Archive | August 2014

Bridge of Hope, Lisa J. Hobman

Bridge of Hope

 

Bridge of Hope, Lisa J. Hobman
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

This is a companion book to Bridge over the Atlantic which I’ve not read. That one seems to be written from Mallory’s POV while this one is from Greg’s. I’ve read a few dual POV books, sometimes it works and sometimes it feels like I’m just reading the same story, and it loses impact. I really prefer getting them in one book, with alternating chapters but this one works as a separate book. I think because this one is so very “into” Greg’s mind and way of thinking it wouldn’t be a problem reading the two, but that they would complement each other.
So, there’s poor Greg, still grieving the loss of his girlfriend, killed while mountain climbing. No body yet and though they’ve had a memorial service he’s in a a kind of limbo. The village where he lives though is full of people that support him, and I love the way pub owner and his part time employer Stella pushed him in the directions he needed to go.
When he’s retelling his life up to now I couldn’t help thinking “ what a typical male” – I know men like him, who go with the flow, don’t question when they should, and then are surprised when all goes wrong. I don’t mean that meanly, just that some people are so trusting – and then poor Greg got saddled with the bitch-wife Alice. What a horror she was, like a hydra she kept coming back though…and again I though “ Greg- why? Why didn’t you deal with this before?” but I guess we all know people like that – who are easy going and trust everything will work out. Then after Alice there was his beloved Mairi…that must be so hard, not knowing exactly what happened. Then when he’s still learning to cope with that, along comes Mallory and if you could write a “how not to talk to a woman “ manual Greg’s words would be top! He’s just so Open Mouth Insert Foot…poor guy. He doesn’t mean to offend, far from it, he’s so kind and genuine, but there’s something about Mallory that just makes everything he says come out wrong.
Then she suffers heartbreak too and they slowly become friends – Greg of course wants more. He’s plagued with guilt still though and can’t believe how Mallory makes him feel. There are indications that she might return his feelings, but they’re mixed sometimes and instead of thinking maybe she feels the same kind of guilt as he does at times, he just convinced himself she doesn’t want him for more than just friendship, and he needs to move on – and boy, can that guy pick them! His relationship with Mallory goes backwards and forwards, and all the while when he’s mulling over what to do next I’m mentally screaming “ No Greg, just no!!” and of course its a book and he doesn’t hear me….
Its a beautiful story, full of heartbreak and happiness, and showing how easily we could let misplaced guilt and the opinion of others get in the way of true happiness. A perfect ending too – really wrapped things up beautifully.
Stars: Five, a great read. Probably a one off for me, but a book which will stay with my for a while because of the things it brought up that made me wonder “what if?”
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers

Mind of the Beast (Sundancer Two)

I reviewed Brian Freyermuth’s novel Demon Dance last year, and am pleased to say the sequel is now out. Co-authored with Brians’s wife Juliet it’s called “Mind of the Beast”. Brian says we get to find out much more about the characters in the Sundancer world this time around, which I think will be good. One of the problems I had was the lack of info on the various characters so I’m pleased that’s been added.

Mind of the Beast (A Sundancer Novel Book 2)

https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/demon-dance-a-sundancer-novel-brian-freyermuth/

You can learn more about the Novels here http://www.brianfreyermuth.com/

The Beautiful Ashes, Jeaniene Frost

The Beautiful Ashes

 

The Beautiful Ashes, Jeaniene Frost
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
So, being a long time fan of Jeaniene’s works I was so happy to see a new series beginning. The Night Huntress main series has recently finished, and though there’s still one in a spin off to come ( the fabulous Night Prince novels..) I was hoping she’d have something new coming out. So – wow – was I pleased to get this!
Anyway, as with Night Huntress, its straight in with the action and the story unfolds via text and dialogue. It’s not vampires this time, but Demons and Archons – a kind of angel- and the last descendents of biblical characters. As with many fantasy series the fate of humanity hinges on the outcome and success of the characters. We meet Ivy, who’s long learned to cover up her visions and pretend all is normal, now her sister is missing and her parents killed in an accident. Investigating her sisters disappearnace brings her into danger from the demons who want to kill her . Luckily there’s help, an Archon who speaks in non helpful ways, and won’t do anything to help except what his orders specify, and Adrian. He’s seriously hot, but was raised by Demons. He knows more than he’s willing to share though, and all he really says is very basic info and strong warnings that Ivy Must Not Trust him. He says its his fate to betray her…but as they get more and more into danger they get closer and closer…
It’s a very exciting read as always, with well plotted and executed actions. No quick new powers for Jeaniene, her characters are always solid and face danger with what we know they’ve got. The world setting is good, I like the idea of parallel worlds,and the way to get into the Demon Realm was solid. Adrian, well, I’m always smitten by the hunks in fantasy… and like Ivy I’m not fixed on fate controlling everything either. She believes he’s really a good guy, and most of his actions confirm that – but then is his appearing good all part of some master plan? She’s kind of in a rock and hard place situation, and thinking of what was happening to her, and what could/would be done, kept me working mentally through lots of scenarios – I like to be kept guessing, to not have everything playing out predictably. The attraction between her and Adrian is palpable, searingly sensual, but unlike other books she’s written Jeaniene keeps them more or less still on the edge of atttraction, still dancing back and forth by the end of this book. Given all the “don’t trust me” vibes from Adrian, and the “should I/shouldn’t I” ones from Ivy that fits well. I hope they get closer in future novels though – I think they’ll make a great pair, and Jeaniene is good as adding sex to stories without it dominating the plots.
The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but is complete as far as this part of the search goes. It does leave the way clear for the next book in the series. All I can say now is I hope its not too long before book two 🙂
Stars: well after all that how could I give less than five, clearly a series to join my keepers files…
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Long, Hot Texas Summer, Carolyn Brown

 

Long, Hot Texas Summer

Long, Hot Texas Summer, Carolyn Brown
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I’d really looked forward to this, it sounded fun and I enjoy western romances…but I need an edge to my reading, some drama and emotion, and this just felt too light and fluffy. Middle of the road, inoffensive,neutral, no depth to it… It didn’t help that Him Indoors is a film addict, John Wayne being a special favourtie so I’ve seen McLintock more times than I want, even though I don’t watch but am reading, the story slowly bleeds into my brain and I felt reading this book that it was so, so simliar that it just wasn’t working for me…maybe to do with the fact that I’m not keen on that ( or many) films too…..
So, after getting to around 40% I skim read to the end as I was bored…and didn’t find anything suprising, no drama, nothing really deep emotionally, and so its one of those novels where for me it was a bad choice. It’s well written and I’m sure for those who want an easy to read novel it will be just what they want. We all want different things after all thankfully, that’s what gives us such a wide range of novels.
Stars: two 😦 sorry Carolyn, just not a story that worked for me though I’m sure it will for many others.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.

Sinful Cravings, Lake City Stories Book 2, Annie Nicholas

Sinful Cravings: Erotic Paranormal Romance (Lake City Stories Book 2)

 

Sinful Cravings, Lake City Stories Book 2, Annie Nicholas
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I’d not read book one or the novella prequel, but read samples and reviews and thought I’d enjoy this one. I’ve read several of Annie’s book before ( my favourites being Bait and The Angler) so knew I liked her writing style.
Pia, she seems such fun, but a typical Baby of the family. She seemed to run into problems without trying ( it happens – I know!!) and so far has turned to family and friends for solutions. This time though she can’t, she has to rely on her own resources and I enjoyed the way it really made her grow mentally. Part of the problem too is that she’s one of those people everyone ( except Sin’s pet Demon) loves, and they just help her automatically, assume she can’t do things herself. The fact that when she’s tried in the past it leads to even more difficulties doesn’t help….
I struggled a bit getting my head around the whole incubus/succubus feeding schedule, and how they’d cope with good old jealousy! But they need sex for food so as one person can’t provide enough its something they have to get round. It’s the driving force behind the main plot in this book though, and Pia can’t go to her family as they are already at full stretch, with her usual donations to dad via the vials going to Val instead. That’s led dad to seek out another wife and of course the family are struggling with that too….
Pia’s investigations lead to some alarming situations. Val been keeping something from her – again that whole “Pia can’t cope” thing everyone has, and he nearly drains her unintentionally, He’s out of control to his hunger, having left it too long waiting for his wives vials to arrive, and that’s dangerous as he could kill a succubus in his feeding now. Pia is distraught, needs a feed herself desperately and is worried about what Val may do. She then falls into further problems with the person she feeds from, and has someone misunderstanding Succubus ways and thinking sex means she wants to join his family…temporarily escaping from that drama brings her into more danger, and the offence caused endangers something Sin, Val and her father have been working on. See? Whatever the poor girl does seems to bring her into more drama and its not over yet..
Its a fun read, I knew it wouldn’t be a deep drama but a light hearted one, and i enjoyed it. Its a great way to escape for a while into someone else’ problems! I like Pia, wasn’t sure about Val but he grew on me. I get the feeling Sin would like to be more to Pia that he is, for a dark and devious person he’s very helpful and protective of her. Not something he does for many people i think.
Stars: Four, its a great fun, easy to read novel. A way to forget the world and its drama by living in Pia’s ones.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Turquoise Green Winter, Carina Bartsch

 

Turquoise Green Winter, Carina Bartsch
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

So, the story continues with the misunderstandings causing even more troubles. Emely has wanted Elyas to stop texting and seeking her out for ages, so why now he has is she missing him? Why does her life feel so empty without Elyas in it?  Why has he stopped contact, what brought that on? What about Luca too, he seems to have gone from emailing constantly, replying back immediately she writes, to contacting very infrequently saying he’s “busy”. He’s always been busy though so what has changed? Poor Emely is in a state of confusion about her feelings for both of them.
There’s a time where Elyas seems to be avoiding Emely, and then she starts to follow him round, trying to see if she can initiate contact, pluck up courage to ask him what’s changed.  Then some major things happen, they talk finally, and  discover things neither knew about the other. They finally give in to the attraction and are blissfully happy…for a very short while . Then something Elyas has done comes back to haunt him, and once again Emely has her heart shattered. Again from knowing both sides we can see it’s not just her that’s heartbroken but Elyas too  Is there a way forward for them, or has their chance at love gone? Its as if they are fated to be in love with each other but everything keeps going against them. Once again there are things neither know that could make a huge difference.
Another book full of emotion, even more so than the first. I loved it, loved the way things were drawn out, mulled over, how we saw both sides of the story. Its something that I could see happening in real life. I enjoyed the way it wasn’t sex, sex, sex, that’s fine in some books, and I enjoy it but wouldn’t have worked here. The way its constructed with those tantalising kisses, and suggestive touches were far more erotic than if the novel had pictured them having sex far sooner. As it was when they finally got there it had meaning, was deep and full of feeling.
Stars: Five, a great finish, loved it.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.

Dust to Dust, Karina Halle

 

What a rollorcoaster ride to the end, some laughter, some tears, some scary bits ( as ever!) and some light and tender moments. Looking back to the first book, how much more confident Perry is and how Dex has changed, grown into himself. Its that they’re a team, work on each others strenths and weaknesses, that make them so good together and you can feel their love. Agfter all they’ve been through to get this far they deserve it.
This picks straight up from the last book and plunges everyone – inclding Ada and Perry’s parents – into danger. Michael has come calling, and he’s got Dex and Perry in his sights, and doesn’t care who gets taekn down along the way…there’s some real tearjerking monents in store….

I love this series, its been a fabulous journey with Dex and Perry. To think I almost missed it as I didn’t think it was a series for me! I’m a wimp, so anything with a horror tag tends to get passed by, and the first book sat on my kindle for ages, I’d got it as it was free but…kept putting off reading it. Finally plucked up courage and found it was very different to what I’d imagined and LOVED it – bought the rest and have been waiting anxiously for this one. I’m torn between being happy they finally got a resolution and a HEA – they’ve been through so much together – and then again, no more Dex and Perry 😦
Still, Karina is one of my favourite authors and I’ve bought more of her other books now too – and I’m sure she’ll have plans for another series to hook us devotees in!
One thing I have to say – a HUGE thanks Karina from readers who love that you don’t take ages – years for some authors – between books. The quality of writing is always excellent, and yet she turns out books after just a few months – this series hasn’t taken long, not sure when Darkhouse was first out but I bought it ( free!) in december 13, and there’s been over a dozen in the series including the novellas…along with some other fantastic books.

Blood Gate (The Circle Book 2) Amy Lee Burgess

 

Blood Gate (The Circle Book 2) Amy Lee Burgess
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

At the end of the last book things had deteriorated badly between Claire and her Master Parker. He was the one to Turn her, and she’d been with him five years as his apprentice. From a wonderful first two weeks he’d then turned into a cruel and cold Master, one who was sarcastic and scathing about any of her attempts to please him. Only the sex between them seemed to work. Then she’d grown closer to Andre and Circle Master Oliver had made him her Master instead of Parker. They’ve has a fabulous few months with Andre being loving and supportive. Claire is Enhanced – able to read people’s and other vampires minds, and Andre is her Trigger, someone to assist her to learn to use her abilities. Things aren’t going well between Andre and Parker though – they were best friends until their big fallout forty years or so earlier, and they’ve become much worse, and the change of /master didn’t help. Circle Master Oliver steps in, makes changes once again and setting Parker back as Claire’s Master. He sends all three to sort out their differences at Edgewood, a huge country estate he owns. Strange things happen there though, placing all of them in danger of losing their lives…
Its another gripping, riveting read, bringing up shadows of the past and spiced up with sensual and erotic sex scenes. I really feel for Claire, she seems to have spent her life trying to get others to love her, and now she’s stuck between Andre and Parker. Andre loves her but has become a very different person at Edgewood, and Parker, though still sarcastic and temperamental does seem to be making improvements at times. Claire still has feelings for him, and wants them all to be happy but doesn’t know how to go about it. Clearly Oliver sent them there for a reason, he gave Claire a key and told her she’d know when to use it but she doesn’t even know what or where its for…He’s one of those enigmatic Vampires that always answers a question with another question, or a vague non specific answer…Poor Claire. I thought she’d found happiness with Andre at the end of the last book, but here his strange bondage games seem to be taking a sadistic turn and she’s worried about him. He’s always been open with her but has closed his mind off now, and she doesn’t know if that’s because she is now apprentice once again to Parker or if there’s something else. The dangers start mounting up, with strange things happening and Claire having very frightening nightmares, which is odd as vampires don’t dream. There’s a great deal going on that slowly becomes clearer, and the way Amy comes up with these scenes and plots amazes me. They make sense even though of course non of it is real. I need that kind of “if fantasy was real this could happen” format, and what I love is when an author uses talents and abilities that were evident much earlier in the story, not throw in some last minute new powers. To me that’s a cop out, doing the story and reader a disservice.  Thankfully Amy never stoops to that, but works on building scenes set much earlier. I’ve noticed that in both these books and in the Wolf Within novels, and that’s part of why they are such a good read for me and bear re reading. These novels are much more openly sexual, the wolf series has sex of course but its alluded to more than openly described. Here its all on the page, from the first sensual moves to the lust and blood sharing that follows. Its a very graphic, erotic book, with sex between all the vampires, not just Master and Apprentice.
Stars: Great read, full five. I’m not sure if there are more books to follow, this one ends really neatly closing up the story of Claire, Andre and Parker that begun in the first book. Part of me would love to read more of the Circle vampires, and part of me feels this is just perfect as a two book deal….I though I’d made a mistake and notsigned up for this tour when I didn’t get the Arc within a couple of weeks so I bought the book…I needed to know what was happening!! I’m happy that Amy always provides a story for my keeper files to read again, so to me its worth spending money on. Then I got my ARC….so usual rider applies re ARC supplied via Book Plug Promotions but note that I also invested my own money in it knowing I’d love it.

I slammed open the cabinet and all but knocked three glasses off the shelf. The silverware drawer held nothing but spoons and corkscrews. Vampire kitchen. I scooped one of the corkscrews out and slammed it onto the table.
“My, we’re violent for a submissive little sex slave,” Parker said, and I swung at his head with my fist.
I pulled the punch before I connected with his fucking face. My fingers were clenched so tightly my nails dug into my palm. Appalled, I struggled to unball my fist. My tortured breathing was the only sound besides our combined heartbeats. Even Parker’s heartbeat was elevated, although he never lost his damned smirk.
“I am not a sex slave,” I whispered, wiping my bloody palm on my thigh. “It was the one time he tied me to the bed, and it was not debasing or abusive.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Parker advised. “Now either punch me or sit down. I thought you wanted to have a conversation. This is me talking about what I want to discuss.”
“Shit,” Andre muttered, rubbing at his face as if his head hurt.
“I’m her master. I don’t like the direction you two are taking.” Parker deftly uncorked the wine and filled the glasses.
“Are you trying to tell me you are forbidding us to indulge in a particular brand of sex because you don’t like it?” Andre took his glass, and for a moment, I thought he was going to throw it at Parker’s face. Instead, he took a sip. “Because I think that falls into the realm of none of your fucking business.”
“I knew you’d say that.” Parker sipped his own wine. “But her business is my business. That is the very definition of the master/apprentice relationship. Suck it if you don’t like it. You’re the idiot who gave her back to me. Now live with it.”
Andre clenched his jaw. “You pathetic bastard. You Turned her. And you tried to off yourself. Your blood bond with her is what made you her master again, not me. Stop trying to blame me for this.”
“Okay, fine. We agree to disagree about why she’s my apprentice again, but that doesn’t change the fact I still object to the BDSM sex games.”
“We cannot agree to disagree on a fucking fact!” Andre shouted. He grimaced, and when he spoke again, his tone was no less angry but not so strident. “Your blood binds her to you.”
“So what are you saying?” Parker talked loudly and slowly, as if to a person who was hard of hearing. “That you think this blood bond is making me jealous of your kinky sex sessions?”
“For starters, yes.” Andre’s mouth curled at the edges in the beginnings of a dangerous smile. “And once again, I am offering to let you be a part of it. So you can see for yourself how harmless it is.”
“Nice try.” Parker shook his head, his blue eyes gleaming. “I’m not interested into getting sucked into the black hole of your delusions that bondage is a healthy way to deal with your pasts. Because that’s the bullshit you’re going to try to hand me next, right? That somehow tying her up and beating her helps you get over your own abuse? And that she, in turn, by submitting to you—the person she loves and trusts most in the world—will also come to some startling self-realizations while being flogged and unable to fight back?”
“Maybe we just think it’s fun,” Andre snarled.
Parker’s laugh was distinctly unfriendly. “Oh Christ, and I’m a little old lady with Alzheimer’s who you can dupe without even trying. If you can’t even be honest with yourself, why the fuck should I be talking to you, let alone swallowing all your crap?”
“Your mind is closed,” Andre said.
“My mind is made up,” said Parker.
“Same difference.” Andre shoved his glass aside and looked at me. “You’re very silent. What do you think?”
“Sweetheart, this is your cue to spout the party line according to your Trigger.” Parker leaned across the table to tap my wrist, and I glared at him.
“I guess I can’t say anything, then. Which is par for the course anyway. Either I support you, or I support him, so I can’t win,” I said.
“Just tell me the truth of what you feel. I’ll listen.” Parker held my gaze with his.
For a moment, I actually believed he was telling me the truth, and more, that he wanted me to tell him exactly what I was thinking.
So I took a deep breath and answered him. “No matter what I do, I’ll disappoint one of you. And I don’t want to do that.”
“You’re always worried about the wrong thing,” Parker said. “How is it that you can’t understand that I would a thousand times rather be disappointed if you did something you believed in versus being pleased that you did something just because you thought that’s what I wanted you to do?”

Book one: Blood Gift review here https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/blood-gift-the-circle-amy-lee-burgess/

Rafflecopter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3bb62e03173/

Slow Satisfaction, Cecilia Tan

 

Slow Satisfaction, Cecilia Tan
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I loved the first two in this trilogy, and have been waiting for this final part. Since FSoG ( which I loved despite the eye rolling etc) there seems to have been numerable erotic, BDSM trilogies of very variable qualities. Some Authors, Jodi Elen Malpas and K Bromberg have written trilogies that are fresh and engaging, but sadly far too many are like reading the same story over and over with just very slight changes. This trilogy though – its BDSM, its erotic, but its a very different read from most out now. Cecilia has brought in a totally new angle with James being a secret Rock Star, ( and of course a control freak) and some storylines that are new and welcomed. Once again the sex scenes are sensual and not repetitive, but often have an edge that’s just a bit different from the norm. I was a little uncomfortable at one of the later scenes where she ends up really crying…that’s just me though, and it was given the appropriate explanation. There was so much happening in the last novel i did have to go back for a quick peek and refresh my mind…it’ll be a great trilogy to read in one long session!
There were times when I thought Karina might say “enough” when James lets her down yet again over his secrets, but it seems she’s finally standing up to James over them and demanding answers – well, some of the time Winking smile I’d have wanted an explanation about Ferrara far fuller than she got….she still settles too easily for what he tells her, rather than asking more questions. Still, she’s treading a fine line, and its hard for him letting go of what he’s hidden for so long so I can see reasons for her (in)actions.
Karina has grown such a lot since that first meeting, and James has changed immeasurably. That’s part of his problem IMO, he’s been one way for so long that it scares him to think and act differently. Throw in the complications with the bitch Ferrara and no wonder he’s been so protective of himself. Ferrara was a great character – I always feel a good “bad” character adds so much to a story, and provides a great contrast and interesting storylines.
There were times when I wondered if there were just a bit too many co-incidences, sort of did A happen because of B, or B happen because of A or was it all just chance?
James and Karina have come such a long way and it was good to see them moving forward finally as a team, and facing up to the (myriad of) problems that surrounded them. Those were all very different to what usually crops up, and that’s what kept this interesting and fresh for me.
Stars: Four and a half. There were a couple of times when I felt things were muddled or a bit lacking in substance, or where Karina was too accepting. Somehow too James didn’t always come over as the strong character we know he is. A trilogy for the keeper files though.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers

https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/slow-surrender-cecilia-tan/

https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/slow-seduction-cecilia-tan/

Double Up, Vanessa North.

Double Up

 

Double Up, Vanessa North.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews

I really enjoyed Vanessa’s High and Tight so looked forward to this one, and wasn’t disappointed. Once again she’s woven a beautiful romance into a realistic feeling story.
For me to enjoy a romance I have to feel that the characters are genuine, that I’m there in the story with them, and from typical gay queen Eddie, to injured and proud Ben, and of course Hunk Davis they were a wonderful bunch. Eddie – wow what a friend. I kind of felt that he was really in love with Ben, and had been for years but accepted that he wasn’t meant to be the love of Ben’s life. He was so supportive of him, so helpful even when Ben was rude and irritable – he’s been his support since long before the accident that changed so much for Ben. Ben himself, well – I understood his fears and reasons, he was in an awful position and the head in sand maybe I’ll choose later approach wasn’t helping him, but it allowed him to at least continue in the sport he loved to a very minor degree for a while longer. Boarding was his life, the thing that brought him so much and then conversely lost him almost everything. He can’t imagine a life where it isn’t part of it, and he’s put off a life changing decision for many years now, and just gone along with Eddie as friend and support while just living a shadow of life.
Then Davis walks in and bam – instant attraction, though Davis is ten years younger. He may be younger but he’s very dominanat, he knows what he wants and its Ben, and Ben soon learns that Davis is very determined. Soon they are immersed in a torrid, passionate affair. Davis has gone all in for Ben, but Ben can’t bring himself to tell him about his problems…finally gives a little bit of info, but can’t bring himself to tell him about the big decision yet, then it comes out at just the wrong moment – doesn’t that always happen?
I was so heartbroken for both of them. Vanessa has written this so you can understand and feel both points of view, and the melancholoy that came from this was great – I like to wallow in the misery, so long as there’s a HEA….it makes it so much sweeter. It’s a great story, I loved learning about the sport, seeing the characters involved, and of course the homophobia – that’s real life sadly and families do get split like this 😦
Stars: Four and a half – a great read, packed with emotion and drama that felt very real.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and Riptide publishing.

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