Archive | December 2013

Inch by Inch. (The Professor’s Rule, #3)Heidi Belleau Amelia C. Gormley

Inch by Inch (The Professor's Rule)

Inch by Inch. (The Professor’s Rule, #3)Heidi Belleau Amelia C. Gormley

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.
I’d read book two in this series, though oddly part one seems to be between parts two and three, and I’ve not read that so there was some mental musings to work things out but its not difficult. These are all short novellas that deal with facets of the relationship between James and the Professor. After his sexy encounter with Satish James is keen to take their relationship further – but how will the Prof feel? He’s pushed James into encounters with other men where he’s either watched, or directed James actions and wanted an account afterwards but James doesn’t want Satish involved in that…he feels more for him, and that involving the Prof will diminish what they might have. Of course given that James has a need for the pain the professor can give him in their BDSM encounters, he needs to know if Satish can cope with that as its something he just can’t give up. Its not something I really understand this giving and receiving pain, but its clear here both of them enjoy it and get something they need from it especially James. Needing something like this must make relationships very difficult.
I was a bit puzzled at how James had managed without the Prof and his whips for past two years, and yet once back was so dependent on him that he risks what he might have with Satish. I like James, feel sad for him that he needs the pain outlet for his emotions, and would love to see him work things out with Satish. Its early days though and there’s some drama and heartbreak in store for James yet. Thankfully we get a suggestion things will work out for him at the end 🙂 I’d hate to leave him all sad…..
Stars: four, fun read, but very very short so its difficult to really get into.
NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley

The Redhead Plays Her Hand. Alice Clayton

The Redhead Plays Her Hand

 

The Redhead Plays Her Hand. Alice Clayton
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.

I loved the first two Redhead books, but its some months and several hundred books since I read them, so a re read was in order to bring me back to Grace and Jacks world. I could have dived straight in, but I think re reading made me appreciate the story so much better.
Ah Jack – I fell in love with him all over again. Grace – I could empathise with her so much, she’s older than Jack, only nine years but the media have been making much of that, and of course she’s had such a lot to overcome to get where she is, and that kind of knock to her confidence brings back all her own fears about herself and her history and about Jack….
She’s been a huge success in the Mabel Unstable play, and its now being turned for TV with her keeping the lead role. The producers though are adamant that she lose weight, and that’s tough as she’s not overweight, but the media mania for stick insects persists. Add to that the ageist comments that make her out to be a cougar, and she’s feeling under pressure again – and who could blame her….and Jack seems to be having his own crisis, friends with a co star “bad boy” he seems to be out on the town all the while he’s away from Grace. Is the Hollywood lifestyle becoming too much for him to handle? There’s pressures between him and Grace and him and manager Holly, and with her still forbidding him to be seen out publicly with Grace its creating some intense friction between them all.
Its a fabulous read, after all the heartbreak of book two when Grace has her meltdown this time its Jack feeling the pressure and its a very emotional read wondering if Grace and George will get their happy ending….and when things go wrong there’s pages and pages of sadness, lots of emotion, lots of misery for me to wallow in 🙂 – and that makes all the difference as once things begin to look up its like climbing out of a deep hole. I love authors that can write this deep, intense emotion into a romance, I don’t want sweet and light, everything bland and boring, I want overwhelming highs and lows, and to feel lost in the characters emotions. And of course the media frenzy about Grace’ age – the other way round and its “way to go man” – but older woman, and she’s written off as some media hungry cougar hanging on the coattails – sad isn’t it, and the book writes it exactly as we see it played out in real life. Ditto Grace’ weight – we’ve an obsession about females and image and yet men don’t have all that to put up with, grey for them is distinguished not ageing, weight gain – they’re not fatties, tubby, overweight, any of the labels women get but… well, they just “fill out a suit well”. Then there’s wrinkles , on a women she’s ageing, in need of facelift/botox but for a man – just adds character…so annoying and this book takes all that and that’s what makes the plot and people come alive for me.
Fabulous ending too – ties up the trilogy brilliantly.
Stars: five – fabulous novel. .

NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley

Black Heart. Christina Henry.

Black Heart. Christina Henry.

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.

I loved this series to begin with, Maddy was a likeable person, Beezle made me laugh, Gabriel made me swoon….and there were other people that added to the mix, her friend Patrick , other agency staff and her cross to bear and boss JB!, her father, grandfather and Nathaniel. Things have changed though over the course of the books, Maddy has become harder, less prone to looking for a peaceful solution and using a “let them all burn, heh heh heh …” approach it seems to me. She does have a bit of conscience when she thinks about those who are being killed, but mostly a pragmatic –“ it had to be done, well at least I think it did, ah well too late now” view it seems to me. Black Heart describes how she’s becoming, and I’m bothered that she’s becoming accepting of her darkness. Patrick was killed, Gabriel was killed, she’s no longer with the agency, JB has become a fan of hers now..her father is dead and Nathaniel – well he’s become someone unrecognisable. When Gabriel died that was it I said – I can’t read Maddy without Gabriel – their relationship was a kingpin of the books, so I ducked out on the last book, then decided maybe I was wrong so tried the series once more.
I can’t believe what’s happened to Maddy though – she’s not someone I really like any more 😦 She’s pregnant with Gabriel’s child, but it seems he’d only been dead a couple of weeks when she picked up into a relationship with Nathaniel of all people – that’s right, the one who was so uncaring, so horrible and cruel etc….how could she? She loved Gabriel, they’d been through so much and to just move on to someone else so soon….
Anyway this book brings more of that plus the usual slew of dangers that Maddy has to sort. It was good to see Beezle again, and he’s at least a voice of sanity and advice for her. Once again though she doesn’t really have any plans, but rushes headlong blasting everything with fire it seems. It’s action packed, she’s just out of one crisis when she’s plunged into another. It seems to be a book that relies on constant action and dangers, and more and more people and powers are introduced, and its become quite a muddy, murky mix for me. Without the Maddy/Gabriel spark though this series has lost its attraction for me and become just an OK one when it began as a solid five star for me. Still, as always we all have different tastes and I’m sure there’ll be others that love it. Its the end of the “black” road for me though 😦
Stars: three

NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley

Supermarket Magic. Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients. Michael Furie

 

Supermarket Magic: Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients

Supermarket Magic. Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients. Michael Furie

I’ve always had an interest in alternative healing, nature, pagan religions etc so am open minded about whether such things as magic and spells really can work. So many books though are written as though the reader already knows about ingredients and rituals. Not this one, so if like me you’re an open minded but very amateur practitioner/reader this book is perfect.

Michael explains very clearly and easily how to set up things for the best chance of success. How to meditate, how to visualise what you want, how to be specific about what you hope to achieve. Add to that the easy way he shows how to source ingredients and you’re away 🙂 no eye of toad and bats ears here, no gathering drops of dew from under a fallow oak tree after a new moon, no wearing expensive robes and using specially cast pots on available from select expensive outlets…just simple easy to follow recipes and instructions. Magic for everyone interested and seeking to learn more but short on cash to spend on speciality items. The spells too are easily set out, simple steps to follow and eliminates the possibility of error. That’s essential for success, it’s no good setting a spell asking for your boss to give you a much needed raise, but mistaking a word or ingredient and turning him into a toad!!! (though maybe you want him turned into a toad? But this book won’t tell you how to do it. It follows the “do no harm” principles of best magic.

Its a great read and clever source book for anyone open minded enough to want to learn more. It’s 288 paperback pages, I don’t have kindle info or price yet.

Stars: a really fun and interesting read – five stars.

Arc supplied by Netgalley

Coming soon, sequel to Me,Cinderalla !!

I read the fabulous Me, Cinderella recently ( https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/me-cinderella-aubrey-rose/ )  and it was an amazing book, romance but very different, very haunting quality so i’m really excited to read that the sequel will be out soon and to preview the cover.

Beautiful man up close

“What do you think, universe? Does he love me? Do I love him? Is this what love is?”

My fingertips trailed over one of the daisy’s petals, soft and white. Without letting myself hesitate, I plucked the petal from its center.

“I love him.”

Another petal.

“I love him not.”

Another petal. This one ripped a third of the way down the middle, leaving a jagged edge of white.

“I love him.”

A bird called out from one of the cypress trees edging the cemetery and I stopped, closing my hand over the daisy. How could the random distribution of petals in a flower, whether even or odd, predict love? I crumpled the flower in my palm.

“What am I doing here, mom? Should I stay? Here in Hungary?”

An image of my mother flashed into my mind—a dark, hooded figure, tearing her to shreds. A chill ran through my bones, even in the summer sun. My mother had come to Hungary and never left. I shook the cold thought from my mind.

“I’m sorry, mom. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better. I wish I knew more. I wish you could be here to tell me what to do.”

I tilted my head back and kept talking.

“Eliot told me that I could stay with him as long as I wanted, even next year. I could finish up my math degree at the academy. It would be nice, I guess, to be with him. I’d live in the castle. It’s a nice castle. I know, right? A nice castle. And we’d be working on the math problem more.”

My eyes burned red as I knew what I had to say next. It had been so many times now that I’d visited my mom that I had stopped crying. I never really did cry much. And yet now, thinking about staying with Eliot, with his strange withdrawals, I was on the verge of outright sobs. I managed to choke out the words quietly, without letting the tears fall.

“But I miss my friends back home. I miss Shannon. I miss everyone in the math department. Even Quentin. And Mark is going home soon…”

I looked down at the envelope. Mark’s letter. I hadn’t responded to any of his texts. He’d left me voicemails telling me that he loved me, telling me that he understood if I didn’t want to talk, telling me that he hoped I was better. I didn’t know how to answer him. How do you talk to a friend after you’ve broken his heart?

I blinked back into focus, took a deep breath, and ripped open the envelope. When I read the letter, all of the air in my lungs seemed to disappear, and the crumpled daisy in my hand fell forgotten to the ground.

Brynn,

I need to talk to you. It’s about your mom.

**************************************************

 

 

Feel the Heat. Kate Meader

Feel the Heat (Hot In the Kitchen)

 

Feel the Heat. Kate Meader
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
Romance – always good for a bit of escape into my mind so having had a few paranormals I wanted something different and chose this. Lili is a great character, full of fun but held back by all the family responsibilities heaped on her. Cara – big sister, has arranged for her TV show starring British chef Jack to film at last minute at the family restaurant. Of course she’s hoping that Lili will get together with Jack who has a bit of a playboy rep, thinking Lili needs to have a bit of fun. It all backfires though – as someone who had bad self image from childhood teasing I can really empathise with Lili when she gets to be the focus of Jack fans on twitter, face-book et al…and its not done in a nice way but a really unpleasant bitchy way. She’s hurt and upset, Jack sees that and he’s hurt too – he doesn’t want her to see Jack the famous chef, but Jack the man. They dance around a bit, they’re both clearly very attracted to each other, and there are some scorching scenes when they get together. He wants to date her, she’s scared to, even the little action they’ve had has caused her problems with family and her self image, they connect briefly, then all crashes down before slowly picking up again. Its a very emotive book, full of sensuality and steam – not just from the kitchen!
Great characters, good plot-line so why isn’t it five star from me? Well, I’m not actually sure of that myself, I just know that I didn’t really get lost in the book, but was always aware of what else going on. In a five star read I’m so engrossed the house could be on fire and I’d not notice…and with this book I didn’t have problems putting it aside to do other things. It was good, very good but just not that five star excellent. I’m quite cross with myself that I can’t explain why too – sorry, I hate it when readers do that and here I am doing the same 😦 On the plus side its excellent value at just £1.49 for a terrific 384 pages!
Stars: four.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Severed Colours. A Colour Wielders Novel, Book Two. Dawna Raver

 

Severed Colours (A Colour Wielders Novel)

Severed Colours. A Colour Wielders Novel, Book Two. Dawna Raver
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I love fantasy, but its a very broad spectrum and whereas I love one end, son no 1 – also a fantasy lover – hates what I read in general, but loves fantasy at the opposite end, the Pratchett, Tolkien etc side 🙂 Anyway thinking I’d like this – I do love books with Fae, as it gives so much scope – I began to read.
Sadly though it just didn’t resonate for me, I found the action and the characters just too…I don’t really know how to put it..unreal maybe? That’s tough when you’re talking about fiction, but for me even fantasy characters have to feel real, and the plots credible. I just didn’t take to these characters, and the plot seemed just too long and drawn out. I felt Quinn was unfair to Arik even though she knew he’d done his best, and that irritated me. I didn’t really like any of the other characters, they all seemed users but that could be because I was really skim reading by then. I need to get lost in a book, to feel part of the action and here I felt like a detached observer 😦
If you like your fantasy the other side of the spectrum to me then you’ll probably love this, its beautifully written, very descriptive and full of action, just sadly not a story that grabs me. That’s a personal thing, not a reflection of the quality of the writing or story of course, and my review needs to be read as such. I didn’t find the sex scenes to be overly graphic so don’t be put off by the warning if this is the sort of novel you like. They fitted the story perfectly. Its a very good price at £1.88 for 361 pages.
Stars: two – again remember that’s a personal view, of my own enjoyment of the novel and not reflective of the book quality.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Wrecked. Priscilla West

Wrecked

 

Wrecked. Priscilla West
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.

Occasionally I like a foray into the new adult market. I love plenty of angst in my reading, and usually this provides it. Wel,l Wrecked sounded a good candidate so I began it looking forward to some heavy emotion. And it delivered!
Lorrie – ah Lorrie, she’s trying so hard to pick up her life after the tragedy of her parents death and the ensuing scandals. A real tough time for her, but she’s trying to move on. She’s not ready to date though – just day to day living provides more than enough for her to get through, without adding relationships into the mix. Then she meets Hunter, in an unusual way. There’s an attraction on both sides, but he respects her decision that they will be just friends. Hunter has some hidden secrets too though, and combined with Lorrie’s problems will they prove too much for them? Hunter – the campus man all the girls want, cage fighter, tattooed, laid back – he’s all the things girls like Lorrie need to avoid. Yet underneath he’s a different person, and he desperately wants to get closer to Lorrie.
I love the dance of two people attracted to each other and yet running away from it – its two steps forward, one back, a sensual tangle of words and actions. Slowly events pile up, until without my noticing they’ve become on the verge of a relationship. There was some intense drama here – I loved that. I loved Hunter too, but at times found Lorrie irritating. Maybe that’s harsh on my part as she had so much to get over from her past, and she seemed to be doing it and moving on with Hunter into a relationship, and then it all went badly wrong..Arghh – I wanted angst and I got it in spades! This book is really moving when things go awry, and I felt so much for both of them. It was as if life was conspiring against them 😦
There’s a part two – and regular readers of my reviews will know how I hate the cliffhangers! Gah! Thankfully though Priscilla gives us a strong indication of what’s going to happen, and some hope for the two, and a really good point is that this is out in Dec 2013 and book two soon after in early 2014, so hopefully not too long to wait. When readers have to wait months – sometimes more than a year – I find books lose their momentum, and when second or third parts finally released I have to go back and remind myself of the story, and somehow it never quite gels properly. Still, a couple of months is fine so I hope that the release date stays, and doesn’t get – as happens too often – postponed. It’s a good long book too at 350 pages, I love that so we can really get to know characters and background issues. I don’t yet have price info.
Stars: loved this book, five stars.
ARC supplied via Netgalley

My Life Untold. S.S. Gee Buro.

My Life Untold

 

My Life Untold. S.S. Gee Buro.

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.

Sometimes I like a dip into history. This particular book reads like an autobiography, as its told from the viewpoint of Magda, as a narrative to her descendent Winifred. Its a beautifully written story, easy to read and not bogged down in weighty, dull descriptions but has scenes that are vivid, and made me feel as if I was there. It starts with Magda as a young child, goes on to the familys journey to a new start on Stone Farm and her childhood time there. They have a farmhand Lars who is only a few years older than Magda and they fall in love. The Civil war intervenes though, and Lars is taken prisoner. We read about Magda’s life back at the farm at this time, how the village coped, what life was really like then on a day to day basis.
When her parents have died and she finds out Lars is a prisoner, she determines she’ll travel the 800 miles to where he is, dressed as a soldier for some safety, and try to buy him free. She undertakes a perilous journey, and its fascinating to read about it and feel as though we’re there with her. Its full of minutiae that makes it come alive. Magda learns a lot about herself on this journey, and she and Lars come through the war whole but not unscathed. Though still deeply in love, they’re not the same people they started. Life shapes us all and they were certainly well tried.
I loved this story as something with historical accuracy, and yet penned for the reader of fiction who wants small details of daily life, and not weighty explanations of battle tactics 🙂 I felt for Magda – she faced so much for love of Lars, and they both grew up suddenly faced with the atrocities of war. Life wasn’t easy anyway for people like them at that time, but throw in a war and they were really tested, and yet in the way of the best true love stories they came though shining. Its a beautiful, heartfelt tale and the addition of the linking up Magda and Lars to the current family was a great way to finish. Fabulous escape into history.
Stars: five, great read.

ARC supplied via Authors

Elect. Rachel Van Dyken

Elect. Rachel Van Dyken

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.

I love fiction, and of course the clue is in the name, the reader needs to suspend reality sometimes to enjoy a novel at its best. This series is like that – if you can’t get past late teens/early twenties being in seats of power you won’t like it. ( strange how I had problems with another of Rachel’s book where characters in late 20’s were acting very very juvenile and yet I can accept the role reversal in this one? Curious, but then taste in many things is always subjective) If you can though this book, and the previous one Elite: 1 (Eagel Elite) ,make for a fun and entertaining read. I enjoyed part one very much, but found this one a little “Mafia fight” heavy, and some of the lines a bit corny… and not so much invested with the characters themselves as the people they portray – i.e. Nixon as head of the Abandonato rather than Nixon Trace’s boyfriend. That brought it down a bit for me 😦 it’s the people more than the plot that matters for me mostly, but it still was a fun read. There’s lots of fighting,shootings, stabbings, killing, double dealing and blackmail and at times I was a bit lost as to who was on who’s side…but it all came together neatly. For all the shootings and stabbing and murders you’d think Authority other than Mafia would get involved, but it seems a word in the right ear and all is hidden in the flick of a hand. The pain threshold of Nixon and Co is very strong too – they take being beaten and shot in their stride and carry on just wiping off the blood along the way 🙂 I’m sure given tweezers, needle and thread they’d remove the bullet from their flesh, stitch it up and still not be more than five minutes late for class!
So, a decent finish from book one, all the lose ends tied up and a fun read. Would I read it again? Probably not, but it was something very different and made a change from the norm. I guess if I were new adult age group I’d probably re read and it would be a five star but for me as an older person its a one off.
I haven’t got pricing info, or length but assume its similar to book one, seems similar length anyway.
Stars: four.
ARC supplied via Netgalley

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