Archive | July 2015

Dragon Fall, Katie MacAlister

 

 

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,
I really liked the sound of this one, and was convinced I’d like it. sadly I didn’t – thats the way it goes, not all books suit all readers.
I didn’t like either of the main characters, Aoife had gone through al  lot over the past two years, and I found the beginning very intriguing. Once she meets Jim and then Kostya it went downhill for me. She was just too naive, too accepting and as for that alliterative cursing – drove me mad. sounded like something from the kids cartoon Scooby Do, not a novel aimed at adults. There was a lot of humour in the novel but somehow it just felt overdone, tried too hard and that’s when humour fails for me. Then there’s Kostya….he’s rude, abrupt, arrogant and yet somehow in the course of a couple of days she’s in love, accepts she’s his mate and he’s a dragon?
I did finish the book, but it was a hard struggle, and I skimmed quite a bit after 50% when I just wanted to get to the end of it. Still, as I said to begin, everyone wants different things from their reading, and this will be perfect for some readers just not for me.
Stars: Two.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

 

Wicked Fall, Wicked Horse 1, Sawyer Bennett

 

Wicked Fall, Wicked Horse 1,  Sawyer Bennett
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, Erotica
I’ve read lots of Sawyer’s novels now and really enjoy her writing style, sexy and sensual without the Ick factor that so many erotic reads have. You know, the ones that are all sex, no story and the sex is just cringe-making. Some people can’t write sex, some can’t and fortunately Sawyer can. Anyway I was just getting into this story when I realised that Woolf is Tenn’s brother – Tenn from Shaken, not Stirred…I do like to catch up with characters like this.
Once again Sawyer gives us a real mix of characters who feel very genuine, three dimensional and that I can like. I have to like my leads, have to want them to get together or a book is a fail for me. Woolf, he’s a gem. He’s always had a yen for Callie, but thinks he’s just not good enough, with his predilection for kinky sex and her being such a sweet innocent girl. She’s been away for a few years, now after a break up she’s back, and Sweet Callie is now Grown Up Callie. When he finds her inside his new bar, the front for the private sex club, as a competitor in the Miss Wet T-short competition he sees red, and whisks her out. They soon find their sensual connection is as hot as ever. Callie felt so rejected by him years before when he turned down her virginity, thought he was embarrassed by her, so is shocked when she finds out the truth. Then she learns about his sex club and demands a visit to see what goes on. Soon they’re having some hot and heavy sex themselves, though Callie is concerned that she won’t be enough, that after sampling all the sex club has to offer she will just bore him eventually. Woolf is confused, he can’t seem to get enough of Callie, doesn’t feel good enough for her but just can’t give her up. Can they work as a couple? He just doesn’t know, he never thought he’d want a monogamous relationship, but the thought of sharing Callie is an absolute no. He knows though that if he stays with her and his connections to the club come out her political father – soon standing for re-election- will be horrified, and that the connection could do him some real damage to his political career.
I thought when I started this I’d guessed the way the book was going, where the story would lead, but once again I was wrong. Its a fun read, with some scorching and sensual scenes, with leads in their 20’s and 30’s – hurrah. Sometimes it seems romance is dominated by the under 25’s but Sawyer delivers some older leads and thanks for that Sawyer – we older people want leads we can identify with. It also means they have more in their backgrounds to flesh the story out, make it more interesting such as Callie’s failed romance and Woolf’s journey with BDSM. Bridger, his partner in the club who he’s known since university is a great character. That tattoo makes me feel there’s a real interesting story to come from him I hope. I’d really like to read more as to why he’s so anti relationships, what happened to him, what’s behind the tattoo. Its a story I’ve really enjoyed and will happily reread. It’s not my favourite of her novels but was a decent read. The thing that stopped it from being five stars was the drama at the end, it was there but soon over and I love that to be very drawn out so I can wallow…that’s just me though.
Stars: Four and a half.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Crazy Over You, (Taming the Pack), Wendy Sparrow

Crazy Over You, (Taming the Pack),  Wendy Sparrow
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and Fantasy
Well, I’d read the second in this series and loved it, so looked forward to this. Its a fun read, well put together with a number of minor plots as well as the overarching one that connects with the last book. Somehow though it didn’t quite pull me in as much as book two, I’m not sure why, it just didn’t have that can’t put it down feeling though.
Its starts with a bang ( at least that’s what Travis would like!) when he’s woken up at knifepoint by a naked LeAnn…..I liked Travis, but could see where he had control issues and to me that affected his part as Alpha. He was over controlling in some areas and yet in others, where he needed to be decisive, he kind of sat on the fence a bit, mulling over what was the right course of action. There’s a need for that of course but sometimes I felt he needed to be more proactive, rather then letting events happen and then taking action.  I think he’s the main issue of the book for me, I just didn’t feel his Alpha-ness, he didn’t feel like he had the respect of the pack, and those that didn’t respect him he didn’t seem to call out on. I can’t image Alphas from other books letting pack members get away with the things this pack do. Still, he is leading a difficult pack, a newly formed one and they’re not yet working as a whole so maybe he’s right to take his time. I certainly didn’t see anyone else in the pack suited to the role.
LeAnn, I loved her and so felt for her when Travis seems to see her as weak, or doesn’t want her involved. she’s always felt unwanted, had always been alone and so sometimes when he intends things for one reason she takes it as another sign he doesn’t really want her. I loved her interactions with Alanna, I love that jealousy and bitch fight stuff and Alanna was great in that role.She was just the right balance of strong yet vulnerable, mouthy and yet friendly when she’s shown friendship, and was the perfect Alpha for Travis, outspoken and impetuous in contrast to his cool reserved nature. .
It was great meeting Jordan again and seeing how he and Christa were getting along. I love connected books series that do that, bring in others and update the reader on their lives. The plot(s ) played out well with everything wrapping up neatly but they didn’t feel quite as dramatic and full of danger as the last book, even though it was clear what was going on, though not who was behind it and why. In a way the final reveal felt a little anticlimactic and over quite quickly.  I would have liked to see more of the rest of the pack, we get some fleeting interaction but other than Alanna and Troy we don’t see much of anyone else. I wanted to know things too like where the pack’s money came from, who worked and where. Travis is Sheriff, and Alanna a vet but I don’t remember any other jobs, and yet the members must have worked somewhere. How did they keep what they were from workmates etc? Still, it’s a decent read, more than the usual fantasy romance with a solid story backing it up. I do enjoy books like that, which aren’t all light and fluffy but have some depth to them.

Stars: Four, a good read but not quite as engrossing as the last book.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Soul of Smoke, Caitlyn McFarland

 

  Soul of Smoke, Caitlyn McFarland

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

First in a new trilogy and at 91,000 words there’s lots to get your teeth into. I really enjoyed this though I found the start very slow…I felt like we’d be in that cave forever and that’s why its dropped a bit. I started to really switch off here, but as ever that’s just my view. Kai – sometimes she was great, helpful and thoughtful and others she seemed so whiny, such as over her parents and their overprotectiveness. As for when she was resenting Rhys actions, when if he didn’t do what he did he’d have died – well, that was a real roll eyes moment, and I wanted to shake her for holding such a grudge, even when she’d thought it through and understood. Would she really rather he died? So, the story; it’s dragons, unusual and makes for some fun scenes. I really enjoyed the novelty of that, as using dragons, rather than the traditional wolves, cats, etc meant Caitlyn could get really inventive about them, and create a new scene entirely. I liked getting to know the dragons as individuals as well as the world that they belong to. I did find the early part, when they were in the cave, dragged on a bit for me (well – a lot… ), but once things started moving there was some great action. I enjoyed the heartsworn part – the way it changed so much, the dilemma about humans, the way its good in that it makes each stronger and yet not so good in the dependency. I didn’t understand at the end how Rhys was going to manage, given the problems he had in the cave when Kai was away from him but still reasonably close. It seemed a contradiction, but then maybe I missed some explanation…. I’m really looking forward to the next book, and the sparks I hope that are going to come from Morwenna – great drama opportunities there! As I said Kai irritated me at times, whining about her life, then whining about what had happened when it wasn’t anyone’s fault. She did have some good points, and I understood that she’d got thrown into a hard situation, but it was rock and hard place, there wasn’t a reset switch that would take her back and wipe out what went on. It wasn’t ideal for the Dragons either, they also faced losing much. In contrast to Kai, her friend Juli just threw herself wholeheartedly into this new world, and I thought she’d maybe have a few more questions…I was sad at what happened to some of the dragons, but that’s the way life is, sometimes the good guys do get hurt or die, and it made the battles realistic. I’m curious about whether the middle group, the rogues, are going to help, or if they are staying neutral. In some ways that doesn’t look possible and then there’s the appearance of someone important who’s long been thought dead. That could be a game changer. Stars: Four, a terrific start and apart from the odd hiccup a book I really enjoyed. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Red Hot Candy, Various Authors

 
Red Hot Candy, Various Authors
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance,sci-fi and fantasy,

Twenty-two new book boyfriends are here to woo you in this big box of books. Sit back, send the kids outside to play, and indulge in this sinfully delicious sampler of the best authors writing today. Dive into these decadent stories about naughty billionaires, broken stuntmen, cowboys, bear shifters, magic men, MMA fighters, bearded lumber-sexuals, bad boys, and shy guys who just need to be coaxed out their shells.
Well, that’s the blurb though I’d hesitate to call Terian from JC Andrijeski’s Le Moulin a boyfriend!! I guess in his eyes he is…..He’s an interesting character, but has done some really psychopathic things in his past. Then again he didn’t stand much chance being manipulated by the Rooks and split into different people – I guess the morality part of him got left out of the Terian model! Then again I adore Revik and he’s done some not so nice things in his past, but at least he has regrets now, whereas Terian is still hooked into the Dreng. I liked seeing this side of his early life though, where he genuinely seems to feel some emotion. The Terian I know from later books doesn’t seem to have any genuine personal feelings except perhaps for Revik, and this early man seems to be more redeemable. Its a conundrum though always, what one person thinks is wrong and immoral another sees as justified under the wider benefit-to-more utilitarian approach.
There’s lots of taster novellas here , many authors who’s works I’ve not read. Mine in Dreams (A Bend-Bite-Shift Prequel) by Olivia Hardin sounds interesting, Unshakable by J.C. Valentine I’ve not read but enjoyed other novels from her, I loved Liv Morris’ Tantra books, and there’s a huge range of genres from the other authors to dip into and try.
Stars: five, another bargain bundle of works from different authors to try
ARC supplied by author

Uncharted, Claudia Burgoa

 

Uncharted, Claudia Burgoa
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: New Adult, Romance
When I started reading this I was soo disappointed – the characters were just 17 and 18….and I was expecting them to be in their early twenties at least. I’ve read a few with teens as leads but it’s rare they work for me, just seem too exaggerated and this started this way, with storm in a teacup dramas and Jacob’s chat-ups being really juvenile seeming. I hate too the way their parents were introduced – the “we’ve got two dads” bit and then a couple of pages later ( I was still only at 4%!) in a conversation with his brother, Jacob quotes his dad Chris saying something like “ I can’t get my husband to stop playing the Beatles” when talking to one of the triplets. When I talk about my husband to my kids I’ll call him Dad or by his name, but somehow it always seems that if people are GLBTQIA they have to get called Husband or Wife on every possible occasion. It just seems odd to me, not realistic but maybe that’s me out of step – who knows? Anyway that was it – the first third annoyed me, I almost gave up but thankfully didn’t as there was then a gap of a few years before we followed them again and that part covered several years during which much happened to both Jacob and Pria. Drama after Drama after Drama, and I do love those. Really tragic plots!! Nora, she was a great introduction – I do love someone to dislike and I was wary of her right from the first. Poor Jacob was ripe for the taking and he fell in neatly to her plans, and her effect on him lasted so long. I did feel that what happened in the beginning to separate Jacob and Pria was a bit thin, I could see exactly how it happened and that was real, but the way Jacob bore grudges years later when it was really his fault they lost contact seemed irritating. Still, that was needed, I just felt it could have been done a bit better, seemed unfair to Pria. I really liked the way so much was kept back and came out later in the story, so that just when i though that line wrapped up there was even more revealed…the last third was excellent, and really a five star read for me. Shame about the beginning…
Along with the issues I’ve mentioned I also felt things like Pria sister’s illness wasn’t very well done, she’s at death’s door when we first meet her and then after having told us she’s a record survivor at 26, we see her ten years on living a very different life, freer but there’s no operation, no medical breakthrough explanation given and it just invalidates all the sacrifice Pria made before. You can’t just mess about with CF, it isn’t a condition that gets better, and given she was in hospital with poor lung function when we first met her I just needed some kind of reference as to why things had changed. A transplant, a new medicine, something like that. Overall though, having dragged myself through the first third I’m glad I continued. The dramas were first rate for me, I love all that angst and the way it lasted – not one of those reads where its tears and heartbreak and then two pages later all over…I need to wallow and this book let me. It didn’t really matter to me that some of it was exaggerated, there was enough substance to justify what happened. The incident with Jacob and the police for example, towards the end. Could have been left out, but fitted in well, and provided another angst fix for me. I hadn’t read the first two books, and I think that would have helped. When I looked this up I assumed the stories were connected via family, but each would be a separate read, and this is true to a degree but there’s so much from earlier brought in this book that it would help to read the first two.
Stars: hmnn, hard to rate. I really didn’t like the first third but loved the third, and enjoyed very much the middle. A Four I think.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Can’t Fight Fate, Lisa N. Edwards

 Can’t Fight Fate,  Lisa N. Edwards
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance, Literature/Fiction (adult.)
I read the amazon sample of this, brief as the whole book is only 1397 kindle locations, and it sounded fun. Sadly for me that was the best part of the book. What I was hoping for was a romance with some kind of psychic element following the reading, what I got was what seemed like one long rambling monologue of Nikki’s thoughts, interspersed occasionally with a little dialogue. Its not a format that works well for me, and added to the fact that the sentences were choppy and disjointed, and I found myself lost at several points in the story this book wasn’t one for me. Nikki seemed to mention characters as if the reader knew them, when it was fist time we’d been introduced, Mr Hollywood doesn’t appear until around halfway through the book and then their interactions are brief, mostly some very odd and random texts. I couldn’t call what they had a relationship, a romance or even a friendship….
Nikki herself was a curious mix of vulnerable and arrogant. She’s overly brash at times, has a bit of a chip about lots of things and the klutz part, something I sympathise with as I’m one, was forced and overdone. As for Mr Hollywood – well, he was a bit of a washout, we didn’t see him enough to judge what he was really like but what we did see he was a lacklustre mummy’s boy.
It ends very strangely, nothing really resolved and I can see Lisa has a second book planned, but I won’t be reading it. as ever this is just my feelings on the story and I can see already its garnered an enthusiastic five star review on amazon so it shows what one person dislikes is perfect for someone else.
Stars: Two, sorry but a fail for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Exposed, Brighton Walsh.

Exposed, Brighton Walsh.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: New Adult
Second book in the series and though I hadn’t read book one that wasn’t a problem, as each novel focuses on different characters, so the couple from book one appear here in cameo roles, and the main crux is Riley and Evie.
So, having got that out of the way what did I get from this? Well, I love the drama that usually pervades NA reads, but though there was drama here it didn’t feel properly connected to the people involved. I didn’t really connect to Riley or Evie, and couldn’t really see why Evie did what she did. I understood Riley’s anger at the deception far better. Somehow I wanted Evie to care more, to want to live, connect, be part of life but she kind of feels to me likes she’s drifting, letting things happen, although of course she’s had to do some strong planning to get where she is. I felt there was a huge gap from where she left the criminal group who she’d been with since a young teen, and where she is now, engaged to a prominent character. given she wanted to stay hidden why on earth get with someone who’s going to attract publicity?  I wanted to know how she got there, how she’d passed the deception and how on earth she moved in the circles where she met her fiancé. That seemed a big gap to me, huge and I needed more there. I was also at a bit of a loss about the gang itself, who they were and why/what they did, though maybe that’s covered on book one. I felt so sorry for her when her past came out – that must have been tough and explains her need to control her life, except that I didn’t feel she had got control of it….and now with Riley and everything happening at once its all about to crash and implode.
Overall its a well written and decent read for the right reader, but for me it didn’t really work.  I wasn’t really invested in the characters or the outcomes, the story felt a bit detached for me, and though the plot had drama I wanted it between the characters too and just didn’t feel it. As ever though it’s just my personal view and will be very different for other readers.
Stars: Two and a half, there were some parts I enjoyed but overall it was a miss.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Doing London, Chloe Blaque


Doing London, Chloe Blaque
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, women’s fiction
I wasn’t really sure about this book, I’d seen some negative reviews and let’s face it – ex porn star v romance doesn’t really seem to inspire. I’m glad I went for it though as I found a story that had real issues, heartbreak and solid romance.
Josie, Joey – she’s tried her best to leave her scary past behind. Its simple to just condemn people, and of course its usually the ladies that get the brunt of the blame, but Josie seems to have fallen into the porn life by accident. It’s easy to see how someone young can be seduced by the money, by the lifestyle offered, when they have very little. As with any profession those making money will say anything to get people into work for them, they don’t care about them, just that they make money so when you’ve little money, little confidence, someone promising riches along with a solid dose of flattery must seem a great idea. They’ll lay it out too so that the sex angle becomes just a job, and that’s how Josie treated it. Actually if people know all angles and are honest I’ve no issue with it, but I suspect its usually young or emotionally vulnerable people that get sucked in, taken advantage of and used up, then like Josie they discover how hard it is to go on to a “normal” life. Josie hasn’t just the porn background though to escape from, but some real dangers that came from it too. So she’s reinvented herself in a new country.
I wasn’t sure about her at first, she comes over as brash and – I’m not sure what it was but I wasn’t keen on her. Then as we got to know her more I could see the person she really was, a loyal friend, a lonely person without family, and struggling a bit with her changed life. She’s very few friends who know of her past, maybe only three or four, and is kind of resigned to being alone as far as romance goes. Then along comes Marco…. what a man he is, very Alpha and yet not overbearing. He’s seen something in Josie he thinks will make them a solid couple, and he’s not taking no for an answer. I could understand her hesitation – he’s gorgeous, inside and out, but that fame brings publicity and that will dig into her life. One way or anther her past will come out, her current life dismantled and what man wants someone for a partner who was a porn star? The press would have a field day with it :- (
I so felt for Marco when he couldn’t understand her objections, and he was so great the way he carefully arranged things, didn’t bulldoze over her but just gave her the chance to see what they could be. Of course he’s working blind, he doesn’t know why she’s really scared to move forward with him. He really was a romantic in the things he arranged.
Quinn, her co worker, was a great character. Someone we too often see in work situations, manipulative and unpleasant. There were other great characters too, both from work and friends, and when she finally made the decision to confide that persons reaction was so awful. Then followed the big disaster and Marco’s reaction to it. Poor Josie, heartbroken and I was gutted with her. Who hasn’t made mistakes in their past, and she’s trying so hard to move on and yet her past won’t let her. That section of the story really worked for me, every last drop of drama and emotion was wrung out. What worked well too was that there were sub plots and not just the Marco/Josie romance theme, so there was lots of interest to keep me reading and wondering how things were going to pan out.

Stars: Five, an unexpectedly emotional read. And with great cakes!!
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Sins of my Father, Lisa Cardiff


Sins of my Father, Lisa Cardiff
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance,
Strange how things work out. I’ve got two books on my list currently, carrying the same theme – revenge on the father by way of the daughter – and yet they are two very different books, and treat the plots totally distinct from each other. ( The other book is Beauty and the Bachelor, Naima Simone ) They’re both romances but this one delivers the plot by way of a suspense theme.
Archer. Cold, calculating and determined to revenge his mother. He’s been planning this for many years, and now everything is finally coming together. He needs Langley though to finally get his plan to fruition. He doesn’t know her, but doesn’t think of how this will affect her life, change her life, just that she’s integral to his plotting and he needs any information he can get out of her. For that she needs to trust him, and his romancing is all geared to that. Then he meets her as part one of his plan, and starts to feel for her. For a long while even though his heart is telling him he’s wrong he’s sticking to his plan, pushing away thoughts of tenderness towards her, pulling forward his original thoughts on how best to get information from her, even though part of him is telling him he’s wrong to use her, that she won’t forgive him. He can’t let go of his plan now even if he can see how much it will hurt her. Then it seems its not just him that’s out for revenge, but where he’s using money and Langley, someone else is threatening her and she’s in real danger….
Its a shortish read at 2997 kindle locations, and yet delivers an exciting read, with some real heat and sensuality between Archer and Langley. That surprised me, as for me usually shorter books just don’t have the space to let me feel I know the characters and care for them. If I’d realised this was so short I probably wouldn’t have requested it…but I’ve enjoyed Lisa’s novels before, and didn’t look at the book length. I liked Langley, felt for her. She’s trying to make her own life and yet stuck in the mire of politics and plans.. Archer seemed so calculating at first, and then as we knew him better there was a real dichotomy for him, stick to his revenge and hurt Langley beyond recovery, or take his new found feelings for Langley and give up his long held plans….
Stars: Four. Its a fun read, a great way to get lost in a book for a couple of hours. Its not a re-reader for me but one I very much enjoyed as a one off. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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