#03 Make him Howl – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, after my first NetGalley request last week we’re back to Zoe’s Shift series. At this point in time when I’m writing this (in very early April!) this is the last book in the series available.

After reading Bearly Married, Trust the Wolf and Truth or Bear I was used to a certain level of excitement, drama and romance all blending together to form a captivating story. Even though Zoe’s quality of writing was still up there with the other books, I felt it was written a bit differently.

Since we’re following on from the end of Truth or Bear our lovers are separated thanks to Parker being kidnapped. Even though we’re a month on from where we left off, Gabriel hasn’t managed to find any promising leads to find Parker. Although this separation was great for building up Gabriel’s feelings for Parker. It meant that the rest of the story had to adapt to suit it.

Zoe has even given us a playlist to listen to while reading Make him Howl

Throughout most of this book I felt like it was a bit flat emotionally compared to the rest of the series. There were certainly peaks of drama and excitement. But not to the same levels as the other books.

After finishing that story, I feel like it could have been done better as a novella. That way it cuts out the flatter sections or could have at least condensed it. Leaving us with all the good filled bits!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about Zoe, and don’t forget to check out the reviews for the other books in the series.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She's also on Pintrest so you can check her out there or through her socials below.

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Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarelli

Welcome back everyone, today’s review takes us into the wilds of Tuscany and its history, both recent and long gone.

I’m going to kick off this review with some things I didn’t like. The way Kate has written her character’s thoughts and conversations made me feel like I was reading a regency or Victorian romance. The formal way the character’s spoke to each other is something that you just wouldn’t come across in modern times.

For a good while there I thought it was set historically (obviously having forgotten what the cover looked like) until Antonia set setting up a laptop. That really threw me! And I had moments like this happen throughout most of the book.

The other thing that really bugged me was how easily Lorenzo switched from being a man whore to be a one-woman man who is dumping his fiancé. Like that was just so sudden it didn’t feel natural. And the same kind of thing happened with Antonia. Can someone REALLY fall in love so deeply they will change who they are within a few days?

I know romances aren’t meant to be realistic, but this was just over the top.

On the other hand, Kate’s ability to describe a location is amazing. I feel like I knew a fair bit about Tuscan history (thank you Assassins Creed!) yet I didn’t know that there were literal castles there.

The ravages of time and WWII haven’t been left out either. There was a great nod to those poor souls who lost their lives because of that war which I thought was brilliant. The moments when characters interact with the memorial to those was probably the most emotionally realistic the whole book got.

If Kate were to write a historical romance I feel like she’d nail it with her ability to emotionally draw you into a place. And she can already write in the same way people of the past spoke. But for a modern romance?

It’s not quite hitting it for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s latest (yes I’m finally getting to it!) novel Make Him Howl. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Zarrelli books or on Twitter @katmezzacappa.

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Probably the Best Kiss in the World – Pernille Hughes

Welcome back everyone, we’re in for a double review day today because I really wanted to read this book as well as the Time for Alexander series. So you get to enjoy this bonus review!

I found this one mostly easy to read and enjoyable. But the articles that were randomly dotted throughout the story really threw me off. I found that I’d be really hooked on the story, powering through and then I got stopped by some article about Lydia, her younger sister. Am I meant to be caring about her sister? Is her sister somehow super important to the overall story?

By the time I got to the end I could see how Lydia was important in helping Jen become more self-aware and confident enough to follow her dreams. But I don’t feel like the articles added anything to the overall story, so I’m not sure why they are there.

On the other hand, Jen and Jakob’s relationship was sweet and endearing even though I don’t like how Jen went about starting her relationship with Jakob. I’m not a fan of cheaters, and I don’t think we should be glamorising those who cheat and that they can still get what they want from life.

But I also get that sometimes you do just get carried away, and before you know if shit’s gone down that you regret. I just wish she’d been more upfront about all that with Jakob and Robert.

The fact that Jen and Jakob’s relationship centres around beer was quite entertaining to me. Especially since there were references to stereotypes that women don’t like beer and couldn’t possibly understand beer. I loved that this felt like a subtle dig that women can do stuff men can as well. Specially considering if you go back far enough in history, it was actually the women who brewed beer first.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, if you haven’t already checked out Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire, I think you should. And next week I will be reviewing The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE'S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies. Find out about her new books at www.pernillehughes.com

Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children's television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.

Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

You can also find Pernille on Bookbub and Pintrest.

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving a bit out into the English countryside this week although we’re sticking to the romance genre. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I have a bit of a thing for historical settings and a countryside castle fits into that. I just had to give it a read to see how a castle was described, used and managed in these modern days.

Writing Style

For some books I find this really hard to describe, and this is one of those books. It almost felt like at times it was character driven, while at others it was driven by the story or the location. I don’t know if there’s a technical description for it, but I found the balance of all those different approaches really relaxing.

This let me just absorb what was on the page and feel like I was there with them as much as possible. I did find myself wishing I could enjoy reading them in the bath, but by the time I realised I wanted that it was too late to run a bath. And unfortunately, I don’t own a portable bath to travel to and from work in (not that I’m sure that’s socially acceptable?) to get my extra level of relaxation that way.

And man, those bluebell descriptions reminded me of the park behind the house I grew up in. But for me it was a field of daisies not bluebells. Not quite as fancy. But you still get the whole running in a field of flowers feeling which is amazing. So those descriptions brought me back to those childhood summer days where I’d read in amongst the flowers and my dad would almost trip over me coz, he couldn’t see me coz the flowers were so tall.

Those were good times so it’s nice to remember them sometimes.

Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused as to what was happening in the first 2-3 chapters because it didn’t label the time to show we were covering certain days across winter with months between them. Once I realised this, I was OK, especially since it was pretty much entirely based in spring/early summer after that.

Since I’d been held on tenterhooks waiting for this book to arrive, I was ready to dive straight in and get immersed in the story. And I found this super easy to do, especially with a glass of wine on hand late on a Saturday afternoon and throughout Saturday night.

This book felt like a really great reading companion for a weekend night, which I really haven’t felt like I’ve had for quite some time.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the whole book I found myself picturing the countryside, the types of stones used, the layout of the castle, all those dogs running around and how picturesque it must be. Living somewhere like this would be a dream for me. Minus the money issues of course.

To read about how the other half live was mesmerising for me. But what I really liked were the moments when Lucie and Arthur were able to recognise their own faults and do something about them. They may have needed help sometimes to see their own faults. But they didn’t run away, gloss over or hide from them in in fear of what others would think of them.

Except a small moment from Lucie. But I can understand that and respect her for making sure Arthur found out the truth from her regardless.

My only fault with this book was the ending. I wanted more than like the 2 pages of them meeting up and making up to know what happens to them. An epilogue would have been perfect to wrap it up nicely. Unless it’s a series? Is it a series?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward on tour thanks to Write Reads. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.