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review 2017-06-25 22:07
Book Review of Throb by Vi Keeland
Throb - Vi Keeland

The rules:

 

No dating.

No sex outside of the game.

No disclosing the terms of the contract.

 

Rules were made to be broken, right?

 

Eight weeks ago I signed a contract. One that seemed like a good idea at the time. A handsome bachelor, luxury accommodations, and a chance to win a prize my family desperately needed. There were some rules though. Lots of them actually. Follow the script, no dating, sex, or disclosing the terms of the deal. After my self-imposed moratorium on men the last year, it wouldn’t be hard to live up to my end of the bargain…so I thought. Until I realized the deal I’d made was with the devil…and I was in love with his dirty-talking brother.

 

Author's note – Throb is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This is a stand-alone contemporary romance. I really enjoyed it.

 

Cooper Montgomery is a wonderful character and I liked him a lot. He is the CEO of a film production company that his father had started. His brother, Miles, has his own company that produces reality TV programmes. When Cooper meets Kate at a poker game, he's immediately attracted to her.

 

Kate Monroe is also a wonderful character and I liked her too. Her father was a well known poker player. However, due to her father's debts, she signs up for a reality TV show called Throb. When she meets Cooper she is attracted to him, but because of the rules of the show and the contract she signed, she finds herself torn between following the rules or breaking them.

 

I love reading Vi Keeland's books. I have been a huge fan of this author's ever since I was first introduced to her books in 2013 and I read Belong To You. I downloaded a copy of this book in 2015. Unfortunately, due to my large reading list, I was unable to read it until recently.

 

I started to read and was quickly hooked. I didn't put this book down until I had finished it.

 

This book is told through the eyes of both Cooper and Kate, which gives the reader the opportunity to see their thoughts and feelings. The chemistry between Cooper and Kate is extremely explosive from the start and hot enough to scorch the pages. I also loved meeting a few of the other characters who were likeable and lifelike. In fact all the characters were lifelike, with flaws and insecurities which made them more real. Miles came across as a spoilt brat, though he didn't have a lot of page time. I must admit that I liked Flynn Beckham, the bachelor from the TV show. He seemed a really nice guy and I could fall for him myself.

 

I am not a huge fan of reality TV and I cannot see the appeal of putting on a fake show and calling it "reality". It is not natural or real. Real life is doing household chores, working, raising a family and earning a living the hard way. Not parading around a jungle doing tasks to earn food or sitting in a house full of strangers and again doing tasks to earn specified outcomes, just to earn lots of money and fifteen minutes of fame. Luckily, this book doesn't focus on this aspect, but the relationship between characters who live their lives off camera. The story took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. I loved the dialogue and the way the characters all interacted; I could picture everything in my mind's eye with ease. As this book is a stand-alone, this book doesn't end in a cliffhanger. Having said that, I am now looking forward to reading Beat when I get the chance.

 

Vi Keeland has written another exciting erotic romance. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. The story flowed wonderfully too. I love reading this author's work. She is one of my favourite contemporary romance writers, and I will continue to follow her career with interest.

 

As this is an erotic romance, there are several scenes of a sexual nature that are rather hot and explicit, as well as some strong language. Therefore, I do not recommend this book for readers younger than 18. However, if you love hot, steamy erotic romances, this book is for you! - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-02-15 22:02
Everything is possible with a little help from your friends
Life in a Fishbowl - Len Vlahos

Thanks to Net Galley and to Bloomsbury Childrens for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This novel, that although classified in the category of teen and young adult literature can be read by anyone, is the story of the Stone family whom we meet when they are at a moment of crisis. When the father, Jared, is diagnosed with a brain tumour, aware that he’ll lose his faculties and his family are going to be left without his support, he decides drastic measures are necessary. What follows is the story of how his decisions affect all around him and how we can achieve incredible things if we never give up and have the support of our friends.

The novel is told, in the third person, from a variety of characters’ point of view, including Jared (although he becomes progressively confused), Jackie, his oldest daughter, and the central point of the story, Deirdre, the mother, Megan, the younger sister, and a number of characters extraneous to the family, including a young girl whose main contact with the outside world is Warcraft, a millionaire who’d do anything to keep himself entertained, a ruthless TV executive, a hard and unforgiving nun, and even Glio, the tumour that takes over Jared’s brain.

When Jared’s plan of offering himself for sale in e-Bay doesn’t work out and he ends up signing a contract to become the star of a reality TV following the last days of his life on the screen, everybody’s lives end up in turmoil. Shy Jackie, whose only refuge is social media and her friendship with a Russian schoolboy (fantastic Max), can’t think of anything worse than having cameras at home. The way the television crew manipulates the images and creates a distorted version of her family and her reality makes her want to resist, and by the end of the novel she’s discovered that she’s strong and resourceful and she’s strengthened the link with her sister (who is seen as cruel and superficial at the start).

Most of the adults in the novel (other than one of the teachers and the members of the Stone family) are depicted as egotistical and self-serving, and they don’t truly care about others. Although some of the reviews comment that the description is not accurate as it states that the novel is Jackie’s story whilst the action is split between many characters, for me, Jackie is the heroine, the main protagonist of the book and the heart of the story. Some of the characters that occupy quite a few pages at the beginning disappear when they’ve served their purpose and others are there to either aid or mostly hinder Jackie’s attempts at helping her father end up his life with dignity.

There is a strong element of criticism of the invasion of privacy by media, in this case, a reality TV programme that, like the cancer, feeds on what it likes and leaves destruction around it. Their commercialism, manipulation and money grabbing tactics are resisted by Jackie and her friends, in a David versus Goliath situation. On the other hand, the novel also shows that social media and platforms like YouTube aren’t good or bad in themselves and they can be used to great effect to subvert the established order.

For me, the younger characters are rendered more realistically and are easier to empathise with (as is to be expected from the genre and its intended audience). The novel is particularly focused on less popular and more introverted characters, who aren’t happy in standard social situations and suffer the unwanted attention of their peers when they are not openly bullied. They get to shine through and are shown as talented, imaginative and loyal friends, in contrast with both the adults and the popular but superficial kid.

I am intrigued by the use of the tumour as one of the narrators. It allows us to share in some of Jared’s memories (and due to his rapidly progressive illness that’s one of the only ways we have of getting some sense of who this man was before his diagnosis) but most importantly perhaps, the destruction it creates (and the way it takes over his host) parallels what the TV programme do, progressively limiting the freedom of the occupants, eventually leaving them nothing. At least the tumour is not aware of it and has no will of its own. The amount of anatomical and functional detail is impressive without slowing the action or interfering with the development of the story.

An inspiring novel that deals with a difficult subject (several difficult subjects) and ultimately emphasises the importance of friends, family and of standing up for what we think is right.

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review 2016-11-10 16:47
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee
The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel - Lucky McKee,Jack Ketchum

 

What an incredible read! I've loved the work of Jack Ketchum ever since I read his book The Girl Next Door. In The Secret Life of Souls Jack teams up once again with Lucky McKee and together, they knock this one right out of the park.

 

The Cross family is as dysfunctional as they come. Pat and Bart, (mom and dad), are busy trying to make their daughter Delia a star and her brother Robbie is mostly ignored. The family dog Caity more or less belongs to Delia alone, and it doesn't take long for the reader to discover that Delia and Caity have a special connection. Caity lives to serve the Cross family, but other than Delia and Robbie, they don't deserve this loyal dog. I'm going to leave off the plot here because this story should be absorbed as the authors intended, not interpreted by a lowly blogger like me.

 

This book is fast paced and well written. These authors know how to pull on your heart strings and they are not afraid to do so. The characters of the Cross family are so well developed but the more you get to know them-well, you'll see. The dog, though? The dog is the star of this show, and with portions of the story from Caity's point of view, it is no mystery how she's feeling. Many times I found myself wishing I could reach out and pet Caity and call her a good girl. (Who's a good girl, Caity? You are!)

 

I'm not sure this is a horror story, though parts of it are certainly horrific. What it is for sure though, is a fantastic novel that takes the reader through the full spectrum of emotions: from full blown happiness to acute sadness and all the stops in between. This may even be my favorite book of the year so far. The more I turn it over in my mind, the more sure I am that it will be.

 

Highly recommended for everyone, but most especially to dog lovers. I think you'll adore The Secret Life of Souls.

 

You can buy your copy here: The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel

 

*Thanks to Net Galley and Pegasus Books for the free e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

Find this review and others like it at HorrorAfterDark.com.

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text 2016-08-24 21:55
Reading Progress: Pg 216/286 of Fish Wielder

Quite a few things occur that I didn't see coming or expect, adding some gravitas to the silliness. Really enjoying the heck outta this one.

 

 

 

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review 2015-03-01 19:00
Great second book in a series
Heart's Paradise (The Billionaire Bachelor Series Book Book 2) - Olivia Starke

Where do I start? I loved this book. It's one of those that you can't put down. I read the first in the series and was so excited when this one released. You don't need to read book 1 to enjoy this one.

Pheobe and Jonathan have a history that only one of them remembers. They spent one night together and Pheobe ends up pregnant, but never tells Jonathan. He's always in the tabloids and she's watched him for 11 years. It gets interesting when the two are placed on a reality show together--just the two of them on a deserted island. Jonathan has no idea who she is.

This is when the fun starts. As the reader, we know the secret. The chemistry between Pheobe and Jonathan is as strong as it was the night they'd met. He's instantly read to throw away his playboy ways for her because right away, he feels differently for her then any other woman. Pheobe stays strong somehow, never telling her secret that she has been raising their daughter all these years.

The writing is strong. The dialogue is realistic. And the story line is intriguing. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

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