Archive | February 21, 2016

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

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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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