#BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

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So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch is a sweet, simple, romance read.

There WILL be spoilers in this review, so beware!

Romance seems to be a hit and miss genre – there are FANTASTIC novels, and there are HORRIBLE novels. So Near the Horizon, on the spectrum, is just below fantastic. This story starts out as if it’s fiction – you don’t realize it’s based on Jessica’s life (I mean…her name and the character’s name are the same, but I honestly didn’t even notice. See how much I pay attention?).

Almost immediately our main characters meet, and the sass is real. I love the sassiness between Jessica and Danny,The abuse that was mentioned in the first few pages also left me kind of awestruck. You just meet someone and you say how your father hit you in the face with a bottle? Okay then… At least Danny’s honest?…

Our two leads, Jessica and Danny, are both pretty messed up. One minute they seem to be all over each other, and then next Danny’s treating Jessica like she’s garbage. You welcome her into your bed and sleep next to her all snuggled up, but then threaten to kick her out of your vehicle when you take her home? The bi-polar attitude of Danny made me not like him as a character and almost despise him. Jessica deserves better than some guy who flips his attitude whenever he feels like it. No matter his personal issues, he doesn’t need to act so nasty all the time. It’s almost like he’s nice only when it benefits him. And sending a radio after to apologize? And then confessing his love to her? On top of that, he’s almost always lying…. Yeah, this guy doesn’t sit well with me, in the beginning.

Even Christina rubs me the wrong way at the start – she’s got her own problems, but she’s a psychopath. She threatens to kill Jessica numerous times and no one even cares. The fact that she is threatening Jessica with death if she hurts Danny is absolutely, freaking, ridiculous. Christina has her issues, and she’s a broken character, but this running theme of having a bad life and being a total jerk to people makes me quite annoyed. Life can’t be all “sunshine and roses” (just like Christina says) but I feel like you can do better than hurting people since you’re hurting…Or maybe that’s just me.

I also find that there’s some repeated harassment that could have been avoided if reported. Out of everything in this novel, that drove me insane. Not that reporting always helps in real life situations…

I’m positive that my initial bad feelings towards this book are due to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight controversy. There’s lots of books where the guys are just not great guys, but somehow win the girl in the end. Danny could be an EPIC character, but his flaws just seem so dark. It’s almost abusive in my eyes (and this is coming from someone who’s been through abusive relationships). Don’t get me wrong – Jessica is absolutely FANTASTIC and writes this novel well, I just don’t like the relationship. That’s nothing against her, because she makes it likable (to a degree). But then, you get to the end of the book and realize Danny’s not JUST a character. He was real, he’s a person, that was his real life attitude and actions (maybe not 100% because it’s a retelling of Jessica’s life with him, but you get the drift). People aren’t perfect, not like book characters. I went through this book hitting my head against the wall going “JESSICA, LEAVE THIS GUY! HE’S A JERK! HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU” and then you find out his troubles, and you find out he’s REAL. This was a real guy who was dealing with real issues, and I felt for him. I was not myself when my Father died, nor when I dealt with horrible relationships in my life. I’m empathetic, because we’re not all perfect Nora Robert’s characters (I wish, sometimes that would make my job so much easier).

So, let’s get to the positives. I wrote up an entire list of negatives when I thought this book was fiction (do your research, don’t be like me who just jumps into a book). But, I threw them all out. When I realize this was real, why would I include negatives that don’t fit this narrative?

1. Sass – there is so much sass and humour, that I couldn’t put it down. There were the parts I was frustrated with, but I wanted to see the quirky conversations that were happening throughout this book.
2. It’s not cookie cutter – so many novels (fiction and non fiction) seem to fit the typical trope. Falling in love, happy life, everything is great, something goes wrong but it’s fixed, blah blah blah. This book shows what real life CAN Be like – it’s not totally “realistic” (these “characters” meet and get pretty flirty and close super fast, which isn’t always “realistic” for some people – but that’s life for you), it shows some of the darker sides of life, and I love it.
3. Character development – These characters develop over time, some a little slower than others. Seeing how life changes and what it did for these people…Oh man, my heart aches. I want to meet Jessica and give her a GIANT hug. To live through that changes a person…
4. HIV. That little fact flipped my opinion of this book quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting that to suddenly pop open. While it explains Danny’s behaviour, it doesn’t make some of his wild, horrible attitudes right. Yes, he has a HORRIBLE childhood, but does that give you the right to be a horrible person? What a conundrum.
5. The AIDS/HIV awareness – I like when books bring something into the spotlight, and this book did that with AIDS/HIV. The fact that it’s so heavily focused and doesn’t make it to be some sob story, but a real life story is honestly a wonderful change.

I had so hoped this story was fiction. It destroyed me – after losing my Dad to cancer I have become this emotional wreck that cries at everything sad or sentimental. AND JESSICA DESTROYED ME. Having a love so passionate, so deep (no matter what type of love) and losing someone…I’m hurting from this story. It’s so horrible but so beautiful…Thank you for this book Jessica. Honestly, thank you for letting me see a little piece of your life.

Overall, as a story it seems super rushed. If it were fiction, I’d be annoyed at the fast paced antics that goes on in a relationship. But is any relationship “normal”? Romance novels has ruined timelines for us, hasn’t it?

Five out of five stars. Yes, the relationship between Jessica and Danny was quite brutal, and the death threats infuriated me, but stories like THIS (real, honest and that bring something to the light like AIDS/HIV) NEED to be shared. Not want, NEED. We need more stories like this around, because this world’s big and scary, but stories like this show the true humanity. Oh boy, I’m just a mess writing this.

Thank you Jessica Koch, the amazing author, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly appreciate it! It’s always mind blowing when people actually seek me out, and it really humbles me. Thank you!!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Jessica Koch on Goodreads! Jessica Koch on Goodreads

Did you know this book was originally written in German and was translated into English?

Check out Jessica Koch’s website! Jessica Koch’s Website

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#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

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In Her Court by Tamsen Parker is a goofy, geeky read filled with

Tamsen Parker is not one to stick to the same plot over and over in every read, and that’s what makes this book so unique compared to the others. This time around, Tamsen has explored an F/F relation (or two females if you didn’t understand the acronym). Two girls at a camp fulfill a beautiful romance, in short.

These girls (Van and Willa) have character – one of them is getting a PhD, they are working at a tennis camp, and they aren’t your typical character without flaws and full of perfection. They seem realistic in the setting of this story! That’s a nice change from some of the F/F books I have read in the past – I like seeing characters who slowly build and get better throughout the story.

There is some R-rated language (a few F bombs) so if you don’t like any swears, beware! They aren’t dropped for no reason, they fit within the story, but know this book isn’t G rated. If you thought it was, you don’t know Tamsen’s writing very well…

Personal opinion: I felt like Nate and his character could have not been in the story and it would have moved just as well. Yes, he’s an introduction for both characters, but he didn’t seem wildly important – at least not to me. I would have liked to see a more interesting story line with him (a non romantic subplot, or something). I felt like there was more potential hiding in there. That being said, it wasn’t like he was supposed to be the main character of the story.

This wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (and by that I mean her super steamy romances), but it definitely ranks up in my favourite romances. I felt the introduction to the characters wasn’t the best (we found out a bit to much to fast, in my opinion) but it was still fitting and made the story work. That’s me being a picky Tamsen Parker/romance fan and nothing more. It doesn’t hurt the story, I just feel like it wasn’t Tamsen’s best out of all of her books (I remember a time when she only had three books out…just saying..now she’s all busy writing and forming a career ;D).

I found this was definitely a step out of Tamsen’s wild BDSM/crazy sexual books and more of a contemporary romance (as it says on Goodreads, which I noticed AFTER I read it – do your research first guys! Then you’ll know what you’re getting!). As a contemporary romance, it’s fantastic! It’s not the best romance in all of the world that I’ve ever read, but it’s a worthy read. A very worthy read indeed! There is still some steamy sexy scenes, just not as crazy wild as her other novels. But it’s still uber sexy and well written! And there is LOTS of it…Almost to much. At one point, there seems to be sex scenes in every single chapter!

Side Notes: I love geeky references and Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was present in this novel. Bonus points for Tamsen!

Overall, this book was great – it just wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (but can they all really be my favourite? Let’s be honest). This book is still a worthy read and I would suggest it to those looking for some steamy romances, but definitely pick up Tamsen’s other books while you’re at it. These books show how she can not only write crazy steamy BDSM, but lovely contemporary romances and some not so safe for work styled novels.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you Tamsen Parker for being amazing (as always!) and sending me a copy of this book!!

 

Visit Tamsen parker at www.tamsenparker.com !!
Follow her on Twitter: @TamsenParker or Facebook! www.facebook.com/tamsenparker

 

This book was also part of Camp Firefly Falls! I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in more check out http//campfireflyfalls.com for more info!

 

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

 

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

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If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

Happy Release Day! Book Review: Due South (#5 in The Compass Series) by Tamsen Parker

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Due South (Compass Series #5)
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I am OBSESSED with Tamsen Parker’s books, so when I got the opportunity to read this book I jumped at the chance! This series has been uber sexy, uber awesome and has always been a pleasant surprise when I pick the book up and can’t put it down.

Review:

The Cover – The cover is probably my favourite out of the whole series. I loved True North, but Due South has really upped the game. The contrasting colours of the red hair and green-ish blue background make it really stand out. I also love the seductive look that is front and center on this cover. I like the continuation of the sexy looks – in my personal opinion, I like them better than just the single person covers, but that’s just me! It gives the book a little extra boost in the sexiness department.

The Chapters – The chapters them self have a cute little compass, and I seriously adore that. On any other book, without them, it just seems plain. But I adore the little compasses! It gives a little extra flare and personality to this novel. Love it!!

The Content – I’m writing this book as I read it, which is rare for me. I normally like to finish a book and go back through it, but this review shall be the play by play! It’s the holidays, let’s switch things up in my reviews!
Currently, I’ve hit Chapter 2 within this review – I love that India and Cris have been mentioned, and then they both get some action scenes. I miss those crazy kids, and having them pop by makes my fan girl heart feel all warm and fuzzy. I also really enjoy that this book starts off with referencing Christmas (and it’s being released around Christmas). The vibe I’m getting so far is festive and fan-friendly! Also, within Chapter 2 you already get that R rated swearing involved, which gives me a good chuckle. So readers, beware – if you do not like the swears, this book has a few of them (at least so far). <spoilers>But let’s be honest, if I lost a file of some form of importance, I would also be swearing but probably a lot more than Lucy does.</spoiler>

Within Chapter 2, I also love the reference to how some fans felt within the reviews <spoiler> Lucy references that India is mean and why could Cris like her (since he is nice and easygoing). It gave me a real laugh reading that, since some reviewers did comment on that exact issue. But  true love and soul mates conquer all people! 😉 </spoiler>.

Chapter 2 Side note: Evans’s is the correct spelling/grammar, but it looks so wrong to me.

Around Chapter 2 the sexy times start, but it’s not until Chapter 3 that we get some longer scenes. There are some consent-based comments, that in my opinion is a great addition to any novel, but it’s presented in a very cute/funny way. I really enjoyed this small addition to the scene, because it broke some of the tension but added to the comedy that these books present. It felt right in the situation as well, and with these characters. It might not have seem as great in a Cris/India scene because they are so tension heavy, but Lucy/Evans have the perfect combination for some cute, side scenes within their chapters. Even some of Lucy’s thoughts during these sexy scenes are funny – describing Evans’s so we get a better understanding of his characters.

<spoiler>Also, Chanoch Evans…I’m not even sure how to pronounce that correctly. And after searching google…Yup. I get why she calls him Evans.</spoiler>

Side note: While reading this book, if you do readers…think about this…Are there cameras in copy rooms?… Or in the office?… #Awkward

As you continue on throughout the chapters, you’ll find that Lucy and Evans have a very different relationship than the past characters. Lucy and Evans, while they have intense and hot scenes, are also quite comedic and adorkable. They’ll be getting hot and heavy, and suddenly they throw comedic gems out into the open that doesn’t break the situations, it adds to it. I really enjoyed every little comment, and I want to quote every single one, but that would ruin any suspense for the future readers. So I’ll leave it at this – this is one of my favourite books in this series so far (although Cris and India are probably still my favourite couple…but not by much. Maybe just a centimeter.)

This book is definitely worth the read. Typically, this far into a series the books start to fade off and go into obscurity, but this book really stepped it up. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did in this book and I love the characters almost as much as the main starter couples. I really loved this book, and if I could give it six out of five stars, I would!

The story line is easy to follow, and seems realistic (within the realm of sexy reads, of course). I wasn’t left with many questions, and I found the plot moved smoothly and at a fast enough pace to enjoy it. I even managed to read this book right through beginning to end (minus a few pit stops in adding parts into this review). It’s a good book to read in one sitting, and it’ll make you crave even more!

Overall: Tamsen does step up some of her writing in this book – some voyeurism occurs, which is a slight change from her past novels. There also seems to be a pinch or roleplay, depending on how you read into the situation. And a splash of beach sex (get it…splash? Oh, I love puns). There’s also a few other surprises around the corner, because Tamsen doesn’t like to disappoint!

This book has an adorkable x-factor that will leave you craving more sexy, seductive heroines and leading men from Tamsen Parker!

I definitely want more from Tamsen. As she continues to write her books, she develops her style and goes bigger and better. I haven’t yet been disappointed in a book, so I’m thrilled for her next release!

Five out of five stars.

PS. In the acknowledgments I also got a little giggle – thanking readers for the “trip” when it’s the “compass” series…Yeah. I love puns!