It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Carol Lynne book. I’m in the mood for raunchy.
Sugar and Spice by Shondra Jackson
This is book one of Jackson’s “DL Diaries” series. It’s about Marcus, a married black man who’s cheating on his wife with a male subordinate he works with. It’s also about his wife, Rochelle, trying to figure out what’s wrong in their marriage.
Everyone in this book was trifling. I didn’t like a single character except for maybe Tyrone. Tyrone was really the most innocent out of all of them. Or the least messed up. Yes there was that “incident” at the pool, but he came to his senses and realized ol’ girl, Rochelle, wasn’t worth it (she wasn’t). And Tyrone legit got the worst ending out of everyone else. Everyone else gets a relatively happier ending while he gets a creepy Tyler Perry wannabe back in his life. What did Tyrone do to deserve that?
There was so much going on in this book. Possibly too much considering how short this book was. I think focusing more on Marcus and Rochelle would’ve given Sugar and Spice a lot more depth. There was just a lot of soap opera-y/Scandal-like drama that made this work border on ridiculous in a bad way. Perhaps that was Jackson’s intent? But being on the down low is something that we shame a lot of black men for and not really examine why they feel a need to hide who they are. I’m not excusing what Marcus did at all (I don’t do cheating whether with a man or a woman), but he was obviously going through some type of self-hatred to end up in the situation he was in. I just think there was a missed opportunity here.
That said, once I got passed the first chapter, the story actually kept my attention. Though I think this book suffered from too many points of view. There was also some name confusion in the book where it should’ve been Marcus instead of Tyrone and vice versa; some typos here an there. Overall, though, it was solid novella.
*This books was provided by the publisher for an honest review
Describing Skin Colors
Having trouble finding synonyms for ‘white’, ‘black’, ‘tan’, etc? Have any clear idea what tone you’re going for? Here’s some web pages for skin tone description and references:
Handy Words for Skin Tone (Includes palettes and comparisons)
More Tone Synonyms w/ Pictures
7 Offensive Mistakes Writers Make (includes more than just skin color)
since people were asking earlier about how to write a character of color without being racist
Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne
I quite liked this. It did take me a bit to get into. I think most of it had to do with reading other reviews and was apprehensive about it. I was expecting the worst, but it actually wasn’t bad like I feared.
This book was so very Australian. I knew a few colloquialisms, even though I’m american. I had no idea of the distance between cities and towns/suburbs, so when they traveling to different places I just went with it.
I do feel like there was more telling than showing. But at the same time, I’m not sure how the told part could’ve been expanded on and still fit within the perimeters of the overall story. I do wish we got Ash’s point of view on the first half of the book as much as we got Scott’s. I also would’ve liked to know weather or not he was an out rockstar as we get into the future. Probably not, but it’s something I’d like to have a definitive answer on.
I wish the gap that Ash and Scott hadn’t seen each other wasn’t so big. I thought the reason Ash didn’t contact Scott after their big blow up was a tad flimsy, but valid. I could see a few years of a “cooling off” period, but 16 years? I don’t know, man. But it does show that you never get over your first.
I did really feel for Ash because I know what’s like to love someone who has an addiction. I don’t think he was a bad person for abandoning Scott, though as I said, I wish he did make contact with him sooner. I really felt for him when he went through Scott’s hot/cold routine.
I really did like this a lot and I would definitely read a follow up story with these two.
Mirage by Tia Fielding
I was expecting more from this title. The blurb pulled me in, but the execution left a lot to be desired. And those are the same problems I’ve had with other Tia Fielding books.
Too much happened off-page. I would’ve loved to actually see Jasper and Cade’s relationship develop instead of being told about it. And I would’ve liked for their sexual tension to last a bit longer than Cade’s first couple days of being there. When Cade came on to Jasper it felt like it was coming out of left field and I was really wondering if I had missed something. After shacking up and doing it like rabbits (which we don’t get to see, either), weeks go by and characters pop in and out giggling and teasing up a storm. If you’re going to deny the reader sex scenes, at the very least make their out-of-bedroom relationship interesting and perhaps give me some delayed gratification.
Information was needlessly repeated, like Cade’s racial/ethnic background. Side note: Jasper’s son is white and he needs to get over it. And caucasian does not mean you’re white.
As soon as the nosy mother-figure came into play, I should’ve known I was headed down the “meddling friends and family members” road. I’m all for secondary characters chiming in to tell the MC(s) they need to take their head out their asses (how many times have you wanted to do that to a character?), but I can not stand when they play the go-betweens and romance advisors when the MCs need to talk to each other directly. I can put up with a lot of horrible writing cliches but I refuse to put up with that one.
I liked Jasper and Cade as a couple for what little on-page time we get to see them together. But there were too many other characters that, though likable, detracted from the story the MCs could’ve had.
Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote
I liked this book overall, but the writing was a bit dry. I liked the characters well enough, but I wasn’t particularly wowed by the prose.
I really liked Lewis. I related to him a lot and felt for him in his situation. I would’ve liked Max’s point of view and what he was thinking. However, I definitely didn’t mind the spotlight on Lewis.
I don’t have a lengthy review for this one. It was sweet and simple and a relatively quick read. There are a lot of british-ism and tea drinking and superfluous information, but I didn’t dislike it.
Trouble and the Wallflower by Kade Boehme
While I did like this book, there were parts missing I think. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what, however.
For me, there was so much about this that was utterly superficial to me. It wasn’t as deep as I would’ve wanted it to be. Characters got upset/went through emotions, but I didn’t empathize with them. I think a lot of that had to do with the author doing more telling than showing. I mean, Boehme would just skip over scenes like Gavin spending time with his family at the fish market. Weeks would go by and before you knew it, Davy and Gavin were in a relationship and Davy became part of the family.
Also, the book was wading in the “meddling friends and family members” trope territory and those parts nagged me a bit. I just think there were too many of Gavin’s friends and I think the book could’ve benefitted by focusing more on Sean and maybe Mason. But Devon and especially Nate were just too superfluous and didn’t add anything to the story ( I could’ve done without Nate’s apology toward the end).
And what was up with that “starved for attention like an orphan in a third world county” line? And why did it need to be said twice? Wanting a parent’s love isn’t only indicative of being in an underdeveloped country. I side-eyed both times the male leads thought it.
I really liked the ending. I’m glad that Davy and Gavin got to make their own family.
I’m looking for Lesbian Romance and/or erotica. Especially ones featuring women of color and interracial relationships with women of color. I volunteer at a gay library, but most of the lesbian books aren’t really my fancy (too many who-done-its).
And All Romance Ebooks doesn’t have a great selection.
Any recs will be greatly appreciated.
Finished Ball & Chain
These are my thoughts on Ball & Chain from my personal blog. I haven’t been reviewing the other books. There’s be spoilers behind the cut. If you don’t follow that series, no need to read.
Accepting the Alpha by J.J. Black
Saw this was on sale at All Romance ebooks (ARe). I liked the premise and got it. I understand the bad reviews and I should’ve looked at them before I bought this instead of being blinded by the sales price.
I didn’t get why is was so badly reviewed until about page 20. With shapeshifter, you expect instalove, but this book took it to a whole other level. I love the gay-for-you trope (so prevalent in shifter books) but Eli adjusted too well to finding out his mate was a man. We see him checking out other men at the club, sure, but we don’t know about his previous pack life to determine if he was really straight before going to the Great Lakes Pack. I really wanted more of a foundation built between Kellan and Eli and more of the power battles between them.
I really disliked the author’s use of Tracy. He may have been a gay man, but he was still perpetuating the Jealous Bitch stereotype that other m/m writers utilize with women. Just because you changed the gender, doesn’t make it any less stupid.
The story was a lot more telling than showing. And the characters were inconsistent. The villainy of Eli’s father was incredibly ridiculous. Eli’s supposed best friend was extremely judgmental considering the situation, though I will admit Kellan and Eli having sex while Noah missing was in really bad form.
Overall, my feelings on this is eh. This one seems eerily familiar to another shifter series I’ve read that I can’t remember right now. I had a lot of deja vu when reading it. But I’ve also read a lot of shifter books to the point where they all blend together. There are better shift stories out there, but if you can’t find one, this one will do.