Review: Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott

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Genre: Young-Adult/New-Adult, Romance
Pages: 400
Series: Harper Boys #1 (Standalone)
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher:  Little Miss Write

1 Star

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This is a special-case one star. Usually, my one stars are of the nothing-in-this-book-works variety. But here, it’s a case of one thing bothering me so much that I can’t, in good conscience, give it a higher rating. Even though the writing and story are okay.

The story is told in first person, from the perspective of Kensington Worth, who’s just moved to a small town from the city and is having trouble adjusting without her friends. Her neighbour is Owen Harper, a boy who goes to her highschool and has a bad-boy reputation. He’s trouble, basically. Initially, Kensi and Owen do not get along. But slowly Kensi sees that there’s a different side to Owen, a deep and hurt side. Which is why she simply gets over him being a dick, and the romance kicks off.

As you might be able to tell by the way I phrased the previous sentence, I was not overjoyed. But the problem goes beyond that.

In the beginning, Owen is a total ass and is very mean to Kensi for no reason. Like seriously, we never get a real reason as to why Owen decided to fuck with her especially, other than maybe to move the book along. Boy-meets-girl has to happen some way, right? So what if it makes your male protagonist look horrible?

Anyway, after the little meet-not-so-cute was done and the two could interact without a plot device, Owen was suddenly no longer a douche. He never apologised and that bothered me, but I observed over time that he’s more of an apologetic gesture kind of guy than the traditional ‘saying sorry’ person. I could get behind that. Kind of. And I could get behind him being hot and cold all the time because even though it made me want to hit him, after he really committed to the relationship, he was pretty solid. That’s progress.

All that can be attributed to the character development (for the most part) and that’s not the reason for the one star. The reason is the relationship, mainly from Kensi’s side, because we only read from her perspective. Basically, it was obsessive.

After the first 5-10%, Kensi’s every thought was of Owen. Her thought process was, in a nutshell: Is Owen awake? Is Owen asleep? Is Owen at home? Is Owen playing basketball? Did Owen come to school? Where is Owen, if he’s not at school? Is Owen okay? What is Owen thinking? Is Owen angry? Is Owen sad? Is Owen hurt? Why is Owen not here? Did I accidentally upset Owen? Is Owen mad at me? What’s the expression on Owen’s face? I should go visit Owen. I want to be with Owen. I want to help Owen. I love Owen. Owen is everything. Owen owns me. Owen is this, Owen is that. Owen. Owen. OWEN.

If that’s not obsession, I don’t know what is. All Kensi wanted was to be with Owen and to make sure he was okay. Even when he hurt her, she made excuses for him and found a way to blame herself, that maybe she did something that made him to ignore her. It was very unhealthy. Talking of how he owned her and breaking apart because he was upset with her, I could say it was his fault but it was really Kensi’s obsession.

The whole thing, from how the book started to how the relationship was, it was very Twilight. Which, believe me, is NOT a good thing. Thankfully though, Owen was not a creep like Edward and he definitely did not sparkle. Not even a little bit. Didn’t even use glitter for fake sparkly-ness.

But sparkly jokes aside, the relationship was a problem. It already would have been with how dramatic it was shown to be. But when it got obsessive and took over every other plot point, things got really bad. Kensi was more broken up over an argument with Owen than she was over the whole shit-fest that was going on with her parents. In fact, everything that wasn’t the relationship was simply a plot device to help the relationship along. And to think that this book has gotten so many positive reviews because people think that this kind of toxic relationship is romantic? I truly do worry about people. You know, when I’m not thinking that people suck and should be avoided at all cost.

In the end, we have another long review, but this was necessary. The kind of relationship depicted in this book is unhealthy and people need to see that. There are more important things in life than getting a boyfriend/girlfriend. Spread the word, please.

Review: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

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Genre: Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Crime, Novella
Pages: Just under 100
Series: None
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Publisher: Dragonsteel Entertainment

5 Stars

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This little novella was… amazing. I shouldn’t be surprised since I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything Brandon Sanderson has written, but that’s the thing with awesomeness, it may be expected but it’s never predictable.

Snapshot is set in the very near, but technologically advanced, future. And in this future, there is a way to recreate any day from the past couple of weeks. This recreation is one you can interact with, and is called a Snapshot. It’s used to investigate crimes. Our protagonist, Davis, and his partner, Chaz, have been sent into a snapshot for a simple case. Things get complicated though, when a bigger crime comes to Davis’s attention and he decides to investigate.

Along with that, there are personal issues going on. There are multiple aspects to the story. It’s about the crime, yes, but it’s more about Davis as a person.

Now, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how Sanderson manages to do so much in a novella. Like with The Emperor’s Soul, Sanderson has given us a very interesting world, a brilliant story and two very layered and well-developed characters. Davis, especially, has quite the experience, which changes him for the better. And the sheer delicacy with which the each scene is handled… to manage all that while maintaining a beautiful flow… it’s amazing.

And having written so many review recently that were, for me, on the long side, I’m gonna stop right here. I love this book and highly recommend it. A must-read, in my opinion.

Review: Royally Matched by Emma Chase

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I might have allowed the cover had I liked the book (it’s not a terrible cover) but since I didn’t, you get the usual.

Genre: New-Adult, Romance
Pages: 276
Series: Royally #2 (Can be read as Standalone)
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Everafter Romance

2 Stars

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BEWARE OF VERY LONG REVIEW

Right after I finished reading, I was beyond pissed off. The review would honestly have just been a really angry, and long, rant. Thankfully, I rarely review books right after I finish reading them, and it was night so I went to sleep. Fortunately, in the morning, I was in a much better mood. Unfortunately, that better mood did not make the book better.

The story is a about Prince Henry, soon to be the king of the small kingdom of Wessco. Henry’s a wild child and, until recently, was second-in-line to the throne. Then his brother kind of… quit, and he was it. His grandmother, also the Queen, sent him away to get himself sorted and prepared, thinking some time alone would help him. Instead, Henry decided that it would be a good idea to hold a royal version of The Bachelor. During the show, he meets Sarah, a shy and sweet girl, and… you know what happens. It’s a romance novel.

Now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way. I’m going to take apart various aspects of the book, one by one. Don’t worry, some good parts will be sprinkled in as well.

Lets start with Henry. I thought he was a douche some of the time. He also whined and made horrible decisions. Thankfully, he didn’t claim to be any better and I was willing to overlook his douchiness because the whole point of the book was for him to change and become someone who could rule a kingdom. Where thing went wrong is that barely any part of the novel was actually concerned with his improvement. It was all about the love story, which wasn’t good.

We were told that Henry’s liked how pure (I’ll get to that one later) and innocent and good Sarah was, and Sarah liked that Henry was bold and took risks while she herself wouldn’t even read a book that seemed too strange because *gasp* what if she didn’t like it? I get the two reasons but we need more than that. Most of the conversations and relationship building happened off-page and it was mostly just him wanting to bone her. Then she wanted to bone him too. So they fucked and their was a stupid conflict (get to that one later as well) and they had to get their shit together again. On top of that, Sarah was boring and I hated her narrative.

Henry’s was great. He was funny and entertaining to read about and we got many great lines from him. But not Sarah, and not because of the boring but because she’s an avid reader and Emma Chase managed to completely screw up a reader’s perspective. Yes, reader read a lot and know a lot of characters. Yes, we after think about them. But we don’t try to channel or compare ourselves to a different character three times an hour! Our thought process is not “I am such a [insert character name] and need to be more like [insert different character name].”

And we got another case of snobby-reader. I just don’t understand why modern writers insist on making their character only read, or love, classics. I mean, is it so important to you that your characters only likes the “good” books like every other snob out there and treat all other novels as guilty pleasures? And then you proceed to reference Fifty Shades twice… It’s like you want me to not like your book.

Sarah aside, lets talk about the “later” topics. The “pure” thing. There’s a line:

For reasons I can’t put my finger on, the fact that this pure, unadulterated lass believes it—that she believes in me—makes me think that the day could come when I believe it too.

Honestly, I thought we’d moved past the ‘virgins are better’ thing. And then to find something like this in a book by an author that I really like… When are people going to stop with the slut-shaming? While there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin, could you please stop putting so much stock in an intact hymen. Being a virgin doesn’t make you pure or innocent any more than having sex makes you clever or savvy, or a slut. Your ability to blush isn’t linked to you hymen, get that through you head people.

And before I spend more time on that (this review is getting quite long as it is) let’s get to the stupid conflict (very quickly). Basically, it was stupid. The author needed a conflict near the end of the book and she chose the worst possible type, misunderstanding and miscommunication. I shouldn’t have been surprise because Emma Chase is also the person who wrote Twisted (award for ‘worst plot ever’ goes too…) but I still was.

Lastly, the missed opportunity. I’ve read Royally Screwed so I know that Henry’s brother, Nicholas, is a good character and any focus on the relationship between the two brothers would be a strong point of the novel. This knowledge was proved by the fact that one conversations between Nicholas and the Queen (Henry was eavesdropping) had more depth than rest of the book combined. So the fact that Nicholas didn’t show up after that one scene, until the epilogue, was very bad choice. This relationship could have saved the book like the Queen’s presence could have. But neither of them were there for long and what could have been a great journey for Henry as a character became just a bad romance.

Overall, I’ve trashed the book a whole lot  there was just too much wrong there  so now I’ll say a few positive things. I really did like Henry’s perspective, the book is well-written (objectively), there were many funny and some cute scenes and the moments with Nicholas and the Queen shone. That doesn’t mean I think you should read the book, but I had to mention this stuff.

While writing this though, I remembered another negative and since I’ve already gone on so long… one more paragraph couldn’t hurt.

There was a scene in which Sarah said some harsh things to Henry, things he didn’t deserve. He obviously was unhappy with that. But instead of going from there, the author wrote Henry doing something stupid right after so that the blame could be shifted to him and he’d have to make some grand apology. And it’s just that this kind of thing has happened one too many times in a novel. Female MC screws up, then male MC screws up right after so she doesn’t have to apologise. Stop doing that! Each person needs to be responsible for his, or her, actions! Just because the book is for a female audience doesn’t mean women can’t screw up and then not have to make up for it. Just… stop. Just like I’m stopping the review. Right… NOW!

ARC Review: Hearts on Air by L.H. Cosway

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Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: TBA (But probably 300-400 pages)
Series: Hearts #6 (Can be read as Standalone)
Release Date: June 8, 2017
Publisher: WordSmith Publicity

4 Stars

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Hearts on Air was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I read Hearts of Blue, the fourth book in the series and the one that introduced the protagonists of this novel.

Reya is a musician. A few years ago, she met the very charismatic and very wild Trevor Cross. They instantly became best friends but Reya wanted more than just friendship. Trev didn’t feel the same way and, when he got the chance to be in a TV show and live his dream, they drifted apart. Now, two years after his big break, Trevor wants another chance with Reya, but he’ll have to work to ensure that she can truly rely on him.

Trevor, you see, was revealed to have ADHD, but due to his poor upbringing and life of crime, it went undiagnosed. He’s worked hard on being more in control of his life and he wants to prove to Reya that he’s not the impulsive and reckless boy she knew.

Right from the beginning, those of us who’ve read the other two books that feature him, can feel the difference in him. It’s still not easy for him. Some days are harder than others and he has to constantly work on not giving into his impulses, but he tries very hard. I truly admired him for that and I’m very happy that L.H. Cosway decided to tell this story and the way she decided to tell it. The focus on his ADHD and how hard it can be, it was great. I’ve always liked Trevor but even if I hadn’t, he would have won me over in this novel.

Reya is a very likable characters as well. She’s been hurt by Trev and she’s not sure if she should trust him again, but she still cares about him as her friend. She and Trev have great chemistry and I was totally rooting for them.

The romance in the novel is very cute and also heartwarming. L.H. Cosway is very good at what she does. The thing that did bother me was the blame factor. Trevor was too busy in his new life and didn’t manage to stay in contact as well as he should have. He screwed up and that’s highlighted in the book. But what about Reya’s screw up? What about the fact that she let her insecurities get the best of her and stopped trying with Trev? Trev messed up, but so did Reya. And I don’t like that, in the novel, the blame is one-sided. It’s unfair and it irked me.

In the end though, I really liked the book and the way it connected to all the others. This is the last book in the Hearts series and I’m happy with the way things concluded while also being bummed about the series ending (I wanted a book with Lola, a character from Hearts of Fire). This is a great book and totally worth checking out. But you should also consider reading the other installments, especially King of Hearts, which will always be my favourite of the series.

Review: Him By Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

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Genre: New Adult, M-M Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 360
Series: Him #1 (Can be read as standalone)
Release Date: July 28, 2015

5 Stars

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I’m going to be reviewing in a hurry for this one because there’s a sequel that follows the same characters (even though this was a complete novel) and I want to know what it’s about and if it’s one that I’ll be reading. But I’m not allowed to read anything about that novel before I review this one. So here goes nothing…

This is the story of Jamie and Ryan. They were best friends for six years, meeting every year at a hockey camp, until something happened which crossed the line of ‘just friends’. This caused Ryan, who was in love with his straight best friend, Jamie, to cut him out of his life. Now, four years later, they meet again at a tournament. Ryan is still hung up on Jamie, who may not be as straight as they’d assumed.

Obviously, sparks fly and all that. There’s a lot of flirting and a lot of (HOT!) sex. But what’s surprising is that there’s also a whole lot of friendship; because Wes (aka Ryan) and Jamie were friends first and foremost. And that friendship meant a lot to them both.

So even as we venture into the realm of romance, there are many fun times when they both just joke around and connect. They love, trust, and care about each other, and it’s absolutely wonderful to see their relationship. Jamie, Wes and their relationship were the highlight of the novel, as they should be, and consistently engaging. I was very invested in them. That’s actually one of the reasons I’m so wary about the sequel. This is such a complete and finished story for me, and I’m not sure I want to risk ruining the perfect way things are at the end.

That aside, the writing was great, as I’ve come to expect from Elle Kennedy. And I think I might have to check out more stuff by Sarina Bowen as well. The story was brilliant. This isn’t a small book (took me 7 hours) but it’s all worth it.

Another thing I loved was how the LGBT angle was handled. We’ve seen many books about the struggles of coming out but this was a different take. It delved into acceptance of oneself and the long term backlash of what happens after you come out. Even if you’re accepted by your friends, there are so many situations when you have to be careful, when you might feel unsafe from those who “disagree” with your sexuality. It’s a very mature take. Neither Jamie nor Wes are kids. Their worries extend to how their professional lives will be impacted. I loved the direction the authors chose and how they represented it.

Overall, this is a wonderful, enjoyable, heart-warming and just… an awesome book. I highly, highly recommend reading it.

Review: The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Genre: New-Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 335
Series: Titan #1, Covenant series spin-off
Release Date: February 16, 2015

3.5 Stars

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I’m certain that Jennifer L. Armentrout has reached that point in her career where she can demand better covers that actually have some relevance to the plot of the novel, instead of a random shirtless dude being featured there like it’s the cover of a Playgirl magazine (I know that’s not an actual magazine, but I don’t know any real ones for girls).

I mean seriously, whoever designed the cover didn’t even bother to add his glyphs! I know they’re invisible to almost everyone, but we know they’re there! And if you don’t know, that means you haven’t read the Covenant series, in which case, I really think you should. Because the Covenant series…

a) is better,
b) has a better female protagonist
c) will help you appreciate and understand this novel more, and
d) is better.

But that kind-of-insulting topic aside, lets move to the next kind-of-insulting topic (I know, I’m on a roll). And that topic is… the author!

You see, I’ve read about a dozen novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and if you exclude the Covenant series, I’ve been highly impressed with exactly none of them. They’re all decently written and most of them are entertaining or interesting enough (Lux series not included; it sucked) but they’re ultimately pretty meh, or even aggravating. All this led me to think that maybe the Covenant series was a fluke. And while I enjoyed this novel, that belief still kinda stands.

This book follows Seth, who is an Apollyon, the child of a pure blood (descended from the Greek gods) and a half (half human and half pure). He did some very, very, extremely shitty things in the past (see: Covenant series) and to make up for some of them, he made a deal with the gods that pledged his existence to serving them, before and after death.

Apollo, who is freaking awesome, tasked Seth to protect a very important and special *rolls eyes* girl named Josie, because the world is in danger again and she’s very crucial to saving it.

Now, I enjoyed the book, I really did. It has a heavy focus on the romance but I’m okay that. I’ve read plenty of paranormal romances and I’m good with authors building on the relationship between characters before focusing on the big problems. And the fact that I liked Seth’s arc helped things along.

In the Covenant series, I hated Seth. I may be one of the only few people who did since everyone seemed to be in love with him, but I had a very hard time forgiving him for the shit he pulled. And even after he somewhat made up for it in the end with his deal with the gods, I still liked seeing him guilt-ridden over his actions and struggling with all that took place. Seth is a changed man, and though I miss his funny and sarcastic moments, his emotional arc was with it.

On top of that, for the most part, I liked Josie. She does have a habit of talking too much; and not in a cute-and-rambly sort of way, but more like she stops listening to what anyone has to say and words start pouring out of her mouth and you’re just waiting for her to shut the fuck up. But yeah, other than that, she was good.

The pace of the novel was good and you can fly through it very easily. It has plenty of clichés with the whole innocent, perpetually-blushing, virgin female MC, the obligatory guy-is-suddenly-shirtless scenes and stuff like that. But it was still readable and fun; made better that it would have been, by the addition of Seth’s character complexity.

As for reading the sequel (there are at least three more books in the series, probably more), I kinda, accidentally, on purpose spoiled myself on some things, things that I know I won’t like. So I will read it, but it will likely not happen very soon. If you’re a fan of the Covenant series, I think you’ll sufficiently enjoy this one (especially of you love Seth). If you haven’t read the previously mentioned series, read it first and then come back to this one.

Review: Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh

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Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult
Pages: 328
Series: Psy-Changeling #4
Release Date: February 5, 2008

3 Stars

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Thanks to my exams, both my reading and reviewing are all over the place. I’ve started four books since the 6th but haven’t finished a single one and I’ve been putting this review off for a week. Even now, with a few days off, I’m not in the reviewing mood, so bear with me please.

This book follows Clay, a sentinel in the DarkRiver pack of changelings. He’s got a dark and violent past and that’s turned him kind of… dark and violent. He constantly feel like he’s on the edge of going rogue. Then, someone from the past, someone he thought was dead, comes back and there’s hope. Talin faced some very traumatizing things at a very early age. Clay was her best friend. But due to a violent act, she’s separated from him and, in her trauma, asks her social worker to tell Clay that she died in a car crash. Now she in trouble and has no other option than to tell Clay the truth so that he can help her.

First of all, can you believe this girl? She practically fakes her own death — sure she was just a kid then but she had 20 years to correct her lie. She didn’t — and then demands that Clay help her? And people say that I’m unfair to female characters. Well, if they’re going to be like this, what do you expect?

On top of that, the book was still all about her and her sensitive little feelings. She pushed her best friend away, didn’t contact him for 20 years, and still got to spend the entire novel whining about how she was insecure and afraid that he would leave her just because he left her before. Fuck you! He didn’t leave you. He went to juvie for saving your life! The least you could do is apologise and try to make it up to him instead of demanding comfort and being pissed at the guy because he didn’t immediately get over your faked death!

Ugh!

Before I started this review, I only disliked Talin. Now I hate her. There’s a serious case of special snowflake syndrome going on with her, and this was all just made worse by the fact that Clay was made out to be the bad guy for being mad at her. And his emotional trauma was never touched upon. He was just supposed to get over it because he’s a guy and he’s tough. Well guess what? Being tough doesn’t make you immune to emotions! How could Clay’s feelings just be dismissed like that! I am seriously pissed off right now.

But… rant over. I don’t want to spend much more time talking about the fact that the girl who ran out on the guy got to whine about her, practically unfounded, fear of abandonment for over half the book while he was criticised for being angry for half a chapter. And don’t even get me started on the possessive bullshit she pulled despite not having any right after what she did.

Then there was their relationship. I didn’t feel it. They were best friends and mates so they got together. That’s all there was to it. There could have been a connection between them but I just felt like that chunk of the book was missing. And at this point, I’m starting to wonder why I’ve given the book 3 stars.

Oh wait, I know. Talin is human.

For the last three books, we’ve stayed mostly with the changelings or the Psy. But this installment introduced us to the humans part of the world and I really liked getting introduced to that. Humans are, in fact, not incompetent. They’re just highly underestimated, mainly by the Psy. With the changelings, they prefer to live in their own packs so they aren’t always involved with humans.

But here they were, and it was great. Another thing that was great was seeing the past characters and the relationships, the way they’ve grown. Things with the Psy council are seriously amping up and I’m so excited for that. I mean, they’re still pulling shit but it’s more build up at this point. Things are gonna blow and people are gonna die, hopefully not any of my faves, and I can’t wait.

In the end, I can conclude that anything that didn’t have to do with Talin or the romance was good. I was interested in Clay and I wish he was given more of an arc. This is not a book I would recommend, but it introduced some pretty important characters so if you’re going to continue the series, you should read it.