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Search tags: Fight-em-or-Fuck-em
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review 2016-04-03 01:45
"Never Sweeter" by Charlotte Stein
Never Sweeter: A Dark Obsession Novel - Charlotte Stein

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I wrote in my last review that if Courtney Milan published her grocery lists, I'd probably read them. Well, if Charlotte Stein published her grocery lists, they'd probably turn me on. 


I'm not usually a fan of New Adult, but I loved the premise of Never Sweeter. The heroine, Letty, was viciously bullied in high school, and I'm not talking simple name calling or fat shaming (though I don't mean to minimize those hurts): a truck full of jocks literally ran her off a cliff. Two years later, she's at college, recovered from her physical injuries and starting to recover from the emotional damage -- but just as her life is coming together, one of the jocks responsible for running her down shows up in her film class. 


I thought the way Stein addressed Letty's bullying and the long-term impact on her self-esteem and her ability to trust was brilliant. -And the way she made Tate a believable and likable hero, without minimizing his culpability for what he did in high school, was amazing. Few writers could pull that off in an authentic way, but Tate is vulnerable and remorseful and very, very appealing, and the reader falls in love with him right along with Letty, even while sharing Letty's extreme reservations (since we know what he's done). 


My only complaints about the book are that the end is a bit too sudden, and there's a subplot involving the mafia which felt like an unnecessary slathering of Crazysauce on top of an otherwise extremely authentic and relatable story. These are relatively minor quibbles, though. I wholeheartedly recommend this, and I'll definitely read it again. 

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review 2015-12-15 14:55
A Nice Visit to Spindle Cove for Fans, but Nothing to Offer Newcomers
Lord Dashwood Missed Out: A Spindle Cove Novella - Tessa Dare

If you're already a fan of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, this is an entertaining and pleasant little holiday confection worth an hour or so of your time. You'll get to visit with old friends from previous books (Griff and Pauline, Any Duchess Will Do; Bram and Susanna, A Night to Surrender; Minerva and Colin, A Week to be Wicked), and you'll probably enjoy the short story about Lord Dashwood and whatsername, stuck in a hovel in a storm in the middle of nowhere. Oh, you think you read that book already, years ago, in Stephanie Laurens' Devil's Bride? Well, this is different. It's shorter, it's Christmas, and there's no murder.


If you're not yet a fan of Dare's, this isn't the place to start. This novella is fine for what it is, but it's too short and too formulaic to showcase the wit and emotion and humor that Dare does so well.

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review 2015-04-08 17:57
Milquetoast Heroine, Douchey Hero, Stereotypical Villainness, Boring Plot
When Lightning Strikes - Brenda Novak

I'm in the market for a new contemporary romance author / series... and it looks like Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek books are not going to fit the bill. I picked this one up on sale a month or so ago at the recommendation of Smart Bitches Trashy Books (I think), but I struggled to get through When Lightning Strikes. I usually enjoy a good marriage of convenience plot, but I really struggled to connect with both the hero and heroine in this book. The hero was kind of a jerk (though he improved with sobriety), the heroine was very milquetoast, and the plot just seemed to drag. 


I hated that the villain of the story is the hero's ex-wife. Yes, divorce brings out the worst in people, and yes, there are plenty of real-life women who behave badly, but reading about fictional women behaving badly pushes all of my Feminist Rage Buttons because these stories needlessly perpetuate the worst stereotypes about women.

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review 2014-11-18 22:05
Ugh. Just Ugh.
Screwdrivered - Alice Clayton

Viv inherits a gorgeous, beach-side Victorian house, complete with horses tended by a real-live cowboy. She immediately assumes that she's somehow landed in one of the romance novels she loves to read, and that she and the cowboy must be meant for each other.


The problem? The cowboy is kind of a Neanderthal.


There is a hot librarian, who actually (unlike the Neanderthal cowboy) seems to be able to string a sentence together and further (again, unlike the Neanderthal cowboy) seems to actually like Viv. The problem is that Viv spends all but the last few pages of the book Too Stupid To Live Notice. And in her obliviousness, she's often pretty douchey toward Clark the librarian.


This story was infuriatingly predictable, the characters flat. Clark was okay--(except for his refusal to call Viv by anything other than Vivian, even after she corrected him a zillion times--that habit grew on Viv, but not on me; it's just disrespectful not to call a person by what she tells you she wants to be called)--but that might be my bias toward beta heroes talking. Viv was a flake and I never warmed up to her. Clark could have done much better.


I was seriously annoyed by her dreams/fantasies in which she imagines herself in the most lurid, purple-prosed romance novel ever. These were supposed to be funny, but I'm defensive about the way non-romance readers view the genre, and these scenes bought into all the worst stereotypes in a way that touched a nerve and made my skin crawl.


As usual, Alice Clayton offers some snappy, funny dialogue, but on the whole this book could have been so much better than it was.

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review 2014-11-17 19:07
Really Didn't Rock My Boat
Dirty Rowdy Thing - Christina Lauren

After DNFing Beautiful Bastard, I would have written off Christina Lauren if not for Dear Author's review of Sweet Filthy Boy, which was a pleasant enough surprise to lead me to pick up Dirty Rowdy Thing, which was itself entertaining but not earth shattering.


In Sweet Filthy Boy, three female best friends celebrate their college graduation with a drunken weekend in Vegas, which results in the quickie marriages of the three lady friends to three male friends they meet in a bar. Of the three couples, only Mia and Ansel try to give marriage a shot (read all about it in SFB), while Harlow and Finn and Lola and Oliver get quickie annulments.


But Harlow can't quite get Finn out of her system. He turns up in her life again at a time when they are both desperately in need of distraction, Harlow because her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Finn because his family fishing business is failing. They quickly fall into bed in an effort to avoid facing the more serious stuff going on in their lives, but it's quickly apparent that their relationship is getting pretty serious, too.


This was set up as an antagonistic, Slap-slap-kiss-kiss romance, but to be honest, I never felt the antagonism. That didn't bother me, because fight-em-and-fuck-em isn't my favorite trope anyway, but if it is yours, and if you're looking for a real conflict between these two, you may be disappointed.


As with SFB, there is lots and lots and lots of sex in this book; this time, it comes spiced with ropes and light BDSM elements. I was honestly kind of bored by the sex in SFB, but the sex in DRT at least fit with the plot a little more seamlessly.

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