Thursday, February 25, 2021

Books I have not finished 2020 #6 (This is it, I promise!)

Last year, I read a lot more books than I ever have. Cracked a whopping record for myself with 346 books. That's almost a book a day. Granted some were shorter and some were longer. Most were in the middle. Anyway, with reading more books, proportionally there were more books that I didn't enjoy as much. Percentage wise it held pretty steady but because I read more books, there were more DNFs. I'm on the same trajectory so far this year and it looks like I'm doing it again.

That said, this is the last of it from last year. I know I need to be more diligent about posting my reviews even of things I don't finish because I think that brings balance. Not everyone will love everything. That's why I do these.

So without much further ado, here's some books I have not finished recently.

His Christmas Cookie by Alexa Riley

Review: His Christmas Cookie by Alexa Riley
I should have known from reading the previous book that I would not enjoy Cookie's story because of her attitude towards men and what she went through in the past. What she experienced is unfortunate, but she has used it as an excuse to harden her heart towards all men and shiz like that just drives me batty. I did not enjoy the way she blows hot and cold with Frost, jumping to conclusions, and not giving him the benefit of the doubt. And then intentionally not seeking to clear things up out of spite when Frost clearly tells her that she needs to talk to Pumpkin to get the truth. That's just absolute rubbish and I'm not putting up with that in a character. Frost deserves better that this kind of attitude and treatment from Cookie. This makes me sad too because I love Ms Riley's books and this is the first of the many I've read that I have DNF'ed, but I guess with so many books in her repertoire, I'm bound to run up against a few that I won't love. PS. There's also "other man" and "other woman" drama in the story which is totally not my thing. It was in the other book, His Pumpkin Pie too, and the drama didn't actually get resolved so the same people causing problems in the previous book are back again to cause more problems for Frost and Cookie. What a pain!

In His Custody by Jessa Kane

Review: In His Custody by Jessa Kane
I usually love Ms Kane's books but this one didn't quite work for me. Yes, Brody was obsessive about London to the point of being stalkerish and reading about his obsession is fun. London, on the other hand, is a brat who is hiding a lot of hurt with abandonment issues so she acts out instead. It's a short story so things move fast between Brody and London, but the whole dynamic of him being "technically" her stepfather kinda squicks me out a little bit and  ***SPOILER*** it's not to the very end that we find out the entire thing has been orchestrated by Brody just so he can feed his obsession with London and control meeting her and being with her. *** END SPOILER*** I love a good obsessive, stalkery story, but the whole stepfather thing even if it's in name only just throws me for a loop. I skipped to the end to read what happens to them (hence the little spoiler above) and I'm happy to report that they do get their happy ever after (of course!). The epilogue is hot as eff too but that's neither here nor there. This is classic Jessa Kane, hot, hard, and fast, and if the stepfather thing doesn't bother you then you will enjoy this story. Unfortunately for me, I think most "step" anything tends to squick me out so I should really pay attention and not dive into such books in the future.

Luca by Nyssa Kathryn

Review: Luca (Project Arma #1) by Nyssa Kathryn
I had a huge debate with myself about whether to finish reading this book or not. For the most part, it's a well written book, but I found I was not enjoying the book or the reading experience and some things in the story bothered me. I did read the prequel to the series which made me excited to read the books but had me anxious about Eden's book (more on that later). I'm probably in the minority in terms of people not enjoying this book, but everyone's taste is different.

The reason I was struggling with this book is that it's kind of depressing. I get that Evie had been abused and traumatised and she's has huge trust issues, but there's no hope in the story whatsoever. Evie is constantly running, hiding, and fearing for her life. She doesn't let anyone in and even when she does start dating Luca, she spends more time pushing him away and blaming her issues, and asking him to give her more time to sort her own shiz out rather than dealing with the issues head on. I love a damsel in distress and Evie is clearly a damsel in distress, but the difference between her and other heroines I've loved is those other heroines have fight in them. The fight for a better life, for the life they want, and for the man they want to share that life with. Evie doesn't fight. She just lives in terror and is on the verge of running every single moment and that got tiring after a while.

Luca is a saint. He did a couple of things that had me questioning what was going on but otherwise, he was a saint. I mean his patience with Evie is off the charts. Either he's a glutton for punishment or he needs to be entered into sainthood because he keeps coming back no matter how often Evie pushes him away. He's always there for her, caring for her, protecting her, wanting her. He must see something in Evie that I do not. The only glitch in all of that is that there's this one incident where Evie screams in the middle of the night and he goes running over to her house to investigate. He checks out her house and finds out that there's been an intruder but cannot prove it without giving away his super senses so he says nothing to a terrified Evie and tells her everything is okay. Seriously, any other romantic suspense or protector romance I've read, the guy would have whisked her right out of the house and tucked up safe in his own place where he can protect her up close and personal. Of course, that can't happen with all of Evie's issues, but still... I really think Luca should have been a lot more forceful and pushy with Evie but maybe that's just me reading way too many other books with over the top, pushy, obsessive, jealous, possessive heroes.

After reading the prequel I was almost wanting to skip this first book in the series and go straight to Eden's book to find out what happened between him and Shylah. I'm glad I didn't because it did give me some insight into what these guys did after what happened at the end of the prequel. Still the end of the prequel and knowing that Eden and Shylah's story was going to be a second chance romance gave me a lot of anxiety after knowing what happened by the end of the prequel. I honestly do not know whether I should have read the prequel or not. It does fill in a lot of backstory but it left me anxious about Eden and Shylah. In Luca's book, we find out that Shylah has disappeared and Eden is no longer the same man he was before everything went down and losing Shylah. I got the sense that there was going to be a lot of angst and negative feelings in Eden's book from what I knew about Eden in Luca's book and from reading the blurb to Eden's book. I think it's going to be filled with all the things I don't like about a second chance romance. This is my way of saying that even though I was anxious to find out what happened between Eden and Shylah, I don't think I am going to enjoy the story.

Between not enjoying Luca's story and being unwilling to read Eden's story with what has been foreshadowed, I think this is it for this series for me. That's kind of sad because I had high hopes for this series after reading the prequel and I was hoping to find another romantic suspense series that I'd love.

My Favorite Daddy by BB Hamel

Review: My Favorite Daddy (Dark Daddies #6) by BB Hamel
I'm a huge fan of Ms Hamel's daddy books. I've loved every one of them up until this one. Maybe it's my mood, maybe it's the book, but I could not get into it. It's tough because I'm predisposed to like it but this one felt like it veered into bizarro land for me. For starters, Aria has a very unconventional occupation. No judgement there. We must do what we must to survive and make money for a living. When she gets an even more unconventional proposition from Brady, she's all about her rules, staying in control, and resisting even though she's attracted to Brady. I get the initial resistance but I think Brady made a pretty good case of why she shouldn't and let's face if, if someone offered me that kind of money for what he wanted her to do, I'd take it in a heartbeat. I might second guess myself (this is me thinking with my 25 year old hat on) but I'd do it. It's too good an opportunity to pass up. So her resistance got tedious and I ran out of patience with her. Of course, I understand from a plot perspective why she needs to resist because it creates conflict and tension between her and Brady. Her constantly resisting, Brady pushing her to accept what he's offering. It's not often that I DNF a book by Ms Hamel, particularly her older books which I really enjoy but I think I might need a break from her for a little while.

Omega Revealed by Alexis B Osborne

Review: Omega Revealed (Omegas of OAN #1) by Alexis B Osborne
I am fussy about my omegaverse reads. I admit to having very specific tastes when it comes to omegaverse and it does not include heat suppressants and alphas not wanting omegas and omegas running away from alphas. I figure it's something that I want them to want and work through. I was hesitant about this story because Beth is on heat suppressants which fail when her heat triggers. The heat itself was fun to read and I liked that the alphas were all about consent and were generally great understanding guys and not beastly alphas who just take. Therein lies the problem though. I want the alphas to be more alpha and I want them to take more. I do not like the misunderstanding that occurs right after Beth's heat and the fact that Beth runs. After she runs, I keep waiting for Finn to show up, banging down her door to set things right but it does not happen. I did like like the direction the story was taking with Beth being left to fend for herself given her newly discovered omega status and I kept waiting for Finn to show up again. He didn't. To me, it took way too long for the alpha to show up and take charge. I get this is sweet omegaverse but alphas still need to be alpha. I lost interest after pages and pages of Beth having to figure out how to live on her own with her new omega status and being all alone in the world with no one to turn to. It was depressing.

Christmas Under The Northern Lights by Annie O'Neil

Review: Christmas Under the Northern Lights by Annie O'Neil
I was looking for a cheerful, heartwarming Christmas story and I love Harlequin's Medical line. Sadly, this was depressing with a heroine who found her fiance cheating on her and hates Christmas, and a hero who is swimming in guilt over not being there for his grandmother in her time of need. They didn't get off on a good start even if they both acknowledged that the other was gorgeous and easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, I was not in the mood for something that was going to drag me down into the dumps and I wasn't patient enough to wade through the depressing bits to get to the bits where they started to thaw towards each other, particularly Audrey who has serious trust issues after what happened with her and who wanted nothing to do with another man in her life and who definitely did not want anything even remotely related to Christmas cheer. I'm sorry Audrey suffered such heartache but I was not in the mood to wade through the doldrums with her.

Toxin Alert by Tyler Anne Snell

Review: Toxin Alert (Tactical Crime Division: Traverse City #2) by Tyler Anne Snell
I thought I'd try this Harlequin Intrigue story since I've seen books from the line pop up in my feed many times. As much as I wanted to like this book, it didn't grab me. I struggled to feel connected with the characters and get engrossed in the story. Everything seemed very clinical and distant to me. It was a struggle to stay interested in the story and what was happening.

Captured For Love by Ella Goode

Review: Captured for Love by Ella Goode
I should have heeded the warning in the blurb where it said that Dove had sworn off men and was never dating. And then I found out that Dove had serious trust issues and problems with men with money, so in order for Jay to get close to her, he had to pretend to be someone he's not and tell a few little white lies. What bothered me the whole time I was reading was Dove's attitude. She hates her job but she slogs on because she needs a job and she's willing to put up with what amounts to harassment and abuse at work. It takes her absolutely forever to give Jay a chance even though he proves to her over and over again that he's a good guy. She even thinks he's a good guy but she's carrying so much baggage that she can't see past that. She repeatedly shuts Jay out while Jay repeatedly tries to get through to her and to get her to trust him. I gave the book a good 50% before I finally gave up because I got tired of Dove pushing Jay away. Gotta say, Jay has the patience of a saint because he hangs in there and continues to woo Dove in every way he can. Jay's a great guy. That's not the kind of romance I want to read which is a shame because I do enjoy Ms Goode's books and the previous book gave me so much joy and I loved the little cameo with Abel and the mention of Pepper in the book. This one, however, was a disappointment.

Protecting His Pregnant Lover by Leslie North

Review: Protecting His Pregnant Lover (Southern Soldiers of Fortune Book 1) by Leslie North
Everything about this book sounded interesting. High school reunion. One night stand. Surprise baby. Danger. Threats. Etc. Only it wasn't. I mean, it was well written enough but lacked excitement and zing. I kept waiting for it to get interesting. It had juicy bits sure, it needs to be juicy to get to the pregnancy. But sadly, it lacked anything to hold my interest and it was mostly bland and boring. Fast pass, this one, but I did skip to the end and read the ending. It's a shame too cos Ms North has one heck of a backlist and I'd had some fun going through it if I had taken to her books.

Maddox by Callie Rhodes

Review: Maddox (The Boundarylands #4) by Callie Rhodes
I had thought I'd finally found another omegaverse series to love but this series has been a whole mixed bag for me. My favorite so far is Samson which actually features an alpha with a beta and not an omega. I've come to realise that there's a general theme running through all these books where betas (who become omegas when they touch an alpha which is rare) are brought up on lies about alphas and the alpha-omega relationship. It basically generates a lot of fear and hate in the omega for the alphas and the fate they find themselves in bound to an alpha. The omegas are generally selfish and think only about themselves. I've enjoyed the earlier books to varying degrees but this theme of fear and hate runs through all the books. I hit my limit with this book because Maddox voluntarily chains himself up to prevent him from harming Hope while she is healing and after she's healed and up and about, she continues to resist him while leaving him chained up. She has plenty of opportunities to unchain him, but doesn't and when it continued to drag on, it was more than I was willing to deal with. I decided I was done when I finally read this passage and she continued to leave Maddox chained up like an animal.
Quote: "I don't think you actually care what I say," he told her. "What you really wish is that you weren't an omega. You wish that you weren't stuck with me. That you had your old life back and that nothing had changed. I get it. I've wished the same thing since the moment I threw you over my shoulder." Hope snapped her head up, not sure she'd heard him right. "Wait. What?" "Do you think I want to be like this, chained up and unable to control my craving? No better than an animal?" He shook his head in disgust. "Did you really think you were the only one with a life they'd rather get on with?" Yes, Hope had to admit, she had thought that. Or rather, she hadn't given the alpha's feelings any thought at all, beyond his obvious cravings. What he said was true. She had been thinking of him as an animal. Not a man.


So there you have it. Those are the last of the books carrying over from last year that I didn't enjoy much. Reading through why I didn't enjoy those books was interesting for me. I had forgotten a lot of it and it's nice being reminded of why I liked or didn't like a book.

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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