Archive | May 2014

Surrender, Tawny Taylor.

Surrender, Tawny Taylor.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I really liked the sound of this, sexy and a bit of BDSM….but sadly in practice it was one of those that just didn’t work at all for me and I ended up skim reading just to finish.
What was the problem? Well, first off Abby. She was such a doormat, a wimp and I just couldn’t take to her. There she was having all these inner reservations, and yet she didn’t say a thing. Not One Thing…just let everything happen. Then the boss, Kam, he was simply just weird. Hot, then cold, then hot again, and all for no reason. I’ll believe in insta lust, but I have to feel a real sensual attraction and that both have a bit of depth to them to go for insta love but here…well Abby just seemed to lay eyes on the guy and roll over. Thinks β€œoh no! You can’t do that” – Acts: opens legs….
Then there was the plot(s) – they just didn’t make sense. We learn that Abby and Kam need to find out who the person who’s filed on her brothers phone is; all they have is the letter T, so they go through employee files etc, and then when the person is revealed the name begins with an S? So what was all that T stuff for? Pointless unless I’m missing something obvious. Then there’s the involvement ( or more to the point the non involvement) of the police, frankly that was so far fetched as to be off the wall. One moment Abby is on the news as wanted in connection with a serious crime, then someone else is taken in and she’s free, never had to answer a question, never even saw a policeman. As she was supposed to be complicit, they’d want to speak to her if only to rule her out . Then the multi billionaire Kam doesn’t have a PI contact? Or even know anyone who can recommend one….please. It was all just too far fetched for me, I know its fiction, but even that if its posing as reality needs to have a base in real life. Sadly the hot sex, and there was lots- though the BDSM link was very, very tenuous and barely credible, didn’t make up for the rest 😦 I’m sure Tawny worked hard, I’m sure some readers will love it, but for me its the one I’m happy to let get away 😦

Stars: sorry, I hate doing this but it’s just a two. I really didn’t enjoy it.
ARC supplied via netgalley

Stranger on the Shore, Josh Lanyon

Stranger on the Shore

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Stranger on the Shore, Josh Lanyon
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I recognised the name from a book I read and enjoyed some time ago, and although Josh has written many books somehow I’ve not read any since. Anyway, this sounded interesting so I requested it.
It’s a suspense novel with a strong romantic thread running through. It’s m/m romance, that doesn’t matter to me, I just love a good romance, I enjoy best books focussed on people and this one does that perfectly. Griff is writing his first book, been given unprecedented access to the family, house and photos of the missing child. Jarret, little Brian’s grandfather is an interesting character, and its clear that what he’s hoping is that through this book research Griff may uncover some new detail. Griff isn’t so convinced of that but does feel there’s more to the story that revealed and that he can get a different angle on it.
The family though aren’t as happy as Jarret, and are a strange mix. Grief can do odd things to people, but these seem as though they were weird even before the tragedy. The family solicitor Pierce is strongly anti the book, and tries all sorts of things to persuade Griff not to write it. He’s seen so many people come and try to pass off as the missing boy – man now of 24 – that he suspects Griff has some hidden motive. He’s very protective of Jarret, very close to him, and doesn’t want him upset yet again. Griff and Pierce really don’t hit it off at first and then..gradually…they get closer πŸ™‚ Then someone turns up claiming to be Brian. Griff and Pierce are both convinced he’s not, and are united in trying to prove it, but the family are convinced he’s genuine. Then it turns dangerous….and Griff’s life is at risk.
It’s a great read, not heart stopping intensive thrills, but subtle drama, clever clues laid out for reader, some of which took me in the wrong direction…and though I’d an idea of part of what happened I missed so many clues looking back! The final reveals took me very much by surprise, I just didn’t see them coming but it all added up very neatly, no lose ends, no pulling rabbits out of a hat to fit the results..just good strong writing, and a plot that full of interesting characters, tender romance, and lots of mysteries to puzzle over. It’s been a while since thrillers/suspense was my reading mainstay, and I most enjoy books that are based around characters rather than events. This novel was perfect for me as I really enjoyed the characters, they felt real, I wanted Jarret to find his grandchild, was rooting for the romance, loved Griff, and even those in the novel that were odd all had their own very definite characterisations and felt very real. I need that to enjoy a book, if I don’t care for the people then I simply don’t get engrossed in what’s happened to them. Here there was a fantastic mix of characters.
Stars: five, great read, real people, with solid mystery to untangle.
ARC received via Netgalley

Rasa Shastra: The Hidden Art of Medical Alchemy, Andrew Mason

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Rasa Shastra: The Hidden Art of Medical Alchemy, Andrew Mason
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’m fascinated by medicines and traditional remedies of past times and other cultures. Though mice wrapped in flannel for sore throats etc is a little too off the wall for me!! its still intesting reading how people came to the ideas for these remedies, and though we rely very much on chemical cures, so many are still based around old herbal ones. Think about how silver is now used in dressings, honey also has bveen found to have anti bacterial properties and used for wounds. That one was a favourite of my grans, though she also swore by cobwebs added to it too and iIm really not fixed on that one! My old horse, who had arthritis used to nibble at my willow tree on some days. Willow bark was what Aspirin, a pain killer and good for arthritis, was originally derived from. Animals, given the choice, will often seek out from nature what they need for health. All dog/cat owners will have seen their pets eat grass sometimes – it makes them sick, and maybe they do it when they’ve stomach ache/fur balls or something? Maybe in past times we had that same instinct, but our reliance in Science and all things artificial has overtaken it. Not that I’m anti modern medicine – thankfully chemo kept me alive, and pain meds keep me moving, but there’s much to be learned from the past that without books such as this could get lost.

Alchemy to me is the straw into gold, search for immortal life type of thing, and yet in this book we see its far more, that there are real scientific bases to the use of crystals, metals and the like in medicines. I’ve got books on such things as crystals for healing, and a few years back was chatting to Son no 1 about this. He’s a complete sceptic when it comes to things like that – if science can’t explain it it doesn’t happen for him, so when I’d said the theory about water taking on the properties of different crytals for healing was a step too far, even for some one open minded as I consider myself, I was astonished when he disagreed. He’s a huge IT/Web/Science fan, proven facts are Gold Standard for him, and he told me there were uses for water in computers, as water has been proved to hold a memory – so once again my perceptions had been broadened.
So this book – a tome really, not a book!! – is so packed with information, research, stories, that it’s not one for reading through, but one for dipping, for reading sections that interest at the current time, and for reference purposes. If the pursuit of knowledge, history, other cultures and beliefs interest you you’ll be glad to read this book. I can’t begin to imagine how Andrew managed to take so much information and put it all together in such a readble way. I keep thinking of how hard it must have been to research, how thorough he must have been in his reading, finding people to talk to, in putting it all together. It’s one of those books that though I have the Kindle version I think – like most reference books – it would be better to have in traditional print form.
Stars: Five, a fablous book full of interest to those with an enquiring mind.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.

Birth: Allie’s War Early Years, JC Andrijeski

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Birth: Allie’s War Early Years, JC Andrijeski
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

***A Revik prequel in the Allie’s War series***

I’m up to Bridge in the reading list, having just finished War, and this has just been released. It’s no secret by now that I Love Revik…he’s just so…I don’t know, there’s just something special about him. He’s not in any way perfect, he’s got flaws, make mistakes, gets things wrong and yet I can’t help feeling that he’s at heart moral, honest, has true integrity and his love for Allie transcends life and death. πŸ™‚ I need an I heart Revik T shirt!!

This picks up just after he’s left the Rooks, after he met Kali and she told him he needed to leave. What she said just resonated with him, and he managed to escape the Rooks, something almost unheard and now he’s been in Pamir with the monks while they try to untangle the mess the Rooks made of him. Five years, seems a long time to me, but to a Seer with their long lives it’s very different. Then the Adipan appear. It was great to meet Balidor, and get to see how he and Revik interact in the early stages.

Revik, ah even now, confused and lost he’s still trying to do the right thing, afraid to help in case he hurts someone, and desperate to avoid the Rooks clutches again. He was so high in their structure – almost at the top, so they all know that he’s a prime target, and will need protection of the strongest sort, yet he’s needed on this mission deep in the jungle. I loved seeing this early Revik, we’ve seen bits over the books and this ties up another gap. He’s been through so much from each different group, and I’m amazed he’s not as cracked as Terian. We see the meeting with the two groups again, where Kali is rescued and Terian goes a bit crazy on seeing Revik…in a way though I started hating Terian at first in the early books, and still hate what he does, learning more about what’s shaped him I understand some of what he does and why…and I’m surprised that Revik, having had similar machinations applied to him, hasn’t gone just as crazy. They both are brilliant, have untold potential, and in a way have been used by each side in the attempt to prevent or help succeed that Prophecy. Sometimes I think about books which feature Prophecies – if it’s going to happen why do they need to do anything? Can one be prevented? Is it all some strange plan where the attempts to stop or make it succeed are part of the actual stuff needed anyway?? You could go mad thinking about it πŸ™‚

So much of this book shows just how each group differ, how what’s happened to Revik puts him on a different emotional level with the others, its as if they’re speaking a different language to him at times, when he just doesn’t understand what they want of him, what they are telling him, and here it led to a really embarrassing awful scene for him, which had some dramatic consequences. Then just as he seems to be on a keel, things get thrown out of balance for him yet again. It’s a good job he can have such a long life!

Once again another riveting read, full of info that adds to the overall series. Poor Revik feels so isolated in this book, hated by the Rooks for leaving, hated by the others for having been a Rook. At least that’s his take on it and TBH he doesn’t really trust himself, so he doesn’t see why anyone should trust him. It’s a great read but a sad one. At some point I want to go back to book One, to where Allie and Revik first meet, ( well, to where she first meets him, he’s been watching her for years) and see if I have a greater understanding of events now I know so much more about them. I’ve reached a better feeling about the whole Seer/longlife/light and construct thing now – in the early books I really struggled, but now when I read I just seem to have an inbuilt acceptance and understanding of how it applies, of how so much odd stuff is just part of Seer nature, instead of always comparing it to what I know – ie human stuff.

Stars: five – of course!

ARC supplied by author.

Reading Order.

Rook: Allie’s War Episodes 1-4
Shield: Allie’s War Episodes 5-8
Sword: Allie’s War Episodes 9-12
Shadow: Allie’s War Episosdes 13-17
Knight: Allie’s War Episodes 18-23
War: Allie’s War Episodes 24-27
Bridge: Allie’s War Episodes 28-31

Prequel Books ~
New York: Allie’s War Early Years
Revik: Allie’s War Early Years
Terian: Allie’s War Early Years
Birth: Allie’s War Early Years

Before He Was Famous, HotFlush 1,Becky Wicks

Before He Was Famous: HotFlush Book 1

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Before He Was Famous, HotFlush 1,Becky Wicks
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

I do enjoy some New Adult books, they have all the emotion and drama I love and this book was one of those. Its a solid story too of childhood friends and the trappings of fame. Noah and Chloe have been friends and neighbours since they were very young. Their families are almost as one. I love the way Chloe’s mum is known as The Commander πŸ™‚ not because she’s overbearing or bullying, but because when she asks everyone does what she says.
Anyway we start with Noah entering a reality TV music show, and Chloe as always is a staunch supporter back in their home town. She’s in love with him, but won’t admit it even to herself. Past events almost brought them together but for various reasons Chloe kept them as friends, and she’s convinced that’s how Noah sees her. Every girl she sees him with takes away another piece of her heart. Once he becomes a celebrity she also gets a new job in photography for a teen magazine, as the editors are convinced ( correctly ) she has an β€œin” to the latest media sensation, which of course will be great for them. She’s on tour with Noah and his entourage, fighting jealousy from seeing him with his girlfriends, working to hide her feelings, and becoming something of a media sensation herself. Then danger threatens and everything changes.
Its a beautiful love story, two wonderful people just right for each other but struggling not to lose or risk their friendship. Each is blind to the others feelings, even though everyone else can see it…Once the celebrity drama hots up can they come closer or will it push them further away. Its interesting to see fame from the other side, to see what an effect it has on people’s lives, and this novel felt very realistic. I love all the emotion and jealousies, love the drama, the dangers, and the wondering will they work it out. I love the way social media was portrayed, sometimes I think the public are obsessed with celebrities, and some people believe anything in print or online has to be true, when in fact its almost always carefully manipulated ( gosh, aren’t I a cynic! But it’s true) There are some great characters from the cockney talking manager ,( my nan was born in Battersea so my grandparents often used some of those terms – dog =dog and bone = phone, apples= apples and pears= stairs, it’s a language all of its own) the weird and wonderful Courtney and her cat, the backing musicians, and the families. Each played a special part in bringing events together to make a fun and emotional read.
Stars: Four and a half, just shy of five.
Arc supplied by Netgalley.

An Aria in Venice, A Musical Interlude Novel , KaSonndra Leigh .

An Aria in Venice: A Musical Interlude Novel

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An Aria in Venice, A Musical Interlude Novel , KaSonndra Leigh .
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews.
This book is connected to the Musical Interlude series, but can be read as a standalone. It focuses mainly on Adriana and Luca, who we met in the first MI book, along with other characters .
I’d loved the first book about Erin and Alek, this time we meet and see more of Luca, one of Erin’s bosses at the Black Butterfly design com, and Adriana, who is Alek’s sister. She’s been in love with Nicolai for years it seems, he was brought up with them though, and sees her still as his little sister. So when Luca shows an interest and fed up fo getting rejected once again by Nicolai, she decides to use Luca to make him jealous. That suits Luca, he’s really just toying with her and though she plays the part on their family dinner he knows what’s behind it, but he wants someone to come with him on a family trip to Venice for almost a week and Adriana will do perfectly. If along the way he manages to seduce her – well, that’s just extra bonus. He’s well known along with his brothers as a playboy, and the family are typical Italian, loving and emotive and yet always quarreling and full of jealousises.
It’s a facinating read, the first half was slow for me though, full of beautiful descriptions and almost poetic revelations about the people, the places and the events. I need to focus on the characters and the story so though this was beautifully written it didn’t really capture my imagination in the way it deserved. Thats a personal thing though, and I know others will fully appreciate how this part was scene setting. Then they go on the Venice trip – things heat up, there are secrets slowly coming out of the woodwork, revelations that shock and despair, heart rending some of the things brought in to the open. Nicolai certainly is jealous, furiously so, he wants Adriana fiercely, but thinks he’s not good enough. He and Alek are both known killers, have done what’s needed in the past and would do it again. The whole family have strong ties not only to the Russian Mafia but to a rival mob too…..and thats slowly heating up over all the novels. Some future drama certainly to come from that angle. Nicolai doesn’t think Luca is good enough either, and when he finds out that they’ve become closer he’s furious, looking to grub up any dark secrets he can find, and of course he and Alek have the connections to do just that. Poor Adriana, she needs love, deserves love but will she get it between her brothers, her overbearing,ambitious mother and Luca’s warring family.
I really enjoyed this once the focus was on the characters rather than theplaces.It’sgreat read, I felt for poor Nicolai but then he just wasn’t helping himself, he seemed to want Adriana to be put on a shelf, kept away from men and just admired from a safe distance…and she’s a hot blooded Amercian/Russian lady who wanted, needed and deserved more. There were some shocksto come for all of them over what was revealed and some hard looks at behaviours and what they could and couldn’t accept..
Stars: Four – loved it and though its a stand alone it mentions events and characters that are going to be part of the main series and I think reading this will enhance enjoyment of that.
ARC supplied via author.

Master of the House, Justine Elyot

Master of the House

 

Master of the House, Justine Elyot

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve never read any of Justine’s novels ( so many books, so little time…) but knew she wrote erotica, and I do love that genre so thought this would be a good choice. I was right, its a great read, well written, sexy and with a good back-story. That’s essential to me, I don’t want just sex sex sex but a solid plot behind it.
So Lucy, after a relationship breakup she’s back in her home town, living with her hippy mum and mum’s boyfriend animal. Says it all…She’s struggling, working for the local newspaper, covering town council meetings and fΓͺte openings is hard after being a respected political journalist in Hungary. Still, its work and she can find her way back if she sticks it out and waits for the right opening. Then she learns that a) something strange is going on periodically at the local Hall, and b) her nemesis Joss, is now Lord of said Hall after the death of his father and is back in residence.
I loved Lucy and her hippy mum. Joss too – we first see him as a real jerk, a nasty bully, then once he and Lucy are together again we start to learn more about him and a different side is revealed. Lucy has worked hard to get where she is, her mum is lovely but a bit dippy and seems to spend a lot of time smoking weed….and it sounds as if she has always been like that even when Lucy was a child. A kind of role reversal with Lucy being the responsible one and mum being the child. I enjoyed the way the story bounced from present to past and then back again. Sometimes that doesn’t work for me, when its for long sections of a novel, I get so engrossed then have to reset my mind to a different time but here its fairly brief, a chapter or so in the past then back to the main story of the present, and what Joss and Lucy are doing. There are some very hot and sensual interludes, fun D/s stuff and its fits well within the story. I thought I’d worked out what was going to happen, it seemed to be taking a predictable route towards the end and then… it went totally in a different direction and totally surprised me πŸ™‚ I love that, when a story diverges and catches me out. Makes it so much more interesting. Its a reasonable length to let the story be told properly at around 200 pages. Good stories need at least that to really get me engrossed.
Stars: Four. A fun read, hot and sexy, spicy and erotic. I’ll certainly look out for more of Justine’s writing.
Arc supplied via Netgalley

Against the Cage. Worth the Fight Series. Sidney Halston

Against the Cage: Worth the Fight Series

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Against the Cage. Worth the Fight Series. Sidney Halston
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve read a few MMA romances now and enjoyed them, but Sidney is an author new to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What we get in this novel is a simple, fun romance, a little drama, and lots of sensual moments. Chrissy, she seemed very protective of her little brother even though he’s grown now, and she hasn’t actually seen him in years. Email and phone seems to have been their contact, and the latest one means she needs to go back to where they were brought up and he still lives, in their old house, with her teenage crush and his best friend Jack still living next door. I love the way she and Jack meet, he’s a local cop and stops her for traffic violation, she roots round for the docs needed and thrusts them out the window to him without looking up. Its not his hand that gets them though, but a much lower part of his body….luckily once he recognises her he’s so pleased to see her he lets her off, after a bit of chafing.
Jack’s amazed at the grown up Chrissy, blown away by her, and her teen crush on him quickly comes racing back. He’s even hotter now that he was then, and add to that he’s a genuinely nice guy and they quickly get into some hot clinches. Jack and her brother though ( and Slade, her brother, is a real jerk IMO) are really into MMA, a hobby for Jack, but a career for Slade. Violence and fighting brings up really bad memories from Chrissy’s past, so though she really likes Jack she needs to sort out what this part of his life means to her, and if she can get past it. Throw in some close calls with Slade doing illegal fights to make lots of money, ( he does have a good reason but Chrissy is worried about him and his health), Jack not telling her the whole truth about things and there’s some sad, bitter-sweet parts coming out.
I did enjoy the book, it was good but not great for me. I didn’t feel the highs and lows were really strong enough, but that’s me, I like lots of very strong emotions and dramatics. For those that want a simple, easy to read, spicy romance this will be perfect.
Stars: Three, its a good, one off read for me but not a re read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley

Hunt the Darkness, Alexandra Ivy.

 

Hunt the Darkness, Alexandra Ivy.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
So, this is book eleven in the Guardians series…and as I’d read book one ages ago, and somehow never got to the rest I wondered how I’d get on with it. No problem is the answer πŸ™‚ Though there are references to other events and people Alexandra makes it easy to keep up, and it seems each book is a complete novel, just how I love it. One day I’ll get to the rest!
For this one though I really enjoyed the story. Its got the right blend of magic and mayhem, sex and sensuality for me. Roke starts off resenting Sally, she’s nothing like he’d envisaged for a mate. He wanted sweet and compliant, and she’s fiery and outspoken. She’d caught him in her spell accidentally, and as she was trying to escape capture at the time I could understand why she’d tried everything in her resources to get away, especially given the distrust of witches so many vampires have…She needs help from her father though to break the spell, and she doesn’t know who he is. Still, though she’s got feeling for Roke, her pride and sense of fairness makes her search every avenue for her father. Roke is attracted to her, and sexually they are on fire…he keeps telling himself its just the spell, but as Sally keeps getting into danger, and the journey continues, he learns more about her and her troubled childhood, his feelings are changing and he doesn’t want the bond broken. Sally is stubborn though, she has strong feelings for him but thinks – knows really – his clan won’t accept her, and continues her search despite the increasing dangers. She is convinced its just the spell making him think he loves her, and that she’s not right for him, not clever enouygh, beautiful enough and certainly not compliant enough! Roke can’t persuade her to stop the search, so stays with her and they get into more and more dangers, and grow closer and closer. Then she finds him…the father who can break the spell, and what she learns about her birth is heartbreaking…
Its a book full of action, vampires, witches, gargoyles, Fae and other supernaturals…I love this sort of fantasy where there’s romance and danger, journeys and endings. Its a fun read, and kept me entertained til the very end.
Stars: Four and a half, I really enjoyed it and maybe if I’d read all the series I’d have gone five. As it was I felt its a little light, and maybe what I missed was that connection of the story that runs through series like these. My fault, not the book.
ARC provided via Netgalley

Saugatuck Summer, Amelia C. Gormley

Saugatuck Summer

 

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Saugatuck Summer, Amelia C. Gormley
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

I’ve read and enjoyed Amelia’s co authored books – The Professor …. – sexy but short – and at first assumed this was also a short. It’s not, its a great length at 326 pages, and lets the reader get fully immersed into Tophers problems…and boy does he have them!
At first I found him irritating, he’s the narrator and he’s quite snippy, and in-your-face gay, but as we got to know him better I felt this was a long held defence mechanism, sort of get in first and premept the critisisms. The more the story goes on the more we learn about just how difficult his life has been, his family are not supportive, he’s been pushed from pillar to post, constantly critised even before they knew he was gay – that’s just one more stick to beat him with, and he seems to have spent so many year on medications and in therapy that this is what passes as normal for him. I really felt for him – underneath the bravado was a scared biy just wanting to be happy.

Then there’s the problem of the affair with his friends dad…that has disaster written all over, but we see how it plays out, unintentional and not pre-emtped by him, and I felt once again for poor Topher, no family support, now no best friend and place to live for the summer either. Luckily though there’s some people who can help, and the delicious Jace…I loved him, he was so understanding – knowing when to push and when to sit back and listen, and not afraind to apologise when he got it wrong.
It’s a very emotional read, happy finally – for a while anyway – but its a long, tearjerking haul to get there and so many things to mull over. So much drama, so many lives affected. It’s not just a sweet, sappy romance but a deep thinking, emotionally dark at times read. If you like books that are more than one person falls in love with another, want people with real problems, life with its ups and downs then ths book is for you.
Stars: five.
Arc supplied via Netgalley.

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