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Melodious87

Tell Me a Story

Graphic Designer, painter, dreamer, fashion addict, unhealthy obsession with shoes and jewelry. Film lover and oh yes....books! :D
Savor the Moment  - Nora Roberts I'm taking a break from all things Nora Roberts. I'm coming to realize that reading the Quartet books back-to-back was a big mistake and her writing style is just not working for me. After Mac's book this series took a nose-dive real fast. All the things I found tiring and dull were amplified in Emma and now Laurel's book and I have a very good feeling will happen in Parker's book as well. Using the same over-tired plot and same snappy dialogue with the exact same outcome in every book isn't interesting or new. I can't even count the number of times my eyes were rolling and I was debating whether or not to even finish this. It's not a good sign when a book becomes a chore to finish. This book completely exhausted me.

Everything is just oh so perfect, easy, charming and witty at the Brown's compound mansion (are mansions really that huge in Greenwich, CT? This place sounds like a massive ritzy hotel than a house with room to spare). Stress & work are resolved and dealt with with excessive wine drinking at any time of the day, plenty of girly gab talk and hitting the gym at the butt crack of dawn for pilates and working out because *gasp* g-d forbid! they can't give into those carbs (seriously?? This was borderline pretentious rather than cute). And oh yes lets not forget Mama hen herself Miss Parker Brown. I swear I felt this was more of Parker's book than Laurel's which I found really depressing. Roberts works overtime to make Parker the shining star of everything, she excels at everything and then some. It's too damn much and excuse me but... fucking ANNOYING. She is literally the go-between Laurel and Del and Laurel spends more time with Parker than she does with Del. And I'm sorry but finding 2 of your best friends wedding dresses as a 'surprise' is not a coincidence but going overboard. It was excessive and irritating the first time around with Mac, but doing it for Emma as well made me want to hurl the book out the door. Seriously?! Can one of these ladies pick out their own damn dress?!! And of course Parker has zero problem talking about her brother Del's sex life, oh no, he's a wonderful decent man, there's nothing wrong with fishing for details from your best friend of how he is in the sack. Really? Just...ew.

Instead of focusing on the actual romance--you know since this is supposed to be a CR--Roberts seems much more devoted and adamant on wasting page time & words going over all the tedious meticulous ins and outs of the wedding business the 4 ladies run and also the endless after-work unwinding with the snarky conversations that go in circles. I really don't care or want to read 20 pages about beach themed, circus themed, Paris themed weddings and what kind of frosting Laurel obsesses over using for each cake. So painfully boring and tedious to read through.

And do I really need to know what everyone is doing after work or the pointless conversations of them fawning over each others perfect skills? I kid you not, Roberts loves to stop in the middle of the story and waste page after page of these 4 ladies fawning and cooing and giggling over how perfect and kickass they are. Give me a break. I seriously saw no relevance to this because it added nothing to the story just made it drag out painfully slow. I got sick of all 4 of them, even Mac who is the most normal out of the four and my favorite & most tolerable one. I barely got to know Laurel, the supposed heroine in this book all I really got from her is her irrational bitchy mood swings and stubborn pride over refusing hand outs (which were extremely overblown in some cases) and her amazing baking/culinary skills. She's either irritated or annoyed at someone or something, I kept wondering if there was anything that didn't irritate this girl. Oh yes and Laurel needs to exercise, and it's a piece of cake to run 5 miles with Parker and doing 50 crunches without a sweat, they are just in perfect shape like that! Oh just stop it. *major eye roll*

Del just played third fiddle through pretty much 80% of the story. He came off very one dimensional in some areas. Besides his good looks, easy charm and his law career I didn't know much about him as a character. I found it very hard to believe Laurel being in love with him since childhood, it's reminded to us several times but not shown. She kept saying she loved him and how he will always be the one but I didn't feel it. At all. For the exception of one or two cute moments, the steam factor was dull as dishwater. The author kept telling me, rather than showing me these two were in love. Another issue I have with Roberts style of writing: much more telling than showing. The sex scenes were just fuzzy unclear watered-down cliched analogies of exploding stars, riding waves, seeing rainbows then ending in exhausted heaps for the afterglow 2 lines later. -__- *crickets*.... Yeah, not feeling it. Been there, done that. Please give me more than that. And trying to decipher if they even...finished just puts a damper in the steam department for me. I wanted to feel these two falling for each other, Del actually slowly coming to the realization that he does in fact love her, instead we are told 'oh yeah, of course! I love her!! Omg, now I need to propose to her even though the idea never crossed my mind a week ago.' How could he not realize it sooner?? RME. The progression and growth of this relationship was so stagnant & lackluster.

I'm still a semi-new reader to Nora Roberts but given her impressive list of books she's pulled out and her huge following & well known name in CR I'm really surprised with how tame her writing is. And I'm not saying this to be mean or callous in any way, it's just my opinion but so far nothing about her writing or storytelling has been exceptional or worth buying or re-reading for me. I don't get the hype. For the exception of the first book in this series which I found fun and endearing, nothing else has grabbed me.

I have Parker's book sitting by my bed but I honestly don't have the patience or interest to sit through it. I was intrigued by Mal but Parker irritated me one too many times in this and her reaction to bad-boy Mal was expected and typical.'He's soooo rude!' RME. She's a caricature to me, a perfect flawless character who thinks for everyone, solves everyone and their mothers problems, makes endless lists for everything buys and furnishes a summer house over the phone perfectly and never loses her cool and is a complete busy body when it comes to her best friends personal lives. Nobody is that perfect or evolved for that matter. I need a character with flaws, a sense of humor, a personality, some freaking depth. This character is as deep as a puddle of water on a table.-__- But don't fret, Roberts crams this book with back and forth banter between the ladies with the 'bitch slut' zingers to make the ladies more 'fun' and relatable. It works the first go around but the 3rd time? Not so much.

I'd definitely advise against reading these books back-to-back because it gets exhausting real fast and just hi-lights the redundancy of the entire series. There is nothing new or different between the 3 books.
Bed of Roses - Nora Roberts ETA: Rating 2.5 stars

I would have given this a higher rating if it wasn't for the last 2 chapters of this book. But besides the crappy shit that happens near the end there were some other red flags that bugged me.

First I wasn't enthralled with this as I was with Mac's story. Everything about Mac and Carter came off natural and organic even with their ups and downs. Here everything seemed incredibly forced and overdone. It took me a good 100 pages to even get into the story. Jack and Emma share 2 sporadic kisses before jumping into bed. I just wasn't feeling it. The chemistry came off forced and rushed in first half of the book with ZERO build up. Before jumping into bed these two spend very little time together, in fact the only scenes they share are the 2 aforementioned kisses nothing else. And you seriously expect me to believe these two have sizzling explosive chemistry Roberts? Try again. Their moments are few and far in between with all the wedding business taking up a whole lot of real estate in the book. The amount of page time spent on Emma's flower preparations (flower names of which I was not familiar with and sounded like a foreign language to me so I struggled even picturing them) countless business meetings, wedding preparations and endless code names MOB, MOG, BMO, RB, etc., got really tedious to read through and annoying at some points. It just all became a big uninteresting blur and I was very tempted to skip those parts. Also same thing I noticed in some of Roberts other work managed to sneak it's way into here and became distracting because it was so overdone: overly perfect cliche characters. Emma is endlessly propped, fawned and described as a perfect, gorgeous, amazing woman with a perfect family, perfect job, perfect sex life which her friends are in awe of her ability to have men flocking to her in hoards (seriously?) and perfect friends. *sigh* Is there anything Emma can't do or doesn't have? I found it annoying rather than charming because it was heaped on and emphasized way too much. We get it. She's perfect. But I will say I found Emma's parents' love story really sweet and romantic, it had me wishing Lucia and Phillip had their own book, I really loved their story.

I also found Parker-know-all Brown's super woman abilities to be too much. Granted the Quartet ladies have known each other since childhood, they are close as sisters but Parker seems to know, sense, pick up on anything going on with the other ladies before they say even say a word. She must be telepathic. Her constant 'I know you, so tell me what's wrong' got very exhausting. And of course she has a cure, a fix for all their dilemmas with just the snap of her fingers. Let's not forget the fact that she happened to find Mac's wedding dress on sight without Mac there and bought it for her knowing it would be perfect for Mac. Turns out it was. Seriously? Again, too much. No one is that perfect.

And can I just say kissing guys on the lips who you used to be involved with or your best friend's fiance for that matter is a tad inappropriate? Emma kissing Carter on the lips while Mac watched I found really annoying and unrealistic. I had to re-read that scene a few times because it kept throwing me off and didn't make sense. I don't care how close you are to your friends, lips OFF the fiance. She does the same thing again with a former boyfriend who happens to be married with a baby and Jack sees it, yet she acts like it was no big deal. Um...yes it is especially if you are dating someone. Del, Parker's brother does the same thing, he greets her friends by giving them overly-affectionate smacking kisses on the lips. I found it kinda weird and distracting considering he sees them as his own sisters and plays the brotherly protective role. You kiss women who you are involved with like that, not friends, especially ones you view as sisters.

Anyways, back to Jack and Emma. Their romance picks up steam in the middle of the story and we do get sweet romantic sexy moments between them. But of course everything comes to a screeching halt when the couple have their one and only fight. Emma has her demonic WTH? moment when she flips out over Jack not giving her the keys to his place. Granted I understood where she was coming from in the trust department but she catches him on a bad day (which he warns her repeatedly but it seems to sail right over her head) she ambushes him by pouring her heart out telling him she loves him and wants everything in return, when she doesn't get the response or reaction she wants she shuts him out and runs off. Naturally Jack being a typical guy is too stunned and tries to process what she's telling him and instead of giving him the chance to actually TALK, she takes his stunned reaction and runs with it like a woman scorned. She draws the conclusion that he doesn't love her and never will. Oh Good lord. She gave Mac's psychotic narcissistic mother Linda a run for her money in the melodramatic drama queen department. She runs straight to the Quartet ladies for comfort with shaking hands and endless sobs included. How could he do this to meeee?! I was really hoping here was when her friends would step in and talk some sense into her, especially Parker, the most level headed out of all. But what do they do instead? They coddle her with 'there there, hush hush' and act horrified and crucify Jack for what he did and didn't say. "How dare he! The jackass. How can he be so cruel?"....are you kidding me??! Parker had me rolling my eyes the most with her overprotective smothering routine. Her exceedingly patronizing speech to Jack when he comes by to check up on Emma was ridiculous and unnecessary 'We all love you Jack. I'll give you this. I'll forgive you...in time' Oh please. Give it a damn rest. The man had a RIGHT to be stunned, these ladies acted like he left Emma at the altar or cheated on her. I seriously felt like I was missing something here with their soap opera reactions. Just because he pockets the keys in front of her and doesn't have words he's deemed the biggest asshole? I call bullshit. May I point out they were only DATING FOR 3 MONTHS. Not even. But no he broke poor sweet-hearted perfect Emma's heart so he deserves to be drawn and quartered and banished from the Brown mansion. He's not allowed to see or talk to or even explain to Emma until she's fully healed and once Parker thinks it's 'okay'. Seriously? What kind of elementary fuckery is this? RME.

Over dramatic much Roberts?

What was even more eye-roll inducing was Emma holing herself up in a dark room the very next day, drapes drawn, unable to move or get out of bed or eat (ala Carrie when Big leaves her at the altar in Sex and the City). She needs time to heal after her 'emotional upheaval'(her words not mine). Mama bear Parker is there to fuss and coo over her like the heartbroken child she is. *cue the violins* Emma can't bring herself to face the world or even think of Jack! This was cringe-worthy and embarrassing to sit through. Overblown to the extreme. What was even more ridiculous was her contemplating moving to Jamaica and starting over because she can't bear to face Jack ever again, it hurts too much. Girl, stop it. This all could have been avoided if you gave him the opportunity to actually speak instead of running off because you didn't hear what you wanted. Jack of course has to beg and crawl to even be permitted to see Emma again and apologize profusely (more than necessary IMO) over what a jerk he was. He romances her and asks her to marry him all with Mama Bear Parker's stamp of approval. Yup. Tell me again how this is romantic?

As someone who wants love and the whole package too, I was with Emma, totally got her, empathized with her until she took a veering turn into MoronVille. Her whole meltdown after the fight was just silly, unnecessary, extremely overblown and childish. It ruined the HEA moment completely and lost all flavor for me as the reader. Having the poor guy crawl and beg because he made a careless mistake is ridiculous and extreme in this case. While his words were sweet and sincere during his ILY declaration it lost all poignancy for me considering the lengths he had to go through and how he was skinned alive for a 5 sec delayed reaction on a very bad day for him. Guys have their stupid moments, just like us ladies do too. No one was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and somewhere in all this juvenile overblown mess I was hoping one of the girls would point out to Emma 'don't you think you are overreacting? Cut the guy some slack' but no. Oh no, instead poor sainted perfect Emma had her heart ripped to shreds because she didn't hear what she wanted so Jack is the bad evil jackass. Shame on him!

Give me a fucking break.

I really hope Laurel's book isn't filled with silliness like this.
Vision in White - Nora Roberts I had the Bruno Mars song ringing in my head while reading this: ...Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you *cue church bells* *throw petals*

Carter Maguire I WANT TO MARRY YOU!!!!

Like...damn. Maybe my hormone levels are super high or something but this guy was making me melt all over the place. Thud-a-dud-dud.

Seriously if you are an incredibly smart, awkward, easily-flustered klutz with a penchant for rescuing 3 legged cats, always there to take a girl's coat, good listener, a sweetheart and a complete gentlemen and oh yes a sex monkey in bed...call me. :P This guy was ridiculously adorable and so charming I couldn't stand it. I was jealous of Mackensie. Be still my beta-loving heart. Carter was pushing all the right buttons for me and here are a few snippets why:
"I don't mean that. For G-d's sake. I mean, she might be wearing something other than a dress. What do I say then: Nice pants? Outfit, outfit, great outfit. You know it's called an outfit. Dear G-d , shut up."

"I can't give up on her," Carter said simply. "I've been waiting for her most of my life."

"But no one wants to merely settle. To be with someone because being alone's the only other option. Love's not some amorphous concept created for books and poetry and not attainable. It's real and vital, and it's necessary. Dammit it. It changes things. Everything. I can't be what I was before I loved her. It's ridiculous for anyone to expect that. "

Gently, he brushed his lips to her forehead. "I love your face, and your hands." He took them in his to press a kiss to her palms. "The way you look when you hold a camera, or hunch at the computer. I have dozens of images, pictures, and moments of you in my head. In my heart. I want a lifetime more. Marry me."



Oh Carter <3<br/>
This was in my TR pile for years and I'm so glad I finally got the chance to sit down and read it. Nora Roberts really surprised me with this. I've only read 3 other books by her and out of the 3, 2 were very mediocre and very heavy handed with the trite dialogue and even cheesier plot line with shallow characters so this for me was a hit. Contrary to what the quotes above may imply, I was expecting to get a whole lot of cutesy overly cheesy flowery dialogue and predictable plot line, this was a pleasant surprise. I really have to hand it to Roberts for making both Carter and Mac relatable, raw, human and so damn likeable. I really loved all the attention paid to every nuance that goes into Mac's business of Wedding photography from setting up her shots, her thought processes, capturing the 'money shot' photoshopping, etc. That impressed me because it was so accurate and real. And of course Carter's teaching position as an English Lit Professor at an Academy. So fun. They both clearly love what they do and I really enjoyed seeing it from their perspectives. It just came off the page how they lived and breathed their work and shared it with each other. It was endearing charming and fun and very realistic. I get so excited when I run into a character who's artistic because as an artist myself it's really exciting and in some cases inspiring. Only negative was I wish more time was spent on sexy time, while still enjoyable I do wish the sex scenes and intimate moments were longer. They seemed kind of rushed and glossed over.


I really enjoyed this and I'm curious to see how Emma and Laurel's stories go. But Carter has won a place in my list of top favorite scrumptious 'I wish you were real heroes' for life. Damn do I wish this guy was real. Unf. He was a total stand out and he did it so subtly. :P
Mackenzie's Mountain - Linda Howard A heart-warming story with a very yummy intriguing hero named Wolf. Wolf and Mary made an adorable couple. It did have some cringe-worthy moments. Incredibly dated and awkward writing and painfully skewed stereotypes. Whites do not refer to themselves as white Anglos and Native Americans do not refer to themselves as Indians. And a 29-year-old virgin doesn't need to keep referring to herself as an old maid no matter what her staunch strict Aunt drilled into her head. It's the late 80s not early 1900s. Made the time setting very confusing. This really needed a good editor, especially since there is a glaring typo on the first page, first line of the author's note (this story was written and published in 1989 not 1998).
Burning Dawn - Gena Showalter 10/28 COVER RELEASE:

I REALLY love the cover. Hot damn. The model they used, perfect. Totally screams Thane. The way he's holding her love it. And the arm bands? PERFECTION. So fecking Smexy.

A+ on the cover for me! Just makes me more excited for the book release.
To Bed a Beauty - Nicole Jordan Drew was just cynically delicious as ever. He's the reason I hung in there while reading this. I lost my patience more than once with Roslyn. Talk about extremely stubborn-headed, prideful and silly. Gah. She gives hopeless romantic girls a bad rep with the games she pulled in this. I almost wish Drew was paired with someone not as feather brained and melodramatic as Roslyn.
Caden's Vow - Sarah McCarty 2.5 stars

Meh.

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12)

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12) - J.R. Ward Update 6/19

OooooooOOoooMG! THE COVER!!!!!!!!

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MY WRATH IS ON THE COVER! Take me lova!!

Lover at Last - J.R. Ward

Characters: 4 star
Story: 3 star

My Qhuinn:

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My Blaylock:
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Mmm mmm...

***This review contains spoilers***

I tried really hard not to go into this one with high expectations, but waiting a year for it’s release can make your imagination run wild. *sigh* Dammit. There were things I enjoyed and made me relish my reunion with the BDB gang and other things that were just meh and frustrating to the point I was tempted to hurl this out my window. This one was really hard for me to rate because while I adore Blay and Qhuinn I didn't really love the story they were given. In fact I was disappointed and heartbroken with what I got. That being said, Ward is really great at world building, her wacky ‘hood’ slang and banter between the brothers and other characters is always fun and never gets old. I felt right at home. There were some inconsistency issues and things I personally wasn’t happy with but of course I still found myself with a numb ass, hands permanently glued to the book and not being able to put it down until I finished. She gets big points on that.

Main couple-Qhuinn and Blaylock
I was hoping these two would clear the air in this and get a fresh start and give it a go, that clearly didn’t happen. There was more angst, tension, and misunderstandings between these two and a long struggle to get to revealing their feelings. But I’ll get to that later. What I did love? Qhuinn coming to terms with who he is and finding courage to go after what he wants in life and not be ashamed of it. There was some serious self-discovery for his character in here, some of which I didn’t even realize needed to be brought to light. The confrontation between him and Blay in regards to his sexuality knocked the wind out of my sails total 'whaaa?' moment for me. I had no idea how far in denial he still was about his sexuality and what a deep rooted issue it was for him up until now and all because of his fucked up family and how they raised him. Broke my heart. Everything in the last 2 chapters: Perfection. Everything I wanted, dying to see happen throughout the book happened there. The declarations and grand gestures, that epilogue? Adorable as fock. Ward should have had that all play out in degrees throughout the book, not block it in in the very last chapter.

Another thing that was very successfully handled was Blay coming out to his parents. The scene where he tells his mom over the phone had me tearing up. Such a powerful, raw, emotional scene. Ward did a brilliant job addressing this sensitive issue and it was very much needed. I had assumed before reading this that he had come out to his parents by now, I'm so glad Ward let us witness it and addressed it in here.

"I love you. You are my heart beating outside of my chest. I don't care who you are mated to, or whether they have blond hair or black hair, blue or green eyes, male or female parts-as long as you are happy, that's all I worry about. I want for you what you want for yourself. I love you Blaylock-I love you."

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True, unconditional real love right there. Awesome Mahmen <3 <br/>

As for the sex scenes, they were damn hot, steamy and very sexxxxxaaaay. For my very first m/m novel this was a beautiful introduction for me. :P (And yes people, lube was used so settle down there)
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But I wanted more of this:

As Blay looked over, the resonant sadness touched him so deeply, he couldn't stop his hand from reaching out and stroking that black hair- Abruptly, Qhuinn curled in against him, just collapsed, that body folding in half and all but pouring into Blay's lap.


Forcing his lids down, he brought Blay's knuckles to his mouth, brushing a kiss against them. Then he gave himself up to sleep, letting himself fall into unconsciousness, knowing that, at least for the next few hours, he was safe in the arms of his one and only.


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These two really needed more intimate peaceful moments like that^^. A much needed break from all the tension and angst and help solidify the reconnection. Their tender, playful moments were very fleeting.

What I didn’t like:
-The whole ‘you’re in love with someone else so I can never be with you/You don’t love me and never will’ routine was used once again as the central angst for these two. Just...why? How many times have we been through this miserable merry go round? And to make matters worse, having Qhuinn believe Blay was still with Saxton-through the entire damn book and Blay never corrects him on that.
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ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!
This is exactly what I feared and predicted would play out and it did which left me feeling...underwhelmed and very frustrated. Meh. It just became very predictable and tiring. It wasn’t the fact that Blay let him think that that bothered me (okay maybe a little), but that it was used as a central tension and driving force for keeping them apart. You can't use the same shtick and expect better results. Also Qhuinn letting Blay use him as a sexual outlet to get ‘back at Saxton’ was infuriating and so lame. Seriously? After how many books, close to 2 years these two have been longing for each other and this is the driving force for them to finally have sex for the first time??! No bueno.

-The multiple side stories clogged up the book and the main story arc for Qhuinn and Blay suffered greatly because of it. I didn't really feel this was their story. The constant jumps from multiple POVS (and emphasis on multiple) and shifts from story to story made it jarring and difficult to fully connect and focus on what’s going on in every story. Because of this, there was little to no momentum in Qhuay’s story, they were at a standstill through pretty much 80% of the book, the development and reconnect for these two needed major juicing up. I found myself struggling to see the reconnection between these two in the first half of the book, they would either not talk or have rushed hurried sex with one or both of them running off and clamming up afterwards.

- Ward’s habit of regulating the Brothers and their shellans as nothing but nameless, faceless B characters who are acknowledged as ‘someone in the crowd’. I've noticed her doing it in the last few books it really bugs me. The mansion is busting at the seams right now, a lot of characters to give attention to but the Brothers and their shellans are the core characters of this series, please Ward don’t forget that. It was lovely to see my girl Beth make an appearance in this (yay!) and I was happy to see Ward remembered that Ehlena can talk (one line to be exact) but where the hell are the other shellans? Mary? Autumn? Cormia? Is Phury keeping her hidden somewhere where he can have his naughty way with her?? >:D I kid, I kid. Sort of.

Anywho, as for the other stories....

Layla/Qhuinn baby drama
I ended up really admiring and coming to love Layla in this. Shocking I know. Pigs are flying! Hell has frozen over! I've made it no secrete how much I loathed the Chosen since her introduction. Her simpering coddling ways got under my skin but here we see her find her feet, find courage and strength. I loved it. She started to slowly grow on me in Reborn and here further cemented my admiration of her in here. She finds her voice and stands against others who threaten the ones she loves and that includes her child. It was great to see. She goes through a lot in this with the whole baby drama and not all of it with Qhuinn at her side which I liked even more. She doesn't let anyone baby her or make excuses for anything. She surprised me and impressed me. And I had no idea a female could growl that loud. I'm interested to see how her and Qhuinn handle being parents and how Blay will be involved in this little family.

Assail/Sola
Meh. Whatever. I wasn’t really impressed with Assail when he was introduced in the last book and it took me awhile to come around to even caring for him in here. I see a lot comparing him to Rhevenge. Not even close. It took no effort on my part to melt on the floor and want to wrap myself around him like that sable coat he wears. Unf. Assail....took effort. I found myself not giving one fig for him, his drug dealing ways and his cat and mouse game with ‘his burglar’ Sola. Sola Morte reminded me a lot of Ward’s heroines in her FA series whom I generally like. But I struggled to be blown away by her and Assail. The longer their story played out the more I felt resentment towards these two for pretty much hijacking Qhuay's story. I wanted to scream get off the fucking page you interlopers I don't give a shit for your boring cat and mouse chase! Seriously Ward? You wasted precious word count and page count on these two? Meanwhile Qhuay are left twisting in the wind. I don't think I'll ever get over that. Hmmph. Anyways, I didn’t buy Assail and Sola's chemistry until half way in when things started to heat up. I’m still not won over by them and could take them or leave them as a couple but we’ll see how it goes given how far their story has gone in this (more than Qhuay it seems, thanks so much Ward pfft).

Trez/iAm/Selena
Trez Trez Trez I had no idea what a man-slut you were. I wasn’t expecting his story to take the direction it did. I thought he would end up in a forced arranged marriage given the hints that have been thrown around in here. That would have been interesting and not a typical Ward set-up. I'm curious to see where things go between Trez and the Chosen Selena. I hope his Sexaholic Anonymous tendencies stop, it got a little too skeevy for me. Maybe it was the fact that it was implied that he's had multiple partners in one day. Keep Magic Shadow zipped up buddy.

The Band of Bastards
We got a little more of Bastards in this, these guys love them some orgies with a rich vampire whore who’s calling card throughout the story is ‘I’m ready’. LMAO. And they are still after my Wrathy. I DO NOT APPROVE. >:( Sic'em George.

Lessers
They are still alive. They are still selling drugs to support their vampire hunting ways. They still smell like shit. They are still annoying as fuck. Can they please go away now Ward? -_-

Wrath/Beth
My lovelies!!! :D <3 Great to see them in this and I'm loving the set up for Beth's needing and Wrath already freaking out and flipping his lid over his Beth going into her needing. Heh. Bring it on. <br/>
Zsadist
MINE.

Xcor/Layla
"Must you be their enemy," she thought aloud.

Yeah, must you?? :( *le sigh* These two killed me. Absolutely killed me. They were the highlight of this book for me. That scene near the end? EVERYTHING. I'm shipping these two so hard right now. My stomach was all a quiver and I seriously can't wait to see where the story takes these two. I have no idea what Ward plans to do in regards to the baby dilemma and sworn enemies, all I know is I'm on the train and I want their story!

"You are in my dreams," he murmured. "Every day, you haunt me. Your scent, your voice, your eyes...this mouth."

"I cannae believe you let me touch you." His voice grew hoarse. "I shall remember this for all my nights." Tears speared into her eyes. Dearest Virgin Scribe, for all her life, she had waited for a moment like this...

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"Be well, my beautiful Chosen," he said as he stared at her with the eyes of not just a lover, but a hellren.
And then he was gone without another word...


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*Dies* Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor


All in all, great addition to the BDB series. Looking forward to seeing where all these stories go. I hope to see more of Qhuinn and Blay in future books, their story is definitely not finished and has just begun. ;) Can't wait for my Wrath's book next! EEEEEEEEE! So flipping excited!
Rescue My Heart  - Jill Shalvis Reading a Jill Shalvis book is always fun and easy. Her stories aren't the most original and have the tendency to be 'copy paste repeat' as storylines and character motivations & personalities go, but her writing style is really fun, playful and so fresh. The snark and humor is spot. on. I went into this one intrigued because Adam and his brooding standoffish personality drew me in while reading Dell's story. But this was surprisingly very tame in both the snarky fun banter Shalvis is usually known for and the steam. The steam factor in this was pretty much non-existent and the chemistry came across kind of forced & flat. Shalvis is really good with sexy pexy playful moments & love scenes (like HOT damn), but I found it completely absent in here and I struggled to truly connect with Adam and Holly. I also struggled to connect and buy into the whole back story of these two being teenage sweethearts and Adam leaving Holly behind to join the army when she was eighteen (sound familiar? Ford and Tara anyone?? Been there, done that). Plus I'm not a fan of lovers reunions especially when said lovers were hormonal teenagers and described as having the best sex ever (really? MAJOR eye roll. Come on. Sorry don't buy it) It just doesn't resonate with me especially when the author goes out of her way to remind us how hot and steamy they were. Just..not my cuppa.

Anywho, the story kicks off with Holly approaching Adam to help her look for her father after not hearing from him for 3 days, she's worried and asks for his help. They go into the woods looking for him and of course old feelings rekindle something. As usual and I've struggled with this in some of her other stories, this was too fast, quick and easy for me. Especially given the context of this story and the characters' history with each other. These two haven't spoken to each other for years--12 years to be exact--and her moving to another city. Holly holds some big resentment towards him for a few reasons since he left her, so to go from that big distance and being practical strangers to getting all hot and bothered so quickly was a little too contrived for me. Shalvis is usually good with laying on the sexual tension and building it up (if she doesn't rush it), strangely I got none of that with these two. The camping trek to find her father was as exciting and dramatic as watching the weather channel, it was just very underwhelming. Nothing happens except one little romp the first night. A good portion of this story is centered around the 2 day hike in the woods and used as a 'catalyst' for these two to reconnect, yet nothing even happens. Total let down if you ask me.

And Adam's PTSD wasn't fully delved into, it came off in some places as an after thought, something Adam refused to talk about and ashamed to even admit to. Same goes for Holly and her jerk of an ex-husband, it seemed to be used as a plot point to create more angst for her character. All surface and no depth.

I don't know, there was no excitement or spark in this for me personally. If you are a Shalvis fan I'm sure you'll love it, it just didn't rock my boat. I was more interested and really intrigued with Holly's best friend Kate and Holly's brother Grif, than Holly and Adam. A whole lot of interesting story there and adorable potential between Grif and Kate. Happy to see they get a book next! Speaking of adorable, once again the animals in this series are complete scene stealers. I love Adam's dog Milo, I want to snuggle up with him he's so sweet, such a loveable teddy bear. And Peanut the parrot and Gertie the St. Bernard are cute as ever <3
Rumor Has It  - Jill Shalvis Yay! Was hoping these two would get their own story. Reading Adam's book right now, only have gotten small snippets of Kate and Griff and their 'history' but very intrigued. Kate sounds adorable.
Heartless - Diana Palmer **I'm giving you fair warning, this review will be filled with snark and quotes I pulled from the book. I have to find some entertainment where I can when it comes to this book. It's all in good fun too! Sorry for the ramblings in advance.**

Finally finished this! It says so much when you let out a sigh of relief when you get to the last page of a book. :/I'm sorry Diana Palmer but you and I are going our separate ways. I tried very much but this did not work for me for several reasons. Same grievances I had in [b:Night Fever|566133|Night Fever|Diana Palmer|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1175854797s/566133.jpg|1154735] I had here, but here the problems were much more obvious and less forgiving. The set up of this story had the potential of being one ball of romantic angsty goodness but it just completely collapsed on itself not even half way in. The characters seemed to have the emotional maturity level and depth of 15 year old teenagers. Very one-dimensionial characters and painfully underdeveloped writing.


THE CHARACTERS
Gracie, sweet kind-hearted incredibly naïve overly-sensitive Gracie. She’s had a wide-eyed crush and been in love with her step brother Jason for years since her mother married his father. Jason pretty much looked after her and saw to her every need since she was 14 and moved in with his family. Buying her extravagant gifts and letting her live in his mansion. She seems to carry the world on her shoulders (in her head), she's such a dear who just takes everything to heart with quivering chins and maidenly gasps and blushes thrown in there. She was too fragile and sensitive for my tastes. And her doe-eyed fear/awe/hero-worship of Jason and eagerness to please him just made me...uncomfortable.
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I love shy less experienced awkward heroines, but here it was too much and weird rather than charming. Her overly-dramatic martyr the ‘sky is falling’ personality just grates the nerves. And the author trying to show her finding strength and sass just came off more comical than anything because it was so extreme and out of character.

I don't know, I loved the idea of stepbrother and stepsister fighting their growing attraction to each other. And before anyone gives me the side eye for that, there is no blood relation and they didn’t know each other their entire life so I didn’t mind it. I'm not a perv! Honest. I just really like angsty situations and tormented characters. My fault I thought I was gonna get tortured angsty conflicted couple instead I got Marsha and Greg from the Brady bunch.
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-__- AWKWARD

As for the hero Jason, he did absolutely nothing for me. In the first few chapters he came off like a chatter box who would tease and joke around then morphed into a glowering angry jerk who liked to storm off in rages through the rest of the book. RME. Spare me. And his ‘payback’ ploy after Gracie rejected him is a stunt a 17 yr old hot headed boy would do instead of a 35 year old man. It was so ridiculous and juvenile. And his passive aggressive ‘what happens, happens’ attitude after magically getting a fiance just didn’t make a lick of sense. How far up your own ass do you have to be to see how stupid & careless you are acting towards the people you love? When Gracie runs off after their awkward hot misunderstood kiss in the rain, Jason is hurt and humiliated. His pride is hurt so what does he do? He gets drunk and ends up in bed with a vapid venomous cartoonish she-devil model named Kittie, who sinks her claws into him the minute she finds out he’s a millionaire. And he completely lets her. After waking up in bed next to her with no memory of what happened the night before, he freaks out thinking that they had unprotected sex and she may be pregnant. So he decides they should get engaged and wants to bring her home with him because hey! Why not? he’s always wanted to be a father (and he's so damn giddy over the thought of having a child with a virtual stranger WTH?) and this is the ‘best’ it’s going to get after losing Gracie. Oh and he can’t WAIT to see the look on Gracie's face when he struts in with this ‘beautiful creature’ on his arm. -__- Again, how old are you? Where is your damn brain? I’m embarrassed for you dude.
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At this point, I wanted someone to just kick him in the balls and just stuff him into a box. Complete idiotic jackhole if I may say so. And oblivious doesn’t even begin to cover how dim witted he acted to all of Kittie’s outlandish over-the-top schemes to steamroll his life and run everyone out of his own house. GMAFB. Half the time he kept moaning & brooding over not even caring about her and wanting to end the engagement, but he keeps putting the inevitable off, letting everyone in his home continue to be miserable and be run off by that little shrew. Grow a damn pair! And Kittie’s huffy ‘old people!’ rants couldn’t scream any louder that she’s the BAD GUY. I couldn't even take this character seriously because she was such a flat silly caricature. Seriously she's vindictive enough and motivated enough to snoop around the household staffs' personal lives and expose their many numerous secretes (and there are about 5 of them I lost count). Just...why? All that effort seemed so pointless to me and was trying to make her even more loathsome and antagonistic than she already is. Not necessary.

Moving on...


THE PLOT
So central story focuses on Jason and Gracie and the big awful shameful secretes Gracie is hiding from Jason (secretes plural because Gracie's got a bagful but I only found 2). Her mother was in a abusive relationship with Gracie's father, a volcanic tempered drunk who would beat her and throw her around in and out of the bedroom. One particular episode is so extreme where her mother runs out of the bedroom with a blood soaked bodice where her husband bit her. Yes you read correctly, he bit her on the chest, so badly that her entire night gown is soaked in blood. He must have some serious chompers to do that much damage. RME. That memory is forever seared into Gracie's brain plus her mother's stern relentless warnings that all men are lustful animals who will inflict harm on women in order to gain pleasure. They are complete animals! Stay away! Gracie takes that advice to heart, literally. She's never had any kind of relationship with a man platonic or otherwise because of that and is terrified to have sex. So naturally that little heated kiss in the rain where Jason fondles her and kisses her near the boobage area freaks her the hell out and she runs off. I could understand the fear since she witnessed what her mother went through but honestly? It just seemed a very regressive & gross misconception to put in a terrified impressionable young girl's head. Well-intentioned but wrong. And it was brought home more than once how many times her mother warned her about it and made her promise to never let a man near her. I mean really? This is what you are going to teach your child? <__< Anyways, Gracie's other big secrete, is her brain affliction, the same infamous night where her father is gunned down after the fight with her mother, he throws Gracie against a wall head first. It caused her to have some minor brain damage where some of her motor skills aren't 100%, but it's just described as her 'clumsy quirks' (why wasn't she checked out by a doctor for this?). So these two things are the big shameful secretes (I still don't understand why they had to be secretes) that Gracie and her mother tried very hard to hide in fear of scandal if word ever got out about the abuse. Um.. scandal? Seriously?? Domestic abuse is a sensitive subject of course but the characters in this acted like it was a world crime to have it made public. It's shameful and just <i> dirrrrty. GMAFB. This isn't the 1800s nor Regency London, Gracie’s mother went to such extremes to cover up their ‘awful secrete’ so no one would ever find out & also so her new husband at the time (Jason's bigot father) wouldn't find out how poor they were, so she decides to pass off Gracie as her step daughter and changed her last name. Um okay.

As for the rest of the plot, just a bunch of contrived cooky set ups that included 2 kidnappings, one of Gracie and one of Jason by evil kidnappers led by a Spanish dictator or some other silly nonsense. Random much? What the hell did this have to do with the story? Oh yes and another secrete was smooshed somewhere in here too about Jason's family inheritance, his birth mother and his dead father's whoring ways. Dun dun dun! One too many wackadoodle contrived secretes if you ask me.


Speaking of Contrived things:
- "Drunk men can’t sexually perform." Really?? That’s news to me. Is this some kind of special condition that I don’t know about?
-You need a PhD or Masters degree to become a teacher, Gracie has neither. So her magically getting a teaching job (her first job ever) at a community college and giving lectures in a matter of days after declaring her ‘independence’ from Jason is nice but not so easy as one, two, three.
-A woman using her own money to pay a ransom to free her husband and pick him up from Mexico all by her little ol’self without the cops is impressive but hilarious. Ha. I wish!
-A woman who is sexually promiscuous = her having orgies. O_o

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Scandalous! How come nobody told me this?! Got it.


The WRITING
Just going to get right to the point with examples...

Awkward phrasing & dialogue:
"If she hadn’t run from him that rainy night, she was thinking, all the anguish in between would have been spared. The thought lay in her expression. (I didn’t know thoughts could do that, interesting. And 'she was thinking?' Thinking what??)

"His dark eyes opened into hers, soft and quiet." (I didn't know eyes could do that either)

"How do you give a rattlesnake half a chance, offer it first bite?" (whaaa?)

"No, don’t prevaricate.” (say what now?)
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“You’re such a cat Gracie.” (Um..thanks?)

“Grr…great balls of fire, is that the time?” (Gee golly wiz I don’t know!)

Summarization in present tense:
Gracie overheard her talking to someone on the phone, bragging about her sexual exploits with a variety of men. She was engaged to a man who was dynamite in bed, she told the listener, so as long as he could satisfy her, she’d stay with him. But there was a Middle-Eastern prince who also coveted her, (me: rolling my eyes so hard) and he was much richer than Jason. Relationships were such a bother, she sighed. Men only wanted sex, but when they were rich, it was no hardship for her. She could fake pleasure as long as the gifts she got in return were expensive.

This is all coming from the heroine’s POV where she remembers overhearing Kittie talking on the phone with a friend. She's summarizing the whole thing in present tense, including all the small irrelevant details. Couldn’t the author just give it in dialogue format instead of the character painfully rehashing every. single. bit of the conversation like some summarized narration? It's the author's job to narrate, not the characters in this case. And the author had the annoying habit of doing this throughout the book. It reads very strange and heavy handed and becomes incredibly long winded to read through. Don’t have the characters tell me what happened, show me!


Dated as Shit Writing:
“He let out a word that had the women in the room flushing.” Jason! Gracie exclaimed, shocked." (A word like...fuck? Oh my! How unbecoming!)
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“Besides, it’s not so scary when I think about doing it with yo…” She clamped down hard on the word." (what? Sex? SAY IT. You won’t burn in hell if you do. I promise)

"He felt the faint resistance that quickly gave way to his ardor."

"While the ruffian was manhandling her, she tried to remember the other moves Marquez taught her. If she could just get…her…hands…free!"
(Excuse me...did you say ruffian?)

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The writing in this just came off like a weird western romance stuck in a historical setting but tried really really hard to be contemporary. The dialogue, character motivations and interactions are incredibly dated. I felt like I was reading about a virginal young heroine from the 1800’s. The time frame of this story is never specified but it’s definitely contemporary but not written like one. Comments like this:“did you two quarrel?” “protect her from amorous advances" "quickly gave way to his ardor" didn't make sense and her mother’s bloody bodice (really Palmer? a bodice??), Gracie’s canopied bed & long cotton night gown with tons of lace and hand-knitted doo dads on her bed spread seemed very out of place.



And of course...THE SEX TALK! :D
“Yes! Feel me, Gracie. Feel me…going into you!”
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“She clung to him, her eyes wide-open with shocked wonder as she saw his face. It was so intimate, she thought wildly. So intimate!”
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“Kiss you so hard that your mouth would be swollen from the intensity of it!”


“Harder, Jason, harder, harder…!"

“Hold me. Feel me driving into you. Feel me…exploding…inside you!”

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And finally THE EXCLAMATIONS!!! Can't forget those:

"In a few seconds, she knew, his teeth would bite into her, and she would look like her mother had, bleeding….!"

"His arms were contracting, and his mouth was opening, as she knew it would…!"

"If Gracie died, he had no reason to stay alive. He ha nothing left. He had…!”

"Come here to me!” He pulled her down into his arms and wrapped her up tight.."

“I would love that!” she whispered huskily." -__-
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Say it LOUDER. I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
Dear Mrs. Palmer, do you know what whispering entails? How about huskily? Cause I really don’t think you do.

And cue the violins:
"Her eyes were closed. “It was a nightmare. And we were so poor, Mrs. Harcourt. Some days I couldn’t go to school because I didn’t want people to see me wearing the same clothes every single day of my life…!

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Please...stop...talking...like THIS...!

So yeah, clearly I had more fun writing this review than reading the actual book. lol The writing was a pretty big driving factor in what derailed this for me.

Night Fever - Diana Palmer My very first Diana Palmer book. To be honest the thing that compelled me to give this a 4 star was because I could not put this down. It's not the greatest CR I've read, the writing was very rough and the dialogue was awkward in some parts but it was enjoyable and the characters had heart.

I really liked the hero Rourke Kilpatrick, the brooding cynical DA who falls for sweet warm-hearted Becky Cullen. It was nice seeing two people coming from opposites sides of the spectrum fall for each other. Rourke was a very charming character and did I mention he's half Irish and half Native American? I like. And I got such a kick out of the fact that this was written and set in 1990. How the characters would marvel over things that are no longer considered new and modern today (automatic car, fancy suits, cigars). And I have to say the sex scenes were pretty steamy I wasn't expecting that given the conservative writing and conservative heroine. Although I did think the steam factor suffered a bit because of the awkward stilted writing and it showed (in one scene it really wasn't clear if the couple ever um...finished :/). I got the feeling the author wasn't comfortable getting too descriptive or just didn't want to voice the hero actually coming to a climax, I don't know. lol

I think the heroine Becky had a lot of heart, she's a hard working young woman who's struggling to take care of her family and their run down farm. I appreciated the fact that she was raised with rather conservative beliefs and was a very honest person, I understood where she was coming from in that respect. But bless her heart, I wanted to slap some sense into her in a good portion of the book. She tested my patience with her stubborn pride and seeing things only in black and white, no in between. The whole misunderstanding/'betrayal' between her and Rourke ruined my enjoyment of the story in the second half, it took up a lot of room in this story for me. It dragged on forever with both of them going in circles. And I didn't agree with her accusation that Rourke betrayed her. a) He was doing his job. Are you really going to hold that against him? b) He actually never did betray her. In order to protect Clay's younger brother he took the fall himself and let her think he was the bad guy and even admitted to having ulterior motives at the beginning (which he never acted on by the way) and apologized for it more than once. So a good portion of the book she fights tooth and nail against giving him a second chance, she snarls and snaps at anyone who dares to give Rourke the benefit of the doubt and paints him as some evil lecher who seduced her into sleeping with him. She's angry and hurt, I get it. I just found her reactions & attitude to some things unreasonable and closed-minded. And of course she would quickly get embarrassed and flustered by any talk of sex and be so ashamed. I understood her guilt on the sex part, but she veered into martyr territory a few times, it just got really tiring. Her pride and stubborn headedness really got to me. She couldn't even bring herself to ask for help when clearly her and her poor as dirt family needed it. Come on! Use your common sense and leave your pride at the door. And her constantly trying to keep Rourke out of their unborn baby's life with her 'it's my baby!' taunts did not win any points with me, that was a low blow and too vindictive.

And I have to say I do wish the author didn’t stress how conservative Becky was only because of how naïve she came across sometimes. Extreme in some cases that it was a little unbelievable. Her complete obliviousness and flummoxed reaction to her teenage brother Clay not bringing his girlfriend over to their house. She seemed incredibly relieved when it was advised that it was just teenage hormones and she believed it was because of her going to Church and his brother didn't want to offend her. Oh dear girl.... seriously?? Another was her discomfort and disbelief over using condoms to practice safe sex. The "I don't understand' deer-in-the-headlights reaction to preventing pregnancy was just..really??
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Her reaction gave me pause because even for a young woman with zero experience and no female guidance in her young adult life, this was the early 90's, AIDS & STDs at a complete high rise, she even mentioned learning about sex-ed at school but seemed to have no clue about preventing pregnancy. It just didn’t add up. It’s like this poor girl had no teenage life of her own and lived in a cave in the stone age. She's a self-proclaimed dinosaur and it painfully showed. Things like this just came off very archaic & not modern. Unless you are living in an isolated convent or from the regency era there is no way you can convince me a young woman in her 20's doesn't understand or know how to prevent pregnancy. And it’s ironic because the term 'modern' and ‘liberated’ were used quite often in this book, something the heroine was quite scared to be titled as. And I can understand why considering her rural upbringing and morals which is fine but in some cases the author really needed to make it more realistic. If this was an earlier era it would make more sense but for the 90s it just didn't.

And something that also stood out and made me cringe was Becky's decrepit old prideful grandfather having issues with black people. His racism in this was handled like no big deal and nothing out of the ordinary and it made me cringe and surprised me. This is the 90s and I really don't care what state or city the story is taking place in, if you want to address prejudices, racism and extremely old world beliefs then don't approach it so high handedly and make it come across as something that is 'accepted'. This had me scratching my head and was uncomfortable to say the least.

As for the writing, that was the biggest negative for me. For one, the dialogue in this seemed very dated: “you’re figure is enchanting”, “escaped being ravished…” “plain little spinster” “he was aching like mad”. It's a contemporary American backdrop, it just didn’t seem to fit, especially in rural and city life Atlanta.

And a big part of the issue with the writing & glaring distraction was the author’s tendency of using excessive exclamation marks (!!) in the dialogue. I didn’t understand why Palmer thought it necessary to have it littered everywhere in her writing. I found this bizarre writing choice incredibly distracting and EXTREMELY annoying. It just made the dialogue sound very juvenile and awkward. In inner dialogues, arguments, intimate moments and even sex scenes. Having the hero randomly blurting out “I want you Becky!” or my favorite: “Say my name!” he said huskily just ruins the moment and takes you out of the scene. That honestly was the WTF? moment for me that started to ruin the book for me. They started popping up everywhere in the writing and I just couldn't get into the story or take the characters seriously anymore because of it. Just stands out like a sore thumb and it doesn’t translate well. A person can't exclaim or shout something if they are whispering or an inch close to another person's face Mrs. Palmer. I felt this book really needed a good editor to brush through it. And having a character constantly 'rage' or 'wail' when they are talking isn't very attractive (i.e: "I didn't know!," she wailed). The character comes off whiny and petulant instead of distressed.

If it wasn't for the shaky writing, it made for an interesting read overall. The characters made up for the issues I had. I liked the drug-ring side story with Rourke working hard to catch the teenage drug dealers that involved Clay. And the sexual tension and chemistry between Rourke and Becky was rather enthralling.

The Pleasure of Your Kiss - Teresa Medeiros Beautiful setting! Loved the Moroccan backdrop, Teresa did an exceptional job painting the Middle Eastern desert, the sights, sounds and the character interactions and culture there. Everything felt so vivid and very real, I loved all the attention paid to every finite detail in the Moroccan culture. The palace, the harem, the desert weather, the hammam, the concubines and dancing girls. Fun and so enchanting! Really loved the Sultan, Farouk and the surprise side love story between him and Clarinda's best friend the bespectacled cheerful Poppy. So so charming and adorable! Those two honestly stole the show for me in this as far as couples. I kept wanting to skim pages in hopes of catching another scene between them. I kept wishing we got more page time with them and their HEA near the end was a little bit rushed. The overall ending of the story was dragged out a *little* too long and I did struggle to feel the connection between Ash and Clarinda for some reason. I don't know why, there was a whole lot of tension and sexual chemistry between the two but I just struggled to feel that oomph, something for them, Clarinda in particular. I think part of it was the whole 'we loved each other when we were kids' lovers reunion that I'm personally not a fan of. I struggled to believe the idea of these two longing and dreaming about each other for 9 years straight especially over their one brief awkward tumble in the meadows when they were teens. And I wasn't crazy about the whole reasoning/misunderstanding behind why Ash left all those years ago. Meh.

I have to say the reason I'm giving this a 3 star is because of the last 2/3rds of the book. I was for sure going to give this a 4 star until I came to the end of the book. After Ash and Clarinda make an escape, the sultan catching up with them, Farouk's quick decision regarding Poppy, etc...I didn't feel satisfied enough, I felt a little bit underwhelmed to be honest. First, like I said earlier I really wanted more page time with Farouk actually courting Poppy and falling for her, most of it seemed to happen off the page and his feelings for her were never really voiced until the very end where he's kind of cajoled in to asking her to stay (I didn't like that, I was hoping for more) in front of an audience no less. The second reason, once Ash and Clarinda are free to go, the whole drama with Ash's brother Alex just seemed to drag on tirelessly and took a while to come to a conclusion. The confrontation at the very end for me wasn't as dramatic as I thought it would be (given all the build up) especially with the surprise secrete revealed by Clarinda, which by the way felt too contrived for me. Like these two didn't have enough misunderstandings and secretes to deal with, this had to be thrown in there too? Yikes. Too much. And then you have 3 characters spilling everything in literally the last 3 pages of the book. It just became silly and exhausting. The ending just wasn't as satisfying as I was expecting it to be given how engaging the rest of the story was up until that point. But still, it was a very wonderful book. These were my own personal gripes, the rest of the story was very fun and enjoyable with tons of adventure and laughs. The banter in this was wonderful! The quick wit and humor was very charming and very Medeiros. Ash and his sidekick Luca cracked me up. :)
The Hunter - Monica McCarty How come I'M JUST FINDING OUT ABOUT THIS??!

That cover. That bicep. UNF.

Who's 'Hunter'? I have sooo much catching up to do with this series.
After Dark: The Darkest Angel/Shadow Hunter - Gena Showalter, Kait Ballenger Hellloooooo new cover! YUM.