Mr. President by Katy Evans

imageI met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I’m determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I’m helpless to resist.

We’re stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt’s chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything. Walking away will be the hardest thing of all. 

 

Matt’s father was president of the US and was assassinated in the third year of his second term.  When Charlotte meets Matt for the first time she is 11 and he is…. who knows.  Her father is a senator and is friends with President Hamilton and has invited him to his house for dinner.  The president goes on that Matt will eventually become president himself one day.  That meeting had an impact on Charlotte, she even wrote Matt a letter saying that if he did run for president she would not only vote for him but also work on his campaign.

It’s a love story more than it is about politics.  I do have some issues with it though but it has nothing to do with politics.  First of all like it’s mentioned Charlotte meets Matt when she is 11 and it’s implied that he is in his teens, then at another point it’s implied he was in collage.  The second time she sees him is at his father’s funeral when she is 13.  So lets go with him being in his teens.  It’s is now 10 years later and Charlotte is now 22 and as we all know you have to be 35 to be able to run for president. But if you go with him being in his teens when they first met that means he would be in his late 20’s or so….. maybe early 30’s but that’s pushing it, but he is 35 when’s he runs. There is no way he could have been his teens when the met 10 years previous. The whole thing about not getting the ages right bothered me.  Petty I know, but it does.

The second thing that bothered me is Charlotte herself.  While I like Matt, he’s strong, determined and driven to not only put the country first but to do right by the American people.  Charlotte acts like a child when Matt pays her any bit of attention.  She’s like ‘ Oh.My.God. He’s looking. At Me!’ or variations of that.  She also feels like shots of electricity shoot up and down her body if he just brushes up against him. Her panties get in a twist over a kiss and just about orgasms when he touches her ever so briefly.  she goes over every kiss, analyses every movement and relives every detail.  The detailed descriptions of her feelings go on for anywhere from half a page to a page and a bit.  It gets sooooo weary just reading every butterfly in her tummy and the crackling of nerve endings, live wires shooting sparks through her body. It’s never-ending how many crackles, sparks and butterflies that she experiences. Also during one oral sex scene when Matt is going down on her she describes her labia as sex lips…. SEX LIPS!  Ugh…

I could go on about how much Charlotte annoyed me but it’s nauseating enough reading it.

I did enjoy the premise of the story, it’s something different from the usual CEO’s and millionaires stories out there. But it wasn’t enough to make up for the bits that got under my skin.

2.5 stars

Crash.

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My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking

I’m going to do something different this time and review an entire series, well the 4 books in the My Blood Approves series.

When I heard that Swear, the fifth and final book in the series would be coming out in November after a 5 year wait, I decided to preorder it.  Seeing it has been years since I read the series I figured a re-read was in order.  I plowed through My Blood Approves and noticed that it was similar in places to Twilight. I don’t know which book came out first or if they both came out at the same time but there were similarities between the two.

First, the editing was horrible. An example from Flutter “Grabbing him by the arm, I drug him upstairs.” Drug him upstairs?  I’m sure that dragged would be the appropriate word to use, not drug.  There are plenty more through all the books.

The story itself had some good points but there are things that I question, like the whole “Are you trying to get Alice Killed?” part.  First of all, how did Jack, Peter, Ezra and Mae know about Alice?  What marked her out for Peter alone?  Why was she drawn to him and not Jack?  There are some gaping holes here and questions that never got answered…. plus the whole “You’re going to get her killed” ever other page got annoying….. and guess what….. Peter didn’t killed her,even though she was meant for him and Jack went and ruined it all….. oh the drama.  Also the whole “She’s human and fragile” again like Bella, she must be protected at all cost and she is special….. Alice’s blood is special for some reason. Something else never answered.

As Fate rolls around it’s Milo who gets turned, not Alice.  She moans and groans about it. More Peter and Jack drama at every turn. Woe is me theme running in here, throw in some bits about Jane and there is book two.

Flutter and it’s finally Alice’s turn to …. well, turn. She was turned at the very end of Fate but she is fully turned at the start of this book. Things get more strained as Ezra and Alice go to Finland to save Peter from a mob of rogue Lycans. To say that Jack is upset is an understatement and displays more jealousy.  Milo has a boyfriend that is human, Bobby. He  is remarkably used to vampires and has almost died a few times at their hands and oddly  he doesn’t run screaming for the hills.  Jane features more in here as the victim of horrible vampires and due to her nature, blames Alice for it all.  When Mae turned Daisy it reminded me of Interview with a Vampire with turning a child into vampire and the horrors to go with it.

Onto Wisdom and it’s all about finding Jane’s killer and dealing with Mae and Daisy….. blah, blah, blah.

Now, I know that when these books were written back in 2010/2011  and Amanda was a new writer. These were her first books and while you could tell that she was inexperienced that there was some good in the story lines, just not fully fleshed out.  Editing was an issue and some plot holes that were never filled in or explained.  She has gone on to write more books, I haven’t read any others but I assume that she has grown in her skills.  I wonder why, with more books under her belt, she never went back to touch this series up?

I think that when I first read these I was please with them and enjoyed them, but after going back and reading them for a second time years later I feel differently.   There is waaaayyy too much drama in some of them.  Are they all bad, no, but they aren’t all that great either. In some aspects each book got a small bit stronger with characters and plot development.  Not everything is explained so you still have to guess at some of it but they did get a bit better

I decided to read Swear when it comes out, if nothing else but to see how the series ends.

2.5 stars for the series so far.

Crash

 

Billionaire on the Loose by Jessica Clare

imageTaylor is a genius when it comes to computers, but understanding the opposite sex is beyond her. Because she always fumbles her flirtations, she needs help in finding her Prince Charming. So when her friend, Gretchen, sets her up as a tour guide for a new guy in town, she says yes despite her misgivings.

She just doesn’t expect Mr. Charming to actually be royalty…

A faction in his country wants him to be king, but Loch has no intention of taking the crown. To keep from being named as the next successor, he hatches a scheme to marry a totally unacceptable American woman. Quirky Taylor seems like the perfect person for the job, until Loch realizes he likes more about her than her ability to keep him off the throne.

When Loch’s secret schemes come out, his chance of happiness with Taylor are blown—unless he can find a way to get the nerdy object of his affection to believe she’s truly the queen of his heart… 

I have to be honest, I didn’t care for Taylor or Loch at the start of this book. She lived on line in games, and was barely able to function outside of her gaming group. I loved that she was a nerd and loved the references though. Loch was bland and seemed to lack any sort of personality. He’s a rich royal who has never worked a day in his life and has had everything done for him, he was like a child who couldn’t do anything for himself. Neither character impressed me. The whole “let’s have sex.” within minutes of meeting each other put me off slightly. They are as alike as oil and water, no compatibility at all. I can understand why she would be interested in a hunk of guy but his attraction to her? That was the part I couldn’t understand. Sure she didn’t know who he was or how rich he was and he found that appealing, but still.

I was going to give up on this one but I stuck with it and the characters did grow and become more bearable. Loch befriended a homeless man who was the only one with any bit of sense. Loch went from wanting to marry Taylor to solve his own problems without thought or any regards to her feelings to actually caring about her.

It ended up being an ok piece of easy reading, what I would call a “palate cleanser” book. Something nice and light after a previous heavy reading  book.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2.5 stars

Crash.

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One Breath away by Heather Gudenkauf

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Augie and PJ Baker are staying with their grandparents in Broken Branch Iowa after their mother was burned in a fire back in Arizona. While their grandmother has travelled to Arizona to look after their mother in the hospital they stay with their grandfather, who is a cattle rancher. While PJ settles in and gets along with his grandfather Will, Augie isn’t fairing well and hates being there. Word gets out that there is a gunman in the school and it’s a scramble to find out not only who it is but also why he has taken a classroom of student’s hostage.

There are quite a few characters who feature in this book and while the bulk of the story takes place in the school there are a lot of flashback story telling by the main characters. While it helps with who is who and why they are where they are and how they got to this point in their lives I thought it went too deep into some things that just didn’t matter. The story dragged on and I felt that the book was too long to get to the thrust of the story, which was who was the gunman. I did figure out about a third into the book who it was and once you find out why he did it, the story fell flat.

I was captivated at the start of the book but at the half way point I got bored and it just wasn’t holding me as much as it did at the beginning.

There have been many books written about school shootings and I have read a few of them. The best non-fiction one was Columbine, which I guess is the definitive one. As far as fiction ones, Nineteen Minutes and The Hour I First Believed were two of the better ones, this one just fell flat and it was tedious. This is the first book I have read by Heather Gudenkauf and I wasn’t impressed.

2.5/5 stars

Crash

 

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Review: Never, Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn FIsher

23383567 Okay, I was so excited for this book because I’ve loved all of Colleen Hoover’s other book except for one (Ugly Love). I assumed that was just a fluke and it wasn’t to my taste but then I read this book. I was incredibly disappointed from the very beginning and I’m still mad about it a week later. In fact the more I thought about the book the more I disliked it so I downgraded it a half star!

First of all the book is very short – only 140 pages. I didn’t even look when I ordered it so I was very surprised by the length. I finished it in a little over an hour. Now on the plus side it is priced at $2.99 so I should have guessed it would be short but to me it felt almost like a novella short.

It starts with 2 teenagers – Charlie and Silas – waking up in school and not having a clue who they were and not recognizing anything or anyone in their lives. They quickly realize they are boyfriend and girlfriend and start to try to figure out their lives. They come to find out that their parents each hate their significant others and that while Silas comes from a rich family, Charlie’s family is very poor to the point of not having much to eat.

My issues with the book started right there with them not saying anything to anyone about what’s going on. What teenage would experience this and not go to the nurse or tell someone else? I know suspension of disbelief is important and usually I can go with just about anything but this seemed weird to me. One of the things that I didn’t like about this was the characters. As things develop I expected to have an attachment to someone because usually that’s how it works. For me this never happened – both characters were very unlikable. Now I’ve read books with unlikable characters and didn’t have an issue like with Gone Girl but in this case I’m pretty sure the reader is supposed to *like* them.

But my biggest problem with the book is the ending. It’s a HUGE cliffhanger. I’ve read and understood cliffhangers with some other books but this seemed completely unnecessary!! I mentioned it’s only 140 pages so in my mind I don’t understand why it needed another book. I felt like I was getting only the beginning of the story, almost like a prequel. I read a post from Colleen Hoover that said they felt there was too much story to put in one book but when the book is so short I don’t get how that can be true??

I’m giving it 2.5 stars because I couldn’t get past any of these issues. Other people seem to be loving the book with a few exceptions so I feel pretty alone with this viewpoint but I can’t help how I feel about the book. I definitely will not be reading the next one that looks to be coming out in May.

2.5 Stars

~Melinda

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Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

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17-year-old Zac is in isolation when he hears the familiar patter of nurse Nina going through the routine of the hospital ward with the newest patient. Mia, who is placed in room 2 right next to Zac, is the latest addition to the cancer ward. Zac has undergone bone marrow transplant and can’t leave his room but is curious about the angry young woman in the room behind him. They communicate through notes, tapping on the wall and via Facebook. Mia is very angry at the hand life dealt her and lashes out at everyone and lies about her illness to her friends. She has localised bone cancer in her leg and while Zac tells her she is the luckiest of them all on the ward, as her cancer is 90% survivable, she doesn’t feel lucky. She spends a lot of her time running away and eventually she runs to Zac, whether by choice or subconsciously she ends up on his doorstep. They embark on a friendship that is rather one sided to begin with and over time grows in mutuality.

I really liked the first part of this book along with the last 10%, everything in between is…. Meh.

I do like Zac’s character, he is a bit more rounded of the two not by much, but he is more enjoyable. He quotes stats and while he knows he has a 55% chance of remission he knows that odds have a way of coming back to bite you, and Zac is all about odds and stats.

Mia on the other hand, I just didn’t like her at all. I know that she is angry and lashes out but she is not only mean to Zac, who is nothing but nice to her and God only knows why, but to those around her. She does eventually see the light of her actions but for me it was too little to late. The characters have their moments but not enough to make you really care about them. They just fell flat, they brought out no emotions for me, nothing at all.

I had high hopes for this book when I read the blurb and the sample of it but it just didn’t deliver for me.

2 and ½ stars

Crash

 

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Joint Book Review: Yours to Keep by Serena Bell

imageThis is Serena Bell’s full length book debut. It is about Ana Traveres, who is an illegal immigrant. Her deceased mom let the visas of Ana and her siblings expire. Circumstances conspired against them that 1) did not allow them to return home to the Dominican Republic and 2) renew their visas in a timely manner. Ana works a couple of jobs as a Spanish tutor and as a teacher for an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. She requests payments by cash, of course.

Ethan is a widower with a teenage son, Theo. Ethan hires Ana to help Theo. Ethan’s a pediatrician who is trying to help one of his patients with a mysterious illness.

So that’s a quick summary. Let’s dig deep into this book. My friend, Clio from Random Book Muses, is here to share her thoughts too.

Ethan-
Vi: My main complaint against him is his thoughts on the “desperate mommies.”
“Generally speaking, there were two reasons women wanted to talk to Ethan: either they wanted to ask his advice, as a pediatrician, about a medical problem or they wanted to flirt.
“Desperate mommies were an occupational hazard, like parents who asked him pediatric questions as awkward moments.”
Ethan comes across as arrogant. I’m not sure if I liked him. His interactions with his distant son help humble him. Ana definitely helped humble him.

Clio: I’m sure I didn’t like him for the majority of the book. The “desperate mommies” was also the start of my dislike. He’s a Dr., isn’t it an understandable side effect of being one that you expect those kinds of questions? How exactly were the mommies desperate? I never got that from the descriptions in the book, I definitely got the dislike of the rich mommies but was unable to put my finger on why besides that they were rich.

Ana-
Vi: I liked her a lot. She was a pillar of strength for her family. She’s been saving money so that she can attend college. When her older brother, Ricky, wanted to buy a car to start a house cleaning business, Ana, unselfishly gave him the money. I felt her agony when she agreed to help Ricky.

Ana’s thoughtfulness and kindness led Theo to open up. This helped Ethan to re-connect with Theo.

Clio: I also liked Ana for the most part. I really enjoyed her interaction with Theo and seeing how she asked him questions that led him to talking about thing he never would otherwise. I wasn’t so sure about some aspects the author included – in particular the focus on a hot pink thong she wore to entice Ethan. It did not seem like something this character would do or like something Ethan would like.

The subplot of Ethan & his patient:
Vi: I really didn’t understand why there needed to be a subplot with Ethan’s patient who might have leukemia. If this is to prove that Ethan is compassionate, then it was not needed. I see that in his actions with his son.

If it was to prove his dedication to his profession, well, it was also not needed. His dedication led to the drift between him and his son.

Clio: Ditto.
This bothered me to the point of distraction during scenes that had nothing to do with this. I was left wondering what this had to do with anything else.

The subplot of Ana & her ESL class:
Vi: I also don’t understand why I needed to see Ana with her ESL class. If it’s prove that she’s an effective teacher, well, it was not needed. I got that with her interactions with Theo. Ana cooking with Theo showed well what a great teacher Ana was.

If it was to re-inforce how painful it was to be deported, I got the message. It sucks. By the time that her student’s daughter was deported, leaving behind a grandchild, I understood the plight of the illegal immigrants. Ana’s family was enough. Why bring in another example?

Clio: I disagree with this one. I liked the interactions with the ESl class. I thought it showed how much Ana enjoyed being with others that were like her and in similar situation but at the same time showed none of them felt comfortable in revealing all of their secrets. I liked the interaction with people besides her family and Ethan’s.

The romance:
Vi: I felt like the romance, the courtship, got lost amidst the subplots. They went on a date. Then they quickly ended up in bed. I wanted to see more of how they could sustain a relationship beyond the physical. Because so much happened externally, I felt that the declaration of love happened too quickly.

Clio: I was lost amidst the subplots! I wish the author had left out Ethan’s medical practice and anything to do with the desperate mommies. She also could have cut more of the ESL classes and concentrated on developing the romance more.

Grade:
Vi: 2/5 stars. This book could almost be women’s fiction. By the end of the book, I understand better what illegal immigrants were feeling than what Ana & Ethan were feeling about each other. I wish the focus was tighter so that the HEA was more believable.

Clio: I would give it a 2.5 stars if that makes much of a difference. I enjoyed Ana’s story of her home life and Ethan’s home life as well. I really liked how Ana dealt with Theo and how that in turn affected Ethan’s relationship with him. However, for a romance, it fell very flat for me.

Thanks, Clio, for joining me. Maybe we will have better luck with next month’s book.

~Vi

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