Book Review: CLOSED SET by Julia Harlow

Cassandra Carlson is working on her five-year plan. A professional dancer, she moved to Los Angeles to work at her best friend's Hollywood dance studio. She decides she can put up with the glitterati for the time being until she saves enough to open her own studio back home in Cincinnati. When soon-to-be A-list British actor, Christopher Edwards, comes to her for dance lessons for his new film, the attraction is instantaneous and intense. Both are young, available and strikingly beautiful, but while she finds Hollywood garish and superficial, he's on the brink of realizing his life's ambition with no inclination for a serious relationship. Or so he thinks. Just when their white-hot desire can no longer be denied, a jealous actress targets Cassandra in an insidious scheme, and a powerful studio head poses a formidable threat to them both. Cassandra puts herself in jeopardy in order to protect Christopher, but will she lose him in the process? 

** Note: Spoilers ahead. **

In exchange for an honest review, I received an ARC copy of Julia Harlow's Closed Set from Xpresso Book Tours.

This book gave me a headache. The book stars Cassandra Carlson, a ballet instructor who has dreams to break away from Hollywood and run her own studio back home in Cincinnati. But all of those plans come to a halt when Christopher Edwards, a hot British actor on top of the charts, comes in in need of dance lessons for his new film. Christopher is instantly attracted to her, while Cassandra stays professional. But it doesn't take long before she can't hide her attraction, either, and they finally go out on a date. 20% into the book, and they're already in love and fcking all over the place, declaring their love for each other. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE love and the way it does to characters, but when you've barely met the person and you're already head over heels and fcking, something's a bit off there. Then, Cassandra gets sexually assaulted by Christopher's jealous co-stars, so to protect her, Christopher demands that she join his movie as his new co-star. Completely forgetting that she is doing everything she can to get out of Hollywood, she joins anyway just to be with Christopher and to see him happy. And all goes well, they do a great job, considering she doesn't have much experience in acting. She even meets his family from London, and they adore her. But then she gets assaulted AGAIN by the CEO of Brookstone Company, Henderson! And then, Christopher breaks up with her to "protect her", without even letting her have her say in it. She goes home to Cincinnati AGAIN where he meets her and her family, and asks her to marry him! And she says yes! W.T.F kind of story!!!!???

First of all, I have a problem with Christopher and his always-jealous attitiude towards Cassandra and other men. Even when she looks at another man, not even in a romantic sort of way, more conversational, Christopher gets so angry and dominated and they get into a fight and break it off. But then he comes crawling back to her in need and desperation for her to forgive him. I personally think Chris is a weak character overall. He flip-flops too much when it comes to what he wants and expects Cassie to just go along with it. That bothers me because that's not the way relationships go in this world. They're supposed to go 50/50 and they just don't know how to do that.

That leads me into Cassandra's character. Hers is even more of a downward slope because I was so down with her staying professional and cordial towards Chris in the beginning, but as soon as they started screwing around, she immediately deserts her best friend, her business, and her goals to run her own business. It's not only until Chris breaks up with her the third time that she remembers that she wants to go back home to start her own studio. Like GIRL are you serious!? Ugh...

I don't know, man. Maybe it is me. I was under the impression that this novel was going to involve two opposite sides coming together when a big event happens, like a shooting in the studio or something. But it turned out to be something completely different and not good. If there is a sequel or trilogy happening with this book, sign me out because I'm truly disappointed with how this book came out.

Rating: 2/5 

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THE OCCASIONAL DIAMOND THIEF: Book Tour and Interview with Author J.A. McLachlan

Book Review + Giveaway: 'IGNITE THE SHADOWS' by Ingrid Seymour


Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.

Wow this whole book was sad, happy, hopeful, then back to sad and back to hopeful again. And it ends on a cliffhanger, which I hate!! 

I liked Marci as a character, but it felt as if she would never got out of her depressive, moody funk up until the very end. And even then, when something unexpected happens at the end, her mood goes back to complete unknown. 

I liked Xave too. The way he expressed his true feelings for Marci made me sad because he has no idea that she is more advanced than he knows she is. But at least they got together in the end, which is what I thought would happen anyway. 

James got on my nerves a bit. At first, he seemed like this all-knowing leader, but what kind of leader tells their newest teammate next to nothing when she enters a new world? A world she's always been in, but just never knew it? What kind of leader tells her to hide the majority of their powers if they're meant to save the world from these Electric demons called Eklyptors? 

I don't know, maybe it's because I'm not into much sci-fi, I'm more into romance/drama, but the premise of this story sounded good, so I thought I'd give it a try. It would have gotten 4 stars if it wasn't so unbalanced and wary of its surroundings. 

If there's a sequel, I'll check it out, but maybe not right away. I'll let this sink in for awhile.

Rating: 3/5 


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Book Blitz: RED NIGHTS by Shari J. Ryan

I’m Felicity Stone, a twenty-five-year-old with my whole life ahead of me. Well, until recently.

I didn’t do it. Why would they think I did? Why would I want my twin brother dead? Why is everyone looking at me like I’m a criminal?

Well, everyone except him… Hayes Peyton, the charmingly beautiful stranger I met in the park at midnight—a totally legitimate place to meet the man of my dreams. Plus, he knows I’m innocent.

Believing him is easy. So very easy. Maybe too easy?

But when you hear things like: ‘All good is laced with some bad, and everything you think is the truth—is nothing more than a blatant lie,’ it makes you question reality.

In Shari J. Ryan’s latest Romantic Suspense, Red Nights, you wonder how dark your world can get before all you see is red.

Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.

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