Thursday, May 28, 2020

Books I have not finished in 2020 #1

Do you know what happens when you get adventurous and try a whole bunch of new authors and read a lot of indie authors and in Kindle Unlimited? Lots of great books, but also lots of duds. I've been making an effort to read through more of the free books I get from Amazon and also use my Kindle Unlimited subscription. On top of that, I've been getting sucked in by other readers raving about books they have loved in some book groups. Alas, different people have different tastes and what some people love, I don't. Hence this post.

Beauty And The Billionaire by Lauren Landish

Review: Beauty and the Billionaire (Dirty Fairy Tales #1) by Lauren Landish

I'm making my way through some Kindle Unlimited books I've downloaded and I have to admit that KU books can be a bit hit or miss for me especially if it's something that I am trying for the first time. I guess that's the benefit of KU because I can easily return the book I've borrowed. I like Ms Landish's writing but for me, I don't think the Beauty and the Beast trope generally works for me. It's not my favorite fairy tale trope. In this instance, while Thomas is sexy and alpha as all get out, and Mia is quirky and fun, even 20% into the book, I still feel disconnected from them and I'm not buying into their story. There's also the silent thread of Blackwell in the background as the villain plotting Thomas's demise and I'm not digging that either. I hate chapters with the villain's POV. While I'e enjoyed a previous book by Ms Landish this one didn't quite hit the mark. I felt myself getting disinterested and impatient, and perhaps also a little bored. And as I usually do in these cases, I skipped to the end. I do like to read their happy ending.

Baby Daddy Can't Get Enough by BB Hamel

Review: Baby Daddy Can't Get Enough by BB Hamel

What an absolutely horrendous lot of people populating this book! Seriously, no one is likable. Everyone of them are horrible, with their own hidden agenda, and disgusting. If Ms Hamel set out to make everything about as awful as she could make them, she did an excellent job. However, as a result, it made the book very unpleasant to read and it was difficult to even root for Ryan and Casey because in their own way, they are in on it. Everyone is greedy, selfish, and destructive. Ryan will do anything to get his father's company. Casey is mercenary enough to go along with it and she's utterly cutthroat from the very beginning. Ms Hamel doesn't do anything to make Ryan and Casey more likable while they navigate the pitfalls and traps of Ryan's extremely dysfunctional family. I honestly tried to keep reading to the very end but I could not tolerate it. Everyone left a bad taste in my mouth. I ended up skipping to the end and reading the last three chapters to see that Ryan and Casey end up happy together. Much as I wanted to see how they negotiated their way around all of Ryan's conniving relatives to get to their happy ending, I didn't have the patience or the stomach for it. They were just too awful to tolerate.

Bet Me To Stay by Candace Havens

Review: Bet Me To Stay by Candace Havens

I'm in a mood... maybe. Could be a book funk, could simply be the book. This book started off on a bit of a negative note with the hero, Liam being cranky at his brother which led to a bet between him and his brother. His side of the bet was he had to date the next woman who walked through the doors of their pub. Honestly, the whole thing wasn't grabbing me since I'm not keen on stories where dating the woman was a result of a bet. That kind of thing never ends well and someone gets upset about it at some point when they find out. Usually the heroine. In this case, that's Casey, daughter of Liam's biggest competitors. Casey knew she was in her family's rival's pub. For whatever reason, she decides to give a fake name instead of her real name which would have clued Liam in to who she is. I guess this is Ms Haven's way of creating a story and a reason for tension between Liam and Casey later on. I can already see the whole set up for the black moment of the plot. Anyway, dishonesty can be subjective in real life. In my romance fantasy, it's a hard limit so between the inauspicious beginning and Casey lying, I decided that this was a book that I'm going to skip.
Update: It was not a book funk. Phew!! I loved the next book I picked up and devoured it.

Snow and the 7 Hunks by RR Banks

Review: Snow and the 7 Hunks by RR Banks

This book was strange and did not live up to the title and my expectations. With a title like "Snow and the 7 Hunks" I was expecting a reverse harem where the 7 hunks (dwarves?) shared Snow in this Snow White fairy tale retelling. It was not like that at all. In fact, Snow went on a series of one night stands "dates" with a series of men in a journey of self-discovery and along the way, Noah was one of the men though he'd been a light presence from the start of her journey but with very, very little on-page interaction. I still couldn't figure out who the hero was or who Snow was going to end up with without skipping to the end by about 70% of the book even though by about 60% Snow and Noah had their first significant interaction and their own one night stand "date". It's a very strange set up for a romance and it didn't read like a romance to the very end where Snow and Noah through a twist of fate end up together and all is well. That said, Ms Banks did keep very close to the whole fairy tale storyline and even went to the extent of including entire chapters from the evil queen's point of view. I did not enjoy those because Ms Banks made her out to be a truly shallow, horrible person, and she did her best to destroy Snow. I didn't like the way the entire story was set up because I didn't feel connected to the characters and particularly Noah since he was around so little while Snow was dating other men. I can't even figure out if it's actually cheating since we don't actually know Noah is the hero until the last chapter of the book. For all these reasons I struggled with reading the book. It took me DAYS to finish it or rather not finish it because I was just reluctant to get back to it each time I put it down and I felt like I was forcing myself to read it until I finally decided that if I was forcing myself to read then I was better of stopping rather than making myself miserable with the experience. Alas, I think Ms Banks is not an author for me because this is the second book of hers that I've DNFed. The first book I didn't even make it past the first couple of chapters.

Mr President by Alexis Angel

Review: Mr President by Alexis Angel

Let me start by saying that I love books featuring the President or some kind of head of state as the hero. They are totally my jam. Unfortunately, with this one, it didn't work for me because it opens with the President banging the ambassador of an ally country in order to get her to agree to do something. And while I'm not going to question his methods or ethics, I do have a personal quirk where I do not like to read about the hero or heroine having sex with someone other than the heroine or hero even if it's at the beginning of the book and they haven't met each other yet and haven't formed any kind of relationship or attraction. Yes, I'm weird like that but it's my romance fantasy and I have a few personal do's and dont's regarding what I'm willing to accept or not in my romance. Humor me! Aside from that, I didn't find Austin and Ashley to be particularly likable characters and I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. I love that it's a smutty book because smutty books are my jam, but when the hero and heroine have questionable characters and morals, I'm much less inclined to want to keep reading just to enjoy the smut. I'll take my smut with a heavy dose of characters I like, thank you. I'm going to move onto another one of Ms Angel's books and see how that goes.

Update: I went back to the book after I I wrote this review and gave it another go. And yeah, I didn't like it. Austin is a smug baztard and Ashley has questionable morals.

Major O by RR Banks

Review: Major O by RR Banks

I had heard that Ms Banks along with a bunch of other authors got removed from Amazon from a sweep they did as book stuffers. I was also curious about her and those other authors and found that I had a few of her books I must have picked up on sale or for free at one point or another and decided to give it a shot. Well, this didn't work out for me. I don't know if Ms Banks was popular or had a large following in the past since all her books have been pulled from sale and I can't find them anywhere but this was dull and emotionless. It starts with the hero banging a random pick up, followed by the heroine in a relationship with another man also having sex with him though it's rather lackluster sex. Honestly, while I don't mind the sex I do not like to read about the hero or heroine having sex with anyone other than each other even if I know they have had relationships and hookups in the past. Aside from that, this book took too long for the hero and heroine to connect. Five chapters in and they are still nowhere closer to crossing paths. Also not the kind of thing I like to read. Aside from that I found the writing didn't engage me and I felt very disconnected with the characters because of what I described earlier. Serves me right for wanting to try something different. Might have to go back to an old favorite author for a while but I will try another one of Ms Banks' books to see if this was a one-off thing and if I'll like her other books.

Virgo Rising by MJ Marstens

Review: Virgo Rising (The Afflicted Zodiac #1) by MJ Marstens

I really should not read books where people rave about them because it artificially inflates my expectations. This one was supposed to be funny as all get out. Instead what I got was way too much of Zahra's inner monologue which just got boring and went on and on for too long. It was tedious and uninteresting. As for the funny, I think Zahra is meant to be free-spirited and funny but instead, she just came across as ditzy and crass and not in a cute way. I admit I skimmed a lot of the book hoping it would get better but in general I was just bored. Decided to stop reading rather than continuing to torture myself with it. Note to self: stop taking rave recommendations.

Pythen by Erin Raegan

Review: Pythen (Galactic Order #1) by Erin Raegan

I do not remember why I picked up this book to read. Maybe because it sounded intriguing and I generally like sci-fi romance. Only I've just discovered I do not like totally out there sci-fi romance where the aliens are totally alien and look nothing like humans and do not have similar characteristics that draw them together. This one was interesting but very strange and while it was well written and relatively engaging I did not like the direction it was heading in, I did not like the drama that looked like it was going to have (I don't like drama), and I generally didn't feel connected with the characters. Because the aliens were so alien and they didn't understand each other at first there was a lot of angst and crying and wailing. That was understandable but very unpleasant. And I skipped to the end because I didn't feel like I wanted to finish the story and I didn't like how things were going down and what looked to be happening. More drama, things unresolved, and it looked like I needed to read another book to get to the end of Peyton and Tahk's story. Alas, this was not for me. I'm going to be a lot more careful about picking sci-fi romances from now on and pay very close attention to the images of what the aliens look like on the cover. Oh, and I should have heeded the author warnings at the beginning of the book too. My bad.

A Soldier's Poem by Ava Douglan

Review: A Soldier's Poem by Ava Douglan

This was slow, boring, and written in a way that did not excite me or make me want to keep reading past the first couple of chapters. The style was languid and sounded like something out of a dry history book. It's probably in keeping with the whole concept behind the story, the historical, time travel aspects of it, but it didn't make me want to keep reading. It's too bad too cos I like time travel stories. They can often be fun and amusing as one party or the other tries to adjust to either modern or historical life. With this one, I just didn't feel drawn in to want to stick around and find out. Others who are more patient than I am might enjoy it or find it a sweet read.

Torn by Carian Cole

Review: Torn by Carian Cole

Reading this book created a bittersweet ache in me. It's a bit like reading a soap opera. Filled with drama, angst, and emotion. It's well written but I think the dynamic of Tor having been there Kenzi's entire life and seeing their relationship dynamic from various stages of Kenzi's life through both their eyes as she grew from a baby to a teenager and young adult was just a little strange for me. I'm not entirely comfortable with the change in their relationship dynamic and seeing how that unfolds after seeing Tor as the one who kissed her boo-boo's in the early parts of the book to the one Kenzi confided in during her teenage years. I guess I just like my romances a lot less complicated than this without the transition of feelings and without Tor being so involved in the Kenzi's life when she's growing up. I have trouble with that mental leap and paradigm shift. The age gap doesn't bother me, I've read some books with a larger age gap. It's the fact that they've had a mostly familial relationship the entirety of Kenzi's life with him being there when she was born, being her godfather, being Uncle Tor, and being there for every moment of her life, being an influence to her growing up. Even with pushing my own boundaries of what is acceptable in a romance this one is a little hard for me to come to terms with. I think I prefer my romances to feature adults (regardless of their ages, I'm okay with a large age gap) who come at their relationship without all the encumbrance of the kind of past that Tor and Kenzi have and need to overcome. Love is love and I'm not one to judge who a person loves and why, but this one is a little out of my comfort zone, and even though I think Kenzi is sweet and Tor is a great guy, this is not for me. I guess I like my romances to be a lot less complicated than this.

Daddy Dearest by Isabella Starling

Review: Daddy Dearest by Isabella Starling

After reading the blurb for this book, I had the feeling that it would be a little too taboo for me. I decided to give it a shot to make sure I wasn't just being judgmental and I was right. I've pushed my boundaries recently on what I considered taboo and what I would and wouldn't read. This one pushed me a little too far outside my comfort zone. I'm all for a good daddy romance but I prefer my daddy kink on the lighter side and a lot less full-on than this. This one is a whole level of dirty, smutty, and taboo that is too much for me to handle. I'm told this is fairly typical in the type of books Ms Starling writes so it might be that Ms Starling's books are not for me.

There you have it. One thing to note though is a few of these books were a carry-over from last year. There were just so many at the end of last year that I couldn't fit them all into one post without it being a million miles long and reading that many DNF reviews could get tiresome.

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. Fascinating article. Really enjoyed it. Cathleen Ross