Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Sweetness (The Sweetest Thing, Book 1) by Sierra Hill

Title:Sweetness (The Sweetest Thing, Book 1)
Author:Sierra Hill
PublisherCreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date:July 2016
Publisher's DescriptionI’m the girl from the school of hard knocks.
Nothing has ever come easy for me. So forgive me if I’m a bit reluctant about Kincaid Griffin – born-with-a-silver-spoon in his mouth, conceited college hoops player. A guy who could get any girl he wants, and yet, is suddenly everywhere I am trying to woo me. The more I protest, the more persistent he becomes.
I’m a lucky bastard.
Let’s face it. As a college athlete, I don’t chase girls – they come to me. I’m as arrogant and cocky as they come, getting nearly everything I want, whenever I want. But there is nothing sweeter than a girl who plays hard to get. And Ainsley Locker is so full of confidence that she knocks me off my feet from the moment I meet her. She’s a challenge. And I like challenges. So I go full-court press to win her over. But when a stupid mistake turns viral, slam dunking all over my life in a media frenzy, my spot on the team may be in jeopardy, along with my shot at winning the girl.
My rating:**


Checking out this book’s sample didn’t make me feel the need to read it immediately, so I left it on my Kindle for a bit. I’ve been on a fantasy kick lately, so I thought that maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this. When I came back to it a month or so later, I found myself more interested in the character and so decided to buy the book. Unfortunately, this author’s writing just didn’t work for me. She was all over the place in terms of tenses, but I could have looked past that if I’d found anything in this story to hold my interest. Cade was a one-dimensional d-bag, and aside from being a big, cute jock, nothing about him seemed particularly special. Poor Ainsley had had a rough life, and seemed way too busy to put up with his self-involved, rich jock nonsense. I just couldn’t bring myself to stick around long enough to witness the lowering of her standards that would make Cade seem like her dream man.

No Comments »

Beauty From Surrender by Georgia Cates

Title:Beauty From Surrender
Author:Georgia Cates
PublisherSelf published
Publication Date:May 30, 2013
Publisher's DescriptionAfter Laurelyn Prescott walks away from the love of her life, she returns to Nashville to pursue the only dream she has left. Determined to find a distraction from the pain of losing Jack Henry, she immerses herself in her music. But with her old life comes old acquaintances and new expectations. When Laurelyn refuses her record producer’s outrageous demands, she finds herself without a career—until an unforeseen opportunity presents itself. From there it’s a rocket ride straight to the top where Laurelyn finds the success she’s always dreamed of. Will it be enough to bring her the happiness she so deserves, or will the absence of Jack Henry leave her wanting more?

Jack Henry McLachlan never expected to fall in love with Laurelyn Prescott—but he did. After he foolishly let her slip through his fingers, he spends three months searching for her, but their reunion doesn’t come easy. The woman he finds isn’t the same one who drifted away without a goodbye. No longer an insecure girl on an Australian adventure, this Laurelyn is a successful musician with a promising career. Her dreams are becoming a reality, and Jack is terrified his American girl won’t have a place for him in her new life. With only a month to convince her otherwise, will it be enough time to make her visualize a life beyond the glitz and glamour, a life that includes him?
My rating:0 stars



At the end of the first book in this series, I would have given it 2.5/3 stars. The writing is good, and I’m thankful that Ms. Cates doesn’t have the apostrophe and comma troubles that plague many new adult authors, but just knowing where to put punctuation isn’t enough to win me over as a reader. Caution: spoilers abound and I’m too tired to wield the spoiler tag with any hope of success.

I really like romance novels, and I understand that there are certain conventions that most authors adhere to. I get that a lot of readers like their romance heroes [and oh, how I hate the language one uses to discuss romance protagonists; what, exactly, is it about these men and women that we are supposed to find heroic?] to be really macho, but Jack is just bad news. He takes his strength of character and, instead of building her up, repeatedly uses it to mold Laurelynn into who he wants her to be, her wishes be damned.

Jack is basically a really big toddler, and is completely okay with throwing tantrums or being petulant, as long as it gets him what he wants in that moment. How is this guy a successful businessman? He seems to lack both patience and the ability to compromise. For Jack, Laurelynn must either give up everything she’s ever worked toward or they’re not going to survive. When he wants something to be a certain way, there’s literally no other option in his mind. This guy is a squjillionaire, and he can’t think of any way that maybe the two of them can both achieve their dreams? Like, not at all? Couldn’t they split the year in their respective countries? Couldn’t he hire a manager to help run his vineyards for the time when he’s in the States with Laurelynn, supporting her career the way he assumes she will for her? Oh, right, no. Because everything is all about Jack. Talk about a failure of imagination.

Maybe this book gets better. Maybe Laurelynn’s parents become less awful and Jack pulls his head out of his butt, but I’m done. I couldn’t make it past yet another person in Laurelynn’s life thinking that they knew better than her and telling her that what she wants doesn’t matter as much as what others want for and from her. Laurelynn: cut your hair, change your name, and go off the grid for a few years. Girl, get your mind right.

No Comments »

In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

Title:In Bloom
Author:Katie Delahanty
PublisherEntangled Publishing
Publication Date:February 10, 2014
Publisher's DescriptionMy name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.
I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. 
How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all...
My rating:*


This book didn’t work for me at all, and I’m not quite sure why. It sounded like something that I would, if not like a lot, at least like well enough. Although my interest was piqued by the blurb, it wore off pretty quickly once I actually started reading the book. The first chapter reads like any late ’90s, Early Aughts chick-lit novel. Scrappy single girl moves to the big city. Check. And immediately experiences something that shows her she’s not in Kansas (or Pittsburgh) anymore. Check. And is so gosh-darn awkward with the guy we’re 98% sure she’ll be with by the end of the novel. Check, check, and check. Okay, so this book isn’t breaking any new ground. That’s not a crime, right?

The problem was that there didn’t seem to be any heart underneath the familiar plot. The central conceit (okay, central to the first 26% of this book, which is when I threw in the towel) is that, on the strength of one less-than-stellar encounter with a celebrity, Olivia must allow Blair and Preston to Eliza Doolittle her into an It girl. One, what? Two, what? Three, why does she go along with this? None of the answers make any sense, and it makes me think worse of everybody involved that this plan was given any credence at all.

This novel managed to be as vapid as the worst drivel ever published by Red Dress Ink and, to add insult to injury, boring at the same time. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever make it to 27%, so I’ll just have to say that the part of this novel that I did get through didn’t work for me on any level.

I received this novel from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »