Archive | November 2015

Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton

Winter Oranges,  Marie Sexton

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, GLBTQIA

I was excited to see this one, it sounded intriguing, with the paranormal aspect adding something unusual. Its a fun read, but I’m not really sure how to describe it; sweet, gentle, whimsical all kind of do it, but make it sound so much less than it is, so mundane when its anything but. There’s the romance angle which is very tender and real, but then the fact that for now anyway only Jason can see Ben, and apart from keeping people from thinking he’s drugged up, drunk or needing psychiatric help, there’s the issue of long term. How on earth can they continue when Ben is frozen in time and so limited? Its really sad at times, thinking of how vulnerable Ben has been, how lonely, trapped, how he managed to stay not only sane but such a sweet guy after all those years. Some of the things he tells Jason are really heart-breaking and its a very emotional read, but at times tempered with an edge of humour between the two men.

I’m a sucker for all things magical – I blame Sooty and his magic wand. ( For non UK readers Sooty was a kids TV star hand puppet in the 70’s. with a tap of his magic wand and the memorable words “Izzy Wizzy, lets get busy” the world was his oyster!) I really, really coveted a magic wand and TBH the idea of magic has never quite left me ;- ) So for me it was easy to get lost in this book, in the idea it was possible for Ben to have been trapped in the globe for 150 years.

I loved Ben, he was just so adorable, so fresh and happy. There wasn’t any resentment for his situation, even though he’d wanted to die at times when it had got him down. He keeps having this “this is the best day ever” moment of things that are really so everyday, and its very moving.

Jason is at a kind of crux in his career and personal life, been working in TV and films since a child and now he’s kind of at an assessment of what does he want. What he doesn’t want is the constant draining paparazzi attentions, he finds that so intrusive that he can’t seem to move without appearing in the gossip media, usually with completely fictional stories accompanying the images. He’s been in love with his best friend Dylan for ten years, but he sees him as just a friend with benefits relationship. Dylan cares for Jason but he’s ready to take up with anyone and everyone, and each time it tears at Jason’s heart a bit more. Now he’s decided enough – he’s going to take time out from work and his personal life to see what he wants going forward, and then he meets Ben. That changes everything. I was in love with Jason and Ben, and couldn’t see how their situation could get resolved…there didn’t seem to be an answer. All the sources Jason had tried led to dead ends, and then….major drama and all change!

 

Stars: Four and a half, its a lovely read, gentle and yet full of emotion, but not quite a five for me.

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.

Shift Happens (A Carus Novel Book 1) J. C. McKenzie 

 

Genre:  Fantasy, Paranormal.

One from the Kindle Unlimited range today. I saw there were three books out and somehow thought this was a trilogy and that I could read right through ( though books 2 and 3 aren’t on KU). It wasn’t til I came to write this review I discovered its actually a five book series. I would like to read more, very much enjoyed this and given first books in a series have a hard job, set the scene, introduce the main characters and deliver a plot that keeps the reader hooked this novel did really well for me. Not a 5 star read but a solid 4.

So, we meet Andy when a Gov. job goes wrong. It’s a narrow escape for her but she thinks she’s done her jopb and the victim is dead, but he’s not…turns out he’s not just a norm, but a local Master Vampire’s human servant, Clint. Oops, bit awkward then that Andy’s been captured by the local wolf pack, who answer to that vampire, Lucien, and he demands to know why the hit was ordered. He’s furious, who dares touch what is his!! He gives Andy a week to find answers and proof, otherwise she’ll be turned over to Clint as a pet for him to do as he pleases. Not good given he’s into some pretty rough sex, and will have free rein to treat her however he wants. Tough job though tracking down who was behind the hit as Andy can’t seem to contact her handler, the one who gave her the job, and he’s her contact for the dept she works for.

Its complicated too by the Alpha of the pack, Wick, who decides Andy is his Mate. She’s been there and done that in her past, and it took a long while and much out of her when she finally managed to escape that sadistic man. Wick may be drop dead gorgeous and her wolf may see him as a perfect Mate, but Andy and the other sides of her determine to hold out. Other sides? Well, come on, just as Clint is more than just a human servant Andy is more than just a shifter…..

Its a fun read, with well thought out plots and great characters. Its a plausible story – even when its fantasy/fiction I have to believe that if the scene was real so could the plots be. I’d love to read more but have a lot of unfinished series on the go and will wait till all of it’s out. That’s the way I enjoy these reads best, on a back to back fantasy fest – I’m currently doing just that between review reads and others, with Patricia Briggs Mercy Thomson series. That’s on-going of course, by now its on to the 8th ( I think) book. Its one I can read and enjoy without being desperate for the next read as the stories are complete, though each builds on and is related to what has gone before. This series looks to be like that too – there’s no cliff-hanger, Hurrah, but a proper ending leaving clues for how next book will  develop.

Stars: Four, a really fun read with some realistic characters and themes

 

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.

 

Hot Christmas Nights, pre-order now, out Dec 1st

I’ve not reviewed this set, but have read stories by some of the authors. Its on pre-order at just 99p, and these sets are a great way to try new to you authors.

The Hot Christmas Nights (A LoveCats DownUnder box set) contains seven brand new holiday stories from award-winning, best-selling and rising star Australian and New Zealand authors. Whether you want to get caught in a summer storm, find a second chance at love or fall for your best friend—there’s a story here for you.

The stories in this box set range from sweet to sexy, and they’re all emotionally satisfying reads with a happy ever after.

All She Wants For Christmas by USA Today Best Seller, Rachel Bailey

For Maddy to get the divorce she wants, she needs to confront her reclusive husband at his island home. But once she’s there and secrets are revealed, will Maddy find that what she really wants for Christmas is something else entirely?

Christmas Wishes, New Year Kisses by Michelle Douglas

For small town veterinarian Josh Halliday, fantasizing about his best friend is one thing. Falling in love with her is quite another…

Baby, It’s Hot Outside by RITA nominee, Louisa George

When rugged cop Daniel Wade agrees to help organize his friend’s Christmas wedding it brings him face-to-face with the bridesmaid, his estranged wife. Emma is determined that divorce is on the cards, but sometimes all it takes is another chance to get things right…

Her Christmas Cowboy by Helen Lacey

For city-girl Elyse Prescott, returning to her home town of Denary means one thing – facing every reason why she left….including Brett McCrane. Now Elyse has to make a choice – to go back to the city and her old life…or take a chance on love.

 

Sleigh Bells In The Sand by Stefanie London

American Neve Ritter has traveled all the way to Australia to avoid her family for the holidays. But her plans did not include accidentally breaking into the house of a hunky lawyer who’s looking for a little solitude of his own. When a summer storm traps them together, Neve realizes that maybe Santa has been listening to her wishes all along.

Millionaire Under The Mistletoe by Kandy Shepherd

London-based chef Carly de Luca and Sydney millionaire Dylan Burke broke each other’s hearts four years ago—but old feelings reignite when she makes a surprise visit home for Christmas. Can Carly and Dylan let go of past hurts and take a second chance on love?

Her Small Town Christmas Wish by Jennifer St George

When superstar songbird Giselle Harrington is forced to return her hometown, she’s faced with a house full of terrifying childhood memories. Jake Carlton has never forgot his teenage sweetheart and now that she’s back, he’s determined to have a second chance to convince her to stay.

Her Reality, (Reyna’s Blood 1),  Jaliza Burwell 


Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy
I liked the sound of this, sadly it didn’t really work for me for a number of reasons.
It feels very YA – I do read some YA novels, some work for all ages, but this one feels that the plot is just too simplified for me. I need a bit more meat in a read, plots that make me wonder what’s going to happen next. I also felt for a long while while reading that maybe I’d missed some kind of prequel, though I hadn’t, as there’s no kind of explanation of what warriors are, why Reyna isn’t one, why they all live in a Village and what they actually do….The book just seems to revolve around what Reyna is but without explaining why the other warriors hate her – its can’t just be simple prejudice given she’s their Chieftains sister. When we get to the end I really didn’t feel we’d advanced much from the beginning by way of what was going to happen in the future.
Then there’s Reyna and her best friend and brother’s Mate Kirby. I don’t know how old they are but Reyna’s brother has been chieftain for over a hundred years, so clearly they have a long life span. We do know there was a serious incident where Kirby nearly died over forty years back, so why on earth do the two act like a couple of young teens. Lets see: dangerous Fae out to kill Reyna, her flat trashed the day before and no-one knows why they want her, plus it seems they can’t best them in a fight, so why on earth did the two decide it was a good idea to ditch the guards for a few hours when out? Young teens might, people of their age? No…
There’s some basic editing needed too, lots of they’re/their/there and your/you’re errors. I don’t mind a few – we’re all human and nothing’s ever perfect but there are far too many.  Plus some character names getting swapped around especially towards the end with Nolan and Wyatt – I had to keep backtracking to see who exactly was meant to be doing or saying whatever. When you’re putting your work out to the public it needs to be the best you can make it. Editing isn’t something to be skimped.
Stars: Sorry it’s a Two, Its an interesting idea, but for me it isn’t one I’ll continue with.

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.

The Truth About Him, M. O’Keefe

The Truth About Him, M. O’Keefe

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

Well, I loved book one but that cliffhanger…arghh….I hate those.

Anyway this book picks up straight in to that scene and there’s some real action, danger and complications arising from the events that follow. We get to know more of Dylan and Annie, more of the past events that have made them the reserved, complicated people they are. All the while I was wanting their romance to take a step forward, and each time it did it seemed there were even more barriers to complicate things. We see more of the other characters too who become entwined into the story in ways we never imagined. It’s one of those roller coaster romances where you veer from crisis to sort of settled and then back to crisis again. Annie and Dylan have some scorching, sensual, sex scenes and then just when you think its all going well for them the barriers are up from one or the other of them and its a step back again.

There’s so many surprises here. People from both their pasts come forward, the story gets ever more complicated, and just as I thought they’d finally decided to move forward together at the end of book one, it seems they’ve still so much to overcome both on a personal level and via things outside their control. I loved this, loved the way the story was told in snatches, the way we got to know more of the past, the events that shaped them. I want too to know more of Max now, of the wonderful mystery that is Joan, of what will happen to Tiffany and her little family. Future books I hope 🙂

A word about price – I have noticed recently kindle reads getting more expensive. This one ( on pre-sale) is just over £7 and the first £6.61, but I can see comments that it was over £8 when first released. That leads readers like myself to wait until prices drop, and surely when new books are chasing the bestsellers lists its a backward step? I’ve bought books that have dropped hugely in price just months after release and I now wait until all parts of a duo or trilogy are out before buying, often there’s a bargain priced bundle to be had! Most readers don’t have money to throw around, and high prices can adversely ( IMO) affect book sales. That’s my rant over 😉

Stars: Five – a cracking and satisfying finish

 

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.

Black Christmas ~ JC Andrijeski From the anthology Red Hot Holidays.

Black Christmas ~ JC Andrijeski  From the anthology Red Hot Holidays.

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Another bargain book bundle and availablke to preorder now. These are a great way of trying new authors at a price thats good value. Even better all these stories are new, written for this anthology.

I’ve really enjoyed books one and two in JC Andrijeski’s new series Quentin Black Mysteries. ( Black in White and Black as Night). He’s a Seer, and met and employed Miri in the first book. In book two he and Miri are in Bangkok when she’s the victim of another seer and undergoes the most traumatic time. We meet her now just after that, and she’s staying with Black, he’s ultra protective and careful with her after what she’s been through. He seems to feel such guilt over it but she doesn’t blame him, she doesn’t really think about it or anything, she’s just in a kind of blank fog. Its only been a few days back in the States though and he leaves, again, and with only a few hours notice. Miri undergoes a kind of shut down then, blanks everything. I so felt for her, she needed Black. Her friends and ex-work colleagues Nick and Angel are worried for her, but nothing really seems to get through. Black is desperate, she ignores his calls, doesn’t open the gifts he’s been sending, and even moves out of his apartment.

I really felt for them both, Miri needs him there and he’s…well, not there. That’s it. Yet Black is so fixed on her, so wants to be with her I just feel that it must have been something incredibly important to pull him away when he knows he needs her and she him. What though? And will Miri eventually understand? Even though they’re apart its still a very emotional story, and I was just as desperate as Black for Miri to understand, to keep in contact, still want him. He’s an odd man in many ways, but then he’s Seer, older by far and of course their ways are so very different. Its a new world to Miri, she’s still feeling her way in it and drawn though she is to Black she’s still learning so much, and after the traumas she’s been through no wonder she’s feeling fragile and abandoned. their romance seems to take two steps forward and one back all the while, and just when I think there’s some progress something else happens. Can they find their way past this setback?

Stars: Five, its a short read, and usually I don’t do these but it just feels to me like an extra, separate chapter from the last novel. A kind of epilogue.

ARC supplied by author

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.

On Our Own Terms Adelaide Hipwell

On Our Own Terms  Adelaide Hipwell

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

I like second chance romance and rock band romance so this was a no brainer, and I expected to enjoy it. And I did, but it didn’t quite have that magic spark I was hoping for that makes a five star read for me. Its a well deserved Four though and a story I was drawn into.

One of the things I really liked was that Harriet wasn’t some poor downtrodden waitress/bar tender/shopworker living in squalid conditions etc. waiting to be rescued by the Hero, (they have their place of course but sometimes its good to read about other types). Nope, she was incredibly clever, and had made millions through the sale of her apps technology. Money doesn’t bring happiness though and poor Harriet was devastated, gutted, had all her confidence sapped when her long time boyfriend and business partner is caught cheating…She leaves Australia and goes to stay for a while in LA with her sister and family, the adorable twins, lovely husband and Bitch Face and Sour Puss the pets. Their next door neighbour is none other than grown up teen boy band sensation Ned.

I loved Ned, he was such a gorgeous man, very natural and down to earth. He was tired of all the promo stuff they went through, tired of the hype and the pressure that led to one of the band members to attempt suicide and his feelings of guilt for not doing more. The guys from 4G are still close friends though, and we see all of them here in this book, see them grown up, pursuing other things but those teen pressures still affect them all. Ned’s attracted to Harriet instantly ( I LOVED their meeting where one of the twins was…well, read it!!), but oddly though they are both successful people they each think they’re not good enough for the other – its that old thing that haunts many of us, confidence, do we have what’s needed, can that special someone really want to be with us, when they are surrounded by people more successful, more intelligent, more handsome/beautiful, thinner/better body….nearly everyone has hang-ups about themselves somewhere, and sometimes they play on our minds too much.

They spend more and more time together, we see more of Harriet’s and her sister’s friends and the rest of 4G, and its a fun read. Usual spats with the media – they so annoy me the way they haunt celebrities, intrude on their privacy, but sadly those images sell and that’s why people suffer – why do people want to see private pictures, believe all the lies….? Still, it provides some great plots for the book, and adds that touch of realism that I so need. I really liked Ned and Harriet, thought they were perfect for each other, but they seemed to have not only their own inner voices to overcome but outside pressures too.

Its a story I really enjoyed, and I loved the way the band used their celebrity and the things that had happened to them to support a much needed cause. I spoke about realism earlier – that part felt very genuine, and sadly I can imagine just that happening today. I feel for some of the young celebrities around, surrounded by those who just want to make money from them and aren’t at all concerned about them as people, about their welfare or health. This part of the plot was all too real but Adelaide turns it to the good in the end.

Overall there’s a fabulous blend of romance and humour here with some wonderful one liners and snark, and I really want to read more from Adelaide. Its an excellent start for her writing career with this first novel.

 

Stars: Four, a terrific first book.

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.

 

Oxford Whispers, Marion Croslydon

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford Whispers, Marion Croslydon

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Paranormal

Well, I’d forgotten this book was on my kindle til browsing through the Kindle Unlimited lists and saw it, and the next book there. So I thought it was about time I read it – I should have read it ages ago, its a fabulous read, well written, good plots and a great mystery to unravel. I’ll be onto book two as soon as I’ve written this review.

I’ve seen reviews comparing this to Deborah Harkness All Souls Trilogy but having read and loved that I can’t really see the comparison myself. Madison in this book is an American in Oxford, the same as Diana from AST, and of course both reads have a paranormal aspect but AST has a huge cast and many different types of Supernaturals whereas OW has a small, tight group of characters and its really only spirits that are the paranormal side. They are both great reads, but IMO very different and to me this is much more like Susannah Kearsley’s stories, another author whose works I enjoy.

I loved the Oxford setting, it was perfect for the story. I felt as if I was there with them. I do enjoy books with a UK setting being a UK resident myslef.

Madison makes for a great lead, with her somewhat chequered background and voodoo heritage that she she wants to ignore. Then she finds that she can’t – the spirits seem to want to come to her and a couple just won’t leave her alone. She has sort of “time slips” where she gets an insight into past events, and so much seems to revolve around three characters in a painting connected to her studies. This brings her into some riveting dangers at the end, and some narrow escapes throughout the book. I was trying to work out the puzzle too as parts unfolded to her, and of course to work out Peter and how he was behind the current events.

Rupert, playboy student, is attracted to Madison right from first sight but she’s been warned about him, his love ‘em and leave ‘em reputation and his current girlfreind situation, and she gives him the cold shoulder. Somehow though Marion gets the two together and their romance begins to grow. It’s a kind of shock to both, Madison is very inexperienced and of course Rupert isn’t used to feeling so much for someone. His father doesn’t approve, her friends and tutor don’t approve, and yet the two somehow seem to move forward slowly together, though not without some serious dramatics and emotional crises. I do love some serious dramas in a story, keeps me interested and I need the emotion that comes with them. I need to feel I’m “in” the story, not just an onlooker and events that happened allowed for just that.

I love the merging of past and present, the telling of a story through a painting, the working out the trails to find the truth, and the way it all leads up to a shocking climax. Its a great read, one for my keepers file and I’m looking forward to the next part (it’s on my kindle now thanks to Kindle Unlimited!)

Stars:Five, a fabulous read with characters both past and present hat feel so very real.

 

 

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.

 

A Dark & Stormy Knight, Suzie Quint

 

A Dark & Stormy Knight by Suzie Quint

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

I’d seen some great reviews, love second chance romances and of course cowboys = horses….but this just didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped.

It was an OK read, some interesting and fun plots but I found it really hard to like Georgia. She just seemed to be one of lifes moaners, and dragged everything round to how it affected her. I just didn’t understand why when she’d known Sol for so long, knew about the world he was involved in, she’d marry him and then decamp just six short weeks later. Why she didn’t talk to him, why she didn’t share her fears…and then we we meet her now its all about her. She thinks her daughter’s best friend’s dad would make a good husband for her even though she just cares for him, doesn’t love him – she never thinks what she could bring to a possible marriage, or how unfair it is to him that she doesn’t love him. She moans about her parents and sister and yet doesn’t do anything constructive to help the situation. She wants Sol to take more parenting decisions, but to only say yes to those she approves of….it almost got to the stage where I felt why on earth was Sol still in love with her.

Sol is a great guy, works hard, a great dad, son and brother and is still puzzled…why did she leave? What can he do to get her back? Their daughter Eden is a gem and made a great link between them. His family were terrific, full of fun, loving and supportive and very close. The ideal family IMO. Georgia loves them too and yet she couldn’t voice her fears to anyone. To me to be honest it all felt like storm in a teacup reasons, and I understood Sol’s reaction when it all came out. Maybe at the time she/they were just too young, too impulsive to adapt if they’d talked but who knows? Still, 12 years have passed and I find it weird that she’s not tried to explain her reasons in the meantime, nor that Sol had pressed her. I mean in the circumstances who wouldn’t say “ look, I know we were young but why did you leave?” Most people would be curious surely. I know he’s a patient guy but even patience wears thin after that long.

Some potentially great plots here, and I loved the ranch and rodeo setting but it just didn’t come through for me. I just couldn’t accept that she was never tempted in those 12 years to talk to him about her fears, that she would rather be alone than risk being with him, that he wouldn’t ask her, demand to know why she left. Just didn’t seem to fit with the people the appeared to be. And…that moustache!! Eurghh. I’m not a fan of face fungus anyway but how anyone can describe the “Tom Selleck” type moustache as sexy, attractive etc. beats me. Nope, not sexy!

Stars: Three, an ok read for me

 

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.

Breaking Hearts, Full Hearts book 4, by M.J.Summers

Breaking Hearts, Full Hearts book 4,   by M.J.Summers

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

I liked the little we saw of Trey in an earlier book, and of course that bombshell, that he was the father of Gabriella’s baby! Now circumstances have changed, and he needs to bring his son home. Out in Brazil he finds its not so easy, he’s no money, no job and the Brazilians want to see proof he can support toddler Tomas before they’ll give permission for him to leave.

Alessandra has been looking after Tomas while completing her Law studies, and agrees to continue to help Trey with him. She knows Tomas will leave soon and wants to spend as much time as she can with him, she’s been his main caregiver and loves the little boy.

Its a great story potentially but somehow it didn’t live up to the promise for me. Its well written, had good plots that expand the main story and yet …I just felt kind of underwhelmed, a bit bored at times, wanting to get to the end and find out what happens rather than enjoying the journey there 😦 Trey and Alessandra were a great couple, but at times both seemed so juvenile, so young and stubborn. It wasn’t hard to see what was going to happen and I need to be taken by surprise, not see what’s coming a mile off. Its a good read, just for me not a great one.

Stars: Three, a good read but nothing to get excited about for me.

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.

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