Review: Size Matters (A Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss

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The rules of (fake) engagement . . .
Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancée! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

**My response to this book did not warrant a full review, so behold my unorganized rant.**

A fake relationship story with a cover model that isn’t a size two. I thought this was going to be sweet and relatable and very body positive. I was wrong on all counts. I just disliked this book so much. The characters were awful and really unlikable. Leah was not that overweight, but she was really insecure about it and lashed out a lot because of it. Every time a skinnier person was mentioned (by her or Sam) they were referred to as anorexic. Sam acted like a huge jerk for the majority of the book. Even when he was supposed to be swoony, I despised his behavior. He also bordered on crude a good deal of the time and maybe some readers will be into that, but I’m not. It took way too long for Leah to grow a backbone and stand up to Sam’s treatment of her and her mother who was constantly putting her down, and when it finally happened things were resolved much to easily. The one positive thing I can say about this book is that it was occasionally humorous. I really should have just stopped reading this, but I kept hoping it would get better. Instead, I just disliked it more and more.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

Quick Review: Beautiful Maids All in a Row (Iris Ballard #1) by Jennifer Harlow

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.

The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.

The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Beautiful Maids All in a Row will be available 10/11/16.

In the acknowledgments, the author reveals that this is the first book she ever wrote at age nineteen. And it reads like it. The story is just one cliché after another with nothing surprising or original in the whole book. I guessed who the serial killer was in the third chapter and it took about another twelve chapters for the characters to figure it out. I really don’t have anything constructive to say about this book, so this is more of a note than an actual review. I will say that based on other reviews I’ve read I am in the minority opinion. And maybe if I had never read another book in this genre before I could have enjoyed it more.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I’ve read nothing but great things about this series, so I was excited to finally read it. Unfortunately, it did not at all live up to my expectations.

Celaena is supposed to be the greatest assassin ever, but she was betrayed and ended up in a prison camp. I would have liked this to have been explored further. We don’t really get any information about her assassin glory days. We get hardly any details about her former trainer, her fellow assassins, or her past other than in vague terms. In addition to the poor background, I felt that the rest of the world building was pretty shoddy. There’s talk of old magic and different gods, but they were never really explored either. Though, the magic was explained a little towards the end of the book, though I still didn’t totally understand it.

While Celaena was a mostly likable character, I didn’t find her the great, strong female character everybody praises her for. She was often shallow and petty. Other than one time where she talked about how music makes her feel, there wasn’t really much depth to her. I also would’ve liked to have seen the other characters more developed.

Then there was the love triangle. While I almost always hate love triangles, this one was particularly poor. Neither Dorian nor Chaol were developed enough for me to care that much about them. Celaena was also incredibly fickle about who she liked more at any given moment.

Overall, I just didn’t care for Throne of Glass. The pacing was slow, the characters were not very well developed, and the plot just didn’t really interest me. While I almost always have to finish any series I start, I don’t think I’ll be continuing this one.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2
Characters: 2
Readability: 2
Enjoyability: 1.5
Overall Average: 1.875 stars

A Spoilery Review of The Registry by Shannon Stoker – 1 star (out of 5)

The Registry

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Thoughts:

-I read this book because it kept showing up in my Facebook feed. The concept isn’t bad. A dystopian post-America where young women are bought as wives. Unfortunately that’s pretty much as interesting as it gets.

-The character development was pretty lacking. Grant, Mia’s “husband”, is basically just a rich psychopath and no real reason is ever given as to what made him this way. He’s not at all sympathetic. Not that the villain of a story is supposed to be sympathetic, but if you’re going to spend so much time in the story seeing through his point of view, you want to actually be able to understand his motivation. Here his motivation is that of a toddler’s: It’s mine, I want it back.

-Whitney, Mia’s friend that she talks into running with her, is supposed to be the smart one, but spends the whole trip sulking and debating whether or not she should return home. Andrew tells her that makes her selfish, which I don’t think is completely fair. Out of all of them, Mia is the most selfish, talking Whitney into going in the first place and blackmailing Andrew into helping them. When Whitney dies to protect Mia, I was only relieved that we didn’t have to  bother with her anymore.

-The “romance” in the story is between Mia and Andrew, but most of the book is spent by one or the other fighting their feelings. When Andrew finally decides to tell her how he feels, he catches her with Carter, one of the men assisting them in their journey to Mexico. Mia, who was pretending that Carter was Andrew while she kissed him, runs after him saying “I didn’t know how you felt.” One moment he storms out angry, the next moment they’re kissing in the back of the get-away car. There’s no explanation as to why she was with Carter or declarations of how they feel for each other. It just happens. And in the rest of the book, Andrew is referred to as “her love.”

-Overall, the book was just boring. Even the moments that were supposed to be surprising or exciting fell flat. I didn’t really care about any of the characters or what happened to them. Usually books I don’t like I give at least two stars because even if I didn’t enjoy the story, the writing was good. But this read more like a self-published free e-book than something that went through a real editing process. If you’re into a dystopian story that focuses on repressed females escaping their fate, a better bet would be Eve by Anna Carey or Wither by Lauren DeSteafno.