How to Bake a Man, Jessica Barksdale Inclan,

How to Bake a Man, Jessica Barksdale Inclan,
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

Genre: Romance, Humour

Well, sometimes I want a light, fluffy humorous book – all that angst and emotion I love to read needs some contrast, and I’d gone through several dramatic books so this sounded just perfect. Sadly though I didn’t like this one.

My biggest problem was Becca. Whiny, flighty, seeming to think everything and everyone should do as she wants, I just couldn’t take to her. Her baking business was terribly slick to set up and get customers – OK it’s fiction, but there needs to be a bit of realism, and she seemed to have no problems with funding, kitchen inspections, licences, transport and customers. It looked like one day she decides to run a baking business and a few days later its up and running…Life isn’t anywhere near like that, and I’d have more respect if she’d hit a few problems, or it took longer. Anyone who’s done anything like this knows that Councils especially take weeks to make inspections and decisions. Also I can’t see how she could produce all those lovely goods herself in a domestic kitchen, or how just one office block could support a business.

Poor old Sal, he was a gem and yet she took his help for granted – there’s not even a mention of her providing even fuel money for his car, she just expects him to do her bidding. When she first had the idea surely she should have though about transport? Clearly though she didn’t….She seems to be one of life’s entitled takers, and when she happens upon Jeff she decides she’s in love and he’d be better off with her rather than his girlfriend – who co incidentally is Becca’s double. She knows nothing about her except office gossip, and the fact she’s seen and been subject to some of her nastiness. For all she knows Jeff too could be like that! Jeff seemed to me to be a wimp – what she saw in him on that instant look to fall in love I don’t know, and his subsequent behaviour was not anything to improve my view of him.

The best of the group were Sal, a gem of a man and very under appreciated, and Sasha and Chad from the office where she sold her goods. There were odd storylines that seemed to go nowhere, such as the start where we see her at uni, the fact of Jennifer and Becca looking so alike, her dad’s new marriage, and the lack of contact with him when she as a child…To me those story lines seemed like padding. I was waiting for some kind of connection further down the book, but found nothing so what was the point of them? I could have missed something though, as by halfway I was so bored I skim read to the end.

Its not one for me, but I can see its got a huge number of fans so once again its an example of how not all books suit all readers, nothing to do with quality of the book, simply differing tastes. The biscuits and cakes though – they were five stars!!

Stars: Two, just not one for me

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Entangled Romance Black Friday deals

Enatangled Raomance are having a Black Friday sale from 26 Nov through 6 Dec. There are TONS of titles on sale for only 99cents, and this is the perfect way to stock up those ereaders. You can even gift them to anyone, for awesome early holiday stocking stuffers that won’t break the bank!Sadly its a US only offer but if thats where you are its a great offer. I’ve read some really good reads from Entangled, they’re not all light and fluffy romances but some quite deep ones, and some really gripping paranormals

Part-Time Lovers, Shelley Munro

Part-Time Lovers, Shelley Munro
review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I’d enjoyed a couple of Shelley’s novels before, so seeing as this was the first in a new series I thought I’d try it. I found myself a bit lost though, it felt as if I was reading about characters from an existing series, they all seemed to know each other well,  and references to pasts and the reality show made me feel I’d missed something. I looked up Shelly’s other books and saw that the reality show mentioned was from the third in a series, and the characters had all been featured over three books in the Love and Friendship series. Its quite a short read at 125 pages, so I understand why ground covered in those wasn’t explained but I think if you’ve not read any/all of them you’ll find, like I did, that you miss too much to really get “into” the story.
I didn’t understand why Yvonne seemed to give in so quickly – OK it was (supposedly) sex on her terms and I Loved the way she thanked him the first time and said she was off to watch a TV show next! After that though they seemed to slip into being a couple, and though Nolan seemed a nice guy I just couldn’t get past that he’d just left her with no explanation, saying he was going to be away for three months so he couldn’t see her, when in fact he was on TV searching for a wife, dating other people!! What a jerk, and the excuse his mum arranged it all – what was he ? Seven or something? couldn’t he say No to her? I just felt Yvonne got the short straw and that coloured too much of the book for me.
Its a decent read, and I sort of understood Nolan by the end but if I was Yvonne I’d have made him grovel a lot more….if I’d read the other books maybe I’d have had more insight into him. If it was a longer book maybe I’d have had more time to like him, but I hadn’t, it wasn’t and I struggled with a man who could do that. The sex scenes were hot though, and Yvonne made me laugh over the butt plug part….good for her!
Stars: three, I enjoyed parts but really needed to feel Nolan deserved Yvonne.
ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley

The King, Tiffany Reisz


The King, Tiffany Reisz
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

Kingsley – the King. He’s a strong character full of sex, sin and sensuality, spiced up with his ability to laugh when the situations gets bad. He sees humour in the strangest of places. Soren is the only person to really understand him, and King’s loyal and in love with him to the death.
I’d looked forward to this book but…it didn’t have that “can’t put down” feeling every other has had for me. Tiffany’s writing style is as ever easy and seductive, and pulls the reader in but the story..maybe its because I know by now what’s happening, I know how it ends, and this is just a strand in the whole weave showing how Kingsley becomes so entrenched in the group. I don’t know – but whatever it was it was a fun read, I love Kingsley and I really enjoyed seeing how he was raised to the level of King. How he grew from that schoolboy who idolised Soren into a person in his own right. I loved the snippets of the two when they were at school, and I also enjoyed seeing how his trademark style of dress came about. What didn’t work so well I guess was the big part of the book which was about the creation of the eighth circle. Or mortem to the point, the getting hold of the building. To be honest I’d have liked it more if the gaining it was briefer, and we got a bit about just how the conversion took place, how they decided what was needed and how it came about. I liked how Kingsley started getting the staff, that worked well for me, and maybe as that was new info. The past that I liked best was where we saw them in scenes we hadn’t seen before, or which had been only briefly alluded to – when Soren took King with him and they went to warn his fathers new wife for example. That was interesting, gave us more insights into both of them and what drove them, and of course it was Hot!! Its a good book of course, I don’t think Tiffany can do less with this series, its just for me it didn’t make that magic five, and I’m not sure its one I’d re read. Its fits with the rest but whereas I would (and have) re read some of the others, this one is probably a one off. It rounds off some scenes but there’s nothing that it contains that we don’t already know in part, and its not one that has to be read to understand the whole series. Still, I am SO looking forward to reading more about Soren! and still love the King of course…
Stars: Four, a good book but not up to the others for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose, Jeffe Kennedy


The Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose, Jeffe Kennedy
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Fantasy/paranormal romance
Once again I’ve jumped in to a trilogy without reading part one, but I read the amazon sample and a few reviews, so had a good idea of how the story was working. Whereas last book seemed to focus on Andi and the Tala, this one is centred around Amelia (Ami).
Ami seemed a bit..shallow to be honest. Its not really her fault, she’s been brought up with wealth and privilege, and to believe that her beauty is something to be admired, and add on that she’s Glorianna’s Avatar and its not hard to understand why she’s so vacuous at times. The eldest sister Ursula has always been mother to the two younger sisters and a warrior, always strategizing with their father and looking to protect her people. She’s very conscious of duty, and Andi was always the odd middle child, didn’t have Ursula’s intelligence for military matters nor Ami’s beauty, and was left to go her own way. Now she’s on the opposite side to her sisters, married to their enemy and Queen of the Tala. Ami was deeply in love with the handsome Hugh, looking to have a long future with him and their children, being a bountiful avatar and Queen and now its all gone wrong. Hugh is dead, killed in a battle with the Tala, and her father and father in law seek to control her and the child she carries, and she’s grief stricken and finding it hard to decide anything. Even in that at times its as of she’s playing a role it seems to me. then events begin to challenge her, not least the assistant to Kir, Glorianna’s priest. The White Monk pushes at Ami with some harsh words, and she takes a look at her life, not through her eyes of the past but through the eyes upon her, and sees that she’s at the centre of a power struggle. It seems Kir too has a taste for controlling her. Ami is really growing up now, no longer a pampered child and not happy at what she sees of herself, and with the help of some trusted people slowly seeks to change. Its a dangerous path she treads though, not knowing quite who she can trust and learning as she goes the kind of strategies Ursula excels at. The journey isn’t just mental but physical too, trying to see if she can enter Anwynn, the place where Andi and  the Tala reside that’s full of magic, and along the way she finds a new and forbidden love. I really enjoyed seeing how she changed from the vapid and shallow child she was – even though married she was still a teen and acted like it, to a sensuous and clever lady. I’m keen to see where the journey goes next. Once again Jeffe has come up with a story that takes a magical slant to it, and I was fascinated by that part – as with Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns series the magic used here is clever, believable and not some miracle power brought in just at the crucial time. I need that, need to have some kind of grounding reference for it so that I can feel its real, and this book ( and Thorns!) does that.
Stars: Four and a half, a great read but not quite as addicting as Covenant of Thorns.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Waiting Hearts, Beth Ann Stifflemire


Waiting Hearts, Beth Ann Stifflemire
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I’m a romance lover but like my romance to be edgy, angsty, full of deep drama and dark emotion. this debut book by Beth isn’t that – it’s a great read, well planned out and full of gentle surprises but its more like a Hallmark film, the ones my Other Half loves to watch – with tissues at the ready. He used to cry at Little House on the Prairie too – and its the same kind of sweet, heart warming story as they have.
Kayla, there’s so much to admire about her, she’s grown up with this heart problem and it would be easy to just give in, to say life is unfair and wallow, and yet she doesn’t. Full marks to her parents for pushing her to do her best, to achieve as much as possible. It must have been tough on them too. Sadly her beloved dad has since died, but she still has her mum within travelling distance. Her dad crops up from beyond the grave a few times to give her hope and advice, and though many people love that kind of thing it’s not for me. She makes her life, has a good job, and friends, and does as much as she’s able, though of course there are huge restrictions on what she can do. Then musician Gabe comes into her life and he’s a real hero. Not put off by her illness, he’s a huge support and soon they;re deeply in love.
Then Gabe gets his breakthrough and the impact it has on her is huge, she had to make some hard choices. that was really emotional and I felt for both of them. Its a true rock and hard place decision, tough, heart-breaking and I understand why she chose as she did. Makes me glad our NHS in UK isn’t like that. Still, life moves on, and then that’s where it started to get problematic for me, things happen that are just too twee, too coincidental for me and yet I know if this were a film my OH would have the tissues out!! I do cry at books, I’m not unemotional, but it just takes a different kind of setting for me. Its got a well rounded ending, though bittersweet in many ways.
As ever though this is just how it affected me, and lots of readers like that slow, gentle setting, the way the story gradually builds up, and the sweet but heart breaking ending. It was well written and if stories that are like Hallmark films are what you like I’m sure you’ll love this one.
Stars: Difficult, there were parts I liked, and the characters were great, it was just the overall “sweetness” of it that was a bit too much for me. Three, a good book but not a great one for me.
ARC supplied by author.

Return to Me, James Oliver French

Return to Me


Return to Me, James Oliver French
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’m struggling to review this. It’s a romance and then again its not….I do love my happy endings and this doesn’t have one…or does it? There’s a glimpse of something positive on the way for poor Todd. Overall this has a beautiful romanctic theme that ends far too soon, along with some nifty, interesting futuristic possibilities.
Kyle and Todd, the perfect couple in college, very tender and sweet, and it’s a first time complete romance for both. Todd’s family are supportive of him but Kyle’s – they were typical bigots, and kicked the poor kid out. Sadly it happens, seems Christianity is only for selected groups…
The two lads are at college and getting on really well, getting closer and closer, and finally deeply in love when suddenly Kyle disappears. The police aren’t interested, his parents don’t care, and it seems like only Todd is worried but he can do nothing. It looks like Kyle has got cold feet and just moved on, and yet Todd can’t believe that and is finding it hard to move forward.
Fast-forward fifteen years and Todd is a fully fledged Psychiatrist. He’s never got over the loss of his first love, never really got into a full relationship again. He’s so many unanswered questions. Then he gets a new patient that forces him to look back at the past ,and he makes further investigations into what happened and is shocked and horrified by what he finds. ( So was I, and sadly I have no problem believing this could and does happen)
At times this was a really emotional read, and mixes current medical practice with some interesting futuristic possibilities, to move the story to where James wants it to be. Just when I thought things were looking up though he throws in more drama, and more angst and it takes away all the hope I had. TBH that spoiled it for me, I need my happy endings, and though Todd gets a peek at a happy future it isn’t the one I wanted for him. I’m just one reader though, and not everyone wants the HEA, some would rather the story take a more intriguing direction, and for them this will be a perfect read.
Stars: Four, there were parts I loved, parts I felt a bit slow, parts where I was glad some people got just what they deserved however long it took, and then a part that just wanted a different ending :-( Ah well….you can’t please everyone. Its really well written and if you can go without the HEA it may be the perfect read for you.
ARC supplied by author

Premiere, A Love Story, Tracy Ewen

Premiere: A Love Story


Premiere, A Love Story, Tracy Ewen
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I thought this sounded fun, I do love a good romance, one with lots of emotion and was hoping that’s what I’d get here. Well, there was lots of angst by way of looking back at their lives, and regrets, but though I’m always championing longer reads I wished this one was shorter, as I felt that they just pored over, drew out every last nuance of each little action or sentence spoken. I even found myself skimming parts….
Sam, lifelong best friend to Peter and Grady and daughter of a well off and loving family. She’s long loved Peter, but in secret, content to support him and Grady and be their friend. That’s the way it went all through school and college, and when Peters dad killed himself and his mum descended into alcoholism he needed their support. Then they moved on, graduated drama school, and life forced them to look at the future. Sam has her heart broken by Peter, but after a while picks herself up, puts aside her dreams, and comes home to work in the local theatre. She’s good at her job, has dated but keeps her heart closed it seems to me. She’s just kind of marking time, passing the days and inside she still yearns for her lost dreams of Peter, even though she believes she’s over him, and hasn’t seen or spoken to him for four years.
Then he brings his latest play back to her theatre, being as successful as he has means its going to be the thing needed to save the theatre financially. Poor Sam, I felt for her, she thought it was all under control until she saw him…then she sees the new play and – wow – what a horrible thing. I couldn’t believe he could be so crass and I guess that’s where the problems I had with this book came in. Peter – the Great Love in Sam’s life, he was so selfish!! Every time he comes out with excuses its all about what he needs, regardless of others, and in his mind that’s all the reason he requires. Even the play shows him as he sees himself but the others? The friends that supported him – oh Sam is portrayed as a shallow, debutante, small town queen type, and Grady a rich, lightweight playboy, with both their lives being problem free and so easy compared to his traumas. Did he really see his friends like that? Miss all the problems they had, the times when they were unhappy, feeling frustrated and suffocated by the restrictions placed on them. Had he really forgotten all the things they did together, the fun they had, the times when they were there to help him? He seems determined to hate his past and reshape memories to fit his wishes. Poor Sam is distraught – he broke her heart, and now with that scene in the play he’s stomping all over it. And yet she still loves him. All I could think is Why? What on earth did she see in him? Still, the emotions we have aren’t always rational, and even though I felt she deserved more it was Peter she wanted, warts and all….but dare she let him in again though?
The later part of the book, where things began to happen, had for me more depth, and lots of emotion but that first half, two thirds even, felt so slow to me, so full of “what if” conversations and reminiscing that it palled. I was bored, though I like to look at the past and of course it was relevant, I just felt I wanted a bit more of something happening now. Peter had become a famous playwright, but it seemed to me the two we were given were both from his past, written to portray him in the best light and once again it was nothing original and all about what he wanted, felt he needed, regardless of anyone else emotions. I needed to like him more – and I just couldn’t.
As ever though this is just how it affected me, and lots of readers like that slow, drawn out reveal, the way the reader needs to look between the lines. It was well written and if that’s what you like I’m sure it’ll be a higher rate than mine.
Stars: Three, there were some very emotional scenes in that last third that were great, but that slow, prolonged, going nowhere beginning spoiled it for me.
ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley.

I Belong to You, Lisa Renee Jones

I Belong to You, Lisa Renee Jones

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews.

I love this series and have always found Mark to be a fascinating person, so much hidden under the enigmatic facade he presents to the world. Finally, finally we get some answers to him. Crystal too – she’s always had quite a reserved front, and I suspected she was hiding something but – Wow – not that….
The heat is up, Mark’s mum is still very ill, Ava and Corey still on the run but suspected to be after Mark, allied with someone dangerous helping them, the police still seem to suspect Mark is hiding something, the press still looking for dirt and sex scandals, and in the midst of all that Crystal is still trying to keep Riptide running. Then things come out that make Mark suspect she’s a target too.
Oh I really enjoyed this novella for the answers we finally got, and for the in-depth view we get of Mark. He’s struggling with so much going on, so much he can’t predict and allow on his own terms, and  he starts to look at his constant need for control of everything. It’s masked problems from his past, and allowed him to cope but in truth he’s done that at a price, not allowing himself to love with Rebecca, something he now regrets. Its time for a change or go under, with events running beyond his jurisdiction,  and Crystal gives him the impetus to make it. I love the way the present and the past are tied together, the way what worked for Mark then was explained, and how we see that now he’s changed he needs a different solution. Its a very emotional read, fast paced with danger at every turn, and yet still Marks trademark ar$e-holeness as Crystal calls it, coming through when his control starts to slip. He’s not going to change overnight but we can see that he’s on the way to a brighter future. It’s a great read, and though it can be read as a standalone I think it’s best with the knowledge that came from the other books.
Its a series I’ll happily reread back to back when finally I have all the books. There are so many characters involved now that I’m interested to see how I view events at the beginning of the series, armed with how I now know things go. My only problem with the series is the way its separated out into so many parts, making it a very expensive read. However Lisa’s writing is very good, and she weaves a tight and exciting story, around characters that are fascinating and leaves the reader wanting to know how everything resolves.
Stars: Five. Once again a great read, my usual gripes about splitting novels in this way apart…
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers

Shiftin’ Dirty, (Southern Shifters 6), Eliza Gayle

Shiftin' Dirty: BBW Paranormal Shifter Romance (Southern Shifters Book 6)


Shiftin’ Dirty, (Southern Shifters 6), Eliza Gayle
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
This is one of those series that I jumped in, starting with book three, and have really come to enjoy. This one feels a bit lighter than the last one though. I do like a solid read to get my teeth into, but it was still a good read.
Gage made for a great male lead, he’s the strong and silent type, solitary but feeling currently very frustrated and aroused by the pheromones given off by pregnant pack member Nikki. It’s putting all the males on edge, making them touchy and on the edge of fighting, lacking a sexual outlet. Hoping to get away briefly he goes to a biker bar. Of course instead of the quiet, peaceful drink he wants he gets involved with a human, Sienna, who is caught up in a shifter battle. She saw one of the men change form and that’s disaster, humans have to be kept out of the loop about Supernaturals..
Sienna, she had been taken for a ride by her ex, made homeless, penniless and on the verge of bankruptcy from all the debts he left. She’s desperate and the bar job is her last hope. Its a tough one, but she’s on trial for the night, and she’s trying hard. Then she goes outside at the end of the evening and sees a man change into a wolf! Gage has been tempted by her scent but told himself it was just the effects of the pheromones he’s feeling, but when he rescues her from the other men his wolf is shouting Mate at him. Not sure how to proceed, but keen to get her out of immediate danger he whisks her away on his bike. There’s danger to her not just from the other shifters right now, but from the Council in the longer term. Shifter politics seem just like our human ones at times, bogged down by archaic rules and red tape!
Poor Sienna, now she’s stuck in a weird place where everything that is shouldn’t be, according to her world perspective. Men that change into wolves? Rubbish… except she Saw It Happen….and with Gage’s family she finds out there are other types of shifter too. She’s always been ridiculed for not being tall and slender, but Gage seems fascinated by her curves and can’t keep his hands off her. That’s a shock, especially given he’s incredibly hot himself, and somehow he’s hard to resist even though a part of her is scared about this new world. What has she to lose though? Set against a man who wants her, who she wants back, who wants to look after her, loves her baking and can offer her lifelong love. Its a big decision but she needs to choose right now.
Its a fun read, quite a light one but a great sexy addition to the series. I think its easier of you’ve read some of the others, but wouldn’t be impossible to pick up without as Eliza gives just enough info to let new readers keep up, but not bore those who already know things.
Stars: Four- a fun, sexy addition to the series.
ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley.

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