Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Posted June 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-BrokaReviewer: Rowena
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Published by Speak
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
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three-stars

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

I’m not reading nearly as many YA books as I used to but when I came across this book, I was anxious to read it. This book is surrounded by the Romeo and Juliet play but it features a main character that is more Rosalind than Juliet.

Megan Harper has always been the girl that guys date before they find their meant-to-be partners. She’s become a flirt, the girl that keeps things casual because of her status as the girl before but when she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring writer who teams up with her to write a play and hook her up with the guy she wants to hook up with.

I normally don’t have any trouble jumping into a contemporary YA because things happen sort of fast in those books but for me, this book started off really slow and it was hard for me to connect with Megan. I didn’t hate her or anything like that, I just didn’t really care for her and what she was going through. It took me a little bit to warm up to Owen but once I did, I really warmed up to him.

When Megan gets cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Megan freaks out because she wants to be a director, not an actress. She was hoping for a small role to add to her college application and now, she’s got to deal with the pressures of acting and acting alongside her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for her best friend. Sure, she’s over the ex but not over how the ex made her feel when she dumped her for someone so close to her.

This story was a character driven story and because I wasn’t that invested in Megan’s character, the story moved slowly for me. I did end up enjoying the book but it took too long for me to care and that was a bummer. Megan is written to be that fun protagonist who has a rep of being the school slut, which I thought was pretty unfair but she didn’t let that stop her from living her life and I liked that she was okay with the person that she was. She made no apologies and she was out there living her best life. My issues with her character was I wasn’t that logged into what was going on. I didn’t really care about the play, the secondary characters weren’t fully fleshed out characters that I could get behind and the love interest, well it took a while for me to like him because I was low key bored throughout the first half of the book.

I did warm up to both Owen and Megan, more Owen than Meg and the book ended on a high note for me so overall, the story was decent but not a favorite of mine. I will be willing to try out more from this writing duo though.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthy

Posted June 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Holly
The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1) by Erin McCarthy
Series: The Jordan Brothers #1
Also in this series: The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers #1)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 218
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .


Sophie: Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .


Cain:
Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Don’t miss Bella and Christian’s story in The Breakup!

Sophie is on a break from school – where she’s working on her masters – for her sister’s wedding. She’s still a virgin, mostly because she’s been so focused on school she hasn’t had time for a relationship. She figures being in town for a week is the perfect time to take care of that little problem. Cain is drowning his pain and sorrow in alcohol after his twin brother betrayed him in the worst way. Booze and a new woman every night allow him to escape for at least a little while. He’s actually interested in Sophie’s sister at first, until Sophie’s unabashed honesty and blunt manners suck him in. He isn’t looking for any kind of entanglement, but he can’t just have her once. He keeps coming back for more. With Sophie leaving to go back to school soon, and Cain’s self-destructive bent, there’s no future for them. But neither of them can stay away….

I was concerned about the “I need to lose my virginity” angle at first, but it’s a small part of the story, rather than the major conflict. Sophie is so practical about it (and everything else), it wasn’t as big a deal as I expected it to be.

I think the romance moved a little fast for me. I know it ended in a HFN, but they were talking about getting married some day. Considering the entirety of their relationship was like 5 days, I don’t know if I buy they’ll go the distance.

View Spoiler »

I liked both Cain and Sophie. I liked how blunt and honest Sophie was. I loved her, period. She was fabulous from beginning to end. I think Cain had good reason to be angry (though I’m still salty we didn’t get to hear the brother’s explanation for why he did what he did). I feel like his personal growth and his decision at the end worked. He recognized he had a problem and took steps to fix it. I really liked them together, too. But to say 5 days of sleeping together, plus 1 date and then a drunken brawl makes for wuv, twu wuv? Not so much.

If I don’t think about it too much or focus on the short time frame, I loved this. Once I start thinking about it I struggle.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted May 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker, Troublemaker, Troublemaker, The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun...or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

Linda Howard is a long time favorite of mine, but her more recent books haven’t worked as well for me as her older ones. I went into this with some trepidation, but I ended up really enjoying it. Jina’s strength and determination really came through as she tried to earn her place on the GO-Team. Her snarky attitude and dry wit really carried the book. What might have been a story slogged down with minor details was instead fun and fresh because of Jina. Her constant muttering and threats, plus her sheer strength of will, had me cheering for her from the beginning. I enjoyed Levi and the other members of the GO-Team, as well as the political aspects, though that part of the story definitely took a backseat to Jina’s training.

Where I struggled was Jina’s decision at the end of the book. It was jarring and extremely problematic considering the content of the book. I’d have rather half the book been focused on her training and the other half her doing missions with the team.

View Spoiler »

There were some questions left unanswered and I hope we’ll see more books in the series in the future. Jina’s strength of will and determination made this an engaging read. The ending was problematic and pulled down my overall grade.

3.25 out of 5

GO-Team

three-half-stars


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Review: Dark Desires by Eve Silver

Posted May 8, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dark Desires by Eve SilverReviewer: Holly
Dark Desires by Eve Silver
Series: Dark Gothic #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 5, 2016
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Gothic, Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

"A dark and delicious gothic. I gobbled it up in a single sitting. Oh, how I have missed books like this!"--New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he's a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances ... and the murders.

With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man ... or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?

..".beguiling gothic tale..."--Bookpage

Dark Desires by Eve Silver is the first book in her Dark Gothic series. It’s currently free for Kindle. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for ages. I love Gothic novels. I was looking for something dark and decided to give it a try.

Darcie Finch is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who lost his fortune. Though she has the manners of a lady, she was betrayed by the person she held most dear and she’s now penniless and alone. Forced to be a maid-of-all-work, she accepts a position with Dr. Damien Cole, despite the dark rumors she’s heard about him. When he discovers her artistic abilities, he makes her his assistant. As she gets to know the doctor she struggles with her doubts and suspicions about him, and his strange comings and goings. The more she comes to care for him, the more she wonders if he’ll be her savior…or the death of her.

Dark Desires had a good creep factor, with the dark doctor doing nefarious things, creepy carriage house and pounding rain storms. There’s even a nod to Jack the Ripper. I wasn’t as fully invested in the characters and I’d hoped to be, and I kept waiting for a big twist that didn’t come. I enjoyed the romance, but I wish the characters had been developed a bit more.

Though this wasn’t a favorite read, I will be continuing on with the series. I’ve heard great things about Silver. I’m sure things only get better from here.

3.25 out of 5

I love these covers.

Dark Gothic

three-half-stars


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Review: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Posted March 13, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. ReizinReviewer: Holly
Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

When Tom and Jen, two lonely people, are brought together by an intriguing email, they have no idea their mysterious benefactor is an artificial intelligence who has decided to play Cupid.

"You, Tom and Jen, don't know one another-not yet-but I think you should."

Jen, an ex-journalist who now works at a London software development company, spends all day talking to "Aiden," an ultra- sophisticated piece of AI wizardry, helping him sound and act more human. But Aiden soon discovers he's no longer acting and-despite being a computer program-begins to feel something like affection surging through his circuits. He calculates that Jen needs a worthy human partner (in complete contrast to her no goodnik ex boyfriend) and slips illicitly onto the Internet to locate a suitable candidate.

Tom is a divorced, former London ad-man who has moved to Connecticut to escape the grind and pursue his dream of being a writer. He loves his new life, but has yet to find a woman he truly connects with. That all changes when a bizarre introduction from the mysterious "Mutual Friend" pops up in both his and Jen's inboxes.

Even though they live on separate continents, and despite the entrance of another, this time wholly hostile, AI who wants to tear them apart forever - love will surely find a way.

Won't it?

A thoroughly modern love story that will appeal to fans of The Rosie Project and Sleepless in Seattle, Happiness for Humans considers what exactly makes people fall in love. And whether it's possible for a very artificially intelligent machine to discover the true secret of real human happiness.

Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin is a rom-com with a touch of speculative fiction. I wouldn’t classify this as sci-fi, but there are elements.

Jen is a former magazine writer who was hired to help Aiden, an AI created to take over work in a call-center for an electric company, work on language and social skills. They spend their days discussing pop culture, watching old movies and going over the news. What Jen doesn’t know is that Aiden has escaped the lab onto the internet, and he’s been watching her. Concerned about her broken heart after a breakup, Aiden decides to find Jen the perfect mate.

Meanwhile, another AI named Aisling, has also escaped the lab. She’s currently fixated on Tom, a divorcee starting life over across the pond. She isn’t sure why she’s so fixated on him, but she can’t help but watch him. Though she’s mostly annoyed at Aiden’s bumbling attempts to find Jen love, soon they’re conspiring to get Tom and Jen together. Only matters of the heart aren’t as easy for a machine to manage as one might think – especially when they realize they’re being hunted by their creator.

I’m conflicted about this book. I’m fairly certain this was meant to be a romantic comedy, but I can’t deny there was a serious creep-factor as well. Aiden was at times adorable and creepy. That he “escaped” onto the internet and watched Jen without her knowledge or consent was freaky. He also took it upon himself to exact “revenge” on her cheating ex. I think it was meant to be funny, but I was mostly just freaked out. On the other hand, it was clear he’d developed friendly “feelings” toward Jen, and I thought his love of old movies and romantic novels was adorable. The other two AI’s, Aisling and Sinai, weren’t featured as prominently on page as Aiden. Sinai was an attack-and-destroy type AI, so “he” was creepier than them all, but I admit Aisling also had moments.

The middle was pretty slow, and I got frustrated with the lack of forward progress once Aiden and Aisling were “caught” in the internet. The ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as it could have been, but that may be because I was impatient for it.

Happiness for Humans is a funny, sweet romance with an underlying creep factor. When I finished the book I kind of wanted to hug Aiden and also go live off the grid somewhere.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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