Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Hell Of Osirak by Jaye Rothman


British agent, Nikki Sinclair, is on an intelligence mission in South Africa. The question to be answered is- ‘is the assignment a cover up job, or is it genuine and crucial to the British government and security’?

Sinclair finds herself deep into an extremely dangerous undercover operation. Her position is fraught with danger and she fears for her life.

When Sinclair meets up with her ex lover, the lover she’s been unable to get out of her mind and is still deeply in love with, she is easily persuaded back into her bed. Unfortunately, Sinclair’s Mossad lover may not be all she seems, causing Sinclair to confront her demons and question her sexuality, integrity and whether she is still cut out for her job. Sinclair’s most pressing concern is getting out of Kinshasa in one piece.

Sinclair suffers a brutal assault carried out by another agent. She’s badly hurt physically and mentally and is forced to take time out of the field and sit behind a desk. She hates it.

When Sinclair is browbeaten into accepting another mission, before she’s mentally ready, she finds the assignment is her absolute worst nightmare. She is transported to a nuclear plant in Iraq as an undercover agent. It’s here that Sinclair has to fight hard to escape her demons, her passion for her ex lover and the worst nightmare of all, the sex crazed Pierre Harcourt.

Sinclair is at an all time low. Who can she trust? Her own side have betrayed her, her lover left her for dead after betraying her. Maybe it’s best to trust only herself and her own instincts. But, can she even trust herself?

This is Jaye Rothman’s debut novel. It’s a fast paced, action packed, thrilling spy story. I have no idea how any country runs their intelligence operations, so all I can say is, the storyline made perfect sense and appears to be very well researched.

The characters are well formed and multidimensional. They all play their parts very well, whether they are the goodies or the baddies.

I have no intention of putting in any spoilers. But I did have a few problems getting my head round the way Sinclair was treated by her own country after her return from a particularly dreadful mission and her being assigned a subsequent mission before she was ready. I wasn’t overjoyed with some of the violent sex scenes. But, it did appear to be essential to the story. I just found it very hard to take. This is only my own impressions of the horrific torturous events suffered by Sinclair over a period of time.

All in all, this book is very well written. The story flows along nicely. Apparently, this is the first in a series of books. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series.


Beginning of the End by Alane Hotchkin

Book One of the Blackhawk Series.

Nikki McLoud had endured a traumatic childhood. All she yearns for now is to find happiness. She wants a happy ever after, just like something straight from a romance book. Nikki hasn’t found it yet. She finds hell, or hell finds her. She has to move past it, move on to better things. So she gives her heart again, hopefully for the last time.

Detective Alex Canton is a rebel at heart. She’s had a childhood most can only dream of having. Alex is the apple of her father’s eye, anything Alex desired was hers for the asking.

Alex’s dream is to protect others. She is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, Alex uses violence far too often. She controls women through fear and sex. Will Alex ever break the never ending cycle?

When Alex and Nikki meet, they are both smitten with one another. Alex tries hard to resist the allure of her attraction, knowing full well what her track record is like. Will living with Nikki change Alex or is she too set in her ways to change?

Alex is deeply and profoundly in love with Nikki. Nikki feels the same. Alex would give Nikki anything, but is the price too much to pay? When reality snaps and all hell breaks loose, what is next? Who will be making the sacrifice and who will experience the beginning of the end?

This is the first book in a wonderfully well written new series. It is off to a flying start. There is excellent character development, they all interact really well together and play their parts to perfection. The scenic descriptions allowed me to feel a part of the action and there is a great dark and gritty storyline.

I had already read the free short story, The Ball, which gave me an insight into some of the characters and a little knowledge of them. I really enjoyed it and was looking forward to this first book being published. I have not been disappointed.

The book is a page turner from start to finish with plenty of twists and turns and very hard to put down once started. So allow plenty of time for a one sitting read.

I’ve no intentions of putting in any spoilers, so I won’t dwell on the storyline. But.....If you like a good story, one that is really hot and spicy in places, then I would highly recommend this book.

I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long.


Mistletoe by Lyn Gardner

When Diana Clarke was four years old, she sent a letter to Santa. Unfortunately it remained undiscovered in the lining of Santa’s sack for thirty years. Santa has a huge problem. Well, two really. First a child’s wish has never been not answered. Second, Diana isn’t a child any longer and there is nothing in the workshop suitable. Santa is at a loss as to know what to do. After all, Santa is for kids..........Right? Santa calls upon his boss, the Higher Power. He is given a suggestion. There is one possibility.

Santa knows Diana will be attending three Christmas parties. So he arranges for his head Elf, Percy Giggly-Legs, to deliver a sprig of mistletoe to each party. Hopefully Diana will find the present she asked for thirty years previously under one of them.

A lovely, hilarious, delightful, well written tale of romance for adults at Christmas. Even though we know Santa only existed in a fantasy world, this fantasy story brought back all the feel good emotions and anticipation I associated with being a child at Christmas.

The characters are all cute and multidimensional. Whether or not you believe in love at first sight, this story is a little treasure. To be read each year as my build up to Christmas.

This is the second time I’ve read this book and it gets better each time. I read it after Christmas earlier on in the year and knew I’d read it again, so saved my review for now.

If you only buy one Christmas fantasy romance, I’d recommend this one. I love it.


The Reunion by Susan X Meagher

English Priest, Jemima Stokes-Kydd, (Jemma) had pushed thoughts of her traumatic final senior school year aside when she was living back in England. But she’s living in New York now and can no longer ignore her high school reunion. The invitation is burning an impression on her mind. All the emotional turmoil and angst she experienced during that last year comes rushing back to her. At that time, Jemma thought she knew where her life was headed and with whom. Jemma simply has to know what happened to Shelby. She needs to know the truth of what happened to take away the happiness she was sure was theirs for the taking.

Shelby Parker-Bates has every material thing she could want. Lavish houses, cars, a nice life style, but she’s unable to escape from the past and thoughts of what might have been. Stuck in a marriage she’s never wanted, living a lie, what can she do to help herself? Maybe attending the reunion will help her free herself from the past so she can live her life as she should.

Meeting old classmates, sharing memories and reminiscing is usually just a good old blast from the past. But for Jemma and Shelby, the reunion changes their lives forever.

This is a wonderful well written blockbuster of a story. A book that is long and one to really get stuck into. The two main characters, Jemma and Shelby are both multi-faceted and their interactions together showed me they were simply made for each other. Soul mates. But how they can get to be together is the journey we follow in this story. If indeed they do eventually get together.

The story is written both in the past and the present. Very easy to follow. Susan Meagher has obviously done an enormous amount of research into the early days of the AIDS virus and it’s affect on the gay population.

The story is full of depression, angst, emotional turmoil, heartbreak, heartache, fear and betrayal. But, it is also written about hope, forgiveness, healing and romance. Although basically this book is a romance, it is far more than a simple girl meets girl, girl loses girl and girl gets girl again story. Susan has taken us deep into the depths of the despair of Shelby’s depression. She has also shown us how Shelby managed to overcome the dark feelings and get herself back to being Shelby again. It’s an interesting journey of ups and downs and twists and turns. On the other hand, we also get to see how Jemma reacts and copes after being badly betrayed by the one she loved. The story spans decades and allows the reader to understand exactly how easy it is to be afraid of coming out and how much of a stigma being a lesbian is for some of us.

This is a book I will be re-reading. A book I know I will get more out of on a second read without the ‘not knowing how it ends’.

In Reflection by Angela Peach

Aoife Carmichael is just a regular girl. Shy and a bit of an introvert, but she’s just met the man of her dreams. All this changes when she takes a hallucinogenic drug at a party. The cup of spiked herbal tea ensures that her life will never be the same again.

This story is all about Aoife and finding her inner self, her dark side or her evil self, whichever way this experience can be described. Her dark side takes complete control over her life after she persuaded Aoife to swap places with her. Aoife is locked inside of her own head with no way out. She can only watch helplessly while her dark side completely destroys everyone she cares for and loves.

Aoife’s best friend and roommate Sarah, senses something is wrong with Aoife. But Aoife seduces her and Sarah falls in love with her. Unfortunately, Aoife’s dark side has plans for Sarah.

Will Aoife be able to get rid of her other self? Will she be able to get her life back before it’s been totally destroyed by her evil side. Or is Aoife trapped, locked inside herself forever?

On the whole, this is an exciting and emotionally charged psychological thriller. A  book along the lines of Jekyll and Hyde. The main characters are multi-faceted and fully formed. They are bolstered by a cast of well written secondary characters that enhanced the story and progressed it along. There are lots of ups and downs throughout, making this book a roller coaster ride.

There was one thing that spoilt this book for me quite early on. What I thought was totally a lesbian fiction book, has graphic hetero sex in it. Although I skipped over it, I spent the rest of the book dreading more such scenes cropping up.

For anyone liking a good psychological thriller with a twist, this is a good book to read. Angela Peach has really got into the mind of Aoife and her evil side.


Torn Deep by JM Dragon

A Novella

Archaeologist, Susan Callahan, specializes in ancient history. Her life is pretty much good. When Susan is hired as a consultant to verify the authenticity of some works of art that she knows are in the Smithsonian Institution, she smells a rat and refuses the commission. Susan has no idea of knowing that her life is about to change forever.

Susan is subsequently kidnapped and then thrown off a boat and left to drown. Fortunately Susan is rescued by a mysterious woman called Zea. Although Susan can barely see Zea without her missing glasses, she feels an immediate affinity towards her.

When Susan returns to her well ordered life, she can’t forget Zea. She has wild fantasies about her and would dearly love to meet her again. Five years and many unanswered letters and messages later, Susan is beginning to give up hope of ever meeting Zea again.

When Susan has an unexpected encounter with a woman at a museum, she begins to let her thoughts of Zea go in order to begin living her life again. But will she be able to?

Another winner from the talented JM Dragon. Far too short for my liking of course, but then I’m greedy and can’t get enough of JMD’s well written and thought out stories.

The story was a page turner from start to finish. Susan is the main character and she is easy to get to know. She interacts well with other minor characters that are all essential in the progression of the story.

There is a lot packed into this short and exciting book. There are twists and turns throughout that surprised me, which added to my enjoyment and an ending I never expected. I would dearly love to see these characters again sometime. I feel they have a lot more to offer.


Time of Grace by Gabriella West

Caroline Singleton is a shy and reserved young woman. After the death of her beloved brother Ralph, she moves from her home in London to take up a post as a governess in Lady Wilcox’s household in Ireland, leaving behind her ailing mother. This type of post is one of the very few opportunities open to a woman in 1916.

It’s in the house of Lady Wilcox that Caroline meets the beautiful and alluring maid servant, Grace Sheridan. Grace isn’t all she seems at face value. She’s hiding a secret. She’s caught up in Ireland’s fight for freedom.

When Caroline and Grace begin an illicit relationship, Grace trusts Caroline with her secrets. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond the control of both Caroline and Grace separates them. Will they find one another again? Will their love be strong enough to survive the condemnation and rumors that follow Caroline back to England and forwards again to Ireland? What of Grace’s involvement in the Easter Uprising? Will Grace even survive?

A wonderful historical romance set against a backdrop of the Irish Easter Uprising of 1916 during WW1.

Caroline had never expected to find the love of her life in Ireland, nor did she expect that love to be another woman, let alone a woman from a lower class than her own. Even in a conventional relationship, the class war created a big divide in those days.

It’s a very difficult time for Caroline and Grace. The emotional turmoil both women feel is so well described, I could feel their anguish. There are lots of ups and downs in their tumultuous relationship. So many, that as much as Caroline loves Grace, she does begin to have doubts and lose trust in her. As much as Caroline wants Grace, Grace appears to be pushing her away and Caroline wonders if it is all worthwhile.

I’m not well versed in Irish history, although I have heard of the Irish Easter Uprising. Gabriella West has described the events very well. As I always do when I’m interested in a particular storyline, I use Google and Google images to find out more. The historical facts appear to be accurate. The images I saw, were in fact as I’d visualized them whilst reading the story. The people mentioned in the book as leaders of the rebellion are real people. All in all, I feel Gabriella West has written a terrific and true to history account in her book. Her research is very well done. Her scenic descriptions were excellent.

The history and facts are carefully integrated and neither over shadows the other. In my honest opinion, there is a perfect balance between the facts, fiction and romance.

This is the first book I’ve read from Gabriella West, I look forward to reading more soon.


Wolf at the Door by Erin O'Reilly

Book Six of the When Hell Meets Heaven Series

Parker Davis is back in action. All she has to do now is to prove she is up to re-joining the Department Of Covert Operations. (DOCO) Her fall from grace wasn’t pretty and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get back into the service she loves. Even accepting someone else as team leader..........For now.

Parker is given a mission to carry out. She’s to be part of a team, she’s the sniper. The assignment goes badly wrong. Parker finds herself on the run with the very attractive team leader, Remington Wolf. (The Wolf) Both Parker and The Wolf find they must trust and rely on each other. They can trust no one. But can they trust each other?

They are on the run and fighting for their lives. Will they manage to stay one step ahead of the faceless enemy? Will they find out who their enemy is in time to save themselves?

Another riveting episode in the enjoyable When Hell Meets Heaven series. As with the rest of the series, this is another fast paced page turner. This story features Parker and a new character, Remington Wolf. Both characters interact well together, even though they spend a lot of their time in a sort of love/hate way.

This whole series has been exciting and thrilling. I’m really looking forward to the next book. I read these books before and this is where the series ground to a halt. I’m only too pleased we are now going to get more in the series.

Whether these books have been written by JM Dragon or Erin O’Reilly or both together, they are a great read. At the cheap price Affinity are asking for them, now is the time to give them a try.  


I Still Remember by Haprper Bliss

A Novella

Well known news anchor, Elise Frost, (Eli) fled from town as a teenager, leaving behind her best friend Amy Waters and her unrequited love for Amy. Twenty years later, Eli returns to her hometown for her father’s birthday party.

Eli runs into the now professional masseuse, Amy, at the local massage parlour. All the old feelings and emotions come crashing back for Eli when her and Amy revisit past times. This time though, Eli knows exactly what she wants. But how does Amy feel?

A well written, emotionally charged story of a teenage crush on a friend. All the pain and turmoil, lust and love, Eli suffered as a young lesbian, radiates in waves from the pages. Her despair at her feelings for Amy and her flight from her home to escape them, leaves Eli bereft and unable to love again with such depth.

This story is told in the past using flashbacks and in the present. It’s easy to read and follow. The one thing I love about Harper Bliss’s books is, they are hot and basically heavy on the erotica and there is always a heartfelt story throughout.

A completely satisfying hot short read. Not to be missed.


Galveston 1900: Swept Away by Linda Crist

Rachel Travis has always known she’s different from other girls. She dresses like a man and is a dockworker at Galveston dockyard. In the evenings, she moonlights as a bartender. Rather than enter a convent or marry, she ran away from her home at fifteen. Rachel knows she is unlikely to have female company other than the prostitute, Lillie who had become her friend and she regularly visits.

Mattie Crockett was married at fourteen to her violent, physically and mentally abusive husband, Adam. Other than working at a tailor shop, she is not allowed out anywhere alone. The only time Mattie gets any respite from the constant verbal abuse and beatings, is when Adam has business to attend to in Houston. Which, fortunately for her, is quite often. There was nothing Mattie enjoyed more than walking along the beach in Adam’s absence. It was during one of these beach visits that Mattie and Rachel first met. They struck up an unlikely friendship. Both women were lonely and starved for company.

It’s not long before Rachel realizes she feels more for Mattie than just friendship. She can never allow herself to dare to hope that Mattie will feel the same. After all, she’s married to Adam, albeit unhappily, so she can’t like women that way, can she?

I first read this story online many years ago. Twice, in fact. I loved the story, but the book, by then, had gone out of print. I am so pleased to see it has now been re-published.

This is a beautifully written historical romance novel. Linda Crist has obviously done extensive research. The scenic descriptions of Galveston and the flood along with the characters, made me feel as though I was actually living the story with the people of Galveston. I could almost smell and taste the great storm.

Each and every character is fully formed and multi-faceted. The story is intricately woven with historical facts and fictional romance. It is a fast paced page turner from beginning to end. It’s multi layered in a colorful way with a depth to it that goes beyond any of the regular historical romance books.

The story of Mattie and the awful abuse she suffered at the hands of her despicable tyrant of a husband, was all too common for those times. Men ruled, women were subservient. Having said this, not every man was like Adam, but they existed and women were definitely the weaker downtrodden sex most of the time.

The love between Rachel and Mattie is a joy to read about. That Mattie should find love and peace is wonderful. But, will she be able to stay safe and away from Adam? Will Rachel get her wish for Mattie to be hers? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is without a doubt an epic novel of love, abuse, despair, hard work, intolerance, disaster and above all, hope.

I am hoping that Affinity will release Linda Crist’s other earlier novels too. She is a terrific author and creates wonderful characters in nice scenic settings. It goes without saying that I will definitely read this book again.