2/5 Stars: Have my Baby, by Taryn Quinn

Another book I read while we had no power during hurricane Fiona.

Well. What can I say. This book was built around the theory of ‘best friends forever’ (until he suddenly notices his best friend and BAM, instant love), and the sex scenes were intense, but I felt zero connection between Ally and Seth (besides the physical). The book was sweet, predictable, had drama just for the sake of having drama, angst because of course a book needs angst, and I wanted to roll my eyes on more than one occasion. If it wasn’t for the writing style I wouldn’t have even been able to make it through the entire thing, but that was done very well, despite the fact that the story itself was fairly cringe worthy. I can make it through a bad story so long as the writing is on par.

There are MANY books to this series, so it obviously has an audience that it appeals to out there, it just wasn’t for me.

2/5 Stars

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2/5 Stars: Snowflakes and Sparks, by Sophie-Leigh Robbins

Another ‘pallet cleanser’ book, I read this when the power was out for two weeks during hurricane Fiona.

If you love Hallmark movies, this book is for you. It’s extra cheesy, over the top, with a huge dash of ‘will they, won’t they’ plot twists. Old Pine Cove is a lovely town that did make me want to move right in, and who doesn’t love a nice cozy winter setting.

Unfortunately this book had almost zero depth, and I need at least a tiny bit to keep interested. The characters lacked emotion, nothing really drew me to them. It’s a great fluffy lighthearted book, but some parts were confusing, like why the main characters went off to another room to flirt with each other when there was an elderly lady crying and bleeding on the floor in the next room. I didn’t really understand that part at all and it seemed out of place. Still, it passed the time and I made it through to the end, which is further than some books I’ve read.

2/5 stars

2/5 Stars: Just Friends at the Doggy Spa, by Elsie Woods

When the power went out for two weeks due to hurricane Fiona, my kindle was loaded up with a bunch of (what I like to term) ‘pallet cleanser’ books. These are books that require very little effort to read, are moderately interesting, and simple. I like using these books as filler between other more involved books – and this isn’t an insult towards those sort of books because I am a huge fan of reading in any capacity, but I can also only handle so many of those books at a time. These books are the Hallmark Movie Channel of books.

That’s the way it was with one of my latest reads. I felt like the entire book lacked chemistry. Rita and her love interest, Joey, are planning a wedding for Amelia and Rob. They have two weeks. Somehow it all comes together and is magnificent. There’s some dogs in the story too and honestly that was the best part. There wasn’t enough actual interaction between the love interest, they spent most of their time talking about the wedding, and I’m not sure what the bit at the end about Joey’s job was about, it felt like it was part of some other story and it didn’t fit at all.

That being said, if you’re looking for mindless reads, there are worse out there. It wasn’t all horrible. I tend to enjoy quiet country books, and everyone was (perhaps obnoxiously so) sweet and kind. It just wasn’t the book for me.

2/5 stars

2/5 Star Review: That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

I wanted to love this book – but I just couldn’t.

First of all, the kindle version doesn’t come with the same warning ahead of the book like the physical copy does. The one that mentions the VERY r-rated sex, domination, and extreme violence. There’s rape, jokes about rape, and it was just not a comfortable read. I had no idea what I was getting into.

I’m not a prude by any means, but this book was too over the top for me. I feel like I am not the targeted audience, and that I am actually too old for this book. It started when the characters were talking and the word ‘suss’ came up.

Yep. Not for me.
I read it, and it had its moments, but there wasn’t nearly enough character development, the last part of the book just sort of trailed off and didn’t make sense, almost as though the author ran out of steam. It simply wasn’t the book for me.

2/5 stars

4/5 Stars: Alpha & Omega #0.5 by Patricia Briggs

I have to say, this book was not one that I would have normally picked up, but it came recommended to me by a handful of friends when I was looking for something ultra casual (but still a good story) to read. I wanted to start with the first book of the series, but I did some sleuthing and learned that the first book would make much more sense if I read the 0.5 one first – so I did.

Shapeshifters? Check. Romance? Check. Other supernatural beings? Check. Anna is the main character, unwillingly turned into a werewolf with more than one suitcase of baggage dragging along with her. I loved the play between her and Charles (another werewolf, and love interest of course), and she feels like a real character despite the fact that I was (at times) frustrated with her meekness (that passes as she discovers herself and heals). The writing is beautiful, and that’s what really made this a page turner. The world building felt complete, and it fully prepared me for what to expect in the first book. I didn’t have to work too hard at deciphering where the book was going, and I was able to just submerge myself in the characters. I love those types of books, even if this one ended too quickly since it was more of an introduction novel to the first of the series.

I hear that this novella comes either as a stand alone, or a compilation of three others – the suggestions mention that the other books are not nearly as good, so if you’re just looking for this one, buy it as the e-book stand alone. I’m glad I did, and I fully enjoyed moving forward to the first novel having read this one.

4/5 stars

1/5 Star Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

I’ve been a Debbie Macomber fan in the past when I wanted something lighthearted to read that wasn’t going to involve too much brain power. The books were simple, sweet, and I have a collection of them sitting on my bookshelves.

I purchased this book expecting the same – and it was nothing like previous books I have read. It focused on an unbelievable tale, and repeated the same story over and over. I couldn’t connect with the main character (woe is me, I’m beautiful and thin and smart too and I have to write the society pages when I really want to write about what’s going ON out there) nor did I connect with the love interest (I hate the world, I’m angry at my Mother – I hate this lady who just showed up – gasp, she’s beautiful, I love her, I want her, nope, don’t want her after all, gasp, love her!)

What REALLY irked me though, was the judgmental ideas sprinkled throughout the book about “kids who spend all their time playing video games instead of exploring outside” – the love interest writes his book ‘Alone’ because he felt that too many people were playing video games and having screen time instead of exploring.

There is a way to write about exploration and the excitement of exploring that doesn’t talk down or judge your potential audience. It felt very off putting, very forced, and it made me uncomfortable to read it worded that way. We do not need to judge people like that.

Review: Desperate Duchesses, by Eloisa James

When the Netflix series of Bridgerton came out, people flocked to it. I didn’t realize it was actually a book well before it ever became a series, and while looking at the reviews I noticed that Felicia Day (who I happen to follow on GoodReads) had a recommendation for people who enjoyed these types of historical romance – and that’s how I came to find Desperate Duchesses. I attempted to read Bridgerton and I did NOT enjoy it at all. This book though? This book was magical.

If you’re a fan of The Queen’s Gambit (another Netflix show, what can I say) then you’ll appreciate this book even more, because there are some intense chess scenes in the book that will take you right back to that show. The author has a fantastic way with words, and this book was an incredible way to relax that did not require very much brain power but still kept me interested enough to turn the pages. It was like listening to a conversation take place instead of reading.

You’ll follow the story of Lady Roberta St. Giles as she tries to meet the man of her dreams (who she thinks is Duke Villier) but spread throughout the story is a number of other interesting characters, including her father (a poet) known as the Mad Marquees, and her distant cousin, Jemma, who is a bit of a calculating fiend, to be honest.

Without spoiling any of the book, I will say that the reviews of it can be quite harsh, so I’d give it a go yourself if you’re interested in those types of books and not rely solely on the public. Otherwise, I might not have given it a chance at all – and I’m so glad I did.

4/5 stars

Review: The Wicked Wager, by Anya Wylde

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Remember how I was writing about those books you can get for free every now and again from Amazon, and how most of them happen to be romance? Well, this was one of them. I initially picked it up because the description sounded mildly interesting – and then I got to a line in the first paragraph that made me almost drop the entire thing and not even bother.

“He tilted his head and his naughty ears trembled impatiently.”

Yep.

I don’t mind silly stories, or comical ones, but the writing has to be able to grab me if that’s going to be the case, and I just about found that one line to be too much for me. Thankfully I decided to press on to see if the writing got any better. It did (slightly).

Emma and Richard are meant to be, but before they can they have to convince Emma’s uncle that they don’t need to wait on the wedding and they should be able to get married sooner rather than later. Emma heads over to her uncles place for a few weeks to convince him of their love, and Richard concocts a plan placing him as a gardener within the mansion so that he can be closer to Emma. Of course life never works out that easily, and the couple meet up with lots of complications along the way, including having to convince Richard’s close friend to pretend to be Richard when the uncle invites him over to get to know him better.

The book is an easy relaxing read, but the writing style was not one I was fond of. The bond between Emma and Richard didn’t feel ‘real’ enough, where as the relationship that budded between Catherine and Lord Raikes felt much more ‘real’ (and it felt like there was more focus on them later on in the book even though they were background characters). The book also changed gears towards the end where it felt more like a game of clue (It was Emma in the yard with a candlestick!) instead of being about the various romances going on, almost as though the author got bored of their own story line. I personally wouldn’t classify this book as a mystery since nothing mystery related actually happens until the last 5-10% of the book, but since the author herself calls it that, why not. It just felt a bit out of place and forced compared to the first half of the book.

If you’re looking for a funny, easy read with a bit of romance (all clean) and some mystery, then The Wicked Wager may be just what you’re looking for, especially for the price.

3/5 stars

Review: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

16158558Every so often, especially on days of high stress, I sit down and read a book that requires very little thought or involvement from me. That’s not a negative comment, either. I think books like these are almost required for my sanity, and of course I personally feel that it doesn’t matter what a person is reading, so long as they are.

Dark Witch was one of those books. The story was a predictable love story that we have come to expect from Nora Roberts. It revolves around Iona, and the discovery that she has some magical talents. She moves from the US to Ireland to seek out her family and learn about these talents from her cousins. Everything seems to fall into place perfectly, and she doesn’t meet up with any resistance at all when it comes to finding a new place to live, new friends, and a great job that happens to be exactly what she wants to do in life. Some days I wish life actually worked that way.

Of course Iona meets a dark and brooding man who doesn’t quite understand her and who she can’t quite understand. There’s a ‘bad guy’ who has set out to harm the cousins and those close to Iona (and her cousins), and they have to come together to defeat him. There’s magic and love and tension – but the characters lack any depth, and I found myself annoyed with Iona. She’s very flat and one dimensional and I couldn’t get interested in her at all. This book also very closely mimics the Three Sisters trilogy, which perhaps the author was trying to emulate. In my opinion it fell short. It mimics many other trilogy that Nora Roberts has written, including the Key Trilogy, the Gallaghers of Ardmore, Three Sisters Island, or the Sign of Seven. They all share the same basic plot. After a while, you just get tired of reading the same thing.

3/5 stars

 

Review: The Next Always by Nora Roberts

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I’ve been a fan of Nora Roberts for years now, ever since my Mom introduced me to her books. I think I was lucky growing up, books were always a big deal and we always lived close to a library if I didn’t have the money to buy a book. These days it’s even easier with ebooks. Anyway.

The Next Always starts out with three brothers restoring a hotel, and a mother who has three boys, recently widowed. They live in a comfortable country town, and the hotel that is being restored is haunted by a ghost – but she plays a very minor role, which is a bit of a shame because I think the story could have been told better (maybe it will in future books). Anyway, the book follows down the usual romantic path. Mother falls in love with one of the brothers, is being harassed by a man in the town, brothers come to her aid, story ends up happily ever after.

I’m not saying it was a bad book, but it wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. Maybe I just wasn’t interested in reading a romance, or maybe over the years I’ve just gotten bored of this style of writing. It feels like Nora Roberts books are all the same, and I can easily predict what will happen. For some people this isn’t much of an issue, but for me it just didn’t settle as well as I would have liked by the time I finished reading.

3/5 stars