Tag Archives: Romance

Confess by Colleen Hoover

confess

Confess by Colleen Hoover
306 Pages
Atria paperback, 2015
Rating: 4/5

I dont normally read romances, but this author was recommended to me so I thought I’d give her a try. I knew nothing about the book except that it was a romance that was apparently a cover-to-cover read. I figured I’d give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The writing was nothing special. There were no phrases or quotes that really stood out to me but the storytelling made me want to know what was going to happen next. The main theme of the book is about confessions, so there was always that little bit of mystery about finding out the main characters’ confessions as the book progressed. I tried to predict what the “big” confession might be, and it wasn’t what I expected, but it was still good. I guess I have a very dark sense of assuming, so the ending was actually kinda nice.

I picked up the book on Friday night at about 7:30pm. I finished reading it just before midnight. I’d put it down for a few minutes then pick it up again.

The two main characters, Auburn and Owen, were decent. Auburn didn’t really stand out to me, as she is basically inexperienced in life. Owen had more depth to him, so I ended up liking him more because I felt like I knew the character better. The POV changes between the two characters, so the pacing was really quick for me. I’m also an artist – oil paintings – so I think I connected with Owen more for that part, too.

What I really liked, was that Owen is an artist and in the book there are full coloured pictures of his art. I ordered the book online, so I didn’t realize it came with pictures. That was pretty cool and really helped the immersion.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that in my personal life I am going through a medication change for my bipolar disorder. As a result, I am extra sensitive and emotional, so I really think that this was the right book to read at the right time because I really felt for the characters and cried a bit as I read it. For that reason, and that I don’t normally read romances, I might be a bit biased in my review. However, I did really enjoy the book and I’m going to be reading the rest of her books.

Plus, omg, the cover. Isn’t it pretty? This is a book I’ll keep on my shelf. It is a quick read that is emotional, has beautiful art, and it kept me wanting to find out what will happen next.

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Tiger’s Promise

 

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Tiger’s Promise by Colleen Houck
109 pages
Colleen Houck
Rating: 3/5

I was really looking forward to this book, as it is a prequel to Tiger’s Curse. In Tiger’s Curse, the timeline is hundreds of years after the prequel. I was hoping to get more backstory on the curse, the characters, and the other specific important things from the series.

What I got was a nice, slow build up… and then suddenly an ending. The ending was dramatic, but it seemed forced and rushed.

The character Yesubai is our protagonist and we did get to learn a lot about her. I was pleased at her strong, noble personality compared with Kelsey from Tiger’s Curse. The facts and personality traits revealed about her were very subtle but lend a feeling of awe and beauty.

Mainly, this was a book about abuse, love, sacrifice, and faith. I think it could have been a lot better if it wasn’t a novella. There is no mention of tigers at all, which gives you an idea of where the story cuts off compared to the history learned in Tiger’s Curse. I feel like I got half the story that I wanted. I really like this series but this one was a little underwhelming for me.

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Daisuki by Hildred Billings

Daisuki by Hildred Billings
(Ren’Ai Rensai, #1)
Kindle Edition
Barachou Press, 2012
My Rating: 4/5

Description (From Goodreads.com):

Aiko and Reina have been together for almost 20 years, yet one thing remains unsaid between them: “Daisuki,” or, “I love you.” As they approach their anniversary, their relationship comes to an impasse as Aiko the Japanese housewife begins demanding “I love you” with a side of marriage and romance.

But Reina doesn’t understand complex concepts like “love” or other heavy emotions. She’s spent years supporting her girlfriend via a soul-sucking salary job and tending to their mutual needs in the bedroom. Isn’t that sufficient? In a culture demanding Reina choose between the “feminine” and the “masculine” worlds, it’s bad enough she’s trying to find her role without Aiko adding extra pressure.

Some words need not saying, but “I love you” is about to destroy a relationship already surviving strange side-lovers and even stranger exploits.

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I am very pleased that I read it and will be reading more of the series. On the surface, it is a book about hot sex between two Japanese lesbians. If you dig a bit deeper, then you will find it is also a book about Eastern vs Western cultural norms, relationship status differences, societal expectations, family shame and honor,  and many LGBT issues including sexual privacy, gender identity, and marginalization.

The two main characters, Reina and Aiko, felt like real people to me. I was especially drawn to Reina – she considers herself to be more masculine than Aiko, works in a company filled with (perverted) men, and she reminded me of myself and some of my close friends. She has an insane sex drive (as does Aiko), but also engages in poly* activities. I liked that we saw some poly* in the book, but a part of me fears that someone new to LGBT literature might confuse lesbianism with poly*ism. At the end of the day, all characters that engaged in sex felt like real people with real issue and needs, but with a playful side too.

This is a book in the erotica genre and there are lots of opportunities for sex. These scenes can be read for pleasure, but they also add to the sub-plots in the story. If you dig a little deeper, you can see the seeds of foreshadowing for major themes later in the book.  Obviously, this book is recommended for adults due to the mature content.

The writing was quite good. A couple of times near the beginning I came across some odd word choices (i.e. fornication, gyrating) that I felt didn’t fit the mood for the passage. However, there were some beautiful passages and the ending was absolutely fantastic. These characters really grow on you, and the writing just adds another dimension that can’t be ignored. Our characters are Japanese, and so some Japanese phrases are included in the writing. They are added in a way that the reader can easily catch on to what is being said and even adds a bit of a cultural air and realism to the dialogue.

As this is a romance novel the plot was predictable to some extent. Despite this, there were a couple of sub-plots that contributed to the overall story arc and really made this book unique. There are quite a few things to consider once you finish reading the book. Yes, the story takes place in Japan but the issues there are similar to the issues here and I think most people can relate to someone in this book.

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Anniversary Book Haul

I got some great books! In unrelated news: it is my 4 year anniversary with my boyfriend. Hurray!

 

Books mentioned:

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Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

I caved and read this book.

Rating: 3/5

Review:

This book had a lot going wrong for it, but I couldn’t put it down. Point form!

– The writing was extremely simple. Ana is a literary student, yet her vocabulary is limited to“holy shit!” and Christian tends to growl and murmur quite a bit.
– The parallels to Twilight were obvious: Jacob is now Jose, Ana gets saved from being run over by a bike, and controlling Edward gets turned up a few notches. Oh, and his stalker tendencies are through the roof!
– The sex scenes were good. This might be partly due to the simple writing which allows the imagination to go crazy.
– I was really intrigued by Christian Grey’s character. He has a dark past and the curious girl in me wanted to know what was going on. He said it is why he is messed up, and since I love me some good ol’ psychology, I gotta know. Most of my reading was propelled with this curiosity. He seems like a really vulnerable guy.
– Ana got some 1st edition books as a gift. I was really envious.
– This book is about lust, not love. It implies that first experiences = a signal that you are in love.
– Like Twilight, this was a huge guilty pleasure.
– There wasn’t enough kink. It felt really tame and I was bored through some of it. Some scenes were good, but when they were actually happening I found myself being bored. The anticipation was what was good.
– Ana and Christian exchange emails at some point. For each email, they change the subject heading. Who does that? I don’t know about you, but when I reply to someone, the subject line usually looks like this: “RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE Sunday Plans?”
– Ana is a graduate in the English lit program. Yet, she has never used a MacBook or email. She doesn’t surf the internet or masturbate. WHERE DID THIS DEFECTIVE ROBOT COME FROM? Only authors could come up with a character like that.

I want to read the rest of the books in this series for these reasons:
– to find out what the deal is with Christian Grey’s past
– to see how kinky this book can get, or if it will still feel tame
– to see what Ana’s job is like.

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NANA vol 1 by Ai Yazawa

NANA vol 1 by Ai Yazawa

This is a shojo manga, meaning it is marketed to female teens and centers around romance and emotion. It is the story of two females, both named Nana. I think they eventually meet up but they didn’t in this volume. The background for each female was described and I think the goal of the volume was for the reader to get a feel for the similarities and differences between the two Nana’s.

Nana Komatsu is a light hearted, impulsive girl that wears her heart on her sleeve. Nana Osaki is a bit stubborn, private, and sings in a punk band. The two Nana’s seem to be quite opposite from each other! If you have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, then this follows a similar idea with two people with the same name meeting (or so I assume).

The artwork is simple, but beautiful. There isn’t too much emphasis on backgrounds, save for a starry night sky here or there, but instead each person is detailed. The emotion is portrayed really well!

This was my first time reading a book from this series, and I will be continuing for sure! If you like girly manga then I think this would be a nice one to read.

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows is expected to be released January 31, 2012. 

Genres: fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal romance
384 pages

Description from Good Reads:

NEWSOUL 
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 

NOSOUL 
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 

HEART 
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 

I want to read this because I am always on the hunt for a new dystopian and I think it sounds rather interesting. The way the description is set up, makes it seem like there might be different point of views, but in the very least there are a couple of sub-plots already apparent. The cover is beautiful, the genres are interesting, and the description sounds like something I would enjoy without giving too much away.

 

Optional Questions for Readers:

  1. Are you also waiting for this book?
  2. Know of any other dystopian novels to reccommend?
  3. What do you look for the most in upcoming novels? Beautiful covers? Interesting descriptions? Genre types?

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