Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Hunting Julian by Jacquelyn Frank

Title:Full Measures
Author:Rebecca Yarros
PublisherEntangled Publishing
Publication Date:February 10, 2014
Publisher's DescriptionThree knocks can change everything…

"She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead."

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.
My rating:****


Xe Sands did a great job of narrating this BS, but I still feel gross for having listened to it.

I didn’t listen to this book until months after I’d purchased it, so I no longer remember why I got it. I can’t say what, exactly, made Hunting Julian seem like something that I’d enjoy reading. The blurb makes the events that take place sound very different from the way they actually unfold. The fact that should have been repeated several times throughout is that Asia is not a willing visitor to Julian’s planet. She doesn’t accidentally stumble onto another world. Julian forces orgasmic pleasure on her and then brings the unconscious Asia to his home dimension. Oh, okay then.

Asia gets to Beneath, the imaginative name of Julian’s dimension, and suffers just about every possible misfortune at the hands of the awful people on Julian’s supposedly great society. Julian takes pride in saying that he never lies to her, but he withholds information and generally takes advantage of her complete ignorance of his planet.

Asia is Julian’s kindra, some sort of mystical soulmate who, when joined with Julian, has an ability to generate a huge amount of the energy that the people of Julian’s world need to survive. This isn’t bad. What sucks is that Asia is mistreated by just about everybody she encounters on the world that she never chose to go to. Julian and her own sister call her selfish for not immediately giving up everything she has ever known or wanted in order to nourish the people of the dimension TO WHICH SHE WAS KIDNAPPED. What the everloving hell is wrong with these people

Why do so many of the characters, including Asia, buy into the idea that she’s selfish for not immediately falling into line with what her kidnapper, his people, and her kool-aid drinking sister want from her? There are suffering people everywhere, but if somebody kidnapped me and used this as an excuse, I’d still be pretty pissed off about the whole thing.

On this dimension, women who commit crimes are punished by being imprisoned and possibly raped (there will definitely be sex, it’s just up to her and the man who buys her to determine what type of relationship they’ll have) by a man who has bought the right to do so for a period of five years. It’s okay, though, because this world has suffered plagues and the population is dangerously low (still not low enough for me). The rapist/sugar daddy/gross dude’s turn is over if they have a kid. Which, of course, the dirty prisoner mom won’t be able to see or interact with. Also, there’s a stigma against being the child of one of these female prisoners. But hey, if she doesn’t get pregnant during a particular five year period, some other lucky a-hole gets to pony up some dough and repeat the process all over again. By the way, on this dimension crimes that merit this punishment include self-defense and mental illness, yet the sentient beings there continually talk smack about Earth. Pot, meet intergalactic kettle.

No big deal, but Julian doesn’t even offer Asia a real apology until 75% of the way into the book. By real, I mean that that is the first time he apologizes for bringing her Beneath and doesn’t immediately offer an excuse. But psych, he only does this because she hurt his feelings. HIS FEELINGS. The kidnapped woman hurt her kidnapper’s feelings and everybody gets judgy about it. So if some dude kidnaps me for the good of his people, tells me that we’re fated to have some great romance, and I don’t immediately fall into line, I’m a selfish person? Thanks for clearing that up, Ms. Frank. Thoughtfully, the author somehow manages to contradict everything that happens at the beginning of the book and makes the kidnapping Asia’s fault? If only the determined woman hadn’t tried to find out what happened to her missing sister! It’s all her fault for tracking down the last person to have been with Kenya! Oh my god I can’t even

Sorry guys, I wish I could tell you exactly what I hated about the end of this book, but I couldn’t listen to anymore of this crap. I just had to stop. I called Audible and got my credit back. I’m still in too fragile of a mental state to choose another book right now. Although it scarcely feels possible, I might somehow find something that I’d enjoy less than this.

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The Dream Unfolds by Barbara Delinsky

Title:The Dream Unfolds
Author:Author - Barbara Delinsky
Narrator - Erin Yuen
PublisherDreamscape Audio
Publication Date:Audio - November 2013
Print - 1990
Publisher's DescriptionBuilder Gideon Lowe and interior designer Christine Gillette share a dream--to develop the Rice estate into the most elegant comdominium community on the Atlantic seaboard. But that dream is all they share--they mix like oil and water. He calls her a spoiled prima donna and she pegs him for an arrogant chauvinist. But good old-fashioned lust can circumvent misconceptions like nothing else.
My rating:***


I enjoyed this book. Although it was written in 1990, which really doesn’t feel that long ago to me, it avoided so many of the things that make me cringe about older books. Christine and Gideon’s conversation about why neither of them felt the need to get “car phones” (they didn’t want to be accessible at all times) was hilarious to me, but that and their frequent use of landlines were what dated this book; otherwise, this novel could be situated in 2013 and have turned out pretty much exactly the same.

Something that I appreciated was that when Gideon was a bit of a macho Neanderthal, Christine called him out on it, instead of accepting it as normal. Likewise, when  I felt that, regardless of the things that I didn’t like below, there was more story to tell here and the author ended things a bit abruptly for my tastes. Erin Yuen’s serviceable narration neither added to nor detracted from the flow of this audiobook.

What I didn’t like (click on blurred area to reveal hidden text):
Christine’s daughter, Jill, is not mentioned until more than halfway through the book. It made Christine’s internal dialog from before the revelation feel false, since all of her subsequent thoughts relate to her daughter. Jill is such a huge part of the book once her existence is revealed that hiding it felt needlessly gimmicky to me.

Gideon fell in love with Christine so quickly that it was unbelievable. It seemed to me that he goes from finding her obnoxious to wanting to date her to loving her in the course of two or three chapters. Seriously? I appreciated her more cautious approach, because it seemed to me that, as soon as he decides not to hate her or treat her like some iteration of that woman who annoys him, he’s like 85% on the way to loving her. Nice, but possibly a little overwhelming/creepy if thought about for too long.

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