Sunday, February 19, 2017

Manwhore +1 by Katy Evans | Rating: ★★★★★ 

Be safe with me. Reckless with me. Be who you are with me.

Much like with its predecessor, I found my expectations surprisingly shattered in the best possible way with Katy Evans lovestory. Manwhore +1 is entirely as fun and steamy as Manwhore and this time, there's a lot more romance and resolution to be found. While the story at its core is highly clichéd and a bit unbelievable, it is still likable and captivating. And if you loved the first novel in the series, you'll be positively enamored by the sequel and all the love and growth that materializes before our eyes.

Manwhore +1 is ultimately more heartfelt in its central plot that the first book. It takes a look around and improves itself--the main romance is expanded after they are reunited and make peace with the article and its aftermath. Everything in this novel is put to the test and the growth we see looking back at the start, to that ending, is a great example of what romance writers can learn. I found myself rooting even more for Rachel and Malcolm, something I thought not possible--as I was already cheering them on in the first installment.

Are you ready to be a sinner? Because I know I am. Full of steamy moments and sharp dialogue, Manwhore +1 is in it to win it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wrecked by Maria Padian | Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Let's start right off the bat with the topic at hand the trigger warning that is laying in the central plot. Wrecked tackles the subject of rape. This will not be for everyone. I need to lay that out there for my readers. Because, it is a sensitive topic. Remember, as always, to look into the novel and protect yourself from triggering any memories. Although it tackles the topic, it is not in the usual way--the story is not narrated by the victim, instead, it's a bit of an outsiders view of the aftermath.

That being said, Maria Padian has a realistic way of approaching the topic and breathes a life into her story that makes you feel deeply from page one until the end. It's deep, it's a bit of a painful experience, there's humor and it just remains true to itself in a way that most novels cannot manage. Wrecked isn't an after school special but a frank look into the characters' we meet and their lives. You look into the community of a college and the all-too-real look at sexual assault.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Betting on Bailey by Tara Crescent | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As if knowing someone is a prerequisite to good sex.

Betting on Bailey is another one of those on a whim purchases I've made lately. Until this novel, I'd never heard of Tara Crescent but can't understand why. Her writing is the type that pulls you in and just might set you on fire by the ending. I had a love/hate for this novel because there were a lot of parts that just didn't flow quite like I'd have hoped. I did, however, enjoy it overall and am curious to more by Crescent.

That being said--threesomes. It's one of those fantasies that just sort of sticks in your mind. Betting on Bailey is not my first experience with the topic when it comes to literature. But it is one of the better ones. You've got three intriguing characters who have off the charts chemistry; pulling you in from the moment they meet and keeping you in place firmly. Did I find their relationship to be entirely plausible? Not quite. Did I still enjoy it? Yes.

One of the things that bothered me about Betting on Bailey was how it flowed overall. It felt a bit strange, the way everything developed and grew from one thing to another. That's the only reason I'm giving it a three-star instead of four or even a five. I found some of the interactions to be a bit strange or lack that extra kick that would set it apart. Beyond that, I'm not going to lie to you: a great deal of it felt unbelievable and unrealistic.

Manwhore by Katy Evans | Rating: ★★★★★ 

A challenge is something you stop wanting once you acquire it. I can’t know if you’re a challenge yet until I make you mine. 

I went into Manwhore fully intending to hate it. This was a novel I picked up on a whim to cure a massive book hangover I'd been having for a few weeks. I never expected to like it, let alone love it. After-all, its plots are full of frequently used devices, tropes and all those bloody archetypes that grow more and more tedious with every passing day. We get it! Bad boy is tamed by a good girl.

The thing that surprised me about Manwhore was it was a total cliche. One that came into its own in a way that is very, very satisfying to a reader. Katy Evans spins a sizzling tale that is smart, sexy and quick on its feet. It only helps that it takes place in Chicago, a city that I love immensely. To describe the plot of Manwhore, I'd have to sum it up as a very steamy spin on How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. They're not identical in plots but I think the general premise will be appealing to those who love a good romp and the feel that comes with the now-classic romantic comedy. 

Manwhore is a lot more serious than I expected but also not serious at all. I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I am: "Jessica, that makes no sense." I'm not going to apologize, though, because that's the only way I can describe it. Evans mixes business, pleasure, heart and everything in between. Not unlike the tone that Sylvia Day writes in--she'll captivate you with the romance that blossoms against odds between Malcolm and Rachel.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

By Your Side by Kasie West | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. 

One of the main reasons I requested By Your Side was because I'd heard quite a lot of praise over Kasie West's work in the past and also that it was recommended for fans of Stephanie Perkins. Good young adult novels set in the contemporary and romantic genre can be hard to come across and while By Your Side was by no means a horribly put together story, it just wasn't particularly intriguing or mind-blowing. I thought the premise had a lot of potential to set it apart from other novels but ultimately it felt a lot like... every other book in the genre?

Let me explain: I spent a great deal of the novel stopping and starting. That is a bad sign for me always. Kasie West does have a nice prose that is sweet and to the point, not unlike Stephanie Perkins, but in the case of By Your Side there was a whole lot of one dimensional malarkey. Generally, I like to be wowed by character development and one thing was glaringly obvious about this one: the main character, Autumn, was the only saving grace in it. I did really like her and enjoyed hearing her voice. I thought there was still something else that could have been done with her and that a specific trope shouldn't have been used to define her.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno | Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4.5)

A copy of this novel was provided through Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I've never read anything by Katie Cotugno but I have always heard good things about her work. After almost constantly hearing nothing but sweet things about her writing, and finally picking out something of hers to try, I can see why she has such steady fans. Fireworks is a breath of fresh air and pleasantly surprised me when it comes to its genre--it could have gone horribly wrong but something about her prose just makes the experience all the more good.

What made me enjoy Fireworks so much was the nostalgia of it all--Cotugno captured an era I remember fondly and did it a solid. I'd say it falls right smack dab in the middle of clichéd and not. Somehow, it all worked and tangled together spotlessly and kept me feeling a kind of warmth to it. I'm not going to lie and tell you guys this is the most moving novel you'll ever read but it is worth a second look. It reminded me of a lot of childhood memories but it also stays connected with its target audience--while it will feel nostalgic to people my age, it will feel just as captivating and relevant to a younger audience, too. A lot has changed from the 1990s to today--that is time itself--but not enough to make teenagers feel disconnected to the general story.

Nothing Less by Anna Todd | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

Where Anna Todd's Nothing More soared in comparison to her After series--Nothing Less, well, didn't. Her writing has really improved in the years since she began posting to Wattpad, and it is more obvious everyday, but the entire conclusion to Landon Gibson's story fell flat for me. Nothing Less picks up right where Nothing More left off but there just wasn't as much heart in it compared to the first of the duo.

Nearly everything that made Nothing More standout just didn't feel developed in this one and that was, ultimately, disappointing for me. I am not one to take many new adult novels in the genre serious--but one of the things that strikes me about Todd's writing is that with all her books, her prose grows stronger. Anna is known for growing as a writing and exploring different tones. But with Nothing Less, I felt like she'd backtracked on her "each novel gets better" progress and it just wasn't doing it for me. I almost didn't complete it.

But here's the thing: I think fans of the series, and the series that spawned it, will appreciate it for what it is. A fluffy, smutty, humorous love story with the importance of friendship and respect of one's self sprinkled in. After has never been my cup of tea, per se, but it's always been relatively entertaining for me. I think that, another reason why this installment just wasn't my favourite, was it felt a little separated from what she'd already established in her work.