More Wolf Than Woman – Savannah Reed

More Than Wolf

More Wolf Than Woman
18 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A short, sexy read with great potential.

The story is about the length of a chapter, so it’s amazing the amount of emotion that’s fit in. Isaac is having a bad day. His electricity has been shut off, but when he gets to his bedroom it is lit with candles. And there’s a naked woman in his bed.

Raven is bold. She knows what she wants and she’s not embarrassed to demand it. Isaac doesn’t seem cool with that. There’s a love-hate dynamic between them that dominates the story. Isaac loves sex with Raven but hates the control she has over him. He eventually gives in, but does his best to take control of the situation. I would say the scene is best described as “sexy angst”.

I’m left with questions due to how short the story is. I really want to know why Isaac feels the way he does about Raven. I want to know about their short relationship they once had. I definitely want to know why Raven shows up at Isaac’s despite the reason she broke up with him.

I really hope the author develops this into a longer cohesive book. There needs to be more stories with confident ‘alpha’ females and this story would be a great start.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Jagged Edge – Jo Raven

jagged edge

Jagged Edge
369 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Raine works for his brother’s tattoo shop as a receptionist. He’s met his brother’s friend, Jason, a few times and it didn’t end well. Only now Raine is finding himself really attracted to Jason but there’s a problem. Jason has been a hooker for as long as he can remember. Seriously, he doesn’t remember a time in his life that he wasn’t being prostituted for money. He even implies that he started before puberty.

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This story was rough to read. There’s tons of abuse, beatings and rape (at least those scenes fade to black… mostly). Jason is controlled by his pimp, Simon, who constantly takes his money and has his goons do whatever they want to him for fun. Whatever money isn’t taken from Jason he uses to send members of his gang (other young prostitutes) away from the city to start a better life and get out from under Simon’s hold.

Raine is in the dark for most of the book about Jason’s predicament, but repeatedly searches him out and ends up using his “services”. The story is nauseating and hard to get through often, especially when Jason has just experienced some sort of trauma/rape and a sex scene with Raine emerges. The timing seems ill conceived for the story and minimizes Jason’s suffering.

The story was well written but it still dragged a lot. I lost count of how many scenes consisted of Raine finding Jason in beat-up condition, taking him to his apartment, doing sex stuff, having a misunderstanding/disagreement and Jason leaves, disappearing for a few days. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. A bit more variety would’ve made this story better.

Jagged Edge is not a feel good book, so keep that in mind. It’s riddled with triggers like rape, violence/abuse, references to child prostitution, and drug use.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Bonding – Imogen Keeper

the bonding

The Bonding
364 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Nissa is queen-designate to planet Triannon when an alien species, The Vestige, invades and enslaves their people. It becomes apparent that her entire race may be at risk when she witnesses thousands of her people being massacred in the town square. To protect the royal family and their race, a lottery is held where 96 young women will be chosen to escape in cryo-pods along with Nissa, her parents and her betrothed king-designate.

An Argenti Warrier, Tam, comes across a cryo-pod floating alone in space. Upon its retrieval, Tam discovers it contains a young woman and he gets both super excited and nervous. See, about 20 some years ago The Vestige released a plague on Tam’s planet that killed all but 12% of their female population and this is the first woman he’s seen in fifteen years.

As Nissa thaws and awakens, Tam discovers that she’s sick with a disease that could kill her. Tam contacts his Tribe’s healer and learns that Tam has a cure that could save her. Only it’s in his serum a.k.a semen. To save her he has to mate with her, but once they do an unbreakable bond will be formed, mating them for life.

The worlds that are created by the author are vividly detailed and easily imagined. The entire universe is well thought out and imaginative. Although, some words of the alien languages are actually English words spelled backwards. IE eeffoc and akdov.

The bonding is… intense. To be blunt, it’s a lot of sex. A lot of desperate sex. Because once they mate, Nissa needs Tam’s serum every three hours or so else she’ll become unbearably ill. It goes a bit far when Nissa needs Tam’s serum because he’s not around and she starts drinking it from vials and carrying it around in her pocket.

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If you want sci-fi and you want erotica, this fits the bill perfectly.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Baby Pact – Lexi Whitlow

the baby pact

The Baby Pact
Full-length novel

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Macon and Eliza were each other’s first love. At just 18 y/o, they got pregnant, infuriating both of their mom’s. After their forced separation, Eliza experiences a tragic miscarriage that cements her break from Macon into permanence. Over a year later, they come into contact again at a college party. Macon is eager to talk and start over, but Eliza’s controlling older boyfriend, Alex, steps in and prevents it. Now ten years later, Eliza is running from her past and desperate for a baby. And Macon is only too willing to help out.

Macon is pretty much the sweetest and most understanding man in the world with the patience of a Saint. After reconnecting with Eliza, he’s eager to make up for lost time, but he puts her needs before his own, constantly. He’s decisive and assertive without being controlling. I only wish Eliza was as easy to like. I understand why she’s hesitant and nervous, but her lack of faith in Macon got old. It’s hard to teach an old dog a new habit, but it felt like she didn’t even want to try most of the time.

In tandem with a second-chance romance plot is a focus on Eliza’s history with Alex and why she’s running. I’m not asking for brutally blunt descriptions of domestic violence, but most of the information about her past was too vague and inconsistent to follow. She gave bits of information to Macon here and there, but I wanted a full-out confrontation to get everything out in the open. I wanted an “a-ha!” moment, but instead I was spoon fed every few chapters. The same applies to Macon’s plot towards the end (vague to prevent spoilers). I’m not even sure if Eliza actually knows what he did and how he did it. Thankfully, Macon’s character drove this story and made it enjoyable.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Solace – S.L. Scott

Solace

Solace
300 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Solace follows Jason from the Kingswood Duet, but it can be read as a standalone.

After living life going city to city, Jason decides to return to his roots for a bit. Upon arriving, he learns that the woman that broke his heart some years ago is no longer married. And according to most, she’s still in love with Jason. Should he risk Delilah’s life by bringing his dirty past into it? And should he risk his heart with the woman that has already broken it once?

As the third book in the Kingswood series, I was disappointed. As a standalone second-chance romance, I was a bit pleased, so my review falls in the middle. The characters are down to earth and relate-able, but there are moments I wanted to choke Delilah for being so damn naive. Jason and Delilah have some funny banter and enough sweet moments to give you a cavity. Their chemistry was natural and intense and it didn’t hurt that Jason has a dirty mouth. Aside from the characters though, I was confused and frustrated

The writing style got on my nerves. It was redundant at times, especially with Jason and Delilah going back and forth on their regrets, and I felt like the author kept adding comments on interactions to tell the reader how things should be interpreted rather than allowing us to figure it out for ourselves. IE:
“Delilah is fortunate to have them nearby. They care for her.”
Yes, I understood that based on the dialogue. I don’t need it fed to me like a fifth grade literature class. It creates an awkward and stilted style and came off as unnecessary filler.

The timeline was hard to follow. At one point, they haven’t seen each other in 3 years. Another time claims five years. Did they break up in HS or college? Wait, did Delilah even go to college? How long were they together, again? The format was so disorganized and full of inconsistencies, it became distracting. I spent half the book just doing math in my head. Geez.

Above all, my biggest issue with the book was the lack of explanation about exactly who Jason was working for and why. Was it just King’s mom? If so, why would she hire some random buff guy off a beach in California to watch her son on the east coast? There’s a surprise visit from a character in the first two books which gave me high hopes for some answers, but it ended in half a chapter and gave me nothing and it barely comes up again. Definitely not was I hoping for. I loved Jason’s character in the first two books. I loved him in the third book, too. But his story deserved much more insight and resolution than the book gave.

The book is hard to understand, even if you’ve read the first two, and if you read the first two, this book feels like it doesn’t fit the series at all. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Heaven forbid I give a negative review

I’m about to get a tad personal here, but it pertains to my reviews so, I figured I should just share with the class.

I recently left a not-so-positive (alright, it was flat out negative) review of a book I didn’t like. See Here (In case you’ve already seen my most recent review of Tech Guy, that’s what that link is to, so skip it.)

All art is subjective. All reviews are subjective. All opinions are subjective. Everyone absorbs and appreciates art in different ways, books not exempt.
I find it hard to enjoy books that contain certain elements that simply don’t make me feel good or don’t make me want to grow as a person. One of those elements is for a romance to have a weak hero or heroine that doesn’t evolve with the story. Tech Guy had that in spades. Along with other bits of the book (IE repetitive typos, inaccuracies, and a slow plot), I wasn’t able to enjoy it. But I have a life and shit to do, so I focused on my major pet peeve with the story, the one that applied the most to a second chance romance. In as little words as possible, the woman stays a virgin until 28 y/o while the man moves on no problem. The cliché that women turn into nuns when their heart is broken but men can paint the town with their dicks is overdone and I’m tired of it.

I’ll be honest; I’m in the minority with this book. Most were 3,4,5 star reviews and I’m ok with that. They just happened to like it and I didn’t. People are entitled to disagree with me on my review as well. BUT, when someone goes out of their way to insult me as a person for a one-hundred word review, I’m gonna have a problem. 

And that happened today on Goodreads:

message 7: by REDACTED rated it 5 stars
9 hours, 5 min ago
Good grief people! There’s a whole lot more to this story than Clay being an ass. There’s s lot of good information in this book about the psychological needs of young children, the horror of passing a drug addiction from a junkie mother to unborn child and more.

Reviews like yours are best when given directly to the author without trashing the book in an open forum. Your rant says more about you than this book.

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Ut-uh. My problem is really with the last two sentences.
My response:
message 8: by PointedlyBlunt – rated it 1 star

Aside from my “trashing” the book, I didn’t like the story mostly because Andrea is portrayed nothing like a therapist and certainly not a specialist in the field of child psychology. Her behavior and reactions are over the top and immature and it really made me wonder what kind of research the author did for this story, because it’s inaccurate. But even if that didn’t bug me, this book is billed as a second chance romance, not a guide on the trials of children born to drug addicted mothers. So my opinion on the romantic aspect of the book is credible and guess what? I’m entitled to it.

I’m not a beta reader, proofreader nor editor for this author. I am not responsible for telling every author every time I find something distasteful or inaccurate about their book. I don’t like heroines being portrayed as weak and needy. Period. So what does my “rant” say about me? If you’re going to throw shade about some insignificant review by someone you’ve never met, please, enlighten me. I’m curious what someone as defensive and unnecessarily offensive as you thinks about me. Then maybe I can share what I think of you and we’ll have a grand ol’ time making assumptions about each other based on stupid shit said on a book’s comment thread. Have at it, lady.

Point of this entry? Not really sure. Kinda wanted to vent. I also wanted to shout from the rooftops “DON’T BE A BITCH” but then I’d lower myself to the exact pettiness that pissed me off.
But if you take anything away from this, let it be this: are we really entitled to give/receive disrespect just because we disagree on a book?
Don’t be dicks, people.

Tech Guy – Anna Collins

tech guy

Tech Guy
459 pages

1 I wasted so much time on this crap

No no no no no. NO! I can’t take this anymore.

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I’m sick of second chance romances where the woman saves herself for her lost love but the guy gets to sleep around with every woman they see. In this case, Andrea gets her heart broken at 15 y/o when her boyfriend, Clay, of over a year practically ghosts her (despite making plans to eventually marry her) without a word. Thirteen years later, at 28 y/o, she’s STILL A VIRGIN because no man can equal her lost love. But Clay can shove his ‘man cigar’ into any hole he finds? I’m so sick of this overdone cliche that men can have fun and sex but women are too consumed with what they’ve lost to move on. And once Andrea and Clay finally see each other again, he offers no explanation, no apology, nothing. He just flirts shamelessly like he expects to get what he wants because of course he will, he’s a rich handsome hero and the heroine has an overcooked noodle for a spine.

Want to read a sometimes sad, never passionate, forced “romance” with a cold and distant hero and weak heroine? Then have at it. I’ll just be in the corner kicking myself for wasting so much of my time.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Always You – Roxie Noir

always you

Always You
364 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Darcy and Trent not only play in the same band, Dirtshine, they’ve also been best friends for years. They know more about each other than anyone else, they’re practically soul mates. Soul mates without a physically intimate relationship. Until one day, Darcy catches on fire mid-show due to a firework mishap and ignites (pun unintended… but I’m ok with it) a serious change in their relationship.

I haven’t read the first book in the Dirtshine series so I felt a bit lost at times, but I also appreciated not having that story recited to me repeatedly. Just enough information was given to make me want to actually read the first book now. Clever, Ms. Noir.

Darcy and Trent have one of the most natural and genuine relationships I’ve ever read. It takes years for them to risk their friendship for something more, showing how much they value one another as a person. Their mutual devotion is incredibly romantic, even if no romance was actually involved. But once they do get intimate? Woah. So. Good.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Match Pointe – Amélie S. Duncan

match pointe

Match Pointe
208 pages

2 ⭐⭐

Ballet dancer, Scarlet, has crushed on her best friend’s older brother/pro soccer player, Tyler, for years. After a collaboration between the NYC ballet and NY Soccer club, Scarlet grows some balls and asks Tyler to teach her about sex (sexy, I know) so she can finally feel more like a woman than a child. Tyler’s hesitant because not only is she his sister’s best friend, but because if they’re found out, it could cost them both their jobs. What a pickle to be in.

I couldn’t get into this book. Maybe I’m naïve, but is the plot’s scenario, that the two of them being together is against the rules, realistic? It doesn’t make sense to me for it to be such a big deal, especially when so many celebrities are always cavorting together without issue.

The romance is forced and awkward. It felt like Tyler had to convince himself to like Scarlet. Scarlet was too eager and came off as desperate at times. It didn’t help that the author tells us how they feel about each other rather than shows us. And the love scenes were practically clinical in nature and lacked steam.

The book was well-written, from a grammatical point, but the characters and plot just didn’t do it for me.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thousands – Pepper Winters

thousands

Thousands
300 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Why Pepper, why?

I was so psyched when I read Pennies. It was steadily paced with plenty of suspense. The romance was lacking, but I was ok with that. I figure there isn’t much place for romance in a slave’s life anyway. And then I read Dollars and I was a little disappointed. It was a lot of back and forth with Pim and Elder, but I was still looking forward to reading about their evolution. And then there was Hundreds, and I was even more disappointed. I expected Pim’s progress to be slow, but I was hoping for more than just watching her struggle to return to normalcy.

And now Thousands. This is the first Pepper Winters book that I could walk away from. It was beyond repetitive in regards to Elder’s distrust of himself, and Pim’s timid acceptance of it. The few times she fought him on his behavior were easily the best parts of the entire book, but they couldn’t save it. I felt like I was reading a broken record: progress forth, fall back, progress again, breaks the rules, fall even lower, progress again. There needed to be more to the story than just Elder’s low confidence in his self-control. He just kept getting on my nerves.

Then there’s the ending.
*Spoilers*
Simply put, it was ridiculous. The end scene with the Chinmoku felt like a B-Action movie starring Jackie Chan. But that’s not even the worst thing to me. First of all, I found it unbelievable and highly convenient for each of Pepper’s main characters from previous books to show up on the same night. It felt like cheap self-promotion rather than a natural evolution to the plot. Second, Q’s stupid resistance to just listen to what Elder and Pim had to say was drawn out and unbelievable. I’d fall for it if he didn’t speak English, but he knew damn well what they were saying and rather than listening to them for a minute, he goes and shoots him? WTH!? I hate when communication misunderstandings cause unnecessary drama in a book, and that scene was the pinnacle of unnecessary.

Five books is too long for this series. I assume it was contracted for a five-book serial to be written, but this just doesn’t fit the bill to sustain such a long story. I imagine I’ll still read Millions, but it’s more for me to just finish the damn story rather than me looking forward to it.