Tag Archive | love story

Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser (Dive Bar Book 3) by [Scott, Kylie]

Genre:  Erotica, romance

I adored the Stage dive books, and the first two in the Dive Bar series. Whats great is that it feels like meeting old friends, the Dive Bar gang are all close, a mix of family and friends and the Stage Dive families take a step into these books. Its great to catch up with them too.
When a new scene opens with “yeah, but who is your favourite in the band? Its me, right? It’s OK to be honest, I deal well with adulation” it can only be one person talking, the wonderful Mal of course. All the characters are written so well, and each have their own “voice”, their own characteristics that make them stand out even from just an anonymous sentence. Its a tribute to Kylie that she can still do that with each character even though the cast list has grown so much.
Anyway, this book, fabulous as ever. Its starring Eric, and new resident Jean. I love Eric, he’s just on the right side of man-whore, he’s pen to almost anything and anyone, so good-looking he has scores of ladies ready for a night with him and he’s always open, for him its all about A Good Time not a Long Time. He lets everyone know that and now that he’s thinking maybe that life is a bit tired, shallow, maybe its time for more its jumping back at him. Nell, she’s his biggest critic but no-one seems to feel he can be a relationship person, that he’s capable of giving more than just the odd, casual night. Poor Eric, I did feel for him. He really could have been they type I dislike, arrogant, always ready with the chat up, always looking for the next sex partner, and yet he’s also a gentleman, helpful, courteous and very genuine. I found myself liking him, even though from earlier reads I had him pegged as a bit of a jerk. The Nell issue, the ending of the last book, had him written like that for me and yet here when its dealt with I found myself sympathising with him. At first I thought the gap and consequences was a bit of a cop out ( talking circles trying not to give anything away) but as the story continued I could see how it added yet another dimension to the puzzle that is Eric.
I write at the end of my review of the last book, Twist “I’m really looking forward to the next story, and at some point to what/how Kylie is going to do/deal with Eric. How can she make this overconfident, ar sehole, this selfish, immature guy into one we readers will like? But I have no doubt through her magical writing she’ll do it 😉 “ Well, she did it, I love Eric, loved seeing him grow, change, loved seeing why he was the way he was, that there was another deeper side to him. I adore his almost-on-the-edge-of-panic actions, his way of protecting those he loves, looking out for others, just loved seeing the Real Eric, not the cameo we had so far.

So who’s next I wonder? I’d really like to back track a bit and see what went on with Pat and Nell, and then get up to date with them. Or there’s Andre, silver fox and all round good guy. Whoever it is I’ll be queuing up to read about them.
These stories are true keepers for me, ones I love to reread.

Stars: Five, a fantastic read, light but with depth, humorous but with a series side, and reading it was like being with old friends again.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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I’ve been reading some non netgalley stories, a couple i was asked to review by authors, some I borrowed on KU, and a couple I bought.

The Ex Factor,  Debbie Viggiano 

The Ex Factor by [Viggiano, Debbie]

Genre: general fiction

I’ve read several of Debbie’s books, and this is a departure from the usual but still with her excellent solid writing style.

Its a hard subject, one that strikes close to home for many readers. When a marriage breaks up some fathers drift off, happy to abandon their family, others though are like Sam, desperately want to be a father, to have as much access as possible but get thwarted at every step by the mother. Sadly apart from expensive court proceedings, and not everyone has the thousands that can cost, there’s nothing else they can do. Even then having a court order doesn’t help when the mother say the child is ill, asleep, at a friends, doesn’t want to come and refuses access. The father can go back to court as Sam does, but that takes time and the months away from his daughter take a toll on him, on his new family and of course on Ruby. The only happy one is the mother, Annie, such a vindictive character. It would be nice to think parents always wanted the best for their child/children but like Annie many only want control, revenge for what they see as slights. Annie was the one to leave, yet tells Ruby Sam was at fault, forced her into an affair. Of course her poison is all lies but kids naturally believe what parents tell them and Annie has Ruby for the majority of the time, been drip feeding her malicious words into her ears. Its cruel, and yet it goes on day after day for many families. My lovely brother is going through the same process, so far he’s been unable to see his daughter for almost two years, despite spending several thousands on court fees. The court agreed he’d done nothing wrong, was a good father, but the mother was so vindictive she has kept his daughter away and all he can do it seek more legal proceedings. Meanwhile his little girl probably is being told daddy didn’t want her…..
Its an incredibly sad, very realistic story of what pressures a family breakdown can put on the absent parent, spilling over into other family members. Thankfully the end shows there is a glimmer of light, and I’m hoping that same thing happens for my brother in time.

A KU purchase

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya 

Royal Love (Last Royals Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

a KU purchase
This was a fun read, though it took me some time to warm to Angus, he was alpha male but on the OTT side, and there were times when I wanted Siobhan to just tell him where to go. She veers between wanting him and wanting independence and I did feel the whole getting together part was a bit rushed. I felt both acted out of characters and one thing that really annoyed me was the lack of condoms. That’s just not a good message to send out in this day and age!
There’s a little suspense, I’d kind of worked out what had happened and who was behind it, but it was still a good addition to the story and gave it a little extra edge.
I loved Angus mum and aunt, perfect snobbish b itchy characters – they really add to a story for me, make a contrast to all the sweet stuff.
Its not a story I’d re-read, a little too light and sweet for me, I need a bit more drama but its a fun read for when you want something easy to relax with.
Stars: Three, a little light but a fun story.

Rockstar Daddy, (Wilder Rock 1), Taryn Quin

Rockstar Daddy (Wilder Rock Book 1) by [Quinn, Taryn]

Genre: Romance,
a side spin from the Oblivion series. I usually loved Taryn’s stories, especially when she writes with Cari Quinn but this one was a little simple. Its got plenty of heat, lots of erotic encounters but for me they became the story, and there was little else to it – just a series of very hot sex scenes tied in with a tin backstory. For many people that’s perfect, for me it needs to be story first.

Another KU purchase

Lifeline,  Amelia Lawrence 

Lifeline by [Lawrence, Amelia]

Genre: Romance, M/M
A good read, very real with scenes that happen far too often. Alex was heartbroken after his romance with Jack went badly wrong, and feeling rejected he’s a prime candidate for manipulative bully Cole.

Like so many of these characters Cole starts off well and then the crack drift in, by which time Alex had lost his self confidence and was constantly striving to be someone who wouldn’t anger Cole. Its easy to say “why not just leave?” but much harder for anyone to do it. Bullied sap at self confidence, convince people no-one else will want them and of course the threats that Leaving will have drastic Consequences is enough to put most folk off, and Alex is just working and returning home, all the joy has been sucked out of life.
Jack – well, Jack was wonderful, regretted the past very much and wanted a second chance with Alex. The way the story played out was really well done. Its not one I’d re-read but was a very enjoyable story, a realistic portrayal of an unpleasant subject.

One I bought, was only 99p

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits by [Tate, Susie]

Genre: Romance

I loved book one in this series and Millie and Pav both feature there as secondary characters. Rosie, Jamie and Libby from that book are secondary characters here along with the vivacious Kira.

Millie is painfully isolated, has a real social issue among her other problems. Seems she was a child genius, pushed by ambitious political parents into schooling way ahead of her years and peers. She never learned to mix with others as a result. Her parents were bullies in other ways too, sapping at her fragile self esteem and now she’s an incredible medical personnel trapped in a job way below her skills officially but where they are recognised and valued so unofficially she does all the work a consultant would do. She’s been having therapy but is a long way from being who she wants to be. She’s trapped in her own self limits.

Pav is her total opposite but by a series of incidences begins to see Millie isn’t the person he nicknamed Nuclear Winter. Millie envies him, is attracted to him but knows he, like the rest of the staff apart from Libby and her colleague Don, would never want to even be friends with her, let alone more. And then things change. To begin Pav does have an ulterior motive, but he very soon sees Millie isn’t stand offish, isn’t looking down on others but plain terrified. After an incident leads to her totally falling apart in front of other staff he sees beyond her facade, and tries to help. Libby too and the irrepressible Rosie, work on bring Millie forward, helping her get past those limits.

I so felt for Millie. Social anxiety is genuine, many of us have issues where the thought of meeting others has us in a sweat, hearts racing, blood pulsing, just knowing that we don’t have that easy connection, that simple conversation is anything but, that trying to talk to someone unknown will result in the usual brain jelly and lack of speech. Millie’s reactions are way beyond most though, and the way Susie gradually brings her forward, showing us how the CBT, the people she depends on, the gradual widening of those she can trust bring her forward is wonderful to read and felt so very real.
I loved Pav, he saw beyond the obvious to the gem that was Millie, and its was a treat to read this romance. When he spoke to Millie’s parents I was cheering him. Its a great read, I loved seeing the familiar characters from book one, loved seeing just how difficult Millie found things others breeze past, loved how Pav’s family changed when they got to know the real Millie.

The epilogue too was just perfect. Just enough to let us see how things would work out, but not enough to feel the story gets past the interesting part.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

From the Top, Dani Collins

From the Top,  Dani Collins

From the Top (Blue Spruce Lodge Book 2) by [Collins, Dani ]

Genre: Romance, General Fiction( Adult)

I read the sample of book one and felt I enjoyed the authors writing style, so requested this. Really enjoyed it, might buy book one too when my TBR pile goes down.

It started well, and I thought I knew what was going to happen but…I was wrong. It took a different direction, and I really enjoyed being surprised. I loved Nate, such a great father to Aiden, but his reactions to Ilke’s news wasn’t great. Then again it was a shock, and Ilke’s ideas about what to do were a bit different! I wasn’t so sure I liked Ilke at first, she seemed very closed, very cold, but when I knew more about her upbringing my heart ached for her. What an awful thing for a child to have to deal with, and no-one to help her. Its not surprising she has the view that getting close to people hurts,m that you can’t rely on anyone else.
Her and Nate are so opposite in so many ways and yet the chemistry between them sizzled, and slowly they were drawn together on a level about just the physical. Once more though the story held lots of surprises, plots took unexpected directions, things cropped up that I just didn’t foresee. I love a story that does that, keeps me guessing what is coming next, keeps me reading to see if I’m right.
It wasn’t quite a five star read, I’m not sure why, but it wasn’t a can’t-put-down read, more one that was interesting but still easy to pick up and put aside for later. Still an excellent story though, and the next one – if its Trigg’s story – looks fantastic.

Stars: Four and a half, excellent read but not quite the magic five. Trigg next I hope 😉 as that looks to be really fun!
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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

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

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