Archive | January 2018

Merger to Marriage, (Boardrooms & Billionaires 2) Addison Fox

Merger to Marriage, (Boardrooms & Billionaires 2) Addison Fox

Merger to Marriage: A Boardrooms and Billionaires Series Book (Boardrooms & Billionaires 2) by [Fox, Addison]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Romance

Some books I love, others not so much even though its clear other readers adore them. This is one such read.
I found the story was OK but kind of bland. Mayson was nice, her sisters were nice, Holt was nice, his friends were nice…you get the picture. His mother was a first class b itch, and I’d like to have seen more of her but…

I really didn’t feel any chemistry between Mayson and Holt, they respected each other as business individuals but that was it. No love, no lust, the most I can feel between them is a faint like, and that doesn’t work for me in a romance read. I want to feel they just can’t keep away, they have to touch, caress, kiss all the while ( well, within reason ).

I only read this yesterday and I’m having a hard time this morning actually recalling what happened. It just wasn’t a read that made it for me, although of course its perfect for others. I need drama, angst, emotions and plots that make me feel will things work out, are there just too many things against them, scenes where it’s the couple v whatever plots can tear them apart. This book, well I didn’t get any of that.

I hadn’t read book one, though they’re stand alone reads so that wasn’t necessary, but might have made some events clearer.
Its perfectly written, just the the story itself just isn’t one for me. It might be perfect for you if you’re looking for a light and easy, innocuous romance, me – I need a bit more. Horses for courses and all that…

Stars: 2.5/3, it was a story that was a forgettable read for me, but which will be perfect for other people. You choose.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

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Starstruck,  Sariah Wilson

Starstruck,  Sariah Wilson

#Starstruck (A #Lovestruck Novel) by [Wilson, Sariah]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Romance

I’d enjoyed Sariah’s first Monterra novel, didn’t like the second much, so I had mixed feelings about this read. I enjoyed it pretty much as the first Monterra one, funny dialogue but a few issues with plot.

Zoe’s a great girl, I loved her younger siblings, when she was with them there were some great times, typical kid centred humour, and when Chase joined them, that day at the beach for instance, I really had fun reading about them and it tightened the connection between him and Zoe.
I did think given the * star * Chase is there would be more fan issues and more of the paparazzi out to photo him. Usually a Mystery Woman sighting would send them into a frenzy, but it seemed very muted.
Chase too is a great guy, he’s very genuine, been in the business sometime, and is jaded from the usual people who surround him. Apart from a couple of close friends he feels everyone wants something from him, tells him what they think he wants to hear and not what they really feel. That must happen a lot, its the nature of fame sadly. He makes a change too from the usual I Am Important film star/rock star type. Its good to see someone who can see through the fakers, and who values his good friends.
When That Event comes, the Big Split drama, I understood how he felt even as I felt so sad for Zoe. We are shaped by our pasts, what happens back then does influence how we act, speak, feel now, and this was a perfect example from both sides.

The things that stopped this from being five star were those issues, plus the huge one of Zoe and her friend. Would she really have been like that with a friend she’d had since childhood? I know she was making excuses to herself, but its something that we could see was going to cause huge issues when revealed. I didn’t think she would have acted that way, it wasn’t in her nature. It just felt wrong to me, jarred from the very first and was such a major part of the book.
Still, it does provide for some fabulous drama, and I adore all that and the angst that comes with it. The fallout was perfect, gave me all the sadness and grief I love to wallow in…. but I so wish the catalyst had been different.
I didn’t see the other big trigger event, noted it when it happened but it was slid in so deftly that I’d forgotten about it until the big bang so to speak. That was perfect, exactly how I love drama, when things come up that either I’d forgotten or didn’t know so it comes as a surprise.

Stars: 4, a really fun read, full terrific characters, and with the exceptions I’ve mentioned, felt very real.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

 

Vampire Fight Club, Larissa Ione

Vampire Fight Club, Larissa Ione

Vampire Fight Club by [Ione, Larissa]

Genre:  Romance

I love Larissa’s writing, but somehow lost track of the series after reading the first few Demonica books. Still, I’d read enough to follow this story, I think possibly if you haven’t read any you could still enjoy it 😉 Its a short, hot paranormal, set in the Demonica world.
Its not a complex story, that’s good as its so short…I don’t often read novellas for that reason, they don’t have space to let me really get to know the worlds and characters in the story, but when its part of an existing series it works for me.

I liked Lena, she’s had a tough upbringing and is now facing death but before that she’s determined to get revenge on whoever killed her brother, the one that understood her, protected her, not the two that have made it their work to torment her. With her loving father dead and now Vaughn gone she’s alone, and for her last weeks she’s going to find the killer.
That brings her in the sphere of Nate, manager of Thirst, and the cruel vicious Demon, Fade….and maybe death too soon. Of course Larissa throws in events that change what’s going to happen very rapidly, and of course there’s sex…lots of it, hot and sensual.

It’s a series that features sex demons as main characters, so its no surprise the main books have that angle, but even this short does -however it fits the general story line, and is not the more-sex-than-story issue I so hate. There needs to be a balance, and Larissa always seems to find it 😉

Stars: four, a fun addition to the series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, Shoukei Matsumoto

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, Shoukei Matsumoto

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind by [Matsumoto, Shoukei]

Genre: Health, Mind & Body , Religion & Spirituality

I like to read books about other cultures and religions, and thought this sounded interesting. Its a quick and easy read, very slanted towards monks and temple life but with some parallels that apply to everybody.

I do find when I’ve had a mammoth blitz on the house that I feel better, that I get pleasure from seeing a clean room so I can understand the ethos about taking pride in cleaning, in doing a job well. I think the message I got from it was that and also give a task your full attention, don’t let your mind wander but focus and appreciate what you are doing as an important task. Its not just cleaning a floor, but making the home smell good, appealing to visitors, a place you can take pride in and focusing your mind while doing so lets some of the other clutter in there go, relaxes us. Well, that’s the way I read it 😉 and it does make sense to me.

I made a note about this part that resonated with me. “Adherence to the past and misgivings about the future will fill your head, wresting your mind from the present. That is why we monks pour ourselves heart and soil into the polishing of floors. Cleaning is training for staying in the now. Therein lies the reason for being particular about cleanliness.” Sometimes we’re so busy looking ahead, to whats yet to come but which can change and looking to the past which we can’t change that we don’t appreciate today. Its time we’ll never get back so enjoy it.
When early in the book he is talking about Buddhism, and not harming other creatures he explains by keeping the temples clean they avoid insect and other infestations which they would then need to deal with, so its easier to keep to their beliefs by preventing it happening in the first place. My agnostic cockney gran used to say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so clearly that transcends countries and religions.

I am going to try to take on some of the things I’ve read, make cleaning a regular schedule instead of my current ad-hoc when-I-feel-like-it one…and to focus on what I’m doing wholly instead of letting my mind wander. Like most of us I could do with some calm so its well worth trying.

Stars: 5. a short but very interesting book. Mostly centred around monks and temples it never the less has an ethos we can bring into our own cleaning regime.

 

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

 

Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict

Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict

Carnegie's Maid: A Novel by [Benedict, Marie]

Genre:  Historical fiction

I like to read historical novels from time to time, usually with a romantic theme but not always. I saw this and it appealed, Marie has written a fictional account of what might have been….and it reads very true.

The 1800’s were a time of great poverty for so many, the divide between have and have not was vast, and whole families died of starvation, cold, illness for which they had little resistance. TBH for many at the top it was just considered part of Nature’s Order, a weeding out of the weakest. That sounds awful doesn’t it, but those who’ve never known poverty have no comprehension of what life is like that way.
Andrew Carnegie though has known poverty, but now as a man of wealth he’s in danger of losing that feeling of empathy, or the desire to help those in need which so motivated him.

I loved Andrew and Clara. She’s fiercely intelligent, and so loyal to her family, putting their needs before here’s always. she’s a rarity, and educated woman and Andrew is fascinated by her grasp of business matters.
Slowly they come to mean more to each other, though the book hold true to the period, there is nothing more than glances, occasional fingertip touches, and meetings which skirt, but only just, convention so could be explained away.
I loved the account of how Andrew grew his wealth, loved seeing how “new money” was still looked down upon by certain classes, that attitude still prevails in part here in UK!!
I loved how Andrew had the initial desire for wealth, to ensure his family were always secure but how he became seduced by it, wanting things he formerly scorned. Without Clara – or someone like her – what sort of man would he have become.

The ending is sad, so sad, and I had tears. If only…..but its not classed as a romance, so the ending fits perfectly even if I did want a HEA.
Its a lovely read, slow paced, so tragic in what we see of the families suffering, so difficult to get out of the trap of poverty.

Stars: 4.5, I really did want that HEA but the book is still a moving, interesting read despite that 😉
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved A Gathering Storm, book two from Joanna in this series, and I enjoy that it’s written by so many different authors but set in the same fictional town. AGS was a historical novel, while this one is current day.

I loved Nathan, and its easy to see he’s one of the world’s people pleasers, someone who feels they need to fix every problem. I sympathise, I have the same issue….
He’s given up so much to help his mum and her husband and his half sister, left his well paid job in London, used his savings to keep the shop afloat. Derek his stepdad is a good man, but really bad at business, and they were in danger of losing everything.
It wasn’t helped when they discovered Rosie was so sick and now needs a liver transplant. They’ve all been tested but aren’t a match.

Imagine Nathan’s surprise then when his night before hook-up hottie walks in the house and he finds its Derek’s estranged son. He is a match and is staying for a while while he donates part of his liver.
Its a sticky few weeks, Derek and Mack don’t get on, he’s staying with Nathan while he recovers and it makes Nathan feel a bit stuck, wanting them to reconcile, feeling awful for the way Derek has been such a great dad to him, but essentially abandoned Mack at 15 after his mum died. I felt so angry at Derek, and so sad for Mack. How could anyone do that? I was cross too at Nathan’s mum, she must have realised what was happening and she should have had compassion for Mack, made Derek do something.
Anyway, there they are, an awkward grouping, thrown together. Mack and Nathan are still fiercely attracted, Nathan knows Mack’s off soon as he recovers, but somehow despite his not wanting to get into a temporary relationship they do, and of course Nathan falls in love….

I loved Nathan felt so sad for Mack, for all he’d been through and he still feels so lost, so unloved.
Can Nathan persuade him to stay though? Does Mack feel anything more for him than lust? What about the issues surrounding the cafe, the way Nathan has become the guy who does everything?
There’s a lot to ponder here, family issues, how we make mistakes that get larger as time passes, how hard it is to say sorry sometimes, to make it meaningful, and of course will Mack stay?

Stars: four, an enjoyable story, with issues that too many people face. I felt so sad for Mack, facing what too many gay kids faced.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

Man Candy, A Real Love Novel, Jessica Lemmon

Man Candy, A Real Love Novel, Jessica Lemmon

Man Candy: A Real Love Novel by [Lemmon, Jessica]

Genre: Humour, romance

A quick fun read this, packed with some terrific humour.

I adored Dax, a real Gentleman in every sense. He was incredibly patient with Becca, when she was so changeable it was hard to keep up. I loved the way he ran his businesses, trusted his friends, made his life and lifestyle sync seamlessly. He’s on a short break, and the weather is – well, frankly, just dire. Does he moan, complain, whinge about how unfair it is? Nope, just gets on with what he can in his own steady way.
Becca annoyed me a bit, well, quite a lot actually.
We first meet her when she’s late for work. Work at a job her brother has given her, the same brother that’s letting her life with his family as she has nowhere else. You’d think she’d make the effort to at least be on time, but it seems lateness and Becca run hand in hand. So yes, she did get the work done, she was good at what she did but – he’s running a business, and she should respect that. Seems for her its always somebody else’ fault.
I didn’t really understand why she was so hot-cold-hot with Dax either, she doesn’t know what he wants, but she doesn’t know what she wants either, and the poor guy is supposed to just guess?

Still, there were some seriously sensual scenes between them and some fantastic humour which kept the novel up for me.

Stars: three and a half, a fun read, but not a re-reader for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights by [Kade, Stacey]

Genre:  Romance

My first Stacey Kade read – and wow – a story that was perfect for me. I’d love to read the first book 738 days, but its not on kindle 😦
You don’t need to read that though to enjoy this one, the books are connected by characters but each stand alone.

I love the rock/film star trope, and poor Callie and Eric (and Chase, who has minor appearances) have a past in the Film world.
Callie has been pushed by her mother from a very young age into performing, she’s essentially the family cash cow, until everything went wrong and her world collapsed. Now she’s at college pursuing a career in accountancy.
Eric was very close to Callie, they starred in the same series and along with Chase from 738 days they were a little unit, almost a family. Until they weren’t.
Now Eric is trying to make his own way, to escape from his acting past, to stand on his own and not be overshadowed by his awful-but-famous producer father.

Callie and Eric both have the most awful parents, Callie’s mother tries to micromanage her career for financial gain, Eric’s father tries everything he can to derail Eric’s career. No wonder they’re such confused people.

Callie’s finding it hard to escape her past, making friends isn’t easy, she can’t seem to escape the jealousy others have, even though they have no idea how her life was, that she’s not some rich ex-star playing at college.
I really like Callie, she made some awful mistakes but her heart is good, she loved Eric, was close to Chase, adores and is so protective of her younger sisters, even worries about her mum and stepdad.
Its the way her mum is now pushing them, controlling every facet of their lives that has her taking part in Eric’s latest film, a web based series set around what was her favourite novel. She doesn’t want to go back to acting, but wants to save her sister from the pressure their mother will use to push her if Callie doesn’t go back to restart the money flow.
Eric, well, he’s one confused guy. I liked him, could see that he had strong feelings for Callie even though he just wouldn’t admit them to himself.
And then a good way into the book we learn more about the events of the night that separated the three and it was heartbreaking, gutting, really made me feel the emotions…..

Its the perfect read for me though was a little slow to get going. that’s my only real criticism, that its a magical tale but took a while for me to get to know and feel for the characters.
It’s got great characters, a terrific story with some people I can really get behind to dislike. I need those unpleasant characters as a foil for the ones I love, else for me the story becomes just too sweet, too sickly. I want angst too and got it, in spades, perfectly balanced with highs, to stop the story being a misery-fest 😉 I demand a lot from stories…
The final tick box for me is the HEA – or at least a solid happy for now,and here’s its perfect, a great epilogue that shows us a glimpse of the future for the trio.

Stars: five, a story I loved and will definitely re-read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Mischance, Carla Susan Smith (Corsets and Carriages 1)

Mischance, Carla Susan Smith (Corsets and Carriages 1)

Mischance (Corsets and Carriages) by [Smith, Carla Susan]

Genre:  Romance, Historical.

I love Susan’s Vampire’s Promise series, and when I saw this I thought I’d like to read these books.

A historical trilogy its a very big departure from the supernatural world!

I’ve really enjoyed the first part and I’m looking forward to reading the next ones. Luckily there’s not too long to wait, book one is Jan 9th, book two Jan 31st and book three is scheduled for Feb 18, so not one of those where by the time the end part is released you’ve forgotten how it started.

I did find the beginning a bit slow, but it becomes relevant later and made sense once I got to that section, and TBH I can’t see any other way it could have been done 😉

Some great characters here, Rian makes a terrific lead, just that bit of tragedy and mystique about his past, and he’s a real swoon Hero. Charming, good looking ladies man but with honour and ethics, rich, courteous and polite and its clear he’s taken with Catherine from the start.

Catherine has been through such a lot, lost her father in a tragedy, which left her homeless, passed off to a cousin who was horrific to her. That kind of thing was very real in the past, when ladies were considered property of the nearest male relative. Short of actual murder most treatment was accepted, everyone turned a blind eye. Men were never in the wrong, always the ladies. Gah!! She hits lucky being found by Rian, it could so easily have ended another way.

Rian’s housekeeper ( who’s name I’ve forgotten ) and Tilly, one of the maids are good characters and fit well in the story.

And the real gem of the story, the deliciously immoral, selfish, ambitious Lady Isobel. A widow determined to be the next Mrs Connor, she’s not going to let someone stand in her way. She doesn’t care about Catherine, doesn’t give thought to Rian’s feelings, she’s just determined to get her own way. She’s got the funds through her marriage to do plenty of harm too.
Oh part two, come on, I really want to see what she’s planning!! Catherine has already shown she’s got backbone but Isobel is one determined lady. Let battle commence.

I’m not a great historical reader but I do love to occasionally dip into the genre, and this was one perfect read for me.

Stars: Five, some fabulous characters, and the promise of lots of drama to come. I adore books with lots of jealousy and dramatics.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

A Murder at Alcott Manor Book 2, The Alcott Manor Trilogy, Alyssa Richards

A Murder at Alcott ManorBook 2 The Alcott Manor Trilogy,  Alyssa Richards

A Murder at Alcott Manor: A Thrilling Romantic Suspense Series, Book 2, The Alcott Manor Trilogy by [Richards, Alyssa]

Genre: Romance, suspense, sci-fi and fantasy

Second book in a trilogy but each are complete and can be read alone, though knowing the house history and events will make it easier to follow.

I love Layla, she was married to an awful man, pushed into it really by a combination of guilt and her awful mother. Asher never loved her, but wanted her share and her voting rights in the Manor, with ambitious plans to make himself rich. Now he’s dead, and Layla finds out she’s penniless, and discovers he had unsavoury plans for her too. She knew he didn’t love her, his treatment was clear of that, but this new development comes as a shock. Still, she’s got kids to feed and a home to find.
Mason’s finally back, guilt after leaving Layla all those years ago. I liked him, and then again I didn’t. I got so cross with his intransigence about his mothers experiences with the supernatural, its as if he knows its real, but after they were hounded because of it when he was young he just won’t accept anything other than science. So when Layla tells him whats been going on he just doesn’t want to acknowledge it just at the time when she really needs his support.
Its a gentle romance, a pick up from the past but the suspense is seriously action packed, lots of ghostly goings on…but thankfully not the sort that gives me nightmares. I have to avoid anything that could even loosely be described as horror, I’m a real wimp, couldn’t even manage some of the kids films without getting nightmares. This was fine though, intriguing, thought provoking – the “what if” scenario, just because we cant prove it does that mean it can’t exist. When billions believe in God – or a God, or multiple gods that can’t be proved we accept it but mention haunting and its tagged crackpot. Is it really so hard to think some people don’t quite want t leave, that places and buildings could soak up strong emotions? Lots to make me ponder there even though its a fiction read, and that was fun.
And I’ve rambled, but if you want a suspense of the supernatural type with a rewarding romance this is perfect.

Stars: Four, a great second story from Alcott Manor, and book three sounds another fun read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

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