DNF Review: Wicked Liars by Laura Lee

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Title: Wicked Liars
Author: Laura Lee
Series: Windsor Academy #1
Publisher: Lovestruck Publishing
Publication Date: April 3, 2020
Genre: Dark Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: DNF/1 star

Liars.
Every last one of them.
The kings and queens of my new high school.
The father and stepmother I never knew. 
Each has more wealth and privilege than I could’ve ever imagined.
Each has a pile of wicked dirty secrets they’d do anything to protect.
 
These people have grown accustomed to getting what they want, and what they want is to make my life a living hell.
 
Too bad for them, you can’t break someone who’s already broken.
Too bad for them, I won’t give up without a fight.
Too bad for them, I’m going to make them pay…even if  it’s the last thing I do.

Review:

Warning: will contain spoilers because I’ll be explaining why I chose to DNF at 62%

Well. This was so not the book for me.

This book was as if Gossip Girl was rated R instead of 14+. The private school. The insane riches. The spoiled kids who get away with whatever they want. The parents who don’t give two shits about their kids but still want to control their lives anyway so they don’t make a mockery of the family’s name. Just add in a whole bunch of swearing and sexual activities. That’s not the problem though. I loved Gossip Girl. It was totally a guilty pleasure of mine when I was growing up. Give me a book like Gossip Girl with a whole bunch of swearing? Yes please. I swear like a sailor anyway.

I mean, the caricatures of what rich people and mean girls are may have been a little over the top, but I’ll survive that. It won’t get me to abandon a book.

My issue with this was the romance. The goddamn romance.

At around 30% is where shit went down. Jazz was at a party. She was going to get a drink with a guy and decided to ask him to watch her drink while she went to the washroom. First of all. Honey, no. NO. You know disaster is coming. Anyway, she gets back and has her drink and dances with him. He asks her to go somewhere private and in the book she says something along the lines of not remembering if she said yes but he’s leading her there anyway. Then he hands her off to Kingston and Bentley. Like here you go guys, got her all nice and roofied up for ya like you asked me too!!!!

Kingston and Bentley start making out with her and touching her upper body while the third member of their group (I don’t remember his name) films. They keep going until she passes out. Then they take of her pants to make it look like they had sex and take some compromising pictures. And it’s all around school on Monday morning.

But the drugging and sexual assault isn’t even what got me the most riled up. IT’S THAT SHE STARTS A ROMANCE WITH KINGSTON. THE GUY WHO DRUGGED HER AND ASSAULTED HER AND THEN SPREAD THE VIDEOS AND PICS TO THE WHOLE DAMN SCHOOL. AND SHE KNOWS IT WAS HIM. The same day after school he comes over and she kisses him. And then they start kind of dating because he needs to control her and get her to trust him in his big plan to take his dad and her dad down for some shit they’re doing that’s illegal or whatever. GIRL WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK. Get your shit together. You don’t date the man who drugged you. Who assaulted you. My god.

Not even the fact that the prologue started with Jazz sounding like she was ready to die after being killed was enough to make me continue. She’s surrounded by 800 psychos. Clearly one of them killed her or put out a hit or something equally as insane, but I really couldn’t even be bothered to keep reading to find out. Everything about this was one big hell no for me.

 

 

 

Review: Rules of Engagement by J.T. Geissinger

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Title: Rules of Engagement
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-published by J.T. Geissinger
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 5 stars

As the owner of Perfect Pairings matchmaking service, Maddie McRae earns her living helping others fall in love. Dubbed the Wedding Whisperer due to her success getting couples down the aisle, the sweet Southern belle knows that the foundation of wedded bliss is built on similarities: opposites might attract, but they don’t stay together.  

Which is why she’s holding out for her own Prince Charming, a perfect gentleman who will arrive one day and sweep her off her feet with his devotion, kindness, and charm. 

Enter Mason Spark. 

Rude, arrogant, and notoriously allergic to monogamy, the hottest quarterback in the NFL is Maddie’s polar opposite. He’s also her new client. Her gorgeous, infuriating new client who’s paying her an outrageous sum of money to find him a wife. With his multi-million dollar contract on the line due to his behavior on and off the field, bad boy Mason is willing to pretend to settle down.  

But when he starts to fall for the adorkable matchmaker who can’t stand him, the playboy finds himself in the game of his life to keep something he never thought he’d lose—his heart.

Review:

This book is everything I wanted in a rom-com. Everything. I want to shout it from the rooftops that you all need to pick this up and read it immediately.

Rules of Engagement gave me R.S. Grey vibes in terms of the heroine of the novel (which is a high compliment because in my eyes she is the rom-com queen). Maddie was sassy and sarcastic without ever actually being mean. Her sense of humour was her shining point. She could dish it and take it and that is the best kind of heroine you could ask for in a rom-com. She was also a little bit clueless about Mason, but in the way you would come to expect in a romance. That little bit of back and forth that makes things more interesting.

The romance between Maddie and Mason was the cutest. I can’t remember the last time I’ve rooted for a couple so hard despite knowing that they are obviously going to end up together. They were the perfect match. Opposites who complimented one another so well. They had also each gone through some familial trauma when they were younger and I think that allowed them to understand the other better in terms of how they react and adapt to more difficult situations.

Each of the side characters added their own flair to the story. They all had their place that added to Maddie and Mason’s romance. I love that Aunt Waldine and Dick each had a chapter or two from their perspective. It made the story that much more authentic and really added to the comedy aspect of rom-com.

I really really loved this book. I had high expectations going in, and it smashed them all out of the park. This is a rom-com you need to add your TBRs.

About J.T. Geissinger:

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J.T. Geissinger is a bestselling author of emotionally charged romance and women’s fiction. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold more than one million copies and been translated into several languages.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and is a two-time finalist for the RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America®. She has also been a finalist in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

Her first novel was published in 2012. Since then she’s written eighteen more novels. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking wine, surfing the internet, and daydreaming about all the things she’s going to be when she grows up. She lives near the beach in Los Angeles with her husband and deaf/demented rescue kitty, Ginger.

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Review: Dead Ringer by Kat Ross – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: Dead Ringer
Author: Kat Ross
Series: Gaslamp Gothic #5
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: December 13, 2019
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

A poisonous secret.

A terrifying curse.

And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch…

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with. 

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents. 

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

Review:

This is the third book I’ve read in the Gaslamp Gothic series and I must admit, it’s easily becoming one of my favourites. I adored A Bad Breed and The Necromancer’s Bride and my feelings toward Dead Ringer are no different.

James Moran has been one of my favourite characters of the series by far. Despite being the number one crime lord of the city, he was just so damn adorable. The way he would flirt with Harry (who was having absolutely none of his boyish charm)  had me grinning like an idiot every time. I also loved how vulnerable he was with her (and John when he was there). There was none of this macho crap. He realized the gravity of the situation surrounding his friends’ death and took it seriously.

I also loved Harry. She was a strong badass lady who was just a little bit sarcastic and took no crap from anyone. She takes her job very seriously and is 100% committed to her cases. If my life was in her hands, I’d have confidence I’d live to see another day. Her and John were great to read about as well. I loved their working relationship. They complimented each other so well. The way they figured out things together proved how great of a team they were.

The story and mystery itself was so good. I was absolutely flying through the novel wanting to know how the secret society came to be targeted and by who. With seven men in the society and James Moran being an untouchable crime lord, that leads to a lot of options of people that could want to kill them. Add in the paranormal and this story was just *chef’s kiss*

Seriously though. You guys need to pick up this series. I’m obsessed with it and I can’t wait to see what Kat Ross brings to the world next because everything I’ve read from her so far has been beyond amazing.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prizes: $20 Amazon gift card, 5x eBook copies of A Bad Breed
  • International
  • Ends February 6, 2020

About Kat Ross:

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

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Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

Review:

I wanted to love this book so badly. It sounded like the exact kind of cute contemporary that would have me shouting from the rooftops for everyone to pick this up. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

My main issue with this book were the characters. There was not a single female character worth rooting for. They were all so catty and mean and had zero concept of what a relationship/commitment was. The moment someone would look at their man they’d turn into a cast member of Mean Girls but god forbid they knew how to be faithful in their own relationship or not drag some poor soul along. Think Anna & the French Kiss but kick that up a few notches. Contemporaries are generally very character driven, so when it’s hard to like anyone, it’s pretty difficult to enjoy the novel as a whole.

The only things I really enjoyed was the writing and the lexicon entries. I thought both of those things were super creative and the creativity that shone through with some of the jokes/disses kept me reading. Yes, I couldn’t stand the female characters, but I won’t deny some of the crappy things they said were creative. I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to be that clever when I’m upset about something.

Overall, this book was just of all over the place for me. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I just couldn’t get past how much I disliked every single female character is a character-driven book.

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About Jacqueline Firkins:

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Jacqueline’s a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She’s on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

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Review: Gifted by Ainsley St Claire

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Title: Gifted
Author: Ainsley St Claire
Series: Clear Security Holiday #1
Publisher: Loisir Publishing
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

How do things fall apart so easily?

Kate:

As a former teacher, my mission is to keep the disadvantaged youth of our city engaged with school. My non-profit has been wildly successful with the kids, but now I’m forty mentors short for the Christmas season. It didn’t look like we would be able to find enough help, until Jim Adelson got involved. He may have solved my mentor problem, but he’s created another: I can’t concentrate with this panty melting God around.

Jim:

The community has been good to me. I’d built my successful security business with hard work and determination, and when I got approached to help Kate Monroe’s non-profit, it seemed a fitting way to give back. I’d offer to spend time with some kids, but it’s Kate that I find myself wanting to spend time with. With beauty obvious to everyone, and a compassionate heart she wears on her sleeve, she has me reevaluating my priorities.

When the children’s Christmas gifts go missing, Jim and Kate are forced together in the hunt.

Can true love fight through the drama to find a happy ending?

Review:

Gifted was cute for what it was. A short, holiday romance with a good message. It demonstrates the importance of giving back to our community and all that can be done to aide those in need and how our good actions can truly have a positive impact on those around us.

I know this book was incredibly short and a holiday romance, so I walked right into this, but I wasn’t expecting the insta-love to be that quick or sweet. I blinked and suddenly Jim and Kate were head-over-heels, I’d-take-a-bullet-for-you in love with each other.

With the story itself, everything was a little to perfect. The friends were all over the top kind and everything worked itself out without much of an issue. Even the ending was abrupt.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick holiday romance read (under 175 pages) to get you in the Christmas spirit, you could pick this one up and easily read it in a day.

About Ainsley St Claire:

Ainsley St Claire is a Romantic Suspense Author and Adventurer on a lifelong mission to craft sultry storylines and steamy love scenes that captivate her readers. To date, she is best known for her series Venture Capitalists.

An avid reader since the age of four, Ainsley’s love of books knew no genre. After reading, came her love of writing, fully immersing herself in the colorful, impassioned world of contemporary romance.

Ainsley’s passion immediately shifted to a vocation when during a night of terrible insomnia, her first book came to her. Ultimately, this is what inspired her to take that next big stop. The moment she wrote her first story, the rest was history.

Currently, Ainsley is in the midst of writing a nine-book series called “Venture Capitalist.”

When she isn’t being a bookworm or typing away her next story on her computer, Ainsley enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones. She is happily married to her amazing soulmate and is a proud mother of two rambunctious boys. She is also a scotch aficionada and lover of good food (especially melt-in-your-mouth, velvety chocolate). Outside of books, family, and food, Ainsley is a professional sports spectator and an equally as terrible golfer and tennis player.

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