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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fifth Avenue: Avenge Me by Maisey Yates

Avenge Me by Maisey Yates
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Source: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc
Currently available: 1 June, 2014. paperback at Harlequin
Synopsis"Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York's elite would never believe it—especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father—risking his family name and those he loves—without any proof?

Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen's reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?"
Avenge Me is an interesting take on a series as it is written by 3 authors. Avenge Me begins the story with the introduction of the main villain's son--the one who's going to get the theoretical ball rolling. As the main protagonist, Austin Treffen is a strong male lead; he's very dominant, headstrong, with a take charge attitude, both for work and in the bedroom. I personally found his characterization decent. I enjoyed reading his multidimensional personality from the way he behaves with his peers, his lovers, and with his family. He's definitely not a monotone character.

The main female lead, Katy Michaels, is just as multifaceted though I wished she was more assertive. It's repeated time again that she's quite stubborn or independent, but aside a tale and one incident there isn't much action. I had hoped that as the reader we read more about Katy outside of the bedroom and in environments where it showcases her strong. A part of her life is that she's never had someone really take care of her, but having Austin fill that role shouldn't have robbed some of her independence.

The relationship between the two is a play on the forbidden fruit. At times it can read like a softcore porn with a BDSM element though I guess it's to be expected from a Harlequin novel. The balance between Austin and Michael works well in the bedroom, but outside of it I feel that Austin's personality dominants Katy and she starts to fade even with the split POV.

With the actual plotline, I quite like the idea. I like how it was structured, how it brought together different characters that each author could write about, and how it all tied together. The unraveling was suspenseful and a short climax was exciting. The transition from romance/fun times in the bedroom to the more serious conflict was choppy and kind of awkward at times.

Overall I would continue with the Fifth Avenue series if time permits, mainly because I am curious how the other authors would continue with the plot and how they would tie it together.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

From This Moment On (Blog Tour)

From This Moment On by Bella Andre
Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5
Published: 5-25-13 / Harlequin MIRA / paperback
Cover C
Source: ARC provided by Media Muscles for review purposes

Marcus has always been the responsible older brother, taking care of the family when their father passed away. When Marcus sees Chase and Chloe together, he realizes that maybe what he has with Jill isn't what he dreamed of. He decides to cut loose and enjoy the night. He never expected to Nico, a woman that he wasn't supposed to see or even think about the next morning.

Nicola has been under the scrutiny being a world famous artist. But the image that the tabloids has created isn't the real her. Tonight, however, Nico decides that enough is enough and tires of hiding away in her hotel. She never expected to find a man like Marcus.
Review: I will admit that I enjoyed From This Moment On more The Look of Love. There were far less inconsistencies and characters that made me want to shake them. Bella Andre seems to prefer love-at-first-sight rather than a slow build-up. This might be preferred to some readers as this keeps the plot very fast with a happy ever after in a 200+ page book.

I prefer Marcus and Nico over Chase and Chloe mostly because I struggled with Chloe's immediate actions to Chase. Nico and Marcus, however, do try to behave as though they are uncomfortable with the idea of developing a strong connection and intimacy in a short time. The continuation of their romance was more believable, and I found myself rooting for the two of them.

The struggles that Marcus faced is a situation that many could find themselves in: a child forced to become an adult after a parent's death. Nico's situation on the other hand is a little less common for most people, a pop-star that is placed in a bad spotlight and hurt by someone she once trusted. The two have very little in common (even their age-gap is a decades width), but I found their relationship promising. I enjoyed their  banter and the intensity of their heat and sparks. Again, however, I thought it moved too quickly for my taste.

There isn't a villain to the story so it was a character driven plot that spins in circle at times. The plot is very simplistic, and I fail to see why Bella Andre sees the need to introduce all the Sullivans again in this short book. Since the plot was simple, I found myself bored at times and rushed towards the end. 

In the end, I'm on the edge of Bella Andre's works. I find them okay reads, but not something I will go back and reread.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blog Tour: The Look of Love

The Look of Love by Bella Andre
Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5
Published: June 2013; MMP / Harlequin
Cover C
FTC: unsolicited from publicity firm
For the first time, Bella Andre's The Sullivans' series is out in mass market paperback. First up, Chase Sullivan: world-renowned photographer with looks that even draws the models. He's tired of the one-night stands and looking for a true love. On the way back from his mother's birthday party, he rescues Chloe Peterson on the side of the road after her car gets trapped in a ditch. Running from a hard past and a soul-sucking relationship, the last thing she wants to deal with another man.
Strictly judging the book by its cover, The Look of Love is not something I would typically pick up.The blurbs and reviews, however, pushed me into trying as the majority are very positive. From the start, though, I realized that this book may not be my cup of tea.

Chase is gorgeous, Chloe is gorgeous. Chloe jumps out of a horrible abusive relationship and into the arms of a man she barely knows. And while there is a time gap between her old relationship and Chase, the speediness in which she claims to have fallen in love was alarming. Chase is, of course, the perfect prince in Chloe's eyes. He has had nights with models, but that only alludes to his handsomeness. But overall I found the characters flat, even the main villain was not as intense as I would have liked.

The ending was short. The build up and build up about Chloe's past relationship, and the confrontation is resolved in a measly 4 pages. The epilogue only sets up for the next story and offers some insight to the new couple.

Overall: The Look of Love is cliche, which may not be a bad thing if it fits the mood that the reader is currently looking for. I was not. Insta-love was very instant; lust, okay but love doesn't happen within less than a 24 hour span. The steamy sex scenes were again, cliche. I found the characters at times hypocritical or very unsure what they truly want. It wraps up quickly, like snap of the fingers quick. Again, this is all personal taste. If I was looking for something fast-paced, fun in the sheets action, with simple characters I wouldn't have rated The Look of Love as harshly.