Just to be clear. Rocket Science is fluff. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially when said fluff is entirely honest and out about its own fluffiness.
So, this was a 100% cute and feel-good story. I chose it as a comfort-read. I wanted sweet and simple, nerd+tattooed hunk, hot shenanigans and safe predictability. And Rocket Science hit the spot. Cute and sexy with a HEA.
Synopsis: The super smart and super awkward Elijah moves across the country to start a PhD program. Incidentally, that places him in the same city as his best friend’s brother – Pax – who’s been Elijah’s secret crush for years. When Pax is tasked by his brother to keep an eye on Elijah, Pax discovers that the awkward little kid he remembers is all grown up.
I liked this read. I liked the characters, even if they weren’t all that well developed. The story line was predictable AF which was exactly what I wanted.
But – and I never thought I’d say this – the book would have benefited from a little less sex and a little more story.
Now, I wasn’t expecting anything profound, I didn’t want substance. But the supporting characters were pretty great and I would have loved to read more about them and their interactions with Elijah and Pax. Instead, there was this total focus on the Pax-Elijah sex-bubble. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read about D just as much as the next girl. But it’s usually a win if the nooky is a natural part of the story line, instead of having a hump-fest sparingly sprinkled with story.
So because of that, it was a bit of an uneven read. I really enjoyed the beginning where Elijah and Pax circled around each other. All of the I-want-him-but-he’s-my-brother’s-best-friend angst from Pax and the He’s-so-hot-but-he’s-just-hanging-with-me-out-of-sympathy anxiety from Elijah. It was sweet. But then the sexing began, and granted, it was fun at first. But I got bored pretty fast because it just went on and on.
Finally though, the story started up once more, and I crushed on the book all over again. And, even with its ups and downs, my overall impression of this book is still that of a super sweet pick-me-up.
There’s no doubt that Neuhold is a great writer and talented storyteller. A nerd meeting a (in essence) jock is a somewhat silly and clichéd trope, but she still managed to entertain and engage. So if you’re looking for shallow, feel-good entertainment I definitely recommend Rocket Science. Despite the high shag percentage.
11. August 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: Delicious smut, Entertaining, Great, M/M, Romance | Tags: #kmneuhold, #kmneuholdauthor, #lovelogicone, #reflectionsofaswede, #rocketscience | Leave a comment
This was not the sequel to Inside Affair that I expected. Breaking News‘ disparity to its prequel was in fact rather striking.
Synopsis: This is writing describing Sean and Xander from Inside Affair. That’s it really.
It all started out alright with the aftermath of the dramatic events that concluded Inside Affair (which was a horrible cliff-hanger, just FYI). It was just enough of angst and worry, combined with the fact that Xander and Sean, who just started getting serious, still weren’t out as a couple to their family and friends.
The way Xander cared for Sean was cute and I thought it was a nice segue into them getting closer in a less strained way than during their forced proximity in the first installment. But apart from that, nothing much was happening. There was no story line.
Ella Frank is without a doubt a skilled writer, but storytelling-wise, her books are starting to resemble serials rather than series. And that’s such a shame. I get that a series with short installments will earn her a bigger check in the end, but it’s bloody insulting to her readers who are counting on full-length novels with actual plots and events forming a cohesive story.
The writing plodded along. I don’t think it’s correct calling it a story at this point. And Xander was having anxiety attacks because of the events in the first installment. The solution to that was apparently for Sean – who had recuperated enough now – to whisk him away for a sex-cation (or whatever you call a vacation with the one and only purpose of doing as much dicking-out as possible).
At this point I was bored out of my mind, still waiting for some kind of plot development. There was none.
Finally, in the last chapter, there was a bit of a commotion that I guess was meant to pique your interest for the sequel. But it involved a character who’s introduction had been rather superficial and generic, and I wasn’t particularly interested in what would come next. In other words, Breaking News ended in an unremarkable *meh*.
So no, I’m not impressed by this read. I won’t read the third and final installment and I probably won’t read anything more written by Frank either.
This is a bi-awakening read that will melt your heart and and warm your insides. In a good way.
Up until previously I actually avoided books by Riley Hart. And now, I’m kicking myself over that fact. I mean, Hart’s books are always highly rated on vendor-sites and are recommended on all the book forums. But somehow, I had gotten it into my head that her stories were always sickly sweet, low-angst and without any drama. Which I equated to boring. I still don’t know if my preconceived idea of Hart’s books always being sweet, low-angst stories is true or not since Hard Knox was both of those things. But it was also anything but boring.
And I loved it. So, so, sooo much!
The entire read, I just had this happy, warm feeling in my chest. I don’t know how Hart managed it, but from page one it was like stepping into a feel-good universe inhabited by the most endearing characters. It was insta-love on my end.
Synopsis: After finding out his boyfriend is a serial-cheater, Callum moves away to the little town of Havenwood. There, on his first night in town, he meets a gorgeous guy – Knox – who’s like a lumberjack wet dream. Knox is also straight and a divorced father of two. But there’s an undeniable bond between them and they soon become friends. Callum is attracted to Knox, but treasures their growing friendship. However, Knox’s feelings evolves into something more. But does he dare act on his feelings? And how will his kids react to their father coming out as bisexual?
Both Callum and Knox charmed me from the start. Callum is outgoing and spunky but hides his insecurities and hurt. Knox has a heart of gold and would do anything for his kids. He’s also a man of few words who tries to get better at expressing his feelings. Callum and Knox is that unlikely pairing that is just perfect together. These two opposites found each other immediately, though in a platonic way at first. And I think that what made this read so utterly endearing was how naturally and comfortably they fitted together. They became friends first, and then that friendship evolved organically into more. It was lovely. Just beautiful writing.
I devoured this story. Despite the sweetness and lack of high-level trouble. Hard Knox captivated me. And I was so emotionally invested in Callum and Knox it’s not even funny. Just the very low-key drama of Knox’s daughter not accepting Callum in Knox’s life had me almost in tears.
So I can only say that I’m in awe of Hart’s writing and storytelling talent. This is the sweetest, most organic and convincing lovestory I’ve read in a long time. I can’t recommend it enough.
This is the second book in a row that I didn’t finish. So it’s safe to say that Dire Warning was a disappointment.
I was intrigued by the blurb, as the M/M, wolf-shifter fan that I am. But the writing was so poor I couldn’t make myself continue.
So, why review a bad read? Well, to warn off others of course. This book has a 4.2 star rating on Amazon, 4.5 stars on Bookbub and 3.9 on Goodreads. And that’s just not right.
The storyline as such was alright, the cover pic was fun and hot. But the writing was a total mess. And when I – someone with English as a second language and who has never lived in an English speaking country – am unable to concentrate on the story because of sucky language, then it’s truly bad.
First off, there are many super strange switch-up of words. Like two and too being mixed up. Or instead of someone staring, they’re starring.
Another thing that’s super annoying is the constant jumping between different point of views. The POV changes constantly, sometimes within the same paragraph. It’s practically impossible to know who’s POV it is at any given time.
Then there’s the awkward dialogue. Everyone is talking in the exact same way as the rest of the book is written. Meaning, they talk in very long and complete sentences all the time. Often with a bit of backstory thrown in. And it’s just… Nobody talks that way! It’s super silly.
Also, for some reason there’s some type of paragraph system that is entirely illogical. Every few sentences, there’s a new paragraph. Even in the middle of a sentence there could be a new paragraph. It’s ridiculous.
It’s obvious this book is in need of some serious editing. But even then I’m afraid that still wouldn’t be enough to save Dire Warning. Anyway, I give this book two stars. Because it could always be worse.
I decided to give this book a try after it was highly recommended in one of my reader-groups. Usually, I stay clear of books featuring authors as a main character. In my experience, writers writing about a writer is more often than not an indication of one of three things; either the writer in question lacks in imagination, is a really poor writer or has an inflated ego. Sometimes, even all three applies.
As I started in on Black Balled, I thought the writing itself was pretty good. No worries on that account. However, one of the main characters, the reviewer called Babu, was such a despicable douchebag I couldn’t believe he was actually one of the love interests. I mean, it’s a classic technique to slowly reveal more information as a story progresses that explains previous actions, thus changing ones view of a character. And I like reads like that. Where the author is able to gradually change the readers perception of events or characters. But. I actually put Black Balled down after a bit because it left me feeling so uncomfortable. I didn’t know if I even wanted to continue the story.
That’s when I went and read the reviews on Goodreads.
Now, I didn’t just read one review and took that at face value, but I dug around a bit and concluded that I did believe what was being said. A summary of the turn of events can be read here.
But to sum things up, this is what happened: A book by Andrea Smith is reviewed by a reviewer calling himself Baba. Smith doesn’t like the review. A while later, Smith sends another book to Baba, but under a different pen name. Baba doesn’t like that either and says so. Smith goes ballistic. In the end, she writes Black Balled about an asshole reviewer named Babu who sets out to ruin an innocent – and talented – author’s career.
It sounds like the plot from a movie, right? But since it’s not, I just couldn’t make myself to finish Black Balled. I can’t imagine the workings of Smith’s mind, but it’s safe to say that my opinion of her isn’t favourable and I will definitely not read any more of her work.
Now, I absolutely understand that it can suck big time to put your heart and soul into a book and then, when you put it out there for the world to see, it gets criticized. It must be tough as hell. But first, you can’t expect everyone to like your work. Second, if you have such a fragile ego that you can’t handle (i.e. ignore) criticism, you have no business being a publishing author in the first place. And third, if you start stalking someone for criticizing your work, you should probably be commited. It’s so petty and childish it’s hard to find words.
But one thing I can’t fathom, though, is how Smith managed to convince Eva LeNoir to co-write this story. I hope that she was just unaware of the backstory. It would be sad to think there’s actually two such petty authors out there.
This is a cute and whimsical read. It’s lighthearted entertainment with a fresh angle on the shifter genre. And I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Blurb: There’s a nerdy paleontologist, Simon, who’s working on a fossil a certain cartel collector is set on stealing. When cartel goons are about to grab both Simon and the fossil, a guy with a bat and a pink mohawk shows up and saves both. While kicking some cartel ass. What started as a regular work day for Simon ends up with him setting out on a road trip across the country with a total stranger, albeit a good looking one. Dalton – Simon’s savior – is weird, charming and hot. And he can turn into a dinosaur.
This is a fun story and definitely my first dinosaur shifter read. It’s well-written, but the storyline would need some more work. Sure, the story isn’t meant to be plausible but, dinosaur shifters aside, it would have been nice if the rest of the plot had been slightly more believable.
As for the characters, both Simon and Dalton were endearing in their own way. Also, they couldn’t have been more dissimilar. Opposites may attract according to some, but I wasn’t actually convinced of their attraction to each other. I couldn’t feel the spark. And with Simon’s somewhat square personality, it grated how easily Dalton convinced Simon that a road trip to Dallas was the solution to his cartel-problem.
Smash & Grab is a short read. Really short. So despite the cuteness, despite the delightful whimsy, there’s no room for either character or plot development. The storyline’s straight as an arrow with no surprises. So as cute and fun that it is, Smash & Grab isn’t particularly memorable.
It’s perfect if you want a couple of hours of distraction and some laughs though.
28. July 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: Entertaining, M/M, Shifter | Tags: #mazmaddox, #mazmaddoxauthor, #reflectionsofaswede, #relicbookone, #smashandgrab | Comments Off on Smash & Grab (Relic #1) by Maz Maddox
Intoxicating pretty much vacillates between two settings, holy-cow-that’s-a-lot-of-sex and heartbreaking trauma. So it’s basically one hell of a ride.
There’s two ways of reading this book. You can go the superficial route and focus on all the nakey while reveling in the dramatics that is Wyatt’s crappy situation. Or you can choose to appreciate it as the portrayal of a traumatized and abused individual that copes with his pain in an unusual way. I did the latter.
Blurb: So, there’s Wyatt, young and closeted, who’s been abused and neglected by his parents pretty much his entire life. The more or less diabolical father happens to be a conservative senator who is trying to be re-elected. Then there’s Lincoln – Linc – who’s hired to keep Wyatt out of trouble. Linc, an ex Marine, expects a brat, but he soon discovers there’s so much more to Wyatt than that. Linc sees Wyatt’s coping strategies – alcohol, pills and self-harm – for what they are and wants nothing more than to help his beautiful client. It’s clear that Wyatt needs discipline, and Linc is the perfect person to give it.
So, this is a Daddy-kink story. And I quite literally cringe every time I read the word daddy in a sexual context. And yet I liked this book. A lot. I tried to ignore the D-word whenever it occured, and in doing so I could fully appreciate Wyatt’s and Linc’s dynamics. Because all other aspects of their relationship just gave me the warm fuzzies. The way Linc cares for Wyatt in every way, trying to protect him. Both from himself and from his father. It’s beyond loving.
I also liked how, despite all of the shenanigans in this read, it wasn’t just gratuitous sex. It was a way for Wyatt to cope. For Linc to get Wyatt out of his own head, to give him some sense of peace in a life that’s threatening to spiral out of control. I thought that was a an interesting justification for the amount of dicking going on.
There was a lot to work through in this story. All of Wyatt’s past and on-going trauma was exhausting to process, but I think James handled it pretty good. The main focus wasn’t on the past, instead it was on how it all effected Wyatt in the here and now. And how Linc was there trying to help him through it. I really liked that the story didn’t offer excessive details about the abuse Wyatt suffered. It was horrible enough, the glimpses that were shown.
Something that I thought was completely unnecessary was Linc’s PTSD. It was just too much for this short read. It already contained soooo many different angles, adding PTSD on top of that just felt excessive. Especially since it was hardly addressed at all in the story, and apart from Linc’s very first nightmare, it didn’t add anything to the storyline.
To summarize, this is a great story though emotionally exhausting, so it’s well worth reading if you can handle a vicious father, all kinds of abuse (including sexual) and self-harm bordering on attempted suicide. There’s so many triggers in this read it’s crazy.
What I can’t decide on though is the realism of a story like this, I’m not an American. But I have such a hard time envisioning such intense bigotry and hate being an actual thing this day in age. However, I do know there is conversion therapy still in use. How that can possibly be legal is beyond me, but then I look at the current POTUS and if that can happen, maybe the story in this book isn’t so far-fetched after all.
26. July 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: Delicious smut, Great, M/M, Romance | Tags: #eliteprotectionservices, #intoxicating, #onleyjames, #onleyjamesauthor, #reflectionsofaswede | Comments Off on Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James
This here’s an M/M, Sci-Fi romance. Or maybe it would be more correct calling it an M/living-snake-tattoo/marsupial romance? Because technically it’s a threesome (even though two of the involved beings are in fact merged together) involving three different species of unclear biological gender.
So I’ll be honest. I didn’t like this read as a romance even a little bit. But as a Sci-Fi adventure, I adored it!
Blurb: The main character is a guy named Zeus. Found on an abandoned space-ship as an infant, he was adopted by the Mar’Sani royal family. Despite him being human and the Mar’Sani being big, scaly, lizard-people. Raised like a prince but never truly accepted by the Mar’Sani people, Zeus works as a master mechanic on a space station when he crosses paths with Dargon (which I constantly read as Dragon in my head). Dargon (and his symbiote, Alpha) desperately need to repair their ship but they’re also running from Psionics that are hunting them. The solution? A minor kidnapping of Zeus. Also, it appears that Zeus and Dargon (plus Alpha) are destined mates who are instantly insanely attracted to each other.
As a space adventure, this was utterly entertaining. The world-building was really awesome with the amount of detail Sci-Fi lovers usually only dream about. Sure, it was a bit overwhelming, the sheer number of sentient beings being introduced, but that can often be the case with the first book in a series. And I loved it in any case. The story sucked me in immediately. It was emotional but also with fast-pacing action. Zeus was totally endearing and I adored him immediately. There was a dual POV with both Dargon and Zeus getting their own chapters, but I didn’t really feel any connection to Dargon. Instead it was Zeus all the way. There was never a boring moment in this book, several plots were introduced. There’s the mystery of Zeus’ origins. The kidnapping (obviously) and the chemistry between Zeus and Dargon. There’s Zeus’ Mar’Sani brothers chasing after Dargon to get their brother back. There’s also the Psionics hunting Dargon, or more correctly, hunting Dargon’s cargo. There’s also a bigger plot involving an insect-like species threatening to break through the defences of the Valespian Pact. It’s spectacular entertainment. That humans were bad guys in this scenario was also bloody brilliant.
But as a romance, it kind of sucked. And that was mainly because of two things. First, making this into a threesome just didn’t work. The third party – Dargon’s so called symbiote – was basically a snake-thingy-tattoo that is attached to Dargon. No matter what that thing does, it’s not sexy and it’s impossible to view it as an equal third party in the relationship. It’s just freaky as all get out. And Zeus declaring his feelings for that thing is really not credible at all. Second, Dargon is some kind of shape-shifting creature looking a bit like an orangutang in his original form. And he has a stomach pouch for nurturing young. So really. I just… Let’s just say that the sexy-chapters were creepy as fuck.
Basically, I’m a bit conflicted. I want to read the next book in the series because I want to know what happens next, but… I don’t know if I can take more of the freaky threesome. Naw, who am I kidding. Of course I’ll read the next one. I’ll just have to fight my nausea when it’s sexytime.
22. July 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: Entertaining, M/M, Sci-Fi | Tags: #alphatrine, #lexiander, #lexianderauthor, #reflectionsofaswede, #thevalespianpact | Comments Off on Alpha Trine (The Valespian Pact Book 1) by Lexi Ander
Coming July 31st
This is a dystopian romance where an alien guy and a human woman get it on against all odds. It’s an alright story with an interesting premise, but unfortunately there were many small mistakes and plotholes that ruined my overall enjoyment.
Blurb: An alien race has invaded earth, supposedly to help humans against another alien threat. But in the process they’ve enslaved the entire human race, using them as their inferior workforce. Annabeth is a young woman working in an alien mine when a new alien soldier arrives to supervise the miners. And, of course, Annabeth and the alien Soldier, Marken, are instantly drawn to each other. But humans and aliens aren’t allowed to socialize, never mind fall in love. Then, things escalate when Annabeth is attacked and Marken turns out to be something more than just a regular soldier.
The book is told through a dual POV. Annabeth’s and Marken’s chapters interweave to cover mostly everything that happens from both perspectives. It’s an interesting world-building going on. It would have been nice to get to know more details about the aliens and their society. As it is, you mostly only learn about their physical superiority and a handful of technologies that aren’t expanded upon. With more detail, the world-building would have been awesome.
I really liked the premise of the book. Alien invasion and enslaved humanity? Sign me up! And I did think that the read started out okay. But pretty much immediately, there were small oversights and inconsistencies that ruined the story. For example, in the very first chapter Annabeth works alongside an old friend of hers. Then the next day, it says she hasn’t seen him in over two weeks. Also, in the beginning of the book, it says that the aliens arrived ten years prior, when Annabeth was eight. But later in the story, it says that she’s twenty. In Marken’s first chapter, it’s made clear that his superior knows who he is, even if it’s not revealed to the reader. But after that, his superior acts like he doesn’t know, doing all sorts of stupid stuff until there’s a final showdown where he apparently remembers again. I’d say the latter error is the biggest one since it ruins the entire plot.
In addition to these kinds of mistakes, the portrayal of Annabeth’s and Marken’s budding feelings for each other was unfortunately not very convincing. Because they barely spoke. There were lots of stuff going on in their heads, but they hardly said three words to each other before they jumped each other’s bones. The lack of communication between Annabeth and Marken really lowered my opinion of the story. The book is written in a straight line and there are no time-lapses at all. So it’s easy to tell if a character should know a specific fact or if they talked about a certain thing. And there were quite a few instances when different characters acted like they had knowledge they actually didn’t have.
For example, when Annabeth is caught outside of their hotel room and is accused by alien staff of trying to run away from her master, without Marken or Annabeth speaking a word about it, they go on and shag for the first time instead. It could have so easily been solved by injecting a single line where Annabeth goes “hey you big hunky alien, I wasn’t running away, I was only trying to find something to eat”. Then they could bang away all they wanted. But no. That wasn’t the case.
I’d say the lack of dialogue is the second biggest miss of Beneath The Surface. Apart from it obviously leading to actual errors in the storyline, it also doesn’t make the infatuation between Annabeth and Marken particularly believable. And since their supposed love is the main event of this read, that’s pretty unfortunate.
The copy of Beneath The Surface that I read was an ARC, so I’m aware there could be minor errors like misspellings and the occasional odd sentence structure. And I’m aware that those (hopefully) will be fixed in the final release of the book. For ARCs, I always disregard such errors since – obviously – it’s not the final copy even if it is very close to release. I did this for Beneath The Surface as well. But the other mistakes, of which I mentioned just a few, were such that pulled me out of the story and ruined the credibility of the entire read. Therefore I don’t think I’m too harsh in pointing them out.
In conclusion, it’s obvious the story needs some more work. And I really hope the author decides to do that because, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a great premise and even the plot – once the plotholes are fixed – is great.
20. July 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: F/M, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi | Tags: #alainnamacpherson, #alainnamacphersonauthor, #beneaththesurface, #reflectionsofaswede | Comments Off on Beneath The Surface by Alainna MacPherson
Coming August 1st
I’ve been waiting (very impatiently I might add) for The Enforcer Enigma ever since I discovered this series earlier this year. Because it has all the best things rolled into one delicious package. There’s sparkle, fabulously quirky characters, snark for days and werewolves doing naughty, indecent things.
So, yes. It’s awesome.
And The Enforcer Enigma didn’t disappoint. It has all those things I loved about the first two installments and more. There are outrageous and fabulous characters of all genders (okay, mostly male. This is an M/M romance after all). There’s banter and snark. And there’s a lovestory unfolding in parallel with a plot including stolen goods and a sparkly, country-singing she-wolf.
Blurb: This is a lovestory between the big and hot enforcer, Judd, and the bright but timid Colin. Both of them belong to the San Andreas’ Pack and both are making googly eyes at the other. But Colin, still struggling to overcome the neglect and bigotry of his childhood, doesn’t believe he’s worthy of someome such as Judd. And Judd, in turn, thinks he’s way too old and too rough for the delicate Colin. And when Colin’s mother – the Alpha-wolf Queen of Country music and bitchiness – hires the San Andreas’ wolfs as bodyguards, Colin’s insecurities intesifies.
Not being an American, I’m entirely ignorant about the legal significance of state lines. So I didn’t completely understand the finer points of the fencing plot, but I still enjoyed it immensely. That’s one of the things I adore about this series. It’s not only the shifter angle and the romance angle, but there’s action as well. A plot that keeps up the pace and adds even more sorts of unconventional characters to the story.
But of course, the best thing about this read is Carriger’s wonderfully dry humor and the fabulous universe she has created. Her writing style, the eccentric characters and the understated, British-type humor is to die for. I had a smile on my face throughout the entire book (well, apart from a few moments that I’ll come back to in a bit). I just love Carriger’s writing. Her books – The Enforcer Enigma included – just makes me so darn happy. Because she does happy-writing so very well. Even though this read contains dark elements, it’s all described in this light and quirky setting, but without down-playing the dark. It’s bloody talented.
There was one thing in The Enforcer Enigma that had me cringing in discomfort though. And that was the reckless misuse of labcoats in the story. Not only did Alec apparently wear his labcoat home from work (*winces*), but he even wore it to a Café (*full body-shiver*). As all occasional wearers of labcoats know, the coat should never ever ever leave the lab. Ever. The mere thought of bringing a labcoat into a place where food is served is truly upsetting and makes me feel slightly nauseous. But then, this is fiction and even though every mention of the out-of-its-element labcoat pulled me out of the story, I realize that most people probably won’t bat an eye.
In conclusion, I loved this book. And I can’t wait for the next in the series. As characters go, neither Judd nor Colin has supplanted Max as my favourite person in the San Andreas Shifters series, but he’s so awesome nobody could. Anyway, I really hope the next couple will be Trick and the grumpy Deputy Kettil, but any couple Carriger writes about, I’ll read. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes love, shifters and sequins. However, I would recommend reading the first two books in the series first. For optimal enjoyment.
Also, that The Enforcer Enigma cover model was absolutely yummy didn’t hurt either.
17. July 2020 by swedishgirl
Categories: M/M, Paranormal, Romance, Shifter | Tags: #gailcarriger, #gailcarrigerauthor, #glcarriger, #sanandreasshifters, #theenforcerenigma | Comments Off on The Enforcer Enigma (San Andreas Shifters #3) by Gail Carriger