Cat Among the Pigeons

We, Beebs and Astrid, are two bookdorks who share this blog so you'll probably find two reviews of some books. We are also on Goodreads!

Finding North - Carmen Jenner
Astrid's review
 
 
Let's take a minute or ten to appreciate the cover. 
 
Now. The heart of this story is serious. We are invited to a small town in Australia called Red Maine. This town could be anywhere in the world because, unfortunately, it still is a placeholder for what goes on in narrow-minded people. 
 
Meet Will Tanner and North Underwood. Will has been an openly gay guy since his teenage years. In this small town you are  judged, sentenced and ostracized for being what is deemed not normal. He has been living with the knowledge for a long time and while he isn't OK with it he has learned to live with homophobic people. Sarcasm is his defense against bigotry.  
 
North likes women. A lot of them. Half of the town's women. But. He has a dirty secret called Will Tanner. North and Will used to be best friends but that summer with Will twelve years ago left both of them destroyed. Enter an abusive father and they went separate ways. 
 
"Once, North tore my whole world apart. I promised myself I'd never fall again. Turns out I lied. 
 
Neither of them has forgotten what they were like and Will's chip on his shoulder is as big as the whole continent of Australia. North killed him when he walked away. What he doesn't know is that it killed North too. 
 
 
"....because we're not friends. Not anymore. And though I maybe be the only person in the entire world he can talk to, instead he swallows it all back like the licqor in his glass, and I grow tired of trying to find North in all that he won't say."
 
This story isn't about putting labels on a relationship. It's about love and finding out who you are. And not giving a damn what people think about you - because at the end of the day you need to be able to look into your own eyes and and say that you didn't betray yourself or anything you believe in. 
 
"You can't control what people think of you, North. You don't get a say in what makes them tick, in what they're okay with and what they aren't. That's beyond even your capabilities. The thing you do have a say in is whether you're ok with you."
 
The beauty of this story is that they both grow, how Will learns to forgive and North how to conquer his fears. 
 


"The fear, a blackness that roils constantly in my belly, threatens to overcome me and all I want to do is sink to my knees and sob. Instead, I fall into Will, and I find it's a pretty soft place to land."
 
It's the journey of two men who have been in love with each other their whole lives and about learning to own up to it and letting go of hurt and anger. It is not about North admitting that he is gay - it is about him admitting and embracing his love for his childhood friend. And we are invited to join them. On the journey we learn what made them fall apart and why North turned his back on Will (and believe you me, it's a revelation and to me it had little to do with cowardice).

The sexy times are steamy and frequent (but don't distract from the story) and I quote my friend Jen here: "Why do gay guys have the hottest sex?"
 
It was my first Carmen Jenner book and I absolutely adore her writing style. The scarcasm, the snark, the emotion. Not my last one, I swear, not my last Carmen Jenner book. 

 

Wild Aces: A Sexy Standalone - Marni Mann


Astrid's review

 


I have to admit that the premisse of the story was really good and it had a lot of potential. So what was it that didn't work for me? I read so many stellar reviews before going into this story that I thought I'd be in for a treat...

INSTA-LOVE 

While I usually don't mind a faster developement Trapper and Brea went from 0-100 in 1 second and the next second they loved each other. From beginning to end it felt like 3 weeks had passed. There was nothing natural about these two. The sex? I give you that, it was hot. I started skimming the sex scenes the closer I got to the end. That was a new one for me.


Main Characters

I liked Trapper in the beginning. He was badass or so I thought. The further I got into the story he came across as pussy whipped, and not the good way, because - as mentioned - it felt like 3 weeks until he went from badass to soppy.

Brea...god I am so sorry but I disliked her big time. She jumped to conclusions and made assumptions without asking and questioning why things appeared the way they did. She was judgmental and didn't listen and thought the worst of the guy she banged. Asshole today, and sudden hero tomorrow. What now?


Dialogue

Cringe-worthy. Not going to say more...

The backstory was really good, just the execution failed to make this great. I have seen the reviews and I'm glad other people enjoyed it. I didn't much.


ARC received via Netgally in exchange for an honest review

5 Amazeballs Stars

The Deal - Elle Kennedy

 

Astrid'd review

 

“Just out of curiosity,” she says, “after you wake up in the morning, do you admire yourself in the mirror for one hour or two?” “Two,” I reply cheerfully. “Do you high five yourself?” “Of course not.” I smirk. “I kiss each of my biceps and then point to the ceiling and thank the big man upstairs for creating such a perfect male specimen.”



She didn't see him coming. He snuck up on her and stuck to the soles of her shoes like chewing gum you can't get rid of.

Hannah aced the test. Garrett...well...didn't. Since his average grades depend on whether he can play the game that means everything to him he has to find a way to improve his grade on the makeup test. It is pure coincidence that he finds out about Hanna's A so he wants to strike a deal with her. Hannah doesn't like jocks very much. She thinks they are shallow so she avoids them like the plague. Until she sees Justin who seems so different. When Garrett approaches her and tries to convince her to tutor him she slaps a resounding "NO" in his face. But fear not - Garrett has a plan and he lures her into giving in by offering her a way to make Justin interested in her. GAME ON!

The story of Hannah and Garrett is so low angst despite the serious topic Hannah was dealing with I was wondering if I was actually reading a New Adult novel. Miss Kennedy, I bow to you.

There is a lot of back story that I don't want to disclose in my review because I think it's something that should be experienced while reading. For those who need a trigger warning (highlight to see): rape & domestic violence

The banter between Hannah and Garrett was hilarious. I had a lot of laughing out loud moments. I'll post a couple of quotes because, damn, I do want you guys to read this awesome book.

I want to murder him in his sleep, A. No, I want to murder him when he’s awake so he can see the joy on my face when I do it.”


Another one that had me in stitches:

“Him: Confession1 I deleted all the 1 Direction from your iPod when u were in the can.You’re welcome. Me: WHAT?? I’m going to kiss u! Him: With tongue?It takes me a second to realize what happened, at which point I’m completely mortified. Me: Kill u! I meant KILL. u. Damn autocorrect. Him: Surrrrrre. Let’s blame it on autocorrect. Me: Shut it. Him: I think someone wants to kiss me…”

And one more for good measure:

“The second I encounter his erection, my jaw drops.“Oh my God, are you kidding me?”He looks startled. “What’s wrong?”“Are you taking human growth hormones or something?" I snatch my hand back, fighting another rush of nervousness. “There’s no way that huge man monster is fitting inside me!”Garrett’s head abruptly drops in the crook of his arm as a shudder racks his body. At first I think he’s pissed off. Or maybe even crying. It takes several seconds before I realize what’s happening. He’s laughing. Scratch that – he’s in hysterics.”

And those aren't just the best ones. There are lots more where these came from.


I had a blast experiencing these two fall in love. Garrett gave Hannah a run for her money and she loved every step of the way. She was strong and snarky and let her guy work to deserve her. And boy, Garrett...swoon-worthy. He fought for his girl. Even dirty if necessary. They both were well developed characters and the side characters just as awesome. There were amazingly sweet moments between our two main characters.


“How did I go so long without noticing you, damn it? Why did it take seeing a stupid A on your midterm to make me notice?”
He sounds so genuinely upset that I scoot closer and kiss him.
“It doesn’t matter. You know me now.”
“I do,” he says fiercely.”


If I  didn't have a couple ARCs lined up which I committed to I'd totally read this series back to back. It's definitely re-reading material and I honestly can't wait to continue with the next book.

One more quote because it was one of my favorites:
 
“Penises! Sweet Jesus. Penises everywhere. Horror slams into me as I register what I'm seeing. Oh God. I've stumbled onto a penis convention. Big penises and small penises and fat penises and penis-shaped penises. It doesn't matter which direction I move my head because everywhere I look I see penises.”

 

A Gentleman's Position

A Gentleman's Position - K.J. Charles

Beebs' Review

 

4.5 stars rounded up

Richard and Cyprian's book, I've been waiting for this since the beginning. Richard was so very arrogant and so judgemental of Dominic in the last book, he really needed to be brought down a peg or two and Foxy Cyprian was just the man to do it.

This book picks up immediately where book 2 finished, Maltravers is still determined to bring Silas to justice and has finally found the way to do it with an incriminating letter Ash wrote to Francis. It doesn't matter that the letter would see his brother hanged, Maltravers is willing to use any means possible to get what he wants including blackmailing his brother.

Of course Cyprian steps in to save the day and save it he does in spectacular fashion. Richard had a couple of TSTL moments early in the book and he was very lucky that he had Cyprian to sort him out, I was so happy to see these two finally get together, they've been pining for each other for 5 years after all. Great end to the series :)

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Hot Head - Damon Suede

Astrid's review

 

Dante and Griff have been best friends forever. They have had each other's back and go through thick and thin. What Dante doesn't know: Griff has also been in love with him for a long time so he struggles with all the insecurities and painful moments that come with unrequited love.


One day, Dante is in a tight spot and asks Griff for help. He needs money, a lot of it, otherwise the bank will take the house he loves so much. Dante's idea? To act in videos for a gay porn website. Griff is a great friend so after a little bit of hesitation he agrees, not without a couple selfish thoughts.

 

I loved the journey of these two from friends to lovers. Dante was such a beautiful character, both funny and wild yet thoughtful and considerate when it came to his best friend. And Griff, what a perfect human being. I felt his pain and love for Dante at all times. The way these two were together was nothing short of amazing.

 

“Dante climbed back on top of him, sitting on Griff's round butt to knead his shoulders. "I just wanna try. It'll be fine. No big deal. Maybe a massage first? Two dudes. That'd be okay right?"
What was he asking?
"And then, I want you" -Dante leaned forward, pressing his chest against Griff's muscular back, lips against his ear -"to fucking turn yourself loose on me.”


The problems of gay people having to deal with their environment and the repercussions of them coming out is a recurring theme and it always makes me cringe to know that there are still people out there who think that gay-hate is OK. It is not and in my book never will be. We live in a time in which everyone should have realized now that it's as normal as being hetero.


“Because people should not be punished for loving and hoping and holding their hearts open.”

 

I had two niggles: one - this story would have profited profoundly from a dual point of view. I felt it lacked depth and could have been a five star read if I had heard Dante's voice as well.


Two - the author used repeating words three times as a means of style a couple of times where I thought it didn't work. Generally spoken, he used it too often.

 

The voice of a male author feels rougher than a female voice in the MM genre. He cuts to the chase of the matter which was refreshing and new.

I fell in love with these two friends and I'm looking forward to reading more of this author.

 

 

“Nah. Everyone knows I was born defective. They didn’t install you until later.” - Dante

Hawke: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) - Sawyer Bennett

Astrid's review

 

 

Sawyer Bennett's stories are comfortable like a pair of broken-in jeans or well worn shoes: You know what you will get, the stories follow a certain pattern and are predictable most of the times. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

 

Hawke Therrien is the newest addition to the Cold Fury hockey team and he is thrilled and excited about it. Until he sees his love of another lifetime during a team meeting and realizes that he will have to work with Vale for the time being. Vale and Hawke were tight and so in love with each other, so absorbed in each other they couldn't imagine to be apart. Their future was laid out before them, youth not withstanding. One night everything changed and Vale, party girl extraordinaire, breaks up with Hawke out of the blue.

 

Vale was a wild child and she loved her boyfriend with all her heart. She loved to party hard and there was nothing she wouldn't try. Hawke's farewell party before he wanted to leave his hometown to join a team in Pittsburgh didn't go as planned for her. She left early, not feeling so well. Since it was Hawke's last evening with his friends he stayed and went on partying. A choice they didn't know would define their future.

 

Hawke, now with the Cold Fury, feels a lot of resentment towards his ex-girlfriend. His anger bubbles up again the moment he sees her. When he learns that Vale has to deal with the health issues of her father - a man he respects deeply - he reigns in his emotions and gives her support. 

 

I guessed the secret that drove those two apart pretty much while reading the prologue, so not much that came after surprised me. Like I said - well worn shoes. As the story unfolds we are being fed small details and puzzle pieces to give us the bigger picture. And with all Sawyer Bennett books we get a really short fallout and a resolution soon after. There is no unnecessary drama drawn out until you want to stab your eye sockets. It's simple and lovely. I loved how good of a guy Hawke was, how nice and gentle. And he added the naughty to his nice.


You could see a distinct difference between the Vale of the old days and the new serious woman she has become. She is a strong heroine with who made bad choices and had to deal with the consequences. Again it's the male MC in this story who has the TSTL moment (I revel a bit in that one since it's so rare). The side characters, some old, some new were lovely as always.

 

I am left with a warm feeling in my chest and look forward to getting Max' book. I wonder who his match will be and I kind of have an inkling that it might be a side character from this book.

 

ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Sugar Daddy: A Sugar Bowl Novel - Sawyer Bennett

Astrid's review

 

 


Trigger warning: rape

 

 

Holy.crap. I'm so mad right now. I can't even.

 

Why oh why does this have to end on a cliffhanger?

 

Sela was raped when she was 16. That's also when she lost her virginity so it is safe to say that her attitude towards sex isn't healthy. She has never had a deep fulfilling relationship. Sometimes she has a friend with benefits, the benefit being that they make her feel normal despite knowing that nothing is normal about the way she feels about men and sex. She's broken in a way I think only women can understand. And she is set to get revenge for what was done to her.

 

Beck is an IT wizard and part-owner of The Sugar Bowl, a dating website with the purpose of Sugar Daddies finding Sugar Babies. He is gorgeous (of course) and doesn't do relationships. He has a Sugar Bowl of women if he needs a quick fuck. His partner Jonathon Townsend - JT - is one of the guys who raped Sela - Beck knows that something is off with his longtime friend but he doesn't even begin to understand how evil, depraved and vicious his "friend" is.

 

When Sela and Beck meet there is instant chemistry - Beck, ever the charmer, woos her into his bed making it clear that this would be only a one night stand. Sela has an ulterior motive though. She wants to sink her nails into Beck in order to get intel on JT. During their first night together Beck sees something in Sela that doesn't fit the confident woman he thinks she is and he is intrigued. The next day he shows up at her appartment with an agreement to enter a "sugarship" (what a terrible name...). Sela moves in with him sensing her chance to get information on Jonathon. As time passes, spent with Beck, she falls for him and realizes that, maybe, she shouldn't screw up her growing relationship with her man.

 

Beck and Sela's chemistry was off the charts and there is a lot of sexy times. Sawyer Bennett knows how to write lovable characters and except for that one moment I loved Beck hard. I expect that there will be LOTS of groveling on his part in the next book. I adored how he made Sela feel after all that pain in her life.

 

Sela was such a beautifully broken woman, I rooted for her all the way. The cliffhanger left me brokenhearted. I also have an inkling what's going to happen.

Beck's sister Caroline has a daughter with brown eyes. He mentions that the father isn't in the picture and that Caroline doesn't even know him. Could it be that JT also raped Beck's sister?

(show spoiler)

 

Jonathon was such a snake. He is so despicable I wanted to have him in front of me to kick his shins hard. The scene in the limo with Sela and him left me panting in anger.

This is not the usual Sawyer Bennett story, it's much darker yet I loved the hell out of it. She really is my go-to author if I'm hungover from another book...although this time, I'm slightly hungover from this one.

 

ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Snowed

Snowed - Veronica Forand

Beebs' Rwview

 

2.5 stars rounded up

Lorena is kidnapped from her home by Con, the right hand man of the local drug lord, the same drug lord that had murdered her sister. Her emotions are all over the place, she has always gotten along well with Con but he is giving off very mixed signals, her gut tells her she can trust him but his actions say otherwise.

For me, this felt like I arrived in the middle of a series and had missed the first book, but apparently not. We get much of the backstory from their inner thoughts and some very short conversations while they are stuck in an isolated cabin waiting for the drug lord to arrive.

This is a very short novella and the ending while sweet, felt very rushed.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

4.5 Jingle Stars

Louder Than Love - Jessica Topper

Astrid's review

 

This is a love story. If you expect smut, look elsewhere. You won't find it in this book. That said, it isn't without its share of sparkles and steam.

Katrina is a librarian and widowed mother of a four year old. Her husband was taken from her in a freak train accident. The pain of losing her best friend and lover was excruciating so she left her beloved New York City to move back and find peace in her hometown. Katrina isn't bitter and she doesn't do self pity, she also has a good and tight network of friends catching her whenever she stumbles.

 

“I guess I'm not a very spiritual person. I don't think things always 'happen for a reason,' everything must be 'God's way,' or (and this is one of Karen's favorites) 'He only gives you what you can handle.' I simply believe, and I'm sorry to sound crude about it, that shit happens. Period."

 

Kat's daughter Abbey loves a cartoon character and the title song to go with it. Katrina has bought a box of CDs with tunes by the writer and performer of the jingle, Adrian Graves, so one day she goes about finding this artist and making him perform for kids at the local library. Research is her area of expertise so when she finds him he agrees to play for the children. 
 
This story is a slow burn so don't expect a whirlwind romance and insta-love. It's almost poetic, the words beautiful. It's about love and loss, a former rockstar who has had his share of sex, drugs and rock'n roll. They get to know each other at their own pace. Adrian says it best:
 
"Do you believe in love at first sight?"
"Hmmm, no. I don't. I believe love involves the commitment of many senses, as well as your head and your heart, so I wouldn't just rely on my eyesight."
 
 
As they get closer they discover that either of them is battling their own demons.
 
I loved how Katrina's relationship with Pete wasn't belittled and the one with Adrian made better. This made the experience of the story so much more relatable and realistic. The love for her late husband was always there, yet the way she fell for Adrian was plausible.
 
I had one WTH moment early on in the book, a mother might understand it better than I did.
 

When Katrina found out who Adrian really was she went ballistic, ready to walk away. I thought that was an highly inappropriate reaction to somebody who hasn't touched drugs in years and didn't give her any indication to be anything but stable. 

(show spoiler)

 
Adrian is a super-sweet guy who has had his own tragedy in life. 
 
“You are the best thing to happen to me, bar none. You, Abbey...all of this. You both walked into my life and...I never knew what I wanted until you did.”
 
I loved his relationship with Katrina's daughter Abbey. He treated her like a little person, not a child. And anyway, the way he treated his two girls and put them on a pedestal to cherish and spoil them was enchanting...for once I was happy not to have an alpha-hole in my book. 
 

3 Caring Stars

Garrett - Sawyer Bennett

Astrid's review

 

Gah. I wanted to love this. Damn you, Olivia.

I love Sawyer Bennett. She is my go-to author after a book hangover - her relatively angst-free stories usually make me snap out of it. This time not so much. I will forgo a retelling of the plot and jump into what made me rate this only 3 stars when SB is usually at least a 4 star read for me.

Garrett is a man whore. He loves women and sex. The more the merrier. He doesn't even consider a serious relationship in his life so when he meets Olivia he isn't prepared for all the feelings she awakens in him but for some reason he still embraces them without so much as a blink.

Olivia. I still don't have a good read on her personality and I'm finished with the book. I was told she is, I don't know, funny and witty? But I didn't see any of that. The only thing I can say about her is that she handled her disease with grace and courage - in the beginning - later on she lost all of that with one poor choice. She was one-dimensional and flat to me.

There were some situations and reactions by the MCs I didn't completely understand. Like, why the heck was Garrett so pissed off for being called out being the man whore he was? Also, why was he pissed off that neither Alex nor Sutton told him about Olivia's cancer? Excuse me? He'd just known Olivia for 10 days, at that time he usually had forgotten about his newest conquest...additionally it wasn't anybody else's secret to tell except Olivia's ESPECIALLY since Olivia asked Alex and Sutton not to tell Garrett. Did I miss a memo which says that it's nowadays OK to tell somebody else's secrets? And what does Olivia do? No she doesn't say "get a freaking grip, Garrett". She lets poor Sutton handle the situation and watches as her friend repeatedly apologizes to him. SO WEIRD.

Olivia made some very poor decisions and the drama in the end was completely unnecessary.

I still gave this 3 stars because I loved Garrett. He was fun and the way he cared about and for Olivia endeared him to me. Also, man whore. Yum.

I hope I'll love the next Sawyer Bennett book again.

Risking it All

Risking It All: A Naked Men Novel - Christi Barth

Beebs' Review

 

3.5 rounded up

First in a new series from a new-to-me author, I didn't hate it but unfortunately I didn't love it either.

I really liked both characters (except for one unbelievably TSTL moment from Griff) and all of their friends and I'm definitely intrigued by the missing Logan BUT it just felt that all conflict was too easily solved. That is saying something coming from someone who generally hates angst filled books. Giving both characters' backgrounds, it felt like they were able to sort everything out too easily, I appreciate that not everything little thing was a major drama but things that should have been huge were settled way too easily imho.

Overall, there were some very sweet moments and Griff had the good sense to grovel when he behaved like a complete ass and he did make up for his TSTL moment in spades. I will probably read the next because I am intrigued enough by the other characters to want to know how things work out for them :)

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
 
 
 

Divine Ecstasy

Divine Ecstasy (The Guardians of the Realms Book 8) - BookBlinders Reviews, Setta Jay
Beebs' Review
 
Book 8 in the Guardians of the Realm series

Probably a bit spoilerish if you haven't read the other books

Picking up where we left off in the previous book Sacha is still in a coma from an unknown poison and Hades is in recovery from his battle with the mysterious warriors from another world. As he lays there recovering he can feel another soul calling out to his, it's driving him mad so he goes to investigate. When he sees Sacha, he knows she is his soulmate so he immediately heals her. His reactions when the other Guardians warn him to be gentle with Sacha is priceless, he is a God why wouldn't she want him?

I loved Hades, he is deliciously arrogant but he does listen to the others and is so gentle and patient with Sacha. When he hears what happened to her at the hands of Apollo he is even more determined to find the other God and make him suffer for the things he did. This book focuses a lot on the relationship between these two and the sex scenes are off the charts HOT, loved them.

The storyline moves on apace,we learn a lot more about the other world, the Tria know something is coming and are preparing themselves for release so they can spread their evil. It looks like Pothos' story is next and since his mate is from the other realm things look set to get even more interesting. Cannot wait.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

5 Cherry Popping Stars

#Junkie (GearShark Book 1) - Cambria Hebert

Astrid's Review

 

 

So this happened. My M/M cherry has been popped.

 

I can't even begin to say how much I enjoyed this. This is my first book by Cambria Hebert and I'm pretty sure it won't be my last - especially since the author hints at events happening in an earlier series called #hashtag.

 

Trent is a mild mannered, protective, good natured guy who loves his family, his best friend and his car. Drew is said best friend - they love to hang out, especially at underground races where Drew is an independent driver. He loves the adrenaline rush coursing through his veins when he is in his car on a track. Drew is the more complicated of the two and their personalities complement one another.

 

One night Trent gets totally smashed and Drew takes care of his best friend. He takes him home and lets him sleep off the booze in Trent's blood. Alcohol makes you overcome inhibitions - you say things you would never say in a sober state. Trent admits to being attracted to Drew. The next day he pretends to have forgotten the things he said.

 

 

"I didn't want to talk to anyone right now.
Especially Drew.
I wasn't gay.
Except...maybe I was."

 

 

Their relationship and closeness grows slowly, coming to terms with the fact that they might be gay isn't exactly a walk in the park. The care they have for each other is always tangible and once they admit that there is more than friendship between the two of them it's a sensual explosion. The biggest problem they are facing though is how will their environment react to their new relationship?

 

The way Drew and Trent grew into their love I grew too. I loved how sweet they were with each other, how devoted and thoughtful. This was my first M/M read and I can only recommend it to everyone who is interested in this genre. I was being eased into the relationship of two guys and at no time I felt uncomfortable or that it was out of my comfortzone.

 

 

 

 

***warning***

This book ends on a cliffy, and I HATE those. I avoid them like the plague but I wasn't aware and since the next one in the series is supposed to be released very soon I'll let this slide. ;)

Jury of One

Jury of One - Charlie Cochrane

Beebs' Review

 

Book 2 in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series

Although this is the second book in the series and there are references to events in book 1, it still reads very well as a standalone. It's definitely more mystery than romance but there are some lovely scenes between the heroes and Charlie Cochrane handled that new relationship vibe very well. It is clear Robin and Adam are still working on how their lives are going to mesh but it is also clear that they love each other very much. The terror each experiences at the thought of the other in danger feels very real and demonstrates how deeply they love each other.

I enjoyed the mystery element to this book, reminiscent of British murder mysteries like Midsommer Murders. It was quite slow and gently paced, some aspects I had guessed before the big reveal but I was intrigued nonetheless and will definitely be reading more of this series.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Princess Wore Plaid

The Princess Wore Plaid (The Oxenburg Princes) - Karen Hawkins

Beebs' Review

 

A light hearted, Beauty and the Beast short story. Buchan is in pain from an injury he received in India and Tatiana is stranded at an inn, after losing her memory in an accident and is now working there to earn her keep.

 

The love story is believable, a slow build up of them getting to know each other but the end of the story is a little far fetched. I haven't read the other books in the series and thought I might be a bit lost, but it works well as a standalone. A pleasant, lazy afternoon read.

 

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

4 Reflective Stars

The Pact - Karina Halle

Astrid's review

 

 

“She’s mad but she’s magic. There is no lie in her fire.”

 

Would you risk your friendship for the chance to find love? A tiny personal bit: I have done it both ways: once I did, the other time I didn't - and both of the times it was a disaster. So I suppose when it comes down to it, it really is a "no risk, no gain" choice.

 

 

“Life isn’t a linear journey. Sometimes it’s one step backwards, two steps forward and then a jump out to the side. It’s kind of like the “Time Warp”, when you think about it.

 

I fell in love with Karina Halle's writing when I read "The Play" a couple of months ago. I'm a bit of a "reading-in-order"-Monk so I had to go back at some point to calm the titties of my OCD.

Linden McGregor is a Scot living in San Francisco. His parents weren't exactly the textbook kind, he never felt any love or care and was raised along with his brother by nannies. His two best friends, Stephanie and James, give him the love he never experienced at home. Linden is fun, sometimes adorably cheesy and a player.

Stephanie is the perfect balance of a heroine I can wish for. She is smart, kind, naughty, funny and a great friend. Only...her relationships never work out.

On Stephanie's 25th birthday, a drunken night, Linden and Steph make a pact. If they aren't in a serious relationship when they turn 30 they will marry each other. The first third of the story deals with the five years until our main characters enter the time when the pact starts to become effective. It also shows how they both deal with their respective feelings for each other, which are strong but are they worth exploring and possibly killing everything they have? Destroying an amazing friendship? In that time there are lots of relationships on both accounts...until one night when a kiss changes everything.

 

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m falling in love with her. Sometimes I wonder how long I can pretend I’m not.”

 

 

I loved the dynamics between Stephanie and Linden, their easy friendship and the love between them. I loved reading about relationships in your twenties as I got the chance to revisit mine and reflect on them. How you handle some things with maturity and others not so much. How hope is high when you meet somebody you might be able to fall in love with. The insecurities you have to deal with on a daily basis. All this is wrapped up in this beautiful story of growing pains and love. I read some mixed reviews of this story and I can understand the frustration. It did work for me though and I can only say onto "Wham-Bam-Thankyou-Bram".