Probably the worst of Ms. Calmes books. Absolutely no tension or conflict. Everything falls into place without much fuss or drama. I skimmed the finalProbably the worst of Ms. Calmes books. Absolutely no tension or conflict. Everything falls into place without much fuss or drama. I skimmed the final few pages, because I was so bored and I just wanted to finish.
This book is extremely boring. The characters are flat despite Ms. Calmes' desperation to give them quality.
Forever Evermore is a series packed with entertainment. It’s funny and sexy with unique magical sequences and lore. King Tomb has all that, but it some how drops the ball.
Lily is the Queen of the Shifters, she’s in the midst of a war and she’s pregnant. That alone would be enough to make any woman stress, but Lily doesn’t know who her child’s father is. His identity and their time together has been completely wiped out. All she has is a blank memory, a mans t-shirt, a ring and a pregnant belly to tell her that she loved and had been loved by a man from another mystic fraction.
The premise of King Tomb is interesting, because it’s new for me. I’ve started a series where two people learn that they have a past they can’t remember, but I have never watched two people fall in love only to be physically and mentally ripped away from each other. It was entertaining but painful to watch Ezra and Lilly maneuver around each other without knowing or understanding what they meant to each other. That was all fun and well done.
What wasn’t fun? Everything else. These characters are in the middle of the war which they forget about for 90% of the book. Scarlett Dawn is just not very good at balancing her story lines. There’s just a lack of tension that should come with being at war and being the leaders of a war. Their subjects are barely ever seen and the characters don’t do a single kingly or queenly act. The kings and queens are like children and the elders are like parents running after them to stop them from dirtying their hands.
King Hall and King Cave have a similar “in a bubble” tone, but in those books the characters are supposed to be isolated, hiding or learning. In King Tomb, they are supposed to be in the thick of it. But they are still in this weird cocoon surrounded by only the same few characters.
All of that was manageable until the end, because Lily and Ezra’s chemistry is so fun even when they are strangers or hate each other. But then in the final act new characters are introduced and Ezra and Lily go on this whirlwind trip through time. It’s ridiculous, it is literally only a few pages and had no basis in the world that was set up in the first two books and 75% of King Tomb. Literally out of nowhere the genre changed and I was suddenly on a trip through time and one of the side characters I can’t remember from earlier books is pushed up to be like this grand master strategist who can see the future and arranges people like pawns on a chessboard.
As a fan of the series I can’t say that I hated all of it. I enjoyed the character dynamics and the few romantic surprises and twists, but as a whole this wasn’t a very good book and the ending is supposed to wrap up Lilly’s story but it doesn’t. I’m disappointed.
Liked a lot about it, but there is a 10 page adventure wity new characters that makes very little sense to me. Very little sense. Brought the book down. Also, the absence of Jack and Pearl. Besides that, entertaining and fun as ever. Review to come. ...more
I enjoyed this, but as always Calmes made things too easy. Characters barely work for things to happen. They forgive or are forgiven too easily. LoveI enjoyed this, but as always Calmes made things too easy. Characters barely work for things to happen. They forgive or are forgiven too easily. Love comes too quickly and her books lack true tension.
Arguments last a paragraph and then all is well and ready for the next conflict.
still, I enjoyed the book, one of the authors best....more
Good start, but by the end I didn't care. The mystery of Weston's health was dragged out so much that the actual battle for his health felt rushed andGood start, but by the end I didn't care. The mystery of Weston's health was dragged out so much that the actual battle for his health felt rushed and lacked true urgency....more
I love a good love story. More, I love a good love story with baggage and angst. I love redemption, healing and growing. Grime and Punishment has allI love a good love story. More, I love a good love story with baggage and angst. I love redemption, healing and growing. Grime and Punishment has all that, but I just didn't believe it.
There just was no spark between Jack and Ryan. Well, none that I could read. These are two men who have been damaged by Ryan's cousin Nick. They both know the dirty side of Nick, the side he tried to hide. When it's all said and done and Nick kills himself, they are the collateral damage.As they clean up the mess Nick left behind, literally, they bond over their shared heartbreak.
That's what this story seemed like to me. Two attractive men bond over their loss. There is no real love story. They are both just there and they are both heartbroken and they use each other to heal.
I like Z.A. Maxfield's writing, it kept me turning the pages. The crime scene clean up job is a brilliant addition. It's dirty and gritty, but someone has to do it. It's strange to read about that kind of world. We know the detectives and the CSI teams, but you never really hear about what happens when they all clear out. The owners of the property, the family, the friends, etc have to rebuild their life. They have to deal with the grit, the blood, the broken glass and skin tissues that has been left behind. It was interesting to read about that world, but at the end of the day I didn't care. I wasn't swept away. This book was a good distraction for a few hours, but then I happily moved on. ...more
I just needed something to read before going to bed late one night. It was a read now book at on Netgalley and I like Erotica as much as the next persI just needed something to read before going to bed late one night. It was a read now book at on Netgalley and I like Erotica as much as the next person, so I read it.
Here's the thing...it's ridiculous. I get that when you're writing a sex book, the sex is more important than story. BUT, there is nothing in this story that makes sense. The main character starts as a normal girl and turns into a sex kitten in literally 30 seconds. There is nothing hinted at her sexual preference, it just happens and it's weird. And we're supposed to believe that this normal, college graduate girl is willing to become a prostitute for these guys...just cuz. There, to me anyway, is a big difference between I am doing this, because I love sex with multiple people and I am doing this because I desperately need money. The author did not know which one was the reasoning so instead of a book about a girl who lives her dream and gets to have sex in an office with three guys in suits, we get a girl who really needs money who agrees to be an office toy in order to get a paycheck. That last one is not hot. It's desperate and it's sad.
Also, the synopsis hints at some kind of love story, but this book is like 50 pages, not enough for any develpment. I don't even think I know or understand the main character never mind believe that she is in any kind of love with the boss.
Also, at one point one of the CEO's of the company pulls out a bed that is built into the wall of his office. Is that not sleazy as all hell? ...more
This is really bad. Honestly, this short is beneath the entertaining and humorous work that I am used to from Ms. Madison. This is the thing the romanThis is really bad. Honestly, this short is beneath the entertaining and humorous work that I am used to from Ms. Madison. This is the thing the romance between Emma and Kyle is nonexistent. I get that these two are in love and they were seperated, because people in romance books are not very good at communicating with each other. Here's the thing, it's too short. Way too short for the reader to really care.
I didn't care, because I don't know Emma and Kyle. I understand that lots of drama went down and Kyle was forced to leave his pack, but honestly it made no sense. If his opponent crushed his leg the night before, how the hell was he ok enough to stand up, let alone fight. How was it that the pack doctor didn't cry fowl and say this fight is going to have to wait until later. How did the pack follow such a weak person? Shifters are followers, but they're not stupid. They have instincts that make them smell a weak link among them. Then, explain to me how this man ruins the guy she loves and then Emma stays behind. Don't give me some B.S about her sister, because it sounds like Emma has no control over her sister in the first place.
Ok, this is sounding more like a rant than a review, so here is my critique. I did not believe this story. It is not well developed or executed. The love story is weak. I only know it's a love story, because the author keeps telling me they love each other. The idea of this virus, spreading through due to the help of a witch is really interesting, but is not enough to keep this short going.
I wish it were a longer detailed, flushed out book with characterization where I can see an actual love story developed. It's not. ...more
I cannot say that this is my favorite Calmes book, but it is definitely her best writing. STILL is flushed out, structured and most important realistiI cannot say that this is my favorite Calmes book, but it is definitely her best writing. STILL is flushed out, structured and most important realistic. The feelings and complex emotions of being in your forties and hitting your forties and wondering if your life is working or if you are just stuck were so clear in this story. I believed Siv and Walter could actually exsist. I believed that their problems weren't the quote on quote "gay" problems that many m/m romance book try to portray. No the problems in STILL are human problems. The sort of emotions that most of us have felt or will feel after being with someone for twenty or more years.
This is a Mary Calmes book so expect some flare, some over the top emotions and even some drama that could happen, but will probably never happen to most of us. I was glad to see that the weird magnetic pull that her earlier characters have is missing in this book. People liked Siv and wanted to hug him and be near him, but he was going through a break up and it felt more like really good friends being happy to see him out and about as opposed to just having to touch him, because of some kind of animal magnetism.
I really liked this one. Was very invested and rooted for this couple from page one to the very end. ...more
Mary Calmes is an interesting writing. Her stories are one layered and pretty much predictable. Her characters have a strange unrealistic magnetism and her dialogue is nowhere near real. And yet, I have read just about every Mary Calmes book. Why? There is just something so entertaining about her books that I have to read them. Especially when it comes to her book series, because I have to know what happens next. Mary Calmes writes the interesting and inventive worlds and her books are a joy to read.
“Crucible of Fate” is no different. It follows the story of Domin Thorne, the fallen leader turned new king of all shifters in the world. If you are a fan of the “Change of Heart” series, you know Domin Thorne. I have disliked him, grudgingly respected him and then loved him by the time we got to this book. This story is about him finding his legs again and his confidence as a leader.
This book is filled with romance, and action and the interesting shifter world Calmes created. I love her panther world. Sometimes it is a bit confusing and there are so many laws and rules that even the characters don’t understand, but it is fun. The panther world in these books is some of the most original and detailed shifter world I have ever read. Then there is Domin and Yuri.
I didn’t see Domin and his love story with Yuri coming until it was happening. In “Crucibe of Fate,” their relationship is tested, put in danger and then cemented into something real and tangible. It was a joy to read about them and I just wish there could have been more scenes of these two alone.
The issue with this book is that it has way too many elements that annoyed me. I don’t want to make generalizations, but I feel that I must. There is this annoying trend in m/m romance to write gay men as if they are…well for lack of a better word, women. The men in this book are always close to tears, gasping in shock, and becoming overcome with their emotions. I was literally at the point of pulling out my hair if another guy’s eyes sparkled or were red rimmed. I am not saying that men are not sensitive, or emotional, but in this book it is excessive! I have grown up with men, my best friends since elementary school are boys! I have two brothers, a slew of uncles, etc etc…Men do not get teary eyed every single time they are touched and for that matter neither do women. So, just because these men or gay does not mean that everytime someone is nice to them they will be overcome to the point of tears!
My other issue is that this book seemed to be three different stories in one. It seems resolved and then it keeps on going. There are multiple stories, multiple acts and multiple twists and turns. There are also lots of conclusions. Still, this book is entertaining and fun.
Recommended for fans of m/m romance, anyone looking for a quick read and readers of Mary Calmes. ...more
I have been known to root for forbidden love. Two people with messed up pasts, a married man in a torrid affair or two enemies getting it on. So, taboo or morally ambiguous love stories do not immediately turn me off. My issue with “Sweet Taboo” is the lack of any real love story. Picking up this book, I expected to see a normal student teacher relationship evolve. I expected talks about a shared love of literature or history to lead to hours long conversations that ran away from them and then they realize they have something more. I expected the teacher to fight it. To resist as long as possible until passion could no longer be denied. I expected Isabel to be afraid, to be racked with guilt and really consider her conscience. Instead, Isabel runs around in too tight bathing suits and catches the attention of her swim coach, Tom.
Instead of a forbidden, but honest love story, I got a selfish teen girl and a lecherous weak man. This romance starts because she has a thing for old men (exhibit a. not so subtle ploy of giving Isabel a crush on old enough to be her grandpa Bill Clinton) and because he notices her attention and indecent bathing suit. (Indecent is the authors words) Besides the obvious age and moral issue, “Sweet Taboo” is about one of the most unhealthiest relationships I have ever come across. These characters are codependent, they are careless and their hold on each other is difficult to read never mind root for. Tom and Isabel lose their minds and the ability to function whenever they are apart. It’s pathetic.
At no point did I sense maturity in Isabel’s feelings. She obsesses over Tom the same before their first conversation as she does after they are intimate. She reminds me of my teenage self with a crush. It is sometimes irrational and has no basis in reality. You have a crush on a guy and without even speaking to him you create an entire romance. She is a normal teenage girl and in my opinion that is why Tom loves her. Tom is irresponsible, way too relaxed and selfish. Tom doesn’t love his wife and feels shackled down and so he takes his escape with the innocent love of a child. His character has no strength of will. He is the adult in this relationship, he knows how the world works and he still jumps into this relationship without any real concern for the consequences. Tom doesn’t care that by sneaking around with him Isabel is not having a normal teenage life. He doesn’t care that this relationship has no future, because he has no intention of leaving his wife. He doesn’t care that Isabel is getting the raw end of the deal and that as her first relationship he may be ruining her future relationships. He touches this girl and then goes home to his wife! Disgusting.
There is a lack of guilt that makes this story unbearable to me. Isabel is the worst kind of person. The kind of person who doesn’t care that the person they are fooling around with is in a relationship. Twice in this book she fools around with men who are taken and yes it’s the men who are to blame as they are cheaters. Still, not once but twice you have your lips on someone else’s partner?! Despicable.
This is the second book I have read about a child in an adult relationship and both times I was disturbed. It happens in real life and no pretty words are going to make it any less disgusting. Especially, not words written by this writer with this kind of writing style. Eva Marquez tends to show and not tell. Important scenes are explained by Isabel and not described in detail. We’re a little too deep in her head. We needed to take a step back and be given the chance to actually experience the story. For example, I have no real idea of what Isabel looks like or what any of the locations look like. It’s all talk with no real details or descriptions.
By trying to show that teacher student relationships can be based on true love, the author actually highlighted everything that is wrong with these kinds of relationships. If you read this, please read it with your eyes open. Don’t open this book and just accept the authors “Forward” where she tries to explain why she tells a taboo story. This story is based off of a relationship the author’s mother had in high school. Because her mother doesn’t seem negatively effected or traumatized it seemed as if the author has decided that these relationships are not all bad. I disagree. It may not be the act of a pervert preying on a child, but I don’t see a single positive thing that came out of Isabel loving her teacher.
Recommended for psychology majors and anyone interested in looking at a taboo, but not sexy or romantic relationship.
After the events of “Deadly Descendant,” Nikki Glass is hiding. Not from her enemies, the Olympians, but from her boss Anderson. Nikki knows that Anderson will want her to use her Liberi skills up help him find and kill his enemy and so she is doing her best to avoid him. Avoidance leads her into taking a virtually unsolvable case. Heather is searching for someone, but the only information she has is his first name, where she met him and a description. Not nearly enough for a normal PI, but luckily Nikki is a descendant of and can locate almost anyone.
I picked up this novella, because I love Nikki Glass. The third book comes out in April and I am literally chomping at the bit to have it in my hands! When I saw that the publisher was offering up for review I immediately pounced. I needed my Nikki fix and I needed it now!
Here’s thing thing about being a fan of a series. It is not just the Heroine or hero that keeps you coming back book after book. It is also their love interest and their best friend. It’s their super smart hacker co-worker and the guy they sit next to at the office who fills pages with witty banter. That is what is missing from pros and cons and it is also the main reason I usually like to skip novellas and short stories. I was already half way through the book when I began to seriously miss Anderson, Maggie, and Jamaal. The book has Nikki being her normal PI skills, but it is missing the relationships that keep the series together.
Needless to say, I did not get my Nikki Fix. The novella is enjoyable, is easy to read and is really smart with lots of twists, but it missed elements that I crave from the series. Jack does show up in the last third of the book with his usual humor and mischief, which I really enjoyed.
“Pros and Cons” is one of the most aptly named books I have ever read. When the secrets of the story are revealed I literally thought OF COURSE! It is such an innocent play on words and Jenna Black does a great job of making her story live up to its title.
It is a short book, but it is filled with intrigue, mystery and an investigation you’ll be trying to solve in your head. “Pros and Cons” ends with an action pack, but ridiculous action scene it will have you shaking your head in bemused amusement.
The important thing is that it reminded me that I really love this series and filled me with even more excitement!
Recommended for fans of the Nikki Glass series and anyone who likes a quick test before committing to a novel/series. This book has enough of a hint without revealing major plot points from the series.
I am a very reluctant fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Reason? I don’t like books about Assassins. I really don’t, but Estep has managed to hook me firmly into the story of Gin Blanco and her quest for revenge. I picked up “Touch of Frost,” because the last few books I’ve read weren’t that great and I needed a sure thing. I am a fan of Estep’s writing and figured her Mythos Academy might just be that sure thing I needed. I was right; I love this first book in the series.
“Touch of Frost” follows Gwen Frost who is an outcast, the ignored girl in school and a gypsy. Like her mother and her grandmother before her, Gwen has psychic powers. She has the gift of psychometry, which means she gets psychic impressions from the things she touches. By impressions, I mean that she can literally see every person who has ever handled the object and can even feel their emotions. It is that power that has made her a bit of an amateur detective at her school. Lost a cell phone? Can’t remember which guy’s room you left your bra? No problem, call Gwen and for a reasonable price, she will find your lost item. After discovering the body of the most popular girl in school, Gwen decides to use her power to discover how Jasmine Ashton died.
Her desire to find the truth leads Gwen into dangers she never believed existed. Suddenly, the stories aren’t so much fiction or myth, but actuality. She discovers that there might just be a secret war between the gods and that she might be a player in that war. Along the way she tangles with mean girl Daphne Cruz and gains the attention of school bad boy and Spartan warrior in training Logan Quinn.
Something I like about Estep’s writing in this book, is that her style is very simple. She doesn’t overwhelm us with words, but lets the story speak for itself. I am always aware of where the characters are and am able to allow my imagination to build the rooms and see what Gwen sees. Lots of YA authors try to overwhelm us with slang and making their characters sound ‘hip.’ Teenagers are just young people and for the most part they speak just like adults. I’m glad that Estep’s characters don’t make me roll my eyes and wonder what planet she got her dialogue from.
I have to stop my objective review to make a subjective declaration. I love Gwen Frost. If the story had been boring (which it’s not) or if Jennifer Estep’s writing was horrible (it’s actually really good), I would still love Gwen Frost. When I read reviews and it goes as follows “the world is fascinating, but the main character frustrated me beyond belief!” I never pick up the book. If all I am going to do is roll my eyes and feel the desire to slip my hand through imaginary worlds just to slap a character, why should I pick that book up?
Gwen lives in a magical world where her classmates descended from gods and she can see the history of any object just from touching it. Gwen’s world is unreal, but Gwen is one of the more realistic YA heroines I’ve read. YA heroines are either total badasses like Rose Hathaway from “Vampire Academy” or a step back for women everywhere like “Twilight’s” Bella Swan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rose Hathaway, but let’s be honest. Rose isn’t a realistic teenage girl in any sense of the word. She’s who we all wished we could be, but we’re not that strong or that resilient. I like Gwen, because she is real. In lots of books, someone’s parent dies and it’s sad, but kind of at the back of their brain. The death of Gwen’s mother is always with her and Estep did a great job of writing the guilt people often feel at being the one who gets to keep on living.
Gwen’s guilt and despair about her mother’s death gives her a kind of protection in her new world. The world of Mythos Academy is difficult for Gwen to absorb. She doesn’t fit in with the students, she doesn’t believe their histories and she doesn’t seem to be filled with the kind of magic that can help her in the war they are preparing for. Since she carries survivors guilt, Gwen doesn’t care if no one talks to her, invites her out or that she doesn’t have a date to prom. Why should it matter? Her mom can’t enjoy life anymore, so why should Gwen? What’s great about this story is that we literally see Gwen heal. We’re there as she makes her first real friend at Mythos and when her feelings come alive around a certain Spartan. While her mother’s death will always be apart of her, she heals and begins the process of moving on.
The inciting incident of this story is definitely the moment that Gwen finds Jasmine’s body. Gwen does not run away screaming, her immediate thought is to check if Jasmine is still alive. That action tells me so much about her character. In the aftermath of Jasmine’s death, Gwen cannot believe how little her classmates seem to care that one of them has died. Gwen decides that someone has to care, someone has to investigate and the truth about what happened to this girl must come to light. Her investigation winds up and the actual truth behind Jasmine’s death is pretty over the top, but it works. Most important, it gives this series legs. “Touch of Frost” is a call to action. The beginning of a story that I believe will be epic. ...more
There is always a moment or a line where I know picking up a book wasn’t a mistake. Sometimes I am disappointed and other times I get a really entertaining read. For “Dominion” the moment I knew I made the right choice is when Gideon says, “that’s one stupid spider” in reaction to the Itsy bitsy spider song. It’s a simple and yet a great moment that reveals the jaded nature of the character.
The story follows Gideon, an evil Guardian Angel. In this world, humans have two sets of guardians. The guardian sent to protect us and the guardian sent to hurt us. Basically human life is a game and the outcome of our lives rests on which of our guardian’s is the strongest. Gideon, the most evil of Angels, is placed on a human subject with Tristan, the best of all the angels. That human’s name is Abigail and she is about to throw these two angels for a loop.
This book did not wow me. There was never a moment where I considered putting the book down and I wanted to know how it ended, but I was not in love. Lots of things made me roll my eyes and I had a hard time believing many of the facts of Abigail’s life. It wasn’t until a character recited the old line “if you love something let it go” that I realized my issue with this book. It is cheesy. It is entertaining and funny, but cheesy. Especially in the last section where the action kind of slows and there’s a lot of dialogue. Reading these characters talking for pages, was just really difficult. I was glad when the action returned at the very end leading up to the obvious and yet completely shocking cliffhanger.
Another issue I have with the story is that I do not buy the CIA storyline. Not at all. Abby has a state of the art weapons training facility underneath her house. This training room or whatever has trick doors, elevators, lasers, an arsenal full of guns and agents who are there to be Abby’s adversaries in training simulations. I have watched enough Alias, Nikita and Homeland to know that this kind of facility is expensive. Manful tries to explain it away by making Abby’s mom a fashion designer. Listen, yes fashion designer's are rich, but 'I can build a 100 million dollar facility in my basement and not blink rich?’ No. Ok, maybe 100 mill is a bit of a stretch, but lasers are expensive!!!
I found the training center to be so unbelievable it made every reference to Abby’s training ridiculous. For example, there is a moment where she is pushed off of a balcony and lands on her feet. If the fall was high enough to kill her is it possible for her land on her feet without breaking her legs? I’m not a scientist or a doctor, but I don’t think so.
I didn’t love this book and there were moments that I absolutely did not like, but I will recommend it. Why? The world is extremely unique. The idea that the fight for our lives is not angel vs. demon, but angel vs. angel is fascinating to me. I thought Gideon and Tristan’s world was one of the most interesting take on Angels I’ve read. The ending reveals secrets and has actions that make me absolutely want to pick up the next book. I’d like to know the fate of the characters and how the revelations at the end, will effect the characters.
At the end of the day this book is not amazing and it is not one of a kind, but it is unique enough that you will enjoy it despite it’s many issues. Melody Manful is a brand new author. “Dominion” is her debut novel and you can feel that in the writing. Anyone who reads a lot, knows that an author’s craft grows with experience. I think we should support this writer and give her the chance to let her craft grow. Her ideas are just that good.
Recommended for readers of YA fiction, anyone who likes books like “Angelfall” and “A Shimmer of Angels.”...more
“About Last Night,” is definitely one of the better romances I read this year. It is smart, romantic and incredibly sweet. Not sweet as in ‘It gave me a toothache,’ this book is sweet as in ‘if only I could find a love like that.’
Cath is messed up. She has a messed up past, has tattoos of her mistakes and is on a campaign to be a better Cath. The new Cath doesn’t make mistakes, focuses on her career, does not party and absolutely does not have sex. She gets her entertainment by people watching and coming up with lives for the people she sees. There’s the busty redhead, the bag lady and the handsome guy in the fancy suit that she calls “City.” Following a series of unfortunate events, Cath finds herself hung over in City’s apartment and discovers that her uptight banker has another personality all together. City is actually Nev, an undiscovered, laid back and very sex artist. What follows is amazing dialogue, chemistry that explodes off the page and a love story with great romance.
I really really enjoyed Ruthie Knox’ dialogue. I’d only gotten about 11% into the book before I realized I loved Cath and Nev. They are funny. Their chemistry is like a physical thing that emanated from my nook. It’s amazing when an author can write dialogue and write characters that blend so well together. Their conversation is sharp, intelligent, witty and yet so real. It’s as if Knox listened in at windows in the most intimate moments of a couple and wrote what she overheard. That’s how good the writing is.
My favorite aspect of this book is that Nev is correct. He’s not perfect and thank God Ruthie Knox didn’t even attempt to write him as such. Nev is strong, but never domineering. Possessive but never acts as if he in anyway owns Cath. He’s persistent, but never stalks. Nev is not perfect, because perfect does not exist in human form, but he’s correct. Nev has the correct attributes for a perfect romantic hero. There is this disgusting and in my opinion wrong trend in romance where the hero is borderline abusive. Being claimed like an object is not sexy. Having every guy who looks at you punched in the face is not sexy. Being stalked and pestered to give in is not sexy. It’s about time that an author gave readers an approach that is actually sexy.
The ending of this book is a bit over the top, but I love over the top in my romances. I love when the characters make big gestures and risk everything in order to win the person they love. Romance novels talk about forever. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, yes an epic gesture is needed. I thought that Nev’s final bid for Cath’s heart was romantic and beautiful.
Recommended for readers of Contemporary Romance, anyone who likes a few good love scenes and readers who like smart, witty and charming dialogue between main characters. ...more
I don’t usually read novellas. I find them to be too short and they usually don’t have the meat I search for in a story. When I read the official synopsis for Mona Hanna’s “High Witch,” I decided to make an exception. I’m glad I did. The story follows Ariel and Brayden, two people in their twenties, who meet and fall in love. Unlike many love stories, falling in love is the easy part for this couple. Ariel is a High Witch, making her one of the most powerful witches in the world. It also makes her the most hunted. There are people out there who would use her power and her body for selfish gains.
The magical world of “High Witch,” is the best part of this book. Dealing with the supernatural is one of the hardest things for an author to do well. There are hundreds and hundreds of stories, different take son legends and different interpretations of lore. Mona Hanna has come up with an interesting take on witchcraft.
I was absorbed by the world the author created. I found myself legitimately surprised at the first mention of magic and witchcraft. It’s so simply done and immediately caught my attention. I enjoyed learning about Ariel’s magic and discovering the many ways that a High Witch’s power can manifest. Still, I wish this book were longer. There just isn’t enough time to fully develop or grow attached to the characters. I wanted a lot more information and a lot more time with the world of “High Witch.”
The book relies a little too much on telling and not showing. Brayden seems to know and figure out everything and tells Ariel through conversation. I would have liked to experience it, to read in detail what was happening. To have twists and turns revealed through descriptions and have the story unravel before the eyes of my imagination. I also would have loved a bit more foreshadowing. There wasn’t enough of a dark cloud over Ariel and Brayden until the enemy is revealed a quarter into the book.
I would have loved more information about Ariel and Brayden. They fall in love and I don’t feel as if I experienced it. It just sort of happens quickly and without any personal conflict between the two characters. I wish we had more time to get to know them. I would have liked to know their family situations earlier on in the book. For example, I was surprised to discover that Brayden had family. From the set up of his character and the depiction of his fear of being fired I assumed he was orphan and would be homeless if he lost his position.
The story has very interesting and simple world building. It is also is a quick and entertaining read.
I recommend this book for lovers of magic, fans of witchcraft stories and anyone looking for an entertaining, but short book....more
The synopsis of this book is interesting. It pulled me right in. I always think my life has to be a dream, well, a nightmare. The idea of Skye waking up and told her world was all fake, fascinated me. However, this book did not. “Alternity” has a really great plot and just a so-so execution.
Terra is a unique idea on the part of Mari Mancusi, the author. It is easy to imagine a world underground with its tunnels and upstairs, downstairs mentality. Still, there are many inconsistences not only in the world, but also with the characters. The people in this story are caricatures. They are not flushed out or unique. Mancusi has an idea of what a love interest or villain should be and it doesn’t matter if that idea does not fit in with her world. For example, Dawn is a dark sider who lives in what is described as a cave and scrambles to find food. Even with all that poverty, he wears a leather coat and rides a hover bike. How can he afford these luxuries while his neighbors drag around in rags? The master villain gossips his master plan over the phone and makes throat-slitting noises like a cartoon character. How is this guy supposed to put fear or urgency into the heart of readers?
“Alternity” is written as if Skye is talking directly to the reader. Most first person narration walks the line of ‘the character is telling us a story’ or ‘we’re observers in the character’s head.’ There are lines in this book like “not for the reasons you think” or “not in a romantic way, mind you,” that gives the feeling that Skye is recounting the story to the reader over coffee and scones. I found that I liked this approach. It was almost as if Skye fell into the chair across from me at Starbucks and began telling a ‘you will never guess what just happened to me,’ story.
Skye spends a lot of time denying the beliefs of the people of Terra. That is understandable. Who would easily believe that their identity is false? For someone so stubborn and practical, it seems ridiculous how easily she believes everything else. A guy she’s just met tells her she’s no longer on Earth and she’s just like ok, how do I get home? She doesn’t demand proof or ask detailed questions. She just buys it. If she can easily believe she’s on another world, why does she take so long to consider the other possibilities?
Skye insists that she has a life she has to get back to, no matter what. While on Terra, she never thinks about her boyfriend or her parents. Doesn’t wonder how long she’s been gone or if they are missing her. It’s her lack of any real emotion, besides pity for people who think of her as Mariah, that makes her impossible to relate to or empathize with.
There are bright moments between Skye and Dawn that are effortlessly charming. Their back and forth banter flows beautifully on the page convincing me that these are two people with great chemistry. Dawn is perhaps the saving grace of this book. Leather coat and hover bike aside, his feelings are portrayed very realistically. His happiness at seeing Skye and his hurt over her apparent betrayal, all seem honest. His emotional journey through this book, keeps you turning the pages.
Whenever the rules of the world become clear, the author throws a new aspect into the mix. The idea of a parallel underground world is twisty enough to deal with. Every new twist just adds too much. It becomes too scientific, too technical and over the top. It’s like a sci-fi melodrama where no one is who they say they are and everyone is obsessed with Skye or has a deep dark past.
My biggest issue with this book is that the author really doesn’t understand the behavior of characters she has written. Skye’s boyfriend kisses her on the cheek and she is uncomfortable with what she calls PDA in the school. If the author believes that a kiss on the cheek in a college hallway is risqué she knows nothing about college students. Also, she references NYU film kids saying that they love “Citizen Kane” and look down on people who like “Star Wars.” False, I graduated from NYU film school. I hate Citizen Kane, but love Star Wars. Any film kid who hasn’t seen either of these movies would probably get scoffed at and then their friends would force them to watch the movies. These sections are very small parts of the book, but are apart of Skye’s character build up. Authors should always do research, before adding specifics. You know what they say about people who assume.
This story runs at a slow pace until the end where two big twists are revealed. While I was vaguely surprised, it wasn’t an OMG moment and it didn’t improve the book for me. The character just kind of bounces around for a few chapters, while nothing really happens. This book is all about Skye and her struggle to discover who she is and what is real. Unfortunately it’s all one note. She gains some ground, then turns around and does a complete 360. Her lack of progression as a character makes this book a bit of a struggle to get through.
I recommend it for someone looking for a quick and easy read. Also for dystopian, sci-fi lovers. ...more
“On Dublin Street” begins with such promise. You meet a damaged woman who meets an attractive man and sparks fly. This book has a great location in Scotland, an amusing cast of supporting characters and witty dialogue. I love the build up of Braden and Joss, up until their relationship became physical. I thought together they were charming, funny and sexy. Once they move from flirtation, the book lost some of its magic. The minute Braden forces his first kiss on Joss, I felt torn, My reactions were a cross between FINALLY! and the uncomfortable feeling that they were somehow unhealthy.
Joss has a lot of emotional problems that stem from the death of her family. Her fear of losing people and her inability to let people close, are all understandable issues. Who, after so many years of being alone, wouldn’t be shell shocked at the first sign of connection? I can understand that she needs a push, as her fear of loss is do debilitating. I just think Braden pushes too hard. He ignores what she wants, manipulates her emotions and is just way too controlling.
Braden is there whenever she turns around and sometimes it’s almost as if he is stalking her. Lets not even talk about the fact that he just lets himself into her apartment whenever he wants. This reoccurring alpha character, found in romantic stories, is beginning to worry me. Are we supposed to fall in love with a man who drags us into it kicking and screaming? Is it no longer masculine for the man to be patient and wait for the woman to come to him? Are females so weak or stubborn that they can never deal and need to be shoved into a relationship for their own good? If not, why are these alpha men so popular in fiction? Where are the Mr. Darcy’s who come on too strong, realize the error is their ways, does the right thing and then waits for the heroine to make her choice? Imagine if after Elizabeth Bennett turned down his first proposal, Mr. Darcy said, “I don’t accept that” and then proceeded to harass her.
As domineering as Braden can be, his heart is mostly pure. He does things because he cares and believes it’s for the best. Joss is just horrible. Something bad happens to a friend and her first thought is of herself. For the first half of the book I liked Joss and then she proved to be self absorbed and extremely selfish. Post traumatic stress and commitment issues go so far as an excuse for being a bad person. She must be really hot, because for the life of me I could not tell why Braden spent so much time fighting for her once her personality was revealed.
Even with all the domineering men and selfish heroine, “On Dublin Street” is a really entertaining book. It is funny, sexy and at times it is even heartbreaking. I can’t pretend that I was completely unconnected to the characters and that I didn’t relate to the issues. Young does a fantastic job of pulling the reader in and making it impossible for you to put the book down until the end. It’s just too bad I couldn’t like the characters a little better....more
I am a huge fan of this series. I really am. One of the things that I wrote in my review of “Tigers and Devils,” is that I truly felt Simon and Declan falling in love and the same can be said for the latest installment. Sean Kennedy doesn’t just tell us these characters are in love. He shows us, we feel it in every touch, every conversation and in every single one of Simon’s thoughts. That’s what makes this a great love story. Not just a great lgbt love story, not just a great ebook, no a great love story.
Simon and Decaln have been together for three years. They’re still madly in love, but now they’re stable and confident in their relationship. Declan is still the silent type who can manage to keep up with Simon’s loud personality. They are blissfully committed and truly love their life together. Unfortunately, Greg Heyward, Declan’s ex, comes out of the closet and attempts to tarnish the couple in the media. On top of that their best friends are all having varying degrees of issues in their relationships and everything seems to be one giant mess.
Besides its entertaining writing, its colorful characters and hilarious dialogue, “Tigerland” does two things beautifully. One, it gives you an amazing look on how easily public perception can be altered and manipulated. The media is a disgusting place that can take away your privacy, invade your life and tarnish your reputation with a single image or quote. Heyward does everything in his power to make himself look like the poster boy for gay athletes, while making Declan and Simon out to be the people who forced him deeper into the closet. It’s amazing how quickly everyone forgot all the good Declan has done and everything that the media and tabloids put him through.
The second thing this book does beautifully is give an honest look into a gay relationship. I’ve read a lot of m/m romance over the years and while it’s entertaining, it can sometimes be cliché. Lots of times it takes the extreme and makes it reality and tries to talk for every gay relationship as if they are all the same. The really misunderstood slutty guy with the big heart, the man who loves fiercely, but is afraid to come out of the closet and the quiet artsy type who has been kicked out of his home by homophobic parents have been told a hundred times. Do these people and situations exist? Oh yes, but is it the story of all gay men all over the world? No. What I love about Simon and Declan is that they are so real to me. It’s not like reading PSA about what it means to be gay in the world. No. They are gay and they love each other. When the outside world does come in and is closed minded and homophobic, it’s never written like a platitude. I never ever feel like Kennedy is getting on his soapbox. And because of that, my emotions are really brought to the forefront. I don’t feel manipulated. I simply feel for these characters, the injustices they face and the civil liberties that have been taken from them.
Sean Kennedy has written two characters that you can root for. I love this relationship. I want Simon and Declan to be together forever. I could read about them any day of the week and often. I want to know the instant they can legally marry in Australia. I want a seat at that wedding. I want to see them have kids, grow old, retire and live peacefully together. This is how a love story should make you feel.
Recommended for anyone who loved the first book, readers of m/m romance and anyone who has an open mind and likes a good romance.
The plot of “The Lady Most Willing,” is what makes historical romance such an entertaining genre. The notion that an aging Scotsman would kidnap Scottish ladies in a hope that his half-Scottish nephews will marry a Scot so that their children can be mostly Scottish is outlandish and hilarious. Add in the names Connie Brockway, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn, have them work together on a collaboration and you have gold in the form of a beautifully written and well constructed story.
Better than an Anthology “The Lady Most Willing” is a story told in three parts about a group of titled gentleman and well to do ladies who are thrown together in a frozen castle. Because its the highlands during a snow storm no one is able to leave the castle and no one is able to come to their rescue. They are stuck together and must make due.
Julia Quinn brings charm, hilarious dialogue and her beautiful writing to the story of Catriona Burns and the Duke of Bretton. Kidnapped by accident, Catriona because she was wearing a similar shade of blue to one of the other ladies and Bretton due to the fact he was asleep in his carriage when it was stolen by Taran’s men, Catrina and the duke are forgotten and left to their own devices. They bond over a warm fire and the bond of friendship soon becomes turns. To something more heated. It becomes a question of whether two people can fall in love, not at first sight, but at first serious conversation.
The ever controlled lord Byron and the spectacle wearing Fiona with the tarnished reputation are brought to life by the romantic descriptions of Eloisa James. Having escaped to Scotland after his engagement was ended amidst scandal, Lord Byron is shocked when his uncle kidnaps a gaggle of women for he and his cousin to choose their wives. With duty and honor in mind, Byron decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth and sets his eyes on the beautiful Marilla. After one interaction Bryon changes his mind and takes refuge from the young lady with her older sister, Fiona. What starts as a means to an end, transforms into romance and Byron must decide whether he can shame his family by marrying a fallen woman.
Robin the “Prince of Rakes” and Cecily who is “every mother-in-laws dream” is the creation of Connie Brockway. In the case of Robin and Cecily it’s love at first sight. The minute they lay eyes on each other they both know they have found the partner of their future life. Believing no lady could love him, Robin does not make a move. Unwilling to lose her chance at what could be forever love, Cecily decides to take matters into her own hands and seduce the Prince of Rakes.
Three different stories from three different authors with different writing styles. all three authors are talented and tell well formed short stories. Julia Quinn takes the first third of the book and while she beautifully crafts her own story, she drops in subtle hints to foreshadow the other stories. By the time the story of Catriona and Bretton wraps up, Quinn has dropped enough bread crumbs that you simply must read the rest of the book.
Personally, I enjoyed Quinn’s story the best, but was so invested in the tale I kept up with the story and thoroughly enjoyed....more