Archive | July 2017

Seducing Abby Rhodes, J. D. Mason

Seducing Abby Rhodes, J. D. Mason

Seducing Abby Rhodes: A Novel by [Mason, J. D.]

Genre: Multicultural Interest.

I saw the synopsis for this, thought “romance” and as it had a great prospective nasty B itch female – I love those – I requested. It wasn’t until writing this review I saw the Multicultural Interest tag.
I did notice after the first couple of chapters that Jordan isn’t the usual white, well connected, Alpha male and thought then how refreshing it was to read of a male coloured lead. We see ladies of colour in romance, almost always gorgeous Latino types 😉 but I can’t recall the last time I read one with a male lead. That’s a shame, and bad in that it certainly doesn’t fit reality. I was pretty ashamed too, that until then I’d just made the assumption that he was white. Says much for today’s stereotypes and how they lead to unconscious bias. I’ll try to work harder at avoiding it in future.

I loved Abby, a real Lady and so hard working. My type of lead lady. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, join in and work with her construction crew on the pull down and build up of her projects. As someone who loves to garden and usually has somewhat dry and scrubbed hands and nails, rather than elegant manicures that was good to read.
The romance between her and Jordan takes place pretty quickly, and was really believable. Even though they are very different sorts of character, very contrasting backgrounds I could feel the pull between them. And of course when Robin got involved that was perfect for me.
Characters like hers add so much fun to a story. I do wish there were more like her! Educated, gorgeous looking and determined to hang on to her catch, to do whatever it takes to me the next Mrs Xyz.

Of course there are always things in people’s pasts which could be misinterpreted, and Jordan has a few more issues than most people. I really wanted to know the connections, the real story, and little hints kept being teased out but determining what was real, what actually happened wasn’t easy and I didn’t get it til the reveal.

The biggest problem for me in this story was when things did play out they felt almost anti-climatic, after all the big build up. It felt like there should have been more consequences, stronger reactions somehow, it just felt kind of faded, muted to me.
Still, that’s me, drama all the way is what I love, and I did like the way when things went wrong for Abby and Jordan that it was stretched out, given a good working over, not a two-pages-later-and-all-is-well solution.
I like breakups to be solid, heartbreaking, to really wring at my emotions.

I hadn’t read any of the earlier books, and maybe if I had the revelations of the past would have worked better for me, knowing what happened, or some of it. I had a little trouble remembering who was whom at first too, and if I’d met the characters before that would have been easier to follow. Never the less this can be read as a complete read, a stand alone in its own right.
One day I’d like to read the earlier books, I really like JDM’s writing style and the types of characters she creates.

There is a very slight supernatural element here, a little ghostly action, people from the past interacting with those in the present, and that was fun, but a very minor part of the story.

Stars: Four, a enjoyable story with some solid plots and intrigues…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

All Wheel Drive, Z.A. Maxfield

All Wheel Drive, Z.A. Maxfield

All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay Book 18) by [Maxfield, Z.A.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I love the Bluewater sereis, and devoured ZA Mazfield’s Cowboy sereis so I was sure I’d love this. But somehow for me it just doesn’t work.

Healey doesn’t seem to know what he wants, given what he’s been through that’s understandable, but I wasn’t convinced he’d be ready to jump into something with Diego so soon after the ultra traumatic breakup with Ford, someone he’d been with for (I think) two years, maybe more.
Diego is ultra prickly, being in a wheelchair myself I know how easy it is for people to be offensive even when they don’t mean it, but he seems to take offence at the slightest hint, maybe there’s another narrative.

I didn’t feel anything between him and Ford, no chemistry, no attraction or even just plain old lust, but to be fair I only got to 50% before giving up and just skimming to end to see what actually happened between Healey and Ford, and what the accident was.
I found all the things we couldn’t know so frustrating, Healey and Ford and The accident, the Gag order – wouldn’t his family insist he gets his own solicitors? He’s supposed to be ultra brilliant, wouldn’t he have seen the need for independent representation. even Ford tells him he needs it!
Diego, his past, his mum, whether she was famous, and why, and who wanted this exhibit, and why was he in a wheelchair, its kind of central to know what his history is to know why he’s so prickly. Is it from an accident, an illness, from birth? all those things affect differently how people cope with life on wheels.

Just too many unanswered questions, combined with lack of chemistry and me feeling I just didn’t Know the characters, didn’t feel they were real.

Stars: two, still love Bluewater and Z A Maxfield’s stories but this one just didn’t work for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

To Win Her Smile, Mackenzie Crowne

To Win Her Smile, Mackenzie Crowne

To Win Her Smile (Players) by [Crowne, Mackenzie]

Genre:  Romance,

I didn’t realise this was book five in a series, but its one of those where each story is a stand alone, and connected by the characters so I was able to keep up OK 😉

I really enjoyed this read, loved Piper, understood her desire to keep the family estate intact, it sounds a wonderful place and there’s so much family history attached.
Times are tough though, and she’s facing a fierce financial deadline, so when offered the chance to earn enough to clear it she jumps at the chance. Its using her beloved photography skills too, she’s been running the estate as a posh B&B but photography is what really is her preferred way of earning, she loves the magic found in the right picture.

She’s working for Wyatt though, as well as his team, and gets to know the group well. Wyatt makes it clear he’s wants more than just her there as his lucky charm…more than her taking pics for the charity calendar, and soon they’re into a hot and steamy relationship for the five weeks she’s there working.

I loved Wyatt too, talented, a great team mate and player yet his father, just starting a bid for Presidency, doesn’t see how well he does, can’t see he’s doing what he loves, he’s simply irritated that Wyatt hasn’t followed him into politics. He wants him around solely to back up the family image, to boost his own career. He needs squeaky clean family, and as usual his employees are checking into every part of their lives.
Secrets beware! and of course we all have them.

Of course just when everything is going well it isn’t…and in a way that brought the story down for me.
I saw this angle coming way, way off, as soon as something happened right back in the early part of the book, but thought it was so obvious and clunky that maybe the author had thrown it in to distract form the real story line. As we got closer to the end more clues came in, almost spoon feeding us to the event.
I still kept hoping that it would be something else, this was too easy, too simplistic and surely Piper as a professional would have taken measures to ensure it couldn’t happen.
But no…Sigh…I was right 😦 and that brought the story down a star.

I was so angry with Wyatt, but understood his reaction, absolutely loved the way he was made to work for redemption, the way it covered months in the story, not juts one of those sorry, I goofed, effed up and its all happy, happy, happy on the next page.
I do like my characters to have to work hard for forgiveness, love the leads to be feeling really sad, upset, distraught, and Piper was all those.

Its got the perfect ending too. If only that reveal had been less clumsy, less obvious it would have been a full five star read for me.

Stars:Four, a great read, just brought down by a too obvious story line.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Spellbinder, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Spellbinder, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Spellbinder (Moonshadow Book 2) by [Harrison, Thea]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I loved Moonshadow, the first novel in this trilogy. Thea is one of those authors who can make fantasy and magic feel real, who has me completely wrapped in the story. This time round we see the other side to Morgan, Queen Isabeau’s magician enforcer, leader of her Hounds.

We met him mainly by reputation in the last book, knew him as a conscienceless killer, and now we see that its not him, he has to act as the Queen commands, has no free will. She took control of him centuries ago by magical means, and he is forced to obey her every command. He hates it, hates her, she killed his beloved Arthur, and he’s been waiting for her to slip, make a mistake all these long years, and then he’s going all out for freedom, even if it means his death.
Then she does, she makes this tiny error in what she says and he takes advantage.
He’s not free, not yet but her words allow him freedom for a short time to research the magical knife at the heart of her control over him. He has to stay away from any of the Light Court, they can tell him her wishes, and it acts like a command. While he’s researching and avoiding everyone he hears Sidonie play, is entranced and that leads to a string of events ending with her the Queen’s prisoner.
If we didn’t know Robin, the Puck, and all he suffered from the last book, I’d think he was an awful person. He knows full well what will happen to Sid when the Queen gets her claws in, but he hates Morgan, hates that he was the instrument of his centuries of torture, as commanded by the Queen. He doesn’t know the full circumstances, thinks Morgan betrayed the Dark court he was part of, thinks he is the Queen’s lover and had a free hand in the atrocities he does.
He sees Morgan is enjoying Sid’s music, and thinks to use her as a trap for him, use her to break up his relationship with the Queen.
Its kind of a long logic thinking that because he’s following her tour, enraptured by her music that he will seek revenge on Isabeau for the atrocities she will inflict on Sid, but I guess Robin’s kind of flawed in his thinking anyhow. He doesn’t see Sid as a person, only a tool, and doesn’t care what happens to her. His plan will work – or it won’t. Either way he loses nothing by trying. I have to think of it the way he would, the way the Fae see humans, disregard them mostly as people, don’t really care what befalls them unless, as with Sophie from Moonshine, there’s some kind of personal connection. He’s devoted to Sophie, determined to protect her despite the fact she’s (mostly) human. He doesn’t know Sid so he’s not concerned about her. That changes though when he gets to know her.
Poor Sidonie, she’s horrified, powerless, distraught at what’s happened and feels so alone. She does what anyone would do, demands she be released, give the queen the sharp side of her tongue and…suffers the results.
As Robin planned Morgan soon gets to know of what’s happened but of course Robin doesn’t know of the restrictions surrounding Morgan, so his plans from there go wrong.
Its another fabulous magical read, making me really feel for Morgan despite the awful things he’s done.
In Moonshadow I hated him, here I see him as another of the Queens victim’s now I know the whole story, and likewise I felt so sad for Robin in Moonshadow, and had to keep reminding myself of what he’d been through when he was so casual about Sidonie’s welfare.
Its like we’ve two sides to the story now, the Dark Fae and the Light Fae, centuries of history, of Isabeau’s horrific reign now look to come to a head, with the key players having a change of situation. I can’t wait for the final novel bringing everything together.
Stars: Five, great second book, roll on the final one 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Escaping Indigo, Eli Lang

Escaping Indigo, Eli Lang

Escaping Indigo by [Lang, Eli]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

There’s bits I love about this story, the band and music parts, really made me feel I was on tour with the band but…the romance. It was subtle, so subtle it almost disappeared, and for me it didn’t really work.

I liked the guys, but poor Micah, he’s had such a sad past, lost his best friend and still feels as if perhaps he could have done more, seen something, made Eric get help. I think we’re all like that, feel a kind of survivors guilt sometimes and its played on Micah to the point he was really depressed.
Then Eric’s brother gets him the job as a roadie for Escaping Indigo, a band Micah has always admired.

Its a kind of dream world, interacting daily with the band he’s so long admired, looked up to, aspired to be like. Bellamy though is very quiet, and you can feel Micah always worrying he’s in the way, going to cause offence, be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor guy doesn’t know what he should do, and then Bellamy starts talking. It’s a dream come true for Micah, and as they chat he begins to know Bellamy the man, not just Bellamy lead singer of the band.
Its odd though, Bellamy himslef and others kind of warn him off, tell him to be carefully, with Bellamy saying he’s no good for him, could hurt him etc one moment, and then worrying Micah is going to be like his ex, the last roadie and leave him.
He’s pushing away at the same time as he’s pulling Micah in and the poor boy is confused.
I so felt for him, he just wants to help, to be a friend and more, part of a couple and its what they do, help each other. Bellamy gets all hurt and offended though at Micah’s suggestions and he’s back to treading on eggshells trying to keep their relationship going without tipping Bellamy over.

At times I wanted to smack Bellamy. Yes he’s got issues, but he needs to decide what he wants to do, not blame everyone for wanting to help. It seems in the past everyone had just accepted he had moments, periods when he was…quiet, different, struggling and they all just worked round it.

Its a sweet romance, and I really wanted things to work out but by the end I still wasn’t sure whether what they were doing would be enough.
Its a very gentle romance, not a torrid sex-every-other-page read and that’s fine by me, I want tenderness, sensuality not just sex and more sex.
Somehow though this book, while being a good read, made me feel part of the scene, didn’t quite cut it for a romance read.

Stars: Three, a gentle read, great band side but for me a slightly unsatisfying ending.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

Mind Over Matter, Nora Roberts. The Scars Between Us, MK Schiller

Mind Over Matter, A Passionate and Intriguing Novel of Suspense, Nora Roberts

Mind Over Matter by [Roberts, Nora]

Genre: Romance

I’ve read a few of Nora’s stories over the years, both as Nora Roberts and JD Robb, but not for a while, so I thought it would be fun to dip back into her world.

This was a fun read, touched upon the supernatural world with Clarissa being a psychic, and I enjoyed it but it wasn’t one that kept me gripped to the page, with that can’t put down feel. It’s not really suspense as I’d describe it, more anovel of secrets and intrigue.

I liked David, and the attraction between him and AJ was evident from the go get. Sometimes authors try for that and it fails, her it was perfect. what made it even more fun was neither were looking for or intending to have a relationship. It was further-est thing from both their minds and yet they couldn’t keep away, two people who avoid any kind of closeness with others, and yet this need they have overcomes it.

I loved Clarissa, and understood why AJ was so protective of her. Sadly its a human failing people either want to knock you down, disprove of what you’re saying or see how it can benefit them, and those like Clarissa who are so genuinely kind and helpful would get everything they had sucked out of them if not for protectors like AJ.

Its a mix of romance(s) and eye opening to things we may not want to see, to admitting not everything in life can be tidily boxed up and explained. I enjoyed it but it won’t be one I’d re-read as I have others from this author.

Stars: four, an enjoyable, fairly slow paced story. Not everything has to be a race to the finish though.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Scars Between Us, MK Schiller

The Scars Between Us by [Schiller, MK]

Genre: New Adult, Romance

The only book I’d read by this author was Where the lotus flowers grow, and I loved that so was eager to read this. But for me it was..well, a good story but not one I could connect with.

There’s lots of questions around who is who, how they connect, what happened in the past, but very few answers.
I found the story really hard to get into, although on the surface it has all the elements that attract me. Somehow I just couln’t understand of feel for Emma or Aiden. I liked them but that’s about it, and all the hints and mysteries about their pasts I found irritating, annoying instead of tantalising, and some of the dialogue was cheesy, kind of forced feeling.

The drama at the end when all the secrets come out is good, but even then there were parts I found myself rolling my eyes at – thinking “really? The whole town???”
Its like the author had a good idea but had to milk it to the fullest, and to me that makes it feel just false and overdone. Sometimes Less if More 😉

Still, that’s just my view, and I can see others love this story, that’s its really resonated, impacted them.
That’s the way it goes, everyone want’s different things so while this was a fail for me you may love it.

Stars: Two, a god, well written novel but it just didn’t engage me. You may feel otherwise.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens by [Adler, Debbie]

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine , Parenting & Families

I’ve been lucky in my family, my children have never had allergies that are a serious issue. My daughter was brought up on goat milk as she reacted against cows milk, but she outgrew that by around two years old.
She became a strict vegetarian at nine, so food labeling and ingredients became a normal part of life for us. Its amazing what gets tucked into the most innocent of foods, and we found animal based gelatine crept into so much.
Then her third child was born with multiple allergies, cows milk, goat milk, soya, wheat, eggs, and she was advised to avoid meat and fish at weaning plus all nuts. It meant sticking strictly to label reading again, and I found 20 years on manufacturers still putting in things that to my mind weren’t necessary. Orange ice lollies, the juice kind, we were amazed they have dairy in them. Why? Its not needed.

For anyone in that situation, or indeed anyone concerned about what exactly we’re eating this book is perfect. I doubt it’s for those who claim “intolerance” but eat those foods “on a good day”, they don’t have the determination to change what they eat, just to inconvenience others….
Allergies are serious, life threatening, not a choice issue.

If I was starting my family again I’d use this book as a key element of family nutrition. Its not full of weird recipes and ingredients everyone is unfamiliar with, but favourite ones that Debbie has carefully researched, so they can be reproduced from ingredients that are both healthy and non allergenic.
It does mean changing the whole way of looking at food and ingredients though. I’ve always done what I think of as “clean” eating, making most of out meals from scratch, not buying ready meals. That’s how I was brought up, and it wouldn’t be difficult to change that to this way of eating.
Debbie’s done all the hard work, and though the initial food lists look daunting they’re not and I’m sure it would soon become second nature to use these instead of what we ordinarily have in the cupboard.  It’s a simple matter to swap the usual ordinary flour, sugar, fat etc to one of those she recommends. That way you can still use your old favourite recipes, just make them better for everyone.
Its not all dry nut-roast, lentil burger and meat free loaf stuff either, but recipes that really do sound mouthwatering and attractive.
I remember when Brennan ( the grandchild mentioned above) was one, the challenge to find a recipe for a cake that was egg, dairy,wheat and soya free. Even the hospital swap lists didn’t really deal, advising those with wheat allergies to swap with soya, the same for dairy. If you’re allergic to them all they didn’t have an answer. Fortunately Vegan recipes helped me source a chocolate cake recipe, that was tasty and satisfied the Birthday Cake remit. If we’d had this book though, we could have varied his diet so much more, with food the whole family would enjoy.

If my children were young I’d definitely use this as a daily eating guide and change my pantry ingredients. With the internet its pretty easy to source most foods now, and the ones in here can mostly be found in big supermarkets now anyway. Its just ingredients to hand and mindset that really needs changing, and I’m sure after a few weeks it would become second nature.

For personal preference I think conventional print format is better for recipe books ( in fact most non fic books). It makes browsing and choosing what to cook so much easier I find. As I’ve now eye issues and can’t read them though, I’m thankful of the e-book versions.

Stars: Five, the book to give anyone as a new home gift. Packed with mouth watering healthy recipes.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh, Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh

Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

I really really wanted to love this book, I adore books set back in time that involve characters from other countries, other cultures. I like to feel I’m there with them, sharing their experiences and to begin I thought this book would do it.

Sadly, though it started well I just don’t really like any of the characters, and the story is so slow moving it almost comes to a stop. I wasn’t expecting breakneck speed, the beauty of books like this for me is in the gentle pace that allows me to see and feel all the day to day minutiae, but even for me this was just too meandering.
As the story moved on it got more graphic, more murders, abuse, tortures of humans and animals. I just don’t want to read that, I know it happens, that its an important part of the story but I don’t want the gritty, horrific details.

Rachel – I felt sorry for her at first, she had an idyllic upbringing til her mum died and she was shipped off to England to grandparents who didn’t really want her, even though she was away at boarding school most of the time.
When she returns to Kenya, against her fathers wishes, she finds he’s a very different man, and is living with a lady, Sara, who is the antithesis of her beloved mother.
Her father comes over as spineless to me, maybe he’s just given up? I don’t know but the man we met when Rachel was a child was so different to who he is now.
Then there’s Sara, who is very clear – whites and natives do not mix, there is no place for being friendly with them, and any hint of them wanting to better themselves needs stamping down on, hard. She genuinely believes they are an inferior race, and need keeping in their place.
She clearly thinks Rachel lacks discipline and is not happy at the way she has freedom of the farm, freedom to talk to and help the native people. Gah, that makes me so angry, but there were, and still are, so many like Sara, who believe a white skin makes one superior. I’ll stop my rant there 😉
It does make for an interesting read, I do like characters I can dislike but once more the story was just so slow moving. Sara would complain to Rachel’s father, he in turn would gently suggest Rachel modify her behaviour, then Sara wouldn’t feel he’d done enough, would get impatient with him, and would take steps to get what she wanted to happen. Complaining all the time if you want something done, do it yourself.

I didn’t like the ending, felt very hurried and ambiguous and that’s not how I like books to finish. Between that, the characters I didn’t really feel for, the slow pace and the graphic cruelty I just couldn’t get to like this story.
I can see others loved it though so you choose, you may have a stronger stomach and more patience when reading than me…It is very beautifully written, and there were scenic parts I loved, but overall it was one I was glad to put behind me.

Stars: Three, a wondefully descriptive novel in parts, but the story and the cruelty in it just weren’t for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Summer's Lease: Escape to paradise with this swoony summer romance: (Shakespeare Sisters) by [Elks, Carrie]

Genre: Romance.

I love Carrie Elk’s novels, found the first one ages back in the kindle free books list and was hooked.
I’ve found lots of authors that way – authors if you ever wonder if its worth it, well, as a reader I can say its a great way to find out if I enjoy an author’s style of writing. I’ve had many free books then gone on to buy lots more from those I do.

So, back to this book.
Well its a light, fun read, a perfect summer escape, with some wonderful characters. Its mostly Cesca and Sam, with others dipping in at intervals.
I loved the way Cesca reached the bottom. I know, cruel…but it meant I so felt for her, so wanted things to go right. She had tried, worked so hard and yet somehow nothing seemed to fall in place.
Then her godfather arranges the caretakers job at the Villa in Italy, which means she’ll have time to focus on writing again, and maybe find that core inside that’s escaped her since the disaster of her first play. Poised for sucess at just 18 it all collapsed with a bang when the leading man pulled out at the last minute. She’s spent the last six years just marking time, going through life and hiding how she really feels from her family.
So there she is at the villa when who comes to stay unexpectedly but her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
His parents own the villa, and he’s escaping from some bad press, things that as usual the media fixate on, that portray him in a bad light but which aren’t true. Gah – I hate the press and TV etc when they do that but it seems there’s no stopping them from peddling constant lies and speculation 😦

I love the way authors bring together characters like Cesca and Sam, who start off hating each other and then things change til…and all’s going well, until its not!
Poor Cesca, let down once more. Can Sam redeem himself this time, can he win the girl or are they fated to be apart. Well, its a romance read so you know they will end up together, but its the how, and the emotions that get shredded along the way that makes it such a beautiful read.

Its a story I loved, will join my keepers file for rereading – I’ve just been doing that with a couple of the early books, and it makes a perfect summer escape.

Stars: Five, a beautiful story, perfect for rereading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks by [Pulley, Natasha]

Genre:  General fiction (adult)

I’m finding this a really hard book to review. Its so very different, very slow paced, very packed with detail, right down to minutiae of some things and yet bigger ones just glossed over. Parts I felt just kept the slow pacing and irritated me, and then I’d read something and want to know more.

I loved the historical feel, felt very real. I was There with Merrick and Co, back in the 1800’s, deep in the magical forests, filled with pollen lamps powered by clocks, pollen forests, whitewood that exploded, was light, filled with honeycomb holes and yet strong enough for the amazing homes they constructed, stories high. And of course later in the novel the fabulous place where the monks live which used so much of it. That was perfect.
There’s the phoenix ducks, the glass formed from ancient eruptions on the mountain, and they way it created a kind of huge greenhouse. Oh there was so much almost whimsical magic here, not spells and sorcery but magic of a different kind.
Then of course the big ones, the Markayuq….such incredible, unusual, fantastical ideas everywhere in this book, which gave it a kind of steampunk whimsy married with very real time in UK/South American history.

I liked Merrick, hated his awful brother, felt so sad that Merrick’s future was dire when he worked so hard, and becameinjured in the course of his work.
I didn’t like Clem, just found him arrogant posing as a friend to use Merrick. I didn’t really know Minna, but she seemed a pleasant lady, and then there’s Raphael….
I kind of wanted there to be more between him and Merrick, could feel something but it was vague and tenuous, slippery as silk, and nothing except a few minute strands at a possible connection slid through the story.
I guess its the romance lover in me, I do so love to find that in a story and missed it.

I enjoyed meeting and knowing the other characters in the village, liked the accepting way they took in Merrick, their confidence in Raphael, their respect for the Markayuqs, the way some recalled his father and grandfather from so long before.

I put it aside a few times, found it too intense one moment and then too slow to continue the next. I know, I know, that’s a real oxymoron, but its how I felt, and how I feel now looking back. I loved it – and then again I didn’t. I felt vaguely unsatisfied at the ending, though it does bring things into a kind of closure I just kept wondering “what happens now?”  I can’t see how it could have ended any other way though that would have made me happy.

Its one of those stories I’m glad I read, where parts will stay with me for ages, engraved into my memory and yet I know its not a story I’d reread.

Stars: Five, a story I’m glad I read, full of fantastical themes but one which I won’t re-read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt. The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red: An Erotic Fantasy by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre:  Romance,Erotica

I love Tiffany Reisz’ stories, so well written, so full of interesting twists and turns and I have read and reread all the Original Sinners novels. So was really excited to get this, a novel “written” by Nora Sutherlin. I think its the book she’s writing in the very first of the series…I could be wrong on that.
Sadly, it Just Wasn’t One for Me, surprised me, shocked me that I really didn’t like it, I just didn’t expect that. I was looking forward to a typical sensual on the edge Tiffany read and what I got was something that made me seriuosly uncomfortable reading,  it’s fantasy possibly, but its presented as real, Mona thinks its real, we don’t really know when it happens what’s real, whether she’s dreaming, drugged, or having a genuine experience.

There were parts I enjoyed, the art links to the sex scenes, they were cleverly done and interesting, fitted the art gallery link, I loved the way the story winds round full circle and ties up so neatly.
Set against that though I found some of the sex scenes too disturbing – even gave me bad dreams…I’m very prone to them so avoid anything likely to set those off, my mind takes an idea and runs with it. This story though takes a direction I didn’t expect, not the spicy, sensual and edgy OS scenes I’m used to but ones with a supernatural edge that I feel uncomfortable with.

So, my BDSM knowledge comes purely from books, especially Original Sinners ones, so SSC and RACK are terms I agree with.
However the sex here takes a twist so that really Mona isn’t consenting, isn’t aware of risks she’s taking and the big bugbear – she has no safe-word. She signs a blank cheque for anything Malcolm wants to do to here almost. Is that consent? Is that Safe and Sane? Risk Aware? I don’t think so, and I’m uncomfortable with scenes where she isn’t consenting, even if she does enjoy what happens.
If someone orgasms does that make it not rape for example? That defence wouldn’t and shouldn’t work in real life or books IMO.
Throw in the Satyrs and the Minotaur and it was a step too far for me, a little too animalistic. I love fantsy and paranormal so I’m used to werewolves having sex, but they don’t do it in their werewolf or part werewolf form – well, not in the books I like.
There’s a thin line between art and porn whether its sculptures, paintings or writings and this for me is reaching the wrong end of the scale. I can see others love it, and that’s great but for me its a step too far.
I enjoyed the story, thought it had a clever twist – a few clever twists, but I didn’t like the execution of some of the sex scenes.
I’ve loved all the OS ones, but this book just isn’t right for me.

Stars: Two, a clever and intriguing story but the turn the sex scenes took was not right for me. Others love it, only you know what’s right for you.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc.) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I love LA Witt’s books usually, but the first in this series just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t know if that was a one off, or if maybe its just this series.
Well, having read book two I think maybe its time for me to have a break from LA’s novels.

I did enjoy this, but found I was putting it aside and picking up later, something that I don’t do with a book I really like.
I didn’t dislike the story, there were parts I liked a lot, but I also found there were swathes I just felt were either predictable, or felt too much like a previous story-line brought into this novel.
I need to be surprised, to wonder what can, will happen and how but somehow here I felt I knew that before I read it.

If you’re new to LA’s books you’ll probably love this, she’s a great writing style and its a classic LA story, great characters, some angst and lots of hot steamy sex tied in to a real feeling setting with issues that people really do face.
Of course all authors have fans who love everything they write, but I think I just need a break. I still love LA’s writing style, love the way she can conjure up such realistic people but feel maybe I need to step away for a while. If I can resist the lure of the next book 😉

Stars: Three, a typical LA Witt well written, steamy read, but I just felt it was all too familiar, nothing new to hold my interest..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

jeannie's art adventures

my adventure with acrylic pouring artworks

Danny Clark - Artist

Nothing you probably haven't already seen.

J.A. Hazel

Author of Siren's Wave, a rock romance novel

barn conversion blog

Saving a piece of local history and creating our dream home

Emme Cross

Totally Addictive Romance Novels

Kelly's Book Blog

Romance book reviews! I'm a book lover, speed reader and reviewer!

Reads and Treats

Satisfying Books and Scrumptious Eats

jeannie zelos product reviews

Jeannie's honest thoughts on products bought or received for review purpose.

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Book Junkiez

The place where book addicts go for their book fix!

Hit or Miss Books

Honest book reviews for the Young Adult, New Adult and Adult categories.

Lorna Soar

Feltmaker & Artist

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

A Writer's Life For Me.

Blog of Author Mishka Jenkins

Book Gossips

We are four cousins hailing from Australia. Love of books runs in our family and we have decided to share our exhilirating gossip sessions with you. Here you can find book reviews from multiple genres, bringing you the best of buzz worthy popular fiction.

Brandy L Rivers

New York Times and USA Today Best selling Author