Review: Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

PESTILENCE
Series: The Four Horsemen #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Laura Thalassa
Release Date: September 14, 2018

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she’ll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.

AMAZON

I cannot decide if you are a toxin or a tonic,” he says, lifting a hand to my cheek. “Only that you plague my thoughts and fill my veins.”

That moment when you read a book that everyone, their mother, their dog, and their uncle Jerry recommended to you…and you don’t like it.
I’m feeling a little like the black sheep of the book community right now because I know just how much so many of my book friends loved this book. And I wanted, so badly, to love it too. I tried, guys. I really REALLY did. But alas, this was just simply not my cuppa.

I’d like to preface this by saying that PNR is my jam. It was the genre the first got me into romance and so to say that I’m incredibly picky when it comes to it, would be a mild understatement. Perhaps that was one of the main reasons why I found this book falling short for me? I dunno. But I will say this, the author clearly has some major writing chops. I can definitely see why so many people enjoyed this one. But for me, there was just too many things that I couldn’t look past that began to chip away at my enjoyment of the story after the 20% mark.

1. The world building. It was there. Kinda? Not really. You get bits and pieces of the horseman and their “purpose” but just not enough for my tastes.

2. The purple prose. Sweet baby jebus the purple prose. I can’t with it, guys, I just can’t. And this book was riddled with it.

When you ignore me, I burn with restlessness; it feels as though the sun has turned its back on the world. And when you smile at me—when you gaze at me like you can see my soul—I feel … I feel like I am lit on fire, like you have been called by God to raze my world.”

On the one hand, it’s beautifully poetic. On the other hand, when it continues on and on, it gets to be too much for this reader.

3. The very many graphic deaths. Now look, I’ve read my share of gory details. I’ve read dark romance and romantic suspense, and I’m definitely no stranger to graphic depictions of death and sickness. But when those deaths are of children and sweet elderly couples? I don’t care what they add tot eh story or how they drive the plot forward, I can’t. I just can’t.

4. The romance. It was just meh for me, guys. I hate to admit it because you can definitely see that it was there, but I just didn’t click with it. It was torture porn disguised as romance, if I’m being perfectly frank. All of the deaths and gore simply overshadowed everything else. And that’s not even bringing up all of the shit that Pestilence puts Sara through.

5. Pestilence. GAH. I would have thought I’d love him, but man did I struggle. And no, it wasn’t because he kills so many innocents in the course of the story. It’s because he was a total beta hero in my eyes. Sure, he’s a big baddie with the diseases spreading and the kidnapping of our heroine after she tries to kill him in order to make her suffer. Sure he’s all tough and weapony and all that jazz. But he’s almost childlike in his idealistic views and understanding of human nature and interactions. I felt no alpha vibes from him in the least, and that’s a must for me. This is clearly a personal preference, so take that with a grain of salt.

Ultimately I found myself growing both bored and irritated with the story and all of the meaningless gory deaths and the back and forth between Pestilence and Sara. It felt almost preachy to me in parts because of the God references, but again, that’s another personal preference. I prefer my PNR to be strictly PNR. I’ve read another series by Larissa Ione on the Four Horseman Eternal Rider and sadly this book just pales in comparison. Perhaps it was because I kept comparing them that worked against it? I dunno. But sadly, this story just fell completely flat for me. I wanted to love it, but I barely got through it.

Would I read the rest of this series? Probably not. But I’ll definitely be giving this author’s other books a try. I loved her story telling, I just didn’t love this book and the concept.

Clearly I’m the lone black sheep here, because countless others absolutely loved this story. So don’t take my word as gospel. This is just one opinion here guys, with plenty of personal biases in play. So give it a shot and see for yourself.

Review: A Cruel Love by SM Soto

A CRUEL LOVE
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia
Author: SM Soto
Release Date: May 9, 2019

As a hitman for hire, Percivale is no stranger to violence.
From the moment he saw Blossom Jaymes through the window of her bakery, he knew he was in too deep. Not only was she as sweet as her perfectly crafted treats, but she was a soft-spoken, golden-haired angel that shone like a bright beacon in his dark world. And Percivale didn’t deal in angels. He dealt in death and crime. The even bigger issue? Percivale’s next hit is on said sweet little baker who doesn’t seem to realize how much danger lurks around her with each passing day.
If he doesn’t get the job done, who will?

When Percivale has to decide what’s more important to him—the life of a woman who may very well be innocent or getting his revenge on the men who murdered his family—the lines become blurred. Morals are twisted and a deathly chase ensues that can only result in one thing—Blossom buried six feet under.

Or can it?

Can Percivale let his lust for revenge go in order to save Blossom from the bounty on her head, or will the power she unknowingly holds over him be what gets her killed?

AMAZON

I’m going to enjoy breaking you, Blossom. Piece by fucking piece”

I hate myself a little right now as I write this review. Because here’s the thing; I really REALLY wanted to lovethis book. The blurb and the cover hooked my attention right away, and I was SO ready for a gritty and dark mafia romance. Sadly, that’s not what I got. And you know what? It seriously sucks being the black sheep that didn’t enjoy a book that so many others clearly did. Le sigh.

Now look, if you haven’t read very many mafia or even dark romance books before, I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy this. As for me? I’ve read enough to be extremely picky. And A Cruel Love was rough for me from start to finish. My first clue should have been that I had no problem putting it down. As a matter of fact, I stopped reading it at 5% originally. Then I picked it back up and stopped at 30%. Then I decided to try and power through it, while that annoying inner voice of mine kept screaming “I told you so” the entire freaking time.

The story and the characters were one giant cliche after another. None of it made sense to me. The characterization was so inconsistent that it made my head spin. Here you have a mousy, introverted, scared out of her whits heroine that gets kidnapped by a stranger after shooting a man that tried to rape her point blank in the head in front of her. Said man is also a mafia hit man that was sent by his boss to kill her because she’s been asking too many questions about her missing (actually now dead) neighbor. So this heroine then goes from crying hysterically, trying to make a run for it, being threatened to die by our hero at every turn, crying hysterically, having odd sassy outbursts that revert just as suddenly back to her crying outbursts, to lecturing the man threatening to kill her about his motel room choices and second hand smoke.
Oh and through all this, and Percivale’s constant hot and cold behavior, cruel treatment of her, shackling her to the bed and leaving her for hours on end, and constant reminders that he’ll kill her if she so much as steps out of line, she still can’t help but be sexually drawn to him. I just didn’t buy it. Here’s a woman that’s basically been shying away from anything sexual since a terrible assault in high school, yet a man that’s killed several people in cold blood in front her get her engine revving.

Through all this, Percivale’s characterization is incredibly inconsistent as well. I couldn’t help but feel he was just one giant dark romance cliche. The constant cigarette smoking, the smirks, the reminders of his cruelty and darkness. And then he also discloses to Blossom what happened to his family years ago to make him into who he is today. At a point of the story where it made absolutely ZERO sense for him to disclose such a hugely personal and private detail. He also uses the term “seed”. *shudders* I didn’t buy the reasons for the hit on Blossom. It was weak and hard to believe. I also struggled to connect to them as a couple since I feel like that wasn’t as developed as it could be. It struck me as being very sudden.

There’s too much necessarily obvious descriptions when it comes to the darkness of this book. Like this:

We’re the Cavalieri Della Morte. We surround ourselves with danger, and we’re all the same, violent and deadly.”

And way too many things that are so far out of the realm of believability that I struggled to keep reading. Like a point of the story where Percivale gets stabbed in the stomach and then proceeds to fight in 5 back to back fights to the death. I mean….yeah.

I get that it’s fiction and I should suspend my disbelief somewhat. But there still has to be a hint of SOME believability for me to buy it and connect to it. And sadly this book skated on the skirts of it until finally skating right out of the rink entirely.

The characters were such extremes that it felt cliche. The sweet, somewhat innocent, good heroine that lectures a hit man about second hand smoke and hasn’t seen the right end of a razor in her female area for years. The extremely dark, super violent and cruel hitman with a penchant for chain smoking. It was all just too much for this reader.

I wanted to love this book, guys. I really, really did. But sadly, I’m just way too picky when it comes to my mafia and dark romances, that I spent the majority of the book picking apart almost everything. It’s a problem. I know. But I just couldn’t help myself.

Do I think the majority of readers would enjoy this book? Absolutely. I’m just a picky asshole here. Clearly. So take what I said with a grain of salt and read it and judge for yourself.

Geri’s Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

ALL YOUR PERFECTS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: July 17, 2018

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart.

The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past.

This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

 

AMAZON

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s been a while since I’ve truly sat down and read a Colleen Hoover book until I came across the blurb for this book.

One. It has a marriage-in-peril trope that I love in my books. Two, the blurb along with the first chapter the author shared on social media truly captured my interest. Three. The meet-cute was quite unique. The whole book itself, however, was disappointing.

Quinn and Graham are two married couple whose marriage is on the brink of collapse. There were many things that contributed to this collapse, which readers will slowly learn but the main contributor to their marriage’s demise was Quinn’s infertility.

This was handled well by Hoover. As the book is told by Quinn, we get to experience her pain and bitterness first hand. And a lot of the scenarios that she mentioned rang very true. We immediately understand that this is a woman who is depressed and is barely holding on. Quinn’s POV benefited a lot from Hoover’s sparse but emotional prose. She captured Quinn’s pain so well.

Unfortunately, the past and present storytelling ruined the momentum for me. I hated it. Just when the story starts to get really interesting, you get pulled into the past again. It was Ugly Love all over again! Maybe it was an attempt to make the story more suspenseful than it is or emotional, but whatever the reason was, it didn’t work for me. I found myself getting angry and frustrated having to go back and forth to get the whole story.

Another thing that didn’t work for me were the secondary characters. Quinn’s mother was also a piece of work. She wasn’t a very developed character. She’s just there to be terrible and make Quinn feel bad. And now that I think about it, this book didn’t have a lot of characters. We get to meet Quinn’s sister and her husband, Quinn and Graham’s exes, and Graham’s sister, but they’re not very well-developed characters. They’re there to either prop up (Quinn’s sister) or tear down (Quinn’s mother) the two main protagonists. But I digress.

I didn’t really like Graham either. He is, in my opinion, one of Hoover’s weakest heroes. And I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t get his POV or whatever but he was just boring. The whole cheating thing—yes, it was cheating and there was really no justification for it—made me dislike him even more. I’m not even going to touch on his asinine reason for doing so but yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Graham at all. Not even his letters could make me like him.

And that ending? Ehhh. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t spectacular or fleshed out either. It felt very rushed. They opened the box, they cried, and everything just smoothed itself out. However, it was worth mentioning that they apologized to each other and renewed their commitment. But overall, it felt, I don’t know, underwhelming and rushed after all that build up.

Ultimately, this was too heavy-handed for me. Like it’s not enough that Quinn is infertile, she has to suffer more tragedy, she has get cheated on. But that wasn’t enough apparently because she has to miscarry and get a hysterectomy. I mean, goodness, the option to adopt was even taken away from her. There has to be more! More suffering, more hopelessness until it becomes a never-ending cycle of suck.

I was reading this book and I couldn’t help but think “Wow, CoHo really loves to torture her heroines.” Some of her last few releases had been a torture-fest for her female characters. I should be happy, I guess, that at least they’d get HEA but my gosh, she has to torture them first. Which brings me to my last point. One thing I realized about myself as a reader is that the more an author makes the heroine suffer by letting her go through tragedy after tragedy, after the less I care. Other readers have said this was an emotional book and I can see that, but it was just lost on me. It felt manipulative. From the way the whole story was structured to the ungodly amount of tragedy that befell the heroine, it felt manipulative. That was the whole feeling I had while reading this book.

Review: ★Unseen Messages★ by Pepper Winters

Review-Unseen MessagesUNSEEN MESSAGES
Genre: Survival Romance
Author: Pepper Winters
Release Date: March 30, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

Unseen-Messages-by-Pepper-Winters-e1459309686786

“There is a message for everything. From handwritten to verbal, seen and unseen. Messages exist all around us.” 

But what if you don’t see?
What if you don’t understand?
What if, by ignoring the message, your life is never the same again?

Estelle Evermore morphed from nobody to somebody overnight.
Galloway Oak put his past behind him and endeavoured to make his fortune using his trade.

Two strangers.
One plane.
Multiple unseen messages.
From sky to island, they find neither fame nor skills can save them. Stripped from society and left alone to survive the elements, the very task of staying alive outweighs all other needs.
Until survival turns to desire.
And desire turns to danger.From New York Times Bestseller Pepper Winters comes a timeless love story answering the question of what happens when everything is stripped away.

Standalone.

SPOILER FREE UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT

Don’t you hate it when everyone loves a book but you? Le sigh. This review is actually painful for me to write. Why? Because I adore Pepper Winters. I’ve read the woman’s entire backlist, so when I saw she was coming out with a secret project and revealed the cover to this book, I was beyond thrilled. Heck, I couldn’t wait to get my grabby little hands on it.

When it landed on my kindle, I dropped everything and began reading…
And reading…
And reading…
And reading some more…
Then when 2 days later I looked down at my kindle and realized I was only at 15% I began to get a little twitchy.

Now look, I don’t mind a long book. I devour Kristen Ashley books in 2 days and those books are typically AT LEAST 450 pages on average. But the length of this book? Well, it didn’t work for me so much. As a matter of fact, it dragged…. painfully so. I will go so far as to say this may have been the most long winded book I have ever read in my entire reading history. But there’s a difference between development and filler, and unfortunately I found over 40% of this book to be pure filler. The descriptions, the events, a lot of it never really went anywhere.

The first 15% is one giant false red herring because after everything that happens in it, the characters’ actions afterward were almost mind-bogglingly ridiculous. I just couldn’t buy it for the life of me. The writing is another thing that never worked for me. While some may find it lyrical, I found it to be full or purple prose and mundane and redundant inner monologue.

There.
Was.
A.
Lot.
Of.
This.

And also there was a lot of t…h…i…s.

I think that for this reader, it was just too much. A book has to be well balanced with dialogue and development, and I didn’t find that to be the case here.

I skimmed almost the entire second half and found that I missed almost nothing. In my opinion, this book could have been 40% shorter and worked much better. While I liked some parts, other parts I was bored out of my skull. The characters spend so much time in their head, it made my eye tick.

Every feeling and thought is described…
And described….
And described some more.

But even while there’s a lot of description, I found it did nothing to endear or connect me to their actions. There was just too many pages to fill in the spaces and the actual story began to fade out somewhere between the prose and redundant details. Some of the actions and situations the characters found themselves in were too far beyond the scope of believability for me. I can suspend my disbelief for fiction, but there were parts where I found myself seriously scratching my head in confusion. The ending was cute if not a touch too cheesy for my tastes.

This was different, yes. But for me, while I loved the concept of the story, it fell flat on the delivery. I’m sure I’ll be in the minority in my opinion and clearly many a reader really loved this book. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those books you either get or don’t. Unfortunately for me, I fell into the later part. But I’m just one tiny opinion here, so read it and judge for yourself 😉

Review: ★The Rules★ by Elizabeth Brown

Review-The RulesThe Rules
Series: Off-Limits #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Elizabeth Brown
Release Date: February 2, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

therules_amazon

An older-brother’s-best-friend romance

When you’re a guy, the rules are simple. Live by the Bro Code:
Rule #1: Always have his back.
Rule #2: Don’t ever leave him stranded.
Rule #3: Never, ever, touch his sister.

Aw, hell. Two out of three ain’t bad.
———-
Warning: This story contains mature humor, a lot of cursing, and of course, sexual situations. It’s intended for adult readers who enjoy that kind of thing.

———-

Lambo and Ainsley’s story.
Dual POV with no cliffhanger.
Book 2 in The Off-Limits series. Standalone- but you’ll enjoy it more if you read Book 1.

Buy LinksAMAZON

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Review: ★Bad Romeo★ by Leisa Reyvan

Review-Bad RomeoBad Romeo
Series: Starcrossed #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leisa Rayven
Release Date: December 23, 2014add-to-goodreads-button-2

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While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own…
Cassie Taylor was just another acting student with big dreams at her prestigious performing arts college, then she met Ethan Holt. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy on campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing on stage, Cassie and Ethan’s epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart.

Now they’ve made it to Broadway where they’re reunited as romantic leads once again, and their passionate scenes force them to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair. For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret, and he’s determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again. The trouble is, working with him reminds her that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s the things that aren’t good for us that are the most irresistible.

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N

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Review: ★The Final Move★ by Victoria Denault

Review-TFMThe Final Move
Series: Hometown Players #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Victoria Denault
Release Date: December 8, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

Denault_The Final Move_E-Book

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . . 

Buy LinksAmazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

Review2 Stars

Minor spoilers to follow, please don’t read my review if you don’t want to know. I’ll spoiler tag the big stuff.

I’ve been a huge fan of this series since One More Shot. The mix of angst and swoony romance just did it for me. And ever since I first met Devin Garrison in that book I’v been not so patiently waiting for his story.

As the calmer and more settled of the Garrison brothers, Devin was refreshingly different. Being married and a daddy also made him even more appealing. But the reader also got a peek into his life and began to understand that not everything in his marriage is quite as perfect as he’d like to make it appear. At first I assumed that Devin’s story would be more of marital issues than reconciliation with his wife, but after the events of Making a Play I realized that he’d be ending up with the other Caplan. After reading the preview in book 2 I have to admit that I was curious as to how this would play out. After finishing it? Well I kind of wish I could unread it, because it made me absolutely hate Callie and strongly dislike Devin in the process. *sigh* Where are those men in black when you need them?
I get what the author was trying to do with this story and while I appreciate her effort, it just didn’t pan out for me. Not even a little. Why?

Issue 1

Villinaize the wife as the catalyst.

Was this really necessary? Couldn’t it just be an “issue” they were dealing with and have them just fall out of love as they clearly were already well on the road for. Did she have to (Highlight to view spoiler)cheat (end spoiler)? I just didn’t find it necessary for the story. Sure, it served as the catalyst for Devin’s decisions, but it just felt like an easy way out.

Issue 2

Devin’s regression.

Oh boy. Where do I even start. So your wife (Highlight to view spoiler)cheats(End spoiler) on you, what do you do? Proceed to drink yourself stupid and have a one-night stand because…why? It felt like revenge and punishment more so than anything else. Hey, I was the perfect husband for so long, I need to slut it out now just to see how the other half lives. It didn’t make sense. And yes, I understand that he was hurting. But what he also was, was still married. Sure, I also get that this is a common occurrence and I shouldn’t judge. But do two wrongs really make a right? Considering how Devin has been for the past two books and always being the voice of reason, I wanted him to take the high road.

Issue 3
Callie.
Now I hate to name call, so I won’t. I also hate slut shaming, so I won’t. What I will say, is I absolutely hated her decisions and treatment of Devin for basically the entire book. One, she’s dated and flirted with his teammates. She proceeds to go on a date after her and Devin finally sleep together. Then there was her decision to go down on him after she finds him in the middle of a drunk hookup and throwing the woman out of the house they’re currently sharing. Also knowing how Devin is, her decision to continuously sleep with him but refuse anything more was downright infuriating. Considering everything Devin’s been through it was almost callous.

Issue 4
Did I mention that Devin is still technically married (though separated and no longer living with his wife) through all of this?
Again, I understand that this happens, and if this was any other character, I could have looked past it. But with Devin? No. I felt like he regressed and just wasn’t the Devin that I ultimately fell in love with throughout the series. I did not like him for a good 75% of this book.

Issue 5
And this is ultimately what lowered my rating even more. I felt zero, no connection between Callie and Devin. There wasn’t an undercurrent of sexual tension or longing throughout the series between them. Not even in this book did that come into play. It felt like they just ended up together because it was convenient and not because it was meant to be. I couldn’t connect to them as a couple. Hell, I didn’t believe in them as a couple. And what’s more, I didn’t like them as a couple.

Le sigh.

To say that I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I love this author, and I will definitely read any of her future work without a second thought. But sadly this book didn’t work for me at all. Maybe because I had such high hopes? Who knows. It is what it is, and I have a feeling this is just one of those books you’ll either understand and enjoy, or you won’t. I don’t see much middle ground here. But that’s just my opinion. Clearly I’m in the minority with my opinion so read it and judge for yourself.

Review: ★Darkest Before Dawn★ by Maya Banks

Review-DBDDarkest Before Dawn
Series: KGI #10
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Maya Banks
Release Date: October 27, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

23506103-2

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

The enigmatic Hancock has been both opponent and ally to the KGI teams for as long as they’ve known him. Always working a deep game, Hancock’s true allegiance has never been apparent, but one thing is for certain—he never lets anything get in the way of duty.

But now, his absolute belief in the primacy of his ultimate goal is challenged by a captive he’s been ordered to guard, no matter how much she suffers in her prison. She’s the only woman who’s ever managed to penetrate the rigid walls surrounding his icy heart, but will he allow his perplexing feelings for the beautiful victim to destroy a mission he’s spent years working to complete or will he be forced to sacrifice her for “the greater good.”

Buy LinksAmazon / B&N / iBooks / BAM / IndieBound / Google

Review2 Stars

I’ve been such a huge fan of Maya Banks, but I’m finding that most of her recent releases have been slightly less than lackluster for me lately. While I loved the first five books in the KGI series, since book six it’s been taking a significant decline for me. The story lines are just OTT out there, the characters not quite what they used to be. But still I was holding out hope for Hancock to finally bring this series back to what it used to be. I’ve been eagerly anticipating his book for years, so I was beyond excited to get my hands on Darkest Before Dawn….only to be disappointed.

The first 25% of the book I struggled to get into it. It was repetitive to the point of redundancy. Hancock’s internal musings of him being the bad guy but for good intentions was repeated ad nauseam. I suppose this is good for readers coming into the series without having read the previous books. But for fans of the series that have been up to date? Well, let’s just say you’ll get a bit of a refresher.

The story really took off after the 25% mark and I found I couldn’t put the book down. The action and suspense really picked up. The budding romance begin…and then it all crashed down after the 60% mark.

The heroine was idealistic and naive to the point of being OTT about it. It’s almost cheesy for me to say that Honor was just too honorable, but that’s what it is. While I really liked her in the beginning, her internal monologue and reasoning after the 60% mark was just beyond anything I could wrap my mind around. I don’t care how much you want the bad guys to get caught, no person in their right mind will reason with themselves that they’re OK with being betrayed and sacrificed for the greater good because it’s the “right” thing to do. She’s not a soldier. She’s a relief aid volunteer. When she finds out Hancock’s plans on using her, she’s not mad, crying, trying to escape. Nope. She accepts it all with the calmness of a woman that was just told that the purse she wanted isn’t in stock. Ah well, it is what it is. In Hancock’s defense, he never lies to her. Unless you consider lie by omission. He never confirms that he’s there to save her and doesn’t give her false hope. But he never point blank admits it either. This was just the beginning of the end for me. His epiphany came a little too late for me to sympathize with him or even like him.

Add into the mix that Honor is a (highlight to view spoiler)virgin (end spoiler), because it’s not enough with her personality fitting her name. Nope. You have to add the cherry on top. Pun intended.

But not only does she accept everything with an unbelievable sort of calm, she asks Hancock to (highlight to view spoiler)take her virginity (end spoiler). Why?(highlight to view spoiler) Because she doesn’t want her first time to be a rape, since that is inevitably what would happen to her once she’s handed over to the man that hired Hancock. Rape. Torture. Death. (end spoiler)
A man with the intentions of sacrificing me for the greater good does not exactly make me go all tingly in the nether regions. Add into the fact that she knows what she has in store for her and how horrific her (highlight to view spoiler) death(end spoiler) will be, and yet her line of thinking is (highlight to view spoiler)Oh, Hanckcock. You’re so brave and honorable for making such a hard decision. Please take my virginity. I want you to be the one. Yep. Not only does she forgive him, but she rationalizes it and praises him for it.  (end spoiler)

After 60% the book just spiraled down faster than a junky on a bender. Hancock flipped a switch and pulled a complete 180; going from badass to p*ssy in 0 to 6 seconds. It was great to finally get the entire KGI crew, but unfortunately it was a case of too little too late. For all the hopes I had for this book, sadly after finishing it, I think I’m done with this series. I kept hoping that it will come back to what it once was, but after 4 books in a row that left me underwhelmed, I just don’t have it in me to continue.

I know what Maya Banks is capable of, and her earlier books are a true testament to that. Her Sweet series was one of my favorites. But sadly the releases she’s had lately seem to be missing a certain edge that her earlier work had. I’m still holding out hope, but not with this series.

Read the rest of the series

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(KGI, #1)

7828781

(KGI, #2)

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(KGI, #3)

10675183

(KGI, #4)

13126204

(KGI, #5)

14741092

(KGI, #5.5)

13411699

(KGI, #6)

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(KGI, #7)

17912980

(KGI, #8)

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(KGI, #9)

Review: ★Filthy Rich★ by Virna DePaul

Review- Filthy RichFilthy Rich
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Virna DePaul
Release Date: October 27, 2015add-to-goodreads-button3

18404366

High finance and a sizzling office affair raise desire and passion to the boiling point in Virna DePaul’s seductive new contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Carly Phillips, Lori Foster, and Molly O’Keefe.

Cara Michal has had to fight every step of the way to earn her place in the glittering seven-figure world of Wall Street. Years ago her hardworking father, a small-time investment adviser, was humiliated and wrongfully accused of fraud. Now Cara is at the top of her game, trying to support not only herself but her mother and brother. The occasional night out dancing soothes Cara’s soul, even as a bitter need for revenge against the man who destroyed her father makes inner peace elusive.

Then, in a moment of heat, Cara kisses a sexy stranger at a party—only later to discover that the man is Branden Duke, her new boss, an infamous operator with a wicked reputation in bed and on the Street. Branden is a man who seemingly has it all—except a woman who connects with him on a physical and emotional level. Now that he’s found Cara, he’s not sure he can let her go, even if he should.

In spite of herself, Cara is drawn to this charismatic guy. He is a challenge like none she has ever faced in her life. Their passion for each other is unquenchable, surprising them both with its ferocity. Even as Cara wonders if she can trust this man with her heart and soul, the ecstasy of their love cannot be denied. But when the past threatens the present, the two are faced with a truth from which they may never recover.

Buy LinksAmazon / iBooks / Barnes & Noble / Kobo  / Google Play

Review2 Stars

I’ve loved everything else I’ve ever read from this author, so I was excited to see she had a new book coming out. The synopsis intrigued me and it sounded like I’d be in for another steamy read from the fabulous Virna Depaul. Unfortunately, there were just too many things working against this book for me to ever truly enjoy it.

I struggled with my rating, but I figure per GR’s explanation; it was just OK, so 2 stars it is.

Cara Michal is a hard hitter on Wall Street. After her father’s death, she’s been the main bread winner for her family; supporting not only her mother but her brother as well. Her career is everything to her and she won’t let anything or any one jeopardize it. But then a sexy stranger she meets at a party tilts her carefully conducted life on it’s axis.

When it turns out that the stranger isn’t some stranger after all; but is in fact the new owner of the financial institution that Cara works for, their brewing sexual chemistry becomes even more inconvenient.

Now the premise for this book was great. I loved the set and where I though the story was going. My main issue is I found a good chunk of the book to be pure filler; unnecessary information that did nothing to drive the actual plot. It was draining to read and often took me completely out of the story. I think this could have easily been trimmed by almost 30-40% if I’m being perfectly honest.

My second issue was with Cara. Her indecisiveness drove me nuts. She wants him, but she can’t have him, she’ll cave in, but it won’t go further than that. Rinse, lather, and repeat ad nauseam. Ultimately though, here’s a woman that refuses to be “kept” and struggles to be seen as an equal in a mainly male dominated profession, yet she’s taking risks by having sexual encounters with her boss at work. It just seemed like she’d cave in too easily that all her internal arguments for her profession were moot.

Then there were the sex scenes. Perhaps I’m just desensitized to erotic books that I’ve become picky, but personally the word “penis” in a sex scene does absolutely nothing for me. Particularly in an explicit one.

When she felt his fingers there she sucked them into her mouth, making love to them the same way she’d made love to his penis just a little while ago.”

Making love to his penis? Are we actually waxing on poetic about a blow job here?

I want you inside me.”
“My fingers are inside you.”
“No! I want your penis inside me.”

Le sigh.

Then add in a random stalker to throw in some suspense and I was altogether underwhelmed.

I did love Braden’s intensity. Virna DePaul definitely knows how to write a super sexy alpha. Unfortunately while there were parts that I did enjoy, the negatives simply outweighed the enjoyment for me. I’m still a huge fan of this author and will gladly read any of her future releases. We simply can’t love them all, and this was just that case for me. I recommend you read it and judge for yourself. I tend to be a highly critical and picky reader; so you never know, it just may work for you.

Review: ★Broken Play★ by Samantha Kane

Review Broken Play Broken Play
Series: Birmingham Rebels #1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Author: Samantha Kane
Release Date: September 1, 2015add-to-goodreads-button3

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Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.

Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.

Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules.

Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.

Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.

Buy LinksAmazon / iBooks

Review2 Stars

Well…this is what happens when I read a book based on the hot cover alone. Le sigh. At first I was excited because it reminded me a little of another series I love but with hockey players, The Dartmouth Cobras series by Bianca Sommerland; biggest difference being that that series is heavy on BDSM and this one wasn’t.

Unfortunately, I’m past the point where I can read a smutty book for the pure enjoyment of hot sex scenes. I need a plot driver, I need character development, I need something other than hot sex to keep me reading, and this book just didn’t have that.

I love the concept and the sex scenes were hot and aplenty, but I needed more depth. I felt like I was jumping into the book halfway. The main 2 characters clearly have a history but it’s only briefly mentioned and not really developed. They meet the heroine who happens to be their team’s new assistant offensive coach. Marian has a very bad history with football players in her past and sleeping with two men is crossing a boundary, but yet they it takes them absolutely no time before they’re groping each other
The rest of the book goes something the lines of this:
Something happens.
SEX
Something else happens.
SEX.
Some other stuff happens.
SEX SEX SEX.

I thought I was reading the screenplay for a porn most of the time.

Look guys,
I felt no connection to the characters or the plot. I felt like all of it was muted in the constant sex fog. I got to the point where I was skimming most of the sex scenes because honest to god, my vagina hurt for Mariam.

It had a very hot MMF threesome which I usually love, but again, I need more depth to the story to connect to it. Then that last 20% happened and….

Yeah. No.

Listen, I’m not against some hot gang bang action here, if I felt like it actually fit the plot. But while there was a “reason” for it, I just didn’t think it was good enough. It totally came out of left field for me (pun intended). Suffice it to say I think this book managed to out perve me. Hot sex is all fine and dandy as long as it’s wrapped around the plot and not the other way around.

Will I read the rest of the series? Probably not simply because I just didn’t connect to any of the MCs or the secondary characters. It was all over the place for me. The writing was good, it was the story that was lacking for me. If you’re looking for a super hot and smutty MMF read, this is definitely the book for you.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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