Archive | March 2017

Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser. Love With An Imperfect Cowboy, Ann Major

Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed You: A Novel by [Strawser, Jessica]

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Edit: Price wasn’t available when I wrote review – I’m pretty shocked its over £9 for a debut read…..I think twice about paying that for an established author but I’ve noticed more eBooks creeping up to the ten quid and beyond mark. when there’s still so many free/under a fiver or on KU then I can’t justify spending that unless I know its one I’ll reread several times, and with a new author I simply don’t know that. For many readers this book is just that but for me its not and if I’d paid £9+ for it I’d be a bit apprehensive about taking the risk next time.

OK, this is quite a hard book to review. I loved the idea of it, was on tenterhooks thinking why on earth Finn would do that, especially from the fragments we saw of how he was with Violet and Bear just beforehand, but the constant past and present flipping made me feel in danger of whiplash.
Its not a format I really like, I’ve read a very few where it works for me, and too many more where it doesn’t. Just as I’m engrossed in the story of the past it flips to the present, and then I’m suckered in to whets happening and bam…its back to the past.
I’ve read books where that works well for me, but with this one it just left me really frustrated, flipping back and forth right when there was a huge question needed answering. I guess there’s an argument that it kept up the suspense of the secrets and let them out at  optimum time for that but for me   it just was really annoying, and spoiled the story.
I ended up skipping and flicking through to read past, past, past, and then all the present bits, as I was getting so irritated at the flipping of times. Oddly enough I’ve just read another laid out exactly the same way, where from about 1/3rd in I did the same thing….Leah Mercer’s novel Who we were Before. Another that’s really emotional at times, where the past and present collide creating a huge rift between a couple. If you love this book look out for that one.

As to the story and characters, well TBH I really only liked Violet and Bear.
I understood why the other characters did what they did, but I was amazed at how easily it seemed to come to them, how they didn’t think beyond the immediate actions.
Its kind of hard to write without giving things away but all the characters lives were so closely intertwined and the secrets had such a huge impact.
I didn’t understand why some things weren’t told earlier, of course the book would have been different if they had 😉 so as that needs to be kept for me there needed to be a better reason for the actions and the secrets.

I did feel for Finn when it all came out, but enough to forgive him the awful thing he he to Violet?
I don’t know – she loved him but did she ever see the real Finn, or was she in love with the person he presented to her? Or is there really any difference, maybe we’re all more than one person, maybe the way life hits us makes us what we are?
He had some pretty awful thoughts between Violet and his past, that made me really feel for her and get cross at him, but then again we can’t actually control what we think, what we feel can we?

I did feel too that some of the events towards the end got a rather poorly explained and slick conclusion, that didn’t feel as if that would have happened in reality, and that niggled at me.
The ending was a little ambiguous, but it left the way open for a HEA and for me that’s OK, I can imagine one for them, for Violet needed that, wanted that and I loved her.
I’d really have preferred a more concrete happy ending though – I’m a sap I know but I love things to end well.

Overall though I felt I was interested in the story, wanted it to end well, but the present/past/present/past flipping format was so annoying to me. I wasn’t totally gripped by the story and I think that was a huge reason why, and maybe in a different format I would have enjoyed it more. The plot is perfect, real, and one that made me think, its just the execution that didn’t work for me.

I felt there was one really poignant part, when Violet says something along the lines of “ I wish sometimes I’d never met any of you,” and I really understood her then, in that moment.
She’d been through so much, and was such a loving, generous and kind person she didn’t deserve that further heartbreak she got.

Stars: Three, it was an interesting read, made me think how much of what happens in our lives affects us mentally as well as physically, how many secrets we all hold and what happens when they come out – they always do at some point.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

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Love With An Imperfect Cowboy,  Ann Major

Love With An Imperfect Cowboy (Lone Star Dynasty Book 1) by [Major, Ann]

Genre:  romance, Women’s Fiction

Well, Ann’s written many, many stories, yet this is my first one of hers! I wanted to love it but I’m really in two minds about it, I enjoyed parts of it but there was more that I just didn’t like, and overall it’s a miss for me.

I liked Hannah, really felt for what happened to her, she must have been devastated, so her running away felt a very genuine reaction. Likewise Liam, he’d been through some awful tragedy and I understood why he shut himself away as he did. As characters they were both very real feeling and easy to belive in.
What I struggled with was the way the two reacted when they first met. It didn’t go well, and they were both so rude to each other and that just didn’t sit right with me, felt out of character for both of them.
I know something along those lines was needed to get them to where they had to be for the story to fall into place but that just felt wrong.

Then there’s the filthy cabin, there’s no way a rich lady, who would have had staff to do the housework, laundry etc, would have been able to do what she did to it in just one night. Where did she get all the cleaning stuff from for instance? It just couldn’t happen. One room maybe, all the laundry maybe, but that and the whole house?? Nope. can’t be done.

They go from that early animosity into a strange kind of respect and friendship, and I’m not really sure how and when that happened. Then of course the past pops up, and though Liam’s past felt real, and the things around it now, the emotions he felt very natural and understandable, when it came to Hannah I just couldn’t see it unfolding like that. It just jarred, I couldn’t see all those people being there and for me it felt wrong.

Stars: two, overall a story that had more that didn’t suit me than it did. As ever though that’s just my take, others love it and you could too. Reading tastes are very individual.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Miramar Bay, Davis Bunn

Miramar Bay,  Davis Bunn

Miramar Bay by [Bunn, Davis]

Genre: women’s Fiction

My first read from Davis, and at the beginning I felt I’d made a mistake choosing this. It seemed really slow and I couldn’t see the connection between the characters.
It quickly picked up pace though and we met more and more new people, mostly in the town of Miramar. I soon became hooked on what was happening.

Connor wasn’t quite A list, but with luck might make it, but he’s kind of in limbo. Gave up on his music dreams when the acting took off but he seems to be the guy everyone wants dead in films and TV, to the point where he’s on death 97 and getting tired of the roles, finding them a bit banal. They pay the bills – just – but don’t stretch him.
He’s about to marry in five days and suddenly he’s wondering what he’s doing, likes his fiancée but doesn’t love her and not sure how things got to this point.
We’ve nearly all been there somewhere along our lives, taken stock and found parts lacking. Can he change though, or have things gone too far?
On impulse he boards a bus and makes for Miramar, a place he enjoyed for a couple of days holiday once and that seems to pull him. It reminds him of home, of his roots and family.

Sylvie runs a restaurant there, and its hard, always balancing on the edge and she had to take on a financial partner who seemed fine at the time but has now become overbearing.
For most of the staff it’s a second chance, somewhere they can rebuild their lives after being in prison or similar, and they appreciate it and are very loyal to Sylvie. Its clear how close they all are when something awful happens and she needs help but as someone fiercely independent won’t ask.
The local sheriff, Porter is a good guy, he looks after his town, is genuinely interested in keeping everyone safe, not one of those lazy but power hungry types.
Then there’s a few other characters, the sleazy Phil, silent – or not so silent- partner in the restaurant, a mystery woman named Estelle, and Connors wonderful agent Ami, and her assistant the fabulous Gerald.
Gerald had some cracking lines and I adored him. He’s written in such a way that I could see him perfectly, hear his voice, appreciate his sharp humour. For older readers and anyone who’s into music of the sixties and early seventies there’s some great references, had me humming while reading.

What seemed at first to be very disparate events and people slowly get woven together in an entertaining and absorbing story. There’s one plotline that was really predictable to me early on, stood out who was behind things, but not really why other than the obvious.
That didn’t really matter though and it still was fun seeing how things played out, how the team of Sylvie’s friends pulled together to help her despite her usual “I can manage” stance. They didn’t ask if she needed help but simply steamed ahead, knowing she’d do anything rather than burden others.

Of course there’s heartbreak here too, she’s been through a  cheating liar before when her ex failed to mention the wife and kids, so when she finds out the truth about her new waiter, Connor, the man she’d become very close to in the few days they’d been together she’s devastated. Connor isn’t giving in, but he’s going to need some fierce and heartfelt actions to get her to forgive him.
Like I said, early on I wondered if I’d made a mistake, but it turned out to be a story I really enjoyed, a perfect five star, though probably a one off read rather than a keeper for me.
Its not a rollicking sex-fest story but a more gentle, deeper one with some sensual attraction between Sylvie and Connor thats contained to a few searing kisses. Sometimes Less is More and that makes the story more interesting 😉 I like sex in books but….endless pages of repetitive sex can get dull and boring, and there’s many reads where I’ve skipped that to get to the actual story, so it was good to read a novel where the content was first importance, and not one that relied on just sex to try to keep the reader intested.

Stars: Five, an entertaining and absorbing story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Strays, Garrett Leigh. Legacy Lost, Jillian David

Strays,  Garrett Leigh

Strays  (Urban Soul Book 2) by [Leigh, Garrett]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

One of the reasons I enjoy m/m romance so much is that it tends to be incredibly emotional, real romantic, tender love, wonderfully angsty and the plots are complex but not overcomplicated, no added unnecessary bits but just words central the the story.
I hate those padded out romances, where you feel words, plots, characters get thrown in just to add to the word-count.
I first came across Garret Leigh with the wonderful Misfits, book one to this series. So when I saw this one – well of course I had to read it 😉

Oddly looking back Cass wasn’t such a main character in that story, and yet he feels so familiar. I adore him here, he’s got the knack of seeing what people need, who they really are, he doesn’t have preconceived notions based on their history but lets everyone have a fresh start.
He and Nero share a similar issue which could make getting work difficult, but he took a chance on Nero despite his past, and Nero’s been a little in love with him since. Of course Cass can see it and in his gentle way he’s made it clear he’s happy with Tom and Jake (Misfits) yet in a way that doesn’t embarrass Nero.
He relies on Nero for the practical side of the kitchen, from designing right from the off to what kind of food and the menus for it. Along with Nero I found I’m a bit in love with Cass too….

Cass sees Lenny, right when he’s reached rock bottom. Haunted for months by a stalker who’s not only followed him constantly but has invaded his workplace and his home. The police can’t help, give him a stack of leaflets but without witnesses, evidence and a name they can’t do much.
Lenny has had enough, you feel his fear, and reading his story I could understand how people give in when they’re that low, decide life isn’t worth it. Before this he was a bright happy guy, intelligent, loved to dance, friendly, very outgoing, and almost flamboyant. He was happy with himself, now he’s like  a wraith.
Cass steps in just at the right time, places him with Nero, in the flat above Pippa’s and working in the kitchens under Nero. His only instructions to Nero? Keep him safe…or words to that effect.

Nero has no idea what has happened to Lenny, but knows if Cass placed him there its for a reason, but he’s not overjoyed at having help in the kitchen who has no experience, and having his flat invaded too. Its tiny, one bed so Lenny gets the sofa.
I love Nero, can’t recall much of him from book one ( one day when i do a back to back read – that way everything marries up nicely while its fresh in my mind) but he’s a real stoic grump type character. Everyone respects him for his brilliance in the kitchen but he’s not the guy you joke around with. Man of very few words that’s Nero.
They get along OK, Lenny trying valiantly to keep his head down, not get in the way, and its soon clear to Nero just how scared Lenny is.
He begins to get glimpses of who Lenny was before, in unguarded moments when he tells Nero things from his past, lets little bits of info slip out and they start to learn about each other. As Lenny trusts him more he ends up telling him everything, and of course he wants Nero to trust him in return, be as open as he is now they’ve got so close, become lovers, but Nero hasn’t had the best experiences when he’s let out his past before and just can’t bring back those nightmares again.

I so felt for both of them, such sad stories, such lovely people. As before Garret has created characters that feel so real, they’re not the stereotypical flaming gays seen far too often, full of clichéd action and phrases, but people who are individuals, where being non heterosexual is just part of who they are, not the sum of them.
The need for Nero to trust him with his story was so clear from Lenny, I could feel how let down he felt, how he thought he’d opened himself up but Nero just didn’t trust him enough to do the same. Then of course I could see it from Nero’s POV, how he didn’t want to bring back the nightmares, how he feared Lenny’s reaction, how he was just too scared to let it out.

Then there’s the brilliance of the Urban Soul Kitchens, how they each differ, tailored to fit the need for that area, not a generic franchise type eatery. Everything from the bare bones of the building to the sourcing of the basic food ingredients is carefully worked on, and it pulled together to create wonderful places, full of character, teams of people within them that worked together, and places I’d love to eat at. They felt so real, and I could visualise them as I was reading.

The stalking plot, its kind of low key after the first revelations and then really builds to create some fabulous drama towards the end. It fitted the story so well, let me enjoy so many different sides to each character, without turning it from a romance into a suspense novel.

Its another great read, very British ( hurrah!!) from the places used, the transport, the recipies and of course the language. So many authors try to do British, especialy British slang and cursing, but it ends up an American version of it.
One of my huge bugbears is MS Windows insistence that I can have US English – There’s no such thing, English is English, other countries may have their own take on it, but what they use Is Not English….It might be American, it might be Australian, but it isn’t English. Rant over 😉

Stars: Five, another fantastic read, one to keep.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Legacy Lost, Jillian David

Legacy Lost (Hell's Valley) by [David, Jillian]

Genre:  Romance,

I was a little neutral on the first book in this series, but got on far better with this one, understood the storyline and characters more.

We met Eric and Shelby in that last book, and learned of her Gift, and how much the newly developed parts cost her.
She’s still recovering from that and the fire, Eric is still trying to hold back his growing feelings, the family still struggling to pull through after the last disasters. You feel these poor guys deserve a break.
Not yet though….that Darkness, that Evil is still stalking them. We still don’t know what it is, but we do learn more about its motivation. Its some scary stuff in this book, and the family need all the help they can get. they really are lurching from one crisis to the next, both financially, physically and practically.

Eldest son Vaughn is still away, I’d like to know exactly what happened, but we do know he was involved with Garret’s ex, and Garret knocks down Shelby’s suggestion of asking him for help.
Their dad seems to have given up on life, and we really do see a family on the verge of breaking up. There’s only so much people can deal with, even when they do have some extra abilities.

I love Eric, and can see exactly how he felt, always welcomed as part of the family, but its fact that he’s not.
He’s been a close friend to Shelby for years, best friend to her twin, but his feelings have changed and he doesn’t know whether to risk losing what he has by telling her. It could go well, he could be part of something perfect with someone he loves, but equally he could lose everything if she doesn’t feel the same.

Events overtake them though, bringing them both into severe danger, and once more they face this anonymous Evil, the entity that they’re coming to realise means to kill them all.
I got the feeling when Odie and Ruth came into the story that they had a connection somewhere and looking it up I can see they’re from the other series. I’ve not yet read that, but if you have then you’ll know more about what they can do. For now Ruth is nursing Shelby’s dad and Odie is helping on the ranch. They need that help!

It’s a fun read, I liked that the supernatural came into play more in this one. Loved Eric, but Shelby made me a bit irritated at times with how she treated him. Still, I could sort of see where she’s coming from.
With Shelby and Eric both being attached to the Ranch most of the action takes place there but there are a few minor scenes in town, where they run up against Wyatt from the last book, who’s still acting weirdly.

Stars: Four, interesting novel, with some supernatural drama running through the love story

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

London Bound, Heart of the City series book 3, CJ Duggan

London Bound, Heart of the City series book 3, CJ Duggan

London Bound (A Heart of the City romance Book 3) by [Duggan, C.J.]

Genre:  Romance,

I read Paris Lights just before requesting this – it was on KU and I really enjoyed it. This book links slightly with that, we met Kate briefly in book one, and as I haven’t yet read book two there may be more link ups. Each are stand alone books though so no nasty cliff-hangers!!

Kate’s a lovely girl but I kept wanting to say to her “stand up to Nana Joy”. If ever a woman was misnamed that’s her…Still, I guess Kate was afraid of being sent back, not living out her dream. The way she is though she isn’t doing it either…but bullying is pervasive, it has a build up effect so that the person being bullied gets more scared, loses more of their character and becomes intimidated easily. That was clearly happening to Kate.
She gets to go out slowly, little increments of freedon aided by carer Vera, who’s a real gem
.
Jack seems very arrogant when we first meet him, but slowly we meet the real person and when we find out more about him his first reactions were understandable. I really liked him, a true gentleman. They get closer, balcony meetings leading to some steamy encounters and things heat up.
Kate’s discovery about the secret room in Nana Joys house leads to her moving on with her new blog, starting at last some of the things she’d hoped to do when coming to London.
Then the blog picks up, the heat between her and Jack picks up, what she doesn’t realise is that secrets are also picking up and when all is revealed she’s distraught.

I love a bit of drama, and that was perfect for me but…its over far too soon. I need to wallow a bit in heartbreak, and though Kate was gutted she soon got over it. Small crit but the difference between a four and a five for me.
I found the same thing with Paris Lights, a great read but the drama soon over. Others want their stories that way though, its the old horses for courses thing where you simply can’t please everyone one.

Its a fun read, with some great humour tucked in, fabulous clothes, and a snapshot of the London Experience for Kate.

Stars: Four, an enjoyable read, with realistic characters and scenes.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Black Lily, Juliette Cross

The Black Lily,  Juliette Cross

The Black Lily (Tales of the Black Lily) by [Cross, Juliette]

Genre: Romance,

I’ve read a few of Juliette’s stories, and liked the sound of this. Vampires? Romance? yep, two of my tick boxes 😉
What did make me hesitate was the Cinderella connection. I’m not a fan of fairy-tale rewrites generally, I’ve read too many that mirror the original so closely there’s nothing fresh in the story, but this one is fine.
The storyline is only very loosely followed, in fact most of the story is pure Juliette original, maybe 5-10% follows Cinderella and that’s fine by me!

We meet Arabelle, AKA the Black Lily, with her friend Deek, the blacksmith,  planning an audacious assassination of the vampire Prince Marius at a ball later that evening.
She and her band of followers have been planning this carefully, she has the gown, the jewels, the mask, a fairy-tale carriage, albeit borrowed as are the gown and jewels, and most important, a gold edged knife to kill him. Vampires in this series are killed by gold, though royals have to be stabbed in the heart for it to be fatal. No pressure there then Arabelle.
Why are they out to kill him? Well, seems vampires aren’t sticking to the laws, and the peasants arte being drained, first an odd few but more and more recently. Arabelle’s mother died this way and she’s determined to stop the slaughter.

I love the way the planning was explained, there wasn’t a magic wand ( well unless you call a certain part of Deek’s anatomy that, he uses it well to “persuade” people to lend things for the cause…. There’s lots of planning, they’ve spent months on this, even down to Arabelle swapping her outdoor chores for one of the staff’s indoor ones, so her skin gets a chance to lighten, helped also by her own cosmetic preparations. She doesn’t just dress up and hope for the best, but plans, works to make it a success.
I need that in a story, need to understand the how and the why, when something just falls into place at the right time without any effort it just doesn’t work for me.

Of course she doesn’t manage to kill him, it’d be a short book if she did…but he gets close to her and is entranced, enamoured by her even though she wanted him dead.
As it happens she was surprised by her attraction to him, surprised by their conversation. He wasn’t what she expected.
Marius is determined to find her, find out why she tried to kill him, to just get to know her better. He wants her, and not as a prisoner for an attempt on his life. Of course his royal parents aren’t quite of the same mind.
There follows captures and escapes, plans and plots, deals and steals, barters and betrayals…its a fun read, especially when we meet the Hart Wolves, and Sienna.

I really liked Marius, he was a Vampire, but one of the good guys, they’re not all heartless, blood-thirsty killers and he has no idea what’s been going on. His one failing is assuming everyone is happy, what will he do now he knows otherwise?
I really wanted him and Arabelle to find a way together but when they’re on such opposing sides its a hard ask.

There’s some great characters here, some fun adventure and it adds up to an enjoyable read, when the final denouement is revealed I could have kicked myself ( metaphorically – its hard to do that when you’ve only one leg, I’d just fall over!)
Its so obvious and yet…like I suspect most readers, I simply didn’t see that coming, followed the trail led before me very obligingly.

Its not deep, dark, drama but light and fun, with some real excitement at times, some plots that were very realistic and no quick instant, unbelievable fixes, but ones where people worked for them.
Arabelle wasn’t a sweet, helpless female, not yet a kiss ar$e heroine, but someone who felt real, who was a natural leader and worked hard for what she wanted to achieve. There were some excellent support characters too, that fitted the storyline very well.
I love the descriptions of the gowns, the fabulous Glass Palace, and the minutiae of everyday life brought in that made things feel real.

Its ends on a good spot but leaving the way open for more and I’ll be happy to read the next story.

Stars: five, a great relaxing read, fun story, light drama and adventure.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair by [Haley, Carolyn]

Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and fantasy

I was really pulled in by the blurb on this book, but it turned out to be nothing like I expected.
There’s lots I enjoyed, but at times it got so over complicated that I was lost.

There’s a lot of esoteric descriptions, flowery prose over psychic events, lots of inner musings about what’s happening now, in the past and in the future and why, and how, and what possibilities there are to stop it.
And soulmates, Maddie is fixated on soulmates, whether Buck or Kit is destined to be with her, but maybe she has a connection with Dru too, and yet one more guy later in the book….You’d think Dru’s girlfriend, Maddie’s sister Blanche would have something to say, but she’s just as open minded about who she should be with, and when and how long….Confused? You will be 😉
You can see how complex just the sex parts get. Throw in the other characters that live at New Atlantis and a few more visions/premonitions/echoes of past lives, and at times its one big sex fest, but one where emotions as far as love are concerned just don’t come into it.

I didn’t really like any of the characters much, probably Kit’s the only one I came close to feeling for, and it seems to me he gets swept along the psychic tide by accident. I felt the otrhers were rationlising much of their behavoiur telling themsleves, and others, it was for the common good.

Its really a story of the supernatural, of good versus evil, and of how governments are afraid of anything they can’t understand, and will stop at nothing to keep control. That’s scarily true and if this was real I think it would play out as described.

Its billed as Romance, but to me there’s little actual romance, its more a question of “your chakra needs re-balancing/your aura is out of sync/you’ve too much negative energy/the tides are predicting this” ( or moon/stars/sun – take your pick) or simply “its a festival and I want you”….Everything becomes an excuse for some hot and steamy sex, but without the emotion and feelings of love for the individual that are needed for me. TBH that spoiled it for me.

Eventually after many false starts, and lots of failed attempts – and lots more sex – the Evil gets identified and pushed aside, but not at cost, and not without the sticky fingers of the Government getting involved.
That sets up another trap, possibly as dangerous as the Evil they’ve just overbalanced for now.

Its a very complex tale, lots of content and action – for me a little too much. I want a story where I can work out what’s happening, and follow along with events, but there’s so much psychic intervention here that it becomes impossible to predict events, to work out who, what, how and when.
I love paranormal stories but this one gets so over-complex that I found myself switching off sometimes, and just flicking past events trying to see what part that had actual relevance to the story came next.
I like a romance with characters I can get behind, a couple – or couples/trios – that I can want to be together, without all the sex with others muddying the way. I didn’t really feel any actual romance in this story, until maybe close to the end. Speaking of endings – its very amiguous. Are there more books to come or is this it? I felt for a long while when starting that I’d jumped in to an existing sereis, and missed a book or two but I can’t find anything else except this book.

Overall its an OK read for me, I just felt there was so much going on that the story, the message, got lost.
As for the romance, well, don’t expect tenderness, hearts and flowers, but people who really don’t know who they want to be with and end up trying – lots of times – before they buy!

Stars: Three, parts of it I liked, the idea I loved, the execution not so much.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Sweet Cheeks, K. Bromberg and Wait for It Mariana Zapata

Wait for It  Mariana Zapata

Wait for It by [Zapata, Mariana]

Genre:  Romance,

My first MZ read….and what a cracker it was. I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

Its got great day to day scenes that really let me get to know the characters, not just Diana and Dallas but the two little boys and the rest of her family, his cousin ( I think it was cousin, I’m writing this about 4 weeks after reading it) and family, so many interesting characters.
The plot is solid, full of interest, dilemmas, fun bits of humour, sadness when the kids are having issues, and of course the growing relationship between Dallas and Diana, which doesn’t really start off well.

Its a lovely looonng book too, and its great to find  an author who doesn’t try yo cram everything into 200 pages or less. I looked at one story on KU yesterday and it was 26 pages…that’s not a book but a short story, and there are even ones shorter than that masquerading as books!

Stars: five, a fabulous read, and its on KU, as are a couple of others from MZ. I’ve just borrowed Under Locke, which is on KU and downloaded the sample of Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin, which isn’t on KU but appeals to me.

Sweet Cheeks,  K. Bromberg

Sweet Cheeks by [Bromberg, K.]

Genre:  Romance,

I love the Driven series, have re-read those and they are definitely in my keepers files, but its good too when an author moves into a new area, out of the “comfort zone” into a fresh venue.
I was pleased to see this one and I bought it. Yep, paid real money!
Between review novels and my KU subs a book has to have a pretty good suggestion that its one for me before I’ll buy it, and with so many authors raising prices its great to see an established author keeping them affordable. This is still just £2.99 and as its one I’ll reread  that’s great value.

As always with KB’s books I love the characters, they feel so real, and of course the settings are perfect. From Saylor’s shop to the extravagant wedding venue I could visualise them easily. .
I have to sday this though – I hated the title, it sounds so twee, but its the name of Saylor’s bakery so it does feel better when you know that 😉
She’s a great girl, works hard, and is trying to build up her business. Then she gets That invite, the one to the wedding, which oddly enough mirrors exactly what she had planned when she was the bride….weird or what??
Who would want that, the wedding your husband to be was having with someone else…and then the invite gets returned by accident, saying she’ll attend, armed with a plus one…

Then Hayes, film star extraordinaire, comes into the story. He and Saylor have a past, though its been years since they met, after he broke her heart when he left.
The banter between these two is perfect, the wedding scenes so real, and full of snark, and the hashtag parts I loved. Its got so much I love in a story here, great characters, solid plots, humour, snark, and lots of drama and sad parts.
Its a terrific read.

Stars: five, a fabulous read, from a favourite author that kept me engrossed for hours and will join the keepers.

Indelible, Adelia Saunders

Indelible, Adelia Saunders

Indelible by [Saunders, Adelia]

Genre:  General fiction

I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so deliciously different, and reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hunter’s Irin chronicles with the skin marking references, though of course instead of a few people having visible marking to others, only Magdalena sees what’s marked, no-one else.

Once I started reading though..well, I just felt it was a disjointed rambling tale. Nothing seemed to really relate to anything else, we seemed to veer from one persons POV to the next, and I just felt lost, didn’t understand what was the point of what we were told. It felt like a story that led nowhere.

The three main characters had a very tenuous connection, and I felt them to be kind of flat, I didn’t understand them, didn’t like them and just wasn’t interested in their spry or what would happen to them.
I started flipping through at about 30% hoping it would get more interesting, looking for something that would hook me in to the story. I didn’t find it and DNF the novel. There’s too many books I will like to waste time on one I know I’m not going to.

For me it was a story that had so much fantastical potential but which turned out very different to what I expected from the description. I can see though that many others love it, clearly it resonated with many people but for me its just a fail.

Stars: two, just one of those I didn’t like, didn’t understand but others love. Che sera…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Last Resort, R.S. Kovach

The Last Resort, R.S. Kovach

The Last Resort by [Kovach, R.S.]

Genre:  Romance,

As a horse lover and rider this appealed to me so I was eager to read it. Sounded like it was a romance with that extra spark that I like.

Sadly I didn’t like it and finally abandoned at the halfway mark.

I didn’t like Ali. Right from the start she comes over a a bit arrogant, and the accident could have happened anyway, but maybe if she’d been more aware. Still, I’ve broken bones through riding accidents, it happens, its quiet a dangerous sport…I used to hide the newspapers from Him Indoors when there were bad news involving horse riding.

I just didn’t see though how such a simple accident led to the mental issues that affected her work. She must have done things like this before – its par for the course when you ride alot.

Then the mistakes at work seemed to be just weird, odd, and I didn’t really see how they were caused by the accident and its effect on her. Still, she gets sent to recuprate for a month.

I thought given she’s got mental issues, trauma etc there would be daily psych sessions, both group and private, but at halfway she’s only had two, one very off the cuff in the stables and another than seems to have been over in minutes. There’s no real sessions seem to take place with any of the other residents either.

She doesn’t really exercise much sense or treat others with any respect. She’s rude to some of them, uses one man to try to make Hank jealous, which isn’t really fair to the poor guy, and as she’s only been there a few days why on earth is she so obsessed with Hank. And what the heck does he see in her, something I don’t that’s for sure.

She doesn’t listen either when she wants to go for a walk and a storm is coming, but trundles out putting others in danger when she needs rescuing. She could have followed the riders she saw while out and lost, that would be simple wouldn’t it but no, for some obscure reason she doesn’t.

I did like Hank, and just didn’t see what attracted him to her. They didn’t really have any real interactions, and suddenly its full on romance.

I just had to give up, I know its a story that’s won awards, and well done to the author for that. Its tough getting a book seen in todays market but for me it just doesn’t work. Luckily everyone wants different things and others will love it but for me its a DNF fail.

Stars: Two, sadly a fail for me. I can see others don’t like the ending – I didn’t even get that far…and maybe that’s just as well, as it sounds like I’d be moaning too.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Katie Baldwin

A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Katie Baldwin

A Kiss to Build a Dream On (Saving Graces Fantasies Book 1) by [Baldwin, Katie]

Genre:  Romance, Humour

OK, I enjoyed this, but its a very light and sweet romance. Perfect for if you just want a quick, easy to read escape but if you’re looking for drama and depth you won’t find it here.

Bethany’s a sweet lead, librarian, good friend and fits the stereotype well. You just know she leads a conventional drama free life. She does have some tragedy in her past, but its not a big part of the story.
Aiden “ride the Aiden train”, the film star lead was another “nice” character. None of that rabble rousing, womanising, alchohol and drug filled rampages for him. He’s happy with a cup of tea….
I couldn’t help liking him but – he’s a hot celebrity, pursued (every now and then, less than I expected) by paparazzi in the story, and it made me wonder why he didn’t have bodyguards, how he could get away with wandering round town and eating in restaurants with Bethany without being besieged?
That worked for the story but kind of took him out of the ” Film star/Celebrity” league for me. Just didn’t really fit.
His ex was a nice piece of work, and I’d hoped for some sparky fireworks but no, simply a few damp squibs.

In the main, apart from the ex everybody is just…nice. Bethany and her work mates, Aiden, his staff and friends. If you want a sweet and cute romance, full of lovable characters, no surprises or dramatics this is perfect.
I read it, enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me by the throat, make it impossible to put down, have me wondering what would happen next. Somehow what was coming could be seen, and the only surprises for me were things like potential plots that I thought might come up but didn’t.
Stars: Three, a cute and sweet romance, but for me not a keeper.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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