Archive | September 2016

Echoes of Angels, Keepers of Eternity Book 1, Devyn Quinn

Echoes of Angels, Keepers of Eternity Book 1,  Devyn Quinn

Echoes of Angels (Keepers of Eternity Book 1) by [Quinn, Devyn]

Genre:  Romance, sci-fi and fantasy.

I thought this sounded intriguing, something a bit different and having read the sample on amazon I was keen to read the book. Sadly though for me it just didn’t really make it. I wouldn’t class it as a romance, there’s some sex but that’s it, no real connection between Morgan and Julienne it.

Julienne seemed to gain her confidence very quickly for someone who’d returned home from such a dreadful situation, and I really thought that she was rude to Morgan. Yes he’s pretty obnoxious, but it would have been easier to be polite to her grandmother and just avoid him.
The scene where she was frankly just a voyeur seemed to have been added for titillation and didn’t add to the story.
In fact the whole story for me didn’t really go anywhere. Morgan’s non human status was dangled in front of the reader continuously, but we never get to know exactly what he is, and what’s really going on. He was frankly a horrible man, and I couldn’t believe Julienne’s actions when she knew how he was, saw first hand what he was like to Ashleigh….I was so disappointed in his character, he sounded so enigmatic and promising to begin. I didn’t feel any real heat or connection between him and Julienne, and really missed that.

I just felt from a promising start it seemed to go no-where which was a shame because that start was so intriguing, held so much promise. Its that potential that has me rating this a two and a half and not a two.
I did read right through to see if somewhere I would get sucked in to the story, but it was hard work.  I was really hoping these potential plot lines would develop but …nothing that really resonated with me, nothing seemed to actually happen and nothing that made sense, made me feel I must read book two.
There’s a kind of cliff-hanger at the end, something happens but I can’t believe its going to be left as it seems.
Still, looking at reviews it perfect as it is for many readers so its another example of that “not all books suit all readers” and what didn’t work for me could be the hook that you need to enjoy this.

Stars: two and a half, lots of potential but didn’t reach it for me. .

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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Total Trainwreck, Evie Claire

Total Trainwreck,  Evie Claire

Total Trainwreck (Hollywood Hot Mess) by [Claire, Evie]

Genre:  Romance,

I’m a real sucker for the film/rock star romance trope so when I saw total train wreck I clicked request, got it, opened it and started, and was totally lost. Then, and only then, I realised it was book two and I needed to request book one, which somehow I’d missed. Jeannie Fail yet again 😉

Anyway, there’s so many in this trope that its hard to pick a winner, there’s an awful lot of ( in my opinion) dross among them so I tend to be a bit cautious usually. In the start of book one I was convinced this would be a fail for me, as I really didn’t like Carly,and wasn’t very keen on Devon, but I quickly became hooked on the story.

By the end of book one I had a better grip of them both, but was still cross at them so many times, Carly for being so changeable, she’d be hot then cold, sober then at the end of book one she crashes big time. TBH I wasn’t quite convinced after all they’d been through that she’d react quite like that, but it was a disaster setting right from the off, and I just knew something bad was going to happen. Devon was being very have-his-cake-and-eat-it in what he wanted andit was clear it just wasn’t going to work. I did love their chaotic, roller coaster romance, even if I was so frustrated, so angry at them sometimes.

Like so many Celebrities the life they really lead is far from the one publicised, and poor Carly, we learned so much about her awful childhood and yet there’s still more coming out, and I so felt for the child she was when it all happened, a kid with fame but no family so to speak, no one to care about her and what she wanted. She was just a money tree to her parents, to the studio, no one seemed to think about the child and that damaged her. Then this other awful thing happened and she seems to have closed herself off, coped with drink and drugs and shut down all emotions and kindness.
It comes through a couple of times, when she helps her old co-star Maria, when she talks to and is with her friend Spence.
I’m not really sure how he fits in but could see a book between him and Maria in the future. Hopefully 😉
Devon wants Carly but wanted/needed to stay in the HeaVon mould too, at least that’s what he thinks. Carly just can’t understand why, nor can I, but in this book we get the answer.
She tells Devon things about herself too and they grow even closer, but can they

free of all ties, get past old memories and make a future together?  That can’t  happen quickly though, we start this book right where book one left off, where they’ve fallen apart and yet still have two films to make together.

Heather,  as half of HeaVon, is determined to keep it that way, and she’s  terrific, a really grasping, greedy woman who wants the fame and money that being the other half of HeaVon brings and she’s not giving in. She has cards in her hand that could bring everything toppling down and its up to Carly and Devon to find a way round her huge block.
Its something I didn’t expect, didn’t see coming and worked well. I did feel though, after all the build up that this part kind of fizzled to an end when it deserved a huge bonfire earsplitting bang.

Like book one its an intense  read, a great debut and full of intense plots and dramatic characters.  I surprised myself in how much I liked these books, when to begin I really couldn’t feel for, empathise with the two main leads. For me that’s usually essential, but as we learned more about them, about their problems and see them making attempts to change I began to like them – a little, didn’t love them – but that’s enough.

Neither book was a cantputdown read for me, but they could have been that way with a few changes. don’t ask me what, I’m a reader not an author, I just felt there were areas that felt a bit lacking and undeveloped, and others that could have been cropped, plus of course I really wanted to love Carly and Devon, but never got beyond liking them, Carly more so than Devon. Of course for many readers they’ll be perfect just as they are – thats how it goes * shrug *

I’m unlikely to re read these two books, but the potential is there for stories to come that I may, as Evie’s writing style develops.  Overall it was a great duo, a wonderful debut story  and with the way she can spin drama Evie is an author I’ll be looking out for.

Stars: Five, a terrific read, full of drama and emotion, but probably a one off for me
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

City of Sin, Ivy Smoak

City of Sin,  Ivy Smoak

City of Sin by [Smoak, Ivy]

Genre:  Romance, New Adult

** this book is currently free on kindle so give it a try, if its your kind of read **

I hadn’t read the Hunted series – its now on my TBR list…esp as the first three are on KU, and hopefully number four will be when its released next month. If you’ve read them you’ll know Bee and Mason from there, but if like me you’ve not read them it doesn’t matter, this is a complete stand alone novel.

I loved Bee, life had knocked her hard – well, that da mn ex did anyway, but instead of retreating with her head hung low and going back home to her mum she sticks it out, pushes for the job she wants and tries to pick up her life. She’s still gutted though, she only moved her as Patrick did, and she’s finding life without him, her high school friend and lover and the man she was going to marry.
Her friend arranges a blind date and “persuades” her with some tough talking to meet Mason.
Mason isn’t relationship materials, he’s a consummate playboy and is only meeting Bee as he’s been promised tickets to a coveted sporting event. He’s thinking, check her over, if she’s ok then he’ll do his usual charm and have a night of fun and if she’s not, well a meal and leave…He seems a really shallow person and yet he’s got some good friends so clearly he’s not all bad.

The evening starts off badly when he nicks Bee’s taxi, not knowing who she is, then meets her at the restaurant and she rages at him. He persuades her to stay, they chat and…she finds out he has a connection to Patrick, the ex, he’s the man who introduced him to the world that took him away from Bee. Rightly or not she holds him partly responsibly, rages a bit and him and decamps.
Mason is astonished, that doesn’t happen to him, he’s the one who leaves…and yet he’s piqued too – who Is this girl, why is he so attracted to her? He can’t seem to leave her alone and aided by his friends persuades her to give him another try.
Bee knows he’s a playboy, but maybe after only ever being with Patrick, someone like Mason is what she needs to regain her confidence. He’s not going to be judging her performance the was Patrick did, he’s only out for a night of fun and maybe she should just go with it…

Somehow things happen that mean they don’t get to sex right away but they do have some incredibly erotic sand sensual encounters and Mason gets more and more obsessed with her with each one. She knows he doesn’t date, he knows she’s taking him out of his comfort zone but they can’t seem to stop. Their relationship – though they don’t yet give it a name – races forward til Bee is practically living with Mason she’s there most nights.
There’s work issues for them both, that slowly get entangled and threaten their fledgling situation, and when it erupts the sh it hits the fan in a big way.

Its a fun read, very steamy and sensual but in a well written way not the repetitive, boring scenes we get too often.
I enjoyed the dual POV where I could see what the actions looked like from one side and then see into the reasoning that was behind them – and of course what’s intended and what actually happens isn’t always the same result!

I really enjoyed this, and my appetite is whetted for the four book Penny and James story – I know now I enjoy Ivy’s writing style and their story, with what looks like a “good” jealous ex thrown in is right up my street!

Both City of sin, and Temptation – the first of Penny and James story – are currently free on kindle so well worth trying!

Stars: four and a half, a real fun read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Recipe for Love, Katie Fforde

Recipe for Love,  Katie Fforde

Recipe for Love by [Fforde, Katie]
Genre: Romance, women’s fiction
I discovered the wonderful world of Katie’s stories years ago, in the pre kindle days…they’re perfect reads for when I just want an easy and light escape from reality with a perfect HEA. You’d think that writing a certain style like this would mean the stories would get “samey” after a while, but each one I’ve read of Katie’s has been fresh and original.

So, this time we’re in the world of “reality” TV. Something I’d never watch – in fact I don’t watch TV at all now, haven’t for maybe 5-6 years, give me a book any day, Never the less I love reading about this type of event, whether its cook offs, DIY disasters or some kind of survivor type games…makes for awful TV IMO but fabulous stories!

Zoe wants to open her dream shop, a very individual deli, with good, properly sourced foods and a range of ready to prepare and ready meals made from those same ingredients.
Money though – that’s always a bar and she’s tried for this TV show with its financial prize that would make her dream come true. She’s astonished to get through, but decides to do her best and hopefully enjoy the experience.

Being the ever helpful person she is she helps a surly driver while she’s waiting to be let in to the place the contest is being held. This guy has got himself stuck in a ditch and it takes plenty of mud and sweat before they get his car out. He goes off and …later when everyone is there she learns he’s one of the judges.
Somehow they keep getting thrown in each others orbit and of course romance blooms. they have to be circumspect though, and he tells her outright it means he needs to be even harder on her than on the others.
Zoe’s also made friends with the owners of the ramshackle but gorgeous place they are staying. Fen and Rupert are doing it up with a view to opening as a B&B, and events venue. Somehow Zoe is always in the right place to help when disaster strikes, some would walk away but she’s a “helper” by nature ( I know that type – that’s me, can’t walk away when I can do something to help) and soon gets to be good friends with Rupert and a very pregnant Fen.

The other contestants are a fun mix, but poor Zoe gets lumbered with the beautiful, arrogant and shallow Cher as a house mate. Cher is determined that first place is to be hers, not because she wants the money, she doesn’t need it, but winning the show will be her stepping stone to fame she’s decided. She’s not above some dirty tricks to win, and sees her main completion and person she can disadvantage easiest is Zoe.
There really are people like that, horrible though it is, and I love them in a story! The other contestants are a fun mix, and each have their own quirks and personalities that crop up in the story.

I loved the descriptions of the food – not so much the foraging stuff…. but the rest, the cheeses, the home made pancetta, preserved fruits etc and of course what they made from those ingredients, that croquembouche(sp??) was so mouth-watering! I’d love to try making one of them – I’d be eting it all week though 🙂
The towering – literally – masterpiece was the cupcake wedding cake, when a wedding was taking place at the venue and the cake maker let the planner and bride down.
Once more Zoë stepped into the breach, in between trying to cook her own competition canapés. That cake sounded amazing!

In between helping Fen and Rupert, trying to get past Cher’s tricks, and keep her place in the competition the fledgling attraction and romance between her and Gideon paced forward swiftly. What was it though? A quick fling ? Or could there be more? Questions Zoe asks herself, would a man like Gideon really want more or should she just appreciate the moment and enjoy what they have now and not worry about where it may go.

Of course nothing goes as planned, and its such a fun read with drama, disasters, devious tricks and distractions that it makes for a great escape from reality for a few hours.
Its a fun light flirty type read rather than deep drama and introspections, and I really enjoyed reading about the characters and the quest for the winner.
Its a book I would read again when I’m in the mood for an easy escape, a read to relax with and let my brain shut off. there are times when we all need that and a good book is my way of doing it.

Stars: Five, a perfect escapist read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Wicked Bond, Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Bond,  Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Bond: The Wicked Horse Series by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Well, when I was a kid I got the habit of always saving the best bit of food til last, something I still do… the almond centre of an almond croissant, the gooey, chocolate coating of a cake, a soft and crispy bit of a roast potato, a prawn and some sauce in a fish pie…you get the idea.
That’s how this book feels, its part of the series but the best, and its been saved til last.

Like so many other readers Bridger ( and I always want to write Bridgr here, seems to fit with Tindr and Grindr 😉 )  is a mystery we’re dying to unravel. He’s so all knowing, so capable, the one everyone defers to and expects to sort out any and everything, and yet we know so little of him, except for that blackbirds tattoo. I’d love to see that, and I want to know exactly what’s behind it. Well, finally we’re getting some answers about him, and his story.
Its the usual sexy read, hot and raunchy yet tempered with sensuality, full of men who are Men and yet aren’t afraid to be with and talk to anyone who’s a bit unconventional sexually. That’s what The Silo is about, letting go of inhibitions, doing what you want and being accepted for it. So long as everyone consents andything goes, within legalities anyway.
Its a great idea, and it always puzzles me why places like this are so hidden, forced into being a kind of secret underground. Still, that’s the way it is, and for The Silo it means there’s always lots of people willing to pay the very steep membership fees to let their dreams and needs be free.

Bridger’s current predicament comes as Kyle, one of the local MC club members brings him a very badly beaten up lady.
Maggie has been kept hostage by Zeke – the club president – she’s hidden away their 2 year old daughter, not wanting her brought up in the club. Who would? Its epitomises the very worst of MC reps, and she wants better for Belle. She’s not the naive, addicted teen she was when she met Zeke, but he won’t let her go. He regards her and Belle as his property and has been beating and torturing her to reveal where Belle is. Now he’s away for a couple of days and his old lady, who can’t have kids, has taken over but she’s out to kill Maggie.
She’s been rescued covertly by Kyle, one of the members who’s hiding his own secrets, and taken quietly to Bridger. She can’t go to the cops, there’s too much riding on a secret for that, but Kyle asks Bridger to keep her safe.

Maggie is badly injured and its some days before she can really talk to Bridger, and he doesn’t understand it but the more time he spends with her the closer he feels to her. He’s attracted sexually, that’s odd for him. Usually its as if his d ick is just a tool, orgasms just a pleasant bodily function, sex just an exercise in stress relief. He keeps emotion out, keeps himself closed off and that’s why he’s such an enigma. There’s lots of club ladies ( and a few men hoping!)who’ve tried to get through his walls, none have come anywhere near close, but it seems Maggie is even without trying. She so damaged though, Bridger feels bad for even thinking of her like that. He doesn’t know Maggie is having the same thoughts.

All the while that’s taking place, the dangers of discovery are stacking up. Bridger needs all his wits about him this time to protect her and Belle from the MC club. Its comes very close at times, the dangers feel very real and there’s heartbreak for someone I just didn’t expect to lose 😦

Its a great read, wonderful romance, heart-breaking learning of Bridger’s past. Plenty of drama and emotion, angst and anger, and spicy, sensual and “naughty” sex all written in sawyers trademark way where it fits perfectly into the story told.
After FSoG sadly there was an outpouring of “sex” books hoping to cash in,  where it seemed some writers though hot sex was all that was needed to hit the best sellers, and hadn’t the talent or motive to actually plot and plan a decent story.  Plenty of authors can write good sex scenes but unless they’re part of a good story, attached to characters I like, that just feel meaningless and bland to me. I need a solid story backing up the sex, and Sawyer always does that.

Book one is now joint favourite with this one, two terrific stories. They’ve all been good, its been great to see characters in their new roles as the series progresses but one and five are my favourites of them all.

Stars: five, a terrific finish, wrapping up a sensual and erotic series.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

The Southern Gentleman, True Consequences (Book 2), Dominant Heroes Collection, Sweden Reese

The Southern Gentleman, True Consequences (Book 2), Dominant Heroes Collection,  Sweden Reese

The Southern Gentleman: True Consequences (Dominant Heroes Collection Book 2) by [Reese, Sweden]
Genre:  Romance, Erotica

I loved book one, a fantastic debut which ended on a cliff-hanger, and by now most who read my reviews will know I Hate Those!
However, both parts of the novel are bing released simultaneously – Hurrah. Its something I’m always publicly wishing for, that if books have to be divided up, release the whole story together or at least within a few weeks. Stories where I have months – years even sometimes – between parts lose all the build up, the excitement, the craving for knowing what’s going to happen next. So thank you Sweden 🙂 A huge thank you, for releasing the story this way!!!

So we ended book one with Nolan and Lola finally giving in to the attraction, with Nolan giving Lola what they both want, a spanking, some discipline and a good effing….not knowing that some sleazy pap had filmed it.

When the story hits the press, along with all sorts of allegations it really is a case of sh it meet fan. Lola can’t believe the way everything has been twisted, its disaster for her mum, disaster for Nolan if people believe the line that’s being peddled about abuse, about him supposedly beating her up.
She doesn’t know what to do, she’s out of her depth, loves what they did, has incredibly strong feelings for Nolan and doesn’t want his business to get hurt, doesn’t want her mum to get caught up in the scandal, has to convince her parents that she was consenting, that Nolan isn’t coercing her to take part, has to persuade dad that he doesn’t need to put a hit out on Nolan…
Nolan can’t see it as just being a stray pap got lucky, after all the things that have been happening to Lola in an effort to damage her mums campaign. He’s determined to track down who’s behind all these things, but time is running out, there’s only days left til the election and they need to refute this latest PR disaster ASAP. He comes up with a unique suggestion…..

I love Nolan, its clear he knows exactly what he wants, he’s had time to learn, to find what does and doesn’t work for him, and if things were different maybe he’d give Lola a bit longer, but they aren’t and he can’t.
Lola, she seems so young in some way as she’s been kept out of the kind of things most of us do in out teens, that life’s learning curve that lets us make mistakes, lets us grow and find our feet. With her parents all too public position she’s always been kept out of anything that might create the slightest scandal, and now at 23 she’s finally having a rebellion.
She doesn’t want to hurt her parents, is right behind her mum’s campaign, but she’s tired of being controlled, wants to make some decisions for herself. So far though they’ve put her in some possibly life threatening scenes, certainly ones that hold great danger for her, and its only been a few days 😉
Given the way she’s trying to wrest some control of her life from her parents you’d think she would resent Nolan and his need to always make the decisions, his need to have her submit to him 24/7, and yet his control is very different to what she’s used to. Its done with her wants and needs in mind, whereas her parents have their own positions in the forefront of what she’s allowed to do.

I can see why she and Nolan fit so well together, its not something that would work for me, but for Lola and Nolan its a real need not just a desire.
I do find that a little hard to understand, how people could enjoy that, and yet they do, and my mantra has always been anything goes so long as both are happy and no-one else is harmed. 24/7 D/s is something that works for many, that I don’t really understand and certainly wouldn’t want it doesn’t really matter.
In this book Nolan and Lola do need it,  but they have to be careful as they are right up there in the public eye. Its cleverly handled, and I enjoyed the way it was brought in to a story that’s already pretty drama filled.

I really enjoyed this book too, its got politics but not so much I’m confused, ( like I said in review of part one UK politics is all I know), it’s packed with drama and excitement which all feels very real.
I don’t like when drama gets so intense and complex that I’m lost, can’t really understand what’s going on, but here I was “with” all the action, feeling for the characters as it played out.

I loved seeing Nolan’s family and they way they interacted, that brought another facet of Nolan into the front, loved the way they took to Lola, and the way she fitted in so well right from the start.
Loved the sex scenes and BDSM, its not hard-core stuff, more domination and control, than actual whippings and stuff that sometimes comes within this genre.
Its got a psychological aspect to it that I liked working out. I was happy that the drama was realistic, not OTT but things I could really imagine happening, and that’s very important to me, I have to feel the people and the story could be genuine, feel that I’m getting to know the characters, to work out what’s happening, to puzzle out who’s behind things. I didn’t work it out – that came as a real suprise, BTW!!

Its a great duology, do read part one first, don’t just jump in to part two, as you really won’t follow all the story, won’t get the best from it. I look forward to reading more from Sweden.

Stars: Five, a fabulous, suspense filled romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

The Southern Gentleman: Protective Instinct (Book 1), Dominant Heroes Collection, Sweden Reese

The Southern Gentleman: Protective Instinct (Book 1), Dominant Heroes Collection,  Sweden Reese

The Southern Gentleman: Protective Instinct (Dominant Heroes Collection Book 1) by [Reese, Sweden]

 

So, a debut duet. Interesting. I hate waiting for second and subsequent parts of a story to be released, hate stopping part the way through then trying to pick up the threads and drama again months later so a huge Hurrah for the fact that parts one and two are being released simultaneously.
Part one is just 99p  ( pre released price) with part two being just over £3. I was surprised at how short the first part was, just 162 pages, but at least for 99p you can see if you like Sweden’s writing style and the way the story goes before splurging on the rest of the book. part two is 280 pages ( info from Goodreads).
It’s an interesting way of how to get round that dichotomy of readers wanting to try new authors but having limited funds. Often in that situation authors make first books in series/duos, trilogies free and either way at least ensures readers don’t feel aggrieved if they don’t like the story. Its hard selling books when there are so many out at very low cost I guess. Ebooks mean readers can get some great books at very little cost, but the many there make it hard to find good ones and the dross, and hard for good authors to get seen too, and yet without it there’s so many stories that would never get published if they relied on the traditional print format and publishing houses.

So, back to the book, its a fun read, spicy at times though not til very close to the end does anything actually happen. That fits though, it wouldn’t be believable f it happened earlier. The beginning is really setting the scene so when the action happens it feels genuine.
I like Lola, found it hard to believe she was 23, she seemed so much younger, so naive, but maybe that’s her sheltered upbringing.
I like the way Sweden has Lola questioning Nolan about his Dom world, about how he can feel that way given that we’re in a modern era, makes him explain what seems like a dated and antiquated way of regarding women.
I understood her quandary, in some ways Feminism has brought about such a revolution that women who just want to be in the 50’s kind of traditional mould, let someone else make decisions, take control, are regarded as letting things down for women, a doormat, almost second class, and yet surely sexual freedom means doing whatever you want, being whoever you want regardless of what others think. Some people are happiest that way, and if they match up with someone who wants to take the primary role, make the decisions and it works why does anyone think that’s wrong? Regardless of whether its a f/m, m/m or f/f combo…Jeannie’s liberalist rant over again * shrug *

I really enjoyed this story, enough politics to make it interesting, but not so much that I  was bored. US politics is a bit of a mystery to me as a UK reader so focussing on the personnel not the politics worked well for me.
Nolan is a great lead, and I’m keen t know more, about his background, his family, his ex, I get the feeling she’s not going to be happy about developments!
Then there’s Lola’s position, with mum running for President ultimately, she needs to be the squeaky clean daughter she’s always been portrayed. She’s not really close to her parents, they’ve always put their careers first, and now she’s 23 she’s finally having a rebellion- at the very worst time.
Something happened recently that made her question their roles, her beliefs, her position in always following their lead, even down to her career choices, and she wants to maybe make some changes. Its means she’s ripe for plucking and her mum’s opposition are up to some dirty tricks putting her into danger.

It’ll be interesting to see if her and Nolan do get together, how they can deal with her parents, how they’ll need to hide things for the sake of politics. How that will affect Nolan and his family and job.
A really interesting debut novel, and a great start.
I’ve got part two as an arc on my kindle and tonight I’m going to be carrying on with the story, having everything fresh from reading part one yesterday.

Stars: five, an excellent first book, and a great idea having parts one and two release simultaneously

. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Hollywood Hot Mess, Evie Claire

Hollywood Hot Mess,  Evie Claire

Hollywood Hot Mess by [Claire, Evie]

Genre:  Romance,

I’m a real sucker for the film/rock star romance trope so when I saw total train wreck I clicked request, got it, opened it and started, and was totally lost. Then, and only then, I realised it was book two and I needed to request this one, which somehow I’d missed. Jeannie Fail yet again 😉

Anyway, there’s so many books in this trope that its hard to pick a winner, there’s an awful lot of ( in my opinion) mundane dross among them so I tend to be a bit cautious usually.
In the beginning I was convinced this would be a fail for me, as I really didn’t like Carly, she came over as a young, selfish, shallow, and angry b itch woman. Add in that on first meeting Devon she dismisses him as an old guy aannd I didn’t think much of him either, so it looked like a disaster read for me. But as I’d already got book two I plugged on feeling guilty for stupidly asking for it without checking thoroughly. This was all in the first 10% or so, so very early days and despite not liking the leads, usually a total book fail for me when that happens I quickly became hooked on the story.

As it went on I warmed to Carly and Devon, there were still things I didn’t like about both of them, but i began to see past the surface, to understand them a bit better.
Devon quickly became more likeable, he’s not so much a bad man as merely a kind of shallow one, superficial and not really letting emotions affect his relationships. I learned quickly that he’d reasons for that, though I was dying to know just what he was hiding.
Carly too had reasons for her behaviour and secrets I wanted to know – I’m always keen to know more when I sniff out hidden issues… Even by the end of book two I can’t say I loved them both but I did love their chaotic, roller coaster romance.

Like so many Celebrities the life they really lead is far from the one publicised, and poor Carly, awful childhood, pushy, grasping parents – she hit the bottom with her upbringing. She’s been working since she was a year old, and her parents were greedy and used her work and earnings to fuel their own lifestyles. She’s free of them now, and the drugs that were her way of coping with it all. She’s still only 19, almost 20 and yet with the things we know and things she hasn’t revealed but that are clearly affecting her behaviour, she sometimes seems twice that age. Its not long before she sees Devon as more than just the silver haired, old guy she thought he was, he’s actually only 34, and he too isn’t the person he’s fronted to be. Media have him as half of HeaVon, along with another star, Heather (someone..) but that’s all another media front, a very well kept secret and he’s got his reasons for wanting it that way.
The attraction between them though is palpable, searing and addictive. How can they be together though when there’s so much riding on the film for Carly, so much invested in the HeaVon format for Devon, that they risk losing all if they’re together. Its tough, but somehow they find a way.

Its a cracking read, a great debut and full of intense plots and dramatic characters. I love Heather, she features more in the second book but she’s a wonderful b itch type and I just love them in a story.
I surprised myself in how much I liked this book, when to begin I really couldn’t feel for, empathise with the two main leads. For me that’s usually essential, but as we learned more about them, about their problems and see them making attempts to change I began to like them – a little, not a lot – but that’s enough.

It ends on a huge cliff-hanger, Gah!! Lucky I’ve the second book already and looking at release dates they’re only a week apart – Sept 12 and 19 this year so that’s good. What I really hate is cliff-hangers when the next book is months, years away even and then I’ve forgotten much of the story when I finally get to it.

Its not a cantputdown read for me, but one that could have been that way if it was a little different.
There were issues such as their personalities, and a couple of plot themes that seemed not quite right, but overall was a great read.  Certainly with the way she can spin drama Evie is an author I’ll be looking out for.
Stars: Five, a great debut, full of drama and emotion.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Recipe for Love, Katie Fforde

Recipe for Love,  Katie Fforde

Recipe for Love by [Fforde, Katie]
Genre: Romance, women’s fiction
I discovered the wonderful world of Katie’s stories years ago, in the pre kindle days…they’re perfect reads for when I just want an easy and light escape from reality with a perfect HEA. You’d think that writing a certain style like this would mean the stories would get “samey” after a while, but each one I’ve read of Katie’s has been fresh and original.

So, this time we’re in the world of “reality” TV. Something I’d never watch – in fact I don’t watch TV at all now, haven’t for maybe 5-6 years, give me a book any day, Never the less I love reading about this type of event, whether its cook offs, DIY disasters or some kind of survivor type games…makes for awful TV IMO but fabulous stories!

Zoe wants to open her dream shop, a very individual deli, with good, properly sourced foods and a range of ready to prepare and ready meals made from those same ingredients.
Money though – that’s always a bar and she’s tried for this TV show with its financial prize that would make her dream come true. She’s astonished to get through, but decides to do her best and hopefully enjoy the experience.

Being the ever helpful person she is she helps a surly driver while she’s waiting to be let in to the place the contest is being held. This guy has got himself stuck in a ditch and it takes plenty of mud and sweat before they get his car out. He goes off and …later when everyone is there she learns he’s one of the judges.
Somehow they keep getting thrown in each others orbit and of course romance blooms. they have to be circumspect though, and he tells her outright it means he needs to be even harder on her than on the others.
Zoe’s also made friends with the owners of the ramshackle but gorgeous place they are staying. Fen and Rupert are doing it up with a view to opening as a B&B, and events venue. Somehow Zoe is always in the right place to help when disaster strikes, some would walk away but she’s a “helper” by nature ( I know that type – that’s me, can’t walk away when I can do something to help) and soon gets to be good friends with Rupert and a very pregnant Fen.

The other contestants are a fun mix, but poor Zoe gets lumbered with the beautiful, arrogant and shallow Cher as a house mate. Cher is determined that first place is to be hers, not because she wants the money, she doesn’t need it, but winning the show will be her stepping stone to fame she’s decided. She’s not above some dirty tricks to win, and sees her main completion and person she can disadvantage easiest is Zoe.
There really are people like that, horrible though it is, and I love them in a story! The other contestants are a fun mix, and each have their own quirks and personalities that crop up in the story.

I loved the descriptions of the food – not so much the foraging stuff…. but the rest, the cheeses, the home made pancetta, preserved fruits etc and of course what they made from those ingredients, that croquembouche(sp??) was so mouth-watering! I’d love to try making one of them – I’d be eting it all week though 🙂
The towering – literally – masterpiece was the cupcake wedding cake, when a wedding was taking place at the venue and the cake maker let the planner and bride down.
Once more Zoë stepped into the breach, in between trying to cook her own competition canapés. That cake sounded amazing!

In between helping Fen and Rupert, trying to get past Cher’s tricks, and keep her place in the competition the fledgling attraction and romance between her and Gideon paced forward swiftly. What was it though? A quick fling ? Or could there be more? Questions Zoe asks herself, would a man like Gideon really want more or should she just appreciate the moment and enjoy what they have now and not worry about where it may go.

Of course nothing goes as planned, and its such a fun read with drama, disasters, devious tricks and distractions that it makes for a great escape from reality for a few hours.
Its a fun light flirty type read rather than deep drama and introspections, and I really enjoyed reading about the characters and the quest for the winner.
Its a book I would read again when I’m in the mood for an easy escape, a read to relax with and let my brain shut off. there are times when we all need that and a good book is my way of doing it.

Stars: Five, a perfect escapist read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

The Protector, Jodi Ellen Malpas

The Protector,  Jodi Ellen Malpas

The Protector by [Malpas, Jodi Ellen]

Genre:  Romance,

I loved This Man, like millions of readers, was captivated by Jesse Ward. Miller in One Night didn’t quite live up to him, a great read but after the first trilogy I didn’t feel the second was quite on the spot. Jesse’s a hard act to follow though so I was interested to see that JEM had moved to a stand alone for this read. I think that’s a good idea or she could get stuck with the trilogy label.

I enjoyed this book but…to be honest it didn’t feel as though there was a lot in it. Sex of course, and lots of it but that’s not enough for me, even if it is hot and well written, I need story, a solid plot backing up the sex.
Potentially there is a decent plot but I felt the reality of it was too far fetched, a professional like Jake just wouldn’t have done so many of the things he did, beginning with giving in very, very quickly to his attraction to Camille.
I guess it was that lack of realism that made this just a fairly bland OK read, instead of the drama and sex filled story I was expecting. I’m all for artistic licence and stretching the bounds of what can be real but this just went that bit too far.
I never really felt the danger, felt the scenes were genuine and didn’t really warm that much to either Jake or Camille.

I know JEM writes well, and of course many readers will find this perfect, just not really a great read for me, but it could be just this book – I’ll happily read more from her.

Stars:Three, an OK read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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