Saturday, 30 November 2019

Colombiano - Rusty Young

ColombianoColombiano by Rusty Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Colombiano, a gripping and confronting read.

Colombiano is a big book, I mean that in more than one way. First of all, it is physically massive (I actually read it on my kindle, but the dots to show the length of the book and how far you've got through it spread across the whole screen). But it also deals with some very large events. The story itself is based on the stories that Rusty Young was told when interviewing ex-child soldiers. I don't know how much of it is 'real' and how much is fiction, it all felt very real.
The book itself, despite its length, is easy to read. I mean that in the sense that the chapters are very short. The story is so engaging that it's a good thing. Short chapters meant that you can keep reading just one more, while longer chapters would have been more likely to make me wait until I actually had time to read. Told from the point of view of Pedro, who witnesses his father's murder and sets out to gain what he claims is justice, but is actually revenge, we follow him as he progresses through the ranks of the Autodefensas. The things that Pedro witnesses and overtime is more of a part of, are brutal. This is a dirty gorilla war, brutality is expected. The confronting part of this book is that as we are following Pedro on his journey, we can't help but sympathise with his situation and why he does something. More than once I found myself rooting for him only to wonder how I could even for a second buy into what was happening.
I came into this knowing next to nothing about Columbia beyond the thoughts of cocaine, coffee and South America. I don't know that I 'know' much more now, but it's certainly a country that I would like to know more about. I hope that over time its wounds can be healed and its people find peace. Especially the likes of Pedro and his friends and enemies who lost their childhood to horror and bloodshed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Unravel You - Diana A Hicks

Unravel You
Diana A. Hicks
(Cole Brothers, #1)
Publication date: November 18th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
UNRAVEL YOU is the enthralling sequel to LOVE OVER LATTES and can be read as a standalone. It is also book one in the Cole Brothers series, a new family saga, binge reading experience: 5 brothers, 5 full-length novels in 5 months.
College graduate Valentina never expected to fall for the hot as hell and intimidating Derek Cole when she accepted his offer to rent his property.
From cottage to mansion, Valentina is certain she doesn’t deserve the fairytale unfolding. But Derek gets what he wants… and he wants her.
He’s “the one” for her, but before she says I do, she has to survive a month long trip to his family’s estate in Atlanta. Gaining approval from four brothers and an over-protective mother might just be her hardest test yet.
For billionaire Derek Cole, this homecoming is a chance to mend the damage he caused when he walked away from the family business.
Just when they think they have a handle on their happily ever after… their past and future collide.
Note: This is a steamy romance with explicit sensual scenes, happily ever after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger. Can be read as a standalone.
“Hicks’ first installment of her Desert Monsoon series is confident and assured with strong storytelling, nuanced characters, and a dynamic blend of romance and suspense…A sexy and irresistible tale for fans of contemporary romance.” – Kirkus Reviews
Don’t miss out on this suspenseful and seductive series.
Unravel You, Book 1 (Derek and Valentina) – 11/18/2019
Provoke You, Book 2 (Matt and Ela) – 12/16/2019
Escape You, Book 3 (Tyler and Mia) – 1/13/2020
Unleash You, Book 4 (Wesley and Anabelle) – 2/10/2020
Defy You, Book 5 (Zack and Rebecca) – 3/9/2020

Author Bio:
Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Book two in her Desert Monsoon series, LOVE OVER LOGIC, won the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Romance – Suspense genre
When Diana is not writing, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.

My Review

I didn't realise when I started reading this one that it was actually a follow on story from a previous book. I don't know how much difference it would have made to read the first in the series, but I don't think that it reduced my enjoyment too much. Unlike most romance books, this isn't the story of a couple getting together, but a couple working out what they are to one another once they've already got together but are looking to get married. 
Despite this being a follow on, it is actually the start of the Cole Brothers series. We do briefly meet the other four brothers in this book and I think at least two of their love interests. The main story focused on Dereck and Valentina. They have both had an interesting and volatile romantic past, but are happy with one another. Although their respective ex-partners are the ones causing them trouble now.
On the whole, I liked Dereck and Valentina as a couple. My only slight reservation was that Dereck was a little too controlling and overbearing for my taste. He really oversteps the mark at one point, by not only keeping Valentina in the dark about the danger and she and her son are on, but also by moving her son somewhere safe, but not telling her or letting her know that he can't be contacted. For me, that would have been a deal-breaker, no matter how much chemistry I had with someone. 
Overall this was a good start to the series and I'd be interested to see how the rest of it pans out.


Sunday, 24 November 2019

Hero's Haven - Rebecca Zanetti

Hero's Haven (Dark Protectors Book 11)Hero's Haven by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's always a danger that when you get to the eleventh book in a series, that it might become hard for new readers to follow what's going on. Although I have read some of the others in this series (the last two) I don't think that's the case here. You could come into the world at any of the books and not be lost in what's going on. That's not to say that there aren't links with the previous books. The characters appear across the series and play various roles.
There is an overarching storyline here and each book does seem to lead a step closer to what I assume will be the final conclusion. But you aren't left feeling that the book isn't a complete story itself and as a standalone, these all work fine.
Hero's Haven deals with Quade and Haven. Haven has grown up thinking that she's mad. The family that adopted her have abused her in an attempt to change who she is. What she didn't know is that she is a fae demon hybrid. She has been visiting Quade for years in her dreams, not realising that he has existed in another dimension and not simply been part of her imagination. Now that they finally meet for real, she struggles to trust him and to believe that there can be anything between them.
I loved Quade, in some ways he seems like an overgrown kid. He's been exiled for centuries away from the earth, so much is foreign to him. He even keeps eating toothpaste because he likes the sweet minty flavour. He's full-on and overbearing, but this type of hero often is. I'm not sure I'd want to cope with someone like that in real life, but he's fun to read about in a book.
I'm not sure where to next for this series, but I'm looking forward to reading more and finding out.
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 November 2019

The Enforcer - Abigail Owen

The Enforcer (Fire’s Edge, #3)The Enforcer by Abigail Owen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Fire's Edge and Inferno Rising series from Abigail Owen. This is the third book in the Fire's Edge series and it builds into what we have already seen and there is a cross over with the first Inferno Rising series (which seems to take place at roughly the same time as this one and there are some cross over events). This book does work as a stand-alone, but really you should read the other books first, just because they are so good.
The Enforcer is Drake, he's never found his mate and now he's slowly dying, even though the degeneration shouldn't have started to take place for another couple of hundred years. Not wanting to endanger his 'family' the Huracán team of dragon enforcers, he leaves them, becoming a rogue dragon. There he meets Camilla, a woman that he had saved previously, not realising that she was a dragon mate.
I loved the romance between Cami and Drake. She not only gives as good as she gets but quite often has the upper hand where Drake is concerned. He's a grumpy old sod and really needs someone who is able to push him out of his comfort zone and challenge him. Of course, being his mate there is a happily ever after here, but they both need to work for it and really find out that they are 'the one' for each other.
I can't wait for more in this series and in Inferno Rising. I think I know who were are going to read about next in both series. I just hope that I haven't got too long to wait until I can.
received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday, 18 November 2019

Her Hot Ride - Heather Van Fleet

Her Hot Ride: A gripping and sexy biker mc romantic suspense novel (Red Dragon MC Series Book 3)Her Hot Ride: A gripping and sexy biker mc romantic suspense novel by Heather Van Fleet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Red Dragon's MC series. It doesn't matter if you haven't read the first two books. Characters from those books are mentioned and to be honest, the whole series is good, so why wouldn't you? This time troubled Emily, best friend to Summer and sister to Hawk, who appeared in the first book is the main female character. She is desperate to find her mother and save her from her Dad, who was at one time the club president but who is now, to put it mildly, a bad lot.
No one int he club seems to trust her and she is determined to leave them. Archer has been given the task to keep an eye on her, they've got on each others nerves since they very first met, but the more time that they spend together, the clearer it becomes that there's something else between them.
When Emily runs away, Archer gives chase and goes with her on her cross country treck to find her father and mother. The more time that they spend together, the more that the feelings and chemistry between them begin to grow.
I'm really enjoying this series and I hope that there's more to come. Emily and Archer made a great couple. They both have problems, but it soon becomes clear that they are quite alike in many ways and together they make sense. There was great chemistry between them and I really enjoyed reading about them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Awaken the Dragon - A.C. Arthur

Awaken the Dragon (The Legion, #1)Awaken the Dragon by A.C. Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I'm quite partial to a dragon shifter novel. Awaken the Dragon is the first in a series, I assume that the other books in the series will involve the other dragons shifters that we met in this one. Theo is the leader of a group of dragons who have left their realm and are living on earth. He has been here for two hundred years and in that time he has repressed the dragon side of his nature, choosing instead to live as a man and run his security business. When he meets Shola he finally finds someone who might be worth risking everything for and allow him to finally become himself once again.
There is a lot going on here and being the first in the series there's a lot to explain. A lot of time isn't spent on world-building, but we still manage to get most of the gist of the world in which they live as the story unfolds. I think that future books in the series might be able to build on this and so will be in a stronger position, as we become more accustomed to the setting.
The romance between Theo and Shola moves quite quickly once they fully acknowledge their blossoming feelings. For me, it didn't quite work as well as it might. The chemistry between them just wasn't quite sparking properly and so things felt a little rushed. I also felt that Shola's character was kept in shadow a little too much, particularly at the beginning of the book, which didn't really help with the growing romance. I still enjoyed the book, but if I'd just brought into the chemistry a little more or there had been a little bit more of a build-up between them it would have been even better. I'd be certainly keen to read more in the series, especially as I suspect that this might be one of those that improve with each book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The Measure of Malice - Martin Edwards

The Measure of Malice: Scientific Detection Stories (British Library Crime Classics)The Measure of Malice: Scientific Detection Stories by Martin Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The great thing about these short story collections from the British Library Crime classics ist that they all introduce you to a range of new writers and if there is one that you don't enjoy as much, it isn't long before you are onto the next one. Fortunately, I don't think that there was one story that I didn't enjoy in this little collection. Even better, as well as the authors that were new to me, there were one or two old favourites. Particularly as there was a Lord Peter short story from Dorothy L. Sayers which I hadn't come across before.
I do find short stories a little harder to read, they tend to be a little longer than most chapters, so you can't squeeze one if you don't have long to sit and read and I don't tend to like going from story to story if I'm sitting reading for longer. With this collection, I've been reading one in between each longer length novel or novella. It's taken me a little while to get through because of that, but my enjoyment hasn't diminished as a result.
This is a great collection to dip into with a range of great stories from authors that you may not have come across before.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 15 November 2019

The Body in the Dumb River - George Bellairs

The Body in the Dumb River: A Yorkshire MysteryThe Body in the Dumb River: A Yorkshire Mystery by George Bellairs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that what first drew me towards these British Library Crime Classic books was the covers, what keeps me coming back are the great stories and new authors that I have discovered. I have to admit that I had no idea that there were so many crime authors in what is often called the golden age of crime writing. I foolishly thought that it was just Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and other well-loved authors that I have read over time. With each one of these books that I read, I discover someone new and they all seem to have something different to offer.
The Body in the Dumb River opens more or less with the discovery of the body. In many similar books, we are introduced to a cast of characters and it soon becomes clear that many people might have cause to be the killer once the murder occurs. Not so here, instead, with the exception of one or two people, everyone seems to love the dead man Jim and no one can quite seem to understand who could have done away with him. Of course, as the story unfolds it becomes clear who it was who might have wanted to kill him, even if it's not so obvious how it was done.
Chief inspector Littlejohn is a likeable character and works well as the primary detective in the case. I enjoyed reading his story and as this is number 35 in the series, it's clear that he has plenty of experience. I don't know how easy it would be to find more of the Littlejohn books, but I'd certainly be keen to read more if I came across them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 9 November 2019

Accidental Secrets - Dana Mason

Accidental Secrets: A totally gripping, steamy, sexy contemporary romance (Accidental Love Book 3)Accidental Secrets: A totally gripping, steamy, sexy contemporary romance by Dana Mason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was exactly what I was in the mood for. A great second chance romance, lots of chemistry between the hero and heroine and a real reason for them being kept apart for so long.
I'm always a little wary of books where there's a child involved, but in this case, it was handled really well. Although I struggle with the idea of keeping a father away from their child and not telling them that there was even a baby on the scene. In this case, Rachel and Mike's daughter is 13 by the time that he finds out about her. There are lots of reason why he was kept in the dark and of course, there are lots of questions to answer once they do finally meet.
I really enjoyed this read, there was a lot for the characters to deal with and I have to admit that I was gripped from the start. I read this in more or less one sitting, but it wasn't a quick read, I just couldn't put it down.
This being a romance, there is, of course, a happily ever after. It took them a while to get there, but the journey (for the reader) was totally worth it. This is book three in the series but worked fine as a stand-alone (I'm not even sure if the books are linked as such). I'd been keen to go back and read the others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 8 November 2019

The Lion, The Leopard, and the Wolf - Eliza March

The Lion, the Leopard, and the Wolf (Enchanted Mountain #1)The Lion, the Leopard, and the Wolf by Eliza March
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is really quite a short novella that goes quickly through the action. Our heroine, Mac, is looking to get over her ex-boyfriend and the weekend break that her aunt books her on seems to be the ideal way to do it. There's wall to wall sexy men and they seem to be very attentive. It soon becomes clear that best friends and owners of the lodge are both interested in her.
Overall I liked the idea of the story and for the most part, it worked. Where it fell down for me was that being so short it seemed very rushed. I was actually left with far more questions at the end of the book than I had to begin with. There was very little world-building too, which left me a bit confused. Especially as they were not only shifters, but apparent were shifters. Really the book needed some background worked into the story to explain all of that. The ending felt rushed to me with the sudden and rather random appearance of another shifter character leaving me wondering what I'd just read.
It wasn't that this was a bad story, just that it could have been much better with a little bit more adding to it. It's a bit of a shame really.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 1 November 2019

The Magic of Christmas - Alyssa J.Montgomery

The Magic of ChristmasThe Magic of Christmas by Alyssa J. Montgomery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm giving this one 3 1/2 stars rounded up to 4.
I have to admit that I've read another book by this author that I couldn't really get on with if I'd realised that before I started, it may have stopped me reading The Magic of Christmas. Fortunately, I didn't know, as I would have missed out on a good read if I had passed this one by.
The book tells the story of Jack and Grace. Both have experienced terrible things in their childhood, but both have been able to move beyond that, at least to an extent. For Jack, this has taken the form of being very successful, while not perhaps being as successful at moving with things emotionally. Grace is much more grounded from an emotional point of view but hasn't been as successful.
Although this is one of your Billionaire thinks he can't love but falls in love with someone less well off than he is (in this case, his cleaner). There is more going on here. Grace has battled with learning difficulties and struggled to read at school. She is an amazing musician and it is this that Jack encourages her to develop. There is action, excitement and of course, a healthy dose of romance in this Christmas story. There's even a little appearance from a character that may or may not be one of Santa's little helpers. It's a good festive read that will start to get you in the mood for the coming Christmas season.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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No Rest for the Wicked - Lauren Smith

No Rest for the Wicked: Pirates of Britannia Connected World
No Rest for the Wicked by Lauren Smith, pirate with long black hair in front of ship

A wicked pirate, a lady-turned cabin boy and a love reaching the distant horizon.

Your next Pirate Adventure awaits You!

A lady’s guide to surviving aboard a pirate ship:
1) Dress as a cabin boy.
2) Avoid drinking too much rum when the handsome captain is around.
3) Do not let the captain kiss you…again.

The last thing Roberta Harcourt needs is to be trapped on a ship with pirates. After she is separated from her father when their ship is attacked, Roberta finds herself the unwilling guest of sinfully handsome Captain Dominic Grey. He gives her two choices: to share his bed and maintain her life as a lady, or she can sleep on the floor of his cabin and live the life of a cabin boy until he decides to set her free. Refusing to be seduced by a pirate, she dresses in breeches and assumes duties on board his ship among the men, but each night, sharing a cabin with the brooding, seductively intense captain, she begins to wonder if letting him kiss her again might be a rule worth breaking…

Dominic lost his innocence long ago when he was kidnapped and sold into indentured servitude in the West Indies. Determined to leave the painful memories of his past behind, he looks only to the future and the next prize he and his crew can capture on the high seas…until he discovers and captures the feisty daughter of a naval admiral. Protecting her from other pirates and preventing her marriage to an English officer is all in a day’s work for a pirate. But Dominic is determined to play the gentleman he once was born to be. He tries to resist the siren’s call of her sweet lips, especially when she’s arguing with him.

But damned if the woman wasn’t meant to be a pirate because she’s stealing his heart…

My Review

I haven't read many pirate books, it's not something that I usually go for, but I'm always up for a new Lauren Smith book, so I had to give this one a go. We learn from the prologue that although Dominic dreamed of going to sea, it was actually being kidnapped and then abused that set him on the path to being a pirate captain. He has many scars both inside and out which have led to him leading a band of pirates and chasing treasure.

Of course, he isn't all bad and once his men sink a royal navy vessel and take it's most precious cargo, the daughter of an admiral, he soon finds that the man he once was, someone he thought long dead, is really there below the surface.

Roberta is far from being a weak and feeble young woman. She has spent much of her life at sea and she is the perfect match for this damaged pirate captain. I loved reading about this woman who could hold her own in this dangerous world. The romance between Dominic and Roberta is both sweet and passionate. 

This was a great read, exciting, entertaining and with a great dose of romance. Exactly what I felt like on a lazy Saturday afternoon.