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Posts Tagged: America: Florida

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: Out of Frame by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Out of Frame by Megan EricksonOut of Frame by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus,
Also in this series: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me
Published by Intermix on 15 March 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Movie Stars, New Adult, People & Places, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 202
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Plymouth, North Carolina // Atlantic Ocean // Fort Lauderdale, Florida

First Line(s): I wanted to pretend I was Kate Winslet, gazing at the large cruise ship from under the wide brim of my black-and-white hat.

OUT OF FRAME by Megan Erickson is the newest book in her In Focus series which feature new adult LGBT characters. The main character in OUT OF FRAME, Quinn, is BFFs with Colin Hartman’s sister and you may remember him from FOCUS ON ME (my review). I like how Erickson’s books, at least with this series, all have characters that are loosely connected but that the story can be read as a standalone if the reader wants to do so. Another thing I like about Erickson’s In Focus series is that they have all been road trip books and while OUT OF FRAME is set on a cruise ship it still fits that bill. And you know how I love my road trip books. OUT OF FRAME was an anticipated title for me this year so I may have rushed through what I was reading and pushed my TBR pile aside to get to it. But while I liked OUT OF FRAME, I didn’t love it as much as the previous books.

For me, the romance just progressed too slowly. Quinn and JR have just a limited time together while on this cruise ship so while I’m glad that Erickson didn’t rush them into anything it just left me unsatisfied. There really wasn’t time in this story for a relationship between Quinn and JR to be realistic and there wasn’t a ton of character development. All in all Quinn and JR may have had 2 days to be together with the rest of the short cruise feeling each other out and getting to know who they were. Quinn may have though he knew JR as JR was on a reality show but that isn’t really who he is. So I just didn’t buy that they fell in love that quickly which left me a little disappointed in the ending. I get that love at first sight can happen but this one just left me feeling a bit meh.

Out of Frame Quote

I also found the secondary characters in OUT OF FRAME to be a distraction. Not in a bad way but they often seemed more lively, fun and interesting than the two main characters. I wanted to know more about all of JR’s cast mates and more about Jess as well. While I did like how these secondary cast members fleshed out the story and brought it to life I shouldn’t want to know more about them than I do the main characters. I guess that Quinn and JR were just a little two-dimensional for me and they fell a bit flat that I was so easily distracted away from their story.

OUT OF FRAME isn’t a bad book but it is defiantly not my favorite in the series nor is it my favorite new adult or LGBT read. Its a good book to read to while away a few hours and perfect to bring with you to the beach. Its an uncomplicated story with a happily ever after and sometimes thats really all you need in a book. I am also glad that I read it as I did get to meet Liam who I adored and who will be getting his own book this fall with OVEREXPOSED which promises to be a bit of an emotional read.

irishdarkblue

IR - Out of Frame

Add There You Stand by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: The Baller by Vi Keeland

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Baller by Vi KeelandThe Baller by Vi Keeland
Series: Down and Dirty Football,
Published by Self-Published on 18 January 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Unknown, Texas // Tampa, Florida // Miami, Florida // Unknown, Maryland

First Line(s): My boss was a world-class dick.

THE BALLER by Vi Keeland was one of those books that appeared on my radar when it seemed like everyone I knew was discussing it. Everywhere I turned there were people excited for this book and as I do love a good sportsing themed romance I decided to give it a try. In the end, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with THE BALLER because while I adored the banter of Delilah and Brody there were all these little things that just kept taking me out of the story. And that doesn’t even include the various sportsball things that they got wrong as I missed the bulk of those but I did hear about them from friends.

As I said, I adored Delilah and Brody and those two often had me cracking up. Their chemistry was off the charts and I loved watched them get their flirt on. I liked how they built up a bit of relationship first before jumping in the sack and felt that their story progression was realistic. Even with the crazy baggage the two of them were carrying. Because oy with the poodles did they each have some issues! And with those issues came all these cryptic references…and y’all know how I love those. Delilah’s though were ones that I felt with should have been dealt with a few years prior but we all deal with grief in different ways so I’ll give her a moderate pass but feel like therapy would have done wonders. Brody’s thing though…oy…that’s a horse of different color.

The Baller Quote

With Brody, I adored his relationship with Marlene and the sweet and caring side that we all knew was lurking underneath that cocky bastard. But what I didn’t like was Willow. Not so much her character but that we were suddenly (and oh so randomly) thrust into her POV mid-way through the book. It was jarring and I didn’t like. Her POVs didn’t add to the story. They didn’t make me feel any sort of sympathy for her and I just wanted them to go away. For all they did was to take me out of the story and I didn’t not like that.

THE BALLER was also filled with lots of little continuity issues and while I can sometimes ignore them in an ARC I can’t do that as well in a finished book. And the more they happened the more they took me out of the story. It became harder to just sit and bask in the goodness of Delilah and Brody when this Chinese Water Torture kept happening! Then there was that epilogue. Blergh. I won’t say much but if you’ve heard my rant on epilogues then know it holds true here. And no, I probably still haven’t learned my lesson to not read epilogues.

THE BALLER was my first book by Vi Keeland and while I’m not going to rush out to read her backlist I will read other things by her. While things weren’t perfect in THE BALLER I think that Keeland has promise and even with all the little things that bugged me her story still made my heart ache. I still became invested in the main story that she wrote about and for that she’ll be on my author to watch list.

irishdarkblue

IR - The Baller

 

Add The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton to Goodreads(Click here for my review.)

Add The Score by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et al

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et alViolent Ends by Beth Revis, Blythe Woolston, Brandon Shusterman, Christine Johnson, Courtney Summers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Delilah S. Dawson, E.M. Kokie, Elisa Nader, Hannah Moskowitz, Kendare Blake, Margie Gelbwasser, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Shaun David Hutchinson, Steve Brezenoff, Tom Leveen, Trish Doller
Published by Simon Pulse on 01 September 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Anthology, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shades of Earth, Some Girls Are, All the Rage, Please Remain Calm, Bruiser, The Deathday Letter, Better, Where the Stars Still Shine

Place(s) Traveled To: Middleborough, Florida

First Line(s): Susanna Byrd turned nine that Thursday morning at 7:17 a.m.

When people think of school shootings they tend to think of Columbine (1999) yes they’ll reference the current school shooting but there is always a reference to this event. Its sad and scary to think of school shootings as a common place thing and there are times when it seems like before Columbine life was idyllic and that things like this just didn’t happen. I graduated in 1995, I was a pre-Columbine teenager but I wasn’t without knowledge and fear of what a school shooting could be. In 1988, in the town next door to the one that I grew up in there was a school shooting as a result of one student bullying another. In 1994 my town and that town merged to form one school system and my high school became the high school where this event occurred. I was 11 in 1988 and so I don’t recall much surrounding the events of the shooting when it happened but when the towns merged there was a lot of talk about it. And also lots of talk surrounding the courtyard where the shooting took place and if it should be reopened to students or not. Had enough time passed? Would it happen again? What will happen when you bring together two rival towns and try to make them one school.

There was fear then, in those pre-Columbine days. There was talk and meetings and rumors and gossip and even though the kids in my town weren’t part of that event it became ours as we heard about it and that school became our school. So when I read a book like VIOLENT ENDS that involves a school shooting I’m transported back to 1994, to high school, and to all the talk and remembering and fear of the shooting that happened there 7 years before. Tragically school shootings aren’t a new thing and until something major happens and we learn why or come up with a better way to deal with guns in America they will keep happening. With each occurrence the fear will get worse and more ingrained and books like VIOLENT ENDS will become even more important. VIOLENT ENDS is a unique story and is told by 17 different authors who are all telling the same story but different pieces of it. Different glimpse into the killer, Kirby Matheson and why he may have done what he did on that fateful day when he brought a gun to school.

I’ve read school shooting books before, HATE LIST (my review) and NINETEEN MINUTES, and while they hit home they didn’t effect me as much as VIOLENT ENDS did with just its first few chapters. I think this is in part to how the story is written because it just reminds of when I was in high school and the events of that 1988 event kept getting brought up by different people in different ways. During my read of VIOLENT ENDS I found that I needed to take a lot of breaks. This wasn’t an easy read and I had to pause and think about what I’d just read, process the chain of events that I was reading about, and just be in the present before being able to dive back into this world that Hutchinson had created. Throughout it all you only get these little pieces of the puzzle. You read about the day of the shooting from different moments in time but the one thing missing from VIOLENT ENDS is the complete picture.

Violent Ends Quote

The one viewpoint that we never see in VIOLENT ENDS is Kirby’s. You never learn why he did what he did or why who chose the victims he did. The picture you get of Kirby isn’t the crazy loner type that you often see when you hear about a school shooting. Kirby was liked by his peers and his home life was pretty ordinary. So why did he snap? In the end, we’re left with almost as many questions as we start with but VIOLENT ENDS isn’t a book that feels incomplete. Yes, there are pieces to the puzzle missing but its a raw and powerful story and its the sort of book that with each re-read you will learn something new in its pages.

VIOLENT ENDS defied all of my expectations and its hard to find the words to tell you just how amazing this story was. Its an emotional read and it hit me harder than I expected it too. This is a book where there are no easy answers and as a reader it will often make you feel helpless because you can’t stop the chain of events from happening. With each new chapter, each new POV, you become a part of this story. And despite the many authors that take part in this book it feels like one cohesive story. Often with an anthology things can be choppy and you don’t like all of the stories. But that isn’t the case here as VIOLENT ENDS isn’t an anthology as we think of anthologies. It really is one story and all these authors worked some impressive magic to take their very different styles and meld them together to seem like one. I think that VIOLENT ENDS is a must read and I can’t recommend it enough. The reading experience is as unique and different as the way it was written. This book will make you feel things and each person who reads this book will take away something different from

irishdarkblue

Oh and for those who might be wondering. The shooting that happened in my school involved a 15 year old gunman who was bullied by the kid that he shot in the head. It happened in the school’s courtyard and it was then closed off until 1994. The shooter only shot the one person and he was then sentenced to 3 years in juvie and released at 18 to move away to places unknown. The kid he shot survived albeit with some brain damage and he now talks to students about the dangers of bullying and is also a teacher.

 

IR - Violent Ends

 

Add Hate List by Jennifer Brown to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Nineteen Minutes to Goodreads.

 

four-stars
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mini Review: Half Lies by Sally Green

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Mini Review: Half Lies by Sally GreenHalf Lies by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad,
Also in this series: Half Bad, Half Wild
Published by Viking Juvenile on 13 November 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Urban Fantasy, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Pages: 72
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Half Bad, Half Wild

Place(s) Traveled To: Bradenton, Florida // Tampa, Florida

First Line(s): We’ve been in the USA for five days now.

Half Lies by Sally Green is a short novella that takes place before Nathan meets Gabriel in Half Bad (my review). The novella is told in epistolary format from Michele, the sister of Gabriel, and is set in Florida where the family lived for a time. Its a sweet and heart breaking story that just makes you love Gabriel even more. In Half Bad you know that Gabriel has had a rough life and in Half Lies you learn a little of his origins and also how he became stuck.

Half Lies is a quick read and for a novella there is a lot of depth to it. There is so much story contained within its 72 pages and it will make your heart ache. Michele is a wonderful character and I loved reading her journal. This is a great introduction to the character of Gabriel and I am so glad that I read it before reading Half Wild (my review) as I feel like I understand him a bit more now. It was beautifully written and the voice so different and yet similar to that of the main books in the series. A must read for fans of the Half Bad Trilogy.

 irishdarkblue

 Half Lies Quote

three-stars
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Right of Way by Lauren BarnholdtRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
Series: Two-Way Street, Book 2
Also in this series: Two-Way Street
Published by Simon Pulse on 09 July 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Two-Way Street, Through to You

Place(s) Traveled To: Siesta Key, Florida // Greenwich, Connecticut // Sarasota, Florida // Bradenton, Florida // Ocala, Florida // Savannah, Georgia // Richmond Hill, Georgia

First Line(s): I’m a traitor to my generation.

Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt is a companion book to her story, Two-Way Street (my review) and follows the cousin of Courtney. The two books are very similar in premise that they are almost interchangeable. The only real differences are the names, there is a dog and Jace is driving Peyton home and they are not heading off to college together. They have an existing relationship but unlike Courtney and Jordan theirs is more of a summer time fling but like Jordan, Jace just cuts off all contact without a word leaving Peyton all sorts of heart-broken. These aren’t a grouping of books that you want to read back to back as you’ll just get frustrated at the almost copy & paste of the story. But with some time in between the two the similarities aren’t quite as glaring though still pretty obvious.

Peyton, like Courtney, is a bit of an unlikable character and I just don’t get what Jace sees in her and the reason he had for cutting off all contact was just dumb. With as close as they were supposed to be the fact that he didn’t ask her to explain was just rage inducing. Ugh to the ugh ugh ugh with the pointless breakup!! Nothing frustrates me more than that and this was just made me sigh and roll my eyes.

Right of Way Quote

Overall though, Right of Way, is a quick brain candy type of read and its a good follow-up to an emotionally draining book. Its not a deep story and it doesn’t take long to read which makes it a great pallet cleanser. While I didn’t like Peyton at first she does change during the story and I do cheer for her and Jace’s inevitable coming back together. While this isn’t a book that I will re-read its not one that I feel like I wasted my time on either. Even with all the similarities to Two-Way Street.

irishdarkblue

IR - Right of Way

Add How My Summer Went up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads (Review coming soon.)

three-stars
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Audio Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review3 Comments

Audio Review: The Martian by Andy WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir
Narrator: R. C. Bray
Published by Brilliance Audio on 22 March 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acidalia Planitia, Mars // Cape Canaveral, Florida // Pasadena, California // Schiaparelli Crater, Mars // Arabia Terra, Mars

First Line(s): I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.

I first heard about The Martian by Andy Weir through the Goodreads status updates of my friend David over at From My Bookshelf and it had him on the edge of his seat. Looking for a new audio I decided to download this one and give it a go. From the opening lines I was hooked and became totally engrossed in the story. The story starts not long after Mark Watney is left for dead on Mars after his team had to abandon their mission and Watney’s suit was damaged and he was knocked out in their escape. When Watney wakes he must then figure out a plan to stay alive for 4 years when the next mission to Mars is set to arrive. A daunting task for both Watney and those listening along as he works through many a problem just to survive.

The Martian is a book where you do have to suspend a bit of belief in order to read it as we aren’t so advanced as of yet to send manned missions to Mars. And of course there is Watney’s ability to figure out and manipulate things just so in order to get him through another day. But despite how implausible some of the events might seem the story never comes across as anything but real. I loved Watney’s way of telling a story and its really brought to life by RC Bray. Bray was the perfect choice for Watney and I loved his narration style. I loved how he brought out all the humor in this book and his delivery was spot on. There were lots of little quips and comments throughout The Martian and I think that they really came across better in the audio than if I’d read them in print. Plus there was all that tech-speak which, even though I’m scientifically minded, might have gotten a bit overwhelming and boring after awhile but listening to it just made it all the more fascinating.

Weir often uses a stream of conscious type of narration when telling this story and while this is something that normally bothers me royally in a book I didn’t mind it as much here. There was very much in the moment things that happened that I think if it was Weir looking back would have lost some of its edge. And there is also random changing of view points and that is also something that will bother me in a story but its something that works here. There is just something comforting in how the POV will switch to people at NASA knowing that they are working on the problem to bring one man home when it would be so easy to just cut their losses. I know that seems harsh and callous but its not an easy thing to try to perform a rescue mission when the rescuee is trapped on a planet light years away!

For most of this book I was on the edge of my seat. I’d find reasons to drive around just to hear more of the story with my heart racing the whole time. Its a book that even though you hope for a happy ending you just aren’t sure that you are going to get one and I just love when that happens in a book. The Martian is the sort of book that will appeal to all those that loved the movie Apollo 13 as they two stories share many similarities. This is a book that if it hadn’t come to me so highly recommended from a friend I might have passed on it but once I started it I was hooked. Its a book where I think that the audio is truly the way to go in order to get all the nuances, all the tension and humor and the beautiful way that Weir tells a story. Weir’s debut isn’t perfect but I love how he crafted his story. This is an author that I am looking forward to reading more stories from.

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The Martian2
four-stars
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. TuckerTen Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths,
Published by Atria Books on 24 September 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Miami, Florida // Chicago, Illinois

First Line(s): “Just breathe,” my mom would say. “Ten tiny breaths…Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker came to me highly recommended and as I was looking for a new book at the time I decided to give this one a shot. I liked the book, mostly, at the beginning though I found it hard to like the main character, Kacey. She was very judgemental and abrasive and seemed to delight in looking down her nose at every one. Then you have the main love interest, Trent, who is a bit of a creeper always watching and following Kacey around. I have never been one to understand the stalker as a romantic plot line. For me, there is a big difference between wanting to spend all your time with someone and stalking and Trent definately came across as a stalker.

Then there was that WTF-ery of a reveal closer to the end of the book and the whole thing just took a complete and total nose dive. If you were with me as I read this you would have heard many a sigh and seen many an eye roll and if this book wasn’t on my ereader then you can be sure it would have been tossed across the room in disgust. The best thing about this book was the side romance between Kacey’s neighbor and the cop even if it was rushed but I so would have enjoyed a book about them as opposed to Kacey and Trent.

Overall, Ten Tiny Breaths, was well written it was just filled with so many implausible things. Every time the character had time to think they’d jump to the craziest of all possibilities and then that thing would end up being the truth. Then with all the crazy that was swirling around everything all ends up being tied up in this neat and tidy bow. Happily ever afters all around! Now I’m not saying that books should have a sad ending. Because I love me a good HEA and that is part of why I read romanctic stories because I like the predictability of thier endings. But in this case based on all that came before it was just all so very very hard to believe.

Ten Tiny Breaths was a book that made my head hurt as I tried to make sense of it all. It frustrated me so very much and at this time I don’t have any plans to read anything else by KA Tucker.

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irishdarkblue

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People who liked this one better than I did

Maryse’s Book Blog: “Loved it!! A MUST READ! I wont say any more. The shock value from the very start to the very end must be experienced blindly for full impact. Just know I think you should read it.”

Dear Author: “Finally, despite the weighty issues, the pace of the story is snappy and the emotional low notes are interspersed with humor and sexiness.”

Mostly YA Book Obsessed: I wasn’t…wowed like I was expecting to be. It was still a good story that I really enjoyed. Full of pain and healing and learning how to love. I especially liked the last few emotional chapters.”

Ten Tiny Breaths Quote

two-stars
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Blog Tour Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer EcholsBiggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Series: Superlatives,
Published by Simon Pulse on 20 May 14
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Forget You, Going Too Far

Place(s) Traveled To: Tampa, Florida

First Line(s): “You must be Tia Cruz.”

I was really excited to read Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols as I just adore her books and characters and I really wanted to love this one. Sadly though I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this one as I wanted to as I just never connected with the two main characters. I just found Tia and Will to be unlikable and never bought a romance between them. I also didn’t really see what they did in order to get voted as Biggest Flirts considering that they’d only known each other a couple of weeks and superlative elections happened right when school started. So there was a lot of suspension of belief.

Then there is the previously mentioned unlikablility of the characters. Tia was prickly and jealous and so super unmotivated. She was smart and talented and she would often underachieve on purpose. She said that she didn’t want to date because she didn’t want to end up like her sisters who were left pregnant and alone. And yet she’d engage in random hookups because that won’t leave you pregnant and alone. *insert eye roll here* You’d also think that she’d be more focused and driven trying to do all she can to succeed and to the the opposite of her sisters rather than essentially following in their path. Will wasn’t much better as he was sullen and moody and I could understand that considering he was forced to move right before his senior year. But in one breath he said he liked and wanted to date Tia and then a blink later was dating her mortal enemy ‘old Angelica.’ (And can I just say how much I hated that pointless nickname. Ugh)

The story was quick but it lacked depth and heart and just anything real. I wanted to smack the two main characters more than anything else and so didn’t care if they found a HEA. By the end I just wanted this book to be over and I main kept reading it because it was a Jennifer Echols book. However, Forget You, this one is not. I read this one is almost one sitting and until I hit the final page I had hopes that the story would turn itself around. Alas, that wasn’t the case and now I am on the fence on if I want to continue this series or not. I did like Tia’s friends far more than her so there is that positive. The negative though is that unless Tia suddenly moves we’re stuck with her for the duration. Blergh.

irishdarkblue
three-stars
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Do or Die by Suzanne BrockmannDo or Die by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Reluctant Heroes,
Published by Random House on 04 February 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Espionage, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, People of Color, Suspense, War & Military
Pages: 576
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Istanbul, Turkey // Miami, FLorida // Sarasota, Florida // Clearwater, Florida

First Line(s): Ian Dunn’s job for this assignment was a simple one.

Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann is a romantic suspense novel featuring former Navy SEAL Ian Dunn and lawyer Phoebe Kruger as they get ensnared in crazy shenanigans that in part deal with kidnapped children. Do or Die is also a spin off of one of Brockmann’s other series but as this is my first by her that connection was lost on me. Do or Die is billed as a search to find and rescue two kidnapped children with Ian being the Reluctant Hero as billed by the series title. However, those kidnapped children cover about 15% of the book as a whole and as such I call shenanigans on the synopsis.

The bulk of Do or Die is about Ian and his brother along with the rest of Ian’s Special Ops team and how they are connected to a Florida mob family. There where some things that happened in the past that have Ian’s brother and spouse hiding out and resulted in Ian doing time for a crime that he didn’t commit. Then the Feds come along and muck up Ian’s deal by getting him out of prison in order to rescue those afore mentioned children. But before he goes after the children Ian must first find and save his brother and his family and that takes up a big percentage of the book.

Overall I liked the character of Phoebe, though she could be a little naive and annoying at times. Despite being a criminal lawyer of several years she still seems to think the best of the world and people in general. I say despite as criminal lawyers always seem to become a bit jaded in humanity and maybe its just my perception from books and movies but Phoebe just seemed a little to naive for her chosen job. But I have to give her credit as she does learn and adapt quickly to a stressful situation even if she doesn’t always use the sense that she was born with.

Ian on the other hand annoyed the ever living crap out of me for much of the book. I never really bought the romance between him and Phoebe as he was such a douche for most of the book. He was always projecting his issues onto others (like calling his brother a spoiled child when that title more accurately fit him) and just acting like an ass to those around him. He kept secrets on the stupidest of things and none of which seemed to help or protect those around him but instead only seemed to hurt them more. If there was any character that I could slap in this story then it would have been him.

Another thing that annoyed me with this book was the crazy, whiplash inducing, head jumping that happened. Oh my stars did it lack structure and was just lazy story telling plain and simple. A more talented writer could have avoided this cheap trick and found a way to tell the story with the two main characters at hand. Or even if she did need to jump into other heads it could have been done more cleanly. There were times when it was hard to tell immediately when and whose head I was in at a given time.

Do or Die is a bit convoluted of a story and I am unsure if I will continue reading on to the next book. I am also unsure if Suzanne Brockmann is an author that I want to read more of at all. The story telling and the writing just weren’t the greatest. The plot was all over the place with holes that one could drive a truck through so there was lots of suspension of belief. The ending was also so over the top and rushed that it just fell flat. I never felt any tension or heart-achy moments during my read of the book and the only thing that this one had going for it was that it was a quick read. Though it could have been cut down by 200 pages or so in order to make it a cleaner and more compact one. Do or Die isn’t one that I would rush to recommend but could serve as a brain candy ready for those that need a palette cleanser between heavier, better written stories.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Changing the Game by Jaci BurtonChanging the Game by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play, Book 2
Also in this series: The Perfect Play, Taking a Shot
Published by Berkley Books on 02 August 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 299
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Perfect Play, Taking a Shot

Place(s) Traveled to: Palm Beach, Florida // St. Louis, Missouri // New York, New York

First Line(s): Gavin Riley knew Elizabeth Darnell had been avoiding him for the past several months.

If I am honest, I have to admit that I really wasn’t looking forward to reading Changing the Game by Jaci Burton and I almost skipped this book entirely. The reason for this was my intense dislike of the main character, Elizabeth who was a major player in the first book in the series, The Perfect Play (my review). Elizabeth was kind of a b!tch in that book and she did everything she could to break up Tara and Mick. She also thought that one of her main jobs as a sports agent was to have her clients be seen with any and every celebrity she could find hanging on their arm and to just party party party. Whereas as most other books I’ve read and tv shows watched have shown the sports agents trying to get their clients to settle down and not party as much. This was just a small part of her personality that I just wasn’t a fan of but I also dislike reading books out of order so decided to suck it up and give this a go.

Changing the Game picks up several months after The Perfect Play ends and Elizabeth has been avoiding Gavin (who is Mick’s younger brother) after Mick fired her and she kissed Gavin. As with, The Perfect Play, the sex scenes start almost immediately and occurred in high frequency and almost to the point of overshadowing the main story. Throughout the book I was still annoyed with Elizabeth though not as much as I was in The Perfect Play.  In Changing the Game, we get to see events through Elizabeth’s eyes and as such we do get to see a bit of her vulnerability. This helps in identifying with her a bit more than seeing her through the eyes of others. The saving grace of this book though was Gavin. He was the opposite of Elizabeth and shows that the old maxim of opposites attract holds true. But they aren’t so opposite that they don’t find common interests outside of the bedroom.

Gavin’s personality was also more genuine and real and just plain more likeable. Which was the opposite of his brother Mick who was a complete and utter a$$ in this book. Its a good thing that he didn’t have all that many scenes in this book or I may have had to go back and revise my review of The Perfect Play and follow up on my first impression of his character. Mick was abrasive and verbally abusive to Elizabeth. Harassing her and calling her names and trying to drive a wedge between her and Gavin. The exact thing that Elizabeth did to him (minus the name calling of Tara) and that he got so bent out of shape over in the first place. In this book Mick often came across as entitled and bratty and just generally unlikable. This did help in softening my opinion of Elizabeth as we did mostly see her through Mick’s eyes in The Perfect Play.

I liked the person that Elizabeth became when she was with Gavin. She was looser and less uptight and more genuine and real. Gavin was a likeable hero and I hope to see more of him in future books. He was honest and funny and just always felt real. In the end, I did like Changing the Game but I didn’t love it. This book won’t be a favorite of mine but I am glad that I didn’t skip it. I liked the introduction to Jenna and I look forward to her story as a result of this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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