More Ryker please!


Ryker  by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury series)

Ryker is loveable – bit fragile but loveable.  What was his idiotic wife thinking?!  (no spoiler as that’s in Zack’s book!)

Its taken me until book 4 to realise that Sawyer Bennett is all about the big picture – she’s got a message to share and this is her medium.  And boy does she do it well!

Its a great romance, all the typical fare you expect and want from a sports romance.  The hockey scenes are fab.  I could fill any number of paragraphs about Ms Bennett’s great writing and her story telling, she’d deserve it of course.

But what steals the whole book is Ryker himself and his attitude as a single dad to two little girls when faced with a  career dilemma for him and Gray.  Quite simply we need more Rykers.

It was moving but refreshingly not overly sentimental.  I hope that every girl/woman reading this takes his message on board and thinks about it.  There are Rykers out there – just not enough and few are recognised.

Thanks Sawyer – we need more from you too!

It’s all about the girl


Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh out Oct 6th

This is Kit’s story. Sure the blurb will tell you its Noah’s story, but its not.  It’s all about Kit and wow is she a heroine and a half!

I didn’t immediately love this series.  Fox and Molly’s chemistry didn’t quite do it for me. David and Thea were cute and sweet but it was only a novella. Then I got T-Rex’d and I loved it!  I’m watching Sonny Bill Williams play in the rugby world cup and dreaming of Gabriel (its the shirt story!).

I’ve read Rock Hard four times now.  Three on the first weekend.  So, perhaps its not surprising that this didn’t quite reach those dizzy heights. Maybe I wouldn’t have cope if it had!  But its a great read and Kit kills it.  She’s strong but vulnerable.  She’s funny but serious.  She’s passionate but practical.  She’s simply my kind of girl, the fact that she’s a super amazing actress just endears her that much more.

Noah’s issues are difficult and I wasn’t always convinced about why he didn’t seek help before or indeed get help now.  But his desire to be a better man and friend to Kit are so heartfelt that you want him to succeed.  The line that Kit draws for him seemed to me insurmountable but yet not.  I kind of knew he’d do it. Or maybe i just hoped!

We get to see lots of David and Fox in this and the relationship between the four is genuine and gorgeous.  Fox and Noah are the ultimate bromance boys!  Divine!  So, we wait for Abe and Sarah’s story – that was very well trailed and I think its going to be a complicated roller coaster.  Can’t wait!

Thanks to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

So quotable

The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane

The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Over a month after reading this I still have no real idea of what this book was about or what I thought of it.  But I’m still pondering it. That has to mean something, surely?!

What I’m fairly sure is that this is a celebration and exploration of childhood. Maybe every parent should read it, probably when you little ones aren’t toddlers but are still inhabiting the magical world only they can create.

‘Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands;  perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.’

I might not get Gaiman’s full story but this I got. Way too often I’m that adult, even when I wish I wasn’t. Sad hey?! Such a beautiful point, totally stuck in my mind and effortlessly made.

‘Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.’

The thought that all adults are just large sized kids both charms and chills me. Do I agree? I’m not sure, the insides of most adults probably reflect the experiences of their time on earth. Good or bad experiences basic maths says that adults have a hell of a lot more than the average 6 year old. But it’s a truth that little children think that adults always know what to do and are never scared. It’s what makes being a teenager a scary experience.

What I loved about this book was the impact that a few words can have. Neil Gaiman’s ability to craft a few words into a memorable quote is enviable.  I guess I should talk about the relationships and speculate about Lettie’s fate, but you know what I loved most were the quotes, so I’d rather share a few of my favourites.

‘I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else’ 

“Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”

All monsters are scared. That’s why they’re monsters.”

“And did I pass?”
The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk.
On my left the younger woman said,
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

And there are plenty more where they came from, go and find out for yourself!

In, out and relax


Blood Dark Lindsay J. Pryor (out September 23rd)

There are some books that are tagged as can’t put it down (CPID).  This isn’t one of them.  For me this is a book that I had to put down, simply to breathe.  “In, out and relax” became my mantra in parts.

As a master vampire Kane’s heart barely beats, yet at times in this amazingly crafted story he could hear his heart pounding.  Well, can you imagine mine?  Regular human that I am?  Seriously, Lindsay Pryor’s fifth instalment had my heart pounding so loud I could barely concentrate.

Carsten Holler’s Southbank exhibition Decision ended on Sunday, I wonder if Lindsay went?  The entrance to the exhibition was via tunnels completely devoid of light.  Lindsay’s description of the tunnel journey Kane takes Caitlin on was all encompassing. I found my t-shirt fisted tightly in my hand and I slowly had to unclench my fingers.  At other moments (especially in the derelict school) I was shouting in my head so loudly “No Caitlin No!” I’m concerned I disturbed the neighbours.

So, I liked it – a lot.

Lindsay Pryor has crafted a world that’s intricate, gritty and genuinely fascinating.  And the really scary thing is that when Vampires (or others) do eventually show themselves (!) this is what it will be like.  This is human (and other species) nature and power politics laid bare.  Its a fight for what you can get, alliances that might be true or not and secrets galore.  Thrilling stuff!

Yes, Kane and Caitlin’s romance is centre stage (and on the line) but its not a traditional romance.  Machiavelli would be so proud of Ms Pryor and her deceitful, cunning and exploitative nature.  Although on social media she comes across as a sweetie – all part of the act I wonder?!

Book five is darker and harsher than I expected and all the better for it.  Lindsay Pryor’s ability to stay true to her finely crafted story is enviable and her characters are rich and demanding (especially that Kane!).  I’d say its fabulous.  In fact its beyond fabulous – its fabulous on steroids!  And I’m a goner!

Thank you to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

Stealing the Show

Archangel’s Enigma Nalini Singh

So, we finally know what Naasir is!   I’ll keep the secret a bit longer…

But it was certainly worth waiting for.  As usual with Nalini she has tee’d up the couple perfectly.  Andi is just what Naasir wants and needs.  The dialogue is another absolute winner.  With Naasir’s childlike nature and Andi’s naivety Archangel’s Enigma is funnier and more heart warming.  Nalini doesn’t write dialogue she simply and brilliantly records what is said to her.  Never more so than when Naasir is given his task by Raphael.

He kicks it off brilliantly with the complaint: “I can’t be dragging around a historian.  They break.”  Its especially inconvenient whilst he searches for his mate and his response to Andromeda’s vow is a classic!  But my favourites were about his diet from different restaurants to telling Andi he’d eat a person if he hated them and was “really hungry”.  It makes a change from most man whores who like variety in their bed partners – Naasir is all about his diet!  And yet, her responses to being food were so matter of fact I just laughed.

Apologies to Naasir even with the prospect of him eating someone, he was outshone.  Illium and Aodhan stole the show.

This bromance between two very different characters who have been life long friends simply killed it.  There’s a scene where Illium is injured and Aodhan who can’t bare to be touched, grasps Elena’s hand – it stole my breath and my heart.

And visually – these two are dynamite!  Bluebell with his gorgeous distinctive blue wings coveted by everyone but especially Lijuan and Aodhan with wings that seem to be of fractured glass and ice.  Can you imagine getting out of a yellow cab in NYC and looking up?  When you picture something like that you know that Nalini’s not a writer but an artist.  Phenomenal.

As you’d expect the social media chat is all around are they the next guildhunter couple.  I guess they could be.  And wherever Nalini takes her characters I will simply follow, I’m fine with it.  But I think their story is one of relationships and connections.  Until Elena had Raphael her closest relationship was Sara.  She understands friendship and Raphael who has spent almost his entire life without Caliane does too.  To me, it’s not just about fixing Aodhan’s issues but confirming for Ellie that its the family you choose that sustains you – true for all of us but especially true for an immortal with mortal friends and family.