Archive | June 2015

On My Knees, A Stark Novel, J. Kenner

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00SYICRJC/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

On My Knees, A Stark Novel, J. Kenner
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,
This picks straight up where the last novel left off, and we’re plunged into the world once again. Heat, action, drama – once again this episode has all that. Its not five star from me though because…well, maybe its because for a romance to span three books takes a lot of solid plots, and I just felt here instead the plots were just dragged out to fill the space. I was pretty sure about the identity of a certain person early on – clues were in book one, and a multitude of them here, and yet Sylvia not once seems to see it or ask relevant questions that most people would by now. That smacks of unreality to me, and it wasn’t the only thing she failed to ask that was so so evident. Each time they had a hiccup it became major drama and all the secrets were hinted at so much that by the time they were revealed it was for me anti climatic. The identity if who’s leaking info – I’m pretty sure I know who that is, and possibly why, but Sylvia and Jackson – even Damien, don’t seem to see what’s going on under their noses, and I just think why? For top business people they are amazingly oblivious of something incredibly important!The Jackson/Damien connection too became a story that devolved into little plots that just felt forced  I think for so many trilogies they’d be better as just two books, or as lots of us best enjoy – once long book! I find I enjoy these reads best once all parts are out, and I can read and enjoy the whole story without waiting months for the next part, just one long back to back session, and get really immersed in the story.
As before the characters are excellent and they feel very real. I like that there’s a variety, that the story doesn’t just circle around three/four main people. Its more interesting when others are brought in, and leads to different views of events through their eyes and through conversations with them. We may think we know what a character is thinking, how they interpret a conversation or an action, but until they articulate it to someone really we’re just guessing. There’s lots of J Kenner trademark erotic sex scenes here, and as always they were well written and hot and sensual, but there were so many that I found myself skipping to get to the actual meat of the story. There comes a time in many trilogies I’ve noticed, when the sex begins to take over the story – for many readers that doesn’t matter but for me it does. Story first then sex backing it works best for me every time. Its these little niggles that’s stopped the book from being five stars for me, still a fantastic read but with some small irritations. Of course – arrghh – it ends on a massive cliffhanger…..
Stars: Four, a great follow up, but not quite a five for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
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‘Making Ends Meet’, Anna Clifton

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00WHESW8E/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21
‘Making Ends Meet’, Anna Clifton
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,
I love romance, but when you read a lot inevitably many stories read so very similar, so finding something like this, so different  is a real treat. I loved the characters, even Freya….I do like someone who isn’t “good”, though she wasn’t actually a bad person, just a bit selfish IMO.
Harry and Somer get off to a bad start –  she didn’t want the job, but felt obligated to interview as her friend who she owed so many favours to had set it up. Harry doesn’t want a nanny either – he wants to get his wife back, but feels obligated to interview the girl as his friend ( the same friend) had set it up, and she’d done so much to help him. Things go awry, and their first meeting, instead of being the interview at his home, ends up being in a park, with his kids, in the pouring rain. He’s mad at Somer for the events that have placed them there, she’s equally furious with him for his part in it, and some sharp words are exchanged. Rosie though, his 7 year old daughter, has taken to Somer, and poor Rosie has been having a hard time since her mum left. Somehow despite their bad start Somer is soon living in their home and turning Harry’s life around. The kids are happy, Harry’s painting again, and somehow Somer has drawn this sad group together and found them some happiness.
Somer has decided that Harry’s first idea to get Freya back is a good one, she’s from a broken home and goes all out to stop Rosie and Nelson from suffering as she did. Harry’s not so sure now, Somer has shown him what life could be like. Then there’s Freya, who left a year ago and yet rings Harry daily, and still has contact with the kids even though she’s an unreliable  flake about it. She doesn’t seem to know what she wants…
Its a backwards and forwards romance, interspersed with some laughter and sadness, confusion, dramas and a really fun story. Rosie is 7 going on 27 it seems. I loved her, she’s such a bright little girl and sees so much more than everyone thinks. Nelson at 4 is a typical little boy, so long as there’s love, food and toys he’s happy. Harry is adorable, and has tried so hard for his family, just wants what’s best for the kids, but when he spends time with Somer he realises that there’s more to life, and maybe trying to make Freya come back, when she’s clearly not cut out for the hands on mother role, isn’t the best solution, and perhaps they’d all be happier if he did something else. Its a great read, full of humour and pathos too and I so love the sad elements in a romance, it means when everything comes together I get a sense of satisfaction, that everything has worked for the best. Here it looks as though things are going to work out several times, and then things happen that throw it all up in the air once again. We see behind the characters too, to the events that have shaped them and make them think in certain ways. I always enjoy that, I like to try to understand people, to see what and why they act as they do. We’re all products of our upbringing, even though we deal in different ways. Its been fun reading something outside the often used a meets b, they have a couple of mishaps and live happily ever after format.

‘Stars: Four and a half, a fun read and one I really enjoyed. If the “down” had been a bit stronger I’d have gone a five.
ARC supplied by Author

Truly, Madly… Deadly, Nightfall Series, Delilah Devlin

Truly, Madly… Deadly, Nightfall Series, Delilah Devlin

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Erotica.
Well, this is a shortish read at 155 pages, and the story really concentrates over a short time period. That makes the instant lust a bit hard to take for me, given that Darcy is a) a vampire hunter who seems to hate vampires, and b) not been in a relationship for some years….
As an erotic novel its perfect, very hot and sensual and packed full of sex scenes. That’s the problems for me though – I want a read that’s story first, whereas this is scene after scene of sex between Darcy, Quentin and Joe, interspersed with a thin story holding it together. Some people want that, love it and there’s clearly a market for it, and for them this is a five, but I wanted more story, more romance and a slower development of it all.
Stars: Two, sorry, not enough story to balance the sex for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Cocktails at Le Carmen, Isabelle Andover


Cocktails at Le Carmen,  Isabelle Andover
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)
This appealed, sometimes some light, fluffy fun reading is warranted so I chose this one yesterday. Its what it says, light easy chic-lit type reading. No deep heavy emotions, not dark mysteries, just a fun story about Chloe’s move to Paris.
She’s been dating Scott for sometime, and they live together – she expected some token protest at least when her job relocated her to Paris, but he was just enthusiastic about what a good career move it was. Warning bells ought to have sounded then, but….so she trots off to Gay Paree and has a ball of a time – after the bad start of dire journey, inability to find a place to live and making a few mistakes. Still, her elderly, grey haired boss Jean-Luc said to call if she’d any problems so she does, and he offers her a temp home in the Nanny flat for his on the way baby, just to tide her over. Imagine her shock then when she finally meets him to pick up the keys and see, contrary to the mental image she’d drawn up, this swooningly handsome, beautifully spoken God man. She’s tongue tied, red with embarrassment and the Fabulous model type but cold Ice Queen girlfriend looks her over like she’s just crawled out of the sewer, and makes it clear that letting her stay wasn’t her idea!
It kind of sets the scene for the next few months, with Chloe bumbling her way enthusiastically through Parisienne life. She does well at work, makes new friends and seems to meet Jean-Luc at times when she’s either hung over or wearing shabby/grubby clothes – mortification there  we’ve all done that – why doesn’t no one we want to impress see us when we look good, but only when we’ve just snorted coffee and are wearing half of it??
I enjoyed this, though expected things to heat up between Jean-Luc and to go downhill with Scott quicker, but it made for a fun, lingering journey broken up by the mad brideszilla sister, and lots of French fun times. I loved how enthusiastic she was about Pairs, how she threw herself into life there, and seeing the sights from her view.
Stars: Four, its a fun read, one I enjoyed but not enough to re read, but is perfect for a beach read or train journey where something easy is needed.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The One Kiera Cass

 

The One  Kiera Cass
 
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Teens and YA,
I was attracted to this trilogy by the fabulous covers, and on reading the sample of book one was hooked. I don’t read much YA, but sometimes books in that genre have an appeal to all ages and this is one of them. There’s romance here, but as befits the genre its very “clean” romance, no more than heated kisses. Its been a fun read, I’d had books one and two for review and though the request for this one was pending I actually bought it, wanting to know how the story ended and being too impatient to wait for request approval….that’s me, want everything yesterday. Anyway that was a few weeks back, now I’ve got it for review I’ve re read this one to have a fresh mind ready to write.
Well, the girls have thinned down to just four. There’s still some bitchiness, a lot of unease between them knowing that only one can be chosen, but they find ways to get along encouraged by the Queen. America knows Maxon likes her, she’s fallen in love with him but won’t come out and say it before he does, in case he doesn’t and choses someone else. Maxon loves her but won’t say so, wanting her to choose him first – real catch 22 situation. He’s still dating and kissing the other girls, keeping his options open in case America doesn’t want him, and she’s jealous of course. Its a dilemma that can only end if one of them makes the decision to speak first. Alongside that there’s still trouble from both rebel factions, and of course America still says and does things that upset the King. He Really doesn’t like her but her popularity with the public means he can’t just get rid of her. He tries therefore to make things very difficult and to show her in a bad light as much as he can, ensuring she gets the most difficult tasks, ones that go against her principles.
Its an action packed ending to the trilogy, lots going on, lots of secrets and discoveries. I kind of understand both America’s and Maxon’s views but feel he’s in the more difficult position – if he tells America he loves her and she doesn’t want him, the one he does then chose will always feel second best, and that’s not a good way to start a marriage, whereas all she need do is leave. She has a choice and really he doesn’t.
There’s some real drama here and at the end some heart-breaking things happen, and just when it looks like it’s finally worked out for them something comes out that throws it all up in the air. Its been an easy to read, fun story and I enjoyed it. Its not one I’d read over and over, but at some point I may well go through all of them again. Sometimes all I want is a light, fun read with a HEA.
Stars: Five, its not grand literature but a fun, easy to read story.

Good Time Bad Boy, Sonya Clark.

 

Good Time Bad Boy, Sonya Clark.

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance,
I adore Sonya’s Paranormal reads, Red House/Mojo Queen and the Magic Born series, and wondered how I get on with her contemporary novels. I do love this Deep South gentle type romance, and found that its clearly a style that works well for Sonya, producing a story that I very much enjoyed. Coming from the rainy UK, where even now on Jun 20, just the day before midsummer its still cool, with the sun being very shy, and rain creeping in all too often. Outdoor events here are always planned with caution, so to read of a place where the sun seems to shine constantly, and the evenings are long and warm is such a treat….I kind of sit myself mentally in the background and watch.
So, we’ve Wade – who at first meet seems to be a typical arrogant, washed up ex star, living on his glory days. He’s gone on stage and got drunk once too many times and now his agent can’t get him work, and she’s told him to go home and sort himself out. He’s not really got much family support there though, in the small town where everyone has heard the stories, where his brother is the local cop and hates him, where his parents live and seems to judge him. Then there’s Daisy, who struggled being brought up as one of three kids to single mum Alice, who’s coped by drink, drugs and a procession of men. Daisy’s childhood was food banks, evictions and shabby clothes. Daisy’s sister is now a single parent, though far better and responsible than their mum, their brother is a local pothead dealer. Daisy wants more so she’s working as a waitress while paying her way slowly through school. I love Daisy, she’s open and genuine and just wants what so many take for granted, a nice home and security, and she’s learned that the only person to provide it is herself! A run in with Wade though now he’s home results in her getting sacked. Wade is mortified once he’s sober and finds out what happened, and persuades the bar owner. a long time friend and the man who gave Wade his start playing there, to give her the job back, but he’s caught in a tough bargain – he has to play there weekends through the summer.
Thrown together Daisy and Wade become friends, and then slowly get closer. They’re each holding secrets though, each marking time and they both set out to enjoy just a summer fling. It becomes more though they don’t want to admit it to themselves at first, but still at the end of the summer Wade will go, and Daisy can’t/won’t do long distance relationships. I so felt for her – she knows if she asked Wade to stay he probably would, but that long term he’d resent it, and knows her heart will break once he’s gone.
Its a great story, full of people who feel real, small town gossip, we have that here in the UK too – it’s universal I guess, where secrets don’t stay hidden for too long. Then there’s the way people are judged, on money and background and Daisy is always going to have that “trailer” tag attached, both in her mind and in actuality. Guess it’s like the “council house” tag here – I was brought up in one of those and know just how attitudes change when some people find that out. Its as if some won’t allow anyone to work to rise above a certain level, resent it, and it’s tough living with those attitudes around. Been there. Done that! The stories behind their secrets were heart-breaking, and I so felt for Daisy. Her mum was a real b itch to her about what she’d done, and yet she has the best of motives. Its amazing how for a reformed – well mostly – person and supposedly church going Christian her mum could be so awful to her. What about Forgiveness and all that, but it’s that kind of mixed attitude that makes the story and people so real. That does happen, people aren’t perfect, some show one face on the surface and another underneath. My ex GP is a pillar of the local church, held up as a model Christian, and yet when he was involved in a court case against me, he was prepared to lie on oath despite all that. I guess for some it’s all about appearance and not actions…
So the summer goes on, they have a steamy, sensual romance, and then decision making time comes. I could feel that tension building up especially in the last third of the story, and was wondering how on earth Sonya was going to work things out for them. To me in a good novel the people feel real, and I care for them, want a HEA for them, and I couldn’t see how it was going to work out for a long time. The only reason this isn’t a five star from me is my love of the downside, the sad drama part, which was here but was over a little too quickly for me. I like that to be drawn out, over days or even weeks and then when it comes together it seems so much sweeter. It was well done here, but everything resolved just a little too quickly for me hence the half star drop.
Stars: Four and a half, a fun summer read that feels very real.
ARC supplied by author

The Deep of the Sound, (A Bluewater Bay Novel), Amy Lane

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZMUO71G/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21
The Deep of the Sound, (A Bluewater Bay Novel),  Amy Lane
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:   Romance, LGBTQIA
Hurrah, more Bluewater. I love this series, each author puts their own style to the series, but the connection to the main story is always clear. Amy is an author new to me and I loved this book and will look out for more from her. Its a really enjoyable read, marrying romance with a story that’s full of sadness and drama, tenderness and emotion, problems and solutions and ending in a HEA – my favourite. It’s not necessary to have read other books, as with each in this series it’s a standalone read.
So Cal, what a nightmare life he leads. Working all hours just to stay still, and is the whole support for his brother Keir and uncle Nascha. He loves them dearly so he doesn’t resent giving up his dreams, they’re family and they love him too, but sometimes life is so hard. He’s always playing catch up, never having quite enough money for even their basic needs, and when something happens and he’s ill its a nightmare time. I so felt for him, just wanted o hug him and make him feel less alone in the decision making and responsibility.
Then he meets Avery. Avery’s another troubled person, though his problems are very different from Cal’s. His parents are very hands off, unsupportive and feel his Gay lifestyle will wear off if only he’d date a nice girl. Sad isn’t it that this scene is only too real….Then things go really awry, and he takes the chance to move and leave everything behind for a fresh start. Trouble is poor Avery is a klutz, life seems to conspire against him and I know just how he feels. I’m typing this at 10 am with a coffee stain down my top…people like us just seem to attract disasters, both small and large. I reckon we’re the pay off in Chaos theory for all those golden, successful types!! Avery is a good person, kind and bright, trying always to see the upside even though he’s always getting knocked back. Its on one of those knockbacks when Cal sees him, and the two are soon involved in a “for now” romance. Cal is just enjoying Avery, would love to have more, but just knows someone as sunny and promising won’t stay and Cal is tied,  responsibility doesn’t allow him time for more than just “for now”.
Its a great read, full of things that are so real, the struggle to help those we love, to earn enough for bills, to get over the series of hiccups life throws, and these two just deserved so much more, deserved to have the love they shared and be happy. I loved the portrayal of Cal’s brother – not the sweetened, sappy part grown child we usually see, but a lad that’s shown in his rages, irrationality and to be a potential danger, as well as someone who’s loving and more than just his diagnoses. Cal’s uncle too – has dementia and he’s such a lovely man, and tries so hard, but losing mind and memory makes it difficult, and Cal can’t rely in his help with Keir. There’s so much in this story, the Gay issue of course, but also Race issues, the mental health problems, how hard is is to get the right help, to earn more than enough for basics, the responsibility of looking after people with problems, the loneliness of not having another adult to just talk to, and of course its been great to meet some of the people and places we know from other books.

Stars: Five, fabulous read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Crossing Lines, Alannah Lynne

 

Crossing Lines,  Alannah Lynne
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
This is a shortish read at around 170 pages, and takes place over just a few days, except for the epilogue. I’d rather read novels that cover a longer time, but of course those need the longer length to play out properly. There’s a market for shorter books, and for a shortish, steamy romance this worked well.
I liked Kevin, and of course Sam and her daughter. Its a kind of simple plot, where Kevin and Sam are attracted right from the start but Kevin wants to do the right thing and sort his personal life out first. he can’t do that right now though, and his reasons do make sense…kind of. He’s just such a nice guy that he’s always putting others first and himself last. Then he meets Sam. Its clear she’s attracted and circumstances throw them together before he’s had time to sort out something important. Sam’s lovely, independent with a gorgeous young daughter, but has been badly let down in the past by her family and her ex which has left mental scars.
In such a short book there’s some serious sensual moments and if you like a quick, hot read with a feel-good romance this is perfect. For me its a little too short, a bit too quick. I like my romances ideally to play out over weeks or months even so everything gets time to be propely laid down. Here its a little too quick for me, hence the three stars.

Stars: Three, a good read, hot and sensual but just a bit too brief for me covering only a few days.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Breaking Love, Full Hearts Book Two, MJ Summers


Breaking Love, Full Hearts Book Two, MJ Summers 
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Erotica
I liked Luc in the first book – he’s only a brief character but you can’t help laughing at his supreme confidence, mixed with his knowing just how to treat a lady….On the surface he sounds a complete prick, arrogant, open about the fact he thinks love is just a fairy tale, and he only does sex, not relationships – and of course he tells how very good he is at sex, and warns the ladies not to fall in love with him….and yet there’s something about him that you can’t help liking.
Then he meets Megan, who’s in Paris for a few days with her friend. She’s been primped and dressed by her until she feels like a new woman, not the dull, tired mum struggling alone she was the day before but a vibrant sexy lady, and when she meets Luc he’s taken with her. She’s not so impressed by him though – has a few harsh words to say and yet that doesn’t keep him down, and somehow they end up having hot and sensual sex, something she’s long missed. He’s a great lover, she’s impressed and his no strings is just what she needed before going home to Elliot.
That no strings though – that confidence that everyone else in love is deluded, Luc’s way of thinking is bound to trip…that old expression “pride comes before a fall” is perfect for him. He’s so proud he’s avoided what he sees as the trap of relationships, so proud of his long list of sexual exploits, and then Megan comes along, and he’s lost. It takes him a while to realise it though – likewise Megan had determined Elliot wasn’t going to meet anyone who could upset his life when they left. Somehow though they get closer, their no strings one off becomes a no strings as and when, and then something happens that brings them closer together and also further apart…
Meg’s ex, Elliot’s dad, has been Mr Unreliable but six years on finally seems to be getting clean and sober – she’s heard it before though, and doesn’t want Elliot hurt. He’s such a cute lad and just wants a dad like his friends, it’s understandable when he sees how his mum has to do all the things his mates dads do. He’s six going on seven, but as seems to be the way in novels he’s a very mature seven…..I see that so often, think back to my kids, my grandkids at the same age and – no, nope – they didn’t ever behave like this. I guess romance is people with perfect kids, not real ones Winking smile
I liked this story more than book one, it seemed more realistic, less drawn and dragged out, and the spark between Luc and Megan was very clear right from the first looks. I loved Luc’s jealous, troublemaking assistant Simone ( oh how I enjoy some genuinely nasty ladies!) She added some great drama and it all made for a fun read, that felt like it could be real. Luc’s romantic gestures were truly wonderful, and let me imagine myself in Megan’s place. I did want to bash the pair of them every now and then for their intransigence, but of course if they’d been reasonable and sensible then the book would be much less fun!
Stars: Four, a great read with some swooning romance from Luc.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

My Cowboy Promises, Z. A. Maxfield

 

 

My Cowboy Promises by Z.A. Maxfield

My Cowboy Promises, Z. A. Maxfield
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA
I’ve  loved all the novels in this series so far, and it was great to see Tripp and Lucho from the last one in here. I’m glad the story has moved on from the J Bar, as there were only so many people could work on that ranch….
Z.A.Maxfield writes characters I can feel, can hear, and these seem very real to me. I can hear Ryder’s soft drawling accent, (even though I’ve never met a cowboy – not much call for them in the UK!) and feel I know from his actions just what sort of man he is. A real gentleman in every sense, not a poseur, image orientated person, but one who’s always out to look after his family and friends, who’s moral and always does what’s right whatever the cost to him. That’s how he ended up married to Andi, and father to Josh. Its a marriage in name only though, ( even though as others have said they share a bed, its not sexual, just comfort and making normality for Josh). Josh had plans to leave the small town til his best friend got pregnant. He knows what its like having a dogmatic, controlling father, and wants to help her as best he can. He’s a terrific father to Josh, loves him and acts as though he was biologically his. No-one except him and Andi know the truth. They’re still both very young at 23, with Josh now being 5. He’s a great kid and such a cute boy, and it shows just how well for a couple of youngsters, facing disapproval from both parents and everyone in town, they’ve done a spot on job of bringing him up.
Andi seemed a bit flaky to me at first, idolised by her father, spoiled after her mum left and used to being the prettiest, the favourite – until she slid off the track her father had planned out for her. He’s a tough man, cold, bossy and controlling and he really wasn’t happy about Andi’s pregnancy and marriage to Ryder. Andi loves to sing, but her dad has never approved, and she rarely gets the chance now. She lets off steam at town events and that’s when we first meet her, at one of her dads big publicity fourth of July parties. She’s had a bit too much to drink and has taken over the mic from the band, and of course her dad is furious, embarrassed and demands she stop. Then Ryder gets hurt at the event and in comes Declan the new doc. Sparks fly when they first see each other, and its clear that though Ryder thought he could be happy with Andi, that now he’s met Declan things will change. Somehow Ryder and Declan keep on bumping into each other and its a totally new experience for Ryder. He’s known he’s gay since childhood but never done so much as even kissed another man…..and certainly no one else but Andi knew this til Declan spots it.
Its a story that’s more than just a romance, its about growing up, about attitudes and bigotry, about how to deal with the problems that result from their actions. There’s little sex in here, especially when compared to others in the series, and the character don’t even kiss til maybe 3/4 of the way in. That didn’t matter to me as the story was perfect but it’s something that others may feel differently about. I felt the ending was a bit rushed though and left in a kind of ambiguous way. I liked that it looks as if things work out, that after all Ryder’s sacrifice Andi finally steps up and protects him. The song at the end Andi and Ryder sing together, that was perfect but I really wanted a bit more concrete idea of how the future was working out for them, not just a plan that should go through – as we all know things don’t always go to plan. I need a solid HEA, not just a plan for one. That’s why this isn’t five star for me but a four.
Stars: Four, great read but I felt it was a rushed ending.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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