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Sweet Cheeks, K. Bromberg and Wait for It Mariana Zapata

Wait for It  Mariana Zapata

Wait for It by [Zapata, Mariana]

Genre:  Romance,

My first MZ read….and what a cracker it was. I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

Its got great day to day scenes that really let me get to know the characters, not just Diana and Dallas but the two little boys and the rest of her family, his cousin ( I think it was cousin, I’m writing this about 4 weeks after reading it) and family, so many interesting characters.
The plot is solid, full of interest, dilemmas, fun bits of humour, sadness when the kids are having issues, and of course the growing relationship between Dallas and Diana, which doesn’t really start off well.

Its a lovely looonng book too, and its great to find  an author who doesn’t try yo cram everything into 200 pages or less. I looked at one story on KU yesterday and it was 26 pages…that’s not a book but a short story, and there are even ones shorter than that masquerading as books!

Stars: five, a fabulous read, and its on KU, as are a couple of others from MZ. I’ve just borrowed Under Locke, which is on KU and downloaded the sample of Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin, which isn’t on KU but appeals to me.

Sweet Cheeks,  K. Bromberg

Sweet Cheeks by [Bromberg, K.]

Genre:  Romance,

I love the Driven series, have re-read those and they are definitely in my keepers files, but its good too when an author moves into a new area, out of the “comfort zone” into a fresh venue.
I was pleased to see this one and I bought it. Yep, paid real money!
Between review novels and my KU subs a book has to have a pretty good suggestion that its one for me before I’ll buy it, and with so many authors raising prices its great to see an established author keeping them affordable. This is still just £2.99 and as its one I’ll reread  that’s great value.

As always with KB’s books I love the characters, they feel so real, and of course the settings are perfect. From Saylor’s shop to the extravagant wedding venue I could visualise them easily. .
I have to sday this though – I hated the title, it sounds so twee, but its the name of Saylor’s bakery so it does feel better when you know that 😉
She’s a great girl, works hard, and is trying to build up her business. Then she gets That invite, the one to the wedding, which oddly enough mirrors exactly what she had planned when she was the bride….weird or what??
Who would want that, the wedding your husband to be was having with someone else…and then the invite gets returned by accident, saying she’ll attend, armed with a plus one…

Then Hayes, film star extraordinaire, comes into the story. He and Saylor have a past, though its been years since they met, after he broke her heart when he left.
The banter between these two is perfect, the wedding scenes so real, and full of snark, and the hashtag parts I loved. Its got so much I love in a story here, great characters, solid plots, humour, snark, and lots of drama and sad parts.
Its a terrific read.

Stars: five, a fabulous read, from a favourite author that kept me engrossed for hours and will join the keepers.

The Last Resort, R.S. Kovach

The Last Resort, R.S. Kovach

The Last Resort by [Kovach, R.S.]

Genre:  Romance,

As a horse lover and rider this appealed to me so I was eager to read it. Sounded like it was a romance with that extra spark that I like.

Sadly I didn’t like it and finally abandoned at the halfway mark.

I didn’t like Ali. Right from the start she comes over a a bit arrogant, and the accident could have happened anyway, but maybe if she’d been more aware. Still, I’ve broken bones through riding accidents, it happens, its quiet a dangerous sport…I used to hide the newspapers from Him Indoors when there were bad news involving horse riding.

I just didn’t see though how such a simple accident led to the mental issues that affected her work. She must have done things like this before – its par for the course when you ride alot.

Then the mistakes at work seemed to be just weird, odd, and I didn’t really see how they were caused by the accident and its effect on her. Still, she gets sent to recuprate for a month.

I thought given she’s got mental issues, trauma etc there would be daily psych sessions, both group and private, but at halfway she’s only had two, one very off the cuff in the stables and another than seems to have been over in minutes. There’s no real sessions seem to take place with any of the other residents either.

She doesn’t really exercise much sense or treat others with any respect. She’s rude to some of them, uses one man to try to make Hank jealous, which isn’t really fair to the poor guy, and as she’s only been there a few days why on earth is she so obsessed with Hank. And what the heck does he see in her, something I don’t that’s for sure.

She doesn’t listen either when she wants to go for a walk and a storm is coming, but trundles out putting others in danger when she needs rescuing. She could have followed the riders she saw while out and lost, that would be simple wouldn’t it but no, for some obscure reason she doesn’t.

I did like Hank, and just didn’t see what attracted him to her. They didn’t really have any real interactions, and suddenly its full on romance.

I just had to give up, I know its a story that’s won awards, and well done to the author for that. Its tough getting a book seen in todays market but for me it just doesn’t work. Luckily everyone wants different things and others will love it but for me its a DNF fail.

Stars: Two, sadly a fail for me. I can see others don’t like the ending – I didn’t even get that far…and maybe that’s just as well, as it sounds like I’d be moaning too.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Katie Baldwin

A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Katie Baldwin

A Kiss to Build a Dream On (Saving Graces Fantasies Book 1) by [Baldwin, Katie]

Genre:  Romance, Humour

OK, I enjoyed this, but its a very light and sweet romance. Perfect for if you just want a quick, easy to read escape but if you’re looking for drama and depth you won’t find it here.

Bethany’s a sweet lead, librarian, good friend and fits the stereotype well. You just know she leads a conventional drama free life. She does have some tragedy in her past, but its not a big part of the story.
Aiden “ride the Aiden train”, the film star lead was another “nice” character. None of that rabble rousing, womanising, alchohol and drug filled rampages for him. He’s happy with a cup of tea….
I couldn’t help liking him but – he’s a hot celebrity, pursued (every now and then, less than I expected) by paparazzi in the story, and it made me wonder why he didn’t have bodyguards, how he could get away with wandering round town and eating in restaurants with Bethany without being besieged?
That worked for the story but kind of took him out of the ” Film star/Celebrity” league for me. Just didn’t really fit.
His ex was a nice piece of work, and I’d hoped for some sparky fireworks but no, simply a few damp squibs.

In the main, apart from the ex everybody is just…nice. Bethany and her work mates, Aiden, his staff and friends. If you want a sweet and cute romance, full of lovable characters, no surprises or dramatics this is perfect.
I read it, enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me by the throat, make it impossible to put down, have me wondering what would happen next. Somehow what was coming could be seen, and the only surprises for me were things like potential plots that I thought might come up but didn’t.
Stars: Three, a cute and sweet romance, but for me not a keeper.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Siren’s Wave, A Rock and Roll Love Story, J.A. Hazel

Siren’s Wave, A Rock and Roll Love Story,  J.A. Hazel

Siren's Wave: (A Rock and Roll Love Story) by [Hazel, J.A.]

 

Genre:  Romance,

Well, by now regular readers of my reviews will know I have a weakness for rock star/film star romances, so when I was asked to read this I was a happy bunny.
Did my usual checks first though because there are hundreds of thousands ( or so it feels) of novels in this genre and I know from experience that 90% of them just don’t do it for me. They work for others, dominate best sellers but I need something a little more, a story with an edge.

I want a novel that’s true to the music industry, that brings in all that band life, celebrity/media excess if they’ve found fame, the struggle to climb up if they haven’t, one that shows the underbelly, the grittiness and stuff we don’t often get.
Things like how common drug/alchohol use becomes, first to give a little extra and soon its needed more and more just to cope with the onslaught of demands made by those who hold the purse strings, and who want more and more from the people creating the music.
I need characters that feel real, have genuine emotions and problems, that I feel I could know, talk to, and I have to like the leads, to want them to be together. We get all that and more here….

Bran, what a great lead. The band he’s on is on the cusp of fame, but right now each of them are also working at other jobs as well as gigging and trying to get spotted. Finally that magic call comes and they’re off to Anoxia, an Australian record company to record their music.
I love Bran, and when we meet him its feels like he’s the laid back one, the band peacekeeper, though they’re a close knit bunch, when they argue it doesn’t bring actual friction.
He’s got a damaged past though, and his band mate Nate and Nate’s mum are responsible for getting Bran through his childhood, without going off the rails. He still has nightmares though, is still inwardly really troubled though hides it well. He’s gorgeous, but seems totally unaware of it, and its wonderful to see how gentle he was with fans, how open and honest.
Then he meets Ava.

Ava works for Anoxia, has done for some years now and is well respected. She’s small, a fifties starlet type lady in appearance, and always conscious of being a little over the ideal size. Still likes her food though 🙂 me too….and she comes over as pretty confident in herself, she hides her insecurities well.
She’s close with the Anoxia staff, they’re good friends as well as work colleagues, and feel like a family unit almost.
I love Ava too, she’s so open and honest, fresh, but she has one weakness and its for guys that look like Bran….

Their first meeting doesn’t go so well, Bran is – well, simply obnoxious to Ava, and that continues over the next few days.
His band-mates are astonished, this just isn’t like him. It really is like that schoolboy pick on someone you like feeling. He’s attracted to Ava but won’t admit it to himself, maybe its because he knows she’s not a one and done lady and that’s all he’s ever had, or wanted.
Ava just ignores him as much as she can and mentally labels him a dick…prick dick I think was the term she used 😉 Its such a contrast to the Bran we and his band mates know.

Things change though and soon they’re having steaming sensual encounters, though still have a strange relationship. They don’t date, just feels like Bran keeps sneaking into her bed, needing to be with her, needing the feeling of peace she brings. They’re only there a few weeks though so what happens then?

I love this story, its got the Love part I need so much, and its tangled, hard, full of drama and doesn’t follow a neat pathway. I just couldn’t see what the future would hold for them, and they both seemed to be avoiding even thinking of it. They weren’t in a relationship exactly, and yet both had such a strong need for the other.
When it went wrong, I could feel pain on both of them. I understood Ava’s stance though, she had to protect herself. I also understood Bran though, looking from the outside its easy to see why he has issues.

There’s sex here, not just Bran and Ava, but the usual one off encounters that seem to follow band life.
It amazes me how girls ( and guys) want to have sex with someone just because of fame, and if the first choice isn’t around they’ll move down the line quite happily….
There’s alchohol and drug use here too, and even though its something I don’t like I know that its common in that industry, that people seek chemical help to deal with the pressures they are under and it fits the story.
The execs hand out drugs as an easy solution  here and I’m sure that’s how it works in reality. Who cares if they’re unhealthy, lead to addiction, lifelong issues, and death sometimes so long as the stars can keep on churning out the performances that bring in the cash.
That’s the not so nice side of the music industry, and one not often seen in romances. I like that its included here, not in an OTT drama infused way, but as just another part of band life, and every day way of  dealing. Paracetamol for a headache for most of us, in this life though its a headache caused by stress and pressure, and its heroin and coke that gets handed out.

Its a great read, not a light and fluffy story, skimming the fame and music side, but one showing how hard it is for up and coming bands, what kind of pressures they face, the realities of touring and recording. Bran and Ava’s love story is just perfect set against that.
A romance that isn’t smooth, that struggles, that has lots of drama and theatrics, supported by a great cast of characters and a very real feeling backstory.

Stars: Five. A fabulous novel, one with drama and details, edge and emotion, love and lust but with a story that unfolds so very different from so many Rock band romances.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

Danced Close, Annabeth Albert

Danced Close,  Annabeth Albert

Danced Close (Portland Heat) by [Albert, Annabeth]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

I love romance reads, love a HEA, but don’t like to read the same recycled story over and over, and sadly its a genre where that gets served up far too often.
I discovered the M/M genre a couple of years back and found that hurrah – its romance, but mostly of the authors strive for that missing extra, the thing that makes their story stand out, and not read like a thousand others but with different character names…Maybe I’m over exaggerating here…just a bit 😉 but some days that’s how reading romance feels.

I’ve only somehow caught one book in this series, and loved it, that could be my fault, I tend to ignore shorter reads. I find usually they don’t give me enough character depth and story, but though this and the wonderful Delivered Fast are short, they still gave me a good solid read, great characters and real plots.
So, the something different I look for – well, double bonus here, Todd has some issues related to his past that rarely get seen in romance, but which do affect many people, and Kendall – well, he’s just so unique.

I so felt for Todd, he’s come such a long way, worked so hard and yet doesn’t seem to feel good enough for Kendall, seems to feel the way his ex treated him was what he deserved. He’s such a great guy, but can’t see himself as Kendall sees him, someone gorgeous, solid, good, worthy.
His past, from family, the circumstances he found himself in, and then his ex have all impacted so badly on his self confidence that he’s afraid to step out of the routine he knows.

Kendall, what a great character. He’s gender-fluid – and why not? I’ve always wondered why we obsess over putting people in pigeon holes, labelling them. I guess its that society wants everyone to conform, to be different makes someone a target and there’s strength and protection comes from being one of the crowd.
Kendall won’t compromise though, wants to be true to himself, be who he feels he is, and that varies from day to day. Why shouldn’t men wear dresses and nice fabrics if they choose? No-one bats an eyelid at women in trousers, however mannish the outfit, but a man is a dress, or men’s clothes but with delicate fabrics and pretty embellishments? Shock horror!! Stupid isn’t it?

QUILTBAG, that’s a new term to me but fits perfectly. I love the way that slowly society is coming to the idea we aren’t just M/F but encompass so many different types. Sadly there’s still a lot of aggression about those who don’t stick strictly to the MF definition. One day….

Back to the book, Todd, big burly Todd, is perfect for Kendall, but again turning perceptions upside down when they dance Todd lets Kendall lead, something new to him. Being the person he is others have always assumed he wants to be led, not take the lead, and he finds he’s actually good at it, enjoys it.
The thing I mentioned about how others perceive anyone a bit different, well, we see it at the dance lessons when poor Kendall gets the side eye from another couple. You’d think being gay themselves they’d be more accepting but they’re not. They don’t know how to deal with folk like Kendall, and giving him some unpleasant looks, definitely not up for swapping dance partners.
Then we meet one of Kendall’s clients who takes the opposite view, the bride and friends who probably pride themselves in being open minded, accepting and liberal, but who treat Kendall as an exhibit, someone who’s “costume”/style of dress for the day is just an addition to the wedding.
There’s too many like her, and she’s disappointed when Kendall isn’t feeling good and has dressed down, no lace and frivolity, and she makes it clear she thought that was part of the wedding package.
I was so outraged for Kendall, and yet I guess that kind of thing also happens too often. I was so glad he stuck to his guns and didn’t let her walk over him with her entitled, money-buys-everything attitude.

The romance was perfect, not without hiccups, not all smooth sailing and we really get to see “inside” the two guys, about how they feel, and why, and how the past affects them both.
Its a great read, full of emotion, angst, and had me thinking how on earth could they get a HEA or even a HFN? Its a shortish read, but contrary to most shorts, packs a huge and very real story in it.

Stars: Five, a fabulous romance that felt very real.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, Christie Barlow

Evie’s Year of Taking Chances,  Christie Barlow

Evie's Year of Taking Chances: A heart warming romantic comedy you won't be able to put down by [Barlow, Christie]

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

I really, really wanted to like this book, loved the sound of it,loved the cover and was confinced it would be a story I’d enjoy.
I thought it would be one of those reads that are light and funny, but which have periods of depth and some solid romance.

Everyone seems to love Evie, so why didn’t I?
I didn’t dislike her, but somehow I didn’t particularly like her either, there wasn’t anything special that made me feel “this girl deserves…..” Her story was sad but then few of us lead the perfect life.
I need to really “feel” a person, to read them as if they are real, would be a friend in real life, someone I want good things to happen to. with Evie I just felt like an onlooker to her life, not someone there in the story with her.

Noah gets mentioned a few times in passing as an author, and given she only interacted very briefly with him at an afternoon event she’s wound an extraordinary amount of feelings about him into her fantasies.
If we’d actually got to meet him but…I’m almost at the halfway mark, and we still haven’t actually met him in person, all we have is a few random tweets aimed at Evie. And what feels like some teen fangirling by Evie and her friend…
I just don’t like the story enough to continue waiting for him, and the mystery that’s going to come out.

Its a well written story, there are some fun characters here and I can see its a book others love, so you may also.
Its one of those cases where its not the book its me, we just don’t gel, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe I’ll come back to it another time and feel differently but for now I’m just not in the right mind-set, am not enjoying it enough to finish it.

Stars: Two, a good book, just not one for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Beautiful Mess, Kasey Lane

Beautiful Mess,  Kasey Lane

Beautiful Mess (Rock ‘n’ Ink) by [Lane, Kasey]

Genre:  Romance

I really wanted to like this book, loved the description, have a weakness for rock star trope so…but, though it was an ok read it didn’t have any real magic for me.

I found myself skipping the sex scenes, there were Loads, page after page after page…or that’s how it felt. I don’t mind that normally, I love sensual spicy reads where a good story has lots of sex, but that’s the issue for me here.
The story just wasn’t strong enough, it all very, very overdone, storm in a teacup stuff, with supposedly old enough to manage their lives people being ruled by parents.

Given Jami’s career path its clear she’s a strong individual, she doesn’t live at home, doesn’t need her parents money and I just didn’t see why she let them rule her life.
Her past – it was difficult but she dealt with it, her brother was great, a strong support and I couldn’t see why she was still letting parents dictate her life.
Likewise when she meets Jax after five years she has that first reaction, lets him say and do things to her, turns into a simpering giddy girl, doing whatever he wants instead of saying “what the he ll, Jax, why did you leave?”

Then the same tired old reasons come out, they are OK, do provide an excuse but for me weren’t really right for this story, didn’t fit the people, and let to a tale that felt a just a bit off.
It could have been better, could have been worse, but was just an ok unmemorable read for me.
As usual others love it, which brings me up to the make-your-own-choice warning. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, but if you’re looking for a solid story, lots of band stuff, characters that are well rounded and independent ALA Kylie Scott/Olivia Cunning then you’re not likely to find it here.

Stars: two and a half, there were a few parts I enjoyed but overall its a story that didn’t cut it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Wingman, Natasha Anders

The Wingman,  Natasha Anders

The Wingman by [Anders, Natasha]

Genre:  romance,

I’ve enjoyed a few of Natasha’s books now so looked forward to this one. I liked it – a lot, but I didn’t love it. It sounded perfect for me but there were a few things that niggled.
I hadn’t realised the setting was south Africa BTW, just for info. It fits the story really well, and made a pleasant change from the mainly US settings in romance. It did mean though that I was puzzled by some of the references at first, the free clinic and the dangers it posed etc.

Daisy, oh how I know how she feels. I can remember as a teen going out with friends ( i haven’t any sisters) and always feeling like the unattractive one, too short, too tubby ( though I wasn’t), too clumsy, the one that would stand back always, let my friends do what they wanted, be the one that was the back-up girl, the one boys would approach in order to get to know the girl they would really want to talk to….
Even so after a while Daisy’s constant putting herself down began to grate. There’s only so many times you can say things, deflect a compliment without sounding just plain rude.
I did feel for her when she learns of Mason’s reasons for chatting to her, that was pretty awful. she really made the most of Mason’s guilt though 🙂 It played into all her fears about herself.

I loved the two nasties, the b itch girls, I so love those in a story and they were perfect.
I liked the setting, once I’d clicked in was S Africa, loved Daisy’s intelligence, her work as a vet, seeing a few of her patients and their owners.
I liked her sisters, but could see why Daisy felt so different. Oddly I wanted to be a vet too when I was a kid….I related to the young Daisy too.

The overall story was fun, some lovely humour, great snark and putdown for the two b itches, they were perfect lines.
Loved Masons interaction with the groom at golf too, he deserved that and more.
I was niggled a bit at Daisy, but in general it was a fun read, a light, romantic, fluffy story but not enough drama, sad bits for a re-reader for me.

Stars: hmnn, I’m hovering between a three and a four. Three and a half then.

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

 

Every Little Thing, Samantha Young. Souljacker, Yasmine Galenorn

Today I’m planning to read the latest Mercy Thompson novel,  Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggshttp://amzn.to/2mkqZJd That’s my all time favourite series, and author, and I’ve got another great book to read from a couple of days back, Jeanine Frost’s Into the fire, the final Night Prince novel

http://amzn.to/2mWvZoW I loved this series when it started, but unlike the Briggs one its an ongoing story rather than each book having one main theme that’s part of an ongoing story. TBH its taken so long I’ve kind of lost the impetus that made me love it. Maybe I’ll start from first book and pick it up that way. Then I log in to netgalley and see I’ve been approved for three more reads, among them one from the Queen of rock band reads, Kylie Scott for Twist, the latest Dive Bar novel, a spin off from the wonderful Stage Dive books

http://amzn.to/2m10cin So, housework? Tidying ready for selling house? Gardening – well that’s an easy out, its raining….

And a couple of reviews today

Every Little Thing,  Samantha Young

Every Little Thing (Hart's Boardwalk Book 2) by [Young, Samantha]

Genre:  romance, erotica

Like thousands of readers I got sucked in to the magic of Samantha’s romances by way of the wonderful Joss and Braden, in On Dublin street, and their book is still one of my all time favourites.
I’ve read several from that series and enjoyed them and have been looking forward to this new series. Tjis one is tagged Erotica, but to me its more eotic romance, a great romance but withsome hot and steamy sex rather than just erotica,

I enjoyed the first book, The One real Thing, but wasn’t blown away by it. First books do have  a hard job though, and few achieve the great start that Dublin Street did.
The couple that intrigued me the most in book one were Bailey and Vaughn – the ST between those two jumps of the page! They had sparks jumping between them at every meeting, and the caustic wit the two share had me smiling widely.

Bailey is so bright and bubbly, always out to help others, see that everyone is happy, so running her Inn is perfect for her. Still, the awful Devlin family are trying to find a way to oust her, they want to own as much of the town as they can and have used some very dirty tricks in the past. I love the way Bailey not only stands up to them but uses her sharp wit against them.
She’s been with boyfriend Tom now for ten years, hoping that they will marry and have a family soon. She’s in for a big shock though….and it changes things between her and Vaughn.
They’ve always hate a hate hate relationship, but underneath that everyone feels that its defensive on both sides, and it really seems to have started with Vaughn rebuffing the open friendship Bailey offered him when he arrived, the same as she does to everyone. He wasn’t impressed at her initial opposition to his plans for his new hotel, and things went downhill from there.

Its clear Vaughn is attracted to her, and just as clear he doesn’t want to be. He’s always been Mr No Commitment and it suits him, but he knows that Bailey spells danger to that, and seems to use his acerbic wit as a defence even as he cringes inside at what he’s saying. Bailey responds likewise, they both bring out the worst in each other, but that gives some terrific scenes for the reader.

Its a real romance here, but a long time coming, with many forward and back journeys that had me inwardly screaming at them! Of course that’s perfect for me as it brings bucket loads of angst and emotion.

As with all Samantha’s romances its not just a two person story, but brings in many others, some from book one, some who look set to become future books. Story seeds, those hints of what/who might be next. Its always fun to try to spot them, and I think I’ve got a couple here, there are some individuals who really intrigue me. Quiet, shy Emory, what’s her story? Why is she so reserved, so closed off? Dahlia, she seems to have lots of things to reveal, and we’ve only seen her as a very secondary character. Jack Devlin, met him in book one, and he’s here too, and still as much a puzzle as ever. I can’t believe he’s really such a bad guy, and yet the things he’s done, and does here too seem to point in that direction, then he does a couple that point the other way. Even Vaughn’s dad has potential, not as a main character IMO, but maybe a secondary romance thread in a book? He’s certainly got the heart and character for it.

Its a great read, I loved it, was entranced by Bailey and Vaughn, loved the puzzle of their relationship. I did wonder about a few characters in here, Vanessa, will she make a return later, Jack, how can Cooper’s former best friend change so much, do what he does, and of course Vaughn’s awful friend Oliver. What on earth did those two ever have in common?
There’s a couple of surprises towards the end that I didn’t see coming ( and one I did!) and it makes me wonder if they’re future plots in later books?
.
Stars: Five, a great read, perfect blend of sensual romance and solid story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Souljacker, A Lily Bound Novel,  Yasmine Galenorn

Souljacker: A Lily Bound Novel by [Galenorn, Yasmine]

Genre:  paranormal and fantasy

Hmnnn, succubus – they’re not characters that really feel empathetic are they? I put off reading Richelle Mead’s wonderful Georgia Kinkaid series for ages simply because I could not see how an author could make a succubus into a person I’d understand, feel I want them to be happy, and yet I was so, so wrong. Add in Jill Myles terrific Succubus reads and you can see just how very wrong my first thoughts were.
So if you’re like me, take a deep breath and prepare to be surprised.
I’ve enjoyed some of Yasmine’s other reads, so I was familiar with her writing style. the story jumps right in with a death at Lily’s house, one of her top clients has been murdered. Not good for business, nor is the fact her clients wife is on the warpath and as a powerful and influential were she can – and does – do immense damage to Lily’s business. So far its worked giving her an income, keeping her alive through sex with Supernaturals, she’s found in the past humans are just far too fragile, and wants to avoid killing people.

In this society Vampires aren’t the Romance kind, but irrational, dangerous killers. Once turned little of the human remains, and they simply lust for blood, sex and power, and have become so dangerous that vampire kills aren’t even investigated by the police any more. That leaves Lily and her friends on their own, as a Vampire Execution the police simple pass on the murder, but she does get given the name of a chaos demon who might help. And Lily and her friends need that help when they learn the killer wants them dead too….

I like Lily, she’s just trying to live, trying to keep her friends safe, enjoy life and she’s found a way that avoids killing humans, something that happened in the past to her and hurts her conscience.
She has some good friends, witch Dani, human Nate, Marsh the…Ghost? spirit? whatever, he’s someone from Lily’s past who’s returned out of the blue, and of course Whiskas the cat – who’s more than a cat, though decidedly not a shifter.
Lily herself belong to the dark Fae court, and we meet the Queen, Wynter in this book. Scary woman, and she’s very powerful. You don’t live for thousands of years without learning a few things.
Archer the chaos demon turns out to be not the type Lily feared, Demons don’t get great press, but in fact he’s a true gentleman, luckily attracted to Lily, and they’re in the throes of him helping her with sex feeding, and maybe they’re developing something more. I didn’t get a great feeling of romance here, its pretty clear one is meant to be starting but I wasn’t really convinced of anything more than a bit of lust between them. Maybe that just takes time, sometimes its better that way.

Its a fun read, a story with elements of many types of creatures thrown in, Vampires, demons, ghosts,witches,  Fae and of course Lily and Whiskas.
In a way that kind of affected the story for me, there were so many different types of character, so much going on that the murders almost took second place. When the climax (Hah!!) came it was almost missing for me, they’d had so many scrapes already that it seemed like it was just one more.

I enjoyed this but I’m waiting for book two to see how the series develops, it didn’t keep me gripped as I’d expected. At times it just felt a little muddled as there was so much happening in a relatively short space of time and pages (GR has it at 292 pages) or 3552 kindle locations.

Stars: Three. Maybe as this continues I’ll feel more for it, its tough for first books in a new series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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