Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review: Perfect 10 by Erin McCarthy

Thus far, I've really enjoyed the Cosmo Hot Reads novellas I've read.  They're perfect for something quick and sexy.  I'm in the midst of reading a rather large non-fiction book, so thought I'd take a little break and read this before going to bed last night.

And I didn't like it very much.

The characters seem very, very young.  I know that may be the audience they're aiming for with these books - maybe - but it isn't something that has bothered me in the past.  Maybe it isn't so much that they're young, but so very immature.  I didn't like any of the characters in this book, didn't care about what happened to them, they were not people I'd want to know in real life.  Even when I was that age, I stayed clear of people that immature.  Also, the sex wasn't even all that hot - sometimes that can redeem an otherwise not so great story - but, no.  Too many pop culture reference - "What did the fox say?"  Really?  Kids, maybe you don't need to be having sex yet.  And the whole Williamsburg, hipster setting bothered me - those are the people I try to avoid, so why would I want to read about them?  A lot about this story felt like it was trying too hard to be hip and trendy.  

Also, I'm beginning to realize that I don't like the friends to lovers storylines.  I don't know that I've read all that many, but this one is clearly that.  When I think about the idea of good friends becoming lovers it bothers me, because it seems like such an obvious betrayal of friendship.  Lying to someone you care about doesn't seem like a great way to begin a relationship.  I know that I would be really upset if I found out a guy who I thought was a friend was really wanting to be more than a friend - would feel like he had ulterior motives.  Overall, just really didn't like this story.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Her Best Laid Plans by Cara McKenna

I enjoyed this story so much! I liked the characters - Jamie who just got out of relationship and ready to get her life back on track and Connor the sexy bartender who is also on the verge of trying to become a responsible adult, the setting - Ireland, the storyline - Jamie's in Ireland to take a vacation before returning to Boston for school, she just wants a holiday fling.

She meets Connor her first night in Ireland, at a local pub near the house where she's staying. She jokes that she and Connor are the only two in the area under 30. She only has ten days, and she wants to have some fun. And does she ever.

Because of their limited amount of time, they can't be bothered with the usual courting, "getting to know each other" rules. They enter into this knowing that after ten days, they'll probably never see each other again. This story is so hot and so sexy. I really, really liked it. It's the sort of book I want to tell all my friends to read because it's so enjoyable and fun and, oh, did I mention, sexy?

This is a quick, fun read.  This story is exactly what I expect from the Cosmo Red Hot Reads line - a story about a young woman, doing what she wants, deciding what's best for her and having a great time in the process.

Even though her work has been recommended to me in the past, this is the first story I've read by Cara McKenna, but I will definitely be reading more in the future.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Review: A Night with the Bride by Kate McKinely

Night with the Bride is the third novella in the By Invitation Only trilogy.  I've read all three of the stories, but not sure how they're connected.  Maybe they were all at the same party?  I probably read them too far apart from each other to remember.  However, I mention this only to point out that they stand alone just fine.

This is a very quick story.  Sometimes when I'm between books or in the midst of reading something heavy, I want a quick story to read before bed, and this served that purpose. 

In this story, Gabriella makes a bet with her friends that she can claim a kiss from the Duke of Somerset.  This escalates quickly.  She ends up getting much more than a kiss.  And she realizes the reason people call the Duke mad is because he suffers from what we would consider a form of obsessive compulsive disorder.  He's haunted by dark thoughts of his sister dying and he has counting issues.  Rather than frighten Gabriella, she's finds herself drawn to him, having had an uncle suffer from a similar condition and realizing the Duke needs help not ridicule. 

I enjoyed the story, though I did think they resolved their issues rather quickly.  But this being a short story, they didn't have much time. 

Review: Ballerina by Edward Stewart

I always feel a little guilty writing a bad review of a book, but I didn't like this book very much.  The characters who get the most attention are all bad people, Anna's constant lying and manipulation and the way the director of one of the ballet companies worked to destroy the most talented dancers.  These people are evil.  Anna ruined her life, her husband's life and she'd doing everything she can to destroy her daughter as well.  The director - his name I can't remember right off - was such a gross person, cruel to the dancers, wanting them to fail so he could have his way.

It seemed as if only bad things happened to any of these people.  They get hurt, lied to, beat up.  Nothing good ever happened.  I began to feel depressed reading about all the bad things the characters in this book did or went through.  I kept waiting for the revenge or the comeback, the hope and inspiration that should result from all this ugliness, and it never really happened. 

I never felt any sort of emotional connection to these people.  It was like I was observing what happened from a distance, without every really knowing how anyone felt or what they wanted.

This book was originally published in 1979, and I think the reissue should have included dates or some sort of explanation to explain the time period in which the story is taking place.  Otherwise the story feels very dated.  Someone who bought this ebook, thinking it was new might be very confused. 

I recently read a really great book about ballerinas in New York City - Cranes Dance - and reading this so soon afterwards might have affected my opinion of the book.  While Cranes Dance explored the emotional world of dancing and the intensity and devotion required, Ballerina presented dancing as cold and filled with horrible experiences. 

I'm glad I read the book, because I'm trying to gather as much information on ballet as I can because of one of my own projects, but I can't say I actually enjoyed the experience of reading this book. 

I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.