Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

The Carny by Brooke Moss (Book Review)

Posted October 17, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

The Carny by Brooke Moss (Book Review)The Carny by Brooke Moss
Published by Inkspell Publishing on July 7, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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2.5 Stars

At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored. Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago. As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival? After all, you can t judge a carny by its cover.

I was quite excited for this book, because I love the idea of this serendipitous moment where two people magically collide and form a connection that spans 10 years! I remember when I was younger, there was this TV show called Providence. One of the small story lines that spanned a few episodes was when Joanie went to a masquerade ball, and was randomly kissed by a masked man in a Zorro costume, before he disappeared. It was so exciting and romantic, especially once these two found each other again. That’s what I pictured with this story. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The romance factor is there, even though it was quite cheesy and predictable at times. We’ve got this sexy, swoon worthy Native American named Vin who is a complete dreamboat. He’s been thinking about Charlotte off and on since that kiss, and their reunion is pretty sweet and made me melt. Plus, the things he said to her were just precious. I’m a huge fan of Vin, and to be honest, he’s way too good for Charlotte. This brings me to my next point.

2. I can’t stand Charlotte. She has such low self esteem, that Vin has to continually reassure her that she’s pretty. She actually apologizes to him for not being pretty enough. My. Gosh. Plus, she jumps to conclusions. If she can be mad at Vin, she will be without even giving him the chance to explain! She’s hopelessly in love with this guy, but goes on pouting sprees as often as she can–ignoring him for days while she mopes. Seriously. Can anyone be good enough for her? And THEN she flips and runs into his arms sobbing. She was weak, and he was blinded by love. Seriously, Vin. Come find me.

3. I’m not a huge fan of the supporting characters either. I liked the people we briefly met at the carnival, the part of Vin’s family we met, and I liked Charlotte’s friend. But I could not stand Charlotte’s racist, annoying family. They were so horrible, that I had a hard time believing they were real. I would have enjoyed reading about Vin’s family so much more.

4. I enjoyed the small details: the carnival, the small cottage with the greenhouses, the lighthouse, the quaint town, the crisp air. I would love to visit this place. It was described wonderfully.

5. The writing was pretty awful. I’m not even sure this book was edited. Sundays does not equal Sunday’s. If you’re enjoying Sunday’s weather, you use it this way. If you’re excited about all the upcoming Sundays, there is no apostrophe. You’re adorable. That’s a good use of you’re. You’re dress is adorable is not a good use of you’re. It’s lovely outside. Yes. This is good. My cat wiggled it’s nose? No. There were more typos and broken grammar laws than I could keep track of. It really detracted from the story.

6. The deeper issues gave the book substance, and I liked that. Charlotte’s horrendous family forced her to defend herself. Vin’s unreliable family forced him to make tough decisions. They both had sad pasts, which made them real.

7. The ending was too much. You can only have so many “happily ever after” elements before it’s just too much. Every single happy thing that could happen to these two did. I mean, I was happy for them and all, but now that all is said and done I keep thinking that the bow this story was tied up in is just too pretty, especially after all the opposition they were facing throughout the entire story.

8. Regardless of my little gripes about the book, I did enjoy the story. I will always pull for a couple like this one. The more opposition they face, the more I want them to end up together. I seriously loved Vin, and I loved some of the romantic scenes these two shared. I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, I appreciated the story and the attack on racism, because it’s still a modern problem. I loved Vin so much, and would love to read more of his back story. We briefly hear about is past, and I’d love a prequel that shows us Vin’s life before Charlotte. A strong editor could have done wonders for this book, and I’m sad that didn’t happen. I’d recommend this to people who enjoy happy romantic contemporaries with real issues, a loveable hero, and quaint coastal towns.

2.5 Stars

Truly, Madly, Deeply, You by Cecilia Robert (Book Review)

Posted March 10, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

Truly, Madly, Deeply, You by Cecilia Robert (Book Review)Truly, Madly, Deeply, You by Cecilia Robert
Series: Truly Madly #1
Published by Inkspell Publishing on March 21, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 82
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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1.5 Stars

Four days before Valentine’s Day, Liese Hansfeld is determined to shut the door to her house, as well as her heart, for her annual four days of mourning her one true love. Little does she know her best friend Freytag Meier is just as determined to keep her from her ritual. He’s ready to pick the lock to her apartment door and camp in her living room if that’s what it takes.

What Freytag isn’t prepared for is the surge of deep-rooted emotions he feels for Liese, but two things stand in his way: the grief and guilt she still clutches close to her heart, and a man who threatens to snatch Liese from under Frey’s watchful eye. Frey is determined to distract her into forgetting her pain. But is that enough to ease her grief, or help her see he can be more than her best friend?

I was intrigued by the summary of this book. I don’t have a ton to say about it, though. Haha. It was a bit diappointing, and there really was not much to it. It was just ok in my book. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m not a huge fan of Liese. Every year she spends the four days before Valentine’s in a state of intense depression. She will see nobody. She lays in bed, has extreme nightmares, cries a lot, refuses to eat (and gets really weak), takes antidepressants that make her really weird, and relives past events over and over again. This year, Frey has decided to intervene and spend the whole time with her to help her through. Seriously. This girl has no personality, is extremely melodramatic, and really has no redeeming qualities. We find out about 90% of the way through exactly what happened to her, and it’s completely heartbreaking. It’s not something I can begin to comprehend. But really, I was tired of her self-destructive ways and was really hoping there was more to the book than that.

2. I got really tired of reading about how tiny and frail Liese is. Every time she showed a glimmer of sadness, Frey scooped her up/picked her up/set her on his lap/put his leg over her so she could not get up. Frey says she “weighs about as much as a kitten”. And “her tiny fingers” held on to his. She’s wounds like a little girl. If she’s sleepy, he carries her. If she’s medicated, he carries her. Honestly, this girl is not a china doll! I wish she had been portrayed as a strong woman who could go on with life. This, combined with her depression and self-destruction made me really annoyed. Yes, she went through something absolutely terrible. But those things are supposed to make us stronger! I wish we had been given a sense of hope. This book could have been inspirational, motivating, encouraging. It fell completely flat.

3. I wish Liese had some character development. It’s like there was no point to reading about her journey, because this journey never ended up taking us anywhere.

4. I’m not sure how I feel about Frey. There were times I thought he was way too good for her, and there were times he creeped me out a bit. He’s extremely sweet and attentive. He was there to comfort her and drag her out of her mopey time. He was very understanding and patient. If she had a nightmare, he was there to help her go back to sleep. I’d love a friend like that, whom I could depend on. But… he was also very smothering and would not let her make her own decisions. He forced his way in to her house when she just wanted to be alone. He treated her like a 5-year-old. He stood outside the door to her room and heard her having a nightmare, so he ran down to the front desk in his underwear and lied in order to get a key to her room so he could climb in bed with her. She woke up really confused. That’s creepy, and I hope no hotel I ever stay in just hands out random keys to random rooms to random people. Finally, he takes advantage of her during a painful time, daring her to kiss him because he thinks she can’t do a good job… and then saying he doesn’t mind if she kisses him for the wrong reasons. My. Gosh.

5. The story literally went nowhere. Luckily it was short, because nothing happened. I can’t even identify the story’s climax. There was a lot of repetition: lots of crying, nightmares, moping, re-hashing the past, etc. And nothing is really resolved. There was not even a real love story. It just ended where it began.

To sum things up: I really liked the idea of the story. I was hoping for a book that would portray a woman who had been through something terrible, but was picking up the pieces and learning to survive. However, I feel like I wasted my time on a story that went nowhere, taught me nothing, and left me worn out.

(Disclaimer: If anyone has gone through what Liese has gone through, I am in no way minimizing your pain. I feel awful for anyone who has suffered anything like this, and I can only imagine that it’s the worst thing to ever experience. I just got tired of reading about it over and over, with absolutely no character development and no real plot. I was just hoping for something more than what I was given.)

1.5 Stars