Category: 4/5 Stars

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 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 REVIEW: Tell Me Everything by Amy Hatvany

Book: Tell Me Everything

Author: Amy Hatvany

Series: a standalone

Release date: 5 November 2019

Main characters: Jessica and Jake Snyder, a happily married couple, exploring their sexual boundaries.

Plot: Jessica Snyder has a great life. She’s found a lasting love in her second marriage, she has great kids and even manages a somewhat cordial relationship with her ex-husband and his new family. Her business is booming and she couldn’t ask for more.

When she and her husband Jake decide to explore inviting a third party into their sex lives, there’s way more excitement than trepidation. Their honesty with each other has created a rock-solid foundation that nothing can possibly shake. Or can it?

When a stupid lie of omission leads to more lies, Jessica and Jake’s relationship threatens to crumble to rubble, when a vengeful acquaintance sets out to ruin Jessica’s life. Will the pair be able to find their way back to each other, or will the fallout destroy the whole family?

Why you should read it: This was an intriguing and thought-provoking story. It was obviously sexy as hell – the scenarios between Jessica and Jake, for one, but also the scenes between Jessica and the other men were off the charts hot. I enjoyed the lack of shame in the story. The author has a fervent stance against shaming women for liking sex and owning their sexuality and it is a powerful message. I liked the main characters and their openness to self-acceptance.

What you may not like: There’s not a whole lot I disliked about this book. The plot was solid, the characters were interesting, but I’ll admit to wanting to wring Jessica’s neck for her decision to withold certain bits of information from Jake. It was quite out of character for her, and it was so clear that it was going to blow up in her face!

Rating: 4/5 for a very thoughtful look at marriage, relationships and all the elements that shape us. I liked the book’s message and would love to read more from this author.

BLOG TOUR: London Royal by Nana Malone

Book: London Royal

Series: London Royal duet #1

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 22 October 2019

Main characters: Abena Nartey, budding photography student; Alexi Chase, a maybe-royal, hell-bent on forging a future where he’s not under his father’s control.

Plot: Abbie Nartey has begun to lose sense of who she is. Once spunky and vibrant, she’s become cowed and cautious. Having given in one too many times to a controlling and violent partner and her strict Ghanaian parents, Abbie decides enough is enough. After rejecting the career her parents believed appropriate, she arrives in London, having won a place on a prestigious photography degree. She’s scared, and is unsure of the future, but she has two friends on whom she can rely.

Alexi Chase is young, handsome, rich and bored. Bored of his social circle, bored of living under his father’s thumb. He has one shot to gain his freedom and he plans to take it. Meeting Abbie knocks him on his ass – literally. Despite the mutual attraction, Abbie is determined to stay boyfriend-free in London, as her last relationship was a disaster. Alexi believes he’ll never be able to form a fulfilling relationship due to the childhood secrets that still haunt him and only his brother knows about. So friends it is. Only friends don’t share kisses that literally rock their world…

Why you should read it: If the story sounds familiar, then it’s because these characters were first introduced back in the halcyon days of 2014. London Bound forms the basis on London Royal with some key changes complete with twists and turns here and there. I’m assured that book 2 London Soul will take these two characters to new places and new situations. The chemistry between Lex and Abbie is how I remembered it. It’s palpable and the sexual tension really gets ramped up to the max by the end of the book. Lex is a smitten kitten, but will his secrets come back to bite him?

What you may not like: I’m not sure. On the one hand, we’re revisiting a familiar pair of characters – if you read the book before will this enhance or reduce your enjoyment? I really don’t know – I’m conflicted about it to be honest. On the plus side, we’re getting more Lex and Abbie. I love them as characters and I love that we’ll get to read about them in exciting and dangerous settings. I can’t wait to see Lex unleash his alpha instincts!

Rating: 4/5 for a nice trip down memory lane and quite the cliffhanger!

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

2F3D55A2-CD8F-4D14-AD60-9ADCC26D4B31

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