Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Emily McIntire: Hooked

Emily McIntire has taken the retelling of a beloved Fairy Tale, Peter Pan, to the dark side:

What if the Fairy Tale had it wrong, that the evil person in the story was actually the good guy. Hook has sought nothing but revenge from Peter, who had ruined his life when he was a young child. The actions that Peter took, caused Hook to turn into the man that he is, dark and depraved. Hook has always sought revenge and when Peter's daughter, Wendy, is spotted in his club he knows he has the perfect way to exact that revenge. But just as his plan is working, Hook's empire begins to crumble he has a trader in his mix, or is it Peter again, realizing that his daughter may be in danger and Wendy isn't sure who she is in a relationship with, a man or a monster names Hook.

I'm all for fairy tale retelling (even though I have only read a few) and this one takes it dark with a retelling of Peter Pan, I totally thought this book would be more of a fantasy read and less of a thriller/dark romance read, but I am okay with that. I liked the little nods that McIntire made to the original story, like pixie dust being the latest drug on the street and the Yacht that Hook lives on was named the Tiger Lily as well as the ticking of the clock plays a major part.

I was pretty hooked (pun intended) on the first half of this book, but somewhere along the way it lost its sparkle. I think that this was due to the fact that I had figured out what was going to happen and there was nothing was set out in the book to question what had figured out. From that point on I found the book predictable and not as entertaining, I mean the beginning of the book start out dark, graphic and murder occurs but these aspect seem less in the second half of the book and Hook is less Hook like.

I enjoyed that McIntire had dual POV, of Wendy and Hook. They are two very different characters with very different POV, yet they complement each other how McIntire has it laid out. 

Wendy was pretty good character and she has some character growth and changes throughout the book but at the same time she chooses to stay blind and refuses to see the red flags that are surrounding her.

Hook is the star of this book. He is a fascinating character and I liked certain aspects that McIntire brough over from the story, like the ticking of the clock sound, that too Hook back to a horrific place. I kind of wish that hook actually had a hook, or no hand with interchangeable appendages to keep it a bit more similar to the story instead of just a hooked knife. Hook is 100% a product from the upbringing that he received and as much as he is dark, gritty, morally gray character you cannot help but feel for him.

This books started out amazing but just seemed lacking in the second half. I really enjoyed Hook as a character and he was my favourite part of the book This book is not for the faint of heart and would be for readers who like their books on the darker side. I know that McIntire has a full series of these dark fairy tale retellings so i may have to try another one and how that it can keep the darkness and pace from beginning to end. So I guess to sum it up I think this book was good but could have been great.


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Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Stephanie Archer: Behind the Net

Stephane Archer shows that sometimes a Hockey Player can help a Songbird and vice versa: 

All Pippa wanted to do was succeed in the music industry. She knew it would be hard work, but that was her dream. When her Ex crushed her dreams, when his career started to take off, Pippa knew she had to start fresh. But she never thought that she would become the live in assistant not only to an NHL hockey star, but also the guy that she had a crush on in Highschool. Jamie seems to have the typical hockey ego, is extremely hot and grouchy too, but the more that Pippa interacts with him, she realizes just how sweet and protective he is. Pippa knows that nothing will probably come between her and Jamie but she is falling for him and he may break her heart, but it might be worth it.

Alright, this is probably the year that I have read the most contemporary romance books in a very very very long time and I think that Behind the Net would be in my top 2. This is the first book that I have read by Archer and it made me want to run out and try the other books that she has written.

I really enjoyed this book, I was a fan of the storyline, plot points and characters throughout the book. This was an easy read that had drama, but not too much drama, was able to make me laugh out loud at times, and just overall had a good mix of being sweet and steamy.

I liked that this book had dual POV so that we get both Pippa and Jamie's perspective. They are two very different people when it comes to life (very sunshine and grumpy feels) but I think that this complemented the dual POV that Archer decided to have. It was funny to see how they saw different situations and how they chose to act in them. The dynamic between Pippa and Jamie is also awesome i love when they first start living together, there are some funny moments and tense moments that occur.

Jamie is a perfect grumpy guy, who has a heart of gold from the pup he rescues to taking care of his mom and wanting to take care of Pippa too, no matter what form that takes, plus he wants her to succeed in whatever she wants to do, he will support her. He is just an all-around good guy.

I don’t know if it is a spoiler or not but I love that there is not Third act breakup, that is probably one of my biggest pet peeves within the contemporary romance genre. Instead of a third act breakup Archer decided to do the more mature thing and have the main characters talk and work on their relationship so that they can get to their HEA

I picked this book up to take a break from the darker genres that I read and I am so glad that i did. Archer had me invested from the very beginning and I cannot wait to continue on with this series. If you like forced proximity/fake dating and Grumpy/Sunshine, Hockey Romance troupes then you will enjoy this book. 


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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Carissa Orlando: The September House

In her debut novel, Carissa Orlando shows that a house can hold on to many things:

Margaret and Hal always wanted a big Victorian house, and once their daughter moves out to go to school, they know that now is their chance to own their dream home. When they purchase the home on Hawthorn Street, they couldn't believe their dreams had come true. However, this home has a dark history that has chosen to stay within except for the month of September, the house weeps blood, the souls trapped inside the house become more present and sometimes violent. This would have most people fleeing for their lives, but not Margaret, this is her house, her home and she will do whatever it takes to ensure it stays that way. But after 4 years, of Septembers Hal cannot take it anymore he wants out, and when he goes missing, their daughter Katherine comes to the house to try and find him.

This book was not as scary as I thought that it would be but it is still the perfect for a spooky read for October (or September) or really anytime of the year. The book is a bit slower that I was expecting as well but it very much comes together with the culmination at the end of the book. I still think about bones crunching and crushing and it makes me cringe. There are points in the book where you really don’t know how it will all play out and I liked the suspense that this created. I think the main part that I did not like was that it was a bit predictable with regards with Hal, I think that it is obvious from the beginning

I loved Margaret as a main character and her ability to not only adapt but accept the pranksters (as she calls them) for what they are, victims of horrible murders and knows that what they are doing in their afterlife is not their or her fault. Even Julian the one that likes to bite, she just knows that is she follows the rules, September will be over, and things get back to relative normalcy. You also feel sorry for why Margaret has had to adapt to any situation that she has been in and why she creates rules that surround her life. She did not have a happy marriage and one that seemed to get worse and worse as time went on. Margaret is for sure the best part of this book

I normally prefer dual POV books as it gives a more rounded story but this having only Margaret’s POV was the right decision. As much as this book is about the house, it is really just as much (or even more) about Margaret. Even though we only have her POV we get to see what she has experienced in the past both within the house and before the house, that give us a greater picture of what she has endured. Also, I was not the biggest fan of the daughter Kathrine, so I'm happy that we did not get her POV.

This was a great debut novel, a great spooky read and an amazing main character. If you are looking for a Gothic type Horror book that I would say is not as dark as a lot out there, pick this one up. I look forward to seeing what Orlando comes out with next.


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Monday, November 6, 2023

Hannah Bonam-Young: Out on a Limb

Hannah Bonam-Young, takes readers on a journey where one night can change everything:

Winnifred "Win" McNulty, does not want to be coddled for her limb difference, she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself with a few minor adjustments. When Bo, a stranger to Win, shows up at a Halloween party and beat her pirate costume, a what is supposed to be a one-night stand occurs. But that one-night stand changes everything. Bo surprisingly wants to be involved in all aspects and to help Win out as much as he can or she'll allow and Win does not know if she can handle this new challenge all by herself. Bo and Win decide to get to know each other just as friends, but as they know things do not always go according to plan.

First I have to say that I really like the pun in the title, I don’t think I have seen a better title for a book in a long time, so well done Bonam-Young.

I do not read a lot of contemporary romance book but I highly recommend this book, it was very wholesome, and it was all about the building of relationship. You know from the premise that a supposed to be one night stand turns into a baby happening, which basically forms the whole basis of the story in trying to build some type of a relationship because baby is coming and they both want to be part of that baby's life

It was really cute how the two of them met, pirates nonetheless and you can see that they are very much drawn to each other right away as they share in their acceptance in the disabilities that they have. Win who has had her's her whole life and Bo, still learning to cope with having his leg amputated. I like that Bonam-Young does not make a "big deal" about the disabilities that each has, they are there and are a part of the people and who they are but it does not overshadow their other characteristic and they are not all about their disability.

Bo is very puppy dog, cinnamon roll, whatever you want to call a good all around guy and super sweet you just have to fall in love with him. Plus, when you hear all that he has faced and how he ended up losing his leg, you realize how much this new possible of a life means to him. Win is just a determined character who charges headfirst in to life, and doesn’t want to ask for help or be coddled, she is doing fine, even when maybe she isn't. You have to love her drive and her wants for the future are amazing and you start to love her as a character as well.

As I said before I have not read that many contemporary romance books, so i wasn’t sure what to expect, many seem to have the third act trope, which I am not a fan of, but I was really happy that this one did not succumb to that.

Fuck me, this book is a little bit of sunshine and I am 100% here for it. I really loved this whole story, from characters to the relationship that Win and Bo try to build together, it just was really solid. Plus Bonam-Young is a Canadian Author so I'm always happy to support Canadian. I know I will be checking out her other books.


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