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review 2017-03-09 06:04
Ten years later and neither one of them grew up? Boo.
The Education of Caroline - Jane Harvey-Berrick

I'm happy for the reunion. And happy ending.

But...Caro and Sebastian both acted childish.

Ten years apart didn't help them grow.

Carolina is the same insecure person (jealous and mean spirited considering any woman interested in Sebastian as a bitch, or wants to smack them, etc)

Sebastian is demanding, possessive, jealous and sometimes OTT. He acted like the same jealous 17 year old when other men deemed to look at Carolina.

And they acted like teenagers when together.

And yet I couldn't stop reading.

Even after rolling my eyes.

I even read the 2 extra epilogues.

The writing isn't world moving but I guess a good thing I'd say is that both main characters were consistent in characterization.

Carolina was a doormat when step away from the romantic haze. She gave in, rolled over for anything Sebastian came up with.


Sebastian loved her. Carolina loves him. Never doubted it but the time apart didn't seem to help them grow...much.

3.5 stars

(I'll most likely cave and read the companion piece too.)

Despite my gripes.

I can't seem to be able to let this couple go.

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review 2017-02-15 00:41
Slow start, fiery finish!
The Education of Sebastian - Jane Harvey-Berrick


You ever played the Sims and saw one of them react to a fire?

Something akin to this maybe:

Why do I bring this up?

Because the last chapter of The Education of Sebastian actually had me react like a Sims character in a panic state. I flailed, screamed, cursed and repeated all three some more.

This novel had such an unassuming beginning but finished explosively.

I can't believe how invested I was with the characters, the plot, the everything of this novel.

I already have Part 2 singing on my Kindle to me to read it like YESTERDAY!

Thirty year old Caroline is stuck in a loveless & childless marriage to an asshole Naval doctor. He treats her like a servant he has rights to fuck, emotionally belittles her at every opportunity he gets and doesn't see the prize he has laying next to him every night. See Caroline has been married for 11 years already and her husband has made her into a shell. She's weak, she knows she's weak and she hates herself.

She's moved back to California to a naval base and resumes friendship with her ex-neighbors' son, Sebastian. It's been 9 years since she saw him last and the kid has grown. Now seventeen, Sebastian is starting the framework of the man he will be. It's summer, he just graduated from high school and instead of having a last hurrah before college, he has to worry about his drunk and abusive parents. The one bright spot is Caroline, his friend and crush.

Now the premise of the book is well known, 30 year old woman and 17 year old teen start a relationship. What this book does a good job of showing is why it's plausible in Caroline and Sebastian's cases. 30 and 17? What could they have to talk about other than genital boogey?

Yes, there's a metric ton of sex--not stellar, realistic and sometimes even gross

I should say gross aftermath

(spoiler show)

were on even footing despite their ages. Mentally, they were the same. The naivete and exploration especially,

Though my major gripe with the book is the language used. Caroline was thirty. It wasn't like she was Mother Gothel. The retirement home wasn't on the horizon. Her phrasing and thoughts read way older than her age a lot of the times. I understand the author wanted to drive home the fact Caroline is older but damn did she act even more mature than her age.

Sebastian was seventeen going on twenty. But the way at times, he'd act a little older, I can equate to having to virtually raise himself, living in such a house full of hate. The story is told from Caroline's POV, so we don't get the full scope of Sebastian's abuse, only second hand telling from characters.

Speaking of characters, I liked them. It was a lot of characters to keep track of but it added to the story. Even the asshole parents and shit stain of a husband. Ches was a great friend as was Donna. I was proud of them especially in the WTF chapter (I dubbed the last chapter this)

I believed the connection Sebastian and Caroline had. It wasn't just sex. They were both very emotional...crying, whining, declaring love at a drop of a hat.


That is this book.

And I only wanted to take a peek, ended up devouring it.

And now am the proud owner of the entire series.

And I've been told the second book is better?

This one sneakily grasped my attention. Can't wait to see what #2 does.

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review 2016-07-10 23:42
An Autistic alpha lumbersexual hero? Why not!
His Pretend Baby: His Pretend Baby: 50 Loving States, Oregon - Theodora Taylor

The fact that the hero in "His Pretend Baby" is on the autism spectrum was a big draw for me. Probably because of the field I'm in. Reading this made me smile at parts. This isn't the first book I've seen that featured a hero on the spectrum (yay!) and there should be more romances featuring main characters on the spectrum.

This story is a solid 3.5 stars because I couldn't put it down.

The premise is a little soap opera-y and towards the end it got to be too soap opera-y that I can't round up.

"Go" or Rodrigo (the nickname Go threw me off a lot) is a billionaire tech geek, a product of Mexican immigrants who thinks different. He founded a company that he had tailored to his needs. He thinks differently, loves plans (don't deviate from his plans), has sensory issues and is a success story.

Nyla, his heroine, is a former foster kid, punk alternative "freak" with tattoos and multiple piercings that she uses as an armor. She also works in a domestic abuse shelter, doesn't trust from years of rejection from people she tried to trust but loves her job to help others.

One drunken mistake lands Nyla pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's baby. Sadly, her ex is killed soon after sharing her positive pregnancy test. But her ex's brother steps in with a crazy plan to marry and pretend it's his baby.

Don't deviate from the plan. :)

Go (I can't believe I'm referring to a human man as Go) is an alpha male all the way. Nyla, with a master's in psychology sees him, understands him and instead of trying to change him to fit her norms, she makes him comfortable in his skin. She meets his family and though they mean well with a teasing nickname (Berger for Asperger's), tries to show them in a few words that the nickname isn't nice.

The two start with a fake relationship, or that's what Nyla thinks as she agrees to Go's plans and marries. But...it wasn't fake on his end.

Go likes it rough. And prefers to do all the touch. That first sex scene...just that illusion of breath play. I wished it was... *moans* oh how I wished it was.

The have chemistry, the internal filters work differently but whoo boy...they were on even ground in their relationship.

*smh* The villain and their antics with added concentrated drama (past off page incest), the way the ending sort of baits the reader into thinking the worst possible happened, I wasn't a fan of. I liked the interactions between Nyla and Go up until the honeymoon. A lot happens afterward and I'm sort of sold on how it all went down, sort of not.

The execution? Eh...it's okay. *squints* Sometimes the main characters read like caricatures, Nyla always emphasizing her piercings and tatts, Go being like a robot. Instead of letting them be them, they were their descriptors. I wished there was less of that, I might have rated higher.

Overall, the story is good, the premise is awesome.

This story made me happy in a way.

We're all wired when we get down to basics, sometimes differently but it's perfect & unique all the same.

"His Pretend Baby" attempted to show how.

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review 2016-06-08 05:35
Kleypas historical is my happ place...
Cold-Hearted Rake - Lisa Kleypas

Before Reading : I am living for this book.

I am all about it.

All of it.


After Reading :

My 1500th GR read (TBH, I know I passed this number but with deleted fan fics, not logging all my previous GR reads, etc. the number's off)

Whatevs. Celebratory AC Slater:

(spoiler show)

4.5 Stars--It's been proven I'm a Lisa Kleypas fan.

So much so, I figured I'd give it time before trying her new historical after her years long break. I read her contemporary return Brown-Eyed Girl earlier this year and I could tell, it wasn't up to snuff. Close but no cigar.

But with Cold-Hearted Rake, the first of the Ravenel series...

I guess she was saving her magic for her historical.

"It's a sin."
"How do you know?"
"Because it feels like one," she managed to say.
He laughed quietly and pulled her hips farther toward him with a decisiveness that drew a little yelp from her.
"In that case...I never sin by half measures."

The Ravenel family as the magic like another famous LK family, maybe you've heard of them? They go by the name Hathaway. Every damn character in this book was just a joy to read, even the ones who were maddening, especially the ones who were brooding.

Kleypas hit a couple of tried tropes and she made it delicious to read. Kathleen, ginger haired Countess Trenear is a widow only after three days of marriage. The dead earl's cousin and now new earl, Devon is known to be a rake of the first degree. He and his rakehell brother, Weston inherit a massive debt, crumbling estate with a widow and their three female cousins (the former earl's sisters) and about two hundred tenants that are in desperate need. Devon did not ask for responsibility and he certainly doesn't want it in the tiny form of Kathleen.

Kathleen is a tiny force to be reckoned with. Her and Devon do not start on the right foot. In fact, they were combustible from jump. But you know what they say, it's a thin line between love and hate. All their arguments were just precursors to falling in love, flirtations if you will.

"You took Theo's title and his home," West continued in appalled disbelief, "and now you want his wife."
"His widow," Devon muttered.
"Have you seduced her?"
"Not yet."
West clapped his hand to his forehead. "Christ. Don't you think she's suffered enough?"

Devon and Kathleen write angry letters while Devon tries to fix the damn estate he didn't want. His drunk of a brother, West along with the rest of the Ravenels provide comedic relief and keep the momentum going. West, with his redeemed rake angle was just too awesome. He had some of the best lines!

"Has anyone been corrupted or defiled?"
"Since the age of twelve," West said.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the girls."
"Not yet," Cassandra replied cheerfully.

Lady Helen, serene, quiet and unassuming...I know still waters run deep. Can't wait to read her book. Marrying Winterborne See who she's paired with?

The twins! They are infuriatingly adorable with their antics - Ladies Cassandra and Pandora.

Devil in Spring Sebastian and Evie's SON

(spoiler show)

All of the Ravenel magic was mixed in the stubborn-enemies falling in love.

Good God, were Devon and Kathleen hard-headed. First it wasn't kicking the ghost of Theo out of the way, then it was them figuring out their fighting was because they had chemistry - though Devon was away in London for periods of time. I felt like his presence was still there in Hampshire with the girls. Add in a near death experience to slowly turn Devon's head in the right direction:

Brooding over the past wouldn't change the fact that Kathleen had belonged to Theo first.
But she would belong to Devon last.

And when they got together?


Tropey but I could care less.

“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted--because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”

Because Kleypas can trope with the best of them in my opinion.

So Kathleen was a ball buster and her pigheadedness got in the way at times. Didn't care.
So Devon wasn't as cold-hearted as the title suggests. Didn't care.

The reader could see they were meant to be together before they finally realized it. And these two crazy kids make their path to love entertaining to read.

There was a little OTT-ness in the last 15% or so but if made the story move. I'm for it.

As for The Ravenels #2: Marrying Winterborne, starring that broody, asshole-ish Welsh hero?

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review 2016-05-05 00:55
When bad books happen to good covers...
Conall (Irish Sugar) - Reana Malori

Hot air.

This book was filled with so much hot air.

Thankfully I read Shannon before this book. This book sucked so much, I'm going to round up my rating for Shannon.

I'm not rehashing this silly story.

How do you have two lead characters who boast so frigging much and can't even back it up? They would always speak in code and never get to damn point.

How do you have a lead character with a personality switch? The female lead went from idiotic good girl who went to a criminal's place of business without KNOWING THE ENTIRE REASON WHY HER BROTHER WAS INVOLVED IN THE FIRST PLACE to supposed street runner. Are you kidding me?

And then she hints at a past that's so bad and she won't talk about it? And when it's time for supposed big bad confession, it's a fade to black?

The book went straight from the barely there two stars to straight one with that weak move.

The plot's weak, characters even weaker and the story is crap. The pacing is choppy as hell and I've read this author before. Pretty sure she can write a tighter story than this.

I was interested in reading this series- though it's a bunch of standalones with a connected arc - brothers who grew up in the Irish mafia and now need to plot revenge. This is my second read from the 4 book series and my biggest gripe with it? The series should've been numbered (and if it is - the reader shouldn't have to search-it should be available) where the big climax is actually detailed and explained in one book, actually build the tension and discuss the abuse in each book instead of blowing so much hot air about being big and bad and doing jack shit about anything. No way the female lead is from the streets - she even said she wasn't in the beginning.

This wishy washy halfway hinting and telling of second hand events makes all of the books weak.

And the big soliloquy from a nine year old:

"-I will find you and I will kill you for what you have done to me and my brothers. You will never escape me. You will look over your shoulder for the rest of your life. The one time you don't expect it, I will bring the Angel of Death to your doorstep. I will deliver you as a gift to the Devil and he will tear your skin from your flesh as an offering."

Really? A nine year old is going to make a speech like this?

I'm going to try and erase this book from my mind. Probably need a break from this series, thank goodness it's different authors.

Damn me for falling for the covers and blurbs.

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