Category: forbidden fruit

Somebody Else’s Sky by Jessica Hawkins

Book: Somebody Else’s Sky

Series: Something in the Way #2

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 22 May 2017

Main characters: Lake Kaplan, Tiffany Kaplan and Manning Sutter.

Blurb:

If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.

A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.

Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.

 

Why you should read it: This is the follow up book to Something in the Way, and it’s more angsty, more emotional and more dramatic. Everyone wants to be happy, but it’s clear that someone’s about to get very hurt. As ever, Jessica Hawkins’ writing draws you in and engages you – even if you don’t like what the characters are doing! In this book, we get to know Manning in more depth, how he feels and how his back story has affected him.  We get to know Lake more too – and how she’s developed over the last two years.

What you may not like: Ok. A couple of things – and I may be in the minority here. I didn’t like Manning – at all. He’s been through hell but really his relationships with both Lake and Tiffany are CLEARLY going to cause huge divisions. He made his decision – and I agreed with his reasoning but then he kept acting as though he was Lake’s dad time and time again – he needed to back off! Then there’s Lake – I know we all think we’re grown up at 17 and all, but she is so young. So childish and selfish, as only adolescents can be. She annoyed the hell out of me. Her lack of family loyalty was also very surprising. The only character I really ‘liked’ (or disliked the least) was Tiffany. Why? Because she’s the only one who was honest about her intentions. She’s self-serving in some ways but honestly, she was refreshing!

Rating: 3/5 for a turbulent and make-you-scream-at-your-kindle kind of a read. I am looking forward to seeing how this shitstorm can possibly sort itself out in Move The Stars, which is out in October 2017.

Bombshell by CD Reiss

Cover of a man and woman with Hollywood in the distanceBook: Bombshell

Series: Hollywood A-list #1

Author: CD Reiss

Release date: 1st May 2017

Main characters: Cara DuMont, well-respected nanny, seemingly immune to Brad Sinclair’s charms. Brad Sinclair, Hollywood rake and new father.

Plot: Cara DuMont is a well-respected nanny in LA, and throughout her career she has somehow managed to avoid the unwanted advances of her male employers. She’s cool, calm and in control. No scandals have ever affected her and she aims to keep it that way.

Brad Sinclair has seen her in action and wants her to become his newfound daughter’s nanny. He won’t take no for an answer.

Despite her affinity with Brad’s little girl Nicole, Cara is reluctant to become a nanny for a celebrity household. She prefers to fly under the radar and Brad is just too tempting, too sure of himself – too everything.

The more time she spends with both Nicole and Brad however, the more her resolve begins to waiver. The child needs her as much as she needs Nicole. Her connection to Brad cannot be denied either. Life is complicated, but it wouldn’t be impossible, to have both a career and a relationship with an a-lister. Right? This is Hollywood remember, and nothing comes without a pricetag attached…

Why you should read it: If you love the whole celebrity and ordinary girl-next-door-type, then you might enjoy this story. Cara is a strong and sensible type – always doing the right thing and staying one step ahead of scandal. She’s seen what it’s done to others and as such, lives life by a strict set of rules. The arrival of Brad Sinclair is interesting as she’s forced to throw out the rule book. He doesn’t care about much, other than making himself happy and his new situation as a father is quite an adjustment. The author’s depiction of Nicole, an adorable five-year old was pitch perfect. I loved her and her facial expressions!

What you may not like: The story felt a bit disjointed in places and despite my initial excitement about the plot, it failed to deliver the passion and the building tension I was hoping for. The characters didn’t really develop very much – they were professional one minute, in love the next. Their developing relationship was sexy but swift and while the chemistry was there, it felt a little forced. Don’t get me wrong, there were parts to the story that I really enjoyed – namely Nicole, but for me something was definitely missing.

Rating: 3/5 for a promising plot but for such a popular trope, it failed to ignite and keep my interest.

Blog tour: The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

img_0100Book: The Gravity of Us

Series: Elements #4

Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

Release date: 13 April 2017


Main characters: Lucille Palmer, free-spirited florist trying to keep her family together. Graham Russell, successful yet socially inept author, about to crash into Lucy’s world.

“Being around you does something strange to me, something that hasn’t happened in such a long time.”

“What happens?” He took my hand in his then led it to his chest, and his next words came out in a whisper. “My heart begins to beat again.”


Plot: When Lucy’s mother died, she told her to look after her sisters Mari and Lyric. Lucy took the request to heart and nursed her sister Mari back to health following a long illness and continued to reach out to Lyric, despite Lyric’s disdain for her and her cold nature. Despite a turbulent couple of years, Lucy and Mari are a good team and life finds some degree of normality. Until she meets Graham.

Graham Russell is a successful author. He enjoys a comfortable life without excessive emotions. His relationship with his wife is convenient and business-like. When she ups and leaves, Graham is left with a mountain of responsibility and a whole lot of emotions he isn’t able to cope with. His chance meeting with Lucy leads to a whole set of complications he could never have foreseen. His heart is locked up tight but Lucy may be the only one with the key…

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness. If my blurb above was a bit vague, it’s because I didn’t want to spoil anything for you. This story is so good and packed full of emotion and insight that I couldn’t really do it justice in the plot summary. How I loved these complex and spirited characters. Lucy is a saint! A good person through and through who puts up with a lot of crap from others because she loves them. Graham. Graham is tough – almost robotic when we first meet him. His reasons are more than valid and having his point of view really helps the reader understand his motivations and his experiences. His story is a sad one, but the possibility for a happier future keeps you rooting for him throughout.

What you may not like: There are some nasty characters in this book! Like, really horrible! I felt indignant on Lucy’s behalf. She shows kindness and gets kicked in the teeth repeatedly. I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall at times, but thankfully Brittainy doesn’t drag out the hard times. She always gives her characters some trials before getting to the ‘good stuff’.

Rating: 5/5 for a very sensitive, heart wrenching and intelligent read. I loved it and it made me want to punch somebody and hug somebody in equal measure! And my God, that cover *bites fist.*

SBPRBanner-TGOU-BT

Something in the Way by Jessica Hawkins – Author Q & A and review

Hi!

jessicaIf you follow this blog, you’ll know how much I like and admire Jessica Hawkins. She’s awesome. So when she announced that she was releasing a new book (kind of surreptitiously actually – she never wants to make a big fuss) I was super excited. She’s done the odd standalone, but she really is a serial kind of woman.

Something in the Way will be a trilogy (trilogies I can handle – 5-parters and I start to tire!) and I was quite curious about this series so decided to ask a few questions (and basically be a bit nosey).

Me: Jess, hi. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken – you’ve been busy and written 3 books since I saw you in June! I have a few questions…

1. When you had the idea for Manning and Lake did you know it was going to span 3 books?

Jess: I knew instantly, yes. The story grew so large and so fast in my head that there was no way it would ever fit in one book. Book 1 was the tip of the iceberg as far as I’m concerned…

2. What kind of timescale will this trilogy cover?

Jess: I don’t want to give too much away, but it will happen over a long period. Many of my other books span weeks or months — that won’t be the case with Something in the Way. It’ll be years…

[Ooh – interesting…]

3. Did you have any qualms about the age difference of your main characters?

Jess: No qualms. I love a good forbidden story, and I’ve always been interested in exploring the teenage girl’s “crush” mentality. I always thought it would be a teacher-student story, to be honest. I worked very hard with my editor to make sure Manning and Lake’s relationship was right for the story. In terms of their physical relationship, I quickly learned that I didn’t need or want to cross a single line to tell this because the story was so much better without it.

4. Was Lake’s dad based on anyone real? – because… he’s kind of an asshole!

Jess: Maybe! Definitely not my dad, who is extremely supportive and who, in fact, patiently talked me through the various legal scenarios toward the ending. However, my brother went to USC and 3/4 of my family is cultish about it (me being the 1/4 who isn’t). 🙂

Review

sitwBook: Something in the Way book #1

Release date: 28 February 2017

Main characters: Manning Sutter, building contractor and seemingly without a family. Lake Kaplan, obedient daughter about to embark on a  future that’s already been mapped out.

Blurb: It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.

I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.

Why you should read it: The writing in this story is beautiful. The dialogue, the evocative sense of a certain period in time was spot on. The writing flowed and it accurately depicted both the mindset of a teen girl and a young man. It set the scene for the series and also gave a good sense of the characters. Lake is quite immature by today’s standards – but it’s part and parcel of her sheltered upbringing. Her parents have clearly overcompensated with Lake, since their ‘failures’ with her older sister, Tiffany. This series is going to be a nail-biter and heavy on the angst, but if it’s done as well as in this book, I don’t think it will be too much.

What you might not like: As I said before, we’re dealing with first love and a main character who, although intelligent, is severely lacking in any street-smarts. She’s sensible for the most part, but inevitably, the moment she decides to cut loose and do something a little out of character, all hell breaks loose! This provides much of the drama, and I guess we’ll have to see how the story unfolds.

Rating: 4/5 for a promising start to a series that will cover a significant amount of time! It does end on a cliffhanger of sorts, so note that book 2, Somebody Else’s Sky isn’t out until May 2017.

Slip of the Tongue by Jessica Hawkins

Slip of the Tongue Ebook Cover

Book: Slip of the Tongue

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 25th February, 2016

Review by: Onni


Basic story
: Sadie Hunt has everything. Great job, even better husband. Nathan would do anything for Sadie – has done since the day they met. Their marriage is picture perfect. They’re the envy of all their friends. So the day he stops noticing her shakes Sadie to her core. He’s stressed, his father is ill. There are reasons for his distance. But when he stops confiding in her and stops communicating altogether – Sadie is lost. Where is her Nathan and more importantly, will he come back?

When the days turn into weeks and the distance steadily grows, Sadie takes comfort in talking to her new neighbour Finn. He’s open, funny and makes it clear he’s open to more than just friendship. Feeling abandoned and alone, Sadie doesn’t know which way to turn. Is her marriage beyond repair and does her future lie with Finn?

Why you should read it: Ok, so if you know me you’ll know that I love Jess Hawkins. However, I still like to think that I can be impartial when writing my reviews (see past posts on the Cityscape series and Night Fever). When I picked up  Slip of the Tongue, I was in the mood to get my emotions churned up and for full pelt angst. This is a look at the breakdown of a relationship and its aftermath. There’s internal dialogue, there’s bad decisions and there’s plenty of soul-searching. I really enjoyed the ride and I think you’ll be kept guessing. Sadie is complex, some might say spoilt – but her journey throughout the book is very interesting. She believes everything in her world is perfect until literally one day, she wakes up and it’s not. She’s not passive – she really does do her best to confront the situation. But she also fears the potential consequences of pushing too hard. Nathan is an interesting character too – what EXACTLY is happening in his head?

What you might hate: Don’t like love triangles? Infidelity? Yeah, well maybe not the book for you. Personally, if it’s infidelity of the fictional variety, I have no problem reading it! I didn’t agree with Sadie every step of the way, but she’s not 100% to blame for the way things end up. I think you may come out of this questioning who to root for.

Rating: 4/5 for a stomach-churning, all-night-reading, heart-stopping rollercoaster of a book. I look forward to more from Jessica in the coming months!

Enjoy the book trailer – if you doesn’t put you in the mood for drama, nothing will!

 

The Ground Rules Undone by Roya Carmen

Book: The Ground Rules Undone

Series: The Rule Breakers #3

Author: Roya Carmen

Release date: 23rd February, 2016

Review by: Onnica

**Contains spoilers so if you haven’t read books 1 & 2, proceed with caution!**

“My heart sinks at the realization that I’ll never truly be free from him. He’ll never let me go. And the worst part is, I can see he wants to. He wants to not love me.”

Basic story: Mirella is still reeling from the news of her pregnancy. Hoping it will all go away, she carries on as best she can, trying to work up the courage to tell not only Gabe, her husband, but also Weston, her former lover. She’s convinced she will lose Gabe when he finds out, so she’s desperate to preserve their idyll a while longer. As times ticks by, she’s no closer to telling either man in her life. Gabe is convinced now they have split from Bridget and Weston that they can finally move on, maybe relocating elsewhere. Mirella is still torn but realises the truth can’t stay hidden for long.

With the support of her best friend Gwen, Mirella finally finds the courage to tell the truth. Nothing can prepare her for the fallout – the prospect of facing a future without Gabe nearly sends her into meltdown. And what about Weston? Will he despise her or blame her for their impossible situation?

Why you should read it: This is the big finale, the conclusion to what has been a tremendous series. Will they, won’t they? If you loved books 1 and 2, you won’t want to miss it. The angst levels are off the charts. Everybody’s gone crazy and you’ll be surprised along the way. You think you know these characters, but do you? Gabe is front and centre of the action in this book and it was good to see his character in more depth. Weston, what can I say about Weston? It’s ‘interesting’ to see how he deals with the unexpected in this book, too.

What you may not like: I’ve been with Mirella all the way from the start of book one, but for the first quarter of the book I wanted to shake her for her inertia and cowardice. Her dependence on Gwen was total and I wanted to shout – sort your s**t out! She’s all over the place and still doesn’t seem to know what she wants. However, once things come to a head (and boy, do they) I was once again sympathetic to her situation. She does try to do the right thing and dealing with Weston (who’s bordering on crazy) as best she can.

Rating: after all the angst, the sexiness and all the pleasure these characters have brought me, I give it 4/5. The ending was bittersweet, but honestly, it couldn’t have ended any other way. It was a very intense read and I’m convinced they could all do with some therapy! Thank you Roya for taking us on such a thrilling ride. I enjoyed EVERY moment.

Excerpt:

He stood back up to his full height, and leaned into me, tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear, the gesture so gentle, but in contrast, his words were harsh. “This didn’t mean anything,” he said, his eyes dark, as black as coal. And I knew this wasn’t him speaking. This was the man he became when
he was angry. But still, the words still cut deep.
“This doesn’t change a thing,” he went on with that same dark blank expression. “We’re still done, Mirella.”TGRpromospot4b
“How can you say that?” I asked, my words pleading. “We just made love.”
He jerked back. “That was just sex, Mirella,” he scoffed. “You made me hard. I wanted to fuck you…get one last taste of you. That’s all it was.” And with a turn of the handle, he added, “I’m sorry if you thought it was more.”
His words hit hard, a sharp blow to my stomach. But I wasn’t done fighting for us. I reached for the handle, my hand pressed hard over his and I slammed the door shut. “You’re lying. You’re being hurtful on purpose.” After all these years, I couldn’t believe he didn’t realize how well I know him. “You’re still mad at me,” I pointed out, not letting it go.
He wiped the heel of his hand against his forehead and grabbed a fistful of his hair. “You’re fucking right, I’m still mad,” he growled. “But I’m angry at myself more than I am at you right now.”
I pressed my hand against his stomach. “Why?”
He grabbed a hard hold of my wrist and pulled my hand away. “Because you do this to me and I can’t just turn my back and move on.” His beautiful eyes almost did me in, there was so much emotion in them.
“I can’t turn my back on you and the girls. And I still want you. I still want to fuck you… and you,” he added, not quite looking at me. “You know this. And you took advantage.”
He was right. I did. I knew he wanted me. And I took advantage of a moment of weakness. I spotted it, pounced and dug my teeth in. But I wanted him just as much as he did me.
“I’m sorry,” I told him. I knew it wasn’t much, but I was at a loss for words. My eyes were drowning in tears as I pressed my hand against him again. “I just miss you so much, Gabe. I wanted to be close to you again.”
He tore himself from me. “I should go.”

Priest by Sierra Simone

priestBook: Priest

Series: Priest #1

Author: Sierra Simone

Review by: Onnica

Blurb:

There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.

Why you should read it: If you are a fan of difficult relationships – this book is the epitome of that. Tyler is dedicated to his work, but can’t seem to shake his previous life. When he meets Poppy – a woman with her own set of complex problems, he’s thrown for a loop.  The struggle is obvious – does he stick to the churches edict and remain true to his vows, or does he throw out his beliefs and indulge in a new relationship with Poppy? Well, I’m sure you can guess which option he goes for. The story is sensual, sexy but also smart too. It has a lot of religious imagery and symbolism, coupled with some seriously raunchy sexual activity. I enjoyed the dynamic between Tyler and Poppy – she’s looking for something, as is he. The emotion felt real.

What you might hate: Ok, I’m not catholic, nor am I religious, but my Pentecostal roots stood on end at some of the shenanigans taking place in the church, on the altar, in the vestry! If by any chance, you have religious sensibilities, I’m guessing this book won’t be for you. Tyler is a very foul-mouthed and dirty priest! He swears a lot, drinks a fair amount and I won’t go into what he does with the anointed oils!! Steer clear if you’re easily offended.

Rating: 4/5 – for me, this had enough sentiment and a story to elevate it from pure smut. There’s plenty of that, but there’s an extra dimension too. I thoroughly enjoyed it – and yes, church sex aside, the characters were incredibly likeable.