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review 2016-02-14 20:06
Give Me A Reason by Lyn Gardner
Give Me A Reason - Lyn Gardner

 

Give Me A Reason by Lyn Gardner

Pages: 662

Date: October 25 2013

Publisher: Self

Series: N/A

 

Awards:

**Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards in LGBT Fiction**

**Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards for Fiction: Gay & Lesbian**

**Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards in Gay / Lesbian / LGBT Fiction**

**Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 eLit Book Awards – Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence in Gay / Lesbian Fiction**

 

Review

Rating: 5.50 out of 5.50

Read: February 12 to 14 2016

 

By the time I got to this book, there were a large-ish number of reviews, and all but 24 people 'liked' the book (or 4% of the readers; I'm going with how GoodReads takes everyone that rates a book 3,4,5 and calls them 'like' for % purposes). And so, I'll just tackle a few things here and there.

 

1) I loved how fully formed the characters were. I'm sure there were things here or there that could be pointed at, probably some of the side characters, but there's even more fully formed side characters going on in this book than is normal in a romance.

 

2) And we come to the main thing I wanted to mention - the . . .genre of romance novels, I guess I could label the 'thing'. Romance novels, with exceptions, seem to be relatively repetitive in at least one way - they might not all get there the same way, they might have a million and one variations, but they tend to follow a certain path. Two people (occasionally more, but I do not tend to read love triangle books, and rarely poly books) circle each other for most of the book, and even if they 'come together' as a couple fairly early on in the book, that doesn't remove the book from the repetitive cycle. It just means that the couple will probably either have outside forces pound on the relationship (a danger/damsel in distress type situation), or internal forces pound on the relationship (fear, miscommunication, cheating, etc.). And then, as long as the book is actually in the capital R Romance category, then the book ends with a HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (hmm, I have the second one wrong, but whatever the letters are, they mean 'Happy for now'). Some include a chapter or two in an epilogue section that follows the couple as a couple. As a fully formed entity. Some don't have that epilogue.

 

Romance novels tend to get around this relatively repetitive trap of having the majority of the book being about the formation of a couple-hood instead of being about a couple as a combined entity through two to three means - (A) create a series wherein the couple in book 1 can show up as a fully formed entity in book 2 but are not the main characters (see such series like Soho Loft, that Shifter Universe by Jae, the two series by Lynn Galli (Virginia Clan and Aspen Friends) etc.), (B) have a book that's really really long, like, say, this book here. (C) is something like a trick - have romance elements but put the book in a different genre - which the fanfiction by Fletcher DeLancey involving Star Trek Voyager mostly is - Science Fiction with very strong elements of Romance. Or be like two of Galli's books - follow the same couple, but add an element, the second book changes the normal emotional 'things' that wrap themselves around a couple and slam against them, and wrap themselves, instead, around family - so it's a two book series involving a Romance, and something else (Slice of Life?).

 

I thought, while reading, that the book could have had a great closing roughly around the 56% mark. And when I feared, as I occasionally fear, how this specific author was going to 'mess with' the couple, I kind of wanted it to end there. I'm really really glad that the book did not, in fact, end there, though. But if it had, then it would have been two things - longer than the average romance novel (being, as it is, that 56% of the book would be 371 pages, and most Romance books from 'official channels' in the lesbian genre tend to be closer to 240 to 300 something); and, the second thing, roughly in line with that repetitive thing I mentioned above that Romance books fall into. However they get there, the books are about the formation of a couple, not about a couple living their life after formation of their relationship. Well, this 'formation' didn't end at 56%, but there was enough there for it to close, then have some epilogue tacked on the end. Then spin the second book out as a sequel. I'm, roughly, 100% happy that that isn't the direction this author went.

 

As I think I mentioned somewhere along the way - this is a fully formed book. A mixture of a Slice of Life book, with a Romance, with a Family novel all rolled into one (with the addition of a 'Holiday' novel slipped inside as well). It even had the element of danger/damsel in distress/etc. mixed in. And no I'm not only talking about flashbacks for that/this point.

 

Hmms. I just realized that I finished this book in the early morning hours of the 14th. It's one of those books I figured I'd read a little then close it for sleep, glanced at the clock and saw it was 1 am, glanced again when I realized I'd finished the book and noticed it was 3:30 am. *shrug* Back to the 14th - it's a rather good book to read/finish up on/begin the day with on Valentine's Day.

 

ETA: Oh, right, forgot two elements that I reminded myself of when I glanced at my status updates. This book includes a love scene, and yes I call it love instead of sex, that is arguably the best I've read. And I forgot when I was mentioning things that this book contains - it also contains humor. Bits and pieces here and there.

 

From my status updates:

- Now that, friends and whatevers, is how you write a love scene. A+ and words like that.

 

- 'Smiling at her accomplishment, Toni looked over at Laura. “I recommend we don’t open this until Scotland or the bloody thing will projectile vomit all over the motorway.”' - re: filling trunk with luggage. Was funny. I laughed.

 

February 14 2016

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review 2016-02-11 20:04
Desolation Point by Cari Hunter
Desolation Point by Hunter, Cari (2013) Paperback - Cari Hunter

 

Desolation Point

by Cari Hunter

Pages: 264

Date: April 15 2013

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Series: Pascal & Kent (1st in series)

 

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

Read: February 11 2016

 

My second book that I’ve read by this author.

 

Even though the first book that I read by this author was a solid 5 star affair, in my mind, I’ve still been slow to read another book by the author. Mostly because I’m not really much of a chills and thrills, damsels in distress type of reader. So, I kind of have to pace myself. Very slowly.

 

Characters

Two main characters, two . . . no, three, I think three points of view. Two being from the point of view of the ‘damsels in distress’ and one from the villain of the piece.

 

Alex Pascal opens the book as a police officer in Los Angeles. Very quickly, though, she finds herself injured and in the hospital. Recovery takes a while, and once it’s over, Pascal is back out on the streets. And almost immediately back off. She just can’t do it any longer. So, she packs up and moves to a cabin in the woods. And works there for an old man named Walt. These woods happen to be in the mountains of the North Cascades.

 

At one point Alex gets her hair cut shortish, before moving from the police to the mountains. I mention because that’s really the most that I came away with in regards to her physical features. Well, that and the scarring. That might be my own fault, not sure, or the author left things open. Heck, I might look back at the book and find a riveting deeply informative description that I somehow just overlooked. Regardless, I do not particularly mind that I’m clueless about what she looks like, or for the fact that I lack knowledge of her age. I think I lack that knowledge. Vague recollection that she’s been on the police force 5 years. Everything being equal that may or may not put her somewhere nearish 27 years of age?

 

Sarah Kent’s story opens with her in the hospital. A drunk driver rammed and flipped the car she was in. She was in the backseat. Her little sister and mother didn’t make it. Her step-father wasn’t around so he’s alive. He, though, wants nothing to do with the step-daughter who lived in place of his own flesh and blood (not specifically stated, but maybe also in place of his wife).

 

Once she’s back on her feet, at least physically, and with a certain amount of money in her pocket, Sarah figures that this is the perfect opportunity to quit her job and do a bit of traveling. Eventually she ends up hiking in the North Cascades mountains.

 

Again, I probably overlooked something, but other than physical injuries, I don’t recall what Sarah looks like. And I don’t have a handy ‘five years in the police’ to guess-estimate an age. There may or may not have been some remark about her being 20 years older than her step-sister. And the step-sister was around 7, so, 27.

 

The Villain is a man who was in prison but was sprung from it because he had a job/contract uncompleted. And the White Supremacists who he was working for wants him to finish his job. So they sprung him. He’s wandering the mountains with a young woman who he has no feelings for, but claims to be his girlfriend. Bethany being her name. She’s the niece of the leader of the White Supremacist group Nate is working for. Nate’s a cold icy man, with no remorse in killing.

 

Thrills and Chills

While hiking one day, Alex spots a truck hidden in some underbrush. There’s a fake tag on it. The suspicious circumstance gets her to call it in. Eventually she learns that there was a prison break and that the people involved may or may not be on the mountain. This is the first instance when Alex learned that her hike might involve more than she expected

 

While continuing her tour of the world, or whatever it was Sarah was doing, she ended up hiking around the North Cascades. Somewhat randomly, she decides to head to Desolation Point. While camping one night, she is startled to find that there’s another tent nearby. Greetings are exchanged. Along with food and conversation. Their part of the story, the two men in the other tent, is mostly there so that they can tell Alex, once she runs into them, that there’s another woman on the mountain. A mountain that suddenly has a very nasty storm striking it.

 

And so, everyone but Alex, Sarah, and the evil people flee the mountain – fleeing a storm. The storm strikes fast. Not unexpectedly, everyone involved knew it was coming. Just maybe not so fast. Fast enough to catch Sarah up on the summit, on Desolation Point. Rain pounded her. Wind tried to blow her off the mountain. She’s sitting next to shelter but there’s no way in. Visibility is down to about half a foot. This isn’t good when a wrong step could send you hurtling far to your death.

 

Eventually the weather clears enough to be a really annoying rain, and stiff winds. Fearing staying on the top of the mountain, Sarah begins trying to flee back down. Stumbles around. Hears voices, heads toward said voices. Stares at the people she finds in a clearing. Whimpers when a gunshot goes off. And so Sarah learns that ‘terrible danger’ is on the mountain.

 

And so – the story continues with Sarah fleeing the bad guys (Nate and Bethany), with Alex wandering around the mountain looking for Sarah.

 

Also it’s quite chilly.

 

Romance

Truth be told, I wasn’t really into the romance. It occurred. Life moved on.

 

Overall

I was rather into the story until about 59 or 69 percent into the book. And then something happened. No, not in the book, this isn’t a plot twist situation. No, something happened in me. I lost the ability to care about the people in the story. I just kind of numbly watched people stumble around, fearing death, crying, whimpering, drowning, whimpering and . . . felt nothing. It’s my own fault. I should have stopped myself instead of pushed myself to the conclusion. Pushed the book away for another day.

 

So, overall, the book was mostly interesting. I didn’t particularly care one way or another about the romance. And I kind of got numbed at some point, so take all that in advisement when considering how to ‘take’ me rating this specific book 3.5 stars.

 

There’s a high likelihood I’ll read another book by this author, but it’ll probably be an even longer break between this book and my next book by the author. Than it was between Snowbound and this book (which, I now see, I read almost exactly 2 years ago – Feb 2 to 3 2014).

 

By the way, I recall now why I became numbed. I had stupidly allowed myself to glance over some other books by this author. Don’t do what I did. You’ll learn something that you don’t want to learn. like, say, the description for the next book involving these two characters. Not sure why, but seeing that this is the first book in an unnamed series kind of drained the thrill/danger/chill from the story. To the point I was just watching people stumble around a mountain. It’s easier, I’ve found, to read a book like this if I don’t in fact already know that the characters will return. Also, it deeply depressed me to realize that their lives were crap before they meet each other (the tragic events that landed both, separately, in the hospital), were crap while they were together (the danger on the mountain), and was/will be crap after that (since the sequel is yet another danger-thrill book).

 

February 12 2016

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review 2016-02-08 19:59
The Red Files by Lee Winter
The Red Files - Lee Winter

 

The Red Files

by Lee Winter

Pages: 384

Date: September 1 2015

Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Series: N/A

 

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

Read: February 8 2016

 

Well, let me see what I can put together for this book here. Slightly harder now, since I’m about 50% into the second book I’ve started since ending ‘The Red Files’.

 

Somewhat needless to say, considering this is the first book by this author, but I feel vaguely that I need to note that this is the first book I’ve read by this author.

 

I had somewhat randomly decided to read this book here, not as random as pure chance – I mean, it was one of the 22 or so books that had been picked to be read February or March. But random as to starting it when I did (I believe I might have been on a train or something without access to anything except my Kindle). So it wasn’t until I’d been 19% into the book that I realized that the vast majority of the reading public seemed to really really love this book. (Actually, it might have not been until the 35% mark, but not important). And by love, I mean love. There are a total of 130 ratings for this book – 81 of which (62%) are 5 star. 42 are 4 star (32%), and just 7 are 3 star (5%). There are no ratings lower than 3 stars. And GoodReads takes that arrangement of ratings to mean ‘100% of people liked it’.

 

I only mention all that because suddenly realizing that 100% of the people who read the book liked it . . . kind of puts vague pressure on me. Or something. (ack, I just noticed that the person who never ever actually leaves a star rating, actually left a 5 star rating; see, pressure, heh).

 

Ah, now I see. It was at 36% of the book when I noticed everyone loved it. I see now where I wrote something about the book – though not in my status updates. I had noted that:

 

The characterization is vaguely annoying me so far, 36% into the book.

 

At the beginning of the book everything seemed to indicate that Lauren was around 23 or so. The things people said, especially her boss, and her own internal thoughts seemed to indicate that her experience involved a journalism degree, and participation on the college paper before going to LA. (What with Frank, her boss, saying something like 'your experience is a joke', while Lauren's thinking things like 'but I have a journalism degree!'). 23 since she's been on the LA paper for a year now.

 

But the reader learns from conversations that occur between Lauren and Ayer during their drive from LA to Carson City that Lauren worked for a small paper for a couple of years after college (21 to 23). Then Lauren had worked for a paper that even Ayer recognized, for at least ten years ('a person ten years my junior is getting the work I want, while I keep getting told to be patient'; so that moves her age from 23 to 33). Then Lauren moves to LA. Assuming that she got her current job immediately (and it’s possible, since she kind of indicated that she arrived on her last savings, and took the only job offered – meaning that she couldn’t wait a week/month/year before starting at her current job (this is another reason why I had thought she was roughly 22 to 23 when the book opened – because that indication that she arrived on her last dime with no savings and needing to take the first job, even if it wasn’t one she wanted, is something someone exiting college does, not someone moving over from another paper that she had worked on for 10 years). Lauren then worked there at her current job for about a year or less (almost a year I think it was stated at some point). So her age moves from 33 to 34. So Lauren should be roughly 34 years of age. Or thereabouts. Mind you, she acts like someone who is roughly 23.

 

Then there's the 'experienced bitter old woman of the news, forced to work entertainment news when she'd rather work 'real' news' (otherwise known as Political news (tis funny as I know some reporters who look down on political news and wouldn’t think of it as ‘real’ news (these being people who work the crime beat, specifically the same kind who would break political corruption stories, going for the crime angle). I didn't really know anything about Ayer by the 36% point of the book (though she seems to come off as someone in her, say, 60s). Only thought I had was - if she's so bitter about working in entertainment, why's she always dressed in atypical clothing for having that attitude - rich clothing, perfect clothing to handle entertainment news. I probably got confused from what I've seen. Though it seemed as if people who worked the political beat didn't dress like Ayer is dressing (unless they knew they'd end up on camera, like if they sat in the audience of a press conference). But even then - that wouldn't be the latest LA fashions.

 

To a certain extent, I wish I had learned of the Australianness of the author before starting the book, or after finishing. Because starting around the point I noticed, the 36% mark, I kept seeing everyone as stereotypes. Vaguely off stereotypes. The 'naive young hick from small town rural-burg who always dresses like she's off to a rodeo' - except that she's actually in her 30s, has experience, and lived for at least 10 years in a metropolitan area of roughly 612,000 people (which, I realize, isn't 18.5 million of LA metro area, but still isn't a farming village). The stereotypical political hack who is now forced to work in a ‘lesser’ field of entertainment. As, gag, a gossip columnist. And then there’s the seemingly stereotypical gay guy best friend of Lauren’s. We don’t actually learn enough of Joshua to move him into or out of that stereotypical role.

 

Characters

This is one of those books wherein the reader only sees things from one point of view – that of Lauren. I did not particularly like being stuck within just one person’s head. But, no matter.

 

Lauren King is a woman of roughly 34 years of age who has striven since seemingly the beginning of either her life, or college, to make it to the ‘real’ news of political reporting. She failed at the small town paper, reporting, as she did, on beauty pageants, crop yields, and other such things. Failed, again, to make the transition to political reporting when she moved to a ‘big’ newspaper in Des Moines Iowa. And finally, after 10 years there, gave up trying to get her editors to accept her over on the political side, and quit. Moved to L.A. Book opens roughly a year after she moved, a year after taking the only job she could get in the news – as an entertainment reporter. She has a great political story she wants to follow, but her boss has taken that story from her and given it to someone else. Her deep evil archrival, who just happens to work at the same paper, has ‘helped’ spread a viral video of Lauren King fighting and screaming that she wanted to show someone her goats. Maybe it’s time to move on?

 

Catherine Ayers is a woman who comes from money, worked hard, and rose high in the newspaper business. Was a regional bureau head in Washington DC for her paper. Until one story tanked her career. And now, at the opening of this book, she is working out the remaining months of her contract. Working as an entertainment reporter. Some might call her a gossip columnist, but don’t say that to her face or she’d gut them, verbally. She’s roughly 44, based on a publicist friend of Lauren’s who says that Ayers is 10 years older than Lauren.

 

Mystery

Lauren King and Catherine Ayers attend a business party for … (SmartCard? EasyCard? EasyPay? Bah, I forget what the company’s name is now) that involves two governors (Nevada and California), a number of political people of various levels, many A-list celebrities (hence entertainment reporters at the party), and 34 women with real looking tans and real looking breasts. That’s actually important, the breasts and tans. It’s one of the first things Lauren noticed and clued her in on the fact that something fishy was going on. So, smelling a story, Lauren investigates. Trails behind them when they leave. Talks with a bus driver. Learns that they, all 34 women, were bused in from Nevada (I forget now if she found out then or later, that they were bused in from a brothel).

 

So, the mystery involves: why did these women turn up at a business party that included politicians? It is solved by two rivals. See, Catherine had noticed Lauren’s investigating and wants in. And, so, the two work on the case.

 

Got a little weird and farfetched, but interesting non-the-less.

 

Romance

The less said the better, probably.

 

Overall

The book was interesting. I kind of hovered, throughout, on how much I did or didn’t like the book. I don’t think I was ever in risk of pausing or not finishing the book, but I didn’t particularly like any of the characters – at least not until the mystery part started – whereupon Lauren, at least, started to grow on me. Well, both did, but Ayers kind of annoyed me during the ‘romance’ part so she moved back to being . . .um. . not as well liked.

 

Is this book supposed to have humor? I don’t specifically see anything that says it is supposed to in the description. Plot kind of had elements that seemed like humor was one of the underlying themes, especially with one of the main characters fighting someone while screaming about goats, but if so, I didn’t find anything funny. *shrug* I don’t deduct any points because of that issue, because, as I said, I do not see anything in the description that specifically indicates that the author was actually going for humor.

 

Personally I think I might have enjoyed the book more if the walls of bitter rivals had been broken and some form of easy or uneasy friendship broke out. Instead of, say, romance. I just didn’t see any chemistry between Lauren and Ayers, and it really seemed, probably only to me, to be forced. I suppose Lesbian Romances sell more than Lesbian Mysteries, so . ....

 

Well, the long and short of it is that I’d probably rate this book somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. 4.5? 4.3? 4.6? Somewhere around 4.5 stars.

 

February 11 2016

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review 2016-02-08 19:46
Fortunate Sum by M. Ullrich
Fortunate Sum - M. Ullrich

*I received this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.*

 

Fortunate Sum

by M. Ullrich

Pages: 240

Published Date: March 15 2016

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Series: N/A

 

Review

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Read: February 8 2016

 

 

My first book by this author.

 

A lesbian romance involving two women with ‘baggage’, damaged as they have been by life. Catherine was damaged by a bad relationship when she was in college, one so bad that she doesn’t want to date women any longer; while Imogene has been damaged by 9/11 (during which event her father died); damaged so badly that, among other things, she can’t ‘return to the city’.

 

Characters

This book follows two main characters (and occasionally hops over to another to see a scene neither would have been able to see).

 

Catherine Carter is a financial advisor who works in lower Manhattan in New York. Lives in Hoboken New Jersey. She is something like 4 months, give or take a few months, from turning 30. She had a list of things she wanted to do before she turned 30 and feels like she hasn’t fulfilled her self-imposed obligations. While she is very successful in her job, it isn’t one her father wanted her to do (which, apparently, is important). Father wanted her to be a lawyer. That fact that his two sons, older brothers of Catherine, joined him didn’t seem to lesson father’s disappointment.

 

Catherine is a work-a-holic but needs to be checking off those things left to check off. For the most part, all she has left to check off is ‘family’ or ‘a warm body to share her bed’ or something like that. So, she’s looking for a man.

 

Looking for a man? How can she be doing that, I can hear some lesfic readers asking (while others might be giddy with happiness/or groaning in despair). It’s a straight woman-lesbian woman romance? Well, no, not exactly. It’s a ‘woman was badly damaged from a relationship with a woman, and while she feels nothing for men, prefers to not have her heart further damaged so looks to men to find happiness’ type of story.

Connected to Catherine: Alice and Alice’s husband. Best friends of Catherine’s. Alice and her husband are friends with . . um, Will is it? Well, with Sophie’s husband. Sophie is best friends with Imogene.

 

Imogene Harris is a shop owner in Hoboken New Jersey. As she is the one described as having blue eyes, while the other woman is described as having dark eyes (two different colors are mentioned, if I recall correctly, both are basically brownish in color), I assume that she is the one on the cover of the book. There’s nothing about that half-head that I’d say couldn’t match up with Imogene.

Connected to Imogene Sophie the psychic and her husband. Vixen the cat.

 

Romance

Imogene and Catherine spend most of the book circling each other. With Imogene assuming Catherine is straight (well, she mentioned preferring men). While Catherine found Imogene quite . . . um . . . interesting.

 

There was a nice slow build up of their relationship occurring when things spiraled into ‘relationship troubles’ when a specific plot twist occurred. You’d think that a woman who doesn’t think she can be with a woman again, because she wants to protect her heart, mixed with a woman who thinks she might be falling for a straight woman, would be enough of a relationship burden, but no.

 

Sex

Yes, there is graphic sex that takes place in this book. I made comment once about how I keep reading these types of scenes while on trains. Well, for once that didn’t occur. It was interesting and likable sex. As I tend to say, that’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

 

Plot

Through a friend of a friend, Imogene Harris is hooked up with Catherine Carter. No, not on a blind date or the like, but as a financial advisor. The book, see, opens with Imogene having this inheritance that she ‘needs to take care of’ from her grandfather. And, through a network of friends, she is advised to contact Catherine Carter – a high rising financial advisor in New York city.

 

I’m not sure if it is supposed to be a coincidence or not that Catherine and Imogene happen to live something like three blocks from each other (okay, probably not that close, but it seems that way when their movements are described). Considering how the two were matched up, it probably isn’t a coincidence. I mean, it was a friend of a friend type deal. Friends who all happen to live in Hoboken. On the other hand, Catherine works in New York, and it is quite easy to see her being friends with someone who also works in New York, but lives in New Jersey. So *shrugs*, let’s just leave it as everyone happens to live in the same city in New Jersey.

 

Right, so, Catherine and Imogene meet at a party for Catherine’s friend – a birthday party. During which the entertainer happens to be a psychic. This is important on several levels. Firstly – Catherine, while talking to a stranger at said part, both of whom appear to be getting on quite well, makes some kind of comment or another indicating that psychics are stupid. Or something like that. The psychic, seemingly right then and there, calls her assistant to stand up to help her. That assistant being Imogene. So, Imogene and Catherine meet bad. Well, good, then foot-in-mouth bad. Secondly – the psychic is Sophie, Imogene’s best friend. Thirdly, despite believing that it would be a bad idea, Catherine can’t seem to stop herself from relatively continuously dropping in on Sophie the psychic for some psychic help.

 

So, Catherine helps Imogene with her finances. While also looking for ‘her man’, and being guided by the tiny drops dripped from the psychic (blue; 11; etc). Imogene, meanwhile, is finding herself getting more and more intrigued by this Catherine.

 

Then . . . plot twist! Someone from the past turns up. And twists the plot, and stuff.

 

Setting/Location

The story takes place in Hoboken New Jersey and lower Manhattan New York. For the most part, the stuff that occurs in NY could have occurred in any high rise (at least in terms of descriptions given). I’ve no clue if the Hoboken described in the book corresponds to the one in real life, but I did get a good sense that I was in a city, bouncing around during a snow storm between apartments, and a store.

 

Overall

There are certain things that kind of are off-putting to me. Things that I don’t want to read. Teacher/student relationships (depending on all parties involved, including age and like, I’m not deeply opposed to the idea, just . . . not while the student is a current student of the teacher); and cheating. There’s a flare of both in this story. Yay?

 

Up to about 62%, or thereabouts, I was considering what I had read up to that point. How I was reacting to it, how good or bad it was and came to the conclusion that I really really enjoyed everything. A well written story with well characterized people (mostly Imogene and Catherine). Then a plot twist occurred. The kind that deeply annoyed me. Well, potentially could have. It’s the type of plot twist I’ve seen before (oddly, or not, the last time I saw this specific plot twist, I think, was in another book that included teacher/student relations).

 

The book started off with me rather liking Catherine, and, to a certain extent, less liking Imogene. Not disliking, just that she hadn’t ‘grown’ on me. Then, somewhere along the way, I came to really like Imogene and . . . kind of dislike Catherine. But, meh, that’s life.

 

By the end of the book, I could say that I liked the characters but not really the story. For the most part. Except even at the end Catherine irritated me. “It feels good to have something they don’t” she says at one point, immediately followed by “They don’t know what it’s like to truly be in love.” Seriously? What kind of bitch is she? She ‘feels good’ that her brothers don’t know what it’s like to ‘truly be in love’? Really? WTF? What the fuck did the brothers do to her that she feels easy to make such a comment? To be glad that they don’t have true love? That annoys me.

 

Regardless, I grew to feel I knew both women, Imogene and Catherine, and mostly liked both of them. Giving the side eye, as I do, to Catherine, listing her on a ‘tentatively like’ list.

 

February 8 2016

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review 2016-02-05 19:57
Ready or Not by Melissa Brayden
Ready or Not - Melissa Brayden

 

Ready or Not

by Melissa Brayden

Pages: 240

Published Date: November 16 2015

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Series: Soho Loft (3rd in series)

 

Review

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Read: February 5 2016

 

I'll probably not actually get around to writing much about this book, but figured there were certain things to note.

 

1 -- Third book in the series, final book, and third book I've given 5 stars to. First one that went a specific direction that I'm more used to, in the sense that the first two were books I really liked all the way up to a certain point, then got really annoyed at, then in the end thought there were still worth at least 5 stars. This one went my more usual pattern - reading along, enjoying everything, but thinking I was reading something that would probably get rated 4 stars when everything was said and done. Then pulling itself up to the five star mark by the time it was done (though not literally, the rating is unrelated to the epilogue).

 

2 -- The neon blinking foreshadowing moments mostly both appeared, something of a Brayden trademark by this point, and flowed the way I expected. Mostly. The twin thing was a lot more muted than I expected -- a scene kind of what I expected occurred, Mallory bumped into the twin, thought it was Hope, got all pissed off and . . . then things went different than expected - the resolution was a lot smoother and quicker than normal, and quite frankly a lot more enjoyable; the issues involving Dominic went the way I expected; I'm sure there were foreshadowing moments involving Sophie (other than that 'she's from rich people, why's she working here', I didn't see any), but I didn't see her contribution to conflict before it happened; the issue with Mallory's family also came without my prior knowledge it would occur).

 

3 -- This might have been the first one, if I recall correctly, which involved both women's families. And I'll stop here to make note that by family I'm referring specifically to the biological family, not any other use of the word family. I didn't even realize Jessica had a family until the epilogue of this book here. Or, for that matter, that Samantha did either. No, the first book was about Brooklyn's family. If Jessica's family was mentioned at all in that first book, I completely overlooked it. And, again, the second book focused on only one of the couple's families - there the focus was on Hunter's family. By this point, the only thing I know about Samantha's family is that her dad likes Monday Night Football. That's it, sum total of what I know about Samantha's family (that and that her parents are still married to each other). This third book involved both Mallory's family, and Hope's -- though different parts of them. Mostly Mallory's parents (though some siblings popped up to say things like 'I'm going to go check my stocks'); and mostly Hope's sister (though mention occurred of a mother, and an uncle).

 

4 -- I suppose I'll add one last thing: Brent appears yet again in this book; Jessica seemed to have even less lines in this book than in the previous, though her role, to a certain extent, was 'larger' in a certain specific way in this book than in the previous. Ashton had maybe a page or two, less than previous book, and much less than the first book in this series.

 

Hope's side of things brought in a sister - Kara, and bar staff. Teddy the dependable, and Sophie the klutzy rich girl.

 

By this third book, the wonder and joy that is Brooklyn has been mostly overshadowed by everyone else. And her contributions seemed to consist of scenes like 'can't you see I'm staring at the grey spot? I'm working', being bubbly, and being the reason for the first midnight chocolate party (I think it was the first one that occurred in this book). Jessica, already mentioned but I'll add this part here, had even less to do than Brooklyn.

 

To a limited extent, Hunter had a larger role than Brooklyn - since she was friends with Hope before anyone else was, so there were some extra reason for Hunter to maintain some more 'lines'. I'm trying to remember if Sam was in this book beyond 'I've got donuts!; *kissing scenes with Hunter; banter scenes with Hunter; mention of her father then being told to just sit in the corner and let everyone else talk because her perfect family has no baring on this conversation*'. Was Samantha in this book, really? If this was a tv episode, her lines would probably have added up to about 2 to 3 minutes (if that) of screen time in an hour long program (admittedly her on screen time would be more, I'm referring to spoken lines for the 2 to 3 minutes), while her importance to the plot, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being mostly unimportant to 10 being the plot could not have existed without her, she's probably at about a 0.5 importance. Using that same scale, I'd put Hunter at . . . oh, 4.5.

 

I'm not going to go through the scale with everyone else, though will note that I believe there might have been, and I stress the word 'might', more time spent inside of Mallory's head than in Hope's.

 

Right, so. Loved the book. Series is over. Time to move on with my life. Somehow.

 

February 5 2016

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