Tori’s Mini Reviews:
Blocked by L.P. Dover
I’m a huge fan of hockey romance and was excited to see Dover starting this series. I didn’t read the first book though it doesn’t matter as one was easily read as a standalone. Though initially excited, I found myself dnfing about 40% in. I enjoyed the premise-a bad boy redemption with his frenemy’s little sister-only I found the main leads were both immature and ridiculous acting for their ages and careers. At times I felt like I was reading a teen romance. Dallas Easton is a pro hockey goalie. He’s a rude prima donna with some nasty anger issues yet we were are never told what these issues stem from. Callie Davis is a surgical nurse whose brother is a teammate of Easton’s. The heroine and her family liked to poke at Dallas yet would get upset when he pokes back. They are also very judgemental and Callie required the hero to humiliate himself repeatedly to show his attraction to her was sincere. Once scene in particular just had me tossing up my hands and calling for surrender.
Perfect Gravity by Vivian Jackson
Series: Tethered, #2
The world has undergone an environmental disaster, humanity is becoming more technologically dependent, and TX is its own separate entity. Two young lovers are separated by lies and end up on the opposite sides of a war (I think). Angela is a continental senator and the war minister. Her goal is to help re-elect her mentor as the president-no matter what it takes. His control over her life from childhood has warped her to some degree. Kellon has loved Angela all his life but she sent him away and he never forgave her for that. Years later, a series of circumstances bring them back together to save the world.
I’m not even sure how to describe this book. It somehow managed to overwhelm and underwhelm at the same time. We are buried in technologic terms with a world too weak to support it. Our two leads are polar opposites and while that should guarantee a nice tension-filled reconnection romance, I felt almost no chemistry between them. Angela goes from cold and methodical to sex-starved and clingy while Kellen’s “good old boy” persona grew tedious. We are told he is an outlaw but I don’t see much rebellion in this story. Clunky dialogue and random scene/character placement left me trying to hurry towards the end. It’s only once I figure out exactly what was going on was my interest snagged, but by then, it was too late. I was at the end and relieved to be done.
Hard Breaker by Christine Warren
Series: Gargoyle, #6
Demons, Watchers, and Guardians…OH MY. Warren’s latest PNR involves Gargoyles and saving the world.I enjoyed her The Others series which I found the perfect blend of action, romance, and dry humor. I hadn’t read the first five of this series but I know Warren usually writes her books as standalones. Warren starts off recapping the ongoing arc painstakingly explaining the world and the events that led up to where we are now and jumping immediately into the action. The premise is good vs evil. Demons break free their prison to come overtake the world and a group of watchers “wake up” their guardians/gargoyles to fight and dispatch them back to Hell. The gargoyles are then put back to sleep until they are needed again. Of course, after never-ending cycles of this the gargoyles get tired of being used and stop coming to the rescue. Now the watchers are being murdered and a new batch of watchers are being inducted-female watchers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get past the first 20% of this one. I couldn’t seem to connect on any level and the dry academic tone bored me.
Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #4
Wheels Up is the 4th in Albert’s Out of Uniform series. Fans will remember Dustin is the big brother of Dylan and best friends with Apollo from At Attention. LT Dustin Strauss is now the Seal team’s XO and ready to settle down and act his age. He is through denying his bisexuality and has found a long distance hook up through an online chat room. Petty Officer Wes is a demolitions expert for the Navy and enjoys a little kink in his sexual play. His latest “buddy” has his dominant side standing at attention. When these two end up being on the same Seal team, they will have to decide which is more important-their careers or their hearts.
I’ve always enjoyed Albert’s romances. Emotionally realistic and current, they deal with issues that affect all of us in romance and in life. The slow romantic build up and the lush descriptive love scenes certainly help:) This one disappointed me a little. I expected more from it, especially after At Attention. Lots of drama but very little substance in return. Dustin and Wes spend more time getting in their own way and making situations far more difficult than they had to be. Lots of pushing away then pulling back in. Push/pull-push/pull. Sizzling chemistry definitely grabs your attention but I never quite bought the attraction was anything more than physical. I also felt the solution was a little too pat for all the anguish it seemed to cause. As always, a quick steamy read, just not my favorite of the series.
Keep Me Close by Elizabeth Cole – I wanted some snarky, demon-slayer fun – but this one fell flat for me. I didn’t feel chemistry between the hero and heroine either. Plus the hero had an immortal, telepathic pet cat that I wanted to be amusing and funny – but the cat let me down.
The Offer by Sara Portman – I adored book one of this series, but this one did nothing for me. At the 40% mark I was not invested in this story at all. And such a lack of romance. Crossing my fingers that book three brings back the sparkle that I felt in book one.
One Summer Night by Caridad Pineiro
Series: At the Shore #1
I was really looking forward to this book as it seems like it would be a friends to lovers type trope or even friends pining for each other from afar. And it was that. But with feuding fathers who have pretty much forbidden the MCs from being any more than passing friends. In a contemporary, non-mob book, this trope/plot-device does not work for me. I got to around the 20% mark and another mention of one of the fathers pushed me over the edge.
Have You Met Nora by Nicole Blades
I knew when I signed up for this book, that is was not romance so I definitely tried to read it without my romance glasses on. Basic premise is that Nora is a bi-racial woman, who is passing as white but no one knows. She is days away from marrying a wealthy man and someone is threatening to blackmail her. I really wanted to like this but it was so hard to get into. Nora was abused as a child and as a result, she is closed off and holds all her truths to herself. It was hard to read. She lies to everyone, although those lies seemed to be rooted in self preservation and not deceit. I still had a hard time connecting with her. It seemed like she had plenty of chances to open up to either her best friend or fiance.
There were some really little things that bothered me, like everyone had a nickname. And there was a ton of fancy name brands being dropped. These characters lived in a world that I am not interested in, high fashion in NYC. I made it to the 50% mark and the mystery/blackmail was just starting. My Kindle said I still had 3 hours left in the book and I just couldn’t do it. I never connected with Nora, I didn’t care what her motivation was for being scared, I just wanted it to stop.