Lawbreaker, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Genre:, New Adult , Romance
I got caught out by this book, I’ve loved every other one in both series, adore the characters and usually get quickly sucked into the story and settings. This time though it didn’t work like that.
It started well, that antagonistic confrontation, that stand off, battle of wills between Ben and Shay promised so much. After that though I just felt a bit lost, not really convinced by the story that was unfolding in front of me. Somehow it seemed to be more about what wasn’t said than what was, that I needed to read between the plot lines, and I just felt I was drifting through the story confused.
It was great to catch up with the earlier characters, and see how their lives were progressing. I loved Ben, full on but not afraid to say when he’s wrong. I wanted so much to like Shay, I felt so sad for her, so sorry that she had a childhood like that. I just didn’t feel her story was plausible though, to be a runaway at such a young age, and in truth I admired her but didn’t really like her.
Once we got on to the big con, well, I was lost, hadn’t a clue how they did it, even the why was a bit out of reach. Was it really a good thing, the right thing? How could they be sure they had the right people? I couldn’t really see that working out in real life, couldn’t see hacking skills getting into that kind of security, and along with Shay’s implausible teen years I felt this book was just a story that wasn’t right for me. I’m sure others will love it, I was shocked that I didn’t , given how much I’ve enjoyed the others in the series.
Stars: Three, parts I really enjoyed, but as a whole it wasn’t a book that worked for me.
ARC supplied by netgalley and publishers
Rule Breaker, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Genre: New Adult, Romance
I love Kat and Stone’s stories. full of fabulous characters so real I could ( and in my mind do ) talk to them, they feel like friends. Mix them up with some very real tales, things that happen, snippets from real lives and they’re books I can’t resist. Oh – and the HEA, thats essential for me 😉 I’m a sap!
I couldn’t remember much about Mase at first, he’s in the others books but very much a secondary character. It took a while for me to mentally place him in the pic I have of all these folks.
He’s a gem, feels far more mature than his years, been through a lot, is very self reliant. I love his ethos on the environment, the phrase “leave nothing but footprints” was really made for him, and as someone who’s also concerned and at times angry about what we are doing to the planet I found myself nodding when he was talking about issues.
Its interesting, I know nothing of Hawaii, but felt after reading this that I’d absorbed a bit of their culture, the island and islanders and their history along with the story being told. Subtle education but something I love when it happens, and it feels very well researched unlike many novels where “facts” get thrown at the reader, pronouncements about morality and legality are made without searching for the truth or the wider picture.
He’s surfing, happy in his own little world when his peace is shattered by a gorgeous girl, but we can see from the way he reacts to her just how tired, how jaded by everything he’s become.
Leilani (Lani) brings him to life though. there’s something about her, they way she’s so uncompromising, doesn’t do the fan/adoration thing he’s used to, but makes it clear she really doesn’t want to be there…Mase is intrigued.
So starts a beautiful, slow burn romance, full of tensions, snippets of humour, some very real issues about race, culture, history and the environment, but done in such a perfect way that I didn’t feel Preached at, just made me think, and wonder at how thoughtless humans can be, how we take gifts of nature as our right. Aannd sorry, I’m almost off on another rant 🙂
Lani is a lovely girl but its clear from very early on she’s got secrets, that she’s very cautious, that she doesn’t want to be attracted to Mase.
Tough luck though as she’s no way to hold out from the gentle, thoughtful steamroller he is.
She’s the only girl as mum died young and only she’s her dad and four brothers left. I did feel the about face from them needed a bit more looking into – given how strong their feelings were I didn’t feel that events that occurred were enough to bring forward this sudden volte-face. Small niggle though and its the only one I can think of.
BTW I wish I’d looked at the back first, there’s a really handy glossary of not just the Hawaiian and Pidgin words but surfing terms too….I worked out most from the context but it would have been handy to refer to 😉
We catch up briefly with characters from the other books, and I really enjoyed seeing them, bringing together that peaceful, quiet, gentle island life with the fast moving, anything-goes, cutthroat, immoral and power hungry world of politics. Really does show two extremes.
Its a lovely story, not in-your-face- sex but a very sensual slow burn romance, where we can appreciate how thoughtful Mase is, how he’s taking his time not to scare off Lani, he knows she’s worth the effort.
I loved the bigotry ( well, loved in that it was so real, not loved for the sake of). Sometimes I think all the bars we put on love, gender, race, religions, class etc its a wonder anyone ever finds someone to suit.
Its very sensual but its not IMO an erotic read, just one that’s so perfectly balanced. For me its got a very different feel to the other stories, less intense on the romance/sex side, not but more complex on the personalities, on what they share and how they can be together. It got sex in it, just in a more subtle way that the other books, and it fits Mase and Lani, the characters they are.
Its a beautiful story that made me think: about our world and the environment, history and its impact on the planet, bias and bigotry, politics and morality – yeah, I know, that’s sounds like an oxymoron, but I have to believe at least Some politicians are there for what they believe, not what they can get. Am I an optimist or just gullible?
Mase says at one point “We can’t even begin to fix everything happening around us, let alone political issues happening globally. But we can be the best selves we were meant to be. We can be pure and good. Forgiving and relentless.”
That’s such a wonderful statement and is how I try to live my life, doing what feel right for me, pushing for change trying to lead by example and one tiny step at a time.
Stars: Five, lovely sensual story full of real romance.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher
NB: A portion of the proceeds from all Kat and Stone’s stories go to charities who support victims of human trafficking. Horrible to think its still happens in this century but it does, too much. You can find out more on their website and blog
Heartbreaker, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Genre: Romance, New Adult.
When you read a lot as I do, you start to notice some authors have a distinct pattern to their writing – when that coincides with what you want to read, as with this duo for me – that’s great to find. I’ve recently been rereading a few favourites, and by chance this past weekend had uploaded the first in Kate Catabary’s series – that’s about a family of siblings, two girls four boys and is very much the same style of writing as this duo. This is the first in a new series but featuring the same family from the No Weddings/Invitation Only novels. That’s Cade and his sisters, and the last series was how Cade and Hannah came together, and the sisters were in the books constantly but in secondary roles. I loved those so was really pleased to find a new series starting. It’s been like catching up with friends I’ve not seen for a while
This time we meet sister Kiki, who’s a terrific but somewhat avant garde artist ( I sympathise – my family look at me with a confused face when I’ve finished some works. I can see the “err..what is it?” hovering.) She’s a great girl but guarded, had her heart broken once when she was let down by someone she thought loved her, and she’s not going there again, she has one nighters only!
Darren doesn’t want that though – she’s better than that in his eyes, but – the kicker – he’s got responsibilities that he thinks mean he can’t be the person she needs. But somehow after a few words a challenge is set, and he’s training her several times a week, well – running with her and encouraging her anyway. It looks as though friends is good for them – until it becomes more.
Darren though has a complicated home life, he’s still young, but has responsibilities that demand all his attention. Kiki too isn’t’ the carefree person she presents, she’s got some difficult issues going on she’s keeping close to her chest. Can they work through all these problems or are they doomed? I was so rooting for them, they seemed such a perfect fit for each other, has such respect for the others feelings and just wanted to help and it’s the sharing that we all need, someone to listen, to offer ideas, to be a real partner.
Its a story covering several issues, not a one strand, one plot read and how they all come together, how they work up that head of steam for the perfect dramatic finale is great. I’m always amazed at how authors do that, sow little seeds through the plot, nurturing them along, and bringing them all together so that everything makes sense, and yet as the reader we think how on earth can this end well, how can they get the HEA, but thankfully knowing somehow it will come.
Stars: Five, a great start.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes
Three Christmases, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
If you’ve read the first books you’ll know what you’re getting from this series, fun, humour, light on the surface but with a deeper message in the story. To me this one emphasises the way people have to adapt in a successful relationship and work out what their priorities are.
One again there’s some great witty lines, mouth-watering cakes, and stunning parties from Invitation Only. My mind boggles at what events such as this must cost…but it’s great to dream, and I guess for some people this is reality. One day … Of course there’s reminders to about the charities the books support, the ones in the story are fictional, but all of these books support a real life anti slavery charity. Sad there’s a need in this century but its real and does need our help and details can be found on the authors websites.
I don’t know how this team keep coming up with such great stories, they’re not heart stopping drama, tear-jerking type romances, but a gentler type, more in line with what’s real, and I love every body in them from the wonderful Cade and Hanna, to friends Lila and the crew of Hannah’s cake company ( which I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten the name – bad me, and I’ve given myself a slap!) If you want a fun read, one to take you out of todays problems and escape into a world of glitter and parties, problems and solutions love and some sensual sexting along with a few scorching love scenes ( Cade’s a Lover, he doesn’t do Sex he makes love!) then read this series and you’ll love it – you laugh and feel a bit tearful too and its like meeting old friends picking up this book. Everyone needs a Cade in their life and if Stone is anything like him then Kat’s a lucky lady!
Stars: Five, another fabulous read
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Two Bar Mitzvahs, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: romance, women’s fiction
Well, I loved the first two books and the heat has definitely turned up now – it took all of book one to get to a first kiss, all of book two to get Hannah into bed, but now they’re hot and heavy at every opportunity! It fits well into the scenes though, not added sex for the sake of it, but a natural progression as their relationship matures. Hannah is still struggling with her confidence though and having Cade’s ex turn up and make it clear she wants him back isn’t helping. Cade is wonderful, and tells Hannah he’s not interested, but he’s busy micromanaging every aspect of the businesses, and as they’ve grown and become more popular his time with Hannah is taking a knock. Plus of course he’s a guy (!)– and doesn’t know when he should tell Hannah things that he may think is irrelevant but she doesn’t, and it leads to some friction. As ever the family and co workers/friends are a fabulous group. The story centres around Cade and Hannah, but the others play some important parts in the story. Madison – the ex – is a great character, a real nasty piece of work, manipulative and out for what she wants, regardless of the cost to others. I loved ( to hate!) her character. Once again the events are described wonderfully, fitting into the story and giving me a clear mental image of them. The convo with Madison over the food at the bar mitzvah – where she’s planned crab cakes and pigs in blankets, and talks down to Cade when he nixes them, suggesting he’s just being picky – then he points out the Jews/pork/shellfish connection …wonderful. Its that kind of tiny detail that’s potentially a huge problem that makes Cade so good at his job. Hannah’s cakes once again are incredible, I have this mental image of them and I love the way Kat and Stone have cone up with the most unusual ideas for them…
It all wraps up in another fabulous story, taking Cade and Hannah that one step further finally. Its full of emotion, smiles, despair, how to work through dramas, how to deal with ( and not deal with ) exes, and through it all is the shining happiness of Hannah and Cade – well until Cade takes a wrong step and it all crashes He’s at a loss over how to sort things, how to persuade Hannah he can be trusted, that he will make things right. His dad is just wonderful, and gives him some very good advice about work/life balance and Cade can see where he’s let the ball slip – can he pick it up again though and show Hannah they belong together? That was so sad, I felt for him, we could see the disaster coming, but he was so busy micro managing he didn’t see it and when it hit – oh poor Hannah, with her past it struck her badly, and I was so sad for her, but rooting for Cade not to give up, to pick her up and put things right. They’re such a great couple, and this book has some very explicit steamy scenes, but they’re good both mentally and emotionally and not just in the physical sense.
There’s a theme of helping others less fortunate running through the series. Cade’s parents support an anti slavery charity, the businesses hold charity events, and the theme of one of the parties is about Fair Trade with only Fair Trade products used and partygoers encourages to purchase FT clothing. Its a reminder of the small things we can do in everyday life that can have a huge impact on other people’s lives. There’s a section at the end of the novel about the charities mention in the books. They are fictitious but there are real ones like them who need our help, and some of the proceeds from the sales of the No Weddings series go to support them. See the katbastion.com website for more info.
Stars: Five , loved it.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
One Funeral, Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
review from jeannie zelos book reviews
So, the first book, great fun, sensual and interesting and I was keen to get on to part two. I was pretty sure that as it took til the end of the first book before Cade and Hannah got to actually kiss, and what a kiss that was…..( should that be just three dots?) that there wasn’t going to be steamy sex right from the off in this one. I was right, but what I really enjoyed is how Kat and Stone have made a sexy and sensuous story without it happening early. Each touch, each look, each gesture between them is laden with sensuality, and its more erotic that those books which have wall to wall ( well, page to page ) sex that’s so overblown it becomes dull and boring. You know the ones, where you find yourself skipping yet Another sex scene to try to find the story. Sometimes less really is more, and the best things worth waiting for, and so it was here.
Once again the cakes take pride of place, and I was eagerly awaiting the descriptions – I could envision them – but chocolate and bacon cupcakes – not for me! Its based around the same small group of family and friends with a few new additions. I was a bit worried about Ryan when he was introduced. Loved Lila. Enjoyed how Daniel and Chloe had grown along with the responsibility they’d been given. They were a great team with Hannah. I like the small grouping of characters – it means we can really focus on Hannah and Cade without too many distractions of what’s happening to others. When we do see anyone else its in connection with one or the other of them. . we see how though they think they are moving on, that there’s still things in the past that affect both of them, and they take steps to get past that. I love the Non Date idea – Cade really is a gem, and once again I can help feeling he’s such a mature man for his age. He seems to have thought of everything, whether it business or friendship, nothing seems to catch him out.
Stars: Four and a half. Its another great read, a gentle romance but no less sensual and sexy for that.
ARC supplied from Netgalley and publishers.