I actually don't have the patience to struggle through yet another novel... I just can't. Cruel Beauty has it's fair share of raving reviews so maybe...moreI actually don't have the patience to struggle through yet another novel... I just can't. Cruel Beauty has it's fair share of raving reviews so maybe I wasn't patient enough to reach the part where it gets all perfect and a masterpiece. But after struggling with the first half I just didn't have the patience or the strength to keep on reading. The world building is a confusing mix of so many elements I just can't count. Maybe things are explained later on the story. I wouldn't know. But I wasn't even midly curious to reach to that explanation. The insta love with Shade - Ignifex's servant - was a major turn off. And even though I haven't read about who or what Shade really is I'm pretty sure I have a good idea. It's kind of a retelling of Beauty and the Beast after all so it's kind of obvious... The only thing I liked was how Nyx wasn't all sweet and innocent but even that couldn't intrigue me enough to keep on with this story...(less)
The Wicked Wallflower is one of those books that make it quite a challenge for me to both rate and review. And that is be...moreReview published at Ex Libris
The Wicked Wallflower is one of those books that make it quite a challenge for me to both rate and review. And that is because even though I had quite a few issues with it I still managed to enjoy reading it. At least for the better part of it. So yeah, how exactly do you rate a book that made you roll your eyes at points but you were unable to put down nonetheless?
The Wicked Wallflower is the story of a plain wallflower, who no one notices and a notorious rogue who find themselves posing as a couple, both of them for their own personal reasons. Sounds cliche enough to you? Well, it is, but I have a thing both for reformed rakes and fake relationships that turn into something more. So, even if the story isn't anything new, I was still pretty eager to read it. From the first pages of the story I knew I would have a problem with the author's writing style. Don't get me wrong, it's not that the writing style is bad, it's just that Maya Rodale tried to add a humorous and playful tone to the novel, that although it made the whole story funnier it somehow felt forced and foreign. Not the whole time, but there were moments where I felt that a joke was forced or a situation wasn't all that funny if you thought it twice. Plus, all those "funny" mentions about "The Ashbrooke effect" and " London's Least Likely" or " The Buxom Bluestocking" weren't all that funny after a while.
But it wasn't just that. The whole narration wasn't all that smooth either. As with the funny parts, the romantic parts felt also a bit forced. I mean more than once I felt that a romantic scene came out of nowhere. I don't know if I have to blame the arc copy (after all there were more than a few typos in there) and the final copy will flow in a smoother way or that was the narration style. All I know is that I couldn't really feel any emotion in many romantic scenes. They were well written and after a bit I got in the mood and went along with the story but at first they felt forced. But that, could as well be due to the insufficient character development too. Especially where Ashbrooke is concerned. I mean he went from notorious rogue and scoundrel to lovesick puppy in the blink of an eye. Quite literally. I couldn't notice how his feelings for Emma were growing. Apart from the fact that he was intrigued by her refusal, I couldn't really pinpoint the exact moment he understood she means so much to him. As a result, he came off as a spoiled child who wants something just because he can't have it.
Emma on the other hand was a good character but by the end of the book, I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Granted, she was bound to feel reluctant to believe that Ashbrooke changed just for her, but reading pages upon pages of her internal turmoil tired me a lot. Another moment where I didn't really like her was the scene where she's ready to elope with Benedict. I haven't read a least sexy scene where the heroine finally surrenders to the hero while a second suitor is waiting for her just a few yards away ready to elope. She completely lost any affection I felt for her after that incident I'm afraid.
Verdict: The Wicked Wallflower is one of those books I really don't know how to rate because despite all the issues I had with both characters and writing style, I still managed to enjoy myself while reading it. Maybe some things didn't exactly work for me, but still, it was a decent and enjoyable story. And I will probably continue with the series. I still want to see the rest of the wallflowers finding their HEA :)(less)
This is yet another book by Jennifer Probst that couldn't really catch my interest I'm afraid... Although Searching for Someday was evidently better i...moreThis is yet another book by Jennifer Probst that couldn't really catch my interest I'm afraid... Although Searching for Someday was evidently better in most departments than the previous two books I read by the same author, still, it didn't really work for me.
The story is rather typical once more. I liked how this book was linked to the previous series in such a subtle way but it was like reading pretty much the same story once more... I don't know, if this was my first book by this author, maybe, just maybe, my opinion would be different. But as it is, Searching for Someday is something I have already read like a million times before and the characters didn't really work for me in order to keep my interest in a story that was bound to unimpress me. Kate was too cliche for my taste and Slade an overbearing alpha. The chemistry between them, was nonexistent. Everything seemed forced somehow and to be completely honest I was tempted to put this book down as soon as I read that Kate was still a virgin... I mean the virgin part is a major turn off for me in NA stories, but when reading about a close to 30 y.o. virgin it's just plain unbelievable. No wonder Kate was wet all the time and her nipples were puckered all the time while in close procimity to Slade or when he simply looked at her... Anyway, I continued reading despite my better judgement but things never really improved.
The writing style is easy and the story flows making Searching for Someday a quick read but it's just not my cup of tea.(less)
It was quite some time since I read an erotica title, so when I saw 10 Shades of Seduction featured on NetGalley I just c...moreReview published at Ex Libris
It was quite some time since I read an erotica title, so when I saw 10 Shades of Seduction featured on NetGalley I just couldn't pass the opportunity of reading a few steamy stories in the package of one! And this anthology has at least a story to appeal to every reader. There are stories of submission and secret fantasies coming to life or of lovers reconnecting. Stories about people getting to know a new lifestyle or how a couple can keep their sexual interest through unconventional ways. Suffice it to say that in this anthology you can at least find a story that will appeal to you.
Granted, there are some strong stories in here and some weaker. There are some really hot and others that are just meh. And then there are a couple of them that I really didn't care about. But in overall, in this anthology you get a decent assortment of stories that will entertain you. After all, we're talking about short stories here, so even if you don't particularly like one of them it will end before you'll even know it :)
I'm not a big fan of anthologies usually and that is because I believe that in short stories, there's no room for enough character or plot development. So yeah, all of those stories lack seriously in those departments. There's no character development and in most of them you get down on the dirty parts without no reason whatsoever, well apart from the obvious one :P. But, there are two stories in there that even if there's no real character development, at least the setting and their leading characters feel real. And those authors are whose work I will try in the future. And there are also a couple of real hot stories whose authors I will again try in the future for entirely different reasons :P
Verdict: 10 Shades of Seduction is a good erotica anthology with mostly interesting stories in there. If you're a fan of the genre and you like short and extremely hot stories then this is the read for you!(less)
I know I must be probably living under a rock but Foreplay is actually the first book I ever read by acclaimed author Sop...moreReview published at Ex Libris
I know I must be probably living under a rock but Foreplay is actually the first book I ever read by acclaimed author Sophie Jordan. One might think that with so many YA or HR titles I read I was bound to have read even one of her books but nope, Foreplay is my first ever book by this author and let me tell you it's not gonna be the last! Oh yeah, it was that good of a book!
Upon reading the summary of Foreplay my initial thought was that this would be one of the many New Adult titles that are being published lately. Good and sweet girl meets bad boy while she's in college, she uses him in hope of learning the art of seduction and from there everything changes. Honestly, I've read quite a few NA, YA or adult contemporary titles with the same pretty much concept and even more similar summaries of books I never got around reading. Even so, Foreplay just intrigued me. And I'm so glad that I didn't stay on the well-worn concept of the story and gave this book a chance! Because even if the story is something told like a million times before, Foreplay still manages to add something new and stand out among all the other similar stories. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book!
And what's not to love in it? The well written and very real characters? The scorching hot and at the same time sweet romance? Or the evenly paced narration? From the first until the last page, Foreplay managed to grab my interest and there wasn't a single moment when I felt bored while reading it. Quite the opposite. I literally devoured it in a matter of hours! Foreplay was exactly the kind of book I needed to make me remember why I love YA and NA. Because lately, all the NA adult titles I was picking couldn't really catch my interest and I just thought that this genre isn't really for me. Scorching hot sex scenes and tortured heroes alone can't make me love a book. But Foreplay has that something extra I search in a story that transforms it from good or typical to worth remembering.
I won't say anything about the plot. It's quite standard and pretty much what you read in the blurb. But the execution and Sophie Jordan's writing style make up for any lack of originality in the whole story. You still get the tortured heroes thing. I tend to believe that this is a necessity in NA pretty much like the love triangle is in YA :P But the dysfunctional past of both heroes isn't the main focus of the story, something that I found rather refreshing. It's just how life is for both Pepper and Reece. You don't get any sappy moments (well, at least not very sappy) which was another refreshing fact about Foreplay. Like I said, there may not be any big surprises in the plot of the book and you can easily guess where the story is heading but still, the execution and the writing style is simply amazing!
Plus, Foreplay has another huge advantage: Reece. Yeah, I'm on of those girls who always try to find their next big fictional male crush and Reece is totally swooning material! Tortured, gorgeous, and sexy as hell. He knows exactly how to make a girl lose her mind! I actually wonder how Pepper could ever resist him for that long a time...! And speaking of Pepper, she was a good character too. Not as great as Reece was though. The way she was so hang up on her envisioned future was a little bit of a turn off but at least she had some good reasons, so I was able to forgive her that little slip :P
Verdict: Don't be fooled by the less than original blurb of Foreplay. This book is full of surprises and one of the best NA books I have ever read. Sophie Jordan delivers a story full of emotion that manages to stay with you long after you have reached the last page of the book. If you're searching for a sweet and sexy at the same time romance that you'll finish in no time, then Foreplay is just the book for you!(less)
Another DNF for me... It wasn't that The Chocolate Touch was that bad a book. Not really. It was cute and sweet but despite that it couldn't really ho...moreAnother DNF for me... It wasn't that The Chocolate Touch was that bad a book. Not really. It was cute and sweet but despite that it couldn't really hold my interest. It's nothing that I haven't read like a gazillion times before so I'm just putting this story aside in search of something much more fun and unique to spend my time reading. The characters felt flat and the romance, no matter how sweet just didn't work for me. Maybe it got better. I can't really say. But up until the middle of the book the story just dragged and nothing really exciting ever happened.(less)
Abandoning this one around page 100. I just don't have the patience right now to see if this book will get any better. Maybe I will try it again somet...moreAbandoning this one around page 100. I just don't have the patience right now to see if this book will get any better. Maybe I will try it again sometime later though I doubt it. Both main characters are shallow and the way Hawk understands that Adrienne is the love of his life upon laying eyes on her was just laughable. Nope, I prefer to remember Moning's writing style from the Fever series, this book feels like it's being written from a completely different author.(less)
Another great addition to a series that I really enjoyed reading from start to end. I just can't wait to get my hands on the new spin off series! The b...moreAnother great addition to a series that I really enjoyed reading from start to end. I just can't wait to get my hands on the new spin off series! The best part of the book was by far when the story transported back in time and we got to learn everything that happened. If not for the many and repetitive sex scenes (I mean after a point I couldn't see the benefit of them) and the fact that everything wrapped up pretty easily and quickly at the end, this would be a solid 5 star rating. (less)
Crash Into You is easily one of my most anticipated releases of this year and for one single reason: Katie McGarry can do no...moreReview posted at Ex Libris
Crash Into You is easily one of my most anticipated releases of this year and for one single reason: Katie McGarry can do no wrong with her stories. And yes, as it was expected, the third book in the Pushing the Limits series is yet again incredibly good! No big surprises here, right? :)
I don't know exactly what is that distinct quality that makes Katie McGarry's stories such a success. Oh, there are plenty of reasons people love her books, be sure about that, but I still can't pinpoint exactly what it is that makes my heart break each time I read one of her stories. At times I think it's the characters and how well written and real they are that make me fall in love with them. But it's not just that. All of McGarry's characters have such a troubled past and present that you can nothing else but care about them. It's like somehow the author is giving voice and hope to all those teens out there that feel like the world is up against them. And she's doing it in the most impressive way!
Needless to say, I loved Crash Into You! Maybe not so much as the previous two books in the series, but still, I enjoyed every single minute of reading Isaiah's story. You see Isaiah was by far my favorite character of the trio. Maybe because he was always feeling like no one ever cared for him, I don't know, all I know is that I had a soft spot for Isaiah from the very first book. And his story didn't disappoint me. Surely, it could have been a little bit better. After all, we're talking about a story written by Katie McGarry here and she has already proved that she can do much better than really good. She can do perfect! And if it wasn't for how quickly Isaiah fell in love with Rachel you might never hear a simple complain from me.
Anyway, I won't go into details about the plot of Crash Into You. If you have read the previous two books in the series you already know what to expect more or less. And that is a riveting story about two so very different people who are so broken inside but still have the strength to love and move on with their lives and finally emerge stronger from any difficulties they meet along their way. So no, I won't tell anything about the plot other than it is very well written and will keep you on your toes the whole time.
The chemistry between Isaiah and Rachel is sizzling even if their relationship progressed a little bit quicker than I would have liked while the characters are yet again the strongest part of the book. And not just the main ones. No, the brilliance of Katie McGarry's writing is that she can easily and just as well explore her secondary characters along with the main ones. She gives voice to everyone who participates in her stories no matter how small an appearance he/she makes.
Verdict: Katie McGarry delivers yet again a heart-breaking story that manages to stay with you long after you're finished reading it. Strong characters and a toe-curling romance are the best attributes of a story that manages to grab the reader's interest from the first until the last page. I just can't wait for the next book in the series to get published! (less)
The Marriage Merger follows the same successful recipe as the rest of the books in this series, but while I really enjoyed all the previous books, Jen...moreThe Marriage Merger follows the same successful recipe as the rest of the books in this series, but while I really enjoyed all the previous books, Jennifer Probst's latest story didn't really manage to grab my interest. The writing style is as great as always and while Sawyer and Julietta's story was even sexier than what I would dare hope, still, I couldn't connect with either of the main characters plus I felt that their chemistry was somewhat forced. I mean as soon as they meet each other Sawyer is in a constant state of arousal while Julietta can't get him out of her head. I prefer for the author to make me feel the chemistry between her characters rather than notify me about it.
Anyway, another reason The Marriage Merger didn't work for me were also the BDSM references. I noticed the same thing in Jennifer Probst's past stories but I really think that they are somewhat not fitting to a sweet contemporary romance title. And this story for its better part is a sweet romantic title so I kind of found those references irrelevant. All those mentions to Sawyer's dominant side kind of turned me off. And let's face it, kinky sex has nothing to do with BDSM. Just saying.
Anyway, The Marriage Merger failed to impress me in overall but I still think that Jennifer Probst is one of the most talented authors out there. (less)
After how much I enjoyed reading the first book in the Wildefire series, you can easily understand why I was so excited when I started reading Midnight Lies. And for about the first half of the book I was pretty certain that Midnight Lies would be just as good as Midnight Secrets was, if not better. But that feeling unfortunately didn't last...
But let's take things from the start. My favorite part of the book was by far the pretty big introduction. Like in the first book of the series, Ella Grace takes the long route and describes in detail all the events that lead the couple in their present situation rather than start immediately and just inform us of her heroes' past. And while usually I'm not fond of big introductions, in this case I loved it! I thought that even if so many details were not necessary for the reader to understand the characters it still was a great way to get to know them before the actual story began. Plus, I always love a good mystery and Ella Grace knows exactly how to mix the right dose of mystery and suspense with a hot romance.
But, as soon as the intro finished, I noticed that I was becoming less and less excited with the whole story I'm afraid. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that made me lose my interest. Maybe the fact that I had guessed the murderer's identity way too early in the story played a role. Or maybe because of how Quinn was portrayed as the sole responsible for his break-up with Sam. Don't get me wrong, he did treat her horribly but Sam played a role in their fall-out too. And the fact that only Sam understood that while all the others just assumed he was an asshat irked me a bit. They were both at fault (maybe one more than the other, but still both of them) and they needed to forgive each other.
And here probably lies my next problem with this book. And that is the characters. Sadly, even with the very detailed background I just couldn't connect to either of the main characters in Midnight Lies. Quinn was full of contradictions. He's supposed to be a control freak and never showing his emotions but at the same time he immediately caves to his ex's demands or rushes of to Midnight to beg for Sam's forgiveness as soon as he learns that she was the one who helped drop the charges against him. He's proud but still buys a house (of all things to do to get your loved one to forgive you!) in Midnight even when Sam turns him down. And Quinn's character isn't the only one full of contradictions. Sam is as well. While she's portrayed as a smart and pretty perceptive person she acts nothing like it. What she does is doubt herself every other step of the way and never trusting her instincts.
Other than that the plot is another thing I wasn't all that excited about. While the writing style is very good and full of details and vivid images, the whole mystery subplot was done in a haste. After how great the whole story was set up at the beginning, the ending was anticlimactic to say the least. Both the murderer and his motive were pretty obvious really soon in the story. So, you can easily understand why Midnight Lies couldn't really catch my interest. Neither the mystery part nor the chemistry between the main couple could get my attention I'm afraid.
Verdict: Midnight Lies was something of a disappointment for me I'm afraid, especially considering how much I enjoyed the first book in the Wildefire series. Even so, Ella Grace's writing style is so good that I can't possibly miss the opportunity of reading the next book in the series!(less)
Sins of a Wicked Princess is the third and last book in the Sinners Trio series by Anna Randol which follows the adventur...moreReview published at Ex Libris
Sins of a Wicked Princess is the third and last book in the Sinners Trio series by Anna Randol which follows the adventures of three spies while they try to find their Happily Ever After. Considering how much I loved the second book in the series, Sins of a Ruthless Rogue, I had pretty high expectations from this book. And I'm happy to say that Anna Randol managed to deliver once more a story full of adventure, heartfelt emotion, and great characters that I couldn't possibly put down.
Before anything else, I have to note that the ARC I received for review was full of typos and mistakes something I seriously hope that will be fixed in the final copy. As a result the story wasn't smoothly flowing but that is something easily fixed. That being said, Sins of a Wicked Princess was an incredible book! I loved everything about it and mostly the leading couple. Both Ian and Juliana are characters that manage to stay with you long after you've finished reading their story, they are characters you can easily relate to and care for, thus making their story all the more a joy to read. Juliana is exactly the kind of heroine I like in my books. Not to mention that she's a princess! Yeah, I have a thing for princesses :P And Juliana is one of those princesses who care first of all for her people and then for themselves. She's ready to sacrifice herself or her personal happiness in order to secure a better future for her people. How many of our current political leaders can claim that? But the fact that she's responsible for a country doesn't stop her from being a very real woman with needs and insecurities and a wicked sense of humour!
Ian on the other hand is simply delicious. I don't have a thing for princesses alone. I have also a thing for spies and tortured heroes as well. And Ian is the perfect combination of genius, arrogance and sexiness. Honestly, I don't think Juliana could have a better man by her side, even if she tried :P Together they make the perfect couple. Their chemistry is really good and the reader cares for them and wants them to find their HEA.
As far as the plot is concerned, there's enough mystery to keep you turning the pages and betrayals to spice things up a bit. The writing style is really good and in overall, there wasn't a single moment where I felt bored or tired while reading Sins of a Wicked Princess. On the contrary. I stayed up late at night just to read a few more chapters :)
Verdict: Sins of a Wicked Princess is one of those books I really enjoyed reading. It combines mystery, intrigue and a good dose of romance and humour that I always appreciate in a book. And here I just have to note that this story manages to be sexy even if the sex scenes are limited. And that is another area where Anna Randol won me over. It's not the quantity of sex scenes that make a story sexy but the quality. A must read! (less)
Tempted by Trouble is a rather difficult book for me to rate. And it's difficult because even though I really enjoyed reading it, there were some aspe...moreTempted by Trouble is a rather difficult book for me to rate. And it's difficult because even though I really enjoyed reading it, there were some aspects of the story that made me want to bang my head on any available surface! And the main thing that made me feel that way was Marco, the main hero of the story.
But let's take things from the start. Tempted by Trouble is a typical romantic story about second chance in love. Pippa is a socialite, the golden girl who has everything right on her feet and chooses to throw them away and be a party animal and Marco, her step uncle, who is her first and only love but doesn't want to ever see her again because he believes she has destroyed his life, or does he?
The setting couldn't be more perfect for me, seeing that it takes place in the Caribbean, and the story, well, it's right up my alley. Add to that the fact that Michelle Smart did a wonderful job both with her writing and the way she developed her characters in such a small story and you get why I really enjoyed this story. I mean we're talking about a rather short story, but still, Smart managed to provide her characters with a solid past, to explore them throughout her story and make her readers care for them. That is a great accomplishment in my book! While I was reading this story I felt more than once my heart breaking for Pippa, the way everyone treated her and the way no one could understand that she was so messed up and all she needed was some love. All she needed was for someone to care about her. And maybe because I cared so much about Pippa, I hated so much Marco and his behavior towards her. Granted, maybe Marco's behavior was justified but still, you never get to treat someone in that way. No matter how much you believe you were wronged, being so short sighted speaks volumes of your own character. For the best part of the book I just wanted to slap both Marco and Pippa. Well, mostly Marco for treating Pippa that way and then I just wanted to slap some sense into Pippa for still dreaming of a man that treated her that way for no apparent reason. He was just horrible to her right until the end. And in case you're wondering, no, he didn't redeem himself by then. Even if he tried to protect Pippa and changed his behavior towards her, I still couldn't forgive him his previous horrible behavior. He was a man with such a huge ego and no matter what he did couldn't change that.
As you can guess, I got quite passionate with this book right? Which is a good thing because it means I got invested in the story, and that is where I find it difficult to rate this book. Because I loved it, but I really hated the main hero. One other thing that I quite didn't like also, were the sex scenes. While I found the whole writing style really good, the sex scenes were a failure. They were very cheesy and descriptions like:
"The first press of his lips on hers turned her bones into fondue." or
"All that mattered was being in his arms again and being kissed with such passion and hunger her whole being turned into noodles"
just killed my mood. Add to that some really unnecessary commands while in the act like "Take me." or "Kiss me." more than once and yeah, the sex scenes were definitely not my favorite part of this story.
Anyway, all in all, Tempted by Trouble is a decent story, well written for the most part of it, that I really enjoyed reading if not for the main hero. He was my main source of problems while reading this book, but Pippa just made up for him. She was one memorable character, so strong and so kind that I just loved her. And maybe because I loved her so much I hated Marco for the way he treated her. Michelle Smart did an incredible job and I just can't wait for her next story!(less)
Yet another book that I'm forced to put aside. Even though the writing style in the little I read seems very good and caught my interest, the storylin...moreYet another book that I'm forced to put aside. Even though the writing style in the little I read seems very good and caught my interest, the storyline is way too dark for my current mood.
The heroine had a child in the tender age of 14 (I'm guessing here that she was raped, though I'm not sure) and as if that is not enough her child is diagnosed with autism. On top of all that, at the age of 22 she has to care for a 7 y.o. boy with problems, and her mother who has sclerosis plus, her father abandoned all of them, leaving her the only person to tend two people with different but equally challenging problems. The hero has his own huge problems too, so you can guess why this is just too much for me right now. I need a book I can enjoy myself not one where so many disasters take place from the very first chapters. The fact that I can't continue with this book right now doesn't mean that I won't do it sometime, when the timing is right, or that it is a bad book. From the little I read the writing style seems decent. So it's just a purely personal thing and has nothing to do with whether the book itself is good or bad. (less)
The premise of What the Duke Desires sounds more than intriguing and upon reading it I kind of believed that this book was right up my alley. Add to t...moreThe premise of What the Duke Desires sounds more than intriguing and upon reading it I kind of believed that this book was right up my alley. Add to that the fact that I've heard nothing but praise about Sabrina Jeffries's work and I was more than excited about reading. Now that I finally read it, although I did enjoy this book in overall, I can't say that I was very impressed with it either. There were some parts in this book that really worked for me and some others that just fell flat I'm afraid...
Let's start with the good things about What the Duke Desires. And one among them is Sabrina Jeffries's writing style. Having finally read one of her books I totally understand why people praise her work. The pace of the story was great, I literally devoured it and finished it in no time, while her descriptions of Lisette's and Max's travels were beyond fascinating and probably my favorite part of the book.
But, even with the decent writing style and the vivid descriptions, What the Duke Desires was just an ok read. And that happened mainly for two reasons. The first one was the fact that the romance between the leading couple felt completely flat for me. There was no connection between them, no chemistry, no spark. I read about their feelings, I wanted them to get their HEA but I wasn't dying to see them reaching it. Even if the characters were well presented and had a background (I've noticed that underdeveloped characters usually make me not care about what happens to them) still, I couldn't feel their emotions. There were moments I felt that those two were together only because the author wanted them to.
The other reason I didn't enjoy What the Duke Desires as much as I expected was the fact that the mystery part of the story was not that mysterious after all.... I mean the reason Lisette and Max started this incredible journey was to get some answers and to solve a mystery but the real focus of this story was how their romance would evolve and not how they would solve the mystery at hand. And maybe that was the author's intention all along but I found myself wanting something more in that department, especially if you think how the romantic part didn't really convince me as well...
Other than that, there were some very interesting secondary characters introduced and even if they were completely underdeveloped I still want to learn more about them and that's a good thing because What the Duke Desires is the first book in a new HR series and all those interesting secondary characters will soon get their chance to tell us their story!
All in all What the Duke Desires was not exactly what I expected it to be but it was still a fun read and Sabrina Jeffries is definitely an author whose work I want to read again. I just hope that the romance in any future books in this series will be better presented or closer to what I usually enjoy.(less)
Another Entangled title that failed to impress me I'm afraid. The main trope was poorly executed, Ellie seemed to be searching more for a fuck buddy r...moreAnother Entangled title that failed to impress me I'm afraid. The main trope was poorly executed, Ellie seemed to be searching more for a fuck buddy rather than an instructor and it's one thing to search for someone to teach you a few tricks to impress a guy you love for years and a whole other to propose to someone to actually instruct you how to have sex... It just didn't work for me. I felt that Tyler was Ellie's fuck toy and I just couldn't connect with her or understand her reasoning. The writing style was decent and what I usually expect and get from other similar titles published by Entangled but both the story and the characters failed to impress me or catch my interest. I think that there are far better similar stories out there. As it is Private Practice is not only a not memorable title but a title I really want to forget that I read.(less)
The Burning Sky is an absolutely stunning YA debut for the acclaimed Historical Romance author Sherry Thomas. No...more4.5 stars Review published at Ex Libris
The Burning Sky is an absolutely stunning YA debut for the acclaimed Historical Romance author Sherry Thomas. Not that I expected anything less from Thomas, but Burning Sky surpassed even my wildest imaginations. Yeah, it was that good!
The Burning Sky was like reading Harry Potter, in a Victorian England setting and with high fantasy elements thrown in the mix just to spice things up a bit. The result is a mesmerizing book, told in a way only Thomas can, that fans of Fantasy will just sink their teeth into! This book has everything I search for in a good story: strong and easy to relate to characters, a toe curling romance and a fast paced plot full of mystery and twists. And the setting? The way Thomas merges reality with fiction, the way she blends together a very real London with a wonderful fantastical world was just perfect, for lack of a better description. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like in this book let me tell you. It was just amazing!
It's no news to me that Thomas can deliver heart warming romance. It's not just the way she is able to transform a couple's spark into words, it's also the way she portrays her characters that makes any romantic relationship between them believable. I could not care less about the characters (which I did!) but I would still love their romance and feel the spark between them. That's how great an author Thomas is! The world Thomas created is full of magic (with wands and all! I don't believe how much I missed the use of wands!) mystery, intrigue, betrayal, self sacrifice and love, love between lovers, between mother and child between friends. The kind of love that warms a person's heart and inspires him to work miracles. That's the kind of world I love and Thomas managed to give her readers the best of it.
The characters are great, both main and secondary ones and memorable. Iolanthe was amazing, the kind of heroine I love in my books. Strong, determined and courageous. Her reactions are believable, not like many heroines out there that are asked to die for a greater cause and agree to do it without a second thought. What sane person does that? She struggles with what she has to do but chooses to do it nonetheless.And that is why she's so great a character. As great character is also Titus. Clever and strong and ruthless. He's ready to do whatever he has to for what he believes right. Together as a couple, Iolanthe and Titus are just perfect!
I won't say anything about the plot, I don't want to spoil it for you. All I'm going to say is that you won't be able to put this book down for no reason. And if not for the quick way everything wrapped up in the end, this would be a more than 5 star rating if possible. But the ending kind of messed things up a bit. Not that it lessened my appreciation of the book, I just felt that it was little compared to how incredibly amazing the rest of it was.
Verdict: The Burning Sky is a story you don't want to miss for many reasons! Sherry Thomas proves that she can write a great story whether it is adult or YA, whether it is HR or High Fantasy. She's a great author who knows how to deliver a good story no matter what. I can't wait for the sequel!
Let's face it, I have a thing for all Entangled's titles, especially those of the Bliss imprint. It's no secret! I love how sweet and cute an...more2.5 stars
Let's face it, I have a thing for all Entangled's titles, especially those of the Bliss imprint. It's no secret! I love how sweet and cute and at the same time sexy they are without having any really hot sex scenes in them. So, when I read the premise of Playing the Maestro I couldn't wait to get started with it. I mean I knew I would read a cute and romantic story plus, as far as an interesting setting is concerned, one couldn't hope for a better, seeing this one is about a maestro! I haven't read anything like that before, so naturally I was beyond intrigued!
And while Playing the Maestro is fresh and unique in it's own way, it's cute and sweet, everything I had hoped for exactly, still, it failed to impress me or catch my interest. After a point, I couldn't care less about what happened in the story. Not because it was a bad one or the writing was bad but simply because I was bored. And I'm terribly sorry to say that but despite how fresh is the idea behind this story, still, the result was a lukewarm romance and a plot that didn't have anything exciting in it. It was terribly predictable, following every single cliche out there that even a gorgeous maestro or a cute flutist couldn't save the day. I may enjoyed reading about how the orchestra operated or Wolf's ideas to make kids care about classical music, but other than that there was little else I enjoyed in this book. Not that I hated everything else, I just had read everything before so there was nothing to keep my interest there. And if it wasn't a rather short story, I would have put it aside before even reaching the middle, but since it was a quick one, I decided I might as well finish it.
The plot like I said isn't anything fresh or interesting. Full of cliches and as predictable as one could get. The writing style, may be decent, but still I couldn't really appreciate it or give much thought to it since for most of the time, I just read for the sake of reading. With no real interest or a mind set to what I was reading. Too many things just went unnoticed truth be told.
The characters were ok I guess. I liked them. But I wasn't thrilled with them. And like with everything else in this story, I didn't care for them. And that is the main problem. That the author couldn't make me care about anything. Why? Maybe because despite the fresh setting, everything else was presented with in a rush way. Wolf hasn't even met Melody and he's set on impressing her even though he reminds him of his dreaded ex while Melody on the first page of the story vows to never date another musician and a little later she dreams about her dreamy boss... I get that this is a rather short story, but if you can't built your characters and a decent romantic plot in so few lines, use more pages or just don't do it at all. Honestly, at the time I picked up this book I was already tired of romances that just were on fast forward so maybe my judgement is a little bit harsher about this one specifically. But I just can't help it and I'm sorry about that.
All in all, Playing the Maestro is a sweet romantic title but nothing unique or fresh except for the fact that here the main hero is a maestro - and that is something you don't read about every day. Other than that, this story is exactly like a thousand others out there. (less)
Hard Way is one of those books that make it really difficult for me to rate. It's that kind of a book that I had quite a few problems with but I can't...moreHard Way is one of those books that make it really difficult for me to rate. It's that kind of a book that I had quite a few problems with but I can't just ignore the brilliance of the author and totally dismiss it as a bad read. There were things I liked, things I didn't like and things I both loved and hated in Hard Way. Actually, the title of the story itself couldn't describe my feelings towards it better!
Let's start with the things I liked. Do you remember my review of Lead and Follow written by the same author? I was absolutely amazed by that title, so naturally, anything else written by the same author was a must read after that. So, when I got the chance to review in advance Hard Way, I jumped right at it. The thing I loved so much about Lead and Follow was the way Katie Porter (aka Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown) made me enjoy so much a story that was outside my comfort zone. So, when I read the blurb of Hard Way I immediately thought that I was in for a hell of a ride, pretty much the same like before. I mean I have never before read about a couple enjoying engaging in rape scenarios. Like a menage, it is a bit outside my comfort zone, and because of that fact, I was all the more eager to read this book. So, I just kept an open mind towards all the sex scenes. And no matter how violent or rough they were, I didn't mind one bit that fact. I knew what I was going to read, so if I cringed towards any of the sex scenes described it would be no one else's fault but mine. The summary warns the reader enough. So, even though some parts were a bit (or a lot, depending on how you see it) violent, that wasn't my problem. I couldn't engage emotionally in what I was reading, but I could still feel the characters. And that's the brilliance of this duo in my opinion. The way they can make the reader understand their characters and how they communicate and express their emotions during the sexual act.
So, the violence or the "rapes" weren't my problem in Hard Way. My problem was that while I know how great Katie Porter can built a character, in Hard Way both Dash and Sunny felt underdeveloped, felt like a couple of characters with no past and a very bizarre present. And here I have to note that I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, so maybe I'm missing some crucial parts. But since those books can be read as stand alones, I still believe that the author could have done a little bit of a better job building the main characters. The story starts immediately, throwing the reader in the midst of a marriage ready to fall apart, with Sunny asking for a divorce and Dash reacting a little bit violent. Don't get me wrong, he didn't force himself on his wife, he was just rougher than usual and as soon as he saw that Sunny liked it, he stepped up his game. And here is the problem. It was way too soon in the story for the reader to understand either Dash's or Sunny's reactions. There were times that I didn't understand Sunny's reactions at all, if she liked Dash's violence or if she meant it when she asked him to stop. Or I couldn't understand why Dash reacted the way he did. It was the beginning of the story, so naturally the characters hadn't enough time to show us their background. Later on, they developed, I could more or less understand them, but the damage was done. I had lost some of my enthusiasm towards the story.
My other problem was that I couldn't understand how was possible for a couple to be together for so many years and never discuss their problems or understand that they were in for some kinky stuff. You can be shy, but there are always some hints. Granted, both Sunny and Dash were two characters with many problems. So naturally, their marriage would be problematic as well. But the dynamics of their relationship were revealed too late in the story. While the author should show us at first, or at least early in the story, how their marriage operated and then focus on the sex parts, it happened the exact opposite. And while both characters redeemed themselves by the end, the damage was once more already done. Even if by the end Sunny resumed responsibility for her own mistakes rather than blaming Dash for everything, it was a small consolation for me. I already spent the whole book trying to figure her out and disliking her. Because Sunny was my other problem with Hard Way. For a fighter and a woman who knew what she wanted and how to get, she sure acted like a spoiled brat. She chose to fight for anything else but for the man she supposedly loved. Her aversion to having kids or acknowledge what her husband wanted made me like her even less. Because granted, every man or woman can choose whether having kids is what he/she wants in life, but Sunny, just didn't know what she wanted. Her reasoning was a little bit self centred as self centred was the way she chose to react to her fear for Dash's life. But like I said, by the end she redeemed herself. I understood why she acted the way she did and even sympathised with her at some points but still, it was a small consolation.
Dash on the other hand, was a character I liked far more even though he too was a very complex character who could have been explored way more than he was, but still he was sweet even if he seemed to suffer from a split personality at times. I mean he was like two completely different characters throughout the whole story, something that was explained by the end as well, but still I liked him way more than I did Sunny. Bottom line, the problem in Hard Way was that it had two main characters who could add to the whole story if they were better explored, but as it was, they felt incomplete, messing with the whole plotline.
All in all, Hard Way is a story that I enjoyed but had many significant problems especially with the character building. Readers who have a problem with rape scenarios or rough sex should be warned to stay away from this particular story. You won't like it believe me. But for me, the problem with this book didn't lie there. It lay on an inferior character building, especially if one thinks of what these two authors are capable of achieving in that particular department.(less)
I just have to admit that the main reason I accepted Blood Shadows for review was the fact that I somewhere saw mentioned that the main hero, Kane, is...moreI just have to admit that the main reason I accepted Blood Shadows for review was the fact that I somewhere saw mentioned that the main hero, Kane, is the new Bones... Yeah I know, I shouldn't be that superficial in my pickings, but wherever I see Bones' name I'm sold. Well, I also read the premise and it was something that I could easily enjoy, so I didn't even think twice before picking Blood Shadows. I was rather excited to read it to be honest.
Now that I read it, not that I had a bad time while reading it or I didn't enjoy it, but the level of excitement for that title has seriously decreased. My primary thought about Blood Shadows is tiresome. I felt tired while reading this book, like it wouldn't end, ever!And although for some books that is a good thing, like I don't want it to end, that wasn't the case with Blood Shadows I'm afraid.
But let's take things from the beginning. And I will start with the good things about this book. Because undeniably, Blood Shadows is a very well written story. Lindsay J. Pryor has done an exceptional job with the way she wrote her story, so good a job, that I even skipped the various editing mistakes. Because in the copy I received there were a few. There were repetitions of words and some grammar mistakes. But still, even if usually those typos annoy me and ruin my concentration on a book, in Blood Shadows, I managed to completely brush them off. Pryor has a way with words and knows exactly what to say and how to say it. I don't think that I have said that before in any of my reviews, but this author's vocabulary is exceptional!
The world building in Blood Shadows, is another thing I really liked in this book. Let's face it, vampires are an overused concept in both UF and PNR, but Pryor's world has something fresh and new. The world she envisioned is intricate and unique but even if I did enjoy that aspect of this story, still, by the end I was left unsatisfied about the way exactly the world worked. For a book that delved too much into various details, I sure expected more about what made this world tick. Not that the reader hasn't enough to understand things, but when I read pages of details about things of no real value then I get to be a bit demanding and need something more about what really matters in a story.
The other thing about Blood Shadows I liked, well, to no one's surprise that is Kane. Be warned, he has nothing to do with Bones, and I can't really understand where the comparison even came from, but still, he's a great character. Even if he was too manipulative for his own good, I still liked him. And in general, the character development in Blood Shadows was pretty good. Not perfect. But good enough.
And now let's start about the things I had a few problems with. First thing, is the author's obsession with details and the very descriptive narration. I have nothing whatsoever against details and I even like some detailed descriptions on occasion, but the excessively detailed narration in most cases tires me. And the thing that made me like this book less than I probably would have otherwise, is exactly that. No matter how good a story is or how much I enjoy it in overall, when I'm feeling tired while reading it is bound to lower my overall appreciation of it.
Especially the part where Caitlin is locked with Kane in his house made me think more than once to put this book aside. All those details and nothing really happening. One of the reasons I really like PNR and UF is how fast the story goes and the action packed scenes. Well, in Blood Shadows, the story couldn't progress any slower and the action scenes were less in comparison and too short. Well, the action is almost non existent, even in the final scene, everything just clicked way too easily ruining the whole climax of the book.
The character development was pretty good like I said, but I have some complaints here as well. Let's face it, Blood Shadows isn't exactly a small or short story, in fact it's the opposite and if you consider how detailed it is and how intricate the world building is, then I kind of expected that we would get to know more about the secondary characters and not just the main ones. And even though the secondary characters are somewhat explored, still Pryor focuses way too much her story on the main couple and their emotions, something that reflects on the time and "room" she gives to the other characters of this story to develop. To put it simply, we get to know many unnecessary things about both Kane and Caitlin when all that space could have been used for another character.
Anyway, Blood Shadows isn't a bad book, not by a long shot. Lindsay Pryor proved with her debut novel that she can write and really good at that. All my problems with this book, could have easily been fixed through a good editing process in my opinion. If Blood Shadows was a few chapters shorter, minus all those details, it could easily have been much better. As it is, it's an interesting story, written really well, that still tired me a lot while reading it.(less)
Plot was way too predictable. Actually, there wasn't but the basic plot and everything else was just something to feel the gap between the one sex sce...morePlot was way too predictable. Actually, there wasn't but the basic plot and everything else was just something to feel the gap between the one sex scene and the next. Granted the sex scenes were hot and well written, but from the premise I also thought that there would be an interesting suspense subplot. Didn't happen. If you search for a hot and sexy read try it. But don't be fooled by the murders. You will feel disappointed.(less)
Kele Moon works her miracles once more and delivers yet again a deliciously sexy story! Star Crossed was just as good as...moreReview published at Ex Libris
Kele Moon works her miracles once more and delivers yet again a deliciously sexy story! Star Crossed was just as good as I expected it to be and then some! Thankfully the next book in the series is releasing soon because I desperately need another story from this author!
Star Crossed starts immediately after the events of the first book took place and at some point the narration revisits the last two days of the first book from Juliet and Romeo's POV. Even if the books in the series can be read as stand alones that revisit was completely necessary for the whole plot to make sense. And even so, for someone that hasn't read Defying the Odds the beginning of Star Crossed may seem abrupt and right to the point. I thought of the same thing too and I picked this story as soon as I finished the first one, so be warned.
Star Crossed in comparison to the first book in the series is way sexier...! There's no cuteness in this one. Cute and sweet could work with Melody's character but it could never work with Juliet. Juliet is an ambitious woman who knows exactly what she wants and doesn't hesitate to take it. In every aspect of her life. And I really liked reading about her story. As I really liked the fact that she is as different a character from Melody, the heroine of the first story, as one could hope.
Her relationship with Romeo is explosive! One could never expect anything else from her while Romeo really sets the standards high! His determination and the way he fights for his family and those he cares for make him simply irresistible.
In her second book of the Battered Hearts series, Kele Moon follows the exact same pattern as in the first one but this story, like I said before, is way spicier than the first one! The story is even paced and the character development department is just as good if not better. Because you see, in this book, you are introduced to yet another set of delicious males whose story I can't wait to read. And that is the best thing about this series. The way the author presents all her characters and makes the reader crave to learn more about them.
Verdict: Star Crossed is the perfect sequel to a really enjoyable series. The writing style and the characters are the best attributes in my opinion to a series of books that deserve all the hype they get. The Battered Hearts series is contemporary romance at its best!(less)
Defying the Odds was a very pleasant surprise for me! Surely, I have read all the raving reviews about this book but with my luck lately, that doesn't...moreDefying the Odds was a very pleasant surprise for me! Surely, I have read all the raving reviews about this book but with my luck lately, that doesn't mean that I would actually enjoy a book others have loved... But I'm glad to say, that Defying the Odds lives up to its expectations and it was a book I really enjoyed reading!
It's no big secret that I love my contemporary romances sweet yet at the same time sexy. It's a common combination in stories out there, but it's not that successful always as one might think. In some cases the sexiness overshadows everything else, while some other times a story can be really sweet, but with little to no sex in it, something that I have no problem with, but let's face it, I tend to feel unsatisfied afterwards, searching for a little spiciness in all that sweetness. Who says I'm hard to satisfy?
Defying the Odds though has the perfect balance between sexy and sweet. Between cute and lust. It's just written in a way that will satisfy any reader's appetite and mood. And that is the best thing about this story for me. That is what I loved the most and why I couldn't wait to pick book two as soon as I finished reading this one. Kele Moon, has found in this novel the perfect balance between everything thus making her story irresistible!
As far as the plot is concerned, you will not find any big surprises here. Defying the Odds follows most of the cliches of the romantic genre but fear not, it manages to stand out. Not only because of that balance I talked about before, but because of its characters as well, both main and secondary. And that is the second thing I really loved about this story: the way the characters were written and their development. Kele Moon really focuses on her characters, since most of the secondary characters in this one will either be the main ones in future novels or will appear again. So she tries her best to introduce everyone to us and make us want to know more about them, making it hard for the reader to not anxiously await for future novels in this series. At least I know I can hardly resist them when they get published! I want to read each and everyone's story!
This one though, is the story of Clay, a UFC fighter and Melody, a waitress who runs for her past and falls right into the hands of one unmistakably sexy and gorgeous man who will change her life forever! Clay is super delicious while Melody is as naive as one could get but somehow her naivete instead of irritating me made me adore her. Their chemistry is off the charts and the romance between them has the exact pace I love in a story. No insta love or lust. Surely they like each other and are attracted to each other but not in the way I'm tired of reading lately with clenching wombs and wetness between the heroine's legs every single time she lays her eyes on the hero.
All in all, Defying the Odds was a most pleasant surprise of a book for me! I loved pretty much everything about it and as soon as I finished reading it, I just immediately grabbed the next one. And so far, it's just as good, so something tells me that this series, will be my next obsession for some time :)(less)
This book didn't work for me at all. Too short, not much of a plot, no secondary characters and the main ones were completely underdeveloped and with...moreThis book didn't work for me at all. Too short, not much of a plot, no secondary characters and the main ones were completely underdeveloped and with no substantial background. Although Sarah's problem was interesting the solution to it came way too quickly and easy ruining what was the best aspect of the book for me. Not a bad book just a big fat mehhhh. Should have spent my time reading something else. (less)