Breaking Up With Barrett by Katy Regnery

This was surprisingly cute and sweet with a touch of steam. A friends-to-lovers romance low on drama and high on sugar.

Barrett and Emily grew up near one another – her family working for his. Barrett, a businessman, arranges for Emily to come to business functions with him as his “date” because he feels it makes his deals go better. They’re both secretly pining for one another…you see where this is going.

Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Not a particularly memorable book, but a cute one nonetheless.

The Trespasser by Tana French

When I first read In the Woods in 2013 I thought “this book is a breath of fresh air in the mystery genre. A one off.” I’ve come to realize that Tana French is her own sub-genre within mystery – creating books where the detective’s quirks and the crime exist in a perfect synchrony. Brilliant and unique in that we’re not forced to watch the world’s most worldly and wily detective take on fiendish foe after fiendish foe book after endless repetitive book. Instead we get a new deeply flawed, self-destructive and utterly perfect character to climb inside with each story.

You shouldn’t read this if you haven’t read the first five. And, honestly, if you haven’t read the first five what are you reading? There is a short list of authors whose books I grab automatically. Tana French heads up that Must Read List. I’ve yet to be disappointed – as a matter of fact, each book simply confirms my decision.

PLOT – Ha. Right. Antoinette Conway (along with Stephen Moran!!!) investigates a simple domestic murder. She’s not the most popular detective on the squad. As in French’s prior novels – the case is viewed through the skewed lens of the detective. Paranoia. Confusion. Exhaustion. Those are about to become your world. Are you ready for gritty eyes? Running on fumes? Constantly looking over your shoulder? You’re going to slip into Antoinette’s messy life like a pair of slippers – but when they’re hot and itchy and you’re desperate to have them off? That’s a no go – things are just starting to get interesting.The

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

One of my hands-down top books of 2015. I don’t read dark books. I don’t read thrillers. But Penelope Douglas made me her bitch.
Any summary I give will be trite – and it won’t capture what this book is. I’m not going to say too much bc I don’t want to give a damn thing away.
What I can tell you? Read it. Read this motherfucker. Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat. To meet characters that have layers. For the emotions to build with each page. At 14% you’re panting for more. At 51% you realize that there’s more to this book than you imagined. At 70% you’re jumping up and down.
It’s a revenge story and a sex story and a love story – and a story about strength that you never suspected. It’s dark but it’s redemption. It’s everything.
And Rika. Michael. Kai. Immortalized – just like they deserve.

The Cad and the Co-Ed by LH Cosway and Penny Reid

I’d really worked up a full head of steam for this one, but Pfffffft. I understand that it can be difficult to make two people likable yet create an issue btwn them that complicates love for them. In this situation we went past my self-imposed boundaries for “palatable love-drama.” (I do better with outside influence creating the problem, btw. Self-imposed angst is hard to swallow.)

Eilish is wound-up, worried and generally un-fun. Bryan is a dude that’s into her but doesn’t show it. His efforts at playing it cool magnify her self-doubt. I don’t think the things Bryan did justified Eilish’s treatment of him. She was, frankly, awful. An emotionally closed-off liar who unnecessarily caused a lot of drama.

There are too many spoilers for me to lay it out. Suffice it to say I found Eilish manipulative, shrill, and unlikable. Bryan was overshadowed by her awful. He put up with a lot of hot and cold from a woman that wasn’t worth it.

Bet Me by Lila Monroe

Maybe I’m not in the rom-com mood.

But this managed to be trite, insulting, poorly edited, misogynistic and had a rapey vibe. So. Plot line – Lizzie goes on some bad dates, posts a video online about how she’s not having sex until some dude earns it, and becomes a hot commodity in the world of “want what we can’t have.”

Things I found confusing –
– if all these dudes sucked isn’t the vajayjay de facto closed for business? Or is she banging awful dudes that she doesn’t like even though she doesn’t like them and then complaining about it?
– does this chick have a golden cha-cha? Why does the world care that some random woman is no longer boning dudes that don’t treat her well? How is this a plot line?

– The hero’s friend putting a $50,000 reward online for this first guy that fucks this woman is just gross. It seriously creeped me out. If someone has a differing view on how it’s okay to pay a man $50,000 to lure a woman into thinking that he has feelings for her (bc that’s her thing here – she wants a “romantic” man who cares about her) so that she has sex with him please enlighten me.

– Further, the hero’s decision not to tell the heroine about the bounty on her vagina made him a top-notch dickhead. A guy that won’t tell you that men are being paid to fuck you isn’t a romantic hero. He’s just an awful person.

I predicted where it was going and how it would end within the first 70 pages. I was not incorrect in my assumptions. I didn’t find it funny – but that may have been because I was too horrified and confused by the awkward/bizarre storyline. I’m going back to my dark romances – they’re safer than this.Bet

Grievous

Book 2 in a duet (cannot be read alone). The plot is irrelevant for this review bc you’ve either read the first one and know the plot or haven’t read the first one, and therefore, shouldn’t be reading this one.

I’ve been in the mood for dark – and this satisfied my craving. There were a couple of points where this was difficult for me to read. I had to set it down for a few minutes. If violence turns your tummy I wouldn’t give this a try.

I found the ending extremely fitting for the books. I had concerns that things would get watered-down or treacly, but my fears were for naught. It ended exactly as I felt it should end.

While I never crushed on Lorenzo I did fall a bit in love with Scarlet. She has this enormous strength that made her the reason that I really enjoyed this books. Don’t get me wrong, Lorenzo is a blast. But I could connect with Scarlet in a way I don’t connect with many heroines bc I respect the hell out of her.

I’m going to check out the Monster In His Eyes series in the next couple of days.

Menace by JM Darhower

In the romance novel world there are thousands of book with heroes who are “bad boys but good men.” Gruff sort of jerks who melt and capitulate about halfway through the story. And the heroine, be she sassy, pathetic, or a siren (whichever she is she’s plucky and untarnished) – inevitably serves to bring out the best in this manwhore or ne’er do well. This book blows that bullshit out of the water.

Lorenzo is a psycho. Not in a cute tough guy way. Not like he’s a good person who sometimes has to do bad things. He’s legitimately nuts. Scarlet, who he meets in a pretty fantastic way, is mighty balls-out herself. As soon as I figured out what she did for a living my perspective on this book changed. Here’s an author who lets her heroine be every bit the gritty bad-ass that the hero is. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a romance where I thought the hero might kill the heroine at some point – oddly enough I’m totally okay with it here.

I have a lot of respect for Darhower – willing to write two people so unsympathetic and to make them likable. On top of that, this book has some heavy emotional shit, but it doesn’t lower itself to blubbering and pandering. Lorenzo and Scarlet are tough – and this book does a good job of tempering the drama with violence and action. I’m going straight on to the next one. (PS – this ends on a cliffy – if you’re gonna read it plan on committing to two books. No real option to stop at one.)Me