Review: Fall Into Place by Alexa Riley

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Alexa Riley is, to me, the queen(s) of smut. Her short stories of men impregnating virgins, of female virgins willingly panting after their men’s gigantic members, of male AND female virgins being destined together forever are, to be quite candid, ridiculous. And, I’ve read all of them. Furthermore, I’ll continue doing so until the dynamic duo who form “Alexa Riley” stop producing these books.

Ridiculous though these stories are, they’re a form of escapism that are fun, harmless, and highly entertaining. Oh, they’re not worthy of high praise, I know, because they’re all strictly low brow, but damn, “Fall Into Place” is classic Alexa Riley. One can only feel two things while reading a Riley book: either she loves it or hates it. Hence, please excuse this Alexa Riley lover while I go read another in my TBR (a.k.a. for rainy days) list. Bye!

Review: The Player and The Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

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I hated this. I really did. DNF’ed it because I just couldn’t stand the main characters. Kleptomaniac Lucy Fitzpatrick explains her stealing habits because of stress and anxiety caused by her mother and by her sex-student, rugby star Sean Cassidy. Poor little rich boy Sean is treated badly by his adoptive parents, who are also his biological uncle and aunt. Hence, he has extremely poor social skills, leading to his bad attitude towards Lucy’s brother, Ronan, who’s also his professional rugby teammate. Obviously, the bad treatment is caused by his inexplicable jealousy of Ronan’s popularity. His social skills are so bad that not one of his many female ex-lovers has ever told him he’s bad at sex. He also has no clue whatsoever. He’s apparently horrible at self-learning despite his claim of watching porn and reading sex books. That’s why he devised a way to be better at sex by chasing after klepto Lucy.

1 starThe reason why I like books so much is because I find things to relate with or to, inside the books. This one, though? It’s just weird. I can’t even find Lucy and Sean’s story romantic or sexy. I can’t even understand what Lucy does for a living. She supposedly works for her future sister-in-law’s celebrity gossip blog, on which she sometimes inserts stories about dogs. I’m like: WTF is going on??!! It was just… weird.

Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

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I’ve been absent from my blog for days. It’s a tragedy, because I’ve drowned not only in sewage water walking on the streets of Metro Manila recently, but also in extremely bad books. They were so bad, I just gave them a 1-star rating on Goodreads, deleted them all from my e-reader, chilled a bottle of wine, and just stopped. Then, I looked back through my TBR list and realized that I haven’t read Nora Roberts‘ “The Obsession” yet. Thank goodness I kept this one in the metaphorical back-pocket for my enjoyment during/after bad-book-rainy-days. I desperately needed it.

Ms. Roberts writes damned good books. If you’ve read her for over 20 years, like I have, you start seeing a pattern in her books. Frankly, I don’t mind that I’m onto her formula, because her form of entertainment is my cuppa tea. Plus, her writing is what I grew up on. I’ll never tire of it. I just fervently wish, hope, and pray they don’t make this one into another bad made-for-TV movie. Casting a heavily Botoxed Heather Locklear in “Angels Fall” was bad enough, but having Eddie Cibrian and LeAnn Rimes star in Northern Lights was the clincher.

5 starsI can’t say anything about this book other than it’s worth the 5-stars I’m giving it, because it got me out of a heavy-bad-book-schlump, the story is great, and the characters didn’t make me wanna commit murder (i.e., annoying best girlfriends who push their fellow girlfriends into relationships or sex). Without Nora Roberts and her alter-ego, J.D. Robb, my life would be stuck forever in tagging numerous books as “DNF” on GR. For that reason alone, I say “go buy Nora Roberts books.” You won’t regret it.


Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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This was different from anything I’ve read this year. This is a phenomenally written book that’s supposedly based on the author’s own true life story. “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover is not one’s typical love story. It’s a love gone awry – it got so twisted that that same love physically turned into pain.

From the very beginning, “It Ends With Us” gripped me by the throat and just drove me into a whirlwind of happiness, sadness, anger, pity, and confusion. I consider myself a staunch feminist, but in reading about Lily’s story and in finding out who was ultimately the person she ends “it” with, I find myself really questioning how I would handle being in such a situation myself. Like Lily and, probably millions of other women, I always said that if someone I loved ever hurts me that way, I’m walking away immediately. And reporting him to the police directly afterwards. However, the reason why she took her torturer back………. it’s heartbreaking, really, because I was there with her when she first met him. He was wonderful – the familiar alpha male character we’ve all come to recognize and love from numerous books. I also wonder how people, especially women, can go through love and relationships over and over again, if they had first gone through the same cliched type of pain.

5 starsThe pursuit of love, as expressed here in “It Ends With Us,” is a ride that’s not for the weak-hearted. When a friend gifted me with a copy of this e-book, I’ll admit I was reluctant and skeptical. She persisted and I caved. I told her I was never a big fan of Ms. Hoover’s, because I’ve always been in search of light, fun, and airy reading before bedtime. Then, as soon as I finish this masterpiece, I texted her at 2AM and said “thanks for the ride.” The same thanks go out to Ms. Hoover for telling this story. It. Was. Awesome.

Review: Fatal Affair by Marie Force

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I was so excited about this series. When I read its blurb, it reminded me immediately of J.D. Robb‘s “In Death” series, which are my favorites. Better than James Patterson, better than the über predictable Dan Brown, J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts’ pen name) makes it worthwhile to buy and read her books every single time.

“Fatal Affair” had good bones in it, but the meat tasted sour.

Unfortunately, Marie Force‘s Fatal series started with this let-down. Entitled “Fatal Affair,” it’s the story of how Nick Cappuano and Detective Sergeant Sam Holland rekindled their once-in-a-lifetime love affair after a six-year forced hiatus, whilst Sam was investigating the murder of Cappuano’s boss, Senator John O’Connor. The story had good bones in it, but the meat tasted sour. I like my whodunit tales, just like anyone else who’s into this genre; I also really like romance stories, as obviously evidenced by the very existence of this book blog. Put them together, and ta-dah, match made in heaven, I say. Except when it’s badly written. When the story is more about an inappropriate romance between a homicide cop and her material witness than a showcase of the author’s firm grasp on how to suspend a reader’s disbelief, then the mystery-romance book takes a drastic turn for the worst.

Let me insert here that I read the prequel novella, “One Night With You,” before diving into the Fatal Affair. I thought that “One Night” was written better than “Affair.” I suspect that it’s probably because “One Night” was written 5 years after “Affair” was published, so the author must have had time to adjust (?) and tweak.

Also, I really couldn’t help the comparison between the “In Death” series and this one. While there are distinct differences, the gist of both stories remain the same. I suppose the main problem I have with “Fatal” is that Sam Holland doesn’t seem like she’s that good at her job. I have a tendency to agree with her semi-villainous former lieutenant – she’s coddled and positively favored by her some higher-ups in the fictional version of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, as she’s the daughter of a beloved and celebrated police chief. She didn’t solve the murder of the senator. The murderer literally knocked on the door of a room she was in. The real murderer wasn’t even in her radar, at all. Great detecting, right? Sheesh. She gets the credit, though, because she is the heroine of the book/series.

2 starsThere were also so many unnecessary dramas within the story that made Sam an imbecile, in my eyes. First: why couldn’t she tell that her ex-husband, Peter, was a psycho? Her civilian sister Angela could in the prequel novella. Sam’s gut instincts, not just as a cop, but merely as a highly urbanized woman who’s lived in the city all her life, seriously need fine-tuning (read: a good strong thwack up in the head). Second: the Johnson case where she was involved in the killing of a child. After that traumatic experience, she was still assigned as lead detective on an extremely high-profile case, even before the case about the police raid, shoot-out, and ensuing unintended manslaughter still hasn’t been resolved. All I can say is – thank goodness this is fiction, because if it were real, social media would completely blow up about Holland’s assignment to the O’Connor case.

I’m just hoping the succeeding books in the series are better than this. My pledge: I’ll try harder to suspend my disbelief, since I already bought the damned books. Sigh. I need a book-break.

Review: Bounty by Kristen Ashley

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Last book in the Colorado Mountain series! I’m happy I’m done, but I’m also sad that I’m done. This is only the second series that I’ve read back-to-back, 6 times in a row, in a span of two weeks. The first series I read in sequence and in consecutive order were the 4 Twilight books – I missed work for 2 straight days just to read Stephenie Meyer’s debut novels.

But I digress. Let me recount “Bounty,” Kristen Ashley’s 6th book in the Colorado Mountain series. The first 45% of the book consisted of the heroine, Justice “Jus/Jussy” Lonesome, pining after her hero, Deke Hightower. They first met, briefly, at a biker bar in Wyoming. Before a 10-minute chat with her hero, Jussy (a stupid nickname, IMO BTW, as it has the same number of syllables as her given name), was able to write lyrics to a song that would eventually become a chart-topping hit. After the same 10-minute chat, they both agreed to meet the next morning for a bike ride. Deke stood her up (apparently, for a good reason).

Jussy never forgot him though, and after seven years and a critically-acclaimed rock ballad album, she sees Deke again in another biker bar, one that’s very familiar to Colorado Mountain readers. She then proceeds to pine after Deke again; at one point, she even prays, “God, please let him remember me.”

I mean, really? She’s 34 years old and she’s chasing and pining and praying after a man. One word: eww. Two more words: grow up. I have to get this out to the world, too, before I burst: in the first 20% of the book, with all the rubbish Jussy was facing with her family, all that’s running thru my head are the words, “Girl’s only got rich girl problems. #SorryNotSorry.”

Nonetheless, Deke pulls his head outta his ass and reciprocates Jussy’s love for him. These actions are all good. Else, we’ll have no love story. His reciprocation, obviously, is triggered by Jussy getting attacked in her home. It’s a scene that’s reminiscent of so many other love stories, and it works – it’s just not my cuppa anymore, I suppose.

3 starsUltimately, Bounty is a story of love conquers all. I’m happy it’s about two main characters who are in their mid and late 30s – something that the Colorado Mountain series books all have in common. The books do not follow the same love-story-formula that Jill Shalvis’ serial-yet-stand-alone books are. For this, I thank you, Ms. Ashley, for the variety. And the major drama here. And the playlist. It’s pretty cool.

There’s supposed to be another book in the series, which would star Wood and Maggie. I don’t know why this is necessary, though: we readers already know what happened to them and saw their HEA. Unless Maggie dies and leaves Wood a widower with their two kids? Oooooohhhhh… THAT would make me buy the seventh book. If not? Meh. I’m moving on.

P.S. Deke’s lovey-dovey nickname for Jussy is “gypsy.” I get that it’s an appropriate term for them both, but it’s an un-sexy nickname. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. The title of the book is “Bounty,” because that’s like a secret code between the two lovers. Jussy is a sweet, rich girl who thinks everything she’s been given is a bounty. Deke starts thinking the same after he hooks up with Jussy. “Bounty” is the word they whisper to each other after Jussy gives him a hot kiss while she knelt on a stage and Deke was in the VIP pit in front of her. Cute, but still not tingly oohlala sexy. Just meh.