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text 2017-05-08 15:44
Chasing Perfect By Susan Mallery 99 cents!
By Susan Mallery: Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, Book 1) - -HQN Books-

Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

 

Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer—everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs—someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just chasing perfect.

 

 

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review 2017-05-04 05:14
Thoughts: Badlands
Badlands (Hqn) - Jill Sorenson

Badlands

by Jill Sorenson

Book 3 of Aftershock



I think I enjoyed Badlands a lot more than I'd expected to (more on that later).  The entire book is so intense and fast-paced, and it is entirely possible that it is my favorite of the Aftershock books so far... though Freefall was also one I loved, so I really can't decide.

And the characters were so great!  I especially love the fact that we're building onto Owen's character from previous books, as well as the relationship between Penny and Owen from a known history between them.


The Story:
After the events of the San Diego earthquake (Aftershock), Owen Jackson and Penny Sandoval still remain friends, their relationship growing stronger and their feelings deeper as the years go by.  But Owen holds himself back, feeling the differences of their social standings.  In order to get his life moving forward, he agrees to take a position on Jorge Sandoval's personal security team with the condition that he distance himself from Penny.  In return, the politician has offered him a letter of recommendation to help further his career, helping him find a spot with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

But everything changes when Penny is targeted by kidnappers who want to ransom her for money as well as force her father to drop out of the running as a presidential candidate.  In the chaos, however, the kidnappers end up grabbing Penny's young son, Cruz, as well as Owen.  They take the three hostages into the California badlands as part of their ransom plans, but what they hadn't counted on was Penny's escape as well as Owen's determination to keep Penny and Cruz safe.

Whether held captive, or trekking through the unforgiving heat of the desert, Owen vows to guard Penny and her son with his life; even if the person he's fighting against is his own brother.


My Thoughts:
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Badlands since I had a hard time relating to Penny in the first Aftershock book.  She had come off as spoiled, entitled, and prejudiced.  But I suppose that with the San Diego earthquake being years behind us, and Penny being allowed time to grow up, she has come out of the entire ordeal a much more mature person.

Raising a son and gaining acceptance from her super conservative father for getting pregnant out of wedlock has added to Penny's character growth since we last saw her two books prior.  Also, according to the vaguely mentioned timeline, a few years have passed since the San Diego earthquake that brought Penny and Owen into each others' lives.

To be honest, I really love the person Penny is in this book, and I really love how she loves and accepts Owen with all her heart.  Owen has certainly been through a lot of tough times, from a rough childhood with an abusive father and elder brother, to a hardening new outlook in life when he ended up in prison.  I love that Owen doesn't give himself any excuses for the decisions he made before he ended up in prison, and he also doesn't give himself any excuses for the decisions he made while in prison.

He's accepted that that has been his life up to that point, and is making steps to turn his life around and make everything work out somehow.  His ambitions are admirable, and his humble personality is kind of sweet as well.

Both characters are great together; both developing as the story progresses into even better people.

Because despite the fact that I love the person Penny is in the beginning of the book, I love that she recognizes and admits how readily she allowed her father to control her life simply because he not only didn't toss her and her son out, but also gave them everything they needed to live a comfortable life.  I love that she also doesn't give herself any excuses when it was time to stand up to her father.

Setting character dynamics aside--and there are a lot of character dynamics in this book--I very much enjoyed the entire suspenseful progression, following Owen, Penny, and Cruz as they make their way through the Badlands.  This story just keeps moving forward without a chance to stop for breath, and when all is said and done, we just kind of drift to an end in a well-outlined way.

If there is one thing I would point out, it would be the logic hole in the kidnappers hauling Owen along for the ride in the scheme.  Though I suppose, in a way, Owen's brother had been expecting him to turn around and help them with the kidnapping and ransom?  I suppose I would have been a little less forgiving if that reason hadn't been presented, since it seems highly foolish to kidnap the targeted rich girl and her bodyguard as well.

Anyway...

I loved this book, nonetheless, and I'm glad that I finally had a chance to get to it.  And in spite of how much I really disliked some of the characters, it occurs to me that they didn't take away from my enjoyment of Badlands, and in fact, kind of enhanced my satisfaction.

Jill Sorenson writes in a way that is real and down-to-earth, gritty and intense, and just keeps you hooked from the beginning until the end, with characters that are not the usual, larger-than-life romance novel types.

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/thoughts-badlands.html
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review 2017-04-24 18:19
Two Romances for the Price of One
Dream Wedding: Dream BrideDream Groom (Hqn) - Susan Mallery

This was previously two separate books titled "Dream Bride" and then "Dream Groom." Mallery re-issued as one book though. Which makes sense when you realize it's dealing with the same people and themes. I rated both books separately and then did an overall rating for the book.

 

I think my biggest issue is that Mallery takes way too long explaining the backstory of the sisters (Chloe and Cassie). The family legend really doesn't hold water at all. The first hero was a carbon copy of Indiana Jones. And the second hero didn't work for me at all. Probably because for me I didn't get a sense he was really in love as much as he fell in love due to circumstances. 

 

Chloe's story worked more for me than Cassie's did. Maybe because Cassie is a 24 year old virgin running around talking about passion and love and I just couldn't read most of her comments without laughing at her. Also virgin has best first time ever pops up in this book which made me laugh even more. I don't think Mallery was going for that, but I always love reading about discomfort women have during their first time and act like it's just a cramp that quickly goes away, cause love. I so blame romance books for my utter stupidity about what my first time would consist of...yeah it took me a while to get over that. 

 

Dream Bride (3 stars)-Chloe is 25 years old and dealing with her sister Cassie acting like a loon because according to family legend, the night of Chloe's 25th birthday when she wears the family nightgown (that is hundreds of years old) she will dream of the man she is meant to fall in love with and marry. There was a family member who was a Gypsy so yeah...I don't know. That is just dropped in the book here and there and it still doesn't make sense to me at all. 

 

Image result for puts on glasses gif

 

First of all, why is a dress that is several hundred years old still fresh as a daisy? They don't mention having it sealed or it smelling or being musty due to the women in the family wearing this thing through the years.

 

Second, what about the men? Yes I just went what about the men in a romance book, but it makes no sense to me that apparently we only care if the women in the family find true love.

 

Third, who picked the year 25? I am guessing when this nightgown first popped up that it was the 1800s at some point. If you waited til you were 25 that is going to be considered a spinster to a lot of people I assume. So you just get married, wear it, and hope that guy you married was suppose to be the one. 

 

Fourth, the story goes that only family members can wear this nightgown and have the dream that will show them the groom. Cassie who is the focus in story two is adopted.

 

Fifth, this sounds way more complicated than looking into a pool of water on a full moon to see your true love. 

 

Anyway, Chloe is reluctant to go along with the family legend, but does it to indulge her sister. And then gasp! She has a super hot dream about a man who she then meets the next day. Chloe is called upon to interview an archaeologist named Arizona Smith.

 

 

I started calling him knock off Indiana Jones. Cause there is no way a freaking archaeologist would be as well known as he is, has women throwing themselves at him, and is the sexiest man ever and is even more popular than most movie stars.

 

Chloe is flustered around Arizona, Arizona is intrigued by Chloe, and Chloe's Aunt Charity (seriously with the C names) who is old friends with Arizona definitely thinks something is between them. 

 

I really do wish that Mallery had spent less time with sexy times with Arizona and Chloe and thought more of expanding the backstory of Chloe and Cassie. We don't even get to find out until I think I was at 25-30 percent of the book that their parents died when Chloe was 15. And due to Cassie being adopted (it's implied) that the two girls are split up into separate foster homes. Aunt Charity could not be found for three years (which makes no sense) and comes back when Chloe is about to turn 18 to get them both out of foster care and to live with them. Chloe has a lot of residual anger towards her parents and her aunt that I don't think are really discussed in  real way except in spots here and there. I would say that the parents picking a woman who travels with no real way to contact her while she's traveling was not the smartest pick as a guardian.

 

The writing was boring though. Arizona discovers some stones and thinks he knows the mystical meaning of things? I don't know. I started to glaze over. But of course Arizona and Chloe are both reluctant to fall in love and trust each other cause of their pasts. I was just bored.


The ending was a foregone conclusion though I did laugh at the random high priestess and ruler of an island telling Arizona he needs to go back to his true love. 

 

Dream Groom (1 star)-Cassie is 24 and is engaged to be engaged to her long-time boyfriend Joel. Things get more complicated for Cassie after she meets Ryan. Cassie who is a nursery school teacher goes and offers to help Ryan by being the nanny to his 2 year old niece named Sasha. Ryan is floundering after the death of his brother and his wife and trying to deal with running his business and keeping an eye on Sasha. With Cassie being a live in nanny, he thinks things will be easier with her raising Sasha while he makes a lot of phone calls.


And seriously though, I still am confused about what Ryan's job is. No I have no intention of looking it up.

 

Cassie and her pre-fiancee Joel are white paint with no shine. Seriously guys, you find out in book #1 and this book that Cassie and Joel have never succumbed to their animal passions and made love. They have been together nine years. Cassie even at one point tries to get Joel to "take" her. I maybe laughed so hard I started hiccuping. This book was a mess.

 

Of course Cassie's passions gets awakened when she meets Ryan and wants to to be in love (ie have sex). Frankly, I would have liked this book more if Cassie had decided that maybe being with a guy for 9 years and not even doing heavy petting means she needs to go out and date and not settle again. But what do I know.

 

The whole second book was yawn inducing. Though I did laugh again when Joel reappears and is all I have fallen in love and we had lots of sex! Who does that?

 

I really wish that Mallery had not taken the easy out with regards to the nightgown thing. It's supposed to only work on female members of the Bradley family. Since Cassie is adopted there is this whole internal push from her to wear it. Though she knows it probably won't work. And even though she loves Ryan, she still has to wear it to see. I laughed again during and after that scene. I wish that Mallery had just had Cassie say she didn't need a nightgown to know she loved Ryan.

 

 

I read this for Booklikes-opoly. The Kindle edition is 512 pages which is the equivalent of $5.00.

 

 Bank: $33.00

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text 2017-04-24 17:11
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Dream Wedding: Dream BrideDream Groom (Hqn) - Susan Mallery

This book(s) were unintentionally hilarious. I wanted to DNF, but I was also intrigued by where Mallery was going with things.

 

 

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text 2017-04-22 17:10
Reading progress update: I've read 12%.
Dream Wedding: Dream BrideDream Groom (Hqn) - Susan Mallery

This is okay but I am still confused about the two sisters upbringing. Mallery is dancing around it too much. The plot being a hundred year old nightgown allows you to see the man you'll marry is a but weird. How has it not disingerated? 

 

The man Arizona sounds interesting and Chloe is a reporter looking into a story about his gem exhibit. Yes the hero's job is a new one on me. He is an archaeologist I think. Most romance books are flush with architects or cops. 

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