The Pleasures of Autumn. Evie Hunter.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
I loved the first of this series The Pleasures of Winter, and the follow up novella A touch of Winter. Somehow I missed the Summer versions ( so many books, so little time…) so was really pleased to get a request from authors to review The Pleasures of Autumn. When I’ve time (and cash) I’ll catch up on the Summer versions…
Anyway -Autumn. Its a huge Ruby, the Fire of Autumn, and is worth an eye watering sum and on loan to the Geneva Museum where Siobhan is curator. She’s worked hard to put herself through the educational program needed for this type of work, and through her talent for antiquities and jewels has landed this prestigious job. Then – horror – she’s on tape as having stolen the jewel. She knows it isn’t her, knows who it must be but can she convince anyone she’s telling the truth? It looks like she’s the only person up for the crime so she needs to find the real thief and get the jewel back quickly.
Along the way she is accompanied by Niall, drop dead, gorgeous, security expert and source material for some of her best fantasies…he’s been hired to ensure she meets bail, and to recover the jewel. There’s a simmering attraction between them, and they embark on a steamy, sensual erotic journey on the trail for the jewel. Niall wants to believe her when she says she’s innocent and why – and then again – he knows she’s hiding something from him, so is she trying to pull the wool over his eyes over this? There’s a eye watering, nail biting, journey across countries to trace the jewel, and along the way they encounter dangerous criminals who also want the jewel- and don’t care who they harm in the process. There’s also the erotic BDSM clubs and parties they get involved in – nothing too heavy, but some tantalising and sensual scenes here. There’s secrets and lies, truth and heartbreak, some fabulous characters, and scenes to laugh at as well as to cry…
Its a great suspense novel, wrapped up in a steamy, erotic romance. A book to read and re read, its got such a lot of detail that its easy to miss parts on first reading. I look forward to A Touch of Autumn ( I hope – if the authors follow the other formats) and anything else the authors write. If you like romance and sex, but with a good well written action plot this book is for you. I need the plot – page after page after page of just sex doesn’t do it for me, I need a solid backing story to carry the scenes, and here we have it. Its priced at £3.99 for a massive (hurrah!) 448 pages.
ARC provided via authors.
Stars: five – great read.
Close to you.. Stacia Kane
I love Stacia’s Downside novels, have read them all so far so was keen to review this novella even though shorts aren’t my usual choice. As I know the characters and how they are linked and work, it was easy to follow. Its a topical tale, featuring Chess and Terrible, with a Christmas theme. Great fun, action and danger as usual and I enjoyed it. Its not cheap at £1.85 for 35 pages, but is a fun read and for downside fans a nice pick-up while waiting for the next book.
Arc supplied via Netgalley.
Stars: four – fun read but very, very short for the price.
Vampire Games.Tiffany Allee
I loved Tiffany’s Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid, it made me laugh and I enjoyed her easy and effective writing style, so although this was a different sort of novel I thought i’d enjoy it – and I was right. I hadn’t read her earlier OWEA books, didn’t realise there were any (slapped wrist for jeannie for not doing research!) but its not essential as each has a loose connection, but is also a stand alone novel.
Beatrice, she one of those people who are very moral in that if they can help they will, regardless of the cost to themselves. Using her gift does come at a great personal cost though – she touches things to get impressions from them, and as they’re usually involved in some kind of crime it means she gets some pretty horrific impressions, leading to nightmares from which she can’t escape. Still, when Vampire detective Claude needs her help she can’t say no. He’s sexy too – and they had a past romance, which still burns her with memories of how hot it – and he – was…
Claude thinks he’s past his feelings for her, but they quickly re-ignite and soon they’re sharing much more than just the investigation 🙂 I loved Claude, but was cross that he knew of Beatrice abilities and yet just couldn’t believe what she saw, because he didn’t want to believe it. I understood how frustrating Beatrice found that, and how dangerous it made the investigation for both of them.
There’s a nice mix of characters, plots that flow seamlessly and tie up neatly. I hate loose ends when I finish a novel. This took me in places I hadn’t worked out, involving people I hadn’t guessed and that’s always the best – when the ending comes as a surprise. Priced at £1.85 for 146 pages it’s a shortish read, and although I prefer longer novels I know many people with time restrictions like something they can actaully finish!
ARC supplied via publishers
Stars: four and a half – a great fun, well written read
Bad Cop Angela McAllister
ARC supplied via publishers.
I loved Angelas’ first book in this series, Bad Mouth so was keen to read this. I wasn’t disappointed 🙂 Like the first book we’ve a female lead who doesn’t like the male lead, this time because he’s a Cop and she has personal reasons for disliking the police. He’s hot, she’s attracted but as she tells him she’ll never date a cop….famous last words.
Anyway, they get off on the wrong foot when she takes a new murder case, as the victim is newly turned she says he’s classed as human so under her jurisdiction, and Ian says he’s vampire so he should have been informed. They get thrown together on it; Ian suspects its connected to one he was involved with in the past, but if its the same killer then the person he killed in his job as a Tracker was innocent possibly, so he doesn’t speak out til he knows more. Of course secrets worm their way out, and Alice is furious that he’s not sharing. There’s the attraction constantly sparking between them, along with the irritation they both have for the other. As they learn more about each other, and the reasons why they hold these preconceptions their attitudes change, and they become closer – much, much closer with some very spicy, sexy situations cropping up!!
Things heat up – not just between them, but with the case too and the danger to Alice increases. Ian’s determined to protect her but he can’t cover all dangers. There’s a hard choice at one point, and the whole scene changes with some devastating blows.
Alice is great, but very opinionated and set in her views. She’s willing to be open minded though once another scenario is put to her. Though she faces tragedy she also learns more about events she thought were different, and it makes her look at her past in another light. Ian too has demons from his past shaping his present actions. He skates close to the line when doing his job, too close sometimes and though in the past he’s not been worried about what happens to him, now he’s attracted to Alice he needs to toe the line more. Can he change his old habits though, or will his actions mean he faces sanctions that could mean his death.
I really enjoyed this story again, it was good meeting some of the people from book one, and I love the way the story builds on what happened then and sets up for the next book. It can be read as a stand alone, it has a proper conclusion but the background is suggested for more action later. Its priced at £2.05 and though I don’t have length info I’d guess at around 200 pages so good value and one for the keepers file.
Stars: five once again 🙂
Trancehack. Sonya Clark
I loved Sonya’s Mojo Queen and Red House so looked forward to reading this. I was a bit concerned over the world setting. Its reminded me a bit of the way the Psy-net works in Nalini Singh novels, and though I love and count her Angels works among my favourites I struggle with the Psy ones. I needn’t have worried though, the Net part of things here is an essential part but doesn’t dominate the novel. And even as a real Tech Nerd I could follow how things worked and what Calla was doing.
So about the characters, Calla, I loved her from the start. A real independent and strong woman on the surface, she’s far more underneath, and along with club owner Vadim (?) and some other volunteers she ran an underground dangerous rescue mission. Its a horrific world – again reminded me of another novel, The Chysalids which I read and loved at school. Its the way in this novel those with magic, different and therefore deemed dangerous, were isolated from their families and from society in general, having to live and survive on the outskirts (the Fringes from what I recall of the Chysalids) with no rights to vote, mix with normals, own things, marry etc. Normals having children testing positive for Magic via DNA tests had to give the baby up. Then there’s Nate, the Normal policeman, who’s been brought up to dislike Magicborns, through a family history tragedy. He’s a great guy, I love his lines “that’s detective as-shole to you”…. and he’s so genuine. Despite his upbringing and parents t Nate is a decent character, learning things all the while from his recent move to the city, and seeing Magicborn people for the first time at close quarters. Nate is a fair man but naive, and when he’s put on the track of a murderer he gets suspicions that shake some of his long held beliefs. Add to that the attraction he feels for Calla, that grows as the novel progresses, and the futility of it just because she’s Magic born he starts questioning things. And that dangerous – very dangerous for him….
Its a terrific read, very different world, with Magic users, Normals, criminal and political manoeuvrings, love and danger. I really felt for the Magicborns, the people caught up in the unfairness. Its seems its a US based thing thus leading to a sort of resistance movement being formed to help people get to other more welcoming countries. The romance too was really well done, sensual and erotic in the right parts but not overtaking the storyline as so often happens. Just the right balance of sex and story for me.
Vadim – I really hope Sonya plans this as a series, and there’s more from him. He’s got the sort of mystery feel about him that makes him a natural leader, and I’m sure he’s strong enough to take a greater role in the next book. I’d like to know more too about how Calla and Nate work things out, what happens after the resolution and reveals we got at the end of this book. Its not a cliffhanger thank goodness – I so HATE those, and the story ends properly but isn’t completely finished – there’s bits left open that whet my curiosity to know more. The world building is certainly strong enough to carry lots more from these and new characters. Please Sonya 🙂
Priced at £1.91 for 231 pages, 89,000 words, its a bargain and will sustain re reading especially if its going to be a series 🙂 I also like it that word count is included, sometimes books appear to be 300-400 pages and yet are a quick read, and if word count was given would be only 60-70,000. Word count is a good, fair way for readers to judge, rather than page count which is format dependent. Thanks Sonya or publishers, whichever decided to include it.
NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley.
Stars: five, great read and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Four Weddings and a Werewolf. Kristin Miller
ARC supplied via Netgalley.
I’ve enjoyed some of Kristin’s romances before so knew I was in a for a light paranormal read. This is a sweet romance, light and gentle, some drama but nothing edge of seat, and perfect for when you just want a book to relax with and not have to think too hard. Its got some morality too where Veronica is judging a whole section of people based on the actions of one – and we’re all guilty of things like that some times.
Logan doesn’t want a wife – he’s a real settled relationship/wedding avoidance person and he makes that clear. Veronica is in no way out for a romance with a werewolf…but when they first meet, and for some time after she doesn’t know he is one…
She has a stalker, a werewolf and Logan has been hired by her soon to be brother in law to protect her. He and her sister are werewolves, so with lots of them coming to her sisters wedding that she’s arranging, Veronica is going to be totally enmeshed with a section of people she despises. Even though her sister is one through an attack she can’t take to them – perhaps because of the attack, and despite her sisters pleading. She sees Leah as the exception to the rule….and wants nothing to do with more of them if she can avoid it.
There’s lots of emotion here, from the developing romance between Logan and Veronica despite both them fighting against it – to the relationship between the sisters. And …pussy willow – that’s all I can say there but its a silly, funny moment! Appeals to my schoolgirl humour I guess. …
So a sweet romance, a little light, dramatic action keeping a side plot going, and a lot of heat from Logan and Veronica! Overall a decent read, its a bit too light and is a one off for me, but I know lots of people who love light and fluffy, for whom this would be a keeper.
Stars: three and a half.
Isn’t She Lovely. Flirt New Adult Romance. Lauren Layne.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.
The New Adult genre is a fairly recent phenomena, and I think an inaccurate label; fun romances such as this one appeal to all ages, and I’m certainly long past the New Adult label 🙂 Anyway – this was a fun, romantic, easy to read novel. The description tells you pretty much how it shapes out – for me it was a fun way to spin an old topic. I’ve read books that are very similar to each other and this Pretty Woman/Pygmalion ( read the G B Shaw one years ago at high school ) theme is one that’s been done over and over and still appeals when its done well.
Stephanie – grunge girl in Goth black, spiky, prickly, and at times almost rude meets Ethan. They’re both just out of a breakup, and at film studies together when the tutor gives the class an assignment to do with a partner – of his choosing. Of course they get partnered and learn a lot about each other over the next few weeks. They decide to do a Pygmalion screenplay based around their experience where Stephanie pretends to be Ethan’s new girlfriend when he has to attend several family functions. She has to get “dressed up” to play the part, the hair gets cut, the make-up gets lighter, the black Goth clothes and piercings go, and slowly more than just her appearance changes. He needs a girlfriend to stop his mother matchmaking and trying to get him back with his ex, long term girlfriend and daughter of parents long time friends and business acquaintances. Stephanie is temporarily homeless, so he offers his second bedroom. Game on, and they play the part so well they begin to convince themselves. Is there more to it than that though? I love the way both are afraid to come out and say they care, for fear the other one doesn’t. Ethan’s mum; at first she’s a real classic bitch in the clever ways she tries to put Stephanie down, but Stephanie is tough – she’s faced greater enemies that his mum and she’s very clever at the game played. I loved that part, a good bitch is always an asset in a romance.
They’re both hiding secrets that slowly come out as they get closer. When things go wrong -as they need to in a good love story IMO, we readers need the angst and tears 🙂 can they pull it back? They’ve both made mistakes and Ethan’s mum has some surprising advice for him. I just loved the way it all fell together in the end. Perfect, and a satisfying ending. Its sweet but not sickly, has enough drama not to make it that way, and is a really pleasant read to escape from reality for a couple of hours.
Stars: not quite deep enough for a five from me but a very well deserved four.
Vengeance Borne. Sentry of Evil 1. Amanda Bonilla
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
Well, I love paranormal especial when there’s a romance thread running through. I’ve not read any of Amanda’s work before (though I can see she’s another series that looks good and might try them when I’ve time and cash! So many books, so little time…) Anyway I plunged in to Vengence Borne, and its one of those where you get straight into the action. Its voiced in third person, and very action and dialogue orientated. I love those, I don’t want pages of description of what’s happened and is going to happen, but need to feel I’m there, in the thick of the action. Jacqueline was someone I immediately felt close to, and I understood her actions and thoughts from the tough upbringing she’d had. Finn….a good looking charmer and – well – he was someone we’ve all met, one of those who think they know best and do what they think is best, but that’s not necessarily what you want them to do. Micah – the mystery man, but I fell for him quickly. Trish, everyone’s favourite grandma or hard hearted practical person? Actually I think she’s a bit of both, and as the series goes on I think we’ll learn more than just the first impressions we’ve been given of these key characters.
There’s other people too, brought in for background and practical purposes but these four seem to be the nucleus. Its a great story, gripping, magical, tough and cruel sometimes – well the supernatural world isn’t one for sweet and light people. I really enjoyed it, thought it was well set out, and followed up with tempting glimpses given of what could happen, how they may get through it, and then spanners thrown in to gum up all the plans. It does finish neatly the plots in this book, no horrible cliffhangers, but with the feeling we’ve lots more to come from the gang. Its a cracking finale and a really fun read if you like a spark of humour and romance with your magical witchery and supernatural creatures. Its priced at £2.49 for 380 pages so excellent value and one I’d happily re read.
ARC supplied via Netgalley
Stars: 4.5 – almost a full five.
Outback Affair Annie Seaton.
I love a romance, so dived into this. Its a very straightforward story, I found I could predict coming events almost as I read, so there wasn’t anything that really gripped me with excitement, but it was a fun read. For those who love simple easy to read romances, like the book equivalent of the Hallmark afternoon films Him Indoors loves. ( He sits there with tears in his eyes while I’m snorting at him, with tears for a different reason! “You’ve no heart” he says laughing at me. He loved Little House on the Prairie too – he used to phone a local pub owner when it finished, and they’d compare how they felt…the other guy would never admit to anyone else his secret, kept his tough guy image up but I knew! ) I do have a heart, that’s why I love romances, but I need strong highs and lows to get it racing, and feel the emotions that move me to tears and for me this book didn’t deliver those. Maybe its because I read such a lot that I need something about the norm? Outback Affair is what it says though – made for the Indulgence market, a shortish read for those moments when you just want to slip away into a gentle romance with a HEA. Of course there’s limits to what you can include with length restrictions.
The basic storyline is simple, the characters fun and believable, and I enjoyed the Outback journey details and the snippets of humour that crept in ( the glove compartment that was like Mary Poppins bag – though with vastly different contents!). There were some sensual, spicy sex scenes, but they were very well written, nothing anyone would find offensive and fitted the story and people perfectly.
ARC supplied by publisher.
Stars: well, for many readers I’m sure this would be a five, its certainly well written and deserving on that score but for me personally, the enjoyment I got its a three and half for the reasons I’ve outlined above. That may be just what makes it a five for you though 🙂