Review

Review: A Match Made in Lipa by Carla de Guzman (2022)

The Laneways, Book #2

Heat Factor: In the first chunk, there’s one chaste kiss and one toe-curling kiss

Character Chemistry: Butterflies

Plot: Toxic Family + Corporate Shenanigans + Astrology + Chocolate

Overall: I struggled through the first third before giving up

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Smut Reporting

In this house, we DNF books

Look, we are so-called “professional reviewers” in that we receive advance copies (or just copies) of books from publishers and authors in exchange for honest reviews because we have a multi-app review platform that assists with book publicity. This, as opposed to simply picking up exclusively whatever books we feel like picking up wherever we happen to (legally) obtain them and reviewing them whenever and however we feel like reviewing them. We are not “professional reviewers” in that we are paid to read and review books. 

And different reviewers like us have different approaches to reviewing. Some sites only review books that they enjoy. Some sites review the whole range of 1- to 5-star reads and don’t DNF. 

We review everything from rants to raves, and we do DNF

Here’s why: 

  1. As reviewers rather than critics or academics, our job is to provide information about the reading experience as average readers. If part of the reading experience was “I was so bored” or “I hated these characters so much I couldn’t finish” or “I was extremely uncomfortable” then that is legitimate information that any other reader might experience and that our followers might appreciate knowing when they come to us for information about books.
  2. We do not believe in forcing ourselves to read things that we do not want to read. This is a personal choice. One of us might be made slightly uncomfortable by a book but choose to keep reading anyway and one of us might choose to DNF. But at the end of the day, the decision is ours, and we respect the decision for any reason. Just because a book interested us enough to accept it or request it in the first place does not mean that it’s going to work out perfectly down the road.
  3. Not gonna lie, the rants get the most hits. We’re not ranting or DNFing to be jerks or get clicks—our thoughts are all honest, and we try to avoid being assholes—but our followers do get curious about our grumblings more than about our gushings, and I get it. I also get curious and am more inclined to click through when I see someone saying they hated a book, because I want to know why and see if I might agree or disagree. 

Every now and then someone might argue that authors are owed the opportunity to tell their stories to their conclusions and that DNFing books is somehow wrong. But here’s the thing – every author has the opportunity to keep us engaged with every turn of a page. When that doesn’t happen, maybe it’s because we as readers simply don’t click with the book, or maybe it’s because the author has written a story with content we find objectionable. All that tells us, though, is that every book isn’t for every reader, and we’re pretty sure we all knew that already. 

The goal is to get books into the hands of the readers that want to read them, and it is possible for a DNF review to do that, because the reading experience is not only about how a book ends – it’s about the road it took to get there. 

Review

Review: Unexpected Goals by Kelly Farmer (2021)

Out on the Ice, Book #2

Heat Factor: At the point I stopped reading, Maisey was thinking a lot about how women have sex, but my understanding is that it’s a slow burn (so I’m guessing at least one scene toward the end)

Character Chemistry: There were plenty of cute moments

Plot: I think this is what people are referring to when they say they want “no plot just vibes”

Overall: Once they stopped being enemies at the 25% mark, all tension driving me to read was lost, so this one’s a DNF

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Review

Review: Pretty Little Lion by Suleikha Snyder (2021)

Third Shift, Book #2

Review of Third Shift, Book #1

Heat Factor: Blow job in a closet the first time they meet, but we don’t get a lot of explicit details.

Character Chemistry: Sexual attraction + some ineffable thing that’s breaking down the walls they’ve erected.

Plot: Elijah is trying to get information on an arms dealer, so he honeypots the guy’s girlfriend. Too bad Meghna is also an agent with her own agenda. And then Elijah kills someone he shouldn’t and shit hits the fan. 

Overall: I got bored and gave up after reading the first third.

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Review

Review: Memento Mori by Jane Morris (2021)

Heat Factor: It’s hot and a bit gritty.

Character Chemistry: It’s very much like the sleeve of cookies in my cupboard at 9:30pm–we know better, we know it’s not going to feel good tonight, and we know we’ll regret it tomorrow, but do we eat the cookies anyway? We do.

Plot: Jane and Gabriel meet at a museum and are instantly and deeply aflame–even though Jane stubbornly leads Gabriel on a teasing chase. Gabriel insists they are lovers who have connected and failed to secure their future together over and over throughout the years, and it’s hard to tell if they’ll manage to end up together this time around.

Overall: This was a DNF for complicated reasons that I will happily elaborate on below.

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