Archive | February 2016

Lovers Leap, JL Merrow

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Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I’ve just read a JLM novel I really enjoyed so when I saw this I wanted to read it. Its one I’ve mixed feelings over though. Parts I loved and other bits – well, not so much.

When we first met Michael he really did live up to the mummy’s boy, macho, jerk type. I felt a bit sorry for his ex, though she’s a bit of a strange person too but when your giving a heartfelt speech you don’t expect That reaction….and I understood her shoving him. Too bad she’s a tall, very strong lady and he went over the edge. Then wading through the waves he meets Rufus.

Rufus is a gem,kind, genuine, do anything for anyone sort, and he thinks Michael is his birthday gift! He takes him back to the B&B and things go from there…on then off in a big way. It’s an intense few days, packed with strong feelings, a whirlwind romance and Michael up to now has classed himself as not gay – he goes out with girls, takes them home to mum, who of course never thinks they’re good enough for her boy. He’s messed around with men a few times but that doesn’t count does it? Doesn’t make him gay – and if his mum knew he’d even done that she’d be horrified. ( The pizza, how she nearly caught that – oh that part made me snigger!) She’s deeply religious and takes the view that so many do – that homosexuality is a sin, wrong, a choice etc…Michael loves his mum so keeps that side of himself hidden and until Rufus that had worked well, he just had a few encounters, nothing approaching a romance, a relationship and now. Well, its face up to things time? And how will that go down with his family?

As I got to know him I understood a bit more about his attitude, three older sisters, dad died when he was a baby and he’s been indulged by them, so of course he feels a bit entitled. Rufus though has him confused, he wants more with him, and I really felt his confusion. I loved Rufus, he’s a people pleaser and such a lovely man, everyone soon gets to like him, he just has that natural ability to get along with anyone. His dad and step-mum were  great, as was his friend Liz. He’s a bit ditzy seeming and yet under that is a very strong and giving man, and an eternal optimist.. I really wanted things to work out for him.

Its a fun read, a little OTT at times it felt to me but overall an entertaining novel considering it only covers a few days.

Stars: Four, a fun read and I’ll never see pizza without thinking of Michael version….

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Homesteading For Beginners, William Walsworth: How to Build a Profitable Homestead Backyard Farm & Make Money from Urban Farming The Easy Way: A Self-Sufficiency Survival … Beginners, Sustainable Lifestyle Book 1)

Homesteading For Beginners, William Walsworth: How to Build a Profitable Homestead Backyard Farm & Make Money from Urban Farming The Easy Way: A Self-Sufficiency Survival … Beginners, Sustainable Lifestyle Book 1)

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Genre:  non fiction

I was brought up in a home where most of our food was home grown; fruit and veg fresh in summer and preserved for winter, and winter veg dug out or picked as needed, the goats supplied milk ( eurghh – you either love or hate goats milk, and I hate it), chickens supplied eggs and meat, rabbits also for meat and market, and all the manure from those plus all plant based waste made up compost. We had home made clothes too, sewn, knitted, crocheted, I so wanted a shop bought dress that wasn’t some bigger child’s cast off. Don’t you just feel for me 😉
Anyway, its left me with an appreciation for home grown produce and its taste and freshness, and over the last few years we’ve grown a lot for the family. Sadly now due to health issues its out mostly, except for the trees where now they’re grown its mostly just picking and eating!

I still love to read books about self sufficiency though. This one is a bit different from others I’ve read, its not a “how to grow/rear “ read where the practicalities are discussed, plans given for making sheds, instructions and timings for sowing seeds and planting out etc,  but a how to manage growing the right things in the space you have, what to grow for best profit, how to find a market for produce. It deals very much with the business side of such an enterprise rather than the practical, hands-in-the-soil approach we usually get. Its more a theory read, a how to book detailing turning your home grown food into a business, how to make money from excess produce, and of course anyone that’s grown food knows its all feast or famine so why not make money from that feast side!
If you want to be more self sufficient you’ll need excess of things you can grow or rear to sell or barter for the things you can’t. There is a section that mentions making soaps etc to sell and I’d advise a word of caution here – I know from friends that do just that you’ll need to go through a hoopla of regulations to get the certificates you need. Its not impossible of course, and all very necessary to avoid selling something that could cause harm, but another thing to factor into your expenses when working them out. The internet opens a huge market for goods and can be run from home between feeding, mucking out and weeding!!

The only thing that’s brought it down for me is that at £3.46 for 84 pages or 571 kindle locations I do think its a bit expensive. Still, its currently on Kindle Unlimited so if you have that its well worth a read.

Stars: Four
ARC supplied by author

You’re Still The One, Sasha Clinton and Brilliant Secrets, Dawna Raver

You’re Still The One,  Sasha Clinton

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Genre:   Romance, New Adult.

This sounded great, and the first ten per cent was perfect for me, just wonderful….I was so looking forward to the rest of the story.

I felt the tension and sensuality between them, Andrew who until now had devoted all his spare time to his fledgling business, was blown away by how he felt over Ashley, and Ashley wasn’t looking for love and yet it whacked them both like a sledgehammer.

And then it all fell apart for me. Ashley became so whiny, so “poor me”, she knew things would be tough, Andrew had offered her a job with him when they first met, but warned it would be 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so why did she think he’d do less? She’s been struggling to find work and ended up at Walgreen, doing double shifts to support them. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t work with Andrew, at least they’d see more of each other….and the inevitable happens and that beautiful love turns into bickering and them barely seeing each other.

Seven years later she’s got a successful career as a book editor and gets handed Andrew’s book to promote. He’s still as attractive as ever, his business has done well, but he’s still a workaholic and yet – they can’t seem to keep way from each other. I guess that’s where it went wrong for me, the rest of the story just feels its all to and fro, will they won’t they, push and pull, and I wanted to shake the pair of them. Ashley still blames him for everything,  but he did tell her right from the first meeting that his business was his primary focus and it would be a few years before he could let up a bit. Yet she resents the time it took him away from her even knowing life was going to be like this. She hated her job when they were together, so why not change it, look for something else, why not work with him? Inside she’s bitter and resentful and yet she doesn’t do anything, except that final blowout, when Andrew got a real shock. Then there’s mention of when she was in hospital a couple of times, and I was back tracking thinking “when did that happen? How did I miss it?” but that doesn’t actually get a proper detail until later…

Even now she’s still resentful of the time he spent at work, and surely by now she should realise why he did it? See that he didn’t hold all the blame? The hospital thing – yes, I could see why she was upset over that, it did seem horribly callous. I’d have felt exactly as she did, and I could see why their love that was so intense derailing so quickly could make her scared of loving again. That must have been awful, scary and of course setting yourself up for that possible pain once more is hard.

Andrew could have asked more questions, looked at whether she was really happy instead of bing so immersed in his new business, but if he thought all was well he wouldn’t would he? Later though when his other issues come up I did feel he was a bit of a coward in not dealing with them, that he’d rather let Ashley go, despite still being intensely in love with her, rather than seek help. His dad was a horrible man, and I really wasn’t convinced by the later behaviour and the reasons we’re given.

Its clear that Sasha can write the kind of deep emotion that I love, that beginning had me hooked like a fish on a reel, but I needed more of that drama and intensity, maybe another plot layering over the will they/won’t they theme of the last half. Still, maybe that’s not the kind of work she wants to write – its her book after all 🙂 I’m just a reader.

Stars: Three and a half, that first part was perfect, but though the rest was good for me it could have been much better.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

 

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Brilliant Secrets   Dawna Raver

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Genre:  Romance, Erotica

 

Well, I had great hopes for this, it sounded a real fun read, a hot and sexy love story with some exciting suspense moments. And it did deliver all that but…didn’t work as well for me like I’d hoped. I’m not really sure why, its got all the things I love but they just didn’t add up to a story I really connected with. Even though this is only a couple of days later I had to actually go back to the book to remind myself which read it was and what it was about. That’s not something that happens for me with great reads, soon as I read synopsis I’m back there with the characters, whereas I recall this as being a fun read, enjoyable for a one off but in the end a forgettable one 😦

So Alek is womanizer, a  real manwhore and well known for it , and he meets Rylan, who’s just a sweet and normal (rich) girl. She’s had her life turned upside down after her mothers death when her father very quickly marries Helena, a real b itch character – and I so love those. She was great, lived up to her rep. Helena though is Alek’s half sister, making him a relative of Rylan…

The  day they’re all meeting up, Alek and his dad, Helena, Rylan and her dad, Alek gets a shock, his dad tells him he’s to marry Helena, he and her grandfather arranged that before the two were born!! He also tells Alek a huge secret that’s taunted before us all the way through, until its finally revealed. Its a huge one and means Rylan is in danger. Alek’s smitten with her from first glance…his rep though, worries Rylan. Still , she’s takes the chance for some out and out torrid sex. Of course it never stops there does it, pesky emotions get in the way.

Rylan also learns that on her 21st birthday, very soon, she takes control of the company that her dad and Helena currently are running. I guess I was a bit gobsmacked there at how a 21 year old with no real experience did so well, I know she’d prepared soon as she knew, and had excellent advisers but its a huge sea change for her. The plot heats up as the dangers start appearing and Alek and Rylan are trying to keep their relationship going but its hard when they’re apart so much.

So there’s plenty of heat here, which fits the story very well, a fun plot and lots of dangers but somehow though it should have made for a great read for me it was one that didn’t crack the magic five star. Still a good read at 3.5 stars, just not one that’s stayed with me and that I’d reread.

Stars:Three and a half, some torrid and heated sex scenes but overall the story didn’t make the Great league for me

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Night Study,  Maria V. Snyder

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Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

I love this series, but the very first book, Poison Study, is still the one I enjoyed most, where Valek and Yelena were together for so much of the time. This book sees that happen quite a lot again, not as much as I’d like of course but…I love too getting the different viewpoints from characters, it gives a much more rounded idea about what is and could be happening.

I love seeing Janco and Ari back as major characters, together with Valek and Yelena they are the major mainstays of the series for me. There’s lots of surprises here, once again poor Yelena is in danger, and they’ve learned some things about the attack on her in the last book that worries them. Waht’s really the motive and why? Yelena is very vulnerable with the loss of her magic and thus an easy target.
There’s a real danger of conflict between the two countries,its getting tough for them to know what is really behind recent events. The Commander doesn’t seem to be telling Valek everything and discussing it as he would have done not so long ago, and Valek feels his loyalty to Yelena is overriding that of his to the Commander especially given the current circumstances. It seems that the Commander isn’t going to tell him why he didn’t reveal what was going on in the last book, that led to so much danger for them. He’s changed so much from the very straight forward magic hating but very ethical person he was, and his aims seem to be taking a sinister twist. Valek is worried, is the Commander going to turn on him and Yelena? It certainly looks that way, as if he no longer trusts Valek and it puts them in grave danger, but why? What’s behind it? Is he in his own mind or has someone got at him? All’s not well back in Sitia either, with things going on there that mean Yelena doesn’t know who to trust anymore. War between the two sides is looking more and more likely with devastating consequences for them all.
Its another packed instalment with some huge surprises in store, especially to me over the issue of the Commander. I just can’t feel that what looks like his aim is really what he wants, and his words to Valek? Wow – that’s a shock!! Valek has a few big surprises to come in this book too, real life changing ones..
I am beginning to get a little tired of the issues of Null Shields, Theobroma and Curare though. It seems that they are becoming the catch all solution for both sides, and it means its very difficult to see what can happen when one of these “new” solutions keeps popping up. In some ways it evens the playing field, but I’m just not convinced when they seem to be the answers to every problem. I was happier when I knew it was down to the talents and skills ( good or bad) of certain individuals, whether magical or just well trained. Still, I do really want the next book now 😉
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Stars: Four, another great read and I need some answers….

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Black Widow, Lauren Runow. Samantha Watkins, Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life, Aurélie Venem

Black Widow,  Lauren Runow

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Genre:  Romance, Erotica

 

This sounded fun – and it was but…though the sex scenes were hot and sensual, they didn’t really feel meaningful to me. I had trouble engaging with Preston and Kamii. I just didn’t feel that with all his guilt over his wife’s death Preston would have opened Bridge. It didn’t really make sense to me and I felt that maybe that’s because I didn’t really feel I knew him.

 

I need to understand main characters, to feel for them, happy, sad, scared, excited…and with both Preston and Kamii I didn’t get that feeling. Oddly Becca was the one I could relate to best, she was fun, open and so OTT friendly, unashamed of her wants, and I just felt I could know her, could mentally picture her.

Kamii also feels guilty over the death of her husband, and given she was so new, total novice to the Club scene and anything but very basic vanilla sex, I found it difficult to believe she’d just throw herself in as she did, join in with group sex scenes. I’m not saying she shouldn’t – just that the person I’d got a sense of wouldn’t. I’m glad there was mention of testing for STDs and condom use at all times, as too often all that gets ignored. I was a bit concerned at one point where read as though someone kept on the same condom between one person and the next….and the lack of any kind of monitors, usually along with the safe words and rules they’re mentioned but didn’t see anything.

Kamii’s got a very staid profession too, partner in a Law company, and she’d need to be incredibly cautious about what she did. Like many traditional professions, especially male dominated ones, The legal one has that “don’t get caught” mentality, and when someone does its like politics, they get thrown under a bus, run  down vociferously and lose everything.

 

Once the action started, the mystery of the murder, then things perked up for me and it got more interesting. I guess its that story backing up the sex thing I have, and up to then for me the sex was dominating everything and directing the story. Loads of readers love that – and I’m happy for them, but its not for me. Anyway my first guess was off…way off, and at the end I could see how cleverly I’d been led down that path! After that though there was only one person it could be and hurrah – for a change I got it right.

So, its a slow start but overall a fun read, though not one I’d reread. If you just want some hot and steamy sex this is perfect, if like me you need a bit stronger story and characters then maybe you’ll feel as I do.

Stars: Four, some torrid and heated sex scenes but a little thin on the story for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

 

Samantha Watkins, Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life,  Aurélie Venem

 

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Genre: Sci-fi & fantasy

I really wasn’t sure about this book, it sounded one I’d like, but a new to me author and one where I couldn’t find much info about the story. Goodreads – my usual source had only a couple of English reviews and a few foreign ones ( Google translate gave me a rough, very rough idea of what they were) and I decided as its a lovely long read, and there are so few of them that I’d give it a whirl…

I’m so glad I did, the length allowed me to really get to know Samantha and Phoenix before plunging into the drama. I really enjoyed the way she transformed and grew in confidence with Phoenix’ help, and I loved his arrogant and sometimes cold conversations. It becomes clear as we go on that not only Sam is changing, that Phoenix is opening out, and when his long time friends visit that’s even more obvious. Of course over time Sam has fallen for him, though she’s never had a relationship and kids herself this is nothing more than friendship. I felt Phoenix too was attracted, but they both steer firmly away from any recognition of it.

There’s the big event, the main plot, where Phoenix, as the first line of local Vampire Law policing, gets given the task of finding out who is behind the recent kidnappings of so many locals. The main task of those who uphold Vampire Law is to protect them from being outed, to keep the Secret of vampires from humans. Punishment is execution, of both the vampires and those they’ve told, though as with Sam there are a few exceptions. Phoenix and the two vampires above him who run this area risk execution if they can’t track down the perpetrators soon. Where the first half seems to be letting us get to know the world of the vampires and how they work, and see Sam fitting in, and letting us get to know the main characters, the second half steps up the pace, with fights and dangers happening constantly. In the pursuit of the truth poor Sam comes very close to being killed, and Phoenix seems to have more than a little care about this, though he passes it off casually as friendship even though his stance on humans as inferior is well known. He’s been a loner for centuries with only a couple of vampire friends he sees every few decades so his regarding Sam that way is a huge step.

Its a great read, one I really enjoyed though was cautious of, not least as I’ve struggled to connect with a couple of past translated novels. This though is perfect, one or two odd phrases, but no more, and the translator did a fantastic job. If I hadn’t read that it was originally written in another language I’d have no idea. Its written better than many English originals…. I’d be moaning here about that cliff-hanger, what a shock, from not just one point but two huge incidents. I never expected those! Thankfully though the author has given us the start of book two that at least gives us an idea of how things work out 🙂 I really wish book two ( and three and four) were out now.

Its a different pace to so many current Paranormal/fantasy reads and that worked really well for me. Some of them are beginning to feel almost formulaic so its been a treat to read something that’s formatted so differently, that gives us the time to really get to know the characters and the plots. Sometimes at the end of a novel I’m still a bit unsure of who and why and what, especially when so many re less that 250 pages, but this is over 400 and that extra length is well worth it and a treat for quick readers like me, allowing us to spend hours engrossed in the world created.

Stars: Five, a book that really lets the reader get to know the story in depth

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Love Me Tenor, Annabeth Albert. Mayon, Mickie B. Ashling

Love Me Tenor,  Annabeth Albert

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Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

Well, I struggled with this. I really liked the sound of the plot, I knew the characters were youngish, as Trevor has just graduated ( he’s 22 BTW) but they all acted like they were young teens, and Carter and Carson seemed very stereotyped OTT gays.

I got to half way and then skim read. Carter and Carson were so irritating in their actions and speech, and Trevor and Jalen just didn’t feel right together. Its a shame because I really liked the storyline, but though how it played out worked well it was the characters that just didn’t feel genuine to me.

There were elements I liked, the storyline with Trevor’s parents and then what happened to him was something that happens too often and yet though we heard about them we didn’t really see or get to know that much about his family. Once the story went a certain way I expected them to have a bigger input given who they were and how they felt and the publicity the show would generate, but apart from a minor part with his brother it didn’t happen. His illness brought in something very prevalent today and I liked when he wanted to be treated the same as the others, not made into the poster boy for it. No-one likes to be different and poor Trevor had enough issues without putting him in the public eye for yet more.

Jalen and his family – they felt a little too “happy families”. I don’t know – maybe its me being bah humbug, but I felt this was a novel that had a little bit of everything packed in, and it would have worked better for me with less and more concentration on just a couple of issues. There was of course the church v homosexuality issue, the mixed race issue, the adoptive parents/children issue, even nepotism in that Jalen sister has a  major role into the show. Then of course the teen sweethearts in Carter and Carson….it just felt a bit busy, and throw in that the characters were IMO acting like teens it just didn’t work for me. Still, horses for courses, it’ll be perfect for others and maybe what I don’t like will be exactly what you’re looking for.

Stars: two and a half. there were some parts that worked for me but overall it wasn’t one I enjoyed.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Mayon,  Mickie B. Ashling

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Genre:  History

I was really looking forward to this read, with it being set back in the 1940’s where attitudes to Homosexuality were still very strong. I love books from a different time period, and those that involve other cultures.

I didn’t really feel though that I got a proper sense of the country and its inhabitants, of the sisters, of John and Greg, and as it covers just a few weeks I was surprised at how John went from treating Greg as a quick fling to wanting to give up everything for him. It really was a complete swing in attitude and  I just can’t pinpoint where or why his attitude changed. I found him quite a selfish man, though I did understand his need for secrecy given the time period and what he’d seen happen to others. Greg was such a sweet guy, but threw his heart into John right from the start, but john never really seemed to consider Greg’s future, his feelings, the fact he was so open about wanting a life with John, yet he had other plans. Greg’s lived a pretty sheltered life, seems to just have his mum and the Saenz family, no other friends, and meeting john has thrown everything he knows upside down.

It was a kind of insta love on Greg’s side but I just felt John was hedging his bets, while still telling Greg he cared…The girls were a mix, from Ditzy Daisy to would be nun Prudence. We see lots of the countryside as Greg and  John go round visiting the estate, while he makes up his mind what to do, whether to take the job and with it the implied conditions of marrying one of the daughters but I didn’t feel “there” the way I usually do with this sort of novel. I just felt like an onlooker, and in the same way I felt detached from John and Greg and their problems.

I did like the way the story wrapped up – cleverly done and I didn’t expect that 🙂 but overall it was a book I’m pleased I read, it had parts that I enjoyed but its not one I’d reread.

Stars: Three, an interesting read but a one off. .

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

Play to Win, Tiffany Snow

Play to Win,  Tiffany Snow

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Genre:  Romance, Romantic Suspense,

Well, the last book ended on a real cliff-hanger – and I hate those. Sage thought Parker was dead….it certainly seemed as if he’d been killed, but we knew there was book three to come so Tiffany would find him some way out of his predicament 😉 Now book three is here, and for me its another cracking read.

Parker, Ryker, Ryker, Parker – Sage just can’t choose and can’t have them both ( *shame* Two hot men…buuut its not that sort of book). For now though they seem to have called a truce, for tonight at least. So much has gone on that Sage needs them both right now. Tomorrow will be soon enough to pick up the animosity. Sage makes a choice that astonishes them though, she chooses neither of them, they were torn apart by a woman before, Natalie was the one to ruin their years of brother like friendship. Sage won’t do that again, so leaves them both.

She’s broken hearted, has quit her job with Parker and turns to her parents. Dad is happy, he wants her to work for their family business, and she soon starts there. There’s drama though from the off when there’s a drive by shooting and her dad is badly injured. Parker was out with them, he’s responsible for their business finances put through his firm, and they’d had a dinner business meeting. Ryker as a cop gets pulled in and they feel Sage could be at risk too. All drama and danger once more, and Sage’s attempts to stay away from them gets blown out of the water. Then someone unexpected turns up and throws them all into more confusion. I didn’t not like this woman, was so suspicious of her like Sage, and yet Ryker and Parker seemed taken in by her charm, her damsel in distress situation. That’s the kind of men they are though, gallant, gentlemanly, and like many men, taken in by some timely tears and distressing tale.

The story cracks on quickly, getting more and more involved and after a while the predicament Sage and her father are in, where someone seems to be looking for revenge and to close their business, seems tied to the past. It seems too that this new lady’s situation is strange, doesn’t seem to add up, and Sage can’t resist doing her own bit of snooping into her and what’s happening with her dad’s business, to the point of being foolhardy at times. I wouldn’t be able to just sit back and let things happen either, take her story at face value the way Ryker and Parker seem to, to leave it to the men to take all the risk, when its her friends being taken in, and her family, her firm that’s at risk of going under. There’s still the conundrum at first of them both wanting Sage, and being aggressive with each other but slowly we see things working out, with one of them being a definite choice although Sage still isn’t sure if his feelings are really genuine.

Then just when I think its all over, all settled, we find it’s not and there’s another whacking dose of drama and danger to Sage. This time she doesn’t escape so well, but what comes out does a total wrap up, closing all the lose ends. I enjoyed that extra part, felt like a bonus and certainly had me fooled. ( not that that’s hard!!) There was a section from about 60 – 80% when I thought Why? Would he/she really? Without questioning anything? Why is she still? And lots of similar questions I can’t write as it would give away too much, but I was so puzzled at why things had been left a certain way, and like Sage I just couldn’t understand what was happening or trust it would work out. All gets explained in the final moments though and then I could see exactly why the story was laid out that way.

When I started this I was a bit worried as its another romantic suspense, one woman, two guys, and sounded very similar to the Kathleen Turner series. Recently I’ve got a bit tired of this with other romantic series/trilogies where its been just like reading the authors earlier books, same character types but different names, same basic plots, just places and small business changes, even the same sorts of dangers…Its not at all the same here though, both series feature the two guys/one woman conundrum,  and action, drama and danger wrapped around big business and the shady side of life but they are very different. Tiffany makes both series work well and feel very individual. I enjoyed the KT series in a back to back reading fest recently, and when there’s time I’d like to do the same with these three books.

Stars: the magic five for me, a terrific read and one to keep.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes
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Shift Work ,(Carus Series 4), J.C. McKenzie 

 

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Genre:  , Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance.

I love this series, and have been lucky enough to read these last three books fairly close together so the story really flows for me.

Andy is still trying to find out more about her Carus heritage. Feradea told her a little more in the last book, but as is always the way with people like that its never clear and unambiguous, but cloaked into smoke and mirrors…She’s still reeling from what she had to do at the end of the last book when she gets another major shock, someone huge in the supernatural world has been killed, and as ever when things change it’s a time when everyone is anxious as to what might happen. Its got huge repercussions for so many people.

Then there’s the new street drug which is killing people fast but in a weird way, and the police need her help to find out who’s behind it and close it down. She needs the money so agrees to work with them, but it doesn’t mean everyone in the force is happy about her assimilation, even as a subcontractor.

There’s a very messy murder too of someone very close to one of her friends, and she wants to find out who’s behind that. As ever investigating brings her into some very real danger, and though she has Feras to help her, her healing speed is far slower than when she was bound to Lucien. She needed to break his control over her but it did allow her the benefits of quick healing. She’s back to the point when things take days to heal not just hours, and with the way her life is it means she needs to take care over her actions.

We don’t see Ben and the witches in this book, but its still another action packed adventure with the usual gruesome murders and danger to Andy from mulitple sources. Sid the demon is still using Andy, and it always seems to me he’s got some long term motives. He’s a strange and dangerous demon, but he has been useful in the past, though Andy has got more involved than she would like with him. Needs must though, and she’s never one to shirk from unpleasantness and danger when the life of someone close to her is at stake.

There’s a new Fera trying to attract her attention too, she’s benefitted from Red and Baloo, but can she cope with more? When the previous Carus’ all seem to go mad from it, is it worth the benefit of having yet more, and what kind of Fera is it?

There’s still the Wick/Tristan conundrum. She made her choice in the last book ( and I wasn’t happy about that but haven’t given up hope!! though I do like them both…choices, choices), but it wasn’t a simple choice and she can’t just switch off feelings and emotions easily. I can’t help wondering if there’s still much more to come from these two that will affect her.  Tristan has some revelations to tell her, and she needs to work out how to deal with them, if she can forgive them. Murder, mayhem, magic and hard choices to make. Business as usual for Andy really then 😉

Its a terrific series and if you like supernatural reads, with a side of romance, the sort with solid and intese plots, gripping and very real dangers, hard choices, supernatural people some of whom can be selfish, cruel and bloodthirsty, rather than the fluffy, cute, supernatural-lite type of read then this is one you really should try. You’ll be hooked 😉

Stars: Five, and as always I need the next book now….

 

ARC supplied by author

The Geary Brothers Book 1,  Grace Harper and How the Cookie Crumbles, A Bluewater Bay Novel, Jaime Samms.

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Genre:  Romance, erotica

 

I’ve mixed feelings over this, as an erotic novel it’s great, lots of hot and steamy scenes but as a romance…well, I felt that part of the story got overtaken by the sex. That’s fine for many readers but I need a solid story backing up the sex and didn’t feel I had it here.

 

I liked both Jack and Olivia as characters, but didn’t really feel their online connections would have been strong enough to make her meet and agree to all the things she did. After all he is a total stranger, we all know online people can be and are anyone, truth can be found online but so can far too many lies.

 

The attraction when they met was terrific and I could feel that, but maybe its just me I couldn’t watch a man I was attracted to be with other lovers and not feel a twinge of jealousy. I’d got the idea that Olivia was going to be a participant, but (at least to begin) she’s more of a voyeur. I was puzzled too – she was happy to watch two women and be aroused (Jack was also taking part) but the next night surprised at how watching two men aroused her, and comments that she didn’t think seeing two gay men having sex would be so sensual. What’s the difference to the two ladies?

 

I was puzzled by the married aspect, and didn’t see what was coming there – I was totally up the wrong track 😉 but I like being surprised. Its good as an erotic novel, but like I said the story aspect fell down for me. That’s personal though as always, and this will be perfect for others. We all want different things. Its first in a series so if you like this there’s more to look out for, but for me I’ll pass.

Stars: Three and a half

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

How the Cookie Crumbles, A Bluewater Bay Novel,  Jaime Samms.

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Genre: LGBTQIA,  Romance

More Bluewater…I love this series, with books written by different authors. I love the way people from earlier books crop up in cameo roles, it gives the series a real feeling of continuity. Jaime has written lots of novels, but this one is a first for me, it won’t be the last though, really enjoyed it.

Its fun how each writer has their own stamp, and yet the series still falls together so well with each new book. I have read most of them now and look forward to more…This time we meet baker Freddie, and Blaire, son of the TV network head.The network had run a reality style cooking competition, and Freddie and Blaire fell in and out of a potential relationship there, with Blaire rigging the competition to let his new lover, Jerry,  win. Jerry is a real Bitch Queen, vicious, user of people  type person and I enjoyed his appearances here, its good to have someone like him in a story.

Freddie used the hush money to buy his bakery, and should have been set for a profitable future, but things in his life interfere and he’s constantly running himself ragged trying to keep afloat. I loved Freddie, so loyal, adored his gran, tried to do his best for his dad even though the guy’s never been a good dad, far from it in fact, and Freddie is still affected by his upbringing. He fits in so well with the locals and the film people, he’s just such a sweetheart you can’t help loving him. He’s so stressed though, so on edge, overworking, not eating, not sleeping enough that he’s in danger of collapse. He’s so independent though he won’t accept help, and to top it all off Blaire is back. That’s all he needs, he’s still heartbroken at the way they ended. He’s rigidly  cold to Blaire, polite – just, but makes it clear he isn’t welcome.

Blaire, well I didn’t like him at first, he seemed a typical money-will-buy-me-everything guy, and I couldn’t get over how he’d hurt Freddie. Blaire knows he c ocked up though, knows Freddie was the best thing in his life for a long while, and wants to try again. He’s got a tough road to tread though, he knows that, but he’s determined, and as things continued I began to see that he’d not intended to hurt Freddie, more a case of getting one over on his bigoted, controlling father and not thinking about the effect on Freddie. His dad is a horrible, very manipulative man, and I guess some of his lack of consideration rubbed off onto Blaire and that’s why he just didn’t think about the hurt he’d cause Freddie in what he did.

Slowly he works his way into Freddie’s life again . Its two steps forward and one back. He just can’t help his natural way of using money to solve things and Freddie won’t accept that. They have several struggles over things. Blaire only intends help and Freddie sees interference, Freddie just wants to make his shop work and Blaire sees him being a control freak and making himself ill. Its a fun read, very intuitive of human nature. There’s others in the book too, Alicia, camera woman ( I think) who’s a great friend to Freddie, Derek and Gin from the Burnt toast B&B ( great to read more of them), Lee and Vincent who work for Blaire’s father and are his assistants, and many regulars in the bakery customers.

I loved the tenderness here, the way Blaire really had learned his lesson in treating people baldly, he works really hard to put things in place so that he can try to make amends to Freddie and also to help the town. He likes the people, the way they see him, speak to him and wants to be a part of it. He’s finally grown up, finally learned that his dad is never going to let up on the control, and that its time to let go, to start looking at his own life and the effect he has on others.

I really enjoyed this story, the way it wasn’t the usual format with a build up to a huge drama towards the end, but full of minor ones along the way. I enjoyed the way Blaire stuck at it, didn’t let Freddie rebuff him, kept his resolve, and finally saw what was important in his life. I loved the Freddie, Blaire, and Blaire’s dad showdown. Croutons at dawn, well – at suppertime anyway!

 

Stars: Five, another great Bluewater instalment

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Road Leads Back, Stonehill Romance Book One, Marci Boudreaux

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Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Well, there’s a slew of five star reviews for this story so I really expected to enjoy it, and I did but….in a kind of underwhelmed way. It’s one of those that seemed perfect for me, but in practice just didn’t really work. Its a good book, a great book for many, many readers, just not a great one for me.

Kara, oh how I felt for her, pregnant, abandoned by her own parents, and cruelly deceived by Harry’s parents. They gave her some money, sent her away to a mum and baby unit on the other side of the country, promising to pass on letters to Harry and that soon as he’d graduated he’d send for her, but in reality told him nothing. She’s struggled, living by bartering her art, clothes making, gardening, anything to keep them fed, clothed and a roof over their head. Its 27 years on now and baby Phil is grown and a dad himself.

I was pregnant at 17 – mum’s reaction “Oh no! What will the neighbours think!!” and rush upstairs to bed. The following days were constant guilt trips and trying to persuade me to get rid of or hide the baby somehow. So I understand a little of how Kara felt, but my boyfriend was with me all the way, and we’ve now been married 40 years.   Poor Kara though – what happened to her happens even now, and it scarred her in ways she doesn’t even see. I really liked her strength and determination but Phil’s grown now, Harry knew nothing and yet she still holds very tightly to a grudge. She can’t get past being abandoned, and the years have simply strengthened that. There were times when she annoyed me the way she was to Phil and Harry. Then Phil, he too holds a grudge, he hated the communes, always moving, living in other people’s homes. He wanted his own room in his own house, and to have a stable home and even now that he relies on Kara to help him with his daughter Jessie he still never seems to miss an opportunity to push her about his upbringing. When she’s going through Harry’s cupboards, junking his food and giving lectures about what he should or shouldn’t be buying and eating, she was just short of being a bully in a way. I am careful over what we eat, try to go for unprocessed food, animal welfare meat and eggs and yet her stance bordered on dictatorial. It reminded me of a day out at a local animal sanctuary where every pen seemed to have a “meat is murder” sticker, or posters of horrific images of how some animals in the food industry are treated. When we ate out picnic ham ( British!)sandwiches I felt a little frisson of satisfaction, even though I agreed with many of the messages. No one wants it rammed down their throats. The coffee, hot chocolate and Ice-cream were all awful, even the kids wouldn’t eat it. I’ve had good milk substitutes but that was just foul. Cheap and nasty stuff. If you want to persuade people harassing them, and then charging a fortune for sub standard produce isn’t the way to go. Kara’s stance just brought back those memories. She’s just plain rude about what is essentially another persons choice, trying to force her choice on them. She doesn’t want it done to her, why can’t she give some respect to their feelings too?

Harry, he’s perfect. Though he was a jerk to leave Kara they way he did, and I never really understood why he went from two years of plucking up courage to approach her for a date, to that one night and then leaving. Maybe it was covered in the story but I couldn’t work it out and it was a big missing link for me. Why didn’t he try to track her down later, just to see where she is, given he was so entranced by her, and is still in love with her? That bit just didn’t add up for me.

There’s lots of going back and analysing the past, looking at it from different perspectives, and Harry is a wonderful voice of reason between Kara and Phil. I adored him. I got a little tired of Kara and Phil constantly hashing out the past, it can’t be changed so I didn’t see why they kept on, and on , and on…Jessie was an adorable child, so open and friendly, and I wanted to wrap her up. Sadly she’s going to learn far too soon how cruel people can be to anyone not the “norm”. Everyone loves babies with issues, move on ten years and they’re not so keen, when they grow into adults there’s far too many people who’d like to see them kept out of sight 😦

So overall a read that touches so many issues, a look back at the past and learning how to accept it, to live with it, to see how it wasn’t all good or bad, and to learning how to move forward. I adored Harry and Jessie, got annoyed too often at Phil in the beginning but by the end I admired him, but Kara, while I felt for her I was also angry at her many, many times. The parents? Less said the better IMO. Parents are there to support kids in an ideal world, sadly there’s far too many that don’t.

Stars: Three. A good book, but for me not a great one.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review

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