Review: Tycoon

Review: TycoonTycoon by Katy Evans
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 252
Goodreads
two-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I liked the premise of this story, but I ended up not liking the characters much.  Too much cheating and selfishness for me.

THE STORY: Bryn Kelly is desperate for money for her startup business.  So desperate she is willing to appeal to Aaric Christos — rich, handsome, a New York power player — and also the boy that wanted her in high school and Bryn rejected.  He’s a man who invests in what others believe is too risky, but he wants to know everything before he invests.  Thus starts a relationship that is part past, part present and all sex and romance.

OPINION:  I really like second chance at love stories and I wanted to like this one, but I ended up disappointed.  As the story starts out Aaric is about to propose to his girlfriend that he conveniently doesn’t love and has an open relationship with.  Knowing that he has someone in his life, Bryn pursues him anyway which didn’t make me like her much.  The story just seemed to snowball from there.  I tried to like the characters, but they seemed too selfish.  There are spoilers out there about what happens with the girlfriend and I can confirm that it was as terrible as others make it out to be.  Nothing is really resolved in this story as things are left hanging.  That bothered me and even more Aaric’s decision of “my happiness is more important than anything” really bugged me.  My suggestion would be “keep it in your pants for a while and be a man with responsibilities”.  (Especially since he is a repeat offender).

The last portion of the book really disappointed me because I had the feeling that the book was going in the right direction and I would have ended up liking it.  Instead, there were just too many things that triggered negative reactions for me.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There is a lot of disjointed storytelling techniques as the story jumps between characters and also time period.  I liked the method of writing most in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TYCOON is a standalone, but apparently there will be a second book with other characters from this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2 stars.

 

two-stars

Review: American Queen

Review: American QueenAmerican Queen (American Queen Trilogy, #1) by Sierra Simone
Series: American Queen Trilogy #1
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 392
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Blistering hot, crazy as can be, I absolutely was obsessed with this book.  Don’t look for reality here, but intense fantasy, oh, oh, yes.

THE STORY:  Greer Galloway, born into a political family, met and fell for a war hero at the age of sixteen.  Their relationship was highly charged and completely inappropriate.  The ten years since haven’t diminished her feelings for Ash, but they have been complicated by betrayal and life and her deepening and darkening desires.  Five years ago, Greer met Embry, Ash’s best friend. Now as Ash, now President of the United States, has sent Embry to bring Greer to Ash’s side, Greer has complicated feelings for both men.

OPINION:  This book is sexy bonkers at times.  The President, Vice-President and the First Lady all together. Crazy stuff and yet completely appealing because the emotions between these characters are so well expressed and so raw.  The book acknowledges everything: lust, love, pain, jealous, anger, desire, caring.  I loved how these three interact with one another and the struggle between them to find a way forward.  This is one of those books that I read and kept thinking about. The story of these three has just begun as each book appears to focus on one particular character in the trio.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book contains are complex menage.  The menage is definitely emotional as well as sexual as each of them has to deal with a range of emotions for and about one another.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  AMERICAN QUEEN is the first book in the American Queen Trilogy.  This series is meant to be read together and this book ends on a cliffhanger.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Commander in Chief

Review: Commander in ChiefCommander in Chief (White House, #2) by Katy Evans
Series: White House Series #2
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on January 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

“I don’t want to forget that for a little while, Matt Hamilton — forty-sixth president of the United States — was mine.”

FINAL DECISION:  I love Matt and Charlotte’s story which is incredibly romantic and at times feels like a political fairy tale but the story requires readers to read MR. PRESIDENT first. Necessary reading for those who read MR. PRESIDENT, this book concludes Matt and Charlotte’s story.

THE STORY:  This book begins two months after the events of MR. PRESIDENT.  Charlotte has tried to get over being in love with the President-Elect Matt Hamilton.  She knew when they began their affair that it would not last because Matt is dedicated to the well being of the country (one of the reasons she fell for him) and the assassination of his father has convinced him that he cannot have a relationship while being President.

Two months without Charlotte has made Matt realize that he cannot be without her.  At the same time, Charlotte knows that she doesn’t have the qualities needed in a First Lady.  But Matt is determined to convince her otherwise.

OPINION: I loved the first book in this series MR. PRESIDENT.  This book was not quite as good primarily because I liked the drama of Matt and Charlotte just falling in love.  In this book, the two of them have to decide what sacrifices they are willing to make to be together.

Both Charlotte and Matt have trepidation in actually committing to their relationship.  For Matt, it means possibly reliving the mistakes of his father who had been president himself, at times ignored his own family and ended up assassinated.  For Charlotte, it means being entirely visible to the public, her life and love open to the possible jackals waiting to attack.  She doesn’t know if she is strong enough to be the woman at Matt’s side.

This is the story of two people making their relationship work. There is never any real challenge to these two being in love and wanting to be together.  The question is a real one in the world — is love enough?

Honestly, however, this presidential romance is really more of a fairy tale. The politics, media and public is too accommodating and easy for the characters to navigate.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the book, I certainly did.  But if you are looking at a realistic look at politics surrounding this couple, you won’t find it here.  Instead, this book is a romantic fairy tale.

The romance and fairy tale quality of this book is a good contrast to the current politics. I loved the intense and open romanticism of this book.  My only warning comment is that the book really requires the first book in the series (this is more like a part 2 rather than an independent book).

WORTH MENTIONING:  The one phrase I’m never going to be able to forget in this book is “big presidential c**k”.  That tells you want you need to know about the sensibilities of this book, you can make your own determination if this book is for you.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  COMMANDER IN CHIEF is the second book in the White House series.  This book continues the romance between Matt and Charlotte and is intended to be read after the first book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars and 4.5 stars for both books together.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: The Sexy One

Review: The Sexy OneThe Sexy One by Lauren Blakely
Series: Holiday/Hammer #4
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 188
Goodreads
three-stars

“He’s sweet, kind, funny, and good. So damn good. And, for a bonus prize, add in that he’s an amazing father. That’s some sexy Kryptonite right there.”

FINAL DECISION:  A nice story that is lacking a bit in comparison to the other books in this series.  The central conflict seemed not enough to keep these two apart and the emotional depth of this story was not what I would expect.

THE STORY:  Abby is the nanny of a five year old girl.  The father, Simon Travers is known as a “hot single dad”.  He is devoted to his daughter.  The problem is that Abby has been attracted to Simon for months.  What she doesn’t know is that Simon has been resisting his own attraction to Abby.  He fears that wanting the nanny is just too stereotypical and he doesn’t want to lose Abby who has been a blessing for him and his daughter.

OPINION: This was an enjoyable story but lacked the vibrancy of most of Lauren Blakely’s books.  The central conflict of this book is about how Simon doesn’t want to be a cliche of single dad and the nanny.  While an interesting idea, that conflict didn’t feel deep enough to keep these two apart.

Because I didn’t think the central conflict was deep enough, I also didn’t feel that the forces keeping these two apart didn’t feel important enough to justify the drama around it. These characters were so likeable and thus there wasn’t the depth to the story that I would expect — even though the story was nice enough.

I enjoyed these two together, but they were just a little too perfect and sweet for my tastes.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is told in alternating first person.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE SEXY ONE is book 4 in the Holiday/Hammer books which are connected but can be read as a standalone.  This book is a direct spinoff of MISTER O.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Deceived

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: DeceivedDeceived (The Wicked Woodleys, #2) by Jess Michaels
Series: The Wicked Woodleys #2
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 13th 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 236
Goodreads
four-stars

Wallflower Gets Her Happy Ending

“Josie Westfall despises me, you know.”

FINAL DECISION: At times heartbreaking, DECEIVED is the story of a Wallflower who ultimately prevails in getting the man she always wanted. Although the hero is a true jerk at times, he grovels enough in the end to gain my forgiveness.

THE STORY: Josie Westfall had a crush on Lord Even Hartwell as children. He thoughtlessly destroyed her in dismissing her and giving her a nickname which haunted her in society. Sixteen years later, Evan and Josie are thrown together again at his sister’s wedding. Encouraged by his brother, Evan tries to find out what Josie knows about the location of his sister who has been missing. Even as he tries to get information from Josie, Evan begins to realize how badly he has hurt the sweet Josie and is surprised by the attraction between them. Torn between his duty to his family and his attraction to Josie, Evan worries who will he have to betray.

OPINION: I’d like to start by saying that I think that Evan is jerk for most of this book. He’s not a hero that I adore. From the beginning, Josie is too good for him. His repeated and thoughtless action in hurting Josie might be understandable, but they are not easily forgiven. What I did like in this book is that ultimately Evan really does have to grovel to get back into Josie’s good graces. The redemption of the hero is is a jerk depends so much upon the quality of the grovel and Michaels has done a good job of making Evan pay for his thoughtless treatment of Josie. I really liked the character of Josie who is stronger than she believes she is. Although at first she doesn’t believe herself worthy of Evan, she eventually realizes that she deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and that might make her too good for Evan. I am a fan of the Woodley family and am happy to see them again and I am looking forward to the next two books in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: The outlines of the next romance for the Woodleys is beginning to be made clear in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DECEIVED is the second book in the Wicked Woodleys series. It can be read as a standalone although I recommend reading the other books in the series because there is an ongoing story involving the Woodley sister that has an important part in the story in this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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four-stars

Review: Tempted: The Wicked Woodleys

Review: Tempted: The Wicked WoodleysTempted (The Wicked Woodleys, #3) by Jess Michaels
Series: The Wicked Woodleys #3
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on January 11th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 232
Goodreads
four-stars

An Appetizer for Claire’s Story

“In that charged moment, he was flooded with wishes. He wished he had never met her. He wished she weren’t so beautiful. He wished he were more capable of expressing the emotions he normally crushed down deep inside himself. He wished she would ride away and never come back. He wished, very fervently, that she would come up the stairs and kiss him.”

FINAL DECISION: I liked this book but it suffered for me because it made me want Claire’s book more than I was excited about reading this story. There was nothing particularly wrong with this book, but it raised the anticipation for Claire’s book such that I wanted to read that book more than this one.

THE STORY: Gabriel Woodley, the youngest son, has been obsessed with finding his twin sister since she disappeared. He keenly feels the loss of his sister because he considers her the emotional part of himself. Without his sister, Gabriel has difficulties with personal relationships. Indeed, Gabriel doesn’t want anything or anyone to get in the way of his search for his sister. The one person who threatens his single minded devotion is Juliet Gray. Juliet is a healer who helped save his mother’s life. In gratitude, the Dowager Marchioness of Woodley wants to take Juliet to London to help her find a husband. Juliet agrees only because of the budding romance between her father and the Dowager. For herself, she knows that she cannot hope for marriage because she is already ruined. She cannot help her attraction to Gabriel even as she knows that there is no future in it.

OPINION: Gabriel is a difficult hero to like. He keeps himself emotionally apart from others and his obsession with finding his sister has made him a jerk in other books. Through this book, however, readers get to see that Gabriel loves his sister tremendously and while it makes him disregard others, he has good intensions. As Gabriel falls for Juliet, he finds a new outlet for all that passionate caring. His journey in this book is to turn from his obsession to find meaning in his own life.

Juliet is sweet and independent and too willing to sacrifice herself for others. For a great portion of the book Gabriel doesn’t treat her very well and frankly, I would have smacked him silly. Juliet’s compassion and intelligence makes her a great pair for Gabriel. She moves him in a different direction even as she understands and accepts his obsession.

This book doesn’t feel as grounded in an actual historical period. Because the Woodleys are nontraditional people and so are their friends, the standards and morals of the time don’t really apply to them. I don’t mind these types of historical books – where the historical part is more flavor than accuracy, but I know that some people are particularly disturbed by these types of books.

I was also pleased to see a cameo by characters from the Notorious Flynns series. I have a particular fondness for seeing old characters again. Readers who are not familiar with that series will not be confused.

My only problem with this book is that I would much rather be reading Gabriel’s sister Claire’s book. Her story has been an incredible mystery since the beginning of the series. Her book is next in the series and this book brings forward more questions about what is going on with her. I suspect that I will like this book better after Claire’s mystery is solved and I can concentrate on something other than my questions about Claire.

WORTH MENTIONING: Virgin hero catnip.

CONNECTED BOOKS: Tempted is book 3 of the Wicked Woodleys series. There is an ongoing story in the series regarding Gabriel’s missing twin sister, but enough is recapped here that readers could start with this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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four-stars