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Ami's Hoard

To Read is To Live

DNF Book - Strong Signal (Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell)

Strong Signal (Cyberlove Book 1) - Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell

DNF at 38%

I loved Megan Erickson's previous books. I enjoyed the three books I read from Santino Hassell. So I know they can write book that emotionally engaging for me. But this?

This is like knowing two great chefs from two different restaurants, who are good making complex delicious foods, to work together making ... salty forgettable crunchy popcorn. I may like popcorn but at this moment I am also reading something with stellar writing and complicated sexual tension. So this PALED by comparison.

To me the romance (at least to the point where I DNF-ed) felt superficial. I couldn't care less for the characters (I don't even remember their name as I am writing this opinion!), or the emails/chats exchange that mainly full of sexual contents or dirty talks (BLEH!) (Oh, I realized that epistolary writing style might not be for me), or the gaming portion (or the FWO, Twitch, or the XXXTube). Like I could seriously pay attention to a guy who was angry because his character in a cyber world got killed?
Uhm. Yeah. No.

I'm bailing out. As always DNF book is not rated.

Not sure if I want to check the sequel because if it's something similar this, it might also not for me *shrugs*. Let's just wait and see.

Running Hot (Yolande Kleinn)

Running Hot - Yolande Kleinn

2.5 stars

Formulaic. Forgettable. And that blurb is basically the whole story...

Considering that Kurt spent months (or about 2/3 of this short story) thinking that Shane was dating her sister (IMHO, he could easily remedy that situation simply by, oh I don't know, making some sort of comments to his sister at least, to confirm Shane's status) ... I was lucky that this one was short. Or I would be heavily annoyed on the lack of communication.

Keeping Karma (Tory Temple)

Keeping Karma - Tory Temple

2.5 stars

The blurb for this one from Dreamspinner states “2nd edition”. Truthfully, I didn’t think there was any significant revisions considering what bothered readers from the first edition seemed to still apply in this one. Basically, this probably is the same story with a different cover. A cover that doesn’t even feature the pet ferret whose name becomes the title of this novella!

Anyway, if I can sum the storyline, it is basically scene, scene, sex, sex, sex, scene, sex, sex … yeah, it lacks of plot or anything resembling substance. It’s like an excuse for the characters to have sex anytime, anywhere and the characterizations don’t matter. It’s paper thin at best! Plus, I simply thought that the sex scenes were boring and outdated (including the solo shower scene, which was SO few years ago, darn it!).

The villain is ridiculous, and I swear, why can’t Alex think that the villain is up to no good based on the villain’s track record?

And the whole problem for these two boiled down to Derek not believing about Alex’s ability to speak to animals. That’s it. Which of course was never really fully addressed (because even after they argued, they still thought sex was good!) and talked out.

Then it ended. Just like that.

Yeah, the only thing that I was willing to give an extra star rating to was the animals. They were cute.

A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls

The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

One Lucky Hero (Codi Gary)

One Lucky Hero - Codi Gary

2.5 stars

Maybe I was having wrong expectation and not in the right mood when reading this. The truth is, the drama llama brought this story down for me, making it not enjoyable. All the characters seem to have A LOT baggage! Including Violet's family members as secondary characters. It was too much :(

While I appreciated the Alpha Dog program and I liked some of the scenes where Casey and Dean worked with the dogs, but the rest of this book was a struggle for me to read. In fact I ended up skimming until the end because I just didn't find the joy I wanted.

In addition, I am not really a big fan of heroines in adult romance whose age are closer to early 20's (Violet was only 24 years old) ... probably because I'm closer to 40's myself and prefer to read older heroines these days. Except if I know early on that the book is in YA/NA genre.

Also see this review and this review because they have the same opinion as me.

Not sure if I want to continue this series since I wasn't exactly loving the prequel novella as well *shrugs*


City of Secrets (Sonya Bateman)

City of Secrets (The DeathSpeaker Codex Book 5) - Sonya Bateman

~*~*~ SPOILER REVIEW ~*~*~

OMG!! This is definitely my favorite book so far (and one of my favorites of the year!!) from The DeathSpeaker Codex series because of a number of reasons.

The MAJOR one?? The appearance of GAVYN DONATTI AND IAN!!!

Gavyn and Ian are the main characters from Bateman's Gavyn Donatti series. I read the two books around 5 years ago but the series stopped. Sonya Bateman said that she was trying to get the rights from the publisher so I didn't really have any expectation. So imagine my surprise when they appeared here (Sonya said in her FB that she now had the rights, and there might be future Gavyn Donatti books. Yippee!!)

Gideon and Taeral were joining forces with Gavyn and Ian to stop "batshit crazy, ten-thousand-year-old jaguar djinn" who were targeting the Miles Dei members (yep, the djinn killed them by ripping their hearts out and sucked their blood dry!). For once, the threats didn't directly against Gideon and team, and I was quite happy with that. These guys need a break. I was also quite overjoyed with the wipe out of the Valentines and that evil FBI agent, Redfield. This is one occasion where I didn't particularly feel bad for the victims *lol*

As always, it went fast-paced, doused with some awesome banters between Gideon/Taeral and Gavyn/Ian. I loved that Gideon was getting more comfortable with his own power. Gideon and Gavyn clicked immediately, having to deal with hot-tempered Taeral and Ian. I loved this team so frickin' much. I hope they will work together again.

Sadie rather takes a back-seat since she was dealing with a teenager rat, Eli. I was completely amused with this development. It seemed that Sadie totally became Mama Wolf for Eli and Taeral was dragged along for the ride, being an 'unexpected' father to Eli -- what could he do? Sadie is his girlfriend *LOL*

All in all, this was TRULY FUN read!! I loved every minute of it, cannot think of ANYTHING wrong with it. None. For that alone, I'm giving this 5-stars. Because if I have to pick a book in this series to re-read, this will be the one (and I don't really do re-read haha). I can't wait for more Gideon Black as well as more Gavyn Donatti.

SQUEEEE *hugs book*

His Royal Favorite (Lilah Pace)

His Royal Favorite - Lilah Pace

3.5 stars

After feeling rather underwhelmed with the first book, His Royal Secret, I thought this follow-up was an improvement. I definitely liked it better.

First, I thought that it was more focused on situation on hand, namely the repercussion of James coming out as gay man as well as Ben stepping up and revealing himself as the Prince's partner. I could felt the struggle from Ben, having to deal with the lost of his privacy, including when the paps digging the pictures of his parents' crime scene photo (they were involved in car crash). I also felt the sex scenes didn't disturb the flow like it did in the first book.

I could feel Ben's blues and his continued conflict of whether his love was enough to make him stay beside James forever or would he preferred the freedom better and walked out from everything. I thought Pace wrote this part in a compelling manner. It felt real and believable.

And how amusing it was that Ben became the favorite of the Queen? *laugh*

I loved the development with Indigo. It was a serious case and I was glad that they finally took that step to help her.

Unfortunately, the story still felt dragging and repetitive at some parts. This one was longer than the first book, and at times I was itching to skim things.

All in all, it was a nice duology. Not the best I read but still good to read, especially involving the Royal Family. Because Love is Love after all :)

His Royal Secret (Lilah Pace)

His Royal Secret - Lilah Pace

Lilah Pace is a new-to-me author ... but I was drawn to the blurb of this start of a duology mainly because I love Merlin/Arthur fan fiction.

Okay, what is the connection? Well, you see, one of my favorite themes in that fandom is "Modern Royalty" -- as in Arthur is still the Prince/King (and Merlin the commoner who then becomes the consort). So when I read this blurb, I thought OMG, a Merlin/Arthur theme came alive!! I was quite excited.

Unfortunately, I thought the romance felt rather underwhelming. I wasn't sure whether it had something to do with the writing chemistry between the author and myself (such thing exists!!) but I didn't have a strong emotional connection to the characters. I liked James and Ben individually but as a unit, they lacked the "oomph" that made my heart soaring with joy and made me want to root for them completely from the very get-go.

I admit I even skimmed a bit in the middle because despite the situation surrounding our MCs (a kind of forbidden love! secrets of the prince! the princess having mental illness!), this book also felt humdrum. Maybe because it was somehow overshadowed with the number of sex that our characters were having?

Whatever it was, this book ended up on the "just-okay" spectrum of my rating. It didn't blew my mind. Having said that, I am still going to read the next one because I want to see how it ends.

See also Lana ❇✾Dirty Girl Romance❇✾'s review because I completely agreed with her assessment.

Adulting 101 (Lisa Henry)

Adulting 101 - Lisa Henry
3.75 stars rounded up

Despite my frequently thinking how this book was channeling Sterek fan fiction (Nick = Stiles, Devon = Scott, Chris = Stiles' Dad. Jai = a touch of Derek?), I still enjoyed it. Sure, I didn't laugh out loud (different humor bone) but I did smiled a lot.

What made this book a 4-stars category was how it resonated with me in several different ways. I seriously envied ANYONE who could can say who they want to be, who are sure about their role in this world. I have passed my teenager years almost two decades ago, but sometimes I still wonder whether I will leave this world with something meaningful.

So when Nick said “I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know what I want to be. I don’t even know who I am right now, I guess, and everyone else seems to have it all figured out.” ... I totally got his point. I knew what he meant by that... and throughout the book, I wonder if I actually ever passed Adulting 101 myself in real life. If I dismissed Nick's rambling thoughts (I liked it, but it could be quite exhausting to read after a while), what laid beneath, he just stated what I sometimes questioned myself. And THAT touched me deep.

I loved Jai for being grounded. Sure, Jai had the wanderlust, the itch and restlessness to travel, but it didn't mean that he wasn't being an 'adult'. In that sense, Jai was so, SO good for Nick. I loved that Jai kept being level-headed, despite being fired because his supervisor caught him in that porta-potty with Nick. I mean, this guy was so cool even if he had to deal with teenagers in his new job OR even if he was caught several times by other people when going down with Nick (including Nick's own DAD! *lol*). How could I not love him for that.

Yep. I loved this (I detracted the rating because like I said, Nick's rambling was exhausting after a while). But overall, it was a good coming-of-age story. Kudos, Lisa.

Starting New (S.C. Wynne)

Starting New - S.C. Wynne

3.5 stars

I found Francis pretty much likeable as a character. I found his behavior and attitude to be real. I could understand him not easily trusting the Wrights after living in the street for so long. I enjoyed his development, his struggle with being good despite his background, believing that he could be something better. I really liked that even if Francis was cynical, he didn't come as sarcastic jerk.

Randy, on the other hand, was not fully manifested on page for me. Probably because this story was written solely from Francis' perspective. Randy went a little bit hot and cold, and I can probably sympathize with him better if I can understand to his thoughts. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So even until the very end, I just couldn't connect to Randy and wasn't pretty certain about whether he and Francis were a good match.

What was interesting was the reaction from Randy's parents though. While the scene of Randy telling his Mom and Dad happened off page, but the fact that they didn't immediately embrace their son sexuality, even though they lead an LGBT+ friendly church show that it's not always easy to practice what you preach. I had to give props for it.

One Hot Summer (Melissa Cutler)

One Hot Summer: A One and Only Texas Novel - Melissa Cutler

Melissa Cutler's is a new-to-me author -- I see that she has written several books previously but I decided to try her latest one. Besides, it's the start of a new series and I figure if I like it, it will be easier for me to follow through.

Well, hell, I think I made the right choice because One Hot Summer is HIGHLY entertaining! I immediately LOVED Remedy, yep, just as soon as she maneuvered the golf cart to stop "a rampage" elephant named Gwyneth *LOL*. Yeah, someone who doesn't lose her cool over seeing an elephant running on golf course get my vote.

Micah was a fine specimen, but I admit that at times I got annoyed with him acting like a total jerk with his prejudice against rich people, which included his stereotyping of Remedy as a Hollywood princess... however, at the same time, I couldn't fully blame him because I may have similar views for rich people myself (*haha*).

The winning recipe for this book, for me, is the sizzling and believable chemistry between Remedy and Micah. Despite their different background -- Remedy is the only child of two famous Hollywood stars, while Micah is a Texan born and true -- they seemed to complement one another. Remedy might run havoc at times because she could be a klutz but Micah was a perfect hero to save the day. Micah could be a little uptight but Remedy showed him that being a rich girl didn't mean sunshine and roses, and that made Micah more understanding. Oh, and not to mention their banters/bickers. They were SHARP and FUN.

All in all, I thought One Hot Summer was a delightful read -- especially with the swear-loving elephant, golf-cart crashes, stalking pigeons, and melons *grin*. I truly enjoyed it.

Stranger in Black (Devon Rhodes)

Stranger In Black - Devon Rhodes

~*~*~ REVIEW FOR THE 2nd EDITION ~*~*~

3.5 stars

Cute! I liked both Christian and Jarrod. I LOVED the part where Jarrod realized that he might jump into conclusion after seeing Christian and Carl hugged then decided to go back and talked to Christian about it. So often it becomes a misunderstanding plot, which can annoy the hell out of me. So kudos for Jarrod!!

Having said that, my God both Christian and Mira were just too freakin' nice to that tool-bag Carl. Seriously? Nobody wanted to punch that guy??


The Sweetest Chase (Sharla Lovelace)

The Sweetest Chase (Heart of the Storm) - Sharla Lovelace



To be honest, I was a little bit concerned reading this novel because Quinn was engaged to another man, despite the fact that it was clear both Quinn and Simon were pining for one another. I am not really a big fan of that trope because I hate to see someone else gets hurt on the process of our H/h to get together.

Well, at least it helped that Eric clearly wasn't the man for Quinn. He didn't see her like Simon did. Eric wanted to control her to be this perfect trophy wife, that suitable for their 'class', and couldn't take Quinn the way that she was. So okay, it was easier for me to accept.

BUT, I also wished that Quinn kicked Eric's ass to the curb quicker. Seriously, Quinn and Simon did NOT get together until over 90% of the book. While they also didn't have sex until then, they still kissed passionately, even admitted that there were feelings. It was a little frustrating for me to read ... it was clear they had chemistry and TONS of feels. I wanted them to get together sooner. I wanted Quinn to stand up to her mother sooner. Duly noted it meant less sexy times (which is fine for me), but getting there was a bit tad too long.

Thankfully Lovelace's writing was really good!! It pulled me in, and despite my frustration I enjoyed heck of it. I also loved seeing the prodigal son, Levi, returned in this book. Hopefully I would get to know more about him. The reality show part was both an ups and downs for me. I mean, I liked the concept of having the gritty/scary part of chasing the storm, but just like The Chases, I was uncomfortable with their personal lives being broadcasted on TV. URGH TV people and their way to look for a story! I seriously wanted to raise hell like Eli did *lol*.

There was some emotional moments here too -- mainly related to Simon and the shelter where he donate his time to. I had tears when I reached that part. The storm chasing part was always good but it was also scary and heartbreaking *sniff*.

All in all, another good read!! I hope there's book #3 and it will come soon.

Fallow (Jordan L. Hawk)

Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin Book 8) - Jordan L. Hawk

3.5 stars

This is for the first time after seven books, that I wasn't completely enamored by this new installment of Whyborne & Griffin series -- me sad :(. Let me write down the things that annoyed me a lot first ... so I can end this opinion in positive note.

More so than the rest, I was superbly annoyed with Whyborne, and his 'guilt' feel that ended up making him keeping secrets from Griffin. I have a LOT of series that I follow religiously, and one thing that I always want from long-time series featuring same couple, is that I want them to stay/become solid as they go and face the world together. Become power couple, you know?

So after four years together that span into SEVEN books, this kind of behavior from Whyborne is not one I can easily tolerate. If this is going to become something repetitive in the next books?? Yeah, if so, I am going to stay annoyed *hmph*. And as much as I enjoy Whyborne being clueless again with the idea of women being into him, at times I found him being whiny and a little bit too judgey. Guess I was having short fuse when I read this book.

BUT, BUT ... I loved the idea of Griffin going back to Fallow and finally got his closure. As much as it was difficult for him, especially knowing what his Ma did, I thought it was needed. At least now Griffin can move forward. I loved everything about Griffin in this book, and I wanted to hug him when things got tough.

And another positive note? Christine Putnam-Barnett still kicked ass!


To Steal His Heart (Alec Nortan)

To Steal His Heart (Matt Glenn Book 1) - Alec Nortan

Uhm, so Matt had one date (and one night together) with Ben (former client) and two days later he claimed that he already in love with Ben, so he rejected the idea of his former lover whom he also claimed had feelings for?!?

WTH is this?

Not to mention the whole idea of STALKING a friend of a child via online and then kidnapped said child to save her??

I question this character a LOT. Heck, I dislike him. Period.

Plus this also felt more "tell" then "show".

Not getting to read the sequels what-so-ever *hmph*

Stranded with Desire (Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed)

Stranded with Desire (Dreamspun Desires Book 15) - Vivien Dean, Rick R. Reed

Don't know what happened here ... I usually can enjoy Vivien Dean's stories, although at the same time I don't really have chemistry with Reed's. Maybe it's the combination of the two? In any case, this was just NOT my kind of book

- The writing felt 'dry', nothing in here able to evoke any emotion in me for the characters. I get more emotion reading cook book -- STRIKE 1

- Urgh, dream/fantasy scenes -- STRIKE 2


[PLUS the fact that Maine was ENGAGED the whole time, including when they had sex?? I can "forgive" this kind of plot if I care enough for the couple or at least I believe in their intense chemistry, that they actually belong to one another. But in this case, I didn't!]

(show spoiler)


You're out.

The Clockwork Menagerie (Elliot Cooper)

The Clockwork Menagerie - Elliot Cooper

First of all, I LOVED the world that Cooper created -- in terms of the automaton animals. I thought it was unique, and I imagined I would be very happy having one myself. A lovely pet with all the animal traits but no need to eat or defecate (haha). Perfect for a single woman who work outside of home for more than 12 hours like me!

Unfortunately, I also thought it didn't reach its potential. The relationship between Clement and Duke happened off page, even before the first chapter. So I missed their connection or any emotional feel that could happen. Which is too bad because I love second-chances theme. Then after all the bad things that happened to Clement regarding his business, everything also solved rather quickly. So it was like everything was built up for some sort of climax but it never really happened.

So I could only consider this as an 'okay' read.