Archive | May 2013

Waking up in Vegas Romy Sommer.

 

This is a fun romantic tale with a lovely HEA. Sometimes you want light-hearted and funny and this book does it. Phoenix wakes up next to a gorgeous hunk and can’t remember…anything about how she got there! Max, that’s his name, then drops the bombshell that they married the night before desperately in love!

He remembers everything, and though Phoenix doesn’t believe in the concept of settling down and being with just one person he persuades her (not least with some smoking sex) to stay with him for first the afternoon and evening, then the night then when she finally goes back to her motel, who does she find it there but…Max. That man is determined not to let the love of his life go. He tells her its a family legend that they recognise their love at first sight and she is his. They don’t believe in divorce, have never needed it as everyone has been happy for generations. He’s quite clever about what he tells her, knowing that with her fear of commitment she’ll run if he tells the whole truth straight out. Then there are family problems, they get separated and eventually find each other again…

Its a great tale, full of smiles and humour, love and heartbreak, and showing just how events impact on families and love. I fell for Max right from the start – who wouldn’t? He’s a total romantic, and so thoughtful and so in love with Phoenix, but also aware of his duty to family. Phoenix, just scared because of what happened to her parents, loves him really but is too afraid to admit it or commit herself but slowly he wears her down. There’s some tear-jerking moments here, and its got some real depth despite me sayings its a light-hearted story. The ending – perfect, and left me with a big beam on my face. Sometimes I like to read deep, dark fantasy and sometimes I just want a book to make me feel good about the world, something easy to read and make me smile and this book does just that.

For romance lovers who want the HEA its perfect, and though usually these books are a one time only read for me this had enough depth that it’ll go in my keepers file for re reading for when I want my spirits lifted 🙂

Well edited and written, plots that join up and don’t leave reader wondering “what happened there?” Its not cheap at 182 pages for £2.99 but on a par with many others in this genre and is worth a re read which adds VFM.

Stars, four – not quite a five, a bit too short for that but it’s close.

 

 

 

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The Unexpected Wedding Guest.

 


 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0373207204/ref=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

 

 

Romance, love it 🙂 So Reese is in the hotel days before her big elaborate wedding to Dylan, making last minute adjustments and dressed in her elegant gown when she sees an unexpected guest. Her ex husband- once the love of her life. Their marriage was brief but flaming hot and then they crashed and burned. Mason re-enlisted and it was too much for Reese. Now she’s about to marry someone her parents approve of this time round, he’s safe ad she thinks she loves him – till she sees Mason and the sparks just from seeing him re-ignite all the feelings about him she doesn’t want to have. Dylan invites him to stay a few days for the wedding…..

 

Well, Dylan seemed like the ultimate saint to me – or maybe just someone who wanted to be doubly sure of Reese feelings? There some fun in store when things progress, Mason still makes Reese feel alive and ready for anything but she doesn’t want to feel like that, she’s still angry at him for their marriage fiasco. Mason has come to sort out what went wrong, as he has his own problems and wants to move on and that is stopping him. Seems there’s much unfinished business between the two.

 

Its a sweet romance, Dylan was either a saint or not really committed to Reese, Reese and Mason – the chemistry was off the page and they sparked off each other every time they met whether it was anger or passion, it was always high emotion. Reese wedding this time was total contrast to the one before where it was a quickie registry office with minimal guests done on spur of the moment. This time everything is planned to the Nth degree…and I felt Reese was more in love with the idea of the wedding and pleasing her parents than actually marrying Dylan. We didn’t see much of him, mostly the novel centres round Reese and Mason with a few other people as backing for each interaction between them. Though I enjoyed this its a def one off read, too light for a re read for me. I need a bit more solid story and a bit more heat in the romance, though you could feel the attraction the sex scenes were very light and almost hidden within a few words.

 

Its priced at £3.24 for 224 pages, well written and edited, those who want a sweet light romance will enjoy it. Stars from me are three and a half, better than just OK but not a four star read.

Forsaken By the Others (H&W Investigations) Jess Haines

Forsaken By the Others (H&W Investigations)

ARC supplied by Netgalley for honest review.

I love urban/dystopian fantasy especially if it has a bit of romance in it. I’d read the first in this series when I originally stumbled on the genre a couple of years back when I ordered what I thought was a historical novel and it turned out to be fantasy…. Previously I’d never read this genre, assuming it was all Star Trek or middle earth Elves…how wrong I was! Anyway I didn’t enjoy the first book, looking back it could be that the whole genre was just so new to me that I didn’t absorb it properly. I do remember the delicious Alec Royce though (yum, a bad boy vampire is soo attractive), and if anything had tempted me into continuing with the series it would be him, so when I saw this book and that he was in it – I jumped at the chance to review.

Even though I’ve only read book one it wasn’t difficult to pick up the storyline, Jess adds enough explanation without boring the reader so vis Shiarra’s memories I was able to work out what had previously happened to a degree, and where it fitted within this book. I Loved Royce, but sadly he soon was off the scene except via a few phone calls 😦 As with most fantasy of this type Shiarra has problems caused by recent dealings with Others, and needs to get out of town along with her friend and business partner Sara for a while. Royce arranges for them to stay with another vampire in L.A.. All is not as it seems when they get there of course and Shiarra and Sara are plunged into further danger – they meet with a couple of acquaintances who help them, but its one rip roaring scenario after another – danger from the werewolves, danger from vampires and then danger from zombies and their necromancer master.

I enjoyed the book, it contains well thought out plots that join up perfectly and keep the reader guessing. I thought I’d guessed at the reason behind the Zombies but…I was only partway there – the answer was much more than I’d thought.

I loved the characters even though Shiarra annoyed me intensely at times – that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that the people in a novel feel real, and then so does the action and danger. What I didn’t like – arrgghhh a damn cliffhanger. I know its the lead in to the next book and the mysteries of this one are tied up neatly, but I just hate being left in limbo. It feels like I ought to still be reading. I can deal with lead-ins but not on this huge cliffhanger danger style 😦

The book itself is well written and edited and a decent length at 352 pages. Priced at £3.72 its also excellent value, having enough in it to tempt the reader into re reads. Its definitely one for my keeper file. I’d like to go back now and read the books I’ve missed. and am so glad I gave the series a second chance. I think I’d enjoy book 1one so much more now I understand the genre better.

Stars: well i’d have gone for four and a half if not for that horrible hated cliffhanger at the end and the fact it’ll be ages to wait before we find out what happens next…so I’m dropping half a star to give it four.

The Keeper: Awakening (The Keeper Series) O.L. Ramos

The Keeper: Awakening (The Keeper Series)

 

 

I received an ARC in exchange for honest review.

I was contacted by the author and asked to review this book. As usual I looked and read the Amazon sample and decided it was something I’d like to read. Its a very good début book from Mr Ramos and I’d love to read next in the series – hope you don’t keep us waiting too long!

It begins with Elizabeth (Liz, Izzy) talking to her therapist about her background. Liz saw her mum taken by something – right in front of her in their kitchen but the action was so fast its a blur. Of course no-one believes her and she gained the reputation of being “odd” and she’s become a slightly prickly, defensive character. I found her difficult to like at first, she seemed almost aggressive to people. When she first meets Michael (and Vincent later) in the café where she works she’s fairly rude to him and if I’d been him I’d have walked out. Still he knows more about her than we do, or than she does herself. The story reveals slowly that there is a supernatural element alive and kicking in the human world and Liz becomes part of it along with Michael and Vincent. There are plots and battles and its a book with a lot of action in. Its not a book to be bored with 🙂 though I felt a little less action and a little more description would have been better. There was a lot of working up to each action scene, but it was over too quickly and I feel it could have been drawn out longer to make it the bigger part of the book it deserved. Still, better than those with pages and pages of dull action, as some books do just to fill pages.

The story line was believable, although of course fantasy means suspending belief to a degree there needs to be some form of realism, and I’m always sceptical when the main character such as Liz developers special powers right in the middle of a crisis. Thankfully Liz doesn’t and in fact often says how she feels the weak link having nothing special to fight with. I felt it easier to relate to her for that and it made a great change from the novels where the characters are in a battle and the newbie heroine gains powers to save the day ahead of those supernatural who are hundreds, even thousands of years old. I really struggle with that concept.

There’s a scene at the beginning where she is chatting with Michael about the supernatural world and the possibility of it being real, and Michael says how in history even though there was no contact between people in different countries they’ve come up with very similar otherworldly creatures – its something that’s crossed my mind many times too 😉

I liked both Michael and Vincent – more so as time went on and we learned more about them. I like the way they are very different characters with Michael being the planner and Mr responsibility, and Vincent being the fly by the seat of your pants person….Liz was attracted to them both and I can see why – she has a hard decision ahead of her though I think I can see which one its going to be 🙂 but I need next book to tell if I’m right.

On the subject of next book – I have a dire horror of cliffhangers – I love series but the recent trend for trilogies with cliffhanger endings leaves me cold and puts me off buying the book as its often months, even a year before we readers learn more by which time the impact has lessened. Mr Ramos doesn’t fall into that trap thankfully! The next book is clearly a continuation of this one but though there are lead ins as to what will happen this book of course, the ending to this one is tied up neatly as I’d expect and much in line with conventional series novels – a big Hurrah for that! Hopefully more authors will take note – I know from emails and comments that I’m not alone in HATING cliffhangers, so an end to them will be well supported by many of us.

Overall a really excellent first novel and I’d love to read next part. Its excellent value for money at just £2.01 for 282 pages, I have a kind of arbitrary 1.5p per page guideline on the VFM front, and this falls well into that especially as its one to join the keeper files for re reading.

Stars: brilliant start -there is room for improvement as with many first novels but I’m giving it a solid four stars.

When I See You. Katharine Owen.

ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Well, what an incredible romance, so very different from much of what is around. Its a kind of love triangle, but then in a way not a conventional love triangle… with amazing characters, and Katherine does a fantastic job of playing with our emotions and feelings when writing their story. You feel deeply for all of them.

Jordan’s famous actor parents were killed in a tragedy when she was just seventeen, leaving her alone except for a grandfather who didn’t want her. She has her best friend, but has learned to rely only on herself and thinks happiness doesn’t last. When she met Ethan, A Navy SEAL she embarked on a whirlwind romance, became pregnant and they married. Eight weeks after meeting he’s off on his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Now its four years later, he’s home on leave before returning for his final tour. He brings along his childhood friend and team-mate SEAL Brock. There’s something between Brock and Jordan instantly, though neither wants to acknowledge it.

Without giving anything away its hard to write about the characters and their actions, but its a tale of misunderstandings, deceptions wrapped up as surprises, tear jerking moments and great highs. There so much happening in the novel, just as you feel the rainbow is in sight then another storm comes along to whip our emotions, and wring us dry once more. I laughed a little, cried a lot and felt emotionally drained at the end of this book. Its got so much in it and Katherine doesn’t shy away from the harder elements of love and life. You want the happy ever after, but at times things feel so bleak that I wondered how on earth it could happen. Yet still Katherine manages to pull together happiness in a way that’s real and feels like a slither of someone’s true life story. There’s no unbelievable trite actions here written in simply to carry the plot along, everything that happens is something that could, and undoubtedly has, happened. Real life isn’t all sweetness and light, but is full of death and destruction, illness and gloom, but then the light parts, the love and passion found in life is so much more appreciated when set against that. I need angst in my romance, I don’t like the one level, sweet, shallow love story but need to be moved on a deeper level. I need to feel I understand the characters and like them, I need a couple of “bitch” people I can dislike too, ( Kate did it for me here – she just wasn’t the right one for Brock) for me to really feel I’ve fallen in love with a story, and can read it again and again. This one delivers all that and more – get the tissues at the ready as you will need them when you devour this tale.

I don’t know what else Katharine Own has written but will certainly look for more from her, she’s a writer who can deliver a novel that’s so engrossing you can get lost in the people and places for hours. Stars: well, after all that how could it be anything less than five 🙂

Starfish and Coffee. Kele Moon

 

Starfish and Coffee Kele Moon

 

 

ARC provided for review.

 

Well, I’m fast becoming a devotee of Kele’s writing. She manages to write erotica that’s not twee or stomach churning, no silly names and acronyms for sexual parts, but simply romantic and tasteful, spicy and sensual, and that’s such a treat after the endless pages upon pages of mindless drivel posing as erotic in some of the novels I’ve read recently. Its not quantity but quality of sex scenes that make a book into one worth reading, and there has to be a really good supporting story for me to enjoy it. In all the books of Kele’s I’ve read so far she delivers that – great work Kele 🙂

 

This novel starts with a brief scene of an older Alex, then goes back in time to when he first met Matt. As in most of Kele’s books the story centres around a select few people, there are others as a sort of supporting cast but this time its Alex and Matt as the main two, and Alex friend Holly and his brother Will as secondary but quite closely connected.

Alex is gay, works in a local café with Holly and doesn’t let his sexuality be known. Everyone including his brother Will assume he and Holly are a couple, in a sort of friends with benefits way. Matt takes on a job for a few weeks for a bet with his friends. Alex sees him as a shallow, rich-boy individual with everything handed to him on a plate. In reality Matt resents the way his life has been mapped out by his family, and is using the summer as a way to escape some of the pressure. For Alex everyday is fun but a struggle for money and he sees Matt as being privileged. Slowly they grow to respect and find passion with each other. But as with all paradise there’s a spider waiting to spoil things. Matt’s mother is the classic over privileged, rich bitch and she isn’t having a gay son if she can stop it.

Alex and Matt part on bad terms – if only they spoke to each other instead of making assumptions. That’s true for many of the characters here, they assume they know what’s going on and act accordingly causing heartbreak and loss. When they meet up again after six years can they get past the bitter breakup? Do they even want to, or are they still caught up in the web of deceit and misunderstandings?

What I love about this book is the way Kele weaves a tale of passion showing how prejudiced people are, and how difficult it can be to be open about sexuality. Its not as easy as simply coming out – the ripples of prejudice turn into tsunami waves and bitter opinions, threatening employment and even lives. Its a real tough way of testing love and yet Kele brings her characters through, steering a course over the water to a HEA. We see how easily opinions and misunderstood words and thoughts can overshadow events turning molehills into huge mountains and changing the course of what could have happened. I guess all too often this happens in real life and because they felt like real people I shared their emotions. I love a good “bitch” in a story and Matt’s mum was a classic, shame we didn’t see even more of her. I always feel the evil spread by those like her and the tears they bring act as a good counterpart and make the happier emotions even more poignant. Angst v happiness = a good romance for me I guess?

As always its well written and edited and at 302 pages for £3.05 its an excellent price. One for my keepers shelf .

Stars: four and a half.

 

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

Rant for the day – duos, trilogies and damn, horrible, bloody cliffhangers……

 I mean bloody in the curse sense not the red sticky stuff by the way 🙂 After the raging inferno sucess of fifty shades of grey it seems that authors have taken to dividing novels into two or three parts with a passion. Its racing through the book industry like a duracell bunny on speed it seems to me. But authors – just stop and think, do you really want to treat readers like a quick cash cow without thinking if what you are dong will put them off long term from buying your books? I commented on one amazon review how much i hate this newish trend and now try to wait til all parts released (i’ll say why in a bit) beofre buying. And to my amazement i’ve had so many people agree – there’s getting to be a backlash against this.

I’m not talking about the book which are run in a series such as the traditional sci-fi, fantasy ones etc . Those tend to more or less wrap up each book leaving an opening for the next but not leave the reader turning the page (or tapping the kindle) for next sentence and finding they’re left in limbo. I’m a great fan of traditional fantasy sereis and would hate to critise them – that way works well with readers knowing what they are buying in to. The new types seem to (hmmnn i wanted to write “enthusiasticly” here but i cant spell it and my spellcheck just suggests ecclesiastic or neurasthenic…..err, no. )  treat their readers as people with no sense it seems to me – they want to hook us in and just make more money off us. What at one time would have been a good book of 400-500 pages now gets divided into three parts…and we pay three times. Often the first is just 77p so you think “ok i’ll try it” then find that parts two and three are anything from £3 -4 each. That works out expensive, not to mention losing the thread of what was going on when its months – a year even before next part out. I’m trying now not to buy intul i know whole series out and what its going to cost but… some authors haven’t even the decency to tell us the book ends suddently and is part of a series. For those who are honest – well done, at least you give us a choice, for those that write standalone – terrific well done. For those that are not telling us = well whenever i read one i’ve been caught on and there’s no mention in description – I’ll write that in my reviews so at least others have a chance to CHOOSE whether to buy something they have to wait for rest at unknown price.

Here’sá thought – why not wait til you’ve written ALL  the book, then if you really want to divide it do so and we have a choice – buy all of it and read while its fresh and we can enjoy. At the moment even using my selective way of purchasing i’ve a long list of sereis waiting for final parts – something thats becuase part one is free for a limited time so i snap it up but still wait til rest out before buying. Then at least i know what I’m spending. I get quite a few books free for review but as an avid reader still buy loads more and money is not throwawya but needs to be spent carefully – ten 77p books bought becuase they are cheap is an expensive wate not a bragain if you don’t enjoy them.

ok…coffee time now 🙂 and on to a book!

College Boys [Men of Holsum College] Daisy Harris

ARC supplied by Netgalley

I love a good romance, and its the love story that matters to me not the sex of the people involved. Having said that there’s something really tender in this story where its clear that Peter who’s openly gay has feelings for Chris who’s on the surface a typical hetero sports jock. Yet beneath that he’s unsure of his feelings and the thin walls of his neighbour cast them even more in doubt when he finds he’s turn on by the sound of Peters pleasure….Slowly they draw closer, and feelings are exposed though Chris is anxious not to let anyone outside the small gay circle know about him. I guess that’s a hard decision for anyone – not only lost in the passion of the throes of love but wanting to shout it to the world as others do and yet being scared of the reaction of homophobes 😦 Anyone a bit different whether it’s sex, race or disability has faced that at some time, and people seem to look upon sexuality as a choice issue rather than just nature. It can impact on not just emotions but families and careers, so taking that plunge needs a lot of thought for some people. Daisy does that so well in this book, we feel for Peter who wants to be open about his boyfriend and has never hidden his sexuality, and yet also understand about Chris who wants that too but is scared to let people know – he has so much to risk.

Its a beautiful story of a slowly unfolding passion the two boys have for each other. Like another reviewer I felt the mention of engagements and marriage at the end was perhaps not necessary, I think they’d just still be busy enjoying the Now rather than thinking of the future, especially when Chris has only just admitted his sexuality. There’s lots of graphic sex here so if you don’t want that then don’t buy this book. I feel it fits well but know others want there sex to stop at a kiss and a hint of action and Daisy goes much further than that but its well written and fits the scenes.

At £3.59 for 88 pages its quite expensive I feel although it is well written and devotees of m/m fiction with a HEA will probably re read. For me its too short for that, I like long novels where there’s a lot more to the story and a greater drama and storyline to get engrossed in.

Stars: three and a half from me, I do feel its an excellent story but expensive. I’d have liked a longer version, and would have given four stars for that.

Naked (The Blackstone Affair) Raine Miller

ARC supplied by Edelweiss

After the notorious Fifty Shades of Grey there seems to have been any number of duos and trilogies mimicking the format – some very successfully and some…well to be honest they’re either blatant rip-offs of just poorly written by authors that haven’t an original thought in their heads. Thankfully Raine doesn’t have that problem and with Naked she’s brought us a riveting, passionate romance between two very charismatic people.

Brynne: its clear she’s got a very troubled past though its only hinted at in the book. She’s an American grad student at the University of London and a part-time photographic model. Businessman Ethan Blackstone sees her portrait (and her) at an exhibition and immediate wants both. The portrait is easy – Brynne a bit harder to achieve. Ethan, successful businessman running a top security firm. He’s a real Alpha type, Controlling and caring, sexy and sensuous, and just the type of hero we want in a romance.

Brynne has left scandal in her past and is living the good life. She’s an outwardly confident American grad student at the University of London and a part-time photographic model, she’s getting back on track from past troubles with lots of hard work and focusing on a career in art conservation. When successful and charismatic Ethan buys her nude portrait, he wants to possess more than just her image. He wants Brynne in his bed, serving him in every way possible. He has no trouble voicing his desires, and he isn’t taking “no” for an answer.

I want to know more about the secrets they’re both holding close to themselves, I want to see more of how they progress – I just want to read the rest of the series. I’m waiting for a review request answer but if it doesn’t come soon I’ll just have to buy them as I’m desperate to know what happens next! I love the emotion tis book brought forth, the sadness and heartbreak along with the highs of a romance going well. I feel a good romance needs lots of contrasts to make the reader appreciate the writing and story best.

OK. Cliffhangers: regular readers of my reviews will know I hate them; ditto books where its not made very clear that they are part of duo/trilogy. Points to Raine ( and a heartfelt thankyou!) for making it clear this is a three book series, and also though the end of book one is a sort of cliffhanger, there a bit of the beginning of book two included which shows ( though we guess it anyway ) that Ethan is determined to pursue Brynne and not give up.

Sex, yes this book has it – lots of hot, steamy, erotic sex so if you don’t like it then be warned and if you do there’s lots to look forward to 🙂 Raine has written the sex well, its fits both the storyline and the type of people they are and that’s very important. I hate seeing people acting out of character just so author can include some spice.

OK, what else? Price- £5.08 for 208 pages , so isn’t cheap but for readers of good romance its one to re read and its definitely joining my keepers file. Stars: five, I loved it!

Night Hawk. J.E. Taylor

 

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley

 

Well, its straight in with the action for this book, with us meeting Naomi as she’s at the mercy of a demon, on the roof of an eighty storey tower block. She’s been sold out by her loser boyfriend to Lucifer, and one of his demons is about to take her. She falls and….is rescued by Damien, a vampire. Out of the frying pan into the fire but as Damien takes her blood she fights back and ingests some of his blood in the action turning her into a vampire. Damien has by then realised there’s something special about Naomi, that she’s a child of Light, a certain coveted bloodline. Damien had attacked her as he’s been out for revenge against Lucifer and anything Lucifer wanted, such as Naomi, he was determined to prevent. However now he knows her bloodline he has another reason to protect her. He’s been fighting for 2.000 years and until he met Naomi he hadn’t realised how lonely he was. They’re both very sexually attracted to each other and there are some pretty spicy sex scenes.

 

Its a great love story wrapped up in a riveting adventure when they try to hold out against Lucifer who is keen for Naomi’s blood and long been trying to kill Damien. Together though they are a formidable force, with Damien being able to become a giant Hawk, and Naomi also having gifts above the norm for a vampire.

 

I really enjoyed this story except for one thing. Something I mentioned in another recent review where the female lead had similar extraordinary talents on changing from human to supernatural. Damien is over 2,000 years old, been fighting demons and Lucifer all that time ad yet…along comes new vamp Naomi, only two days old and she’s saving his life. Not once but twice and she’s telling him what to do and how they’ll do it. I know J E Taylor gave her superpowers, I love a strong female lead, not a whining, weak, squealing one (can’t stand those!) but this was a step too far for me. Fantasy requires us to suspend belief and have an open mind but it was too much for me to believe that she could be stringer physically and mentally than Damien – who has been fighting these demons for 2,000 years without dying – the within two days she saves his life twice? It would have been more credible for me if Damien had been the lifesaver and organiser, not Naomi.

 

There’s a couple of appearances by archangel Michael and I did love Naomi’s sark, puncturing his pomposity 🙂 There were some great, quick fire humorous dialogue threaded among the action and drama, and in all it made for a great mix. Its left open ended, but tied up for this adventure and not left as my pet hate Cliffhanger ending! I assume its going to be a series, hope so anyway as they make a great team despite my grumblings about her being stronger than Damien.

 

Its well written and edited, all endings either wrapped up or leading the way into future novels and Its one for my keeper files. Priced at £2.75 for 317 pages in kindle and I’m giving it a star rating of 4.5 – would have been 5 if not for that irritation about her being “super-vamp” and stronger than Damien.

 

 

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