Quick Book Review: Private by Kate Brian (Private #1)

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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Private by Kate Brian is a dramatic, teenage angst drama perfect for the Young Adult audience.

This novel is a great turn in the Young Adult genre. Why? Because it’s not supernatural. I love that this book is not part of the supernatural trend, and it is all about teenagers and their petty drama.

We follow 15 year old Reid Brennan in Easton Academy where she is a scholarship student among many rich kids. It is full of the typical teenage drama – popular cliches, boys, silly drama, high school angst and gossip.

It is entirely what you expect it to be – dramatic and fun! An outside girl is trying to fit in with the popular girls, and of course she will do whatever she wants to be apart of them! And of course you throw a hot, bad boy into the mix and the drama and gossip gets juicier.

I absolutely loved this book. It moves at a fast pace – something is always happening! Sometimes it’s romance, sometimes it’s drama, sometimes it’s both! But it doesn’t leave you feeling bored!!

I find it hard to pick up a Young Adult novel that doesn’t go on and on about plot lines we don’t actually need. Private gets to the point, pulling every piece of drama out of Kate Brian’s magical dramatic bag.

It does have it’s low points – our main character does not have a back bone like many teens to do today. She is pushed around easily and her emotions get the best of her. School work isn’t mentioned that much, but in a soap opera type book who cares about the grades and studying parts of Reid’s “real life”?

It’s a great read for someone who wants a teenage soap opera. It is for sure, very entertaining!

I would suggest it to anyone who likes novels such as Pretty Little Liars, but with less murder. If you are not interested in petty drama, silly high school drama and soap opera like plot lines, it is not the book for you. It is a book that requires little thought to read, and I find it great only for the amusement – I don’t have to follow any crazy plot lines or insane theories. It’s just a soap opera! So do not expect Gone Girl with plot twists and awesome endings. It is definitely your cookie cutter drama. Our main character is going to complain about being a teenage girl and she’s not going to try to change. Our cast of characters are all very cookie cutter as well, we don’t have any awesome background stories – this book isn’t going to be made into an Oscar-worthy movie, that’s for sure.

This book would sit well with young readers – it’s the type of book they need at aged 13ish. It’s relatable to that age group, but if you are an older teen or an adult it will seem pretty lame. It’s not realistic to the adult mind, but to a pre-teen reader who deals with this type of drama at school, it’ll hit a home run right to home base.

It’s quick. It’s scandalous. And it’s mindless for the adult reader.

Four out of five stars! I would love to pick up the next book soon!

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Quick Book Review: Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #2) by MQ Barber

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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Photo via Goodreads.

 

If I could give this book 10 out of 5, I would. It is probably one of the most incredible romance novels I have ever gotten my hands on. And by romance, I mean erotica.

This novel is centered around Alice and her two handsome, hunky roommates Henry and Jay. But there’s something different about them…they really enjoy having three in the bedroom.

The story follows Alice engaging in some fun time with her two roommates, and boy is it hot.

If you are looking for some hot, dramatic erotica with two super hot men this is for you! This book will definitely satisfy some females who are looking for a book that is all about taking care of the women in the bedroom and not the man!!! It is kind of like your BDSM 101 course, as it is slowly starting out with some of your basics in the genre.

Our one love interest is kind of a puppy dog and is very silly, while the other speaks professionally (which can either be very hot or seem very stupid depending on how you like your novels).

This novel isn’t meant to win some crazy literary award or go for an Oscar, so don’t expect it to woo you with her literary language and metaphors. It is a hot romance!! Keep that in mind!

Overall, I enjoyed it. The book is not meant to be a realistic take on your average bedroom play. But it does give your imagination some very happy thoughts.

Five out of five stars! I want like a thousand more books in this series please!

Book Review: Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason

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Title: Happy Ever After in Christmas
Author: Debbie Mason
Date Read: July 27th-September 10th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 11th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I love a good romance, and Debbie Mason did not let me down! It took me a while to really get into this book since I haven’t read the rest of the series, but once I was in I was hooked and couldn’t get out!

Quick Summary: Jill Flaherty is almost thirty, and won’t admit to herself that she is hopelessly in love with her brother’s best friend Sawyer Anderson. Deputy Jill has to hop through some hoops to finally admit her feelings for the bar tender. Jill will have to be quick, because other women’s eyes are looking to woo Sawyer…

Evaluations: For a romance novel, this book was incredible! There’s no cheesy love triangles, there’s nothing that seems out of place or unrealistic. The book focuses on friendships, family, and love. It is definitely worthy of high marks, and I want to read the rest of the books.
Is it cheesy and a total Nora Roberts sort of romance? Yup. Did it say it was anything but that? Nope. The book is exactly what you expect from it, and that’s great! Debbie Mason knows how to make a good, realistic romance with a bit of drama, tensions and tiny twists!

Plot: The plot is pretty straight forward – Deputy Jill has to do her job, and admit her feelings for bar tender Sawyer. They find it hard to admit their feelings for each other, but over time they grow and grow. There are some minor hiccups at first, and then a few major ones. These major hiccups make the two grow as a couple, and eventually we get the happily ever after that these characters deserve! Each aspect of the plot are realistic, you can see them happening in real life: issues at a nursing home, custody issues, pregnancy issues, etc. Nothing seems out of place!

Characters: Jill is a strong character who sometimes has her issues as a character, but for a romance novel she fits the trope. She is headstrong and does not let people tell her what to do, but she keeps putting the possible relationship off so many times it’s pathetic. In real life, a guy would probably have given up on her by the time her and Sawyer actually get together. But, this is a romance novel and every woman wants a man falling all over her. This might be unrealistic, but it makes for a good book!
Sawyer also seems to not be your typical, everyday guy. He falls for Jill hard, he chases after her, and he even seems to have a bit to close of a relationship with Brandi. I can’t place his personality on any of the guys I know, so he isn’t totally realistic. But, again, this is a romance novel and he fits the role perfectly.

Themes/Creativity: Family and friendship is a strong theme in this book and you can tell. Family sticks together and friends help each other. Friendship and family always comes first! I like this theme, seeming as there are rarely themes in romance novels. But, this theme is very easy to see!! A+ on theming in a romance novel Debbie! Great job!

Uniqueness: It’s not totally unique for a romance novel. There’s your typical love story, headstrong female, man chasing after her, possible love triangle, big issue that sets the couple apart, they get back together, happily ever after. The only uniqueness I can point out is the theming. Other than that, typical romance!

Strengths: Themes. Themes. Themes. Again themes. Have I mentioned the themes enough?
Weaknesses: It’s your typical romance. While it’s written beautifully, it can easily be compared to other romances.

Score: 5 out of 5. While it is a common romance novel, it was well written and wow-ed me! I was hooked and couldn’t put it down, and many romance novels get put down in my household. I love Debbie Mason and I’ll be reading the rest of her books as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Recommendations: I would love Debbie Mason to try to write an out of the box romance novel. Her writing is fantastic and clearly she is the expert on the common romance, but I would love to see her try something different!!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Hardpressed (Hacker #2) by Meredith Wild

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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Photo via Goodreads.

 

 

** spoiler alert ** Meredith Wild has made a great sequel full of hot, steamy romance and fast, exciting thrills!

Hardpressed did not wow me as much as the Hardwired did, but this book was still great! I didn’t get bored and I didn’t feel the need to put the book down.

Blake Landon was mega hot in this book, yet again. He’s still quite the brute, but he fights for his girl. His intentions are in the right place, even if he comes off as a controlling character.

Erica, on the other hand, seems like quite the depressing heroine of this story. She seems to give up to easily, doesn’t ask for help and assumes a lot. She annoyed me a lot in this book, but it didn’t turn me away just yet. I’m hoping she’ll grow in the next book from this weird state she’s in.

Our villains were excellent – they were scary, threatening, and obviously the bad guys. If anything, I wish our bad guys would have had some more character. And by that I mean that the bad guys just seem to want to do bad things, their intentions aren’t in the right place. When you can understand a bad guy, and see why they are so bad, books can transcend!

The plot itself was quick moving, always had action, and involved lots of steamy romance! If anything, Meredith Wild has up-ed the sexiness factors of these books! I loved how Meredith Wild told this story, so I will definitely be picking up the next book.

Overall, it didn’t live up to the first book, but it came in a close second to it!

Four out of five stars!

Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory

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Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Date Read: February-September 2016
Date Reviewed: September 11th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes

Introduction: A long time ago I wanted to watch the movie adaption (with Natalie Portman) of this book, but once I rented it and noticed there was a book I decided to not watch the film and try to find the novel. That was way back when the film came out, so it’s been a long time trying to find the book (and forgetting about the book the minute I got to the book store…whoops!). When I finally got to reading it, the book took me months (literally months, look at the date read…) to finish this book. Why? Because it starts off slow and explains every detail you can imagine! But overall, it was a good book and I want to read the rest of them!

A lot of my criticism is based on the historical accuracy, but it is also in how the writer displayed these characters. For example, Anne is said to have been a strong and not evil woman in real life, yet she seemed to be quite spineless and conniving in the novel. I would have loved to see a stronger character, since the one we got doesn’t appear to be as fleshed out as Philippa might have liked.

Quick Summary: Mary and Anne Boleyn are sisters during Henry the VIII’s reign. Mary falls in love with Henry, and begins to enjoy the life of royalty. But what happens when Anne decides to take her place? With both the girls being pawns in their family’s  game, drama sorts to ensue on all levels.

This book was (loosely) based on historical facts – Henry VIII did reign, and both of the women were his lovers. But (obviously) the conversations and exact events that happen in the novel did not happen in real life.

Evaluations: I enjoyed this book once I got closer to the end. I won’t lie and say it was all sunshine and roses all the way through, in fact it started off rather boring for me. All the explaining and slow introduction of the characters made me want to put the book down. But, I was determined to finish this book because I want to watch the movie. Once I got through the first 3/4s of the book, I became totally obsessed. The drama, love triangles, the arguments, the sex scenes, all of it combined made the book suddenly pick up speed and become almost like a historical soap opera.

I did enjoy learning a bit about history through this book. While not all the history is accurate and I fact checked after I read, it gave me an interesting insight (despite the fictional aspects of the story). After reading this, it made me want to research Henry the VIII and all of his wives and children.

Overall, while it was a slow starter, it was very insightful. Philippa Gregory did an incredible job of getting me interested in history!

Plot: The plot was a slow start, as I’ve said numerous times already. It takes a while to get into the book, but once you do you don’t regret it (well, you might. It’s a long book).  The plot follows Mary and Anne Boleyn, with Mary being the first courting the King. This part was not as interesting as Anne’s courting which occurs later in the book. I would have loved Philippa to expand on Mary’s relationship with the King to give the reader a bit more passion and love towards their relationship. Even later in the novel the King acts as if almost nothing happened with Mary, and that left me feeling cheated. The King really threw his women away like that? He never treated his wife Katherine like Mary, just treating her like some commoner. He at least talked to her…
Anne’s courting was far more interesting, and dramatic. The involvement of her brother George also made the reader question what was going on (did they actually sleep together? Was this just comments?).
I found I did not totally like the ending. Suddenly the entire court thought George and Anne had slept together, but the reader never really saw these rumors flying around. I understand that Philippa probably had to finish her book at a certain word count, but the sudden change in plot to the sad ending made me feel cheated as well.

Characters: There were many characters within in novel, but I’m only going to focus on a few.
Mary Boleyn – I liked her better than Anne, but she was definitely not my favourite character in literature. She wasn’t relatable in any sense, even if I was cheering for her over her sister. She reminded me of a “Bella Swan” sort of character (with more emotion and depth). She was there, and you rooted for her, but she could have been a lot better. Throughout the story I felt bad for her constantly – the loss of her relationship with her lover Henry, then the King Henry, then her first husband William, and up until her final marriage to William Stafford, I just felt like the entire story was stacked against her. It was like we were made to feel bad for her, and it wasn’t exactly a choice.

Anne Boleyn – Philippa Gregory must hate Anne Boleyn, because she was the main character and the villain in this novel. She was constantly trying to one up Mary. The woman was conniving, mischievous, she stabbed anyone and everyone in the back to get what she wanted, and it was impossible to like her. After researching, I discovered that most historians say Anne was quite sweet, much like Mary was for the novel. It was disappointing to see a character who I wanted to like to be so evil, but there needed to be a villain in this book. I also found that the book described Anne as being cheerful and witty, yet she never portrayed that. She was often very nasty to her sister and was always expecting to get everything she wanted. Her seduction of the King also seemed very lame in the long run. She had never known a man that she loved like the King? Never even a school girl’s crush? And suddenly she was asking everyone and their Mother how to woo, and seemed to be totally innocent. I doubt the total ignorance on her part. This also made her seem like an odd character – so manipulative and nasty, but a sweet and innocent girl? That didn’t connect well with me.
When you read up about Anne and how she gave birth to the Queen of England (Queen Elizabeth the First) you see how strong she actually was. I would have loved to see her be a stronger character. Her daughter became the Queen! This woman must have an incredible back story, and she does. This book doesn’t show this, and that lets my English heritage down.

Henry VIII – I felt like Henry was a total throwaway character. He was essentially just a means to an end, and not the character he could have been. He was some toy for both the women to sleep with to gain power and he seemed to have less strength than the women. I was always under the impression that the King’s ruled over all and were very strong, but Henry seemed very wimpy. His wife Katherine seemed to have more strength than he did, and that made him quite pathetic.

Themes/Creativity:
Witchcraft was a part of this novel, and it appears out of nowhere (like a lot of things in this novel). It appears to be a way to get rid of George and Anne since they die in real life, so they obviously have to die in the fictional novelization of their lives as well. If this would have been introduced earlier in the novel, even if just in stories and tales told to children, I would have liked this aspect of the book more. It seemed like a cop out.
The incest was also very strange. I understand it was a theory in their live’s made in historical books, but George and Anne suddenly becoming incestuous also seemed weird. It was hinted at, with a bit of foreshadowing earlier in the novel, but it could have been portrayed so much better.
The family issues also could have been made so much better. Anne and Mary constantly fight and try to one up each other, yet Mary does what Anne says and Anne still wants Mary’s help. Two sisters who hate each other as much as these women do wouldn’t help each other out, in my opinion. If they had little spats here and there it would be understandable, but the loyalty and changed in personalities when they need to like each other was incredibly strange.

Uniqueness: Compared to more historical accurate novels, this book is unique! Anne is evil, Mary isn’t strong, there’s incest and witchcraft and drama! It’s unique! It gives a very different spin on this story, which makes Philippa a great novelist. If so many people read this, despite the historical inaccuracy and enjoyed it, she has done a great job! I applaud her for this novel despite it’s troubles. It truly is a beautiful read! Don’t discount the issues I found within it anything other than constructive criticism! Philippa Gregory did a fantastic job making this novel and I want to read more of her books to see how she grew (since this was the first book written in the series).

Strengths: The love stories were a great strength. Philippa should write Harlequin romance novels! This book is almost like a historical Pretty Little Liars or Desperate Housewives! Which seems fitting, since there is a Tudors series on television….

Weaknesses: Character growth. I found these characters stale and their descriptions in accurate. A conniving, evil woman is sweet and virginal? That’s definitely two sets of traits I wouldn’t necessarily put together. A witty and caring woman suddenly becomes wicked towards her sister every time she sees her? Hmm, that doesn’t make much sense either…

Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
I enjoyed this book and I will read the rest of the series (it will probably take me a decade, but I’ll get there), but it had it’s issues.

Quick Book Review: Perfectly Flawed by Shakeerah Oatis

Perfectly Flawed was an interesting take on a soap-opera like family.

I enjoyed Perfectly Flawed for it’s story, but it definitely had it’s “flaws” (sorry, the puns are to hard to hold back on this one) that left me feeling cheated as a reader.

The story itself focuses on the African American Community and some of the stereotypes and flaws within these stereotypes – teenage mothers, mental illness, etc. It’s taboo to discuss these topics, so children grow up and end up repeating the same mistakes. We follow Adrian and her daughter Aaliyah, and discover where secrets can lead a family.

The story is realistic – a teenage mother who didn’t want a child but ended up in a bad situation. It opens my eyes to a world I don’t know about, and the plot was a great idea!

But – there is a but – my print version of this had many grammatical errors. These errors had words missing, the wrong word choice/spelling, and run-on sentences. The errors made it super hard to read, and it made me feel like this book hadn’t gone through the editing process. I may have an ARC, which means the final version of the book would have all of this fixed, but I honestly don’t know if it’s the ARC or a real copy. If these errors were fixed, the book would be perfect and flawless. I love the idea of this story, but it just feels like it wasn’t well written in word choice.

Overall, I’m not totally impressed with my copy of the book. It could have been a spectacular story!

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Night of Nyx by Karpov Kinrade

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Photo via Goodreads.

 

Night of Nyx is an excellent companion to the Nightfall Chronicles.

This little novella gives a great insight into Zorin. It gives a great deal of information alongside the novel series (of course, you don’t need to read this novella to understand the series, but for readers who are obsessed with this series, it definitely doesn’t hurt!). I think it would be best to read it after House of Ravens.

Zorin’s motivations and Danika are discussed in this novella, and it won’t disappoint the readers. The insight into this character is fantastic, and written in a beautiful perspective! The alternate POVs also makes this novella even better!

Karpov Kinrade wow-ed me yet again! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel in the Nightfall series!