Archive | July 2014

Ivy Entwined, Laura Simcox

Ivy Entwined (A Something to Celebrate Novel) (Entangled Edge)

 

Ivy Entwined, Laura Simcox
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I thought this sounded fun. It was one of those though that’s an OK book, a decent read, well written and yet didn’t quite make any more that that for me…I’m looking for drama, emotion, a storyline that tugs at me. I need to like the characters too and here I just didn’t quite belive in them. Marcus seems to get the flack for deceit and yet Ivy was doing the same thing so I couldn’t see why she was so righteous….
Clearly town planning in US is different to here in UK, as it takes years sometimes for new stores to get passed. We’ve had our own Megamart style battle here – all the same arguments trotted out as Ivy and co give against Megamart – it took fourteen years for Tesco to get permission in our town, and yet here in the book its done in days? Ditto the land sales/exchanges – here it takes weeks and papaers in mutliple copies, there its just a simple pop in to office and its done…Still, maybe its just artistic licence? Whatever it was, it lead to a feeling of unreality for me, when I need to feel the story is real. I did like the chemistry between Marcus and Ivy and that certainly brought some heat and action to the story and the twist at the end – I didn’t see that coming.
Stars: three, its a decent read but not one to really get the heart racing for me. Still, if you like simple small town romance this could be a winner for you.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and Entangled publishing.

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Leashing the Tempest, Jenn Bennett

Leashing the Tempest

 

Leashing the Tempest, Jenn Bennett

Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I don’t usually enjoy novellas, I find bringing new characters and situations into an interesting story is just too difficult with a limited word count. When they are part of an existing series though that’s not a problem as the word count can focus on the storyline, because we already know the characters and their situations. I love this series, and Jupe is a great star of it IMO! He’s just such a typical teen, motor-mouth, impulsive but kind hearted. Having gone through the teens with my own kids, and now the oldest of the grandkids I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be if they had Jupe’s demon Knack of persuasion…..and Lon and Cady are taking him out on the water, far away from others to help him learn control of it. Kar-yee has agreed to be “guinea pig” for him, and given he has a huge crush on her even though she’s far older than his thirteen he’s full of energy.
Lon and Cady think that out on the water, far away from people Jupe can’t do any harm…optimism at it’s best. As usual trouble seems to follow Cady, and throw in Jupe’s typical teen limited self restraint and of course they’re soon all in Deep S hit….storms, a captain who’s incapacitated, a demon determined to get her bargain enforced, and it’s what seems to be fast becoming a normal day for Cady and the family. Action, adventure, danger, and then some warm loving kisses.
I love Lon and Cady, they made a great pair, and work together so well. Lon has a quiet strength and lots of patience, and as loving dad to Jupe he clearly needs all of that. One of the best things about this series is the meld of characters, they bring together events that feel realistic, they have problems and and bad days just like all of us, and the stories read as if its a chaotic everyday life group of people, albeit with some exceptional talents. I’m sad in a way that its just a four book and one novella series, but sometimes its right to keep stories limited. I’ve seen too many series I’ve initially loved go sadly downhill as they get strung out into further books, when clearly there’s nothing new for the characters to experience. Well done Jenn for keeping it to a short but fabulous series that will be read and re read by me and many other fans.
Stars: Five, a great short addition to the series.
ARC supplied via publishers

Link to reviews of individual books:

https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/kindling-the-moon-arcadia-bell-1-jenn-bennett/
https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/review-from-jeannie-zelos-book-reviews-2/
https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/binding-the-shadows-arcadia-belljenn-bennett/
https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/banishing-the-dark-jenn-bennett/

 

Unravel Me, Lynn Montanago

Unravel Me: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance

 

Unravel Me, Lynn Montanago
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
So, the description asks if we fell in love with Lia and Alistair in Catch my Breath? Well, yes, I did! It was a perfect read, and I was really pleased to get book two for review, and as Lynn seems to write quickly hopefully there’s not too long to the last part…and the good news for those who like me Hate cliff-hangers – once again this ends at a natural break, with a hint for what comes next but no cliff-hanger. Thanks Lynn 🙂
So, we catch up with Lia and Alistair. Once again there’s travel, and a cross country romance that brings it’s own problems, but this time there’s more thrown in the mix and the dastardly Nathan appears, doing his usual stirring and of course Alistair is very unhappy. What secrets is Nathan  holding though? What does he know when he’s so secretive about revealing anything,  but telling Lia he still loves her and just wants to help. Can she trust him? It’s a great read again, with a perfect mix of hot and sensual sex, balanced with a terrific story. I need a story first and sex second mix. A book with all sex little story just doesn’t cut it for me. Nathan is a real anti hero and so perfect here, and Alistair is so in love with Lia, but still finding his way in such an unfamiliar situation for him. They had a lot to cope with and his past is still bringing problems not just to his mental state, but in the real world too. Lia loves him, but gets frustrated sometimes at his unflinching over protectiveness – he can’t seem to help being that way, and yet it reminds her too much of Nathan. The secondary characters, her friends and family, work colleagues and his acquaintances are good – they help the balance of story, sex and excitement.
Overall its a book I raced through, really easy to read and kept me enthralled in the story. I need to feel attached to my characters, if I don’t connect with them and care about what happens I can’t enjoy a book, and here I love Lia and Alistair and am rooting for their happy ending.
Stars: Five again – its a terrific second part and a great follow up to the perfect beginning novel. One for the keepers files!
ARC received from Netgalley and publishers

Night’s Deep Hush, Reveler Series 4, Erin Kellison

Night's Deep Hush: Reveler Series 4

 

Night’s Deep Hush, Reveler Series 4, Erin Kellison
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I enjoyed book one, missed the next two but then saw this one. Jordan and Rook are two of my favourite characters so I was pleased to see they are the main feature. They’re on the run from Chimera, the organisation that polices Reve, the dreamworld for sale. Sadly though the people involved who are crooked go very high up in the organisation, so finding out who to trust is hard. They get caught, not by Chimera but by someone else who wants Rooks talents for a specific but very dangerous job. Rook is taken, by lucky chance Julia manages to avoid capture, and is out to rescue him. It brings her into great danger though and Rook too is in dire straights, caught in reeve and its dangers. Kept in sleep too long and a person can die, but his welfare isn’t the concern of the person who is using him.
This is such an unusual fantasy, based around dreams and dreaming. When we think we only use a tiny per cent of our brain capabilities this isn’t so far fetched. I’m one of those who always – every time I sleep even if only a nap – dreams very vividly, the impossible seems easy, the unreal is real, and I can fall into a dream I’ve had before if I concentrate, though the shape of it differs each time. I can really believe in a premise such as this, shared dreaming, and it makes for a great and very different series to the norm. It’s quite difficult at first to let go and fall into the story, but to enjoy it and to feel part of it you really need to believe in it I feel, and of course with my dreams I do. Nightmares are powerful things, and the areas and characters here that come from them are very realistic. It’s not a horror book though – with my prospensity to get bad dreams from innocuous subjects I avoid those like the plague. Dreams I can do and enjoy – nightmares – no thanks! I avoid any books or films I think will encourage them. It’s amazing just what the subconcious mind filters in dreams, things we feel we didn’t notice pop up as major events, and so in this book the land of dreams, the Reve, has anything and everything in it.
Stars: Four and a half, it’s a great read if you are looking for something a bit different from the usual fantasy/paranormal fiction offerings.
Arc supplied via /netgalley and publishers.

TOUCH ME, INTREPID WOMEN, KATHRYN JANE

TOUCH ME, INTREPID WOMEN, KATHRYN JANE
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I hadn’t realised there was an earlier book, but that not a problem as although this is a series, they are standalone books around a theme, not a group of people. Telepathy and other mental abilities are always intriguing so I thought I’d enjoy this book.
Well, I did..and then again I didn’t…The telepathy/mental abilities part was perfect and worked well with the plot set out. What I had problems with was the multitude of characters who seemed to be one person, and then another. I was lost, not knowing who to trust, not understanding what was happening or had happened to Grace, and not understanding what it was she actually wanted. Like Logan I’d have said “enough” at that point too…. I felt there were so many overlaying plots, added to the special abilities and groups looking in to them, that I just couldn’t keep up well with the story. The whole who was related to whom issue got confusing for me, and took away from the plot to rescue the children. I kept flicking back to see just where each person fitted…I got there in the end, and enjoyed the book but it was too tortourous with keep checking back for me to fully enjoy it more than a one off OK read. That just me though, I’m sure there will be others from whom this is a perfect read. I feel it worked better as a thriller than as a raomnce, I didn’t really feel that conncetion between Grace and Logan, a physical arttraction but no more than that.
Stars: Three.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

 

Night After Night (Seductive Nights)

Night After Night, Lauren Blakely.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I wasn’t sure about this at first, it sounded good, but then there are so many erotic trilogies out at the moment and the quality varies condsiderbly. I’d never read any of Lauren’s books before, although she’s a prolific author. Still, I took the plunge and requested and I’m so glad I did.
It’s a story that raced along at breakneck speed. The chemistry between Clay and Julia is incredible, sensual and erotic, carnal and steaming off the page…I could feel the pull between them, and the sex scenes were really well written, very tantalising and not those awful overblown, dragged out ones where you just wish the characters would get on with it and put the reader out of their misery. Writers vary in their abilities to write erotic scenes, and clearly Lauren has it cracked, as these were just perfect for the story. Sometimes when the characters get together so soon, as they did here, the story gets lost in page after page of mindless and dull sex, but not this one. The story and the mystery behind Julia’s actions and Clay’s reservations are always forefront, and that how I like it. Story first, sex second, as an additional lure. After their first encounter Caly wants more and invites Julia for a weekend. She wants to go but has problems that make a realtionship impossible…still, she tells herself, its only for two days and that will be it…yeah, we’ve all done that, told ourselves what we want to hear, and this is what she’s doing, digging in deeper, knowing she shouldn’t. She’s got real, scary problems and not from her making poor girl. If she doesn’t toe the line though her friends and family are at risk, so her life just isn’t her own.
I enjoyed this book so much that I need to know whats coming next, so I’m off to buy ( with my own money!!) the next two books. Actually the whole trilogy is out now, and it works out cheaper that way. My favourite way to read these novels is right through in one go, so that works well for me and it’ll be one to join my keepers file.
Stars: Five. A steamy read, great story, real people and problems and lots of sensual encounters.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

No Regrets, Claire Kent

No Regrets

 

No Regrets, Claire Kent
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I was so excited to see this, I loved, and have re read Claire’s “Escorted” a couple of times now, and was hoping for another sexy romance. Well, its a good book but for me it doesn’t have quite the drama and emotion of “Escorted”.
Leslie, ah she was a good woman, hardworking and solid, loves her friends but her love life is sadly lacking….then on taking her elderly spaniel to the vet she meets Josh, the new vet.
He’s hot and later when she’s in the park, still upset over Polly’s necessary but sad end, Josh finds her while he’s out running…and they end up having some hot and heavy sex…
She thinks it’s a one off, but a few days later out with friends one night they bump into him again, and she ends up back with him, after a quickie in the ladies!! Josh though make sit very clear he doesn’t want romance, doesn’t do attachments, and though she’d love all of that her vows this year were to go for it – attack life with no regrets, so they embark on a really sexy, sensual Friends with Benefits affair having some erotic heated moments, doing things Leslie never thought she would.
Then that time comes, when things go wrong, stuff is said that can’t be taken back, and I really felt for poor Leslie here. They part on good terms, but she’s so sad, and is full of doubt whether that was the right action to take. She did the right thing though in my opinion…she’d be cheating herself if she carried on. Josh has solid reasons for his no commitements stance, and she can’t see them changing even though she understands why, and doesn’t think he’ll be happy that way. Can they find a way back though?
Well, its beautifully written and full of hot and erotic sex, allied with some gentle and subtle moments. I didn’t get to wallow enough over the breakup though, and I need that ….need that sense of deep loss, that makes redemtion and comeback so much sweeter.
Stars: Four, loved the story but needed a bit more on the sad side for a five star read. ARC supplied via Netgalley

Loving It Raw: Understanding the Raw Food Diet Jennifer Wells 

Loving It Raw: Understanding the Raw Food Diet

 

Loving It Raw: Understanding the Raw Food Diet Jennifer Wells
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

A while back I reviewed a book of recipes based around a raw food diet. It was interesting and some sounded mouth-watering – it’s not all plain fruit and vegetables but delicious nut milks, smoothies, dips and dehydrated cakes and bread style foods. It didn’t really tell me how to incorporate raw foods into a daily regime though – this book does.

There’s a few simple recipes to get the reader started, but the main crux of the book is about why and how to incorporate raw foods into one’s lifestyle. What I found really interesting were the argumenta for and against. It was good to see the “cons” set out honestly, and not glossed over. Like all diets there are risks with raw foods and one needs to balance them against the benefits. Life is all about risk assessment and armed with honest information, and advice on how to minimize risk its easier to make a decision. Full marks to Jennifer for including this section – it would be easier to pretend its all beneficial but when an author is honest I’m far more inclined to trust his/her words.

The link between cooked foods and certain illnesses was interesting. I knew that, for instance, BBQ foods and its burned edges has been linked to carcinogenic properties, and yet every summer people get out the BBQ at the first hint of sun. If we accept that risk why then make a fuss about the very few raw food risks. The benefit certainly outweighs it to my mind, and shouldn’t put anyone wanting to go raw food off.

For anyone looking to add raw foods into their lifestyle, even if just part of their diet, this book is packed with sensible, down to earth advice on the practical side. It’s not a “diet” in the accepted sense, but more a healthier way of eating. It’s well worth buying and reading to help you decide why and how to do it.

Stars: Five, it’s a short read, but very honest and practical.

ARC supplied via author.

Connecting Strangers, Book 1 in the Discovering Emily series, Rachel Carrington

Connecting Strangers (Discovering Emily Book 1)

 

Connecting Strangers, Book 1 in the Discovering Emily series, Rachel Carrington
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I’m not sure how many books are in this series, if it’s a trilogy or more – or even when they are out. It seems to be in the trilogy mould though, and ends with a clue for the way the next book is going, but not what I’d think of as a huge cliffhanger…thanks Rachel as I REALLY HATE those!
So, it’s romatic suspense and the romance kicks in pretty quickly with the delicious Adam, who’s attracted to Emily as soon as he pulls her over one night on patrol…She’s escaping from an abusive realtionship, and somehow quickly gets taken over by a local cafe owner, who’d been through similar herself and recognised the signs Emily was showing. Adam turns up in the diner next day, and it’s not long before the two fall into a passionate, sensual affair. They just don’t seem to be able to keep their hands off each other. Of course Emily has to keep some parts of her escape secret, and it turns out that Adam has been quite close about his past too…but secrets have a way of coming out at the very worse times.
There’s lots of emotion and drama here, but I just didn’t feel they were in enough depth. It felt very superficial. Though I loved Adam and Emily I didn’t quite connect with them in the way I thought I would. There were parts of the story too – especially the later elements, that seemed too glossed over, too slick and convenient. It did make me glad though that the UK police force isn’t elected, that though it has it’s shortcomings at least money can’t buy influence as easily as it seems it can with some of the law upholders in this story.
The end, you think it’s all tied up and then…out comes the start of the next book. I enjoyed the romance, though would have liked a slower build up, it seemed barely had they said hello, than they were getting hot and heavy. The suspense though, that was where the book really fell a bit flat for me. I didn’t really feel any danger for Emily, it lacked that “oh no – what now” factor.
Stars: Three. A good start, but not sure that I will continue with this. I guess it depends on whether the suspense picks up, and when and how many epsisodes there are next.
Arc supplied via Netgalley

Ants on Peonies, Beth Thompson

Ants on Peonies

 

Ants on Peonies, Beth Thompson
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
A slight change from my usual reading genre, but it’s good to step out of the comfort zone and I enjoy trying something different. To be honest I’m still puzzled over the title – I sort of get the link but…never the less its a great story. Sometimes it seems that the perfect life is feted as something to achieve, and we feel everyone else is living it but not us. Then that leads to feelings that sap our confidence. I see this book as setting out one person’s life, but in reality this could be anyone of us, that perfect life is a myth and real life is just something we have to go with, with all its twists and turns and things beyond our control.
We read Vann’s story from her viewpoint, from the current day, and back in her past, written as if it was present time. At first I found the changing back and forth in time confusing but soon I was feeling Vann clearly from both time periods. She’s a teen, staying with her best friend for the summer, having a great time when – Bam, everything changes. She’s in hospital recovering from a terrible car accident, and the head injury gives her problems with memory, panic attacks – stuff like that in the future. While she’s recovering other things happen that change her life and friendships.
Then later when she’s married to Will with a toddler daughter Olivia she meets Jack, her first love and lover, again at a work convention. Her marriage to Will, picture perfect on the outside has its flaws, as do most in reality. Life isn’t perfect, but needs work at all parts and she and Will are floundering, trying to keep up with two careers and a baby. Children bring big changes, and when Vann breaks her wrist a minor problem becomes major. I felt for her then, its tough having to lean on others and Will just didn’t seem to see her problem. He’s a good man though, and loves her dearly, and even after she’s met Jack again she wants to make their marriage work and put Jack behind her. She does a lot of the Gone with the Wind thinking about problems tomorrow…From then its a challenge of different events and tragedies, a look at their marriage and careers, friendships both old and new, decisions to be made, and somehow Jack keeps on popping up over the years either in person, or via conversations and relatives. It’s as if Fate won’t let them part forever, but keeps throwing them back. Jack has made mistakes, starting with that fatal summer and he wants another chance. Has he left it too late though? Vann’s happily married – or is she? Will is a good man, but the past keeps tripping Vann up and forcing her into decisions.
It’s a terrific read, one I really enjoyed and made me think “what would I do?” I felt for poor Vann, that terrible accident that was the catalyst for so many effects that followed into the future for her and her best friend Ava, and Ava’s brother Jack. I wanted Jack and Vann to be together as they seemed to be fated, but then what about Will? He was a good man, and loved Vann and she him, and what about their kids? It was really interesting seeing how something so simple as the few seconds indecision that led to the accident, could have such a huge impact for years on so many people’s lives. Thats what happens in real life, and this book felt like it could easily be a true story.
There’s some resolution at the end, some heartbreak and a chink in the clouds where in my mind I’ve written a happy ending – cos I like and need them 😉 It’s ambiguous in reality, but to me it points the way I want!
Stars: five, a great read and I loved it, but for me it’s not a book I’m likely to re read.
ARC supplied by publishers.

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