Falling Hard by Jae

First off let me say I am a huge fan of Jae’s work. As I have said before she is an author you can count on to deliver you a quality read time and time again. With that being said, Falling Hard, her latest novel is probably my least favorite of her books thus far. Don’t freak out, this is a good book, don’t get me wrong, it really is, but overall I felt uninspired reading it. Here are my thoughts as to why…

Dr. Jordan Williams is a general surgeon how lives her life with a no strings attached look on love. You got it! Her bedroom has a revolving door of ladies. She doesn’t hide it and is honorable in the fact that she lets her lovers know exactly what to expect, a good night or two and then adios on to the next one.

Emma Larson is a recently divorced, single mother who has recently had her heart shattered by a cheating wife. Emma picked up what was left of her after catching her wife with another woman, in her own bed nonetheless, and moved from Portland to her childhood hometown of South Pasadena, CA. Emma isn’t looking for a good time between the sheets, she isn’t going to give her heart away for the second time and unless it is true love. One thing that throws everything off is she is ridiculously attracted to her new next door neighbor, Jordan.

You can basically guess how the plot is going to go. Player meets hot single mom, mom rebukes all advances, the player can’t get mom out of her head and stops sleeping around, mom falls for the player, the player falls for mom and viola and a new family is made. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s a good story. You have well thought out characters with a solid beginning, middle, and end. What it is though, is lackluster. There is nothing that sets this book apart from a dozen others that have the exact same plot. There is no tension, no angst, no thoughtful dialogue, nothing that makes the story or its characters jump off the page. It gave me no feels, and after Jae’s last novel, Heart Stop, which gave me all kinds of delicious emotions, I wanted more. This is a light sweet romance, one I am glad I read, but not one that will leave much of a lasting impression.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Blinded by Kim Pritekel

Kim Pritekel is one of the first authors I stumbled across in the lesbian romance genre. Her stories are always well thought out with interesting characters. Going into going into her stories you know you are going to get a slow burn romance and a bit of craziness.

Burton Blinde is an investigative reporter for a local Denver new station. When we first meet her she is on her way to being a star, courted by CNN, she slated to be the next Barbara Walters. Days away from her move to New York, Burton is still tracking local stories, one including the juicy gossip of a Colorado senator being blackmailed by his former lover. As Burton is questioning the politician all hell breaks loose and a madman throws a grenade into the car, killing everyone but the reporter. Suffering horrific injuries Burton closes her friends out and retreats to the wilderness to live in near isolation.

Years later, after going through some of her old boxes from her reporter days, Burton comes across cryptic postcards. Her inquisitive mind will not let it go so she begins trying to find the old clues as to what the anonymous postcards were trying to clue her in on.
Okay so up until this point right here, I am digging this book. A great foundation is been laid out and I’m like oh yeah where we going with this. Then it kind of went haywire. So to make it quick, a small country, Chilvokia, near Russia is under attack, total warfare and has been for years. Dr. Lilli Novikoff, while studying medicine in Denver was the one trying to reach out to Burton to tell her of her country’s strife. First off, just tell her, she’s a reporter they are always looking for a story. Second, maybe contact the UN or NATO, just a thought. I think they would like to know if there has been coup, slaughtering person in the streets.

So any who Button goes to Chilvokia, it’s damn war zone, meets back up with Dr. Lilli, saves the king, falls in love…and goes home a hero. I can’t give you more because I was lost in the second half of the book numerous times. I wasn’t always sure who was who, and what was happening. What was the point of the war, I am still not sure, and something about selling women, kids and weapons, maybe. I was swimming in muddy water. It was fun and I enjoyed it but sometimes I had no idea my left from my right if that makes any sense at all. Also, I needed way more time with Burton and Lilli the couple, the romance part of Blinded was lacking.

Blinded is good, not great like Pritekel’s other books. I felt like she needed more chapters to explain what was happening. I think if the story had been longer, it could have cleared up the confusing pieces. Her characters definitely had chemistry I just needed more time with them together to solidify a stellar romance.

2.75 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing
  • www.sapphirebooks.com

To Purchase on Amazon: Blinded

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Knight’s Sacrifice by Nita Round

The proprietor of a funeral home, Catherine Samuels, knows all about the dead but that’s not what concerns her. No, it’s the dead that suddenly become undead that keeps her up a night. So zombies? Well, that too, plus some demons, ghouls and well you get the drift. . . scary creatures! For Catherine this is her legacy, her family has been put in charge of the gate to Hell since the beginning of time. The problem is Catherine’s family kept her out of the family business, and now that they have all passed on she’s grasping at straws to figure out what to do next and stop the increasing flow of dead bodies that are coming back to life and reeking havoc.

Cassandra “Cassie” Evans, is a fighter. Her job on Earth is to put the evil undead back where they belong. She uses her special skills to keep order between the living and the departed. Cassie comes to Catherine’s funeral home to help her figure out this mess. She has no clue that Catherine does not know her families secrets and what her duty as the keeper of the gate entails.

When Cassie gets to Catherine’s manor in the beginning of the book you have your basic, “I’m attracted to you, but I don’t want to be” setup. Cassie sees Catherine as part of her job and she wants nothing more than a professional relationship. What threw me as the reader is then we go for about a week with the boss and the employee completely avoiding each other. They even live in the same house, but no communication whatsoever. Once the do communicate its with kisses. Whoa! That kind of threw me, talk about zero to sixty.

Overall the book is an interesting tale of two women fighting to hold the world together, at the same time finding their inner powers. I will say there were times when I was a bit lost as to what was happening. I would have liked a bit more background information on what was happening and the Samuel legacy. You are finding out at the same time Catherine does, so as the reader, I felt as in the dark as she did. At times I found this to be a bit frustrating, but I was still interested in the outcome of the book. I believe this is Nita Round’s debut novel, and I will definitely read whatever she writes next.

3 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Blue Beacon Books by Regal Crest

To Purchase: Knight’s Sacrifice

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The Right Kind of Wrong by P.J. Trebelhorn

A lot of times if the romance genre we see a lot of the same plot devices recycled. You’ve read the I’m in love with my best friend but won’t/can’t tell her many, many times. When done really well this plot tends to deliver a lot of glorious angst, which I am a huge fan of. The Right Kind of Wrong
by P.J. Trebelhorn fall somewhere in the middle. Not a fantastic book, but not terrible either.

Quinn Burke is a forty something bartender who runs through college co-eds like water. Having had her heart-broke not that long ago, Quinn has turned to one night stands to keep things emotionally easy. The only problem with that is she has long harbored romantic feelings for her bestie for about twenty years.

Grace Everett, a small bookstore owner adores Quinn. When Quinn asked her out years ago she told her she needed a friend more than a lover. Over the years, it always seemed as they were never single at the same time. So when attraction popped up, she would squash it down because their friendship is so precious. When Quinn’s mom has a heart attack, that becomes the catalyst for Grace to finally admit to Quinn her feelings.

So much missed communication ensues, so much repressed emotion, and what was surprising to me is normally I like all of that. This story, however was lacking, I struggled to keep going. Its not overly complicated, its just kind of flat. The angst is there but didn’t really move me. All the side character drama felt like filler and didn’t help the story at all, it was more distracting than anything. Towards the end you feel like your reading the same chapters over and over, characters having the same conversations yet again. By the end I was glad to see the two mains get together so I could move on.

2.75 stars out of 5

To Purchase: Desperate Measures

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Becoming You by Michelle Grubb

Emotional whiplash is what Becoming You by Michelle Grubb’s is. Whew! Up, down, all around is what you’re going to get. At times this book is very hard, at times, it tackles some difficult subject matter, infidelity for example, and will keep you on your toes till the very end.

When we first meet Airlie Porter she is traveling from Australia to Ireland to start a new life. No job, no place to live, just headed with her bestie, Hannah on this cross-continent adventure. Uh-uh, nope, that is just cray. Come on girls we need more planning than that is what my control freak mind kept saying. Airlie has just upended her long term relationship with Sam. No matter how nice he was, a totally good guy, Airlie could not help feeling a sense of doom as she closed in on the married life. So she destroyed her relationship and took off with Hannah. Airlie doesn’t know why she feels so much discontent. Until a night in a bar when she meets Rachel does the big clue drop.

Olivia is a married woman who lives in a seaside town a few hours outside of Dublin. Seated next to Airlie and Hannah on the flight back from Australia, she hit it off with the two fellow Aussies and invited them, (they had no lodging remember), to stay with her till they decided to take off for the big city. Olivia and Airlie instantly connect and form a bond that is unlike anything they have ever experienced.

This is where it gets tricky! Airlie’s struggle with her sexuality is very real. you feel her anger, her pain, she is writhing with denial. All I wanted to do was hug her. To make matter infinitely worse the one woman she can see herself with is the most unavailable female on planet Earth. Not to mention, Olivia has neve once given any indication she plays for the lady-loving team.

Well, it’s a romance so you know where this is going to go. This best-friendship turns to something more. This is where we take a hard turn in the book. We go from Airlie’s personal struggle to acceptance and then to one giant seriously messed up seriously destructive relationship. Airlie and Olivia begin an affair after long denying their attraction. Okay, lose the hubby, Olivia. Oh, that would be too easy. Olivia a kind, understanding, sentinel of a woman to Airlie becomes the worst person ever. She became an absolute a$$hole to Airlie and to her husband. The character switch towards the last quarter or the book was pretty daunting.

Overall, this book is quite good. It tackles some difficult subjects and for the most part, does it quite well. I thought the ending was a bit too convenient and didn’t really redeem either of the main characters. With that being said, it is not my favorite from Michelle Grubb, but she is still absolutely on my automatic read list.

 
3 out of 5 stars

To Purchase:Becoming You

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The Roundabout by Gerri Hil

The Roundabout by Gerri Hill is what I would call a sweet romance. There really isn’t a lot of heat/ I want to ravish your body moments, and there isn’t any angst to dial up the tension. No, it’s just a cute story with some awe moments along the way.

Megan Phenix is thirty-nine and has sworn off dating forever. After two monumental strikeouts in the love department, she has decided that relationships are not worth the hassle and heartbreak. To make matters worse, Megan is the hottest commodity in her little town. This bachelorette is asked out by every woman in her little town and they just won’t take no for an answer. After too much tequila one night Megan passes out and her “friend” Mary Anne takes some R-rated pictures of her and uses them as leverage to get a date. This blackmail by humiliation on Facebook drives Megan to take drastic measures.
At fifty, Leah Rollins decides to retire from the tech industry, and thanks to a windfall from her late aunt, Leah is able to make her dream come true. She moves to Eureka Springs to open up a t-shirt shop in the sleepy little tourist town. What she also gets is a grouchy, sassy business neighbor, Megan. These two spar over parking spots on a daily basis. Their war over parking leads them to face off a few times before they decide they can help each other out. To stay out of the shallow dating pool, Leah offers to be Megan’s fake girlfriend, until she just doesn’t want to fake it anymore.

The Mary Anne picture blackmail is almost pushing being offensive. I found it hard to believe that an entire community of conscientious grownups would think blackmail by almost nude photos is funny. Especially when they know for a fact that person was drunk and passed out, when the photographer ( Mary Anne) was POSING her for the photos. That’s not cool at all and only a sicko would do that! Then factor in that one of the really amused is Megan’s older sister. Nope, no sister would do that! I think this part of the storyline was taken just a bit too far.

In terms of romance other than a few silly spats over parking, there really aren’t any true love/hate moments. They quickly become allies fighting off the single ladies who want dates. I know a terrible dilemma to be in, right. Of course, over time their attraction becomes the forefront of the story. Overall the story is nice and sugary sweet, but it doesn’t have anything truly special about it. The characters are totally likable but also unmemorable.

3 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Bella Books

A Fine Mess by Breanna Hughes

Harper Foley’s life is a manageable mess. When you first meet her you find out that both of her parents were tragically killed in a car accident a few years prior. This life changing incident sent her, as a young adult, on a trajectory of change. First, Harper becomes the guardian to her sister Emily, who happens to be a seventeen-year-old with a serious drug problem. Emily runs away from home, and Harper spends years searching for her to no avail. Second, at the time of her parent’s death Harper is engaged to a nice guy named Finn. They have been together years, in Finn’s mind, they were blissfully happy, to Harper something quintessential was missing. So, Harper breaks in off one week before the big “I do” moment. Ouch! Third, well… let’s get to that in a minute.

Harper, a college graduate, spends her days working at a bookstore. Her career is unfulfilling to her. She spends all of her other time devoted to her music. This singer/songwriter is trying to break out in LA’s music scene, and she does okay playing at local bars and coffeehouses. You feel a sense of sadness and despair as you read Harper’s story, but for quite awhile I wasn’t sure where we were headed with her.

So Finn is still an integral part of the story as well. He is seeking therapy because he cannot get over Harper. She has wrecked his heart but he takes any sign from her, even a simple phone call as a chance to win her back.

Then you have Kiley. Kiley, Haper’s ride-or-die best friend, is a drop dead gorgeous tornado. She blows in and out of guy’s bedrooms like there’s no tomorrow. To say there is a revolving door would be an understatement. A product of an unloving home, Kiley uses sex as a way to forget. This is fine and dandy, do what you want, but every action has consequences.

What consequences, you ask? Well it takes a while to get to this point, for a long time I was somewhat as lost as you are right now. So big reveal, Harper has a thing for her BFF. Harper, lets no one in on the big secret. Not even a hint that she might be looking at girls in a different way. She internalizes everything and lets Kiley’s promiscuity eat away at her.

My thoughts on this one are a mixed bag. First off, I liked Haper and Kiley, and I wanted to know more about them. I was invested in those two characters. With that being said, the hooking up with random guys, and this is for both ladies, detracted from the overall love story. There were a few parts, I was left shaking my head at why would you do this! Also, I needed more from Kiley’s point of view. I felt myself wanting to get in her headspace and see why she acted and at the times reacted the way she did. I wanted more on why she used sex with random men to hide her true feelings and how that made her feel afterwards. If as the reader I could have tapped into her angst level, it would have made me feel more towards her and overall the book. Kiley’s character need more fleshing out, because she was a really, really intriguing part of the book.

Second, I really did not want to read about Finn, his story and his pseudo-romance with his therapist was distracting. I found myself trying to skip these sections to get back to the leading ladies. I didn’t know what Finn brought to the table storywise other than he’s really nice and not over Harper. I wanted more on the main characters and less history on the sub-characters, Emily was fine, Finn and the therapist, not so much.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it does have some typos/grammar errors but I was able to move easily past them. It was not a problem in the slightest for me, but you can probably read my reviews and kill a red pen with my missed commas.  With all that being said, Breanne Hughes is a talented writer. Her story, while it had a lot of moving pieces was formed well and held my attention to the end. Overall a good read, and an author I would not hesitate to read again.

3.25 out of 5 stars

    • Publisher: Triplicity Publishing, LLC

To Purchase:A Fine Mess

A Fine Mess by [Hughes, Breanna]