Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a decent cozy mystery. I didn't find it particularly gripping, though. I was able to put it down for days at a time, without the burning need to keep reading or have the mystery solved. A little more suspense or intrigue would have been nice.
One thing that consistently bothered me (and I'm worried about seeing in the rest of the series) is the indirect fat shaming. Every time that there was an opportunity to bring up weight, size, "chins", or "ample" anything, it was there. And entirely unnecessary.
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Hot Head by Damon Suede
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I definitely enjoyed this one. Damon Suede has a way with words that is almost hypnotic. These two seemed like a great pairing. I honestly wish that Suede had more books on the market for me to gobble up, because I want to read more.
The only part of the book that I'm a bit hung up on is Dante's reasonings (revealed at the end) behind his desire to do the porn, and a few other things about the porn that I won't put here. Ultimately, this aspect of the book bothered me a bit. Otherwise, I adored it.
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Mainly by Moonlight by Josh Lanyon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I was maybe two or three chapters from finishing, but I just couldn't. I stuck with it for so long, but in the end, I'd had enough.
This has to be one of the most frustrating Josh Lanyon books that I've ever read. There were so many great magical aspects to this story, that I wanted to love it, but it was the relationship between the heroes that ruined it for me.
First, how in the world could these two guys fall in insta-love, buy a house, renovate the house (with one room complete already), and be planning a wedding for two days in the future, after ONLY TWO WEEKS OF KNOWING EACH OTHER? It takes longer to purchase the house and do the paperwork! Even with the reader's expectations of reality suspended for the sake of this magical world, the whole thing is outrageous. And the more it was brought up, the more frustrated I became. Honestly, the time that they had known each other seemed to have no real bearing on the story, at all. Lanyon could have easily changed this to two years, and the story would not only remain the same, but it would make more sense.
Then, there is the relationship, itself. Once Cosmo found out that John was under a spell, his plans to go through with the wedding should have been terminated. He said, himself, that it might take months for the spell to wear off, and it was only two days 'till his wedding. This was morally wrong; he was trapping John into the marriage, forcing him to do something that was beyond his ability to deny. Cosmo should have at least postponed the wedding to a later date to make sure that John could actually be in love with him for real.
Another confusing misstep was the sex. I didn't read the end (which is where I understand the only sex scene is), but there's a scene in the middle when John tries to sleep with Cosmo, and Cosmo rejects him. This wasn't explained well enough, because it seemed to me that Cosmo just didn't want to have penetrative sex, which would leave plenty of other options, but instead, they just stopped. It wasn't at all that I was looking for more sex in the book (I know that Lanyon doesn't like to put too much into her books), but the way that scene sits now just doesn't make sense. It would be better if it wasn't there, at all.
Ultimately, this book was very disappointing. I was really looking forward to the magic (and I enjoyed the first bit--until the love spell was revealed, and Cosmo decided to keep going with things) and instead was given a morally bankrupt protagonist and an unbelievable plot.
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The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have so many feelings about this book. Too many to really list them all, but ultimately, it boils down to this.
When I read a book, I want to escape reality and live in some good romance for a little while. Unfortunately, The Husband Gambit was full of politics--from the arguments of left vs right to rich vs poor, this book was packed. Jesse's homophobic family was horrible; so horrible, in fact, that I found them not quite believable. I get the dad and possibly even the mom characters, but how could his siblings be such static, one-dimensional characters that are only puppets for their father? They were completely unrealistic. That, and the constant punch-to-the-face hammering-the-point-home about Jesse's family completely overshadowed everything else in the book.
The politics and homophobic family in particular, but everything, really, was overly repetitive in the redundant, rambling internal dialogue of Jesse and Hayden. This made for a very slow-moving book, that at times had me wanting to skip ahead to something more interesting.
The worst of it all was the romance. Honestly, I could have dealt with the politics and pacing if there was a slow burning simmer of sexual tension building to keep me interested, but the glacial pace that this author took made me find it difficult to see any chemistry between our heroes at all. Sure, their friendship seemed genuine, due to their easy conversation and affable nature, but I didn't believe that they were falling in love. The sex, itself, was disappointing, because there was no build-up. It seemed to me like they did it out of a sense of convenience--we're both here in this room, both conveniently "hot" guys and horny, let's do it! *Ugh!* So frustrating when something that should read as so climactic ends up being such a dud. Also, why couldn't our author come up with any other descriptive words to describe these two, other than "hot"? After their first meeting, I genuinely forgot what they looked like, and found everything difficult to imagine. "Hot" simply isn't a good enough descriptor.
This is the first book that I've read by L.A. Witt, so I don't know if this is the way this author writes, or if these issues are unique to this title, so I'll probably give them another chance. The plot had so much potential, and I was really looking forward to reading this, but it just didn't work for me.
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Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.