BOOK REVIEW : House Of Earth And Blood

Author: Sarah J. Mass
Links
: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository .
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Fantasy; Romance; New Adult
Release Date: March 3rd 2020.


synopsis

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.


review

This is a not an easy book to review. For one, it’s 800+ pages long. Add to that, the four parts of the book read like separate books with their different flows and pacing and also styling. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it also makes it hard for me to judge the book on its entirety. But I’ll still make an attempt.

Here is what I liked :

  • The protagonist Bryce is flawed, independent and living a carefree life at the beginning.
  • The friendship between Bryce and Dannika. In fact, all the female friendships that Bryce has.
  • The equation between Bryce and her half brother.
  • The pet chimera that Bryce has.
  • The theme of slavery and its impacts.

 

Now, time for an essay on what I disliked. Brace yourselves!

The world-building

In the first part, information about the world is thrown randomly at us. It’s like Mass name-dropped a new term in every other line with little to no explanation. My head was going all “Vanir? Seven gates? Hel? Pack of devils?Under King?…Just wait!”

In her defense, Mass, at the start, does provide a map and a short rundown about the four houses of Midgar. But that still did not help me digest the blizzard of information thrown my way at the beginning.

The fluctuation of the pacing

The first part while not boring, did feel overwhelming and failed to engage me. But the climax of that part, and the beginning of the second part not only was impactful but it compelled me to be invested in the story. But that was probably the peak because by 40%, the book again lost me. I kept zoning out while reading. The pace did pick up at certain places, and definitely at the last quarter. But I was out of patience by then.

The Murder Investigation

Murder mysteries are not Mass’s forte. The plot dragged. While I was very much still engaged when Bryce started investigating the case with Hunt, angel extraordinaire and our hero, but my interest started to slowly falter. It was unnecessarily drawn out with no end in sight. Bryce and Hunt seemed to meet up with a new person every day. A new character after every few pages, and yet no progress. After a point, I kept internally willing the investigation to just wrap up!

Unconvincing character development of the protagonist

I found Bryce to be a breath of fresh air at first. She is simply living and enjoying her life. Very unlike the author’s other heroines who I always felt were too self-righteous and slightly passive-aggressive (here’s looking at you, Feyre). I really liked that she is a genuine badass and not a martyr or self-righteous or out to save the world.

But guess what? By the end, she was all these things. The transformation, however was unconvincing.  I got backlash seeing her do and say things at the end that were a complete reversal of her character. Her evolution was simply unsatisfying.

Hunt is no Rhys

I found Hunt the most exciting when he is introduced to us in a chapter with POV of his investigation partner Isiah. I had high expectations. But they all died just a couple of chapters later, when we get the his POV. Where was this ruthless, unpredictable, steely man that we were promised?

It had taken a book and a half for us to slowly grasp the character that was Rhys. But only a couple of chapters did that for Hunt. I think it would have been better for us to get his POV a little later on. The mystery of what made him tick went away too soon.

The unimpressive romance

The synopsis claims that the romance is sizzling. I guess by their definition, sizzling romance means the main couple getting interrupted every time they are about to have sex. It’s a 800+ page novel for god’s sake! That’s not to say I did not like the early equation between the two. There are misunderstandings about each other. But the moment they are cleared, these two start bonding and sharing life stories. The progression of the romance also could have been better.

The feeling of dejavu

There were just too many similarities with Mass’s other books and characters for me to ignore them. There are four cities here instead of courts. There was some rebellion and war that the hero took part in. The hero has lost the woman he loved. There is an oracle. Even certain scenes, and the ending itself had stark echoes from A course of Thorns and Roses.

It’s officially my least favorite work by Mass. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read her previous works. But so many of the myths and plot devices felt borrowed from her other works that it screamed for originality! I was also underwhelmed by the epilogue. I doubt I’ll read the sequel.


ratings

★★☆☆☆

BOOK REVIEW : JERSEY SIX


How far would you go for revenge?

A hit-and-run accident leaves Jersey Six orphaned and homeless on the streets of Newark, shattering her dreams of school dances, pink nail polish, and a diploma.

Eight years later, a burn victim with amnesia wanders into Jersey’s barely-existent life. She resists his efforts to form a friendship until he reveals knowledge of the person responsible for derailing her future. Through their unusual friendship, she discovers a way to avenge the deaths of her foster parents.

All she has to do is destroy the world’s biggest rock star.

In the ultimate game of sex, lies, and manipulation, can Jersey discover the truth? Or will she be blinded by attraction, deceived by love, and destroyed by her past?


review

I felt so much anger when reading this crazy story!

When I read the synopsis, I thought it would be a lot like Cruel Intentions. But it wasn’t.

Jersey has been living rough in the streets since her foster parents got killed in an accident when she was 15. 8 years later, Chris – a burn victim suffering from amnesia comes her way in the local gym. He remembers bits and pieces from his past. And he also claims that he knows the guy who killed Jersey’s foster parents. So Jersey takes him under her wings and lets him live with her, so that when he can remember everything and reveal the mystery behind the death of her foster parents, she can kill him.

Then Jersey has a meet-cute with Ian. She has no idea he’s a rockstar. He decides to take pity on her and offers a job to her. Without knowing what the job is, she takes it up because she’ll get a place to live in and free food. But she also convinces him to take Chris with them. They join his crew for a tour. Jersey and Ian share a mutual attraction. But then Chris claims that Ian is the guy who killed her foster parents. He encourages her to seduce him and then kill him.

Okay. The plot had enough meat to keep me going. I didn’t know what to expect.. Well, rather, what I expected didn’t come to fruition. But  there was definitely enough mystery to keep me interested, even while I kept saying to myself ‘WTF is going on!’.

I just could not tolerate Jersey as a heroine. She has had a horrible childhood. She’s been subject to all kinds of abuse and whatnot. But that did not justify her violent, unpredictable and over-reactive behavior to me. I found her to be really unbalanced. And I completely abhorred her erratic treatment of Ian.

She meets this guy she has no idea about. And she takes everything he says for face value. I’m talking about Chris here. He has amnesia and only can recall fragments from his past. And she just lets that misguide her into playing this push-pull game with Ian. I found her character to be contradictory. She finds it hard to trust Ian but could do that easily with Chris. She can’t trust Ian and yet takes advantage of all the benefits of being with him.

Ian has provided her with a stable life and she is so bloodthirsty and obsessed with one incident of her past that she is ready to kill him if he proves to be what she thinks he is. She also has minimal regrets for her wrongs. And then in the end, she does something I consider to be unforgivable.

Ian was frustrating in his own right. If he came clean right at the beginning, all this lunacy would not ensue. But I guess, we wouldn’t have this story then too.

I don’t mind books about protagonists who are flawed as much as Jersey is. But we don’t really see her redeem herself. We don’t see her recover from her erratic and manic behavior. We don’t see her go to therapy or any conscious attempt to right her wrongs.

I usually love Jewel E An’s unique stories. She has a unorthodox writing style that appeals to me. But this one just totally missed the mark for me and turned out to be my least  favorite book by her.


ratings

★★☆☆☆

ARC REVIEW : THE UNLIKELY LIFE OF MAISIE MEADOWS

When Maisie Meadows finds herself single and jobless on New Year’s Day, she resolves that this will be the year she focuses on bringing her scattered family back together. Romance is all very well, but it’s the people you grew up with that matter the most.

But a new job working at an auction house puts her in the path of Theo, a gorgeous but unattainable man who she can’t help but be distracted by. As their bond begins to grow, Maisie finds herself struggling to fulfil the promise she made to herself – but the universe has other ideas, and it’s not long before the Meadows family are thrown back together in the most unlikely of circumstances…

Can dealing with other people’s treasures help Maisie to let go of the past, and teach her who she ought to treasure the most?


review
Maisie dreams of having her family together again. And when she comes across an incomplete piece of treasure in her workplace of an auction house, she gets the strange idea of completing this puzzle to reunite her family. After her mother threw her cheating father out when she was 7, Maisie was forced to watch quietly the storm raging her family – a scorned mother, three indifferent older teenage siblings and an absent and yet adoring father. As a result of a childhood out of her control, Maisie grows to be a control freak as an adult. She likes order and symmetry. The only time she allows herself to lose control is when she paints random paintings in the walls, ceilings and floors of a room in her house she keeps locked and a secret.

Maisie is a charming and adorable character. I really loved her in the beginning. But eventually, her naivety and tendency to assume things without asking, started to irk me. The first half was a 5-star read for me. But the second half was so rife with miscommunication and misunderstandings, with Maisie’s character almost crossing the line between cute and frustrating.

I really enjoyed the diverse and quirky cast of characters, especially those in the auction house Maisie works in. The author captures the charm and allure of the environment pretty well. I also loved Maisie’s family. They are not perfect, and share a lot of bitterness, but beneath it all, share a strong love for each other. And it was good to see that Maisie who might be a little too positive, was the only one who could see the good in every one of them.

The romance was cute too. While Maisie loves everything to be organized and ordered, Theo is a mess, and hates symmetry. I loved that contrast. Their romance is a series of misunderstandings. Maisie gets a misunderstanding at the beginning that Theo is a gay, a relief for her because the last time she was attracted to her boss, he cheated on her and she had to resign. But the miscommunication between these characters got only worse with every page. That kinda took away from the cuteness of the couple.

This was a charming, hilarious and endearing read with a lot of great characters. But the silliness could’ve been notched down a little.


ratings

★★★☆☆


Publication Date: 8th July, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW : HOTSHOT DOC

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.


I’d expected more from R. S. Grey. Hotshot Doc promised everything that I normally enjoy –  workplace romance and enemies-to-lovers trope. But it failed to live up to its promise.

I’ll start with the negatives. For one, I’d expected a more layered exploration of Matt’s character. We are told at the beginning that he is an asshole of epic proportions. And then he just suddenly starts being nice to Bailey. I was hoping for a slower transformation of his character.

There was one part that really irked me. Matt’s brother happens to meet Bailey at a club and  he finds out that she’s Matt’s surgical assistant during a conversation with him. And apparently, based on a small conversation, without ever even seeing Matt and Bailey interact, the brother decides that Matt has a thing for Bailey. And that’s all dandy and fine. God knows I’ve teased my friends about their presumed crushes. But the brother doesn’t stop there. He continues texting with Bailey and even goes on to invite her to a family wedding. Why? Just to see his brother’s reaction! All this based on one conversation with Matt?!

I think I’m at that stage of my life where – a couple of interactions between the main couple of a romance where the heroine happens to be the first one to challenge the hero is enough to soften him up – just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It was just too rushed for me.

Now, don’t think that I didn’t find Matt and Bailey sweet together. They had their cute and funny moments. But they could just not engage me. I think that’s the reason I am feeling even more annoyed about the romance feeling too rushed.

There was so much to like about the book. Matt is like the amalgamation of McDreamy and pre-accident Dr. Strange. Ain’t that the perfect idea for a hero? And a heroine raising her sister all by herself after her parents’ untimely death? Who would say no to that? Even that conflict at the end was compelling, but only for a couple that’s been together for a year, or even a few months – not a couple as new as Matt and Bailey.  It wasn’t even a bad book by any stretch. But I’ve come to expect so much better from R. S. Grey. So when I complain about this book, I do it because it had so much potential! I wouldn’t mind a do-over of this one for sure.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Review : HATE NOTES

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…


I have mixed feelings about this book.

I loved Charlotte and Reed together. They had a great chemistry and even greater banter.

What I didn’t love was how they met. That was just too overdone for my taste and I had a hard time believing the situations. I mean, I can buy that she drunkenly applied to see one of his real estates just out of curiosity. But you’re telling me that an extremely rich and busy guy like Reed would decide to indulge her, even knowing that she doesn’t have the means to buy the house and she was planning to waste his time. All because he wanted to catch her in her lies? Okaaay….

Then after Charlotte gets offended even though she’s the one who lied in the first place, she decides to tell her sob story to a random woman at the washroom. And that woman happens to be Reed’s grandmother who decides to hire Charlotte as an assistant? I’m sorry but that doesn’t fly with me.

I had a very difficult time getting into the story after Charlotte gets hired. Thankfully, I was really bored and decided to continue despite my reservations. I eventually got invested into the story when the main conflict was revealed. Reed’s secret gave the story a new dimension that excited me.

I was disappointed by the execution, though. Now, nothing makes me giddy like a little jealousy to fire the main characters up. But I’ve lost count of how many times we see Reed throw a jealous outburst and then go back to thinking he isn’t good enough for her until the next time he gets jealous. That kind of became a little too repetitive for me.

I wasn’t a fan of Charlotte. I started off liking her. But her actions and decisions, as we proceed with the story, started wearing off on me. I liked Reed but his indecisive and passive-aggressive attitude also got old too quickly.

There were parts of the story that I really enjoyed. I laughed out loud at many parts, and in others, I rolled my eyes. The tension between the characters was amazingly written.

I feel that the authors got carried away and overused some plot devices that took away from the story. And that’s a pity because this would be a 5-star read for me just with a few alterations here and there.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Book Review : Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5) By Ilona Andrews

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan’s extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister’s happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.


A quick insight into the Hidden Legacy Universe

To those who haven’t read Hidden Legacy series, this short novella is sort of a bridge between the trilogy and the next trilogy on the same universe, with a different protagonist. Hidden Legacy was about Nevada and the next series will be about her younger sister Catalina.

Just a quick insight into the world –

In this alternate universe that has all the technology that we have, there are primes. They are a result of a serum having been discovered in the 1800s which unleashed people’s magical talents. This serum, as a result, became sought after by the wealthy and powerful who used it as a means to gain more wealth and influence. The serum was later locked out after the its potential for destruction was realized. But by then, many wealthy families all over the world already had used it. Now, magic runs in families and has created magical dynasties so much so that even marriages are decided based on these magical powers and which powers combined can create powerful children. The most powerful magic users are called Primes.

The Baylors weren’t initially a prime. They ran (still do) a detective agency, with the eldest daughter Nevada in charge. Nevada has the powerful ability to detect lies. Hidden Legacy was about her and Rogan – one of the most notorious and powerful primes out there – who has an unimaginable telekinesis prowess.


My Review 

By the start of Diamond Fire, the Baylors have become registered Primes. But very few people know about Catalina and Arabella’s (Nevada’s younger sisters at 18 and 16) magical powers.

Arabella is the protagonist now. She has the dangerous ability to make people fall in love with her so much so that they lose all their senses and become infatuated with her. I loved the idea of her character. And I love her even more. She’s amazing. She has had a sheltered life, with having to keep to herself so that she wouldn’t unleash her powers, after some tragic experiences in her childhood. She’s shy, insecure and doesn’t have social skills. I can’t wait to see more of her story.

This novella itself was short and fun. The plot was pretty simple. Catalina who’s the de-facto planner for Nevada and Rogan’s wedding has been given the responsibility by Rogan’s mom to find the culprit from her corrupt family who stole the priceless heirloom tiara before the wedding. As if stolen tiaras weren’t enough, there are family secrets to unveil and poisoned food to be prevented.

I liked the parts with the Baylor family interactions. They’re simply my favorite! I loved the insights into Catalina’s character. It was great to see the old gang back. But Mrs. Rogan became my favorite new character. She’s super awesome!

I didn’t like the short length. I wanted to see the wedding from Nevada or Rogan’s point of view. I wanted more of Nevada and Rogan in general. I wanted to see more of Alessandro Sagredo who we have all surmised to be Catalina’s love interest and the only prime in the world who can withstand Catalina’s magical power. We only see a cameo from him and that just isn’t done.

I feel like this book accomplished what it set out to do – make me anticipate Catalina’s story. But it also suffered from its short length and didn’t have the usual brilliant plotting and storytelling that we know the author can bring to the table.


Also, can we have more covers like this in the next books? Hidden Legacy had the worst covers fit for B-grade books! I’d never be able to own that series, all thanks to those horrible covers.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Review : HARD SELL (21 Wall Street #2) By Lauren Layne

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.


I was in the mood for a cute and fun romance and I knew Lauren layne wouldn’t disappoint. She didn’t. I’d initially planned to start with the first in the series – Hot Asset. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision to read this one first. I’ll read the previous one soon too. It would be great to see a glimpse of Sabrina and Matt’s initial state of affairs. They’re frenemies with benefits before this book although we don’t get to see that part of their relationship. When we meet them in this book, it’s in the aftermath of a scandal that’s got the party animal and playboy Matt on the hot seat with his bosses. So, he turns to Sabrina, a professional fixer, to help him out.

Matt and Sabrina have a long history. They had a one-night stand that turned into a non-exclusive arrangement with no-strings attached. But it was not a happy arrangement. Matt said some things after their first night together that turned their equation bitter. I would’ve liked to see a flashback or more details about that first encounter that caused the whole tension between them. But I enjoyed Matt and Sabrina’s clashing chemistry. I also loved how their conversations always seemed to go south with one of them – mostly Matt – ending up putting a foot in his mouth. Both of them are career-driven and have dysfunctional families that make them wary about marriage or what Sabrina calls ‘Fairy-tale version of love’.

I think I’d have liked more conversations between them that was not merely banter before we see them falling in love. The only close-to-profound encounter they have is when Matt takes her to visit his dysfunctional parents with an open marriage. We don’t see Sabrina talk about her mother and own issues. There’s allusions to ‘someday’ when Sabrina will open up to him about her mother. These allusions to a deeper connection is my main problem with the book. Because, it felt merely just an inch short of making the process of Matt and Sabrina falling in love more convincing. Sure, this book supplied what I wanted from it in doses. But it could’ve been so much more!


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

ARC Review : Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl by Karen Booth

“Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in return of an honest review.”


As sisters, they tell each other all their secrets…except one.

With divorce and infidelity hanging from nearly every branch of her family tree, Katherine Fuller sees no point in marriage. Boyfriends? Sure. Sex? Of course. Wedding vows? No, thanks. Still, when her younger sister Amy gets engaged, Katherine gathers all the enthusiasm she can. She won’t let Amy down. She’s done enough of that for a lifetime.

As the sisters embark on wedding plans, Katherine’s college love resurfaces. It nearly killed Katherine to part from sexy Irish musician Eamon more than a decade ago, but falling under his spell a second time forces her to confront everything she hid from him. The secrets surrounding her mother’s death are still fresh and raw in her mind, but one has haunted her more than the others. She can’t bear to tell anyone, especially not Amy. It could ruin far more than a wedding. It could destroy a sister’s love forever.


Twenty years ago, a ten-year old Katherine took a decision that set in motion the destruction of her family as it was. Now, an adult, she still struggles from the aftermath of that decision. Her sister Amy does too but it’s a lot harder on Katherina who had taken an oath – a drunken oath, to be precise – with Amy to never get married. Flashforward – Now Amy is getting married and Katherine is feeling out-of-sorts about everything.

I had inconsistent feelings throughout the book. I can’t count how many times I jumped between feeling sympathy and irritation towards Katherine. I liked the relationship between the sisters. The emotional attachment between them was pretty strong. But Katherine’s self-pitying thoughts just got under my nerves pretty quickly.

I had two problems with this story –

Firstly, Katherine gets blamed for something she did when she was 10 years old. Yes. A TEN-YEAR OLD CHILD. I just couldn’t get on board with that.

Secondly, the romance was not convincing. Katherine and Eamon had a few-months long intense affair during her visit to his hometown Ireland on a vacation. But they never contacted each other for a decade until Amy – not knowing their history – takes her to his concert (he’s a rockstar now). The very next morning, they meet for breakfast and he tells her that he  wants to start a serious relationship with her and that he never got over her. His reason for not contacting her all these years? He wanted to see if they were really meant for each other by leaving it up to fate. So he left it all up to fate and in the meantime got married to another woman and they had a daughter. My eyes were twitching at this point.

Eamon and Katherine’s relationship was really rushed. Yes, they knew each other before. But that was a decade ago and only for a couple of months. I’d have liked them to take things slower, not have phone sex within a few days and then have him and his daughter live in her apartment when he returns. I also wouldn’t have minded a few flashback. Maybe that would’ve made it easier for me to buy their romance? One can hope.

Anyways, If I didn’t make it clear by now, I just didn’t like Eamon.

Final words – I just didn’t find the storytelling convincing . I did like the ending. But story as a whole failed to engage me. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters.  The premise was good but the execution left a lot to be desired.



My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Publication Date: 16th October, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book in – Goodreads  | Amazon

Book Review: Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan

A STANDALONE second chance, enemies-to-lovers romance set in the cutthroat world of sports management.

They’re two sharks in a fish tank . . .

JARED

If I had a dollar for every time Banner Morales made my heart skip a beat…
The heart everyone assumes is frozen over.
Her anger is…arousing.
Every glare from those fire-spitting eyes, every time she grits her teeth, gets me…well, you know.
If I had a dollar for every time she’s put me in my place, I’d be an even richer man.
I’m a successful sports agent because I assume “no” means you’ll think about it.
I’m sure what you meant to say is “Coming right up.”
They say even rich men don’t always get what they want, but those men don’t know how to play the game. The trick is to keep them guessing.
Take Banner. She assumes she’s winning, but this game?
She doesn’t even know how to play.

BANNER

If I had a dollar for every time Jared Foster broke my heart, I’d have exactly one dollar.
One night. One epic fail. One dollar…and I’m out.
I’ve moved on.
I’ve found success in a field ruled by men.
Anything they can do, I have done better.
They can keep the field while I call the shots, blocking them when I have to.
And Jared has the nerve to think he gets a second chance?
Boy, please. Go sit down. Have several seats.
I’ll just be over here ignoring the man carved from my fantasies with a lust-tipped chisel.
Oh, I didn’t say the struggle wasn’t real.
But I’ve got that one dollar, and Jared won’t have me.


Okay, I’m conflicted about this one. I liked how it started. I liked Jared and Banner. Both of them were great characters. Banner was the strong, no-bullshit, brilliant girl with strict ethical standards. Jared was also brilliant and a no-bullshit guy. But he had a wholly different moral compass when it came to getting what he wanted. Both of them were perfectly matched. In fact, their chemistry was off the charts. I loved every moment of their interactions and conversations.

And yet, I did not like how they went about with their relationship. Some of the decisions they made were very frustrating for me. I just couldn’t be on board with it. And that’s where the disconnect happened between me and these two characters.

Kennedy Ryan can write intense stories, that’s for sure. And she can create build-up to a love story too well. I had no doubts that Jared and Banner were meant for each other. This, more than anything else, made me sad that I could not fully be on board with the direction the story took.

Also, Kennedy Ryan is an author who makes you want to devour every line she writes. That’s why it’s a bit disconcerting when there are sentences in between which are weirdly worded.  Like this one – “I’ve never felt what I did tonight with Jared, but how
can I know what really happened?” Only knowing the context helped me make sense of this line.

Anyways, I guess that’s more of an editing issue more than anything else, but when you’re in the middle of an intense scene and find a sentence that you need to read a couple of times to try to make sense of it, that’s a bit of a bummer.

Long story short, despite its flaws, it still was an intense and interesting read with a strong and badass couple. So if you’re fan of intense adult romances, then you should check this book out.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

Book Review: Sadie By Courtney Summers

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


This book.

This. Freaking. Book.

This book has wrecked me real good.

You know those books which leave you content? Sadie isn’t one of them. This book leaves you emotionally ruined.

Sadie is on a journey to get justice for sister’s death. Except, Mattie wasn’t just Sadie’s sister. She was the purpose of her life. The reason she woke up every day.

“Sometimes, I feel made of Mattie’s absence, this complete emptiness inside
me and the only thing that makes it bearable, that quiets it, is moving, is putting
distance between her murder….”

The author alternates chapters between Sadie and the radio show where West McCray is on a journey of his own to track Sadie down. The two are not at the same time line.  The books starts off as just any crime novel. But the more you read, the more it grips you with chill and anticipation of what’s to come.

Sadie is not a lovable protagonist. She’s icy. And yet the love you feel for her, it feels as real as the book feels.  Sadie is a character written so well, that your heart stutters for her just as she stutters in her speech. She’s had a troubled life. The scene where she meets people her age with normal lives is very sad. This is just a young girl, vulnerable and tired. Life has taken so much from her that has her feeling she has nothing to live for.

“I wish this was a love story because I know how it goes in one like mine, where the only moments of reprieve are the spaces between its lines.”

I can’t disclose the plot more than what’s being said in the synopsis. I went in blind and I loved it. There are so many twists. You can never really guess what direction the book would next take. There is this revelation in the end which is delivered so subtly and yet it hits your gut like a punch.

There are dark themes in this book. But the author keeps it clean. I love how even though this book covers some ugly and repulsive topics, there’s still no direct mention or visuals about them. This book covers adult themes and yet manages to remain a Young Adult. That in itself is a big achievement.

This is as real as a fiction can get. If you go into this book looking for answers, then you’ll be disappointed. But if you go just for the journey, it’ll be totally worth it. I had to stop at many points during my read to think about the choices Sadie had and how important every one of them were.

“I can only feel the weight of it, all of it, of every Sadie I’ve been, every choice that she’s made, and everything she could have possibly gotten so wrong that she’d end up here”

If you’re a fan of crime thrillers, suspense and mystery, then this is the perfect book for you. This was my first read from Courtney Summers but it won’t be the last.

My rating: ★★★★★