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review 2016-11-07 15:52
The Unflappable Miss Fairchild (Zebra Regency Romance) - Regina Scott

Not exactly a terrible book, but unfortunately it wasn't the gem I was hoping for. And it is extremely overrated in GR. The story was very predictable, full of cliche moments, but the worst of all were the two main characters. Usually I feel a sort of bond with any heroine named Anne (I love that name) but I couldn't with this one... she should have been named something else. She is very proper, calm, etc, meaning, she is so boring! The author keeps telling us how the characters were, the book is full of adjectives, and not necessarily with the background, but with his eyes, her eyes, his hair, her hair... I hate this kind of writing, it is one of my pet peeves in romance.


Other pet peeve? She is supposed to be plain, the hero thinks so at the beginning (except for her "big, lovely, innocent, gray" eyes) but she has plenty of suitors and many men are charmed by her, making the hero jealous **eyeroll**


The hero is no better... he is supposed to be a rake, blah blah, who falls in love for the first time, blah blah. He doesn't have any nice quality that makes the reader fall for him. In fact, I wasn't even invested in their love story at all, not at the beginning, not in the middle, not at the end. They are supposed to be likeable, but how could I like them, when they were playing victim all the time? He with his older brother ("oh he is mean, he hates me, I am just the 2nd son, a bastard") and she with her aunt ("oh she hates me, I sacrifice my happiness because of her"), when in reality, both "mean characters" were only looking after them, after having a hard lives on their own. But no! both MC are the ones that are suffering **eye-roll**


The misunderstandings were insufferable, so stupid and only because of lack of communication/assumptions. Honestly, both MC were so lame I had a hard time to finish this!

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review 2015-12-09 19:03
Review: F*ck Feelings
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Michael Bennett MD,Sarah Bennet

(I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)


Life isn’t fair. I know this, you know this, but we still keep hoping that somehow the universe will work things out. But the universe really couldn’t give fewer fucks.


F*ck Feelings is a book about being realistic, about coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t fair, and realizing that, in the grand scheme of things, your personal feelings matter very little. This sounds pessimistic, and sometimes the book does border on a weird nihilism, but it is rather refreshing to read a self-help book that doesn’t try to shill a bright and shiny message that runs counter to the nature of the world. The premise is simple: some circumstances simply cannot be changed or improved, so rather than feeling constantly defeated by your inability to alter them, it’s better to learn how to deal with the negative feelings on a day-to-day basis. The two really terrible f-words in life are “fair” and “feelings,” and the reverence we have for them is delusional.


If the title didn’t tip you off, the book is intended to be both helpful and funny, and overall the writing is genuinely entertaining, while also being legitimately well researched and useful, which is no mean feat. There are a lot of notable passages (many of which I highlighted), but whether they are genuinely profound or just pleasant (but snarky) aphorisms is a tough call sometimes. The balance between the humorous presentation and the serious subject matter wavers from time to time, with one occasionally overcompensating for the other, but overall it keeps the tone fairly consistent. Some of the unevenness likely comes from the dual author set-up, in which a comedy writer “translates” her father’s psych and neuroscience findings through her particular Upright Citizen’s Brigade filter. It does read much better than most pop psychology books, which are generally either dully academic, or way too touchy-feely. It often fights back against the trend in psychotherapy that believes things can ultimately be fixed, or that feelings can be radically altered, which is refreshing.


But I did have a nagging concern that grew the more I read: when is a personal issue not just personal, but something systemic that really should be addressed, and when is “life is unfair” just an excuse to let the status quo roll on? Unfortunately, the book didn’t really answer that question. It consistently reminds people to “live up to your own personal values” while accepting certain unchangeable things, and frankly I don’t know what the fuck that really means. Often it felt like a cop out. If life is unfair, and my personal values are centered around making it just a little more fair for other people, isn’t the whole deal just counterproductive at that point? I don’t have an answer, and neither do the authors.


One of the other elements I struggled with was the template-based structure, which makes it very helpful as a reference guide, but repetitive and dull if you are reading it cover to cover. Each chapter is laid out identically, with a breakdown of the issue, what you can and can’t change, anonymous real world examples, and a “script” for dealing with other people (or your inner critic). The information is helpful, but also a bit truncated. And I’m pretty sure the script is just there to be funny.


As far as self-help books go, I would recommend this one to those who like their advice presented in a funny way, as well as injected with some legitimate neuroscience. But if you don’t want your idealism punctured, this one probably isn’t for you.


(Cross-posted at Goodreads: F*ck Feelings)

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review 2015-10-13 19:49
ARC Review: Sunshine Is Overrated by Bailey Bradford
Sunshine is Overrated - Bailey Bradford

Book three in this series finally sheds some light on the relationship between Abernathy, and his mated vampire Zebulon, and Claude, the vamp coven leader.


In both previous books, there were undertones of longing between Claude and Abbie, but since Abbie is bonded to Zebulon, neither man acts on these desires, and Abbie continues to experience abuse and neglect at Zebulon's hands.


Augustin is in this one too, as are the female mated pair, and we see further into the relationships between humans and vampires in this coven.


Claude, in addition to wanting Abbie, is also deathly afraid of turning to dust, something he saw happen to his Sire. This fear almost cripples him, to the point where it becomes a weakness. And coven leaders mustn't be seen as weak.


He also prefers to "catch" during his bedroom romps - again, he sees that as a weakness, and, repeat after me, coven leaders mustn't be seen as weak.


There's history there with Zebulon, Abernathy, and Claude, and in this book, that history finally comes out.


I really like this series. It's different, it's often snarky (especially when Augustin is in the room), and the author did a fine job with the mythology, including that the vamps can turn into bats.


The plot flows nicely, and each book could theoretically be read as a standalone, but why would you? Why would you deny yourself the snark that is Augustin, and how he has his vampire Tony wrapped around his little human finger? Why would you deny yourself Radney in kilts, and his human mate Andrew?




The writing is full of snarky sarcasm and little zingers, but also tender and sweet when the situation calls for it, and holy hot boysecks, Batman, when the vamp and his human hit the sheets.


I've already got book 4 locked and loaded on my Nook. I can hardly wait!


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

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review 2015-09-27 00:00
Laurel Heights
Laurel Heights - Lisa Worrall

3 stars

Well, this was... different?

I'm really not sure what happened. I was looking forward to this one. Cops undercover, a romance and a mystery? I'm usually a goner! Here? Not so much.

Firstly, there were some things I liked. The writing was solid, the characters were "good" enemies and their feelings for each other changed quite nicely. Or more precisely, they gradually got their heads out of their asses. It's not easy to write a double-in-the-closet. You're bound to run into some repetitive issues, thoughts and problems and in general it was well done here. Bonus for the steam, that was really well written.

But quite some things didn't sit well with me. Let's start with the crime aspect. I've been in love with crime ans suspense for a long time. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Kathy Reichs to Josh Lanyon, I tried it and loved a lot of myteries. And I'm aware of the fact that all these authors (except for Reichs maybe) are far away from being crime fighting experts, so I don't really expect to read perfectly realistic books regarding procedure, rules and training. But, and it's a big but for me, it has to be at least kind of believable. That didn't really happen here for me. Two cops - who hate each other, at least officially - are send undercover almost completely unprepared? Yeah, no. That just didn't fly with me. Also, it's fine that they have to keep their cover. So some PDA and play acting has to be done. But, come on! They are expected to play their part in a group orgy/partner swapping situation, even though both are firmly in the closet, therefore straight in public? Show me a straight cop who could pull that off convincingly! You can't play straight and you can't play gay for a little bit, then wash your hands off it and go back to "normal" just like that! And every supervisor knows it.

But okay, I tried to keep an open mind. It's just fiction, after all. Right? So I kept reading. And it wasn't really a bad read. Just... strange. Where was the investigating? The search for evidence? The dialogue with other members of the community? Most of it just happened, because everyone was basically over each other all the time. Also, what was up with their houses? Why did they even have them? It's not like anybody respected your closed doors. At all. Just no. And while the mystery itself was good - because it kept me guessing who the bad guy was until the end - I also felt somewhat cheated. Because it wasn't as if I had a chance of finding out who he was before he was revealed. The only way of guessing was the slow process of elimination. Not because of actual evidence, but because all but two men were mentioned by name in a way that made it impossible for them to be the villain. And the epiliogue threw me completely. That cliffhanger was just not cool. I was hurting enough for Todd before! Now this? I'm not even sure I want to read the second book.

Another thing were the "gatherings". I really don't have a problem with orgies, partner swapping or menage in my books. Sure, it's not my favorite thing to read about, but it also doesn't turn me off too much. If it were just the "gatherings" where people swapped partners, or came on to each other. But it wasn't! Everyone ate somebody else's face at some point! I even lost track who was with whom at one point, because I couldn't keep up with which one of the guys was "swapping" at the moment and who actually wanted to sleep with his own partner for a change. And everybody got irritated with Will when he finally set some boundaries? What?! I was cheering him on something fierce!

Talking about boundaries: I'm all for relationship development while working a case. Living and working together so closely is predestined for it. But it just didn't sit well with me how much relationship and sex was going on while they didn't get any kind of work done - except for calling their respective partners for research results. It got really bad when I read a passage about Todd that just about broke my heart, and was thrown into a hot sex scene between the MCs right after. It made me feel so queasy and I was actually tempted to skim it, because I was so uncomfortable. Which is NOT a good thing for romantic suspense. I was so not happy with this one.

One other thing that bugged me were the nicknames! After the first two or three, I was still somewhat grinning. But after a while it didn't just get old, it annoyed me. Especially because both did it, at least once every ten pages. Creative in the beginning, way too much in the end.

So, all in all, it was an okay read. I love the combination of romance and mystery, but the execution here just wasn't really for me. I can see why others loved it so much, I guess I just want different things when it comes to romantic suspense novels.

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text 2015-05-08 16:54
30-Day Book Challenge: Day 8

Day 8: A book I think is overrated 



It was a toss-up between this and The Fault In Our Stars, but I went with Bradbury's novel because it's been around much, much longer. 

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