Friday, December 22, 2017

Books I have not finished in 2017 #3

Every now and then there's a book that doesn't work for me. Here are a few that have been like that in the last few months.

Summer of the Unicorn by Kay Hooper

Review: Summer of the Unicorn by Kay Hooper

Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed Kay Hooper in my early romance reading days, I did not enjoy this revisit even though the story description sounded intriguing and Ms Hooper's writing is good. Summer of the Unicorn was slow and dragged on for far too long in the beginning. There was so much time, in the beginning, introducing the protagonist and antagonist, I got impatient. I was wondering when the hero and heroine would meet and honestly, it was kinda hard to figure out who the hero was. I never got far enough to meet the heroine. The story simply did not hold my interest. On top of that, the hero had sex with other women in his harem during the book but before he met the heroine. I get that the hero can have a sex life before he meets the heroine but I prefer not to have to read about it in detail. Upon further investigation, this is a re-release of an old book of Ms Hooper's. Perhaps I've moved beyond the old school bodice rippers in my reading tastes since my impressionable teenage years?

Bad For Her by Christi Barth

Review: Bad For Her (Bad Boys Gone Good #1) by Christi Barth

Honestly, I feel a bit misled by this book. I was expecting a bad boy and lots of excitement, instead of I got a small town romance with plenty of teasing and sexual tension. The sexual tension I don't mind, it was really well done, but unfortunately, I am not a fan of small town romances. Even though I now live in what I consider a small town (about fifty thousand people) but I'm still a city girl at heart. The things that most people find quaint and endearing about a small town just kinda irks me. I gave this book a really good go, till about 60% or 70% I think (I forget) but then I set it down and didn't feel the urge to pick it back up again. I found the pacing of the story a bit on the slow side and I kept waiting for something to happen. It's a long book too and it felt like it dragged. Perhaps it's my fault for being an adrenalin junkie but I wanted things to happen faster than they did. There were a lot of side scenes of either Rafe or Mollie with different people in the town which I felt was a bit like padding to the story. I feel awful about it too because I loved the sound of the book and the premise with which it's written around. And on top of that, Ms Barth is a good writer. I cannot fault her writing at all. Rafe is also sexy as all heck. I liked Rafe a lot. He's strong, protective of his brothers and generally, a decent guy even though he was mixed up with the Chicago mob and now in WITSEC to protect himself and his brothers from being killed. And Mollie was adorable. She truly, truly loves her small town and everything about it. It's a shame some of her love for her small town did not rub off on me. The next book in the series seems to follow the same line, bad boy, small-town romance, so I'm not sure I'll be giving it a shot. Gah, now I feel bad all around. :-(

Bachelor Games by Daire St Denis

Review: Bachelor Games (Tropical Temptations #3) by Daire St Denis

This story sounded cute in the blurb but failed in its execution for me. The whole premise is that Becca, the plain sister is helping Grace, her beautiful but naive sister wine a beauty pageant, only Callum, the hero and the judge likes Becca and wants her. My first problem with this story was the cheating. What Becca is doing, equipping Grace with a camera, microphone and ear-piece and coaching her while life during a competition is cheating, plain and simple. I seriously had issues with the ethics of the whole thing even if 60% into the story, Grace does come right out and say they are cheating. Points for acknowledging the cheating but by then, to me, the damage is already done. Becca has a hand in everything Grace does which puts her at the top of the contestant list, including asking Callum to make Grace the winner of the contest as the reason she would be willing to sleep with him. Oh yeah, and Becca lies to Callum. It's not a big lie but it's enough of a lie that it's misleading. She justifies it by saying she doesn't trust anything with what happened to her. Tell the truth or don't say anything at all. The whole thing about Becca being the plain sister and no one looking at her is taken to an extreme. And the point about Grace being the one who should win and get all the good stuff because she's the beautiful one? Utter rubbish. Aren't we beyond these overly manufactured self-esteem issues is romance already? I struggled with this book. I set it down for a few days, procrastinated about reading it and then when I got back to it, got fed up when Becca lied to Callum. Add to that the fact that I felt like I was forcing myself to finish reading it and I thought "reading just shouldn't be this hard!" and decided I'd be doing myself a favor with a DNF. The writing itself is decent enough but the story did not hold my attention.

Her Scottish Wolf by Theodora Taylor

Review: Her Scottish Wolf by Theodora Taylor

So this book ... it was a RAVE recommendation from an author I know. Both she and another person were raving about Ms Taylor's work and the person who was reading her was binge reading her backlist. I was between books so I decided to give it a shot. Sigh. Sadly, Ms Taylor didn't work for me. Don't get me wrong, her writing was fine. I just didn't connect with her characters and the world. Let's start with the world building. There was none. The heroine was clueless and I felt as ignorant as the heroine. Fortunately for me, I could extrapolate since I've read a ton of paranormal romance. I could guess by filling in the gaps. Since this was a spin-off to her bigger series and for a new imprint, a little world building or backstory to the world would have helped. Then there was the hero. He started off as a total asshole. Probably the biggest bastard I've ever read in a hero before and that's saying something for me because I pretty much forgive almost anything assholey heroes do. I'm THAT pro-hero. Fortunately, he does turn around at about the 25% mark. And the heroine? Totally clueless. And self-absorbed. (SPOILER: HIGHLIGHT TO READ) After a lot of shenanigans (early on in the book), she tells the hero she loves him. Then she turns around and dumps him when she finds out she's healthy and he wants to be with her. Even after he comes after her and explains EVERYTHING to her. She still ditches him. (END SPOILER). I gave up after that. I was not going to put up with that level of stupid. I expect Ms Taylor redeems her at some point but I had finally lost patience after umming and ahhing over whether to DNF the book or not. I did. Which is a shame really because the hero was starting to become rather yummy.

UPDATE: I thought I'd give the book another shot. I keep thinking about the book and thinking I'd like to read it but each time I read it, the damned heroine makes my head want to explode and I have to put the book down. It's not a good reading cycle to be in.

The Vilka's Mate by Pearl Foxx

Review: The Vilka's Mate (Shifters of Kladuu #2) by Pearl Foxx

There's something about Ms Foxx's writing and her heroines that just do not work for me. The story started off with a bang. Lots of action and adrenalin which I enjoyed. I liked the fast pace Ms Foxx set on the story but for some reason I could not get into it. I did not like Jude. Yes, she was self-sufficient, resourceful and very brave when faced with danger but I did not like her. I didn't like the way she reacted to Gerrit, granted they didn't have much time to connect since they were running for their lives from the Draqon who were after them. There's something about Ms Foxx's heroines. They all seem to be driven by anger and there is a lot of hissing and spitting going on. While a part of me understands some of her reactions, I do not like her attitude. So no, I think Ms Foxx's stories are not for me even though her writing on the surface is decent enough.

The Virgin Bride said Wow by Cathy Gillen Thacker

Review: The Virgin Bride said "Wow" by Cathy Gillen Thacker

OMG! This book is horrible. And I HATED the heroine. I got sucked into getting this book to read because ... y'all THAT title! I just wanted to see what it was like. I did not expect it to be so god-awful and full of cliches - like the hero and heroine needing to get married before anyone would give them a loan for their business. Geez! This book was originally published in 2001, not the Dark Ages!! And the heroine. Ugh. Horrible. I hated her from the get-go. She's reckless, impulsive, shallow, immature and just plain annoying. And a cock tease. And fickle. And has a reputation for being someone who dated a lot of guys and played the field, someone who was not serious or responsible. I want to think that underneath all that perhaps she has some depth to her but then after impulsively being married to the hero she agrees to go on a secret date with an ex-boyfriend because he wants to practice on her before asking out the woman he really likes. I lost it when she agreed on the date after having only JUST gotten married to her business partner that afternoon, teasing him sexually and then bailing on him. Oy! Do not read this book. It's not worth the $2.99 I paid for it. I was going to ask Steve to read it to do a Manview on it but it's so horrible I'm not even sure I want to subject him to this atrocity. He might DNF it too. The Virgin Bride might have said Wow, but I sure as heck did not. Now I need to go read an author I like to get this bad taste out of my mouth.

There you have it. A few books that were a bit lacklustre for me.

Tell me, are there any hot buttons that don't work for you in books? Something that will make you shut the book and not keep reading? How many books have you not finished so far this year?

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  1. Hi Deanna

    I am pretty sure there has not been one book this year that I DNF yes there are some of course that are harder to get through than others but I do it :)

    One thing that puts me off is a whingy heroine and a story that has way too much description it or a hero with that is in my opinion weal

    Have Fun


    1. I've learned to not force myself if I'm not enjoying a book even when I feel guilty about not finishing it.

  2. I usually read books in series that I've been reading a long time or authors that I know I already like. I do read some new authors but not a lot of the time so I usually like the books I read.

    1. With the blog, I do come across a lot of new to me authors. Some are fabulous, some not so much.

  3. Omg that last one *cringes* And 2000s wtf!!!!!

    1. Oh yeah, that one was really awful. It did not make me say "wow!".

  4. Let me first say that I really enjoy the way you review a book even without finishing it, and giving such phenomenal and well written detail of why it didn't work. You even still had good things to say in many instances(lol), and that's not easy to do. Kay Hooper is someone I used to read a lot of, and some of her books are still in my TBR pile. I used to be an adrenaline junkie (lol) so I may probably be okay with Christine Barth. Bachelor Games would probably be a pass because I don't know if I could get past the cheating piece either. The Virgin Bride cover scared me, along with the title, (lol)so I don't know that I would have even gotten past that in a store. This sort of reminds me of the old Barbara Cartland books where all the heroines had heart shaped faces and breathy voices. But her books had some substance despite those repetitive similarities. The ethics of agreeing to a date with another man after just getting married is a big fat NO for me, and characters that just aren't likeable makes any book hard to read. Fantastic post! Hugs...RO

    1. Thank you. I don't believe in trashing a book. If I don't finish or don't like it, I think it's only fair that I say why without being negative as much as possible. Actually, I liked Barbara Cartland back in my early romance reading days. Even loved the movies they made out of some of the books. I think I may still have some on DVD in my collection.

  5. LOL that Thacker title. I can understand needing it. Boo on the book misses, though.

    1. Book misses happen. I'm learning to be better about not feeling guilty about them.