Tag: DNF

Summer Reading Challenge DNF Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted September 7, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge DNF Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardReviewer: Holly
The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Bourbon Kings, The Angels' Share, Devil's Cut
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 434
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For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Casee chose this as a book for me in our Summer Reading Challenge. I listened to the audio. I managed to slog through 30+ chapters. If I were close to the end I’d probably finish it, because I want to know if my thoughts about where the plot is heading are right, but there’s still 20 chapters to go. I just can’t. Though I DNF’d it, I’m giving it two stars because the writing was smooth and I enjoyed the narrator.

Beware: Spoilers Abound! Also, lots of curse words! You’ve been warned.

This is a straight up soap opera. The Bradford/Baldwines are a family of Bourbon makers. The operation is huge and long-standing. There are 4 kids. Edward, Max (who we only hear about in passing in this book), Lane and Virginia (Gin for short). The book beings with Lane returning to his family’s estate, Easterly, after a two-year absence because the woman who raised him is deathly ill. He and his TRUE LOVE, Lizzie, fell in love over the course of a summer, then his ex, Chantal, showed up pregnant and he ended up marrying her instead. So Lizzie hates him because he broke her heart (even though she didn’t get the full story from him and jumped to conclusions about his actions). She works at Easterly still, and naturally they see each other as soon as he returns. He’s been gone for two years (ever since he married the wife…he only married her because she was pregnant and he regretted it immediately, esp since she went and had an abortion like a month later). He’s been sticking his head in the sand and refusing to deal with any of it, until he sees Lizzie again and realizes he’s a fucking dumbass for not divorcing his dumbass wife immediately (or better yet, not marrying her at all).

That part of the story isn’t bad. It’s pretty lame and high-schoolish, but whatever. I actually like Lane.

The problem is each of the siblings get chapters in this book. Edward, the oldest, got kidnapped 2 years ago during a business trip to South America and was tortured nearly to death. He’s barely healed now. He’s in constant pain and left running the Bourbon company in favor of taking over the racehorses the family owns. He’s an alcoholic and a recluse who just so happens to be in love with their largest rival’s daughter..someone he can never have. So he hires prostitutes who look like her to come out once a week to service him and wallows.

Gin had a baby at 17 and oops, sort of forgot to tell baby daddy, who she still hate fucks on a regular basis. Only she also fucks everyone else. The more married, the better. Then dear old dad tells she has to marry some old dude who will secure them a lucrative business contract. She’s like “Fuck you” and leaves, so he cuts off all her money and has her arrested for stealing a car. Then they (Lane and Gin) discover that dear old dad has somehow managed to put them $53 million in debt and they have no money. So she goes and begs Baby Daddy (who still doesn’t know he’s a baby daddy) to marry her. Only he turns her down. Because hello she’s a viperous bitch. So now she DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Oh, you know what she’ll do? Marry skeevy guy her dad tried to force her to marry. He rapes her after she agrees and she just cleans up and goes on about her business. Because that’s what she deserves and honestly, it’s better than being broke. Then Baby Daddy comes back and says she’s right, they love each other and should get married. Except, oops, she’s already engaged to skeevy, rapist dude. Honestly, I’m kind of interested in Samuel T, the Baby Daddy, and how things progress with him and Gin. But not enough to read through three books.

But wait, there’s more…

Remember the unwanted pregnant wife, Chantal, who got an abortion? Turns out she’s pregnant again. This time with HIS DAD’s kid. If Lane doesn’t stay married to her and pass the kid off as his own, she’s going to tell his mom about it…and Mommy Dearest is a very “fragile” woman who lives in a drug-induced haze, so it would probably kill her. Oh, and guess what? Silly Lane didn’t get a prenup.

That’s where I stopped. I just can’t take any more. I mean, if this was almost the end and he was throwing the wife out and getting with the TRUE LOVE, okay. I could finish it. But there’s still twenty chapters left. And this isn’t even the end of the story..the next two books are just continuations of this one. So, nope. I just can’t.

For all my complaining, the story was very well written and I can’t deny it grabbed me and made me want to see what happens next. If the book had been 100 pages shorter, I’d probably have finished it – and read the next two as well.

DNF

2 out of 5 for what I did read.

The Bourbon Kings

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DNF Review: Soul’s Blade by Eva Chase

Posted October 5, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Soul’s Blade by Eva ChaseReviewer: Holly
Soul's Blade (Legends Reborn, #2) by Eva Chase
Series: Legends Reborn #2
Also in this series: Magic Waking (Legends Reborn, #1)
Publisher: Ink Spark Press
Publication Date: August 16th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 275
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Find the magic sword or die. Just another day in a reincarnated wizard's life...

After being chased across the country by a faerie mercenary, reborn wizard Emma Hale is shocked she's still alive. But victory doesn't mean she can slack off on her mission to protect the current incarnation of her liege and sometimes lover, the legendary King Arthur.

Now that Arthur's soul is awakening, every creature of darkness in a thousand-mile radius is slavering for a taste. Worse, a merciless adversary from Emma's past has reappeared, leaving Emma scrambling to save not only her king but all their loved ones as well.

Surviving the week may depend on a blade only Arthur can wield. Too bad Emma lost it centuries ago on the other side of an ocean. And any quest to retrieve it will unearth secrets Emma isn't yet prepared to face—secrets that could destroy her and her king before their enemies even have the chance.

Soul’s Blade picks up right where Magic Waking left off. Emma Hale (the current reincarnation of the great wizard Merlin) was able to defeat the dark fae mercenary who was after her leige, the reincarnation of King Arthur, but just barely. Now, with Arthur’s soul waking up, creatures of darkness are swarming, ready to steal his soul for themselves (though why they’re so eager for it Emma still hasn’t figured out). Plus, one of her greatest enemies seems to be waking. Trying to protect Arthur turns out to be an even worse job than usual, since it seems this time he’s determined to save her….which normally wouldn’t be a problem except she wields magic and he doesn’t. Something he’ll need to defeat the dark creatures who keep popping up after him. If only she hadn’t lost his magically imbued sword some 1000 years past.

I started this right after finishing the first book in the series, hoping the story would take off. Sadly, that didn’t happen. If anything, Soul’s Blade seemed to move even slower than Magic Waking. For a wizard who’s been reborn every few decades for 1500 years, Emma isn’t very sharp. She keeps making the same mistakes again and again. She doesn’t seem to have grown or changed at all from the first time she lived as the great wizard Merlin. If there’d been some discussion about things she’d tried in the past that hadn’t worked, or her quest to find answers to why dark forces are after Arthur, I probably would have enjoyed this more.

As it is, it’s mostly filled with Emma’s internal angst over Arthur not wanting a sexual relationship with her when she’s reborn as a man (something she has no control over and seems to happen at least half the time). If that had been a central theme in the first book, I could have overlooked it here, but it seems to crop up out of nowhere.

It’s explained that Emma always wakes knowing who she is and what her purpose is, but Arthur is oblivious until he comes into direct skin-to-skin contact with Emma. Then, as his soul starts to reawaken, he regains his memories of their previous lives. That being the case, I would have thought both Emma and Art would deal better with each other. Instead they’re secretive and don’t communicate with each other. As they’re both in their early twenties I guess I could understand their lack of maturity..if not for the fact that they’re supposedly both 1500+ years in the making.

All that aside, I really like the flashbacks to their first life together as Arthur and Merlin. I would probably have continued reading just for that, but I can see the writing on the wall that this will end in another cliffhanger. Since book 3 isn’t out yet, I’m going to set this aside for now. I’ll come back to the series when the next book is available (Dragon of Destiny, coming November 2017). Hopefully both Emma and Art will grow up a little in the meantime.

DNF

The series:

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DNF Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted August 31, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Holly
Wired (Buchanan-Renard, #13) by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #13
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

It’s been a lot of years since I read (or tried to read) a Garwood contemporary romantic suspense. I have mad love for her older historicals, but her contemporary voice has never worked for me. I figured I’d give her another try and see if, with some distance from her historicals, I’d feel differently.

I only made it through about 3 chapters before setting this aside. I was mostly bored while reading it. The magical spark I’m used to from her historicals – the one I found missing in her earlier RS novels – wasn’t there. Nothing really grabbed me or pulled me in.

I usually give a book at least 50-100 pages before setting it aside, but I just couldn’t force myself to continue.

DNF

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DNF Review: Elemental Mating by Milly Taiden

Posted July 18, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

DNF Review: Elemental Mating by Milly TaidenReviewer: Holly
Elemental Mating by Milly Taiden
Series: ALFA #1
Publisher: Intermix, Penguin
Publication Date: July 18th 2017
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Their existence was a secret the government stumbled upon. In exchange for continued autonomy, the paranormals entered an alliance with the government. Now they are A.L.F.A.: Alpha League Federal Agency, sworn to protect and serve humanity.

Brilliant scientist Melinda Caster has discovered a new strain of the Zika virus that stimulates synaptic growth in embryos, causing neuron development beyond normal human levels. Way beyond, like ESP-levels of cognitive abilities. When the lab is broken into, Melinda realizes that someone has been keeping tabs on her research and wants it for themselves. A happy accident destroys critical data before it can fall into the wrong hands, but unfortunately that makes Melinda and her perfect memory a target.

A.L.F.A sends in jaguar-shifter Agent Parish Hamels to discover who is after the virus and why. The beautiful scientist acts like catnip to his senses and throws his mating instincts into overdrive. And then she disappears along with the only sample of the virus…. Now Parish must canvas the darkest areas of the supernatural underground to rescue Melinda, and what he discovers is beyond a paranormal’s worst nightmare.

I found Elemental Mating while browsing NetGalley and was intrigued by the premise. Alpha shifter vs nerdy scientist? GIMME! Unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped it would be.

Melinda Castor is a research scientist who discovered a new strand of virus that seems to give those infected supernatural powers (ESP, telekinesis, etc). Parish Hamel is an A.L.F.A. (Alpha League Federal Agency) agent and a jaguar shifter. He’s assigned to watch Melinda and keep her – and her research on the virus – safe. When Melinda is attacked and her lab broken into, both Hamel and Melinda race to find out who is after her information..and more importantly, what they want to do with it.

Since Hamel is essentially a Black Ops solider for the US government, I expected a certain level of competence from him. Sadly, he seemed like a bumbling amateur. He didn’t guard Melinda when he should have, ignored critical evidence in favor of flirting with her and, in general, put them both in danger when he could have avoided it. Melinda wasn’t much better. She constantly put herself in danger without considering the consequences. From following a wild jungle cat into the woods after dark to trusting the suspicious janitor with vital information, she didn’t often employ common sense.

Around Chapter 15 or so, a demon possession happens and Melinda is whisked off to Hell. Aside from some subtle hints here and there, it really came out of left field (both the demon possession and the trip to hell).
As much as I wanted to like this, I just couldn’t read any farther once a woman in Hell introduced herself as “The Head Harem Ho.”

This may be a case of the book just not being to my taste. I may have been looking for something a little more serious. Elemental Mating was just too campy.

DNF

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Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan

Posted June 23, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine FeehanReviewer: Rowena
Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow #2
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper (Shadow, #2), Shadow Keeper
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan continues her sexy new series, as the Ferraros—a Chicago crime family—use their power as shadow riders to protect their empire and the ones they love…

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood - but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her - a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She's someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco's embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this series but that didn’t stop me from wanting to read this book because I was a fan of Ricco’s and I wanted to get to know him better. In the first book, Ricco goes through some stuff and you can tell because he keeps getting himself into scrapes that the family has to get him out of and you know that there’s a story there so I requested this book to find out that story.

This book starts off with Ricco in the hospital after getting into a car wreck that was damn close to ending his life. His siblings are a) pissed at him for putting himself in danger again and b) worried as hell about him. He’s going through some stuff and things are starting to spill over and I could tell that he was close to the brink which made me interested in continuing this series just to read his story.

I wish I could say that the story lived up to what I was hoping it would be but the whole thing was slow going for me and I ended up putting this book down for good after about a week and a half of trying to get interested in what was going on. Between the slow story telling and not being able to connect to either Ricco (that was a bummer, too) or Mariko, I gave up and don’t know if I’ll give it a try later on. I doubt it.

Grade: DNF

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