books

Book Reports (31 - 36)...

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*].

***+

One True Thing, by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea -- recommended for those who like m/m romance, those who like men who communicate, and those who like family drama -- Dreamspinner Press, 10/12

(So, it turns out I've read the first one in this series too, and I liked that one more than this one. This one is fine, especially the first 3/4 (which I based my rating on). I like both Dusty and Asher, but Asher's relationship with his twin brother didn't work for me. The drama between them and because of Archer jumped the shark with believe-ability, and it ruined the whole story. *sigh*)

****-

Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts, by Charlie Cochet -- recommended for those who like sweet m/m romance, those who like short tales, and those who like insta-love -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/15

(This was cute. I liked both characters, though Quinn was pretty self-absorbed (or just unaware?). It's definitely a *short* story, so be prepared for quick everything (including falling for one another). I thought the drama was a little forced, and both Spencer and Quinn were total idiots for allowing the culminating problem to peak, *but* I guess there had to be something, right? I still liked it. :) )

**

Dawn and Dusk, by Dirk Greyson -- recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like weak m/m romance, and those who like family tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 5/15

(So I marked this one a little inaccurately -- I read the whole thing, though I skimmed through much of it. It just isn't for me. The characterizations were so weak that even though you get both guys' perspectives, it didn't make much different. The romance was...barely a romance. And the mystery wasn't a mystery -- I guess it was more of watching the two guys work through finding the bad guy? I don't know...it just didn't work for me.)

****

Newton's Laws of Attraction, by MJ O'Shea -- recommended for those who like m/m romance, those who like boyhood friends-to-lovers, and those who like teacher tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 1/13

(I read this really quickly. I loved the pacing and Ben's perspective, and I loved Ben's friends. All that kept me hooked, but I will admit a huge downside (and the reason I didn't give it five stars) is Rory. Rory is a neat character, but man, he used Ben for a looooong time, and Ben just let him. I get that Ben felt guilty for what happened when they were teens, but for me, that didn't justify Rory's actions as an adult. I actually teared up reading Ben's distress, and Rory's eventual forgiveness just wasn't enough *for me*. Others might not have any issue with it. :) )

***-

Hook, Line, & Sinker, by Piper Vaughn -- recommended for those who like m/m romance, those who like childhood friends meeting again, and those who like long-distance romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/14

(I checked this out because it's by Piper Vaughn -- who wrote my new favorite hockey book -- but this wasn't as great. *sigh* I liked the set-up (with Cas and Blake), and I could kind of see their romance (I wouldn't say the chemistry was obvious, but it worked). But when Cas had to work from a different city and their new relationship was tested, I just didn't love how Cas reacted (well, how he reacted to Ben's reaction, LOL). Here's the thing: spoilerCollapse ) So that kind of ruined this book for me too, LOL.)

****

Dogwood Days, by Poppy Dennison -- recommended for those who like southern romance (m/m), those who like settings that are almost like characters, and those who like loyal families -- Dreamspinner Press, 10/15

(This is just a sweet book. I happen to love small-town settings, and even though the romance kind of took a backseat to everything else, it worked for me. Jefferson Lee is a fun character to live with, and his narration kept me entertained throughout. I also liked his uncle, his bff Clover, and his love interest. All in all, it's fluffy but fun.)

So can you tell I discovered a new ebook checkout at my library? :D It's be awesome, and although I've read some not-so-great books, I'm also enjoying the freedom to read without having to buy first.
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.)