Tag Archive | romance

Some Kind of Wonderful, Giovanna Fletcher

Some Kind of Wonderful, Giovanna Fletcher

Some Kind of Wonderful by [Fletcher, Giovanna]

Genre: Women’s fiction, Romance

I loved Billy and me, simply adored it. Sharp dialogue, great characters and a drama filled, wonderful romance. That was my first GF read, and then¬†I read Your the one that I want – and really didn’t like it. Still, that could just have been a bad choice for me so when I saw this I wanted to see if it recaptured for me the wonderful feeling of Billy and me. Sadly it didn’t ūüė¶

I found this story dragged, after the initial break-up. 10 years, I could understand the pressure from friends and family, but it seems to have got to the point where Lizzy is focussed on a wedding more than their life together. When they break up, she feels she’s lost; lost Ian, lost those ten years and mostly, lost the person she might have been if they hadn’t been together.
I did feel for her, it was awful the way it happened and anyone would react as she does, look at themselves , the time where they could have become a different person. but that’s how life is, its a series of paths and we chose the route.

Looking back, reminiscing, making her resolutions for the future – all those parts I liked but….I was wanting a romance book, and though we met someone who could fit that partway through the book, they don’t even get as far as exchanging phone numbers until the very end of the story. That’s not what I need in a romance read, I expect an actual romance, not just the possibility of one in the future.
Though I enjoyed Lizzy’s memories, seeing her come to resolutions about various issues I wanted a romance read and TBH for me this failed at that.
Billed just as Women’s Fiction I’d have had different expectations, and rated accordingly but it isn’t and I felt let down by the lack.

Stars: 2.5. I wanted romance, I got a fun story about growing up, finding yourself, looking forward in life not back, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Cherish Hard, Nalini Singh

Cherish Hard, Nalini Singh

Cherish Hard (Hard Play Book 1) by [Singh, Nalini]

Genre:¬† Romance,¬†Women’s Fiction

I love Nalini’s writing, both contemporary and paranormal – just finished the latest Guildhunter novel – fabulous.

Anyway, I wanted to read this soon as I saw it was available but to my surprise I found it was one where though all the elements for a good book was there, great characters, solid story somehow it just didn’t work for me ūüė¶

I love Sailor, love his confidence, and his innate Goodness, that sense of right he has – and cheered him when he did what was needed to Cory!!
I hadn’t connected him to Gabriel until about a third of the way in when the light bulb moment hit me and I was “oh yes, he’s Gabe’s brother” Gabe is still playing rugby professionally here, its a pre Rock Hard read – I loved that book.
There are clear parallels in the writing, with the Dragon – Jacqueline having characteristics that reminded me of Gabe – T-Rex. The humour and style are very similar.

I don’t really know why it was just a Good read for me and not a Great one, its difficult to pin down but somehow though I really enjoyed the characters I didn’t feel the magic sizzle between Sailor and Isa, lust yes, but Love? not so certain about that.

Stars:Three, a fun read but not a good as I expected.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Cuffed by His Charm, A Dirty Little Secrets Novel, Stacey Kennedy

Cuffed by His Charm, A Dirty Little Secrets Novel, Stacey Kennedy

Cuffed by His Charm: A Dirty Little Secrets Novel by [Kennedy, Stacey]

Genre:Women’s fiction, Romance

I loved the premise of this, rich, hot guy, and lovely employee who we know we never betray him but…
I felt there wasn’t really much actual romance here, they have been flirting around it for ages, Gabe thinks she’s betrayed him but still can’t keep his hands off her.

They get together very quickly, and from there its more suspense novel, who’s behind the stories, paying her brother off, he hasn’t the wit to do something like this on his own. Then the suspense ramps up, Gabe’s freinds get involved and its a trip over to the Dark Side, the place most people stay away from.

I loved Gabe, though was pretty shocked by his first actions!! When he knows he’s wrong though he bends over backwards to help McKenna. Get’s his friends involved, really pulls out all the stops for her.
Is she grateful? Does she show it? Well, to begin I felt she rolled over too quickly after the awful accusations and the way Gabe treated her РI wanted her to have more backbone.
Then when it came to her brother she was the same, a few apologies, a promise not to do it again, or again or again….he’s a history of lying, she enables him and still she keeps on doing it. She’s not being the good sister she thinks she is, sometimes in trying to protect someone we’re making the problems worse, and by always bailing him out, paying for things when he has no money she’s just letting him carry on guilt free.
When it came to a choice between him and Gabe she chose him, yet she could have met Gabe halfway at least, he’s done and risked so much for her. She irritated me, I felt Gabe was too good for her.

I want the romance to be longer, the push/pull, will they/won’t they part, where you’re wondering just how the author is going to get these two character together.
Here though that seems to have been all “before”¬†and almost from the first few pages they are together…and I wasn’t expecting that. It doesn’t really work for me that way unless at some point its building up to a serious split and¬†I¬†didn’t feel that happened.

Its a well written, fast paced novel, but I felt the romance for me just didn’t work, and the suspense part of the story overtook it.
Stars: Three, great if you love suspense, not so great if its romance you want.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Meander Scar, Lisa J. Lickel

Meander Scar, Lisa J. Lickel

Meander Scar by [Lickel, Lisa J.]

Genre:  Romance

This was a strange read for me, I enjoyed the story but at times it dragged a little.
The romance between Mark and Ann seemed to go from being a faint possibility to full on togetherness. Given all the things against it I expected a bit more conflict.

I did get a bit worried when God and Faith crept in…I’m not anti-christian, not against religion in books, but in so many it goes from being a facet of a character to a book that takes preachy, judgmental overtones. Happily Lisa didn’t do that, the religious part of the story fitted the characters and their beliefs perfectly, without overtaking the story or¬†evangelizing to the reader.
Reading back through my review you might get the impression religion/God plays a big part, but in fact its only small sections of the novel but it did have a big impact on how real the characters felt to me, and gave me questions to mull over.
I usually stay away from books where religion or God look to be a huge part, and if that’s what you do too, don’t let it stop you from reading this one, it really is a minor but very important part of the novel.

Poor Ann, missing husband, no sign of him for years,¬†a son who’s somewhat antagonistic to her, the mother-in-law from Hell, though thankfully she rarely sees her. She controls the family Trust though, and Ann sees little of it, reduced to still working for the same firm all these years, the one which administers the Trust, just to pay the bills.
She tried some years back to get her husband declared dead, at least she would have the insurance money then and maybe be free to move on but mother in law opposed that, and she is rich enough that what she wants happens.

I liked Mark, understood how he’d come to love Ann. He was strong, and given their age difference that was needed.
Why is it no-one bats an eyelid at younger women but if a lady dates someone younger she gets the Cougar tag, and regarded as somewhat suspect. Gah, something that always angers me.
His Faith is an integral part of him, and I could see his dilemma, especially when he’s talking to his church leader – Pastor I think he was referred to. Given the case of Ann still being married he advised Mark to not get involved but his heart was already there and the conflict he felt came over very real. Bit judgmental of the Pastor I though, condemning Ann to a life without love as her husband is missing. Its been years now, should she spend the rest of her life alone? Where’s the Christian tolerance and love, embracing everyone?¬†It made for interesting reading though, giving me things to mull over.
Later on when things go downhill he asks the question most of us do when times are tough. why me, why xyz, why did God do this, is he really there if he can let this happen? Given how strong his belief was this made him feel very real for me.

When the truth comes out – wow what a shock!
Its kind of hard to believe and yet I could see that in those circumstances, with money, state boundaries being so distant, that it really could happen like this. I was angry, and sad too, how peoples lives can get pushed around at the whim of another.

I wasn’t keen on the ending, though thankfully there was that spark of hope that all would be well, and I would have liked a little more positivity¬†given all that the characters had been through.

Stars:¬†four and a half,¬†a good read, gave me lots to think over. Its not one I’d re-read but one I am glad I chose.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Silken Desires, Laci Paige

Silken Desires, Laci Paige

Silken Desires (Silken Edge Series Book 2) by [Paige, Laci]

Genre:  Erotica

Sounded fun but….I didn’t like it.
My first Laci Page read, and I’m unsure of whether its just this book, or her writing style that¬†I didn’t like, so I need to try another before deciding she’s not an author for me.

I just found it weird how they separated, found it distasteful how Jonathan supposedly still loves Roxi but is off searching for other women for sex at the first opportunity.
We see that right at the stat with Linda, the air stewardess, when he forgets all about Roxi needing his help, to trot off after her for sex. That leads Roxi into being injured and sets things up for them to stay close for a few days.

For a couple that had been so close for so many years they just don’t talk to each other, and have no idea about each others real needs and feelings. I know some people have issues and need pain, but I didn’t understand why Roxi was this way, when it started, what was the focus, the cause. It just felt as if she’s woke up one day thought “I need pain, Jonathan can’t do it so I’m off” And left…

One moment she’s saying Dom Liam, who she’d spent the past year with, wanted more than she could give, and wasn’t great, then she seemed to think he’s Mr Wonderful. From the way she talked about him I expected someone very different from the respectful, caring man he proved to be.
I didn’t like Linda, she thought Roxi¬† and Jonathon were together but had no issues with hiving him off elsewhere on the plane so she got her chance to chat him up. Jonathan sees that but still doesn’t care either.
I just couldn’t understand what was between Roxi and Jonathan, they had no idea of each others real needs, they never seemed to talk, to have ordinary conversations, and everything just seemed to revolve around playrooms and the two BDSM clubs.
Even actions there seemed pretty lax, compared the the usual strict behaviour put forward in most BDSM reads. Even RACK clubs have basic rules, to ensure everyone is actually consenting.

My biggest issue though was the way Jonathon was constantly telling himself he loved Roxi, while going all out for sex with whichever female was to hand, disregarding  their actual feelings and not behaving in any way as a good Dom IMO.
Then all those issues they both have through the book suddenly get resolved – and I’m still not sure what actually changed, not convinced Roxi and Jonathan wouldn’t fall at the next little hurdle.

Stars: Two, a fail for me ūüė¶ didn’t like many of the characters, didn’t like the storyline as it played out.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Michael’s Wings, An Original Sinners Collection, Tiffany Reisz

Michael’s Wings, An Original Sinners Collection, Tiffany Reisz

Michael's Wings (The Original Sinners) by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre: LGBTQIA,  Romance

Well, if you love the Original Sinners series you’ll want to read this. I don’t usually read shorts/novellas unless like this they are about characters I already know, so can understand and follow¬†easily something that doesn’t need space to tell me who everyone is and all about them.
The new novella covers 30% of the total, the rest being previously published shorts. I’d read all them before, but love this world and characters even though I find the concept of loving multiple people difficult to understand. then I guess we love all our children so in a way why should multiple lovers be an issue? something to ponder I guess….

Of course Michael needs time to answer That Question – griffin knows this and yet its hard (!!) waiting, an anxious time for him. Nora help Michael sift through his fears, he loves Griffin, they all know that but he’s has such insecurity about himself, and such a difficult past he needs to deal with this, work through it and a beating or three from Nora concentrates his mind!

A fun read, usual TR sensuality and spice, a bit of sass, a lot of sex and sensuality and a side of submission helps Michael understand himself.

Stars:¬†5,¬†great value if you haven’t read the rest of the stories, but still good to have them in one collection at a decent price.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up by [Hunting, Helena]

Genre:  Romance

This was a fun, spicy read, but not my favourite of Helena’s books. I really enjoyed reading it, its a worthy 4 stars for me but not the spark that makes a five.

One of the reasons for that I guess is that its a very sensual read, and much of that spice covers a huge chunk of the story¬†but only a couple of weeks in time, meaning the rest of the story tended to get a bit crammed. It’d be hot car encounter – very steamy and then…its several weeks later.
Though those gaps were covered it left me thinking did they really have no contact? what else went on? It just left me feeling a bit disconnected.

The characters were great, Amie, perfect girl, but her past has lead her to try to save her family any more embarrassment and take the safe route.
She thinks Armstrong loves her, they will be happy and if he doesn’t set her on fire, well, his respectability makes up for that.And then at the wedding reception all that goes so very wrong, and she faces what she knew in her heart, Armstrong isn’t the good guy, the one for her, she deserves better.
She knew it really but wanted to please her family, and ignored all the little clues, started moulding herself with Armstrong’s not so subtle hints into a stepford wife type lady.

Armstrong, he really was a prig, so self assured, so much belief that his way was the only way. He doesn’t regard blow jobs as cheating, tries to spin it that he was doing it for Amie, so that he could last longer with her later…WTF, the man’s incapable of seeing his actions are ever wrong.He even says in their sphere its accepted that a man have a couple of mistresses and they don’t count, that Amie is making a fuss over nothing, bringing bad publicity to the family. she’s had a lucky escape.

Hottie hook-up – I think that’s what Amie’s best friend Ruby calls him, (¬†as requested by author I’m avoiding naming him!!)¬†– is gorgeous, a great man but there are things he’s keeping quiet about for reasons that are clear later . I loved him, so kind, genuinely so, and so sensual. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to sex, and he’s happy to explore further, to have fun. He was perfect for Amie, but she needed to get rid of Armstrong first and that guy’s not going easily….

There are some funny moments here, bits that made me smile, ( the luggage inspection) and some sad ones too.
The sex, wow, hot and steamy and fitted the story so well, its just that at times it took the place of possible plot expansion, filled the time when the story could have been moving forward.
Its not a hugely long book, 4373 kindle locations – and the sex does take up a disproportionate amount of time I feel, making that actual story a bit rushed. I¬†would have liked parts to be more expanded. Still, that’s just me, others are happy to have less story and more sex…you can’t please everyone.

Stars: four, a fun and sensual read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Don’t Mean a Thing, Renee Conoulty

Don’t Mean a Thing, Renee Conoulty

Don't Mean a Thing (Got That Swing Book 1) by [Conoulty, Renee]

Genre:¬† Romance, Women’s fiction

Liked the sound of this, and it proved to be a light and entertaining read.
It wasn’t a must-keep-reading book, but it was a fun novel. Its not one I’d read a second time though, to be honest I didn’t really like Macie….

I loved the setting, enjoyed seeing life on an air base, especially one that’s not the US. As a UK reader its always a treat to get a novel set somewhere other than the US, it’s not that I don’t enjoy them but there is far more to the world, are so many wonderful places. there’s something fascinating about Swing, and I love to find it in a novel, I really felt there with the characters when they were having such fun.

I liked the characters, Rachael was kind of light – shallow almost – but fun, Jeremy a sweet guy underneath that always flirting jack-the-lad exterior, Matt was wonderful, and of course Nadiene, his dance partner was a perfect character for me. I adore a good b itch in a book, and would have liked her part to be more active ūüėČ Sadly the only one I didn’t like much was Macie, I just couldn’t quite take to her.
I really felt for her having walked from a domineering man, who sought to control every aspect of her life. That takes guts and at first I though she was just being self protective, ensuring she didn’t get taken in like that again.
As time passed though she was so ready to jump from Matt at the slightest hint things weren’t going her way, and I felt that rather than compromising she was just expecting him to make all the adjustments, something she slated her ex for doing but it seemed to me she was doing the same, placing Matt’s career second and just waiting to bail out as soon as anything looked hard.
It meant that while I enjoyed the story I wasn’t so much rooting for a HEA for Macie, but for Matt, he really deserved one all the effort he put in to their relationship.
It was a good read, but a one off for me.

Stars: four, a fun, one off read for me

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Christmastime Cowboy, Cowboy Christmas Blues Bonus, Maisey Yates

Christmastime Cowboy, Cowboy Christmas Blues Bonus, Maisey Yates

Christmastime Cowboy (Copper Ridge, Book 10) by [Yates, Maisey]

Genre: Romance

I’ve read and enjoyed several of Maisey’s stories and this sounded fun.
It didn’t really work for me though, maybe as its part of an ongoing series, which I hadn’t realised.

Perhaps if I’d known more about the characters and the backstory this novel would have worked better for me. I didn’t, and though I was intrigued with some of the characters and the issues they had I didn’t always understand quite how they fitted in.
I’m sure if I’d read earlier novels it all would have made much more sense, would have let me enjoy updates on characters I’d met before. I hadn’t though – my bad, I should have done more research.
It is a complete novel and I’m sure other will enjoy this without having read earlier stories but for me it all felt just that bit distant.

I didn’t really feel I understood the issues with Liam and Sabrina, to be honest after so long I felt they were both holding grudges over something so very minor in the context of other issues.
I didn’t feel the romance between them, just lust, no special sensuality, no real Love which I expect in Maisie’s novels to accompany that steamy sexuality.
Still, as always others will feel differently and love this story, fortunately we all want different things from our reading.

Stars: two and a half. a rare Maisey Yates book that didn’t really work for me ūüė¶

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Last Hours, Minette Walters

The Last Hours, Minette Walters

The Last Hours by [Walters, Minette]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Historical fiction

I’ve read a few of Minette’s books, some I loved, some not so much, but i do love a Good historical novel and she writes settings and characters, that whether I¬†enjoyed the story or not, feel so very real.
This one was just perfect, a real escape into the past, at times horribly sad, graphically real, and reminding me of just how unfair life was for the largest section of the population.

I’ve read¬†a few books set in the Era of the Plague, the Black Death, a terrible time that decimated the population.
At that time disease was rife anyway, subject to poor nutrition people succumbed to what would be minor illnesses now, as they had so little resistance . Hygiene was poor too, making it easy for viruses and diseases to spread.

Lady Anne has turned around life on her husband’s estate, with measures such introducing dug out latrines rather than throwing excrement into the moat and urinating wherever they wanted. She introduced practices such as washing too, bodies and clothes, and slowly she introduced education. As they learned the villagers began to understand what she was practising, saw results in less sickness, better health.
Of course all her husband cared about was yields and taxes, and as the population became healthier those increased. Had he bothered to take note of her actions he would have fiercely disapproved and stopped them, but luckily he was typical in that he didn’t take not of how serfs lived, felt they were beneath his notice.

Sir Richard is a sorry reflection of how so many Lords were then (sadly how many would be now if they could get away with it!) Self important, cared for nothing and no-one beyond himself, and felt he was above reproach so long as his pet priest gave him absolution. He was paying him, the guy’s living depended on his goodwill so why wouldn’t he?
Its one of those things that’s always amazed me, that absolution wipes away all sins, leaving the perpetrator free to do them all over again, knowing the priest will remove them. That buying of “indulgences ” too is something that always made me cross.
People were so focused on God, and yet made his words fit the lives they wanted to live rather than vice versa. There have been some real atrocities perpetrated because of, and in the name of God.

Then along came the plague. Was it cast by God onto those who had sinned? For a largely ignorant populace its easier to believe that than to think they have nothing to fight it.

Lady Anne feels differently though, when it comes her husband is away, and she refused him entrance back to the place on his return. She had walled it off and brought the villagers inside the castle grounds to keep everyone safe.
He’s been to a demesne where the Plague is rife, many of the men who went with him are dead, and the few who have returned are ill. She knows if he’s allowed in the plague will spread fast. She asks tells him they have left stores for the men, and after a period without illness they can come in.
I’ve read real life accounts where villages closed themselves off like this, some because they wanted to keep the plague out, some because they wanted to keep the infection contained, knowing it was too late to save themselves, they either were going to get it or survive regardless.

There are some incredible characters here, from the courageous and intelligent Lady Anne, her horrible daughter Eleanor, the sly french steward Hugh, and some of the key characters among the villagers. Thaddeus is one of those, born a bastard, he has managed to stay free by way of some tacit advice from lady Anne. He’s wise enough to keep that quiet, and Sir Richard hasn’t yet noticed he has not sworn allegiance as the others all have to.

I enjoyed reading the day to day life, how they dealt with the threat from outside, managed the food, and later, how they had to decide what to do about the future, how long stores would last, whether it was safe to go outside and search for more, and of course what would happen to a country ravaged by plague, or whether it was just their corner of England that was infected.
Given only the top people ever traveled, with perhaps a steward and a few guards, most had no knowledge of the world outside their village. One five miles away could have easily been five hundred for most of them, they never left the estate of Devilish.

Its a story that shows characters in their true light, who is lazy, who is opportunist, who had the foresight to plan ahead. It also has some pretty graphic cruelty that was sadly so very real. The villagers were regarded as property, disposable to their Lords, they would be beaten and whipped at whim, the young girls subject to abuse and there was nothing they could do.

As the novel continues there are secrets to be revealed that put a different light on some things from the past, and of course affect the possible future.
Its a fabulous read, made me feel i was there with the characters. I liked too Lady Anne’s journal, her dilemma of just how much she could include, whether it would help others in the future if they did all die, or if it would put them in danger if they survived. After all with Sir Richard dead and no sons from their marriage, she was once more a Lady with no power, no say in her life, and likely to be married off elsewhere, with Devilish turned over to someone new.

The only thing I didn’t like was the end, its very, very abrupt, and until I reached the end I hadn’t realised there was another book to come.¬†And not til next autumn….oh, I so hate waiting when I’ve got so engrossed in these peoples lives.

Stars:¬†five,¬†¬†a very worthy¬†five star read,¬†but i so wish the next book was here now…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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