Archive | May 2015

The Elite Kiera Cass,

The Elite Kiera Cass,
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Teens and YA.
Another fabulous cover! Well, we’re in the palace with the girls now and the action is heating up. The girls are veering between kind and cruel, all in the quest to be The One. America has discovered she has feelings for Maxon, their friendship has gradually become much more, but she’s uncertain if she’s suited to be a princess. She finds she hates it when he’s with one of the others and yet can’t still make up her mind if he’s for her. That’s not helped by the fact that Aspen is at the palace, called up in the Draft to be a palace guard, and he still wants her too… and they take some huge risks, especially considering what has happened with one of the others. Maxon knows she has feelings for someone from home, but doesn’t know its Aspen and he’s in the palace. There were times when I got irritated with her, she’s not really fair to either of them, though I understand in a way her confusion, but she’s playing with fire at times. Aspen too – he knew what he was doing was a massive risk to both of them, and yet he still put her through that – I’m not sure that’s a sign of love, more one of obsession. In contrast Maxon indicates if she says yes it could all finish now, but knows she’s not ready and agrees to give her more time.
Along with the girls vying to stay through the next round of cuts, some by whatever means possible, there’s the Rebels invading the palace. That felt a little overdone, it happened so many times that frankly palace security was just a joke. When they were so efficient in other areas its hard to understand why they were so hopeless at something as important as this. I enjoyed the tests set for the girls, the dirty tricks done by some of them – I love some “good” horrible bi tchs in a novel, and they were great here. I thought things were going well between America and Maxon til something shocking happened and I got really annoyed with her then. Maxon, I was saddened by his actions, not by what he did over the event, but after when America is so upset, In a way I understood that he needed to have a back up plan in case she finally said no, he couldn’t just place everything on her, leaving him with no-one if she declined. It seems a bit unfair to the other girls but it was clear many of them saw the Crown as what they wanted, not actually Maxon, he was a kind of by-product Winking smile He was right when he began to press America, they were getting numbers down and as he said, would she still be asking for more time when it was down to three, two….at some point he needed a firm decision before he lost everything. He has his father’s views to contend with too and he’s not a fan of America, from her background to her impulsive actions. We learn more about the countries history and how the whole Caste system originated. It was good to see more of the King and Queen, she’s lovely but the King – wow what an awful, selfish man he is. Its all a kind of eye opener for America, coming from a quiet country background but she’s had many weeks now to get to grips with it.
Stars: Five, it’s another fun read, with some great drama in it.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers


The Selection Kiera Cass,


The Selection Kiera Cass,
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Teens and YA.
I’m an eclectic reader and like to chop and change genres, as I find that way each book feels fresh to me. I don’t read a lot of YA fiction, but sometimes I just want something easy to read, a story to relax and enjoy without too much deep thinking and a good YA provides that. Though I’m rarely attracted by a cover – put off very often… but not easily persuaded into reading by one, the cover on this one, those wonderful dresses, caught my eye and made me look further. It sounded a fun read and though its a trilogy all three parts are out. That’s always a bonus as I HATE waiting for further instalments, I want to read all the story back to back while it and the characters still feel fresh and real to me.
So, we meet America and her family, get an intro into the dystopian world this book covers, and get to meet all the Selection girls, along with Prince Maxon and his parents. Its a strange set up – girls between certain ages submit photo and info, and 35 are selected to stay at the palace for months until finally they’re whittled down and the Prince chooses one for his bride. It seems odd in a way, and yet there are still many countries and religions that rely on arranged marriages, and at least this way he has some choice. The girls too don’t have to take part. Even here in UK we like to think our Royals have freedom when it comes to romance and marriage and yet – they only move in certain circles because of security, and if by chance the heir to the crown wanted to date some everyday person, a waitress from a council estate for example, I have absolutely no doubt he’d be swayed away from her at the first opportunity, so there’s no realistic chance he’d marry her even if they could be perfect for each other, soul mates, in love….So then this doesn’t seem so far fetched.
The Caste system too is not unlike those in many countries today, and even in western “classless” countries there’s actually a real unwritten class system working. Jobs go on who one knows very often, old school and uni friends, men’s clubs, ladies groups, and though in theory all are welcome if one doesn’t fit the image then the welcome is shallow, and that person would probably leave realising that the group is not for them.
I enjoyed the story, felt for America in her dilemma of Aspen and the caste system, versus the fact that being chosen would bring a huge and very much needed financial benefit to her family, as the families of those chosen get money while the girls stay at the palace. There were times when even though her family were fives, three up from the bottom, they still had to choose between food and heating….and castes are fixed to what you are born into unless you marry down. Aspen is a six, they struggle constantly for money, work all hours, and if they marry she’ll be a six too then. Not something her family will like. So reluctantly she applies, gets chosen, and the story moves to the Palace, the girls, and the first parts of the selection. We learn more about the others, some are sweet, and some – the notorious Celeste, are outright cruel in their determination to be the chosen one. Maxon seems a bit stiff and stilted when we first meet him, it seems he’s been allowed very little freedom and the whole situation with girls is something he’s unused to. He’s attracted to America, but she’s still hurting for Aspen, and when she explains this to him they agree to be friends. He badly needs one, and they begin to see more of each other in less formal situations.
Its a fun read, easy to follow and with a typical teen/early twenties girl drama and jealousies. America finds that she’s becoming attracted to Maxon, which confuses her, and when he’s with one of the others she can’t help but feel a bit down. There’s some true Bit ch girl manipulations, and lots of angst and dramatics. I’m keen to read part two now, which fortunately I have on my kindle already Winking smile
Stars: Five, it’s a light and fun read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Year of Living Blonde, Sweet Life in Seattle: Book 1, Andrea Simonne


Year of Living Blonde, Sweet Life in Seattle: Book 1, Andrea Simonne
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance,
A couple of days ago I finished a contemporary romance that had such potential, but just didn’t live up to it ( IMO only of course!) So when I started this I was a bit reserved, didn’t want to expect too much. It was great fun though – had me smiling and crying and that’s a type of read I love. It’s definitely one to re read.
Natalie; happy in her life, working hard at her new business after supporting husband Peter in his, loves their daughter and thinks she has a great marriage. Then out of the blue Peter says he’s off, she’s not what he wants any more and he’s found someone else. She’s distraught – who wouldn’t be? He’s always felt too good for her, being so handsome and he’s belittled her in subtle ways over the years, so she has little self esteem. She’s now in her early thirties, and feels overweight, unfit and unattractive. She wallows for a bit, and then her lovely sister Lindsay and her business partner Blair slowly drag her out. Finally she agrees to their makeover after she discovers her efforts have lost her loads of weight….I loved the way her self esteem was so boosted, when she kept looking in shop windows unable to believe how different she looked.
Then there’s Antony, Mr Sex on Legs, and their landlord. When he first meets Natalie things don’t go well, she’s abrasive and rude, its just after Peter left and she’s not usually like that. She’s in her “old” wardrobe of saggy, tent like clothes, with her hair tightly tied back and he kind of dismisses her as just a grumpy, rude lady. Then things change, they get thrown together more through some odd circumstances and he realises that he totally misjudged her. Her outward appearance change has given her a bit more confidence, but he can see that under that she’s uncertain, and as he gets to know her more he can see the real Natalie, not the person she first showed him. They’ve both got some trauma from past experiences, but slowly their friendship turns to more and when they do finally get together it’s explosive and Natalie realizes all that was missing from her sex life with Peter. There’s some scorching, well written sex scenes mixed in with some great humour.
Of course now she’s hot, gained more confidence and with someone else, a younger, sexy man, then Peter takes another look at her, just as the first flush has run off his affair……
Its a terrific read, full of fabulous characters, I loved so much about this book: the awful Lena and the texts..the great humour – Excalibur, I guessed something like that would happen, but not in that way and it fitted the person perfectly! The way Peter assumed that as a Professor Antony was some older, slightly doddery old man, and his and Lena’s shock when they find out the truth, and of course the clever way that Andrea mixes the pathos of lost relationships, the bitterness that can pervade them with the beauty of a new romance. I loved the way Natalie’s confidence grew as she lost weight and changed her appearance. Sometimes its small outward changes that have such an effect on our inner feelings. The storyline and the way the plots played out was perfect, and it’s a book I’d highly recommend. So nice too to have an older woman and a slightly younger man Winking smile made a nice change!
Stars: Five, a fabulous read, and I’ll be looking to see what else Andrea has written.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Revive, Tracey Martin




Revive, Tracey Martin
Genre:  Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I really enjoyed Tracey’s Misery series so was keen to see this new one. Its very different, set in a world that feels current but where science has come on in huge leaps. Time wise it alternates from present day to what Sophia recalls from up to twelve weeks past.
Sophia, her college ID tells her that’s her name, but she can’t remember anything else. Not who she is, where she’s been, nothing from her past. She feels in danger though, and knows instinctively how to do certain things, like how to defend herself and how to plan escape routes. It makes everything a real puzzle for her. She knows bad people are after her though that’s just an inner voice at first, doesn’t remember why Kyle is with her and doesn’t know if he’s one of them…She’s still very attracted to him despite her memory loss, so wants to think he’s a good guy but just can’t recall anything. She’s got a couple of wounds on her head so assumes that’s what happened to make her lose her memory. Its very scary though – where does she go, who can she trust, and who are the bad guys after her?
I really enjoyed this book, it feels a little YA in style, but one of those that’s well written and suitable for older readers too ( thankfully as its a long long time since I was YA) It’s hard to write a review without giving things away, so I’ll just say I loved Sophia, found the plot complex, interesting and pretty scary in that it is something that with modern technology progress could be oh so real. Its one of those that poses lots of questions of morality and what’s acceptable, does the end justify the means or are there lines that shouldn’t be crossed under any circumstances?
I enjoyed the way it was set out, written from Sophia’s POV, and the past/present alternations. Sometimes I find them hard as I just get into one part and then we’re back in the past, then just as I’m into that it jumps forward. Not so here though, it flowed seamlessly. I liked the other characters too and learning about them, the ones from the school and those from the past she can’t remember. Each is there for a reason and they all feel very real. It ends well, suggesting where the next book will go, but not on an out and out cliff-hanger – and regular readers of my reviews will know how I hate those – really, really hate them, so this kind of ending, where some answers have been given, and a way forward for the future is hinted at works well for me. There’s a love triangle in the making too possibly, certainly the steam between Sophia and Kyle is there, but someone else is interested in her too. I’m never quite sure how I feel about those, often I’m rooting for one guy and then learn more about the second and just can’t make my mind up! I want a happy ending for both if they are decent men.
Stars:  Five, a fun read, not too complex and sets everything out really well, leaving me wanting to read more.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers

Unbearable Desire, Vivi Andrews. Lone Pride 4.

Unbearable Desire, Vivi Andrews. Lone Pride 4.

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance.


Well, I came into this series on book three – Hawke’s Revenge, and loved it so was pleased to get this one. Its a very different read though, it feels shorter and much lighter in content.

I liked Moira, one of the Pride’s healers, and we get to see her before she joined Lone Pine. Hugo is pack enforcer, met Moira ten years before where he told her he was in love with his best friend’s Mate. They’d mated for the Pride, and his friend was Pride Alpha, so there was no chance for him and his love. He’s drowning his sorrows far from home in a pub where Moira just happened to come into for some conversation. She’s been Bear for a while, and wants some human company. Her and Hugo hit it off, have some torrid and carnal sex, and she thinks he’s open to a chance with her. Sadly after coming three weeks later to join the Pride, she realises she misunderstood – or maybe he just changed his mind. Who knows? She stays on as she wants to learn more about healing from them. Now the Alpha is stepping down and Hugo may have a chance to realise his dream…and is wondering if actually he’s been wasting time, and a dream is all it ever was. Has he lost the chance for love with Moira through his stubbornness.

Hugo was such a grump,  and yet steadfastly loyal to the Pride. He’s very stubborn and that comes across very well, and its easy to see where he got fixed on an idea, and in a way it was the easy route for him. If he never had a chance at love because she was another’s Mate then he could just sit back and wallow, dream of what may have been, and not need to open up to anyone else. Moira is stubborn too though thankfully, and hasn’t given up on him totally.

Its a shortish read of how they finally get together, and giving us an in depth view of what actually happened ten years ago. That’s about it though, a sweet and straightforward romance. No other plots, no intrigues or dangers and it meant it wasn’t a great read for me. a good one, a fun one but definitely a one off.

Stars: Three, an easy read but very simplistic and light.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Love Down Under Various authors .


Love Down Under  Various authors .


 Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews


ROSALIND JAMES, – Just for You (Escape to New Zealand),
TRACEY ALVAREZ, – Melting Into You (Due South),
DIANA FRASER ,– The Playboy’s Redemption (The Mackenzies),
H.Y. HANNA ,– Playing to Win (Summer Beach Vets),
JOANNE HILL, – Falling for Jack ,
KRIS PEARSON ,– The Boat Builder’s Bed (Wicked in Wellington),
ANNIE SEATON, – Beach House (Bondi Beach Love),
SERENITY WOODS, – A Secret Between Friends (Treats to Tempt You),

Genre:  Romance,

Another romance bundle, all stand alone books, at an absolute bargain price. These are a great way to try out new ( to you ) authors without spending more than a small sum. I’d read a couple a while back as individual reads, and have caught up with two more of them since. They’re all fun reads, and give a real flavour of each authors writing style, in a summery, blue sky background. Think beaches, suntan lotion and holidays and you’re there. They are all complete novel, from a decent novellas length to full size reads.  Each have a “heat” label, though the two I’ve just read were labelled steamy they  really contained not much more than a few hot and heavy kisses and some indication of what would follow, so for me they’re not quite what I’d call steamy. If you like a novel where the story is paramount and the sex secondary, these are a great group. I enjoy sexy reads but for me the story always comes first and I’ve had fun with these.

Stars: Five, bargain bundle

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers



Witches Be Burned, A Magic & Mayhem Novel, Stacey Kennedy


Witches Be Burned, A Magic & Mayhem Novel, Stacey Kennedy
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy, Romance,
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

I had some issues with book one, but TBH first books in a sereis have a hard job to do with setting up a new world and characters and placing a good story so I like to try the second novel. Sadly for me I have the same issues here as in book one. Rookie Nexi is still the one with the answers all the while and yet the other Supernaturals have hundreds – probably thousands – of years of experience between them, and then my pet hate number two – she gets new powers and “knows” how to use them instinctively, just at the moment she needs them. I like my heroes/heroines to work for solutions, to use skills and powers we’ve already seen, and it just feels to me like a cop out when there’s an insta solution like this. Still, that’s my view and I’m sure other readers will have no problems with it. Kyden is a bit of an overprotective man here. I get he’s scared but this is Nexi’s job and she keeps having to remind him of that. she gets scared for him too – that’s natural and they have to work with it – everyone who cares for someone will feel this way, but it can’t get in the way of the job. I wasn’t really feeling the romance between them either – he’s over the top protective one moment, full on sex the next, but there doesn’t seem much build up, normal interaction that has that sensuality I enjoy. you know – the little comments and quips, the tiny connections that make up the day – its all or nothing with these two. The warlock – he doesn’t come in til close to the end, though I expected we’d see more of him. The overall plot feels a bit simplistic, and I struggled to stay interested. I guess its just a series that isn’t working for me, though its well written and will have many for whom it’s perfect. As ever not all books suit all readers, it’d be a dull world if they did.

Stars: Two, just didn’t work for me.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.

Life After Perfect, Nancy Naigle

Life After Perfect, Nancy Naigle

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance

Poor Katherine, thinks all is bright and fluffy in her life until…it’s not. It all falls apart and she’s shocked. She finds out that the perfect life she’s been living is a lie. She’s been working hard, has a great job and a lovely home. She’d like children but Ron wants to wait – he likes their life and says they’ve plenty of time yet.  Then it all crashes down, just when things have gone wrong too for her friends, one had been widowed, and another finds out her husband has been cheating. Katherine just can’t deal with it all, and gets in the car and just drives.

She ends up in a little town, where its Blackberry Festival day and it seems the whole town is out. She’s decided to look at what she wants from life for her, realising that Ron has dictated everything so far, the car she drives, the posh house and decor, even her name. She was happy as Katy, but he said Katherine sounded better – now she’s claiming herself back and is Katy again. Then at the festival she bumps into Derek, and there’s something between them that’s hard to ignore.

Through events back with Ron and developments from it she stays in the village, and they take her to their heart. Derek is pleased, he’s not felt this way for a very long time. After his wife died from cancer he’s just been kind of drifting, working all hours just to hold back from thinking of the past. Then Katy springs in his life and somehow he knows she’s important. He’s a really lovely man and perfect for Katy. He wants her, but wants what’s right for her too and Ron was never interested in that – Ron came first, last and everywhere in between. It’s only now that Katy can see that. There are some great characters here, and among the sadness of one of them dying from cancer, is some really heart-breaking moments, issues raised that are relevant to many people and yet a thread of humour runs through, stopping it from being too dark and gloomy.

I loved the connection between Derek and Katy, though I’d have felt it more genuine if the story had covered a longer timespan. It’s hard to feel that Katy has found a genuine love, when its so shortly after she thought her life was perfect. In a way its a bit like thinking she was in love with Ron til she met Derek and then recognised the real face of love, but I found it hard to accept that she could leave her feelings behind so quickly. When things went wrong for a while it was very brief and for me I like that part to be longer, to let the drama play out and for me to really feel upset for the couple. Here though it was almost over before it began, and that lost the impact of it for me. God crept in a bit too – something I’m always cautious of, but it wasn’t in a preaching way and fitted the characters perfectly, given that they were strong believers in God’s Plan.  I’m not anti god, anti religion, but don’t want to have it thrust down my throat when I’m reading. At the first mention I was a bit “ is this going to become one of those…” but it didn’t and when God was brought in it fitted the story as exactly how those characters would react. That added to the feeling they were genuine, and I really enjoyed living a couple of weeks with them (albeit over a few hours!!) A couple of things stuck with me from the humour, Katy selling her Merc and Ron’s reaction to that,  and the lipstick incidents in the office and on the car – perfect.

Stars: Four, a really fun feel good romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Wish you were here, Phillipa Ashley

Wish you were here, Phillipa Ashley

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction
I love this sort of read sometimes, funny, light, and with a holiday feel to it. The kind of book you want for a beach read. It sounded so promising and it was a decent read but for me it could have been a five star one if certain areas were a bit stronger…still, I’m not the author – I can’t write! and it’s clearly going to be five star for many other readers. Everyone likes something different.
So – Beth; I liked her, hardworking but with ambition, loving, and devoted to her sister and dad. She’s been dating Marcus for a while, he doesn’t make her heart race as Jack did – but where did that leave her? Broken hearted. At least Marcus is dependable….and from my view dull, patronising and controlling. He sees her job as a kind of hobby, and doesn’t take it seriously – you can tell what he wants in a wife, someone to look after the home and family and be his support all the while, not wanting any kind of life of her own. Poor Beth, she deserves so much more but doesn’t seem to be able to see past his reliability, so hurt as she was by Jack. She thought they were in love, he’d promised to find her once they were home but he just disappeared…Then she finds him at her  job interview as the new CEO!!
Jack; he did love Beth, did intend to contact her but something major stepped in. He’s always regretted the lack of contact but at the time he did what he thought was best, he’s never found anyone to match her since, and now opportunity looks like he might get another break with her. Between her hatred of him, the dependable Marcus and Camilla, a magazine rep who’s decided Jack’s a good prospect for her will he get a chance.
Well its a book packed with humour and pathos, hope and rejection, some fabulous characters and a feel of adventure about it. I really enjoyed it, the backstory is strong as well as the budding romance. and its a worthy four stars but had there been a bit more sharpness, Camilla really lived up to her bit chy role, Marcus been a little stronger rival, and more of the “sad” parts that I love it would have been five for me. As I said though its perfect for others, for those who want a fun, sexy summer read.
Stars: Four, a fun summer romance
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Day Of The Wave Becky Wicks


The Day Of The Wave
Becky Wicks
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, women’s literature
I can still remember the shock, the horror of seeing that huge crashing wave that caused such devastation, and it was so traumatic, so awful that it feels like only recently, not ten years ago. Becky has taken real events and fashioned a fictional romance around them. She’s managed to create something beautiful from something that’s awful beyond belief. When Nature lets rip we don’t stand a chance – as seen recently by the avalanche in Nepal that caused massive loss of life, and of course not just death but injuries that change people’s lives.
Changing of lives can happen so quickly, one moment we’re happily going about our lives and enjoying everything and then something shatters it, changes it. For me it was a cancer diagnosis that happened just as life was getting easier, with 3 teens and both of us working, then came the big C and my left leg was amputated. Its given us all an insight into how one thing can have a huge impact on life, and how each day needs to be treasured. For those affected by the Tsunami their lives were changed too – even those who survived have either lost family members, or had themselves or others close to them with massive injuries to recover from. That kind of thing changes us, and here Becky has taken the story of two survivors and shown us some of the things that impacted on them to the degree its still affecting their everyday lives ten years later.
Izzy and Ben, just 16 when the wave hit and each had known the other only eight days, and yet in the way of teen/holiday romances that seemed like an age to them. Both thought the other had died in the disaster, and so were shocked to bump into each other ten years later by chance. They’re different people now, and yet that magical thread that grew between them, that attraction and sensuality is still there. Ben; his uncle and younger brother died and he’s recreated his uncle’s dive shop. He’s also done massive charity drives to help the locals rebuild and he’s like one of them now, family to them almost. He’s been all round the world in the intervening time, but never settled anywhere til he came back here. Izzy lost her parents, and is now living and working in London. Her job brings her out to Thailand, though until now she’s avoided going anywhere near the ocean….They can’t believe it when they find each other, but Izzy is on the verge of breaking up with her boyfriend of four years after she’s discovered he cheated on her with her best friend, and Ben – he doesn’t have relationships or exes he says – is “with” Kalaya, someone working in the dive shop. They can’t let each other go though and Ben persuades Izzy to stay for a while, to face some of her fears with his support.
Its a beautiful story, sensitively handled and I felt as if it’s what life may well be like for those that survived. Not just those on holiday, but the locals, who had to try to rebuild shattered lives, homeless, jobless, and with absolutely nothing. It’s easy to see horrors on TV and yet stay devolved from the reality but this is life for so many people, who need and deserve our help. I really enjoyed how Becky wove into the story the memories/nightmares Ben and Izzy had, how others didn’t realise how affected they still were so many years later, how things were rebuilt, with better warnings for any future disasters. We can’t avoid them but we can prepare for them. There’s a bit where she describes how the animals reacted just before the event, that reminded me of how here in UK when there’s a summer thunder storm due all the animals and birds go quiet. One moment the birds are trilling happily then over the next few minutes they all seem to disappear and go quiet. We can learn from animals, we seem to have lost our instincts, but they still use theirs to survive.
Anyway I’ve done a bit of a rambling review here, but its how the story made me feel, brought up many thoughts as I was reading, and it’s very different from Becky’s other books ( which I loved too ), but still a really wonderful read and gives a lot to think about and be grateful for.
Stars: Five, a wonderful read, full of emotion, and feels incredibly real.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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