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review 2017-03-09 19:11
Review: "Hard Wired" (Cyberlove, #3) by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Hard Wired - Megan Erickson,Santino Hassell

"Why are ninety percent of our conversations propping each other up?"

"We both need a lot of propping? I don't know. Why are we like this?"

Good question.

 

 

I had high hopes for the third Cyberlove book after Strong Signal and especially Fast Connection, the phenomenal second book in this series. And while I still loved the writing and the general premise of this series (falling in love online), I'm afraid that this book just missed the mark for me. Which pains me to admit, because I'm a big fan of the Cyberlove series.

 

I usually don't mind angst in my books; in fact I love me some angst, it makes the HEA so much more earned and deserved. What I don't like though is melodrama. Especially unnecessary melodrama. I couldn't, for the life of me, connect to Ian's issue with his different (online) personalities. I mean, don't we all have different personalities, considering who we're interacting with and given the circumstances? I know that *I* am certainly acting and behaving differently when I'm talking to my parents than when I'm talking to my fellow M/M pervs online.

 

 

And I know that this was supposed to be a mutual hurt/comfort story, but for me, the comfort part in Ian's and Jesse's relationship was totally one-sided. I feel like 95% of every conversation/discussion/fight revolved around Ian and his online persona Cerise. There was only little to no support from Ian at all that led to Jesse finally standing up to his parents, and Jesse was THIS close to being a total doormat personality. I don't know why he kept bothering with Ian after their first encounter. Ian,...

 

 

The ending was also rushed, and given Ian's emotional trauma (I think he's been abused by his foster father, but that aspect has never really been fully explained nor dealt with) and social anxiety, it felt also incredibly forced and unbelievable.

 

The guys decided to move in together after one hookup at a con and after spending three days together months later. This was a little too much Disney fairy tale ending for my taste; I think Ian should have at least considered some therapy.

 

 

(spoiler show)

 

A nice addition to this book is the Cerise's fanart page on Tumblr; I totally dig additional website pages and fan services like that.

 

 

So anyway, I'll just consider this book as a minor slip-up in this otherwise excellent series, and I will still be looking forward to the next installment.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-25 19:04
Review: "Afterimage" (In the Company of Shadows, #2) by Sonny & Ais
Afterimage - Ais,Santino Hassell

"So why aren't the two of you gay together anymore?"

~Emilio~

 

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***

*** THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ***

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***

 

Ok, NOW we're fucking talking!

 

While I stand by my (very correct) opinion on "Evenfall" (too long, too repetitive, too many unnecessary details/events/chapters), you'll just have to trust me on this:

 

"Afterimage" surpasses its predecessor in every way!

 

 

Part of my struggle with this series is that just when I had decided that maybe it might not be for me, it had to go and give me one of the most emotional reads in months that left me completely satisfied. But on the other hand? I'M AN EMOTIONAL MESS RIGHT NOW.

 

 

The writing was noticeably tighter and faster-paced than in the first book, and it managed to convince me that this series really is as good as everyone claims it is.

 

 

The reason why “Afterimage” was so incredible is that it gave me all the angst, emotions and ugly tears while also remaining to give me a totally fascinating view into not just one (deeply damaged) character's head, but two.

 

 

I was so frustrated at times with Boyd and Sin's actions and behavior that I screamed. I SCREAMED.

 

That idiotic thing with Ann, Sin? And your reasons for it? That was some rude ‘tude, dude. Especially when I'm pretty sure that you very well KNOW the definition of cheating since you talked about it in "Evenfall", you stupid fucking idiot. (But also, farewell for now until the next book, you mega-dreamboat. #TeamSin)

 

 

That idiotic thing with Kassian, Boyd? It was definitely HAWT, I'll give you that. But also, what a hell of a way to deeply hurt Sin, you asshat.

 

 

The secondary characters remain a pleasure to behold. Ryan, Kassian (I don’t know about you, but I DEFINITELY ship these two), Carhart and also all of the Level 10 trainees.

 

 

And let's not forget about Emilio. I lolled so hard whenever he opened his shameless and unfiltered mouth. His addition to this series is a gift, a treasure, and I had to put down my Kindle at the end of the book and smile out the window for a minute, he just made me that happy.

 

 

Guys, what a great and emotional series this is turning out to be. “Afterimage” was exactly the addictive and mind-blowing book that I've been waiting for. It not only rectified all my complaints from "Evenfall", but paid off with compelling plot lines, captivating suspense and fascinating characterizations.

 

 

I just can’t quit you, ICoS!

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review 2016-09-12 18:15
Review: "Training Complex" (Training Season, #2) by Leta Blake
Training Complex - Leta Blake

"Rob never broke down. He never needed help. He was the rock, and Matty was the bird who flew. It was the way it worked. But as it turned out, Matty was the bird that broke the rock's back."

 

This book exhausted me, and I so wanted to like it.

 

I loved the first book in this series, Training Season, so very much. In fact, I even rated it 5 stars and added it to my "favorites" shelf.

 

For me, it was the perfect mixture of funny and light-hearted in the first half and heartbreaking and moving in the second. Throw in some BDSM light elements for an amazing hurt/comfort and I was perfectly happy. Looking back, I should have been satisfied that it ended on such a perfect note and left it at that.

 

 

This book though? Well, let's just say that it's never a good sign when the best part of a book for me are the secondary characters because they bring a much needed comic relief.

 

This book was angst-fest galore! Everything that was going on between Matty and Rob was so dark and painful to read. Basically, it was hurt/hurt/hurt/hurt/a little comfort/hurt/hurt/hurt.

 

The story takes place 5 years after the first book, and Matty's eating disorder (or disordered eating) has become worse than ever. Gone is the bratty and flamboyant twink from the first book. Now, all that's left of Matty are his insecureness and his self-loathing. He's insecure about his job, his talent, his relationship, even about his looks.

 

And this went on and on and on ALL THE TIME. It was so stressful to be in his head that at around the 30% mark, I was just SO OVER IT! I was over his constant self-loathing and selfishness and his endless needs and demands from Rob. The worst thing for me was that he took Rob along with him in his downward spiral.

 

"Matty, when it came to sex, was the very definition of greedy - more, more, more, and me, me, me was pretty much his chant."

 

Yeah, that's Matty, the annoying bird, in a nutshell.

 

 

I was also this close to be over Rob too, who should have kicked Matty's selfish and demanding ass to therapy, no matter the money. But instead, he tried to help Matty and his illness with sex. Lots and lots of sex. Because the cure to an eating disorder lies in BDSM, obviously. Lovesick doormat is lovesick.

 

 

The BDSM scenes that worked so well in the first book became much more extreme and disturbing here. In the first book, they were a means to an end to establish and strengthen the relationship between Matty and Rob, and to give them both what they needed from each other.

 

Here, the BDSM went from light to very extreme and it was a cry for help on Matty's part and an expression of helplessness on Rob's. Which made for some VERY uncomfortable scenes that I had to skip over most of the parts.

 

The end made up for most of the frustration, but I was past the point where I cared anymore.

 

 

It's not that this is a bad book. Far from it. It's just that I hardly recognized the characters from the first book anymore which I so fell in love with.

 

And it's also one of those cases where I wished I would have stopped at a certain point in a series and let the MCs just have their HEA. Because I couldn't care less what happens after that. I know that real life is about physical and emotional struggles and financial problems and juggling work with free time. But I just don't want to read about it.

 

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review 2016-09-06 20:00
Review: "KAGE Unleashed" (KAGE Trilogy, #2) by Maris Black
KAGE Unleashed - Maris Black

Full review and rating after I finish the trilogy.

 

But yeah, it's most definitely a 5 stars series for me at this point. On to my elusive "favorite books or series"-shelf you shall go, you shamelessly phenomenal series, you!

 

 

Thanks to Julie & Nathan for the BR!

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review 2016-08-09 19:52
Review: "Cold-Hearted Concept" (Concepts, #2) by Whitley Gray
Cold-Hearted Concept - Whitley Gray

"Papers rustled. "This is a very...complex situation."

COMPLEX? Complex was two murders and one Jane Doe ago. They were now at labyrinthine."

 

Well, ain't that the mother fucking truth.

 

 

I've already mentioned in my update that I liked this sequel MUCH better than the first book. The murder mystery was a lot more complex, interesting and suspenseful.

 

But again, there were sooooo many unnecessary details, like that whole side plot with Marybeth and her two sons. Or the one with Beck's closeted ex-BF/partner Van. Both of these could have been easily left out completely since they added nothing to the criminal case, the MCs nor their relationship and they just made the book unnecessarily lengthy.

 

 

The relationship between Beck and Zach could have - again - used a little more practice in the communication department (especially with Zack being a psychiatrist!), but I found their relationship very real, lifelike and sweet.

 

 

So after two books, my head is spinning from all the suspects, clues, leads, dead ends, theories and whatnot. But if there's gonna be a third book, I will definitely read it.

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