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review 2017-11-18 23:40
ARC Review: The Secret Of The Sheikh's Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey
The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed (Dreamspun Desires Book 46) - Felicitas Ivey

First off, I had no issues whatsoever with the writing style of this author, or the writing itself. The story flowed along well, and I wasn't bored at all while reading. That is one of the two reasons this book got two stars instead of just one.

The other one is that I was super enraged for most of the book at the treatment Ikraam had to endure at the hands of her sister.

Moving on.... 

After I mulled it over for a while, I realized I had massive issues with some of the characters, the plot, and the setting, as well as the social aspects of this book. The messages within are really problematic for me. 

I mentioned in my status update when I finished the book that "this was different". It sure is. The book is set in a country in the Middle East, where sheikhs and Bedouin tribes are still aplenty. Goat herding is mentioned. Grazing grounds. Filthy rich sheikhs. Camels. Donkeys. Lots of goats. Women are second class, at best, required to hide their faces and their bodies in hijabs, niqabs and veils. 

The basic premise is that rich billionaire sheikh Fathi, who's secretly gay, has been told by his grandfather that he's been betrothed to a Bedouin girl named Ikraam, sight unseen, before the girl was even born, due to some debt the grandfather owed to the girl's father many many years ago.

That's basically believable, right? 

The rest of this? Not so much. 

Ikraam is actually not a girl. Ikraam is a young man who was born to the 2nd wife of a Bedouin tribe chief/leader who thus far only fathered girls. He's been raised as a girl in a large harem because his oldest sister didn't want him to be the heir and remove her from her position of power after their father died. She basically forced Ikraam's mother, and then Ikraam as he grew up, to keep his gender a secret and raise him as female. This was continued after the mother died. The oldest sister married a weak man who became the new tribe leader, but it's really been her in charge. She then set out to marry off all her sisters to other tribes so she could be HBIC. 

I had some issues right there. Not only is this plot point unrealistic, but even if it were believable, the psychological repercussions of Ikraam being raised as a female, and eventually realizing he's not female, are never even addressed. Can you imagine being raised this way? And noticing at some point that, hey, I have a penis, and, hey, the others girls do not? And, hey, I could be killed at any time if someone finds out? And, hey, my oldest sister abuses me daily and I have absolutely no way out of this situation other than death? Wouldn't YOU have some serious psychological issues? Can you imagine how fucked up that is? The suffering? The constant fear? Knowing you will die on your wedding night? Feeling that you have to go along with this plan so you can possibly save your niece from a fate worse than death? 

Additionally, Ikraam has been raised without ever learning to read, without knowing anything about the modern world (which I guess is expected when one grows up in a tent in the desert, weaving cloth and hiding underneath a niqab). And yet, this is never addressed even when Ikraam marries Fathi. The difference between Fathi, who was raised with money and educated in the US, and the poor Bedouin woman/man, who's never even been to a city, who's never read a book, who has no idea how the world works outside of goat farming and weaving cloth and hiding behind a veil - how could they possibly be compatible? And to top this off, when the secret does come out, Ikraam suggests living as a female in public, and as a male in the privacy of their bedroom, and NO ONE questions the feasibility of this and its possible repercussions. Fathi thinks it's a great idea. Is Ikraam identifying as gender-queer, made so by how he was raised? Are we supposed to believe that gender identity is thus nurture instead of nature? What message is the author sending here? 

We are introduced to Fathi and his twin brother early on. Fathi has a secretary whose only apparent purpose was to be a contrast to Ikraam as this secretary is educated and modernized, but then used only to be shamed and ridiculed for her aspirations. There's a scene at the very end that had me cringe in second-hand embarrassment that the way this particular scene played out made it past the editor. What was that, even? This is a young, modern, educated woman, someone who did a good job in the position for which she was hired, and yet, she's shamed for being interested in her boss, and the uneducated, unworldly, MALE-pretending-to-be-female Ikraam is held up as a "better" example of being female than this young woman, going so far as showing up on the arm of his new husband, dressed in traditional FEMALE finery and given an opportunity to announce to the secretary that her boss is now married and she needs to take a hike. How did this make it past the editor? What message is this sending to the reader? Readers who are primarily women? 

Don't get me started on Ikraam's oldest sister and the mother of his niece. The woman was pure evil but basically gets away with it. Not only is she perfectly willing to let Ikraam die for her subterfuge, which his husband would then obviously discover, but she's also willing to get rid of her own daughter by attempting to marry her off to a disgusting and violent man at least twice her age, who will likely break not only her spirit but also her body. Evil sister/mother don't care. And even when all of these things come out, she's not punished for her behavior. Ikraam is safe, and so is his niece, but the evil sister never gets a real punishment for not only the deception but also the cruelty and suffering she inflicted. 

Fathi is secretly gay, as I mentioned. His grandfather, described as a very traditional and old-fashioned man set in his ways, then doesn't even really blink when a) Fathi admits to being gay, and b) Ikraam's secret is revealed, and c) they want to get married anyway. Say WHAT? You're trying to tell me that an old man from the Middle East doesn't care that his heir is gay? Embraces it? Is fine with the Bedouin girl being really a man? And you explain it away by stating that he's not super religious and THAT'S IT?? I'm sorry, but I didn't buy what the author was trying to sell here. 

The secondary men in this book, namely the tribe leader and the niece's potential groom, are either weak or evil. Both were one-dimensional characters and used to provide a specific plot point or two, then discarded. 

I usually like the titles in this very tropey series, but this was a complete miss for me. The gender identity issue could have been handled in a much healthier way here, and I would have expected more conflict and pushback from the grandfather based on his portrayal. I would have liked to see some psychological help for Ikraam, and some education as well. 

This book didn't work for me. YMMV.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A review was not promised in return. **

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-08 04:23
Book review : Halloween with the Hunk Jewel Killian
Halloween with the Hunk: A Lumberjack Romance (Holiday Studs Book 1) - Jewel Killian

October 26-27

Cassie 
What do you do when the lumberjack next door knocks on your door? 

You let him the hell in! 

There he stood in only jeans and work gloves--all bulging arms and chiseled abs. 
I couldn't help but look, stare even. How could I not? He looked like he knew his way around the female body and I was aching to find out exactly how much he knew. 

Landon- 
If she keeps looking at me like that I'll have her in every room, every way, all night AND all day. I'll show her my world of pleasure and dominance. I'll make her feel things she never thought possible. I'll make her scream so loud the neighbors will know my name. 

Well, they already do. I was the former town playboy after all.


Review : This book was really cute and sexy I loved it Cassie she went away for the weekend to get work done but then she meets landon who is mostly a hot lumberjack and they hook up but when cassie wakes up without landon she thinks he just left her so she leaves but he likes her a lot and tracks down her friend and they go to the Halloween party where landon shows up and they talk and then they go to a interesting sex club . Landon has to go away for three months for work so they do a long distance relationship but then Landon comes back and it goes forward to the next Halloween and Landon proposes and they get married it was so cute .

Quotes :
Standing in the lawn between the two houses, illuminated only by my headlights, was a man in jeans and work gloves. Only jeans and work gloves

Well, Jeannie, I might just get to bang a lumberjack after all.

You know how sometimes you can feel eyes on you? That’s why I looked up. She stared so hard, so intently I could feel it. I met her eyes and I swear I don’t think I’ve ever been looked at like that before— like she wanted to eat me.

“Hi.” I barely got out the word before he rushed me, picking me up and kissing me like I’ve never been kissed before. I melted under him as he held my face and wedged me between the wall and his hips.

Landon growled at my words, probably the sexiest noise I’d ever heard in my whole life.

But I rode enough of him to make his gorgeous baby blues roll up in his head.

 

 

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review 2017-11-07 21:35
Review for Third Son's a Charm (The Survivors #1) by Shana Galen
Third Son's a Charm (The Survivors) - Shana Galen

This story has the best love declaration I have ever read! It had me having all the feels, specially for Ewan, the most alluring non-Viking Viking I've read. 
Lorrie is a young, passionate, spirited woman that has gone as far as try to elope because her parents won’t allow her to marry the man she loves. Seeing how his daughter will not be dissuaded from marrying the wrong man, her father hires Ewan Mostyn, the third son of an earl and an ex-soldier that’s mostly known for knocking heads together at a gambling club than for appearing at a dance ball. 
Ewan is a taciturn man, rejected by his father because he considers him an unworthy son, and judged by society because he is considered nothing more than a brute. Ever since he was a child, he was told he was stupid due to a learning disability and it wasn’t until he joined the army and later some sort of “suicide unit” that he finally felt he belonged somewhere. I fell in love with his honesty and quiet way of communicating. He had this genuine way about him that made him both charming and alluring in a very unique, gentle way. The author made a fabulous job conveying his emotions because to me they all felt real and relatable. 

People tend to forget that historicals include debutants and most heroines are barely of age when they are thrown into the marriage market. Lorrie is young so yeah, she’s going to act recklessly at times, but in my opinion she was not stupid but naïve. She was also determined, curious, and true to herself. She was capable of seeing in Ewan what he was not able to see in himself and that in turn gave him the strength to fight for what he wanted. If that’s not a worthy heroine then I don’t know what is. 

We get a secondary love story between Lorrie’s parents that I would have loved to see more of but at least it gave me more of an insight of why Lorrie and Ewan’s closeness was allowed. Oh, and let's not forget the other Saviors! There was such a brotherly banter and comradery among them that my heart melted a little bit every time I got to read about them. I was a little off put with something towards the end but other than this was a great book and a great start to a new series. 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
 

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review 2017-11-07 00:18
Review: Risking It (Stolen Moments #2) by Angela Quarles
Risking It: A Romantic Comedy (Stolen Moments Book 2) - Angela Quarles

This story was delightfully sexy, quirky, and so much fun! It’s the second book in the Stolen Moments series but it can totally be read as a standalone. 

In short, Aiden and Jane had a fun night together, but strange and great thing, they only netflix’ed and chill, literally, and to them it was enough to know there could be more between them. However and apparently because no one taught them how to communicate, and because you know, pride and prejudice before getting to know people, they parted ways and ended up not talking after that one night. 

I thought the way those two went from strangers to friends to lovers was managed in a super fun and brilliant way. They obviously liked each other physically but they knew that jumping into the “sex” wagon at the first chance was going to lead nowhere but heartache. Jane had serious self-doubt issues and Aiden had a history of relationships ending badly. Their friendship was handled in an incredibly gratifying way and at the perfect pace and their playfulness made them more relatable. 
I had some problems with the way Jane’s generalized bookworms solely based on her own lack of confidence however I was ruined for life with the way Aiden opened up to her and the way he behaved during the road trip and afterwards. I think he became one of my favorite BBF ever! Overall this was a great love story and I’m looking forward for more books by this author.


** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
 (les

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-05 04:00
Book Review : Dumplin Julie Murphy
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

october 24-26 Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Review : I really wanted to like this book it was okay but I had some problems with it , Will's mom she is so judgmental of her daughters weight I get being concerned but there is a way to do it . Will is a bigger girl and she likes this guy name Bo and they dated for like a summer and then she broke up with him and she decided to do this beauty queen thing and she yells at her friend and they have this stupid long ass fight which I didn't see a point for . Now I want to point out I didn't hate this book but I just didn't like it . Will and Bo start talking and there moments were really sweet .

 

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