Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About January Janes

January likes a little bit of everything. She's partial to unique paranormals, erotic romances, contemporary, and YA. She has a fondness for novellas and trying self-published works, though more of those are misses than hits. She still refuses to read anything that smells like literary fiction. January also changes this bio on a regular basis depending on her reading mood.

Posts by January Janes:

REVIEW:  Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

REVIEW: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Dear Ms. Clayton:

When I don’t know what to read next, I admit that I prowl the Amazon bestseller lists in the hopes of seeing something that will catch my attention. Your book’s risqué cover certainly did, and I downloaded a sample. I was immediately charmed by your breezy, light-hearted voice and purchased despite being leery of your publisher (Omnific, who publishes a lot of reworked fanfiction). The first half of this book was everything it promised to be, but I found that as the story wore on, it lost some of its charm.

Wallbanger-Alice-ClaytonWallbanger is the story of Caroline, a young, single interior designer who has been without a boyfriend and without her ‘O’ for some time. She moves in to a lovely apartment that seems perfect, only to be awakened nightly by her neighbor, the ‘wallbanger’ of the title. He has a different woman over several nights in a row, and Caroline grows to hate him. Naturally they later meet up at a party and are forced together, and what follows is a flirty, coy friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Caroline is wary of Simon and his ‘harem’, but falls for him.

Initially I was skeptical but hooked. Caroline seemed like a brash, fun, independent heroine and the hero was a manslut who was, in fact, sleeping with three different women. I wanted to see how you would turn him around and make him loveable.

The conversations between Caroline and Simon were fast, frenetic and amusing and I couldn’t wait to see how these two would end up together. In a world of instant-love romances, I loved that Caroline and Simon are friends for quite some time before moving on to other things, because it allowed me to enjoy their witty push-pull banter for that much longer. Unfortunately, the push-pull goes on for too long, and by the 70% mark on my kindle, I was ready for the book to be over and for them to consummate the deal. In my opinion, the latter half of the book dragged because of an overabundance of the will they won’t they scenario and I wanted the story to do something, anything, different at that point. It could have been 25% shorter and I would have been pleased.

As the story wore on, I began to have trouble with suspension of belief as well. I could suspend belief that Caroline and Simon could hear everything through their paper-thin wall; from sighs to snorts of disbelief to the cries of Simon’s harem. However, the suspension of disbelief items began to pile on. The cat’s ridiculous antics were aggravating, as was the fact that everyone thought it was adorable instead of obnoxious or disgusting. The hookups of the best friends of both seemed a little overly cute, and Simon’s later revelation that he’d never had a real relationship seemed farfetched. In addition, the closer that Caroline and Simon grow, the more beta male he became. I felt as if you defanged the manslut hero in order to make him hero material, but in doing so, you lost the things that I found appealing about him in the first place. By the end of the book, Simon is wimpy and needy and I was longing for the arrogant manslut of the first few chapters.

Overall, the book was a light, amusing read that went on a touch too long. I enjoyed it but it did not make me rush out to purchase your backlist; I need a break from the cuteness. If you enjoy a slightly more curse-word-happy and sexed up Kristen Higgins heroine, you would probably enjoy this story.

For me, the first half was a B+, but the second half fell to a C. Overall I’d have to round it out to a B-. Enjoyable but flawed.

All best,

January

PS –Upon further investigation…it seems this is another Twilight fanfic.

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REVIEW:  In the Band by Jean Haus

REVIEW: In the Band by Jean Haus

Dear Jean Haus:

I purchased this book sight unseen during an after Christmas sale on Amazon. It had quite a few positive reviews and something most band romances seem to neglect: a female actually in the band instead of just sleeping with someone in the band. At the sale price, it seemed like an interesting read, and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed this book quite a bit, though there are a few caveats.

16067241In the Band is the story of Riley, a girl who is talented at percussion, especially drums. She has a full scholarship to a college in Virginia, but turns it down at the last minute. Her mother has been in depression since her divorce and Riley’s eight year old sister Jamie will suffer if Riley goes away to college. Riley is upset about losing out on her dream, but recognizes that family must come first at this time. She enrolls in the local college and, at a friend’s encouragement, tries out for a popular local band, Luminescent Juliet, who needs a drummer.

It’s no spoiler to say that Riley makes the band; it’s in the title. However, her transition into the band isn’t smooth. Though she’s a talented drummer, she conflicts with Romeo, the band guitarist and driving force. He never wanted Riley in the band and continually attacks her actions while they perform or practice. He shares a calculus class with her and seems to take delight in needling her there as well. He’s described as a dark sexual god and extremely erotic. All of this makes Riley hate him for being an ‘ass’ but she begins to see a different side of Romeo away from the band meet-ups and wonders if there’s more to him.

The first chapter of this book came across as extremely disjointed and rough. It almost made me put the book aside immediately, however, I’m glad I chose to continue forward. Riley is a likeable character and is confident without being arrogant. She knows she’s a great drummer and never angsts about her skills. She has enough angst in all other areas of her life. There is her mother, who is sliding into depression, the lack of money now that her father has left them, the little sister she has to care for, the college she doesn’t want to be at, the dream she had to give up, and the animosity between her and Romeo. There’s also conflict between her best friends, and the father’s new girlfriend that’s years younger and easy to despise. I was expecting an easy read about a ‘rock chick’ and got a story about a drummer whose life is fraying at the seams. It made for a compelling and difficult to put down story.

The romance between Riley and Romeo is sweet but conflicted. There’s the initial bickering that gives way to more, and the sexual tension between the two of them is enjoyable. I did feel that the black moment and Riley’s martyrdom perhaps dragged on for a bit longer than I would have preferred, but Riley’s eventual turn-around convinced me. There is one section that could upset readers:

 

SPOILERS: [spoiler]at the end of the story, Riley temporarily gives up drumming because she doesn’t have the time in her life to juggle the band, her boyfriend, and her family. While this might come across as iffy to readers, I thought it was handled well and the epilogue eased my fears that she was giving up her dream for good.[/spoiler]

END SPOILERS

Overall an easy, pleasant, emotional read that I found difficult to put down. As self published books go, it’s mostly clean but with some typos and dropped commas, but not enough to lose me from the story. B+

All best,
January

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