No Weddings, Kat Bastion, Stone Bastion. Afternoon Delight, Anne Calhoun

No Weddings

 

No Weddings, Kat Bastion, Stone Bastion
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Well, I loved Kat’s paranormal books so was interested to read this. Its a venture into contemporary romance with her husband Stone.
Well, for me the duo work well together, I really enjoyed this story. Its not a heart-stopping, breath-holding type of read, but a slow, careful, sensuous journey with Cade working oh so carefully to get Hannah where he wants. He’s clearly a planner out of business as well as in it…This book is written from his POV, and that’s interesting as we get lots of female POV, but far fewer from men.
I loved Cade and Hannah. Cade sisters too were an interesting mix too. Cade seems older than his years, I’m not sure exactly how old he is, but from the education comments I’d guess early twenties, and yet he seems so much more mature, so confident and he has business advice spot on. The one he runs with his sisters is a success, and this new one looks set to follow that. Hannah is contracted to do their speciality cakes for their events. I just loved the descriptions of those – fabulous mental images. Cade ties her contract down quite tightly, he’s very specific about what he wants.
What he also wants is Hannah, though he can see that she’s a scared person, and the Ice Queen persona is a face she puts on to protect herself. Slowly he draws her out of her shell, and it makes for a slow moving but very enjoyable romance. He too had demons in his past that affected how he was with females, and gave him that reputation for not being serious with anyone and that ladies he was with would know they were one of many. No one on ones for him – til he meets Hannah. He knows she’s more to him than the others, that she’s worth the time it will take to draw her out. Can he do it though? Will her demons, and his, from the past rise up to blight their future? Just as all seems to be going well Hannah’s ex pops up, scaring her, upsetting her and she’s almost back where she started, just when things were going so well for her and Cade. That sad part worked really well for me, I do like some drawn out drama and heartache, and the gradual slow build up had just reached a peak when this happened and the crash was dramatic!
Stars: Four, a good solid fun read, lots of emotion packed into an interesting and well plotted story. I look forward to the next instalment.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight, Anne Calhoun
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I was looking forward to this, hadn’t read any of Anne’s books before and it seemed like a fun romance. I did enjoy it but….it didn’t grab me by the throat and demand I keep reading. It was one that was easy to read, but also easy to put aside. I just didn’t find anything very special in it. Tim and Sarah were both likeable characters, but I felt I didn’t really know what made them tick, what was behind their actions, what they really wanted out of life. There were some sensual sex scenes but they felt a bit superficial, and as if they were there just for the fun without any emotion attached. That’s always a problem for me when I feel the characters aren’t that sort of type, ones who just indulge in sex as recreational. I think maybe they were just kidding themselves that they could pass it off as just Afternoon Delight  when they really were afraid to let themselves put more into it. Of course as feelings grow – even if they are unacknowledged – then problems follow.
Stars: Three – an easy to read, fun romance but for me nothing really special about it.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

An Unsuitable Match, Sasha Cottman. Stormfront, Book 2 in the UNDERTOW Series, K.R. Conway

 

 

An Unsuitable Match: Destiny Romance

 

An Unsuitable Match, Sasha Cottman
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I like to mix up genres when I’m reading so thought this historical would be fun to read. Though it was OK as a one off read, it was a little too slow for me, and I didn’t really feel there was much going on.
I felt it was almost one paced, with little actually happening. I liked Lady Clarice and her grandmother, liked David’s family. The Lady Susan was a nice touch, a schemer and I do enjoy one of those in a novel, but I really couldn’t see why Clarice was friends with her…Ditto her father’s heir, her father was an intelligent man so why on earth didn’t he see what Thaxter Fox was so …just wrong. Somehow these gaps didn’t help me to get involved with the story, and I found myself skimming parts rather than enjoying the detail and getting lost in the tale. The bird touch was too much whimsy for me – and I feel that maybe this book is just too gentle and sweet for me, not enough darkness and real drama, better suited to those who enjoy a light drama without too much depth.
I know in historical times being caught with the wrong person, etc was a big thing, and carried serious consequences, but somehow I didn’t get the sense of drama from the events here that I needed and expected. It felt as if the scene was set, the people in place but somehow it wasn’t gelling. Its was a very gentle, almost chaste read, until it got to the final quarter where it was like reading a different book, with some sensual and steamy scenes…that certainly livened things up!
Stars: well…it’s a decent read, well written and with plots that connect and are complete but it just didn’t work for me so its 2.5. For those who enjoy a light, easy to read novel maybe its much higher of course, everyone wants something different in their reading.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Stormfront (Undertow Book 2)

Stormfront, Book 2 in the UNDERTOW Series, K.R. Conway
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

So, the story continues from after the explosion that injured Eila. She was incredibly lucky not to have been killed, at the time she thought that was what would happen and prepared for it, to save everyone else. Either way she was going to die and here she is, alive and happy about that. Raef though is struggling with the fact that it was his actions that could have killed her and left her injured. He’s gone ultra protective of her but in a hands off way, and after what they shared at the last moment that’s not what she wants. She’s working on getting him much more ahnds on!! There’s increasing danger to her now that the supernatural world has found her, and the boys are all doing as much round the clock body guarding as they can. Still though Eila manages to get seen and noticed by someone from their world. She thinks he doesn’t mean harm, but before she gets the chance to discuss it with Raef and the others events overtake them, and the dangers are once more stacking up. They need the key to Elizabeth’s diary yesterday and its in the hands of Eila’s arch enemy Nikki…..
Alongside that Christian is still trying to find more information on who is involved and what they want, and keep Mae out of the way. Eila doesn’t want her in danger so hasn’t told her anything about this, and so Christian has taken her on as an employee to check on his far flung homes and businesses…
Then when “Thor” meets up with the group he’s even more to add to the story, knows much about the past and Elizabeth that they need to know but don’t, and it adds on even more people who could be placing Eila in danger…
It’s another great read, full of mysteries and actions, danger, and close escapes. Along with reveals from the present, and a huge shock for Ana, there are snippets from their histories that also have a part to play. It’s a typical YA in that you need to just accept things and not say “ that wouldn’t happen/ the FBI doesn’t work like that/ the parents would never let them…” You need to just go with the flow and enjoy the story.
I didn’t get quite as into it as book one, despite what I said above about going with the flow it just seems to me very co incidental that yet another person they know has a part to play. Strangers like Thor I can understand joining the group – or even out to get them, but in a small town yet someone else they already know being part of the story? Seemed a bit too co incidental to me..but its not a bit thing, just a niggle and overall I’m still keen to find out how the story resolves.
Stars: Three and a half.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Red Blooded, Amanda Carlson

 

Red Blooded, Amanda Carlson
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

Well, sadly for me this series has gone downhill. I enjoyed the first book, but with reservations – that’s common I find though in first books in a series, they’ve a tough job introducing worlds and characters, and delivering a decent story. Then the second had a few things that grated, somehow I missed book three and now we’re on book four.
I was able to pick up the story easily despite missing the third book. It’s the end of the series for me though – what seemed promising has for me turned too repetitive. Each danger seems to go the same way, unexpected creatures or familiar ones acting in an unexpected way and – hey – someone develops a new power and comes to the rescue in the nick of time….This time too the major actions take place in Hell, and that’s not really my niche. I want to see characters interacting – the people I know and love from the series, but here they play a secondary role, it seems to me.
Jessica is gaining more new powers, and it seems everyone from her group seem to be “unique” in some way. Really? A small group of people and yet almost  everyone of them is developing some new and unheard of power or talent? Jessica was the first one and that worked, but now everyone seems to be getting some new side that makes them special and it just isn’t…special that is!  Familiarity breeds contempt and all that. There’s more too – my real pet hate in fantasy is when a character gets some new and unheard of skill just at the critical moment to get them out of trouble – Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake went this way, and that was one of the things that made me give up on that series. She became someone I just didn’t recognise as the same person from the start. Growth of character is fine but for me they still need to be recognisable.  I want my characters to work, I need to feel the danger is real, and if they just keep getting powers like this it takes all the element of skill in getting out of trouble away.
With the action taking place in the underworld too this book didn’t feel the same to me, with little interaction from all the people we’ve come to know so far, and Jessica meeting constant new types of demons, but getting powers somehow or help from new sources to overcome them. Sorry Amanda, you’re a great writer and I loved the premise of this series, but for me its become one I’ve lost interest in. This book just proved to me how far away from the first the series has come for me.
Stars: Two – but again that’s just me, and I’m sure others will five star it.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders, Robin Robertson

 
Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders, Robin Robertson.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I’m always interested in recipes suitable for my daughter. She’s been vegetarian for almost 25 years now, and of course all Vegan recipes are appropriate for her. These sounded so delicious too – its easy to assume Vegan food is all dull, uninspiring and bland, plates of boring cabbage and carrots, or some raw fruit, and no lovely creamy desserts or ice-cream, and yet here Robin shows us how far from reality we are when we think that way. On a day out at a Vegan animal rescue centre a couple if years back I tried soya ice-cream (even the kids hated it) , and soya milk in my coffee – eurghh – that’s not for me, and yet since then I’ve tried oat and almond milks and really enjoyed those. Rather than thinking its all horrible we need to try alternatives, in the same way as some people don’t like cheese, or rare meat…but will eat cheese sauce or well cooked beef. It’s still regarded as something of a kind of Western food fad to be a Vegan ( even being a vegetarian still raises eyebrows and is misunderstood, with food offered such as fish, and chicken which sadly many people assume fits the bill…) and yet its been a way of life for generations in the eastern world where animals are not so prevalent. We have so much choice in food, and yet stick to the same old ( I’m including myself here…)
Interestingly at the same time as reading this I’ve just read a fiction book, The Accidental Alchemist, where the female lead is Vegan and that book contains some delicious recipes, and she talks about making quick smoothies for energy. Some of the meals mentioned there, roasted butternut squash with a lemon and tahini sauce, and shakes with blended nuts to replace milk, wonderful chocolate cakes and nutty, fruity cookies were just mouth-watering. Then there’s this book which has even more fabulous and inspiring recipes. Its all about opening your mind to possibilities rather than ( as I do ) sticking to easy tried and trusted, quick, dairy and meat based meals…I love reading recipes from around the world, and as I’ve said many cultures eat this way as a way of life, its normal for them, not the crank fad is still is regarded as here. That means there’s a wealth of interesting ideas and meals to try. Robin shares some of his favourites and I’m determined to try at least a few of these. Knock me out of my lazy cooking rut maybe . The bonus too with this type of eating is that with the right thoughts put in to what we consume it can be a very healthy, balanced diet, and helps our bodies to stay well. That has to be good news, in this ready meals, full of sugar and salt, way of eating many people are locked into. Studies keep showing our current lifestyles and diets are damaging our health, so maybe bringing this kind of thinking into schools where they can absorb the ideas from an early age would be a good idea.
I’ve had this book as an epub so read it on my pc, but with most non fiction I think traditional print books work best. I Love my kindle for fiction, its so easy to carry around hundreds of books…but when it comes to cook books i like to browse through the pages, flicking them backward and forward to see what catches my eye. Can’t do that on a PC or kindle…
Stars: Five, great read, full of interesting and inspiring recipes and ideas.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh, Black Lies, Alessandra Torre

 

Black Lies, Alessandra Torre
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I’ve loved some of Alessandra’s other novels so was excited to see this but…I was also really concerned over whether I’d like Layana. I need to be able to empathise with the main characters, and Brant sounded lovely but Layana? well…it looks as if she’s cheating and I’m really not a fan of that.
Still, in her usual way Alessandra makes me feel for the characters I doubt I’ll like. I loved Brant and Layana to begin, and then Lee entered the picture and I almost stopped reading. I just couldn’t understand how Layana could do this. It seemed so out of character, plus of course it was so clear that she loved Brant….but there’s more behind the obvious story, and once again my perceptions were challenged, my views turned upside down and I realised I was judging without full facts.
Its hard to say too much here without giving anything away, but its a book that took me totally by surprise, I certainly didn’t see what was going to be revealed. Its a terrific read, full of drama and emotion and of course some  steamy, sensual, erotic love scenes.As Layana says we’ve no idea what her love entails, nor the things she’ll do to keep it. Of course I love a good bitch and Brant’s controlling aunt provided that. Like Layana I didn’t like her right from the beginning…and I love to get a character that makes me feel that way. I enjoy good characters, ones I can feel for, but someone “bad”, a real bitchy type adds another dimension to the story for me.
Its a very original premise, certainly I’ve not read one like this before, and as Alessandra says, she has taken some licence with facts. Sometimes fiction demands that, if proper facts were used then the story may become bland and uninspiring, but so long as authors say what they’ve done I’ve no problems with stretching the truth and reality.
Stars: Five – a wonderful book, and when I think I almost gave up on it – arggh, what I would have missed.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I love Nalini’s Guildhunter series, so when i saw this I wanted to see how she treats contemporary romance.
So, what did I think? well, Fox is a real star in all ways, both by profession as a top rock star, and by his treatment of Molly. He’s got his own demons from his past to deal with, abandoned by his mother at a young age then sent to boarding school so he was out of her way. Its left him with a distrust of “love” and until now he’s just been careful and wary in relationships. Molly though – soon as he sees her she sparks something in him. She too has her demons from her teens when her father, a strong Family Values Politician was caught out with a teen her age – just 15…and the resulting drama from the press put the final nail on her family life. She’s avoided anything resembling the spotlight ever since, tailoring her life and work to keep well away from anything resembling scandal. Fox though…she’s a real pull to him from the start, and when he proposes a one month fling while he’s staying locally and can keep away from the press she decides it’s time for some fun.
And do they have fun!! Oh yes, and soon the whole band are in love with Molly, she’s become a sort of mother figure to them. She’s so good natured she provides the link they need, away from all the false promises. She doesn’t want anything from Fox and that’s so different to all the usual crew wanting recommendations, discs passing on, names putting forward to producers etc or simply just enjoying expensive presents. Molly doesn’t want any of that – just Fox, just the man himself, his time and person, no extras..and it takes him time to accept it.
Its a real love story between two people with scarred pasts who are treading cautiously, and at times the anger from the past spills over and affects their relationship. I enjoyed this novel very much, great characters, real world building and I felt as if i was there with them. I would have liked a bit  more of the “down” drama, the bits there were just acted as minor speed humps in road map of their relationship, when i want a huge roadblock – and then it’s so good when they are past it. As it was it was lots of happy with some down hiccups…I do want to see what happens with her sister though – and Charlie and the T-Rex!!
Stars: Four and a half, a fun, sexy read. That extra bit of drama would have made that a five from me.
ARC supplied via Netgalley

My Control, Lisa Renee Jones, Ignited, J. Kenner

Ignited: Most Wanted Book 3

 

Ignited, A Most Wanted Novel, J. Kenner
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I love J Kenner’s writing style, and have enjoyed several of her books now. This is the third in a trilogy, and I loved the first two. As with those the sex scenes in here are perfect, not overdone, not repetitive, but blend easily with the story, and never feel forced. Some books you feel that the book and story are just there as a vehicle for pages and pages of boring and dull sex, but J Kenner always makes the erotic parts fit and belong properly in the story, and ensures they are sensual and seductive.
This time is Cole of the three Knights that’s the focus. He’s wanted Catalina for ages, but lusts from afar, never being anything but polite and circumspect to her when they meet. He believes his childhood left him so badly flawed that he’s too dangerous for her, doesn’t deserve her and won’t do anything that might change that. Catalina though isn’t the perfect princess type he seems to think she is. She was brought up working with her dad at long and short cons, grifting for a way of living. It was at times a harsh and dangerous way of life. When she finally separated from her father, it was because hew was in too deep with the wrong people. They agreed it was safer for her to have minimal contact, and to set up a new life for herself, wiping out her old background with a new name and clean sheet, but of course inside she’s still the same person, has the same knowledge and is also subject to problems hanging over from childhood trauma.
I loved Catalina, she was very open finally about going for what she wanted – Cole. She’s held back, waiting for him to make a move but finally took things into her own hands. At first she gets nowhere but she’s got that stick with it and see it through background and she won’t give up. She’s hardworking, proud of what she’s achieved, a great friend to the girls involved with the other two knights, Angie and Sloane. They too had problems getting together with their men, and are encouraging to Catalina. I loved that she was so proud of her soon to be first house purchase, and it proved the perfect venue for some hot phone sex!! Great way to christen a new home..
Cole, what a tortured soul he is, locked in by his background problems.That was harsh and I understood exactly why he had the need for control and the BDSM elements in his life. There’s not a huge amount of BDSM, but what there is fits the story, again not something brought in to spice up, but something that’s an innate part of his nature and belongs in the story. I like the link to as to the reasons why it’s not just something he likes but something he needs. I can see the psychological link between the elements of it. He’s a great man too – good looking of course! and a true gentleman when its needed. Like the other two he can mix with anyone whatever their station in life, he’s got that ability to make himself comfortable in any environment.  I loved the paintings he’d done of Catalina without her knowledge. I loved too the way he handled her closing documents – all that danger on his mind, and yet he took time to arrange something that was really important to Catalina, not essential but which made her happy. It was a typical Cole move, where he makes things happen because he wants it for someone.
There’s a huge problem opens up for the drama side of the story when Catalina’s father returns unexpectedly, and it leads to some terrific and dramatic plots that also bring in the Starks, Damien and Nikki, for cameo parts. That was fun, like meeting with old friends. As ever there are links to the other Knights, parts of the story where they or their girlfriends are important and brings together the whole trilogy in a great finale.
Stars: five, another great sensual and erotic read.
ARC supplied via Netgalley

 

 

 

My Control (Inside Out Series)

 

My Control, Lisa Renee Jones
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

Well, an insight into what goes on in Mark’s head…isn’t that something to be relished? We get a bit more understanding of the man, but he’s still very hidden and confused ( and confusing). Despite his faults I like Mark- well what I understand of him. He seems cold, logical and controlled but I can’t help wondering what the real man is like, the one that’s hiding underneath this facade. It seems to me he’s done it for so long even he thinks it’s the “real” him but I can’t agree. We see glimpses of someone else when he slips some of that control, when genuine emotion slides through. It seems like Crystal holds the key to opening him up, freeing his secrets, helping him deal with what made him develop this way of coping, but will he let her in? So far he’s done his best to keep her at bay, and his guilt over what happened between him and Rebecca, where he kept her away even knowing she loved him as he thought that was best for her, is still the major sticking block to anything developing between him and Crystal. They have a draw between them – that’s clear, and Crystal genuinely cares for him and his family and could easily let more happen, but Mark- the Control Freak- won’t… can’t bring himself to let it. Tied up with all that is still the big search for Rebecca, which seems to be focussing back to Ava and her allies, but she’s missing which places everyone she may have a revenge streak on in danger. The trouble with madness is it’s unpredictability, and as she certainly seems to have lost the plot no one quite knows what she’ll do next.
I’m still in two minds about this, its a fabulous gripping read of course, but to me it belongs in the main books as do most of the other shorts, and drawing what should be a section of the story out into a separate novella is doing the reader a disservice. They’re paying for a story, and these novellas really need to be read with the main books as they are a definite part of the main story. I can deal with novellas that are just little insights into a character and not needed to follow the main plot, but unless these ones are all going into the main books then the story is going to fall short for those that haven’t read them IMO, and if it is in the main book why release them as separate? I’m uncomfortable at what seems to be like a way of making the reader pay more for a story. I love this series, and am gripped by it BUT I have had most of the books free for review – if I’d had to buy them I wouldn’t have got this far, as I simply couldn’t afford it. I’ll do a quick price to date…hmnn, including the three next ones due out this year, its so far just a few pence under £44!!! That’s a lot of money….and I’m not sure that’s the end of the story or if there is more to come after those?
Stars: well, my pricing/format reservations aside its a full five stars for the story.
Arc received via Netgalley and publishers.

Rogue’s Paradise (Covenant of Thorns) Jeffe Kennedy

Rogue's Paradise (Covenant of Thorns)Rogue's Possession (Covenant of Thorns)Rogue's Pawn (Covenant of Thorns)

Rogue’s Paradise (Covenant of Thorns) Jeffe Kennedy
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I loved books one and two in this incredible trilogy. Its the kind of Fae story I love, lots of magic, humans and Fae and a few mythical creatures, with battles of wits more than guns, sorcery more than swords. Of course there’s a few “real” weapons used too – its not all magic providing the mayhem. Its such a clever plot too – right from the first pages I was hooked in, and now in book three so many little incidents that I almost missed have come into play.
I did have some trouble sorting out all the characters to begin but by now they feel like od friends – or enemies. Of course the delicious and mysterious Rogue is one that can’t be mistaken. He’s the same, although he’s also changed…oxymoron you think, but in some ways he is still the same person he was – knowing Gwynn for real, as opposed to how he knew her before has enhanced him, so that he’s still the same charismatic, calculating, controlling Rogue but he looks at problems in a different way now, thinking of what Gwynn would want him to do. He’s learning what Love is, something the Fae, for all they have so much, don’t seem to have. Of course there’s still the problems from books one and two – Gwynn has finally come to love Rogue but how far can she trust him, he does nothing without calculating far, far ahead for the consequences, and a little voice still shrieks at Gwynn “ is am I part of some plan of Rogue’s, and where does Titania fit in”. She’s in love with him, but still doesn’t really know him, and add in the geas Titania placed on him, that prevents him from telling her so much, and you can see why she is uncertain. Now thanks to the mad Queen’s machinations she’s pregnant, and she and Rogue need to find a way to keep their child away from the woman.
Once again there’s plenty of magic, and lots of action with some searing sensuality between Gwynn and Rogue. I loved that – it made the love between them feel so real. Even though he’s hampered by what he can say, and struggling to understand Gwynn’s human mind and the way it works, he does his best to reassure her. I love the way he places something in front of her name every time – it makes it feel so lovingly possessive – its something like “lovely Gwynn, Beautiful Gwynn, Brave Gwynn, Fearless Gwynn” and of course things like “Foolhardy Gwynn” too…his version of a reprimand. Gwynn’s struggling with the bargains she’s had to make and wondering about those Rogue has made. He’s pressing her for commitment, and she is still uncertain. He can’t seem to find the words she needs, and she’s not sure what’s the right course of action. Its a world so very different from what she expected to grow up in. Can love be enough? What about her beast, the Cat inside her? And what happens once the Queen recovers her strength? She’s not the sort to lie back quietly, except when she’s planning her next battle. She plans to win, but Rogue and Gwynn need to be the victors – can they succeed though?
I said already I love Gwynn and Rogue, I think they are perfect for each other but…from books one and two I wasn’t sure they could get there. So many secrets, so many restrictions and such an uncertain and strange world. No-one really seems to be what they are, everyone seems to be hiding something, and its hard to know who can be trusted. Gwynn has a soft heart but she’s had to learn to toughen up to survive, yet still she finds some of the pragmatic attitudes of the Fae hard to stomach. I had no idea which way Jeffe would take the story, but was gripped, entranced, addicted to the journey. In a way I’m sad its over, and yet I also needed to know that conclusion. It was the right time to end it. Good series are like that – they need that ending. Its tempting for readers to demand authors produce more and more stories from loved characters, and recently I’ve seen it happening a lot and yet…those books are never as good as the earlier ones IMO, it seems there’s a need for conclusion to a series, and it’s best to stay with what was the original plan. I’d rather re read books like this – this trio is already on my reading list for just that. Its been a magical world, a journey I’ve savoured, and I’ll love being able to lose a couple of days in the Fae world reading these three back to back, finding out what I missed first time, learning more with the benefit of hindsight.
Stars: Five of course!! No ARC riders this time, its a series I bought myself.

Undertow, Book 1 in the UNDERTOW Series, K.R. Conway

Undertow, Book 1 in the UNDERTOW Series, K.R. Conway
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

This sounded intriguing, clearly paranormal in genre but what type – no mention of vampires or werewolves so I was keen to see what would develop. It has an almost Twilight feel to it, not the type of paranormals, but in the way they group fit and work together, playing off each others strengths and with the same dangerous combination of grouping. That’s not a crit BTW I liked twilight Winking smile
Anyway, the story starts off with a very normal slant, Eila and Mae move to the new home, Eila starts school, makes friends and of course, enemies, and there’s a hot boy there….and for the first half the story develops fairly slowly, it’s clear there’s something going on but not what. That works well, and any faster pacing would have been rushed, and this way we could really get to know the characters as individuals. Then the action start to heat up, Eila learns more about herself and some of the others, the danger starts getting real, and they need answers fast.
I enjoyed this, I like a YA for a change sometimes and the Fantasy genre often delivers a well written one that suits my taste. This isn’t heart stopping terror-laden read, but then from a YA you’d not expect it to be, but the danger and the mystery does feel very real. I lied the characters, they had a realism about them and I felt I’d got to know them and how they’d react. The romance that develops worked well too, a slow start but one where we can feel the attraction though Eila wonders if its just one sided..and its not til near the end that she finds out more. It had a few twists I didn’t expect – the Raine connection for one, and I’m sure that will be knitted into the finale along with other developments. I’m keen to see where the story goes next.
Stars: four – its a really fun easy read.
ARC supplied via publisher and Netgalley

TENDER TREACHERY, (First Love Series ~ Book 2), H.Y. Hanna. Uncivilized, Sawyer Bennett

TENDER TREACHERY (Romantic Suspense/Thriller Mystery): First Love ~ Book 2

 

TENDER TREACHERY, (First Love Series ~ Book 2), H.Y. Hanna
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

This book can be read as a standalone, ( hurrah!) but book one sounded good and wasn’t expensive so I bought that and read it first. Both books share similarities, they could be classes as romantic suspense but what I enjoyed was the suspense angle was fairly light. Sometimes I want something deep and complex, and sometimes I just want an escapist read to relax with and this was perfect for that. This book features a cult – its not difficult to work out what’s going on, but that didn’t spoil it for me, and the romance between Toran and Leah develops further from the first book. The books are linked in that we finally find out the mystery  about the loss of contact from when Leah and Toran were at school, and there’s a link at the end of this book bringing into book three something else from their past that they will need to accept if they are finally to get their HEA.
I like Leah, she’s genuinely kind and she felt human to me. Who wouldn’t have felt as she did when Angela asked her advice? Everything seemed OK on the surface, Angela is a grown woman, very beautiful, and it must have seemed a good idea at the time to encourage her away from staying in Toran’s home. Of course when Leah learns more then it doesn’t seem quite such a good thing to have done but she’s human – and we make mistakes. Toran, we don’t really know much about him and yet /i feel I know him. Odd that, he’s just one of those people you feel confident in and Leah certainly feels that old attraction as soon as she sees him. Has she done the right thing though? Can they really pick up after so long. Its not a bed hopping erotic style of romance but one more slow, more careful and yet the sensuality between them can be felt. It fits well with the style of the novel, and the setting. I really enjoyed the snippet of life in Singapore and the references to different cultures.
Overall its a book that I enjoyed as a light read, would re read when I’m in the mood for a simple, feel good, gentle romance with a decent story backing it. What I’m in the mood for reading dictates which books I chose at any time, and that’s why I adore my kindle, I have so many choices at my finger tips!!  I look forward to the final book. I love romance reads, but they need to have that something extra for me,  and the setting combined with the gentle suspense made this a perfect read for me.
Stars: Five, a good read at a bargain price, currently just 77p. ( 99c?)
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

 

 

Uncivilized

 

 

Uncivilized, Sawyer Bennett
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

Back in the seventies one of my favourite sit coms was the wonderful Yes Minister…and I can remember Sir Humphrey Appleby saying to the Minister something along the lines of “very brave approach Minster” in his obsequious voice, when he didn’t like what the Minster was suggesting…..hoping that would change his mind as standing out wasn’t what the Minster wanted to do. Bad for the vote, putting oneself in the public eye.
What’s that go to do with this book you ask? Well, Sawyer has written many well loved, best selling books, and it would be easy to go on with the same tried and trusted approach, but she’s bravely tried something new, something out of the current mould of Rich Billionaire heroes and underdog heroines. How has it played  out for me?
I’d love to say the book is wonderful…I’d really love to write that- I’ve read several from her now and most have been five stars but this one…sorry but for me its just too unrealistic, not that the pauper and prince/billionaire and underdog usual theme is realistic, but this was a step too far for me.
Why didn’t it work? well, Zach spent his first seven years in US brought up like most other kids, then the next 18 in the Amazon brought up by a tiny group of natives, and only speaking English with a visiting Priest every few months…and yet he takes to Western life so quickly, can speak fluently and intelligently, read books and papers, isn’t phased by modern technology even though they had none in the Amazon…he takes to the internet within a couple of hours of instruction, and within two weeks seems like he’s been in Us all his life. He uses slang like its been his everyday speech for years, even at moments of high emotion like his climax. Seems he learns not only the meaning of the word but how and when to use it for maximum effect. Calling Moira Baby too ( I HATE that expression, honey, darling, sweetheart, lovley, anything but baby…)   but he’s using it as if it’s always been in his vocabulary.  Moira is an intelligent woman and yet lusts for him from first sight, and gives in to him far too quickly for my liking, knowing she’s risking her career for sex with someone who’s soon returning to the Amazon. Zach made it clear he was only staying in US for a short time. I just found both Zach and Moiras’ actions so hard to accept. If it had been months and not a few short weeks I could see it happening, but it was too much, too quickly for me and the story just didn’t work.
If it was simply a sex, erotica novel it would have worked – that part as ever Sawyer does so well. Hot and sensual sex scenes, inspiring and erotic, there are plenty of them and they’re well written and varied, but they don’t dominate the story ( although Zach wants to dominate Moira!) as too may do. The balance is perfect if only the story felt more genuine, more practical to me. As ever though this is just my opinion, and others will no doubt love the story as it is
Stars: two and a half. Sorry Sawyer, I love your writing but for me this one just didn’t cut it :-( However well done on coming up with a new setting. I still think the premise is excellent, and makes a great change from what’s becoming a flood of standard themes, and a little juggling of timescales, with a few problems adjusting thrown in and it would have been one I love.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

The Hook Up (Game On Book 1) Kristen Callihan, Taking Control, (Kerr Chronicles 2), Jen Frederick 

Taking Control: A Novel (Kerr Chronicles Book 2)

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Taking Control, (Kerr Chronicles 2),  Jen Frederick
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Well, it’s Ian narrating this time instead of Tiny. He’s fallen for Tiny, persuaded her to move in but wary as she’s still renting the walk-up she lived in with her mum….he’s trying to persuade her that she’s his for keeps, but she’s always had to be independent and can’t give that up. Her dyslexia though hampers her job attempts. She’s working for his friend Jake at the moment as a receptionist, but feels she’s not really doing her best for him, hard as she tries, as her writing and readings slow her up. She decided that maybe she can give something back to Ian by finding out some dirt on the man who ruined his past, who he’d first hired her to honey trap and take his revenge on…then of course he saw who it was he’d hired and couldn’t let her do it. He can’t replace her with another woman as it would hurt Tiny to see him with someone else, so she thinks he’s let it go but that it’s her fault, and she wants to secretly find another way. She knows it might place her in danger and Ian won’t let that happen if he gets wind of her plans but she doesn’t want him to later resent her. I love the things Ian does for her, that picnic was fabulous.
Anyway, as usual secrets don’t help, and things happen that weren’t expected. Tiny’s stepfather turns up after 16 years absence, and Ian is determined to prevent him hurting Tiny, not physically of course but he knows she’s emotionally vulnerable to anyone connected to her mum, and this man has suddenly popped up though he’d ignored them when they really needed help. Is it really Ian’s money that’s the lure? There’s lots of question posed here from events past in both Ian and Tiny’s background. There’s mishaps and mayhem, friends that could be just that or may have ulterior motives. There’s lots – lots and lots – of sex, inside, outside, on every available surface and every possible position. seems Ian is insatiable when it comes to Tiny. She’s still uncertain why he picked her though when she sees some of his beautiful past dates. Sometimes sex takes over the story when there’s so much of it, but here its always cleverly worked in and not just sex for the sake of it. The story follows solidly from the first part, bringing in some past characters and introducing new ones. I like the closeness of Ian’s friends, the way they have his back whatever happens. Kaga – I’d like to see more of him and the girl he wants…Jake’s sister I think it was, she’s at University ( or college? US/UK things again) but he’s still keeping tabs on her and I can’t help wondering if he’ll make a move once she’s graduated.
Of course alongside all these questions and mysteries is the danger they bring, Ian is attacked, Tiny threatened and they can’t work out which of his enemies is behind it. Then it all comes to a head and I was Really surprised who was the culprit – it makes sense though, and proved a fitting end.  Its another sexy, sensual read, with a puzzle to work out that adds that spark of drama. I’d have liked to see the drama played out a bit more – dragged over a longer period but that’s just me. The Frick museum incident was fabulous – I loved that  Overall another great read, sensual and seductive, realistic characters, simple and well executed plots. I did have some concerns though about the Tiny v Ian size…when he’s says she can’t get her fingers round a certain part of him, and then talks about being “several inches” longer than the span of her thumb to pinky finger…Several Inches, not a couple or a few but severable – that sounds like five or six on top of that span – good God, he sounds as if he’s split her in two!!!
Stars: Five, great conclusion.
ARC supplied by author.

Summary
The hotly anticipated sequel to Losing Control.
I thought I needed only one thing in my life–the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her.
No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past. When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate.
I’ve convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it–from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I’ll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria’s risking more than her heart to be with me; she’s risking her life.
Excerpt
I want us to get married. Soon. Do you want a big wedding?”
“Married? I mean, I guess I thought you were serious but I figured…I don’t know.” Her voice trails off.
“That my proposal of marriage was somehow insincere? I’ve never wanted anything more. I just didn’t want to pressure you because of all the emotional upheaval you’re experiencing now.” Rolling over so she can see me and judge the sincerity for herself, I declare, “I want you to be my wife. The mother of any children we have. My partner in life. I want that to happen now so that I can introduce you as Mrs. Ian Kerr.”
Her eyes close for a moment and beneath the lids, silent tears leak out. Her words, though, are classic. “Maybe you should take my name. You can be Ian Corielli and I’ll introduce you as Mr. Victoria Corielli.”
“As long as it means you’re mine in the eyes of the world, I’ll be Mr. John Smith.”
She wraps her arms around my neck and clings to me. This time the shudders I’m soothing are from maybe, possibly, hopefully joy for our future. “I’m okay with Victoria Kerr,” she chokes out. “You better give me a big rock and lots of flowers since you’re proposing to me while we’re naked.”
“I proposed to you when I first took you to the house on the Long Island Sound.”
“You didn’t propose. You said that you wanted me to be your wife and fill your big house with lots of little people.”
“That’s a proposal.”
“It was a demand.”
“It was a request couched as a demand.”
Her body is shaking with laughter. “You’ve been in charge for too long. That was no request.”
Pushing to my knees, I reach into the nightstand and retrieve the box I bought before Sophie died. Her eyes grow huge and her hands come up to the cover her mouth. I flip the box lid open, pluck the ring out and toss it aside.
Lifting her shaking hand in mine, I slide the ring down her finger.
“When I was fifteen I made a hundred different stupid vows. I’d avenge my mother. I’d rise to the top of Wall Street and smite everyone down. I’d crush Richard Howe beneath the sole of my boot. I’d win at everything. But I never wished for happiness because I didn’t know what it was until you came into my life. How could I want something I didn’t know was missing? Now, everything I’ve achieved pales in comparison to having you love me. When I say that you’re my heart, my everything, those aren’t just words. They are the only truth in my world. I’d give up money, revenge, success, as long as I could lie down next to you at night and wake up with your face beside mine.
There is no greater achievement in my life than having you fall in love with me and I recognize on some mysterious level that is pure luck. I need you to marry me and be my wife. I need you to be the mother of my children. I need you because without you I am nothing. I am a pile of bones and flesh filled with misery. You bring me to life. Love me, marry me, be with me in this life and into all the ones we live from this point ever after.”
“Well, since you put it like that, I guess I must.” She rises and kisses me. Our mouths sealing the promises we’ve made to another one another.
I make love to her again then, slowly. We barely move. I just slide in and we rock together and allow the strength of our emotions to carry us into the heaven.
Author Biography
Bestselling author Jen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She’s been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at jensfrederick@gmail.com.
Social Networking Links
Website: http://jenfrederick.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995972.Jen_Frederick
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenFrederick
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JensFred

 

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The Hook Up (Game On Book 1) Kristen Callihan

NB: Release day on amazon is today but it doesn’t appear to be there yet….later maybe?

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Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
First off – a stand alone – no waiting for the ending, its all here!! Hurrah…though I enjoy those that carry on through parts, sometimes they take so long to be released I’ve lost the impact of the story so Stand Alones are perfect for me, let me wallow, indulge and get an ending too.
So its a college book, but Anna is 21, so more adult in thinking and behaviour. Sometimes when the protagonists in NA are still teens the drama gets to be all too silly, very storm in teacup. I love some drama but it needs to feel real, not over something trite but a real problem. Anna was such a great girl to like, she’s had a tough background with just her and mum, and being bullied all the way through school so when Drew, Hero Footballer to most of the college, sets her in his sights she can’t see why. Why her? Why not some attractive model type? She’s seen him with those before. It seems like she’s always waiting for him to realise she’s not really his type, her self esteem is so low. Sadly college is full of bitchy types that are aware of people like Anna, and seem to thrive on knocking them back….so she sets rules when she finds she cant shake Drew off. He’s done the bimbo model type – Anna is different and he knows she means more to him that just a quick shag, so he takes what she will give for now, vowing to work on her to accept more..
So they get into some hot and sensual scenes quickly, and somehow Anna gets slowly drawn to Drew more and more against her instincts. There’s some setbacks, but in the main they’ve become so much closer that Anna’s getting scared – how will she cope when he leaves? And she sure that’s a When and not an If…. Drew is convinced she’s it for him though – now he just needs to convince her.
I loved Anna, she’s worked so hard to leave her schooldays behind and work at her confidence, but it’s not easy and seeing the way girls gravitate to Drew all the while worries her. She’s not a sports fan, and its Drew the man she sees, not Drew the football star. Drew loves that about her, no simpering falseness from Anna, just open forthright opinions. The sex and sensuality between them is very hot and seductive, and I love Anna’s ideas about protecting her heart and keeping it physical – yeah, right Anna, that always works!!
Drew was a great lead, no spoiled male star here, he’s enjoyed the attractions of the myriad of females in the past but soon learned that it wasn’t him they wanted, just a share in his light. Anna wants him, not just his stardom. In fact that’s a turn off for her… He’s had a tough time too with his parents being killed a few years back, and so he’s no family but has some very good friends. and when things go badly wrong he needs them. They really rally round, his Coach too treats him like a family member and has some terrific advice. Too bad the Drew’s too down to follow it.
Its a great read, perfect mix of attraction and problems, jealousy, drama and heartbreak. A book I really enjoyed.
Stars: Five. A good story, feels real and with great drama over real problems.
ARC supplied by publishers.

Summary

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she’s shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It’s a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on

~ EXCERPT from THE HOOK UP, copyright 2014 Kristen Callihan ~

And all I can think of is that we are alone together. Utterly. Finally. I can’t look at him then. Not directly. He is the sun, burning bright.

“Why are you here?” My voice is a wisp of sound in the small space.

So is his. “I want you.”

The floor dips beneath me, his confession taking up too much air.

Baylor seems just as shocked by his words, his eyes going wide and his lips parting. But he commits to them with a squaring of his broad shoulders. “Tell me you don’t want me too, and I’ll go.”

My mouth opens, a denial on my lips, then he reaches for me. It’s barely a touch, just the tips of his fingers on my elbow, as if he’s planning to guide me back downstairs. It’s the smallest of contact. Nothing really. And yet it’s everything. The small contact burns, ripples outward along my skin with lightning fast intensity, and my breath hitches.

His does too. A quick glance up, and he searches my face as though seeking an affirmation. Whatever he sees must tell him that he’s not alone in this because he doesn’t let go.

Neither of us says another word. Blood rushes hot and thick through my veins, as the backs of his fingers skim slowly, oh so slowly, up my arm. His pulse thrums, quick and visible just beneath the golden skin of his throat. I want to lick that spot, put my mouth there and suck. I want him. I want him so badly that I’m going up in flames.

A quiet, pained sound escapes me as his knuckles drift toward my inner arm, just to the side of my breast. I’m shaking deep within myself, an increasing tremor that spreads outward, until my breath comes in choppy pants that I fight to control.

What am I doing? This is Drew Baylor. Nothing good can come of this. I need to be strong. I need to stop this. To walk away.

I twitch, leaning into his touch, wanting, needing him more.

His lips part with a sigh, as if touching me is both a relief and a source of pain. Somehow my hand settles on his hip, the bone solid beneath his skin. He tenses, a visible clench that has his biceps bunching. The next instant, my fingers steal under his shirt.

A

Author Biography

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.thehookup.kristencallihan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristenCallihan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kris10Callihan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4971535.Kristen_Callihan

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