Category: 4/5 Stars

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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Blog tour: Laws of Physics – Space by Penny Reid

Book: Space

Series: Hypothesis trilogies series #2, part 2

Author: Penny Reid

Release date: 11 March 2019

Main characters: Mona daVinci, a brilliant and influential scientist, Abram Harris is now a successful musician performing under a pseudonym. Suddenly, they’re about to crash back into each other’s lives.

Plot: Mona is in need of some down time. A little rest and relaxation with her friend Allyn at her family’s place in Aspen is just the ticket. She’ll read, hang out with her friend and generally not take up too much space. Fate, or in this case her brother, however have different ideas.

Leo brings his entourage with him – among them, none other than Abram Harris. Mona is poleaxed. She hasn’t seen him for two years, nor has she had the chance to explain her role in what happened two years earlier. Despite his frosty reception, she’s determined to make things right. She never got over him, but more than anything, she just wants him to be happy.

Abram is not happy to see Mona again. He hasn’t been keeping track of her these past two years – not at all. He’s still angry and he plans to keep that anger… will they end up killing each other out in the wilds of Aspen? Or is there still a spark there worth exploring?

Why you should read it: This is an engaging story – one that is shaping up to be a great series. I love Mona and the fact that her logic deserts her once she’s in Abram’s orbit. The pair have a lot to work out and there’s still a lot left unsaid. Abram is pretty salty in this book – not surprising but he’s kind of verging on bitter. I did enjoy his crabby exchanges with Mona – she’s in  many ways the grown up. I also enjoyed the familial exchanges and developments between Mona and Lisa. Not saying anymore than that. The chemistry is kept at a steady simmer for the whole book. It’s very much a study in delayed gratification – the complete opposite of the first Hypothesis series. Penny’s making us work for that HEA!

What you may not like: Is Abram a little more bitter than necessary? Is he a bit self-indulgent? I don’t know – on the one hand it’s understandable, on the other, he does seem to guard his self-righteous anger like a shield. I can’t wait for that shield to crumble. In some ways, this was your typical book 2 of a trilogy – we get more character development, a deeper look into their psyche and also another cliffhanger. I’m cool with all of that, but it’s made me really impatient for the book’s conclusion!

Rating: 4/5 for an entertaining read – sexy yet not yet fulfilling. Plus a very welcome back to some much-loved characters from the previous series.

Meet Penny Reid 

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Time

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Blog tour: Overture by Skye Warren

FD39F92C-E13A-42A6-83D9-B932D2E50B2EBook: Overture

Series: North Security #1

Author: Skye Warren

Release date: 19 February 2019

Main characters: Samantha Brooks, violinist and prodigy about to embark on her first tour. Liam North, her guardian, and the only one who can tell her the truth about her past.

Plot: Samantha Brooks is about to turn 18 and with her birthday will come not olny emancipation and adulthood, but also some answers about who Liam is to her and why he became her guardian. Their relationship is civil; Liam has always seen to her needs but no-one has ever shown her the love she needed. Not even the father she barely remembers.

Despite his frosty demeanour, Liam is all Samantha has, and lately, she’s been thinking of him as less of a guardian and more of a potential lover. He continues to keep her at arm’s length but she intuits that he is fighting the attraction that burns between them. Will he ever give in to temptation, or will he let shame and guilt stand between them..?

Why you should read it: I thought I knew what I was getting with this book. A young girl/woman, an older man, a taboo-ish story of characters struggling with their attraction. It is that kind of story, but as ever, Skye Warren adds in an extra layer or two. There’s intrigue – both in Liam’s family and in Samantha’s past. Exploring just how the two may be linked kept me reading and turning the pages.

It was an intriguing narrative that introduced the characters to the reader. I’ll be very interested to see just how the main characters will develop and also the peripheral characters in the story – they’re equally interesting.

What you may not like: Well, Samantha is pretty young and Liam is not. If that is likely to make you uncomfortable, I would sit this one out. However, if you’re a fan of Skye Warren, you’ll no doubt know what you’re getting into. I just want to read the next instalment posthaste! Beware cliffhangers – for they will drive you insane!

Rating: 4/5 for a story that developed slowly, but sucked me in and made me want more.

Buy links:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Apple Books|Kobo|Google Play|

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Teasing the Princess by Nana Malone

Teasing-the-Princess-web

Book: Teasing the Princess

Series: Royals United #2

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 8 January 2019

Main characters: Roone Ainsley, best friend to the king and sent to protect Jessa McLean, the ‘lost’ princess. Jessa McLean, successful and savvy PR guru, who’s unfortunately used to having her life turned upside down.

Plot: Jessa is once again fleeing the only home she knows. This time however, she’s determined to get some answers and to find out once and for all who her enemies and who her allies are.  She won’t think about Roone and his deception – it hurts too much. She resolves to head straight into the eye of the storm – she’s heading for the Winston Isles and the source of all her trouble.

Roone knows he’s blown his chance with Jessa – but he couldn’t disobey a direct order from the king. He’s resolved to find Jessa, make her see sense and maybe one day she’ll be able to forgive him for his deception. He just has to find her first and keep her safe…

Why you should read it: if you read and enjoyed (and you should have read it first)  Royal Tease, you’ll know what a doozy of a cliffhanger it ended on. I was dying to read what would happen next – Jessa was such a badass! If you felt for Roone, then you need to read on to see what happens to him. The dialogue was punchy and the plot didn’t drag – it moved along nicely and each page was exciting and a delight. I also enjoyed the peripheral characters who appeared in the other Royals series – I love them and their realness and the multiple points of view weren’t at all jarring.

What you may not like: I’m not sure really. There was A LOT going on in the book and with so many characters involved, you may need to jog your memory a bit on past plots and character references – it wasn’t a big deal though. I thoroughly got caught up in the action and went with it! I was rewarded with an exciting and satisfying read. I totally recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 for a truly enjoyable read for the holidays – it was just what I needed.

 

Blog tour: The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

IMG_4637Book: The Kiss Thief

Author: L.J. Shen

Series: a standalone

Release date: 9th January 2019

Main characters: Francesca Rossi, a mob princess used as a political pawn by the men in her life. Wolfe Keaton, a senator and perhaps the devil himself. Angelo Badini, the man who hopes to make Francesca his wife.

 

Blurb:

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

Why you should read it: Oh my! Where to start? I’m a fairly recent fan of LJ Shen, so there’s a ton of books of hers that I’ve yet to read. I’ve read Dirty Headlines, Sparrow – which I adored, and now The Kiss Thief. The latter book reminds me in many ways of Sparrow – we have a spunky young heroine who finds herself in an impossible situation, due to the machinations of the men in her life. The lack of control over their own lives and the adversity both Sparrow and Francesca have to face, spoke to me and kept me reading. The anti-heroes of both books had similar character evolutions too – at first they’re surly, verging on sadistic, but little-by-little, they learn to let their guards down and show a more humane side towards the object of their desire.

The Kiss Thief is full of action, suspense and twisted sexual desire. You’ll either love it or hate it. The male characters in LJ’s back catalogue are not loveable rogues – they’re difficult, cruel but always redeemable.

What you may not like: It really depends on what you like a) in a romance and b) in a hero. As mentioned before, it you don’t like twisted, then you may struggle with this warped fairy tale. I found it engaging and thoroughly enjoyed it, however, there was a plot line towards the end which suddenly made Francesca, a hitherto sorted and sensible character (despite her age) act completely out of character. Her actions were stupid and seemed to have been engineered to cause drama. Despite this, I loved the story and couldn’t put the book down.

Rating: 4/5 for a truly heart-stoppingly good read. It was sexy, wrong in many ways, right in others! I would highly recommend it.

 

Buy links:

AMAZON US |AMAZON UK |AMAZON CA |AMAZON AU |AUDIO |

Royal Tease by Nana Malone

Book: Royal Tease

Series: Royals United #1

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 13 November 2018

Main characters: Jessa McLean, PR guru and secret Princess. Roone Ainsley, sent to protect her by infiltrating her world.

Plot: Roone Ainsley is a trusted friend of the newly-crowned King. Who better then, to be given the mission to protect his half-sister, Jessa?

The mission is secret. Roone must get close to her, gain her trust but at no point must he reveal the truth about who he is. Simple right? Roone hates lies and when he meets Jessa and begins to enjoy her company, he likes his brief even less. How will she react when the truth comes out? And the truth must always out…
Jessa is where she wants to be professionally. She’s respected and damn good at her job. When Roone Ainsley shows up to mess with her head and her job, she has no intention of letting him jeopardise all that. The more time the pair spend together, the more confused she becomes about him – one minute he’s a thorn in her side, the next he’s her biggest advocate. Who exactly is Roone Ainsley?

Why you should read it: I really enjoy these Royal books – and I’m not usually a fan of royal-themed anything. The books are smart, the settings are vivid and the action is constant. I really liked Roone and Jessa’s characters. He’s strong and full of fun and himself – but he’s not overbearing. Jessa is stubborn stubborn stubborn – but she has good reason to dig in her heels. She’s been through a lot in life and she really doesn’t do the self-pitying thing, she just gets on with it.

The chemistry between the pair was enough to make me fan myself. It was definitely a slow but steady burn. I also loved that Nana name checked some of my favourite characters from the Chase brothers books – Abie and Alexis. I feel like I need to re-read those books now!

What you may not like: this is a duet and yes it does end on a cliffhanger. And yes – I want to know what happened right now!

Rating: 4/5 for successfully making a book set in the world of royalty realistic. There’s so much intrigue and mystery it’ll keep you turning those pages.

Her pupils dilated even as her gaze narrowed. When she spoke, her words were biting. “Since we’re on the subject, I don’t like being man-handled.” I narrowed my gaze in return. “When I man-handle you Jessa, you’ll know.” I turned and left her standing at the lift.

Blog tour: Ache For You by J.T. Geissinger

Bcover picook: Ache For You

Author: JT Geissinger

Series: Slow Burn #3

Release date: 6 November 2018

Main characters: Kimber DiSanto, struggling designer, who’s facing the worst month of her life. Matteo Moretti, a Marquis no less, who’s about to make things worse.

Plot: Kimber DiSanto has had a lot of mortifying things happen to her lately. Her wedding descended into a lesson in public humiliation; her father and only family member is suddenly ill and her whole life in San Francisco is about to go up in flames. She can’t even get out of the country to be with her father – until a fellow passenger offers her the last seat on the flight. That’s when things get even more insane.

Matteo Moretti is known wherever he goes. People are always bending over backward to please him and the word ‘no’ has never been used against him. Until now. Kimber has Matteo intrigued and interested from the start, but it’s clear she wants nothing to do with him. Ever. Matteo isn’t sure what to make of her, but he knows one thing: he’s never one to back down from a challenge…

Why you should read it: How I enjoyed this book! It was very funny, very sexy and also very touching. I may have teared up a time of two while reading it. Poor Kimber has been through the mill! She can’t feasibly take much more. Then Matteo, his family baggage and two very spoilt dogs come crashing into her life! This book is the definition of a slow burn – it really worked for me. I loved the push-pull between Matteo and Kimber. The heat was palpable and hoo boy, was it hot?! They have so many ups and downs it will make your head spin – but it never stopped being entertaining or a darn good read.

What you may not like: Was the characterisation of the gay, fabulous  bff a little formulaic? Perhaps… I don’t know. We only got a small glimpse at Jenner, and it would have been nice to have seen another dimension to him – but…I think, on the whole, it was done well.

Rating: I whizzed through this book, willing Kimber to get her happily ever after and I wasn’t disappointed. At all. I wanted to re-read it from the start. For this reason, I give it 4/5.

Pre-order your copy today!
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Start the standalone series today!
Burn For You
Amazon|Amazon Worldwide|GoodReads|

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So Wild by Eve Dangerfield

cover picBook: So Wild

Series: Silver Daughters Ink #1

Author: Eve Dangerfield

Release date: 23 October 2018

Main characters: Samantha DaSilva, pranker supreme, tattoo artist, Johnny Depp hater. Scott Sanderson, her childhood neighbour, former nemesis, and owner of the longest crush in history.

Plot: Sam DaSilva has been left with a ton of responsibilities she didn’t  necessary want when her father decides to take off to give his daughters ‘room to grow’.  Left with a tattoo business that’s circling the drain, a fractured family she needs to somehow reunite, the odds are stacked against her.

Life becomes even more complicated when she bumps into Scott Sanderson. The unhappy boy who lived next door to her years ago, and with whom she had a complicated, love-hate situation going on. Scott’s sudden appearance brings back all sorts of memories, both happy and sad. Whatever was between them 10 years ago is not about to go away overnight, so they better figure out what it all means. If ever they can put their adolescent heartbreaks behind them, can they move forward with a clean slate?

Why you should read it: Wow! I was so excited to read this book – I love this author for her narratives, her complex characters and the kink factor of her books. This one featured spanking – sign me up! It was a no-brainer to read! I was not disappointed either. I got a heart-warming tale featuring references to my favourite 90s shows, a mutual hatred for Johnny Depp, and my favourite books growing up. (Sweet Valley High and the Babysitters Club, anyone?)

The relationship between Scott and Sam was tempestuous without being too over the top. Sure, Sam is not a fully formed adult – not by a long shot, but nor does she pretend to be. She’s a bit of a mess, but she grows throughout the story. Scott was patient, posh and… can’t think of another word starting with ‘p’, but he was adorable. I was rooting for them so much, and I love how they were from completely different worlds but somehow managed to find common ground.

What you may not like: I lapped this book up because it was funny as hell, sexy in a slow-burning kind of way and full of heart.  The writing was strong and made me laugh out loud several times. I think the British and Australian senses of humour are quite similar and I really did love this book! If I have to think of a negative… maybe there could have been more spanking. I’ll always want more spanking in a book. But I digress…

Rating: 4/5 for a fun, sexy and smart story. Now I don’t regret fangirling shamelessly to the author and requesting (read begging) in order to read this story. Check it out!

Blog tour: Dirty Headlines by L.J. Shen

FDC4D612-D980-4347-AC8E-5818BA78EFC7Book: Dirty Headlines

Author: LJ Shen

Series: a standalone

Release date: 7 September 2018

Main characters: Judith Humphry, plucky would-be reporter with 99 problems; Célian Laurent, successful, infuriating, rude and a thorn in Jude’s side.

Blurb:

Célian Laurent.
Manhattan royalty.

Notorious playboy.

Heir to a media empire.

…And my new boss.

I could have impressed him, if not for last month’s unforgettable one-night stand.

I left it with more than orgasms and a pleasant memory–namely, his wallet.

Now he’s staring me down like I’m the dirt under his Italian loafers, and I’m supposed to take it.

But the thing about being Judith “Jude” Humphry is I have nothing to lose.

Brooklyn girl.

Infamously quirky.

Heir to a stack of medical bills and a tattered couch.

When he looks at me from across the room, I see the glint in his eyes, and that makes us rivals.

He knows it.

So do I.

Every day in the newsroom is a battle.

Every night in his bed, war.

But it’s my heart at stake, and I fear I’ll be raising the white flag.

Why you should read it: Well! This book was hot. And rude – extremely graphic! If you like your romances sweet and gentle, this read is not for you! I enjoyed the premise – very much so. I liked Jude a lot. The poor woman has a lot of worries and luck is not on her side. Despite her desperate situation, she still manages to stay upbeat and optimistic and she has a wicked turn of phrase – not many of which I can repeat here! Her imagined conversations with Jesus are hilarious and made me laugh out loud. Her quirky obsession with her Chucks also warmed my heart. I adore Converse and would also wear them everyday if I could! The book has it all – simmering tension between the hero and heroine, family intrigue and secrets that makes the Carringtons from Dynasty look like a happy family!

What you may not like: Dare I say Célian? We all love a rogue, an ass and a jerky hero from time to time, but he really made me work at liking him. He was a total anti-hero for a good three quarters of the book. He does redeem himself by the end I think, while staying true to his surly character – so I’d say if you hang in there, you will be rewarded. The main characters are not perfect – nor did I want them to be.

Rating: 4/5 for an engaging and adult read – it’ll make you blush, fan yourself and laugh a lot. It’s definitely worth a look!

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Sleepover by Serena Bell

Book: Sleepover

Series: a standalone

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 13 November 2018

Main characters: Elle Dunning, newly-divorced mother of one who is still adjusting to life as a single mother. Sawyer Paulson, her new enigmatic neighbour.

Plot: Elle has been through the mill this past year. Her cheating husband has returned to his former high school girlfriend, leaving her adjusting to single life with her son Madden. Trying to make the best out of a painful situation, she has her work and a good network of friends to keep her sane.

When Sawyer Dunning moves in next door, that sanity is about to be tested. Elle knows Sawyer – quite well already. It’s it everyday that a former one night stand moves in next door. She could ignore him – but that option is soon made impossible when her son becomes fast friends with Sawyer’s son, Jonah.

Sawyer is struggling with single parenthood and the spectre of grief. It’s been two years since his wife died, but her presence lingers and moving on seems impossible. Sawyer allows himself the odd meaningless encounter – always the one time, never to be repeated with nameless women. Until Elle. Something about her reaches out to him and he’s terrified of what that could mean for his life, his family and his piece of mind…

Why you should read it: I really enjoyed this down to earth story. Elle was so relatable and had been treated shabbily. You can’t help but feel for her. Her ex and his fiancée are shameless. I felt a lot of righteous indignation about her situation, but she dealt with it all with such grace, it was admirable. I enjoyed the slow-burning chemistry between Elle and Sawyer. Their kids bring them together and in many ways force them to confront their situation head on. Sawyer was a well drawn male character. He was a mixture of private and vulnerable and strong and he was in a very familiar situation to many.

What you may not like: Not a great deal to dislike in this book. It’s fresh, entertaining and a story of personal growth. What’s not to like?

Rating: 4/5 for a very sexy and page-turning story. I love the characters and the premise. I think you might, too.