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Beware magazine articles

Sexpiry Book Cover Sexpiry
London Loving Book 3
by Tori Turnbull
Romance , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 11 Oct 2019

Harriet “Hari” Rawlinson has an IQ that puts her in the genius category, she’s a computer coding phenomenon and karate gold medallist. But she doesn’t understand people or nuance and she personifies socially awkward.
From the moment he meets her, Cameron “Cam” Foster is captivated by Hari, with her plain speaking, mental fixations and head full of facts, she is like a human Siri. He sees her - All of her - And can’t imagine not having her in his life and can happily spend the rest of his life getting to know her.
Hari’s never had a real relationship. Sex, yes. But a man who wanted to get to know her or stick around after sex? No. She is in the middle of a personal crisis: She only has twelve days before her sexual expiry; it’s true, she read it in a magazine. She doesn’t have time to get to know Cam right now.
Somehow, whilst Hari is fixated on having a one-night stand, she finds herself with a real-life boyfriend. But what if she doesn’t have whatever it takes to make a relationship work in the long term?

Contemporary romance

While this book is amusingly written and well shows the folly of believing in articles written in the popular press and magazines, I have a major beef with it. It is following a trend which shows female computing/mathematical whizz kids to be on the spectrum. To be lacking in the ability to communicate successfully with other people, and to have difficulty with emotions. I realise that this was always the usual portrayal of male computer/mathematical males but why?  Music and maths for instance, are the 2 parts of the same ability? And why link what they can achieve intellectually with their human communicational abilities? It is too easy to use this for a story. Which means that despite my enjoyment and the humorous prose (btw the jokes were unnecessary) I am downgrading the book to a 3 star.

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Sea and gruesomeness

The Contract of Maddox Black Book Cover The Contract of Maddox Black
The Chronicles of Maddox Black
E Earle
Sci Fi & Fantasy
BooksGoSocial, CreateSpace
Pub Date 3 Jan 2017

Determined. Daring. And soon to be Dead.

Hanging for witchcraft is the least of Maddox Black's problems. Becoming sworn to a demon Hunter is another…

Thought dead for seven years, Maddox returns home to Greyport, intent on claiming her deceased father’s infamous travel journals.

Before she can lay her hands on her inheritance, she discovers her drunkard cousin has already promised the journals to the Grim. To make things worse, the bankrupt Earl of Greyport is blackmailing her to race for them across the Damned Seas and a Hunter is knocking on her door, claiming she’s to join his Demon-exorcising Order.

Running out of options, Maddox does the unthinkable and strikes a deal with the unnatural Hunter, leading her down a whirlwind of walking corpses, using dismembered fingers as currency, burning down plague-ridden villages and bribed to find a mad prince’s kidnapped sister.

To survive, she will have to become the very thing people feared her to be...

I initially had a problem with this book – I was about to give up about 10% of the way through – much sooner than normal, but then suddenly the story improved and much that had been obscure began to make senses. All after she met The Hunter.

Maddy’s father was rather more than he seemed and thus his journals were rather more than just journals of his travels. Thus they became very important and more than The Grim were after them. Although it was stated that only Maddy and her father could read them as they were in a special code. And her mother was more than just a woman from the Half Woods too. And over the course of this story, Maddy begins to learn that she is more too. Powers have been inherited from her father as well as her mother.

Is it a good story? Well it is a gruesome story and not one to read at bedtime unless you want nightmares. The author has let their imagination run riot in the ‘how awful can this creature be?’ vein of story-telling. Will I read more of this story? Probably not as it is just a bit too gruesome for me, but I would like to know that the children are rescued unharmed, more than that doesn’t bother me. 4 stars in the end.

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How Tall?

The Seduction of Tallchief Book Cover The Seduction of Tallchief
by Doreen Owens Malek
Romance , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 3 Sep 2019

THE SEDUCTION OF TALLCHIEF concerns the criminal pursuit of a multi-millionaire serial child molester, George Walden, who has used his wealth and connections to escape detection for decades. A reluctant, unconventional agent, Jefferson Tallchief, is sent into Walden’s New Jersey mansion to assemble the case against him. The relationship that develops between Walden’s bitter and reclusive daughter, Victoria, and the new hire acting as her driver forms the core of the story. As they get to know one another, their prejudices (he’s Native American and she’s mostly WASP) dissipate and a bond slowly develops between them. While Tallchief works covertly to uncover evidence that will bring Walden to justice, he’s increasingly conflicted about his deceptive role in Victoria’s life. Just when he has a major breakthrough that means he can put Walden in prison for good, Tallchief must deal with a shocking twist that changes the dangerous game entirely. The story builds to a tension filled climax which will determine the future of all the players involved. This riveting blend of suspense and romance makes a compelling, satisfying read.

As the author herself says, there is a certain fascination with a Native American as hero, especially if they look like this author makes them! The archetype that is portrayed of a strong, silent, deep person, with hidden emotions, capable and surprising and loyal.

This is how she writes Tallchief and provides him as a foil to the pale, apparently weak, heroine of the story. Someone he could rescue, cherish and take away from her cage and set her free to flourish.

But it turns out that she has hidden depths too, and is more capable than he imagined.

The father is the villain here, and his crimes are very nasty indeed.

Overall a nicely crafted story but not original in concept even if different in delivery.

And just FYI. This author has written a series of 4 novels earlier in her career about Native American heroes and the storyline is very similar. The heroine is nearly always blonde and pale and from the North, and they are mostly set in Florida. Basically, she writes the same story with slightly different settings and careers and backgrounds, but always with two different ethnicities and cultures at play.

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Karma means?

Karma's Slow Burn
by Nalini Warriar
Romance
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 1 Feb 2020

Rafael Henley, star pitcher of the pro-baseball team Sliders, is a single dad of a six-month old baby girl he loves more than life itself. He likes willowy blondes and women who don’t look to him as their protector. Yet here is, lusting after the complete opposite: petite, raven-haired, Karma Huntington with a rose tat running up her neck, brimming with confidence and fiercely independent. But the dark secret Rafael holds in his heart prevents any serious interest in pursuing Karma.

Baseball is one of Karma’s passions, the others being writing and food. Not only does the order of this change with her moods but she could also be doing two of them at the same time. Like writing with food on her face or watching baseball and eating. Real multi-tasking.

Raised by her father and his gang of friends, Karma’s just getting over the death of her husband. It has been three years but to her it feels like yesterday. Time heals, she’s been told. She’s still waiting. Now she has revenge on her mind. She wants to get closer to Rafael to avenge her husband’s death. He was driving the car that killed him. And what better way to do it than to take away the one thing he loves most in the world?

She gets her chance to get closer to Rafe when he stumbles upon her one moonlit night, meditating on the hill looking upon the lake. They both want this one brief encounter and that would be it: a one-night stand deal, which no one actually wants.

As she’s finishing the pictures for her latest article, Rafael’s nanny calls in sick. As he has to leave for New York for a series of games with the Yankees, Karma volunteers to baby-sit Ali. When Rafael gets back from his road trip, he realizes he wants the deal with Karma to be toast.

Karma’s plan to get closer to Rafael is in the works. Everything comes to a screeching halt when Rafael’s baby girl is kidnapped. Nothing, nothing will stop him from getting her back and beating the crap out of whoever is responsible.

Karma’s father and his friends decide to jump in the fray and do some rescuing of their own. Lily is retired, yes, but a decorated police officer. Flatulent Rosy is a seasoned claims investigator. Cross-dressing Trudie is incredibly fit. If they don’t make a great team, then what use are their talents? Just as the rescue gang tumbles in, Rafael marches into the loft where Ali is kept. Karma keeps out of sight as the rescue effort is underway.

Rafael has words with the rescue team, gives them a piece of his very loud mind. He’ll be happy if he never sees them again.

Relieved it was only a ploy to get him back, Rafael and Declan bond. However, from the PI’s files, Rafael discovers Karma has been hiding things from him. He confronts her and accuses her of wanting revenge for the death of her husband. He plans to stay out of her life.

The team is relocating and Rafael has to decide if he wants to move with them. He’s devastated. This on top of Karma’s betrayal! Just when he was beginning to like her a lot! He quits baseball so he can be with Ali and watch her grow up in the house Linus has left him: the house in the woods. He opens a restaurant, which becomes a hit. Rafael cannot avoid Karma. A chance meeting with her after the release of her latest book put things into perspective for him. But Karma’s head is the clouds. Her latest book, a romance, has hit all the lists. She’s immersed in her writing, dazzled with her success and loving every second of it. She’s not ready to fall in love again. Not ready to be distracted. And she wants none of it.

Rafael’s just thinking of lost opportunities when Karma’s father, Alan, and his gang stop for a bite at his restaurant. Alan tells Rafe about Ben and Rafael admits Linus was driving. Alan tells Rafe to go to Karma and let her know that.

With a bit of strawberry and cream, Karma finally lets the past stay in the past and Rafael puts aside his guilty conscience.

Now this was an interesting story about a young sports journalist – female in a world which is more than dominated by male journalists and her slow burn romance with a baseball player. Slow burn because of who they are and what he has going on in his personal life – that is a very small baby!

I found the story credible and engaging and enjoyed Karma and her delight in her Indian heritage and her father’s friends were a hoot… clearly all needed much more to do in their retirement.

The author is happy to cross some ‘lines’ about race and sexuality that many authors shy away from from and this is refreshing especially as it was just added in as a normal part of the story. No big deal.

Overall a good read.

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Don’t let the imps out in the snow….

An Impish Christmas
A Shifter Academy
Angel Leya
Young Adult Holiday Rom Com , Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019

This Year, Kenzie's going to make Christmas great again. 😉

Kenzie is finally at the Shifter Academy, living her dreams, dating her super hot (and super granola) cat shifter boyfriend. After all the drama of last year, making this Christmas the best ever should be a piece of pie (make that a large slice with extra whipped cream). Right?

Wrong.

When Kenzie’s Christmas plans meet with heavy reluctance, Kenzie’s left holding the decorations all by herself. Oh, except for the impossibly adorable mer guy, who seemed to be on team make-Kenzie’s-life-miserable, now wants to help. What’s with that?

Add to the mix a dash of magic gone awry, and now Kenzie’s chasing a magical imp that’s tearing down all her attempts to jollify the joint.

She’ll need to track down the imp, undo the errant magic, and get everyone in the Christmas spirit before time runs out. Fail, and she could be expelled—or worse, the school might just come crumbling down. Again.

This story is a part of the Shifter Academy world, and occurs about one year following the USA Today bestselling Siren Prophecy series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel. Perfect for fans of heartwarming Christmas shenanigans, like The Grinch, and sweet holiday romantic comedies.

3 stars for me as rather light.

A YA story in the Shifters’ Academy series of stories.

There are some amusing antics of the Imp related even though I did guess who was the Imp fairly early on. The clues were all there. It is a nice setting with a touch of Hogwarts – a hidden railway train and platforms and all… for the intended audience a 4.

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