Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Books I have not finished in 2018 #1

Every now and then there's a book that doesn't work for me. Surprisingly, there are a lot this time round. Maybe it's because I've picked up a lot of books that didn't work for me, maybe it's because I am getting better at not forcing myself to finish something I don't enjoy. Not entirely sure. It could also be I have been experimenting with some new authors too. Either day, there are a lot of DNFs this time round.

Dragon Redeemed by LC Alleyne

Review: Dragon Redeemed (Lords of Lysuholl #2) by LC Alleyne

Unfortunately, Ms Alleyne's writing is just not for me. No matter how hard I tried, I simply could not get into it and engage with the characters and the plot of the story. Admittedly, I think this one is better written than Dragon Reborn and the writing is a lot smoother than before, but it still didn't resonate with me. Believe me, I tried. I gave the book up to 25% tried to keep going but finally had to admit defeat.

Dragon Reborn by LC Alleyne

Review: Dragon Reborn (Lords of Lysuholl #1) by LC Alleyne

There was something about this book that rubbed me the wrong way. I read the first chapter and felt annoyed with the whole thing even though I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the young dragon sent to irritate Bal who went on a rampage and harmed the humans around him. Perhaps it was the heroine, Eva even though I didn't get far in enough to get to know her too well. That's not enough to form an opinion. Perhaps it was the fact that Bal was suffering because of his missing scale. I don't know, although the little I saw of Bal, I liked - strong, decisive, protective. There was something about the writing that did not entice me to keep reading even though from the blurb I was pretty excited about the story. I mean, the writing wasn't bad but it didn't engage me. In fact, I felt cranky while I was reading it and that's not a good sign. After all, I love dragon shifters. They are one of my favorite shifters and it made me sad that Bal could not shift. Anyway, I ended up skipping to the end and read how Bal got his scale back and could shift again. It all ended well with a giant dragon battle at the end but even so, the ending was not particularly satisfying. It didn't feel like Bal and Eva mated and there were no declarations of undying love and happy ever after to make my romantic heart happy. All in all, this story was a let down.

Toxic Desire by Robin Lovett

Review: Toxic Desire by Robin Lovett

Toxic Desire is a very strange book. It's more sex than anything else, so more erotica than erotic romance which is not my thing. I like my stories to have a plot even if they are erotic and for there to be romance. Instead what we have is two enemies stranded on a planet where everything - the flora, fauna, water and air, all emit an aphrodisiac that is impossible to ignore, so Oten and Nem are at the mercy of their physical desires and need for release. It's a very sexy book. The sex is hot and there's A LOT of sex. I didn't get very far because there was too much sex and not much in terms of plot, and this is unusual for me since I love reading the sex scenes in a book. I guess even I have my limits. As far as I could gather, they were stranded on a planet, trying to make it to a downed spaceship while bonking their brains out every chance they got because the sex hormones on the planet it impossible for them to control themselves. I debated whether to put the book down and read it occasionally, picking it up now and then until I got through it or to leave it. Ultimately, the story didn't grip me. I'm not a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, nor am I a fan of erotica although I do like sex in my stories. I'll be the last person to criticise sex in my stories but even I have my limits. I get that there's a misunderstanding between Oten and Nem which they eventually clear up (I kinda skipped to the end) but it was not enough to motivate me onwards. Don't get me wrong. Ms Lovett's writing is good and she writes good sex, but I think I need more than just sex to stay interested in a book. I have to admit, my feelings towards this book surprises me because I generally love anything from the Entangled Scorched line. Most of them are sexy as heck with a good dose of romance which keeps me engaged. This is not going to stop me from reading more from the line. It's still one of my favorites from Entangled.

Raw Power by Jackie Ashenden

Review: Raw Power by Jackie Ashenden

This is my first book by Jackie Ashenden and I like her writing. The hero, Jack was awesome. Exactly the kind of hero I love. Scarred, alpha, protective. Unfortunately, the heroine, Callie is a brat. A grade-A, temper tantrum throwing brat. Callie is young. She's twenty-two years old and under the thumb of a controlling father and she wants to break free. What she sees as her rebelling and grabbing some freedom for herself, I see as her having a bratty fit suitable for a two year old. I'm not that far into the story but so far there are death threats and her father has hired a bodyguard, Jack, to protect her. She's dodging Jack and when he finally catches up with her, she pitched an epic tantrum. Perhaps the danger is real, perhaps it's not. She thinks it's just her dad's way of controlling her because so far no one has taken a shot at her. She has no concept of self-preservation at all and she's intent on having her own way. I wanted to slap her across the head hard and tell at her to grow the eff up. Jack and Callie are instantly attracted to each other, but the way Callie behaves, I find it inconceivable that a man like Jack will overlook her petulant behaviour and fall for her unless she matures quickly as the story progresses. I dislike her so much I'm not even sure I have the patience to find out if she improves. She's such a clich├ęd spoiled rich kid pitching a fit because she's not getting her way.

My Royal Temptation by Riley Pine

Review: My Royal Temptation by Riley Pine

This is my fifth Harlequin Dare book and I'm coming to realise that the line might not be entirely for me even though I love erotic romance. For starters, I'm wondering why most of the heroes seem to be ashholes and womanizers. All they seem to want to do is fuck. Sure, they do come around at some point and fall in love with the heroine, but I don't fall enough for the hero that I want to keep reading to watch him fall and redeem himself. Don't get me wrong, the stories are very well written. The authors, including this one, are all skilled writers. I can't fault the writing or the punch the writing gives, but I'm wondering why the stories seem to have such a hard, harsh edge to them. I read a few reviews that said in the previous edition of this book, the writing was choppy and inconsistent. I didn't find that to be the case here. Perhaps for this go round, further editing has been done to the manuscript. As for the sex, wow! These books are hot. I'm mean, melt your Kindle, need a fan or an ice cold drink hot. And this story is no different. It sizzles right from the get-go, although I wonder if there is ever a point where the characters build more emotional depth. In a nutshell, I struggled with this book. At first I thought maybe I was in a reading funk, but as I tried a few times to get into it, I realised it was Nikolai. I didn't like him. There wasn't much sympathetic about him even though he seemed to start to thaw towards Kate pretty quickly, he's battling his own feelings and instincts in order to maintain his jaded, world-weary ashhole facade. There was too much of the narcissistic, womanizing ashhole persona to him that he seemed intent on keeping in place. This is hard for me because I like the writing, I like the sub-genre and I really, really want to like the line, but so far the characters and I are not connecting. The most interesting and intriguing character was Nikolai's bodyguard X. I wanted to learn more about him.

Girl In The Mist by ST Young

Review: Girl In The Mist by S T Young

Girl In The Mist is a compelling read, but it's a little too dark and eff'ed up for me. Ms Young does a great job writing it but Nina's multiple personalities gave me whiplash with the amount of head hopping that goes on from one personality to the next and back again. There are so many personalities it's hard to keep track of them even when Ms Young is clear about whose voice it is I'm hearing while I read. Seriously, this is one messed up story. It's a total mind-eff. For people who enjoy a good psychological thriller, this might be something they could get stuck into, but for me, it was just too disturbing. While I felt for Nina and her circumstances, the multiple personalities as a coping mechanism was extremely disturbing. I particularly did not like the fact that she had her own hidden agenda and was constantly trying to one-up and use Rory the whole time he's trying to protect her and help her heal. I felt so sorry for Rory and what he had to endure in his role as Nina's protector. All that said, Nina is a strong, if broken character, but she's a survivor. Rory, on the other hand, is a saint, especially when you take into account how trying Nina is and her constantly trying to push all his buttons with every single one of her personalities. I didn't feel connected enough with the characters, nor did I feel sucked in enough to want to finish the story. It left me wanting to bleach out my brain so I don't remember a lot of the unpleasantness that was going on. This story was not my cup of tea.

Make Me Want by Katee Robert

Review: Make Me Want by Katee Robert

I've read Katee Robert before and enjoyed her writing and this one is no different. Her writing is good. It's the content of the story that bothers me. And you'd think I'd be all over this since the premise and the trope is cute. Friends to lovers with a healthy dose of Gideon teaching Lucy a lot of sexy moves on top of it. And let me tell you, the sexiness is sizzling. It will definitely heat up your Kindle. Only I'm not quite clicking with Lucy and her wanting a clinical arranged marriage in order to secure a promotion at her job and then getting annoyed at Gideon when he is trying to help her and give her what she wants in spite of his jealousy, and boy, is Gideon jealous since he's always had feelings for Lucy. Lucy's dating life with her potential husband matches and her sexy shenanigans with Gideon just does not offer enough depth to keep me hooked on the story. And I do have a problem with her dating other men while having sex with Gideon. This won't stop me from reading more stories from Ms Robert but this one definitely didn't leave me wanting to race to the finish.

Dangerous Promise by Megan Hart

Review: Dangerous Promise (The Protector #1)  by Megan Hart

When I read the blurb for this story, I was instantly intrigued. An enhanced female bodyguard and the man she's sent to protect. On top of that, I've heard good things about Megan Hart and her writing, so I was interested in dipping in and reading her work. Unfortunately, while this story had a lot of potential, it did not deliver for me. For starters, this is a series which follows Ewan and Nina through a number of books. It was not what I expected so things play out a lot more slowly than I anticipated. I wouldn't have minded as much if the dialogue and interactions between Ewan and Nina hadn't been quite so stilted and stuffy. While there was a simmering attraction between the two, the writing lacked flow and emotion, and the pacing was a lot slower than I liked. While there isn't outright antagonism between Ewan and Nina, there's certainly a lot of conflict. I didn't enjoy reading Ewan and Nina fighting with each other so often. Ewan doesn't like enhanced people and Nina is trying not to be attracted to him while doing her job of protecting him. Little does Nina know that Ewan is the one responsible for the tech in all her enhancements. I'm pretty sure that revelations is going to cause waves in Ewan and Nina's relationship. I think I should have been more careful in reading the blurb of this book before deciding to read it. Not because of the book itself but because of the subsequent books all following the same couple. I tend to be a lot more selective of stories which follow the same couple across multiple books.

The Spanish Millionaire's Runaway Bride by Susan Meier

Review: The Spanish Millionaire's Runaway Bride by Susan Meier

This is a sweet story about a runaway bride and the man sent to bring her back home to her father to face the music and consequences of her flight. While Morgan is an endearing character and Riccardo is kind and honorable, the story didn't quite work for me. Morgan was cute and curious, out to find herself and discover if she can stand on her own feet. She's had a very dominating father her entire life and she needs to learn some strategies to find herself. Of course, she's a constant flight risk and that wore me down. At every turn, she was thinking of running away from Riccardo even when he was doing his best to give her the time she needed to find herself and figure out what to do about dealing with her father. By the time she planned to run away for the third or fourth time, I was at the end of my patience. It was unkind and ungrateful of her to take Riccardo and his family's kindness and generosity towards her to plan on deceiving them, and running away again. While reading this story, I was introduced to Mitch and Lila, Riccardo's cousin and business partner. I think I'd like to look up Mitch's book and give it a shot because I do like Ms Meier's writing.

A Week To Be Wild by JC Harroway

Review: A Week To Be Wild by JC Harroway

Honestly, I was excited about this book. I'm liking the Harlequin DARE books. Super sexy, Kindle melting, goodness. Not so this book. In fact, I got so turned off it, I didn't even get to the sexy parts and that's just a darned shame. I blame the heroine, Libby. Or Olivia, as the luscious hero, Alex calls her. Why didn't I like her? I hear you ask. Let me tell you. She's attracted to Alex. It's lust at first sight. I have not problem with that. But Libby does. She doesn't want to be attracted to him. And she has decided she doesn't like him for his reputation and his success because of her attraction because dammit, she doesn't want to be attracted to this super hot billionaire. And Alex wants to hire Libby to run the marketing campaign for a charity he's deeply invested in. It's a good business decision. It would put Libby's business on the map. It's an extremely high profile, lucrative deal. But you know what? Because Libby is attracted to the man, she can't put her hormones aside and do what's right for her business and take the job. To me, that's the height of stupidity. No savvy business person would throw away a good business deal for that reason. She'd put her hormones on pause for a little while to negotiate the deal and do what's best for the business, especially someone like Libby who apparently cares for her business, is ambitious and wants it to grow, and even went to the UK in order to drum up new business for her company. Did I mention it's the height of stupidity?
    “‘Although my personal client workload at present has me a little over-committed.’ What was she saying? This was a dream scenario for her small but growing business. Was she palming off an account of this magnitude on to one of her juniors? Seriously? All because he was twice as hot in person, made her thighs tremble and soaked her expensive lingerie—her one indulgence.”
    “He brought something out in her—some perverse streak of her personality that revelled in denying his wishes. A battle of wills? Not very mature of her and bad for business.”
And then listening to pages and pages of Libby turning Alex down over and over again simply annoyed the living heck out of me. I really wanted to get to the sexy parts and hopefully have most of Libby's stupidity behind me, but unfortunately, I couldn't. Especially considering, I spent twenty plus years of my professional life working in a business environment and I know how ridiculous and detrimental an attitude like Libby's is. I'm sorry, but this particular DARE book is not for me. I'm sure others would be able to enjoy it if they are not as affected by Libby's attitude as I am.
Update: She does agree to work with Alex and I expect that's where their relationship starts to get close and intimate but by then, I was no longer invested in the book.

Zero Hour by Megan Erickson

Review: Zero Hour (Wired & Dangerous #1) by Megan Erickson

Man, I wanted so much to like this book. I really did, but I don't. First off, the revenge theme. Revenge stories tend to be filled with a lot of hate and anger. Not my thing. I should have listened to my instincts but this one was about hackers and I love hackers. I thought it would be exciting and filled with lots of action - keyboard action, that is, with plenty of hacking. I understand hacking is hard to translate into words to get it to seems exciting but dang, I wanted it. I've been watching a lot of CSI Cyber lately and I love that show. That's an exciting show and I wanted this book to be like that. High stakes, edge of the seat hacking. Unfortunately, 24% into the book and it's still all set up and backstory, and people being angry. I kinda understand the angry since it's what drives the revenge but I wanted more action. I'm pretty sure most of it is my fault because I had a certain set of expectations going in and the story didn't meet my expectations. It's kind of unfair on the book but the whole time I was reading it, I wanted more happening and I kept thinking of putting it down because it was not drawing me in. I did not feel invested in Roarke and Wren's mission. This makes me sad because I love the concept of the story. I didn't even get far enough for the sexy bits because Ms Erickson's sexy bits are some seriously hot writing. All this said, I will read the next book in the series if it is not revenge themed because Ms Erickson is a good writer and I like her writing.

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. Replies
    1. That's fantastic for you. I've read so many books this year (I'm way ahead on my reading goal) there just seemed to be a lot for me but if I average it out, I don't think there's been that many.

  2. I can't say I love womanizers and aholes! Ugh

    1. Nope. I don't like them either. They don't define heroes to me.

  3. I haven't DNF any books recently, thank goodness, (lol) but I love the reasons you give for not being able to complete a book. Your thought process is pretty phenomenal. Hugs...RO

    1. Hooray for you not having to DNF any books recently. That's awesome. And thank you. I try to be reasonable about why I don't like a book and not just slam it. Sometimes it's hard to articulate the reason clearly though, especially if the book made me cranky.

  4. Ah bummer. The Roberts I can understand that. I like some of that set up but that wouldn't quite work for me either.

    1. The whole thing didn't work for me and I had high hopes being a Robert book.