Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book: Sea Swept by Nora Roberts

Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay Saga, #1)Sea Swept by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved the found family theme - the idea of these men expanding their family to include a young boy.

I also loved the sexual agency Anna had here - she knew what she wanted and didn't hesitate to go after it.

The love scenes are a little too much like the overly flowery scenes I've been reading in Roberts/Robb's In Death series. They're too...ugh, I don't even know what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, good book. Probably not a repeat read.

I can't be the only person who wants a little more time with a couple after the issues are resolved. It always seems so abrupt - " I can't live without you." "Oh, me too." The end.

I've got two of the other books in the series, but I haven't yet decided if I'm going to read them or not.

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It's odd, but in this case, I'd kind of rather have a bullet-pointed list of what happens, except for how it applies to Seth, because the most interesting developments are in his growth and healing.

Maybe I'm just not a boilerplate romance reader anymore. :/

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The year is off to a hard start

Do we really need an excuse to tell people we love them?

Maybe we do. Maybe we need the reminder.

I still miss Nimoy, my honorary grandfather, my beloved Spock Prime. :(

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book: Fiona's Fixer-Upper by Erika Aytuzi

Fiona's Fixer-Upper (Romance from A to Z #6)Fiona's Fixer-Upper by Erika Aytuzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of Fiona's Fixer Upper from the author for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.

Fiona's Fixer Upper is a sweet, sexy, fun, angsty tidbit of reading.

Fiona and Jake have been together a while, but then during one of their fights, she says something she can't take back. Her boyfriend takes her at her word and skedaddles. Fiona's completely baffled about why that one thing, of all the things she's said in their fights, is the thing he listened to.

Thing is, Fiona's house needs some TLC, and she keeps calling Jake to fix things.

I enjoyed the flirty bits between these two. Fiona seemed truly to not understand why Jake left, and Jake was equally clueless as to why she'd thrown him out. All it would take to fix things was a good conversation, but they were speaking different languages.

The resolution was good, with realistic give and take between the two characters.

The writing was good, and I'll be reading more of Aytuzi's work. It's not like I can forget her name, right? lol

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Serial: Loving Two Dragons by James Horton

I received a digital copy of all four parts of this serial via Romance ARCade for the purposes of providing reviews.

Part One
Our story starts with Jennifer and a job interview. She walks out of the building, and strange things start happening, and she wonders if she's losing her mind. When she's attacked in her own apartment, she's fairly certain she's lost it.

There's decent world-building here, even if it's a bit formulaic, and the story as a whole has promise. It's not bad, but could be better.

This is part one of a four-part serial, so it does leave an open ending, but I wouldn't necessarily call this one a cliffhanger. Yes, there's something unresolved, but if this were a short story, I probably wouldn't be sorry I read it.

There were plenty of mistakes, though, with misused words aplenty. At one point, Merlin breathed, and I was stumped. There's no Merlin in this story anywhere. Ooops. Mr. Horton needs an editor, and this entire story needs major comma surgery.

Part Two
In this portion of the serial, danger continues to plague Jennifer, and her first trip as Queen is marred by violence. Jennifer recovers her "past" memories more rapidly here, and they become much more detailed. When the time comes to plays damsel in distress, Jennifer opts to do some of her own saving. Kudos to her.

This segment also ends with a major plot point unresolved, and is closer to my definition of a cliffhanger than Part One.

Part Three
In this portion of the serial, Archer figures out where Logan and Jennifer are and sends in a recon team. Jennifer unlocks a major piece of her personal history, and both Logan and Archer end up bound by the Council.

Jennifer really steps into her role as Queen here, and continues to not be Too Stupid To Live. Go, Jennifer.

This segment also ends with a major plot point unresolved, but doesn't really fit my definition of a cliffhanger.

Part Four
In this portion of the serial, time passes with Jennifer holding down the fort admirably. She makes things happen, and gets her guys back.

All major plot points are resolved in this final segment.
There was a scene near the end, with Athene, which I thought was wasted. It went nowhere, and so could have just been cut from the story. Perhaps Mr. Horton was paving the way for more in this universe.

Throughout the four-part serial, the pages were plagued by missing commas and misused words. Worse, the sex was boring - too much use of euphemisms instead of just saying stuff right out. 

Though the story has promise, I am unlikely to look for more from this author. The poor editing and fairly predictable story are just not enough to get or keep me interested.

Book: A Mess of Reason by A. Wilding Wells

I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley for the purposes of providing a review.

A Mess of Reason got off to a great start, storywise. Our two protagonists, Tess Harlow and Scout Steele, best friends since high school, are in love with each other. They just haven't bothered to tell each other. Ever. They've said "I love you" but never clarified it out loud. I am a hardcore friends-to-lovers fan, so this seemed tailor-made for my reading interests.

The foundation of their deep friendship was well laid. Once they started exploring their feelings for each other - still without actually say "I'm in love with you" to each other - the book takes a dive for me, though.

A bit past the halfway mark, I made a note that I was sick of the whole we can't/we won't/but I want to/we can't dance. Each character was being an asshole in his or her own way, and the inner monologues were just too much: hyperbolic stars and hearts and flowers and UGH. Even the dude. Just no.

Things come to a head soon after that when the day of the wedding actually comes. Stuff happens and Scout takes an angry Tess away. He's described as driving down the highway with her in his lap. I noped out at that point and couldn't recapture any connection to the story.

Tess kept wanting to get with Scout - have sex - but without sharing what her issue was. And I get it - it's a biggie - but gods, woman, he's your best frakking friend. I got so tired of her inner monologue about that.

Scout kept pushing Tess too hard, too fast, and setting boundaries they quickly ran right over with a bulldozer. He was bossy as all get-out, but no follow-through.

Tess overhears something and takes it completely out of context, but does she bother to actually talk to her "best friend" about what she heard? Of course not. Good cow, the communication issues in this relationship. They're only talking with their genitalia apparently, and their genitalia aren't fluent in plain English.

I noped out even harder when Scout ended up in the hospital after an accident and NO ONE BOTHERED TO TELL TESS. Um, what?

I finished reading it anyway, but A Mess of Reason wasn't a winner for me. By the end of it, I was just so frakking glad it was over, and I went to find my favorite f-to-l fanfic to fix the bad taste in my brain. Gah.

Aside from my issues with the story, there were numerous missing words - mostly articles, a few pronouns - frequently enough to keep pulling me out of the story. Sloppy editing on someone's part, detracting even further from my enjoyment of the book. I know those things don't matter for some people, but they do for me.

Your mileage may vary, obviously.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Book: Calling Me by Louise Bay

I received a digital ARC copy via Netgalley for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.

Ashleigh and Luke have been friends for a long time - he's her best friend's brother. For much of that time, Ash has been in love with Luke, while Luke has never shown more than friendly interest in Ashleigh. From her perspective, he's a lost cause, and she's made an effort to date other men, even feeling like anyone else will be settling for second best.

Then Luke's longtime live-in girlfriend starts talking marriage and children. He thinks maybe there's something wrong with him, because the very idea gives him the heeby-jeebies. He's never even taken her to Sunday dinner at his sister's, for crying out loud. It doesn't take Luke long to realize he doesn't feel the same way his girlfriend does, and he breaks it off, starts spending more time with his sister and Asleigh.

Luke fairly quickly cottons to the fact that he actually *enjoys* spending time with Ashleigh, and the idea of marrying her doesn't make him want to run screaming from the planet. It takes a LOT more to convince Ashleigh Luke's sudden-seeming turnaround is for real.

The move from friends to lovers is satisfyingly slow, and even after they've become lovers, Ash and Luke's core relationship remains solid - their affectionate bickering and sarcastic sniping keep right on going, and they continue to have fun with each other.

This book is the second in a series - the first one being Luke's sister's story. The base relationships, though, were easy enough to get into, and I didn't feel like I missed anything by not having read that one first.

Calling Me was a hit for me, an unexpected one, and I'll definitely be checking out Louise Bay's future works. And finding that first book. :)