Jane Hunt Writer First Steps

My thoughts on the books I read and review.

A Place For Us Part 2

A Place For Us Part 2 - Harriet Evans A Place For Us Part 2

Icebound: HarperImpulse Paranormal Romance (Mortals & Myths, Book 1)

Icebound: HarperImpulse Paranormal Romance (Mortals & Myths, Book 1) - Corinna Rogers [bc:Icebound|23123330|Icebound (Mortals & Myths, #1)|Corinna Rogers|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1409331150s/23123330.jpg|42672064]

This book is the first story totally devoted to a m/m romance that I have read. I like urban fantasy and don't mind well written erotica so I was happy to read and review.

I found the urban fantasy part of the story hard to imagine and understand. It was reminiscent of a fantasy computer game. Lots of action, creatures and horror but initially there wasn't enough description for me to visualise the world and become engaged in the story.

The story is graphically sexual and whilst I understand the need to show how committed Shane and Drake are to each other, I got that in the first few pages, the numerous sexual scenes appeared gratuitous.

The rape scene was too detailed and too long. I read for escapism as do many romance and erotica readers and no one would want to escape to that. It was included presumably to illustrate how devoid of human emotion Shane is at that point in the story. Shane's acceptance of his abuse at the outset made this point and the graphically detailed abuse was unnecessary.

Well written flashbacks make Icebound more understandable and interesting as the story progresses but not enough for me to read another book in the series.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Protecting the Enemy

Protecting the Enemy - Christy Newton [bc:Protecting the Enemy|23156961|Protecting the Enemy|Christy Newton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1409840808s/23156961.jpg|42704058]

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'Protecting the Enemy' is a fast paced, romantic thriller. The suspense is absorbing. You definitely want to know what happens next to Julianna and Reid; two characters that give the story its humour and poignancy.

The heat level of this novel is more sensual than sweet, which fits with the assassin profiles of the heroine and hero. The love scenes enhance the story's emotion and conflict.

The author's gift of setting the scene for the story's action and conflict is a signature of her writing, which she uses to great effect here. It's the attention to detail and vivid descriptions that make 'Protecting the Enemy' believable, easy to visualise and engage with.

The plot is contemporary and she doesn't shy away from some graphic details for authenticity. The twists are gentle and there is no chance of losing your way with this story.

Julianna is a kick ass heroine with a conscience that threatens to destroy her when she finds out the truth. Reid wants to carve out an identity for himself to escape from his less than ideal upbringing.

A vivid, action packed read with lots of heartfelt emotion, thrills and plenty of sensual heat.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

[a:Christy Newton|7124038|Christy Newton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1371605398p2/7124038.jpg]

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month - Tracey Rogers [bc:Employee of the Month|22885016|Employee of the Month|Tracey Rogers|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1407476012s/22885016.jpg|42454557]

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'Employee of the Month' is a sensuous, romantic story. Holly is a courageous, independent heroine. Max is a sexy, tortured hero and there is fantastic heat generated whenever they are within touching distance. The beautifully written sensual love scenes give important insight into the intensity of Holly and Max's physical attraction and their deep emotional connection.

The believable, uncomplicated plot with enough twists and dark moments to hold the reader's interest makes this a fabulous read. I liked the setting for this story and the echoes of the couple's past that resurface through the small cast of secondary characters.

Holly and Max are 'no strings' lovers. Neither wants commitment, until a life changing event makes them focus on what they really desire from each other and their future. There are lots of humorous and poignant moments. Are they prepared to take the risks and make the sacrifices necessary to find their happy ever after?

'Employee of the Month' is a tale of light hearted romance and angst. The characters are easy to empathise with. This is an absorbing page turning read.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

[a:Tracey Rogers|7211367|Tracey Rogers|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1403687068p2/7211367.jpg]

Lost Desires (Cravings #0.5)

Lost Desires (Cravings #0.5) - Rachael Orman [bc:Lost Desires|22907238|Lost Desires|Rachael Orman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1407813592s/22907238.jpg|41345905]

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This erotic novella delivers exactly what the blurb promises. It's easy to imagine yourself in Brittany's position if you're married and have kids. Keeping the chemistry going when there are so many competing demands for your time, is not easy. Her sex life is not the only thing lacking in her life, most of the time she feels like she's bringing the kids up on her own as well as having a career. Ian her hardworking but insulated husband appears satisfied with their physical relationship but is he really?

Brittany expresses her emotions in a realistic way. You understand how deep her unhappiness is when she accepts her close friend's advice and contacts a sex therapist. You feel her embarrassment when she speaks to a stranger about her sex life. Her husband Ian accepts the sex therapist's intervention far more readily than Brittany would have expected. Maybe this is an indication that he too was unhappy with their relationship?

The scenes with the sex therapists are graphic and erotically written but portray Brittany's medley of emotions beautifully.

'Lost Desires' is undeniably hot but also poignant and grounded a lovely mix of fantasy 'what if' and reality.

Definitely a mature adult read.

I received a copy of this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review.

[a:Rachael Orman|7145471|Rachael Orman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1409530211p2/7145471.jpg]

Hopelessly Devoted to You

Hopelessly Devoted to You - Jill Steeples [bc:Hopelessly Devoted to You|22890578|Hopelessly Devoted to You|Jill Steeples|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1407688895s/22890578.jpg|42460603]

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'Hopelessly Devoted to You' is an insider's perspective on Finn and Ruby's outwardly wonderful relationship. The perfect facade hides a maelstrom of angst and poor self esteem from Ruby's point of view.

Ruby is an interesting character; her poor self image and lack of confidence are immediately obvious. This makes her hard to warm to initially but this changes as you appreciate how much emotional baggage she is carrying. Finn seen through Ruby's eyes appears to be the 'perfect' man for a 'Stepford Wife', which she will never be.

Ruby's and Finn's imminent marriage is the 'Elephant' in the room'. Ruby's fears about her happy ever after with Finn force her to act. Pushed by Laura her BFF she finally tells Finn what's on her mind. He is devastated and leaving in a red mist he has an accident, which changes their lives forever.

Ruby's true character shines through after the accident. Finn is sexier and less driven when he awakes, as if he was doing what was expected before the accident but now he can be his true self. Elements of Finn's amnesia are extreme but acceptable in a fictional world. Ruby falls in love with Finn again but she is on borrowed time. What happens if he remembers she dumped him? Ruby finds out you don't appreciate what you have until you lose it.

The imagery in this story is lovely and there's plenty of heat when Finn and Ruby rediscover their passion. I liked how Ruby's career developed through the story once she found the right motivation. The plot twists are clever and the pacing perfect. It's easy to lose yourself in this story where real love shines through in adversity.

I received a copy of this book from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Jill Steeples|5338106|Jill Steeples|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1376128615p2/5338106.jpg]

Unravel Me

Unravel Me - Lynn Montagano [bc:Unravel Me|22587134|Unravel Me (The Breathless Series, #2)|Lynn Montagano|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403718146s/22587134.jpg|42062452]

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'Unravel Me' plays out the next chapter of Lia's complicated relationship with media mogul Alastair. The setting for this second book is detailed and interesting. I liked the TV news references and secondary characters. It is full of insider knowledge that gives the story its realistic, contemporary edge.

Alastair's and Lia's long distance love affair leads to misunderstanding, vulnerability and heartache for both of them. It also allows a sinister antagonist to threaten Lia and make her doubt Alastair's motives.

What keeps me reading this series is the obvious love between Alastair and Lia. This strong bond makes it possible for Lia to forgive and ignore Alastair's often unreasonable dominant behaviour, even though her ex had similar traits.

This story manages to convey the themes of dominance and subservience in a sexual relationship without graphic detail, which makes it an easier read for mainstream romance lovers.

'Unravel Me' is an enticing mix of angst and humour delivered by believable characters. Cleverly interwoven mystery and suspense enhance the story's romance and passion. I look forward to the next chapter of Alastair's and Lia's volatile love story.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley.

[a:Lynn Montagano|7706026|Lynn Montagano|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1394295538p2/7706026.jpg]

Spirited Away

Spirited Away - Angela  Campbell [bc:Spirited Away|22886703|Spirited Away (Psychic Detective Series, #3)|Angela Campbell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1407527281s/22886703.jpg|42456373]

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If you love ghosts you won't be disappointed with 'Spirited Away'. The paranormal characters add to the humour, mystery and suspense but they are just the icing on the cake.

Abbott, Charlie and Costello, the animal stars of this series are involved in many comic scenes which make this fun to read. Spider' our geeky, vulnerable heroine is not psychic but the quirky pets manage to make their wishes known, in ways that are familiar to every person who shares their lives with cats and dogs.

'Spider' lost her mother young. This left her emotionally immature. Dominated by the men in her life she has rebelled in ways usually associated with teenage girls. Working in the psychic detective agency as the computer whizz, is the perfect setup for 'Spider' to be herself. This book sees her reach her full potential and makes her easy to empathise with.

Noah shies away from 'Spider' despite their mutual attraction. Noah is easy to like and whilst not the typical 'alpha' male, except in physical characteristics he is certainly worthy of 'Spider' but can she make him see how good they would be together? The romance between this odd couple is lovely and there is plenty of heat when they're together.

A thread of poignancy runs through this story which gives it added depth and the clues left at the end suggest a change of direction for our intrepid heroes and hopefully more books in this absorbing series.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Angela Campbell|5219553|Angela Campbell|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1318231437p2/5219553.jpg]

Here are the first two books in the series:

[bc:On the Scent|18147296|On the Scent (Psychic Detective Series, #1)|Angela Campbell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1372759785s/18147296.jpg|25499491]
[bc:Something Wicked|18657033|Something Wicked (Psychic Detective Series, #2)|Angela Campbell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381839907s/18657033.jpg|26472446]

Summer at Castle Stone

Summer at Castle Stone - Lynn Marie Hulsman [bc:Summer at Castle Stone|22823073|Summer at Castle Stone|Lynn Marie Hulsman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1406467590s/22823073.jpg|42289960]

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Summer at Castle Stone - Lynn Marie Hulsman

'Summer at Castle Stone' has all the important ingredients of romantic comedy. Shayla is a likeable comic heroine who doesn't quite fit in the competitive, edgy world where she exists. Tom, a reclusive, ex celebrity chef is the perfect sexy, conflicted hero. Maggie, Maeve, Tony and Brigid head a cast of realistic and interesting secondary characters whose eccentricities enhance the story's comedy and romance. Shayla's identity crisis, which is deeper than a change of name, provides the misunderstanding, which threatens her chance of happy ever after.

The story highlights the ups and downs of 'living the dream' in New York beautifully and contrasts this with the community and quaintness Shayla finds in an Irish village and country estate. Castle Stone provides many hilarious moments as Shayla gets to grips with the country way of doing things. The insight into the world of writers and publishing gives this story depth and adds to the enjoyment.

Shayla is intelligent and street wise but her lack of close family support reveals a vulnerability that puts her happiness in danger. She attracts your empathy and you really want her to be fulfilled and happy. Shayla's and Tom's attraction and emotional connection give this story plenty of heat.

'Summer at Castle Stone' is a classy, witty story with lots of laughs, a few tears and most importantly heartfelt romance.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Lynn Marie Hulsman|6467664|Lynn Marie Hulsman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1386784081p2/6467664.jpg]

Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick [bc:Hush, Hush|6339664|Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)|Becca Fitzpatrick|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358261334s/6339664.jpg|6525609]

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My initial impression of 'Hush, Hush' is that it shares many elements found in other popular paranormal/young adult series like Stephanie Meyers 'Twilight Collection' and LJ Smith's 'Vampire Diaries' and 'Night World' series. Happily the story's unique setting and paranormal characters made it worth reading.

The story's pacing was slow initially with much of the first half spent inside Nora's head. I was tempted not to read further than the first few chapters but I'm glad I read on. There is faster pacing and great imagery in the second half.

Told from the first person (Nora's point of view), in common with many stories in this genre, the reader wonders whether Nora is actually experiencing the incidents or thinks she is because of her fragile emotional state. This conflict makes you keep turning the pages to find out whether this is a frightening reality or a terrifying self induced illusion.

Nora's is likeable and has the conflicting mix of courage and vulnerability essential for a teenage heroine. Patch seen from Nora's perspective is mysterious, ageless and a little bit frightening.

A well written, suspenseful ending leads the reader into Crescendo - the next chapter of Nora and Patch's relationship, which I look forward to reading.

[a:Becca Fitzpatrick|2876763|Becca Fitzpatrick|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1390505291p2/2876763.jpg]

Stable Mates

Stable Mates - Zara Stoneley [bc:Stable Mates|23011460|Stable Mates|Zara Stoneley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1408854862s/23011460.jpg|42577986]

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'Stable Mates' is a fast paced, eloquent slice of English life. The old money and traditions of the Cheshire set meet the new money and celebrity of wags of the soap and sports stars. Horses and dogs are an integral part of the Cheshire set and effortlessly compete with the wags for attention and money. A delightful romp peppered with humour, sadness, scandal and steamy sex.

The villages of Tippermere and Kitterly Heath are polar opposites whose residents both attract and repel the other. The characters are a clever mix of unique and stereotypical. They give the reader an insider point of view which is both amusing and sensitive. The animal characters are also fabulous and will be instantly recognisable to anyone whose life revolves round dogs and horses.

'Stable Mates' is an enticing mix of credible and pure fantasy and provides the essential element of all good stories escapism. There is so much scope with these characters and setting that I hope this is the first of many stories.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Zara Stoneley|5819479|Zara Stoneley|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1378072022p2/5819479.jpg]

A Place For Us

A Place For Us - Harriet Evans [bc:A Place For Us Part 1|19793394|A Place For Us Part 1|Harriet Evans|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403645767s/19793394.jpg|27824081]

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Although series are very popular, I'm not sure the format is ideal for this story. Women's fiction serials are not a new concept. They were popular in women's magazines in the late sixties and seventies. Magazine serials had a week's gap between instalments. These stories have approximately a month. Many readers will struggle to remember where they are in the story with any clarity especially since it ends before any notable action takes place.

Martha sends her widely scattered family a cryptic invitation to her eightieth birthday party. The multi points of view give the reader important insight into each character's conflicts and emotions. The disparity between the family's public persona and the reality of lies and secrets makes interesting reading. Not only do they hide the truth from outsiders they also keep secrets from each other.

The characters are well written; full of flaws, which make them memorable. In most cases the characters have at least one or two redeeming features. The ethos of this story is essentially sad. Most of the characters regret their major life choices and wish they'd chosen differently. Martha wonders if the decision to buy 'Winterfold' and all that it entailed was worth the sacrifices.

Slow paced and lacking in action; part 1 introduces the characters, the reason for their reunion and its possible consequences. I am interested to see what happens next.

I received a copy of this book from Headline via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Harriet Evans|292599|Harriet Evans|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1224197345p2/292599.jpg]

Misbehaving in Miami (Summer Flings, Book 2)

Misbehaving in Miami (Summer Flings, Book 2) - Aimee Duffy [bc:Misbehaving in Miami|22724321|Misbehaving in Miami (Summer Flings #2)|Aimee Duffy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405434669s/22724321.jpg|42253560]
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'Misbehaving in Miami' sees Ciara, Elle and Gem determined to enjoy the full beach and bar experience. Ciara has left a little of her heart back in Tinsel Town but her friends won't let her brood. Her ability to drink with the best of them wins Ciara the undying gratitude of her friends and the chance of some extra holiday spending money.

Our Oxford graduates eager for new learning experiences enlist the help of three beach hotties to further their education. Zack in all his furious glory gatecrashes the girls' impromptu pool party with their new friends. Zack addictive attraction for Ciara continues... The ice cream scene is definitely a must read.

There's shopping, steamy sex and sun in this episode of 'Summer Flings' and an enticing taste of mystery...

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

5* Review:Trouble in Tinsel Town

[a:Aimee Duffy|6523308|Aimee Duffy|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1369167859p2/6523308.jpg]

Chase (What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan? #1)

Chase (What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan? #1) - Jill Knapp [bc:Chase|22612137|Chase (What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan? #1)|Jill Knapp|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404243559s/22612137.jpg|26151595]

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'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?' is a complex, witty look at the lives of young adults in Manhattan seen through the eyes of Amalia. It took me a few chapters to get into this story mainly because there are lots of characters and relationships and a unique ethos to understand. I'm glad I stuck with it; the characters are realistic and their dialogue snappy and often humorous. The story has endless variety, lots of sub plots, twists and mysteries some of which still remain unanswered. I'm hooked and eager to see what Amalia does next.
Amalia is likeable and grounded. This is amazing given her parent's emotional distance and the fact she is closer to her best friends parents than her own. Cassandra is the perfect BFF and always has Amalia's best interests at heart. The male characters are harder to like. Their flaws numerous, hidden beneath their glossy veneers. The only man I liked was Hayden.
This story has a similar emotional pull to the 'Sex in the City' stories. It gives the reader an interesting snippet of big city life and shows how it enhances or destroys the young adults it attracts.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Jill Knapp|7263734|Jill Knapp|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1380578421p2/7263734.jpg]

Steam Bunny (Little Miss Kick-Ass Erotic Novella #1)

Steam Bunny (Little Miss Kick-Ass Erotic Novella #1) - Felicity Kates [bc:Steam Bunny|22612261|Steam Bunny (Little Miss Kick-Ass Erotic Novella #1)|Felicity Kates|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404245462s/22612261.jpg|42103483]

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Steam Bunny, the debut novella from Felicity Kates is the first in the Little Miss Kick-Ass erotic novella series. I loved the originality of this story. Casey Jackson, promotional model to the enigmatic and very sexy author Lucas Haskell, takes us on her sensual journey, in search of love. Full of erotic moments this is a light-hearted novella with an outwardly wilful yet inwardly vulnerable heroine and an enigmatic but secretly soft-hearted hero.
Lovers as well as work colleagues, the couple have hit an impasse in their relationship. Casey loves Lucas but her aversion to marriage forces her decision to hang up her bunny costume and leave the man she loves. Lucas is determined to keep his Steam Bunny and will do whatever it takes, to make Casey stay.
Told from Casey's point of view this is a humorous, naughty tale. An erotic quest for happy ever after. You may need to cool off when you've read this sizzler, which makes it the ideal quick, adult read for the beach or pool.
I look forward to the next in the series where we meet, two more larger than life characters.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

[a:Felicity Kates|8345046|Felicity Kates|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1406517601p2/8345046.jpg]

The Lost Love of a Soldier

The Lost Love of a Soldier - Jane Lark [bc:The Lost Love of a Soldier|22550447|The Lost Love of a Soldier (Marlow Intrigues #0.5)|Jane Lark|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403450303s/22550447.jpg|42007455]

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'The Lost Love of a Soldier' is a challenging read. If you've read the poignant and beautifully written, 'The Illicit Love of a Courtesan' you will know the outcome of this love story but don't let that put you off reliving Ellen's earlier life. This is a must read with its engaging characters and sensitive use of historical detail.
Ellen and Paul fall in love despite the strict society rules that define their lives. Their love story is romantic and heartbreaking as they endure family discord and the brutality of war. Ellen at seventeen is endearingly naive. This makes what fate has in store for her especially poignant. Paul is battle worn, despite his youth and looks to Ellen for his salvation. He is a little selfish because he knows how tough 'following the drum' can be for a woman but his love is sincere as is his courage and it's easy to see why Ellen loved him.
This story captures the romance of the Regency period but with a unique perspective that makes it memorable.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

[a:Jane Lark|6884602|Jane Lark|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1395926553p2/6884602.jpg]