[575]: Alex by Sawyer Bennett

21794306 Alex by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Cold Fury, #1
Loveswept | October 14th, 2014
Kindle Edition
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 1 out 5 Stars


Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.

As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people–like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries–and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy facade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.”


As a Canadian, being a hockey enthusiast/fan is as natural as futbol is to South Americans. So it is only logical that reading romance novels starring hockey players would be instinctual for someone like me. And you know what? You would be right to assume so. In my defence, I enjoy any books about athletes. My favourite ones are football players (not to be confused with soccer players…mind you, soccer players are hot, too. But, I digress). I’ve heard of the name, Sawyer Bennett floating around the blogosphere. But I’ve just not really made a concerted effort to check out her work. So when I saw this book on sale over at Audible, I didn’t hesitate to download it right away. Unfortunately, this book and I didn’t really get on as good as I would like.

FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Alex is a household name in the NHL. He’s a skilled player on ice who never even had to try. Because of this, he’s loved and hated by his peers and fans alike. He goes through the motions; he’s uninspired and he makes it a point to antagonize his coaches, his teammates, the team owners and the fans. After another one of his antics, the owners have had enough. They ordered him to a community service of sorts. Fail, and he’ll be suspended and get fined. Hockey is all he’s ever known. If he lost his career, he’ll have nothing.

Enter Sutton Price. The poor social worker who has to endure a difficult task. Through her, Alex hopes to change his image. Sutton is used to handling difficult people. But one look at Alex and she knew she was in trouble. Despite knowing how bad it would be to cross professional lines, she can’t deny their inherent mutual attraction towards the other. Layer by layer, she sees the past that made Alex who he is now. And since she’s a sucker for hopeless cases, she knew that resistance is futile.

OFF SIDE

I have a huge thing for bad boys in books. But the badass-ness has to come as easily as breathing. I don’t like manufactured bad boys.  Alex is the kind of character who was unfortunate enough to made into a bad boy that didn’t feel as natural as say, Martin Sandeke. Gratuitous cussing does not a bad boy make. Perma-scowl does not make you a candidate for the next Mr. Darcy.  There was just something really off about the kind of tortured character Ms. Bennett conjured up for me. And unfortunately, it’s one of the primary reason why I didn’t enjoy this book.

The project that they were supposed to work on together didn’t really happen, to be honest. There was no image facelift here. So he made a speech in front of a gymnasium full of high school kids, but I don’t think it made a difference considering there was no media attention to the kind of good deeds he was doing – admirable though as it was. Besides, the bad boy thing was so superficial, y’all. I mean, he wasn’t going around getting into bar fights and taking enhancement drugs. He wasn’t caught beating on a girlfriend in an elevator (Ray Rice). Or carrying around a concealed weapon (Plaxico Burress). Or worst, killing someone (Aaron Hernandez)! So he wasn’t friendly with his teammates. So he ignores the accolades he so rightfully deserves. So the freaking what?! That’s not really a bad boy thing. That’s just him being an introvert.

And as far as Sutton Price goes, I’m not really a fan of timid characters. She’s so…er…rice cake. She’s bland and one-dimensional.

OVERTIME

In some ways I think Sutton and Alex are perfect for each other. Because only Sutton can put up with the kind of unpredictability and instability Alex go through sometimes. There was no chemistry between these two. I didn’t buy into their relationship from the get-go. I don’t know if I’ll be continuing on with this series, to be honest. The next book is about Garett. From what I’ve read about him, he’s the easy-going version of Alex. So not really my type.

 

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[567]: Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

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Until Friday Night / Abbi Glines


Once upon a time, I was a big fan.  Back when New Adult wasn’t a thing. Back when she was still able to pass off her work as suited for her target audience. Slowly, her novels become one trick ponies. I’ve stayed away from her books since then. It’s been years. I thought I’d given it enough time. I thought   that between the time passing and the amount of books she’s written since then, there’s bound to have been some growth. Apparently, success does not necessarily equates to improvement in one’s writing prowess. That was naive of me to assume. However, I don’t blame her. I mean, why fix something that have been a proven formula from a financial stand point, right? Why stop when you’re only giving what the masses want?

Anyway, I had so much problems with this book. Ultimately, it’s the prevalent disrespect directed towards the girls  that turned me off, perhaps, permanently with Glines’  writing. I’m not a fan of douchebags, and unfortunately, West Ashby is guilty of this transgression. Nowadays, characters are given passes for acting this way. In West’s case, he’s going through some family problems. And while I’m able to forgive some, I just couldn’t do it with him.

Most of the characters in this book are superficial. Boys are hung up on how the girls look. There were mean girls and mean boys making fun of the girl who can’t talk.  It was just tiring to have to listen to them demean the new girl and the token slutty girl.I think my face had a perma-grimace while reading this book.

I was looking forward to reading this book because I like to read about characters who are blind, or deaf, or mute. This girl was mute because she chose not to speak after a traumatizing incident that happened in her life. I get that. What I didn’t like was how West was the only person she could speak to. Ugh. The token douchecanoe? Really? Apparently, they have this certain connection that makes him that special. 

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just give up. Well, I haven’t given up on a book this year. Or perhaps I should just shut my trap since I’ve got nothing nice to say? That’s not me, though.

And I never said I was a nice person.


Simon Pulse | August 25th, 2015 | Hardcover, 336 pp. | 1 out of 5 Stars


 

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[528]: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Bloomsbury | Hardcover, 384 pp. | March 31st, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | Romance | Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars


When a book gets a 1-star rating on the blog, it generally means that I had to physically force myself to finish it, and that I was close to abandoning ship. I also had to take breaks from it because it was either, really awful or boring as f*ck (pardon my language). Well, this was a combination of all three.

I’m obviously at odds with everyone who read this book. One paltry star for an author that I’ve considered  money in her genre? Say it ain’t so! But yeah. Here’s where we’re at. This was the most boring thing I’ve ever read in a long time. What happened to the gritty  writing of Open Road Summer? While I agree that these are two different story lines altogether, I have to say that I don’t even recognize the writing. Plebeian, pedestrian, dull are just three of the words that come to mind when I think about this book.

Nothing ever happened. It was an endless banal account of Paige Hancock’s life. She has the personality of an unsalted rice cake and when she started becoming interesting, she was all over the place. She’s convinced that Ryan is the next best thing since sliced bread, but it didn’t take a long time before she realizes his cousin is more worth it. She tells me she’s grieving over her boyfriend who drowned and died, but she herself couldn’t even bring herself to feel that she should be grieving. In fact, she feels guilty when people felt sorry for her. Sometimes, she’ll talk about how they weren’t even together long enough to warrant the sympathy afforded to grieving widows, only to turn around and fall apart when something reminds her of Aaron. Sorry. But, make up your mind, will ya? I mean, you were together for two months. I get it. Death is hard, especially if the deceased was close to you, but come on, now. Tell me something endearing about Aaron so I can convince myself that you’re not being over dramatic. I apologize for being cold and callous, but Paige has the flare for the dramatics.

Case in point: Her parents were previously divorced. But now, they’re dating each other. You’d think Paige will be over the moon with this news?  Noooo. She doesn’t think they should be together. Because they were apparently awful together. Whatever. Why can’t you just be happy for them?I don’t know. She might’ve caught at a time when I’m all out of empathy.

There really isn’t much to talk about this book. It’s pages upon pages of kids basically just being high school kids. The thing that disappointed me the most is that I thought Emery Lord is beyond using fillers. Because once you get your characters involved in a rousing game of Spin the Bottle/Eleven Minutes in Heaven, you know you’ve run out of things to write about. Which is sad, because this is only her second book. Before reading this, I was convinced that Emery Lord is well on her way to usurping Sarah Dessen as the big thing in contemporary fiction. This book, however, tells me that she’s got a few thousand miles to go yet.

On a side note: I really love this picture. Shame, the book was awful.

 

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[466]: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

DSC_0756GOODREADS SUMMARY | Disney Hyperion | Hardcover,
488 pages | December 18th, 2012 | Young Adult Paranormal |
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars


Children of the corn.

When Ruby was ten years old, her powers manifested in a way that  earned her a stint at Thurmond; a rehabilitation camp for children meant to stabilize their powers so that they can get back to living with the society.  But what the parents didn’t know was exactly what kind of “rehab” the children are put through in the camps. For six years, she saw oppression and abuse in the hands of Psi Special Forces. She laid low, spoke very little, and tried to hide the scope of her abilities. Because for someone with her kind of power, it means ultimate death.

Shades of superpowers.

Their powers are classified into colours: red, being the most powerful and the rarest. Ruby is an orange; someone whose abilities derive on mind control and the power of suggestion. Blue are telekinetic; yellow can start fires; and green being the lowest grade. During classification, Ruby managed to evade certain death, as all reds and oranges are being destroyed. Through power of suggestion, she was able to convince the presiding scientist that she was  a green. When they develop a system that seeks out all the remaining orange, Ruby’s powers were discovered.

Fasten your seat belts.

As many dystopian novels that have come our way, we’ll see Ruby  on a  journey through most of the story. She’ll come across three kids that had managed to escape their camp through their leader’s relentless ingenuity. We’ll meet a token love interest, his mistrusting sidekick, and an adorable but broken mute girl. Along the way, they’ll evade numerous attempts of detainment from three forces: Psi Special Forces, The Children’s League, and Skip tracers. This is one of the reasons why boredom will never be a factor when you read this book.

Their goal was to find Slip Kid. This– almost mythological creature that can find a way to transmit, retrieve and pass on a message to those parents who still have hopes of reuniting with their brood.

The world building is a bit unclear. In some parts, we see the usual destruction brought on by desperation, and in others, we still see echoes of a somewhat orderly civilization. The most baffling of all was a Walmart that was still stocked with food, clothing and supplies on the shelves. In the beginning, we’re told that the world almost succumbed to the loss of humanity, and yet they can still find pockets of what life used to be.

The painful last quarter.

LOVE. TRIANGLE. HELL.

Way to ruin a perfectly good book. Needless to say, I will not be continuing on with this series. It doesn’t matter how well written a book is. For me, love triangles nullify every single good thing about the story. It is not an enjoyable trope, and it does not enhance the human elements in a book.  A female character fighting her feelings for two boys shows weakness, and inability to listen to the dictates of her heart. It is wholly unnecessary, and an unforgivable faux pas.

I hope you don’t think me as one that’s hard to please, but it’s hard not to feel anything else with books that betray me so sharply. Yes, I take everything personally; most especially from books that had me enthralled into complacency, only to drop the proverbial anvil in the end. That’s why I have trust issues, you know?

Arguably, such an adverse reaction is better than apathy. Because then the book would at least remain remarkable to me, albeit for the wrong reasons.

I bought the third book before I finished this one. So I now own the trilogy that will remain unread in my shelves. I’m such an idiot.

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[458]: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Amulet Books | Hardcover, 388 pages
October 14th, 2014 | Young Adult | Historical Fiction | Paranormal
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars


I’ve not have much patience with YA books lately. I can’t seem to find it in me to forgive them their shortcomings. And when every imperfections glare at me like the sun, I’ve taken to a perma-scowl look every time I bring one of them home. Unfortunately, The Cure for Dreaming did not escape my wrath.

The gist.

Olivia Mead’s father thought that the best way to silence his daughter’s political and social views was through hypnosis. He believes that she should accept her responsibility as a woman to bear children and mind the household for her husband. Olivia, however, is a head strong, opinionated individual who dreams of becoming someone who can change the world. Lucky for her, the hypnotist shares her views, and proceeds to hypnotize her into seeing the world for what it was. She saw the monster that her father had become; she saw the people for who they really were. A supernatural power that appears in the form of a vision, and depending on how evil a person is, Olivia sees them as monsters in disguise.

At a time when women’s suffrage was an issue that men in power saw as a threat, Olivia’s father planned to make an example of his daughter. By hypnotizing her into becoming docile and meek, he also saw this as a means to further his stature in a society that saw him as a mad, laughable creature. The more he suppressed Olivia, however, the harder she fought back (in her timorous way). Drawn into the mysterious, secretive world of the hypnotist, Olivia will found herself fearing for her life, and questioning the validity of her father’s sanity.

The bad.

I’ll cut to the chase. This is a well-intentioned book. If I ignore all the – dare I say it – foolishness of hypnotism, I say this is a book that young girls would benefit a great deal to read. Most of the time, however, this book contradicted itself. It talked about suffrage, and the rights of women to vote. The rights to speak; the right to dream, but for all its posturing, women still ended up being controlled by the men in their lives. What was the point, exactly? If anything, Olivia was not a convincing character. I did not feel her passion to change the lives of the Oregonian women. She was hypnotized to do as they say, and when they say it. I cannot find admiration in a character who lacked confidence, and who presented herself as a weakling easily swayed. Especially if you’re trying to garner empathy for the movement.

Dracula. God. What is the obsession with Dracula?

The good.

If your intention is to incite hatred towards the men in this book, well, congratulations! I was rightly pissed. I was so mad that I went off my rails for at least ten minutes. My poor husband. Oh my God. His face. No, I did not punch him. He looked at me like I’m some alien being descended from a world where men were hated. Sigh. If my husband could record my tirade about this book yesterday, it would be pure gold. And honestly, I did not spare his ears from f bombs that proceeded thereafter. All he could do was shake his head, and look at me in horror.

I love the pictures included in this book. While its intentions was to add a more sinister vibe to the story, I’m afraid it only succeeded in making this book a slightly tolerable read.

The end.

I should’ve enjoyed this book, but I didn’t. I’m all for the feminist movement and such. But this book fail in all the things that mattered. The message is lost among the cacophony of foolishness.

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Faking Normal by Courteney C. Stevens

GOODREADS SUMMARY15726915
HarperCollins | Hardback, 336 pages
February 25th, 2014
Young Adult | Fiction
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars


“The power of Bodee is in the way he reads me, sees through me, and then understands the truth behind the facade. No one can ride tragedy like a pro surfer while I drown.” – Chapter 9, page 95


Alexi and Bodee has absolutely nothing in common; they walk the halls barely acknowledging each other, and they exist in the opposing sides of the social hierarchy. But when Bodee’s mother died in the hands of his father, their relationship changed from not having one into something where they became each other’s panacea. Alexi seems to be the only one who could reach him in his perpetual quiet existence, while Bodee seems to be the only one who knows when Alexi’s need to retreat from the world becomes too impossible to ignore. Hand in hand, Alexi and Bodee will find a way to face each other’s demons.

Alexi can’t hide from her what had happened to her in the summer; not even in the closet where she harms herself. But if there’s one thing that makes her forget, it’s the messages she receives from a mysterious boy in fourth period. Messages that come from song lyrics that seem to reflect how she felt, and what she needed at any given time. I like this element of Alexi’s story. The mystery surrounding the lyrics writer gave me a break from gnashing my teeth to powdered form. If I can forget how one particular aspect of story made me so hopping mad, I  say this book would’ve been a solid four stars. But I can’t. Even now, merely a week after I read this book, it still makes me mad to think about it.

I really hate it when a relevant issue gets lost in the background noise of the story: the dating rituals of teenagers. Alexi’s inability to say, no. Alexi’s sister’s and friends’ seemingly petty, vapid, more often poisonous treatment of her, and the way they dismissed her just irritated me to no end. There was a couple of times when I stopped and breathed for minutes just to get through this book. Otherwise, kindling would’ve been in its future. There is also one instance when she was [spoiler] almost raped by a boy [spoiler] and was thankfully stopped, but told those who saw that it was all a mistake. Are you fucking kidding me? Oh and the kicker? Bodee just took her word for it like it was no big, when he saw what happened! Ugh.

As much as I should’ve been more sympathetic, I really couldn’t with a Mary Sue character. And Alexi was a big pushover. I get it, you know? I get that she’s physically, emotionally, and mentally traumatized but in light of what had happened to her, the carefree attitude she had with the boys around her, and ultimately how she let everyone ran roughshod over her, just didn’t make any sense. I don’t know about you, but if I’d been in a situation that became the root cause of my trauma, I would be wary of being in the same situation again.

How do I really feel about the book? Well, I say, I think there’s a good chance that you will probably have a much more pleasant time reading this than I did. There is an issue here that the author handled poorly, in my opinion. I feel that with all the insipidity that happened in the background, I was distracted by how much it angered me. I do like the kinship between Alexi and Bodee, and the mystery of “Captain Lyrics” was a nice touch. Over all, the book’s intended meaning got buried amongst the trivialities of high school life. Unfortunate, really.

 

 

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Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Goodreads Summary18051087
Simon Pulse | Hardcover, 272 pages
February 25th, 2014
Young Adult | Contemporary Romance
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Apathy sucks.

Have you ever read a book that you felt absolutely nothing about? It was as if I was reading a textbook, but reading a textbook would’ve been better because at least then, I was learning something as I go along. This book, unfortunately, is only good for one thing: it’s meant to boost your reading goal number for the year. It was a fast read that hardly appealed to my empathy, with a plot line that held so much promise, but sadly disappointed.

As many childhood friendships go, Avery’s and Nora’s fizzled as they grew further apart. Years later, and while Avery flitted in the spotlight of the high school social caste system, Nora remained in the periphery of her glow. Neither girls minded the widening distance; after all, they share a common bond as they were both adopted, and once upon a time also shared the dream of finding their respective biological parents. As Avery’s adopted family raise her in a relatively happy home, she lost interest in it altogether. But Nora remained in pursuit until a lead resulted in heartbreak.

Nora committed suicide.

She left Avery a notebook that held an account of how to find her mother; guilt-ridden, Avery proceeds to venture on her own quest with a purpose of honouring her death. With the help of Nora’s friend, Brody, they set out to trace the mother that gave her up for adoption. But what started out as a way to honour Nora’s memory quickly morphed into a selfish agenda of a means to get into her dream college.

There wasn’t much you can walk away from reading this book, and for a story involving suicide, the writing was emotionally ineffective. It’s really hard to like a book if the main character failed to garner the reader’s empathy, and this is the biggest fault of this book. Avery lacked any believable emotions, and if she did show any, it felt much too contrived. Nora showed more depth in the very little time she was in the novel than Avery did the entire book. And as far as romance goes, sorry, there wasn’t much of that either.

Overall, Year of Mistaken Discoveries is a book you can do without. No depth, no emotions. You’ll be better off reading your friend’s status updates on Facebook.

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Ignite Me [Shatter Me, #3] by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me [Shatter Me, #3] by Tahereh Mafi
Harper Collins | Hardcover, 416 pages
February 4th, 2014
Young Adult
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Last weekend, I’ve decided to finish off a popular series that I’m sure the majority of us, YA loving community have anticipated, read, and hated loved during the course of its life.  When I first read Shatter Me, there was never a question in my mind of how talented Ms. Mafi is. I’d even go as far as to say that she’d set the precedence for stories of the same trope: the teenager who’d been cursed with the ability to kill with a touch. But what sets her off is the beautiful writing that I’ve come to envy since then.
 
Despite of that, I chose to postpone reading Unravel Me until the last book of the trilogy came out. I can’t be bothered to waste my emotions longing for a book that was an entire year in the making.  Though there are some books that I feel is worth the wait and the pain (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward). Besides, there was another reason why I held off reading this: the murmurings of a painful love triangle and the direction on which the author was going to take it. 

So here I am, completely drained from gorging myself with Mafi’s books.
 

That was not a good idea.

It took me a couple of chapters to realize how suicide-inducing being in Juliette’s head was. What I initially thought was beautiful prose then, was actually torturous reading this time around. It got so bad that I started skipping some of her inner monologues and lamentations. Herein lies the core of why I ended up disliking this series. I’d developed an annoyance with Juliette. She was the most depressing character I’ve ever read. I’d hoped that reading snippets of her diary would appeal to my empathic side. Sadly, that was not the case.  

When Shatter Me ended, she was so full of spunk and determination that she was going to go out hands a-blazing with a kick ass costume to boot.  To my bitter disappointment, however, Unravel Me began with her usual soliloquys of abandonment, unworthiness, monstrosity…blah blah fucking blah.  Perhaps I have a black heart, but after a while, Juliette’s endless woe-is-me dirges became too much for me to bear.
 
Ignite Me and the preceding novellas (tried to) debunked everything I’ve come to loathe about Warner. This is where the author gave Adam a personality facelift. It was heartbreaking to see him so angry. This is  also where the author conveniently ingrained the idea that she would be breaking the hearts of those on the “other” team. 
 
Much of the reviews have given Juliette a pat on the back for “growing up”, for believing in herself and for obtaining girl power. Well, yeah. I get that. But you know what would’ve been a better way to celebrate her coming to terms with how strong she came to be? If she ended up with neither boys.
 
Juliette, here’s what I said to Taylor Swift: It’s okay to be alone. You are your own person. You are strong. You don’t need anyone to validate the person that you’ve become. Those two boys have hurt you in their own ways. But you know what I disliked the most about your own transformation and ultimately the reason why I hate love triangles? You waffled. You waffled, waffled and waffled.  The love you declared in the first book? A sham. A fucking lie. You don’t know what the word means. Stop throwing that word around, authors. You’re giving me complex. You are making me doubt my very definition of it! Actually, that’s a lie. You’re educating me. Love is apparently, a fickle thing by your definition. The next time someone declares that in a book, I’m going to stand here in all my cynical glory.

I should’ve quit at Shatter Me. I’m so sick of disappointments. I need to stop investing portions of my heart on authorscharacters that only fail me in the end. I can’t do it anymore.  I used to think that books are like my friends; that no matter how bad a day I had, I will go home and they’ll be there to comfort me.  However, just like in life, there are books that are temporary allies; false friends that we’re better off living without.

 

John Green said something about it’s not the author’s job to give us happy endings or hold our hands or some shit. And to some degree, I understand what he’s talking about. The thing is, we can’t turn off our emotions like a spigot, ya know? It’s our fault as readers for investing too much of ourselves in books. I guess it’s also our fault for falling in love with fictional characters. But when we fall out of love, the betrayal cuts deep. So, Shatter Me, I wish I could say, it’s not you, it’s me. This time, it’s really you.

 

Spoiler Alert:

Reading the novellas will pretty much tell you how this fucking ridiculous love triangle ends.

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Jagged [Colorado Mountain, #5] by Kristen Ashley

Jagged [Colorado Mountain, #5] by Kristen Ashley
E-Arc via Net Galley | Forever
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Adult Fiction, Romance
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

When am I going to learn my lesson? How many times have I told myself, “self, if you pick up one of her books again, I will personally kick our own ass.” Tsk, tsk.
I don’t know why I can’t ignore the call of Kristen Ashley’s books. She’s like an addiction or a toxic relationship I can’t seem to get away from. In all fairness, this one is thankfully shorter than most of her books and it certainly looks like someone worked hard in the editing department. Having said that, the dialogues are still mind-numbing, with the never-ending cycles of repeated phrases and redundancy from hell. After a few pages of it, thoughts of smashing my Kindle on the noggin’ starts taking over. And the throbbing carotid on my neck wasn’t brought on by the sizzling romance unfolding before me. It was because I was annoyed.

Okay, maybe a little more than annoyed. I was pissed, actually. At myself. 

Jagged, book number five of the Colorado Mountain series, is a story about Graham “Ham” Reece and Zara Cinders. They’re each other’s speed dial #1 on their Booty Call Phone List. But when Zara decides to get serious about life, she severed ties with Ham and started dating like a normal person. Years passed and Zara’s life took a turn for the worse. She lost her business, lost her house and got through a divorce. Not to worry though because Ham is there to pick up the pieces – so to speak. After the initial, “Oh hey there, how are you? Pleased to be taking your clothes off”greetings, their reunion sparked a different kind of fireworks.
Then, they told each other to eff off.
Months later, they meet again. I’m going to stop right here. Truthfully, I’m too lazy. Read the synopsis because what you see is what you get.
This is a loosely-plotted book. Actually, there was very minimal plot to speak of but thinly-manufactured conflicts abound.
If you’re on the hunt for a mindless escape, this book – as are her other books – will be the perfect joy ride for you. Just a word of advice, her work incites migraines, so keep a bottle of Bayer Aspirin handy.  This lady is popular though, and knows how to work the romance readers crowd. So, who knows, maybe you’ll end up liking it?
Also, the next time you see me with a Kristen Ashley book, please feel free to hit me over the head with it. 

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Anywhere But Here by Tanya Llyod Kyi

Unreachable character, unenjoyable read
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Anywhere But Here
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Simon Pulse | ARC, 309 pages
I’ve had my fair share of books that feature a grieving character. I can admit to being extra generous when they rebel – become uncaring versions of themselves just because they’re dealing with some pretty explosive emotions without an outlet. Cole had the same epiphany. He knew he can get away with a lot simply because he was grieving. People gave him a pass. And you know what? I extended the same courtesy because there was no way to know what he was going through unless you’ve been there yourself.

To be honest, I did a lot of teeth-gnashing while I was reading this book. It wasn’t only Cole that gave me migraine. It seems like everybody in this book couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with their own situations. From a supposedly grieving father who turned to alcohol and a stripper for comfort, right down to a Cole’s new girlfriend who lets him treat her like a doorstep, I really didn’t know I had it in me to finish the book. But here we are – here I am, perhaps on the verge of ranting over a book that I couldn’t fairly judge. I couldn’t because Cole and I didn’t have a forgiving moment. I couldn’t give him time to sort his shit and he couldn’t give me the maturity that I needed him to show so I can give him the empathy he so needed.

I will not be the first person to admit to being an emotional reader. I have a hard time separating how the characters made me feel and how the writer made me feel. For that, I ran the risk of being blind to how well a book was written. The characters made me so mad that I simply couldn’t judge the book based on technical merits. I just can’t.

Should I apologize? I think not. I’ve never believe in ever apologizing for disliking a book nor should the authors apologize for writing what they write. Free form art and all that.

But thank you, Simon & Schuster for sending me this book. I’m sorry I couldn’t give it a fair chance. I did finish the book but I can’t say it was an enjoyable experience. And yes, I realize it’s not supposed to be, given the severity of what was tackled here. Of course, readers are only supposed to immerse themselves in a book and not take the characters’ actions personally. For this book, I just couldn’t help it.

I tried to find ways to like Cole. He tried so hard to redeem himself. But he just kept dancing around issues and his emotional bullshit without really addressing them. And it pissed me off. He kept using a girl who comes off as smart but ends up being just another dumb bimbo who lets a hot guy reduce her self-worth to nothing.

The dad was just ridiculously stereotypically tacky. He cheapened his dead wife’s memories. I think it’s what pissed me off the most about this book: women played roles that didn’t really amount to anything. They were nothing but sexpots and baby makers and perhaps that’s not the author’s intention but that’s pretty much what they were in this novel.

My rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

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