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review 2017-06-16 04:52
Infected: Shift (Infected #5)
Infected: Shift - Andrea Speed

I'll be honest. Since this was the last book in the Dreamspinner bundle, I was ready to quit the series here. Up to this point, the stories were good, with some brilliance hiding in amongst the mediocre, and the characters were compelling but at the same time not exactly giving me much to come back to. Most of my issues with this series to date has been the author's writing style, which I've detailed over the previous reviews, and there's just no real way to get around that no matter how promising the premise. I'm not sure what happened with this book, if this is a sign of the author's growth as a writer or the editors doing their job, but while there were still some of the issues present, they were far less numerous and much less annoying. With those out of the way, and two well-done and well-written cases, the writing was finally able to get out my way so I could enjoy the story - if that makes sense. (Though it's not completely without side-eye, hence the half-star off the rating.) 

 

Oh, and there are hockey players. Clueless, lovable, batcrap crazy dude-broing hockey players. :D I loved the Falcons and the dynamic they brought to the story and really hope to see them again. It doesn't make sense. It's like trying to squeeze The Mighty Ducks into an episode of Thundercats (which itself is really more like an episode of Fringe pretending to be an episode of Thundercats), and yet somehow it works.

 

I should probably slap an "unprofessional professional" on this story but it seems a little late for that. Roan's never really walked the line anyway, and while he should've had his PI license revoked about three books ago, there's no denying he gets the job done. And those jobs are getting messier, more dangerous and much more personal. I guess I have more of a vigilante streak than I thought I did, because instead of headshaking at the dude (or at Holden), I'm rooting them on. Seriously, these scumbags deserve it. 

 

There are some ups and downs for Dylan and Roan too, and I'm getting to the point where I'd like to see more of Dylan's POV, especially with all the challenges he faces in this book. Telling me he's doing 'y' because of what he did after 'x' just doesn't cut it. I want to see it, and I hope we get that in the next book. Because I will be reading it. I'm in it for the long haul after this and can only hope the series doesn't backslide after getting this much needed boost.

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review 2017-04-05 03:12
Play Dead (Glasgow Lads #3.5)
Play Dead - Avery Cockburn

This is the ending I wanted for Playing To Win. Playing To Win set up this great and fantastic dynamic between Colin, a poor uni student and football player who grew up on government benefits, and Lord Andrew, who is obviously very much the opposite of that. I've always loved their dynamic, because while there was no pretending that Andrew holds more power socially, politically and financially than Colin ever will, Andrew willfully gives up power in the bedroom - and Colin is more than able to take control. Seeing Andrew slowly have his eyes peeled open about social injustices and seeing how they both have their insecurities based around their family dynamics made Playing To Win a real treat. And then it ended rather abruptly, with all the plot threads summarized and wrapped up in a pretty bow without showing us how any of that happened. I was bummed!

 

So getting this novella, which deals with the aftermath of Colin's and Andrew's assault, finally filled in some of those things that were skipped. Andrew's struggles with his PTSD felt real and not melodramatic, which for this drama queen is saying a lot. Colin's struggles to get back into physical shape to start playing football again were also given their due attention. I still would've liked more with Andrew's family but what we do see is well written. 

 

As some of you may know by now, I don't read BDSM, so I skipped the one scene that included it. I did skim the beginning and end of the scene, enough to get the gist of what happened, and the following chapter filled in all relevant information. I didn't feel like I missed anything important, and getting to see Colin take such great care of Andrew following that scene

which ended because Andrew started having a panic attack during it

(spoiler show)

just made me appreciate their relationship more. These two are so adorable and perfect together, I could squish them! So if you're hesitant to read this because of the BDSM, rest assured it can be skipped. 

 

Oh, and as for Evan? I need his story NOW! He just got a billion times more interesting.

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review 2017-03-11 03:09
Just Juliet
Just Juliet - Charlotte Reagan

This was just okay. It was all very...nice. And simple. And low angst. All problems were safely in the past. All new problems were easily surmounted and quickly put behind them.

 

The first third was promising. Lena finds out she's attracted to a girl, doesn't freak out, does some googling and instead of going GFY figures out she's bisexual. So that was good. The James's are a great, fun, close-knit family. Lena and Juliet's first date was pretty rad and adorable.

 

And then it just sort of meanders and keeps going way past the point it should have ended because there really wasn't much of a plot. It goes through all the tradition coming out tropes - telling the bestie, telling the family, telling the world - but there's no real emotion to anything. We're told what Lena's feeling, but I never felt it myself. Scott and Lakyn were...confusing. Scott is a well-rounded character and very mature and provides Lena with some good advice. Lakyn, who has been through some terrible times, is shy and a jerk and whenever he speaks, I kept seeing him as twelve instead of seventeen. But as a couple, other than being the cute gay couple, they didn't really add anything to the story.

 

The writing is technically pretty good, though dry, just a few stray typos and just one or two questionable word choices. There's a lot of telling in the later part of the book, versus showing. The characters are pretty one-note, and the way Lacey, the "token black kid," is introduced doesn't get improved upon as the story progresses. I know all these kids are, well, kids, but even my friends weren't throwing around this many sexist slurs when we were that age. Every single time any girl (usually Lacey) did anything questionable or assertive or not-nice, she's described as bitchy. Really? I don't know if the author is aware of the "black girls are more promiscuous" stereotype, but Lacey unfortunately inhabits that too. And the gay "jokes" were pretty terrible and also usually spoken by Lacey. Lacey just gets terrible treatment through most of the book. For a "gay friendly" book, there is a lot of low-key homophobia. 

 

This started promising but just became meh by the end and I had to force myself to finish.

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review 2016-11-17 02:15
Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) (Audiobook) - DFN @ 33%
Save of the Game - Avon Gale,R. Scott Smith

OMG, how is this written by the same author who wrote Breakaway? That book was refreshing and fun and hilarious and had lovable MCs you wanted to root for. This book was like watching paint dry. 

 

I just could not get into this one at all. It's too much like every single other GFY out there (though at least Riley is aware that bisexuality does exist). All Gay Sex 101, no plot. The one or two meager attempts at a plot get wrapped up in the same scene or seemingly forgotten just as quickly. I also wasn't feeling the chemistry between the two MCs at all and I'm not sure Ethan is even human. He basically hooks up with Riley because

he snoops on Riley's computer and in his porn videos to find the gay porn, and he realizes the guys on the videos look like him, and that Riley maybe has a crush on him. Because Ethan's the guy always giving the other players a hard time when they think anything gay is gross, he decides he doesn't want to be a hypocrite by rejecting Riley because apparently finding out someone has a crush on you makes you obligated to like them back????? What's a dudebro to do at that point other than get totally wasted and mack on his roommate just to see what'll happen, amirite?

(spoiler show)

I'm sorry but that's insane troll logic. Which admittedly, dudebro logic could be the equivalent of, but it's still a pretty flimsy excuse to get two guys together and I, for one, wasn't buying it.

 

The phone call Riley makes to Lane and Jared was hilarious though, so I'm glad I listened as far as that as it was easily the highlight of what I managed to endure. The rest of it:

 

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text 2016-10-29 16:40
DNF at 27%
First Down (The Guardian Series Book 2) - Max Walker

Because I couldn't even skim far enough to get to the sex (between the main characters).

 

This is an example of what not to do with third person voice narrative. Don't keep your characters so distant that a reader doesn't have a reason to care about them. Don't just tell, when you could show.

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