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The Chateau, An Erotic Thriller, Tiffany Reisz

The Chateau, An Erotic Thriller,  Tiffany Reisz

The Chateau: An Erotic Thriller (The Original Sinners) by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre:  Mystery and Thrillers, Romance

I love the Sinners series ( and the side stories), adore Kingsley so was expecting to love this. Sadly though I didn’t.

Its the same hot and sensual writing, King is a gorgeous young man here and we see echoes of the man he will grow into. There’s lots of memories of Soren here, him and King, that weird but very symbiotic relationship they have and I thought I’d love the way how some of the gaps in the stories were filled. I just didn’t connect with the book though, felt it was just stretching the series too far for me. As ever though I can see others love it and that’s how it goes. Not all books suit all readers.
I really enjoyed the way the sensual and erotic sex was blended so perfectly with the stories in the Sinners series, up to this one. Here it seemed as though the sex took the place of the story, that lovely balance that’s been so perfect for me was lost with Story taking a back-seat. That never works for me, I need a solid story to hang the sex on, or it just becomes meaningless.
I think its time for me to part with this series, stick to re-reading the first eight books and enjoying the shorter side stories as they come out.

.

Stars: Two, sadly a fail for me but of course others feel very differently. Subjective taste books…we’ll never all agree.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

 

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The Perfect Husband, Buffy Andrews

The Perfect Husband,  Buffy Andrews

The Perfect Husband by [Andrews, Buffy]

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Writer K.J. Charles wrote a blog post recently about what is and isn’t a romance novel. She says romance needs to have that happy ending, a HEA or at least a HFN between the two (or more) main characters and that’s exactly how I feel. This ISN’T romance, its a great read, I really enjoyed it but romance it is not. I’ll skip my usual moan about women’s fiction 🙂 For me this book is better categorised as General Fiction, Drama/Dark fiction.

It starts well, that careful meeting when adults are thrown back into the dating field, after death, divorce, break-ups. Shelley meets Eric and her best friend Jackie and her workmates all agree he’s the perfect man. Even at this early stage we can see one of two red flags but Shelley, blissfully immersed in Love Land misses them.
How easy that is, how we make excuses, tell ourselves “he/she didn’t mean it that way./its understandable, I shouldn’t have…/well he/she had past issues that make that reaction normal for them.

Eric’s like a whirlwind, and Shelley is so in love, feels so treasured, so taken care of, even though she is perfectly OK at taking care of herself. Everyone loves a bit of pampering, a little special treatment and I could see so much why Eric appealed, such a contrast to her ex.
And before she knows it they’re moving in together, and of course it doesn’t make sense to keep her stuff when Eric’s is so nice, and he says he’d rather not have things from her life with Scott. Some of the things were hers alone though, and he’s all “well, of course if you really want to keep them we can change things round, make room somewhere…” sounding like he’s doing her a favour almost. She knows he doesn’t really want anything of her past in their new home, and she loves him, she wants what he wants.
Suddenly she’s married, and the cracks start to appear. Sadly this is real life for so many people, men and women, and it’s so easy to say “just leave” but by the tome things are that bad all confidence in the victim, in Shelley, has been lost. Life becomes just a constant struggle to watch out for anything that might make Eric angry, and then after pretending she accepts his remorse, his words of “you need to try harder Shelley, I don’t like having to get angry at you” That’s a classic, turn the blame around, and something abusers are so good at.

The real kicker is can she escape, will she find the strength, will he let go? The drama parts of this novel were superb, so carefully done its easy to see how outgoing, attractive, confident Shelley becomes a shadow of that person, and yet all the while presenting a front of the perfect marriage. I was so rooting for her.

I moaned about genre classification, and if I was a solely romance reader I’d have been so disappointed. Happily though I’m an eclectic reader. Its a fabulous read, not romance by a long shot but an incredible dark, ( not as in horror dark thankfully) psychological suspense, mirroring what is real life for many people, sucking us in to Eric and Shelley’s world, wondering how it can all end.

Stars: Five, a wonderful read, breathtaking in places with superb pacing, slowly revealing the real Eric.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Forbidden, Elisabeth Naughton

Forbidden, Elisabeth Naughton

Forbidden (House of Sin Book 1) by [Naughton, Elisabeth]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Romance

Well, this was quite a dark read, told in alternating viewpoints from Natalie and Luc. It was uncomfortable reading in parts, though I’m OK with BDSM in stories, in this book it takes a much sharper edge, with the liberal use of alcohol and drugs, and the possibility of not all sex being consensual.
In fact that’s almost certainly where Natalie’s friend Elena met her end. She supposedly died from a drug overdose but Natalie doesn’t believe that and is on a quest for the truth.
I fond myself struggling with this story, it wasn’t the writing but the story itself. I just found so much of it hard to believe, and for me I need that reality. I kept putting this aside and picking it up later.
I found it hard to believe in Elena and Natalie, they’d been friends since young kids, but for the last four years they haven’t met, just corresponded. Yet now she’s dead Natalie can take off as much time as she likes in her quest. If they really were best friends surely they’d have made time to meet up somehow?
Natalie has a kind of naiveness about her and yet is very astute in others. She very determined and yet falls for some rookie mistakes, one of which brings her into real danger, that she escapes from only by the fact that Luc suspects what’s happening. Surely the “don’t drink unless you see it poured from the bottle” is a mantra for everyone when with strangers? It was things like that which irritated me.
It ends on a massive cliffhanger, and I hate those, really, really hate them. Its a well written story, its just that it didn’t hook me in. Though there were parts of the story I really enjoyed I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the trilogy. I just find parts of it difficult to believe in and when I’m reading I need to be convinced everything could happen.

Stars: Two and a half, a story I struggled to believe in, didn’t feel real to me.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The War Widow, Lorna Gray

The War Widow,  Lorna Gray

The War Widow by [Gray, Lorna]

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

WW2 isn’t my favourite time setting for reading, but the amazon sample of this intrigued me, very mysterious, had me wanting to know what happens next.
Sadly I carried on wanting to know what came next, as for most of the book it seemed to me to be hinting at various events and revelations that didn’t come out until the very end, and even then I’m still unsure of just how all the connections tied in.
Its – for me, not for everyone clearly – a novel that was well written, had a fabulous use of language and yet was incredibly confusing. For much of the novel we know that Kate has experienced so many bad things, its her voice telling the story, but then the hints are there that maybe its all in her head, trauma from the suicide of her ex husband, trauma from the accident she head, so what she tells us may just be what she believes and not what actually happened.
I didn’t really like her, but of course she’s very true to the time, recent history it maybe but still a period when Men Ruled, and the ladies were expected to defer always.
I did like Adam, though sometimes he appeared brusque.
The other hotel residents were a mixed bunch and I just loved the way Mary’s sister was so determined to see Mary in the running for Adam’s affections, and the way she tried to discredit Kate constantly.
Overall it was an OK read, I did keep putting it aside as I was so confused at what was happening and incredibly frustrated not to know what was the big secret, what the guys after her wanted, what the police were really doing etc. It works perfectly that way for many readers, thus the five stars of course, but we’re all different and it didn’t suit me.
It does all tie up neatly, though even then the bluffs and obfuscation and constantly in presence, and getting to the end I had to re-read some parts to see exactly what had happened. I still can’t say I fully followed all of it 🙂

Stars: Three, its not a story I’d reread, and one I did struggle with, but that’s more a case of me not the book. Not all books suit all readers, that doesn’t make them bad books, just ones that will be loved by some and disregarded by others.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Captive Lies, Victoria Paige

Captive Lies,  Victoria Paige

Captive Lies by [Paige, Victoria]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance

I really liked the sound of this story, and to begin I was enjoying it but….the the Russian Mafia slant came into play, and though I know there are readers who love stories with a Mafia bent I’m not one. Fortunately the Mafia were the bad guys, I really can’t take it when they’re passed of as good guys really, just misunderstood…

I loved Blaire, she was in the situation she was through her birth, nothing she could have done about it, unless she was prepared to knuckle down and have her life run by the Russians. Liam, her friend and protector was a great guy too, and he gave her the training to protect herself. I so like that, when a main character doesn’t have to depend on a man to save her but can hold her own in a fight. Grant, alpha male in the extreme and for me he was at times too pushy, too overly controlling, bordering on abusive in his need to control. Blaire is a tough girl, she’s survived despite having some bad people out to get her and though he wants to protect her he shouldn’t expect her to hand over all control to him and sit back and …well, what? Shop? Watch daytime TV? That’s just not Blaire, she paints but can’t spend all day every day doing that.

I was doing OK with the story, Grant’s obsessive personality and tendency to act like a jerk aside, but it got slowly more overly complex, with distrust everywhere, and threats from all quarters. That can be fun, keeping readers on their toes but can also mean a story gets overly complex. I had guessed one person who was not who they seemed, I wasn’t totally sure but looking back all the clues were there, I just wasn’t sure I was reading them properly – that’s good, I like to be surprised. Then the mafia and political threats began to overlap, technology that seemed improbable crept in and was used to make scenes work that wouldn’t otherwise, and it seemed a little too far fetched for me. I do need to believe in a story, and though technology has advanced hugely, and of course this is fiction I felt that some parts were a little hard for me to believe in. It seemed if you’d got money – and Grant had – then anything could be had for a price.

I wasn’t convinced by Cal, I kind of thought something along those lines would happen, there’s hints thrown in all along but I was disappointed that it worked that way – more of that improbable technology for me. I want to believe things could happen that way if this were a true story and that…nope, I can’t fall for it.

It sounds like I hated the story, and that’s just not true, these were just niggles, big niggles, for me and overall I enjoyed reading this novel. It was my first read by this author and I think if I’d read the Guardians novels maybe I’d have got more from it and understood better what they were capable of.

Stars: Three and a half, a good suspense and romance but both had too many niggles for me.

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

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

The Wife – Part Three: In Sickness and In Health, (The Wife series), M.L. Roberts

The Wife – Part Three: In Sickness and In Health (The Wife series)

by M.L. Roberts

The Wife - Part Three: In Sickness and In Health (The Wife series) by [Roberts, ML]

Genre: general fiction (adult)

**Spoilers here for part one and two**

It was kind of obvious what was going to happen with Liam, and I don’t see how Ellie rationalises it to herself. I know her thoughts, just find it skewed. As for Liam, well, with friends like that who needs enemies as the saying goes.
Michael I still find really cold. He’s warm and charming to everyone in public but when they’re alone he just seems to shut her down. They went through a horrific experience, and he seems to feel Ellie should just be able to move on. I can’t help wondering if perhaps he talked to her earlier whether she might have been able to but she’s now in the throes of full obsession and paranoid. Or is she? After all its only paranoia if they’re not out to get you, as the saying goes….
Its a little moved on finally, Michael seems to see Ellie has issues, but his solution? Well, weird…unless he really is hiding something and it certainly looks like it. Appearances can be deceiving though but that ending, well, can it be what it looks like or is there another explanation? I have the feeling book four is going to exonerate Michael in some way, explain all his mysterious activities innocently but Ellie’s actions subsequently will affect them. Or not 😉 . I’m not good at predicting what will happen in a story…..

As I’ve said before, I hate is that this is a four part book that could easily have been a stand alone, a each part is only around 100 pages, for me waiting breaks the tension, the story loses impact.
Sometimes it seems authors do this to maximise income, but that doesn’t seem to be the case and all four parts at current price total £2.97, which is very reasonable. I think its done modeled on TV specials which is fine for many readers, but one of the reason I don’t watch TV. I want ALL the story, not just teases.
Still, looking at reviews this works fine for other readers, the old horses for courses stuff again.

Stars: Four, some progress but is all as it seems? Just wish book four was out now!
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

What Happens at Christmas, Evonne Wareham

What Happens at Christmas,  Evonne Wareham

What Happens at Christmas (Choc Lit) by [Wareham, Evonne]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Women’s Fiction

A mixed read here, it being a Choc-lit read I didn’t notice the genre, ( I adore Cho-lit romances) and was expecting more romance. There is some, but its tied up in the mystery, kind of equal parts.

It was a fun read, and I loved the section where Lori, Misty and Drew were having Christmas in the barn. That was just magical, and felt so right for this time of year, had me hankering for some snow and crisp, bright days. That was my favourite part of the story, I felt “there” with them, sharing their Christmas. Sometimes its so commercialised we forget how simplicity can make it special.

Misty was a real star, poor kid had a flake of a mother, Lori’s actress sister, and was just dropped off with random friends while her mum swanned off being Actress and Film Star….thank goodness for Lori, and for Misty’s dad Dan, also a film star but not so concerned about image, aging and having a growing daughter.
I loved Lori, a real heart of gold person, ready to help anyone, wanting to be a writer but lacking in self confidence, so determined though that if she was a success it was going to be on her own merits and not by way of her famous family.
Drew, what a sad tale, and even sadder when he reveals the full details. Twenty years of carrying that around, what a burden. I was so glad he found Lori, and the fact they kept things secret and then he was tied up with work, and couldn’t trace her fitted perfectly. Fate though brought them together again, but the mystery of how they met and the repercussions weren’t over, and we got a gripping action finale.
I hadn’t guessed who was behind things, and the motive and that was a perfect surprise. I had a slight idea but couldn’t see how it would fit, so it was satisfying finding out how everything joined together.

Stars: Four, a little slow to pull me in, but once they found drew and had those magic days in the barn I was hooked.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond. A Winter’s Wish Come True, Lynsey James

The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond

Genre:  Women’s fiction, Mystery and Thrillers

My first book by this author so I didn’t really know what to expect. Its a curious novel, if I’d read the sample I’m not sure I’d have requested it.
It does drag at times, with so much inner thinking from Jake. There was lots of detail too about his various patients ,and stats and data connected with his job. I found that part was interesting in very small doses but in great detail it made me skip sections, unable to face more of it….

I did like both Alice and Jake, but found, especially given their professions, it incredible they jumped right in without even checking what they were getting into, without questions, without reading what they signed.
Blithely they just thought it was a bit of fun and I guess I could see that in a way, they thought nothing unpleasant could happen, and they could leave if they didn’t like it. But the Pact has a long reach and that part was chilling. Its not too far fetched to see how it could happen.
Its a weird novel, I didn’t like what was happening, was so cross at Alice and Jake at times, and yet it was strangely compelling and I just had to keep reading.
I had to see how it ended despite not really enjoying the story…and TBH I felt the ending was anti-climatic, a cop out. I felt cheated, wanted something more concrete. I have a real dislike of ambiguous endings, where the reader has to decide what comes next – I’m a reader not a writer, I can’t make up stories, that’s why I read them and I Want Them to Finish Properly, not just fizzle out leaving me dumbfounded about what happens next.

Couple of things I felt were off. I felt given the long arms, the reach and the money the Pact clearly spent I’d have liked to know more about how it was funded, not just a couple of lines about top investment guys doing well. Even the best guys need money to invest with and I didn’t see where it came from.
I felt too that a membership of 12,000 wasn’t enough to sustain the kind of practices and close observation of members that was actually in place. It wasn’t just eyes on them but hidden cameras, audio, tech interference, they really were Stalked in a big way. That takes serious money and big manpower.

It’s a chilling novel, creeping forward from a bit of fun to something they were desperate to get out of but were stuck with.
Curiously compulsive reading but yet I can’t say I actually enjoyed it.

Stars: Three, an interesting book, lots of food for though, some scary possibilities but ultimately not one I actually enjoyed 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Winter’s Wish Come True, Lynsey James

A Winter's Wish Come True by [James, Lynsey]

Genre:  Romance, women’s fiction

A shortish, seasonal read, just under 2800 kindle locations. If light and fun, little sections such as the baby shopping with the two grandmothers, and the dinner from hell made me snigger even while feeling sad for Cleo and Scott, caught up in family issues and  granny rivalry.

I could see why they split but was sad that it came to that, that they didn’t try to make long distance work for them. they’re now two unhappy people. Scott is back now though – so what happens next?
Well, a brief hot re-union and…Cleo is pregnant. A shock at first but Scott is solidly there behind her, and its clear he wants a second chance, or in Cleo’s view after the way he decamped at their last encounter, maybe its a thrid one and she’s not sure her heart can take it.
I got a bit irritated at the way Cleo seems determined to see and think the worst of Scott. He admits he over-reacted when Australia came up – but then so did she, and he explains what happened the next time. I could see her hurt but the guy is doing his best and I was cross at her negativity.

The other character here were good supporting cast, the school bully who’s moved back, catalyst to Cleo body issues, but though her life seems perfect, is it really? Then there’s Natalie, Scott’s ex, willowy, gorgeous model, who’s back on the scene. Is she trying to get Scott back, how can pregnant, lumpy Cleo stand up against her looks? Well, that’s the way Cleo sees it, but is she right?
I did find it odd that both of Scott’s girlfriends had body issues though…

Its a fun read, but pretty light, and I felt for me its a bit too sweet’n’happy, lacked the drama that balances the sweetness.
I had high hopes for Natalie or Amanda in that direction, but they only provided subtle light distractions.

Stars: Three, a fun read, but a bit short and fluffy for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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