Archive | March 2014

Relentless, The Marsh Brothers, Anna Wells

 

Relentless, The Marsh Brothers, Anna Wells
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
This is the second book, the first being about Michaela’s brother, not a Marsh brother. I’ve not read that but the description to this sounded good, and they are both stand alone novels though connected via characters. I love those kind of series 🙂
We start after the breakup with the partners when Michaela and Jordan have been close friends for the year since the split. Jordan wants more but is going slow, and Michaela is very attracted to him but as he hasn’t ever suggested anything other than friendship she thinks he’s not interested. Then they go out to a works Xmas party, Michaela gets a bit tipsy, not drunk, just enough to lower inhibitions, and back at her home having a nightcap she leans in and brushes her lips against Jordans. That’s all the leeway he needs, and they quickly end up in a hot and heavy, sensual and steamy sex session. Next morning she’s worried he was just a bit intoxicated and will regret it, so she tries to pre-empt him with her standard brush off, saving herself the pain of rejection…..that doesn’t go down well. Before she knows it circumstances have happened that see their relationship moving forward at top speed. Poor Michaela – if ever there was a candidate for the “make haste slowly” she’s it, but Jordan is a force unto himself, he doesn’t let her think long enough to regret or back track. He’s got to know her well over the last year, and now his plans are coming to fruition he’s not letting anything stop them.
They’re a great pair, Michaela has been let down so often I understand her caution, but Jordan is determined. Its what’s worked for him so far in life and he isn’t changing now. But there are secrets he can’t tell Michaela, and once they’re together she sees another side of him entirely…gone is her patient, cautious friend, and come in is this terrific but steamroller type person, and she seems to be wherever he wants her before she can even think about it. He’s a lovely man and knows her very well, he only wants the best for both of them but the secrets could derail that, and add in some attacks to Michaela by someone unknown and there’s potential for huge problems.
I really enjoyed this book, loved Michaela and her family, and of course Jordan and his. I loved the deadpan humour that crept in, such as when Michaela’s mum calls round and finds them at breakfast. Michaela is trying to say they’re just friends, but Jordan and her mum have a conversation about her over her head. “Stop talking about me, I’m right here” she says, but they both know her too well and know what she’s like once the thinking sets in.
Its was a fun read, some steamy and sensual sex scenes that fitted the plot perfectly, and I like that the danger and endings were wrapped up. I hate unfinished business at the end of a novel. I don’t have price info but its 282 pages, so enough to get a real story going with lots of emotion and drama.
Stars:four – great read and I hope to see more from the Marsh brothers.
ARC supplied by Netgalley

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When All the World Sleeps, Lisa Henry, JA Rock

When All the World Sleeps

 

When All the World Sleeps, Lisa Henry, JA Rock
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve had several m/m romances now from Riptide and they all have a certain quality of writing about them. There’s no silliness, no fluff, no glaring plot holes or errors, and for those looking for a quality romance its a great place to start. Both these authors are new to me, and had the book not come from the Rip-tide outlet I may have held back as the plot sounds – well, hard to make work. But these two excellent writers did it. Made me believe in Daniel along with Bel, and Dav, Daniel’s probation officer.
To begin Dav is the only person who believes Daniel – the rest of the town think he’s just using an excuse to get away with a revenge killing. Then Bel picks up what seems like a drunk Daniel one evening, takes him home to prevent further fights with others, and on the way the car jerks and Daniel reacts as if he doesn’t know what’s just passed. Bel is still not convinced by then, but later sees the chains Daniel locks himself in each night to try to stop him sleepwalking…Talking to him he gets a bit more insight, and offers to stay with him each night to protect others in the town. Bel’s gay too, and as the two men spend more time together the attractions grows. I love that part of a romance, and here its superb, taking Bel from a cynical unbeliever into a sympathetic and understanding lover. Its creeps up slowly, events unfold, some of which Bel sees, some of which he doesn’t. Bel’s trying to help but feeling his way, there’s little advice available for this situation and of course he doesn’t always get it right. I loved Bel, quiet in his own way, trying to fit into a town where gays aren’t popular he’s just kept quiet about his sexuality. His family all live her, and they’re very close so moving away where he may be more accepted would mean losing that close contact and support he has with them. He’s been happy enough..until he falls for Daniel and life and the problems surrounding them jump in.
As always in a small town – and US is same as UK there…everyone knows everything – or at least they think they do, and they hold and aren’t afraid. to express strong opinions on Bel and Daniel’s relationship. There’ the usual mix of bigots and bullies who think they are above the law and happy to take things into their own hands when they feel justice hasn’t been served to their satisfaction. Sometimes I think people like that focus on others wrongdoings rather than look at the shortcomings of their own lives. There’s the psychosocial aspect too of Daniel’s problem – what caused it, why does it happen and how can it be resolved. Looking beyond the face forward problem to what’s behind it can change so much what we see about things and I find problems like this, motives and ways of resolution really interesting. Bel encourages Daniel to seek help, to go out into the town more with him, and of course for some of the local bigots that doesn’t go down well. All small towns seem to suffer from people like that, judgemental, convinced their way is the only way, even if they are being hypocritical. In this town add all that to the fact Daniel has caused someone to die, there’s the gay factor and the way they aren’t happy he’s involved local policeman Bel into his life, and you can see trouble brewing. Even Bel’s own family aren’t totally on board except for sister in law Dav. It’s a tough decisions for Bel, standing by Daniel could lose him his home and family.
I loved Bel and Daniel, they felt so real and we got to see aspects of their inner thoughts and understand their fears. Its a very emotional read…there is some sex, but mostly there’s more tender moments, the touches, glances, kisses that make up the bulk of a romance. Poor Daniel, I really felt for him, he had an awful problem to live through without any family support, and until Bel he was coping alone and losing the battle.
It’s priced at £4.94 and at over 326 pages its a lovely long book that really explores the characters and issues raised. I love these long books, they make the reader feel they are there in the situation.
Stars: five
ARC supplied by Netgalley

Cole’s Redemption: Alpha Pack Book 5, J. D. Tyler

 

Cole's Redemption: Alpha Pack Book 5

Cole’s Redemption: Alpha Pack Book 5, J. D. Tyler

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

So, I just love shifter, witches, vampires etc. in novels, and though this is my first encounter with the Alpha Pack, I was expecting to really love this book. As is usual in series there are characters from previous books, and incidents that get built on, but the story itself is complete. As a hater of cliffhangers, but lover of series ,that suits me really well 🙂 Sadly though I discovered that for me the Alpha Pack isn’t a series I’m going to like. I enjoyed the tale, but not enough to re read, and not enough to want to catch up with earlier books.

Why? Well, I need my heroes to struggle, for the battles to play out slowly, full of tricks and corners that catch people out, to feel the characters are really in danger, and have to work at their way out of it. In the Alpha pack and with their Other acquaintances they’ve so many skills they seem to have the answer to everything at their finger tips. They’ve healers, that’s usual and I can accept that, people with skills to look into future at times, and to read the past, sorcerers, and vampires and lots of special skills. That means each time there was danger it I felt that there was someone quickly there to deal with it. There were battles, but they seemed to me to be over very quickly. The story of Zan and his mate too – insta love, from hating each other it’s just one bite and a bit of Bond destiny, and they’re having sex at every possible opportunity. I like sex in books, but sometimes you can get just a bit too much, and so it was here for me. It detracted from the story…but of course Bond mates also have special abilities from their bond adding to the skill set. Then there’s the real big No for me, getting a new talent/gift just at the opportune moment and having complete control of it.

Despite my gripes I did enjoy the story, but there were just too many of my off triggers to want to read more of the series. As ever though I’m just one person, and clearly this series fits perfectly what many readers want. That’s good, and of course the fact we have readers with so many different needs means books will always fit some people and not others, regardless of how good the actual writing style is. That was perfect here, its just the way the story played out that didn’t work well for me. It’s priced at £2.99 for 241 pages.

Stars: Three, a good book but just not my style of story.

ARC received via Netgalley .

A Need so Insatiable, Hearts 1, Cecilia Robert.

 

A Need So Insatiable (Hearts)

A Need so Insatiable, Hearts 1, Cecilia Robert.

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

Well, this looked like the potential for lots of drama, emotion, sex…lots of hot and sensual sex..and it had it in spades. I loved Sophie, and of course who couldn’t love Rafael. Its one of those novels though where even though its contemporary romance and not fantasy, itt requires the reader to suspend belief in the normalities of life to enjoy it. For example Sophie has no money, a run down house, a business that’s been closed a while and needs major work,and yet the bank says yes? She’s only 24 and yet as well as singing professionally, working at Hearts, she’s got time to work herself on the revamp of the restaurant. Then there’s Rafael. Man of mystery. He’s Hot, very Hot! Sees Sophie and wants her – and what he wants he gets. It seems to me everyone but Sophie seems to know what’s going on and Rafael at only 25 has done an awful lots to become the successful composer and conductor he is, along with being business owner and still having a toe in the murky background he shared with Kravic. That’s a lot to achieve at that age for both of them, along with their plans for Tony at the end..just wouldn’t happen….still, accept it and you’ll enjoy the story, focus too much on realities and it will spoil. Make your choice 🙂 For me I decided its fiction-land and I’m going to let the impossible pass – Alice, three impossible things before breakfast springs to mind! Though I’d have been happier if Rafael had been 30 ish….

The story starts with mysteries. Loads of them. What happened to Sophie and Lilli’s parents? Who is Kravic apart from shark money lender and what does he want – seems to desire more than money. Forthe smallish sum Sophie owes he’s spending a lot of time and manpower so he must want something else. Then there’s Rafael who clearly has some connection Sophie doesn’t know about, her friend and mentor Simone who also has a close connection to both Sophie and Rafael and yet tells Sophie nothing. Why doesn’t she remember meeting Rafael all those years ago…answers trickle out gradually as new characters are introduced and it becomes a fairly tight knit group. I’m hoping now I’ve got to know them that we’ll read stories from others in the group, Sophie’s friends, Raphael’s friends and business colleagues. Once Sophie and Raphael finally get together well – wow – he’s still under the three month sex ban from his poker game with Hawk ( and Hawk needs his own story, BTW…) but in the sensuality heat there’s a lot he can- and does – still do. I could see the train crash coming from all the secrets,and when it hit it was dragged out to maximise drama in just the way I love 🙂 well, happy is nothing without the sad to balance it. It’s priced at £1.85 for 288 pages on kindle.

Overall a fun read, but you do need to suspend realities to really enjoy it.

Stars: four – would have been five if there’d been a bit more realism 🙂

ARC supplied via Netgalley

Edit: whats with Rafael’s Labret obession?? At first mention he kisses her labret – somehow in my head that was the little space between top lip and nose ( now I can’t recall the name for that and its driving me mad!!) but after licking, kissing, nuzzling, nibbling it numerous times, he them moved on to the labret at the side of her mouth. So I knew then I was wrong and had to resort to Wiki 🙂 where I found its a lip piercing. Once I saw that I remebered I’d read/heard of it in Helena Huntings latest series which I recently reviewed. Clearly Rafael has a piercing fetish 🙂

 

Sex & the Single Vamp, Robin Covington

 

Sex and the Single Vamp (Entangled Covet)

Sex & the Single Vamp, Robin Covington

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews

I loved Robin’s contemporary romance Playing the Part so looked forward to this. It was a fun read, but a little too light-hearted for me. Its a well put together story, with characters I could feel for. Cici had created a business out of searching for True Love for both humans and Others. She seemed to me to be lonely although she had close friends, and I felt her business was born out of the desire for love for herself. She’s a real romantic. Then there’s Deacon, holder of secrets about her, in love with her though he won’t recognise it, and on the face of it he’s the total opposite, jaded, cynical and passionate in his belief Others and humans should never get romantically attached. Lots of that though has its roots in his history, though he’ll never acknowledge it.

Then Cici and her customers are targeted by a hate group – and desperate to save her business she comes to Deacon. She thinks he broke her heart when she was human 200 odd years ago – he thinks it was her rejected him, and somehow the two have never discussed it in all that time despite working closely together on occasions. Now she needs his help, and he’s had enough with the sensuality and sizzling attraction between them, the price for his help is to get together and give in to the passion, so they can both get it out of their systems and move on. Yeah – like we haven’t heard that before !! 🙂 On a night out though something terrible happens and Cici is mortal again, subject to mortal illness and injuries. Suddenly Deacon realises how much she means to him, and how lost he’d be without her…He needs to find a cure, and fast. Nothing comes without sacrifice though.

Well, it was fun, light-hearted, some drama and lots of emotion but it felt very “on the surface” to me, so though I enjoyed the book its a one off only for me. But it’s priced at just 99p for 143 pages, so at less than the average weekly magazine its still worth it, and if light and fluffy is your style then it may well be a keeper for you. Horses for courses..

Stars: Three and a half. Fun, light read.

ARC received via Netgalley and Entangled

His to Possess. Opal Carew

 

His to Possess. Opal Carew

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I like erotica, but it has to have a good solid story backing it. I picked this one having read similar ones. Its got sex in it, lots and lots of sex, in fact so much sex that the story just got lost. Probably because it was a really thin plot, potentially good but somehow it just fizzled out. I was pretty sure of what was going to develop and I was right. Didn’t quite predict the ending though but when I’d finished the book I just felt a bit..flat? Empty? Not that sense of satisfaction that comes from reading a good story.

If you want sex, lots of sex, and ménage sex and aren’t worried about the realisticness or thoroughness of the story carrying it then you’ll like this. For me though I need more and didn’t really enjoy this book. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good – for me. That doesn’t mean you won’t like it – just depends on what you want from your reading.

Stars: two and a half.

ARC supplied via Netgalley

The Passionate Love of a Rake, Jane Lark.

 

The Passionate Love of a Rake: HarperImpulse Historical Romance

The Passionate Love of a Rake, Jane Lark.

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews

So having read the first book in Jane’s historical series and loved it I was keen to read this story about older brother Robert.

In much the same way as Ellen from the first book, Jane was also stuck in a lifestyle she didn’t want and couldn’t escape. Her elderly husband has died and left her his fortune, but his estranged son isn’t happy – he’s got the estates and lots of property but he wants the money too. He’s a terrifying man and threatens Jane, telling her he always gets what he wants, and this time its not just the money but Jane herself. He’s got a wife and eight children, but plans to make Jane his mistress. Her marriage to his father was unhappy, she was forced into it by her parents at just sixteen and Sutton used her as a show-piece, something to display to friends, and show off his control and domination of her. Trying to escape Joshua she flees to an old friend who’s living in London.

There’s she meets childhood friend Robert one evening at a function. He thinks she left him for money, that their relationship meant nothing to her, and he’s spent the intervening years strengthening his reputation as the most notorious rake in Society. Once he sees Jane though all his old feelings for her come back, and he realises they never really left. He still sees her as a money grabber though, but through a series of events they take up a friendship, with him constantly trying for more. He’s under the assumption that she must have had affairs in the past, so why not with him, but she stands firm – ish…:) After all he’s a smooth tongued, handsome man, and once was so much more to her. She keeps seeing the old Robert, and not the one in front of her. Its a backwards and forwards romance, full of drama and emotion, misunderstandings and mistakes, and shows far too well just how powerless women were in Regency times. I loved the little day to day descriptions, how real Jane and Robert felt to me, and of course the deliciously erotic sexual encounters. Robert had learned Alot since they parted! Its priced at £2.99 for 339 so lots of time to really expand the drama and scenes 🙂 If you love historical romance this is a great book for you, its more than just a sweet love story, with plots that keep on being revealed, til they add up to one huge conclusion.

Stars: Four and a half. Really enjoyed it, not an insipid historical novel but one full of passions and drama.

ARC received via Literati Author Services.

Dark Moon. Leisl Leighton

 

Dark Moon. Leisl Leighton

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

I love supernatural novels, and shifters ones feature high on my must read lists…I was looking forward to this one, but though it wasn’t a book I could dislike, it wasn’t one I’d rave about either. Somehow there seemed to be a bit too much packed in. I’m not usually one to moan about that but here it felt a little like overkill, especially as the characters didn’t really work for me. I couldn’t empathise with them and I just felt they were a bit unreal..I know, I know, it’s fantasy and everyone IS unreal but I need to feel the characters are real people and the problems genuine, and able to be overcome, preferably not by some last minute spell of talent!

The characters just felt too stilted and clichéd to me. I felt as if I’d read caricatures of them in a myriad of other books. Still, I can see others have loved them and it just shows what I’m always trying to say, that not all books suit all readers, and thankfully that leads to a wide variety even within specific genres. I need to feel that the people and plots are original, and though I’m not saying the story isn’t genuine it just feels like a generic shifter novel, not one that’s got any unique points 😦 I haven’t got price info but its around 329 pages so a decent length and though its not one for me it may be just what you’re looking for. I loved Liesl’s Killing Me Softly so would happily try another book, and not let this one put me off. Not everyone is going to enjoy everything an author writes just because they loved ( or didn’t) one book.

ARC provided via Netgalley

Stars: Two and a half, I didn’t dislike it, but I can’t give it a three/good rating.

Trail of Obsession,Rebecca Tust

 

TRAIL OF OBSESSION (The Trail Series)

Trail of Obsession,Rebecca Tust

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

Début author Rebecca asked if I’d like to read her book Trail of Obsession. Some time back my usual genre was thrillers all the way, but then I found fantasy ( entirely by accident, Maria Snyder has a lot to answer for 🙂 I thought I’d bought a historical book….) and gave up thrillers, I then discovered that romance had moved on from the 70’s M&B type 🙂 and were much more sensual, so started on them too. This is a thriller, but with a strong romance which lured me in. And I’m glad. Its good to take a trip away from the reading comfort zone, and though I’m not going back to thriller land permanently I enjoyed this book. Its well written in that the plots add up, the characters are realistic, and there’s some serious steam going on – all of which I love!

So we start with Megan, who gets attacked while out running. Her rescuer Stephen is one of those genuinely good guys, and she is told that his intervention saved her life. She calls round his home once recovered to thank him personally, and they are both attracted but Megan is nervous. Somehow though Stephen doesn’t let her uncertainty stop them from going out, first as friends and then before long they’re in a steamy, erotic relationship.

Her attacker though is still loose, and having succeeded killing his next victims sees Megan as the one that got away, and is determined to get to her. Alongside that there’s danger to her from another angle too – it feels like how unlucky can one woman get! They are happy romancing, wining and dining, all the while not knowing that danger is stalking them from two very different sources.

I loved Megan and Stephen, felt sad in a way for the killer. This novel shows so well how important upbringing and childhood is in setting the person that will develop from the child. There’s a saying along the lines of Give me the child and I’ll bring you the man ..something like that anyway, indicating how influences in childhood result in the type of adult we become. I like that kind of psychology angle. The thriller element works out perfectly for me, the romance was excellent, scenes written just right, not the cringingly awful ones that sometimes pop up – I kid you not, one I read recently went on about her pink petals opening like a flower, and then her petals fluttered enticingly – I just can’t imagine that appeals to anyone, just makes me snigger…must be wind making them flutter! Where’s the romance in that 🙂

What I didn’t like was that at the end one person seemed to me to not get properly punished. I like my baddie’s to get caught and get what they deserve, especially after what happened to poor Megan but…that’s just me 🙂 It’;s priced at £2.45 for 315 pages.

Stars:four, good solid story, but probably a one off read for me.

ARC supplied by author.

The Wicked We Have Done. Sarah Harian

 

The Wicked We Have Done

The Wicked We Have Done. Sarah Harian

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.

This book is a little outside my usual genre, its NA and romance, but the content is very different to what’s mostly available in the NA market Its not a buy meets girl HEA, sweet book, but one where the participants meet after having been convicted of a crime, and have opted to let a machine judge whether they live or die. The Compass Room is a sort of futuristic moral compass which takes their reactions to simulated events and judges them, there’s no trial, no prison, participants either go free – very unlikely – or die there and then.

Its something that could well happen at some point in the future, as we begin to rely more and more on technology as the answer to everything. “The computer never lies” we hear over and over, and yet..it’s totally dependent on what info is programmed in. We’ve currently lie detectors, fingerprinting and retina scanners, DNA tests, all supposedly tamper and foolproof, but one wonders, are they human tamper proof from the other end? Are we right to depend so much on the results? This book shows very chillingly what could happen if we take things too far.

Its quite horrific and graphic in parts, and for a wimpy weed like me that’s hard to take, and I had to skim some parts. I felt the story too was a bit choppy for me, I wanted to know what it was Evalyn had done, wanted to know why others reacted as they did, and more about each person as a person not just their crimes. I didn’t really connect with this book, more because of my needs though, than because its not a good book. I’m sure those who like this genre will love it – I was looking at the romance, and that’s just a very small part of the whole, with the rest being the CR and its actions, where my fears over the future of technology and realism meant I didn’t enjoy that part.

Clearly there’s more to come, and despite not really enjoying this book it has got me hooked in some ways, as I really want to know what happens to them next, and what happens about the Compass Room. Its pro iced at £2.49, and though I didn’t have page/kb info I’d guess from location number and time it took to be about 120 – 150 pages.

Stars: three, a read that was really well written, but sadly was not quite what I enjoy. Remember as ever that’s a personal opinion, and not a reflection of book and plot quality

ARC supplied by Netgalley

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