Friday, 27 October 2017

F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

F*ck Love
by Tarryn Fisher
Summary: Helena Conway has fallen in love.

Unwillingly. Unwittingly.

But not unprovoked.

Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered, and not even a little bit careful.

It could all be so beautiful…if he wasn’t dating her best friend.

Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others. Until she doesn’t.
In case it wasn't obvious by now, I have a soft spot for angsty romances. Even if the characters frustrate me, even if their choices are too stupid to justify, even if a teeny tiny part of me is rooting for the couple to get the hell over each other and move onto something healthier than their obsession with each other...I still love angsty romances.

They're addictive, and when they're done right, they hit me right in the feels and I can't help but go on an emotional roller coaster right along with the characters. Character is happy? My face'll hurt from smiling. Character is angry? I'll want to throw the book in solidarity. Character is hurting? My heart will be aching right along with them.

And this delivered all of that. It's not the most amazing book I've read, but I really enjoyed it.

It was surprisingly funny and it was one of those rare romances that doesn't use sex as a crutch or a substitute for really developing the relationship between characters.

And the characters? I really liked them. I loved Helena and Kit, and I really liked the side characters.

Did the book have its issues? Sure. But it never bored me -- I picked it up and didn't stop reading until I was done and I'd devoted a few hours of time to read it cover to cover. It had some girl hate in the form of a toxic friendship, but it made up for it with other positive female friendships and I liked that.

Genuinely the only part of the book I'd say I really didn't like at all was this section with a character named Muslim, which just seemed sloppy and felt thoroughly out of place in the story (I don't know if it was a cameo of a character from another of the authors books?).

But yeah, other than that, I really enjoyed this one. I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars for not only being the first book in weeks I've managed to finish but for holding my interest enough that I read it in one sitting. I'm definitely going to be checking out some of the authors other books when I need to claw my way out of a reading slump.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Roomhate by Penelope Ward

by Penelope Ward

Summary: Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise. The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago. The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house. The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection. The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.
This book has been in my Kindle TBR for ages, it sounded fun and I went into it just wanting to be hooked by a classic hate-to-love trope-y romance.

And this book did deliver what I wanted. Sort of. It did have me hooked and I did really like it. And the hate-to-love trope? It was there, though not the best I've read. But it just lacked a certain spark -- it didn't give me that ache in my chest that I get when I'm reading a book I'm so thoroughly emotionally invested in that I'm feeling so much empathy towards the characters. This was just dull echoes of emotion I was getting, when I wanted to feel all of the things, if that makes sense?

The plot took me by surprise. It really wasn't what I was expecting. I actually ended up really loving those unexpected plot elements, even though they're things that might've put me off reading the book had I known about them beforehand. The things I thought I wouldn't have wanted in the story ended up being some of the things I loved most.

I think another issue I had was that 99% of their issues could be solved if they just used their words. Which, granted, is often the case in romance books. Miscommunication is one of the most utilized plot devices and it doesn't always bug me, but in this one it did because their justifications for not communicating better were pretty weak.

And on the topic of weakness, the main character was pretty weak too. Not in terms of strength, but her character. She had no real personality. Or at least that's how it felt when reading. It was almost like she didn't exist in the years when she wasn't with him, the only bits of her life without him were thrown in their for convenience rather than to make her a more fleshed out and believable character.

We find out about one friend and an ex boyfriend. But nothing really beyond them. I can't even really think of anything about her as a character, a like or a dislike or something but all I've got is that she likes seafood.

Also, the sex scenes in this made me cringe a bit. I think there was only one scene like that that didn't make me cringe. It wasn't that they were necessarily badly written exactly, I just didn't like them.

...I don't know why, whenever I'm reviewing a book like this, my review ends up way more negative than my rating. Because I did actually like this one. I had some issues with it, but I sped through it quickly and there were parts of it I genuinely loved (and I really liked that it didn't play the catty girl hate card), it just wasn't a favourite. I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Rival by Penelope Douglas

by Penelope Douglas

Summary: Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….
So I've been reading quite a few books like this recently. I have such a love/hate relationship with them. When I'm in a reading slump, only certain books can pull me of it (usually romance books of some sort because they're fun, they're addictive and they're more often than not quite predictable but in a good way).

Books like this are on the list of good reading slump books for me. And the love/hate thing? This one was no exception. The problem is, there's usually a downside to these books (maybe I'm just finding the wrong ones?) and that downside tends to come in the form of girl hate, awful girl stereotypes, borderline problematic love interests and occasionally toxic relationships that you probably shouldn't root for but can't quite help it.

This one featured one of my favourite romance tropes: the hate-turns-to-love thing, with lots of snark and arguing and chemistry. And it also featured a lot of those down sides I mentioned, though not quite as extreme as some I've read.

My biggest issue was that this was one of those cases where it seemed like it was aiming for the kind of bad boy player trope, but sometimes it strays into just actual bad guy territory with his toxic arrogance (for example, there's a scene where the love interest, in his POV, makes an internal comment about when he will start having kids and basically says that the mother of those kids will agree to it because no one says no to him...which is just - no).

My review of this book has kind of turned more into a general rant/discussion of a pattern I keep seeing in books from this genre (again, I'm probably just reading the wrong ones, maybe there's some fantastic ones out there that don't do these things)... But that's because I don't really have all that much to say about this specific book.

I'm in a reading slump, but I managed to read this in one sitting. It hooked me, it's fast paced and it kept me entertained. I really enjoyed the friendships and the characters. It was pretty much what I expected it to be (and it actually touched on a subject I wasn't expecting it to, but in a good way because it should be represented more).

Basically, I did actually really enjoy this book. I think I've read two? maybe three? of the authors books now and I can genuinely say I'm a fan. But I know a lot of people who would be so angry reading a book like this, so I'd only recommend it if you can tolerate the issues I mentioned in this review (if books like Beautiful Disaster are your kind of thing, this one and the first book--a companion to this--will probably be right up your street).

I'd rate this one 3.5 stars out of 5.



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