Archive | November 2016

Lucifer, Book 11 of The Vampires in America Series, D.B. Reynolds

Lucifer, Book 11 of The Vampires in America Series,  D.B. Reynolds

Lucifer (Vampires in America: The Vampire Wars Book 11) by [Reynolds, D. B.]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, I’ve said before – I love this series, its one that I pick up from time to time and re-read all the stories so far.
Its one of those series where each book is complete as far as the romance goes, ( apart from the first – but that was Raphael, and that guy needed two books!)

However there’s also a strong overarching main plot, and that’s where the European vampires come in. they’re looking at how much space there is in the US compared to what they hold, and have been making attempts to take parts over. So far they’ve been pushed back, out witted despite some dirty tricks, but the threat just grows greater each time, with the idea of taking over an area and becoming a Lord attracting more and more European Vampires. Now they seem to be teaming up in some way, though as ever Vampires don’t really do teamwork that well, they all distrust each other so much.

Raphael has been instrumental in holding areas of the US together, he’s powerful and some of the current Vampire Lords are either his own Children, or ones he’s been close to for many years and who trust him. Its not often that happens, and its a mark of how respected and powerful he is, and how visionary, that his ideas when this all started have held things together so far. He’s happy with his own territory but with Vampires its always under challenge; conflict and battle is a way of life, so he’s worked to help put strong vampires who trust/respect him in power in the areas close to him.

America is a huge place though, and Sophia, Lord of Canada has a vast area to control. Raphael helped her when the previous Lord was missing, and she was searching for him. That was a dangerous time all round, he’d been a weak Lord and it was hard to know who to trust. She’s tried hard to rectify things since his death but its been a tough haul, and now her Mate Colin has been taken, with everything pointing to betrayal from within. She needs help to find him, but is this a wider plot, bringing in not just threats to Canada, but part of the whole European threat?
Raphael and a couple of other Lords are the only ones she’s trusted enough to ask for help. Its a thin line, too much aid and she risks being seen as weak, too little and Colin’s dead.

Sophia wasn’t ever one of my favourite stories but I’ve always liked her Mate Colin. He’s incredibly loyal, and well respected among the vampires, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s friends with Cyn, Raphael’s Mate.  I didn’t really feel I knew her before but in this book I get a much better idea of her, and felt I understand her more. She’s had a tough time, female among a group of very Alpha, territorial males. There are few vampire females and even fewer in positions of power, and she has to work harder than the men to been seen as strong enough to rule. She’s tried to be fair, tried not to be weak as the former Lord, Lucien, was, tried to be just but now it looks like that has backfired and someone – or several someones have betrayed her.
Colin warned her she needed to be tough on some of the Vampires, not to trust them, but she wanted to give them a chance, and now they are paying for that with Colin being tortured nightly and videos being sent to her.

I loved Eleanor, understood why she hadn’t contacted Lucifer, it was heartbreaking what happned to her and how she perceived her future. She’s very loayl to sophia and has worked hard to get her postion as a bodyguard, she’s not just some token female, vampires don’t do that, she’s there because she’s one of the best.
Lucifer – well, who couldn’t love him. Southern chanrmer, gorgeous and sexy, and still so in love with Eleanor. He wants some answers and I understood why.
I loved the way he adores Elanoer but still lets her do her part, donesn’t ry to belittle her just becuase she’s female even though his instincts scream at him to protect her. she’s strong, he recognises that and is willing to use it when they need it.

Lucifer is one of Aden’s vampires, young but very strong, and an incredible hunter. He’s charged with aiding Sophia to get Colin back, but what he doesn’t know is one of her most trusted staff is his former human lover. He thought she’d died, killed by another vampire, so he’s shocked to see her with Sophia, and angry at finding she left him, she wasn’t dead but never contacted him.
He wants answers, and as she’s aiding him in the search for Colin he’s the opportunity to get them. Eleanor is shocked to find its Lucifer heading the search, but soon its clear the heat between them burns as hot as ever.

That heat, the sensuality, jumps off the page, and looking back these books get hotter and hotter with each one it feels. Still, Debbie keeps the balance of sex and story perfectly. I hate it when the sex becomes the story. I want the romance but I want it to fit in the story, not dominate it. Here we’ve a multi stranded novel, there’s the search for Colin, who has him and why, the European threat to all the US vampires, whether they recognise it or not, and of course the growing rekindling romance between Lucifer and Eleanor.
They’ve things to explain, things to work out but time is short and Colin being human is in grave danger. Of course there’s another problem to be sorted if Lucifer and Eleanor are to be together, he’s one of Aden’s Vampires and she’s one of Sophia’s – how do they work that out?

I love the way the novel plays out, how the trails are followed, how links to further plots woven in, and hints of what’s to come are seeded.
The battles are bloodthirsty as ever, Debbie’s Vampires bite, are tough, violent and thrive in vicious conflicts. They don’t feel over done though, like the sex scenes they fit the story, and aren’t there just as padding but to push through more plots and tie up ends.

Its another great read, a terrific sensual romance, with a story that moves the whole series just that bit further into potential war with Europe.

Stars: Five, a great read to add to the series.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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Dark Protector, Katie Reus

Dark Protector, Katie Reus

Dark Protector (A Werewolf Romance) (Moon Shifter Series Book 6) by [Reus, Katie]

Genre:   Romance, New Adult

I’ve enjoyed a few of Katie’s novels but not read any of the Moon shifter ones.
The blurb says each are stand alone and its not necessary to have read earlier ones and after reading this I’d agree, but as with all series you will understand the characters better if you’ve read previous books.
There were individual characteristics and subtle nuances here that I didn’t always understand, but clearly were things that had happened or were affected by events from other books. If I’d read those I might have grasped things sooner but it was still easy to follow the story and people in it.
Its quite a short read, 2682 kindle locations though Goodreads has it down as 275 eBook pages? I’d have put it closer to 150-170.

I loved Natalia, she’s a strong lady, and knows her own worth. Having given in to the attraction  with Aldric, then been left without a word all these months she’s not letting it happen again. Oh No, he had his chance, that boat has sailed….
Except when she sees him, when he’s there in front of her rather than an abstract thought, its much harder to stick to her principles. The boat has sprung a leak and is turning back!
Yes she knows she deserved better, yes he should have made an attempt to at least talk to her, but…maybe he had reasons, maybe its to do with his loss of his mate all those years ago.
Will she be second place though? Will she let him back? She’s conflicted all over again about her feelings, and I love that she doesn’t just roll over and give in to him, that she puts her own worth first. Who wants to play second fiddle, be treated as someone who can be dropped at any time? Not me, and not Natalia.

Aldric, he knows he c ocked up, knows he was out of line.
He was shocked by the strength of his feelings, and scared that he’d fail her as he thinks he failed his mate all those years ago. If he just stays away….and then they’re both brought right back into each others orbit once more.
No time for talking, no time for lust though, there’s a missing vampire to find, to save the current peace talks between vampires and shifters, something most of them want, tired of the same old pointless blood shed.

I enjoyed the way the mystery played out, didn’t guess who was responsible til very close to the reveal, and liked the way Katie explained the processes by which the team came to find out who, where and why.
I hate a reveal that leaves questions unanswered, makes me think “ but why did x do that? How did y know where they were/who they were/how they did z”
I like answers, ones that feel real, feel as if the events could have happened that way if the situation was possible.

Its a fun read, not too dark, not too confusing, and easy suspense mystery with some scorching steam finally from Aldric and Natalia.

Stars: Four, a fun light read that can be enjoyed as part of the series or as a one off read alone.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

To the Edge, Anna del Mar

To the Edge,  Anna del Mar

To the Edge (At the Brink) by [Mar, Anna del]

Genre:  Erotica, Romance

I really wanted to like this story, it sounded fun and spicy but…I was kind of underwhelmed by it.

I wasn’t really taken with the characters I guess, Clara still under mummy’s thumb at the age of 30 (ish, I can’t quite remember) and it seemed to me to be improbable.
I kept wanting to say to Clara, stand up for yourself woman, stop being such a doormat!
She talented, intelligent, does a great job of running the foundation, so to see her knuckling under each time her mu said jump just felt wrong. Acting like that as a teen – yes, at her age? Nope.
Her mum was a pretty dislikeable character too, so her actions at the end didn’t really feel right.

Noah, I liked him, understood his issues, but wonder if he could really do all that he did from home?
I don’t know, technology like that is way beyond my mind-set, but it felt a little too convenient at times. Here’s the issue, ah Noah’s got a handy bug/Trojan/bit of code that can sort it.

When Clara agrees to submit to him I thought it was for the blog and the article she’d got to write – not to thank him as suggested in the description?
Which brings us to the blog and the article – I didn’t really understand the whole thing here, why the need for that one specific article, and why the merger?

With the blog and article, Noah’s job and connections, the politics her Senator mother is involved with, the foundation, the sleazy donor; by the time it all wrapped up it felt almost incestuous!
Complications put in the story that needed some serious suspension of belief for the solutions I felt. Sometimes Less is More and I would have enjoyed better this if it was less complex and more realistic.
As ever though that’s just my take, others will feel very differently – you have to make your own choice, if you like the novels I do then you may feel as me about this one.

The sex scenes were potentially hot and sensual,  but as the story wasn’t working for me they didn’t do anything.
For me the sex and the story need to go hand ion hand, with the story taking lead point, not trailing behind the sex as I felt it did here.
Its perfect for many readers of course, we all enjoy different types of novel but for me this was a fail.
.
Stars: two. Just didn’t connect well with me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

★☆★FREE DOWNLOAD – CHROME, A CAROLINA BAD BOYS BOOK★☆★

Rie Warren is making this book free for a limited time. If you’ve not tried one of Rie’s romance reads its the perfect time to get one risk free. Rie’s books are hot, full of hunky Alpha males, steamy and sensual sex, ladies that are sassy, not ditzy, the sort that can think for themselves and do! And of course some cracking humour too.

Chrome is #free 11-14 to 11-18! Who’s your favorite Carolina Bad Boy?

★☆ The bigger they are, the harder they fall. ☆★

Chrome: With a Heart Forged in Steele (Alpha Male Romance) (Carolina Bad Boys Book 4) by [Warren, Rie]

Amazon ➔ http://amzn.to/1VQkgS8

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Amazon series link➔ http://amzn.to/2fXMbAh

☆☆ Boomer Steele is big. He’s bad. He’s the Retribution MC pres. He’s been dealt the worst hand imaginable and bears the scars inside and out. Not that anyone knows it. He’s watched his younger brother and sister hook up and hitch up with the loves of their lives, and now he’s the last Steele standing alone. Maybe he should keep it that way.

Then one feisty honey makes him feel, gets in his grill, rattles his cage. ☆☆

Filthy Rich, Blackstone Dynasty – Book 1, Raine Miller

Filthy Rich, Blackstone Dynasty – Book 1, Raine Miller

Filthy Rich (Blackstone Dynasty Book 1) by [Miller, Raine]

Genre:  General fiction, Romance

I loved Raine’s original Blackstone series and was keen to read this new series, where each book is a stand alone one rather than a part read to be continued – I do enjoy these complete reads. I hate waiting for the next part of a story. Its pretty clear reading this which characters are going to feature in future books too.

So Brooke meets Caleb, he’s ultra rich, she’s working two jobs to pay nan’s medical bills. He sees something in her and fortunately she likes him too. They have a little flirtation but Caleb’s kind of a steamroller, and before she knows what’s happening she’s deeply in love.
I loved both of them, very genuine and even though he’s loaded Caleb doesn’t have that Entitled attitude some people like him do. ( his mu  for instance!)

Its a hot and sexy read, with scenes that fit the story, are well written and aren’t thrown in just to spice up a mundane plot. I hate it when that happens…Raine can write a decent storyline though, she makes me feel that the characters are real, gives me a couple of ladies to dislike.
I did feel this was a little too straightforward romance though, lacked in the drama department.
There were a couple of storylines that had the Drama factor, one which was a real surprise and I’m not really sure of its significance, didn’t affect much here but makes me wonder if it’ll take a bigger role in future stories. The other had the breakup potential but is was kind of muted, but I love a strong angsty, will-they-make-it storyline so though it was fine I’d have liked it to be More!!

As I said some great characters, food for next books, but there’s one that felt just not right, and that’s Brooke’s colleague…forgot his name, got to look it up- back soon. Eduardo – that’s the guy. He’s great – a really good friend to Brooke, but I just felt he was too stereotypical Gay, too OTT and it didn’t really fit. He felt like a mix of Liberace, Gok Wan and Danny la Rue….just not quite real, more affected than he ought to be. Still, that’s just me 😉 I still liked the guy.

So its a good start to a new series of – hurrah – stand alone novels, but connected via the Blackstone family. The hints of characters for next books makes me want to know more already, so this book does that part really well, and maybe its not got the deep drama I love, but its still a fun read, a lovely romance and some sensual heat.

Stars: Four, a great read with tantalising tastes for the next books.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Mosaic, Reliquary Series Book 3, Sarah Fine

Mosaic, Reliquary Series Book 3, Sarah Fine

Mosaic (Reliquary Series Book 3) by [Fine, Sarah]

Genre:   General Fiction (Adult), Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, books one and two have had me riveted, glued to the page, and I was desperate to read how things work out for Mattie and Asa. They’ve both been through so much, and in this book we learn even more shocking things about Asa’s background.

Its a fabulous world, feels so real, so scary and its easy to believe that if magic was real ( ? it may well be…!) but hidden from most of the population as here, that these events could/would happen.
We know how power hungry people will do anything to get to the top, to hold the most power, strongest position, and its scary just how it brings innocent people into such danger along the way, how “choices” are forced on those who the top people need.

Mattie has become entangled in this world firstly through rescuing her ex fiancé Ben, and then discovering she had her own magical attributes, inherited from her grandfather. It makes her wanted by some dangerous people.
She’s teamed up with Asa and they’ve been working together as colleagues, keeping things professional at her request. She thinks she can guard her emotions from Asa, he’s so troubled, so affected by his past that his demons mean he’s dangerous to her heart, he’s already made it clear he and Gracie, his dog, are the only duo in his life.
Mattie can’t help falling in love though, its obvious from way back, and it feels too as if Asa is in love with her, he’s so careful, so responsible for her, and goes out of his way to do little things that make her happy.

They’re on another mission when things go wrong and they get parted….Mattie won’t give up though, knows she has to rescue Asa, that he can’t survive being some ones property. He’s always stayed out of the top players clutches, working only for himself, not wanting to be caught in the trap, cage, control they will keep him in. Its been a hard job keeping out of their clutches.
Mattie does her best to help him now, but she’s not sure where he is, who has him, who she can get to help. Its tough to know who she can even minimally trust though, no-one is what they say, so many people are double agents, others have hidden agendas, and she’s so new to all this.
She gets an unexpected ally and its a race against time, full of illusions glamours, dangers and trickery all through the story.

I really enjoyed it BUT I’d made the mistake when I began thins of thinking it was a romance – and its not, there’s romance in it, but is not an actual romance read. My bad! That led to me HATING the ending, I was gutted, distraught.
I really wished I’d not read the last chapter, just stopped at the one before and assumed that was the end.
Like I said this book is so very real, and I need that air of genuineness for me to enjoy a read but I wanted a different ending, found this one really upsetting. real life is very like this, its not neat and tidy with everyone getting what they want, but when I’m reading that’s not necessarily what I want 😦 even if its very true to life.
To be honest I’m really hoping Sarah has a rethink and writes another book, its been left open so that is possible, as I think very many people are going to feel similar to me about that ending.

Stars: Five, even hating that ending its still a fabulous read, a story that’s gripping and gut wrenchingly real, even though its full of magic and fantasy!

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Freckles, Amy Lane

Freckles,  Amy Lane

Freckles by [Lane, Amy]

Genre:  LGBTQIA, Romance

I love Amy’s writing, she creates characters I can believe in, scenes and incidents that feel real. So I was expecting to love this book – after all, its an Amy story and with a dog – what’s not to love?

Sadly though I liked it, the characters and settings were as usual very real feeling, I just didn’t like the actual storyline.
It was just too cutesy, too sweet, so much so that I felt my teeth aching.

I loved Cater and Sandy, loved the way they were with each other, enjoyed the other characters in the story, Sandy and Carter’s work colleagues, and of course their families. Loved Sandy’s mum!
Then there’s Freckles, and who couldn’t adore her, she was perfect for Carter, just what he needed and typical of a dog she’s calling the tune (something I know too well having been taught by Roxie that a dogs place is on the bed, right up by my pillow, preferably sprawled over some part of my body…)

So all that was good but the story, it really was just Carter meets Sandy via Freckles and a little backstory and friction via his work.
Horrible boss, they happen and that’s soul sucking. Carter had a choice though about whether to stay working for him, but until he met Sandy he was kind of head in sand about the immorality of the job, and just kidding himself he had no options.
Job apart there was little angst here, it was all sweet-and-cute, rainbows-and-unicorns, blue-sky-and-sunshine, and for me I need angst, some sadness to balance the sweet, something to make me feel really relieved that after all the indications to the contrary things could work out. Here I never had any doubt they would work, didn’t ever feel there was any danger of a split, and though that made for an easy read I missed the angst, passion, emotion I was expecting.

If you want a short happy Christmas read this is perfect, If like me you want more drama then you may feel as I do, this is not really your kind of story.

Stars: two and a half – I liked the idea, loved the characters but missed the drama

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money

Reblogged from http://nicholasrossis.me/
Interesting reading for authors. I recently had an email with a survey on what I enjoy in romance reads, and I think this kind of data is important for authors.

You can write any book of course, and you can choose what you want it to be about and that’s your choice but if you want to make a living then you need to know what readers of your genre want. Having written your book data like this from Nicholas is important so you don’t waste your precious funds on places that don’t deliver a return.
It mentions Facebook – I’m assuming that’s some kind of ad promotion rather than just posting on own sites, and hoping others pass it on – I’ve found lots of gems that way. Read a brilliant one last night on KU that I found via that kind of FB post

Patricia Finney  Love without Shadows Love without Shadows by [Finney, Patricia]

 

From: http://nicholasrossis.me/2016/11/04/call-to-arms-year-long-survey-reveals-which-book-advertiser-offers-the-best-value-for-money/

Last year, I shared with you the result of my Call to Arms, on my very popular post, Book Marketing Results 2015. I now have collected enough data to follow up with this year’s results. Like …

Source: Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money

Heartthrob, Hollywood Hearts 1, Belinda Williams

Heartthrob, Hollywood Hearts 1, Belinda Williams

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

My first book from Belinda, and though I didn’t know if I’d like her writing style its from one of my favourite tropes, Film/Rock star, I do love the fabulous escapism from a read in those settings.

So Ally, what a great character.  A tiny but curvy package, she’s a loyal friend, adores her extensive family and has finally got a chance at her dream career.
She gave up her coveted place in a design course when her father was dying, and she was needed at home for the family and the family restaurant. That was some years back, and now she seems to have just given up her dream. Her friend since childhood,  Lena,  is determined that Ally will get her chance, and now she’s a very famous actress she asks Ally to make her gowns for the upcoming awards seasons.

Ally isn’t sure, can she do it? Can the family manage without her? Should she take that step forward or stay where she is?
Her family and Lena won’t give up though, and she soon finds herself in Lena’s luxurious home, living a life she thought impossible. She doesn’t change though, she’s still Ally, lover, cooker and consumer of fabulous  italian meals.

She’s been there a short while, is still finding her feet when she hears Lena being berated by one of her staff. She’s stunned, no-one talks down to her friend like that, barrels out and leterally rams the guy down, despite him being so much larger, and as she’s giving him what for he and Lena are laughing. He’s her current co-star and they were practising lines….Oops.
He’s entranced by Ally and the way she’s so normal,her say it like it is manner, not one of Hollywood’s false fawning ladies who just say what they think he wants to hear.
Soon he’s worn her down and they’re embarking on a fledgling relationship.

Things are going wrong with her designing though, her clothes damaged, a fake online account set up, they don’t know if it’s her or Lena that’s being attacked? Someone is after them, but which one of them?
It takes a while to sort out which of them is being targeted as Lena has had stalkers before. This time though its really pushing at Ally’s career, threatening all her hard work, and the easy route would be to pack up and go home.
Ally feels Hollywood is full of falseness and maybe she’s just not cut out for it. What about Jake though if she goes home? Can she leave him, leave her dreams, or should she stick it out?

Its a real fun read, with some surprising depth in the secrets that come out, that show how even those who seem to have so much carry burdens from their past, have fears even though they appear fearless, feel trapped even though they seem to have the world at their feet.
Its true the higher you are the further you fall, and Ally’s climbing rapidly.

Its a great story, a steamy romance, fabulous descriptions of characters, events, and of course the clothes.
I loved Ally and Lena and of course Jake, but there’s also lots of secondary characters that were interesting and made it harder to work out who was behind events, and where they’d strike next.
The final revelation showed I was completely off track in my suspect! Buts that’s about par for me, I rarely get it right, and love to be wrong as its a story that hasn’t proved predictable.

Stars: Five, a real fun story, full of sensuality and great characters.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Blow, A Virtuous Paradox Novel, Heidi McLaughlin

Blow, A Virtuous Paradox Novel,  Heidi McLaughlin

Blow: A Virtuous Paradox Novel by [McLaughlin, Heidi]

Genre:  Romance,

I loved the sound of this but.. it was a fail 😦 for me anyway, I know others will and do love it. That’s life.

I  was intrigued by the forbidden romance part and of course I love the rock band genre but…Bodhi is in a band with two others, he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t play an instrument – so what does he do? Did I miss something?

I wasn’t convinced by his incredibly speedy rehab. One moment he’s a total addict, and yet just a few days later he’s rational, well and determined not to relapse. From what I’ve read it just doesn’t happen this way and it just didn’t feel right to me.
He does have one big issue with a paranoiac episode but that seems to be it….I expected more struggle.

Then there’s Kim, daughter of the owner and works there as some kind of ad hoc therapist/companion/girl Friday. I’m not really sure what her role is but to be honest the way she is with Bodhi is just wrong, wrong, wrong. She knows what she’s doing is very bad for his recovery, she knows its wrong to encourage him to lie ( say he’s sick so he can go to medic room and she can stay with him, knows she shouldn’t let him get involved, that its bad for him, but does she seem to care? Nope, she just wants what he’s offering and tells herself its OK.
She knows he’s an addict and addicts lie, and yet when the question of condoms come up its ok because he says he’s clean!! Yes, the guy who was doped up and trying to have sex with another addict just days before…
That bit made me really angry, as did his belief in her word she was on the pill. In those circumstances its just so wrong to let characters do this, especially when it didn’t really affect the story. Condom use should have been there, even in fiction its irresponsible to send this message that you can take someone’s word when you’ve only known them a few days, and one is an addict, likely to have had sex frequently, and with different people because of his profession.
Its fiction but I believe that authors should still put safety first for their characters, remind readers that this kind of behaviour could lead to pregnancy at the least and STD’s that can be life threatening at worst.

He’s only been there a week or so when they first get together, and I expected him still to be suffering withdrawals, for their romance to progress slowly, from an attraction to tentative looks and touches etc but it doesn’t, within days he’s ( his words, Yak!!) “finger banging” her out in the woods…Yes she really takes her work and his recovery seriously doesn’t she?

I wasn’t convinced at the romance between the two of them, didn’t even really feel like lust and not love, more like infatuation on her part and convenience on his. Certainly in the early stages it was that way.
I just didn’t like or respect either of them, and I think that’s why this was such a fail for me. If I’d felt more between them, liked them as people more maybe I could get past the other issues, but I didn’t and it all felt like a rehab-lite type story.
Addicts just don’t recover that easily and quickly, especially when their being led down roads that aren’t good for them, by someone who really should know better.

Stars: two, sorry, a fail for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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