I really enjoyed this installment of the Lucky Harbor series. At first the recalcitrant Amy got on my nerves, but Shalvis succeeded in making...moreGrade B+
I really enjoyed this installment of the Lucky Harbor series. At first the recalcitrant Amy got on my nerves, but Shalvis succeeded in making her more vulnerable and sympathetic as the book goes on. Matt was more predictable. His reasons for feeling like a failure didn't ring as true as Amy's reasons for being cautious, but I went with it and enjoyed watching them circle each other. The fact that both parties in this relationship were avoiding commitment made what could have been a "been there-done that" story much more interesting.
The introduction of the runaway, Riley, gave me pause. I rarely enjoy stories that include angry teenagers. While I didn't end up loving Riley, her addition to the novel was important to the character development of the main couple.
I knew going into the book that it was more chick lit than romance, and the description is fairly accurate. Written in first person, And One Last Thin...moreI knew going into the book that it was more chick lit than romance, and the description is fairly accurate. Written in first person, And One Last Thing follows Lacey as she goes through all the stages of something that closely resembles grief after finding out her husband is cheating on her. Even though wit and clever phrasing lighten the mood at times, this is often a serious and painful book to read. Lacey's thoughts and actions are understandable, but not always healthy or even correct. Lacey is a flawed character who strikes out emotionally at times after her life-changing upheaval, while at other times she shows real grace under pressure.
It might be easy for the reader to get irritated with Lacey, wanting her to "get over it" faster than she does. But the truth is, most people don't get as far as Lacey gets in the time span the book covers. The relationship Lacey develops with Monroe is used as a backdrop to show how her husband's betrayal has effected her abilities to trust and connect. It's one of the best, and at times frustrating, parts of the book. The dialog between these two is great.
And One More Thing has lots of snap, crackle and pop, but this is no comedy. It's an ultimately hopeful book, though, and worth reading. It's best not to compare this book to Molly Harper's snarky vampire heroine in the Jane Jamison books, or the even funnier Grundy Alaska books, even though it contains Harper's trademark "humor with a bite."
The narrator for this book, Amanda Ronconi, is excellent, as she has been on all Harper's books that I have listened to so far.(less)
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs was humorous and clever, but not laugh-out-load funny. It is more "light urban fantasy with a romantic element" than a par...moreNice Girls Don't Have Fangs was humorous and clever, but not laugh-out-load funny. It is more "light urban fantasy with a romantic element" than a paranormal romance. In fact, there was a chick-lit feel to the book. I enjoyed the heroine and her detached, snarky way of looking at life for the first half of the book, but as the book went on her cynicism was sort of a downer. Jane didn't really have much of a life or much ambition, besides wanting to organize books. However, her relationship with her sire, Gabriel, was well-done, and some of the best lines in the book come with their interactions. Harper writes some amazingly good one-liners.
The suspense plot was fine, although the resolution was flat. As always, unlikeable family members always bug me, and Jane's family, with the exception of her father, weren't enjoyable.
Even though it was overall an enjoyable book, I don't plan to continue with the series. I prefer Harper's werewolf series, which has the same brand of humor with less cynicism and more romance.How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf(less)
This might be my favorite Lucky Harbor story so far. I enjoyed the characters, the developing romance, the challenges Chloe and Sawyer faced due to Ch...moreThis might be my favorite Lucky Harbor story so far. I enjoyed the characters, the developing romance, the challenges Chloe and Sawyer faced due to Chloe's asthma, and the growing commitment between the sisters. There was a "little" misunderstanding (as opposed to the "big" misunderstanding plot device) due to a lack of communication, but it felt real given the people involved and their expectations going into the relationship. The situation created tension without feeling forced or faked.
The story was about people allowing themselves and others to grow and change. Chloe's sisters and Sawyer had to learn to see her as a maturing, changing person, and Chloe had to allow herself to believe it as well. Sawyer learns to let go of the past and become comfortable with who he is. It was all well done.(less)
I put it down one day around page 100 and three days later realized I didn't care. Neither the storyline nor the characters grabbed me. Maybe I'll...moreDNF
I put it down one day around page 100 and three days later realized I didn't care. Neither the storyline nor the characters grabbed me. Maybe I'll return to it someday, but I have too many other things to read at the moment.(less)
Unlike the rest of the Destiny series by Toni Blake, Holly Lane feels more like chick-lit with hot sex. ;-) The prologue and firs...more3 stars = I liked it.
Unlike the rest of the Destiny series by Toni Blake, Holly Lane feels more like chick-lit with hot sex. ;-) The prologue and first chapter are depressing, with Sue Ann finding out her supposedly loving husband is in love with someone else. As someone who went through a divorce with a cheating spouse when I was younger, and who has a family member going through divorce right now, the emotions in the book felt real, too real perhaps. (Kudos to Blake for not lessening the impact of emotional adultery. Just because no sex has happened doesn't mean a spouse isn't cheating.)
What makes the book feel like chick-lit is the emphasis on the emotional impact of the divorce and the interactions of the group of female friends. While I felt Adam's connection to Sue Ann, I didn't feel her connection to him as much. Her relationships with her friends felt more real.
While I generally don't care for books where kids play a significant role, Sophie, Sue Ann's daughter, was a believable 8 yr old. The secondary story involving her Christmas wish was a bit too corny for my tastes, but her character was well done.
There was another secondary story involving Jenny and Mick that was resolved a little too quickly. If Blake is planning more Destiny novels, she could have kept that sub-plot going for a while and made it more believable.
Lastly, a nick-pick brought on by my animal-loving tendencies: at one point a horse and sleigh were left out on a snowy, cold night for a while. It bugged me that there was no mention of making the horse comfortable, or throwing a blanket over her to keep her from getting chilled.(less)
**spoiler alert** This is a tough book for me to rate effectively. Ford is a great character, and although I didn't love Tara, I warmed up to her and...more**spoiler alert** This is a tough book for me to rate effectively. Ford is a great character, and although I didn't love Tara, I warmed up to her and thought she was very real. The plot was mostly about Tara and Ford deciding whether or not they could have something permanent, with the "old business" showing up to both complicate and simplify the journey. It was quite well done, with some humor and pathos thrown in.
I liked that Tara wasn't an instant success as a mother, that she was nervous and uptight. It fit her and it fit the story. I enjoyed watching Ford finally realizing he wouldn't be happy with his go-with-the-flow life anymore, that he was ready for something more.
But I have a few caveats. A minor one first: I got tired of Tara telling Ford,"We've already tried being together, and it was a disaster." The fact is, they weren't a disaster together, they were young and careless and she ended up pregnant. That's different from trying an adult relationship where they are more likely ready to handle the emotional, and even financial, consequences. I wanted Ford to call her on it, but he never quite did. In fact, he seemed to agree, even though it wasn't their relationship that had been a disaster, but the emotional upheaval of pregnancy and giving up the baby. Overcoming this wall Tara has between them is part of the plot, but it went on a hair too long for me.
Lastly and most importantly, I wasn't comfortable with the way teen sex was dealt with when it came to Mia. I didn't like the nonchalance that Tara's sisters exhibited, seeming more concerned that Carlos would make it "good" for Mia rather than being concerned that Carlos and Mia were too young to be handling that kind of physical relationship. Not only are there emotional consequences and the risk of pregnancy, there's a risk of STDs, even when using a condom*. Good communication and a few house rules can help young people delay sex until they are a little older and more emotionally ready. The brain development in teens is fast and furious**, meaning good decision making and risk analysis poor. As parents (aunts, uncles, friends) we can help our young people wait until they're out of their teens before making this big decision.
Tara and Ford were not hypocrites for wishing their daughter would delay sex. After all, they paid dearly for with the consequences of sex at 17.
In summary, I didn't care for the acceptance of teen sexual behavior from the adults in the book, or the underlying message that adults don't have the right to get involved. That dropped the book from 4* to 3* for me.
*For those who choose to be sexually active, condoms may lower the risk of HPV. To be most effective, they should be used with every sex act, from start to finish. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom - so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. CDC HPV Fact Sheet Since HPV infect approximate 50% of sexually active people and is the only known cause of cervical cancer, this is important. The same teens were saying can't control their impulses cannot be trusted to use a condom from start to finish or to use it correctly. Also, this same concern (skin-to-skin infection) is also a concern with syphillis and genital herpes.
Even though Maddie made me a little crazy at times, I really did enjoy this book very much.
Breaking into this review for a rant only partially pertai...moreEven though Maddie made me a little crazy at times, I really did enjoy this book very much.
Breaking into this review for a rant only partially pertaining to this book: I do see a trend in novels, or at least ones I seem to be reading, of characters, mainly female, who run from honest communication and are busy "protecting" their hearts. I know my own personality influences how utterly frustrated that makes me, since I tend to talk everything to death, but still. I want authors to find some other source of conflict! This one is getting a little old.
Back to review: I loved the character of Jax, enjoyed the setting, loved the often humorous dialog, and even enjoyed the set-up for the next two books! Jill Shalvis is a comfortable author for me. I generally relax into her books. It's hard to explain, but they're like comfort food. I know I'll buy and read each one, because I'm guaranteed an enjoyable day or two of reading.(less)
It's been said that Shakespeare only wrote one comedy, then wrote 15 or 16 variations on the theme. That may be stretching it, but there is more than...moreIt's been said that Shakespeare only wrote one comedy, then wrote 15 or 16 variations on the theme. That may be stretching it, but there is more than a little truth in that statement. So far, I have to say author Kristan Higgins has written 6 variation of the same story. If you've read one, you know the drill: Heroine obsessed with an unavailable and/or inappropriate man, and who acts on that obsession in embarrassing and sometimes self-destructive ways. Quirky family drama that often includes marital strife of parents; and clueless, unlikeable, or downright mean siblings. The heroine (sometimes hero) in a relationship with someone else other than the hero (heroine) for part of the book.
All I Ever Wanted is most like Catch of the Day. I happen to like this one better than Catch of the Day, because Callie had some backbone and the author didn't make her quite so pathetic. Also, although we still don't know exactly what's going on inside Ian's head, we get a better view than we ever did inside Malone's.
This book started out slow for me. It's short on romance and long on family/friend drama. I didn't care much for the side stories about Callie's family. The only ones I liked were Freddy and Bronte. I also got really tired of Callie talking about how her "girl parts" were reacting to Ian.
But to end on an "up" note: I liked Callie. While she was pathetic over Mark, she was also capable person who other people appreciated and admired. She's a strong character who avoids being the dreaded "spunky heroine." Also, Higgins wrote some hilarious dialog in this book. There are some truly wickedly funny lines! Very clever. (less)
My overall impression of this book is the author was trying too hard. I think it's a classic example of a relatively new writer with a successful book...moreMy overall impression of this book is the author was trying too hard. I think it's a classic example of a relatively new writer with a successful book (or two) and who then feels the strain of living up to expectations. The humor was often forced and the character of Rosemary too over-the-top. But first, I'll go through what I did like about the book.
Pros: Louisa Edwards can still write well when she relaxes and goes with the story. Parts of this book are wonderful, poignant, and engrossing. Also, and perhaps most importantly for fans, her handling of the Jess/Frankie situation continues to be excellent. For those who are invested in that relationship, this book is a must-read. The too few passages that deal with this storyline are extremely well-done: emotional and satisfying. Lastly, the other characters, mainly from the restaurant, are all there and it's fun to visit them again, including the hero of this book, Wes.
Cons: First I'll say the main conflict between H/h is weak. Perhaps if the author had helped us get more invested in the anxiety Wes felt about his past, and I mean making the reader feel his shame and understand his inability to deal with it head on, then perhaps this conflict with his dad would have held some emotional impact. As it was the conflict felt forced. It could have been easily dealt with by a 10 minute truthful conversation between Rosemary and Wes. "Here's the truth, here's how to protect yourself." Massive drama never needed to be part of the equation, and the way things were left with Wes's dad really put me off. There is also the silly prop of the aphrodisiac experiment. Too corny.
But the most disappointing aspect of the novel was Rosemary. She was a strange and unbelievable amalgam of childishness (not endearing childlikeness)and socially-awkward braininess, all wrapped in an obviously gorgeous outside that no one else ever seemed to appreciate before. The author bludgeons the reader over-and-over with Rosemary's genius, often spouting it from Rosemary's own mouth in an off-putting, braggy way. And the character's constant references to sci-fi characters was so forced and awkward that it made me cringe. The whole "what would Buffy do" syndrome was completely out of place with Rosemary's character.
Rosemary's character did grow and develop some toward the end of the book, but never enough that I understood Wes's instant and overwhelming attraction to her. Nor enough to make me at all sure of the HEA we're suppose to believe in.
I give this book 3*'s for parts of the story that didn't include Rosemary, and for the wonderful potential this author has to write really moving storylines and endearing characters. (If you love Frankie and Jess...read the book!)(less)
2.5* This book is difficult to rate because I both liked it and didn't. It was an okay story overall, and I liked the characters, although I did get t...more2.5* This book is difficult to rate because I both liked it and didn't. It was an okay story overall, and I liked the characters, although I did get tired of Laurel at times. Mostly, though, I got stuck on the "snappy dialog" that made everyone sound like characters out of a TV sit com or Rom Com movie. Not only did everyone in the book respond with one or two word phrases, but everyone sounded identical. Even the older Mrs. Grady spoke mainly in predicates. Some of the dialog was funny and clever, but it all sounded completely scripted, like the actors on a Disney channel tween show. So no matter how cute the story was, I was always completely distracted by dialog and the fact that no one talks that way in real life. (I know we don't talk in complete sentences all the time, but take a look at the book. Everyone answers in weird sentence fragments.) And, after 3 books, I'm over the "heart-warming groups of loyal best girlfriends." I started to feel a little gaggy at times. Everyone is so perfect and makes all these perfectly wonderful decisions.
I also got tired of the repeated descriptions of the characters workouts. I can maybe see describing the cakes, or flowers, but Parker's exercise routine? (and Laurel's, and Mac's, and Mal's, for goodness sakes!) (less)
2.5* Light and frothy. I personally don't care for the "engaged person falls for someone else" storyline, and I especially don't like "left at the alt...more2.5* Light and frothy. I personally don't care for the "engaged person falls for someone else" storyline, and I especially don't like "left at the altar" stories, so this book was swimming upstream from the beginning for me. The two friends encouraging Candace to have an affair two weeks before her wedding put me off, too. Overall, the writing was good, the jokes a little old, and the premise not my favorite. Still, I may try another in this series because it had potential and with a different plot device I might really like this author.(less)
Read about 1/3 then skimmed the rest. Didn't care for the heroine, really hated the "hero" and thought the story was stupid. Both the hero and heroine...moreRead about 1/3 then skimmed the rest. Didn't care for the heroine, really hated the "hero" and thought the story was stupid. Both the hero and heroine are determined to "protect" themselves from love (due to past hurts), hero doesn't believe heroine but lusts for her, so he basically blackmails her into sleeping with him and posing as his fiancee. The author threw a few more cliches in there, but you get the picture. I enjoyed the other book of hers I've read (Wish You Were Here) but this one misses the mark.(less)