Category: Books

Book Review #18: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Posted 11th January 2018 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 10 Comments

Book Review #18: Slave to Sensation by Nalini SinghSlave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #1
Published by Gollancz on March 10th 2010 (first published September 1st 2006)
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 356
Format: E-Book
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 3 Flames

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of 'rehabilitation' - the complete psychic erasure of her personality . . .

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murder of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation . . .

Yes. It took me forever to start this series. Let us ignore the fact that I’m yet to continue it (I’m going to!)

Not gonna lie. I enjoy reading about alpha males for the most part. Unf. Lucas. A couple of things happened where I thought ‘that could be problematic if taken out of context…or if I read too far between the lines’. But fiction is good for figuring out what makes one uncomfortable (does this make sense?) I was fine with Lucas’s dominant attitude on the page, but wouldn’t dig it in real life.

So. Lucas is our alpha shifter. Sascha is a Psy with a secret. She’s broken, and has to fight to keep it together so as not to reveal herself – it would have dire consequences which would cost her life. I loved these two together. Sascha exploring new things and what it was like to feel; I really connected with her. Lucas was charming, so sure of himself; though he also has secrets.

The secondary characters were great as well. I guess I’ll be able to learn more about them as I continue reading!

I was quite fascinated with the Psy and changeling worlds to be honest. There’s a familiarity of course (there’s also humans in this world), but it had some really interesting elements, like PsyNet and the links between people.

Slave to Sensation had an interesting premise that intrigued me. I’m not a huge fan of romance, but I think paranormal romance might be my thing (or is this Urban Fantasy? Teach me the difference lol). Nalini Singh has a way with words that sucks you right in to the story, I’m so glad I finally came to the party and read this!

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 4.1

Tags: , , ,


Book Review #17: Fright Court by Mindy Klasky

Posted 4th January 2018 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 10 Comments

Oh my gosh, after more than a month I am posting a review. Whaaaat?! I feel very rusty though, sorry if this seems stuttery (it sure felt that way writing it).

Book Review #17: Fright Court by Mindy KlaskyFright Court by Mindy Klasky
Series: Fright Court #1
Published by Res Ipsa Press on March 22nd 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Format: E-Book
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Sarah Anderson has found her dream job: Clerk of Court for the District of Columbia Night Court. Dream job, that is, until she’s attacked in the open courtroom by a vampire defendant. And until she’s forced to take self-defense lessons from her boss, the enigmatic vampire James Morton. And until she learns that she can’t share the truth about any of that with her best friend, Allison Ward – even over delectable cupcakes from the Cake Walk bakery.

Soon, Sarah is surrounded by vampires, griffins, and sprites – all members of a secret supernatural court. And when a deceptively easy-going reporter starts to ask questions, Sarah wonders just what answers she is supposed to give….

Fright Court is a reader-supported, serialized novel about lawyers, vampires, and cupcakes.

My new fave! Sign me up for this ride! I need to read more of the series ASAP – and then I discovered there’s only one more book, written 6 years after the first. Am I allowed to be worried?!

Fright Court is apparently set within another fictional world created by Klasky in the Jane Madison Series (which I’ve not read, but I’m going to!) You definitely don’t have to have read one to get the other.

In Fright Court, Sarah has landed a new job as a clerk for the night court. But what she doesn’t know is that as well as the regular court proceedings, there’s also supernatural trials. Vampires? Check. Fae? Definitely.

Sarah manages to get dragged into vampire politics (of course). There’s a reporter sniffing around who wants to do a story on the Night Court, which James agrees to, as it might give them leverage against those that think the court being open at night is a waste of time.

There is a twist (that I will not reveal, because spoilers) and I thought it added a great element to the story. I am so curious about where it goes next!

I really enjoyed Sarah, and her boss, James. What I assume are the beginnings of a love triangle develop – however, as much as a loathe those, I can work with this.

The writing and pacing were great. Sarah has human drama as much as supernatural, and I liked how her worlds clashed. As much as I enjoyed this, it did feel a little incomplete (or maybe I’m projecting, because I just wanted more!) It was a very amusing read – I caught myself laughing out loud more than once.

Definitely recommend if you’re a fan of light-hearted paranormal/fantasy reads.

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: 4.4

Tags: , , , ,


2018 Bookish & Not So Bookish Resolutions

Posted 1st January 2018 by Wattle in Books, Whimsical Nature / 28 Comments

Part of me cannot believe that it’s already 2018, and part of me can. It’s so weird. 2017 seemed to fly on by. I hope 2018 is a great year for all of us!

I thought I’d split my resolutions into two categories, bookish and real life ones; since I actually have both this year!

MY BOOKISH RESOLUTIONS

1. Blog at least twice a week (knowing me, this may be ambitious).
2. Keep track of books read and money spent – I plan to bring back my monthly overview (which I only managed to do in January last year 😆 )
3. Read 50 books this year.
4. Change my website layout.
5. Read more diverse books.
6. Buy less, borrow more.
7. Read some of the dozens of comic books I own.
9. Do another purge (gain shelf space!)
10. Read one classic.

MY NON-BOOKISH RESOLUTIONS
1. Do yoga! I have a 21 day yoga habit challenge I want to complete and the Perfect Body Yoga Program (both are by Bad Yogi).
2. Keep going to Roller Derby. I seem to get to a certain point and then stop. I don’t necessarily want to graduate to the next level, but I would like to get some consistency and improvement going.
3. Pass my classes.
4. Keep my mental health. Last year wasn’t amazing, but I feel like I’m in a better place now and would like to stay that way.
5. De-clutter. This is a big ask. I have an entire wardrobe full of crap. But it needs to be done. Bit by bit, I can do this!
6. Do more crafts. I have heaps of wool, and plenty of cross stitch patterns floating around. It’s about time I did something with them.
7. Drink more water – water is SO BORING but really, that’s no excuse.
8. Cut back on sugar. I’ve gone from 2 to coffee to 1, surely I can at least halve that again.

Not a resolution, but I’m also going to give Bullet Journaling a go. I think it will be useful for my classes and maybe even blogging!

And something else I’m considering is if my study would make a better library/yoga room. I’m debating getting rid of my desk and replacing it with (more) bookshelves. I don’t use the desk for studying (that’s what the dining table is for) – I just, you know…put stuff on it, and my desk chair is where my jackets live 😐 hmmmm.

We shall see what 2018 brings.

Tags:


Book Review #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

Posted 22nd November 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 6 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. MarslandBy The Currawong's Call by Welton B. Marsland
Published by Escape Publishing on November 20th 2017
Genres: Australian, Historical, M/M Romance
Pages: 352
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 2.5 Flames

A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful...

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

In 1891 homosexuality was illegal, and for much of this story it was a cloud hanging over Matthew and Jonah. Something that could destroy both of their careers and send them to jail. Victoria, where this is set, didn’t legalise it until December 1980 – they were the second state to do so; the last did in 1997…the treatment of men convicted of sodomy is still being dealt with today. Legislation was introduced to parliament just a few weeks ago in my state to expunge historical convictions.

I would just like to remind everyone it’s 2017, and politicians in my country are currently arguing about how discriminatory people are allowed to be to gay people if they choose to get married when it is (finally) legalised, hopefully before Christmas (not holding my breath).

Oops. Tangent. Let me get back on topic.

By The Currawong’s Call is…not something I would have picked to read myself, but I was in such a mood for m/m romance and nothing else jumped out at me. I picked it up on NetGalley a while back thinking ‘I’ll totally read this within the next few months!’ and to my surprise, I actually did!

My favourite thing is probably the setting. I spent the first part of my life in bush suburbia in Victoria, I’ve driven through many a country town in various states. Victoria will always feel like home, I could see it all in my mind. Simple buildings, unsealed roads, dust, trees, kangaroos. Perfect.

For the first half of the book though, I was a wee bit bored. Matthew was fine, Jonah was fine. But I didn’t get their chemistry at ALL. I would have liked to have seen more of what Matthew did as the new local priest, instead we were just told ‘he did X, Y and Z’. The background characters were just that, background and barely rated a mention. I didn’t really feel much life in it.

But as soon as they went to Melbourne? It became so much more interesting! I’m not sure if it was the change of scenery, or the fact they were doing more than hanging out together (though they were still sneaking around), but it’s like everything just jumped off the page and came to life. And I ended up adoring them together ♥

Because of how mixed I felt about it, I had a difficult time rating everything. The pacing was a bit shit at first, but then it just fell into place. Everyone was 2 dimensional, until they weren’t. Hmmm. I gave it 4 stars simply because it left me grinning like an idiot when I finished; and I reckon if I read it again it’d feel like a different book.

And as much as I enjoyed the second half, the epilogue was my favourite bit. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, but I’ll put it behind a spoiler cut anyway: View Spoiler » I do wish we had a bit more of them afterwards though, I would have liked to know what happened.

All in all this was a satisfying read once it got going. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more by Welton B. Marsland.

Fact of the day: the currawong is an Australian bird that looks like a raven/crow (but a bit smaller, and doesn’t sound like them) and has yellow eyes. I’ve never seen one to my knowledge, but I live out west and they are on the east coast. When I’m over there next I shall keep my eyes peeled!

They sound like this (yes, I got that curious lol)

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Overall: 3.8

Tags:


Book Review #15: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

Posted 8th November 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 19 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #15: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen HughesA Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes
Series: Keepsake Cove Mystery #1
Published by Midnight Ink on November 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 264
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of souvenir and collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.

A Fatal Collection is my first experience of Mary Ellen Hughes and it certainly won’t be my last! I was a bit worried because this started at breakneck speed, and I thought it would continue that way and be a nightmare pacing wise; but it was really enjoyable.

The mystery starts almost straight away. Callie is visiting her Aunt Melodie for the first time in years, they spend an evening catching up; but the next morning Callie awakes to find her Aunt dead in her own store. Her death is quickly ruled an accident, and as Callie is preparing to return home she’s told that she has inherited everything.

She sees this as an opportunity for a fresh start and to leave her deadbeat boyfriend (I’m so glad he only featured in phone calls!) But she’s unsettled by how quickly everything was resolved, and wonders if there’s more to her Aunt’s death.

Keepsake Cove is a community of people with stores that sell collectibles (I found that a bit ridiculous, but I guess perhaps somewhere it could be a thing). Melodie’s store sells music boxes, and Callie takes her time to learn all the stock in the shop and goes on a mission to meet the other shop owners in the area.

There’s some interesting small community dynamics going on here, with some bickering between parties and some suspicious folk around. I enjoyed the secondary characters and I hope we see more of them in the future. There’s also a slight hint at a potential romance that was pretty cute, but in no way impacted on the main plot.

I liked that Callie wasn’t chummy with the police, and indeed, they barely featured at all. I did peg the murderer soon after meeting them, they just didn’t seem right to me. And I do enjoy being right haha

After the initial ‘whoa this is happening really quickly!’ moment at the start, the pacing turned out to be great. It flowed at a steady pace and the writing certainly kept me engaged.

This was a really enjoyable cozy mystery, though a bit predictable. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing the series!

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: 3.9

Tags: , ,


Book Review #14: The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey

Posted 1st November 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 14 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #14: The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine MorreyThe Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey
Published by HQ Digital on November 3rd 2017
Genres: Chick Lit, Christmas, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: two-stars

Come home for Christmas to the Best Little Christmas Shop – the snowiest, cosiest place you can be!

Home for the holidays…

Icing gingerbread men, arranging handmade toys and making up countless Christmas wreaths in her family’s cosy little Christmas shop isn’t usually globe-trotter Lexi’s idea of fun. But it’s all that’s keeping her mind off romance. And, with a broken engagement under her belt, she’s planning to stay well clear of that for the foreseeable future…until gorgeous single dad Cal Martin walks through the door!

Christmas takes on a whole new meaning as Lexi begins to see it through Cal’s adorable five-year-old son’s eyes. But, finding herself getting dangerously close to the mistletoe with Cal, Lexi knows she needs to back off. She’s sworn off love, and little George needs a stability she can’t provide. One day she’ll decide whether to settle down again – just not yet.

But the best little Christmas shop in this sleepy, snow-covered village has another surprise in store…

DNF at 42%

*sigh* I don’t normally review books I don’t finish, however I’m making an exception. I’ve found that I like reading other’s reviews of DNF reads (particularly of books I like!) because it’s neat to get a different perspective.

I was drawn to this novel because of the cover – look at it, it’s so cute! And the synopsis sounded promising. I tried really hard to finish The Best Little Christmas Shop, as I didn’t want to give up on it. But I just couldn’t do it.

It started out so well. Lexi had returned home after a period away and some drama in her work and personal life. Her family runs a store that changes with the season, and in the lead up to Christmas there’s some serious wreath making and decorating going on.

I liked Lexi’s family, well, mainly one of her brothers. Their relationship seemed sweet and I was hoping that feel would continue throughout. But then we met the love interest, Cal, and it all fell apart.

Unfortunately there was no chemistry between Cal and Lexi at all. She seemed to misunderstand most of what he said, only for him to have to reassure her that he didn’t mean it like that.

Another thing that annoyed me was her constant comparisons of herself and other women (eg: her best friend), how she’s not feminine and delicate, what does anyone see in her. Gosh. And there was a passing thought of another lady not having pure intentions when it came to interacting with Cal (heaven forbid he possibly has female friends that aren’t her friends too).

The stereotypes of women really grated on my nerves, I can’t stand it when women put themselves, or others, down because they don’t meet the supposed expectations of society and what it is to be female. I just couldn’t enjoy this story at all; though George, Cal’s young son, was adorable.

I did read the end to make sure I didn’t want to continue to see how that played out, and all it did was make me roll my eyes so…nope.

I’m sure plenty out there will enjoy this book as a bit of fun, Christmassy, escapism. But it just wasn’t for me.

Rating Report
Plot
one-star
Characters
one-star
Writing
two-half-stars
Pacing
two-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: 2.1

Tags: , , ,


Book Review #13: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna

Posted 30th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review #13: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. HannaA Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Series: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries #1
Published by Wisheart Press on January 17th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 335
Format: E-Book
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in Gemma Rose’s quaint Oxfordshire tearoom, she suddenly finds herself apron-deep in a mystery involving long-buried secrets from Oxford’s past.

Armed with her insider knowledge of the University and with the help of four nosy old ladies from the village (not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli), Gemma sets out to solve the mystery—all while dealing with her matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love, Devlin O’Connor, now a dashing CID detective.

But with the body count rising and her business going bust, can Gemma find the killer before things turn to custard?

A Scone to Die For is the first book in a cozy mystery series – Oxford Tearoom Mysteries. I was drawn to it because Lola reviewed it on her blog, and the cover is so cute! I’m a sucker for a cutesy cozy cover.

Cozy mystery staples: Cats? Check. Baking? Check. For some reason the main character finds herself investigating a murder despite police involvement? Check.

This little novel was very easy to read and went along at a good pace, but some things I found weird/annoying. For example:

  • Cassie’s exasperation at Gemma’s simple curiosity about a piece of paper she saw felt too strong and really odd.
  • Gemma missed Jaffa Cakes while in Sydney. If I can go to a supermarket in Perth (and before that, an independent grocery or British food shop) and find them in every international section, I’m SURE you can get them in Sydney! I love Jaffa Cakes, and have been getting them here for 20 years.
  • Am I nitpicking? I feel like I’m nitpicking.
  • Devlin’s need to over-explain things felt like he thought Gemma was stupid, which in turn made me dislike him a bit. And why would he even discuss a case with her in such detail? They’ve not seen each other for 8 years!

On the plus side, I liked much of it:

  • The old ladies were a delight; sticking their noses in and doing a bit of sleuthing.
  • I twigged who the killer was right before Gemma did, talk about stressful! This one had a pretty good mystery, and it kept me guessing. I had conversations with myself that went: “No…wait…could it be? Too obvious. Or is it? Maybe the author is trying to psych me out…” and so on.
  • Gemma herself is a good main character, she’s believable and likeable; even if she does make some questionable decisions.
  • Cats! Recipes! Is it a true cozy without at least one of these things? Bonus points for both haha. I love that Muesli is based on the author’s cat (who is adorable) look at that face!

Overall this was a good cozy mystery, but had a few flaws with characterisation in my opinion; not everyone seemed natural. But I’m sure as the series goes on and I get to know everyone better, it will all gel together (having now read a few of these books, I am correct. This seems to be the case with a lot of cozy series!)

It did make me realise that I prefer my cozies set in the UK. I’m not entirely sure why, it’s probably all the BBC tv shows I watch starring amateur detectives (or maybe it’s just Midsomer Murders, which seems to always be on, and I always watch it!) I’ve read a number of American ones, but quaint and English is definitely my preferred setting.

If you like cozy mysteries (and sweet foods) I would definitely recommend this for a lazy day of reading! It’s a good start to a series that just gets better as it goes along.

Also, the first book is currently free on Amazon (kindle) 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 4.1

Tags: , ,


Book Review #12: Taken by Jennifer Dawson

Posted 23rd October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #12: Taken by Jennifer DawsonTaken by Jennifer Dawson
Series: Undone #4
Published by Jennifer Dawson Publishing on October 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Pages: 407
Format: E-Book
Source: Author
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars
Heat Level: 4 Flames

Brandon Townsend III

Rich, beautiful and entitled, once upon a time he was king of the trust fund babies. He took anything and anyone he wanted, until one day, he walked away without explanation. Now, he’s an untouchable mystery, one I’m determined to crack. And I’m not talking about anything mundane like his bed. No, I want something far more valuable.

I want into his head.

*

Veronica Westwood has blown into my life creating chaos in her wake, and I don’t know quite what to do with her. Rich, beautiful and entitled, she represents everything I’ve sworn off in life, and her being unexpectedly clever doesn’t change that. Instincts warn me to stay away, and that’s just what I intend to do, no matter her attempts to wear me down. I’m good at saying no, or at least I was until I met her. I don’t understand it, but she’s like a weakness, and a man like me can’t have weakness.

I simply won’t allow it.

Taken is the fourth book in the Undone series by Jennifer Dawson. You can find my reviews for the previous novels here:

1) Crave   2) Sinful   2.5) Unraveled   3) Debauched

I think…though I could be wrong, that this is also the last book of the series 😮 *sobs*

Brandon has always intrigued me, he’s the most detached of all of our dominant men, but perhaps the most interesting. I was excited to see that we were going to get his story, and jumped at the chance to read an ARC copy when it was offered.

Taken is dual POV, both Brandon and Veronica give us insight into the story. Brandon was born into a rich family; but opted to shun his status as the #1 trust fund kid and hit out on his own. He still appears at events every so often to appease his parents, and it’s at one of these events that he runs into Veronica. Or rather, she tracks him down.

Veronica, like Brandon, wants out of her privileged life. She’s determined to venture out into the world on her own, but to do that she needs a job. And that’s where Brandon comes in. Veronica is relentless in challenging him to hire her for a management position he’s had open for almost a year. And while he puts up a fight, Brandon loses and against his better instincts caves and gives Veronica what she wants. But it turns out they want so much more from each other. Try as Brandon might, they just can’t resist and it’s explosive (in more ways than one!)

It was great seeing all the characters from previous novels again, and to have a little more continuation to their stories and where they’ve all ended up.

I think Taken was a wee bit more kinky than the other instalments, but I didn’t find it as hot? Which probably makes no sense; I think the last one, Debauched, was a bit steamier. But it might just be how my brain works.

While Brandon and Veronica aren’t my favourite couple of the series, they were sure fun to read about! There’s a bit of drama toward the end that sort of threw me off the pace a bit. I could understand Brandon’s reaction, but it also perplexed me. I wanted to reach into the pages and give him a shake; he drove me (and Veronica) crazy for a short amount of time.

Dawson’s writing is addictive as usual, and I was up until just before 2:30am to finish this novel. I could not put it down! And then I woke up thinking about it, and then I just kept thinking about it.

At some point in the near future, I’m going to give this entire series a re-read. It’s worth it!

If you like your romance on the kinky side, I cannot recommend this series enough!

Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 4.1

Tags: , , , ,


Book Review #11: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller

Posted 18th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #11: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine MillerChristmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller
Published by HQ Digital on October 13th 2017
Genres: Adult, Christmas, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: two-half-stars

Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!

Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?

I wasn’t aware at the time of requesting this book, but it’s a sequel to The Gin Shack on the Beach, which I have not read. And I think my experience suffered because of this.

After reading a couple of chapters I figured out something must have come before, so ended up googling and getting a brief rundown of the first book. Because we dived right into Olive’s life, without any recap at all, I had no idea who was who, who I was meant to like or who was relevant to the plot. There were so many side-plots and so many characters I really strugged to connect with anyone, and therefore didn’t really care about the distracting drama.

This would have been a cute, Christmassy read; but there was apparently evil forces at work, trying to take down the Gin Shack. A health scare for another character. A blossoming romance between another pair. A family drama. And uncertainty about a couple of characters motives.

It was just too much! The first 40% of the book I was mostly bored as it was all plodding along, then the next 20% was pretty good, and then everything just became so dramatic and a bit silly.

There were some humerous moments scattered throughout, Olive’s idea of a mobility scooter really made me laugh. But it just wasn’t enough to keep me interested for the whole novel.

If this had just focused on Christmas at the Gin Shack, with the Christmassy cocktail competition (which sounded fun!) and the sub-plot of someone trying to undo all their hard work with their bar; this would have been great. Alas, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in, so it came across as rushed and it didn’t really feel like things were resolved properly at all.

The writing was okay, but the pacing was all over the place (due to everything that was going on), and it did get a little repetitive at times; though I assume that is just the nature of it being an ARC.

I’m afraid it’s just a 2.5/5 read for me, it had so much potential, but there was simply too much going on and not enough actual plot to sink your teeth into.

Rating Report
Plot
two-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
three-stars
Pacing
two-stars
Overall: 2.5

Tags: , , ,


Book Review #9: Here Comes The Witch by Ani Gonzalez

Posted 11th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #9: Here Comes The Witch by Ani GonzalezHere Comes The Witch by Ani Gonzalez
Series: Main Street Witches #1
Published by FAC Publishing LLC on September 5th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 178
Format: E-Book
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars
Heat Level: 0.5 Flames

Jewelry designer Kat Ramos has come to Banshee Creek to break the famous Hagen House curse and, in order to do that, she must marry Liam Hagen. A vengeful ghost with a deadly history isn’t part of the deal, and neither is love. Will Kat be able to handle both? Or will the mystery of the cursed Hagen House remain unsolved?

 

This is apparently a cozy mystery (I think?) but it didn’t really read like one, it’s more a lighthearted paranormal. Cozy paranormal? That should be a thing!

It is a spinoff of another series, Banshee Creek, which I haven’t read. I don’t think I missed out on anything though – and indeed, it made me curious about that series itself, which I will have to check out at some point.

Our main character is Kat Ramos, she’s in town for an unusual business arrangement. To marry Liam Hagen, in the hopes of breaking a long held family curse on Hagen House. Then it can be sold and everyone can move on (one of Kat’s ancestors put a curse on the place). She’s doing this to make her dreams of owning a jewellery shop become a reality, as they will split the proceeds when the property sells.

There’s some quirky characters in this. The PRoVE team (Paranormal Research of Virginia Enterprises) were a delight, as was Amy from the Chinese restaurant (I hope there’s more about her in future instalments!) I liked Kat well enough, although her and Liam both made me roll my eyes. For a couple of people who had researched this place very well, they were both pretty dumb about it. Also, it was established that the house only had a grudge against Hagens, but then it seemed like it was against both families. Perhaps I interpreted it incorrectly to begin with?

Anyway. The writing was engaging, but the pacing was a bit slow at first, but then it ramped up and was a bit too fast. Things happened and suddenly it was over! I would have liked to seen the mystery of the house drawn out a bit more. We weren’t privy to Kat’s ‘solving’ of the ghostly mystery, which was disappointing. She was also one of those characters that just gets everything right first go, there wasn’t much tension at the climax. And the romance was…okay. It was just there, I didn’t feel strongly about it either way.

All in all it was a cute, fun read; if a bit short. I am curious enough to read more though!

I read this book thanks to Lola’s Blog Tours 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
two-half-stars
Overall: 3.1

About Ani Gonzalez

I write paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew, that's a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books feature feisty funny heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids, pagan gods...the sky's the limit) and mysteries. They find magic, love and laughter and readers get to follow them every step of the way.

I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to "live" in one year-around. In real life I live in a Minneapolis suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband and three children and I'm still trying to adjust to the cold.

Tags: , , , ,