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A fortunate blizzard by L.C. Chase

A Fortunate BlizzardA Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trevor and Marcus meet by chance because of a blizzard that keeps them from going where they want to go. I had hoped this was a cabin romance as I am a sucker for that sort of stuff, but actually the cabin aspect was not really there as being snowed in at a hotel for one night with a lot of other people doesn’t qualify. Nevertheless this was a super sweet story with a tinge of tragedy, but, as could be expected, the tragedy didn’t take place after all.

Insta-love doesn’t even begin to cover the relationship that Trevor and Marcus develop in more or less one night. Somehow it didn’t come over as contrived or forced, so I was all for it. Marcus’ evolution, however, from dedicated workaholic to devoted friend and lover (after a couple of days no less) was more than astounding and I didn’t find it believable. He offered to donate a kidney so readily that it was downright creepy.

The first few days of this blooming relationship took a large part of the book, the second part felt shortened. How all Marcus’ co-workers rallied for Trevor was amazing, given that Marcus never gave a damn about any of them previously. Finding a donor was just too pat for my taste apart from the questionable setup of that charity. You organize an event like that for one donor alone? What about all the other people that are on death’s door because they don’t find a donor? As the whole topic of the story was helping Trevor to a new life, I would have found it more than appropriate to at least mention that the charity event resulted in a few more possibly happy endings for some other people.

Speaking of the happy ending, this was rushed as well. A donor is found and the next thing we read is a sort of epilogue quite some time later and that is that. This was all too easy and flawless for me. A little less love at the beginning and a bit more content at the end would have made that story more substantial for me.

That being said, for a sweet and light Christmas romance, this is a good story to consider.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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From afar by Ava March

From AfarFrom Afar by Ava March
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was thoroughly disappointed with this.

The opening scene turned me off. I knew there was some m/f and voyeurism involved, but the picture of Raphael sitting in a tree wanking away was something I could have done without. Where did this obsession with Aleric come from? He has never even talked to the guy; just from seeing him, he got so obsessed with him? I find that rather unhealthy, it makes me uncomfortable with the character.

Then, within a few pages, Aleric was turned and was perfectly ok with his new lifestyle. It seems due to some chemical reaction which was triggered by the turning (no other explanation was given) he all of a sudden was just as needy with Raphael as the other vampire was with him. It’s not that they had spent ANY time together that did not involve frantic sex. Is that supposed to be romance? Not in my book. In fact this is not even porn, because even porn needs some sort of normality in order for the sex to stand out (I am paraphrasing Umberto Eco here).

The story possibilities were all wasted. Katerina (of course, a Russian vampire queen) and her clan sounded quite interesting – apart from the obession with sex again -, but those characters fizzled out and were not followed up at all. Btw, anyone else found the names Katerina and Aleric reminiscent of the Vampire Diaries?

Because there was no emotional bond to speak of (at least I didn’t see any) between Aleric and Raphael, I found myself skimming the sex scenes, i.e. large parts of the book. Finally a conflict was in the offing, i.e. Aleric’s understandable anger and distress over the stalkerish behavior of Raphael, but even that ended with sex almost immediately. Instead of running away from that weirdo who observed him in secret for years, Aleric forgives Raphael within minutes.This couple did not get me involved or attracted me in any way.

Abrupt does not even begin to describe the ending. We go from sex to a half baked plan to leave and that’s it. I had 17% to go with the story and thought there was something more substantial still coming up, and then – wham – the end within a paragraph. The remaining 17% of the book were excerpts and ads for other books, which annoyed me a lot.

I am not saying that this story couldn’t have been good on a mere 85 pages, but given the fact that most of those pages were about sex, it just didn’t work. No explanations, no development, a lacklustre “romance” at best, this wasn’t satisfying. At all.

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Pleasures of Somerville Park by Ava March

Pleasures of Somerville Park (Somerville Park, #1.5)Pleasures of Somerville Park by Ava March
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short and free sequel to Object of his desire, which I really liked. Is is only around fifteen pages and is a short glimpse into Henry and Arsen’s life eight months after they got together. Mostly from Arsen’s POV and pretty sweet.

Why some people complain about it being too short or not providing enough characterization is beyond me. This is a FREE read, for Christ’s sake! And only meant as a follow-up to the other book. If you have not read that one, don’t read this one.

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Hidden scars by Amanda K. Byrne

Hidden Scars (Hidden Scars, #1)Hidden Scars by Amanda K. Byrne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story sounded interesting and I really cannot put my finger on why I wasn’t gripped by it.

The heroine is a good character, careful who she gets involved with, not too trusting, but still down to earth and reasonable. The hero on the other side stays quite faceless. Him being quiet or unobtrusive had nothing to do with it – I love the quiet type – but apart from the fact that he observed, remembered and cared we know not much about him as a person. It’s hard to describe, he is a lovely guy, responsible, everything you could ask for. He had a dubious past as a peripheral member of some gang and quite a lot to deal with at present, and nevertheless, he felt not very fleshed out.

The story moves ultra slow, which was a good change from the usual and I liked how it developped. There was enough tension with the protagonists’ and past and subsequently emotional issues, so I am not complaining about that either. The writing was good, and I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

Somehow the couple and the development of their relationship didn’t come to life for me. I am sorry, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Hearts and Minds by Marie Treanor

Hearts and Minds (The Gifted, #2)Hearts and Minds by Marie Treanor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is no secret that I really like Marie Treanor’s heroes. They are just perfect in every way.

At the beginning of Hearts and Minds I was quite taken with Nikolai (no surprise here, who wouldn’t be), but was slightly shocked that in the course of the book his general set up reminded me of someone else. Not so much his personality per se, his looks or behaviour, but rather how he was presented. Being a “gifted” very powerful healer? Being considered super dangerous? Being feared by a lot of his own people? The heroine being the light of his dark world? Doesn’t this ring a bell? This is Gregori from Dark Magic all over!

Thank God these are the only aspects that are similar; if Nikolai had been the same condescending know-it-all as Gregori with his annoying “my petite” habit (a habit he shares with all his Carpathian brothers) I would have tossed the book into a corner. But no, Nikolai is just right. Badass enough, hot enough, lovely enough – a perfect mix. Not surprisingly, Jen, the heroine, was equally satisfying. Marie Treanor’s heroines never seem to have the oh so popular stupid tendencies to misunderstand and draw idiotic conclusions out of nowhere.
The storyline was quite good, with lots of political dissidents, mean dictators, dubious oppostion leaders, bombs, narrow escapes with screeching tyres, the whole works. Throw in a few uncanny gifts, parapsychological researchers and a pissed off/helpless guardian and you get a super entertaining book.

Sadly, again, I have to comment on the cover art. Wow, the hair on that guy has to be one of the worst Photoshop jobs ever. Not good!

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The only one by Magan Vernon – DNF

The Only One (Only, #3)The Only One by Magan Vernon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I started reading this because it is in the “Unconditional” anthology, but couldn’t finish it. The heroine – and I am sorry to say that, because it sounds heartless and without compassion – was a whiner of the first order and selfish to the extreme.

Apart from the fact that the cancer topic was dealt with in a disappointingly superficial way, the whole story had no character development whatsoever. It mainly consisted of Melanie going on ad infinitum about how “broken” she was and of Melanie trying to give John an out, because she kept insisting he only pitied her. It was obvious he was not interested in an out, but what does she care. If John HAD indeed left, it would have been the prime example of a self fulfilling prophecy.

After a little more than half I couldn’t stand that miserable situation anymore and left it behind.

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Surviving Raine by Shay Savage

Surviving Raine (Surviving Raine, #1)Surviving Raine by Shay Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I ever become shipwrecked or get stranded on a lonely island I want to be there with Bastian Stark. His survival skills are above and beyond everybody else’s! It seems fighting in a modern day munera sine missione does have its benefits.

I suppose he is the typical beloved anti hero who behaves like a complete jerk alot, but makes up for this by being caring AND hot once he decides to let go of his mean tendencies. Thanks to the 100% male POV we know what’s going on inside of him and understand why he is doing what he’s doing. I can’t say I am totally convinced that this is what’s going on in a man’s mind but I didn’t care for reality anyway.

I found the perspective very refreshing and a relief from the usual female point of view. I am quite familiar with a female point of view already and – to be frank – in romance novels I find it tedious, boring, repetitive and downright annoying most of the time. In Raine’s case I don’t think she would have annoyed me – no, she is a very sweet, forgiving, reasonable and down to earth person, but her trains of thoughts would not have been nearly as interesting to read as Bastian’s, I am sure (sorry).

I must admit, even though I am a sucker for sob stories, I found Bastian was laying it on a bit thick. Wasn’t he a little too needy? The “I’ll die if you ever leave” refrain was a bit over the top for me. Yeah, say it once if you must, but don’t go on non stop.

I read a few reviews of the Evan Arden series. It seems that there is another guy who “will die if she ever leaves” and then, when she does leave, hooks up soon after with a hoooker who can “heal” him. Not saying that this is a bad thing, people do leave sometimes and life goes on, but doesn’t this throw a cloud of suspicion over that lover’s oath? Sometimes a little less is more.

That being said Shay Savage pushed all the right buttons for me and I loved the story. I wouldn’t classify this as the typical romance with the usual frequent love scenes. Don’t get mislead by the heavy use of “fucking” and “cock”! There were some sex scenes, but the adventure of being thrown out on a life raft and land on a lonely island took a large part of the story. A good mix, a great couple, no idiotic misunderstandings and a somewhat happy ending – absolutely recommendable.

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Falling from the sky by Sarina Bowen

Falling from the Sky (Gravity, #2)Falling from the Sky by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this second story of the Gravity Series the hero did have a problem, for real. A good change from the regular romance novels, but as I found out, it doesn’t make a difference to me in whether I like the book or not. Odd, right? I always complain about the contrived problems, so you would think I appreciate it when a real one comes along, but no.

Somehow it felt to me that Hank, even though he found himself in a wheelchair after a snowboarding accident, even though he saw himself as useless (especially to women) after being the alpha man, went on just as before (minus the snowboarding, but even that got better at the end). His supposed loneliness was rather self induced – if you discard his posh girlfriend leaving him, but good riddance anyway. He had money galore and could put it to good use. A complete makeover of his house to suit the disabled? Check. A Porsche with all the hand controls? Check. Contrary to what they say in the story I do think that there are only VERY few disabled people owning a Porsche with hand controls.

The heroine – smart, pretty, not to say beautiful, but otherwise not very interesting – had it in her head that she was only a distraction for Hank. That a man like him would never look twice at a girl like her, if he wasn’t in a bad situation and had no alternatives. Just because he did not jump her when he saw her for the first time, which was right before the accident, she got that idea that he found her unattractive and stuck with it. But of course, this did not keep her from having sex with him numerous times. She hadn’t left her hometown because she waited for a man to come along, and when he did come along, she wanted to leave as soon as possible, giving up a good career opportunity (which she got thanks to him). Talk about messed up.

If you liked the first book, you might want to give this a go, especially as you will see glimpses of Dane and Willow here and there.

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