Tag Archive | romance

Michael, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1, Marie Tuhart

Michael, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1, Marie Tuhart

Michael (Doms of the Silver Screen Book 1) by [Tuhart, Marie]

Genre: Erotica, Romance

My bad: I saw Hollywood, romance, erotica and BDSM and I love any/all of those so clicked without checking further.
But its just 65 pages, yep, short story time, and for me they just don’t work. Too much to compress in too short a space for me.

I liked Michael, seemed a responsible Dom, and Kelsey needs to trust him, but given her past that’s hard.
Its his job though, his career, and she can’t (and doesn’t of course) expect him to limit what he does to suit her confidence. She either trusts him or doesn’t.

The press, all the things I love to hate in a story 😉 along with the wonderful, scheming, manipulative co-star.
If this was a full length book I think I’d have really enjoyed it, but its so short there’s not really time to go into any of the people or plots in any detail. Scarcely has a potential issue arisen than its over, done and dusted, and though that’s great for many its not for me.
I need books I can really lose myself in, plots I can really get my teeth into, emotion that pulls at me and makes me feel as if everything is real.
Novellas, short stories just don’t have the time to do that, and that’s why I usually avoid them.

Like I said , my bad- it’s not the book it’s me.

Stars: Two, just too short for me though as full length I think I’d love it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Kane, Sinclair Jayne

Kane, Sinclair Jayne

Kane (American Extreme Bull Riders Tour Book 6) by [Jayne, Sinclair]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

There’s something about these western romance reads, I hate the idea of rodeos and bull riding, the stress on the animals and yet…they make for some great reads 😉
I loved Sky, and understood exactly why she kept Montana a secret. Given her family history and Kane’s career and lack of commitment to her she did what she thought was right for her baby. I felt for Kane though, he feels he’s missed so much, and he too has a background that’s not the happy family unit everyone sees in public. Its easy to be wise with hindsight, to say he would have been happy, would have been involved but it could have been such a disaster, he could have ended up resenting Sky and Montana if his fledgling career crashed.

Now though he knows, and he’s like a bulldozer. I did want to say to Sky at times “stand up for yourself woman” especially when it was a d ick waving contest between him and Jonah. As an artist too I was a bit puzzled how easily her career seemed to go, casting in bronze and metal sculptures in general are very expensive procedures, not one the average single mum can afford easily.
I hadn’t read any of the earlier books, didn’t realise there were any but I still followed the story easily. I think that if I had read them though it would have enhanced my reading, I’d have enjoyed updates on the earlier characters. It was a fun romance, loved the setting, the characters felt very real, and its a series that would be an enjoyable read. Its not one I’m likely to reread, but I’ll look for more from this author.

Stars: four, fun romance.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Catching a Witch: Heidi Eljarbo, Touch of Night, Carin Rafferty

 

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition, Heidi Eljarbo

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition by [Eljarbo, Heidi]

Genre: Historical

I take a dip into historical novels every now and then and this one, covering the period when Witch-hunters were very active caught my eye. I’m very intrigued by the way the mass hysteria took hold so easily. seems weird to us now but I guess superstition abounded then when people had so little control over their lives, when animals sickened and died, crops failed, people were dogged by what seems like bad luck – and of course they wanted someone to blame. It was a way too of seeking vengeance for imagines or petty insults. Throw in the misogynistic men and its a recipe for disaster.
Disaster is just what happens when a student of the famed Matther Hopkin arrives in the sleepy little village where Clara lives. We see at first hand just how easy it is to whip up hatred, for innocent gestures to take on insidious meanings, for those who used herbs to heal others to be accuses of using witchcraft. Over it all is the witch-hunter and his self important acolytes in the village men. Not all of them, some stay fast but of course no-one dare speak out for fear of being the next accused. All except Clara, who does her best to stop the awful “trials” where in reality ladies stood no chance, once accused it was like a death sentence.
Its a scary thought but I could see people acting in a very similar way if this were to take place now. some people seem so full of bitterness, jealousy, a need to blame everyone but themselves and I’ve no doubt they would happily convince themsleves they were doing the right thing. we see so much hatred every day to anyone the slightest bit different from their peers and that would easily translate into a story like this today. 😦
I felt the historical aspect of the novel was well done, it was very realistic and genuine. I did feel the pacing was very slow for me though. some books need that but with this one I found it dragged in parts. I expected Clara’s friend to be accused sooner, but its almost halfway through before that happens. I didn’t feel “in” the story much of the time, but an observer, and found myself losing interest in sections. Overall I enjoyed it but it’s not a story I’d re-read.
Stars: three and a half. I enjoyed parts of it a lot, but other sections seemed very slow paced.

Touch of Night, The Sanctuary Series Book 1, Carin Rafferty

Touch of Night (The Sanctuary Series Book 1) by [Rafferty, Carin]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

Well, the description sounded interesting, but sadly this wasn’t one for me.

Lucien isn’t anyone to aspire to IMO, he cares about the coven, even though he’s been cast out, but his attitudes to mortals…well, he’s pretty scathing and rude.
Ariel wants to find her twin, the police won’t help and Lucien at first won’t either. Then he will…and that sets the tone for the book.

Both characters constantly change their minds, decide one thing and do another, don’t talk, focus on irrelevant issues, and disrespect the other. The same things are explained over and over, in case the reader just can’t quite grasp it.

I think the biggest issue for me though was the sex.
No matter what the problem sex in some form was the answer, even though Ariel says she doesn’t like Lucien, doesn’t trust him, just wants to find her brother. Lucien would never take a mortal for a mate, doesn’t like her, doesn’t find her attractive yet wants/has to have sex with her all the while. Reading minds, yep he needs to read her mind but they have to connect with sex, connecting with Armand, more sex, finding out who the strange warlock is, yep sex again….you’ve got it, sex is the answer to everything.

I like sex in a story, but it needs to fit, the story and reasons need to be strong enough and for me this just didn’t feel right.
Even the end I still felt they didn’t like each other and suddenly – bam- everything is perfect.

I won’t be continuing with the series, but as ever this is just my opinion, you may feel very differently. Others have 5 star loved it, so you chose.

Stars: Two, a miss for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Masked Possession, Alana Delacroix

Masked Possession, Alana Delacroix

Masked Possession (The Masked Arcana Series) by [Delacroix, Alana]

Genre:Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I found this pretty hard going to start, I’d been so intrigued by the “differentness” of the Masquerada but found it very difficult to graps what they actually were/could do. Did they become another person, or were they still “them” inside.
Fortunaly much of the things I struggled with Caro did too and I learned along with her 😉

I really felt for Caro, alone, running and hiding from her past and so scared after what had happened to her. She just trying to lead a quiet life, head down, get on with her life when Eric drops in to it.
She’s attracted to him and he to her right from that first meeting. As she’s told her boss Julian though, never trust a Masquerada, and she’s not about to start. events are against that though, along with Eric who’s determined to get to know this mysterious lady who brings out feelings in him he thought were long gone.

Eric was facing a difficult time too though, a challenge for his position from someone they thought was neutralised. For a clever group they were pretty stupid about that, and the enemy comes at them hard and fast, catching Caro along the way.

Its a fun read, decent amount of drama, though some was a little predictable. Sometimes it seems authors are so keen to enforce a characters position they light up the way with imaginary “bad guy here” signs, “don’t trust this one” etc.
You know, we’ve all read at least one book where instead of working it out from the subtle clues the author has whacked in some really obvious signposts to ones in case we missed it!
It’s not a huge thing but I prefer the less obvious approach, even of it means getting to the end and being totally surprised. I like to then look back and see “ah, here’s where I missed it,” instead of having the plot and characters spoon fed to me.
That’s a small crit though, and it was a fun read, once I got to grips with this different group.
There were a few times too when I thought people acted out of character, and that didn’t sit easily with me. Things where I’d be thinking “but why? why not tell/do/explain” about some incident or bit from the past. Secrets are fine, but when everyone is in crisis mode and dangers is lurking everywhere, its not time to decide you don’t want to talk about something or get precious about the past.

I think as the series continues and the world gets more familiar to readers and to the author, the novels will improve. There’s some good bones here and I’m glad I chose this story.

Stars: three and a half. A good intro to a new world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Hunger, The Energy Vampires Book Two, Jacquelyn Frank

Hunger, The Energy Vampires Book Two, Jacquelyn Frank

Hunger: The Energy Vampires Book Two by [Frank, Jacquelyn]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I really wanted to like this, I love the vampire romance genre but…it wasn’t to be.

I found it really dragged, with the first half covering Halo and Felice in captivity. Just the two of them talking, arguing, bickering with occasional voice overs from the captors, that’s all it was. Halo wants to know why he and Felice were taken, thinks he can guess at who’s behind it but has no idea where Felice fits in.
Frankly by the time I’d got to halfway and they’d finally managed to escape ( I think its about 55% they make it out) I didn’t care who took them and why, I was tired of the plot, tired of the characters and just wanted it to go somewhere. At 25% I was amazed they were still improisoned and started flicking forward to see if that was going to be the whole story or if they would ever breakout…
When they finally escaped and met back with the others I still didn’t really feel the story was going anywhere. I wasn’t convinced of the love between him and Felice, and had lost heart for the whole story.

It felt unreal to me, I know its fantasy but for me the plots and characters have to feel as if they could happen if the setting was real life. It didn’t.
I just didn’t feel anything for either Halo or Felice, we knew so little about them really, and what did come out didn’t make me like them. I think that first half with all its eternal talking everything to death, bickering and Felice’s constant changing her mind spoiled it for me. Then would anyone really get the hots for a total stranger when you’ve been captured, stripped and imprisoned with him? Surely panic and anger would be more likely, not steamy make out sessions knowing the cameras are watching…

Ah well, you win some you lose some, and this was in the lose column for me. Doesn’t mean you wont like it, I’ve loved stories others have 1 and 2 starred, we all want different things to read, have different triggers and things we enjoy in a story.

Stars: Two, novel that just didn’t work for me, that I felt was going nowhere for far too long.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set- A Time Travel Romance Book Series,
Alyssa Richards

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set: A Time Travel Romance Book Series by [Richards, Alyssa]

I loved this trilogy, have reviewed the three books individually, and now there’s the chance for readers to get all three at once. That’s always my preferred way of reading trilogies and series, where I can indulge in a reading fest, immerse myself in another world for ages, and really “feel” the story, be there with the characters. Sometimes its a shame to come back to the real world!
I love romance that has something extra, and though the genre selection didn’t suggest anything other than straight romance, it’s far more IMO, a beautiful romance with elements of paranormal and suspense.

Adeline comes from a family with extra talents, her sister can mentally “push” people to do what she wants, and Adeline has an ability to see the history from touching an object, and find out more about the people connected with it. Its not a gift that’s brought her family happiness though,family, friends and her job have all been affected and not in a good way.
She’s decided that she’s going to ignore her gift, and look for something normal, a straightforward job, and try to live as everyone else does.

I loved Addie, felt for her when the job she enjoys turns out to bring her into real danger. Then there’s Blake and what a guy he is. The connection between them sizzles, steams and feels intense, but of course Addie knows he’s hiding things, not least because she suspects he has abilities similar to her sister, and the things of his she touches are blank. That just doesn’t happen, has been done deliberately to hide things….so she tries to avoid him but he keeps on asking, and somehow she finds herself wrapped up in a relationship with him.

Though they’re the main two characters there are many others, each with their own important place in the story, and adding to the cohesivness and reality of the novels.

It’s a fabulous read, something so very different in the Fantasy/Paranormal genre which is dominated by stories that are just a couple of hundred pages or less, too often of a Vampire or Were hundreds of years old finding his Mate, in a simplistic, sickly thin story * roll eyes * so its a real treat to get a book I can really get stuck into, lost in the magic (!) of the story.

Make me sin and Sin with me, Bad Habit series, J.T. Geissinger

Make Me Sin (Bad Habit Book 2) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Sin With Me (Bad Habit) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

 

I enjoyed book one, and saw books two and three were on KU. I love JT’s writing style in paranormal reads, and after enjoying the first in this series I knew that her contemporary reads suited me too. Sometimes the transition works, other times I find I enjoy books in one genre by authors, but not a different one.

I remember Chloe and AJ from the first book, and the wedding from that one brings the two closer together – and boy, did those sparks fly. Chloe and AJ have some serious heat between them and as usul AJ writes that in a very believable way. I could see events playing out as they did here. Of course its never plain sailing is it, there’s always something holding them back and this one was something outside the norm. I loved that, sometimes the restriction and issues seem to be cut from the same page in romance novels so its always fun when an author comes up with something new.

A great read, my favourite so far.

Stars: Five, a terrific band book, with realistic characters.

Book three was another great read but….I wasn’t quite so taken with it as book two. I loved the characters but the issues holding them back were pretty complex, and though I felt for Grace I wasn’t convinced of her solution to the memory problem. but then what could she do? what would be best? she was trying to prevent others from being hurt but it was costing her dearly and wasn’t really working anyway. You can’t apply logic to emotions and expect it to work. doesn’t stop us trying though 😉 I loved Brody, the enigmatic strong and silent guy but I wouldn’t want to be him, he’d paid many times over for his secret. Sometimes things just happen, and we blame ourselves but that doesn’t mean we’re to blame….complex. The trouble with secrets though is the always come out, and always at the very worst time…but JT pulls them through in a very believable way.

Stars: four and a half, a great read but not quite the magic five.

Wolfsong, TJ Klune A story I bought!!

Wolfsong, TJ Klune

Wolfsong by [Klune, TJ]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I’ve been seeing recommendations for this story for a while now but you know what its like, there’s ARCs and KU, free books so actually buying one by an author whose work you don’t know if you like….well, for me it rarely happens even though I was very intrigued.
Then a few weeks back it was on sale at £1.49 so I bought it. Only got round to reading it last week and wow – what a book. Its kind of hard to review, one of those that defies categories.

It is Romance, but its a very slow burn and TBH though we know the two are going to get together they’re kids when we first meet them and have such a lot of growing to do, meeting others, just maturing. someone wrote criticising the sex, but I’m wracking my mind and all I can recall is one scene right at the very end.
Its M/M but the characters are so good that you don’t think of any of them specifally in terms of what sex they are, just that they are right for each other.
Its werewolf/Supernatural but again so much more. The werewolf/witch angle is just a part of who they are it doesn’t define any of them.

I adored Joe, been through so much and what a wonderful family. I got so angry at him at one point though I understood what he did but my heart broke for Ox.
And Ox, what a star he is, so truly good, loyal, despite the things that had happened to him, despite his awful father.
There’s lots more characters here, who fit the story so well, and I’d really like to read more about them – but seems they don’t have books. Yet – TJ Klune 😉

Its one of those books that are bittersweet when they end, where part of you is glad things worked out finally, and the other part just isn’t ready t leave the characters. Its a slow paced book, not an all action racey sex fest, but one where things develop over several years, where the story slowly expands, brings in more and more people and where Ox really grows into himself, becomes confident, where others see the strength and goodness that’s in him.

A wonderful story, one I’ll definitely re-read and I’ll be trying more from this author.

Stars: five, a fabulous, slow sensual read, with a great story building theme.

For the Winner, Emily Hauser

For the Winner, Emily Hauser

For the Winner by [Hauser, Emily]

 

Genre:  Historical Fiction

As a child I adored fairy-tales, but mum frowned on me reading them as I approached high school, telling me I should have outgrown them.
Then joy, high school and a library full of myths and legends from all over the world to replace my beloved fairies.
Those from Rome and Greece were my favourite and I noticed many parallels in the stories.

So when I saw this it took me mentally back those happy days getting lost in stories of times past, different cultures and the vagaries of the different Gods and Goddesses.
Then came children, a film addict husband and my stories took form once more with fabulous Classic films for the kids, and Jason and the Argonauts was one of their favourites.

This book doesn’t really dwell on the Argonauts perilous journey so much as Atalanta’s part in it. We do go with them for long stretches but its more the interaction of the characters than the perils of the journey.
Atalanta was abandoned as a baby even though she was the first born and a princess, and she’s brought up by loving foster parents. When she hears the tale, when her parents feel she’s old enough for the story of how she came to them, found in a torrential storm, she sets off to find her family, and then finding out the truth she sets out to prove her worth to the king.
She’s a fearsome warrior, the equal and better of many men, and in disguise as a Lord she gets her place on the Argonaut, intending to steal the fleece and prove herself to the king, and thwart Jason’s cruel plans for the places he wants to rule.

That’s the plan but of course its never that simple, and Atlanta has to constantly revise her plans according to circumstances.
Its not hard enough being a woman in a time when they were definitely subservient to men, being a princess in disguise, having to fight every step of her way against her peers, but the Gods and Goddesses have their own plans and are constantly interfering in mortal affairs.
Luckily there’s Iris, ostensibly a messenger for Hera, but in reality a Goddess in her own right, using her messenger persona as a way to keep things as she feels they should be.

Its a fabulous read, transporting me back in time, waiting to see what would happen to Atalanta and her plans with each new chapter, inwardly ranting at the bigoted and short sighted men, railing at the Gods and Goddesses for their careless interference, their disregard for human life.
I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” and then “well, just til I see if/til I find out what…” until I was so tired i wasn’t appreciating the story as it deserves.

Its a fabulous read, feeling very real, letting me rail at the unfairness of how women were treated, and then thinking, how come we still don’t get equal treatment thousands of years later.
I loved the characters we met, loved the scenes of everyday life, loved seeing a different side to Jason than the usual one, and his cruelty was all too believable.
And the ending, just so right, took the story to the perfect finale.

Stars: A very worthy Five, a wonderful tale to escape from everyday life into another time and place.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Haunting of Alcott Manor, Alyssa Richards

The Haunting of Alcott Manor, Alyssa Richards

The Haunting of Alcott Manor: A Contemporary Gothic Romance by [Richards, Alyssa]

Genre: Fantasy and paranormal, Romance

I loved Alyssa’s trilogy The Fine Art of Deception, and this book is another paranormal read but very different to the trilogy.
When I first started reading I was taken back to my teens/early twenties when I read many mysteries, especially those by Victoria Holt, and this book gave me that same kind of feeling, though I don’t remember the romance being a major part of those reads 🙂

So, Gemma loves her parents, but has had some strange childhood experiences that are suggested through the book, seem to have given her kind of PTSD/OCD issues. Its clear she struggled with things of the supernatural world, but equally clear she shares her mum’s talent for solving issues of that sort.
Sadly her mum has died, and now her dad needs her help. She really doesn’t want to get involved, but loves her dad and knows if he’s asking for her help, knowing her problems with the supernatural he really does need it.

She agrees to meet him and do what she can for the land, but isn’t intending to step into the house. She thinks using her gift by clearing the land of spirits will help.
Tragedy isn’t finished with her though, and her dad is involved in an accident that leaves her to take over the restoration, against her wishes but she owes him much, and can’t see him lose everything.

From there on it a race to finish the first stage of the renovation before the court deadline, or lose the house to those who want it demolished and new homes put up.
Its a beautiful old building and when she meets Henry she can see its special to him. He’s on a mission though, knowing that the past owner Benjamin Alcott was convicted of killing his wife, he wants to free him from haunting the property, as Benjamin is destroying much of it in his search for something that would prove his assertion he was innocent.

Its a great read, I loved hearing about the house, sharing the memories that played out and wondering if Benjamin really was innocent as Henry thinks, and if so what really happened that night. Was he really responsible for the deaths of people involved with the house since then?
Henry is really worried that past people have become trapped in the house memories, and cautions Gemma to take absolute care not to interact with any scenes she sees, however lifelike they feel.  That sounded weird at first, but its soon clear the house really does have a life of its own.

It’s a gently paced novel, not a race through to the finish, with events playing out slowly, scenes from past and present there, and clues that could mean very different things happened. The evidence for the full story is still missing and seems to be the key to Benjamin’s destructive actions, and there are some fun twists to the story in the search.

It all wraps up neatly, the loose ends tidied away, all the answers given, which was great as I hate to be left wondering “but what about??What happened to??”  I was totally surprised by the ending, I simply didn’t see it coming, and that’s good – I love a novel that does that 😉

I’m still a romance reader more than a mystery one but this was a nice bridge between the two, and an enjoyable read. Sometimes its good to step away from a favoured genre and dip into something different.

Stars: four, an escapist read, full of secrets and suprises that caught me out completely!

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

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