Category: Opposites attract

Managed by Kristen Callihan

: Managed

Series: VIP #2

Author: Kristen Callihan

Release date: 14 November, 2016

Main characters: Sophie Darling, heroine and all-round go-getter. Gabriel Scott, hero, curmudgeon and manager of a very successful rock band.

Plot: When Sophie Darling got bumped up to first class for no apparent reason, she thought all her Christmases had come at once. Add in a handsome, if somewhat taciturn passenger as her neighbour, things couldn’t be better. He isn’t happy about having to share his space, so Sophie is determined to tease the hell out of him. 

Gabriel Scott doesn’t fly well. He doesn’t interact with people well either. He wants to be left alone and only engages in order to make demands. He’s less than impressed to be sharing cabin space with a mouthy young woman, but it can’t be helped. She manages to get under his skin like no other and pretty soon he doesn’t notice the time passing.

He’s not quite ready to part ways with Sophie and fate seems to have intervened for the pair. Will Sophie be able to penetrate Gabriel’s walls? Will Gabriel be able to keep her at bay like everyone else in his life?

Why read it: This was a really entertaining and touching story. It was very well written and the character development kept me hooked. I love a slow burning book and this one really ramped up the chemistry before we could get to the sexy times. It was so hot – I can’t even tell you. Sophie is a darling – she really is! She has moxie and so much courage. I loved her. Gabriel is multi-faceted. He’s an enigma and needs a good woman to help him fight his issues. His character changed the most and it was a beautiful transformation. The book somehow managed to sidestep any schmaltz. It was just great romantic fun.

What you might not like: If you like insta-love and for the characters to get to sexy times within the first 10% of the book, this will frustrate the heck out of you. But aside from delayed gratification, I can’t see what’s not to like.

Rating: 4/5 for a super sexy, funny story full of action, sexual tension and romance.

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

cover96201-mediumBook: Miracle on 5th Avenue

Series: From Manhattan with Love #3

Author: Sarah Morgan

Release date: 20 October, 2016

Main characters: Eva Jordan (heroine and eternal optimist, looking for love), Lucas Blade (jaded hero, embittered by love and all its complications).

Plot: Eva Jordan thought she was simply decorating an empty apartment for the holidays. Nothing she couldn’t handle. In fact, she loves everything about Christmas, so this is exactly the kind of job to take her mind off her own problems and grieving heart. The brief was to make it festive and welcoming for the owner when he returned as a surprise. Surprise being the operative word…

Author, Lucas Blade is used to being alone – that’s how he likes it and having lied to his family about his whereabouts, he intends to spend the festive period holed up in his penthouse, staring at his blank laptop screen. Writer’s block is a problem, and seemingly an insurmountable one until Eva comes bouncing into his apartment and his life. Not wanting her there he makes life difficult, but when a blizzard makes it pretty clear that she’s there to stay, Lucas relents. Doesn’t mean he has to like it though.

Eva’s sunny disposition is usually contagious, but she has her work cut out with Lucas Blade. Finally, something in her behaviour sparks his creative juices, and that’s when things really get interesting…

Why you should read it: This book was super fun! Eva managed to stay the cute side of quirky and given how ‘good’ she was, she didn’t step into Pollyanna territory, thankfully. I really liked her and her philosophy – she’s been having a tough time and that made me sympathise and identify with her a lot. Her patience was never-ending with regard to Lucas, who was a complete pain in the ass. His belligerence was frustrating at times, but made their relationship all the more entertaining.

What you may not like: There’s not a whole lot to dislike in this book – it’s gentle, poignant and super romantic. Eva is day to Lucas’s night and the evolution of their relationship is reassuringly familiar. It’s the perfect read to curl up with on a cold, cold day.

Rating: 4/5 for a sweet, seasonal read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s perfect for the season. I will happily read more of this series.


Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz

Book: Her Halloween Treat

Series: Men at Work #1

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Release date: 20 September 2016

Main characters: Joey Silvia (recently-wronged and heartbroken heroine, Chris Steffensen, hero and old friend of Joey’s.)

Plot: Joey Silva has just found out that her boyfriend of two years is in fact married. On that bombshell she gets out of dodge to attend her brother’s wedding in Oregon. The change is a welcome one. She loves her life in Hawaii – (who wouldn’t?) but the chance to return to her family and evaluate where things went so wrong, could be just what she needs.

Her friend Kira’s parting advice is to get busy with the first eligible guy she sees. Forget that louse of an ex. In a small retirement town, Joey’s unconvinced but she didn’t count on seeing Chris again. Chris Steffensen was her brother’s best friend growing up. And my, has he grown up. The Nirvana-loving, weed-smoking guy from her youth is gone. In his place is a tall, fit and talented builder.

The pair grow closer, both knowing that their fun has a shelf life. In two weeks, Joey will return to her life in Hawaii. Chris understands that but never backs away from a challenge. He has two weeks to show Joey that everything she needs is right under her nose.

Why you should read it: Because it’s written by Tiffany Reisz, that’s why! You always get something a bit different, seriously entertaining and sexy as hell with her books. This book for Harlequin Blaze was no exception – Joey and Chris have some great chemistry and I loved them as a potential couple. Joey is sweet, fun and trying to do the right thing. She has a battle going on between her heart and her head. Chris is oh so hot. A man that could renovate a house from scratch is a catch! Do you know how hard it is to find a contractor who not only won’t rip you off, but would give you multiple orgasms too? (Really hard!)

What you might not like: Nada – it was a sweet, quick read, set in what must be a beautiful part of the world  – so vivid, I could picture it. I loved both the hero and heroine, which these days is pretty rare for me! Chris has alpha tendencies, but this in no way becomes his dominant character trait. It was smart, it was funny and I can’t wait to read more from the series.

Rating: 5/5 – grab a copy and a fan. You’ll need it!

Love Hacked by Penny Reid

lovehackedBook: Love Hacked

Series: Knitting in the City #3

Author: Penny Reid

Release date: March 2014

Main characters: Sandra Fielding, heroine and psychiatrist who wants to take care of everyone; Alexander Greene, troubled hero, sexy and super-secretive.)


Laughter is the best therapy for all ailments except bronchitis.


Plot: Dr Sandra Fielding is good at her job. So good in fact, that her dates of late have ended up crying (literally) on her shoulder instead of clamouring to take her home. She loves her job as a psychiatrist but can’t seem to turn off the shrink switch when it comes to potential romance.

To make matters worse, the hot waiter Alex is witness to her poor track record in the dating department. Every Friday night she ends up dining alone over butter chicken. He can’t figure Sandra out. Does she get a thrill from reducing all these men to tears? What’s her angle?

Sandra is attracted to Alex. He’s so…intense. And weird. And very very sexy, and when you haven’t been kissed in over 2 years, you notice these things. Some things in Sandra’s life need shaking up, and maybe the enigmatic Alex could be just what the good doctor needs…

Why you should read it: God I love this series – like, really love it. The heroines are smart, weird and engaging. The heroes are surly, complex and hot at hell. I loved the dynamic between Sandra and Alex. He’s the ‘younger’ man and a tough nut to crack. Sandra is patient, self-sufficient and very funny. They come from very different backgrounds which makes their story so interesting. This was a slow burn too – you’ll have to wait for those sexy times, but the wait is worth it!

What you might not like: I don’t honestly know – I guess if you’re not a fan of Penny Reid’s style of writing or innate quirkiness, this may not be at the top of your tbr list, but it has humour, heat, familiar fun characters and knitting!

Rating: 4/5 for a truly enjoyable read. Think I’ve read every book in the series so far and loved every one.

Ever So Madly by J.R. Gray

esmBook: Ever So Madly

Author: J.R. Gray

Genre: Science fiction romance

Release date: 30 August, 2016

Main characters: Jocelynn (heroine and member of the elite) Madden (hero from a much lower order and the planet Harden)

BlurbLove is for peasants; nobles marry for power. These are the rules Jocelynn has lived by. She is expected to be the poised and perfect vision of relentless power. Set to inherit the House of Akillie, she was bred to rule, and no man has ever turned her head—until now.

Madden achieved the impossible, the first in over a century to escape the life of hard labor and earn a place among the elite. With the chance for a fresh start, he has to stay focused, not damn himself by falling for the one girl forbidden to him.

Madden was Jocelynn’s experiment in freedom, and she didn’t mean to fall. But now she can’t live without him. He’s worth running from everything she’s ever known.

With no other options, Jocelynn turns to a formidable group of rebels to escape her fate. But with a war to be won, the rebels have their own agenda. Drowning in a game of power and politics, Madden and Jocelynn can’t trust anyone if they want to make it out alive…

Why you should read it: This is quite a departure from J.R. Gray’s earlier work. It’s quite a big leap into not only another genre, but setting the action on another planet is a completely different offering to what is currently out there. The characters of Madden and Jocelynn can be summed up as star-crossed lovers. They’re never meant to be together – it goes against the established order of their society and the rules governing the neighbouring planets. Despite the weight of the impossible situation, the pair are drawn to each other and cannot bear the thought of life without the other. Their love for each other was fervent and palpable and came across loud and clear in the narrative.

“I love you. Across a million miles, and thousands of worlds, I will never feel like this again.”

“And I love you, like I have never loved anyone before. I can’t lose you.” Hearing her say those words filled me with hope. It was nourishment for my soul. It gave me hope, and hope was all we had.

What I struggled with: I’m really not a fan of sci-fi to be honest. I prefer stories set in this realm, so for me, it took a while to get into the mindset of this dystopian universe and to just go with it. That said, I can’t fault the story or the narrative – the planets were well described. I could smell and almost taste the grit and dust of Madden’s home planet. My main problem was the back and forth between Madden and Jocelynn at times. Their love for each other switched to mutual distrust and then back again. It was very angsty and I wanted to shout at them to get their heads out of their posteriors at times!

Rating: 3/5 for a brave new world painted by a talented writer. Unfortunately, outer space doesn’t really captivate me so I couldn’t throw myself wholeheartedly into the story.

Blog tour: King of Wall Street by Louise Bay

Book: King of Wall Street

Author: Louise Bay

Series: a standalone novel

Release date: August 24, 2016

Main characters: Harper Jayne, (our heroine and new employee at King & Associates) Max King (our surly yet devastatingly handsome hero).

Blurb: I keep my two worlds separate.

At work, I’m King of Wall Street. The heaviest hitters in Manhattan come to me to make money. They do whatever I say because I’m always right. I’m shrewd. Exacting. Some say ruthless.

At home, I’m a single dad trying to keep his fourteen year old daughter a kid for as long as possible. If my daughter does what I say, somewhere there’s a snowball surviving in hell. And nothing I say is ever right.

When Harper Jayne starts as a junior researcher at my firm, the barriers between my worlds begin to dissolve. She’s the most infuriating woman I’ve ever worked with.

I don’t like the way she bends over the photocopier—it makes my mouth water.

I hate the way she’s so eager to do a good job—it makes my dick twitch.

And I can’t stand the way she wears her hair up exposing her long neck. It makes me want to strip her naked, bend her over my desk and trail my tongue all over her body.

If my two worlds are going to collide, Harper Jayne will have to learn that I don’t just rule the boardroom. I’m in charge of the bedroom, too.

Why you should read it: I’m a big fan of Louise Bay. She usually writes very down-to-earth characters, and even if they’re extremely wealthy there’s always depth to them and a little vulnerability. Max and Harper are no exceptions – they both have valid reasons for being the way they are and their mutual attraction quickly builds throughout the book. This book is a departure from the cozier, less drama-filled books from Louise Bay. Fans of angst will have a field day with Harper’s character and the passion that boils over between her and Max.

What you might not like: OK, it’s confession time. I didn’t care for Harper. One. Bit. From the first chapter she comes across as whiny, immature and unprofessional. She complains to anyone who’ll listen how ‘terrible’ her boss is, (because he doesn’t gush all over her work) then dwells on her relationship issues with her father. She’s supposed to be ambitious and strong but comes across as petulant, self-absorbed and completely unreasonable. Max is your traditional hero in some ways – successful, rich and like to be in control. However, there is another side to him – he’s a father trying to do his best for his daughter Amanda. I liked this side to his character, as not many heroes are family men until the end of the story. The chemistry between he and Harper lacked something in my opinion – maybe it was how they both jumped into hating each other, then being in lust with each other. It didn’t quite work for me, perhaps due to the inner dialogue of both characters that exasperated me at times and it failed to keep my interest.

Rating: I give King of Wall Street 2.5/5 stars for being mildly entertaining and well written. It was ok, but definitely not my favourite Louise Bay read either. I hate giving less than stellar reviews, but I’m sure some will adore this book.


For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

fbowBook: For Better or Worse

Author: Lauren  Layne

Series: Wedding Belles #2

Release date: 30th August, 2016

Main characters: Heather Fowler (assistant wedding planner to NYC’s richest) Josh Tanner, enigmatic musician and all-round slacker. (Or is he?)

Plot: Heather Fowler has come a long way to realise her dream of moving to NYC and having a fulfilling career. Life back in Michigan always left her wanting more, so now she’s desperate to get a promotion and finally become a wedding planner in her own right. To do this, she needs to work with a very famous, very fickle starlet, who seems to want nothing to do with the minutiae of the wedding.

That’s not all though – as well as headaches of the professional variety, there’s also headaches closer to home. This particular migraine comes in the form of noisy neighbour, Josh. He and his band play next door at all hours and Heather has has enough. He irritates her constantly – he’s cocky, seems to enjoy making her mad and he has a constant stream of ladies coming and going on a weekly basis.

Josh Tanner is a private guy. Despite his affable exterior, he discourages any personal questions. Something else Heather seems to find irritating. He gave up his high-flying career in favour of a more relaxed life of music and women. He doesn’t want Heather prying in his past, because he doesn’t want his past to define who he is now. His refusal to open up to people leads to Josh keeping others at bay. Until Heather. Bit by bit, she manages to chip away at some of his defences. Despite knowing he will never get serious about her, he can’t seem to shake Heather from his thoughts – and the feeling may well be mutual.

Why you should read it: I loved this story – it actually made me well up a couple of times. It had a freshness about it that made me smile and feel for the characters. Usually, when a character tries to alienate others, it drives me crazy! But it felt justified in this story – and Josh has been through a lot. Heather was a great heroine – she’s desperate to succeed in life and find her place in it. She doesn’t think Josh is the happy ending she’s looking for – but she’s pragmatic, which I liked. She doesn’t stand in the way of her own happiness and isn’t a whiner! There was an absence of angst in this story, which I loved. It all found a great balance.

What you might not like: Josh can be A JERK at times. A big, thickheaded jerk. But as I’ve said, he has his reasons. He’s abrupt, sometimes surly and he totally gets in his own way. But I liked him so much. He was human and vulnerable, and that made me love him more.

Rating: 4/5 for a sweet, heartwarming and entertaining read. It makes me want to continue with the series and get to know every one of the Wedding Belles.

The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

pandpBook: The Player and the Pixie

Series: Rugby #2

Author: L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

Release date: 12 April, 2016

Main characters: Lucy Fitzpatrick (the pixie with a peculiar compulsion), Sean Cassidy (the player with his own problems).

Plot: Lucy Fitzpatrick has a very famous brother. It could be said that she’s overshadowed by him. Her mother dotes on him and criticises her constantly. Despite the situation, she loves her brother Ronan as he is the only person in her life she can rely on. That’s why when she bumps into Sean Cassidy, Ronan’s arch-nemesis, she tries not to be intrigued by him. She tries not to see beyond his nasty veneer and definitely doesn’t want to be his friend. Nope, absolutely not.

When Sean witnesses Lucy’s compulsive (and very illegal) behaviour in public, he promises not to tell anyone if she has lunch with him. What’s a girl to do? The last thing she expects is to have fun with him. She spots a troubled, yet kindred spirit underneath the surface and finds herself unable to hate him. Sean Cassidy is trouble.

Sean Cassidy hates Ronan Fitzpatrick and would do anything to get one over on him. When he first meets Lucy, he expects her to be exactly like him, but she’s not. Despite the multi-coloured hair and free-spirit attitude, Lucy is a soul in distress. When their friendship spills over into mutual attraction, Sean fears he’ll have to admit his own personal issues in the bedroom. Maybe they can help each other with their respective problems…and if it pisses off Ronan in the meantime, so much the better.

Why you should read it: God I loved this book so damn much. It’s a short read (or maybe it seemed short because I inhaled it!) filled with great dialogue, quite complex issues for the main characters and the premise was so damn hot. I never thought I’d enjoy a story about a hero with difficulties in the bedroom, but gah! It was so incredibly hot. Lucy ‘teaching’ Sean was so toe-curlingly sexy, that I could not put the book down. I loved the humanness of the characters and the lack of unrealistic drama.

What you might not like: Not much – for me it was spot on. Sean was sweet, lost and defensive at times. Lucy was struggling to do the right thing and going against her own better judgment. Sometimes this gets overplayed in books, but it wasn’t the case here. Did I mention how much I freakin’ loved this book?

Rating: 4/5 for a thoroughly satisfying, sexy, funny read. It was adorable and L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid write so well together. I will definitely read The Hooker and the Hermit (book 1).

Release day blitz: The First Taste by Jessica Hawkins

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]Book: The First Taste

Series: Slip of the Tongue #2

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: August 4, 2016

Main characters: Andrew Beckwith (sexy, surly, single dad to Bell) and Amelia Van Ecken (Andrew’s sister’s boss and heroine of the story)

Plot: Andrew has been a single dad for the last four years, ever since his girlfriend took off without a backward glance. He loves being a father and has no interest in finding another woman to mess with his head or the life he has. If only the other mothers and teachers would stop trying to ingratiate themselves into his good books, life would be simpler. His sister Sadie is the only female presence in Bell’s life so she lacks nothing.

Amelia Van Ecken is stressed. In the process of a messy divorce, she uses her demanding business as a way to maintain focus. The more hours she puts in, the less time she has to stress about her husband Reggie trying to manipulate her further.

When Andrew and Amelia meet, they think they have the other sussed out. He’s the typical bad boy, tattooed and not what Amelia’s looking for. She’s the uptight, Manhattan princess he could do without. They have one thing in common though. They both want a night of passion – but nothing more than that. They both want to let off some steam, without the strings of complicated angst afterward. They’re perfect for each other. The night is all they hoped it would be – but can only one taste ever be enough?

“Let me make an appointment for you at my favorite barber tomorrow. If they know you’re with me, they’ll hook you up. You can even get a shave. It’ll look and feel amazing.” He takes my wrist and removes my hand from my face. In the dim light of the bathroom, dimples shadow his cheeks as he smiles. “I am not a prissy city girl,” he states. “Therefore, I will not be caught dead at a salon while I’m alive and conscious. Have you ever cut a piece of paper?”

I give him an incredulous look. “Of course.”

“Then you’re qualified to give me a trim. I cut Bell’s hair all the time.”

“That poor child. I think I’m going to be sick.” Laughing, he stands, pulling me up with him.

Why you should read this: Because it’s the perfect blend of sexy, funny and demonstrates some great storytelling. I loved every page of this book. Andrew was the right balance of straightforward maleness, but due to his own experiences and his maturity, he was also sensitive. He was comfortable enough in his own skin that he didn’t need to posture or go alpha all the time. He was very sweet and surprising as a character. I think it’s hard to write a male lead convincingly, but Jessica Hawkins nailed it!

Amelia is an interesting character and I was totally invested in her story and the development of her character. She’s strong because she has to be, but she’s not an automaton. She feels things but she’s doing the best she can to protect herself from further hurt. I loved these two – there was banter, flirtation and sexy times that really were hot!

What you may not like: I got nothing – this book is light on the angst, heavy on humour and sarcasm and I loved it! A tatted, smart hero and a tightly-wound heroine who isn’t so self-absorbed that she can’t relate to others. She’s also witty as hell.

Rating: 5/5 for a great read. It had it all in my opinion. A well-written child character too. (Normally, I hate kids in romance books as they’re too cutesy. Not a problem here!)

The First Taste is out 4th August. If you haven’t read Sadie’s story, check out Slip of the Tongue.