Article

No more wasted time by Beverly Preston

No More Wasted Time (The Mathews Family, #1)No More Wasted Time by Beverly Preston
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

No angst, no drama, no conflict, if that’s your kind of thing, you’ll be happy. The only minor problem arose because the woman is a complete idiot who doesn’t trust her instincts but automatically assumes the worst without letting the poor guy even finish one sentence to explain (even though he did NOTHING wrong). A pet peeve of mine, so I was not impressed.

Also you have to overlook the following: that the woman is in her mid forties, had three kids, but looks like and has the body of a sex goddess. That the hotel staff of a top class resort is the most unprofessional that I have every heard of. That the guy has never even snorkeled before and then dives down 12 feet to see some manta rays. Sure.

Now to a couple more details that most people won’t care about…

The girls discussed Greece with Tom. He told them about a great little café they should try , an art gallery to stop at, and several other places they might like to see.

Wait a minute! Someone goes on a cruise around the Greek islands (I assume that is where they were going, there was not one specific location mentioned throughout the whole book, except the Aegean Sea, Tuscany and Bora Bora) and gets a recommendation for this café and that art gallery? Of course, just go to Greece through the entrance gate, follow the main road and turn left once. There you will see the café to check out. Greece is not some one horse town, it’s a friggin’ country!

“So, where are you flying today for your film?”
[…]
“Right outside of Germany. It’s a war movie, not the typical type of film I do.”

And where exactly would that be? Poland, Austria, Belgium? To name just a few of the places that are “just outside of Germany”. WTF? Can you be a little more specific? Not that it matters one way or the other where the bloody movie is being made, but to call any country “just outside of Germany” just shows a lack of respect (and/or lack of research, even though to have to do any kind of research in order to get European geography rudimentally right is already sad in itself).

Those guys hopped around Europe as if it was the second best place on Earth (the best would be Bora Bora) and couldn’t even be bothered with naming one specific location. At one point they are at a restaurant “in Greece” filled with “old-world” ambiance. Described as follows: “crisp white table clothes [sic] with blue napkins dressed the tables and pictures of Greece hung on white textured walls”. Totally old-world ambiance, right?

Sorry that I am harping on about these details but that sort of stuff sets me off, and not in a good way.

I’m not saying this was a bad read. It was entertaining in a very unproblematic, angst-free way. If there was more attention to the little things I’d have liked it more, though.

View all my reviews

Article

The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude

The Sussex Downs Murder (Superintendent Meredith, #2)The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am usually absolutely oblivious to any clues and any hints as to who is the murderer. Really, I never know beforehand. Exception: this one. After about half way (and this indicates that every other reader knows after the first chapter) I figured who the killer was and had to wonder what was wrong with the inspector that he couldn’t see it. What was going on was obvious.

Nevertheless, this was a very enjoyable read (and for once I was ahead of the police) with great surroundings, typical English countryside atmosphere and a story that kept you interested.

View all my reviews

Article

The secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton

The Secret of High Eldersham: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics Book 1)The Secret of High Eldersham: A British Library Crime Classic by Miles Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Highly entertaining! The setting is as good as it can possibly be. A secluded village in East Anglia with inhabitants that are more than odd, the through roads are little more than country paths and basically no stranger has ever reason to set foot into it. Strangely enough no vicar this time, but who needs one when you have a cult leader making up for that lack of cleric support?

I liked the characters, Desmond Merrion and his sidekick Newport are very promising. I am not sure if Inspector Young is in the following novels as well but I wouldn’t mind. Those two work well together.

The occult angle is explained in a satisfactory way and I found the atmosphere dealing with that part of the story really exciting. The first mention of the wax doll was already doing its job but when it came to Desmond spying on the coven at night I was devouring the pages. Thank God that the leader didn’t turn out to be mad (something I was afraid of), but his strange disposition was explained in a credible way.

All in all a very good read that made the time just fly.

View all my reviews

Article

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert

Connection Error (#gaymers, #3)Connection Error by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Connection Error is the third book in the #gaymers series, but the first book that I have read (in the series and by this author). It can easily read as a stand alone as the previous books’ characters appear in it but play only a very minor part.

Josiah and Ryan were likeable characters who both had issues that were dealt with in a very realistic way. There was no head over heels in love, no unnecessary drama and none of the usual contrived miscommunication. There were feelings developing slowly, misgivings that were perfectly understandable and a lot of time apart. The few sex scenes were not too explicit or drawn out (surprising for me, but maybe that is Annabeth Albert’s style) but sensual nonetheless. A lot of online meetings were only mentioned and not described in detail, but it didn’t take away from the story. The slow burning plot was a very good touch and made the scenes when the guys got together and emotional even more rewarding.

Even though the issues standing in the way of a relationship were quite serious I didn’t think this was too angsty – on the contrary. The hurt and angst was wrapped in such a way that you didn’t feel like you had been through the emotional wringer after finishing. A good thing in my book. A very enjoyable read.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Article

Aced by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

AcedAced by Ella Frank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Had I know beforehand that this story had a cliffhanger I probably would not have bothered, but as it was, I didn’t mind. It is obvious what is going to come, so I am quite curious to see how everything is going to play out.

There were quite a few things I didn’t like about the story and the characters, but as a whole it was an enjoyable read with good MCs and, for once, no misunderstandings or miscommunication. Instead we had insta-attraction without any misgivings whatsoever.

The things that bothered me:

The insta-love was based solely on looks and sex appeal (as so often) and stayed that way seemingly all through to the end. Those guys didn’t have many conversations other than about sex, their fantasies and whenever they talked about anything else (which was rare enough) they couldn’t help but throw in sex related puns. Do it once, if you must, but after that it gets boring.

Ace drives a Lamborghini. How stereotypical and unimaginative! I would think that being a movie star followed by paparazzi 24/7 would make you choose a slightly less conspicuous car, but what do I know? The scenes in the desert (both, the driving and the sex) just added to that stereotype.

There might be people out there who think the sex life of some action movie star is the most important thing ever, but I am sure after a little while the immediate interest in Ace’s romantic life will wane. The guy came out a year ago, and as much as I understood his dilemma, he should have just gone and said, there, that’s him. Publish your crap and be done with it! For most people the world does not revolve around Ace Locke, so why all the secrecy?

The whole scene in Las Vegas was a bit naive, wasn’t it? That establishment sounded just like a high end lifestyle club, I don’t know what the fuss was all about. The fact that our guys witnessed “depraved” activities (their words) added a sort of narrow minded, prudish undertone to the story which came entirely unexpected, especially seeing the background Dylan came from. I didn’t take him for such a petty bourgois.

All that being said, I liked the story. There were none of my pet peeves and the MCs had a solid emotional bond (whatever it is based on), so I will definitely read the sequel.

View all my reviews

Article

The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

The Cornish Coast MurderThe Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We are getting thrown into the murder story pretty much at the start of the book as the doctor gets called to the crime scene while having dinner with the vicar. I very much enjoyed the setting in a Cornish village by the sea, the detailed descriptions that brought all the scenes to life and all the characters involved in the mystery. It was a very comfortable and cosy read, even though there was not much guesswork or sleuthing possible on the reader’s side. Not that I am any good at it anyway, but here it was absolutely impossible to know who the culprit was. There were tons of false clues, left behind either on purpose or accidentally, and the detective was in the dark until the very end as well. If it hadn’t been for the vicar and his memory the murder might not have been solved at all.

So as far as elaborate plot and sophisticated detecting are concerned “The Cornish Coast Murder” leaves a little to be desired.

Also, be prepared for some outdated views on women. A few delightful examples:

She was distraught […] and therefore liable to indulge an utterly unreasonable whim. Women are often unreasonable, Inspector. Illogical, too.

Of course.

…a woman in love was always a foolhardy and unresonable creature. though not devoid […] of a certain inspired cunning.

We might be unreasonable, but we do know how to trick and deceive people.

The garden is fifteen feet in length. This argues a poor shot. Probably a woman.

Heaven forbid there are poor shots among men. Or women good at shooting.

You just have to take that stuff in stride.

View all my reviews

 

Article

Make me trust by T.A. McKay

Make Me Trust (Hard To Love #2)Make Me Trust by T.A. McKay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If everybody who once was cheated on, left behind or treated unfairly would close off to others like a lot of the guys I have read about lately, there would be no more happy people around. I got a little bit impatient and exasperated with those two guys. They were hot as hell and there was NOTHING wrong with them, so why, oh why, did they continuously drone on about how so not enough and/or so unloveable and undeserving they are. You both get a grip!

The usual misunderstanding had to be thrown in, of course, and that pissed me off even more. That Trey would have a thing going with Quincy was such an absurd idea, how Roman could believ that I don’t know. The same with Trey freaking out at the sight of Grey in a towel. Talk about impulsive overreacting. Oh, well!

That being said, I liked the story nonetheless. Trey and Roman were great together and good for each other and it showed on every page. The book needs editing though, there were plenty of missing or wrong words which took away the enjoyment quite a bit.

View all my reviews

Article

Beautifully damaged by L.A. Fiore

Beautifully Damaged (Beautifully Damaged, #1)Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was continuously shaking my head about myself while reading because I just soaked this one up and loved it.

The heroine, well, I would have walked out on that guy much sooner (but would have come back as well, I am very forgiving), but she rationalized everything so nicely.. The hero, perfect, rich and without a flaw (apart from the self loathing, stalkerish behaviour and anger issues, but these are just “minor” problems that we see in every other romance). It seems that L.A. Fiore’s hero often do the most stupid things that hurt the heroine no end in order to “protect” her. What can I say, I forgave him. You know how it is, it hurt him just as much, if not more.

I forgive almost everything as long as I can see a connection between the couple and so I was ok with the most idiotic things. For example, if anybody in real life got that tattoo after that time, I would seriously question that person’s common sense, but here, no problem.

I was more annoyed at the obvious plot holes where the mystery was concerned. Apart from the police officer who knew everything and eventually became an accomplice to the killer, the timeline that didn’t add up somehow, the mother who assumed that if she was unresponsive her children would leave the house and then showed initiative even though she was drugged up – there were tons of things that were explained and resolved in a way that made NO sense whatsoever. Still, I couldn’t help liking it. A lot.

View all my reviews

Article

Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker

Cronin's Key (Cronin's Key, #1)Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

N. R. Walker should stick with contemporary storylines that don’t involve any world building. The vampire lore that was created here was nonsensical and complete bollocks. The logical argument of “cats like vampires -> cats protect vampires -> that’s why lions are on every bloody banner in the world -> there you have it, proofs of vampires are everywhere, you just have to look” is so ridiculous, it’s not funny anymore. The whole backstory was told in a few info dump scenes where Alec asked irrelevant questions that wouldn’t occur to anyone faced with that sort of stuff. I am not saying that the world couldn’t have been interesting, but the vampire angle was overdone and just impossible to believe.

I don’t mind insta-love or fated lovers one bit, but I’m not thrilled about the no-choice-at-all situation. Alec didn’t like it at the beginning, but was ok with it in the end, because all of a sudden he had convinced himself that he would have chosen Cronin anyway. How does he know this?

Anyway, apart from that “I can’t help loving you” situation which already diminished the relationship in my eyes the love scenes were boring to boot. I have read Blind Faith which had some scenes that were very nicely done. This led me to expect something along the same lines (especially since those two guys here had NO issues at all with each other) but I was disappointed. The connection between Alex and Cronin just wasn’t there. The love scenes were bland and uninspired. I have read random hookups in men’s restrooms that were more sensual. I can’t begin to describe how mechanical, emotionless and impersonal those scenes were. Plus, purring – unless you are a cat – is not on my top ten list of pleasure sounds. Cronin is supposed to be a vampire who kills for food, for crying out loud, he doesn’t purr!

A disappointing read. I will give the other books in this series a wide berth.

View all my reviews

Article

Midnight Lily by Mia Sheridan

Midnight LilyMidnight Lily by Mia Sheridan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I never thought I would one day feel betrayed by a writer. Until now I was of the opinion a writer could do whatever they wanted with their story as it is theirs. After reading Midnight Lily I feel different. The whole premise of the book, the whole synopsis is false. If I had known what I was getting into I would have stayed clear of it.

If I am told that a book is about a drug addled, off the rails quarterback detoxing, I want just that, no matter where the story goes with that character or where he ends up. Unfortunately after 52% the hero as we knew him disappeared and was replaced. I wasn’t really fine with that but went on anyway. At about 95% or so a second twist came along that was just too much for me. Sorry, I am NOT interested in the combined make believe world of two mentally ill people (the concept of which in itself was completely ludicrous).

The first half of the book was absolutely great, the wrinting romantic and the story had a fairy tale quality. The second half up to the second twist was ok, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. The end ruined the book for me completely. How anyone can call this book a contemporary romance and give it 5 stars I have no idea. Is this suppsed to be NA? If it is, all I can say that had I read this book as a new adult I would have been seriously disturbed by it. As it is now I am just annoyed and will move on as quickly as possible. The couple of books by Mia Sheridan I have still lined up to be read will be put on the backburner for now.

Afterthought: If you need a FB group to explain what happened in your book and inform people about what is what, who is who and what is real, then you have done something wrong.

View all my reviews

Article

Strong side by Alison Hendricks

Strong Side (Eastshore Tigers, #1)Strong Side by Alison Hendricks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not much into books with a sports theme, but the blurb sounded good enough, so I gave it a try. OK, American football. I know nothing about it and am not interested either, so I was grateful that there wasn’t an enormous amount of shop talk.

This was low angst – amazing, considering that it seems gay and football don’t go well together. On the one hand it was quite relaxing to read a book where the focus was on the two MCs and no outside interference, on the other hand it struck me as a little odd, that all the problematic areas were solved in such an easy way. Gay football players – all good including rainbows. Homophobe team mates – hardly any, or at least they kept quiet. Ambitious father – turns around quickly. Jason had a lot of problems with the way his life was going, but those were solved in a flash. Derek and his painful past – eventually talked about and gotten over with.

I liked the connection between Derek and Jason and that for the most part there was not much of miscommunication and misunderstandings (my bug bears). So, all in all, an easy and comfortable read. The book needs some editing, though.

View all my reviews

Article

Just a bit ruthless by Alessandra Hazard

Just a Bit Ruthless (Straight Guys #6)Just a Bit Ruthless by Alessandra Hazard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn’t read the previous book (the two MCs didn’t interest me), but even without knowing Luke beforehand it was clear from the start that he was a fool (and no, I didn’t see any business sense either). Going to the meeting pretending his father sent him was such an idiotic move, it didn’t endear him to me at all. Add the fact that he constantly pouted and used quivering lips to get what he wanted, but at the same time insisted that his young looks did not reflect his true self and you have a guy that was so not my cup of tea.

Over the course of the book I lost my initial respect for Roman as well. He fell for Luke and all his hard ass principles went overboard in a flash. The heartless tycoon exits, the besotted admirer enters. Not fun! At least he was reasonable enough to recognize and acknowledge his own feelings while Luke ran to the therapist demanding to be cured of his Stockholm syndrome! Embarrassing!

As if this wasn’t enough, along comes the daddy thing, something I don’t like at all. All of a sudden Luke needs a daddy and Roman wants to be one – give me a break! The blurb sounded so promising, but then didn’t keep any of it.

The next book’s couple we already got a glimpse of; another one I will skip, I am sure. For me the series has been going downhill from book 3, I am afraid.

View all my reviews

Article

On a murder spree

OK, my binge reading of tacky romance is over for now and I am going into a new direction (for a while).

Apart from finishing my first book for the Romanian Writers Challenge, which I am going to put high on my priority list now, I am starting to read my way through the list of British Library Crime Classics. You can find a list here at Goodreads (not sure though whether it is complete).

I discovered “The Cornish Coast Murder” yesterday on Amazon and found it sounded great (plus, I love the cover, unfortunately the cover is irrelevant on an old Kindle). Two amateur sleuths (vicar and doctor – does it get any better than this), murder at a lonely house on top of the cliffs while a storm is brewing, a Cornish village with a Bobby who is probably riding around on a bike – isn’t it super? For some reason I find detective novels with vicars always very charming; one that I love and that comes to mind immediately is “The Nine Tailors” even though there, of course, the vicar is not the sleuth.

Anyway, British Library Crime Classics: There are a bunch of them available on Kindle Unlimited, so I will start with these.

Have you read any books from that list of classics? Which would you recommend? Do you have any favourites? 

Article

Just a bit wrong by Alessandra Hazard

Just a Bit Wrong (Straight Guys #4)Just a Bit Wrong by Alessandra Hazard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn’t like Tristan in the previous book but he grew on me a little. Zach I didn’t care for at all; why Tristan fell for that unprofessional brute I don’t know. Tristan was surrounded by people who didn’t care about him at all, I felt sorry for him. Admittedly he was a snarky bastard who lashed out, but there are tons of romance heroes (mostly in m/f) like that, so he was nothing out of the ordinary.

Zach disliked him (I wouldn’t call it hate, in my opinion they just rubbed each other the wrong way), his brother thought he was a useless prick and, to top it all off, his assistant calls him a piece of shit and didn’t mind telling that to everyone who was willing to listen to her diatribes. I really hated that bitch. She had a good job which obviously paid handsomely and had nothing better to do than going on about how she needed the money and couldn’t quit (sure, there are NO other jobs out there), interfered nonstop and talked really badly about her employer. A true paragon of loyalty!

Favourite character: Donna. I totally admired her for her calm and composed attitude towards everything.

All in all I wasn’t too thrilled with this book. The very minor BDSM scenes were ok even for people who are not into that, but I didn’t really see how they contributed much to the story. Basically two people fought against their attraction and feelings all through the way to the end, yet still gave in every time and that’s just not my thing.

View all my reviews

Article

Trinity Blue by Eve Silver

Trinity BlueTrinity Blue by Eve Silver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As far as plot and atmosphere go, this 35 page novella leaves some novels that I have read behind. There should be more stories about Daemon and his kind (if there are more like him). Totally intriguing!

Jen and Daemon are great characters that deserve more exploration. I understand there are more books set in the same world as this novella but it seems Daemon is a one time character. Pity really! I loved him, what a handyman (among other things) to have around. For such a short story, it packs a punch.

View all my reviews

Article

Just a bit unhealthy by Alessandra Hazard

Just a Bit Unhealthy (Straight Guys #3)Just a Bit Unhealthy by Alessandra Hazard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unhealthy doesn’t even begin to explain it, that’s probably why I didn’t like this one as much as the previous ones. Jared’s love of Gabriel was one thing, but Gabriel’s “love” was just insane. I don’t mind fucked up characters, but this sort of co-dependency doesn’t do it for me. Throw in a girlfriend who I felt sorry for on the one side, but found too stupid for words (who listens to friends who give advice like that?) and the mix is just not my cup of tea.

I can put up with all sorts of lack of realism, but the fact that Gabriel and Jared behaved the way they did and everybody around them still accepted them to be mere friends is not believable at all (I’d rather believe a college professor gives out good grades as payment for blow jobs). I am pretty sure if a football player was seen cuddling with the team’s doctor nonstop, there would be a lot of awkward situations in interviews and headlines in newspapers. In the next book Tristan ponders about Gabriel not caring about what others thought of his relationship with Jared, but as it happens it seems the public thought nothing of it. Well, they should have, considering the environment of the story. Unfortunately the football world is highly homophobic.

Anyway, so far this was the least enjoyable of the books in the series for me.

View all my reviews

Article

Just a bit obsessed by Alessandra Hazard

Just a Bit Obsessed (Straight Guys, #2)Just a Bit Obsessed by Alessandra Hazard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really like the kind of overlap of the books in this series. This one starts with a scene that we know about as we read about the result of it already in Just a bit twisted, when Christian tells Shawn about the threesome he has been invited to.

Both male characters Christian and Alexander were great guys who I really felt with. Alexander was my favourite kind of hero, cool, calm and composed, yet sizzling and burning underneath. And – he was capable of quite a lot of self reflection which I find admirable!

Mila, the initiator of this whole story, I could take or leave. I was completely indifferent to her and to be honest, once those two guys met she was out of the picture. Somebody complained about her being in the relevant story until what, 85%?, but in reality she wasn’t. Those meetings were no threesomes, they were twosomes with a redundant third wheel. She might as well have read a book while the guys got off. If you, like me, dislike women in M/M books, don’t worry about Mila, she is completely negligible. Talk about being careful what you wish for.

Absolutely recommendable, especially if you like OFY stories.

View all my reviews

Article

Irrevocable by Shay Savage

Irrevocable (Evan Arden, #5)Irrevocable by Shay Savage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am impressed. This was the best book of the series as far as I am concerned.

How any reader can be pissed off at the fact that Evan now has found the perfect woman and has moved on I don’t know. And no, I wasn’t reading this for the mobster angle, even though I found it highly interesting, but actually for the romance part. It seems that people who complain about the so called betrayal of the readership don’t actually care about the characters, they just don’t want to get out of their comfort zone and rethink an already established HEA (or rather HFN), however fragile it is.

It was clear from the start that Lia was not the right person for Evan and I am only glad that she was removed and replaced by someone better. To what purpose was Evan supposed to go after her? It was clear he was not going to change his lifestyle and she wouldn’t put up with that, so is he supposed to go behind her back all the time? Then everybody would have complained about him being a liar and a cheater. He was right when he said she was better off without him. But not because he didn’t deserve her, but because she didn’t accept him as he was but wanted to make him a better man (whatever that is).

Alina is the best heroine ever. Absolutely perfect in every way! Her reaction when Evan told her about what happened after the funeral ist just so right. I have NEVER read another romance where the heroine would have reacted that way even though it was the only right answer in that situation. The “regular” heroine would have cried, left, pouted, been deeply hurt and only after humiliating groveling would have taken him back. Alina was sensible, yet she took no shit and made it clear that these were extenuating circumstances.

I don’t like pets or kids in romance, but Shay Savage even made me like the dog (I didn’t mind the one in Bastian’s Storm either) which is saying something. I had to laugh about Evan’s reaction to Maisie in the house – this must have been the only funny scene in the whole Evan Arden series. Evan doesn’t do humour.

Anyway, I loved this book. Don’t let negative reviews keep you from reading it, unless you are the Annie Wilkes type.

View all my reviews

Article

Just a bit twisted by Alessandra Hazard

Just a Bit Twisted (Straight Guys, #1)Just a Bit Twisted by Alessandra Hazard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun read. The whole story was unrealistic from start to finish, but so what?!

Shawn was a good character, but I loved Rutledge. His unprofessional behaviour was absolutely out of character, but I am a firm believer in suspending disbelief, so I didn’t mind at all. He was an asshole throughout the story and never changed, which was great. His remarks and Shawn’s reaction made for some really good scenes.

So far I always skipped GFY stories, but they seem to have a certain flair. If you don’t mind the lack of realism in a story, you should give this one a go.

View all my reviews

Article

Falling for Matt by James Lee Hard

Falling for Matt: A Second Chance at LoveFalling for Matt: A Second Chance at Love by James Lee Hard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t tell how sick I am of men not even or slightly over 40 who are constantly whining about their supposedly old age. They are all prematurely grey and moaning nonstop. What’s wrong with those guys?

Next, I seem to be picking books lately with men who have lost their partner recently and have a hard time coping. While I get it in case of a partner who died (but even then I draw a line somewhere after years and years of mourning), I don’t get it when it was a simple break up. People break up all the time and find new parters sooner or later. I don’t really see why someone has to take a year long sabbatical because of his partner cheating and leaving him. This is all the more surprising as Robert is hoping for a tenured position; I would imagine a sabbatical for such a ridiculous reason is not considered a point in his favour.

When Robert got drunk I was about to stop reading because I hate nothing more than drunk people. Had I been Matt this would have put me off for good. Robert almost fell off the chair at one point – is there anything less appealing? Also, you might be as obsessive-compulsive about your own things as you want, but undressing a stranger that you more or less just met before putting him into bed (he passed out from drinking) because you have a problem with street clothes in bed is taking your obsession too far.

All these little things added up for me so that I couldn’t connect with the MCs or feel any interest in their story. I finished the book but it left the feeling that I could have done easily without.

View all my reviews

Article

The Thirteenth Earl by Evelyn Pryce

The Thirteenth EarlThe Thirteenth Earl by Evelyn Pryce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read a romance with a hero less defined than Jonathan. He acted one way, but was described in another. There were hints about his behaviour or his disposition that pointed into a certain direction, but he never actually showed the described state of mind.

Example: According to what was being said to or about him, he must have been almost starving himself. However, at one occasion he raided the breakfast buffet (not intended for him, so it might have been just a one time thing to annoy the others) like there was no tomorrow. Would someone who can’t eat properly because of inner turmoil be able to stuff his face like that?

Another one: It was given the impression he was a pale, skinny guy, never leaving the house and being practically a recluse. But in a love scene later on he was the embodiment of physical male beauty. Large, strong hands and muscles.

I just don’t expect from a socially awkward, shunned individual who thinks he is going mad and evades company whenever possible to act like the superior, sophisticated, witty, sometimes even cheeky, ever so in charge of a situation hero. The few occcasions when he didn’t have everything under control (like the scene with the raven) it felt as if this was just put in in order to establish that he indeed was troubled, and not because it was a real side of him. Somehow the underlying problem of the whole situation was only told, but what was shown was a completely different matter.

That being said, I absolutely adored what was being shown. The relationship between Jonathan and Cassandra was delightful. The way he talked to her was how you talk to a real partner and companion, not just some “petite” that needs rescuing (as so often in romance). They worked together to solve the mystery and his advances were refreshing and original. As a couple they were maybe a bit too forward, especially given the time setting, but I am no stickler for that sort of thing. Cassandra misunderstood a few things (when does that ever stop?), but at least those problems were removed rather quickly and the couple just continued carrying on as before.

I am not sure if the whole madness business was ever resolved properly. The father was a bit of a loose end as far as I was concerned. Was he mad now or not? I never got that. The final solution to the problem, to all problems in fact, was brought about by the women working together in spite of their previous differences which I also found was a nice change to the usual male saving the day.

If you judge the hero solely by his actions he is exemplary as to how a romance hero should be. Honest about his emotions when called for, witty, funny, original, he treats his partner as an equal (not that this is something that should even be neccessary to mention, but it is) – I loved him. Cassandra was an equally pleasing heroine. Not some damsel in distress that needs help getting away from the clutches of her fiancé, but quite self sufficient, down to earth and resolved to help Jonathan out.

I even found a redeeming quality (well, not quite, but I did appreciate it) in Miles who, when catching Jonathan and Cassandra, didn’t even pretend to give a damn about the ruination of his fiancée. As long as she has money what does he care whether she is sullied. He is honest and at least no hypocrite with a double standard. You have to give him that.

This was very enjoyable and entertaining. If you like a slight mystery, a little gothic feel and a solid romance between two likeable characters, go for it.

View all my reviews

Article

Passing through by Jay Northcote

My new Kindle Unlimited makes me go through those books like there’s no tomorrow.

Passing ThroughPassing Through by Jay Northcote
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After The Law of Attraction this was my second book by Jay Northcote. I was still recovering from Broken, so an easy and light read was just what I needed.

This was another story that was quick reading. The story was nothing extraordinarily angsty or complicated. Two guys meet under somewhat stressful circumstances, connect immediately and one of them has to decide if he is ready to change his career driven lifestyle for something more fulfilling. Again, no misunderstandings, no stupid games, no ever so popular bloody demons from the past, just a story about two regular guys. There wasn’t even the lesbian best friend, what a relief! Edwin was a good addition whose story really touched me.

The descriptions of the landscape, ocean, atmosphere made this almost like the gay equivalent of a Rosamunde Pilcher novel (plus the sex, of course). So, if you like fluffiness without a lot to make you ponder this story for days, go for it.

View all my reviews

Article

Where you least expect by Lydia Rowan

Where You Least Expect (Thornehill Springs, #1)Where You Least Expect by Lydia Rowan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This would have been a good story if the heroine hadn’t been such a doormat. A doormat that curses like a pro and continuously gets on her neighbour’s nerves with her teasing behaviour. While I can’t stand heroines who go about as if they were the best thing since sliced bread, I hate heroines even more who go around thinking they have no worth. She was annoying to watch. Isn’t there no middle ground?

Verna and Joe went from a like/hate relationship to a passionate affair filled with lust in a heartbeat. What changed both their mindes? No clue!

I kind of liked Verna’s first reaction to Joe’s abhorrent behaviour. Acting as if it hadn’t happened and going back to being just superficial “friends” (and, of course, she convinces herself that what happened was something ordinary because she didn’t deserve better) isn’t something I could have pulled off but it hit Joe harder than accusations would have done. But then what does she do just a little later? She forgives him his really unspeakable actions because he says he loves her! As if loving someone made up for anything. His half assed apology didn’t cut it at all! But for Verna it turns the day around to be the best day ever. Wow, she is easy to placate. I would have made that bastard grovel until the earth opened up before him, but she’s ok with a “sorry, I know I was an asshole and I shouldn’t have done it”.

Somebody pointed out before me that her list of demands as to what she expects of him in the future is laughable. What she asks of him (and he naturally and readily agrees to because it won’t require any effort) are the most basic, goes without saying, not even worth mentioning things a relationship is made of. The mere fact that she has to ask for them and that he answers “deal” as if this was actually something to make a deal about is proof that this relationship is based on something so wrong that I can’t even find words for it.

All in all, a quick read which left a sort of bad taste because of the unbalanced nature of the final outcome.

View all my reviews

Article

Isolated by Shay Savage

Isolated (Evan Arden, #4)Isolated by Shay Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very short story, basically an intermezzo between two books and an addition to Bastian’s Storm. I already liked Shay Savages style and approach in the previous books, but now I’m enthusiastic.

Not only did she give us the tournament scene from Evan’s point of view – interesting and enlightening at the same time with a revelation that explains a few things -, but she also gave Evan’s story a really good twist. I am aware many readers don’t like that outcome but I find it extremely satisfying. Not because I disliked Lia, but for once we do see what’s happening AFTER the (not so) happily ever after. Problems do not go away just because of love. And they have consequences. This is not nice, not enjoyable, but realistic.

If this was regular romance a continuation wouldn’t be possible. Once the couple gets together the reader loses interest in them. Who wants to know about domestic problems, money worries and infidelity? Btw, I don’t see Evan as cheating on Lia at all. He did what he had to do, so please stop going on about him being unfaithful.
Here the story after the HEA stays just as intriguing, interesting and breathtaking as it was before. I liked that Evan kept his word and took care of Franks and at the same time used it to his own “family’s” advantage. Bastian is right, how devious is that guy?

View all my reviews