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Mini Reviews #3: The Romance Edition

Here’s another batch of my mini reviews. They’re dead useful for whittling down my massive pile of books to review and I love them for the books that I didn’t love – those mediocre books are always the hardest to review. But there are a couple of jewels in here as well, so take a look! Check out my NA romance mini reviews!

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entice-enchantress-karen-hawkinsHow to Entice an Enchantress (The Duchess Diaries #3) by Karen Hawkins, published in 2013 by Pocket Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (paperback).

My rating: 4.5/5.

My mini opinion: This was actually a re-read. I lovelovelove Karen Hawkins’s books, she’s one of my auto-buy authors, and How to Entice an Enchantress is one of her best. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling (though in a very loose sense), and is the quintessential comfort read. It has fluff, it has banter, it has a grumpy-but-swoony hero and a smart heroine. What more can you ask for in a romance? :)

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viscount-lived-down-lane-elizabeth-boyleThe Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes with Love #4) by Elizabeth Boyle, published in 2014 by Avon. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: Ahh, romance covers… Always with the improbable abdominal and pectoral muscles… He looks like he’s in pain. This was a fun read with the usual “dark and damaged hero doesn’t want to be saved by quirky and unpopular herione” twist. It also features a rather bleak view of the London society at the time (what with the vicious rumors of Louisa’s mother’s behaviour marring her debut) – but I imagine the people were quite cruel in this regard. Especially since the upper classes didn’t do much beside dancing and gossiping. But yeah, this is a good one-evening entertainment if you run out of light stuff to read!

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secrets-sir-richard-kenworthy-julia-quinnThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4) by Julia Quinn, published in 2015 by Avon. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3.5/5.

My mini opinion: Well, Julia Quinn is one of my favourite historical romance authors but this one fell short of my expectations. I mean, it’s ok and all, but not the witty, funny prose I usually encounter when I read her novels. Let me just say: I would murder Sir Richard in his bed if I was Iris and he kept a secret like that from me (now you all have to read it to see if you agree with me, HA!). But I loved returning to the known characters (the scene with the play that the kids put on is hilarious) and I understood Iris’s actions. She’s one of those quiet heroines that’s not quite a wallflower but likes to listen more than she likes to talk if that makes sense. See Quinn’s and Lark’s reviews if you want more info on the book!

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talk-of-the-town-karen-hawkinsTalk of the Town (Glory NC #1) by Karen Hawkins, published in 2008 by Pocket Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3/5. 

My mini opinion: This is the first contemporary novel by Karen Hawkins that I read and I have to say I prefer her historicals. I do like a good small-town romance (Jill Shalvis owns my heart), but this one just didn’t speak to me. Maybe it’s because I didn’t connect with the heroine, Roxie, who is on a sort of a bender to revolutionise herself after a nasty divorce caused by her finding her husband in bed with his cross-dressing lover. She returns to her home town (with her older brother in tow – hello book #2) to take care of her ailing mother and meets “the one that got away”, Nick, the town sheriff. She takes on her mother’s charity work, which throws her into a murder investigation, helped by a bunch of geriatric busy-bodies. Maybe it was all a bit much for me (there’s a really silly scene with the mayor’s girlfriend that involves showing off their boobs). Hawkins is the queen of historicals for me and that’s that.

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master-kresley-coleThe Master (The Game Maker #2) by Kresley Cole, published in 2015 by Gallery Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 2.5/5.

My mini opinion: This is straight-up erotica, no doubt about that. This book doesn’t even pretend it’s anything else, because the heroine takes her first job as a prostitute in chapter one and meets the hero, a Russian mobster who likes to play rough. She doesn’t follow his script, which is, of course, hugely entertaining for him, so he wants her back. And then things spiral a bit because he thinks she wants to entrap him by having a baby, becomes a controlling freak, and basically imprisons her (but leaves her the use of his credit card, naturally). Eh. I really liked Cole’s If You Dare and her Immortals After Dark series, but this is just a bit too much (not the sex parts, the story that goes with it).

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Have you read any of these romances? What did you think?

Do you have any good recommendations for me? I’m always looking for new stories! :)

Mini Reviews #2: The NA Edition

Sooo, I’ve been on a new adult romance bender the last month or so (with some adult contemporary romances thrown in to shake things up a little o_O). This is a desperate attempt to make sense of the mounting pile of books to review – and I don’t really want to do a separate review for each one of these. These are not my favourite novels. I do like the new adult genre, it’s just that these weren’t a good fit for me. I’ll be honest with you: the “buy now with one click” feature on Amazon and the Kindle deals will be the death of me (or my bank account). You can check out my first batch of mini reviews here.

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return-armentroutThe Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, published in February 2015 by Spencer Hill Press. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: I’m a big fan of JLA, especially her paranormal romances (both YA and NA), but this one fell short of my expectations. I really wanted to love it, but I guess I’d be more inclined to like Seth if I’d read the Covenant series, because this is a spin-off (but The Return can be read as a standalone). In any case, shit hits the fan when Titans are released from Tartarus and Seth has to protect Josie, one of the few demigods left alive (she’s Apollo’s daughter). I expected something along the lines of Wicked, where Ivy is a kick-ass heroine, but JLA fell into the helpless virgin + manwhore macho trap again, so I couldn’t really connect (it’s also less hot). It was a fast-paced read and I’ll probably read the sequel out of pure curiosity!

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rush-me-allison-parrRush Me, Running Back, and Imaginary Lines (New York Leopards #1, 2, and 3) by Allison Parr, published by Carina Press. Goodreads (1 2 3). Author.

Source: purchased (e-book) – all three.

My rating2.5/5 (for all three of them).

My mini opinion: Damn, I have no idea what possessed me to read not only one, but three books about American football players when I don’t know anything about the sport apart from the fact that the ball looks funny (seriously, this is not a popular sport here. Hockey ftw.). Anyway, the romance is passable, the football references vague enough that they’re bearable, and the banter is cool. Not my favourite series in the world but it was cheap for Kindle and I needed some fluff (which I got).

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boomerang-noelle-augustBoomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August, published in 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks. Goodreads. Authors.

Source: puchased (e-book).

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: This was probably the best of the batch apart from The Return. It’s full of banter and bad decisions, and features a girl (Mia) who actually goes after her career and doesn’t slut-shame, so YAY for that (but she’s a bit privileged and spoiled, so that’s a downer). Ethan is adorable and scruffy, and I liked him quite a lot. The main problem for me was the ubiquitous lack of communication between the parties involved: talk to each other, people!!! Talking would have saved them from all the angst. But then the book would have about 15 pages, so there’s that.

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frigid-j-lynnFrigid (Frigid #1) by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout), published in 2013 by Spencer Hill Conteporary. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 2.5/5.

My mini opinion: Ahhhh WHYYYY, WHYYYY do we need another manslut/virgin book? Gah. These two get snowed into a beautiful ski chalet alone (because their friends get snowed in elsewhere…) and she loses her virginity to him (he’s her best friend but of course they’ve been secretly in love with each other FOREVER and he felt she was too good for him and she felt she wasn’t pretty enough) while a couple of mountain redneck psychos try to kill them because he’d slept with one girl too many. Eh. The sequel, Scorched, is coming out in a few months and I’ll probably cave and read it anyway because it seems that JLA is my crack.

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inspire-carmackInspire (The Muse #1) by Cora Carmack, published in 2014. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 1.5/5.

My mini opinion: Apparently, Greek mythology is all the rage this days? I admit, I fell for the pretty cover (it’s been known to happen to me – I’m starting to suspect that my love for the cover is inversely proportional to my love for the story – all those horrible fantasy covers are proof to this theory). So this book is terrible (but go here for a 5-star review; I’m not sure we read the same text though). The unhealthy behaviour displayed by the two protagonists, the instalove (This is an actual quote: “I’m terrified. I can’t lose him. We’ve only known each other a month, and have been seeing each other officially for a little over a week, but he’s already imprinted on my heart.“), the obsessiveness, the clinginess… And THE ENDING of this thing is… I have no words to describe it beyond the fact that I groaned and wanted to throw my poor Kindle across the room.

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Untitled-2When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill (Liz Czukas), published in February 2015 by Ballantine Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 2/5.

My mini opinion: Eh. Why do I even bother. Here we have a situation where two virtual strangers (Joss and Matt) decide to have “sorbet sex”, which is a palate cleanser after a bad breakup, so they make good new memories. While this might be a good practice for a month or so, seven years signals a problem to me – they actually start relationships with other people so they can break them off and jump each other afterwards. I wanted to write a full review on this one and vent a little, but it’s really not worth it. I wanted fun and fluff, and rainbows, but I was disappointed. Go here for a 4/5 review of this book and here for a 1.5/5 one (this one is great!).

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WHEW! Now this is done and I can make peace with my impulsive, unnecessary e-book purchases. The writing of this post was very therapeutic for me…

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Have you read any of these NA titles? What did you think? 

Do you have any good NA recommendations for me? 

Come, let’s discuss and rant together! :) 

Mini Reviews #1

obsidianObsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, published by Entangled Teen in 2011.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Source: Kindle freebie.

Genre: YA paranormal romance (actually, I’m never sure about these tags… There’s some cussing in this one and some sex in the sequels…).

My rating: 3/5.

My mini thoughts: Umh. Where do I start? I quite liked Obsidian, though it didn’t wow me. It’s a fun read, fast-paced and intriguing, and the heroine, Katy, is a book blogger. :) But I don’t like the fact that the hero, Daemon Black (SERIOUSLY, what kind of a name is that??!), the resident alien (I know this is a spoiler but it’s on Goodreads, too, so I think I’m allowed), is a serious douchebag to Katy at first. I get some antagonism and secrecy, but I feel like a line has been crossed. But fortunately, Katy’s no pushover, so the whole wasn’t too bad. It just wan’t great, either.

srcek

taming-of-a-scottish-princessThe Taming of a Scottish Princess (Hurst Amulet #4) by Karen Hawkins, published by Pocket Books in 2012.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: purchased.

Genre: historical romance.

My rating: 4.5/5.

My mini thoughts: This one is actually a re-read, one of the first post-baby books. I craved some lighthearted comfort and Karen Hawkins delivers every single time. The Taming of a Scottish Princess is one of my favourite historical romances, because it’s smart and sassy and doesn’t feature one of those insta-love/lust relationships but is more of a see-what-is-right-in-front-of-you kind of a story. I also like the *very* subtle supernatural twist that is common to most of Hawkins’ romances.

She’s one of the authors on my auto-buy list and I really liked The Prince who Loved Me which came out on September 23! I’ll probably be reviewing it sometime in October.

srcek

darkness-strange-and-lovelyA Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2) by Susan Dennard, published in 2013 by HarperTeen.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: purchased.

Genre: paranormal YA fantasy.

My rating: 3/5.

My mini thoughts: I really liked the first instalment of this series (you can read my review of Something Strange and Deadly here), but I felt like this second part fell a tad short of my expectations. Eleanor was less certain of herself, I found, and while the setting (Paris) and the general plot were perfectly fine, the pacing was somewhat off. I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the characters’ story, is all. I really hope that this is just the classic second-instalment lull in the action and that the final part, Strange and Ever After, which came out earlier this year, packs enough punch to finish the series properly.

srcek

Have you read any interesting books lately?

I’d love a lighthearted recommendation (my slightly sleep-deprived brain can’t handle anything too serious at the moment)! :)

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