Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Date: 30/07/2012
Grade: 4
Details: no. 3 David Raker
            Received from Penguin through
            Book Geeks

David Raker has made a career finding the lost. A former journalist, he has spent the past four years finding the missing for those who want them back.
When he is first approached by Julia Wren and asked to find her husband the case doesn’t appear too complicated. Sam Wren took the tube train into work on the morning of December 17th and was never seen again. But, as Raker knows, the tube has cameras everywhere so discovering where Wren went shouldn’t be too hard. Except that watching the security footage again and again doesn’t clarify anything. Sam Wren can be seen getting onto the tube, can be spotted in the carriage at a few of the stations and then isn’t there anymore. He hasn’t been filmed getting off the tube though. Sam Wren has managed to disappear into thin air during the morning rush-hour.

At the same time the police are investigating the disappearances of young men. All the men lived alone and had few social contacts. All the men disappeared without a trace with only their hair, shaved of and left on their pillows, left behind.
After getting into trouble during an earlier, very personal and emotional case, Colm Healy has a difficult time getting himself working on the disappearances but when he does he investigates with dogged determination. He needs this case to re-establish himself as a good investigator, even if his colleagues are waiting for him to fuck up and destroy his career forever.
But, while Healy is swallowing his pride and keeping his head down in order to get his career back, he is also pursuing something and someone else. A pursuit that could cost him his job, and with it his last connection to his old life.

As the two cases appear to connect, Raker is ordered to drop his investigation into Wren’s disappearance. But Raker is not convinced that the police are on the right track, and can’t reconcile what he knows about the missing man with the conclusions the official investigators have come up with. A tenuous cooperation between Raker and Healy brings back memories of past tragedies as well as huge risk for both of them.

This was a good thriller. From the very first moment, when Raker decides to investigate the strange disappearance, nothing is as it seems. Everybody has secrets and Sam Wren is no exception. But Wren’s secrets are better hidden than most, and uncovering what has been hidden for such a long time doesn’t lead to answers rather than more questions and doubts.
This is the third book featuring David Raker and there are references to earlier books and investigations. And while I have no doubt that I would have had a better feel for both Raker and Healy if I had read the previous titles I didn’t feel as if I were missing vital information while reading this book.
Raker is a fascinating character to read about. He has his issues and dark sides but is basically a good man with his heart and priorities in the right place. I wasn’t as sure about Colm Healy. While it is easy to understand why the man was as dark as he was, I couldn’t help feeling that he wouldn’t have been an easy or nice man even before everything went wrong for him.
The story in this book is fascinating with lots of twists and turns quite a few cliff-hangers and shocks even after it all appears to be over.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of the book though. To call those final two pages ambiguous would be an understatement. And I guess we will have to wait for Tim Weaver’s next book before we find out what exactly we were told there.

And now for one of those strange but wonderful reading coincidences;
Earlier this month I read both Slave and Need by Sherri Hayes, a story that deals with the modern-day slave-trade. I know there are quite a few books dealing with that particular topic; however, having the subject playing an import role in yet another of my reads so soon was quite surprising.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


AUTHOR: Tiffany Reisz
Pages: 400 (paperback)
Date: 28/07/2012
Grade: 4.5
Details: No. 1 The Original Sinners
            Received from Mira through
Own / Kindle

Every so often I finish a book and find myself at a complete loss as to what to say about it, or even, quite what I thought about it. And, you’ve guessed it; this is one of those times.
On the surface this is a story about Nora Sutherlin, a famous and very popular author of erotica. Her latest work in progress is different from her previous steamy novels though. This book is more personal and serious and because Nora is convinced this could be her break-through to the mainstream market, she is looking for a new publisher.
Enter Zachary Easton, an English man in New York and editor with a prestigious publisher. When he is asked to edit Nora’s book he is both sceptical and reluctant. He doesn’t believe erotica can ever be a serious work of fiction and with only six weeks before he leaves New York he doesn’t believe there is enough time to turn the book into something that would live up to his exacting standards.
When Zach meets Nora he is barely polite with her but Nora is not easily deterred. She convinces the editor to make a deal with her; if she can rewrite the book into something he approves of within the six weeks available, he will sign her contract.
Both Nora and Zach are tortured souls. Both of them have left the loves of their lives because, as Nora says:

"There are only two reasons why you leave someone you're still in love with - either it's the right thing to do, or it's the only thing to do".

As the two of them work together and seem to get closer, the reader discovers more about Nora and Zach, their pasts and their (lack of) hope for the future. Through ups and downs, shocks and revelations the story and their lives unravel; easy endings do not appear to be an option.

The reader gets glimpses of Nora’s writing, the book within the book, as the story progresses. Some of what we read is meant for Zach and publication; other parts of her writing are only for Nora, memories of times gone by. It serves to give us a better understanding of the complex character that is Nora.

This book is almost impossible to categorise, anything but predictable, shocking and heartbreaking. Nothing is exactly what you expect. This author doesn’t aim for easy answers or convenient happy endings. Tiffany Reisz managed to make me re-assess many of my conventional truths about love, lust and sex. She made me feel deeply for characters who are flawed in ways I couldn’t even imagine, made me root for those who, in another context, I would have labelled villains.
Most characters in this book have secrets they hold very close to their hearts, dark secrets that will change your perception of them as you read along. And yet, despite their pasts and the decisions they make about their futures I couldn’t help feel for the characters by the time the story ended.
This book is probably not for everyone. The contents of this story will stretch the readers comfort levels as far as they will go, and for some, a lot further. Some of the sexual relationships and encounters in this book are beyond extreme. And yet, now that I’ve finished this story I wouldn’t say it was a book about sex. This is a book about relationships, about love, about accepting the truth about who and what you are. This is a story that will have you experiencing virtually every emotion known to men; a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
I had no idea this was the first book in a planned series when I started reading it and I’m not at all sure where a future book might take me. I do know though that when the next book comes out, I’ll be one of the first trying to get my hands on it. Because, to put it quite simply, Tiffany Reisz tells an intriguing story very well.

Update: You can have a look at what my husband thought about this book here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

NEED by Sherri Hayes; Review and e-book give-away

Pages: 285 (paperback)
Date: 25/07/2012
Grade: 5-
Details: no. 2 Finding Anna
            Received from Smith Publicity –
            The Writer's Coffee Shop, through
Own / Kindle

This story starts immediately after the story in Slave finished. We find Brianna Reeves reflecting on what Stephen Coleman told her the previous evening; that even though he had bought her from Ian she is not his slave. While this revelation should make her feel easier, Brianna finds herself more insecure and confused then ever before. If she’s not his slave then what is she, why is he keeping her and what is expected of her? If she’s not his slave does that mean she will have to leave the only place she’s felt safe for a long time? And if she does stay, will she ever be able to be what Stephen would like her to be?
Stephen is facing fears as well now that he has told Brianna that he doesn’t own her. Telling her that she can and should make her own decisions means that she may decide to leave him. And Stephen has only just realised that he has fallen in love for the first time in his life. The thought of losing Brianna fills him with fear and yet he knows that if he wants to have a relationship with her it has to be because she chooses him, freely.
Very slowly and very carefully Stephen continues working at making Brianna feel safer. But this is not easy. Every time it seems like the girl has made a bit of progress something will happen to bring her fears back with a vengeance. Coming face to face with men she was forced to be with while being kept as a slave sends Brianna in to full-blown panic attacks. A man from her past, someone Stephen has an uncomfortable work-related relationship with, confuses the young girl. Brianna’s father, who she doesn’t want to see, is actively looking for his daughter and it is only a matter of time before he will find her, and Stephen’s uncle Richard is still trying to interfere in his nephew’s way of dealing with Brianna.
As Brianna slowly learns to trust Stephen and even more slowly discovers that sex is about pleasure rather than pain, all the outside forces seem to conspire to make their relationship impossible.

Wow! This was one emotional roller-coaster of a read.
It is impossible to read this book or its prequel, ‘Slave’, without having your heart break for Brianna time and again. The thought of young girls being sold as slaves, for men to do with as they please without thought or consequence is horrific and shocking, but it is something that happens, and a fact that should be acknowledged.
I feel Sherri Hayes did a wonderful job describing all the emotions Brianna experiences. Her fears and insecurities made sense and were realistic, her incapability to recognise her feelings towards Stephen was believable and charming and the courage she finds to push herself through her fears is astounding.
While for most of the story I adored and admired Stephen, my feelings towards him were a bit more ambivalent then those I had with regard to Brianna.
Stephen’s need to be completely honest with Brianna had me tied up with nerves on quite a few occasions. I couldn’t help feeling that at times it was too much information too soon, that maybe he might have tried to avoid answering certain of Brianna’s questions. And then I would think about it and realise that he had to be open and honest with her if he wanted Brianna to trust him.
Boy, did I get emotionally involved in this story. Brianna and Stephen have come to life for me while reading the first two books in this series and I find myself rooting for them.
This story is thought-provoking, confrontational and eye-opening. But it is also deeply emotional, romantic and erotic. I can’t imagine anybody putting this book down without being affected by the story. The issues tackled and, most of all, these characters will stay with me for a very long time.

My only complaint after finishing this book is that the story ended on a massive cliff-hanger and that I have no idea when the sequel will be available. I can only hope that will be sooner rather than later and I know that I will be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

I have one word of warning for anybody thinking about reading this book; make sure you read ‘Slave’ first! 

  And now for a first on my blog: I will be giving away e-book copies of both Slave and Need to one lucky reader. I will randomly pick one winner from those who comment below. The give-away will run from July 28th until August 1st.  I shall contact the lucky reader on August 2nd so please make sure to leave your email address with your comment. The winner will have a week to get back to me, after which time I will pick someone else. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Pages: 325
Date: 24/07/2012
Grade: 4-
Details: no. 11 Sookie Stackhouse

As always there isn’t a boring moment in Bon Temps for our favourite cocktail waitress, Sookie Stackhouse.
Everything starts with an attack on Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. While the bar’s owner Sam and Sookie are able to stop the fire before it spreads, the big question is who threw the Molotov cocktail and why. While suspicion initially falls on those who have issues with Shape-shifters like Sam, Sookie can’t help feeling that the attack could also have been aimed at her. After all, consorting with Vampires, Were-creatures and Faeries has brought her a fair amount of enemies of her own.
But there are more problems. Eric, her vampire boyfriend/husband is facing huge issues with Victor, the local ruling vampire. And Victor seems determined to provoke Eric into doing something rash so that he will have a reason to end his undead existence. And more than that, Eric and his ‘child’ Pam appear to be hiding something from Sookie, something that could change everything in her life. And of course having two faeries staying in her house brings a whole set of problems of its own. And really, that’s only the top of the iceberg.
Sookie finds herself facing a set of circumstances that will force her to reassess herself, her attitude towards the life she is leading as well as her relationships with those around her.

As always this book brought me a nice balance of supernatural action and more mundane events. With Sookie always trying to strike a balance between all the supernaturals in her life and living an everyday life like most people around her, these stories feel as if they are set in the real world, which makes it easier to relate to them.
On the other hand I do get a bit fed up with Sookie. You’d think that after 11 books she’d either have gotten, if not comfortable with than at least used to all the plotting, killing and animosity around her. Yet it feels as if she’s rediscovering what all the creatures around her are capable of and consider normal all over again in every single book. By now I’ve reached the stage where I want her to either get out of the game or decide that since she’s in it she’s going to deal with it once and for all, and yet she doesn’t.
Having said that, these are easy and comfortable books to read and I do still enjoy catching up with these characters. So I guess that at least for now I will continue to bring these books home from the library for as long as I can find them there.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Pages: 300 (approx)
Date: 23/07/2012
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 1 Crossfire

“To call either of us virgins would be ridiculous, yet emotionally that was just what we were. Fumbling in the dark and too eager, completely out of our depths and self-conscious, trying to impress and missing all the subtle nuances.”

Eva Tramell is in her twenties and starting a new job and new life in New York City. The very first time she enters the building where she will be working Eva runs into Gideon Cross, a handsome, powerful and intriguing man. A run in that has the atmosphere between them sparkling and leaves Eva breathless and worried.
It isn’t long before it becomes clear that Gideon is equally intrigued by and attracted to Eva and their very first night out together starts with a hot and passionate love-making session in his car. Unfortunately the evening ends with Eva leaving the function they were visiting together alone, in a hurry and without an explanation.
Both Eva and Gideon carry scars from the past; scars that seriously affect their day to day life and especially their ability to have meaningful relationships. They bring out the worst in each other; opening wounds that should remain sealed and drive them apart as much as they can’t stand to be separated.
Every time the two damaged individuals get together there is heat between them. They know how to satisfy each other in ways neither of them knew were possible, while at the same time the depth of their feelings for each other and the emotions their relationship unleashes scare them because of its power to destroy them.
Both Gideon and Eva will have to make adjustments, change long-standing habits and allow a new level of intimacy if their relationship is to stand a chance. Yet their pasts and fears are so close to the surface that a happy ending appears unlikely, if not impossible.
I really enjoyed this book. It is another work of erotic fiction but it is also more than that. Yes, there is a lot of sex in this book and it gets described in quite a lot of tantalizing detail. But those descriptions don’t get in the way of the overall story. A story about two damaged individuals struggling to come to terms with traumatic pasts in order to facilitate a happy future.
While Eva’s past is described in the book and explains a lot, if not all of her behaviour, the reader only gets small hints at what may or may not have caused Gideon’s pain. I guess that is a mystery that may be revealed in a future book. Both their pasts cause our two protagonists to behave in ways that are frustrating and infuriating. There were times I felt like screaming at them when one or the other was once again doing or saying something that was sure to undermine their relationship. Yet, because of the knowledge of their traumatic pasts I found myself able of cutting them more slack than I usually do with characters in romances.
Yes, there are obvious similarities with E.L. James’ Fifty Shades books. The (sexual) theme in this book may not be a BDSM relationship, but there are definite domination related overtones in this book. And, as in the James’ books we are dealing with protagonists who have issues that make a “normal” relationship hard to imagine.
On the other hand, the writing in this book is better and smoother than that which can be found in the Fifty Shades books.
And, I love what I found in the acknowledgements at the end of the book:

“To E.L. James, who wrote a story that captivated readers and created a hunger for more. You rocked it!”

In short I would call this a hot and intriguing love story with characters that are as fascinating as they are infuriating. A sure-fire way to get this reader hooked.


              MICHAEL CASSUTT
Pages: 431
Date: 22/07/2012
Grade: 4
Details: No. 2 Heaven’s Shadow
            Received from Tor
            through Book Geeks

After two simultaneous but separate missions to an unidentified object in Earth’s orbit go horribly wrong Zack Stuart is the only astronaut staying behind in its interior. Four of his colleagues and rivals are on their way back to earth, the rest have died on the object affectionately named Keanu.
Meanwhile on earth 187 random people have been picked up from the rival space stations in Houston and Bangalore by big flying orbs and are on their way to Keanu. Amongst those abducted are Zack’s 14 year old daughter Rachel, Gabriel Jones the father of the now deceased astronaut who caused a disaster on Keanu and Pavak Radhakrishnan, the son of the commander of the Bangalore space ship who is safely on his way back to earth.
It is now very clear that Keanu is not an asteroid or planet but in fact a space-ship, one that had a good reason to travel to earth, one that wants to recruit humans into its war against a force that could destroy the universe and one that is starting to fail.
The humans on Keanu will have to adjust to their new living arrangements, learn how to survive on a space-ship that appears to want to accommodate them but still holds many dangers, marvels and nightmares. But most of all, they have to figure out a way to make it back to earth in order to protect their home from disaster.

Before I say anything else about this book let me state that if at all possible you should not read this book unless you have read its prequel: Heaven’s Shadow. The story in this book starts at the exact moment the first book ended, and although there are some references to what happened in the first book you need more background information than can be found here if you want to truly enjoy Heaven’s War.
And this truly is a story to enjoy. It is action packed, filled with suspense and with just about enough pure science-fictional fact.
Because the perspective in the story switches between the main characters the reader is introduced to the strange habitats on Keanu on several different levels, ranging from teenage girl to fully qualified scientist. It also means that the book is filled with cliff-hangers. Most chapters, and individual narratives, end on a pivotal moment forcing the reader to keep on reading. But since the chapters you need to read before you arrive at the resolution of your cliff-hanger all end on similar highs there is always this urge to keep on reading.
Another advantage of the alternating narrator set-up is that the reader gets an insight into characters and their motivations without the need for lengthy descriptions. The actions, thoughts and emotions as described by the characters give each of them their own, unique personality.

The space-ship, Keanu, is a marvel consisting of several habitats, all completely geared towards their individual and very diverse inhabitants. As small groups of humans explore various parts of Keanu, the reader gets an insight into the set up of the space-ship as well as the different life-forms it accommodates. Having said that, I did feel that a little more information about the non-human occupants and their role in the struggle against the common enemy would have been helpful. In fact, that lack of information in favour of action would be my one, minor, reservation about this book.

Overall though, this was a gripping space adventure and a true page-turner. This is also very much a story in the middle of a beginning and (as far as I know) the end in the next book. While the book starts where the first book ended, it also finishes at such a moment that the reader is left with no idea what exactly is going on or might be about to happen next. It will be a long wait for the third book and an answer to the questions this story has left the reader with.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Pages: 216
Date: 18/07/2012
Grade: 4+

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

By the time the narrator of this story is fifty he has lived his life almost as if by accident. An unexceptional childhood followed by an impassionate marriage and successful but unfulfilling careers, first as a G.P and subsequently as an upstanding but unremarkable Member of Parliament. A life lived without strong emotions of any kind. A life which, had it ended in the narrator’s fiftieth year, would have been widely respected and totally unremarkable.
Everything changes when he meets Anna Barton, his son’s girlfriend. Although his wife is suspicious of the girl, who is eight year older than her beloved 25 year old son, the narrator feels an instant attraction to her the moment he meets her. An attraction that appears to be mutual since he and Anna start a passionate affair shortly after meeting.
The affair with Anna becomes the narrator’s obsession. For the first time in his life he is experiencing strong emotions and he is unable and unwilling to let go of either those emotions or the woman who has triggered them and is at the centre of them.
Anna is a troubled woman though, with tragedy in her past and almost certainly tragedy in her future. As Anna and the narrator’s son prepare to get married, the affair continues as passionate as ever and disaster must surely wait, just around the corner.

This was not an easy book to read. It is a bit like watching a train-wreck. You know that it’s all going to go horribly wrong but yet you can’t look away, can’t stop reading, even though you are feeling increasingly uncomfortable with what is happening on the page.
From the very first chapter it is clear that this story is not going to have a happy ending:

“But I did not die in my fiftieth year. There are few who know me now who do not regard that as a tragedy.”

From the very first word it is clear that the narrator is speeding his way towards disaster and the reader has no choice but to watch him destroy not only his own life but also that of those around him.
Of course it is proof of the excellent writing that although I did end up feeling extremely uncomfortable about the road to self-destruction the narrator so willingly took I had to follow him to the bitter end.
It is strange to read a book in which the sympathetic characters are the secondary ones. The two main protagonists’ selfish actions make it hard if not impossible for the reader to like them. They are, because of their characters and actions, fascinating to read about though.
This would make a great book for a reading group discussion since it brings some interesting questions to mind.
Does a life-time lived without passion really constitute a life? Or, how much are we willing to excuse or explain away because of trauma early in life? How would I react or behave if I were any of the characters in this story? I could go on.

If I were absolutely honest I should probably mark this book five stars. It is very well written, a compulsive read and thought-provoking. The reason I can’t quite get myself to do so is completely personal; the book made me uncomfortable while I was reading it and still has me feeling that discomfort now that I’m writing about it. I would call this an ugly story very beautifully told.


Pages: 580
Date: 18/07/2012
Grade: 5
Details: no. 2 All Souls Trilogy
            Received from Headline Publishing
            Through Book Geeks.

The story in this book picks up exactly where the first book, A Discovery of Witches, left off. Diana Bishop, witch and Matthew Clairmont, vampire, have timewalked to London in 1590 where they hope to find Ashmole 782, the book Diana accidently accessed in the present and which appears to hold the answers to the questions they need to answer in order to stay together and secure the future of witches, vampires and daemons alike.
But, what appeared to be a good and simple idea in theory turns out to be rather complicated in practice.
Returned to a previous incarnation of himself, Matthew finds himself surrounded by those who were his friends and associates at the time and at least one of them, Christopher Marlowe, is jealous of Matthew’s connection with Diana and because he’s a daemon and therefore unpredictable, this emotion is potentially dangerous.
But there are more problems.
While Diana as a historian, knows a lot about the time she has travelled to, she is an obvious outsider; her speech, her actions and even her appearance don’t really fit into the late 16th century. Ashmole 782 turns out to be as elusive in the past as it is in the present and finding a witch who can teach Diana what she needs to know in order to travel back to where she belongs proofs very difficult as well.
And there is Matthew’s life as it was in 1590. Working as a spy for Queen Elizabeth as well as King James while also collecting information for his father, Philippe de Clermont means he is spreading himself very thin while constantly balancing his various interests and identities.
Their search will take Diana and Matthew from London to France, where Matthew faces a difficult and emotional reunion with his father and subsequently to Prague before returning to London again. On their travels the two meet both Queen Elizabeth and Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia as well as various other historical figures.
And in the midst of their adventures Diana and Matthew have to get to know each other better, determine how their relationship is going to work and overcome their individual fears and insecurities.

This is a wonderful and captivating book. Even though it had been about a year since I read “A Discovery of Witches” I found myself back in the story almost immediately after picking up this book.
Diana and Matthew may be other-than-human characters but they are completely recognisable when it comes to their emotions, insecurities and actions.
Very often a second book in a trilogy feels like filler material. This book didn’t suffer from that particular problem at all. This is a complete and fascinating story in and off itself, although I wouldn’t advice anybody to read this book without having read “A Discovery of Witches” first.

Historical detail, though at times slightly adjusted, is weaved seamlessly into the fabric of this story. In fact, the integration is so accomplished that at times I found myself wondering if maybe the details as described in this book were true to what had actually happened rather than that which we read in our history books. And while there is a lot of detail, it never takes the pace out of the story or takes the readers attention away from the fictional narrative. The fact that the reader gets to meet an almost endless procession of historical figures, most of whom they will have at least a passing knowledge of, adds enormous interest to the story. Because a lot of characters, both fictional and real, form part of this story even the historically very astute reader might find themselves scratching their head at times. Thankfully a glossary of characters is provided at the end of the book, making it easy for the reader to check who everybody actually is and whether or not they were real.
I was impressed with the way in which the author dealt with the paradox that is always present when dealing with time-travel. Not only did she mention the fears both Diana and Matthew have about the actions they undertake in the past changing events in the future, Harkness also had the characters from the first book, who stayed behind in the present, dealing with any anomalies surfacing in the present. In this way the paradox was dealt with but, more importantly, it also gave the reader short glimpses at the characters who had been important in book one, will without a doubt be important again in book three but had no real place in the events taking place in the 16th century.

This is a book filled to overflowing with story, characters, locations and events and it is almost impossible to write a review that truly honours everything that happens and everybody who plays a role in this story. I’ve tried my best and still feel that I’ve not quite succeeded in conveying how very special this book is. All I can say is: read this book! Just make sure that you read “A Discovery of Witches” first. Anybody reading this book without knowing the prior story would deprive themselves of a lot of reading enjoyment. As for me, I will now be holding my breath until the third and final part of this trilogy will be available. I can’t wait to find out how this story is going to end.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


AUTHOR: Delphine Drayden
Pages: 136 (approx)
Date: 15/07/2012
Grade: 4+
Details: Received from Carina Press
            Through NetGalley / Kindle

Camilla has been watching (or is it stalking?) her neighbour Ivan for a while now. Ivan is a scientist who lives for his research, goes through his daily routines on a strict and very predictable schedule, doesn’t appear to have a social life and seems ignorant to the fact that Camilla is an interested female.
When Ivan approaches Camilla with a request, it isn’t for the date she wouldn’t mind having with him. Instead he asks her for help. He is expected to go to an important fund-raiser for his work but hates events like that and is well aware that he is like a fish out of water when it comes to small talk and socialising.
When Camilla agrees to give him a few lessons in social niceties she sees it as a chance to get a bit closer to him, and although she tries to get him to pay attention to her while she’s teaching him, she doesn’t get her hopes up.
But, there are these small, almost hidden smiles she occasionally sees on his face. Do they mean anything? Could they mean that he might, after all, be noticing that she is a woman, or is she imagining things?
On a night out with friends, Ivan seems to change and when he asks her to let him be in charge, Camilla accepts, especially since she enjoys the feel of his hand on her legs.
What happens next is not something Camilla could ever have imagined. It turns out that Ivan doesn’t only need to be in charge of his life, he also needs complete control over his bedroom and the woman he takes there.
As Camilla is discovering a submissive side to herself she never knew she had she can’t stop her feelings for Ivan from deepening. But is this socially awkward man feeling the same, or is this only another experiment for him; one that will end when the fund-raiser has been dealt with?

This was a nice romantic story with interesting characters.
While Camilla is a more or less run of the mill girl, in love with an apparently unattainable man, Ivan makes for fascinating reading. As the reader learns more about him it becomes clear that he isn’t just socially awkward but may well suffer from some sort of autism like disorder. This is not something that is explored in any depth, but the suggestion is there and it gives the reader something to think about and adds an interesting dimension to the book.
Although there were times (early on) when I felt this was a bit of a silly story, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and even softly laughing at times. Ivan’s apparent social inaptitude and the way Camilla reacted to it, was on several occasions very funny.
I enjoyed the way the reader has as little insight in what is going on with Ivan as Camilla had. I had my suspicions about the man, but as he keeps on surprising both Camilla and the reader this book is never as predictable as it could easily have been in the hands of a lesser author.

There are quite a few erotic scenes in this book as we follow Camilla’s introduction to the BDSM scene. But, this is more than just a book filled with erotica. Before we get to even the suggestion of intimacy the author has established the setting and the characters and by the time our two main characters do get together the reader is as eager for it as Camilla is.
The descriptions of Ivan and Camilla’s adventures in the bedroom, while steamy and sexy, are never offensive or even shocking. Yes, this is a book about a BDSM relationship, but first and foremost it is a book about intimacy, pleasure and two people getting together on a level they are both comfortable with.

I saw somebody describe this book as “the Big Bang Theory goes BDSM” and that is such a good description of this book that I just have to borrow it. How good a comparison this actually is may be demonstrated by the following quote:

“To me, all this is just a way to experiment with our own bodies and minds. To test the boundaries of what we can do with ourselves, what we’re willing to do. A chance to be both observer and subject.”

Overall I’d have to conclude that for me this was a nice, easy to read, at times funny erotic romance. One that may well lead to me checking out other titles by this author.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Pages: 388
Date: 14/07/2012
Grade: 4.5
Details: Received from Book Geeks

On a cold and abandoned beach a man comes to. He is naked and throwing up seawater. He is very cold and has no idea who he is, where he is, why he is there or why he is not wearing clothes. All he knows is that he will have to get warm or he will die.
Dragging his exhausted body across the beach he stumbles upon a beautiful and unlocked BMW. He gets into the car, manages to turn it on and with the heater at full blast slowly gets his body temperature up to a more normal level.
In the trunk of the car he finds clothes and shoes that fit him perfectly and a look through the contents of glove box uncovers an owner’s manual for the BMW in the name of Daniel Hayes as well as a Rolex and a black semi-automatic gun.
Since the man can’t remember who he is no matter how hard he tries he decides that since the clothes fit he might as well assume he is this Hayes person.
The man checks into a cheap motel in the hope that a good sleep will restore his memory but when he wakes up he still has no idea about his past. He does have a strong impulse to turn the television on at six which brings him to a show called Candy Girls and the character called Emily; a girl who brings out strong emotions in him although he doesn’t know what the emotions are or what they mean.
When a policeman, his gun drawn, comes looking for Hayes in his motel room he makes a run for it. And since Hayes has an address in Malibu according to the manual and the BMW has California plates that is where the man sets off for. But while he hopes to be travelling towards answers and clarification he will find himself entering a nightmare, shocking revelations and more questions once he arrives in Los Angeles.

I would absolutely love to be able to share more about the plot in this book but I can’t. Revealing anymore about this story would amount to spoiling this book for future readers. Surprises, twists and unexpected discoveries fill this book from the very first page, and not knowing what to expect is part of what makes this a very good thriller.
The fact that the main character has no better idea about what is going on than the reader does gives this thriller an added edge. The reader can never be sure if the main character, his thoughts or his conclusions can be trusted. The amnesia, which lifts only very slowly, ensures that neither the reader nor Daniel Hayes can be sure whether he’s a good guy or a dangerous criminal.
It is clear from early on in the book that there is another man, one who is looking for Hayes, who is obviously up to no good, but the reader has no idea why and, initially at least, Hayes doesn’t even know somebody is after him.
As Hayes tries to figure out who he is and why he was trying to kill himself in Maine, so far from where he lives, the reader can only hope that his memories will return to him in time to save him from whatever it is that is haunting him. That is of course, if he actually deserves to be saved.

In conclusion I would like to say that this is a great thriller; one that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what exactly is going on and how it could possibly end on a positive note. The amnesia and the despair that accompanies it are enough to make this a true page turner. The fact that Sakey has added a lot of other mysteries and twists ensures that this is the sort of book that is almost impossible to put down. A book only to be started when you have enough time to just keep on reading.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Pages: 259
Date: 11/07/2012
Grade: 4+

The year is 1912 and the Torrington family is in danger of losing their house, Sterne. Unless second husband and stepfather Edward Swift can secure a loan in Manchester, the family will lose the place Emerald, Clovis and Imogen (Smudge) have called home all their lives.
With Swift away on his rescue mission the rest of the household is preparing to celebrate Emerald’s twentieth birthday. But what should have been a quiet get-together over dinner turns into a nightmare when a train accident close by brings a group of rather sinister looking travellers to Sterne’s door looking for refuge.
Then, just before the family and their guests are due to sit down to dinner, one last train passenger shows up at the house. Unlike the earlier arrivals Charlie Traversham Beecher is obviously a first-class traveller and before anybody is quite sure what has happened he has joined the birthday party, much to Charlotte Swift’s distress. Charlie and Charlotte appear to know each other and Florence Trieves, the housekeeper, is clearly shocked to find the man in the house.
While the storm outside the house gets ever fiercer, the atmosphere in the house gets creepier as well. From the dinner that fails to appear as expected, via the ever rowdier and apparently growing group of refugees to the cruel and unusual game introduced by Charlie, Emerald’s evening is rapidly heading towards disaster. And just when it appears that things couldn’t possibly get any worse…

This is a very enjoyable story and not quite what it at first appears to be. What starts off as a comedy of errors appears to turn into a drama only to become a supernatural story with a charming happy ending.
None of the characters in this book are what they at first appear to be either. While, at the start of the book, the characters seem like rather superficial, selfish and almost stereo-typical products of the times they live in, they all end up surprising both the reader and themselves before the story has ended.
Great comic relief is provided by Smudge as she embarks on her “great undertaking”.
For some reason reading this book was not as smooth for me as I would like it to be. I found that I had to read sentences at least twice on several occasions just to make sure I understood what I was being told. It didn’t ever irritate me or make me want to put the book down, but it happened often enough for me to take notice.
Overall though, I enjoyed reading this book. The story and the way it developed and ended surprised me and put a smile on my face. And any book that does that for me is a book worth reading.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Pages: 267
Date: 10/07/2012
Grade: 4.5
Details: #1 Finding Anna
            Received from Smith Publicity - The Writer's Coffee Shop through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

Stephan Coleman is single but has been a Dominant for five years when a friend of his tells him about a girl he has met at a party. The girl was with a man named Ian and obviously unhappy and scared.
Like Stephan, Ian is a man who likes to dominate his women, but unlike Stephan he doesn’t believe in voluntary submission; Ian’s women are his slaves.
Shocked by what he hears, Stephan contacts Ian and arranges a meeting. As soon as he lays eyes on the young woman named Brianna, who is obviously very scared, he offers to buy her off Ian; an offer which is accepted.
Bringing Brianna Home, Stephan finds himself in a situation he isn’t prepared for. While Brianna is completely submissive she is also petrified of him and the situation she finds herself in. All Stephan can think to do is try and win her confidence, show her that he won’t force her to do anything she is uncomfortable with and help her rebuild her life.
Eighteen year old Brianna doesn’t know what to make of the situation she finds herself in after Stephan buys her. After ten months of being abused and misused she is scared and prone to panic attacks whenever memories of her earlier life come back to her. And she is unsure as to what exactly her position in relation to Stephan is. While she calls him “master” and follows his orders, he doesn’t act the way she expects him to. He doesn’t hurt her, doesn’t force himself upon her and keeps on telling her that she is safe. And while she would love to believe that she has found safety, she knows she’s just a slave and not worth anything. After all, didn’t Stephan buy her?
Will Stephan be able to convince Brianna that she has choices and is safe? And when he does, will she stay with him or will she decide to leave him? Because Stephan has fallen in love with vulnerable Brianna and wants nothing more than a relationship with her, but he also loves her enough to not demand anything she isn’t willing to give.

This story proves that a person should never judge a book by its cover or its title for that matter. When I requested this book I was fully expecting an erotic tale with a BDSM theme. And while BDSM is exactly the lifestyle Stephan has chosen for himself there is no sex, of any description, in this book. The two main characters don’t get anymore intimate than holding hands and the occasional kiss.
This is a book about a young woman who has been broken by a hateful and despicable man and the lengths another man is willing to go to in order to make her whole again. As such this is a beautiful story. Who wouldn’t want a man like Stephan - a man willing to do just about anything to make them happy - in their life?
This is also a very well written story. Both Brianna’s fear and Stephan’s heartfelt care are palatable. While there where times when I found myself wondering whether Stephan’s approach to the situation was the right one, I was never in doubt that his intentions were anything but good.
This is an emotional read. It is impossible not to have your heart break at least a little bit for Brianna. The emotional and physical abuse she’s been subjected to should not be experienced by anyone, ever. And the strength she tries to summon in order to live up to Stephan’s expectations is both inspirational and devastating. And reading Stephan’s side of the story is just as emotional; his emerging feelings for Brianna, his confusion over these new to him feelings and his wish to only do what is right for her, despite what that might mean for him, is wonderful.
Because this story is told by both main characters in turn the reader gets a great insight into what it going on inside them. It does mean that a few scenes are described twice, but since both perspectives are so very different it never feels repetitive.
I was captivated by this story and am very glad that I already have the sequel downloaded for reading later this month.


Pages: 550
Date: 10/07/2012
Grade: 4
Details: Received from Book Geeks

In a near future (the 2050’s or thereabouts) everybody in the world is connected with each other and their surroundings through a virtual network, inter-active glasses and various implants. At this time, during which space exploration has been suspended, Gerald Livingstone is an astronaut whose job it is to collect and dispose of the space junk which can be found in huge amounts, orbiting our Earth. When he spots a strange and shiny object floating around, his curiosity gets the better of him and he makes the unauthorised effort to retrieve the item.
What appears to be a manufactured crystal seems to come to live when Gerald touches it. It turns out to be a sort of repository containing a large number of different aliens all of whom are competing to get Gerald’s and later the world’s attention. And although their message appears to be urgent they are very evasive when it comes to explaining themselves or their ultimate purpose.
At about the same time, Peng Xiang Bin, a young Chinese man desperately trying to build a life for himself, his partner and baby by scavenging the new coastline discovers a second crystal, one whose messenger claims that those inside the first crystal are liars.
With the whole world involved in the discussion about what to make of the aliens’ warnings and proposed solution, various people decide to take positions and push their personal causes.
There is Tor Povlov, a journalist whose body was destroyed in a terrorist attack who now operates on a cyber level with the aid of a virtual think-tank, Hamish Brookeman, the famous author of doomsday books who advocates an anti-technology course of action, and Lacey Donaldson-Sander one of the super-rich de-facto rulers of the world to name but a few. With everybody, including the aliens, having an agenda of their own, the big question is whether or not humanity is equipped to deal with and survive the alien’s arrival.

This book starts of very slow. The near-future-world has to be introduced and build as do the various characters, their backgrounds and motivation. But even when the story does really kick off this still isn’t a quick read. The story is filled to the brim with facts, speculation and details which will prove important further on in the story. If the reader wants to fully appreciate this story they’d do well to take their time and try and absorb what is happening.

From the moment humanity discovers that the artifact aliens have a purpose of their own, a purpose that could destroy Earth the question becomes and remains who is outsmarting who? Are the humans smart enough to anticipate every trick in the aliens’ book or have the latter foreseen any attempts at foiling their purpose and is humanity destined to repeat mistakes made by other races?
It was this question and the fact that it never appears to get a definite answer that really got me invested in the story. There were times when I could see an ulterior motive before the characters in the book did and could only hope that they would come to the same conclusion. At other times those characters where way ahead of me, taking actions that filled me with dread but appeared to turn out for the best later on, although the question always remained; did they really find a safe solution or are they still being tricked into a false sense of security?

It is a shame that there are one or two story-lines that did not appear to serve a real purpose in the overall context of the book. For example, as much as I enjoyed the adventures of Hacker and his encounter with the dolphins I’m not sure why it had to be part of this story or what it was meant to illustrate that couldn’t be seen through any of the other story-lines. The prophet, Tenskwatawa, was another interesting character that got introduced in the early part of the story only to disappear again without having served any obvious purpose. And while the autistics and resurrected Neanderthals do seem to have a role to play later on in the story I can’t help feeling that a lot more could have been done with their storyline.
Maybe this book suffers from too much story. I can’t help feeling that the author had a host of great ideas and then tried to squeeze them all into one narrative. It is quite possible that spreading them out a bit would have led to a more satisfying reading experience.
Overall though I was fascinated by the main story in this book from the moment it was fully introduced and I know that I will be thinking about it even now, after I read the last page. And any book that manages to capture my attention to such a degree deserves to be praised.
On a separate note, I loved the cover on this book and the 3-D picture it shows.