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Christine's Reads

Caleb - Kim McNiel

NO, NO, NO, NO!!!

Just NO! The male lead - - I won't call him a hero - - is a self-serving, egotistical, prick! The female lead (is she really the lead?) is stupid, gullible, and a twit!

All he does is think with his dick and the hardest he works is to manipulate women to get his way.

Gah! There is apparently a follow-up book coming out which, much as I disliked this one, I will probably read it in the hope that he will get what's coming to him. At least, that's what was hinted at on the website I saw. Let's hope!

The Fall - Marie Force

The other books that I've read of this author's, I really enjoyed. While I was looking forward to reading this story because of the premise (hero falls for his best friend's girlfriend), it turned out to be painful to read through to the end.
While I can understand the need for the angst and turmoil that happened, it got to a point that I really did not want to finish the book. The happily ever after ending fell flat for me.
Well, I guess you win some and lose some.

All My Life - Rucy Ban Just couldn't get into this one.
Sweet Seduction Sacrifice - Nicola Claire I really wanted to finish this one, but the heroine was sooooo annoying. I got about 60% through, but her constant harping about the coffee/chocolate/music store being her 'dream' and how she would do anything to keep her 'dream', including getting back together with her scumbag ex was driving me batty!

There were definite shades of Kristen Ashley's "Rock Chick", but I honestly don't remember India being such a huge, aggravating dingbat.

I may try to get back into it later when I'm feeling more tolerant for asinine behavior.
Match Me If You Can - Susan Elizabeth Phillips Re-read September 2013.
Shut Up and Kiss Me - Christie Craig While I really liked this book, there seemed to be a lot going on with a lot of different characters. I think that if there weren't so many side stories going, that I would have felt a little more connected to the main characters. Not that I didn't like the main characters - I did. I just didn't feel that emotional connection with them that tends to really draw me into a story.
I laughed throughout this book as there were a lot of funny things happening. Of course, some of it seemed a little over the top, such as everything that happened to Jose (the hero's, Sky, foster brother).
The ending was a little abrupt for me. While there was the happily-ever-after ending, I guess I like my epilogues where you see a little into the future to see that everything is still going well for the hero and heroine. Also, there are a few loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. I would have known more/seen what happened to Lucas, but this book appears to be a stand-alone and not part of a series.
Overall, it was worth the read.
The Proposition - Jennifer Lyon Pretty good start to this "serial".
Just wish I had known that it involved cliffhanger books before I started reading. I would have waited until I had all 3 books.
Undeniably Yours - Shannon Stacey Really liked the story line and REALLY liked the hero, Kevin. The heroine, Beth, however was not a fave for me.
Kevin sees Beth in the bar he owns being groped by a man. He basically goes to "save" her from unwanted attentions and ends up getting her fired from her job (the unwanted attentions were from her boss, who apparently has been doing this for months).
They meet up again when Beth is working as a bartender for Kevin's brother's wedding. The end up sleeping together and she leaves in the morning (after Kevin unintentionally kicks her out).
She finds out she's pregnant and goes to tell Kevin. He's actually very supportive and willing to help/support her in any way.
Unfortunately, through the entire book, she pushes him away - doesn't want to depend on anyone - can only be friends - tells Kevin he doesn't know what he feels - fights every nice thing Kevin or his family does for her . . . and on and on and on.
If she showed a more gradual warming up to Kevin and the possibility of a relationship, or was willing to see where a relationship would go, instead of thinking that if they didn't work out then they couldn't be friends and she would be all alone . . . she started out alone, how big a change would it be from her current circumstances . . . aside from having a baby?
The entire book was a "one step forward, two steps back" experience. Until the last few pages when she suddenly decides that she loves him and wants a relationship with him (and to be a family).
I would have definitely rated this book higher if it weren't for the heroine being so stand-offish through the bulk of the story.
Forever Black (Forever Trilogy, #1) - Sandi Lynn I really don't know why these two characters got together. He is a 30 year old billionaire CEO who has a string of 'non-relationships' including the "no sleepover" rule. She is a 23 year old painter, who works part-time while waiting for her art to take off. Not to mention that she just got out of a 4 year relationship.

She first meets him while leaving a club in which he was being escorted out of due to becoming belligerent when being denied additional alcohol. He's so drunk, he can barely stand. So, she decides she will escort him home. She gets him home, cleans him up after he vomits all over himself and decides to stay for a while to make sure he stays passed out on his side . . .just in case he were to vomit again, he won't choke on it. Apparently, her father was an alcoholic who died after choking on his vomit. She found him the next morning.
Anyway - - the next morning before she leaves, she decides to make him a hangover remedy, as well as a pot of coffee. He finds her in the kitchen and brings up his "no sleepover" rule and asks why she is still there. After explaining that they didn't sleep together and she was just there to make sure he was okay, she leaves.
Later, Connor treats her to dinner at an expensive restaurant as a 'thank you'. Their relationship goes on from there.

Aside from taking care of him while he was drunk, and a few "live a little" episodes, I cannot figure out what Connor saw in Ellery. She did nothing for him. Overall, she came across as self-centered and immature, as well as need and moody.
She indicates that she stayed with her boyfriend of 4 years because she didn't want to be alone. She acted like she was had no one who cared about her, but then all these people were willing to do things for her and help her out.
Connor, while having his own issues (which honestly did not seem like such a huge deal to have decide to forego all but the physical side of relationships including getting a vasectomy), did a lot of Ellery. He paid for everything, bought her nice things, and took care of her during her illness. He just kept doing things for her despite her not doing anything for him.

They had multiple arguments during this book and they were all blown out of proportion. Arguments that lead to 'break ups' and then, of course, getting back together. Ironically, every time that they had a fight and Ellery called her BFF, the BFF would tell her how wrong she was.
The story took place over a short period of time and it all seemed rushed. I felt nothing for the characters and did not see any chemistry between them.

The writing did not flow. Punctuation was off, including quotation marks being put into the middle of a character's dialogue. The story was first person told from Ellery's POV, except for one chapter towards the end which was told from Connor's POV. Not sure why this one chapter was included, as there was nothing in it that added to the story, or explained any of his actions/thoughts. The biggest thing that bugged me, was the use of "to" instead of "too". That happened all the time "I love you to".
Wish I enjoyed this more. I don't expect that I will be reading the next 2 books in this trilogy
The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window - Kirsty Moseley 3.5 stars

Overall, this was an enjoyable story.
The main female character, Amber, and her brother have been abused by their father since a young age. Amber, however, was also sexually abused and her brother and his best friend, Liam, caught the father trying to rape her. They, at age 15, beat the father and kicked him out of the house.
Since Amber was 8 years old, Liam would sneak into her room at night and comfort her - holding her through the night. This is a nightly occurrence for 8 years.
Liam has, apparently, loved Amber since he met her when she was 4 years old. (Liam is 2 years older.) He finally confesses his feelings to her and they become a couple.
As far as their relationship goes, there is no angsty misunderstanding that occurs to break them up. It just shows the progression of their relationship and includes several "bumps in the road" along the way.
I would have rated the book higher, but there were multiple spelling/grammar issues. Additionally, everyone "smirked", "winked", and "waggled their eyebrows" constantly throughout the entire book. Including the parents/adults.
The Kiss Test - Shannon McKelden I usually enjoy the 'friends-to-lovers' storylines, but I could not get into this book.
Margo is a country station DJ in New York City. She is living with her boyfriend and is happy with the way her life is, with no intention of getting married. Her best friend is Chris and they've been friends since childhood.
Then, Margo loses her job, her boyfriend and has to stay temporarily with Chris - who is basically a man-ho. Right before moving in with Chris, Margo falls down the stairs, sustaining a concussion and ongoing vertigo. Margo is upset as this will mess up her planned vacation, which is very Elvis-centric.
Chris makes a deal to help her still get to go on her driving vacay, if she agrees to attend her mother's 11th marriage.
Margo annoyed me from the start. She acted like it was a surprise that anyone could change their minds about where they want their life to go over 5 years (her boyfriend agreed with her about no marriage when they started dating 5 years ago). She presented herself as a victim and that no one understood her. Oh, and let's not forget about the over-the-top obsession with Elvis. (A blow-up doll wearing a replica of Elvis' white jumpsuit? Bobble-head Elvis; Elvis t-shirts; black velvet Elvis painting; etc.)
Then, Chris . . .for someone who supposedly had feelings for Margo for so long, picking up a random chick and then later having sex with her in the hotel room he shared with Margo with, apparently, no thought/concern as to where his friend with the continuing vertigo is . . .ugh! Really? (Margo had been taking a bath and fell asleep in the bathtub, waking up to the sounds of Chris having sex. She ended up sleeping in the tub so as not to disturb him, thinking he would be done soon and send said random chick on her way. Really?)
And I never understood what Chris' "kiss test" entailed. It was briefly discussed between him and Margo, but he never said what criteria was involved. Supposedly, he would only kiss someone once. If they failed, they never got a chance again.
For a book that is supposed to be a romance, it really didn't feel like one until the last chapter or so.
She's No Angel - Kira Sinclair Lexi is the daughter of the mayor of small town Sweetheart. Brett is the architect sent to get the town to agree to having a resort built on the edge of town.

Her issues: Self-esteem related to weight issues when she was young; a guy recently using her to get information on her brother.

His issues: Apparently lived in a dangerous neighborhood while he was growing up; dad left when he was 9 years old leaving him feeling responsible for his mother and younger brother; hates his boss and needs the bonus he will get from town agreeing to have resort built so that he can start his own business.

Plot includes Brett's boss telling him to use Lexi to get to the mayor and get his agreement, therefore swaying the rest of the town into agreeing to the resort. It appears that the biggest reason the town doesn't want the resort is because it's ugly.

Overall, the story was decent. While I was reading it though, the plot/story seemed really familiar. In fact, I was thinking I had already read it before remembering that it was just released.

While not promoted as a series, there is a book about Lexi's brother that precedes this one.
Maybe, if I had read that one first, I would have enjoyed this one better. The main characters' issues don't really seem like a big deal to me. And what background information is given doesn't add a whole lot to the overall storyline. Supporting characters are not developed and seem one dimensional.
Fire Inside (Chaos, #2) - Kristen Ashley Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

I have to admit, I wasn't a big fan of Hop or Lanie while reading "Motorcycle Man", but they both were redeemed in this book.
Lanie still had her moments when I really didn't like her in this story. There were a couple of times that her 'drama' episodes did not seem justified to me and I couldn't blame Hop for getting angry.
However, Hop pretty much knew what he wanted from the beginning and stuck to his guns throughout the book.
Definitely enjoyed their story and it was interesting to see the interconnection with a couple of scenes from "Own the Wind".
Cuffed for Pleasure (Pleasures #1) - Lacey Thorn Very short story. It had great potential, but wasn't developed very well.
I felt no connection to the characters and there seemed to be more to the heroine's background than was explained.
Wished it was longer.
Find You in the Dark (Find You in the Dark, #1) - A. Meredith Walters Oh-em-gee!!
This was a stressful read for me!
It was a really good story and the subject matter (mental illness) was handled really well. BUT, throughout the book, I was stressed out.
I've worked in the social services field for 18 years, the first 8 of which was exclusively in mental health (including 1 1/2 years in the crisis unit of a state hospital). I had no difficulty imagining the hero's actions/behavior. Then, add on top of that, the obsession of first love/teen love and it was painful to experience the emotions (confusion, loyalty, caring, etc.) of the heroine trying to deal with and understand what the hero was going through.
So, this is definitely not a light-hearted story with a HEA, but it handled a sensitive subject well and was definitely realistic.
I will be reading the second part of these characters' story - which I understand has more of a HEA, but with another emotional ride while getting there - after I read a few light, breezy stories first.
Always Been Mine (The Moreno Brothers, #2) - Elizabeth Reyes I would have liked this book so much better if the heroine didn't have so many TSTL moments.
OMG - you have a stalker who gets out of prison and starts contacting you . . ."Oh, it's nothing."
You have a stalker who was in prison for pulling a knife on his wife during an argument and he corners you in a vacant building that is not in very populated area . . ."I'll make sure my pepper spray is back on my key ring."
You have a stalker who knows your every move and who you're spending time with . . ."How does he know where I am/what I'm doing?"
You have a stalker who starts threatening you . . ."I should look into getting a restraining order. Just not now, because I'm so busy."
You have a stalker who tries to force his way into your home . . . "Maybe I should get a gun." Your boyfriend and best friend encourage you to get a restraining order . . ."As soon as I have time."
You have a stalker whose threats get stronger . . . but you don't want to tell your boyfriend . . . then get annoyed with said boyfriend when he forces you to get a restraining order.

Other than that, I liked they story and enjoyed Alex's thoughts and actions in getting Valerie back.