Ironic (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 1) by Harper Miller

Ironic (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 1) by Harper Miller

Ironic Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

Mimi has been in a bit of a dry spell, and her sexual appetite just isn’t happy about that. She creates a profile on a kinky website and meets sexy, dominant Aden. Aden is older and knows exactly what he’s looking for in an intimate encounter. After a steamy video chat, Mimi and Aden agree to meet up the following night for one night of mind-blowing kink. But one night is all Mimi offers. She doesn’t do do-overs.

Ironic is a steamy short story, so be sure to read it alone or have your special someone nearby. It’s a very quick read that will leave you panting for more. I loved that both characters were confident and not at all interested in hiding what they were after. They found each other on a kinky website, so why be shy? Aden definitely has a dominant personality that comes through in the way he interacts with Mimi. Mimi, whose profile lists her as submissive, was a bit more forward than I expected when speaking to someone she wanted to dominate her, although she made no secret of the fact that she wouldn’t mind a little punishment.

The only drawback of this story is that it’s too short to really get into a lot of kink. It’s more of a “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” story. But you won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for some heat! I enjoyed this short and would definitely read more from Harper Miller.

Happy reading!

Rach

His Forbidden Princess (A Royal Holiday Novella) by Jeannie Moon

His Forbidden Princess (A Royal Holiday Novella) by Jeannie Moon

His Forbidden Princess Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review.*

Crown Princess Sofia lost the love of her life to her duties for her country. Eight years ago, she was forced to leave Ian Stuart and her heart behind. Now her life is in danger, and Special Agent Ian Stuart is charged with protecting her, hiding her in plain sight in his family’s holiday home in New York. Ian and Sofie must fight their feelings in order to keep her safe, but danger lurks, and their hearts can no longer stay apart.

His Forbidden Princess is a contemporary romance novella set in the United States. I love a good forbidden royal romance story, but unfortunately this one didn’t do it for me. Too many of the details were told instead of being shown, not giving me a chance to connect with the characters. Some things were completely glossed over, like the specific threat to Sofie. We didn’t get to see much of Agent Ian in action since the story was so focused on the romance.

There were contradictory characterizations of some of the characters. The queen was described as being a good, loving mother, yet the story started off with her being somewhat heartless when it came to her daughter being in love. Sofie was constantly described as being strong and independent, but she didn’t act that way during her time in hiding. She also told Ian she trusted him to protect her, yet she was scared of what was going on throughout the entire story.

The plot itself was a little too wishy-washy. The reader didn’t get many details on the threat to Sofie or what to expect. When Sofie and Ian were attacked, there was barely any action. The ending felt like it added drama just for the sake of it. There was no buildup to the resolution.

There were several editing errors in the book as well. Hopefully those were cleaned up prior to publication.

Happy reading!

Rach

Unscheduled Departure by T.M. Franklin

Unscheduled Departure by T.M. Franklin

Unscheduled Departure Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

When Rowan’s boyfriend Finn has to move across the country to run the family business, she’s understandably unhappy. But after parting with him at the airport, he suddenly changes his mind—or does he? Rowan begins to notice differences in the Finn in front of her and “her Finn,” and strange phone calls from him make her question who he really is.

Rowan and her best friend figure out what’s really going on, but then they have to convince Finn … and the other Finn … and try to put things right again. When that doesn’t work, Rowan realizes that not everything is as it seems.

Unscheduled Departure is a short work of science fiction that will have you question what you know about your own life. It’s an interesting read, although it left me with a few more questions than answers. We don’t hear about how Finn figured out what was going on, and the fact that he figured everything out so quickly had me scratching my head. I never understood the phone calls either. Somehow Finn was able to call Rowan and speak to her, but I thought the phone calls should have been going to “other Rowan.” We know what was going on with both Finns, but there was this other Rowan hanging out somewhere in the universe and that’s not really addressed. I realize some of these things need to be left to the imagination in such a short story. I just wanted a little more of the information.

There was a fair amount of formatting errors in the book. Nothing too distracting, but I expected better quality so I was a little disappointed.

Overall this was a decent story with a little intrigue. The author did a good job of establishing the characters in a short amount of time. I only wish there were more to the story. I’d likely read more by this author.

Happy reading!

Rach

Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis

Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis

Creatures of Appetite Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

Special Agent Emma Kane is a new FBI profiler assigned to work the Heartland Child Murders case. Her partner, Jacob Thorne, has been pulled out of retirement to help catch the serial killer known as the Iceman, who is able to get in and out of locked houses to kidnap and murder little girls. Kane is known for her high close rate when she was a detective for the DC police, but her last case pushed her a bit too far. Thorne is arrogant, erratic, and brilliant, but anyone who gets in his way better watch out.

The pair gets a lot more than they bargained for when they fly to Nebraska to investigate. With more girls being snatched and snow storms bogging everything down, Kane and Thorne need to put a stop to the Iceman quickly. Lots of twists and turns and a surprising ending keep you on your toes!

Creatures of Appetite sucked me in from the first chapter. I love a good mystery, and this one didn’t disappoint. There was plenty of action and it certainly made for an interesting read. This wasn’t the kind of mystery that could be easily figured out until near the end, yet at the same time it wasn’t frustrating with a lack of clues. It just had enough twists to keep me turning page after page, right up to the end. Saying much more would give away too much of the story, and trust me, you’ll want to figure it out for yourself.

This easily could have been a five star story, but there were too many editing and formatting issues for me. The amount of run-on sentences was staggering. Caps were used for emphasis instead of italics. Internal thoughts were not italicized, which made them difficult to distinguish from narrative. There was a general lack of dialogue tags making the back and forth banter difficult to follow.

I read several reviews before purchasing the book that complained about the amount of cursing, but I didn’t find that to be problematic or unrealistic. It seemed on par with the typical portrayal of law enforcement.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would read more by this author, though I think he could use some better editing.

Happy reading!

Rach

If You Dare by Evelyn Troy

If You Dare by Evelyn Troy

If You Dare Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Zoe is fed up with her job as a PA, and she decides she wants to travel the world. In order to do that, she quits in dramatic fashion, demanding severance from her boss and even going so far as to try to blackmail him. But Dawson Alexander isn’t used to being treated like that, and he decides to show Zoe exactly what he’s been doing behind closed doors with all of the women she’s seen come and go.

Dawson opens Zoe’s eyes to a new world of sexual desires, but Zoe needs to decide if she can continue the steamy relationship or if she should move on with her original plan.

If You Dare is a BDSM story and not for the faint of heart. Although it is certainly steamy, there are a lot of things not done right. I’m not an expert on BDSM, but here are my problems with If You Dare:

  • At no time does Dawson discuss limits with Zoe. After she bursts into his office and quits, he just starts to play with her without giving her any indication of what he’s going to do. He doesn’t give her a safe word during their first interaction.
  • Although he does give her a safe word during their second interaction, she actually has to use it. Again, there is no discussion of limits.
  • The third time they are together, Dawson takes her to a play party without having told her beforehand where they’re going or what to expect. And then he just lets her loose to do whatever. He doesn’t indicate what behavior would be acceptable or unacceptable to him, leaving her wondering at every turn if he has a problem with what she’s doing.
  • There is never a time in the story where anyone discusses protection, contraception, or diseases. Zoe hooks up with random “new friends” at the play party without having discussed any of this.

I wasn’t in love with the author’s writing style. There was constant use of phrases like “if she was watching she would have seen …” This is totally unnecessary when writing in third person. I also didn’t like that technically Zoe was still working for Dawson while they carried on this relationship, and we come to find out he was using it as a trial period to see if she could handle a more important job. I don’t see how her performance in sexual activities had anything to do with her job performance. That was a total turn-off for me.

The smut factor was high in this book, so if that’s what you’re looking for in a story you might enjoy it. If You Dare didn’t do it for me though. I need a more realistic story to go along with the smut.

Happy reading!

Rach

His Defiant Princess (Royal Holiday Book 3) by Kathleen O’Brien

His Defiant Princess (Royal Holiday Book 3) by Kathleen O’Brien

His Defiant Princess Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

To escape issues in her past, Brenna Tinley has moved to the fictional kingdom of Cornetta with her best friend and set up a PR firm. Cornetta is the one place she remembers a happy time in her life—the three months she spent falling in love with Ron Vee, who left her without a word nine years ago. Upon her return to Cornetta, she discovers the reason. Ron Vee is really Ronan Vicenza, second in line to the throne of Cornetta.

Ronan, the Rogue Prince, never extinguished the torch he carries for Brenna, but royal duties call and he knows they can’t truly be together. The pair has to work together when Brenna’s firm is called in to handle a PR mess for the royal family, and Brenna and Ronan will need to either fight their feelings or set a new path for their future.

His Defiant Princess is a well written romance spanning nine years, although we only see the current situation. The author is able to make us understand Brenna and Ronan’s love without providing specific scenes from the past.

Both main characters are strong in this book. I love that Brenna has high standards for her clients, and that carries over into her personal life. After having to deal with a scoundrel for an ex-husband, she’s unwilling to accept anything below her standards. Ronan is a fun character. His aloofness in certain areas keeps the reader entertained, yet it’s clear he can be serious when the situation calls for it. Even with his playboy ways, he’s one hundred percent committed to his familial duties.

I also like the secondary characters in this story. Emory, Ronan’s older brother, is mostly all business and typically the model prince—until he accidentally says something on live TV that he needs to apologize for. Brenna handles him nicely though, and she even gets him to loosen up a bit. Brenna’s relationship with the queen adds a nice touch, showing how Brenna fits right in with the royal family.

If there’s anything about the story I didn’t like, it’s the abrupt ending. I thought it could have used a little more before wrapping up, and a small epilogue would have been nice. I don’t think the title is a good fit for this book, but I read it anyway and still enjoyed it.

His Defiant Princess is a must read for anyone who enjoys modern day fairytales.

Happy reading!

Rach

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

V is for Virgin Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

Because her birth mother had her when she was only sixteen and gave her up for adoption, Valerie Jensen made a decision to remain a virgin until marriage, and she’s sticking to it. When her boyfriend breaks up with her because of her decision, she tells him off publicly and the YouTube video goes viral. Val decides to do something positive with all of the publicity. She starts the V is for Virgin campaign, directed at helping others feel confident in their choice.

Virgin Val, as she becomes known, catches the eye of bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the band Tralse. Kyle is determined to do everything in his power to get Val to give up her virginity to him, and publicity is off the charts every time the two of them are seen in public together. Val needs to stay true to herself and determine who is really on her side and who isn’t.

V is for Virgin is a mostly enjoyable read in the Young Adult genre. Val is a strong character who stands up for herself even when faced with doubts about whether she’s doing the right thing. She makes an impact on a lot of teenagers and sends a strong message that it’s okay to make your own choice and not be pressured by what everyone else is doing. The only place Val isn’t really confident is within her own love life. She thought she was happy with her ex-boyfriend until he dumps her when she won’t have sex with him. Then she dates popular athlete Isaac, and they’re very comfortable, but that’s about all there is to it. Even though Val and Kyle butt heads all the time, she has some strong feelings for him. I was happy to see that even with all the UST between Kyle and Val, Val didn’t give in on her beliefs.

I would have liked to see Val stand up for herself a little more with Kyle. Some of their interactions left me perplexed. But at the end of the day, behind closed doors she made the right decision for herself.

The end of the story left me in one of those places where I was happy for her but a bit heartbroken at the same time. Thankfully the author gave us a little taste of the future in the epilogue, letting the reader know that full happiness wasn’t totally out of reach for Val. The next book in the series, A is for Abstinence, is from Kyle’s point of view (a few chapters were included at the end of V is for Virgin), and I just might pick that up to see if they get more of a happily ever after.

Happy reading!

Rach

Snow Angel (Hope Falls #5) by Melanie Shawn

Snow Angel (Hope Falls #5) by Melanie Shawn

Snow Angel Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

As the newly-appointed choreographer for pop star Karina Black’s upcoming tour, Lily Sotelo moves to the small town of Hope Falls. It’s a perfect move for Lily, who tries to keep a low profile due to her past in the witness protection program. Sexy police chief Eric Maguire is done with casual relationships. He wants more with the curvy choreographer who is now his neighbor. He knows Lily’s hiding something, but he’s willing to take whatever she’s willing to give him.

When Lily ends up in the tabloids next to Karina, her past comes back to haunt her. She needs to run once again and leave everyone and everything behind. But Eric isn’t willing to let her go so easily. He’ll fight for Lily and her love.

Snow Angel is the fifth book in the Hope Falls series and is meant to be a standalone novel. Although I was mostly able to follow along with the characters, it felt like I was missing a lot by not having read the previous novels. We get glimpses of Lily and Eric meeting at a wedding, but we don’t get much background information aside from that. Lily was at the wedding because she had provided dance lessons to the bridal party, yet the author never tells us how she came to be giving dance lessons so far from home in the first place. There was also a lot of forceful incorporation of secondary characters. Their inclusion didn’t feel natural.

The story was well written, and I enjoyed the main plot and loved Eric. He was strong, confident, and understanding, and he never gave up on Lily. I could feel the attraction between the main characters, and the UST was off the charts.

Other than that, the story moved too slowly for me. It felt like everything important happened in the last few chapters, and then it didn’t wrap up a few details. All along Lily was concerned about where she’d live once her job with Karina was over, and although the reader can assume she came back to Eric, I would have liked to know this for certain. Lily had been scared about putting herself on stage and dancing with Karina, so it would have been nice to know whether she actually went through with being one of Karina’s dancers or not.

Only a minor detail, but the title and cover didn’t really have anything to do with the story.

Overall, Snow Angel was a decent read but it could have been better.

Happy reading!

Rach

Cookie Cutter by Jo Richardson

Cookie Cutter by Jo Richardson

Cookie Cutter Review

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted an ARC of Cookie Cutter in exchange for an honest review.*

It was tough for me to rate this book. I wanted to love it, but I just … didn’t.

Cookie Cutter is a contemporary romance about two people who are not looking for love but find it in each other. Iris is a recently divorced mom trying to juggle her way through each day with a teenage daughter. Carter is escaping his old life by flipping houses and ends up across the street from Iris. Their initial interactions are fueled with distaste for each other, but also a healthy dose of lust. Living in such a small town, they continue to cross paths, eventually settling on being friendly and then more.

Basically, I didn’t feel much of the change from annoying neighbors to more in either of them. Carter tries to be nice to Iris even as he’s telling himself not to. He enjoys pushing her buttons, and I really wasn’t convinced when that switch flipped in the relationship.

Cookie Cutter is written from both Iris and Carter’s points of view. There’s nothing specifically wrong with that, but my preference for reading in first person point of view is to stick with one person’s story. Although this story isn’t derailed too far by following both characters, I feel like it’s missing some of the buildup of the relationship by switching back and forth. The ending also felt somewhat out of left field because of the switching points of view. There’s also a decent amount of internal dialogue from both characters, which would have been better shown by their actions.

Editing issues … *sigh*. I contacted the author about the editing, and later found out that the ARC was created by mistake from an earlier draft of the story. I was actually nearly done reading when the author and publisher contacted me about the mistake and said they’d send a new copy. I held off on writing the review until I received the new copy, but it wasn’t much better. There were frequent places where hyphens or dashes were used in place of em dashes, commas in places where they didn’t belong and missing from where they did, inconsistent formatting, and sentence fragments for no reason. It was disappointing. The ARC did say editing was still taking place, but as a reader I expect an ARC to be in much better shape, with only minor changes needed before publication. The quality of the ARC didn’t leave me with much confidence that the final version would be any better.

I tried to discount the editing issues in my review thought process, but it was difficult to separate that out from the plot when I had trouble following the story because of the errors. Maybe that was why I didn’t really fall in love with Carter the way Iris did or have any good feelings toward Iris like Carter did. Throughout a good portion of the story, I thought she was a bitch to him and couldn’t really see what he saw in her.

The love scenes weren’t all that memorable, again probably because I didn’t really feel the buildup of the relationship. If it had been told in only Iris’ point of view and we had learned more about Carter as she did (instead of hearing things from Carter when Iris wasn’t around), I think the relationship would have been more believable.

In the end I went with two stars because the editing issues really overpowered any potential the plot had for me.

Happy reading!

Rach

The Vanilla Bet by Ella Emerson

The Vanilla Bet by Ella Emerson

The Vanilla Bet Cover

1 out of 5 Stars

I need to start by saying I abandoned this book at ten percent. I don’t often abandon books, but I could not continue with this one. I wanted to give up after the first chapter. I chugged along to chapter two and had an even stronger urge to put it down. Made it through chapter three before I finally had enough.

This book is so horribly edited it’s difficult to read. It is a self-pub book, but it lists an editing company. I went online to look up the editing company to try to give the author a little credit, assuming the editor was to blame. But it appears that the author is responsible for the editing company. There were errors in the sample work on the editing company’s website, so I knew the book wasn’t going to get any better. They have no idea how to punctuate dialogue or use an em dash. The word “then” was used in place of “than.”

The story itself is also disjointed. It skips all over the place and is confusing. The dialogue and writing are unnatural. It feels like reading a fifth grade writing assignment instead of a published book. And since I didn’t get too far into the plot, I can only comment that the beginning of the plot is too cliché. The hero is a playboy who doesn’t date, yet he has an instant attraction to the heroine. He loses a bet and is supposed to date her for one month, but he walks out of the party with another woman. Then he decides he can’t be with the other woman because he’s thinking of the heroine. The heroine, of course, is also instantly attracted to the hero. Her car breaks down so she has to walk, and then she breaks the heel of her shoe. The hero happens to be the only person who drives by, and instead of driving her home he takes her out for coffee. Her shoe is still broken, but I guess she doesn’t mind walking around like that.

I don’t necessarily like reviewing books I abandon since I can’t give a full opinion. This one I felt I read enough of to be able to say it’s a do not read based on not only the plot, but the editing as well.

Happy reading!

Rach