Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena Diaz

Posted January 26, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena DiazReviewer: Jen
Final Exit by Lena Diaz
Series: EXIT Inc #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
three-stars

Lena Diaz concludes her sexy, suspenseful EXIT Inc. series as an FBI agent teams up with a beautiful assassin to uncover a deadly government conspiracy...

After a tragic mistake nearly destroyed his life, Special Agent Kade Quinn will do whatever it takes to save his career. His latest mission? Track and capture the remaining EXIT operatives to determine if they’re still a threat. But his next target—a stunning female assassin—is both elusive and dangerously appealing.

Bailey Stark has outsmarted the FBI so far, but she’s tired of running. Tired of watching her friends ambushed by government agents in tactical gear and never seen again. She suspects they aren’t being evaluated—they’re being exterminated—and she’s determined to convince Agent Quinn his mission is a lie before it’s too late. Bailey doesn’t want to rely on him. She definitely shouldn’t desire him. But she knows teaming up with the skilled, sexy agent may be her only hope.

Kade doesn’t want to believe Bailey’s claims, but he promises to keep her safe. Trusting one another is difficult. Fighting their attraction is harder. And as they uncover the disturbing truth behind his mission . . . staying alive will be nearly impossible.

I’ve been reading Diaz’s EXIT series from the beginning. I loved the premise–a secret “black ops” type organization that everyone thought was helping the good guys ends up doing some bad things due to a leader with another agenda. We see piles of these black ops groups in romance, and I was very interested in the idea of them crossing the line of good vs bad and how operatives who thought they were the good guys would react. While I enjoyed it, the series never quite lived up to its potential.

This final book centers on Bailey, a former EXIT assassin on the run. Kade is the government agent hunting her, but she keeps alluding his grasp (because she is a super BAMF). Bailey knows EXIT agents caught by the government for “evaluation” are ending up dead instead, and she has no plans to be one of them. Kade believes he’s simply rounding up agents so they can be debriefed and assessed to see if they were part of the bad contingent that took over EXIT. When Bailey tells him the truth, he doesn’t believe it, but his sense of honor compels him to look into the matter further, and he starts to realize something hinky is going on. Eventually he throws in with Bailey and resolves to help her get to the bottom of things.

Bailey was great. She’s tough, brilliant, and loyal to her friends. She can more than hold her own with all the boys in her field! I liked that Kade is tough and smart too. He and Bailey are evenly matched, and it leads to some good tension, sexual and otherwise. There is a lot of fast paced action that kept me reading, and I liked getting the resolution to this series.

The overall series just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to, though. There are tons of not-very-memorable characters, and even though I’ve read the whole series I still struggled to remember who everyone was. Mostly, I didn’t think that the really big issues were explored like they should have been. For instance, all these assassins truly believed they were doing “good” deeds and killing people who deserved it. Finding out that you were killing people based on grudges and selfish interests? That is huge! I would have liked to see more discussion of how the EXIT operatives felt about the situation. What does a revelation like this mean about secret, off-the-book organizations? How will all these operatives live with what they’ve done going forward? Those issues were briefly touched on, but not given any depth. It was a major lost opportunity, in my opinion.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-stars


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Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted October 3, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsReviewer: Rowena
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publication Date: January 13th 2015
Genres: Suspense, Thrillers, Contemporary
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAMERachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAYAnd then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I read this book for book club at my friend Ames suggestion. We got a request for a mystery or a thriller for this month’s book and Ames thought this book fit the bill, especially since the movie was coming out soon as well. It worked out really well. Our discussion for this book had me riled up one minute and then laughing like a lunatic the next. It was a great discussion book so thanks Ames!

Anyway, so this book follows drunk ass Rachel, hoe ass Megan and punk ass Anna. They’re three different women, living three different lives. Rachel is a drunk that pretends to go to work every day but really just rides the train back and forth. Megan is married with benefits only her husband doesn’t know about her side benefits and Anna..Anna is the punk ass that stole Rachel’s husband. Rachel watches Megan and her husband Scott every day on the train because Megan lives on her old block (that she used to live on with Anna’s husband) and it’s near the train. She becomes curious about this couple that is living their life on display from the train. Rachel can see their morning routines, she can see when they’re happy and when they’re not happy. Their lives play out every day for Rachel to see so when Megan goes missing, the news is lit with news story after news story about Megan and her disappearance.

Rachel has not moved on from loving her ex-husband Tom. She’s a raging alcoholic who blacks out when she drinks too much but she doesn’t even care because she still drinks too much, all the time. Rachel has a tendency of showing up or calling Tom every week and Anna is fed up with her shit. Anna hates Rachel and while I can understand where she’s coming from, I didn’t sympathize with Anna much and that was mainly because she was a bitch.

Megan’s disappearance shakes up the neighborhood. It shakes up Rachel too because Rachel was on the block that night but she drank so much that she can’t remember much about it. Her memory is coming back to her in bits and pieces and because it took her so long to figure things out, I wanted to punch her in the tits. She got herself involved in shit she had no business getting herself into and for what? A whole lot of trouble. I have to admit that there were times when I wanted her to get choked the hell out because WHY RACHEL? WHY???? GET YOUR LIFE RACHEL!!!

Megan’s story was equally messed up because she was messed up. I didn’t connect with her character at all so her being missing didn’t really affect me one way or the other. And Anna? Ugh, she’s another one that I wanted to punch in the tits because she was just awful. She showed no remorse for falling in love with another woman’s husband and she was actually a bit proud of herself and ugh, I wasn’t about being her friend.

The mystery surrounding Megan’s disappearance was what kept me from DNF-ing this book. The beginning was hard to get through because all I wanted to do was pull Rachel’s hair or kick her out of Cathy’s apartment but the last part of the book when everything starts coming together, I couldn’t put the book down to save my life. Everything was happening and light was being shed on the case and I couldn’t get enough. When the villain is revealed, I was so shocked that I tried lurching up in bed and my iPad fell on my face. So in the end, I was glad that I read the book but it was a trial to get through because everyone was so unlikable. Even Scott.

But you know what??? I can’t wait for the movie!

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Body Rocks by A.M. Arthur

Posted July 22, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review:  Body Rocks by A.M. ArthurReviewer: Tracy
Body Rocks by A. M. Arthur
Series: Off Beat series #1
Also in this series: Steady Stroke
Published by Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Romance, LGBT, Gay, m/m
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three-half-stars

Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country...too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member of XYZ.

Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?

Trey and Dominic meet under unusual circumstances.  Dominic is at an open mic night in Trey’s hometown and he blows Trey away with his violin playing rock songs.  The crowd loves it too and asks for more but Dominic’s not prepared.  Trey, who is a band called Fading Daze is called up to play keyboards with him and the two make magical music together.  It helps that they’re incredibly attracted to each other as well and end up together in a car in the boondocks where it proves to be Trey’s first time. The two – who each normally only do hookups – decide that they really like the other and exchange phone numbers.

The next night Trey hears from his roommates and band members that the band XYZ is in town.  They were the band that stole Fading Daze’s drummer away and left them in a lurch for a huge music competition that they were part of.  The trio decides to check out XYZ and Trey’s shocked when he sees Dominic in the band on keyboard!  Luckily Trey and Dominic like each other enough to work it out between them but they keep the secret from all of their band mates except for Trey’s friend Danielle who just happens to find out about them.

Life isn’t easy trying to keep their relationship on the down low when their bands are rivals but they manage.  Dominic is out and proud but Trey, while he doesn’t exactly hide the fact he’s gay he doesn’t shout it from the mountain tops either.  He has a great rapport with Danielle on stage and while they’ve never said that they were a couple they never dissuaded anyone from believing that.  Trey’s not sure he’s ready to come out and lose fans right before the big competition, Unbound.  When XYZ gets a spot at Unbound as well Trey and Dom are happy that they’ll get to be together but they’re torn about winning.  They each want to win for their own reasons but they want the other to win as well.

When someone at the competition decides that Trey and Dom’s sex life would look good on camera and Trey denies any involvement with Dom things get rocky.  When a secret from Dom’s past comes out and Dom gets emotionally distraught, things get rocky, when a tragic accident stops one of the bands from performing in the national Unbound competition, things get rocky.  Fortunately for these two men their love is strong enough to see things through.

This was a sweet story that was pretty angst-filled. Dom had some serious issues because of something in his past, Trey had a horrible family he didn’t talk to, Dom’s friend Lincoln had been kicked out of his house for being gay, the drummer from Fading Daze was stolen away, there was an accident.  I mean, really, while it was a good m/m story, it was pretty dark as well.  I liked how the two men worked things out eventually but I wish they could have not been so quick with the anger and worked it out easier.  I guess that showed their age as they were just around 21 years old.

I have to say that I really loved the family love when it came to Dominic’s family.  They were the best.  They were kind, loving, understanding, supportive – just all around good people.  I loved that the boys had a safe place where they could be themselves and not worry about the outside world.

The issue I had with the relationship was that since it all happened so quickly there just wasn’t a lot of tension between the two and not a lot of buildup.  I liked them together but quite frankly the sexual tension wasn’t there for me.

Overall I thought it was a decent start to the series.  I am curious to see what happens next in the lives of these band members so I’ll be reading the next book when it comes out.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Good Together by Valentina Heart

Posted May 20, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Good Together by Valentina HeartReviewer: Tracy
Good Together by Valentina Heart
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: May 4th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, m/m
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three-stars

A legacy of bullying and insecurity has left its mark on Troy, affecting all his interactions in the present. Adam is an ex-hockey player turned tattoo artist who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go after it. But no matter how hard he tried, time and again he sends the easily scared Troy running.

Though both are nearly convinced it could never work between them, they agree to give it one more try. But then bad luck and fate conspire to leave Adam floundering to reach Troy while Troy worries over losing touch with Adam.

 

Troy was bullied horrible all through school and he’s understandably leery around people he doesn’t know or look as if they can hurt him in any way.  He was dating a guy named Gabriel for a short time but they didn’t work out.  When, a few months after they break up, Gabriel’s twin Michael calls Troy up and asks him to go out with him and some friends, he agrees.  He has a good time but he’s attracted to a guy named Adam.  He’s attracted but scared at the same time. Adam is tattooed, muscular and has a bushy beard.  He just doesn’t feel safe around him.

Adam is smitten with Troy from minute one but can’t understand what he’s done to garner the cold shoulder from Troy.  Things will go well for a bit and then Troy will turn on the ice and Adam is just confused.

Once the pair confess their pasts to each other they decide to start again but when Adam seems to fall out of communication, Troy is worried that he’s done something to scare Adam off.

This was a cute yet pretty simple story.  It wasn’t very long so Troy and Adam get together pretty quickly despite Troy’s misgivings about Adam.  Once they get to know each other things are good but they’re hardly together before Adam has to leave on a family emergency and his phone is ruined so he can’t call Troy.  I’m thinking that the ruined phone was added in to build tension between the two MC’s but it really didn’t do all that much.  Once Adam was back Troy and him were then a couple.  I would have liked to have seen them draw the romance out a bit more so that they could get to know each other better.  That didn’t happen but it was still a cute story.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone

Posted April 20, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth BaroneReviewer: Tracy
The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone
Published by Booktrope Publishing
Publication Date: January 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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three-stars

Single dad Max isn’t looking for love—he only needs someone to help take care of his two-year-old daughter, Chloe. Or so he thinks. After being kicked out of his parents’ house, he’s determined to make it on his own. But juggling a full-time job, an undergrad program, and childcare is pretty much impossible. When his best friend jokingly suggests he post an ad for a live-in nanny on Craigslist, he goes for it. After all, he has nothing to lose… right?

When artist Savannah quickly responds to his ad, Max is thrilled. Her resume is perfect and Chloe seems to like her, despite the slightly menacing tattoos decorating her arm. Savannah brings a light and warmth into his life that he never thought possible. Max hasn’t so much as dated since Chloe was born, but he’s willing to give it a shot with Savannah. There’s just one problem.

Everything is perfect just the way it is. Even his daughter is happy. If he messed up things up with Savannah, how could he ever forgive himself?

Max is 20 years old and has a 2-year-old daughter, Chloe, and he is the sole custodial parent.  His ex-girlfriend is not in their lives at all.  Max lives with his parents while he goes to college to get his elementary education degree and he also works at a music store.  His mother has been taking care of Chloe when needed but Max’s mother finally tells him she can’t do it any longer as she has no free time for herself and then not only quits as his daycare provider but then kicks him out of the house.

Within a couple of days Max is in an apartment with Chloe but he’s stuck for daycare.  He gets his best friend Riley to watch Chloe occasionally but it’s not enough.  He decides to put an ad on Craigslist for a live-in nanny.  He only gets one response from a girl named Savannah.  He’s leery about hiring her as she has skull tattoos up and down one arm but he’s desperate so his hires her.

Savannah is great with Chloe and she works out well but soon Max is having feelings for Savannah and they end up sleeping together.  A misunderstanding about Max’s ex (Chloe’s mother) has Savannah moving out. Eventually they work things out and get their HEA but not before Max grows up a bit and learns to stand on his own two feet.

While this was a cute story I can’t say that I thoroughly loved any of characters – except for little Chloe.  At first I felt sorry for Max when his mother kicked him out of the house, especially as they had let all of his older 4 brothers live there while they were getting their undergrad degrees.  They also gave his 4 older brothers cars when they graduated high school and Max got “a lecture, a box of condoms and a baby shower.”  While I can see why they did all of that it really irked me that the parents would treat Max so poorly.  I mean – he’s got a daughter…wouldn’t the grandparents want to get him a car that is safe?  I didn’t get that at all. Overall I understood where they were coming from, and got that they wanted Max to stand on his own two feet but I didn’t like the fact that they treated Max so differently from the rest of the family. Then as the book went on I got pretty sick of Max whining about things.  He was a good father to Chloe, even though he had insecurities about that.   I didn’t care for him not fighting for Savannah when the shit hit the fan and then “getting” with his ex but was happy when he finally stood up to the ex.

I liked Savannah at times but she acted kind of high and mighty about Max not teaching his daughter about her Puerto Rican heritage and she seemed condescending about Max’s family as well.  She did seem like a good person thought and was happy when the two finally got back together.

Overall it was a cute story.  The romance was pretty sparse and interjected into places.  I would have loved to see more tension between the H/h prior to them sleeping together.  I just didn’t feel the connection as much as I think I should have.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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