While this book is listed as a Romance, I found "the Best Man" to be an enjoyable story about family, friends and lovers - in that order of importance. Humor and intelligence along with a small town in upstate New York and a family owned winery created an interesting setting for the first book in an engrossing dramatic but not gritty series.
The character of Sabra had such potential - she was strong enough to admit to bad judgment, and processed vision and intelligence. I liked that she was physically strong as well as assertive and ambitious. Too bad she turned into a total wimp after meeting Holden.
Swinger and the rest of the Hot Rods enjoy hitting each other and their women partners, especially in sexual situations. However, when Sabra's old boss hits her in an attempted rape, the Hot Rods are outraged over the physical abuse. Really? What hypocrites!
If there had been more character development and less group sex, the Hot Rods series could have been entertaining. There was some humor and a cute puppy, but ultimately, it felt like soft porn with very little plot.
Rebel on the Run....needed a huge dose of reality. No child of a national American politician could run away from home at 17 without some journalist noticing.
I didn't think Kaelyn was an interesting character, considering she allowed her father to run her life well past the age of 21. When she did run away, she didn't plan her escape - no funds, no supplies, no destination.
Bryce (Rebel) resented his father for trying to control his life, yet Bryce is just as bossy and domineering toward Kaelyn, who really need to grow a backbone. Rebel claimed to love his childhood friend, then hit her without remorse. So not sexy!
I didn't like the character of Kaige (Super Nova), who felt perfectly justified in being a complete jerk to Nola. Sorry, but having a difficult childhood does not give a grown man an excuse for being obnoxious the rest of his life.
Nola was feisty and assertive in the beginning but soon allowed Kaige to hit her. Then Kaige basically gave Nola an ultimatum: have sex with his friends or get dumped. And he forgets to use a condom - what a prize.
ps. The characters each have a nickname, but the author doesn't consistently use a character's real or nickname, which was totally confusing.
I was hoping that Sally would be a stronger, more interesting character. Raised in an abusive cult, Sally ran away at 15 and found a home with Eli's kindhearted father Tom. Yet she kept a stupid secret for more than 10 years, feeling guilty despite being an innocent victim. What a martyr!
Eli and Alanso were supposed to be in love with Sally, yet seemed more interested in hitting her and each other. I thought they should have shown more respect for her, considering that they had worked & lived together for more than a decade.
While I can't imagine the appeal of group sex, even with close friends, I really didn't understand how friends could physically abuse each other and consider it erotic and romantic. As if the world needs more senseless violence.....
Mostly, I didn't buy that Sally wanted to be gang banged by 7 men at once or that Eli & Alanso would pimp out a woman for whom they had true feelings. What bullshit!
I wish Jayne Rylon had spent more time developing the Hot Rod characters, a group of close friends who were raised together since they were teens. I couldn't get past the incestuous feeling when the men who called each other "brother" started screwing each other.
I also didn't like the violence during sex; hitting is SO not erotic. It totally creeped me out when Joe, holding his baby daughter on his lap, casually talked about hitting Sally for sexual kicks. How can he claim to love his child & wife, yet enjoy hurting women? Of course, it was just as revolting when the men hit each other.
Jayne Rylon is incredibly talented, capable of writing multifaceted characters, so I was disappointed when there was more graphic (sordid rather than sensual) sex scenes than actual plot. However, the narrator was great; his voice was deep and mesmerizing.
Although Saffron (bartender, 29) and Logan (artist, 32) are not really teenagers, I couldn't tell by their juvenile behavior.
The beginning showed potential, but as soon as the couple hopped into bed, they reverted to adolescence - insecurity, temper tantrums and squabbling. Plus, they keep having unprotected sex with no discussion of birth control or health testing.
The setting was supposed to be a small coastal Maine village - less than 1,000 residents - but it didn't feel realistic or authentic. Example, Logan goes swimming in the bay without a wet suit, which is not possible even in summer.
The story seemed choppy and disjointed, causing me to loose interest. Not even a cute puppy or a mystery stalker could save this book.
This book reminded me somewhat of the Longmire series, with a good hearted sheriff and eccentric residents in a small western town. I liked that the characters were slightly flawed, but struggling to adapt to changes.. The ongoing feud between Jim (sheriff) and the mayor was amusing, if somewhat over the top.
I would have given this book a 5 star rating if I had thought the killer's identity made any sense - can't say more without spoiling the surprise. Yes, anyone can probably kill given the right circumstances but I thought someone capable of cold blooded murder would have shown other negative personality traits. In a town of less than 5,000 people (mostly nosey), there are no secrets.
While the book's premise was promising, I couldn't finish Whistlin Dixie. Leelee (wife/mother) was just too stupid for words, when she allows her selfish husband to relocate their family from Memphis to Vermont.
Since I didn't connect with any character or the fictional setting (Vermont is actually a lovely state with highly educated residents), I lost interest less than a third of my way through this book. While Lisa Patton wrote some humorous moments, I thought this book was a dud.
Cade is my idea of a true alpha male hero - a skilled military expert who could kill with his bare hands but would never deliberately hurt someone weaker.
Unlike the BDSM bullies who have become so popular in romantic fiction recently, Cade doesn't need to prove his masculinity by degrading women. No, Cade is too busy rescuing kidnap victims and ridding the world of terrorists and murderers.
Cade meets Maria when he investigates the bombing that killed her mother. There is a great mix of mystery, action and romance - very entertaining yet sad due to descriptions of human trafficking and senseless killing.
Maria is an engrossing character: strong without being a bitch, rich yet working to help impoverished kids, and a loyal friend with integrity. Maria and Cade made a well-matched team, working together as an effective team. I will be looking for other books by Katie Reus.
Finally, a new romantic novel with a strong, sexy man who DIDN'T enjoy hurting women.
Jack (trained killer and NSA agent) had seen too much violence already, so he had no desire to beat & abuse women (BDSM). In fact Jack liked and respected women, particularly his childhood friend Sophie.
Sophie, a strong & intelligent woman, grew up in foster care yet she was brave and mature with healthy self respect. Although Sophie was extremely attracted to Jack, she would never allow him or any other man to hurt or degrade her.
Sophie was raped as a teenager, which contrary to BDSM propaganda she did NOT find an erotic or exciting experience. Likewise, Jack was horrified by Sophie's assault and felt guilty that he had not been there to protect her.
Targeted had a well written plot, with engaging characters and snappy dialogue. I enjoyed listening as Sophie and Jack met again as adults, renewing their friendship and fell in love. The sex scenes were tender and sexy, explicit without being pornographic, showing exactly how talented Kate Reus is.
Report Inappropriate Content