Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose, Tudor Rose Novel 1, Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose, Tudor Rose Novel 1, Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose: Tudor Rose Novel 1 by [Alison Weir]

Genre: Historical fiction

I love Alison Weir’s novels. She has a way of bringing history to life for me, and as her books are so well researched there’s the satisfaction of knowing much of whats written is true or based around sensible speculation from facts available.
So much of historical writings centres around Henry V111, and as such an important figure in British history he lends himself naturally to charismatic books, but the people behind him, his parents and grandparents have important stories too.
I really enjoyed reading about Elizabeth, I only knew a very little about her from reading other books where she inevitable was a secondary character so for her to be first and front was great. It gives another perspective on a period of history. It was a tough time for anyone in politics, and back then Monarchy and politics were very closely interwoven. Add in being female, with little rights other than being a political pawn, to be bartered off for the good of the country and life was hard, though in a different way to that of the general populace. Its true than money doesn’t being happiness, she and her sisters may not have been starving, may always had shelter and clothes but they still were subject to the whims of men.
Alison has managed to bring the story alive for me, to make me feel for the people, to make me understand just how tough and precarious their positions were, even as royal princesses. And princes of course with what happened to her brothers. It really was a time of Might is Right, with he who wields the power holding the throne. It beings to live the dull facts of wars and history I learned many years ago. I wish history books were written like this back then…I’d have learned much more!
Its a fascinating read, about someone who is so important yet gets overshadowed as always by the males of the time. I so enjoyed reading Elizabeth’s story, taking it in in sections so I could stop and fully absorb what I’d read. Hard times and Princesses, and indeed Queens, didn’t escape them. I look forward to the next books.

Stars: Five, a fabulous, engrossing dip back into history. Made that time feel very real to me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Shadowed Horizons: A Psychic Suspense Thriller with a Romantic Twist (The Guardians Book 1) Reily Garrett

Shadowed Horizons: A Psychic Suspense Thriller with a Romantic Twist (The Guardians Book 1) Reily Garrett

Shadowed Horizons: A Psychic Suspense Thriller with a Romantic Twist (The Guardians Book 1) by [Reily Garrett]

Genre: romantic suspense

I’ve enjoyed a few of Reily’s novels now. I hadn’t realised til reading the info at end of novel that she has background in ICU, as a PI and in Military Police. Busy lady! I guess that’s why the technical bits that I don’t actually understand still feel real and natural. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know the nuts and bolts, its the overall understanding that matters. If that makes sense….

Once more we’ve a romance, that’s wrapped in a twisted and believable story of Psychics and the people who would use their talents for evil purposes. The romance is very much a lesser part of the story, fun, relevant but its the mystery and machinations that take prime spot.
I love Kiera and her relationship with animals. Loved Simon and the wolves. Okay, yes, her interactions and tricks on the guys were fun too! The lighthearted bits like that provided a foil for some of the dark and dramatic, the awful possibilities if things go wrong. For those like me who believe that maybe there is more in the world than we can currently explain ( remember, electricity, photography, both thought as magic way back when) that of course brings in those dangers of information in the wrong hands, of evil people misusing others. Wyatt is interesting, IT skills are still very misunderstood, they can do such a lot. I loved the way he researched the guys and Kiera and sent those fab gifts so quickly. Money + internet skills ……match made in heaven 😉
The others in the group are an interesting mix of personalities and talents. Lots of possibilities.

I’m interested to learn more about the Maryland group and how they are going to connect, at the moment they’re just mentions, another very similar group but the two don’t connect yet.
Then there’s Roth, the Big Bad, the evil mastermind. Sadly there are too many like him, amoral types who will do anything for power. He has Psychics in his group too, though we don’t yet know anything about their motives.

Its a fun read, enough detail to keep me reading but not so much technical stuff I give up ;-). this doesn’t have a cliffhanger ending, parts tie up nicely but there are clear openings for the next book. I look forward to that.

Stars: Five, a great read, technical enough to keep interesting, but not so deep I’m lost! Some really interesting characters too.

ARC supplied by author

No More Lies, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Lies, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Lies: A Novel by [Kerry Lonsdale]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Women’s Fiction.

Once more – its the 2000’s, well in to it. Time to get rid of outdated wonen’s fiction categories. That heading has shades of 1950’s Little Housewife about it – and we’re more now, much more.

So, book two. Like the first book this is twisty, just when you think one think, Kerry changes POV and forces you to look again. Its an exhilarating, gripping ride, and thankfully again doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but gives us some closure, with sets ups for final book.
What a family, and how well this shows how parents affect children, and their lives as adults. Poor Lily/Jenna. What a tragic backstory, not just for her but for Wes, for Josh, for Josh’s father. Each time another bit of Jenna’s past was reveled it made me look again at how we’d previously viewed it through other eyes. Their childhoods were horrible and damaging to all the children but it also made me wonder. Where their parents childhoods damaged in some way that led them to take this awful parenting role and not see what they were doing was wrong, or were they just genuinely selfish, amoral people.
I enjoyed learning more about Lily’s childhood, even as I felt my heart crushing for her. Poor lonely kid, alienated from her siblings by her cruel father, with a cold, unloving, selfish mother. That she brought Josh up to be such a well balanced kid even though she was still running from her past is a testament to her parenting. Josh is a real star, again, he takes a solid part in the story and is so perfectly written. I adore that kid. It was great to see Jenna and Olivia reunited, though they’ve a lot of past to overcome. Lucas next, and I wonder what Kerry has to reveal about him! Perhaps next book will be titled No More surprises 🙂
I’ve mentioned in other books I struggle with past/present format, but some stories such as this can’t be told any other way (IMO) so I suck it up and concentrate a bit harder! My issue is that with a good author I get sucked into the story and its a bit jarring mentally to then change to a different time – and characters also sometimes. My personal bad, not something that affects everyone, and its worth it for such a terrific story.

Stars: five, another book full of surprises and revelations, and roll on book three!

Arc via Netgally and publishers

Meet me at the Wedding, Georgia Toffolo

Meet me at the Wedding, Georgia Toffolo

Meet me at the Wedding: From the bestselling author comes the heartwarming new summer romance of 2022 (Meet me in, Book 4) by [Georgia Toffolo]

Genre: Romance, Womens Fiction

Usual moan, womens fiction – just why? Men both read and write romance…
Anyway, I didn’t realise this was a series, my bad, and of course I’ve not read earlier books. They’re what I think of as connected books though, rather than an ongoing series, with each book being a complete story so it was easy to follow along.
I enjoyed this read, loved Lily and Henry, both still feeling the pain of that accident many years back. Non visible scars can cause a lot of pain and grief.
I really wanted to love this book, loved the characters, loved the settings, the wedding sounded absolutely beautiful, but….I didn’t find that must-keep-reading spark. I kept thinking, Lily is so busy, so who’s running the restaurant while this is happening. Then when plans for the wedding went wrong, it was such a quick simple fix when in real life it would be one heck of a nightmare. I think I needed just a spot more reality, I can and do gloss over lots in the name of fiction, ( I don’t want all the grim realities of life to bring stories down but…) somehow here there was a little too much booklandia and too little reality.
Its a fun read, a good story, but just a little too much cute and sweet, and a little lacking in the darkness and drama that I need to balance that. Its personal as always, not everyone wants the same thing in a story, and its very much my issue that I need that balance to make a five star read.

Stars: Three, a fun romance, with some great characters, lots of sweetness but lacking in the counterbalance despair dept.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Curse & Craving, Of Myth & Man Series Book One, Jill Ramsower

Curse & Craving, Of Myth & Man Series Book One, Jill Ramsower

Curse and Craving (Of Myth and Man Book 1) by [Jill Ramsower]

Genre: New Adult | Romance | Sci Fi & Fantasy

I thought I was going crackers when I started this, I remembered Becca and her friend, remembered why she was in Ireland, plus I knew about Lochlan and the Huntsman. And then I was lost, the story was mostly unfamiliar. Then when I came to write my review I noticed its a rewrite of an earlier novel, so I must have read that. I’m not losing my marbles after all 😉
Its a fun read, with some great Fae interactions, which I love, and bringing in an Arthurian twist, another of my weaknesses. My mind has always lived half in my imagination and the “what if” thoughts about the world. Mostly what if fae/magic etc were real of course.
Its a mainly light read, some interesting turns, and a few deep spots. I’m a sucker for a romance, so I was upset along with Becca when she was shocked at Lochlan’s actions, I don’t know how I’d cope either. Tough one.
I usually get irritated when the new girl who knows nothing of the supernatural world is the saviour of it but it this case the roots are in Merlin and he’s….well, unexpected and of course supremely powerful. I liked that she was trained, trained hard and didn’t just click her fingers and have control of her magic, or become a supreme fighter able to beat centuries old folk. The hard work showed and made her feel real.
Its an intriguing read, complete in the romance side ( well, for now, who knows about the future) , but extending into further books for the main story arc.

Stars: Four, a good start to a series, with some interesting things to come.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Hope and Country, Carter Hills Band, In my world, darkness has a name. And I’ve looked straight into his eyes. Emmanuelle Snow

Hope and Country, Carter Hills Band, In my world, darkness has a name. And I’ve looked straight into his eyes. Emmanuelle Snow

Hope and Country: A New Adult Emotional Second Chances Romance (Carter Hills Band - Small Town Rock Star Romance Book 4) by [Emmanuelle Snow]

Genre: Romance, women’s fiction, new adult.

Bah, women’s fiction – nope, no need for this outdated genre heading.
Anyway, ages ago I found Pink and Country, had forgotten about it til this one popped up on Netgally. I’d loved that so was keen to read this. Sadly for me this pone just didn’t live up to that, it was a decent read but not one I’d reread. And didn’t keep me engrossed, desperate to see where the story would go next.
I loved both characters, just wasn’t convinced of either the story or the romance. I did feel for Devon, she’d been through so much but her trust in Riley was Huge, just Huge and after what she’d been through I thought she’d be more cautious. I think too I needed more outside interaction, more other characters involved, the constant focus on Riley and Devon with nothing seeming to happen very much just made the story feel flat. To me. Others differ of course, its that old horses for courses conundrum, where we all want different things. I want depth, drama, lots of action and things happening, but this kind of felt like Romance-Lite, very muted and soft. Its billed as Slow Burn, but I found it hard to feel any burn, slow or otherwise.

Stars: two and a half, premise was great, action not so much. Loved Pink & Country, found this one really slow though.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Village Secret, Julie Houston

A Village Secret, Julie Houston

A Village Secret: Summer 2022's most page-turning, uplifting read, from the bestselling author of A Village Affair by [Julie Houston]

Genre: Romance, General fiction.

I adore Julie’s writing, she has a way of twisting sweet events with heartbreak, lovely people with awful ones, running humour through situations that would have us in tears. Her characters are real, flawed, people we meet every day. Though I Do Not want to meet Laurie.

I felt Jennifer was in love with the fictional character she made Laurie in her head, and unconsciously excused him his faults, as they marred that perfect image. Laurie really was an objectionable character. Indulged as the “precious son” by his doting mother, got away with everything because of his stunning looks, he was so self obsessed.
There must have been some redeeming characteristics but I couldn’t see them, something that kept Jennifer with him, maybe the early days of their marriage were different and we’re only now seeing the build-up of events over time. ( Chickens home to roost and all that).

Jennifer had lived a privileged life, with wealthy and loving parents, but she worked hard for her position, looked after home, kids, and still carried on working. When it all falls apart I so felt for her. She’s still loyal to Laurie, even though she’s finally seeing him for what he is, but the kids adore him, and she feels she needs to try a bit longer. So off they go to Westenbury, where we meet up with characters from earlier books.
It was lovely to see them again, to catch up in their lives, to see them enfold and support Jennifer and George.
Laurie is soon off on his flights of fancy, planning for a future he really seems to believe is coming, but which Jennifer can see is not what she wants, and she’s too busy with the day to day issues that keep on coming to really bother with Laurie. He’s away more than he’s home, assuming as ever that Jennifer will keep things running for him, be his eternal back up and support.

I loved this mix of pathos and humour, the teen girl issues, the way the countryside isn’t just idyllic blue skies and eternal sunshine, but rain, mud, lots of problems.
It was wonderful to be reminded of earlier stories, though you don’t need to have read them to enjoy this one. It did make me think I must have a reread of some of them. The actual romance though is very muted, barely happens until the end, but there’s so much else going on that didn’t matter to me.

Stars: Five. Its a fabulous book to just escape with, which will have you smiling one moment, choked throat the next.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Dark Sun,Wicked Lovely Courts, Melissa Marr

Dark Sun,Wicked Lovely Courts, Melissa Marr

Dark Sun: A Wicked Lovely Courts Novel by [Melissa Marr]

Genre: Romance, Sci Fi & Fantasy, Women’s Fiction

No, no, no. woman’s fiction as a genre is forever cropping up in romance, but to find it in fantasy, please no! We don’t need this stupid, segregation, this outdated category. Men read books like this – they write books like this. Time to meet the 21st century please.

I’d read the first book of the original series as it was on KU. I enjoyed it but not enough to buy the rest. Sadly money’s tight and I have to be pretty certain I’ll love and reread a book before buying….but I did love the fae world Melissa had created, it was the characters that let it down for me. This sounded like it could be interesting, the same fabulous world but with a few new characters.
I really liked Katherine, though it was hard to believe she was 24 at times. Then again her upbringing wasn’t exactly normal…Urian, well, I’m on the fence there, its like reading two different people, one an unpleasant, hate filled person, the other a guy with a chip on his shoulder but meeting Katherine has slid that into the background, made him look a bit differently at events.
Callisto was a real star for me – I adored her.
Then there’s the characters from before. Ash, she’s grown stronger, more determined, and still devotedly in love with Seth and yet I feel he’s not really fully committed. I get he’s a lot of other commitments, but event when he’s with Ash he doesn’t seem like a man in love, not as he did back in the first book of last series. Maybe that changed as the books progressed, and not having read them I missed it, but I don’t like it 😦 As an total romance junkie the feelings between him and Ash were on of the things that I loved about that first book, but he almost feels like a different character here. There’s a couple of things towards the end of the story that suggest a slight change in direction for them in the future – for me that’s a no – I just can’t get on board with that, it doesn’t feel right to me. Sometimes three’s a crowd. But hey – I’m just a reader, I can’t write…I’ve tried 😉

Its an interesting story, I was intrigued by some of the characters, and its clear this is just an opening book to the new series, not a complete book in itself. That’s fine, I’m more invested in this series than the last – I might even pay for the next books, unless a certain story line develops. That’s a hard no for me, I just don’t want those people to change that way, and it doesn’t feel like a natural progression of their development to me.

Stars: Four, I really enjoyed this and will look out for more.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Wild and Wicked Things, Francesca May

Wild and Wicked Things, Francesca May

Wild and Wicked Things by [Francesca May]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, this was hard to follow at first, but the promises of magic and adventure were there, and I was keen to get to them. Its a strange story though, characters behaving in ways that didn’t really fit. Lots of questions but very few answers.

Its a kind of parallel universe where the world has magic but its outlawed. Of course that just drives it underground and makes it attractive to a certain set of society, and that’s exactly what Emmeline’s family survive on.
I loved the glittery, roaring twenties feel, the descriptions of the clothes, the parties and hedonism that came with them, all supported of course by generous bribes to the right people. What I found difficult was the way Annie just accepted the weird happenings, the selfishness of Bea, her “best friend”, that her father had abandoned her and her mum, yet left her his house. Why didn’t she live there and not the cottage? Why did Emmeline let Bea have what she wanted in the first place? Love? It kind of felt a little wrong that she would do that, at such a huge risk. Then to go that to having feelings for Annie in such a short space of time….
I wanted to know more about the magic, the way it worked, I didn’t understand why Annie wasn’t more curious about her father, especially once she learned more about him. I would have liked to know more about the history of the Delacroix house, how Cilla came to be there, to do what she did and why, the backgrounds of Emmeline, Isobel and Nate.
Its a strange read, I kept reading right through, couldn’t put it down, enjoyed the story but I felt that I had so many unanswered questions, and there were things like Annie’s reactions to events, Bea’s actions, that just didn’t feel right. I expected more from the Crow connection, but when they were there it was a gripping part of the events. Its difficult to think about how I feel. Did I enjoy it? Yes, but I had so many places where I was a bit lost about how and why, and times when I felt credulity stretched a bit too far. Ultimately I think its one of those stories that I enjoyed, but wouldn’t reread.

Stars: Four, its a beautifully written story, but there were those little niggles I mention that stop it from being a five star read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Love is Grand, Rachel Blaufeld

Love is Grand, Rachel Blaufeld

Love Is Grand (Grand Love Book 2) by [Rachel Blaufeld , Pam  Berehulke]

Genre: Romance, women’s fiction

aannd once more, its 2022, not 1922. We don’t need to segregate books into male and female fiction….

I’ve read several of Rachel’s books, and enjoyed the stories she creates. ( how do authors do that? Create a story just from nothing? It always astonishes me) I’d not read first book of this series but they are each complete stories with connected characters so it didn’t affect this book.

Shell was a great lead but….I understood her reasons for the no commitment stuff, but didn’t feel her heart was really made that way. If I’m honest, as the story went on it began to feel she was a bit of a doormat for Cal, there when he wanted sex on the island, along with Sophia waiting for him in the City. That jarred with me a bit, although it did lead to some of my favourite scenes in stories like this, where Sophia’s claws come out! And of course some great drama and heartbreak.
It took me a long while to warm up to Cal, to be honest it wasn’t until I understood more of his background, and how his mind worked that I began to like him. I still could give him a good kick in the rear for what he put Shell through. Even when he was telling himself Shell set the boundaries in their relationship, he wouldn’t acknowledge that her limits were because she knew where his were…that if he wasn’t such a well known, no commitments playboy she might have felt differently, but she needed to protect her heart. ( As if that ever works!)

The supporting characters were great, from Shell’s parents, her lovely, funny daughter, to her good friends. I enjoyed meeting them and seeing how they all pulled to support Shell, and by the three quarters mark she needed that.
Its was a fun read, full of Rachael’s attention to detail, solid plots, and realistic characters. That’s what I look for in a good story, one where I’m not rolling my eyes at scenes and thinking “as if!” I’d like to go back and read the first book, and will look out for more in this series.

Stars: 4.5. A great read, loved the drama, Sophia and her scenes were a real draw, the heartbreak, that played out so well. I love it when the sad parts are properly drawn out. Those make a romance for me, balance out the sweet, and the love feels stronger for it.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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