My Recent Book Reviews

Ever since some of my friends learned that I was writing my own novel, I get one question more than any other (besides “how’s the book coming along?”) —- and that question is:

So what are you reading?

BookSpines

Sometimes I stop and give them the lowdown. Other days, during those crazy deadline-drowning weeks, I send them the link to my Goodreads profile page and suggest that they friend me there to keep up with my latest reading adventures. But since some of my recent titles read have been some much talked about titles across Twitter and Facebook, as well as on the “Want to Read” lists on GoodReads, I thought I’d share reviews about these recently read books.

Keep in mind that when I do a review I do not provide you a plot summary or a mini-book report. Hell, if you want to know what it’s about, just go to Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com and look it up. You can find everything you want to know about the book itself there. I provide a review focused on the reading experience – what I think of the characters, how believable the plot structure was and what I liked or didn’t like about the various components like dialogue, tone, use of characters, etc.

So if you’re expecting a Cliffs Notes version combined with a  critique, quit reading now. You won’t find what you’re looking for. But if you are looking for an honest unsolicited reader’s opinion that’s SPOILER-FREE (because I am completely committed to preserving the pristine joy of the reading experience), read on! I will not ruin it for you here by sharing too much plot information or reveal any big twists or character developments, you can rest assured.

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Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren   (**** out of ***** stars)

I had just experienced a “drought” in my steady downpour of reading just prior – having started another book two weeks earlier and hitting a stalemate. After finally picking it up again and finishing it that morning, I was ready to get back into my steady diet of romance books. Yes, I was ready for my nightly dive into a new title and despite all of the others I had recently purchased and downloaded on my Kindle, this had to be the one I chose next.

I was amazed how over the place my emotions were during this book. [Click here to read the full review.]

Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning   (**** out of ***** stars)

For the first time in a long time, I found myself trudging through a book’s beginning. Why? Why was that, I wondered. I had always enjoyed Olivia Cunning’s sharp-as-a-tack writing and dialogue, steamy portrayals and fun, sexy, rockin’ characters.

Maybe after going full-throttle reading for so many months – practically a new book finished every day or two – and being weighted down with so many client assignments to finish at one time, I might have experienced a sudden struggle with ANY book I picked up and delay as I did with this one. [Click here to read the full review.]

Collide by Gail McHugh   (**** out of ***** stars)

So I picked up this book not because anyone recommended it to me, but because I kept running into it during my book title perusal. I couldn’t figure out why. Each time I would read the description, it sounded interesting enough but for whatever reason, I didn’t buy it.

Earlier this week, I gave in. I heeded the signs and made the investment. And it turns out…that was a great decision. [Click here to read the full review.]

The Final Piece by Maggi Myers (**** out of ***** stars)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book by Maggi Myers. I have not read anything by the author before and the book came as a recommendation from a friend with similar reading tastes. It was a lovely surprise even though it broke one of my cardinal rules of books that I enjoy – I have a really difficult time when books separate my lead characters for great lengths of time. Simply put, it bothers the crap out of me!  [Click here to read the full review.]

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker   (**** out of ***** stars)

This was suggested to me by a friend, and I am so glad that I took the suggestion. It was a nice departure from some of the previous books I’ve been reading.

Most of all, I was excited to be introduced to a lead female character that I genuinely WANTED to know more about. In TEN TINY BREATHS, we meet Kacey Cleary – she’s strong, funny, smart and determined, and she’ll do anything to protect her sister. She truly is someone that, as a reader, I am ready and willing to invest some emotion. [Click here to read the full review.]

This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas   (** out of ***** stars)

Oh boy.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, OH BOY.

I’m gonna get creamed for this one, I’ll just bet, because everybody loves THIS MAN by Jodi Ellen Malpas. The book itself and “this” man, Jesse Ward. Everybody, I think except maybe…me.

Okay, now here’s the kicker – you’re staring at my 2-star rating and probably already hate me if you are one of the many obsessed fans of this book, but I do have to confess: yes, I bought the next book and yes, I even read it. And I’ll probably buy book 3. So how the hell did that happen when I gave it a 2-star rating? A deserved rant, I must admit. [Click here to read the full review.]

Beneath This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas   (*** out of ***** stars)

So did you notice the change… since reading my review of the first in the THIS MAN Series?

It graduated from 2-star to 3-star. So I guess this means I liked it more, huh? Nah. Then I must have liked Jesse more, right? Definitely not. Ava more? Not a chance.

No, I didn’t enjoy it more but I was more intrigued, because while I had a clue where the author Jodi Ellen Malpas was going to take us, I truly had no idea to what extent the reader would go. I felt the first book reminded me too much of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and its plot structure. So I didn’t know what to expect with book 2. [Click here to read the full review.]

Rule by Jay Crownover   (**** out of ***** stars)

I was forewarned that if I had an early e-book version of this novel that I might be subjected to typo-a-plenty. And that I was. But am happy to report that apparently there is a newer, cleaned up version of it now available.

I enjoyed this book from the beginning. It was nice for a change to read about some characters that already had a backstory but whose dynamic between them was evolving instead of the usual love-at-first-sight, instant orgasmic reaction that I witness in most of the books that I read. And gah, I’ll admit – still do enjoy…damn, I’ve become an easy target, haven’t I?!  [Click here to read the full review.]

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What are the latest titles that you’ve been reading and would you recommend them? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment here or email me at chris@kuhnstories.com.

Happy reading!
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Book Bash 2013: Always the Doting Reader, Soon to Be the Published Author…Whaa??

If you are an avid reader, particularly of the contemporary adult or YA romance variety, then read on. Several of the genres’ best will be appearing at an upcoming event in Orlando, Fla. How I just learned of this only yesterday worries me – clearly I am living under a rock as I’ve suspected all along.

Good to know.

Book Bash 2013 is being hosted by the Hilton Doubletree in Orlando (www.bookbash.net) and is scheduled for 12 p.m to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 29. The event is expected to draw well over 40 top authors in their field.

I do recall hearing of this event about a year ago. A friend asked me if I was going to be attending. I had no clue what they were talking about and did little to investigate further. At the time, I was just diving into the contemporary romance genre as a reader. Now, however, I would be a total fool to miss it given how well it’s represented.

AuthorPhotos AuthorPhotos

AuthorPhotos

For one thing, I live just 90 minutes away. For another, nearly a  dozen or so of my favorite authors will be in attendance, including…

  • Colleen Hoover
  • M. Leighton
  • Tammara Webber
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Rebecca Donovan
  • J.A. Redmerski
  • Sylvia Day
  • Gail McHugh
  • K.A. Tucker
  • Maggi Myers

And there are several other names listed that friends and book bloggers I also respect have suggested that I check out, and I’m sure I will, quite possibly before the event…like Jillian Dodd, Charles Sheehan-Miles, Elizabeth Reyes, A.L. Jackson, etc.

And then there are those who aren’t listed as scheduled to appear…some noticeably absent and I can only hope will decide they really want to visit Orlando in the summertime. And since I have no sense of dignity whatsoever, I will make my formal gushing appeal here. Authors like…

S.C. Stephens…where are you, oh mother to one of the most delicious rock star gods this side of the page, Kellan Kyle?

Olivia Cunning, can you sneak down there, maybe bring the Sinners on Tour to the Sunshine State?

Oh, Tiffany Reisz, how we will miss you so and your sinfully mesmerizing menagerie of memorable characters. (See, you even inspire me to get all alliterative on you…) 

Samantha Young, want to hop over the pond and meet Mickey Mouse? I hear there’s a little Irish in him… wait! That came out much more dirty than I ever intended. 😉

Shelly Crane…any chance you would consider bringing your own signature significance to our little party?

I will admit after my initial shock that such an event existed and nearly down the street from me (figuratively speaking, of course), I had my greatest jaw-to-the-ground moment when I read that Sylvain Reynard was “scheduled to appear.”

I believe I actually shrieked.

Squealed even.

In delight.

Is there any other way to squeal?

Wait a second, now,  let’s get our minds out of the—never mind, I should know never to go there with a bunch of romance and erotica readers, writers and followers! Yowzah…

And then…I clicked on the link and read the disclaimer. ”

NOTE: SYLVAIN REYNARD will be represented at the event by his assistant “ENN”

I almost wept. My stomach sunk. Damn. So close. Ah well, that just keeps that mystery rolling along, doesn’t it? I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised but I was still a little disappointed after that initial euphoria.

 As soon as I learned about this event, I knew immediately – I would be going to it. After all, I am fortunate enough to occasionally  have the honor and sheer joy of bantering a little with some of these wonderful writers who are gracious enough to interact with their readers on Twitter and Facebook.  And then it hit me —

Chris, you are aiming to release your book in time for summer.

Your own target self-pub release date is JUNE 2013.

Holy crap, I’m babbling like a geeky fan about everyone I’ll meet but I should really be taking notes. Hell, my whole goal is to be part of an event like this myself.

For now, I will keep writing and strive to finish my book by March as planned. And I will buy my EventBrite ticket and plan on meeting some of these clever writers who inspire my own imagination. And if the fates allow and all goes as planned, perhaps I’ll have my own little table at events like this and others. Soon…

Patience, young grasshopper.

Okay, the young part might be stretching it a bit.