2.5 star review

Review: Confessions by L.M. Mountford

**A copy of this eBook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**

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When Mina returns for her stepbrother’s 21st birthday, she thinks her days of lusting after him are over. Caught up in the heat and passion of the moment, she is stunned to find them back in bed together; their feelings clearly far from resolved.

 

Well, where to start? Not much in the way of printed works causes me discomfort, but this short novella had enough taboo to skate the edges of social and personal acceptability. While the author provided a disclosure related to the consensual nature of the sexual acts contained, the events that played out seemed to hedge more along the lines of rape, than consent.

For the duration of this quick reading, I am sure my face was flushed with shock. The beginning was smooth, with a nice introduction to our main character, but quickly and unseamlessly fell into a dark pit of kink. I can get over the dalliances between the step-siblings, but the brutal scenes that unfolded soon after started to cross a line I didn’t know I possessed. I am all for an enthusiastic romanticized tryst, but the gang-attack of this 20-something model was a bit much. While I understand her initial stance was one of consent, Mina’s continual second guessing was enough to make me think that she wanted to withdraw that consent, but feared for her career.

Consent obtain through threat, is sexual assault.

This is my first experience with this author’s work so I can not comment on his writing abilities much more than I have already. For a dirty afternoon, or steamy evening read this would fit the bill. If you were hoping for complex character development and a solid plot,  you won’t find it here.

 

 

 

 

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4 star review

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 3 (audio)

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I just finished up Cress, third installment in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and it was perfect. The series is still being performed by the same voice actress, Rebecca Soler and she does such a fantastic job creating different personalities for each character in the story.  Consistency in audiobooks is something that I appreciate. Having done several other series, by various authors, it makes a huge difference in the quality of the storyline when the narrator is changed in the middle of the series.

I love trends! Keeping up with the fairy tale theme, Cress is Meyer’s version of Rapunzel. Some silimaries include a young women stowed away from childhood in a remote location, with hair longer than imaginable and who is resued by her prince charming. 

So far in this series it seems that with the introduction of a new kick-butt chick, an equally charming and troubled guy is added to the mix. Cinder has Kai, Scarlet has Wolf and now we meet Cress and Thorn. Okay, well Thorn was introduced in Scarlet, but he meets his girl and gets his story told in this book.

By now we have learned that Cinder is likely the long-lost Lunar Princess Selene, but that hasn’t made her quest any easier. If anything, her path is getting progressively more difficult with the addition of new facts and foes. In Scarlet, Cinder escaped from prison, made her way to the Benoit farm, discovered a portion of her past and got in touch with a minor character originally seen in Book 1 (Cinder).

At that time this character wasn’t named, but if we recall, a D-Comm was found by Cinder in Kai’s android assistant, Naincy. Cinder was able to make contact with the person at the other end of the Comm and found a young girl who specialized in computer hacking and programming. This mystery character was able to provide information that was vital to interrupting the nuptials between Kai and Levana, before that nonsense gets as far as we saw back in Scarlet. But as we now know, Cinder wasn’t completely successful in her attempt and had forgotten all about the D-Comm…until now. 

Reaching out with the Comm, Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf and Thorn reconnect with the master hacker and we learn that her name is Cress. Cress is a Lunar shell being held hostage on an orbiting satellite high above Earth. She had been in this confinement for 7 years, under the care of a thaumaturge in service to Queen Levana. The team puts together a plan to free Cress from her prison, and as is their luck, it backfires in more ways than one.

In short, Cress and Thorn get stranded in the African Sahara and find out that there may be more going on in the world than they could have ever imagined. Not to mention that Thorn is battling his own personal dilemma during his trek. Scarlet is feared to be lost forever and Wolf is suffering in her absence. Cinder is still trying to prove her innocence and secure her place with Kai, as a friend or maybe something more. Kai is stuck between doing what is best for his people and his conscience. Each character is progressing nicely and the lines are skillfully woven together to create a very coherent plot. There are several evils that the team is facing, but they all seem to center around Levana. Is her role so great that the entire story hinges on her defeat? I hope that the history of Luna is explored a bit in future installments so that I can start to get a feel for the bigger picture.


Why is there a plague that is affecting Earthens? Why does Luna hold the only cure? Why is Levana such a witch? SO many questions…so few answers.

Now that I am more than half way through the series I can tell where some areas are starting to wind down and wrap up. I can only hope that book four is as good as these three have been, but once a series gets this far along it can be hit or miss.

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4 star review, Miscellaneous

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 2 (audio)

 

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Here is another multi-faceted installment in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and it is just as entertaining as the first. Similar in structure to Cinder, Scarlet covers the ongoing story-lines of Lihn Cinder, Emperor Kaito, Lunar Queen Levana, and seamlessly introduces Scarlet Benoit, Wolf (Ze’ev) and Thorne to the mix. Each chapter in the novel flips between the primary story-lines showing how they are beginning to intertwine and overlap as the overall plot takes shape.

Scarlet is Meyer’s take on Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, with just enough similarity to make the connection, but not so much as to alter the overall path of the series. Some commonalities include the Wolf (of course), a missing grandmother and the red hooded girl. This tale picks up around the same time Cinder ends, with the newsreels of Cinder’s fall down the stairs at the coronation.  

Scarlet Benoit lives in the rural town of Rieux, France with her grandmother Michelle Benoit, retired military pilot turned farmer. We learn early on that Michelle has been missing for approximately 2 weeks and that local law enforcement has closed the case due to lack of evidence. Scarlet is certain that her grandmother was taken unwillingly, primarily because of their close relationship and the fact that Michelle’s ID chip was left behind. Those chips are only removed when you want to fall off the grid or if you want to ensure that someone isn’t found. Scar won’t rest until her grandmother is found, and she will do everything in her power to succeed.  

Wolf is a little rough around the edges and gives off a predatory vibe that causes most people to take wide leave of him. Wolf starts off as a pretty shady creeper out to harm Scarlet, but he turns into something so much more. Originally, Scarlet met Wolf in passing during her produce deliveries, but she ran into him again at her home. After recovering from the shock of finding a stranger on her farm, Scar and Wolf create a tentative agreement to find Grandmere Michelle Benoit and take down a Lunar organization called LSO. Can she trust a man like Wolf? She knows nothing about him or his past, but she is putting her life in his paws..I mean hands…or do I?

Catching up with the Cinder-Crew worked in well considering that Scarlet isn’t truly a sequel to the first installment, but rather a parallel timeline that slightly overlaps where we left off in book 1. Scarlet isn’t the only who meets a new man, Cinder stumbles across a guy too….while she was breaking out of prison. The discovery of her Lunar heritage and the events surrounding the coronation landed her in jail until Levana could deal with her, as dictated by an older Earthen/Lunar agreement which prevents the harboring of Lunars on earth. With the help of fellow inmate, Carswell Thorne and Dr. Erland, Cinder begins a journey to find answers about her past.

So many things happened book 2 that I couldn’t summarize every aspect without rewriting an entire novel, but one major event was an act of world-war treacherously ordered by Queen Levana in the middle of the night. To take her stand against Cinder, Kai and the perceived injustices of the Commonwealth, the Lunar Queen uses an army of super-soldiers to slaughter thousands of Earthens on each continent. Kai offers to make the ultimate sacrifice to end the world-wide siege, and nearly breaks Cinder’s heart in the process.  

This series is so addicting that I had to ensure that book 3 was downloaded before Scarlet was even over! It’s interesting to see how the original characters interact and grow alongside the newbies. While some things are expected, like people falling in love or disagreeing, other topics are nice surprises. The depth of each character isn’t sacrificed to ensure that each has their story told individually. I think it helps that they are all around the same general age, have experienced hardships and disappointments, and have a desire to see a better Earth free from the Lunar Queen.

 

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4.5 star review, Books By Rating

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 1(audio)

 

Hello hello! It has been a long time since I’ve had something to write about, but I figured tonight’s the night. I’ve been extremely busy wrapping up my final semester of grad school and time to read an actual book is scarce. I have picked up the habit of listening to audiobooks during my commute and I think I’m hooked. As an avid reader I can’t honestly say that I have read no books, but there hasn’t been anything new or fresh on my reading list. If anybody’s interested in my recent go-to picks, the “Carpathian” series by Christine Feehan is always a good choice and I am never disappointed. There are so many different family lines, story lines, and just a good variety in each book that she writes. Each title that I have read has had enough romance and sensuality in it to make it interesting, but not enough to make it smut.

Now on to the audio books! My current digital bookshelf is full of the “Lunar Chronicles” by Marissa Meyer. It’s a 5 part series (so far) based on several different fairy tales and I’ve just finished up the first in the series. I’m not going to lie, I have already began on the 2nd installment and it is great!  The narrator plays a huge role, in my option, in how well the book comes across in an audio format. Rebecca Soler is fantastic! She is so very talented in giving each character their own voice and personality in this very busy novel. It becomes easy to distinguish each character based on Soler’s voice characteristics and accents. I am excited to hear more by this narrator in the future.

Cinder is a post-World War IV story , very loosely following the classic tale of Cinderella and her wicked stepmother. The main similarities include the stepmother and step-sisters, a ball, peculiar transportation and the attention of a prince.

The year is 126 TE (Tech Era), in the New Beijing area of the Eastern Commonwealth on Earth. Linh Cinder is the most highly recommended mechanic in the city, and her services are even sought out by the Prince. What the community doesn’t know is that Cinder is actually a cyborg, part human and part machine. More than 30% of her body was upgraded with computer sensors, auditory and visual interfaces, as well as a bionic hand and foot. Cinder’s intellect and wit has to be more than a feature of programming. She is fully wired with instant access to the web and receives her comms with audio and visual relay scrolling right before her eyes. Because of her enhancements, Cinder is able to fix most any machine she comes across, including an antique automobile hidden in the depths of a junkyard. As odd as it may seem, Cinder is pretty much like any other teenage girl…who is under the control of a selfish stepmother, Linh Adri.

Adri cares more about gowns & kimonos than an outcast ward she never wanted to take in. Her fashionable lifestyle is funded by Cinder’s repair business and little else. She treats Cinder more like an android or burden than one of her children. Adri’s husband was the one who adopted Cinder soon after the accident that killed her parents, he died soon after taking her in.

 The step-sisters are only half bad, with Pearl who is much like her mother and Peony, Cinder’s darling little sister. Pearl has high hopes of catching the eye of the eligible bachelor Prince/Emperor Kai at the coronation ball, but little does she know, Kai has already invited Cinder to be his date. Poor little Peony was Cinder’s best friend and ally, but she fell ill and passed away fairly early in the story. 

As the story is told, Cinder’s birth family was killed in a horrific car accident that left the small child’s body battered, broken and bruised when she was only eleven years old. Because of the significant damage to her body, scientists performed a procedure to save her life that included converting some of her body systems to robotic replacements. But as things unfold, and many subplots start to take place, the thought arises that Cinder could actually the long-lost Princess Selene, from the Lunar Kingdom based on the Earth’s moon.

The Lunars were originally Humans that fled Earth to colonize the Moon many centuries ago. They have since evolved into a mythical race that uses magic and mind control to maintain the security and culture surrounding the Queen, Levana. Levana is a monster bent on conquest and destruction, with the goal of controlling Earth by force. She uses her “glamour” powers to portray her self as an untouchable beauty, when in realty she is brutal and heartless. She has a small party of protectors that carry out her viscous punishments and tortures to prove her superiority over the Earthens she wishes to rule.

In an attempt to gain further control, she blackmailed and manipulated the new Emperor of the Commonwealth, nearly into marriage. Kai, as he’s called by friends and family, is a young ruler who recently gained the crown when his father died from the highly contagious and incurable plague, Letumosis. Kai’s heart holds the well-being and care of his people, but his brain is being bombarded with the political responsibilities of the crown. He can see through Levana’s mask, but she makes offers that are hard to refuse, especially in the area of medical research and treatment. Levana claims to hold to cure to the plague, but will only release the secret if a marriage agreement is arranged. Kai knows the weight of the Commonwealth is on his shoulders, but can he take the bait and commit himself to a marriage with a monster?

I could write about this book forever. Covering the main points, the subplots, the character development… every little detail of the book, but I won’t. I have to leave something for you to read on your own! One thing I did want to touch on is the relationship between Cinder and Kai. I really thought they had a bit of a budding romance but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. They seemed like they would have been so right for each other. Maybe they can overcome their differences in the other installments, and I can’t wait to find out.

 

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4 star review

Review: Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch

Rogue with a Brogue

This was an Orange Public Library new release find.

This past week I did some traveling out-of-town and knew I would have some down time to waste in a book. After hitting up the local library, and stocking up on both audio and printed books, I was ready to hit the road.

The title of this book basically tells it all, unless you wanted to be difficult and use literal definitions of the words.In that case, it would be a fine book about a wild pachyderm who wears the shoes of an Irish peasant. While in some circles that may sound like quite the must read, I’m just not up for elephants at the moment. So, lets just assume that whoever you are, that you are a fellow bibliophile and have read a historical romance or two (or 500, whatever). In that case the title is very obviously about a Scottish bad boy.

Suzanne Enoch is yet another new author for me to explore. What I really enjoyed about this example of her work was that it wasn’t just sex sex sex sexxxxx, with throbbing this and jiggling that’s. There was a very good storyline, with great character development and interactions. I won’t lie and say I have never read a book like this before, because I have, but what made this different was that the attraction and romance between the characters actually took the time to grow as they went against the grain in a  centuries old familial conflict.

The MacLawry and Campbell dispute has a very Romeo and Juliet feel to it. They were raised to basically hate all members of the opposite clan, and this went of for many generations. It was to the point that the current generation had no clue as to why the other family was so despicable. Under normal circumstances the two families never would have had chance to interact. The Campbell’s had moved to England for a better life, while the MacLawry’s worked for growth and improvement in Scotland.When Ranulf MacLawry, the leader of the clan, set out to create a truce with the Campbell’s (and fell in love with a Sasannach) Arran MacLawry, traveled to England to set Ranulf straight. What Arran didn’t expect was that he would fall for one too.

I honestly enjoyed this title, and hope to find more by Enoch. Her style incorporated stylized writing to emphasize the accent of the Scottish characters, and it offered an appreciated sharp contrast to the more proper Englishmen. Another aspect was the usage of Scottish terminology as the characters spoke to one another.

If you have some down time, it wouldn’t hurt to give this one a try.

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4.5 star review

Review: Silk and Steel by Kat Martin

Silk and Steel

Earlier this month I was wandering around the Minneapolis/St . Paul airport, trying to waste some time while I waited for my flight.  I found a fairly good-sized book shop and my inner bookworm overpowered my frugal sensibilities and the hunt began.  My first time through, nothing caught my attention,  but on second glance the stereotypical cover art of a historical romance reeled me in! At the time I didn’t know this was the second book in a series, and it didn’t have the feel of a serial. I also didn’t know that this was an older title. I found it on the new release wall (with a new release price), but as I collected the image and link for this post I discovered that it was from the early 2000’s.

I love love love these cookie cutter books. Even though they mostly follow the same outline (ie lady in distress either convinced or entraps an affluent man into marriage ), I enjoy the nuances that each author uses to make their story unique.

Kat Martin’s SIlk and Steel is no exception to this concept. Her character development was well done, engaging and not too cliché. There was sex, but it wasn’t just about the sex. The characters had to learn about each other, and through that emerging friendship the reader gained some insight to the lives of each individual. I would recommend this title, without hesitation. It was a quick read, with a total time of about 4 hours. The total page count is about 370 pages.

Lady Kathryn Grayson has had a bit of bad luck. Her parents have both died, and with no close relatives to act as her guardian Kathryn (and her inheritance) was overseen by her Uncle Lord Dunstan. To keep the money close, and Kathryn out-of-the-way Dunstan has her imprisoned in a home for the mentally ill. This claim of insanity was based on a peculiar hobby Kathryn enjoyed taking part in during the late hours of the night. For nearly a year she suffered at the hands of those that should have protected her; but while she waited, she planned. Once an opportunity presented itself Kathryn made am escape and fell into the world she once had once belonged to…and into the home of Lucien Montaine.

It’s a topsy-turvy romance, with just enough suspense and drama to keep it interesting. It was a solid read and a great intro to a new writer for myself. I can’t wait to see what else Martin has to offer.

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2 star review

Review-Doctor-Patient Confidentiality (book 1) by Eme Strife

***ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review***

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

By Eme Strife

Eme Strife, author of this series, reached out and asked if I would be interested in reading and writing a review for the first installment in her series “Patient Confidentiality”. After reading the prologue, I was hooked. It had just enough steamy romance/sexiness to reel me in.

I should have known it was too good to be true. After the prologue, I was tossed into the mundane ramblings of a college-aged woman who had an affinity for the f-word. A goodly portion of the first…second…maybe even third chapters was dedicated to her trek across campus to get to class. I waited and waited for things to pick up and get sexy but that never came through. The hot and heavy scenes from the prologue were no where to be seen in the book. I was so confused by this I actually downloaded the file again to ensure I had a full copy.

In short (and based on the length of this booklet that’s all I can give), if you are looking for a bait and switch, or something to pass the time in the bathroom, this may be a piece for you. It had 117 pages, and when read on my Kindle; the last 20% was dedicated to advertisements for other books written by Strife. If I had known, prior to reading, that this was essentially a small portion of a larger book, I would have skipped the review. I am not a fan of serial booklets, which could have been presented as a single standard length book.

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