Blog Tour: Before the Tempest (UK Crush Series #4) by Tani Hanes (with Giveaway)

Blog Tour

Before The Tempest
(UK Crush Series Book #4)

by: Tani Hanes

Before the Tempest

Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult Romance/Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Aileen Foster, poor, orphaned, musically gifted, never imagined her life could change so much, so fast, but getting a job as interpreter for boyband UK Crush pitched her headfirst into tumult and a glamorous life she never thought she’d have. Now, engaged to band member Theo Shelley, and having survived her audition to Hamilton Conservatory in Manhattan, she’s off to the Bahamas with the boys while they write their new album. Life has never been easy for her, but she’s trying.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34664760-before-the-tempest?ac=1&from_search=true

About the Author
Tani Hanes

Tani Hanes was born in Yokosuka, Japan. She spent the first few years of her life traveling back and forth between Japan and the US, making the permanent move to the Central Valley of California when she was five. She visited family in Japan on a regular basis, and attended college in Tokyo for one year at ICU before getting her degree in Language Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has two children, and was a substitute teacher for fifteen years. Hanes currently resides in New York City with her husband and cats, Moss and Lily.

Previous books in the UK Crush Series

Author Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanihanesauthor/
Website: http://tanihanes.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaniHanes
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tani-Hanes/e/B01M4PYCA6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1493136660&sr=8-1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16028512.Tani_Hanes
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tanihanes/
Swoonreads: https://www.swoonreads.com/a/tani-hanes/6QA49L/

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Before+the+Tempest+by+tani+hanes
Pre-order Link for “Surviving the Hurricane” Book #5: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HKLYYV?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Giveaway:

5 digital sets of the UK Crush series and 1 complete print set of the UK Crush series, signed by author

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f4/?

Fighting Grief (Knockout #1) by Kellie Perkins

The first book of the year usually is what I had to put down during the holidays and didn’t get a chance to wrap up until the last few days. I have some lovely books sent to me lately which I need to read next but before those this one needs to be wrapped up and I had the perfect opportunity to finish it when I was waiting for a software to download and install. Fighting Grief is a first book in a trilogy and while it costs $1.XX on Amazon right now, I did get it when it was a free book back in 2014 or something.

Let’s check it out!

Fighting Grief (Knockout #1)
by: Kellie Perkins

Fighting Grief

Keeva O’Brien has lost all desire to work for a dream that was never really hers. Keeva’s brother, Luke, was the one who wanted her to go to college, the one who wanted her to be something more than he or their parents. Luke raised her, gave up everything to be there for Keeva after their parents died. But when Luke died, Keeva could no longer see the point.  When new bartender, Nash Pierce, begins working at the same restaurant where Keeva works, she has no interest in his charm. All she wants is to forget her grief, to forget that everything that had made her world make sense died in an instant when her brother was killed while fighting for an underground MMA club. Nash is willing to help her do that. – Goodreads

Am I glad that I didn’t read the synopsis on Goodreads before I started this book? If you were to shrink this book into 3 paragraphs, that is generally the version you’d use because its not a synopsis. It highlights almost everything you need to decipher the ending which was obvious from the moment Nash enters the picture, by the way. I’m getting ahead of myself now.

Fighting Grief isn’t a bad novel aside from its painfully obvious situation of who Nash is and what happens to Keeva. In fact, it does itself justice by focusing on the romance and the healing and expanding on getting to somewhat understand the characters a little, while even trickling in with some conversations with supporting characters. All those aspects of Fighting Grief is good. I’d even say that the writing is fun and quick to read while still remembering to never dive into the erotica area and just dabble on the surface of a romance and the connection that Keeva and Nash have for each other. I do think that the writing can be polished a little more but this is the first book I’ve read of Kellie Perkins so I’m sure there is room for much improvement and probably has in the later books.

However, Fighting Grief is a very generic story about tragic loss and the ending is painfully obvious as I mentioned before. In fact, the only reason I did keep reading it unfortunately was to prove myself right or let the book prove me wrong. Plus, I’m not one to start a book and not at least give it a chance to redeem itself. There is merit here and I can see the appeal for some people but for me, it felt a little too obvious. There are coincidences and then there are “coincidences” if you know what I mean. Plus, there are moments when I didn’t really like our main character Keeva. I get that she is grieving but she seems incredibly immature for someone who has been thrown into unfortunate situation since she was young.

Overall, I feel like I already have a general idea where the next two books in the trilogy might go if it is as predictable as this one. While I do wonder how it will all play out, it isn’t quite enough for me to pick up the second book. However, if you want a quick romance read, this might fit the bill.

Miss Taken by Cleo Scornavacca (Miss Taken #1)

I’m taking a different approach with NaNoWriMo this year so I figured that reading a novel would be a good idea. And obviously, it had to not be in the genre as I was writing so I decided to go as far away as possible and chose to read this book sitting in my Kindle for about two years. Well, kind of far away so I chose a contemporary romance/family saga (as Amazon categorizes it). Here’s Miss Taken, the first book of Miss Taken Identity. I didn’t read the synopsis before I started this up….how many times do I say that I shouldn’t do that.

Let’s check it out!

Miss Taken
by Cleo Scornavacca

Miss Taken

Rain and Raven Medici are identical twins. Although they come from a loving close-knit family their childhoods couldn’t have been more different. Once grown, Raven becomes a lawyer at their dad’s firm Kane & Medici in NYC. Rain along with her only childhood friend Tommy Conte, builds a very successful business as professional photographers. Dominick Kane is a product of his upbringing. He’s powerful, self-assured and knows he can achieve anything he desires. There is only one thing he has ever failed at. A relationship with his father Vincent Kane. Upon his father’s death, Dominick vows revenge. In a bizarre twist of fate, Dominick kidnaps Raven as part of his plan for revenge. Only to discover afterward, he has taken Rain by mistake. Rain knows she can never survive being confined again. So she strikes a bargain with the devil and agrees to help Dominick get back what he feels rightly belongs to him. His father’s share of Kane & Medici.- Goodreads

Note: The synopsis on Goodreads is much more detailed. I just took snippets. Click on the Goodreads link to read the full version.

…sigh… Before we start, I think I should be totally clear that I took two weeks off after reading this before writing to minimize the frustrations I felt as I was reading this. There is a few good points that Miss Taken does but mostly, the way they executed and took the novel got me really frustrated. I mean, its kind of the frustration I felt for Tasting the Boy Next Door (review HERE). I want to start with the good points, just to maybe calm my nerves a little because thinking of this novel again makes me feel the anger boiling up again. But somehow, my good points can’t be backed with talking about the frustrations I had. Before we start, let me reiterate that I’m not extreme feminist or anything. I just don’t quite believe in particularly writing female characters like the way that they are done here.  You will see what I mean below. And also, if you are going to have detailed sex scenes,  it is in the erotica zone. Just saying that because then readers will know what they are buying into. Yet again, I’m not that uptight but I felt a little surprised. Its my fault. I had my suspicions just by the title of the book and I still went ahead with it. At least it also exactly fits the criteria of what I was looking for.

Miss Taken starts off okay. We learn about Rain and her growing up problems and health issues and her weird relationship with this douchebag best friend Tommy that she owns a business with. First problem is here. Rain is made into a girl who really seems like she just got out of confinement which isn’t the case, from what I derived at least. Actually she fears confinement because of her illness at a young age. Starting the business and living in a certain way, Tommy is this guy that really cares about her but he isn’t her boyfriend or doesn’t sleep with her. Yet, he calls her “baby” after every single sentence he says. Reading Tommy’s dialogue was torture. To be fair, near the end, Tommy’s character seemed to have developed more than anyone else and was the most logical and acceptable person, in some ways. Sad to say, because Tommy is really small potatoes here.

The main issue I had with Miss Taken was the main character Rain who hated confinement so much that she was willing to strike a deal with this unknown stranger that kidnapped her by accident. She wasn’t suspicious of his past or why he wanted what he wanted as revenge. She thought that she could change his mind from a vengeful plans that he’s had all along that could hurt her family. Rain is very selfish and self-centered and yet, she keeps talking about how its wrong to be attracted to handsome and hot man in front of her that she has to fake a relationship with and pretends to put a cold front and have all these boundaries. In a quick turn of events, it turns into a toxic relationship that everyone reading should see coming a mile away. Dominick resembles kind of Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey, if you don’t know). He is troubled but more aggressive. He is temperamental and possessive, and on top of that, he is manipulative. Yet, Rain, in the whatever time frame has fallen in love and just forgives and forgets like the snap of your fingers of everything that he does. When she gets mad, Dominick comes up and rips off her clothes (or whatever sexual act) to turn her on and they are all lovey-dovey and forgets the whole thing, thinking that it has changed. Sex doesn’t change anything. A hot guy doesn’t make you fall in love and forget who you are. That is what frustrates me. And it keeps happening for at least half of the novel and we never learn much from any of these developments except that Rain is so easily manipulated and really stupid. This is what I don’t agree with. Writing this makes me angry because it gives women this really horrible superficial image. What I hated the most was that Rain always talks about leaving and then Dominick has sex with her or sweet talk her in one way or another and she forgets and gives him another chance. I’m not a hard ass and I’m a huge romantic (and I’m even going to admit that I love sex as much as the next person) and I even forgive people who don’t deserve it more than they should but Miss Taken takes it to another level.

I know I ranted up there. I’m sorry about that. My point is: this is a bad portrayal and one that I can’t back because this character has no personality. She’s gone through so much in her younger days and yet, she has no personality and no values especially when Dominick is confining and restricting her more than her growing up with an illness ever was and yet, she went for this deal that turned into a real “relationship” instead of going back home and doing what is right. Why not dig deeper to see why Dominick’s history was like that, why not learn more about it. She does but only so much later. I guess, the good part of Miss Taken is that it starts off reasonably well, except for the dialogue choice. It heads in a good direction then just falls apart. Then the ending is kind of acceptable but then, its only leading up to the sequel, which I probably won’t read because I already looked at the synopsis and I kind of have an idea where its going and I’m not ready to get this worked up again.

There are ways to write novels like this. I’ve read some that are sensual and sexy to read and yet not degrading or portraying women  characters as people who just will do anything and forget all of themselves because of a hot guy that turns them on. Best example I can think of right now: King’s. Getting attracted to a hot guy and being manipulated into a situation is normal as a story, it is in the way an author approaches and builds those characters that changes the equation. Maybe for some, this could be a guilty pleasure especially since the sex scenes are done very well, unfortunately for me, it was not enjoyable for the lack of depth in the characters.