Archive | August 6, 2013

No Perfect Secret. Jackie Weger.

No Perfect Secret

 

ARC supplied by Author.

Well, I’ve loved the first to books I’ve read of Jackie’ so maybe I had too high expectations….I liked this book, enjoyed it but didn’t quite have the love for it that I did the others. I’m not sure why as the cast of characters were great. Anna, there are thousands of wives like her, looking after elderly family members, working outside the home, keeping the household jobs done and providing backup for husbands while putting their own hopes and dreams on hold….I really felt for her. She gets a visit one day from Frank. Internal investigator fpr a state department. I’m sure they don’t work the way they do in the book but hey – this is fiction and it makes the story far more interesting that if he simply phoned and sent numerous duplicated letters etc! He seems to work in a small dept, almost off grid, with lots of flexibility. That allowed him and his colleague Helen to spend lots of time with Anna sorting out the mess her husband had left. And he’d certainly been doing some dreadful deeds that left her well ordered life in tatters. Frank – the attraction between him and Anna is there from the start but they both dance around it, and its not til really far in the novel that they do get together. Jackie has some great expressions for male appendages… I loved “tally whacker” in the first one, dingus in the next then this time its Mr Johnson 🙂 Helen, lady in control of the office, fabulous woman, knows what she wants from life and loves helping others, her tenants JoJo and Clarence – what a great pair, added so much colour to the novel. I think my favourite though (discounting Franks sex appeal) is neighbour Lila, in her nineties but the sort of lady I aspire to be one day, she drinks, enjoys life, laughs and is full of joie do vivre.

I got a bit confused over the storyline though, didn’t really understand the political machinations of what Anna’s husbands job was, he seemed top be some sort of diplomatic courier, which clearly allowed him to live his double life, leaving his mother -the mother in law from hell – with Anna. I think that part just wasn’t strong enough for me – I didn’t feel engaged with the actual story though I loved the characters, I’d love friends and neighbours like that. I loved the gentle way once again Jackie has woven the romance through the novel, starts slowly but right from the early part you can see that attraction is unstoppable, and then once they do get together its Jackie’s characteristic well written sex scenes, sensual and racy but never smutty or overly “in your face” – what happens fits perfectly in the novel. That’s a treat when so many novels seems to have badly written sex scenes just for the scandal and selling point. I love spice in my romance, not and steamy no problem, but it must fit the story and characters and must be well written.

Stars: four, loved the people but not so keen on the actual plot.

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Under A Spell Hannah Jayne

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley
I’ve read all these now from the first in the series, and its always a fun adventure where poor Sophie lands in all sorts of trouble. This time is no exception. Thinking now her old boss is back she’ll be able to relax, Sophie and Will are sent as supply teachers to a school where a pupil is missing as there’s rumours of witchcraft involvement. As usual Sophie takes on more than just the job, desperately wanting to find the missing girl, and fearing it’s part of a chain and others will go missing. There are similarities to a girl missing from the school the previous year, who was found dead with witchcraft markings on her.
Will, he veers from flirty to back to Protector constantly and I’m not surprised poor Sophie wonders what’s going on with him. She’s attracted to Will very much, but she’s in love with Fallen angel Alex – and recently found he’s got the problem that Sophie is the [person he needs to destroy to get back into Grace. So their on off relationship is definitely Off though he hasn’t actually told Sophie that. (jerk) Gone from Loving Alex to Cold Alex, and Sophie just doesn’t know where she stands. Like her I’m getting confused too, and hope the next book brings something a bit more definitive – though I’m not sure which one I favour. There’s something about Alex, he was so great at first til he found out about Sophie, then Will, flirty British Will is sometimes all on and smiles, then the next minute just reminding Sophie he’s only there as a task to protect her in her Vessel of Souls role. One minute he’s very protective, and next when she’s running into something that could be dangerous he’s “I’m watching the footy love – good luck and call me when its over…” Puzzling to her and me. Ah well, that’s why we keep reading.
As usual the simple job turns out to be tip of the iceberg, and poor Sophie gets bashed and battered once again, with some life threatening moments. Its a good job she heals fast. There’s lots of appearances by lovely vampire flatmate Nina – that woman is so funny. She reminds me of Pasty from the wonderful TV show Absolutely Fabulous. She’s always striving for something more and in the most unattainable way. She loves Sophie, and yet as ever thinks everything revolves around herself – it seems to be a common vamp trait. When the chips are down though she’s with Sophie all the way regardless of the danger. Vlad, Nina’s nephew – 16 years old but 113 vampire years, and really is a typical teen; hormonal, arrogant ( and the vamps take arrogant to a new position) and with a teens ever changing love life! You can’t help liking him, and the mix of them provides for some really funny moments. Vlads love life excels in this book!
There’s murder and mayhem, witchcraft and witches, hexes and curses, and the excitement and danger grows til Sophie faces death once more. I had some ideas who was involved…but I was wrong. Hannah lays false trails to catch us out 🙂 and I was caught! Though I was correct in one suspect. That made the surprise all the sweeter. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending – and that’s purely from a frustration point of view – I want the next book now so I can find out what happens next, what Will is going to say., what Alex will do next. You know – all the things you want to know from a good series. Its why I love to reread once the series is complete – I can just have a mammoth session of reading without the frustration of waiting for next book.
Priced at £4.31 for a massive 414 pages its excellent value and will join my keepers file for re reading.
Stars: Well written of course, brilliant plots that had me fooled yet again (good job its Sophie and not me, I’d have been dead ages ago) Has to be another five star read.

Claimed (Club Sin) Stacey Kennedy.

Claimed: Club Sin

ARC provided by Netgalley.
Presley had been in a relationship for eight years and
moves to be closer to her boyfriends new job when… she finds he’s
cheating. She’s really lost confidence in the whole dating scene, and
loses herself instead in the world of books enjoying the spicy, sexy
BDSM romances she finds there. (I know who she feels, there’s
millions of us that love our fantasy lives and book boyfriends!!) Her
close friend and flatmate Cora worries about her and suggests that
instead of dreaming about that side of life she gets her to introduce
her to Club sin, where Cora is a happy member and submissive.
Presley is taken on by club owner and Dom Dmitri, after
a personal interview. He sees something in her straight away that
appeals to him, but he makes it clear that its simply a Dom/sub
relationship – he’s training her and nothing more. He doesn’t want
any romantic complications in his life, being happy with the way
things are. She takes to the training well, and things begin to heat
up, with them first exchanging phone calls during the week, then
meeting for a meal. The dipstick ex is around too, and causing
problems for Presley. She has problems she’s escaping from and Dmitri
also has past issues affecting his present life, can these two
finally get it together and work things out?

I enjoyed this novel but didn’t find it as erotic as I’d
expected from the description, both the BDSM ans the sex scenes were
quite gentle. Although I felt for Presley I didn’t really connect
closely with her, and the storyline itself was very slight for a full
book. The book covers several weeks, and we touch in on events that
happen during that time, but there was no great highs and lows ( I do
need those low points…) and I felt the book was too much on one
level for me. Its a sweet HEA romance but not enough emotion for me,
though for those who like a traditional type romance with an extra of
some light BDSM and sensuality this will be perfect. Horses for
courses, I want more but not everyone does thankfully.
Its priced at £2.31 and though I dont have page info
I’d guess its around 150-180 pages from the time it took to read so
meets my VFM criteria as fairly priced.
Stars: three.

The Dominant: The Submissive Trilogy. Tara Sue Me.

The Dominant (Book 2: The Submissive Trilogy)

ARC supplied by Netgalley.

After Fifty Shades there have been numerous trilogies covering similar ground, some good and some – well frankly to class them as novels does other authors a disservice. Thankfully the Amazon sample service allows us readers to check out a decent section of the writing. This is book two in a trilogy, and as I haven’t read book one I wondered if I’d be able to pick it up OK. It was perfect though, there were questions I have which I wondered if they were covered in book one, but I’ve a feeling they’ll be a huge part of book three. The sample of book one seems to tell the story from Abby’s POV whereas book two starts from the beginning but from Nathaniel’s POV. I love these first person books, I really feel as if I get an insight into how the character is feeling. Both Abby and Nathaniel were likeable people, but holding what seems to be some pretty big secrets from each other, especially Nathaniel. He fears revealing his secret will make Abby leave him, and once he’s begun to have deeper feelings for her he’s very confused as its an alien feeling to him, but doesn’t want to risk her leaving. Of course secrets always come out in the end, and when it did – well, I felt my heart was breaking for them both too. Its a classic romance ideal where one person does what he/she thinks is right for the other long term, even knowing its going to cause pain. Nathaniel is classic man, he takes that decision and the pain they both feel from it is tangible. Its a really emotional section in the book, and readers of past reviews will know that I actually love this kind of emotion – I feel it makes the high parts of romance so much sweeter.
The writing was excellent, and despite not having read part one I was able to follow the story easily. It centred around Abby and Nathaniel mainly, but there were friends and family involved and they were also clearly drawn and likeable people. I felt as if I knew them all. What I really loved is that although this is part of a trilogy it could almost be read -IMO- as a standalone romance, and it was so beautifully done, full of angst and emotions and the sex/love scenes were very touching. A huge plus for me too was there was No Cliffhanger Ending : ) I hate those with a passion! Tara, a massive thanks for that – it seems to be a growing trend, and from comments on my reviews I know there are many many of us that hate it and are put off buying duo’s and trilogies because of it.
Seeing the novel from Nathaniel’s POV meant that, for instance, when he punishes Abby for transgressing one of his rules we can see that he’s not just the arbitrary, cold, closed-off man he appears to be handing out a penalty for breaking a rule, but that it causes him deep emotional pain, and makes him think about what and how much is needed, and question if his actions are correct.
As I said I’ve many questions about the background to both of them that I am curious to see how it shapes their behaviour, and wonder about where the story is taking them next. The sex scenes were very well written, erotic and tantalising without that touch of “yukkiness” that permeates so many erotic works. No silly valentines style names for each other, no stomach churning words to describe genitalia. Sometimes when I read what are supposed to be erotic novels and they’re full of “Daddy, Baby, titties (I kid you not!), man meat…” I wonder just who does find this kind of writing a turn on, it certainly has the opposite effect on me so its a treat to find an author who writes erotic sex without descending to the ludicrous. It makes the book so much more sensual when readers are treated as adults.
OK that’s my thoughts. Loved the book, a real five star read that will be joining my keepers file and I definitely want to read book three, and may go for book one just to see what I’ve missed and to learn more of Abby and her past.

Stars: a real gem of a novel, a well deserved five stars.

Chasing the Shadows. Keri Arthur.

Chasing the Shadows (A Nikki and Michael Vampire Novel)

 

ARC provided by Netgalley.

This series just gets better and better. Each book builds on the adventures the duo have had in the past, and the dangers they’ve faced. Michael has just returned from a vampire hunt, expecting to have some much needed time with Nikki when Seline, leader of the Circle, contacts him to say he’s needed in a new hunt. He’s not happy about it but finally agrees he’s the best person for the job, and although he was looking forward to seeing Nikki he now only has a few hours instead of the hoped for weeks. Nikki has been saying she wants to help him, be a partner in what he’s doing but he’s not having that. He thinks that if Seline gets hold of her who knows what danger she’ll face, as she will want to use Nikki’s talents to the full, so despite Nikki and Seline’s pleas he remains adamant that Nikki stays away. However Nikki is an investigator in her own right, and he gets home to find she and Jake, her boss, have left o go on the same hunt Seline has just arranged.

Its the usual dangers faced, heart-stopping and vividly portrayed, blood, gore and guts and danger round every corner. Nikki as usual plunges in, and Michael tries to keep her back and safe. He’s being a typical man, and not just a vampire in that he wants Nikki safe, and won’t listen when she says her life is always dangerous because of what she does and who she is. Then of course there’s the whole tied to Michael’s life conundrum, from when he shared some of his life force to save her life. That’s led to both of them changing in ways previously unknown, and has given them extra strengths but at what cost? And they have yet little control or knowledge about these powers, so the usefulness of them is unpredictable, and they can prove dangerous if they take up too much power leaving them weak and vulnerable.
I love Michael but feel for Nikki here. For a long time she’s taken care of herself and lived with her life constantly in danger, now Michael wants her to stay at home, nice and safe, away from him for weeks at a time and not knowing if he will survive whatever job he’s on. He just can’t understand the stress that is for Nikki, and doesn’t see that treating her this way is causing a wedge to develop between them that could force them apart. Nikki loves him but won’t be like her mother, dominated by and always controlled by a man. She’s too much her own woman for that and knows it would unbalance their relationship detrimentally.
Jake – the best partner and boss Nikki could have, he’s a real star back up letting her use her talents for the firm but always there if he can be to protect her. The big problem is he’s only human and subject to human limitations. This time he faces some real danger and heartbreak, although he’s ostensibly in the city to look at a safer job after his wife pleaded for it. On the last job he nearly died, and she’s putting her foot down and wants him to look at a simple hotel security job…while he’s there his friends wife goes missing, and he and Nikki are looking into it. It turns out to be related to the job Michael is on, and with all the attending dangers that brings.
As usual Keri has written a tightly knit story, peopled with supernatural dangers and creatures beyond most people knowledge. There’s the balance of creating a supernatural adventure set in the human world while making it seem possible for it to happen and for humans not to notice.The plots flow into one another, seemingly innocuous events turn out to be major dramas, and unconnected incidents start to add up into clues to the main danger. Nikki and Michael are having more problems over his refusal to consider her working with him. Can they find a way to compromise or is this the end? I know how she feels in a way, I’m an above knee amputee and after falling several times from my horse and the attendant concussions and broken bones Him Indoors wanted me to stop riding – but its part of who I am, and in the same way facing danger and doing her best to sort problems is who Nikki is. Michael has to accept at least part of that in the same way Him Indoors did 🙂 or risk losing her but does he realise that’s what could happen. Nikki has to lay it out straight for him, and make a decision.
Another fantastic, gripping instalment from the duo and I loved it all the way through. Its a definite re read type book and one for the keepers file. Priced at £5.49 for 288 pages on kindle it’s in the upper range as far as value for money goes, but set that against the multiple re-read factor and it becomes more reasonable.
Stars: five, cracking book once again!

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