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

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on amazon.co.uk for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

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