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review 2017-03-14 22:37
Review: Cherry Pop
Cherry Pop - Samantha Kane

I quite enjoyed the first two books in this series, and I really enjoy this author's writing (most of the time) so even though it took me a good year to read this one, I looked forward to it. Cherry Pop didn't much work for me, though.

I liked Tripp. He was a happy guy and I loved how he just embraced it when he discovered something new about himself. No internal angst, he just went with it full speed ahead. What I​ ​didn't like, though, was that he let Ben walk all over him. Repeatedly.​ I really thought he deserved better than to let Ben dictate all of what their relationship would be. Also, Tripp kind of latched onto Ben, and was much like a puppy begging for attention. There was no build up at all, when it came to Tripp's feelings for Ben​, and I found I missed that.

Ben though....I didn't much like him at all. I get that he got burnt pretty bad by his last boyfriend. He wasn't treated well and he put up with it until the guy finally dumped him​ (8 years later)​. His boyfriend had isolated him and treated him like a dirty secret and was jealous of everyone. So what does he do? He treats Tripp like a dirty secret and treats him like crap. ​And ​I really didn't like it when he presumed to tell Tripp what he (Tripp) felt or thought. It isn't up to Ben to decide if Tripp is gay or not. It's ok to not want to be someone's experiment, but beyond that, no. Ben projected his own issues onto Tripp and was an asshole to Tripp and he kept that up for far longer than my patience will put up with.

​So, Cherry Pop was not really to my liking. And no matter how much I loved the first two books in this series, I just couldn't deal with all the fuckery in this one.​

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review 2017-02-21 02:53
Should have stopped with book 1
Tru Flame - Edie Danford

Holy shit storm, Batman...

You might recall in my very ranty review of Tru Burn that Sandra absolutely killed my enjoyment of the story. Well, at the end of that book, she made an innocent sounding, but foreboding, comment that just had me going "please, no...anything but that".

And after reading the blurb for this book, I readjusted my hopes and instead, hoped that Sandra would at least go about her plan in the right way. Talk to Tru and Jones about what she wanted and at least give them time to think about their options. But, no, she did this very important, life changing thing in the worst possible way, and even used emotional blackmail to make sure that Tru complied with her wishes. All of that happened in the first chapter.

And even being warned about it by my friends that read Tru Flame before me, it still pissed me off enough that I wrote several ragey paragraphs dedicated to Sandra. Some of that rage is below (and above). I've edited it down a bit (you're welcome), but seriously, folks, I'm not happy with where this story went.

Sandra knew months ago that she didn't want to be a parent and that the baby would be going up for adoption. She could have talked to Tru and Jones about it, then, but no, she took the cowards way out, just like she always has. And they let her do it. Now, I get why they didn't fight her on it when all this happened, but it's inexcusable to me that they would even have to. But, also, I don't agree with just letting her walk all over them, especially for something this monumental.

Sandra's fucking with their lives doesn't even stop with the "guess what, guys, you're going to be parents because I can't be bothered" BS, either. Oh, no. Tru and Jones aren't even married yet. They're planning their wedding and have set the time frame for summer. But with the news of them adopting the kid, or else, they're having to change those plans, too. Talk about Drama Llama!

So this is the tone of the entire book. Have plans, guys? Too bad! You've got to deal with someone else's bad planning and cowardly actions, instead. Want to sleep or get sexy? Too bad, you've got a newborn, now, and he isn't on your schedule! Thankfully, they do manage some sexy-times, but let me tell ya, reading about trying to schedule sex and sleep around an infant's schedule is not why I read romance.

Sandra didn't want children. That's fair, and I get it. I never wanted children, either (and I don't have any). But it never once occurred to her to even ask Tru and Jones if they did? She just decided to drop parenthood on them, like it was some sort of gift basket. Who does this? I'm sure that parenthood can be very rewarding. It's also a major responsibility. You don't just hand someone a baby and say "you're the parent now -- surprise!!".

That isn't cool. At. All.

It's a given that Tru and Jones wouldn't want the baby to go to an anonymous family - I would totally expect that if Sandra had talked to them to begin with, they would have decided to adopt the baby and they would have planned for it. But here's the thing -- Tru never wanted to be a father and now he has little choice in the matter and no time to even get used to the idea. Does he seem to change his mind by the end of the story? Yeah, but again, he didn't really have much choice. Personally, I think he just resigned himself to fatherhood and decided to make the best of it.

I love this author, I do. But I absolutely hate where she took she took this story. It's full of family drama and it didn't have to be. And, all the way through Tru Burn and for a fair portion of Tru Flame, I just wanted it to end. I only finished it because I love Tru and Jones as a couple and I wanted to give the story a chance to redeem itself. But let me tell you, it wasn't easy and I kinda wish I would have stopped at book 1. And while I didn't hate the entirety of this book, I didn't really like it, either. It was just too much drama that could have been avoided by having a single conversation.

So, to Sandra Larkin, I have this to say -- FUCK YOU, YOU BAG OF DICKS!

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review 2017-02-16 04:20
Everybody liked it but me...
Rough Edges - Cardeno C.

Well, this is awkward. I think this is a case of 'everybody liked it but me'. I generally like this author's stories, but this one just didn't gel with me. The enemies-to-lovers trope is one I can really enjoy, if I'm given almost any kind of reason they are enemies, because it can do wonders for UST. I'll even take a misunderstanding, if it's done right. Rough Edges, though, didn't have that. The men are "enemies" simply because one MC decided the other MC was a waste without any actual information, and that just doesn't work for me.

It took over half the book before I even started to warm to Kyle. He was an entitled ass with a chip on his shoulder the size of an ocean. His friend Matthew said that Kyle was a nice guy, but I just didn't see it. I get that he grew up poor and he had to work very hard to get anywhere in life. Well, so did I. And Brent didn't have to work at all, because of an accident of birth. But Kyle decided that Brent being a trust fund baby meant that Brent was lazy and worthless, and so wrote him off without bothering to get to know him. And I even get that Kyle was just super insecure, but that is no reason to be a rude and judgmental all the time.

Brent has lived a privileged life. He doesn't deny it nor does he particularly flaunt it. It just is. He was a super nice guy that, for some reason, really liked Kyle. He liked Kyle enough that when Kyle lost his job, though no fault of his own, Brent offered Kyle a place to stay. He liked Kyle enough to make the effort to get to know him, even though Kyle insulted him at every turn. Personally, I don't think Kyle was worth the effort.

I will say that after Brent offers an undeserving Kyle a blowjob and then follows through, Kyle did start acting like a human being, and the sex after that was steamy, so I gave an extra star for that. But that really was the only thing about this story I actually enjoyed. Kyle finally seeing how unfair he had been for the 2 years he had known Brent was too little, too late.

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Review copy of Rough Edges was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-08-23 03:03
Lola Review
Lola: A Novel - Melissa Love

Lola, by Melissa Love, reads like a television drama. If you're a fan of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, you should like this book. That being said, the book is not without its problems.

If you're a medical professional of any kind, this book is likely to have you rolling your eyes or fuming more than half a dozen times. The medical inaccuracies were ludicrous and easily fixable. Nothing consulting a nurse wouldn't have fixed. The problems are as follows (slight spoilers ahead):

#1. Character has finger cut off and reattached and contracts sepsis all under 24 hours. I was a CNA for five years, and during that time I was trained and became a certified phlebotomist. I drew plenty of cultures in those five years. Cultures, the tests used to diagnose sepsis, take 24-48 hours to grow results.

#2. The symptoms of infection take hours to develop. Even if they tested this character the minute he hit the ER, there's no way he could have been diagnosed and admitted for sepsis because they would have had no reason to even check for sepsis.

#3. I'm sure there are shitty hospital employees out there who do not give a shit about HIPPA rules and regs, but who gives out a patient's diagnosis and personal info to someone who's only asking for a fucking room number?

To paraphrase:

Person: "Hey, I'm looking for so-and-so."

Hospital personnel: "Right. He's in room what's-its-fuck and by the way they were able to reattach his finger and he was admitted because he has sepsis."

Person: "Great. I'm so-and-so by the way."

Hospital personnel: "Oh, cool. He's been asking about you."

If you've never worked for a hospital, none of this is going to bother you. Needless to say, it bothered the fuck out of me because I was enjoying the realistic feel of the book. It took me over half the book to get back into the story because I was pissed that the author couldn't be bothered with simple fact checking.

Another thing that took me out of the story was zero mention of smog. It's always clear blue skies and gorgeous vistas in this book. I lived in California for 15 years, was born and raised there. The sky always looked like a smoky bar unless the Santa Anas had blown through. This might sound like me being nit-picky, but not mentioning smog in a story set in southern California is like writing about Egypt without mentioning sand.

Finally, as far as accuracy is concerned, I've been a member of three different gyms in my life. None of them allowed you to keep items in their lockers overnight, much less for several days. That being said, some might. So I might be wrong, but I doubt it. Lockers in gyms are prime real estate, and I don't believe any company would risk tying up lockers by giving them permanently to customers. Besides, they would eventually run out.

All of that killed my rating for this one. The story itself is a five-star read, as is the quality of the writing. A little more research would've made this a runner for my book of the year. I loved the characters, especially Lola and Lucy. If the author decides to write a sequel, I'll definitely pick it up.

In summation: Lola is a terrific story that is well-written yet horribly researched. All of the problems in this book are easily fixable, but it didn't seem like anyone wanted to be bothered with checking the facts. If you can ignore the impossiblities and inaccuracies, you should dig it, but my life-experience ruined the book for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, which I received for free in return for the honest review you've just read.

Final Judgment: Donald-Trump levels of fact checking.

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review 2016-07-22 17:30
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

After reading many glowing reviews of this book I was really looking forward to being blown away. Unfortunately, <i>Red Queen</i> fell short of my expectations.

Mare Barrow is a lowly Red and she's a lot like so many other heroines that you could probably interchange them and there wouldn't be much of difference personality wise. She's ruff, unladylike, hates makeup, fancy clothing, and everything that would make her seem feminine because heaven forbid we have a badass character that likes feminine things. The world would probably implode. Enough with the heroines that aren't pretty and judge other girls for wanting to wear dresses and makeup. It seems like most of the books I read have characters like this and normally it doesn't bother me if a character doesn't want to be feminine, but it was especially annoying in this book. It was just another way to set Mare apart for the other girls in the court and create more of a divide between her and Evangeline.

Evangeline is character that I could have done without. From the moment the two girls meet, they hate each other. Evangeline is portrayed as this stuck up bitch with a whole group of girls just like her and it's a constant battle between her and Mare. There is no depth to Evangeline's character and it's widely accepted by many characters that she's a bitch.

There's also a sort of love square going on and I was never really hoping that Mare would end up with anyone. I was leaning towards Maven, but that quickly went south, although I think he might be my favorite character. I wasn't overly fond of Cal, mostly because I didn't understand why he liked Mare. They didn't know each other and they barely spent time together. I'm actually satisfied with how the events at the end of the book played out because it wouldn't have been realistic if Mare's plan actually worked. I don't have much of an opinion on Kilorn, mostly because he's hardly even in the book.

The thing that saved this book was that I felt compelled to keep reading. The plot was engaging, even though it wasn't the most original. I loved the diversity of abilities and I really enjoyed reading about Mare's ability because it isn't very common in books that I've read. I'll probably end up reading the next one because I kind of like the villain and it will be interesting to see where the story goes.

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