books

Book Report (27-29)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [ ] means it's an ARC; DNF means *did not finish*].

***

Jar of Hearts, by Jennifer Hillier -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like creepy characters, those who like background romance, and those who don't mind violence against women -- Minotaur Books, 6/18

(I didn't love this. It was interesting, but the creepy factor overwhelmed the rest for me, and I just didn't like the main characters enough, either, to get invested in the story. It was okay but not great.)

**-

No Exit, by Taylor Adams -- recommended for those who like impossible situations, those who like antagonists with no conscience, those who like fiery heroines -- William Morrow, 1/19

(This definitely wasn't for me. The mystery wasn't that strong, and the 'bad' guy truly had no conscience at all. Plus, there was a child involved, and that just doesn't work for me. Blech.)

***+

Family Man, by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like Italian families, those who like coming-out stories, and those who like family drama -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/19

(I liked aspects of this a lot, but the on-going drama with Trey's family (his mom is an alcoholic) and the frustration that never really got resolved regarding that drove me crazy and made reading the story tedious to me. But I loved Vinnie and his family, and I liked the relationship between the two...mostly. It was an interesting read, but not one I'm likely to return to.)
books

Book Reports (14-22)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [ ] means it's an ARC; DNF means *did not finish*].

****+

The Valentine's Day Resolution, by Ava Hayden -- highly recommended for those who like sweet male/male romances, those who like dual POV, and those who like a solid resolution -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/17

(I like Hayden's writing, and this was similar to her other works in its overall satisfying feeling and sweet romance. There's always a hint of angst, but the characters are sympathetic, and the epilogue resolved pretty much everything (perhaps more tidily than is realistic, LOL).)

*****

A Merciful Fate, by Kendra Elliot -- highly recommended for those who like the Mercy Kilpatrick series, for those who like mystery/suspense, and for those who like stories with rural/unique settings -- Montlake Romance, 1/19

(I loved this 5th book in the series just as much as the others. I think my favorite parts are Mercy herself (she's the best combination of fiery and vulnerable), Truman (who's so calm and giving and real), their relationship (which is mature and lovely), and the colorful secondary characters (all of whom are pretty unique and complex). Okay, I just like everything about it. :D I can't wait for the next one!)

****

Last Look, by Mariah Stewart -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like cold case files, and those who like romance (non graphic) -- Ballantine Books, 5/07

(I enjoyed the mystery aspects of this, but I thought the characterizations and romance could have been a little stronger. They weren't bad, by any means, but I like a little more emotion and heat between the love interests, and this was pretty mild. Still, the mystery really was pretty engaging.)

****

Dark Waters, by Toni Anderson -- recommended for fans of Toni Anderson, for those who liked the first one (Dangerous Waters), for those who like mystery/suspense, for those who like dual-POV, for those who like Canadian coastal settings, and for those who like steamy (though not too graphic) romance -- Montlake Romance, 8/13

(Although I didn't like this as much as the first, it was still an enjoyable read. This one focused on Brent Carver (Finn's older brother) and his involvement with his ex-cellmate's daughter. I like the Canadian setting, but I tell you what, I'm really glad I live in the US with its justice system (despite all the flaws) compared to what they face in Canada!)

****-

Dark Truth, by Mariah Stewart -- recommended for those who like mystery/suspense, those who like non-graphic romance, and those who like sympathetic characters -- Ballantine Books, 10/05

(I enjoyed the mystery here, although I figured out the killer pretty early on. Still, it was an interesting journey, despite the lack of heat in the romance.)

***

Screwups, by Jamie Fessenden -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like college tales, those who like coming out tales, and those who don't mind somewhat selfish characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/14

(I didn't love this, sadly. The premise sounded intriguing, and the writing itself was fine. But I didn't really enjoy the way Danny made everything about him. I felt like Jake was a much more sympathetic character, and even though Danny clearly had a hard time of things, to me it didn't justify his behavior. *shrug* I think it just wasn't for me.)

*

[Sleepless in San Francisco, by Ryan Field -- recommended for those who like tons of graphic sex (male/male) with very little plot -- Riverdale Avenue Books, 12/18]

(Yeah, I didn't like this at all. The characters were one-dimensional, there was little-to-no world building, the emotional connection was pretty much non-existent...you get the picture. It was basically just a ton of sex -- really, just sex scene, filler, sex scene, filler, etc. Totally not my taste.)

****-

[Perfect Match, by AG Meiers -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like mail-order-bride-type set-ups, and those who are willing to suspend their disbelief -- Riptide Publishing, 1/19]

(I ended up liking the two main characters quite a bit, but the whole set up was so outlandish and unbelievable to me that it kind of ruined the story some. Basically, there is this dating website that promises a 'perfect match,' and they sent a stranger to Canada to pretend to be another man's perfect match...it was just ridiculous. Also, Jayden's reasons for going along with the pretense also seem weak to me. But I like Sven, and I like Sven's family -- and Jayden grew on me.)

*****

[Off the Ice, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn -- highly recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like pro hockey, those who like coming-out tales, and those who like somewhat graphic (and fairly frequent) sex -- Riptide, 10/17]

(I loved this! I loved all the hockey aspects (which weren't overdone, imo), and in fact, I loved Tristan in every way. Sebastian took a little longer to warm up to, but he definitely felt like a good partner to Tristan. There was a part near the end that I didn't love, I will admit, and there was more sex that I personally prefer, but overall, this is a very entertaining read, and I can't wait for the next one in the series (doesn't come out till June, waaah).)
books

Book Report (9-13)...

****+

https://www.robinprehn3r.com/blog-1/robin-reads-the-boy-next-story

****

https://www.robinprehn3r.com/blog-1/robin-reads-that-s-not-what-happened

***

https://www.robinprehn3r.com/blog-1/robin-reads-the-almost-truth

***-

https://www.robinprehn3r.com/blog-1/robin-reads-the-hanging-girl

**

(I didn't review this one on my site because I really didn't like it much. There wasn't a single character in the book that I found sympathetic or even realistic. They were all whiny, selfish, and thoughtless -- ick. Micah (who's gay) was the closest to someone worth reading about, and by the end, I thought there might be hope for him...but it wasn't enough to save the book for me.)
books

Book Reports (1-4)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [ ] means it's an ARC; DNF means *did not finish*].

*****
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman -- highly recommended for those who like contemporary drama, those who like sports tales (hockey), and those who like realistic and compelling characters -- Atria Books, 4/17

(So I read this because E's class is reading it (Honors English 9), and I wanted to make sure it wasn't too graphic. It's not, and man, it's a really engaging book. I read feverishly, and I was so caught up in the story (not a spoiler: the town lives and breathes hockey, but the high school team captain is accused of raping a girl...and the whole town gets involved in he-said-she-said). There's a sequel, and I don't know if I'll read that one or not, just because I was satisfied with leaving them all where I did -- but yeah, it was really good. A great start to reading this year!)

****+
Whisper of Warning, by Laura Griffin -- highly recommended for those who like Griffin's books, those who like romantic suspense, and those who like cop tales and spunky heroines -- Pocket Star, 3/09

(This is the second in the Glass sisters books, and I enjoyed it almost as much as the first, though I didn't think I would. But even though I didn't like Courtney quite as much as Fiona, I liked Will even better -- and I loved getting a sneak preview of Alex and Nathan here, as well (I wondered where they had first met when I read their story, and now I know). All in all, it was a very entertaining read, and I'm bummed because I've now read all Griffin's books and will have to wait for a new one. *sigh*)

****+
Dangerous Waters, by Toni Anderson -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like Canadian settings, and those who like family drama -- Montlake Romance, 11/12

(Yay, I remember the title! :D I definitely liked the setting and the characters. The romance (a female Canadian officer who falls for a suspect) is intriguing, and the many secondary characters (who don't seem secondary) make this feel very well-rounded. It wasn't outstanding writing, necessarily, but it definitely kept me engaged throughout, and I will be looking for more books by Anderson.)

****+
The Strength of His Heart, by Victoria Sue -- highly recommended for those who like the Enhanced series, those who like male/male romance, and those who like FBI (paranormal) tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/18

(This is the 4th in the series, and I liked it as much as the others. Sue does a great job showing us both viewpoints of the couple, and even though I didn't think Sam deserved Vance (who is really just a huge sweetie), he did make up for a lot of it at the end. Plus, the team is still fun to read about, and I enjoy the new peeks into this world.)