4 Star Review: You Had Me at Christmas by Karina Bliss, Stephanie Doyle, Jennifer Lohmann, Laura Florand & Molly O’Keefe

Thursday 13 October 2016 No comments
You Had Me at ChristmasYou Had Me at Christmas by Karina Bliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great, festive collection of stories from some amazing authors....

Play by Karina Bliss

Who said a rock and roll lifestyle can't start, and end, at home! Join the fun and games as Kayla and her rock star hubby, Jared, try to resurrect their marriage, whilst under the influence of 2 children, at Christmastime!

Review: Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One

Wednesday 12 October 2016 No comments
Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One by T.M. Frazier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Preppy: Complex, damaged, quirky, and yet beautifully unique. This story is both heartbreaking and rewarding as we get to experience the multi-faceted mind of Preppy.

Preppy had an all too brief part to play in the series to date and his demise was a loss that was hard to stomach but now, after a long wait, he’s finally here to tell his story.

This wasn't an easy book to read and will have a number of triggers for the more sensitive of readers (including drug use, violence, sexual abuse) but for me, the edginess to his Preppy’s story was irrepressible. I found his damaged soul beautiful and yet his actions, on occasion, were difficult to accept but after putting the whole story together and into perspective, I can almost see why he acted as he did.
I never knew fear until I met pure evil. He wore a smile and a bow tie.
Andrea aka Dre aka Doc is Preppy’s unexpected salvation. After playing a part in a theft from her grandmother’s house, of Preppy's “plants”, she flees but with her body drug-addled she unable to escape Preppy who is determined to seek revenge against those who wronged him. Dre is too wrecked by heroin to outrun Preppy and soon becomes his puppet as he seeks retribution for her actions. What Preppy doesn’t expect to see in Dre's eyes is their mutual understanding of abuse brought about at the hands of men who sought to hurt them for their own self-fulfilment. We know Preppy had a tough childhood but we come to realise how conflicted he is about the actions of his step-father. Preppy has tried to put his past behind him but with Dre’s experiences still fresh in her mind, Preppy is forced to open wounds which he had assumed to be well healed.
She was the girl I was in love with. The girl I would always be in love with. Until my very last breath.
Together, Preppy forces Dre to make amends for the damage she has inflicted on his business and in doing so blackmails Dre to assist him. Whilst Preppy is torn over Dre, he knows a future between them would be impossible and instead suggests she become one of the BBB’s something that Dre has something to say about. As a result, Bear also makes an appearance, or two, in this story although King is in prison. Whilst the story is written in the past, Preppy’s present also plays a part, albeit at the hands of Bear’s father.

What I did struggle with this story, even having read it with an open mind, is the way Preppy was also culpable in his actions towards Dre. She pushed him away and yet he still took. He also took from her unconscious form which although odious, demonstrated the darkness inside Preppy’s twisted mind, which was clearly brought about at the hands of his abuser.

Despite the highs and lows in this story, it was expertly written and whilst it had a number of sharp edges, it was also enjoyable and for me, possibly the best book in the series to date. Preppy is as always extremely funny and his quips are a definite highlight of this story. This books ends on the inevitable “cliffie” and sets the scene nicely for the next instalment. Readers do need to read this series in order, to experience the story as a whole.

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Review: Patchwhore

Monday 10 October 2016 No comments
Patchwhore Patchwhore by Kim Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That's one Cook I'd like to have in my kitchen!

Another fascinating story from Kim Jones giving us an insight into the lifestyle of RCs and MCs.

This book portrayed a story of revenge for the female lead: Carmen. Scorned by her ex-boyfriend, Jud, who is now a patchholder of the Eagles RC, Carmen decides that the only way to get over him is to get under his brothers and in doing so, she voluntarily becomes a Patchwhore as she works her way up through the club ranks.

Without much of a plan, other than revenge, Carmen finds herself in uncharted territory until she is befriended by Kat, a waitress who already lives within the RC/MC lifestyle and knows the local members. But it’s not Kat who turns out to be Carmen’s largest proponent in her plan, that would be Cook, a Prospect with the Devil’s Renegades MC. Cook offers Carmen guidance and in doing so, the two become close and eventually their unexpected friendship becomes sexual. Carmen is delighted to have yet another man to use to make Jud jealous but she is stunned when she Jud laughs at her for dating a Prospect. Determined to move on with her plan, Carmen asks Cook, and Kat, to help her. Despite having reservations, Cook supports Carmen and in doing so, protects her from unknown dangers. Whilst her plan was to sleep with as many members as she can, Carmen’s non-relationship with Cook has its boundaries and that means she can’t have sex with anyone else but Cook and unbeknownst to Jud, he assumes that more is going on when he sees her with many different brothers.

As the story progresses, each chapter becomes a new date and a new attempt for Carmen to punish Jud. Whilst the series of dates starts off interesting, their impacts soon waivers as it becomes clear that Carmen has no interest in these men. Whilst her decisions are poorly thought out, Carmen unwittingly has the Devil’s Renegades MC President, Ronnie, working in the background to scupper her plans and it’s not long before she realises that her dates are being deliberately cut short.

The story has a split feel to it. One one side it focuses on Carmen and her plan to be a Patchwhore and on the other side we get a sweet romance building between her and Cook. Cook is the perfect character to compliment Carmen’s, less than favourable persona. Whilst she determinedly works to call Jud to heel, Carmen is blind to the feeling she has growing within her for Cook. I loved the interactions with Ronnie and also the feeling of club life when Carmen starts to ingratiate herself with its members. What I didn’t enjoy was the way that Carmen was happy to become known as a Patchwhore just for the sake of revenge. I probably would have accepted someone who had become a Patchwhore out of desperation and need but for Carmen, a bright student who comes from a wealthy family, with a self-less need to succeed on her own, to actively wish to become a Patchwhore just took the story a step too far. That said, I once again loved Kim Jones’ writing and the story, when taken lightly, was an enjoyable one.

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Review: Will

Will Will by Kerry Heavens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Roll reversals and even more drama, yes just like Spencer, Will has a flair for making his love life, HARD!

Spencer left me wanting slightly, so it was Will’s turn to try and save the day but with Spencer as a cousin, the question is, can Will outshine his exuberant relative?

Well, the answer is a mixed one - yes and no. You really couldn’t have had two people so different. Spencer is a boyish and mostly loveable rogue, with somewhat childish tendencies, where Will is lacking in confidence and self-belief and that’s the real reason why he has kept his distance from Mags. Having loved her before, and having pushed himself away from her, mainly due a class issue: she has it and he believes he’s not worthy of her, Will must now face his fears and decide whether he can ever move on from what they shared.

With Spencer his proverbial nemesis, Will struggles to live life to the full and continues to fall some way behind Mags’ friends and family but with Spencer dating Mags’ best friend, Jazz, he simply can’t avoid Mags. It’s not until Spencer, being Spencer, liberates one of the many books that Mags has written, under a pseudonym, that he starts to see her in a different light. Mags writes smut and does so with a healthy dose of female empowerment, yes, Mags likes to take control and for Will, having hidden his own dream of being dominated, this news may just save him from himself.

The only problem Will has though, is with himself. Sadly, Will is just like you or I, in that if you’re going to do something off-kilter, then you’re going to get caught, and he does, repeatedly, by Spencer of all people. Mags is determined to help Will to overcome his fears though and pushes him hard to accept himself for what he is: a man who just likes to be dominated. Whilst kink is all good and well, this story doesn’t take it into the realms of impossibility. It merely shows how it can be healthy between two normal people who like to spice things up by being tied, shackled, flogged etc, but in a much less dark way that is portrayed in BDSM themed books. Will is the man that secretly lives within all of us. He wants to try and live his sexuality without judgement and to just enjoy being himself but when he decides on a particularly inappropriate safe word, it’s clear that Will’s pain will become cruelly psychological.

This was a really funny story, despite the sadness surround poor Will and his endeavours at times. Will was like a breath of fresh air after experiencing Spencer, which is like living at Mach 10! Will was sweet, kind, sensitive, vulnerable, insecure and everything that Spencer isn’t. Spencer continues to titillate throughout this story though and even has his own hurdle or two to overcome, whilst realising that to be in a committed relationship, he needs to grow up.

I was pleasantly surprised by this series. After initially wanting to inflict bodily harm on Spencer, he did start to grow on me and Will, alongside Spencer, just smoothed out his edges. Will, on the other hand, made this instalment a more palatable one and despite his insecurities, which did start to grate, especially after the 10th time of him believing that he wasn’t good enough for Mags and misinterpreting a situation he found himself in. I’d definitely recommend reading both of these stories concurrently though as this gave me the benefit of a smooth transition from Spencer to Will, especially as Will’s story starts on the tail end of Spencer’s book.

Definitely, a duo of books to read when you’re looking for something lighthearted but comically entertaining. If you can survive all that is Spencer that is!

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Review: Spencer

Spencer Spencer by Kerry Heavens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After starting to read Will, I quickly realised that I needed to experience Spencer before getting to fully appreciate Will!

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I couldn't put it down, which was a plus, it's was a really funny story, another plus, but Spencer and Jazz came across really immature and Spencer, despite being a loveable character, really started to need a good slap as the story progressed. That said, I held off my violent tendencies and still managed to enjoy the book, which was told in part via a series of Tweets or DMs; something I haven't experienced before but yet found intriguing and very clever. Spencer was especially talented with his written prose. The problems only started when he opened his mouth!

Definitely, a funny and enjoyable story though and very well written and planned, with some fabulous British witticisms.

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Authors V Reviewers & Social-Media Etiquette!

Wednesday 5 October 2016 No comments

Yet again, social media is alight with a battle of words between a blogger and an author and it led me to ask the question, who, ultimately, is in the right?  Should authors have the right to flag reviews that are less than complimentary? Do bloggers have the right to start a revolt when an author questions their opinions? And do we even care? 

For me, my reviews are based on the book.  Just the book.  Not the author, the famedom, other reviews, or even friends’ opinions.  I am not led by the majority and I make my own mind up about everything in life. That said, even if I really don’t like a book, I would never body-slam an author with abusive words but I will provide a critical and honest review of their book, whether they like it or not.

To Tour Or Not To Tour?!

I remember when…… oh gosh, I sound like I’ve been blogging for years but…. remember when we used to get excited over being chosen to receive an ARC.  That feeling to have been one of the chosen few. Nowadays ARCs seem to be offered out more freely but at the same time, the demands from the authors and their PR gurus have escalated, hence my question above.  Do we continue to tour and accept the demands placed upon us in return for that greatly sought after ARC or do we take a step back, purchase the book upon release and then pimp it like crazy?

Review: Savage Mafia Prince

Tuesday 4 October 2016 No comments
Savage Mafia Prince Savage Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's finally time to experience Kiro and his own unique story!

It feels like we’ve been waiting for Kiro’s story for an age but in reality it’s only been months. Destined to be the culmination of the Dangerous Royals series, the barrier was possibly set impossibly high for Kiro and Savage Mafia Prince, but did it deliver?

Mostly, yes, although I didn’t find myself swept away by this book, in the same way as its predecessors. Had I read it without the mafia theme so strongly attached to it I am sure I would have loved it. For me, I missed the drama of the mafia and organised crime family essence portrayed in the series to date, although this did appear at the end of the book, much to my delight. This is not a bad thing per se but, for me personally, I found myself in unchartered territory and reading a book with a Tarzan and Jane theme throughout.

We know Kiro was taken as a child which resulted in him living in the wild and becoming a shadow of the man he was destined to be. We know he had been captured and was highly dangerous and was now living out his days in a mental health facility and that’s where we are finally properly introduced to him, and his story. I loved how the author handled Kiro’s unconscious consciousness whilst under heavy medication. It may be a little too difficult to accept for some but for me that element worked well, especially as it was the way Kiro was introduced to his love interest in this book, Ann.

Ann is an undercover reporter working at as a nurse at the institute. Working on a completely different story, she doesn’t expect the pull of Kiro’s treatment and isolation to draw her focus away from her real purpose there. Ann finds herself talking openly to Kiro and, having experienced horrors in her own life, she finds it cathartic to talk to a man who is unable to respond, or even listen to her rambling words, or so she thinks. Kiro is hiding his level of consciousness though and soon he finds himself unable to ignore Ann any longer. With a lip twitch here and an eye follow there, Ann soon comes to realise that Kiro is trying to deceive the staff at the institute and Ann starts to investigate why this is. With Kiro mostly unresponsive, he’s of little help so Ann must dig deeper and in doing so gets herself into danger.

Kiro has formed a bond with Ann and despite not trusting her, finds himself drawn to protect her and after Ann is attacked, Kiro reveals the true level of his sedation. With his secret out though, he is pumped with even more drugs and that’s when Bloody Lazarus targets Ann. With the need to find the third Dragusha brother still a priority for him, he searches the wards to find and kill Kiro, with Ann’s forced assistance.

As expected, despite his drugged state, Kiro springs into action in Ann’s defence and the two flee the facility together and once again into the wilderness, and to Kiro’s true family. Kiro still finds it difficult to trust Ann and feels that she is leading Lazarus to him, however, his attraction to her overwhelms him and his sensibilities and the two start to form a relationship under the stars.

Lazarus may have all the answers in relation to Kiro’s locations but Aleksio and Viktor inevitably catch up with Kiro but is it too late to save their long, lost brother?

Despite my misgivings about this story, it is an epic one and one like no other. I am sorry to see this trilogy conclude but the characters and the relationships they formed along the way will last with me.

If you haven't experienced this author before then I implore you to do so, you won't be disappointed.

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