Trap Jam by Steven Barwin | Review

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Olivia is living a double life — high-school student by day, drummer by night. Olivia doesn’t know when hanging out in clubs and drinking to appear older and enjoy the music scene became a habit, but she finds herself hungover at school and sneaking alcohol at home. Her bandmates Eddie and Lucas think she is older, and Olivia keeps up the pretence even as her real life starts to fall apart.
When Lucas catches Olivia talking to her friend Raymond in the women’s washroom, he beats up Raymond in a jealous rage. With Raymond unconscious and seriously hurt, Lucas tells Olivia that Raymond’s criminal brother is looking for them for payback. They go on the run, sleeping in a borrowed van and stealing to get by. Lucas keeps Olivia drunk and off-balance, telling her he loves her and pressuring her to have sex with him — even when she reveals she’s only sixteen. Still, through an alcoholic haze, Olivia sees that Lucas is delusional and dangerous. When she finally discovers that the story about Raymond’s brother is a lie, she realizes she has to get out of Lucas’s obsessional trap.


*I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*

The idea for Trap Jam was inventive enough, but there was too much going on for the human brain to properly process. It seesaws between themes of pursuing your dreams, lying, obsession, alcholism, etc., but nothing is fully developed and is terribly chaotic. The writing is really spacey and unfocused, which also makes for a bad reading experience. There were multiple times I’d be reading and wonderded how the protagonist went from playing the drums to randomly riding a bike. There is some diversity in this, if you’re hardpressed for a POC protagonist then Olivia is your girl. I believe she’s either an Afro-Cuban or Dominican – I really can’t remember – and she’s also a female drummer which is cool. To conclude this review, I’d declare this to be a book new, teen readers. If you’re an experienced reader and mature in age then I’d skip it.

Special Forces by Brynn Paulin | Review

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Amelia Barker and Keon Munro are about to meet face-to-face for the first time. With F-16 butterflies dive-bombing her belly, she nervously awaits her soldier and the promises he made over the internet. Fresh off deployment, Keon is ready for some one-on-one action with the woman who captured his heart through cyberspace. Too bad she’s not who he thinks she is. Either way, she’d better be ready for his special force. He’s been dreaming of this night for months, and her sweet behind is his.


What can an 18-page book really accomplish, apparently a nice little story. Although it doesn’t include complex characters, or a particularly engaging plot, it still surprised me because it was so condensed. The gist of the story is simple; Amelia Barker has been pretending to be her fickle sister to a military pen pal, Keon Munro, after she completely ditches him. Feeling bad and adventurous, she decides to keep up the charade his entire deployment, until she realizes he want’s to meet her (since they kinda began a relationship) and remembers she’s not her sister.

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Fionn (Irish Sugar) by Marteeka Karland | Review

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★ ★ ★

Ice fills my soul. Nothing matters to me but my brothers. I’d kill for them. Every death chips away at the hint of humanity still clinging to me. And when the day comes to pay for my misdeeds….I don’t think about that… Until then I will bask in my transgressions allowing the passion of my chaos to keep me warm. I’m the thing you fear when darkness surrounds you. If you’re in my crosshairs, you’re as good as dead. My name is Fionn O’Shea. Death is all that matters…

Until…her.

She alone fills the gaps in my soul, returns my humanity. By protecting her, perhaps some part of me will be redeemable when I must answer for my sins. She brings order to my chaos, keeps me warm when the ice threatens to overtake me. If you threaten her, you’ll pray for the monsters in the dark to take you. But they won’t. I’ll bring your pain. I’ll bring your suffering. I’ll live for nothing else…

[Source: Goodreads]


When it comes to kidnapped sex I’m not a lover of it. Anytime a person possesses/enforces some type of dominance over you in an unbalanced way I don’t take kindly to that. In Fionn (Irish Sugar), it was better than some of the previous novels I’ve read, however I still didn’t like it.

Fionn is basically a living Grim Reaper; Ice flows through his veins and it doesn’t as though it’ll ever defrost. He’s an enforcer. He’s dangerous. That is until he kidnaps LeeAnn, who’s a rather innocent, smart girl caught between two webs of injustice.

While holding her captive Fionn realizes he’s the one being held captive, as his heart begins to melt. LeeAnn also starts to feel for him and soon their love blazes through the pages.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the page length.

When writing a story where you’re dealing with a subject, such as kidnapping, it needs to be fully developed – not to mention when you have douchy male lead that we need time to warm up. There’s also abducted sex waaaaay too soon. No matter how I looked at it, I just couldn’t get around how quickly everything happened, however this is an effect of the book being too short.

I did enjoy what Markeeta Karland attempted to accomplish, but it fell short for me.

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods (Sweet Tooth #1) | Review

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A cross between Bambi and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, SWEET TOOTH tells the story of Gus, a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children, has been raised in isolation following an inexplicable pandemic that struck a decade earlier. Now, with the death of his father he’s left to fend for himself . . . until he meets a hulking drifter named Jepperd who promises to help him. Jepperd and Gus set out on a post-apocalyptic journey into the devastated American landscape to find ‘The Preserve’ a refuge for hybrids.
[Blurb: Goodreads]

 


I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with reviewing Graphic Novels – the pros are cons and vice-versa. On one hand, I’d like to assault your beautiful eyes with the illustrations of Jeff Lemire’s characters and setting, however, after awhile, you’d overdose on the images and this review would just be congested. But on the other hand, it’d be sacrilegious to not show images of the novel since it’s a graphic novel! Here in lies my problem, and why I rarely write reviews for graphic novels. Now that that rant’s complete, shall we get to the review?!

Out of The Deep Woods (Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1) is a really freaking weird novel, even for a post apocalyptic, dystopian. Featuring animal/human hybrid children and the world going to shit – I’d hope that would be the only reason animal/human hybrid children exist – after a disease known as the Affliction (ominous right!) killed off billions people. So, a new species is fabricated known as animal-hybrid children. However, these children are hunted, by hunters, to be hunted….hehe.

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The story follows the journey of a sweet, deer animal-hybrid kid named Gus, aka Sweet Tooth, and his mountain-like savior Jeppard, after saving Gus from the aforementioned hunters. Along the journey to the safe haven for hybrid children like Gus called The Preserve, we don’t meet a copious group characters, but we do encounter a few: mock animal-hybrid prostitutes, hunters, and savage hyena-looking murderers.

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This novel being so short didn’t leave much room for development of any kind. Since this is Volume one I kind of expected to learn a bit more about the characters or story line, however, I didn’t learn anything. The only storyish foreshadow is that animal-hybrid children exist because of a disease, which hasn’t been explained, killed most of the people. There’s a few fighting scenes that, I guess, shed light on both Gus and Jeppard’s characters. Mainly we got the emotional impact of a world without rules, morals and ethics, through the eyes of this boy who’s the foil of this whole world in a way. He’s sweet, innocent and compassionate in a world that’s done away with all those things. The end is also unsatisfying but that’s due to there being a Volume two.

 

Bad Boy’s Baby by Sosie Frost

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★ ★ ★ ★

Star professional quarterback Jack Carson has the worst reputation in the league. He’s arrogant and gorgeous, and if he’s not in bed with a new woman, he’s sleeping off the party in a jail cell.

But now he’s gotten in trouble too many times and needs my help to protect his career. As his publicist, I’ve hidden his dirty exploits and silenced the sexy rumors…but I missed the hottest scandal of the year. Apparently, Jack and I are dating.

When the manwhore lies to the league and claims we’re in a committed relationship, he jeopardizes both our jobs. I can’t trust the tattooed bad boy, but now I’m stuck defending him. I have to make him seem respectable—no matter what.

But his shameful reputation isn’t fixed with a few photos of us on a date. With the league determined to expel him for bad-behavior, Jack has only one option to convince them he’s wholesome, dependable, and responsible.

Jack Carson wants to start a family.

And he’s chosen me to give him the baby.


*Warning: This review will not be like my others, since this is a New Adult novel, I will have adultish comments about it. For once I’m acting my age :d*

Let’s just get this out the way first: Horrible title and terrible blurb.

Now that that’s over, shall we begin?

There was a substantial amount of people who couldn’t even bare the sample, yet along reading the book to completion – I rather enjoyed it. Since I read a fair amount of New Adult novels I switched off my YA mode and switched on my NA mode – this is required – before reading this book. NA novels tend to have seriously cocky and egotistical hero’s that make you want to cut your eyes out from their constant noise of self-praise, and Jack Carson was no different. He’s an egotistical asshole. It’s irrefutable. He parties hard, thinks he’s God’s gift to women, and is a serious manwhore.

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Steel Infidels Series (Volume 1 & 2 Steel Infidels Biker MC Romance) by Dez Burke

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2.5 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Book 1:

Safe House

★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★


After receiving the news that his best friend has been murdered by a rival MC, Flint Mason, the prodigal son of the Motorcycle Club Steel Infidels, returns to the club to exact revenge. Kendra Shaw is a veterinarian who’s love for animals outweighs caution, so when she receives a mysterious call about an injured eagle she jumps at the opportunity by traveling to a secluded cabin in the mountains. However, instead of finding an eagle, she gets an eyeful of an injured Flint. Flint and Kendra are forced together in a tense situation where neither wants to be.

What they soon discover hidden behind their differences is a fiery passion that ignites and bursts into flames. Can they overcome their obstacles and fight for their love or will the grim reality of life in the MC destroy their chances forever?

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My expectations for this novella was awfully high, having recently gotten off of my SOA high and the cover being so magnetic – but sadly my expectations were extinguished after we’re introduced to Kendra. Her character is extremely preposterous and utterly unlikeable in my opinion, however I had faith that as the novel progressed my dislike would be reversed and turn into admiration or, at the very least, a tolerance but the length of this novella prevented that. My reasons for not liking Kendra stemmed from her behavior and actions, but this could have been forgiven…if she wasn’t a freaking doctor! But according to Kendra, “I’m a vet, not a doctor!”  (WTF I know a few veterinarians and they all refer to themselves as doctors, well to people they don’t know) so that kind of sums up her stupidity, along with her having sex with a man she barley knows in a notorious motor cycle gang.

Which then leads me to Flint’s character – who I cannot take seriously after watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – who is this successful lawyer who drops everything to rejoin his legendary life of crime as a Steel Infidels. Perhaps it’s me not understanding the gravitational pull to the streets, or in this case the road, that prevents me from fully grasping the magnitude  of his decisions. I mean he goes from being an outlaw, to the law, and then turns back to being an outlaw again; it could be me but that just seems so unstable and, therefore, makes an incomplete character when that wasn’t the intention. And then we have another story about lust at first sight that magically turns into love overnight, storyline that I’m fed up with reading. That being said, Flint’s still totally smoking hot and sexy in every way.

Finally we arrive at the root of the issue with this novella, which is…drum roll…it’s entirely too short. This novella comes to its cliff-hanger conclusion much to speedily for us because just as the ice cream cake is about to be sliced the knife just gets stuck (I’m sorry, that was just awful and the guilty party is: my sugar crazed mind). So to say this basically would be to say there wasn’t enough time for character development, therefore, once again, I’ve been burned by book longevity but since there’s a second book it gives me hope (FYI: hope = dangerous emotion for book readers)

♥♥♥

Book 2:

Liberated

★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★


With there location compromised, Kendra and Flint are forced to flee the safe house with the danger of Liberators trailing them. However, the threat isn’t neutralized and soon they find themselves in a perilous situation that forces Kendra to make a life changing decision. 

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This story was definitely superior to the first novella in both storyline and progression.

So, book two kicks off directly where book one ended and it’s an action packed “scene” that I imagine could rival a Mission Impossible movie, with Flint and Kendra fighting for their lives against the Liberators. In this battle of MC’s we’re rewarded to read a rather entertaining fighting sequence, that puts Kendra – the veterinarian – directly into the line of Liberator fire. So instead of being smart and removing herself from the situation with as much adroitness (although I don’t know how much she’d have) she decides to start shooting back…at a rival gang…with a shotgun…while being stuck on mountain…

But somehow I was able to surpass that and continue with my reading and find out that she’d killed a man and didn’t feel bad about it because they were bad people.

*Applies Brakes*

Now, I know that there are some truly horrific people in the world that have done unimaginable wrongs and are clearly hellhound, but any normal human being would still have more emotion towards killing a man than that. The novel literally reads,  “Kendra made the conscious decision right then to put it out of her mind and get the hell over it. She didn’t have time for regrets. She always did what needed to be done, and this time was no different than any other.  She took a deep breath. Whatever happened, there would be no regrets.” Ummmmm. I just couldn’t get over this for remainder of reading Liberated. Perhaps if Kendra would’ve been a former assassin, or at least apart of a MC I might have been able to let this slide, but Kendra being a doctor that’s never done anything spontaneous or even knew how to shoot a gun, but that’s not the case in this story.

One thing that improved was that the story wasn’t a true erotica like the first one, this installment had much more depth, which was needed in order to receive those 3 stars. So, now Flint and Kendra are dating and they’re all cute and cuddly but Flint, of course, has to break it off with Kendra because this life is too dangerous for her, blah blah blah – the usual. But this really wasn’t a conflict because it literally lasted for two pages and then kaboom, threat neutralized. Ugh there isn’t anything really interesting about the rest of the story, so I just don’t feel the need to keep explaining it because there’s nothing to tell.

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Overall, this was a disappointing series to read although the MC theme is something I’d like to see more of in the IR genre. With unreasonable actions of characters and an irrational amount of pages to accompany it, these stories are a relaxed read with nothing truly remarkable about them. However, check them out for yourself in the two-in-one below:

Buy

Therapeutic Relations by Shara Azod & RaeLynn Blue

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2.5 starts out of 5
★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Dr. Takashi Nakamura was a damn good therapist. His own lustful thoughts lay right there across the office where Dr. Tanya Morris’s office resided. He longed to take the beautiful doctor into his arms and confess his long held love. When the opportunity arises and Tak gets to do just that, the results aren’t what he had hoped for. Will he be able to convince Tanya he’s for real and will he be able to climb over Tanya’s sexual hurdles and into her heart?

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Although this is an older novella (2009 published), after reading it I still thought a mini review would be appropriate for the page length. That being said, or written/typed, this novella turned out to be different than what I expected, sadly enough different in a bad way. Since it had all the ingredients of a great IR novel – hot, tall Japanese hero and a gorgeous divorcee with trust issues heroine – but the page length and characters just didn’t appeal much after reading it.

I’ve been burned before by novella’s but I went, “What the hell, let’s give this a chance!” and now its happened yet again. With such a good plot it’s disheartening to read this novella and know that with a couple extra, hundred pages it could’ve been superb. However, this story was plagued with the “too little info, too much sex” syndrome, which in my opinion never turns out properly because love doesn’t develop for us to imagine; but that’s not to say there aren’t many novellas that left me satisfied after reading it’s shortened pages, however this particular one was undoubtedly unsatisfying and once again unprotected sex.

Now, to shed some light on the characters I think it’s imperative to make an account of the sexiness of Takashi, which is at an extremely high level. That being said his character isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. When you know a woman is insecure and feeling unloved his first thought was to have sex with her but expect her to believe his “love” is genuine? Yeah, that’s a terrible idea. However, is it as terrible as Tanya…no! I have know idea who her character was and her insecurities were annoying, which could be on account of her actually being vexatious or her character not having sufficient time to evolve and be appreciated.

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Overall, this novella was short, sort of sweet, and extremely sexual which is nice recipe for people who enjoy those sort of erotic stories, but for me it wasn’t terribly interesting. However don’t be afraid to check it out below:

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Buy