The Keeper, (Crossing Realms Series 1), Rebecca E. Neely
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so intriguing. sadly though it was a fail for me, I couldn’t even finish it😦
Libby – I just couldn’t get over how accepting she was. When she first meets Nick, running late for work and stuck in traffic he’s walking down the middle of the road towards her. Does she think – “ wow what a berk”? No – its “ Libby, let me in your car” No, he might be a murderer she thinks, can’t do that. So far so good. Then she thinks about her dad, and decides to let Nick in. He tells her he put the memory in her head, weaves a tale about not being human, her being in great danger, rambles on about keepers and betrayers, and instead of thinking “ this guy is nuts” she accepts it all. Wow – would that really happen? She goes off with him, they get into danger and he tells her to go to his parents….but he hasn’t told her anything about them or where they live. Duh!!
Then later when they are at his parents although he’s Clan Leader his father is really the dominant one, he’s ex leader but doesn’t seem to defer to Nick at all…it just doesn’t feel Nick is leader in any way to me
Its a book that has a lot of action but yet nothing really seems to be happening.Nothing was explained, either to Libby – most of the while, she was so trusting she drove me nuts, and she just took everything at face value, or to the reader by way of conversations, text or actions. As for the “secret” I didn’t get into it at all sadly, and just found the whole story unreal, like a very simplistic YA read.
As ever though this is just My View and others will feel very different about it. Make your own choice, if you like the novels I do then maybe you won’t like this either – but if we’re on opposite reading spectrum this could be perfect for you.
Stars:Stars: Two, just didn’t work for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
The Flame and the Arrow ,(The Annika Brisby Series 1) Emigh Cannaday
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
A hard book to review – I was really keen to read after that intriguing description but though parts were interesting much of it fell flat, and there were many many times when I could slap both Annika and Talvi!
Its a longish read, 438 pages/6900 kindle locations, which let in time for some incidents to be really well described, to let the reader feel they were there, to get to really know and hopefully understand the characters, but then set against that there were many times when I just felt it dragged, where I wanted something, anything, to actually Happen, and ended up skimming through to get to the action.
I found it odd the way Annika was so accepting of what happened, and didn’t really understand how Talvi and the girls seemed to have crossed over to our world many times and yet when Annika crossed into theirs the crossing had closed. There were some explanations at the end but TBH I’m not sure if or how they affected this part.
Some parts of the novel were confusing for me too, and characters vied from happy to sad, from friendly to hating others, from helpful to unhelpful so very easily and often seeming to have no obvious reason for acting that way. It made understanding them and feeling anything for them difficult. Talvi I so wanted to like, but his explanations didn’t always add up to his actions, and the same with Annika, things I thought would make her angry or upset didn’t, and then she’d fly off the handle over nothing.
There was much to really enjoy in this story and it interested me enough that I did need to see how it ended – or not quite ended as the case turned out to be ;-), even though I skimmed many sections. I got ( sorry) bored by the lack of action, of the inane-ness of what was happening, in those bits that felt like filler. Maybe they work for other readers and are integral but for me they just detracted and muddied the main plot.
I’m still unsure of whether I want to read book two – I would like to read how Talvi fares in this world, and the premise once more sounds very intriguing with the potential for some deceptive seeming actions on his part, leading to possible jealousy and heartbreak for Annika and that’s right up my street. At the same time though I’m put off if it holds more of the dull “filler” parts as this one.
If it was on KU I’d take a look, but though its not expensive at £1.99 I don’t feel ready to spend more, when I have so many books already in my TBR pile and there are so many others on KU. Money’s tight for lots of us and I’m no exception, so need to choose where the pennies get spent.
Stars: three, a mixed read for me, its got a lot of potential, many positives but also some negatives in how I feel about it.
Read via KU on authors request
Sweet Last Drop, Melody Johnson
Genre: Romance, Fantasy and Sci-fi
I’d somehow missed book one but it’s only 83p so I bought and read that first, then then just has to see what;’s next so its was Click Request and a hurrah when I got this one.
I love Cassidy’s character, she’s very moral and determined to do what’s right but she’s practical and when in the last book she learned about vampires she didn’t like the covering up of murders, but understood the need, that it would prevent far more even though her journalistic roots were shouting Publish and Be Damned – hiding the truth goes against everything she’s built her career on but she reluctantly accepts it has to be done.
Once her eyes were opened to the other world living side by side with hers, there’s no going back, the vampires know of her, they know she’s aware of them and its a thin line to treat to stay alive. She’s lucky in that she’s a Night Blood, one of a few humans whose blood allows them to be transformed to a vampire.
After the fracas and mayhem of the last book she really needs time to recover and that happens to coincide with Dominic needing to cement relations with another master Vampire, Bex. She’s in the area where Walker lives and he’s invited Cassidy to stay with him for a while, to teach her what he knows about being a Night Blood and how to protect herself. She agrees to represent Dominic there to Bex, as his Night Blood if he’ll search for Nathan, her missing brother. He’s disappeared just after the start of the murders in book one and she’s worried. They only have each other, no other family and he doesn’t just go away without contact.
Of course Walker has some ulterior motives, he’s not revealing everything, Dominic always has another motive, its never simple with him, Bex is a complicated person and she’s not revealing all, and to add to the drama the murders seem to have followed Cassidy and she gets embroiled in them once more. So much for her relaxing break with Walker and persuading Bex she wants Dominic as an ally.
Its all systems go, surprise after surprise , murder after murder- at times quite gruesome, these killings are real, bloody, aggressive, visceral. These vampires don’t sparkle, live off animals, look pretty all the time, they treat humans as food, though to stay hidden they rarely actually murder, just dip and sip and a bit a dazzle to make humans think something else happened. Is it a vampire committing the murders though? Cassidy thinks so, but Walker says no and Bex is adamant none of her vampires have killed, she’d know if they did. The police think its some kind of animal at first, but then things get even more complex and Cassidy gets drawn into the heart of things, and faces fighting for her life all over again.
I like Cassidy, but I think she’s got blinkers on as far as Walker is concerned. She’s in two minds about Dominic, sees him as vampire/not human, she’s seen him in all forms, not just the handsome polished human facade, but can’t seem to help being attracted to him. Her head though is ruling at the moment and warning her against him, where her heart pulls Walker forward when I think Dominic is the better man of the two. They’re both strong characters, both seem to want Cassidy but both hiding things. Dominic is nearly 500 years old and he didn’t get to that age by spilling all to a pretty face so I kind of understand, he’s got the coven to protect too but Walker, I think he puts his hatred of Vampires first, and when we see where it started I think he’s mistaken. There’s lots to see here though and the triangle gets ever more complicated, and tangled, and I’m so unsure at times which side I’m with. But – hey- I’m forever on the wrong side when it comes to relationship triangles so what do I know? And this book is so much more than just that too, its just another side of the story.
Stars: Five, a great read and one to keep.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
Manhandled, a Rockstar Romantic Comedy, Taryn Elliott & Cari Quinn
I adored the Oblivion books from this writing duo, and enjoyed Manaconda, but that didn’t quite have the Oblivion magic. I do love rock star reads though and the writing from Cari and Taryn is always easy to follow, and quickly hooks me in the story, so I was pleased to get an ARC for this book.
I feel I’m getting to know the band now, along with the main characters in their lives – but Bats – I Really Really want to read his story. We keep getting these tantalising, mysterious glimpses of something odd, something secretive going on with him and I so want to know what it is😉
This time though its Keys story, Faith, the girl in the band. After a fan tried to abduct her , drugging her and narrowly missing getting away with it, she’s been assigned a bodyguard, Quinn, big secretive man of mystery. Warden, she calls him, and at first even though there’s a real Sizzle between them they really don’t hit it off. Keys is all about spontaneity, about doing mad things off the cuff, and Quinn takes his duties seriously, and all those things are anathema to him. He’s Mr Planner, where every moment and action has to be scheduled in advance. Slowly though he lightens up, tries to let her have a bit more freedom, and she sees him as helping her, not sucking out all her fun. I love the slow gradual way they come to respect each other and the way events draw them closer.
The would be abductor is still loose though, and Quinn is going mad trying to trace her. He goes through all Key’s past fan “oddities” the presents, notes, letters, web conversations, but just can’t link her to anything tangible. He’s got demons from his own past too and is determined not to let Keys down, not to fail this time.
Its a great romance… has that Rock star feel I need with the band touring, and I felt I was there with them. It made for a fun escape from reality for a while, a story that’s well written, sensual and sexy, and yet with a very real element of danger and suspense. Its another terrific story but.. Owen’s next, and though I look forward to that I want to know more about Bats!! Maybe he’ll reveal more in that book.
Stars: Five, a great fun read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher
This Secret We’re Keeping, Rebecca Done
What an incredibly heart breaking read, a haunting, aching, emotional read – its going to be hard to review, but its a book that’s blown me away, its such a beautiful, realsitic but sad, sad story of love.
I read the blurb but missed the Norfolk connection…I read a lot and usually if Norfolk is mentioned its the USA Norfolk, not my little corner of the UK, North Norfolk; a rural area that’s maybe 40 x 30 miles max…Clearly Rebecca knows it well ( looking her up just now to ask about a sequel I found she lives in Norwich, a city just outside N Norfolk and about 25 miles way from me – small world) All through it mentions places I know, towns I’ve visited and I so recognise the Type of Natalie and Zac, rich Londoners who think everything here is quaint or unspoiled, then proceed to moan the corner shops doesn’t sell the particular type of olives from Tuscany they prefer, or they can’t get quails eggs, white truffles or other “essentials”…. Wells and Burnham market, areas mentioned in the book are known locally as Chelsea-by-the-sea, and it often seems Holt has more London second homes than locals, it even has a shop that stocks the quails eggs ect… Known as the Holt Harrods it’s full at weekends of the London holiday homers, carrying wicker shopping baskets over one arm, while exclaiming loudly how the peace is wonderful, but the dawn birdsong wakes them, and the air wonderfully fresh if it wasn’t for that horrible farm aroma from just down the road. Somebody Should Do Something, and will they sign the petiton. If you’re a people watcher it can be fascinating….
Anyway, back to Jess and Matthew. I so felt for them. There’s a world of difference to me between an older teacher deliberately grooming pupils and what happens here. If he’d been a builder, a shop worker, a taxi driver it would have been fine. Yes she’s only 15 and sex is illegal but let’s be honest, many kids, boys and girls, are having sex at an age far younger. It doesn’t make it right, and personally I don’t feel they are emotionally ready at 13 and 14 though many are active at that age, but Jess is 15 and just a few months off 16. She made all the running and in a way with her home background she was far older than her years. Then there’s the age gap, ten years. Its a big gap but if they’d been 16 and 26, 17 and 27…people don’t really see it as an issue. I met Him Indoors when I was 15, though we didn’t date till just after my 16th birthday, we married when I was 18 and 10 days, and have been married now 40 years next May. There’s 6 years between us, and I’ve many friends where the gap is larger – in either direction. People mature at different ages, Jess was (IMO) mature for her age while Matthew was quite young for his. Its back to that are they just two people in the wrong place who fall in love, or is he taking advantage of her? For me the answer is no, he didn’t, for others it may be different. To me that is crucial to how you’ll feel about the whole story.
Its told in turns by Matthew and Jess, from the past when they are 15 and 25 to the present when they are 32 and 42. By a series of events they are both now in Norfolk and meet each other – with a bang! That starting line certainly had me hooked. Its an incredibly sad, very emotional story, had me on the edge of tears in the last parts, I so felt for them. Right from the start you can see how they’re just kidding themselves it can work out – and yet who wouldn’t when they are so in love? To me that was it, it wasn’t infatuation, wasn’t grooming, wasn’t Matthew taking advantage of Jess but just two people who fell in love. There’s more to the story though, so much more, twists and tunrs, hiddens secrets, people who are not as they appear and as the book goes on in the present timeline more and more things from the past come out. We see how much what happened has affected them both, even to how they act, think and feel today. Its a time neither can forget, and yet once again they seem unable by circumstances to be together unless something incredible happens.
There are some fabulous characters here, teacher types I recognise, places that are so real to me as I know them well. I guess that’s part of why it all felt so real to me, though the writing is so well done that I think I’d still feel the same even if it was somewhere I didn’t know. I’m not dissing all teachers here BTW – but there are ones just like those in the book. I attended a girls grammar school back in the early 70’s, it was clear that teaching for some was, as with Matthew, a real vocation and for others a boring job to be got through as soon as possible with least effiort. Ironically our maths teacher was obsessed with all things sex after his wife left him. Our lessons consisted of working out scale plans for the perfect bedroom, complete with of course, room for a double bed, and he spent the lesson throwing out sexual innuendos to some girls, asking about their boyfriends and love lives. He had a crush on the PE teacher and she spent her time pleading with groups to tell him she’d gone somewhere, whilst hiding whenever she spotted him approaching. He did get sacked or moved on eventually! My maths is still awful😉
Then there’s Zac and Natalie, two people I really didn’t like, and Jess’ sister who was horrible but so very realistic. I did love when she was exhorting Zac to say something in Spanish and he tells her she’s clinically obese, while she preens thinking he’s being very flattering to her… Anna I just felt really was obsessive and not a great friend to Jess, either in the past or the present and as for her yoga guru, it seemed obvious to everyone except Anna she was a charlatan. There’s a few like that around, ready to work on people’s fears and gullibility to part them from their money. Then Smudge, poor, loyal Smudge. I was heartbroken for Jess over him.
The book gentles along, dipping into the past, showing us the view from two perspectives and moves forward showing us what they are thinking and feeling now. All the while I felt on the edge for them, even knowing the past had happened I was waiting for the axe, for someone to whistle blow, and wondering just who, how and when it would happen. Then in the “now” section it seemed as though they were still so in love, and I so wanted things to work for them but even after all they’d been through – and it was a lot on both sides – they still weren’t in a position to be together, the past was still haunting them.
That ending though – it was so abrupt, and I just can’t feel the story stops there. I need more, need to know what happens and I really, really hope there is more to come from them. It just feels unfinished to me. I’m sure it will be a perfect ending for others but I like things to be defined, to be certain and not ambiguous as it is here. *Shrug* that’s me, not everyone, but its why I want more.
Stars: Five, all the way. Please let there be more though, don’t let this be the end.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
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Commitments: The Order – Book 2, A.C. Donaubauer
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
I had to cast my mind back to book one, reread a little to put me back in that world. It’s a place full of magic, one that feels kind of historical with its reliance on horses etc and lack of modern technology. Kind of what the world would be like a couple of centuries back if it contained magic – well, that’s how it feels to me anyway.
At the end of the last book a delegation from Eryn’s birth country had visited, and for Eryn parts didn’t go well to say the least. Ram’an too, if you count his broken nose! You’d think now the visit is over life will return to its usual pace.
Well, Eryn has thrown all “normal” into disarray since she was found out, and her forceful disposition ensures she’s at the forefront of more changes, and creating a healing centre where magicians can be taught to heal and people treated whatever their income. I love her character – she’s strong and very moral, always out to do what’s right no matter the personal cost.
She’s learning court politics too rather than her usual way of kind foo blunderbuss-ing her way through protocols and causing ruffled feathers. I feel for her when she’s impatient at the red tape and rules, when she Just Wants to Get Things Done! Slowly though she’s come to realise that playing the game gets her way quicker in the end.
Enric’s a past master at this, but for me the real champion is the King. He’s young in years but incredibly shrewd and his ability to think for the long term and move players where he wants them has to be admired. Usually I hate people who manipulate others but he does in in a way that’s for everyone’s good eventually, and he takes time to talk to Eryn about what and why he’s acted as he has, after she’s fallen for yet another of his schemes….
Then there’s Enric, and I love him too. He’s been turned on his head by his love for Eryn, and he’s so good at letting her have her way just so far before he intervenes. Sometimes though his jealousy causes friction and this time the King takes advantage of that to bring him and Eryn where he wants them – which is on a delegation to visit Eryn’s birth land. That’s an expedition not without danger, the King can’t refuse the request for Eryn to visit without causing ill feeling, but there’s the danger they may not let her return – possession is 9/10’s of the law and all that.
At over 900 pages once more its a terrific read, and the length means I can really got “lost” in the book, and lets time for little details of day to day life be explored, and that ultimately makes me feel I understand the players and their needs and schemes so much better. The visit to her birthplace brings dangers to Eryn and Enric, seems Eryn’s mother has some plans for her, and of course Ram’an is still convinced Eryn and he would be a perfect match. Enric? Oh Ram’an isn’t worried about him, doesn’t seem his relationship with Eryn as a bar, and yet after their last encounter he should be.
Its politics all the way and a game both Ram’an and Enric are skilled at, but one Eryn is still learning. She’s getting there fast though, and the visit to her homeland gives her a crash course in scheming.
Stars: five, another long and enjoyable read.
ARC supplied by author
Enticing Emma, Summersville Secrets book 2, N. J. Walters
Genre: Romance, Erotica
I hadn’t read book one but this sounded fun, and it was. Easy to follow even if like me you’ve not read the first book. The characters are connected but only as a group of friends, so each story stands alone.
Emma, she’s learned to protect herself, no good looking men on the horizon for her, she knows they’ll stray, can’t be trusted, won’t bring a happy ever after. Then Tucker strays into her life. Right from the start there’s a sensuality between the pair and Tuckers patient, but when Emma keeps giving him hot and cold messages will his patience last?
Its a short read at just 122 pages, and something I’d not noticed. I’m not a fan of novellas but this was a fun and heated read. As an erotic book its definitely five stars, lots of heat, sensuality , and well written sex, but as a romance it was a bit lacking for me. That’s really due to the brevity though, and one of the reasonsI stay away from shorts. I Find they need to cram so much in that there’s not time to really develop relationships properly. Still, as always its horses for courses and if you’re looking for a quick hot read this one is perfect.
Stars: four, steamy short but a one off for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and Publisher
When I Lost You, Kelly Rimmer
Genre: Romance, women’s fiction
I’ve enjoyed a few books by Kelly now, she has an easy to read writing style and yet one that’s filled with emotion, and pulls at the heart strings. This book certainly did that!!
The story alternates between past and present, between Leo and Molly’s POV and that gave me an insight into how they were feeling inside.
Its easy to side with Molly and feel Leo is to blame, but then reading his thoughts you see where he sees things as going wrong. It was an awful situation, made worse by the change in circumstances, and his loss of memory. I so felt for Molly, so in love, trying so hard and yet I could see why Leo was so solidly determined to stay with his incredibly dangerous job. He seemed to feel that it defined him, made him Someone, and given his background he needed that to be the man he though Molly wanted. Take away his job and he’d lose all the confidence and personality that she loves – well, that’s how he seems to see it.
Its a tough call, how far can we go in asking someone to give up something they love, and which is a huge part of their life. Will they ultimately grow to resent the other person for forcing the issue? Yet if things don’t change will the other person resent being forced into a passive role accepting something they really don’t like, worrying all the time and maybe deciding the worry and upset isn’t worth the good parts? It’s something faced by many couples.
I loved this book but one thing stopped the magic five for me – I felt the build up was great, played out so well, had me on the edge of tears and yet somehow the ending just didn’t feel totally convincing to me. I had a hard time accepting it, somehow it seemed too much of a convenient compromise, and a solution that could maybe have been thought of before – still, I’d have missed all the angst then😉
Stars: Four, an excellent and heart wrenching read
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Dragons Among Them, Kyra Jacobs
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
Kyra’s a new-to-me author so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but it sounded fun, set in UK – and as a UK resident that’s always fun, and Dragons – well, “real” fantasy creatures there!
Sadly though I read it all and enjoyed parts it wasn’t really a series for me. It felt very like a YA read but with some spicy, sensual sex added. I do read some YA, some transcend age groupings but this just felt very simplistic to me, with really only a Will the Prince get the Girl plot.
I wanted more depth, more complex plots but its wasn’t to be. That’s fine though – we all want different things and just because I didn’t enjoy this book doesn’t mean its not a good read – I can see on goodreads its got a slew of five star reviews already, so clearly others love it and I’m pleased for them.
I didn’t feel the Passion – lust yes, but I need to feel more than that. I wanted more from the backgrounds of each character, more understanding of how and why they reacted as they did. I didn’t feel Addie would just give up everything for love just like that, its a totally different world and a huge risk, so I needed a more secure connection between them.
Its one I thought I’d love but sadly just an OK, forgettable read for me.
Stars: Two and a half to three, not quite good, more just OK for me. Remember though its five star for many others,its a personal taste issue not a reflection of quality.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Didn’t I Warn You, Amber Bardan
*This is book one, with book two due later this year. I’m assuming its just the two parts. I do wish authors would tell readers how many parts make up the whole story. I’m so cautious now after having got caught in the Crossfire Trilogy fiasco where the day the final novel, book three, was released so was the news that it had been changed to a five book story. I returned book three, didn’t want to wait unspecified time and pay unspecified sums for the next two books! * And that’s my rant over😉
So here we have a story that kept me guessing, it seems Haithem is hot, delicious and dangerous. Just what had he done, just what had poor Angelina got herself mixed up in? What was her history? Its clear there’s a lot about her we don’t know that affect the way she is now. who is Josh? And what does he mean to her? Its all questions, questions, questions and each time we get hints at the answer of one it feels like it paves the way for two more. Great fun, I like being kept guessing.
Loved Angelina, but I wasn’t totally convinced of her actions. The magazine interview – would anyone really make up that on the fly? And expect to be able to do it when she knows nothing except the person’s name? How did she expect to be able to contact him? She got lucky in a way, or maybe unlucky….She’s definitely a mixed up girl, haunted by past events, trying to find herself. Then she meets Haithem, he paves the way forward for a new direction.
Haithem, Mr deep, dark and delicious….he smoulders with sensuality, drips sex just from his voice. Angelina goes weak at the knees when he speaks, but no – I can’t bring myself to use phrases like Pantie wetting, Pantie melting, I hate them! Ladies wear knickers, not panties, that sounds so mealy mouthed and twee….( and men wear trousers not pants!!) and who really carries around spare knickers all the time? I hate this constant thing where every little sound or gesture makes ladies wet…I hope I don’t have to sit where they’ve been sitting Anyway, damp knickers aside, he’s suspicious of Angelina turning up where he is, three times in one day, so gets his partner Karim to invite her to the yacht, where they plan to see what she’s up to.
They’re convinced she’s a spy, so she thinks now is not a good time to tell him about the planned magazine expose, light hearted though it might have been! They have a few words and…somehow she ends up on the yacht once they’re at sea. She must be the most accident person going. When they find her of course they don’t believe it was an accident, so they’re even more convinced she’s hiding something.
Its odd though how quickly Angelina and Haithem go in to some kind of flirting, semi sexual relationship, and yet both convinced the other is up to something and don’t trust them. I enjoyed the way the story slowly revealed what was going on, how their relationship changed, how we finally learned what had happened to Angelina and made her the person she is, what Haithem was doing and what had prompted it – and it certainly wasn’t what I thought!
Its a fun read and I’m looking forward to book two. Its got plenty of heat in, but its not sex at first sight, rather something that develops from their enforced closeness. Fits the novel perfectly and is just the right amount of sex v story balance
Stars: Four and a half, that beginning was just a bit too unlikely for me to go five.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review