Heat of the Moment, Lori Handeland

Heat of the Moment,  Lori Handeland 
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance,
I loved the first novel in this trilogy,and this follow up is in the same gripping format. We meet some of the characters from book one, along with some from another supernatural series Lori has written, that interconnects with this trilogy. I hadn’t realised that until I read Blue Moon, the first in the series that had been on my kindle for some time. Its a great idea having a spin off from the main series, adds to the stories that have gone by, and lets in new readers like me who now want to read more.
this time its the second sister, Becca, who’s a talented vet. She doesn’t know she isn’t her parents natural child, and has no idea about the magic and witch blood. She knows she’s different in that she can “hear” animals, and somehow is often able to find their injuries without technical aid, but she’s learned over the years that different isn’t good, that people don’t want to hear her say she can understand animals. She’s almost convinced herself it’s all in her imagination. Then along comes someone from her past, the lovely Owen, some weird animal sacrifices, an attempt on her life, and someone who claims to be her sister. Throw in a Voodoo priestess, a werewolf hunter, and an FBI agent and she’s in a loop that seems crazy. She has to get to grips quickly though if she’s to stay alive.
Having now got the root of the tale from book one, this one plunges straight into Becca’s story. She’s trying to come to terms with being thrown closely with Owen, someone who she’s not seen for ten years, when he left and broke her heart. He hoped to only be in the town a few days, a week maybe, while he gets his mothers house ready to sell, but its in a real state from being vandalised and is now a crime scene from the animal sacrifices found there. He’s drawn to Becca and she to him, even though its the last thing either want. They both still love each other, and yet the past haunts them. Owen won’t stand by though while she’s in danger and quickly gets drawn into the story. Witches though? His mum, who had mental health issues, was always called a witch for being odd, but they don’t exist do they? Becca feels the same until Raye, her sister, shows her incontrovertible proof…then she needs to work with her to avoid the dangers piling up on her. Its a gripping read, full of red herrings and people who are more than they seem. Pru and Henry are here again too, doing what they do best, looking out for their daughters. Becca’s world gets turned upside down in just a couple of days, and not only by the spooky stuff, her feelings for Owen are as strong as ever and she learns he feels the same. Reggie his army dog who’s also recuperating, bears a special mention – he was a great character and I really enjoyed his “voice”.
I’m looking forward to the final part of this trilogy, its been a great adventure, full of secrets and betrayals, supernatural dramas, and sizzling romance.
Stars: Five, fabulous gripping read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Burned By Darkness, Alexandra Ivy

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Burned By Darkness,  Alexandra Ivy
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,
I’ve enjoyed several of Alexandra’s books now and was looking forward to actually getting in at the start of a new series. Sadly though this series is one I’ll be missing.
The story is fine and of course well written as you’d expect from an AI novel, its just the plot that failed for me. I like my romance and/or supernatural reads to have a solid plot, something I can get my teeth in and here, it really just features around dragon natures and the kidnapping/developing romance between Tayla and Baine. The characters were fun, but very light and I didn’t feel I really knew, them so wasn’t really invested in the romance. And one of my pet peeves is tween names so dragons called Char and Synge made my teeth cringe….it’s one of the reasons I can’t bring myself to read the very popular BDB series…I read through to 50% but was convinced by then that this was a series for me to miss, so simply skim read the rest just to see the ending. It won’t stop me reading Alexandra’s other books, I know she’s an author who’s works I usually love, and look forward to other stories from her. Just that this series is a miss for me, nothing wrong with the story, simply that it doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m sure there will be many readers who adore it and avidly wait for more. .
Stars: two, sadly an AI series I’ll be missing.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Queen of Blood, Jill Myles

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Queen of Blood,  Jill Myles
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.
I loved Jill’s Succubi series, have read that more than once and was hoping for something similar. This sounded fun, and with vampires – well, what sound like vamps anyway. I’ve not found any decent vamp fiction recently so was hoping. What I got was a read that was fun as a one off, but really didn’t’ get me “lost” in the story as I’d hoped. Its a book that for me could be put aside easily and picked up later. I want ones though that have me gripped and desperate to read just one more chapter, and one more after that.
It’s a typical have and have not society where each doesn’t understand the other. The Vidari resent the Athonites for having riches, and the Athonites see the Vidari as traitors always out to fight, to rebel and that must be kept down by harsh methods. Prince Graeme really doesn’t like court life, and goes to his lands in the heart of the Vidari  people. His priests perform the ten year rite to find his Eterna and to everyone’s astonishment he gets one. Its never happened before but the big shock is its Seri….she hates the idea, but is trapped. Resentful she’s stuck living with him, but the bond is magical and gives her feelings for him, however her heart is still with Rilen, the man she was to marry.
Seri is a lovely lady, she’s intelligent and fiercely loyal, and that takes her into measures she wouldn’t other wise have dreamt of. Everyone is changing though, not just her and she finds that events have moved faster than she can imagine, and people are doing what she would never have believed of them. She’s learning too more about the Athonites, about Graeme and coming to love him. He’s not like his cruel father or brother, and wants to find a way to live in peace, to improve life for everyone, not just crush the uprisings. Its a hard task though, full of betrayals and murders.
Its a fun read, an easy to follow story but a little too light for me. It didn’t really feel genuine, where I could mentally live alongside the characters. I’m not sure if there are more to come from these characters, but its got a proper ending and can be read as a standalone.
Stars: Four, a decent one off read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Blue Midnight, Tess Thompson


Blue Midnight,  Tess Thompsonbmimg
Genre:  Romance, Mystery and Thrillers
I really didn’t know what sort of read this would be, but I love second chance romances so started eagerly. Poor Blythe, she’s given her all to her marriage, put her own career, hopes and dreams aside for her husband and family. The more we read the more we see how he belittled her, one of those men who say things under a guise of kindness – you know “ don’t wear that darling, I wouldn’t want you to be embarrassed”- that sort of comment. Its sucked the life out of her and now the B stard has gone off with someone younger, still blaming her for his defection. She’s gutted but luckily her sister Bliss steps in. One change of image, clothes, hair, makeup and Blythe is off on an adventure complete with new camera courtesy of Bliss’ chequebook. Her photography was another think the jerk stopped “ its a little hobby darling, you’ll never make any money at it”. ar sehole. Bliss is determined her big sister will move forward, and regain what she loved.
The starting point is the search for Finn. It takes her on an adventure where she comes across all sorts of things, a ghost, a witch, lots of unexplained things, and a search for the truth for Finn’s family. Its a wonderful read, slowly meandering along, not a breakneck speed race. It made me feel I was there with her, made me smile, made me cry, or at least get tears, several times. Families and people are more than the surface front they present and slowly we see the layers underneath Finn’s family, and as they get revealed they bring up some danger that’s been hidden for years. Towards the end as the secrets begin to unfold the danger stacks up and the story goes from a slow ramble through the town to a fast and climatic ending. I love the characters, from the bothers and Kevan’s daughter, the mysterious Moonbeam, the typical small town characters that know everything – or at least think they do. Then there’s Blythe’s daughters, they were so sweet. We don’t see much of them but what they do add is just perfect. I wanted her ex to get his comeuppance, that’s just me, I hate characters like him and want them to get what they deserve, be sorry what they’ve lost, but from what the girls say its clear not all was perfect in paradise. I love their recollections of the new wife’s comments!! The story brings in events that could be supernatural, or could be just coincidence. Did Blythe really see what she thought, or was it her imagination, a breeze bringing shadows perhaps, a bit of a waking dream?  Is Moonstone really a witch, or just someone unusually intuitive?  Its one of those stories that could be explained away, but I like to go with the supernatural element. Its comforting to think that maybe there’s more than just us, maybe those we’ve lost can still watch over and help us. I can’t leave without mentioning Shakespeare. Anyone who’s had a much loved pet will feel for him, a wonderful addition to the characters, he’s just so lovely, retreating to his bed when the commanding family matriarch  appeared, and I’d have been there with him too! Its hard to see a pet ageing, and things like him not being able to jump up into the truck anymore, but needing to be lifted will strike a chord with anyone whose had an aging dog. He  added to the very real feeling this novel gave me.
Stars: Five, one of those books which stay with you for a while. Its not one I’ll read again soon, but maybe pick up again in a couple of years.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Diamonds & Desire, Book 1 of The Priceless Collection Series, Angelita Gill

Diamonds & Desire, Book 1 of The Priceless Collection Series,  Angelita Gill
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance
This was a fun read, with Jordana being a great character, very genuine, very caring. It’s that caring part of her nature that brings her into contact with Logan, when she overhears something he needs to know. There’s an attraction between them, but he doesn’t do love and romance, and knows she’s too good for his usual friends with benefits type affair. They start meeting for lunch though, simply enjoying each others company, and those lunches somehow lead to more when Jordana needs his help over her sister.
They get closer…and closer… and soon are in a hot and heavy affair, even though he’d determined they wouldn’t, and  they’re having some seriously steamy sex. Of course as always things crop up that cause issues and friction, and just when you think things are going well they aren’t. I loved that it wasn’t a quick fix to the problem, that it was dragged out and we could see how both of them were so affected. I like my sad parts to be solid, not a two page over and done and it was perfect here. It let me indulge, wallow for a bit!
I loved both of them, and the story was a fun read, with some sensual and seductive scenes. Its a book that I might re read, after a period of time, it’s not one that’s deep and full of mystery, but a light and fun read. There’s a place for those as much as there is for those deep, dark  dramas I love. This is perfect when you want something lighter but not chic lit type light, a solid romance but with some spice and fun.
Stars: Five, a fun, sexy read
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Knight of Rapture, Ruth A. Casie


   Knight of Rapture, Ruth A. Casie
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
** Warning: Spoilers for Book One**
This appealed to me, and as it was the second part of a book duo I read the sample of book one to get some background info. I’ve done that before and find its usually enough to get me up to speed, but I was so hooked on the plots that I ended up buying part one just so I could get the full story. In that part we see the beginning of how Rebeka accidently goes back in time, and discovers that actually that’s where she started and her father brought her forward 400 years for her safety. He’s dead now and seems he never got a chance to explain. At the end of the book something goes wrong, Bran interferes yet again, and Rebeka is thrown forward into the future again. Arik and she are both distraught and seeking a way to bring her back in book two.
Arik has been working with his brother Logan to find Rebeka and bring her back. Unknown to him Rebeka has help from Barrister George and his sister, both powerful druids, and they’re also working to find a way back for her. With help from both ends Arik ends up in 21st century….but although Rebeka had her memories of Arik and the past when she came through Bran has interfered yet again and now she’s has no knowledge of it. Luckily George and Cora do, so they help to try to break Brans enchantment and bring her memories back while also researching a way back for them both.
To complicate things there’s problems over ownership of the Manor, and the documents needed seem to be missing. It means a huge amount of research, while at the same time trying to make the Manor pay its way with the new ventures started. This book takes place mainly in 21st century as opposed to the past in book one. Arik is able to help with the reconstructions, and make the ventures of visitors seeing the past and feeling the whole experience as real as possible, and he has some ideas too about further renovation of the mill and village itself to help the experience and the income. It seems though that they have not only Bran working against them but trouble from an unknown source which creates more problems, and they have little time to work it all out.
Its another great read. I love the way Arik blends in and they way the staff pull together, and the story they concoct to explain him. The Major and his soldiers are a terrific addition, and the descriptions of them training, rebuilding the mill and village, renovating the old weapons and learning how to use them to create realistic re-enactions for the visitors is especially interesting. I love the way the druid magic works, through runes and chants. Its not a quick found magical wave-of-hand solution, I hate those, and the ones where the main character gains some new unheard of power at the crucial moment. Instead it’s one where they all work hard, by means of research and trial and error experiences, to find the right combination of chants and runes. There’s drama too from Bran and the mystery protagonist, which at times is life threatening. I’d guessed about just after halfway through who I thought was behind it, but couldn’t work out why. I did get somewhat confused towards the end about the travelling issues, and why some of them were restricted – its hard to say without giving too much away – but rather than get bogged down by detail I just accepted the story as it and it flowed well from there, and made for a fabulous and satisfying ending.
Stars: Five, a great read to enjoy both the characters, the history and the magic. One you can really get lost in for a few hours.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

For Real, Alexis Hall


For Real, Alexis Hall

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance, GLBT My only other Alexis Hall book has been Waiting for the Flood, which I loved. I didn’t realise it was part of a loosely connected series ( connected only by characters that crop up in other books ) and it wasn’t until writing this review that I realised Edwin in here at Oxford was the Edwin from WFTF….I’m glad I know he has a happy ending as I felt really sorry for him when we met him here. Anyway – once again a terrific read. It seems Alexis is one of those authors I love, who can make a character feel so real, who can use words to let me “see” a person who I feel I know, who I can understand, empathise with, and want to be happy. That’s really important to me. After reading this book I read another romance where frankly I didn’t like any of the characters, and it spoils the story for me. I have to feel they are real, alive and then I’m happy and sad along with them. That sadness is essential too for me, I don’t want a read that’s just happy, happy, happy but need some darkness, some sadness to balance it. So, here we have Laurie, who’s still not over his last relationship even though they split six years back. He hates seeing his ex with his current partner, the breakup was traumatic for him and he just can’t bear seeing that he’s moved on. Laurie’s kind of jaded, lost, and it feels like he’s just marking time passing, not enjoying life at all. There’s no joy in him and I felt so sad that he was this way. He seems to have few friends, Grace and Sam are great, but there don’t really seem to be any other really close ones, and he has a cold, closed off relationship with his parents. He feels so alone, so lonely. Then comes Toby and he’s such a gem. I love the way Toby is portrayed, when he’s talking at a million miles a minute I can just feel his youth, his enthusiasm and the joy he takes in life when it goes his way. He’s got a kind of hidden backstory which we don’t find out til close to the end, but he lives with his very bohemian, artist mother ( who’s younger than Laurie!!), adores his grandfather who’s close to dying, and cooks in a cafe despite his clear intelligence and capability. Despite his youth he’s in many ways far older than his years, and he’s clearly very close to his granddad. He’s taken many of the things granddad has taught him into his everyday life, the songs, the dances and the kind of old time gentility he displays. I loved him, there’s clearly much more to him than we see, though I could have done with seeing less of his acne!! What I loved is the way everything in this story is turned around and yet works sublimely. Usually Laurie, the older, wealthy, experienced man would be classed as the Dom, and Toby, young, inexperienced, innocent almost, would be a sub but it’s reversed – and it works really well. I loved the turnabout, it shows that the D/s instinct is just that – something from within, not something taught, though skills can and need to be learned for safety of course, but something inherent in a persons nature. Laurie is a confident, cultured doctor, and yet when it comes to his private life he wants to submit, to let someone else have responsibility, tell him what to do and when. It frees him, relaxes him and works. Toby – from the first meeting it’s clear he knows little but despite being young, slightly built, a menial job, he’s got a very dominant nature and the way he takes command of Laurie is incredible. There’s a great story here of two souls who are at variance with what the world expects of them, and yet find each other and happiness in their relationship – but its got trials. Laurie worries about Toby’s age, about whether he’s taking advantage and Toby knows he’s got a lot to learn but needs Laurie to give him more, to commit, to go all in and its a battle….When things go wrong – well, they really pulled out the drama and I was filled with the emotion of it.
I loved the Oxford dinner party, it showed a fabulous side to Toby, and had some incredible imagery that gave me some great mental visuals of the scenes. I love Toby’s enthusiasm, his refusal to be pushed down, his ability to see the fun in anything and his confidence in himself when he lets it through. The other scene that really sticks with me is the fated party where he refuse to bow down to convention, to do what’s expected by others, but finds the strength to do what Laurie needs, without being embarrassed about other peoples perceptions. It shows a real maturity about him, and he gets respect from many of the people there because of it. I have him a mental hurrah and high five for acting as he did. So…I’ve rambled a bit – I feel like Toby here, with my enthusiasm bleeding out into an onslaught of words. Clearly that’s not just the prerogative of the young!
Stars: Five, a fabulous read that will stay with me and join the keepers file. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Demelza, A Novel of Cornwall: 1788-1790, Winston Graham


Demelza, A Novel of Cornwall: 1788-1790,  Winston Graham
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)
I adored this series when I first read it back in the seventies, sparked by the TV series. Now its been revised with new actors for TV, and of course the books released on Kindle! Hurrah. I’ve still got my print books, a mix of new and charity shop/eBay/library rejects, but due to loss of vision can’t read such small text now, so it’s been a joy to catch up with the Poldark corner of Cornwall and it’s characters.
The focus this time is on Demelza and how she’s coping with her new position as Ross’ wife. She’s just given birth to their first child and right from the start we see how she is struggling, wanting to fit in with Ross’ place in Society, but still feeling more at home with her former peers. Luckily Ross is at ease with, and respected by them. Verity, his cousin from Trenwith, proves a great help in teaching Demelza how to behave, how to dance, and with sorting out her wardrobe. Demelza comes to love her, she has such an open heart and is so upset when she learns of Verity’s failed romance. Of course she can’t help “helping” and causes a huge row from the consequences.
We see too more of the villagers, the tragedy of Mark Daniels and Keren, his flirtatious wife, the mines and the miners and the sheer poverty of life then, how desperate things were for so many families when the mine Grambler closed. It really brings home how hand to mouth living was in those days. There’s snippets of the politics of the era too. Ross is trying to move forward, to make life more secure for his wife and child, and along the way doing what he can to provide work for the locals. Unlike so many in his position he understands them and has sympathies. These bring him into the public eye when he breaks out one of his employees from prison. Poor Jim Carter had gone poaching to feed his family and been caught. Sentenced to two years despite Ross effort’s he’s ill in prison, then he’s transferred to another which is even more dire and full of fever. Ross tries to help but…well, read it and you’ll see ;-) It shows just how compassionate he could be, a fair man, a moral man and so often, as with this event, that brings him on the opposite side to his peers. Its a thin line he treads, and at the end, after an awful personal tragedy he’s facing judgement from them for his actions over something else.
Its a hard book to review as there’s just so much going on. It builds on what’s gone before though, and its easy to follow. Its a fascinating read, and who can’t resist Ross, especially now we’ve the vision of Aiden Turner from the TV series to mull on and swoon over!! It shows us too just how changed Demelza is, how bright to be able to absorb so much learning, to adapt and try to fit in, and of course the passion between the two. They do have some huge blow-ups here, but at the heart of it is a solid enduring love. There’s some real sadness in this book, and when I first read it, ahead of the TV series ( hooked from the first episodes I had to read the first four books which were already out) I was caught by surprise and reduced to tears by one particular part.
If you’re looking for a solid romance, and a story full of history, fabulous characters and realism this series is perfect.
Stars: Five, another fabulous read for keeping and rereading.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Dying to Date, A Fated Match Novel, Victoria Davies

Dying to Date, A Fated Match Novel, Victoria Davies
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Another one from the Fated Match series. This time it’s  Vampire leader Lucien’s daughter Melissa looking for her match, and in comes a new customer who looks good – on paper as well as in the flesh. Only issue is he’s refused to give his supernatural type – but the business doesn’t insist on that, and Melissa has already seen him and is attracted. So they go off on their first date, get on well and much to Melissa’s surprise ( and secretly her dismay too..) he’s a perfect gentleman and kisses are all she gets.
What she doesn’t know is he’s a Necromancer, a very old, skilled one and they are outcast from everywhere. The vampires fear them as they can be controlled by them, and as the largest group everyone follows them, so for generations now the necromancers have been always hidden, always living secretly and on the edge of society. Tarian doesn’t want war, he’d love to be part of the supernatural society but so long as he can lead a quiet life he’ll stay hidden. Melissa wasn’t in his plans, he’d no idea he’d feel such a pull to her, and as such a prominent person she’s a real danger to his live quietly ideal. Not all of the necromancers are happy living a quiet life on the outskirts though, and Melissa gets kidnapped by a group who want to take over New York for themselves. Of course as this was just before their date the blame looks to fall on him. He doesn’t want war, but knows this will bring it. He knows who’s behind it and what they want, and is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Its a fun read, light but with a decent plot, and it did make me wonder how on earth he was going to rescue Melissa without her dad killing him!! Lucien’s very, very protective of her, and he’ll be furious, but doing nothing isn’t an option. He can’t just leave her, he feels far too much for her, but can’t go against the others without some backup, and he’s just one person. It makes for a fun adventure, for some really sad and upsetting moments for Melissa when she’s told things by her kidnappers – they make it all sound so believable and she’s gutted.
As expected its a realistic, fun read, with some seductive scene, and  hot, erotic sex. Covets do that well, sensuality without smuttiness that so many fantasy erotic reads contain.  It’s a fun, well written, easy to follow novel and a perfect way to lose yourself in another world for a couple of hours
Stars: Four, a fun, sexy read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Wicked Charms,A Lizzy and Diesel Novel, Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton

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Wicked Charms,A Lizzy and Diesel Novel,  Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers
Well, if you’ve read books one and two you’ll know this isn’t a heart stopping, scary, hide head under cushions type thriller, but a slapstick type mystery to solve. Once again Lizzy and Diesel have paired up to find another  SAGLIA Stone, this time the one for greed. Its the same kind of comedic read, with Lizzy going from one drama to the next, getting into constant danger, and being rescued just in time. Cat takes a lesser role which I missed, I like him, but Carl also appears less and that’s great, as to be honest his “Eeps” and “giving the finger” are getting boring and simply annoying. It was funny the first few times but but when it was mentioned for what seemed like the twentieth time just in the first book, the humour had long since worn off. Glo is in the thick of this adventure, accompanied by Broom – she’s scatty, and a great addition to the gang with her haphazard spells, and of course there’s Clara the bakery owner. I do wonder how they ever manage to make money as it seems secondary to helping Lizzy and Diesel at times.
The connection between Lizzy and Diesel is as hot as ever, he’s a jerk at times but does seem to genuinely feel something for Lizzy other than simply attraction, and they’ve worked a sneaky way round the “two unmentionables must not get together” edict!!
Its a fun read, light-hearted and very much like the first two. For devoted fans it’ll be a book to devour but though I enjoyed it there’s too much similarity to books one and two for me to give a higher star rating. Its well written but nothing new really jumping out at me, and if the search for the next four stones are like this then its one I’ll pass on even though I’ve enjoyed the humour of these first three stories.

Stars: Three, fun read but nothing new added from first two.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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