Ellie reads fiction

31 Oct 2014

Review: Complicated Creatures: Part II by Alexi Lawless

Title: Complicated Creatures: Part II
Author: Alexi Lawless
Date of publication: 24 Oct 2014
Genre: Romantic suspense

Author's links:Website / TwitterFacebook / Goodreads

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My rating: 4.5 Stars


Synopsis

"Isn't it terrible when love is not enough?" 

In the action-packed sequel to Complicated Creatures: Part One…

Jack Roman was perfectly happy living the life of a high-powered and charismatic philistine. He had time, money, women and a penchant for the fast life. Until he met his match in Samantha Wyatt and his obsession with her would take him to hell and back… 

Wes Elliott’s been dreaming of the muse he let go of as a young man—the woman he never forgot throughout his travels and the successes he’d left her to find. He always thought he’d see Sammy again—he just never expected her to be fighting for her life when he did… 

Samantha Wyatt is being challenged by her past, tested by her decisions, and hunted by her nemesis. As her dangerous present and enigmatic past collides, Samantha conducts the riskiest operation of her life, and the men who love her will be forced to decide: Do they trust her enough to let her protect them? And do they love her enough to let her go?

Review

This was an emotional and action-packed sequel to Complicated Creatures: Part I (my review) which I thoroughly enjoyed. Its'w ritten in the same engaging style - detailed and well-researched with a lot of depth of feeling. We see even more character development and plot twists kept me on the edge and turning the pages impatiently. 

While this books continues Sam and Jack's many additional characters also take center stage. Wes tries to find his way back to Sam and even though he is a good guy by all means and I was not happy about the love triangle that he fromed with Sam and Jack. There was a particular episode in the story which some might consider cheating, thought I personally don't thing so, yet it made me feel a bit uneasy and really bad for Jack.

Sam's personal and professional life goes compeltely off in this installment. Everything around her is in motion and changing but this also leads her to re-examine a lot of her personal issues. For the first time we see this warrior-like woman who appears so strong and in total control, in a state of inner turmoil and completely lost.

Things get even more difficult for Jack and I felt bad for him. His love for Sam is so strong, all-encompassing, yet it scares and confuses him. He is led by the best of intentions but he also makes some costly mistakes that affect everyone around him. 

The story is told in multiple POVs and it's working really well, giving the readers different perspectives. This creates a lush background to all that is happening with the characters, main and supporting. 

The book ends with a kind of cliffhanger, not the worst possible, yet there are lot of things left to be cleared in the final installment in the series. Things could go either way for all the characters and there are still secrets from Sam's past to be revealed.

It's a recommended read for anyine who have read and enjoyed the first book. If you like romantic suspense with strong and intriguing characters and a lot of military action, you should give this series a try. There is also a novella told from Rush's POV coming in between books 1 and 2 and you can get it for 0.99 on Amazon and for FREE if you sign-up for Ms Alexi Lawless newsletter.

Purchase Links: Amazon


28 Oct 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Shadowed Heart by Laura Florand


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Shadowed Heart: A Luc and Summers Novel
Author: Laura Florand
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Paris, Chocolatiers

Release Date: 3 Dec 2014

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Synopsis

Three words, to shake a man’s existence.

Three words, to call on all a man’s strength, all his courage, all his love, and all his ability to hope and dream…and trust.

Three words, to wake up every fear a man has ever had.

“I’m pregnant, Luc.”

Now how could a man be perfect enough for that?


Author’s note: This book occurs in the early days of the marriage of Luc and Summer, the couple in THE CHOCOLATE HEART. I don't recommend reading it without having read THE CHOCOLATE HEART.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - I love the Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand and The Choclate Heart is one of my favourite stories. This is continuation of Summer and Luc's story as they start a family and I'm excited to see them again. This series of contemporary romance stories involving sexy, brooding French chocolatiers, is perfect for the fans of emotional love stories deftly told in a truly beautiful writing style. 

Review: Liesmith by Alis Franklin

Title: Liesmith: Book 1 of the Wyrd
Author: Alis Franklin
Date of publication: 7 Oct 2014
Genre/Themes: Urban Fantasy, Queer
Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Goodreads
My rating: 3 Stars





Synopsis

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.

Review


This is a rather unusual read for me, a queer urban fantasy, which I picked up after a recommendation from a friend. 

I liked a lot of things in the story and enjoyed reading most of it but at some point I felt lost in the the complexity of the Norse mythology which was presented in overwhelming detail. I had to google far too many things in order to make sense of the story and this took away from my overall enjoyment of the book. 

The strongest element in the story for me was the way the author played with/subverted traditional sexual roles and romantic standards. Sigmund was an adorable, so-not-typical romantic lead - geeky, neither ubermanly, nor gay, just ordinary, yet capable of loving without a question. His two best friends were interesting and unusual female characters, together with his father they made strong supporting characters who contributed a lot to the main story.

The other main character, Lain/Loki was rather complicated and difficult to understand and evaluate. His was interesting and his episodes were both amusing and confusing. Sigmund and Lain's love story was very sweet -  real, intimate, there was no pretence, despite how non-traditional it seemed.

The writing was strong and convincing, creating an intriguing and complex world building. Besides the strong romantic element the story was really action-packed, especially the second half of it. I'm not a gamer myself, but I found the gamer perspective and jargon which permeated some of the story telling well done and interesting. 

Still, I felt there were to many unresolved issued by the end. It was difficult to appreciate the subversion of traditional mythology in the story when I'm not sufficiently familiar with the original myths. It's a HFN ending and I hope that the sequel which is coming next year it will clarify some of the things that baffled me here.

Overall, it's a curious, unusual story, well told, which will be better appreciated by people who are more familiar with Norse mythology than me.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks
.

24 Oct 2014

Mini Review: Take by Slivia Ami

Title: Take
Author: Silvia Ami
Date of publication: 29 Aug 2014
Genre: Romantic suspense

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 Stars





Synopsis

When FBI special agent Joss Dubois discovers that her best friend’s life is being threatened, she volunteers to be the Vegas dancer's official protection. Determined to solve the case before she loses one of the only people she loves, Joss becomes caught up in terrorism, attempted murder, and life behind-the-scenes of the seedy nightlife of Sin City.

Joss is forced to partner with the security manager at the Desert Casino, former Intel Marine, Ethan Gallagher. Despite her resistance to his charm, and her stubborn insistence on controlling the investigation, Ethan finds himself drawn to the smart, beautiful, tempting FBI agent. But Joss isn’t so eager to risk heartbreak after the tragedies of her past and her job has become the only thing she can count on.

When the threats against the people they’re protecting turn deadly, Ethan and Joss have to find a way to trust each other to track the hunter who lies in wait for the Desert’s dancers. But trust is a rare and fragile thing to Joss, and Ethan may not be up to the task despite the mutual attraction they can't deny or fight.

Will their new partnership blow up, or can it survive to take down the predator before it’s too late?

Mini Review

It's a debut novel by Silvia Ami and I was provided a copy in exchange of an honest review. I rather enjoyed this complex romantic suspense story.

The romance was strong and slow burning and the chemistry between Ethan and Joss was great. The mystery element was also well done and kept me guessing till the very end. 

I appreciate the strong and professional heroine and the hero who respected her professionalism and tough exterior which hid a tender heart. There was no unnecessary drama and angst in their relationship though there was a lot of going back and forth between them before they came together as a team not just professionally but also as a couple. The chemistry and the sexual tension between Ethan and Joss was just sizzling and i couldn't wait for them to get together.

I had some issues with flow of the story,  it read as choppy and not very smooth at times, but still I liked it a lot. I couldn't really warm up to Dom and Iris. They were good friends to Joss and Ethan and Iris was central to the suspense plot, yet I didn't feel invested in their story. 

Overall, it was a fast-paced romantic suspense with very real and likeable characters. It was easy for me to relate to them and I rooted for their HEA from the start. I loved the refreshing heroine, a strong professional woman who knew who she was and what she wanted and the sensible, sexy hero who was protective  and caring without coming off as oppressive. 

Purchase link: Amazon

23 Oct 2014

Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

Title: Echoes of Scotland Street (On Dublin Street #5)
Author: Samantha Young
Date of publication: 7 Oct 2014
Genre: Romance
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Author's links: Website / Twitter / FacebookGoodreads

My rating: 3.5 Stars



Synopsis

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…

Review

This is book 5 in On Dublin Street series. I’ve read all the books, except book 2, and I’d recommend that you read them in order, though they can be appreciated as standalones as well.

I was rather disappointed with Hannah and Marco's story in the Before Jamaica lane this made anxious about Cole’s story. I liked it better but still it’s not one of my favourites in the series.

This was a very sweet, NA romance between a supposedly bad boy hero and a heroine who has sworn off of dangerous men.

Cole, whom we met first as a kid in the beginning of the series has grown up to be a fine young man. He is a famous tattoo artist, rough looking, covered in tattooes himself, yet his appearance is totally misleading. He hides a heart of gold and he was the perfect gentleman with everybody. I felt his goodness a bit overdone, too perfect made him bland and far too unrealistic. Still, he was great with his friends and family, and that made him pretty adorable and irresistible.

My main issue in the story was Shannon. She was just shallow and judgemental, quick to dismiss Cole as someone unworthy of her time/attention just because of his looks. Even when they overcame their initial misunderstanding, she kept making wrong decisions and some stupid choices which hurt the people who loved her. She did try to make up for her wrongdoings, yet I wasn’t conviced she deserved Cole.

We see a lot of the previous couples, all with children now. Unlike in the previous novel, here their presence was not overwhelming, but warm and nice. There was the usual craziness surrounding them, together with some touching family moments.

Overall, it was a nice installment in the series, but there was too much artificial drama and angst. All the happy times and the hot chemistry between Cole and Shannon led to just a 3.5 star rating for me.

We meet Shannon’s brother, Logan,  in this story and he will be the hero in the next instalment of the series. The blurb for his story is really intriguing and I can’t wait to read it next year.


Purchase links: AMAZON / B & N

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