Category: 5/5 Stars

BLOG TOUR: Filthy Rich by Julie Kriss

Book: Filthy Rich

Series: Filthy Rich #1

Author: Julie Kriss

Release date: 13 August 2019

Main characters: Samantha Riley, successful and talented Exec assistant, who’s worked with all the best (and worst) CEOs out there. Aidan Winters, CEO of Tower Venture Capital, her latest boss and the only one who can disrupt her unflappable spirit.

Plot: Samantha Riley on at the top of her career – there’s no challenge she can’t meet, no CEO she can’t deal with. She enjoys her work at Tower Venture Capital. She’s respected, trusted to get on with the job at hand and anticipate her boss’s needs in advance. Her professional instincts make her indispensable and she loves what she does. Her relationship with her boss Aidan has always been polite and professional but it’s never gone beneath the surface. She has no idea what he does outside the office, nor does she particularly care.

Aidan Winters is used to being the king of all he surveys. His work and his private life are always separate and he’s keen to maintain the status quo. The only trouble is, lately, the more time he spends in Samantha’s company, the more he appreciates her capabilities. She’s smart, unflappable and he doesn’t know what he’d do without her. More and more his thoughts about her drift into less professional territory. Their indifferent façade is about to crumble and the pair are about to be left with some very inconvenient and combustible chemistry. Will they embrace the crazy risk, or will common sense prevail?

Why you should read it: Oh my! This book though. This book was everything. It built and it built – the main characters actually invest time getting to know each other before they risked it all. I really enjoyed the character and plot development – both were well conceived and the author really spent a lot of time in building the world, the characters and their story. I truly loved the whole thing! Aidan is not your average romance CEO – he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, nor is he particularly overbearing. Samantha isn’t your typical perky and sunny heroine – she has depth, she has flaws and she’s incredibly interesting. The situations both Aidan and Samantha enter into are truly hot. The author allows the slow build up and didn’t rush the story to get to the juicy bits.

What you may not like: Absolutely nothing! I loved every page, every word and will most likely be re-reading it again very shortly! This is book 1 of a series – later books will feature Aidan’s childhood friends and business partners. I hope that the bar remains as high as it has started out.

Rating: 5/5 for a refreshing and SERIOUSLY HOT story. It’s a slow burner and it was everything I didn’t know I needed this week!

Blog tour: Bodyguard to the Billionaire by Nana Malone

Book: Bodyguard to the Billionaire

Series: The Billionaire duet #1

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 23 July 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:

Derrick Arlington is one of the world’s most eligible billionaires. Voted Sexiest Man Alive—two years running.

And I just so happen to look exactly like him.

It’s never come in handy until I get offered an actual job out of it.

It was supposed to be so simple.

Go to the Winston Isles, stand in as his body double for a few weeks, go back to my life.

But when our carefully constructed plan goes awry and the billionaire goes missing, I have no choice but to take his place and hire a bodyguard. The best in the business: a smart-mouthed, tight-assed, lady bodyguard.

Zia Barnes is the LAST thing I want, even if I need her. She’s determined, smart, and has no idea I’m a total imposter.

Good thing I have no intention on falling for her, or I’d be royally screwed.

Why you should read it: Wow! I knew I was going to adore this story having read the intro at the end of To Love a Prince and I wasn’t disappointed! Zia and Theo were adorable and the whole we-shouldn’t-but-we-really-want-to vibe struck just the right note in my opinion. I enjoyed the suspense and the pace at which the plot unfolded. The dialogue was punchy, funny and kept me fully engaged with the plot.

An example has to be Zia and her best friend Tamsin discussing Zia’s new client:

Tamsin shook her head at me. “Don’t go getting that soft look for him. He’s a grown man now. He doesn’t need you to take care of him.” “I know. I’m just experiencing empathy.” She shook her head. “I already told you that shit is bad for your health. Just as long as this empathy bullshit doesn’t catch you a case of feelings. I say sleep with him, but you need to kick it like Elsa and conceal, don’t feel.”

What you may not like: I truly enjoyed the humour, the conflict and the suspense of the book. But of course, now I have to wait for closure. Damn these duets! I know it will be worth the wait, however.

Rating: 5/5 for a slow burning, exciting and incredibly sexy read. Can’t wait for more!

 

BLOG TOUR: Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins

Violent Ends Ebook CoverBook: Violent Ends

Series: White Monarch #2

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 18 June 2019

Main characters: Natalia de la Rosa (née Cruz), unwilling new bride of Cristiano de la Rosa, head of a notorious cartel.

Blurb:

I had a life, love, and future to give.
Until my enemy took a wife.

The devil has a name, and it’s Cristiano de la Rosa. On my wedding day, he was the last man I expected to see standing at the altar. He wants to make me his queen. His brother wants to rescue his princess.

Getting Cristiano to lose control becomes the name of the game, and the stakes are life and death. But as truth and lies blur, loyalty is tested, and our chemistry threatens to reach the melting point, the prize grows less clear. Either freedom no longer means what I think it does, or Cristiano is as devious as everyone says, and he’s mastered the art of playing my mind.

All I know for certain is that nothing is certain. And all you need to know? This is a love story.
But even love stories have to end.

Why you should read it: I really am loving this series for its suspense, the excitement factor and yes, its ‘forced marriage’ trope. (This particular trope, when done well, really does keep my interest and yes, it’s a very guilty pleasure!) Natalia is getting to grips with her new life and determined to find a way out of it. I enjoyed her tenacity and her never-say-die attitude. She has made the best out of a bad situation, has had her heart stomped on, but will not stop fighting. Her chemistry with Cristiano was super hot – like incandescent hot. It blazed off the pages and proved to be THE slowest burn I have perhaps ever read.  It really kept me on the edge of my seat. I do need closure however – the entire book is practically foreplay and I cannot wait for the payoff between these two characters! The pacing of the book was spot on in my opinion – it didn’t drag and it didn’t zip by.

What you may not like: Natalia is 20 – she sometimes thinks like a 20 year old, and her assumptions and tendency to jump to conclusions occasionally grated on me. I did want to shout ‘Just open your eyes and look around!’ The book also has some violence (the clue is in the title) so if you’re not into mafia/gangster-type books, then I’m not sure why you’re contemplating reading book 2! Other than that, it was a very exciting story and I really need the concluding book before November! Come on!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly enjoyable, creative and sexy read. I don’t want to hasten the end of summer, but I am looking forward to book 3’s release in the autumn!

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Blog tour: One Man by Lisa Renee Jones

unnamedBook: One Man

Series: The Naked Trilogy book 1

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Release date: 11 June 2019

Main characters: Emma Knight, daughter to the late business tycoon who founded Knight hotels. Jax North, successful businessman in his own right, determined to get revenge on the Knight clan.

Plot: Emma Knight has recently lost her father – a well-known tycoon and despite the grief, she is battling with the knowledge that he wasn’t the man she thought he was. In fact, he seems to want to control her life even beyond the grave by some peculiar stipulations laid out in his will.

Done with being a pawn in her family’s machinations, Emma is not about to roll with the punches. She’s sick of being pushed around and will not be anymore. When she meets Jax North, she’s struck by their similarities, but is also wary about his motivations – could his agenda see her caught in the crosshairs and  hurt in the process? The pair know that they face some insurmountable obstacles – but they cannot stay away from each other. Will love and lust win out against family loyalty?

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! I haven’t read a family saga like this in a while. It really started the series with a bang! Emma is plucky, smart and eager to live her own life, while trying desperately to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets. Meeting Jax when she does creates further complications she doesn’t need in the already complicated life she lives. She’s unable to trust anyone and I was on the edge of my seat reading this story. Everyone has an agenda, and I feel for Emma’s predicament. Her chemistry with Jax was palpable and the pair burn up the pages! I hope they’ll be able to maintain that intensity across the next two books as it was hot, hot, hot!

What you may not like: You’re going to have to be patient with this trilogy – there will be cliffhangers and there will be gaps between the next instalments. If you don’t like waiting  (guilty!) then this will be difficult – but come on, it’s good to delay gratification, right? Or so I’m told.

Rating: 5/5 for an explosive start to the Naked Trilogy. I truly hope the suspense and twists and turns can be maintained through the series as I’m truly on board and greedy for more!

Explore the series

ONE MAN (book one) – Available Now

Apple → https://apple.co/2FdPi4R

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/OneMan

Nook → http://bit.ly/2XYQwsb

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2CkxRhj


ONE WOMAN (book two) – out September 17th

Apple → https://apple.co/2UIl17P

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/OneWoman

Nook → http://bit.ly/2Zb1uKK

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2wMXmEx


TWO TOGETHER (book three) – November 19th

Apple → https://apple.co/2Xg5ZCY

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/TwoTogether

Nook → http://bit.ly/2I43qPv

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2K6pdZe

BLOG TOUR: To Love a Prince by Nana Malone

cover nana malone to love a princeBook: To Love a Prince

Series: Prince duet #2

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 21 May 2019

Main characters: Ariel Scott, security expert trying to figure out who wants her lover, Prince Tristan out of the way. Prince Tristan, close to getting everything he wants, but still with so many secrets…

Plot: Ariel is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Tristan’s enemies. He won’t open up about the secrets he’s keeping, therefore she’s resolved to take matters into her own hands…with the Queen’s help.

Tristan has Ariel back in his life and he’s keen to keep it that way. The secrets of his past must out, but he wants to hold on to Ariel for as long as he can. Once she knows the truth, he’s sure she won’t want anything to do with him. He just needs a little more time.

Ariel knows that Tristan isn’t being completely honest with her, but she’s willing to let that slide for now. She has a killer to find and needs to identify the members of the Guard who aren’t loyal to the Crown. She’s closing in on the perpetrator(s), but as one mystery is solved, another pops up in its place. Will she manage to decipher them all before another attempt is made on the man she loves? Time is running out…

Why you should read it: My goodness! This book had action, romance, lovers’ spats and intrigue in spades! I loved the multiple POVs and really enjoyed the insights from the other peripheral characters. This instalment had a lot of ground to cover and the secrets and lies kept coming. I loved the mystery and the burgeoning relationship between Ariel and Tristan. The misunderstandings were done with, so the pair were working on building their trust in their future and their relationship. The book was hot, hot, hot. As a couple, there was mutual respect and the female characters ran the show in this book!

What you may not like: Not much to hate on here. It was full of action, the angst was low, it was just good, old-fashioned romantic suspense that kept me turning the pages and desperate to get my fill!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly satisfying end to the duet – and a doozie of a segue into Zia’s adventure. I’m so ready!

Holding Out by Serena Bell

Book: Holding Out

Series: Returning Home #4

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 21 May 2019

Main characters: Becca Drake, younger sister to Alia, and drifting along through life. Griffin Ambrose, mutual friend, supposed good time guy who hides his pain down deep.

 

Blurb:

His friend’s little sister has just asked him for a BIG favor. The trouble is, once won’t be enough … for either of them.

The answer has to be no, of course. No way Griff Ambrose is going to help Becca Drake solve her inexperience issues. Not only is she his friend’s sister, but Griff doesn’t do commitment—not since the day he came home from war to find his house empty and his wife gone.

But he can’t get Becca’s request—or pretty much anything else about her—out of his head. What can it hurt, anyway? If it’s awkward afterwards, they can just avoid each other. Right?

Becca Drake has turned her life around, and she’s proud of how much butt she’s kicking. The shy girl with the self-esteem problem has been shown the door, and New Becca’s in the driver’s seat. There’s just one more demon she has to exorcise. Her lack of experience is messing up her romantic life. Guys who might be okay with giving her a test drive act like they’re being auditioned for marriage when they find out exactly what she’s never done.

Griff is the perfect candidate to do the deed: He’s her friend, he’s hot as heck, and neither of them wants anything serious.

Then Becca’s job goes belly up and she takes a temporary position at the veterans’ retreat where Griff works. Now she and Griff can’t stay out of each other’s way—and their entanglement keeps getting messier—and hotter. Worst of all, it’s getting harder and harder for Becca and Griff to lie to themselves about what they really want…

Why you should read it: Oh how I love Ms. Bell! And I have a particular fondness for this series too. All of the books in this series deal with some pretty hefty issues such as PTSD and both physical and mental trauma. At NO point did it feel inauthentic, or as though there was an agenda behind the plot. It’s good storytelling – making you care about these characters for their humanity. I have read some books set in the military world and some have been good, and others have basically read like recruitment campaigns. This series has neither sought to glamourise,  nor demonise the military, it has been a significant part of the story, but the connections between the characters are human ones. I connected to these characters because I responded to their vulnerability and their search for love. I loved Becca and Griff because they have no clue what they ultimately want out of life, or how to get there (Hello! I hear you!). They’ve both been through periods of difficulty, and are keen to move on with their lives, but are unsure how. Their attraction and their relationship grew at a steady pace and I enjoyed the realness of it. Griff is a good guy – he’s not an alpha, and he’s not a jerk, he’s just trying to get his life back on track and avoiding heartbreak if he can. Becca has also been through the mill, but she’s not sitting around having a pity party.  She is trying to go get her life. She also has her head firmly screwed on. I can’t tell you the number of books I read by women authors that seek to slut shame other female characters in the book – this was not a part of this storyline and I was so thankful that Becca actually calls it out at one point in the book! I want to read more characters like this!

What you may not like: I’m not too sure – this book is low on angst and manufactured drama – if you’re used to elaborate scenarios and engineered plotlines to create endless misunderstandings between the characters, then this may not be the read for you. There is some interference from well-meaning but overbearing family members, but that’s the extent of it! I enjoyed this book for its lack of drama for drama’s sake – it was engaging and real and that’s what I needed.

Rating: 5/5 for a sweet, sexy and funny read. I loved it. Hope you do too.

 

Buy links:

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

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

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Kobo

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Nook

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

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Goodreads

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Bookbub

 

 

Review: That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert

TheKingofGuy-f500Book: That Kind of Guy

Series: Ravenswood #3

Author: Talia Hibbert

Release date: 2 May 2019

Main characters: Rae, a talented, if somewhat frustrated writer who moved to Ravenswood to get away from it all; Zachary Davis, local blacksmith, town lothario (but is he though?) and Rae’s best friend in town.

Plot: Rae has the kind of life in Ravenswood she’s always wanted. She has an intimate group of friends, she’s the town enigma – dubbed the ‘gauche divorcée’ – she loves the disapproving looks she receives from the community. Let them look, let them wonder.

In Ravenswood, Rae is able to rebuild her persona and be untouchable. When an invitation to a literary event arrives, her newfound bravado takes a hit. Her ex-husband Kevin will also be in attendance and facing him and his new wife on her own brings her out in hives. The only solution is to enlist Zach’s help. He’s her friend and he already flirts with her on a daily basis – surely pretending to  be her boyfriend for the weekend won’t be too hard?

Zach is finally realising some things about himself – things he tried to ignore in the past. He’s ready to be honest and find an honest relationship, and not pretend to be what others want him to be. The more time he spends with Rae, the more confusing things become. Suddenly, what’s real and what’s imaginary aren’t so clear cut anymore. Will their friendship survive the weekend?

Why you should read it: I thoroughly enjoyed this book – one of my favourites in the series, definitely. It introduced me to demisexuality, which I confess, I knew NOTHING about. I literally had never heard of it before. I really enjoyed going on the journey with Zach and experiencing life through his eyes. I understood his frustrations and his weariness – I loved that he found solace in Rae and that he didn’t have to be anything other than who he was. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Rae is a great character too – she has had difficulties with relationships in the past and manipulation by so-called loved ones has left some lasting damage. She doesn’t let it conquer her though. She longs for connection, yet worries that she will be hurt again. Her burgeoning relationship with Zach evolves steadily and it was as much a turn on to see their growing trust for each other as it was when things got steamy. And believe me, things get STEAMY.

What you may not like: Not a clue – this totally opened my eyes to the arospectrum, entertained me with the dialogue, and make me sigh in satisfaction by the end of the story. I loved just about everything written between the two covers!

Rating: 5/5 for an engaging and thoroughly absorbing tale. Super, super sexy, and a story about grown up relationships.

 

Review: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

cover - the roseBook: The Rose

Series: The Red #2

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Release date: 16 April 2019

Main characters: Ophelia Godwick, daughter of The Earl and Countess of Godwick, apple of their eye, but concealing a secret that could ruin them all. Augustine Bowman, handsome stranger who approaches Lia about a new artefact in her possession.

Plot: When Lia Godwick receives an outrageously beautiful and expensive gift for her graduation, she is struck by its beauty, but nothing can prepare her for its provenance and its significance.

Augustine Bowman is desperate to get his hands on the gift – a kylix – an ornamental cup thought to date back to Ancient Greece. His wish is to return it to its rightful place before it falls into the wrong hands. He’s willing to pay through the nose for it and sweeten the deal for Lia – if only she has the courage to accept his offer.

When a former acquaintance lands Lia in hot water, she has no choice but to accept Augustine’s offer to buy the kylix. But she’s not handing it over without knowing precisely what she stands to lose first. One taste from the cup transports Lia and August to unspeakable pleasures and fantasies – ones that feel so real the lines between reality and fantasy start to blur. Will Lia be able to part with the cup and August…?

Why you should read it: Oh my! This book’s release is timely actually, as I’m currently devouring Stephen Fry’s Heroes, (also about Greek myths) so I felt super smart reading and keeping up with a book about Greek mythology with lots of erotica added in! The plot was engaging and playful, with a delicate and contradictory heroine – innocent in many ways, yet leading a double life. Her interactions with August were sparky and full of excellent dialogue, which made me laugh and keep on reading. August was all you would want in a hero – confident, sexy and all about his partner’s pleasure. I enjoyed their verbal jousting and how quickly they became allies, then lovers. The book had all the elements I enjoy – references to great books, intrigue, romance and obstacles to be overcome. The chemistry was off the charts – it was seriously hot. It built and built and built.

What you may not like: I think if you liked The Red, there’s no reason you won’t like this – I preferred this book, as it was so vivid and so much seemed to happen in it. The characters felt real to me and I wanted them together so much! If Greek mythology and fantasy isn’t your thing you may struggle with it – but I can’t recommend it enough.

Rating: 5/5 for a well-crafted story and world to escape into. This isn’t a book to binge on, it needs to be enjoyed and savoured. And savour it, I did.

 

 

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

coverBook: The Austen Playbook

Series: London Celebrities #4

Author: Lucy Parker

Release date: 22 April 2019

Main characters: Frederica Carlton, actress from a distinguished literary family, who really just wants to entertain; James ‘Griff’ Ford-Griffin, theatre critic, long-suffering son and brother to a family of dreamers.

Plot: Freddy Carlton is a talented actress who is desperate to do more work in musical theatre. Her father/manager however, has grander plans in mind. They both descend from the great Henrietta Carlton, renowned playwright and all-round legend. Her father Rupert wants Freddy to ascend to her potential and take her place amongst acting royalty. Under this weight of heavy expectation, Freddy has to tread the balance between making dear old dad happy, and pursuing her own dreams, which don’t necessarily include high drama.

When Freddy’s new project, The Austen Playbook takes her to theatre critic James Ford-Griffin’s country pile, that’s when things get really interesting. He’s been the bane of her professional life for some time. His acerbic barbs about her performances always found their mark. She finds herself drawn to his prickly exterior, and enjoys verbally jousting with him. She’s very much in danger of nursing a little crush…

Griff is not impressed when his brother tells him that a TV crew will be descending on them for the live performance of The Austen Playbook. It will entail no end of inconvenience, expense and general stress. Barely holding on to his sanity, he’s forced to go along with it while trying to wrangle his own work in progress. After his daily run ins with Freddy, he feels confounded by his feelings. She’s his complete opposite, but he finds himself looking forward to their interactions more and more. She’s endlessly optimistic while he bleeds cynicism. It can’t possibly go anywhere…

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness, where to start? There’s the fact that you have all of Austen’s greatest characters on one stage, but the biggest action and intrigue is happening in the wings – there’s back-biting, flirting and secrets – oh so many secrets! It’s delicious – all of it! The chemistry and straightforward relationship between Griff and Freddy was also very satisfying – they have misunderstandings but are mature enough to hear the other out – there’s no overblown drama for the sake of it. Their romance is steeped in realism too – the depiction of their sexy times was totally realistic – shower sex is just not possible for most of us! I wanted to cheer the fact that the heroine has some very realistic issues that made me sit up and notice. You just don’t read that in a lot of romances these days, which is fine for fantasy, but this was so refreshing.

What you may not like: I can’t think of a darn thing – the dialogue was en pointe, the characters were varied and entertaining, the story developed consistently. I was drawn into their world completely. It was so vivid. This is a series I recommend again and again.

Rating: 5/5 for a really novel concept and plot – I think the show idea would get picked up in a heartbeat! Loved every page.

Can’t Hold Back by Serena Bell

Book: Can’t Hold Back

Series: A Returning Home Novel #2

Author: Serena Bell

Re-release date: 26 March 2019

Main characters: Alia Drake, physio who adores her job and helping others; Nate Riordan, ex-servicemen with a host of demons that need to be slayed.

Plot: Alia Drake thrives on nurturing others and being needed. Her job as a physical therapist is something she excels at and she feels she can make a real difference in the lives of her patients. When she has the opportunity to work at R&R, a veterans’ rehab centre, she jumps at the chance. Even the prospect of treating Nate Riordan isn’t about to put her off her dream job.

Nate Riordan has returned from service battered, both physically and mentally. Struggling with a pain-medication addiction, he can’t deny he needs help any longer. When he arrives at R&R, he isn’t prepared to come face-to-face with Alia – the girl who helped wreck his romantic dreams the year before. He may be unable to trust her, but if he’s going to manage his constant pain, he will have to put his hostilities on hold, if only temporarily.

Alia is determined to reach him and help Nate connect with the pain. This means facing some hard, painful memories and also dealing with the fact that their shared history is far from over…

Why you should read it: I inhaled this book on a wet Sunday afternoon, and it was time well spent! Serena Bell writes some seriously smart, funny and sexy stories. They always hit you right in the gut without being too drama filled or ridiculous. Nate and Alia’s story was sweet, realistic and sexy as hell. Alia is a level-headed heroine who needs to face her own demons. It’s good to see her gradually let go of her issues. Nate is hot! He’s sensitive, hot, well-rounded. Hot. (Ok, you get the point.) I honesty couldn’t put the book down until I finished.

What you might hate: Nada – this is a military romance – so I guess if it’s not your thing, then that may be an issue. I don’t read a lot of stories set in this world, but the ones I have read are so well done that I enjoyed them immensely. It’s a very human story, set in a world that felt authentic.

Rating: 5/5 – for a thoughtful, romantic and insightful story. Definitely recommend it!