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

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

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

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Romance

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

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Starstruck,  Sariah Wilson

Starstruck,  Sariah Wilson

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

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Romance

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

 

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

Man Candy, A Real Love Novel, Jessica Lemmon

Man Candy, A Real Love Novel, Jessica Lemmon

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

Genre: Humour, romance

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights by [Kade, Stacey]

Genre:  Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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

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

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

Genre: Romance, suspense, sci-fi and fantasy

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

The Start of Something Wonderful, Jane Lambert

The Start of Something Wonderful,  Jane Lambert

The Start of Something Wonderful by [Lambert, Jane]

Genre: romance, women’s fiction

Gah! Women’s fiction – how I hate that we have a whole genre for women, why dismiss books as being of interest to men….what price equality when we segregate ourselves. Rant over ;-0

So, I really wanted to like this book, its got a lead character who’s older, and as someone older myself that’s always interesting to find. Choosing a huge career change too was going to be interesting to read I thought.
Sadly though I felt sorry for Emily I just didn’t like her, found her friends gossipy, the humour felt forced and trying a little too hard and her trials on the way to acting were just plain hard going. What should have been fun to read became a chore for me and I didn’t finish. Sorry. I can see from Goodreads that others love this, and that’s great, but for me it wasn’t one that worked.

Stars: Two, DNF, some stories I love and others just don’t fit my taste, sadly this was one of those. Perfect for many readers, the story was fine it just wasn’t one that suited me.
Arc supplied for review by Netgalley and Publishers

 

The Ones Who Got Away, Roni Loren

The Ones Who Got Away, Roni Loren

The Ones Who Got Away by [Loren, Roni]

Genre:  Romance

This novel  is sort of romance, but of the thinking type, not the wham, clothes off/dicks in sort. There’s a place for those of course, but so often in romance the sex becomes the story and not an adjunct to it – fine if that’s what you want but many of us want that bit more. This book delivers that perfectly.

Thankfully we don’t get the drama, the horror of events as they happen, but delivered in flashbacks, letting us see how each characters has dealt with events over the years. Or have they? When the four girls get together and open the time capsule they made shortly after the shooting we see that actually they’ve put much of their ambitions on hold, taken the safe route.
After events like that its easy to see why they opted that way, what we can’t know is would they have taken that route anyway. When I look back at my teen ambitions I’m far from doing any of them, and I’d guess that’s true for many of us.

Liv though is at a crisis period at work, and looking at teen Liv’s ideals makes her look closer at what she’s doing.
Meeting Finn again too, she is still full of the same incredible attraction and he feels the same for her. Back then she was the girl from the wrong side and he was son of parents who wouldn’t approve of their relationship, so they kept it secret. No-one else knows, not the three other ladies here for the show, one of whom was actually on a date with Finn at the shooting….
They weren’t close freinds before but the girls sought each other out after, its an event that makes only those involved able to understand, and that kept them close. Since then they’ve drifted into their own lives but each seems to have been shadowed by the tragedy. Finn, he’s especially focused, having built his life around the events, and now meeting Liv again he’s at a crossroads.

It was a great read, interesting looking at the same event through different perspectives, seeing what effect it had on each of them, seeing how they became “famous” even though that’s the last thing they wanted. The bit where the hotel receptionist is trying to take pics of them to sell, making cash from what should be private is sadly so real, something that seems to happen all too often, and was a small section that brought more of the novel to life. It was the little touches like that which made it feel so real. We all hope never to get caught up in anything like that but for some people it becomes real, and the effects live on so long after the tragedy as passed.
The romance was muted, but still very hot, very real and posed that perfect “what happens now? ” moment – I really didn’t know how Roni would end things, it could have gone a number of ways but for me was the perfect ending 😉

Stars: five, interesting, very real read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Sunset at Lake Crane, Casey Hagen

Sunset at Lake Crane, Casey Hagen

Sunset at Lake Crane (A Livingston Valley Novel Book 1) by [Hagen, Casey]

Genre: Romance,
This sounded fun, sometimes I want a straightforward romance, but it still needs to have some fireworks and drama! From the description I thought this would fit the bill.

I found it one of those reads though that I can best describe as there’s a lot going on but nothing happening….so much of the day to day stuff just didn’t seem relevant to the main story.

Erynn annoyed me so much. I understood her actions at the time, she was young, in love, no close family to seek guidance from and she did what she thought was best. Now though she’s older so why the heck is she still worrying what everyone will think? Why worry about Grant’s job when he has a lucrative second career? Surely now its time to speak to him, especially now she knows just how hurt he was, and let him decide for himself if he’s worried what others think, about his career.

To be honest this was going to be an OK read, a three star but there are some revelations in the last quarter that led to lots of drama and angst, right up my street so its jumped a star to a four. I hadn’t guessed who was behind the note, so that was a good suprise. I still was annoyed at Erynn though, even then….but Grant loves her and he was a terrific guy so I’ll let it pass 😉

Stars: Four, the drama in the last quarter made the book for me, but Erynn, whiny woman, needed a shake up!

Arc supplied for review by Netgalley and publishers

 

Unchained Melody, (Love Song Standards 1), Cynthia Roberts

Unchained Melody, (Love Song Standards 1), Cynthia Roberts

Unchained Melody (Love Song Standards Book 1) by [Roberts, Cynthia]

 

Genre: Romance

If you like quick, light, easy to read romances this will appeal. I like mine to have a little more depth though, more intense drama. There was drama here, but apart from the major events at the end it felt quite superficial.
The end events were perfect for me, I love angst that’s drawn out, let me really feel upset for the characters and that lifts the story overall for me from a two and a half to a three and a half.
Romance is a pretty broad genre though, and there are loads of bestsellers, books that others adore that just don’t work for me, so my feelings on this are a personal level and if you enjoy the lighter romances this could be perfect for you, even though its not a great one for me.

I felt Gavin and to a degree Pamela were quite reserved, didn’t really trust the other and like Pamela I would find Gavin’s secrecy hard to take. There didn’t really seem the need for so much of it, it would have ticked me off!!
I felt a push/pull between the two but didn’t really feel the romance, the love somehow. Its certainly an action packed story though with not just that first accident, but a major family issue for Gavin, and then more drama that proves hard for the couple. Somehow though I think if I was Pamela I’d have said “enough”, I didn’t really feel she was that in love, that committed to him for the actions she did. ( of course that would have ended the book so….its why I read and don’t write!) I did like Gavin’s family and would have liked a little more of the day to day events and interactions with them, and maybe to have seen things from his POV. I always like dual POV, lets me get an insight into what characters think, feel, and their motives.
I commented originally on the many grammar errors, but Cynthia has been very quick to clean them up and they no longer exist, so I’ve edited my review to reflect that. (Thanks Cynthia for listening) Authors rely on editors, sadly not all are good and Cynthia’s editor missed many very basic mistakes, including a major characters position in the family. Things like that let authors down, and give all editors a bad name. Given they’re not cheap then authors have a right to expect a good job to be done.
I thought there was another name slip when Pamela’s boss’ secretary is also called Pamela, but that was her name, could have been better if it was different, less likely to confuse reader.

Stars: Three and a half. The story itself wasn’t quite what I look for, its a cute romance with good drama at the end but overall a little too light for me.

Arc supplied for review by Author

 

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