I'm going to start this on a positive note let's all look at the cover...seriously that cover is freakin' adorable. I love it cutest dog ever...ok, aside from mine, but still he's really cute and those guys aren't so bad either and added bonus they look like the MCs so I didn't end up reading the book and then saying "Who the hell is that on the cover?" because that's a thing.
Ok then we all agree the cover's lovely, right? Great, if you loved the book as much as the cover then we've now hit the point where we have to agree to disagree because I didn't, I just really and truly did not like this book. I requested it because I thought the blurb sounded adorable and sweet and so full of potential.
Flynn's lost his dog and nearly a year later he sees his dog in the park with another man but Mac has no intentions of giving up 'Hamburger'. Seriously he named the dog, Hamburger...poor creature, he's doomed to be named after food...Flynn named him Barley and Mac names him Hamburger. Anyways, Flynn's at a loss as to what to do so he calls his BF Clara and over brunch doesn't he once again spot Barley/Hamburgers new master. The long and the short of it is Flynn and Mac finally end up talking and events lead to a sort of shared custody of the dog.
This all should have been so cute and sweet but what it was missing for me was connection. Flynn and Mac are suppose to fall in love and what I got out of it was Flynn wants in Mac's pants, Mac wants the dog and while he thinks Flynn is hot, I felt like he was using Flynn's attraction to him to keep Flynn bringing the dog around.
There was lots of drama and angst as Mac's landlady ended up in the hospital, Mac and Flynn met one of Mac's ex's in the park when they were walking Barley/Hamburger and Mac ended up being upset by him so there went Flynn's plans for the night, it was hinted that Clara might be in love with Flynn but hey problem solved she just kind of disappeared from the story, Mac had to go back home because of a death in the family and of course Flynn wanted to be there for him and he got pushed away and this was the point at which I really disconnected from this story because not only did Flynn get pushed away when he tried to be there for Mac but when Mac returned home for the funeral, I couldn't decide if he was having a religious experience of someone slipped him some drugs and he was hallucinating but when all was said and done he went back to Seattle and they all lived HEA (ok, it's a tiny bit more complicated than that but I'm not going to spoil the ending, I may not have enjoyed the story but it doesn't mean I want to ruin it for others).
This one just wasn't happening for me no matter how hard I tried and believe me I did. I've read other books by this author 'The Ghost in Number 9' loved it. I read it in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down, 'A Journey of the Heart' I basically cried from start to finish it was beautiful. I've read a couple more that while they weren't epic they were good, solid, enjoyable stories that I enjoyed and if asked I would say yeah, it's good check it out. I've got a couple that are on my short TBR list because friends whom I trust have recommended them to me and I've every intention of reading them.
Sadly for me this book is not in any of those categories and will forever remain on my list of books I wished I'd taken a pass on. So while 'Lost and Found' wasn't my thing there are many other reviews out there for people who really liked it...I encourage checking them all out before deciding if this book is for you or not.
An ARC of 'Lost and Found' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I usually love Charlotte Stein, but Never Loved didn't really work for me. If you've read Stein before, you know her "voice" tends toward stream of consciousness. I've never had a problem with that before, but here for some reason I just found it tiresome and hard to follow. I also found the plot of this book was full of holes. The heroine and her brother were abused by their dad, but got away from him somehow, came to America for some reason, have tons of money for reasons that were either not explained or which I may have skipped in my impatience with the afore-mentioned rambling stream of consciousness, plus there's some gangster/loanshark types that threaten the HEA. Because reasons.
But, as usual, Stein writes hawt smex.
Yesterday, I read the prequel novella to this book, Angel. It was free, and in my brief review, I said that it had done it's job: I intended to read on in the series. Harlot is the next installment, and it was a fast read, and a not entirely satisfying one. At 123 pages, it's longer than a novella but not by much, and I think the brevity was part of my disappointment: there was not a lot of room for character development or anything but a pretty basic story arc.
Harlot is set in the American West (Colorado) in 1875. Caleb loved Jessica, the town doctor's daughter, his whole life, but he felt he had to make something of himself before he could offer for her, so he went to California for two years to seek his fortune in the gold rush. He came home having done so, only to find that in his absence, Jessica became the town harlot. Furious, Caleb offered her $25 to be his whore for the week.
Of course, it's clear to the reader from the start that Jessica only did what she did out of desperation, so Caleb's fury -- especially since he didn't keep himself pure in California, either -- is pretty offensive. Toward the end of the story, Jess finally points out this hypocrisy, and to his credit, Caleb gets what an ass he's been and makes a pretty good grovel, but I found it very tough to get in his corner until then.
I've noticed in reading Victoria Dahl's contemporary romances that her sex scenes are often not my cuppa, and that was true here as well. A lot of Dahl's stories, as here, cater to a humiliation kink -- where the man calls the woman "slut" and other offensive names, and does things with the express intent of degrading her, and she gets off on it. I understand that that turns some peoples' crank, but to me it's like a dousing in ice water: it totally pulls me out of the scene and turns me off. So, I didn't like the smexy parts much.
I was also disappointed by where Angel's protagonists, Bill and Melisande, end up. They are still together and in love, but I hoped for a happier happy ending for them.
In the end, this book didn't totally work for me, but if, like me, romances with prostitute protagonists are your catnip, or if you enjoy a good grovel, you might want to check Harlot out anyway.
A friend recommended I should check out British author Jill Mansell, and I can see why she thought I would like this. It's constructed sort of like Love Actually, with lots of intersecting plot lines, and of course it's full of adorably British people saying adorably British things. In theory, this ought to be right up my alley. In practice, it missed the mark.
Staying at Daisy's is about the father-daughter owners of a schmancy hotel in the Cotwolds, their staff, guests, lovers, and neighbors. There are a lot of characters. I didn't have trouble keeping track of who the characters were, but since several of the intersecting plots hinge on characters keeping secrets from one another, I did have trouble keeping track of who knew what.
All of those secrets were my biggest problem with the story. Not my confusion, but the fact that all of these characters were so dishonest with one another, keeping secrets and sneaking around. For me, that made it hard to like these people.
I also found many of the characters very flat and underdeveloped, likely because there were so many characters that, in the interests of space, the author sacrificed character development in order to move the plot. Unfortunately, if the characters aren't developed, I have trouble giving a fig what happens to them in the story.
Anyway, this just wasn't my cuppa.