What Lila Read in October — and Farewell!

My first book this month was Broken, by Lauren Layne, a Beauty-and-the-Beast story about a poor little rich girl who goes to stay with an injured vet in Maine because she’s made a mess of her love life. She imagines feeding soup to some grouchy old man, but instead finds herself being shut out by a very grouchy but very sexy (even with the scars) young Afghanistan vet holed up in a mansion in the woods.

This was a fun book. I loved the dynamic between Olivia and Paul and how it shifts and the tension builds. I liked both characters, with one notable exception: Olivia’s major fuck-up is sooo not a big deal, and it takes her far too long to see that. One could hardly consider themselves “broken” and irredeemable and unworthy of love for what she did, in my opinion. So I had a hard time getting past that. Otherwise, I thought this was sweet.

My next was Claudine, by Barbara Palmer. This was another game of name-the-famous-Canadian-author-hiding-behind-a-pen-name (I’m 1-2-0 so far — I’ve got some good guesses for this one, but nothing concrete). It’s an erotic thriller, and I think the “thriller” bit is important to remember, because I didn’t find it all that steamy. Continue reading

What Neva Read in October

The first books I read this month was Beyond Repair by Charlotte Stein. This one came out way back in April, but I only recently got the ARC. And I’ll read anything by Charlotte Stein, but I prefer to get an ARC, simply because she’s a bit hit-or-miss. Lila and I both have found this: some of her books we love beyond love (oddly, those are the ones that tend to be a bit femdom-ish; neither of us is crazy about femdom, but Stein must write it with us in mind). And some of her books just don’t work for us at all.

This was the latter. I love that she likes to write quirky characters, but some of her characters are too quirky to be appealing. Which would be fine if this weren’t erotica, but it is, and “appealing” is a big part of the equation.

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What Neva Read in September: TMI, Too Many Fluids, and Too Much Sex (?!)

Yesterday Lila weighed in on what she’d read this month. Today’s Neva’s turn, and she’s not terribly happy.

Bad month. Bad bad bad. Eff you, Lila, for nabbing the good picks. My first was Virgin, by Radhika Sanghani. That one made me angry. I laughed a couple of times, but more often (sooo often) I cringed at the over-sharing. I’m okay with over-sharing as a rule, so it has to be bad. Yeep, the details. I think this was meant to let young girls know, in a funny and blunt way, that it’s normal to be confused about sexuality and to maybe not really be sexual until after your teens, but the heroine spent most of the book whining that she was a freak of nature because she was a twenty-one-year-old virgin, so it sent hugely negative messages for a looong time until the positive messages finely seeped out. In the meantime, most of the jokes felt flat. On the plus side (or not, depending on how traumatic your recollection of those years is), a lot of it felt really authentic to me, specifically all the embarrassing bits and the ones in which Ellie obsessed over guys who were definitely not worth obsessing over. So for accuracy, it gets points. This came close to working in many ways, but missed a whole bunch of marks. Continue reading

What Lila Read in September: Beekeepers, Billionaire Geeks, and Butt Crack

In an effort to control the chaos of our lives, we’re limiting our review posts to one each per month. Here’s what Lila read:

My first read in September was Truly by Ruthie Knox. It’s no secret that we adore Ruthie and everything she does, and I especially was looking forward to this book since she previewed it on Wattpad earlier in the year. There are a lot of things to love: a normal-sized girl in an impossible situation, a cranky guy who’s an urban beekeeper, and unlikely but undeniable chemistry. And there are also messages — sooo many messages.

First off, I realize by writing “normal-sized girl,” I’m making an issue of something that shouldn’t be an issue. But there you have it: it is actually an issue, just as it is in film and television and magazine depictions, and it’s extremely relevant to this story. Moving on. Continue reading

Review: Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton

Any Alice Clayton book is met by me with ridiculous expectations, but I didn’t know what to expect from Screwdrivered. Because it’s not a standalone, being part of her Cocktail series, but it’s not really about those people. Its protagonist made a couple of brief appearances in Rusty Nailed, and she rather unsettled our friend Caroline in the process. So we don’t really know what to think of her, except we have some vague recollection that her style and her familiarity with Simon stand out.

This is kind of a splendid thing, this not-knowingness. We have the proven awesomeness of Alice Clayton combined with a whole new world of possibilities. But still, that Viv person was kind of suspicious, wasn’t she?

Well, turns out Viv is amazing (of course she is), and Simon and Caroline barely intrude (meaning only that this book can stand all on its own, but more on that later), and I’m in love all over again. This time with Clark.

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What We’re Reading: End of Summer (Gah!) Catch-All (Part 2)

Hey! We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus this summer, and that’s not really going to change, but we have been reading, of course, so we thought we’d catch you up a bit on all that. Which Neva did yesterday. Today it’s Lila’s turn:

I’ve been doing some retro reading, and read The Fatal Crown, by Ellen Jones, and Wait for Me, by Mary Kay McComas , both provided by Open Road Media’s Retro Reader program. The Fatal Crown is a fictionalized account of the battle between Stephen and Maud for the English throne in the twelfth century. The premise of the book is that Stephen and Maud were not only rivals, but also lovers, an unlikely and unsubstantiated rumour, but one that makes for a great story. My review is on Goodreads, right here.

Wait for Me was written in the 1990s, just like The Fatal Crown, but was a contemporary romance set in the 1990s. Two star-crossed lovers keep finding each other through the ages, but the story is really about them finding each other now. One is a broke foster child who works selflessly for several charities, and the other is a high-finance heir and mamma’s boy. Despite their disparate personalities and circumstances, the attraction is undeniable from the start. The premise that starts the book is thin and barely alluded to and the sex scenes over-the-top purple, but the romance is lovely and the 90s allusions are fun, in retrospect. Check out my Goodreads review here.

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