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Frostbitten, Charlotte Stein

Frostbitten, Charlotte Stein

Frostbitten by [Stein, Charlotte]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

This title is part of the 2016 Holiday Charity Bundle collection supporting The Trevor Project.

I’d loved one of Charlotte’s stories I’d read before, so knew I enjoyed her writing style, and this – vampires, ménage, and a synopsis that sounded fun, meant I’d clicked the request button before realising it was a novella.
My bad.  😦 I so struggle with those, some people love them but me, I always feel the stories are too truncated, that I don’t get to really know the characters and events.
This book was a perfect example of that – as a full length novel I think I’d love it, but everything happened so fast here that I just didn’t feel properly connected to the story or characters.

When it starts Zeke has been the subject of Cora’s crush for a while. She’s the shy, retiring type though, so doesn’t do more than blush and get tongue tied each time she sees him. Its the xmas party and he’s brought Merrick with him. From the freezing glares he’s directing at her Cora can see that Merrick is more than just a friend to him, and that he’s Not Happy at Zeke talking to her.

Then everything goes bang and she wakes up a captive. The first part was a great beginning, but of course once she’s transformed and captive there’s a lot of ground to cover in just such a short time.
For me it was hard to accept she understood and welcomed what had happened, she just didn’t seem to me to have that sort of nature. Then it was hard to see how Merrick went from that cold, jealous, supercilious vampire who seemed to hate her, into something else entirely.

Its a great story, but so cut short by the length restrictions that the reasons for events, the side parts and consequences just couldn’t be fit in, and I needed them. The sex though – wham, that’s there, in spades. Sensual and erotic and lots of it.
If you want a short hot read, with a good story ( even though its very compressed) this is your read.
Lots of people like novellas, one of my friends loves them- she reads a few pages each night and says at least this way she can still remember the beginning when she reaches the end….

If you want a short and very erotic read this is perfect, if like me you want more depth, a longer, more fleshed out story then you may feel that this is not really your kind of read.
The Trevor Project is well worth supporting though.

Stars: Three and a half, short and spicy, just a bit too short for me

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

A New York Love Story, Cassie Rocca

A New York Love Story,  Cassie Rocca

A New York Love Story (Blame it on New York) by [Rocca, Cassie]

Genre:  Romance, women’s fiction

I really wanted to love this book, it sounded such fun and was in one of my favourite tropes.
I didn’t dislike it but….it wasn’t more for me than just an OK ish read.

The start was difficult, Cassie did an awful lots of Telling not Showing from both Cade and Zoe. There were long thoughts, kind of internal monologues and descriptions of what both of them were thinking, their backgrounds, their families and how they got where they were. That’s fine for some readers but for me I need the reveal to take place by way of action and dialogue, so I found it hard going.

I didn’t really feel much connection either with Cade being a bit convinced everyone wanted something from him, though maybe that’s understandable, and Zoe was just prickly to the point of rudeness to him. I wondered why he’d bother!

It did get better and past the halfway mark I began to enjoy the story in parts, but there was too much from earlier that affected me, I never really felt that magic sizzle and tension I needed from them both to connect, never was really convinced they were in love.
Its a great idea and will be perfect for some readers, just not for me.

Stars: 2.5/3, that slow start almost made me stop this book, but I ended up reading through and the second half was better

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Club Trega,  Nicole Wood

Club Trega by [Wood,Nicole]

Genre:   Romance

I really wanted to like this story, it sounded perfect for me but…I just couldn’t get into it, struggled with the somewhat different style of writing.

I think that style is why I just didn’t gel with the characters, I didn’t feel I understood them, their motives, their feelings and somehow that translated into just not really caring about them and where their story goes.
I found some odd typos too – not the usual they’re, their and there ones,  but missing punctuation which led to me reading again things that didn’t make sense, and there were words wrongly used, ones where a similar sounding word but an incorrect one was used. I didn’t make a note of them at the time, that kind of stuff happens in books – we’re human after all and no-one gets it perfect, and I read for story not grammar accuracy, but after the third or fourth time it began to get irritating, and I was only a short way through by then.
I finally skim read to the end because I felt maybe it would get better for me, but it didn’t. 😦 I just didn’t like any of the characters that much, and couldn’t empathise with them and for me that’s essential.

One of those Marmite books where its me, not the story, that doesn’t suit – its perfect for other readers and I’m glad for them, but it just didn’t cut it for me.

Stars: Two, a miss for me but a hit for others.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Finding Their Balance, M.Q. Barber

 

amazon UK buy link  Amazon com link

Genre:   Romance, Erotica

I’ve adored this series from the start, thought I’d love this book, and was kind of puzzled, disappointed at it not working well for me.

Its difficult to explain, but this time I felt it was very Club heavy, Henry’s words which I usually love seemed a bit ponderous, extraneous at times. Usually his voice makes me shiver almost, but this time, I just wanted to say “ c’mon, get to the point”. I can see where they’ve all grown so much, that they’re conquering fears both Alice and Jay have, and the balance they need is coming but…I just didn’t enjoy it.

I guess what I’ve loved is the struggles, the way things have been misunderstood, the drama that caused, and the journey up to them all being together. I like the outside bits, the picnic, the cabin, the Tuesday lunches, the art exhibition from one of the early books, and I missed those touches here. Its very focussed on the Club, Emma and Cal and the problems they cause for the trio. Henry’s worked hard and they’ve done well, but I missed the problems and issues * shrug* maybe? I don’t know, can’t seem to put my finger on anything really, just that this book hadn’t the magic of the earlier ones for me. Still, I’m just one voice and I can see its perfect for others – that’s they way it is with reading, its very subjective and what works for one doesn’t for another.

I’m glad I read this, but it won’t be a keeper and I think maybe its time for me and the trio to part ways.

Stars: Three, one of those that’s good but not right for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

Bound & Teased, Marie Tuhart

 

amazon UK buy link

 

 

Genre:   Romance, Erotica

I was really looking forward to this, a new to me author, a story with hot men, second chance romance, some BDSM and some spicy sex….so what went wrong?

Well, I guess first off as they hadn’t seen Katie for eight years I expected some discussion of why she left so suddenly? And of course eight years is a long time – she’s now 26, and that’s a huge growing and changing gap from 18, so why did they assume she’d come back to them. I thought they’d talk about those missing years, but no, just wham, straight back into some sex and BDSM….I couldn’t see that happening whichever way I looked at it. I just felt that the sex was the story here, and I need a solid story backing up sex, not this way round. Still, there was a bestseller not so long ago of 20 steamy bits from various books, so clearly others don’t need the sex to be connected to story and characters 🙂 Same as always, everyone wants something different from their reading.

Then there’s the connection between them. Why did they act as they did the moment she was 18, they didn’t seem to have had any contact til then and now 8 years on to assume she’s back and wants to pick up where they left off? I didn’t feel any connection between them – no sizzling sexual heat, no can’t keep my hands off him/her, and even the guys seemed like a somewhat staid couple. There was plenty of sex, but for me it didn’t match the story, didn’t feel right and it just overshadowed the story. If you want a book full of hot, steamy sex this is it, but if like me you want more story – well, the story simply gets lost here. Its not strong enough to stand against endless pages of sex.

Stars: Two and a half, didn’t work for me, but if you just want the sensuality without bothering about story and connections then you’ll love it.

 

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Tryst: A Sexual Education Novel, S. L. Jennings

Tryst: A Sexual Education Novel,  S. L. Jennings 

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance,

I loved the first book with  Ally and Justice and looked forward to this. It was a good story but for me there were major issues that stopped me loving it.

Heidi and Tucker. First off they’re so in love, she adores him and he her, and then we’re told he isn’t satisfying her sexually. She wants rough, he treats her like glass. Given he knows what happened to her its not that surprising though is it? And why has this suddenly come up now – they don’t seem to have had a problem so far…Anyway they meet Ransom, her crush and Free-pass guy. His agent wants her to take him on, and at first she thinks he’s arrogant and doesn’t like him. Still wants him sexually though, and suddenly they’re all in his room where they have a wild night with Tucker watching and directing.

From the blurb I thought there would be more of that but in fact it feels to me that the whole thing is overblown, with them really only having a handful of interactions, sometimes just heavy flirting and some touching…right up to the end. I got irritated with Heidi, she loves Tucker, doesn’t want to destroy her marriage, and yet knows he’s hurt and still won’t stop flirting and pushing towards Ransom. Then she’s thinking “poor Ransom”, troubled kid, ( he’s younger at just 24) everyone warns her she’s playing with fire, risking everything, she knows he’s got some severe issues but – oh dear she just can’t stay away….and so it goes on. Tucker gave me some shocks and that changed my view of him. The only one that I really felt for was Ransom, he was so in need of love, and he’d seized on Heidi. He really was taken advantage of. They were older, professionals and should have known they were being unfair to him. I just couldn’t see all the “in love “ bit after such a short time and a couple of lust filled interludes. That’s me, others will be happy to accept it as is though.

It was a hot and sexy read but my dislike of the way the story went and the characters acted means its just a good story and not a great one. I do want to read the next story though with Ransom and Lorinda from the first book.

 

Stars: Three, loved poor Ransom, irritated by Tucker and Heidi’s selfishness.

ARC supplied by Edelweiss and publishers

 

Angel After Dark, Kahlen Aymes and The Queen, Tiffany Reisz

Angel After Dark, Kahlen Aymes
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Romance, Erotica

Well, my biggest disappointment of this book was that is a trilogy…I didn’t realise that, had thought it was one of those where the series consists of connected books, the ones where a couple in the first book become the mainstay of book two and a couple from there make book three but each book is standalone. Luckily books two and three are out, and fortunately not expensive. That’s the upside – I can carry on ( soon as I have time from review reads) with the story while its still fresh. I like to read duos/trilogies back to back, waiting months, years even for some I lose the momentum and there’s never the same impact.

Anyway, moving on, the book: Two terrific characters, both very intelligent, hardworking, Alpha types and neither want emotional attachment for reasons personal to them. When they first set eyes on each other sparks shimmer between them, but circumstances mean they don’t actually get to meet till six months on. By then Angel has some preconceived ideas about Alex, via his “girlfriend” who phones into her show. Even though its clear her story is very one sided Angel still thinks Alex is an arrogant jerk, and TBH he doesn’t do much at first to change that opinion. Somehow, by a bit of bribery by way of donation to her favourite charity, and encouragement on her part from her friend who thinks Alex is drop dead gorgeous and worth a fling with, they have one date, that leads to another and another. Soon they’re steaming up the sheets and there’s some sizzling sexual tension between them.

Its not just a romance though, hot though it is, there’s more going on. Alex is concerned about Angels job, she’s had a couple of incidents in the past where her decisions have been unwelcome by those convicted, and now she’s embroiled in a very nasty case where everyone feels the guy is guilty but he’s clever, knows what to say, how to get round her tests and looks to get away with it. Angel is determined he won’t but then things start getting dangerous, with threats to her and her friends….Alex is scared for her safety, its clear she’s been contacted and threatened, he’s there for some of it, but she can’t discuss it with him, simply reassures him she’ll be fine, can take care of herself. He’s an alpha too though and by now she’s more than just someone he wants to teach a lesson to, he can’t sit back and do nothing while she’s under threat.

I was expecting things to begin to wrap up by 80%, and of course when it didn’t look that way that’s when I began to suspect more books. I feel its quite a sudden, abrupt ending, though there isn’t always a neat stopping point in trilogies. I do think if books are not standalone that needs to be made very, very clear upfront, but as I said at least the next part of this is out…Its got some great side characters too, not just Alex and Angel, and a plot that’s going to be really interesting, but I did feel at times this dragged, felt a bit as though it was filling space more than moving things on. Still, its well worth reading if you want a hot, sensual story with some decent plots behind it, a book that’s more than just a romance.

Stars: Four, excellent start to the trilogy

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

The Queen, Tiffany Reisz

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, erotica

 

Well, the final book and what a fabulous series its been. The Queen fills in those missing years, more of the story behind the story. I can recall in those first four books the gaps, and thinking “ yes, but…. what happened…. why did….how did…” and finally more answers. It seems odd in a way having this written so the holes in the early books are filled in later, but if we’d known all at the time the drama, the suspense and our whole viewpoints would have been different. For me anyway! I know when I read book one, where we met Nora, as opposed to Eleanore or Elle, and Zach and Wesley, it was like beginning halfway through now I know what happened before and how Eleanore/Elle  became Nora Sutherlin. It would have spoiled things for me if the story had been told in chronological order.

I Hated Soren after that first book, just didn’t understand why Nora loved him. I was a bit like Wes, thinking of him as some abuser, a violent uncontrollable sadist, and then we met the man himself and of course like millions of others I saw he was a much more complex character, and understood why both Nora and King loved him, adored him and would give their lives for him – he was like that about them too. King had me confused, it took a long, long while before I began to understand him and what motivated him – Love and protection, that’s all, love of people he considered His and protection for anyone to whom he considered needed and deserved it. I think I could go back and read his story and rate it higher, the few reservations I had then have changed 😉 and like others he’s won me over!! Soren, Nora, King,  they really are a complete Trinity. Its not to say that there isn’t room for Juliette and Nico and others, but that the three of them together make some kind of a whole Unit, that expands to allow others in.

So here we get all that missing info, how Nora transitioned, how she became The Queen. It wasn’t easy, wasn’t without huge issues and struggles, not least the temptation constantly to return to Soren. Nora knew though that it would mean giving up her Domme persona, that she would lose part of herself and she knew that would be wrong for her – and for Soren. He deserved the whole Nora not just part of her and yet he couldn’t right then accept her.  We know from earlier books they find a way to get there, but its been wonderful reading just how the journey went, just what struggles and traumas they encountered along the way. Some terrific characters too –Thorny in this book, my heart bled for him, and I just hope that he found happiness finally and for a long time ( yes ok :-$ I know he’s not real – but these people Feel real).

Its been a wonderful journey, I’ve learned such a lot about people, human nature, just why some people  have specific needs, that its not an issue if everyone consents, that for some it is a need not a choice, and it’s opened my eyes to so much more. I’ll miss reading about all of them, and their quirks.  Still, I can always reread – I love to do that, and maybe knowing some of the gaps, the backstory I’ll see things differently this time round. I did reread the first four while waiting to the last four, and viewed some parts very differently – I saw just how easy it is to prejudge people not knowing all the background….

Inevitably this series will, like 50 shades, spawn a myriad of similar reads * sigh* Sadly I’ve already seen ads for dodgy BDSM loving priests etc but Soren rules, for me tiffany’s characters will always be the First, and the best.

I’ve seen pleas for Tiffany to continue the series but I think ending here is right – go out at the top, not drag on til stories get tired. I’ve seen good series do just that, and TV programmes where people try to recreate the magic of a popular show, it doesn’t work, there’s a start and an end and Tiffany has done the right thing in finishing this story. She promised some shorts about them – that will be perfect, there’s any number of incidental stories along the way we’d love to read, without having to have the characters move further forward.

Stars: five, a fabulous ending.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, in case I’ve inadvertently added a spoiler and need to edit.

 

Wounded, Volume 1, Amy Lane

 

Wounded, Volume 1, Amy Lane
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy
Strangely, although this is book one, you really need to read the earlier book Vulnerable to understand all that goes on. I’d seen this one for review and when looking up info came across Vulnerable, read the sample and was so blown away by the story I had to buy it ( wow – with my own money – even though I’d a slew of books to read!), and read it before starting this! Its a fabulous series, full of the best of the supernatural world, vampires, shape changers, elves and all sorts of strange people living hidden in plain sight in the “normal” world. I love the way Fae in a book lets in so much beautiful fantasy, the way it can be so magical and unexpected.
Cory has now become part of it, very unexpectedly, and is in a kind of limbo. At the end of the last book her lover Adrian died – I was gutted, heartbroken for her. I hate when things like that happen and yet…I also love it, it shows that there’s going to be unexpected events, that the author isn’t scared to kill off major characters and makes the books unpredictable. I have read series where it didn’t work, where I was put off the stories that followed, but here Cory also has Green, and that keeps that continuity going. There both grieving, along with others of Green’s people, for Adrian and for others that died in Vulnerable. Now they need to move on, life continued despite all the grief in the world and there are people depending on them as leaders.
Cory goes off to college with Renny, returning when breaks allow. Then something huge happens, and they need to regroup, to get back together, to defeat yet another enemy, but away from home territory. Their grief shows, they’re thought weak, and to an extent it had weakened them. Green and his seconds have always welcomed everyone, unlike the other Sidhe leaders, and it makes them stronger when those they’ve so long supported are now able to support them.
Its another great read, taking in battles and dangers, learning more about Green and Adrian’s past, bringing in more people to the protection Green offers. I love the way that the dangers are worked in, caught in to the everyday lives of Green and his group, so the personal touches and personalities can really shine. I don’t want to watch from afar but get right into the story, and knowing the characters and their issues brings me into it best. I feel I’m there with them, scared and wanting things to go right, happy and elated when they do. There’s sex here – lots of it. Its not graphic, but it is frequent and its not just m/f but m/m too and ménage. That’s fine by me but I know some people don’t like it. I feel it works well in the story, that without it things wouldn’t have such clean explanations. Sometimes sex comes into a story just for titillation it feels, but here its integral, a needed part of the story. I love too the way that Officer Max has been drawn somewhat reluctantly into the group, even though he’s human. It ends on a natural point, but showing that way for the next book ( s) I just wish they were out now!
Stars: Five, a fabulous read for fantasy lovers.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

On the Clock, Market Garden 8, L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

On the Clock, Market Garden 8, L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: LGBTQIA, Erotica
It’s no secret I love this series. The characters feel real, there’s some subtle and snarky humour and real romance. That’s what I need in a story, not just sex, even if as here its hot and sensual sex, but without a solid story and characters that feel real it means nothing.
So Blake, AKA Rolex…he used to play with Tristan and Jared but now they’ve left he needs someone new for his UK visits…they’ve recommended he seek out Jason, and so on his next visit he does. Blake doesn’t just want sex, he likes to watch and likes to be watched. Jason loves the money, loves the negotiation that comes with a high roller like Blake and they get along well. He works up scenes and they barter for a price accordingly. Then Blake realises that he feels that bit more – and that’s what I love about books like this. You can feel when things begin to change, its not any one moment but a kind of attitude change over time until suddenly its obvious that it’s now different, that emotions are involved.
Blake’s a nice guy anyway, doesn’t treat the lads like possessions but as friends and I like him. I loved the way he was with Tristan and Jared when they discovered things had changed. He didn’t throw a huff, sulk, rage about wasted money but was a real gentleman and just left his room and gave them time to talk. How many people would do that? He’s from the US and comes to UK on frequent business trips. He’s not from money, has worked – very hard – for what he has and he’s proud of it, but he still retains that respect for people and that makes him a man who I want to find that special someone. So far he’s just been burned and only found lovers that want his money, not him, and that’s why he chooses this route – keeps ( he thinks) emotions out and him safe…best laid plans and all that – ha! Can he convince Jason though? It brings in some very emotional scenes and I so felt for him. It came as a bit of a shock when he realised, and there’s one point where he does something that’s so moving, and I really wanted things to work out for him.
Its another great story from the series, again with that perfect balance of sex and story, where the story is the main feature. It is a shortish read at just over 200 pages, as are almost all in this series.
Stars: five, another great addition to the MG series.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Book of Love, Julia Talbot

Book of Love, Julia Talbot
Genre:  Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I was really intrigued by the sound of this, but sadly its very short at just 133 pages. Novellas like this don’t really work for me, I like to really get to know the characters and the plot (s ). With the length restrictions it’s just not possible. Its perfect for readers who want to read something quickly, and are happy to be plunged straight into a story with little background placing it.
This is a very sexy, hot novel, but feels to me like a story written just for the purpose of including the M/M/F sex scenes. It almost feels like the plot has actually been built around them. Its well written and an easy read but just too short for me. I wanted to know more of everybody, more of the book and the magic, and more depth in the plot. Its why I tend to avoid anything under 200 pages usually. Like I said, its the perfect book for the right reader, just not for me. Just too light and fluffy in the storyline, though the sex scenes were very erotic.

Stars:  Two, right book for another reader but just too short and simple for me.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers

Glutton for Pleasure , Alisha Rai

 

Glutton for Pleasure , Alisha Rai
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Erotica, Romance,
I really enjoyed this read. Its 232 kindle pages, so a decent length and the story covers a couple of weeks so its a very “in the instant” read, not one that covers a lengthy romance.
I love Devi, she’s always been mothered by not only her actual mother but her sisters too. They’re a very close Indian family and seem to view Devi’s mistakes in choosing a man in the past as meaning its something she needs help with now . they don’t seem to see that she’s grown up now – everyone makes mistakes, learn from them and maybe they don’t know her and her history as well as they think. Devi loves them though, knows they mean well even if it is irritating, so tends to go along with their suggestions but she’s shocked when Rana suggest a one night of hot sex with the two delicious twins that frequent their restaurant. Rana knows Jace finds Devi attractive, his frequent visits and questions about her have given that away. She’s heard from gossip that he share’s everything with his twin, and they only do one night stands, which she thinks is just what Devi needs to get her into the mood for dating again after her split a year past from her ex.
Devi thinks its a joke at first, these two fabulous hot guys can’t want her, she’s not the pretty sister, the outgoing one, that’s Rani, she’s the curvy, quiet one. She thinks she’s been set up by her sisters, that maybe they’ve put the brothers up to it and gets very upset. She’s long been attracted to Jace though, so once they convince her they mean it, they want her and its not been arranged by anyone but themselves its sizzling and sensual sex all round. Marcus thinks its their usual one nighter, but Jace is tired of that and has other plans. He just needs to convince Marcus and Devi that what he wants is what they all need. A big challenge there then Smile
Its a great read, hot and sexy, without being repetitive or overdone – I hate that. The sex scenes here are fresh and seductive, and feel very real. I love the dressing room scene when they’re clothes shopping and of course Miss Kitty, the sex shop owner, and then there’s the scenes at Devi’s family’s party where Jace wrangles an incite for him and Marcus!! Its not just sex all the way, this novel covers some very real emotion; Devi’s family ( s)mothering, the party invite dilemma, a romance that’s as far from traditional Indian as one could get, and some real sadness in Marcus and Jace background. Issues from our past do affect us and its shown very clearly here how much potential damage can be caused, and how hard one needs to try to get past psychological blocks.
Stars: Five, a fun and sexy read with some serious points to make too.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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