Archive | September 2015

Menagerie, Rachel Vincent

Menagerie,  Rachel Vincent

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Literature/Fiction,  fantasy/paranormal.

I read Rachel’s Cat Shifter series years ago and loved them all, then recently the first book in the Blood Bound series, which I enjoyed also, and yet found that  soul screamers just didn’t cut it so wondered how this would work out for me…it was terrific. something fresh and original encompassing traditional supernatural creatures with mythical ones.

Its based upon a world like ours, but where there’s been a terrible slaughtering in the 1980’s they call The Reaping in the USA. Interspersed between chapters are snippets of TV and News report from that time. It led to some harsh legislation where people deemed to be not wholly human have no protection, can be used in experiments, sold, exhibited, abused and have no rights. Delilah thinks she’s human but then when viewing ( as a present from her boyfriend, not something she would have chosen to do ) a visiting attraction, Metzer’s Menagerie, she has a kind of freak out when she see’s a shifter child being badly treated, electrocuted to make her perform, and it leads to horrors for her. She loses everything, her home, her job, her friends and becomes Property and sold to the Menagerie.

Its a scary time for her, she’s lost, so confused and so angry…she’s always been against Cryptid mistreatment but Legislation is so harsh there’s little she could do. Now she’s one of them and forced to endure some horrors and faced with a life of it. She’s tougher than it seems though, and with her strong sense of morality she treats the others as sentient beings – which they are for the most part, just wanting to live free, but forced into a life of horrors where their children and mates are sold at whim, and tranquillisers, semi starvation, abuse and cruelty is part of their everyday life.

Its a fabulous read, Rachel makes the Cryptids feel so real, so in a place they shouldn’t be. Its scary because we can see from history ( and some of it not so far back) how quickly bad Laws can be drawn up in knee jerk reactions to events, and I’ve no doubt that if the scenes we see were real we’d have laws something like this…You’re either human and have rights, or not and have none. Very black or white issue. People are scared of what they don’t understand and this is the result. We have the Dangerous Dogs legislation here in UK, set up in 70’s/80’s in response to some child deaths by dog mauling. Yes that’s awful, but it tars all breeds with the same brush and some are not allowed to live simply because they belong to a banned breed. It doesn’t matter if its gentle, has never caused an issue, its automatically doomed to be killed. Meanwhile other breeds are Ok even if they’ve caused problems, attacked someone, it still needs proving and may not be killed. I see the Law in this book as being similar, the Cryptids, some of which had been like Delilah, living and working, married even with children, but then at the slash of a pen they were automatically Property and sold off or used in experiments. Even animal welfare legislation doesn’t apply to them. See how easy it would be when looking at the past, how if this was real how like Rachel’s  story life could be? That made it so believable to me, and I so felt for Delilah, her mum, and the other Cryptids involved.

I really want to see where this goes next. I wasn’t sure when reading f it was a one off or a series, and this ends as if it could be a stand alone, but I’m pleased there’s going to be more. I’ll be keen to read them.

Stars: five, a great read and very different paranormal story.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Slashed, An Extreme Risk Novel, Tracy Wolff

 

Slashed, An Extreme Risk Novel,  Tracy Wolff

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

We’re on to book three, and its a series I’m really loving. Its got all the elements a good NA series needs,a solid story, plenty of  drama, lots of emotion and of course a romance between two characters that seem to have everything preventing them from getting together but who you love so much you’re just rooting for them to finally find their way through the barriers.

The four friends, Z, Luc, Ash and Cam have known each other for many years and are all top rated snowboarders. When I began this series I was worried that knowing nothing – absolutely nothing – about boarding would hamper my enjoyment but it doesn’t, somehow I’m pulled into the excitement and dangers along with the characters. I feel I’m there with them, and for me that’s the best kind of story, where I feel like I’m part of it. I love the way the action and scenes are described. There’s one part where Luc is out in the streets just as dawn is breaking,  and it’s  the first snow of the season, and that reminded me so much of nights when Ii have issues sleeping and like to get up and watch the dawn rise. When its snowing – and that’s not often here in UK – its just magical seeing the purity of the landscape, feeling like you’re the only one around, that what you see is somehow special to you. Luc’s words encompassed all that, and its why Tracy’s novels are so vivid to me – the characters feel real, say and see things as I would.

Cam – right from book one we’ve seen how she longs for Z to love her, she’s craved him from afar for so long. Luc has strong feelings for her but against Z he feels he doesn’t stand a chance, even though Z is now happily in a relationship with Ophelia. Luc just cements his place in the group as the happy guy, the one that keeps things on an even keel and keeps his feelings hidden. We don’t really know that much of him til this book, where we see just why he feels so second class. His parents seem to have focussed all their energy on his twin sister, a world class musician, and even though he’s one of the top boarders in the world it never seems to be quite enough for them. He’s been alone now for several years as they moved for the benefit of his twin’s career leaving him with his friends when he was just a teen. Knowing that makes it easy to understand why despite being so good he feels its not enough, that his friends “carry” him, and yet he’s incredibly talented at certain types of boarding.

Cam’s mum left her and her dad and six brothers seventeen years ago and had no contact since – now out of the blue she’s back, and its like the return of the prodigal mum as far as the rest of her family are concerned. She’s feeling on edge anyway because of something between her and Luc a few months back that’s made their friendship  awkward, and she just can’t accept her mum back as the others do. Poor Cam, I felt for her, and understood her confusion but her actions after just bring her even more dramas…she’s there staying with Luc, sleeping with him in some kind of frenzied lust and they seem to go backward and forward over their friendship and what this new development means. Each is too afraid to actually ask the other how they really feel. Cam’s developing feelings for Luc but convinced he sees her as a friend, he’s too overshadowed by what he thinks she feels for Z to tell her how he feels, and convinced she’s just doing some kind of friends with benefits thing. Then just to add to their dilemmas another major spanner gets thrown in the works. Can they make it through or will this be the end for them? I was so wanting them to just talk, dammit, talk to each other, but they both hold back and of course that’s what the story needs. If they did talk that would end the story far too soon!! Its was fun too seeing how Z and Ophelia and Ash and Tansy are doing in there respective relationships – I enjoy that kind of catch up in these stand alone but connected novels. Its a bit like meeting friends you’ve not seen for a while.

It’s a shortish read at 2628 kindle locations ( I can’t find page info) but its very reasonably priced at just £1.36, and add in that its one I’d happily re read and that makes it a real bargain. There’s one more book to come according to Goodreads and I’m curious who that’s going to feature as we’ve covered the four friends already…Logan maybe if its set a few years on? I can’t really think of anyone else.

Stars: Five, another great romance full of action, drama and emotion.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Lessons, Elizabeth Brown

The Lessons, Elizabeth Brown

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Natalie, oh how I felt for her. I’m a list maker too, a planner, someone who mulls over the nuances of every little thing….so I really understood why something so simple as losing her pesky virginity became such a complex issue for her. She wasn’t going to tell the full story though to the psychiatrist, but had a premade plausible story ready. I wasn’t really sure why she didn’t want to tell the truth – somehow that bit seems to have passed me by, and now looking back I can’t really see why she was evasive? Still, it set things up nicely for her to meet her surrogate, and he turns out to be…Ryan, the drop dead gorgeous guy who’s just been flirting with her in the library.

I loved Ryan, he’s worked so hard to get where he is, overcome so much in his background, and the effects it left on him make him perfect for this job. He has no issues separating sex from emotion – until he meets Natalie.

They do a forward and backward dance around their attraction to each other, knowing that he needs to stay professional and detached, and each is never really sure how the other feels. Being Natalie she mulls it over constantly, working out what every tiny inflection of speech, each lift of an eyebrow, every little action, could possibly mean. Does he really want her? Or is that just professional politeness? Poor Natalie, she was lost.

In between this story there’s the other parts, Natalie’s move to a new place, her new job and the problems she encounters – and I did see what was happening there pretty early, but wow – she really got caught out in a nasty way there. Then there’s Ryan, his past, his sister, his profession and studies.

Its a good read, one that was fun, steamy and sexy, hot and sensual,  and felt very real and yet – I really, really want to five star it, but it just feels as though there’s something missing, as though maybe its just a little too light, too easy going. I wanted more drama, more depth to it, and there certainly was the potential in the story. Still, not everyone wants the same things thank goodness, and for many readers this will be a perfect read.

 

Stars: Four, Its a hot, sensual read, good story and one I really enjoyed…Best of all – Stand alone, no cliff hanger and that’s getting rare in erotic romances now.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, so I can make future reviews more helpful.

Harvest Moon, Lisa Kessler

 

Harvest Moon,  Lisa Kessler

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy

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Continuing Lisa’s Moon series we meet Kilani. She’s Jason’s Mate – yes that’s right, Jason the doc who doesn’t believe in Mates until he touches her….she knows nothing of his world though and the dangers within it. Jason’s also having anger issues, feeling he let down the previous alpha and also his father. Had they gone to hospital he could have helped them, but the dangers of exposing themselves to humans is too great so the Alpha died, and his dad now lies in a vegetative state, with any recovery growing fainter the longer it goes on. Poor Jason, I felt for him. It was sad that he had feelings for Nadya but she turned out to be the Mate of another pack member ( that was in an earlier book), then this feeling of helplessness and he’s been getting rid of his anger in illegal fist fights. That’s dangerous too though and he’s in a kind of rut when he meets Kilani.

I love Kilani, she’s also had the same troubled background, same issues with Nero as other gifted people. she’s very self determined, very alone in many ways but knuckles down and gets on with life, she doesn’t whine about unfairness.  Now she’s too close to a killing by Nero and they want her dead, so she goes to the pack Alpha for help. Jason wants to be close to her and protect her and once more the whole pack are faced with Nero.

Nothing really seems to change – its Pack v Nero, with minor wins on each side, and I just felt with this book they’re at a kind of stalemate position. The romance between Jason and Kilani was great, developed well but the overall story arc of Nero seems to be stuck – well that’s how it feels to me. I loved the  last two books but felt this one was not quite up to them. They kept me engrossed and wondering what was going to happen next, but this one I kept putting down and picking up later. It was a good read, and a decent romance but I missed more of the Nero connection.

Stars: Four, a good romance but the action a little slow after the others.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, in case I’ve inadvertently added a spoiler and need to edit.

Rough Road, Lake Lovelace 2, Vanessa North

 

 

 

 

Rough Road, Lake Lovelace 2,  Vanessa North

 

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA.

Who didn’t fall in love with Eddie in Double Up? He’s such a flamboyant, out and proud guy, and yet inside he’s a heart of gold. He’s loyal to his family and friends, and still carrying a torch for Ben even though he knows they don’t work together, and Ben has a solid relationship with his partner. Somehow common sense doesn’t apply to the heart – we can tell ourselves all we like that we don’t have a hope but the heart doesn’t stop it’s yearnings.

Then Eddie meets Wish. He’s all the things Eddie loves, sexy and attracted, and the icing is he loves to do the kink Eddie craves, something most people, Ben included, just can’t cope with. They’ve a hot and heavy evening, but their connection runs too deep for just a one nighter – the problem for Eddie is the huge age gap. Wish says its fine with him, and TBH he’s an adult so should know how he feels, but I can see Eddie’s point. He thinks maybe he’s taking advantage and he’s such an honourable man that he doesn’t want Wish to be trapped in the future. They’ve a bigger problem though – Eddie doesn’t want a new road to be built, primarily because it affects his business and thus affects Ben, and we know already he’d move mountains for him. Now though there’s Wish to consider, he’s works on road crews and the new roads means he’ll be staying here, otherwise he’s going to have to move. Its not just him and the job, his family need his help and moral support, and if he moves away they suffer too. Of course it’s also going to affect him and Eddie, long distance relationships are tough, and could he stay with someone who put loyalty to a friend ahead of their relationship? Its a tough decision and it was hard seeing it slowly build up to the point where Eddie needed to choose. Until then things had been going so well, but this could be an unbreachable gap between them.

I could feel for Eddie, he’s been the mainstay for Ben for so long, given up so much for him and its only because of him Ben is alive and doing so well. Now though time has passed, Ben is well and has a new love, and Eddie isn’t needed in the same way, but he doesn’t seem able to let go. Its that feeling of responsibility, that love and care for his friends that makes Eddie the man he is and he finds it hard to stop. In an ideal world he and Ben would have made it together but they don’t suit, they want and need different things and Ben has now found someone he loves. Is Wish the one for Eddie, and can Eddie put him ahead of Ben? I understood poor Wish, he’s been fighting Eddie’s age paranoia and succeeded but this – this could be one thing that fails them. Like all lovers, he needs to come first, but he can see that Eddie is so used to dropping everything for Ben that it’s going to be a hard decision.

I loved this, more Eddie – who wouldn’t? ; –) Wish is perfect for him, they match in what they both want from a relationship and the sticking points were very real.  Its the kind of issue that often crops up in some variety. I wanted the sad part to last longer though – I need to really feel heartbreak, to think they may not make it, but here, well – it was really upsetting but just didn’t last long enough for a five star from me.

Stars: Four, a great story I really enjoyed.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, so I can make future reviews more helpful.

Exhibition, Nicolette Hugo

 

Exhibition by Nicolette Hugo

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

I wasn’t sure what to expect here, if it would be one of those reads where the story is concentrated in just a few days, or whether it would be longer. I’ve enjoyed a few of the first type, but really I like best those where the characters have time to get to know each other, where the romance gets to develop more slowly, and where we get to understand more of the characters. That’s what happened here.

I really felt I was getting to understand Grace, to feel for her. She seems one of those people who on the surface are confident and secure, successful career, home, and outwardly confident, and yet under all that she was hurting. Hurting so much, punishing herself for something long past. She needs kink, needs what it can give her, a sense of freedom it seems to me, and yet she’s been away from it for a while, trying to stay vanilla. One of her hospital colleagues who saw her after her last disastrous episode seems to think all kink is wrong, and he’s been trying to convince her she doesn’t need it, that he can give her what she wants if she’ll just let him in. Its a common theme it seems in real life, that there are people who don’t just enjoy kink, but really need it, for whom it fulfils something in them, and yet those who aren’t into it often see it as dirty, unsavoury, perverse and try to make people like Grace ashamed of their needs.

Jason isn’t one of those, he’s a Dom through and through, and can see what Grace needs. Posing for him she’s his muse, and while working on the photographs for the exhibition he’s also giving her what she needs. Its only three weeks they have but in that time they share so much and learn things about each other, get so much closer. Then – well, of course, something happens and it all falls apart just when it was going so well….I always want to shout at the characters when that happens, to say “ Why! What are you doing? Thinking?” and of course if they listened to me it would be a dull read…that’s why I’m a reader not a writer ; –) I loved the way that part was given time to develop, not just brushed past in a few days but weeks, where each had time to assess what they’d done, to think about the issues. I was so sad for them both, and of course they’re both thinking the wrong things about how the other feels, and I was wondering how on earth Nicolette could bring them back together, or even if she could, or if Jason’s ex, Audrey, or someone else would get in the way.

Its a really emotional read as well as being very erotic, and full of drama. Lots to think about, how simple misunderstandings can have such huge influences, how individuals want or need different types of sexual relationships, and get satisfaction in very particular ways. There’s no right or wrong in sex so long as each party is happy and yet so many people still see any kink as wrong.

It’s a book I really enjoyed, made me think about things, made me really feel for Grace and Jason. Logan and Mia too – I’d like to know more of them, and where they go from here.

Stars: Five.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, in case I’ve inadvertently added a spoiler and need to edit.

Sing For Me Trisha Grace

 

Sing For Me  Trisha Grace

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

 

This is one for readers who want “clean” romance – where the sex isn’t graphic and explicit, but the romance takes more precedence. I like sex in books, but for me the story has to come first so I’m happy to read books like this too. Some readers don’t want sex scenes at all, so its really useful to have this description added for them by authors.

So – the story was good, I really liked both Chloe and Christopher, though the reasons they went from such a short but intense relationship where they planned a future together, to one where they were estranged for so long felt a little unreal. I’d have expected either of them to try to breach the gap but then of course we wouldn’t have the story!! That’s always a balance, getting the characters to where the story needs them to be realistically. When we learned more about the spilt and the reasons Chloe left I understood and could see her hurt. It was one more thing on top of the huge shock she’s just had, but for ages I kept wondering “ what on earth happened?”

Christopher had been a huge success and then fallen into the trap that so many do, and when he and Chloe met again after so many years I was just so anxious for them to talk, to see if they could get past what happened. I didn’t like Chloe’s boyfriend, he wasn’t awful, but I couldn’t feel the connection between them. It seemed one of those relationships that I think of as “drifting “ where each just doesn’t really put in much effort but they just go along with the flow. That meant I would be happy to see that end and her reconnect with Christopher – there was a huge amount of barriers and actions before that could happen though.

Overall I really enjoyed this as a one off read, but though there was plenty of drama, lots of action, multiple plots that joined at the end, none of it really felt it had huge depth and the solutions were very quick and convenient. I do need my characters to suffer a bit, to get heartbreak, pain, angst…Hard person aren’t I ? 😉 That’s the reason this is four not five stars, I just felt there could have been more made of some of the plots – i.e. Rebecca….and everything was so neatly happy at the end. I don’t like the “bad” guys to get a good end, even if we do see there are reasons why they acted that way. Hey, its fiction, and I like people who are not nice to get their just desserts, not understanding and forgiveness!

there are some great characters here. a good story with lots of action and sub plots but for me it needed a bit more depth. As ever though not everyone wants that and if you’re looking for a clean romance, great characters that feel real and a story that’s easy to follow and not too intense, this could be perfect for you.

Stars: Four, a good one off read for me.

 

ARC supplied by author

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As Nell’s number of enemies rise, so too does her resolve to seek the truth. With her friend Sam in tow, an epic adventure begins, the likes of which will have far-reaching implications.

 

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Chloe’s Rescue Mission 

“Romantic comedy at its best…” Wendy Cartmell

To save her grandfather’s legacy, The Joshua Steele Theatre, Chloe Steele sells her services to the highest bidder and engages leisure tycoon, business angel and playboy, Duncan Thorsen. But when the bank calls in the debts and the council enforces closure, just how much paparazzi exposure and wheeling and dealing can a girl stomach?

 

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“This book grabbed me with sharp alien claws from the very first and would not let me go,” avp.

Lucy Stannis, chief biologist in the peaceful human colony, is thrilled when a shipload of aliens arrives on the peaceful colony of Eden. Sparks fly when she meets the spaceship captain, the devious Blue, Sa Kamizan Veedak. With massive, scaled bodies armed with sharp claws, the dominant Blues claim superiority over puny, emotional humans. In the inevitable conflict of cultures, Lucy will need all her skills as a scientist and undercover Terran agent to discover their secret weakness before the colony is destroyed.

 

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Best Selling author, Martin Crosbie is a colleague of eNovel Authors at Work. His book, The Dead List is in nomination for a Kindle Scout Edition. We would love your vote/nomination. Nothing to BUY! Not even the book, because once published, Amazon sends all supporters/voters a FREE copy of The Dead List. It is a well-kept secret, so check out those books nominated for Amazon Scout and keep those FREE books landing on your Kindle.

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The Power of Six

Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative. The Power of Six has repeatedly reached #1 on Amazon.

 

 

©2015 eNovel Authors at Work | Amazon

 

Under His Skin, Stacey O’Neale

Under His Skin,  Stacey O’Neale

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and Fantasy

Its rare for me to not get on with an Entangled covet but this book and I just didn’t gel : –( The book was fine, the story adequate and I can see others love it but for me it was a fail.
I just found the whole plot about the brothers too unreal, and even in fantasy I have to feel that if Supernaturals were real the story could be credible. I didn’t though – found the brothers weird, and Kaden blowing hot and cold, trying to find ways out even when his history says he’s in a life match so to speak. The FBI connection too – I just couldn’t believe in it, there’s no way three unknowns would get treated that way… Then there’s Annabelle, she’s a sweet girl but I found it hard to see or feel anything real between her and Kaden, just a surface attraction.  I felt the romance was a bit “rose tinted specs” type where it was her dreams about him, more than Kaden himself that she was in love with.
Just too light and fluffy for me, a chocolate mousse dessert rather than a rich, flavourful, dense Sachertorte….
I skim read from about halfway through as I just couldn’t get along with this book.
Stars: Sadly just two, a decent book others will love I’m sure but for me it just didn’t work. Everyone likes different reads, and this was a bad choice on my part.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, in case I’ve inadvertently added a spoiler and need to edit.

Blade Dance, D.L. McDermott

 

Blade Dance,  D.L. McDermott

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy,

I’ve been reading this series since the beginning and it gets better and better. Each book is a complete story, but builds on the world created before, and brings in characters and events from previous novels, so for best enjoyment you really need to start with the first book IMO.

Finn, we’ve seen him since the beginning. He’s leader of the Fianna, and a dangerous man, with an extended and chaotic family. The Prince Consort, cruel and cunning, wants to free the Queen by bringing down the walls between worlds. The Queen makes him look like a kindergarten kid when it comes to cruelty though, he really has been shaped by her. In this book we see his brother Sean, whose son is kidnapped. It shows us a bit more insight into the Prince, that before the Queen changed him he may have been a decent ( ish – he’s still Fae) man. Now though Finn needs to trust him but they are dangerous enemies with Finn against the Queen’s release. Miach,one of Finn’s adversaries who we met before, comes in this book along with Finn’s son Garret, married against Finn’s wishes to Miach’s daughter. Then there’s Ann, a schoolteacher who proves to be something a bit more than what she presents.

Its another exciting read, with Finn’s romancing of Ann worked into a story involving multiple characters, and lots of magic. Enemies need to work together to rescue the boy, and there’s some real dangers in doing so. It moves forward the overall story arc of the Prince Consort’s mission to free the Queen, and some of the other Fae opposition. I love the way the story slowly builds with each book and the romance is carefully worked in to the plot, giving an exciting read, a solid story and some sensuality too. I’m looking forward already to the next book. I do find it takes a while to get back into the story when i first start – Its a very different world and there are things that are uncommon in the usual fantasy reads, plus of course a cast of characters that gets ever longer. It’s one series I look forward to reading on a back to back fantasy fest day when all parts are released. I love to read my favourite series that way – to get totally immersed.

Stars: five, another solid instalment adding to the overall story. .

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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J.A. Hazel

Author of Siren's Wave, a rock romance novel

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