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review 2018-12-23 02:16
Book Review: The Art Of Falling In Love by Eli Summers
The Art Of Falling In Love - Eli Summers

There be spoilers. I'm pretty pissed off at the moment. What a waste of time this was.

CW: Homophobia, racism, cheating, and sexual assault.

I only liked Holden. And even he was an idiot. But I could empathize with this struggles - coming to terms with his feelings for another boy, figuring out that he's bi-sexual (though I'm not sure why he'd think that, since he hasn't even had a girlfriend), and dealing with being bullied at school, on top of living with an asshole father and a doormat mother, unable to live up to his Golden Boy older brother, who was much less an asshole than I expected based on how his character was initially set up. Holden's best friend of 14 years (Tiffany) is abandoning him for a boy, though I'm honestly not even sure why Holden thought of her as his friend in the first place - she was nothing but a bitch to him. 

All the characters in his book are one-dimensional card board cutouts. You have the rich boy jerkface who thinks he can throw his daddy's money in everyone's face, the bitchy-only female, the pedophile principal (ew, ew, ew, what the fuck was that shit, touching Holden inappropriately, talking about blow jobs to make a record go away, and then comparing his dick to Aaron's whose dick he presumably knows NOTHING about), and the cheating daddy fucking Holden's best friend, who's - you guessed it - suddenly pregnant.

None of the characters, including Aaron, the love interest, made any fucking sense with their actions. Not a single one. Not Holden thinking he can just go to the city and enroll in college, and find a job that will pay him enough to cover his cost of living, not Aaron, whose pillow talk was the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in a romance novel, not Jeff, the jerkface, not Tiffany, the bitch, not the principal (what the FUCK was that shit), and not Holden's parents. 

At one point Aaron's father leaves for a conference of some sort in Seattle - which, super convenient, amirite, so Aaron and Holden can have a sleepover and sex it up (virgin ass and all), and we're supposed to believe that a small town mechanic goes to a conference, leaving no one to work on the cars in the shop? 

This book was an utter mess, and I don't just mean the stilted, unrealistic dialogue and ridiculous plot. The editor was MIA, and the proof-reader took a vacation, I guess. Grammar seemed optional. 

Men don't have a g-spot. A virgin like Holden, never having even CONSIDERED gay sex, has likely not heard of the prostrate. And he sure as fuck wouldn't call it a g-spot. 

At one point, Aaron says "Open Says Me". I suppose the author meant OPEN SESAME. How was that not caught? Then a few pages later, Aaron opens the condom and puts it on, with HIS TEETH. On himself. Uhm, sure, whatever floats your boat. I guess you're super bendy. Never mind the holes you just made with your teeth, you moron, which sort of defeats the purpose of putting on a condom in the first place. 

And to top off the editorial proof-reading fuckery, in one instance HOLDEN is called AARON. 

And, and, and... there's no HEA, not even a HFN - the couple has broken up at book's end because Holden is leaving town and Aaron isn't. We get a "To Be Continued" as if that isn't something you should tell your readers up front.

Not recommended. Possibly the worst book I've read this year. JFC. Yeah, I know it's YA, but young adults would like to read good books. And this isn't a good book. 

I'm so sorry, Secret Santa. I was swayed by the blurb and the positive reviews, and I now regret putting this book on my wishlist. I kind of hate that you wasted your money on this, even though I truly appreciate you getting it for me. 

Not recommended.

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review 2018-10-23 02:37
ARC Review: Adder And Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns
Adder And Willow - Sam Burns

This series just keeps getting better, with every new book the author releases.

Adder And Willow is the 6th book in the series, and the third book of the 2nd trilogy, in which we catch up with Fletcher and Conner, whose relationship is still growing.

Now Conner's mother and step-father are coming to visit, and Fletcher is dreading meeting them. Not because he doesn't want to meet his boyfriend's parents, but because he's a terrible liar, and he knows that he's no good at keeping secrets. And the supernatural parts of himself and Rowan Harbor must be kept secret from outsiders.

Fletcher is also having meetings with Oak, the Dryad, who have been working with Fletcher to continue the training his mother couldn't. It is during one of these meetings that Fletcher finds out something he may have already sort of known, but that might put his future with Conner in danger.

And, as if that isn't enough on his plate, he also stumbles across two strangers in a stranded car, a mother and son, who are intrinsically linked to Rowan Harbor.

I just adore this series. The characters are complex and fully fleshed out, and each one is so different. There is never any confusing one character with another, because they all have different personalities. Fletcher may be one of my favorites, because while he's timid to some extent, and not assertive, he has much more steel in his backbone than he realizes. 

Conner is still growing into his new powers (you'll have to read the previous book to find out about that), and he's going to be tested here.

What also stands out about the characters is how they're all connected - not only because of their supernatural powers, but also because they feel like family, and they treat each other that way. They stick together, they stick up for each other, and they work together for the common good. 

The book is alternately humorous and serious. There is action, there is danger, and there are sweet moments between Fletcher and Conner that really cement their relationship. 

This series cannot be read out of order - each subsequent book builds on its predecessor - however, each book does end in a satisfying way. There are no cliffhangers. 

The writing style of this author really works for me, and I flew through the pages. 

Recommended! 



** I received a free copy of this book from Signal Boost Promotions as part of this review tour, in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-18 00:20
ARC Review: Lincoln's Park by Parker Williams
Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams

I read this book, finished it, and then immediately read it again. That basically NEVER happens, but with this book, I couldn't help myself.

Noel is a young man who was kicked out of his home by his ever so loving parents when he told them he was gay. He was lucky in that he found a place at a local shelter, where he's been living and helping out for the past three years. In need of a job, any job, he stops in Lincoln's diner.

Lincoln is quite a bit older than Noel, with a very different backstory, which we find out as the book progresses. He loves cooking and taking care of people, and he treats his employees like family. One look at the forlorn young man asking for a job, and Lincoln can't help himself - the need to pull the young man into the folds is immediate. 

Noel has no idea what hit him - surely nobody can be that decent and kind to someone they don't know at all, right?

I liked both characters immensely, and also the supporting cast - the other employees at the diner, especially Katy, and Robert who runs the shelter where Noel has been staying. However, Lincoln's brother and father - I wanted them to hurt, and badly, but obviously I wasn't supposed to like them. 

Noel is still young, and despite the last three years being really rough, he hasn't lost his sweet kindness, his youthful innocence, his positive outlook. He's fascinated by the older Lincoln, but also has no intention of falling for his boss and being out of a job. Except he doesn't realize that Lincoln feels the same, and that they are well matched despite the age difference and the difference in their life experiences. Lincoln's history plays a huge role in who he became, and he's reluctant to reach for Noel, scared to some extent that he's no good for the younger man. Thank goodness for Katy who gives them the push they both need. 

What struck me most here is that the author created complex and fully developed characters - Lincoln had some layers that ran much deeper than I initially expected, and Noel has an inner strength I didn't expect from someone so young. 

There's a moment toward the end of the book that may be confusing for some - without giving away the plot, I can't really say much about it, but suffice it to say that if you pay attention to what comes before, you will not be confused at all, or even wonder what just happened. 

The BDSM-Lite aspect of the relationship was well done and rang true, and I liked that the author utilized it as a source of some conflict that the two men have to work out, which actually strengthened the relationship.

What is emphasized time and again is family - the one you're born to and the one you choose and make for yourself. Family, even if not by blood, is what binds Lincoln and Noel and Katy and Jesse and Robert and all the others. Even Lincoln's brother, who by book's end seemingly has second thoughts about how he's been acting. I have it on good authority that his story will be told in a future book. I cannot wait! 

But what really permeates this book is love. There is so much tangible, obvious love in every word on every page, and you are cocooned by it, warmed by it, embraced by it. 

I think it's that feeling of love that prompted me to read the book twice in a row, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

It's available now.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-01 01:22
ARC Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
Hard Truths - Alex Whitehall

On one hand, this book was less superficial than I expected, considering the blurb. I love the fake boyfriend trope, and I was looking forward to a fun book. While there was lots of humor, the depth within surprised me.

On the other hand, I would have liked to repeatedly smack Isaac over the head, not only for continuing to hide Logan being his boyfriend, but also for not realizing that family isn't always determined by blood, especially when your parents are homophobic racist jerks. 

I think what bothered me the most is that Isaac often sounded much younger than I was told he is, especially when he's around his parents, and that he was too blind to realize that he was hurting Logan, and his friends, with his ridiculous stance. While I could understand his fears, those fears blinded him to what he already has, and he only saw what he stood to lose. He lives a couple of hours away from his parents, and he's out to everyone in his life, except for them. But every time he goes home, it is very clear that not only does he not like his parents, especially his father, but he also mocks and ridicules them. And thus I couldn't for the life of me understand what was stopping him from telling them to shove it and tell them who he truly is. 

The romance is definitely whirlwind, much like the blurb promises, and there is hot sex and cheesy puns, and I believed that both Isaac and Logan had feelings for each other. They have a lot in common, and the growth in their relationship felt realistic to me given the timeframe of this book. 

I guess Isaac still needed to grow up. And I guess he does by book's end; he just leaves a whole lot of hurt in his wake that could have been avoided, had he been more emotionally mature. 

The entire book is written from Isaac's POV, so we don't get a whole lot of true insights to Logan, and Isaac's friends, since his view is somewhat skewered and distorted though his lens. The humor was fun (not cheesy, really), and outside of Isaac's behavior with his parents, I did like him as a person. He's kind and considerate to others - just emotionally stunted. Which is likely a result of his upbringing, but I didn't see the same in his sister, and she grew up in the same emotionally stunted home. 

I liked the writing style, and I'm definitely going to check out more books by this author. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-01 00:50
ARC Review: Midnight In Berlin by JL Merrow
Midnight in Berlin - J.L. Merrow

I loved Leon's irreverent narrative - he was my favorite person in the book.

In a case of mistaken identity, a werewolf bites a human. Oops.

Christoph, a lawyer of sorts, and Lycan, driving through Berlin in his Porsche very late at night, spots Leon, a student/drifter, who's hitchhiking his way back to this hostel. Leon is covered in feather, after a pillow fight at a concert and some rain, and Christoph thinks Leon is Lycan too and has just killed a large bird. So he stops, offers him a rider, and takes him to his pack house in one of the Berlin 'burbs. Because wolves aren't supposed to run around arousing suspicion, and Christoph chides Leon for potentially revealing the secret.

Leon has no idea what the guy with the Porsche is babbling about, but he's not liking it. And never mind the guy's face growing fangs and sprouting hair. When the car stops, Leon bolts just as soon as Christoph realizes his mistake.

Long story short, Leon wakes up Lycan (oops) after Christoph bit him. Christoph is nowhere to be found, and nobody living in the house where Christoph took him is telling him anything useful.

The pack is led by a horrible man named Schreiber. He's brutal, he treats his pack members like crap, and he's not happy that Leon is now a wolf.

Leon discovers where Christoph is being caged for punishment (that was hard to read, OMG), and together with Schreiber's daughter, they flee the house. 

The rest of the story is basically telling us about their escape and their movements through Berlin, trying to find out what they can about the experiment Schreiber appears to be running. There's a side story with another pack, this one full wolves.

The plot is fast-moving and the action scenes were fascinating, but the romance was rather bland. Outside of some sort of mating bond, I didn't really feel it at all. 

Leon's character stood out for me - the rest of them all were more or less one-dimensional. Christoph was okay, once he let go of his guilt a bit, and we do get a HEA. The descriptions of Berlin felt accurate, and most of the dialogue rang organic and realistic for the characters. 

Not one of my favorites by this author, but I enjoyed it. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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