The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale (The Accidental Turn Series Book 3) by [Frey, J.M.]

Genre: LGBTQIA , Sci Fi & Fantasy

I’ve loved this trilogy, fresh and unusual, it hinges round the characters in a series Elgar read wrote. By some quirk of fate he wrote magic so perfectly that it – and the actual characters, places and events, became real. As a Reader, Pip was pulled into the world and met Forsyth. Now they both live in the Overrealm, our world, with their daughter Alis.
They had issues with Hain and certain people in the last book, where events there were affecting the Overrealm, and now they fear that things weren’t as safe as they left them, that maybe, just maybe, someone else has come through to the Overrealm.

There’s another fantastic adventure, Syth being his spymaster self here in the real world, master of the PC and Internet. I love how he’s adapted to it, his careful turn of phrase, his planning, always looking ten steps ahead and of course his love for Pip and Alis.
Pip is wonderful, such an intelligent girl and I love how she breaks out the writing jargon, explaining to Syth ( and readers like me!) about tropes, genres, and how books are plotted. I read, I had no idea of the structure of a story but it makes sense, and makes my author admiration even greater! She’s having a bad time in this book, due to the events of the past that connect her to magic through the carvings.
To begin its just a series of odd events that could be explained away, but Syth being the cautious type he sets his programme up to look for anything that might be connected. I love when he says he thought Pip’s Poster “its not paranoia if they’re out to get you” was a warning not an irony. That sums him up in a way, written to protect, its in his very marrow to do just that.
Of course what he and Pip don’t know is that Elgar is having issues too, with what the police think is a stalker, but what Elgar fears is Hain stuff, and vengeance from there. He had no way of knowing what he wrote created a real world, and he feels so guilty for the casual way he wrote torture and death in his stories. There’s a top secret TV series based around his books being planned and the police agree its a good idea for him to go there for a couple of weeks. Syth’s programme tells him what Elgar didn’t though, so he’s beginning to piece together events and he now knows he, Pip and Elgar are facing real danger that the police can’t help with. How can they fight magic and fictional people that have become real. If they tried to tell them they’d be taken to the nearest Psych centre!

It all comes together in a nail biting, climatic finish, and I was gutted at some of the events and yet – it was the perfect way to end the trilogy.
I read the Magician trilogy when that was first out, back in Oct 2014, and thought it would make a great family film, Disney agreed some time later. I think this too would make a great film, has that magic (hah!) content that will appeal to kids and adults alike and is so very unusual.

Stars: Five, a perfect ending to a terrific, exciting and fresh trilogy.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Sugar and Spice And All Those Lies, Evy Journey

Sugar and Spice And All Those Lies,  Evy Journey

Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies by [Journey, Evy]

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Gah! Women’s Fiction roll eyes I hate that classification, I won’t do my usual rant except to say why shouldn’t a man enjoy this?

I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but its a mix of romance, riches, and resolution.

Gina is from (her words) a white trash background, though I don’t think I’d describe it as such. She decides to go for what she really wants after deciding that she wants more than to just marry and have a family. Cooking is her love, nurtured by her mother, and originated from her grandfather.
She’s working in a Michelin starred restaurant as a line cook when she meets Leon. Her workmate and friend Marcia tells her a little of his history, he’s a true Ladies man, going out for a brief while with them and treating them really well, but finishing within a couple of months. Payoff is good though, diamonds, jewellry, meals out, flowers… Marcia says go for it when he shows an interest in her, but he’s dating Gina’s long time friend who isn’t happy that he’s asking about Gina.

She meets Brent and he seems interested in her, but she’s not sure if he’s being polite or not, Leon is still pressing her to go out and she’s uncertain what to do. Brent seems to be keen on her but hasn’t asked her out, Leon asks her out almost daily.

I loved Brent, wasn’t sure about Leon, but he seemed to be open about what he wanted, and what he would do even if I didn’t agree with his ends, felt a bit shallow to me, I couldn’t respect someone that made that choice. I wasn’t sure about Marcia, she seemed friendly and open, and was really helpful to Gina. Gina herself I admired to begin, and felt for her when her friend was upset with her, she couldn’t help what happened, it wasn’t anything she could control. Her family were lovely, very supportive even if her mum really hoped Gina would just live close, get married and have a family. Somehow though I didn’t really warm to her, I felt she was swayed too much by Leon’s money, even though initially she held out against him. I wanted her to see poor Brent was attracted to her as more than just a friend.

Its kind of a mixed romance and suspense/thriller read. I did like the food/restaurant part, an interesting world where people pay more for a meal than many earn in a month. That happens, and always stuns me ;-(

Stars: Three and a half, a fun read but the romance side was pretty much a side issue.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

What Happens at Christmas, Evonne Wareham

What Happens at Christmas,  Evonne Wareham

What Happens at Christmas (Choc Lit) by [Wareham, Evonne]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Women’s Fiction

A mixed read here, it being a Choc-lit read I didn’t notice the genre, ( I adore Cho-lit romances) and was expecting more romance. There is some, but its tied up in the mystery, kind of equal parts.

It was a fun read, and I loved the section where Lori, Misty and Drew were having Christmas in the barn. That was just magical, and felt so right for this time of year, had me hankering for some snow and crisp, bright days. That was my favourite part of the story, I felt “there” with them, sharing their Christmas. Sometimes its so commercialised we forget how simplicity can make it special.

Misty was a real star, poor kid had a flake of a mother, Lori’s actress sister, and was just dropped off with random friends while her mum swanned off being Actress and Film Star….thank goodness for Lori, and for Misty’s dad Dan, also a film star but not so concerned about image, aging and having a growing daughter.
I loved Lori, a real heart of gold person, ready to help anyone, wanting to be a writer but lacking in self confidence, so determined though that if she was a success it was going to be on her own merits and not by way of her famous family.
Drew, what a sad tale, and even sadder when he reveals the full details. Twenty years of carrying that around, what a burden. I was so glad he found Lori, and the fact they kept things secret and then he was tied up with work, and couldn’t trace her fitted perfectly. Fate though brought them together again, but the mystery of how they met and the repercussions weren’t over, and we got a gripping action finale.
I hadn’t guessed who was behind things, and the motive and that was a perfect surprise. I had a slight idea but couldn’t see how it would fit, so it was satisfying finding out how everything joined together.

Stars: Four, a little slow to pull me in, but once they found drew and had those magic days in the barn I was hooked.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours: A gripping, unmissable and shocking tale which you won't be able to put down by [Wingate, Lisa]

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Gah, I have to start by saying its categorised on Netgalley as “women’s fiction” and I HATE that title. Why shouldn’t a man enjoy this book? Why do we rule out a whole section of readers under this stupid stereotyping? We shout Equality, and rightly so and then practice inequality in this unnecessary way. Ah well, rant over, now to the book which was Fabulous, gripping, unputdownable.

Its two stories, that at first don’t seem to have a connection. There’s Briny, Queenie and the family back in 1939, and Avery and her political family in the present time. Slowly as things draw on the two begin to merge. It took me til about 25% to really get hooked on the story, I loved the bit in the past but the present day story was quite enough to keep me reading and I did put aside at about 20% for something else….picked it up the next day intending to read to 50%, thinking it was one of those review books that I’d struggle with and would have to make myself read a bit each day, and found myself drawn in to the story and unable to put it down til the end 🙂 It was a fascinating read, a truly gripping story and chilling in that although this is fiction stories like it were real for hundreds of families. No-one really knows the true extent of the crime. All those families, fractured for profit was heartbreaking to me, and there were times in the story, Camilla for example, when I found myself tearing up. I still feel a bit choked thinking of that reality for all those poor kids, and parents who knew their children were somewhere but who were unable to find them, and had no legal rights to them even if they did. Sadly I suspect this Baby trade still goes on in too many parts of the world.
Madonna – remember when she adopted an “orphan” who was later proved to have living father and other relatives but they were poor so in our Western eyes that make taking him from his family to live with people thousands of miles away OK. It was that same kind of thinking that let this awful trade exist back then, the kids in the book were often described as “river rats” and inferred that their parents were poor so therefore they were doing the kids a service finding them new homes. The people adopting must have had questions, but suppressed them, especially as this was being sanctioned from the very highest in society.

I wasn’t sure of Avery at first but quickly grew to love her, and when she first met Trent I could feel that attraction, though they were very much a backstory. I loved the way she was with May, so determined to find out the truth, and yet so respectful of May’s feelings. She was doing something that from a political side could have been the downfall of her families political ambitions, but which was right. Should the truth be left alone? Of should people have a right to know where they come from? I’m with Avery, Truth is all, and I was glad she wasn’t dissuaded from her quest.
It had a perfect ending, rounding things up wonderfully, but I still wondered about others in the story. I can’t name them for spoiling things, but I kept thinking what happened to them, and wondering too about how the kids grew up, what kind of families and story they had. I guess you could go on ad-infinitum as each person would draw others into the story.
A wonderful story, harrowing at times but Lisa resisted the all too often temptation of making things too graphic. Sometimes its what isn’t written that holds more power, what we imagine is worse than words on a page. Violence, written too often in many novels, loses its horror impact, and Lisa keeps it all “off the page” so to speak. It’s not a novel full of horror though, its a horrible story in that it was reality for so many, but lightened by the friendships, the day to day life on the river, little things that meant so much when kids had nothing. What people forget sometimes is for kids, a poor but loving family is worth all the fine clothes, fancy food and ponies.

Stars: Five, a heartbreaking read, but with moments that made me smile, like little sparks of light in the dark. A story well worth reading.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Haunted, Shari Nichols

Haunted,  Shari Nichols

Haunted by [Nichols, Shari]

Genre: Romance, Sci Fi & Fantasy

A stand alone story, which sounded fun. I enjoyed it, didn’t love it but was a quick escape from the real world.

I felt for Karly, and her sister after the recent issues they face. Their shop is struggling after a recent reading led to lots of bad publicity….I could see that happening exactly as it went down!
Then on a night out she meets Thayne. Nothing happens except for some very heated kisses and an offer to go back to his room. Karly says yes, but ducks out so when she goes to a new job next day, one arranged very quickly they’re both shocked to see each other.

Thayne is a bit of a skeptic but the events that have frightened his staff can’t easily be explained away, and when Karly and her sister get to work he cant deny the Inn is being haunted by a young lady called Emily – and She Is Angry. That’s the last thing he needs with the opening just a few weeks away.
The sizzle between Karly and Thayne can be felt, its scorching and they have some incredibly heated, erotic encounters. Nether seem able to leave the other alone.
She made me so cross though, blaming Thayne for his past, letting hers dictate her actions. She was all over him one moment and pushing him away the next. Over and over again, no wonder he was getting whiplash.
He can’t change his past, its the now and the future that count, and he shouldn’t be blamed for things others in Karly’s past have done. She was too ready to believe the worst of him even when he’d done nothing or had a good explanation.

I was really hoping more would be made of the Jennifer angle, it was good, but for me could have been deeper,better, more satifying. I love a “good” bad person, a jealous man or woman, they really make a story sometimes.

The suspense, the haunting angle was interesting but like the romance I felt that the issues raised, the problems caused by Emily treated almost lightly , sort of “wow, she’s created a heck of a storm. Look at that tree, look at that damage…Ah well, who’s for coffee?” Well, it wasn’t quite like that 😉 but that’s how it felt to me.
Then there’s the problems Thayne has with his family, his father, his angst over his brother, not to mention someone else with a grudge against him playing a part in the story.
There was so much going on, so many different story lines that I felt none of them really got treated with the respect they deserved, didn’t get the expansion they needed, just a light fluffy kind of treatment.
That’s a shame as they were some terrific ideas. If the book had been twice the length ( its just over 3500 kindle locations so pretty short) then those plots could really have been made the most of, and this would have been a five star read for me, but as it is I felt I liked it but nothing really stood out about the book, nothing special.

Stars: three and a half, so much potential if either less plots used, with a deeper treatment for them, or longer book that let them really get made the most of.
Still, others will love it as it is, that’s the nature of reading, everyone wants something different.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Love on the Tracks, Tamsen Parker

Love on the Tracks, Tamsen Parker

Love on the Tracks (Snow & Ice Games) by [Parker, Tamsen]

Genre:  Romance

Well, I adore Tamsen’s Compass series so when I saw this was keen to read. Its a very different style though, and felt very much more NA to me.
That’s fine, I do read and enjoy some NA, but somehow this one never really hooked me.

It was a Good read, Tamsen’s usual impeccable writing style where characters and scenes feel so real, but for me it wasn’t a Great read, and that’s what I was expecting. A case more of reader wrong expectations more than anything wrong with the story.

I did like both characters, enjoyed Zane’s songwriting, the way he and the band wanted to move forward but the label wants to keep on with the current successful format. I reckon that’s pretty true to life, those in charge of expenses are risk averse, they want to stay with a sure thing regardless of how bands/individuals feel.
Rowan was a good lead, loved the way her and her father had become such a close unit, enjoyed seeing how she came into Luge, a niche sport. On that note the whole SIG was really interesting, and unusual slant and one that worked well.

Having said all that somehow though the book failed to gel into a story that kept me hooked, I read it, enjoyed it but could have put it aside, and when a story is a great read that’s something I struggle with. When I find I can put it aside and read something else I know that for me its not a winner.

As ever though this is just my opinion, you decide for yourself if its one you’ll like. Its well written, no plot holes, good characters so will have many who love it as it is, just not me 😦

Stars: Three, a good start to a new series, but wasn’t a must-keep-reading novel for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Heartbeat, Hollywood Hearts: Book 3, Belinda Williams

Heartbeat, Hollywood Hearts: Book 3, Belinda Williams

Heartbeat (Hollywood Hearts Book 3) by [Williams, Belinda]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

I loved the first book, with Ally and Jake, enjoyed the second with Lena and Marc and looked forward to this. Ally and Jake are still my favorites ( in fact I’m just having a reread after finishing this one…) but this comes a close second.

Chloe is a real star, lovely girl, over protective mama and at 21 trying to take some control over her life without upsetting anyone. Its interesting reading her back in book one after having read this one, in fact its put a whole slant on all of the characters now I know more about them.
Its her 21st and she’s having a party, arranged by mama, with her favorite band playing. She’s gobsmacked to meet them, awed at meeting Gabriel, the drummer who she’s admired for so long.
Through a culmination of circumstances she gets caught on video with the lead singer that night. Its not what it looks like but can she convince anyone? Will Gabe believe her, and who did it anyway? And why? And what happens next?
Gabe accepts her explanation, and things seem to be going well until more images get revealed, along with some information that makes it clear she has a stalker. What now? The tone of the messages is quite threatening.

Chloe is lovely, and handles events so well. Gabe too is a real strength to her, she needs that. I loved him, a real gentleman.
We meet Ally, Lena, Faith, Jake and Marc again. The group have become close friends and she needs their support, as events go further and put pressure on her and Gabe’s relationship. Can they come through, as the secrets that come out are ever more more complicated.
I was shocked at some of the revelations, certainly didn’t see those coming and it makes for an action packed complex romance that was just perfect. Its one that will, like the first book, become a re-reader for me.
I loved that we got the real Hollywood setting, the action and dramas of filming, and the difficulties of merging a Hollywood relationship with the odd hours of filming, that comes with a Rock star touring schedule. I like books to reflect the realities of the settings and all three of these have done that beautifully.

Stars: Five, a perfect Hollywood romance, with a solid story backing it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Marchioness Below Stairs, Alissa Baxter

A Marchioness Below Stairs,  Alissa Baxter

A Marchioness Below Stairs by [Baxter, Alissa]

Genre:  Romance, historical
Poor Isobel, married off to an elderly man, forced to break her engagement because her father wanted the money. Now she’s widowed and still holds Lord Fenmore in her heart. She’s hoping that maybe he could still have feelings for her, that if she can explain he may forgive her and they could have a fresh start. She’s in for a shock though, he’s just become betrothed to Miss Hamilton.
She’s with her mother when they visit cousin George, and everything goes wrong. Snow hits, staff are ill or can’t get in, Lord Fenmore and his fiancee arrive having had their journey curtailed by the weather and Mr Bateman seems determined to poke at her needling her constantly. She’s aware of his reputation, and yet as she comes to know the man she sees that maybe he’s been misjudged.

Its a typical Regency romance, all manners and front, hiding anything that could cause scandal, but with the added extra of Isobel not being a simpering miss, but someone determined to use her position and finances to help stop the slave trade.
There are some interesting discussions about how she can do this, why she can’t just wade in and distribute pamphlets, and the politics of the day added some gravitas to what could have been just a flippant, sweet romance.

The authors notes at the end are well worth reading, giving some interesting facts about the events in the book, and I really enjoyed learning more about them. Its easy to dismiss things as “just fiction” but good to remember they had their roots grounded in true events, which should still shock, should force us to ensure we treat everyone with respect.

Stars: four, a fun read with a serious side adding some depth to the story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author.

Silva, Siren’s wave sequel. J.A.Hazel

 Silva, siren’s Wave is free for three days, 2,3,4 Dec.   Original review here

Two, three, four!

Rock star romance novel, Silva, is free on those exact days in December. That’s practically… now!!

Click the pic and start reading this very second.

P.S. book 1, Siren’s Wave, is currently $0.99!

Silva: End of a Rock and Roll Love Story (Indie Rock Star Book 2) by [Hazel, J.A.]

A Winter’s Tale, (Shakespeare Sisters), Carrie Elks

A Winter’s Tale, (Shakespeare Sisters), Carrie Elks

A Winter's Tale: the perfect feel good Christmas romance (Shakespeare Sisters) by [Elks, Carrie]

Genre:  General fiction

I love Carrie Elks writing, started with the wonderful Fix You, followed by Love in London and its sequel, and then the first book of the Shakespeare sisters – all were perfect reads for me.
I love the UK links, though the Shakespeare sisters one isn’t featured heavily in UK, but its still referenced. Sometimes I think authors forget there are countries outside the US 😉

Kitty struggles so hard, a perfect student, first class work but she needs an internship and interviews fluster her to the point she fails, always, despite her excellent record academically. By a roundabout route she ends up nannying over the xmas break for a top producer, hoping that this may give her a chance somehow to get the fabled intern position.

The family are staying with Everett’s parents over Xmas, with his brother Adam staying in a cabin close by. He and Everett had a major falling out the previous year and its something everyone is very tight lipped about, with Adam still doing his best to avoid Everett. Difficult though when they’re so close, staying with the parents.
Kitty and Adam don’t get on well at first, nor at second meeting, but when he looks at why he’s so antagonistic to her he can see the fault was all his. He tries to be friends with her as he wants to make amends, well that’s what he’s kidding himself, really he just finds it hard to stay away. Of course friendship isn’t going to work, not when he’s so attracted to Kitty and she to him….

Adam is gorgeous, and I understood why he and Everett fell out when the secret was revealed, and he and Kitty were perfect together.
Everett – I thought he was a jerk, but there’s things about him I didn’t know, and I ended up by – well – not exactly liking him but understanding him a bit more.His wife Mia was a typical self absorbed Hollywood type.
Jonas, Kitty’s 7 year old charge is wonderful, he’s such a friendly kid, so open and loving. considering how neglectful and selfish his parents appear that’s pretty much a miracle.
Annie the housekeeper was lovely, I felt sad though that she was so alone, she deserves her own story Carrie 😉

Of course just when all’s going well its not….you know, how at the peak of being happy disaster strikes and poor Kitty, poor Adam. I was so heartbroken for them.
As always though Carrie pulls the rabbit out of the hat, changes the way I feel about some people, turns what I thought was the story completely on his head to give a different meaning to it and everything works out well. I love a HEA.

Terrific read – and don’t forget about poor annie Carrie, languishing away there all on her own. She deserves a love life too.

Stars: five, classic Carrie read, humour, pathos, angst, drama, happiness, more humour – the subtle British kind that I loved, not the force fed type found in too many novels, and of course, a fabulous story

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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