Review: Otherworld Assassin #1, Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter

13310549Blurb from GoodReads

THE SWEETEST TEMPTATION…

Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.

THE ULTIMATE PRICE…

Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.

ebook, 353 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Pocket Books (first published December 20th 2012)
edition language: English
series: Otherworld Assassin
genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult

My Thoughts

As my first Gena Showalter book, I’m quite surprise that this book wasn’t as I expect before. And I mean it in a not-so-good way, to be honest. Most of her books have high rating here and my friends recommended me her books since forever. They mostly said the stories are awesome. Unfortunately I don’t think this book is that awesome, it has an interesting idea, but it didn’t wow me.

It’s quite hard for me to connect both with the story and the characters, though I liked Solo and Vika enough to keep reading it. I also liked the minor, but have big role, characters, Dr. E and X. They play the evil and the good side of Solo really well.

The pace is pretty slow I have to force myself to finish it, though at the same time I also want to know more about the two of them. Problem is there is not much detail in most of the things in the story, including the worldbuilding. I can describe easily the otherworld building but the Earth building, the one the human live is unclear to me. I get the impression that it happens in the future, but it doesn’t describe well either. It feels lack of something.

Before I read this book, I thought Gena Showalter books are in the same category with J.R. Ward books, stories with alpha male hero and lots of steamy graphic sex scenes. It has alpha male hero (sort of) but it also lack of graphic sex scenes, moreover if I have to compare to J.R Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

In a way I liked that the romance, well the sex scenes, doesn’t overshadow the story. There is much to tell here than the romance. But in other way I feel like the author hold back something. I mean there are graphic description about abuse and other horrible things but why doesn’t with the romance scenes? It doesn’t mean that every sex scenes has to be graphic, not like that, it’s just unusual is all.

As many reviews stated, this book is not her best book, I think I’ll give her other books a try. I still don’t know which one I’ll read, though.

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reading Challenge:

– GoodReads: Book #8
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Read books that are already in my shelves for more than 2 years.
– Popsugar: A book with nonhuman characters
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Review: The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee

18404267Blurb from Goodreads

My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy.’

Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tuition to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling – Pip is awkward, over-literal, and adamant he doesn’t need a tutor, and upstairs, his enigmatic mother Esmé casts a shadow over the house.

Enter Sofi: the family’s holiday cook, a magnetic, mercurial Polish girl with appalling kitchen hygiene, who sings to herself and sleeps naked. When the father of the family goes away on business, Pip’s science lessons are replaced by midday rosé and scallop-smuggling, and summer begins. Soon something surprising starts to touch the three together.

But those strange, golden weeks cannot last forever. Later, in Paris, Normandy and London, they find themselves looking for the moment that changed everything.

Compelling, dark and funny, The Last Kings of Sark is tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities, from an extraordinary new writer.

Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press (first published November 7th 2013)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Adult
My Thoughts
DNF at chapter 12 (30%)

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

The blurb intrigued me to read this book, that’s why I requested it from NetGalley in the first place. Somehow I was kind of wish that I’ll get Jane Eyre-esque story, a beautiful-romantic with mystery kind of story.

Sark island interesting enough with its mysterious vibe. I think the author did a good job describing it. However it was hard for me to connect to the story and the characters. I really tried but up to the end of chapter 12 I still couldn’t care less with both of them. Jude, the main character and narrator of this story described most of everything but I got so little thing about her. Her co-worker, Sofi is an interesting character but I feel like she talked too much and her character overshadows Jude. It made me think why didn’t give her own POV, instead of Jude since I got her story more than Jude. She came to Sark to tutor a boy, Pip, he is supposed to be an interesting character too, but he feels flat to me. It was like he was there just so Jude has someone to tutor while she even rarely tutors him. Esme, Pip’s French mom, she’s the one I thought could make the story more mysterious, but the way Jude describes her make her isn’t mysterious enough for me to know what her story is. And Eddy, Pip’s dad, he disappears a lot from the story I didn’t get much about him.

And there is also something off with the way Jude tells her story. Maybe it’s just me being a reader with English isn’t my first language, maybe it’s because I’m still learning it so I don’t know much about it. But one thing for sure was I have problem reading her story. She likes using ‘later’. It’s kinda kill the element of surprise for me. I think I already know who or what will happen long before it happen or he/she enters the story since she tells me one step forward. Hence when a character enters the story and/or some things finally happened, it didn’t interest me anymore. I also quite difficult to differentiate when and where she talks about something. I feel like she talks about one thing and then in the same paragraph it turns to other thing. I think the flow doesn’t go smoothly.

All in all, I think this book has potential but I just couldn’t connect to it and there weren’t much happened till 30% of the story. To be honest, I tried a few times to pick this book up again and again in a span of 8 months. I feel bad I couldn’t finish it, maybe it just isn’t my cup of tea and it will work differently for other readers.

Result: since I did not finish it, I didn’t give it any star
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #6
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book written by an author with your same initial

Review: Up in the Air #1, In Flight by R.K. Lilley

16134782Blurb from GoodReads

When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can’t seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it.

Bianca is accustomed to dealing with supermodels and movie stars in her job as a first class flight attendant, but James Cavendish puts them all to shame in the looks department. If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes.

Kindle Edition, 263 pages
Published October 20th 2012 by R.K. Lilley
edition language: English
series: Up in the Air
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts
This book is kind of new for me. I never read about BDSM before. Yes it means that I never read Fifty Shades of Grey which some readers say there are lots of similarities with this book. I didn’t even have reason why I picked this book up, except that I was curious about it, to be honest. And after this one, I think I’ll read FSoG sooner just for the sake of my curiosity

As my first experience, I’d say there is nothing new in the story, except that it has lots of BDSM sex scenes and is predictable. I bet you can guess what will happen at the end of book even if you skip the middle of the story. There is insta-actraction between the main characters, Bianca and James, though thank goodness it wasn’t an insta-love. I liked both of them enough to keep reading their story as much as I didn’t quite like their other side. It was kinda hard for me to connect to both of them. James is so moody and selfish I was so annoyed with him. While Bianca is so naive I can’t believe that she is that naive. But I think I can still manage them since their past story was what I mostly interested. And it’s quite good, I think. In a way it made me glue to the book.

But my favorite character here is Bianca’s bestfriend, Stephan. I liked her relationship with him, though at first it was quite hard for me to believe that they don’t have any romantic feeling. In the end, I liked that they have sibling relationship and have each other all of the time.

I think this is an okay book. When I first picked this book up, I never thought I’ll read its sequel, but now, with the way it ended I feel like have to read it.

Result: 2 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #2
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Books I never thought I’ll read. Book #2
– Popsugar: A book by an author I’ve never read before

Review: The Fowler Sisters #1, Owning Violet by Monica Murphy

22747260Blurb from GoodReads

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

ebook, 400 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Bantam
edition language: English
series: The Fowler Sisters
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts:
I liked One Week Girlfriend series I was excited to read Monica Murphy’s latest series, Fowler Sisters with its first book, Owning Violet. I can say I still like her writing but I cannot say the same thing for the story and also the characters.

From the blurb I can tell that I usually like this kind of story. There is nothing new in Ryder and Violet story, I know, and is predictable but I think it makes room for drama and angst, which is my guilty pleasure in contemporary romance. However I didn’t enjoy Ryder and Violet’s story as much as I thought I would.

Ryder uses Violet to make him reach higher position in Violet’s father’s company and to take revenge to Violet’s boyfriend. He keeps telling her that he is mean and is a bad guy with dark past. Problem is I didn’t see and feel it. Yes he uses her for his benefit but so does her boyfriend, Zachary. I’m sure everyone will use her for their benefit, if they have a chance. It doesn’t mean that he is mean, not mean enough for me to tell him that he is mean, at least. And about his dark past? I’ve read lots of that kind of “dark” past before, so yeah his dark past is nothing as dark as I thought he had when I read first chapter.

As for Violet, I’m confused by her personalities. Ryder keeps telling me that she’s shy and in some occasion she indeed seems a shy introvert girl. But then she can do things that are far from her shyness before she backs to her quiet personality. For me, most of the things she does aren’t believable. Maybe she can switch her personalities that easy because of Ryder which she claims change her in so many ways, but still I found it’s hard to believe when she does things that are out of her personalities.

And for the story, there are things that left unclear and feel like it comes out of the blue. Maybe they are meant to be in the sequels but I still feel like they are there just to make me wondering about it and maybe glue to it. While in reality it is kind of an epic fail because it’s just annoying me. And not to mention that the story is so drag on I’m bored most of the time and the ending felt rushed and too easy. I think I’ll still read the sequels though. So I’m waiting for Rose’s story now.
Result: 2 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #1
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Books I never thought I’ll read. Book #1
– Popsugar: A book with a color in the title

Review: Beast by Ella James

22543669Blurb from Goodreads

FROM HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY
At twenty-one years old, third-generation movie star Cal Hammond was on top of the world. He had more money than God and more women than any man could need. But when a night of debauchery ends in tragedy, he forfeits a life of luxury for a ten-year prison sentence at La Rosa, California’s most violent prison.

TO A BRUTAL BEAST
Eight years later, a ruthless, cunning man runs La Rosa from the inside. He is known simply as BEAST. All the wardens fear him. All the gangs obey him. He speaks to no one but his inner council. What he says is law.

NOW ONLY SHE CAN SAVE HIM
Annabelle Mitchell’s father is the warden at La Rosa. He deals as dirty as his trustees, and after years of smooth relations with Beast and the gangs he runs, Holt lands on the powerful prisoner’s hit list. That very afternoon, Annabelle pays a surprise visit to her father’s work, hoping to use her new counseling license at a place she thinks she could make a difference. When she catches Beast’s eye, he releases the warden and grabs the daughter. The price for the warden’s error is not death. It’s his precious Belle.

ebook
Published August 18th 2014 by Barkley’s Books
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts
Beast actually divided into 4 parts, each part is only contain less than 100 pages. Since it’s so short, I’ll put all of them in this one review.
Part 1 (3 out of 5 stars)
It was kinda hard to rate a story that hasn’t finished yet, moreover when it’s divided into 4 parts. It means that I only get a quarter, first 25% of the book and usually don’t get much of the whole story. But this Beauty and the Beast retelling can catch my attention and I think I got a good premise and was quite interesting. It made me want to read the second part right away.

It is also intriguing. I’ve read more than enough Beauty and the Beast retelling, but never read it written in erotica story. So yeah…this is a new one for me. And am curious.

Part 2 (3 out of 5 stars)
I finally got the Beauty and the Beast part, but I didn’t quite feel it, tbh. I don’t know. Maybe those steamy scenes were too much or else, but I just couldn’t see it as a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Yes, there is Beast and Beauty and Beauty’s father but that was just it. I failed to see the connection with the original story. But the writing is still good and I’m still curious.

And I think I know who or should I say to whom Beast work for. I get a feeling that he isn’t like he lets Annabelle believes he is, not like that, anyway. He needs to be a good man (sort of) in order to become the hero. That usually the way it is, right? So let’s see in part 3.

Part 3 (2 out of 5 stars)
Guess what? My guess right! That predictable! And this part has a lots of rolling my eyes moments. I wasn’t curious anymore but since there’s only one part left, I’ll read it to finish it.
Part 4 (2 out of 5 stars)
More rolling my eyes moments. I know that this is an erotica story but I thought I can at least get a believable story or something? And yes, it’s still predictable and Beast and Annabelle seem don’t know what they priority is which I didn’t like, at all. Well…unless their priority is having lots of sex in the middle of live and death moments. Sigh. 2 stars are all for the writing, not the story.
All in all, 2.5 out of 5 stars

Review: What Price Paradise by Katherine Allred

2414750Blurb from Goodreads

What Price Paradise Katherine Allred All his life Tate McCullom has been taught to be responsible, and he is the very model of what a respectable man should be. Until the night he gets drunk and sleeps with a woman he barely knows. Now, six weeks later, she’s pregnant, alone, and broke. Once again, Tate must take responsibility for his actions, and makes plans to marry his child’s mother. There’s only one problem.he has to tell his fianc e. Abby Grayson hasn’t had an easy life. As the daughter of the town whore, people either avoid her or think she’s like her mother. For Abby, it’s a struggle just to fill her belly and keep a roof over her head. Loneliness and a secret yearning for this man she thought she’d never have led her to spend the night with Tate. But the last thing she needs is a baby when she can barely take care of herself. Desperate, but too proud to ask for help, she finally agrees to accept a job from Tate  the job of being his wife. Now she has almost everything she’s ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, only one thing will gain her Tate’s love – his realization that the night he spent with her was no drunken accident. It was a last-ditch attempt to win the woman he really wanted.

ebook, 224 pages
Published July 14th 2005 (first published June 29th 2005)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts
As my second Katherine Allred book, I have to say that I much enjoyed and loved Sweet Gum Tree more. But now I’m sure that I liked her writing, especially when she describes the setting. It makes me picture it easily and feel like be there in the story.

I really liked the main characters in this book. I can see that they change throughout the story. Abby at the end of the book is stronger, braver and more determine than at the beginning while Tate can learn from his mistake and knows what he wants for his life. I also liked they relationship. It’s cute and sweet, though it isn’t an easy one to begin with. As for other characters, Buddy and Joe, they are so good I want they have their own stories.

But it is Diane that I wasn’t quite satisfied. From Tate and Joe description about her in the beginning of the story, I assumed that she’s a (sort of) wicked, manipulative woman. So I was kinda hope she has more backbone when Tate told her that he married someone else. I don’t know, I think I kinda wished that she’s more cunning and determine to get him back while I didn’t see much of it. I felt like she doesn’t live up what people say about her, a rich young woman who keeps flirting with lots of men and always gets her way to keep coming back to her fiance. I didn’t see it at al. Well…maybe I was just assumed wrong, but I think it can be a good drama in the story which was what I thought when I read its blurb.

And then there are things that I felt like unclear and just left it behind.

Her glance landed on the dirty dishes and she jumped to her feet, the paper bag that had been in her lap falling unnoticed to the floor.

This is from chapter 3, after the description there isn’t any follow up about that paper bag. What is it in the paper bag? Is there anyone who notice it if Abby left it on the floor unnoticed? Is it the same paper bag that she mentions later in chapter 22? And then there is also about Abby’s birthday. Tate is planning to give something for her birthday which he thinks has to be a surprise. He then goes to town with her to buy it while she buys something for herself. Then something happens and then he never mentions about his give or her birthday in general anymore. They are only teeny tiny things, I know, but I felt like the characters forget them because something happened after those things. Or maybe I was just missing something there?

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

19288043Blurb from Goodreads

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

Paperback, 422 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Broadway Books (first published June 2012)
edition language: English
genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult
My Thoughts
What are you thinking, Amy? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

Nick and Amy Dunne are one fucked up couple

description
I know that this book has lots of twists with wicked characters, both main female and main male character. So I kinda prepared myself to not fall into one of them or believe what they or one of them say. And I really did try to guess and see everything they told me so that I won’t be that surprised when I face those twists.

But the thing is the way Gillian Flynn wrote was so damn believable I cannot help not to fall to the characters. So in some part I felt sorry for Amy and really, truly, honestly hate Nick. And in another part I felt the opposite. It was just so weird I can’t decide which one I most love or hate. And at the same time the twists were still surprising, even after my friend told spoiler to me. So yeah…this is just that good!

I also really liked the characters. The two different POV made me see them as very different characters. And they play their role well, I have love to hate and hate to love relationship with them along the story. I hate Nick for what he did in their marriage while at the same time I can see (and understand, though am disagree) why he did it. And so does with Amy, I understand the reason she did what she did, and at the same time I think she’s crazy-manipulative woman. I know this might sound crazy and weird but I admired her, especially in part two. She’s smart, manipulative and cunning. I liked her POV much more than Nick’s because her POV can deceive me and kept my mind thinking and guessing of the story.

description
At the same time, I didn’t quite like her in last few chapters of part two. I felt like it wasn’t Amy’s POV that I admire in first chapters of part two. It was like she turned into indifferent character. She isn’t that cunning anymore and rather silly and unprepared than a smart and thinking ahead woman. She’s just another case of rich girl who doesn’t know what to do outside her comfort zone. And the result was I felt like the story drag on, before it backs on track in part three.

All in all, as my first experience of Gillian Flynn book, I won’t forget Amy and Nick story easily. And they won’t be the only characters I read from Ms. Flynn. Now I’m gonna buy and read her previous books, for sure.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars