Showing posts with label < Three Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label < Three Stars. Show all posts

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 6

November 26, 2022


I'm back with three more books that didn't work for me, but they have amazing ratings so I know it's a 'me' problem.

Maybe you've read one. Maybe you plan to. Let me know!



Wicked Fall by Sawyer Bennett


Genre - Erotic Romance

Never in your wildest dreams could you begin to imagine all the filthy and depraved things that go on inside The Wicked Horse. Step inside and Woolf Jennings will make every one of your dirty fantasies come true.

He's covered in a facade of deception. An enticing blend of multi-millionaire and hot-as-hell Wyoming rancher, those that think they know Woolf Jennings admire his abilities to preside as CEO of his family's cattle and oil empire. But only a privileged few truly understand what fuels the glitter of depravity in those gorgeous blue eyes. Only a few know he's opened up a sinfully erotic and private sex club named The Wicked Horse right at the base of the beautiful Teton Mountain range.

Sweet Callie Hayes has returned home to Wyoming and is looking forward to starting her life over again. After a night of impetuosity, she's managed to put herself right in Woolf's line of sight... the man who she foolishly offered up her virginity to years ago and was flatly turned down.

Now Woolf is seeing that Callie is all grown up and has a kinky side to her that leaves him as confused as it does turned on. Worse yet, both Callie's dirty desires and sweet heart are getting under his skin, and making Woolf question everything he's ever believed about himself.

I ended up not finishing this one. I thought I could handle reading something with menage like I used to, but I didn't enjoy it. It threw me off. So while the writing was on point, I couldn't stomach the story anymore. So I didn't even rate it.

────── ♔ ──────


Hold My Breath by Ginger Scott


Genre - Contemporary Romance

Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.

I would know.

They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger brother Evan be the one to shine.

Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.

The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.

My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.

And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.

In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.

This was a DNF too. I couldn't like the heroine. She was too immature and I didn't like how she treated the hero. I didn't even get a chance to warm up to her and I felt no connection between them so I wasn't sold on the romance. It was proving too hard and boring to read, so I quit it and didn't rate it.

────── ♔ ──────


Awakened by Brenda K. Davies


Genre - Paranormal Romance

Traumatized by her past, and struggling to move on from it, Sera has spent the past three years of college hiding herself from the world and content to stay that way.

A chance encounter with Liam shatters her sheltered world, leaving her stunned and shaken by the strange feelings and emotions he arises in her, feelings she never thought she would experience and that frighten her in their intensity.

Harboring a dark and deadly secret of his own, Liam knows that he should stay away from Sera; that he will only bring her more hurt, but he is irresistibly drawn to her and unable to deny himself the pleasure that only she can bring to him.

But when their pasts collide with their present, and Liam’s true nature is revealed, will their love for each other be enough, or will they be torn apart forever?

I read and loved a previous series from this author, but this one didn't work for me. I couldn't stand the heroine, which would make it hard to enjoy the following books. I quit about halfway through and didn't think it would be fair to rate it so I gave it a DNF.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 5

October 24, 2022


Since the last one of these posts, I received a few messages asking why I would basically put these authors on blast. Here's the thing: that's not my intention. AT ALL! These posts aren't about putting down these books or these authors. Things that bother me in a book, things that make me quit or rate poorly, aren't necessarily the same things that would trouble you. We are individuals with independent thoughts, opinions and actions. What I like may not be the same thing you like. I could possibly hate what you love. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Some people love angst or slow builds or little to no sex in their books. I'm not that person. Will I read and enjoy books like that? Absolutely! However, they don't always work for me. And as anyone who has ever read my reviews will tell you, heroines usually make or break a book for me. So there's that.

Welcome to another post about three books that didn't work for me, but just might be your next favorite read!



Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost


Play with fire, pay the price.

Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

*** DNF ~ I had to stop at 18%. I realized I was forcing it and that is no way to enjoy a book. I'm over Leila. I can't put up with her for one moment more. Which sucks, because I have these books sitting on my bookshelves and I was so looking forward to reading and falling in love with these characters. If only I got some of Vlad to keep me going. Unfortunately, this is Leila's story and Vlad is just a character in it. Unfortunately. So unfortunate.

────── ♔ ──────


Lovers Lies and Lilies by Ronald D. Walker


In 1944, women were thought to be the weaker sex. Divorce was unheard of—a woman’s place was in the home, obeying her spouse and raising their children. After a miscarriage, Calvin Barnes blamed his wife Sarah for being too weak to carry out her duties. His violent, drunken rampages turned deadly.
A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger empowers Sarah to find freedom, sexual enlightenment, and love. Wealthy businessman, Jon Bartleaux, teaches Sarah there is more to life than the 1940s mindset of sex only being for procreation at the pleasure of the husband. Treated as an equal, he teaches her that tender, generous, mutually satisfying sex can be enjoyed by both partners.
Sarah puts the pain and guilt of her past behind her until her sister Carol asks for help with a neighbor who is desperate to escape her husband’s abuse, with the added danger of a standing hitman contract should anything happen to him. Will Sarah risk revealing her secret weapon for ending spousal abuse to help Twyla?
Will Jon’s terrible secret unravel it all?

*** DNF ~ I'm not going to rate this because I didn't finish. Technically, I got to 32% and skipped to the end. It was a hard read for me.

★ I actually liked the realistic abuse scenes between Sarah and her husband. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone it, but I admire the author for not sugarcoating how ugly it was.
★ I didn't like Sarah. She made excuses (which is typical of abuse victims), but she had the presence of mind to correctly identify how wrong things were. But she blamed herself. She couldn't leave because he'd kill her. But wasn't he killing you anyway?
★ the sex scene with Jon. What was that? It was hot if you take out the textbook mumbo jumbo. It was ridiculous!

So yeah, I was entertained for the most part and yet incredibly bored.


────── ♔ ──────


Broken by K Webster


Andi has the perfect life. She is about to graduate with an Architecture degree and marry her-All American baseball star-fiancĂ©. When she catches him in bed with another woman, her world is turned upside down. Left to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, she takes on a new persona — a promiscuous one. This new role protects her heart from ever being broken again.

Andi now lives by a set of rules. The game? Sex with a new pawn every weekend. Every Friday, she sets her sight on a new sexy, successful man to play along — no strings attached, please. When Monday rolls around, she kicks them to the curb and moves on. It has helped her get through the pain of her past — that is, until she meets Jackson.

The mysterious Jackson is excited to play her game. He too has had his heart broken in the past and isn’t looking for a repeat. Eventually, hearts get involved and Andi wonders if the game is still worth playing. Will she look for a new pawn or will she break the rules with Jackson?

*** DNF ~ I don't think I have to tell most of you how very much I love K. Webster. From her sweet, erotic contemporary romance to her dark romance to her taboo reads, she continues to captivate me one book at a time. But this book... nope. I couldn't do it. I'm so glad her writing and her ideas have become so much better because if this was a taste of what she had to offer, I'm not sure I would have read from her again. I'm ecstatic that I'd already fallen in love with her amazing ass way before this.

The heroine: ick
The hero: no idea
The plot: seriously?
The heat: on point

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 4

October 10, 2022


It's Thanksgiving Monday here in Toronto and I'm about to get down to some serious eating, but I wanted to share another one of these posts before I do that. I've got so many of these books sitting on my shelves, not getting any shine, so I need to be putting these posts out a bit more frequently (hopefully).

Let me know if you'll be giving any of these books a chance!



Fall From Grace by Christine Zolendz


I'm finally home after struggling through my brother's illness and death. But, home is definitely a bit different. My best friend (the only person alive now that knows my secret) has a new boyfriend; and he has a friend. Shane Maxton: bad boy, tattooed rock god, eye candy extraordinaire. He is also New York City's most arrogant, self-serving, son of a, well, a definite one-night stand kind of a guy.

But, it doesn't matter to me because I've spent my existence looking for the love of my life, my angel. And, there is nothing that Shane Maxton can do to change that.

*** 1 star ~ I don't know what happened.
I've five-starred a bunch of this authors books and figured this one would be another win.
It wasn't.

I didn't like the heroine. AT ALL.
I think I would have liked the hero if he was allowed to grow. He didn't.
I couldn't care less about the side characters.
There was absolutely nothing 'mature' about this book.
It felt toxic. Like it was slowly infecting me with its fuckery.

The ending was where I found things to finally get interesting, but it was too late. I don't care!


────── ♔ ──────


A Dash of Death by Michelle Hillen Klump


Bad news for Samantha Warren: The plucky Houston, Texas, reporter lost her job and her fiance in rapid succession. But Sam has a way of making lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. At a meeting of the local historical-homes council, she serves up the homemade bitters that she made as gifts for her wedding party. She intends to use that as her "in" to become an in-demand party mixologist. But the party's over for one of the council members, who keels over dead soon after he sips the bereft bride's bitter brew.

It turns out that the victim, Mark, was poisoned--his drink spiked with oleander. Since Sam mixed the drink that Mark imbibed right before his demise, she finds herself at the front of the suspect line. Now, she'll have to use all of her reporter's wisdom and wiles to clear her name.

Who could have wanted Mark dead? His wife, Gabby? His girlfriend, Darcy? Someone who wanted his seat on the council? Or another citizen of this sweet Texas town that holds some seedy secrets?

Job hunting, building her mixology business, and fending off late-night phone calls from her nearly betrothed don't leave much time for sleuthing. But if Sam can't "pour" over the clues to find the killer, it may soon be last call for her.

*** DNF ~ I found the protagonist, Samantha, to be completely unsympathetic and unfortunate. It was impossible to gain a vested interest in this story when it was her story. It didn’t help that my ARC had so many words missing letters, making it incredibly difficult to read. I did find that it was written well, however, it took way too long for something to actually start moving in this story. I called it quits at 38% and nothing really happened. There was a death, a mystery surrounding said death, Samantha acting like a poor imitation of an investigative reporter, her endless inner ‘poor me’ monologues because her fiance left her, etc.

I’ve read a lot of cozy mysteries and have enjoyed most. While this wasn’t for me, I can see how it could be a winner for someone else.


────── ♔ ──────


Damaged and the Beast by Bijou Hunter


Heir to the local motorcycle club and crime syndicate, Cooper Johansson is accustomed to taking what he wants. His newest conquest is college freshman Farah Smith.

When the tattooed bad boy reminds her of a rough childhood she desperately wishes to forget, Farah keeps him at arm's length. Yet, Cooper refuses to give up. He pushes her buttons, tears through her walls, and forces her to admit her feelings for him. What begins as lust soon builds into something more powerful than either expects.

Can the beast heal the damage inside the girl of his dreams?

*** 2 stars ~ Maybe if the entire story wasn't told from the heroine's pespective, I'd...

Maybe if the heroine could stop crying ON EVERY PAGE
Maybe if the hero was portrayed as something more than a bully I'd...

But alas, this book was chockfull of Farah whining, cringing, crying, running, crying, longing, crying, spazzing, crying, leaping to conclusions, crying...

You get it.


Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 3

September 21, 2022


Guess who's back
Back again
Natalie's back
Tell a friend

LOL ok I'm back with three more books that weren't for me, but may be the perfect fit for you... Maybe.



Immortal Coil by C.I. Black


Two souls. One Body. Sharing is not an option…

Terrible news has turned Anaea Salis’s life upside down. There’s nothing she can do to make it right, and the stranger who stops to talk to her can’t help. But when that stranger, Hunter, an ancient dragon spirit, is viciously attacked and forced to transfer his spirit into her body, Anaea’s life takes a new terrifying twist.

Hunter should have known by now not to get involved with human affairs, but there was something about the woman that drew him to her, and he just couldn’t help himself. Trapped in her body all he wants is to get out, except whoever is trying to kill him is now after her.

Their only hope of survival… plunge into the deadly world of dragons.

No rating ~ Really interesting plot, something I've never read before, but I was bored.

Not sure if it was the writing, failing to connect to the characters, lack of chemistry, etc.


────── ♔ ──────


A Debt Repaid by N. Isabelle Blanco


Lex Talionis (n.)- The law of retaliation, whereby a punishment resembles the offense committed in kind and degree.

Two wrongs. One right. He met her under the worst circumstances. She was still married. To the man who'd stolen from his company. But none of that would matter, because Chase would have her. At any cost.

To Chase Blaine, it really was that simple. Douglas Colton had stolen millions from Chase’s company. He had to pay. Chase had every intention of cornering the bastard and making sure he ended up in jail.

Then he came face-to-face with Douglas’s wife, Aria. One look at her changed all his plans, warping them into a much darker and perverse plot to get his revenge.

He would offer Douglas his freedom...in exchange for a single date with his wife.

To a man like Chase, a man that hadn’t truly felt emotions in a long time, Aria’s presence soon became more addicting than a drug. A problem considering that she might never forgive him for blackmailing her, despite the fact that at times she seems just as unwillingly fascinated by him as he is by her.

NO RATING: As readers, we can all claim to have favorite authors and N. Isabelle Blanco happens to be one of mine.

However, I cannot finish reading this story and here's why:

* It's boring, especially when it comes to Aria's perspective.
* I'm used to Blanco's originality and flair for drama, suspense and sexiness. This book lacked all of those.
* Aria came off as very pathetic and that's me being polite. I found it impossible to sympathize with her. After all that her husband had done (stealing millions of dollors that he didn't even spend on her, cheating on her left and right), she was still defending him and using her tired refrain of "I'm married." It's more than obvious, even to the casual observer, that he didn't love or respect her.
* Aria made my tummy hurt. I was thoroughly disgusted and I had to dismiss her because I couldn't understand what about her was worth all of the trouble or money wasted. Walmart sells doormats for as low as $10!
* Aria directed her anger all in the wrong place. Why be mad at Chase? Did he make your husband embezzle, not pay the bills, make you broke and lose your house? Did he force your husband to cheat on you ALL THE TIME?!

Chase's part of this story is the only thing that truly held my attention. His character intrigued me and was the only reason I found any enjoyment in the parts of the story that I read. If the entire story was told from his perspective, I'd probably have read this book until its end.

Aria = please no
Chase = more please


────── ♔ ──────


Troll-y Yours by Sheri Fredricks


SHE TAKES A CHANCE.

Determined to forge a better life, Ella launches her new business with high hopes—until a sexy Centaur bumps into her and throws her life off course forever. Voted “Most Eligible Bachelor in Boronda”, Aleksander shakes up her world and tilts her in more ways than one.

HE’S IN DANGEROUS TERRITORY.

Years of warfare and countless bedroom encounters have stolen Kempor Aleksander’s luster for life. He never expects to rediscover his zeal in the small, redheaded form of Ella the Troll, who fires his blood hotter than the deepest caverns in the forest.

But as trouble lingers in their midst—and edges ever closer—Alek and Ella spiral into troubled terrain. Turning to each other, the pair face down dangers that run impenetrably deep in their mythological world. But will the two lovers discover a passion that runs even deeper?

NO RATING: I think I could have loved this story as much as I did the first one, but I hated the heroine so much that I can't even rate this book.

Alek was such a great guy, which I knew when I read about him in Remedy Maker, and when I found out the realness of Pennelope, I was glad he wasn't going to go there with her.

But the troll he did end up with, she who will not be named because she doesn't deserve to have her name uttered from my mouth (or typed by my finger tips), wasn't up to par. She was rude. She was ungrateful. She was uncouth. She was disturbing. She was unlikable.

And it didn't matter how the author tried to salvage this character, the damage was done within the first few chapters. There was no saving that person in my eyes. So I continued to enjoy the world building, enjoyed the heck out of Alek, loved seeing the characters from the first book, and could have done without her.


Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 2

August 07, 2022


I'm back with three more books that weren't for me, but they might be perfect for you.

Maybe.



The Stopover by T L Swan

The Stopover by T L Swan


I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York.
The food, champagne, and service were impeccable.
The blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better.
He was suave and intelligent.
We talked and laughed, and something clicked.
Fate took over and the plane was grounded, and we had an unexpected stopover for the night.
With no plans, we made our own.
We danced and laughed our way around Boston and had a night of crazy passion that no woman would ever forget.
That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him—until today.
I started a new job and met the CEO. You can imagine my surprise to see those naughty blue eyes dance with delight when he saw me across the mahogany desk.
But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. My life has changed, I have responsibilities.
I just got an email.
He wants to see me in his office for a private meeting at 8:00 a.m.
Naughty blue eyes have no place in the workplace.
What kind of private meeting does he have in mind?

NO RATING - I am struggling to read this book. Why is it told from a single perspective? And why does that single perspective have to be the heroine, who happens to be really hard to like?

Okay, although I did get some quick peeks at Jameson's mind, it wasn't enough to counteract the pain of reading about Emily. Her thoughts and feelings were too dramatic (honestly, she was so irrelevant) and she was too much of a brat for me to tolerate. I've read plenty of books from this author and LOVED them. This just doesn't happen to be one of them. Instead of rating it poorly, I'm going to leave it right here on my DNF shelf. Sucks too because this story had tons of potential. Jameson and his dirty mind and mouth!


────── ♔ ──────


Poet by Crimson Syn

Poet by Crimson Syn


POE - I’ve been left for dead. Twice.
I’ve been threatened countless times.
And yet, someone up there still wants me alive.
My name is Poe Chambers, better known as POET.
A name given to memorialize a murderer.
Bad things happened, and now I have to live with my mistakes.
But in the center of all my chaos,
There’s an angel.
And my vow is to never allow her to suffer again.

GRACE - Poe has returned to me,
But he’s not the same man I once knew.
Tall, rough, brooding, and built like steel,
Yet there’s something in him that burns deep.
Revenge.
And there’s no stopping his agenda.
I want to keep him safe.
But how am I to do that,
When the men who once threatened his life,
Have now set their sights on me?

NO RATING - I've read pretty much everything Crimson Syn has written and loved it so reading this should have been an easy thing to do. It wasn't. It was such a different read and things happened that I'm not down with nor did I expect this author to go in this direction and I just can't continue.

It's a second chance romance... I think. But after a hot and intense scene between the characters, I'm dumped into a scene where the 'hero' is all over and obsessed with another woman. What?! And then it goes further off the rails from there. Instead of having this book take away my love for this author, I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. I can only hope my next read from her goes back to the old tried-and-true formula I've come to know and love and appreciate from her.


────── ♔ ──────


Blood Trial by Kelly St. Clare

Blood Trial by Kelly St. Clare


The dice are rolled at midnight.

As the twenty-one-year-old heiress to the Le Spyre fortune, my life should consist of strawberry mojitos and golf carts. Right?

But I’m determined to forge my own path.

Desperate to escape the meaningless games of the rich, I flee my family’s estate.

Secret alias—check.
Place to sleep—uh, kind of?
Job—crap!

I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but that’s the least of my worries.

My city is a giant board game. The players are supernatural— freakin’ vampires—including an overbearing crown prince whose unwanted attention could spell my demise.

Now, I must play their deadly game, or my grandmother and best friend will pay the ultimate price.

NO RATING - I feel like I was reading a different book from the one that garnered all of those four and five-star reviews I've seen. I don't get it. Maybe it's because it was told from the heroine's pov. Maybe it's because the heroine was suffering from poor little rich girl syndrome while knowing and acknowledging and obviously not caring that she was suffering from poor little rich girl syndrome. I really don't know.

The writing itself, without the baggage of the heroine, was fine.

The Books That Didn't Make the Cut

July 16, 2022


Hey y'all! This is a post that has been simmering at the back of my mind for a while. For the last few years, I haven't posted any of my reviews that were less than 3 stars. I didn't think it was fair to the authors and I wanted to keep the blog upbeat. But then I thought... well, just because the book didn't work for me doesn't mean that one of my readers wouldn't absolutely adore it, right?

So here I am, sharing three of the books that I didn't like, hoping it may reach someone who is willing to give it a try and maybe fall in love.

It might work. It might not. But at least these books got a chance to shine.

Please Note: this is only three books and I have even more to share (unfortunately). I will definitely be putting together another post soon.



Torn (Fallen Angel #1) by Ditter Kellen


One angel’s redemption and the love that saved his soul...

A fallen angel desperately seeking redemption, a terminally ill girl hoping for a miracle she believes will never come, and a demon who will stop at nothing to keep them apart. When Exodus and Niki’s worlds collide, they just might find what they’re looking for. If they survive…A heartfelt story of hope, forgiveness, and a love stronger than time...

TWO STARS - This read like a sweet, country, small-town romance with a touch of paranormal. It was pretty bland, with a spark of something else. I felt like the author didn't give it the push it needed to make it special, although it had plenty of potential. I've read from this author before (and she slayed), so this book won't stop me from giving her another try.

────── ♔ ──────


Arranged by R.K. Lilley


There were rules in the cash-for-beauty game. The money held the power. The beauty followed the rules and jumped through the hoops.

THE BRIDE
I knew what everyone would think if they knew the truth about my marriage. They'd be shocked and appalled. And rightly so. I was a young, modern, independent woman, and I'd done the unthinkable. I'd sold my virginity to a spoiled, rich boy. To a stranger who didn’t love me.

And yes, I'd done it all for money.

THE GROOM
My bride was as gorgeous as she was unwelcome. As desirable as she was unwanted. I wanted nothing to do with her, but that didn’t seem to matter exactly the second she got close enough to touch. I wanted her to hate me more than she loved the millions she’d sold herself for.

I wanted to spurn her, but unfortunately, I wanted to fuck her more.

NO RATING - I remember adding this during the hype of this author. And I really enjoyed what I had read from her before. But this one doesn't seem like the read for me. Cheating, decidedly unsympathetic characters, a plot that I can't really feel, and I KNOW this isn't for me.

────── ♔ ──────


Mesmerized (Technicolor Love, #3) by Violet Elizabeth Moon


Madison Lee has always been the resilient type. With an absent father and a mother who goes through marriages the way most people go through wine tasting, she's had to be. So when she finally finds the love of her life and he vanishes, she has no choice but to get through this too.

Except Gabriel Delacroix comes back, and he comes back better than ever: he's a vampire.

Madison has loved and believed in the supernatural since she was a child, so the return of her lover and the hypnotically enchanting world he now belongs to is delightful. There's only one problem: Gabriel has the choice to age with her, or gain immortality, and he doesn't have a lot of time left to decide...

TWO 1/2 STARS - Madison is obsessed with the supernatural until her love is lost... it all comes back when he returns as a whole new man.

The characters lacked depth and this is one of the reasons why I don't like single perspectives. However, Gabe had the potential to be something more. I was intrigued by him and the mystery he brought to this read. I enjoyed the author's take on what vampires are like. It was unlike anything I've seen before so it gets stars for being unique.