Book Review

Six For Sunday

#SixForSunday – February – Read it and weep!

Six for Sunday (#SixForSunday) is a weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But a Lot. The prompts for each week are up well in advance and they are a great way to share your love of all things book.



Today’s Theme is – “Books That Made You Cry”

So this topic isn’t going to be too difficult for me. I’m a character driven reader, so if I don’t connect well to the characters I do generally DNF the book. So as a rule I am usually invested in them and, if the writing is good, will feel their emotions. So I’m very much a book crier. For me the difficulty will be narrowing the list down to just six books but I will try my best!

The Girl & Her Ren (The Ribbon Duet #2) by Pepper Winters

New Adult Contemporary Romance
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39140637-the-girl-her-ren

This book made me cry so much and so hard that I actually had to stop reading it for a few days. I could only read a few chapters at a time before I was crying so much that I could no longer see the page. This is the second book of a duet, The Boy and his Ribbon must be read first.

This was such an emotionally powerful read that even now, when I think about it, I can feel the tears start to well and my emotions start to swell. The book literally broke something in me and nearly three years later I’m still not ready for a re-read, even though it’s one of my favourite stories ever.

Synopsis
“What do you do when you write down all your secrets? No…that’s not enough. What do you do when you write down all your secrets and the one person who should never read them does?
I’ll tell you what you do.
You hope.”


REN
Ren didn’t know the meaning of love until he took Della for his own.
To begin with he hated her, but as the months bled into years, he learned the opposite of hate, dedicating his life to giving her everything.
Every sacrifice, every gift, he gave wholeheartedly.
But then love turned to lust and ruined everything.

DELLA
I was stupid to write my secrets down, but I’d been stupid before so it was nothing new.
I couldn’t blame him, hate him, fix him.
I tried to move on without him.
But no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to delete the secrets I’d written.
Until something happened.
Until he came back and read my stupid secrets.
And nothing was the same after that. 

Just An Illusion – EP (and Unplugged and Encore) by D. Kelly

New Adult Contemporary Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/191872-the-illusion

There are 5 books that need reading in order to complete Noah, Sawyer and Mel’s story, so I’ve linked to the series page. This book, and to some extent the last two, made me cry. In fact this book made me ugly cry with blotchy face, runny nose, hiccups and the works.

Given that both of these books are NA, it looks like that is my favourite genre, and nothing could be further from the truth. I loved these despite them being from that genre, and most of the time neither of them had that typical NA feel – the characters could have pretty much been any age. Every single time I thought I had sobbed my last, the author found a new way to twist the knife a little more, setting me off onto another sob-a-thon.

Synopsis
Lives are turned upside down…
Everything was perfect before life came to a screeching halt. When devastating loss flips Amelia’s world on its axis, she loses her spirit. Mel isn’t the only one hurting, though; the members of BAD are also struggling to find their way after that tragic night.

Life goes on…
Amelia’s friends move heaven and earth to help ease her sadness. Knowing she’s on a dangerous precipice, they fight through their own pain to bring her safely to the other side of her grief.

Love can conquer…
Amelia knows bottling up her feelings isn’t helping anything. With love at her fingertips, all she has to do is reach for it. Mel’s loved ones desperately hope she can once again find her way to happiness.
Can Amelia overcome her fears to let love in again, or will she let the weight of that night continue to drown her in sorrow?

Her Dark Legion (The Messenger Chronicles #5) by Pippa DaCosta

Fantasy/Sci-Fi RH
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44305597-her-dark-legion

I shed a tear over several of the books in this series, but this is the one that really had my sides heaving and tears rolling down my cheeks. Oh Kesh, Oh Kellee, Oh Eledan and most of all Oh my poor, brave, foolish Talen. If it hadn’t been for Sota and his desire to cheer every one up by tormenting them, I’m not sure my heart would have survived this series.

Pippa DaCosta is a very underrated, very talented and very amazing author.

Synopsis
“I’ve come too far to surrender now…”

Eledan’s nightmare has been unleashed upon the worlds and with Oberon gone, only the messenger crew stand in its way. Kellee, Talen, Sirius, Sota, and Kesh. Together, they are stronger, but there are forces on Faerie who do not want the worlds saved, forces that would see the Messenger and her crew torn apart.
Queen to Faerie’s new king, Messenger and more to the saru, lover to some and a weapon to others, but who is Kesh Lasota really? A guiding light or an unwitting puppet?
Answers are coming.
The time for lies has passed.
And Kesh will soon learn some battles can’t be won alone.

The mind-blowing Messenger Chronicles comes to its explosive conclusion in Her Dark Legion. 

Stolen in Love (Love and Lawbreakers #2) by G.G. Andrew

Second Chance Contemporary Romance
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34724119-stolen-in-love

The heroine of this book, Kim, had problems. Problems that led to people judging her, problems that led to Kim judging herself even more harshly. Sometimes a little understanding goes a long, long way, a little sympathy and understanding starts to heal old wounds, which is what the hero, Scott managed to achieve.

I’ve enjoyed all the books G.G. Andrew has written, sadly she hasn’t released anything for a couple of years now, though she is still active on social media. Hopefully one day soon we will see more of the people in this world.

Synopsis
Kim Xavier steals things. She can’t help it. Recovering from her shoplifting addiction has never been easy, but she’s giving it a shot. When she comes home to a ransacked apartment, Kim knows she’s finally taken the wrong thing from the wrong person. And she can’t tell the police–especially not the cop whose heart she broke months ago.

Scott Culpepper wants Kim Xavier. He can’t help it. Ever since he met the smart-mouthed woman while on patrol in New Haven, he hasn’t been able to get her or her red lips out of his mind. Unfortunately, she’s also got a police record, and the single dad has learned the hard way not to get involved with unpredictable women.

But when Kim is threatened by someone selling information used to harass women online, Scott steps up to keep her safe–even if it means spending more time with her than he should. The two work to unravel the case, which leads them from the dirty underbelly of the Ivy League to posh preschool parties to a drug dealer who can quote Kerouac. Though the biggest danger may be Kim stealing the very thing Scott can’t afford to lose: his heart. 

Unconventional (Unexpected Love #2) by Isabel Love

Contemporary Romance
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41951094-unconventional

Another author who hasn’t released a new book in several years, which is such a huge shame because she is an amazing writer. These characters, and their relationship, are VERY unconventional, this is a high heat level read. But what made it so amazing were Charlie and Quinn themselves, two very damaged individuals trying desperately to protect their battered hearts.

Synopsis
Happily ever after – what a joke! I tried that once and ended up divorced. Now, I only want one thing from men. Charlie Nelson is good at giving me that one thing. Really, really good.
So good, in fact, I discovered a new side of myself. I never knew I liked to watch until I saw his talented hands touching someone else. I never knew I liked to be watched until I felt his searing gaze on me.
Maybe happily ever after isn’t always a white picket fence, wedding bells, and 2.5 kids. Maybe it’s something a bit more…unconventional.

*Warning: this book contains dirty talk and threesomes. Intended for readers over 18 years of age.

Union of Sin (The Vault #2) by Eden Summers

Contemporary Erotic Romance
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25398951-union-of-sin

Whilst the cover hints at a very erotic read, this had so much more about it than just sex. For once it wasn’t steamy scenes that made this difficult to read in public, it was how hard it made me cry. Cassie and TJ also left me with a huge book hangover, and shattered since I read until 3am to complete it!

One of my favourite elements was that TJ and Cassie both underwent character growth, learning as much about themselves as the did one another.

Synopsis
He’ll do anything to protect her. Even if it means letting her go.
Tate Jackson made a big mistake. No, a monumental one. He picked the wrong place to introduce his wife, Cassie, to the alluring lifestyle they’d fantasized about.
Instinct told him to get her out of the poor excuse for a sex club—but he didn’t. And she was assaulted because of his carelessness. He’ll do anything to protect her from another traumatic experience, even if it means making the agonizing choice to convince his wife he no longer loves her.
Cassie’s not buying it. In fact, Tate is the last person she blames for that horrific night. She’s willing to give him the space he thinks he needs to get his head straight, but when divorce papers arrive, she realizes she’s out of time. She has twenty-eight days to figure out why Tate is ruining a perfect marriage. Twenty-eight days to figure out what he’s hiding. But when she learns the truth, she has to decide if her heart can take the strain of piecing their love back together.

Warning: Dirty tactics, dirtier sex, ropes, masks, guilty consciences, and love stretched so far, no one escapes unchanged. Not even you, dear reader. 

Meme

Friday Book Blogger Hop

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 


February 26th – March 4th

Do you use Goodreads to keep track of your books?
submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews

The answer to this is a very resounding yes. I joined in late October 2016, about 10 months after getting my kindle, and have been an avid user of it ever since. I originally joined as a review on there was often required for the arc books I was reading, however it soon became much more about me recording what I had read, sharing my thoughts and meeting like minded readers. I’ve been lucky and managed to avoid a lot of the nastiness and trolling that can sometimes be found on there, in part due to the fact that I read mainly indie authors.

I love how easy it is to find reviews I’ve written plus the ability to sort them is so many different ways. Finding old reviews on Amazon is impossible – my profile page only allows me scroll back a few months at most. I also really appreciate the shelving feature, though I’m currently working on making them more useful both to those reading reviews, as well as for me being able to search for specific tropes/events/features of books. I often see people asking about books that contain x, y or z, but whilst I know I’ve read something that fits the bill, recalling which specific book out of the hundreds I’ve read is often impossible.

Book Review · SFR

// REVIEW \\ The Outcast by Elin Peer

The Outcast
(Men Of The North #13)
by Elin Peer

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

“That’s the thing about culture, isn’t it?
You think that the way you grow up is normal until you meet another culture with another normal that’s completely different from yours.
In the ideal world you could pick and choose from each culture.”

Banni, The Outcast

The Outcast proved to be a thoroughly entertaining read but one that also challenged me. Not in a bad way, it was a book that was incredibly easy to read, great fun at times and sadly shocking at others. A slow-burn romance, though with a strong examination of sexuality and all that entails, this story definitely held my attention.


The above quote sums up the core theme of this book, that our beliefs are not the beliefs of all, but if we can respect and learn from those other beliefs we can create a better future for us all. You can read this book on so many levels, so, so many different levels. From a simple boy meets girl love story, to a tale of cultural differences and compromise, right through to analogies of our own world, it’s cultures and politics. Embracing and respecting our differences -even accepting sometimes that our ways are not the best – allows us all to grow and mature into the best people we can be. Like the characters in these books, we won’t always be perfect and things won’t always be easy, but it is still something we should endeavour towards and strive for. Elin Peer is incredibly talented in her ability to convey these messages and themes within the pages of her books, whilst still producing a wonderful, evocative and compelling love story.

Never had I connected with a female the way I did with Sparrow. She laughed at my jokes and always made me feel appreciated and cared for.
She had told me that she was in love with me. No one in the world had ever spoken those words to me.
I regretted that the indoctrination from my culture had prevented me from admitting to myself and Sparrow what was so obvious to me in that moment; my feelings were as strong as hers.
The sad expression on her face last night would haunt me until the day I died.

Sparrow and Banni are both quite gentle, softly spoken individuals, whilst also being strong and determined characters. Cultural differences aside, they both seemed to hold similar values and morals. Those few differences did lead to some angst, but the author threw a very dramatic and dark plot twist into the book to add extra depth and excitement. Aubri’s actions, as this incident drew to an end, were morally and emotionally very challenging to me. I felt very “Motlander” in my response that here was someone who needed help and support, not judgement and condemnation. At the same time I could theoretically understand her decision but it still pained my heart that it was seen as the right path for her to take.


This was a busy read, with lots of threads being woven and paths being laid, all of which will no doubt build in the next book and reach an amazing crescendo in the final book of this series. I can’t wait to see where the author takes us next.

Tears formed in her large, dark, expressive eyes.
“You don’t get it, do you?”
“What?”
“Love isn’t about intelligence or beauty. It’s about how you feel in here.” She pushed her hand against my chest. “I feel safe with you and whenever you’re around I get butterflies in my stomach. I’m fascinated with your stories and I find your slight accent arousing. I’ve fantasized and obsessed over you since August, Banni.”
I opened my mouth and closed it again. “Don’t say that.”
“That I’m in love with you?” There was no fear in her eyes, just sadness.
“Yes don’t say it.”
Her hand fell from my chest and she moved back a little. “I won’t be made to feel ashamed of my love for you.

It’s the most precious gift I can give.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56319164-the-outcast

Genre – Dystopian Romance

The best part about being an outcast is that rejection stopped bothering me a long time ago. Everyone in my culture knows emotions are dangerous. In Old Europe we learn how to suppress romantic feelings and follow the rules of no commitment. Now that I’m working in the Northlands, I’m preparing Nmen for a life in France, teaching them how to flirt, have sex, and move on. The part that bothers me is watching the men practice their flirting skills on my fellow instructor, Sparrow.
Why do I feel like the universe is taunting me by putting Sparrow in my path? Explaining to the Nmen that jealousy is useless and stupid makes me feel like a hypocrite because seeing them come on to her makes me a little crazy myself. Not that I would ever show her or admit it, of course.

Cultures are clashing and emotional control is slipping in The Outcast, the thirteenth book in Elin Peer’s addictive dystopian romance series, Men of the North.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Meme

Can’t Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday

Curse of the Dark Prince
(The Prince’s Assassin #3)
by Ariana Nash

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55940345-curse-of-the-dark-prince

Genre – Fantasy / MM Romance

Expected Release Date – 19th March 2021

Synopsis
With the powerful cities of Seran and Loreen having fallen to elves, and the dark flame escaping its bonds, Prince Vasili Caville’s plight has never been more desperate. But for the first time in his lifetime, he’s not alone. With the formidable Nikolas Yazdan at his side, not all is lost.
But Nikolas has changed. The Yazdan legacy has caught up with him, and as strong and stubborn as he is, nobody can resist the flame’s call for long. For all his words of honor and sacrifice, Vasili fears he’s losing Nikolas, and with him any chance of defeating the elves for good.
Love, power, control. To save both himself and Nikolas, Vasili must surrender it all and embrace everything a Caville is destined to be. For beneath the broken palace, hidden inside its heart, lies the answer to everything. And all it will cost, is love.
The Prince’s Assassin series comes to its explosive conclusion in Curse of the Dark Prince

Book Review · LQBTQ+

// REVIEW \\ Lead Gilded Delights by Leina Kedi

Lead Gilded Delights
by Leina Kedi

**The author kindly gifted me a copy of this book in the hope that I would enjoy it and leave a review. **


On the surface Lead Gilded Delights is simply an FF erotic fantasy, a well written, empathetic and steamy one to boot. However underpinning it all, and very cleverly woven into the story, is a warning. A suggestion of how ignoring unpleasantness/ evil/ wrong, just because it doesn’t directly impact us or bother us, can lead to dire consequences. In this it is the subjugation of women, a return to the days of women being chattel. It was very subtly done with little hints here and little snippets there. This could be considered quite a feminist tome, but I took the story to be a wider message warning against all prejudices and inaction.


Emily, and it felt very strange that we don’t learn her name until chapter 4, was content to drift through life, to do just enough to get buy but never doing anything to stand out. It felt very much like an analogy for society as a whole. We nod along, we say the right things but how many of us put the necessary effort in to affect change for those oppressed or discriminated against? I’m generalising here, but we do when it impacts us directly, not so much the rest of the time.


At first I found the author switching from past to present tense a little disconcerting until I realised it indicated pivotal moments in Emily’s sexual awakening and in her growth as a person. Each time she took a step in self discovery it was singled by the change to present. The world building is very subtle and whilst I appreciated that we didn’t get an information dump, I did need a little more background on the world in which they lived. I’m assuming it was alternate reality, but my personal preference would have been for just a little more detail on what had elicited the change in society, in every day life and in people’s thinking.


Whilst this doesn’t fall into my usual genres of reading material, I did want to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone this year. I remain suitably impressed that the author could convey deep political/moral messages layered within the pages of a story of an erotic, sexual awakening. I have a feeling those who’ve studied literature to a higher level than I have will gain even more from this story. If you’re looking for an erotic tale with depth then I do recommend this one. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre – LGBTQ+ Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55026143-lead-gilded-delights

When Emily Grey fails her exams at the end of her first year at university, she starts to worry that her easy-going approach to life may have laid waste to her plans for her future. But then she receives a letter telling her of a new scheme in which she will be given a second chance. This second chance, however, comes at a price – a price at once painful, humiliating and shockingly arousing.
The world around Emily is changing rapidly, and new notions about discipline are being quietly introduced without most people even being aware of them.
We follow Emily through this severe new world as she learns to navigate its humiliations, its hardships and its fascinating delights.

(This book contains descriptions of sex along with elements of power exchange and discipline – please do not buy it if this might offend you)

Photo by murat esibatir on Pexels.com