Category Archives: Reading Challenges

Book Review: ‘A Different Kind of Lovely’ by Petra March

Title: A Different Kind of Lovely: A Novel

Published: 23rd May 2017

Author: Petra March

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorPetraMarch

 

Synopsis:

A man with a damaged soul fell in love with a ballerina with a broken body.”

When Neal Medwin glimpses Mina Automne for the first time, he’s a man whose soul is darkened with memories of a painful past, whereas Mina is a vibrant, strong, young woman. She’s a determined ballerina who’s carefully planning and painting her life.
Neal steps into her existence and threatens to shatter Mina’s plans with an impossible request.

Mina can’t help the fragile man who’s invading her home, even though their parents used to be close friends and she knows of Neal’s hurtful background. She allows him to linger within her lovely and artistic world, however, hoping he might find some peace and solace.

Slowly, their conflict turns into friendship, and eventually into love, until a terrible discovery ruins Mina’s projects and forces her to let go of all her dreams, and of her sweet, damaged man.

Neal is unable to fight for Mina and for the unripe love they share, because he’s not ready to leave his past behind. He’s not strong enough – not yet.

(Ages 18+)

Publisher’s Note: This stand-alone Novel is a spinoff of Petra March’s award winning series, A Touch of Cinnamon.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about dancing or dancers. Another beautifully descriptive novel written by Petra March, one that takes the reader on a journey through a wealth of emotions from start to finish. A little repetitive at times but a good read all the same.

After the death of David everyone connected with him – family and friends alike – have all found it hard to move on passed their grief. All grieve in very different ways but all slowly need to find another/new reason to move forward and not live in the nightmares of the past. Something that Neal is slowly starting to learn after meeting Mina.

Neal is a broken soul of a man still struggling – like the rest of his family – with the sudden death of his brother David years before. His coping mechanism is to just shut down all his emotions, put on a mask and take care of his parents and sister. They call, ask him to do something, and its like he is powerless to refuse them. The latest task his mother sends him on is to purchase the cottage David stayed at before he died. One of the roads that lead to it being the one the accident happened on. A weird way to grieve on the anniversary but its what they do, buy something new to help push away their emotions. He thinks he’s just going to have a look as he thinks they are already selling but he gets a shock when the owner very much says she is not.

Mina is a ballet dancer with a passion to perform and live life to the full with her dream but it all comes crashing down when her body starts to betray her. Neal first spots her in a field dancing. Gliding across the land and through the air like a butterfly caught on the wind, soon to be his Butterfly. She caught his attention and drew him to her swiftly. When he follows her to the cottage and she finds out he wants to buy it it’s a push and pull feeling she has to deal with. He intrigues her so she wants him to stay but at the same time angers her with his intensions to buy her home making her want him to go. Seems their parents were friends once upon a time and hers thought to sell when they asked to buy without letting her know, even though the cottage is hers. Her dream being to build a dance studio out on the land and teach, after she has had a career with her ballet that is.

Seems to be heart and head, or should that be body and mind, are feeling very conflicted about what they are doing. Chemistry is a bit of a slow build between them as they try to get a feel for the other. The cottage and Mina’s memories of David help Neal to start to open up to his own. She knows his pain, can see it clearly in his face as his mask is slowly falling away. The cottage and Neal’s subconscious might hold nightmares to start with but soon they will turn around with the presence of Mina. Just as she can see his pain he can see hers, though hers might be more physical. They need each other to hold onto and build something new from their broken souls but his need to help his family pulls them apart. Can they find their way back to each other to help heal their pain, both physical and mental?

Cameos with Eagan and Brina give the story a rounder depth as it’s showing how others have come through the other side of their grief. Felia, Neal’s sister, needed to find her own way through it, which Neal is slowly figuring out. To move on you have to face the past and until they do that they will be stuck in a dark loop repeating their mistakes. Push past it and they will finally be happy again, just like David would have wanted.

To get a proper feel for the story and how certain characters may show their emotions, or lack their of by keeping them locked up, I would recommend reading the other books in the series. This can be read as a stand-alone but I feel you would benefit from reading the others. Plus they are good anyway, so why not.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Rescued by the Captain’ by Laura A. Barnes

Title: Rescued by the Captain

Published: 10th January 2017

Publisher: Lulu.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=author%20laura%20a.%20barnes

 

Synopsis:

Abandoned at sea.

When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea.

Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set in an era you would love to travel to. Love a good period historical romance read and this one had a sexy captain of the high seas in it too. Adventure, romance, danger and intrigue – what’s not to love!

We follow Marcus and Ivy – his Hedera and name of his ship – on one hell of a crazy journey. Love when we find out what Hedera really stands for. He might be a Captain and love the life of the sea but there is someone from back home he loves more, Ivy. Fate has intertwined their paths and this time nothing is going to tear them apart again. Well let’s hope so anyway.

We start out at sea where Captain Marcus Thornhill gets a bit of a shock when his ship comes across a lifeboat floating out at sea. More so when it becomes clear that the passenger – unconscious passenger mind you – is none other than Ivy Mallory. The girl turned women he left behind seven years ago before he started his life at sea. Right from the start you know there is going to be quite a story as to how she got left out at sea in the first place but for the moment all Marcus can think about is trying to make sure she doesn’t die from her ordeal. Its almost like his heart stopped the moment he saw her, fearing she was already lost to him, and that it won’t start again until she opens her eyes. She gets a bit of a shock when she does open her eyes as she fears she is dreaming. It’s the only reason she can come up with as to how Marcus – love of her life – could be before her. Dream becomes reality very fast though when she realizes the position she has found herself in. Namely being alone in a cabin with Marcus being her sole carer. I think you may be able to guess where that situation might lead. Seems distance has made the heart grow fonder and passions soon come into play. Land is far away so they have time to reconnect but danger is never far behind. Sometimes said danger comes from them when they just won’t listen. These two are the king and queen of misunderstandings I feel. Just talk to each other and stop jumping to conclusions! Rant over but they do need to listen because once they do start talking they get the answers and love they have both been missing all these years spent apart.

Seems Ivy has found herself in the middle of some kind of treason plot that could mean war for her land. Her brother Charles is missing and all she can think of is finding him. Doing so only leads her to more danger and there are only so many times Marcus can save her. The reason for her being found out at sea soon becomes linked to the plot as well after she caught the eye of a pirate; one that seems to be connected to more than first appears. A plot is afoot and you are never quite sure what angle people are playing. Zane – friend or foe, whose side is he on? More to his story than meets the eye. The same goes for who has Charles. Missing, hiding out or kidnapped? You are never quite sure. Sammy was a sweet character, always looking out for his Captain and Ivy soon after meeting/rescuing her.

There are a few grammar issues throughout but not enough to take away from enjoying the story itself. Action packed romance adventure read. You know it’s just the start of what’s to come for Marcus and Ivy. Nothing will ever be smooth sailing, fun at times, danger at others, but as long as they are together they will get through.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Broken Ties’ by Kenechi Udogu

Title: Broken Ties (The Mentalist Series Prequel)

Published: 13th May 2014

Author: Kenechi Udogu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KenechiUdogu

Twitter: @KenechiUdogu

 

Synopsis:

“There was nothing unusual about the night everything changed. No flashing lights in the sky, no searing fire in my belly; no sign whatsoever to suggest the shift which was to come… Nora Brice did strange things to me. Strange and awful things…”

Paul Colt has a problem, and it is not one most teenage boys face. Yes, he likes a girl; one he’s pretty certain he’ll do foolish things for, given the chance. But he can’t go after her, or any other girl for that matter. That’s what he gets for being an Averter; forced to toe the line for the propagation of the collective. He knows some rules are okay to trifle with, and there are some which should never be broken. The gravest of them all?

Don’t fall in love.

Ever.

This is the story of how Paul breaks that rule.

This prequel novella to the Mentalist Series can be read before or after Aversion, Book One of The Mentalist Series.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – The last book in a series. It is a prequel to show how Gemma’s parents first got together so can be read alone but to get best feel for it I would read after the trilogy and so I’m casting it as the last book in the series. A tale of how young love came about. One you know will lead down another path but one that may have been destined to begin with. Only time will tell.

Paul has followed his fathers’ rules all his life and never really questioned what he would eventually have to do to continue the line of Averters for his family. It’s only after a chance meeting with Nora that everything changes. Hiding out having a smoke he hears her voice before seeing her coming closer. She is getting hassled by another guy and it seems Nora sees Paul as her knight in armour to get the other guy to leave. Seems he won’t take no for an answer and its up to Paul to do something that is forbidden. He does as aversion on him to make him stay away from her from then on. It’s the first time he’s done one for personal gain. Well not his but for Nora anyway. Seems its not the only thing he is willing to do to get closer to her. He may seem reluctant to begin with, as he isn’t allowed to date. He was always told it was for a very good reason so that their kind knows their place in the world and what they have to do. Seems that’s one thing he has in common with Nora, she can’t date either and has never really wanted to until Paul.

From reading the trilogy you know why they are drawn to each other and how they will always find each other no matter what. They might not have had as strong a sentient twin connection as Gemma and Russ but its still there. Sneaking around isn’t something they’d thought they would do but the need to be with the other is too strong to deny. Its like they know they have a ticking clock counting down their time together so they try to make every moment count throughout the summer. Seems time is not on their side as it might soon be running out for them when a fellow averter – Nora’s to be exact – shows up.

You know how the story will eventually end but it’s just the start of the bigger adventure waiting further down the line. They were fated to meet and nothing could have stopped them from going down the path they were on. If they hadn’t then change wouldn’t have started to happen. Things happen for a reason and the story of their young love is what started the journey as a whole.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Of Fear and Faith’ by N. D. Jones

Title: Of Fear and Faith (Death and Destiny Trilogy Book 1)

Published: 18th August 2014

Publisher: Siren Publishing

Author: N. D. Jones

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor

Twitter: @ndjonesauthor

 

Synopsis:

A thriller of a paranormal romance with mystery, mythology, and suspense.

Before trust and love can take hold, grow solid roots, and blossom into a reality larger than self, fear must be conquered and faith embraced. Yet fear of an ancient prophecy, of burning magical power, and a broken heart, Sanura Williams, psychology professor, is unprepared when Special Agent Assefa Berber enters her life, hunting a preternatural serial killer. Assefa’s intelligent, chocolate eyes and intoxicating aura signature stirs her fire spirit but frightens the woman.

In a world where all is not as it seems, Sanura and Assefa must battle the gods’ first creations – vile predators who threaten the safety of humans. Each confrontation, each bloody clash, will bring Sanura and Assefa closer to fulfilling the prophecy of being the Fire Witch and Cat of Legend – the ones who will save humanity from the Water Witch of Legend. Death, godly magic, and physical attraction draw Sanura and Assefa to each other, but fear and faith will determine their destiny.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with vampires in it. These ones are bat like creatures that you would not want to meet in a dark alley.

Seems a battle amongst sisters – one that takes place every 500 years – is about come around again. The prophecy goes that a fire witch born to the Temple of Oya and a water witch born to the Temple of Mami Wata will mark the beginning of the end, but also rebirth. It’s all about balance and once they fight, no matter who wins, there will be peace for humans again – but at what cost? 500 years is almost up and it looks like the pieces are being put in place, whether they are ready for what’s to come is something else entirely.

FBI Special Agent Assefa Berber, from a very special division because of what he is, has been called in to investigate the murders of a possible serial killer. It was Mike, a local detective and something a little different himself, who spotted a pattern and called for assistance. Well not that he really wants the have help as his likes to work alone now. The link between the murders is like the elephant in the room as neither yet wants to tell the other what they really are and that they both know they are after someone who is killing witches. All this comes to a head though after the latest attack. There is a lone survivor of a double murder, the daughter, who was found wondering that streets covered in blood. They need someone who can get through to the child so they can figure out who or what they are after and Mike knows just the person, his goddaughter Sanura.

Sanura is a psychology professor but so much more as she is also a witch – a very powerful fire witch that is. She may have been called in to help with the case but that’s not all that is on the cards for her when she senses an intoxicating aura signature coming straight from Assefa. Seems with their kind can tell when they are near someone who could be compatible and auras never lie. Auras are one thing to suggest they are matched but the chemistry coming from both of them within minutes is enough to seal the deal. Well if Sanura wasn’t running a little scared from a past relationship that burned her badly it would. Ended for a reason girl and that’s because he was not for you, plus he’s a bit of a dick. Focus pulled back to the case at hand she needs to see what or whom the child saw. When they know though they might wish they hadn’t because the killer(s) they are after are adze.

Adze are vampire like creatures with the body of a large bat that can transform into human form. Done so with more ease after consuming witches blood. With the blood comes the magic and it seems that is something they have started to crave. In the past adze would just possess witches to cause chaos and attack humans but found a thirst for blood gave them more power – specifically witches’ blood. The warlocks at the time wanted to protect their woman so made a deal with Sekhmet. If they worshipped her then she would give them the ability to protect their women. They just didn’t really realize what they might be giving up at the time of gaining something different. With adze being the killers it means witches in the area need to be put on high alert. With the help of Sanura and her skills they might just be able to hide those that are being hunted and then trap the hunters in the process. Well nothing is ever that simple.

The adze need to be caught but that doesn’t stop the need to perform the ritual to see if Sanura and Assefa really are compatible in every sense. From the moment they locked eyes it was pretty much a done deal to me but rules are rules. The chemistry and heat is there but they are both hiding secrets that they fear will make the other run. If they can face them then they might be able to fight not only the adze but be better prepared for the true battle that’s coming. Sanura’s ex Richard also comes back on the scene the stir things up, I had a feeling he was a lot more involved in the case than you might think. He may want Sanura back but now Assefa is in the picture that is looking a lot less likely. Will he get his just desserts? I’m hoping so.

Interesting read that has a bit of everything that I like. You have witches, were-cats, vampires and links to Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. A battle is brewing and the players are slowing moving into place but the outcome is very uncertain. Here’s hoping Sanura and Assefa can handle anything that is thrown their way.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘120 Proof Honey’ by Becca Fanning

Title: 120 Proof Honey (Books 1-5, BBW Bear Shifter Moonshiner Romance)

Published: 16th November 2016

Author: Becca Fanning

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorBecca

 

Synopsis:

The Complete 120 Proof Honey Series here just for you! Contains the following stories:

Daxton: Blair Mason was a woman with a one-track mind, and that track was work. From sunrise to sun down, all she thought about was how to keep her small town grocery store open. That meant hard decisions, the type Blair was in the midst of making when she was rudely interrupted by a tall man. A tall handsome man. Oh, there were things other than work after all!

Daxton Holt thought getting his honey on Mason’s shelves would be simple. Walk in, flash a smile and fill out some paperwork. But this owner was something else. She saw right through his charms, pushing him to really sell his product. He liked that, and he liked her. A feisty little minx is sweeter than any honey his bees made…

Knox: Jasmine has always known that life wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that all her hard work keeping a home wasn’t appreciated. It wasn’t fair that none of that time counted as “experience,” but she was desperate so she had to take whatever there was. Stepping off the bus, she reminded herself that life didn’t have to be fair, but it did have to be survived. As soon as she laid eyes on the handsome man who answered the door, she remembered something she’d suppressed for a long time: life had it’s sunny moments as well.

Knox Ryker didn’t really like this whole idea of getting a housekeeper. Yes, five guys living together could take it’s toll on a place. Yes, Dax’s new girlfriend had a point: it was a pigsty. But having a stranger come over to root through your things just didn’t feel right. But once he laid eyes on Jasmine, he had feelings of a totally different sort.

Amir: Just get in, get the scoop, and get out. Kora Lane stepped out of her air conditioned car and into the blazing heat of this muggy Ozark valley. Her boss had sent her down here to sniff out a story: a local honey harvester was producing illicit moonshine on the side. The tip came in from an anonymous source, but she never passed up a juicy tip. Now she just had to get past this gorgeous mountain of a man that answered the door…

Amir Thorne was a man with a secret. No matter how low key he tried to play it, there was always a type of woman who could sense it. Usually they took his disinterest as a clear signal to move on. But every now and then, you’d get one that just wouldn’t let go. As soon as he saw Kora, he knew what type she was…

Beck: Don’t put that in your mouth. Don’t push your brother. Please stop crying. Harmony just needed to get through this day of nannying. The little boogers in her charge were turning their trip to the county fair into a competition of who could cause a migraine the fastest. She spotted a honey stand and thought a few sweet treats might win her a moment’s respite. She spotted the owner of the stand and thought about something other than honey…

It wasn’t that Beck hated kids: he just wasn’t used to them. All the crying, the erratic behavior and the tantrums were just too much. He had a feeling his reluctance on the topic of children was why he and his girlfriend of four years had to call it quits. There are some things you just can’t compromise on, no matter what.

Slade: Veronica Harper was ready to let bygones be bygones. She’d spent enough years fighting tooth and claw to know that nobody won in a drag out brawl. It was better for all parties to come to the peace table. But being the leader of a Bear Shifter Clan meant many things, the most important of which was to be the kind of leader that the rest of the Clan would follow. That meant never losing face. Even if the person you’re staring down is a handsome hunk with more charm than he realizes.

Slade Walker knew things were tense. This Clan rivalry was close to spilling into a war, and he didn’t know how many casualties would be on each side. Too many, surely. But these women just wouldn’t leave his Clan alone.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a number in the title. Short and sweet like the honey these bear of men sell. Who doesn’t love a good bear shifter romance? This happens to be a 5 in 1 deal. Seems shifters are known about but not many people believe the stories. Seems a few women are about to learn fantasy is reality when this clan shake things up.

Daxton: A bear selling honey products, sounds perfect right, I mean they sure know their stuff. Now if they could just find somewhere to sell it they’d be laughing. Blair’s store is in trouble with a new shop opening in town selling products cheaper. She needs to find a new hook to get the sales rolling back into her direction. Could smooth talking Daxton and his ideas be the solution? A business meeting soon turns to a dinner date – well with the chemistry bouncing around you can see why. Things soon get heated, though for a very different reason. They sure are hot and heavy very quickly. A spicy couple getting sweeter the longer they are together.

Knox: The clan is in need of a cleaner for five very messy bears – how hard could that be? Jasmine is about to find out. Good job ones caught her eye, as she has his, as trouble is brewing with her ex Darius. No matter what Knox says it seems bees aren’t always friend to all. They might be good for honey but not so much when they are drowsy and feel like stinging. Jasmine is timid to begin with around the men, with good reason, but it doesn’t take Knox long to put her at ease. Jasmine is safe and cared for in every way with this loveable guy who takes his time to please his lady. You get to see all the other guys too, which was good.

Amir: Kora’s boss wants a good story about illegal moonshine from a tip they’ve had but it looks like she’s going to get something a whole lot wilder. Amir seems like such a sweetheart. A loveable giant who is only too happy to answer any and all of Kora’s questions – well within reason. She’s good at finding secrets but he’s better at keeping them. Though this time I feel he wants to let someone know. He has seen his other two clan mates find love and now he wants that too. Here’s hoping Kora’s ready cause he’s looking her way. Why if she doesn’t let slip their secret that is. Wildest couple in the sack so far. Seems the rival clan is getting bolder with trying to sabotage them. Lets see what they do next.

Beck: A chance meeting at a fair while babysitting three little terrors sees Harmony try to distract them with honey sticks. The honey might be distracting the boys but it’s the man selling them that’s distracting her. A spark of chemistry soon turns into a date. Well when Beck eventually makes the first move that is. Seems he’s been out of the dating game a while so is nervous and doesn’t want to mess it up. Super sweet but nothing is ever smooth sailing with these bears. He’s keeping his secret and it seems Harmony is keeping one of her own, her son Logan. They both have fears to overcome to get what they want but once they do you know it will be good.

Slade: Slade and his clan have had about enough of the all female rival clan that has been causing them none stop trouble since they moved in two and a half years ago. Things are escalating so something needs to give. When he and Knox go to scout out their property he gets a shock when he spots the alpha. One look and its all he can do not to charge her, and so not for a negative reason. He wants her and is only just starting to see the benefits to a shifter-shifter relationship. Would be fine to start something if the rest of her clan wasn’t causing problems. Seems there’s a lot of tension in their camp with Veronica’s alpha status being questioned. She needs to step up and take charge to get what she wants. The same goes for how to handle Slade – not that he minds. You know they will be wild together, two alphas dominating to see who gets on top, but fighting is on the cards first it seems between the clans. Can they work together or will they tear each other apart?

Fun short wild reads to chill out with. These bears are loveable beasts just looking for their other halves. Doesn’t take them long to find them. Some insta-love connections seemed a bit fast but its all good in the end. Whose up for some sweet honey products? I know a place to go.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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