Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews

Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews

Reviews that are published on Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews, a book review blog that focuses on all types of romance novels (historical, contemporary, paranormal, male/male) with a bit of urban fantasy and YA fiction thrown in.

Review
3 Stars
REVIEW: "Saving the Rifleman" by Julie Rowe
Saving the Rifleman - Julie Rowe

I have had Saving the Rifleman on my to-read list for awhile, but never really got inspired to buy it.  Then I found it on Scribd and was so happy that I added it to my library.  I soon realized that it was part of the massive romance purge that Scribd is doing in August so I quickly read it.  And...it was okay.  I enjoyed it and it was easy to read, but I did feel a little letdown by it.

 

Maria Hunt is a nurse working in Belgium during World War I.  She works at a hospital run by the Red Cross that helps soldiers and civilians regardless of nationality.  Maria and her supervisor, Rose, use this position to their advantage by sneaking injured British soldiers out of the country right under the noses of the Germans.  I really liked her character for her loyalty and her capability.  I am squeamish so I really admired her ability to keep going through some of the more violent aspects of the book.  I also loved her devotion to her patients, no matter who they were.

 

The hero of Saving the Rifleman is John Bennett, an aristocrat and career soldier, who stumbles upon the hospital and needs Maria's help getting to the Netherlands.  What I liked about him was his protective nature that was never over-the-top.  He spends much of the book in awe of Maria's intelligence and bravery and often bowed to her valuable experience.  John also doesn't care much about her lower class background and believes that he can convince his family how amazing she is.

 

This was a very sweet road romance that has these two likable characters traveling across the Belgian countryside while escaping the Germans.  There was a lot of danger and some appropriate wartime violence.  This all caused the love story to get a bit rushed.  Both Maria and John have their emotions running high and it was not hard to understand their intimacy.

 

I did feel like things got disappointing once they reached England.  I wanted more page time devoted to Maria adjusting to her new life and dealing with John's family's upper crust sensibilities.  I guess I found myself in need of more proof that these two had a real connection once they were out of immediate danger, but the page length didn't allow for that.  But, if you are looking for a decent historical romance that isn't Regency or Victorian-era, it might be worth checking this series out.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/07/review-saving-rifleman-by-julie-rowe.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "The Deep of the Sound" by Amy Lane
The Deep of the Sound - Amy Lane

I received a free copy of this book from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Amy Lane is a M/M author that I have read a lot from and she is one that I turn to when I need a good cry.  She has the ability to balance the line between angst and emotional torture that I find valuable at certain times.  So I was excited when I learned that she would be involved in Riptide Publishing's cross-author series about Bluewater Bay, Washington.  The Deep of the Sound is exactly what I expected from Ms. Lane since I came away from with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

 

Calladh "Cal" McCorkle is a Bluewater Bay native who is just keeping hold on his sanity.  His parents died when he was a young man and he now spends his days working his ass off to support his Alzheimer's-riddled great uncle and mentally unstable younger brother.  Avery Kennedy is a freelancer writer who is having a serious string of bad luck incidents such as a cheating boyfriend and a desperate financial situation.  Cal manages to come across Avery on the side of the road outside of town and these two quickly realize how much chemistry they have together.

 

Cal and Avery are such richly developed characters that I felt like they could just jump off the page and have a conversation with me.  Cal's difficult life has forced him to always be the caretaker so he is immediately attracted to Avery whom he dubs his "rescue puppy".  But, things quickly turn for the couple when it turns out that he needs care from Avery just as much.  I liked how Avery was able to gain confidence through helping Cal and his family.  His upbringing left him with no self-esteem and a desperate need for any affection he can get.  Together they figure out what one another needs and that was a true highlight of The Deep of the Sound.

 

Cal's great-uncle, Nascha, and brother, Keir, are big parts of this story as well.  Each of them spends a lot of time stuck in their own heads and are unpredictable outside of them.  This is where my heart really broke while reading.  Alzheimer's is such an awful disease to witness and Nascha is trying desperately to hang onto some semblance of his old personality that I kept tearing up.  And Keir's multiple psychological issues make him a danger to himself and those around him.  I could tell where his story was going to end and I kept crossing my fingers that the journey would be smooth.

 

There are fun cameos of other Bluewater Bay inhabitants that readers of the series will be happy to see.  I loved getting to visit the Stomping Grounds coffee shop and, of course, continue to see the changes brought to the town by the cast and crew of the popular Wolf's Landing TV show.  But, don't worry about getting caught up on the series since this book can be read as a stand-alone.  If you haven't gotten to try an Amy Lane story, I highly recommend this one.  Just make sure you have a box of tissues available at certain points.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/07/review-deep-of-sound-by-amy-lane.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "The Art of Sinning" by Sabrina Jeffries
The Art of Sinning - Sabrina Jeffries

The Art of Sinning is the first book in Sabrina Jeffries's new Sinful Suitors series which is a spin-off to her Duke's Men series.  I have been reading Jeffries for years now and enjoy how consistently she entertains me.  As far as I can tell, the basis for this series is going to be an informal "club" of gentleman who spend their time protecting their sisters/cousins/wards from unsuitable suitors.  I appreciate the protectiveness that this storyline emphasizes though I know that the meddling will not end well for anyone.

 

First out of the gate is an American painter, Jeremy Keane, who was first introduced as the cousin of the heroine of How the Scoundrel Seduces.  He has been living and working in England for awhile now and is desperate for a muse to help him complete his ultimate project.  Thankfully, for him, he spots the perfect model at a ball and pretty much forces his way into a introduction with Yvette, sister of the stoic Earl of Blakeborough.  Jeremy convinces Yvette to model for him in exchange for helping her solve a family problem that her brother refuses to deal with.

 

The majority of this book involves Jeremy and Yvette spending time together at Blakeborough's country house.  There is a great deal of sneaking around since they are making her brother believe they are just working on a perfectly suitable portrait while, at night, they are making their way through the scandalous painting of Jeremy's dreams.

 

It is obvious early on how well-suited these two are on an emotional level.  Yvette has always felt out of place in society due to her height and blunt personality, but Jeremy is thrown for a loop by her which greatly improves her confidence.  I absolutely adored Yvette!  She isn't afraid to voice her opinions though she is never mean about it.  I also enjoyed watching her interact with her older brother, Edwin, who gets his own story next.

 

For his part, Jeremy is hiding a dark secret about his life in America which is forcing him to resist his attraction to Yvette.  The hidden past plot point went on a bit longer than I would have preferred, but it really helps explain Jeremy's behavior.  I just wanted to give him the biggest hug once the whole truth was revealed.  Sabrina Jeffries does a wonderful job with researching unique historical topics and, in this book, she clearly had a blast working in little tidbits about the 19th century artistic process.

 

The Art of Sinning was very easy to get into and I quickly sped through it.  Jeremy and Yvette had so much chemistry together and I was rooting for them to get their heads on right and figure out how perfect they are as a couple.  And I cannot say enough how excited I am for The Study of Seduction which pairs Yvette's brother (who was a huge surprise in this story) and her best friend, Clarissa.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/07/review-art-of-sinning-by-sabrina.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "The Friend Zone" by Kristen Callihan
The Friend Zone - Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan's The Hook Up was one of my favorite reads of 2014 so, of course, I was excited to read the sequel, The Friend Zone.  While this wasn't as wonderful as its predecessor, I did enjoy it and continue to impressed with the NA romances I've been reading lately.

 

Gray is the tight end on his college football team and is very close to realizing his dream of being drafted by the National Football League.  He even has an agent waiting to sign him after graduation.  So he is not prepared for the entrance of his agent's daughter, Ivy, into his life.  Ivy and Gray try to remain friends, but it becomes obvious that they are so much more to one another.

 

I really liked both Gray and Ivy.  Gray is a stud athlete, but he also, surprisingly, has a hell of a brain which he keeps a secret from most people.  His childhood wasn't the happiest and he is determined to make it in the pros to finally find a place he belongs.  For her part, Ivy has been surrounded by athletes her entire life and resents the attention that they get from her father.  She has recently graduated from college and is trying to figure out what she wants to do next.  Ivy has never felt a connection with someone like she does with Gray and is terrified of what will happen if they move out into relationship territory.

 

The plot of The Friend Zone basically deals with Gray and Ivy becoming friends (mostly through text messages) and trying to not mess things up when feelings get in the way.  I loved the development of their friendship and how comfortable they were with one another.  It is obvious to readers that they both are in love, but I appreciated that it took time before romance appeared.  The plot ended up being a question of "when will they" rather than "will they or won't they" which was fun.

 

So I would definitely recommend fans of NA romance or contemporaries in general check out Callihan's The Friend Zone.  It has mature characters who respect one another and are just searching for somewhere to belong with some fun side characters and enough sports talk to provide a great background.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/review-friend-zone-by-kristen-callihan.html
Review
4.5 Stars
REVIEW: "A Bollywood Affair" by Sonali Dev
A Bollywood Affair - Sonali Dev

A Bollywood Affair is one of those books that I was hesitant to read due to all the hype surrounding it.  I had heard fabulous things from many readers and bloggers that I trust, but I just couldn't make myself jump over the edge until now.  And I am left mentally hitting myself in the head (again!) for being so reluctant to engage in this unique and utterly charming contemporary.

 

The only thing that Bollywood director Samir cares about is his family so, when he discovers that his brother's village-arranged marriage (which happened when he was eleven and the bride four) was never properly annulled, he volunteers to charm his "wife" into signing the divorce papers.  Mili, on the other hand, firmly believes that she is married to Virat and has been trained by her grandmother to be the perfect Indian wife.  She is currently studying in America to enhance her appeal to her husband whom she has not laid eyes on since the wedding.  Of course, this is a romance so this whole situation gets complicated when Samir lies about his identity and ends up falling in love with Mili.

 

Mili and Samir were both so adorable and relatable!  I wasn't sure if Mili's innocent personality would get old, but it never did thanks to Sonali Dev's impeccable character development.  I came to embrace her slightly naive, but courageous look at the world.  I also admired her ingenuity to get her grandmother to let her pursue higher education in the guise of becoming the perfect wife for Virat.  Samir has the reputation as the bad boy of Bollywood and it was fun to see him in a situation that was so far out of his comfort zone.  His friendship with Mili helps him see the world in a much happier way and I loved that he still retained his charm minus the world-weary, cynical aspect of it.

"It doesn't matter what my life has been like, Samir. What matters is hope.  If you don't believe in a happy ending, what are you living for?"

The only thing that kept the book from being a five-star read for me was the amount of time it took for Samir to come clean to Mili.  I understand that he was afraid of how she would react especially once he started to fall in love with her, but I just felt like it went on a bit too long.  What did save that aspect of the plot was Mili's reaction and that Samir was forced to really grovel to get back into her good graces.  Other than this element, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and how the author portrayed Indian culture of which I know very little outside of Bollywood movies.

 

A Bollywood Affair is, at its heart, a contemporary version of the rake/wallflower plot with family drama and amazing food thrown in.  The author's writing, character development, and the inclusion of Indian culture really elevates the less-than-unusual storyline.  I completely understand why so many readers loved it when it came out and I am happy to recommend it to anyone who wants a contemporary that is a little out of the ordinary.  I also cannot wait for Sonali Dev's follow-up, The Bollywood Bride, which comes out in September.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/review-bollywood-affair-by-sonali-dev.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "A Texan's Luck" by Jodi Thomas
A Texan's Luck - Jodi Thomas

Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--May--Kickin' It Old School.  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.  

 

Why I Chose It For My TBR Challenge Read: I read the first two Wife Lottery books back in 2010 and I requested the third book through Paperback Swap in 2011.  Then I lost interest in western romances for awhile and A Texan's Luck just got pushed farther back on the TBR shelf.


Western-themed romances are a genre that I (strangely) enjoy especially since I always get bored with western TV shows or movies.  But, there is something about post-Civil War America that intrigues me in fiction and that is how I got introduced to the Wife Lottery series.  It took me some time to get to A Texan's Luck, but it was an enjoyable experience.

 

The basis of this series is that three women show up in a small town sheriff's office and confess to accidentally killing a man who was trying to rob them.  Rather than letting them rot in jail, the sheriff decides to use this incident to find wives for the men of the town.  The three women agree to have men chose to bail them out in exchange for marriage.  Readers of this series have to just take the odd premise and run with it.  What helps make it bearable is that the sheriff had good intentions with the wife lottery and just wanted the women to be settled and happy.

 

Lacy was only fifteen when she was entered in the wife lottery.  She was chosen by Mr. Larson, an elderly man, as a wife for his son, Walker, when he returned from serving in the army.  Mr. Larson ran the print shop in the town and spent the next three years training Lacy to take over the business.  After he died, Lacy traveled to meet her husband for the first time, but things didn't go as she planned and she returned to Cedar Point alone.  Now, Walker is back on an order from his superior officer to protect Lacy from the man that she and the other women thought they killed five years earlier.

 

I really enjoyed the characterization of Lacy and Walker.  Lacy is independent, smart, and a hard-worker who just wants to feel like she belongs somewhere.  Walker never wanted a wife and finds himself at a loss when dealing with her.  The book basically has these two circling around while figuring out to live together until Lacy is safe.  Their relationship takes time to develop which I appreciated especially since they had only laid eyes on one another once before.  Both Lacy and Walker have some adjustments to make and I had fun reading their bickering.

 

Besides the love story, A Texan's Luck has a subplot dealing with Zeb Whitaker, the man that tried to rob the women at the beginning of the series.  He didn't die and now believes that one of the women has the gold that he had with him at the time.  There is quite a bit of danger associated with Whitaker, but I never felt like it overshadowed the main storyline.

 

Readers of the series will be happy to see cameos from Bailee and Carter (The Texan's Wager) and Nell and Ranger Dalton who get their own story in The Texan's Reward.  Despite these appearances, this book can be read as a stand-alone and I recommend it for fans of sweet western romances.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-tbr-challenge-review-atexans-luck.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "The Deal" by Elle Kennedy
The Deal - Elle Kennedy

I have never read Elle Kennedy before, but I have heard great things about her sexy contemporary romances.  Since I adore sports-themed romances, I decided to give her debut New Adult book a try and am blown away by it.


The Deal has a similar plot to other NA books I've read with a college sports star needing tutoring and simultaneously falling in love with their tutor.  Garrett is the best player on his school's hockey team and usually has no problem balancing his classwork with his team commitments.  But, his ethics course is currently kicking his ass and he finds himself very close to missing games due to his low grade.  Hannah is the only student in the class who understands what the professor is wanting and this catches Garrett's attention.  It quickly becomes obvious that Hannah has a crush on one of the football players so Garret and Hannah decide to make a deal.  She will help him pass the class and he will pretend to date her in order to make Justin jealous.

 

While the plot is a little low on the creative side, what makes this book stand out for me is the characters.  Garrett and Hannah both have tortured pasts that they are trying to deal with and the find themselves trusting one another with their secrets as they spend time together.  I loved the way that the author had them growing as friends before jumping into bed.  Their constant back-and-forth was so funny and really showed the development of their relationship.  It was also fun to see Hannah interact with the rest of Garrett's housemates who I believe will be getting their own stories later in the series.

 

I recommend The Deal for anyone who loves mature NA with well-developed characters and a serious look at some current social issues like domestic violence and rape.  I will definitely be continuing this series and will probably add her adult books to my wishlist.

 
 
Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/review-deal-by-elle-kennedy.html
Review
0 Stars
REVIEW: "The Royal We" by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The Royal We - Jessica  Morgan, Heather Cocks

I have been a fan of Heather and Jessica's blog, Go Fug Yourself, for many years so, when they decided to imagine what it would be like for a commoner to marry into a royal family, I knew I had to check it out.  The Royal We is obviously inspired by the much-publicized relationship between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but the Fug Girls make the story their own and readers are left with an entertaining, surprisingly thought-provoking look into the life in the spotlight.

 

The narrator of The Royal We is Bex Porter, an American college student who heads to Oxford for a semester abroad.  While there, she befriends one of the heirs to the British throne, Prince Nicholas, and eventually that friendship turns into something more.  The book covers almost ten years of Bex and Nick's life together and apart.  It is much more than a romance due to the fact that it shows that there is more to happiness than fancy clothes, exotic vacations, and a huge wedding.  Happily ever after is a difficult thing to achieve and Bex and Nick have to go through major trials to find it.  

 

I adored both Bex and Nick.  Bex is the last person one would think of as the girlfriend of a prince due to her laid-back personality, but she captures Nick's attention with her lust for life and snarky sense of humor.  For his part, Nick is much more than a Prince Charming-like stereotype.  He is a genuinely nice guy who cares about his friends and his family, but he also has trust issues and is not the best at communication.  Bex and Nick both have to grow a lot in this book and I appreciated how flawed they were which made them much more relatable.

 

There are other relationships in this book besides the obvious one between Bex and Nick.  Readers are also given tons of information about their college friends with my personal favorite being Bex's best friend, Cilla, who is both protective of Bex and willing to call her out.  Friendship is a very important component of The Royal We which I wasn't really expecting.  

 

I also have to mention to wonderfully developed sibling portrayals.  Bex is a twin and her sister, Lacey, is a huge part of her life.  They have some issues to go through especially in relation to the media attention that is inevitable once Bex and Nick's relationship goes public.  But, what I loved the most about them was their connection and that, in the end, they were there for one another.  And then there's Nick's playboy younger brother, Freddie, who almost steals the entire book.  I loved his devil-may-care persona that hides someone who has spent much of his life pushed to the side by his family and the rest of the country.

 

In conclusion, I found The Royal We to be a wonderful look at what it might be like to fall in love with a prince in today's society.  There is much more than what the fairy tales showed us and I appreciated the way that the authors balanced the good and the bad.  Love is important enough to sacrifice many things, but this book makes the reader think about whether it really is worth it in the end.  I highly recommend this for fans of the Fug Girls or anyone who has ever dreamed of finding a prince (or princess) of their very own.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/review-royal-we-by-heather-cocks-and.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "Broken" by Lauren Layne
Broken - Lauren Layne

I read and LOVED Isnt't She Lovely, the prequel, so I had to request Broken when I saw it on Netgalley. This book focuses on the character of Olivia Middleton (the ex-girlfriend of Ethan, the hero in Isn't She Lovely) and her attempt to decrease her guilt over their break-up. I will admit that, while I was excited to read this, I was a little hesitant due to the way that Olivia was portrayed in the previous book, but, thankfully, she is redeemed and I really liked her by the end. While you definitely could read this as a stand-alone, I think it works better as a sequel so you can truly appreciate the growth of Olivia as a character.

The basic plot is that New York socialite Olivia drops out of college in order to act as a caretaker for a war veteran as a self-imposed penance for cheating on her ex-boyfriend. Things get complicated when she meets Paul Langdon and realizes that he is not the frail old man she was expecting. Then these two spend a significant amount of time arguing and circling around each other while they deal with their growing feelings. While the romance is a major aspect of the plot, I appreciated the fact that Paul and Olivia's development was even more important.

Olivia is trying to escape her past while Paul just wants to be left alone. Interestingly, they come from similar backgrounds, but took very different paths after high school. Their close proximity first causes some friction due to the fact that Paul does not want a caretaker and Olivia is determined to prove herself as capable and trustworthy. But, they do start to talk and become closer. There are the normal conflicts like when Paul ventures out of the house for the first time in forever and then when someone from Olivia's past pops in unexpectedly. I did appreciate the slow burn of the love story and how well Lauren Layne made me aware of how good these two were together.

Broken is part of a recent string of NA stories that have caused me quite a bit of surprise this year. While I have always enjoyed a few here and there, I have found myself lucky in this genre lately and I believe I can officially say that I am a fan of New Adult romances. There are definitely some plot points I still won't touch and I will definitely continue to research any books that I'm interested in like always, but I'm happy to be getting more into this genre that is just growing in popularity. If you are a fan of NA, I highly recommend both Broken and its prequel, Isn't She Lovely, for the wonderful writing style and lack of drama for drama's sake.

 

I received a free copy of this book from Flirt via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/09/review-broken-by-lauren-layne.html
Review
4.5 Stars
REVIEW: "Origin in Death" by JD Robb
Origin in Death - J.D. Robb

This book is one of the few so far in this series that has really given me the shivers.  I do like crime procedural TV shows so it takes something to creep me out like Origin in Death did.  Things start off normal with Eve interviewing a starlet who was beaten by her lover right before she killed him with a knife, but then the story is thrown for a loop when a doctor is killed in his office at the very hospital Eve is visiting.  This begins a complex and eventually shiver-inducing mystery into the reason behind the good doctor's death.

 

Eve really has to dig into the deeper realms of human motivation and how far someone will go to reach their ultimate goals.  I was impressed with her careful handling of the sensitive situation especially when her own past trauma kept rearing its head.  I also liked the fact that she was determined to do right by the people who had been hurt (physically and emotionally) by the Doctors Icove.  The In Death series takes place in 2059, but it doesn't always give me a sci-fi feel despite the advanced technology and off-planet discussions.  Origin in Death is definitely one that emphasizes the futuristic setting with the advances of medical technology as well as the ethics behind such knowledge.

 

While Eve is handling this complicated case, she is also dealing with the fact that Thanksgiving is approaching and many of Roarke's newly discovered family members are coming over from Ireland.  It is rare to see the suave Roarke in a state of discomfort and I liked getting to see more proof that he is actually human.  There are also, of course, plenty of interesting interactions with side characters.   I especially enjoyed seeing Eve and Dr. Mira have an argument regarding medical ethics and the Doctors Icove's real motives.  And I have to mention the hilarious scene where Eve, Peabody, Mavis, Nadine, and Louise all have a spa treatment day with terrifying Trina, one of the few people Eve is genuinely afraid of.

 

All in all, another successful (if a bit freaky) installment in the series.  Susan Ericksen brings her impeccable narration to the table for a story that grabs you by the collar and doesn't let go until the last page.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/09/audiobook-review-origin-in-death-by-jd.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "Talk Sweetly To Me" by Courtney Milan
Talk Sweetly to Me - Courtney Milan

Talk Sweetly To Me is a novella that concludes the fascinating Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan. This is a series that really stands out to me in terms of its character development, attention to historical detail, and, of course, sweet romance. Things finish up in this world with the story of Rose Sweetly and Stephen Shaughnessy which is not my favorite of Milan's romances, but still stands out in this oft-saturated genre.

Stephen is introduced to readers in The Suffragette Scandal as the son of Irish Catholics who works as a freelance writer for Frederica Marshall's newspaper. He specializes in satire on political issues and rights debates of the day. Stephen is also known to be a womanizer who doesn't seem capable of settling down. Like all of the heroines in this series, Rose is a woman who feels out of place. She is an English woman of African descent which automatically makes her a social outcast. She also happens to be a mathematical genius who would rather spend her time computing complicated equations than shopping.

Rose and Stephen meet each other before this novella even begins due to the fact that they are next door neighbors. I absolutely loved their interactions and how they challenged one another. I did think that the romance moved pretty quick due to the shorter page length. I really wish that this had been a full-length story so that the development would have seemed a bit smoother. But, it was still a sweet love story that forced both characters to take a chance on a life they never thought they would have. Plus I got to learn a bit about tracking comets and the lost art of people as computers rather than machines.

All in all, Talk Sweetly To Me is another unorthodox historical romance from an author who is definitely not afraid to take risks. The writing is concise and the message is subtle yet powerful. I look forward to seeing what Courtney Milan does next.

I received a free e-ARC of this book from Courtney Milan via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/08/review-talk-sweetly-to-me-by-courtney.html
Review
4.5 Stars
REVIEW: "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell
Attachments - Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell has become synonymous with subtle yet powerful stories that really make readers believe in love, no matter how unconventional it may appear at first.  Attachments is her debut novel and is an adult contemporary romance that is set in that intriguing time of the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century.  

 

Lincoln O'Neill, an IT worker at a newspaper whose main job duty is to reader workers' emails that have been flagged as inappropriate, is the protagonist.  He is years removed from college and still isn't sure what he wants from his life.  So, while he claims to be figuring it out, he works the graveyard shift at the newspaper and lives with his mother. While there is a small amount of romance, Lincoln's development from unassuming tech worker to confident man is the main focus of the book.  I loved his character and found him very relatable with his devotion to his family, his discomfort with normal social situations, and his joy in playing Dungeons and Dragons with his long-time friends.

 

Until the end, readers do not meet Beth and Jennifer outside of their email exchanges.  I thought this was a genius way to help us understand how Lincoln could fall for someone without ever seeing them or having a conversation with them.  I found myself fully invested in Jennifer's indecision regarding children, Beth's issues with her commitment-phobic boyfriend, and their genuine friendship.

 

Another plot point of Attachments is the end of the twentieth century and the phenomenon known as Y2K.  As someone who clearly remembers this time period, I couldn't help but laugh at the paranoia going around the technology department.  It was just interesting to read a book that deliberately takes place in a specific year that isn't too far from the present.  I thought the setting helped set the tone of the whole story with the email policing and the unknown associated with the impending new year.

 

Overall, I found this book to be an absolute joy to read!  The characters were richly detailed and so easy to relate to.  The plot moved along at a slow pace, but it never felt like it was dragging.  The romance (while it wasn't the focus) was very sweet and fit with what I knew of Rainbow Rowell's writing style.  I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to try a Rainbow Rowell novel or is just into an unconventional look at romance at the beginning of the Digital Age.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/09/review-attachments-by-rainbow-rowell.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "Rock Addiction" by Nalini Singh
Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss) (Volume 1) - Nalini Singh

Rock star romances definitely aren't my cup of tea, but I love Nalini Singh's paranormal romances so I had to give this one a chance.  Ms. Singh has never let me down with her Psy-Changeling books and I'm happy to say that this first book in the Rock Kiss series was much better than I expected.

 

Molly Webster is the daughter of a disgraced (and deceased) politician who is determined to avoid scandal at all costs.  She has developed a comfortable life as a librarian and is willing to continue with that lifestyle.  But, things begin to change when she meets rock star Zachary Fox (known as Fox) at a party and the chemistry between them erupts without warning.  Fox, for his part, is attracted to Molly from the moment he saw her and is willing to do anything to keep her in his life.  Readers are then sent on a fast-paced ride through the fragile beginnings of their relationship to their adjustments to living as a couple in the spotlight.

 

I absolutely loved Molly's character.  She is very hesitant with hooking up with Fox because of her bad experience with the tabloids after her father's scandal.  But, she quickly shows that she is a strong-willed woman who is intrigued by Fox and wants to see how things go.  Fox is an amazing hero.  I am always excited to read a romance where the hero falls first and is actively pursuing the more reluctant heroine.  The rock star element really worked for him though I'm not sure if I would classify him as a bad boy.  He's too much of a gentleman for that.

 

The first half of Rock Addiction deals with Molly and Fox's early days as a couple while the latter half deals with the drama associated with being in the media while falling in love.  The second part was easily my favorite because it showed that there is always more to the story after the cliched HEA.   I also liked the development of the rest of the band members and their relationship with each other.  They are obviously going to be the backbone of this series and I look forward to learning more about them in the future installments.

 

Though I was hesitant about this book at first, I'm glad I gave it a chance.  Nalini Singh showed me that she can do more than just impeccable paranormal romance.  The characters are well-written and the romance was super steamy.  I can't wait to read more of this series!

 

I received a free copy of this book from TKA Distribution via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/09/review-rock-addiction-by-nalini-singh.html
Review
4 Stars
REVIEW: "Talk Sweetly To Me" by Courtney Milan
Talk Sweetly to Me - Courtney Milan

Talk Sweetly To Me is a novella that concludes the fascinating Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan.  This is a series that really stands out to me in terms of its character development, attention to historical detail, and, of course, sweet romance.  Things finish up in this world with the story of Rose Sweetly and Stephen Shaughnessy which is not my favorite of Milan's romances, but still stands out in this oft-saturated genre.

 

Stephen is introduced to readers in The Suffragette Scandal as the son of Irish Catholics who works as a freelance writer for Frederica Marshall's newspaper.  He specializes in satire on political issues and rights debates of the day.  Stephen is also known to be a womanizer who doesn't seem capable of settling down.  Like all of the heroines in this series, Rose is a woman who feels out of place.  She is an English woman of African descent which automatically makes her a social outcast.  She also happens to be a mathematical genius who would rather spend her time computing complicated equations than shopping.

 

Rose and Stephen meet each other before this novella even begins due to the fact that they are next door neighbors.  I absolutely loved their interactions and how they challenged one another.  I did think that the romance moved pretty quick due to the shorter page length. I  really wish that this had been a full-length story so that the development would have seemed a bit smoother.  But, it was still a sweet love story that forced both characters to take a chance on a life they never thought they would have.  Plus I got to learn a bit about tracking comets and the lost art of people as computers rather than machines.

 

All in all, Talk Sweetly To Me is another unorthodox historical romance from an author who is definitely not afraid to take risks.  The writing is concise and the message is subtle yet powerful.  I look forward to seeing what Courtney Milan does next.

 

I received a free copy of this book from Courtney Milan via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/08/review-talk-sweetly-to-me-by-courtney.html
Review
4.5 Stars
REVIEW: "Love Hacked" by Penny Reid
Love Hacked - Penny Reid

Love Hacked is Penny Reid's third installment in her hilarious and refreshingly original Knitting in the City series. Fans have already seen two of the Knitting Club members (quirky Jane and sarcastic Elizabeth) get their HEA so now it is time to focus on one of my favorites, Sandra the child psychiatrist. I am impressed with how much Ms. Reid has grown as an author through this series since this is definitely my favorite so far.

As I mentioned above, Sandra is a psychiatrist who is on a mission to find someone to settle down with. Unfortunately, she has a tendency to be attract nice guys who bring out her "helpful" side and she ends up becoming their therapist, and later platonic female friend, rather than their lover. Her luck seems to change though when Alex the Waiter (who has been waiting on Sandra and her dates for two years) decides to throw his hat into the fray. But, Alex is much more than a simple restaurant worker and he wants something much more than a therapy session or a one-night stand.

I adored both of these characters. Sandra made me giggle so many times with her witty remarks and pop culture obsession. The way she used her quirky t-shirt collection to emphasize both her mood and the situation she was in was very creative on Ms. Reid's part. I am also obligated to love any heroine who is obsessed with the Star Wars franchise. And Alex is another sexy Reid hero though he is as different from Quinn (Neanderthal Seeks Human) and Nico (Friends Without Benefits) as he can be. I loved the mystery around him and found him to a great match for outgoing Sandra.

The plot of Love Hacked basically centers around the development of Sandra and Alex's relationship through their awkward (but hot) first meetings to their fun dates to their more serious conversations. Like the rest of the Knitting in the City series, there is plenty of humor to keep readers laughing late into the night. There is also a dash of suspense related to Alex and a Big Secret he is carrying around with him.

Besides Sandra and Alex's unique dates, some of my favorite scenes were the ones with the Knitting Club. This series is now three books old so fans are getting to know all the members really well. I love the friendship that these women (and single man) have with each other and how devoted they are. I believe that book-obsessed Ashley is next to take center stage and I can't wait to see how Ms. Reid matches with her.

Overall, I found Love Hacked to be an enjoyable and easy to read contemporary romance that really stands out in the genre. Ms. Reid is not afraid to push the envelope with her characters and I definitely applaud her for featuring a couple where the woman is a older than the man. I highly recommend this for readers who are looking for a funny, but thought-provoking romance. And it can definitely be read as a stand-alone though it is fun to see how the Knitting Club changes from book to book.

Source: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2014/04/review-love-hacked-by-penny-reid.html
Review
3.5 Stars
REVIEW: "Acts of Faith" by A.M. Arthur
Acts of Faith - A.M. Arthur

It was great to see Rey and Sam's story continuing in Acts of Faith. Seeing them adjust to such a change in their relationship with the arrival of Rey's daughter, Faith, really showed how awesome they are together. Both of them have issues they need to deal with, but they do with like adults and together. The major issue I had with this book was the character of David who was really interesting and just seemed to disappear in the later third of the story. I hope that A.M. Arthur continues this series and focuses on David soon.