Archive | fantasy romance RSS for this section

Owl and the Electric Samurai, Kristi Charish

Owl and the Electric Samurai, Kristi Charish

Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Owl Series) by [Charish, Kristi]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I loved the first two novels but this one was, to be honest, a bit of a slog 😦
I’ve loved Owl, her kind of skewed world views, and yet underneath you know she cares deeply for her friends, that she’s moral, will always do the right thing, for people anyway even if artifacts are a bit of a grey area….but in this book she came over as a bit self centred, kind of blowing off issues that her best friend Nadya was dealing with, acting pretty cold towards Rynn at times.

I love Rynn, but in this book they felt more like two people working together who didn’t really like or respect each other, and though its clear Rynn cares deeply for Owl, would do almost anything to keep her safe she really wasn’t looking out for what was going on in his life, seeing his POV, seeing what he was worried about, didn’t really take Nadya’s issues seriously, only as far as they affected her.
This book seemed to be Only Worry About What Concerns Owl…and I didn’t like that, that wasn’t the person I knew from book one.
Then too there’s the whole Electric Samurai…its not Owl V the ES, its Owl searches for the ES. The Electric Samurai itself doesn’t really come into play til the end.

I had issues with Owl and Rynn jumping form one hot-spot to another, escaping by the skin of their teeth, jumping from country to country, and the non stop action that was hit, done and over just in time for the next issue got dull.
I wanted more in depth detail, to know exactly how they did things, how they escaped, not toss in a few whiz bangs and they’re out, but that’s how each drama began to feel to me. Just more of the same, another place where everyone wants a piece of Owl and she escape barely to fall into the next drama.
I’d have liked a bit more day to day details, more conversations that didn’t just involve “how are we getting out of this mess” type of thing. Less skin of teeth and bombs, less Carpe doing some amazing tech stuff, characters suddenly dropping in unexpectedly and a little more reality.
Back to one of my bugbears, the This just couldn’t happen problem. There’s an IT Acronym IFTTT (If this then that) where if one thing happens its the trigger for another action, and when I’m reading I want to believe that if this one thing/action/event is real it could trigger a defined reaction, but too often in this story I didn’t feel the first issue could be real, it lacked that believability factor, which meant that the action that followed felt wrong to me.

There were parts I enjoyed, and the whole story is so unique that it was really refreshing to read when the series started, but now its seems to have moved away from that and I just need a little less action a little more conversation….A bit more reality even though its fantasy.
How does Owl get from country to country without getting stopped at usual channels ect, without ever having any luggage? She never seems to eat or drink, need to shower, sleep, feed Captain, you know, all the everyday dross that makes a story feel real.
I don’t need loads, just a little to ground her, make things feel real.
She just flips from one country at the end of a chapter and on first page of next chapter she’s where she needs to be, and I’m thinking “but how??” Especially given Captain is with her. Travelling with a huge cat isn’t easy…and where does she keep getting cat carriers?
It is a very complex world blending real world with the fantasy game playing base Shangri-La, but it felt increasing detached to me from the characters and settings we started out with in book one.

Then the ending…no………How could Kristi leave us like that? I’d almost decided this was it for me, wondering whether I really wanted to continue with the series but I can’t stop at this point, I’ll have to see how it plays out and hope a return to the styles of books one and two are forthcoming.

Stars: Three, a bit hard going this installment. Hopefully book four will bring a return to the style of the first two.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Distance Home, Orly Konig. Dating the Undead, Juliet Lyons

The Distance Home, Orly Konig

The Distance Home: A Novel by [Konig, Orly]

Genre:  Women’s fiction,

What a terrific debut book, absorbing story, well told and one I enjoyed reading.

Emma is the consummate career woman, successful, polished, and never really switches off from working. Her boss wasn’t keen to let her have the week off to attend to affairs after her fathers death, and she almost agrees with him, that could wait, work is more pressing. HR insists though so Emma makes the journey home ( great title , fits perfectly BTW), somewhere she’s not been for 16 years.  She’s no other realtives now so its a lonely journey.

The story is told from Emma’s POV, and in present/past flashbacks. That works well to slowly let the reader see what happened, how she grew up, why she is the person she is now. We think we know who she is and what happened, but it’s a very slow reveal to the full truth, and along the way Emma learns that her view of events is just that – her view, and things weren’t necessarily as simple as a child sees them. There were reasons she either didn’t understand or simply didn’t see.
As her stay gets extended she gets more drawn into the reactions of people around her about that one catastrophic event, the things that were a catalyst for it, with her recall set against why things happened.

I loved Emma, she was such a lonely child I felt for her. The horses had become her world and being a horse mad child and adult I could see how she got strength from them. My last horse died this year, 25 years of horse-owning, a childhood dream that took much effort and sacrifice but horse lovers will understand it was all worthwhile.

Of course while she’s being slowly drawn back, increasingly entrenched in that past life her current one is blowing up the internet. Frantic emails pass back and forth, demands to know how soon she can go back etc.
I did find it hard to see why she accepted there was something huge going on and yet happy to wait til she was back on the following Monday, some days away, to find out what. I wasn’t a quarter the workaholic Emma is and yet I couldn’t have waited, would have to have answers now, and that bit didn’t sit right with me.
Its a small crit though in a fabulous book I really enjoyed. Not sure its one I’d re-read now I know the story, favourite romances and some other books I love to read over and over but I don’t think this will join them.

Stars: four, great characters, including the animals, and a terrific debut read

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

** Pricing. £16.82/$20.98 for a debut read!! Wow, not sure I’d risk that – in fact I know I wouldn’t when there are top authors and best sellers in the £5-10 range

Dating the Undead,  Juliet Lyons

Dating the Undead (Undead Dating Service) by [Lyons, Juliet]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

First book in a new series and writing this I’m still undecided exactly how I feel. I didn’t Not like it but I wasn’t grabbed by it either…
The premise is good, sounded fun, a vampire dating site. No risk of relationships there you’d think, not with the potential age differences 😉 That’s just what Silver is looking for, sex and spice without the other guy wanting a HEA for them.

Well, I liked Silver – and then there were parts of her I didn’t. When it comes to her mum and how she died she feels a bit shallow almost, especially at the end when she learns more. “Oh, that’s how she died. OK then, what shall we do now?” that’s sort of how her reaction feels to me. Given all her former questions it just felt underwhelming somehow.
She gets on with her dad but isn’t really very nice to her step-mum, and I didn’t know why except that she’s acting like a teen and she’s not, she’s an adult. I think this shallowness about her is what I didn’t like.
I did like her independence and confidence, but she was just that bit too unfeeling. She has a great kiss with Logan, so joins V Date in search of more, and she’s happy to let a total stranger, one who could kill her easily, bite her.
The police interaction was just weird, that’s all I can say about that!

Logan, a great guy, loyal to his vampire lord/boss and yet the whole Anastasia saga make him look weak and feeble to me.
Somehow after all those years vampires have been around, most of them hidden from humans, you’d think they’d come up with a way round these rules that constrain them, even when keeping them risks so much.
Then that ending, rounds off the story neatly but too slick for me, a bit too convenient…I’m not a quick fix girl, I like solutions to come from things we know, to be worked hard for.

It sounds like there’s a lot I didn’t like here and that’s not true, it was a fun read, some good humour, and its a well written story, with potential for more. I did like the sound of Cop Vincent, subject of the next book.

Maybe its just first-book-in-series syndrome, where it has such a lot to achieve, setting out story for this book and future ones and introducing different characters. Its a hard ask for any book, and maybe for ones like this that also have a humorous side its more difficult.

Its was an ok read for me, I didn’t not like it, and bits made me smile, but its not one I’d read again. If you want a fun and light supernatural read with a gentle HEA this is for you. I just need a bit more depth and angst.

Stars: Three, an ok read, fun in parts but a bit light for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Sex in the Sticks, A Love Hurts Novel, Sawyer Bennett. A Bride for a Day, Matchmaker Cafe Series Book 2, Pam Binder

Sex in the Sticks, A Love Hurts Novel, Sawyer Bennett
Sex in the Sticks: A Love Hurts Novel by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance,

I’m a great fan of SB’s novels, and I think the only one so far that wasn’t a hit for me was Uncivilised. Now its been joined by this one. a good-ish book, well written of course but content? Romance? well, for me it was kind of meh…I can see others love it – well, I’m glad but it didn’t hit the expected spot for me.

I guess Valentine had a lot to do with that. I just didn’t really like her, found her shallow and almost vacuous, kidding herself her blog was “work”.
She’s a trust fund lady, has never know life without riches, luxuries there for the taking, spending – as she says $10,000 dollars on a weekend isn’t that unusual for her. She wasn’t unkind to those who didn’t have her kind of money but there’s no way she could understand them or their lifestyles.

The blog: Well, as a blogger and blog reader I know that for many blogs are Big Business, a full time job and very important.
Valentines a bit more like me, a hobby blogger. I do it to get ARCs as I could never afford to indulge my love of stories without them, Valentine does it for ? Well, I’m not really sure. Seems to be she thinks of it as a job, but a non paying one.
Some of her comments verged on cruel, and that kind of thing can be funny, but needs care and when she’s identifying who the other people are, but they don’t know about it I feel its kind of nasty.
It felt as if she was somehow looking down on them, that she was hinting they didn’t live up to what dating Valentine French was all about. It just made me think, what exactly does she feel is so attractive about her, why does she think she’s such a catch.

Logan, a great guy, loved him and the way the locals respected him.
When things went wrong between him and Valentine the first time he overreacted, IMO. Acted like a thwarted teen. Just ASK man, that’s all you have to do. He of all people should know about that kind of situation and how the truth gets twisted.
The second time I had more sympathy for him, but somehow by then I’d got a bit bored with the whole thing.
You may love it, lots of others do but for me, well, it was just between 2 and 3 stars.

Stars: two and a half, I did like a few bits but most of it I just didn’t enjoy.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Bride for a Day, Matchmaker Cafe Series Book 2, Pam Binder

A Bride for a Day (Matchmaker Cafe Series Book 2) by [Binder, Pam]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s fiction

My first book by this author so I didn’t know what to expect. Sadly its one that didn’t work. I think that though this author’s work is perfect for many readers I’m looking for something different. That’s life.
I was intrigued by the synopsis but in practice the story has so much more. Unfortunately it wasn’t what I look for in a novel, and unfolded in a way that left me with more questions than answers.

Everything happened so fast, one morning she’s at work as usual, then later that day she’s marrying Michael!
I understood – just- the issues around the marriage, but in practical terms I just don’t believe they would work. Arranging a wedding in such a short time too isn’t possible, Scotland might be the land of elopement but even then there were/are time restrictions. You cannot simply get married on the day you think of it…Legalities just don’t allow it and without some kind of explanation of how they got round them I can’t put that aside.

Then there’s the reasons: I thought Tatiana’s issues felt contrived, I didn’t see that the marriage would affect that, and I didn’t like her or her mum.
Michael’s film and image problems too, well, they may be real but marrying one day, filing for divorce the next isn’t going to change them. Studio heads don’t make decisions this way, they wouldn’t have given him the role so quickly just because he got married on a whim. That doesn’t scream stable and settled even if he could convince them he’d known CC a while. Especially when his involvement in Tatiana’s life is well known..the practicalities just wouldn’t work.

And then there’s the second thread, the description makes no mention of this, the sisters and the magical matchmaking. I was pretty confused when that all started, I love fantasy novels but this was just…odd…and I found it hard to believe in.
I hadn’t read the first book, thinking it wouldn’t matter as these are connected but stand alone reads, so maybe that would have helped me understand what was going on there. Perhaps? I don’t know.
As it was I felt it was a book that had maybe just too much packed into too short a space, as it’s just 133 pages long.

I didn’t ever feel I knew the characters more than just a surface gloss of them, and I wasn’t really invested in them or their issues. Either a longer book so more detail, or less complex story might possibly have made a difference for me, but of course not all books suit all readers, and for very many readers this book will be perfect as it is.

If you like light and fluffy, don’t bother about practicality and reality and are happy to accept the story as its presented then you’ll love this.
If like me you need reasons for decisions, ones that feel real and are practical/legal, and want to get to know your characters well then probably you won’t.

Stars: Two, too unbelievable for me – and I don’t mean the fantasy side, but the practicalities.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Blade Bound, A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, Chloe Neill. Eternal Reign, Melody Johnson

Blade Bound, A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, Chloe Neill

Blade Bound: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel (Chicagoland Vampires Series) by [Neill, Chloe]

Genre:  Romance,

It seems aaages since i read the first in this series, pre-kindle when I could still read text. I loved it and reread it and the other very early ones several times. Then That happened, the Ethan Disaster which spoiled it for me, I didn’t think I’d continue but saw from reviews of a later book that he was back! So I picked it up once more and continued.

I’ve always had an issue though with this and similar books where the main character is a new supernatural of some sort and yet manages to do all the things that the old, hundreds of years old, others can’t. How? Why are they so different? How come they never have all the stumbling blocks new vampires, werewolves, dragons et al do?
And that’s what got me a bit irritated, that it seemed like each story was Merit Saves The Day Yet Again * Sigh * and I stopped. Then saw this on netgalley, wondered how the series would end, got approved and needed to play catch up and buy the previous four books I’d not read #slappedwrist

Reading the last five back to back it felt very much as if I was reading the same story, just tinkered with…and that brought back memories of Sookie S when I felt the same 😦 that perhaps the series would have been better cut back a few books. There’s only so many new discoveries two new supernaturals like Merit and Mallory can make. I guess its down to two sides, group A wants more about Ethan Merit and the crew whatever the issues, they just want to read more and don’t care about the feeling of repetition. That’s lots of readers, I know from other series some just don’t want to let go of a group and will read anything connected to them. then there’s group B, where I fall, that wants stories that are believable and different, even though its fantasy it has to feel that if a happened B could result. the early books were exactly that for me, and maybe f there’d been a longer story timeline rather than the just over a year between book one and the last things may have felt that way for me.

So here we are, full circle in a way with Gabriel’s prophecy still hanging in Ethan and Merit’s minds. Actually the way that got explained/came about was well done IMO, something that made sense in the way that magic and fantasy can make a kind of sense. That bit of fantasy-reality that has you thinking “oh yes, so that happened, and therefore this was able to come about”.

We start this book with pre wedding celebrations, and from there its yet again another magical puzzle to solve, Chicago under threat, calls for supernaturals to take all the blame, humans decrying it’s Not Their Fault, let the supes take the blame. They’ve short memories when it comes to recalling that many of the past problems came about through human greed, and the supernaturals risked much to save human lives.
So much felt like I’d read it all before in those last few books. It was well written, tightly plotted and made sense in the way it played out but….it didn’t feel fresh, unique, the way those first ones did.

There’s lots of drama once more, some of Mallory’s on-the-fly magic combined with lots of theory and Catcher’s voice of reason – I love his character.
We haven’t seen much of Gabriel these last few books, he’s here but in very minor position, and I’d really have liked all the supernaturals to have pulled together for the Big Battle.
Finally the RG get more involved but once more looking back to the beginning I always thought they’d play a greater part.
I guess I’d just have a better chance of believing things will work in the future for everyone if they’d all been working on the solution, rather than Cadogan house, Mallory, Catcher and the Ombuddies.
A year of manic mayhem, scary deaths, tragedies, violence, disaster and suddenly everyone will live peacefully? What happens when the next issue arises? Will Ethan and Merit pick up their Katanas once more and wade in or claim other responsibilities, let someone else sort it?
If all forces had joined in this last book and been part of the solution I’d have believed they’d have a better chance of peace. Still, its fiction, the series has ended and it’ll be perfect for many readers 🙂

Overall the series starts off a five for me, with later books dropping drastically and I guess comes out a 3 to 4. This final book assessed alone though is a four for me, maybe a four and a half, pretty good but could have been better.

Stars: Four, pretty good but at times felt a little repetitive, and the final solution could have been better IMO.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Eternal Reign,  Melody Johnson

Eternal Reign (The Night Blood Series) by [Johnson, Melody]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

Cassidy has come such a long way since the first book, yet its only been a few weeks. From knowing nothing about Vampires, she’s now gained so much first hand knowledge and yet still I get the sense she’s far more to learn.
Dominic is facing his levelling, a vulnerable time when usually his second would be there for him but Gillian isn’t, she betrayed him recently and she’s looking set to take over from him.
She’s amassing an army of Damned vampires, fierce, blood thirsty creatures that have little reasoning, just an instinct to kill and feed.
People are dying each night, the police have no idea what they are facing, Cassidy can’t reveal all through her reporter job, much though she’d love to, and if it continues the city will face an onslaught of deaths that makes the current ones look like nothing.
Dominic is losing his powers fast, but having to hide it from the coven, vampires gravitate to the strongest and he needs as much support as he can against Gillian, Cassidy isn’t a night blood anymore after her last injuries, and the battle is looming up.

Its another fast paced story, death, blood and gore, but with enough strength in the characters to lift it for me from a horror to something I enjoyed. I can’t take blood and gore if there’s not some way of lightening the story, some romance to balance all the hate.
Dominic clearly has feelings for Cassidy but she’s not admitting hers to him, or even to herself.
Now in this novel she needs to make some hard choices, about her job, her friends, her feelings for Dominic. I love the way Dominic treats her with respect even when he must find her incredibly frustrating – I know I would, with her insistence on “the people’s right to know”….knowing what faces his people if knowledge comes out.
Historically humans have sought to destroy any one, any group they feel aren’t human, looking at what we’ve done to witches in the past, and of course even those of a different religious persuasion and yet she seems to think that nothing bad will happen if vampires are exposed. I can’t decide if she’s deluded, naive or just plain stupid 🙂

Dominic has a typical vampire regard for humans, they’re just not important compared to his coven, he’s out to protect them at any cost even if it means killing people.
He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, doesn’t kill to feed for example, but thinks nothing of killing to protect his people if he feels there’s no other option.

There’s so much going on here, the story of the Levelling, the quest for Master of the city, the Damned vampires and now the Daywalker involvement, and among all that there’s the romance that’s slowly developing between Cassidy and Dominic.
Its another story I was glued to, really enjoyed and damn it, that ending…arrgghh…I hate when authors do that. #nocliffhangers

Stars: Five, another terrific read and c’mon, after that ending, I really hope the next book is soon!

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Dark Moon Wolf, Calling the Moon, Sarah E. Stevens. Once Bitten, Heather McCorkle

Once Bitten, Heather McCorkle

Once Bitten (The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow) by [McCorkle, Heather]

Genre:  Romance,

My first read of Heather’s novels, but I love the werewolf genre and this sounded fun.
I found it a little – well – bland I guess? It was well written, the characters were all clearly set out and the take of the werewolf genre had some fresh additions. Sounds good doesn’t it?
However I just found the story dragged, with nothing much happening until the last 20% or so. Even then I found that for a group so set in rules and hierarchy the story-line went well off track.

I couldn’t see how all these things, all these anarchist actions wouldn’t have been seen coming, if those in charge had been taking note. Its hard to see a rigid, supposedly strong and well run system fall down so badly by the actions of such inept characters.
There didn’t seem to have been much thought or planning of what would happen,  and the ones creating the mayhem were strangely lacking in intelligence and strategy.
The story-line is sound, and things like this do happen but it needed to have characters that were capable of planning and executing such a strategy for me to believe it.

Its kind of a one plot book too, in that Sonya’s transforming was a part of that overall plot. I liked Ty, apart from his manner of speaking which proved irritating after a time, but he was so laid back he was almost horizontal, which didn’t fit so well with his thoughts on throwing everything, disregarding all the rules, because he was so attracted to Sonya. I anted to say “get a grip man, its only for a couple of weeks!!” The man I thought he was would have done just that, not been mulling constantly about giving in to temptation.
Its one of those reads that feels very simplistic, not complex drama but a quick easy read. Depends what you want – and its different for everyone, for me its more often the complex drama that does it.

First books in a series have a hard task and for me this one doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the description. I’m undecided as to whether I want to continue with it. I’ll see nearer the time I guess, how much other things I’ve got on and whether I’m pulled in by the description. I’m not saying I would read more, not saying its a no go for me but I am on the fence over it.

Stars: two and a half, a good premise but it needs a bit more action and drama, a little more speed for me. Maybe in the later books?

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Dark Moon Wolf, Calling the Moon, Sarah E. Stevens

Dark Moon Wolf (Calling the Moon Book 1) by [Stevens, Sarah E.]

Genre:  General Fiction, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, I love paranormal/Fantasy, and wolf shifters in particular appeal to me. I was keen to read this, a first in what hopefully would turn out to be a new and fun series.
I’d made the mistake of thinking this was romance, isn’t not classed as that, simply my error and not looking carefully enough. That’s not a game-changer though, I read books other than romance too 🙂 Just that it came as a surprise to find out some things early in the story.

Its an interesting read, Sarah has put a slightly different slant on shifter practicalities and categories which was good, kept that part fresh.
The story though didn’t really work totally for me. There was just so much in it, the search for Carson’s dad, meeting the new people, finding out about werewolves and witches…Julie was incredibly blase about all the new things she was learning.
Then the murders. there was a lot of action, lots going on and I just had a hard time believing things would play out as easily as they did.
Don’t get me wrong – there was struggle, lots of it but given Julie is human and new to all this supernatural stuff she did really well. the other werewolves too has a very hard task solving the murders, they’d been cleverly done by someone who was clever and had lots of backing, and I just couldn’t see things playing out quite the way they did without Huge, Massive repercussions.
I didn’t guess who was involved til quite far on when there’s a really – to the reader- obvious clue but Julie completely misses it.

It looks like a debut novel, I can’t find any more books. Its well written but I just felt there was a little too much packed tightly into a novel that was just a bit too short for it. If the story was a bit longer so the action could have been made more realistic, and not have “Clue, and wow – here’s the Perpetrator” plots that these shorter novels need I think its one I’d love.

A first in series has a hard ask too, setting the scene, introducing new characters, and in the case of fantasy/paranormal, other types of people, and all the while leading a story to keep the readers interest. This one does OK for me, but of course will be perfect for others. That’s how it goes, we don’t all want the same thing thankfully!

Stars: Three, a good start to fiction writing, and a new series, but for me needed a little more reality and practicalities.

BTW Full/Lily: does she remind anyone else of Dolly Parton? For some reason she’s all I see each time Full comes into the story

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Fallen, P.J. Fox

Fallen, P.J. Fox

Fallen by [Fox, P.J.]

Genre:  Romance, General Fiction

I wasn’t really sure what this book would be about. Seemed to be some kind of dystopian/futuristic romance read, and as I’d not read any of PJ Fox’ work before I decided to try it.

I’ve finished now and TBH I’m still not really sure what it was about….A very strange romance between Dane and Ani, a weird society who have one might a year when everyone is free to kill who they want without reprisal, and some very odd behaving characters.

That’s about it for me. I didn’t really understand the story, didn’t get a sense of who and what the characters were and what the whole thing was about.
The idea that the free-for-all Purge kept society working better than imprisonment was just plain weird and of course open to all sorts of abuse. Some of the characters didn’t want justice, just wanted a chance to kill someone, anyone, just for “fun”.
I hold my hands up and admit I skim read the last third as frankly I was floundering and just wanted to get the book finished.

This is probably one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever done but even though I read the whole book I still can’t understand what it was about, what the point of it all was and whether or not I actually wanted Dane and Ani to end up together.

Stars: Two, a book that just didn’t work for me. Might be one you love – who knows? for me though it was a fail.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Twisted Luck, Mia Downing

Twisted Luck, Mia Downing

Twisted Luck by [Downing, Mia]

Genre:  Romance, General fiction (adult)

This sounded fun, and there were odd moments that made me smile but overall its not a book I particularly enjoyed. Its not a bad book, just not a great one either for me.

Its starts well, and I was feeling for poor Olivia, she really had endured the post appalling string of bad luck. Yet even though I felt sorry for her I just couldn’t seem to like her, or her mum.
They were just so kind, loving, perfect it gave my teeth that shiver that over-sweet drinks do. Weird isn’t it to dislike someone for being too nice. It wasn’t quite that though, more that they both just felt unreal, too good to be true.

Then along comes Leo, and of course I know he’s a demon, but Olivia doesn’t. Before she knows it her soul is sold.
Leo may be tall dark and handsome but…he’s a jerk, a selfish jerk. Even when Olivia is working on him and we get a glimpse of the person under the demon, his jerk behaviour always comes through.
I just found it hard to like him, hard to believe Olivia was having feelings for him.

There’s some real surprises at the end, turnarounds I wasn’t expecting that were good, but overall this was just an ok read for me, not one I’d read again.

Stars:Three, an ok read for me, will be a hit for others of course.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Black Lily, Juliette Cross

The Black Lily,  Juliette Cross

The Black Lily (Tales of the Black Lily) by [Cross, Juliette]

Genre: Romance,

I’ve read a few of Juliette’s stories, and liked the sound of this. Vampires? Romance? yep, two of my tick boxes 😉
What did make me hesitate was the Cinderella connection. I’m not a fan of fairy-tale rewrites generally, I’ve read too many that mirror the original so closely there’s nothing fresh in the story, but this one is fine.
The storyline is only very loosely followed, in fact most of the story is pure Juliette original, maybe 5-10% follows Cinderella and that’s fine by me!

We meet Arabelle, AKA the Black Lily, with her friend Deek, the blacksmith,  planning an audacious assassination of the vampire Prince Marius at a ball later that evening.
She and her band of followers have been planning this carefully, she has the gown, the jewels, the mask, a fairy-tale carriage, albeit borrowed as are the gown and jewels, and most important, a gold edged knife to kill him. Vampires in this series are killed by gold, though royals have to be stabbed in the heart for it to be fatal. No pressure there then Arabelle.
Why are they out to kill him? Well, seems vampires aren’t sticking to the laws, and the peasants arte being drained, first an odd few but more and more recently. Arabelle’s mother died this way and she’s determined to stop the slaughter.

I love the way the planning was explained, there wasn’t a magic wand ( well unless you call a certain part of Deek’s anatomy that, he uses it well to “persuade” people to lend things for the cause…. There’s lots of planning, they’ve spent months on this, even down to Arabelle swapping her outdoor chores for one of the staff’s indoor ones, so her skin gets a chance to lighten, helped also by her own cosmetic preparations. She doesn’t just dress up and hope for the best, but plans, works to make it a success.
I need that in a story, need to understand the how and the why, when something just falls into place at the right time without any effort it just doesn’t work for me.

Of course she doesn’t manage to kill him, it’d be a short book if she did…but he gets close to her and is entranced, enamoured by her even though she wanted him dead.
As it happens she was surprised by her attraction to him, surprised by their conversation. He wasn’t what she expected.
Marius is determined to find her, find out why she tried to kill him, to just get to know her better. He wants her, and not as a prisoner for an attempt on his life. Of course his royal parents aren’t quite of the same mind.
There follows captures and escapes, plans and plots, deals and steals, barters and betrayals…its a fun read, especially when we meet the Hart Wolves, and Sienna.

I really liked Marius, he was a Vampire, but one of the good guys, they’re not all heartless, blood-thirsty killers and he has no idea what’s been going on. His one failing is assuming everyone is happy, what will he do now he knows otherwise?
I really wanted him and Arabelle to find a way together but when they’re on such opposing sides its a hard ask.

There’s some great characters here, some fun adventure and it adds up to an enjoyable read, when the final denouement is revealed I could have kicked myself ( metaphorically – its hard to do that when you’ve only one leg, I’d just fall over!)
Its so obvious and yet…like I suspect most readers, I simply didn’t see that coming, followed the trail led before me very obligingly.

Its not deep, dark, drama but light and fun, with some real excitement at times, some plots that were very realistic and no quick instant, unbelievable fixes, but ones where people worked for them.
Arabelle wasn’t a sweet, helpless female, not yet a kiss ar$e heroine, but someone who felt real, who was a natural leader and worked hard for what she wanted to achieve. There were some excellent support characters too, that fitted the storyline very well.
I love the descriptions of the gowns, the fabulous Glass Palace, and the minutiae of everyday life brought in that made things feel real.

Its ends on a good spot but leaving the way open for more and I’ll be happy to read the next story.

Stars: five, a great relaxing read, fun story, light drama and adventure.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair by [Haley, Carolyn]

Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and fantasy

I was really pulled in by the blurb on this book, but it turned out to be nothing like I expected.
There’s lots I enjoyed, but at times it got so over complicated that I was lost.

There’s a lot of esoteric descriptions, flowery prose over psychic events, lots of inner musings about what’s happening now, in the past and in the future and why, and how, and what possibilities there are to stop it.
And soulmates, Maddie is fixated on soulmates, whether Buck or Kit is destined to be with her, but maybe she has a connection with Dru too, and yet one more guy later in the book….You’d think Dru’s girlfriend, Maddie’s sister Blanche would have something to say, but she’s just as open minded about who she should be with, and when and how long….Confused? You will be 😉
You can see how complex just the sex parts get. Throw in the other characters that live at New Atlantis and a few more visions/premonitions/echoes of past lives, and at times its one big sex fest, but one where emotions as far as love are concerned just don’t come into it.

I didn’t really like any of the characters much, probably Kit’s the only one I came close to feeling for, and it seems to me he gets swept along the psychic tide by accident. I felt the otrhers were rationlising much of their behavoiur telling themsleves, and others, it was for the common good.

Its really a story of the supernatural, of good versus evil, and of how governments are afraid of anything they can’t understand, and will stop at nothing to keep control. That’s scarily true and if this was real I think it would play out as described.

Its billed as Romance, but to me there’s little actual romance, its more a question of “your chakra needs re-balancing/your aura is out of sync/you’ve too much negative energy/the tides are predicting this” ( or moon/stars/sun – take your pick) or simply “its a festival and I want you”….Everything becomes an excuse for some hot and steamy sex, but without the emotion and feelings of love for the individual that are needed for me. TBH that spoiled it for me.

Eventually after many false starts, and lots of failed attempts – and lots more sex – the Evil gets identified and pushed aside, but not at cost, and not without the sticky fingers of the Government getting involved.
That sets up another trap, possibly as dangerous as the Evil they’ve just overbalanced for now.

Its a very complex tale, lots of content and action – for me a little too much. I want a story where I can work out what’s happening, and follow along with events, but there’s so much psychic intervention here that it becomes impossible to predict events, to work out who, what, how and when.
I love paranormal stories but this one gets so over-complex that I found myself switching off sometimes, and just flicking past events trying to see what part that had actual relevance to the story came next.
I like a romance with characters I can get behind, a couple – or couples/trios – that I can want to be together, without all the sex with others muddying the way. I didn’t really feel any actual romance in this story, until maybe close to the end. Speaking of endings – its very amiguous. Are there more books to come or is this it? I felt for a long while when starting that I’d jumped in to an existing sereis, and missed a book or two but I can’t find anything else except this book.

Overall its an OK read for me, I just felt there was so much going on that the story, the message, got lost.
As for the romance, well, don’t expect tenderness, hearts and flowers, but people who really don’t know who they want to be with and end up trying – lots of times – before they buy!

Stars: Three, parts of it I liked, the idea I loved, the execution not so much.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Reawakened, Carrie Pulkinen

Reawakened, Carrie Pulkinen

Reawakened by [Pulkinen, Carrie]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy

Vampires and romance….a good hook for me.
Trouble is there’s so many different styles of romance, whether paranormal or not and for me this was a style that doesn’t really work for me.
If you like Celia Kyle, T.S.Joyce, Bella Forest then this book may well appeal to you. they’re all popular authors whose write what I think of as light and fluffy paranormal reads, where the story is mainly the romance, but with a little back-plot  and excitement underlying it. For me though books need to have a little more substance, a bit extra to hold my interest.

Its a perfectly well written book, a story that adds up, some fun plots and the usual secrets that creep out.
Its just that for me its all a bit too simplistic, too easy to read with everything falling into place so easily, when I need something a little more edgy, angsty, problems that the characters have to work really hard to overcome.
I need to feel there’s a real chance the characters romance won’t survive the pressures put on it, that the problems they have, the dangers they face may all be just too much.

There’s nothing I really dislike about this book, just nothing that would want me to keep it, re-read it either.

Stars: Three, a fun read but I need a bit extra.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

J.A. Hazel

Author of Siren's Wave, a rock romance novel

barn conversion blog

Saving a piece of local history and creating our dream home

Emme Cross

Totally Addictive Romance Novels

Kelly's Book Blog

Book reviews! I'm a book lover, speed reader and reviewer!

Reads and Treats

Satisfying books, Scrumptious eats

jeannie zelos product reviews

Jeannie's honest thoughts on products bought or received for review purpose.

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Book Junkiez

The place where book addicts go for their book fix!

Hit or Miss Books

Honest book reviews for the Young Adult, New Adult and Adult categories.

Lorna Soar

Feltmaker & Artist

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

A Writer's Life For Me.

Blog of Author Mishka Jenkins

Book Gossips

We are four cousins hailing from Australia. Love of books runs in our family and we have decided to share our exhilirating gossip sessions with you. Here you can find book reviews from multiple genres, bringing you the best of buzz worthy popular fiction.

Brandy L Rivers

New York Times and USA Today Best selling Author