Review: Only You

Only You
Only You by Katrina Strauss
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So apparently I’m going through a phase where all I read are series books out of order. I kind of hate doing that, by the way, and try hard to avoid it when I can. With Blue Ruin, I actually thought I’d read the series since I like the author and the books sounded familiar. Well apparently I’d read only the first book in the series but none of the subsequent books. I’m ok with that because I definitely did not like the characters enough to want to read more but I seriously lacked some considerable context for the cast and situations mentioned. I would not recommend reading this one if you haven’t been following the series. That said, I also don’t think it’s a series I want to catch up on but it’s an easy enough read with a happy ending that seems final for the series.

In this book Blue and Derek have been together for a year and apparently weathered some pretty substantial circumstances. There have been threesomes that came and went, kidnappings I think and maybe even an attempted murder, though the details weren’t provided. Suffice it to say a lot has gone on in the year these two have been together. Now they’re dealing with normal, everyday issues in relationships such as money, jobs, family, and friends. Derek is having money troubles; apparently he’s usually rich as sin but now has cash flow problems. Blue, as the submissive, knows none of this or doesn’t really care and instead is focusing on causing trouble in his best friend’s new relationship. In between this Derek’s famous father has died and his mother comes to town at the same time Blue’s political father is outed for having a long-standing affair with a prostitute. I have to say these aren’t really “normal” situations that couples have to deal with but since it’s not murder or kidnapping or threesomes, I guess it’s normal for Blue and Derek. Again, I’m not entirely sure about this but that was the general idea I got.

For starters the book doesn’t even attempt to remind readers or allow a new reader to catch up on past events. Instead the narration assumes that readers have followed along and know exactly who everyone is and how they fit into the overall scheme as well as into Blue’s life. I found this confusing and often frustrating. I didn’t blame the book, since it clearly states it’s book five of a series, and even though it was my own fault, I was still annoyed while reading. Furthermore I felt as though I couldn’t connect to Blue or Derek as individuals or a couple. A lot of the emotional impact must have been in previous books and perhaps the continuity of their relationship over hardship because now they just seemed mildly inoffensive and a little boring. Yes there was a solid BDSM portion to their life but Blue was a bit of a brat and often kind of horrible to other people.

The plot never seemed to stop, as there was a new crisis that happened pretty consistently. There were the money issues, then Derek had some health problems, then Blue was a real dick to his female best friend and her new relationship, then the death of Derek’s father, then problems with Blue’s father, then Blue’s jealousy, etc etc. Just kind of went on and on and none of the problems were sufficiently resolved either. They just kind of disappeared at the end with a huge influx of cash to make life easy and normal again and a jump in time to show everyone happy years later. I wanted to invest in the problems but I was really glad I didn’t when I read the ending. I never actively disliked the book or the characters but I definitely didn’t feel any strong connection to them. I couldn’t feel happy they resolved their issues when so many seemed to come and go without real consequences or intensity for the characters.

The writing is clean and easy to read. I like Strauss’ style so I found the pages turning quickly even though I felt no emotions, positive or negative, towards the book. I think it was mostly well written but the lack of information and connection to the main couple hindered me from truly enjoying the book and appreciating the relationship offered. Perhaps those that have been following the series can feel differently and will, in fact, absolutely love this offering. It feels like the last chapter with an ending for all characters involved. For those that are already fans, no doubt this is a must read. For those new to the series, I didn’t like enough to recommend it but that’s just my opinion.

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Review: Best Kept Secrets

Best Kept Secrets
Best Kept Secrets by Evangeline Anderson
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

It’s been years since I read an Evangeline Anderson book but I remember her writing being hot, erotic, and decent reads. In fact I remember quite liking several of her m/m books. So I took a chance on her m/f book, Best Kept Secrets. I thought it was an incest book, but it actually the brother and sister are only “step” and not actually related. That’s ok because the two have enough angst that you would think they were blood related fifteen times over and the worst sin in the entire universe was two step siblings getting it on when they live alone on a ship and hop from planet to planet with only minimal interaction with anyone else. So the drama is manufactured in numerous ways that made me roll my eyes several times, especially when the alien tells the female that they have to fuck to solve all problems. You pretty much have to read it to believe it…

I bit my lip, thinking of what that would involve. Somehow I would have to get Josh to make love to me. And not only would I have to let him penetrate me, but fuck me to completion and fill me with his cum. I would need to let him press his cock all the way to the end of my cunt channel and pump his entire load deep in my pussy.

It was a scary thought, but I squared my shoulders in determination. If this was the only way to get him back to his right mind and bring us together, I would do it.

Needless to say I didn’t think much of the nearly non-existent and silly plot. Of course the only way to get the man, Josh, to act on his desires was to be infected by a planet. Thus Josh could lick, suck, and fuck his desires without being in his right mind. His “sister” Cassandra could submit happily but rationalize that she was just doing it because she had no choice. I can’t help but feel like the author did this book tongue in cheek knowing it was a ludicrous and weak plot. That said, it’s still erotic as hell and very hot. Anderson knows how to write scorching sex scenes and there is a lot of erotica in this one. If the sex had been bad this would easily be a 1 star book but for what it is, it’s decent and made the book readable and then some. Thus I’d probably recommend this more for someone that wants written porn. The set up and “plot” is about as good as you’d find in a porn movie but the point is the sex anyway so who cares.

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Review: Only You

Only You
Only You by Willa Okati
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read a fair bit of Willa Okati’s books and they are solidly average reads. I never really love or hate the books but I find them easy and forgettable. Which honestly is exactly what I wanted when I picked this one. I also liked that it was a shorter novella. I don’t have the time or mental energy for something long and involved right now, which only matters because that was my attitude coming into the book. I hadn’t read the previous book in the series but figured it couldn’t be that difficult to figure things out. The story was easy to read and romantic enough, although not having read the first book in the series did hinder my understanding somewhat. Overall Soulmarked is an enjoyable read and made me curious to continue with the series. Continue reading

Review: Hell on Earth

Hell on Earth
Hell on Earth by Ally Blue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I eagerly got Ally Blue’s second book in her Hellscape series but then realized how little I remembered of the first book a year ago. I re-read my review so I would have some idea of who the characters were though I remembered the concept surprisingly well. I commented in my review of the first book that I would love to see books about the secondary characters such as Sandman. Well apparently I got my wish because the second book is all about Sandman, a character I literally did not (and still don’t) remember from the first book. That didn’t really phase me and the second book in the series is actually much stronger than the first. It also can easily be read as a stand alone, a fact that I am extremely grateful for as I was not going to re-read the first one. So dystopian fans – check this one out, it’s really good and can be read on its own. Continue reading

Review: Replica

Replica
Replica by Jenna Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For dystopian YA fiction, Replica is average and middle of the road. Some aspects are far superior to other books in the genre, while other elements are decidedly inferior. The plot is overly familiar but the main focus of the story – friendship between a mild mannered female forcibly turned into a formidable foe (ha) and a spoiled gay playboy – is very engaging. There is very little romance and the plot is overtly a mystery in a dystopian setting but the writing is decent and premise offers just enough surprises to keep the story from being dull. I did find my attention wavering and I appreciated that I could put the book down for days at a time until my interest peaked again. That said, I do want to continue with the series and would still recommend this story for dystopian YA fans. Continue reading

Review: The Douglas Fir

The Douglas Fir
The Douglas Fir by Anyta Sunday
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I actually got this back in November but ignored it until recently. It’s a really cute, well-written story that kept me guessing where it was going to go. Looking back I can see where it was heading all along but I appreciated the writing and construction such that it could have taken numerous twists. It’s been a while since a story surprised me and I really liked not knowing what could happen next. The characters are decent, but two-dimensional and a little flat. The dialogue is cute and the supporting cast makes a nice little novella to read and has me curious about other books by the author. I’d easily recommend it – $1.50 for a novella, which makes it really cheap – and it’s a fun, entertaining story. Continue reading

Review: Lance

Lance
Lance by Jet Mykles
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I had a really weird reaction to this book. It’s classic Mykles rock star book but oddly I didn’t believe any of it. I mean I know it’s fiction and all but I never bought into the main couple together and I thought they were better off apart the entire book. So when they finally got together I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a huge mistake. I like these easy to read and fun books by the author but the IK series pales in comparison to the HS series and it shows in just about all the books. That’s not to say this one in particular isn’t enjoyable to read. The angst is light, if even there, and the characters very easy to take. They’re fun and not too serious while they fall in love and in committed relationships. My main hang up is that I never thought the main guys should be together and I agreed they were better off apart so the final resolution of them happy in love rang very hollow for me. But fans of the author will easily like this one. Continue reading