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"The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress"; or, Every Trope I Love From 80s Soaps

The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress - Maya Banks

Completely ridiculous (so 80s soap opera I can't even tell you), but I loved EVERY. FRICKIN'. WORD. I was helpless to resist the catnip that is this book. I read my library's copy, but seriously, I love it so much I'm thisclose to buying my own to read whenever I need to be hip-deep in overbearing Greek tycoon land.

 

The only reason this book doesn't get five stars is because I know how off-putting some of Chrysander's actions come across. I rolled my eyes--A LOT--but the utter joy I had reading this made the eyerolling more of the, "Oh, Chrysander! You silly man!" kind instead of the, "Oh my god, you are the WORST PERSON EVER. She's a woman, not a THING" kind. It was like putting up with that one friend's, uh, quirks, even though you know people who don't know your friend would find him slightly irritating. Or infuriating. You know, <i>that</i> friend. The one you love despite herself.

SPOILER ALERT!

Hot Secrets

Hot Secrets (Tall, Dark & Deadly #1) - Lisa Renee Jones

Lauren was at times TSTL, I didn't totally buy into the chemistry between the H & h, I've encountered paperclips that are more alpha than Royce, the red herrings were so red they immediately ceased being red herrings, and the way the bad guy thread played out felt inconsistent.

 

For instance: why on earth did he come see her in her office? That was completely unnecessary. Plus, the whole "I'm the Dirt Diver and might be kind of deeply evil" setup really petered out. To the point where I stopped being remotely scared or concerned and was just irritated at the wasted potential. He's also, inexplicably, invisible at times. Special Forces doesn't mean superhuman, alas.

 

Her stepmother is so unhinged she's paid a person to torment and kill her stepdaughter. Because that's totally a reasonable solution to everything. Meanwhile, she's also making plans for how a romance between Lauren and Lauren's stepbrother would play out in the public opinion. Uhm, lady, can we get a consistent kind of crazy from you, please?

 

The GPS tracker that no one knew existed (unless I missed something) that stopped AND started working in the space of two sentences after Lauren was abducted was a bridge too far on my road to suspension of disbelief-ville. Also: WHY IS LAUREN GOING ANYWHERE ALONE? WHY? Because she's dumb, and Royce is a terrible security person, that's why. Ahem.

(show spoiler)



In the end, I felt I spent too much time rolling my eyes and wondering about weird loose ends.

 

Revelation

Revelation  - Erica Hayes

23%: Yet another UF where the author seems to equate cursing with grittiness. Cursing isn't world building, authors. I find it so grating, and I swear like a sailor.

 

37.0%: "You still believe in God? After what they did to you? Falling to earth and all that?"

I don't think the author understands how belief works. Or non-belief, for that matter. These seem like concepts she needed a better grasp on before trying to tackle.

 

39.0%: Ok. Morgan may be TSTL.

39.0%: Oh, Luniel agrees with me! Huzzah?

39.0%: "He'd done that to himself for her? To heal her injury?

Whatever. It didn't mean anything."

She's also ungrateful and insufferable. JESUSAGE."

 

39.0% DNF. I can't even.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Morgan is the definition of mercurial. And that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if she weren't stupidly mercurial. When it occurred me to that I would actively cheer her death-by-stupidity, I realized I needed to give up the ghost. DNF.

 

For the record I had other problems with the text that kept me from enjoying the book. The constant swearing: WE GET IT. YOU ANGELS ARE EDGY AND DARK. OOOH. (seriously, "hellshit"? Weak.) The first time we meet Michael: SUBTLE.

 

Things I did like? Jadzia. Her story I am maybe interested in enough to give another book a try. Assuming she gets her own book. 

 

Yep, so that's pretty much all I liked. Everything else was par for the (poorly-executed) PNR/UF course.

SPOILER ALERT!

The Last Hour of Gann

The Last Hour of Gann - R. Lee Smith

I really cannot express how compelling a read I found this. There were times over the weekend where I resented going out and having to be away from reading. I had two successive book hangover days because it was so hard to put down at night. This book has given me a new benchmark for gripping writing; I suspect I'll not find anything to challenge it for some time, if ever. 

 

My big hangup: some of the human characters. And not because they were awful. Well, of course I didn't like them being awful (natch); what I didn't like was their terribleness being so one-dimensional. I actually resented being emotionally manipulated in such an unsubtle manner, and found myself angry at both the author and the characters in those moments. The baddies from Gann, however, felt more properly developed. Not perfectly, some were just as poorly drawn as the humans, but at least I was (and still am) curious about the main bad guys, even while I was repulsed by their actions.

 

I sometimes also found myself hugely frustrated by Amber. She's strong, and independent, but that's not a good thing (at times). That sounds, oh I don't know, anti-feminist or like I'm victim blaming, and I suppose I may be. I mean, I suppose you can do or say anything you want in a survival situation, but there will be reactions. How you approach the matter, uh, matters, even more so in a desperate survival situation. Shorter version:

 

 

You can be lousy at diplomacy if you have the means to back yourself up--like Meoraq. But if you're not a 6-foot-tall solid wall of muscly lizardman, sometimes biting your tongue, swallowing your pride, and biding your time seems like the wiser path.

  

For a little while there I was actually expecting a Planet of the Apes-esque ending. Pleasantly surprised that it wasn't, though I did anticipate something like what was eventually discovered. Obviously I couldn't know the details, but a vague idea that bore out.

(show spoiler)

 

 

 

The Last Hour of Gann is an amazing read. One well worth the time investment, and one that I'm already thinking of reading again. Very highly recommended.

 

Warning: the main characters have some truly awful things happen to them, Amber especially. There are also stories told of some pretty brutal events. This isn't a story for everyone.

Her Alpha Protector

Her Alpha Protector - Gwen Knight

There are good bones here, but overall I thought it was a little too short and was a little too purple prosey at times for me to really dig it.

The Wrong Billionaire's Bed

The Wrong Billionaire's Bed  - Jessica Clare

I had big problems with Reese in the beginning. The point that's drilled into us several times in the text is that opposites attract. I fail to see how the opposite of uptight & straight-laced is "complete dick", but that's what we get here. And I didn't think there was really any character growth from him that addressed his being a total dillhole. It just sort of eased off. The author laid it on very thick in the beginning, and then instead of Reese having an epiphany that being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk is, well, jerky, he just stops being a jerk. Sort of. 

 

If it weren't for the epilogue, I wouldn't have bought the ending in the slightest. Even with the epilogue, I have dubious face about it. 

 

Still, I enjoy the writing, the story was engaging, the characters felt mostly real (if a bit irritating, but real people sometimes are), and the sex scenes were yummy. Good stuff, and I'm totally on board for the next installment. 

Locked in Silence (Grimm's Circle, book 5)

Locked in Silence (Grimm's Circle, #5) - Shiloh Walker

I was a little lost at first. I borrowed the Kindle edition from my library, not realizing that Locked in Silence is the fifth book in a series. The prologue meant absolutely nothing to me, and then it took a while for me to figure out what it had to do with the rest of the book. Eventually I got it, and ended up enjoying the story for the most part.

 

The world building was a little lacking, however, I'm sure that is due to this being part of a well-established series and the author wanting (rightfully) not to repeat herself with every book. If I had been reading this series from the beginning, I'd be annoyed if she did a full explanation of what's going on in this world in every book. Sometimes you just can't win. Sorry, authors!

 

Silence and Vanya are both very likable. Silence's true identity (OR IS IT?) is handled so casually it's almost a throw-away, and really, I'm not sure it was even necessary to include. He was pretty interesting before that, and for a brief moment, all I could picture him as was

Leonardo DiCaprio

(show spoiler)

which is not a good thing in my book. (I'm weird, I know. I just do not get the appeal.)

 

Anyway, a quick, easy, all-around enjoyable read.

Something missing

Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait (The Duke's Daughters, #5)  - Grace Burrowes

There's something about Grace Burrowes' writing that always draws me in. Every time I read a book by her, it's like getting a textual hug. The pacing of the prose, even her dialogue, I find instantly soothing. I know lots of people dislike the anachronisms in her writing, but she's the historical romance version of Kristen Ashley to me. 

 

While this lovely quality was found in this book, as expected, I still felt vaguely let down, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I liked everyone well enough; I even teared up on more than one occasion (I love the Windhams, like seeing them happy, and my heart hurts for them when they hurt.) All the characters were eminently reasonable, sweetness abounded, there were no ridiculous plot twists to create conflict where there was none--things that should make me deliriously happy as a reader. After all, sometimes there's nothing more I want than to find a safe, sweet, angst-free read, and this is definitely that. Perhaps too much that? Is that a thing? Because if it is, Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait fits the bill.

 

Maybe the pacing was too slow. Or maybe it was that the romance was such a slow burn I found it slightly miraculous it took at all, and even then I wasn't entirely sold. Elijah mused on Jenny's passions, but I never found them in evidence. Maybe that's it: In a family of characters, Jenny, in her book, is kinda, well, boring. Elijah's not much more interesting. They're likable enough, sweet even, but ultimately, boring. 

 

All-in-all, I finished the book and felt vaguely dissatisfied. One of my favorite authors, with writing quality on par with expectations, but definitely not my favorite of her books.

Never Enough by Lauren Dane

Never Enough  - Lauren Dane

I'm throwing in the towel a little over halfway through this one. I just don't care about these people, and there isn't anything plot-wise that's piqued my curiosity enough to keep me reading. I have too many other books in my TBR pile to keep feigning interest in one that has me bored out of my skull. DNF 

Irresistible Lines (Blurred Lines Volume 5)

Irresistible Lines  - Breena Wilde Not sure I'm a fan of the head hopping. Or at least, if we're going to hop about, I wish we were with each character longer than we are. It is nice to get a glimpse into the boys' brains, though. Highly anticipating the next installment.

Blurred Lines Volumes 1-4 (Blurred Lines, Distorted Lines, Crossed Lines, Dirty Lines)

Blurred Lines Volumes 1-4 - Breena Wilde Well, color me surprised. Despite some flaws (format & content related) I ended up liking this way more than I expected to. Tons more, even.I find the format maddening. The chapters are ridiculously short and the breaks are not handled well. I just... I don't like serials. Super short serials, at that. Just as you start to get into the story, boom, irritating cliffhanger end. If these stories weren't packaged as a four-volume set, I'd never have picked it up. Lucky (I think?) for me they were, and I did. Content-wise, I found Cadence sometimes frustrating. The dinner with the director and actress jump to mind, in contrast to her near non-reaction to her roommate blowing most of Cadence's money. She has, when it suits, a hair-trigger temper. It's the "when it suits" part that's a problem for me. A hair-trigger anything shouldn't just come and go, and that she wouldn't lose her shit over the majority of $3,000 being (essentially) stolen, but would about an actress she otherwise couldn't be bothered by being a little snooty (which, what did she expect, seriously?) doesn't compute. She's also deeply unlikable when she's being bitchy. But, I rather liked her, aside from that particular character flaw.I find Zane confounding. As these first four stories are told from Cadence's POV, I suppose that means we're in the same boat as her. Are we supposed to like him? Hate him? Ugh. I DON'T KNOW. Which, to be entirely honest, makes me like him, because I have an absurd, bordering on ludicrous, love for anti-heroes. (cough-Spike-cough) It makes me overlook a lot of flaws. A LOT. And I don't know enough about Cruze to have much to say about him. He's sexy? (He is. Quite.) I'm looking forward to learning more about him. I hope we do, at least!There were things that had me cocking an eyebrow and wondering wtf was going on. Like... Why does Zane care so much about having an (as yet to him) unknown hooker not keeping her appointment that he nearly kills said hooker's pimp? What is it about her (keep in mind, as far as we know, he's never even seen her) that he tracks this one hooker, specifically, down and has her abducted at gunpoint? I DON'T GET IT. Of course, the story would be even shorter if he were not seemingly obsessed with her before he'd even seen her, so I'll go with it. But still, it's worth mentioning that it made zero sense to me. I was going to bring up another instance of something that had me scratching my head, but then remembered that it was from book 5. To mention it here wouldn't be appropriate, but it does illustrate the fact that I'm now hooked enough to buy these stories as they're doled out from this point forward, which is not something I'd do under normal circumstance. I may not be connecting to the characters very deeply (I think the format impacts emotional investment), but the storytelling is superb and I find it compulsively readable. I'm all-in, even in the midst of being fairly certain that my questions (most of which I haven't even mentioned here) will never be answered satisfactorily. Also, it's sizzling hot, and that's never a bad thing.Now, can September 20 get here already so I can get my grubby mitts on book 6?
The Mighty Storm (The Storm, #1) - Samantha Towle Kind of a mixed bag for me. I'm not a huge fan of first person narratives. It's even trickier when I'm not a huge fan of the narrator, and this was a case of never warming to the narrator. Not because of her infidelity to Will, weirdly enough. I don't know; there were times I liked her well enough, even felt bad for her, but then something would happen that would squander that built up goodwill. I spent the last act of the book grumpy with Tru, and I wasn't able to buy into the happy ending. The bonus Jake POV chapter made me wish the entire book had been written from his perspective.
Rise of the Fallen (All the King's Men) - Donya Lynne A confused mess with very little in the way of originality and not clever enough to make up for that fact.
Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands, #1) - Cherise Sinclair Oh my gosh, Goodreads ate my review, and I don't have it in me to retype the whole thing. I had some problems with seemingly shared elements to [b:Master of the Mountain|6690549|Master of the Mountain (Mountain Masters, #1)|Cherise Sinclair|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1249807378s/6690549.jpg|6885963]. They were enough to make me wonder if these elements are bits of real life history making the transition to fiction. Also not thrilled with books that are "yay, positive body image" on one hand but are "Oh, those evil skinny blondes tryin' to steal my man" on the other. Seems to kind of be missing the point about the positive body image thing is all. Also wasn't a fan of the random paranormal element (Z's mind reading). It felt so out of place to me. That said, I've enjoyed the writing itself enough that I'm thinking of trying a third book by Ms. Sinclair to see if it was a fluke that I read two books with such similarities. I rather hope it was.

Alpha Bad Boys (7-in-1 Box Set)

Alpha Bad Boys: 7-in-1 Box Set - Shayla Black, Lisa Renee Jones, Cat Johnson, Eliza Gayle, Selena Blake, Olivia Cunning, Lexi Blake Most of these stories I found unreadable. Boring and/or bad writing; stupid (and I mean STUPID) characters; crazy, nonsensical conflicts; and either lackadaisical or total lack of editing finally lead to my throwing in the towel.I'm a little mad I spent $.99 on seven books.

Driven (Northern Waste)

Driven (Northern Waste) - Eve Silver So much wasted potential.