Tag Archive | sex

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 😦

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

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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 😦 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

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You (Slow Burn Book 1) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Romance

A quick word about Genre headings. I’m so glad this is General Fiction and not the (for me) dreaded Women’s Fiction. I find that so demeaning, so sexist in this supposedly enlightened times. Are we really saying a while category of books will only appeal to women?
Anyway, that off my chest and on to the book.

I’ve enjoyed many of J.T.Geissinger’s stories, both paranormal and contemporary, so clicked request soon as I saw this. I read it last night and loved it.
I was thinking about what to put in my review this morning earlier, and the dialect was something that struck me. So often its done badly and I cringe ( all those “doona worry lassie” “ach, I’m noo worrit ye fashit man” really make me want to hurl) but done well, as here, it makes me feel I’m there in that setting, that the characters are real. And I’ve never been to any part of US, but love books with this Southern setting, and have read so many I feel I know the place and the people.

Jackson, what a rude surly man he appeared to be, and his first dictatorial appearance was enough to have many people in tears. That he made one of her staff cry infuriated Bianca, and she lets him have it. Full flow, and she’s an amazing range of expressions, one for every circumstance. Of course after meeting her mother and her staff I can see where she gets it from.
I loved the banter between the two, the Slap, Slap, Kiss as it gets termed later 😉
Bianca’s a real star too, hard working, been burned by a man in the past, thrown everything into her restaurant. (I so want to try some of those recipes – though not okra, that stuff just seems to look like mush, jelly, slime, when I’ve seen it cooked!)

Of course the more we see of Jackson (Jax) and Bianca the more I fell in love with them. I loved hearing their innermost thoughts, seeing what the felt as opposed to what they were saying or doing.
Circumstances are such that they get thrown into an engagement, and Bianca learns more about Jax and begins to see beyond his grouchy exterior to the man hidden underneath.

Its a fabulous story, full of sharp, fresh humour, sizzling sex scenes, characters that I felt I knew, could understand, could “see” in my mind. There something really sad too, that was unexpected, and made me shed a tear or two, that’s how emotional and real this book felt.

Stars: five,  a very worthy five star read, and one to keep for re-reading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Break, Marian Keyes. The Crossroads Duet, Rachel Blaufeld

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The Break, Marian Keyes

The Break by [Keyes, Marian]

Genre: Women’s Fiction, romance.

Its years since I read a Marion Keyes novel. Looking back on my reading history for me it seems to go through cycles, and its been a while since I was attracted to this type of novel.

Something about it called to me though and I am so glad, its an incredible, moving, thoughtful novel, not all doom and gloom and sad broken relationships but sharp, witty humour, a wry look at the realities of modern day family life, a look at how our pasts can affect the now and how even the most content seeming people can crack.

I’m blaming Marion for the fact that today I’m feeling – as my dad would have said “like a wet weekend”. I’d just finished the fabulous Clara Coulson novella Dream Snatcher at about 8.30 last night and decided to start this.

I knew it was long, I love long novels so planned on reading to maybe half way, but time ticked on, midnight came and went and finally about 2 am I finished….

I just couldn’t stop, I had to know what would happen next, how Neeve’s vlog was doing, what Sofia was planning, how Keira was coping, Hugh leaving affected so many people.

Amy’s work partners, they’re supportive and yet there’s a job to be done, and who can really understand what’s happening on someone else life.

Amy’s friends all have different views, coloured by their own experiences, and then there’s her extended family, sisters and brothers, children, partners, and her parents, dad with dementia who scares off all but the most hardy of carers, and mum, well, she was a terrific lady, finally seemed to have found life after years of ill health that left her children to really bring up themsleves. I loved her in Neeve’s vlog, her way of saying what she wanted, what wasn’t really quite acceptable but with a charm and sparkle that negated any possible offence.

Then there’s Hugh and Amy. Amy had been through a husband leaving her already, divorced at 22 with a young child her husband had never helped since, despite his fame as a footballer, and all his money. She was determined to never rely on a man again, and she’d picked herself up, finagled the balance of work, home, childcare somehow, all the while helping her extended family.

Then Hugh came along….he’s a charmer, wears her down and is just truly adorable. He treats Neeve as his own, adores Kiera when she comes along just months into their dating, and when Amy’s irresponsible brother and his weird partner finally – well, dump I guess – their daughter Sofia on her Hugh just accepts her as part of the brood, and life expands to fit in yet another member.

They really seem to have a perfect marriage, money’s tight, but then so it is for most people, and finally they have a tiny nest egg after Hugh’s father dies and leaves them some money.

His death affects Hugh badly though, and a close friend dying soon after tips him into, not really depression but a sort of discontent with his life.  Amy thinks later Could she have seen this coming? I don’t think so, its easy to use hindsight but at the time we’re immersed in the eternal struggle of home, kids, family, work and sometimes it takes away moments when we could have spotted an issue. Or not. who knows?

When Hugh drops his bombshell, he’s done the figures, he’s spending some of the nest egg on six months away, backpacking in Asia. He’s not leaving her he says, he just won’t be married for that time.

Wham, poor Amy, she’s gutted and who wouldn’t be? Lets be clear, he’s planning to act as a single guy, tells Amy she has the same freedon and that he’ll be back to pick up things in six months.

I was so angry and yet like Amy so confused. How on earth did he think they could just pick up the reins again after that?

She tries all sorts of arguments, she reasons, offers other suggestions, cries, tries persuasion, guilt, everything she has. She loves him, he’s been her other half, her help-meet for so long and she can’t imagine life without him.

She could have ranted, run him down to freinds and family and yet, he’s still her Hugh, still the man she loves. That doesn’t sit well with everyone, and no-one really knows what to say or do.

The final day comes though, Hugh is off and the family have to learn to live without him. I was thinking “what happens now? What if he meets someone, what if Amy meets someone, and if they don’t, how can they pick up life without resentment?”

I really wanted to hate him, call him all sorts of names, and yet I couldn’t because I knew he wasn’t a selfish man, he’d just reached the point of no return, knew if he didn’t do something drastic he’d crack and they’d all fall. This way, well – if he’s very, very lucky maybe, just maybe they can get their lives back.

I don’t think he’d really though beyond that “must get away” issue he had, in theory it all worked because he wanted it to work but life isn’t that easy. Its a huge gamble, and I just had to see how it played out, hence the 2 am finish….

It could be a novel full of doom and gloom, bitterness, sadness, fractured families, but its not. We see just how families can pull together while also being a huge source of friction, see how we do cope when we think all is lost, life does go on, work has to be done, food has to be bought, bills to be paid. That drudgery, that slog provides the reason to keep going. And the humour. Surprisingly there’s a lot of really sharp, funny humour, moments and phrases that had me sniggering. I’m a bit of a face-book addict, have to have a sneak each morning to see what friends have been doing, have posted, and this gem really rang a chord

“Instagram is the worst for that inspirational crap. Nothing is too banal or too obvious that it can’t be posted”

Oh yes, I’ve seen so so many of those!!

I’ll stop now, I’ve rambled far too much but it really is a fantastic read, sharp and observant, full of pathos, sadness and yet hope, looking at families, at modern issues, at falling in love, and very importantly, staying in love, and just how far a marriage can stretch before it fractures.

It made me think “what would I do” and to be truthful, I don’t know, any more than Amy did.

Stars: Five, terrific read, hard to put down, so just leave yourself time so you’re not reading into early hours as I did!

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

 

 

Redemption Lane, Rachel Blaufeld
Genre:  Literature/Fiction, Contemporary Romance.
The Crossroads Duet by [Blaufeld, Rachel]

It’s on KU, and currently only 99p for the duo even if you don’t have KU. 

 

Genre:  Literature/Fiction, Contemporary Romance.

I haven’t yet read the second book, read the first ages ago and yesterday re-read that ready for reading book two. Today hopefully, maybe tomorrow. (edit 10 Sept – read it now – review at end)
Wow, what a read…its so packed with emotion, sadness, and really tugged at my sensibilities. I veered from hope to despair, from happiness to the depths of sorrow. It contains some really dark vibes at times – and of course that’s right up my street.
Its not all despair and melancholy though – there are breakthroughs when you feel this time they really will come through, and then dammit, something else happens and poor Bess or Lane is sent back to their demons.
I loved Bess, she’s really struggled to get back after hitting the bottom, nearly dying and ending in rehab. She was determined to put her past behind her – sadly though it wasn’t to be left behind but crept up, sneaking in by way of Lane.
Until then though she’s working hard, filling every hour she can with her job, attending meetings for addicts and with looking after the wonderful Brooks Bailey, her rescue dog. Its quiet up in the mountains where she lives but it suits her. She’s a small group of connections, they can’t really be called friends – more acquaintances really, from work or the addiction group. Somehow she’s getting by in life, its not fun but hard work but its all she knows now.
Lane, he’s got his own troubles and is always pulling his twin Jake out of situations. Then That night happens, when Bess collapses at Lane’s feet and somehow in the muddle of getting help for her he doesn’t follow up what happened, just leaves Jake and runs.
He’s now a rich and  successful CEO, and then on a working visit to a hotel he runs into Bess. Of course she doesn’t remember him, after all she was hardly in a position to notice anyone, and he just can’t stay away from her, there’s an attraction he can’t shut down. He’s never short of ladies, they flock to him being the magic duo of rich and good-looking, but it’s Bess he wants. Slowly he persuades her and they begin a relationship. Its fraught though from their demons of the past, from so many things that I began to think they’d never come through together. It was so tense at times, so edge of seat wondering what would happen, and then some beautiful moments when all was going well.
Of course secrets always come out in the end, and Lane’s knowledge of her collapse comes out just when things are going really well for them. Its not only that secret that comes out though, there’s the connections from the twins past, the secret that plagues Lane, gives him terrible nightmares, but he refuses to admit it or talk about it when Bess questions him. She loves him and wants to help, but each time he runs, just shuts her out and goes. It’s what he’s always done to cope but this time, if he wants Bess he needs to face up to his past.
It’s a complete novel, and wraps up beautifully with a quick glimpse into the future. Its a wonderful novel, more than just a simple romance, a feeling that this story could be real, and has some great secondary characters; Jake, Shirley, AJ, James – they all play a special part in making this book come alive for me.

Stars: Five, a great read, a romance but so much more than Just a romance…
ARC of book one provided by Netgalley and publishers.

Book two was so much luck book one, a very different story but with the same amazing characters, ones you love, ones you don’t…I so felt for Jake, his view of himself was so awful, he felt he didn’t deserve to be happy. I could understand his grudge against Shirley, what she said, what she did has left him with self loathing, with lifelong issues and he’s a broken man inside. Yet he’s such a generous person too, has good freinds, works hard, treats people really well. He’s turned his life around and yet still struggling to find his place in the world and then…he meets Allyson.
He’s besotted with her, in the same way Lane was with Bess. Its that Something – not really Love but some kind of powerful Pull – that made them both change their lives, made them decide That person simply must be part of it. Jake’s facing an uphill battle though. Like Bess, Allyson also has secrets, difficulties, things she hides from everyone. Slowly he wears her down – and what a man, he knows what he wants and goes all out. his past though isn’t all behind him, Allyson’s present brings her into real danger and at some point the two collide.
An amazing, emotional read, with real depth, not a light and fluffy romance but a very real feeling one, with some heart stopping moments.
another full five stars.
ARC provided by author 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

Blackmail, Anna James Watson

Blackmail, Anna James Watson

Blackmail (Skeleton Key Book 1) by [Watson, Anna James]

Genre: erotica

A dip outside my norm, but I was pointed in this direction, and the book is free for KU subscribers. I love KU!
I do like erotica when it has a solid story attached. This was fun and certainly very steamy and sensual! I was a bit surprised to find it continues in further books, though look forward to reading more from the three main characters. Its labelled skeleton Key part 1 but there’s also a series called Skeleton Key, where different authors have written stories that are unconnected except for the title, so I mistakenly thought it was part of that, and not part 1 of a series by this author. My bad…but just in case you have that thought too 😉

I liked – and disliked in the case of Tristan – the characters here. They’re all in their 20’s and studying at school/uni?
As a UK reader sometimes the terminology can be confusing, and I found a few words here that even kindle look up couldn’t help, but context gives me a rough idea. One big issue for me was this Tap thing, its a big part of the story, involving people being selected for secret(ish) groups, and TBH I hadn’t a clue exactly what it was at first, but it became clear as the story went on.
American colleges/schools/universities seem to have a great emphasis on these lifelong clubs, which are often difficult to join. We don’t really do that so much in UK. Same with frat/sorority houses etc.

Anyway, Mia gets caught out, and caught up in some hot and sexy times with Tristan and Julian. The background connecting the trio, the story and the sex scenes is the clubs, and what happens and who can join.
There’s day to day stuff that makes the story feel real, and gives a sense of grounding to the characters, its not just a sex fest but a sexy story and I was disappointed when I came to the end and found…it wasn’t the end ;-0. I’d been watching the % bar waiting for some crisis as usually happens at about 70-80%  and thinking “what’s going on?” and then  realised around that, yep, there’s more to come.
I’m kind of sad as I want to know now whats going to come next, and pleased because it means the story gets longer to evolve, and that way we can really get to know the characters well.
Already I can see that Tristan is so much more than the jerk I first thought, but don’t yet know why he acts that way. I like Julian, he’s very self assured and composed, and Mia is learning a lot about herself. I think this has got the potential to develop into quite a complex series ( I hope), something that’s not often found in erotica, a genre that’s dominated IMO by the short’n’hot reads, where the story come last in priority. Its fun to get an erotic series with a solid and interesting, something I’ve not found very often so far, and something I’m looking forward to continuing. M.Q. Barber’s Neighbourly Affection series is one I really enjoy, though thats very BDSM orientated in comparison to this. Who knows how this one will develop though 😉 .
I did feel the story was a little overtaken by the sex, and that’s why its a four for me not a five, but as always sex is what many readers want, and they’re happy for story to come second. Its a very personal thing.

Stars: four, a good intro to a sensual and steamy series.

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt. The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red: An Erotic Fantasy by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre:  Romance,Erotica

I love Tiffany Reisz’ stories, so well written, so full of interesting twists and turns and I have read and reread all the Original Sinners novels. So was really excited to get this, a novel “written” by Nora Sutherlin. I think its the book she’s writing in the very first of the series…I could be wrong on that.
Sadly, it Just Wasn’t One for Me, surprised me, shocked me that I really didn’t like it, I just didn’t expect that. I was looking forward to a typical sensual on the edge Tiffany read and what I got was something that made me seriuosly uncomfortable reading,  it’s fantasy possibly, but its presented as real, Mona thinks its real, we don’t really know when it happens what’s real, whether she’s dreaming, drugged, or having a genuine experience.

There were parts I enjoyed, the art links to the sex scenes, they were cleverly done and interesting, fitted the art gallery link, I loved the way the story winds round full circle and ties up so neatly.
Set against that though I found some of the sex scenes too disturbing – even gave me bad dreams…I’m very prone to them so avoid anything likely to set those off, my mind takes an idea and runs with it. This story though takes a direction I didn’t expect, not the spicy, sensual and edgy OS scenes I’m used to but ones with a supernatural edge that I feel uncomfortable with.

So, my BDSM knowledge comes purely from books, especially Original Sinners ones, so SSC and RACK are terms I agree with.
However the sex here takes a twist so that really Mona isn’t consenting, isn’t aware of risks she’s taking and the big bugbear – she has no safe-word. She signs a blank cheque for anything Malcolm wants to do to here almost. Is that consent? Is that Safe and Sane? Risk Aware? I don’t think so, and I’m uncomfortable with scenes where she isn’t consenting, even if she does enjoy what happens.
If someone orgasms does that make it not rape for example? That defence wouldn’t and shouldn’t work in real life or books IMO.
Throw in the Satyrs and the Minotaur and it was a step too far for me, a little too animalistic. I love fantsy and paranormal so I’m used to werewolves having sex, but they don’t do it in their werewolf or part werewolf form – well, not in the books I like.
There’s a thin line between art and porn whether its sculptures, paintings or writings and this for me is reaching the wrong end of the scale. I can see others love it, and that’s great but for me its a step too far.
I enjoyed the story, thought it had a clever twist – a few clever twists, but I didn’t like the execution of some of the sex scenes.
I’ve loved all the OS ones, but this book just isn’t right for me.

Stars: Two, a clever and intriguing story but the turn the sex scenes took was not right for me. Others love it, only you know what’s right for you.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc.) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I love LA Witt’s books usually, but the first in this series just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t know if that was a one off, or if maybe its just this series.
Well, having read book two I think maybe its time for me to have a break from LA’s novels.

I did enjoy this, but found I was putting it aside and picking up later, something that I don’t do with a book I really like.
I didn’t dislike the story, there were parts I liked a lot, but I also found there were swathes I just felt were either predictable, or felt too much like a previous story-line brought into this novel.
I need to be surprised, to wonder what can, will happen and how but somehow here I felt I knew that before I read it.

If you’re new to LA’s books you’ll probably love this, she’s a great writing style and its a classic LA story, great characters, some angst and lots of hot steamy sex tied in to a real feeling setting with issues that people really do face.
Of course all authors have fans who love everything they write, but I think I just need a break. I still love LA’s writing style, love the way she can conjure up such realistic people but feel maybe I need to step away for a while. If I can resist the lure of the next book 😉

Stars: Three, a typical LA Witt well written, steamy read, but I just felt it was all too familiar, nothing new to hold my interest..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Devoted, JC Harroway

Devoted, JC Harroway

Devoted by [Harroway, JC]

Genre:  Romance,

I loved JC’s Recovery, pushed my film star/Hollywood romance buttons and really enjoyed Entwined, the follow up, so when i saw this up for review I was excited to see it was back to film star trope.
It proved a fun and entertaining read but didn’t quite have the magic of Recovery for me.

I expected Tyler to be older, it’s kind of hard to feel someone can be “jaded” at just 28….I’d expected mid thirties or thereabouts. He does act as if he’s around that age so its just technicalities in a way, but his age kept coming back to me.
Its kind of hard to think heavyweight Hollywood director at 28, but then I know nothing of the realities of that life, only the fiction side!

Likewise Mallory and Bobbie at just 20 and 22. Bobbie was a child star but given her rep, and the fact she’s already spent time in addiction clinic, and has now been clean 3 years I’d have placed her a bit olderl. Mallory, could she really step into her father’s shoes and manage Bobbie’s career so well? Dunno?
Just questions that made the story feel a bit unreal to me.

I loved Mallory, she’s so sweet, caring, an innocent in a tiger world, but shows her teeth when it comes to protecting Bobbie.
I really didn’t like Bobbie though, she’s so selfish, doesn’t seem to care that her actions impact heavily on Mallory’s life, and I can see the sister bond in them, though Mallory doesn’t resent Bobbie at all.
I just wanted to get so cross with Bobbie, tell her to respect her sister, to look at what her life was doing to her, to look at what she’d given up so Bobbie could have the life she chose.
That’s a mark of good writing IMO, that it made me feel the characters were real, that their actions gave me real emotions.

I liked Tyler too and the chemistry between him and Mallory was there from the start. Some serious steam gets generated by them and it fits the story perfectly.
Regular readers of my reviews will know I Hate when sex overtakes the story, even though I love spice and sensuality in a book. Here its a perfect balance and that makes for a much better read IMO.

Its a fun read, with some serious back issues for the characters. It seems its hard to stay away from addictions when fame comes knocking – its something we see reported in the media all the while, and it creates tensions in families, leads to heartbreak too often and surviving members struggle to get past events.
When Mallory is looking at Bobbie’s behaviour and wondering, is she using? – well, after what the past gave her I could understand.
I think addicts have to accept however much they feel they’re past the problems others will always wonder.
It comes from love in Mallory’s case, she wants to help Bobbie, but at times it seemed Bobbie really resented it. Trouble is surrounding herself with people like Jez doesn’t help either of them.

I really enjoyed the story, the romance worked well, the backstory felt very genuine, and the plots flowed one into another perfectly.
There were hints given about events that I kind of picked up but not all, and what transpired came out a bit differently to what I expected. That’s good, I like being surprised.
I did feel the final events played out rather too quickly, that the Tyler/Mallory issues felt a bit overdone, storm in a teacup style but that’s a small criticism.
Overall its another fun read, solid romance with a good backing story.

Stars: Four, a romance to sit back and relax with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Spun!, A Shamwell Tales novel, JL Merrow. Fast Forward, An Alt Er Love Novella, Xio Axelrod

Spun!, A Shamwell Tales novel, JL Merrow

Spun! (Shamwell Tales Book 4) by [Merrow, JL]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I love this series, its got gentle romance, with everyday characters, you know, the ones that could live in your road, be at your workplace, and to top it off some Fabulous humour.

I said in my review of the last novel how much I loved David ( and Gregory of course), and was hoping to see a bit more of Barry and the Spartans and I got my wish. Only cameo parts from the Spartans, but Barry is quite prominent. His Lady, she must be a special person, very patient!

So David takes top place here along with Rory, who was married to Evie and has two young kids, divorced when she left him for Lewis, and was then with Jenni, Patrick’s mum. Patrick from the last book who’se now with David’s old colleague/new boss Mark..Confused yet? It’ll all make sense I promise. Fen’s here too in a smaller role than before but its good to see her and how things working out for her.

I adore David, in one way he’s a stereotype Gay and he kind of plays up to that image with his careful airs, his appearance, his eloquent use of language and manners, and of course Gregory. Yet he’s also a very unique individual, isn’t some Gay Queen type – David would never be a Queen, somehow I think he’d see himself as an Empress or something. Same VIP but fulfill the role differently.

Under that casual, almost shallow debonair front is actually a deep thinking, very genuine and caring man. I think he’s sadly misjudged, and part of that is the way he presents himself, but we learn more about his history here and perhaps get an idea of why he does that. Whatev’s as Fen would say.. I love him, he deserves to be happy.

 

Rory, Barry’s best mate, is a postie, loves his job, loves his life, except he wishes he could see his kids more. They adore him, and are two great children, very different but lovely individuals. They soon take to David – well, who wouldn’t? When David moves in as a lodger it sets the village gossip line alight, and there’s lots of questions of what exactly their status is.

Rory has always though of himself as straight and yet…the closer he gets to David the more his feelings turn from friendly to something more. They’re total opposites, have a love of films and books in common but otherwise Rory is often baffled by David’s comments, unsure of exactly what he’s saying.

He’s been told before by his exes that he needs things to be spelled out for him, that so much just goes over his head, and its so clear to see, but he’s such a great guy, very honest, genuine, easily pleased. A happy man usually.

I loved them both, loved that they got together but wasn’t really convinced of how it happened. It didn’t really feel right, didn’t feel like a natural progression as the other Shamwell stories did.

Still, its more than just a romance, once more there’s some fabulous humour that had me sniggering again and I loved it.

The reason its down from five stars to four is just that for me the romance felt a little forced.

Stars: four, a great read, very subtle humour that had me smiling but I felt the romance needed a little more time, a bit more work.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

 

Fast Forward, An Alt Er Love Novella, Xio Axelrod

Fast Forward: An Alt Er Love Novella by [Axelrod, Xio]

Genre: LGBTQIA

This is a short read at just 123 pages, and I usually avoid anything novella style. They rarely hold enough emotion for me, but it sounded very promising from the synopsis so I went for it 😉 and loved it.

Ian is 26 now and yet still feels like a teen. I often wonder about child prodigies like him, we hot house them, push them into academic positions they aren’t mentally or emotionally ready for, and on top of all that poor Ian had a pretty crappy family background.
No wonder he’s kind of naive, a little insecure, feels so alone, apart from the crowd. He is. And that’s so sad. How can anyone manage to breach that gap we created in the interests of “education”
Gah, education comes from more than just books, and bright kids will always find their way, they don’t need to be pushed in with those far older than them….and that’s my soapbox rant for the day!!

Ian’s so lovely, a loner, but has a couple of good friends who seem to look out for him, such as Siv, giver of the party where he meets Jessen again.
Arrghh, I could feel just how that hurt him, disturbed him on a visceral level, how angry and upset he was.
Right then we didn’t know much more than they’d had a relationship and Jessen left. Suddenly. Without explanation. Just was there one moment, gone the next.

Poor Ian, already fragile, this just about fractured him and he’s struggled to trust anyone since. What should he do now? Why is Jessen here? Does he even remember him or was he just a rock-stars hiccup, a quick hookup for that town and now he’s off to the next. Were all the words and plans were just promises to draw him in?

I loved Ian so much I was angry at Jessen and couldn’t bring myself to like him for at least the first half of the book, but his honesty, his openness and transparency about his mistakes, and what he wants now drew me in. He was so gentle with Ian, so careful not to hurt him, knowing this was a one shot chance that I couldn’t help loving him too.

Its rare for me to feel so emotionally drawn into a short novel but this one did it, had me hooked, feeling Ian and Jessen were so real, and wanting things to work out for them, for true happiness for both.
There’s not a HEA, there’s not really time, but the way it ends I was pretty sure they would get there and it worked for me.

Stars: five, a novella that managed the almost impossible for me, a great story and characters and some very real emotion.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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