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Jul
6

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews Dating You / Hating You Author: Christina Lauren Narrator:  Shayna Thibodeaux and Deacon Lee Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series: Standalone Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Simon & Schuster Audio What to say about Dating You / Hating You? I really, really wanted to love this book, but I didn’t. Christina Lauren authors some of my favorite titles, but this unfortunately isn’t one of them. And rather than continue to listen to it, I decided to call it quits at the 57% mark (through Chapter 15). Let me tell you why… Carter and Evie are wonderful characters who have a beautiful initial chemistry. They are adorable together, both a bit shy and unaware of how sexy they are. And while their jobs as talent agents in LA have kept each from relationships in the past, the instant connection the pair feels compels them to make a go of things. They have one great date and a hot make out session until everything falls apart. When Evie’s firm buys out Carter’s firm, the pair is forced to compete to keep a job in the LA offices. While it isn’t certain either would be let go or asked to relocate to New York, their asshole boss, Brad, along with their individual competitive natures creates bitterness and conflict, setting up the need to vie for the job. And things fall apart quickly from this point. Carter and Evie are both underhanded, doing things to make themselves look better while potentially sabotaging the other. It’s not horrible at first, but a poke here and a poke there creates such animosity that I cannot stand to listen to it. I finally gave up after a rather silly, yet cruel exchange of pranks involving coffee and hand lotion. It was a tough decision for me to stop listening. The narration is actually part of the reason I went as long as I did. Both Ms. Thibodeaux and Mr. Lee are fantastic! Both have very clear, sharp voices that are simultaneously relaxing. Ms. Thibodeaux gives weight and maturity to Evie, while Mr. Lee brings manages to get adorkable for Carter. Both narrators have excellent narrative voices and a range to fit a variety of both male and female rolls. In the end, Dating You / Hating You had too much Hating You and not enough Dating You. I’m guessing at some point, the couple works out...
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Sep
6

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler Her Rogue Alpha Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: DNF / C What We’re Talking About: This is an odd review to write since only Una finished the book, but we do that we were disappointed with Layla and Jayson’s story. Una finished the novel, but found herself feeling let down.  The connection between Layla and Jayson was forged early in the series.  Their story is one we have waited for: a shifter who just joined the X-Ops and her wounded soldier.  However, Jayson is emotionally abusive.  The abuse is substantial enough to make us feel that there should possibly be trigger warnings for this book.  In the end he does apologize for being selfishly brooding in his disability, but it was long overdue.  He was brash and reckless in the beginning, and Layla accepted that all the pain he caused her was okay because he loves her.  Their reunion in a battlefield was odd and seemed untimely.  The plot of Jayson’s mission was convoluted and far-fetched – especially his abilities.  At the end of the novel, there is a revelation about Jayson that Layla reads and then destroys – without the reader being privy to it.  This carrot dangling was infuriating to Una.  Since this part of the story was told from Layla’s perspective, we should have been privy to the message.  It would have been preferable to have her destroy the note without looking. The plot that kept Una reading was regarding a thief.  This plot line is tied to the search for the enemy within the X-Ops.  Una found this storyline fascinating and intriguing.  And knowing it is not the end of seeing the thief, we hope to see her in a future novel. Gikany did not finish this novel.  The emotional abuse that begins between Layla and Jayson was too much.  By the 25% mark, the urge to have Layla punch Jayson and leave him was too great for Gikany.  She felt that there was no way he could redeem himself, and he just didn’t deserve her love.  Gikany could not stand to read anymore. Although we do agree that this novel did not go altogether well, Una was able to finish it.  Both Gikany and Una were disappointed in this long awaited story.  Una will read the next novel in the series but Gikany will not. Una’s Rating:  C, Finished It – Liked some, didn’t like some Gikany’s Rating:  DNF – Did...
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Dec
29

Review: Mastered by Maya Banks

Review: Mastered by Maya Banks Mastered Author: Maya Banks Reviewer: VampBard Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: It’s always interesting to pick up a new book, new series by an author I’ve read and love. Much like my #dayjob, it’s a new adventure every day. I never know what I’m going to get, and while I’ve adored stuff I’ve read in the past, sometimes I just can’t get out of there fast enough. Sometimes I think, “Oh, maybe things will turn around.” Sometimes that doesn’t happen, and that was the case for me, reading Mastered by Maya Banks. What I liked was the world-building. The Enforcers is a new series by Ms. Banks, and I *like* the alpha male characters. I want to learn more about them, and I sincerely hope future titles in this series don’t annoy me. Yes, I will continue to read (unless I’m put-off by something in subsequent books). The secondary characters were engaging, and I found myself looking for more interactions between the major and minor characters. Drake, our alpha hero Dom was broody, and I like me a good broody alpha male. He was also broken, and I like to watch the journey a broken alpha takes through a book. Then, there was the bad. Evangeline, our lead female, was too whiny and wishy-washy for me. She was inexperienced, and that didn’t bode well for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good virgin-hooking-up-with-a-Dom story. Evangeline, however, didn’t seem to do anything to educate herself. It seemed like she lived in a vacuum, and never got on the Internet or anything. Her interactions with Drake seemed forced, and while I did see her stand up for herself, it wasn’t in a positive, empowering way that was believable for me. What made me DNF Mastered was the way the BDSM element was handled. Drake, as a Dom, knows better than to not use a safeword. He explained the lifestyle in a sketchy manner to Evangeline, and I didn’t like that. I get that Evangeline (his Angel…) was inexperienced and he didn’t want to scare her, but I think he should have been more forthright with regard to his preferences, expectations, and needs with her. I mean, Evangeline had ONE previous sexual experience and it sucked. I wasn’t surprised at all that Drake could be a giver in bed. Good Doms are. Drake and Evangeline had one sweet encounter in the title—I liked that part. Then, in the next...
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Jun
30

DNF Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

DNF Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat Prince’s Gambit Author: C.S. Pacat Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: After finishing Captive Prince earlier this year, I was disappointed that the book was mislabeled as an m/m fantasy romance, but rather, it was the first book in a duo or trio that together is one story. I ranted about this in my review, so I won’t go into it again here. So why did I pick up the second book, Prince’s Gambit? For two reasons: 1) I found the second half of Captive Prince to be engaging and interesting; and 2) in reviews I’d read from the original Captive Prince, it mentioned reading “both parts” so I hoped the story would conclude after Prince’s Gambit was over. However… Prince’s Gambit begins right at the point where the first book ends. Again, I will stress that these books are not stand alone stories. It is one story that has been split up into three different books. So if you didn’t read Captive Prince, you will be lost. Even I had trouble recalling which men were loyal to the prince and those who belong to his uncle the Regent. Because of the “re-entry” factor, I wasn’t fully reengaged in the story until the 15-20% mark. Once I found my reading stride, I continued to enjoy the complexity of Prince Laurent and the slow reveal of his true prowess and intelligence as shared from the point of view of the captive prince, Damen. I also enjoyed Damen’s surprised realization that the Prince sparked “some sort of feelings” within him, giving me hope that eventually, the story will be a romance. Finally, the pair start to respect one another, listen, and share solid advice, making the balance of power more equal. However, as I continued to read, it became pretty evident that there was no way the story would conclude by the end of Prince’s Gambit. At the 53% mark, I felt that the book was starting to drag, and it felt never-ending. I skipped ahead and verified that the story does not conclude at the end of this book. So I was torn: do I continue to trudge through, knowing I still have another book and hope it’s better? Or DNF? Unfortunately, I picked DNF. I was enjoying this story, sort of. I knew I couldn’t keep it up for this and one more book. I felt cheated and that I wasted my time. But why keep reading in the hope that I will eventually find the gem hidden...
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Oct
13

DNF Review: Broken by Traci L. Slatton

DNF Review: Broken by Traci L. Slatton Broken Author: Traci Slatton Reviewer: Una Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: Broken is the latest release by Traci Slatton. I was intrigued by the premise, but unfortunately I did not care for the book.  Between the contrast of flowery, romantic language and the atrocities of this time period, along with the overt sexual scenes and innuendoes side-by-side with political/historical discussions, I was never able to get into the story and ended up not finishing it. The novel is told from the point of view of the fallen angel Aria.  Since it is told in first person present, I felt as if I was being told what was going on rather than allowing me to experience the journey with the characters.  But what really made me uncomfortable was the flowery language.  Broken reads with a heavy romantic essence, which contrasts with the ugliness of the events. The novel was further stifled in its flow due to the characters discussions regarding the war, politics, and current events.  However these discussions were entwined with sexual non sequiturs taking form in either innuendoes or actions.  These sexual overtures added to my discomfort while the discussions left me disinterested and bored. I did not think that this story would be rainbows and roses.  The history and horrors of this time period are understood enough that I didn’t think I would be spared the ugly realities of war – especially considering the characters and their plight.  But I didn’t think I would the story would contain such graphic detail.  The rape that occurs at the 50% mark was not something I was expecting, and it was overly graphic.  My stomach was just as nauseated as the character’s.  This moment was awful enough, but knowing that these forced interludes continued throughout the book, and that the character tries to find respite in another, was distasteful to me.  Though it seems the ongoing rape affects the character, the fact that she tries to continue as if it did not happen, bothers me greatly.  Especially when a few pages later, it seems this character is most happily engaging in sexual intercourse and firmly in denial. At the 67% mark, my stomach turned so much, I could not continue reading.  There is yet another graphic scene; the torture of a man and the introduction of another rape.  Maybe others can read this without the disgust and horror I experienced, but I do not see how this can be...
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Jul
14

Review: Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert

Review: Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert Ashlynn’s Dreams Author: Julie C. Gilbert Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: DNF What We’re Talking About: Ashlynn’s Dreams is a young adult novel about a young girl who discovers she is special after being kidnapped.  This first book in what appears to be the Devya’s Children series held promise to Gikany and Una but ultimately was not our cup of tea. We found the premise interesting, the characters fascinating, and the plot intriguing.  However, it fell flat in the storytelling.  The story is told through letters from and journal entries by various characters.  Although this may appeal to some, it felt choppy and disjointed to us.  After reading through 25% of the novel, we found we were just not connecting to the story because of this method of narration.  It was impossible for us to immerse ourselves in the world.  Due to the shifting perspectives, we could not find a foundation for ourselves in the story. Although it was promising, ultimately Ashlynn’s Dreams did not appeal to us. However, it may appeal to many others, and we hope if it sounds interesting to you, you give it a shot. Our Rating:  DNF: Did Not Finish About the Book: Before she was kidnapped, Jillian Marie Antel Blairington was just an average bright, brave, headstrong child. She was excited for life in a new house with her Momma and new Daddy. Afterward, she’s all that … and so much more. Held in a scientific facility, Jillian discovers her past-a family she never knew and a power she doesn’t understand. With her ability now activated, she can enter and even shape a person’s dreams. Jillian’s been kidnapped, and her Gift has been triggered, so she can locate and save Benjamin Connelly, a brother she never even knew she had. She’d better master this strange ability quickly, though, because her life isn’t the only one at stake. Her babysitter, Danielle Matheson, is being held as a hostage to ensure Jillian’s full cooperation. Slowly, Jillian begins to learn more about her captor and the other genetically altered children held at the facility. Join Jillian as she tries to survive the training being forced upon her, find her unknown brother, escape with Danielle, and work her way back to a normal life once more. Release Date: February 28, 2013 Publisher: self-published Series: Devya’s Children #1 ISBN: #978-1450232845 Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction) Format(s): Paperback (216 pages), e-book Book Source: Author Purchase Info: Ashlynn’s Dreams (Devya’s...
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Nov
22

Review: Space Jockey Anthology

Review: Space Jockey Anthology Space Jockey (Science Fiction Short Stories) Edited by Tara Maya  Reviewer: Nima Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: The first science fiction book I remember reading was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  It whet my imagination for stories that were outside of my day to day world.  I could not just escape into a book, but leave the planet or enter an alternate dimension.  That was when I was ten. When I was twelve, I read my first adult science fiction book.  It happened to be a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury titled S is for Space.  When I saw the title of this anthology, Space Jockey, my mind went right back to the beginning of my science fiction addiction. I was especially pleased to see that Maya combined classic and current authors.  They include: Scott Whitmore Ethan Rodgers Algis Budrys Steve Brady Jonathan Von Post Adrian Tymes M. Pax Tara Maya Jack Skillingstead George Zhao Jillian Romanowski Philip K. Dick Andrew Vu Joself Vasice Philip K. Dick is known for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which would become the basis for the Harrison Ford movie Blade Runner.  The editor of this book Tara Maya, is also a contributing author.  Nearly fifty years after the publication of S is for Space, today’s technology savvy readers would not connect with Bradbury’s world of the future, but I think they would connect with Maya’s selections.  It’s a good collection to get your feet wet in the science fiction genre if you haven’t read much before. It’s also great for getting a quick fix. That was my approach to reading this anthology.  I’d go get my fix and put the book down again.  Sadly, I did not finish it before this posting deadline, but I will make my way through it—especially when I need an escape. DNF: Did Not Finish   About the Book: A science fiction anthology, featuring both classic science fiction and brand new science fiction short stories about that danger-filled career of the future… space pilot. A young pilot thinks he knows the cost of war. Until he opens a forbidden door… If you’re piloting a cargo of convicts on Titan, you’re already in trouble. Things can still get worse. After the war, humanity gave up dreaming of the stars. But not him. Can a fleet of ships run by citizens stop famine from being used as a weapon? Every time he traveled to...
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Oct
24

Review: The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter

Review: The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter The Counterfeit Mistress Author: Madeline Hunter Reviewer: Ang Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: Let me start by saying this book has great potential, and I was super excited to get. Spies, Refugees, French versus English, Love, Seduction, a handsome viscount as our hero and a war-torn French refugee determined to do anything to protect herself and her father as the heroine. There is so much to work with, but the reality is I’ll likely never know if all the pieces came together to reach it’s potential or not. Don’t get me wrong, I tried. For more than a month I tried to get into this book. I picked it up no fewer than six times, and each time I couldn’t get more than a few pages into it before setting it down. It simply didn’t hold my interest. I finally gave up when I reached chapter eight, and it was still dragging. I understand a slow starting book, but by chapter four or five things should be picking up; however, we were still wandering the streets of London. Or was it Bath? Wait, maybe it was Brighton… I can’t even tell you, which is sad because I really wanted to read this book. DNF – Did Not Finish About the Book: A refugee from the war in France, Marielle Lyon has established herself at the fringes of London society. Claiming to be the niece of an executed aristocrat, Marielle welcomes the gossip that she is a spy. The more eyes she has watching her, the better protected she is—and the better chance she has of saving her father’s life. A warrior at heart, Alban Norwood, Viscount Kendale, would still be in uniform if not for his older brother’s untimely death. After all he’s seen, Kendale doesn’t trust the French—or their femmes fatales. He has set up a surveillance network to ferret out undercover agents, and he believes he’s found one in the delicate, mysterious Marielle. Ready to pounce on his tempting prey, Kendale arranges a meeting with Marielle, who is more beautiful and more cunning than he anticipated. But the Viscount is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask her—even if it means playing a game of seduction… Release Date: September 24, 2013 Publisher: Jove Series: Fairbourne Quartet #3 ISBN: #978-0515151381 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley Purchase Info: The Counterfeit Mistress (Fairbourne Quartet...
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Sep
5

Review: Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt

Review: Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt Shivering Sands Author: Victoria Holt Reviewer: Una Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: I was surprised to find that this novel, Shivering Sands is not a new book but a republished one.  That being said, this is not the type of historical novel I read.  I enjoy historical mysteries and suspense along with historical romances.  My problem with Shivering Sands is the narration.  I find the main character too focused on the trivial while not conveying items or snippets of importance.  I feel as is Caro is giving us a stream of consciousness account of a past experience.  In many ways I feel this novel to attempt to be like Rebecca and falls flat.  When I read, I like to find myself immersed in storytelling.  The sights, sounds, emotions conveyed in such a way I experience it along with the characters.  In Shivering Sands, I feel like I’m being instructed by a teacher who is easily distracted by the minutia.  By the half way point, even though it was finally getting interesting (plot-wise) I cannot take the style of writing any longer.  I hope to one day pick it up and finish it (I would like to know what happened to Roma) but I just cannot force myself to do it right now. DNF – Did Not Finish About the Book: Caroline knows something is wrong. Her sister Roma has gone missing, and no one can tell her why. The only option is to go where Roma was last seen—an estate with a deadly history… The Stacy family has lived off the Dover coast for generations, carefully navigating the treacherous quicksands nearby. But the sands aren’t Caroline’s biggest threat. Everyone here has a secret, especially enigmatic young heir Napier Stacy. No matter where Caroline turns, the ground she walks is dangerous. And the closer she comes to unraveling the truth, the closer she comes to sharing her sister’s fate… Release Date: September 3, 2013 (original release 1971) Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: #978-1402277498 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley Purchase Info: The Shivering...
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Jul
31

Review: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Review: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow In Too Deep Author: Michelle Kemper Brownlow Reviewer: Ang Rating: DNF Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him. Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation. Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep? What I’m Talking About: Let me start by saying I did not finish this book, not because the writing was weak (which at times it was) or the topic poorly handled (which I also felt like applied in spots), but mostly because of my own baggage. I am a survivor of both domestic and dating violence. I have lived through what Ms. Brownlow attempts to address in this book. I have survived and moved forward, but reading the constant manipulation, coercion and rape, yes rape because anytime a person feels like they have no voice in the sexual side of a relationship it is in fact rape, of Gracie was more than I could handle. My memories of being a coerced and feeling like I had no choice in my relationship, feeling like I had to question my every thought and move, are still close enough in my memory that I immediately related to and was rooting for Gracie. I saw her inner strength and the support of her friends right from the start, but the inconsistencies in her character made it hard for me to continue cheering her on or even believe parts of the story. For example, she...
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