40. But in the same way that the alternating POVs didn't jibe for me -- Vince's chapters in third person, Trey's in first -- I found Trey's half of the story less convincing. It verged on misery porn: poverty, horribly alcoholic mother, supposedly caring grandmother and friends who never do anything to help (either Trey or the plot), and a weird obsession with virginity. I simply didn't buy Trey's reasons for abstaining from sex; it felt to me like the authors just really wanted him to be a virgin, so he had to be a virgin. Vince and Trey fall in love so quickly, and Vince goes from being unable to admit he might be gay to wanting it in the ass so fast -- I don't know, I actually started to feel bad for them that they're each going to be the other's only male lover, especially since (view spoiler)[they get engaged to be married at the end! (hide spoiler)] For a supposed slow-build, this was too fast, too soon, too sudden, and I didn't believe it....more
I really should not read Hollywood novels. I'm not like some industry ~insider~ or anything, but I feel like you don't have to be to understand that sI really should not read Hollywood novels. I'm not like some industry ~insider~ or anything, but I feel like you don't have to be to understand that so many details in this book are wrong.
*A callback audition for a major network TV show would not be held in an auditorium. It is not the school play. *Said network show would not get picked up for 13 episodes before the pilot is even filmed. *I'm not sure how an accident on Highland would cause everyone to "bail onto Fairfax" when those streets are like two miles apart. *All of the Valley is not Burbank. I'm really not sure how you would stand on Mulholland Drive "looking out at the lights of Burbank." *As far as I know, there's no room at San Diego ComicCon called "the Sayers Room," and people certainly aren't allowed to stand up against the back wall for panels when the rooms are full. Also, audience members can't stand up in their seats to ask questions!
All of these issues appeared relatively close to the beginning of this novel, but I kept reading. I kept reading because, in spite of all these errors, the characters' emotional realities and the way their relationship developed rang really true to me. Those details, Turner seemed to get right: what it would be like to suddenly have your first acting success, to get to know your castmates, to have to deal with a deeply closeted boyfriend with whom you nevertheless felt a profound connection. Vince's character voice felt authentic, even if his environs often didn't.
But those mistakes kept yanking me out. And they got worse and worse as the story progressed. I didn't believe the way Turner had her imaginary network deal with promotion or controversy, I didn't believe her depiction of how talk shows work, and I didn't buy the supposed turn-around time between when episodes are filmed and when they air (this was significant to the plot). Things that I might have otherwise let slide became glaring, because unfortunately, Turner had lost her credibility with me through all these mistakes. She even misspells Emmys. ("Hold my purse for a sec, my Emmy's really heavy" = okay; "OMG, we're going to the Emmy's!" = NOPE.) I started skimming the last third of the book because, despite caring about Vince and Alex, I had lost faith in their world.
I'm sad to see that Turner hasn't published another book (this one is, I believe, from 2011) because there's a lot of promise in this: she's a good writer. But she badly, badly needed a good editor....more