Category: 4/5 Stars

Blog tour: One Woman by Lisa Renee Jones

81ACA9F9-8629-453C-94AB-51F15595BA9EBook: One Woman

Series: The Naked Trilogy #2

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Release date: 17 September 2019

Main characters: Emma Knight, daughter to the late business tycoon who founded Knight hotels. Jax North, successful businessman in his own right, once hellbent on revenge, now hopelessly in love with Emma Knight – his family’s enemy.

Blurb:

The second book in the dangerously sexy Naked Trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
Emma and Jax came together in the midst of secrets and lies, but in a castle in Maine, they seek passion and sanctuary. What they find is a mystery that could stretch beyond all their expectations. And what Emma finds is danger.

One Woman begins where One Man ended, with Emma one step from death and Jax the only man who can save her

“We’re not them,” he says, his thumb stroking my cheek. “They don’t decide who we are or what we are together.”

Why you should read it: Having loved One Man as much as I did, it was a no-brainer that I’d want to devour One Woman. Book one ended on a doozy of a cliffhanger, and book two got straight back into the action. There was also the very useful recap of book one’s plot for those who aren’t reading the trilogy in one go. That was a nice touch, as I’ll admit I totally forgot little bits here and there. The action and the intrigue were dialled up to 11 in this book – it’s full of danger and secrets – and dangerous secrets! The relationship between Emma and Jax evolved and became something quite profound. Amid all the chaos they do their best to remain adults, talk to each other and not let others tear them apart. It’s a sexy read, it’s exciting and I felt that we were only just scratching the surface of the history between the Knights and the Norths.

What you may not like: There wasn’t a whole lot I disliked about this book. In many ways it’s your classic book two in a trilogy. Move the plot on but spend more time getting to know the main characters. So far so true. I would say that unlike some book twos I’ve read, the suspense and the angst increased twofold. Were there lots of conversations about how their relationship was doomed to fail? Yes. Did Emma have the annoying tendency to give up and run when things got rough? Yes. But the beauty of this book was their ability to recognise their behaviour and try to correct it. It’s angsty as hell and that’s no bad thing, as the action didn’t drag at all.

Rating: 4/5 for a nail-biting read – another cliffhanger, perhaps slightly less dramatic than the previous one, but this is one trilogy I want to see through to the end!

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Blog tour: The Billionaire’s Secret by Nana Malone

coverBook: The Billionaire’s Secret

Series: The Billionaire Duet #2

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 17 September 2019

Main characters: Zia Barnes, Royal Guard and bodyguard to the rich and powerful. Theo Coleman, philanthropic businessman who’s been inveigled into playing stand-in to  a member of the Royal household.

Blurb:

It was supposed to be a simple job. Go to the Winston Isles, stand in for my billionaire double for a few weeks.

But between the kidnapping attempt and accidentally falling in love with my bodyguard, things have been far from simple.

The good news, at least now the woman I love knows who I really am. The bad news is, no one else knows and someone is still trying to kill me.

I came to the Winston Isles to save my mother’s life, now I’ve got so much more than I bargained for. The trick will be to hold on to my brand new life and not get killed in the process.

Why you should read it: Bodyguard to the Billionaire ended on one heck of a cliff-hanger and so if you’ve read it, you’ll be desperate to find out what happens next. Zia and Theo have grown closer and closer despite the secrets between them, but now the situation has come to a head, with the appearance of the real Derrick Arlington. With Zia feeling betrayed, Theo has a lot of work to do in order to win her back. As always, I enjoyed the dialogue and the banter and the inclusion of the peripheral characters. This story wasn’t just a romance, it was also a story about love (all kinds) and family. I found it quite touching in places, and I certainly didn’t see the twist coming. The romance between Zia and Theo didn’t feel rushed and I certainly enjoyed the steady build of heat, the intrigue and the humour of the book.

What you may not like: Not much to dislike, in my view. The ending was perhaps a little abrupt, opening up the way for more books in this setting, but that’s it really. The characters were well rounded, the humour was lively and punchy and the romance was slow-burning. So, like I said, not much to dislike. I will say that Penny the Queen was a bit annoying in this particular book – wanting to be in the thick of the action while 7 months pregnant with the heir to the kingdom. Okaaay.

Rating: 4/5 for a truly enjoyable read that made me smile and kept my interest throughout the story. I never want tales from the Winston Isles to end!

BLOG TOUR: Need You Now by M O’Keefe

9757F929-A13F-4E23-B841-0E15E548A456Book: Need You Now

Series: Linked to the Debt series but can be read as a standalone

Author: Molly O’Keefe

Release date: 9 September 2019

Main characters: Rosa Burns, mother to Ariella and wife of Marco Zambrano. Marco – the man who is determined to get Rosa back into his and Ariella’s life.

 Blurb:

MARCO

I have loved Rosa since I met her in high school English, even though the odds have always been stacked against us. She is the child of criminals, resigned to a bleak future. I’m the heir to a successful construction company and am not afraid to go after what I want.

And I want Rosa. Always and forever.

ROSA

I broke the law to make sure Marco got custody of our daughter, and I paid the price. But now that I’m out of jail, I’m terrified my ugly past might bleed into our daughter’s future.

The only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is staying far away from both of them.  

But Marco isn’t letting me run from him. Not again.

Why you should read it: I actually forgot how much I love reading about the kids from St. Jude’s juvenile facility. The collective story is one of heartbreak, abuse and hopelessness for each inmate. This time, it’s Rosa’s turn. Her tale is one of bad luck and an even worse family. I really felt for what she’d been through. I totally understood her motives for protecting her own family and trying to get by any way she could. I also understood her bitterness at how things turned out. Her yearning for her family was palpable, but at times, because of her pride, she did tend to get in her own way, which was baffling and frustrating. There are some surprises along the way that I won’t spoil, but Rosa and Marco have a lot of rebuilding to do in their relationship and it’s not all plain sailing. Rosa isn’t the only one experiencing bitterness for the past, nor is she the only character who is suffering.

What you may not like: As the characters spend a fair amount of time sparring with each other, there is point-scoring going on and times when they deliberately hurt each other. There’s a particular scene where Marco makes Rosa feel like worthless – it’s a pretty well-used trope and one that really disappointed me. The easiest way to lash out at a women? The woman you love? Throw cash at her feet. Despite what she’d done or not done, this was a really cheap move that made me question my feelings about Marco.

Rating: 4/5 for another heart-wrenching story from the former inmates of St. Jude’s. For all the heartache and cruelty, I truly enjoy the interwoven stories of Tommy, Beth, Carissa, Simon and Rosa. I CANNOT wait to finally find out more about Bates – and hopefully Carissa too!

Buy links:

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

Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/NeedYouNow

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2YEWYsj

Nook: http://bit.ly/2MPnhF2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Yzqq2

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All Grown Up by Vi Keeland

unnamedBook: All Grown Up

Author: Vi Keeland

Series: a standalone

Release date: 6 July 2019

Main characters: Valentina di Giovanni Davis, divorcee, soon-to-be teacher. Ford Donovan, successful realtor and someone whom Valentina knew years ago.

Plot: When Valentina, newly single and (somewhat) ready to mingle is persuaded to get back in the dating saddle, nothing can prepare her for what she will find. After a little help with her online profile (courtesy of a well-meaning bff) she soon finds herself messaging a certain Donovan620 on a daily basis. They make each other laugh, it’s the most natural and relaxed she’s felt in a long time. So why not meet? Aside from the fact that she hasn’t been on a date since high school, she doesn’t know the rules and isn’t keen to get her heart broken all over again. Despite her misgivings, Valentina decides to be brave. Nothing however, could prepare her for Ford Donovan. Tall, gorgeous and also the boy who used to babysit her son!

Ford is enamoured with Valentina from the beginning and he’s not accustomed to being disappointed. Despite their rocky start, he’s determined to win her heart. Valentina is stubborn but so is he – he’s always kept his eyes on the prize, and this time will be no different…

Why you should read it: I absolutely loved this book! It was heartwarming and super romantic without giving me toothache. For quite a young hero, Ford is mature, self-assured and a ton of fun. Valentina was engaging, funny and personable. She did make quite a big deal of the age gap but her character development was truly fun to read and I loved both characters. The dialogue and the story unfolded well and it kept me reading voraciously. I finished it pretty quickly – think I’ll need to re-read it again soon too! The chemistry was pitch perfect and it really made me fan myself – the main characters complemented each other perfectly and they didn’t play stupid games. The absence of angst was quite a relief.

What you may not like: Depends on how you feel about relationships where the characters are different ages. Full disclosure: the age gap in this book isn’t cavernous, so I don’t think it was such a huge issue, but I guess there is still a double standard for men and women. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it, so can’t think of anything to dislike. If I had to pick something, it would be the hero requesting ‘Lady in Red‘. Do 25 year-olds know such cheesy songs? Maybe…

Rating: 4/5 for a truly heartwarming book. Sometimes Vi Keeland knocks it out the park, other times her books fail to hit the mark – this one was a definite hit!

Stuck With You by Roya Carmen

 

A man and a woman are smiling at each other, their heads bowed close to one anotherBook: Stuck With You

Series: a One Week novella

Author: Roya Carmen

Release date: 20th June 2019

Main characters: Corrie Macmillan, soon-to-be-divorcee, eager to get away from all of her coupled up friends. Jacob Macmillan, Corrie’s soon to be ex-husband, who isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Plot: Corrie loves her friends dearly. They have seen her through some difficult times and vice-versa. When her friends’ happy situations serve to highlight the areas that are lacking in her life, Corrie knows it’s time for a change of scene. A little time away in the countryside will help her get her head together.

When she borrows a cottage from a friend, she’s astonished and a little miffed to see Jacob, her soon-to-be ex, has had a similar idea and has no intention of leaving the cottage to her, once it becomes clear that they’ve been double booked. Corrie is determined to go ahead with her week of rest and recuperation, despite Jacob’s presence. What does it matter if they still have a powerful connection and chemistry that won’t quit? She may not be completely over Jacob, no he over her, but she’s determined to be an adult and move on – for the both of them…

Why you should read it: This was a sweet, sexy and short conclusion to a very entertaining series. The friends are all so different and I’ve enjoyed all of their adventures and their HEAs. Corrie was the support character in those books so it was occasionally difficult to get a handle on her character. This novella peeks beneath the barbed comments and outrageous behaviour. We get to see what makes Corrie tick and the reasons why she wants to end her marriage. The story was quite sad in places and many women who are going through a similar situation may be able to relate.

What you may not like: Corrie does have quite a sad view of herself that made me feel really bad for her. Perhaps those who have been through similar issues may take exception to it, perhaps not. Perhaps the story was tied up a little too neatly for some readers’ taste, maybe dealing with difficult themes in a novella was ambitious, but I think this was the ending that would make a HEA happy possible for Corrie.

Rating: 4/5 for a heartwarming conclusion to a great series.

Blog Tour: Concerto by Skye Warren

Book: Concerto

Series: North security #2

Author: Skye Warren

Release date: 14 May 2019

Main characters: Samantha Brooks, violinist and child prodigy who is learning to stand on her own two feet. Liam North, former guardian, sometimes lover, the man who wants to protect her from anyone who would harm her. Even himself.

Blurb:

Samantha Brooks stands onstage as the curtain rises. Her dreams are coming true. She doesn’t know her nightmare is coming too.

The spotlight lands on Samantha Brooks. Years of practice build to the opening night of a global tour. She plays her heart out, but there are darker forces underneath the stage.

There are eyes watching from the wings.

Liam North fights to keep her safe with every weapon he owns. She’s his greatest pride — and his greatest weakness. The danger comes from somewhere no one expected. Betrayal threatens to destroy everything he’s built. His business. His family. His life.

When the curtain falls, only one of them will be left standing.

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! This book was anything but filler! You know how sometimes with a trilogy, books 1 and 3 have you hooked, but book 2 just kind of ambles along and doesn’t seem to know its purpose? Yeah, that didn’t happen with this book I’m happy to report! Samantha is no longer the wide-eyed ingenue she was in book 1. She’s got a lot to learn – she’s only 18, but she’s determined to take responsibility for her own actions and her love life. She wants Liam and knows he wants her too, but he won’t let the possibility of their being together take root. He’s the flip flop in the book – he’s made weak by her but leads her a merry dance by blowing hot and cold. She correctly calls him on it and reacts with maturity.  She doesn’t weep and wail or stomp around throwing tantrums. She’s young (as I have said) but she really starts to come into her own in this book. We learn a lot about her and also more about the state of Liam’s mind. I understand his reticence to take things further, but I wanted to slap him at times for his contrary ways.

What you may not like: Well, this wouldn’t be a Skye Warren book if it didn’t raise eyebrows or make you take a close look at uncomfortable dynamics. The age difference may not sit well with you, (I’m conflicted about it) but I tell myself this is fiction. FICTION. The intrigue happening in the background was too delicious and I found myself engaging equally with that plot and the other members of the performance troop, than simply the main love story. The plot has still lots of questions that remain to be answered and I want to find out ALL THE ANSWERS!

Rating: 4/5 for an intriguing and exciting book 2 – I cannot wait for Sonata to finally get some closure!

Pre-order your copy today:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HXZQGY

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2JLcOdR

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/ConcertoSW

Nook: http://bit.ly/2V0BIqT

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Wp15ms

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2HWGDWg

Start the series with OVERTURE:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2TWpWgG

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2TPpoZz

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Overture

Nook: http://bit.ly/2su8Bj5

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2RraYCa

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ANRUDX

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2GMaxMv

Review: Things We Never Said by Samantha Young

thingsweneversaidforweb-2Book: Things We Never Said

Series: Harts Boardwalk #3

Author: Samantha Young

Release date: 7 May 2019

Main characters: Dalia McGuire, talented metalsmith who’s lived in Hartwell for nine years and loves it. Michael Sullivan, an old flame from Dalia’s previous life in Boston, who never expected to see her again.

Plot: Dahlia has a quiet and successful life in Hartwell, Delaware and she is surrounded by a small, but close-knit group of friends. They’re the only family she has these days and she’s found a peace she didn’t believe was possible. When she receives a call out of the blue from her beloved father, she knows she has to return to Boston, even if her reception will be less than welcoming. Seeing her siblings again is tough but necessary to put the past to rights, but nothing prepares her for seeing Michael Sullivan again. After nine long years, if she thought that she was finally over him, then she’s sorely mistaken.

Michael is in the midst of getting divorced, he’s a detective and his life basically revolves around his job and Dahlia’s family. Seeing her again brings back memories of the hurt and destruction caused when she left Boston and he’s determined to get some answers, even if he has to relocate to Hartwell to do so. Can the pair reconcile and trust each other again? Or will past grief and pain obscure their future forever?

Why you should read it:  My, my, my! I feel like I’ve been through the ringer with this book! It was so packed full of intrigue, secrets, martyrdom and repressed feelings – I couldn’t get enough! I loved the theme of familial love (in whichever form it can take) that runs through the book. Dahlia and her friends are a family – the kind that you choose, and her reconciliation with her blood family was beautifully done. I shed several tears, I’m not ashamed to say. The simmering chemistry between Dahlia and Michael was interesting too – and it kept me guessing. Their interactions were often laced with hurting each other and that cycle made it difficult to see how they’d ever get their HEA. It felt real though – love in all its messy glory. Their love for each other and all the ways their love was denied for so long made my heart hurt.

What you may struggle with: Ok honestly, at times, Dahlia was her own worst enemy. Even her friends called out her martyrdom so many times, it was so strong. She comes across as pretty stubborn, and at times you wonder exactly what it is she’s fighting against. The self-denial got a little bit old towards the end, but when you find out the WHY, it does becomes clear and somewhat understandable.

Rating: 4/5 for a truly gripping and nuanced read. I loved the story, love the series and adored the characters. Strap yourself in, because this book is A LOT! There’s so much going on, there isn’t time to take a breath. I thoroughly enjoyed the story – couldn’t put it down and I cannot wait for more in the series – hopefully Emery’s story is in the offing?

Buy Now Links:

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2ULN5m0
iBooks US – https://apple.co/2UNdsbu
Kobo US – http://bit.ly/2BnLADq
Nook – http://bit.ly/2MTxuy4
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/2HZeUFT
Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2I9twlt

About the Author

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series, Hero, and Fight or Flight. Samantha’s crossover romance/women’s fiction novel titled Much Ado About You will be published by Berkley (release date tba). Her debut adult paranormal romance novel War of Hearts releases under the pen name S. Young in October 2019.
Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author. When she’s not writing books, she’s buying shoes she doesn’t really need and searching for nooks and crannies to shelve her ever-expanding book collection.

Connect with Samantha Young

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSamanthaYoung/
Join “Sam’s Clan McBookish” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1520019958258238/
Instagram – @authorsamanthayoung
Twitter – @authorsamyoung
BookBub – http://bit.ly/2vuzsOc

 

To Have and to Hold by Serena Bell

THTHguyv2-768x1187Book: To Have and to Hold

Series: Coming Home #3

Author: Serena Bell

Re-release date: 23 April, 2019

Main characters: Trina Levine, Hunter Cross

 

Basic story: Trina Levine has been counting down the days until Hunter, the man she’s been waiting a year for, would return from his deployment. She’s been holding the fort at home, looking after his daughter Clara, and her own daughter Phoebe.

It soon becomes startlingly clear that Hunter is not the same man who made her promises of a life together. He barely recognises her at the airport and even then it’s only as the mother of his daughter’s friend. Hunter’s injuries are clearly not all physical.

Trina is torn – should she tough it out and patiently wait for Hunter’s memories to return, or pack herself and Phoebe up and move to California – where a new job beckons and Phoebe can finally meet her absent father?

Hunter had no idea he was missing chunks from his memories until he saw disappointment in Trina’s face when he failed to recognise her. Unable to deal with her pain and his, he distances himself from her. However, it soon becomes apparent that Trina’s presence is indispensable to his family, and maybe to him too, if he’d just let himself trust his instincts.

Why you should read it: I’m a huge fan of the Coming Home series. Each story has been smart, sensitive to issues such as PTSD and combat trauma, and also sexy as hell. This one is no exception. Trina is a down-to-earth, courageous heroine, rising to the occasion and being strong enough for both her heart and Hunter’s. She has no time for navel gazing and gets on with making sure her family is secure. Hunter is damaged but he is interesting, kind and oh so sexy. I loved their story and think you might too.

What you might not like: It was a gentle read, and a short read. You may like your books with a bit more drama and angst. If so, this is comparatively tame. There’s plenty of passion here, and no baddies. For me, it’s a relief to read a story steeped in reality.

Rating: 4/5 for a well-crafted welcome addition to a great series. To Have and to Hold is out today.

Blog tour: Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C Cherry

Book: Eleanor & Grey

Author: Brittainy C Cherry

Series: a standalone

Release date: 8 April 2019

Main characters: Eleanor Gable, the odd girl, the misfit in school who caught Greyson East’s eye. Grey East – the boy with it all, seemingly.

Plot: Back in high school, Eleanor did everything she could to slip under the radar. She had her books and they were better friends than any popular crowd could ever be. She had a solid family, a great cousin and that was pretty much all she needed. Enter Greyson East. The all-American boy with popularity and good looks. Ellie doesn’t think someone like that could possibly have any problems in life whatsoever. The deeper she digs (despite herself) the more she learns about Grey. He’s a sensitive and kind soul who gets her and wants to get to know more about her.

Flash forward 15 years, and unique circumstances once again puts Greyson in Eleanor’s orbit – this time as nanny to his children. The carefree, fun-loving boy is gone and in his place stands a shattered, closed off human being who has no interest in revisiting their past. Eleanor must reconcile the present Greyson and accept that past Grey may be gone, this time forever. Unless she can make him care enough to fight his demons and come back to life. A tall order if ever there was one…

Why you should read it: Brittainy C Cherry fans won’t need me to tell them to read this. She’s an insanely talented writer and she taps into universal human experiences like no other. Eleanor & Grey made me smile and laugh and cry and cry and cry some more! It is full of pathos, with a very sad yet uplifting sentiment. I really enjoyed the evolving characterisations of the main characters – their younger selves preceding their more complicated, adult selves. It was a steadily paced story, full of issues to be resolved. Ellie was an outstanding heroine – loyal and patient and so good it was hard to see her constantly rebuffed and shot down. Greyson’s life had it’s ups and downs too – he goes from idealistic and gentle to shut down and distant. It was quite a transformation and the reader understands why, which makes it hard to dislike him. His pain is palpable. This story doesn’t take the simple route to its HEA – there’s a lot to be ironed out before getting to the resolution – I won’t say anymore than that!

What you may not like: There was very little I couldn’t get on board with in this story – it gave me all the feels – the characters were varied and nuanced and really relatable. The children were well characterised and felt authentic. My only comment is that the ending was a little too sweet for my sensibilities – I can’t go into detail, but it’s a growing trend in romance with blended families I’m seeing and it’s not my cup of tea.

Rating: 4/5 for a truly outstanding read – stick with it through the sad times as you will be rewarded!

REVIEW: Violent Delights by Jessica Hawkins

ig-vide-portrait-cover_origBook: Violent Delights

Series: White Monarch #1

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 19 March 2019

Main characters: Natalia Lourdes King Cruz, beloved daughter of cartel kingpin Costa Cruz, who wants nothing to do with the life she was born into. Diego de la Rosa, advisor to Costa, in love with Natalia, but with secrets of his own. Cristiano de la Rosa, back from exile and ready to reclaim his rightful place.

Plot: Natalia Cruz loves her father dearly but is adamant that she does not want to live the life of cartel princess, where to be in danger is the daily reality. Instead, she has made a quiet life in California, studying and hoping that she and Diego can be together. Her childhood was marred by violence and grief and she is desperate to escape her nightmares. If Diego and she can be together, all will be right with the world. Fate has other ideas however, and Natalia may not have a choice about her future.

Cristiano de la Rosa has spent a long time away from the life he knew, but now he’s back. No longer a foot soldier, he is the epitome of power and chaos. His objective isn’t clear, but he’s back with scores to settle and an offer that nobody will be able to refuse…

Why you should read it: Oh boy! Jessica Hawkins has embarked on another epic trilogy that I think will drive us all crazy! This first book was a slow-burning, introduction to the world of  organised crime and life on the edge. Natalia is young and idealistic, eager to remove herself from a life of stress and danger. She believes all she needs is Diego’s love and life will be perfect. I have the feeling she’ll do a lot of growing up in this series. Much like Lake did in the Something in the Way series. There was plenty of slow-burning passion in this book – Diego loves Natalia and Natalia loves Diego. Simple, right? Hmmm, maybe, until Cristiano shows up. He’s older, crueller and everything Diego isn’t. What’s his agenda? We don’t quite know, but it’s clear there’s no love lost between he and Diego.

What you may not like: I don’t know how you feel about books set against an organised crime backdrop. I don’t read them often but I do like to dip my toe in every now and then. I enjoyed it thoroughly, it is fairly violent – and if that’s not your bag, fair enough. I don’t see it getting less violent as the series progresses to be honest, but it certainly wasn’t gratuitous. Warm and fuzzy it is not, but an engaging and exciting read it certainly is. I need more!

Rating: 4/5 for a really exciting start to the trilogy – not sure I can wait until June for part 2, but I shall try!

 

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