Archive | January 2016

Every Time I Fall, (The Raeven Sisters 2), Anna Karington

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Genre:  New Adult, Romance

I really wanted to like this story but…Janey was so negative, so whiny. I know she’d had a tough time, I know she had family issues and alcohol problems, but her constant talking herself down, dismissing Hayden as a rich guy just playing with her really got irritating after a while. It feels as if so much of the first half of the book is just Janet putting herself down and Exes of Hayden’s popping up everywhere.

Hayden really had been a bit of a man whore, and I think if he really wanted Janet to take him seriously he needed to be a bit more open with her about his past. Why did he sleep with so many that were directly or indirectly involved in his business, its certainly not what a reputable business man does. I did understand why Janet feared she was just another on the list, seeing the exes popping up polished, confident, stylish, at every place they went must have been tough. Then especially when his romantic getaway and dates prove to be exactly what he’s done with others I thought  doesn’t the guy have an original idea – he’s got the money after all. I love the b itch type in a story, and thought Amy  was going to provide that angle but really she was just a lightweight at it, and she turned out…well, not as I wanted her to be. I like to read jealous, vindictive, awful characters in a story!

Janet’s family situation too – I was expecting some big reveal about the family issues, why she didn’t get on too well with some of them. Then it comes out and I’m like “ what?? Is that it??” To carry resentment for that all these years is just childish. I hadn’t read the first book, and maybe if I had this would have meant more to me. The issue over the teaching toy she’d invented seemed a bit superfluous, it wasn’t really developed except as a way of Hayden doing yet another favour but turning out to provide more fodder for Janet’s lack of self confidence.

The three kids she mentors. I needed to know more about that, I can’t see that given their history she’d be allowed to let someone not police checked to accompany them out – certainly here in UK it doesn’t work that way. Her ex, when he popped up I though maybe a storyline was coming there but again it just felt a bit superficial. I think maybe there was just too much packed in to too short a space for me, I want more depth to the story and characters, and less introspection. I get it, Janet has had some severe blows to her confidence and doesn’t think she’s good enough – I don’t need that hammered home again and again and again.

The big problem I had though with the story is that I didn’t really feel anything between Hayden and Janet except lust, and I needed to feel love. Its for me a story that sounded really promising but proved to be just an Ok read. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.

Stars: Three, an OK read but a one off for me

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

Once Bitten Twice Shy, Jennifer Rardin

 

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I’ve been re reading a few favourite novels and come back to this series, which I bought a few months after I first had my kindle. Its an eight book series with a few shorts ( I haven’t read them) about Jaz and Vayl.  at the time only books 1-5 were on kindle so I bought the last three as paperbacks, and now of course I can’t read print any more so I’ve just got them for my kindle. I’m on to book tow, and the magic I felt when I first read it is still there.

Loosely its about Jaz, who’s in her late 20’s and Vayl, a vamp who’s the CIA’s top assassin and a 291 yr old Vampire. Along the way of their latest assignment they collect into the group Bergman, a geek genius who invents some incredible tech stuff, Cole – who’s also a Sensitive like Jaz, and was a PI til his business blew up – literally – after getting involved with the duo, and Cassandra , a 1,000 yr old Seer. Each book builds on whats happened in earlier ones, with common threads running through and its full of details and plots that grow ever more complex. For the first book Jaz and Vayl are on a simple mission, but quickly discover their target is involved in something that has huge implications for the world and they need to know what is going on and how they can stop it. That brings in the other three and sets up the crew for the rest of the stories.

As well as Vampires, Seers and humans with extra abilities there are Demons in this series, and the adventures are carefully plotted and Jennifer does that thing I call Story Seeding, where some throwaway remark or tiny incident builds up until suddenly I realize its become a major part of the book. I like to try to pick out these seeds, and even though I read the books some time back I’d forgotten just how well she did it. Although there are vampires, its not one of those Alpha vamps and instant attraction stories, its clear both Jaz and Vayl are attracted but that’s a really minor part of the series and develops really slowly over the books.

Sadly Jennifer died after writing this series, at only 45, so sad for her family and friends, and for us readers to lose such a talented writer. 😦  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Rardin

Dreaming With A Broken Heart,  Mary J. Williams

 

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Genre:   romance

I love the film/rock star trope so was really looking forward to this. I found the start slow though, and for most of the first third at least just didn’t feel the chemistry between Garret and Jade. Her story is sad, scary, and heart-breaking and I really felt for her, but for her to have this connection to Garret who she’d met once, three years before took a leap a bit too far for me. I’m all for getting those together who need to be, I love romance and I can happily stretch belief but I needed a bit more here.

Then it moves forward and things heat up. We learn more about Jade and what she’s been through, the terrible things she’s lived over the past three years, how alone she really is.We see more too about Garret and his family – and they’re a great mix, and I’m sure the subject of future books. Once my mind felt they were truly absorbed in each other the story flowed seamlessly for me. I really enjoyed how the different parts worked in together, meeting the other characters, seeing a glimpse into  how their lives interacted with Garret and Jade.

When the end came, the finale, and everything came to a head I was expecting a little more oomph, more bang, more drama, but it all wrapped up neatly and left me happy at how things had gone. Its more a case of my expectations and wants than the book, I do like my dramatics and edge of seat feelings about whether things are going to work out well.

Stars: Four. An enjoyable story and I look forward to seeing the other brothers stories.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

No Ordinary Love, J.J. Murray

 

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Genre:  Romance, General fiction (adult)

Another new to me author 😉 Its always a trip into the unexpected with authors who’s works I’ve not read, you never quite know what to expect. I had a great time reading this though, very emotional at times.

Tony – he’s a 40 year old high functioning Asperger’s man. He’s incredibly talented in many ways and a very famous musician, composer and songwriter. He lives with his brother Angelo, who’s his day to day carer and manages his career.

Tony is such a lovely man, honest as so many people with social disorders are, he can’t see why people get upset when he tells them things. Its wrong to lie so why don’t they like the truth? He’s got a point but that’s all part of social conditioning, and many people have issues that affect it, not just those with Asperger’s. As it happens my granddaughter had several problems when younger, some related to speech function, and she spent time in a speech and language unit where part of what she was taught was use of appropriate and inappropriate language. We were glad she couldn’t speak clearly when she announced loudly to people things like “you’re very fat, are you having a baby?” or “your hair is messy”…. It’s hard for people to understand its not deliberate rudeness, there’s no intention but just a statement of fact, and its easy to see where poor Tony was confused.

Angelo too is a fantastic man, done his best for Tony and given him a huge amount of confidence. Carers of people with issues often “coddle” them too much, scared they’ll get hurt either physically or mentally, but everyone needs the chance to be the best they can and Angelo has had a great positive effect on Tony. Like any parent though he’s finding it hard to let go. Tony has finally reached the stage where he wants his own wife and children, he see’s Angelo with Aika, and the love they share and wants that for himself ( he sees a bit too much, and that makes for some great moments too!)

Trina is a great nurse but being given all the rough tasks by her supervisor, as are all the dark coloured nurses. She’s had a tough past where her cheating ex left her with huge debts, and she’s struggling day to day for money. When Tony starts talking to her on his lunch break she at first is a bit wary, but he soon breaks through to get her trust, and they start a fantastic relationship where he just blossoms. From a shy and cautious individual he takes hold of his nature and extends it, and with Trina’s help he’s got a chance at the future he dreamed of. There’s the issues of his fame though, the media who always want to drag people down, who look for the dirt in the most innocent of situations. Of course there’s his long time protector too, Angelo who wants to be certain Trina isn’t just some gold digger out to take advantage of Tony.

Its a fabulous story, full of laughter and tears, a very emotional read. At times it is a little cheesy, and it would be great to think people and the press would act that way but cynic that I am I have my doubts…I found it very slow starting and put to one side on first time of reading, but picked it up a few days after and once I reached about 20% I was hooked, so invested with what Tony wanted, the wonderful people he met, the  way his story was told so honestly. I don’t know any high functioning people with Asperger’s to the degree Tony has it, only one who’s got minor issues and didn’t discover that til she was older, and another who’s a bright person but sadly her mum has not encouraged her to see herself as anything but someone with Asperger’s who can’t do x,y,z….that’s really sad, as I think many people could have a more satisfying life if encouraged to reach full potential and not just treated as kids with disabilities.

This isn’t a conventional romance, doesn’t follow the usual pattern of a meets b and they’re together, part after a conflict and then back for that HEA. This treads a path all of its own. If you want a book to make you think, to make you laugh, to make you cry and finish it feeling really satisfied then this is perfect.

Stars: Five, a wonderful read.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Getting Rough, (Monkey Business Trio 2), C.L. Parker

 

 

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Genre:  Romance,

Well, I had a quick reread of the end chapters of part one to refresh my mind and on to this one. What really irritated was they Still don’t use condoms….not a good message to be putting out. that aside though this is a fast paced, sexy read.

I enjoyed this but….it all takes place in Cassidy’s hometown, and I missed Denver, Quinn and co and all they brought to the story. We do meet Casey though and the rest of his and Cassidy’s family, along with a romance author staying at the B&B, Mia. Cassidy annoyed me at times – she wanted Shaw but didn’t want to want him. She still saw Casey as being “hers” and was jealous of the time he spent with Mia, especially as it was clear Mia was attracted to him. Yet it’s clear to everyone she and Shaw are more than just work colleagues yet she doesn’t seem to think of how Casey will feel. She really does want to have her cake and eat it…

Its a fun read, full of the same hot and erotic sex as the first part and I enjoyed meeting the rest of the family, seeing Cassidy’s home and friends but…for me the story didn’t really work so well as before. I missed the sports connection, ( and I’m not even a sports fan) as it seemed from the first part to be a huge section of the story. Could Cassidy and Shaw really take weeks off work without any repercussions in the way they did? It didn’t feel right to me, and I felt this part was disconnected from the first part of the story with only Shaw and Cassidy linking to it. Still, that’s just my opinion of course and I know this will be perfect for others.

Its got some very emotional moments, where they need to face what they are doing and how they feel. The evening where everything comes to a head was great, full of drama that felt very edge of seat. That scene when Shaw…well, let’s say I was really scared for him, knew he’d make it because, doh – part three – but what would it do, how would it affect him?

If you’re looking for a hot and sexy read this is fun, but I felt that for me that the story lacked something, and was a bit too forced feeling at times, as if events happened purely to get Shaw and Cassidy in position for yet more (condom free!!) sex.  Usually I read a book in one sitting, but this one I kept putting aside as I was losing interst in events.

Stars: Three.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Brazen Bargain (Spies and Lovers) Kindle Edition by Laura Trentham

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Genre:  romance,

I love a dip into a historical read from time to time. I knew this wouldn’t be a deep dark drama but I wasn’t in the mood for that so it was perfect for just a lazy easy read. Its a fun read, totally unimaginable in that really…would Minerva and Simon have landed in that position? No, of course not but it puts them in the right place for an easy read. The reality probably would have been loans, disgrace and penury or debtors prison but that wouldn’t make for a fun read!

So we’ve Minerva, I loved her. She’s been taking care of the estate and her younger brother for so long he’s never taken responsibility for himself, just goes out drinking and gambling each day, and they don’t have that kind of money. Its easy to see how he feels, and yet also easy to see how scared she is that he won’t or can’t step up and run things efficiently. Its a tough time for ladies, they are dependent on the men in their family, and Minerva is too intelligent to just let things slide as another woman might have done. Maybe if she wasn’t so good at the job Simon would have grown up a bit more..who knows? Its a big risk to take and I’d have acted as she did.

When they’re working for Rafe its a fun read, seeing some of the day to day jobs, and how Minerva struggled but kept on without complaint, and spoiled Simon just did the minimum in such a surly, begrudging attitude. He still had all the things his so called friends had said to him in his head, still thought he was above manual labour, shouldn’t be trapped in that position. Slowly things change with him, and of course Rafe and Minerva. Thrown together on a daily basis they see each is more than the front they present the world. Towards the end when something happens to Minerva and she talks down to her would be attacker, laughing at his “minuscule” penis and scathingly suggesting that’s why he’s in the position he is. She was brilliant, and when she reflects on something Rafe said on one of their first meetings about how her words would emasculate and shrink a man’s manhood and it has, it made me smile.

Its a fun read, like I said no huge dramas but a gentle romance, with some genuine emotion and feeling and one I enjoyed. Not one for the keepers files but an excellent one off read.

Stars: Four, a fun, easy to read historical romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

Don’t be Retail-Centric (You’ll Miss Out)

First in a series well worth reading, by author Tracey Cooper-Posey about getting books from other sources onto ereaders including Kindle.

 

This is a short series, The Twenty-First Century Reader’s Manifesto, where I will share what I see as the essential strategies and tactics a reader (you and me) should use to maximize their reading experience here in the twenty-first century. For links to previous posts, and the rest of the serie

Source: Don’t be Retail-Centric (You’ll Miss Out)

Sideloading Books

Copied post from a terrific author Tracey Cooper-Posey: great for reference.

 

A Geek Girl’s Guide to… is an ongoing series about becoming more technically savvy, so you can maximize your ereading pleasure.  Links to back-posts are at the end of this post. – t. ___ Sideloading Books What exactly is sideloading? A lot of readers get very confused by this term. It’s

Source: Sideloading Books

Bite The Dust, Blood And Moonlight Book 1, Cynthia Eden

 

Genre:  Romance, Fantasy and Paranormal

I’ve really enjoyed some of Cynthia’s suspense reads, been five star crackers for me, but the couple of paranormals I’ve read have been good, but not great. Sadly this book too fell into that category.

I love the whole shapeshifter/vampire world, and each author puts their own spin on it. For first books that means as well as a good story the author has to introduce characters, types and world settings. A tough task, and why I’ll usually try second books even if the first doesn’t seem that great. I’ve come to love some series where I wasn’t convinced by book one, but on rereading after more of the series was out I’ve felt differently about it.That may eb the case with this book, I enjoyed the world setting but the characters and the mystery seemed a bit simplistic. .

I really wasn’t convinced of the romance between Aiden and Jane. Sometimes that instant attraction works, sometimes it doesn’t, and for me here I wasn’t feeling it. Jane’s new to the area, and its full of surprises, but she’s has some experience in the past of the paranormal although no-one believed her, so when she finds out more about what’s really going on it doesn’t take too much for Aiden to convince her. They still have a few head to heads though when she’s determined to do it her way and he says He’s The Law there! I didn’t really feel I was in New Orleans either – maybe later in the series.

The story itself is fairly simple and it wasn’t that hard to guess what was going on – and even who was behind some of the things that happened. It made for a fun, one off read and I’ll try book two, but I’m not wholly convinced its a series I’m going to love.

Stars: Stars: Three, a slow start but still a fun read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Unseen, The Heights Vol 1, Lauren Stewart

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Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

This sounded intriguing so I delved in eagerly – well, its vampires and I’m always hoping for a new series to love. I’ve kind of mixed feelings about it though.

Its a whole new world though that Lauren has created, where the Supernaturals – and there’s all sorts of them – live alongside the humans, but hidden within it, under the terms of an uneasy Treaty hammered out a long time past. Of course just as in our world there’s winners and losers, those at the top live pretty, I’d have said for them its all sunshine and roses but as they’re vamps….well blood and sex I guess, and of course down at the bottom for the seers, humans who died and are reborn as seers, life is pretty grim. They get treated as disposable in a way, have all the dross jobs, no way to work up the ladder, no hope of an improvement in their lives. I guess its this divide, the Treaty itself and the way it all blends yet stays hidden, that took me such a long time to figure out. Then when i finished the book I found a handy glossary at the end. Doh – wish that was at the front, would have helped me with my questions.

I really wasn’t sure about Addison at first when she “rescued” Rhyse, it was more a sense of self preservation than wanting to help, but given the way her world works its understandable. Rhyse was an arrogant ar se, and I wasn’t impressed by him as a leader, as the Prime. He had no idea what life was like at the bottom and like most at the top, didn’t really care. The cynic in me says this bit’s really true to life! Then somehow – and I can’t pinpoint where it changed, he and Addison began to feel differently about each other and that’s when things finally start to move on, when the drama stars, and the action begins. I found it really slow, though I did need time to work out how it all fitted together. I liked it much more when something actually began to happen, rather than Addison constantly ruminating on the best way to get Rhyse to die without her actually having to kill him, and how she can ensure no-one knows….

Overall I enjoyed parts of it but found it slow paced and it didn’t really pull me in.  I’d give the second book a whirl just to see how it works out. First books in a series, especially when creating a non standard supernatural world have a hard job to do.

Stars: Four, a good start for a potential interesting series.

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An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and publishers

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