Tag: 3.25 Reviews

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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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


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Throwback Thursday Review: Hunting Julian by Jacquelyn Frank

Posted March 1, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Hunting Julian by Jacquelyn FrankReviewer: Holly
Hunting Julian (Gatherers, #1) by Jacquelyn Frank
Series: Gatherers #1
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: January 1st 2010
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 332
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As an Advocate for his colony, Julian Sawyer travels to Earth to bring back the Chosen--women who possess energy potent enough to help revitalize his people. The stunning, silver-clad beauty who strides into his club one night radiates a sensual magnetism unlike any he's encountered, and Julian realizes that Asia Callahan is not just Chosen, she is his kindra: his one true mate.

For months, Asia has tracked the beautiful and mysterious Julian across the country, convinced that he's behind the disappearance of her sister and a dozen other women. She's prepared to believe he's a ruthless killer, but when she presents herself as bait, she discovers that the truth is far more shocking. Taken to a strange, hazardous realm she never knew existed, Asia will face the ultimate choice--between abandoning the life she's always known, and forsaking a passion as dangerous as it is powerful.

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This book was originally posted on February 16, 2011.

I picked this up on a whim out of my TBR pile. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a sci-fi novel featuring aliens from a different plane of existence. Despite my lukewarm feelings about the premise in the beginning, I admit the story sucked me in the more I read. I enjoyed the world. Frank’s description of Beneath and the creatures that inhabit it were well done. I also enjoyed Julian. Though it was hard to take his actions in the beginning, I think Frank did a fairly credible job of redeeming him.

Asia was harder to take. Although I understood her actions in the beginning (if I’d been kidnapped I image I’d have tried to escape/flout authority, too) they became increasingly hard to excuse away as the novel progressed. Although that isn’t my main issue. My main issue was her insistence that she “wasn’t made for forevers and happily ever afters”. That’s it. That was all the resistance between her and Julian. It wasn’t the fact that she was from Earth and he wasn’t, or that he brought her to his world without her permission, or that his people needed her to feed them energy, all of which I could have understood. Instead it was just “eh, I’m not a HEA type of girl”. She based this on nothing more than the fact that she was jaded and hadn’t ever had a lasting relationship. Considering the amount of resistance she put up, that was a very flimsy excuse.

Beyond that, there were several holes in the plot. The idea that Julian and Asia had to have sex in order to feed his people energy was somewhat outlandish, but so was the rest of the plot, so I could set that aside. It was harder to set aside disbelief over other things, such as the way Julian and Asia constantly fought with each other. That hampered the progress of the romance, so I didn’t find their feelings for each other believable.

I did like that Frank added more depth to the “destined” angle of the plot. Though Julian and Asia were “kindra”, meaning soul-mates, they didn’t immediately fall in love or accept they were meant to be together forever. Well, Julian did, but that’s to be expected since he’d grown up with the knowledge that it might happen. The fact that Asia resisted simply because it was “meant to be” was refreshing when compared to many other novels featuring the same trope.

Having said that, I’m willing to cut the novel a little slack because it’s the first of a new series. I did enjoy the world enough that I plan to read the next entry, Stealing Kathryn.

3.25 out of 5


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Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

Posted February 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Rowena
Shot on Gold (Play by Play, #14) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #14
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13), Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Score, opposites attract when a figure skater and hockey player lace up their skates--and go for the gold...

Will "Mad Dog" Madigan is making his second trip to the Winter Games, and he couldn't be happier. Hockey is his life and playing for the U.S. team is a privilege. Then he meets U.S. figure skater Amber Sloane. She's beautiful, ambitious and driven--everything Will desires in a woman. He would love to show Amber how hot life off the ice can be.

Amber has skated her entire life, sacrificing everything in the hopes of one day winning gold. Now she's competing for the third and final time. She intends to win, and nothing's going to get in her way--until she meets Will. He's an irresistible charmer, and before long Amber is wondering if this sexy hockey player is the perfect guy to show her some moves outside the rink.

But after all the medals have been awarded, Will and Amber will have to decide if what they have together is just a fling or a real shot at true love.

Shot on Gold is the fourteenth book in the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton and it was a sweet romance. Both the hero and the heroine were so sweet and so polite to each other and they were super nice and all of that but that’s pretty much it.

This book follows Will “Mad Dog” Madigan and Amber Sloane as they fall in love during the Winter Olympics. They’re both competing in the Games and they meet in the athlete’s village and their romance takes off right from the very beginning.

Will is at his second Olympics with the US Men’s Hockey team and this time around, he wants to experience the whole thing with a clear head and make actual memories. His first time around, he won the silver medal with his team and he remembers a lot of alcohol, lots of women and lots of partying. He’s older now so he wants to savor the experience and he wants to help his team win the elusive gold medal. He’s serious business this time around so when he meets Amber Sloane, he’s definitely interested and wouldn’t mind a little female company during the two-week international tournament.

Amber Sloane is competing in her last Winter Olympics. She’s an ice skater who has always put skating above everything else and while she is a very decorated athlete, she doesn’t have a gold medal and she doesn’t have any friends. She’s twenty-four years old and she vows to have some fun during these Olympic games because she deserves a bit of fun after all of her hard work. She’s ready to compete for that gold and she is very confident that this is her year to finally win it. Her one friend is a Canadian snowboarder and they’re roommates again so Amber knows that if anyone can help her let loose a little, it’s Lisa. When Lisa takes her a party, Amber meets Will and she’s just as attracted to him as he is to her and she’s determined that he will be the person that she gets cozy with and he doesn’t disappoint.

Over the course of the two weeks that they’re both competing in Vancouver at the Olympic Games, Will and Amber fall into a relationship that is pretty hot and super steamy. They get closer and closer and they spend as much time as they can together and everything is just peachy. Being together makes them happy and it shows in their performance in the games. Will is killing it on the ice and so is Amber. Everything is perfect. Nothing is ever wrong, except for a few mean words from Amber’s Mom…and I think that was my problem with the book. There weren’t any real conflicts in the romance and the conflict that we do get, happens after the games and to be honest, it was pretty weak.

This book reads like a fairy tale where everyone is accepted and everyone wins a gold medal and while that’s fine, I wanted more meat from the story. The romance itself worked but outside of that, everything was pretty tame. Everyone got along, there was no drama between any of the athletes and I expected…more. I finished this book wanting more. I would have enjoyed the setting and the environment a whole lot more if something actually happened instead of happy, happy, joy, joy, all the time. So while the romance was sweet, the rest of the story low key needed more umph for me.

Play by Play Series

Grade: 3 out of 5


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Guest Review: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan

Posted January 12, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie JordanReviewer: Tracy
Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan
Series: Devil's Rock #4
Also in this series: All Chained Up (Devil's Rock #1), Fury on Fire
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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From the wrong side of the tracks and with most of her family in jail or dead, Piper Walsh is used to everyone in town thinking the worst about her. It doesn’t seem to matter that she’s worked hard to build a good life for herself. So she isn’t surprised that when she comes into contact with Sweet Hill’s wildly irresistible, arrogant sheriff, Hale Walters, they’re instant adversaries. Piper has nothing in common with the town golden-boy-turned-lawman—and she refuses to be a notch on his bedpost.

Despite rumors, Hale avoids fooling around with the women of Sweet Hill, many of whom are hoping to get him to the altar. But staying out of Piper’s path is proving near impossible. The infuriating troublemaker clearly has no respect for his badge. As she continues to push his buttons, it becomes clear to Hale that he must either arrest Piper—or claim her as his own.

Piper Walsh is working as a waitress in strip club.  She doesn’t dance, just serves drinks.  She hates it, but she has to provide for her younger sister who she is guardian of while her brother is in prison.  When Piper’s sister gets into trouble and Piper is called in to the Sheriff station to pick her up she’s not happy.  She’s even more unhappy when she loses her job because of it and can’t find another one.  She finally bites the bullet and tells the owner of the strip club that she’ll do lap dances but nothing else.  When Hale Walters, the know-it-all-but-incredibly-hot sheriff walks in and gets a lap dance it goes way farther than Piper or Hale expect it to.

Hale is hot for Piper and doesn’t understand why everyone treats her like crap.  Sure, he’s done his fair share of being judgmental, but the more he gets to know her the more he sees that she’s not a bad person.  He saves her bacon in the job department and eventually Hale and Piper start a hot and intense relationship.  But will everyone else’s opinions end up tearing them apart?

This was a good book – very hot with a good story.  I liked the mystery of why Piper’s brother was in prison – they kept alluding to it but not actually coming out and telling us why he was in Devil’s Rock.  Piper was amazing.  She would do what it took to take care of her younger sister and loved her brother so much that she refused to move away even when she couldn’t find a job better than lap-dancing. I loved that about her.  She had grit and wasn’t afraid to live a hard life.  She hated it, but she did it.

Hale was a great character as well and while at first I thought he was an ass, he definitely grew on me as the pages were turned.

My issues with the book really stemmed from the lack of romance in this one.  Yes, they were hot in bed together but I needed more in their relationship to take this book up a few notches in the “like” department.  I definitely liked it enough to look into reading the other Devil’s Rock books – this was my first intro into the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Devils Rock Series


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Review: The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 25, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Time in Between by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
The Time in Between (Magdalene, #3) by Kristen Ashley
Series: Magdalene #3
Also in this series: The Will, Soaring
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 563
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After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Time in Between! I really enjoyed the first two books and I couldn’t wait for Ashley to get back to the town of Magdalene, Maine. This is a second-chance love story and I ate up the first half of the romance. Sadly, the second half of the book kind of fizzled. They reconciled and were fully committed to each other by the 45% mark. The other 55% was just them living their lives. I don’t mind a bit of “after the HEA” in a novel, but when more than half the book is dedicated to them brushing their teeth, eating, going to work and just hanging out? Well…it was kind of boring. I liked catching up with the other couples and the residents of Magdalene, and I enjoyed watching Coert and Cady settle in to each other, but I’d have liked it more if it didn’t’ go on for so long.

There are two things I want to comment on. 1) in Kristen Ashley’s world, there can’t be an HEA unless there are kids. If the heroine is too old to have her own (as is often the case since she tends to write heroines in their 40s), then the hero conveniently has one or two of his own that she has to mother. Or, if he doesn’t, there’s always a miracle baby (or two) that the heroine gets pregnant with at the end. I would really love to see just one book where kids aren’t needed to make it all complete.

2) Ashley writes complicated relationships really well. In most of her novels there’s an evil ex who proceeds to make the hero(ine)’s life hell. 99% of the time those evil exes are redeemed in the end, at least partially. I really love this aspect of her novels. Too often the cardboard ex is cast as the villain and that’s that. Not so with Ashley. Even the true assholes are often multifaceted. Twice in this novel we saw characters in a different light. I really enjoyed that.

Anyway, while there was some truly great parts to this book, the majority of them happened before the halfway mark. The romance and angst in the beginning didn’t make up for the slow second half.

3.25 out of 5


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