Lone Wolf, A Bluewater Bay Novel, L.A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Gay/Lesbian, Romance
It wasn’t until I was partway into this book that I realised it was part of a series and the fourth book…Doh, I just love the authors works so much that I clicked without reading further. Luckily I’d read book one, and in fact each book can be read as a stand alone one.
I loved Hunter, a well established author, with a popular TV series of his books and he’s behind, way, way behind on delivery of his latest one. Writers block has struck – and even top authors can get it. That struck a note of realism to the story, and I always need that. I know its fiction but I want to feel it could be real. Also he’s been a naughty man ( I really can’t write “boy” given his age, forties..) and been reading fan fic against the explicit instructions of his agent and contract!! Only from one person though, and now Lone Wolf’s book is finished he’s realised that its exactly what’s needed for the next book, and opens up the series to so much more, overcoming his block. What to do though? That’s the problem. He’s also been online flirting somewhat with Lone Wolf, they seem to have so much in common, and its almost two years now they’ve “known “ each other. They meet for coffee and that online attraction jumps into something more. Lone Wolf is Kevin, a younger man who’s awed by meeting his hero, but not so awed that he doesn’t pick up on the sexual undercurrents…
Soon as well as collaborating on the book, they’re hot and heavy in real life. Hunters always needed his space, but Kevin seems to fit in to it neatly. The problems of fame though press heavily on Kevin, and Hunters way of helping makes him unsure if he really just wants him out of the way, and his space back. Poor Kevin, I felt for him, he’d struggled with the whole concept of sudden fame, of having to hide his nationality to fit publishers/readers bias, of the concept of being added in to the mix of talents involved in the Wolf’s Landing series, and he struggled, then felt abandoned by Hunter. He wondered if what they had was real, or whether Hunter had simply tired of him. He’s left his job to write full time, so no work colleagues. The contracts around the book and the sudden fame have seeded out friends too – some left, and new ones want to ride the train, so he’s really no one to talk to about it, and gets himself totally depressed.
I said at the start I’d just seen the authors of this novel and clicked – that’s because I so enjoy the way they write together, the way the POV alternate from one to the other, and then to third party, and they way we’re allowed to see the characters inner thoughts. For me that makes the reading so fulfilling, and I feel I understand the characters. Here I felt for Kevin and yet knew Hunters take on things too, and could see why they didn’t mesh.
Stars: Four, I really enjoyed this read but it wasn’t quite a five star one. I’m not sure why, but it just didn’t have the “must read again” factor for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
I really enjoyed the first two in this series and am looking forward to book three. That Katharine, Dac’s ex, is a real bitch and looking at the next pic seems she’s all out to get him back…Poor Hailey. * oh I love those sort of nasty types he he he *
Hailey Holloway has a serious knack with running from her problems. At the first sign of trouble she can be found lacing up her Nikes and hitting the road. Dacea has been patient with her, but a man can only handle so much. He told her before that he would not chase after her again and is he nothing, if not a man of his word. Katherine is more than happy to pick at the wound that festers between them. If she picks enough, she just might make one or both of them bleed.
War is on the horizon. Together, they need to convince the leaders of Blue and Silver to join their crusade against the Council, but can they put their differences aside and stop fighting long enough to help those in the line of fire?
Out Jan 5th 2015
A King Undone, Cooper Davis
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Well – in my usual haste to get reading I missed the all important “book one” and was expecting a complete story. By three quarters through though it was clear the problems were still mounting up, and there’d be no resolution in this book and that’s when I went back and checked to see of there was more to come…doh – I’ve done this enough times that I should have learned…still.
Its a book that leaves me with mixed feelings. I found much to enjoy, the gentle unfolding of feelings, some witty banter at times, and a few great characters but…a lot of the dialogue felt stilted and awkward to me. Then again its a kind of historical novel, though in a different reality to ours, and it feel the same to me as when I read books set in 15-16th century UK and for that the dialogue works. They do go in for long speech type conversations too, which doesn’t really work that well for me, I felt at times “come on, stop waffling and get to the point!”. However Arend and Julian I loved as people and felt for them, I enjoyed too the tight-ar sed secretary Alistair, and of course the kings cousin Sam and his wife. Some terrific characters and sharp funny lines, albeit interspersed with lengthy and protracted conversations. Sometimes the gems almost got missed as I was skimming yet another long winded speech…..
Arend was in love with another prince as a teen, but forced to end his engagement to marry and get an heir. Now the witch of a wife who made his life hell is dead, his beloved son has married a prince from another region and Arend wants to take a concubine. He chooses Jules from a temple who train men for that purpose, and embarks on a year long contract detailing No Emotions, nothing of that sort to be expected. He wants to guard his heart after the heartbreak of Darien, his beloved from his youth. Darien died not long after and it feels like Arend is still grieving, he’s had and got some good friends, but keeps his heart close and doesn’t want to subject himself to anything that may touch it. Yeah – that always works….Jules is a lovely man, betrayed by his brother and sold to the temple his background is unknown, but its clear he’s not some farm worker or casual labourer, but from a very different upbringing. He’s not telling though – its one part of himself he can control. I really liked both of these characters and wanted things to work out.
To begin with there’s a real push/pull and much to learn about each other, and its clear Arend is struggling to stay unemotional, and Jules is one that gives his heart without being able to stop himself. His presence with the King though isn’t welcomed by everyone, there’s trouble from one of the staff which make his start there problematic, and then Arend’s secretary comes with unpleasant news from the Lords and his Council. They’ve set an ultimatum. They were already unhappy at the Prince marrying a man and are demanding Arend remarry – to a woman of course, and provide another heir. There’s his cousin Sam who is in line of succession and who’s married to a lovely lady but so far they’ve not had children though its only been three years. Sam has a great wit and made me laugh.
What troubled me about this book and stopped a higher rating: the long winded dialogue which became speeches at times. The way that homosexuality was open with places such as the Temple providing training grounds, and yet the insistence of a royal heir and the lengths the Council were provided to take to ensure the correct bloodlines – barbaric to be honest and the two things combined didn’t go well together for me. Still, political extremes and control does make for good reading, and provided an excellent bit of potential heartbreak. Its a typical example now I think of it of how sexual behaviours have been viewed through history – there’s always the “do what you want but keep it undercover “ element…In this case though homosexuality is not only everyday, but men ( and presumably ladies too) are allowed same sex marriage. Should the King be exempt from the freedoms allowed his subjects? I’d just have thought there’s be some kind of provision or that Arend would have expected the views of his Council. It seemed at odds with the general freedoms everyone has. I really wanted Arend to sya “up yours” to his council and throw in some new law to protect himself and Jules but…anyway there’s ore to come and a long way to go before they’re home and safe together.
I think for me this would have been a great read as a tightened up one off novel, but doesn’t have enough to carry it into a series/trio of books. Its got so much good going for it, a great storyline and lots of heartbreak possibilities – and I do love that! sadly though its all lost to me in a sea of long speeches and explanations and I just got switched off at times. As ever though this is just my opinion and others will love the gentle way the story unfolds. Its a good read just for me not a great one.
Stars: Three and a half, its got lots I could enjoy, lots of potential but just too slow for a higher rating from me. I don’t think I’ll continue with the next books…but who knows.
I LOVE the cover!
ARC supplied via author
All Fired Up, Black Halo Book 2, Madelynne Ellis
Genre: NA, Contemporary romance.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
All Fired Up is the follow-up to scorching rock star romance novel, All Night Long, and gives us the viewpoint of Ginny and Ash for the events that unfolded in the novel Come Together, where the band are on tour and beset with strange events and disasters….
I love Ginny, she’s very different from her friend Dani, far more outgoing and adventurous and Ash is perfect for her. He needs someone capable of holding his attention, and though he’s trying hard to keep things cool, protect his heart its clear he’s fallen for her and she for him. It was great seeing the events of Come Together unfold all over again, but from another view. We see just what was going on with Ash and Ginny, where that book only gave us a glimpse of their problems. Once again the band is struggling to cope and the odd things happening make the problems greater. I love the different characters and how they squabble and yet when they need it they support each other and pull together. I love the way this series shows us in depth each band member in individual books, and look forward to more stories from the others – especially mysterious but supportive Spook.
Ginny’s tired of being kept in the background, like a dirty secret and wants Ash to announce they’re a couple, but though he’s so close to her, so loving he won’t take that step… what’s she to do? Sit it out while the media think he’s still the man-whore he was, and while the fans are after a sex session with him and paw him all over, or make a stand? Its a tough choice and while they are struggling to find a way forward that suits them both, old friend of Ash and new drummer for the band Iain takes a closer interest in Ginny. Things go badly and …well, you’ll have to read it. Of course if you’ve read Come Together you’ll know how it all ends but its a fabulous sexy read even knowing that, and still retained freshness for me even though I know the story. I love to re read old favourites and this series is one for the keepers file.
Stars: Five, great sexy, sensual, erotic read.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.
The Billionaire’s Holiday Obsession, Nadia Lee
review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I enjoyed the first book in this series, featuring Mark and Hilary, and thought this one sounded fun too. Its not a series that pretends to be anything other than a solid, fun romance. Sometimes that’s what I need after reading some paranormal or fantasy, something to lighten my mood and mind, and this book was perfect for that.
First thing you have to do though is suspend normal rules of behaviour, as the book takes circumstances and changes them into ones that frankly would be really, really unlikely. If you can’t do that you won’t enjoy the story, but be thinking “ he/she wouldn’t do that” or “that would never happen” ….and the story will simply fall flat.
So Jane, she’s been ripped off by her ex, is tired of being the family dogsbody, determines to make it as a chef/cook, so she leaves home to go to elsewhere and find her perfect job. That also takes her away from the ex who wants more money, and is very unpleasant and threatening about it. She ends up in a city where she’s jobless and homeless, sleeping in her car, and in despair after yet another failed interview. On returning back she finds her car has been trashed and her clothes defecated on….she screams in frustration, and hearing that her knight ( in a posh car not on a white horse!) comes along. Iain is an old fashioned man, and can’t simply leave her but doesn’t want to get involved. She asks for a lift to a church which may have a shelter, and after hearing her story he offers her money. Jane has pride though and can’t take it, and somehow he ends up letting her stay at his home, and having asked his restaurant owing brother for a job for her, washing dishes and prepping only, but it’s a foot in the door.
Jane and Iain really are opposites, she’s used to a crowded home, with her dad and six brothers, noise, family attention and camaraderie, and lots of love and hugs. Iain life’s a secluded one in his pristine, clutter free to the point of bareness condo, using meditation and eastern practises to free his mind and keep him calm. His family life is far more restrained, with his parents having had constant affairs and his brothers and sister being not very close. They don’t meet up for friendly family dinners, but more to keep up appearances of family life. They don’t dislike each other, but are far more restrained about the concept of family. Jane is like an explosion in his life. He can’t understand her nor she him, and she feels he’s missing out on the fun in life. She’s really attracted to him, but feels he’d never look twice at her, she’s seen pictures of his past dates….She wants to repay him somehow for his kindness, and so she starts to put him on her track, cooking meals for them both, taking him shopping for Christmas presents, and getting his first ever Christmas tree. Part of him is horrified, he’s feeling very unsettled and incredibly attracted to her, but he keeps telling himself she’ll be gone once she’s got money of her own and is on her feet again, and life will return to calm and tranquil. She’s got to him though, and somehow they soon embark on a hot and sensual relationship.
Then all goes wrong at a family Christmas, and she looks at what’s happened to the independence she was so proud of….somehow she’s accepted far more from Iain that she intended, clothes, accommodation and food, and help finding a job when she meant to do it all herself. The awful ex is always sending her texts threatening what he’ll do when he finds her, and says he’s on her track now. It all comes to a head, providing some great drama and sadness, all the pathos I love…. although I thought the ex after all his threats could have played a greater role somehow – that part seemed a bit flat for me after all the setting up.
Stars: Four. A really fun escape from reality, with some heartfelt drama. I didn’t get sucked in to the story quite as well as I did with Hilary and Mark, maybe because TBH the way she came to be staying with Iain was so so unlikely even though I tried hard to believe in it..but I tried hard to tuck those thoughts away so I could accept it as happened and enjoy the rest.
ARC supplied by author
Following His Heart, (Ocean City Boardwalk 1), Donna Fasano.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve read a couple of Donna’s books now, and they’re perfect stand alone romances, which after all the serialized ones that are so prevalent now is a real treat. This is labelled Ocean City One and I’m making an assumption that Sara’s friends Cathy and Heather will be getting their own books. I love those kind of connected romances, where we already know some of the characters and their story, but each book focuses especially on one person.
Anyway, this book is Sara’s story. She’s living with her mum, though in separate flats, and has a bakery in the same building as her good friends have their businesses, a cafe for Cathy and a B&B for Heather. Landon comes to the rescue in a somewhat dramatic fashion one morning when the ancient pipes break suddenly, which could spell disaster and great expense for the trio. ( and I love the “lose my cookies” part! ) I love Sara, she’s clearly had some past problems with her mum being disabled and needing her help and her husband dying in an accident, and yet she’s always cheerful, always ready to help people. She’s in need of some good news, and when Landon arrives in town there’s an undeniable attraction between them, and her friends try to push them closer.
Landon, he’s a lovely guy, with a strange story of how he arrived in Ocean City, and some secrets he’s keeping but he happily jumps in and does the essential repairs saving the girls from disaster, then offers to see to all the plumbing while he’s there, and Sara lets him stay in her flat while she moves downstairs with her mum.
Sara and Landon soon become very close and he’s always in her company it seems, joining her on deliveries, cooking her meals, and even joining their famous monthly girls night out. All looks good but he feels he has to level with Sara when he decides to stay around the area, and she’s shocked, gobsmacked at what he tells her, and it brings back some bad times along with a whole fear for the future. She’s not sure at one point if Landon has just played her, and she avoids him after the big reveal….her mum and friends are so sad – it looked as if finally Sara had found something good in her life and they think she’s over reacting.
I really felt for both of them, for Landon, though he’d lived with the feelings and dreams for so long it was more a confirmation of an idea for him than a shock, but poor Sara was totally floored, a real bolt from the blue. When the premise first came up she was kind of “its possible but not really” and never really believed it, thought it was all wishful thinking, dreaming and imagination, so when she gets concrete proof she’s scared, doesn’t know how to react or what to do and to be honest I really understood that. It must have brought up a reminder of the bad times and the grief she went through. Its going to take a lot of acceptance on her part to bring them back together, but its the kind of happy ending so many people would love in real life.
I’ve read about the phenomenon in this story before, and it’s something that’s well documented empirically, though there’s still not scientific proof. I often think things that appear scientifically impossible are often just problems that we’ve not yet got that far in science to prove. Think of how electricity, telephones, cameras, televisions etc would have been viewed years ago. Vaccinations stopping sickness, people able to travel by plane, train or car etc all would seem impossible before we knew how to do them, and maybe this is just one of those things where it happens but we can’t yet work out why.
Stars: Five, its a great solid read, a lovely story, though one I’m unlikely to re read.
ARC supplied by author.
A Secret To Die For, Sierra Dean
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Well, its always sad to get to the end of a loved series…and of course there are calls from many readers for more. Not me though, I’d rather re read all that’s gone, and enjoy it,than see a series strung out beyond its natural ending – go out on the top and that’s what Sierra has done here. I admit around books 5-6 I did start to lose the way, but then the series picked up pace and delivered the fabulous drama and romance we want. Lucas – he’s always tied with Holden as top choice for Secret. I just loved him in their early days, both so full of passion. When Lucas discovered about Secret’s Vampire side he didn’t roil away in horror as so many would, but just accepted it as part of her and that made me feel even more that he was right for her. When things started to go wrong for them and then the wedding fiasco I just couldn’t believe the Lucas I knew would do that. Still, he did….Holden, he gave indication he was interested in her right from an early book – can’t recall which one now – when they were out on a job,and he kissed Secret to disguise themselves as lovers from passers by. There was far,far more than a gentle melding of lips, more a burning inferno blasting between them. He’s known Secret for years, always stood by her solidly and I think they’d be good together. Desmond has always been last choice for me, he just seemed so loving but not really the strong person she needs, and then when he left and let her down – that was it for me. Des, you were out….
Anyway, Sierra clearly has different thoughts to me and its her book so…I’ll accept it!! Secret needs all the strength the three can provide in this last adventure where the city has been invaded by …Zombies?? no, everyone says – they don’t exist – but the walking dead do,with the help of a gang who are on a mission.
We see so many old friends in this ending, and that wraps the story up so well for me. There was danger and high drama and then something would be said that made me laugh in the next moment. We learn who really has been pulling strings, what Calliope means by her enigmatic prophecies, just how strong the Fae king Aubrey’s power is ( I can’t call him a Fairy king – I just can’t. Fairies are tiny little winged creatures, sweet and gentle, and Aubrey is none of that! ) Secrets friends from the police are here, the main characters from the vampires including the strange and frightening Monica, and of course some of the top werewolves. It made me realise just how many different people we’ve met in the course of the series, ,and how much many of them, including Secret, have changed as the years have passed.
As susual the danger is real, solid and scary,and Secret needs all her skills and the backing of her gang to come through. There’s losses, I won’t say who but yes, it made me cry. Its really emotional at times with secret facing a horrific choice. The story in this part is full of the usual well written and played out drama, and the loose ends and snippets brought in from earlier books all tie togehter.
Stars: Five, a fantastic and satisfying finish, that answers so many queries brought up during the series.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
Drawn Deep, Cari Quinn
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Erotic romance
I knew I enjoyed Cari’s writing style from the Lost in Oblivion novels, and I’d read the first in this series Dirty Distractions. This book includes characters from that one, Sara and Brad’s story, and concentrates on Sara’s best friend Kim. Sara’s boyfriend is Kim’s brother and we met them first in the earlier novel.
Kim is great, been married, got divorced and determined that relationships are not for her, she’s a quick-stop girl, enjoys a hot and heavy fling and usually with younger men. At the moment though she’s on a self imposed ban, but when she sees Michael at her life drawing class she can’t help but be attracted. A naked, good looking younger man – well….of course she is. He approaches her and persuades her to go for coffee at a local diner. From there they fall into a hot and sensual relationship, though she’s shocked at firstly – how much age difference there is, and secondly – at the fact though he lived with his last girlfriend he’s still a virgin! She sees the fact he didn’t tell her thses things as lying, and though he did lie about his age I think he didn’t about his sexual status, he just didnt tell her something she didn’t need to know…she’d have jumped ship if he did so he was right – but still she’s pretty annoyed about it and it leads to friction.
Finally though things seem to be going well between them, and she’s enjoying his company as well as the plentiful and energetic sex, but it looks as if Kim is, as usual, looking for an out. Its seems as though she wants to push lovers away before they get a chance to leave her. She tries in all sorts of ways to persuade Michael and his family that she’s not a good fit for him, but no one is listening…they just welcome her in. She’s confused, how can his mum want him to be with a lady who’s so much older, but all his family want is for him to be happy. Its strange to me how much this matters to her when there’s a similar gap between her brother and Sara. She’s happy for them so why can’t she accept it for herself?
I loved Michael, he’s charming and thoughtful, responsible beyond his years after helping bring up his eight siblings since he was sixteen, and his last relationship was with an older lady. He was happy to look after her, caring is in his nature, but when Kim knows more of the details about his past with his ex she sees it as him being used, manipulated, by someone professing to love him. She’s scared that she’s doing the same while she’s extending his sexual education, using him for her own purpose, so she pushes him away. That’s heart-breaking for both, and from the outside we can see just how painful it is and how hurt they both are. Its a well set up, perfectly written scene, angry words from both of them and has all the drama that I love from these events. Michael I think, quite rightly suspects her motives, knows she’s really just trying to do what she thinks is right for him, but feels hurt that she’s treating him as if he’s too young to know his own mind. Kim is a lovely lady and trying so hard to do the right thing for Michael, but of course what she thinks is right isn’t necessarily so – we’re people, all different and she’s in danger of pigeon holing him, trying to make him her perception of what she thinks a younger man should want, not treating him as an individual.
Of course I can’t finish without saying something about Telly the Conure – he made me laugh so much. I could just visualise that scene….great addition. sometimes its the little touches like that which makes a book special.
Stars: Five. Its a shortish read, but perfect and sensually hot.
ARC supplied via Netgalley
Solving for Nic, Southern Style Series book 2, Lexxi Callahan
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary Romance.
I like books with depth, that make me think and that really get into my psyche, but sometimes I just want a fun read, one to relax with that doesn’t need too much thinking about to enjoy the story. This book was perfect for that. In fact reading it I realised I’d missed that it was the second in a series and have just downloaded the first from amazon while its free – bargain.
Its clear when reading that the books are about connected characters and Lexxi does explain the way each relate to others, some are family, some long time friends and some business acquaintances. I found after I’d finished the book that there’s a list of who’s who and how they connect at the end of the book. I have an ARC so maybe its at the front in the final version, but if not look to the back for it as it’s really useful and helps the story flow when you know how the characters connect and a bit of back story.
Nic’s the perfect hero – Rich, good-looking, obsessed by Lizzie for some years now, but good enough to step back when her father asked. Now she’s older and they meet again and this time he can’t stay away. Lizzie is the brainiac of the family – I’m not sure why, but it seems she’s been teased for many years about her maths abilities and has learned to play a “ditzy” Lizzie and hide her talent, make her fit in with everyone. She made me laugh over taking ages to add the cheese to toast because she wanted to ensure each was perfectly aligned, and the cookie dough where she measured each slice to be certain they cooked at the same time….I’m a very ad hoc cook, throw it in the bowl and hope type so Lizzie and I are total opposites. I could relate to both her and Nic though, in fact all the characters felt very real.
I loved the way the romance developed, the time they spent together was very sensual and erotic, but also there were times when they were just having fun and talking and enjoying each others company. I enjoyed seeing the problems within the family that affected them and others, we’ve all got mixed up relatives and friends…. I’d have liked the “downs” to be a bit more pronounced, for example what she thought about Xia could have been more dramatic, more prolonged, a bit sharper and slanted to give her the idea they were still together, causing deeper upset for her….but that’s me- I love the sad parts, they make it so much better when all works out.
I did have issues with Nic’s accusations of her lying to him, firstly about her virginity – she just didn’t tell him, that’s not a lie to me – he didn’t ask and she didn’t tell that’s all. TBH he hardly gave her the chance did he? They went back to his place for a meal and he whisked her off to bed within moments of getting there – when would be the time to say “ ah Nic, by the way you do realise I’m a virgin?” – yeah, right…then over her maths talent, he’s cross that she hid it from him, but given how people have reacted in her past it seems pretty natural to me..it’s not as if he didn’t have secrets too.
Anyway a great fun romance, a typical hearts and flowers type ( pink roses for Lizzie!) and a quick escape from reality for me.
Stars: Four. a good solid feel-good romance.
ARC supplied by publishers
Christmas with a Bite, (Entangled Covet), Patricia A. Wolf
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.
I’m a sucker for all things vampire ( hah- just realised what I wrote…snigger) so I was keen to read this. I know with Entangled novels I’m going to get a fun read, but that they will usually be fairly light, stand alone reads. That’s fine with me, sometimes I just want a light and easy read.This was fun, but there were a bit too many things that didn’t feel right to me to make it more than a three star read.
It had a promising start, and I was hoping that would continue but…it’s covering only a few days and in that time Mara meets Connor, falls in love, leaves him etc, all without knowing he’s a vampire. Then when he finds her a couple of days later she has the wobblies as she overhears he’s keeping a secret from her…well come-on Mara, do people spill every little thing to people they’ve just met?
Then there’s the conundrum of his family – first we are told humans knowing about vampires is a no-no with them, then we find out that actually three people within the small group already know. They seem to have fluctuating views about Mara too, which I found hard to grasp. Connor worries about whether Mara will be safe with his family- he thinks they’ll kill her if they know about him and her, and the conversations where he’s told explicitly by his father No Humans, and its time to chose a vampire mate indicate that. Then he’s concerned about whether Mara would want to become Vampire, he thinks it’s too much of a change to her life but…they can go out in the day, they look normal, they can eat human food and drink bottled blood so it’s ( to me) not such a big change, apart from the immortality part of course!
The story itself is a fun read, and well written, and if you can get past those things that spoiled it for me then maybe its one you’ll love.
Stars: Three, an OK read
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers