Thursday, 16 June 2016

Book Review | HOT SEAL Lover by Lynn Raye Harris

Hot SEAL Lover (HOT SEAL Team #2)Hot SEAL Lover by Lynn Raye Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the spin off HOT SEAL Team series and as always, Harris delivers an action packed read. I like where the series is going (I know it's early days), but I feel like the parallels with multiple HOT teams that are in play in the original HOT Series are reflected in the spin off and it makes sense to explore those other teams.

We open with our hero & heroine at a BBQ with some of the HOT operators and their families. Christina Girard Scott (sister of Matt Girard the hero from the first book), is nursing a broken heart after her husband is caught cheating, she's lost confidence in herself and when she sees Remy Marchand she wants one night that will make her forget. Needless to say, there is one hot night in D.C and then she disappears from Remy's life. Fast forward and the action returns us to Qu'rim, where Christina has gone to broker an oil deal. The enemy are closing in a Remy is tasked with getting her to safety. There are sparks flying when they finally come face to face again.

One of the things I like about Remy is that he's an alpha but he's not a douchecanoe. A lot of the time alpha heroes are written the opposite way. So it's refreshing to see. And I seriously can't go past a boy with an accent, I could listen to that for hours. I liked that Christina could take care of herself, but she knew when to ask from help. I enjoyed the H&H opening up to each other, they're both dealing with damage from their past. And there are some sweet moments when they finally trust each other with their secrets and their hearts, (corny I know, but true!).

Probably the only thing I didn't enjoy was the story line with Ben, Christina's ex. I can't quite put my finger on why, I need to reread and think a little more on that.

Over all, this was ticking all the boxes. A likable Hero, a couple with hotter than hot chemistry. We got to revisit with Matt and Evie, which I always love doing with characters in ongoing series. I love the way Harris writes the banter between her male characters. A cracking read as always and another great installment in the HOT universe. I would definitely recommend reading this series. And as always - you don't have to read in series order, but why would you want to skip the hotboys.

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

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Friday, 27 May 2016

Book Review | How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

How to Get a (Love) LifeHow to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For some reason I can't locate an audio edition - I listened to this and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure I would've gotten some weird looks at the stop lights, it was a hoot ad I was cackling all the way to work.

Yes it was predictable, I knew early on who she would end up with, but I wanted to listen to something with a HEA and this delivered in spades. This is a series of unfortunate dating events, told through the eyes of Nicola, she works in an acting agency with another lady, Caroline, who dares her to not spend Valentine's Day alone. It's just before Christmas, so dare accepted, Nicola embarks on a number of worst case scenario dates.

Quick, easy and enjoyable to listen to, the narrator was great. This is the first book by Rosie Blake and I'll definitely check out more of her books when I need a good laugh.


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Are there books out there you love to read because you know they're going to give you exactly what you want?  Be it a HEA or murder and mayhem??  Give me your book recs people, I'm always on the hunt for a great read.

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Book Review | Ruby by Cynthia Bond

RubyRuby by Cynthia Bond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ruby tells the story of Ruby Bell and Ephram Jennings, they first meet when they are children and we come back to them as adults. Despite the heart that somebody mistakenly decided to put on this spine – this isn't a romance! A love story yes, but most definitely NOT a romance. Ephram has never forgotten Ruby and he’s loved her his whole life. He eventually comes to a point in his life when he decides to act on his feelings, to try and help her out of the situation she’s in and the story begins there. I was more than a little taken aback when I’d been reading for a while, the blurb didn't indicate at all just how much violence is in the book, obviously, I saw the heart, thought ‘right a romance’, but an angsty one, the blurb mentions her confronting her ‘devastating violence of her past’. So I figured Ruby would be working some shit out. Oh boy.

This was a difficult book to read – not just because of the continued, if not daily abuse that Ruby experiences, but also the extreme racism, domestic violence, child abuse and animal cruelty. There are some very detailed passages that I had trouble reading and I really struggled with those. I feel like I have a fairly high tolerance for things like that but this was too much to the point that I didn't feel it was necessary, I certainly don’t deny that there are children who are horribly abused, that experience this, but for all this to happen to Ruby was too much. There was one really horrible scene when I was almost stopped reading. I was done. Ultimately I continued because I needed to know what happened. It also helped that I had a couple of buffer books that I read at the same time. There were also parts of this novel that suspend belief – how could a whole town be so oblivious to goings on? I found this frustrating and it was probably one of the things that annoyed me most. I felt this especially while I was reading it, towards the end I did feel that people in the town knew, they just turned a blind eye, possibly out of fear. But given that it involved these small girls – where were they coming from? Ruby was from Liberty, but the rest? I don’t care who you are, if I knew my child was suffering like that – there’d be no way I’d be letting that stand.
That said, Bond’s writing is beautiful, I can’t dispute that. Some of moments between Ruby and Ephram are wonderful.

“Ephram took her hand, “But I’ll tell you what. I’m most interested in the woman you have yet to be.”

“He wanted to tell her that he had seen a part of the night sky resting in her eyes and that he knew it because it lived in him as well. He wanted to tell her about the knot corded about his heart and how he needed her help to loose the binding.”

And don’t get me started on how he cleans her house and washes her hair. He doesn't take advantage of her, even when she expects him to, he just lets her be and gets on with his business.

When the novel opens Ruby has come back from New York to the small town of Liberty, its 1963, but it’s hard to pin point exactly how much time passed while she was in New York and how long she’s been back as it seems to me Ruby doesn't have any concept of time once she gets pulled back into Liberty. The blurb says she’s 30. But I know other readers have questioned the time frame. The novels timeline is erratic in general and this does get confusing. Among Ruby & Ephram’s stories we also get intersecting stories from family members’ lives, how they come to be and how events shape them and their families. But often it’s a half a page or a few at most. I wanted to know more about some of these characters. It’s seems like they’re only explored insofar as how they further Ruby or Ephram’s story. I enjoyed reading about then, but the broken timeline was distracting. From best I can guess early on in the book when Ruby and Ephram meet it’s after she’s been to the pit, but before she goes to stay at Miss Barbara’s, but because the way Bond unfolds the story it is hard to be sure of that. There’s no real mention of how long she stays at Miss Barbara’s, obviously they may have only wanted her for a certain number of years and I think I remember her going there for the school holidays, but I could be mistaken.

This is told alternatively through Ruby and Ephram, and as mentioned, with a few other characters when their view is relevant, (mainly looking into Celia, Otha and Mr. Jennings and a little into Ruby’s past), I liked that we got to hear from both characters and in Ruby’s case this was important, she was often written off as the town crazy lady, when I felt like she wasn't. To me she was almost a wild creature, made that way by circumstance. There is this whole town that is just intent on taking her soul and Ruby is stuck there. An example is early on, when we meet Ma Tante, Ruby is told by her to leave her body/go elsewhere so that they can’t steal her soul. If you stay, that’s how they get you. Essentially, don’t be present for the horror, so you can survive it. There were elements of magical realism that I felt helped bring this to life for me. There are times when she ‘becomes’ a tree and can feel the earth. Depending on which way you take events, Ruby and Otha could possibly suffer from (in my totally non expert opinion), schizophrenia. And I found it interesting that these symptoms are explained/derived from the demons that they’re burdened with, not the actual illness. I guess that’s also depending on how much you believe in the Dybou. At least that was my take on it.

Religion is a theme running throughout the novel, both the conventional and voodoo. It’s interesting the effect that this has on various people. Celia, Ephram’s sister, uses Christianity and its structure to cope with events in her life, to control things. To the point that she is so dogmatic in her views. I kind of get the feeling that she not actually a very nice person. Crows are used a lot throughout the book, both as harbingers and as protection for Ruby. And obviously, there are people in the town that use voodoo. I don’t know enough about voodoo

This is apparently the first in a trilogy. I’d like to see these characters happy. I hope that there isn't too much graphic violence in the next two installments. Moving the novel forward – this may be a possibility, but if it delves back into the Bell’s past I don’t think that’s a possibility. I hope that there is more cohesion within the story and less jumping around in the timelines, even clearer movement would be good. I have reservations recommending this to everyone, it certainly would be too much for some people. I still think it is worthwhile reading it, I can’t say I enjoyed it as such, but it was a powerful read, that I’m still thinking about and as I stated previously, the writing and Ruby and Ephram’s love story is a thing of beauty.


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Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Book Review | Maestra by L.H. Hilton

MaestraMaestra by L.S. Hilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a quick engaging read, but totally not what I expected. This came up after I'd searched for Perfect Days by Raphael Montes which Conrad over at The Deckled Edge had hauled/read and recommended. So when I saw it at Big W later that week I decided to give it a go.

When I started reading I had no idea that this was erotica, I'd assumed from the blurb it was a straight up thriller. But it jumps right into the bang bang and thankfully it's written well, although it might be gratuitous for those not expecting it...there is a lot of it. I appreciated the authors knowledge in the field of art history, (she writes non-fiction/fiction under Lisa Hilton), and I'll be checking out Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens and Mistress Peachum's Pleasure: The Life of Lavinia, Duchess of Bolton later.

I felt it was fast paced, it kept my attention while I was reading it, I wanted to know what was happening. There were a few times that I called bullshit - thinking that would NEVER go down like that. But I didn't mind suspending my belief.

I'm not sure how I feel about the 'To Be Continued' that is on the last page, as I was nearing the end of the book I had an inkling that we wouldn't get a definite ending. I've since watched an interview with the author that mentioned Maestra is the first in a trilogy. I don't mind a trilogy, when I love a book, it's the perfect way to continue visiting a world that I enjoy, and while I did enjoy this while I was reading it, I'm not sure if the other books will add anything more or different to the story. I feel like there is only so much that Judith can offer - unless the author ups the erotic ante or liberates Ophelia from the Tate.


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Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Book Review | The Chimes by Anna Smaill

The ChimesThe Chimes by Anna Smaill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I certainly enjoyed this book, as it went on I became more engrossed in the story. At first I thought the author had made her own slang language up. But then I realised that she was using musical terms to refer to tempo - a musician I am not! This is a book about music so it makes sense that the writing is lyrical.

I appreciated the ending which wasn't all (view spoiler) And that is, in one sense satisfying, I'm not expecting the usual dystopian trilogy, (which is actually refreshing), I still would've liked a little more time with Simon and Lucien. The second half seemed to fly past presto.</["br"]></["br"]>


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Is there anyone else who is participating in the manbookering madness?  It's lots of fun, we have a Goodreads group started by Max from Well Done Books - come check it out! 

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Book Review | HOT Protector by Lynn Raye Harris

Hot Protector (Hostile Operations Team, #10)Hot Protector by Lynn Raye Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the tenth book in the series, so there are complex relationships that have been formed within the team, it was great to be able to revisit this world.  I feel like this is the perfect book to jump in and see if you like the series, Harris has hit her stride, I enjoy her writing style, her heroes are alpha but not so much that they're overbearing. There are appearances by other team members, but there isn't any pertinent information that could be considered spoilers as such. If you haven't tried the series definitely pick this up and see if you like Chase and Sophie's story, chances are if you enjoyed this one, you'll love the other books in the series. If you are an avid reader like myself - this is a great next chapter in the HOT series.

I'll admit, I had my reservations going into this one, I'm not a fan of step sibling relationships, perhaps because I didn't enjoy the ones I've read so far, but after my initial reservations, it felt like a non issue. They weren't brought up together as siblings and don't have that relationship. I loved that this one was so fast paced, the action starts right from the first chapter. Harris teases us again with little tastes of Mendez outside of work. I gotta say I'm really looking forward to finally reading his book.

I would definitely recommend picking this book up, I really enjoyed it.


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Have you tried the series?  Let me know what you think :)

Until next time, happy reading

C.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Book Review | Island Home by Tim Winton

Island HomeIsland Home by Tim Winton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a beautifully written memoir, not exactly what I'd expected, I thought it would be all about Winton, maybe I should've paid more attention to the 'A Landscape Memoir' part of the title! It is a collection of vignettes from Winton's childhood growning up in WA and those places today.

This was an evocative read, I loved the story of the blow hole rock, I felt drawn back to parts of my childhood by the beach, with summer's spent fossicking at the beach and swimming through caves similar to the one Winton describes. I liked his thoughts behind why we like architecture - we've gotten rid of all these amazing natural structures, so we compensate with man made beauty.

I didn't realise that this would focus so much on conservationism and environment, it was a nice surprise but also a sad one, Winton mentions that Australia has one of the highest level of animal extinction in the world. He also mentions the losses Western Australia has experienced to the landscape via over farming and poor land management. I feel like I learned something without being preached at.

This one was recommended to me by a patron at work and I'm really happy that I read it, rather than letting it sit on Mt. TBR.


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Until next time, happy reading.

C.

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