The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

REVIEW

This is the first book I have read by this author and, although it took a while to get used to the writing style, I found that I did actually enjoy it as a light-hearted read.

The basic premise of a book club meeting once a month to discuss Jane Austen was what initially drew me to this book as I have read all Austen’s work, albeit quite a while ago, however there is not so much book discussion as general life and daily issues to contend with. I admit that I was, on occasion, quite confused about which character and time frame the book was currently focused on as it continually flipped between present day and flashbacks to the past.  I did enjoy finding out about the life’s of each character as I read through and how they had all finally become ‘The Jane Austen Book Club’.

The six individuals within the book each have their own story to tell that generally depicts a defining moment which shapes them into who they become.  In some cases it is from childhood but others it is during their adult life.

This book is about love, friendship, relationships and finding yourself.  You are never too old to achieve any of these.

I do feel an urge to reread my Austen collection now!

Synopsis

In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2152.The_Jane_Austen_Book_Club)

A Summer Scandal by Kat French

REVIEW

Loved this book. As is the way with Kat French’s book I became completely engrossed in the characters and their lives. Violet is the woman I think many of us wish we could be. She is not happy to just let life pass her by or take the easy and safe option. Don’t get me wrong, safe and easy are often the better option but in this case I think Violet would most definitely have had a miserable life if she stayed on the path she was on.

Cal is lovely and, despite the brief episode in the middle of the book, I’m glad he finally came to his senses. The black sheep from the the privileged family, his line of work had me laughing when it was revealed. Violet took it all in her stride and although she was momentarily surprised it didn’t last long. The use of the pier was awesome.

This book was filled with love, whether it be open or concealed, real or illicit, it is there. There are mysterious elements at play as well and the intriguing plot line had me wondering what was going to be revealed next.

Loved the ending….very fitting.

This is an ARC review courtesy of Netgalley

Synopsis

Summer has never been so scandalous…

When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier in with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Sexy, sassy and full of heart, Kat French is back in a new summer sizzler

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35886940-a-summer-scandal?ac=1&from_search=true)

Flesh Into Fire – Original Sin #3 by J.A. Huss, Johnathan McClain

REVIEW

This series is getting better and better. In the aftermath of the fire that left everyone devastated, Maddie and Tyler still have a whole heap of problems in front of them before they can find, what we all hope will be, their happy ever after .

Maddie is still reeling from the death of her friend and all she can focus on is revenge. I’m in agreement with Tyler here though…it’s a bad idea!   Tyler knows that if she follows through with her dreams of getting back at Carlos and Logan then he stands a good chance of losing her forever and with everything the pair has been through, neither of them should have to face what comes next.

There are some interesting story twists within this part of the series. We find out that someone has been keeping a rather large secret (did not see that coming) which has the potential to either save Maddie or get her killed, needless to say, Tyler is not impressed the turn of events. Tyler shows off his very impressive drone flying skills – again. And this pair really have a thing about fires…mainly starting them! Tyler has already burnt down his apartment, this time it’s Maddie who becomes the arsonist. Someone should ban them from ever holding a box of matches!

I love Tyler. He is funny, caring, protective and sexy. I would need him to have a shave though…bit of stubble is sexy, full beard – not so much (personal preference). The internal monologues that he has, where he goes off at a complete tangent, are hilarious. You have to be really focused on what you’re reading otherwise you’d be completely lost with some off the things he comes out with.

Julie and Johnathan have made an absolutely fantastic writing team. Having read many of Julie’s books and finding them all addictive,   I have often wondered why established solo authors team up with other writing partners but I’m so glad that these two did.

Patiently awaiting the final book in the series and really hoping that this will not be the last we see from this writing duo.

Passion Rising due to be released on 8th May 2018

Synopsis

Payback is owed.

And Maddie Clayton is going to collect. This time Carlos and Logan have gone too far. People are dead, lives have been changed, and she’s had enough. Plus, she’s got the Devil on her side, so when an enemy turns into a friend with an idea of how to take Carlos down, she’s in.

Tyler Morgan has been fighting back his whole adult life. He’s ready for anything when it comes to payback. But endangering Maddie can’t be part of the deal. Unfortunately for him, once Maddie gets an idea in her head, there’s no stopping her.

Her debt has been paid in blood and she wants revenge.

His fight is still there, but now he’s got more at stake than himself.

The end is coming.

But even if they win against Carlos, they can still lose each other.

Greyriver Shifters by Kristina Weaver

REVIEW

This was a great collection of five standalone stories based around the pack of Greyriver Shifters.  Each story focuses on a fated couple, two people regardless of race, gender, shifter type or human, who are linked to be mated.  As always the males are big, alpha, dominant types who eventually care obsessively for their females, even if they don’t to begin with, but the females have their own way of showing their strength and soon have the males towing the line.

During this series we follow the matings of Bear and Mika, Logan and Hannah, Brigger and Barbie, Banner and Cass, and Blain and Julia. Although these can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading them in order as most of the characters do appear in each others books,which gives some good background into that character ready for their own story.  There is also an underlying story that runs throughout the series, which would be confusing if you don’t read from the beginning.

I did enjoy these books, however there were times when I really disliked some of the male Shifter characters and their attitudes towards their females.  I’m not sure I would have been so tolerant with a man if he treated me the way these guys treated their prospective mates…fated or not, I’d have been out of there, not constantly trying to please him.

An enjoyable fantasy series with Shifters, Humans, Fated and Mated, threats to the pack, loyalty and betrayal, and not forgetting some hot, animalistic sex!

Synopsis

UNWANTED MATE 
I don’t want to feel this pull towards Mika Bright and feel the lust that overtakes me when I smell her. She’s the opposite of everything I want in a female and as the next Alpha to my pack I want my mate to be of my kind, strong, capable, on the fringes of my emotions. Mika isn’t like that. She’s sweet and soft and she needs me to give her things I don’t think I can give her. She’s human to my wolf. Light to my dark. She’s not mine and yet I want her unlike any other female in this world. If I mate her I will lose every iota of control in my life and to a guy like me, control is power. 

UNWILLING MATE 
I will not mate Hannah Seers even if destiny and my animal call to me to do it. She’s spoilt, rude, mean and ugly in ways that have nothing to do with her perfect form and the body that drives me crazy. I shouldn’t look at her and want her and I damn sure should not give in to her demands for a mating but she has something I need and if I have to mate her to get it, I will. That doesn’t mean I will love her even as I take her body and it sure as hell doesn’t mean I want her heart. Or do I? 

RELUCTANT MATE 
The problem with being a liar and a cheat is that before you know it you don’t recognise yourself anymore. I’ve spent my life lying, living in a world where other people don’t really know the real me. I’ve lied to myself, my friends and the one female who I should have claimed years ago. Beebee hates me, for good reason. She doesn’t trust me, for good reason. She wants me, because I make her believe that she should. Now it’s up to me to decide if loving her is worth the risk of losing my freedom and risk losing myself once again when things fall apart. 

UNLIKELY MATE 
I’m a mixed breed shifter who has both bear and wolf within my blood. I am dangerous, big andscare the females in my own pack. I prefer solitude and I keep to myself because I doubt that I will ever be lucky enough to find my Fated, my true female, the one who will complete me. When a car breaks down on the side of the highway that borders my pack and the land I guard the last thing I expect is to see the smallest human female staring back at me. The very last thing I know is that she definitely can never be mine. Even if I know it’s true. 

DESTINED TO MATE 
I’ve killed. I’ve lied. I’ve stolen. I’ve committed every unspeakable crime that you can think of and I haven’t regretted it once until the day Julia Silverton comes for me. She’s my Fated, my one but I don’t want her. I can’t. She’s good and I’m, not. She’s love and I’ve hated for so long I don’t know what that means anymore. She wants me. Needs me and I will save her but I will never give her my heart. I can’t. She’d break me. 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39334745-greyriver-shifters)

 

Sacrifice – DS Heckenburg #2 by Paul Finch

Audio Edition Narrated by Paul Thornley

REVIEW

DS Heckenburg is back in this chilling tale of brutal, ritual murders and grotesque sacrifices.

Following in the wake of the Nice Guys Club, Heck and the SCU team are still catching bad guys, or at least putting them out of commission, when a series of ritualistic murders comes to their attention.  As the crimes become more gruesome, the public more demanding,  and the ritual dates ever closer, Heck knows they need to work hard and fast to stop more fatalities especially when one of their own goes missing.

This story is fantastically graphic in its descriptions with some very detailed imagery that gets stuck inside your head, at least it does mine.  This author has a great knack for bringing characters to life, and then ultimately killing them off in some hideous fashion! There is always a great deal of detail given to every character, victim and villian, which pulls the reader into the story and makes you feel connected to them.

DS Heckenburg is by far my favourite detective (I will probably say this in every review because, quite frankly, it deserves to be said).  Although he is not old, he also knows that he is not young either and running around the countryside chasing the bad guys takes it toll on him.  Being bitten by an attack dog didn’t help matters either, however in this case Heck seemed to gain the least injuries out of the lot of them.  I’m still hoping for a little bit of loving to come Heck’s way, he deserves some tenderness in his life, and I’m secretly cheering for Gemma. She may be a lioness but I think she still has a very big soft spot for our Heck, only time will tell.

Next in the Heckenburg series – The Killing Club

Synopsis

A vicious serial killer is holding the country to ransom, publicly—and gruesomely—murdering his victims.

When a man is burnt alive on a bonfire, it seems like a tragic Guy Fawkes Night accident. But with the discovery of a young couple on Valentine’s Day— each with an arrow through the heart—something more sinister becomes clear. A ‘calendar killer’ is on the loose.

Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is up against it. With a rising body count and the public’s eyes on him, Heck must find the killer before he executes more victims.

Because this killer has a plan. And nothing will stop him completing it.

A heart-stopping and grisly thriller that will enthrall fans of Stuart MacBride and Katia Lief.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17926971-sacrifice)

Shopping for a Billionaire’s Baby – Shopping for a Billionaire #13 by Julia Kent

REVIEW

I really didn’t think it was possible to love a book couple as much I do Declan and Shannon.  Having read about this couple’s bizarre beginnings, their ups and downs, their unfortunate events that have had me laughing, their tender heart-felt moments that have brought tears to my eyes, and now to be witness to them extending their family unit has been a very emotional journey.

But this IS Declan and Shannon so we know that it is not going to be plain sailing, and WOW! what a tidal wave they find themselves riding.

There is honestly so much I want to say but I try really hard not to give away any spoilers in my reviews, so here goes:

Shannon and Declan have decided to have a baby (no spoiler, it’s kinda the whole point of the book) and as a mother I can say that I was there with her through each phase – the agony of trying to conceive followed by disappointment, morning sickness, food cravings, feeling horny, swollen ankles, being related to a whale, and let’s not forget those all important mood swings (just to keep our husbands/partners on their toes!).  Shannon, bless her heart, doesn’t do things by half either but Declan is on hand to help her through each stage.  I fell just a little more in love with Declan during this book and you will understand what I mean when you read it, his letter to Shannon was so beautiful I may have let a tear slip out. I was completely taken with the ending, could see it happening but did not expect the full extent of what did occur, or the emotional reaction between James and Declan in the hospital.

I don’t think I will be able to look at a piece of clay in quite the same way again and don’t even mention the word ‘Unicoga’ – I’m still giggling at that whole mess up…only Marie! She teaches me something new every book.

Speaking of, Marie is at her classic best again in this book.  Whether it is organising Shannon’s baby shower or posting ads on Facebook, she never fails.

Dave is an intriguing character, I do hope we get a bit more of a backstory of him at some stage.

I know there are more books to come in this series and to be honest I don’t think I can ever envision it ending. Great to see all our favourite characters from the series so far – Andrew and Amanda, Marie and Jason, James, Pam, Carol, Amy, Hamish, Josh, Greg, Gerald and Vince, with a surprise appearance from a familiar face of a different series.

If you have never read this series, START. It is an hilarious romantic comedy that will have you addicted from the very first page.

This is an ARC review although the book is currently available for pre-order and will be released on 24/04/18.

Thank you Julia, you did it again!

Synopsis

You know what’s even better than marrying a billionaire? Having his baby.

We’re ready. We’ve studied and planned, read all the birth and labor books, researched parenting classes, consulted our schedules, and it’s time.

And by we I mean me.

Declan’s just ready for the “have lots of sex” part. More than ready.

But there’s just one problem: my husband and his brother have this little obsession with competition.

And by little, I mean stupid.

That’s right.

We’re not just about to try to bring a new human being into the world.

We have to do it better, Faster, Stronger.

Harder.

McCormick men don’t just have babies.

They engage in competitive billionaire Babythons.

I thought the hardest part about getting pregnant would be dealing with my grandchild-crazed mother, who will go nuts shopping for a billionaire’s baby.

Wrong.

Between conception issues, my mother’s desire to talk to the baby through a hoohawcam, a childbirth class led by a drill sergeant and a father-in-law determined to sign the kid up for prep school before Declan even pulls out, my pregnancy has turned out to be one ordeal after the other.

But it’s nothing — nothing — compared to the actual birth.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36433312-shopping-for-a-billionaire-s-baby)

Stalkers – DS Heckenburg #1 by Paul Finch

Audio Edition Narrated by Paul Thornley

REVIEW

I first read this book in June 2013 and was hooked from start to finish.

The series is based around the Serial Crime Unit in London and in particularly DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg. Heck lives for his job, or rather his job is his life.  Working on a series of missing women cases, Heck finds himself teaming up with the sister of one of the missing women, but what they uncover is worse than either of them could image.

There are some great twists as the story evolves and you get a real sense of the characters and their feelings as it is told from multiple points of view. One thing I really liked about this book was that no one was safe, they might be a small part character or a main character, and you won’t always see it coming.  Word of advice – don’t get attached to a character because you just never know!

With unexpected turns throughout the story is exciting and action-packed with some heart-stopping moments.  The author does not hold back on the gruesome moments which are told in full graphic detail so if you are a bit squeamish you have been warned.

I decided to get this on audio and I’ll be honest that it took a while to associate the narrators impression of the characters voices with those I previously had in my head. The female characters where the worst to get accustomed to but I did struggle with Heck as well, I think it was because I had him a bit deeper and I can’t do a Manchester accent in my head.   By the end though, Heck sounded as Heck should and I was so caught up in the story that the change in voices just flowed.  I am pleased to see that the rest of the series is narrated by Paul Thornley as well.  I have read the first five in the series and am looking forward to listening to them now.

Synopsis

Time’s up. You’re Next.

“All he had to do was name the woman he wanted. It was that easy. They would do all the hard work.”

Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenberg is investigating the disappearance of 38 different women. Each one was happy and successful until they vanished without a trace.

Desperate to find her missing sister, Lauren Wraxford seeks out Heck’s help. Together they enter a seedy underworld of gangsters and organised crime.

But when they hear rumours about the so-called ‘Nice Guys Club’ they hit a brick wall. They’re the gang that no one will talk about. Because the Nice Guys can arrange anything you want. Provided you pay the price…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17268840-stalkers)