Husband and Wife Write Letters to the Bitter End

Book Review: To the One I Love by Dawn Gena

to_the_one_i_love_cover_for_kindle00001Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 3,880

Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Through letters, Jonathan and Emily profess their love for each other. You can see snapshots of their lives as they meet and marry, and part ways. Time is fluid in this, with only the Chinese zodiac signs to give you an idea about how much time has passed.

This story was way too short and everything happened way too fast. It was like watching a television show for the first time and skipping entire seasons between episodes.

For instance, the mothers of the two main characters got into a fist fight at the engagement party and at least one of them was arrested for it. Why did the fight start? Do the mothers have a history of being violent? Maybe they have bad history.

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The ending was abrupt. It implied a violent ending that had no foreshadowing in the previous letters.  The story is a series of romantic snapshots into these people’s’ lives, but I would have preferred a little more reality with some context to what was happening.

The writing drove me crazy at times, too. Mostly it was witty, passionate and made me smile.

What other lovers? Whoever came before you fell out of existence at your first caress. You are my only…for now through eternity.

But sometimes it was pretentious and absurdly wordy.

“Fleeting and cold is my opinion of email, text and phone calls. I make no apologies for my old fashioned views on modern technology. It may not be instant, and might take a bit more effort (of which you are more than worthy!), but I prefer to sit and put pen to paper.”

It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great, either. Bascomville and Grind are both better literary romances.

You can find it for free on Smashwords.

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Woman Surprised When Neighbor Waits For Her When Coming Home Late

Book Review of “Ride of Her Life” by Kimberly Dean

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Get it free on Smashwords

Genre: Contemporary, Erotica

Word Count: 3,830

Average Smashwords rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Warning: quotes below are certainly rated R.

When Andrea’s car breaks down and she gets a ride home with a coworker, the last thing she expects is her sexy yet scary-looking neighbor, Bo, waiting for her and livid. Worried out of his mind, Bo is done flirting with Andrea without action. Tonight, he’ll show her exactly what he wants with her.

Ride of Her Life is a hot little escape, but it’s like daydreaming about the stock photo of a tattooed macho man. True, it has some great sexy time.

He was fucking her hard and fast, but it was too much. Too raw. Too intimate. She felt too vulnerable, and she tried to lower her legs.

“No.” Keeping her legs close together, he leaned forward. “I like it this way. It makes you tighter. Makes you pay attention to me.”

The increase in pressure startled her. “Bo!”

He bucked at the sound of his name, and Andrea could hardly stand the pleasure. It felt naughty, exhibitionistic, and so damn good.

“That’s right, sweet thing. Give it to me. I’m the guy who’s meant to be your lover, not your handyman.”

But Bo has no character whatsoever. For that matter, Andrea isn’t much better with her inconsistent weirdness.

Bo is a jerk. He was mad that his neighbor didn’t call him when she was going to be home late or ask him to drive all the way to the college just to give him a ride. He was even more irritated that the coworker who dropped her off was male. Bo is her next door neighbor! Sure, they’re closer than most neighbors, but that doesn’t mean she needs to call him when she is a little bit late.

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There’s an inch of depth that flickers beneath Bo’s otherwise boring flatness. His anger stems from worry and he’s insecure around Andrea. He doesn’t think he’s smart enough for her and in a moment of vulnerability asks her what he means to her.

It’s clear the two of them have history together. They have been neighbors for a while and Bo is always there to help with lawn mowing, giving her takeout, and doing repairs around the house. Andrea fantasizes about him at night but is scared to acknowledge her attraction to him. Bo seems to know it anyway and basically takes her on a picnic table with Andrea barely getting a consent out.

The lack of real consent is a huge turn-off for me. Just because he mows her lawn doesn’t mean he gets to, well, mow her lawn. There’s a difference between dominating and borderline-raping, and I wish that was much clearer here.

Andrea’s character is all over the place. She goes from caring to femme fatale in less than four thousand words.

At first, she’s slightly scared of Bo. She’s nervous and innocent for most of the story.

The tingle was back. Her entire body vibrated with anticipation and nerves. She’d never done anything like this. A thrill of uneasiness and excitement rushed through her

By the end, he’s just a fuck for her.

“Can we go inside now?” she asked, her lips brushing against his ear.

“On one condition. Tell me what I am to you.”

She smiled softly. “Oh honey, you’re the man I call when I need a ride.”

Where is this new found confidence of hers and when did she start calling him honey? Did her orgasm compel a man-eating ghost to possess her for the sake of reliving glory days?

We’ll never find out, because that’s where the story ends. There’s no real conclusion and just the flippant line to half-heartedly tie the ending and beginning together. It left me wholly unsatisfied. You can read the story for free on Smashwords.

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Tired of Book Burnout? This Free Resource will Help

karaskinner_AC18_R0AOne day I found myself in a library with some time to kill. It sounds like heaven, right? Except it wasn’t. I found myself staring blankly at rows and rows of books with nothing but indifference.

I used to love starting new books. It was exciting to go into a store or library and hunt for a hidden gem to curl up in a nearby armchair with. Or to finally start that book I got three years ago that I’ve been dying to cross off my TBR list.

But after reading mediocre book after bad book after slightly-good book, I approached new books with indifference and sometimes dread. I had a horrible case of book burnout. It took a lot of time reading some old favorites (hello, Harry Potter) to get over it.

But there’s another way to stop falling into a book slump and that’s to read books you know are good. Which is why I’m pleased to introduce the Lover’s Quarrel Ultimate Reading List. 

This free PDF book is a list of romance novels that are free, over 50,000 words, and rated 4 stars or higher by me. This list will get updated all the time as I read more books that fit the criteria.

Get Lover’s Quarrel Ultimate Reading List today when you subscribe to my mailing list. You’ll get free books sorted by genre and you’ll see highlights from my reviews so you know which ones you’ll like the best. It’s a short list now, but it will get updated as I find more books to add.

Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne

6baad4c8166fb3b89d4ff0a592bfab85300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

Continue reading “Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne”

Book Review: DreamZ by A. R. Von

25421901-_uy472_ss472_Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Word Count: 12,470

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.54/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

To be honest, I automatically started to dislike this book because “Dreams” is spelled with a Z. And while it was okay, it was not as good as it could have been.

Wunder has been dreaming about a man for as long as she can remember, always the same man. The dreams leave her aroused to no end at night. Unfortunately, this man doesn’t exist in her life, at least not yet. But her love life is nonexistent and thanks to her being half zombie, that’s not going to change any time soon.

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Book Review: Telling Jase

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ

My rating: 4/5 stars

Jase grinned, “you were about to tell me why you always hated Marcus?”

Sean closed his eyes. Truth, he reminded himself. He took a few deep breaths. “I envied him, Jase.”

“What? Why?”

Truth, truth, truth. “Because he got to have you, and I didn’t. Because I wanted you. I wanted to be with you. Jase, I… I think I still want that.”

Sean “Tag” Taggert’s fiancee abandoning him and their son, Cody, is a blessing in disguise. Sean had never loved her and only committed to her for Cody’s sake. He was really in love with his best friend and former college roommate Jase, and now he might have the chance to tell him that.

But there was just one problem. Jase didn’t know Sean was bisexual. And Sean had no idea how Jase would react to the news that he had been in love him for three years.

Jase is incredibly hot and I can see why Sean’s attracted to him. He’s sexy and dominant, but also sweet, and caring, and great with kids. Jase is always there for Sean and a good friend. And Jase is also very attracted to Sean. There is no question at all about that.

And damn, they have good chemistry between them. Their relationship isn’t forced or fake at all.

Jase pulled off his t-shirt and tossed in on a chair. Tag stared at him with hungry eyes, and pulled his shirt over his head as well. Jase bit his lip and held back a groan. Tag had more tattoos. There were at least three new ones that he could see, tribal patterns on each pec, and a dragon, low on his left stomach, that halfway disappeared beneath his drawstring pants.

Jase ended up hopping quickly into the bed, when the thought of following the dragon’s tail into Tag’s pants caused in him a very noticeable reaction.

Sean killed the light and climbed in next to him. He scooted over till his shoulder was pressed against Jase’s chest. Jase reached across Tag’s body and grabbed his hand. His forehead touched the side of Tag’s head. He smells like home, he thought. He squeezed Tag’s hand and whispered. “Nite, Tag.”

“Nite Jase.”

They are so cute together. Telling Jase is the perfect story to put you in a good mood.

But it’s not completely perfect. The beginning is awkward. Sean comes home early to hear Jase and his then-boyfriend having sex in their room and within a matter of minutes he knows for sure he’s bi and in love with Jase. Just because he got turned on by sex sounds. That felt forced and insta-love, even if most of the story doesn’t.

I also couldn’t picture Lisa as a real person at all. Even though we never actually see her in the story, she plays a huge part. Despite all of the time Sean and Jase spend talking about her and all the time Sean spends thinking about her, she remains an undeveloped plot device instead of a real character.

Despite those flaws, this story is worth 4 stars. It’s a quick, fun read that I highly recommend.

You can read Telling Jase on Smashwords for free. Please let me know what you thought of the book — and this review — in the comments. And go ahead and click on the little heart if you liked this review.

 

Second Time Around by H.A. Caine

second-time-around-coverGenre: Contemporary, LGBTQ

Word Count: 8,140

Average Goodreads Rating: 2.67/5 stars

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Second Time Around is a story about mistaken identities. Jamie meets the man of his dreams, Matthew, at a party celebrating the opening of his new bakery. Better yet, Matthew seems to be into him. There’s just one problem: there’s a good chance Matthew is heterosexual and thinks Jamie is a girl.

You can read this book for free on Smashwords

Continue reading “Second Time Around by H.A. Caine”