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August Round Up

Monthly Mini Reviews

FrigidFrigid by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armintrout) – C+ I enjoy the friends to lovers trope and I liked Wait for You so I bought this one when it was 99c one day a while ago.  Kyler and Sydney have been friends since they were toddlers and each has had deep romantic feelings for one another for quite some time.  Kyler is a bit of a manwhore and enjoys a lot of one night stands.  Sydney has only had one boyfriend and her sexual experience is very limited (and the one time she had penetrative sex it wasn’t very good and her boyfriend split up with her almost immediately after and complained to his buddies she was frigid).  Both Kyler and Sydney think the other is out of their league for one reason or another but when they are stranded together at Kyler’s family ski lodge in a blizzard the truth finally comes out. The story is told from both main characters’ POV in alternating sections and, for the most part, the big misunderstanding the story is conceived on didn’t bother me too much.  This is because things move apace and the whole book, in terms of their relationship, is about solving the puzzle, not setting up the misunderstanding.  So, they spend the book learning how to be honest with one another and that gave them a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to my dislike of the “Big Mis” trope. However, they just had to throw in one too many of the misunderstandings in order to have the grand reunion and that was one too many for me.   There is also a suspense plot in there which I thought was kind of unnecessary and bizarre but overall, it was an easy read and not taxing on the brain.

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THE HOOK-UPThe Hook-up by Abigail Barnette – B  This free short story takes place after the events of The Girlfriend and therefore contains spoilers for the earlier books.  For that reason, I’d say best not to read it before the other two but if you don’t mind about spoilers, then I suppose you could.  In this story, Neil is in London, away from Sophie who is in New York.  He has a hookup with their mutual friend-with-benefits “Emir” and things don’t go the way one might expect.  I enjoyed the story in part because it was sexy and hot.  I liked that Neil’s bisexuality was shown on page and celebrated and it was nice to get some of Neil’s POV.  I also liked the chance to enjoy a short which was low conflict.  I expect there will be some other trouble ahead for Neil and Sophie – books would be boring without conflict – so it was nice to see them happy, even if they weren’t physically together in this instalment. Sophie wasn’t completely absent from the story, but she’s not the focus.  It’s only 30 or so pages so it’s a short hot read and hey: free.

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The Girlfriend by Abigail Barnette

The GirlfriendWhy I read it:  I had this one on the TBR and I started it immediately upon finishing The Boss because I don’t do cliffhangers.  Fortunately, it’s only 99c so the two books cost less than $2.00.

**SPOILERS FOR THE BOSS FOLLOW – BE YE WARNED** 

It’s possible some may consider my review to be spoilerish for The Girlfriend too.  But I can’t talk about the book without talking about these things so… I have hidden the worst of it under a spoiler tag.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Unemployed, blacklisted, and pregnant, Sophie Scaife’s life is totally upside down. Her relationship with publishing magnate Neil Elwood is on the rocks. Her best friend’s career is igniting. And Sophie is afraid she’ll make one of the toughest decisions of her life alone…

When a devastating diagnosis forces Neil to return to London, Sophie throws caution to the wind to follow her heart across the Atlantic. Keeping a scorching D/s affair as red-hot in sickness as it was in health is a challenge, even for two lovers as inventive as Sophie and Neil. But Sophie is more than willing to try anything her Sir commands, and their fantasies of control become a welcome refuge from the daily stress of illness.

While Neil’s wealth and privilege make adjusting to her new situation easier, Sophie finds herself rebuilding her life around an uncertain future. And while both of them face the changes between them head-on, they’re all too aware that their happiness may be fleeting—and Sophie could lose Neil forever.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  In this second book in the series, Barnette dials up the angst factor but she does it in a way that, at least to me, felt organic and believable and… grown up.  I don’t really have a clear understanding of what “id vortex” reading is (I’ve read a few definitions but they’re all slightly different, which I find confusing, so as a concept it’s still pretty vague for me)  but I guess this series would probably fall into that category.  However, while it does have plenty of drama, I felt it was grounded in  reality and not ridiculous jealousies, stalking and such.  Authors manipulate my feelings all the time – it’s part of why I read (or watch tv or see movies for that matter). There are times when I willingly go along for the ride even though it’s a bit ridiculous. Which is how I’d describe something like the Crossfire series – over the top and with a side of cheese; I say this with some affection.  (Even though I only read to the end of the second book, I had been enjoying the series. I would have read the third book but then the whole saga was extended to five books and I was out.)  I have fond memories of Bared to You and Reflected in YouThis series seems different to me. The set up of the characters feels smarter and more believable and the problems they deal with feel more real world.  Yes, Neil is a billionaire but as the book shows, while his wealth can give him some serious advantage, it can’t protect him from everything.

The Boss by Abigail Barnette

the bossWhy I read it:  I follow Jenny Trout (the author – Abigail Barnette is a pseudonym) on Twitter and I picked this one up some time ago when it was either free or 99c. At the time of writing, it was free from Amazon.  The other books in the series are available from Kobo but I couldn’t find this one there for some reason.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Sophie Scaife almost ran away once, trading her ticket to college for a ticket to Tokyo. But a delayed flight and a hot one-night stand with a stranger changed her mind, putting her firmly on track to a coveted position at a New York fashion magazine.

When the irresistible stranger from that one incredible night turns out to be her new boss – billionaire and publishing magnate Neil Elwood – Sophie can’t resist the chance to rekindle the spark between them… and the opportunity to explore her submissive side with the most Dominant man she’s ever known.

Neil is the only man who has ever understood Sophie’s need to submit in the bedroom, and the only man who has ever satisfied those desires. When their scorching, no-strings-attached sexual relationship becomes something more, Sophie must choose between her career and heart… or risk losing them both.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I might be remembering wrongly but I think Jenny Trout is open about this being her attempt at writing a Fifty Shades of Grey/Crossfire type book; except better.  There is the billionaire and the young girl, kinky sex, a work connection and drama-llama.  I’ve never read Fifty and I don’t plan to.  I read and really liked Bared to You but I haven’t read beyond book two of that series because I lost interest.  I think this book is better.  And there are a number of reasons for that.  Let me explain.  *beckons*

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