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.14

August 23, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

Breakdown by Aly Zigada

My Rating - ★

BLURB - An unforgettably searing and unapologetically honest romance about enemies, lovers, and the music that binds them.

Atticus Creed saved my life. His voice talked me down. His lyrics stripped me bare. His tattoos against my hidden scars made me feel beautiful. In turn, I wrecked him with a love that exposed his soul and lies that called to his vilest demons.

We were innocent then.

I’m not a broken girl anymore. Now I’m the woman who reigns over the corrupt record label he abandoned, and he’s a tortured musician who wants retribution as viciously as I want another taste of his lips. Inevitably, he will crash in my arms, and I will burn in his.

Depravity is all we know. It’s in the air we breathe, it’s in our sweat, it’s the music we make.

That cover? Instant horny vibes.
The blurb? Color me intrigued.
The abundance of 5-star reviews? Reading this should be a no-brainer.

And yet...
I didn't like it. I couldn't get past Imogen's character. She obliterated any hope I had within the first chapter. Rather than continue to read and fall even further into feelings of disgust and hate, I'll pass the gauntlet to someone else. I'm thrilled that others read and loved this book. I have a feeling it's more of a 'me' thing instead of anything against the story.

To anyone interested in reading this book... Enjoy and best wishes! 🖤🖤

Boy Toy Auction by C.A. Harms

My Rating - ★

What was meant to be a fun evening to benefit charity, suddenly became so much more…

They were both volunteered into attending the Boy Toy Auction.
One as a contestant.
One as an attendee.

Emerson lost an internal battle the moment Nicholas stepped onto the stage.

As soon as he started moving his hips to the rhythm of the music, she was captivated. Suddenly, the timid girl became a warrior as she fought to have the highest bid.

There was no way she was leaving without him at her side.

From the moment Nic saw her, Emerson became his focal point.
The beautiful woman in the silver dress.
The one that held his stare.
He needed her to win.
He needed her.

He’d make sure this was the best money she’d ever spend.
Or the worst…depends on how you look at it.

Because sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you want, life has a way of throwing you a curve ball that you aren’t prepared for…

Emerson was way too much of a doormat... for her dad of all people... for me to continue. Nicholas was amazing. He was patient and understanding and loving and hot and sweet and sexy and... and... and Emerson kept pushing him away because he deserved better. You're damn right he did!

Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins

My Rating - ★

Have you ever heard of the old Celtic legends of the Fae—beautiful, magical, and deadly creatures that have a love of messing with humans just for kicks and giggles?

Welcome to my world.

What started out as a strange assignment, led to one of the most gruesome murder mysteries of our times. My friends and I are set and determined to find out who is killing off Fae and Witches alike.

Couple of problems in the way – I hate the Fae and the Prince of the Dark Fae is bound and determined that I work for him. He’s a rude, overbearing egotistical ass with a compulsive need to possess, dominate and control me. Oh—did I mention that he is absolutely sex-on-a-stick gorgeous and he makes me feel things that I never ever wanted to feel for a Fae... every time he touches me or looks at me with those dangerous golden eyes he seems to pull me further in under his spell, despite my better judgment.

My friends and I can’t trust anyone and nothing is as it seems on the surface—not even me.

Damn. I really wanted to like this one. It seemed to be right up my alley, but I couldn't get into it. I didn't care for the heroine or her voice and it sort of lost me from there. I've heard great things about this story and it's been recommended time and time again, so I'm chalking it up to it being a 'me' problem rather than a problem with the book.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.13

June 28, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

The Disappearance of Catherine Brodie by Grace Harper

My Rating - ★
Genre - Contemporary New Adult Romance

BLURB - Catherine Brodie has a happy life in Brighton, she has friends, a secret boyfriend and almost at the end of her law degree. However, everything changes when she reaches her twentieth birthday. She tells a white lie to get out of a family dinner to celebrate her birthday and sneaks off to a party. The repercussions upend her secure and stable life. Two weeks later, she attends the funeral of her brother and parents. Each birthday following sends Catherine into turmoil with more heartache and misery. There are those that wish her harm. Alexander Devlin was there the night of her birthday and by coincidence, he crosses paths with her every year. Catherine dismisses the coincidence, but her best friend Tara Adkins is convinced fate is throwing them together. The first novel of a new quartet that tells the story of Catherine Brodie and her struggle to come to terms with what she did that had far-reaching consequences. It is an epic tale of love, passion, and revenge. Devastated with her loss, Catherine carves out a new life and starting her own business. The group of friends she picks up along the way helps her hide from those who wish her harm. It doesn't take long for her harasser to find her and make her life a misery once more. The question is, will Alexander Devlin be there in time to save her?

Where do I even start?
The heroine was a mess. She was 20, living at home, and I'm guessing the story was supposed to have this 'coming of age' feel about it, but I didn't get any of that. All I got was an immature person who tried to act grown up and kept reverting to childhood. It was weird and I couldn't, in good conscience, continue. Nothing about this book appealed to me and I'm still a little upset by the many times it was recommended to me! It was so bad (for me) that I couldn't even give the hero or the romance a chance.

His Virgin by Vivian Wood

My Rating - ★
Genre - Contemporary Romance

BLURB - Whatever she wants, I want it ten times harder.
My name is Elijah Scott, and I’m going to be your next president. I’m a rich, ripped, and ready to conquer the campaign trail. When it comes to women, I’m not looking for anything serious. Not now, not ever.
Until I see Meredith.
The sweet little blonde with curves in all the right places. One look into those beautiful blue eyes, and I can’t help imagining how her hips would fit just right in my hands.
I’ll never forget the secret she whispers in my ear: she’s never been with anyone before. She’s a temptation I can’t resist.
She’s fresh out of college, just twenty-two years old and on the campaign trail with me… as a reporter. One leak exposed by Meredith, and my entire future goes up in flames.
As my secrets pile up, I can’t stop fantasizing about Meredith. She’s dangerous, a risk I can’t afford… but her taste, her voice moaning my name over and over… I can’t stop. Worse, I don’t want to watch her walk away.

You'd read that blurb and think hot and sexy too, right? Wrong!
Not hot. Not sexy. Not good. Not worth it.
Which sounds bad, but honest.
It was recommended on both Goodreads and Amazon, so I thought I'd try it.
My bad.

Nero by Sarah Brianne

My Rating - ★
Genre - Contemporary Mafia Romance

BLURB - Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

Hey! Everyone who told me that because I love mafia romance, I'll love this series...

I can't unread what I've seen.

Why did this chick, Elle, do nothing to hold my attention?
She was completely flat. Aside from being bullied and protecting her friend from being bullied more, she didn't exist. She had no personality, no character, no depth. And you expect me to punish myself with more of this?

It was bad enough that this story is set in high school. It was even worse that the trope was so familiar to me (like I haven't read tons of stories with the EXACT same set up). But the fact that Elle was the primary storyteller...

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.12

June 13, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

Vow of Revenge by P. Rayne

My Rating - ★
Genre/Trope - New Adult Contemporary Romance / arranged marriage
POV - Dual
Length - 358 pages

BLURB: Nothing ruins a perfect day like your dead fiancé showing up in the middle of your first class.

Mirabella La Rosa
When my father arranged for me to marry the next in line to lead the Costa crime family, I swore I’d do anything to escape that fate. I have way more to offer my family than being some man’s arm candy, producing heirs, and making appearances at weddings and baptisms.
Marcelo Costa might be my fiancĂ©, but he’ll never be my husband.
Somehow, I get lucky because he and his father are killed in a car bombing. Not only do I not have to go from being a mafia princess to a mafia wife, but now I can attend college at the Sicuro Academy—an affluent private college created for mafia children like me.
I’m so excited. I’ve moved into my dorm room with my best friend, put on the uniform and am ready to learn. But all my plans come to a screeching halt when he shows up on campus alive and well, seeking revenge on those that crossed him.

Marcelo Costa
The look of shock on my fiancĂ©e’s face when I walk into the classroom at the Sicuro Academy gives me more pleasure than it should.
Mirabella made it clear she didn’t want to marry me, and she’s a problem to be dealt with for sure. But now, she’s the smaller of my two problems.
The only reason I’m at the Sicuro Academy is because my investigation into the bomb that killed my father and almost took me out has led me here.
So I’ll allow Mirabella to stay at the academy while I track down my father’s murderer, but once I’ve brought that person to my own particular brand of justice I’ll remove her from campus and make her my wife.
And no amount of pleading on her part will change my mind.

I’m sorry Jess, but I quickly realized that this book isn’t for me. I loved the reviews I found for this book and grabbed it up real quick, but nah. It ain’t for me. The characters are too young, too entitled, too too too too much.

The Selkie Wife by Andie Beckham

My Rating - ★★
Genre/Trope - Paranormal Romance / instalove
POV - Dual
Length - 121 pages

BLURB: From the deep, she's scented him: her perfect match.

On his bleakest night, Arran, a lighthouse keeper's son, encounters a beautiful stranger with a mysterious, glossy coat. Struck by her alluring magic and feral kinship with the ocean, Arran's trepidatiously-balanced life quickly descends into dreamy, passionate chaos.

One thing haunts him: he can't let his violent father find her.

As Arran's heart drifts toward the Selkie like a beacon, he learns the wild seal woman has plans of her own. Her startling proposition to give him a child is only the beginning. The selkie's powerful allure unlocks Arran's secret that could change everything.

I’m still unsure how I feel about this story. While I liked the concept of the selkie female finding her mate on land, I found it hard to engage with this book because of the writing style. I’m not a fan of reading in the present tense, so it kept throwing me off. However, I enjoyed the way this author captured these characters. Rose’s speech patterns and mannerisms were super cute and Arran’s naivete and vulnerability made him incredibly endearing.

Contempt by A. Zavarelli

My Rating - ★★
Genre/Trope - Contemporary Romance / amnesia + second chance
POV - Dual
Length - 554 pages

BLURB: Before the world knew me as a rock god, I was just the angry boy who stole her heart.

She was a good girl.

The forbidden fruit I wasn’t meant to taste.

Our stars were crossed, and fate had doomed us from the start.

She was promised to someone else.

I had her secret smiles.

Moments stolen in dark corners.

But I couldn’t have her future.

Destiny tore us apart, and all that remained was the ghost of her memory.

When she died, I did too.

But when I catch a glimpse of her five years later, alive and well, that love turns to hate as the bitter truth emerges.

She left me.

She lied.

And now, I’m going to make her pay.

I love the concept of this book. I can get behind a good amnesia/revenge plot. But I couldn’t really get behind the way this story was told. There were too many flashbacks and not enough answers. Even in the end, I’m still wondering why it was told this way. It didn’t make it more mysterious. It made it more annoying. Every time there was a flashback, I got irritated. Why? Because just when I thought the glimpse into the past would give me SOME FREAKING ANSWERS, I got nothing. What was the point???

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.11

April 18, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

He Wants It All by Marilena Barbagallo ~ DNF

Genre - Contemporary Romance / enemies to lovers
POV - Dual
Length - 399 pages

Krum Botev has never had anything in life apart from himself. He knows only what he has been taught. Hard, selfish, insensitive, but faithful to the Father, the one who raised and educated him according to the values of the secret society he is part of. No one has ever succeeded in knocking down his armor. No one can touch him outside or inside; no-one except her, who is part of that past Krum cannot forget. Ambra Livori, a beautiful and wealthy heiress, has always had everything. But nightmares don’t give her a break. They go on showing her the man who ruined her life when she was only sixteen. The memory of him, over time, has become a perverse feeling she cannot tolerate. Just when Ambra decides to learn how to control her emotions, she receives a strange call. Her origins will be questioned and the past will become a terrible present from which she won’t be able to escape. Fighting for herself will be the only solution. What links Ambra and Krum? But most of all, can two different souls be able to touch each other outside and inside? A secret organization, an uncontrollable passion, a man and a woman destined to clash.

Honestly, the writing was a bit all over the place and I think that's because this was translated from Italian. I really wish I could read it in the original language. I believe a lot of what the author was trying to convey was lost in translation. The concept of this story is so intriguing that I wish I could have continued.

Hammered by Jasinda Wilder ~ DNF

Genre - Contemporary Romance / a bit of forced proximity
POV - Heroine 1st person
Length - 342 pages

Dad Bod Contracting—for ALL your domestic contracting needs. Have a leaky faucet or clogged disposal? Need a new patio with intricate brickpaving designs? Want your garage transformed into a yoga studio? Dad Bod Contracting has you COVERED. Our clean, well-mannered, and friendly professionals pride themselves on attention to detail. Every job comes with a 100% customer SATISFACTION guarantee. No job is too small. Hand us your “honey-do” list and we’ll get it done, and we’ll look good doing it! A good job well done is one phone call away, so call Dad Bod Contracting today! It started with a window that was jammed shut. Pretty simple, right? All I wanted was to open the windows while I tidied the house. I’d been after my no-good husband to do it for months, but he never did. And then he shacked up with his secretary, leaving me with a pile of bills, husband-free for the first time in ten years, and with a house that was falling apart. The ad popped up on the side of my social media feed—a local contracting agency willing to do pretty much anything. Since I don’t really know a screwdriver from a ratchet, I gave them a call. And let me tell you, the ad was NOT lying. Jesse O’Neill can do it ALL…and looks amazing doing it. He fixed my window, so I called him back to fix the sagging, splintery front steps. Which led to him fixing my kitchen sink. And then he recarpeted my stairs. And then fixed the squeak in my bed. He was supposed to fix my house, not my rusty, sputtering libido. And certainly not my broken heart.

You know those books you REALLY wanna like? Hammered was one of those books. It should have checked many of my boxes, but it somehow failed to do that. It could have been the fact that it was told from only Imogen's perspective (and you know how I hate that). I was more interested in the side characters than the ones this story was about. I even liked the little I got to know of Jesse (the MMC). It just fell flat, I'm afraid. It's too bad because I know that a lot of people enjoyed the heck out of this story. I've really liked other books by this author so I'll be giving her another try.

Balls in Play Box Set by Kate Stewart ~ DNF

Genre - Contemporary Romance / sports
POV - Dual 1st person
Length - 273 pages (for Anything but Minor)

“She’s a nerd.”
“Okay, she’s a flight instructor.”
“He’s a ballplayer.”
“The best that ever was.”
“Technically, you aren’t according to MLB stats.”
“See? Total nerd. She also has no filter.”
“He’s no southern gentlemen.”
“I had one last season to prove my worth.”
“I’d never seen a game.”
“He told me he was a player.”
“She told me she was a lesbian.”
“But you fell in love with me anyway.”
“Yeah, baby, I totally did.”

I know it's a "me" problem. I've seen so many 4-and-5-star reviews for this series and I couldn't even get through book one with ease. I was infinitely bored and the heroine, Alice, annoyed me. I can't even pinpoint why she irked me, but aggravate me she did. So I'm one of the few that didn't love this supposedly laugh-out-loud novel.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 10

February 12, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

Tap by Georgia Cates ~ 2 stars

Genre - Contemporary Romance / brother's best friend
POV - Dual 1st person

Craft beer and the sexy men who brew it.
A faceless name. That’s all she was when I agreed to play a part in deceiving her. But then the unplanned happened.
We met. And all I wanted from her was a dirty weekend... until that wasn’t enough and I longed for so much more.
Lawrence Thorn suddenly means the world to me. And that’s a problem. She’s my business partner’s sister. Forbidden fruit. Pursuing her can mean trouble for me at Lovibond Brewery. But I don’t care.
I yearn for her skin against mine. I crave her smell on my body. I want to make her laugh and then hear her moan my name. And she does for a brief moment in time.
But Lawrence wants more than I’m able to give. And it’s a damn shame because there’s no one on earth I want more than her.
An epic love.
A miserable ending.
Unless it’s not.

It wasn’t the most interesting story, but I was still reading.
I felt like Lawrence was supposed to be super likable with her hippy-ish ways.. She’s vegan people. So tired of it. Anyway, I didn’t really feel her. Nickname Lawry should have given me a clue, right?
Lucas was also hard to like. I just didn’t like any of the characters in this book.
However, I absolutely loved the epilogue. Both stars go to that ending. It almost made everything I read in this story worthwhile.

A Dark Kiss of Rapture by Sylvia Day ~ 2.5 stars

Genre - Paranormal Romance / forbidden
POV - Dual 3rd person

Of all the Fallen, Raze’s hungers are some of the darkest and most insatiable. His brazen seductions cost him his wings, leaving him soulless and immortal, the most dangerous of seducers. He has roamed the earth for eons, hunting the rogues of his kind and protecting the humans who provide him with blood and sex. He is content with his life and the transient pleasures that flow through it... until one night and one woman change everything.

Kimberly McAdams is smart, beautiful, and wealthy. She can have any man she wants, but the moment she sets eyes on the lethally stunning Raze she knows he’s the man she needs. As one searingly erotic night burns into something deeper and far more vital than either of them expected, an adversary from Raze’s past sees a chance for revenge. Twisted by hatred, she will take from Raze what was taken from her—the precious gift of love.

The absolute seduction of this story played me for a fool. What was up with the fade to black sex???
Kimberly was hard to understand. She came from a family of cops so understood the need for someone in law enforcement to keep secrets, but she’s supposedly wealthy. Where did the money come from?
Raze and his fellow fallen were interesting, however, it felt like I was dropped in the middle of a story when it came to their origins and connection.

Sol by Leslie McAdam ~ 2 stars

Genre - Contemporary Romance / brother's best friend
POV - Dual 1st person

I kissed her, then I left her. My best friend’s sister. The only girl I ever loved.
And that kiss? Gave new meaning to the words, “pinball machine.”
But the army called. No matter what, I am a man of honor. I’ll always do my duty. Even at great personal cost.
Now, four years later, I’m back. A little older. A little wiser. And unfortunately, the bearer of horrifically tragic news.
There’s no one else to do it.
I’ll go to the ends of the earth to find her.
But I don’t know what will happen after I hand her that letter.

Dani was delusional, self-centered, and way too cavalier about life. I didn’t like how she expected everyone to conform to her beliefs about life, especially when she was so vehemently opposed to conformity.
Trent was this great guy who blinded himself to obvious things. He allowed Dani to walk all over him and it was pitiful. Here was this big, strong man who allowed himself to be swallowed up by Dani and her bullshit.
A painfully boring read with bits of color.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.9

January 22, 2023

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you. These all rated pretty well on Goodreads and Amazon, so I think, once again, that this is a ME problem more than anything wrong with the actual books.

Dec the Holls by Jasinda Wilder Cuff Me by London Hale

Genre - Contemporary Novella
Release - December 19, 2014
Genre - Contemporary Novella
Release - July 11, 2017

A week before Christmas, and all through office not a soul is stirring, not even a mouse. Holly is working overtime, cold and lonely and broke. Across the hall, Declan is lonely too, and thinking this Christmas is going to be a joke. Then one blustery night Holly’s car won’t start and Declan is there to help with a little love in his heart. From the moment Lola moved into my apartment building, I’ve wanted her. She’s too sweet and seemingly innocent, but it doesn’t stop me from lusting after her. There’s something about the hours she keeps, though. Something about the life she leads that has warning bells going off in my cop brain. Yet I can’t stay away. Not when she needs my help. Not when she needs me. Even if being with her could cost me my future.

My Rating - 2 stars

I found that I didn’t care for this book. The story didn’t really have a chance to grab me and I was really hoping it would. I could see myself probably liking both Dec and Holly if given more time.
My Rating - 2 stars

I’ve actually really enjoyed other books from this author… just not this one. The heroine, who believed that the only job she was qualified for was as an escort… she really tried my nerves. From there, I just didn’t care whether or not she got a happily ever after with the hero. Honestly, I didn’t even know why he liked her so much.

Pitch Black by Elise Noble When Gargoyles Rise by Ashley C. Harris

Genre - Suspense/Mystery
Release - December 1, 2015
Genre - YA Paranormal Romance
Release - September 5, 2017

After the owner of a security company is murdered, his sharp-edged wife goes on the run. Forced to abandon everything she holds dear - her home, her friends, her job in special ops - she builds a new life for herself in England. As Ashlyn Hale, she meets Luke, a handsome local who makes her realise just how lonely she is.

Yet, even in the sleepy village of Lower Foxford, the dark side of life dogs Diamond’s trail when the unthinkable strikes. Forced out of hiding, she races against time to save those she cares about. But is it too little, too late?
When Rose was born in the year 1544, she and the other gargoyles were a beautiful race of humans with dragon's wings. Created by magic, the gargoyles were able to do and take whatever they wanted... Until the vampires came, and with them, they brought a curse.

Almost five hundred years later, Rose awakens from stone in Washington DC, to a world that's very much changed. The kingdom of the gargoyles is no more; instead, the same group of blood suckers that cursed Rose's family now rule a hierarchy of shades and shadows.

Desperate to awaken her loved ones and break the spell, Rose learns she must convince Sean Noble, a human, to fall in love with her. Something that should have been easy... if he and Rose weren't only seventeen, and required to attend school.

Sean and his high school girlfriend dislike Rose as much as they do homework. And to make things worse, the handsome vampire prince, Adamus, who betrayed Rose in the year 1556, he and his bad boy brother have surfaced...

Rose, before graduation, must find a way to keep her identity secret from Adamus, not let him get too close, and trick Sean into falling in love. Easy if you have wings, right? Not so much.

My Rating - DNF

The story sounds intriguing, but I’m not a fan of single perspectives and I could feel myself getting bored with just the one voice.
My Rating - DNF

I just can’t. No.

Beast by Measha Stone Passion & Venom by Shanora Williams

Genre - Contemporary Romance Retelling
Release - February 27, 2018
Genre - Dark Romance
Release - September 12, 2016

Wouldn't you give up everything for the one you love?

When Ellie's father is taken by a group of thugs planning to take his life in exchange for his debts, it’s no surprise she goes running straight into the beast’s lair. After all, Ellie Stevens has been her father’s keeper for as long as she can remember.

However, Ashland Titon isn’t a man of mercy. If you owe, you pay. End of story. His unrelenting control has built his empire, and he’s not going to give over that power now. But when Ellie charges into his life with her demands and possibilities of sweet surrender, her offer proves too tempting to pass up.

Yet there’s more at play here than just working off a debt. There are secrets buried in the shadows, and dangerous desires to be explored. While the two of them dance to an erotic beat, outside forces threaten Ashland's empire and Ellie must decide where her heart truly lies - and what she's truly willing to risk for love.
Imagine this:
Your husband is murdered on your wedding day.
Your gown is soiled in his blood.
You are taken hostage...
Treated like a caged animal.
The man behind your husband's murder is revealed.
His name is Draco Molina.
Draco has power. Respect. Wealth.
He is a savage beast of a man - dominant in every way.
Soon after, he makes you an offer that you can't refuse.
All you have do is submit to him, and in return you won't be punished.
He will reward you handsomely.
But if you disobey, you must be prepared to face the consequences.
What do you do when the most wanted man in the world . . . wants you?

My Rating - DNF

The heroine fell into every bad trap a heroine could fall into. And while I like retellings and can see why she was prone to pitfalls, I found it hard to care.
My Rating - DNF

I was set to love this story. I was warned that it got really dark and from what I’ve read, it was heading there. Gia’s husband is murdered right in front of her on their wedding day. And then she’s kidnapped, beaten and humiliated. So far, so good. Then Gia’s thoughts about her fellow captive, whose arms have been amputated via torture, made her an unsympathetic heroine and I struggled to continue.

Yes, he has been helpful at times, but he is a complete jackass. It’s no wonder he’s here–or why those men did that to him. He has a smart mouth. I’m sure he doesn’t control anything he says.

I still tried, but then I read this:

Those thin, dark brown eyes are…

How are the eyes thin? And then this type of phrasing kept happening and I gave up.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.8

January 07, 2023

I'm back with three more books that just didn't work for me, but might be right up your alley. If you've read any of these or plan to, please think about letting me know what you thought in the comments below!

Queen of Diamonds by Natalie Bennett

Genre - Mafia Romance

His enemy. His partner. His whore.
His mind games. Her morals.

The road to hell...
Well, there is no road to hell.
I already live there.

I was forced to partake in a rigged game of seduction, manipulation, and murder.

Mateo Remmington is my formidable opponent.

He makes the devil look like a saint.

He’s immoral.
He's ruthless.
He's a goddamn king.

King of a clandestine empire who sits on a throne covered in innocents’ blood.

I’ve become his obsession.
He’s becoming my deadly addiction.

And if I make one wrong move he’ll end my life.

My Review: DNF

I couldn't get into this story. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be dark or mysterious or whatever. I was lost before the story even really started. And now I'm sad because I have the entire series SIGNED on my bookshelves. I wish I could have dived in and loved it.

Ghosted by J.M. Darhower

Genre - Contemporary Second Chance Romance

He's a troubled young actor, Hollywood's newest heartthrob, struggling with fame as the star of the latest superhero franchise. Through scandal after scandal, addiction on top of addiction, a flurry of paparazzi hunt him as he fights to conquer his demons.

She's a single mother, assistant manager at a grocery store, existing in monotony with her five-year-old daughter. Every day when she goes to work, lurid tabloids surround her, the face of a notorious bad boy haunting her from their covers.

A man and a woman, living vastly different lives, but that wasn't always the case. Once, they were just a boy and a girl who bonded over comic books and fell in love unexpectedly.

When Kennedy Garfield met Jonathan Cunningham back in high school, she knew he had all the makings of a tragic hero. With stars in his eyes, and her heart on her sleeve, the pair ran away together to follow their dreams.

But dreams, sometimes, turn into nightmares.

Now, years later, the only thing they share is a daughter—one who has no idea her father plays her favorite superhero. But Jonathan is desperate to make amends, and at the top of his list is the woman who gave up everything for him and the little girl he hasn't yet met.

My Review: DNF

The heroine was so wrong. And while I couldn't really connect with Jonathan, the ways in which Kennedy had him jumping through hoops so he could connect with the daughter he didn't know he had... wrong! The secret baby trope is so hard to do well and this one didn't work for me.

Down On Me by J. Kenner

Genre - Contemporary Friends-to-Lovers Romance

Tight muscles. Vibrant Ink.
Meet Mr. January. Winter’s never looked so hot…

Certified bachelor Reece Walker wants two things — to save the local bar he manages and to get Jenna Montgomery into his bed.

He has a few ideas for the bar. But Jenna... well, he’s going to have to rely on cold showers, because she’s been his best friend for years, and that’s a line he just can’t cross.

Until one wild kiss on a dark night changes everything. Now Reece is certain Jenna’s meant to be his.

And with long nights in bed, sensual caresses, and deep, lingering kisses, he sets out to thoroughly convince her that friends can be lovers, too.

My Review: 2 stars

Overall, this was a decent story. I loved the friendship that Reece, Jenna and Brent shared. Best friends for life, they knew everything there was to know about each other and supported each other in all things. And that's where my problem lies. Jenna knew Reece. She knew his hangups. So why... why when they FINALLY get together... why did she try to change him? And not only change him, but give him an ultimatum to try to force him to change?

I stopped liking Jenna after that. All of her thoughts on how to sway Reece to her side made me physically ill. If you love someone, love them. No conditions. No doubts.

Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt. 7

December 05, 2022

This week I chose to cover more books than usual. To be honest, there a ton of books to go through for this type of post and I'm trying to keep up. It sucks but it's the truth. So here are FIVE books that I didn't happen to love, FIVE books that were actually well-liked in the reading community, FIVE books that you may enjoy a lot more than I did.

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Genre - Young Adult Thriller

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

2 stars - The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next.

You know I hate you when I hope you are.

Penelope (don't call her Penny) was a mean girl who didn't think she was a mean girl.
And I'm not saying that anyone should have been killed, however...
When the killer was revealed, I was like "Hmmm... you crazy, but I don't really blame you."

Not kidding. I'm just joking.

I just didn't like anyone in this book. The one character I did think I could like, Cass, came off as too soft. I already knew from the beginning that he was gonna get cast in a certain light. And for Penny (bitch, I'll call you what I want) to actually believe rumors and doubt him... spoke more to her lack of character than anything else.

In the end, I was kinda rooting for the killer and wanted Cass to find a new girl.

Imposter by K. Larsen

Genre - Mystery Thriller

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train, Jezebel and The Butterfly Garden...
In idyllic Brunswick, Maine, tragedy strikes, leaving one family struggling to stay together.
Seven-year-old Sophie Anderson vanished from a neighbors' front lawn in 2006 leaving the Anderson family reeling.
Helen, a mother who never gave up hope.
Sam, a father who couldn’t cope.
Cora, the even-keeled sister, and Shane, the angry half-brother fought to maintain their family after losing Sophie.

Just when the Anderson’s thought they had moved past Sophie’s disappearance,
Cora finds Sophie shivering behind a dumpster in Portland, Maine 10 years later.
As Sophie integrates back into her family a series of dark revelations rear their ugly heads.

How well do you know your child, your spouse, your best friend or neighbor?
How far would you go to protect your family?
How many secrets could you keep before your world begins to crumble?
How far would you go to better your life?
Everyone has skeletons. Everyone lies. The question is, which lies are harmless and which skeletons are meant to be bared?

2 stars - Stories about missing children will always break my heart so it was a given that I would be shattered by everything I read. I liked that I continued to be surprised by what happened right up to the end. Little Sophie deserved so much more and her family is forever broken. The mom, Helen, wasn't a wholly sympathetic character, but I did feel for her. Shoot, I felt bad for all of them.

While I enjoyed what was written, I didn't really enjoy the way it was written. It was broken up in a way that didn't work for me, but I'm sure it will be fine for others.

Professed by Nicola Rendell

Genre - Contemporary Romance / forbidden / student-teacher

At a secret masked ball at Yale, Naomi Costa is literally swept off her stiletto-blistered feet by a man with a killer jawline, a perfect body, and an even-better kiss. They bust out of an emergency exit and have axis-shaking sex. He pours whiskey in her belly button and after they run out of condoms, they have to get creative. That kind of sex.

The next day, she learns that he is none other than Dr. Benjamin Beck, a brand new member of the Yale faculty and the hottest thing to happen to academia since… well, ever. She has to take his damned junior seminar to graduate, but it gets worse. He’s also her College Master: her boss, her advisor, her everything. And he’s just moved in, right downstairs.

They can’t stay away from each other. They're either fusion or fission or both. They’re making out in libraries, hiding notes between stones, and sneaking off to nautically themed AirBnbs. Hear that sound? It’s the academic code of ethics going up in flames.

If they're found out, he’ll lose his job and his reputation. She'll lose her scholarship and be forced to return to the life of lobster fishing that she thought she’d escaped.

And they will be found out, yes they will.

So what the hell are they going to do?

1 star - I've loved everything I've read from this author.
Except for this book.

I didn't like ANY of the characters.
I didn't care if things worked out.
The sex (forbidden or not) wasn't hot as much as awkward.

I'll still read from this author.

A Not So Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn

Genre - Contemporary Romance / fake relationship

How did you two meet?

The quintessential question asked to every couple. And the answer is usually some bubbly, lovey dovey tale of being struck in the bum by Cupid’s arrow.

My meet cute (well not so meet cute) is slightly different. I was trolling a wealthy neighborhood in Beverly Hills, searching for someone to take me as their bride, you know, to make my arch nemesis jealous who consequently just fired me.

He was stomping around the block like some sort of gorgeous ogre, mumbling about a business deal gone wrong and attempting to finagle his way out of it.

And that’s when we bumped into each other.

There were no sparks.

Not even a hint of blossoming love.

But next thing I knew, I was scarfing down free chips and guac, listening to this man lay out all of his problems which led to his big ask . . . he wanted me to be his Vivian Ward, you know, from Pretty Woman--minus the frisky behavior.

We’re talking about living in a mansion, intimate double dates, and pretending we were head over heels in love . . . and engaged. Can you imagine?

The absolute audacity.

But people do crazy things when they’re desperate. And I reeked of desperation. So, I struck up a deal.

My one big mistake, though . . . big . . . HUGE? I accidentally fell for the incomparable Huxley Cane.

2.5 stars - I really wanted to like this one. It had so many things that I look for in a book. And the tropes usually work for me. Who doesn't like a fake relationship slash enemies to lovers romance?

But Lottie was a hard pill to swallow.

Introduced as a desperate doormat, why was she so rude to Huxley? Her attitude sucked and I don't care how beautiful she was to look at.

Huxley was the typical 'love can't touch me' hero and it was lovely to watch him fall. I just don't like who he fell for. Lottie was a bit toxic and I'm not a fan of how everyone would put her in her place and excuse her behavior at the same time. Give her some dang consequences!!

Darkness Awakened by Katie Reus

Genre - Paranormal Romance / second chance / fated mates / secret baby

Years ago he ended things between them to protect her…

As leader of one of the fiercest werewolf packs in the south, Finn Stavros is in full battle mode 24/7. He has no choice—he’s one of the few beings strong enough to fight the Akkadian demons, whose mysterious escape from hell threatens the entire world. With the battle turning bloodier by the second, Finn is ready for anything…until his vampire long lost love shows up on his doorstep in desperate need of his help, sending his heart into a tailspin. He agrees to help her, unaware that she carries a shocking secret that will turn his life upside down.

This time, he’s not letting her go…

Vampire Lyra Marius curses the day she met Finn. The ruthless werewolf promised to love her forever, but he rejected her instead—before she could share her life altering news. Pregnant, kicked out of her coven, and cast aside by the love of her life, Lyra struggled to raise their rare shifter-vampire daughter Vega alone among humans. When the 16-year-old is kidnapped and used to fulfill a frightening prophecy, Lyra swallows her pride and turns to Finn for help. But how long can she fight her feelings for him and keep him from guessing the truth about who Vega really is? As they race against the clock to save their daughter, they must defeat the lethal threat imposed by demons infiltrating the human world and a hell gate that could not only reveal their existence to mankind, but destroy the world in the process.

2.5 stars - I actually enjoyed this one. I love forbidden romance. With Finn being all sexy Alpha and Lyra being a fierce vampire, there were lots of battles to be fought. My only hangup was the 'secret baby who's now on the verge of adulthood' thing.

I'm not sure if I'm interested enough in this one to give the others a try. I guess we'll see some day :)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 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

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Troll-y Yours by Sheri Fredricks


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.


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.


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!

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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.
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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.