Slow Surrender. Cecilia Tan
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
OK – I was hoping this was a standalone – I’m so fed up of waiting months for next instalments of novels. To me that spoils them, by the time the next part is out I’ve lost the impetus of the book and have to re read – I don’t mind that, but I hate the wait, the time spend reading something with no conclusion, and I think if all two or three parts were out at same time I and many other readers would like it much, much better. I appreciate that’s tough on authors, but paying for parts of a story and waiting months – or never in some cases – for final endings is tough on readers too. Personally I’m tending not to buy books now unless all parts are out, having got caught on ones that turn from trilogies to 5 part series or where publishing date gets pushed back..and back.. and back and in some cases it seems authors just go on to write other books and abandon some started already 😦 I’m sure many readers will know exactly which books I mean 🙂
Anyway Slow Surrender – not a stand-alone but a trilogy – part two out soon, hurrah, and part three hopefully this year. Then, dammit, dammit, dammit – my real personal hate, a sodding cliffhanger ending – though we do get a glimpse of what’s to come and some light in the dark. Its such a shame because this is a terrific story, well written, full of sensuality that shows how love scenes can be erotic without full on conventional sex. Sometimes we get so much sex its actually boring, but Cecilia keeps it fresh and fun this way. The air of mystery about James has me pulled in, he’s a real gentleman and yet we feel there’s a dark undercurrent to him. I thought I’d an idea of who he was at first, then a red herring was thrown in, and I though I’d guessed wrong and then..more clues so I was still wondering – right til the end 🙂 It was clear James had some demons in his past somewhere, that he was fiercely protective of his identity, and that he was a good man, as evidenced by the care for him his staff had, and yet he took a huge risk with Karina, acting on an impulse when I feel he rarely does anything he hasn’t considered all parts of. I want to see and know more of him.
Karina – she fun, on the surface a light-hearted, happy girl, and yet under family pressure to conform, struggling with her career, and with a jerk professor threatening her doctorate. She’s a sunny side up girl though, and James is entranced by her. She says the most off the wall things – I sympathise, sometimes my brain is shocked by what comes out of my mouth too! James loves it all though, so long as she obeys his one rule – honesty. I wonder just what’s happened to him to make that so important? No-one likes to be lied to but he takes it to another level completely. Karina’s happy to play along though – sometimes I just can’t believe how open she is to trying anything, she puts great trust in people, in a way she’s very naïve, but yet its a kind of refreshing openness, rather than a juvenile “don’t know” facet of her personality.
I really enjoyed this book, was hooked waiting to see what was next, what had James got planned, what was happening to Karina in her family and professional life, so many things to enjoy. It was a pretty positive part of the whole series overall til the end – and that was dramatic. Fabulous! I love drama.. I’m hoping that this sad part doesn’t end too quickly – I want desperately to see more of James, but need some unhappiness to balance all the positives we’ve had. I need some answers too – if they just pick up where they left off that won’t work for me. Oh – so many questions and such a wait….that’s exactly what I hate about books divided into parts. If it wasn’t for that damn awful cliffhanger, and three part stuff this would be a full on five star read but I really really hate those 😦
Stars: four and a half
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Incidental Contact. Those Devilish De Marco Men, Book 3. Eden Connor
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
Well, this book marks my first encounter with the De Marco brothers… and what I loved was the great mix of scorching sensuality, storyline that’s real and relevant and the humour – oh the humour…I was laughing at one part, silently I thought, when the OH commented “ must be a funny book” Clearly my smiles were large.
Anyway – apart from the fabulous humour what really worked for me? Well, Amy – I loved her, so much like many of us struggling with confidence, career, parental pressure, and never quite feeling good enough. Yet she was, as Eric finally showed her. I loved the wheelchair basketball angle too – being a wheelchair user myself ( I have only one leg) I know just how much we struggle to get accepted by many able bodied people, sadly there’s still a huge chunk of people who think we should be tucked away out of sight 😦 so books that show disabled people in a good light are really welcome. Eden showed too how much of a struggle life can be, how hard when equipment fails, how ludicrously expensive wheelchairs are…did you know that a motorised scooter can cost around 5/6K ( I’d guess that’s around 8/9 thousand dollars…) You can buy a new car for that!! – and its just a seat, some wheels, a frame and a motor. Off the soapbox there now 🙂 The Mall managers attitude was fairly typical of what happens too.
Then there’s the immigrant angle – I really enjoyed that when Eric(? I think) says if they all went home, as people ask, who on earth would produce all the food – here in rural Norfolk UK we have same thing, loads of immigrant workers out on fields and yet there’s the call “taking our jobs” etc. but as has happened in past, if they aren’t here food doesn’t get harvested but ploughed back in. We’re neurotic about stuff like that in UK, clearly US has same problem. Sadly the same attitude to rights too – where the migrants words aren’t treated as the white persons are, where its OK to trash talk, to treat them as less because of colour or nationality. One day we’ll get integrated… anyway, back to the book. The migrants play a huge part in the story, and the way its done works really well. Eric as a mixed heritage person is, like his family, sympathetic to the problems they face, in fact Eric just an all round nice guy – man-whore but nice guy 🙂 His problem is finally he’s met someone he wants to respect him, and everyone seems determined to remind her of his past. We see reasons unfolding that show a different side to what we thought about him and his actions, where the brothers are learning more about each other, and where the family are finally working as one unit. When it all came together for Amy’s basketball project, when they all pulled in setting it up, and making it work was a real emotional time. Likewise when the story of the past comes out and we see what really happened – who couldn’t have a lump in their throat.
So a fabulous plot, filled with moments of scorching, erotic sex. That part was done well too, very sensual but without being OTT or full of squirming, icky conversations – I’m sure you know what I mean…too many books make the sex the story, and we read words that make you feel a bit nauseous they are so awful. Not horrific awful, just cringe-making awful!
Stars: four and a half.
ARC supplied by Netgalley
The Shadows Series Marni Mann
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
I love erotic romance – when its well written. Sadly after the success of Fifty Shades of Grey ( which I really enjoyed ) there’s been an explosion of what seems like poorly written, quickly dashed off, “erotic” novels from writers hoping to cash in on the genre’s popularity. It takes more than a few sex scenes pulled together with a thin plot to make a successful and interesting novel though. Unfortunately wading through the multitudes of dross available its possible to miss gems like this one. That’s a real shame for keen readers of the genre.
The Shadows Series is a well written, two part novel. It has some sensual, spicy, very erotic sex and love scenes, but these are melded together and contained within a fascinating plot, involving two people with damaged childhoods, a high class brothel and its clients, danger and murders, and it’s set around artists and the art world.
Charlie seeks escape from her damaged past, both physical and emotional. We get to see her inner musings, and understand why she reacts as she does, why she tries to blot everything out with meaningless sex. It takes her into a world of danger though, where among the surface beauty and satisfaction danger lurks..life threatening danger. Charlie is on a voyage of discovery, and she can’t get the future she needs and deserves until she accepts, forgives herself and heals the damage from her past.
She’s very artistic and takes part time classes alongside her job as a high class prostitute at the Mansion. At school she meets an encouraging Professor who tutors her class. He’s very encouraging, sees her talent and helps shape her career. She also meets the enigmatic and attractive Cameron, a fellow student, though already a successful artist. He’s another person trying to escape from his past, but though he has succeeded well with his art he’s still fighting his memories. He and Charlie work together on art projects set by the Professor, and he becomes a huge encouraging focus in her life, getting her to work in his studio alongside him. She thinks there’s mutual attraction after a while, wants him sexually, but won’t while she’s working at the Mansion. She has a really good, long time friend Dallas, and feels guilty for sleeping with him while working there, she won’t make that mistake again.
So Charlie, what a sad life she’s had, and how hard she tries to escape. I can see why she was so taken with the idea of the Mansion, all that pampering, the constant reiteration that they would be “family” to her, the way they seemed to care about all of her life, not just while she was working and of course the money. More than she could ever earn elsewhere, gave her security and freedom doing something she would be doing anyway. Everything has a price though and when she wants to leave….well it’s not so easy. Dallas, he was her lover and friend, he wanted more from her than just sex but accepted that she didn’t feel that way for him and he was a real friend to her, always there when she needed him, and helped her even when it caused him pain. Then Cameron – well, he’s just sex on legs…but also very closed emotionally. Neither he or Dallas know of Charlie’s other work until she wants to leave it and danger hits….
Part two picks up about six months later. I’m glad that interim part of the mansion closing, and the events that surrounded it wasn’t gone into in detail. It would have taken the focus off the main plot IMO and it works better this way. The mansion has been closed down, but Charlie is still worried about danger, if someone who was a client recognises her, if someone drops her name in the wrong place…she’s still fearful, but now ensconced in a relationship with Cameron and working hard on it. Its not without trials though – he’s trying to help her escape from her past, he knows about the mansion now, and the way it all links up with her attitude to sex, and he’s trying to get her past that. He has his own shadows to overcome though. Just when it looks brighter for them, when they are making progress with each other and their relationship, when her art is finally taking off and setting up to be a good career, it all goes wrong. Shadows from the past come back to haunt them both, and its gets really, really emotive, desperately sad. It made me very tearful – though maybe oddly that’s what makes a book such a success for me. I need the downs to be really deep and dark, for the characters to really hit bottom and feel devastated – then when it comes right I feel so happy for them. If its all happy, happy, one paced sweetness with no lows – for me that’s just dull.
So, a sensual riveting read, lots of hot, well written, sexy, erotic scenes, lots of highs and deep, dark lows, danger and sadness, and edge of seat wondering what on earth can happen next, wrapped up in a novel with a good solid plot, makes for a book that was perfect for me. One I’ll happily re read. A massive 538 pages for just £3.49.
Stars: five – fabulous solid read.
ARC supplied by Book Enthusiast Promotions