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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

Catching a Witch: Heidi Eljarbo, Touch of Night, Carin Rafferty

 

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition, Heidi Eljarbo

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition by [Eljarbo, Heidi]

Genre: Historical

I take a dip into historical novels every now and then and this one, covering the period when Witch-hunters were very active caught my eye. I’m very intrigued by the way the mass hysteria took hold so easily. seems weird to us now but I guess superstition abounded then when people had so little control over their lives, when animals sickened and died, crops failed, people were dogged by what seems like bad luck – and of course they wanted someone to blame. It was a way too of seeking vengeance for imagines or petty insults. Throw in the misogynistic men and its a recipe for disaster.
Disaster is just what happens when a student of the famed Matther Hopkin arrives in the sleepy little village where Clara lives. We see at first hand just how easy it is to whip up hatred, for innocent gestures to take on insidious meanings, for those who used herbs to heal others to be accuses of using witchcraft. Over it all is the witch-hunter and his self important acolytes in the village men. Not all of them, some stay fast but of course no-one dare speak out for fear of being the next accused. All except Clara, who does her best to stop the awful “trials” where in reality ladies stood no chance, once accused it was like a death sentence.
Its a scary thought but I could see people acting in a very similar way if this were to take place now. some people seem so full of bitterness, jealousy, a need to blame everyone but themselves and I’ve no doubt they would happily convince themsleves they were doing the right thing. we see so much hatred every day to anyone the slightest bit different from their peers and that would easily translate into a story like this today. 😦
I felt the historical aspect of the novel was well done, it was very realistic and genuine. I did feel the pacing was very slow for me though. some books need that but with this one I found it dragged in parts. I expected Clara’s friend to be accused sooner, but its almost halfway through before that happens. I didn’t feel “in” the story much of the time, but an observer, and found myself losing interest in sections. Overall I enjoyed it but it’s not a story I’d re-read.
Stars: three and a half. I enjoyed parts of it a lot, but other sections seemed very slow paced.

Touch of Night, The Sanctuary Series Book 1, Carin Rafferty

Touch of Night (The Sanctuary Series Book 1) by [Rafferty, Carin]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

Well, the description sounded interesting, but sadly this wasn’t one for me.

Lucien isn’t anyone to aspire to IMO, he cares about the coven, even though he’s been cast out, but his attitudes to mortals…well, he’s pretty scathing and rude.
Ariel wants to find her twin, the police won’t help and Lucien at first won’t either. Then he will…and that sets the tone for the book.

Both characters constantly change their minds, decide one thing and do another, don’t talk, focus on irrelevant issues, and disrespect the other. The same things are explained over and over, in case the reader just can’t quite grasp it.

I think the biggest issue for me though was the sex.
No matter what the problem sex in some form was the answer, even though Ariel says she doesn’t like Lucien, doesn’t trust him, just wants to find her brother. Lucien would never take a mortal for a mate, doesn’t like her, doesn’t find her attractive yet wants/has to have sex with her all the while. Reading minds, yep he needs to read her mind but they have to connect with sex, connecting with Armand, more sex, finding out who the strange warlock is, yep sex again….you’ve got it, sex is the answer to everything.

I like sex in a story, but it needs to fit, the story and reasons need to be strong enough and for me this just didn’t feel right.
Even the end I still felt they didn’t like each other and suddenly – bam- everything is perfect.

I won’t be continuing with the series, but as ever this is just my opinion, you may feel very differently. Others have 5 star loved it, so you chose.

Stars: Two, a miss for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Make me sin and Sin with me, Bad Habit series, J.T. Geissinger

Make Me Sin (Bad Habit Book 2) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Sin With Me (Bad Habit) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

 

I enjoyed book one, and saw books two and three were on KU. I love JT’s writing style in paranormal reads, and after enjoying the first in this series I knew that her contemporary reads suited me too. Sometimes the transition works, other times I find I enjoy books in one genre by authors, but not a different one.

I remember Chloe and AJ from the first book, and the wedding from that one brings the two closer together – and boy, did those sparks fly. Chloe and AJ have some serious heat between them and as usul AJ writes that in a very believable way. I could see events playing out as they did here. Of course its never plain sailing is it, there’s always something holding them back and this one was something outside the norm. I loved that, sometimes the restriction and issues seem to be cut from the same page in romance novels so its always fun when an author comes up with something new.

A great read, my favourite so far.

Stars: Five, a terrific band book, with realistic characters.

Book three was another great read but….I wasn’t quite so taken with it as book two. I loved the characters but the issues holding them back were pretty complex, and though I felt for Grace I wasn’t convinced of her solution to the memory problem. but then what could she do? what would be best? she was trying to prevent others from being hurt but it was costing her dearly and wasn’t really working anyway. You can’t apply logic to emotions and expect it to work. doesn’t stop us trying though 😉 I loved Brody, the enigmatic strong and silent guy but I wouldn’t want to be him, he’d paid many times over for his secret. Sometimes things just happen, and we blame ourselves but that doesn’t mean we’re to blame….complex. The trouble with secrets though is the always come out, and always at the very worst time…but JT pulls them through in a very believable way.

Stars: four and a half, a great read but not quite the magic five.

Blackmail, Anna James Watson

Blackmail, Anna James Watson

Blackmail (Skeleton Key Book 1) by [Watson, Anna James]

Genre: erotica

A dip outside my norm, but I was pointed in this direction, and the book is free for KU subscribers. I love KU!
I do like erotica when it has a solid story attached. This was fun and certainly very steamy and sensual! I was a bit surprised to find it continues in further books, though look forward to reading more from the three main characters. Its labelled skeleton Key part 1 but there’s also a series called Skeleton Key, where different authors have written stories that are unconnected except for the title, so I mistakenly thought it was part of that, and not part 1 of a series by this author. My bad…but just in case you have that thought too 😉

I liked – and disliked in the case of Tristan – the characters here. They’re all in their 20’s and studying at school/uni?
As a UK reader sometimes the terminology can be confusing, and I found a few words here that even kindle look up couldn’t help, but context gives me a rough idea. One big issue for me was this Tap thing, its a big part of the story, involving people being selected for secret(ish) groups, and TBH I hadn’t a clue exactly what it was at first, but it became clear as the story went on.
American colleges/schools/universities seem to have a great emphasis on these lifelong clubs, which are often difficult to join. We don’t really do that so much in UK. Same with frat/sorority houses etc.

Anyway, Mia gets caught out, and caught up in some hot and sexy times with Tristan and Julian. The background connecting the trio, the story and the sex scenes is the clubs, and what happens and who can join.
There’s day to day stuff that makes the story feel real, and gives a sense of grounding to the characters, its not just a sex fest but a sexy story and I was disappointed when I came to the end and found…it wasn’t the end ;-0. I’d been watching the % bar waiting for some crisis as usually happens at about 70-80%  and thinking “what’s going on?” and then  realised around that, yep, there’s more to come.
I’m kind of sad as I want to know now whats going to come next, and pleased because it means the story gets longer to evolve, and that way we can really get to know the characters well.
Already I can see that Tristan is so much more than the jerk I first thought, but don’t yet know why he acts that way. I like Julian, he’s very self assured and composed, and Mia is learning a lot about herself. I think this has got the potential to develop into quite a complex series ( I hope), something that’s not often found in erotica, a genre that’s dominated IMO by the short’n’hot reads, where the story come last in priority. Its fun to get an erotic series with a solid and interesting, something I’ve not found very often so far, and something I’m looking forward to continuing. M.Q. Barber’s Neighbourly Affection series is one I really enjoy, though thats very BDSM orientated in comparison to this. Who knows how this one will develop though 😉 .
I did feel the story was a little overtaken by the sex, and that’s why its a four for me not a five, but as always sex is what many readers want, and they’re happy for story to come second. Its a very personal thing.

Stars: four, a good intro to a sensual and steamy series.

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt. The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red: An Erotic Fantasy by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre:  Romance,Erotica

I love Tiffany Reisz’ stories, so well written, so full of interesting twists and turns and I have read and reread all the Original Sinners novels. So was really excited to get this, a novel “written” by Nora Sutherlin. I think its the book she’s writing in the very first of the series…I could be wrong on that.
Sadly, it Just Wasn’t One for Me, surprised me, shocked me that I really didn’t like it, I just didn’t expect that. I was looking forward to a typical sensual on the edge Tiffany read and what I got was something that made me seriuosly uncomfortable reading,  it’s fantasy possibly, but its presented as real, Mona thinks its real, we don’t really know when it happens what’s real, whether she’s dreaming, drugged, or having a genuine experience.

There were parts I enjoyed, the art links to the sex scenes, they were cleverly done and interesting, fitted the art gallery link, I loved the way the story winds round full circle and ties up so neatly.
Set against that though I found some of the sex scenes too disturbing – even gave me bad dreams…I’m very prone to them so avoid anything likely to set those off, my mind takes an idea and runs with it. This story though takes a direction I didn’t expect, not the spicy, sensual and edgy OS scenes I’m used to but ones with a supernatural edge that I feel uncomfortable with.

So, my BDSM knowledge comes purely from books, especially Original Sinners ones, so SSC and RACK are terms I agree with.
However the sex here takes a twist so that really Mona isn’t consenting, isn’t aware of risks she’s taking and the big bugbear – she has no safe-word. She signs a blank cheque for anything Malcolm wants to do to here almost. Is that consent? Is that Safe and Sane? Risk Aware? I don’t think so, and I’m uncomfortable with scenes where she isn’t consenting, even if she does enjoy what happens.
If someone orgasms does that make it not rape for example? That defence wouldn’t and shouldn’t work in real life or books IMO.
Throw in the Satyrs and the Minotaur and it was a step too far for me, a little too animalistic. I love fantsy and paranormal so I’m used to werewolves having sex, but they don’t do it in their werewolf or part werewolf form – well, not in the books I like.
There’s a thin line between art and porn whether its sculptures, paintings or writings and this for me is reaching the wrong end of the scale. I can see others love it, and that’s great but for me its a step too far.
I enjoyed the story, thought it had a clever twist – a few clever twists, but I didn’t like the execution of some of the sex scenes.
I’ve loved all the OS ones, but this book just isn’t right for me.

Stars: Two, a clever and intriguing story but the turn the sex scenes took was not right for me. Others love it, only you know what’s right for you.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc.) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I love LA Witt’s books usually, but the first in this series just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t know if that was a one off, or if maybe its just this series.
Well, having read book two I think maybe its time for me to have a break from LA’s novels.

I did enjoy this, but found I was putting it aside and picking up later, something that I don’t do with a book I really like.
I didn’t dislike the story, there were parts I liked a lot, but I also found there were swathes I just felt were either predictable, or felt too much like a previous story-line brought into this novel.
I need to be surprised, to wonder what can, will happen and how but somehow here I felt I knew that before I read it.

If you’re new to LA’s books you’ll probably love this, she’s a great writing style and its a classic LA story, great characters, some angst and lots of hot steamy sex tied in to a real feeling setting with issues that people really do face.
Of course all authors have fans who love everything they write, but I think I just need a break. I still love LA’s writing style, love the way she can conjure up such realistic people but feel maybe I need to step away for a while. If I can resist the lure of the next book 😉

Stars: Three, a typical LA Witt well written, steamy read, but I just felt it was all too familiar, nothing new to hold my interest..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Reckoning, Shana Figueroa

Reckoning, Shana Figueroa

Reckoning (Valentine Shepherd Book 3) by [Figueroa, Shana]

Genre:  Romance

I missed book one, but loved book two, a supernatural romance/suspense novel thats not the oh-so-popular dumbed down type.
I like a book that makes me work, not too hard, I want the story to flow, but not the sort that spoon feeds the reader every little bit of info.
I want to see the clues and try to work out for myself where the stoy is going, who’s good and loyal, who’s doing the dirty, and ultimately how its all going to meld togeher into an ending.

This trilogy does all that and more, fab characters, not flawless impering types, but gritty and real, prone to bias, to making mistakes and yet at the heart Love plays such a strong part.
Its definately a re-reading trilgoy for me and then I really must get book one so I can see the beginning of how it all started, maybe understand a bit more of some of the characters. Sten especially is one who I didn’t like at first, but have come to love, and wonder if maybe book one has more about him there.

Its another great adventure, with murders stacking up quickly and Valentine on the warpath. How dare Northwalk threaten her family? She adores Max and their twins, but has always felt the threat of Northwalk is near, and yet now she thinks they’re on the track of them again she can’t seem to convince Max.

I love Val, she’s not an easy person to get along with but she’d give her life in a heartbeat for the small circle she considers family and freinds.
She’s not one to run from danger, Max seems to think she’s over-reacting to her suspicions but willing to pick up and move if that will help her, but she knows moving = running and Northwalk will still follow. She wants to stand up to them, take preemptive action, Max isn’t so convinced.
In a way that’s understandable, he’s been through so much and just wants to enjoy his life now, with his adored Val and their twins.

Northwalk play a long game though, and once more its a cracking paced drama, with me wondering who was on which side, and why, and how and looking at people and events trying to work out motives.
Max made me so cross at one point…and yet I understood where he was coming from. Likewise Val, she really does run headlong into danger at times.

Its a perfect wrap up….for now 😉 Ending works really well, and then…there’s that hint that Northwalk may be down but not dead, and that they aren’t the only players in the game. It finished off this section of Val and Max’ life perfectly, but leaves the way open for more.
I know its a trilogy I’ll want to re-read, and at some point when I’m ready to do that I’ll get book one and start in the proper place, get a better understanding of the characters and events.

Its a supernatural read with an unusual twist, and it was refreshing to read something so different to most books offered. The Seer part, the visions and predictions reminded me a little of the Seers in JC Andrijeski’s Allie’s War and Quentin Black series. Most supernatural reads follow the more usual vampire/shifter/fae structure while this is really humans with a supernatural extra – humans-plus maybe 😉 and it was interesting and easy to believe for me.

Stars: Five, perfect wrap up for this trilogy leaving the door ajar for more books later as the family grow.

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

Drakon’s Plunder, N.J. Walters

Drakon’s Plunder, N.J. Walters

Drakon's Plunder (Blood of the Drakon) by [Walters, N.J.]

Genre:  Romance,

First thing to say is that I didn’t realise this was the third book in a series.
I was still able to follow the story, and the characters from the earlier books are referred to here, but not having read them didn’t mean I lost the plot so to speak! They look interesting though so maybe a future read?

Anyway, Sam. I liked her. She’d had a tough time as an only child losing both parenst and regarded her mentor highly. He was killed, and having discovered it was a group called Knights of the Dragon, she wants vengeance.
They think she’s a simple archaeologist, don’t know of her talent for sensing powerful objects and she’s keeping it that way. She’s under no illusions about what type of people they are and what they plan for her, but she’s out to stop them getting their hands on whatever is on the wreck. If they want it then its too powerful for them to have it is her thought, and she’s out to stop them any way she can.
She’s a great lead, strong and determined with a definite sense of whats morally right.

Then things go wrong, and she finds herself with a strange man, in a place that’s unfamiliar. Slowly what happened comes back to her, but she doesn’t know if she can trust him or if he belongs to the Knights group.
He’s being very cagey which doesn’t help, but that’s because he doesn’t know whether he can trust her. He’s got a lot to hide, and a lot to lose if he gets it wrong.
I liked Ezra, hiding in plain sight, very close to his brothers and their mates, he’s surprised at the possessiveness he feels for Sam. The Drakon’s Tears…I loved that tough.
Between all that there’s this sensual thread of arousal spinning between them….

Its a good read, a step up from the Human meets Shifter/Vampire/Supernatural of some sort that dominates the best sellers. Clearly readers love them, but I need a bit more story to my romance and this book delivers.
Its not as solid a story as a Mercy Thompson or Kate Daniels read, but it’s an entertaining novel, in a series that sounds to build on each book with a stronger overall story. I do like those.

Stars: four, interesting and absorbing read with an unusual shifter type. Lots of sensual heat and spice too.

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 Stone Warriors: Kato, Book 2, Stone Warriors Series, D.B. Reynolds. Warrior of Fire, Shona Husk.

The Stone Warriors: Kato, Book Two of the Stone Warriors Series, D.B. Reynolds

The Stone Warriors: Kato by [Reynolds, D. B.]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, Wow. I think now I understand the overall plot and world building I really need to go back to book one, as I’m sure I’d rate it higher than I did on first read.
Some series are like that, it takes another book or two before the overall theme falls in to place for me, and this clearly is one such.
I think part of it too was over-expectation, I so love ViA, and was hooked from book one and expected this to be the same.

Its is the same great writing though, full of people who feel real, who I have strong mental images of, ladies who aren’t simpering kittens waiting for a big strong man to save them 😉
Grace is anything but one of those, though our and Kato’s first impressions could be forgiven for thinking that, because that’s the image she tries to project. she’s more than that though and a perfect lady for Kato.

He’s the second stone warrior, and I kept thinking how awful, to be trapped like that for thousands of years, seeing and hearing everything but unable to interact.
Sometimes books have things happening and I think “ how very convenient that he/she does that riiigght at this point”, and you could feel that about Kato coming out of imprisonment just in time to save grace from the Demon. D.B has the answer though, she’s made it so there’s a very real explanation why things are happening just now, and weaves every small thing into part of the larger overall plot that threads though the series.

Its another great read, a race against time to stop demons from being unleashed and creating mayhem. Another, well..brush with danger feels too subtle, its more than that, another solid drama where the characters face a horrible death over and over, but manage to scrape through, and without using any of that New Skills Gained Just at the Optimum Moment that I so hate. You know the sort, he or she has just learned of their place in the supernatural world, takes it in their stride, and by  the fourth page or so they’re killing the bad guys the others have been fighting and losing against for centuries, using some new skill that showed up just as the Demon or whatever is about to kill them! Gah, that really annoys me.
D.B doesn’t ever do that, and though here Grace saves the day a few times, it works because she’s the skills needed already, the training to keep calm and deal comes from her background. She gained her gun skills as a child, and as an adult she’s been involved in some dangerous and scary dramas. Add in how clever and analytical her mind is and she’s perfect for Kato.

I loved catching up with Damian and Cass, and yep, now want to re-read their story.
Two more warriors to go yet, and of course there’s also Nick, Nico, Nicademus…what a guy he is. When we first met him back in the early, the first book I think of the ViA series he was almost a throwaway guy, Cyn’s friend with benefits hot guy, but he grew in importance in later books, and then we learned he’s a powerful sorcerer.
I love how these two series interact, how we get snippets of other characters, even if only in conversation or thoughts.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s someone special in Nico’s life planned? The mysterious talented Lili maybe – or perhaps someone from the Via series? Loads of possibilities to pick from, and I look forward to D.B.s next book(s) of either series.

Stars: Five, a cracking, riveting, engrossing read and a great addition to D.B’s series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Warrior of Fire, Shona Husk

Warrior of Fire (Blood & Silver) by [Husk, Shona]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

I really enjoyed Lady of Silver, the intro book to this series. that featured Saba, an Albah lady and Dale a human cop.
This book is about Liera. Saba’s sister, who we met in book one as a secondary character, and Julian who’s a son of cop Quinn, who is also the Albah’s “King”. Its a title that’s really name only, they don’t meet or live closely as its too dangerous.

There’s a faction called Guardians, who are out to kill Albah, though supposedly there’s been a truce for the last 200 years. Strange though how so many Albah die in accidents. That’s what happened to Julian’s mum, she died in a car crash when he and his younger brother were in the car. Its affected them both, as traumatic events do to young children, and they’re not a close family. In fact Julian has been away for the last 12 years and only returned six months ago.

He’s been working at a local hospital, somewhere he can put his healing skills to use without creating attention.
See that’s the thing the Guardians won’t recognize, that most Albah just want to be responsible, to do good and work in fields where their talents are best use to humankind. As far as Guardians are concerned the only good Albah is a dead one.
Its that potential to turn into an immortal blood sucking murdering Alabanex that worries them so they think killing all Albah means humans are safe. Shame they don’t focus on how humans can become murdering vicious killers too, or even look at their own behaviour, murdering parents, children, wiping out whole families proudly and bringing up their kids to believe in the same.
Hate rhetoric is so pervasive when instilled from a young age and that’s what’s happened here.

Julian has been having a “casual” relationship with a woman for the last few months. He doesn’t know much about her, that’s what he likes, physical only stuff, no need for pleasantries and socialsing, not knowing she’s a Guardian and a killer.
She’s come to do a job, make her first kill and become a real Guardian, a role she’s trained hard for, encouraged by her Guardian mother and family.
She’s finding it hard though, she’s become attracted to Julian even though both agreed upfront this was simply a casual fling, and now she’s becoming clingy Julian is thinking the time has come to part ways. she won’t like that!

Liera has always known she’s meet the love of her life on a train, she and Saba are very good at seeing into the future, though its not fixed but depends on paths taken by individuals.
She doesn’t know who her future is with though, and so is astonished when she feels a visceral reaction to Julian at a meeting of the local Albah. It’s where they connect via the internet with others to discuss recent events. Julian feels the attraction too but its a kind of muted pull for them both, not a huge insta-lust kind of thing. Jut that feeling of rightness when they connect with each other.
Liera is puzzled. What about the future she and Saba had seen?
Julian isn’t sure he’s ready yet either, he’s always felt he would marry an Albah. His people need the males that come from only Alabah pairings, but he thought that was way in the future, loads of time yet. Until now he’s been content with simple casual relationships, like the current one with Emily. This has thrown him though,made him question that, and he decides Emily’s been getting clingy lately, not what they agreed and its time to let go.

She is Not Happy though. Pressure from home about why she hasn’t killed him yet and the excuse she’s given, he could lead her to more is wearing thin. Now he’s dumped her, and as she’s been spying on him she sees him meet Leira and just knows it’s all down to her. the knives come out, Liera is in the way, time to move her. She knows now Leira is an Albah so has no worries about killing her, she’s been brought up to beleive thats the right thing to do.

It all leads to a cracking story, brings danger to the Albah, not just here but across the globe, makes them think about the future of the race, brings the Guardians into the series in a big way and is a hugely entertaining read. One that flows easily, has that element of suspense I love, the wondering what if, and how will they…?
The romance too, I enjoyed that, the doubts both had, it makes a change from the one-look-and-they-are-in-love scenario we see so often. Instead they both talk, tread carefully, think about how they feel inside.

There’s no simply quick fix solution for the future of the Albah. It needs some decision if they aren’t to die out, and the way they’ve lived for the past few hundred years needs to change. Using the internet they can conference, avoiding the dangers when large groups get together, and hhopefully make changes to their lifestyles the majority agree to while keeping safe.
Maybe the time for Quinn as king has become the era for change, for the role to become more than the lip-service one its been. He’s certainly a decisive enough character to generate momentum for change.

I really enjoyed this installment, loved meeting Dale and Saba again, was intrigued as to how things were going to work between Julian and Liera, whether the change of place of their first meeting meant their future had changes in a big way, and of course the drama with Emily was pretty solid and full on.

I found it easy to believe in Emily, that she’d been brought up and trained to kill Albah, but in her greed to kill more by finding Julian’s family she actually came to like him, to see the good he did. Somewhere deep in her psyche she had to rationalise why she hadn’t killed him yet, rather than admit she was falling for him. She was a twisted individual but also a product of a very dark upbringing, brainwashed that Albah were all bad, potential killers.

Its an easy read, well paced, solid writing. Its not as in depth as many fantasy reads, but a fun story that made me look at the characters as individual, see them as real people, and wonder just where the story is going next.
I’m really hoping Quinn gets some happy, right now he gets all the flak and doesn’t really seem to have anyone close to support him when it goes bad.

Stars: five, a great story, building on the first one and expanding the world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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