Sunday, November 25, 2018

Broken Love Review

Broken Love (Shattered Love Series #2)
By: Stacey Marie Brown

Life shattered my bones, now it wants to break my heart. 
Jaymerson Holloway thought all her grief and pain were behind her. Unfortunately, life has other ideas. 
Where stories don’t end happily. 
Where hearts shattered into pieces and love slips through your fingers. 
Leaving everything behind to follow her dreams, Jaymerson travels to Italy, where she learns to stand on her own, move on with her life, and open her heart to another. But nothing prepares her for seeing Hunter’s life explode over the TV screen and watching his success, which comes with lots of women wanting a piece of The Haze. Crueler is the agony of seeing him fall in love with another. But that isn’t even the worst of it. 
When she returns home and their paths cross, they are no longer the same people. The old animosity they once felt for each other flares the ties between them. Especially when more secrets and truths are uncovered. 
Like moths to flames, their undeniable chemistry continues to pull them to each other and tangle their lives together, even though it will only end in heartbreak and sorrow. 

I remember when I finished reading Shattered Love, and thought there was no way I would be able to wait so long for Broken Love to come out to find out what happens next with Jaymerson and Hunter. I absolutely fell in love with the first book, if you enjoy contemporary romance or aren't familiar but are willing to try something new, I highly recommend these books. The third book hasn't even come out yet and I can already say with absolute certainty that this is one of my favorite series'. I've already read both books more times than I can even count, and Broken Love only came out a couple weeks ago. I love them that much. Ok ok, enough about my obsession with these books. Now to the good stuff.

In the first book we watched Jaymerson and Hunter go through a lifetime worth of hardship and heartache to finally be able to be with each other. Honestly, the book ended on such a high note for me that if the author, SMB, had have left it as a single book, I would have still been happy. In saying that, this book is everything I didn't know I needed for these characters. SMB created some of my all time favorite characters with Jaymerson and Hunter and honestly, I was a little bit angry with her for putting them through so much all over again. Especially Hunter, seriously SMB, couldn't you have just given the guy a break?? However tragic his story was I have come to believe it was necessary to the plot (not that my acceptance of this lessens my ridiculously bitterness of this, of course). That's right peeps, Hunter is yet another of what I refer to as my "book boyfriends". Read the books and I promise you, you will understand exactly why.

Jaymerson's character undergoes a huge transformation in this book, which is inspiring to see. In the first book she became such a victim of circumstance to her classmates and we watched her undergo so much bullying that her self confidence took a huge hit. In Broken Love she really comes into her own and even when faced with past bullies, she is so confident and self aware that no matter what hurtful things they say she rises above it and moves beyond their pitiful attempts to reduce her to the broken girl she was in high school, after her accident. 

I loved the hot and cold dynamic between Hunter and Jaymerson, and the mystery behind each of their love lives. Neither of them really wanted to be the first to come out and tell the other where they stand and there were a lot of guessing games happening between the two which caused more problems. Hunter has the ability to turn off his feelings like a faucet and sometimes his behaviour changes so quickly that he becomes a huge asshole in the blink of an eye (which is somehow still sexy) and Jaymerson is more of the wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve type, so she's the one who gets more obviously hurt by the way Hunter treats her. This wasn't your typical guy chases girl or even girl chases guy story, they both chase each other, until the chase ends and they're thrown together. That's when the book gets even juicier. 

If you've read all of this and still think 'hm. I don't think I would like this' then I have described it poorly and I apologize. I really can't tell you how much I love this series. The third, and final, book is coming out next year and while Jaymerson and Hunter are not centric to the story, I am still ardently awaiting the book. I already know I'm going to love it (but no pressure SMB). 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

House of Darken (Secret Keepers #1) Review

House of Darken (Secret Keepers #1)
By: Jaymin Eve

When Emma moves to Astoria, Oregon, she is given two rules: 

#1 – Don’t cross to “their” side of the street.

#2 – Don’t mess with the elites, especially Lexen Darken, top elite and resident bad boy. 

While she finds this both weird and insulting, Emma has no actual intention of breaking these rules - until her guardians go missing. Now all bets are off. Only a single line separates her side of the street from the elites', and she's crossing it.

Captured and held by Lexen and his brothers, she learns the rules are in place for a very good reason. There's a secret world hidden in this small town which goes far beyond the one she knows and understands. 

A world not for humans.

Every now and then I come across a gem of a book and can't understand how I've never heard of it before. House of Darken was hands down one of those books. I saw it advertised on FB as part of a series, and liked the cover. I didn't even have to read the synopsis to know that I wanted to read this book. By chapter three I was hooked and knew that there was no way I was putting this book down until I was finished it. 

My favorite reads are always ones where I can picture the setting and where the author creates a homey feeling within me. There was something about the way Jaymin described the town, school and even Emma's dilapidated little house that made me feel warm and cozy. Emma and her guardians are no strangers to hard times and Emma's awareness and acceptance of their stressed financial situation was refreshing. Her attitude was one of gratitude, even though she was barely given the necessities she needed to live. I loved that the author included that type of attitude and circumstance in this book geared to young adult readers, because that display of positive attitude from a strong teenage female can be inspiring in young people and open their minds to their own situations. Bookworms like myself always draw inspiration and strength from our favorite characters, so for the author to give us such a positive influence in Emma is fantastic.

I also loved the glimpse into how the 'other half' live with the mansions, the expensive school, expensive cars and snotty, entitled rich kids who call themselves the "elite". I loved that there were clear lines drawn between the classes, based on income and how that line became blurred when Emma ventured onto a side that she clearly did not belong on. 

As always, my favorite part was the bad boy in the book, Lexen Darken. Seriously, why do authors always give us these physically strong, beautiful, badass men and then give them soft gooey sides, making readers develop crushes on fictional characters. Please, Jaymin, throw me a bone here and tell me that Lexen is based on someone real. I'm begging you. Lexen's character begins as the proverbial asshole and the more we get to know him the more we learn how fiercely protective he is of his family, how loyal he is to his friends and how powerful he is as a draygone born. Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure I understand what he is and what his people can do, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to read all about them and know more. 

I have already downloaded the next three books and am looking forward to the next installments in this series. And for real, how did I not know about this series before now??

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Triton's Daughter (The Triton Series #1) Review

Triton's Daughter (The Triton Series #1)
By: Emory Gayle

What if the person you had been dreaming of, since you were a child, was real? KyLaya Constantilly is barely holding her life together after her father falls ill and it is left to her to lead the kingdom of Triton. Keeping her city safe from Siren attacks proves to be more than she was bargaining for when she finds herself at the mercy of one of them. When a handsome stranger saves her from a fate worse than death, KyLaya is whisked away from all she knows and into the clutches of a Sirenite, a Siren’s son. But, the Sirenite isn’t what she expects and though a part of her knows she should fear him, something inside her falls for his kindness and charm. Will KyLaya be able to open herself up to a love that is eons in the making, or will she remain faithful to her people and the engagement to a man she could never fall in love with?
Jett has one rule: never engage a Mer. But that is about to change. Jett has grown up on the prairies all his life. Part of a small, tight knit, community his life seems charmed, however, there is more to his people than meets the eye. Refugees from Mer, his people have hidden away from the sea and kept to themselves for decades. But, when Jett sees KyLaya for the first time, he jeopardizes the safety of his people and the lives that they have made for themselves. Something in him calls to her and when KyLaya’s life is put in danger, Jett reacts without thinking, bringing her into a community that doesn’t want her there. Will Jett betray the confidence of his people to remain with the girl who has graced his dreams since he was a child, or will he turn her over to his people and certain death?
As KyLaya and Jett navigate their budding romance, a stranger shows up and they are forced to face the truth behind their connection and the reason they have been dreaming of each other since they were children.

I was surprised yesterday when an author I like on FB asked how everyone was enjoying her new book. I checked my list of book releases that I am waiting for and her book wasn't on it. I was surprised at myself as I really enjoyed her Water Series. It turns out that life had thrown her a few curve balls lately and as a result she wasn't able to market Triton's Daughter as much as she wanted to, so I had no idea she was dropping a new book. It was a fantastic surprise. I bought the book yesterday and my excitement to read it gave me the drive I needed to finish the extremely painful book I was reading. So thank you Emory Gayle, without your book to look forward to I may still be plugging along in a book I was not at all enjoying. 

 Triton's Daughter is set in the same Mer world as the Water Series so I was already familiar with the authors rendition of mermaid lore and all that it entails. It was nice to go back to the familiar deep sea world and meet some new characters. In The Triton Series we get a closer look at the Mer city Triton, and the family that rules it. The main character KyLaya, is essentially the princess of Triton, but their hierarchy has a different name for it. She is dealing with her gravely ill father and being thrust into the position of ruler of Triton before she's truly ready for it.

Both of the main characters in this book were like-able enough, if not a little dull. The author really didn't show a lot of their personalities, but maybe that's just because this is the first book in a series. Perhaps she will delve a little deeper into the characters in the following books. She does give us a peek into their childhoods and their family. We see who is important to them and why, and how those relationships evolved over time. The familial relationship I am most curious to see is the one between KyLaya and her father, unfortunately because he's so sick I'm not sure when we will get to see what their dynamic looks like or how he will take to the news of who KyLaya's fallen in love with.

I was pleasantly surprised that although both KyLaya and Jett both already have potential love interests when they meet, there is no token jealous guy/girl that you normally see in this type of romance story. I actually found myself liking all of the characters that we were introduced to, with the obvious exception of the Gods. The only hint of disappointment I felt while reading this novel was that of the villain of the story. As with the Water Series, the Triton Series villain is a God. While I do enjoy the fusion of Gods and Mer people in these books I would have liked to see another element added. But again, this is the early days of the first book of a series so maybe the author has yet to add new/more components to the story.

One thing we can always count on me loving in an Emory Gayle book is the love story. I love that her characters accept their feelings for each other early on and she doesn't drag out their relationship, keeping the reader in suspense. As much as I always enjoy the first stages of a new relationship between characters there's also the added dilemma of how the characters will meld their lives together when they're really not meant to be together. Sure, I love love, but I love forbidden love that much more!

It's been a long time since I read a series so new that only the first book is released. I'm not the most patient of people so waiting for the second book to come out in 2019 will be very difficult for me. I have already added it to my 'To Be Released' list and am anxiously  waiting.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Sweet Revenge Review

Sweet Revenge (A Curvy Girl Romance)
By: River Laurent


Great! Just Great! 
My boyfriend of two years dumps me for another woman on the eve of New Year’s Eve. 
And the reason? She weighs less than me. 
Thanks, James. Really. Thanks. 
But, I’m not sitting at home crying for your sorry ass. 
No, I’m going to re-build the confidence you systematically destroyed. 
And then I go and meet Ace, the hottest, sexiest man alive. 
Whoa! And it is sweet revenge all the way.

I had never before read a romance novel where the main draw was a curvy female lead. I myself am pretty curvy, I suppose (I mean, I'm not exactly thin. But I don't really give my body type a whole lot of thought), and was curious to see what authors make of characters with curvy body types. I was also curious to know why this is a draw for female readers. I guess I've never thought of it before but most, if not all, female leads in books are classed as thin or average. Honestly, I just assume that curvy is average these days. I mean, aren't all women at least a little curvy? Anyway, my curiosity was piqued so I caved and got the book. Seriously, FB is costing me a lot of money putting all these books I might like in my newsfeed. I just have no self restraint when it comes to books!

I'm going to start by telling you all that this is a shorter novel. So the author had a lot to fit in to the  pages, which is why some of the story felt quite rushed. I think that most of my reservations with this book came from it being so fast paced. Having the main character, Dawn, get dumped and literally leave her house right after and meet someone new didn't feel authentic to me at all. And why else would women read about a curvy female if not to give the book an authentic and relatable quality? 

I had hoped that this book would be uplifting and empowering being that it states in the synopsis that Dawn is looking to re-build her confidence and take back some of the power she felt she lost in her last relationship. I would have loved for the message in this book to be that no matter what your size or appearance no woman needs a man to feel good about herself or to give her confidence. Instead, it seems that Dawn's confidence is lent to her by Ace, the new man she meets after James dumps her. It takes Ace repeatedly telling her that she's sexy and beautiful before she begins to believe it. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see women who know their worth being with men who empower them even more, but it's not all that uplifting to see a woman, who's confidence is shattered, only comfortable wearing clothes because a man tells her she looks sexy in them. I just didn't get the inspirational vibe that I had hoped to get. 

That being said, I loved both Ace and Dawn's characters. They're both nice, caring and humble people who really do deserve to find each other. And their love story is sweet. I do think a longer book and more drawn out situations would have done them more justice as a couple. But I lived for the scene in the supermarket when they run into James. All in all this was a cute story, but I don't think I will be seeking out any more curvy female leads, as all the emphasis put on her body type and her confidence took away from the story itself.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Verse #3) Review

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Verse #3)
By: Leigh Bardugo

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

I can honestly say I don't think the conclusion of any series has ever underwhelmed me as much as this one did. There was so much buildup in the first two books and it foreshadowed what promised to be a huge battle of epic proportions, and this book fell so far short of what I expected that I've spent most of today in a stupor trying to ascertain what to write in this review. I feel so let down by the author. 

The story began where the last one left off with Alina powerless and held captive by the Apparat. It takes her a little while to get her power back and when she finally does she leaves the boring underground hideaway to go topside in search of the third amplifier. I got excited at the prospect of the journey because the change of setting was the perfect opportunity for something interesting to happen. I actually spent quite a lot of time thinking 'oh good, this is a great opportunity for something interesting to happen', only to be let down again and again.

One time my other half talked me into watching the Lord of the Rings movies and I remember being bored to death and complaining about how it felt like three very long movies about two people doing nothing but walking. Ruin and Rising was reminiscent of that feeling for me. I was bored most of the time, skimmed a lot and put this book down more than the others in the series in search of something more interesting to do. 

Ruin and Rising had such a depressing defeatist tone to it throughout the entire book that it was almost impossible to feel anything other than sad and upset. Even when the characters had victories there was no air of happiness or triumph, they were already dwelling on the difficulties to come. And it was exhausting to feel so negative the whole time I was reading this. Even my saving grace of the feelings between Alina and Mal couldn't overcome the negative feelings I had while reading this book. 

The battle at the end seemed to happen rather quickly, and I'm still unsure of whether or not the ending was a good one. It, like everything else in this book, had an edge of darkness to it that made it hard to feel completely happy and satisfied with it. 

As I said, I spent all day trying to sort out my feelings for this book and trying to decide what I should write about it. Looking back on it, I really can't think of one redeeming factor in this book and the author did such a disservice to her characters and the great story she was creating that I'm still grasping at straws trying to figure out what the hell happened. That being said, I believe there's another series she has written that I do plan on reading. I'll let you know how it goes.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, September 17, 2018

Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse #2) Review

Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse #2)
By: Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

I debated on whether or not to write this review. Could I write only about the first and third books? Would that be weird? I hate looking too deeply into a book that I am undecided about because more often than not I find myself talking about all the things I didn't like and unable to pinpoint anything that I did like. Thus making me feel like maybe I didn't actually like it after all. Hopefully this isn't the case with this review.

The book started off well enough, Alina and Mal are on the run and managing to live under the radar, staying in hostels and holding down jobs. They both seem a little unsure of their relationship status and how to act with each other. It's like they want to be a couple, but are unsure of how to do so after years of being friends. It was disappointing. I had been rooting for them to work out and had assumed that being such good friends they would be able to easily transition to the next step. The awkwardness between them had me questioning if the possibility of them being a couple even made sense anymore. Unfortunately for me the rest of the book did nothing to solder my opinion of them being together. If anything, it made me think that maybe Mal and Alina weren't meant to be together, which broke my heart. Many times over as events happen that cemented that opinion even more. 

As the book advances Alina and Mal's situation changes and they find themselves back at the Little Palace. Their positions there are tenuous as best both with the King and Queen and with each other. Alina tries her best to build confidence in the Grisha as their leader but can't figure out the political side of the position. She's stuck between appearances and desires, and tends to make decisions based on the thoughts and opinions of others as opposed to her own. It's frustrating to watch but the struggle she faces is understandable seeing as how a few months ago she was a powerless peasant, free to make her own decisions without worrying about the repercussions they will have on others. 

The Darkling is almost absent in this book, but the little we do see of him paints a pathetic and lonely picture, almost enough to garner sympathy from the reader. But not quite. He's still the bad guy, still going after Alina for his own aspirations, not caring who he hurts or kills along the way. We see a lot of known secondary characters die in this book, but we are also introduced to some great new characters that you can't help but like, even if their intentions and allegiance aren't exactly clear. 

My contention with this book comes with the amount of dull scenes in it. It gets a lot more political than the first book with the addition of the King, Queen and the princes. It felt like there were many unnecessary scenes that I found myself skimming through to get them over with quickly. Honestly, most of the scenes at the palace felt like filler. It made for a hard, dry read sometimes.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, September 10, 2018

His Mate and His Mistress Review

His Mate and His Mistress 
By: Irtania Adrien

Alpha Demitrey Jackson felt on top of the world. He was Alpha of one of the Largest wolf Packs In North America, he was wealthy, and had a beautiful mistress. Yes, a mistress, not a mate, he never wanted one. No one knew why, yet no one questioned his decision. When a smaller pack was being threatened by rogues, he was asked to help, and so a peace treaty was signed through a marriage between him and the youngest daughter of the alpha of the silent moon pack, but who knew that she was his destined mate?

Adelina Veraso dreamed of the day her mate would sweep her off her feet, take her in his warm embrace, shower her with hugs and kisses, and love her for who she was. But she never expected him to be a cold ass hole who loathed and insulted her, made love to his mistress instead of her, who treated her as though she was some animal, yet treated his mistress as though she was a queen. He allowed no other male to approach her, but his mistress gets to saunter around with whomever she pleases. And she hated the way he played with her heart, toyed with her feelings, and teased her body whenever he felt like degrading her.

Demitrey is stuck with Adelina, but he wants nothing to do with her. So why can't he take her out of his mind? Why can't he stay out of her bed at night? Why does he get jealous when another male approach her? And why Oh why can't he let her go?

Join Adelina as she experiences a roller-coaster of emotions, tears, romance, heartbreak, and maybe love, and join Demitrey as he withstand a battle within himself when it comes to Adelina.

Every time a reader buys a book they've never heard of by an author they've never read from before they take a chance. I am pretty picky about the type of books I like, so I rarely take this gamble blindly. I prefer to read authors and books recommended to me from friends, or recommended from other authors I enjoy. I don't have an unlimited book budget or unlimited amounts of time to spend on books that I don't derive pleasure from, so I am very choosy. In this case, this books synopsis popped up on my FB newsfeed and I was immediately intrigued. I can't remember reading a book about soulmates where the male was an asshole who devoted his time and affection to someone who wasn't his mate, so I was excited at the possibility of reading something fresh and new. I took a chance, spent $8 on this book (which is expensive for an ebook, usually I get two for this price!) and was beyond disappointed. I have never felt so angry or ripped off after reading any book before, that I deliberately waited a day before writing this review so it wasn't jam packed with swear words.

Let me begin by saying that I have read many a book by independent authors, and I am no stranger to spelling and grammatical errors. Indie authors have procedures in place to try to capture and correct every spelling error so that when they publish their books they are near perfection. They have editors,and a trusted group of people whom they allow to read their book ahead of the release to ensure there are no problems or plot holes. I really hope that this author did not have those trusted people double and triple checking this book for errors, because if she did they failed her greatly. There were so many spelling errors it looked as though this book had been written by one of my children. Spelling errors in small quantities are not a big deal, spelling errors in excess (like a few on every page) start to distract the reader and takes away from the story. One of the most distracting elements for me was the constant changing view points. They sometimes changed as quickly as every other sentence. The author made it obvious, by clearly writing *Demitrey's point of view*, but even that was distracting. The story jumped from Adalina's POV to Demitrey's to third person and them to other random characters. It was weird. The author needs to choose a view point or two and stick to it. 

The plot holes were many, as well. I had so many glaringly obvious questions as I read this book, such as, if the Alpha had the keys to his menacles why did he not just release himself and join the fight? If all of this warriors were freed, why did they not go back and free their alpha? If Demitrey had such an abusive and overbearing father, why did no one else in the pack think to challenge him for the alpha role? How could James have known Adalina enough to know where to look for her, but Peter who had been her friend her whole life didn't know where to look to find her? Why did Kat all of a sudden decide that she no longer liked Adalina, even though they seemed to have been as close as sisters in Italy? There are so many more questions I have but there's no point in writing them all because no one but the author knows the answers. This book was such an incomplete story that by the halfway mark it didn't make sense at all anymore, and the story had gotten so far away from the synopsis and from what had actually reeled me in in the first place that I no longer cared what happened. 

There were no redeeming qualities in this book. The synopsis was a better read than this entire book was. And that's what I paid for. I have read some bad books. I have read some incredibly boring books. Never before have I read a book that read like an eight graders attempt at being a novelist, complete with obvious grammatical errors, plot holes and inconsistent character behaviors. I feel as though I've been cheated by the author. She put out a decent synopsis to represent her novel, charges $8 from her readers to read the book, and can't even be bothered to put out a complete book. To add insult to injury, nowhere did it say that this was the first book in a series but the book ended in a cliffhanger and there were no conclusions to any of the issues in the book. By the time I finished reading I didn't even care what happened to the characters I was just so grateful to be able to move on to a new book. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Broken Love Review

Broken Love (Shattered Love Series #2) By: Stacey Marie Brown Life shattered my bones, now it wants to break my heart.  Jaymerson Hollowa...