Archive | January 2014

Rook. Allie’s War, Book One. JC Andrijeski

 

Rook: Allie's War, Book One

Rook. Allie’s War, Book One. JC Andrijeski

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I love fantasy/paranormal romance, and the premise of this book intrigued me. I’d read the sample and wanted to know more. I’ve mixed feelings though, I loved the sample but that’s the simplest part of the story, its get more and more complex and involved, with panic stricken journeys in this world and a parallel one, with people being more than they are, and sometimes more than one person…. When I could keep up with the story I really enjoyed it, but found I was skipping much of the book, as frankly I just didn’t understand what it was about, and many of the scenes seemed to be long and drawn out. I suspect that’s because JC is setting a complex novel in a world very different to what we are used to, and that’s a lot to ask of any first book in a series. I suspect, as I’ve found before, that further on in the series I’ll understand far more about the sections and story lines I’ve skipped.

I enjoyed the people and the settings, its complex but yet once I could grasp the structure it makes sense, more or less.. I liked Allie, felt for her, she seems to have had a somewhat troubled childhood, and just when she thinks life is settling, along comes the delicious Revik. Oh I really felt for both of them over the misunderstandings about what was said and implicated, where Allie didn’t know the consequences of her actions, and he was trying to spare her in the best way he could.

I’m still somewhat confused over others in the novel, apart from her friend and brother, as I’m unsure of who was on what side, and sometimes forgot who someone was and how they fitted in. There’s a lot of accidental and deliberate confusion, intentional double dealing, governments and organisations putting a different spin on past and present events. Like I said – its complicated…and to be honest juts a bit too complicated for me. I’m mulling over reading more – I love the idea that Allie and Revik can work things out and be together, and the storyline is exciting and unusual, its just that I’m really not sure that I want to spend time on the next books in case I don’t enjoy them – like I said, I think I will, and maybe they settle down into less complex works now the world setting is done, but I just don’t know, hence my mixed feelings. I’ll need to read a few reviews I guess before deciding. It’s priced at £2.05 for 404 pages.

Stars: Three and a half, touching on a four. I think if I go on to read more and once I’ve got the world setting and people fixed better in my mind I could probably come back and re rate this at a five. Its that good, well written, unusual, its just that at present I’m a bit lost.

ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Wolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor court – Book One). Elizabeth Moss

 

Wolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor court - Book One)

Wolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor court – Book One). Elizabeth Moss

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I’ve not read many historical novels for a while, for a time they were my only reading and I devoured those by Philippa Gregory, Allison Weir, Sharon Penman, Elizabeth Chadwick and others. I’d read Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantells prizewinner but to be honest I didn’t really enjoy it, and seeing this book compared to that I wasn’t sure about it – still, I put in a request and …Wow, I’m so glad. This isn’t some accurate, stuffy look at the past, but a peep into Tudor times and the eroticism that was around then. King Henry is as ever casting his roaming eye around, the courtiers and ladies having secret – or not so secret – dalliances, and the Queen ( Anne, well he had a few…) appears to be unable to bear a son. As was the case at that time it was always the ladies fault and Henry wanted a new wife so she had to go. He didn’t think divorce would be permitted again, so she’s charged with adultery and witchcraft.

Among all this Eloise gets caught up. She’s a lady in waiting, though far more moral and chaste than so many, and she discovers her father has given her in marriage to their neighbour Lord Wolf. He recalls her from childhood, and thinks she’ll make a suitable wife. Having been made a fool of by his previous fiancée many years before, he’s done with love but something about Eloise intrigues him. He thinks once married that will wear off, but she’ll be fine for providing an heir. Eloise is shattered, convinced she’s in love with a courtier Simon, she soon discovers her tentative plans for them to marry are not what he has in mind at all, but he’ll be happy to have an affair with her after their marriage. She’s horrified, devastated at his words, and doesn’t want to marry at all, let alone to the aloof and frightening Lord Wolf. Still, the marriage goes ahead..and Elizabeth takes us on a journey into the past, showing us these people and the other side to them, and often in a sensual, erotic way. Though Eloise is scared, Lord Wolf is very patient and gradually seduces her til she craves his touch, and is eager to take whatever he has to offer sexually. Its incredibly sexy, and well written, the heat simmers between them bursting into a crescendo of fire.

Then Henry wants rid of the Queen, Lord and Lady Wolf are recalled to court, and have the difficult place of trying to avoid getting caught up in the furore that could lead to Eloise death if found complicit in the Queens adultery. Dangerous times for all, and no one knows who’s watching whom..and along the way some of the past is revealed, secrets are let out, misunderstandings lead to heartbreak – oh lots drama all round, and I just love to wallow in it 🙂

I loved this book, would love to read the rest, and its a series I’d read over and over. A skilful blend of history, romance and erotica. It’s certainly not what I expected, its far, far more, and makes for a fabulous novel and one I loved. It’s priced at £3.52 for 399pages.

Stars: five, unexpectedly sensual, erotic, historical romance tied up in a fascinating glimpse of history and the dangers of court life.

ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Southbound Surrender. Raen Smith

 

Southbound Surrender. Raen Smith

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

Sometimes you read a book description, flick through sample and think it fits what you want but…it doesn’t 😦 That’s how Southbound Surrender was for me. Its well written, decent plots and no big loopholes but – it just didn’t get my attention. I read through it as it was a review book. If it hadn’t been I’d not have continued, but I found that really I wasn’t that bothered what happened to the characters, and whether they finally found their way back together. I just found the journey rather..tedious. There were a few light, dramatic moments and of course a secret to be revealed, but I really wasn’t invested in the outcome. A combination of both characters that I didn’t love – they were OK, not horrible or anything, but for me I need to really want them to be together, to get invested and carried along by their emotions, and that the plot just wasn’t working for me.

I enjoy second chance romances, but somehow this one just didn’t float my boat so to speak. That’s life, we don’t love everything we read and just because its not one for me doesn’t mean you wont like it. As I said the book itself is perfectly well written and I’m sure will have lots of five star followers, its just a personal thing that for me it wasn’t right. It’s reasonably priced at £1.87 for 308 pages.

Stars: two and a half, just a good story that didn’t work for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley.

Love Show Audrey Bell

 

Love Show

Love Show Audrey Bell

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I saw this book, read the sample and was hooked. Sometimes after the sample the story goes downhill, but not here, it just gets better and better.

Hadley is an overachiever and against relationships, having seen her parents divorce and remarry numerous times. She’s decided its career only for her. Then she meets Jack, and he’s her opposite – totally laid back, unambitious, in fact he has no idea what’s going to happen next in his life. He really is a go with the flow man, so when Hadley proposes a friends with benefits stance, after she tells him why she won’t date he accepts. He’s convinced somewhere there must be a downside, no dates, no dinners, no flowers, or any of the usual boy/girl stuff, just lots and lots of hot erotic sex. And it is hot, sensual, sexy, they really steam when they are together. I loved them and the way Jack gradually insinuates himself into Hadley’s world, without either of them really noticing. We just know that its going to end up more then either of them envisaged. When we learn more about them we see that their positions are shaped by the past, and Jack especially has some pretty horrific stuff happen.

I liked Hadley’s flatmate too, David. Gay and proud of it, he had escaped from his small town, bigoted background and was a real friend to Hadley. It was him that dared Hadley to kiss someone at the tailgate which let to her meeting Jack. There’s a secondary storyline about homophobia, and the problems of being gay. David has a boyfriend who isn’t out, is a football jock, and insists they keep their relationship totally secret. He’s a homophobe in public, ignores David, goes out with girls and yet insists David change for him, cut his hair, dress more conservatively, not go out with his gay friends, and then there are incidents where he gets violent. Poor David, its one of those where you can tell it isn’t going to work but he is convinced its love 😦 Its a very real story both from the Not Out part, and the dangers that poses to a relationship, and the violence which can happen in any partnership. There’s good things happen to David too thankfully, as you just can’t help loving him and wanting something nice for him, but I would have liked to know more about what happened to Ben in the end.

When University ends and they go off to their respective plans I was moved to tears, Yep, you know how I love that, a story that has that much emotion and drama, and it didn’t stop there. Poor Hadley, there were harrowing stories from her reporting job, she was thrown in at the deep end and saw much more than she’s anticipated.

So, a fabulous book, full of people who felt real, who I could understand and feel for, and wrapped up in a terrific plot with deep emotions, dark, long lasting dramas and then the sweetest of highs. Its priced at just £2.05 for 354 pages, and if you’re looking for a well written and plotted story with plenty of emotion and drama this book is for you

Stars: Five, and one for the keepers file to be re read.

ARC supplied by author

A Boat Made of Bone Nicole Grotepas

 

A Boat Made of Bone (The Chthonic Saga)

A Boat Made of Bone. Book One: The Chthonic Saga. Nicole Grotepas

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I’d read the description and was hooked at this idea of someone real appearing via dreams, so requested this novel and began eagerly but….I found it really difficult to follow the story. Not because of the actual writing style, that was excellent, just the actual plot and storyline.

Kate was living more for her dream Will rather than Ty who was there in front of her, and I didn’t feel she was really fair to him. I didn’t find her that likeable, ditto the whole crew of friends and workmates. I didn’t understand why so much time was spent on the shop where she worked and its problems, as it didn’t seem to add anything to the movement of the story. Then there’s Ty, he had an air of mystery about him and yet – nothing really seemed to happen. I was expecting some kind of link up between him and Will/the Hell journey or some other mysterious past or something…anything…but found nothing.

As well as the characters that I just didn’t engage with, I found the whole plot, well, just odd. First half of book was all normal apart from the dreams with Will, and I was waiting all the while for something to happen, for maybe Ty to throw out a hint, for Malcolm who was made out to be a bit odd to make some kind of move, but. Again…nothing; until they go on the midnight climb and Kate takes a journey into Hell. That was just plain weird, and seemed like a series of linked incidents, and bore no connection other than Kate with the first half of the book.

I felt I was reading two separate books, and nether had any kind of conclusion. Even when I reached the end I still didn’t understand what had happened, there wasn’t any kind of real finish, but as this is book one I can only conclude maybe book two will follow. I don’t know? I’ve looked online and on authors website and blog, but no hints there. Whatever, I won’t be reading it….:( just too “out there” for me. Still, as always we all like different things so this may be up your street, even though for me it was just odd and unfinished. It’s priced at £2.49 for 347 pages.

Stars: Just two I’m afraid, I really didn’t “get” the point of this book.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

Love at Stake. Victoria Davies

 

Love at Stake (Entangled Covet)

Love at Stake. Victoria Davies

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I’d had a run of books that weren’t really working for me, and needed something I’d definitely enjoy so picked up this one. Entangled Covets are always a fun read, always up to standard, sometimes a five star, usually a four but never less than a three, and that’s what I needed to get my reading back on track. Anyway – Abbey and Lucien – what a fun couple. Abbey is “no vamps” while ancient vampire Lucien finds her fun, and determines to change her mind. He bets her that she can’t find his perfect match via the agency in under a month, insisting that she is the liaison and that she waits for thirty minutes to see if the date is working. Of course he’s got an ulterior motive – this way he’s got time to work on Abbey. Abbey needs to do it as the agency numbers are down, and signing up Lucien’s daughter will give them a much needed boost, with other clients then coming forward, and that means job security for Abbey.

There some smouldering sensuality – in romances the old vamps do that so well, and of course with hundreds of years of experience Abbey doesn’t stand a chance with him, he has all the answers to every doubt she has. Slowly he wears her down. He thinks he just needs to get her out of his system, and she thinks one night will allay the feelings she has, get the experience over and back to normal. Of course for both its one night, plus and another , then another…all the while telling themselves its only temporary. He’s not the only one after Abbey though – she’s come up as a close to perfect match for a werewolf and he’s not giving in easily…..

As expected its a realistic, fun read, with some sensuality and hot, erotic sex, Covets aren’t vulgar, they don’t give sex that makes the reader cringe. Well me anyway, sometimes that phrase “ I just threw up a bit in my mouth” springs to mind when I’m reading some books, but never with covets. They’re not deep and dark, but neither are they silly and smutty. This read is a typical Covet, its fun, well written, easy to follow and a perfect way to lose yourself in another world for a couple of hours. Victoria is an author new to me but I won’t hesitate to try other books of hers.

Stars: Four, a fun read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

Unfiltered & Unlawful. Book 1 of the Unfiltered series. Payge Galvin and Ronnie Douglas

Unfiltered & Unlawful (The Unfiltered Series)

Unfiltered & Unlawful. Book 1 of the Unfiltered series. Payge Galvin and Ronnie Douglas

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

So, being a sucker for romance with lots of drama this sounded perfect. I’d read the Amazon sample, and it was good so put in request. But I’d misunderstood exactly what this series is, looking at book two and seeing it had different characters I’d assumed this would be a complete book…and its not. Having read it, and looked again at book two I can now understand what’s happening – it’s 12 linked books about the people in the shop and the action on that night, and the story continues through each person, and I’m guessing we’ll catch up with what’s happening with each one as the series continues. That sounds a fun concept, and though I usually hate serialised novels this is that bit different. There’s a time limit – one book each month – so my pet hate of not knowing when the series continues is sorted. I just hate waiting months, years even, for next part of a novel, whether its a serialised one or a trilogy or whatever, unless there’s at least some kind of closure at the end. My other worry is price, this part is only 74p for 143 pages, and that’s fine, but what about as the series continues? It could prove expensive, and if there’s suddenly a price jump partway through it’ll mean either spending more or giving up and wasting what’s already been spent. If authors have fixed a price for the others I’d love to know, and would certainly make sure that has place in my reviews. I’m sure that would help sales too, as readers will know total cost from the outset. Its one of the things that put me off the CrossFire saga – began as a trilogy, then on day last part out it became a five book serial. That bumps up the total cost considerably especially as often when series get more well known future books go up a huge jump in price. I gave up in that series, felt cheated as a reader and felt I’d wasted money on the first two books. .

Anyway – got that off my chest! So on with the actual book. Excellent writing, plenty of drama and action, coupled with a brief overview of the characters we’ll be meeting, and a beginning of the overall story, starting with Sasha, Adam and Tommy. Sasha has been with addict Tommy on and off over a period of time, but stayed off drugs for the last five months. She really likes his cousin Adam, but he’s not interested she thinks, as shown by his constant string of one night stands ( why stands I wonder?? after all standing isn’t what happens most of the time…) As it happens Adam really likes Sasha and the girls are just a way of escape for him, given that he’s very stringent about what he eats, drinks and exercises. His body is a work of art, and he’s a believer in organic, healthy eating and drinking. Drugs are most definitely out.

So, we’ve two people who would love to get together, but each thinks the other is not interested. How long will that last now they’re on the run together?

As I said earlier, now I understand what the series is about better I can see the potential, but with the pitfalls I’ve queried. There’s several different authors too and for the first ( and second) book they’re writing as a duo, which is fun. I’m wondering though how well the continuity will stand up to different authors with different writing styles? I guess having a fairly fixed outline will help that – its going to be interesting finding out. I enjoyed this book, plenty of heat, real characters, a flawed heroine – I do like that. Those perfect ladies just don’t get to have half the fun! Its a lot though to introduce the concept and the beginning of the story in just 143 pages, and I think if this first one at least were a bit longer that would have worked better for me. I just felt like I was getting to grips with a scene or person and it was on to the next one..

Stars: three and a half. I’m finding a rating difficult, I liked the book but its incomplete, and it’s so different from rating a conventional serial, stand alone or duo/trilogy. I think for this particular part I’m going three and a half, because I feel its got good potential, but very it’s difficult to introduce story and characters properly in such a short length of novel and that’s where it fell down for me. I needed that extra to get really engrossed in the story and people.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

His Favorite Regret. A Romantic Comedy (His Favorite Series #1).Sydney Strand

 

His Favorite Regret. A Romantic Comedy (His Favorite Series #1).Sydney Strand

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I’m a romance lover, but I need a bit extra, something to make it different, and jealousy is a real hook for me, I just love the drama that goes with it. This looked like there was lots of scope for that, with the manger who isn’t approving of Cadie for his film star, and Bo’s two sisters who hate her. Sadly that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, there were moments, but they were few and far and much watered down to what I’d expected 😦

Its an easy to read book though, flows well and people with great characters. Some terrific humour too – and I do love that in a book! Poor Cadie, it seemed like everything went wrong at once for her, and her sister and mother weren’t the supportive kind. Then to add to her week, Bo her lost love is in town. Bo, that man was so, so patient. I did expect though for such a big film star he’d have more security, more problems, and not just be able to wander around unnoticed as he did.

I really wanted a bit more explanation of how they parted, even at the end I was still puzzled by exactly where it went wrong, and about the mysterious Charlie who died. Who was he? What was his connection? If its there in the book I missed it, and being curious I was looking for it, as several reverences had been made to him.

Overall a happy, easy to read romance, but not enough drama for me to want to read again. The sisters and the manager I think could have made a real difference to me about how I enjoyed the book, given it a real edge but…I’m not an author and its probably best that way 🙂

So, if you’re looking for a well written, humorous, and easy to read romance this hits the spot. If like me you want a bit more drama, then maybe not..It’s priced at £2.06 for 163 pages, and maybe if it was a bit longer that extra I need could have been added…

Stars: four. Without that fabulous humour it’d just be a three star ok romance but the snark and wit make it up to a four.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

Laying Claim. Halsey Homecoming Book 1.Paty Jager

 

Laying Claim (Halsey Homecoming)

Laying Claim. Halsey Homecoming Book 1.Paty Jager

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

This is the first in a trilogy, but is complete in itself. I’m guessing the other two will feature other members of the family. Many years ago I read a book ( called Tara Kane I think.. just looked it up and I’m right. Wish it was on kindle as I’d love to read it again ) which featured a lady on a journey in the Yukon in the 1800’s, and this book was reminiscent of that. In both I could feel the cold, smell the sweat of unwashed bodies, hear the howling of the dogs. I loved it and remembering that book is one of the reasons I was drawn to this one.

So, Clara, incredible woman, she’s searching for her brother to bring him back to run the family business after their father has died. Clara is one of those outspoken ladies, in a time when ladies should be seen and not heard. She’s clever though, and determined not to be put down because of her sex. That gender issue though brings real problems in a place where there simply aren’t enough women to go round, and society is basically lawless; it’s a time where possession takes all. Luckily Jeremy is in the right place when Clara needs a guide. He’s not like the rough and ready miners, who are mostly gold addicted, drink addled and with few morals, and he can quickly see that Clara is simply too naïve, too trusting to make the journey with any of them. He doesn’t want company, doesn’t want to be responsible for her, but knows his sister would be ashamed if he left her, so though he really doesn’t want to he offers to be her guide to take her to her brother.

Its a tough journey, hundreds of miles by foot and dog sled, in temperatures far below freezing. They encounter dangerous incidents, Clara misunderstands the dangers of the cold, has to learn how to handle the dogs, and make camp, then when they stay at bigger camps along the way she has to pretend to be Jeremy’s wife to protect her from the other men. Even so its still a journey where they need to be aware at all times of the dangers to her as a woman, as well as the general danger from the bleak, tough environment. The scenes are vivid; as I said earlier I could smell the sweat, feel the cold, hear the dogs. Add to that Clara’s relief at a real bath after weeks without, her naiveté at Jeremy – when she thought there was a stick in the bed between them and grabbed at it, poor Jeremy, he’d a tight hold on his control and this was really testing it 🙂 Back in the 1970’s when I was a a teen I was working with a lady in her 60’s, she told me even when she was in labour with her first child she didn’t know how it would get out, and the nurses wouldn’t tell her. She thought maybe her tummy button was the exit…what a shock, but that would be around 1930’s so late 1800’s its easy to understand how sex issues just weren’t talked about in many families, and how Clara could be that naive.

Slowly they develop a feeling between them of trust and attraction, that turns to love. There’s some incredibly sensual sex scenes, not overly graphic but that fit the plot perfectly. Jeremy, he’s a real hero, and the perfect person for Clara as he respects her intelligence.

A great book for those that love romance with that bit extra, the historical setting wasn’t just a nod to history but a real journey through time, and I could place myself there along with Jeremy and Clara.Its priced at £3.22 for 287 pages, a good length to really get to know the characters.

Stars:four and a half.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

 

 

 

The Virgin. Redemption. J. Dallas

 

The Virgin: Redemption

The Virgin. Redemption. J. Dallas

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

Well, book one, Revenge, left me with so many questions; I wanted the answers that I hoped this book would bring. It did give me some answers, but to be honest it wasn’t the novel I was expecting and hoping for. What it gives almost is whats happening in the future just after book one ends ( a couple of months after I think…) but it’s full of references to the past, and its via these glimpses that we get the answers we need. Its just that after all the build-up – all the hype and expectation I felt…underwhelmed. It simply wasn’t a story and romance that gripped me. I didn’t feel “the love” between Drake and Shannon, and the answers to all those dropped hints and angst from book one were just …meh…didn’t work for me.

I think if the two books had been merged, maybe it would have worked better for me, there’s potential there but the emotion and drama as it is was just lacking too much for me. I still needed much more character personality – the parts which show us what someone is really like, not just the glossy outer appearance but the inner, what they feel, what drives them, all the things that make a person unique. Drake and Shannon just felt very generic to me.

Still – as always – I’m just one person, and everyone needs different things from their reading. This is just how I felt – you may well feel very different. It’s priced at £1.26 for 70 pages – as before I think this length just doesn’t work for some books, and this was just too short to give reader any kind of real insight into the characters, their emotions and stories.

Stars: two. Just not one that worked for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley

 

 

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