Friday, September 1, 2017

First Position

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:30 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Romance / Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: If you’re at all familiar with our site, you know there’s one thing we ADoR gals love: cliches. Everyone has their favourite cliches and this story contains a weakness of mine. Rivals to lovers. Is there anything better?

This is set in the world of the New York City Ballet, a beautiful backdrop to a beautiful story. Ana Mikhelson has been working her whole life to get out of the shadow of her famous father, and this is her year. She’s finally made principal dancer, the highest position in the company. She’s known as the Ice Queen, but she doesn’t let petty things like jealousy or lonliness bother her. Until Natalie enters the scene. Hailed as a dance protege since she was young, Natalie has never liked the strict world of ballet. When she’s offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the NYC Ballet, she can’t say no. And so starts a fierce rivalry between the two, that soon gives way to a wary friendship.

I have a confession to make - I rarely read f/f books. The few I’ve read haven’t been very well-written, so I while I was hesitant to start this, the summary and glowing reviews urged me on. It doesn’t disappoint. It switches between both Ana and Natalie, but I never got confused between the two. It served to craft both their characters well and not make them into stereotypes. Ana’s a workaholic and reserved, while Natalie is the complete opposite - outgoing, loves to party, is continually late. But they were both more than this and that’s what truly brought this story to life for me.

The plot was riveting throughout. While it does go the way of a cliche, it’s more than that. There’s a solid storyline the whole way through, making it not boring for a moment. I’ve always had a fascination for ballet, so it was near-magical to read about it. Brayden writes in a way that flows like a picture in my mind. My only concern was it did feel a bit disjointed at the climax, but that’s only nitpicking.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Family Chosen (Volumes 1-4)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Erotica
Rating: 3.5 stars

Helen Thinks: This is a Sloane Kennedy’s entire story arc. It consists of twenty novels from four of her individual series but all the characters intermingle so Kennedy has bundled them into these volumes. I was going to individually review every novel but I really didn’t think you would want me writing twenty long reviews about how amazing these novels are - because seriously that’s all the reviews would be! For two weeks straight (would have been a lot shorter time if life didn’t get in the way!), I read these novels one after the other and I couldn’t put them down.

Three out of twenty novels are M/F pairings but the remaining seventeen are M/M or M/M/M. Kennedy does explain for those that prefer only to read M/M then you can skip the M/F ones if you really want to but as much as I love my M/M novels, I couldn’t skip the M/F ones and I wouldn’t advise that any of my M/M fans do either. Those of you that aren’t massively into the M/M I beg of you not to skip these books over. Lauren; my sister; has always stated that she wouldn’t read the M/M books on my kindle but then started reading the first novel - Gabriel’s Rules - which is M/F and I explained to her that the third one of the trilogy was M/M and she decided to give it a go anyway because she couldn’t not read the third book in a trilogy. Safe to say, she’s now halfway through the books and is just as addicted as I am. So praises to Kennedy for getting my sister to try something new and for it to be that well written she can’t put them down.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult / Young Adult
Category: Romance / Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: Sometimes, you just need a book that’s going to leave you with a smile afterwards. This is that book. It’s so cute, but has an at times sad and gripping storyline. Our main character is Annie, who is struggling with guilt over her boyfriend’s death. To honour his memory and as some kind of atonement, Annie signs up to run a full marathon. Downside: she hates running, and has never run a day in her life.

This story is structured around her preparing for the marathon, but it’s a lot more than that. It goes into her dealing with her grief and how her boyfriend’s accident has affected all areas of her life: family, school, and friends. She’s also struggling with her feelings for her coach’s younger brother, the charming Jeremiah. He makes her smile and feel things she hasn’t felt before, but that makes her want to stay away from him at the same time. A second chance romance is a tricky cliche to navigate. It’s too easy for an author to justify a new relationship by vilifying the old one, or comparing the two guys and finding the previous one lacking. Or, my least favourite of all, having the entire thing be completely unrealistic. This wasn’t the case here. The topic was dealt with gently and thoroughly, in a way that was very realistic and heart-breaking.

Jeremiah himself has to be one of my favourite leading guys. His personality is one I’ve never seen before, so it came across as incredibly original. This whole novel was a breath of fresh air. I’ve trained for something similar to a marathon, and the details were all there: the body breaking down, the stomach cramps, and how it’s the strength of your mind that will get you through it. I loved all of it! This is in a series of books called Hundred Oaks, and some characters from the other books do appear, but I read it as a stand-alone and had no trouble.

Friday, August 4, 2017

All the Missing Girls

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Age: Adult
Category: Crime
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: My library app recommended All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Miranda isn’t an author I had heard of but I thought I’ll give it a shot and I am so glad that I did! It was a captivating read that I couldn’t put down and I text my best friend while I was only halfway through to add it to her to be read pile!

Ten years ago, Nicolette Farrell left her hometown of Cooley Ridge after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. Now that her father has been diagnosed with Dementia and they need to sell the house to pay for his carer fees, Nicolette is back in Cooley Ridge to help her brother, Daniel. However, it’s not long before another woman is missing and it re-opens Corinne’s case as well as brings back old memories for all those involved. The investigation into Corinne’s disappearance focused on Nicolette, her brother Daniel, her then boyfriend Tyler and Corinne’s boyfriend, Jackson. Annaleise Carter, Nicolette’s neighbour, was the alibi for the group on the night of Corinne’s disappearance. Nicolette was the only one that left Cooley Ridge behind her while the rest of them made lives for themselves in their home town. Now Annaleise is missing...

Do you want to know what makes All the Missing Girls stand out? It’s told backwards.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Willful Machines

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:25 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult / Young Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Science Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: This book is truly a standout for me from all the other YA m/m books out there. It's crafted so well and is perfect for anyone cautious about books featuring gay romance, especially since the plot line is so good!

The main character is Lee, who is the closeted son of a very traditional US president. This is set a hundred or so years into the future, were science has progressed onto robots. The one try at artificial intelligence, however, ended up in chaos - a team of scientists created Charlotte, who escaped by transferring her consciousness to the internet and began launching terrorist attacks on the country. Lee, despite his love of robotics, is more interested in the more immediate - eccentric, beautiful Nico, who spouts off Shakespeare at random and seems to be truly interested in Lee himself. But when Charlotte starts attacking the school and targeting Lee, he starts to believe that Nico isn't really who he says he is.

Nico is an absolutely adorable character, perfectly written to make me want to jump into the story and pinch his cheeks. His charm and infectious laugh translates through the page, and Floreen made not only Nico, but the rest of his characters quite life-like. And I wanted to give Lee a hug, because he's a sad, depressed character with a fairly miserable past, yet he's always trying to stay positive. The love story between the two was so sweet and cute, and despite being a little instalove-y, I still enjoyed it.

Floreen's writing steers towards almost gothic at times, which serves to set up an unsettling atmosphere and suspense. I also loved the way he unapologetically threw philosophical questions into the readers face about free will and what makes us human. And this was all in there without sounding preach-y and ranting. It truly did make me think! This is a super easy read, with Floreen's writing flowing like magic. I definitely recommend!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The God Eaters

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:36 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: LGBTQIA+ / Fantasy / Romance
Rating: 5 stars

Rosie Thinks: I absolutely love when Fictionpress authors get their work published or self-publish on Amazon. Even if I’ve read it before, I’m there buying it and cheering them on in my reviews. ‘The God Eaters’ is a story that I tried to read on Fictionpress ages ago (his penname was Jumping Jack Flash and Chartreuse), but never continued it. I have no idea why, but I also don’t trust past-me’s decisions. I liked some very questionable things back then. Hajicek now has paperbacks of this, but you can read it for free on his website.

I’m not really sure where to begin with this summary. It starts off so small, then ends up so big and complicated that it’s hard to do it justice! The genre is like a fantasy Western, with magic thrown in. It begins with two men beginning their time in a max-security prison. It isn’t a normal prison though - it’s made for people with Talents, to be experimented on. Their crimes reflect their contrasting personalities. Shy, passive Ashleigh was imprisoned for his inflammatory writings, and is an Empath. Merciless, cold Kieran has a slew of crimes to his name, including murder, and has a dark ability that allows him to kill with a thought. They’re cellmates, and begin a strange friendship under the harshest of circumstances.

Both these characters could so easily have unlikeable. Ashleigh had moments where he was weak and spineless, and Kieran could be very brutal, but their written in such an in-depth way that I felt a strong connection to each of them. That shows the strength of the characterisation. A lot of the time, it’s either the plot that’s better or the characterisation, but that isn’t the case here. They’re both fantastic. The plot had some twists I guessed at, but many I didn’t. I would never have guessed where it ended from the beginning. The plot takes off from the beginning and there isn’t a boring moment. If you’re after a fast-paced action fantasy with the cutest romance in the world from the most unlikely of people, this is it! I wish this story went on forever.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Star-Cross'd: Round 15 results

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:15 AM 0 comments

Pictured above is the prompt for Round 15 of Star-Cross'd. I loved both submissions equally--so they are both the winners of the contest:

I highly recommend both of these for their powerful narration and characterization. They are so different from one another in incredible ways. Plus, neither of them are long-- definitely worth a read.

Finally, this round is the last round of Star-Cross'd (for the foreseeable future). Perhaps Star-Cross'd will return as an event that occurs once a year instead of twice, but for now, the contest is on an indefinite hiatus. I have had the unbelievable opportunity to read different writers' interpretations of the same prompts for several years, so I'd like to thank them. SC writers, your participation in this contest meant the world to me, and I loved reading every single entry.

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