Review: Learning to Fly

Saturday 10 December 2016 No comments
Learning to Fly Learning to Fly by Annie Hughes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve not cried so hard for a character in years. This is a truly breathtaking story of pain, suffering and hope and one that is highly recommended.

Yes, this serial is essentially about a 16/17-year-old and her friends but it’s so much more. It’s a portrayal of a future free of suffering and one in the arms of people of who love unconditionally. This is definitely not an easy story to read. The abuse suffered by Anna is difficult to stomach and despite her now living in the arms of a loving family, Anna’s past rears its ugly head on more than one occasion to keep her from being free of her demons.

SPOILER [After ending book 1 with Anna now in a tentative relationship with her brother’s best friend, Jake, Anna is feeling suffocated by his need to protect her. Jake has seen Anna at her lowest having been present at her trial but little does she know that his support of her will be the end of their relationship, and friendship. Jake loves Anna and Anna thinks that she feels the same but questions her feelings for him when she realises that his overprotectiveness of her causes her to become a silent victim once again. This time she is abused by a love which causes Anna to become lost in her mind once again and it’s not long before her family see Jake’s effect on her. Logan, Anna’s brother, becomes moody around Anna as result. His once best friend now spends every waking moment around Anna and their friendship suffers as a consequence. Anna sees the change in her brother but it takes time for her to realise that his connection to Jake is the cause of his mood swings.] SPOILER END

This really was a beautiful story and one I will always remember fondly. Finding your feet into adulthood is difficult for most people but for Anna, it’s nearly impossible as her pain and suffering continue to form the teenager that she is today. I loved the way Ethan saved her from herself in a way that Jake couldn’t. Logan is the perfect brother to Anna, despite one rather impressive fall from grace, and his character was instantly loveable.

I read this book through the night, sobbing quietly to myself but at the same time turning the pages as quickly as I could to savour every nuance of this story. If you love Jillian Dodd’s Keatyn Chronicles series then you will love the characters in this serial. They play hard, drink hard and love hard, a perfect basis for any YA story.

Annie Hughes may not be a hugely well-known author but she deserves to be, her storytelling is pure bliss!

This ebook was kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: Una Familia Segura

Una Familia Segura Una Familia Segura by Annie Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another wonderful book from this author. Whilst the story is emotive, it is also heartwarming and despite the horrific scenes experienced by Anna, I felt completely absorbed by this book.

Anna Rosa Castillo has been horrifically abused for most of her childhood years but now, 16 years old and having received what is hopefully her final punishment from her stepfather, she faces a future with her father, in America.

Anna knew nothing of her father but when her mother dies, he is contacted as her next of kin having been named on her birth certificate. Life with David and his family is the polar opposite of what she has lived to date; abuse aside. They are a wealthy and loving family and are immediately supportive of Anna. Anna is, as expected, reluctant to trust anyone in her life but David, Mel and Mel's son Logan are just what she needs. From her arrival in America, Anna knows that her future is with this family but she still has one hurdle to overcome and that is her return to the UK to appear in court for her stepfather's trial.

I loved this story of hope but at times I felt that Anna's happiness came a little too easily. She fell in love with her new family almost immediately and even managed to call David and Mel her Papa and mum within a relatively short time. Also, for someone who has been abused so cruelly, she seems surprisingly strong when you would expect her to take years to recover from her abuse. That said, this is still a rewarding story and I can't wait to read on.

Despite this being a story of a 16 year old, and her new friends of the same age, it isn't necessarily a YA read, nor is it a romance story although Anna’s developing relationship with Logan’s friend Jake is a sweet side story. It's more a story of a new family re-building its foundations after finding a sibling that no-one was aware of. Anna's story may be at the crux of this book, but it's also David, Mel and Logan's story and definitely one to be cherished.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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4 Star Review: Still Air (Portland, ME, #4) by Freya Barker

Tuesday 29 November 2016 No comments
Still Air (Portland, ME, #4)Still Air by Freya Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been such a memorable series and I’m sorry to see it come to an end.

Whilst the stories in the series are graphic reminders of the brutalities of everyday life for some women, and children, they go some way to offer hope and a future without pain and suffering. All of the women we have met so far have an emotional tale to tell but Pam has always been there to help them to safety and to turn their lives around, but who can help Pam when the tables are turned and she is the one suffering in silence; Dino, that’s who.

Review: Devil's Love

Thursday 10 November 2016 No comments
Devil's Love Devil's Love by Kim Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sadly, this book just didn't work for me. I loved Clubwhore and Patchwhore so when I saw there was another book in the Devil's Renegade series, I jumped on it.

I think part of the reason that I didn't connect with this book was due to the fact that I haven't read Saving Dallas so I don't know Dallas' backstory or that of Maddie (assuming her story was told there). There was clearly a painful past still affecting Maddie but I just had to take that at face value in order to read on.

Both Clubwhore and Patchwhore had an overall different feel to them. They told a story of a certain type of girl within an MC and Devil's Love just didn't seem to fit alongside these books.

I couldn't find any way to warm to Maddie, or what she has been through to bring her to where she is today. I just didn't appreciate her story or her need to kill. Marty, on the other hand, was a loveable character that I could have enjoyed in a different story with a different girl, or even a different Maddie.

Some of the vernacular in the book came across as too stilted and affected my reading enjoyment. To me, it seems that too many words were missing but I just put this down to a particular dialect and talking manner but maybe I'm wrong?

Overall, this book just felt too disjointed and not to the author's usual standards. It jumped around and on occasion and generally lacked continuity to the point that I felt that perhaps I was missing pages or chapters on my kindle. It's a shame because the series so far has blown me away.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in return for an honest review.

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4 Star Review: You Had Me at Christmas by Karina Bliss, Stephanie Doyle, Jennifer Lohmann, Laura Florand & Molly O’Keefe

Thursday 13 October 2016 No comments
You Had Me at ChristmasYou Had Me at Christmas by Karina Bliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great, festive collection of stories from some amazing authors....

Play by Karina Bliss

Who said a rock and roll lifestyle can't start, and end, at home! Join the fun and games as Kayla and her rock star hubby, Jared, try to resurrect their marriage, whilst under the influence of 2 children, at Christmastime!

Review: Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One

Wednesday 12 October 2016 No comments
Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One by T.M. Frazier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Preppy: Complex, damaged, quirky, and yet beautifully unique. This story is both heartbreaking and rewarding as we get to experience the multi-faceted mind of Preppy.

Preppy had an all too brief part to play in the series to date and his demise was a loss that was hard to stomach but now, after a long wait, he’s finally here to tell his story.

This wasn't an easy book to read and will have a number of triggers for the more sensitive of readers (including drug use, violence, sexual abuse) but for me, the edginess to his Preppy’s story was irrepressible. I found his damaged soul beautiful and yet his actions, on occasion, were difficult to accept but after putting the whole story together and into perspective, I can almost see why he acted as he did.
I never knew fear until I met pure evil. He wore a smile and a bow tie.
Andrea aka Dre aka Doc is Preppy’s unexpected salvation. After playing a part in a theft from her grandmother’s house, of Preppy's “plants”, she flees but with her body drug-addled she unable to escape Preppy who is determined to seek revenge against those who wronged him. Dre is too wrecked by heroin to outrun Preppy and soon becomes his puppet as he seeks retribution for her actions. What Preppy doesn’t expect to see in Dre's eyes is their mutual understanding of abuse brought about at the hands of men who sought to hurt them for their own self-fulfilment. We know Preppy had a tough childhood but we come to realise how conflicted he is about the actions of his step-father. Preppy has tried to put his past behind him but with Dre’s experiences still fresh in her mind, Preppy is forced to open wounds which he had assumed to be well healed.
She was the girl I was in love with. The girl I would always be in love with. Until my very last breath.
Together, Preppy forces Dre to make amends for the damage she has inflicted on his business and in doing so blackmails Dre to assist him. Whilst Preppy is torn over Dre, he knows a future between them would be impossible and instead suggests she become one of the BBB’s something that Dre has something to say about. As a result, Bear also makes an appearance, or two, in this story although King is in prison. Whilst the story is written in the past, Preppy’s present also plays a part, albeit at the hands of Bear’s father.

What I did struggle with this story, even having read it with an open mind, is the way Preppy was also culpable in his actions towards Dre. She pushed him away and yet he still took. He also took from her unconscious form which although odious, demonstrated the darkness inside Preppy’s twisted mind, which was clearly brought about at the hands of his abuser.

Despite the highs and lows in this story, it was expertly written and whilst it had a number of sharp edges, it was also enjoyable and for me, possibly the best book in the series to date. Preppy is as always extremely funny and his quips are a definite highlight of this story. This books ends on the inevitable “cliffie” and sets the scene nicely for the next instalment. Readers do need to read this series in order, to experience the story as a whole.

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Review: Patchwhore

Monday 10 October 2016 No comments
Patchwhore Patchwhore by Kim Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That's one Cook I'd like to have in my kitchen!

Another fascinating story from Kim Jones giving us an insight into the lifestyle of RCs and MCs.

This book portrayed a story of revenge for the female lead: Carmen. Scorned by her ex-boyfriend, Jud, who is now a patchholder of the Eagles RC, Carmen decides that the only way to get over him is to get under his brothers and in doing so, she voluntarily becomes a Patchwhore as she works her way up through the club ranks.

Without much of a plan, other than revenge, Carmen finds herself in uncharted territory until she is befriended by Kat, a waitress who already lives within the RC/MC lifestyle and knows the local members. But it’s not Kat who turns out to be Carmen’s largest proponent in her plan, that would be Cook, a Prospect with the Devil’s Renegades MC. Cook offers Carmen guidance and in doing so, the two become close and eventually their unexpected friendship becomes sexual. Carmen is delighted to have yet another man to use to make Jud jealous but she is stunned when she Jud laughs at her for dating a Prospect. Determined to move on with her plan, Carmen asks Cook, and Kat, to help her. Despite having reservations, Cook supports Carmen and in doing so, protects her from unknown dangers. Whilst her plan was to sleep with as many members as she can, Carmen’s non-relationship with Cook has its boundaries and that means she can’t have sex with anyone else but Cook and unbeknownst to Jud, he assumes that more is going on when he sees her with many different brothers.

As the story progresses, each chapter becomes a new date and a new attempt for Carmen to punish Jud. Whilst the series of dates starts off interesting, their impacts soon waivers as it becomes clear that Carmen has no interest in these men. Whilst her decisions are poorly thought out, Carmen unwittingly has the Devil’s Renegades MC President, Ronnie, working in the background to scupper her plans and it’s not long before she realises that her dates are being deliberately cut short.

The story has a split feel to it. One one side it focuses on Carmen and her plan to be a Patchwhore and on the other side we get a sweet romance building between her and Cook. Cook is the perfect character to compliment Carmen’s, less than favourable persona. Whilst she determinedly works to call Jud to heel, Carmen is blind to the feeling she has growing within her for Cook. I loved the interactions with Ronnie and also the feeling of club life when Carmen starts to ingratiate herself with its members. What I didn’t enjoy was the way that Carmen was happy to become known as a Patchwhore just for the sake of revenge. I probably would have accepted someone who had become a Patchwhore out of desperation and need but for Carmen, a bright student who comes from a wealthy family, with a self-less need to succeed on her own, to actively wish to become a Patchwhore just took the story a step too far. That said, I once again loved Kim Jones’ writing and the story, when taken lightly, was an enjoyable one.

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Review: Will

Will Will by Kerry Heavens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Roll reversals and even more drama, yes just like Spencer, Will has a flair for making his love life, HARD!

Spencer left me wanting slightly, so it was Will’s turn to try and save the day but with Spencer as a cousin, the question is, can Will outshine his exuberant relative?

Well, the answer is a mixed one - yes and no. You really couldn’t have had two people so different. Spencer is a boyish and mostly loveable rogue, with somewhat childish tendencies, where Will is lacking in confidence and self-belief and that’s the real reason why he has kept his distance from Mags. Having loved her before, and having pushed himself away from her, mainly due a class issue: she has it and he believes he’s not worthy of her, Will must now face his fears and decide whether he can ever move on from what they shared.

With Spencer his proverbial nemesis, Will struggles to live life to the full and continues to fall some way behind Mags’ friends and family but with Spencer dating Mags’ best friend, Jazz, he simply can’t avoid Mags. It’s not until Spencer, being Spencer, liberates one of the many books that Mags has written, under a pseudonym, that he starts to see her in a different light. Mags writes smut and does so with a healthy dose of female empowerment, yes, Mags likes to take control and for Will, having hidden his own dream of being dominated, this news may just save him from himself.

The only problem Will has though, is with himself. Sadly, Will is just like you or I, in that if you’re going to do something off-kilter, then you’re going to get caught, and he does, repeatedly, by Spencer of all people. Mags is determined to help Will to overcome his fears though and pushes him hard to accept himself for what he is: a man who just likes to be dominated. Whilst kink is all good and well, this story doesn’t take it into the realms of impossibility. It merely shows how it can be healthy between two normal people who like to spice things up by being tied, shackled, flogged etc, but in a much less dark way that is portrayed in BDSM themed books. Will is the man that secretly lives within all of us. He wants to try and live his sexuality without judgement and to just enjoy being himself but when he decides on a particularly inappropriate safe word, it’s clear that Will’s pain will become cruelly psychological.

This was a really funny story, despite the sadness surround poor Will and his endeavours at times. Will was like a breath of fresh air after experiencing Spencer, which is like living at Mach 10! Will was sweet, kind, sensitive, vulnerable, insecure and everything that Spencer isn’t. Spencer continues to titillate throughout this story though and even has his own hurdle or two to overcome, whilst realising that to be in a committed relationship, he needs to grow up.

I was pleasantly surprised by this series. After initially wanting to inflict bodily harm on Spencer, he did start to grow on me and Will, alongside Spencer, just smoothed out his edges. Will, on the other hand, made this instalment a more palatable one and despite his insecurities, which did start to grate, especially after the 10th time of him believing that he wasn’t good enough for Mags and misinterpreting a situation he found himself in. I’d definitely recommend reading both of these stories concurrently though as this gave me the benefit of a smooth transition from Spencer to Will, especially as Will’s story starts on the tail end of Spencer’s book.

Definitely, a duo of books to read when you’re looking for something lighthearted but comically entertaining. If you can survive all that is Spencer that is!

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Review: Spencer

Spencer Spencer by Kerry Heavens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After starting to read Will, I quickly realised that I needed to experience Spencer before getting to fully appreciate Will!

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I couldn't put it down, which was a plus, it's was a really funny story, another plus, but Spencer and Jazz came across really immature and Spencer, despite being a loveable character, really started to need a good slap as the story progressed. That said, I held off my violent tendencies and still managed to enjoy the book, which was told in part via a series of Tweets or DMs; something I haven't experienced before but yet found intriguing and very clever. Spencer was especially talented with his written prose. The problems only started when he opened his mouth!

Definitely, a funny and enjoyable story though and very well written and planned, with some fabulous British witticisms.

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Authors V Reviewers & Social-Media Etiquette!

Wednesday 5 October 2016 No comments

Yet again, social media is alight with a battle of words between a blogger and an author and it led me to ask the question, who, ultimately, is in the right?  Should authors have the right to flag reviews that are less than complimentary? Do bloggers have the right to start a revolt when an author questions their opinions? And do we even care? 

For me, my reviews are based on the book.  Just the book.  Not the author, the famedom, other reviews, or even friends’ opinions.  I am not led by the majority and I make my own mind up about everything in life. That said, even if I really don’t like a book, I would never body-slam an author with abusive words but I will provide a critical and honest review of their book, whether they like it or not.

To Tour Or Not To Tour?!

I remember when…… oh gosh, I sound like I’ve been blogging for years but…. remember when we used to get excited over being chosen to receive an ARC.  That feeling to have been one of the chosen few. Nowadays ARCs seem to be offered out more freely but at the same time, the demands from the authors and their PR gurus have escalated, hence my question above.  Do we continue to tour and accept the demands placed upon us in return for that greatly sought after ARC or do we take a step back, purchase the book upon release and then pimp it like crazy?

Review: Savage Mafia Prince

Tuesday 4 October 2016 No comments
Savage Mafia Prince Savage Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's finally time to experience Kiro and his own unique story!

It feels like we’ve been waiting for Kiro’s story for an age but in reality it’s only been months. Destined to be the culmination of the Dangerous Royals series, the barrier was possibly set impossibly high for Kiro and Savage Mafia Prince, but did it deliver?

Mostly, yes, although I didn’t find myself swept away by this book, in the same way as its predecessors. Had I read it without the mafia theme so strongly attached to it I am sure I would have loved it. For me, I missed the drama of the mafia and organised crime family essence portrayed in the series to date, although this did appear at the end of the book, much to my delight. This is not a bad thing per se but, for me personally, I found myself in unchartered territory and reading a book with a Tarzan and Jane theme throughout.

We know Kiro was taken as a child which resulted in him living in the wild and becoming a shadow of the man he was destined to be. We know he had been captured and was highly dangerous and was now living out his days in a mental health facility and that’s where we are finally properly introduced to him, and his story. I loved how the author handled Kiro’s unconscious consciousness whilst under heavy medication. It may be a little too difficult to accept for some but for me that element worked well, especially as it was the way Kiro was introduced to his love interest in this book, Ann.

Ann is an undercover reporter working at as a nurse at the institute. Working on a completely different story, she doesn’t expect the pull of Kiro’s treatment and isolation to draw her focus away from her real purpose there. Ann finds herself talking openly to Kiro and, having experienced horrors in her own life, she finds it cathartic to talk to a man who is unable to respond, or even listen to her rambling words, or so she thinks. Kiro is hiding his level of consciousness though and soon he finds himself unable to ignore Ann any longer. With a lip twitch here and an eye follow there, Ann soon comes to realise that Kiro is trying to deceive the staff at the institute and Ann starts to investigate why this is. With Kiro mostly unresponsive, he’s of little help so Ann must dig deeper and in doing so gets herself into danger.

Kiro has formed a bond with Ann and despite not trusting her, finds himself drawn to protect her and after Ann is attacked, Kiro reveals the true level of his sedation. With his secret out though, he is pumped with even more drugs and that’s when Bloody Lazarus targets Ann. With the need to find the third Dragusha brother still a priority for him, he searches the wards to find and kill Kiro, with Ann’s forced assistance.

As expected, despite his drugged state, Kiro springs into action in Ann’s defence and the two flee the facility together and once again into the wilderness, and to Kiro’s true family. Kiro still finds it difficult to trust Ann and feels that she is leading Lazarus to him, however, his attraction to her overwhelms him and his sensibilities and the two start to form a relationship under the stars.

Lazarus may have all the answers in relation to Kiro’s locations but Aleksio and Viktor inevitably catch up with Kiro but is it too late to save their long, lost brother?

Despite my misgivings about this story, it is an epic one and one like no other. I am sorry to see this trilogy conclude but the characters and the relationships they formed along the way will last with me.

If you haven't experienced this author before then I implore you to do so, you won't be disappointed.

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Review: Neighbors

Thursday 8 September 2016 No comments
Neighbors Neighbors by Stylo Fantome
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Devilishly hot and outrageously naughty, Stylo Fantome has once again left me enraptured by her storytelling!

So, as is blatantly obvious from the title, this book is about neighbors, got it, it’s about neighbors with added benefits, got it, it’s about neighbors we would all love in our lives (if only in our dreams), got it, so, why am I left wondering what on earth I have just read and loved.

Right from the start we’re slapped in the face with a healthy dose of sexy neighbor, aka Liam Eden-fluffy-pants (yes, I had the same problem as poor Katya) as he finds himself looking at her dating profile which has been heavily kinked-up thanks to Katya’s roommate. With the personality of a goody two-shoes and the image of a librarian, Katya is anything but the sexy, confident and kinky profile that has been created for her but that’s exactly what attracts Liam to her.

Faced with Liam’s good looks and fun-loving personality, Katya decides to throw caution to the wind and sets off to explore her inner naughtiness. It helps that Liam owns a sex club and, as you can guess, things get pretty heated right from the outset. Normally, Katya has a three date rule before even offering up a kiss, but with Liam all bets are off as she quickly finds herself in-public-flagrante! Despite her initial reservations, Katya throws herself into her “date” with Liam and it's not until the next day that she wonders just what she let herself in for.

Liam is the epitome of a dream man and yet, Katya looks to him only for friendship and their occasional sexual encounters (I know, she must be crazy). The man who holds her heart comes along immediately after her initial liaison with Liam and that man is Wulfric Stone, the neighbor that she grew up watching through her bedroom window and secretly crushed on throughout her teenage years. When Wulf walks into her shop and orders a cake, Katya initially assumes that he doesn’t recognise her but when his assistant returns with a “demand” that she meet up with him, Katya is stunned into acceptance. Wulfic is everything she has ever wanted but at the same time he is clearly wrong for her. He is sexy but cold, attractive but distant and yet, Katya is continually drawn back to spending time with him, and boy does she! Wulfic is the complete opposite to Liam. A man of few words and even fewer actions as Katya soon comes to realise.

It is clear as you read on that there is more to the story and boy is there a twist in the tail. Between Liam and Wulf, Katya (and us readers alike) must decide who is the man for her. Does she fall for the sweet and kind Liam or the dark and brooding Wulf?

As always with Stylo Fantome, you get so much more story than meets the eye. Her books definitely pack a punch. I really hope that we don’t have to wait too long for book 2, my sensibilities couldn’t stand it!

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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5 Stars: The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk #1) by Samantha Young

Saturday 20 August 2016 No comments

The One Real Thing by Samantha young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another amazing story from Samantha Young. I'm already desperate for the next instalment!

I absolutely adore Samantha Young’s writing and the stories she tells are beautiful. With so many layers to this book, I found that I was kept on tenterhooks throughout. You know you've found a great story when you don't want to put the book down and The One Real Thing definitely kept me enthralled. 

The story sets out by introducing us to Jessica Huntington. A general surgeon who, having lost her way in her career, now finds herself working within a women's correctional and rehabilitation facility. Jessica thinks that she enjoys her job and she does until she comes across the seaside city of Hartwell. After finding hidden letters within a book from the prison library, Jessica decides to find the recipient of the unposted letters which are now forty years old. 

With leave due, and Jessica’s plans unexpectedly cancelled, she decides to hand deliver the letters in the hope that they can bring some peace to those involved in the emotive story held within them.

Arriving in Hartwell, Jessica immediately finds peace within the boardwalk. Staying in Bailey Hartwell’s Inn, Jessica soon finds a loyal friend in Bailey and the pair quickly become firm friends. But it's Cooper Lawson who really captures Jessica’s attention. After running into him, and seeking an escape from the rain in his bar, Jessica and Cooper experience an immediate mutual attraction. Cooper knows for certain that he's not prepared to let Jessica slip through his fingers and decides to do everything he can to make her his. Jessica though has a casual relationship back home and despite only using Andrew, another surgeon, purely for sex, they had agreed to be exclusive. 

With a close-knit community comes drama though and Jessica realises that there is no such thing as a secret in Hart’s Boardwalk and that's where we meet the key players in this book. From the quiet and secretive Emery, to Iris and Ira, we experience a real feeling of belonging, that is also felt by Jessica, who soon starts to realise that that she can't turn her back on this town and especially Cooper.

With uncertainty comes romance as Cooper decides he is done waiting for Jessica to come to him. From the moment they connect, Jessica knows her life will never be the same as her heart starts to flutter to Cooper’s beat but unbeknownst to Cooper, Jessica has a secret and a painful past that she is reluctant to reveal, that is until the unscrupulous Ian Devlin finds out. The Devlin’s are the town’s painful reminder of its vulnerability as the family try to make the Boardwalk theirs, by whatever methods they choose and that includes blackmail. What they don't foresee is the strength in unity courtesy of the rest of the Boardwalk community.

With the fight against Ian Devlin comes the realisation that for Jessica to stay in Hartwell and with Cooper she must reveal her secret to him and boy is it s big secret. 

I really felt for Jessica throughout this book and when her secret was finally revealed I cried for her pain. Fortunately though her HEA is within her reach but only if she can trust Cooper to accept her for who she is.

Throughout this book, the scene for the next instalment is set and I can't wait to read it. Set to be a romance between bitter hotel rivals: Bailey Hartwell and Vaughn Tremaine. Now that's going to be one teasingly sexy story to read! 

Review: Savage Things

Tuesday 9 August 2016 No comments
Savage Things Savage Things by Callie Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Will we ever get enough of Zeth Mayfair?!!!

For me, absolutely not. Zeth is the epitome of a diamond in the rough as he taunts and teasers readers with his dark and brooding personality.

Right from the very beginning of this book, our heart strings are pulled as we witness yet more pain and suffering for poor Mason Reeves. From a fleeting memory, to the present day battle he faces with his sister’s deteriorating health, Mason struggles to find the money to maintain Millie’s healthcare. With her medical condition seemingly getting worse, Mason, and Millie, find themselves in the care of Sloane. Not knowing of her connection to Zeth, Mason struggles to know what to do for the best to ensure he has enough health cover to fight the even bigger battles he knows Millie will face. Sloane is Sloane though, and not averse to breaking a few hospital rules, offers Mason a lifeline in order to maintain Millie’s treatment a little longer.

As if Mason doesn't have enough to worry about with Millie, he also has Agent Lowell breathing down his throat as she determinedly tries to find evidence against Zeth to link him to the body found in the mountains. Mason is torn between his loyalties but Lowell knows just how to inflict the maximum amount of threat in order to make Mason dance to her tune. When Sloane finds out that Mason is working with Lowell, she immediately tells Zeth and Mason’s problems escalate.

Despite the story focussing mainly around Mason and Millie, we still spend a lot of time with Zeth as he starts to feel pressure himself, from the Barbieri family in New York. After sending an envoy to convince Zeth to join them, Zeth’s now relatively quiet life looks to be one again under threat as war is declared.

To compliment the sharp edges to this story, we also experience sadness and hope as Mason’s pain continues and Sloane finds herself facing a difficult decision herself. Michael, as ever, is always at hand to support both Zeth and Sloane though and with his life as mysterious as always, readers are left wondering just what he is hiding in his love life.

The book ends with some delicious storylines ahead. With Zeth ready to retaliate against the Barbieri family, Sloane and Zeth, looking to the future together, and Agent Lowell’s never ending obsession with Zeth, I for one can't wait for more.

I fear that Callie Hart will never get to escape Zeth Mayfair as his attraction doesn't seem to diminish. Despite this series being a spin-off from the hugely successful Blood & Roses series, it still feels like part of that original series but with different adversaries providing the danger. Mason adds a fresh feel to the story though as we're treated to a bad-boy in training. With his life now shattered, he is likely to come out fighting in an attempt to avenge the darkness he now finds himself in.

This is clearly another hit from Callie Hart. Her writing continues to mesmerize and her storytelling is magical. I can't recommend her books, and amazing characters, strongly enough!

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5 Star Review: The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk, #1) by Samantha Young

Monday 8 August 2016 No comments
The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk, #1)The One Real Thing by Samantha Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another amazing story from Samantha Young. I'm already desperate for the next instalment!

I absolutely adore Samantha Young’s writing and the stories she tells are beautiful. With so many layers to this book, I found that I was kept on tenterhooks throughout. You know you've found a great story when you don't want to put the book down and The One Real Thing definitely kept me enthralled.

The story sets out by introducing us to Jessica Huntington. A general surgeon who, having lost her way in her career, now finds herself working within a women's correctional and rehabilitation facility. Jessica thinks that she enjoys her job and she does until she comes across the seaside city of Hartwell. After finding hidden letters within a book from the prison library, Jessica decides to find the recipient of the unposted letters which are now forty years old.

5 Star Review: Burn (Dark in You, #1) by Suzanne Wright

Sunday 31 July 2016 No comments
Burn (Dark in You, #1)Burn by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when you think PNR can’t get any better, along comes Burn to add fire to your ereaders like never before!

This has to be the best PNR I’ve read in a long while. I’m not exactly sure what drew me to it initially. Maybe it was the idea of a strong and feisty female tattoo artist or maybe it was a horde of sexy demons, but whatever it was this book is pure magick! Suzanne Wright is an extremely talented author with an endearingly whimsical writing style to win over the most reluctant or critical PNR readers.

Review: Wicked Mafia Prince

Sunday 24 July 2016 No comments
Wicked Mafia Prince Wicked Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5+++ Stars

Simply flawless and an absolute pleasure to read and revere.

I was uncertain about Viktor’s character when introduced to him in Dark Mafia Prince. Edgy and a man of few words, there was nothing to endear him to me apart from the mystery surrounding the girl he watched continually on the auction site feed. But oh how my opinion has changed after finishing Wicked Mafia Prince; Viktor has just become one of my all-time favourite characters!. Whilst a seasoned killer his pain and suffering was beautifully portrayed as was his re-connection with the girl he loved and presumed lost, Tanechka. His words to her made me breathless as he recounted their story to us, and Tanechka.

Having survived what should have been a certain death, Tanechka was saved by nuns and has spent her time since her rescue at a convent but she is missing a large part of herself: her memory.

With Aleksio and Viktor still trying to bring down the auction site responsible for selling off the virginity of innocent girls, Viktor is torn between completing his mission and rescuing Tanechka. Once he finds out that she has no memory of their past though, he knows that he must free her, immediately.

Once back in Viktor’s arms, Tanechka is torn between her belief and her heart as Viktor’s words repeatedly try to break through her resolve. And oh those words…. Their sexual re-connection was one of the most perfectly penned scenes I have ever read. It wasn't crude, it wasn't overtly sexual but it was tender, sweet, and simply perfect. Through words and gentle touches, Viktor reawakened Tanechka’s desires and their once fiery relationship. Despite Tanechka’s quiet ways, there is a still a killer lurking within her and flashes of memories and experiences soon re-enter her subconscious.

The story of the missing brother continues and by the end of this book Kiro is still elusive but the brothers are closer to finding him. Lazarus is determined to find Kiro first though to ensure the prophecy is never realised and in doing so starts a war that neither brother anticipated.

This is definitely a series to relish. This book does end on a cliffie though and there is a long-ish wait now until November for the next instalment. However, this is certainly a story that I will enjoy re-reading a time or two between now and then!

5 Star Review: Through Fire (Portland, ME, #3) by Freya Barker

Monday 18 July 2016 No comments
Through Fire (Portland, ME, #3)Through Fire by Freya Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again a beautifully told story by Freya Barker which will tear you up inside as we meet another amazingly strong woman with a cruel and painful past.

This story is yet another difficult but rewarding read as we witness the pain and suffering Ruby has experienced over 30 years at the hands of traffickers. After witnessing the death of her parents at the age of 14, Ruby is taken to be “trained” and prepared for the prostitution rings run by gangs. From there her life ends as she knows it. No longer protected by her parents and her quietly lived life on a farm in Mexico long lost, she services men and in doing so becomes indoctrinated to the lifestyle. That is until she witnesses a murder and flees to the relating safety of Florence House and into Pam’s protection.

Review: Irreparable Damage

Friday 15 July 2016 No comments
Irreparable Damage Irreparable Damage by Sam Mariano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Obvious triggers aside, this was an enjoyable book with a serious and questioning story held within it. I know some people will baulk at the prospect of rape and cheating but these are small facets to a story with a strong psychological undercurrent.

Kidnapped and raped by a man reluctant to go through with the act, 18 year old virgin, Willow, now freed faces a recovery from her traumatic experience with unexpected challenges. Ethan, an undercover PI, infiltrated a group, responsible for kidnapping women and children, when he comes across Willow. Not the girl he was sent in to free but another victim he was aware about, Ethan decides to break both girls out. Unfortunately for Ethan, the kidnappers start to become suspicious and tell him to rape Willow. Torn with blowing his cover, getting himself killed and being able to safely free the girls, Ethan agrees to take Willow but the prospect horrifies him, especially being a married man with children of his own. He tries to detach himself from the scene but is unable to do so especially when he realises he has taken Willow’s virginity. Afterwards, Willow sees something in Ethan that she doesn't expect and that's remorse. As a result, she doesn't disclose her rape to her family or the authorities. Both distraught by the act, Willow and Ethan struggle to come to terms with what they shared. Willow starts to build an attraction to Ethan through her dreams and Ethan can't forget the girl whose innocence he stole.

After being brought together, innocently, by Willow’s mothers, the two start to open up to each other and Willow finds a peace she is unable to reach without the help of a counsellor. Texting soon becomes face to face meetings and Willow shares with Ethan that she fears she will never trust anyone again. Ethan is heartbroken that his actions have brought about this change in Willow and despite seeing her many male admirers via her social media accounts, finds himself wanting her to spend time with him.

It begs the question: how would you replace an unpleasant and painful experience and the conclusion they both reach is to repeat the scene, albeit with consent this time. Ethan convinces Willow that she can trust him and if she says no he will stop his actions immediately. Deciding to try his suggestion out, Willow and Ethan meet and soon find their bodies reacting in a positive way to each other's ministrations. Ethan is torn over hurting his family and helping Willow, and himself, to overcome their memories and sees his connection with Willow as a separate part of his life. Willow knows she can never have Ethan as her own, aside from the fact his is married he is also a lot older than her, and so takes whatever he can offer her.

Willow sees Ethan initially as the person who can overwrite bad with good but it's not long before their feelings grow into something neither can explain. Trying to end their unhealthy connection, they are thrust back together with Willow’s father finds video evidence of her attack and sets off to punish Ethan, and his family. But it's Willow who saves the day when Ethan knows that in order to save his wife and family, they must admit to the feelings they have for one another.

This was definitely a book which had my mind whirling throughout. Despite by raped by Ethan I can appreciate Willow’s subsequent connection to him. I can also appreciate Ethan struggling to continue with his life as he knows it. This book is certainly not just about rape or cheating, it's about so much more. The rape is handled sensitively and is not overly embellished. It's merely the starting point of Willow and Ethan's story. How they handle the aftermath is where this story focuses its attention. It's also not a story just about cheating, although it does clearly take place. With so many facets to focus on in this story, most of which are hidden in your own mind, the story pulls you along and makes you question right from wrong.

I was a little stunned by the ending of this book as I wasn't expecting there to be a cliffie but that was my fault for not realising that the next book is due to be released shortly. Overall I enjoyed the book but it lacked some depth at times. Characters could have benefitted from more insight into their minds and daily lives. For some reason I didn't feel that I knew or had connected with the characters by the end of the story. The Mafia connection, which initially attracted me to this story, didn't materialise apart from the brief scene with Willow’s father so hopefully that will pick up in the next book.

So, if you love books which make you question right from wrong then this is definitely a story for you. It is also a tender love story, despite how Willow and Ethan's story starts out. Willow comes across much older than her years and it's that maturity and level headedness which draws Ethan to her. I can't wait to see where their story takes them to next.

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Review: Dark Mafia Prince

Tuesday 21 June 2016 No comments
Dark Mafia Prince Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another mafia mini series destined to set readers’ imaginations alight.

If, like me, you love your mafia stories with a more than dark edge to them then this book is definitely for you. Whilst dark at times, the violence and abuse wasn’t overdone and merely captures the essence of Aleksio’s emotions and the physical connection that Mira seeks with him. Despite their harrowing story, Aleksio and his brother, Viktor, draw you into the story as they struggle to find their long lost brother, Kiro. With three divine names comes three dark stories but this time it’s Aleksio who gets to show readers just who, and what, he has become since his parents were cruelly taken from him and his brothers.

This story is written in three POVs (Aleksio, Mira and Viktor). Whilst I initially didn’t appreciate the importance of Viktor's POV in this instalment, as the story progresses it is clear that he is setting the scene for his part in the series. As advised, this book is the first of three stand-alone HEAs with each book carrying on a continual theme and that is the search for Kiro, the third brother.

This is the first book that I have read by the author and I really enjoyed her writing. I can’t wait to see if Viktor’s story is as rewarding as Aleksio’s and to find out if Kiro is really still alive.

Copy provided by the author in return for a honest review.

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5 Star Review: Reaper (Boston Underworld, #2) by A. Zavarelli

Monday 18 April 2016 No comments
Reaper (Boston Underworld, #2)Reaper by A. Zavarelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s official, Reaper has left me speechless. I’m sitting here trying to write a review about a book that was as close to perfect as I am going to find and I’m completely unable to express my emotions.

Whilst a dark story involving gangland violence, this book also tells the story of a beautifully broken man who is put back together by a stripper. Not your everyday fairytale I know, but Ronan and Sasha’s story worked, in perfect unison.

Review: Match This!

Saturday 9 April 2016 No comments
Match This! Match This! by M.J. Fields
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The cover screamed CM Stunich and the synopsis shouted Tara Sivec, so did Match This live up to my expectations?

I was a little confused at the start of this book until I realised that the first part of the story came from a short story called “Unsocially Yours”. Despite my initial confusion, and after re-reading the author’s note, I read on and found myself becoming quickly engrossed in Kat and Owen’s story during her early days at University. I loved the unexpected turn of events surrounding Owen and I kind of assumed, wrongly, that the second part of the story would involve Owen in some way, but it didn’t, apart from the way he inadvertently shaped Kat’s adult life. I loved the feel of this YA/NA part of the book, from the quirky friendships that Kat developed at University to her developing romance with Owen. I didn’t quite get the first sex scene, and all it entailed, but I guess the explanation came with the news that Kat was younger than Owen had anticipated. I also didn’t understand the Wentworth Miller references, without Googling him, so I guess some of the magic was lost on me.

Part 2 brought us to the present day with Kat now an artist working in a Tattoo Shop. Sworn never to trust men again, Kat is surprised when she finds her mother using an online dating site and after some initial reservations, she joins her mother in experiencing the highs, or rather lows, of online dating, even if only to show her mother that the men she finds there may not be all that they appear to be. This is where the story really took a backward turn for me. I really didn’t enjoy the experience of Kat’s dating encounters (or her mother’s come to that). I did enjoy the stories surrounding Kat’s co-workers though, especially Ricco, but just as the connection between Kat and Ricco was building momentum towards the end of the story, the book ended.

This was my first MJ Fields book so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, I loved the cover, although the teasers with all the middle finger action are a little unnecessary, in my eyes. The synopsis even sounded interesting and hinted at a humorous story set around Kat’s dating escapades. However; this book, for me, completely missed the funny mark and instead of skipping across the line into the realms of truly memorable comical read, it crawled, very sluggishly, into something nondescript. I guess I will be in the minority here but I just didn’t get the humour. The story itself came across a little disjointed and I just couldn’t settle to enjoy it. The banter between Kat and some of her dating contacts was moderately funny but it just didn’t make me laugh out loud, once. This may be because I’m a Brit and some of the references were lost on me but I felt that the story lost its way and even its identity on more than one occasion.

I really tried to be a positive with this review but I’m afraid I’m just at a loss as what to write. I’m far from a prude and I love truly edgy stories but I felt the author was try to shock readers by some of the phases she coined as well as forcing the humour rather than letting it develop naturally. Maybe I am just too old to appreciate this brand of humour so instead of finding it funny, it just felt very uncomfortable. I am curious however to see who “Rider1” is though so I will just have to see if my curiosity outweighs my need to step away from this story.

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4 Star Review: Crow (Boston Underworld, #1) by A. Zavarelli

Monday 4 April 2016 No comments
Crow (Boston Underworld, #1)Crow by A. Zavarelli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crow certainly lived up to my hopes and expectations.

Within the underworld of Boston, the Irish, Russians and Armenians battle for supremacy and control of the syndicates that lurk within.

From the start of this book, it's clear that it's going to pack a punch as we meet MacKenzie Wilder who is searching for her friend Talia who was last seen working for the Irish. With the police refusing to help her to find Talia, Mack prepares to infiltrate the Irish ranks by targeting one of their own. To do this, she decides to enter the ring to fight one of their strongest men. No-one suspects a female to enter the ring but when the audience realises who she is, they are left speechless, especially when she makes her fighting skills known. Mack “The Butterfly” Wilder is not just any fighter, she was trained by her late father who held a legendary status in the ring, until he was murdered by the Russians.

4 Star Review: Yours Truly, Taddy (The Undergrad Years #2) by Avery Aster

Wednesday 30 March 2016 No comments
Yours Truly, Taddy (The Undergrad Years, #2)Yours Truly, Taddy by Avery Aster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who doesn't love Taddy and the rest of the gang?

This is the second tale in the Undergrad Years series and follows Taddy and her misfit group of friends to get photo shoot. Things don't exactly go to plan though and the group find themselves facing death as their plane develops a problem.

Who knew that, despite the events which occur as a result of the plane's crash that Taddy would have such an interesting time in the arms of Leon!!!

I can't wait for the next instalment and to read Blake's story.

If you're looking for a lighthearted read and one which is, at times, hysterically funny then read Avery Aster's amazing series. It lifts your spirits and helps you to enjoy the funnier side of life!!!

Copy received from Netgalley in return for a review.

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4 Star Review: XO, Blake, (The Undergrad Years #3) by Avery Aster

Tuesday 29 March 2016 No comments
XO, Blake (The Undergrad Years, #3)XO, Blake by Avery Aster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've always loved Blake and this sweet instalment has just made me love him even more.

What an opportunity Avery Aster has given us to spend time with the four besties, who are in their late teens, as they continue to be faced with danger around what seems like every corner. We've had an explosion, a plane crash and now we have yet another possible deliberate attack on the group but who would want to hurt them?

Although all four of the Manhattanites feature in this short story but it's Blake who sets the story on fire as he finally gets his hands on the man, or men, of his dreams. And boy, do sparks fly when they come together. I really can't wait for more, grown up, Blake.

I love the gentle humour and friendly sparring in these stories as each personality fights for dominance. They are easy to read, thoroughly enjoyable and really addictive. I can't wait for more from Avery Aster and Blake, Taddy, Vive and Lex.

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5 Star Review: Always & Forever, Vive (The Undergrad Years #4) by Avery Aster

Monday 28 March 2016 No comments
Always & Forever, Vive (The Undergrad Years, #4)Always & Forever, Vive by Avery Aster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These stories may be short but they pack a fantastic punch.

From the first few lines you laugh and fall in love that little bit more with Vive as you realise what a wild and free spirited child she was and the way her childhood has formed who she is today. I especially love the school reports which all outline the reasons the foursome ended up at Avon Porter and not incarcerated, permanently.

Vive, Taddy, Lex and Blake are still determined to find out who, if anyone, is trying to harm them or if they have simply been part of an unfortunate set of circumstances. This time, they reach out to Sanderloo to see whether he can help them unlock the mysteries of their recent run of bad luck. I was crying laughing when even beyond the grave poor Sanderloo is still fearful of Vive and her friends.

The madness continues along with the sexiness especially when we are introduced to Vive's boyfriends, yes that's right, plural, and as you can expect with Vive and her high expectations in live, they are perfect, in almost every way!!!

I simply love Avery Aster's writing style. She is has a wonderfully quirky way of expressing herself through her characters and by doing so pulls you into the storyline until you are crying out for more. This is so much more than a YA series, it sets the scene for the Manhattanites in their later years as we witness what moulded them into what they have become today; simply fabulous.

Review: Top Bottom Switch

Thursday 10 March 2016 No comments
Top Bottom Switch Top Bottom Switch by Chelle Bliss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pure Bliss!!!

In a market flooded with wannabe authors offering books from the weird to the wonderful, readers are occasionally treated to stories which take them far away from the humdrum of everyday life. For me, Chelle Bliss is an author whose writing embraces me like a comfort blanket and helps me to find that ultimate escape into a fantasy-land unlike no other.

In Top Bottom Switch, Chelle’s storytelling took me into a world which challenges the norm. For me, kinky stories that embrace the BDSM lifestyle are approached cautiously rather than emphatically and, unless I find comfort in the characters, I can often find myself finding displeasure at the expense of the characters’ pleasure. I need a Dom and their Sub to work together in harmony rather than in a tentative and uncomfortable manner but thankfully, Ret and Alese were a match destined to be bound together. Ret was smooth in his dominance and despite his fierce reputation, he handles the damaged Alese sensitively and helps her to find what she has unknowingly been looking for.

I will never be a self-professed expert in all things BDSM so I can't comment on the authenticity the scenes and Club Life but what I found was an entertaining story which spanked the reticence out of me whilst Ret sets about making Alese his. Their connection was most assuredly felt throughout the story as readers follow them on a journey of self-exploration and a testing of boundaries. Despite how Ret and Alese’s story commences, it is quickly apparent that this is a love story; just one borne from a less conventional lifestyle. Ret was strong but tender and Alese was more than receptive to his demands, administrations and kinky challenges.

The only problem with this book, and it was a big problem for me….. it was just too short. I knew it was only a novella but having connected and started to love the characters, I was really disappointed when their story jumped to the epilogue. Readers are offered the chance to vote at the end of the book for more from Ret, Alese and The Club so another instalment could certainly be on the cards. (Fingers crossed!!!)

This book took Chelle’s storytelling into a more sexually oriented direction but she more than rose to the challenge in Top Bottom Switch. I found the story fascinating, but not titillating, and the kink was balanced out by a simple but yet strong storyline. You certainly get a lot of bang for your buck in this story!

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: The Sound of You

The Sound of You The Sound of You by Annie Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a sweet story of teenage love but it’s a love that’s overshadowed by an unexpected turn of events.

I love my college dramas so reading this was a must. Another new author to me but with strong past reviews, I happily dipped a toe into the Annie Hughes book pool.

This book tells the sad story of Hallie Clarke. Having been treated despicably by boys to date, she heads off to college to hopefully start a new life away from her painful past. Arriving at college though, and wanting to keep herself to herself, Hallie finds her roommate to be the opposite of what she had hoped for as Codie quickly decides that Hallie is going to be her new BFF. Hallie’s problems escalate though when she meets her neighbours: Ryan and Nate. Immediately attracted to Nate, Hallie does her best to resist his charms but with Codie, Hallie’s roommate enamoured with Ryan, her avoidance plan proves to be more difficult than she anticipated.

Sadly, it’s not long before Hallie’s past catches up with her, thanks to the new Queen Bee who also happens to be the Dean’s daughter. Tami wants Nate and will do anything she can to break his attraction to Hallie. What she didn’t expect though is Nate’s determination to make Hallie his, despite Hallie’s repeated attempts to keep him at a distance. What Hallie experiences in college is sadly all too familiar with bullying and cruel attempts to break her. Despite this, Hallie is outwardly strong though and when Tami’s attempts to damage her seem fruitless, we’re shocked when her life suddenly becomes even more miserable when she realises that a person she thought she could trust has developed a dangerous attraction to her. It was apparent that this story was heading towards something unexpected right from the beginning. However, the turn of events was completely unexpected and left me stunned as Hallie finds herself fighting a battle that no-one would have expected.

I didn’t expect a cliffie but that’s exactly how the story ended and by doing so, it sets the scene for part two of this series. The writing was strong and the story maintained a steady pace right up until its shocking conclusion. At times I felt the story fell a little flat and scenes, which I would have liked to have seen developed, seemed to be edited out or deliberately avoided. I would have also liked to have seen some of the character traits and personalities developed more in order to acquire additional insight into their emotions. I bonded with the characters immediately but I didn’t fall head over heels in love with them and this connection held my emotions at bay.

For YA/NA lovers though, this really is a sweet read and one which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The ending was painful though, and without a HEA, so read this book with the warning that you will have to wait to find out exactly what life has in store next for Nate and Hallie.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: Calico

Wednesday 9 March 2016 No comments
Calico Calico by Callie Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the cover, the synopsis and the overall feel of the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Calico but what I found was a story of second chances, long lost love, and bone crushing memories.

Right from the start, it’s clear that Callie’s amazing penmanship has lost none of its magic as we meet Coralie and Callan. Both living in different parts of the US, having been childhood sweethearts and neighbours, neither has seen, nor heard, from each other in 12 years; that is until Coralie’s father dies.

Now settled in LA, Coralie is enjoying a peaceful life and she knows that returning home will resurrect horrific memories of her early teenage years living under her father’s roof. Despite never wanting anything from her father again, Coralie is faced with a cruel reminder of his controlling ways as she comes to realise that in order to bury her past once and for all, she must jump to her father’s demands one last time.

After returning home, Coralie is surprised to find that Callan has also made the journey back to his roots. In part to support Coralie, but also to find out why she fled from his arms, Callan knows he will have to force Coralie to face some painful memories in order to secure the truth as to why she left so suddenly all those years before. What Callan doesn’t expect is to be shocked to his core when Coralie tells him the truth behind their fateful past and its buried secrets.

This was a very emotional and heartbreaking story and it is definitely not the type of book that I’d normally pick up. That said, the strength and power in the writing made it a rewarding read, despite the graphic abuse that Coralie suffered throughout her childhood. With a second chance romance at the heart of this book, readers are treated to a tender story of a childhood love which has stood the test of time. Callan is Coralie’s knight in shining armour throughout this story as he innocently protects her during her childhood, and upon their reconnection even more physically so, as he tries to stop Coralie’s father hurting her one last time.

Despite the HEA, and the gamut of emotions portrayed throughout the story, it’s the real meaning behind the book’s title that will haunt me for a very long time.

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Review: Defy

Saturday 27 February 2016 No comments
Defy Defy by L.J. Shen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this story of forbidden romance but it just jumped around a little too much for me to enjoy. I get that it's a short, prequel novella but I was getting whiplash with all the emotional changes of direction between Jaime and Mel. That said, I loved their connection and the whole teacher/student romance, something that I'm not normally a fan of!

Whilst it's a short story, it certainly packs a punch and offers readers plenty of sexy times to savour.

Whilst it sets the scene for Vicious, I wouldn't say that it is an essential read before starting Vicious, it just adds a little background to one of the four hotholes.

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Review: Vicious

Vicious Vicious by L.J. Shen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another memorable story from LJ Shen.

The book title may not have sold the story to me but the character behind the name definitely did. Baron Spencer aka Vicious is a mean and cruel boy/man in this story but all with good reason. Coming from a wealthy family he has it all, or does he? His father doesn’t pay him any attention but his stepmother and her brother more than make up for his father’s lack of interest, just not in an appropriate way. Vicious is abused, horrifically, during his childhood years and it’s not until he grows stronger that he’s able to fight off his abusers.

There is only one person in Vicious’s world which makes his life worth living and that’s the daughter of his housekeepers, Emilia LeBlanc. Millie is subjected to taunts all courtesy of Vicious but still she is drawn to him. Her problems escalate though when she starts dating one of the Four HotHoles, aka Vicious’ friends. Dean is sweet and kind to Millie, despite her poor upbringing but their relationship makes Vicious turn even nastier than Millie thought possible. Dean also feels Vicious’s displeasure but continues to date Millie. There is only one option open to Vicious and that’s to take things into his own hands in order to tear Millie and Dean apart.

Vicious and Millie’s story then jumps ahead to when they are both working in New York. Millie is still struggling to make ends meet, whilst still supporting her ill sister, and when she sees Vicious at a table in the bar where she works she hopes that he doesn’t recognise her, but he does. Having lost too much time where Millie is concerned, Vicious makes her an offer that she can’t refuse and Millie sets about working for Vicious, albeit briefly!

I really enjoyed this enemies to lovers story. Vicious comes off initially as unnecessarily unpleasant but when we come to realise the reasons why, you can’t help but feel a pull on your heartstrings. Millie is the perfect person to turn Vicious’ emotions around and whilst she is the only person able to push his buttons and to live to tell the tale, she is also the person who suffers most around him. Millie has loved Vicious for years but seeing his cruel and callous ways has made her keep her distance. That said, when she’s backed up against a door, there is only one person she wants pressed up against her!

This was another amazing story by LJ Shen. Her stories pack depth and emotion but are also all very different and extremely rewarding as a result. I can’t wait to read more from her and especially from this series.

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4 Star Review: 9 Letters by Blake Austin

Friday 19 February 2016 No comments
9 Letters9 Letters by Blake Austin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don't you just love the magic of books especially when you find a story that makes you cry and smile at the same time. What I'd like to know though is where the hell did this story come from? It was painfully emotional but beautifully told. Blake Austin, you owe me tissues, lots of tissues!

After reading the synopsis, I was 100% drawn to it. The premise was familiar but the story was refreshing. I'm not a lover those “ugly cry” books so this was as close as I am even willing to head into those waters but despite the emotion, the book was also shored up with wonderful message of hope.

5 Star Review: Cruel Water (Portland ME, #2) by Freya Barker

Thursday 11 February 2016 No comments
Cruel Water (Portland ME, #2)Cruel Water by Freya Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a breathtaking story of a damaged heroine supported by an strong man who is still recovering from his own emotional wounds. It takes you on journey towards happiness, forgiveness and above all a hope for a future lived free of a painful past.

I really enjoyed Freya’s writing style and storytelling in From Dust and couldn’t wait to read Cruel Waters. Set around The Skipper once again but this time telling Viv’s story and her “silver-eyed” stranger.

Review: The Offer

Tuesday 9 February 2016 No comments
The Offer The Offer by Karina Halle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was something about Bram that I new I'd love and I wasn't disappointed. His personality was sweet, despite his past, and the relationship he developed with Nicola and Ava was perfect.

This book did have some hurdles for the couple to overcome, one of which affected poor Ava, but the story wasn't too challenging and it was easy to read and relatively enjoyable, so much so it made me put other books I'd started aside.

I've kind of become quite addicted to this group of friends/family so much so that I can't wait to read on in this collection of stand-alone stories.

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5+++ Star Review: Hold On (The Burg #6) by Kristen Ashley

Monday 25 January 2016 No comments
Hold On (The 'Burg, #6)Hold On by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

10 "Gooey" Stars. A perfect ending to a perfect series.

That was epilogue heaven. Yes, she who hates epilogues, loved this one, HARD.

This is one of my all time favourite series. I may have taken me a while to get around to reading The 'Burg series but it was certainly worth the wait. Kristen Ashley is an author who really knows how to sell a story to her readers. At first I thought the level of detail in her books was occasionally unnecessary but I quickly came to appreciate that this is where the magic lies in her writing. She tells you everything which in turns makes you an active participant in her stories.

Garrett's story was the perfect conclusion to this series. Right from the start I knew this was going to be an emotional read as I absorbed Cher's pain. This woman has faced it all and lived to tell the tale but when she claims to not deserve her own HEA my heart practically broke for her. Cher is loved amongst her friends though and despite her background they will do anything for her, even the loveable Ryker (who steals the show in every book in my opinion).

I especially love the way Kristen Ashley brings the children in this series to life and you find yourself loving them as much as the main players, if not more, and Ethan was a prime example of this. Despite his tender age, he is fiercely protective of his mother and wants nothing more than for her to be happy.

It's with a heavy heart that I end this series but I know deep down that I will return to it often.

Review: Soulless

Tuesday 19 January 2016 No comments
Soulless Soulless by T.M. Frazier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delightfully dark pairing Bear and Thia turn out to be!

I read the conclusion to Bear and Thia’s story with a heavy heart. Lawless left us waiting, not so patiently, to find out what happened to Bear and Thia so Soulless couldn’t come quickly enough.

So, did I enjoy it? Yes, mostly. It took me a while to get into the story but from 20% in, it really did wrap things up nicely albeit with a shock or two along the way. It even made me cry at one point. God, I loved Grace. The story also had a bit of the unbelievable about it as we get to spend time with Preppy, yes, he who died [all too soon in my opinion] had a cameo part to beat all cameo parts.

So Bear is in prison and Thia must be kept safe. Enter the weird and wonderful Rage [I hope she gets a spin-off story]. Despite being told to trust Bear, Thia struggles without him being around but with the MC club falling apart around Chop’s feet, Bear must bide his time and build an army ready for his release and the inevitable revenge attack on his father.

King and Ray also play a small part in this instalment, which just sweetened the deal for me. But it’s the minor characters who add mystery to this story with friends and foe’s swapping sides just to add to our reading enjoyment!

I have enjoyed this series and the characters that TM Frazier has created. There is violence and blood and gore but there is also a special unbreakable bond between three friends, later brothers, which makes this story so unique. There is laughter, tears and love in the search of peace and happiness.

Copy provided by the author in return for an honest review.

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Review: The Protector

Friday 15 January 2016 No comments
The Protector The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like a naked romp through a field of bluebells, this is sure to be another hit for JEM!

It’s been a while since I read anything by Jodi Ellen Malpas. I’m always hesitant when an author has reached such a pinnacle with a previous series and fearful that they won’t be able to emulate it. For me, leaving the author’s writing well alone up to now seems to have worked because I was swept away by The Protector . Whilst I could still feel JEM’s pulse coming through her writing, the story held a purity to it which was untainted by a certain “Jesse Ward” .

One thing JEM does write, extremely well, is a strong alpha-male. Jesse may never be beaten in that category but Jake Sharp more than makes up the numbers in JEM’s every growing arsenal of dream-worthy characters. Jake is ex-military, and an all-round bad boy with sharp edges. With a fiercely protective personality – which is good given he’s a bodyguard – and a painful memory he can’t escape, he’s just crying out to be fixed. Enter Camille Logan, an “It” girl living in London. To the gossip mags, she is an entitled, spoilt, rich little girl living off her daddy’s wealth but that is far from the truth. Cami is desperately trying to find her way in a world which she lives through a lens as every aspect of her life is scrutinised by the press. Having fallen from grace, thanks to her drug-addled ex, Sebastian, she is determined to turn a corner and in doing so wants to create a life for herself well away from her father’s controlling personality. With a string of inappropriate suitors in Cami’s past, her father is looking to match her up with someone dependable, but boring. Before any of his plans can be put into motion though, Cami becomes the target of anonymous threats. Cami is her father’s little star and, despite his shady background, he’s determined to keep her safe and there’s only one man for that job: Jake Sharp.

Jake is living on a diet of work, women and drink and when one is lacking, the others fill the gap. With no suitable jobs on the horizon, Jake considers turning down the bodyguard job to protect Cami. With his dark clouds building though, he agrees to take on her protection and soon becomes swept away by all that is Cami. Not only stunning on the outside, Jake quickly falls for her inner beauty and her need for independence. Keeping Jake on his toes becomes a game to her that is, until Sebastian raises his ugly head again then all bets are off. Torn between beating Sebastian to a pulp and saving Cami, Jake struggles to control his anger but one glance at Cami and he knows that he can’t resist her charms any longer. A job is a job and personal feelings never come into play for Jake but with one touch of Cami’s skin, he knows that she may be just the person to save him from the demons on his back.

Side by side, Cami and Jake fight to be together and free of the dangers and darkness that over shadows them but will they truly ever be free of what, or whom, controls their lives?

I really enjoyed this story. Set in London helped and a healthy dose of English colloquial terms made this book a refreshing change. I appreciate that JEM isn’t swayed by the strength of the US book market and stays true to her roots and doesn’t try the make her writing become too Americanised. Whilst I enjoyed the book, I didn’t fully connect with either Jake or Cami. Yes, their individual stories were to be relished, and I did appreciate their struggles, but I just didn’t feel that soul deep bond, for some reason, until the end of the book. Maybe I’m still under Jesse’s spell! Whilst an enjoyable story, with some twists and turns, I greedily still wanted more. The book felt slight long in-between excitement and because of this I am, I guess, rather harshly giving this story 4 stars. I absolutely LOVED the end of the story though and I could re-read the last 10% again, and again.

Definitely a book to recommend to my friends and followers though. Taking the magic that is “JEM” away from the equation, this would still be a hugely successful book and a pleasure to have read and reviewed.

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