Review: Gone by Elisabeth Naughton

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Rating: 3/5

Three years ago, Alec McClane and Raegan Devereaux lived every parent’s worst nightmare: their one-year-old daughter, Emma, was abducted from a park when Alec turned his back for just a moment. Emma was never found, and presumed dead. The crushing trauma, plus Alec’s unbearable guilt, ended the couple’s marriage.

Now a four-year-old girl matching Emma’s profile is found wandering a local park. Alec and Raegan are heartbroken to discover she’s not their daughter but are newly motivated to find closure…and each secretly feels desperate to be in the other’s presence again.

Alec suspects his vengeful biological father is behind Emma’s disappearance. But as Raegan investigates other abductions in the area, she sees a pattern—and begins to wonder if Emma’s kidnapping is actually linked to something more sinister.

As Alec and Raegan race to uncover the truth, a long-burning spark rekindles into smoldering passion, and they realize they need each other now more than ever.


REVIEW

I got this book AGES ago from Netgalley and only got round to reading it now because well I just felt like it so do take into consideration that my review is based on an ARC I received 2 years ago… I just checked my Netgalley account. Make that THREE years ago. Yikes!

Right off the bat I felt like the characters were very two dimensional as there was a lot of telling the readers about their past rather than showing it. Having the characters tell their past doesn’t allow the readers to fully engage in them or be as invested causing some of the drama that unfolds in the plot to fall flat.

Not all the emotional plot points fell flat though there were that did make me tear up thinking about the repercussions but that had more to do with the situation rather than the characters themselves. Anybody with a heart would cry imagining if their child was abducted and there was no news whatsoever.

Now that I think about it the male protagonist, Alec McClane, was seriously annoying. It was always about how he couldn’t handle the disappearance of his child , how he is still in pain, how he goes into shock and how he had the really shitty upbringing. Well BOO HOO! What about his wife? Did she not feel the pain of losing her child too? It’s not all about you sometimes okay Alec. It takes two to tango in a relationship like God! That guy got on my nerves. I don’t give a damn how hot you are, please have some heart and think about the other person who is also hurting by this horrific incident.

Plot wise, I felt that the pacing of the book was fast paced which I liked because I just went through the book in one night but I felt really confused as to the genre of the book but this I should have read the blurb or something first so my bad hahahah.

When I chose this those many moons ago, I thought it was going to be a nice thriller mystery type of book with a dash of romance and reading it now it read more like a romance with a dash of thriller and mystery although had I read the blurb I would’ve seen that it was a romance heavy book. I wish the sex scenes were more explicit because man I have not had any action in awhile and your girl is THIRSTY!

Oh! Before I forget (this links back to the plot thing), the execution of the plot twist and the reveal seriously fell flat for me. The plot twist and the reveal at the end I felt was great. It’s very predictable yes but it could have been better had the execution of it been great. These two things could’ve been improved had there been more breathing room for the readers to digest everything, all these revelations were revealed at super speed and the pacing just went off the charts from there and due to that the emotional punch that the author wanted to portray lost its zest

Review: Not The Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Not The Duke’s Darling

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever

Published: 18 December 2018

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Summary

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe–the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family–appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins. Sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya’s trust-by whatever means necessary.

Review

This book left me shook and not in a good way….

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If you have been following my blog for awhile you may by now know that I just LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt with a burning passion! I have read three of her books (thank you Netgalley) and all of them has a rating no lower than a 4.

Don’t believe me.. here is a list of the books I read by her.

So, I had full expectations to love this book too and imagine my utter shock and disbelief that I did not like nor enjoy this book. How? How even? How did this happen? Did I read it wrong? This shouldn’t be happening… I legit had an identity crisis when I realized this book was just not doing it for me. I mean how? HOW.COULD.THIS.EVEN.HAPPEN???????

The main reason why I didn’t like the book was because the heroine was so unlikable for me. I felt that she was just so full of herself and I just wanted her to get off her high horse and get back down to Earth. Why I felt this way I myself am unsure.

The heroine, Freya de Moray, is the Macha in the secret society called the Wise Woman whereby the post essentially makes her a spy for them. At first, I was really into it because strong female characters are what I live for but the more I read the more I saw that nothing happened. At least no spying happened. Like at all. Elizabeth didn’t show us Freya’s past achievements or whatever for her to attain such a posting. She didn’t show how competent Freya was in being a Macha. I wanted to see and read and live and go through what Freya did in her espionage business but all I got was redundancy which I will explain below.

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The redundancy came in the interaction between Christopher and Freya. They keep playing tug of war with their feelings for each other and after awhile the interaction just bored me out of my mind. They keep going over the same argument of her unable to forgive him for what he did in the past and her fear of losing her independence by being committed to him. These fears are legitimate but how it was written honestly was so tedious to read.

SPOILER CENTRAL!!!

Now to the plot. The plot for me had too many things going on which distracted me from the main plot which was the Wise Woman plot and obviously the romance between Christopher and Freya. I mean you have the sub-plot of having Christopher being blackmailed, the Wise Woman vs the Dunkelders (attempted murder sub-plot), Wise Woman vs parliament (some act that allows witch hunting), mysterious death of the wife of the next door neighbor and what not. For me it felt like so many things are happening at once and you would expect a lot of action but there was just a lot of talk… so much talking.

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Indeed do tell me why I am not enjoying this book

Last but not least was the Wise Woman itself. Again, it felt like all talk no action with them. Maybe because it is just the first book that I felt like I had no idea who these people were and how they worked. It wasn’t fleshed out as much as I had hoped for.

The book for me wanted to be so many things at once yet were none of them at the same time. I am unsure had I read this at a later date I would have enjoyed it more, I don’t know. This book just wasn’t for me. Would I recommend it yeah definitely, Elizabeth is still a talented writer and would I read more books from this series? Absolutely! I need to know that this was just a fluke and will not be a usual occurrence.

But all hope is not lost. I did like one part of the book very very much and that was when Freya proposed to Christopher AFTER she had initially turned him down. I also liked how Christopher gave her space when she needed it to make up her mind about him. I thought that was nice.

*The book was given to me by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review

My Bookish Pet Peeves

“Pet Peeve: Something that a particular person finds especially annoying”

It took me awhile to think of book related things that annoy me because I am relatively low maintenance when it comes to books.

I don’t mind when a book cover is skewed or the dust jacket is lopsided or folded incorrectly.

I don’t care if the sizing of books I buy that comes in a series isn’t uniform or standardized.

I could care less if my books has stickers on them.

I am even fine with insta-love.

The standards are THAT LOW (as I usually say if I managed to read Fifty Shades of Grey AND Twilight I can read and plough through anything) but a few has managed to irk me and so read ahead and enjoy!

Recyclable vocabulary

I find it perplexing that in historical romance different authors from different publishing companies always recycle phrases, vocabulary or even metaphors to describe the male anatomy. They usually compare a male’s penis or other parts of the body to either wood or steel or worse… velvet steel. I understand that in this genre everything is stereotypical and comes in a template but it makes you wonder is that the extent of vocabulary knowledge that a historical romance authors have?

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Ignorant Beauty

Another trope that just grates on my nerves. Why is it that in a book usually YA or contemporary romance, the female lead never realizes their beauty when they are obviously drop dead gorgeous. It boggles my mind because this is not normal. I am not the most beautiful woman on Earth yet I realize that I am at the most minimum cute. So if I know this of myself why can’t these characters do the same? Why must their beauty only be validated by a man? Why must their physical beauty only be known after a man has pointed it out to them? Why can’t these women acknowledge that they are beautiful and just own it? Had said female characters for example suffer from mental illness such as body dysmorphia then that is fine because that in itself is a whole other can of worms to be discussed. I feel like this trope need to die already and die a horrible death.

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Bookception

I just recently came to know this as one of my bookish pet peeves to be honest. I realized it when I was reading ‘Bookishly Ever After‘. In this book I had to read not one but two stories of which both are equally bad. I am not interested in reading a book read by the main character and written in the actual book that I am reading and especially not when both of them are just badly written and not to mention boring. A snippet here or there is fine to increase the readers interest but chapterSSSS is truly pushing the limit.

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The Mary Sue

My ultimate NEMESIS. This trope is not even an annoyance any longer as it has evolved from being just an annoyance to being an absolute despicable inhumane species of a trope. The best example I can give is Rey from the Star Wars franchise. I am all for girl power and feminism and all round bad assery but when her skills and powers are given with no background no explanation no nothing that is just bad writing and a cop out way to appease the masses of SJW (social justice warriors). Isn’t it better to flesh out her character to show how she had gotten so powerful in the movie? To show that this girl who has innate talent had to work hard to get to where she is but no she can do no wrong, she is the best and will be the best. She has no character struggles. She is beautiful, she is powerful and is apparently perfect in everything. It annoys me because this is not realistic, yes one might argue that Star Wars as a whole isn’t realistic but character development and growth and struggles are the same regardless of genre or medium used to express it.

Another example is Feyre from the ACoTAR. She is perfect in everything, everybody loves her, powerful beyond her imagination blah blah blah blah.

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So, there you have it my bookish pet peeve. Feel free to comment on your bookish pet peeve maybe I would realize another one that I never knew I had I am quite slow on the uptake in these matters.

Also have a youtube video on this matter although in said video I am just a rambling idiot because I have yet to master the speaking my thoughts eloquently in front of a camera.

How Book Blogging *coughs*Netgalley*coughs* Changed My Reading Habits

I review more and less books

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Confusing I know. I review more books from Netgalley but review less hardcopy books from libraries or my own books unless I run out of reviews for my Netgalley books then any draft reviews from other sources will do to keep my blog up and running. I do this not because I dislike reviewing hard copy books but more because with Netgalley it gives me a chance to up my rating whereas other sources they don’t so I have no obligations.

I read more books but less diverse ones

Pre-Netgalley I only read books from the library because I didn’t have enough money to buy new books, at least not fully priced ones, which forced me to read diversely; murder mysteries, contemporary, middle grade, historical fiction, non-fiction, biographies, self-help, art, you name it but now… now I just read a lot of historical romance with dashes of other genres. It kills me but at the same time historical romance has become my comfort zone, it is so easy to read and digest. There is no nuance to it, I don’t need to think I can just ride the wave of feels. I can read 3 in a day man whereas other genres it takes me DAYYYYSSSSSSS… WEEKS to finish.

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I buy less books but my TBR pile is off the charts

Surprising I know! I swear after Netgalley my need to buy physical books has lessened immensely but at the same time I can’t control myself from clicking that request button on Netgalley thus why my rating has NEVER been above 37-38%. Every time I manage to read a ton of Netgalley books I request twice as more. It’s a problem I know.

I made friends

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Not a lot but that’s just because I am not the type to comment on other bloggers post, it’s more towards I don’t know what to say other than saying it was a great review or great post or that I found the post insightful. I am not the best at any sort of banter but anyways yeah, I made friends and it’s nice when I have a post up and I have actual readers who read my stuff consistently. It’s flattering. My previous blog had no audience.

I feel guilty re-reading books

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When you have a Netgalley TBR pile as high as your roof that NEEDS to be read and reviewed you would feel guilty of re-reading too. I only re-read Harry Potter recently because my reading slump due to a slew of unfortunate books has dampened my optimism in reading.