Tag: Did Not Finish

Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Posted August 18, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda BouchetReviewer: Whitley
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: eARC
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
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Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This book actually has a lot going for it. Really. The world is interesting, Cat is a great feisty character and it seems like she has a rich past full of secrets to discover. I’m intrigued by her magic and by the history of the world it’s set in. I liked the tone and pacing. It had the makings of a perfect “me” book.

But I just couldn’t get past that opening. Basically, Griffin kidnaps Cat for her magic because he needs her to help him keep his recently-conquored kingdom together. Cat, understandably, does not like being blackmailed and kidnapped and then restrained all the time so she doesn’t disappear. I’m fine with all that, but what I don’t like is how it dragged out. The idea is that Griffin isn’t a “bad guy,” he’s just doing what needs to be done for his kingdom, has good intent, so pragmatic and direct it goes into grey areas, yadda yadda. Fine. BUT. The opening was too harsh, too smash and grab. There was no attempt to get Cat on his side, it was just “Bam, you’re mine, I’ll kill your friends if you keep fighting.” Followed by…nothing. No attempts to calm her down, woo her to their cause, explain things to her, nothing. He was too aggressive at the start and then he followed it up by doing zilch to make up for his (quite frankly) horrible actions. I could have handled it if either half of that sentence had changed. If he’d grabbed her then tried to make nice, or if he’d tried to convince her first and only resorted to force as a last (ish) resort. I mean, he wouldn’t be a hero or anything because kidnapping is still shitty, but at least I could roll along with it.

And Cat, bless her, put up a fight the whole way. Which is great and well she should because she’s been kidnapped and threatened, but that just means that Griffin’s douchery is front-and-center every time I open the book. And that’s really exhausting. It got to the point where my reading time was actually making me anxious. So, nope, DNF.

So close to a really good thing, and I’m sure others will have a blast with it, because it does have a lot going for it. But I just couldn’t get past that initial bit.

Rating: DNF

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The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan

Posted September 7, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Two thousand years ago, Mary Magdalene hid a set of scrolls in the rocky foothills of the French Pyrenees, a gospel that contained her own version of the events and characters of the New Testament. Protected by supernatural forces, these sacred scrolls could be uncovered only by a special seeker, one who fulfills the ancient prophecy of l’attendue — The Expected One.

When journalist Maureen Paschal begins the research for a new book, she has no idea that she is stepping into an ancient mystery so secret, so revolutionary, that thousands of people have killed and died for it. She becomes deeply immersed in the mystical cultures of southwest France as the eerie prophecy of The Expected One casts a shadow over her life and work and a long-buried family secret comes to light. Ultimately she, and the reader, come face-to-face with Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Judas, and Salome in the pages of a deeply moving and powerful new gospel, the life of Jesus as told by Mary Magdalene.

I tried not to, but I found myself comparing this book to Da Vinci Code a lot. Da Vinci Code won.

My grandfather loaned me this book saying it was interesting. I started reading it and meh. After a few chapters, I found myself skimming. The plot was not grabbing me at all. However, each chapter begins with an excerpt of a letter “written” by Mary Magdalene. I found those and Mary’s gospel much more interesting to read. Everything else… meh.

I hate to compare this book to Da Vinci code but.. again, couldn’t help it. Da Vinci code was… how do I explain… when talked about the paintings, they went into detail, they paced it so it wasn’t rushed but it made me wanting to know more. Made me want to turn the page. This book, to me, was like here is this painting. See that, ok, next painting. I felt rushed, like they were pushing me to move forward.

I felt it was like a wannabe Da Vinci Code. I read a few reviews on amazon and found similar reviews to how I felt. I wasn’t alone!

The book also mention Da Vinci’s paintings. There is one part where the main character asks about Da Vinci, the guy who is helping her learn the truth says, “We will not talk about Da Vinci in this house.” All righty then. An insult maybe?? Who knows.

I have to say, this one is a DNF.


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Dreams of Destiny by May McGoldrick

Posted August 13, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Wounded by scandal and the unsolved murder of his sister-in-law, David Pennington is outwardly insolent and arrogant. But nothing will stop him from escorting his childhood friend, Gwyneth Douglas, to Scotland-and saving the Scottish heiress from fortune hunters. But with their arrival in Scotland comes terrible danger. Now, if they ever hope to satisfy their fiery desire, they will need to thwart the evil that threatens to destroy both their lives…

This isn’t a bad book but I’ve been reading this for 3 weeks and I’m not even half way. So far now, I’m putting it down and maybe I’ll tackle it later.

I did skim though and damn. Ya see…. Gwyneth used to follow her cousin Emma around. She admired Emma. Everyone thought Emma was just wonderful. Really, Emma was all twisted inside. Part of the story deal with the problems Emma caused and who pushed her off a cliff. Emma was pregnant with another man’s baby and someone didn’t want her to reveal who the father was.

So I skimmed ahead to find out who the father of the baby was. Emma was disturbed. She was in love with this guy Walter and he loved her. But she married someone else and became Countess I think…. But she still loved Walter. Someone how, she finds out he’s her half brother. What does Emma do? She find hims and seduces him. Then she tells him they are related.

Ewwww.

And Walter is the father of the baby.

Ewwww.

I just realized, I cared more about finding out what happened with Emma than I did the main characters. hmmm.

Grade: DNF


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Sins of a Duke by Suzanne Enoch

Posted July 7, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Lust is a Sin . . .

Sebastian Griffin, the Duke of Melbourne, has raised his younger siblings, seen to it that they made correct matches, and basically kept everyone in line. Seen as the most powerful man in England, Sebastian has a reputation for propriety and has maintained a scandal-free life.

Until now.

Josefina Katarina Embry is a beauty, to be sure, but she claims to be the princess of a faraway country. While she dazzles the ton with her wit and charm, Sebastian suspects she’s up to something. And he’s determined to expose her . . . if only he wasn’t so distracted by her brazen sensuality and the irresistible allure of her kiss. Sebastian knows an affair will lead them into scandal, but will the most powerful man in England risk all for a princess of dubious lineage . . . or will he allow a most sinful desire to rule his heart?

Meh. I started skimming after Chapter 4. Cause Sebastian is just so irritated with Josefina that he kisses her cause he has to. Then he can’t get her out his mind and wonders what is it with this girl. Meh. I think this was used in the previous book.

In my skimming though, I was really annoyed with Josefina’s father. He claims his family is royalty from a growing country. They need a loan from England to help build their resources. Then her father decides to try and get some settlers in the country. Turns out, the place is not a good place for people to settle at. Josefina feels guilty and tries to get her father to stop the lying. Which he says no.

Her father threatens to take care of Sebastian, so to protect him she announces her engagement to Sebastian. Then I skim some more and she’s trying to get out of the marriage to protect him.

So… yeah. It looked like it picked up towards the end. But not enough to stop me from skimming. Which was a disappointment for me. My SIL enjoyed it though.

This one I’m gonna have to classify as DNF cause I technically didn’t read it.


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Maybe I’m Just Too Anal

Posted May 23, 2007 by Holly in Discussions | 15 Comments

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I had Barbara Freethy‘s Taken TBR, and decided to try it, since I’ve heard great things about her and I need to get out of this slump.

The Prologue was pretty good, and had me really curious about the book. Then the first chapter started and I was dumbfounded.

You see, Kayla marries a man, Nick, after knowing him only three weeks. We’re told it’s because for once in her life she wanted to do something daring, something impulsive. Only, Kayla just seems dumb. After reading 122 pages I’m not at all surprised she married a man after knowing him such a short period of time. Not to say that doesn’t work for some people, but this particular man, the one calling himself Nick…well, he’s not really Nick at all. His name is Evan and he’s a sociopath who excels at stealing other people’s identities and fleecing unsuspecting victims of money and possessions.

But Kayla, our very smart, dedicated, straight-laced, overly cautious heroine, she doesn’t see any of the red flags he throws out. She simply sees a charming man who loves her…and well, she loves him too.

Nick (Evan) leaves her on their wedding night. 2 weeks later she stops by his house to see if he’s finally come home and surprise, surprise..he’s there. Only the Nick who answers the door isn’t the Nick she walked down the isle with. And this is where I had to suspend all disbelief.

Here’s how it plays out:

The Nick Kayla married is really a guy named Evan who knew the real Nick in college. Evan got tangled up with Nick’s sister and ended up going to jail for it (I didn’t really understand this part. Either I would have had to go farther in the story to get all the details, or the explanation we were given just plain sucks. But from what I understand, Nick tried to warn his sister away from Evan but she didn’t believe him. Then something happened and his sister got stabbed and Evan just left her bleeding on the ground while he saved himself. Evan went to jail because of Nick’s testimony…for what? I have no idea, no one ever said) and now, 12 years later, Evan stole Nick’s identity, spent a ton of his money, and married Kayla using Nick’s name.

Nick calls the police but they tell him they can’t really do anything for him. They’re unconcerned. So he decides to figure it out on his own. He tracks Kayla down (she ran from his house) and together they start trying to figure out what Evan’s game is.

Now, I’m ready to throw the book against the wall:

1) The police don’t care that Kayla’s husband disappeared. Now, I can believe this of the Tahoe cops (that’s where they got married) because a lot of people cruise up there to get married and I’m sure a lot of men run out as soon as they realized what they’ve done. But once Kayla got back and reported it to the San Fran police (where both her and her hubby-of-one-day live) they didn’t care either. They threw her report into a stack of thousands.

Now, maybe I’m a bit biased because I have insider info here, but if someone was reported missing and they’d been gone 2 weeks with no trace, I’m pretty sure the police would have at least contacted their family. In this case, that would be Nick’s sisters (I think he has three) and his parents. But they were never notified. The cops never bothered to run his name or see if he had family or anything. This wouldn’t have happened.

Same with Nick’s complaint about his identity being stolen. Again with the insider info, but when a fraud report is made, the cops have to log in every single account that was stolen from (i.e. credit cards, bank accounts, etc). They have to spend hours writing reports with all the info listed and the victim of the theft has to then report it to their insurance company and respective credit card companies/banks. But when Nick reported it, the cops just shrugged it off and said they had other things to worry about. Which is just bullshit. But even beyond that, Nick never even bothered to see just how much was stolen. He didn’t spend days going over all his account statements looking for fraudulent charges. He just rushed over to Kayla’s house and started badgering her about her relationship with Evan and some pocket watch she gave him, which he believes is the whole reason Evan was with her to begin with. And at first it was “He took quite a bit” and then it was “I’m destitute” only he hadn’t checked to see just how much was taken. And he keeps saying, “I don’t even know what the damage is yet”. Well, dumbass, that’s because it’s only been two days since you got back from Africa (where he’s been for 3 months, building a bridge) and you never bothered to check your accounts to see exactly how much was stolen. Fucktard Which reminds me……

2) The characters are retarded. Nick is convinced the pocket watch Kayla gave Evan on their wedding night is the whole reason Evan married her. He figures this out because Kayla says that’s the only thing she gave him. So they confront her grandmother, who’d given Kayla the watch to begin with, and she basically acts all scared and tells Kayla to drop it. Huh. Cuz that makes sense?

Then we find out the grandma was a stripper back in the day and the watch was given to her by someone other than her late husband (Kayla’s grandfather). Grandma is terrified for her granddaughter’s safety, so she goes back to the strip club she once worked at and asks her former best friend from her misspent youth (who owns the place now) to help her. Only the friend won’t because Grandma acted like she was better than everyone and turned her back. But still she doesn’t say anything to her family and just goes on her merry way.

Ugh.

3) Nick and Kayla start investigating the watch on their own and track the symbol on the back to a local jewelry store. The agree to meet at a church before going to the shop and Kayla sees a nun who has Evan’s eyes and is wearing sneakers walk by, then she’s knocked on her ass by a bible that was thrown from the balcony where an organ mysteriously started playing. But she convinces herself it was “just an accident” and they proceed to the shop like nothing happened.

Once they reach the shop it’s obvious the owner knows something, but they just shrug that off, too, and go have lunch together.

4) Nick’s sister was fucked over by this Evan dude and ended up stabbed and left for dead because of him (or by him, or something) and yet, she still “loves” him, twelve years after the fact. And there’s still “good in him, you just can’t see it”. Evidently Evan calls her out of the blue to wish her a happy birthday and she tells him her brother is doing well, which is why Evan is back all of a sudden. So now she’s terrified Evan is going to hurt her brother (because of several phone calls with Evan she tells no one about) but she just wrings her hands and says, “Oh no!” What.the.fuck. A man who was responsible for you almost dying 12 years ago suddenly pops back into your life and is fucking your brother over and you DEFEND him to said brother and then PRIVATELY worry about his safety? I don’t think so. TSTL anyone? But I don’t want you to take my word for it. Have a look-see:

She put up a hand, reading is mind. “Okay, maybe I was naive once, but I was a kid then. I’m an adult now. I know that Evan is a thief. I also know that he has a weird code of honor that you couldn’t possibly understand. And,” she added with a touch of defiance, “not everything or everyone is as black-and-white as you like them to be. Evan did have good traits. He wasn’t all bad. He treated me very well at times. I think his childhood had a lot to do with the kind of person he became. It wasn’t his fault that he was abused and abandoned, that he had to grow up on his own in a very tough world.”

“You don’t know how bad is childhood really was,” Nick argued. “Everything that came out of his moth was a lie. How do you know what the truth is? He told you what he wanted you to believe.”

“Not everything was a lie. I knew him better than you did, Nick.”

“You think a man is going to tell you the truth just because he has sex with you? God, Jen, that’s when most of the lies are told.” He saw the hurt on her face and almost regretted his choice of words, but she was caring him. Knowing that Evan was back in their lives, knowing how close he’d come to ruining her once, Nick couldn’t bear to see it happen again. Jenny was weak where Evan was concerned. “You can be so smart about everything else; why can’t you see Evan for who he is?”

“I think we’re done,” she said with a sharp, irritated edge to her voice. “you’ve made your point.”

Before she could get to her feet, he put a hand on her shoulder. “One more thing, just in case you’re thinking this is all some attempt by Evan to get back into your life. You should know that he married someone else using my name just two weeks ago, about the same time he started sending you gifts.”

“What?” she asked. “What did you say?”

Nick frowned. Jenny seemed more surprised by this piece of news than by the fact that Evan had robbed him.

This is a man who was responsible for you almost DYING and that FUCKED YOU OVER. Not yesterday, not a week ago, but TWELVE FUCKING YEARS AGO…are you REALLY that stupid? Seriously?

5) After the church/jewelry store incident, they go back to Nick’s house to do some research on the internet and then Kayla decides she’s had too much excitement for the day and wants to go home. Nick follows her to make sure she’s safe and once they get home she sees her house has been broken in to. They don’t call the police, though. Instead, Nick goes to search the house to see if the perpetrator is still there and Kayla gets attacked by some big guy….

Who turns out to be an FBI agent Nick went to college with (this FBI dude also knew Evan). Only they don’t ask to see his ID. They just go, “Whoa, really? I thought the cops didn’t care about our mess” and FBI dude says, “Well, that’s before they knew it was Evan. I’m on the case now, though. I’ve been tracking him for years.” But uh, with the stupid shit he’s done so far, I could have freaking caught him. So yeah, I’m not buying it.

This is where I stopped. I checked the Amazon reviews for this book and 90% of them were golden (with the exception of one which just pissed me off and will probably spark another post down the road). I also found a review at The Romance Reader and although the reviewer didn’t just rave about the book, she seemed to enjoy it for the most part. Crystal really seemed to enjoy it, too.

So, I ask you, is it just me? Am I too anal? Am I the only person who notices the things listed above?

Because I’m curious, I’m willing to send you my book so you can read it. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll ship the book to you.


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