Title: The Girl I used to know
Author: Faith Hogan
Release Date: 2017
Medium: Kindle Unlimited Ebook
I found this book on the Kindle Unlimited service while looking for something different to read. This book actually was better than I anticipated. For one thing, the romance of the book was minor and almost a background story point. THe main focus on the story is the two main characters whose POV switches back and forth.
Amanda King is a forty-something mother of two who has suppressed her dreams to help her husband get ahead in his career. Throughout the book she is forced to see how little of herself remained after all these years, and start to live on her own terms again.
Tess Cuffe, a sixty something women who lives in Amanda’s basement has her own issues. She had a falling out with her sister forty years before and never really allowed herself to get over it. She is forced to reevaluate her life as well.
This story is as much about friendship then any romance. It has a happy ending for both Amanda and Tess, but its focused on them, and not their romances. It’s a good story, although sometimes I felt the sentences were a little stagnant. I definitely recommend this book and gave it a B+
The only issue I had with this book is that Richard and Douglas both made me want to throw my kindle. Particularly Douglas and his “a girl like Tess.”. He leads Tess on, and then blames her for everything and convinces her sister of the same. Richard is a little easier to handle, though the way he tries to manipulate Amanda into what he wanted in a wife also is hard to take at times.
Title: Love Bites
Author: Skye Turner & Amanda Lanclos
Release Date: November 11 2017
Medium: Kindle E-book (Kindle Unlimited)
When I spotted this book on the ‘You May Like’ list, I thought it sounded cute and decided to read it. It sat in the not-read pile for awhile but I finally got down to reading it this month…and I was disappointed.
The book description warns you that it is a book for adult readers. Normally this doesn’t bother me as I am an of age reader. However, by the end of the book it was too much. The book was almost all sex scenes, with very little plot. What little plot there was wasn’t very good and the whole book comes out as a shallow story. While I don’t mind the occasional love scene, I prefer it to compliment the story, not be the entire story.
The story at first seemed to have some merit, but it soon stopped being a story. It jumps time with no warning, and most of the non-sex scenes are just a few paragraphs leading to a new sex scene. And I didn’t think they were written all that well.
I don’t know if it was perhaps the 1st person narration (Done with two characters alternating) or the fact that it just seemed rushed and nothing holding it together. Either way, this book gets a strong C-. I feel it could do alot better if they had added more to the plot so it didn’t seem like out of nowhere at the end, and developed the characters a little more so I actually cared about what was going on.
I may give the authors another chance individually, but I don’t see myself continuing this series when they do continue it. The other reviewers on Goodreads apparently disagree with me, so perhaps it was just me.
Title: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Release Date: December 20 2017
Genre: Action/Adventure & Comedy
Director: Steve Beck
I saw this via Amazon as it has just recently been put on DVD/Blu-ray & Digital. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 film Jumanji starring Robin Williams.
This film has a great cast to draw you in. I wanted to see it for Karen Gillan, who I know mostly from Doctor Who but who is also in the MCU as Gamora’s sister Nebula. Dwayne Johnson leads the cast that includes comedy headliners Jack Black and Kevin Hart. Nick Jonas makes an unexpected (for me anyway) appearance in the movie. Also making a brief appearance is Colin Hanks, the son of one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks. He wasn’t in the film long enough to showcase if he has inherited the talent, but I’ve been seeing him on things a lot more, so it seems we will have the chance to see.
The two films are not very similar. There is a jungle theme to the game, but outside a reference to Alan Parrish (RObin William’s character in the 1995 film) and the outside of the game packaging, the stories seem completely different. In the sequel, the game has updated itself to be a video game to interact with 1996 Alex. Later in modern days (possibly 2016 or 2017), four students in detention end up sucked into the game like Alan had been, and later Alex.
I have to admit there was a part of this that started to sound like someone was making a mash-up of the Breakfast Club and Jumanji rather than a true sequel. Which I still had an impression of at the end of the story. It was funny, and the movie wasn’t as horrible as I thought it could have been during the trailers. I just feel like for a sequel it really has very little to do with its predecessor. There doesn’t seem to be enough connections. That being said, when I looked up the novel that the movie was based on there was mention of an animated TV show based on the same idea, and it seems to have some of the same concepts.
I also learned that the children’s book Jumanji had a sequel called Zathura, which was also made into a movie and I plan on watching it sometime this year.
My final grade for Jumanji 2 is a B-. I feel like it missed a few beats and should have had more continuity within the Jumanji universe.
Title: Smooth Talking Stranger (Travis series #3)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: 2010
Medium: Kindle E-book
Smooth Talking Stranger is the third of four books in the Travis series by Lisa Kleypas. This story focuses on Ella, a woman who finds herself suddenly the guardian of her sister’s infant son. Like the other books in this series, the main character has some dysfunctional relationships and issues they have to overcome to end up happily ever after.
I think this novel is not quite as good as the previous two, but still is better pacing wise and depth wise then the fourth novel, which apparently came out years after the rest of the series. I don’t think the issues that Ella face are dealt with. Dane, her boyfriend, is a bit too laid-back a character. Some of the other minor characters are rather two-dimensional and not memorable at all which was a let down, as other books had such memorable secondary characters.
I did have an issue with some of the macho-man stuff that has come across in this book. It was in the other two, but perhaps because I read three books within 48 hours it just stood out more to be here. It also reuses the love triangle plot line where the woman in question has to decide between her ex and her current interests and the guy insists that she not sleep with him simply because she is theirs. The possessive part bothers me, especially when it’s followed by sex and then the guy ignoring his significant other after she meets up with the ex to determine where to go.
Perhaps its the formula-like of it within the series or it, or perhaps the questionable relationship if you can’t trust that your significant other would choose you.
That being said, it was an enjoyable read.
Title: Blue-Eyed Devil (Travis series #2)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: 2008
Medium: Kindle E-book
WARNING: This novel covers topics that may cause triggering effects on those who suffered from physical or mental abuse.
Blue-eyed Devil is the second novel in the Travis Series by Liza Kleypas. I was looking forward to this book, because Hardy had been one of my favorite characters in the first book I read, Brown-Eyed Girl, and he is the hero in this novel after being the one who lost in book 1, Sugar Daddy.
The main character in this novel is Haven Travis, the youngest sibling of the Travis Clan. It starts soon after the closing of Sugar Daddy in that they are attending Liberty and Gage (the couple from book 1)’s wedding. It is there she meets Hardy, and it leaves a lasting impression on her.
This book is a little different from romance novels that I have seen in the past, because it involves a couple who faced domestic abuse. It also deals with the problems children who have faced domestic abuse might have as adults. I was glad to see that for the most part Haven ends up saving herself, rather than her love interest. Often times I have seen this written as a ploy to get the two main characters together, and in this novel it’s not. She is also allowed to get help when she needs it, and not having it forced on her or denied her like some narratives are prone to do.
In fact, their romance, baring the moment at the wedding, doesn’t even start till after Haven removes herself from the abusive relationship. It also doesn’t look down on therapy, and has really good sibling relationships. One of the stronger themes in this series is the relationships between the main character (always female) and her siblings. Book one was about Liberty and her sister Carrington. This is about Haven and her relationship with her brothers. Brown-Eyed Girl (book 4) is about Avery and her half-sister Sophia.
This series also has a good record in showing mixed families. Not everyone’s family is perfect, and not every perfect family is a bad family. There are single parents, distant parents, parents who were both there, and parents who realised they couldn’t care for their children so they gave them up for adoption.
I also found this relatable because I have dealt with people who are narcissistic in nature, and I have seen the problems they cause for the people around them. I’m not sure I believe the therapist in this story who says abusers are always narcissistic.
Overall, I give this a A, because it had good pacing, the main character manages to save herself half the time, and people deal with their issues instead of having instant cures. However, this book has references to domestic abuse, both physical and mental, as well as rape. Therefore I suggest you avoid this one if any of those subjects might be triggering for you.
Title: Sugar Daddy (Travis Series #1)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: 2007
Medium: Kindle E-book
A few weeks ago I reviewed a book called Brown Eyed Girl. I found out later that the novel was in fact the last book in a four book series about the Travis Siblings. The first book in the series was Sugar Daddy and was focused on Liberty Jones, a woman who grew up poor and ended up having to raise her baby sister. She gets torn between her first love – Hardy Cates, and the man she has started falling for – Gage Travis.
I like this book better than Brown-Eyed Girl because it seems to have more details and more consistent pacing. Liberty’s story has a strong backstory. I had to admit I found the fact that Gage didn’t show up till about 2/3 thorugh the story odd for a romance, but it put more emphasis on it being Liberty’s story. She’s the narrator (and its in first person) and the story is more about her moving on. Given the information in the ‘description’ I thought both Gage and Hardy would have showed up more then they did.
Reading this novel was helpful in improving my thoughts on Brown-Eyed Girl simply because some of the information I found lacking in that novel gets explained in this one (and the two others). So while each book can stand its own, its a good idea to read the series in order to get the full story.
Final Grade: B+