Just reactions to books I read. I don't really summarize the book's content, because how hard is it to click on the cover and read the description?
So I just write my response.
Note: I picked this up because it was 99c and I've liked some of the authors' works in the past. There are a lot of novellas, though, and I don't feel like reading them all at once, so I'll update this post and my rating as I work through them.
First up, 4/5/2014: USA TODAY Bestselling Author M. Malone invites you to meet TANK Marshall. He has thirty days to meet his deadbeat dad or forfeit his inheritance. His mom needs surgery and he’d do anything for her, even dance with the devil. Emma Shaw just got the job of a lifetime, coaxing a rich client’s estranged son back into the fold. One meeting for $1 million. Easy money. Until she’s lying to the only man who makes her feel safe. (Blue-Collar Billionaires #1)
I chose this one first because it sounded like something I was in the mood for, even though it was an author I hadn't read before. I typically like the angst of being in a desperate situation and lying to the person you're falling in love with, usually.
But I made a big mistake. This was one of the stupidest novellas I've ever read. The plot is all over the place, and characters don't sound like people but like characters stuck in a cliched version of romance-land (in the most boring territory, to boot. At least some cliched romances still manage to drag me in and care about the characters. Not here.)
There's plenty here that I think is supposed to grab at my heartstrings or whatever (the mother's cancer, the death of the heroine's parents, the heroine's desperate situation) but it's all so bland. It SHOULD be wrought with tension, given the setup, but it's like the author just forgot about the whole point of the plot for chapters at the time, so when the plot and the lying finally make an appearance again it all feels forced and manipulative rather than organic. ("Oh, the story needs drama!" Cue: plot again.)
Add to that, the hero and heroine don't have any interesting thoughts or dialogue -- and even worse, there's far, FAR too much of that uninteresting dialogue -- and it all just feels like it was pieced together from the deleted scenes of much, much better romance stories.
At least I didn't notice any typos?
Story #2 - USA Today bestselling author Deanna Chase brings you MARKED BY TEMPTATION, a novella set in the Bourbon Street world. Mati Ballintine is a sex witch looking for a hot one-night stand to bolster her power, and sexy Vaughn Paxton is cocky enough to make her work for it. But when their one night turns into more than they bargained for, one life is changed, another threatened, and suddenly there’s a whole lot more than lust at stake. (Coven Pointe #1)
Well, crap. This was another not-known-to-me author. I should just stick with the two from the collection that I know.
It started out well. Then the novella just completely fell apart. The thing about romance novellas? They don't work so well when the two main characters spend a huge chunk of time apart. Space is limited to develop the story in the first place. So when they split up and the heroine fucks some other guy in the middle of the story, and what seems like must be every single character from the series shows up to do their thing, it's too much.
So this started out well, then was crammed with tons of worldbuilding, far too many characters, and not enough interaction between the hero and heroine. It's a novella. Shoving an entire world and attempting to stuff an entire novel's worth of story into the constrained space doesn't work.
Novellas should be as tight as a romance heroine's vagina -- not stuffed full by everyone in the series ever.
Who are these people? Why should I care about them? I don't know. And by the end I don't care about the main couple, either, even though it started out so well.
It was better than the first one, but I'm too freaking irritated with this box set now to even bother with the others. The authors obviously used a good copy editor, because there aren't many errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting -- but the two stories I've read so far could have used a MUCH heaver editing hand to tighten up these stories and cut out all of the needless crap.
One stupid novella, and the other with no control over the story. I'm out for a while.