Catching London, M.V.Ellis.

Catching London, M.V.Ellis.
Catching London by [Ellis, MV]

Genre: Romance

A debut novel and a great start for M.V.Ellis. There were things that niggled, but overall it was a terrific first book, and I look forward to more.

Arlo, he’s brash, self opinionated, incredibly confident and a total rock star cliché, and yet under that there’s a real guy, who’s got some genuine emotions, who does care about his people, who has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. When he meets London – and what a meeting – he knows she’s special and goes all out to get her in a position where he can see more of her, get to know her and let her know him. Lucky for him she’s a talented photographer, which fits in with his plans perfectly.
I loved Arlo, who couldn’t? He really is a solid guy, and determined London will be his. He has the money and connections to make that happen but he wants her to want it so treads carefully.
London, had a sad past and was a sweet girl and I really felt for her and what she’d lost. Gah, the number of times I wanted to slap her though, blowing hot and cold, giving Arlo the OK and then changing her mind over nothing it seemed. Arlo could have got whiplash from the stop-start of their romance.

I would have liked to understand Arlo a bit better, that’s where I love dual POV as it lets me see what characters are thinking and feeling, but I got a pretty good sense of him from his actions.
London as I said irritated me so many times, I liked her but she was a bit too ready to pull the plug for no reason, and then in next breath all over Arlo.
I’d have enjoyed seeing more of the secondary characters, we did in the first half of the story but they seemed to mostly sort of fade out in second half.
I guess the thing that stops this from being five star for me is the long mental monologues London has going on, pages and pages and pages of them, and I felt the story was being told by this rather than shown by way of action and dialogue. Its me, I just like dialogue based books best. Not everyone does, but that’s what brought this down for me, too much telling and not enough showing the story in action.

Stars: 4, it was a fun read, I adored Arlo, and liked London but she did irritate me. For me it needed more dialogue though for a five, however not everyone does so you choose 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by author


Hidden Seams, Alessandra Torre

Hidden Seams,  Alessandra Torre

Hidden Seams (Unzipped Book 2) by [Torre, Alessandra]

Genre: Romance, Erotica
I’ve read quiet a few AT stories now and love her writing style. She doesn’t dumb down novels, but has a rich linguistic style and plots that are at times quite complex. That makes for an absorbing story for me, and the type I love to get lost in, taken away to someone else’s life!

I wasn’t sure what it was Avery was doing for work at first. I get the idea of how she is providing work for the girls, helping them build a new life without getting sucked into the underbelly of crime that their position often brings, but the logistics of it, the money laundering etc I just didn’t understand…but that didn’t matter, it provided a plausible framework for what she was doing. I felt for her childhood, a difficult situation and one that’s left a lasting effect on her.

Then there’s Marco, lived a very open, very public, very deliberate lie for a decade, now everything is coming to him but Avery threatens that. He was a jerk to her, but then she’d caught him unexpectedly and I could see why he distrusted her. He wanted to protect Vince’s memory too, and Avery’s appearance could tarnish that indelibly so I did see why he was so awful to her.

The sensuality between them though was incredible, tangible right from the first meet. The encounters were perfect examples of Alessandra’s ability to write hot and erotic sex, without subjecting the reader to page after page after page of the same words and actions. So many “erotic” novels do that, constant bland and repetitive sex scenes held together by the thinnest of story-lines, but Alessandra’s stories are not like that. She has the perfect solid, intense stories, plots that hold hidden surprises, with carefully spaced sensual sex scenes. That works so much better for me, makes for a far more interesting read. I like reading well written sex, but for me the story always has to come first.

I didn’t foresee how this would all play out, just had the “whichever way it goes one of them loses” mentality, and couldn’t see how they could have a relationship. However it wraps up so perfectly in a way I simply hadn’t considered, ties in all the loose ends and makes everything going forward work so well.

The only failure for me in this story, which drops the half star is that I have a love for angst, for that point towards the end when the couple fall apart, when its all lost, and looks like the romance is off. There were a couple of shaky moments, but no real pressing issues to cause that and for me it makes the story just that little bit less.

Stars: Four and a half, excellent read, erotic sex without being overdone, and a solid story-line backing it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


Reach for the Stars,  Kathy Jay 

Reach for the Stars,  Kathy Jay 
Reach for the Stars: A feel good, uplifting romantic comedy by [Jay, Kathy]

Genre:  General fiction (adult)

I bought book one when I saw this, that’s the story of Alex, Nick’s twin brother. Sounded the sort I love and was only 99p. Sadly though I liked it I wasn’t really convinced of the story, felt it was a bit meh, so almost wished I hadn’t asked for this. What a difference though, I love this story, full of drama and fun, laughter and heartbreak and with some very real feeling characters.

I really didn’t like Nick in book one but now I saw a different side to him, saw the reasons for his behaviour and it made sense. Layla is a great character, one of those people everyone depends on, but its leaving her no time to do what she wants, pit herself first. When Joe does the dirty ( hiss, boo, what an awful man he is) she’s distraught, they’ve been together and she was thinking marriage and family so it came as a shock. Then Nick comes along and she sees what passion really is.

It was great fun to see events play out, to see what starts as a no strings fling becomes more, to see Layla discover what real love is, let her see what she had with Joe was just a good friendship at best.
Paris, great at first then heartbreaking. But we’d kind of guessed that would happen. Then the events after that had me amazed, how Joe rationalised everything cemented in my mind just what a jerk he was. I did feel sorry for Lainy though, an innocent caught up in his selfishness.

Stars: 4.5, it was a really fun read, and I enjoyed it so much more than book one. I’m not sure I’d re-read, not for a very long time anyway but one I’m very glad to have chosen.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Touch of Ice, Mary Auclair

Touch of Ice,  Mary Auclair

Touch of Ice (Dawn of Dragons Book 1) by [Auclair, Mary]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

I’d never read anything by this author but liked the sound of this. I really wanted to like it but…TBH it was a little too simplistic for me.
Endora, I get why she lied about not having children, what parent wouldn’t when their child’s life is at stake but I didn’t understand why she lied about Wilfrid. Or why that event didn’t actually seem to matter.
I though she was far too many times just TSTL. She’s ready to blame Aldric for everything – even while melting in lust against him…gah! I hate that. Personal gripe though, its common in paranormal reads so clearly others don’t find it an issue. She sees Wilfrid after ten years of being abandoned, no support, no help even when their child was dying and yet ignores the fact that she and the children are huge targets for bloodthirsty killers, skips out against all Aldric’s instructions to keep them safe, even when last time she did that the guard almost lost his life – and that time she just wanted some fresh air. This time she thinks Tallie ought to be able to see her dad! WTH?

It’s an OK story, better if you can get past Dora’s stupidity and judgmental tendencies. The dragon and child thing was a good touch, and I liked Aldric and his family, and the whole dragon structure. I can see how this is going to build into a decent series if you like a kind of simple paranormal romance theme. For me I need a bit more depth, but the best sellers are dominated by books like this so obviously many readers love them, even if I want a bit more substance 😉 Horses for courses, reading taste is subjective. Just because this wasn’t right for me doesn’t mean others won’t love it.

Stars: Three, OK but a bit light and Dora was a real Fail for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Scandal,  Sasha Morgan

Scandal,  Sasha Morgan
Scandal: A sexy, scandalous page-turner by [Morgan, Sasha]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Romance

I can’t see any other adult fiction by Sasha so assume this is a debut novel, and what a great start.
That cover though – is that meant to be Sharon and Gary’s hot tub? In view of the Hall. And what Scandal does the title refer to, there isn’t anything really salacious…

I really enjoyed this read, gentle humour from the story and characters without that OTT forced feeling so many chic-lits have. When I see “ you will die laughing/ funniest story you will read this year” my heart sinks and I know they’re not novels for me. This one the story is the focus, and any humour just comes naturally.

I love the characters, Megan and Tobias of course, but Gary and Tracy and how they settle in to the village, very understandable issues with a huge change of environment, and how their former friends reacted is sadly very real. Then there’s Tobias friends Seamus and Dylan, stable girl Flora, Finnula and Dermot from the pub, Nick the vet, and Tobias family, brother Sebastian, mum Beatrice and wonderful aunt starchy Celia. They all play small parts of the overall story and lead to some fun sub plots along the way.

I loved seeing how Tobias transformed the estate from a money pit, sucking up all funds and leaving them in dire straights, to renovating and selling parts and making others areas income producing.
Its the kind of thing we do see here in the UK from big ancestral homes, here in rural Norfolk I can think of several who have done similar things. I do like my novels to be realistic, so I can feel that events could really happen that way.

I would have liked a little more drama of the down kind, a few hiccups to Megan and Tobias romance, there were tiny bumps but I love to wallow in the bit where it all goes wrong, and then its so much sweeter when the HEA arrives, but here we didn’t quite reach that depth of emotion.
And smacked wrist for Dylan, his condom use needs to be much, much stricter given his propensity for taking up every opportunity.

Stars: 4, a really fun read, full of very genuine characters and events.

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

Drakon’s Past, N.J. Walters

Drakon’s Past, N.J. Walters

Drakon's Past (Blood of the Drakon Book 4) by [Walters, N.J.]

Genre: Romance

I missed the first two in this series, but each are stand-alone reads, though the stories are closely connected. I really enjoyed book three but this one felt a little too simplistic for me. I am intrigued by the idea of the Dragon Guard though, and hope that even though each brother now has their own lady that the series will continue. There’s much more to come out with the age old hunter enemies, and the ew found Dragon Guard organisation.

I liked constance, understood by she did what she did, families come first, amongst everyone would have done the same. I did find it hard that she pulled off what she was asked to do, and that Nic didn’t find it all all suspicious when she – well, – jumped him is the best way to describe it. Really? In the terror of threats, kidnapping, death of someone close this somewhat reserved lady wants to crawl all over him and lick him up and that doesn’t trigger suspicion?
I liked Nic, and his brothers of course, but holding a lifelong grudge against women because of betrayal was a bit hard to believe. He must have met some trustworthy ladies in that time.

The story is pretty simplistic compared to the last one and felt a little too light for me to rate higher. The solutions followed the problems so quickly that there wasn’t time to worry about things going wrong. It was a decent read, but not a great one for me, and I found myself skimming just to get to the end and finish it.

Stars: Three

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Rufus Spy, A medieval mystical mystery, Alys Clare

The Rufus Spy, A medieval mystical mystery, Alys Clare

Rufus Spy, The: A medieval mystical mystery (An Aelf Fen Medieval Mystery) by [Clare, Alys]

Edit: I wrote my review some time back, just noticed kindle price. Over £12 for an eBook? My experience is that prices often come down after a couple of moths so though it was a great read, I’d wait a bit before buying. 


Genre:  Historical fiction

I’m an occasional historical fiction reader, and this novel appealed to me from the description.
I didn’t realise it was so far into an established series though, but the book is so contained that it was easy to follow the story despite not reading the other books.
I have to be honest here – I thought this was part of another series where I’d read many of the earlier books several years back. And – its not…though both involve the same early medieval time period, a single, independent female healer, and set in the Fens in the UK ( I know the area living in the next county)
The other series is Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin and if you like that you’ll love this.

Its an excellent read, felt very real and I enjoyed the feeling of living back in historical times.
I felt I was there with Lassair, and she has some heavy events to content with in this book. I loved Jack, understood his frustration with his sheriff boss, a crooked man, out for himself not justice. Something not uncommon in that time sadly…
I’d like to read earlier books and see where Lassair became involved with him, and earlier with Rollo. I really didn’t like Rollo, found him quite selfish but had I read earlier books maybe I’d have liked him more – who knows?

I loved the slant of magic introduced, it’s very subdued but comes up at appropriate times, and was a fascinating addition that allowed the story to go further than it would otherwise, while still retaining credibility.
There’s something about those old beliefs in magic that appeals to me, and I have no trouble believing when its placed as it is here.

Lassair has a number of changes to her life here, a troubled and dangerous journey to undertake, and I get the sense her life is taking a big change.
The story kept me reading, interested to see what would happen, who was behind the murders, whether they were connected and if so how? I was wrong – actually I love being wrong, love a book that’s not a predictable read.
I was sad when a certain event happened, didn’t expect that and very unhappy for certain people at the ending. I’m hoping the next book brings a positive change.

I haven’t read any other of Alys Clare’s novels but I’d certainly like to, she can write exactly they type of story I want to read. One that feels real, is true to the time period and has me guessing who is behind events and why…

Stars: five, a great read, felt very real and I look forward to the next book.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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