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review 2018-06-29 23:34
Damage Control by Jae - My Thoughts
Damage Control - Jae

What a disappointment.  This is an f/f romance novel. It is 350 pages long.  I was 70% in before one of the main characters kissed the other main character.... on the cheek.  *eyeroll*   There's slow burn and there's almost stopped,

Y'know, the majority of the f/f romances I've read spend an awful lot of time with their characters indulging in the same internal monologues over and over and over again.  Is this a feature of the f/f romance?  If so.. me no likey.  None of them seem truly happy at all. 

Now, Jae can write, but if I'm honest, we don't need to have every movement of the characters detailed.  Step by step construction of sandwiches for instance.  There was just a lot of faffing about while one character discovers and finally admits that she's a lesbian and the other character discovers that maybe the job isn't everything.  Sort of.  There was no real plot to my mind.  Just a series of incidents along the way to the couple getting together, coming out and maybe an HAE?  I'm sure the author intended an HAE but I wasn't convinced. 

I will say that the one sex scene was extremely well written, steamy and hot.  It just seemed to take FOREVER for the couple to get to any place intimate!  Even when they were supposed to be baring their inner thoughts and souls earlier in the book, it didn't feel that way. 

And one of the weirdest things.  One of the MCs, Lauren, the PR person, had this thing where she would cough a little when she was tired.  I'm sure it was meant to be a cute little quirk, but all I could think of every time it was mentioned all I could think of was Love Story and kept expecting her to be diagnosed with cancer. It really was unsettling.

Anyway, despite seeming to have all kinds of tropes I like, this was a big disappointment for me. It felt more like Grace's sexual discovery and coming out story rather than Grace and Lauren's love story. 

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review 2015-01-30 09:07
"I was a bad machine."
Mendoza in Hollywood (The Company Series #3) - Kage Baker

Reading Mendoza in Hollywood was a strange experience. I have very clear memories of checking the book out of my library about a decade ago, mostly because the library copy had a very memorable cover, but I have only the vaguest memories of the book itself. When I hit the final 75% this time around, I actually began to wonder if I failed to finish it, as certain events were a complete blank. Maybe the climax lost its memorability without the previous books, but at the same time, I think certain aspects were far more tolerable when I was context-free.

In Kage Baker’s Company series, in the far future, Dr. Zeus Incorporated manages to discover both time travel and immortality. Unfortunately, the time travel only works towards the past and only allows unrecorded events to be changed. The surgeries and procedures to gain immortality can only be performed upon children, and the result is more cyborg than human. Dr Zeus, deciding to make the best of things, combined the two: the Company created immortal cyborgs in the far-distant past. These cyborgs would do the work of the Company, preserving lost treasures and species and historical events, and making more of themselves as the ages roll by. And now it’s the mid-1850s, and Mendoza finds herself in the city of fallen angels, the Hollywood of soon-to-be.

Baker is an engaging writer, but like The Garden of Iden, I found the enjoyability of the book severely limited by my dislike of Mendoza. In Garden of Iden, Mendoza suffered from a bad case of puppy love, and apparently not even a few centuries are enough to mend her broken heart. She spends a great deal of time maundering on about her lost love, leading me to ponder whether the book is actually improved by no context. I originally read Mendoza in Hollywood out of order, so I had no idea just how noxious and stiff and irritating and cardboard-cutout Mendoza’s lost love actually was. He annoyed the hell out of me in Garden of Iden, and it’s frustrating that Mendoza seems determined to turn him into her eternal doomed lover. She’s also a slave to those emotions, willing to bend every principle to recover her love.

I liked most of the male characters, particularly the Facilitator. I love Facilitators--they’re all fast-talking tricksters and add a certain spice to the story. I also enjoyed the young ornithologist immortal who spent the whole book collecting stray birds to keep as pets. (He starts out with a baby condor named Erich von Stronheim and ends up with a pelican named Marie Dressler. The only other female character is Imarte from Sky Coyote, and she’s been flanderized from an earnest anthropologist to an oversexed prostitute. She and Mendoza spend the whole time sniping at one another, and despite the female narrator, I think the book fails the Bechdel test. Given that the book takes place in Hollywood, its focus on movies is perhaps unsurprising, but my ignorance about early films made the long digressions into various movies rather boring. The book itself is rather slow, with a meandering and ill-defined plot and a lot of introspection. The themes are similar to the previous books: a rejection of extremism in all its forms:

"We don't have pets, Juan. Pets require time we haven't got, because we're operatives and all our time belongs to the Company [...] Pets require constant attention and love, and we can't afford to love them, because they're mortal and they'll die, which will make us unhappy, which will interfere with our doing a good job for the Company."

At the same time, I was fascinated by the ways Baker wove together her “hidden history;” the painstaking details reminded me somewhat of Tim Powers. Mendoza in Hollywood certainly isn’t the strongest in the series, but I found myself carried along with Mendoza and her troubles. The framing of the story and the end also pack a certain punch. Onwards to Graveyard Game, which has the added delight of Joseph as a narrator.

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review 2014-11-04 17:08
Mistletoe and Hollywood Review and Giveaway!
Mistletoe & Hollywood: An Eversea Series Novella & a Desire Resort Series Novella - Kate Roth,Natasha Boyd

My Star, My Love by Natasha Boyd is an Eversea Series novella featuring Jack Eversea, the Hollywood superstar whose heart was stolen by innocent small town girl, Keri Ann Butler. It's their first Christmas and Jack has brought Keri Ann home to England, land of crazy paparazzi, to meet his mother. Full of funny, sexy and stolen moments, it's a Christmas treat sure to delight fans who have been pining for Jack!

Many Times, Many Ways by Kate Roth is a Desire Resort Series novella featuring Evan Weston. A Hollywood hottie himself, he escaped for a few weeks of sun, sand and sex only to find himself head over heels with sassy Danielle Ward. Vacation is over and now this couple are spending their first Christmas together. Can Evan convince Dani that the rest of their lives can be as sexy, beautiful and filled with even more love that they've experienced so far?

 

I'll keep my review short and sweet, just like these novellas. Many Times, Many Ways is a swoon worthy capture of Evan and Dani's first Christmas together and every moment was perfect. It was clear in Best Laid Plans that Dani had stolen Evan's heart but his unconditional doting and love in Many Times, Many Ways makes me melt. *sigh*

My Star, My Love gives us a peek into the world of Jack Eversea, his family and hometown. Keri Ann takes everything in stride, with a bit of witty banter to keep things light and fun. While Jack and Keri still have some issues to work through, their devotion to each other is what Christmas stories are made of.

 

There's a giveaway going on over at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile for $25 Amazon card just in time for Christmas shopping. Enter here

 

 *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

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review 2014-01-18 22:22
Starstruck by Ashleigh Raine
Starstruck - Ashleigh Raine

I've mostly been reading fantasy and sci-fi these past few months, so I decided to see if it was time to switch to a romance glom. I remembered enjoying a contemporary romance excerpt involving a heroine who was an extra and a hero who was a big-name TV actor. After a bit of searching, I located the book, Starstruck.

Micah is one of the biggest stars in the show Sexy M.D. (my mental image of the show was something like Grey's Anatomy). He's been acting since he was a child and has a very jaded opinion of Hollywood. Jenna is an extra on the show, nervous and excited because it's her very first time acting in a real TV show. Had things gone as they were supposed to, she and Micah would have never spoken to one another. However, during one of the takes, Micah accidentally smacks Jenna in the face. Jenna gets sent away, and Micah, mortified, goes after her to apologize.

Micah finds himself drawn to Jenna and her bright, shiny joy for acting and Hollywood life. He visits her at her restaurant job and accompanies her home when her car acts up. It's not long before the two of them end up in bed together. Their relationship progresses fast, which was one of the first problems I had with this book.

I was looking forward to seeing their relationship build over the course of months, or at least weeks. Instead, it was insta-love on Micah's part. In less than a week, he decided he trusted and cared for Jenna enough to offer her spare keys to his house and car. I can't remember the timeline exactly, but I think they had sex within 24 hours of meeting each other. Considering that Micah was supposed to be wrestling with decades of learned distrust of Hollywood and its culture of lying and deception, everything seemed to be moving way too quickly.

Which leads me to the sex scenes. There were a couple scenes in which Micah was so hot for Jenna that he initially forgot he wasn't yet wearing a condom. Both times, he said he either needed to find something or they were going to have to stop. Micah always freaked out more than Jenna. The first time, Jenna encouraged him to keep going a little, but Micah left to get a condom from her bathroom. The second time, they were at his house and he had no condoms at all around. Jenna basically told him, “I'm on the pill, I'm healthy, I don't sleep around, let's do this.” I suppose it was assumed that Micah didn't have any STDs, since his status was never mentioned. It was all presented as a trust issue, and Micah decided he trusted Jenna enough to have sex with her without a condom.

Out of everything in the book, that one scene had the biggest negative impact on me. Had they known each other for months, it probably still would have made me uncomfortable. As it was, they'd known each other for less than a week.

After that came scenes I'd been predicting since the first time they fell into bed together. No, there was no “surprise, my birth control failed and I'm pregnant” scene (thank goodness), but there was a moment when Micah thought all his fears about Jenna not being as honest as she appeared were confirmed. The speed with which Micah went from “I trust Jenna enough to give her the keys to everything I own” to “OMG, she's just as slimy as everyone else” pissed me off. It helped, somewhat, that Micah let up after Jenna reminded him he'd been the one pursuing her, not the other way around, but the whole thing still felt awful and predictable.

The resolution wasn't terribly surprising. Still, it was kind of a let-down – I was expecting a big grovel scene, but that never happened.

I wish I had enjoyed this more. It had some good moments, and the on-set stuff was really interesting and felt accurate. I just wish that some scenes hadn't been quite so predictable and that the romance had been more, well, romantic.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2012-07-13 00:00
Hollywood Ever After (Red Carpet Series, # 1)
Hollywood Ever After (Red Carpet Series, # 1) - Sasha Summers 4.5 stars.

Claire is spending her birthday with her best friend, Assistant Director, Shannon, in Los Angeles. It's a chance for her to decompress and have time to herself. Finally free from her abusive husband, it's time for her to spread her wings and just be Claire. Who would have though one little Hollywood premiere would change a Texas school teacher's life?

Josh Wiley meet Claire as he rescues her from tripping on the red carpet. From the moment these two look into each other's eyes, the pages just about exploded on my iPad. Their chemistry is smoking hot. Josh, with his quiet, understanding personality, is just what Claire needs to put her life back together after her disastrous marriage. He doesn't push her or put any demands on her, he just simply lays everything at her feet and trusts that she'll make the same decision he has about the two of them. When Claire finally trusts him enough to introduce her to her kids, you watch Josh make that final leap for Claire. You totally fall in love with him from that point forward.

Claire initially questions Josh's motives (because what would a 28 year old Hollywood It boy want with a 35 year old mother of two), but she never questions the chemistry they have between them. She fights with herself and with how she's been conditioned by her ex when evaluating their relationship, but she takes a leap of faith and hopes that the strong feelings she has for him are genuine...for her sake and her kids. It takes Claire quite a while to trust what she has with Josh and to know that she doesn't want anything or anyone to damage what they have. But it was fantastic to see Claire put everything on the line to make sure everything she loves was safe from her past.

A definite page turner with an adorable leading man and an incredibly brave and strong heroine. The blurb for this book doesn't do it justice, because it's about so much more than falling for a Hollywood star. It's about learning from our past and trusting ourselves enough to get it right the next time.
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