Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Kane - Jen Davis

Kane (Cooper Construction, #2)Kane by Jen Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I couldn't resist starting this, the second on the Cooper Construction series, after finishing book one; Brick. Although this second book is about a different couple, Kane and Amanda, it still has the same characters as appeared in book one. It also gives a little glimpse at some of the members of the Cooper Construction team that we didn't meet in the first book.
This is the story of Amanda and Kane. In their early 20's they were in love and expected to spend the rest of their life together. Until something, or someone came between them. It isn't clear, to begin with, what it was that caused them to split up, but as the book progresses, their past is explained.
I enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters, that they had been together once was believable and for the most part, the reason that they split up worked. Particularly as it didn't present an insurmountable barrier to them being together once more.
Like the first book in the series, there is a very dark element to these books. This time Kane is part of a motorcycle gang. While he doesn't particularly enjoy much of their activity, he is tied up in that world and has to deal with it in order to allow he and Amanda to get together. Amanda's father is also an 'interesting character' and lives a somewhat shady life.
These first two books have been a great start to a new series and I'm looking forward to seeing what book three will bring, as well as finding out who's story it has to tell.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday, 25 February 2019

Brick - Jen Davis

Brick (Cooper Construction, #1)Brick by Jen Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is quite a dark romance story, or perhaps that should be romance series as book 2 is also already available. There's something about a bad boy in romance stories and Brick is certainly one bad boy. Used and abused by local crime boss since his teenage years, Brick hates that life that he leads. He can see no way out, while his boss holds the threat of what might happen to his grandmother over his head, so finds himself being the kind of man that would have other people running scared. Olivia, who has just recovered from cancer, is perhaps the ideal woman to take on Brick, as she is all about living life to the full.
The two main characters work really well together. Despite his very dark lifestyle and actions, there is something that is immensely likeable about Brick. The idea of he and Olivia falling in love doesn't seem to be completely impossible and the two of them together work. He worries about how his life might impact on Olivia and how she might be used to control him even further.
Despite the really horrible things that Brick has done and continues to do throughout this book, he is written in such a way that you can't help feel for him and really want he and Olivia to get together. It's easy to have sympathy for his situation and that made this a really satisfying read. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the next book in the series straight away.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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A body in the Lakes by Graham Smith

A Body in the Lakes (Detective Beth Young #2)A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I went into this book with such high hopes and I really wanted to love it. Sadly, it just wasn't for me. It's a real shame, as I usually particularly enjoy British crime novels and the idea of one set in the lake district really appealed.
Half of my problem with this book was that I just didn't like any of the characters. The main detective, Beth, just hadn't really got anything likeable about her. She also didn't seem very believable as a person. One of my other major issues was that much of the mystery was dealt with by jumping to conclusions from nowhere. More than once someone was arrested on the flimsiest of evidence and everyone spoke as though everything was solved and wrapped up. For example, in the first couple of chapters, a man is arrested and all of the police officers talk as though he is guilty and don't seem to be interested in any other lines of enquiry based on nothing more than a missing credit card and a letter that someone has written to the police accusing them. I don't think so somehow!
The mystery itself was interesting and there was a lot of potential here. For me, though it was just not very well executed, which was a shame. Add to that the really misogynistic attitude to rape from all of the characters and it was the final nail in any chance of enjoyment. I don't know if it was the writer's intention to wheel out all of the cliche's that re-enforce rape culture, but that's certainly what he did.
There seem to be plenty of high scoring reviews for this book, so some people certainly enjoyed it, so perhaps you will too, it just wasn't for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel - Tori Fox

Missing Pieces
Missing Pieces by Tori Fox

At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Divorced at 26 and driving to Florida to move back in with my parents.
Until my car breaks down in Smalltown USA.
Not the place meant for a city girl.
Until I meet the cocky asshole that is fixing my car.
I should probably stay away but the pull is too strong.
He was just meant to fix my car but I think he might fix my heart.

My Review

Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel (The White Creek #1)Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel by Tori Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good 3 1/2 star read.
I've read a few books set in small towns in America, where someone from the city comes and then falls in love both with it and someone who lives there. This one was one of the better-written ones.
I have to admit that to someone who grew up in the UK and now lives in New Zealand, the idea of being stranded in a town because your car has broken down and needs thousands spending on it for repair is a bit of an odd concept. A day or so maybe, but not long enough to take a job in order to pay for the repairs. Does public transport just not cover these areas? I'm guessing that it's mostly down to scale, America being so much bigger and taking longer to travel across.
I liked Harper, she had been royally screwed over by her ex-husband and is running home to her parents' post-divorce. Of course, this means that she's also carrying lots of emotional baggage. Her new love interest, mechanic Eastern, also has similar baggage, so they make a good pair. There's always a danger with this kind of pairing, that they are too damaged for one another, but it seemed to be a good balance.
There was quite a bit of going to and fro, particularly for Harper. Would she stay there or not. At one point it seems everyone thinks she has changed her mind (including her) and they get angry with her. It was a little odd because as far as I could see, there was no indication that she was going this way before it all blew up. Like many romance books, much of the upset and hurt could have been avoided with more communication. I know that there might not be a story with no misunderstandings and conflict, but in this case, I think that a little more talking would have helped the storyline.
I'd certainly be interested in reading the next book in this series.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Murder by Matchlight - E.C.R. Lorac

Murder by MatchlightMurder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great golden age mystery, again from another writer that I haven't come across before. I used to think that I was quite well read when it came to those classic British mysteries from early to mid last century, this series from poisoned pen press just keeps on showing me how wrong I was about that.
This story is set during London in the second world war. This adds a special twist to the mystery itself, with much of it taking place in darkness, in the middle of the blackout. In fact, in many ways, what makes this a mystery to puzzle out, only works because of this setting, with two people witnessing the murder, but due to the blackout, not really being able to see much at all.
One of the joys of these books has been the way that it shows the period in which they are set so clearly. If you were interested in wartime history in England but were not that bothered about mystery books, I think that you would still get a lot out of this. It sets the scene so well.
I have to admit that I didn't solve this one until right at the very end when it all became obvious. It worked well as a mystery and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 16 February 2019

Murder at the Old House - Betty Rowlands

Murder at the Old House (Melissa Craig, #13)Murder at the Old House by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. Each one just gets better and better. This time, the story takes place away from Melissa's village. Her father has been murdered and her mother is the prime suspect. Mel hasn't seen her parents for over twenty years (possibly nearly thirty?) as they threw her out when she got pregnant with her son Simon and wasn't married.
Although the story is a murder mystery (one which I didn't actually solve this time, I was barking up the wrong tree completely) much of the actual story is about Mel and her relationship with her parents. We have been told that they are estranged previously and why, but it has only really been mentioned in passing. Now we not only get to meet her mother, but we find out more about both Mel's past and her parent's relationship.
We also see much more of Mel's agent, Joe in this book. He has been a background character in previous stories, particularly because Mel has wanted to keep him at arm's length. In this book, he not only features quite prominently but Mel herself come to rely upon him more.
There are another two books still to go in this series and I have one earlier one to go back and read. I'm loving them and I'll be disappointed when they finally come to an end. The Mel Craig series is highly enjoyable.

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Kill for me - Rebecca Bradley

Kill For Me (DI Hannah Robbins #5)Kill For Me by Rebecca Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems a long time since I last had the pleasure of reading a DI Hannah Robbins book, in actual fact, it's only been five months. However long it is, it's always a please to tuck into one of these well-written mysteries, that have the added bonus of being set relatively locally to where I grew up.
I have thought with previous books that I hope that Rebecca Bradley never decides to go on a murderous rampage. She seems to have an uncanny knack of thinking up some of the most devious and disturbing ways to commit murder. Not, in this case, at least, the way that the murder actually was done, but the background that leads to it. She also likes to tell stories that push seemingly ordinary people beyond the limits to act in a way that they never dream to be possible.
This time around, I did wonder a few times if people really would go to these lengths? I really don't know. It was a gripping read in any case and I really enjoyed it.
If you haven't read any of the series as yet, then I really would recommend going back to the beginning and reading all of them. It doesn't really matter though if you'd prefer to start with this one, it's a great read and works just as well as a standalone novel. I'm looking forward to finding out what Hannah will face next time.

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The Heart of You - Cover Reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
The Heart of You 
(A Geeks of Caltech Novel)
by Aarti V Raman

Mixed martial arts studio owner Kit Barranos has always been a fighter. He will fight for his family. For his friends. For anyone in need.

What he doesn't know how to do is fight for himself...

... Or the inconvenient and consuming desire he has for single mom Lily Fallahil.

Office manager, Lily has spent the last decade raising her son and proving her independence to her protective and overbearing brother, Drake.

She has no time for romance. Especially with Kit Barranos, who has a body to die for and eyes that rip at her soul.

When Kit reveals his heartbreaking secret to Lily - he has a brother he never knew about, one he considered his closest friend - it brings them closer, creates a bond neither can deny.

And paves the way for a steamy attraction that explodes between them.

But it isn't just Lily that Kit is slowly but surely falling for. It's her adorable son, Bret.

Navigating the holidays, their families and their feelings is no easy task.

Flawed and fiercely loyal, Kit and Lily have fought the odds and survived.

But, survival no longer seems enough.

Can they take a chance on each other, on their hearts... On a love that braves The Heart of You?

The Heart of You is Book Three of The Geeks of Caltech, a unique band of friends bonded by loyalty, brotherhood, and pain. The Geeks of Caltech are to die for and their women all they wish to live for!


About the Author:
Aarti V Raman lives in Mumbai, India and has been a commercial editor and business journalist for the better part of a decade.
She is an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing Happily Ever After to life for the characters in her head. She has three traditionally published novels out, all contemporary romances from 2014-2016, with the next one slated for release in 2019.
She currently writes and self-publishes steamy contemporary romance for urban millennials with a global twist. Sometimes, there are guns and car chases too.
Her new contemporary romance series include GEEKS OF CALTECH and ROYALS OF STELLANGARD as well as standalone romances - all of which have become Amazon India and US bestsellers.
She has also appeared as speaker at lit festivals and events around India and also dabbles in poetry, while conducting creative writing workshops.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook Page * Twitter * Instagram

This Cover Reveal is powered by b00k r3vi3w Tours

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Decanted Truths - Melanie Forde

Decanted Truths by Melanie Forde

Decanted Truths

Decanted truths by Melanie FordeFor Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life -- and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surroundings: whether the lace-curtain Dorchester apartment overseen by her judgmental Aunt Margaret or the wild Manomet bluff shared with her no-nonsense Aunt Theo and brain-damaged Uncle Liam. A death in the family disrupts the tepid life path chosen for Leah and sets her on a journey of discovery. That journey goes back to the misadventures shaping the earlier generation, eager to prove its hard-won American credentials in the Alaskan gold rush, the Spanish-American War, and The Great War. She learns of the secrets that have bound Theo and Margaret together. Ultimately, Leah learns she is not who she thought she was. Her new truth both blinds and dazzles her, much like the Waterford decanter at the centre of her oldest dreams -- an artefact linking three Irish-American families stumbling after the American Dream.

My Review

This was quite an unusual book. To begin with, it isn't really completely obvious who the main subject of the story is and where it is going to go. We are introduced to Leah fairly early on and while in many ways this is her story, it isn't only her story. By learning more about her family and where she comes from, we learn more about her. The book follows the course of the lives of a number of different members of a family and the other families around them that are connected through marriage and just from living nearby. To begin with, the various stories do not seem to have that much to do with one another, but as the book progresses, we find out that they all help to tell the story of Leah. About who she really is and where she comes from.

A lot of this book revolves around the idea of where someone comes from. Much is made of the fact that many of the characters have Irish ancestors. I suppose this is a story about where you come from, even if you personally don't come from there, shapes who you are and how you act. In many ways, that makes it a very American story, as they do seem to be far more into the idea of putting labels on people than much of the rest of the world.

This was a really interesting story and once I'd got into it I couldn't help but read and see what would happen next. The only slight issue with it is that it covers a lot of ground and as a result, much of the story is told rather than shown. In the early chapters, this made it quite heavy going and I didn't find myself dragged along by the story, which is what I personally like to happen when I read. It was still a very interesting plot and that shone through as the book progressed.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and engaging read. If family sagas are your thing, then you'll probably love it. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

They found him dead - Georgette Heyer

They Found Him DeadThey Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good who done it and this one is certainly that. Not only did I find that the storyline drew me in, but I also loved all of the characters. They were beautifully portrayed and I found them so engaging from the very beginning.

Much of the start of this book is spent building up the background story, with the mystery coming in later in the book. Sometimes books like this can drag a little bit, but the story itself drew you along so that it didn't matter that there wasn't much of a mystery to get your teeth in straight away.

Once the murder actually takes place, there was the usual cast of potential suspects and plenty of clues and red herrings to confuse and enlighten. As well as the two professional detectives, Hannasyde and Hemingway, (who apparently appear in some of Heyer's other mystery novels). A young member of the family, fourteen-year-old Timothy, spends much of his time trying to work out who the murderer is. I loved how excited he was, diving around, without really taking anything very seriously. He reminded me very much of my own son, who is a little bit younger, he was fantastic though and really added to my enjoyment of this book.

The mystery itself worked well. I had pretty much solved it by the end of the book and before the detectives in the book had got there. It wasn't too obvious though and worked well (my two usual tests for a good murder mystery).

This was a great read and an excellent classic style mystery. I really enjoyed it and I love Georgette Heyer's writing. I'll certainly be giving some more of her mystery novels a go.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Murder at Benbury Brook - Betty Rowlands

Murder at Benbury Brook: An absolutely gripping English cozy mystery (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 9)Murder at Benbury Brook: An absolutely gripping English cozy mystery by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great book from Betty Rowlands in the Melissa Craig series. I did wonder how she would fare now that Iris, her next door neighbour and close friend had left for France. The arrival of a new neighbour to live, at least for the time being in Iris's cottage soon throws Mel into the midst of another mystery and it isn't long before she finds herself involved in a little sleuthing.

With the changes that happened in the last book, I knew that we were likely to be without a few of the supporting characters from previous books. Although I have always enjoyed reading about them, they weren't really missed her and Mel still had a couple of friendly faces to rely upon.

This time the mystery focuses on the death of a girl was it an accident, or something more sinister? There is also something decidedly seedy going on in the village. It becomes pretty clear what's going on, although there are no graphic descriptions, just enough hints to make it clear what certain characters have been doing. I've said before that I feel that these books are more 'classic mysteries' than cosy mysteries. Although things aren't spelt out as such, I think that the crimes do make these more classic than cosy, but perhaps that's because I tend to be a little dismissive of the term 'cosy' and see it as twee and insubstantial, which these novels certainly aren't.

One of the joys of this series is the way that village life is depicted. I don't know if it's because I grew up in an English village and I relate to this picture, or just because it's so well written, a little of both perhaps? I suppose that there is a little nostalgia too, with these books being set (and written) twenty years or so ago now. That doesn't detract from the enjoyment though, these are great mysteries and a good read, even if the world has moved on a little.

The more of this series I read, the more I enjoy them. I can't wait to see what the next book has in store for Mel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Fading to Black - V.H. Luis

Fading to Black
V.H. Luis
(Uninhibited #2)
Publication date: November 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
We’re flawed. Both full of scars and tormented by the shadows of our past. But in each other’s arms we find solace, we find perfection.
Adam Black. Gorgeous, demanding, a sinful dream that once was my reality.
I was his… until I walked away.
For months I’ve managed to curb my Adam addiction. I’ve focused my energy on my painting career. I’ve found success. Still there is a dangerous urge within me I can’t resist, one that tempts me to be reckless. My life isn’t complete.
Something is missing… he’s missing.
I left him, but fate again has made us collide. And this time I won’t turn away—I won’t be the only one revealing the scars of my past.
I was his… am his… and this time he’ll be completely mine.

Author Bio:
V.H. Luis is the author of the Black Series, an erotic romance trilogy that follows the love affair of Evelyn Snowe and Adam Black. Her debut book WAKING to Black, was released May 2, 2018, and the subsequent sequels FADING to Black, and SURRENDERING to Black, will follow shortly thereafter.
I’m a born and bred Miami Girl–and proud of it! I would wear shorts and flip-flops everyday of the week if I could. Growing up in Miami, surrounded by my parent’s heritage has made me proud of my Cuban ancestry. Cafecito and a guava pastry for breakfast? Yes, please! Salsa music while I tidy the house? Of course.
If I’m not busy scribbling notes about a story, I’m painting, listening to music, or spending time with the love of my life–my son. If I decide to travel, I bring the whole family (in-laws included), or at least I try to, because life is too short not to spend it with family; one of the many lessons my father taught me.

My Review

 After reading the first book in the uninhibited series, Waking to Black, I was keen to read more and find out what would happen with Evelyn and Adam. While the first book followed the beginning of their relationship, this second book focuses on from when they have separated and follows them as they find one another again.

In the last book, I was interested to see how Evelyn would deal with a very controlling man, which is what Adam is. As a rule, I don't like these domineering characters, but Evelyn, despite her many problems, does seem to be able to match him and I think that there's a real chance that they could become equals. In this book, that relationship develops further, with both Evelyn and Adam trusting one another more and more and giving more away.

Both Adam and Evelyn have pretty hideous families. We saw a little of this in the previous book, but Adams family, in particular, seems to get even worse this time. It seems that everything is against them.

I really liked seeing the relationship between Adam and Evelyn grow. They still have a little way to go I think, which is probably a good thing, seeing as there's another book to go as yet. Although this book doesn't leave on a cliff hanger as such, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered, not only for our main characters but Adam's sister and Evelyn's best friend also seem to have storylines that need a little more explanation.

This is a good read. I would suggest reading book one first so that you can follow the story from the beginning. I'm certainly looking forward to book three, I hope that I don't have to wait too long for it.