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The Discipline, Jade A. Waters. America’s Next Reality Star, Laura Heffernan

The Discipline,  Jade A. Waters

The Discipline (Lessons in Control) by [Waters, Jade A.]

Genre:  romance, erotica

I hadn’t read book one, just the amazon sample, but thought this sounded fun and I’d be ok without the full story.
Well, I found I could follow the story easily, but there are clearly things there that build up to this book, and really I think you need to read both to fully enjoy this.

I never really got a sense of “knowing” Maya or Dean, that I knew them as people apart from their sexual inclinations. Maybe if I’d read book one?
I don’t think it would have made much difference in that the book seems to concentrate on the erotic aspects rather than them as people with outside lives.
The plots are really build ups to the next erotic section.  Those are written very well, but for me I need that sense of empathy for the characters to make them feel more that just a sensual sex scene.
That’s just me though, clearly others want the erotic parts more than the story as evidenced by the sale of books now that are just excerpts of sex scenes from popular novels.
I needed to really understand Maya and Dean, to feel for them, to want them to work things through and…I just wasn’t that invested in them.

When the secrets start to come out it makes clear some of the earlier issues they had, but when the big stumbling block hits I felt Maya was being very obtuse, it was very, very clear that they weren’t both happy at what was happening, and I think she only saw what she wanted to. A bit of thought for Dean and his actions might have made a huge difference – that would have changed to story though 😉 so it needed to unfold that way of course, but for me I needed it to be done a little differently.

Its a good book, five star on the erotic part, but I felt the romance side fell down and I didn’t really get that feeling of understanding the characters, feeling as though I could “know” them and as if I was there in the story.
For me that’s important, but not necessarily for everyone. That’s why it only gets three stars rather than the five the erotic section would get. I want eroticism AND romance, but felt I really just got erotic storyline line here.

Stars: Three, good sex scenes but bland romance IMO.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

America’s Next Reality Star,  Laura Heffernan

America's Next Reality Star by [Heffernan, Laura]

Genre:  romance,

I don’t watch TV now, give me a good book, but even when I did “reality” TV wasn’t my thing. Its so scripted, the title Reality is a real misnomer….Still, it makes for some great stories, I’ve read some real crackers – and some huge fails too 🙂

So where does this one fit? Well, to begin I thought it was going to be great. I loved Jen, love the way the build-up brought her to the point of the show.
Some great characters in the mix of the 12 people selected, a real cross section with – hurrah – someone to dislike intensely. Those characters always add such interest. the games were good too, and we got to see just how some people can manipulate things to get their way.

I did get a bit irritated at the relationship drama, the does he/doesn’t he, did they /didn’t they stuff. It seemed very high school/teen thing, not the 21-25 age group, but I guess when you’re stuck in that intense, focussed, hot house environment with people no doubt chosen to provide friction and good TV, then it’s kind of inevitable.
As a fun read it was great, as a romance not so for me, it was more speculation than actual happening most of the while, so the ending felt a bit strange. I couldn’t see it working like that.
In fact I felt the ending was very rushed, at about 85% we still seemed to be only halfway through the show, still very much into the games and the voting, then suddenly it was all ended.
Very abrupt and unexpected. I had flipped to the end at the 85% mark just to see if maybe there was a second book, it seemed so far off being completed, so for me that part spoiled it. I wanted the drama, the tensions etc to play out more, but its was like wow, x happens, y happens and suddenly its z and we’re finished.

Stars: Three, a fun one off read for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Hard Rhythm, Cecilia Tan

Hard Rhythm,  Cecilia Tan

Hard Rhythm (Secrets of a Rock Star) by [Tan, Cecilia]

Genre:   Erotica

I’ve liked a few of Cecilia’s stories and looked forward to this one especially and its got my favourite band trope connection! Its a hot and sensual novel, and one I enjoyed reading.
I was a little puzzled at first, it seemed as if I should know more about certain characters, events and places and then about 25% I decided to check and …yes, this is the third in a series and I’d missed the first two.
That would have made things clearer, I enjoyed and could follow the story without reading those early ones, but I think it’s more likely to have been a five star read for me if I’d read them first.
Still it’s a good read and didn’t “lose” me with details, just would have been easier to pick up some incidents and see their relevance earlier.

I liked the characters, we’re mainly with Maddie and Chino but what we see of the others is promising, some from earlier books and maybe some in the future ones?
Maddie’s been and done it all it seems, and she feels kind of jaded about everything, nothings really exiting her now, really enticing her to take part, and  then Chino makes his move.
There’s been a subtle undercurrent between them for months, nothing you could really point to, no obvious tensions, but its clear they both are strongly attracted to each other. Maddie thinks its a one night only and she’s happy with that, she’s been wanting him for a while and they have a great time, but that one night stretches and soon they’re in a solid sensual relationship.

I loved Maddie’s sex toy blog, and the way Chino was so enthusiastically helping her with it 😉
I liked Maddie, she’s one of those people who project confidence and self security even when she’s struggling inside. She’s worked hard to get where she is even without parental backing, and she’s not actually upfront about what it is she does to them. Understandable, not everyone can accept that kind of life and job.

Chino and the band connection…well, that was it for Band trope stuff, that he was in a band and the novel includes his band-mates. There’s no huge band dramas, no touring life-on-the-road stuff, just that they are band members. A little disappointing for me in truth, but it was still a good read.
I loved his backstory, can see that as so true, there are people like his deeply religious family, who see his lifestyle as wrong. The resulting parts of that section of the story surprised me! And I do like to be caught out, to get a touch of the unexpected even when its not part of the main plot.
I loved Chino himself, the thought he put into sex, the way he planned hard, organised what he wanted rather than just leaving it to chance, the way he played Maddie, knew what she wanted, needed, even when she didn’t realise it.
They may not have been together long, but he’d been watching her and planning long before they got together.
I did love his stance on p-i-v sex, that there are alternatives, that waiting can make it special. That was a treat to read when so many stories have the male balls deep by page five it seems. It makes me thing what can come next when they’ve reached the main part so quickly.

Stars: Four, an enjoyable read, and I think if I’d read books one and two then this may have been a five for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Due South, (The Compass 5),Tamsen Parker

Due South, (The Compass 5),Tamsen Parker

Due South (The Compass series Book 5) by [Parker, Tamsen]

Genre:   Romance, Erotica

I love Tamsen’s Compass series, and this time, book five, we meet Lucy and Evans. Its a bit of a departure from the other stories, not the usual Dom and sub story, but more two people who aren’t in to BDSM but get a hint that they might actually like it. Kind of Compass Lite 😉

Evans and Lucy aren’t into the BDSM scene but then they see India and Cris one night and it shocks them both – they never imagined their boss, the ball breaking, fair but tough woman, would be a sub….and they like what they see, very much.
Its something that’s probably true of very many people, don’t fancy the whole thing, or have never experienced any of it but when they get an introduction, even by unintended voyeurism, they like what they see.
Its why Ann Summers and co do so well. People don’t want to be that open, don’t want to go to a club, but a bit of fun at home appeals.

They are so entranced by what they see that its made them both very turned on, and things happen that lead to some scorching sex.
Office rules forbid office relationships though, and both need their jobs. They agree that as no-one else is likely to be around, it being Christmas and they the only ones working on the special project, they could have a short term bit of fun.

There’s some cracking humour here, funny quotes from both of them that had me sniggering…
Evans-  “if I kept a sword in my office I’d throw myself on it. As things are I’ve only got some pencils in desperate need of a sharpening, a ruler and some paperclips. I couldn’t even injure myself in a dignified manner”

As well as the humour there’s a serious thread, how Evans is tied to his family, how families struggle when things breakdown, and of course poor Lucy’s strong religious upbringing. The sort where someone with generous boobs is told constantly to be aware of not tempting men to do things they shouldn’t.
That old Always the woman’s fault for wearing provocative clothes, looking the wrong way at a man, wearing makeup etc that drives me nuts. What about teaching the men self control, to respect a lady? Sadly its an idea that permeates even a so called modern secular society, where girls/ladies get the blame constantly.
Lucy keeps second guessing her actions, and even though she knows her family’s ideas are wrong she still can’t quite let go of the blame.
Of course the few days come to an end after some serious hot and erotic sex, and neither really want to stop but they’re both so polite, so self effacing, so not convinced that the want is there for the other person too…so what’s going to happen now?

Its a great read, a really nice story, with some steamy encounters, but I did miss the drama of the other stories.

And like many others I’m Desperate for Rey’s story, he’s been tantalised all through the novels, and even though he’s not In this one he’s still there in thoughts when Evan recalls his advice back when India was having a freak out over going in a plane. His book is next – hurrah, I really want to see how he started, know him better than just the man behind the scenes, and India’s good friend.

Stars: Four.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

101 Nights Box Set, S.E. Reign

101 Nights Box Set, S.E. Reign
An erotic American Cinderella story

101 Nights Complete Box Set: Billionaire Prince Erotic Romance by [Reign, SE]

Genre:   Romance, Erotica

Sometimes I like a read that’s pure escapist fantasy, the rich guy and the struggling girl kind of thing. This sounded like that and fun, I expected lots of sex as its labelled erotica. In reality though it was a kind of train wreck read, I had to keep reading just to see what was coming. Parts were so off the wall that I wasn’t sure just what would happen next.

Elijah, AKA EJ, is a complete jerk when we meet him. Sex obsessed, selfish, misogynistic, he treats women like whores, doesn’t care what they think, what they feel so long as he gets his way. Oddly for such an obnoxious man he’s got some bery loyal and good freineds, clearly there’s something good buried in him, deeply buried though 🙂
Then his dad, the King, throws a spanner in the playboy lifestyle, and he needs a fiancée. He doesn’t want one in reality, just as a bluff to stop his cousin inheriting the throne.
They’re a dangerous family, death runs through them in a very non accidental accidents way. Bit like the UK historical monarchs then….

Natalie comes along just at the right time. She wants him to save her apartment block from demolition, he agrees so long as she gives him three months as his fiancée, and of course lets him use her body however and whenever he wants.
There’s two big niggles for me right there, the minor one being the apartment block she wants saved houses ten thousand people. Really? A thousand I could accept but ten thousand? The town where I live has a population of around six and a half thousand, and its hard to imagine them and more crammed into one block….maybe its different in US to UK but that just seems a bit too weird to me. If I’m wrong and its common, then sorry but…
My really, really big issue is this though – EJ “I don’t use condoms. You on birth control?”  Then a couple of pages on  – Natalie “I’ve never slept with a stranger before” EJ – “its easier than you think. I do it all the time”…… “I’ve had more one night stands than anything else, sometimes with two women at once. I have no second thoughts about Fu king a stranger, and I don’t care whether she does or not either. Sex is sex.”
So, he doesn’t use condoms yet has sex with anyone and everyone it seems. What a lovely message to pass on, he’s a walking talking STD magnet.
I just find that kind of thing irresponsible writing. Plus of course the pregnancy issue. He doesn’t want kids, and yet is so careless. With that attitude he ought to have a string of them, not least because with his billions there’s be any number of women willing to get pregnant just to get money out of him. Its sad but there’s many like that, and ones that will have sex with a stranger will have lots of them.

Having got that off my chest, onto the story.
Well, it lurches from crisis to drama, to hysteria and back again.
Every time something goes wrong they have sex, every time someone’s in danger they have sex, on the way to a night out they have sex. Its anywhere and everywhere and just dominated the story, and given the drama in it that’s a tough thing to manage!
I love an erotic read, but filling your story with endless sex doesn’t make it an erotic book, just a boring one for me ,and I skipped most of the sex scenes after the first few as they were so repetitive. They just didn’t feel real to me, but put in so that the book could carry the Erotic tag.
On one occasion they have sex in the limo ( well on lots of occasions but I’m thinking of one in particular). She’s an anal virgin, and yet he takes her there, no lube, no condom, just thrusts in…and she orgasms from it!
Please….a little credibility here. That can’t have been comfortable, the floor of a limo isn’t exactly a great situation for your first time, and with no lube or lubed condom it must have hurt. Especially as we’re always being told how generously sized he is 😉

Its that drama filled storyline that kept me reading, despite the unreality of the story, I had to keep reading just to see what the author would throw in next! That’s why it gets 2.5 stars, because although I didn’t like it and I wouldn’t read it again, though I skipped over so much of the sex, and skimmed the padded out parts I DID keep reading. Thats where the train wreck tag fits for me, its like when you just can’t look away even though you know you won’t like what you see….

It could have been a book I enjoyed, the potential was there but there would have to be lots of changes.
Still, its great for others as it is, and that’s fine. Horses for courses and all that. If you like it I’m glad, its just not one for me.

Edit: that 10,000 in a development kept bugging me so had a quick Wiki peek around. “ More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 328 public housing developments across the City’s five boroughs.” Thats what Wiki says… that averages 1,200 or so in each development. Sounds more reasonable doesn’t it?

Stars:two and a half, a train wreck read….

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

To the Edge, Anna del Mar

To the Edge,  Anna del Mar

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

Genre:  Erotica, Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Blood Bound, Blood Ravagers – Book 1, Traci Douglass

Blood Bound, Blood Ravagers – Book 1,  Traci Douglass

Blood Bound (Blood Ravagers Book 1) by [Douglass, Traci]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I haven’t read any of Traci’s novels before so didn’t know what to expect.
Its a good read, a decent story, but feels too lightweight for me.
Its really based around lots of hot sex between Dante and Anna, with a bit of supernatural suspense thrown in.
It didn’t feel “real” enough for me to rate higher, I know there’s a massive market for romance reads just like this and I’m sure it’ll do well, but for me I need something with a bit more substance to the story.

Anna, searching for her sister, ends up at a Demon gang base. There’s all sorts of illegal things going on there as you’d expect, and Anna ends up central to all the dangers. Sounded a good start but I found it hard to believe a quiet, submissive teacher with just four days to find her sister, would let things ride as she did.
Granted Dante is sex-on-a-stick, but she falls into his arms, and bed without a backward glance to poor Liz. Sister – what sister? Oh yes, well just let me get a few more orgasms in first. Well, that’s how it felt to me 😉
I couldn’t believe that having got to where she knows Liz has been, to where people have seen her, she kind of sat back and threw herself into hot sex, rather than seek her out. Then when she should be sitting back and waiting she decides to intervene *roll eyes*
I’m not a fan of the “new powers” stuff either, where new talents and ones we just don’t otherwise know about come into play just in time to save the day….
Its me, not the book, its a story type that dominates the best sellers, and I’m sure will do well and be perfect for many readers – I’m just not one of them though.

Stars: two and a half – I liked the idea, but it didn’t work out for me. Its one that will appeal to many readers though judging by the top ones in bestsellers. If you like those, you’ll probably like this.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Sugar Free, A Sugar Bowl Novel, Sawyer Bennett

Sugar Free, A Sugar Bowl Novel,  Sawyer Bennett

Sugar Free: A Sugar Bowl Novel by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance.

At the end of the last book I wrote this: “I do want the last part now though – I really struggle with the whole trilogy and cliff-hanger novels issue, I want to read all of the story all at once, not months apart. Still, that’s clearly the market so….”
Now I’ve got book three in my hot little hands, or on my kindle at least 🙂

Sela’s actions just at the end of book two had me gobsmacked, absolutely floored. For an intelligent lady she does something that’s just plain stupid, and TBH that didn’t really fit for me.
We open up book three with her, Beck and Caroline in the apartment,  and Sela revealing to them what happened. Beck’s reaction mirrored mine – a WTF moment!!
Still, he loves her and his first though is how to protect her, he goes into full on cover up. Of course they talk through what if she went to the police, but with her history and no witnesses who would believe her? JT was a bad man but covered it all well, and in the publics eye he’s just a wealthy, successful business owner – even if the Sugar Bowl is tinged with sleaze issues.
Of course after disposing of what he can Beck gets the police round for a visit. He knew they’d come, but needed to act surprised.  He and Sela have worked out what they’ll say, but as always that depends on what questions come up, and the police are pretty vigorous. It soon becomes clear they want someone, anyone to blame, JT is a well known character, background of Old Money and of course his parents will stop at nothing for justice, and are leaning heavily on the cops. The usual US political issues come to the fore, where local elections for prime positions are coming, and they take money to win.
It always surprises me that US law holders are elected, v here in UK where its just another job, apply, get vetted and hopefully best person appointed, not ones with longest purse strings…of course I’m not naive enough to believe its without its faults, but it does seem to me to carry less tendencies to corruption.

Its a story that’s hard to tell without spoilers, but its full of twists and turns, where what I think I know isn’t always true, and what I didn’t expect turns out to be genuine, or perhaps not… 😉
I love the way we get insights into the legal side, Sawyers background here lends some real authenticity to this, and makes it feel very real. I read one recently set in UK where there was no way – even with artistic licence that what happened could have worked that way, and that spoils a story for me. I need to feel that if the circumstances were there this is what could have happened.
Sawyer makes the story feel real, I can see why the cops think X is the culprit, how they put 2=2 together but make 5, as on the surface everything points that way. I couldn’t see a way out, was shocked at the revelations, didn’t see those coming.
It ends very cleverly, just the right amount of believability with a combination of force, threats of publicity and evidence winning through.
Looking back I can see where this thread was seeded, the tiny signs put in place but I totally missed them when reading. I’m always trying to catch those, I love the way authors take a tiny comment, a little incident, an almost throwaway action, and it becomes something major, something of great importance later.
I’m in awe actually of the way authors weave a story full stop. I couldn’t do it!

Sometimes a side character really comes to the fore and here its Dennis – as others have said, what a great character. Sawyer, we need to know more about him in a future book please 😉

Stars: five, a terrific finish, full of surprises and very realistic.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

A New York Love Story, Cassie Rocca

A New York Love Story,  Cassie Rocca

A New York Love Story (Blame it on New York) by [Rocca, Cassie]

Genre:  Romance, women’s fiction

I really wanted to love this book, it sounded such fun and was in one of my favourite tropes.
I didn’t dislike it but….it wasn’t more for me than just an OK ish read.

The start was difficult, Cassie did an awful lots of Telling not Showing from both Cade and Zoe. There were long thoughts, kind of internal monologues and descriptions of what both of them were thinking, their backgrounds, their families and how they got where they were. That’s fine for some readers but for me I need the reveal to take place by way of action and dialogue, so I found it hard going.

I didn’t really feel much connection either with Cade being a bit convinced everyone wanted something from him, though maybe that’s understandable, and Zoe was just prickly to the point of rudeness to him. I wondered why he’d bother!

It did get better and past the halfway mark I began to enjoy the story in parts, but there was too much from earlier that affected me, I never really felt that magic sizzle and tension I needed from them both to connect, never was really convinced they were in love.
Its a great idea and will be perfect for some readers, just not for me.

Stars: 2.5/3, that slow start almost made me stop this book, but I ended up reading through and the second half was better

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Club Trega,  Nicole Wood

Club Trega by [Wood,Nicole]

Genre:   Romance

I really wanted to like this story, it sounded perfect for me but…I just couldn’t get into it, struggled with the somewhat different style of writing.

I think that style is why I just didn’t gel with the characters, I didn’t feel I understood them, their motives, their feelings and somehow that translated into just not really caring about them and where their story goes.
I found some odd typos too – not the usual they’re, their and there ones,  but missing punctuation which led to me reading again things that didn’t make sense, and there were words wrongly used, ones where a similar sounding word but an incorrect one was used. I didn’t make a note of them at the time, that kind of stuff happens in books – we’re human after all and no-one gets it perfect, and I read for story not grammar accuracy, but after the third or fourth time it began to get irritating, and I was only a short way through by then.
I finally skim read to the end because I felt maybe it would get better for me, but it didn’t. 😦 I just didn’t like any of the characters that much, and couldn’t empathise with them and for me that’s essential.

One of those Marmite books where its me, not the story, that doesn’t suit – its perfect for other readers and I’m glad for them, but it just didn’t cut it for me.

Stars: Two, a miss for me but a hit for others.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Kinky Sprinkles, L.A. Witt and Farm to Table, Colleen Seward

Kinky Sprinkles,  L.A. Witt

Kinky Sprinkles by [Witt,L.A.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I love L A Witt’s writing and have read quite a few of her books now, so looked forward to this one.
It covers something I’ve often wondered – what happens when two people fall in love but don’t share sexual tastes?
Sometimes its a choice thing for people but sometimes in cases such as this they have a need for certain practices as opposed to just enjoying them.

André is like that – he needs to be a Dom, needs to dominate and hurt people to be satisfied. He wants to be with Joel though, who’s just got out of  a two year, very bad relationship with a sadistic Dom who wasn’t a good one, wasn’t safe, didn’t respect his sub and look to his needs.
He doesn’t want to go back there. and only got into the role because of his ex. He’s not interested in that, not going there again.

So what happens in those kind of cases? Usually we get the perfect blend, sub meets Dom, someone who wants pain meets a Sadist – its interesting when two opposing sides want to be together and I suspect that’s far more likely to happen than the usual way portrayed in romance reads. So I was interested in how LA would let things play out, what solutions she’d come up with..
I loved Joel, hurt by his ex in more ways than one and yet he’s still got an inner core of strength that allows him to say No to André, to explain he just doesn’t want to go there, isn’t a natural sub.
Andre too is lovely, he doesn’t want to hurt Joel, isn’t interested in doing that to someone who doesn’t want it, but they decide neither can make things work long term, either Andre will give up what he needs or Joel will do something he doesn’t want to and one will start resenting the other. Not a good start to a relationship.
They each try to stay apart and yet circumstances keep bringing them together, and wow – the heat between them is scorching, sensual and addictive. Each time is sort of “we can’t keep doing this” but then they can’t stay away, and neither can get interested in others.

Finally Joel comes up with a solution – well, something they can try anyway and to be honest its blindingly obvious.
WARNING – SPOILER AHEAD

He suggests an open relationship where Andre can play with others….sounds good but though it doesn’t outright say, the inference is that Andre will be having sex with others too..
What!! I didn’t see that coming and don’t understand why they go that route. We’ve already been told André likes the play most, that’s the bit he really gets off on, and can stop before sex, getting with someone else after for that – its how he and Joel had their first encounter after all.
Why couldn’t they repeat that? Joel likes watching, he could watch and then when its over he and André could satisfy the need for sex, no need for others to get involved in that side of things.
Maybe its just me, but I have trouble with the being in love with one person but wanting sex with others, and here it was so needless. It spoiled what would have been a five star read for me…still, it’ll suit others and maybe you won’t feel as strongly as I do.

Stars: Three, a fun read, but I wasn’t happy with parts of the solution

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Farm to Table Colleen Seward

Farm To Table: 50 Recipes for Clean Eating (The Healthy Foodie) by [Seward, Colleen]

Genre:  non fiction, cookery, lifestyle

Healthy eating – we see that pushed out all the while don’t we? Yet its usually in the form of buy this supplement, try these health ready meals, or sometimes there are recipes, but they have four hundred ingredients, some of which needs sourcing at daybreak on the summer solstice, while wearing a robe made of unicorn hair…well, that’s how it feels:-)

None of that here, just simple, easy recipes, with ingredients available everywhere.
Colleen doesn’t push any one super food, but more the idea of a properly balanced diet, where making meals from basic ingredients naturally keeps the preservatives and additives to a minimum.
She puts forward the argument for food that’s as fresh as possible, grown without too many extras but doesn’t take the somewhat fanatical “if its not organic its no good” stance. Too many books seem like they are preaching, too pushy and make the reader just switch off. Colleen’s persuasion is more gentle and accepts that sometimes a compromise is needed.

You could start by changing just one meal a day – or even just four a week, something like that, and once you start to get into the routine and appreciate the taste of real food, ingredients that aren’t chemically enhanced, hopefully you’ll want to include more in your life.
Using this book is simple, its dived into sections full of easy to follow recipes that don’t take hours to make, and are easy for even those new to cooking.
Start by adding a few a week and take it from there.

The recipes are simple and its easy to ring the changes using the ideas for one meal and replacing certain ingredients – pork for chicken, mushrooms instead of peppers or sweet corn, things like that.
The main proposal Colleen puts forward is that the most important thing is that ingredients are as fresh as possible and as free from additives etc.
Go to farmers markets, get to know your butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer and you can find out that info.
Supermarkets have a bad name, undeservedly IMO, and the same idea works there – most have dedicated butchery etc so speak to staff, find out how fresh your food is, where its been, how its been treated.
Its your body, take care of it. You won’t put cheap, second grade fuel in your car and expect it to perform top class and its the same with your body.

I found this an interesting read, especially as I tend to eat this way anyway, having been brought up on home-grown fruit and veg and meals from scratch.
In the long run its much cheaper than ready meals too, and with a little forethought so easy to do.
Living alone now I tend to make a batch of meals, casseroles, cottage pies etc and freeze in portions so I have home made ready meals. You can do the same even if you’ve a big family, just double up on the main ingredient and freeze half. Than all you need to do is put your meal in the over for 40-60 mins or so from the freezer,add some salad or fresh veg, maybe some crusty bread and you’ve a meal with very little prep that’s nutritious, healthy and tastes good.

Stars: Five, excellent practical read to start a healthy approach to eating.

ARC supplied by author

Wicked Bond, Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Bond,  Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Bond: The Wicked Horse Series by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Well, when I was a kid I got the habit of always saving the best bit of food til last, something I still do… the almond centre of an almond croissant, the gooey, chocolate coating of a cake, a soft and crispy bit of a roast potato, a prawn and some sauce in a fish pie…you get the idea.
That’s how this book feels, its part of the series but the best, and its been saved til last.

Like so many other readers Bridger ( and I always want to write Bridgr here, seems to fit with Tindr and Grindr 😉 )  is a mystery we’re dying to unravel. He’s so all knowing, so capable, the one everyone defers to and expects to sort out any and everything, and yet we know so little of him, except for that blackbirds tattoo. I’d love to see that, and I want to know exactly what’s behind it. Well, finally we’re getting some answers about him, and his story.
Its the usual sexy read, hot and raunchy yet tempered with sensuality, full of men who are Men and yet aren’t afraid to be with and talk to anyone who’s a bit unconventional sexually. That’s what The Silo is about, letting go of inhibitions, doing what you want and being accepted for it. So long as everyone consents andything goes, within legalities anyway.
Its a great idea, and it always puzzles me why places like this are so hidden, forced into being a kind of secret underground. Still, that’s the way it is, and for The Silo it means there’s always lots of people willing to pay the very steep membership fees to let their dreams and needs be free.

Bridger’s current predicament comes as Kyle, one of the local MC club members brings him a very badly beaten up lady.
Maggie has been kept hostage by Zeke – the club president – she’s hidden away their 2 year old daughter, not wanting her brought up in the club. Who would? Its epitomises the very worst of MC reps, and she wants better for Belle. She’s not the naive, addicted teen she was when she met Zeke, but he won’t let her go. He regards her and Belle as his property and has been beating and torturing her to reveal where Belle is. Now he’s away for a couple of days and his old lady, who can’t have kids, has taken over but she’s out to kill Maggie.
She’s been rescued covertly by Kyle, one of the members who’s hiding his own secrets, and taken quietly to Bridger. She can’t go to the cops, there’s too much riding on a secret for that, but Kyle asks Bridger to keep her safe.

Maggie is badly injured and its some days before she can really talk to Bridger, and he doesn’t understand it but the more time he spends with her the closer he feels to her. He’s attracted sexually, that’s odd for him. Usually its as if his d ick is just a tool, orgasms just a pleasant bodily function, sex just an exercise in stress relief. He keeps emotion out, keeps himself closed off and that’s why he’s such an enigma. There’s lots of club ladies ( and a few men hoping!)who’ve tried to get through his walls, none have come anywhere near close, but it seems Maggie is even without trying. She so damaged though, Bridger feels bad for even thinking of her like that. He doesn’t know Maggie is having the same thoughts.

All the while that’s taking place, the dangers of discovery are stacking up. Bridger needs all his wits about him this time to protect her and Belle from the MC club. Its comes very close at times, the dangers feel very real and there’s heartbreak for someone I just didn’t expect to lose 😦

Its a great read, wonderful romance, heart-breaking learning of Bridger’s past. Plenty of drama and emotion, angst and anger, and spicy, sensual and “naughty” sex all written in sawyers trademark way where it fits perfectly into the story told.
After FSoG sadly there was an outpouring of “sex” books hoping to cash in,  where it seemed some writers though hot sex was all that was needed to hit the best sellers, and hadn’t the talent or motive to actually plot and plan a decent story.  Plenty of authors can write good sex scenes but unless they’re part of a good story, attached to characters I like, that just feel meaningless and bland to me. I need a solid story backing up the sex, and Sawyer always does that.

Book one is now joint favourite with this one, two terrific stories. They’ve all been good, its been great to see characters in their new roles as the series progresses but one and five are my favourites of them all.

Stars: five, a terrific finish, wrapping up a sensual and erotic series.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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