Rebecca tells it like it is

I'm a reader most of the time, mediocre author some of the time, and house elf always.

Her Mad Hatter

Her Mad Hatter  - Marie Hall

I've been in the mood for Alice in Wonderland themed stories lately, so when I stumbled upon this one on Amazon, with a free price tag, I snatched it up and am happy that I did. This was probably one of the better written free books I have downloaded. I enjoyed the author's writing style and how she was able to create imagery without over-doing it with descriptiveness. After having read a couple of super flowery books prior to this one, I really wasn't in the mood for another one.

 

This is a stand alone novel in a series of paranormal romance books where each book will be about a different couple. The premise was a good one, Danika is a fairy godmother who has lucked out and, instead of helping out prince charmings or Cinderella types, she is given godmother-ship over the bad boys of the fairy tale world.

 

A prophecy has been given that unless each of the five men under her care aren't linked with a soul mate by the end of the year, horrible things will happen in their world, and so, Danika has made it her mission to help them out, starting with Hatter (of AIW fame). The problem is that she has already been bringing him women (all named Alice) who she thinks is his perfect mate for years and years. Now that she's finally figured out the right Alice for him, he's been through too many and isn't open to giving another one a chance.

 

Alice Hu is a bakery owner in Honolulu, Hawaii. I loved this aspect of the story. Living in HI myself, I enjoyed hearing the Hawaiian culture come through in the author's voice, from the aunties, to family dynamics, and descriptions of Hawaii, it all made me smile. Alice is a cool heroine who isn't afraid to be who she is, a nerdy bookish girl who loves Alice in Wonderland and isn't afraid to show it. She was fiercly loyal and devoted to friends and family and eventually the Hatter too and a heroine that didn't get on my nerves at all.

 

Their story was really cute, with moments of sadness and frustration, but ultimately the great HEA that I always look forward to in my PNR. There were a few little things that kept me from rating higher such as not very interesting sexy time, but I still found it an enjoyable read and IT'S FREE! Go grab it while you can, this one is a good lazy day read.

Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie - Debra Anastasia

Okay, I have to say this because this book really irritated me. The premise of this book was great. The writing wasn't bad and the characters were interesting. However, the fact that the book read like a first draft really made me mad. Under normal circumstances, I could over look the bad grammar, missing words, undiscipherable sentences because I understand self published books can be like this. I have read MANY self published that have had these problems and I could still get through the story and find entertainment from the reading. This book however, I could not. The book cost $6.99 on Amazon. The price led me to believe that the story would be more polished than other self pubs when in fact, it was one of the worst I have come across. I love authors that self publish, but they need to realize the value of their work. Authors such as Susan Ee and Tammy Blackwell are among the best that have self published books worth their weight in gold.Yet, both have books that are less than $3 and they were better than many I have spent $12-20 on. The key is that they polish their manuscripts before they put them out there for sale. I think that the author of Poughkeepsie, needed to find a few more eyes to look at her manuscript before she decided to publish it herself. It would have made all the difference if she had and I probably would have rated it better. As it is now, I feel like the book was unreadable and therefore I had to put it under the did not finish category after about 40% in. So sad because I really wanted to love it.

Dirty Red

Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies #2) - Tarryn Fisher

Is Leah going to drive you insane? Is she going to get under your skin and make you want to punch a wall? Will you end up loving her or even caring for her at all? I can't say for sure how everyone is going to take her, I can only speak for my self. All I know is that I felt all of the above while reading this. Is Leah going to take you on the same kind of fantastic emotional ride that Olivia did? I am confident in saying that she will. :0)          

 

Not for me

The Reluctant Dom (Siren Publishing Menage and More) - Tymber Dalton

Okay, I need to stop reading this because it is making me feel mad and I need a break. Not sure if I will be able to pick it back up but I'm not completely sure if I will abandon it altogether.

<b>Review for the first 20% of the book.</b>

My thoughts after what I have read are pretty much WTF? <s>Drill Sergeant</s> Kaden has just found out that he is going to die and so he asks his best friend,Seth to take care of his wife,Leah after he is gone. He asks Seth to come move into their home so that he can be of comfort to Leah and help her to take care of Kaden in his final hours. Sad, but not outrageous right? This is the kind of story I can understand and be fine with, but no, nope, that is not all. Kaden and Leah are into the BDSM lifestyle and Kaden expects Seth to step into his life and become Leah's dominant because Leah has had a life of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and the only way she can survive is by funneling out her emotions through BDSM activities. So, <a

"Suck it up, maggot, you're gonna whip and fuck my wife and you'd better step up to the plate and get your head in the game now! Leah's very life depends upon how well you can work a whip! Drop down and give her 50 lashes!"

Okay, maybe that is not exactly how he is, but from what I've read, on the first day that Seth moved in with them, Kaden was already yelling at him to stop being a "bitch," and get serious about becoming the new Master of the house!And the kicker is that Seth is obviously not comfortable with this WHATSOEVER!

Okay, yeah, Seth admits to being sexually attracted to Leah and wishing that he had a wife like her (before he found out about her being Kaden's slave), however, that doesn't mean that he wants to be in charge of her psychotic cravings! How horrible of a person does Kaden have to be to ask this of his best friend, especially when he knows that Seth won't be able to say no and he won't be able to walk away from Leah ever, even after Kaden has kicked the bucket and the year of agreed marraige is over.  UGH!

The thing that REALLY bothers me (as if the above had not bothered me already) was that Kaden didn't think that Leah could get better by therapy or medications, when she had never even tried that. He found out he was dying and instead of thinking, geez, this BDSM stuff is not going to work for her anymore, I'd better find another way for her to channel her problems. No, he immediately thinks of good ol Seth. "I know, Seth will beat my wife!" And why doesn't Seth tell them both that they need help, oh yeah, because Kaden is DYING and he feels this incredible amount of guilt and responsibility to give his "best friend" his last wish.

I have absolutely no problem with BDSM and I knew that this book had this when I bought it. I do have a problem with forced BDSM that is disguised as being willing. Seth doesn't want to do this and I don't want to continue reading because of this. Man, I'm mad. It's been a long time since a book has made me feel this way.The more I write about this, the angrier I get and I think now that I probably won't go back to this one. Ugg. One star. I'd give it negative stars if I could.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Didn't care for it.

Out of Breath  - Rebecca Donovan

I feel so sad to be writing this review. I had such high hopes for the final installment of the series, but this book didn't deliver for me at all.

As I try to wrap my mind around everything that transpired throughout this series, it just reminds me how many lose threads were left undone or were wrapped up too easily. That's the thing that bothered me the most. The main conflicts that I was waiting to see how they would be resolved were taken care of so...lazily? At the same time, new conflicts were thrown into the mix (what was up with that eleventh hour love triangle? Also, what happened to Peyton? The character just disappeared?) that detracted from all of the resolutions that I needed from previous books.

The first 40% of this book made my head spin. New characters were introduced in Tolstoy proportions. Inane details were thrown out about what the characters were doing that weren't necessary to further the plot. I say "plot" lightly because I don't really know if this book actually had one. Twoish years have passed since Emma and Evan have split and Emma has transformed into a delicate butterfly that all of the female side characters have to handle with kid gloves else they may brush against a wing and damage it irreparably. The coddling in some instances was almost comical. Watch out, don't say the wrong thing...you may just wake the baby. I found myself rolling my eyes more often than not.

Emma, it appears, has beer flavored nipples and a magic cooter because she is desired by every character with a penis. I just didn't get the attraction, seeing as how for about 70% of the book, she acts like a over-dramatic lunatic. Gone was the strong character from the past and in her place was this person that wasn't recognizable to the Emma of the past two books. As I was reading, I tried to turn off my critical side and just go with it, but her actions were so crazy at times that I couldn't . If I witnessed someone I cared about acting the way she did, I'd be the first one carting her away to the mental ward. It wasn't normal depression, this was something else, something that needed professional help.

Okay, this is going to get a little spoilery, just a warning. Every main plot point from the past was cleared up in a lazy way. 1.) Momma drama? -kill the character off. 2.) Love triangle hell? End the (obviously) doomed relationship by sending 'heart signals' and the extra wheel just disappears. 3.) Have a murder on your hands? Call one of the character's dad's and everything was just a misunderstanding.  4.) Use texts and letters to fill in any remaining plot holes. I'm sorry, but if you've spent two books opening up all of these story pathways, it's not cool to resort to telling us how they are cleared up. You gave us showing, not telling to get to them, why take the lazy way out now? It was just so frustrating to read.

Honestly, the relationship between Emma and Evan felt like it took a backseat to Emma's craziness. By the time we got to their reconnecting, I didn't even care, actually, I thought that Evan was too good for her. I can't see how she could go from thinking about ending it all to emotionally viable with no clinical help. She was so bad, that I felt that she should have spent some more time working on her own problems, not a relationship. Oh well, everyone read this for the relationship, myself included, so I guess we got what we wanted, even if it took a really fucked up route to get there.

Overall, it took me about 5 days to read this. I wish I could say that the holiday had something to do with that, but really, my mind just wandered to something else, every couple of paragraphs. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with that disorienting POV switch every couple paragraphs, probably the most annoying storytelling I've ever read.
So, with all of those annoyances, and there were more (don't even let me get started on the blushing),  I just didn’t want to go into any more detail, I give this book 1.5 stars. The .5 is for the nostalgia that I feel towards the other two books. This one, I can’t recommend and would steer a friend away from the series as a whole because of it.

Needed more character and plot development

Butterfly Weeds - Laura     Miller

Oh lord, I think I might have developed a couple of cavities after finishing this one, it was just soo sweet and, at times, sappy. So, did I enjoy it? Yes and no. First off, I will start with the positive:

1.) The idea behind the book. Boy falls in love with girl, they are high school sweethearts, she yearns to leave their small hometown and he wants to stay, boy and girl drift apart, a decade passes, boy and girl still think about each other, yadda yadda yadda. We all know where this is going. I think the story line was a good one and could have been outstanding, except for a few things that I will address momentarily.

2.) Will becomes a country singer in order to win back Julia. Okay, how plausible is it to just become a famous country singer just to get the girl? Not very, however, I thought it was a sweet idea and I thought that the lyrics that Will had written on several occasions throughout the book were very convincing and good for someone in the country music genre. That part of the story didnt feel forced for me at all.

3.) The idea that Will accepted Julia's need to "fly" and allowed her to go out in the world without him throwing g a big hissy fit. There are so many stories with hulking alpha male characters nowadays, it was refreshing to read about a sweet guy who loved her enough to know that he had to let her go.

The things that didn't work for me:
1.) The story was filled with telling and never showing. It was bad, however, I normally would have marked something like this as a DNF and moved on, but for some reason, I felt compelled to continue. The idea for the story was great, it could have been an awesome read but there were so many instances (the reason behind the couple's first breakup for one or the growing love between them in the beginning of the book) where we were flat out told how things were. The writer needed to put in those extra bits of details and explanations to make the story more credible. As it is, it is just a sweet story but, honestly, it has the feel of a highschool English project to it or something. It just needs more of everything.

2,) The characters were very one dimensional. Will is a sweet guy but was there more to him? No. There was potential here to explore his personality in regards to not wanting to leave Missouri or why he chose Julia to begin with. We as readers are never given enough details on any of the characters to truly get a good feeling for any of them.

All this being said, I rate it between a 2 and 3, which is still a pretty good rating for me just because I can see the potential behind it. I hope the author does a bit more expounding on her ideas for her next novel and give us something to sink our teeth into with the storyline and I will def give her next one another chance.

SPOILER ALERT!

Spoiler in review

Beautiful Things Never Last - Steph Campbell

Very good writing, as I've come to expect from this author. There are a whole lot of errors sprinkled throughout that were a little distracting from the story.

[ It's funny, this book made me realize something about the way I view infidelity. When it was Quinn in the last book, I was angry with her, but I got it. I saw what she was going through and I accepted it. In this book, it's Ben and he doesn't even go as far as Quinn did, but I was livid. Is it that I am more willing to forgive a woman's indiscretion than a man's? I don't know, but it's something to think about, I guess.  (hide spoiler)]

I really enjoyed seeing what happened after the "HEA." Most of the time, you think that a book couple will continue on to live out their blissful life, right? I mean, that's what we want, it's the reason we read these books. Truthfully, that's just not reality. People get comfortable with each other and things stop feeling new and exciting and you start to settle into your patterns that can become a little boring too. That's what I loved about this story, it was an honest depiction of what happens after "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say. It felt real, and that realism is what sucked me in and kept me reading until four in the morning. I should have known that this would happen, it was the same when I read Grounding Quinn last year, so no surprise.

This is a 4 star read for me, but as I mentioned before, there are whole lot of easy errors in it, so if you can look past that, I say give it a try.

Disappointing

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window - Kirsty Moseley

Where do I start with this one? I had been seeing a lot interest for this book lately so I thought why not? It was only $3.99 on Amazon and I was desperate to find something to take my mind off of the last book I read.... but nope, this one didn't do it. I REALLY like self published books when they are done right. This book has errors (and big ones too) on just about every single page. This may make me sound like a cheapo, but I don't care, if I spend more than 99 cents for a book, it had better be more polished than this. It only takes a couple more eyes on your manuscript before you put it up on Amazon to catch all of these problems. Ugh. I also didn't like the bits of the story that I did read. For someone who has been molested as the main character had been and she constantly brought up being uncomfortable in situations where she would be touched she was really put into overtly sexual situations by the author and I didn't like it. I know a lot of other people really like this book, and that's fine, it just wasn't my cup of tea at all. Sigh, and the hunt continues for the next great read.

Surprisingly wonderful debut novel

The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel - Katja Millay

There were things about this book that, at first, I didn't like as I was reading.  I felt like the beggining of the book was bogged down in teenage angst and overly dramatic inner dialogue from the two main characters Nastya and Josh.  Both of them had some serious issues that they were dealing with that we as readers don't get to know about right away.  The dramatic and, at most times, depressing undercurrents to the story had me feeling like my chest was being weighed down with heavy stones as I read. It was so uncomfortable at times,(in the first 40% or so this is especially true) that I found myself putting my kindle down to do something else so that I didn't give into the temptation to slit my wrists (seriously folks, this one was super depressing for a while). 
The writing was the saving grace.  Had I started this book and not immediately fell into the flow of it and got wrapped up in the story and the mystery of Nastya and Josh's past I would probably have abandoned this one within the first chapter.  I was just so enthralled by the writing that I pressed on even when it got really unbearably heavy.  Katja Millay definitely has a gift, that is for sure.  I think that is why the sadness of the story really hit me hard, because her words make you feel every last ounce of it and yearn for more. 
And under all of that sadness, is a great story. It's a love story, revenge story, coming of age, and learning to live with the sometimes shitty hands we are dealt with story.  And, it is unbelievably good. The way everything is unfurled in layers was exactly the way the story needed to be told. Everything from Nastya's silence to the importance and meaning of each of the supporting characters made it feel like a good puzzle that, by the end of the book, all of the pieces had locked into place and it was beautiful.  Awesome 5 stars.          

 

Good hate to love story

The Nature of Cruelty - L.H. Cosway

This book reminded me of a historical romance. It just had one of those plot lines that could be used as one (actually, I think I have read that HR.) Anyway, the good thing about HR is that I find myself being really forgiving when it comes to them because I'm not reading them to be moved or expecting the best, I'm just reading for the pure take your mind away from your day enjoyment that they can bring.
That's how I felt about this book. Don't get me wrong, the writing was great. I love it when a book is written well enough that I can slip inside the story like I'm a silent observer of the characters an that's how this made me feel. Does it have some faults? I felt like there were a little. Lack of viable tension between the H and h in the last 30% of the book was one.  (view spoiler)
Having said that, do I think you should read this? Hell yes. Read it when you want something easy and guaranteed to bring those stomach flutters. It's worth it for the things that Robert says alone. It's a very well written hate to love story and everyone should check it out.           

 

Hurt

Hurt - Tabitha Suzuma I didn't enjoy this book. I really wanted to, but it almost felt like the author was trying too hard and it just fell short for me. The writing was flowery and filled with purple prose and I couldn't help but skim for dialogue for the last 30% of the book. It seems like when someone tries to shove emotions down my throat, the more apathetic I become. I buddy read this with a couple of the girls in one of my groups and we all shared some of the same feelings about this book. So, if you want to read a really good, comprehensive review for this one, I'd recommend checking out one of their reviews. The more I write, the more I feel like I'm just mirroring their sentiments that were written much more eloquently than I'm able to at this time. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this read to anyone. I almost feel like the main issue of the novel (and it's an important one) was slightly bastardized by the over-indulged writing and extreme dramatization that occurred here.

A Tale Dark and Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm - 3.5 Exciting and funny start, but it kind of lagged the last couple of chapters. Still, my kids loved it, it was just a chore to read aloud after a while.
SPOILER ALERT!

Pivot Point

Pivot Point -

I thought this was a great first book in what seems to be an interesting series. I loved the premise of a group of people with special talents all living cordoned off from the rest of the country. I'll be interested to see what happens in the next installment and am hoping that we might get some insight into what happened to Trevor since we find out that Addie chooses the path without him in the end. There were a couple of things that didn't add up for me while reading, but they weren't bad enough so as make me change my mind about the rating. If you're someone who overanalyzes the plot points of the story, they might bother you too. First, I get that the football was a major device in the story so that both of Addie's different paths would intersect. I get it. I just don't get how the society was set up where they were not supposed to go out into the normal world without signing a ton of paperwork and being briefed (and it seemed) watched heavily to ensure that the society of people with talents would remain a secret. So, I don't get how all of those security measures could be thrown to the wayside and a bunch of high school kids (an age group not known for their discretion) would be able to travel amongst the regular people and rub up against them in such a normal setting. It just didn't add up to me with the rules of the society that we were given. Second, if Addie's best friend, Laila has the ability to make people forget things, couldn't the whole incident with the drug dealer been avoided if she had just made him forget that her dad owed him money? Why could she use her powers to make Addie forget weeks of her future, but not that? Didn't make sense. Like I said, I know it's just me. I can't let little things like these go, but still, I'll def be buying and reading the next book when it comes out. This writer definitely has the skills to tell a good story. I'd recommend this one to anyone who would like to read a different take on paranormal ya.

Flowers from the Storm

Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale

Preachy Religion-checkMathematics-checkAnnoying, self righteous heroine-checkEverything tied up in a neat little bow at the end-check

in living color hated it photo: hated 4ad647ff03991_47865n.jpg

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes - Jonathan Auxier My boys loved it. Peter Nimble is a blind thief who stumbles upon a mysterious haberdasher one evening and ends up being swept into a grand adventure. There is magic, good vs evil, talking animals, and a dogfish. It felt like this story was comprised of little pieces of many of the classic tales that I grew up loving. My main reason for giving it five stars is because of how invested my kids were while I read. They would literally beg me to read "just one more chapter" every night and I'd listen to them theorize what was going to happen next after I turned out the light. Now, the only complaint I have is that we are having a hard time trying to find something to read next.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast

When Beauty Tamed the Beast - James Griffin, Eloisa James 3.5 Good HR. Loved the banter between the H and h. It was obvious that the Dr. was modeled after House, even before getting to the notes at the end. Will def check out more books from this author, I liked the witty style of her writing.