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Smashwords book reviews by charlenev

  • Holding onto Hope: The Complete Hope Trilogy on Jan. 29, 2014

    I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. The Hope Trilogy contains 3 novellas, and is the story of Hope Jones and her wayward love life. I would recommend reading the 3 together, as they flow one to the other and are definitely not stand-alones. I found lots to like about this trilogy. Hope and Jake are very likeable, realistic characters. Both are of the "girl/guy next-door" variety, something I think we don't see enough of in romance novels. The secondary characters were quirky and well-done. (I sense that Ms. Bello is setting Bette and Raphael up for their own story...but I could be wrong!) The tone of this book is very light and the romance is sweet - and who doesn't love a sweet romance? It was refreshing to read about a man who didn't want to tie up or spank his lover. Don't get me wrong...the sex scenes were well done and fairly steamy, they just weren't kinky. The only issue I have with this trilogy is some of the language used in the sex scenes. "Fleshy spike" and "turgid member" don't really do it for me (and I'm not sure a "member" would remain "turgid" post blowjob). This is a fairly insignificant issue though, and it certainly didn't mar my enjoyment of the book. All in all, a very enjoyable read. This is my first by Alice Bello, but I'd certainly check out some of her other work. 3.5 stars
  • Preferred Rewards on Dec. 31, 2015

    I'm always interested to read erotic romance written from the male POV and by a male author. While it is marketed as both, this book was really neither erotica nor a romance, more a coming-of-age cautionary tale. Still very interesting though. This is the tale of Troy, who is 18 and just beginning college. Like most young men, he is ruled to some extent by his sexual urges. Enter the teasing Carrie and her roommate Gina. I was disappointed to see that the author via his character Troy still chooses to see women in one of 2 roles - the Madonna or the whore. Gina is the modest, church-going good girl and Carrie is the overtly sexual tease. (As an aside, I was also disappointed to see Gina turn into the stereotypical unreasonable shrew every once in a while.) While Troy claims to love Gina, he is still tempted by Carrie. In reality, he's apparently too immature to understand what love should be and why he needs to resist the tease. Even with all of the guilt he seemed to be experiencing, it seems that he learned nothing from the experience. To the bitter end, he's begging Gina to forgive him, and fails to understand why that won't happen. I was mostly enjoying the read until the ending - which unfortunately was abrupt and made little sense...why did Troy end up where he did? No explanation was really provided for the circumstances. Did he learn anything from the experience? We really don't just...ended. I'd rate this a 2.5 to 3 star read.