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Tall Girls Have Short Memories

Aspiring Author Who Loves Books, Writes About Books, and Tells the Truth As She Sees It (From Way Up Here)

Currently reading

A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
A Princess of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Seelye
Redemption's Ride
B.A. Tortuga
Warrior
Zoe Archer
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain
Uncommon Criminals
Ally Carter
The Locker Room
Amy Lane
Born To Darkness
Suzanne Brockmann
Size 12 and Ready to Rock
Meg Cabot
Money, A Love Story: Untangling Your Finances, Creating the Life You Really Want, and Living Your Purpose
Kate Northrup
I Will Teach You To Be Rich - Ramit Sethi This is a fantastic book on money and finance. Ramit has a lot of great advice, esp. if you aren't sure what you should be doing with your money.I found his tone refreshing and much different than many of the other financial gurus out there. What he says makes a lot of sense, much more than the folks that go on and on about latte factors and what not. Ultimately, here's the thing. No financial book is going to be a silver bullet for any money problem you have. You have to actually read the book and take action. If you can't or won't do what the book advises, then sure, it won't work. It's like any diet book you read- if you don't do it or if you don't stick with it, you'll never see results.What's different here is that I think what Ramit's saying makes a lot of sense, even if some of it is hard to hear. People don't like to hear that the dram of owning a home may not be the smartest idea or that they may have to wait for a long time to own one because they don't make enough or have too much debt. But that might be the truth. They might not want to hear that their dream wedding will either land them in FAR too much debt or they'll have to wait for five years to have it. They want it now.But that's what you get with Ramit and his book- a lot of hard truths packaged in a fun to read and easy to use book. The only real hard part is if you DON'T look at your own situation, take stock, and take action. If you find this book helpful, his website and e-mail list are both great additional resources.
SPOILER ALERT!

Aftermath

Aftermath - Cara Dee

I really, really, really wanted to give this more stars. A major issue kept me from doing so.First, the good stuff.1) The author brings the hurt/comfort like WOAH. I kind of want to know if this person spent some time in the fan fic trenches, because she knows how to ROLL with the h/c. They say you always hurt the ones you love and she ain’t messing around here. The flashback sequences to when Cam and Austin are kidnapped and tortured by Psycho are well written and hard to read in how explicit and graphic they are. It’s scary and totally believable, almost to the point of going too far. However, it’s just the line that I want to walk with my h/c fiction. I HATE when author shy away from REALLY hurting their characters because they don’t actually want to hurt their characters. First of all, they aren’t real. Shoot them, stab them, what does it actually matter- they aren’t real people. Get over it.Clearly, this author doesn’t have that problem. LOVED IT. It makes total sense that Cam and Austin are as screwed up as they are because what they went through is totally messed up. I’m frankly surprised they’re as functional as they are.2) I loved the personality balance here. There isn’t that terrible alpha male/femme male bullshit that I don’t dig on. We’ve got two guys who were thrown together and who fall in love. There’s an interesting pull between them of who tops and who bottoms but it isn’t a REAL battle of control. It seems to be more of a shift based on who needs what, and when. I really liked that.There also seemed to be a touch of bondage and control that ran through their relationship but it was light enough that I don’t think you’d even really want to call it that, not really. But just a dab.Fun stuff and super hot. Which leads me to…3) The SUPER HOT SEX.Man, did I think the sex was hot. I did have a few bones (heh) to pick here but I’ll get to those later.I thought the sex scenes were well written, super steamy, and there was enough back and forth between Austin and Cam, in terms of who topped and who bottomed, to keep my attention and to keep me interested. 4) I liked the build of the love story. I liked how the author showed, both through the flashbacks, and through the present day stuff, how they fell in love and how they realized that they’d fallen in love. It worked really well and it was clear that it hadn’t happened instantly, even the realization. Both men took some time to figure it out, and it wasn’t that one had figured it out first and then sat there pining for the other- they both were working through their many issues, this being one, and had to figure out just what the hell they were feeling, what it meant, and so on, coming to the same conclusion at roughly the same time. While that might seem coincidental, it felt like a natural movement of character and did work well in the story.And now, the not so good.1) My biggest issue was with Jade. What happened with her presentation happens in a lot of m/m romances and that is, she’s presented as a 2D character- flat, unempathetic, hardly any personality of her own, existing in the story solely to act as a villain. We get this a lot when there’s a female character that the author needs to get out of the way quickly, or when the actions of the hero will be questionable if the female character is likable but the reader won’t care if the female character is written as a harpy or a bitch.In the book, we’re given a character, Jade, who refuses to listen to Austin after his kidnapping, who refuses to go to any counseling, who wants him to simply put his experience behind him and return to being the man he was before. She comes across as uncaring, as lacking empathy, as being unsympathetic. We aren’t given much more than this about her.And when you get to the scene when Austin cheats on her with Cam, you realize WHY. You, as the reader, can’t have any empathy for her, as the jilted wife, because if you do than AUSTIN becomes the bad guy. He’s the one cheating on his spouse, after all. But if his WIFE is the mean, bitchy wife who doesn’t understand him, who is emotionally unavailable, bordering on cruel, then it’s totally understandable why he would find comfort in the arms of the one person who understands.That’s not fair. It’s not a fair portrayal- it’s a caricature of a wife. In a book that takes great pains to show Cam as a real person and not a sketch of a person with Asperger’s, it’s disappointing that Jade would be portrayed in such a way.There are so many ways that Jade could have been presented as a decent person, as someone who cared about her husband but simple could no longer be with him, and yet none of those options were used here. There were many options that would have allowed Austin to discover that he was in love with Cam and no longer in love with Jade (without her looking like a total bitch), that would have allowed him to leave her without looking like an asshole, and none of THOSE were used here.I mean, a mutual realization that they were no longer the same people they were when they got married, that it was no longer a healthy marriage, that she couldn’t handle his anger and that she needed to not be with him, and he agreed- that would have worked for me. Instead, she’s manipulative and sneaky, uncaring and cruel, and it all seems to be so that when HE cheats on HER, you as the reader are cool with it.Well, I STILL wasn’t cool with it. He was still with her, still married, and NOT separated. He hadn’t left her yet, hadn’t even contemplated it yet. Infidelity is NOT kosher with me and that ruined Austin for me as a character, no matter how terrible of a person Jade was portrayed to be. I came up with a long list of ways this could have been rewritten to make this work without him cheating, without her being a terrible person and it just makes me sad that no one brought them up (more to the point, the author chose not to use them).I just wish that Jade had been given the respect, as a character, that Cam and Austin were given, and that was to be a three dimensional person, who had feelings, emotions, wants, dreams, etc. I wanted her to have the chance to be just as real on the page as the guys were, and to not just be a prop or a device that stood in the way of our “heroes” hooking up. Instead, she was simply a cardboard cutout of a person, and it, frankly, sucked.2) Sex issues.As hot as I thought the sex was, I did have a few issues.a) Fingering with no lube? Yeah, no. Just spit? Oh honey, HELL NO. Nothing goes up my ass without lube and according to all my gay buddies doing it up the ass, they’re right there with me. It ain’t lubricated with actual LUBE, don’t even bother. And THREE FINGERS? Honey, you trippin’.LUBRICATION. USE IT. LOVE IT. SPIT IS NOT ENOUGH.I grant you this- it was ONE TIME and from that point on, there was lots of lube, lots of condoms, and once they go barebacking, there is lots of talk about testing, etc.But that one time had me CRINGING.b) For a guy who only had ONE previous threesome experience, Austin is REALLY good at the buttsex. Like, suspiciously so. I know this is a fantasy, but I was a little, “Woah, where is all of THIS coming from?” when they had sex the first time. I would have believed it a little more had Cam done the topping that first time. I get the emotional place that scene was coming from, but WOW, it just felt like someone going to their first gymnastics class, being shown how to do a forward roll and suddenly, they can do a series of backflips right away. REALLY unbelievable.

Prodigal Son - Debra Mullins Full disclosure, I was a beta reader on this book. Would really give this a 4.5. Rafe is my kind of hero. *guh* Cara is the kind of woman that… drives me a little crazy. I’ve never liked how much she lets her step-brother walk all over her and while I understand that without that element, she wouldn’t have met Rafe and we wouldn’t get the character growth that we see in the book, it still just bugs me. The sex in this book is hot. HOT. I’ll-be-in-my-bunk hot. If you like that kind of thing.I like that while the overarching Atlantis plot is not resolved and there is more revealed that pulls the story forward, there isn’t a frustrating cliffhanger at the end f the book that makes you want to throw it against the wall. It’s a satisfying ending while also making you curious about the next story in the series. Just how I like books in a series to be. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found the world that Deb created excited and one that I’d like to spend more time in. Like many other books, I found some of the side characters SUPER intriguing, almost more so than the main characters, and can’t wait to read THEIR books (*hint hint Deb*), esp. Adrian. Hoo boy, does that guy need his own book.All in all, would rec this to anyone who likes a good paranormal romance and is looking for something fun and different from your average vampire/werewolf fare.
SPOILER ALERT!

The Party Boy's Guide to Dating a Geek

The Party Boy's Guide to Dating a Geek - Piper Vaughn, Xara X. Xanakas

This was a pretty cute romance and for the most part I liked all the characters, characterizations, etc.However, I did not like how the plot line with Ty was just dropped. Ty is supposed to be Ash's best friend and he gets all weird all of a sudden, for no reason, and that NEVER gets resolved. As it looks like this is supposed to be a series, my guess is that Ty will be book 2, but you know what? It's not handled well here and I feel cheated. Their relationship was important to Ash in this book and it was made front and center a number of times as part of the Ash and Fee story, so why is it okay to use Ty when necessary then but to just drop him without explanation before the end of the book? Not cool and I feel cheated. My other complaint was about the dark moment of the book. While I felt like it was well done, in terms of how dark it was and where the authors were willing to take Fee and his family I felt like Ash was pretty stupid and selfish, and frankly not worthy of the risk that Fee took on Ash's behalf.Ash never ONCE considers the fact that there could be any other reason as to why Fee doesn't want to take him home. That there could possibly be any other reason beyond Fee beyond ashamed of Ash and who Ash is (or isn't, as the case may be).Ash lives in the real world, and he's been gay a long time, in the American gay community. You're telling me he's never seen someone disowned or beat up for being gay? He's mentioned before how lucky he is that his family is so accepting, which says that he knows that other families AREN'T, so why doesn't he go there?Because the AUTHORS don't let him. Either that, or he's SO self-centered that he's not worthy of Fee's time and effort. And either option is disappointing.When Ash goes to see Fee, his reaction is what I would have hoped for, but it's the "too little too late" reaction of the person who has done the wrong thing and I was super disappointed in him and in the book.If it weren't for that, this would have gotten 4 or more stars.

The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts - Hanne Blank This is a fantastic book for those of us who have ever felt like we can't get out there and move our selves because we're fat, whatever level of fat that means.There is a lot of "rah rah" here but it's not bullshit or trite, it's soild and meaningful and really does have an impact on your self esteem. The advice is real- how to get off the floor, for example. If you lack trunk strength and you realize that you can't get up, that could be embarassing so this could be seriously important info.Some of this info did not apply to me but I still felt like the intention behind it mattered to me.Worth the read for my self worth, honestly.If nothing else, this book is worth it for the resources at the back. There are links for all kinds of stores and companies that sell QUALITY workout clothing for fat girls that want to WORK OUT. Some of these companies I had never heard of and might never have found on my own. I like that they have all been vetted and that I know that the clothing is quality.I have never minded paying for quality, and if I know that a sports bra will reign in the boobs AND last for a long time? Oh, yeah, that's worth QUITE a bit of money.This book was worth purchasing and will get quite a bit of use, at least for the resourse section.I will also be using the workout construction section, at least over the next few weeks as I try to create a new program for myself.If you're fat and you want to move your body, for you and not for anyone else, pick this one up. You won't regret it.
It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways - Dallas Hartwig, Melissa Hartwig Excellent book.Did the Whole 30 once before, following the diet from the website. Lost 13 pounds in one month. My failure was in not reintroducing things one at a time to find out what I was sensitive to.The science here is easy to understand and the references in the back make it easy to dig in deeper if you feel like what they've presented isn't clear enough or rich enough.I bought the e-book and felt that the food and recipe section was difficult to navigate on my e-reader and iPhone, although I am sure that an iPad would be much easier to use.I'm a huge proponent of this way of eating and this way of thinking, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who has struggled to lose weight, who has suffered from any chronic medical condition, or who just wants to look and/or feel better.
SPOILER ALERT!
Here With You (Laurel Heights, #8) - Kate Perry

Closer to a 3.5 than anything else, let's be fair.I picked this one up at the recent RWA conference because it looked cute. I liked the cover and I thought the premise sounded like something that pushed a lot of my storytelling buttons.I was right. It was cute, in all the right ways. It had enough weight to not be annoying- I enjoyed the subplot of the teenager trying to get over her mother's death while finding love of her own- while not being heavy.I have always been a fan of the trope "old friends fall in love" or "old loves come back together" and this was a nice version of that.I did think that even though the author actually brings it up in the book, the fact that when the supermodel tells the tabloids that she's engaged to Grif, the fact that Nicole actually does get mad about it did annoy me a little bit. I felt like she was doing so well to not fall for that trap and then failed to communicate when she really needed to do a good job at it. *sigh*All in all, I felt like it was a fun, fast, light read that I would pass on to anyone who likes a quick romance.

Make Do and Mend - Adam Fitzroy I'd actually give this a 4.5 or a 4.75.This is a beautifully written book and one that I loved more and more as I read. The world building is fantastic and the character work is just wonderful.It felt like I had walked in to a painting, I could see the Welsh countryside so clearly in my head, without the details being too much or the exposition being to "telling".I loved all the side characters and loved how they filled out Harry and Jim's world, so that everything felt real.The danger of the world they were living in was so real and heavy and THERE- both the danger of the Germans bombing them and the danger of being caught as queer felt real and heavy. This was not a story where the weight of homosexuality was hand waved away and I appreciated that.I did like that while the danger of the law and the danger of its repercussions was always there, there were people who were willing to accept their family and friends for who they were, which I truly believe did happen in history, and I feel that Jack and Kitty were set up as characters who were capable of those choices from the beginning so that was not surprising in the slightest to me.Thomas was a bit over the top, although I did appreciate the attempts to make him a real person who was believable. I liked that Joan and her decision to marry a man like Thomas was explained- her need to support and protect her children when she knew that she couldn't count on her brother financially made sense and choosing Thomas, despite the fact that he's kind of a giant tool box but a tool box with money and stability does make sense. The only ding I would give this book is that there isn't a lot of explicit sex in the book, which is fine, but the one time where the author does get as close to graphic as you'll see in this book, it's not between Harry and Jim, but between Harry and another man, trading sex for favors. I was disappointed that their encounter was much more graphic and explicit than anything that we saw between Harry and Jim. I would have much preferred to have just had that encounter been alluded to rather than be so blunt if we weren't going to have as much or more with those that we cared so much for.This is a bit of a slower read, but one that is worth every moment.I would recommend this book to readers of historical romance and those that enjoy m/m stories. The love story is sweet, despite the lack of descriptive sex. Not for those looking for porn, but great for those looking for deeper connections.

The Silver Linings Playbook (movie tie-in edition)

The Silver Linings Playbook (movie tie-in edition) - I loved this book.Read it in less than 24 hours, so for those of you that can rip through a book, this is one of those, just FYI.Read it before I saw the movie (have NOT seen the movie at this point), so I can't compare the two.I usually cannot STAND first person but I don't think this book would have worked without a first person, unreliable narrator. I loved Pat's voice and I felt for him through the whole book, despite knowing that he hasn't always been a good person, despite when he makes mistakes or does bad things. I felt for him and felt like I was with him, and I wanted him to get better (although I NEVER wanted him to get back with Nikki, just to be clear).I loved the ending and felt like it was a perfect fit for the book. An excellent read.
Texas Winter - R.J. Scott Having just read the first book in this series, this was a bit of a letdown, both in its length and in its execution. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Riley and Jack. LOVE THEM. And I love Hayley. She’s close but not quite that annoyingly perfect kid that shows up in fiction. She had her moments, but didn’t quite go too far.While I understand why it was necessary, I thought the FBI story felt a bit rushed and tacked on. Oh, I know that we needed it for the watch, so we could catch Elliot, but *sigh* it felt like an afterthought, like the author was told that she needed a better reason or excuse for a lot of things and she sat back for a bit and then thought, FBI! The family drama with Donna and Neil was wrapped up almost too neatly.There’s a theme here and it’s that everything was almost too neat, and I think the reason for that is that the book was too short. I think the author suffers from the same problem that I do- she doesn’t write short and yet, she was probably asked to write something short by her publisher. She tried to put something short on paper and there was just too much story. I’m guessing that a lot of this was polished and whipped into shape with the help of her editor/beta team/crit group, because it DOES work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s almost too clean.I liked the first book because while everything was eventually wrapped up, it was kind of messy, in that really fun, soapy, Dallas kind of way, and here, we don’t get that.The problematic issue here, honestly, is Hayley and her mom. One of the things that comes up in original and fan fiction is the removal of the mother from the equation. There seems to be a need or desire to have these babies or kid fics, but no desire for the vagina that birthed those kids to actually be alive or exist in those stories.To give Scott credit here, she did try to build Lexie to be as real as possible, considering Lexie is dead for the whole story. But that’s part of the problem- Lexie is dead. I think, for me, a stronger story, would have been Riley and Jack having to navigate a world where Riley has a daughter and Lexie is alive, because that’s complicated and messy and ultimately a bit more dangerous because as a bisexual male, couldn’t he be tempted?That might not be the story that Scott wants to tell, and that’s fine, it’s her book. But when you look at all the stories where there are babies with dead moms, moms who abandon them, who don’t want them, or who are just not there, there is this pattern of women just being written out of the worlds of these kids- unless the woman is the sassy sidekick, the aunt, or the best friend, and then she’s cool because she’s platonic and exists in a non-sexual capacity.On its on, this book is fine. As part of a larger trend, it’s yet another book that misses an opportunity to look at modern families and what they could be when the mom is around, because guess what? Sometimes moms do stay, or live, and I’d like to read that story when someone other than me writes it.

The Heart of Texas (Texas, #1)

The Heart of Texas - R.J. Scott I'm just gonna go for it and give it 5 stars. I liked all the characters. The baddies are the best kind of baddies and the good guys are my favorite kind of good guys.I loved both of the heroes and I liked the way the author brought them together and made them fall in love.Like a soap opera, as many others have mention, there were a lot of side plots and the action did slip over into other POVs but it happened often enough that it wasn't off putting and the writing was good enough that you never minded.I loved all the other characters and cared about them enough that I wanted to know what was going on with all of them. This is exactly the kind of thing that I would want out of a soap opera and out of this kind of book.This is a long book, but it wasn't TOO long- it was meaty enough to carry the kind of storytelling the author wanted to use but not so long that she had to get too carried away with the craziness of the plot.I was glad to find out that this is the first of a series, because I want more! Excellent series, one that I would recommend to anyone that is interested in reading in the m/m genre but doesn't know where to start.
Backwoods Asylum - Megan Derr I wasn't sure what to think when I saw that the main shifter was a snake shifter but I really liked Sky. I found his circumstance- living as a snake only for the first 12 years of his life- to be really interesting, and to be adopted and loved for the rest of his life to be so heartwarming.It was nice to read a book where there was trauma, yes, in the main character's life, but that he had such a strong, positive life with his adoptive parents after that was wonderful to read.I loved that Sky had such a strong, loving connection with the wolves from the beginning and that there was never a question that they should be with him, or that he was a kind soul, and a caretaker.I agree with a number of other reviewers that the connection between Sky and the baby wolves feels like a much stronger on than that of Sky and Brady. Based off of the first phone call that Sky makes to Brady (and yeah, I do recall that it was at 5am), Brady does appear to be that guy that Sky thinks he is- someone who hates Sky.So when he shows up and is all lovey-dovey so quickly, it doesn't feel particularly natural and feels somewhat author intrusive-y, if that's even a word.That's not to say that I don't LIKE them together, because I do, but it feels very... convenient. I think I might not feel that so strongly if we got any of the story from Brady's POV but we only really get his side of things through what he tells Sky. I know that this is a short story and there wasn't really a lot of time to see his side of the story, but I think I would have been more invested in the "falling in love" part of the story if we'd seen both sides of it.I was really happy to see that Sky was reunited with the babies at the end of the story, and that the other wolves really saw the value of having Sky as the parent of those babies, even if he wasn't a wolf shifter. That made me happier than anything else.I was a little disappointed that we didn't get any sexy times and that this was a bit of a "closed door" kind of book, although I did understand, as it was a sweet book, more than a sexy book, but I was still a little disappointed.In the end, however, I did really enjoy it and would love to read more in this universe, especially a few years down the road when Sky and Brady have settled in and they've got their big family all together in one house, living as one. That would be super fun to read. *hint hint*

The Good Boy

The Good Boy - Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock I liked this one, a lot.Normally, the age gap here would have been an issue, but I didn't have a problem with it, and I'm not sure why but the relationship between Lane and Derek just worked for me.I really felt for Lane, from the beginning, and I never doubted that he was innocent. That was the thing that felt kind of off to me, was the authorial push that perhaps there was something there that Lane was guilty of when the POV changed from Lane to Derek.I also felt for Derek. His anger put him in a bad place and he made a bad choice, when faced with Lane on the desk, when he took the picture. The thought process that we watch him walk through before he meets Lane, and then what he goes through after, really make Derek a real person with real feelings, no matter how ugly they are.I didn't like Derek in the beginning, mostly because I found the way he left Lane alone at that house so sad, but the way that his feelings changed the second he saw that Lane had been hurt really let me know that he was an okay guy and that he would be a good Dom for Lane.The slow build of trust between them really worked for me, and the comparative storyline of the dogs, although pretty obvious, was a sweet one.I never thought that I'd like the puppy play stuff but in this case, I found it kind of hot. Or a lot hot. It was interesting how that play allowed Lane to work through some of his issues (but not everything, which I was glad about- there wasn't a perfect ending).I liked how his parent's theft of the money, the bad experience with Acton, and the new relationship with Derek all twist together into Lane's story.All in all, I thought this was a good story with some hot sex. I wish there had been MORE hot sex, but when is that not the case? ;)

Keeping Sweets

Keeping Sweets - Cate Ashwood Eh.Repetitive sex. The author needs to do a bit more research into m/m sex- didn't spend nearly enough time on stretching to make me comfortable, especially when one of the main character is a virgin.I would have liked the book a lot more if there had been a lot of non-penetrative prep for Evan before his big sex scene on film. Bran buys him the plug to help stretch him out so it will be less painful for his first time- this is not a joke, and yet Evan never uses it. This actually could have led to a fantastically hot scene where Bran helps him stretch himself out and get the plug in place. I've read similar scenes before and they can be SUPER hot. But no dice here. Disappointed.There were lots of missed opportunities like that. Instead, we get Evan, who has no experience but can deep throat like a pro and doesn't seem to miss a beat with anything. He just jumps in, has no issues at all, and can take a porn star's dick in the ass right away, on camera, and come from it the first time, no issue.Yes, i get that this is a book, and a fantasy, but it didn't work for me like it must have worked for others. I think you can be more realistic and still be hot. In fact, I find that sometimes being more realistic can be hotter. I wish that the author had gone for real, instead of fairy tale.And we got the same blow job scene like three time. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored.Some of it was hot, some of it was not, was expecting a lot more from a book set on a porno shoot.
A Reason To Believe - Diana Copland I really liked this one.The mystery was pretty great and was balanced well with the paranormal/supernatural elements and the romance in the book.I felt like the romance was handled very well, especially since it was dealing with the loss of a beloved partner and the introduction of someone new (as opposed to an old friend moving into the role of lover).I did find it a bit odd that it was a romance entirely from Matt's POV, although I am used to read fanfic written this way. You just tend to get published romances with both sides of the story. HOWEVER, I do think that there was the element of "is this real" to the book that would have been ruined if we had seen it from Kiernan's perspective. We had to remain in Matt's head if the author wanted to leave any doubt about Kiernan's abilities, etc.I felt like the mystery was wrapped up well and that the danger was true to the circumstances the author put the characters in. I was concerned for their safety but it didn't feel like they were over their heads or in situations that felt too crazy- even when they ended up at the house, it did feel like something that could have happened and was believable.My biggest complaint is not enough sex, but then again, what we got was REALLY hot. They don't hook up until chapter 12 or 13, I think, but once they do, it is SMOKING HOT. Really great sex scene, but that's about it. There's another scene after that pretty good as well but not really a sex scene, per se. The plot line is very tight and doesn't really have room for a lot of messing around without making the boys look like jerks for screwing around while poor dead Abby is waiting to be avenged, so I get it but on the other hand, this is a romance novel so there are certain expectations when buying a book of the nature. This is where I am really torn, here, because there are things that I really wanted that are butting up against things that I know I can't or shouldn't have due to the demands of the story.I'm also a little torn on where the book ended. Yes, it was a good place for the book to stop, in terms of storytelling. Everything was wrapped up and the boys were in a good spot, relationship-wise. They planned to move forward so we got our Happily Ever After (at least for now). But I would have loved to see more, which is always a sign that the characters and the world was a good one.Personally, I think this is a great set up for a series. I can totally see Matt leaving the department to work with Kiernan, to solve crimes across the country. Matt could be Kiernan's liaison with various police departments who are hesitant to work with him. Matt has experience and the ability to say, "look, I was you once and and trust me, it's worth all the shenanigans to just work with the guy." I'd love to see that happen. (hint, hint)In the end, this is one I highly recommend and encourage you to pick up ASAP.
SPOILER ALERT!
Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder - Nicole Castle

I didn’t actually expect to like this book. It has the hallmarks of books that I haven’t liked in the past. It’s in first person. The narrator has the white blond hair of self-inserted, Marty-Stu’s that I have loathed. He’s good looking and knows it, in a way that I generally despise.And yet, I found myself falling for Vincent in a way that apparently EVERYONE does.I was intrigued by both the brutality and the sexualized nature of that brutality. This felt like a book in the same vein as “Dexter”, where our heroes would be the bad guys in any other novel.I loved Frank. I disagree with other reviewers that found him to be uneven or inconsistent. We’re seeing him through the eyes of a first person narrator, so that’s the nature of the beast. We’re only ever going to observe his behavior, and never get the inside scoop on the why’s or how’s of it, because we aren’t ever inside his head. It can’t be inconsistent because we aren’t given a real set of rules that must be followed, based on anything other than what Vincent has observed and his interpretation of that data, which doesn’t make it accurate, just data.I enjoyed the story thoroughly and loved that Vincent ended up with Frank, and Frank ended up with a book store. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I was glad that they had left the assassin life, although knowing that there is a second book in the works, it makes me think that they might get sucked back in. I feel like since Frank’s brother is dead, perhaps he might be able to get back to work for his former employer, although I’m not sure if he’d want to. Since he felt it was safe to return to Paris, I feel like it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility. I liked that we did finally meet Bella, although I wished we had met her earlier. She seemed like a cool, fun character that would have been interesting to see Frank interact with, and would have caused all sorts of trouble for Vincent. I hope that she shows up in the next book. I could have done without Casey and Maggie completely. I hated both of them and felt like they were author favorite characters but the story could have done without them. I know that there was the whole thing with Maggie’s boyfriend being a lawyer and his threat of litigation is how Frank got out of trouble but that whole plot line was total and utter bullshit and made NO SENSE. That’s not how the law works, friends. It just doesn’t. And the timing of where Casey and Maggie were to get there quickly, etc- it was unclear and made no sense, and the whole thing had a kind of deus ex machina feel to it that I didn’t like after getting this far into the book. HATED THESE CHARACTERS OH MY GOD. I would have given this book five stars if it weren’t for these characters. Not kidding. The stupid Titanic painting. JFC.Dear lord, please don’t let them be in the next book. PLEASE. It’ll be just my luck that they’ll be main characters. *sigh*.I highly recommend this book. It is gruesome and dark, but I loved it. I found it fascinating and twisted but something that I found very, very difficult to put down. I didn’t have a problem with much of anything until I got to about the 82% mark, when Casey and Maggie really came into play. Other than those characters, I loved it and would suggest it as a purchase for anyone who has read or watched Dexter or is a fan of Criminal Minds, or enjoys darker stories, fanfics, etc.