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review 2020-01-06 22:14
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
No Judgments - Meg Cabot

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After devastating events start to pile on one after the other, Bree decides to escape to Little Bridge Island, where she spent her cherished childhood vacations. She dyes her hair pink and is working on finding herself again but a potential hurricane is trying to disrupt her calm.
Fending off her mother and ex-boyfriend begging her to leave the island, Bree decides to stick it out with some locals, one who is rumored to be the local playboy. Drew's sexy looks have caught her attention before but he seems like trouble she doesn't need.
The storm and fate seem to be throwing them together as Bree gets to know him more, she's starting to want to break her no dating rule.

I had purposefully come to this island to be alone and figure out my next move. None of that had included becoming attracted to darkly handsome brooding men who were kind to dogs.

Told only from Bree's point of view, No Judgments spends a lot of time in her head. Bree thinks about how her father's death, learning the woman she calls mom is not her biological mother, and hints at a traumatic experience that involved her ex-boyfriend's friend for the majority of the first half to let readers in on plot points and reasons for Bree's character make-up. These big issues are all thought about by Bree in her head and never fully get to be flushed out as the outer issue of the hurricane getting ready to hit the island takes up most of the action part of the story.

There was some build up to the hurricane, Bree doesn't want to leave because her rescue cat Gary has health issues and she wants people to think of her as a local and not a “Fresh Water”, but the actual event of the hurricane only lasts a night and Bree basically sleeps through it. The aftermath talks about potential health hazards, lack of resources and looters, but the reader never really feels this as Bree gallivants around the island. At the midpoint in the story, Bree and Drew still had a little bit of animosity to their relationship (and one quick make-out session), due to preconceived notions about each other but Bree decides to risk life and limb to go out and see if he survived the hurricane; her emotions seemed to strongly come out of nowhere.

The second half switches to Bree and Drew trying to rescue, feed, and water animals who's owners abandoned them with the hurricane coming in and now can't get back because of a bridge washed out. Around the 60% mark is where I finally thought I could see some emotional and relationship development between the two.

I’d broken all the rules, and now I was sitting here, like an idiot, by the light of the Milky Way, eating the guy’s steaks with his happy, well-fed dogs pressed all around me, listening to him talk. God. I had it bad.

With the story being told in Bree's point of view, readers get to know her pretty well but Drew's character could have had more filling out. He seemed likable, a laid back island guy who loved dogs, but I never knew him and he felt like almost an after thought for being the main partner in a romance. This had some heavier issues, death, infertility, and sexual assault sprinkled in but they were never fully fleshed out and the tone of the story colored them with a bit too much of a cavalier vibe. Honestly, if someone asked me what this story was about, I'd say the message was “Don't judge people for leaving their animals in a hurricane”, which can be a good message but feels odd for a romance/contemporary fiction.

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review 2019-08-28 03:46
Temporary
Temptation (Bad Angels #2) - Inara Scott

This is book #2, in the Bad Angels series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For read understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Zoe loves her job.  She has come a long way but her life is now in a good place.  Until she crashes in front of Connor.  Somehow him taking care of her puts everything in a new light.

 

Connor has always wanted Zoe.  She has no idea how he wants her.  When he has the chance to be with her, he has no problem taking it.  It's the after he is afraid of.

 

I loved how these characters were together.  The sexy heat of them was just hot.  The pace of the book was good.  I enjoyed seeing them together and hoped for more.  This is an author who delivers.  The humor helped it to be fun.  I found myself eagerly turning the pages.  Overall it is a really good read.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2019-06-05 19:37
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
The Friend Zone: the most hilarious and heartbreaking romantic comedy of 2019 - Abby Jimenez

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

The Friend Zone is a debut with chapter switching povs between the heroine and hero, laughs, serious life issues, and a easy paced flow. Kristen suffers from uterine fibroids that cause her to have long heavy periods with extremely painful cramps and other intensified pms symptoms. Even though she feels she would eventually want children, her medical condition makes it implausible, so she is considering a hysterectomy. She's currently dating Tyler, a Marine overseas who is not planning on re-enlisting and coming home to live with her. Tyler doesn't want kids, so even though Kristen isn't sure she loves him, she thinks they are a good match.

Josh just broke up with his girlfriend and is moving from South Dakota to California to work with his bestfriend Brandon, they're fireman. He comes from a large family, six sisters, and has always wanted kids. He's not looking to get into a relationship until he feels settled in but Brandon's fiancee's maid-of-honor captures his attention.

 

Fine. Stay. But don’t go catching feelings. I mean it. We are not a thing. Got it?”

Using me for sex. Got it.” He pulled me closer and kissed my shoulder.

Stop!”

Good night.”

I could tell he was smiling.

 

Kristen and Josh definitely have chemistry on the pages, they have similar tastes, attitudes, and sense of humor; I enjoyed the playfulness between the two. There's a little bit of love triangle with Kristen dating Tyler but being extremely attracted to Josh. At first I liked how the author didn't immediately demonize Tyler, but about halfway through Kristen gets an easy out solution and the love triangle conflict lost a lot of its umph.

 

The main conflict of the story is Kristen knowing that she probably will never be able to have children, knowing Josh wants them, and so feeling she isn't good enough to be with him. Kristen is a sassy, tell it like it is character, easily discussing or mentioning her period issues but clams up and refuses to tell Josh that it could lead to her never having children. This creates a situation where Kristen is constantly pulling Josh in, because she is incredibly attracted to him and doesn't want to admit to herself that she loves him, but then harshly emotionally pushing him away, it started to get a bit exhausting and annoying. Lack of communication becomes part of the premise of the story and with two leads who otherwise have no problem communicating, it felt somewhat forced.

 

Josh for his part, plays a pretty understanding sensitive guy. He constantly bends and makes way for Kristen's needs, so often and completely that while he is definitely sweet, I didn't feel they had an equal relationship, how was Kristen meeting Josh's needs? Kristen is twenty-four and Josh twenty-nine, I felt this had a bit of a New Adult feel to it, Kristen came off young and immature at times and Josh felt a bit stand-in for Fairy Tale Submit To All Your Wants and Desires placeholder hero.

 

But being with her wasn’t even something I had to think about. I did want kids. But I wanted her first. Everything else was just everything else.

 

I thought it was great that the author showcased Kristen dealing with the health issues she did, we don't often get to read heroines with these issues but the ending had a bit of a surprise to it that I know will leave some readers feeling betrayed, it almost felt like a bait and switch to me.

Kristen ends up getting magically pregnant to their surprise

(spoiler show)

There was also an ending heavy emotional situation that came off feeling somewhat manipulated, it was shocking but I wasn't completely invested in the secondary character because they weren't fully fleshed out and it ended up feeling more set-up for the second in the series than adding to the emotional fabric of this story.

 

Overall, this author has a very easy reading style that does keep you reading the pages. There was some “cool girl” vibes going on with Kristen that I could have done without, women who eat cheeseburgers aren't necessarily cooler than those who don't; comes to close to the manic pixie girl vibe promoting for me. The main conflict of the story ended up feeling bait and switch, Kristen's push and pull with Josh started to drag, and there was some layers and depth to characters I was missing that kept me from fully sinking into the story. This is an author I'm going to keep an eye on though, there's some charisma to her writing.

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review 2018-11-12 21:57
I came very close to hating The Hating Game
The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

I am very close to being a complete outlier on this one, a handful of friends seem to have had the same issues I did but the vast majority LOVED this story.

I Buddy Read this with others who loved it, so for their comments/thoughts and more of mine - The Hating Game BR

I finally finished and honestly, it was a struggle for me. I don't want to yuck people's yum but the general tone of this didn't work for me personally.
What didn't work for me:
-The tone, only having Lucy's pov made it hard for me to read Josh the way I think the author wanted me to.
-Their hating game, came off immature from Lucy's pov, Josh seemed dickish instead of shy (he was rude to the hotel staff, I didn't enjoy his shyness coming off as rude/mean/abrupt to the extreme that people cried after talking to him and feared him.
-The many, many, many reminders of Lucy being short/little but wait, she eats like a NFL O-lineman!
-The fat-shaming is truly cringe worthy here
-Their chemistry, one or two lines between them worked for me, other than that, their first kiss where Lucy honest to god thinks Josh is going to hurt or kill her before he kisses her was uncomfortable.
-Lucy solves Josh's decades old feud with his father, something his mother who knows how to handle his brusque father and loves Josh oh so much and misses him like crazy, couldn't step up and do, once.

Suffice to say Lucy genuinely fearing Josh at many points, his shyness that came off as making hotel employees cry after dealing with him, and their "flirting/foreplay" of back and forth actual HR sexual harassment complaints, didn't personally jive with me. It all felt immature and forced.

Books with similar stories that I really liked - Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie and Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

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review 2018-09-08 02:45
Manic Cozy Mystery
An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries Book 1) - Elise Sax
 
Something was definitely fishy about Randy Terns’s death, and at least one of his children thought he deserved to be murdered.
 
Cozy mystery isn't a genre I usually spend a lot of time in but I've dabbled and the ones I've dabbled in, tend to have a "cozy" calm, mysterious but relaxing feel to them, not so here. 
 
The only time the heroine isn't on the go or jumping here and there, is when she is asleep, which doesn't last long. She's in town to take over her grandmother's matchmaking business but doesn't quite have the touch but doesn't matter since she only focuses on that for about 3% of the story. One of her neighbors was found dead in the kitchen and she thinks (?? I guess but she never seems totally sure even though she is running around trying to solve the "murder") he was murdered. 
 
What follows is a story that felt incredibly manic and held together with rubber bands and flimsy plot threads. Why does such a small town, I don't think they even have a 20 person police force (they don't have their own 911 call center) have a multi-million dollar new station? This is the first in the series but like my complaints about Angelfalls, you still have to craft story that provides depth in regards to characters and plot in book one. 
 
There is a love triangle but with one guy that barely is a pencil sketch  and the heroine only seems to like because he is hot and the other that seems like the clear future winner. I'm not quite sure what the heroine saw in the pencil sketch (besides good looks) and I'm not sure what either guy saw in the heroine. The murder mystery was convoluted as all get out and had a reveal dump at the end.  
 
This was so manic and jumbled I felt like I was lost in a bouncy castle. I don't think I'll be continuing on in the series, especially since I am not a fan of love triangles, they always seem to be dragged out way to long.
 
Bonus point for having Rottweilers in the story but point deduction for having them be growling frightening beasts. 
 
 
 
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