Book Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Book: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Published November 2017 by TKA Distribution|372 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Hard Play #1

Genre: Adult Contemporary

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

I liked Cherish Hard, but not as much as her Guild Hunter series or her Psy-Changling series.  I really like those series, and thought I’d give some of her other books a try.  This book seemed like a good starting point, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

I had a hard time with the fact that it takes place in the real world.  New Zealand was a great setting, but after reading two really long series that take place in a more magical/futuristic setting, I had a hard time with present time and real world.  I didn’t feel completely invested in Isa and Sailor’s relationship, though I really felt for Isa and the horrible family she has to deal with.  Honestly, Singh is great at writing horrible parents, but cool siblings and friendships.  But I just wasn’t into the romance in this book, and I’m not sure why.

Sailor was a little too perfect, and somehow managed to have his whole life planned out at the age of 23.  I’m 34, and even now, my life is nowhere close to being planned out the way his life is.  And I get Isa’s insecurities- who wouldn’t be with her mother, and the way she was publicly dumped several years earlier- but there was something a little too sweet and angelic about her.  Something about it seemed off, and they seemed a little more bland than some of the other characters Singh has written.

The book didn’t have a lot of drama, and overall, it was enjoyable.  It didn’t have the drama or tension I was expecting, but then again, I don’t usually read a lot of contemporary romance- historical and paranormal are much more my speed when it comes to romance, so that might be part of why I didn’t love Cherish Hard but still enjoyed it.

It was nice to see a romance where the heroine is older than the hero- it was refreshing to see it, because usually, the guy is older.  I wish we saw this more in romance, but maybe it’s there, and I just haven’t come across one that’s memorable enough to stick with me.  Or come across one at all- either one’s possible.

I don’t know if I’ll keep reading this particular series- I believe the series focuses on a different brother, so I might pick one up.  I also might not pick one up, but I am curious to see if I’ll like any of her contemporaries more.

3 stars.  I didn’t love it, but it was enjoyable, and a quick read.  I wasn’t super into the romance, but I did like that Isa was older than Sailor.

Book Review: Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros

Some Like It Wicked CoverBook: Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros

Published by July 2008 by Avon|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Kincaid Highland #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Some like it dangerous . . .

Highland beauty Catriona Kincaid cares nothing for propriety—or even her own safety—when she storms the grounds of Newgate Prison. Determined to return to Scotland and restore her clan’s honor, she seeks the help of Sir Simon Wescott, a disgraced nobleman and notorious rogue. She is prepared to offer him both wealth and freedom, but she never dreams the wicked rake will be bold enough to demand a far more sensual prize.

Some like it seductive . . .

Simon is shocked to discover the tomboy he met long ago has blossomed into a headstrong temptress. Although he’s sworn off his dreams of becoming a hero, he can’t resist playing knight errant to Catriona’s damsel in distress. Both adventure and peril await them at her Highland home, where they will risk their lives to vanquish her enemies . . . and risk their hearts to discover a passion beyond their wildest dreams.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

Romance is one of those genres I always tell myself I’m going to read more of, and yet, it’s one of those genres I never seem to read a lot of.  Which is weird, because, for the most part, I’ve really liked a lot of the romances I’ve read. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Some Like It Wicked, which turned out to be okay for me.

Catriona definitely is what I’d call strong.  She’s very determined to make sure the family name and the family land is okay, and she’s willing to do what she has to in order to get it back.  She was naive about some things (particularly in regards to Simon), but everything worked out in the end, and it wasn’t actually annoying.  In fact, it made sense for Catriona herself.  She wasn’t as wild and independent as I thought she’d be, but she did seem to be pretty independent by the end of the book.

And Simon…what can I say about Simon?  He definitely redeemed himself by the end of the book, and I actually liked Simon a lot more than I thought, especially where Cat was concerned.

But them together?  I liked them together, but only a little.  They certainly balance each other out, but I didn’t quite feel them as a couple.  They definitely had chemistry, and I wanted to love them together, but I just didn’t.

And it wasn’t as focused on romance as I thought it would be.  It was definitely there, but it felt like it was more about Catriona saving her family than anything else.  It ended super-happy- which is fine, and I pretty much expected that- but…I don’t know, I just wasn’t enthused with the super-happy ending.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  I don’t have much to say about Some Like It Wicked.  I get why people really like it/love it but it’s not one of my favorites.  I’d definitely give another one of her books a try, but not anytime soon.

ARC Book Review: False Illusions by A. Cramton

False Illusions CoverBook: False Illusions by A. Cramton

Self-Published in April 2015|222 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Series: False Illusions #1

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Madison had it all: the wealth, the amazing condo and engaged to the boxing Heavy Weight Champion of the World.
But in reality all she had was loneliness.
Until he showed up.

Yoel’s plan was bulletproof.
Get in and get out, win the title.
He did his homework but not well enough.
He wasn’t prepared for her.

One night changes everything.
One lie blurs the lines.

When the lust and smoke clears will everything just be a false illusion?
Or will it be the biggest fight of all?

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I absolutely loved this book!  I made the awesome mistake of starting it during my lunch break, and I was not happy when lunch was over because it meant I had to stop reading and go back to work!

I just loved the characters, and more than that, I loved Yoel and Madison together.  I love the chemistry they had, and when I was finished, I was really sad that I was finished, because I wanted to live in their world more.  I understood why Madison stayed with Marcus, but I was so glad when she broke things off with him and went to New York to do her own thing.  And her going to New York was even better once Yoel was involved!  I just love them together, and how they gave each other space, but also seemed to support each other.  They definitely had their ups and downs, but I loved that they worked it out.

Oh, Marcus!  I wasn’t a big fan of Marcus, but I also want to know what his deal is!  And Madison’s mom…even when she was being nice, I had a hard time liking her.  I definitely got the impression Madison’s happiness wasn’t important to her at all, but I’m glad Madison did what was right for her!  And that she and Yoel had such awesome friends (and that Yoel had a pretty cool family, from what I could tell).

Blog Graphic- My Rating

5 stars.  False Illusions really made me wish I read more contemporary romance.  I think I might have to after reading it!  The characters were amazing, and False Illusions was such a hard book to put down.

Book Review: Captive Of Sin by Anna Campbell

Captive Of Sin CoverBook: Captive Of Sin by Anna Campbell

Published October 2009 by Avon|356 pages

Where I Got: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: none

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

He pledged his honor to keep her safe.

Returning home to Cornwall after an unspeakable tragedy, Sir Gideon Trevithick comes upon a defiant beauty in danger and vows to protect her whatever the cost. He’s dismayed to discover that she’s none other than Lady Charis Weston, England’s wealthiest heiress—and that the only way to save her from the violent stepbrothers determined to steal her fortune is to wed her himself! Now Gideon must hide the dark secrets of his life from the bride he desires more with every heartbeat.

She promised to show him how to love—and desire—again.

Charis has heard all about Gideon, the dangerously handsome hero with the mysterious past. She’s grateful for his help but utterly unwilling to endure a marriage of convenience—especially to a man whose touch leaves her breathless. Desperate to drive him mad with passion, she would do anything to make Gideon lose control—and fall captive to irresistible, undeniable sin.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I don’t read romance novels very often, but every single time I do, I always tell myself that I’m going to read more of them (but never manage to follow through with that).  I did like Captive Of Sin, though, and I’m pretty sure I have one of her other books, so I’ll definitely have to read it sooner, rather than later.

Like, I don’t know how I feel about the romance!  I liked them together (at times), but I didn’t really root for them as a couple- there were times were it felt a little forced, and while they have a happily ever after, I couldn’t fully believe in the relationship. And that is really important in a romance (for me), and had I believed in the romance a little more, it may have received a higher rating.

I know their relationship comes about because of everything going on with Charis (who was okay as a character, but really, she could have been anyone) and I did like that Gideon wanted to help…while keeping her at bay because of everything he went through.  He’s definitely a tormented hero, and there were a few times where I wondered if he was maybe suffering from PTSD.  It didn’t feel like the PTSD that’s usually portrayed in movies and books, but I am curious if what he was going through was that, or just something else entirely.

And for some reason, I was slightly irritated at the fact that Charis was to the one to magically make him better, but at least it was a nice change from the opposite story line that could have happened (which seems much more common in adult romance).  I definitely felt for Gideon, but at the same time, I didn’t fall for him the way I would have thought.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

3 stars.  I can talk up why I didn’t like Captive Of Sin, and yet, I am having a hard time explaining why I like it! In this case, I just do.