A blog dedicated to reviewing and promoting the books I love.
My expectations were high for this novel because I've loved most (if not all) of this author's past few book releases. I'm so glad that this novel lived up to my expectations! This authors writing style is so good! The overall pacing of the story was perfect. I love seeing this authors evolution in every book she releases because they keep getting better and better.
Dreena was an interesting character with somewhat of a dark backstory. You never knew what mood she was and in (especially in the beginning) and what she would do next. She was predictably unpredictable and her dynamic with Tank worked well for the story. I loved the overall female empowerment message this book featured with an event that happened to Dreena. I liked how supportive Tank was of the whole situation.
I both like and dislike certain aspects of Tank. I liked it when he was caring, sweet and open to Dreena, but I disliked it when he would get unnecessarily overprotective, domineering and bossy on a drop of a hat. I understand that's what the whole "alpha" character trait embodies, but I wasn't a fan when it came to that part of Tank. Though one thing that became consistent in the second half of the novel was his need to protect and treasure Dreena because somewhere along the way he fell for her too.
Overall the ending was so cute and sweet but it caught me off guard. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't what was presented. I did enjoy it though! I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this series!
My Favorite Quotes:
"I was stupid, foolishly, idiotically thinking she was that one in a million."
"Your past isn't your fault. It doesn't change a single damn second [...] or have any influence on what I'm asking."
"Life is only as complicated as you make it [...]."
This novel started off fairly interesting and with so much potential. Halfway through the story/audio book, it lost something critical which lead to me rushing through it just to get it over with. The overall writing style was good, but the pacing was slow and the character's only made it worse for me.
Kristina started off as a devoted, loyal and understanding friend. I loved how she wanted to help Noah get back on his feet out of sheer respect for him as a person. After Noah introduced the possibility of them being together and going back on it she became a needy and unsure annoyance. Then again, after all he put her through they actually deserve each other.
Noah was a marine who was discharged after an accident that left him with what seems like PTSD, hearing and sight loss on his left side (please correct me if I'm wrong!). I understand him lashing out in the beginning and maybe going back on his decision for something more with Kristina one time, but everything after that had me very angry. The hot and cold thing he had going on was becoming more and more frustrating by the minute. He ended up turning himself into a douche. At one point, it felt like the relationship was moving one step forward and 20 steps back because nothing concrete ever happened.(show spoiler)
Ethan was a hidden gem in this book! This novel may not have officially contained a love triangle, but I'm still proclaiming myself as Team Ethan. He was so nice and understanding. At one point I was so annoyed at Noah I was hoping for there to be a plot twist for Ethan to have a chance. I'd love to read Ethan's story. He seems much more interesting than Noah.
I only finished this book because I sped up the narration times two in the last hour. This story was getting so unreasonable and the characters were so annoying that that was the only way I was going to contemplate finishing it in the first place. The universe the author created with this novel felt very small. I also would have preferred the 'Warrior Fight Club' being mentioned earlier in the novel because it was mostly filler up to that point. Considering it's also the name of the series I was getting worried when it took so long to get mentioned.
The Audio Book:
The narration as a whole was great. I could differentiate between characters easily. My overall problem was due to the story and not with the narration.
This story started off very good. The character's felt realistic and the problems brought up were very much plausible and would make for an interesting story. Halfway through the book, I don't know what went so wrong. It felt like the end of this book was missing because the only thing that was resolved was the differences the couple had.
Megan started off as a great character. She's 18 and has always dreamed of finding her mate to the point of wanting it to be a fairytale, which was naive of her, but still very sweet. Halfway through the book, she becomes a whiny brat and at the almost end she starts to justify how her mate treated her because of his bad past. In my world regardless of what you've been through it doesn't give anyone the right to mistreat anyone.
James went from mysterious stranger, to jack*ss of the century, to caring and sweet in the span of this novel. I started off giving him the benefit of the doubt and ended up despising him. There was no in between with him, it was either all or nothing. The biggest problem his relationship with Megan had could have easily been resolved by sitting down and talking it out. Instead, both parties chose to avoid each other.
At one point, I started hoping that the mating with James was a fluke and that Robin or Tommy were the potential suitors. Unlike James, they were sweet, open to conversation and treated Megan like a person from the beginning. I'd really love to see them get a happy ending.
The overall writing and pacing were good, but there were some parts of the book where there were too many descriptions and in other parts I was left to fill in the blanks myself. The overuse of the words 'alpha' and 'dominant' got old very quickly. The character monologues were also very repetitive which only served to fill up space.
I was almost positive that this book was going to end by either setting up a new character spin-off (because of how present Robin and Tommy were in this story) or by killing off the evil things mentioned in the novel. None of those things happened and I'm still confused about it. Maybe I'm so used to spin-off novels of different characters in the stories I read that I assumed wrong with this novel.
A Note: When I first saw the cover I thought this was going to be a 50 Shades type book and the synopsis doesn't help clear that up. It was only after I saw this marked as 'young adult' that my interests were piqued. After reading the story and somewhat understanding the red ribbon ritual it does go well with the book. Though I think it could have been done better because anyone who looks at this cover will not think young adult first.
My Favorite Quotes:
This was one of the first few books this author released. I can definitely see the potential that would continue to evolve and become the romance author she is today. As beautiful as this story was the emotional potency she tends to evoke in me in her later novels weren't all that strong in this one. It was still a very well written story.
The heroine (Erica) is introduced in a very graphic and stomach-churning first scene. I usually don't mind most situations but this was one of the few books that almost had me tapping out because of it. Erica was traumatized and was almost broken because of it all. The seconds of "clarity" (AKA being herself) she would exhibit with Slate was amazing. Her journey of learning to live with her trauma and love again was beautiful.
Slate was amazing! I loved how understanding and respectful he was towards Erica. At the same time, he also pushed her just enough out of her comfort zone for her to try and have normal experiences due to her circumstances and secrets.
The ending was sweet! Though the "big bad" Erica and Leo were running from throughout the story was defeated way too easily, but I never saw it coming. I loved seeing her back in her element and living life to its fullest with Slate in the end.
The Audio Book:
Both narrations were great! I'm not usually a fan of male narrators, but the story sucked me in so well that I wouldn't even realize the narrator switched until the almost end of the chapter. I would have liked for both narrators to have more range in different female and male voices because there were a few times when I lost track of who was saying what.
* This review may contain spoilers for past books in this series.
This book was bittersweet in the best way possible! Every time I thought I knew what to expect I had the pleasure of having the rug pulled out from under me. Don't get me wrong, I was loving every minute of it! I also adored how well interlaced the storylines are. There are quite a few small tidbits that were presented in past books that are just now growing into complex plot points. I can't wait to see where this goes!
I don't know how this author does it but she's succeeded in making me care about every single main character in the Keystone group. I'm too invested in everyone's happily ever after and I don't know what to do with myself until that happens.
Just when I thought things were going too well with Christian and Raven things went 50 steps bad in the span of one conversation. Why can't they be happy and stay happy? Christian has proven time and time again that he actually cares about Raven in more than a fling kind of way. Raven reciprocates his feelings, but they're doomed to be apart. I will riot. They need a happily ever after. And none of this "all in good time" BS.
I jokingly predicted the Patrick twist at 1 am while I was listening to the audio book and slightly delirious. I was so proud of myself for that one! I loved the solution Shepherd's dilemma came to thought. It was sweet and imperfect. Just like the Keystone group/family.
Had I known the epilogue would drop that bomb I would have probably held off on reading it until the next book released. Things were bad until then between Raven and Christian, but I can imagine that thanks to that twist it's going to get much worse before it gets better.
The Audio Book:
I have nothing but amazing things to say about the narration! Nicole Poole continues to do a fantastic job. The number of different accents and tones (both male and female) she can realistically do is mind-blowing!
If I had bothered to read a few reviews of this book before I got it things would have ended better. So for that, I will admit fault. This book features a love triangle, which I haven't been a fan of for a few years now. It didn't help how small the universe the author created felt. The lore and the wolves self-inflicted seclusion from the rest of the town was a bit weird.
Mina wasn't the brightest crayon in the box. There were times when I started questioning her common sense and self-preservation instincts.
Another thing I found weird was her overprotectiveness towards her sister. It would come up out of nowhere with no justification for it and would never lead to anything. Her inner monologue was, at times, too descriptive and detailed for me.
Alec was an average guy with an average life. I didn't feel the chemistry between him and Mina. The worst part of him were his friends, which seemed to only be around to make him look better in comparison. They felt very stereotypical and one dimensional.
Eli was mysterious and warmed up to me throughout the story. Though, I didn't understand why he insisted on giving alcohol to a minor. I also didn't see what he saw in Mina. There was never any real spark between them unless they coincidentally happened to be alone somewhere.
The ending felt off. There were a few major problems presented in this novel, but the only one that got solved was the obvious one that you can deduce from the cover and length of this still growing series alone. Overall, this felt like half a story and I'm not sure I'm invested enough to want to read the next book in this series.
The Audio Book:
The audio narration isn't great. It's slow and full of longer than needed pauses. This is the second book I read sped up because I couldn't stand the pauses. The narrator has maybe 2 voice intonations for women and 2 for men. There's not much distinction when there are more than 3 people having a conversation. Overall, the narrator didn't help with my apprehension of the story after I figured out that it featured a love triangle.
This series was such a big part of my childhood and nostalgia does amazing things for it! The story is entertaining and passed the time quite well. I still love Jamie Kelly's commentary about all the situations she and her friends get into. I still continue to see where my type of humor started getting developed way back when with this series. I also loved the PSA of donating hair to organizations that make wigs for people to help them feel better about what they're going through at that moment!
"I'm really good at ignoring unpleasant feelings if it is really inconvenient to feel them."
This is the first poetry book I've ever picked up by choice and it's about what I expected it to be. This book doesn't take itself seriously in most of the poems. It features a dark and sarcastic type of humor (in a few poems) and has a few gems in that department.
I enjoy the dramatic and overly expressive stories Gabbie posts on her youtube channel, so I wasn't expecting this novel to be a masterpiece of timeless poems to be appreciated and treasured throughout history. This was a fun, fluffy and at times dark book, all the while bringing attention to bullying and a few other issues throughout the novel.
Favorite Poetry Lines:
"My art form is heartache peppered with delusions of grandeur"
"I'm the cockiest most insecure confident self-conscience self-assured anxious proud self-loathing person I know."
I adore this series! I love how this book stood the test of time. This is the second time I read it and I love it just as much now as I did when it was first published. For some reason, I find this series very relaxing to listen to when I want to wind down for the night so I've technically been reading this book in small increments for 4+ months.
Cat was kick*ss as ever! She's progressed so much throughout this series and her adventures get even more fascinating as time passes. I like the partnership and mutual respect she has going on with Bones.
Bones is a classic book boyfriend and I love him. He's just as protective as he is respectful. Cat and Bones have learned that communication works wonders when either one is in danger. That just makes everything that much more exhilarating when everything hits the metaphorical fan.
The ending was very satisfying! The evil ghost was getting on my nerves and I was glad to finally put him and this adventure to bed. Considering how much I enjoy this series I'll probably listen to the last book in the months to come.
The Audio Book:
The narration was great! Though I don't like Bones' voice throughout the series it has grown on me to a degree. It's not my favorite, but I can listen to the audio book without cringing every time he says something. Other than that, every time else was fine.
This was an overall good story, but it got off to a rocky start for me. For the first few chapters, I felt like I was missing a chunk of backstory for certain details to make sense. After everything was cleared up, the story moved at a steady pace. The writing style was great and pulled me into the story.
If you follow my reviews you'll know that I'm not a big fan of children and pregnancies in novels. I picked this novel up willingly because there are exceptions to every "rule". Surprisingly that detail didn't bother me because I knew what I was walking into. Though I can't say I particularly liked the heroine. She started off like an interesting character who had just enough past issues to be believable, but her level of impulsive decisions after something crucial would happen ruined everything for me. I'd like to point out how pregnancy hormones can't be blamed for her impulsive decisions. I can understand to a degree, but not to the degree that was represented in the book.
Reese was surprisingly standup guy. I loved how he dealt with knowing he had gotten her pregnant. He took responsibility for his actions as soon as he found out and was willing to do everything to participate in the child's life while helping her out in the meantime. He acted like a responsible adult should act and for that, he earned my respect. The age difference plays a small part in the relationship and it didn't bother me from the beginning. They were both consenting adults who were taking responsibility for their actions.
The conclusion to the mystery was dull. According to my notes, I predicted who the culprit was within the first 6 chapters of the book. The motivation for the whole situation proved to be really dumb and concluded way too easily. I'd also like to point out how gullible and naive the heroine proved to be. Who in their right mind (pregnancy aside), accepts an open drink that you never ordered/expected from a stranger while knowing someone is out to get you? With the way the world is, isn't this common sense by now?
This is the second novel by this author that I've read and I've come to the conclusion that her books don't work for me. The writing style makes everything slow and longwinded. There are a few parts here and there that remind me why the story was interesting in the first place but it goes back to walking through quicksand a little bit later. The concept of this universe the author created was so interesting, but the way it was written threw me off.
Bryar Rose started off interesting but became annoying throughout the story. She seemed to be the exception to impossible rules. There were times when I wanted to strongarm her into getting a grip and asking the important question that would move the story along instead of her taking time to think things through and have something catastrophic coincidently happen. There were a few situations where some basic common sense would have done her some good and would have made that situation not happen or have it go by faster.
Knox was standoffish in the beginning and eventually won me over throughout the story. He turned out to be sweet and caring, but his inner wolf was one annoying beast. It kept repeating obvious actions to certain situations during the story and by the end I wanted to punch him myself.
Everyone that wasn't Bryar and Knox felt one dimensional. Most of the adults in this novel were either evil or spoke in riddles (which only added to my frustration with the slow-moving plot). This is a trope I'm not fond of and would like to never encounter in any novels.
Overall I'm disappointed with this book because it had so much potential. The concept is unique, but it was too slow paced for me to enjoy. I don't know if I'll be picking up the next book in this series.
The Audio Book:
This was the first audio book that I had to set the reading speed higher for me to finish listening to it. The narrator (who is also the author) does a good job with the narration. My problem was the combination of a very slow-paced novel with a narrator who naturally reads with larger pauses. I was ready to give up by hour 6. My aversion to how slow-paced this novel was probably made me more antsy than necessary with the narration.
I liked this book more than I was expecting to. Though the events of this novel seem like coincidence after miraculously dangerous events on repeat. Overall, it was a straightforward story with nods to past and future storylines in this series.
Baylor was protective and sweet but had a mean side when dealing with infuriating situations that required a heavier hand. Though the cover threw me off and I still haven't gotten over it. The way he's described doesn't reflect in the eyes of the cover model, in my opinion. It was one of the reasons why it took me so long to read this novel.
Lark's situation broke my heart. She was set up from the beginning to fail and not have a chance at an actual life without her knowledge. It hurts to know that her situation isn't uncommon around the world and that not everybody finds help in time. I liked Lark's personality. She's introverted and isn't the most easygoing person you'll meet, but she'll help friends in any way she can even though she may not be open about how she feels most of the time.
This was a good novel! It started off slow and built up into something worthwhile. I was expecting a different kind of conclusion (based on a few other novels I've read by this author), but I was pleasantly surprised with this ending.
"I learned to protect myself the only way I knew how. By walking away."
"I love sarcasm. It's like punching people in the face with your words."
"You can't blame yourself for other peoples sins [...]. I've tried. It doesn't turn out well."
I can't say that this book was worth 16 hours of my time. The sad truth is that the first 8 hours or so started off amazingly well. The writing style wasn't a favorite of mine and helped this story drag along in certain moments. At times it was unnecessarily descriptive and other times it skimmed certain details that had me feeling left out. That was my fault and only got exacerbated by my brilliant idea of starting this series off as what feels like a crucial point that I didn't have enough of a backstory to fully grasp.
Silver started off as a very interesting character but proved to be predictable and a carbon copy of her "alpha" grandmother. I disliked how she started referring to herself as Silver insert f-bomb here Mercant after Valentin said it. I also didn't like how people would praise her for standing up for herself where her mate was concerned. What was she supposed to do? Cower in a corner and ask him to maybe hold her hand? I'd also like to mention how almost everything went back to her being a "Mercant". I didn't understand why she and other characters would bring it up randomly throughout the story in a few high-stakes situations.
Valentin was an interesting character, but his arrogance and "dominance" (AKA pushy-ness) were annoying and overpowering. The only thing that saved him from being hated was the way he respected Silver enough to let her stand up to him without having his ego bruised.
The world of paranormal creatures and technology that this author created is incredible! This story didn't do it justice. I suspect if I read this series in chronological order I would have understood everything in more detail, but after this experience and the length of this audio book I'm somewhat skeptical of it all. This story could have been cut down into a 10 to 12 hour audio book easily considering how the last 4 hours dragged because barely anything was happening. In conclusion, I was overwhelmed with how much was going on in the background (plotwise) and that ended up affecting the overall story for me.
Please Note: I started reading this book last year and finished it because I had already invested 9+ hours of my life to it so the least I could do was get it over with. With that being said the story building was completely lost on me because I took such a long "break" from this story when it started to go downhill. Also, to say I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of characters and Russian names is putting it mildly!
The Audio Book:
The narrator had an amazing range of believable male, female and child voices with and without foreign accents! This is probably the second or third narrator I've come across that can do all that so well and not become grating in the long term.
* Beware of minor spoilers for this book in this review.
This had a nice overall story, but a few things threw me off. I liked all the characters to a certain degree, but none were memorable enough to make me want to read the other books in this series with their individual stories.
The heroine (Lissa) was kind of strange, in a bad way. She had weird and unrealistic phrasing for things that shouldn't have been brought up in the first place. She also managed to justify her "episodes" as having a tapeworm. Fun fact: tapeworms cause a variety of symptoms but delusions and extreme hunger for rare meat aren't one of them.
The hero (Tank) almost won me over after his stalkerish but well-intentioned actions and then the author threw a wrench into everything. It's mentioned that he's had a true mate before everything happened but she's ultimately nullified because he miraculously also finds a true mate in Lissa. Seriously, what are the odds? ...
Another thing that bothered me is the lack of secret keeping between the "pack" members. They've been through a lot and most have pasts that they won't open up about. Why is it when one person lets another one in on a personal tidbit from their past it, all of a sudden, becomes public knowledge?
The ending was better than I expected after all the things that annoyed me within this story. A few parts were rushed and based on a big coincidence or two. Overall, it was a solid end for the Brother Damien and Lissa plot point. As ranty and annoyed as this review turned out this was a nice book. If you can overlook what I mentioned in this review then this could even turn out to be an amazing book for you, but it wasn't for me.
"I'm perfectly aware that life sucks and it's not pretty. You make the best of it. You fight. Or you crawl into a bottle or a syringe and die."
"You survived. You never stopped believing you mattered, that you were entitled to happiness. No matter how little you had [...]."
My Rating: 3 and a half stars
I love this series, but I took too long to listen to this book in tiny increments and it ruined the experience somewhat. For starters, the beginning wasn't memorable. This is the second time I'm reading this novel and yet I don't even have a vague idea of what happened.
Kat and Bones were a kick*ss duo that I love coming back to read about. Their dynamic is very interesting. I loved how they were always there for each other and would accomplish the impossible to help one another.
The Voodoo Queen was an amazing character that I love and hate. She's all-powerful and the such, but deep down she has a moral code that no one will dare ignore because of future possible consequences. She's also very calculating and I loved every minute of her theatrics with Cat.
The ending was bittersweet when the subject is Dawn. He's such a big part of Cat's story, even though it didn't take me by surprise, it was still sad. I like the part he continues to play in Cat's future adventures though.
The Audio Book:
The narration was great, but I'm finding myself sometimes bothered by Bone's voice and other times not. I can't explain why that's happening.
A Note: I schedule all my reviews months in advance and at the time of reading this book and writing this review there was no mention that it was a reverse harem story in the title or in the description of this novel. This is a review for the first 3 original novella length books in the Bad Boy Rebels series.
I thought this book was going to go in a completely different direction with its characters and storyline. I'm disappointed with the way it all went. I also realized, a bit too late, that this was originally a serialized novel (meaning that for one complete novel there were a series of mini books). Due to that, everything seemed glossed over and rushed. I couldn't connect with the characters because there was barely any backstory provided.
Zhara seemed to have too much of, what I would consider, bad things. She was too meek, too innocent (for being 18 years old), too apologetic, and her story felt too wrong place wrong time. Everything fell into place too conveniently from the start and it ended up aggravating me more than helping me to like the story.
I didn't understand the reason to have a group of guys be "undercover agents". There was never a reasoning behind why this "task force" was created either. Why have 6(?) guys instead of having just one or two was a persistent question in my mind during this novel. Everything was moving so fast that I couldn't even connect with any of them. Everyone was just one huge blur.
Despite the cliffhanger, I won't be reading the continuation to this series. By this point, I simply don't care what happens to any of the characters. I've enjoyed various books by this author in the past, but this one isn't one of them.
My Favorite Quotes:
"(...) as if ignoring what people think is as simple as breathing."
"Sometimes people have to overthink things. [...] It's part of life."
"(...) [I] felt trapped in a life I didn't believe I belonged in."