Tag: 1.5 Reviews

Review: Torn by K.A. Robinson

Posted July 6, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Torn by K.A. RobinsonReviewer: Holly
Torn by K.A. Robinson
Series: Torn #1
Published by Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 17 2013
Pages: 268
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-half-stars

Chloe hasn't had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Falling for Drake was never part of her plans, but when it happens, things seem to do anything but fall into place.

Dealing with a tragic past, Drake has never cared about anyone else but himself and his band. But when Chloe takes the empty seat next to him in class, things start to change. Instantly drawn to her, he begins to wonder if one girl can take a cold hearted womanizer and change every part of him?

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.

This is a New Adult about Chloe, who goes to college with her two best friends, Logan and Amber. Logan is in love with her but she doesn’t know it. She falls for bad boy, Drake, who plays in a band – but who is really super sweet and not bad at all. She wants to go for it with him until Logan tells her he’s in love with her and Drake tells her he isn’t the kind for a relationship so she should go for it with Logan. She does, but the attraction between her and Drake doesn’t go away, so she ends up cheating on Logan. Twice. Which causes her to have much angst and guilt. Add into it drama from her mama, and it’s kind of a hot mess.

Chloe is childish and frustrating. She constantly falls back on the old “I have mommy issues” thing to excuse all of her terrible behavior. She whines, she cheats, she lies, she blows hot and cold. If she had stepped up and owned her behavior maybe, maybe I could have worked with it. As it stands? No. Just no.

Logan was controlling and pushy, so I’m not sure why she decided to start dating him. And don’t get me started on the way Amber bailed on Chloe as soon as the going got rough. Yes, she was acting like an idiot, but a true friend would have told her that, rather than giving her the silent treatment until Logan said it was okay to be friends again.

To be totally honest, I’m not even sure why I finished it. I should have stopped as soon as Mr. Maddox was referenced. I knew then I was going to have problems with the story.

It ends in a cliffhanger of sorts (with Chloe’s psycho mom coming back into the picture) and the blurb for the next book, Twisted, makes me want to poke my eyes out, so I’ll definitely be stopping here.

1.5 out of 5

This book is available from Atria Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

one-half-stars

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Guest Review: The Scandalous Duke Takes a Bride by Tiffany Clare

Posted March 27, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

the scandalous duke takes a brideJen’s review of The Scandalous Duke Takes a Bride (Dangerous Rogues #3) by Tiffany Clare

FRIENDS AND LOVERS…

As a wealthy young widow, Lady Jessica Heyer must endure the closest of scrutiny and most wicked of rumors from society gossips. Their whispers would be utterly unbearable if it weren’t for her oldest friend, the Duke of Alsborough. Jessica knows she can always count on Hayden. What she never could have expected, however, is that he is deeply, madly in love with her…

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD

For years, Hayden has kept his longing for his beautiful friend Jessica a secret. But now that she’s finally free to remarry, will she be willing to take their relationship to a more intimate level? He’ll get his answer soon—at a glittering masquerade, where identities are hidden, hearts are open, and true love is unmasked…in a single, shameless act of passion.

Lady Jessica Heyer is recently widowed, but she’s certainly not in mourning. Her husband was a horrible person, so frankly she’s thrilled to be rid of him. Due to her husband’s slandering of her character as well as her own crazy behavior, she’s on the verge of being entirely shunned from society and left penniless and homeless. Her close friend Hayden, the Duke of Alsborough, has been secretly in love with her for years, and he sticks by her through her ordeal. Jessica and Hayden have to fend off the continued attacks on her character, deal with her late husband’s heir who is planning to eject her from her house, and negotiate their own changing relationship.

I admit, this book was a huge slog. I really wanted to put it aside after only a few chapters, but I kept on with it for you, dear readers! The characters are wooden and unlikable. Jessica in particular was nearly intolerable for me for most of the book. She’s childish and melodramatic, and she persists in destructive behavior, even when she knows the stakes. For instance, she insists on not dressing in mourning clothes for her husband’s funeral, knowing that it will only hurt her image when she’s on the verge of being ostracized. She drags Hayden to a debauched party with little more than a flimsy mask to disguise her, despite the fact that she can’t afford to add more scandal to her name. She schemes and plots and connives to try and outsmart her opponents, but then won’t share her plans with Hayden even when he can and does help. And the worst is that she drags Hayden into all these messes with her! She keeps claiming to care so much about his friendship, but she sure doesn’t show it in her actions. Except then she adamantly refuses to marry him because she wants to “protect” him. She knows marriage to an aristocrat would help alleviate many of her problems. She’d rather pursue someone she didn’t know (assuming she could even get anyone interested, which seems pretty unlikely given her reputation) than marry her best friend, who she admits she’s attracted to and who she knows is in love with her. Even when he comes through with genuine, useful assistance and shows that he really does have the clout to turn things around for her, she resists. At this point I was just WTFing nearly every word that came out of her mouth. Jessica does go through some really awful stuff, mostly at the hands of her husband, and I could appreciate the difficult situation she was in. It’s not that I didn’t want her to be conniving or a little “bad,” but it was hard to side with her when I felt like most everything she did in the book was for selfish reasons. She befriends people when it benefits her; she pulls Hayden along when she needs him but pushes him away when she doesn’t; she does outrageous things but then acts all asshurt when society doesn’t like it. I really didn’t enjoy reading about her!

Hayden isn’t as horrible, but there’s not much substance there either. I didn’t understand why he really loved Jessica or what he wanted from life, beyond her. Hayden and Jessica are also part of a group of good friends; the other two friends, Leo and Tristan, are the subject of the other books in the series. The friendships are just one of the many unbelievable elements of this book. Jessica is “best friends” with three single men and, in the past at least, routinely spent nights out on the town with them. I seriously doubt that this would have been tolerated in Victorian times. Plus given how controlling her husband was, I don’t know why he’d ever condone her continued friendship with the men. She is constantly alone with one of them, including having them in her bedroom! Her husband is evil to the point of ridiculousness, even setting up torment for her from beyond the grave. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I didn’t understand why her husband did the Big Evil Thing he did either. None of it made sense to me.

Leo and Tristan’s stories carry over in significant ways into this one, and since I hadn’t read the other books it did make it a bit hard to follow all the threads. I didn’t like how the last part of this book is spent in what is essentially another friend’s story–Jessica and Hayden have to help their friend Tristan in a dual over his heroine from book #2. We also see the conclusion of Leo’s relationship with his lady. It was strange to basically get to Hayden and Jessica’s confessions of love and what felt like the end only to keep going with what seemed like entirely new stories. I guess the upside, however, is that the change of direction meant we weren’t stuck hearing only about Jessica!

Adding together the supremely unlikable heroine, the other forgettable characters, and the disjointed, unbelievable plot, this book just didn’t work for me unfortunately.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. 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: Seeking Her by Cora Carmack

Posted March 7, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Rowena’s review of Seeking Her (Losing It #3.5) by Cora Carmack.

Jackson Hunt gets his turn in this Finding It prequel novella …

Jackson Hunt hasn’t been out of the military for long, but he needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he is going to keep his demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.

Becoming bodyguard (and babysitter) to spoiled rich girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he had in mind, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away. The catch: Kelsey’s father doesn’t want her to know she’s being followed.

She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When Jackson sees her falling into the same patterns he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know Kelsey is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her, the more he wants her.

*There may be spoilers from FINDING IT in this review so please read at your own risk.*

I love the New Adult genre.  I love that the protagonist and love interest are at the points in their lives when they’re first out on their own and can truly immerse themselves in finding out who they really are and what they were meant to be.  I love the idea that the characters are past the drama of high school and they’re living their lives for themselves, and not always for their parents.

What I don’t like about the NA genre is that most of the books that I’m reading are only from the heroine’s perspective.  The heroes don’t get any page time (well, the kind of page time that we want) but months after their book comes out, we get a novella from the hero’s perspective.  A bone to the die hard fans, I’m sure but I’m always left feeling disappointed after reading these novellas and this one is no exception.

If you read Finding It then you don’t need to read this one.  Why? Because this book is a replay of certain scenes from that book, coming from Hunt’s POV.  It’s nothing fresh or new, it’s just more of the same of things we already knew.  Hunt was hired by Kelsey’s father to kind of watch out for her and keep him informed of what Kelsey is getting up to on her trip abroad.  So Hunt does what he’s hired to do.  He follows Kelsey around.  He develops opinions of Kelsey and an interest in her that he can’t shake, no matter how much he wants to.

The thing about this story is it’s not really a story.  It’s just part of a story.  There’s a beginning but there’s no end.  The story just stops..and those kinds of endings drive me up the freaking wall.  This novella was supposed to give us insight into Jackson Hunts life but I didn’t feel like I knew him any better by reading this story than I did when I read Finding It.  And that’s disappointing because I went into this book, wanting to like it and it just didn’t work for me.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from William Morrow Impulse.  You can purchase this book here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Play by Play by Kate Donovan.

Posted January 11, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Play by Play
Rowena’s review of Play by Play by Kate Donovan.

Former college football star Jake Dublin’s wildly popular sports blog also details his personal life. And lately it’s all about Sophie, the pretty young woman who just moved into his apartment building. His readers know her only as “Elevator Girl,” and they’re all rooting for Jake to score.

The blog posts and banter with his followers are all in good fun, and he fully intends to come clean with the woman he’s wooing and wowing. That is, until she confides that she grew up in a house full of jocks and even dated a few. Her verdict? Never again!

Jake knows he needs to confess. But somewhere along the line he fell in love with Sophie and can’t stand the thought of losing her. So he procrastinates, and blogs, and digs himself deeper into a hole, until it all leads to a showdown that’s so nail-biting, not even the best play-by-play guy could ever have seen it coming.

This was a novella featuring Jake Dublin, freelance writer who has a popular sports blog. On this sports blog he talks about whatever he wants to talk about. Most of it is sports but from time to time, he blogs about his personal life and when he meets his new neighbor, she makes it onto his blog. He’s completely smitten with this girl and wants to get to know her so when she shoots him down that first time, Jake takes to his blog and talks about it. The closer they get, Jake starts to realize that he needs to come clean about who he is and what he’s doing on his blog. Sophie (aka Elevator Girl from the blog) really likes Jake and she likes that he likes whatever she likes and that he’s hot and well, just a lot of things. One of those things that she loves about him? That he doesn’t like sports (haha). The story takes place while Jake is trying to come clean to the girl that he’s quickly falling for and the fallout from what happens when she finally realizes who he is.

This was a short story and it definitely felt like it was a short story. It really could have been a cute story but there was so much cheese thrown in that by the middle of the story, I almost DNF’d it. Jake was a likable character and I thought his blog was pretty decent as well. It was actually pretty funny to see his readership get really into the stories that Jake posted about Elevator Girl. Not once did I think that Jake was this phony guy in his interactions with Sophie but holy goodness Sophie was kind of dumb. I mean, the fickle way that she was about Jake liking sports. First it’s a really good thing that he hates sports and she really likes that he hates sports and then she wants him to like sports just a little bit because sports is a huge part of her family. The connection that Sophie had with Jake’s favorite football coach made me roll my eyes down the street and her cousins? They didn’t come off as protective brothers, they came off as idiot jocks that I couldn’t be bothered with.

I went into this story, wanting to like it and while there were times when I laughed, for the most part I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care for Sophie as a character, I didn’t understand why Jake fell so hard for her. I didn’t like her at all. Her whole wishy-washy crap and then the way she reacted to Jake’s blog, ugh….it was all just so juvenile. When the book ended, I was glad. It just wasn’t for me.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from Beyond the Page Publishing. 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: Deeper by Blue Ashcroft

Posted December 21, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Deeper by Blue AshcroftReviewer: Holly
Deeper by Blue Ashcroft
Series: Lifeguards #1
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: November 3rd 2013
Pages: 226
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-half-stars

Rain Wilson isn't ever going to love again.

It's a promise she made the day her boyfriend died in a water park accident, one she still blames herself for. Now she's a senior lifeguard in a new town with a new pool and she's just going to keep her head down and everyone safe. Until a mysterious guy follows her into the waves at the pre-season bonfire and kisses her senseless. It's just one mistake, and Rain is determined to put it behind her, until the dark haired, blue eyed hottie turns out to be her new co-supervisor Knight Mcallister.

Knight is hot, tatted, and carrying baggage of his own. He's not happy about having Rain for a co-supervisor, and he's even less happy about his attraction to her. But between lifeguard drama, hot underwater kisses, and a growing attraction between them that can't be stopped, Knight and Rain are being pulled deeper into their pasts, and realizing that sometimes too much broken can make a relationship impossible.

Then again sometimes it's the broken parts of us that fit together best.

 

Fair warning, this book is focused on some heavy issues: death, rape and suicide.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t deal well with either issue. What could have been a gritty, emotionally compelling read was instead boring and a little ridiculous. I felt no connection to either character or to the story. The lifeguard training was probably the most interesting thing about the book and that wasn’t even all that interesting.

Due to an accident involving the death of a boy that Rain blames herself for, she’s made a vow to never have sex or fall in love. She figures if the boy who died doesn’t have the option of living a happy life, neither should she. She locked herself in her dorm room her entire freshman year at college and is determined to keep to herself at her summer lifeguard job. Which seems easy enough until she meets her co-manager, Knight.

Knight is struggling with his own demons; his girlfriend died when he was in high school and he doesn’t want to get involved. Rain makes him feel things he never thought he’d feel again and he doesn’t like it. But he’s drawn to her and can’t seem to stay away. Because of events from his past he feels the need to protect all women, especially Rain. She’s determined to help others, even if it’s at the detriment of her own safety.

Knight isn’t sure he can be with someone who deliberately puts herself in danger…and Rain isn’t sure she can be with someone who won’t allow her to make decisions for herself.

Rain’s reasons for keeping her distance from everyone made little sense past a superficial level. Knight’s need to protect and save made a little more sense based on his past, but wasn’t written well. Instead of coming off as a bit damaged and over-protective, he read as chauvinistic. That she allowed – even encouraged – such behavior in him killed all her claims of being ‘strong’ and ‘independent’.

I think the big problem is the lack of connection I felt to either character or the tragedies they suffered. I wasn’t invested enough to care what happened one way or another.

The hours I spent reading this are ones I can’t get back, and that makes me sad.

1.5 out of 5

This book is self-published. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

one-half-stars

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