Dragonmark – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #25

Pages: 344

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Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn…

Twenty-five main books is a really big number and Kenyon is not stopping anytime soon. But so many books and so many on-going sagas are paying a toll. The price has been paid with Dragonmark, one of the weakest Dark-Hunter books I have ever read

This story is supposedly to be Illarion’s book (more on that later). He is one of the oldest dragons, a solitary creature until he met Edilyn, a human daughter of a demon. As it is very common with shapesifters, Illarion knew she was her mate. This book tries to tell the love story between the two of them…

I say try, because the plot of the book is developed in a pretty wierd fashion. We start in the past, with Illarion meeting Edilyn and her brother Virag. They fall in love and, as any normal couple, go to a demonic realm to fight The Morrigan. It goes pretty bad, pretty fast… Edilyn dies behind the scenes. One chapter she was there, the next she wasn’t. The book had barely begun and, suddenly, Illarion’s book mutates into Cadegan’s book (again!!). A huge chunk of this book is a retelling of Son of No One, where Illarion is mere supporting character.

But the travesty doesn’t end there. Illarion is rescued from the demonic plane and the plot travels to the present. I could barely believe what happened then… Kenyon retells us Max’s book, Dragonbane!! That was the previous one… I don’t have a great memory, but it is not so bad!! Almost 80% of Illarion’s book is not about Illarion. I think this story was just meant to fill some contractual obligation with the editorial, because I don’t understand why the author would do something like this on purpose. I hope this doesn’t happen again…

Is Illarion’s short story any good? The part in the past is pretty basic. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s jerk of a brother steals from boy and all hell is set loose… It looked pretty interesting, actually. Virag (the brother) is a nice character that I want to meet again in the future. After the huge retellings, Illarion takes again the spotlight. If you remember, in Max’s book he joins Apollo’s gang to save his mate (yes, she didn’t really die). What happens after that is very short, but good; so, overall, the story is decent. The final revelation is SOOO sweet. I’m savouring it!!

Kenyon is lucky to have such an amazing (and huge) cast of characters. Thanks to them, even a poor book like this one can be enjoyable. Any other author would have got a strike on my chart, but I can’t really be that tough with her. I like her books too much. Let’s hope the next one makes me forget this book (another way to say I don’t want more retellings!!).

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Allegiant – Veronica Roth

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3

Pages: 544

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The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Finally!! I have finished this trilogy I started so long ago. I must be honest: it has been quite disappointing. I like reading dystopian young adult books, but there are a lot of better books than these ones in that field. A shame, because the worldbuilding is actually nice, but the author wraps it with an emotionless story and boring characters…

After the second book, the factionless people led by Tobias’ mother are in control of the city and the factions are no more. But now they know there is someone else beyond their walls and Tris’ and company decide to take their chances outside the city to discover what the hell is going on. The Allegiant is a group of rebels against the factionless that want to mantain the factions. That group helps the main characters to leave so they can purchase their new quest.

And what a quest!! The author has left for the end a lot of new and juicy data. A LOT! It seems a totally different world with new governments, new factions, new politics… new everything!! So exciting! I was like a kid with new shoes the first chapters, waiting for the new revelations to mash with the old ones and start a massive conflict that would make me forget why I didn’t like the previous books. 500 pages later I’m still waiting… Why does the author create such a massive new input if it’s barely used? And worst of all: she forgets almost completely about the original city… the place where the action took place in the other books. It feels like she is starting something new with zero interest of finishing the story that came before. The result is a book I’m eager to forget.

And the lack of good characters in the spotlight is also very present in the third book. This time the story is told from the point of view of Tris and Tobias (I think the other books were only Tris’ point of view, but I could be wrong). Those two unnerve me every single page… The most uncharamistic characters I’ve met in a very long time. Their relationship is a pain to read… Always with the trust issues and the yelling… I’m glad the end makes it pretty clear that they won’t be together, because the couple was very unhealthy. I dind’t want to tell this spoiler, but taking into account is the only thing I have liked about it I won’t resist: Tris dies!! That’s the best part of the book. We even get to enjoy a bunch of chapters without this annoying character!! That’s why the book has got a second star.

Maybe it’s cruel, but this trilogy has really pissed me off with the character treatment. The author has zero respect for most of the supporting characters of the saga who are much more interesting than the main couple. It seems everything has to be Tris and Tobias. The rest can go to Hell… So yeah, I didn’t drop a single tear when Tris died. Actually, I was even relieved. I must admit I was extra angry due to Uriah’s situation. My favourite character once again poorly used in the story. Removed from the board in such an absurd way… If I keep thinking about it I will start fuming again.

The book is too focused in Tris’ mother real past. It’s really weird that the characters from the compoung ignore Caleb so bluntly. He is also her son… But it’s Caleb, so making no sense around him is nothing new… I still don’t understand what Veronica was trying to do with him. The absurd change in the second book remains unexplained through this one. I think the goal is to make us hate him, but in my case is just the opposite. Caleb is just a victim of mediocre storytelling.

So, nothing to save here. It’s an end that doesn’t feel like an end. So much wasted potential… If the author didn’t try so hard to sell us Tris as the hero of the tale, maybe she could have spent more time building a better story and doing justice to the huge cast of characters. I have another book titled Four, but I think it is a precuel. Too bad. I would have liked to take peek to the future of these guys, because it doesn’t look very promising. I’ll read it anyway. Not anytime soon, though. I need to chill first and try to forget the parts of this book that make my blood boil.

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2018 – Book Gallery

One Man’s Trash – Marie Sexton

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Author: Marie Sexton
Series: The Heretic Doms Club #1

Pages: 343

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After four tours in Afghanistan, Warren Groves couldn’t settle into civilian life. For the last twelve years, he’s survived by working odd and often illegal jobs for some of Denver’s less fortunate. His personal life is equally unsatisfactory. He can barely remember the last time he had sex, let alone the last time he got to use somebody hard and rough, the way he likes. Fate intervenes when a favor for a friend leads him to a pretty young rentboy named Taylor Reynolds.

Taylor’s spent the last few years on his own, working as a hustler, going home with anybody who’ll give him a warm meal and a place to sleep. He enjoys having a bit of force used against him, and he makes Warren an offer he can’t refuse — all the sex he wants, as rough and dirty as he likes, in exchange for room and board.

At first, Warren thinks he’s struck gold. Taylor’s the perfect roommate — he cooks, he cleans, and he’s dynamite in the sack. But Taylor has some dark demons in his head and some even darker cravings. Falling for somebody as volatile as Taylor is dangerous enough, but when Taylor’s urges turn truly self-destructive, it’ll be up to Warren to decide just how far to let things go.

The book is eveything the blurb promises: rough sex, secrets and dark cravings… I thought I could handle it, but it seems I can’t. I’m not a prude (if I were I wouldn’t touch Romance books), but there are several situations in this book thas have rubbed me the wrong way.

But let’s start from the beginning. We meet Warren, a former soldier that spends his days helping other people in barely legal jobs: bodyguard of escorts (a.k.a. prostitutes), muscle for desperate people and many other things. He is lonely and, if you ask me, a bit tired of his life. Then we meet Taylor (or TJ or BJ…), a much younger guy that ran away from his home and became a rentboy. It’s a sex addict that that never says no… Their fates collided and Taylor ended up living with Warren. Free roof and food in exchange of sex.

At least that is how it started. We barely knew them when they were already tearing up each other clothes. The first encounter was pretty impersonal and I was scared that the whole book would be like that. The author spices it up a little bit adding a BDSM element: soft bondage. Warren likes to tie people up to his bed and Taylor doesn’t mind. As a reader, I don’t mind either. The author doesn’t use this to humillate Taylor. It makes the trust between each other grow considerably.

Eveything was starting to look peachy: Warren has a lot of different layers that make him very interesting, the sex is fun, the side stories are enjoyable, Warren’s friends are a pleasure to read… And then it happens: Taylor’s breakdown. I wasn’t epecting it. I’m a guy that enjoys a good shock when reading, but this one left me with a very sour aftertaste. I felt that his cravings were more of a childish behaviour than something dark and serious. Even worse than that: the author has to twist Warren’s behaviour to counteract the crazy tantrum of his roommate… I have to be honest: that made me dislike Taylor.

But the worst was yet to come… The explanation of Taylor’s “bad days” made me sick. It’s not only the incest with his brother when he was still a minor. If that wasn’t enough, the brother was abusive. I guess I should have been able to feel some kind of pity towards Taylor, but his way of dealing with it destroyed any chance of that. He claims he loves him. That no one understands him. He talks as if nothing was wrong. And Warren is nice enough to accept the explanation… I just wanted to scream: “Take him to an expert!! The guy need helps, not a slap on the back!!”. But Taylor’s quest of making me puke wasn’t finish… Do you know what this messed-up guy takes for love? Being urinated by someone who is still inside him during sex… That’s plain gross. And the author talks about it several times… I couldn’t handle it. I was losing my mind yelling at Taylor. My dislike became hatred.

I think I could have ignored Taylor if the side stories were better. I mean, they are good, but so depressing. Were are the happy endings? Susan, Riley… The book feels pessimistic and so unfair that the only one with the happy ending is Taylor… Writing this review I have realized I’m angry at him. He has ruined a nice book about Warren. I actually feel weird after reading the book. Why an emotional story has such a disgusting residue in my memory?

I’m not sure if I will read the second book. The main characters will be different, so I guess it’s safe to assume that I won’t find another Taylor. But I’m honestly scared of picking it up…

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2018 – Book Gallery

Insurgent – Veronica Roth

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2

Pages: 545

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One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I read Divergent a long time ago and I didn’t like it. I thought I wasn’t going to keep reading the saga, buuuut here I am. I guess a 3-star mark is too much for this book. I must be feeling generous… Granted, it’s not as boring as the first one; but it lacks emotion and, more importantly, charisma everywhere.

As in the first book, we follow the story through Tris’ eyes. We have her, her fellow Dauntless mates, Abnegation survivors and some Erudite running all over that strange future trying to escape the evil Erudite scientists and Dauntless traitors. They need to forge some new alliances to go against the bad guys. The Erudite want to be the supreme leaders, controlling everyone with their simulations. Obviously, Divergent are a problem that they want to solve as fast as possible.

There should have been a lot of action taking into account what the author was trying to tell, but the book doesn’t have that much movement. It’s just some running, several places to hide and some weird plans to overthrow the Erudite faction. It’s not as boring as the first one… There are some bursts of action that keep things mildly enjoyable, but in the end the book feels hollow. More than 500 pages of an easy to forget story. I don’t think what we are told is even important for the saga… Not even the end, which was supposed to be a big revelation. A big disappointment if you ask me. But I will be a good reader and wait for a better explanation of the ending in the next book before whining about it too much.

Tris is obviously the main character of the story and a cancer to it. She is SO boring and her lack of charisma such a burden for this saga… Being a first person book that is a huge problem. There is no way around it. The reader can get away from a character that they don’t like. Tris is sadly everywhere… I could tolerate her if there were more respect for the rest of the characters. The author kills her creations in such an uninteresting way… It has gotten on my nerves, actually. Marlene, Lynn, Fernando… Why does she have to kill the few characters that make the book interesting? Even worst, their deaths are meaningless… And don’t me start talking about Caleb… I’m beyond pissed off. One time he is having a good time with an Abnegation survivor and the rest he is an Erudite jerk… What have I missed???

I love the faction division. What I do not like at all is the way the author is pushing how Dauntless are the cool guys. They are not cool at all. They are just a bunch of bullies who think they are very honorable. I hate how Amity, Abnegation and Candor are displayed in this saga… As if what they represent is something to be mocked. Something less than the “I do what I want” lifestyle of the Dauntless faction. That is one of the reasons I have such a hard time enjoying these books… Maybe with better main characters I could bear it (wishful thinking). Could Veronica rewrite the story with Christina and Uriah as the main couple? Dropping the first person point of view, please.

Talking about a couple… What a pain in the ass has been reading Tris’ and Tobias’ scenes. If that is what love looks like, let me stay single, please!! They lie all the time. They don’t trust each other and most of her conversations are just yelling and finger pointing. A very unhealthy relationship if you ask me…

And yet I have to insist that I have liked this better than the first one. Will Allegiant finally hook me up or will I forget this trilogy as soon as I end it? I will try to read the third one this year to answer that.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Sexy Beast – Ella J.

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Author: Ella J.
Pages: 183

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Yeah, I did it.
I signed on to be an “intimate companion.”
Desperate times and desperate measures lead to crazy choices.
Really, though, it’s not that crazy. Someone has to pay my brother’s bills after the wreck, and I’m the only someone left.
My first job: snuggle up to a sexy beast of a billionaire at one of his luxury ski resorts.
I can do that.
Except I’m not so sure he wants me to. The Ice King barely looks at me. He rarely speaks to me, and when he does, he says he doesn’t want me in his bed.
Okay then.
I keep my head held high, my shoulders squared, and my bruised ego under wraps—until I stumble onto secrets.
James Harrington is hiding devastating secrets.
I get too close. I get involved. I take a risk, and I give him more than he paid for.
For a moment, it’s too perfect to be true.
But there’s one more secret—and it’s the one I never saw coming.

This one is going to be hard to review. I need to be direct: I didn’t like the book. But I’m in a mood and I’m afraid this review is going to pay the price. I have just watched the tenth chapter of Star Wars: Rebels season 4 and I need to yell at something. Anything!! Maybe that way I will stop crying…

In this short book we meet Darcy, a woman that has to take care of his brother who needs a lot of money to pay for his treatment. Due to that desperation, she has to accept a job as a high-profile escort. Her first client is James, a richer than rich guy that is about to open a mountain resort for people with lots of money to waste… He is going to throw several parties and needs something pretty to decorate the place…

I kind of like the starting point. Darcy’s sacrifice to make his brother’s life better is admirable. And the fact that James is very distant and cold makes things much more interesting. I thought it was going to be the classic billionarie that thinks everyone loves him just because he is rich. I loved those tense first times they meet each other. Too bad that doesn’t last long…

It’s an Erotica book so I shouldn’t be surprised about the amount of sex in it. But it lacks charisma or chemistry or any kind of spark… It’s just sex and after the first naughty scene the rest are just to print more pages… Nothing interesting in that department. Not for good, or bad. Just plain. In this kind of book, that is actually pretty bad… Sex shouldn’t leave you indifferent in the Erotica genre. At least that’s my opinion.

I was dreading a boring reading, but sudenly… BOOOOOOM!!! WOW!! What a twist!! Way to leave me breathless and in shocked. I didn’t expect that punch in the gut and the pain was very welcome. The book was alive again, ladies and gentlemen!!! I was salivating. I love me some drama!! Those hard moments usually end in really good make up situations!! Sadly, my hype was extinguish so fast I dind’t even have time to enjoy it… The author resolves the conflict in such an easy and boring way… One moment seems the Apocalypse and the next, everything is forgotten. The best and worst part of this book happen almost in the same page!!

I didn’t lose my hope, though. It was all so sudden it was obvious the main characters needed to talk about it once their hormones were settle. So, I turn the page waiting for the other shoe to drop when something even more unexpectd happens: THE END!!. Wait, what?? Is that all?? But according to my Kindle there are still more than 50% to read… What the…? Half of this book is just a preview for another one!!! HALF!!! Really??

I know that kind of marketing is pretty common in Romance Books (some authors are very busy wirting…), but more than the 50% is way too much for previews. I don’t like reading previews, so I felt robbed. This book made me so angry for so many reasons in such a short time…

The good part: it’s not the usual story of billionaire meets (buys) girl. The worst part: it ends when it was about to start…

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2018 – Book Gallery

Spider – Ilsa Madden-Mills

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Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Pages: 264

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He called himself Spider. I just knew him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate sat next to me on the airplane. I didn’t know who he really was…rock star…my stepbrother.

He kissed me because he thought we’d never see each other again. We would.

Everyone warned me about him.
They said he was ruthless and cold and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.

Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built up a fortress to keep him out.
But I crumbled instead.

Some have said there’s an unbreakable thread that connects those who are destined to meet. If that’s true, then the moment he sat next to me, we were bound together forever.

He just had to figure it out before it’s too late…

I think I have already said over here that I’m not a fan of the New Adult genre. But I keep trying over and over again. Should I take the hint already that this genre is not for me? Naaaaaaaah… I know that sooner or later I will read a New Adult book that I will really enjoy. Spider is not that one. Quite the opposite, actually.

This book is about Rose, a 16 yeras old girl who has had a very difficult childhood; but has been adopted into a rich family. On the other hand, we have Spider; a rebel rock star. His presence means trouble. He doesn’t have the best relationship with his father, but he is forced to meet his father’s new wife and stepsister. Yes, Rose is his stepsister (as every avid Romance reader should have guessed by now). The attraction between those two comes fast and with a fury. Rose is easily awed, but Spider has a huge commitment issue. Due to Spider’s problem with drugs and alcohol, the parents are not very fond about those two becoming something and try to break them.

I must admit that I don’t like either of the main characters. Rose is obsessed with the idea she has of Spider and Spider… He is a drug and alcohol abuser. That should be a big warning sign for very decent person to stay away. And it should be even a bigger sign for Rose. Her mother was killed by an alcoholic boyfriend who one day took too much… How can Rose tell his foster family that she doesn’t care about Spider’s problem? It doesn’t make any sense. In that moment I realize that Rose was incapable of judging with a clear mind what she wanted when Spider was around. Scary. Am I suppose to support the main character of the book? Because I’m not going to. I’m with Rose mother all the way in that matter.

And Spider… The guy that loves Rose SO much that he accepted 500.000$ to ignore her… An act of love according to him. And it seems that Rose bought his explaining, because they end together several years later. I must aslo admit that I have a huge problem with smokers… Those characters always need to work extra hard to get my respect. I’m not too annoyed about Spider being one, except when he states that he is a long distance runner… As if his damaged lungs could endure that… Luckily, the author doesn’t write him smoking very often, so I can give Spider a pass. What I can’t understand is Rose saying that she likes his smell… smoke and all. It’s gross and it makes me angry that that smell is considered sexy in the book.

What about the love story? you may ask. I would answer: What love story? That is not love… is obssesion and infatuation. I don’t feel they are a real couple… just a bunch of crazy hormones unleashed. I even like way more Trenton than Spider as the love interest. The author tries to make him a villain by the end of the book, but I’m not buying it. I feel he has cared much more about Rose than Spider has… and he deserves a happy ending, too.

There is nohing worse in Romance that not liking the main characters of the book. That is the case with this book penned by Ilsa Madden-Mills. That issue is something common with New Adult novels… at least the ones I have read. I haven’t enjoyed this book. At least it’s a short one.

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2018 – Book Gallery

C*cky Neighbor – Fettucine Holliday

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Author: Fettucine Holliday
Pages: 16

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This super fun book is about a conveniently close male heterosexual and the lady who parts her drapes for him. He shows her what a real man is, and satisfies(MT) her completely.

This is a totally great comedy erotica story that in no way infringes on a certain word, no sirree, not at all.

This is the other book by Fettucine Holliday to support the actions taken to nullify Faleena’s legal claim over the word cocky. If you want to read a recap of that, read my previous review. Could you imagine if all Romance writers did the same? I mean, most of them have series whose titles follow some kind of template. If all those templates became trademarks, no one else would be able to write Romance books!!

Even though I’m totally against Faleena’s actions, I can’t swallow the books that Fettucine has written. If C*cky Author was bad, this one is just pure crap. Once again, this book is unable to deliver any single laugh. But this time, it goes even further. It didn’t make me laugh, but it was VERY close to make me puke!!

Why is Jettt like that? He doesn’t shower, he doesn’t clean, he is gross everywhere… When they have sex and the author describes his dirty penis… I wanted to die. It’s not just gross. I felt insulted as a man.

I know this was some kind of parody, but Fettucine takes it too far. TOO FAR!! Besides, the book was supposed to make fun of the “cocky” issue, but it feels that this time the author makes fun of Faleena’s books. Which I can’t approve, because it would be an infantile attack. This book pissed me off so much, that now I want to read some of Faleena’s books to get to know her style.

You can’t ask almost 4$ for this book. Not even if it is for a good cause. It’s just insulting, sorry.

 

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2018 – Book Gallery