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Michael, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1, Marie Tuhart

Michael, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1, Marie Tuhart

Michael (Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1) by [Tuhart, Marie]

Genre: Erotica, Romance

My bad: I saw Hollywood, romance, erotica and BDSM and I love any/all of those so clicked without checking further.
But its just 65 pages, yep, short story time, and for me they just don’t work. Too much to compress in too short a space for me.

I liked Michael, seemed a responsible Dom, and Kelsey needs to trust him, but given her past that’s hard.
Its his job though, his career, and she can’t (and doesn’t of course) expect him to limit what he does to suit her confidence. She either trusts him or doesn’t.

The press, all the things I love to hate in a story 😉 along with the wonderful, scheming, manipulative co-star.
If this was a full length book I think I’d have really enjoyed it, but its so short there’s not really time to go into any of the people or plots in any detail. Scarcely has a potential issue arisen than its over, done and dusted, and though that’s great for many its not for me.
I need books I can really lose myself in, plots I can really get my teeth into, emotion that pulls at me and makes me feel as if everything is real.
Novellas, short stories just don’t have the time to do that, and that’s why I usually avoid them.

Like I said , my bad- it’s not the book it’s me.

Stars: Two, just too short for me though as full length I think I’d love it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

 

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

Killing June: A Dark Romance (Saved By Sin) by [Bridges, May]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica.

I enjoyed this book, a sensual romance with a very interesting story-line.
I’m always interested when the BDSM side of a story comes with a psychological angle and here June exists to help Alex cope with her past. Is it June that needs the pain or Alex?
Alex wants to leave June behind but she’s tangled up with some dangerous characters and its not an easy decision.

Alex is a very successful business woman, has two parents that adore her, traditional southern church going types, and she thinks if they knew about June they’d be ashamed of her. So she keeps that part of her life very separate, and presents a different front to them, a career woman doing well, who only has time to pop back home to visit and attend church with them every few weeks…

In her alternate life she plays the part of June, her own creation, a woman who dominates men for money, all arranged by her old school friend and former lover Rob.
He’s an odd guy and a bit of me felt sorry for him when Alex is talking about their childhood. It doesn’t excuse the man he’s become though, a dangerous criminal, with some strange delusions about Alex and what she needs. He’s helping her track down someone from her past, as well as arranging clients for June.
They have a strange relationship, she seems to think of him as the sad, gentle boy she knew, not the vicious drug lord, moneylender he is now.

She’s busy with one of her clients when Cade and two other men burst in. That’s a part that I’m uncomfortable about. She sees first hand how Cade works, how he’s a hired mobster, happy to dish out physical violence.
When he’s with Alex we see another side to him, and I really liked that man but he’s also the man that is part of the underworld, works for Rob, doing whatever he needs to keep people in control.
Its why I usually stay away from MC or Mafia style romances, I have issues accepting that level of violence as OK, that men can dish it out, beat up, blackmail people, commit murder,s  and still be a romantic lead.

I really enjoyed the psychology of this though, seeing just why Alex craved the pain, seeing how it let her mind free from the guilt she carries, even though it wasn’t her fault. It was interesting the way she created June, thinking of her as a separate person with differing needs, and yet the past interacts with June too, dictating how she allows people to respond to her, what she wants/needs them to do.

I liked how Cade took care of Alex, how he tried to understand her, anticipated her needs, tried to keep her safe even when it meant risking Rob’s wrath, knowing just what he is capable of doing to get his own way.
When things went wrong between them I understood his reasons, and sympathised with him, even though I don’t like the violent part of him.
That drama part was perfect for me, played out well, lasted some time, not just over in a couple of pages. That’s just how I like the emotionally sad parts of stories to be.

Stars: Four, a great read, perfect suspense, great balance of sex v story with neither dominating, but I just can’t go five stars and accept that Cade can be a romantic hero, knowing he’s also a violent thug and very likely a killer too.
That’s my issues though, won’t affect others of course so it could be a five star read for you 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Cartographer,  Tamsen Parker, (The Compass series Book 6), Heartbreaker, Hollywood Hearts: Book 2, Belinda Williams

The Cartographer,  Tamsen Parker, (The Compass series Book 6),

The Cartographer (The Compass series Book 6) by [Parker, Tamsen]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance, erotica

I’ve loved this series, some books more than others. I wasn’t hooked with the first book, not totally, and looking back I can see that I just didn’t understand the story, didn’t understand or empathise with India. Now we’re at the end and I know so much more of the characters I could go back and my review would be very different.

This is Rey’s story ( Rey or Reyes you’ll be thinking – well, both are correct but for me Reyes is Reyes Farrow, Charley Davidson’s Big Bad…so this is Rey!) He’s intrigued me right from the start, the man behind the scenes, moving all the pieces around, sorting problems, finding partners, matching people perfectly. He’s such a true gentleman, so well mannered, (Cheetos with chopsticks) moral, kind, and he hates to see people abused.
He’s made it his life’s work to go where he’s needed, to make peoples lives better on an individual level. He’s firm but fair, always consistent, always thinking of the other persons welfare. (Baby’s First Safeword…that made me laugh and summed up Rey to a T).
He’s the star of the series for me, the person who’s most intrigued me right from the start, and the one who’s story I Really wanted. And what a cracker it was, definitely my favourite book.

This book is complete in itself, and for m/m readers they might be tempted to just jump in and read this without the others.
You can do that, you will follow the story, but you won’t get that satisfaction of really seeing how Rey deserved his own person to love, how the reserved, quiet, confident person was hiding a secret, and won’t get the feeling of sheer joy, utter bliss when he realises he too can have what he’s done so long for others.
Tamsen’s writing is so fluid, her stories so complex and full of details that create a feeling of reality, that it would be a shame to miss the early ones. She writes erotica, but its not wall-to-wall sexfest, but erotica of the more sensual type, where its not just d icks in a rse or p ussy, (gah, I hate that word, so twee, but there really isn’t a decent substitute), but a drawn out process, taking the reader on a seductive journey, a careful build-up to the climax…..
So if that’s the kind of read you like, compared to the spoon fed, in-your-face sex novels you’ll love these.

So, Rey meets Allie, tending a bar disastrously, covering for his sister that night.
Allie is so genuine, so kind hearted. He adores his sister and her two kids, and left the military where he was really happy, so he could help her when his best friend, her husband, was killed in action. Its just them, no other family and life is always a balancing act.
Allie puts them first in everything, but he’s got pride and won’t accept Rey’s help. That frustrates Rey, he’s got the money, why won’t they let him help, they really need it, but he also understands pride – he’s got enough of that himself.

As well as Rey and Allie, we meet Matthew, who’s been in previous books but I’ve never been quite sure of the role he plays in Rey’s life, Kendra, Allie’s sister, her two kids and also Rey’s mother. She’s a fabulous woman, I’d love to be her as I age.
We get updates too on characters from the previous books, which was fun to read.

The story is wonderful, how Rey falls for Allie and vice versa, two totally opposite people on the face of it, but who are instantly attracted. Allie’s very proud, Military man but comapred to Rey, a real innocent, and he doesn’t realise he’s a Sub. Rey is  a master at this and can see it from the tiny gestures he makes though. We get a true insight into just how patient, how strong and safe Rey makes people feel, how he doesn’t dominate by force but by trust, and he thinks and teaches that this is the only way. He’s truly is an inspiring man.

Of course he trains people and finds them life partners, he doesn’t keep anyone, and that’s the plan with Allie. A little arrogant of him that he doesn’t actually tell Allie this I thought, although he does say he doesn’t do permanent relationships.
Plans have a way of going awry though, and its clear to everyone except Rey that he’s in love with Allie, that Allie loves him. Rey doesn’t allow himself that though, and the reasons why are heartbreaking. I so felt for him, felt for Allie too, he was blindsided by events.
I do love this fall apart sad bit in a romance and maybe my only crit of this book was that though I could feel the sadness on both sides, it didn’t really seem to come over strongly enough. I needed to feel Rey was really down, desperate, heartbroken and he was, but he was also carrying on his life, though finding it hard. Somehow I just like characters to really hit the bottom and Rey only felt halfway down to me.
Its a tiny issue though compared the enjoyment I got from reading this fantastic story, and I know I want to go back and go through all the books again. I’m sure I’ll get so much more, understanding the characters better, seeing the little clues I missed first time round.

Stars: Five, a fabulous finish to the series, wraps things up, and brings us full circle, but I’m so sad at losing these characters. Still, there’s always re-reading!

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

Heartbreaker, Hollywood Hearts: Book 2, Belinda Williams

 

Heartbreaker (Hollywood Hearts Book 2) by [Williams, Belinda]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

I loved the first in this series, Heartthrob, and was keen to read more.

We met Lena in book one, and this time she’s centre stage and Ally is a secondary character.

I really enjoyed this, a little romance, a little mystery but it didn’t grab me in the same way Heartthrob did. I think the way Ally was so badly treated by the Hollywood B itch crews was what made that one so special, and of course Ally and Jacob.

I like Lena and Marc but they didn’t have the same chemistry for me as Ally and Jacob, more of a subtle slow burn romance there.

Its a fun spin through the issues fame brings, whats acceptable and how much of a private life can a star have? Its weird the way people see the screen/stage personas as the real ones and fancy themselves in love with them – or conversely love to hate them. I’ve never really understood how supposedly normal people do that, get caught up in fantasy lives and imagine them real but it happens.  A lot.

Lena’s had stalkers before and Marc has been part of the team who deal with them. She also has her own long time security team, but she can’t live life glued to someone’s side, can’t spend her days looking over her shoulder worrying if someone is out to get her.

Yet however tight her precautions there are ways round them, and once more she’s caught up in danger.

I do like Lena, very famous and yet straightforward, down to earth and part of that I think is her good freinds, who don’t fawn at her feet but remind her she’s just a person. She’s not really the type to take advantage of fame anyway, she’s a really good lady, not a pretentious jerk like some become.

I felt for her when she’s trying her best to keep her life normal, as normal as a film stars life can be anyway.

Marc, he seemed so grumpy, almost rude with his genuine dislike against all things Hollywood, and yet his background is steeped in it.

Maybe its the fact he didn’t follow the family footsteps, maybe its the things he saw and did while serving as his country. War brings out things we should never see and the effects are very long lasting on people’s psyche.

He’s determined to protect Lena though, even while clearly disliking her world, and then the film bosses decide he needs to be very close to her, so he becomes her boyfriend for the public.

Of course his security issues mean he needs to use a false persona, but the press start to wonder – who is Lena’s mystery man. And her stalker ups the pressure on her and the dangers.

Its a fun read, I had a little idea who the stalker might be but not til maybe three quarters through the book.

Lena and Marc didn’t have the magic sensuality that made me so love the first book, but there was a real sexual tension at times between them which was perfect.

I love Lena, not so sure about Marc. By the end I liked him, but it took a while for me to get past his Hollywood Hatred. I kept thinking – why take jobs there when clearly you feel its all superficial?

I never really came to understand why he felt this way, and maybe that’s behind some of my prejudice towards him.

Stars: four, a perfect escape with a little drama mixed in to spice up the romance.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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

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