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Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser (Dive Bar Book 3) by [Scott, Kylie]

Genre:  Erotica, romance

I adored the Stage dive books, and the first two in the Dive Bar series. Whats great is that it feels like meeting old friends, the Dive Bar gang are all close, a mix of family and friends and the Stage Dive families take a step into these books. Its great to catch up with them too.
When a new scene opens with “yeah, but who is your favourite in the band? Its me, right? It’s OK to be honest, I deal well with adulation” it can only be one person talking, the wonderful Mal of course. All the characters are written so well, and each have their own “voice”, their own characteristics that make them stand out even from just an anonymous sentence. Its a tribute to Kylie that she can still do that with each character even though the cast list has grown so much.
Anyway, this book, fabulous as ever. Its starring Eric, and new resident Jean. I love Eric, he’s just on the right side of man-whore, he’s pen to almost anything and anyone, so good-looking he has scores of ladies ready for a night with him and he’s always open, for him its all about A Good Time not a Long Time. He lets everyone know that and now that he’s thinking maybe that life is a bit tired, shallow, maybe its time for more its jumping back at him. Nell, she’s his biggest critic but no-one seems to feel he can be a relationship person, that he’s capable of giving more than just the odd, casual night. Poor Eric, I did feel for him. He really could have been they type I dislike, arrogant, always ready with the chat up, always looking for the next sex partner, and yet he’s also a gentleman, helpful, courteous and very genuine. I found myself liking him, even though from earlier reads I had him pegged as a bit of a jerk. The Nell issue, the ending of the last book, had him written like that for me and yet here when its dealt with I found myself sympathising with him. At first I thought the gap and consequences was a bit of a cop out ( talking circles trying not to give anything away) but as the story continued I could see how it added yet another dimension to the puzzle that is Eric.
I write at the end of my review of the last book, Twist “I’m really looking forward to the next story, and at some point to what/how Kylie is going to do/deal with Eric. How can she make this overconfident, ar sehole, this selfish, immature guy into one we readers will like? But I have no doubt through her magical writing she’ll do it 😉 “ Well, she did it, I love Eric, loved seeing him grow, change, loved seeing why he was the way he was, that there was another deeper side to him. I adore his almost-on-the-edge-of-panic actions, his way of protecting those he loves, looking out for others, just loved seeing the Real Eric, not the cameo we had so far.

So who’s next I wonder? I’d really like to back track a bit and see what went on with Pat and Nell, and then get up to date with them. Or there’s Andre, silver fox and all round good guy. Whoever it is I’ll be queuing up to read about them.
These stories are true keepers for me, ones I love to reread.

Stars: Five, a fantastic read, light but with depth, humorous but with a series side, and reading it was like being with old friends again.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Bride for Keeps, Nicole Helm

Bride for Keeps,  Nicole Helm

Bride for Keeps (Big Sky Brides Book 2) by [Helm, Nicole]

Genre: Romance

I was looking forward to this, I have a weakness for a second chance romance.
It didn’t start well for me though, they’re already at break point when we meet them and TBH I didn’t like either character. They seemed so opposite I wondered how they ever could have been the couple who were so in love they ignored everyone else. Sierra is like a big spoiled kid, throwing a tantrum when she doesn’t get her own way and as for Carter. Well, he’s so closed of he barely speaks to her, for days, stays at hos parents home for days…They’ve been married months, together less than a year and I found it hard to like either of them.
Didn’t like Carters parents either, though they and the shock they reveal about him made me see why he was so introverted, so able to be single minded to the point he ignores Sierra.
I guess if maybe I’d seen the love I’d have been rooting harder for them, but it took a long while for me to warm up to either of them, and the whole breakup/get back together seemed very superficial.
Its not a bad book, just one where the story and characters don’t work for me. Nicole has written many stories and I’d be happy to read another, hoping its just tis one that doesn’t suit.

Stars: Two, a book I just didn’t connect with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Maybe Someone Like You, Stacy Wise

Maybe Someone Like You,  Stacy Wise

Maybe Someone Like You by [Wise, Stacy]

Genre:  New adult

I loved Stacie’s Beyond the Stars, almost a five star read for me but this one? Well, Its sweet, cute, easy to read but I didn’t feel that magic of Beyond the Stars in it.
I liked Katie, liked Ryan but didn’t really feel much beyond friends with them and the set up of miscommunication was so tenuous to hang a full romance on that I just didn’t find the story believable.
The Jasmine issue was one of the best parts of the story, how it led to Katie volunteering with the pother group and yet it was a secondary part of the main novel.

Stars: Three, a story I had high hopes for but which ultimately was just an OK sweet read, not a solid romance for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

recent reading

I’ve been reading some non netgalley stories, a couple i was asked to review by authors, some I borrowed on KU, and a couple I bought.

The Ex Factor,  Debbie Viggiano 

The Ex Factor by [Viggiano, Debbie]

Genre: general fiction

I’ve read several of Debbie’s books, and this is a departure from the usual but still with her excellent solid writing style.

Its a hard subject, one that strikes close to home for many readers. When a marriage breaks up some fathers drift off, happy to abandon their family, others though are like Sam, desperately want to be a father, to have as much access as possible but get thwarted at every step by the mother. Sadly apart from expensive court proceedings, and not everyone has the thousands that can cost, there’s nothing else they can do. Even then having a court order doesn’t help when the mother say the child is ill, asleep, at a friends, doesn’t want to come and refuses access. The father can go back to court as Sam does, but that takes time and the months away from his daughter take a toll on him, on his new family and of course on Ruby. The only happy one is the mother, Annie, such a vindictive character. It would be nice to think parents always wanted the best for their child/children but like Annie many only want control, revenge for what they see as slights. Annie was the one to leave, yet tells Ruby Sam was at fault, forced her into an affair. Of course her poison is all lies but kids naturally believe what parents tell them and Annie has Ruby for the majority of the time, been drip feeding her malicious words into her ears. Its cruel, and yet it goes on day after day for many families. My lovely brother is going through the same process, so far he’s been unable to see his daughter for almost two years, despite spending several thousands on court fees. The court agreed he’d done nothing wrong, was a good father, but the mother was so vindictive she has kept his daughter away and all he can do it seek more legal proceedings. Meanwhile his little girl probably is being told daddy didn’t want her…..
Its an incredibly sad, very realistic story of what pressures a family breakdown can put on the absent parent, spilling over into other family members. Thankfully the end shows there is a glimmer of light, and I’m hoping that same thing happens for my brother in time.

A KU purchase

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya 

Royal Love (Last Royals Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

a KU purchase
This was a fun read, though it took me some time to warm to Angus, he was alpha male but on the OTT side, and there were times when I wanted Siobhan to just tell him where to go. She veers between wanting him and wanting independence and I did feel the whole getting together part was a bit rushed. I felt both acted out of characters and one thing that really annoyed me was the lack of condoms. That’s just not a good message to send out in this day and age!
There’s a little suspense, I’d kind of worked out what had happened and who was behind it, but it was still a good addition to the story and gave it a little extra edge.
I loved Angus mum and aunt, perfect snobbish b itchy characters – they really add to a story for me, make a contrast to all the sweet stuff.
Its not a story I’d re-read, a little too light and sweet for me, I need a bit more drama but its a fun read for when you want something easy to relax with.
Stars: Three, a little light but a fun story.

Rockstar Daddy, (Wilder Rock 1), Taryn Quin

Rockstar Daddy (Wilder Rock Book 1) by [Quinn, Taryn]

Genre: Romance,
a side spin from the Oblivion series. I usually loved Taryn’s stories, especially when she writes with Cari Quinn but this one was a little simple. Its got plenty of heat, lots of erotic encounters but for me they became the story, and there was little else to it – just a series of very hot sex scenes tied in with a tin backstory. For many people that’s perfect, for me it needs to be story first.

Another KU purchase

Lifeline,  Amelia Lawrence 

Lifeline by [Lawrence, Amelia]

Genre: Romance, M/M
A good read, very real with scenes that happen far too often. Alex was heartbroken after his romance with Jack went badly wrong, and feeling rejected he’s a prime candidate for manipulative bully Cole.

Like so many of these characters Cole starts off well and then the crack drift in, by which time Alex had lost his self confidence and was constantly striving to be someone who wouldn’t anger Cole. Its easy to say “why not just leave?” but much harder for anyone to do it. Bullied sap at self confidence, convince people no-one else will want them and of course the threats that Leaving will have drastic Consequences is enough to put most folk off, and Alex is just working and returning home, all the joy has been sucked out of life.
Jack – well, Jack was wonderful, regretted the past very much and wanted a second chance with Alex. The way the story played out was really well done. Its not one I’d re-read but was a very enjoyable story, a realistic portrayal of an unpleasant subject.

One I bought, was only 99p

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya  

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya  

Royal Love (Last Royals Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

Genre: Romance

This was a fun read, though it took me some time to warm to Angus, he was alpha male but on the OTT side, and there were times when I wanted Siobhan to just tell him where to go. She veers between wanting him and wanting independence and I did feel the whole getting together part was a bit rushed. I felt both acted out of characters and one thing that really annoyed me was the lack of condoms. That’s just not a good message to send out in this day and age!

There’s a little suspense, I’d kind of worked out what had happened and who was behind it, but it was still a good addition to the story and gave it a little extra edge.

I loved Angus mum and aunt, perfect snobbish b itchy characters – they really add to a story for me, make a contrast to all the sweet stuff.

Its not a story I’d re-read, a little too light and sweet for me, I need a bit more drama but its a fun read for when you want something easy to relax with.

Stars: Three, a little light but a fun story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Diamond in the Rough, Brenda Jernigan

Diamond in the Rough,  Brenda Jernigan

Diamond in the Rough by [Jernigan, Brenda]

Genre: Humour, Romance

I thought this sound a fun, light hearted read, as someone who’s always struggled to control my weight I felt for Kathy. Sadly though there were so many things that made me angry in this story that it was a fail for me. ** possible spoilers ahead**

First off The Weight. She’s fat, plumpish, tubby, I’m not sure which, but the reactions of Devon is so patronising. He calls he fat, controls her diet, berates her when she suggests wanting something else to eat. He might have been doing it for her own good, he might have had weight issues in his past, but nothing, nothing excuses the way he chipped at her confidence. He’s a bully. He gets her the sack, controls how she spends her own money, tricks her into a four week fat club.
Kathy too was someone I didn’t expect, she sees Devon as “hers” from very early on, calls him on his attraction to other ladies, his past dates etc, berates him for things that really aren’t her business and yet rolls over when he dictates her life.
Kathy’s sister was a good character, I like ones like her, jealous and trying to sabotage Kathy’s diet. There are people like that in real life.
Some things niggled, self employed artists set their prices, they don’t blithely send off a painting and get surprised at what they get paid. I can tell you from personal experience too that its not possible to be putting finishing touches on a huge painting the afternoon of starting it….If you’re going to have your characters do certain things research first, make them realistic. I hate when Devon calls her Luv, its not professional, not something a Lawyer would do. I hate the actual term Luv too, its Love….The ride in the New Orleans – that bit did make me cross. The quote is “A black man sitting high on his perched seat….” He’s the carriage driver, and the term “black man” felt wrong to me, felt racist, made me very uncomfortable. There’s no reason to mention his colour, he’s an ancillary character, and doesn’t get another mention if the story.

Stars: two, sadly a story that really didn’t work for me. I expected to like it, I do like this type of transformation story, but there were too many personal issues for me to rate higher.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits by [Tate, Susie]

Genre: Romance

I loved book one in this series and Millie and Pav both feature there as secondary characters. Rosie, Jamie and Libby from that book are secondary characters here along with the vivacious Kira.

Millie is painfully isolated, has a real social issue among her other problems. Seems she was a child genius, pushed by ambitious political parents into schooling way ahead of her years and peers. She never learned to mix with others as a result. Her parents were bullies in other ways too, sapping at her fragile self esteem and now she’s an incredible medical personnel trapped in a job way below her skills officially but where they are recognised and valued so unofficially she does all the work a consultant would do. She’s been having therapy but is a long way from being who she wants to be. She’s trapped in her own self limits.

Pav is her total opposite but by a series of incidences begins to see Millie isn’t the person he nicknamed Nuclear Winter. Millie envies him, is attracted to him but knows he, like the rest of the staff apart from Libby and her colleague Don, would never want to even be friends with her, let alone more. And then things change. To begin Pav does have an ulterior motive, but he very soon sees Millie isn’t stand offish, isn’t looking down on others but plain terrified. After an incident leads to her totally falling apart in front of other staff he sees beyond her facade, and tries to help. Libby too and the irrepressible Rosie, work on bring Millie forward, helping her get past those limits.

I so felt for Millie. Social anxiety is genuine, many of us have issues where the thought of meeting others has us in a sweat, hearts racing, blood pulsing, just knowing that we don’t have that easy connection, that simple conversation is anything but, that trying to talk to someone unknown will result in the usual brain jelly and lack of speech. Millie’s reactions are way beyond most though, and the way Susie gradually brings her forward, showing us how the CBT, the people she depends on, the gradual widening of those she can trust bring her forward is wonderful to read and felt so very real.
I loved Pav, he saw beyond the obvious to the gem that was Millie, and its was a treat to read this romance. When he spoke to Millie’s parents I was cheering him. Its a great read, I loved seeing the familiar characters from book one, loved seeing just how difficult Millie found things others breeze past, loved how Pav’s family changed when they got to know the real Millie.

The epilogue too was just perfect. Just enough to let us see how things would work out, but not enough to feel the story gets past the interesting part.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Hard Line, (The Woodbury Boys 2), Sidney Bell

Hard Line, (The Woodbury Boys 2), Sidney Bell

Hard Line (Woodbury Boys) by [Bell, Sidney]

Genre: LBGTQIA, Romance

I hadn’t read book one, and maybe I’d have got more from this if I had. I liked it, but it wasn’t a book I loved.

I struggled a bit with the romance, I could feel the change from antagonistic dislike to lust, and after all you can feel lust while still actively disliking someone. I didn’t feel any real romance though and I wanted that.
I did like Sullivan, he seemed a very genuine guy, with just that right amount of quirk to make him intriguing. I really felt for him when his kink desires lost him his best friends and it such a nasty way. I understood why he was so careful with Tobias when he realised he was a natural sub and Sullivan felt his Dom instincts stir. Just needed to feel real romance developing and TBH I didn’t. That’s me though, doesn’t bother everyone but I need to feel that connection.
The kink part was intriguing, linking Tobias emotional/mental issues with sexual desires, and its something that always amazes me. I can’t imagine enjoying sex linking to having someone determining everything, even down to orgasm timing, and the wanting to be hurt, partly for himself, partly to please Sullivan is something I can’t imagine ever feeling. What I find intriguing is the whys, why do people need this, is it ingrained or is it a product of upbringing? In Tobias case it did seem to be linked with his need to please everyone, which was putting intense pressure on him.
I didn’t feel he acted 24, and his parents certainly didn’t treat him as an adult of several years – I’d have been equally furious at their actions.
It’s a story I liked parts of, but the connection to book one, the Russians, the murders, the kidnapping, all kind of overtook those parts and left me floundering a bit.
Again, maybe I’d have understood more if I’d read book one but as it was I found myself putting this aside, picking up a couple of days later, then dropping it again for something else.

Stars: Three, I liked parts but felt overall it was a bit of a muddled book for me. .

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Captive Lies, Victoria Paige

Captive Lies,  Victoria Paige

Captive Lies by [Paige, Victoria]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance

I really liked the sound of this story, and to begin I was enjoying it but….the the Russian Mafia slant came into play, and though I know there are readers who love stories with a Mafia bent I’m not one. Fortunately the Mafia were the bad guys, I really can’t take it when they’re passed of as good guys really, just misunderstood…

I loved Blaire, she was in the situation she was through her birth, nothing she could have done about it, unless she was prepared to knuckle down and have her life run by the Russians. Liam, her friend and protector was a great guy too, and he gave her the training to protect herself. I so like that, when a main character doesn’t have to depend on a man to save her but can hold her own in a fight. Grant, alpha male in the extreme and for me he was at times too pushy, too overly controlling, bordering on abusive in his need to control. Blaire is a tough girl, she’s survived despite having some bad people out to get her and though he wants to protect her he shouldn’t expect her to hand over all control to him and sit back and …well, what? Shop? Watch daytime TV? That’s just not Blaire, she paints but can’t spend all day every day doing that.

I was doing OK with the story, Grant’s obsessive personality and tendency to act like a jerk aside, but it got slowly more overly complex, with distrust everywhere, and threats from all quarters. That can be fun, keeping readers on their toes but can also mean a story gets overly complex. I had guessed one person who was not who they seemed, I wasn’t totally sure but looking back all the clues were there, I just wasn’t sure I was reading them properly – that’s good, I like to be surprised. Then the mafia and political threats began to overlap, technology that seemed improbable crept in and was used to make scenes work that wouldn’t otherwise, and it seemed a little too far fetched for me. I do need to believe in a story, and though technology has advanced hugely, and of course this is fiction I felt that some parts were a little hard for me to believe in. It seemed if you’d got money – and Grant had – then anything could be had for a price.

I wasn’t convinced by Cal, I kind of thought something along those lines would happen, there’s hints thrown in all along but I was disappointed that it worked that way – more of that improbable technology for me. I want to believe things could happen that way if this were a true story and that…nope, I can’t fall for it.

It sounds like I hated the story, and that’s just not true, these were just niggles, big niggles, for me and overall I enjoyed reading this novel. It was my first read by this author and I think if I’d read the Guardians novels maybe I’d have got more from it and understood better what they were capable of.

Stars: Three and a half, a good suspense and romance but both had too many niggles for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The One, Maria Realf

The One,  Maria Realf

The One: A moving and unforgettable love story - the most emotional read of 2018 by [Realf, Maria]

Genre: Romance

I should have known when I saw the Jojo Moyes comparison. There’s a reason I haven’t read Me before You, I read to relax, to enjoy. I love books which are full of angst, which move me to tears, where it looks like there’s no solution….but at the end I want happy, I want the solution, I want all the angst to have been worth it, and most of all I Need a HEA. Or at the very least a HFN, that gives the possibility of ever-after. This book, like Me before You, doesn’t give that.
Its am amazing emotional story, full of characters that feel real, flawlessly written and a gripping story. But the end though….when its that kind of ending I feel flat, cheated, bereft. Real life has too many endings like that for me to want to read them too. Sadly the subject hit very close to home too, and I don’t chose to read books that end this way. My bad, I was thinking the blurb meant the Jojo Moyes writing style not the emotionally sad, gutting ending.

Its one of those times when I can see just how subjective writing is, this book is written erfectly, others adore it, can’t stop praising it and yet me? That ending just killed all appreciation. There were parts I loved, but ending that way overtook all of that, and left me feeling wrenched emotionally without the positive buzz a HEA brings. For me thats not a good way to end my reading.

Stars: Three, I didn’t like the ending, big time dislike, and yet some parts of the story were perfect so I’ve taken a middle stance, a decent read but not one I can personally rate higher.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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