The Best Man’s Bride, Anne McAllister

The Best Man’s Bride, Anne McAllister

The Best Man's Bride (Royal Wedding Invitations Book 4) by [McAllister, Anne]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Romance

I love deep, dark, intensive novels but sometimes I just want an easy, quick, escapist read, one where I can just enjoy the story without having to use my brain to work out complex plots. This book delivered all that, and was a fun read.

I loved Celina, and so felt for her when we found out what had made her leave Jack – well, her reaction would be what most would do I think. She still loves Jack, even though they are divorced, even though she’s not seen him for so long.
Then her best friend, relative to her employer, tells her Jack is to be his best man, and of course she’ll be at the wedding as PA to her employer and as Friend to Jonas….no escape, and worse, its once of those weddings where celebrations go on for days.

Jack, he’s fiercely proud, and was so hurt that Celina didn’t give him a chance to explain, wouldn’t talk to him, didn’t trust him, and he’s angry at that when it all goes down but…he still loves her too and this chance to spend time with her, to get a chance to explain is one he’s seized on.
He’s such a well known star though its hard to escape the ladies and get Celina on her own, and she’s certainly doing her best to avoid him.
I wanted them to make things work, they seemed such a true couple, so good for each other, so in love and yet if they wouldn’t ever get to talk what hope was there?

Its a fun story, and even when Jack does get her to hear his story, there are still barriers that crop up – that’s so true in real life, nothing does ever go truly smoothly.
I would have liked a bit more of the Rock Star/band scene, it seemed he was a star for the novel but the action didn’t really reflect that, apart from the ever present paparazzi. He could have been anyone famous, not necessarily a rock star, and I was hoping for more of the background that goes with that scene.

Stars: 4, a fun story, easy to read and relax with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


Two for the Show, Megan Derr.

Two for the Show, Megan Derr.

Two for the Show (Lovesongs Book 4) by [Derr, Megan]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

This is book four in a series. Its billed as a stand alone so I requested although I hadn’t read the others.

I did follow the story just about OK but there were so many little snippets and incidences that I think if I’d read earlier books I would have enjoyed this one more.

Still, I hadn’t, came in cold so to speak and never really felt that I connected with either the characters or the story line. I liked both Nikko and Jake but didn’t really feel anything more between them that a spark of lust, it didn’t have that must-be-together feel that I love in romance reads.

Its an OK read for me, not great but not bad, just one that because I didn’t feel “into” the story it was a rush to just finish and pout it away.

I didn’t really understand the logic about creating a scandal, did see it would be a distraction but in the circumstances it would have created more eyes on Nikko and his world and I didn’t think that would have been a good idea given what he’s trying to do.

Like I said I think if I’d read earlier books, knew more about the overall story and characters I’d have got far more from this. As it is, its a short read, just 1903 kindle locations – I’d guess that’s about 125 pages or so, and there simply isn’t the space to let me get to know the people and understand the whole story well enough.

Stars: 2.5/3. Its an ok read coming in cold to the series, and if I’d read other books I think I would have rated this far higher.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You (Slow Burn Book 1) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Romance

A quick word about Genre headings. I’m so glad this is General Fiction and not the (for me) dreaded Women’s Fiction. I find that so demeaning, so sexist in this supposedly enlightened times. Are we really saying a while category of books will only appeal to women?
Anyway, that off my chest and on to the book.

I’ve enjoyed many of J.T.Geissinger’s stories, both paranormal and contemporary, so clicked request soon as I saw this. I read it last night and loved it.
I was thinking about what to put in my review this morning earlier, and the dialect was something that struck me. So often its done badly and I cringe ( all those “doona worry lassie” “ach, I’m noo worrit ye fashit man” really make me want to hurl) but done well, as here, it makes me feel I’m there in that setting, that the characters are real. And I’ve never been to any part of US, but love books with this Southern setting, and have read so many I feel I know the place and the people.

Jackson, what a rude surly man he appeared to be, and his first dictatorial appearance was enough to have many people in tears. That he made one of her staff cry infuriated Bianca, and she lets him have it. Full flow, and she’s an amazing range of expressions, one for every circumstance. Of course after meeting her mother and her staff I can see where she gets it from.
I loved the banter between the two, the Slap, Slap, Kiss as it gets termed later 😉
Bianca’s a real star too, hard working, been burned by a man in the past, thrown everything into her restaurant. (I so want to try some of those recipes – though not okra, that stuff just seems to look like mush, jelly, slime, when I’ve seen it cooked!)

Of course the more we see of Jackson (Jax) and Bianca the more I fell in love with them. I loved hearing their innermost thoughts, seeing what the felt as opposed to what they were saying or doing.
Circumstances are such that they get thrown into an engagement, and Bianca learns more about Jax and begins to see beyond his grouchy exterior to the man hidden underneath.

Its a fabulous story, full of sharp, fresh humour, sizzling sex scenes, characters that I felt I knew, could understand, could “see” in my mind. There something really sad too, that was unexpected, and made me shed a tear or two, that’s how emotional and real this book felt.

Stars: five,  a very worthy five star read, and one to keep for re-reading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

My Journey, A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods, A Book That May Save Your Life, Valarie Hendriks

My Journey, A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods,
A Book That May Save Your Life, Valarie Hendriks

My Journey: A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods by [Hendriks, Valarie ]

Genre: self-help, health, mind and body

Having had cancer myself 22 years ago, stories like this interest me and I’ve always had an interest on complemetary and alternative medicine.
I think its a very long time though since a book has made me as angry as this one.

Its a dangerous book IMO, that suggests conventional treatment kills, that  current treatment is basically a stitch up between doctors getting paid by treatment, drug companies wanting to make money, that the medical profession as a whole are ignoring these simple and inexpensive cures. She posits that alternative treatment cures, and the book is full of sweeping statements that have no data or available research to back them up, though plenty of info from the makers of each. No bias there then.
Its presenting these statements, opinions and speculations as fact that angers me, and I feel its very dangerous for those who are desperately hoping for a cure.
I know I searched hard when I was undergoing treatment, to see what I could be doing to help myself, and back then its was all Sharks Cartilage, Apricot Kernels and coffee enemas that were the holy grail of alternative remedies. ( Coffee enemas feature here too…)

There were times when we agree, she promotes healthy eating and looking after your body and I feel that’s very true, we need to ensure our bodies can cope with what we want, give them the tools to fight off abnormalities. Its a common sense approach that a physically strong body should respond better to whatever treatment, whatever illness were dealing with.
She’s a strong promoter of God and Prayer, for me its Positive thinking – I’m not a non believer, but I’m not sure if its god that’s who I believe in, but it helps to think there’s someone, something greater than us who can push our health in the right direction.
I did find the religious pushing, the constant cheeriness, exhortations to Smile, group hugs, the use of Lots Of Capitals and Exclamation Marks were trying after a while!!!!
Its a tone that didn’t work for me though, but it’s just a personal thing and will be fine for others.

What made me cross too was her constant pushing of certain manufacturers, her constant stating of her opinions and online finds as facts – ie Citing a case quoted by the inventor of the hot sandwich, how within one week of eating a “hot sandwich” every day – that’s basically habanero peppers, garlic and organic butter on organic bread -the tumours in both his (patients) colon and liver had disappeared. (loc 2670)
Kelley Eidem, inventor of this sandwich also has a hub page – “how I cured stage 4 cancer in two weeks for less than the cost of a night at the movies.”
Hmnn now – do I think that’s true? Is there details of the person who was cured? Is there any form of backing data, facts, real people coming forward who have been cured by this method? Is there really a huge conspiracy against this and similar treatments by the whole medical profession and drug companies, ensuring we still get ill just to keep them in jobs? They’re not perfect, they’re human and make mistakes but to take things that far is something I can’t feel is right.
Then she goes on about how awful chemo is, ( true – but sadly necessary for lots of us), how more people die from the chemo than the cancer – again no backing data, and a quick sentence sneaked in among the heavy pushed alternative remedies tells us she had treatment of Rituxan – but that’s OK because “Rituxan is not chemotherapy. Rituxan is a type of antibody therapy….”
Well, that’s true to an extent, its what the makers say, but its certainly conventional treatment for certain cancers, and not one of the natural vitamin supplement or coffee enemas she’s so fond of. Chemotherapy is just that to me, therapy made from chemicals, from research of all kinds, some of which are man made and some found in nature. Rituxan is certainly that, so to suggest her cancer was cured solely by alternative methods is a little stretching things. Rituxan is actually made by fusing part of a mouse body with part of a human antibody, not quite a simple therapy.  There are deadly remeies in nature too, arsenic, cyanide, lead, so many things that are “natural2 can also kill. Its not nature good – man-made bad. Both have points for and against

Maybe the treatment in US is very different to UK, but when I underwent chemo some 22 years back I had a battery of tests, x-rays, CT and MRI scans, blood tests, urine tests both before, during and after to ensure that my body was able to cope with the chemo, that it would help, not hinder recovery. My chemo was tailored to me, not a blunderbuss of “might help” chemicals. She kind of suggests in US they throw that sort of treatment at a patient without all that monitoring, thus the many that she says die from the treatment not the disease, and I find it hard to believe it would vary so much from UK/rest of the world in US.
I’m just so angry that she derides conventional treatment, makes these sweeping statements about how her research has shown that more people die of chemo effects after they’ve been cleared of cancer, that having chemo is akin to a death sentence, that with the right combo of vitamins, coffee enemas, using Bentonite clay inside and outside the body, massages, special saunas, fasting on juices for up to 14 days at a time etc you can be cured ( and the power or Prayer, she’s a great fan of God’s help – and that’s good for her but not for everyone.)
When people are diagnosed, especially when the chances of living are minimal, then its natural to look for something we can do ourselves, and this book just takes me back to those sharks cartilage days. I worry that people will only see the alternative remedies as the cure, and not the very real conventional treatment she had.
Spurning data backed, tested and verified results of conventional treatment in favour of those alternatives could mean the difference between life of death. If anyone is going to do that don’t just rely on one person’s words, check facts, look up some of the science, look for results, for real people that have undergone what your doing.
I’m not saying blindly accept what is offered conventionally, you should ask questions there too, what, how, why am I having….Its your body, you are the one taking the risk so look very carefully.

What I can say is don’t be disheartened by this book, don’t feel its all one way or the other, that if you don’t follow this regime, if you go with conventional treatment you are going to die.
I have been cancer free for 22 years now, after an amputation and two rounds of experimental chemotherapy. By the time my tumour was diagnosed it was very big, very advanced, I was lucky it hadn’t spread. My chances of surviving were assessed at just 15%.
Ididn’t have lots of alternative therapies, I did put my trust in the doctors who treated me having asked them and received answers to my questions. I didn’t go for healthy eating all the while – I tried as much as I could but didn’t always feel like eating anything, never mind swallowing a battalion of supplements. I couldn’t have afforded them in all likelihood anyway, nor the special saunas and as for coffee enemas, well, I’d have to be very convinced they work.

I’m glad that whatever worked for her did, but whether it was the conventional treatment or the alternative that worked who knows?
I’m all in favour of complementary therapy, something many cancer hospitals offer, all in for helping ourselves, of trying to wrest some form of control of our illness, not let it take over our lives, but Cancer is unpredictable – we can do a lot to help ourselves by way of avoiding unhealthy lifestyles, by ensuring we eat and drink sensibly, look after our bodies, and sometimes it regresses for no known reason. It just isn’t as simple as she makes out and I worry she’s putting out a dangerous message.

Stars: One, sorry, I’m sure Valarie put her heart and soul into writing this book, I’m sure she strongly believes what she’s written but that doesn’t mean alternative is best or that conventional kills.
If you want to go the alternative route talk to your doctors, research for yourself what actual results have been verified, not just someone saying “xyz people have been cured by….” Don’t get fooled by smoke and mirrors

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne (Hours of the Night Book 2) by [Preston, Irene, Rancourt, Liv]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Vampires, supernatural suspense, M/M romance – what’s not to love? This is a great series but don’t start here, read books 1 and 1.5 or you’ll be lost.

Even though I’ve done that there are times when i needed to do a mental backtrack just to recall who fits where and how…There are some great characters here but the cast gets larger, with each book building on both short and long term story arcs, and that makes the whole thing pretty complex.

Sara: I love him, open, cheerful, confident in his sexuality and very much in love with Thad. He’s 23 and has a wonderful joy about him that makes him feel young, but not immature. He’s on the fence about the Monks, but respects Thad’s devotion to them, his quest for redemption.
I’m with him about them, not so sure they are the good guys they appear to be, and irritated at the way they use Thad’s guilt over what he is for their own ends. They withhold information to suit themselves and don’t worry about danger to Thad, seem to see him as dispensable.
There’s one bit where they are meeting with Brother Michael – I think it was him – and Sara remarks on the surrounds, very luxurious and Michael says that the monks give up all material wealth when they join. As Sara thinks you’d imagine that would mean they live frugally, but somehow they make it so they’re living in the lap of luxury. Pretty much like real life religion for many…..
Thad: He’s young in age, about 30ish I think but actually 115, and he’s got that historical mindset in many ways.
He was going to become a monk- or was one – when he was changed, and carries such guilt about what he is, calls the vampire part Le Monstre, and his work with the Monks is to atone for that. Like Sara, I think they use his guilt for their own ends.
It must be hard when so long has been spent suppressing his sexuality, thinking it a sin, and then finding Sara and falling in love. I love the way we get the closeness, the tenderness between them without need for overt sexuality. Some books it fits to read about characters sex lives in detail, in this one it would just feel wrong, the way its handled discreetly is exactly the way Thad would be. Anything more just wouldn’t fit his personality.

There are new and old characters here, Mardi Gras festival celebrations, Demons and Witches and lots of supernatural issues. They still need to track down the missing book, and Michael also tasks them with finding out who killed a relative of his and protecting his young twin relatives, Jo and Sep.
Its a tangled tale, and of course Nohea, Thad’s awesome kick – a$$ assistant is still angry about her missing baby niece, and they’re trying to track her down.

A busy book for the trio, full of the usual suspense, dangers, twisted clues and the Monks machinations. another great read.

Stars: four and a half, it didn’t quite rivet me as the first two, I found parts a little confusing, but still an excellent read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by authors.

Underneath it All, Kate Canterbary. First book in a terrific series currently free

Underneath it All, Kate Canterbary
Underneath It All (The Walsh Series Book 1) by [Canterbary, Kate]
Genre: Contemporary Romance
“If I had known I’d have a hot architect balls deep inside of me before the end of the weekend, I’d have made time for a pedicure. Also, a little chat about not losing my shit at all the wrong moments. Hindsight was a bitch, and karma…well, I didn’t know her story yet.” Well, with an opening like that who could resist? Not me…so I fell straight into this tale of hot sex, romance, lust and love by way of a very odd family.
Lauren is great, driven, ambitious product of two very loving but very forceful parents. Failure isn’t a word in her fathers vocabulary, and it feels to me as if she’s always trying, struggling to live up the example set by him and her SEAL brothers. She young, but is opening her own school, creating it from scratch right down to finding a building to convert. That’s how she meets Matthew. He’s an architect in a family of the same. Their mother died when he was young and the brothers and sisters (4 brothers, two sisters) have taken over the business from their father. He changed when he wife died and is a horrible man, cruel both mentally and physically, he says some awful things. He still has some kind of link with the business, and still tries to influence its direction and the way the family work. I learned all this over the course of the book, and at first it felt as if there ought to have been some kind of prequel, or maybe I was reading a new series based around an existing one, as it seemed as if I ought to know things about the family from the way conversations went. I even went as far as looking up in kindle lists just to see if there was anything else…. It left me floundering at times, but the interaction between them and Matthew and Lauren was so riveting, so entrancing that I simply had to continue.
I’m so glad I did carry on, Matthew and Lauren have something magical between them, and oddly though its Matthew with the dysfunctional family background, he’s the one that’s all in for a romance, for one that has a proper relationship and not just a quick fling as has been the way for him so far. Lauren is the one who’s convinced her life has no time or place for a relationship, that one night is all she can give, but then one night becomes two, and then a week, and then more. She tries to keep control by leaving arrangements til literally the last hour, and it makes Matthew realise she’s hiding, running scared, but can he change her, and how to proceed?
I loved all the characters, even the awful father – grief does strange things to people, not that it’s an excuse but it happens. As I got to know Matthews’ family as individuals I began to appreciate what strong people they were, and how they were all very different, but that diversity is what made them so strong in business. Matthew reminded me very much of Cade in the fabulous “ no weddings” series by Kat and Stone Bastion. He shared that same single mindedness about getting what he wanted once he’d found love. He knew Lauren was the one for him, it was just a matter of convincing her. (Cade had the same problem with Hannah.) Their sex scenes were seriously hot, sensual and erotic and they simply couldn’t keep their hands off each other every time they met, no matter where they were. Poor Riley, the youngest brother – he saw and heard more than a brother ever wants to a couple of times, when they didn’t know he was in the office. That kind of scene led to some great humour and snarky one liners…
Its a terrific read – once I’d sorted out the tangled family relationships, and I’m sure stories from and about the other family members will be equally good. Lauren too has brothers who could well enter the scene later in the series and be interesting.

Stars: Four and a half, that beginning where I was floundering, wondering who was who, and how they related brought it down the half star.
ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley.

A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith

A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith
A Vampire's Dream by [Carla Susan Smith]
Genre: fantasy and paranormal, Romance
Longish novella at around 170 pages, and I’m always rambling on about how for me novellas rarely work – too short to deliver enough in depth characters and plots.
When they’re like this though, part of a world I already am familiar with through existing novels they’re perfect.

I loved this insight into Aleksei and Anasztaizia’s early years, how they first met, and of course Gabriel pre Rowan. It was interesting seeing Katja again too, and seeing how she feels about Gabriel.
I loved the main series, exciting and entertaining world and this peek into the years before those books was perfect. I’ve always had a soft spot for Aleksei, now after reading this even more so.

You could read this before, during – or as I have – after the existing books, and its a perfect read to add that additional character info.
I do love when existing series run these side books about individuals, it makes me feel more understanding of their actions. Its a great read, and as with the main books, really excellently priced.

If you like vampires, romance, suspense and action read this series, it delivers all that and more, though this novella is shorter on the suspense angle, that’s really the prerogative of the main books.
Might be time for a back-to-back read through them once more.
Stars: five, a great story to read pre,post or during the existing novels. Made me feel even more for Aleksei!

Can’t Walk Away, Sandy James

Can’t Walk Away, Sandy James

Can't Walk Away (River Bend, #3) by [McLain, Molly]


I love romances set in the music/fame world and this seemed to be right up my street. Well, I enjoyed it, it was a decent read but sadly not the spark for the magic five.

Brad and his friends were a great trio, and that kind of close friendship is to be valued.
I understood his feelings of betrayal over what he discovered after his loss. I did get irritated with him at times when he seemed to think he knew best what Savannah wanted from her career.
Savannah, devoted to her daughter, loves her music and after the disaster of her career years before she’s being very careful this time round. Sometimes though I felt she was OTT in her reactions to Brad, that she didn’t seem to realise he’s not a mind reader and she needed to make very clear how she felt.

Its a sweet romance, with some sensual and emotional moments, but overall I just didn’t feel any strong emotion coming from it, nothing that really made me really happy for the characters, or really upset, sad, felt down for them. Even right with the events at the end I didn’t really feel that kind of angst that I wanted.

Stars: Four, a sweet, well written romance but a little light on angst and drama for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

69 Million Things I Hate About You, Kira Archer

69 Million Things I Hate About You, Kira Archer

69 Million Things I Hate About You (Winning The Billionaire) by [Archer, Kira]

Genre:  Romance

I really enjoyed the humour in this story, both Cole and Kiersten have some cracking lines that had me sniggering. I think the Amish County weekend was my favourite _ I could just picture the expressions, the looks on peoples faces.

Its not heart-stopping drama, but then this is the Indulgence imprint, more about feelgood books and happy endings than anger and angst. It is a teeny bit predictable in a couple of places but that’s fine, didn’t spoil the story.

The characters were good, Kiersten and her friends, Cole and his mates, his mum – what a great lady, I loved the Harry and Krispin scene, what fun that was.
I liked the way all the staff were in one what was going on, that Cole had a view on what but not why, and that Kiersten didn’t know that he knew….it all added up to a fun read, a way to leave dull everyday problems behind, and do just what the imprint asks, Indulge in a story to make you feel good.

Stars: four, a fun escape that will make you smile

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Make Me Yours, Men of Gold Mountain 4, Rebecca Brooks

Make Me Yours, Men of Gold Mountain 4, Rebecca Brooks

Make Me Yours (Men of Gold Mountain) by [Brooks, Rebecca]

Genre:  Romance

A fun read, I hadn’t read the earlier novels but each are stand alone and I don’t think it would have made a great deal of difference, i was certainly able to get to grips with the story easily.

I liked Claire, loved little Maya, and really felt for her. she had been stupid when it came to Ryan, but when you’re young and in love we do act in stupid ways. when the chips were down though she pulled herself up and used her strength to build a good life for her and her daughter.
Ryan, in a world where everyone smokes, drinks and does drugs its hard not to give in to one of them, and like so many he just doesn’t realise or recognise he’s an addict until its too late, Claire has gone. he doesn’t know why or where and when after five years he sees her at a small venue he’s not letting her go. there’s a huge shock in store for him though…
She’s determine to stand strong but the attraction between them is still there, steamingly sensual. She still holds a bit of herself back though even when she’s given in to that. He seems changed, but is he? well, Ryan is determined to prove he is….until the ultimate test.

Its a sweet story, some serious heat, well written and fitting the story. Its very real in many way, parents do have to be “on” 24/7 but inevitably mistakes happen.
There’s a point in this book where something is pointed out – and i just knew what was going to result. I would have liked a bit more surprise, that felt a little too predictable but it worked well to move things along, and there’s a beautiful ending to this.

Stars: four, its a neat romance, sexy and fun but no deep dramas or real heartache.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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