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Watching You, (Hollywood Heat 1),  Leslie A. Kelly

Watching You, (Hollywood Heat 1),  Leslie A. Kelly

Watching You (Hollywood Heat Book 1) by [Kelly, Leslie A.]

Genre: Romance

My first read by this author, so I didn’t know her writing style. It proved to be a fun read and one I enjoyed but…there were a few things that made it fall short of a five star read for me.

The way Reece obsesses about Jessica after only viewing her from a security camera and then sets up their meeting, weird. Then when he gets her alone knowing what he does about the room…well, it made me feel uncomfortable about him and full marks for Jessica for being strong enough to stand up to him, to call him out on his actions. It made him look again at what has become almost an unnoticed habit, viewing real life and acting as though he’s filming all the while and he does apologise. It was a bit weird though.

I wasn’t convinced of the romance between them, they didn’t really have enough interactions in the book for me to feel it developing, she was interning and working with him, but most of that was related “off book” so to speak and meant I didn’t get that build up from initial attraction and lust to real feelings and love.

Then there’s the mystery….s. It was hard working out was was connected and what wasn’t, whether there was one person doing multiple things or multiple people doing one or more events. Confusing and given the length of the book ( fairly average at 4500 kindle locations) it meant there was a lot of characters and detailed that didn’t really get explained properly. I did wonder as I approached the end whether all the incidences would tie up or if they would carry over into the next book, because time was running out. As it happens they did all tie up but in a way that was far to brief, lacked real detail for me. It felt a bit rushed.

It’s billed as romantic suspense, but for me the romance side fell a bit short, though I did love the Hollywood B itches – I love characters like that, and the suspense angle was overly complicated. I felt like people were put in place purely to throw in another possible suspect when the story didn’t need it and the time and words would have been better spent on fleshing out more the romance and the story-line as it was without them. ( Johnny, Alan, Steve for example, who all had stories that gave them plausible reasons to be connected to events, but which I felt were just muddying the waters rather than adding to the story overall)

Its a good start though to a trilogy and as we now know the brothers back story the next books will at least not need to repeat that, and be able to concentrate on more current events.

Stars: Three, I liked parts but felt others made things feel overdone.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


Darkest Night, (Sons of Broad 1), Tara Thomas

Darkest Night, (Sons of Broad 1), Tara Thomas

Genre: Romance

I didn’t realise Tara Thomas was also writer Tara Sue Me, I’ve enjoyed some of her early Submissive series. Its a good idea to have two names for different genres because this ( these) feel a very different sort of read, and readers who auto buy when they see a name could be disappointed.
Having said that I like all sorts of genres, but no author is auto buy for me, I have to see book description first, unless its an essential series I’m reading.
So – This book….well, the romance was OK, but I did feel it went from 0 to 100 very quickly given the way they parted and the length of time since they seen each other, but then again the situations, the dangers, kind of pushed that forward. Tilly was in a tough place, had been for so long but…it always amazes me how in books these rich people go from having everything to having nothing. I know her dad was framed but surely they had money put aside. Do these people always spend every penny they have? Because they always end up as almost trailer trash, having lived as kings for so long, and I can’t help thinking, what happened to all that money they had? It crops up so often in novels…still, it left Tilly in the place she needed to be for this story.
I liked Keaton, didn’t really understand the family dynamics though. Maybe if I’d read the prequel novellas that would have been clearer although from descriptions I’m not sure how they fit this story.
I love a character like Elise, self entitled, indulged princess, but I did think the brothers let her get away with far too much, and I’d like to know just why she was so fixated on Keaton, other than family expectations. Her actions didn’t really add up to the person she seemed to me.
Then there’s the suspense angle with The Gentleman, and Jade/Kada. Its pretty clear – I think – who Jade is, though that could just be a clever red herring, but I’ve no idea who the Gentleman is. I have no idea what his motives are either, money seems to be coming from his illegal enterprises but he’s fixated on the Benedicts, and seems to want revenge on them for something.
Somehow for me this mix of romance and suspense didn’t work very well, didn’t fit together properly. It felt like two separate stories which had a tenuous connection, and intersected occasionally. Then throw in Elise and its like – how many things can happen to one family within a few weeks….In a way for me it would have been better to have left Elise out and concentrate on the Gentleman/Jade or leave them out and concentrate on Elise. It just didn’t seem believable to have both in one story.
Maybe as the series progresses they’ll connect more or possibly if I’d read the prequels but I’m not really a fan of books which have an indefinite number of parts and which can end up being very expensive to get to the end of the story. Its a personal thing, others don’t mind it, and devour ever extending series like this so it depends on how you personally feel about it. It works for Lisa Renee Jones, her fans seem to adore books written this way so maybe its just me out of step 😉

Stars: Two and a half, will be perfect for others but just not right for me

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Lakota Moon Rising, Constance Gillam

Lakota Moon Rising, Constance Gillam

Lakota Moon Rising by [Gillam, Constance]
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, I’m fairly selective but this is the sort I really enjoy, a romance, wrapped up in a very real period realistic story about the people involved, the day to day issues and events that they undertake.
Julia has a sad back story but one that was very real for the time, that affected so many people. Horrible times when people of colour were regraded as less, who had no rights, whose children could be sold like possessions. She’s determined not to give in to the under-seer, who routinely uses women for his pleasure, but knows the only way out is to run, and that if she’s caught the consequences will be horrific.
She is captured by Comanche Indians, and at that point I almost stopped reading as what happened was pretty gruesome….but I skipped some of it and then when she was traded to Trades with Horses the story really began for me. He’s a very foresighted warrior but battling not only the whites, who he knows will deceive the Indians, go back on their word, but his own people who simply don’t believe them. He’s fighting for their way of life but tragically he doesn’t stand a chance. When he sees Julia something in her sparks to him and he determines she will be his wife. Convincing her though takes time 😉 She’s set her heart on Canada and freedom. Will she give up that dream, or chose to stay with him. They undertake some perilous events, antagonism from white men and his own people in their quest to be together and its a story that I really enjoyed. It’s a shortish read, a 0.5 in a series but packs a lot in to the book.

Stars: Five, a very genuine feeling story, heartbreaking at times but with a HEA – I do need those.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Shadow Hunt ,(Disrupted Magic 3), Melissa F. Olson

Shadow Hunt ,(Disrupted Magic 3), Melissa F. Olson

Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic Book 3) by [Olson, Melissa F.]

Genre: general fiction(adult), Sci-fi and Fantasy.
I love this series, and the sister series set in the same world. It was that one, featuring Quinn and Lex that brought me the the Old World, and let me to buying more and being lucky enough to have some review ARCs too.

I love Scarlett, she’s in a tough and dangerous world, has to do things that her heart really isn’t in, but which are necessary to protect others. It means she’s alone though, having to keep family and human friends at a distance as they can and will be used to get to her.

One of her few human friends from the early days is Jesse, and he’s a human that’s been allowed to know about the Old world because of the way he learned about it via his police job, and because Dasheil, Vampire leader for the city, feels he could be useful. Jesse is retired from the police now, but still very much friends with Scarlett and helps her when she needs assistance.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Jesse, wanted him and Scarlett to be together but through the series its never been the right time for either and they have both been in other relationships, and just remained good, true friends.

Its another exciting adventure, bringing into play characters, enemies Scarlett thought had been neutralised – or at least a truce reached with them. The attack, when it comes, is very unexpected, and once more its Scarlett and Jesse in the thick of things, rescuing those they love, and trying hard to prevent a massive tragedy and loss of life. We meet a few new characters, catch up from some from past stories and Maven, we learn a bit more about her too!
I really enjoyed this, perfect pacing, perfectly balanced and “realistic” within fantasy realms 😉 situations. The why ad hows were the usual puzzle for me, with me thinking “ooohhh…riight” when all was revealed. And the ending, Sob, just perfect.

I’m glad the way is open for more Old World adventures, I’ve grown close to many of these characters, and would love to read more from them. Molly and Wyatt, Maven, Will and Sashi, there’s so much more to learn about all these guys, plus Jesse and Scarlett of course 😉

Stars: Five all the way, fabulous finish to the trilogy. More please Melissa!

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Night Child, A Novel, Anna Quinn

The Night Child, A Novel, Anna Quinn

The Night Child: A Novel by [Quinn, Anna]

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction.

What an extraordinary read this proved to be. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but just went along with the story as it unfolded.

I felt so sorry for Nora, she thinks she’s like most of us, home and family, job she enjoys and life is good. Until it isn’t. It turns out her past is connected to her present, and to her future.

Everything is normal until she she’s the face of a child, one who seems to know here. Nora doesn’t know what to think, probably passes it off as stress, tiredness, all the usual excuses we make when something out of the ordinary happens. We’re geared up to Normal, conditioned to think that way and its incredible how contorted our minds can get to keep that, what lies we tell ourselves.

As the story moves on Nora has consulted specialists, to check her health, physically at first and then she meets with David, psychiatrist, who in his quiet way lets her inner thoughts have free rein.

Its heartbreaking the way the story unfolds, and for that little child I could have cried. sadly its something that happens too often and as individuals we all have ways of dealing, some work permanently, some just for a time.

Sadly for Nora the more that gets revealed the deeper her issues are seen to be. I loved the support she got from John, her teacher friend but she ought to have got that from husband Paul, but sadly he was already making his own way and this doesn’t help her. I hated him, hated him. He could have put his own feelings aside, just for a while, supported the woman he married for love, tried to at least keep things together for their daughter Fiona. she’s only 6 and it must have been traumatising for her having mummy away and daddy…well, lets say daddy wasn’t the responsible parent he could have been, involving her in his other life. a rsehole!

I’ve no patience with people like him, sort out your marriage, end it if need be, before moving on.

Nora has such a struggle, she can’t believe herself, so how can she expect others to believe her, and the more we learn the stronger that little child seems, to have overcome such trauma and yet let Nora grow up into a person that fits in with the rest of society, has a family, a job she is well respected in, looked up to. I was so glad she found David.

Then the cracks start, the crumples and rifts deepen and I was wondering – how could/would it all end?

And on that note, the ending…well, its one of those arty, popular, ambiguous endings, where we’re led to really put our own inferences on what happens next, and that’s what kept this off five star for me.

It works well for others, but for me I want my endings written, I need to know what the author thought would happen, not put my own ideas there. I’m a reader not a writer so though I could mentally imagine what *might* happen next, I really want it laid out there in front of me.

Excellently written and paced story, that kept me reading til the end. I just wish that end had been more concrete, more solid.

Stars: four, a great debut read

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Dangerous Witness, Redemption Harbor Series, Katie Reus

Dangerous Witness, Redemption Harbor Series,  Katie Reus

Dangerous Witness (Redemption Harbor Series Book 3) by [Reus, Katie]

Genre: Romance

I do love Katie Reus writing, and this was another fun read. Its book three in the series, but its a stand alone so if like me you haven’t read books one and two you’ll still be able to keep up easily.

Its a classic case of the guy having been bitten once being determined not to get caught again. He should have known Darcy better though….
I love Darcy, got some great friends and she was so in love with Brooks, and he with her, so she thought. So how, just how, could he believe she’d take the money?That hurts and makes her think she didn’t know him after all. She got on with her wedding planning business in the succeeding months, and tried to move on but the hurt is there, feelings just can’t be switched off like that. I can understand how she’d feel, she must have been devastated at being thought a gold digger.
Brooks could kick himself now he knows the truth – and realises just how badly he effed up. Will Darcy forgive him? He still loves her, she’s the only one for him but can they get past his betrayal and lack of trust? It was a stupid mistake but a huge one, and one that he should never have made.
He’s got a chance now though to try yo get her to forgive him, when her business puts her in danger, very serious danger. Of course his primary motive is her safety, and with him and his friends being in the security business they’re the people to see to it, but it does give him an excuse to spend time with her without her telling him to get lost. Lets face it, that’s the reaction most of us would have at first if we were in her circumstances. We might want him back but the hurt….its not easy to get past, and a simple “sorry I got it wrong” just won’t cut it.
From then on its solid suspense, lots of action, played out in a realistic way, ( to someone who doesn’t know the realities of the security business of course!) and with some serious heat in the romance side too.

Stars: Five, a fun and rewarding romance, with some interesting suspense.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Unraveled, Whiskey Sharp 1, Lauren Dane

Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled (Whiskey Sharp, Book 1) by [Dane, Lauren]

Genre: Romance

I love Lauren’s writing, both contemporary and paranormal. This book though has left me with mixed feelings. I really enjoyed it but there are parts I’m a little confused about.


It felt for much of the start that I was reading about maybe a spin off book ( and hey, I did that completely unintentionally!) It seemed to me that the characters should have felt familiar to me, that if I’d read another series I’d know them – you know, how in connected books its like reading about old friends, except I didn’t know these guys, hadn’t met them before so the mix of who was who and how they connected was a bit weird til I got to grips with it. 

I loved the setting, the barbershop/bar and Alexsei’s family living next door to Maybe and Rachel. It grounded the characters, gave them a base where they acted naturally and felt very real to me. I was hoping Rada would be more of a b itch…but that’s me, love a “good” bad character…

I enjoyed how Alexsei and Maybe sparked of each other, the tension between them, Maybe’s unashamed confidence in asking for what she wants, whether its a job, food, a date. Yet when it came to Rachel she was trying to support her but actually hiding things from her, almost taking away choices in her determination to be a good sister, a solid help. There were times when i felt Maybe was a little too abrupt, a bit too in-your-face, but I guess that’s a reaction to her past, a need to assert herself. Its either knuckle under or take charge, and she’s take charge.
Alexsei was pretty controlling but not to the point he didn’t consider what others needed, what their own wants were, he had a great balance, though I understood why Maybe needed to ensure he wasn’t like her father. 

Its an interesting, steamy story, some quite dark issues with Rachel’s past attack, and the awful upbringing Maybe had, and the treatment she still got from their parents. I couldn’t help wondering – just where did that start and why? Why treat them so differently? I felt for that poor kid Maybe was.
I didn’t really see either why Rachel was considered “disabled”. Yes, she had a horrific encounter, and its left her with some kind of PTSD, but physically she seems fine, its been three years and though I understood her security fears – I think anyone would, and the lasting mental effects it seemed her parents were still considering her as just out of hospital. Why? 

It was a big, slow built to the end drama, but for me that was over far too quickly, a kind of it’s-OK-for-now feeling, but we know there’s going to be so much more. I guess that’s for book two, and hopefully we’ll see more of Alexsei and Maybe there.
I felt a bit underwhelmed though, wanted a little more concrete action for an ending even though there’s two more books to come. Its not a cliffhanger, just felt very unresolved. I was even trying to “turn” the page on my kindle seeing if I was missing some pages it felt that unfinished. 

Stars: four, almost a five, a few parts where I was a little confused at the beginning but mainly that ending stopped it 

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A River of Silence, Susan Clayton-Goldner

Sorry for the lack of reviews this week, a vicious D&V bug hit me, unable to eat, to keep even water down at one point I haven’t turned on pc since Monday morning….


A River of Silence,  Susan Clayton-Goldner

A River of Silence: A Winston Radhauser Mystery: #3 by [Clayton-Goldner, Susan]

Genre: Romance, Suspense,

My third story from Susan, and for me each gets better and better, and this one is definitely my favourite. It reminds me a bit of Jodi Picolt’s writing, in the way that reading the synopsis makes me feel one thing, and as the book continues my opinions get changed. I look at incidences from different viewpoints and feel sympathy for people that I may have disliked to begin with.

I love Bryce, such a kind man, but with his own past tragedies. He’s trying to rebuild his live and adores Dana’s two boys.

Radhauser too is a man with a tragic past, and I really enjoyed seeing so much of him and his family here. I love the way Susan links up Bryce past, Radhauser past to the present incidences, and shows how what happens to us does affect how we think, behave, perceive things and other people.

Radhauser sees Bryce and like many immediately think he’s been drinking, but when he finds out Bryce is hearing impaired, sees just how deep his love is for the children he feels he can’t be guilty.

The media as ever though is baying for blood and Radhauser’s boss demands a suspect to keep them quiet. Sadly I think that happens far too often, that media publicity means the police are looking for someone to blame, not necessarily that actual guilty person. Gah, that’s my soapbox for today!

Kendra, girl of famous legal father, rich family but wants to blaze her own trail, and Bryce is her first public defender job. Radhauser has had to arrest him, though he made his views clear that Bryce is innocent and someone else to blame, but as far as the police are concerned its case closed. Radhauser continues to dig in his own time though, and to help Kendra where he can.

Its a tragic story, full of suspense, and one of those where we feel out the story, look for who’s to blame from the clues we’re given. I was convinced it was XXXXX but was wrong, 😉 and loved that. Once the full story comes out it’s so logical, so easy to see how it happened.

I love that its not a one plot story, but multi layered, there’s Bryce and the death of Skylar, and the tragedy from Bryce past, Skylar’s and Scott’s mum Dana, she’s just 20 and struggles with being a parent, her relationship with Reggie, her ex now her present once more. Then we have Bryce’s neighbour, the wonderful Miss Tilly, Bear from the diner and his son Henry and the issues they have, Kendra and her battle to become someone other than her father’s daughter, and of course Radhauser, his past loss and his current family and the problems they have. It makes for a really satisfying read, one well written and researched, one that I loved and will reread.

Stars: Five, a really satisfying read, plots that wrapped up well, that were seen from all sides and which let me make my own decisions. My favourite so far from Susan Clayton-Goldner

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights, Stacey Kade

Starlight Nights by [Kade, Stacey]

Genre:  Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Mischance, Carla Susan Smith (Corsets and Carriages 1)

Mischance, Carla Susan Smith (Corsets and Carriages 1)

Mischance (Corsets and Carriages) by [Smith, Carla Susan]

Genre:  Romance, Historical.

I love Susan’s Vampire’s Promise series, and when I saw this I thought I’d like to read these books.

A historical trilogy its a very big departure from the supernatural world!

I’ve really enjoyed the first part and I’m looking forward to reading the next ones. Luckily there’s not too long to wait, book one is Jan 9th, book two Jan 31st and book three is scheduled for Feb 18, so not one of those where by the time the end part is released you’ve forgotten how it started.

I did find the beginning a bit slow, but it becomes relevant later and made sense once I got to that section, and TBH I can’t see any other way it could have been done 😉

Some great characters here, Rian makes a terrific lead, just that bit of tragedy and mystique about his past, and he’s a real swoon Hero. Charming, good looking ladies man but with honour and ethics, rich, courteous and polite and its clear he’s taken with Catherine from the start.

Catherine has been through such a lot, lost her father in a tragedy, which left her homeless, passed off to a cousin who was horrific to her. That kind of thing was very real in the past, when ladies were considered property of the nearest male relative. Short of actual murder most treatment was accepted, everyone turned a blind eye. Men were never in the wrong, always the ladies. Gah!! She hits lucky being found by Rian, it could so easily have ended another way.

Rian’s housekeeper ( who’s name I’ve forgotten ) and Tilly, one of the maids are good characters and fit well in the story.

And the real gem of the story, the deliciously immoral, selfish, ambitious Lady Isobel. A widow determined to be the next Mrs Connor, she’s not going to let someone stand in her way. She doesn’t care about Catherine, doesn’t give thought to Rian’s feelings, she’s just determined to get her own way. She’s got the funds through her marriage to do plenty of harm too.
Oh part two, come on, I really want to see what she’s planning!! Catherine has already shown she’s got backbone but Isobel is one determined lady. Let battle commence.

I’m not a great historical reader but I do love to occasionally dip into the genre, and this was one perfect read for me.

Stars: Five, some fabulous characters, and the promise of lots of drama to come. I adore books with lots of jealousy and dramatics.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


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