Category: 4/5 Stars

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:

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Start the series with OVERTURE:

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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
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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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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.

Buy links:

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Add to GoodReads


Start the series:

Motion

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Pre-order the highly anticipated conclusion today!

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|

48A678B6-3A69-40CD-958E-4CAA40E47B1E

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.