Aced by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

AcedAced by Ella Frank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Had I know beforehand that this story had a cliffhanger I probably would not have bothered, but as it was, I didn’t mind. It is obvious what is going to come, so I am quite curious to see how everything is going to play out.

There were quite a few things I didn’t like about the story and the characters, but as a whole it was an enjoyable read with good MCs and, for once, no misunderstandings or miscommunication. Instead we had insta-attraction without any misgivings whatsoever.

The things that bothered me:

The insta-love was based solely on looks and sex appeal (as so often) and stayed that way seemingly all through to the end. Those guys didn’t have many conversations other than about sex, their fantasies and whenever they talked about anything else (which was rare enough) they couldn’t help but throw in sex related puns. Do it once, if you must, but after that it gets boring.

Ace drives a Lamborghini. How stereotypical and unimaginative! I would think that being a movie star followed by paparazzi 24/7 would make you choose a slightly less conspicuous car, but what do I know? The scenes in the desert (both, the driving and the sex) just added to that stereotype.

There might be people out there who think the sex life of some action movie star is the most important thing ever, but I am sure after a little while the immediate interest in Ace’s romantic life will wane. The guy came out a year ago, and as much as I understood his dilemma, he should have just gone and said, there, that’s him. Publish your crap and be done with it! For most people the world does not revolve around Ace Locke, so why all the secrecy?

The whole scene in Las Vegas was a bit naive, wasn’t it? That establishment sounded just like a high end lifestyle club, I don’t know what the fuss was all about. The fact that our guys witnessed “depraved” activities (their words) added a sort of narrow minded, prudish undertone to the story which came entirely unexpected, especially seeing the background Dylan came from. I didn’t take him for such a petty bourgois.

All that being said, I liked the story. There were none of my pet peeves and the MCs had a solid emotional bond (whatever it is based on), so I will definitely read the sequel.

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The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

The Cornish Coast MurderThe Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We are getting thrown into the murder story pretty much at the start of the book as the doctor gets called to the crime scene while having dinner with the vicar. I very much enjoyed the setting in a Cornish village by the sea, the detailed descriptions that brought all the scenes to life and all the characters involved in the mystery. It was a very comfortable and cosy read, even though there was not much guesswork or sleuthing possible on the reader’s side. Not that I am any good at it anyway, but here it was absolutely impossible to know who the culprit was. There were tons of false clues, left behind either on purpose or accidentally, and the detective was in the dark until the very end as well. If it hadn’t been for the vicar and his memory the murder might not have been solved at all.

So as far as elaborate plot and sophisticated detecting are concerned “The Cornish Coast Murder” leaves a little to be desired.

Also, be prepared for some outdated views on women. A few delightful examples:

She was distraught […] and therefore liable to indulge an utterly unreasonable whim. Women are often unreasonable, Inspector. Illogical, too.

Of course.

…a woman in love was always a foolhardy and unresonable creature. though not devoid […] of a certain inspired cunning.

We might be unreasonable, but we do know how to trick and deceive people.

The garden is fifteen feet in length. This argues a poor shot. Probably a woman.

Heaven forbid there are poor shots among men. Or women good at shooting.

You just have to take that stuff in stride.

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Make me trust by T.A. McKay

Make Me Trust (Hard To Love #2)Make Me Trust by T.A. McKay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If everybody who once was cheated on, left behind or treated unfairly would close off to others like a lot of the guys I have read about lately, there would be no more happy people around. I got a little bit impatient and exasperated with those two guys. They were hot as hell and there was NOTHING wrong with them, so why, oh why, did they continuously drone on about how so not enough and/or so unloveable and undeserving they are. You both get a grip!

The usual misunderstanding had to be thrown in, of course, and that pissed me off even more. That Trey would have a thing going with Quincy was such an absurd idea, how Roman could believ that I don’t know. The same with Trey freaking out at the sight of Grey in a towel. Talk about impulsive overreacting. Oh, well!

That being said, I liked the story nonetheless. Trey and Roman were great together and good for each other and it showed on every page. The book needs editing though, there were plenty of missing or wrong words which took away the enjoyment quite a bit.

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Beautifully damaged by L.A. Fiore

Beautifully Damaged (Beautifully Damaged, #1)Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was continuously shaking my head about myself while reading because I just soaked this one up and loved it.

The heroine, well, I would have walked out on that guy much sooner (but would have come back as well, I am very forgiving), but she rationalized everything so nicely.. The hero, perfect, rich and without a flaw (apart from the self loathing, stalkerish behaviour and anger issues, but these are just “minor” problems that we see in every other romance). It seems that L.A. Fiore’s hero often do the most stupid things that hurt the heroine no end in order to “protect” her. What can I say, I forgave him. You know how it is, it hurt him just as much, if not more.

I forgive almost everything as long as I can see a connection between the couple and so I was ok with the most idiotic things. For example, if anybody in real life got that tattoo after that time, I would seriously question that person’s common sense, but here, no problem.

I was more annoyed at the obvious plot holes where the mystery was concerned. Apart from the police officer who knew everything and eventually became an accomplice to the killer, the timeline that didn’t add up somehow, the mother who assumed that if she was unresponsive her children would leave the house and then showed initiative even though she was drugged up – there were tons of things that were explained and resolved in a way that made NO sense whatsoever. Still, I couldn’t help liking it. A lot.

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Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker

Cronin's Key (Cronin's Key, #1)Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

N. R. Walker should stick with contemporary storylines that don’t involve any world building. The vampire lore that was created here was nonsensical and complete bollocks. The logical argument of “cats like vampires -> cats protect vampires -> that’s why lions are on every bloody banner in the world -> there you have it, proofs of vampires are everywhere, you just have to look” is so ridiculous, it’s not funny anymore. The whole backstory was told in a few info dump scenes where Alec asked irrelevant questions that wouldn’t occur to anyone faced with that sort of stuff. I am not saying that the world couldn’t have been interesting, but the vampire angle was overdone and just impossible to believe.

I don’t mind insta-love or fated lovers one bit, but I’m not thrilled about the no-choice-at-all situation. Alec didn’t like it at the beginning, but was ok with it in the end, because all of a sudden he had convinced himself that he would have chosen Cronin anyway. How does he know this?

Anyway, apart from that “I can’t help loving you” situation which already diminished the relationship in my eyes the love scenes were boring to boot. I have read Blind Faith which had some scenes that were very nicely done. This led me to expect something along the same lines (especially since those two guys here had NO issues at all with each other) but I was disappointed. The connection between Alex and Cronin just wasn’t there. The love scenes were bland and uninspired. I have read random hookups in men’s restrooms that were more sensual. I can’t begin to describe how mechanical, emotionless and impersonal those scenes were. Plus, purring – unless you are a cat – is not on my top ten list of pleasure sounds. Cronin is supposed to be a vampire who kills for food, for crying out loud, he doesn’t purr!

A disappointing read. I will give the other books in this series a wide berth.

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