Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

RATING: 5 napkins

Brant: Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.
Lee: Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.
Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.
If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

***Complimentary ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley***

Please note that I also own a copy.

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

I see what everyone's saying now when they say you need to go in blind with this one, and do not, for one sec, be tempted to seek out spoilers, coz there in lies the beauty of this book, with its twist, how it will take you for a ride.

Just as I was almost finished reading this, it was a lukewarm 5-star read due to my initial reactions to some scenes and the overall delivery. Interestingly enough though, as hours passed by, my brain, without volition, would go thru random scenes from the book and get me (re)thinking about it, so by the time I'm writing this, that 5-star in my head just keeps getting more solid.

This book had me borderline bored at first, then frustrated, then angry, then confused, then shocked, then incredulous, then sad, then wistful, then satisfied. And yes, color me clueless, in as much as I thought I kinda sorta knew what was happening, the big reveal did catch me off-guard.

So for the whole gamut of emotions I felt, thank you, Alessandra!


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Agree to Disagree: This Man (Series) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Leftie here. Before proceeding any further, please note we're covering a whole series here, so 3 books in total. Apologies ahead for the length...

RATING: ----

Via Goodreads

Leftie: I would've rated it lower or even say I didn't like it, but that would be totally hypocritical of me since I did end up finishing the book. And got me to read the next one too! Gah!

I'm not gonna focus on the minor editing issue (like "standing" is the progressive tense of "stand", not "stood", for starter), or the weak female character, or the over-the-top alpha male character who has extreme control issues, or the gratuitous sex, or the fact that it probably could have been 100 pages shorter, or the way it ended the way it ended leaving you hanging and no choice but to read the 2nd book, or the story (and the ending) giving me a feeling of "been there, read that" which made me less forgiving of the book... No I'm not gonna...

Like I said, yes, I did finish it and read the next one (I can only imagine how it would have been if I read this one with the 2nd one not published yet, with the way it ended... not even going there). Begrudgingly, despite it all, it hooked me in, so in my books, that's gotta count for something... *sigh*

Rightie: Despite the book's faults (mainly the repetitiveness of some phrases), I liked this book and is certainly better than some more-hyped books I've read in this genre. The author has a lot of potential and should definitely keep writing. Ava is not my favourite heroine, but I like Jesse Ward well enough;) Can't wait to read the second book!

Via Goodreads

Leftie: Again, I would've rated it lower or even say I didn't like it, but, again, that would be totally hypocritical of me since I did end up finishing the book.

Minor editing issue still there? Yup. Weak female character? Yup. And actually has gone more neurotic I thought. Over the top alpha male with control issues? Yup, still there, and has gone more over the top, if that's possible. Gratuitous sex? Yup, of course still there. They fought and have sex, fought and have sex, fought and have sex, get the idea? It was the only way he knows how to communicate, so went the explanation *raises eyebrow* Could the book have been shorter like the first one? Yup. HEA at least? Of course! Again, the story (and the ending) giving me a feeling of "been there, read that" which made me less forgiving of the book... 

Oh, and I don't get, in both books, the whole thing about him not liking when she swears and him swearing in the same breath. And I'm not even touching his issue with alcohol, and her issues, in general, nor his age issue, which made me brace myself, before it was revealed , in case he was in his 50's or something. There was an attempt to explain his behaviour near the end, a tad too late if I may add. If the characters were fleshed out more, instead of just the constant sex, that probably would have explained a lot of things. I guess that's the goal of the 3rd book. It is titled This Man Confessed after all. Not sure how to explain the female character though.

But hey, yes, I did finish it. Again, begrudgingly, despite it all, it hooked me in, again, even made me swoon a few times (how about that!), AND here's the kicker, I think I may just be looking forward to the 3rd one at that (just maybe), so in my books, that's gotta count for something... *sigh*

Rightie: I wanted to like this book. I really did, as I liked the first one. Alas, it was not meant to be. The constant fighting then making up, which I didn't mind in This Man, became quite tedious:( Some parts of the plot did not sit well with me ( ie. what happened the 4 days Jesse disappeared and the thing in the office with Sarah) although I will admit they are almost to be expected. Ava also irritated me to no end. 

I will point out that this was a fast read for me, which shows that Ms. Malpas knows how to tell a story. The build up to climactic events was well done.

Via Goodreads

Leftie: Considering the love-hate relationship I have with the first 2 books, the fact that I continued to read this last one is a testament to Ms. Malpas' writing, where I'm concerned.

Keeping this thought process along the same line as the other 2 books, let's see... Editing? Waaaay better. Ava, the h? Still neurotic, still don't like her. Jesse, the H? Still OTT but now has gotten just swoon-alicious, in a lovable alpha jerk way, for me anyway:p. Gratuitous sex? Not so much anymore, fortunately. Jesse berating Ava for swearing while he swears like a sailor himself? Not so much anymore either, fortunately. Could it have been shorter? Again, yes, but I didn't mind it as much this time around, maybe because I know it's the last in the series so it's the ending. 

This book...

~had me feeling definitely frustrated at times losing count the number of times I made a fist gesture in the air; 
~had me swooning for Jesse, for the most romantic lines I've read in a long while; 
~had me screaming at Ava up until the last 60 pages, didn't get her for the most part, real REAL shame that Ms. Malpas didn't create a better h; 
~had me rolling my eyes when it was showing that the characters were (still) barely growing;
~had me feeling hopeful to see their relationship starting to grow a little at least even though it was the most co-dependent relationship I've read in a romance novel in a while yet it worked perfectly for this couple (sigh); 
~had me shaking my head at all the drama, there were soooo many, just too much; 
~then back again to being frustrated because certain things I thought could have been said sooner rather than later (as in practically the ending) to make me better understand people's motivation, umm, like the lieS of omission on Jesse's part; 
~and finally, had me nodding my head when things finally worked out and just wanting to hug Jesse & Ava (yes, even her, albeit begrudgingly) for what they've gone thru and managing to get thru it.

So now in my mind, how do I rate this book?

-if it was just about Ava (really sorry but most of my frustrations in this book were because of her and I really did try to understand her but didn't for the most part).
-if it was just about Jesse (it would have been higher if we're only talking about the romantic lines that were coming out of his mouth... Oh Jesse, Jesse).
-for the weak h which just made me too tolerant of the H even though he's done jerk-y things to her; don't think that's fair especially when you give the best lines to the H already.
-or higher, just for the mere fact alone that Ms. Malpas put me thru so much emotions with this book and still got me sticking it out right til the end, which for me means that she writes well. And yes, I can see myself reading future stories from her.

Final rating: 3*
Again, considering the love-hate relationship I have with all 3 books now, and making me feel all over the place, taking the middle road once more for what it's worth.

Rightie: (did not bother to read, AT ALL)

Leftie here, again. Wait, what?!? Did that sound we agreed to disagree? Confoozling! Funny enough, there appears to be no middle ground with this series, either you hate it or love it. OR, either you love to have it or you hate that you love it. Ackkkkk!!! 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review: Ruin (Songs of Corruption, Book 2) by CD Reiss

RATING: 5 napkins

**Ya gotta read Spin before you read Ruin**
Antonio is a killer. He's beautiful, educated, a prodigy of a thief and as violent a motherfucker as ever came of the boat from Napoli. 
Theresa knows it, but that doesn't stop her from getting emotionally and physically entangled with him, and this is how, maybe, she got it in her head that she can protect him.
But it's not her job to save him, and she's just not getting that. Every time she tries to protect him, she practically gets him killed, and the tighter he grips her, the more dangerous she becomes.
It's almost as if...well, he'd never admit this....but it's almost as if protecting her the way he does is the one thing he should stop. As if the only way he's ever going to find a moment's peace is to just embrace her as a partner, rather than a defenseless creature.
But he'd never do that. Not this violent motherfucker.
WARNING: This book contains delicious sex scenes with a hot man dirty-talking in Italian; women handling firearms and explosives; and scenes of violence with a crystal Virgin Mary cigarette lighter.
Via Goodreads
If there's a person or a thing that can get me out to blog again, I can't think of a better choice than CD Reiss and her writing. This woman has gripped me from her Songs of Submission and I don't see that grip loosening any time soon...

**Complimentary ARC received from publisher via Netgalley**

Please note that I have my own copy as well.

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

As always, every time I write my "reviews" on any of CD’s books, I feel like I need a moment to collect my thoughts, take a deep breath and let my emotions re-adjust and re-settle. That’s the kind of ride she takes me on every single time, seriously…

So the story of the Napoli prince and the LA princess continues. Antonio, bound by tradition and honor and obligation and guilt and responsibility who’s damned if he does (stay, leave, love, whatever it is he does) and damned if he doesn’t. And Theresa, lost in the jargon of Antonio’s world who’s coming to understand what her love for Antonio means and what it can do to both of them.

If I can simplify it, it’s all about them finding a way to keep each other in each other’s world, and safe at that, considering their backgrounds, what they’ve been through thus far, what having each other means to the rest of their respective worlds as they move forward. Ironically enough, it’s never been about how they feel about each other because that’s just a given, as guaranteed as the sun rising and setting.

”Love is its own decision.”

I will leave it at that because otherwise, I’ll end up giving away the entire story, the twists and turns it took/takes for them to achieve their ultimate goal. And seeing that their story continues, it does end on HFN note…

If I may just add one more thing, and I mean this in the most complimentary way, reading Ruin to me is what feels like if a soap is directed by a 1st-rate director like Spielberg, or Coppola, or Boyle, or Nolan. There’s so much nuance to every action and thought. You can feel the magnitude of the emotions. It immerses you right from the very first word. And the levity thrown-in in the most unexpected time catches you off guard, then you realize after how much you needed it. I also love how she drops a nugget here and there about the Drazen clan which gets me really excited as I wonder if they’re possible insight to past or future stories of the other Drazens. In short, I am just in complete awe of CD and her beautiful writing.

Once again, hats off to you, CD!!!


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