Review: The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo

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Title: The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Published: 28 August 2018

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

Review

I have been busy with work and chatting up this guy from work although on this front it seems more like I am cornering myself into the dreaded friendzone which is such a shame because I would like to do the Devil’s tango with him if you get my drift so anyways back to the point, the point is that I just have been living life too much to be bothered to even read anything but when I received an email from a publisher asking me if I was interested in reading the next book from Kerrigan Byrne I was like…

“BITCH! You ain’t even gonna ask! It’s always YES to Kerrigan!”

Because girl, the last two books I read by her was just so bomb! I waited months to get the next book so as you can see my expectations are pretty high… pretttyyyy high so when I read it I was just so so confused by how disappointed I was.

The writing for this book felt so sub-par for me and the plot itself was flimsy AT BEST. Don’t even get me started on the atrocious dialogue present in this book. It

The first half of the book was great and I enjoyed the puppy love between Lorelai and Ash as it was so cute and innocent but towards the latter end of the book, the plot was borderline on non-existent and the dialogue/conversation happening between the two main characters were so repetitive and had no meaning nor resolution in sight.

Also, there were a lot of plot points in the book that in my opinion was written purely just for plot progression because honestly said plot point had no bearing whatsoever on the overall plot of the book one wonders why did the author even include it in the first place? One example for this is when Lorelai for some God damned reason fainted in a make out sesh with Ash and miraculously she never fainted again after that even though it was said that she does this FREQUENTLY as a way her body handles stress.

Another thing that annoyed me was how the author doesn’t show what happened to any of the characters and instead just tells us what happened as if that will satisfy our curiosity. By doing so, the author strips the readers empathy for the characters because I swear to God I could not give a shit about the characters whatsoever. I mean I can’t relate to Lorelai and her being a victim of abuse neither can I understand why Ash is so God damned pissed all the God damned time. Like bro, take a chill pill man. Jesus.

I think I was highly disappointed by the book because I waited months for it. MONTHS! Her other books were that good that I waited MONTHS! Will I continue to support the author, yeah definitely one disappointing book might just be a fluke because she is definitely talented.

* Book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

**

I was supposed to upload this review on the 21st but my internet was down and I had to go for TBOSIET training and completely forgot so here it is hahahaha.

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.

The Eighth Day by Mitsuyo Kakuta

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Title: The Eighth Day

Author: Mitsuyo Kakuta

Published: 1 May 2010

Publisher: Kodansha

Rating: 4/5

The year is 1985. Kiwako is an ordinary office worker, in love with a married man, until an unwanted abortion causes her to snap. She kidnaps her lover’s six-month-old baby and runs away with her, eventually taking refuge in an all-female religious commune. Here, she attempts to raise the girl.

Fifteen years later, the child, Elena, is an adult contending with the difficulties of returning to her “natural family,” made up of a mother who doesn’t come home, an alcoholic father, and siblings with whom she can’t connect.

Review

You would think that with a plot where a scorned woman kidnaps her ex’s baby and then took refuge in a religious commune aka A CULT (?!!!), there would be far more things happening in the storyline that would put the plot to the Mission Impossible movies to shame but alas it was not to be and I went into this book expecting action, drama, intensity and MORE action but what I got was the complete opposite which is a slice-of-life type of book which let me tell you is definitely lacking in the action-drama department but surprisingly I kept on reading even though nothing much was happening.

The book was interesting in subtle ways, it didn’t focus much on the kidnapping of the baby but instead focused on how Kiwako would raise the baby in the situation that they were in and it was the prose of the book that captivated me. The prose was simple and unassuming yet it is the main reason why I kept on reading even though half the time I was wondering where exactly is the plot going to take us and the ending of the book was realistic in a way that it was messy and a lot of things weren’t answered like how it is in the real world.

Whilst reading this book I really pity the baby who was kidnapped and the young woman she grew to be. I honestly pitied her. She was raised well by the woman who kidnapped her she had a happy childhood living on an island heck even living in the cult the kid had a happy childhood only for it to be destroyed due to adults selfishness.

Breathless… Review

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Title: Breathless

Author: Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan

Published: 12 June 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Source: Netgalley

Rating:  4/5

Goodreads synopsis

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Review

I was quite excited when I was invited to read this book because I was interested to read how the authors were going to merge the two differing perspective between the perspective of the ‘The Swan’ in the past (Regency England-ish) and Brenna who is in the present. These two ladies are our protagonists for this book. It also helped that the book was sold to me as a mystery book with a huge whollop of romance.

After reading it, I have to say that my feelings are mixed regarding this book. Not that it isn’t good, no, the problem here lies with me. I just came to realize that contemporary romance just isn’t my thing. This realization hit me whenever I am reading the third person POV for Brenna’s part of the story, my eyes just glaze over and internally I am just praying that it will be over soon but when I read the historical romance aspect of the book which was written in the first person narrative, there just wasn’t enough material for me to read and I would be wholly disappointed that I had to return to reading about Brenna.

For me, Brenna’s romance with Fitch Wilder was so boring. Boring because of the predictability of it and how fast Brenna fell in love with Fitch, maybe it was longer than I give it credit for in the book but to me it felt like she fell in love with the guy within two weeks because the time lapse between them first meeting to when they fell in love felt so short but then again I am really bad at keeping track of the time anyway so this point is up for debate.

There was nothing for me to root for between these two characters and when Fitch admitted to lying to Brenna and her freaking out and their make up I just felt like ‘Jeez woman, just get over it’. Yes, this lying thing that Fitch did hit a raw nerve because of Brenna’s past and her estranged father but I just could not relate and in all honesty I gave zero shit but had the exposition or reasoning for her freak out been more fleshed out then maybe I would have given her the benefit of the doubt.

All in all I felt like the Brenna and Fitch aspect of the book was just not for me as it was predictable and boring but I live for parts of the book that was in ‘The Swan’s’ POV. Parts of the book which was written in her POV which was in the past was so interesting and dynamic and full of life and intrigue and mystery. The start of the book opened to her literally half-drowning in the ocean in the middle of nowhere so you are like what is going on????? Is she going to be okay?

‘The Swan’s’ POV was just SO good! She had to do many a different things back in her day to survive and prosper and prosper she did. She overcame so many hardships in her life that by the time she met a nice man on this island and was genuinely happy you couldn’t help but be so happy for her as well but the ending of her part of the book just KILLED ME DAMN IT!

The ending left me with a book hangover. I just could not get over it because why? Why would you do that to her? After all she went through that woman deserves eternal happiness!

So, yeah that sums my review.

Present plot: It was okay a bit meh for me

Past plot: THIS SHIT IS WHAT I LIVE FOR!

Hence, the 4 star rating.

*The book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Top Ten Tuesdays

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)”

So, try to guess what is my favorite color based on the books I chose… I swear its easy…

 

A Duke Like No Other… A Review

 

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Title: A Duke Like No Other

Author: Valerie Bowman

Published: 1 May 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Summary

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.

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Review

I really enjoyed this book, honestly I did, I even overlooked the seemingly random discrepancy in the plot (possibly due to the book not being edited properly it is after all an e-Arc) but I truly felt the plot for this book was lackluster and weak.

The first few chapters started out strong and full of possibilities on the ‘why Nicole and Mark broke up’ mystery; could it be Nicole or Mark cheated on each other? Could it be Nicole had to backstab Mark? What is it? So my hopes on the why was sky high and it was shot down when the truth of their estrangement was explained and the reason just felt inadequate to me.

The reason for their estrangement could be more fleshed out and the author could have gone more in depth because the duration of their estrangement which is 10 years, you would think the reason would be some cataclysmic event or something so when you find out that it is over something petty you start to think really? Really? That was it?

Another reason that my enjoyment for this book was diminished was because Mark was written to be this suave spy-master, all smart, cunning and just overall a pretty intelligent guy hence I was expecting so but instead what I got was this guy who was a bumbling idiot. He interpreted things wrongly or guessed the wrong culprit, like if it was once or twice and had something to do with Nicole I’d understand; estranged wife and mixed emotions can muddle your brain, but it seems like he got everything wrong so again it made me wonder this is the spy-master? Jesus, if he was spy-master then I’m Queen of England.

Last reason that I did not enjoy the book so much was the cheesy ending, it’s just not my cup of tea. I like happy endings but I dislike the cheesy dialogues and the whole ‘Omg, you’re the love of my life BS’, the cynic in me is just like STFU will you. I felt like if you loved each other so much then why 10 years passed before ya’ll did anything? I get back in the day communication isn’t as fast as now what with social media and whatnot but honestly even back then 10 years estrangement is a bit of a stretch.

 

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.

 

Pelukis Jalanan… A Review

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Title: Pelukis Jalanan

Author: Teme Abdullah

Publisher: Iman publication

Published: January 2016

Source: Library

Rating: 5/5

I am quite prejudiced against my own race especially when it comes to  literature which explains why I rarely if ever read any Malay books. Not to say I don’t, I do, just very very rarely. The last Malay book I read was I think about 5-6 years ago (Projek Memikat Suami) and that was due to me watching the tv drama version of it and really enjoying it and when I knew it was adapted from a book I instantly bought it.

The reason for this whole prejudice needs a whole post on its own but basically its sexist, non-progressive, stereotypical and lacks any character development and why I am discussing all this instead of reviewing the book in question is because of these prejudices is why I never sought to even want to read Pelukis Jalanan even though I saw it on my twitter feed for years.

Incidently, I saw this book in the library and thought to myself I don’t want to be prejudice anymore so why don’t we give it a go and I did and I loved the book!

I loved the book due to a few reasons and they are listed below:

  • Relatability

Relatability because the guy is Malay and a muslim like myself . He did his SPM like me (true he is smarter but that’s not the point). He too had phases of having trouble to uphold his religion not due to lack of belief but because of life interfering and making one lose focus. So, I liked that and also the author is pretty funny and how he talks/writes is how I would write or react.

  • Mixing of English and Malay

My Malay is absolutely APPALLING, ABHORRENT, DISGUSTING…mind you just choose any synonyms and it will apply to my lack of knowledge in Malay. I truly feel that English is my mother tongue. So, anyways this book uses a mix of both language and it was a lifesaver because then I can fully understand what is being conveyed.

  • Bravado & YOLO

The first few pages of the book already states that Teme (the author) didn’t have a place to stay, didn’t have enough money for food or heck was even enrolled in the university he was planning to go for when he decided to go to UK. That alone made me feel like “DAMN! This guy has balls!”. He just has the guts to just go and YOLO the f*ck out of it and prays for the best which obviously made me want to read on because I want to know is this guy going to be okay.

Yeah, those are my reasons for loving this book and I enjoyed the book so much I actually bought the second book of which I haven’t started yet but I will soon.

Kawaii Doodle Class… A Review

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Title: Kawaii Doodle Class

Author: Zainab Khan

Published: 1 September 2017

Publisher: Race Point Publishing

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary

Create your own kawaii world with Pic Candle and Kawaii Doodle Class!

The Japanese word kawaii  translates to “cute,” and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images of tacossushismoothiescloudsrainbowscactidoodle monstersChristmas treeslipsticksteacups, and more for your adoration.

Popular kawaii artist Zainab Khan shows you how to draw 75 super-cute characters with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions. She has also included fun search-and-find images to play along with, and inspiration boards that show you how to give your characters different facial expressions and zany accessories.

Review

I really enjoyed this book because it was easy for me to draw the characters as they all had step-by-step instructions for me to follow. This is great because I don’t have any drawing talent whatsoever plus because it has step-by-step instructions it allows you to practice all the basic shapes for the eyes, body etc which you can then apply and use to create your own character.

So, far that is all I have to say for this book. It was a chill,easy to follow doodling book that is great for anybody regardless of artistic background to try.

*The book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Book Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Favorite Book Quotes”.

_After all this time___Always,_ said Snape- (1)

Hello (1)

_After all this time___Always,_ said Snape-

Hello

_After all this time___Always,_ said Snape- (2)

_After all this time___Always,_ said Snape- (3)

I have realized that I don’t read a lot of series and I really want to get into another series but what series though? Any good recommendations?