Books read in December

Downtime by Tamara Allen *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Fractured Hymns by A M Arthur *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

The Alpha’s Hunger by Renee Rose  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

An Ordinary Girl by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Ricky by Ashley John *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise Maggie McGinnis *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Talking Trouble by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Chosen by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Downtime by Tamara Allen
Morgan Nash is a 21st century FBI agent. He is somehow accidentally ‘summoned’ back to the 19th century by some scholars who were testing their Latin.

The book with the spell in it is stolen and as they hunt for the means to send Morgan back to his own time, he becomes embroiled in the legendary Jack the Ripper case (irresistible to an FBI agent!) and starts falling for Ezra, his housemate.

Sometimes when writing time travel novels, authors go to the ridiculous (or tedious) trying to convince us that they are familiar with the time period and to help us ‘see it’. In this case, the author focuses on the characters and the plot, and the time periods are secondary, to the point where they feel natural rather than forced. It’s well done.

I actually ended up researching ‘Prince Eddy’ online to find out more about the real man and what happened to it. It’s always great when an historical story prompts you to do real research.

Talking Trouble by Barbara Elsborg
The plot was good, but I would have enjoyed it more without all the gratuitous sex scenes.

Chosen by Barbara Elsborg
Kate is kidnapped by Jack.  He not only rapes her, but threatens every good Samaritan that Kate tries to seek help from, and kills the one man who does try and help her.  Then Jack kidnaps a child from a McDonalds and takes Kate and the child to live in a remote house in the woods where they are going to be happy families.  The raping and violence continues, and Jack threatens the child to help keep Kate in line.  She tries desperately to seek freedom for herself and the child, enduring increasingly more violent punishments each time she is caught.  Meanwhile, Jack’s half brother Nathan has been stalking and monitoring Jack ever since he came out of the mental hospital he went into after sleeping with Nathan’s fiance.  He doesn’t really have any better motive than revenge, but it does mean that he is the one that notices that Jack has disappeared right after buying flowers for a mystery woman.  He hunts Jack down and when Kate appeals to him for help, Jack draws Nathan into his sick and violent plot.  When Nathan and Kate finally manage to escape with the child, Jack goes straight to the police with a twisted sob story that is practically impossible to unravel.  Now Nathan and Kate are wanted for kidnapping and the police believe that Kate is not only mentally unbalanced, but involved in an S&M relationship with Jack and not only enjoys the pain but invites it.  There is little hope of ever being free of Jack’s machinations.

For me, this wasn’t a romance.  Kate and Nathan don’t even meet until 75% through the book, and by the time the book has finished, they’ve probably only known each other a week.  That week has been spent either in the hospital or on the run and filled with constant danger.  They really know nothing of each other.  On top of that, Kate has just endured rape as well as physical and mental torture by Nathan’s half brother.  There is no way she is in any state of mind (or body) for what is her first consensual relationship.  No way.  It was completely unbelievable.

The plot was incredibly convoluted.  I haven’t even gone into all the twists and turns the plot takes.  Not only is there the current events which are convoluted, there is Jack’s twisted interpretation of events which are exceptionally complicated, there are events from history which feed into the current events that we learn about in bits and pieces, and on top of all that, there are other people manipulating the main characters.  By the end of the book I was so confused.  It would have been a better story without all the drama from the past, and without the other people who were doing the manipulating.

It is an incredibly dark story.  There is a lot of violence, both sexual and not.  The violence escalates as the book progresses, and I simply can’t imagine that Kate could come through it without horrific mental scars to go with the physical scars she would bear.

The writing style itself was good, and easy to read.  It was the convoluted plot and the fact that the romance was not only far from the focus of the plot but also utterly unbelievable that led me to give it two stars.

Books read in November

It Was Always You by various authors *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

In The Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Crash by Nicole James  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Falling by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

With or Without Him by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Breaking by Barbara Elsborg *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Resurrection Heart by Wendy Lynn Clark *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Three Dirty Secrets by Nikki Sloane *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Falling by Barbara Elsborg
Harper has been released from prison after serving 10 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He runs into Malachi several times by chance, and the pair hit it off.

Malachi has his own issues, and the two lean on each other, learn from each other and grow close.

There are unresolved issues on both sides, and plenty who don’t want to see them happy. The obstacles seem insurmountable, and both men are struggling to find the inner strength required.

The book didn’t gloss over all the ways that Harper’s life had changed, now that he had a criminal record, nor the attitudes he received from people regarding the crime he’d been committed of. That felt realistic.

When we first meet Harper, he is paralysed with indecision after spending 10 years without having a say over even the smallest aspects of his own life. Choices simply overwhelm him. However, after that first meeting, this issue appears to vanish. He becomes decisive and even demanding, bargaining like a pro. It was this huge discrepancy (it felt like huge because I had been led to expect one thing and got another) that prevented me from giving the book five stars. It needed to be either toned down in the beginning so that it was more believable when he got over it so quickly, or he needed to take longer to get over it.

One other thing – Harper took a HUGE risk at one point, doing something he knew breached his parole restrictions. I couldn’t understand why he would. It was such an unimportant thing to do, yet could have such huge repercussions, and he just…did it. Like he didn’t care if he went back to prison or not, when we had been led to believe he did. It was out of character and it annoyed me.

It’s hard to say too much more without giving away spoilers. The book felt real, mixed sweet and gritty very well, and I enjoyed it.

Sweet As

Prompt: Rewrite one of your existing poems.

From the midst of a puddle of
vocabularic vomit,
I plucked the word that defined
the intangible,
the irresistible…

charisma

…and wondered
if I was the only one
who knew the truth –

that beneath the shiny foil
and the rich chocolate,
you’re just a marshmallow.

But I do love chocolate.

Everybody loves chocolate.

Books read in October

A Gypsy’s Kiss by Susan Griscom *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Redeeming Hope by Shell Taylor *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Hell on Wheels by Z A Maxfield *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Alaska With Love by Sandrine Gasq-Dion *Star**Starw**Starw**Starw**Starw*

An Honorable Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

A Selfless Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

The Arrangement by Felice Stevens *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

A Selfless Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
This was very easy to read, but there wasn’t much conflict. Michael was in love from very early in the book and never faltered in that. Also, although Michael claimed that he wasn’t perfect, the author never showed us any of his flaws.

All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan
The book was easy to read, but the relationship didn’t feel believable. The heroine was still nervous and wary, and all of a sudden she’s inviting him to her place for hot monkey sex? I don’t think so. And with a history of abusive men in her life, his violent outburst at a family gathering (which was NOT okay) was forgiven by both her and her sister? I don’t think so. And how come Martin never pressed charges? It would have been in character for him to do so.

Desideratum

Stumbling through the fog
of apathy,
falling apart,
arms tight around myself
a futile attempt to keep it together…
I need you.

I need your warm skin,
the smell of heated citrus
and spice that drifts into me
like a languid welcome,
and the peace that comes when
loves follows honesty.

Don’t care enough to
pretend anymore,
and you’re the only one
who’ll love me when
I don’t.