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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

Learning to Love, Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love,  Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love by [Browne, Sheryl]

Genre:  romance, women’s fiction

I hadn’t read any od Sheryl’s novels before but this sounded fun, and its published by ChocLit, and I’ve found from experience that they publish books I enjoy so “click Request”….

Its a great fun read, moments of almost slapstick humour, entwined with some incredibly subtle comedic interludes.
Drama abounds right from the start when poor Andrea gets stood up by Jonathan, and it widens out into a story filled with humour, drama, neighbours that are helpful one moment and snide the next, and kids that were just so wonderfully written.

I love so many things about this book, poor Andréa, doing what so many are, trying to run a home composed of teens and toddler, partner, elderly parent and keeping a full time job going too.
Its a small village, one of those where everyone soon knows everything that’s happening – and a few things that really aren’t!
I got really irritated with her fiancé to be, Jonathon, he was an odd sort, not really supportive, and at times I wanted to scream at Andréa “ask him what/where/why” when he was being evasive.

The kids were brilliant, toddler Charlotte, teens Sophie and Ryan, and David’s ten yr old Jake. They spoke and acted as kids do, bickering one moment but helpful the next, eye rolling, ever empty stomachs in the case of the lads – reminded me so much of my own kids at that age.
I loved the way Ryan took Jake under his wing, and didn’t let things pass from David, helping but guiding him too.

The way the locals rallied round after the fire was good too, even down to the clothes donated that some of which was just real jumble….yep, that happens.
I enjoyed the way they were always in and out of each others lives, the way Dee, Andrea’s slightly batty mum , and Eva, one of the more senior residents of the town were always bickering.
Good too to see a teen that’s in a wheelchair, who’s still a typical teen, not some sanely type, and living a normal as can teen life. She was a great addition and as a wheelchair user myself I love to see all types represented in books, not just the able bodied.

The way the story unfolds is perfect; it’s got romance but not Just romance, there’s
drama and mystery, lost dogs,  modern day family life with all its chaotic stumblings, a snippet of small town life, all the dramas and incidents that make a story so real. Add in the mystery that’s fast gathering pace and I was wondering just how it would all work out. There’s a surprise too that I didn’t see coming, and I so felt for all involved.

The only criticism I have its that its all happening in a very short space of time, David goes from surly to perfect, from disliking everything to in love, Andrea goes from being – well maybe not “in love” but certainly still trying to keep up her fragile relationship with Jonathan, and then suddenly its all David, and he’s front stage in her thoughts. All that happens over just a few days….but there’s so much packed in that it’s a small thing and easy to ignore.

Stars: Five, a fun, engrossing read that made me laugh at times and tearful at others.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Home Fires, Common Law 4, Kate Sherwood

Home Fires, Common Law 4,  Kate Sherwood

Home Fires (Common Law Book 4) by [Sherwood, Kate]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

This is an amazing wrap up to what’s been a beautiful quartet, fabulous characters, not just Wade and Jericho (Jay) but so many others, plots that feel so real, and events that are characteristic of small town life.
I’m really sad to see these guys go, and yet I guess there’s potential for Wade and Jay Mark 2. Somehow though I think maybe best to stop at the top – I’ve felt not ready to leave characters before and then author has written more books and they never seem to have that first magic.
Kate is certainly an author that gets searched for now by me, I really enjoy the way she puts a story together, and how each of these reads has ended without cliff hangers (my bugbear) but still had me wanting the next book.
I was really lucky here getting ARCs, as I got the last two together so Tuesday saw me finishing third book, Wed I wrote review and cracked on to book four. With everything fresh in my mind it was such a  great read.
I love to read whole series in one back to back sweep for that very reason, total immersion into the story and characters.

What could I pick out from this book? Wade – I’ve loved him from the start, he’s so enigmatic, so quiet and yet so clever he seems to know what’s going to happen, when and what to do about it.
I get the feeling he’s not exactly a criminal, though the law has been trying to tie him to many crimes, but that he’s one of those guys that sees what needs doing and gets on with it. If that means crossing a few legal issues so be it. Not in the vigilante style, he’s more of a preventative person than a pursuer of justice, if that comes along then great but if not, well he’s not worried.

Jay – a staunch believer in the Law, he’s been in the Army and seen service in some terrible places, been a city cop where life was always busy and he didn’t have time to ponder and worry, and now he’s back in Montana, wondering if he and Wade can have something together after all this while.
He’s learning to trust Wade too, to see he’s not just the criminal in waiting his colleagues seem to think.
The sensuality between them is incredible and yet for most of the while its just been looks and quick touches, though it finally heats up here when Jay decides he doesn’t care any more, he wants to be with Wade, and isn’t bothered who knows it.
He’s always been open about his sexuality, but with Wade there’s the history they share – along with Kayla – and the little fact that most of his colleagues feel Wade is on the opposing side of the Law to Jay.
What I love is they’re just ordinary guys, people we could know, live with, work with, meet in the pub. There’s no big I’m Gay placard hanging over their mannerisms, no cliched Tells as so many books make. That’s what I love, it emulates real life where sometimes its obvious someone is gay through their actions, in the same way sometimes its obvious someone is a bigot, but most of the while people are just people, gay or not is just another facet of their character, not the defining one. And I’ll stop drum banging now 🙂

There’s some real action in this book, a few deaths too, and a feeling of satisfaction tinged with sadness when its over.
As so often happens maybe if things had been done differently, if the top brass listened to the locals….but life is full of What Ifs, and speculation can’t change results.
I love the mix of small town policing v out of town Important Top Cops ( well seems to be how they regard themselves)
There’s a point where the out of towners, the alphabet cops, are busily engrossed in stopping an upcoming conflict, a mass rally of MC people with guns, rockets, tanks even, and they’re keeping the locals out. Jay is so irritated and Kayla says words to the effect of “go and do some paper work”, or “see if Mr x is trapping the neighbours cats again”, somewhat sarcastically. They know the others are being hoodwinked, yet all their efforts to say so get ignored with a “leave it to the pros “ kind of pat on the head. Kayla and Jay are so frustrated and using irony about the realities of small town policing. Probably for 99.9% of the time it is like that, but when it really matters, and they have the local knowledge to make a difference, save lives, pre-empt disaster and they’re being shut out they’re both upset but stuck.

A perfect quartet of novels for those readers who want a tender and sensual romance, action and drama but situated in a small town with locals involved, plots that are full of characters that feel real, that have connections, where the law isn’t black and white but shades of grey (50?? Maybe… but no sex accoutrements here. Just solid characters with real emotions).
Each book is complete but together they make up a wider story. I’ve just reread my review of the first book, and my thoughts about the series back then are interesting, and have pretty much played out as i expected.
Its been a series that will definitely be a re-reader for me.

Stars: Five, a fabulous end to the series, perfect wrap up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser. Love With An Imperfect Cowboy, Ann Major

Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed You: A Novel by [Strawser, Jessica]

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Edit: Price wasn’t available when I wrote review – I’m pretty shocked its over £9 for a debut read…..I think twice about paying that for an established author but I’ve noticed more eBooks creeping up to the ten quid and beyond mark. when there’s still so many free/under a fiver or on KU then I can’t justify spending that unless I know its one I’ll reread several times, and with a new author I simply don’t know that. For many readers this book is just that but for me its not and if I’d paid £9+ for it I’d be a bit apprehensive about taking the risk next time.

OK, this is quite a hard book to review. I loved the idea of it, was on tenterhooks thinking why on earth Finn would do that, especially from the fragments we saw of how he was with Violet and Bear just beforehand, but the constant past and present flipping made me feel in danger of whiplash.
Its not a format I really like, I’ve read a very few where it works for me, and too many more where it doesn’t. Just as I’m engrossed in the story of the past it flips to the present, and then I’m suckered in to whets happening and bam…its back to the past.
I’ve read books where that works well for me, but with this one it just left me really frustrated, flipping back and forth right when there was a huge question needed answering. I guess there’s an argument that it kept up the suspense of the secrets and let them out at  optimum time for that but for me   it just was really annoying, and spoiled the story.
I ended up skipping and flicking through to read past, past, past, and then all the present bits, as I was getting so irritated at the flipping of times. Oddly enough I’ve just read another laid out exactly the same way, where from about 1/3rd in I did the same thing….Leah Mercer’s novel Who we were Before. Another that’s really emotional at times, where the past and present collide creating a huge rift between a couple. If you love this book look out for that one.

As to the story and characters, well TBH I really only liked Violet and Bear.
I understood why the other characters did what they did, but I was amazed at how easily it seemed to come to them, how they didn’t think beyond the immediate actions.
Its kind of hard to write without giving things away but all the characters lives were so closely intertwined and the secrets had such a huge impact.
I didn’t understand why some things weren’t told earlier, of course the book would have been different if they had 😉 so as that needs to be kept for me there needed to be a better reason for the actions and the secrets.

I did feel for Finn when it all came out, but enough to forgive him the awful thing he he to Violet?
I don’t know – she loved him but did she ever see the real Finn, or was she in love with the person he presented to her? Or is there really any difference, maybe we’re all more than one person, maybe the way life hits us makes us what we are?
He had some pretty awful thoughts between Violet and his past, that made me really feel for her and get cross at him, but then again we can’t actually control what we think, what we feel can we?

I did feel too that some of the events towards the end got a rather poorly explained and slick conclusion, that didn’t feel as if that would have happened in reality, and that niggled at me.
The ending was a little ambiguous, but it left the way open for a HEA and for me that’s OK, I can imagine one for them, for Violet needed that, wanted that and I loved her.
I’d really have preferred a more concrete happy ending though – I’m a sap I know but I love things to end well.

Overall though I felt I was interested in the story, wanted it to end well, but the present/past/present/past flipping format was so annoying to me. I wasn’t totally gripped by the story and I think that was a huge reason why, and maybe in a different format I would have enjoyed it more. The plot is perfect, real, and one that made me think, its just the execution that didn’t work for me.

I felt there was one really poignant part, when Violet says something along the lines of “ I wish sometimes I’d never met any of you,” and I really understood her then, in that moment.
She’d been through so much, and was such a loving, generous and kind person she didn’t deserve that further heartbreak she got.

Stars: Three, it was an interesting read, made me think how much of what happens in our lives affects us mentally as well as physically, how many secrets we all hold and what happens when they come out – they always do at some point.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

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Love With An Imperfect Cowboy,  Ann Major

Love With An Imperfect Cowboy (Lone Star Dynasty Book 1) by [Major, Ann]

Genre:  romance, Women’s Fiction

Well, Ann’s written many, many stories, yet this is my first one of hers! I wanted to love it but I’m really in two minds about it, I enjoyed parts of it but there was more that I just didn’t like, and overall it’s a miss for me.

I liked Hannah, really felt for what happened to her, she must have been devastated, so her running away felt a very genuine reaction. Likewise Liam, he’d been through some awful tragedy and I understood why he shut himself away as he did. As characters they were both very real feeling and easy to belive in.
What I struggled with was the way the two reacted when they first met. It didn’t go well, and they were both so rude to each other and that just didn’t sit right with me, felt out of character for both of them.
I know something along those lines was needed to get them to where they had to be for the story to fall into place but that just felt wrong.

Then there’s the filthy cabin, there’s no way a rich lady, who would have had staff to do the housework, laundry etc, would have been able to do what she did to it in just one night. Where did she get all the cleaning stuff from for instance? It just couldn’t happen. One room maybe, all the laundry maybe, but that and the whole house?? Nope. can’t be done.

They go from that early animosity into a strange kind of respect and friendship, and I’m not really sure how and when that happened. Then of course the past pops up, and though Liam’s past felt real, and the things around it now, the emotions he felt very natural and understandable, when it came to Hannah I just couldn’t see it unfolding like that. It just jarred, I couldn’t see all those people being there and for me it felt wrong.

Stars: two, overall a story that had more that didn’t suit me than it did. As ever though that’s just my take, others love it and you could too. Reading tastes are very individual.

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

Every Little Thing, Samantha Young. Souljacker, Yasmine Galenorn

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

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

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

And a couple of reviews today

Every Little Thing,  Samantha Young

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

Genre:  romance, erotica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Souljacker, A Lily Bound Novel,  Yasmine Galenorn

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

Genre:  paranormal and fantasy

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Kept from You, Tear Asunder, Book 4, Nashoda Rose

Kept from You, Tear Asunder, Book 4, Nashoda Rose

Kept from You (Tear Asunder Book 4) by [Rose, Nashoda]

Genre:  romance,

I’ve loved this series so far, and this latest keeps up the drama and excitement.
When I read the first book Nashoda was an author new to me, and I really wasn’t sure I’d like her style, that first one was pretty dark. The excitement though, the edge of seat drama, the so-real romance and the way she turns everything around, pulled me through and sucked me in to the rest of the novels.
I don’t mind an edge of darkness, so long as there’s a solid and real feeling romance with it. This one is probably the least “dark” though its still got that undercurrent of violence running though.

It was great too to catch up with the rest of the band and families, to see how they’ve changed over the years.
Killian was a terrific lead, I adored him. His feelings for Saavy(Orchid as he calls her) are incredibly intense, but not in that overdone macho way so many reads have. I could just feel how he struggled with his feelings, with his need to protect her, against letting her have her freedom to do what she wanted, find her way, and his background was heart breaking.
Saavy, loved her. Fiercely independent, one of those rare people who see good in others, who will stand up against bullies even though she’s scared.
Now after eleven years she’s put herself back in Killian’s orbit, she needs a favour from him. She’s been let down by her boss/lover and is now jobless, moneyless and soon to be homeless, she needs the dancing job she’s after, but to get a chance she needs Killian’s intro to the owner.
She thinks a quick recommendation if she’s lucky, after all, though she’s nervous she really is at the bottom and got nothing to lose only her pride.

Killian’s never forgotten her and now she’s back in front of him he can’t let go. Wow, the feelings and emotions between these two, the contrast of such contained violence and the gentle man he is with Saavy is amazing.
I loved them, loved the story, the little sub plots running through that slowly joined up, and all made sense as they connected.
The band stuff is there in the background but its not one of those guys on tour reads, more a book about characters that are in a band together.

Its another wonderful read, and just taking a look at what else Nashoda has written I’ve seen the Unyielding series. That starts with Deck and Georgie, important secondary characters that appear throughout the novels, and whom I’ve always wondered about. There’s something about their on but not quite on relationship that is so intriguing, and throughout the books I’ve always wondered just what their story is. So now when the time allows I’m up for reading their story too

Stars: Five, another fabulous read featuring the band.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Darkness, Common Law 3, Kate Sherwood

Darkness, Common Law 3,  Kate Sherwood

Darkness (Common Law Book 3) by [Sherwood, Kate]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

I enjoyed the first two books, and this series just keeps getting better and better now I understand the characters and their connections.

Wade and Jericho (Jay) dance around their attraction, lots of looks, slipped touches but most of the while either Wade is too ambiguous, or Jay just isn’t sure whether he ought/can/will take things further.
Wade is so enigmatic almost everything he says, not just to Jay but anyone, can be taken in different ways. I just love him, can’t really believe he’s the bad guy all the locals inc the police seem to think he is. He does have his finger on the pulse of everything that happens though, and is always on the periphery in some way of local crime.
Its kind of understandable why he’s seen this way, some of it is a carefully cultivated image IMO, if you put yourself up as a certain type of person then its not that others are saying you’re bad, they’re just following the lead you set, whether that’s true or not. And I can see Wade getting a kick out of knowing he’s got one over on the folk who condemned him as useless, someone from a bad background who’d never amount to much,  from childhood.

I’ve rambled a bit about Wade, but I’ve been championing him right from the start and its clear how protective of Jay he is, and in this novel we see just how far he’ll take that protection.
Of course there’s still the FBI/local cops issues going on from past events, along with Kayla being kept in the dark about her dad, and Jay feeling torn over that. He can’t say anything to her, and knows why and yet as her friend he feels he ought to.
Kayla warns him once more to stay away from Wade but that’s not easy – Wade keeps finding him!

This time there’s a murder at the heart of the story, and what seems like a simple case, easy to solve, lots of evidence, seems just a bit too slick to Jay, and he searches a little deeper.
What he finds changes things greatly, that it may not be an isolated murder, but his hands are tied in just how far he can go in pursuit of the truth. Once more Wade steps in, he’s always skirted rules anyway and its clear that though he doesn’t like the Law he respects that Jay enjoys his job, and he’ll do anything to protect that.

Its another great read, very sensual, but that is only part of the story, and fitted in perfectly in the novel. Its the tiny touches and looks that are the most sensual, where you really feel just how strongly Wade wants Jay and vice versa, and not just for a quickie one off but more – and yet how, when they’re on opposing sides of the Law?
Each book brings them a tiny bit closer, heals some of the anger from years back, gives them some new connections and makes it feel inevitable that they are destined to be together…
I’m lucky enough to have book four on my kindle right now as an ARC so that’s my next read 🙂

Stars: Five, a sensual story, and a realistic mystery to solve.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Stay With Me by [Adebayo, Ayobami]
Genre: Literary Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

This isn’t a book I’d re-read, that being said it was heart breaking at times. A really sad story where it was difficult to see who was really acting in the wrong.

Yejide was so in love with Akim, having been brought up in a typical Nigerian family where her father had four wives, and respect for parents is huge. Sadly her mother died in childbirth, and there are so many religious superstitions over any event connected with death that she’s always on the outside of the family, always being reminded of the awful thing her mother did in dying. When she meets Akin she’s ripe for love. When he sees her he’s entranced and very soon they are married.

That’s seems fine doesn’t it? Sadly though family is everything in this culture and Yejide is soon inundated with advice from Akim’s and her own family about how to get pregnant.
At first they seem like an independent couple, they know much of this “advice” is spurious superstition but slowly the blame weighs heavily on Yejide.
She’s still shocked though when Akim takes a second wife….my heart broke for her here. I was so angry at Akim and yet in that culture, with the constant pressure of parents, not just two but all his fathers wives who want to see their son or daughter as the favoured, its harder to blame him.
I really didn’t like Funmi, wife number two, and yet if I’m honest she was just doing what their culture taught, marry and have children, seek to ensure your children are in the favoured position of their father.

There’s such sadness here, and I so felt for both of them. Some really strange things too, when with a Western eye and education I’m thinking “oh come on, they wouldn’t do/would have known/ought to have”…and yet events carry on playing out, binding them all deeper and deeper, potentially losing that precious love they had.

Later in the story I really was cross at Yejide and her behaviour, didn’t understand how she could act like that to an innocent child, and yet I also understood her too. My first child was stillborn and I spent hours watching over the three that followed, prodding them awake when I was sure that they weren’t breathing.
Heartbreak, death, despair all does strange things and in a way she was just trying to protect herself.

I could have been angry too at the interfering parents, their intervention caused such tragedy, and yet once more its a culture thing, they weren’t intentionally cruel, just wanted what they’d been taught was best for their children, for their happiness, for their fulfilment.

Its a really sad story, but with an ending that hints at a positive future.
I really enjoyed it, it makes for a terrific debut read but its not one I’d re-read now I know how it plays out. I did like seeing things from both Yejide and Akim’s view points. Gave me a real insight into their feelings.

Stars: Five, a fabulous debut, full of the way a different culture sees parenthood, and the problems it brings when a wife fails to get pregnant.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Witchfinder’s Sister, Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister,  Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder's  Sister by [Underdown, Beth]

Genre:  General Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers

I can’t find any info about previous books so I think this must be Beth’s debut novel – and what an intense and complex read for a first story!

Its so well written I was pulled back into that time, back to the seventeenth century. I’m a UK reader, living in Norfolk, so reading about Matthew and Alice living in the Eastern region of UK, I had a mental image of places I know now as they would have been back then. My house was build in 1682 – strange to think of it still standing ( and for a long while yet I hope!!) when it was built such a short time after these events. Mix of the old and the current…

So, Matthew Hopkins- I recall learning about him at school, along with the US Salem witch trials. The Crucible was one of our set text English reads.
He’s cropped up as a side character in a few books since then, but I’ve never really thought much more about him. Here Beth’s given him a fictional sister, though he may have had a real one Alice is purely invented for this story. It works well, she’s a foil to him, shared upbringing, and a way to let us see his actions from someone who loved him as a child but grew scared and confused of the man he became.

He’s a strange person, and as we learn about his upbringing there are elements slowly revealed that could have impacted upon his actions now. Others have had far worse happen though, and don’t turn into people like him, so its part explanation but not as simple as the whole cause.
He really was a enigmatic character, phlegmatic about what he needed to do, unemotional, even when it means tearing apart, condemning to death, people he’s known since childhood. I can’t decide whether he’s just cruel, vindictive, out for revenge, totally mad or whether he really believes in what he’s doing.
From a small start his witch hunt takes on a life of its own and snowballs, and maybe the power pushed him to go further and further, made him feel righteous, invincible? Who knows, and after finishing the story I still don’t know.
Beth offers lots to speculate about but the reality? He was real, he did what we now see as horrific things, but which at the time were backed by other important people, landowners, local politicians – well, what passed for them in those days, the Church even. It was as if nothing could stop him from this path he’s set on, and the longer he was “successful” the more righteous he got. Success bred more of the same methods, even when the causes of it were wrong.
Its a bit like that sink or swim test, he was pushing people to their limits physically and mentally and when they “confessed” through exhaustion, pain, thirst, would say anything to get some tiny relief he seized upon it as evidence his path was right, and went even further.

Alice, poor Alice. Her mother died when she was very young, father remarried and had Matthew, but his birth left his mother frail and Alice really took over his upbringing, loving and looking after him.
Even then the public face, showing the happy family outside, the father who was a priest, a good man, the mother who simply tired easily, was hiding things, secrets that kept slipping quietly out, and building background to the current events.
I so felt for Alice, she’s a good woman, widowed from her beloved Joseph, a servant’s son, whom Matthew did not approve of, she’s still young, in her twenties I think, and forced to come back and live off Matthews charity.
She can see events unfolding, sees at first hand what’s going on but is powerless to stop anything. She tries though, tries to do what she can but Matthew is an unmovable force. Her small brother has grown into a confident and powerful man.
He takes little note of her, and at times seems to really dislike her. she becomes just another tool for him to use in his never ending quest for witches. Too much pressure or intervention and she risks her own place in his home at best, risks getting caught up in the hunt at worst.
Its a tough line, being brought up to help people and then forced to stand aside as those you’ve known since childhood are tested for what seems like petty grievances, revenges, spurious accusations…

Witch hunts, back then not knowing the cause of events, accidents, tragedies, people looked for someone to blame, and it was easy to pick on one person a little on the outside of society, and call witchcraft and the intervention of the Devil the cause.
Now we look back and think how could they really believe that, but its a poor, uneducated society, and its human to want to blame someone or something.
Not every thing has an explanation though, and there are a couple of events here that gave me the shivers, defied rational thinking.

Sometimes I think we haven’t moved on that much, we still look to blame others, though not as witches but in some 21st century way.
In the UK we’ve just voted to leave Europe, mainly because of the hype and untruths certain media factions told about immigration, and it brought up the same kind of feelings as in this book, where people want to blame someone for misfortune. In the UK lack of money for NHS and other public services was blamed on immigration – scaremongering, but a spark that when fanned turned into a fire.
Hitler did that back in the 1940’s with his attempts to stamp out minority groups, terrible things happened as those who could have stopped it turned a blind eye, much as those in power when Matthew Hopkins let him get away with his crimes.
Then there’s the US and the political system there, where another modern witch hunt has let a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot race to the top place for power. Scary stuff but proves that witch hunts aren’t just confined to history – but have their own modern day version 😦 “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” Edmund Burke et al.

A fabulous book, uncomfortable reading at times, which felt so very real, took me back in time, made me understand a little more about the awful events that took place back then.
The characters were wonderful, felt so real, I was scared for and of them, depending on which ones of course.
I loved the way secrets were teased before the reader, parts revealed slowly, hints of what may have been relevant or may be just superstition taunted through, making me second guess my thoughts. In fact its not until writing this that I’ve connected a couple of major points that could have been the catalyst for Matthew’s quest.
Its a fascinating first book, well researched, marrying real events and people with fictional ones to create an amazing story. I’m not sure its one I’d reread but its certainly one I’m glad to have read.

Stars: Five, incredible book, uncomfortable at times but so very, very real feeling.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

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