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The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale (The Accidental Turn Series Book 3) by [Frey, J.M.]

Genre: LGBTQIA , Sci Fi & Fantasy

I’ve loved this trilogy, fresh and unusual, it hinges round the characters in a series Elgar read wrote. By some quirk of fate he wrote magic so perfectly that it – and the actual characters, places and events, became real. As a Reader, Pip was pulled into the world and met Forsyth. Now they both live in the Overrealm, our world, with their daughter Alis.
They had issues with Hain and certain people in the last book, where events there were affecting the Overrealm, and now they fear that things weren’t as safe as they left them, that maybe, just maybe, someone else has come through to the Overrealm.

There’s another fantastic adventure, Syth being his spymaster self here in the real world, master of the PC and Internet. I love how he’s adapted to it, his careful turn of phrase, his planning, always looking ten steps ahead and of course his love for Pip and Alis.
Pip is wonderful, such an intelligent girl and I love how she breaks out the writing jargon, explaining to Syth ( and readers like me!) about tropes, genres, and how books are plotted. I read, I had no idea of the structure of a story but it makes sense, and makes my author admiration even greater! She’s having a bad time in this book, due to the events of the past that connect her to magic through the carvings.
To begin its just a series of odd events that could be explained away, but Syth being the cautious type he sets his programme up to look for anything that might be connected. I love when he says he thought Pip’s Poster “its not paranoia if they’re out to get you” was a warning not an irony. That sums him up in a way, written to protect, its in his very marrow to do just that.
Of course what he and Pip don’t know is that Elgar is having issues too, with what the police think is a stalker, but what Elgar fears is Hain stuff, and vengeance from there. He had no way of knowing what he wrote created a real world, and he feels so guilty for the casual way he wrote torture and death in his stories. There’s a top secret TV series based around his books being planned and the police agree its a good idea for him to go there for a couple of weeks. Syth’s programme tells him what Elgar didn’t though, so he’s beginning to piece together events and he now knows he, Pip and Elgar are facing real danger that the police can’t help with. How can they fight magic and fictional people that have become real. If they tried to tell them they’d be taken to the nearest Psych centre!

It all comes together in a nail biting, climatic finish, and I was gutted at some of the events and yet – it was the perfect way to end the trilogy.
I read the Magician trilogy when that was first out, back in Oct 2014, and thought it would make a great family film, Disney agreed some time later. I think this too would make a great film, has that magic (hah!) content that will appeal to kids and adults alike and is so very unusual.

Stars: Five, a perfect ending to a terrific, exciting and fresh trilogy.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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A Crazy Kind of Love, Mary Ann Marlowe. Van, A Cold Fury Hockey Novel, Sawyer Bennett

A Crazy Kind of Love, Mary Ann Marlowe

A Crazy Kind of Love (Flirting with Fame) by [Marlowe, Mary Ann]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s fiction.

I loved Mary Ann’s first book, and this one covers Eden’s brother Micah, who we met in book one.
That book was such a treat to read, humour that wasn’t forced, drama, real emotions and scenes I felt actually could play out in real life. I was really looking forward to this second book, and it was another terrific read.

Poor Jo, curious family background that’s left her feeling a little bit chip-on-the-shoulder about herself, and means she second guesses so much of what goes on around her. That comes over really well in this book where she’s wondering does Micah want her for herself, or just her publicity contacts.
Micah is also a great lead, funny, kind, caring and so very open. He appears to court publicity but is it because he wants fame at any price, or as he says, if he doesn’t hide anything there’s no story. He’s not sure if Jo wants to be with him for himself or to give her career a leg up…..poor confused couple, and as a reader its so easy to see how actions from both of them can be taken either way.
Throw in Jo’s best friend Zion ( loved him), her awful boss, Micah’s sister Eden, Adam her fiancee and Micah’s friend, and a few others and its a novel that’s a real treat to read. Its one I’ll definitely re-read and it may be time for a repeat look at Eden and Adam’s story 😉

Its chic lit – but with that bit extra, a little seriousness that grounds the story at times, doesn’t have the sheer silliness that has me eye rolling at so many of this genre.
Its a story for those of us who don’t need every facet of humour force fed to us, who want to read and work out where the story is going ourselves.
It seems to be well-researched too as regards Diabetes type 1. I only know a little of that, more about type 2, but it was good to see someone with this condition having to work it into their daily lives, good to see just how frightening hypos can be for others. My late husband had one at around 2a.m. once, I thought he’d had a stroke, he got up, collapsed flat out and could only speak in slurs. Very very frightening, and I can see how others may think someone is drunk…Mary Ann brought that part to life really well.
I love it when an author takes care over little details like this.

Stars: five, another fabulous read from a talented author. I look forward to more.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Van, A Cold Fury Hockey Novel, Sawyer Bennett

Van: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance, sports

I’ve read lots of Sawyers novels, and enjoyed most very much, but a few haven’t quite cut it for me, and this is one of them.

Poor Van, what a horrific past and no wonder he’s as emotionally fragile and seems an ar se. That’s his way of protecting himself from the world, of dealing with his anger. Hockey is a great outlet for that rage, lets him release his feelings on the ice, and he’s done well in the sport. women though….absoloutely no-one, male or female, except his aunt, gets close to him.
Simone, urgh. I just did not like her and its my main reason for disliking the story. there’s an attraction in a woman with self confidence, Simone though was simply arrogant, rude, uncaring of what anyone else wanted, her feelings were all that counted and I really disliked her.
I think what got me is we’re always saying “no means no” and that’s a great message, but it applies to both sexes and she just didn’t respect Van when he said no. There’s one scene that if it was the other way round people would be outraged, horrified, claiming it borders on rape/abuse and just because its a female doing the pushing doesn’t mean its right 😦

She really coloured my whole view of the book, my dislike of her meant I couldn’t enjoy the story, I wanted to shout at her to have respect for Van’s feelings, stop just steamrollering her way through because she wanted something.
Its a sex overtakes the story novel too – and for me that isn’t good.

Stars: 2.5/3. Sorry Sawyer, there were bits I liked but overall this one’s a fail for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up by [Hunting, Helena]

Genre:  Romance

This was a fun, spicy read, but not my favourite of Helena’s books. I really enjoyed reading it, its a worthy 4 stars for me but not the spark that makes a five.

One of the reasons for that I guess is that its a very sensual read, and much of that spice covers a huge chunk of the story but only a couple of weeks in time, meaning the rest of the story tended to get a bit crammed. It’d be hot car encounter – very steamy and then…its several weeks later.
Though those gaps were covered it left me thinking did they really have no contact? what else went on? It just left me feeling a bit disconnected.

The characters were great, Amie, perfect girl, but her past has lead her to try to save her family any more embarrassment and take the safe route.
She thinks Armstrong loves her, they will be happy and if he doesn’t set her on fire, well, his respectability makes up for that.And then at the wedding reception all that goes so very wrong, and she faces what she knew in her heart, Armstrong isn’t the good guy, the one for her, she deserves better.
She knew it really but wanted to please her family, and ignored all the little clues, started moulding herself with Armstrong’s not so subtle hints into a stepford wife type lady.

Armstrong, he really was a prig, so self assured, so much belief that his way was the only way. He doesn’t regard blow jobs as cheating, tries to spin it that he was doing it for Amie, so that he could last longer with her later…WTF, the man’s incapable of seeing his actions are ever wrong.He even says in their sphere its accepted that a man have a couple of mistresses and they don’t count, that Amie is making a fuss over nothing, bringing bad publicity to the family. she’s had a lucky escape.

Hottie hook-up – I think that’s what Amie’s best friend Ruby calls him, ( as requested by author I’m avoiding naming him!!) – is gorgeous, a great man but there are things he’s keeping quiet about for reasons that are clear later . I loved him, so kind, genuinely so, and so sensual. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to sex, and he’s happy to explore further, to have fun. He was perfect for Amie, but she needed to get rid of Armstrong first and that guy’s not going easily….

There are some funny moments here, bits that made me smile, ( the luggage inspection) and some sad ones too.
The sex, wow, hot and steamy and fitted the story so well, its just that at times it took the place of possible plot expansion, filled the time when the story could have been moving forward.
Its not a hugely long book, 4373 kindle locations – and the sex does take up a disproportionate amount of time I feel, making that actual story a bit rushed. I would have liked parts to be more expanded. Still, that’s just me, others are happy to have less story and more sex…you can’t please everyone.

Stars: four, a fun and sensual read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

London, Can You Wait?, Jacquelyn Middleton

London, Can You Wait?, Jacquelyn Middleton

London, Can You Wait? by [Middleton, Jacquelyn]

Genre: New Adult, Romance

When I was approved for this ARC I bought book one, London belongs to me.
I love the fame trope, the rock star, film, theatre settings and personalities so wanted to read Alex and Marks early story. TBH though I was underwhelmed, it was OK but not great for me, a bit …err…average, mundane. If this hadn’t been an ARC I wouldn’t have read it.
What a shame that would be though, its a Fabulous read, packed with drama, emotion, heartbreak, betrayals, love, lust and some incredible characters, all the things I love about this genre. I’d hate to have missed it and its definitely one for my keepers/re-reader files!

So we begin with Alex and Mark living together, both striving to build their respective careers, and finding it hard to make time for each other.
Mark has been successful in getting a TV role and now has become a household name, and the little bit of time they do get together gets broken into by fans, by his agent, by last minute opportunities he can’t turn down.
Alex feels like she’s last down the list but doesn’t want to be That Girl. You know, the one that can’t cope, gets needy, ruins his career. she knows how much this means to him, he’s been so supportive of her career, even when she was thinking of giving up she just can’t complain now his is taking off. things have to improve surely?
But they don’t and the time spent apart gets longer and longer, visits get put off, holidays cancelled and Alex panic attacks which had been pretty stable get worse.

And then, just over a third of the way in crisis hits – I really didn’t see that coming, and its heartbreaking, shocking, unbelievable.
Getting that so early made the story for me, I adore drama and heartbreak – so long as I know there’s a HEA of course! So often its there and done with in just a few pages, so to have it covering a huge section of the book was perfect for me.  I was wondering, nail biting, could they survive this, get past it? How would things work out?
The surprises just keep coming too. We were there as both Alex and Mark grew as a result of what happened, how they needed to change, needed to sort out their lives and both became stronger people for it. We’re all a product of our pasts, what happens to us shapes us, and there are some big secrets from the past here to come out.

Its not all Alex and Mark though, but Harry,Tom, Lucy, Freddie, Si, a great supporting cast who’s stories played their own part in building this wonderful second part of the novel.
It had everything part one lacked for me, and more. I’m so glad I didn’t stop at LBTM, and read more from these guys, it had me laughing, crying, heartbroken, angry, furious, well…you name the emotion and this book brought it out.
A terrific read and clearly writing LBTM has helped Jacquelyn hone her writing skills for this genre. I look forward to what she does next.

Stars: five, a fantastic second half, a story so much more than part one.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but it sounded so intriguing I wanted to read it – and what a gorgeous treat it was.

Its kind of curious world setting, one that feels historical with its emphasis on The Season, Elegance and Society, but which also accepts that some people have magical powers, although its supposed to be scientifically explained…
I’m not sure if there are other types of magic in this world, we only meet her and Hector who also is telekinetic.
I’d have liked a little more background about the world setting and the magics within it.

Anyway, Antonina (Nina) is staying with her cousin and his wife for her first Season. Telekinesis is not something one does in polite society, and poor Nina struggles to control her telekinesis. She’s got no one to guide her, and back home was called names and ridiculed for it, but when she’s emotional it flames out of her control. She’s not really suited for society life anyway, she’s intelligent, asks questions where Ladies should be silent, doesn’t like frills and fripperies, dressing up, wasting time on tea parties when she could be out collecting beetles and butterflies, reading science papers etc.

Valerie, her cousins wife is quite the cold b itch. She’s very much a person of Society, very much admired as the most beautiful woman in the city. She likes being admired, being rich, likes the power it gives her, likes her position in society. She’s very calculating.
She’s bitter, acts the loving wife but secretly despises Gaelan having married him for money and position, she resents the close relationship he has with his family.
She’s not happy at Nina staying with them, at the money being spent on her, the attention paid to her and takes every opportunity to politely belittle her, under the guise of helping, instructing her in the ways of Society.

Then Nina meets Hector. She’s a sweet girl, he enjoys her company and conversation, and is teaching her about her telekinesis.
Nina of course assumes he’s someone that accepts her for what she is, and not like the rest of society who ridicule her, call her names, and aren’t lining up to marry her despite her rich dowry. Of course she can’t help falling in love, Hector is a good-looking, charming and a courteous man. She thinks her feelings may be reciprocated, as he’s happy to converse with her about nature, science, and of course the telekinesis that others want her to keep hidden, spends time with her and gives every appearance of being interested in her. There are other things at play though, things from the past she doesn’t know about and all is not as it seems.

I love Nina, such a genuine, kind and intelligent girl. When things went wrong between her and Hector I so felt for her, convinced they were a good match, that Hector felt more than he would admit, even to himself. I wanted them back together but then someone else comes into the picture…..has Hector left it too late?

Its a fun read, I would have likes to know more about the world setting and the magics in it. The supernatural part is very much Nina and Hector only, we don’t meet anyone else even though clearly there are more people. Do they all only have telekinesis or are there other types of magic? How do people get it? Is it some kind of genetic link or just random. There’s no talk of Nina’s family having anyone else who could do things ( that I recall) but Hector had been performing in a troupe as a child, presumably with his parents who must have had some abilities to work in the group. I’d like to have those sort of questions answered.

Stars: Four, its an enjoyable read, a little light escapism for a few hours. I don’t think its one I’ll reread, but is one that will appeal to younger and older readers. Some book suit all ages and this is one.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Something in the Way, Something in the Way 1, Jessica Hawkins

Something in the Way, Something in the Way 1, Jessica Hawkins

Something in the Way (Something in the Way Series Book 1) by [Hawkins, Jessica]

Genre: women’s fiction, Romance

Gosh, this is a hard book to review. I’m really not sure how I feel about it – and yet I desperately want to read more….
Its a slow burn romance, but with who? Lake – or Tiffany? Its full of barriers to him being with Lake, but not really with Tiffany, and she certainly goes all out for him. He’s has a shadowed past, that affects him, but he’s working hard, trying to better himself, and he so deserves to be happy. I just don’t feel that will come with Tiffany.
I don’t feel its best for her either, she must know how he feels about Lake, its very clear even though they’ve done nothing more than innocent talk. Sometimes words and actions aren’t even needed, that magic spark is Just there and can’t be snuffed out, and thats what I feel is between Lake and Manning. Maybe its me projecting what I want to see though….

I’m conflicted over issues like Lake’s age, 16 v Manning’s 23. Here in UK that’s not really an issue, I met my husband at 15, we started dating just after my 16th birthday when he was 21 and we were married (when I was 18 and 10 days) 40 years before he died. Yet in the US under 18s, under 21s even, seem to be treated and regarded as kids and to be that feels very strange.
There were times when Lake showed a maturity way above her years, and then she’d be like some silly 13 year old. She was very changeable about some things, and yet so very definite and secure over how she felt about Manning.
She’s clearly very intelligent and yet the way her dad pressures her about her future, it never seems to occur to her to say no, to say “I want to do….” She just falls in with his plans, even if its not what she wants.

Tiffany, her elder sister, I hated how her parents treated her and it made me wonder, was she living down to their expectations, or was she really as shallow as she appeared?
I didn’t really feel she wanted Manning for himself as much as the prestige of having an older boyfriend, and a way to irritate, infuriate her dad. They really didn’t get on well, and she seemed to know just how to poke him. Though he was horrible the way he put constant praise on Lake and treated Tiffany as a dilettante.
I felt sorry for Tiffany and yet…I just couldn’t like her.
She was cruel to Lake, always mocking her, always trying to show her in a bad light, she knows how Lake feels about Manning but she wants him for herself and that’s that. She knows she’s beautiful and assumes all men want her, takes that adoration as her due, and that she deserves what ever she wants regardless of how others feel.

And then there’s Manning. You can feel the connection between him and Lake from that first meeting but why – why- can’t he leave Tiffany alone?
I just wanted him to have more backbone, to be different, to see the truth in what’s between him and Lake, but of course that would be a different book, a dull one and sometimes heroes do have feet of clay.
I wondered, does he really have feelings for both Tiffany and Lake? Can he really leave that strong connection to Lake, forget about her, convince himself she’s better without him?

Arggh…so many issues, so many questions, and looking at book two I know I can’t buy it yet as I’ll need book three straight after.
I hate books that end this way, that leave me waiting for more, so I’m waiting til book three is out and then reading all the story. And if Lake and Manning don’t get their happy ever after There Will Be Strong Words happening!

Stars: four, a great start even if the ending is frustrating and I’m full of unanswered questions.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

All Right Now, Black Halo 3, Madelynne Ellis. Falling For You, Charlotte Blake

All Right Now, Black Halo 3, Madelynne Ellis

All Right Now (Black Halo Book 3) by [Ellis, Madelynne]

Genre:  New Adult, Romance

I’ve been following Black Halo since the beginning, and loved all the books so far. I was so keen to read this one but….it lacked the magic the rest have for me.

I know Ash had been through so much but he was so angry, so whiny, so – well, downright unpleasant much of the time. It felt like everyone was pandering to him, and that isn’t the Ash I thought I knew.
I know serious illness/injury has some different effects on people but i just didn’t like this ash, he felt very selfish, self centred.

Then Ginny, always so happy-go-lucky but hiding That?? I kind of understand why she didn’t tell Ash at first, you don’t spill your guts to someone on first meeting after all, but they’ve gone way way beyond that. To not tell Dani either? Her best friend, when they’ve been through so much together. It just didn’t feel right.

Xane, Luther and Dani felt a bit off here too, I was unsettled that their relationship seems to be having issues, and though I’ve loved Xane in other books he seemed to be saying to both “I want you both, so tough if neither of you like it” and that didn’t match with the guy I thought he was either.

Its a good book of course, Madelynne excels at creating great characters and settings, but for me this one fell short of the others. It didn’t have that magic spark and it was a bit of a chore to get through. That’s something I never thought I’d write but it is how I felt. I can see though that others love it so each to their own.
I’ll still be keen to read more of Madelynne’s stories, this is just a blip for me.

Stars: Three, a sad hiccup in a five star series for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Falling For You, Charlotte Blake

Falling For You (Great Escapes Book 1) by [Blake, Charlotte]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Romance

I loved the synopsis, I really thought I’d enjoy this read but…while I didn’t dislike it, it just didn’t really appeal.

Its hard to say why this wasn’t a great read for me. Its a well written novel, the characters are like-able and the story was very genuine and sad, but it was just one where I found myself skipping ahead- even those steamy, sensual bits – to get to a part with some “meat” in, something for me to really get engrossed in. And sadly I just didn’t find it 😦

Its a perfect light romance with some serious heat, and the backstory is very sad, but somehow there was never that magic Must-Keep-Reading moment for me, nothing that made it a book I couldn’t put aside for something that held my interest more. It doesn’t/won’t put me off trying more from Charlotte, its a well written story – just that this story didn’t work for me.

It could be perfect for you, will be perfect for many readers. Horses for courses and all that….

 

Stars: 2.5/3. Its a well written story but one where the content just didn’t fit me and my taste.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Tarnished City, Vic James

Tarnished City, Vic James

Tarnished City (The Dark Gifts Trilogy Book 2) by [James, Vic]

Genre:General Fiction (Adult),Sci Fi & Fantasy

I thought Gilded Cage was incredible but this has that one blown away. Its an incredible read.
I see some reviewers suggest its a YA, but for me its one that would appeal to older teens and anyone upwards. Its pretty dark in parts and there are some graphic murders and accounts here which I think make it unsuitable for the lower end of YA.

I had ideas about certain people after GC, but they’re turned upside down here. New characters come in, secondary ones from GC move up and Silyen – oh I love his character!! So full of mystery and secrets, so talented and very, very, very un-forthcoming. You simply never know what’s in his head, what he’s thinking and whether he sees people as real, as having feelings or just pawns in some secret game he’s playing. He always seems to be ten steps ahead of what’s happening and yet he says he doesn’t make plans….

Abi is keen to free Luke, but how? She needs help so has to plan carefully how to get that.
Luke is desperate to break out of the strange place he’s in, but as with Millwood he wants to learn more about the people here, the reasons why one in particular is treated differently, he seems to have an effect on people, and he’s clearly a key to what Vic has planned for the grand finale.
Well, that’s how it seems to me. All the things that happen to any of the characters have reasons behind them, some not instantly obvious, as in events from GC that now become clearer here. There are murders, revenges, historical grudges, and over it all the Jardine’s grasping for power – or are they?

Some of the Club from Millwood are back here and working hard for freedom, William Jardine is cementing his place in power by reviving some old and horrific customs, controlling what news leaks out and how its presented. We see how easy it is to manipulate a mob, and sadly that part is so very, very realistic.
Gavar is reluctantly being led to the alter by his power hungry bride, who sees him as a stepping stone, while he’s trying to keep his daughter’s place in Society secure, much to the disgust of his father.
Jenner isn’t so prominent here, but still the quite guy from book one, who seems to have strong feelings for Abi, and she’s busy building alliances to free Luke.
Silyen, well I wrote about him earlier, he’s a character that’s fascinated me from the outset. He feels so much older that his years, connected to this world and to others, searching for long forgotten answers.

Within all that maelstrom of events things are changing, key characters die or get killed, people who we thought were one thing turn out to be something else, and one in particular seems to have undergone a huge change in how they feel.
That came as a huge shock to me and I wonder if perhaps things aren’t as they seem? With this story anything seems possible and its a gripping read. and of course ends on a huge cliffhanger!!
Gah, I so need the final book.

I know this is a trilogy I’ll love to reread, back to back to really get the most from the story.
There’s so much I want to say about this story but I don’t want to give away the surprises, shocks and suspense in it. hopefully I’ve got the balance, if anyone feels its too close to what happens please let me know – I’d hate to spoil it for others.

Stars: five, cracking read, totally absorbing and one to get lost in a world of Skill, suspense and subterfuge.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

Marked, Sue Tingey

Marked, Sue Tingey

Marked: The Soulseer Chronicles Book 1 by [Tingey, Sue]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

This novel turned out to be far from what I’d expected. I really enjoyed the beginning of this but….it changed dramatically and once the Underlands were brought in I really wasn’t enjoying it.

Parts were interesting, the court intrigue but with all the different daemon descriptions, the twee names of two of her guards, the jealousy between Jamie and Jinx, and then the drakon, who can change size as needed it all began to feel like a YA novel to me, with some pretty urghh torture scenes that seemed to be added for keeping in in the adult genre…

I felt there was a lot going on but not much actually happening, that kind of odd thing when none of the events actually have any real conclusion, where threats are everywhere but none happen, where everyone is urging Lucky to be quiet, go unseen and of course New Girl knows best and does the opposite, but despite the dire predictions its rare anything much results.

The emphasis on sex and her virginity, her shock at the daemon guards of her friend Kayla actually undressing at night, her shock at the inference Kayla is sleeping with her main guard, her constant speculation of the attractiveness or not of the daemons, all began to  feel to me too much like later Laurell Hamilton Anita Blake reads 😦

Lucky becomes very judgmental and Kayla a totally different person to the one we knew, and TBH I’m unsure I like either of them or this world enough to continue.
Sometimes first books try too hard, and a series settles down into a winner for me, but I think this one isn’t going to do that.

Stars: Two, just not a series for me I think

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Royal Treatment, A Crown Jewels Romance Book 1, MJ Summers

The Royal Treatment, A Crown Jewels Romance Book 1, MJ Summers

The Royal Treatment: A Crown Jewels Romance, Book 1 by [MJ Summers]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s fiction

I’d read some of MJ’s Hearts series with mixed results, so I wasn’t sure about this but…fame, the film, rock-star, royal trope has a hook in me and I decided to go for it. and I’m so glad, its a great fun read.
Its not deep dark drama but modern day chick-lit but with a serious side. There’s some terrific humour tucked in too, which had me sniggering loudly. Lucky it’s just me n the dog here…..

Tessa is a lovely girl but as the only girl with four brothers, all in very important positions job wise she struggles. She tried hard, loved her journalism, but fell for the wrong guy, her ex boss and now she’s found he’s managed to ensure all doors in that field are closed to her.
B astard!! It happens though, out in the real world, and Tessa is trying to move on, and has discovered the world of blogging.
Its hard work to get enough income to live from it though, so after some research and a bit of trial and error she found posts about the royal family, especially contentious ones, were really popular. So she becomes scathing in her criticism, the blog stats soar, and at a time of massive unpopularity for the Monarchy she’s well known as the most fierce critic.

Prince Arthur knows how deep the crisis runs, thanks to his father, a cold man, cares little for anything or anybody, who embodies the lack of principles their fiercest critics use against them. He knows things have to change, that they need to change their image very quickly and asks Tessa to stay for two months, arrogantly convinced he can easily wrap her round his finger, convince her of the good the Royals do and change public perception.
I love the way things played out, the way he saw himself through her eyes, the way she saw her blog from the moral point of her young niece ( why is it OK to write bad things about people when adults tell kids to be polite? Good Point!)
The heat between the two, the conversations that take an increasingly personal slant, the lust that’s turning to more, all makes great reading.
Then there’s how Tessa discovers actually lots of what she criticises isn’t necessarily the whole story, just media perceptions and assumptions. Likewise Arthur sees that the image the royals put out needs adapting to modern times, that the duty he and his family feel, the job he was born and raised for is in real peril. 800 years of looking after the country could be lost if they don’t deal with it right now.

We didn’t see much of his sister but his grandmother – what a great lady. I want to be like her!

Growing up in a socialist household with a dad who was fiercely anti monarchy, much of Tessa’s arguments are very familiar.
They’re sentiments often trotted out by the media, how the Royals cost £xxx millions etc without actually showing the other side, how much is actually their own money, how they provide jobs, increase tourism, bring in staggering amounts of cash to the country, how they work very hard even if it looks like lunches and balls all the while.
Underneath the surface there’s a lot going on that they have no control over, they can’t have  bad day, take a sickie and binge watch serials on TV.
For them the Show Must Go On. I wouldn’t swap places with them.

Its a great fun read, light but with some serious points, and some cracking humour. The Shock Jogger. I’ll say no more (snigger…) and on the serious side for instance there’s Tessa’s blog, is it really fair to pronounce such scathing comments on personalities, is it OK just because they’re in the public eye or is it wrong, especially when the arguments are based on public supposition, not necessarily facts.
Then there the issue of looking at both sides to the royal arguments, and wondering quite where I stand. With dad as a kid as most kids are, but very much changed views now I’m an adult and can look beyond shock stats. Then of course there’s the humour that provided some great moments, and a lighter side each time the story got a little intense. .
There are follow up stories but this one is complete in its own right.

Stars: five,a fabulous read, light and easy, with some solid points to mull over.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

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