Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mini Reviews ~ September 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: Just Three Dates
Author: David Burnett
Genre/Age: Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺.5
Review: This just didn't work for me.

I first saw this on Kindle Scout and I nominated it but it wasn't chosen for publication. Still, I wanted to know the rest of the story so I jumped at the chance to read it when it became available on Kindle Unlimited. I don't regret that decision, but I didn't exactly enjoy it the way I had hoped to.

In this story, we have a pair who are coerced into a pact of three dates in order to satisfy their mothers. The story started off well enough and we get to see both characters on their own so we can get to know each of them. Then they come together for their dates. I won't give away what happens but lets just say that I wasn't exactly impressed with the way the plot unfolded. And the writing had some really old-fashioned terminology that most people these days would roll their eyes at.

I mostly liked both of our characters, though I think Mark rubbed me the wrong way a few times. His constant pining for his ex was so obnoxious. It made me start to wonder if I could root for him because it became pathetic at times. Everything reminded him of her and we're smacked with flashbacks of his relationship with this stranger who I honestly didn't care at all about. 

The couple really had no chemistry. There wasn't a spark between them. I am fine with tame stories that contain little or no sex. But this one had no hint of believable intimacy at all with our couple, yet there was a strange conversation between two of the men in which a lewd act was described in detail. It was oddly out of place and I cringed. Our pair together acted more like friends than lovers. I actually reached a point around 60% were I considered stopping and just imagining the couple moving on with their lives and never seeing each other again. That's how much I hated them together. 

Some parts of the story are skipped over and revisited in thoughts. I think this actually hurt the story. Our couple have some trouble getting into flow of dating and we see every step of this but once they finally do come together and start enjoying themselves, we're told about it as an after thought. I would have preferred to skip the neverending conflict and Lucia flashbacks and see the first "good" date instead. The first real kiss? Might have wanted to see that too. But we don't. 

By the time I reached the end, I just felt pretty unmoved by the whole story. Maybe it was the writing style with the unnecessary flashbacks. Maybe it was the fact that our couple often acted like five-year-olds when one little thing didn't go their way. Or maybe it was the fact that I didn't like the way their relationship progressed. I don't know. But something didn't work and I'm a little saddened by that. 

Title: Tempting Eden
Author: Michelle Miles
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Erotic
Series: Guardians of the Atlantis (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Freebie
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
Review: This is the first of the novella series and it introduced us to the citizens of Atlantis. The race has a problem. Due to their current inability to procreate, they will begin to die off if they don't find a way to make some babies. The doctors have a plan, though it isn't well received. If they can manage to bring some human women to Atlantis, they just might be able to save their race.

This is a quick read and really more of an introduction to the series since we don't really see much of Atlantis yet. I get the feeling we will in the next book though. We meet Sabre at the beginning and I'm glad we do because he doesn't really have much character development after that. Eden is a nice character but I did find her way too easy to trust a complete stranger with life-altering decisions. I think if this had been a full-length novel and Eden had been given time to get to know Sabre, it would have felt more natural.

There is plenty of naughty time here. In fact, I was surprised by how much our couple were doing the dirty. I would have liked to see more conversation between the pair. Eden is obsessed with all things Atlantis and by the end of the book, I don't think Sabre even knows this about her. I look forward to the second book!

Title: New Beginnings
Author: Sarah Stein
Genre/Age: Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing LLC
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Rating: ✺✺
ReviewI had trouble with this book from the start. It's written in first person (present) tense and while I usually don't mind that perspective, it hindered this story quite a bit. First off, we barely get any real description of the characters. When we meet Logan, Cherise feels attracted to him immediately but doesn't really "think" about what she sees, therefore, we don't see him in a way that paints a picture. 

I had no idea what the characters were feeling because it's mostly just actions that are described. It lacked any real depth because of this. Had this been written in third person (present) tense, I think it would have been a more balanced story. Also, I think the author should try reading the dialogue out loud when going over it. Some of it was stiff and unrealistic. People don't usually speak in drawn out sentences with perfect grammar. Dialogue is more believable when it sounds natural.

The everyday activities in detail became super obnoxious, really quick. I don't need to know that Cherise took out her keys, climbed into the car, turned on the ignition, drove to the salon, parked in the lot, walked into the building, etc. It became repetitive and boring when a simple 'Cherise gathered her things and drove the the salon' would have sufficed.

Everything I've mentioned so far is due to writing style and something that can be improved upon with experience. As for the plot of the book, I did have one issue there and it was with the 'conflict' being a bit unrealistic. She's been stewing all day about Logan withholding information from her. Then she doesn't even want to hear why he did it? It felt forced. And he barely gave up a fight? It didn't fit his personality to just bow out so easily.

While I found a lot of problems, there were a couple of things that I did like. I am a Navy veteran and military wife who happens to live in Chesapeake. I recognized a few of the places mentioned in the story which was a nice surprise. There wasn't a lot of talk about the military, which was probably for the best considering I didn't see much Navy terminology being used. I could tell the author either wasn't very familiar with military verbiage or just didn't feel comfortable using it. I'd prefer to see a lack of Navy terms than the wrong ones used. It was a smart way to do it.

I also enjoyed the bedroom scenes. Like I mentioned above, there wasn't a lot of emotional connection here so the erotica was pretty much just erotica. But I can appreciate a good erotica scene without the feelings coming into play. Sometimes sex it just sex, after all. There is a nice variety here and I think these scenes were fairly well written. Another pass with a good editor would have made the rest of the story flow better too.

This one fell short for me but I would be willing to give this author another shot in the future. Two suns!

Title: The Bite of Winter
Author: Lauren Smith
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Erotica
Series: Love Bites Novellas (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Freebie
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
Review: What a fun story!

I was in the mood for something quick and came across this novella on my Kindle. It's by an author I've enjoyed in the past, so I had no trouble picking it for a fast read. This sure was a good choice.

Zoey is down on her luck and it's about to get worse. She's just been attacked and death is looming over her in a dark alley. Her only chance at survival is in an immortal who isn't supposed to intervene in human affairs. When he saves her and takes her home, she learns the truth about him and his roommate. They're vampires and they want her to stay.

I liked Zoey and felt terrible for her from the first page. When Ian shows up, I immediately liked him too. He was sweet and had a romantic side. Connor's introduction was a surprise but it didn't make me like him any less. If anything, I think his character had the most layers and was probably my favorite of the three. But together, these three were a lot of naughty fun. This wraps up nicely in the end so I wonder if there will be new characters in future books in this series. 4.5 suns!

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