It seems my favorite authors do have books that I just don't like. Earlier this week I read Nichole Chase's Accidental Assassin and that was a majoMeh
It seems my favorite authors do have books that I just don't like. Earlier this week I read Nichole Chase's Accidental Assassin and that was a major disappointment for me. This book has also turned out to be a huge disappointment.
It was cheesy. I feel like I was reading some unedited crummy story by an inexperienced no-name writer. And boy does that sound harsh. But it's true. I was not impressed. Not at all. This book just doesn't measure up to Jeaniene Frost's level of writing. She has written some marvelous books that I LOVE, but sadly this novella is not one of them.
You know those kindle books you can get for free on Amazon? The ones that you know are gonna be terrible because everything in the way of presentation of the book just screams terrible? But you read it anyway, hoping for something to sate your idle cravings or boredom between books. This novella is like that.
I hate sounding so harsh, but I feel as though I must be honest because I know Jeaniene can do better. I've read better works by her. This must be some sort of blip in her track record. Hopefully Her next book will be better. ...more
Where do I begin? This story is... amazing. Spectacular. Otherworldly. Mind-blowing. It was jaw-droppingly stupendous.
Lily is in the New York Ballet aWhere do I begin? This story is... amazing. Spectacular. Otherworldly. Mind-blowing. It was jaw-droppingly stupendous.
Lily is in the New York Ballet and in the past year she's gotten more and more lead parts. Recently she's been paired with Blane Baker in several key pieces. Blane Baker, only her high school crush and the man of her dreams. Blane has just broken up with his girlfriend, the evil and vindictive Nadia, and then Blane starts inviting Lily around to his studio to "rehearse" and Lily knows she's a goner. It's what she's always wanted, they're perfect together. Or are they? Things with Blane aren't as stunning as Lily thought they'd be, especially now that Blane's douchesparkle is turning into just plain old douchebaggery.
West is trying to get into the doctoral program at Columbia while being a TA for his English professor. He goes from reading badly written essays analyzing characters in Hamlet to hanging out with his close-net group of friends. His sister is moving in with Lily and Rose and he's trying to get acclimated to the idea of Lily dating. Lily, who never dates. West and Lily have been friends for years, but recently things have been weird between them. Lily is a mess over Blane and West has his own issues with a certain clingy girl. When the epiphany finally comes for West, it's almost too late. How can his best friend be the girl of his dreams?
Lily was one of the two protagonists of the story. I loved how she was "married to her career." It was a relatable notion for me. Another really relatable thing is the ballet in this story. A lot of girls do ballet when they're young and I admit to being one of them. When you're little you imagine being the star of the show in front of an enraptured audience (guilty again), but eventually most of us grow up and move on to other things, leaving behind the dreams of dance and childhood. Lily lives that dream that the rest of us have let go of. It's wonderful. She's really committed to following her ambitions and now she's moving up the ladder and blowing everyone away with her skill. I love how passionate she is and how she aspires to be something greater.
West was the other protagonist of the book, and in my opinion he was the gem. West is at Columbia, he's a TA, he's trying to get into the doctoral program there, he has a booty call girl and a legion of adoring undergrads. He sounds pretty hot from tattoos to being tall, and not to mention he's got a man-bun and beard (that style that has popped up out of nowhere in recent years? Yeah, he's rocking it). Oh, another thing to LOVE about West is he's southern. I absolutely ADORE southern accents, so every time I was reading one of his chapters or seeing him from Lily's view I put a southern accent on him in my head. Other than the hotness factors he is also a pretty great guy. He's ambitious, he has morals with dating and women, he's protective of his friends and his sister, and he just overall seems like the kind of guy you'd want as a friend.
Blane is obviously a major secondary character. He's a bit of a dick, to be honest, but I actually thought he could've been worse. He had plenty of opportunities to ruin Lily, and he didn't. Yeah, he was a jackass for what he said and did to Lily, but I thought at least he didn't destroy her career. He had ample opportunity. Definitely a jackass, though a mighty fine one at that, but I think it could've been worse. Still, I wouldn't want to date him, not only for his promiscuity leading him astray, but also because he was a crappy lay for all of the girls who got that close to him. Important thing to note here: hotness does not equal god-like skills in bed. Not that he and Lily actually make it to a bed, but still.
The other characters you meet are Rose, who is Lily's roommate, Patrick, the sexy tattoo artist and roommate to West. They also have a history as friends turned lovers turned friends again. It's an intriguing backstory that I hope we become privy to in the future. West's sister Maggie also seems to have a whole lot of backstory going on for her, and something is happening between her and Cooper that is interesting. Nadia isn't really a major character per se, but she does do a lot of evil stuff to poor Lily. Lily fights back though, so it's all good. Other than that there are just a few other minor characters that bring the story to a whole.
What I loved about this story was all of the character dynamics going on. We had the main plot of Lily figuring out her ballet and how to deal with Blane, West dealing with trying to get into the doctoral program and ditching his clingy booty-call, all the while the obvious is staring them in the face. Then you also had the Rose and Patrick friction, which I reaalllllyyyy want to know more about, and Maggie and Cooper were being weird together. Poor Maggie, she has a tragic backstory of finding out her husband-to-be was sleeping with her best friend right before the wedding. It's why she moves to New York but still. You get the feels for her.
I liked how simplistic the story was on the outside, but how complicated it actually was. The entire time I read this book I was screaming at the characters for being blind and stupid, but it was not exactly what it seemed. You had the torturous waiting process of seeing the pieces fall where they would. There was one scene in the latter half of the book where they're all at the club and the end result there was so intense. I literally had to put down my the book, grab a pillow, scream and curse out the characters, and then I took a walk. The intensity of everything going on was too much for me. I was like uuuggggggghhhhhhhhh!
There wasn't anything I disliked about the book. At one point Blane brings Lily some flowers, and they were calla lilies. Lily and her friends made such a big deal out of them and I was really confused (I know nothing about flowers) because I was like, wait, Blane brought flowers, isn't that a good thing? So I looked up what calla lilies were and then I was like oooooohhh. I see the problem now, haha. Vagina flowers meet funeral. I get it now. I cringed, imagining what kind of dude would think that was appropriate to give a girl. I mean, I get that he got her lilies because of her name, but there are some really pretty ones out there that he could've gotten. Why the vagina flowers of death? Whhhhyyyyy?
As for the writing of With a Twist, Staci Hart did brilliantly, as usual. The characters had so much life to them, even the minor ones, I could picture the story in my head, everything flowed well. It was another masterpiece that made it onto my favorites list. I knew the book would be good, but I wasn't prepared for how it blew me away.
To sum up the book, it was wonderful, I think it was the perfect summer read because it had just enough lightness mixed with relationship angst and anxiety to keep it interesting. It wasn't a heavy book, though it does toy with your emotions a bit. It's definitely worth the read, I highly recommend it and I can't wait to see what comes next!
*ARC provided by the author for honest review...more
Reviews of Books in the Hearts and Arrows Box Set:
Deer in Headlights (Hearts and Arrows #1)
In this book their are two worlds that live side-by-side; OReviews of Books in the Hearts and Arrows Box Set:
Deer in Headlights (Hearts and Arrows #1)
In this book their are two worlds that live side-by-side; Olympus and the mortal realm. The story starts in Olympus, where Aphrodite is up to bat for the games the Olympians play. The games, where the god for that turn has to go up against all of the other gods in the selected gods' craft. This time it's Dita's turn, and of course her specialty is love. Her first opponent? Apollo, who has a long-standing rivalry with Dita for killing Adonis and Dita turning Daphne into a tree.
Dita chose Lex, an artist and poet with abandonment issues as her player in the love game, and Apollo chose Dean, a screwed up guitarist and singer/songwriter. Dean sleeps with everything that moves, not knowing how to say no, and Lex already has a boyfriend. An impossible match, right?
Each god has a month to make or break the mortal couple. And the winner gets a favor from the other. Apollo is desperate to get a favor from Dita so he can get Daphne back, but Aphrodite never loses. Will Lex and Dean beat the odds and make it? Or will Apollo do the impossible and get his love back?
This book was not what I was expecting.
Just wanted that out there. When I first heard about it, I was like eh, another Greek God book? I have read a lot of them, and I did believe I had seen it all.
I was so wrong.
This book is so many things. Light, fun, fluffy, and at times, heart wrenching. Yes, it is another Greek God/mythology book, but it's different than any others I have read. It was the best kind of surprise.
During a good portion of the book I was torn between rooting for Lex and Dean and between rooting for Apollo. It's a hard choice, and I kept crossing my fingers that Aphrodite would be kind and lose on purpose so Apollo could get Daphne back and hoping that Lex and Dean made it. It was such a struggle.
Despite making me chose sides and bite my nails in uncertainty, it was still a fun, light read. Yes, you got attached to the characters, but you weren't about to tear around the room wrecking things because one of your favorite characters died (I hate that about Mockingjay. That book did a number on me, seriously). It's the perfect book for summer.
Things I loved: 1) The gods - they were fun and silly and serious all at the same time 2) Lex and Dean - they were perfect for each other 3) Aphrodite's forgiveness - in a lot of Greek myths the gods don't forgive easily, so it was nice knowing she had a heart 4) Perry - she is like THE best friend. I'll never look at her the same in mythology. And I love ice cream too ;) 5) The feels - oh my goddess, the feels. Whoa, just wow 6) The cover - it screams Dita to me 7) Heff - he wasn't in the big picture of the book, but I liked what little of him I did see and I hope he becomes a bigger character in books to come
Characters I didn't like: 1) Adonis - he reminds me of those guys who think of their girlfriends as accessories rather than living beings 2) Ares - I guess what he did is expected from him, but still
I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. It was great. I'm going to have to get started on the next one real soon :)
Snake in the Grass (Hearts and Arrows #2)
What an amazing sequel!
This round of the game Aphrodite is up against Ares, after defeating Apollo in the first game. Dita is struggling to keep Ares at arms length though, no longer having Adonis as a buffer. Since Adonis decided to throw a tantrum Dita gives up to her attraction to Ares. Meanwhile, Ares is being sneaky, trying to keep Dita forever now that Adonis is gone. His chance to have Dita after losing her so long ago makes him giddy with how close he is to getting what he wants. But if Dita finds out the secret he hid and lied about for thousands of years... he could lose more than the game. He could lose Aphrodite indefinitely.
Dita's player in this round is Kat, a kick-ass drag racing daughter of the leader of the Japanese mafia. She has a fiery attitude and doesn't take crap from anyone. But Kat will always protect her sister. And even though Kiki doesn't think her abusing ex will come after them, Kat isn't so sure, so the last thing she wants is to let someone in and keep her distracted. Ares chooses Dillion, a cage fighter with a dark childhood. Dillion is broken inside, having to protect his younger brother Owen from their father and his powerful fists. With meddling siblings trying to play matchmaker and the similarities between the two, Kat and Dillion are obviously made for each other. But will they look past their issues and see each other?
LOVED this book. The players were so different in this one. I think I liked the first one better, but that's probably because I can relate more to the characters in that one. I still think that the characters in this one are super cool, of course.
Kat's fiery attitude is awesome. I love how she can point a gun at someone and stand up for herself. Her 'I don't give a shit' attitude is great. She isn't a doormat and she stands her ground. It's a wonderful example that I think some girls should definitely take to heart. She has such a strong personality.
Kiki, Kat's little sister, is the sweet one. She doesn't worry enough, whereas Kat worries too much. They're almost like light and day in their personalities, but they balance each other out.
Dillon is a bit of a tricky character. I mean, he's a cage fighter, and his dad beat him as a child. So from the outside you may just want to say hell to the no for him, because there's no way you'd want to put yourself at risk. But the more we learn about Dillion in the story, the more we see he does care and is trying to control his anger so he doesn't turn out like his dad.
Owen is soft. There's no better way to put it. He's not soft like a wimp, I wouldn't say that, but I think from what he's dealt with and what he's seen he is gentle with the world. The opposite reaction from Dillion
And that's something I really loved. How each set of siblings was just perfect for each other. They fit so well. It was like in the last book, where you got the feels real bad at the end. Yeah, well, you'll get them when encountering these two couples in the book.
And the Olympus side of things. I still think that Adonis is a spoiled child. He throws a tantrum because he disagrees with Dita. It's just so... infantile. Highly dislike him. And Ares. I can't believe him. You would think he'd know that karma would come back to bite him in the butt. He deserves what he gets.
Dita, gosh, it's a sad day when the goddess of love is struggling with her own love life. I am hoping, crossing my finger as tight as they will go, that Heff ends up with Dita. I know she said she would never be with him because she was forced into marriage with Heff, but from what we've seen in the books so far he seems kind and gentle, like he'd treat Dita the way she deserves. It seems like there is a slim to no chance of that happening, but a girl can hope.
Overall, another spectacular read by Staci Hart. I really cannot wait for Doe Eyes to come out! This was a must-read for me, just like the first. I imagine the next one will be even better :)
What the Heart Wants (Hearts and Arrows #2.5)
What the Heart Wants is a short story about Kat and Kiki's (both from book two, Snake in the Grass) mother and father, Katsu and Kim. It's a wonderfully sweet and heart-wrenching back story of their love story.
Katsu is from Japan, but came over to America to marry Yuki in a business arrangement. Yuki's father is the head of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) in the American branch in New York. Katsu is making his way up the ranks but at the price of his happiness. Yuki is an awful, uncontrollable spoiled-rotten brat. There is no love between the two.
Kim is working in Vegas as a showgirl and a waitress. She always ends her day on tired feet, but one day she'll own her own dance studio and all of her hard work will be worth it. So when Kim meets Katsu she has to wonder if taking a chance on him is worth it. Danger follows Katsu and Kim is now in danger. Is their love really worth the risk?
Aphrodite feels bad for Katsu. Being stuck in a loveless marriage is horrible and Dita knows she can get him his match. But Hera will throw a fit if Dita has Katsu cheat on his wife. The feud between Hera and Dita could just get someone killed. But isn't the love worth the risk of Hera's wrath?
My favorite characters in this were Katsu and Dita. I think Dita will always be a favorite for me. But we only got a glimpse of Katsu in Snake in the Grass and you didn't get much of an opinion of him. What the Heart Wants offers a chance to get to know Katsu and Kim.
Katsu is in this honor-bound marriage to Yuki. And I truly feel bad for him. I usually hate cheating with a passion, but in this case I think I'd let it slide. After all, marriage and love should go hand-in-hand, but when they don't it's a bit of a disappointment. Katsu is destined for unhappiness in his love life. Yuki will never love him. And when he's offered this chance at love... can you really blame him for taking it?
Kim is an uncertain character. She doesn't feel, to me at least, like she's a very strong or profound character. I mean, she's nice, she has dreams and goals and she falls in love with Katsu. But she does seem a bit your run-of-the-mill female lover. With Katsu there was character growth and you could connect with him. Kim felt a bit static to me.
Yuki. O.M.G. She is just awful. Completely and utterly awful. She wants to control Katsu. The sad thing is, Katsu wanted to love her. And he gave her a chance to love him. But she's this spoiled rotten prima donna. She was a bit stereotypical, but really I just hated her infantile personality. It was tiring and draining, and I could understand why her father wanted to get rid of her and Katsu couldn't love her.
Dita we all know from the earlier books. She's a bit lusty and sometimes gives people awful curses and has a tendency to over-react, but really she just wants to play match-maker and help people find love. She fought Hera for control on this one, and she won.
Hera. Normally, I'm all about commitment and no cheating. I really am. I can't even read most books with cheaters in them because I want to reach into the books and throttle the characters. But this time I think Dita is right. It's not Katsu's fault he had to be married to Yuki, and there's no way for him to get out of it. He shouldn't be punished to not having any love. I think it's a bit harsh.
I have to say, Katsu and Kim's relationship is probably my favorite out of all the ones in the books so far. Dean and Lex's relationship is probably second. I don't know, there's just something about Katsu and Kim that just... it works, y'know? It fits. I really like it.
I can't really think of anything I don't like. Yuki is awful, and Katsu's situation sucks, but those things kind of make up the story. Without them you wouldn't have a story.
The writing was nice, it flowed well, not mistakes that I could find. I think the writing was pretty well done for this one. The only thing would be the epilogue, which is modern-day compared to the rest of the story that was in the past. I do wish that it was pronounced. A title or something saying there was a switch of the times. I didn't see anything telling me that the story had gone back to present times.
All together, a wonderful background story for the series. It is not essential for readers to know when reading the books, but it was a great story that I highly recommend reading. It's short and fun, and you get to learn a bit more about Kat and Kiki's heritage.
Doe Eyes (Hearts and Arrows #3)
THE BEST BOOK IN THE SERIES SO FAR!
Artemis is the newest competitor in the games, and she is determined to win against Dita. This time her player can't go wrong. Josie is a private investigator who has lost everything in the past three years. The love of her life left her for his ex girlfriend and their baby. And recently her best friend was murdered by the guy they were trying pin down for the murder of a sixteen year old girl. Artemis soon comes to realize just how closely related she is with her player and how she's still bitter about her own past with love.
Aphrodite woke up in the last book - falling hard and losing her way. Now, picking up the pieces she is distracted from the current game against a spiteful and bitter Artemis. Trying to find herself again and struggling, Dita's game is a little off this time round. Dita's player is Jon, Josie's ex boyfriend, the one who left her for his ex girlfriend, the mother of his child. Jon knows he handled Josie wrong all those years ago, but he really does still love Josie - and he's going to prove it. No matter what it takes.
This is my favorite book so far. Josie is pig-headed like you wouldn't believe. But she is independent, and she's hanging in there even with the murder of her best friend. Gosh, you really feel for Josie though. All the crap that life's thrown at her and she's still standing.
Jon messed up. He left Josie to help support his ex girlfriend and their baby. He never stopped loving Josie though. His heart was in the right place when he left the Dear John letter that never reached Josie. He messed up, but he knows that and he spends the entire book trying to fix it. I like Jon, and I'm his side throughput the book. But Josie can't deal with him and trying to find Anne's murderer. So it's definitely a conflicting situation.
Artemis is bitter. She doesn't see the use of love and she blames Dita for her own lost love eons ago. She is determined to beat Dita this time, and the fact that Dita chose Josie's ex boyfriend, well, Artemis knows she has this win. But the longer the games go on the more she doubts herself. And Artemis is just soreckless, it's incredibly frustrating. She underestimates humans and their emotions.
Dita, gods you really feel for her. After what happened in Snake in the Grass Dita's life is all topsy-turvy. She has a lot to figure out in this book, and its a real strain playing the game as well. Artemis's plays at her and hiding from Ares puts a real dent into Dita. Her life is just a whirlwind in this book.
I love, like LOVE, this book. It's my favorite of the series so far. Each of the books has its own feel to it, and this one is the darkest. I love how each plot in all of the books are so different, telling their own story. So often you find books in a series being the same or similar.
Doe Eyes is without a doubt the darkest of the books so far. It's completely different from the other ones. This book has more mystery to it than the others. One of the things I loved was the anticipation. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was awesome.
There is a crime-story feel to this book, which I'll admit I'm not normally into, but it works with the way the series has been going and the way the game is with the characters. It's different, but a good different. And of course it fits Josie and Jon since they're both private investigators.
I love the characters in this one. You can really connect with them, even if like me you don't have all that much in common with them. Some of the things are tragic and horrifying, and you feel sympathy for the characters. But you also really hope that they end up together, and there are several close calls in the book where I had to put the book down and pace the room to get my emotions down. Gods, the feels in this book. They're something else.
There was nothing I disliked about Doe Eyes. It was the most amazing book so far, and I am already excited to read the next book. The wait will be horrible, but I will endure it happily.
Doe Eyes captivated me from the very first page and the anticipation to find out what would happen very nearly killed me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys a good book with some romance and mystery. It is a spectacular read and you will be dying for the next one.
Fool's Gold (Hearts and Arrows #3.5)
Jon and Josie are doomed from the start.
But somehow, they make it work. At least for a little while. But all good things must come to an end...
In Doe Eyes we saw the aftermath of Jon and Josie. This is the story of their beginning. And it is heartbreakingly sad. It's a bittersweet story that leaves you aching for Jon and Josie and their fragmented relationship.
Once again, Staci Hart has me on the edge of my seat and crying up a storm. After reading Doe Eyes you know how it's going to end but that doesn't prepare you for the emotional roller coaster. I was rooting for both Jon and Josie the entire time and I cursed Hera for meddling. One of these days hopefully something will happen to tip the scales in Dita's favor.
Without a doubt Fool's Gold is another must read by Staci Hart. Can't wait to see what comes next!...more