Sticks is the first T. Gephart book I read and I knew immediately it wasn't going to be my last. I've been on a major rock star kick and this book hitSticks is the first T. Gephart book I read and I knew immediately it wasn't going to be my last. I've been on a major rock star kick and this book hit the spot beautifully. There's a little bit of insta-love going on because when Joey and Kenzie find out she's pregnant, what started as a one-time thing between friends soon morphs into true love. However, the characters are fabulous.
Joey was clearly not the brightest crayon in the box, but he was so sweet and clearly dedicated to doing what was right for Kenzie and the baby. Kenzie takes longer to come around, but, in the end, she couldn't resist Joey and I was right on board with that.
Despite behind the second book in a spin-off series, I was able to follow along without an issue. I'm now off to devour Gephart's backlist. If you like Jay Crownover's Marked Men books or Kylie Scott's Stage Dive books, you should like Sticks as well. ...more
I spent most of this book wishing I'd read the first one, Defining Destiny. So after I finished Accepting Fate, I bought Defining Destiny. Then I wentI spent most of this book wishing I'd read the first one, Defining Destiny. So after I finished Accepting Fate, I bought Defining Destiny. Then I went on GoodReads and discovered I'd apparently read Defining Destiny back in 2014, when I got a copy from Netgalley. I still don't remember it, but apparently I liked it.
Accepting Fate suffers from the same problem. I am nuts for the concept, but the book didn't wow me. In my review, I referenced how the plot of Defining Destiny was operating on two levels, and that isn't happening in Accepting Fate. It's really just the story of two people who are meant to be and how they find their way back to each other. Soulmates and shared creative talent aside, that's a pretty basic romance plot.
So this is either a skip or a 99 cent or less read, depending on your genre preferences. ...more
I think this was an expectation vs reality thing. I was expecting a book about a mute girl who finds love, but The Problem with Forever is actually abI think this was an expectation vs reality thing. I was expecting a book about a mute girl who finds love, but The Problem with Forever is actually about Mouse overcoming the trauma of her abusive childhood to reclaim her future and, in the process, she reconnects with her childhood love, who is firmly from the wrong side of the tracks. It felt like Simone Elkeles meets Lurlene McDaniel. Since I didn't get what I thought I would, I didn't fully sink into the story and I kept thinking that I've read other books that do different aspects of this one better.
So if you like the angsty reads that turn into uplifting reads, then this is the book for you. If you're looking for a book about a disabled person finding love despite their disability, keep looking.
Trigger warning for violence, drug use, alcohol, teenaged sex, child death, and child abuse. ...more
Sarina Bowen has become one of my autobuys for romance. Which, okay, yes, I got this from Netgalley, but after I finished it, I bought Bittersweet andSarina Bowen has become one of my autobuys for romance. Which, okay, yes, I got this from Netgalley, but after I finished it, I bought Bittersweet and preordered Steadfast. I enjoy her books because she brings her characters and their world to life in a way that's like enjoying a slice of reality that's still a fantasy, because it's not my reality.
Did that make sense? Anyway...
Rookie Move is about a hockey player who gets traded to a team whose publicist is his ex-girlfriend. It's loosely tied to Bowen's The Fifteenth Minute, but you could probably get away without reading that book. When I first read the summary to Rookie, I wasn't really enthused about it because I'm not big on second chance romances. And truth be told, what kept me reading was the world, not so much the main couple.
I badly, badly, want Nate's book and I want him to be secretly in love with Becca, who has no clue. Yes, yes, Leo, Georgia, kiss kiss, but what about (view spoiler)[Silas! Bowen takes the somewhat risky move of getting us invested in a secondary character, only to have him be traded. I'm hoping he's the hero of the third book. Come back, Silas, come back! But not if it means I won't get Nate/Becca. (hide spoiler)] I don't think I've ever read a sports romance where the precarious reality of players is so aptly illustrated. Leo didn't walk into the locker room and be instantly welcomed, he had to earn his place. There were some hockey game descriptions, but Bowen kept a nice balance between game and aftermath. I felt like it was a real arena, that this was a real team. It may have helped that I'm from Islanders territory so I had context from local news about the whole 'moving the team' thing, but Bowen's skill at her craft can't be denied.
While I was sorta reading through the Leo/Georgia bits to get to the good stuff (O'Doul, what's his story? I feel like it's going to turn out that he was abused as a child, but I'm hoping Bowen has a different backstory in mind), I must give her credit for how she handled how Georgia's rape as a teenager impacted Leo's and Georgia's relationship, then and now. It's not an easy line to walk, lending weight to how the male partner feels while not overshadowing the female partner's trauma, but, in my opinion, Bowen handled it beautifully. She also depicts New York City real estate realistically, and how often does that happen?
In conclusion, I recommend you buy Rookie Move because Bowen is probably only contracted for three books, and I'm really going to need at least four before I'm satisfied, so let's get those sale rankings climbing, people! Wait, I have to talk about Nate again. Did I mention I love him? He's a meddler. He's a nerdy billionaire who loves hockey and meddling. It's like Nathan from Leverage meets Mark Cuban meets Bill Gates (technically, Steve Jobs would be a better comparison, but he could be an ass and Bill gives bucketloads to charity). So, yes, I need his book, so, yes, buy Rookie Move so I can get Nate's story. You'll get a good read out of it, so it's win-win, really.
Snagged from NYPL's ebrary. It's a short little book, but the biggest problem is that the original tweets weren't included with the comics. You just hSnagged from NYPL's ebrary. It's a short little book, but the biggest problem is that the original tweets weren't included with the comics. You just have these purposely absurd comics without any kind of context. I've never visited the original tumblr, so I didn't even have that as a frame of reference. As a result, I was mildly amused at best. I recommend borrowing, not buying. ...more
The concept of this book immediately intrigued me. It's like all the gods and goddesses from Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series decided to vacatiThe concept of this book immediately intrigued me. It's like all the gods and goddesses from Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series decided to vacation in the little town, and then one of them gets murdered. I used Amazon credit to get it for $1.99 and it was well worth that price.
It's definitely more of a true modern-day fantasy with romantic elements than a straight-up romance, but I think if you like the tonality of Patricia Briggs, Chloe Neill, or Cat Adams's Blood Singer series, I think you'll like Death and Relaxation as well. ...more
I don't re-read this series often because I find it rather creepy. This book has mention of cannibalism and we all know how I feel about that. Yet I tI don't re-read this series often because I find it rather creepy. This book has mention of cannibalism and we all know how I feel about that. Yet I think this series is so unique that I have to re-read the books and appreciate Andrews's skill. The Edge books are like horror, paranormal romance, dystopian, and alternate history all rolled into one, which sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does.
If you like Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, you will probably like The Edge books too, although Andrews's heroines are more everyday women, with unique gifts, struggling to care of their families. But again, you have to be good with people-eating and other related icky stuff. You have been forewarned. ...more
2.5 stars. More erotica than romance as there was lots of sex, a thin plot, and little actual relationship development. There were also a lot of typos2.5 stars. More erotica than romance as there was lots of sex, a thin plot, and little actual relationship development. There were also a lot of typos, including what I consider the cardinal sin of mixing up discrete and discreet. On the plus side, the heroine wasn't a doormat and did try to save herself. She was also honest with the hero about what she was feeling and I appreciated the lack of game-playing. ...more
Wicked Sexy Liar occupies that sweet spot between NA and contemporary romance. I really liked this one. Sometimes Lauren's books aren't quite to my tWicked Sexy Liar occupies that sweet spot between NA and contemporary romance. I really liked this one. Sometimes Lauren's books aren't quite to my taste, and I wasn't sure I was going to be on board with the heroine, but the book won me over. The characters were refreshingly normal. There wasn't a ton of angst, the interplay between the supporting characters was believable, and despite not having read Mia's book, I was able to follow along without an issue. I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a beach read....more
Set in the Harmony version of Las Vegas, which I liked, but the plot was similar to the other books: someone has something that someone else wants andSet in the Harmony version of Las Vegas, which I liked, but the plot was similar to the other books: someone has something that someone else wants and only the heroine's unique ability can solve the mystery. Plus there's a little tie-back to the paranormal Amanda Quick books, and I'm not sure how well it stands up for readers who've never read them.
I think rabid fans of the Harmony books will enjoy Illusion Town because it's a typical Jayne Castle book with a little bit of different sprinkled on top, but despite the change in setting, there's no new ground here. ...more
I like the House of Payne books because I think Gail has an unique take on the tattoo aspect of it. She treats it like an artistry, and it's clear thaI like the House of Payne books because I think Gail has an unique take on the tattoo aspect of it. She treats it like an artistry, and it's clear that this particular shop is an elite business. In previous books, Gail also writes about the different styles of tattooing, delving more into the craft than most authors do. So when I saw there was a new addition to the series, and for only 0.99, I snatched it up.
In the book's blurb, Gail makes it clear that the book will touch on a lot of dark stuff, so the reader knows what they're getting into. In truth, I actually expected it to be much darker than it was. I think because the heroine of Steele, Essie, was introduced in her brother's book, Twist, Gail didn't feel the need to deeply delve in Essie's trauma again. Gail does recap it a bit, so a new reader won't be lost, but it's treated more as backstory rather than an ongoing emotional issue. Essie has dealt with it and moved on.
Somewhere along the line, I got the impression, and I think it was because of the acknowledgement page, that both Essie and Steele had PTSD. This made perfect sense to me because Essie went through something horrific, and Steele was gravely injured in an IED attack. However, neither character had what I like to call 'active PTSD.' Essie had a heightened startle reflex and the tendency to lash out when stressed, and Steele was paranoid about safety, as well as emotionally disconnected.
So there I was, merrily reading away. There were some typos. When Steele started calling Essie 'Pet' (short for 'Teacher's Pet') while domming her, I got a little 'hrm' because that ain't my kink, but that's a personal preference thing. I admit I did think that Essie should not be adapting to sex quite so easily, considering what happened to her, but I overlooked it because *jazz hands* fiction. 'Pet' part aside, the sex was hot. And I was loving the fashion designer aspect of things, and really liked how Essie just kept making the best of things. She was handed a raw deal after raw deal, and she made it work for her.
Then I got to page 235-236 on my Nook, this exchange between Essie and Steele, Essie speaking first, emphasis part of the original text:
(view spoiler)[ "'And I call bullshit on that as well. I know how awful it was, to go through what you went through. It sucked, it was the most traumatic thing you've ever gone through, and it left more scars on you than what can be seen on the outside. But it doesn't make you a special snowflake. You still have a heart and you can still love like the rest of us. You've just chosen not to because you might get hurt again.'
'Nobody makes the choice to feel so empty inside it's a goddamn misery to endure.'
'But it's a misery you can control.'"
And then she says two paragraphs later,
"'That's your choice, Steele, don't you see that? You're choosing not to even try.'"
I don't know, maybe I'm overly sensitive about this, but I can't help feel that if the roles were reversed here, if it was Steele telling Essie this bullshit, everybody would be up in arms that he's trying to dictate at what point her emotional healing should be at. You know what this boils down to for me? "You should be over it by now." "Let it go." "It's in the past." "Just forget it."
PTSD isn't a conscious choice. Being emotionally disconnected from the world isn't a conscious choice. It would be one thing if Essie was saying something along the lines of, 'Look, I understand why you feel this way, I went through something similar, but it's not healthy.' But that's not what she's saying here. She's saying that the way Steele feels is wrong, that he is consciously choosing to be lost in the emotional morass of trauma's aftermath.
On page 238-239, Gail started to fix it a little. Essie's best friend, Carla, points out that Steele does have a lot of issues that have shaped his ideas about love. Then Essie talks about how she wishes she was a better person and how she could just take what he's offering, but she knows it's not what she needs. This exchange is why I kept reading because I thought, okay, that's valid.
But the rest of the book de-evolved into more of the same 'blame Steele for not being what Essie expects' and I was so irritated by the end of it, here I am writing this. Steele, at one point, disappears to take a trip to deal with some of his issues because he feels he has to, if he wants to be with Essie, and of course, when he comes back, look, he's all better!
I think, at the core of it, I feel like Essie handed him an ultimatum: if you want to be with me, change into what I need. There was no compassion or empathy on her part about his emotions and/or lingering scars from his past, it was all about her. That selfishness, it destroyed the character for me. I wanted to believe that someone who had been through a trauma of her own, who was such a fighter, would choose to fight for someone she claimed to love. And that's not what happened.
So I don't know how to rate this. If I wasn't so intimately familiar with PTSD, would I have had such a visceral reaction to Steele? While I think Gail could've cut about thirty pages, the first two hundred pages were good, and I did like how the fashion show was ultimately resolved. The ending was predictable, but it was sweet. (view spoiler)[Just once, though, I would like to see a heroine actually deal with their infertility rather than magically get pregnant. (hide spoiler)] Also, I do think this would stand alone nicely.
Okay, I've decided on two stars because here's the thing, if you go back and read the quoted text under the first spoiler cut, and pretend Steele has depression or anxiety or an eating disorder, it's still awful. Since the book continues this theme throughout the end, it has to be two stars for me. I do recommend the other House of Payne books, and I think I might go back and re-read Payne now, but, in my opinion, Steele is one to skip. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
An excellent addition to the rock star hero genre. The contrast between Libby's no-nonsense attitude and Killian's original Wild-Child persona was delAn excellent addition to the rock star hero genre. The contrast between Libby's no-nonsense attitude and Killian's original Wild-Child persona was delightful. I enjoyed how their relationship developed as she grounded him and he loosened her up. Would appeal to fans of Emily Snow and Kylie Scott's Play. ...more
While I don't think it veers too much into rape territory, the issue of consent is definitely a thorny one. In addition, I don't think it stands aloneWhile I don't think it veers too much into rape territory, the issue of consent is definitely a thorny one. In addition, I don't think it stands alone very well, and you do need to read the preceding books to fully "get" Alpha Ever After. So, if you like the series, give this one a try, but otherwise, give it a pass....more