Something Like Magic, Max C. Payne
Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA
Hmnn…I liked the sound of this, and found it was a book that was OK but a bit underwhelming for me.
I like the characters potentially, but never really felt that “sense” of them, that I knew them, what they wanted, how they’d act and I didn’t really feel a romance developing, more of an incredible sexual lust…
Then’s there’s the magic elements, and for me it didn’t work. I wanted to know more about the two men but that’s not revealed until the very end, so not knowing what – if anything – they could do when things go wrong and some alternate powers are needed to save the day, I couldn’t guess at what they’d do.
I don’t like magic quick fixes that are unknown, swooping in to save the day.
I needed to know more about Ori’s magic, what it can do and why, because when it was used it almost seemed to be despite him not from anything he actually organised.
I felt we got more of the clothing descriptions than of the story, and though I enjoyed that – I love minutiae of daily life in stories – I could have done with less of that and more of the story if the word count was limited to a certain number.
Its potentially a good series for me – if it is to be a series – but some work would need doing on the characters and magic side before I could be persuaded to read more.
Stars:2.5/3 A potentially good story line , but not for me the way it is now
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks for being part of this blog in 2016 – lets hope 2017 is a happy, healthy and wealthy new year for everyone.
May all your dreams come true.
The Jeweller’s Wife, Judith Lennox
Genre: general fiction
My first Judith Lennox read, so I wasn’t sure what style she’d have, if I’d like it and for a while I feared it would be one I didn’t.
It seemed very slow to start, I was hooked by the decisive way Henry swept Juliet into his sphere, out of Cairo and into Marsh Court, but once they were there though and we met the rest of the Winterton family and Henry’s friend Gillis, it seemed to become a bit bogged down for me.
I felt that it was a bit full of yet more people who seemed to not add much to the story, just to be there as family members.
Gradually though I was drawn in, the little cracks in what seemed like perfection bled through, the people became more real to me as they took on more solid form and revealed their personalities.
I really didn’t like Henry, admired him when he first met Juliet, but once back in England I saw what a cold, bullying man he was. Yet he had good friends, was greatly admired by people, had a sound reputation and seemed to almost be two different people at times. I so felt for Juliet left in the cold and austere Marsh Court during the war, struggling to keep things going, working so hard as most women did to hold home and family together. When Henry returned as in many families it was to a change, from the home they’d left, to children grown from babies, to wives that had become more independent thinking.
You can see how he slowly draws away from Juliet, and it made me wonder just why he ever married her. Did she fill a need for a wife? Was he that entranced with her? If so why did the gloss wear off, or would he have been that sort of man anyway?
I felt for poor little Piers too, always striving for his father’s approval and never quite getting it.
I love the closeness of the cousins, the family days they all had at Marsh Court, and then Gillis comes into the scene just when Juliet is feeling really neglected – and in fact is being neglected. Left home like a trinket and polished up and brought out when the occasion needed it – that’s how I felt Henry had come to regard her, as if she should just take everything and be grateful, rescued as she was by him. Who knows how her life would have gone if they hadn’t met?
Then the story deepens, Gillis holds more secrets that as a rising politician he wants kept hidden, Henry gets more dictatorial, his brother dies suddenly and everything become all change once more.
Then we move forward to when the cousins are older and they take over much of the story.
I think my favourite is Aiden, he really got lumbered with things, taken away from his first love of art to be plunged into the world of business, and it just wasn’t right for him. In families like that though its all about Duty. The friction between him and Piers gets worse and worse, its always been there but they were friends, it was just off the side of friendly rivalry, but it becomes a deep, bitter rift with Piers’ actions.
Gillis’ secrets come back to haunt the family, and the story moves in a kind of full circle, with a little drama but more just a story of a family growing when the world and its ways were changing.
I loved Joe, loved his farm and family, his quiet assuredness, and in comparison to the Grand Marsh Hall his farm seemed to adapt far better to all the changes. I loved when he talked about how many years it had been in the family, since Stuart times, and when Juliet thinks that makes the Wintertons and Marsh Hall seem like Parvenus…
Its a wonderful saga of a read, one to be savoured, and if like me you find the start slow, do persevere because it’d be a shame to miss this treat of a read.
Its very based around families and people rather than just Juliet and Henry,m as I’d expected. Beautiful ending too 😉 …
Stars: four and a half, that slow start almost made me stop this book, but that would have been a real loss.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher
Just a quickie, for fantasy romance lovers Kat Bastions wonderful Forged in Dreams and Magick (Highland Legends Book 1) is on offer for a short time at 99p. I reviewed it some time back when it first came out.
The Emperor’s Arrow, Lauren D.M. SmithGenre: Romance, Fantasy & Sci-fi
I wasn’t sure about this, but it sounded intriguing.
It was a fun read and I loved Evony, such an independent, strong woman. She had this way of summing up people, speaking her mind without being rude, managing to ignore for the most part the irritating, fluttery, squealy, girly, girls and yet was open and kind to those who were in need of help and a friendly face.
I loved the way she talked to Galen and some of the dialogue between them was excellent and yet…the romance. I just wasn’t feeling it, the sex/kissing scenes felt awkward and stilted, and I just didn’t feel a proper sense of sizzle, sexual tension, the can’t-stay-away pull that usually goes with this kind of read – well, the ones I like.
In many ways it reminded me of Kiera Cass Selection novels, same kind of premise, same kind of issues throughout, but it didn’t quite have the contrasts of those, the plots lacked the intrigue and depth of the Cass ones.
Its still a great debut book, and I’m sure Lauren has some great stories to come out that will appeal to me in the future, but for now this book is a good read, not a great one.
Of course that’s my view, for many others it’ll be a great read as it is. The beauty of books is the way we all want different characters, divergent issues, things that appeal to some of us others loathe. It means somewhere there’s a book for every reader.
Stars:Three, a good debut.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher
Softpaw, (Smilodon Pride 1), Beryll Brackhau, Osiris Brackhaus
Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA, Fantasy and paranormal
New to me authors so I had no idea what to expect, but its shifters and romance so I wanted to try.
It was a book I enjoyed, a fun read, but I wasn’t totally invested in it.I put it aside a couple of times and picked up again later. I’m not really sure why it was like that for me – all the elements were there, great characters, a decent plot, some suspense laced with humour and of course the paranormal aspect. Sometimes reading’s like that though, certain books ought to be perfect for you but just aren’t. Could just be the mood you’re in when reading and on another day it would work better – who knows?
Anyway, this is set in Paris, and main leads are undercover cop/former rent boy Michel and Werecat Connor, houseboat inhabitant and informal “protector” in his own mind of the working people in that area.
There’s trouble afoot though, a feral vampire has been on a killing spree of the local prostitutes, and Michel is working as one, undercover, hoping to find out more.
The main suspect is Connor who seems to have been close to so many of the victims, and he’s charged with checking him out. There’s a spark between the two when they meet, and from being Connor’s usual one night on the couch aid to those in need Michel works his way in closer. He doesn’t want Connor to be the killer, but needs to do his job. Connor of course can’t explain how he is so involved but knows he’s the only one who can take out the killer, the cops stand no chance with a vampire, but its a secret that can’t be let out.
Connor and Michel are both hiding secrets, what happens when they come out? Can their romance get past it or is this the end?
Its a fun read, and I really enjoyed the dry, subtle humour, which lightened the novel so well. I also enjoyed the beautiful descriptions, of Paris, of the buildings and parks, and even down to Connor’s houseboat. ( I always wanted to live in one of those)
It could have been too much, overdone – this description of every little thing, it seemed like every detail found their way into the story, but it works and makes for a fun, quirky read. Its not a re-reader for me though, but was an enjoyable one off novel.
It does have some very graphic, at times very rough m/m sex scenes, so if that’s not your thing then avoid this story.
Stars: Three, a fun read, beautifully written but didn’t quite hit the spot for me.
ARC supplied by authors
Luc, J.M. Stewart
Odd isn’t it how no-one bats an eye-lid when a man is 10 – or more – years older than a woman but when its the other way round its all nudges and winks, and sly insinuations of Cougar…and I hadn’t though I was age prejudiced until Joanne asked me if I’d like to read this.
It shocked me TBH, I didn’t realise how ingrained social mores were, and that I felt that way instinctively…Still, knowing the problem means watching out for it, so I determined to treat Luc as a hot and sexy man, not by his age, and Liz as a gorgeous attractive and sensual lady that she was, not as just an older lady.
Well, it wasn’t hard to see Luc in that light – both he and his brother Nic feel incredibly fabulous, sensual and yet the kind of guy that’s not slick and sleazy, but who loves women and respects them. I soon forgot about the age gap except when Liz thought and worried about it.
Its got great characters, they feel so real, I adored Nonna, and Luc’s little daughter Alyssa, loved Sam, Liz’ friend/sister in law and Luc’s employee. I understood why Liz and Luc were both upset over the blind date, its not something either wants to walk into and yet it was the only way Sam could get them together.
Luc sees in Liz an attractive woman who he wants to know better – he needs to take care though for Alyssa, isn’t interested in a quickie, doesn’t want to introduce her to ladies that will be in and then out of her life, he wants the whole thing, a proper relationship, a good role model for her, wants what Nonna and Nonno had.
Liz is still grieving, though its two years since Daniel died. Sam promised her brother to help Sam move on and not stay lonely and grieving, but she’s resited her attempots so far, hence the sneak approach. Its tough for Liz to even think about though, there’s not a limit on losing someone, no timeline on when to start looking again. She’s lonely without Dan, and yet thinking of anyone else seems like a betrayal.
I can understand that, she loved him and is lost without him, imagining some one else where he should be just doesn’t feel right. Luc though – her reaction to him shocks her, and his to her. They’re like a pair of magnets sparking and pulling towards each other, drawn into each others circuit.
And that’s how it goes, they both want different things and yet they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. There’s some ups and downs, times when you think its going to work and then…but that’s what makes books so much fun, the unpredictability of just how and when things will work out. Even though we know they will get together I need to feel there’s a chance within the story that perhaps they won’t, for their romance not to be straightforward. That’s exactly what I got.
The only reason its not a five star is that somehow the romance felt a little rushed to me, they didn’t really go through the whole dating thing, really get to know each other but seemed to be mainly lust filled ( and sensual, erotic and real!! ) sleepovers and hot, against the wall sex moments. It felt like first they were on that blind date, then suddenly after shying away they’re in a passionate romance, but without any real indications how they got there, apart from that hot against the wall sex 😉
Stars: four and a half, a great read, a romance that’s different, and thought provoking
ARC supplied by author
Interesting post. I do a few direct from publishers and authors – when I started I contacted them directly as above, but now I mainly use Netgalley and authors/publishers that contact me. I don’t have time for more 🙂
How to Get Free ARCs from Publishers
Part 1: Criteria
Getting ARCs from publishers is actually pretty easy, but you do need to do some things for that to happen.
- Get a blog.
Obviously, you need a blog to receive ARCs. Publishers want someone who’s consistent in his reading and reviewing books and has an established readership.
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First in a series well worth reading, by author Tracey Cooper-Posey about getting books from other sources onto ereaders including Kindle.
This is a short series, The Twenty-First Century Reader’s Manifesto, where I will share what I see as the essential strategies and tactics a reader (you and me) should use to maximize their reading experience here in the twenty-first century. For links to previous posts, and the rest of the serie