Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Books I have not finished 2022 #2

These have been accumulating so I've got a bunch to share with you today. It's inevitable that if you read as many books as I do in a year and if you try as many new authors as I do in a year, there are bound to be some that are not to your taste. This is me for whatever reason, these books are not my jam. Some of them are pretty hyped up books that  a lot of people love too. Thank goodness for Kindle Unlimited that allows me to try a lot of new stuff without too much of a financial consequence since I can borrow the book and return it if it doesn't work for me. On the flip side, if I try a book and find a new author I love, I can glom the author's backlist and then buy all her books if I want to reread them.

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

Safeguarding Miley by Melissa Kay Clark

Review: Safeguarding Miley (Special Forces: Operation Alpha, Team Cerberus #4) by Melissa Kay Clarke
I'm making my way through my rather long and unwieldy reading list that's all the books I've borrowed from Kindle Unlimited. I need to free up some room for some other books I want to read. Anyway, I'm making a concerted effort to plow through as many books as quickly as I can. Sometimes it's almost a relief that a book doesn't work for me and I ditch it fairly quickly. This is one of them. I'll get straight to the point on this one. I didn't like the heroine and nothing ruins a book faster for me than a heroine I can't stand. I don't have a problem with a strong, independent heroine, but I do not like a strong, independent heroine who has a chip on her shoulder, a gripe with the world, unhappy about her situation, ungrateful for help, and generally just a cranky man hating biatch. Miley hates her job, hates the town she's living in, hates the situation she finds herself in, hates being stuck, hates feeling like she has no choice but to do what she's doing out of family obligation. So she's basically cranky and unpleasant. And apparently she can take care of herself so when she is helped out of a difficult situation, she's ungrateful. I liked Cowboy, what little I saw of him before I gave up on the book on account of Miley. He's responsible, caring, and protective. He's also got a hero complex, but I kinda understand that with him being a Navy SEAL and a desire to protect and care for those he loves or need his help. He certainly didn't deserve to be treated the way he was by Miley when he came to her aid. I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. How unpleasant Miley was asserting that she could take care of herself and being utterly ungrateful. She couldn't even muster enough grace within her to say thank you to Cowboy for helping her out of an unpleasant situation. Instead she was rude and mean to him.He should have just let her sink on her own. Feh. Why do authors try so hard to make their heroines seem to be strong and independent and instead just have them coming across as right biatches? I'm not going to cheer for a heroine like that. I hope a cow falls on her.

The Vessel by Selena Moore

Review: The Vessel by Selena Moore
<Kind of strange, ranty, incoherent review coming up.> This book was very weird. And there was too much sex. Yes, there's such a thing as too much sex. The author claims in her author's note that this is erotic romance, but let's face it, it's straight up erotica with the men filling Emma up with their...erm... baby batter. Emma is reduced to nothing more than being a sperm receptacle for the me to breed as soon as she comes to after being rescued. Somewhere along the way, apparently, there's a romance between Emma and Marcus (I guess that's where the romance part comes in?), but I didn't get that far because I couldn't handle the copious quantities of gratuitous sex, the way they treated Emma, and the whole multiple nameless, faceless men thing. I mean, I enjoy a good reverse harem story with multiple men, but the stories I enjoy have character development, plot, and I got to know the men as individuals with their own personalities and character traits. I actually don't think it can be called a true reverse harem anyway because there's no relationship between Emma and the dozen or so men who she services. Reading the reviews tells me that she does end up having a romantic relationship with one guy, Marcus, so if that's the case, it's a straight MF romance with a whole bunch of sex with multiple partners. I enjoy lots of spice in my romance reads, but there's going to be a point to it and it needs to drive the plot forward. Sex for sex's sake is not much fun to read. Well, they claim there's a reason for the sex. It's to continue the human race and to breed the women as much as possible. Heh. Plus, and here's a big point, it's a big deal for me. The sex was not well written. It was clinical and emotionless, but perhaps that's the point since it's basically a bunch of horny men trying to impregnate a semi-willing woman. I say semi-willing because Emma knows that she has no choice. It's either submit to what they want or die. Also, there's degradation of women in this book. That's definitely not something I enjoy reading. Yep, weird book. Not my thing. Couldn't even finish it even though it was super short. Also, I did read the content warning of this book. It's pretty detailed so I knew what I was getting into. I am actually okay with all the stuff mentioned in the content warning, but for me, it fails on the execution. I mean, I've read other books where the things mentioned in this books content warning were present and I enjoyed the books just fine because of the way those things were handled in the book. It didn't work for me in this one. Anyway, here's the content warning too, if you're curious.
WARNING: 18+ This is a Reverse Harem Breeding Novella strictly intended for mature audiences. If you are in any way offended by multiple virile men pleasuring one woman, graphic sex, profanity, explicit dirty talk, group sex, age-gap sex, lactation, anal and oral sex, sex with no condoms/creampie and light bondage. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
PS. As I'm putting this post together, it looks like Ms Moore has changed the cover of the book. Good for her. The old cover was weird and creepy. It's here if you're curious.

Stalking Sophie by Emma Bray

Review: Stalking Sophie by Emma Bray
I got drawn in by the stunning cover for this book. The model of the cover representing the heroine is simply gorgeous. Sadly, at least for me, the story did not match up to the cover and the blurb. Seriously, go look at the cover. She is beyond beautiful. Too bad the character does not match up to the beauty of the woman on the cover representing her. I usually love stalking stories but with this one, the stalking was rather light, which is not a problem in itself. Who wants a crazy over the top stalker hero, right? But the heroine. Lordy, the heroine. She jumped to conclusions, she made assumptions about the hero, and she was basically judgmental and sanctimonious. She was thoroughly unpleasant even if the hero was completely smitten with him. She wouldn't even give the hero a chance to talk to her or explain herself and just kept running out on him after jumping to all her conclusions. She even admits at one point of introspection that she was probably being overly harsh towards him but then goes on to justify her behaviour by saying that he probably deserves it because why would he be interested in her since she's not tall, blonde and looks like a model the way her best friend looks. What an utterly unlikable character. I hope she chokes on her little umbrella while she's sipping cocktails with her best friend by the beach where she didn't even want to go but because the hero agreed with her decision not to go she decided to be stubborn and go just to spite him. Twit.

Rebel Tempts The Beast by Mink

Review: Rebel Tempts The Beast by Mink
I thought I would like this because I enjoy Mink's books. Alas, it is not to be. Mei is a brat. She has good reason for it. Her father is controlling and bent on marrying her off to better his "business" relationships. So she's run away. Kazuo is the head of some Yakuza mafia family. I forget what his family is called. I liked Kazuo and I thought that his liking for Mei and not wanting to change her (good for him!) could help me tolerate more. Nope. Mei is still a brat and still rebellious, and I still didn't like her. I'm in a bit of a mood too, so I decided not to force myself to finish the book. I wasn't enjoying it.

Promised To The Killer by BB Hamel Perfect Monster by BB Hamel

Review: Promised To The Killer (Novalov Bratva #1) by BB Hamel
Perfect Monster (The Oligarchs #1) by BB Hamel
It's been a long time since I've read a book by Ms Hamel. A year, at least. I used to love her earlier books that were slightly taboo, slightly sweet, and a whole lot steamy. And then about two years ago, Ms Hamel changed her writing style and ventured into more over the top and darker books. And then her books got darker and darker and most recently, at least in the last year, she's been mostly writing mafia books. I haven't read any because dark mafia romances are not usually my thing. I've read a few, but it's not in my steady diet of romance reading. Anyhow, I still like to see what Ms Hamel publishes and she's very prolific. She releases at least a book a month and her books are long. I don't know how she does. I get her newsletters and I clicked to read her latest one. She had just released Promised To The Killer and I read the blurb. The blurb intrigued me because the heroine was going to be killed the next day for something she had done and that night was her last hurrah. That's how she meets the hero. The concept intrigued me so I downloaded it in Kindle Unlimited and started reading it. Then I got to about 36% and sort of lost interest as things started to get rather twisted and the heroine was going to be forced to do something she didn't want to do by the hero. The hero was doing it to protect her, but still. It was against her will. Then I skipped to the end and read the ending. Hooray!! Happy ending. He loves her. They are going to live happily ever after forever. Then I flipped the page and it had a preview for another book. It was for Perfect Monster and I got sucked into the opening chapter. I'll give Ms Hamel that. She writes one heck of an opening chapter. I got intrigued so I downloaded the book in Kindle Unlimited and started reading it while Promise To The Killer continued to languish in my Kindle at 36%. I'm so naughty. I got caught up in this new story and the heroine's plight as she inadvertently witnesses a murder and she's in danger. The hero swoops places her under his protection. Let's face it, these heroes are not good men and they do not do what they do out of the goodness of their hearts. There are always ulterior motives. With this book, I got to about 52% and I started to lose interest. Bad things were starting to happen and even more bad guys were surfacing threatening to kill best friends, using people, and generally causing chaos. So I skipped to the end again. The hero and heroine get their happy ending, but the epilogue shows that there are more things to come and more bad things about to happen and maybe the hero and heroine will not have their peace and happiness because there will always be people after them. Ms Hamel did say that Perfect Monster (or was it the entire series?) was her darkest books yet. Now, I'm a self-admitted wuss. I don't do dark. And I could tell these books were getting dark even though they didn't start off that way (I can handle a little violence) and it got to the point where they were uncomfortable to read. Don't get me wrong, they are very well written books and I have always enjoyed Ms Hamel's writing, but the subject matter is not for me. These books lull me into a false sense of security initially because the build up to the suspense, tension and darkness is gradual, but it is a steady build and it will peak at some point. Ugh. I couldn't handle it and I got to the point with each book where I sort of lost interest and didn't want to subject myself to more discomfort while reading. Reading is my happy place. I want to feel good while reading and I knew continuing with these books would not offer that. For those who enjoy dark books though, go for it!

The Dragons' Human Pet by Jasmine Mills

Review: The Dragons' Human Pet by Jasmine Mills
I was looking for something short to read as I've been doing a lot of work reading recently and I just needed to chill. I picked this from my downloaded books borrowed in Kindle Unlimited and dove it. The writing didn't grab me right away and I didn't feel drawn into the story even as I was introduced to Riley and her three dragon captors eventually turned mates. I originally picked this book to read because I like the concept of a human pet. I'd read another book about human pets to aliens that was quite well done. With this one, I only got to the part where one of the dragons was suggesting Riley become the pet to the whole flock of dragons in the cave where they lived instead of killing her. I ending up skipping to the end and reading the last chapter and the epilogue. Spoiler: Riley transitions from being a pet to everyone to being the mate of the three dragons who originally found her. They do get their happy ever after since it's a romance. Sometimes trying a new author with a book that sounded good in the blurb doesn't always work out.

Shifting Gears by Karla Doyle

Review: Shifting Gears (Under The Hood #1) by Karla Doyle
I got sucked into trying this book because the guy on the cover is a hottie. And I like age gap, instalove stories which was the tagline. Only, it didn't quite grab me. The heroine was a little too forward for me and she's a self-proclaimed go-getter and she doesn't let anything get in the way. Not even with the hero saying no. Okay, I get this is a romance and at some point the hero is going to have to give in and jiggy jiggy things happen, but what happens to "no means no". Does it only apply when it's women saying no? Where's the respect when it's the man saying no and a woman who is a little too forward and too brazen is not backing off? Shouldn't consent work both ways? What do you call the man who is on the receiving end of that attention when he doesn't want it and when is it okay for him to protest and tell the woman to back off without getting crucified for it? Men can get harassed too, you know. Anyway, I didn't like the direction this story was going. I know the hero will give in to his attraction to the heroine eventually, especially when she's determined to keep enticing him even though he's politely rebuffed her several times. It's a romance after all. Except her pushy attention and his reluctance makes me uncomfortable because she's not taking no for an answer. And you know what the irony is? It drives me crazy when a heroine resists her attraction to the hero but to be fair, those are usually for rather ridiculous reasons. I guess, I'm just saying that I get why this hero is reluctant to get involved with another woman. He still hasn't gotten over the recent death of his wife of over thirty years. Anyway, all this meandering around to say the story wasn't working for me.

Billionaire Lumberjack by Gwyn McNamee

Review: Billionaire Lumberjack by Gwyn McNamee
I'm not sure where to stick this review so it's here for now. I didn't actually finish the book, so technically, it does belong here. I read about 60% of it and then skipped to the end and read the last chapter and the epilogue. It was enough to tell me what was going on in the book and the gist of the story. This is a forced proximity trope. The heroine stumbles upon the hero during a snowstorm and he rescues her. They are stuck in his cabin on top of a mountain for about a week where they get to know each other and things happen (of course!). The hero is running from a tragedy in is past that has him living like a hermit in the mountains for the last decade. The heroine is running from something that happened recently in her life. Neither of them trust one another or open up about their pasts and their secrets for a VERY long time and this hiding their secrets drags out for the better part of the book. I kinda got tired of them dancing around each other and avoiding talking about themselves and their past while being essentially stuck in the house with each other. From what I've read, it isn't till the very last minute that the secrets come out. Mostly the whole book is them not talking about themselves in any meaningful manner. That got old after a while... well, to about 60% of the story for me. I did enjoy the last chapter where everything for resolved and the hero confessed his feelings though. And the epilogue showing their life happily ever after with the hero and heroine being different people. Open, loving, and happy. I'm glad they got their happy in the end. They deserve it after the tragedy of their pasts. PS. This story could have been told with a lot less words and was a lot shorter. Then it would not have dragged as much as it did. I know I've said that some books are too long in the past and I'm not fond of long books, but I can think of several authors who write long books that captivate me and hold my attention in such a way that I do not even feel like I'm reading a long book because I'm so caught up in the words and the story. So there are long books and there are long books.

Flashpoint by Tess Summers

Review: Flashpoint (Agents of Ensenada #4) by Tess Summers
Okay, there's nothing wrong with this book other than the fact that it's crazy long. Long for me. For people who like long books, this might be great, but I'm not that person. I like my books around the two hundred page mark and this is double that. I'm 64% in and I need a break. I'm not sure if I'm bored or what, but I need a change of scenery because I feel like this whole story could have been told in a lot less words and not dragged out for so long. It's kind of a mafia story. The hero is the head of a Mexican cartel and he's quite intent on doing everything in his power to get his way. He does manipulate the situation to get the heroine where he wants her and he lies a little though he does come clean pretty quickly. The heroine is lovely and charming. There's an undercurrent I feel like things could go wrong at any minute because of who the hero is, plus the hero and heroine are dancing around each other when it comes to telling each other how they feel even though they can't keep their hands off each other. I'd call it mafia-lite cos you don't get to see any drama or violence, and the angst is mild. There's also a really cute scene which involves a dog which was what got me sucked in to reading the book in the first place since I saw it posted as an excerpt in a Facebook ad. Dang those Facebook ads. They do get me now and then. I'm setting the book aside for a while and I'm going to see if I get back to it. If I don't, this review will stand. If I do, you won't know about this because I would have deleted it and written a completely different review. Just wanted to reiterate. It's not a bad book, and it's easy reading, well written, and a decent story. I just feel that it's too long and it's dragging a little.
Update: I had originally stopped reading at around about 50%. After leaving it for a week or so, I decided to read it again to see if I could finish it. I managed to get to about 75% but had to stop. The hero is lying to the heroine about a VERY BIG THING in his life. Like something that is at the core of his existence. And the heroine keeps telling him to tell her the truth about things and he kinda does. But he's keeping a huge secret because he's afraid the heroine will leave him if she finds out what it is. So he's lying to her. That's not working for me because he keeps telling her he's telling her the truth, is completely honest with her, has no secrets, but y'all... he does, he is. Argh! I can see this giant blow up coming a mile away. It is inevitable. So I stopped reading again. We'll see if I ever pick it up again or not. And yeah, it's still a very long book. Longer than it needs to be. If I'm noticing it's a long book, then it really is longer than it needs to be.

Orc-Ward Encounters by Sam Hall

Review: Orc-ward Encounters by Sam Hall
Orcs are really in right now. The books are popping up left and right. I've tried a few and not managed to get into them, and thought I'd try again with this new one. The first three chapters were tedious. It was basically the heroine being miserable, insecure, and fat shaming herself. There was a lot of fat shaming herself. And by the way, the heroine fat shaming herself does not make fat shaming okay. I get feeling insecure but yeesh, it was all she thought about and her inner monologue was depressing. For three chapters. Then she got transported to the orc lands and I was hoping it would get better. The orcs were actually really sweet but the heroine was still insecure and fat shaming herself and while I understood her trying to adjust to this strange new land that she was in, she was so uncertain and so negative in her own head space that it was not fun to read. I think most of the book is from her point of view and I wish it wasn't because her point of view was not fun. The orcs point of view would have been much better because they were delighted to find her and wanted to do everything to court her and please her. I tried to keep reading because I'd heard that the orcs were sweet and wonderful, but there was not enough of them and too much being in the heroine's head and the heroine's head is not a good place to be. Maybe orc stories are just not for me.


So there you have it. That's what I've not liked recently.

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. I agree about that original cover. Yeuch

    1. I'm glad she changed the cover but calling it reverse harem is not entirely accurate.