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ChristinasLair

Christina

I love to read and chat about books.  I'm always honest in my reviews and I enjoy  hearing varied opinions and different point of views.

How I Met Your Father

How I Met Your Father - L.B. Gregg
3.5 Stars

rock

rock - Anyta Sunday First off, I want to say how much I loved Cooper’s voice. He was relatable and simply adorable, especially young Cooper. I thought the writing was wonderful and absolutely loved the idea that something as simple as a rock could help Cooper, not only deal with his life, but also store each and every one of his memories. His needs, wants, desires, and fears are all laid bare in his rocks. It was a wonderful way to follow him on his journey.

Cooper doesn't have an easy life and when he meets Jace, it’s been turned upside down. They slowly develop a beautiful friendship that begins to turn into more. Not only did the story feel authentic (most of the time), but so did the all the characters. I loved every single one of them!

I truly believed in their story. However, at the half way mark it took a bothersome turn. Many things can keep a couple apart and yes, there was drama in this book that threatened to keep Cooper and Jace apart. For the most part, it felt natural, all until this one incident. It’s one thing to be afraid of the truth, but it’s a whole other situation to ignore it and live your life in the dark. I understand they were young, and kids make mistakes and wrong decisions all the time. I get that, but this felt unnecessary and I felt it was only there to prolong the angst. I think the story would have been much stronger without it. For those of you that have read this, I’m referring to the DNA results. GAH!!!!! How could they not open it! I don’t get it.

This really was a sticking point for me and aggravated me. I couldn't fathom anyone ignoring this issue and living in anguish all those years. It doesn't make sense to me. So, because of this the last 50% of the book left a bad taste in my mouth.

I wish I could have ignored it, but unfortunately that’s all I kept thinking about and this is what brought the book down for me. Even so, I will always think warmly of Cooper and Jace.
Nor Iron Bars a Cage - Kaje Harper

This is the first non-contemporary I’ve read from Harper and I was very happy with it. She created a vivid world filled with magic and darkness. There was just enough of the magic/history/politics to get a good feel of the world, however it could have used more background/details on the sorcery and mages. There were a couple of parts that dragged, but for the most part I enjoyed the story.

First and foremost this is a story about Lyon, breaking through his stone walls (both physically and mentally), and reclaiming his life. Not always by choice, but nevertheless, he finds strength. I loved how the romance didn’t overshadow his PTSD or that he suddenly becomes healed by love.

I really liked all the characters, especially Tobin. He was understanding, tender and patient. Yes, he was just about perfect and that might irritate some, but it didn’t bother me one bit.

It was a wonderful story of friendship and courage.

The Understatement of the Year

The Understatement of the Year - Sarina Bowen 4.5 Stars

I'm just going to say a few things about my love for this book. What struck me right off the bat was how realistic this story was. It isn't anything new, but nevertheless it was refreshing. It felt like being on any college campus across the country. I loved the setting and all the characters, including the side-characters. Bella and Grans are at the top of my list.

The situations the MC's found themselves in and their struggles are exactly what life is about. There are no easy answers. Sometimes no matter how much we want to do the right thing, it doesn't always seem to work out that way. Their journey wasn't easy, and in the end you knew it wasn't over. There would still be more hard times to come, but they made progress and were on the right track and that made me happy.

There was definitely some angst going on, but it wasn't OTT or melodramatic. It was just the right balance for me.

I can't wait for Bella's book next year!

The Ghost on My Couch - L.A. Gilbert

 

This was a cute story! I enjoyed it very much, but I thought the ending was rushed. I wished  

Alex didn't move so fast on Sid in the hospital and I really wanted Sid to remember him or at least for Alex to tell him the truth.

(show spoiler)


This was a great little story about two lonely men finding love and friendship in a very unexpected way. It was touching and put a big smile on my face.

Duck! - Kim Dare

 

Cute shifter D/s story. Nothing new or exciting, but I liked the fairly tale quality of it.

Meatworks - Jordan Castillo Price

I have mixed feelings on how to rate this. The characterization and world-building is 5-star, but the first half moved a little too slow for me, so I'm bumping it to a 4/4.5 star. Did this take away from my love for Des? HELL NO!

This world is set in the future where robotics play a big part of everyday life. Don’t let the sci-fi/futurism scare you, because JCP created a realistic story set in a dark and gritty world. Everything from the descriptive setting to the authentic characters sucked me right in. I could picture everything, from the abandoned warehouses to the riverside flea market. She painted a bleak yet vivid picture.

Let’s get to Desmond Poole. He lost his arm in an accident and now he is drowning in self-pity. Not an attractive quality, I must say. He’s a character that many people will dislike. He’s depressed and he’s drinking himself to an early death. He’s rude, emotionally-stunted, constantly brushes off his responsibility, and hurts the people he cares about. He wants nothing to do with learning how to use his prosthetic arm and only cares about getting another bottle or another pack of cigarettes. Basically, he’s a major fuck-up. You can't blame his attitude on losing his arm because he was just as messed up before the accident.

For the most part I loved his voice. One minute I wanted to shake him and yell "get off your ass and grow up" and the next he had me laughing or got me all misty-eyed.

He's also in love with two men. Hi ex-boyfriend Jim, the social worker who is constantly getting him out of trouble and wants to save him from himself, and Corey - the lazy new boyfriend who's an expert at using his prosthetic arm and helps Des try to beat the system. The book doesn't focus on some messy love triangle or the romance, but it's these relationships that have an impact on Des, both negatively and positively.

Even with his multitude of flaws, there were flashes of hope for Des. JCP made me care for him. I needed him to pull through. Des starts to become aware of his own screw-ups, past and present. It's not a big "Aha" moment, but it occurs slowly. He begins to realize that he can have more, he can become more. He faces his past and his relationship with Jim and Corey. He finally takes some responsibility and makes decisions. He knows things won't be perfect, but that's not what he strives for. He's taking small steps and that's ok with him, and me :) It's not a transformation, but it's progress and he's finally moving in the right direction and that's what I loved most about this. His story was believable.

So, yes Des is a screw-up, but I still love him

Catch a Ghost - S.E. Jakes

This book had potential, but unfortunately it pretty much fell flat. The beginning intrigued me, and I saw the Cut & Run similarities, but I was constantly wanting for more. More characterization, more chemistry, more depth. There was so much going on with the characters and the plot, but it went nowhere. Like Cillian, for example. Why was he even in this story? We got zero explanation. To me, he was thrown in just 

so he can end up being the white knight that saves the day. Let's not forget how his flirting with Proph made Tom jealous. Really??? That's all there was. 

(show spoiler)

It felt like a contrived plot device that was added for dramatics, and it made absolutely no sense to me. 

The thing is, I didn't dislike either of the MC's, it's just that there wasn't enough for me to latch onto. I didn't feel their connection. It seemed more like they were going through the motions. So we get from point A to point B with no development. It was all superficial. 

Oh well. If I thought book 2 would be more focused, I would give it a whirl, but for now it's up in the air.

Bad Influence - K.A. Mitchell


Sad, sad, sad is how I feel. I love Mitchell, but this book was a royal mess and it draaaaaged. Silver's story could have had some power behind it, but all we got was his "poor me" attitude. Alongside of that was Silver's constant worry over Zeb rejecting him again. It was a huge turn-off. Then we have Zeb, the complete dud! There was nothing to him; zero character development. Plus, he's was hardly in the book. All her characters from this series made an appearance. I loved the bits from Gavin and Jamie. She gave us just enough to want more and to remember what I loved about them in the first place. Now on to Eli. I adored him in his book, but in this book, it was too much. There was nothing new or exciting to him. It bothered me because he was taking up too much time, when the focus should have been more on Silver and Zeb. Then we have Marco. All I can say is thank goodness he is not the MC in her next book. He was childish and the switch from Spanish to English drove me nuts. 

My last complaint was about the sex. It was a snooze fest. I can't believe I'm saying this about a Mitchell book, but alas it's true. Mitchell has the unique ability to use sex to develop her characters, to push them beyond their limitations and boundaries, to open their eyes, and to communicate, while still being hot. This was not the case here. I didn't feel anything between this couple. 

This book was disjointed and fell flat. I'm disappointed, but a couple of strikes aren't enough for me to write her off. There has been far more love for her books than displeasure.

Memorizing You - Dan Skinner

This is such a heartbreakingly beautiful book. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but what it does have is heart. David is just coming into his own and we get an introspective view of his journey, through both love and pain. 

This is a coming of age story set in the late 60's, early 70's. It's about coming to terms with your sexuality, a first kiss, fear, hope, friendship, family, and an all-consuming first love. It's all this and more. The imagery comes alive. Around every corner there are messages to be heard and lessons to be learned. The beauty of it all, is that it's not preachy or in your face. It's unobtrusive, but poignant. The writing is eloquent and has an almost poetic quality to it, without being too flowery. It sucked me in completely. So why the half star off? Well, I found that it dragged in a few places and it was a bit rushed in others. I wanted to see more of 

David dealing with Ryan's accident and more after he was gone.

(show spoiler)

 

Other than that it was perfect and I loved it!

No Homo - RemainNameless

 

I can't believe I was able to ignore how far-fetched and OTT this is. I ignored all the "dudes" and "bro's" and how unbelievably clueless Stiles is. I stopped questioning the absurdity of it all and just had fun. 

This was a light-hearted, hilarious and HOT read and one I'll be re-visiting!

Game On - Olley White

 

This was a cute story with likable characters. I enjoyed the gaming references, in fact I wish there were more since I've played FF. Though I loved the chemistry between Max and Stefan, I found they had similar reactions to their relationship and their attraction to one another. Their conflict didn't resonate with me. Everything seemed too easy and predictable. 

I love MMORPGs and I can relate to how they bring people together, so I wish we got more of their in-game friendship before they met. Because this didn't happen, I didn't get pulled into the story or their history as much as I would have liked. 


Bareback - Chris Owen

Nope, this book was not for me. As many reviewers have said, the first 50% - 60% was all sex. This would be ok, if the sex advanced the plot or the characters, but it didn't. Plus, it was boring, and as you can imagine, repetitive. Once any semblance of a plot appeared, it didn't matter because I didn't care about either of the characters. I thought the so-called problems Jake and Tor had were inadequately portrayed. There were a couple of references of Jake ignoring Tor's tantrums, and of course there was very little communication, but we didn't see much first hand. 

Then all of a sudden, after years of being in involved, Tor cheats. 

(show spoiler)

At this point, I still didn't have an emotional connection to either Tor or Jake, and because the author skipped ahead in time and bypassed years of their relationship, I felt this was thrown in for shock value more than anything else. 

I thought Jake's reaction felt genuine, and I'm glad he took some responsibility, but it felt forced and very unlike Jake. It's one thing to see your faults and acknowledge them, but Jake seemed to take full responsibility and that is just ridiculous. Then at the end, the author tries to shift the blame off Tor even more? That was the last straw. I don't want to be pushed into how I should feel about a character, and that's what I felt this author was doing. Both men had baggage, and both men screwed up, that's it.

I will now wash my hands of Tor and Jake :)

Consort - The House of Silence - J.A. Jaken

Sadly, this book was a fail. I enjoyed the first two books, but Consort had zero character progression. It was predictable and a carbon copy of book 2. The only difference was that Tam was the center of the plot in this book. At first, the book seemed to be showing the possibility of a character-driven story through some of the new friendships developing.

Vincent was becoming close to Nao, and I started to see glimpses of them coming out of their shell, but unfortunately nothing more came of their friendship. I did enjoy seeing Charon and Reiji together and learning more about Charon’s past, but it wasn't enough to propel the story.

(show spoiler)



Worst of all it was predictable and there was an excess of re-telling. I also hated that all the boys seemed to “sense” the impending doom for no apparent reason other than to cause drama. 

My one star is for the very few Vincent and Aburon scenes. 

I still recommend the first two books. 

Bear, Otter, and the Kid - T.J. Klune

Too much needless angst and drama!!! I really enjoyed the first 40% - 50% of the book, but then it all went downhill from there. I enjoyed the relationship dynamics, and most of the side characters. I thought the chemistry between Bear and Otter was perfect. Bear had this sarcastic wit about him that brought humor into the story. I really liked him at first. I thought the Kid was a well developed character. He provoked a few eye-rolls, but for the most part he had me smiling. 


Once Bear and Otter got together, there was no communication, just ridiculous plot devices to induce "the conflict" in their relationship. Uggg, I was so irritated by the end of this book. Let’s not even talk about Bear’s endless inner monologues and his fears. The storm and drowning metaphor got old fast, and by the end I wanted to drown him myself.

Ricochet - The House of Silence - J.A. Jaken

 

This picked up right where Volume One ended. It was chuck full of action and suspense. However, the plot did get a little drawn-out and far-fetched towards the middle. I love all these characters, so I'm ignoring that part. Vincent and Aburon are still my favorite. The connection between them is so freakin intense! They better be in the next book. 

One of the most touching moments was when Reiji 

and Charon got together at the end. I loved seeing Reiji's vulnerability. He desperately needed to feel special and cared for, and Charon gave him that. 

(show spoiler)


I can't wait for the next book.