BLOG TOUR: The Man Next Door by Roya Carmen

Book: The Man Next Door

Series: Orchard Heights #2

Author: Roya Carmen

Release date: 21 May 2020

Main characters: Abigail Cooper, social worker, who has managed to rise above her childhood circumstances. Noah Reed, new neighbour, who’s keen to know about Abigail, but reluctant to share his own past…

BLURB:

I was just a girl, a young neglected girl with issues. I was a mess. A mess he wanted nothing to do with. He knew better. But I certainly didn’t. All I knew was that I liked what I saw.

I grew up in small town Michigan, raised by a single alcoholic father and two older brothers who never gave me the time of day. All I had were my best friends, Izzie and Gavin, a reclusive broken man, ten years my senior. My father forbade me to see him, but I didn’t listen. I was crazy about him and he adored me. Even when our small community was rocked by a heinous crime and Gavin was the main suspect, I still loved him.

When tragedy struck, I finally escaped. As far away as I could.

I’ve been in Chicago ever since, trying to forget all about my past. Yet, I find myself still thinking about my past, about Gavin and Izzie, about my other life. I’m not truly living anymore, just going through the motions. Until…

Noah Reed. My new neighbor. Beautiful, sweet and intoxicating. There’s something about him I just can’t put my finger on. He’s the first man since Gavin I truly let myself fall for. I think he might be the one. Until…

… the day I discover his secret.

Why you should read it: Well, if you thought book one (The Girl He Loves) was a wild ride, you’re going to lose your mind at The Man Next Door! It was a well-told story which moves between the present and past with frequent flashbacks to Abby’s youth. I found her childhood story captivating as it really contrasted who she was then versus now. You really get a strong sense of the trailer park she grew up in, and the lingering sadness that seems to follow all of the characters around is tangible. It’s not an idyllic adolescence by any means and there were scenes that some may find disturbing, so proceed with caution. The balance between Abby’s first love story and the potential for her present one was quite a contrast.

What you may struggle with: Abby’s relationship with Noah was based on comparatively few interactions, so at times I was sceptical as to how they could claim to be so in love so quickly. I guess this may be because her relationship with Gavin grew over years, and Noah and she was a matter of weeks. At times it felt a little ‘Tell me’ rather than ‘Show me’.

The small-minded attitude of the place Abby grows up in is claustrophobic but very true to life. The era of slut shaming and misogyny is alive and well in the story and it rankles, but I cannot say it’s not realistic.

Rating: 3.5/5. All in all, it was an engaging story – not perfect in terms of the pacing in the present narrative perhaps, but an engaging tale, if I did guess the twist early on, it wasn’t a problem. Can I also say that I was very excited by the appearance of a very familiar, much-loved character from another book who will be featuring in book 3 at the end of the year!

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/39uajnz

AMazon CA: https://amzn.to/2ygvDAi

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2WPGo6F

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2XSZb1C

Turn Up The Heat by Serena Bell

Book: Turn up the Heat

Author: Serena Bell

Publisher: JMG

Release date: 9 April 2020

Basic story: Lily McKee’s life took an unexpected turn – she should be pursuing her dream of cooking in a prestigious restaurant; instead, she’s working in a small town diner, which serves crappy food and provides no inspiration whatsoever. Her plan is to safe enough cash to be able to return to Chicago and get a job in a restaurant. That way, she can make good on her promise to her family who supported her in culinary school.

The only bright spot at the diner is the man who always sits in the back. He’s big, burly and usually has his head stuck in a law book. He’s mysterious and his blue eyes seem to see into the heart of Lily.

If Lily’s life isn’t agreeing with her, Kincaid Graves’ life is in complete free fall. Out on parole and determined to keep his head down, Caid knows it’s better not to form any attachments that could land him in trouble. His mission is to find his grandmother’s will and make the man who made her life miserable pay. Lily could be trouble and he doesn’t have the luxury of courting trouble. However, when she looks at him like that, and when it becomes clear they have the same appetites – will he be able to stay away from her? Will she be able to look him in the eye once she knows his secrets?

Why you should read it: One of the main reasons I love reading books by the likes of Serena Bell is that the stories are always grounded in reality and are always smart. I loved Turn up the Heat. The description of small town Tierney Bay was evocative. I had a clear picture in my head of the seaside town and its inhabitants. Caid made me swoon. Like properly swoon. I wanted to make everything better for him. He was manly but not over the top in his masculinity. He battled his demons but didn’t dither or whine. The action and pace of the story was spot on and I loved the chemistry between Caid and Lily. Lily was great too. A woman coming to terms with her sexuality and trying to accept it, rather than feel defective. It was all done in an understated way.

What you might hate: Nothing to hate on here! It was well-constructed sexy as hell and an absorbing read. Nope, nada to hate. You don’t like a well-built ex-con with a heart of gold? What’s wrong with you?!

Rating: easy – 5/5 for this one. It’s always a relief to read books from smart writers like Serena Bell. You know you’ll get quality every time.

Turn Up the Heat is a re-release and is out today.

Review: Kiss of Vengeance by S. Young

 

img_1040Book: Kiss of Vengeance

Series: A True Immortality novel #2

Author: S. Young

Release date: 3 March 2020

Main characters: Rose Kelly, currently exploring Europe, never staying too long in one place. Searching for something. Fionn Mór, enigmatic, seeking vengeance that won’t be denied. No matter the cost.

BLURB:

Fionn Mór was once a high king of Ireland; a fierce warrior who led his tribes against the invading fae. It was a war he couldn’t win and to save his family he turned consort for the Fae Queen. Fionn escaped as the thing he once despised, and the people he loved betrayed him for it. Now, centuries later, it’s time to reopen the gates to Faerie to take his revenge against the Faerie Queen.

At sixteen Rose Kelly discovered family secrets that changed her forever. Years after, she’s still lost, traveling across Europe in search of that elusive missing ‘something’. When she’s attacked by a vampire, not only is she wrenched into a supernatural underworld she never knew existed, a knock on the head releases a spell on her mind and unlocks powers beyond her wildest imaginings. And with them more questions. Questions Fionn Mór claims to have answers to.

Following the powerful and enigmatic Fionn to Ireland, Rose quickly realizes she’s a pawn in his plan for vengeance. What begins as a passionate battle of wills leads to an inexplicable but undeniable connection. One that will force them to face an impossible choice between the deepest love… and the darkest revenge.

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! How I love this series! I didn’t think S. Young would be able to top War of Hearts but that goes to show how little I know! Kiss of Vengeance, from the get go, is a rollercoaster ride and it doesn’t let up until the epilogue! It was action-packed, sexy, had great dialogue and kept me guessing. The chemistry between Rose and Fionn built steadily and happily there was no insta-love! (Not that there ever is with this author!) The story is rich and full of folklore and the obstacles keep coming for Rose, making the pace frenetic. I couldn’t put the book down.

What you might not like: No idea! I loved it! But, I did need to bookmark the glossary as the Gaelic pronunciations of names would not stick in my head! I think I’ve finally got them memorised now (I so don’t)!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly exciting, fully formed, masterful piece of writing. It was an epic read and one I’ll be sure to return to again and again.

BOOK REVIEW: So Close by Serena Bell

Book: So Close

Series: Tierney Bay #1

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 23rd January 2020

Main characters: Auburn Campbell, guest house owner if she can raise the funds to buy her beloved Beachcrest; Trey Xavier, would-be billionaire, if not for an unwise investment. He has plans for Beachcrest, and they don’t include Auburn…

Blurb:

In his world, money is the one thing you can count on. In hers, it ruins everything. They have one week to find out who’s right—or both lose what matters most.

After being derailed for too many years, Auburn Campbell is back on track. She’s living in the town she loves and running the inn that is her destiny. But it all falls apart when a bossy billionaire shows up with plans to tear down her beloved Beachcrest and build soulless beachfront condos. No way she’s going to be a sucker again for a strong-willed man in an expensive suit, no matter how good he makes it look.

For as long as Trey Xavier can remember, money is the one thing he can count on—especially since the end of his marriage. And the future he’s fought to build for himself and his family is on the line. He just has to figure out what to do about Auburn Campbell, his grandfather’s protege, who is determined to throw every possible obstacle in his way. It would be easier to win the battle if he weren’t constantly distracted by her quick wit, her non-stop curves, and his body’s reaction to being in the same room with her.

Summer in Tierney Bay is irresistible, and town and innkeeper slowly seduce Trey. When the sparks between them flare hotter and brighter than any Fourth of July fireworks, can he surrender more than just money?

Why you should read it: How I loved this book! The feel of it – it was a small, beach resort, whose pace of life is that much slower than the big city. A place where people can find peace and gain a little perspective on life. Who wouldn’t want that?! Auburn was a great heroine. She’s made a few mistakes in life but she’s determined to get back on an even keel with the help of her siblings and the business she loves so much.

Trey was also a revelation. He’s adorable! Once you see what makes him tick, and the baggage he’s carrying around, you can’t help but love him. He’s a total softie at heart and he’s a decent person in a tough situation. This book is a total slow burn – my god these two steamed up my Kindle. Their chemistry was incandescent. The sexy times do NOT disappoint! Maybe don’t read those parts in public if you don’t have a poker face!

What you may not like: Can’t think of anything wrong with this one – this was a really strong opening book to what should be a very exciting series! Next up is Auburn’s sister Chiara’s story in So True. I don’t know much about it but it sounds right up my street!

Rating: easy peasy – 5/5 for a romance that had it all. Fireworks, sexy hikes and descriptions of lots of delicious food! All of the senses will be satisfied…

Buy links:

https://serenabell.com/r/SoClose-Amazon

https://serenabell.com/r/SoClose-Apple

https://serenabell.com/r/SoClose-Kobo coupon code –> 40SOCLOSE

https://serenabell.com/r/SoClose-Nook coupon code –> BNPSOCLOSE40

https://serenabell.com/r/SoClose-Google

Review: Headliners by Lucy Parker

Book: Headliners

Series: London Celebrities #5

Author: Lucy Parker

Release date: 20th January 2020

Main characters: Sabrina Carlton, presenter and sister of stage actor Freddie Carlton; Nick Davenport, her competition, a very popular presenter and javelin-sized thorn in her side.

Blurb:

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves–quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Why you should read it: I truly ADORE this series! The whole enemies-to-lovers trope often has varying degrees of success in books, but this series is solid and consistently entertaining! It’s so smart and the dialogue and narrative arc kept me reading avidly.

Sabrina and Nick have been circling each other for years and their professional rivalry has kept them in each other’s orbit. Now they have to work together, things are about to get interesting! The chemistry between Sabrina and Nick is very much the slow burn. Once they start thawing out, you really see them develop as people. I loved them together. They really brought out the best in each other, as well as maintaining the verbal sparring that kept it from getting too sweet and overly-romantic.

What you may not like: Not a darn thing! It was pitch perfect. Punctuated by the magic of the season, with a side of professional intrigue, and some much loved characters from earlier in the series – what more could you ask for?

Rating: easy peasy – 5/5 stars for a smart, sexy and real romance. If by any chance you’re new to this series, I urge you to give it as chance! You won’t regret it.

COVER REVEAL: Kiss of Vengeance by S. Young

Kiss of Vengeance (A True Immortality Novel) by S. Young

Release date: 3rd March 2020

Photo: Wander Aguiar

Cover Design: By Hang Le

A standalone paranormal romance from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young, writing as S. Young.

Fionn Mór was once a high king of Ireland; a fierce warrior who led his tribes against the invading fae. It was a war he couldn’t win and to save his family he turned consort for the Fae Queen. Fionn escaped as the thing he once despised, and the people he loved betrayed him for it. Now, centuries later, it’s time to reopen the gates to Faerie to take his revenge against the Faerie Queen.

At sixteen Rose Kelly discovered family secrets that changed her forever. Years after, she’s still lost, traveling across Europe in search of that elusive missing ‘something’. When she’s attacked by a vampire, not only is she wrenched into a supernatural underworld she never knew existed, a knock on the head releases a spell on her mind and unlocks powers beyond her wildest imaginings. And with them more questions. Questions Fionn Mór claims to have answers to.

Following the powerful and enigmatic Fionn to Ireland, Rose quickly realizes she’s a pawn in his plan for vengeance. What begins as a passionate battle of wills leads to an inexplicable but undeniable connection. One that will force them to face an impossible choice between the deepest love… and the darkest revenge.

Preorder Now:

Add it Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2pjjKF2

Apple Books – https://apple.co/2MFzUAC

Kindle US – https://amzn.to/2M8JjSq

Kindle Worldwide – mybook.to/KissOfVengeance

Nook – http://bit.ly/35v8I04

Kobo US – http://bit.ly/2B6AMsP

BOOK REVIEW: Winter Tales by Tiffany Reisz

Yes! This is my first seasonal review of the year – believe me, this anthology sets the bar HIGH! Fans of the Original Sinners world will rejoice to pick up this collection of short stories. It’s like meeting up with old friends. Some stories may be familiar to you, others a delightful discovery, but they’re all delectably wicked!

Book: Winter Tales

Series: The Original sinners

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Release date: 19 November 2019

Blurb:

In DECEMBER WINE, the long-awaited story of Nora Sutherlin’s first meeting with Nico can finally be told. Nora enlists her editor (and sometimes lover) Zach Easton on a mission to track down Kingsley’s long-lost son. Nicolas “Nico” Delacroix turns out to be young, strikingly handsome, and very French. He wants nothing to do with his father…but everything to do with Nora.

This special holiday-themed collection also includes the novellas POINSETTIA, THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE, and THE SCENT OF WINTER (previously available only as ebooks). A bonus short story starring Søren rounds out the WINTER TALES anthology.

Why you should read it: Well, presumably you’re a fan of the Original sinners? This kinky band of outsiders who, over the years have formed a tight-knit community of their own? Fans of Nora’s mischief, Kingsley’s charm and Søren’s… well, Søren-ness, will adore these vignettes into these characters’ lives. We ping back and forth through different time periods and one thing doesn’t change – Reisz’s ability to weave intricate stories, giving each and every character such depth, providing humour and pathos.

What you may not like: Die-hard fans will love these stories – of that I’m sure. I was laughing in places, then touched by those feels in others. I was glad to finally see some vulnerability from Søren – I felt like he was actually giving something back. He receives so much adoration and devotion from Nora, Kingsley and everyone else he encounters, but gives/emotes only sometimes. In these stories I finally got a glimpse into the inner workings of Marcus Stearns. He has an actual heart – and it beats hard and strong for those he loves!

Rating: 4/5 for a delightful, seasonal read. It warmed my heart… and other places!

BLOG TOUR: Sexy as Sin by Julie Kriss

Book: Sexy as Sin

Series: Filthy Rich #2

Author: Julie Kriss

Release date: 3 December 2019

Main characters: Ava Winters, fashion stylist and Aidan Winter’s sister; Dane Scotland, Aidan’s best friend and co-founder of Tower VC group.

Blurb:

The assignment should be a fashion stylist’s dream. Dane Scotland—brilliant programmer, millionaire, partner in my brother’s company—is going to a big-money meeting, and he needs to look the part.

The problem? Dane doesn’t want a makeover. He’s grumpy and reclusive, and his wardrobe consists of two pairs of old jeans. He doesn’t want me anywhere near him.

Did I mention that he’s my brother’s best friend? And that no one knows exactly what Dane and I got up to ten years ago?

The nerd I knew is gone—Dane ditched his glasses and bulked up. Now he’s six-foot-plus of hot genius, but I can be professional. I can definitely keep my hands off him. Again.

But when he looks at me like he used to, like no one else ever has, the only thing I want is to lose control.

Dane and I gave each other our first taste of heartbreak. Are we destined for another round?

Why you should read it: my, my, my! This series keeps getting better and better, hotter and hotter! I loved Filthy Rich for its dialogue and characters with depth and Sexy as Sin is no different. Dane and Ava have history – and this makes their story so intriguing and hot. There’s pathos, there’s pain and there’s yearning. I loved this story and I devoured it in hours. Ava is damaged but not broken. She’s determined to sort out her life before pursuing anything with Dane. Dane is a pretty straightforward character. He hides his vulnerability under his surly exterior, but he feels plenty. What can I say? I didn’t want the book to end!

Dane’s arm came around my waist and a growl came from his throat. He’d never made that sound before—possessive, primal, male. I shivered at the sound of it. But his free hand came down over mine, stopping its progress. “You know what I want,” he said roughly, his voice low. “You, in a bed. All mine. No one around and no time limits. So I can do anything to you I want, for as long as I want.” He let go of me, slid back, his heat leaving me. “Nothing else will ever fucking do.” And with that, Dane stood and silently left the room.

What you may not like: It was over too quickly! Nah, it was just right. I don’t have a single negative thing to say about this story. Just bring on more of this stellar series!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly enjoyable read. Next up is Samantha’s sister Emma and bad boy Noah’s story in Dirty Talk

BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Girl He Loves by Roya Carmen

Book: The Girl He Loves

Series: Orchard Heights #1

Author: Roya Carmen

Release date: 21 November 2019

Main characters: Mischa Lombardi, accountant, wife, mother and obsessive compulsive trying to navigate life; Brian Lombardi, her husband and soulmate, hiding a huge secret.

Blurb:

Mischa Lombardi is odd. Pragmatic. Perfectionist. Neurotic. Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the age of eleven, she can’t remember being any other way.

Thankfully, with the assistance of medication and therapy, her life is well under control. Some might even say it’s perfect: a beautiful human sband, her sons Trevor and Tristan, a fabulous condo, work she enjoys and great friends.

Yet she’s still extremely fragile. It’s the reason she always guards her emotions very carefully. And unfortunately, nothing can help her when, by chance, she discovers her husband’s secret — Ava, a beautiful young woman. She was so sure she knew her husband, but now she desperately needs to uncover the truth.

It’s no surprise when she becomes obsessed with Ava, with every trivial detail of her life; her friends, her beautiful mother, and most of all, her gentle and sweet father. Driven not only by curiosity and obsession, but also by jealousy and lust, she heads down a turbulent path as she sets out to uncover everything about her husband’s secret life and all the mysterious people in it.

Why you should read it: anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love this author. Her series have such depth to them and she’s never afraid to explore the more complicated, difficult areas of life at all. I was totally intrigued by the book’s blurb. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story where the main character was so complex and her personality literally drives her forward, whether she likes it or not. In The Girl He Loves, I was hooked from the start. I was able to empathise with Mischa quite a bit and felt able to understand her motivations in solving the mystery of her husband.

What you might not like: I felt for Mischa because I didn’t feel like her family fully understood the gravity of her condition. It was laughed off, or they deliberately messed with her, and it was a running joke. I was left wondering whether it was a family defense mechanism to downplay it, or whether Mischa simply hadn’t been completely honest with them. Perhaps it was a little of both.

Then there was Brian. I felt like he was a good guy who we’re supposed to like – he does deal with a lot from Mischa, yet, to keep such a huge secret? Dude! I felt there was a lot of love there, but they’d both been tested quite a lot. It wasn’t hearts and flowers – it was messy and inconvenient, so in that it rang true to me. Mischa has a very critical inner voice. Both she and her husband refer to herself as crazy a lot of the time, which didn’t really sit well with me, and didn’t really help her situation either. I felt like the family needed a LOT of therapy!

Rating: 3.5/5 for a complicated and multi-faceted heroine. I liked her for all she was and for what she was trying to achieve. It was an engaging story that made me think and wince and scream at my kindle!

 

Buy Links (Amazon):

Amazon US https://amzn.to/2pwWIuL

Amazon CA https://amzn.to/2oYKsmB

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2pCF6gM

Amazon AU https://amzn.to/2J5sBkG

 

 

Blog tour: London Soul by Nana Malone

Book: London Soul

Series: London Royal #2

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 19 November 2019

Main characters: Abena Nartey, upcoming photography student, struggling to get away from her controlling family. Alexi Chase, her smitten paramour, and super rich royal, harbouring deep secrets.

Blurb:

Before her, I was:

Rich.
Entitled.
A possessive pain in the ass.

Who am I kidding? I still am.

Love wasn’t for me.
I’d come to terms with that a long time ago.

And then I met her. I was this close to freedom. But one look at her and I was caught in a web I couldn’t escape. One I didn’t want to escape.

But then someone took her from me. Now they’ll find out just how far I’m willing to go to get her back.

To save the woman I love, all I need to do is expose my secrets. Secrets that will have consequences for her and the crown.

 

Why you should read it: You may remember that cliffhanger at the end of London Royal? Well, the action picks up right from where book 1 left off. Abbie and Alexi go through the mill in this book – so many obstacles, and misunderstandings and misplaced loyalty means one thing: DRAMA! It was exciting and the action and plot did not wane – it certainly kept me reading. Abbie develops quite a bit in this story – she’s skittish for very good reason and wary of Lexi at the start of the story, but by degrees, the pair come to trust each other and work on their personal issues. I empathised with Abbie – she’s doing the best she can and she really has a dreadful family! Lexi is in foreign territory in his feelings for Abbie – he has competing priorities and he really has a lot to sort through. Seeing how he navigates his way through friendships and family was interesting and also quite sad.

What you may not like: I think all in all, Nana Malone acquitted herself well re-versioning this story into the Royal environment. Fans of the Chase brothers will really enjoy their new world and the continuing story to include Xander and his adventures. I’ll admit, I was a bit sceptical as I enjoyed the original series and thought why mess with perfection? However, there was some new plot and new content to enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5 for a good read – lots of drama, lots of angst, and plenty of sexual chemistry! Looking forward to more Chase brothers.