Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mini Reviews: January 2017

Sometimes, I don't have the time or inclination to do a full review for a title. This will typically apply to books that are short stories, part of a mini-series, some novellas, etc. Instead of abandoning these reviews, I will be giving mini reviews. Check them out!


Title: Stepbrother Dearest
Author: Penelope Ward
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Purchase
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
ReviewI was definitely not ready for this book!

As you might be able to tell, I have been reading a lot of stepbrother romances lately. It's one of those forbidden love themes that I love. This book was great and makes me definitely want to check out more of this author's work.

After finishing the book, I felt drained of emotion. Every emotion. I had all of them. I wanted to cry, I laughed, I squealed in delight, I cringed, and I fanned myself a few times, too. All of the feels--I had them! This book chewed me up and spit me out.

Elec's relationship with his father was heartbreaking and I loved the way he slowly opened up to Greta. But then they're ripped apart and when they finally come back together, nothing is the same. I felt serious ache when Greta had to watch Elec with his new girl. Talk about angst. But the ending was sweet and left me with a smile.




Title: Everything I Left Unsaid
Author: Molly O'Keefe
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid Series (Book One)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Format: Audiobook via Library
Rating: ✺✺
LinksGoodreads
Review: This story is about a woman on the run from her abusive ex and in desperate need to find a safe place to lay low. A trailer park in a small town might be the best option. But then she discovers a strange phone and the equally mysterious man on the other end. One who makes her toes curl with just his voice alone, not to mention the naughty things he tells her to do with it.

I actually listened to the audiobook version of this through my local library. I was working and couldn't stop to read it. For me, the story was ruined by my dislike of the audiobook voices. Had I read it, I might feel differently. The woman's voice was alright, though I didn't love it. The man's voice, I think, tried too hard to be unique. The way he said Annie's name was always with a frustrated groan and it started to annoy me.

The romance with Dylan was hard for me to swallow, too. He was so self-absorbed in his own pitiful wallowing that he couldn't see a potential for more with Annie. After a while, I didn't care if he found happiness. If he wanted to stay miserable and shut everyone out, let him.

I won't be reviewing the second book of this series because I didn't finish it, but I did actually listen to half of it. I was disappointed to discover that the voices for both men in Annie's life were too similar. The way their dialogue was spoke made it hard to distinguish them from each other. I doubt I will finish the series as I've lost interest.





Title: Dead Man's Kiss
Author: Jennifer Bray-Weber
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Romancing the Pirate Series (Book Five)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
ReviewYo ho ho--and a bottle of steamy romance!

Captain Valeryn made a mistake that puts his ship and crew in danger. To get out of it, he is forced to escort a woman across the sea. Catalina isn't your typical girl. She is on this journey to study undiscovered wildlife. But when she sets her sight on the captain, she decides there's something else she'd like to explore on this trip.

This was a quick read with a pretty interesting plot even separate from the romantic angle. The couple's relationship was slow to progress because Valeryn was forbidden from contact with Catalina. She refused to let anyone tell her what she couldn't have, though. It was a game of cat-and-mouse and had pretty spicy results.





Title: Taste of Darkness
Author: Catherine Vale
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Growling Romance
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
Review: When a jealous vampire discovers that the woman he wants is obsessing over another, he attacks. The unsuspecting man gets the supernatural surprise of his life. 

This book started out really well. I felt a connection to Natalya and her crush on Caine. And when she is left to nurse Caine back to health, I was happy to see the sparks fly between the couple.

But somewhere near the end, the story lost a bit of its spark for me. It got much more complicated when our couple was suddenly thrust into a supernatural battle and I got a bit confused as to the rules and history of this world. Perhaps, this was due to the fact that I haven't read any of the other books in this series. I will probably remedy that, in the future.





Title: My Stepbrother and His Best Friend
Author: Arabella Abbing
Genre/Age: Erotica/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
Review: This was a short story about a girl who is about to have her naughtiest dreams come true. When she gains a new stepbrother, one that she despises as much as she craves, she has no idea that he will steal her diary and read all about her crush on him and his best friend. But once the cat is out of the bag, there is no turning back.

I flew through this story like it was a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles. The forbidden romance element is here in spades. Not to mention, the spicy erotic sex scene was so good that I might have read it twice. 


My only qualm is that there is a synopsis at the beginning of the ebook copy that tells you pretty much everything that is about to happen. I do wish that it had either been more vague or eliminated altogether. It spoiled the plot a little bit for me. Overall, this was a spicy read!






Title: Hurricane
Author: Arabella Abbing
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-publishing
Format: ebook via Purchase
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
Review: A twenty-one-year-old becomes stuck in a storm with her ex-stepbrother. He's in town for his estranged father's funeral. Yep, that can make things a bit tense without even factoring in the hurricane beating down on them. What starts off as awkward and tense, quickly becomes a passionate affair as our couple realize their attraction to each other is reciprocated.

This novella was a quick read in a single sitting. Nolan's character was more complex but I thought Sabrina could use more fleshing out. I don't think her current occupation (or schooling?) was even mentioned so it was tougher to get a sense of who she was.


The romance was heated, though. It got better as the story went on. The ending was abrupt, but that is to be expected with a novella. In all, it was a pretty good read with some steamy love scenes.






Title: My (Former) Nerd Stepbrother
Author: Arabella Abbing
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-publishing
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
Review: Emma has a lot of regrets when she knocks on her former stepbrother's door. She hasn't seen him in years and hasn't talked to him for even longer, not since she played a huge part in causing him dire humiliation in high school. Now, she needs help and just hopes James can forgive her.

I had a little trouble connecting with this short story, but that's probably because the more I learned of Emma's past behavior, the less I liked her. The fact that she shows up on James' doorstep for financial help and not because she actually wants to apologize doesn't help my opinion of her. While I enjoyed the sex scenes and even the ending, it was a rough road for me to get there.





Title: In My Stepbrother's Sheets
Author: Arabella Abbing
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-publishing
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
Review: Such a sweet and spicy love story!

Claire gets a little drunk at a frat party and to avoid the pull she feels toward her stepbrother, she opts to flirt with his friend and roommate, instead. Of course, jealousy rears its ugly head and soon Claire finds that her new beau is no substitute for the familiar and gut-wrenching feelings she has for Jack. It might be forbidden in most ways, but neither of them want to deny their hearts any longer.

This had a definite beginning, middle, and end. I was impressed with the author's ability to make me care about these characters so quickly. I felt their desperation of finally going for what they've wanted for years. The sex was hot and the romance was simply adorable. I just wish it had been even longer because I wanted more. Great read!