the angel’s share, by j. r. ward

angel's shareingredients:
Drama, suspense, and a little humor.

servings:
If you read The Bourbon Kings and loved Dynasty, Dallas, and the likes this will be up your alley.

rating:

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preparation:
I read The Bourbon Kings in 2 days. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did, though I don’t know why. I was a huge Dynasty fan and loved Dallas by proxy of my mother. So, considering how The Bourbon Kings ended, I was anxious to read the continuing saga. And a saga it is.

It’s a well-known fact that if I don’t like any characters in a  book, odds are, I’m not going to like the book overall; and that was the case in this one. In the first book, I actually liked several of the characters–in this one, some that I liked in book 1, I grew to dislike in The Angel’s Share.

Lane turns into a serial black-mailer with questionable ethics. He, himself begins to fear he is turning into his father. The volatile relationship between Gin and Richard is disturbing on many levels. She is admittedly allowing him to beat and rape her, repeatedly, because she fears being poor. Edward, the shell of a man that he is, actually begins to show signs of life in this book–but only because of his impending fate–which is unfortunate.

The truly redeeming characters in this book are Lizzie, who is too good to be true. Miss Aurora is the embodiment of every stereotype of a black worker in the south employed by a rich family. Which leaves us with Samuel T., the only character who is truly fun and has embraced his flaws and those of the people around him, and finds the humor in all situations.

There is little to no resolution in this book from the events set in motion from book 1. It appears that book 3 (which there has to be) has the potential to tie up some of the loose ends that are currently hanging. By the end of this book, the cliché’s are in full effect. Predictable continues to be a theme and at this point, book 3 isn’t of interest to me, personally.

difficulty level:
Hard. This was a tough read for me because it was so obvious on so many levels. It’s not poorly written, but honestly, I don’t care about the Renoir’s hanging in the game room and the Aubusson rugs in the parlor. I know others love this series, I’m just not one of them.

the vma’s–what???

Reader Note: This is not my usual post. But as I sit here, poised to go to bed before 8pm because I stayed up late Sunday night watching the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA’s), I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something. So I shall… 

ingredients:
Nonsense and ridiculousness.

servings:
Anyone who wants to waste several hours of their life that they will never get back.

rating:
0 (I won’t waste a bookmark icon.)

preparation:
I LOVE award shows. When the ‘real’ award’s season rolls around I get giddy. The SAG Awards. The Golden Globes (my personal fave). The Grammys. All of course culminating in the Oscars. So while the prestige for the VMAs isn’t nearly as high, historically, they’ve been fun to watch. Until, Sunday…

I invested 2 hours (which wasn’t even the whole show). In retrospect, I have no idea why. Let us begin.

I love Alicia Keys but I’m at a loss as to what her bird’s nest of a hairdo and no make-up look were really trying to convey. It’s an award’s show, make an effort.

Kanye’s 4 minute monologue was so convoluted, I’m not entirely sure if he was ‘medicated’ or not; but clearly, he was just as confused as everyone else about what he was saying–because he made no sense. At all.

Key and Peele are supposed to be funny, so I hear. And I have no idea who the Nicole chick was backstage. What I do want to know is why they were all yelling? You have a mic. I’m watching on tv. I have my own volume button. There’s no need to yell at me. Plus, I have no idea what any of you are talking about so yelling isn’t going to make it any clearer.

Why Rhianna appeared four times, I don’t know. But I’m convinced that the 2nd performance was just her and her extended entourage dancing on stage. At least the majority of her songs I could understand; Future on the other hand, not so much. If you begged me to recite one word of what he sang last night, I wouldn’t be able to help you out.

The one. And only. Saving grace. For the entire painful experience. You guessed it. One word. Beyoncé. She is everything for a reason.

Which brings me to my final observation–Britney. Her performance was hyped as her return to the VMAs. That’s fine. But she performed after Bey. No one should ever perform after Beyoncé. Let’s be clear, if Bey is performing at a show, just let her close it out. It’s not fair to anyone to have to follow her, it’s just not. Beyoncé had fire, smoke, wind (she may have even had snow and rain), a costume change, and about 500 back up dancers. Britney had 2 side-kicks, banana yellow thigh high boots, and a rapper no one knew. Sorry Britney, I apologize on behalf of MTV.

difficulty level:
Impossible. Just Google Beyoncé’s performance and get some rest. I did the time so no one else has to suffer. You’re welcome.

asking for it/begging for it, by lilah pace

asking begging for itingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
This series deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

 

rating:

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preparation:
This was a bit of a dark read. Not as dark as some other books I’ve read, but still, dark. As if the disclaimer didn’t already give that away…

Vivienne is looking to have certain fantasies fulfilled and her boyfriend isn’t exactly on board. So when at party her recent ex lets it fly why he wasn’t the man for Viv, there were several people within earshot who take notice. Enter Jonah.

Jonah comes from a very entitled background and gives new meaning to sexy and brooding. A professor at the college where Viv is taking graduate classes, their worlds collide through a mutual friend, which only makes their newfound ‘arrangement’ all the more awkward.

While the premise of the ‘arrangement’ seems, on the surface, like a theme that’s already been done to death, trust me when I say, “This time it’s different.” The explosive secrets in both Viv and Jonah’s pasts are enough to tear apart their relationship and make each one second guess what they’re doing and for very good reasons.

Asking For It and Begging For It are titles that represent both what you are thinking, but then again, not quite…

difficulty level:
Hard. This was not hard to read because of the writing, but because of the topic. There was abuse and the role-playing that was done is not for the faint of heart. An interesting story with difficult topics handled fairly well.

the player, by kresley cole

The-Player-Smaller1ingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
If you’re a fan of Cole’s Game Maker series, this is the final installment.

rating:

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preparation:
I was sucked into this series with the first book, The Professional. That book was released in 3 parts and I was on pins and needles waiting for each installment. The Master came along and my expectations were very high, but weren’t quite met. And now we have The Player

This book follows a family of con artists. And not being familiar with the con industry, I was considerably lost with all of the jargon that was being used. What’s worse, I didn’t really care what the words meant. The only problem, you needed to know the lingo in order to follow what was happening–especially at the end.

Victoria Valentine is a grifter and Dmitri Sevastyan is a self-made billionaire and computer genius. Victoria’s family is made up of grifters and they owe a lot of money to someone who has given them little time to pay up. When Dmitri appears on the scene, he seems ripe for the picking. Seducing a ‘mark’ like Dmitri is normally left to Karin, Victoria’s sister. However, after all but dismissing Karin at a party, Dmitri becomes obsessed and focused solely on Victoria, good news, right?

The majority of the story is spent with Victoria agonizing over taking Dmitri for a ride and the reader wondering what mysterious secret Dmitri himself is hiding. The problem is, there isn’t enough character development for Victoria or her family for you to really like her or to become attached. And Dmitri, while like-able, is more creepy than anything else due to his immediate obsession with a woman he just met.

By the end of the book there’s a big revelation by both the hero and the heroine. Which has to culminate with a long explanation because jargon aside, it’s just so confusing as to what is going on with the 2 of them. The Professional was such a strong start to this series that of course there were high hopes for the other books. While The Master was tolerable, The Player is just an utter disappointment.

difficulty level:
Medium. Being a fan of Cole’s and the series it was incredibly upsetting that the final installment in the series was such a let down. Coupled with the hero and heroine both being annoying, it made for a challenging read at times.

 

seal’s honor, by elle james

seal's honoringredients:
Drama, humor, and action.

servings:
If you like a predictable military story with a fair amount of s*x, get your hands on this one.

rating:

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preparation:
Tuck is a the leader of a top-notch Navy SEAL team and Delaney, aka Razor, is one of the very few female Army pilots flying at all, let alone extraction missions. They both agree that being involved with each other is something that can’t be discovered by either of their teams/military brethren and neither is interested in a long-term relationship. After all, with the types of missions they’re involved in, no one is promised tomorrow.

But not all of Tuck’s teammates have that same philosophy. Cory, aka Reaper, not only disagrees with Tuck’s don’t get too close way of thinking, but he too sees what is so special about Delaney and isn’t afraid to show it. And Reaper being Tuck’s best friend, doesn’t help the already tenuous situation.

With marriage proposals, crew losses, and injuries this is an action-packed novel; and a brief one too. The story is very predictable and the characters could use a bit more depth, especially Tuck. Because the book is so short, it doesn’t give you a chance to really get to know and like them so you’re not very vested in what happens to them.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author of Seal’s Honor at a book convention and she was so awesome in person that I downloaded the book as we were standing in line for a session. As such, it pains me that I couldn’t write a more stellar review for the book. It’s the first in a series and I can only hope that the others get better as the stories progress. However, I myself will cease and desist with this book.

difficulty level:
Medium. There was an annoyance factor with this book, primarily due to the hero’s behavior, which made it difficult to read at times.