Tag: 1.0 Reviews

Review: After Hours by Claire Kennedy

Posted July 20, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: After Hours by Claire KennedyReviewer: Rowena
After Hours by Claire Kennedy

Publication Date: June 16th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Scandals and hook-ups abound in a summertime restaurant drama where four teens are all willing to do whatever it takes to make it through the workday…and hopefully to win the money in the after-hours dare-based game of Tips.

Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Café isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties, and, most of all, it’s about Tips.

Tips—the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.
Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

I had high hopes for this book because it’s set in a restaurant, around a group of employees of the restaurant. The premise sounded interesting and I was mighty curious about the game that they play called Tips but I’m sad that this book just didn’t work for me.

It’s a book that is character driven and I can’t say that I liked any of the characters. This is the third YA book that I read this week and I have not liked any of the books that I read, including this one.

Anyway so this book follows a group of employees of the Waterside Cafe who are playing in the restaurants after hours game called Tips. You pay in to the game, everyone shows up after hours on the roof and dares are issued and if you complete the dare, you stay in the running for the pot. A bunch of kids are playing this game and the shit that these kids go through to win that money is disturbing. Blackmail, seduction, a whole lot of dirty shit and it was a struggle to continue reading because I felt like as dirty and yucky as their shady as shit boss Rico.

The four main characters are Finn, Peter, Isa and Xavi. They all have their reasons for playing the game and each of them will do whatever it takes to win the money. Each character drove me a little crazy. My thing with Finn – I kept reading to find out what his other side business was and when we find out, meh. Then there was Isa, the new girl. When we first meet her, she’s a total bitch to Finn but over the course of the book, she just got on my nerves. She wasn’t very likable to me. Then there was Peter and Xavi. Peter has a serious thing for Xavi, who is younger and his step-sister. sigh He liked Xavi before their parents got married but still, their whole relationship and story line was very “meh” to me…and Xavi got on my hot damn nerves too.

I’m really sad that the driving force behind me reading this book, wasn’t explored enough. It was more of a background thing and while I liked the restaurant time, the rest of the book fell completely flat for me. I just…didn’t like it.

Grade: 1 out of 5

This book is available from Simon Pulse. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Posted July 13, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s reivew of The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi.

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

This was a really quick read so I wondered if that played a key in me not being able to connect with any of the characters. The main focus is on Ella and Matt. These two dated for a little bit and then Matt disappears. He moves to Texas and just dropped out of Ella’s life, breaking her heart in the process. Now it’s six months later and Matt is back and wants to reconnect with Ella by recreating the most memorable night from their past. The night they said yes to everything. Every idea. Every suggestion of what to do, they said yes and did it. Matt is trying to recreate the perfectness of that night and it doesn’t work out the way he hoped. There was too much unresolved business and resentment to make that happen.

I’m not really sure what to say about this book. It wasn’t a long story but it was slow going for most of it. At first, I was interested in what happened between Matt and Ella, hell even Meg and Jake but as I kept reading, I kept thinking, “Who cares?” Meg and Jake are on a never ending emotional rollercoaster of a relationship that isn’t healthy at all but she keeps taking him back and my first thought? “Meh”. Matt’s back in town and we’re finally getting some answers and once we get them, I think, “Meh”.

I didn’t understand the characters and the further I got into the story, the more I didn’t care to understand them. These were the things that stood out to me while I was reading the book.

  • Matt didn’t have his wallet at Wing King to pay for the food there….but at their next stop, the liquor store, he found his fake ID in his car and went into the store to buy their alcohol. What did he use to pay for the drinks? His fake ID?

  • Matt’s been gone for six months and is back. Ella goes with him to get some answers and they play truth or dare but only do dares so they don’t have to do what they were supposed to do all along and TALK? Hmm.

  • Everyone yells a lot. Mostly Meg and Ella though. Meg’s yelling is low-key annoying.

  • Matt’s reasons for disappearing didn’t make sense. I get that something huge went down in his family and it was embarrassing. He didn’t want to involve Ella in his family drama but how could she have been involved from Florida? How would telling Ella the truth about what was going on have involved her in the whole thing? Would the Texas cops think that she was what? Hiding more drugs in Florida? Make sense Matt!

  • I can’t even with Matt. WTF? Instead of just telling Ella what happened, give her some closure, he just kept giving her trash? Seriously, WTF?

When the story finally ended, I was glad. Now I can move on to the next book and put this one behind me. Nothing in this entire book worked for me. Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

Grade: 1 out of 5

This book is available from Harper Teen. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Making Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell

Posted June 24, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

making up your mind
Rowena’s review of Making Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell.

Lottie Carlyle isn’t looking for love when she meets her new boss, Tyler Klein. Living in a beautiful cottage with her two adorable – sometimes – kids in an idyllic village in the Cotswolds, on good terms with her ex-husband and with friends all around, she’s happy enough with her lot. But Tyler’s perfect for Lottie and quickly she falls for him – and he for her. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. For reasons that are totally unfair, Lottie’s children HATE Tyler. When a rival for Lottie’s affections comes on the scene in the shape of charmer Seb, the children adore him, and he’s certainly a distraction. But he’s not Tyler – and he’s not even at all what he seems. Lottie’s got a problem – but thanks, in classic Jill Mansell style, to a tobogganing accident and a delicious series of mix-ups, all will be revealed and true love will find a way.

I don’t even know where to begin with this review. Jill Mansell is one of my go to authors for cute and funny contemporary romances on the other side of the pond. I can usually count on her for the kinds of romances that will keep me up late into the night, reading away. I stayed up until almost 2am on this book but not because I was loving what I was reading. No, I stayed up because I hoped that things would turn around but that never happened.

So as with most Mansell books that I’ve read, this book follows numerous story-lines for a bunch of different characters. The main story (romance) was between Tyler and Lottie. Tyler is an American wall street type of guy who bought a bunch of vacation homes in England after his best friend died of a heart attack because the pressures of their job got to him. Tyler relocates to England to settle down and live a life worth living and Lottie is the assistant that comes with the job. Their first meeting was a funny one. It was cute and what I’ve come to expect from Mansell. It made me excited to see how their story would unfold but all of that stopped when Lottie’s kids came into the picture.

What a bunch of bratty little shits! The crap that they pulled to get Lottie to NOT go out with Tyler boiled my blood and the thing that made me even more mad was they brought Lottie to heal. Lottie gave up Tyler because her kids pulled some shady shit. They were smart mouth little brats that needed a sound thrashing, not to be coddled and given their way. It was disappointing that Lottie let her kids get away with every little thing.

What I didn’t get about this story line was Tyler was American but he talked like a straight up British guy. Like he grew up there, it didn’t make sense to me at all.

So Lottie gives up Tyler because her kids hate his guts and starts dating this other guy named Seb. Her kids LOVE Seb but I didn’t. I didn’t even like him a little bit. I thought he was immature and stupid. I didn’t see what Lottie saw in him at all. I knew he was a slime bucket the minute he came onto the scene and when his story line comes to an end, I rolled my eyes because I saw that crap coming a mile away.

My favorite part of this story line was in the end, when Tyler starts giving Lottie’s kids shit. They hate him? Tough shit, they still had to deal with him. I loved seeing Tyler win them over even if I thought he deserved better from those freaking brats.

The next story-line in the book revolved around Lottie’s ex-husband, Mario. Mario is father to Lottie’s brats and I found his story line to be another disappointment. Mario is a flirt. He doesn’t know how to turn it off and it’s what ended his marriage with Lottie. Mario is in an eight month relationship and when the girlfriend goes away on vacation, Lottie goes into full on cock blocking mode to make sure Mario doesn’t cheat on the girlfriend while she’s away. I don’t know how Mario didn’t get so rip roaring pissed that he cussed Lottie out..especially considering how this whole story line turned out. Pissed me right off. Lottie annoyed the crap out of me in this story line.

There there was Lottie’s friend Cressida who fell in love with one of her customers that was vacationing in town for a little bit. Cressida was a big time pushover to her ex-husband and his new wife and that annoyed the crap out of me. It also didn’t make a lick of sense that the ex-husband left Cressida because she couldn’t have kids, goes and has a kid with someone else and then treats that kid like shit. How that made any kind of sense, I’ll never know but she fell in love with the customer, the customer fell in love with her, they couldn’t make meeting up work until they did and blah blah blah. This story line was the least interesting to me and I actually liked the kids involved in this one…but the way that this one ended? Another giant bowl of WTF?

The last story line is Freddie’s. Lottie’s old boss. He gets sick, can’t continue on with the business so he sells to Tyler and Lottie helps him gets his affairs in order. She also helps him with his bucket list and that bucket list was something else. LOL. Freddie lived a colorful life and I was glad to have read that part of the book but the rest? Even the end didn’t save it.

This isn’t a book that I would read again. I’m surprised that I didn’t end up DNF-ing this book because there was a lot about the book that I liked. The characters all drove me crazy and the ending didn’t make up for all of the blood boiling that went on in the beginning and middle. Of the entire book, I only liked Freddie and the way Tyler stood up for himself at the end but other than that? No.

Grade: 1 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Landmark. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Guest Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Posted June 22, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Bared to You by Sylvia DayWhitley’s review of the Bared to You (Crossfire #1) series by Sylvia Day

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…

So I recently decided to read this book and (semi) live-blog my reactions to it.  You can see them all on goodreads or on my blog.  But it all boils down to: this book is a mess.  It’s disjointed, repetitive, stuff pops up only to spiral off into the void, and the emotional tone of the novel seriously does not match the subject matter.

I think that last point is the root of a lot of problems.  I mean, look at that summary.  That is a summary full of dark and despair, right?  And there’s a lot of stuff in this book that warrants such solemnity, what with both our main characters dealing with traumatic pasts.  However, through most of the book, the narration is…downright cheery.  Going just by tone, it reads like a light and fluffy romance.  And for all the main character wants to go on about the problems her past trauma cause…she is remarkably even-tempered about the whole thing.  It doesn’t seem to bug her at all, even when she’s laying the story bare in front a guy she’s only known for a week.  And the same goes for all their problems, really.  There’s just enough enough angst put into the narration to really carry it all off, so the whole thing reads as really flippant and shallow when dealing these really big, heavy issues.  (Now, if it had been intended as a light and fluffy read, it would have been cool.  It’s a nice and readable light and fluffy with some cute banter.  It just doesn’t work for this story.)

Another problem with the tone is that it’s pretty shallow, which means we end up with a lot of repetition.  They get in a fight, they make up, they have sex, they get in a fight, they make up, the have sex, and this cycle repeats again and again without really any carryover or buildup.  Eva gets mad, feels horny, and that’s about it.  She doesn’t connect one fight to the next ever, we’ll hear about one issue and then have something later that should bring that up again but it doesn’t, there’s just no progression or connection between one chapter and the next.  I mean, she panics in the middle of the night when he gets all up on her (which, yes, she should, she’s got history) and then I swear one chapter late he “wakes her up with sex” and she’s totally cool with it?  He doesn’t hesitate playing out that scene again, she doesn’t panic again, because as far as this book is concerned every scene is self-contained.  That doesn’t help the heavy subjects (“wow, yeah, you’re so traumatized, I can tell by how you completely move in two seconds”) and it doesn’t help the (lack of) plot, either.  Not to mention the fact that there’s no end to this book, they just keep repeating the same pattern over and over until suddenly the pages stop.  But if there’s no build-up, how can there be a goal/climax?

And there’s just a lot of stuff that goes off into nothing.  That one character at the start that looks like he might be a second love interest?  Disappears for hundreds of pages.  Gideon trying to convince her to be a submissive (out of the blue, 300 pages in)?  Totally dropped by the next chapter.  (Seriously, there is no BDSM in this, why was that even a subject?  It’s so weird.)

Eva is pretty nice as a character; she’s good at asserting herself, and she’s self-aware of her needs and communicates them.  It’s, honestly, about the only saving grace in this book because Gideon is…just…if this weren’t fiction I’d be convinced he’s got a secret evil twin, because he vacillates wildly between “complete raging asshole” and “cuddly awkward teddy bear.”  The Gideon we see at the start of the book, the one that “doesn’t do romance” and is blunt to the point of FUCKING KIDNAPPING?  Yeah, he disappears, replaced by a guy practically begging for romance.  No build up to that, just bam never mind, let’s date.  Teddy Bear Gideon is still pretty creepy, but it’s mostly reserved to…well, basically, Erotica Romance Tropes.  (Too possessive, kissing a girl to shut her up, downright unfortunate dirty talk, etc.)  They’re moments that don’t seem to fit with the rest of his personality, so they feel like they’re just in there for the sake of genre.

Actually, Asshat Gideon and BDSM both feel like they were added in last minute for the same reason.

So, that’s my take on it.  There’s some really creepy stuff in there, stuff that I raged when I read it, but the overall effect is so disjointed that when I look at the book as a whole I’m mostly just…confused.

Rating: 1 out of 5

This title is available from Berkley.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Chains of Darkness by Caris Roane

Posted May 13, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Chains of Darkness by Caris RoaneReviewer: Tracy
Chains of Darkness by Caris Roane
Series: Men in Chains #2
Also in this series: Born in Chains
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A VAMPIRE BOUNDFor countless days and nights, the vampire Lucian has been chained, starved, and tortured in a Himalayan cavern. Prisoner and pawn of his powerful Ancestral father, Lucian has all but given up any hope of escape. Until a beautiful stranger risks her life to save him...

A WOMAN SET FREETwo years ago, Claire and her friend Zoey were kidnapped by vampires and sold as human slaves. Claire managed to escape, tracking her missing friend through the vampire underworld—and stumbling upon the only man who could help her. A dangerously captivating vampire in chains...

A LOVE EVERLASTINGBinding herself to a creature she doesn't trust, Claire frees the vampire from his nightmare prison. But now he needs Claire's blood and body to regain his strength. To defeat his father. And to sustain his deepest, darkest needs. Can Claire give herself to this seductive creature...without becoming a slave to desire?

Tracy’s review of Chains of Darkness (Men in Chains #2) by Caris Roane

Claire was abducted by vampires two years ago along with her friend Zoey and was held prisoner at the home of Daniel – the evil bastard trying to take over the world. She didn’t have it so bad, however, as she was nanny to a little boy (Josh from book #1). She was rescued and now wants to find her friend Zoey, if she’s still alive. She needs the help of Lucian who is a vampire and also Daniel’s son. She’ll even try to help Lucian find the extinction weapon that Daniel wants in exchange for his help, but only so Lucian can destroy it.

After reading book one in this series I was actually looking forward to reading the second book. Unfortunately this book has little to recommend it. I found myself first rolling my eyes when Lucian is rescued by Claire. He’s been a prisoner for a year in a cave and chained to a wall. She gets him to safety and does he bathe? No, he gets dressed and goes clubbing. What?

Then the book went on and I soon got very bored as the H/h seemed to be doing the same thing over and over: Meet, fuck. Save someone, fuck. Battle the evil guy, fuck. Rinse, repeat and fuck. God!  Let’s do as little as possible and then fly to some secret home and screw our brains out – cuz that seems like a good idea when people are trying to kill you, right? There was also a lot of multiple orgasms, that apparently only a vampire can give you, with lots of blood drinking. They managed to fall in love through all of it but by that time I truly didn’t care.

I have the third book right here but I’m debating on taking my chances. Will it be good like book 1 or horrible like book 2? IDK, what do you think? sigh Decisions, decisions.

Rating: 1 out of 5

This title is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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