I read and enjoyed previous installments in this series, but I didn't love them like the majority from whom I read reviews**spoiler alert** 2.5/5 (C-)
I read and enjoyed previous installments in this series, but I didn't love them like the majority from whom I read reviews. And once again, I'm most probably going to be in the minority where it concerns All He Ever Needed.
Overall, the story was okay. I mean, when it came to the romance, there wasn't much we haven't seen. The hero wants a fling, the heroine succumbs, they have a good time but eventually realize what they have is more. As a secondary storyline, you have the Northern Star Lodge that is not really doing well financially which brings back another of their brother, Ryan, to check it out. While in truth, Josh is just tired of taking care of it, being the youngest, he was kind of stuck with the lodge while his older siblings got to spread their wings and do what they wanted. In that sense, I do think the older siblings were a bit selfish, just assuming Josh liked taking care of the lodge. Then again, Josh is old enough to express his opinions and could have voiced his displeasure earlier. There were a few more storylines such as the part-time lodge housekeeper's 26 years feud with a friend of her late husband... but the most interesting one involved Mitch's best friend, Drew Miller who is the sheriff. He and his wife are going through a rough patch, because Drew wants to have children and his wife doesn't. As I said, the situation is quite interesting and the arguments on both sides make sense. The problem though is what the wife doesn't understand is that Drew is not choosing hypothetical kids over their years of marriage, what he can't get past is having been lied to for his entire marriage. Definitively not a clear cut, but I can still take side :)
So what was my issue with All He Ever Needed? Basically, Mitch's behavior. There's something about his attitude that just rubbed me wrong... and I know I'm in the minority here, but please, just hear me out. I was fine with the fact that Mitch wanted to have a fling, six weeks of pure fun and something temporary. My problem was he saw Paige, was attracted and wanted to have the fling with her. He was warned very early that Paige haven't been out with any guy for two years, and still, he set his cap on her... and when she turned him down, he still pursued her. Ultimately, it felt to me like he was forcing his agenda on her. It's one thing if she had jumped in on the fling, but she didn't. She didn't want to get involved and he still pursued her. Why not respect her decision, her choice? Sure, they found each other attractive, but that didn't mean they had to act on it. They wanted different things... So why did he keep pursuing her? As I said, it'd be different if he wanted something more than just sex, but that was his motive. It just felt disrespectful to me. From the beginning, it felt like he's been after a conquest. He came into town knowing he'd be there for 6 weeks and decided he wanted someone warming his bed and Paige would be it. It just didn't work for me.
I know All He Ever Needed is a contemporary romance novel, so yes, the H/H have to get together for this book to work out, but deep down, I really wanted Paige to stick to her gun, turn him down and not succumb. Why do heroines, when they know full well they're not made for flings, still go for them? Does this really reflect reality? Something else that really bothered me was everyone in Paige's surroundings having an opinion about whether or not she should get with Mitch. I know this is a small town and there's no privacy and people are noisy, but still... This was taking it a bit too far for my taste.
Otherwise, Mitch and Paige's characters were okay. They liked and wanted different things, but could compromise. But really, this book just didn't do it for me and when Paige and Mitch got their HEA ending... I didn't feel like cheering. For now, I also doubt I'll be picking the subsequent books.
My Grade: 2.5/5 (C-). As I said, this book didn't work for me, but that's really because from the start, Mitch's behavior rubbed me the wrong way. However, from all the favorable reviews for All He Ever Needed I've read on blogland, I seem the only one who had this reaction. So if you had enjoyed Ms Stacey's books previously, you should give this one a try :)...more
I'm going to start this review by a confession... I don't like self-published books ^_^; I know most of my reasons is all**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
I'm going to start this review by a confession... I don't like self-published books ^_^; I know most of my reasons is all about prejudices, but I can't help it. So while I did enjoy Ms Mayberry's books in the past, when I found out that she self-published Her Best Worst Mistake, I was a bit wary. Then, good reviews started popping up and after reading Hilcia's, I knew I had to give this book a try. Especially since the story trope was opposites attract and the hero was a stuffy shirt!
In the end, I'm soooo glad I read Her Best Worst Mistake because I have only one word to describe it: wow! I can with assurance that it is my favorite Sarah Mayberry book to date! Yep, that's how much I looooove Her Best Worst Mistake and it's all thanks to Violet and Martin, because they made the book for me :) The characters were likable, well developed and the chemistry - so hot that it burned the pages! I thought it was clever from Ms Mayberry to have the two characters not really understand each other. Yes, they've been interacting for years, but always kept their distance... so they had misconceptions about each other. And those cleared up as time passed in their relationship. That way, the readers really got to know the characters :) I also really liked how Martin and Violet came together and how their relationship progressed. Yes, it was lust and sex at first, but it quickly deepened into something more. I think the turning point was when they both admitted they wanted each other... and I liked that they precised that if Martin and Elizabeth had married, neither would have made a move. Also, Ms Mayberry proved that you don't need that much conflict in your romance to be interesting. Instead, I like how honest and upfront Martin and Violet were. Of course, my favorite part in all this was how Martin was supportive of Violet, especially after he learned about her estrangement with her family.
Interestingly enough, once Martin and Violet became a couple, the focus of the story shifted away from the "opposites attract" trope. In fact, it turns out that Martin wasn't boring at all. Perhaps a little bit of a stuffy shirt, but not as much as the readers were made to believe. I think that when Martin and Violet finally hooked up, the real Martin surfaced. It seems that while he was with Elizabeth, Martin didn't only stifle her, but himself as well in his quest of betterment and respectability. With Violet, he was able to be more himself and I liked that. I also found it refreshing that Her Best Worst Mistake was not about changing either characters. Yes, Martin was able to let loose, but it wasn't because Violet suddenly showed him how to relax and have fun. I mean, Martin didn't change his work habits or clothing habits... He was just less stuffy because Violet made him more comfortable. Instead, the conflict shifted towards Violet's insecurity and emotions about the relationship and her friendship with Elizabeth. I thought it was extremely well-executed by Ms Mayberry and way more interesting and refreshing.
My only complaint about Her Best Worst Mistake is I think Violet kept the truth from Elizabeth a bit too long... and I have to say, I didn't care much about Elizabeth ^_^; It always seemed to be Violet listening and being there for Elizabeth and not vice-versa. True, Violet withhold the truth, but for two best friends, Elizabeth didn't even seem to realize something was going with Violet, that she wasn't acting differently. Also, it didn't seem to me like Elizabeth inquired about Violet's life. I know Elizabeth was going through a lot at the same time, but she seemed a bit like a crappy friend ^_^; However, I did like Elizabeth's reaction when she finally found out :)
All in all, I loved Her Best Worst Mistake :) If this is the quality level of Ms Mayberry's self-published books, well please, write more LOL. Obviously, there were great characters, good story and good writing, but in my opinion, it also worked because Ms Mayberry was able to crank up the sexiness level :) And amazingly, while Her Best Worst Mistake was a short book, it didn't feel short... so kudos to Ms Mayberry for an excellent book :) ...more
What I liked? Surprisingly, I ended up liking Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). When I first start the book**spoiler alert** 3.5/5 (B-)
What I liked? Surprisingly, I ended up liking Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). When I first start the book, I felt that April was not responsible... mainly because she lied to her father and that made me uncomfortable. See, the book opens with the end and the story is basically a long flashback of what happened to get there. So the beginning makes April looks quite bad... However, after you've read her journey, it all makes sense and it's no longer that bad :P Actually, you realize those months she lived on her own with Vi, she did her best... Yes, there were some errors of judgement, but overall, she didn't do badly and definitively gained in maturity :)
What I liked the most about Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) was the realistic feel of the book. Okay, some parts were a bit unrealistic like April and Vi's subterfuge of setting up two email accounts and pretending to be each other's parents to reassure them that everything was okay... And buying the hot tub - really? However, April's feelings and the stuff she goes through during this time - that felt really real. I also liked that Ms Mlynowski addressed April and her boyfriend's first time. How she got on the pill, etc. And how later on, there was talk about the pressure of the first time and how it caused him to cheat.
Seriously, I have to give credit to Ms Mlynowski because it's her writing and style that made the book. She doesn't beat around the bush and doesn't sugarcoat reality: her characters have sex, they drink, they stay out late and hang out... They act as normal teenagers do and it's something that I feel a lot of adults don't acknowledge. Oh you always hear about parents complaining about the adolescent years, but that has more to do with their moodiness and rebellious attitude towards authority. When it comes to sex, alcohol and swearing, they prefer to idealize their teens. The reality is that a lot of teenagers - not all of them, but a lot - have heard and use swear words such as damn, shit and the f-bomb. A lot of them become sexually active during those years and they might not be able to buy their own booze, but it doesn't stop them from finding ways to get some. So I really appreciated Ms Mlynowski's candor and in my opinion, it made Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) refreshing and a nice change of pace for a contemporary YA.
Any Issues? I don't know have any real big issues with the book itself... However, I simply didn't enjoy the story as much as I did Gimme a Call. I liked that Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) was very realistic, but I find I didn't connect as much with April and what happened to her.
My Grade? 3.5/5 (B-). Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) is a good contemporary YA, but probably better suited to a more matured audience. I'm glad that I have found another YA author to look out for :)...more