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Tag Archives: 2.5 stars

TBR Tuesday – 30 Jun 15

TBR Tuesday
Love Slave for Two: Reckoning
Author: Tymber Dalton

Purchased: 29 October 2012
Date Finished: 17 April 2015
Time on TBR: 901 days

Review: When I think back to my progression of reading through different genres of romance, Tymber Dalton figures fairly prominently in them. One of my first BDSM romances (The Reluctant Dom) was one of hers, as was one of my first m/m romances; I read my first romance featuring a disabled character (Cross-Country Chaos) and even ventured into the world of science-fiction romance with her. So when I realized that I had one of her Love Slave for Two books still stashed on the pile, I was excited to dig into it because I was a fan of the series. However, to my disappointment, this entry in the series just didn’t hold the same magic for me. There wasn’t the spark that I’ve come to expect from her books – to me, there was too much focus on the “suspense” aspect that just wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. Maybe because it had been a feature in all three of the previous books (aside from the prequel) and I was just tired of it. Don’t get me wrong, the romance/smexy bits between Nevvie, Adam and Tyler were as hot as ever – but the rest of the story was just ehh to me…

This entry in the series only got 2.5 stars from me, but considering I’ve rated the rest of her books in the 4 star range, I guess its ok to have a disappointing one now and then. Thankfully, I know that this is an anomaly in Tymber’s writing and I will continue to read her stuff in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Audiobook Review – Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates

audies nominee erotica

beauty from painBeauty from Pain
Author: Georgia Cates
Series: #1 in the Beauty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Bunny Warren, Robert Black
Run Time: 9 hrs, 9 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.

Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.

It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.

Review:
I’ll admit it, i’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover and if I had been in the bookstore, Beauty from Pain (and its subsequent books) totally would have caught my eye. I love the black and white photography with the erotic looking cover, that still stays this side of being too much. But since I was listening to the audiobook, well, I did still gaze at the cover, but it didn’t affect my choice as much. I will admit that when I pick up a book that has been marketed as erotica/nominated in an erotica category for awards, I have certain expectations and unfortunately for me Beauty from Pain just didn’t live up to that. For me, erotica is about the sexual journey of the participants and while there were some spicy scenes in Beauty from Pain, it read more like a traditional romance to me. The only thing that really could potentially push it into the “erotica/erotica lite” category is that there really wasn’t a happily ever after which is required for a romance, but that being said, this was really the first in a series with a continuing storyline where I expect one to culminate at the end of book 3.

While the storyline was intriguing, I found the writing to be chunky in places with lots of redundant sentences. Maybe it was because I was listening to it, but weak writing is much more obvious to be when I’m listening to audiobooks, rather than when I’m reading. I think because I actually concentrate more in the audio, rather than reading where I tend to skim read. And maybe it is a small thing, but it got really annoying with the alternating point of views, that each chapter was titled who was speaking/thinking – I wish that had actually been left out, because I do think the voices were distinct enough that it was obvious the POV that the chapter was written from (also an minor irk, Laurelyn barely went by that name in the book, so it was disconcerting to hear that every time it was her point of view). In general, I didn’t mind Jack and Laurelyn’s story – I think it had potential to be really good, although there were some things that Jack did that just weren’t resolved for me. Certain things he was adamant about and then all of the sudden just changed his mind, no explanation (i mean, I’d expect that from a female, but not a male…well, you know what I mean – j/k) however, I spent the majority of the book hating the secondary characters. I wasn’t a fan of Laurelyn’s friend, or her friend’s brother (Ben) because he was a douchebag and the limited mention of Laurelyn’s mother made me go crazy, she was just so self-obessessed (and I have a feeling she is going to be significant in book 2, which I’m not looking forward to).

Both Bunny Warren and Robert Black were new narrators to me. I’ve found when listening to duo’s narrating books that I often really like one, and not so much the other; or find them both to be fairly middle of the road. In this instance, it was the former – I really liked Bunny’s narration – I found she did a great job of narrating Laurelyn’s POV – her voice was pleasant to listen to and I found myself sucked into those portions of the audiobook. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Robert Black’s narration. Maybe it had something to do with having grown up in Australia (for the first nearly two decades of my life), but the accent that he used for Jack just grated on me. Maybe that is how Australian’s sound to a complete outsider, but I don’t remember ever hearing them talk to like. I found it hard to listen to and distracting to the point that I struggled to listen to his portions of the audio. I almost wish I could have listened to Bunny’s stuff and read the male POV’s – it may have worked better for me. It also seemed like the author dug in and found all the random slang that aussies use – some frequently and other not so – I actually posted a question on facebook about one such phase because I had never heard of it in my life (apparently, Sanga is short for Sandwich, but not where I grew up). That made it hard for me.

I know that I will be finishing the series – because I want to see what happens between Laurelyn and Jack (and because book 3 in the series was also nominated for an audie award in the same category). But overall, I was disappointed – it didn’t live up to what I expected, based on the number of high rated reviews from Goodreads friends/ the fact that it was nominated for an award (even if the award was for narration). Both the story and the narration got 2.5 stars from me, but if Bunny had been the sole narrator, it would have been more like 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Come Home to Me – Brenda Novak

come home to meCome Home to Me
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: #6 in the Whiskey Creek series

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Home is where her heart is…

When Presley Christensen returns to Whiskey Creek with her little boy after two years away, she has completely changed her life. She’s made peace with her past and overcome the negative behavior that resulted from her difficult childhood. Now she’s back in the small town that was the closest thing to “home” she ever knew—the town where she can be with the sister who’s her only family.

There’s just one catch. Aaron Amos still lives in Whiskey Creek, at least until he moves to Reno to open a branch of the Amos brothers’ auto body shop. And no matter how hard she’s tried, Presley hasn’t been able to get over him. Seeing him again makes the longing so much worse. But she hopes she can get through the next few months, because she can’t fall back into his arms…or his bed. She’s come too far to backslide now. And there’s a secret she’s been guarding—a secret she’ll do anything to protect.

Review:
!This review includes spoilers!

I think I sub-consciously knew going into this book that I was going to have issues with it. Mostly because of how the storyline featuring Presley played out in a previous book in the series (#2 When Snow Falls). I knew there was going to be a secret baby theme and I hoped that I was going to be ok with it and for the most part I was…it wasn’t that part of the story that I had issues with, although I did feel as though the relationship between Presley and Aaron kind of took a backseat to other interactions between Presley/Cheyenne (her sister); Cheyenne/Aaron; Aaron/Dylan (his brother) and Cheyenne/Dylan. This book felt much more like a women’s lit rather than a traditional romance and while Presley/Aaron did get their HEA (although it felt more like a HFN).

My biggest issue with the book in general was the whole behavior of Cheyenne and the lengths that she would go to, to get what she wants. If the fact that she would ask her husband’s brother to donate his sperm so that she could have a baby, wasn’t bad enough, the fact that she did it without letting her husband know – that it was done all covertly – it was just wrong on sooo many levels. In fact, if this had been in print, the book may have gone flying across the room…it felt like the story basically consisted of the Cheyenne/Aaron storyline with just tidbits about Presley/Aaron which disappointed me – it was like they got gypped of their story.

This is by far my least favorite in the series so far and looking back, I almost wish I hadn’t read it, because it kind of ruined the previous books that I enjoyed. I’m honestly not sure if I will continue the series or not because of my disappointment. Overall, I gave Come Home to Me, 2.5 stars, but rounded up to 3 on GR, because I can’t deny that Ms Novak can write in a way that sucks you in, it was just the storyline that didn’t work for me.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society – Darien Gee

avalon ladiesThe Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
Author: Darien Gee

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Run Time: 14hrs and 16 minutes
Producer: Tantor Audio

Review Copy of Audiobook Provided from Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:
Welcome to Avalon, Illinois, Pop. 4,243

At Madeline’s Tea Salon, the cozy hub of the Avalon community, local residents scrapbook their memories and make new ones. But across town, other Avalonians are struggling to free themselves of the past: Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Enter Bettie Shelton, the irascible founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future. But when the group receives unexpected news about their steadfast leader, they must pull together to create something truly memorable.

Review:
I’m really conflicted over my review for this book. I really enjoyed the premise behind the story and the story itself, but I really struggled with the writing style. There was something cozy about getting to know the citizens of Avalon, Illinois (although, I was kind of bummed to see that it wasn’t a real town because I wanted to pick up and move there). Darien Gee did a great job in developing her characters – I felt like I had grown up with them, that I was a citizen of the town.

But at the same time, I really struggled with the writing style. Specifically, that it was written in this weird third person, present tense – and it felt awkward. My editor in my brain wanted me to go through with a red pen and either put it in first person, alternating POV or third person, past tense. My other issue was that at the same time, while I loved the wide variety of characters, a few times there were too many…I wish that she had stuck to the main women – there were a few cameos where someone was introduced and then nothing was ever mentioned about them again…it kind of felt disjointed and missing something. I would also caution that if you haven’t read Friendship Bread, that you might feel like you are missing something – I know that I haven’t and there were a few places where I was scratching my head.

I also strugged a few places with the narration. I don’t know if its because I’ve been spoiled recently by multiple narrators in audiobooks, but I wanted more. This would have been, (IMHO) a great opportunity for a multiple narrator book – with each main character having a different person narrate it. My mind just wasn’t transiting well between the voice for Betty (a 70 year old woman) and Ava (a mid-20’s young woman) to Isabelle (early 40’s)…but I will admit that it could got better as the narration progressed – so maybe it was just a matter of re-accustoming my ears to a single narrator. It would probably also good that there were limited male voices and those that there were, were mostly cameos – there were no main male characters.

Overall, I gave the writing/story 2 stars (mainly due to my struggles with the writing style used) and the narration 3 stars, so 2.5 stars overall. Which is kind of disappointing because I thought it had so much potential (maybe I had hyped it up to myself a bit too much…)

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – For Everly – Raine Thomas

for everlyFor Everly
Author: Raine Thomas

Review Copy Provided By Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book (Goodreads)

Description:
Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Review:
I’m going to be brutally honest up front, I tend to struggle with books that are labeled “New Adult,” because most of the time they are just ehhh – to down-right horrible…IMHO it is a reason for an author to take a book that would normally be marked as YA, add some sex and some angst to it and market it to a different sub-set of people (or maybe the same, since lots of YA readers also read adult and also read this New Adult)…but yeah, I struggle with it being defined as a genre (which is really isn’t…adult (in terms of reading level isn’t a genre); YA isn’t a genre and neither, in my mind is New Adult…) – but that is a story for another day.

I gave For Everly 2.5 stars overall, which to me means it was ok, not really good and definitely not great – I finished it. My main issue with the book was with Everly herself. I just struggled with her as a character – she seemed too perfect – major trauma in her life (don’t worry, I won’t say what it is), graduated high school early, worked her way through college and now at the tender age of 22/23 is finishing up her PhD in Physical Therapy (which by the way is a DPT or DPhysio, not a PhD)…right there, that was almost a stopping point for me…see, I am a PhD student – it might not be in physical therapy – but I had a hard time seeing someone her age in a program and that far advanced – most 22 year olds are just finishing college (assuming that they start at 18). And the programs themselves are typically 3-4 years on top of that, which would put her even being generous and assuming no break in education in the 24-27 year range (factoring in early graduation from college, and 3 years in a program) – I know this might be nit-picky, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. Almost as much as her agreeing to practice her therapies off the books and unlicensed…which was the main point behind the story…I guess in order for the story to work, this had to be done, but the ethical side of me is screaming no no no…heck, as a PhD student, I am not even allowed to mention that in a resume because people may be confused and think I have my degree already and yet she is practicing without a license)…

And then there is Cole…the baseball player – I mean, what’s not to love…and yes, I get that being injured and in the year your contract is supposed to expire would suck – but why would you risk your career on someone not qualified to treat you…asking the question – What if something had happened and he could no longer play because he used an unqualified therapist…and a very slight gripe – I really hate it when authors use REAL teams in their stories – because anyone that is a fan of said team (or even if they are not) can easily call BS…I would prefer for authors to make up their own teams – use a known location, but imaginary team please)

However, for my griping, the writing style wasn’t bad and the mystery was paletable – I kind of wondered the who done it and figured it out a chapter or so before the reveal – but the whole family situation/angst thing was a bit overdone for my liking (and yet another sign of the stereotypical New Adult storyline). I wish I had liked it more because I do think that the author has potential with her writing style – this book just didn’t do it for me…

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Suddenly, A Knock On The Door – Etgar Keret

the audies

suddenly a knockSuddenly, A Knock On The Door
Author: Etgar Keret

Narrated by: Ira Glass, Adam Thirlwell, Dave Eggers, Nicole Krauss, George Saunders, Ben Foster,Mathieu Amalric, Aimee Bender, Miranda July, Ben Marcus, Willem Dafoe, Stanley Tucci, John Sayles, Gary Shteyngart, Robert Wisdom, Stella Schnabel, Michael Chabon, Lorin Stein, Rick Moody, Nathan Englander, Scott Shepherd, David Rakoff, Michael Chernus, Shea Wigham, Josh Charles, Michael Buscemi, Neal Stephenson, Mark Duplass, Shalom Auslander, Todd Hasak-Lowy, Josh Radnor, Ira Glass, Jonathan Safran Foer, Etgar Keret
Run Time: 5 hours and 7 minutes
Producer: Macmillan Audio

Description:
A man barges into a writer’s house and, holding a gun to his head, demands that he tell him a story, something to take him away from the real world. A pathological liar discovers one day that all the lies he tells come true. A young woman finds a zip in her boyfriend’s mouth, and when she opens it he unfolds to reveal a completely different man inside.

Suddenly a Knock on the Door is at once Keret’s most mature and most playful work yet, and establishes him as one of the great international writers of our time.

Review:
I have to say upfront that this book really wasn’t my thing – I would compare it to some of the work by David Sedaris – it takes a (IMHO) a different type of individual to like the short stories put forth – the slices of life (for lack of a better word). Added to that, I think that some of the potency of the stories was lost in translation. In fact, it took me probably a good half of the book to realize that the stories were set in Israel – which kind of changed my opinion of the writing – and it was harder for me to find similarities with some of the stories, because I couldn’t draw on similar experiences. They also seemed really short – since I was listening to the audiobook the vast majority of them didn’t exceed more than about 10 minutes of listening – which is somewhere between 5-15 pages (depending on the speed of the narrator).

My other complaint was actually about the narration. Individually, the narrators were all fine, I don’t really have any complaints – although, I will say that the shortness of the stories, didn’t necessarily allow for them to show their wares when it comes to narration skills – but with each story being as short as it was, and then there being a different narrator for each story – my mind had a hard time processing what was going on. The various narrators weren’t actually described anywhere in the production either – maybe that would have helped me come to terms with the different stories – but I don’t know. Overall, this was a disappointing listening experience – maybe the authors work is better being read than listened…or maybe it would be better with a more limited cast of narrators (rather than the 15-20 that I think it had). I don’t know. All I know, is that I gave it 2.5 stars, and can’t say that I will be in too much of a rush to read/listen to any more of the authors stuff – no matter the accolades he has received.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Brody – Emma Lang

BrodyBrody
Author: Emma Lang
Series: #2 in the Circle Eight series

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
A year after their family was brutally torn apart, the Graham siblings begin to put their lives back together at their ranch in East Texas. With their parents gone, their bonds will truly be tested…

Olivia Graham has worked hard to take care of her family at the Circle Eight Ranch. But their family circle was broken when their young brother Benjy disappeared. Liv can’t shake the feeling that he must be out there, somewhere.

Brody Armstrong, a handsome but rough-around-the-edges Texas Ranger, has been working on their case for months, and now he has a promising lead.

As Liv follows him across the rugged Texas landscape and into Mexico, she’ll begin to find the answers she needs—as Brody finds a passion he didn’t know he wanted…

Review:
So my biggest issue with this book stemmed from my extreme dislike of Olivia that started in Book 1. There was just something about her in Matthew’s book that rubbed me the wrong way – but I was hoping that the author would be able to redeem her as a character (I mean, I have seen it done successfully before – Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers series – as an example). Unfortunately, I spent probably 70% of the book, alternately wanting to either reach through the pages and strangle her, or slap her silly. It was an interesting position that I found myself in…

Normally, I would commend an author who made me so emotionally involved with a character that I wanted to harm them, but ultimately, Olivia was forgettable – I don’t care what happens to her in the future (although, I am sure she will make an appearance in later books) – which for me is significant when it comes to my reading experience. I can’t say anything bad about the writing style, my issues with the book are solely character based. While I did like Brody, the Texas Ranger, it just wasn’t enough to counter what I am terming the “Olivia Effect.”

Hopefully, I will enjoy the next book in the series a bit more. 2.5 stars, but rounding up to 3 because it wasn’t horrenous…

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Book Review

 

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