Category: enemies to lovers

REVIEW: Return of the Prince by Nana Malone

cover nana maloneBook: Return of the Prince

Series: Prince duet #1

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 30 April 2019

Main characters: Ariel Scott, tech-savvy, security expert to the crown; Prince Tristan, previously exiled, desperate to return to The Winston Isles, though nothing can prepare him for seeing Ariel again.

Blurb:

They said I’d never come home again…they were wrong.

There is one person worth returning home for. Her. One little problem. She hates me. She should, I left her behind.

Now I’m back and I with a score to settle, and I will do what ever it takes to to win her back.

Even if it means spilling my secrets.

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! If you’re loving the Winston Isles and its couples and its intrigue, then I’m thinking you’re going to want to dive into Return of the Prince. Ariel has been a steady and intriguing presence in the other Royal books. She’s steadfast, loyal and family is everything to her. Despite her father’s actions, she’s back in the royal fold and providing essential security to the upper echelons of society. Life is good. It may be all work, but it’s something she can rely on. Her heart is used to disappointment – her doomed love affair eons ago with Prince Tristan still plays on her mind, but she’s resolved to moving on.

The plan for ‘moving on’ unravels when she’s asked by the King himself to provide security to his cousin, Tristan. Knowing she can’t refuse without a damn good reason, Ariel is forced to accept the mission. She’s been in difficult positions before – she can handle this one. Or so she thinks. I really felt for Ariel coming face-to-face with the man who broke her heart. Her fight or flight instincts want to kick in, but she has a reputation to uphold and an obligation to the Royal family, so it’s made doubly difficult for her.

Prince Tristan is an interesting character. He’s full of secrets and is also loyal to those he loves. He’s attractive and a sportsman in his own right, and life should be good. It was interesting in this story that the hero is the one with the baggage and the secrets that need to be dragged out of him. I found that quite refreshing.

What you may not like: I enjoyed the intrigue and the delving in to Tristan’s secrets. The back and forth between Ariel and Tristan was not tiresome – it could have gone on and on, but it didn’t and I feel that some of the secrets and mysteries have been answered in this first book, but there will surely be more revelations in book two. I enjoyed this book, was it my favourite of the duets? No – I think that the drama has been building and building as each book has been published, and that for me, it didn’t quite resonate with me as much as some of the previous books did. It’s still a banging read though!

Rating: 3.5/5 for a well-told story with one of my favourite characters – Ariel. I definitely want to see where the pair end up in book 2 for sure!

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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The Consequences of Falling by Claire Contreras

cof coverBook: The Consequences of Falling

Author: Claire Contreras

Release date: 12 January 2019

Genre: Contemporary romance

Main characters: Presley Rose, young, soon-to-be-divorcee, keen to prove herself in her father’s firm. Nathaniel Bradley, her nemesis, and her father’s protégé who knows just how to push all her buttons.

Blurb:

The list of things I hate is short. Not even my soon-to-be ex-husband is on that list. Nope. I save only the worst of the worst, the crème de la crème, the absolute I cannot even for this list . . .

1. Black coffee
2. Rude people
3. Nathaniel Bradley

Which is why when my father informs me that he’s making Nathaniel Bradley his new business partner, and in turn, my boss, I flip out. 

1. He’s an annoying know-it-all. 
2. He calls me a spoiled princess every chance he gets. 
3. He disapproves of everything I do.

I go into this knowing I’ll hate every second in his presence. Except the longer he’s around, the more I find myself staring at his lips and remembering the one time they were on mine. I randomly find myself looking at his hands and wondering how they’d feel on my skin. 

I try to snap out of it, but I guess I’m not as smart as I thought I was. No matter how many times I remind myself of the times I’ve practically thrown myself at him and he’s pushed me away, I keep falling little by little.

I’d always heard that it was a bad idea to mix business with pleasure and if that’s the case, this thing with Nathaniel has demise written all over it.

Why you should read it: I haven’t read many books by Claire Contreras in the last few months – no idea why as I enjoy her work immensely. I was drawn into this story from the first page and I truly loved Presley – her inner monologue and the exploration of her difficult relationship with her parents was fascinating. Nathaniel is also a really interesting hero. He fires back at and challenges Presley in a way no-one else does in her life. I thought he was a bit harsh at times, but it became apparent as to why and then I understood where he was coming from.

Presley came across as a spoilt princess at times but I felt for her quite a bit. Going through the stress of divorce, she’s left feeling that she can’t trust anyone. She doesn’t know what to do in her professional life, as no-one really thought she was capable of much to begin with. The chemistry between Nate and Presley and the time span of the book really made for a deep love story. I loved every minute.

What you may not like: Presley has a tendency towards stubbornness which may, or may not annoy you. I found it entertaining and completely understood where she was coming from. Other than that, I can’t recommend it enough.

Rating: 5/5 for a sweet, sad and sexy read about second chances, being enough and forgiveness.

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2SRmseV
Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/TCoF

Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

Book: Hotshot Doc

Series: a standalone

Author: R.S. Grey

Release date: 6 December 2018

Main characters: Bailey Jennings, surgical assistant and guardian to her younger sister. Matt Russell, terrifying surgeon at the top of his game, who’s about to meet his match in Bailey.

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s-ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway…half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the supply closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

 

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! This book feel into my lap at the right time! I loved EVERY minute of it! A lot of books out there are classed as romantic comedies, but not that many of them actually have much of the comedy going on. With this book I laughed and felt good, then was knocked sideways by some of the more tender and serious moments. Matt was a great hero – complete ass who terrorises his staff. But he’s brilliant – so he gets to do whatever he likes. We all know people like that, AmIRight? Then there’s Bailey. She’s brilliant too. Could have been destined for Matt’s success, but life had different ideas. Does she whine about and navel gaze? Nope, she finds satisfaction in her job and the demands of raising a teen sibling. Her outlook and her inner monologue had me laughing out loud and dying for her to take Dr. Russell down a peg or five.

The chemistry is pretty hot from the outset and boy, believe me when I say I was glued to my Kindle – slowburning romance with comedy thrown in – it ticked all of my boxes.

What you may not like: I can’t fault this book – you know I don’t hold back, but for me, this was PITCH PERFECT. I have read a few of R.S. Grey’s books and some of them have landed (IMO) and others have not – but I cannot recommend this one to you enough.

Rating: 5/5 for a fun, upbeat and really sexy read. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

His king-sized bed has white sheets and a fluffy gray comforter. Four oversized black and white framed maps hang on one wall. There’s a plant in the corner that looks as if he waters it regularly. I half-expected him to sleep standing up, next to the power station he plugs himself into every night. The fact that he has such a warm, welcoming bedroom does weird things to my heart…

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:

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Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins

Compliments of the season to you! I hope you had a great time whatever you did over the break – and most importantly, that it involved a good book or five!

I read this book over the holidays (which released 28 December 2018) as it’s written by a good author friend of mine – the very talented Jessica Hawkins.

Book: Right Where I Want You

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 28 December 2018

Main characters: Sebastian Quinn, hotshot Creative Director of men’s magazine The Modern Man, whose creative midas touch has turned to brass. Georgina Keller, the consultant brought in to clean up the staff’s reputation and revive the magazine’s fortunes.

BLURB
There’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and it cuts right through the middle of their office.

Bad boys? They run right over good girls like Georgina Keller.

But after a confidence-shattering breakup, she’s determined not to let anyone at her new workplace push her around—least of all the brooding creative director, a “bad boy of publishing” who’s made it clear she’s enemy #1.

Sebastian Quinn’s taste for fast cars, late nights, and beautiful women may have gotten him to the top of a leading New York magazine, but the reputation that made him is suddenly threatening to end his career.

Georgina can help Modern Man shed its bad reputation, but in order to do that, she’ll have to start at the top—and no amount of rakish charm or inconvenient attraction will distract her.

Because if Sebastian gets her right where he wants her, it means she’s going down.

Why you should read it: I will always read anything by this author – she truly is a good soul who is able to weave vivid stories that are varied, full of heart and surprises along the way. This story will be a hit with animal lovers and romance fans alike – Georgina has a lot on her plate and cares for her dog with all the care of a good mother. Her interactions with Sebastian are fraught and snappy, slowly evolving into a deeper, more intimate relationship.

Sebastian is a dude’s dude – or that’s what he’d have you believe. Deep down he’s more complex, more respectful of women and relationships than his public persona would have the public believe. He’s on thin ice professionally, and dealing with serious issues personally. How can this pair possibly work together without letting their guards down?

What you may not like: Ok – full disclosure. I struggled to get into this book. Usually, I’m hooked from the first page and dragged into the author’s world immediately. This didn’t happen with this one and I’ll explain why. Firstly, after a promising start, the focus was very much on Georgina and her dog. In fact, it felt like a love story between the heroine and her dog. Nothing wrong with that per se, but…she didn’t actually get close to the hero until I was 60% through the book! I love a slow burn but, come on!

Also, Georgina was understandably gun shy after a bad previous relationship, but it really did cast a shadow over her whole life – and she mentioned it A LOT in her internal dialogue, which began to wear on me after a while. So, all in all, I wasn’t crazy about the story – it had its moments – there were some really nice one-liners and banter between George and the staff members of the magazine, but for me – too much emphasis on being a pet owner and not enough time with the hero, alienated me a bit from the main story.

Rating: 3/5 for a gently paced tale – it’s worth a look, but for me, it didn’t set my holiday alight. I think I needed more angst and sexy times!

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.

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Burn For You
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