Archive | May 2017

Through Your Eyes, Shannyn Schroeder

Through Your Eyes, Shannyn Schroeder

Through Your Eyes (A For Your Love Novel) by [Schroeder, Shannyn]

Genre:  Romance,

I’d not read any of Shannyn’s novels before so wasn’t sure what to expect.
Sadly in this case it was one of those “its not the book it’s me” situations. I just couldn’t get into the story, didn’t really like the characters.
It’s the third in a connected series, one of those where each book is complete but there’s an overall story arc via the people within it.

I don’t think it would have made much difference if I’d read the first two books. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand the setting and situations within it, more than I just didn’t like the settings or characters.
I found they acted IMO like teens, and just didn’t feel like adults. I found the Rory situation difficult to believe, sometimes I wanted to shake Deidre for not seeing what was in front of her ( though top be fair I didn’t get it quite right!!).
Then there was Tommy, he was so polite, so clearly wanting her and happy to do whatever she wanted, and she was just blowing hot and cold on him, and could be so rude in her conversations ( I mean as in uncivil, not nudge-nudge, wink-wink rude…) At times I wanted to say to him, C’mon, Spell it out for her. Stop being her doormat….

Still though, the book is written perfectly, plots play out properly and of course it will be exactly what other readers want, as evidenced by the many fans of the first two books.
Its really is just a subjective choice, I thought I’d like this but didn’t. That doesn’t mean its not a good read for you, just that its not a good read For Me.

Stars: Two, I read first half, skimmed second half as I just couldn’t get into the story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Heels Over Head, Elyse Springer

Heels Over Head, Elyse Springer

Heels Over Head by [Springer, Elyse]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved Elyse’s Whiteout, so looked forward to this. Its a very different style of book IMO, but once more Elyse lets me wallow in the angsty bit, really stretches it out.
So many otherwise perfect for me stories just skip that part, breakup on page 278, make up by 280….here it covers a decent span of time both in book pages and weeks/months.

When we meet Jeremy he appears almost mechanical, very goal focused and nothing detracts him. He’s kind of isolated with only diver Val and trainer Andrey as – well, not freinds even Val, but contacts? acquaintances?
He’s been training and diving since he was seven, much to the disgust of his father and brothers. Fag sport is what they call it, they’re the type of stereotypical rednecks that pride themselves ( somewhat ironically!) as Men’s men. You know, the tough sort, the Manly type….sadly, there’s lots like him. Jeremy has been trying to make his family proud for years, but so far they still deride his sport. Olympic cold will do it he thinks, and that’s his goal.
So when he finds out Andrey has taken on another pupil he’s not happy. Andrey came out of retirement to train him and he’s been his only pupil for a long time. Now he has to share with Brandon and he makes it clear he isn’t happy.
He thinks Brandon is a waste of time, he’s out for the fun of diving, only been doing it for two years and has so much raw talent that Jeremy is annoyed he won’t take it seriously. Not only that but he’s Gay and proud of it. Cue much friction.

Brandon comes from a wealthy background but when he came out to his parents at 18 he was thrown out. He knew it would happen, made a few plans and has been alone ever since.
He’s had lots of freinds, is still close to his ex, and is just going along with the flow, delighted to have got a scholarship and training for his diving. He does it for fun though, looks at Jeremy’s single minded focus and thinks there’s more to life that being like that, giving up everything for one goal.
Jeremy intrigues him though, he’s politely rude, makes it clear he thinks Andrey shouldn’t be training him, and Brandon just wants to find a way to crack through the disdain he shows for him.

And then number three comes in, Val, long time competitor who’s met Jeremy so many times they’re kind of friends, well as close as he will allow himself anyway. Friends divert his focus and he won’t allow that.
Val has pushy parents, thwarted from their own ambitions they’re determined to push her to the Olympics. As a child she followed without question, as an adult now she’s feeling she wants to find her own way in the world and that may not be through competitive diving.

So three very diverse characters. Val makes friends with Brandon pretty quickly, he’s a likable guy and she doesn’t have Jeremy’s intensity about focus and friendships. She needs freinds to support her when her mother is around!
Brandon is attracted to Jeremy from the off, but soon realises Jeremy may be giving off signs that he’s attracted by Brandon, but is not admitting that even to himself. He’s what Brandon and his friend call a skeleton, someone so deep in the closet they don’t acknowledge even to themsleves their feelings.
That way disaster lies from Brandon, and yet he can’t seem to keep away, can’t stop trying to get Jeremy’s attention.

I love this kind of read, where people are so opposite, so different you think No Way will they make it together, and then authors prove that totally wrong.
Its no quick fix either, but slowly, so very slowly Jeremy comes round to Brandon, to the point where they’re lovers.
And then bam…it’s all off. Oh I love that part in a story, where just as they look set for a HEA after lots of struggle and work it all goes wrong.
I was so angry at Jeremy, he was so cold and callous, even though I knew why. It takes a lot of time and work to put right and that was just perfect for me, no two page breakup and then its all sunshine and rainbows…

I don’t know the world of swimming at all but here it was so well explained I could follow along, get involved in the way they wanted to win, understand the things they were up against.
There’s a lot of side content here, that adds so much to the story, things we need to know to really understand the characters and that worked really well for me.
At the beginning I didn’t think I could ever really like Jeremy, he seemed so cold but as I got to know him I so felt for him, for what he’d tried to do, for the things he’d given up to try to get his families approval.
Brandon I loved from day one, and Val, well sadly there’s so many like her, who have their own ambitions thwarted by parents who want to push them in another direction. doesn’t everyone deserve to make their own choices, do what they know will make them happy?

Stars: Four, a really interesting read, with lots of emotion and drama.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Called Out, Jen Doyle. Fraud Twice Felt, J.T. Hall

Called Out, Jen Doyle

Called Out by [Doyle, Jen]

Genre:  Romance,

Carina: what I love about Carina books is they have a happy ending, eiother a HEA or a HFN, and thats what I want in a romance, an escape from realisty into happy times, a way to leave todays probelms behind and disappear into a world where things go wrong but end well.

I’ve got to start this review with a gripe though 😦 One thing that really bothered me about this story.
We’re told Jack screwed over his best friend and work colleague, and has been given the cold shoulder by everyone since.
What he did was dreadful, a total no-go thing to do to your best mate but I kept thinking, maybe there’s something we’re missing? There are some details that mean what we think happened may not be quite that way perhaps? **see edit at end**
Equally there were complications, something results from that act that gets left open. That felt weird to me, I can’t understand why it wasn’t dealt with, why Jack would have not acted upon what resulted, or again maybe there’s something I’m missing. The Jack we know from this story would not have just done nothing, would have acted, stepped up, not just left things hanging.
Without giving it away its hard to say what happened, maybe it resolved spontaneously, but it felt very strange to me, and was hard to match with the Jack we came to know.

I love this kind of book, enemies to lovers, and there was some serious chemistry between Jack and Lola, some scorching sensual scenes that are page melting.
Lola, I so felt for her, devastated after her husbands death, left with four small boys, she’s kind of running through life on autopilot, and anything that affects that fine tuned organisation she has is disastrous. So she’s not in the best mood when she meets Jack. Her boys though – he’s one of their idols.
Jack’s actually a really good guy, though his background leads to him to deny that, to think he’s like his parenst and incapable of love. Yet the things he does for Lola show us otherwise and how he is with the boys, (one, two and three…and four the later addition!!) well, that’s heart melting.

We meet up with the gang again, I loved Dorie and Nate from the first book, somehow missed out on book two, but its the same great group of characters, who’ve known each other for years, who feel so real.
Its another story I loved, that pulled at the heart strings, made me laugh and feel tearful all within a few pages sometimes.
Its a great summer read, one for when you’re feeling a little down and want something to make you smile and feel really good at the end.

Stars: four and a half. I have to take off a half star for that huge, unresolved issue, the thing that’s such a catalyst for the story and yet gets left hanging. ( but may not be in final version)

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

** that may have been only in ARCs. Seems debut had her losing the baby. Hopefully thats clear in final version**

Fraud Twice Felt, J.T. Hall

Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities Book 2) by [Hall, J.T.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I hadn’t read book one. Occasionally I have to restrict myself and catch up on the TBR list and must have missed it that way because its a series that’s got so much I love.
Still, looking at sample and reviews it was pretty easy to catch up.

Derwin and Elliot are finding a new life together. It seems strange to think they’ve only been together three weeks but I guess its been very intense so that’s why they feel as though they’ve known each other longer. They really are Jack Spratt and his wife with Derwin needing pain to feed, and Elliot getting enjoyment from being hurt. Makes them perfect for each other.

Now Elliott’s given up the rent boy gig and moved in with Derwin, he’s also working at Bob’s Bail Bonds. Just filing currently but hoping to learn more and be a bounty hunter himself. For now though he’s enjoying having some autonomy over his life, its not been that way for a very long while.
He’s still in danger though from the head of one of the local gangs who sees Elliot as his special plaything, his to hurt, his to keep. Derwin is determined not to let that happen and with most people his strength would do it, but Roy seems to have some abilities of his own, plus of course backing of a gang…

As well as the relationship issues, and the gangs there’s a supernatural bent to this series too with some people like Derwin and Elliot having extra abilities. That’s good – and not good. It helps keep them alive and in work but if the government gets to hear about it they’ll be whipped off to some science lab, no doubts there.
So they need to fly under the radar carefully. The last book put them in the eye of some of the local cops, so caution is needed.
Life isn’t like that though, and long time friend and colleague Connie’s son is missing. That leads them into an adventure that brings in more people, the cops, the underclass of homeless and prostitutes Elliot knows so well, Roy and his gang, along with another local gang, and of all things a sea serpent, a huge sea dwelling dragon…

Its a breathtaking adventure with a bit of everything thrown in, romance and esp m/m romance, the issues of homophobia, the police/government and the bias against Oddities, the danger from the local gangs, who of course don’t work together so cause issues everywhere, the bounty hunters, the sea dragon and in that mix they need to find and rescue Connie’s son and his girlfriend without getting caught in any of the competing dangers.
Well, there’s so much going on, so much action, planning, thinking on the fly when plans go wrong that its a solid read, and yet its not five stars for me as I expected.
I’m not sure why but maybe its just that there’s a bit too much of everything happening. That kind of diluted some of the effects, and the constant crisis to crisis action didn’t really leave much time for thinking, for seeing how the relationship between Elliot and Derwin was developing.
Its romance, but really more an action read than romance read IMO.

Its a good read, I enjoyed it but its not (yet) a series I’m in love with. time will tell I guess, there;s the potential from far more from this setting.

Stars: Four, an action packed read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket, Linda MacDonald. The Moon Shines Red, Heart of Darkness 1, Pamela Sparkman

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket, Linda MacDonald

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by [MacDonald, Linda]

Genre:  Romance, General Fiction,(adult).
Well. I love romance, saw this and was intrigued but…..to me this Isn’t Romance. Romance for me is lovers, twists, dramas, upheavals, and this book has all that but it doesn’t have a HEA, or even a HFN and to me one of those is essential for a book classed as a romance read.
That said it’s a story I very much enjoyed, made me do a lot of that “what if” thinking, look at things from the position of each character.

I hadn’t read the author’s other books which feature characters from this one, and maybe if I had I’d feel differently about Marianne, Ted and Felicity.
I may have been more sympathetic to Felicity, when we first met her. As it is I found her strange, very out for herself. She’d left Ted to be with her lover, and yet she’s irritated that he’s found someone to replace her, disparaging about Marianne, irritated that she’s spending time with Ted in the family home, cross when they both spend time in Marianne’s London home.

Then she meets Coll, and its as if she likes the attention, is flattered and is using him as a place warmer, waiting to see if she can displace Marianne and get her position back with Ted.

She seemed to me very shallow, expected everything to go back as before she left to move abroad with her lover, she left without caring about them, now she’s back she wants it all to carry on as if she hadn’t gone, as if those months had just been a kind of limbo for everyone else.. We do see her lighter side though, and maybe her attitude is one shaped by recent events and not a true look at her.
I did warm to her over time, did come to understand her better, and at the end I respected her and what she did.

Sarah, I felt she really drew the short straw. Ten years “with” Coll, each having separate homes and their relationship revolving solely around what he wants.
Her first husband died, when they were still deeply in love and she really wants to find that again, seemed like she had when she first met Coll. However he’s slowly eroded her confidence to the position when she seems to think its OK for him to have other women, (OW she calls them) as she knows its all flirting on Coll’s part, and nothing serious would come of it. Then he meets Felicity, and everything changes.

Coll, I hated that man and yet I could see what he was so attractive to women. He’s decent looking and cultivates an air of mystery, the Bohemian artist type, and is very careful what he says about himself and his life. What he does do so well is encourage the OWs to talk about themselves, leaving it open for him to listen carefully, to flatter, to encourage, to sympathise until they hang on his every word.
He made me so angry the way he was so careful not to tell Felicity about Sarah…..I wanted to shout at Sarah “Follow him, Check his phone, ask him outright.” To Felicity i wanted to say “ask more, questions why he hasn’t/doesn’t seem to have has a relationship since his divorce over a decade ago.” But of course they don’t and the story rolls on to its climax.
I so felt for Sarah, she knew but was kidding herself. She realised Felicity was more than the usual Ow, a real threat this time. And Coll, he just wouldn’t see what he was doing was wrong, belittled Sarah in subtle ways, didn’t stop to think of how hurt she would be about what he says. All the way through he only ever looks at how events affect him, and some of the things he says to Sarah I could strangle him, choke him, I was so angry.  Dammit he’s a book character! How can I get so angry about one of those 😉 but I do. Testament of good writing the the world and characters that are fictional feel so real.

The ending kind of soft, subdued, unfinished to me, there’s not real conclusion and overall from everything I think Sarah is the one who lose most, I really felt for her. She’d done nothing but fall in love with a charismatic but shallow, selfish man.

Stars: five,not a romance, but an interesting and absorbing read none-the-less. Not a rereader but a full 5* story despite that.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Moon Shines Red, Heart of Darkness 1, Pamela Sparkman

The Moon Shines Red: A Fantasy Romance Novel (Heart of Darkness Book 1) by [Sparkman, Pamela]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, some you win, some you lose. Sadly this was a lose for me. Its garnered a whole slew of 4 and 5 star reviews so clearly its spot on for many readers, but I’m not among them.

I thought I’d like it, it sounded intriguing but I just felt disassociated from the plots and the characters. I just couldn’t connect with them in any way, didn’t really feel anything for them, didn’t care if things worked out. I did skim read the last 60% just to finish as it was clear when I got to 40% that it wasn’t going to work for me 😦
That happens, reading is subjective, not liking it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book any more than liking a book doesn’t mean it’s good. Its just My View of it, and if you share my taste in reads you may feel the same.

Its perfectly well set out, doesn’t leave plot lines hanging, is easy to follow and has a proper ending where everything is clear and story-line for later book emerges, but it felt almost YA in the way the plots played out and the characters acted. Though I’ve enjoyed some YA in the past its not my preferred reading type and this just didn’t work for me. I won’t continue with the series.

Stars: Two, a great book for many readers, but wasn’t one for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Surrender the Dark, Tibby Armstrong

Surrender the Dark, Tibby Armstrong

Surrender the Dark by [Armstrong, Tibby]

Genre: Romance

Vampires and Romance, check and request. sadly though its a fail for me.
I didn’t like the characters, didn’t follow all the odd terms though most could be guessed at. I couldn’t get a feel for Benjamin or Tzadkiel as people, didn’t feel I knew them, and they certainly have a real hate going on.
I know its said there’s a thin line between love and hate but here I just didn’t feel the lust between them was genuine, they were both so mired in hatred.
Its that old bearing a grudge for history, we can’t change it, both sets of ancestors did things that were wrong, but which they felt justified. someone has to make it stop sometime.

There were things too that just didn’t feel right for me, the times something weird, different, new comes up that gets them out of a tight spot, the way Benjamin’s freinds take off when he gives them some patently untrue lies, I didn’t feel they’d have believed him or abandon him like that.

I gave up about halfway through, just couldn’t bring myself to read more.
Shame as it sounded perfect for me, and maybe sometime in the future I’ll give it another go?
I can see others love it so perhaps I’m missing something, need to be in a different mindset to appreciate it? Who knows…it happens. Everyone likes different stories so some will love this, others like me won’t connect.

Stars: Two, just not the right story for me, but perfect for others. You choose.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

My Husband the Stranger, Rebecca Done

My Husband the Stranger,  Rebecca Done

Genre:   Women’s fiction, mystery & thrillers

I really enjoyed Rebecca’s debut book, and was pleased to get this one for review. She’s got the same way of taking what I thought I’d think and feel, and turning it upside down in this story as in This Secret we’re Keeping, and the same type of ending, where its not cut and dried HEA but indications that everything will be OK in time. Secret was a little ambiguous in the ending, which I don’t really like, but this one is more distinct in which way the future looks set to fall.

So to begin, even though I felt so sorry for Alex, after his terrible brain injury I still thought he was a jerk. That’s tough judgement on my part, but it seemed as though he didn’t want to help himself, was content with who he was now.
At times he was so awful to Molly, didn’t seem to see her as his wife, someone he loved, his equal, but treated her as though she was simply there to be at his beck and call. Then moments of the old Alex flashed through, and I could see the man he was, the man Molly fell in love with.
Things were so hard for her, she’d memories of the man she married, and yet though he’s there with her, wears his face and body, he’s not the same man inside. That must be so hard to deal with, especially when after three years its unlikely he’ll go back to who he was before.
Molly was wonderful, but at the point we join the story she’s at the end of her tether, struggling to keep a job, where the boss is clearly out to get rid of her. She doesn’t like what she does but its an income, and with Alex not working they need it.
The cottage too, his old family home which they’d planned to renovate, is falling apart, not just the fabric of the building but all their appliances, and that adds to her stress.
Alex is in his own little world where everything revolves around his wants and needs, just thinks Molly is nagging, and is awful to her. He spends his days doing nothing really, going to pub, playing golf, and what really upsets Molly too is when his ex keeps flirting with him.
When they moved back to Norfolk from London he was irritated at Nicola’s attempts to text him, to be friends, running past their house in her daily jog, bumping into him wherever they went, but now he seems to revel in it and poor Molly is so hurt.
It doesn’t matter that she understands why he’s like this, she’s just struggling, hurt, upset and I wondered just how long she could carry on.
It wasn’t Alex’ fault, but how he is now isn’t how he was when they married. Molly’s hanging on hard but her parents and friends keep indicating that maybe its time she looked out for herself.
They want her to go back to London, back to the job she had, which she loved, where they could help share the burden of Alex.
She thinks he wouldn’t cope though with how life is there, far faster and more dangerous for him than Norfolk. ( I live in Norfolk, yes life is much slower here, I’d hate to live in London, fine for a visit but to live? )

Then there’s Graeme, Alex’ twin. He seems a nice man, but in the past and present format the novel is delivered there are hints that actually the man we see now isn’t exactly the truth, we see the resentment he has for Alex .
Their dad Keith always favoured Alex, and its clear that Keith resented Graeme, even though he’s the one that stayed in Norfolk to look after him. I wondered why there was such bias, but we do get the details well into the novel and I so felt for Graeme then, it was really unfair. It wasn’t Alex’ fault though, he didn’t play any part in their dad’s bias, couldn’t change it, yet Graeme resented him for it.

Its a great story, slowly bringing us deeper into the lives of the three main characters. I so felt for Molly, she’s in a situation that happens to many people in reality, and she’s doing her best.
Alex – well, even though I felt for him, for what he’d lost, he didn’t know what he’d lost. To him this life and how he feels is normal, though he does know what happened and how he’s changed, he just doesn’t seem to see the effect it has on others.
I wanted the miracle cure, something to bring back the lovely man we knew from the past sections of the book, the man who couldn’t do enough for Molly, who adored her and was always planning little treats and surprises.
You just keep wondering as you read, Is this how their future is? Can they move forward like this? Will he ever get back some of the man he was, become at least the loving man that adored his wife?
There are little flashes when  we see he’s in there somewhere, and then he does or says something really hurtful and poor Molly is crushed. It made me think – how would I react? I’d like to think in the same way as Molly, but who knows? She’s currently married to a very different person, and may never get the old Alex back. Can she live the rest of her life on this teetering knife edge?

Its a solid read, slowly drawing the reader in until we just don’t know what’s going to happen, how things will pan out, and of course there’s some trails laid that may or may not change the future, depending on choices made.

 

Stars: Five, a solid, very realistic read, that made me think how would I react.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Devil’s Deal, Tarnished Billionaires 1, Michele Arris

Devil’s Deal, Tarnished Billionaires 1, Michele Arris

Devil's Deal (Tarnished Billionaires) by [Arris, Michele]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

I thought this sounded a fun read, I do love a romance with some spice 😉 but for me its a fail. Others love it and we all want different things though so might still be perfect for you even though it wasn’t for me.

I found for a Billionaire “playboy” Lucas was far too quick to fall for Bailey, the lust between them was believable, but I found it hard to believe in the insta-love – it didn’t fit the people I felt they were when they’d barely had a couple of dates…and not wholly successful ones at that.
I have a little trouble with insta-love scenes, when its people who’ve spent their life vying away from love. It needs to be a really special relationship and I didn’t feel they’d got to know each other anywhere near enough for that.

Bailey is far to quick to push him away, too quick to lay blame at others door, and rely on past hurts, and yet friend Faith gets away with murder IMO. Sienna, the real friend, acted in a way I also found to be stretching credibility – it was far too predictable what was going to happen as a result of her actions, and then Bailey really over-reacted, not giving her a chance to explain.

Altogether it was a novel which I thought I’d like but fell short for me, but as ever you choose. Others love it.

Stars: Two and a half, it had promise and there were some parts that worked so it’s more than a two, but doesn’t really hit the three “good” rating.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Nanny Arrangement, Rachel Harris

The Nanny Arrangement, Rachel Harris

The Nanny Arrangement (Country Blues Book 2) by [Harris, Rachel]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

I saw the Rock star connection and clicked, well its an Entangled book and I know from past experience I enjoy those. What missed me was its a Bliss imprint, and though I enjoy those, I do find them a little sweet, cute, and short on the drama.

That’s how this book worked for me, great characters, interesting story but very low key, muted dramatics. I was hoping Krista might throw some fireworks in but….

Hannah’s lovely, a very genuine person with a great heart. Like any kid who’s a bit different she was bullied at school, and as I know from experience kids can be cruel and that does affect confidence long term. That’s how it was for Hannah, outwardly she’s fine but inside always waiting for the drop.
She’s been a great friend to Deacon, wanted for a long time to be more but he seems to have her firmly in the friendship zone. Now she’s determined to have one good try at getting his attention instead of always waiting and living with regrets.

Its a fun read, the toddlers are cute, the other band members great and Deke and Hannah? Well its clear they both feel for each other but neither really thinks the other is attracted, there’s lots of inward musings about what if, maybe, can I? Etc.
Deke’s worried about Max too, his little son who adores Hannah, and concerned that if he makes a move and it goes wrong Max will lose Hannah, and he doesn’t want to risk that. there’s times when I just wanted to shriek at each of them “go for it, can’t you see what he/she wants?” but of course that would end the book a lot sooner.

Its an enjoyable read, well written and perfect if you like a sweet, simple romance with a decent backstory. Me? I really like more fireworks, sparks, drama, and sadness I can wallow in.
I enjoyed this but as a one off read, but of course as always what I want isn’t necessarily what you want.

Stars: Three, good story, well written but a bit light for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

NUDES, A Hollywood Romance, Sarah Robinson

NUDES, A Hollywood Romance, Sarah Robinson

NUDES: A Hollywood Romance (Exposed Book 1) by [Robinson, Sarah]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s fiction

Hollywood….that’s always an eye-catcher for me, and for a change it was the female lead who’s the star. Well, star in the making….

Aria is lovely, talented and hardworking, her career means all to her, and she’s on the cusp of a breakthrough with her latest film.
She does seem to have the tendency to fall in love at the drop of a hat though and that brings her first big problem. She’s sleeping (silly phrase really – sleeping is the least that happens!) with the director of her current film. And then she finds him with an intern, getting a blow job and gave him the elbow. Since then he’s had the knives out for her.
She’s vowed to put her career first, that affair could have ended it before it really took off, so no more dangerous distractions.

Then along comes Ben, new CEO and the attraction between the two is visceral, full of sexual tension, simmering, sizzling touches and glances. Shocks them both, its the last thing either want.
Ben’s a lovely man, burned by his ex, a star a bit older than him who really blasted him when she left. He’s not going there again even though he can feel a real pull to Aria.
The feelings get the better of them though and they have a no strings weekend….and in the weeks after somehow they get pulled back together.
Everything seems to be going well, they’ve been very discreet, very careful but the director she was sleeping with is still out for revenge. He does the endings, not the lady and he wants to get back at her. He’s not happy with Ben, has picked up what’s going on, and in his nasty manipulative way sets in motions something that has the potential to end the careers and relationship of Ben and Aria.

Its nasty, and as Aria says why is it that the men are playboys and the ladies are sluts. That’s always the case isn’t it, so unfair and so hard to get past. A woman is sleeping her way to the top instead of using her talent, a man in the same position? Its all “good for you mate, you go get her!!” That double standard is seen in many careers not just Hollywood, but of course fame brings a wider interest, the internet ensures that info once out can never be properly controlled and the world will have an opinion, and be very loud and vicious in voicing it. Poor Aria is devastated, and thinks Ben is at fault. Of course if she’d just asked…but that would have made the book end sooner 😉 and spoil things.

The way Ben took back control, made reparations, and actually used the situation to show the anomaly of the way the sexes are treated differently was great. That was the clever theme in this story, a very good and pertinent one that’s far too true unfortunately. I just didn’t feel that the rest of the story quite lived up to the initial promise.

I enjoyed this story but didn’t love it. I needed a bit more than the insta-lust to imagine Aria and Ben were really in love, and felt that so much of the day to day stuff was glossed over, when with a bit more detail it would have made the story more alive, believable for me.A good read, but not a great one, not one for rereading.

Stars: Three, its a good read, just not quite as good as I’d thought it would be.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Commonwealth, Ann Patchett

Commonwealth, Ann Patchett

Genre:  General Fiction (adult), Literary fiction

Well, lots of rave reviews, an author who I’ve never read and a book that sounded interesting.
So loads of people love this book but for me? It just didn’t work.

I found the constant time changing choppy and confusing. One moment I felt the kids were small then we were reminiscing and they were adults. Then back to them as kids again…
I didn’t like the characters, didn’t understand what they did, why the did things and just felt I was reading day to day appalling parenting, reading about neglectful, selfish adults, bad decisions and after getting to 60% with a struggle I finally gave up.

I can see others love it, really adore it and that’s great. Its just isn’t one for me. That’s how reading is, what one likes another hates so make your own judgment, you could be among those who love this kind of read, or like me who don’t.
Its not a reflection of how good or bad a story is, just on how the reader enjoys it. I’ve loved books others have rated one and two stars, what they didn’t like is what made them perfect for me. this could be that book for you. Or not 😉

Stars: Two, I didn’t hate it so no one star from me but there wasn’t enough interest to keep me reading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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