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Cheaters Stand up

Love on the Edge of Time by Julie A. Richman

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Historical Romance/ Magic/Paranormal/ Reviews/ Speculative Fiction 15th November 2017
Love on the Edge of Time by Julie A. RichmanLove on the Edge of Time by Julie A. Richman
Published by Julie A. Richman on November 13th 2017
Pages: 264
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two-stars

He likes whiskey and wild womenShe likes Ben & Jerry’sHe’s about to get kicked out of his own bandShe ate her way off the Miss America pageant circuit

What could these two possibly have in common?

A psychiatrist A lot of unresolved issuesA whole bunch of shared lifetimesAnd a love that is never-ending

As bad boy rocker, Jesse Winslow, and former pageant queen, Kylie Martin, each fight the demons screwing up their lives, the one person who holds the key to healing their ills and reuniting two souls that have searched for one another, lifetime after lifetime, is the only one who knows the whole truth.

And keeping that truth from them may just be in preeminent psychiatrist Dr. Claire Stoddard’s best interests.

Claire has committed the ultimate sin in the medical world. She’s fallen for the one man she’s forbidden to love.

Her patient, Jesse Winslow.

And she’s not about to lose him to Kylie Martin... Again.

Truthfully, I don’t quite know quite how to write this review, only that I picked up this book because it felt as though there was an interesting and fairly unusual premise to it.  Julie A. Richman’s writing reminded me of the early days delving into historical/paranormal romances with stories like Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance coming to mind (damn, has it been that long?!) and the background definitely intrigued me.

The idea that 2 lives are entwined throughout history typically lends a sense of the inevitability of a star-crossed pairing of 2 people destined to find each other but always pulled apart for some reason. It’s a deeply romantic notion, heightened probably by bittersweet tragedy that comes each time the separation occurs, though objectively, you can probably extrapolate that the story happening in the present is simply a cog in the larger turning wheel of time, yet another version of the pairing at this point in time and bound to repeat some time in the future. The nebulous addition of a third person makes it less so, however.

What I hadn’t expected was a growing fascination with the idea of past lives emerging through a psychiatrist, who in part played a role in this growing love triangle, or that I couldn’t quite shake my dislike of or have any sympathy for the overindulged, narcissistically entitled and hypocritical rocker (who dared call out his girlfriend on cheating when he’d done it himself too many times) who did things without any thought about the consequences. I’m guessing that my inability to like the modern-day iterations of the protagonists—it was difficult to get past Jesse’s flakiness and Kylie’s unexpected vicious streak along—diminished the magnitude of the ‘fated-across-time’ romance along with the head-hopping that happened throughout, which got disorienting at times.

The historical parts however, kept me engrossed, so I do find myself torn between the loving the grand idea of having star-crossed lovers fated throughout (along with the strong message sent out about body image and identity) and not really liking the contemporary version of this pairing, along with the ’triangle’ and the other woman scenario.  That alone, quite clearly places me in the minority here. If anything, ‘Love on the edge of time’ is an unconventional one and even if I’m on the fence about it, it’s not to say other wouldn’t (because they do, judging from the other glowing reviews) love this read.

two-stars

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ New Adult/ Reviews 7th November 2017
Hooking Up by Helena HuntingHooking Up by Helena Hunting
Published by Swerve on November 1st 2017
Pages: 259
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one-star

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Not having read the first book, I’m guessing that the implications of Amalie and her secret hook-up are much larger than I think, though ‘Hooking Up’ does clearly work as a standalone.

Having said that, I had the inkling that the book wasn’t for me at all—an inkling that grew like an ominous thundercloud by the time I got to the part where the shenanigans started a few minutes post-wedding.

Cheating and a tit-for-tat vibe in the story are what push the narrative along: out of spite, Armstrong swopped into get the girl (one which the mystery man sees first), then quite publicly cheated on her in a cringeworthy manner during the wedding reception. The brokenhearted Amalie in turn, went on her honeymoon alone, hooked up with the man who quite literally saw her first while her divorce hadn’t gone through (though it’s pretty much expected that the marriage is over by then). That personally is a trigger for me, so I was struggling with this early on, which clearly places me in the minority as I kept wondering if Amalie/mystery man’s actions were justified nonetheless, especially since this merely took place a few days after the disastrous wedding and not after the dust properly settled.

I also found it hard to sympathise with the jilted woman, whose choice in bad boyfriends (and husband) merely reinforced her lack of judgement and her inability to rein everything in. And unlike our mystery man who seemed stalwart in his desire for her, Amalie merely stayed a whiny, flaky protagonist who spent most of the story vacillating between her regrets and her own abysmal history in ‘love’ which she projected onto mystery man.

I couldn’t finish the story after all—it’s an issue I typically have with characters and issues like cheating. The ease of reading just didn’t surpass how much I disliked the characters in the book save for the mystery man of the story and was actually happy to put Amalie and her antics far behind me.

one-star

Nova by Rebecca Yarros

Posted in Reviews 1st February 2017
Nova by Rebecca YarrosNova by Rebecca Yarros
Series: The Renegades #2
Published by Entangled: Embrace on February 20th 2017
Pages: 300
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Goodreads
three-stars

He’s Landon Rhodes. The Renegade they call Nova. Twenty-two years old, sinfully gorgeous, broody, tatted-up, adrenaline junkie. Four-time X Games medalist —Full-time heartbreaker.
They say a girl broke him once—That’s why he’s so reckless, so driven, so careless with his conquests. But I’m that girl. They can call me his curse all they want. He and I both know the truth—He’s the one who destroyed me, And I’m not the sucker who will let that happen again.

It’s hard to rate a book when the male protagonist has everything stacked against him and everything else skewed in the favour of the heroine whom he’d treated so badly a long time ago. (Casa)Nova, aka Landon, is hard not to despise for his actions which I found abhorrent in every way: ditching the girl he loved, then self-medicating the hurt away by becoming a manwhore and then only rushing to make reparations when they meet again— while keeping hair-raising secrets along the way.

There’s a ton that I can probably write about when it comes to Nova’s failings and there are that many to start with. By cowardly not going after the girl he wanted when he regretted his actions yet sleeping with so many others to get over her, then only deciding to do something about it when their paths cross is one. His inability to do anything but “self-medicate” with sex and not righting his wrongs before she came back into his life is another. That he took money and put his dream above her was even more unforgivable. As with my issues with second-chances stories, clichés can and do run the river dry, with lines such as “I thought about you everyday (even while sleeping with others who didn’t mean a thing to me, or whom I used to get over you” made it difficult to take Landon seriously at all. But clearly, this is my own bias in operation as well but I can safely say that the story is truly an exercise in grovelling, an uphill battle of lesson after lesson in winning trust back after the deepest kind of betrayal.

There is some convoluted history that muddies the waters however, and Rebecca Yarros does try to make Landon grovel as best as he can—the punishment befitting the crime, so to speak. I felt sorry for Rachel, who, though not initially blameless, was made too much of a pawn in some high stakes game of sponsorship and ambition: that she was collateral damage in the midst of people who played her over and out.

That said, Yarros does write emotion quite well and it was gratifying to read that Rachel’s hurt wasn’t glossed over too easily and how it (rightfully) took a lot for Landon to make things up to her. Even if I thought that the concept of the Renegades cruise/study tour was a little far-fetched, the exotic locales and the death-defying activities do provide a different setting for this particular story and a different kind of heart-pounding action that’s not just limited to the bedroom. It’s clear this series is still finding its stride and I’m more than a bit curious whether the rest of the characters would get their own books.

three-stars
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