Worthy of Love? by J. Lea

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This book is a mix of good and bad, depending on the audience. Looking back, if I had read this when I was fifteen I probably would have loved it. Now, I’m torn. It’s marketed for adults and has a wee bit of adulthood to it, but mostly it reads like a young adult novel.

It starts out with Lori, who has a secret that leaves her believing that she is unworthy of love, hence the title. Due to said secret and the suicide of her father, which is partly due to this secret, her mother moves her and her brother across the country to Colorado. Here, she believes she can have a fresh start, supported by her best friend Elias. It’s the summer before her senior year of high school and she meets perfect Parker. They go out a few times and it turns into love. Then, another secret pops up that tears them apart. Can their love endure? It is a romance novel, so you guess.

It was refreshing to have a male character who is not an alpha male beating on his chest and throwing the willing maiden over his shoulder. I enjoyed how he was respectful and when they first meet it’s appropriately uncomfortable, yet intriguing. Most relationships that begin between strangers have that awkward, self-conscious period in the beginning. Most romance novels now skip right over that, because everybody is beautiful, sure, and cocky. Not here; it was far more realistic.

An important part of the story is the abuse she suffered when she was fourteen. It was mentioned right away, so it’s not one of the big, bad secrets. As the memories briefly appeared, they were predictable and read like many other books that lack detail. Still, they were hard to read. It’s never easy to read about an innocent teen suffering in such a manner. Surprisingly, since it was a catalyst for the story, it didn’t actually get that much attention. I feel it would have had more impact if there was more to it. In all, it probably saw about twenty pages out of three-hundred.

The secret of Parker was painfully obvious from the moment she met him. I liked him, though; he was a generally sweet guy who winked a little too much and called her ‘honey’, which made him sound older than he was, but he was still nice. Sadly, his jealousy got old very quickly. Since I had been well prepared for the “surprise”, I was disappointed that he handled it just like a teenager. He was twenty-five, but acted sixteen, but she was eighteen going on sixteen, so they were a perfect match.

Her big, dark secret was also something else that was extremely predictable. In my opinion, it was a disappointment. I had expected something horrific, like she killed her molester, or she had cancer, anything that was truly life-shattering. She continually stated that it made her unlovable, and I can see how it would be a huge life adjustment, but it was hardly something that should hold her back. If someone can’t love her for this small detail, they are the ones who are unworthy of love.

I read the print version, so I do not know what the digital version looks like. This one was obviously translated. From what language, I do not know. There were many typos and sentences that did not flow correctly. The spacing was off and there were times I thought that maybe it was the start of a new scene, only to find that there were extra spaces added that meant nothing. Then, there were many instances where there was one extra space, but it actually was a new scene. It was confusing, and overall, I had to constantly look back a paragraph to figure out what was happening.

It’s not all bad. For a teenager, it could be a dream come true fairy tale. For an adult, it could be an annoyance or it could be a sweet, yet shallow love story. It all depends on the reader. This author has more than one book and they each have raving reviews, so it is up to you to decide. I feel that the author tried to make a good story, but the build-up was an utter disappointment. Everything was predictable, including the ending. Would I read it again? No. Will I read anything else by this author? It’s doubtful, especially since this was supposed to be an adult book, but clearly wasn’t.

Now, for the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – It’s a romance and supposedly for adults, but it read just like YA fiction.
  • Level of sexuality – She thought about it a lot. There were a few scenes that contained magic fingers or tongue, and arousal on both sides, but they were extremely minor and the dirty deed was described as “worshipping each others’ bodies all night long”. The wee bit included was anything but enticing.
  • Was there graphic language? I think once, maybe twice.
  • Did I cry? I admit to shedding one tear of relief.
  • Did I laugh? I didn’t, but there were moments that I believe were meant to be funny.
  • Is this part of a series? No.
  • Level of character development – I found it a bit poor, but not to the point where I threw it against the wall. It was first person Lori and I found her a bit lacking, Parker was very one-sided, and the only character I actually appreciated was her loyal, goofy best friend Elias.

I really wish I could give this more stars, but I felt misled. I picked it up partly because of the beautiful cover and partly because the blurb made it sound mysterious. Unfortunately, there was no mystery and it was just another predictable teenage drama. If I was still in high school, I would probably give it more stars, but as a grown woman, I have to give it ⭐️⭐️ stars. I think the author put forth a good amount of effort, but it was not what I had expected and it didn’t have the deep, dark, painful secrets that it alluded to. While it was definitely not for me, I suggest you find out for yourself.

Available here on Amazon

Mistakes of My Past Free Weekend

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When Amber flees her ex-boyfriend, Tommy, she knows it’ll be dangerous, maybe even deadly. Amber soon realises that starting over is hard when you’re harbouring secrets and you don’t know who you can trust.

Will, the sexy builder next door has issues of his own. He doesn’t want another complicated female in his life. He has enough on his plate raising his kid sister.

Trouble is, you can’t run from temptation and you can’t hide from the mistakes of your past.

*Mistakes of My Past is a STANDALONE romantic suspense for readers over the age of 18 only due to dark abusive themes.
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33301765-mistakes-of-my-past?from_search=true

Amazon

Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-My-Past-Emily-James-ebook/dp/B01MTYV7WZ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mistakes-My-Past-Emily-James-ebook/dp/B01MTYV7WZ/

Australia
https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/aw/d/B01MTYV7WZ/

Canada
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B01MTYV7WZ

 

Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz

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Luna is a high school student who doesn’t fit in with her classmates. She has one friend, Violet, who has been her BFF since grade school. Then there is Chance, the most popular boy in school, who attracts girls like moths to a flame. His favorite activity is stalking Luna. While Luna cannot stand him, Violet yearns for him to notice her, but he constantly seeks Luna out; after school walking home, in class where he pokes her with a pencil until she acknowledges him, even showing up at her home. Eww. Not only does he give me the creeps, he creeps her out, too, with his non-stop sneaking around and perpetual smirk.

Luna watches with helpless anger as Chance encroaches upon her life. He visits with her father, Dave, who then encourages her to show some interest in Chance. He lies to Dave and soon she finds herself in trouble with her father and pushed into Chance’s waiting arms. Well, it all just goes downhill from there. Obviously, there’s something seriously wrong with Chance and she desperately needs to be freed of him.

On top of that, Violet quickly becomes jealous and their friendship comes to an end, leaving Luna feeling completely abandoned. To add even more creepy, Luna begins having dreams and Chance is in every one of them. Her father eventually insists that Luna go out with him, since he’s such a fine fella. When he takes her to his home, she finds proof that he is a Satan worshipper. Thankfully, Max, someone she’s known for a very long time, enters the picture and enlightens her as to Chance’s super scary interest in the supernatural and explains her dreams. Chance has a plan for Luna and he is never going to let her go.

This book is obviously written for teens and I think they would enjoy it. Personally, I found it repetitive and the editing started to break down in the last few chapters. The facial expressions of the characters were rather limited. For example, there was a whole lot of glaring, pinching the bridge of the nose, cold stares, etc. Chance is a deadly dude and I’m surprised by the fact that he threatened many girls, yet not a single one had a parent or friend they could turn to in their time of trouble. I was further dumbfounded, when Chance turns Luna’s own father against her. He was a huge failure as a parent and apparently none of the other characters even had parents.

Enough of what I disliked, here is what I did. Although the characters did not evolve during this book, Luna was a steadfast friend, but to no avail. She was considered a non-entity by all her classmates and, other than keeping her head down 100% of the time, she didn’t seem to let her confidence drain away under so much negative attention. If you have to have a scary character, Chance is your man. Evil, evil, evil. How anyone slept with his presence in their dreams, is beyond me.

Now, for the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – paranormal/suspense for older teens.
  • Level of sexuality – none.
  • Was there graphic language? Mild, if any.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? I didn’t do that, either.
  • Is this part of a series? Rituals of the Night Series.
  • Level of character development – basically none.

There’s good and bad, like any book. Considering the target audience, I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

Unliving the Dream by Sandra Vischer

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First, I have to say I really, really like this title. People are always talking about their dreams and here is a story about Alex, who wants to dig her way out of what she thought was a dream that would last the rest of her life. Sometimes dreams change or turn out not to be what people thought, as she finds out.

Alex is a normal woman; wife, homemaker, career woman, mother, friend, daughter etc. She and her husband have a dream business that has exploded into the fast lane, making them money, keeping them busy, and which Alex believes she will always be a part of. Unfortunately, she discovers that her perfect husband is, in fact, a two-timing louse. She takes this news with alarming calmness, barely reacting to James’s declaration of love for a woman who works for them and whom Alex sees every day. This is pretty awful, but, yet again, she remains one cool gal.

James had always appeared to be a doting husband with nothing but joy for his wonderful, beautiful wife. Imagine her surprise when he suddenly turns into a screaming, loathsome dictator, who blames her for all of his problems. In actuality, he is an unlikable individual, whose employees wish for him to leave for lunch and never return.

When Alex and James are forced to take a business trip overnight, she thinks this is the perfect opportunity to remind him of how much he used to love her. She dresses in her best, styles her hair attractively, does an exquisite job with her makeup, and what does he do? Looks at her like she’s a cold, unappealing cup of soup. Of course, I was wondering, why try? He is a nasty dude that feels the need to spread his ugly behavior over his girlfriend, as well. May they live happily ever after. Not likely.

After coming to grips with the fact that James is on his way out, Alex takes their two kids and goes sailing. Yep, problem solved with a trip on a yacht. Her girlfriend, Nat, happens to be a sailboat captain in the British Virgin Isles. It sounds too good to be true, but off they go for adventure and a break from reality. They have a wonderful time, a few adventurous moments, but then have to come back. When she returns, James is worse than ever, trying to drive her out of the business. Eventually, he succeeds and she allows him to buy her out.

Now, she has to come up with a new life plan, but where to start? Somewhere along the way, she finds a boyfriend, only to un-find him, once James realizes that she wants an actual life. She starts reading self-help books and finds her favorite place, Peru. It is  there that she discovers that she is not who she thought she was; she’s much better.

I was a bit frustrated by her martyrdom. It took too long for her to finally give James a taste of his own medicine and she spent a lot of time trying to make him remember how much he loved her and what they once had together. I wondered if maybe they never had what she thought they did. This is written in first-person and I was surprised by her lack of pained, vengeful thoughts. She’s just a little too good and even-tempered, when I felt that a normal reaction would be to refuse to accept his inexcusable behavior, as she files for divorce. Maybe not all women feel that way about an abusive, cheating husband; this is just my take. The writing is what I can only call ‘smooth.’ In spite of it all, Alex’s life is presented as if she has all the answers once she puts her mind to it. Sailing away, letting James buy her share of the business, finding a boyfriend, saying goodbye to said boyfriend, and finding life, all wrap up in the splendor of life-altering Peru.

For my rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – Not much.
  • Was there graphic language? No.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No, not that either.
  • Is this part of a series? No.
  • Level of character development – The whole story is about Alex’s development and the focus is on her.

Overall, I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

Mistakes of My Past by Emily James

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What does one do with the biggest mistakes ever? Run. From Britain all the way to Ohio. Amber’s mistake is called Tommy or perhaps, Sneaky Tommy. She was fooled by him into thinking that he cared for her, but all she really received was abuse.

Amber was pleased when Tommy exhibited so much warmth and caring, that is until he cuts her off from her friends and ensures that she is completely dependent upon him. When her mother lay dying, he consoles her. Until one day, in anger, he tightens his hands around her neck, leaving bruises. Another day, it was bruises on her arms, another it was bruises on her legs. His physical abuse continues to grow. Slowly, he erodes what confidence she had, until Tommy absorbs her life, right down to her mother’s house and her mother’s money.

While Tommy takes over her life, she is overwhelmed by panic attacks and depression. Her mother’s death left her emotionally adrift and, with the aid of his abuse, she drifts right into a mental hospital. As Tommy explains to the doctor that Amber is ready to come home, she panics at the prospect of returning to him where he can continue to terrify her. She grabs a pair of scissors in desperation and cuts her arms open in front of the doctors and nurses. Needless to say, she is relieved when she is not released into his open arms.

She is filled with hope when she awakes to find her father has come to Britain to bring her home to Ohio. Tommy makes all sorts of excuses as to why she should stay and how he will take good care of her. Although she doesn’t know her father, she knows he has to be a safer bet than Tommy. Going back with her father means being committed to a treatment center, but she is more than willing to do what it takes to escape Tommy’s hands.

Finally, freed in Ohio, she meets Will who is raising his little sister Cody. Is it love, lust, like, dislike? It’s hard for her to decide. Will is certainly an attractive guy, but he is a bit pushy and Amber simply wants to find herself. He just can’t seem to leave her alone, though. Unknown to her, she is like a magnet for Will and he’s not going to rest until he gets to know her as more than just the next-door neighbor.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Has she escaped Tommy? Is she in love with Will? Is the neighbor across the street a pervert? Is Cody a matchmaker? There is a lot going on in this book to keep you wondering.

The book is very well-written, entertaining, and even suspenseful. The only time I didn’t care for the story was when Amber allowed Tommy to take away her inheritance. For the most part, I found the secondary characters to be interesting and a great addition for the story. I definitely didn’t think of this as a normal romance; there is so much more going on. However, there is sexual interest and you know that one of the goals is reaching the bedroom. Fortunately, it did not overwhelm the storyline, which was a pleasant aspect. I recommend this book to readers who like more than just a typical romance.

For the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary romance for adults and older teens.
  • Level of sexuality – There are a few sex scenes that are rather low-key for the most part.
  • Is there graphic language? Yes
  • Did I cry? No
  • Did I laugh? Yes, I actually did.
  • Is this part of a series? No.
  • Level of character development – The main characters were solid and several of the other characters matured nicely over the course of the story.

I gladly give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon