Archive | September 2013

The Diary of Brad De Luca. Blindfolded Innocence series 1.5 Alessandra Torre

The Diary of Brad De Luca. Blindfolded Innocence series 1.5 Alessandra Torre

ARC supplied via Netgalley.
I liked the synopsis for this, but couldn’t find any info anywhere so decided I’d go for it anyway. I made a mistake though…its one of the sort of books I don’t like. Love the subject. Love Alessandra’s writing style but…this wasn’t a book. It’s a short. A novella. It’s a companion piece to Blindfolded innocence, and its Brad’s thoughts on the start of his affair with intern Julia.
The attraction between them is instant, she knows what he’s like, his reputation for using women precedes him, he’s been warned by the other partners to keep away from the interns, but the two of them have a simmering, sensual attraction that they can’t seem to deny. Its a backwards and forwards motion, with them going to Vegas, but Brad backs off, then when they’re back he’s warning off potential boyfriends. To be honest I found the whole thing very confusing, and I guess if I’d read Blindfolded Innocence maybe I’d have understood more. As it was I felt I’d had my appetite whetted then nothing much was delivered 😦
I’m not a fan of novellas or books delivered via short instalments, and I’m not really sure of the purpose of this book. I don’t have length or pricing information so I can’t comment on that, except to say this was a very short read, around twenty minutes. Tp me it seemed to be to be purposeless and direction-less, I was just really confused, though I liked the premise, and would love to read the other book Blindfolded Innocence. Overall I’d say I didn’t like the length or the way its just a sort of motiveless snippet, but I did love the idea/plot of the book, and enjoyed the writing style. My stars therefore are on this book only, not the quality of the writing or the subject – simply the way its delivered.
Stars: two.

Edit: I’ve since read parts one and two of this series and it makes so much more sense now. When I requested this as an ARC there wasn’t much info, and now I see the description includes recomendation to read part one first. Thats good, as then its a so much better read. I’ve now re read it and would rate it four stars. Love part one too, and am currently reviewing masked innocnce, part two in the sereis with part three due soon I hope 🙂

Northern Light E J Russell.

 

Northern Light E J Russell.

ARC supplied by publisher.

I have a not so secret love of Gay romance, its surprisingly tender and it’s not all Gay Queens…but often romance that’s really sensual. This book though, is far more than just a romance, its got elements of suspense, all packed in with some supernatural horror, though thankfully there is the happy ever after I always need 🙂 I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to anything too ghostly, and was reading this at night so once the paranormal part kicked in – and I hadn’t realised there was any, not having read the description properly (my bad) – I wasn’t sure if I needed to wait til next day. (Honestly – even spooky YA films like The Mummy are too much for me, and as for Indiana Jones… 🙂 I just can’t watch them) but as it happened it was shortish, and I wanted to see how it ended so I continued – and didn’t get nightmares, though I did have to skim read stuff that the average teenager, possibly preteens too, would take in their stride!
So, we have investigator Luke, who turns up on the trail of his latest job to find his ex lover there. They’d parted on bad terms, but Stefan is nothing like the man Luke remembers, he can still see elements of him but something is wrong with him, he’s frail and looks like a walking skeleton. He claims he can’t remember doing any of his paintings after he’s finished, and he never sees them, but leaves them to his dealer who collects them.
Odd as it sounds Luke’s client suggests it may be genuine, but Luke can’t accept a supernatural answer even though there are lots of clues pointing to it, until it all comes to a head, along with his long suppressed feelings for Stefan, and its their past, entangled with the past of other characters, that interact and needs de-tangling and completing if they are to survive.
Its a lot to pack in to such a short book, but its succinct and done well. Each puzzle has an ending, though there was more to the story than I envisaged. The romance is tender, but not overtly sexual and graphic, more there as a carrier to pull the other elements of the story together it seemed. Still, it was good to see them overcome their pasts, and I liked the way their early years together slowly unfolded, and we saw how it linked to the others involved, and how they needed to go back and remember in order to move forward together.
I enjoyed this, not sure I’d re read it though. Priced at £1.92 for 140 pages it’s around average for the genre and its not a “padded out “ book, but one where each page counts.
Stars: four.

Illumination. Rowan Speedwell.

 

Illumination. Rowan Speedwell.

ARC provided via Netgalley.
Well, I loved this book, really, really loved it. Its a proper romance, not just a true love story but a great read on how the two men get there.
Adam, well, who couldn’t love him. He’s Gay but had to pretend to be just Bi, as the bands popularity would plummet if the truth were known. Even then he can only actually be seen out with ladies, not men. Adam hates the pretence, he’s not even truly devoted to the music, it’s acting that’s his true love, and the only way he deals with being the face of the band and being on stage is by acting a role he invents. Then he meets Miles after a show one night, when in a drink and drug filled stupor he decided to go somewhere, sees the signs for the lake, recalls being there as a child, and stops there. Miles finds him next morning asleep on his patio….
Miles, he’s a man with secrets too, reclusive and shy, he keeps himself shuttered away, working on his brilliant Illuminated paintings. I just loved the descriptions of these, and could mentally envisage them. The way he makes them, from scraping the animal hides to constructing the paint as it would have been made centuries ago, was really fascinating. I’m an artist too – and I was really riveted by this part of the book. It must have taken a lot of research, and the same care has been taken with all of the book. Its not written in dumbed down, simple sentences but is composed in a way that appeals to real readers, not those who just want to be spoon fed a few sex scenes. There are sex scenes here of course, but they’re done in a way that fits the story, and not as too often we see, the story written to fit the sex. Rowan’s scenes are sensual and sultry, erotic and intimate, and fit just perfectly in the novel. Anyway, back to Miles. I so felt for him, he was a lost person, and I was desperate to find out what had happened to make him like that. He truly was the brilliant artist with a shattered mind. His sister Lisa was great too – she was the glue holding him together, aided by long time friends Bobby and Doug. Of course I can’t miss out Grace, what an amazing character, vociferous, humorous, and stunningly beautiful…she’s Miles CAG parrot…and a real scene stealer at times!
So how will there two work things out? How can stay at home Miles and never at home Adam have a real relationship? Well, there’s lots of drama here, tender love scenes and crippling angst from when the media pick up stories quoting Adam’s public face girlfriend of convenience Evie. The media love to create a romance where there’s just friendship – its the story that sells, not the truth. Miles isn’t the most self confident person, and he’s easily knocked back by what he reads.
Its an incredible novel, a true love story, which needs to be savoured. I’ve read it once and I’ll definitely be re reading it – its one of those quality book Riptide excel at, which can bear multiple readings. That makes them excellent value for money. On that subject – Price: I’ve not exact figure but its $7.99 US so about £5.03 UK for a good long book of 308 pages/80,000 words. I just love longer novels, they really let readers get “into” the story, understand the characters, and feel all the angst and emotion, and that’s just what happened here.
Stars: well, five of course 🙂 fabulous read.

Just A Couple Ex’s Exposed. A Small Town Romance. S. Anders.

Just A Couple Ex's Exposed

Just A Couple Ex’s Exposed. A Small Town Romance. S. Anders.

Arc supplied via Netgalley.
Read the sample, enjoyed the premise so requested this book. Sadly I wish I hadn’t. I like S.Anders writing style and the way the book flowed, with dual POV allowing an insight into each characters thoughts. I just didn’t like the continuous cheating, and found it hard to believe that Nia and Jack who were supposed to be heartbroken could turn to each other so rapidly. Nia especially as she knew nothing about her husbands affair until the TV crew approached her. It seemed like only a day o two later they were on the verge of sex, having fallen hard for each other – that just doesn’t work for me. The way things were so slick too – the solicitor saying the court would order her husband to put back the money he’d taken from their joint account, and she’d have money within a week, well maybe US courts move quicker than UK but That Quick? Really? Then Jack tells her his house is huge – I think he describes it as like a ranch, with kitchen in the middle, and she’d be one end and him the other, and they wouldn’t need to see each other. So why then when Nia takes a spare bedroom, and Jack understandably doesn’t want to sleep in the master as his wife may have cheated there, does he need to sleep on the couch, and the two seem to fall over each other constantly. Some of the writing became decidedly weird at points, such as when she’s taking the lasagne out of the oven. Jack’s musing about her “bottom” – and the time he takes internally meandering about it makes me wonder just how deep was that oven, as it must have taken her five minutes to get the one dish out, not the 30 seconds or so most people would take….
All in all I didn’t enjoy this book. There were some titillating, slightly erotic moments, but the characters were all frankly shallow and dislikeable in my opinion, and I didn’t really care what happened to them. Sad but that’s how I felt. Maybe its just me, and others will love this book, who knows? Priced at £1.91 for 125 pages/273kb its a quick short read.
Stars: Sorry but only two from me, this just didn’t resonate for me.

Solace in Scandal. Bound by Lies, Torn by Truth. Kimberly Dean.

Solace in Scandal

 

Solace in Scandal. Bound by Lies, Torn by Truth. Kimberly Dean.

Arc supplied via Netgalley.

I enjoyed this book, its classed as Erotica and as Romance. Its a very strong romance side, but less so on the erotica side. Its hot, sensual, steamy sex scenes, but not as graphic and in your face as so much erotica is, so don’t let that put you off if erotica isn’t your thing.
Elena, she seemed so lost and fragile, working on her PHD and hiding out from the press on the Wolfe estate. Seems the butler/manager worked for her family in past when she was a child, and she was still close to him. She was being harassed by the media, and couldn’t afford legal representation to stop them, so he suggested she stay at a little used house on the estate while Alex was in prison. It gave her much needed sanctuary.
Alex was released early and saw her doing yoga out by the lake. He didn’t know she was staying, and his first instinct was to tell her to go, but then he learns of the problems she’s suffered and feels for her so he says she can stay. She doesn’t want to be there any more than he wants her there, and yet she can’t escape the press who are camped outside the grounds.
They carry on with their separate lives, occasionally meeting up accidentally, then an incident happens that brings them close – yeah..much, much closer; hot, steamy sex closer. Gradually they each learn more about the other, and the preconceived notions they have get replaced by the truth. The time when they are out for a meal and the airhead ex mentions “that Fonzie thing” – well, as a child of the 70’s I could picture The Fonz coming along, trademark grin and wrists in the air “heeeyyy…you talkin’ bout me?”
Underlying the hot sensual romance is the story where Alex needs to get back and be seen at work to keep people confident in his company, Elena needs to complete her PHD, and somehow they want and need to keep their romance together. With the media out for blood still, and not bothered who supplies it, there are some difficult times. I understood exactly how cloistered Elena felt, and why she needed to do what she did. Alex, well – I understood too how after his experience he just wanted to protect her, and keep her away from the bloodhounds out to stir up any trouble they could. It was a great romance, bitter-sweet at times when tough decisions had to be made, and I just loved the way the ending tied up so much, and gave answers way and beyond what I expected.
Really enjoyed this story, and the sensuality of the romance. It was just right, fitted so well with the characters and the actions, where sometimes we just get caught up in the drama, act on the moment without thinking things through. I’d happily read this again. Priced at £1.99 for 200 pages/769kb its a bargain for romance readers.
Stars: almost a five, four and a half.

Soul Survivor. Katana Collins.

Soul Survivor (Soul Stripper)

Soul Survivor. Katana Collins.
Arc supplied via Netgalley.
Having discovery fantasy novels were not all star trek type genres a few years back I became an addict, eagerly devouring books about vampires, werewolves and witches. The few about Succubi though I ignored. I need to empathise with my heroines and I just didn’t see how I could with someone whose needs made sucking peoples life force out a necessity. But I love Richelle Meads Vampire Academy novels(even though its YA) and the Dark Swan series so after putting of the Georgia Kincaid/succubus series for ages I tried the first one – and was hooked. I learned it is possible for authors to make a succubus a character to love. Then I found Jill Myles Succubus Diaries, and after that anything with succubi had joined my fantasy list. So when I saw this one I decided it looked good.
It was good – I wasn’t sure at first, not having read the first novel, Soul Stripper, and I found it difficult to place exactly who was where in the story. It reminded me very much of Georgia Kincaid, and I didn’t want to read something that was really the same story done a little differently. Then it began to diverge, and I understood more about how the characters fitted in to each other – and I so much want something to happen so Drew and Monica can be together, that sort of forbidden/frustrated love comes through so well even though he’s now with angel Adrienne…I just can’t take to her, but love Monica. The other characters too, gel together well and give us a great mix of different talents to utilise the supernatural angle to its fullest.
There’s a mystery to be solved, which places Monica in danger, and the story is told with flashbacks to her past as an angel, and how she became a succubus. I wasn’t sure at first how well that would work, I’ve enjoyed it in other books, but it did seem here that just as I got into one part we’d go back to past, and just as I got to grips with that we’d move forward again. I think that was my problem though, not the book, in that I hadn’t read the first book. I did read the sample and would love to read all of it but its not a cheap one at 7+ quid, and I’ve lots of books on my reading/review kindle collection so reluctantly decided not to buy. I think if I’d read that one this story would have flowed better. Despite that though I was hooked by 20% or so, and avidly consumed the rest of the story. As with all good stories I wanted to get to the end to see the finale, and yet was sad too as I wanted to enjoy the story for longer. Its definitely a keeper, and one that I’ll re read multiple times – when I’ve some spare cash I WILL read the first book, and am waiting eagerly for the next. A reviewer mentioned book one could be read as a stand alone, so it is with this book. It ties in all lose ends from this novel, while still keeping to the overall story arc of the series. There is a satisfying conclusion and there’s also endings left open that I suspect -and hope! – will be the beginnings of the next book. Priced at £6.83 for 353 pages/509kb its not cheap, but is a good quality read for fantasy lovers, and will bear multiple reads which increases the VFM.
Stars: well, despite my reservations at the beginning this turned out top be a five star read 🙂

Book One, Soul Stripper

Soul Stripper

Bound by Night. Larissa Ione.

Bound By Night (Moonbound Clan)

 

Bound by Night. Larissa Ione.

Arc supplied by Netgalley.

I loved Larissa’s Demonica series, but have to confess * shock * I’ve never read her Lords of Deliverance….I know, I know, disgraceful – but somehow I’ve just never got to them (or Wards BDB novels…)so when I saw this beginning to a new series – with vampires no less – I had to request it.
Larissa seems to take conventional supernatural creatures and give them a different spin. In this novel the vampires are of two sorts, Natural Born and Turned, and some- especially the Born ones – have special gifts. She manages to make the vampires just that bit different in this way and adds in Native American spirits and beliefs, and a bit of Demon blood…and it works to give us something new and fresh ,in a genre that is becoming swamped by sadly bland vampires. These ones kill though, they’re unashamedly tough and practical but there is a little morality there from some. They drink blood from humans too as well as from bags, eat food, and she links their needs for blood to a moon phase so each second moon either females or males have to drink and need sex from a vampire of the opposite sex. Sounds quite complex doesn’t it – but it’s necessary to move forward the story she’s created. It’s a great world, peopled with characters that feel real, and I started to anticipate what they’ll do next as if I really know them.
One of the strengths of Larissa’s writing ( and with most authors who’s work I enjoy) is that ability to take two people with diametric views, who on the face of it should hate each other, they always start that way, and yet they end up re thinking all their emotions and thoughts, and finding each other not only sexually attractive but mentally too. I admire so much the way this is done, as a reader I look at the two main characters and wonder how I’d get them together and – well – I just can’t! When they are rethinking so am I, looking at situations from anothers’ point of view leads to different conclusions usually.
Riker’s mate was captured by Nicole’s family, a leader in Vampire Slavery, and research, using vampires in all sorts of very profitable but horrific ways, some legal and some not so. Nicole has always believed Riker killed his mate, and that he’s a cruel person, his mate was her Nanny and she loved her dearly and was very close to her. Riker hates all her remaining family for their use of vampires, the cruel way they treat them, as commodities and not as people. Nicole has a vampire phobia after being attacked in a rebellion that killed most of her family. She been involved in the research side not knowing about the horrific treatment given to vamps, and assuming the company acts legally. Now she’s inherited the company and finds out all is not as she thought. How on earth will those two ever get together. Well, there’s a complex and riveting story to be read before you’ll find that out, and its one that had me gripped to the kindle, not wanting to put it down til the end. Larissa doesn’t dumb down her writing thankfully, its an intricate work, one that’s long, absorbing and full of detail. There’s not loads of descriptive waffle though, each word belongs and is part of the whole story. There’s the main plot of course but also I can see a myriad of smaller ones that link to things either in this book or presumably to come in later ones.
First novels in series have a hard task, they need to set the scene, show the world and people created and yet still tell an absorbing story. Few manage a five star read from me on a first in series as its difficult to get all three parts at the right balance but this one does. It’s one for my keepers file and at 400 pages for £4.41 it’s really good value.
Stars: five – all the way, and a series I’ll definitely be following eagerly.

A Perfect Mess. A Perfect Series #1. Zoe Dawson.

 

Arc supplied via Netgalley.
I’ve not read any of Zoe’s work before, but really enjoyed this book and would happily read more. It’s a stand-alone novel – hurrah!! I see there’s two more on the series planned, and I assume/hope they’re the stories about Bookers brothers and Aubree’s friends – this book seems to be setting them up to pair off 🙂
Well, the food in this….didn’t help that I read it yesterday, having decided a diet was needed and I’d try the Fast diet, 500 cals a day for two days a week, and I decided to save them all for tea, so reading all the delicious foods, boudin sausage, craw-fish, apple pie, real vanilla ice-cream was torture 🙂 still, the frog sticking helped – eurghh I cannot imagine killing and eating them!
The book though – was a great read. The mystery of what happened in Wild Magnolia Road was set early, and I was dying to know what did happen. Clearly Aubree and Booker shared some kind of link about it, but it was all a big secret and I wanted to know what it was! Aubree is home from college as her aunt is in hospital after a fall, and no-one knows whether it was an accident or not. Straight away things happen to Aubree, starting with an attack on her car before she’s even got into the house. She gets weird texts too that frighten her, and indicate someone knows more about the mystery. She’s been avoiding home and Booker since it happened almost a year ago – Booker is a real charmer though and is on hand as ever to help and defend Aubree, even though she’s tried to keep away from him and when first home gives him the cold shoulder. Its clear from both her words and actions she really wants to be closer, and the same with him and yet despite his attempts she keeps trying to stay back. He’s never thought he was good enough for her though because of his background, and she’s always felt that he’s so stunning that she wouldn’t attract him for more than just a friendship. They find out though that they can’t stay away from each other, and as their relationship heats up the danger increases. I was on the edge of my seat wondering just what was going to be revealed. There’s mysteries round every corner, some dangerous and many just part of their history but that impact on the present.
Its beautifully written – who can’t help but love Booker, and his triplet brothers? They’ve pulled themselves up from poverty, with Bookers novel sales providing start up for the other two to have their own business. So the kids that the town denigrated have become something after all, and yet there are still those that can’t see beyond the Outlaw name. Like all life I guess, some people are born bigots and won’t ever change their ways 😦 I loved Aubree too – what was the chicken stuff though? If it was revealed somehow I’ve missed it, and it keeps nagging at me – I might have to re read just to search for it!! Her aunt was wonderful also, and the two girls she’s been friends with since school. Aubree doesn’t have many friends, she’s always kept herself quite closed, possible due to her background, but they don’t let that put them off, and now she’s back they pick up as if she’d never left. Its clear too that they both have feelings for the other two Outlaw boys.
The characters – the triplets and the girls – are all 19/20 ish but feel older. There’s none of that juvenile silliness that’s so irritating in many books about people this age, and instead they just fit perfectly into small town life. I felt I was there – and given I’ve never been far from home that’s good 🙂 I loved the way the boys spoke… “sugar” – I could just hear those soft, seductive voices. There was so much emotion, about past events, and those of the present and possible future that I was pulled completely into the characters lives. When the big hiccup came I was sooo sad, felt tears and a lump in my throat. I know its just a story, but in a real good book the emotion is such that it feels real. I love a HEA too so was great to get one. There was some sex here, but beautifully and seductively done, fitted the plot and isn’t graphic in-your-face sex that puts many readers off. I look forward to reading the next stories in the series. Priced at £2.49 for 215 pages/465 kb its good value and had enough depth to be one I’d love to re read. One for the keepers file.
Stars: bit longer and I’d have gone five, so four and a half. Great book if you love romance and a suspense/mystery behind it.

Read the first chapter of Bold Tricks (TAT #3)

can’t wait for this book….Karina is an incredible writer. I’m still hoping for some Javier turnaround, some acceptable reasons why he’s acted as he has….he must have had a reasons surely – he loved Ellie so much.

Pretty self-explanatory….no?

BoldTricks3

CHAPTER ONE

The storm raged on and inside I was screaming.

I was sitting in a stolen Jeep with no roof, parked on the side of a dirt road beneath a wavering canopy that occasionally let a spattering of rain pelt me in the face. Despite the warmth of the tropical night, I was cold and soaked to the bone in my muddy evening gown.  On one side of me was Camden McQueen, on the other was Javier Bernal. One more light than dark, one more dark than light. Both men had come for me. Both men had loved me. And both of them I had seriously underestimated.

There really wasn’t much time to sit around and try to get my head on straight. But after everything that happened, I knew a panic attack was just waiting to devour me, to incapacitate me, to take me out of…

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Devil at the Crossroads. Cornelia Grey.

Devil at the Crossroads

 

Devil at the Crossroads. Cornelia Grey.

Arc supplied via Netgalley.
Short read, but packed with story. Logan has sold his soul, and we start where he meets Farfello, when he’s twenty one ( I think – around that anyway ) and as with many youths, he thinks everything is a huge drama, and he wants to short-cut the place in music history. He’s the talent but not the patience to wait it out. He wants to become the greatest blues-man, and he wants it Now. Of course he adds in fortune along with the fame, and when we meet him next he’s waiting for Farfello and looking back at the drug and drugs laden years he’s spent, where the fame and fortune over rode the music, where he squandered his talent and now its too late. Farfello has other ideas though 🙂 and Logan doesn’t get what he expects.

Its a fun read, short and sweet and with a couple of hot, carnal, sultry sex scenes. As with most gay romance its quite expensive at £1.93 for 58 pages/441kb but its all plot and story, no wasted fluff filler, and it’s an enjoyable tale. I’m not really a short story fan but did enjoy this, the wondering just what Farfello was going to do, how things would work out for Logan, and I was totlally surprised by the result and Farfello’s plans… 🙂 I’d re read this one again.
Stars: I wish it was longer…but its not so i’m giving it four stars.

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