Contemporary Romance

Review: Ruined by Shiloh Walker

05:37

Title: Ruined (Barnes Brothers #4)
Author: Shiloh Walker
Date of publication: 19 July 2016
Genre: Romance

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
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My rating: 2.5 stars



Blurb

As one of the Barnes brothers, Sebastien has always felt blessed. Not only does he have an amazing family, but he’s become a Hollywood golden boy who has everything he’s ever wanted—with one exception. He’s had a thing for Marin since he was a kid, but when he finally summons the courage to ask her out, she turns him down. Marin is ready to settle down, she wants commitment and stability, and Sebastien is still too much of a playboy, caught up in the wild life of the spotlight.

Still reeling from the rejection, Sebastien’s luck runs out later that night when he saves a girl from an assault. The shining knight role fits him just fine, but his armor—and his perfect life—become tarnished when the near-deadly attack lands him in the hospital. Physically scarred, he gives up acting and retreats from everybody.

If anyone can pull Sebastien back from the abyss, it’s Marin. But first she has to convince him that beauty is not only skin deep...

Review


I've been enjoying this series a lot and was excited to meet the next Barnes brother - Sebastian, the movie star. The story started very promising. He was rejected by the woman he'd been in love with since he was a child. The conflict seemed strong and yet possible the overcome, she was older and wanted stability and loyal partner, while he had the reputation of wild boy, too busy partying and enjoying the good life to settle down. And then tragedy struck and it changed things for everyone. 

So far so good - I liked both and Marin, felt close to them and could relate to their struggles, fears and hope. I found the way Seb's (failed) recovery was presented very touching and real. The way his family were all there for him, yet he couldn't bring himself to rely on them and take their help, it was a powerful moment in the story which made me feel very emotional. On the other hand we had Marin who stood invariably by him and the author really made me see how they could help and be good for each other. It seemed rather dramatic, yet real and heart-breaking. 

Warning: There are some plot spoilers in the review. I couldn't avoid them. If you don't want to see them, feel free to skip next paragraph.

Just when I though this story was going great and it could be the best in the series so far for me, it took a sudden turn that left me annoyed and displeased. A drunk sex scene made me feel uncomfortable and left me with doubts about dubcon. The resulting pregnancy and secret baby plot are my least favourite plot devices and felt forced and ill-fitting to the story. It all felt unrealistic and improbable, with a forced HEA that was far too sweet for my taste. 

A story which started great and held so much promised ended up a rather disappointing read. I still want to read the final book (Travis' story) and hopefully it will bring back my good feelings about this series.

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N


F/F romance

Review: The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper

05:16

Title: The Butch and the Beautiful (Queers of La Vista #2)
Author: Kris Ripper
Publication Date: 22 Aug 2016
Genres: Queer Romance, f/f

Author's links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook / FB Group • Goodreads
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My rating: 3.5 Stars



Blurb 

Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcĂ©e she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.

But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.

Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.

Review 


This is the second book in the Queers of La Vista series and it's a f/f romance. I haven't read many of f/f stories so far and was curious to see how this one will work for me. I quite enjoyed it and think it's a worthy second instalment in the series though i have to admit I liked book 1 more.

This is a rich, multi-layered story covering different aspect of the lives of queer people and this diversity and complexity is the thing about the book which I liked the most. it did build on the community we started to see in thew first book and both the leading couple and the supporting characters felt like real people - they have their work and social circle, their families and friends/enemies. 

besides the sort of whirlwind romance between Jaq and Hannah, this story gave the readers insight in school/community life of the the queers in La Vista - issues queer kids face in school, issues of the queer community itself (being outed, being limited to interacting openly with the same small circle of people (who accept you and where you feel safe being yourself).

The story is told from Jaq's point of view and we get to see different sides of her personality and I loved them all. She is a great teacher who cares about her students. She has a very healthy and heart-warming relationship with her father. She has trusted and loyal friends (Zane is just as great as she was in the first book). I found her being lesbian and religious at the same time an interesting element in the story and I think the author presented this compacted relationship really well.

We see much less of Hannah and her inner musing remind a mystery for the reader. this is probably why I felt less connected with her. She is flighty and flamboyant, spontaneous and so very feminine to Jaq's butch nature. 

Both she and Jaq were grown women dealing with a lot of personal stuff and trying to navigate a relationship. There was no artificial drama, just a series of small challenges they had to overcome.

Kris Ripper gives us the already familiar smooth, leisurely writing style which I find very fitting to the stories in the series. If you are looking for real life stories queer stories of love, told engagingly, I strongly recommend that you give this series a try.

Purchase links: Amazon / Riptide 


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