Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: For Crosby by J. Nathan


Series: For You Book #3
Format: ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Crosby Parks had the life most guys only dreamed of. A wealthy family, girls vying for his attention, and pro scouts after his hockey skills. But when the life he knows comes crumbling down, he’s sent to Alabama to escape the media storm and to rebuild his life. If Crosby has any shot of playing professional hockey, he must keep a low profile and graduate from college. But the second he steps foot on campus, keeping a low profile becomes impossible. 

Sabrina’s mind is made up. After encouraging Alabama’s star wide receiver to friend-zone her and pursue someone else, she’s determined to focus on herself and stop being everyone’s trusty sidekick and shoulder to cry on. But when she stumbles upon a naked hockey player tied to a tree in the middle of the night, Sabrina’s life is thrown upside down. Because when you leave someone tied to a tree, they eventually get free. 

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I am not having really good luck with reviewing books.

Crosby was a moderately likable character, but Sabrina was hard to like. And I wasn't feeling the enemies-to-lovers chemistry between these two.

I'm a big fan of hockey romances, but this was lacking in the hockey department. Kind of like the author just threw some hockey words in while not knowing a lot about the sport. I just prefer my sports romance a little more detailed because then they feel more real.

Like I said, I did like Crosby as a character. His story felt more interesting and was easier to like. But I would've liked him/his story to be more fleshed out.

There were also a decent amount of unanswered questions/plot holes. A lot of them could have easily been resolved with another 5-10 thousand words.

But looking at the ratings/reviews on GoodReads I seem to be in the minority. There is a lid for every pot.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 20, 2018

Review: An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

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Series: Bridgertons Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 358
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Will she accept the offer before the clock strikes midnight?

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball. Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, waltzing in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other— except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. If he offers her his heart, will he sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?

Review

I am continuing with my re-read of the Bridgertons series. This was always one of my favorites and I've read it several times. I still enjoyed it (read in only a few hours), but I did see some problematic things especially with Benedict.

First, the Bridgerton family is the star of this book/series. Violet, especially, is quite the scene-stealer. They are just a fun, supportive, healthy, and loving family. this is the kind of family that takes in people and is always turning friends into family. I'm a sucker for a good family.

This is a Cinderella retelling with the evil stepmother and "prince charming" in Benedict. I actually am not a huge fan of this type of story, but this one works for me. I think that's because of how strong Sophie is as a character. While the world has limited a lot of her options she fights for agency and independence whenever she can. IT's very east to like and care about her. She also has a little sarcastic streak that I love.

Benedict is the prince charming character. He is also where I saw some issues this time around. Now, he is a kind man who cares about his family which is endearing. Generally, he's respectful of women, but sometimes he says and does some problematic things. He has a tendency to talk down to Sophie when she says no to him. Thankfully, she stands up to him and defends herself. But it was still disrespectful. He also did the thing I hate when characters are having sex: say he won't be able to stop. I get that this is a sign of passion, but NO, both parties must stop if consent is ever removed. I feel like you don't see this exchange much anymore.

Even with my issues this time around, I like this book. It's an emotional read for me and I even teared up a little. Onto the next one.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Lyrical Lights by Maria La Serra

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Stand Alone
Format: ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

A hard of hearing model, neither tall nor skinny, is unheard-of in the world of fashion, but that won’t stop Mable Harper. Unfortunately, her agent Dania doesn’t share her enthusiasm or her vision of shattering the patriarchal expectations of the fashion industry. Frustrated with Mable’s inability to lose weight, and unable to sell her monotone voice to designers looking for brand representatives, Dania drops Mable as a client. 

Mable considers giving up, but a chance encounter with a fashion photographer, Simon Rowe, revives her dream—and awakens desires she never imagined. Mable soon discovers there’s more to this sexy motorcyclist from down under. As her relationship with Simon flourishes so does her modeling career. Suddenly Mable struggles to find balance in an unbalanced world, forcing her to choose between a life of fame and the man she loves.
In a world that's a stage, can their love thrive under the lights?

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I requested this because of the synopsis. I was intrigued by the idea of a hard of hearing model. Then, I was promptly disappointed. 

This book had a lot of potential, but didn't deliver. Ms. La Serra did make some different decisions when it came to story structure which I appreciate. There were some technical errors, but those don't typically bother me, plus this is an ARC so that's a possibility.

My main issue was the romance. I felt no chemistry between these two. I knew I was supposed to, but it felt bland. Mable and Simon were also very immature. Especially for adults (one of whom has been married) they should be able to use their words. Instead they would withhold things from each other and make petty decisions.

In the end, I don't hate this book or the writing. Instead it's kind of just forgettable. I do see potential in the writing and would try another book by this author in the future when she's had an opportunity to grow more as a writer.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan

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Series: Brothers Sinister Book #4.5
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She's a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper's daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She'll take obscurity, thank you very much.

All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He's an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he's also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn't just a scandal waiting to happen. He's waiting to happen to her...and if she's not careful, she'll give in to certain ruination. 

Review

The Brothers Sinister series is now over for me. That's kind of sad.

This was such a cute and fun novella. The tone really felt like Stephen and made me smile. Ms. Milan does acknowledge the treatment of blacks and the realities of an inter-racial relationship, but was still hopeful.

I really liked Stephen and Rose. Stephen is so funny, kind, and caring. It's actually nice to have a non-angsty romance hero. Rose is shy, but in an understandable and nice way. Sometimes shyness feels like a throwaway trait for heroines. And she is incredibly intelligent. Like I don't understand anything she says, but I'm so glad Ms. Milan kept it in there. Just like Stephen, I got sucked in by her enthusiasm for math and astronomy.

I'm glad I finally read this. And I am trying to read more racially diverse romances. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 13, 2018

Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

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Series: Stubborn Hearts Book #2
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine. 

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

At first, I wasn't really feeling this book. I was like, "Great, my first review book and I'm going to have to give it a negative review." That's OK because I want to be honest but I would still feel bad. But once the coupons showed up (mostly the second half), the book became more enjoyable for me.

One of my favorite things is that Tom is an introvert. This just isn't a very common character type especially for heroes in romance. As a fellow introvert, I appreciate the representation. Flick was harder for me to connect with, but I can appreciate how confident, outgoing, and competent she is.

Like I said before, I liked the second half more. The coupons and how they were executed helped show of Flick and Tom's personalities. During this part was also when there was more character development. Flick and Tom were able to help each other and learn from the other to make their lives better.

Now, for some things I didn't like. My main problem is with the writing style. It is written in 3rd person which I my preferred POV for romance. But it was muddled in this book. I would often get confused about who was talking or which character's head I was in. Especially since Tom and Flick are supposed to be drastically different that should have been easier to differentiate. This did continue throughout the whole book and never go easier.

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

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Series: The Ones Who Got Away Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

It's been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she'd never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs..

Review

Look, I read another book because of the Smart Bitches podcast. And I really enjoyed it. Although, it is eerily timed since it follows people who were involved in a school shooting. I will not get political, but Ms. Loren did navigate the political issues without taking a stance. Personally, I think this makes the books easier to enjoy.

Through all the trappings, this is a reunited lovers story and that is one of my favorite tropes. Olivia and Finn's relationship was sweet and steamy. It was nice to see them loosen up around each other. They were very attracted to each other, but knew they had to be smart about entering a relationship. That level of awareness isn't always easy to find in romance.

I really liked the relationship between the four ladies. It's a friendship forged in tragedy which is different. Even though they were brought together they haven't remained close. This is very natural for friendships. But they are also still very supportive of each other. I'm guessing/hoping this will be a four books series where each lady gets her own story. That would be interesting because they each have a different perspective on the shooting. 

Speaking of the shooting: that was quite an emotional journey and really made me think. Personally, I think I've become desensitized to death in a lot of forms including school shootings. I still know it's horrible but don't have the kind of physical reaction I think I should. But this reminded me how real people who go through these types of tragedies are. And that they and/or their families have to find a way to keep living after loss and the attention is gone. It made me want to simultaneously know what real-life survivors are doing, but don't want to poke around in their life.

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: Wheel's Up by Annabeth Albert

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Series: Out of Uniform Book #4
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: M/M Romance
Publisher: Carina Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he's his SEAL team's new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He's kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they're taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time. 

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn't always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He'll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low. 

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they're just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team's newest member, they're in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good. 

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

Review

I liked this more than the first book, but still had some issues. The main problem was that things were resolved a little to easily and fast for me.

The characters were easy to like and care about. Wes' care for his family was very sweet. And Dustin's awkwardness was endearing for a big tough SEAL.

And I really liked how Ms. Albert approached sex with them. They have a dominate/submissive relationship that was the opposite of their outward appearance. I like when authors use sex to explore a characters personality.

I'm not dying to read the other books in this series, but I'm sure I'll read them at some point.

Thanks for reading!
Holly