Romance

REVIEW: Paying Daddy’s Debt by Alexa Riley

img_2044Paying Daddy’s Debt by Alexa Riley
Series: standalone
Genre: contemporary romance
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When Ash Carpenter imagines a schoolgirl, the image doesn’t match her. She wears long skirts that are sort of frumpy. Her bulky sweaters hide her shape, and her hair is always in a messy bun. Her tennis shoes are clunky and worn, and there are runs in her thick tights. Her dark-framed glasses hide some of her face…but not all of it. Because he’s caught sight of those ice-blue eyes, and they’ve pierced him to his core.

She walks by his office every day, but one afternoon she’s missing. It’s then Ash finally decides he’s tired of waiting and it’s time to collect what he’s owed. She’ll come with him, because there’s no other choice. She’ll pay her daddy’s debt any way Ash sees fit.

Warning: Oh, honey, this is about to get filthy. If your delicate sensibilities can’t handle the dirty, then step aside for those of us who can. It’s quick, but it’s just the right length, if you know what I mean. *slow wink, elbow nudge, goofy snort*

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Review by Evelyn

Heat: 2/5
Rating: 1/5

I don’t have anything against quick reads, or insta-love, if they’re done right. With this, I really just struggled to see the point. The synopsis and title suggested a daddy theme, but this was just misleading. There was very little sex in general, and I was left feeling massively disappointed. Alex Riley are not bad writers, and are the masters of their insta-love/lust novella genre; but they definitely need to do better than this.
Drama, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance

War Poppy by Nicole Lynne

war-poppy-ebook-coverWar Poppy by Nicole Lynne
Series: War Series #1
Genre: romantic drama
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Poppy

Love and war. Two words that should have little association, but to me the two go hand in hand. Both are a tragedy. They rip you open and spit you out. The war killed my husband, Connor, shattered my will to live, and took my best friend. Brandon may not have physically died in that war, but his soul did. And now we’re left to pick up the wreckage. Expected to move on when all that is left is the ruins of a life we once had.

Brandon

War. It took everything from me, even myself. When you’re only able to exist, death seems like a blessing. Pain…a welcome distraction. I ran from everything associated with my past, and then she found me, fighting, drowning myself in whisky, trying to forget. She reminds me of Connor, of what I’ve lost—what we’ve lost. In the midst of destruction, she’s a salvation I don’t deserve.

I shouldn’t love him.

I shouldn’t love her.

Love is a war we never should have fought.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Giveaway

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Review by Evelyn

Heat: 3/5
Rating: 5/5

If you’re a fan of light-hearted, wishy-washy romance as a form of escapism, turn away. This is a dark, gritty read, delving deep into PTSD, alcoholism and toxic relationships. This is the sort of book that grips your heart, makes you laugh, makes you love, and makes you weep. It carries with it ‘that feeling’ – the one that hits just before the Red Wedding in GoT. Where things are leading a certain direction, but suddenly they no longer seem quite right. ‘That feeling’ is the most harrowing sensation, where things are cascading and there is no way to stop them, but you also cannot stop yourself from reading on.

Poppy and Brandon were beautifully crafted and beautifully broken, finding toxic comfort in one another’s pain, with a deeply felt, painful romance that absolutely broke me. It was one the romantic in me wanted so desperately to work out, while my brain was shouting at my Kindle and their treatment of one another. My emotions were at war, but my heart, as ever, won.

One of the best books of the year so far (and only my second five-star rating of 2017), I’d absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes a deeper, more thoughtful read. LP Lovell and Stevie J Cole completely depart from their typical writing, and do so in an extraordinary way. I hope they write more like this, as their styles compliment one another absolutely perfectly, and by pulling this off they have shown how capable and talented they both are, departing from their comfort zones in such a way.

Reviews, Romance

Review: Wild Abandon Christmas – Jeannine Colette

wildabandonchristmas_amazonWild Abandon Christmas by Jeannine Colette
Series: Abandon Collection #3.5
Genre: contemporary romance
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She wanted a Christmas romance.
He wound up getting seduced.

THE TELLERS ARE COMING TO TOWN!

Crystal and Nate are mixing business with pleasure this holiday season in New York City! In town to meet with a luxury restaurant group, Nate finds a buyer for his Napa Valley wine but things don’t go as planned when a real life Vixen takes a liking to him.

While Nate is being seduced in the big city, Crystal finds herself alone visiting the most iconic places that should be enjoyed with the one you love. Will Nate be caught under the mistletoe or will this couple of wine and roses find their way back together for Christmas?

Join us as old friends are revisited, villains make a surprise appearance and romance is shared on this special holiday addition to the Abandon Collection.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Review

Heat: 2/5
Rating: 3/5

I always find it a little difficult to review novellas and little extras to novels. I don’t go above a four-star rating because there’s just not enough time to get fully involved with the characters and plot. For me, Wild Abandon was my top read of 2016, so I was super-excited to get a chance to follow the Tellers again in this little Christmassy follow-up. It didn’t disappoint, and I got as much enjoyment at revisiting these characters as I could have hoped for; however, it also didn’t add anything particularly worthwhile to their love story.

In some respects, the fact that I felt the urge to slap Nate around the head a few times made me doubt his status as my top ever book boyfriend, despite the understandable (and noble) causes behind his behaviour.

A sweet Christmassy addition for fans of the series.

Drama, Reviews, Romance

Review: See Through Heart – Amie Knight

see-through-heart-ebook-coverSee Through Heart by Amie Knight
Series: standalone
Genre: new adult
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Ainsley came into my life in a flurry of vibrant colors, lighting my world up when all seemed lost.

It wasn’t our quiet nights by the creek or stolen kisses surrounded by a sea of cotton that saved me.  

It was her.  

She was my comfort when life threw one ugly tragedy after another at me. 

Until she dealt me the greatest blow.  

Now, abandonment, betrayal, and death darken every corner of my life.  Anger and hurt burn bright where love and trust once lived.  

But, now, she’s back.  Sure, she’s changed, but I see through it—straight to her heart.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Review

Themes: friends to lovers, second chance
Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★

This is the debut release from author Amie Knight.

I had never been kissed in my life, but I knew that this was special. I knew that kisses like this were rare and beautiful. A kiss like this was born from years of friendship and love.

There was a lot of emotion in these pages. I’m not going to lie, I did cry once or twice, and it was absolutely not what I was expecting to happen when I started reading this book. It was interesting to see how tragedy affected the main characters, and how drama also managed to bring them back together.

Knight did an absolutely brilliant job of establishing this relationship, with the first half of the novel following the Ainsley and Adrian as they met as children and grew up, and the second half bringing them back together following these gut-wrenching events. I really cared for these characters, and I found their relationship beautiful.

“Let’s pretend we are just a boy and a girl in love. That our lives aren’t encompassed in overwhelming sorrow and heartbreak. That we aren’t swimming in a never-ending sea of grief. Please, let me have this. This moment of beautiful in all of this ugly.”

Where I struggled a little bit was with Adrian’s character. For some reason, he just didn’t feel consistent enough to me, and I didn’t quite believe that he wouldn’t have gone after Ainsley when she left. Similarly, I felt like although the first half did a perfect job of setting everything up (before callously destroying it!), the second half seemed a little rushed for me. I wanted a little more pain, a little more tension, but instead it all worked out fairly easily and became more of a sweet read.

There were several subplots which just didn’t go anywhere, such as Adrian and his father, and the subplot with Anthony and Kelley (though maybe the latter is being left for a sequel? Let’s hope so).

She could run from me, but what she couldn’t do was hide her heart. Whether she liked it or not, I owned it. It was mine.

A stellar effort for a first novel, the first half left me devastated while the second was just a little too fast for such an emotionally intense read. This is definitely an author to keep watching.

Book Club

Book Club: November 2016

You voted for your books of the month for November 2016, and here were the results!

If you’d like to get involved in our book club and join the monthly read, you can find our group here.


being-meOur romance pick: Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones

Fascinated by the dark fantasies in the journals she’s discovered, and the two men who have now found a place in her life, Sara McMillan finds herself torn between her new life and her past. Now, more than ever, Sara identifies with the lost journal writer, Rebecca, and is certain that something sinister has happened.

In the arms of the sexy, tormented artist Chris Merit, Sara seeks answers about Rebecca and ends up discovering things about herself she never knew existed. Chris forces Sara to reconsider who she is and what she truly wants from life, but not before his dark desires threaten to tear them apart. Her boss, Mark Compton, offers her the shelter to understand just what those needs mean to her, and what they might have meant to Rebecca, but can she trust him to lead her to a final conclusion to Rebecca’s story?

Purchase

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA


three-dirty-secretsOur erotica pick: Three Dirty Secrets by Nikki Sloane

No man can own me. I negotiate sex for money at an illicit blindfold club, but my body is not for sale. I don’t submit and I don’t surrender.

Until I meet him. This beautiful artist’s tattoo now covers the scar of the worst mistake of my life.

Being with him could expose everything I’ve been hiding, and although there’s so much at stake, I can’t stop myself. The battle for control between us is too hot, too powerful to resist.

With all my dirty secrets, what’s going to happen when he forces me to come clean?

Purchase

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moonshotOur Buddy Read: Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

Due to popular demand (and our official romance BOTM not being a standalone)

Baseball isn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…

The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase… he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil.

I tried to stay away. I couldn’t.

Then, the team started losing.
Women started dying.
And everything in my world broke apart.

Purchase

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Excerpts, New Adult, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance

Out now! Back to Yesterday – Whitney Barbetti

coverBack to Yesterday by Whitney Barbetti
Series: Bleeding Hearts #2
Genre: new adult, romance
Themes: second chance
Release date: 20th October, 2016

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The distance from Colorado to Maine is not far enough to escape the memories.
The time I’ve been away is not long enough to heal the pain.
I left Colorado, determined to discover who I am outside of my grief, but I fell apart along the way.
I’m lost again.

When Jude follows me, I can’t turn him away. But I can’t let him in, either.
Not all the way.
I know when he finds out my secret, the one I keep hidden in the darkest part of my heart, he’ll leave me.
Alone.
Like I was before.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Sneak Peek

“Are you okay?”

He laughed, but it was without humor. He dropped his head and stared at his plate as I had minutes earlier. “Am I okay?” Shaking his head, he said, “No, I’m not fucking okay.” He pushed away from the table hard enough that the screech of the chair across the wooden floor startled me. Jude was always so steady, and while he wasn’t necessarily predictable, he wasn’t prone to outbursts of anger like this. He picked up his plate and walked to the sink and I stared at his back, willing him to talk to me. But I couldn’t ask that of him.

Picking up my plate, I debated what to do. It was surreal almost, being in Jude’s apartment but not touching him the way I wanted to. Finally, I joined him at the sink as he worked a sponge into a lather and swiped it across his plate. “Let me do it,” I said softly, reaching a hand in to take the sponge from him.

He let go of the plate and clasped my forearm as I reached into the sink. His touch was gentle as he turned my wrist over and rubbed a thumb slowly across the length of my vein, visible through my translucent skin. I could only hold my breath as he touched me like this, like he was memorizing the blue lines that ran the length of my forearm. His hands were warm, searching, and I realized that I’d been yearning for this, for the simple act of him touching my skin like it was delicate. His fingers moved down, and my closed fist opened to give him access to my palm, where he traced the lines in my hands. It was so intimate, even in its simplicity, that all I could do was watch him as he examined my hands. “I’ve missed you,” he said in a voice that was just short of a whisper. My heart turned over as he bent my fingers gently back into my fist and rubbed his soapy fingers over the knuckles.

When he let go of my hand and turned away from me, I felt goose bumps ignite across my skin. All I wanted was for him to keep touching me, but I’d hurt him. And he’d hurt me.

We had miles of pain between the two of us, and even though we were no longer miles apart, that pain existed between us like another person, holding both of us back.

“I missed you too,” I said too late, when I’d caught my breath again.

“Please,” he pleaded as he rinsed the plate in his hands. “I can’t hear you say that right now.”

Nodding, I backed away. I understood. This wasn’t the time or place, and we were little more than strangers right now. I was a new Trista, someone he had never known.

Likely, someone he didn’t want to know.

Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★

Reviewer’s note: this does not standalone. The first instalment is Into the Tomorrows and must be read first.

I’ve been waiting for this follow-up to Jude and Trista’s cliffhanger for what feels like ages. The first book in this series was something I’ve never quite read before, and something that has stayed with me. Although I enjoyed this follow up, I have to say that I found it slightly disappointing– mainly due to the characters.

One step forward, one breath out. One dream gone, one hope forgotten. A thousand wishes lost once they’d left my lips. He’d been in almost every one.

I feel like there is a slight discrepancy between the Jude from the first book and the Jude in this one – largely because, in my mind, he would never allow Trista to keep running due to his worry for her. Whereas he was more of a rock and offered a new, optimistic life in ITT, in BTY he was distant (both physically and emotionally), and didn’t have as much of an effect emotionally. I didn’t like Charlotte, and the absence of Milla and Colin was actually surprisingly noticeable.

Jude was a forever kind of guy. He wasn’t the guy you hooked up with on your quest for the last guy. He was the last guy. And in many ways, he was the first guy for me.

Similarly, because Trista was largely on her own, in contrast with ITT which had a significant focus on the relationships within the group, I struggled to remain as engaged with her. And she alone I found hideously irritating. She went from being strong, trying to sort her life out, to becoming obsessed with her victimhood and almost proud of her suffering, doing absolutely nothing to help herself when I was expecting/hoping for her to come out fighting.

Loneliness was my most loyal companion, and I didn’t want to drown it in a relationship just for the sake of not being alone.

I didn’t hate it; I was just left disappointed at reading about someone so obsessed with and tied up in her grief, and I felt that in some respects the events here were a little forced. I wanted the slow, meandering storyline and finding comfort with nature despite grief and the hardships of life – exploring Trista’s mind like the first book. I wanted my heart to ache again, but I never quite got there.

Bleeding Hearts series

  1. Into the Tomorrows
  2. Back to Yesterday
New Adult, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance

Out now! Review: Between Here and the Horizon – Callie Hart

between-here-and-the-horizonBetween Here and the Horizon by Callie Hart
Series: standalone
Genre: new adult, romance
Themes: military, enemies to lovers
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Ophelia Lang needs money, and she needs it bad. Her parent’s restaurant is going under, and ever since she lost her job teaching third grade elementary, scraping enough cash together to pay the bills has proven almost impossible. Her parents are on the brink of losing their home. The vultures are circling overhead. So when Ophelia is offered an interview for a well-paid private tutoring gig in New York, how can she possibly say no?

Ronan Fletcher is far from the overweight, balding businessman Ophelia expected him to be. He’s young, handsome, and wealthy beyond all reason. He’s also perhaps the coldest, rudest person she’s ever met, and has a mean streak in him a mile and a half wide. A hundred grand is a lot of money, however, and if tolerating his frosty temperament, his erratic mood swings and whatever else he throws at her means she’ll get paid, then that is what Ophelia will do.

Her new boss is keeping secrets, though. Awful, terrible secrets.

The ghosts of Ronan Fletcher’s past are about to turn Ophelia’s future upside down, and she can’t even see it coming.

Between Here and The Horizon is a brand new standalone contemporary romance novel from USA Today bestselling author, Callie Hart. Between Here and the Horizon does contain some scenes of violence and sexual content, and so is directed at audience 18+.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

He was fearless. He was confident. He was strong, and he was honest. He was also a little broken – a truth that he didn’t mind owning.

This is another of many books I’ve read recently that I’m struggling to review, simply because I do not want to give away any of the storyline, whilst somehow encouraging you to one-click the damn book right now. So if you could trust me, that’d make my life a lot easier right now…

“God, loving you is the cruelest, most unkind thing I can do to you, and yet I’m going to do it anyway.”

There are so many plot twists, the first of which left me utterly gobsmacked, made me sit up and drop my Kindle, and made me want to continue reading all through the night. Hart has done a fabulous job here of hinting in the synopsis at what is to happen, yet making it a story completely different to the one I was expecting.

He was a man possessed. I was a woman lost. Together, we were two halves of something fragile and delicate, beautiful in its complexity.

This was crushing, heartwarming and wonderfully romantic(and even occasionally pretty funny, too). A welcome diversion of Hart’s typical grittier reads, this still packs an emotional punch whilst delivering a story about personal growth, with none of the forced angst so typical in romance books these days. This is a couple to really rally behind.