Nose in a Book Reviews: Stand-In Star

Stand-In StarStand-In Star by Rachael Johns

My rating: 2 1/2 of 5 stars

Genre: Romance/Erotica

Stand-In Star had a lot of promise, but wasn’t executed as best as it could have been.

The story revolves around Holly McCartney, an Australian anthropologist who arrives in the US to attend The Oscars in place of her recently deceased sister who is nominated for best actress. Her sister’s friend Nate rescues her at the airport when she’s swarmed by the paparazzi and looks like a lamb left for slaughter.

The story goes back and forth, the miscommunications and the he/said, she/said goes on a bit longer than necessary. Nate thinks Holly and her family abandoned Daisy and has only saved Holly to tell her what he really thinks about her and her family. For some reason, he doesn’t tell her right away and ends up wanting to know more, and more about her. He feels guilty about betraying Daisy, and eventually after they stop fighting the attraction, do they get to the bottom of their issues.

The story was just a bit too all over the place for me. Interesting premise, but the plot just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: The Stranger by Kyra Davis

The Stranger (Just One Night, #1)The Stranger by Kyra Davis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2-out-of-5-stars

Genre:  Erotica

This story was actually pretty good. However, in my opinion, it wasn’t a full book. Why? In my estimation, a story needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end. This one, just sort of ended right in the middle of the story.

It felt like you were the girl on the sofa, making out with the hottest guy in school and he has you so worked up you are about ready to pop, only to have him stand up, give you a chaste kiss on the head and walk away.

Honestly, when I got to the end, I couldn’t believe it was ending there. I understand ending a book to make it a series, I do. There have been many books that ended leaving me hanging to make the books a series, but those actually ENDED the story in a way that led up to a series, not just a cliffhanger in the middle of the story just to make a buck writing another book. These well done books in a series include: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Revenants series, The Goddess Test series, and the Unearthly series. All of these, while leaving a cliffhanger, at least wrap up the story at hand. This book did not.

The story revolves around uptight Kasie Fitzgerald and how her friend drags her to Vegas for one last fling before she gets engaged to her equally uptight boyfriend of six years, Dave. I’m not usually a proponent of infidelity, yet it didn’t bother me too much in this story. Kasie obviously is dating the wrong guy and ultimately has a fling with a hot man she picks up at the blackjack tables. The problem, he suddenly becomes one of her clients and her one night stand ends up being involved in her life in a way she never expected.

I really did like the story, the writing and the characterization. But the author’s obvious cheap ploy to make a buck in the next book in the series is what just pissed me off and completely ruined this story for me.

Not sure I’m going to be willing to plunk down money to see how this ends, only to be teased into another book leaving me hanging just to buy ANOTHER book to find out the end. That doesn’t sit well with me.

If you’re going to write a story– WRITE the whole damn thing and publish it. Don’t chop it a third of the way in and say to yourself “hmm… I bet I can make this a trilogy.” NO that is not how it works. The book you are writing has to at least have an end. You can leave us wondering what the characters are going to do to get out of whatever predicament ends the book, but it has to have an ending, and The Stranger doesn’t have that.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: Blue Moon House by Angelica Dawson

Blue Moon HouseBlue Moon House by Angelica Dawson

My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

Genre: BDSM Erotica/Vampires

Blue Moon House was a bit of a mish-mash for me. The story is about a lonely human woman, Julia, who never really figured out where she belonged until she became a sub to a vampire at the Blue Moon House.

Right off the bat, we are in the deep end when it comes to the BDSM/Erotica side of the story. Her Dom, Henry has asked her to join the house and become a vampire. This is a privilege that is not bestowed on just anyone, and Julia can think of nothing she would like better than to be Henry’s immortal lover.

The trick to being invited in however is the initiation process. Julia must submit to each of the Vampires that reside in Blue Moon House, no matter what her particular preferences are. I’m not going to lie; the first half of this book is a bit out of my comfort zone, showcasing a wide variety of sexual kinks that just aren’t my cup of tea. However, if you like graphic and err more towards the dark side of kink, than perhaps this will be right up your alley.

While the beginning did squick me out just a bit, the second half I really enjoyed. I liked Angelica’s storytelling about how Julia fares after all is said and done, and through the process of her joining Blue Moon House. The end seemed a bit abrupt, but from what I know, there is a sequel in process, which might explain it. I also wished Angelica had gone into further detail about the history of the vampires and had gotten a bit more back story into them. But again, I am hoping the sequel will be a bit longer and more detailed in that aspect.

An interesting take on the vampire mystic and I am curious to read the second in the series. A solid debut from this author. Looking forward to reading what else she comes up with.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of TranquilityThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

five-stars

Genre: New Adult

Perfection. It seems appropriate that my first book of the year comes with a whale of a hangover.

This book. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it and do it the justice it deserves. The story revolves around Nastya, a broken and mysterious girl who comes to live with her Aunt to escape the scrutiny in her hometown. She arrives in skintight black clothes, stiletto heels and a whole lot of ‘black shit’ caked round her eyes. She’s dressed to make a statement, one more like a streetwalker than a seventeen year old girl.

Then there’s Drew and Josh, a pair of best friends who some how end up befriending Nastya. Drew is the resident player, leaving a trail of girls in his wake. Meanwhile Josh thinks he’s the kiss of death. At seventeen, he’s watched his whole family die around him, leaving him alone, bitter and reclusive.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints between Josh and Nastya. I love how the story is revealed slowly, like peeling back the layers of an onion. Millay does such a great job keeping us in suspense, but not boring us to death while doing it. The characters are complex and flawed, oh how flawed they all are. But it is in these flaws that you find their fragility and love them all the more, no matter how many mistakes they seem to make.

Did I mention Josh? Bad-ass, loner Josh who is one of the swooniest boys around?

He slowly goes from disliking Nastya to suddenly finding her inexplicably wrapped around every nook and cranny of his life. And it is a lovely thing to behold.

(The quotes are mildly spoilerish – so skip ahead to below the quotes for the rest)

I know at that moment what he’s given me and it’s not a chair. It’s an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn’t given me a place to sit, but a place to belong.

Just so you know,” he mimics me, “I would chop that table up and use it for firewood before I would ever choose anything over you.” It’s a ridiculous thing to say, but he nails me with those eyes, making sure I know he’s serious…

I’m not sure how long we sit in Josh’s truck, holding hands surrounded by darkness and unspoken regrets. But it’s long enough to know that there are no stories or secrets in the world worth holding onto more than his hand

 

I stayed up just about all night reading this book, and I have a feeling I may need to reread it again, just to catch some of the nuances I missed being in a bit of a sleepless haze.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time. A wonderful debut from an author I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Being Henry DavidBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Young Adult

Being Henry David was a quick, interesting read. Armistead does a great job sucking you into the mystery of who ‘Hank’ is and drags you along to see what misadventures the young man will get himself into next.

The story revolves around ‘Hank’, a man who wakes up in Penn Station with a bump on his head and no recollection of who he is. His only possession is Walden by Thoreau. Taking the author’s name, Henry quickly gets into trouble in the dark and dangerous streets of New York. He meets some interesting characters along the way, all of whom are unique and showcase a side of ‘Hank’ that leads you to his true identity.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and read it in one sitting during a cross-country flight. I recommend this coming-of-age tale about what it’s like to grow into the man you never knew you were. Well done and am looking forward to what else Armistead has to offer.

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