Article

The law of attraction by Jay Northcote

The Law of AttractionThe Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the very beginning this felt very similar to Broken by Nikola Haken but turned out to be, oh, so different. The premise was exactly the same, quick, supposedly meaningless sex one night, new job, the sex partner turns out to be the new boss. But right there the similarities ended.

Even though Alex had his problems with not being out and not knowing how to come out without losing everything he has worked so hard for, it was not angsty and intense. This was my first book by Jay Northcote, but I have read another one since and it seems she is good at dealing with problems on a low stress level – quite refreshing. The characters always have issues to overcome but not in a way that have you continuously worrying.

I liked both protagonists and how easily and effortlessly the story flowed. The inevitable complications were understandable, there were no silly miscommunications or idiotic misunderstandings, This is a comfort read.

The cover: for once it absolutely worked. The guy is exactly how you could picture Alec. Good choice!

View all my reviews

Article

Equals by Brigham Vaughn

Equals (Equals #1)Equals by Brigham Vaughn
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I usually like stories with an age difference, but was disappointed with this one. Russ was unreasonable, stubborn and plain idiotic. For a silly principle he even risked his life, unbelievable! If both he and Stephen had talked a little more none of the problems would have arisen (oh, well, that is a common problem in the romance genre).

Apart from strongly disliking one the protags I just wasn’t feeling it. I forgive a lot as long as I can see the emotional connection between MCs but here there was nothing, I am afraid. Therefore the whole romance turned out to bore me. I wasn’t in the least bit interested in those two guys. In fact, I was more interested in the slob roommate, and that really means something.

View all my reviews

Article

The untamed earl by Valerie Bowman

The Untamed Earl (Playful Brides, #5)The Untamed Earl by Valerie Bowman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short synopsis: Alex who is in love with Owen pretends to help him woo her shrewish sister in order to win him for herself.

I loved the first half which was funny, witty and totally enjoyable. The second half turned into a generic romance with the usual misunderstandings and overreactions. It felt like I had switched books which I found disappointing. If I could I would give 4 stars / 2 stars, so settled for 3 in the end.

The first half was mostly interaction between Alex and Owen during their “lessons” – him teaching her how to become an accomplished debutante, her teaching him about her sister’s supposed likes and dislikes – and between Alex or Owen and Lavinia. I very much enjoyed this part.

All of a sudden the atmosphere changed. Alex and a few friends plotted to get Owen to acknowledge his feelings for her and unfortunately the usual romance storyline began. When Owen – as a result of the plot – acts rather foolishly at one point Alex got mad and turned away from him. This goes back and forth a bit until eventually they make up. After that their love seems established but Lavinia, a right bitch, throws a spanner in the works, Alex believes the lie and again wants nothing to do with Owen. How about talking to him properly like they did in the beginning instead of jumping to idiotic conclusions?

All these situations in the second half of the book were so unnatural and out of character that I got seriously annoyed and even started skimming pages. There is a sex scene that came unexpected and that was unnecessary, therefore not very enjoyable. Believe me, for me to complain about a love scene it really has to be against the rhythm.

I enjoyed the writing and the initial story idea but the decline into the typical romance behaviour later on eventually ruined the book for me. Pity!

On a sidenote: According to the author this is a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew, only the shrew being a rogue. I cannot see that at all. Why Owen would be considered a “shrew” is beyond me. The shrew is Lavinia – and she is in desperate need of taming indeed.

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

View all my reviews

Article

Bastian’s Storm by Shay Savage

Bastian's Storm (Surviving Raine, #2)Bastian’s Storm by Shay Savage
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reading this is a necessity before continuing the Evan Arden series. I was not disappointed but have to say that my expectations were not met. I had thought that the book would focus more on the tournament and the two guys, but it took until 85% to get there. Everything before is just working up to that moment in a rather slow way.

Evan hates the situation as it is now and I can understand it. He’s not made for that lifestyle and has nothing to do but wallow in misery. Fine for a while but to me all events before the tournament were simply more of the same from Surviving Raine just without the island but with more people and distractions.

What I liked most was the interaction between Sebastian and Evan. I would have preferred to see more of that; the short encounters before the battle and then the tournament itself were not nearly enough for me. Those two as a team, invincible. Bastian, the somewhat more resourceful one, but with less self control and prone to losing it, Evan, calm and composed, great at recon. They should open up business together.

Now I am more than eager to read the next book about Evan. I have questions that need answers…

Shay Savage delivered a good sequel to Surviving Raine, but left her options open. For now everything is fine and dandy, but who knows for how long?

One word about the cover: Is that another one of those where the cover artist hasn’t read the book? Those two guys are nothing like how I picture either man (and seeing the images in GR reviews I am not alone).

View all my reviews

Article

How to tame beasts and other wild things by A. Wilding Wells

How To Tame Beasts And Other Wild ThingsHow To Tame Beasts And Other Wild Things by A. Wilding Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The title of this made me curious and the cover wasn’t too shabby either, so I went for it.

H and h were both good and likeable characters, even though I could have done with a little less focus on his being British. So what if he’s a Brit?! Both stood their ground but didn’t play silly games once it was obvious they were attracted to each other. The conflict around the middle when they have an argument about the boy breaking his wrist was totally believable to me (a novelty, as most conflicts in romance are silly, far-fetched or only exist in the head of one of the characters).

However, there were a few things that were just too much or didn’t make sense.

  • Why send Matilda to find a wife for her brother in law. If the grandfather was so concerned about his grandchildren why not just have an agency screen various nannies and provide a few candidates to choose from? To force the son-in-law to remarry, otherwise he’ll lose the farm, is just a bit too much tyranny.
  • Why did Everit object to Matilda being that wife. He presumably didn’t care for her so what does it matter to him whom she marries. For Balthazar he would have accepted anybody anyway, as it seems. And if he did care for her, wouldn’t he want her to find happiness with the love of her life?
  • The bee stings were just too much. Give me a bloody break!
  • The mother turning up and being welcomed like the prodigal son. You would think that the son has SOME issues to overcome before he can accept her as his mother.
  • The dead fiancé suddenly being alive before he finally dies for good. The nurse lied about Cort being dead. Why? You would assume because she was told to by Cort’s parents who never liked Matilda. So why, oh, why would they call her after all this time to let her know he has awoken from his coma and has been asking for her? They were rid of her and now they ask her to come back? They could have told Cort that she left him and good riddance. That final conflict was contrived to the extreme, made no sense whatsoever and felt as if it was thrown in as a final test to the relationship because everything had been going a bit too smooth until then.
  • The end was a just too perfect. I’m not going into any details, but the fact that really everything and everybody turned out just great was a bit too much of a good thing.

Nevertheless, this was an entertaining read. If you like sweet and crazy stories with a bit of humour and a downright fairytale ending this will be for you.

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

View all my reviews

Article

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

Archer's VoiceArcher’s Voice by Mia Sheridan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t read too many NA romance, so I have no idea if this fit NA standards. To be honest I would not have classified this as NA at all, it seemed like a “regular” adult book to me. The explicit scenes were done nicely and I liked the overall story.

What I found remarkable was that Archer recognized that he had to leave Bree. In the romance genre personal/emotional/mental issues usually are “overcome” by too simple a solution. Once love is declared and the relationship is established those problems seemingly go away. Well, in real life they don’t, but they return later and bite you in the ass. Archer’s leaving was a refreshing realistic way to handle his problems that I usually miss in romance.

A person owning a town is a very unusual concept for me, but once that is established the rule that the firstborn is the heir to the town makes sense. However, that ANY firstborn can inherit is somewhat unusual. Primogeniture includes legitimate children, not children born out of wedlock. That Archer all of a sudden was the owner of the town came as a surprise which made no sense to me. And frankly, I felt no necessity to validate Archer as a businessman, responsible landlord etc. He was already an accomplished person in his own right.

A good read as I found the conncetion between h and H extraordinary. For me this is always a win.

View all my reviews

Article

Making waves by Vivienne Savage

Making WavesMaking Waves by Vivienne Savage
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading Vivienne Savage’s dragon shifter trilogy it was obvious I had to read “Making Waves” that takes place at Teo’s resort. According to All Romance this is part of the Mythological Lovers series, but as far as I could see the series so far consists of this one book.

Shifters seem to be still going strong and I thought that the genre is explored to its nth degree by now, but Vivienne Savage presents us a Hippocampus shifter. At first I thought this was a bit odd as I kept thinking of sea-horses, finding it slightly off putting. However, after some research it turned out Hippocampi are not as cutesy and tiny as I imagined. In fact they look like this (the horse that is, just in case you were wondering).

Hippocampus

Neptun Fountain

 

Anyway, mythological creatures – this is definitely taking it up a notch from the usual wolves and tigers. But apart from that there was nothing extraordinary about the couple. There were some problems coming from various sides but nothing overly worrying, most of the issues got resolved before they became tedious and annoying. People behaved mostly reasonable and the heroine was not the silly kind. There were a few sad moments, but all in all the story left you with a fuzzy feeling – and isn’t this what most readers of this genre are looking for?

I wonder whether more books will follow and what creatures Vivienne Savage could possible come up with. A Minotaur comes to mind, especially as it already has a fitting legend attached to it. Or how about a shifter chimera? Once all the stops are out, anything goes.

View all my reviews

Article

The Romanian Writers Challenge

Romanian Writers ChallengeAlly from Snow Feathers recently started with the first Romanian Writers Challenge. I don’t think I have ever written anything by a Romanian author. As it turns out it’s not so easy to find them translated into German. It seems Romanian writers are only slowly making their appearance in other countries.

Anyway, Ally suggested a few books to start with, among them “The other love stories” by Lucian Dan Teodorovici, a young and upcoming writer according to the German Amazon. God knows whether that is true, for all I know he could be a well established writer, known to everybody in Romania, just we haven’t heard about him (yet). The book doesn’t seem to be available in German unfortunately – too bad, as the title spoke to me. The ONLY book that is available in a translation is called “Dann ist mir die Hand ausgerutscht” (“Then my hand slipped” – meaning: I slapped somebody) with short prose.

However, there are quite a few books out in German by Mircea Cartarescu. There is one in particular “Die schönen Fremden” (“The beautiful strangers”) with three novellas that sound interesting. Amazon gives the original title as “Frumoasele straine”. Ally, have you read that one? I might start with it.

Article

Scent of Scotland: Lord of Moray #1 by Mac Flynn

Scent of Scotland: Lord of Moray #1 (Lord of Moray, #1)Scent of Scotland: Lord of Moray #1 by Mac Flynn
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was a free read from All Romance and the cover looked exceptionally good, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I think I can say that I am a very forgiving reader. As long as there is chemistry between the characters I accept a lot of crap. But there is really nothing about this story that appealed to me.

What’s wrong with it?

OK, first a short synopsis: Abigail, a very poor seamstress notices a carriage which emanates an enticing scent she can’t resist, follows it and eventually meets her lover/mate/master who fucks her senseless.

* Way too short. Considering that this is obviously the first part of an ongoing project there is way too much stuff packed into 35 pages. Abigail’s miserable life is described, she follows the carriage, gets kidnapped, stays overnight in an inn after an attempt to escape, arrives in Sctoland, meets the laird, has dinner and conversation, ends up in a dungeon, witnesses the transformation of the handsome laird to a horrrible beast and has sex with said beast. All this on 35 pages. Needless to say with all that action going on the characters themselves stay a bit in the dark.

* There is no, and I repeat, no chemistry between Abigail and the laird (I forget his name if it ever was given). Not surprisingly I didn’t feel a thing. There was not nearly enough time to develop any emotional bond between hero and heroine. The reason the sex was so overwhelming, mind blowing and generally awesome was the scent that indicates Abigail is the laird’s mate. You see, she cannot resist the scent.

* Strangely enough she could just five minutes ago. The bloke gives off the scent like there’s no tomorrow and Abigail resists it just fine. Once he turns into a beast with a snout the same scent is just irresistible.

* Sex with the beast. I get the whole shifter thing and have read my fair share of shifter romance. But under normal circumstances (if you can call it that) the sex usually takes place in human shape. Not saying that sometimes afterwards the shifter doesn’t turn into a cuddly wolf and whatnot, but the physical act itself is pretty much always between humans. Sex with a furry animal? Might be out there in shifter romance, but I don’t want to read about it.

* The laird asks her to lock him into a dungeon cell to protect her from the beast. He also warns her. She must not move a muscle or make a sound once he is in beast form, because the beast wants her and once it notices her the laird (who IS the beast) cannot control it any longer. God knows what the beast is going to do to her. About one minute later we know what that is because, well, what can I say, as soon as Abigail sees (and smells) the beast she moves, she screams and then she opens the cell door. And then she has the best sex ever – and I can only repeat, with an animal whose face obligingly transforms into something more human during the act, probably because kissing with a snout is a bit diffcult.

* After that scene the story comes to an abrupt end. From some comments on Goodreads I take it people see it as a cliffhanger, but after this there is really nothing I want to know about Abigail’s story anymore.

* The story needs serious editing. Apart from the odd word that doesn’t fit and needs to be removed there are some orthographic mistakes that I can’t overlook. A bell is not the same as a belle and even though a hansom might be a pretty sight it is certainly not handsome.

I liked the story idea, but the execution was just lacking in every aspect.

View all my reviews

Article

Otherwise occupied by Shay Savage

Otherwise Occupied (Evan Arden, #2)Otherwise Occupied by Shay Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was only a matter of time before I got to this series. I loved Bastian Stark, so it goes without saying I had to read about Evan Arden, too.

I quite liked “Otherwise alone”, it might have been the intro to a romance series, but it isn’t. So what is this series? Mobster story with sex? Cold blooded killer with issues pines for a girl? I have no clue, but it was definitely gripping. When do you ever sit at the edge of your seat to root for a hit man to finally take out his target? Evan killing the woman who means something to him (whatever that something is)? You take it in stride. Wow! It seems your moral values and general decency fly out the window the minute you start reading.

Amazingly, Evan’s voice is very different from Bastian’s. For some reason I expected a guy who sounded more or less the same as Bastian, but no. It is going to be interesting to see the two men meet later on.

I wonder whether anyone who finishes this book reads “Uncockblockable” next. Can you really read about Nick’s escapades after that ending? Who cares about Nick when Evan is in such a predicament? On to “Otherwise unharmed” instead!

View all my reviews

Article

Embattled Hearts

Embattled Hearts (Lost and Found, #1)Embattled Hearts by J.M. Madden
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I read the prequel to the Embattled series “Embattled Roads” I was really looking forward to the first book, but I was disappointed.

Neither the romance, nor the suspense story worked for me 100%.

Romance: I did not connect with the characters at all. There was a point where I thought, now we’re talking, but soon after it went downhill. On John’s part tt was basically whining internally about how useless he was in protecting Shannon and on Shannons part tearing up about whatever. The fact that John went from 100% misanthrope (apart from a few people he did still dislike people in general by the end of the book) to a guy who continuously pulled Shannon on his lap was just not believable. Plus, I consider sitting on someone’s lap neither particularly sexy, nor heartwarming, nor romantic.

Also there were too many kittens. I don’t like pets or children in romance as they are very often used as a sort of catalyst. OK, John strokes kittens like there’s no tomorrow, fine. I’m not impressed. It is no voucher for a person’s loveable nature or good character that they like pets or stroke kittens.

Suspense: I can’t say I am a big fan of stalker stories and don’t read a lot of them. So I can’t judge whether that angle was done particularly well. But the reason to stalk and threaten in the first place was far fetched and preposterous. John and Shannon made the stalking quite easy, too, at least on one occasion. You would think that knowing that there is a stalker around watching you would make sure you close the blinds on your bedroom window, wouldn’t you? The guy with the camera must have had a field day!

I liked the secondary characters, most of all Zeke, and I was looking forward to the second book which is his story. But I am afraid I will have to give it a miss as I have read that there are even more kittens AND a kid in it – and am afraid that will be much too sugary sweet for me to handle.
View all my reviews

Article

Fantasized by you by Steph Nuss

Fantasized by You (Love in the City, #2)Fantasized by You by Steph Nuss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not the first book in the series, but can be read as a standalone without a problem.

Steph Nuss tackles the romance genre in a different way than most. She clearly is not a friend of the typical misunderstandings, miscommunication and general obtuseness in one way or another with which most heroes and/or heroines are afflicted. What a relief! For that alone she deserves praise.

The heroine was reasonable and not silly at all, the hero is sensible, doesn’t jump to idiotic unfounded conclusions and is just perfect. Who has every heard of such a couple in romance? Other writers should take a leaf out of Steph Nuss’ book, because this approach works just as well, if not better.

The story flowed nicely and there was enough tension in the book (especially the stalker angle had me expecting something to happen any minute), but never in the contrived way at which you just have to roll your eyes. Situations were resolved in a swift manner without the usual silly delay. The story flowed nicely and everything worked out fine.

As far as romance goes, this is definitely one of the best ones I have read.

View all my reviews

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

Article

Hardly a stranger by Heather Boyd

Hardly a Stranger (Hunt Club #3)Hardly a Stranger by Heather Boyd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This might have been a really good story, but one of the first scenes totally ruined it for me.

When Ambrose got shot and thought he might die, he took the plunge and decided to tell Francis about his feelings despite his fear of rejection. Totally believable! But then, what does he say? Nothing about love and passion, but instead that he wants to put his cock in Francis’ arse (pardon my French). Is this what you say to the man of your dreams, when you are shot, need surgery and think you won’t make it? I sat there expecting a heartfelt emotional scene and got verbal porn. I didn’t recover from that for the rest of the book.

I liked the main characters, Mariani (I’wanted to know more about her), the idea of the club for the Regency libertines and even Rupert who was not as stuffy as he would seem.

If you are not as picky as I am when it comes to the emotional bond (or lack of it) between the protagonsists, you will probably like this.

View all my reviews

Article

Masquerade by Victoria Vale

Masquerade (Scandalous Ballroom Encounters, #1)Masquerade by Victoria Vale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brilliant erotic short story with two very likeable characters. There aren’t a lot of romance books where I like the heroine, but this is one of them.

There are quite a few sex scenes considering the shortness of the story, very entertaining and not repetitive at all. The characters TALKED to each other as well and developed a relationship. I didn’t care for the first fantasizing scene because I just don’t like that sort of stuff, but once the two met, it was perfect.

A delectable read in every way, and free to boot. Get it!

View all my reviews

Article

Meet me in the garden

Meet Me in the GardenMeet Me in the Garden by Rosa Sophia
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was an unusual story. Not only because of the topic which dealt with past lives and people meeting again after centuries, but also because the story had a dreamlike quality. Dreamlike in the sense that people’s character changed from one minute to the next in the eyes of Amalie, which I found strange as I could not see Amalie’s reasoning.

On one page she was kissing and let Artie fondle her (even though she wanted to say no she never actually did say it) and a little later she “always thought” he was a dark and brooding alcoholic (where the alcoholic idea came from I have no idea. There was NO indication previously). On one page he was sneering and sounding mean and spiteful and a few minutes later she thought he looked lonely and hurt. He was more or less stalking her and sent notes threatening Ian, but Amalie defended him as only being persistent and kept making excuses, even though she felt uncomfortable. Really odd! Not to mention Ian changing from boyfriend with almost angelic patience to verbally abusive drinker back to supportive lover.

Somehow I didn’t understand what was going on. No, that’s wrong. I understood what was going on but didn’t understand the why. At one point one of the supporting characters said that being with your soulmate does not necessarily mean everything is going smooth. Well, being with an alcoholic who insults me when talking to his friends and accepting that simply hoping this phase will pass, then considering drinking myself (if you can’t beat them, join them) is not only not smooth in my book, but rather disastrous. Why did she stay with him?

I can’t say that I liked either Amalie or Ian very much. She was a doormat, and he a jealous drinker. When Amalie met Artie (who sounded perfectly ok to me until all of a sudden he turned out to be a crazy stalker who then disappeared without a trace) she didn’t tell Ian about him – and that was before there was anything going on between them – because Ian would not tolerate that. I cannot understand, let alone support, such a concept. As a woman I cannot have male friends? This is wrong on a number of levels. What sort of relationship between Amalie and Ian is this?

All these misgivings on my part and the underlying theme of a common past history that I could not relate to made this a mystical story that might have made sense in itself, but was way too outré for me.

View all my reviews

I received a copy of Meet me in the garden from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Article

An indecent obsession by Colleen McCullough

An Indecent ObsessionAn Indecent Obsession by Colleen McCullough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a dreary, sad and dull place the world would be if everybody was as dutiful and obsessed with their (self imposed) obligations as our two protagonists here. I am not saying everybody should just do as they please without consideration for anyone else or the consequences, but how Nurse Langtry and Michael go out of their way to sabotage their chance of possible happiness is really extraordinary. Out of the seven people in ward X four end up dead in the end, what an outcome!

I didn’t think I would like a book as much as I liked this one in spite of eventually hating the main characters. I thought I only liked a book if I could at least somewhat relate to a character, but the more the story went on the more I got enthralled by it and the less I liked Nurse Langtry (see, I can’t even bring myself to call her Honour, that is how distant I feel) and Michael. What a couple of self righteous martyrs!

That being said, the story was told in such a way that I could not put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the blooming romance (if you can call it that) would turn out. I actually started out liking Luce and the way he rattled everybody’s cages, but later on I felt rather satisfied about his fate, I am sorry to say. Especially after what he did to Nurse Pedder. That poor woman let him do what he did and never even noticed that she was – in fact – raped. Bizarre!
The end was a bit odd with Nurse Langtry thinking of and considering Neil again. That guy had a close shave indeed. He can consider himself lucky he didn’t end up with her. Why she tought about going back to him, I have no clue. Good thing she decided against it and instead fulfilled “her duty”, because, you see, nobody does it as well as she does. Neil would have possibly been misled into thinking she actually loved him when in reality their relationship would have been a matter of careful deliberation.

I love Colleen McCullough’s writing style and her love to detail a lot and once more she did not disappoint me.

View all my reviews

Article

A fortunate blizzard by L.C. Chase

A Fortunate BlizzardA Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trevor and Marcus meet by chance because of a blizzard that keeps them from going where they want to go. I had hoped this was a cabin romance as I am a sucker for that sort of stuff, but actually the cabin aspect was not really there as being snowed in at a hotel for one night with a lot of other people doesn’t qualify. Nevertheless this was a super sweet story with a tinge of tragedy, but, as could be expected, the tragedy didn’t take place after all.

Insta-love doesn’t even begin to cover the relationship that Trevor and Marcus develop in more or less one night. Somehow it didn’t come over as contrived or forced, so I was all for it. Marcus’ evolution, however, from dedicated workaholic to devoted friend and lover (after a couple of days no less) was more than astounding and I didn’t find it believable. He offered to donate a kidney so readily that it was downright creepy.

The first few days of this blooming relationship took a large part of the book, the second part felt shortened. How all Marcus’ co-workers rallied for Trevor was amazing, given that Marcus never gave a damn about any of them previously. Finding a donor was just too pat for my taste apart from the questionable setup of that charity. You organize an event like that for one donor alone? What about all the other people that are on death’s door because they don’t find a donor? As the whole topic of the story was helping Trevor to a new life, I would have found it more than appropriate to at least mention that the charity event resulted in a few more possibly happy endings for some other people.

Speaking of the happy ending, this was rushed as well. A donor is found and the next thing we read is a sort of epilogue quite some time later and that is that. This was all too easy and flawless for me. A little less love at the beginning and a bit more content at the end would have made that story more substantial for me.

That being said, for a sweet and light Christmas romance, this is a good story to consider.

View all my reviews

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

Article

From afar by Ava March

From AfarFrom Afar by Ava March
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was thoroughly disappointed with this.

The opening scene turned me off. I knew there was some m/f and voyeurism involved, but the picture of Raphael sitting in a tree wanking away was something I could have done without. Where did this obsession with Aleric come from? He has never even talked to the guy; just from seeing him, he got so obsessed with him? I find that rather unhealthy, it makes me uncomfortable with the character.

Then, within a few pages, Aleric was turned and was perfectly ok with his new lifestyle. It seems due to some chemical reaction which was triggered by the turning (no other explanation was given) he all of a sudden was just as needy with Raphael as the other vampire was with him. It’s not that they had spent ANY time together that did not involve frantic sex. Is that supposed to be romance? Not in my book. In fact this is not even porn, because even porn needs some sort of normality in order for the sex to stand out (I am paraphrasing Umberto Eco here).

The story possibilities were all wasted. Katerina (of course, a Russian vampire queen) and her clan sounded quite interesting – apart from the obession with sex again -, but those characters fizzled out and were not followed up at all. Btw, anyone else found the names Katerina and Aleric reminiscent of the Vampire Diaries?

Because there was no emotional bond to speak of (at least I didn’t see any) between Aleric and Raphael, I found myself skimming the sex scenes, i.e. large parts of the book. Finally a conflict was in the offing, i.e. Aleric’s understandable anger and distress over the stalkerish behavior of Raphael, but even that ended with sex almost immediately. Instead of running away from that weirdo who observed him in secret for years, Aleric forgives Raphael within minutes.This couple did not get me involved or attracted me in any way.

Abrupt does not even begin to describe the ending. We go from sex to a half baked plan to leave and that’s it. I had 17% to go with the story and thought there was something more substantial still coming up, and then – wham – the end within a paragraph. The remaining 17% of the book were excerpts and ads for other books, which annoyed me a lot.

I am not saying that this story couldn’t have been good on a mere 85 pages, but given the fact that most of those pages were about sex, it just didn’t work. No explanations, no development, a lacklustre “romance” at best, this wasn’t satisfying. At all.

View all my reviews

Article

Pleasures of Somerville Park by Ava March

Pleasures of Somerville Park (Somerville Park, #1.5)Pleasures of Somerville Park by Ava March
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short and free sequel to Object of his desire, which I really liked. Is is only around fifteen pages and is a short glimpse into Henry and Arsen’s life eight months after they got together. Mostly from Arsen’s POV and pretty sweet.

Why some people complain about it being too short or not providing enough characterization is beyond me. This is a FREE read, for Christ’s sake! And only meant as a follow-up to the other book. If you have not read that one, don’t read this one.

View all my reviews

Article

Hidden scars by Amanda K. Byrne

Hidden Scars (Hidden Scars, #1)Hidden Scars by Amanda K. Byrne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story sounded interesting and I really cannot put my finger on why I wasn’t gripped by it.

The heroine is a good character, careful who she gets involved with, not too trusting, but still down to earth and reasonable. The hero on the other side stays quite faceless. Him being quiet or unobtrusive had nothing to do with it – I love the quiet type – but apart from the fact that he observed, remembered and cared we know not much about him as a person. It’s hard to describe, he is a lovely guy, responsible, everything you could ask for. He had a dubious past as a peripheral member of some gang and quite a lot to deal with at present, and nevertheless, he felt not very fleshed out.

The story moves ultra slow, which was a good change from the usual and I liked how it developped. There was enough tension with the protagonists’ and past and subsequently emotional issues, so I am not complaining about that either. The writing was good, and I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

Somehow the couple and the development of their relationship didn’t come to life for me. I am sorry, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

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

View all my reviews

Article

Hearts and Minds by Marie Treanor

Hearts and Minds (The Gifted, #2)Hearts and Minds by Marie Treanor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is no secret that I really like Marie Treanor’s heroes. They are just perfect in every way.

At the beginning of Hearts and Minds I was quite taken with Nikolai (no surprise here, who wouldn’t be), but was slightly shocked that in the course of the book his general set up reminded me of someone else. Not so much his personality per se, his looks or behaviour, but rather how he was presented. Being a “gifted” very powerful healer? Being considered super dangerous? Being feared by a lot of his own people? The heroine being the light of his dark world? Doesn’t this ring a bell? This is Gregori from Dark Magic all over!

Thank God these are the only aspects that are similar; if Nikolai had been the same condescending know-it-all as Gregori with his annoying “my petite” habit (a habit he shares with all his Carpathian brothers) I would have tossed the book into a corner. But no, Nikolai is just right. Badass enough, hot enough, lovely enough – a perfect mix. Not surprisingly, Jen, the heroine, was equally satisfying. Marie Treanor’s heroines never seem to have the oh so popular stupid tendencies to misunderstand and draw idiotic conclusions out of nowhere.
The storyline was quite good, with lots of political dissidents, mean dictators, dubious oppostion leaders, bombs, narrow escapes with screeching tyres, the whole works. Throw in a few uncanny gifts, parapsychological researchers and a pissed off/helpless guardian and you get a super entertaining book.

Sadly, again, I have to comment on the cover art. Wow, the hair on that guy has to be one of the worst Photoshop jobs ever. Not good!

View all my reviews

Article

The only one by Magan Vernon – DNF

The Only One (Only, #3)The Only One by Magan Vernon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I started reading this because it is in the “Unconditional” anthology, but couldn’t finish it. The heroine – and I am sorry to say that, because it sounds heartless and without compassion – was a whiner of the first order and selfish to the extreme.

Apart from the fact that the cancer topic was dealt with in a disappointingly superficial way, the whole story had no character development whatsoever. It mainly consisted of Melanie going on ad infinitum about how “broken” she was and of Melanie trying to give John an out, because she kept insisting he only pitied her. It was obvious he was not interested in an out, but what does she care. If John HAD indeed left, it would have been the prime example of a self fulfilling prophecy.

After a little more than half I couldn’t stand that miserable situation anymore and left it behind.

View all my reviews

Article

Surviving Raine by Shay Savage

Surviving Raine (Surviving Raine, #1)Surviving Raine by Shay Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I ever become shipwrecked or get stranded on a lonely island I want to be there with Bastian Stark. His survival skills are above and beyond everybody else’s! It seems fighting in a modern day munera sine missione does have its benefits.

I suppose he is the typical beloved anti hero who behaves like a complete jerk alot, but makes up for this by being caring AND hot once he decides to let go of his mean tendencies. Thanks to the 100% male POV we know what’s going on inside of him and understand why he is doing what he’s doing. I can’t say I am totally convinced that this is what’s going on in a man’s mind but I didn’t care for reality anyway.

I found the perspective very refreshing and a relief from the usual female point of view. I am quite familiar with a female point of view already and – to be frank – in romance novels I find it tedious, boring, repetitive and downright annoying most of the time. In Raine’s case I don’t think she would have annoyed me – no, she is a very sweet, forgiving, reasonable and down to earth person, but her trains of thoughts would not have been nearly as interesting to read as Bastian’s, I am sure (sorry).

I must admit, even though I am a sucker for sob stories, I found Bastian was laying it on a bit thick. Wasn’t he a little too needy? The “I’ll die if you ever leave” refrain was a bit over the top for me. Yeah, say it once if you must, but don’t go on non stop.

I read a few reviews of the Evan Arden series. It seems that there is another guy who “will die if she ever leaves” and then, when she does leave, hooks up soon after with a hoooker who can “heal” him. Not saying that this is a bad thing, people do leave sometimes and life goes on, but doesn’t this throw a cloud of suspicion over that lover’s oath? Sometimes a little less is more.

That being said Shay Savage pushed all the right buttons for me and I loved the story. I wouldn’t classify this as the typical romance with the usual frequent love scenes. Don’t get mislead by the heavy use of “fucking” and “cock”! There were some sex scenes, but the adventure of being thrown out on a life raft and land on a lonely island took a large part of the story. A good mix, a great couple, no idiotic misunderstandings and a somewhat happy ending – absolutely recommendable.

View all my reviews

Article

Falling from the sky by Sarina Bowen

Falling from the Sky (Gravity, #2)Falling from the Sky by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this second story of the Gravity Series the hero did have a problem, for real. A good change from the regular romance novels, but as I found out, it doesn’t make a difference to me in whether I like the book or not. Odd, right? I always complain about the contrived problems, so you would think I appreciate it when a real one comes along, but no.

Somehow it felt to me that Hank, even though he found himself in a wheelchair after a snowboarding accident, even though he saw himself as useless (especially to women) after being the alpha man, went on just as before (minus the snowboarding, but even that got better at the end). His supposed loneliness was rather self induced – if you discard his posh girlfriend leaving him, but good riddance anyway. He had money galore and could put it to good use. A complete makeover of his house to suit the disabled? Check. A Porsche with all the hand controls? Check. Contrary to what they say in the story I do think that there are only VERY few disabled people owning a Porsche with hand controls.

The heroine – smart, pretty, not to say beautiful, but otherwise not very interesting – had it in her head that she was only a distraction for Hank. That a man like him would never look twice at a girl like her, if he wasn’t in a bad situation and had no alternatives. Just because he did not jump her when he saw her for the first time, which was right before the accident, she got that idea that he found her unattractive and stuck with it. But of course, this did not keep her from having sex with him numerous times. She hadn’t left her hometown because she waited for a man to come along, and when he did come along, she wanted to leave as soon as possible, giving up a good career opportunity (which she got thanks to him). Talk about messed up.

If you liked the first book, you might want to give this a go, especially as you will see glimpses of Dane and Willow here and there.

View all my reviews

Article

The education of Caroline by Jane Harvey-Berrick

The Education of Caroline (The Education of..., #2)The Education of Caroline by Jane Harvey-Berrick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh, I don’t know, I expected a lot from this one, but somehow I am disappointed. When I started reading I wasn’t even aware that it was a sequel, so I did not get to read all the falling in love part. At the beginning of the sequel the love is already established, albeit somewhat hidden at first due to hard feelings. There was a separation ten years earlier because of the age difference and Caroline and Sebastian haven’t heard from each other since. Much to his chagrin.

The older woman – younger man angle I liked, why should it always be the other way around? Unfortunately – even though there were tons of declarations of love and feelings galore, I just wasn’t feeling it, I’m sorry. It might have to do with the fact that Sebastian leered and smirked quite a bit. I cannot stand guys that do that! There were too many love scenes (who knew I would ever say that), some of them – at least for my taste – even inappropriate. Picture this! A small makeshift room in a makeshift barracks in Afghanistan. You can barely stand upright or stretch out. You are dirty and sweaty. The disclosure of your relationship can cost both of you your careers. An attack can happen anytime and you have to run for your lives. And you can’t help having sex!? Give me a break! I am not buying it.

And afterwards? The problems after returning home were just too superficially dealt with. These were big issues and all of a sudden they were gone? And then as a cherry on top, the inheritance! All too much, this. I don’t know, I couldn’t get into this book.

View all my reviews