Tag Archive | love story

The Soulweaver, Heidi Catherine

The Soulweaver, Heidi Catherine

The Soulweaver (The Soulweaver Series Book 1) by [Catherine, Heidi]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

I love stories that are a little “different” and was intrigued by this one. I really wanted to love it but….like was the best I could describe the way I felt.

I’ve always been intrigued by “what comes next” and as a child was fiercely convinced in reincarnation. I thought this book would be interesting, and wanted to see how the Hannah/Matthew/Lin/Reiner conundrum would work out. Somehow though when I think of reincarnated souls I see them as lovers, not parent and child, sister and brother, and that part just made it difficult for me to understand, hard for me to feel the love.

Love for a parent/child to me is very different to love for a soulmate.
It did all go full circle, did all work out but for me it was just an OK read, not one I loved. As usual though that’s subjective and I can see that others love it so you chose if its likely to be one for you.

Stars: Three, its a well written book, its just that the story wasn’t great for me in the way it played out.

Arc supplied for review by Netgalley and publishers

 

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Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet

Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet

Heart on Fire (The Kingmaker Trilogy Book 3) by [Bouchet, Amanda]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

The final stretch, and what a fantastic trilogy this has been. A mesh of traditional legends, Gods, Goddesses, fantastical creatures and imagined kingdoms. Amanda has taken bits of stories we all grew up with and shaped them into an amazing story that had me gripped right from the start.

The characters, a real mix, and finding out some of the ones Cat has known for years were actually more then just magical humans came as a shock to her. Griffins family, she wishes she’d been brought up that way, secure in her parents love, but her upbringing was very far from that. Griffin and his siblings and parents support each other at every turn, Cat’s siblings were forced to fight each other and their mother for their lives, and killing her sister scarred Cat’s psyche in unimaginable ways.
When she ran, aided by Thanos, and found the circus they became her family for many years, but she kept secret inside her talents, her magical skills. Then Griffin came into her life.

Griffin has been incredible, he’s ambitious, but not for power, for peace. He wants to reunite the fractured kindoms and stop all the fighting, the abouse by those in power, the cruelty and murders, but he’s happy to stand behind Cat, to take second place as he knows she’s meant to be the figurehead.
Turns out much of what he feels is real, that he and Cat were shaped for each other, given the skills to get this done but that doesn’t mean its plain sailing. They’ve come so far but still have a big battle in store, Cat’s mother won’t give up her kingdom easily, and Cat knows just how powerful she is.

I love the way this plays out, as with the other two books there are battles, both on a large scale, and small with just Cat, Griffin and sometimes some of the others from Elpis team.
There’s a backstabbing betrayal that comes as a shock, there are multiple times they face death and scrape by aided by one of the Gods, or by a talent they’ve gifted them in the past – nothing was ever free though, they had to prove they had the skills, they were right to hold that gift.

I love the way Amanda has dealt with my pet hate, when characters are right on the edge of losing and one of them gets a new power and miraculously is skilled and wins the day. Mostly she has them use powers we already know they have, having worked hard to refine the use of them. There are times when they are almost in the situation I’ve described, but they have to really think about, understand the consequences of using what they have, and often it doesn’t go right first time, or even fourth time, and they need a quick Godly rescue 😉
I want my characters to have to work to win, to have to make tough choices, to really understand what it is their asking, doing, wanting.
I need them to practice to get the skills they need, not just whip them out of a hat at the tough moment, and Griffin ensures Cat and the rest of the team do all that.
There’s lots to understand to about him and Cat, why and how they are who they are, the consequences of their actions, their pasts and how that has affected them.

Of course it culminates in an amazing battle bringing in so much of whats gone down earlier in this book, and in the previous two.
I love stories that do that, build on events and characters, let them play a full role in how the story ends, not just a bit part along the way.

Way back when I read the first part of Charlie N. Holmberg’s  Magician trilogy, I wrote that I thought it would make a fantastic family film – and a couple of years later Disney picked it up.
I really think this trilogy would be a terrific film too, but more for new adults upwards. There are scenes between Cat and Griffin that are very sensual, which belong to the story, show their connection, but which would probably get toned down too much or disappear if this became a family film, and that would be a real loss IMO.

Stars: five, a fantastic trilogy, gripping, entertaining and one to keep.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Searching for Billy Shakespeare, Crista McHugh

Searching for Billy Shakespeare,  Crista McHugh

Searching for Billy Shakespeare by [McHugh, Crista]

Genre: Romance

I loved the description – I adore movie star romances – but though Crista has written many books I’ve only read one, Here All Along, which is about Gabe’s friend Gideon, and it didn’t really work for me. Still, hesitantly I requested and – I’m so glad I did as I loved it.

It doesn’t have the deep, heavy angst and drama I love so much, but Kate and Gabe were such great characters that I still was totally hooked by it. We don’t actually meet Gabe til nearly halfway through, but he’s there in multiple phone conversations with Kate and I was in love with him just from those 😉

Kate’s wonderful, studious and slightly klutzy, and with a total jerk of a boyfriend, Mike. He seriously took her for granted, and in way he’d become just a safe habit for her. He’d sapped her confidence which is why she left him get away with it. Catching him out was awful, but with the help of her friend Lizzie moving out and on was the best thing she could have done. I was hoping the jerk would get to see just how well she’d moved on from him but…maybe in another book as a secondary plot.
I loved her, she was so hardworking, so honest and one of those people who are just plain Right. She worked hard at her PHD, did the best she could for her students, was a good friend to Lizzie, and TBH had been carrying Mike when it came to relationships. All that time though, she was a bit lost, a bit marking time it seemed, not sure of direction, and Gabe came along at just the right time.
I love that she doesn’t know who Gabe is, so she’s not awed by him, treats him as anyone else. He needs that, the Gabe I remember from the other book was a bit of a prat, but here he’s wonderful. Maybe he just reflects how he’s treated, and Kate talks to him as an equal so he reacts back the same way. He admires her intelligence, isn’t awed by it as so many people are, and that gives her confidence.

Its a great fun read, I really enjoyed all of it, made me smile and I was so understanding of how Kate felt. I did wish for a teeny bit more angst, y’know, the sad bit that usually hits about 80% when relationships hit a block, but that’s just me, and this was still a perfect read without.
Its not one I’ll re-read though I think, I’d need the drama for that but I’ll certainly feel Crista is an author whose work I wont hesitate to try again.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, a real feel good romance, though for me I could have had a teeny but more sad parts…..
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale, Book 3 of the Accidental Turn Series, J.M. Frey

The Silenced Tale (The Accidental Turn Series Book 3) by [Frey, J.M.]

Genre: LGBTQIA , Sci Fi & Fantasy

I’ve loved this trilogy, fresh and unusual, it hinges round the characters in a series Elgar read wrote. By some quirk of fate he wrote magic so perfectly that it – and the actual characters, places and events, became real. As a Reader, Pip was pulled into the world and met Forsyth. Now they both live in the Overrealm, our world, with their daughter Alis.
They had issues with Hain and certain people in the last book, where events there were affecting the Overrealm, and now they fear that things weren’t as safe as they left them, that maybe, just maybe, someone else has come through to the Overrealm.

There’s another fantastic adventure, Syth being his spymaster self here in the real world, master of the PC and Internet. I love how he’s adapted to it, his careful turn of phrase, his planning, always looking ten steps ahead and of course his love for Pip and Alis.
Pip is wonderful, such an intelligent girl and I love how she breaks out the writing jargon, explaining to Syth ( and readers like me!) about tropes, genres, and how books are plotted. I read, I had no idea of the structure of a story but it makes sense, and makes my author admiration even greater! She’s having a bad time in this book, due to the events of the past that connect her to magic through the carvings.
To begin its just a series of odd events that could be explained away, but Syth being the cautious type he sets his programme up to look for anything that might be connected. I love when he says he thought Pip’s Poster “its not paranoia if they’re out to get you” was a warning not an irony. That sums him up in a way, written to protect, its in his very marrow to do just that.
Of course what he and Pip don’t know is that Elgar is having issues too, with what the police think is a stalker, but what Elgar fears is Hain stuff, and vengeance from there. He had no way of knowing what he wrote created a real world, and he feels so guilty for the casual way he wrote torture and death in his stories. There’s a top secret TV series based around his books being planned and the police agree its a good idea for him to go there for a couple of weeks. Syth’s programme tells him what Elgar didn’t though, so he’s beginning to piece together events and he now knows he, Pip and Elgar are facing real danger that the police can’t help with. How can they fight magic and fictional people that have become real. If they tried to tell them they’d be taken to the nearest Psych centre!

It all comes together in a nail biting, climatic finish, and I was gutted at some of the events and yet – it was the perfect way to end the trilogy.
I read the Magician trilogy when that was first out, back in Oct 2014, and thought it would make a great family film, Disney agreed some time later. I think this too would make a great film, has that magic (hah!) content that will appeal to kids and adults alike and is so very unusual.

Stars: Five, a perfect ending to a terrific, exciting and fresh trilogy.

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

Haunted, Shari Nichols

Haunted,  Shari Nichols

Haunted by [Nichols, Shari]

Genre: Romance, Sci Fi & Fantasy

A stand alone story, which sounded fun. I enjoyed it, didn’t love it but was a quick escape from the real world.

I felt for Karly, and her sister after the recent issues they face. Their shop is struggling after a recent reading led to lots of bad publicity….I could see that happening exactly as it went down!
Then on a night out she meets Thayne. Nothing happens except for some very heated kisses and an offer to go back to his room. Karly says yes, but ducks out so when she goes to a new job next day, one arranged very quickly they’re both shocked to see each other.

Thayne is a bit of a skeptic but the events that have frightened his staff can’t easily be explained away, and when Karly and her sister get to work he cant deny the Inn is being haunted by a young lady called Emily – and She Is Angry. That’s the last thing he needs with the opening just a few weeks away.
The sizzle between Karly and Thayne can be felt, its scorching and they have some incredibly heated, erotic encounters. Nether seem able to leave the other alone.
She made me so cross though, blaming Thayne for his past, letting hers dictate her actions. She was all over him one moment and pushing him away the next. Over and over again, no wonder he was getting whiplash.
He can’t change his past, its the now and the future that count, and he shouldn’t be blamed for things others in Karly’s past have done. She was too ready to believe the worst of him even when he’d done nothing or had a good explanation.

I was really hoping more would be made of the Jennifer angle, it was good, but for me could have been deeper,better, more satifying. I love a “good” bad person, a jealous man or woman, they really make a story sometimes.

The suspense, the haunting angle was interesting but like the romance I felt that the issues raised, the problems caused by Emily treated almost lightly , sort of “wow, she’s created a heck of a storm. Look at that tree, look at that damage…Ah well, who’s for coffee?” Well, it wasn’t quite like that 😉 but that’s how it felt to me.
Then there’s the problems Thayne has with his family, his father, his angst over his brother, not to mention someone else with a grudge against him playing a part in the story.
There was so much going on, so many different story lines that I felt none of them really got treated with the respect they deserved, didn’t get the expansion they needed, just a light fluffy kind of treatment.
That’s a shame as they were some terrific ideas. If the book had been twice the length ( its just over 3500 kindle locations so pretty short) then those plots could really have been made the most of, and this would have been a five star read for me, but as it is I felt I liked it but nothing really stood out about the book, nothing special.

Stars: three and a half, so much potential if either less plots used, with a deeper treatment for them, or longer book that let them really get made the most of.
Still, others will love it as it is, that’s the nature of reading, everyone wants something different.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Heartbeat, Hollywood Hearts: Book 3, Belinda Williams

Heartbeat, Hollywood Hearts: Book 3, Belinda Williams

Heartbeat (Hollywood Hearts Book 3) by [Williams, Belinda]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

I loved the first book, with Ally and Jake, enjoyed the second with Lena and Marc and looked forward to this. Ally and Jake are still my favorites ( in fact I’m just having a reread after finishing this one…) but this comes a close second.

Chloe is a real star, lovely girl, over protective mama and at 21 trying to take some control over her life without upsetting anyone. Its interesting reading her back in book one after having read this one, in fact its put a whole slant on all of the characters now I know more about them.
Its her 21st and she’s having a party, arranged by mama, with her favorite band playing. She’s gobsmacked to meet them, awed at meeting Gabriel, the drummer who she’s admired for so long.
Through a culmination of circumstances she gets caught on video with the lead singer that night. Its not what it looks like but can she convince anyone? Will Gabe believe her, and who did it anyway? And why? And what happens next?
Gabe accepts her explanation, and things seem to be going well until more images get revealed, along with some information that makes it clear she has a stalker. What now? The tone of the messages is quite threatening.

Chloe is lovely, and handles events so well. Gabe too is a real strength to her, she needs that. I loved him, a real gentleman.
We meet Ally, Lena, Faith, Jake and Marc again. The group have become close friends and she needs their support, as events go further and put pressure on her and Gabe’s relationship. Can they come through, as the secrets that come out are ever more more complicated.
I was shocked at some of the revelations, certainly didn’t see those coming and it makes for an action packed complex romance that was just perfect. Its one that will, like the first book, become a re-reader for me.
I loved that we got the real Hollywood setting, the action and dramas of filming, and the difficulties of merging a Hollywood relationship with the odd hours of filming, that comes with a Rock star touring schedule. I like books to reflect the realities of the settings and all three of these have done that beautifully.

Stars: Five, a perfect Hollywood romance, with a solid story backing it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Winter’s Tale, (Shakespeare Sisters), Carrie Elks

A Winter’s Tale, (Shakespeare Sisters), Carrie Elks

A Winter's Tale: the perfect feel good Christmas romance (Shakespeare Sisters) by [Elks, Carrie]

Genre:  General fiction

I love Carrie Elks writing, started with the wonderful Fix You, followed by Love in London and its sequel, and then the first book of the Shakespeare sisters – all were perfect reads for me.
I love the UK links, though the Shakespeare sisters one isn’t featured heavily in UK, but its still referenced. Sometimes I think authors forget there are countries outside the US 😉

Kitty struggles so hard, a perfect student, first class work but she needs an internship and interviews fluster her to the point she fails, always, despite her excellent record academically. By a roundabout route she ends up nannying over the xmas break for a top producer, hoping that this may give her a chance somehow to get the fabled intern position.

The family are staying with Everett’s parents over Xmas, with his brother Adam staying in a cabin close by. He and Everett had a major falling out the previous year and its something everyone is very tight lipped about, with Adam still doing his best to avoid Everett. Difficult though when they’re so close, staying with the parents.
Kitty and Adam don’t get on well at first, nor at second meeting, but when he looks at why he’s so antagonistic to her he can see the fault was all his. He tries to be friends with her as he wants to make amends, well that’s what he’s kidding himself, really he just finds it hard to stay away. Of course friendship isn’t going to work, not when he’s so attracted to Kitty and she to him….

Adam is gorgeous, and I understood why he and Everett fell out when the secret was revealed, and he and Kitty were perfect together.
Everett – I thought he was a jerk, but there’s things about him I didn’t know, and I ended up by – well – not exactly liking him but understanding him a bit more.His wife Mia was a typical self absorbed Hollywood type.
Jonas, Kitty’s 7 year old charge is wonderful, he’s such a friendly kid, so open and loving. considering how neglectful and selfish his parents appear that’s pretty much a miracle.
Annie the housekeeper was lovely, I felt sad though that she was so alone, she deserves her own story Carrie 😉

Of course just when all’s going well its not….you know, how at the peak of being happy disaster strikes and poor Kitty, poor Adam. I was so heartbroken for them.
As always though Carrie pulls the rabbit out of the hat, changes the way I feel about some people, turns what I thought was the story completely on his head to give a different meaning to it and everything works out well. I love a HEA.

Terrific read – and don’t forget about poor annie Carrie, languishing away there all on her own. She deserves a love life too.

Stars: five, classic Carrie read, humour, pathos, angst, drama, happiness, more humour – the subtle British kind that I loved, not the force fed type found in too many novels, and of course, a fabulous story

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Her Frozen Heart, Lulu Taylor

  #HerFrozenHeart  @panmacmillan

Her Frozen Heart, Lulu Taylor

Her Frozen Heart by [Taylor, Lulu]

Genre: Women’s fiction, Romance

My first read from Lulu Taylor and though the writing style was perfect for me I did think to begin that I wasn’t going to enjoy this story.
It seemed each time I got into what was happening in the life of Caitlyn or Tommy the chapter would leave them and go to the other one. It took a while before the two stories seemed to gel for me, I couldn’t see the connection and frustrated myself trying to work it out.

Once I really got into it though I loved it and slowly I found myself drawn into the main characters lives.
Loved Caitlyn, and so felt for her when her so called friend Sara began to stir up her memories of the past. she really was a first class bitch, and she was very true to type – I’ve met people like her, emotional vampires, always desperate for approbation and attention from their freinds, but never really happy, ready to use, discard, seduce anyone who can get them on the next rung of what they see as their right, regardless of who gets hurt.
Poor Tommy found someone like that intruding in her life, not by choice but foisted upon her, when her good nature made it impossible to say No.
I loved Tommy, she’d been through so much. I wanted to know Why was her mother so sniping, so sneering of Tommy’s past.
I admired her so much for her determination, her hard work in protecting those she saw as hers, her family and close freinds, she had a very hard job keeping things run during the war when everyone was facing shortages.

Its like another world reading about how they lived during the war and yet it happened, and that’s exactly how people managed to get by.
Talking to my grandkids recently we touched on the 3 day week, electricity rationing, petrol rationing during the 70s and they were astonished. Seems incredible to think of it now but that’s how it was, and like Tommy and family we just got on with life, managed as best we can.
I think its hard for those who haven’t experienced that kind of mass shortages, the time when flicking a switch doesn’t bring lights on, TV on etc.

Its a great read, not a heart stopping must-keep-reading book, but one where you can put it to one side, pick up a day later and within a few lines you’re back immersed in the world of the characters within the book. Now I know the story I don’t think its one I’d reread but its definately a five star read.
I loved the way the stories got closer to the end and then the surprises revealed when everything comes to a head.

Stars: five, a really enjoyable, satisfying read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Crazy Kind of Love, Mary Ann Marlowe. Van, A Cold Fury Hockey Novel, Sawyer Bennett

A Crazy Kind of Love, Mary Ann Marlowe

A Crazy Kind of Love (Flirting with Fame) by [Marlowe, Mary Ann]

Genre:  Romance, Women’s fiction.

I loved Mary Ann’s first book, and this one covers Eden’s brother Micah, who we met in book one.
That book was such a treat to read, humour that wasn’t forced, drama, real emotions and scenes I felt actually could play out in real life. I was really looking forward to this second book, and it was another terrific read.

Poor Jo, curious family background that’s left her feeling a little bit chip-on-the-shoulder about herself, and means she second guesses so much of what goes on around her. That comes over really well in this book where she’s wondering does Micah want her for herself, or just her publicity contacts.
Micah is also a great lead, funny, kind, caring and so very open. He appears to court publicity but is it because he wants fame at any price, or as he says, if he doesn’t hide anything there’s no story. He’s not sure if Jo wants to be with him for himself or to give her career a leg up…..poor confused couple, and as a reader its so easy to see how actions from both of them can be taken either way.
Throw in Jo’s best friend Zion ( loved him), her awful boss, Micah’s sister Eden, Adam her fiancee and Micah’s friend, and a few others and its a novel that’s a real treat to read. Its one I’ll definitely re-read and it may be time for a repeat look at Eden and Adam’s story 😉

Its chic lit – but with that bit extra, a little seriousness that grounds the story at times, doesn’t have the sheer silliness that has me eye rolling at so many of this genre.
Its a story for those of us who don’t need every facet of humour force fed to us, who want to read and work out where the story is going ourselves.
It seems to be well-researched too as regards Diabetes type 1. I only know a little of that, more about type 2, but it was good to see someone with this condition having to work it into their daily lives, good to see just how frightening hypos can be for others. My late husband had one at around 2a.m. once, I thought he’d had a stroke, he got up, collapsed flat out and could only speak in slurs. Very very frightening, and I can see how others may think someone is drunk…Mary Ann brought that part to life really well.
I love it when an author takes care over little details like this.

Stars: five, another fabulous read from a talented author. I look forward to more.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Van, A Cold Fury Hockey Novel, Sawyer Bennett

Van: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) by [Bennett, Sawyer]

Genre:  Romance, sports

I’ve read lots of Sawyers novels, and enjoyed most very much, but a few haven’t quite cut it for me, and this is one of them.

Poor Van, what a horrific past and no wonder he’s as emotionally fragile and seems an ar se. That’s his way of protecting himself from the world, of dealing with his anger. Hockey is a great outlet for that rage, lets him release his feelings on the ice, and he’s done well in the sport. women though….absoloutely no-one, male or female, except his aunt, gets close to him.
Simone, urgh. I just did not like her and its my main reason for disliking the story. there’s an attraction in a woman with self confidence, Simone though was simply arrogant, rude, uncaring of what anyone else wanted, her feelings were all that counted and I really disliked her.
I think what got me is we’re always saying “no means no” and that’s a great message, but it applies to both sexes and she just didn’t respect Van when he said no. There’s one scene that if it was the other way round people would be outraged, horrified, claiming it borders on rape/abuse and just because its a female doing the pushing doesn’t mean its right 😦

She really coloured my whole view of the book, my dislike of her meant I couldn’t enjoy the story, I wanted to shout at her to have respect for Van’s feelings, stop just steamrollering her way through because she wanted something.
Its a sex overtakes the story novel too – and for me that isn’t good.

Stars: 2.5/3. Sorry Sawyer, there were bits I liked but overall this one’s a fail for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

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