Review: Trade Me

Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Acquired how: library ebook

What a good book. I tried a couple of regency romances by Courtney Milan, and though they were well written, they didn’t grab me. Not knocking the writing, just noting that historical romances aren’t really what I’m into, and when I do go historicals I’d rather not read regencies.

And then I read Trade Me, after everyone raved about it last year, and it was just as good as I expected it to be.

First of all: these young people talk the way real young people talk (or, at least, the way they talk in tumblr posts when I’m secretly browing random blogs). Technology is integrated into their lives the way technology is integrated into everyone’s lives in real life. Cyclone really was strongly reminiscent of several big tech companies.

The main characters – Tina and Blake – are such caring, deep-thinking characters. Blake is so constantly stressed in a way that rings true. Tina’s poverty strongly reminds me of periods of my twenties, when you’re wondering how to make $20 without dying of malnutrition.

I haven’t read a whole bunch of billionaire romances but if I did I suspect I would be disappointed. Milan gets the way privilege and power structure a lot of society. She gets the way money – having it or not having it – changes the way people treat you. I’m glad I got to read a book where someone like Tina Chen gets the billionaire and teaches him something about the rest of the world on the way.

I loved the drama at the end – just ridiculously intense enough to be a wild, funny ride, but not so much that I rolled my eyes and walked away.

I only wish I’d read this last year when everyone else did so I could have joined the discussion at the time.

Short reviews 10 May 2016

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan – (library book) Though this started off so tense that several times I put it down and figured I wouldn’t finish it, it turned out charming. It seemed like a really bad idea for the hero and heroine to get together in the beginning. The action-adventure type hijinks really made it work for me. The supporting characters were fun, too. And, yet! It didn’t grab me the way I wanted. It’s a perfectly fine historical romance with likeable characters, but I’m just not that into regencies, it turns out. I’ve read several and I can never seem to raise up a feeling higher than ‘that was fine’ when I finish them.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Did Not Finish. What a load of pretentious wank! Why did I buy this? I only got about three chapters in because, for all the wordiness, the characters were so thinly drawn and so unappealing that I just didn’t care.


Short reviews 2 May 2016

Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl – (library book) I wasn’t sure about this at first but it turned out to be pretty cute. It was frothy in parts – and there was a point, roughly a third of the way through, when my interest waned – and in the beginning I felt that Olivia protested too much about being over her ex-husband. However, it became clear she had to protest about it so much because he wouldn’t leave her alone and was having trouble accepting she’d moved on. I also found it pretty strange that she got caught up on the age difference with Jamie so much, given he was in his late twenties; a little bit of fussing I could understand but she acted like she thought he was barely legal, occasionally. I did get into it, though, and in the obligatory brief break up moment, when Olivia was devastated, I was so affected that I cried. I definitely want to check out more of the author’s work.

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan – (library book) Various friends have told me how much they love this series. Having now read this, I can see that Milan has talent. However, I think it’s time for me to admit that I’m not big into historicals and regencies almost never work for me at all. It’s not them; it’s me. I liked it well enough but a fan of the subgenre would like it more.

Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell – (bought ebook) There was a lot to like about this one but I also thought it meandered all over the place a bit. I feel like this was a book that almost worked for me. There’s a lot going on in this story. The story shifted tone toward incredibly grim in a way I was surprised by. I’m usually in favour of a single POV for a book but this is a rare occasion where I feel the book would have been improved by including Nunzio’s POV – it would have made the ending more convincing and I felt surprised he was so easily convinced to go to Italy on his own. Having the story only in Michael’s POV as he got worse and worse off was a bit bleak for me. But a lot of people love this one, so don’t be put off by me.