Wolfen Time, Roxy Boroughs

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Genre:  Romance

A new to me author and I enjoyed her writing style and this story. I’m not sure if its a stand alone read or beginning of a series. It does end completely, but the world created could go on to stand further stories and I’d enjoy reading them.

Poor Stacy, she’s shocked when she comes across a battle between werewolves and vampires. Well, who wouldn’t be, they belong in stories not out there on the street?  She can’t deny what’s she’s seeing though, and that means she gets embroiled in a battle between two sides, one wanting to protect earth and save millions of lives, the other who are out for their own ends and don’t care who gets killed along the way.

Rafe is attracted to Stacy, and that shocks him. He’s been grieving his wife and child who were murdered, and hasn’t been interested in anyone since they were killed. Its not really the time either to be starting anything. He’s only here for a few days. never the less the attraction is strong on both sides and leads them to do things they wouldn’t usually, and brings out some very sensual but not over the top sex scenes. I like the others in the group too, and the connections between them. The renegades, they’d done some gruesome things in their quest for power. They’ve come back in time from the 23rd century too and are tampering with history, and that’s why Rafe’s group needs to try to stop them. It brings them all into some real dangers, bloody battles, strange new and  different supernatural groups.Stacey is hiding who she really is though, from past experience she knows that’s best. She’s not the only one with secrets though, and when both come out there are some real shocks for everyone.

Its a fun read, not over complicated, but one that’s easy to just sit back and relax into. I liked the characters and the premise of time travel, and ensuring history stays the same. I’d be happy to read more books set around this time travel, keeping history stable theme. There’s certainly the potential for more from this story, it ends neatly but there are openings for further novels.

.Stars: Four, an enjoyable and easy to read story.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review

 

The Deepest Well, Age of Gray, Book 1, Juliette Cross

 

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Genre:  Romance

Well, I liked the sound of this, but didn’t realise until I came to write my review that its a spin off from another trilogy, and I’d read the first book there. To be fair Katherine and George weren’t a huge part of that book, so as I read such a lot its not that surprising I’d forgotten them ( sorry George, sorry Katherine). I’m not sure if this is another trilogy or the start of a series.

So we meet Katherine, married to the horrible and cruel Lord Blakely. He put on the charm until the wedding, but in the two years since then he’s shown his true colours, and now although Katherine doesn’t know it he’s dipping into some very dark waters. Then at a society soiree she meets George, Lord Thornton, and something sizzles between the two. George is a demon hunter though, doing a dangerous job and his interest in Katherine doesn’t go and totally taken aback by his feelings for Katherine. She was a good character too, married to a callous brute and yet she kept her inner self, her spark, and did her best at protecting others from her husband as much as she could.

Its kind of predictable to begin and I wasn’t really hooked onto the story, but by a third of the way through it was getting interesting and took a turn i really didn’t expect in the last third! Its a great mix of historical and paranormal romance with that unexpected twist that lifted the book for me. It had some good characters, very true to time period, and that was fun reading – all those constraints over who you can talk to, and what you may do – I’d have been a total fail in that era! Overall its a story that took a bit of time to warm to me, but once it did it was very real feeling and I enjoyed it. Its a good read but for me wasn’t a great one.

Stars: Three and a half, a slow start but excellent unexpected finish, but didn’t quite have the spark I needed.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Second to None, The Breakfast Club book 3, Felice Stevens

Second to None.jpg

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Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I really liked the sound of this, but it wasn’t the hit for me I’d thought it would be. It was a good read, one I enjoyed but not a great read, one I’d keep to reread.

I liked the characters, but to be honest I liked the secondary characters, the club staff, Marcus friends and their partners more than Marcus or Tyler!! I didin’t dislike them, just found niggles that irritated me. I just found Tyler exasperatingly awkward in some ways. I really admired the way he took on Lillie and she was such a gem, but his pride, his seeing every simple gift as an attempt to “buy” him, got old after a while. I understand pride, but sometimes when we need help we have to accept it and by throwing back Marcus help he was upsetting him to the point of rudeness. There’s a difference between a genuine attempt to help, buying things because they’re needed, a true gift, and someone using money as a bribe. Tyler didn’t always understand as he’d not been in that position with money, and Marcus too had trouble seeing Tyler’s views as he’d never been without. Then there’s Marcus and his solution to every problem seemed to be throw money at it – I understood both sides but it still annoyed me…..

Then they get thrown by circumstances into a position where they are very close, and they get to see each other in a different light, and start a relationship much to each’ surprise. Neither expected or even really wanted that, and yet life has sorted it for them ;-) And then….well, there’s drama, and once more their relationship gets tested and they have to make some hard choices, looking at what they have a deciding what they will lose with each course of action. I just felt the drama side was a little light for me, I kind of expected more given what was at stake, wanted it dragged out, I wanted to feel their pain…but that’s me, I love the dramas! Not everyone does though, and this could be perfect for you.

So, overall a fun read, a light one and one that for me was as I said, an enjoyable one off read. If I’d loved Marcus and Tyler a bit more I think I’d have been more immersed in their problems, and invested in the outcomes but I felt a bit like a semi interested observer. Maybe if I’d read the earlier books? I don’t know, I don’t think so but  – each are stand alone reads but of course the characters spill over into other books. .

 

Stars: Three and a half, better than just a three “good” read but not making it to the magic five for me.

 

ARC supplied by Author for review purposes

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Always Room for Cupcakes, Bethany Lopez

 

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Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction.

I missed that this was such a short read – I just don’t find they work so well for me, and this was a perfect example. Its a fun read, I laughed ( and cried) with Lila, she’s like so many of us, going through life, bringing up kids, thinking life is good – until it isn’t and its all change.

I liked her humour, her way of picking herself up and shaking off problems, looking forward all the while as to how to keep things going for the twins. What didn’t work so well was that there was so much packed in to a short novel. It didn’t do the story justice IMO. There was the cheating ex, the family issues that arise from that, Lila’s new job as a PI, the suspense angle that comes from her latest job, where it gets pretty gruesome at one point, and the fledgling romance with Cade. So much going on but no time to really explore any of it in depth, get to know the problems and upsides, understand the characters. It just felt too surface based for me.

It was a fun read and I enjoyed it, but I prefer stories that go into more detail, let me really feel as if I’m there in the book and not just an onlooker. It was things like the way she picked up her new job, got to be a PI without any training, any equipment, just her trusty phone camera, the last job which was so dangerous and yet no-one seemed to realise the risks, it was all oversimplified, kept very surface based, superficial. Her friends were a great crew but we only met them for some brief interludes, the twins were only ten and yet her job worked so seamlessly around them, its tough in two parent families making that work, in a one parent one it’s even harder and yet everything falls into place, home life, job, even the ex dramas. The Shocker – I’d never heard of that, had to look it up * blush, can’t believe I’d never heard of that term* I’m amazed her ten year old knew about it! And as for that episode and what happened after – as a parent I’d be looking at putting some controls over what the kids were watching via the net not just pass it off to dad to deal with….

The romance with Cade developed quickly, again the book length makes that necessary, though it could have been more to the front if there hadn’t been so many other things going on. I was a bit concerned when we first met him that it was going to be a biker romance, an MC one, with all that male ego, stilted, grunting speech etc. I’ve read a few and enjoyed the first ones, but after a while to me they just feel the same and I don’t want to read more of them – others do and I’m pleased for them but just not me. Its not a big issue here though, Cade is part of an MC but that part of his life only occurs very briefly in the book. The MC novels I have read were Kristin Ashley ones, and Cade felt very much like one of the heroes from there – so I wasn’t surprised to read at the end of the book that she’s one of Bethany’s favourite authors.

Overall it was a read I liked but just felt rushed, with plots that were a bit too surface issue for me. The brevity meant every problem was solved/overcome so easily and life isn’t like that – not does everything work out quite so neatly for a PI!! If the book was another 100 pages it would have been a better read for me, but then there are many, many readers who want these shorter reads. I’ve a friend who wants books where – as she says – she wont have forgotten the beginning by the time she reaches the end, as she only reads a few pages a day. Horses for courses, and for those like her this is a perfect fun read.

 

Stars: Three, a fun read but a little too light for me

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

I Wish You Were Mine, An Oxford Novel, Lauren Layne

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Genre:  Romance,

A new to me author, and I’ll love to read more from this Oxford series – might get round to book one too. Each book is stand alone but people from earlier books feature – it doesn’t matter if like me you hadn’t read book one.

So we meet Jackson, jock star who’s now retired thanks to a serious car injury. He’s on the surface fine, but under it still in pain both physical and mental from the loss of his career. Football is what has defined him since a child so he’s lost without it. Throw in a nasty divorce and its been a nightmare year. Now he’s joined the Oxford team and moved to NY to try to start a new life. Who’s in NY though but non other than his Ex’s sister, the delectable Mollie. They’ve stayed good friends, texting and calling but Mollie, wow Mollie, has grown up and in a dangerous way.

They’re a great pair, I loved Mollie, devoted sister even though Madison is nothing but a bi tch, she still sees the sister who was there for her when she was a teen and needed her. Mollie is super intelligent, loyal to her friends, and a bit of a geek. Now thanks to a lost bet with a friend and a makeover she’s a super hot geek, and Jackson can’t stop his feelings for her. But its wrong isn’t it? To feel this way about a close friend, someone who’s sister to his Ex, or is it? There’s no real bar except the mind.

Mollie thought she’d got over her crush, but meeting Jackson and being so close she’s solely tempted all over again. Can she hold out though when Jackson makes it clear he feels the same. And what about Madison who despite all the things she did, the lies and bad publicity, now wants Jackson back….what a triangle. It’s got some great sensuality, two fabulous people in Mollie and Jackson, some great characters among the Oxford crew ( and I look forward to who’s next!) and of course Madison, a woman unlike no other, perfect foil to Mollie, someone who puts her own wants and needs first every time, all the time. I love a person like that in a story, adds such drama.

Its a read I really enjoyed, sexy romance with some cutting edges and I look forward to meeting more of the Oxford gang finding romance.

.

Stars: Five, a really fun read with some cracking drama.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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Every Time I Fall, (The Raeven Sisters 2), Anna Karington

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Genre:  New Adult, Romance

I really wanted to like this story but…Janey was so negative, so whiny. I know she’d had a tough time, I know she had family issues and alcohol problems, but her constant talking herself down, dismissing Hayden as a rich guy just playing with her really got irritating after a while. It feels as if so much of the first half of the book is just Janet putting herself down and Exes of Hayden’s popping up everywhere.

Hayden really had been a bit of a man whore, and I think if he really wanted Janet to take him seriously he needed to be a bit more open with her about his past. Why did he sleep with so many that were directly or indirectly involved in his business, its certainly not what a reputable business man does. I did understand why Janet feared she was just another on the list, seeing the exes popping up polished, confident, stylish, at every place they went must have been tough. Then especially when his romantic getaway and dates prove to be exactly what he’s done with others I thought  doesn’t the guy have an original idea – he’s got the money after all. I love the b itch type in a story, and thought Amy  was going to provide that angle but really she was just a lightweight at it, and she turned out…well, not as I wanted her to be. I like to read jealous, vindictive, awful characters in a story!

Janet’s family situation too – I was expecting some big reveal about the family issues, why she didn’t get on too well with some of them. Then it comes out and I’m like “ what?? Is that it??” To carry resentment for that all these years is just childish. I hadn’t read the first book, and maybe if I had this would have meant more to me. The issue over the teaching toy she’d invented seemed a bit superfluous, it wasn’t really developed except as a way of Hayden doing yet another favour but turning out to provide more fodder for Janet’s lack of self confidence.

The three kids she mentors. I needed to know more about that, I can’t see that given their history she’d be allowed to let someone not police checked to accompany them out – certainly here in UK it doesn’t work that way. Her ex, when he popped up I though maybe a storyline was coming there but again it just felt a bit superficial. I think maybe there was just too much packed in to too short a space for me, I want more depth to the story and characters, and less introspection. I get it, Janet has had some severe blows to her confidence and doesn’t think she’s good enough – I don’t need that hammered home again and again and again.

The big problem I had though with the story is that I didn’t really feel anything between Hayden and Janet except lust, and I needed to feel love. Its for me a story that sounded really promising but proved to be just an Ok read. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.

Stars: Three, an OK read but a one off for me

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

Once Bitten Twice Shy, Jennifer Rardin

 

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I’ve been re reading a few favourite novels and come back to this series, which I bought a few months after I first had my kindle. Its an eight book series with a few shorts ( I haven’t read them) about Jaz and Vayl.  at the time only books 1-5 were on kindle so I bought the last three as paperbacks, and now of course I can’t read print any more so I’ve just got them for my kindle. I’m on to book tow, and the magic I felt when I first read it is still there.

Loosely its about Jaz, who’s in her late 20’s and Vayl, a vamp who’s the CIA’s top assassin and a 291 yr old Vampire. Along the way of their latest assignment they collect into the group Bergman, a geek genius who invents some incredible tech stuff, Cole – who’s also a Sensitive like Jaz, and was a PI til his business blew up – literally – after getting involved with the duo, and Cassandra , a 1,000 yr old Seer. Each book builds on whats happened in earlier ones, with common threads running through and its full of details and plots that grow ever more complex. For the first book Jaz and Vayl are on a simple mission, but quickly discover their target is involved in something that has huge implications for the world and they need to know what is going on and how they can stop it. That brings in the other three and sets up the crew for the rest of the stories.

As well as Vampires, Seers and humans with extra abilities there are Demons in this series, and the adventures are carefully plotted and Jennifer does that thing I call Story Seeding, where some throwaway remark or tiny incident builds up until suddenly I realize its become a major part of the book. I like to try to pick out these seeds, and even though I read the books some time back I’d forgotten just how well she did it. Although there are vampires, its not one of those Alpha vamps and instant attraction stories, its clear both Jaz and Vayl are attracted but that’s a really minor part of the series and develops really slowly over the books.

Sadly Jennifer died after writing this series, at only 45, so sad for her family and friends, and for us readers to lose such a talented writer. :-(  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Rardin

Dreaming With A Broken Heart,  Mary J. Williams

 

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Genre:   romance

I love the film/rock star trope so was really looking forward to this. I found the start slow though, and for most of the first third at least just didn’t feel the chemistry between Garret and Jade. Her story is sad, scary, and heart-breaking and I really felt for her, but for her to have this connection to Garret who she’d met once, three years before took a leap a bit too far for me. I’m all for getting those together who need to be, I love romance and I can happily stretch belief but I needed a bit more here.

Then it moves forward and things heat up. We learn more about Jade and what she’s been through, the terrible things she’s lived over the past three years, how alone she really is.We see more too about Garret and his family – and they’re a great mix, and I’m sure the subject of future books. Once my mind felt they were truly absorbed in each other the story flowed seamlessly for me. I really enjoyed how the different parts worked in together, meeting the other characters, seeing a glimpse into  how their lives interacted with Garret and Jade.

When the end came, the finale, and everything came to a head I was expecting a little more oomph, more bang, more drama, but it all wrapped up neatly and left me happy at how things had gone. Its more a case of my expectations and wants than the book, I do like my dramatics and edge of seat feelings about whether things are going to work out well.

Stars: Four. An enjoyable story and I look forward to seeing the other brothers stories.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

No Ordinary Love, J.J. Murray

 

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Genre:  Romance, General fiction (adult)

Another new to me author ;-) Its always a trip into the unexpected with authors who’s works I’ve not read, you never quite know what to expect. I had a great time reading this though, very emotional at times.

Tony – he’s a 40 year old high functioning Asperger’s man. He’s incredibly talented in many ways and a very famous musician, composer and songwriter. He lives with his brother Angelo, who’s his day to day carer and manages his career.

Tony is such a lovely man, honest as so many people with social disorders are, he can’t see why people get upset when he tells them things. Its wrong to lie so why don’t they like the truth? He’s got a point but that’s all part of social conditioning, and many people have issues that affect it, not just those with Asperger’s. As it happens my granddaughter had several problems when younger, some related to speech function, and she spent time in a speech and language unit where part of what she was taught was use of appropriate and inappropriate language. We were glad she couldn’t speak clearly when she announced loudly to people things like “you’re very fat, are you having a baby?” or “your hair is messy”…. It’s hard for people to understand its not deliberate rudeness, there’s no intention but just a statement of fact, and its easy to see where poor Tony was confused.

Angelo too is a fantastic man, done his best for Tony and given him a huge amount of confidence. Carers of people with issues often “coddle” them too much, scared they’ll get hurt either physically or mentally, but everyone needs the chance to be the best they can and Angelo has had a great positive effect on Tony. Like any parent though he’s finding it hard to let go. Tony has finally reached the stage where he wants his own wife and children, he see’s Angelo with Aika, and the love they share and wants that for himself ( he sees a bit too much, and that makes for some great moments too!)

Trina is a great nurse but being given all the rough tasks by her supervisor, as are all the dark coloured nurses. She’s had a tough past where her cheating ex left her with huge debts, and she’s struggling day to day for money. When Tony starts talking to her on his lunch break she at first is a bit wary, but he soon breaks through to get her trust, and they start a fantastic relationship where he just blossoms. From a shy and cautious individual he takes hold of his nature and extends it, and with Trina’s help he’s got a chance at the future he dreamed of. There’s the issues of his fame though, the media who always want to drag people down, who look for the dirt in the most innocent of situations. Of course there’s his long time protector too, Angelo who wants to be certain Trina isn’t just some gold digger out to take advantage of Tony.

Its a fabulous story, full of laughter and tears, a very emotional read. At times it is a little cheesy, and it would be great to think people and the press would act that way but cynic that I am I have my doubts…I found it very slow starting and put to one side on first time of reading, but picked it up a few days after and once I reached about 20% I was hooked, so invested with what Tony wanted, the wonderful people he met, the  way his story was told so honestly. I don’t know any high functioning people with Asperger’s to the degree Tony has it, only one who’s got minor issues and didn’t discover that til she was older, and another who’s a bright person but sadly her mum has not encouraged her to see herself as anything but someone with Asperger’s who can’t do x,y,z….that’s really sad, as I think many people could have a more satisfying life if encouraged to reach full potential and not just treated as kids with disabilities.

This isn’t a conventional romance, doesn’t follow the usual pattern of a meets b and they’re together, part after a conflict and then back for that HEA. This treads a path all of its own. If you want a book to make you think, to make you laugh, to make you cry and finish it feeling really satisfied then this is perfect.

Stars: Five, a wonderful read.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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