Posts By lrrutherford

Review: The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones

The Bastard (Filthy Duet, #1; Dirty Rich, #6)The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones

I have problems saying that I quote, unquote “like” this book because I do and I don’t. This was a fun and fast read with steamy intimate moments but it bordered the realm of unrealistic to man-you’ve-got-to-be-f**king-kidding-me. For example, the lead character is a billionaire, a Navy SEAL, and a genius/ savant. Sure. Yeah. That could happen. Harper, his love interest, is his stepsister who works for his father that doesn’t love him because he is a bastard, and she is harboring a secret after they hooked up at a formal event six years ago in a cottage… I’m not sure which layer of this plot lasagna is the hardest to digest.

This being said, I did enjoy reading this book and I look forward to the before mentioned sequel coming out, The Princess.

Critique:
The author does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention and investing their attention in the plot of the story. However, the critiques I have about this novel are not to be ignored. The story is told from the point of view of Eric and Harper as they navigate the thin ice a new relationship is starting to form from. Overall this is well done but throughout the book, the main frustration between the two characters seems unfounded because they just met after not seeing each other for 6 years. Everything about their build-up is forced and Harper’s emotions that hold her back are beaten to death in the prose. He left six years ago after a hookup, he didn’t owe you anything, do we really have to hear about it the ENTIRE book?

Harper has the foundation to be a solid female character and there are elements of her that I adored in the beginning. I think readers will agree that the chemistry set up between Harper and Eric is undeniable, and a joy to read. I would suggest that the writer take a look at the inner monologues and cut out about half of the times she refers to Eric as “this man.” Unless you are Jodi Ellen Malpas I think this term of endearment has been exhausted. The novel ends on a cliffhanger that will lead into the next novel and I feel that this was strategically done because I don’t think I would continue to read if I wasn’t invested into the ending of the first novel.

This is my first time reading Lisa Renee Jones and I feel like I will be looking out for more of her novels in the future. I rate this a three and a half stars but I mark it at four because I think this is a novel readers will enjoy overall.

Summary (with no spoilers):
Eric is the bastard son of the head of the Kingston Motors company in Denver. His mother, sick with cancer, made sure that he was claimed before she died giving him a gift that will curse him forever as the bastard son of an empire. After dropping out of Harvard Law and joining the Navy SEALs he goes to a family party to prove to himself once and for all that he doesn’t need to gain his father’s approval as more than a bastard son. Feeling the animosity for blood that won’t claim him he is just about to leave until he sees her, the Princess. Standing apart from the crowd she looks like royalty in a ballgown and Eric knows he has to make her his, if only for a night.

Issac, the legitimate heir taunts him by explaining the truth behind this wondrous creature, their new stepsister Harper. Before he leaves the family for good she follows him for a cottage for a night they both don’t forget. She is enough to make him think about staying but after seeing her making a speech with his family he turns his back on all of them for good.

Six years later..

Eric teamed up with a friend Bennett from Law School that believed in him and together they started an investment company worth billions. His past is kept behind him until the princess of his dreams walks in a steals his breath away all over again. The business is in trouble, his father and brother are up to something that will ruin the company and take her biological father’s legacy down with it. Helping her means helping them, something he vowed never to do.

Will he come to the rescue and save the family that has forsaken him? Or will he be there just in time to claim the princess and wash his hands of Kingston Motors for good?

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Her Guilty SecretHer Guilty Secret by Clare Connelly

Her Guilty Secret by Clare Connelly

Underwhelming. This book was underwhelming and hard to finish. Although this is a book that is meant to be a quick read, character development was not there and the absurdity of the “connection” between Conner and Olivia was repetitive and lackluster. I don’t like giving bad reviews because I believe there were some good qualities about this novel. For example, the intimate scenes were hot and have the potential to be well-written.

I think this author has a unique and bright voice, however, they need to refine the story behind the characters. In my opinion, the beginning is very rudimentary and dull because it is the stereotypical fireworks off the bat, no pretense or background explanation, just BAM the characters want to bang and have the same thoughts. Saying that I do feel like the story picks up in the middle and the ending is a lot better than the beginning. I don’t want to give away spoilers but if you do read to the end you will feel more connected to the characters right before they slip from your fingers forever. I wish that feeling could have been present in the beginning.

Critique:
I would not recommend this novel for purchase until major structural elements are corrected and refined. These elements include making sure the point of view is clear to the reader instead of jumping around multiple times in one chapter. Explaining more about the Donovan case at the beginning of the story so that the reader isn’t pressed for information midway through. Perhaps being more subtle about the fact that Conner is staring at her (or appearing to) the entire time of his lecture. -If I were a student I would know 100% they are hooking up without needing confirmation. Also, giving his lectures some depth and detail that would play into the ending would help by leaps and bounds to establish his status in the legal world. Sure you say he is a top-lawyer in Ireland, but where is the proof he has a brain when he isn’t baiting Olivia?

Summary (with no spoilers): Available February 1st, 2019
Olivia Amerelli is a senior law student at uni in London with dreams of making a name of herself as one of the UK’s top prosecutors. Nothing is going to stop this shining legal star until guest lecturer and top criminal attorney Conner Connelly gets in her way. This Irish barrister uses the law to free the prosecuted and upturn legal proceeding for the mega-rich. The energy between them is electric but acting on their feelings would put both of their careers in jeopardy. Can they fight the heat growing between them? Or will his sinister job be her undoing?

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My Top 5 Romance Genre Pet Peeves

It’s easy to forget about a plot hole or repeat the same phrase twice when you are writing a novel but there are some mistakes that bother me more than any others. Here are my Top 5 Romance Genre Pet Peeves of 2018.

 

  1. ONE. The word wanton used to describe every physical interaction between the two main characters.

 

I am guilty of using this adjective myself but I try to be as sparse about it as I can be. It’s not that it is a bad descriptive word, however, romance authors use this way too much! I call it a “bandwagon” adjective because once one author has a successful book with a off-road word then other writers start to overuse it in order to give their book the same feel. The same could be said about other words such as moot, insatiable, and musk. Musk alone makes me want to gag; it’s almost as bad a moist but with a slightly better aftertaste? I don’t know.

 

Plus, every time I read the word wanton I want a wonton soup. Kind of a mood killer if you ask me… Or is it? Bun, dun, dun!

 

  1. TWO. Saying the main female character is strong and independent until she meets the main character and suddenly becomes insecure and obedient.

 

Character X is an independent lawyer/ doctor/ manager/ nurse/ insert job here that is fine with being single because she doesn’t take BS from anyone. Until… tall, dark, and handsome walks in and tells her how to dress, what to say, who to see, where to go, all because he is what? He’s attractive? Rich? Authoritative? … How about no.

 

Why do so many authors go to so much trouble to make a female character appear confident in the beginning and then tear it all apart without admitting it? It’s okay for the character to change or to become “dickmatized” but don’t act like this dynamic shift isn’t occurring. Own it. Change it. Take back control. I understand that all women have an underlying deep-seated need to be cared for by someone that will love and protect them (don’t we all), and it is okay for a dominant character to become submissive in the bedroom but quit allowing characters to lose who they are outside of the bedroom! Let’s have a little emotional backbone stay in tact, please.

 

  1. THREE. Body image. She is thin but has a big butt, natural boobs, long hair,  with crystal eyes and plump lips, and she still can’t find a man? Boo, hoo. I feel so bad for her

 

There is nothing wrong about the girl I just described, but please don’t write like she has no idea how attractive she is. It’s hurtful to the integrity of the author and also the body image projected onto the reader. If someone that is described as socially perfect with no ulterior flaws really can’t see their worth than there is no help for the rest of us. A little confidence in a character goes a long way to me when I am reading a novel. Maybe she looks perfectly fine but is a pyromaniac, or maybe she is OCD to the point of no return. She is the girl that all the guys want but she will burn your shit to dust and then organize it into small equal piles. I don’t care what it is but please quit writing characters that have no physical flaws to everyone else but then all of a sudden when she meets the guy she turns into the white swan. This is not Swan Lake, we don’t all turn into vixens once we catch the eye of a bad boy (maybe we feel that way but let’s be real, we don’t go from plain to daymn overnight).

 

  1. FOUR. The two meet and everything starts progressing but what happened to their jobs??

Is there some unwritten romance rule that I’m not privileged to that states once the main characters start interacting that work ceases. I’m not saying I want to read a bunch of boardroom scenes but a little subplot here and there only makes the story that more addicting.

 

Maybe I’m just bitter on this one but how are their bills getting paid or companies being run? You can’t have a workaholic male just up and quit his job out of nowhere! And without discussing taking a leave of absence. Is the reader supposed to assume that all obligations prior to sex are null and void once they hook up? And for that matter don’t take away the success of a female character building a name for herself and then put it on hold because she met someone new.  

 

  1. FIVE. The over exaggeration of animal attraction in the air between character x and y, then pretending that other people can’t notice it.

 

“He looked into my eyes and I could feel him pouring over my body with his lingering gaze. No one in class saw his visceral need to take me on his desk but me as he talked about statistical risk and reward. I noticed his lip quiver when I bit my own in shame. I felt so dirty being in the middle of the lecture hall and all I wanted to do was push him to his limit the same as he was pushing me.”

 

  • Okay, honestly I just came up with that and it wasn’t that bad, however, it stands to remain that this is illogical and completely ridiculous. If my professor was staring at some girl intently I would notice, especially if he is cute.

 

The same goes for any person looking intently at another person in general. Flirting is flirting and if you want to write about being your characters being stealthy when it comes to showing admiration for another then at least have it be less socially evident. Don’t rely on the characters staring at each other because it is creepy. Don’t be that person that writes a stalker and not a lover. It’s not a good look.

Her Lifeline by L. A. Casey – Book Review

Her LifelineHer Lifeline by L.A. Casey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Her Lifeline by L. A. Casey

This novel is filled with heart-wrenching moments and a pureness that can only be encapsulated by a talented author. Set to be released January 24th, 2019, L. A. Casey does an excellent job in character development and plot build up. Although parts of it were hard to read because of the Scottish vernacular used, it was a welcome change in my UK reading experiences. The tone of the novel was genuine because of the language used (and you know I love a good accent) which left me wanting more.

If you are looking for a book that has a good build (and a plot that doesn’t involve the characters spending 80% of the book humping like rabbits) then this is a great choice for you. The emotions are genuine and Ward Buckley will have you blushing over and over again.

I love Erin’s strength and her presence in the novel. She doesn’t just forgive Ward but she makes him work for it (as she should). One thing I would have changed would be to delay the “kitchen” scene a little bit further along in the story because they went from 0 to 100 real quick. That’s all I will say for now because I don’t want to spoil it for the rest of you. L. A. Casey just made her way on my author watch list of upcoming romance writers in 2019.

Criticism:

Whiskey? Really? Out of all the random nicknames/ pet names for a character you go with Whiskey? Alright. Not my first choice but I could see where the author was going with the symbolism… even though her mom is an alcoholic… if my mom was an alcoholic I wouldn’t want the pet name of my lover to be a hard liquor. Just sayin’.

I stand behind my review in that I love the story and the writing behind the story, however, I think at points the book dragged on. The ending that she chose was phenomenal but I was distracted by the way in which she summed up her chapters before the finale. There were multiple times reading it where I thought I could stop and be content with the end of the story. Before Tommy died I got the impression that the writer was content at the ending of the story and didn’t want to continue. Then, after Tommy died I understood that there were more plot holes the author wanted to fill. Although this bothered me on a literary level I think the plot and the characters remain strong and the events are very true to how I feel reactions would be in real life. A+

Summary (in my own words with no spoilers):

When disaster hits Erin’s life the first time, the man she always relied on wasn’t there to pick up the pieces. After a decade of no contact, disaster strikes Erin again only this time the comfort she so desperately craved from Ward Buckley is the last thing she wants.

Tommy Saunders is Erin’s brother and Wards best friend from their childhood in Scotland. They had dreams to build an app (Friendzone) that would change the technological world forever. Hours of designing the app and planning for college all changed in the course of a few seconds when Mr. Sauders is killed in a tragic car accident. When Tommy decides to stay with his grieving family instead of heading off to university (uni), Ward, determined to run from his sinister past sticks to the plan. Erin sees him as a traitor and curses the day he left them for good. Only it wasn’t for good…

Now Tommy is in a serious accident of his own awaiting life-saving surgery. Ward a self-made billionaire and founder of Friendzone gets the message, he leaves his life in London behind to help the man he once called a brother. Although his tensions are noble, his cause is lost on Erin Saunders who rejects him at every turn. Will he prove to be the man that once

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Another Year Older, Another Year Better – A reflection on my 27th year on Earth.

47680246_10156171522572104_601360322690809856_nThis weekend I turned 28 years old and I feel ancient. I know, the rest of you are rolling your eyes saying that 28 still young and you are right. Relatively, 28 is young. My soul, however, is tired. I feel like I have lived the life of an old woman that has seen too many wars.

Over dramatic much?

Yeah, I know. The curse of being a writer. (That, and I have recently been binge-watching “The Last Kingdom” on Netflix because finals are over and “Game of Thrones” season 8 is taking too long to start up again!) The stories I have written have done nothing to help with the dramatics in my life but it has also forced me to grow in ways I never thought I would have. Now, I see things from multiple perspectives. Things that I would never have concerned in the past are now stories in my head in which a piece of me lives in an altered universe. I can see the logic of antagonist more clearly than I can the protagonist at times, and when I see another heartbreaking a part of mine breaks along with it.

What does this have to do with anything?

The point of it all is that this year, at this point in my life, I have realized that writing is more to me than a hobby or a means to gain notoriety. Writing is as important to me as it is to breathe and reading is like the water I must drink to stay alive. This is not a practice I could ever so simply stop because I’m sure I would go insane. There is always a story in my head, a character I wish to recognize, a point of view to highlight a fresh insight.

In 2018 I have accomplished so much and have so little to show for it. I fear that I will never be traditionally published. I fear that no one will read my writing. I fear that I am not enough. I am still waiting for publishers to send back word of my fate and every day that passes I hold my dreams on my sleeve.

My Inspiration to Keep Going:

Even though this weight is pressed on my shoulders I’m not going to let it bring me down or stop me from continuing to pursue my dream of being traditionally published. So with this, I am going to leave you with two literary nerds that have inspired me to continue this year.

First is David Foster Wallace, a great writer taken from us too soon. His commencement speech for Kenyon’s college class of 2005, “This is Water” is an video clip that will haunt me forever in the best sense possible. I share this not only to inspire but to explain my train of thought in this reflection of my 27th year on Earth. I hope his words stay with as they have for me.

 

And another one of my best friends Olivia McKintosh who has constantly been an inspiration to me to start a blog and social media platform. She has had the blog Olivia Reads a-Latte for a few years reviewing YA and NA books, and now has a successful Vlog on YouTube where she shares book reviews, book journaling tips, and organizational tricks for every girl (or boy’s) private book collection. With a pumpkin spice latte in her hand she is fearless and my literary cheerleader (love you boo!).