After the Rain

After the RainAfter the Rain by Renée Carlino

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Well this sits firmly on my “worst books ever” shelf. I hated it. I’m quite shocked that this came from Carlino because while I do think that the quality of her novels have declined since Sweet Thing, all have been enjoyable even if I did have some peeves. After the Rain was awful. I’m not quite sure how, after being in such a rut, that I didn’t DNF it.

The amount of melodrama in this novel is threat level Charlie and all of it is either caused by or made unbearable by Ava. Ava is awful. She was written to have no self-worth, no will to live, to be extremely depressed, to talk like a robot, and to be extremely unreasonable. Throughout the entire book I was trying to kill her with my mind.

Nate started off as an interesting character. I remember thinking that I liked him, but as soon as he got interested in Ava (for no apparent reason) he became a cheesy pushover who seemed to live only to serve her. It was such a turn off. Ava would over-react, act like an idiot, refuse to talk to him, and he would drive across the country to make it better. He was constantly catering to her and trying way to hard to make her feel better. It made me feel gross. He became desperate for Ava’a attention and it made me extremely aggravated.

The sex scenes were not hot. Ava’s mental state made it really hard for me to even read these. She was so fragile and such a shell of a person that it felt wrong for them to be having sex. I am not under any circumstances making any claims of rape, but it felt inappropriate and franking kind of predatory for Nate to be physically intimate with her. She was just so messed up in the head that it seemed like Nate should have been trying to take care of her in other ways. I think the author did attempt to write this, but I think the novel would have been better served if there was no sex between Nate and Ava until the end of the story. It was just creepy to me the way it was written. Regardless of all of that, it wasn’t even hot.

This is the end of the spoiler free portion of my free. I HAVE to tell you guys all of the dumb shit that happens in this book because I don’t think the above explains how awful the novel truly is, but before I do that I have one word of advice to those of you who still may want to read it (it’s $7.99 on Amazon!!! Expensive for an eBook!):

If you’re still reading, here’s a list of spoilery things that happen (in order) to really drive it home: Continue reading

The Duet – Release Day Blitz

Title: The Duet
Author: R.S. Grey
Release Date: Nov 8, 2014
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Goodreads

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.

So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies… those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars'.

Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch — with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe Is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…

They’re expecting The Duet.

The Duet will be priced at $2.99 for two days post-release, then the price will bump to $3.99!

The M Lounge was the hippest and most discreet club in LA. If there was any hope of me locking down a one-night stand, M Lounge was the place to go.

“I can’t drink much tonight because I have that meeting with my record label in the morning,” I warned as we passed through the back entrance to the club and headed up a set of stairs that were used exclusively for the VIP level. Fun fact: one time I was going up those stairs when P. Diddy was coming down, and he totally touched my ass. Allegedly.

“Just to clarify: if you’re begging me for tequila shots at midnight, threatening to kill my first born if I don’t give them to you, I should still tell you no?” Cammie asked, just to ensure the boundaries were set. Better safe than sorry.

“That was one time and it was in Cabo,” I protested. “What else are you supposed to do in Cabo other than challenge a mariachi band to a tequila shot contest until the lead singer passes out beside a donkey?”

Cammie held up her hands and started listing off items. “I dunno— enjoy the beach, check out the museums and the culture—”

“That was a rhetorical question,” I interrupted as we made it to the top of the stairs.

As if by magic, the black curtain in front of us swept to the side, opening up an entire room of drunken debauchery before us. In one corner, a celebrity who shall remain nameless (we’ll call her Nennifer Janiston) was sucking face with a sexy man, and across the room two of the funniest women in comedy were doing body shots off of a waiter from the club.

“Welcome to the behind the scenes of Hollywood,” I whispered to Cammie.

 

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things… everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things "funny". Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

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The Duet – Review

The DuetThe Duet by R.S. Grey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC provided by RS Grey in exchange for an honest review.

I’m kind of bummed about this one guys. I have loved every one of RS Grey’s novels, but I only kind of enjoyed this one *hides*!

Brooklyn Heart’s record label is forcing her to write a duet with Jason Monroe. So it’s off to Montana to write on Jason’s ranch. Neither Brooklyn nor Jason are super into collaborating, but Jason seems to have trouble even acting civil. Obviously, this is a romance… So you know the rest.

The novel has a lot going for it. Gorgeous cover, unique take on an old idea, hot male love interest, sassy heroine, and a generally OK plot, but there are several big issues that kept me from really enjoying it.

1. The book was boring as all get out for the first 40%. I trudged through it. Up until that point- Brooklyn had boring sex, she called her sister, she meddled, she went to a meeting, she got on a plane. That’s about it. Then, at 50-69% little more happened, but it was still kind of boring. I wasn’t even into the sex scenes. They were super flat. Where’s the sizzle the author wrote in Stealing Wilder? The sex was super vanilla. Nothing really all that interesting happened until about 70% into the novel. Additionally, I found Brooklyn’s inner-monologue to be very grating- which is OK. I don’t necessarily have to like the main character to like the book- but Brooklyn reminded me of a high school kid who thinks she’s too cool for school.

2. The whole “Brooklyn meddles in Cammie’s life by trying to get her to talk to Grayson” drove me fracking insane. It was painfully obvious that the author was trying to set up a sequel, but it was just too much. The overt hints to something going on with Cammie and Grayson became really over the top. I get it… The next book is about them.

3. Here’s the big reason why I couldn’t get into this: the characterization was non-existent. It took about 60% in until I felt like I knew Brooklyn enough to get behind her. Unfortunately, she is the only character who wasn’t written completely two dimensionally. For almost the entire book, Jason Monroe is a total mystery. We know nearly nothing about him- and it doesn’t seem like Brooklyn does either. She thinks he’s hot and talented, but he’s a total mystery. I didn’t believe in their romance because it was like Brooklyn was trying to date a cardboard cut out. At about 85% in we get this giant info dump in the form of a phone call from a supporting character (this seemed to be her only purpose in the novel) that’s supposed to make Jason relate-able, but it was too little too late. Who was Jason Monroe? I have no idea and I hate that I have no idea.

Of the supporting characters I did like Cammie and Logan. Cammie was well-written and I think her personality was well established. I’ll read the subsequent novel because Grey did do a good job of making Cammie come to life. Logan was a cute addition and I would have liked to see more of him.

LuAnn was given a brief shot of life in the beginning of the novel. The author obviously intended her to be a sassy older woman, but that sassiness was quickly lost after her introduction to Brooklyn and she became a background character who seemed to lack a purpose and a personality. Derek… What was even the point of him? At all. I have no idea why he was included in the story.

I don’t know. I wanted to like this novel because it’s such a fresh idea for a story, but the lack to depth to the characters didn’t allow me to. So I give this 2.5 stars (rounded up to 3) because of the unique story idea, the gorgeous cover, and the fact that I found it mildly enjoyable. I’ve loved all of Grey’s books up until this point, but unfortunately this one didn’t blow my skirt up.

Whatever Life Throws at You

Whatever Life Throws at YouWhatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Am I going soft? I feel like I’ve been stumbling upon a lot of awesome reads lately! I had really been looking forward to this book. I fell in love with Julie Cross’s writing when I read Third Degree earlier this year and couldn’t wait for her next novel. I’m happy to say that I loved Whatever Life Throws at You even more than Third Degree!

The positive parts of this review will likely be rather short and generic. I find it easy to moan and complain about all of the things I hated about a bad book, but a lot more difficult to gush about a book I loved. I feel like positive reviews are all positive in the same way (Anna Karenina anyone? Ha!). Nonetheless, this book deserves a review because it was awesome!

What I liked:

1. Jason Brody. Duh! He was so dreamy. As far as book boyfriends go, Jason Brody will definitely go on your list. He has a rough past- juvenile criminal record, he’s a high school dropout, his mother has disowned him- but he’s doing his best to be the best man that he can.

2. The positive female friendship between Lenny and Annie. Lenny was an interesting one, but she was loyal. She wasn’t always the most stand up person, in general, but she was on Annie’s side.

3. Annie. I love her character. I hated how she had a tendency to choose inaction instead of actually making a decision or solving a problem. When faced with a dilemma, she’d just do nothing. Or she’d do the “high school” thing and act totally immature and impulsive. Somehow this didn’t seem inconsistent. Quite the opposite, actually. I could kind of predict what Annie’s next move would be while reading. Cross’s characterization was incredibly thorough. I felt like I knew Annie well.

4. The supporting characters! Lenny, Annie’s dad, Savannah, Annie’s grandma, Annie’s mom- all of them were so well written and added a lot to the story. Some of them were amusing, some were supportive, one was awful, but all were well written! I loved all of them!

5. The ending. I loved it. Such a great ending! A little cheesy, but come on, everyone loves a little cheesy every once in a while.

The Peeves:

1. I really hate how Julie Cross makes her characters write Facebook and Twitter statuses in all of her books. It’s like she’s already resigned to the fact that no one will be reading her book in 50 years. In my opinion, books that include references to popular technology are dating themselves. Facebook and Twitter may not be something that people use in 10 years and as a result, someone reading this book in 2024 will probably think it’s a little silly. The thing that aggravates me the most about Cross’s use of social media in her novels is that, for the most part, the references could be completely omitted and the narrative wouldn’t suffer at all. This is especially true for Third Degree- removing the twitter statuses made by the MC would go entirely unnoticed by the reader. In order to omit the Facebook status updates from Whatever Life Throw at You all Cross would have to do is make general references to Brody’s social media presence.

2. You won’t get any slut-shamming from me, but Brody was portrayed as very promiscuous in the beginning of the novel. Annie was aware of his “habits” and found them revolting, but she still had a big crush on him? This was very confusing to me.

3. Brody is his last name. Everyone (including Annie) call him by it throughout the entirety of the book. There’s one time where she refers to him as Jason and it’s in her head. I didn’t like this at all. If his last name was Smith or Williams it wouldn’t have worked, but since Brody is a common male first name as well, the author got away with it.

4. This is probably a silly thing to even bring up, but it’s my review and I can. Cross misuses the word “nauseous” in every novel of hers I’ve read. In her defense though, this is one of those words that is misused so often that the dictionary has been rewritten so that the wrong usage is now the “right” one. (Did you know that “literally” now means “figuratively” ? Seriously. Our population is so stupid that this change was made.)

“Nauseous” means causing nausea or disgust. So for example: the rotten orange was nauseous because it made me feel sick to smell it. NAUSEATED is the word we’re all looking for. You feel nauseated. I feel nauseated. We all feel nauseated, but no one is nauseous unless you haven’t showered for a couple of days.

I know, I know, I’m a complainer, but this is a 5 star read. I definitely recommend it!

Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)

Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)Stay with Me by J. Lynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on all the other ranting and raving I do on this site, I really should have hated this book, but something about Jennifer Armentrout’s writing just always works for me. I have no idea what it is, but somehow she can take a completely outrageous plot- I’m talking totally out of control- and somehow make it seem like it could happen in real life. SOMEHOW she uses approximately 8,000 pet names and I don’t really feel the need to bitch about it extensively in this review.

This premise of this book was totally crazy for a contemporary. Calla’s mom takes out a bunch of loans and credit cards in Calla’s name and ruins her credit. Calla is forced to go home and sort it out. Also… Drug cartels and danger.

The worst part of this book wasn’t even the pet names or ridiculous plot. The worst part of it actually had nothing to do with THIS STORY. It was all of the characters from the previous books that seemingly had no reason (at all!) to be included in this story. Every time Avery, Cam, Teresa, or Jase appeared I just wanted them to go away. (GTFO unnecessary nod to other successful novels!)

But anyway, this book was very enjoyable. Jax was dreamy, dreamy. WAY dreamy. Calla wasn’t too annoying. The pacing was good. I would definitely recommend this book for when you’re in the mood for a straight NA romance.

*Personal note: this book was a little weird to read for me because my husband and I want to name our hypothetical daughter Calla and our last name is VERY VERY close to Fritz. A little weird.