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Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation (Ravens Hollow Coven Book 2) by [Shari  Nichols]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it ๐Ÿ˜‰
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.

Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple โ€“ I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

Arc via author

Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews


Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it ๐Ÿ˜‰
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.


Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple โ€“ I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

Arc via author

The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown by [Kassandra Flamouri]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Teens and YA

I’m way past the target age range, but reviews suggested that this book would still appeal and I’ve loved other fantasy reads aimed at this age group. Sadly I’m on the fence about this one.

I really liked the sound of this, a very different fantasy read and was excited to start. I found Sasha hard to like though, she’s really not a particularly nice girl to those around her. I know she’s worried about becoming ill like her mother, but that’s more recent and her behaviour seems to have always been like this.
I was puzzled at how things changed, how she actually got pulled in to the other world, it seemed one page she was in this world, worrying about illness, feeling strange and then she was in the next, though her body remained here. I didn’t see the transition, needed a bit more detail there.
Then she’s in a horrible situation, has become a thrall, among thousands more. For a time she simply doesn’t realise who or what she is but slowly that changes. Even then she’s still a hard to understand person, there are flashes of when she knows there’s something wrong, but mostly she carries on. As with the best war/slave/fantasy reads there’s an underground movement though and they see Sasha as someone they can help…..

I found the writing absorbing but the actual story very difficult to follow. I didn’t wholly see how things worked, how they found potential thralls, how they pulled them in. Sasha still remained someone I found difficult to understand.
I felt this book had a lot going on, but jumped too quickly from one situation to the next without fully explaining how things happened or worked. As a reader I had to follow the text and guess. There were explanations for parts, but other things just had to be accepted and the reader just go with. Its hard to explain, the apostate for instance, this person/name just popped up without explanation of who or what he was, ( other than he lived on an island) and yet he was a fairly important part of the story.
Overall for me it was an ok read, not one I’d re-read, and one that left me with questions as I was reading that largely seemed to be unanswered. If things like that don’t bother you, then like others you may love this unique fantasy read.

Stars: Three, an on the fence read for me. I loved parts but there were too many unanswered puzzles for me.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

One Last Verse, The Encore: Book 2, N.N. Britt

One Last Verse, The Encore: Book 2, N.N. Britt

One Last Verse (The Encore Book 2) by [N. N. Britt]

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction.

Gah, women’s fiction again…men write romance, men read romance, lets get with the 21st century.

So, book two. I loved the first book, but if anything, this was even better. The issues facing Frank and Cassy aren’t just the publicity, the media and her job, but the way Frank is coping with his injuries.
When they finally go public, the timing is bad, because within a short time Frank’s problems have them at odds once more. Poor Cassy, it feels like she’s always struggling, trying so hard to help Frank, and when he’s not drinking he’s wonderful. Caring, thoughtful, generous and the perfect man, but then โ€“ as anyone who’s had dealings with an alcoholic knows โ€“ the reverse side of this person is bitter, angry, cruel, and when the hangover is worn off, they’re sorry, won’t do it again. Its a continuous cycle.
Cassy saw all that with her dad, how her poor mum was ground under by it, and always vowed she wouldn’t be like that. She loves Frank though, she feels for him, understands some of why he’s so angry, upset, and in this book the bad parts get really heaped on Frank driving him t the edge. It was superbly written, having lived with an alcoholic I can vouch that part was spot on. The ups and downs, the highs when everything is wonderful, and then the sudden crash, often over the most trivial things.
I did feel for Frank, but as Cassy tried to tell him, he still has so much, but all he could see was what he had lost. His career was his life, and he’s lost if he can’t perform so he’s pushing himself, using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain so he can continue. He can’t see any other future, won’t admit he simply can’t do it. Its turning him into someone Cassy can’t continue with though, she loves him but can’t accept the person he is in the bad times.

I loved the drama in this, so intense, so perfect for me. Drama in a book is what I adore, proper drama, not the angsty, pseudo drama that many romances feature, but real, gritty, relatable stuff. I loved that Frank struggled, let people down, pushed Cassy away. His anger was palpable, I could feel his despair, even while I was so angry with him for letting others down, for his awful behaviour to Cassy. I loved that the drama lasted, wasn’t over in a few pages, but took a good chunk of the book to resolve. That made it feel real, I couldn’t get behind someone who claimed to be past the problems if they hadn’t used time to actually change their life. I so felt for Cassy, she was such a hard worker, looked after her family, tried to help Frank, and even Dante at times. She’s one of those folk that are good at heart, won’t hesitate to step up when its needed.
I loved her brother too, he was a typical teen, and really grew through this book. And of course Levi, her work partner for the past seven years.
Its not a rock star on the road type read, thankfully its not an alpha male, grunting, monosyllabic read, those ones that run โ€œ you feel me?โ€ โ€œ I feel youโ€ and that’s about the extent of a conversation. Its not a Kylie Scott or Kristen Callihan humour filled rock star read, they’re both Queens of Rock for me, but it is a superb book about fame, drama, human frailties, and lets N.N. Britt join that precious group, Queen of Rock Reads, for me. Its one that I know, along with the first book, will become one of my re-read staples. Right now, along with N.N. Brits other two books, they are on KU so a great time to read them.

Stars: Five, terrific read, a rock star romance, with so much extra in the story, full or drama and reality.

Arc via netgalley and publishers

Just My Luck, Adele Parks

Just My Luck, Adele Parks

Just My Luck: From the author of Sunday Times bestsellers, including the Number One bestseller Lies Lies Lies, comes the most gripping domestic thriller of 2020! by [Adele Parks]

Genre: Mystery and thrillers, women’s fiction.

Sigh…women’s fiction. C’mon, its 2020 not 1920.

Anyway, what a read this was, full of the very worst in people. Until the win the six have been friends for 15 years, though there are cracks at times, and Lexi has discovered something about one of them that she finds difficult to deal with. I would too. The characters are very real, warts and all, but TBH I only liked Lexi and Toma, the rest were selfish, vain, money obsessed. Toma had gone from being a hardworking family man to the depths of depression after his loss, and Lexi helps him crawl out, start living again. I rally liked him.
Jake her husband was not the man she saw, not the guy she fell in love with. I guess we all change along the way but while Lexi is all about helping others โ€“ hence her work in citizens advice โ€“ Jake is just money and self orientated.
The friends have fallen out, and then soon after their long held winning numbers come up. Jake and Lexi insist they’d dropped out, they insist it was just a tiff and they were still in. Who’s right? Who knows.
Complicating matters are their kids. Jake and Lexis daughter Emily is best friends with the Heathcote’s daughter, Megan, and the Pearson’s son Ridley is her boyfriend. We see much of the events after the win through Emily’s eyes, and she is a typical teen, spend, spend on big brands. Their son Logan is a bit younger, happy that he can have some new games.
Jake also can’t wait to get his hands on the cash and start spending. His greed shows right from the start when they ring in and one of his first questions is how soon can they get the cash. He seems to mostly want others to see how rich he is, to show off his new Lamborghini, throw a huge party, buy expensive new clothes, he’s all about flashing the cash.
We see quickly how the money brings problems, not just with their friends but themselves, it affects Lexi’s job as the CA office is inundated with people wanting help โ€“ or help in the form of money. Emily gets problems at school as Logan and Megan turn against her. The trio have been friends since childhood, don’t have other friends and it hits her hard.

Things get worse, trust is shattered and events quickly go downhill, showing how different Lexi and Jake have become. For me Jake was an awful man, I guess he must have been different when they met, Lexi is such a lovely person its hard to see what they have in common. Then the action ramps up, and the twist at the end has me rethinking things once more. I guess no-one is quite who we think they are.

Stars: Four, a gripping story, a bit predictable at times but then throwing in some curve-balls that had me rethinking.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Dear Child, Romy Hausmann

Dear Child, Romy Hausmann

Dear Child: The twisty thriller that starts where others end by [Romy Hausmann, Jamie Bulloch]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers,

Well, I didn’t know what to expect but was seduced in by the description. I just had to know how things played out.

It was one of those reads where just as I thought I’d got things worked out another facet was thrown in to the mix. It was very complex, very multi dimensional.
It felt very real, I could feel Lena’s horror, feel the anguish Lena’s parents felt, understand why her dad was so angry. Yet I also got annoyed at him when he kept charging in, on an โ€œ I know best, somebody needs to do somethingโ€ I guess any loving parent in their situation would get frustrated at what they see as lack of progress.

I could feel Lena’s terror, both in the cabin, when she realised just how dire her situation was, and when she escaped. You’d think relief would come from being home, but of course she’s got some real PTSD issues going on. She really was in a bad place.
Then there’s the children โ€“ how on earth do kids ever recover from something like this? On the face of it Hannah seems to have adjusted better, although she’s a little strange she is very intelligent, and that caught me out. At the end we could see just how programmed to ignore horror she had become, even when it was right in front of her.
I just wondered what would happen to her, would she ever get past the things she’d seen? I loved seeing so much from her POV, her thoughts, her complex explanations for every little thing, the way she cited statistics and facts so thoroughly, the way everything is black and white to her, her complete obedience, devotion and acceptance of everything Papa said. I felt she’d woven a world in her head that overlapped the real world and she genuinely found it hard to tell what was real. I loved when she talked about whispers โ€“ how she described her speech and mouse voice, or when she’s really insistent, the Lion voice. I could visualise her doing that. I felt Lena did so much to try to make these poor kids lives happy. I’d say normal, but that was impossible.
I guess what I had in my mind was that terrible story a few years back where some poor girl had been kept like that for 24 years, and she and the kids she had were living underground all that while. I remember then thinking how on earth can anyone pick up life after that? The characters in this book felt real to me and made me have the same feelings, wondering what kind of life they would/could lead after their escape.

Stars: five, a fantastic read, riveting and gave me much to think about.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

On Common Ground, Book 1 in the Grounded Series, Jansen Schmidt

On Common Ground, Book 1 in the Grounded Series, Jansen Schmidt

On Common Ground: Book 1 in the Grounded Series by [Jansen Schmidt]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Romance

I really like the sound of this, its ages since I read a western themed romance, and I really liked how this sounded.

Sadly I find I’m out of step with the majority of reviewers who loved this book. I’ve got to 40% and I just can’t continue. There’s a fine line between being a sexy alpha male and a man who isn’t listening to what a woman wants and is just imposing his own wants on her and for me that’s what Trevor is doing. Right from the start his old friend Rocky warns him off Ketra, and from what he sees she’s very skittish, very wary around men. So what does he do? Well, he fancies her so he pushes, and pushes even when its clear his attentions are unwanted. To me he was no better than another person who does a similar thing but as Trevor is the MC, handsome, sexy etc he gets a free pass. Not from me. There’s one part where she’s sick, raging temperature, vomit splattered hair but as he helps her to the bathroom her robe slips and he’s almost salivating at the sight of her nipple. That just doesn’t cut it for me, sick not sexy.

Ketra annoyed me too, she was just plain rude to Trevor even when she didn’t know him, wasn’t the subject of his unwanted attentions. On one hand we have a traumatised women, scared of men โ€“ but working in a ranch as what seems to be the only woman there โ€“ and yet one look at Trevor and she has the hots for him? Its been two years, and she’s been working among men all that while, I’m sure she’d have learned some bit of being able to get along with most men by now. I know abuse can leave traumas that take years to accept, and one never actually gets over it, but learns to live with it. I’m just suggesting that in the environment she’s in I would have thought Ketra would have been able to deal better. I struggled with the inconsistency.

I did stop about 20% in, but decided I needed to give it more chance but I just can’t finish it, I am too angry about Trevor’s behaviour and Ketra’s flipping back an forth, scared female to has-the-hots-for-Trevor…..
As I said, clearly I’m in a minority and these things don’t spoil the story for other readers. That’s fine, we’re all different, want different things. Maybe you’ll be able to ignore or excuse the bits I can’t and love this book too, as other reviewers have, maybe like me you’ll feel Trevor’s behaviour borders on his own wants and needs, rather than looking for what Ketra wants. Horses for courses really is an apt saying in this case. Its not a bad book, just characters that don’t suit me personally, you need to asses if its your style.

Stars: Two, DNF, only got to 40%. I found the characters behaviour not what I cold accept. My issues though, others love it.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

The Wives, Tarryn Fisher

The Wives, Tarryn Fisher

The Wives: The sexiest thriller of 2020. Now an international bestseller. by [Tarryn Fisher]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Women’s Fiction

Moan: women’s fiction โ€“ why alienate potential readers? Men write books enjoyed by women and men alike, and they read the same.

Wow, this book taught be a lot about myself. Am I just gullible? Or are the story lines that good? I like to think its option two ๐Ÿ˜‰

I never realised how easily I accept what I’m told, and as the story expanded, as Thursday discovered more about the other wives, I finally began to question all the things I’d accepted as fact. It wasn’t until then I realised I had just believed every word I’d been told. When the cracks in the story appear it was hard to know who was telling the truth, and it devolves into quite a dark and twisted story. It made me think of that phrase โ€œits only paranoia if they’re not out to get youโ€

Its hard to say much without spoilers so I’ll try to keep it simple. I don’t understand that multiple marriage thing, the way Thursday is so blindly accepting of crumbs of Seth’s time, and when the reason for the third wife came out, given their own past I was so angry. And then of course the story gets more complex and I’m wondering, was it really like that, did things really happen that way.
Even when the story gets to the point where you’re wondering just who is telling the truth, there are still more revelations and secrets to come out, things get ever more complex right up to the end. I kept thinking โ€“ its getting late, I’ll just read a bit more, and a little more, and finding myself getting closer to the end, so then it was โ€“ may as well finish now ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s a hallmark of a good story for me, when I’m so absorbed by the characters and actions I just don’t want to put it down until I know whats going to happen.

Its a gripping read, had me totally hooked into the story. Its also incredibly sad in a way, with innocent people getting caught up in the actions of (imo) a selfish person. Was the family situation to blame? I tend to say no, lots of folk have difficult childhoods, but who really knows.
I found the ending sad in a way for all of them and yet curiously satisfying in what happened. My two least liked people got a form of punishment for their actions โ€“ IMO โ€“ of course. Karma.

Stars: five, a cracking read, had me hooked, but in a way also incredibly sad that peoples lives could get changed by the actions of another person.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

My Husband’s Lie, Emma Davies

My Husband’s Lie, Emma Davies

My Husband's Lie: A page turning and emotional family drama by [Emma Davies]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Women’s fiction

I thought this sounded interesting, I like to have a range of different genre books on the go, so I can dip as suits my mood. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the deep suspense, drama, thrill I was expecting.

I enjoyed the first half, meeting the family, being with them on their exciting move and new work venture, and of course meeting the other book characters. Anna and Rob, and Tilly, what a wonderful family, I’d love to live near them. I’m glad Anna wasn’t as full of Faith as Rob, but had her doubts, was unsure, it made her more real. We expect curate’s wives to follow their husbands beliefs even now, and that Anna was her own person was wonderful.
It was when The Secret came to light that things actually went downhill for me. I felt Thea’s reactions at first were as expected but the way she fell apart, blamed poor Drew, her mother, her friends….it all just felt to OTT for me. Nothing has changed, just her knowledge. Yes, I could see that others knowing, especially those close to you with who you think you share everything, hurts. However the motivations, it wasn’t done to escape blame, but to try to save her being hurt.
What came over far better for me was the bullying, both adults and children, and the way it was handled. We’ve all known people like the girl’s headmistress, like Leo’s mum Stacey, like the shop gossips. Small towns and villages can be a gem but when a rumour takes roots it spreads rapidly and folk quickly take sides. That part felt incredibly real.

I guess for me I just felt the story wasn’t what I expected, it was good, but not what the title and blurb suggested. I also had the problem of Thea, I just felt like she over-reacted, and when she took to her bed, left the girls to Drew, went on a giant sulk I just wanted to say Get Over Yourself, Grow up. Her kids needed her, she knew her actions would hurt them. She knew Drew acted in what he thought was her best interest, he got it wrong ( IMO) but he was trying to help. She irritated me, even though she’s not real, because there are people who would act exactly as she did. Real First world Problems ๐Ÿ˜‰

I thought the ending was great, the little drama that happened was good but superfluous for me, it didn’t actually need that, the ending worked out well even without that.

Stars: Four, a story that started well for me, right up to the revelations that sent Thea off into a kind of madness, throwing blame around and acting like a child. Her poor mum had lived through it, protected her and now Thea is throwing blame out for everything to everyone it seems.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Deadly Surrender, Katie Reus

Deadly Surrender, Katie Reus

Deadly Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City Series Book 5) by [Katie Reus]

Genre: Romance
I hadn’t read the earlier books, but each are stand alone and it wasn’t an issue.
I’ve read several of Katie’s stories now, and while this wasn’t my favourite it was a fun easy read.
Its a sexy romance, Logan is drop dead gorgeous, and unknown to each other they’ve felt more that either have admitted. Then they have one hot, sex fueled night after a few drinks and…well, Logan knows he wants more but doesn’t want to frighten her off, Grace wants more but thinks it was just alcohol, that Logan isn’t the settling type. Then the bullets start coming, and they don’t know if someone is after one or both of them. The suspects pile up too, and its hard trying to keep one step ahead, but it does throw them together where things move on.
Its a quick, easy tale, an enjoyable story but not one that I’d reread.

Stars: Three, a simple romance with bullets and danger.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Midnight Desire, Shari Nichols

Midnight Desire, Shari Nichols

Midnight Desire (Ravens Hollow Coven Book 1) by [Nichols, Shari]

Genre: Sci fi and Fantasy. romance
I enjoy books in the fantasy genre and where there’s romance too, that’s me happy. I enjoyed this book but didn’t love it as I’d thought. To be fair, as with other reviewers I’m writing this, reading this in the midst of the Covid19 crisis and my mind isn’t where it usually is so that could affect my enjoyment.

I loved the characters, the story flowed well and was a quick, steamy read. What I had a really hard time with is Alex being a โ€“ well, rabid witch hater wouldn’t be too strong, and yet within the first meeting he’s attracted to Willow and they’re quickly hot and heavy. I couldn’t see how he could put his years of hatred behind him, and how Willow could be with someone who’s held those views for so long. Lust only goes so far. Then there’s the way Willow was assimilated back into the coven with very few questions asked and apart form the initial snarky, hurtful comments its almost like a girls bonding party.
Get past those issues though and its an easy to read novel, a neat story, wrapped up properly, a little magic, a lot of mystery, and plenty of heat.

Stars: I’m hovering between three and four, I liked the story a lot, but the things I had issues with were for me pretty big. Three and a half.

Arc via author

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