Wednesday, 14 July 2021

The Lost Girl of Berlin - Ella Carey

 The truck stopped for a moment in the freezing, bombed-out street and Kate caught sight of a little

girl in a ragged dress on the steps of a once-beautiful mansion. The child’s eyes were startling blue, a pair of endless pools, drawing Kate towards her…

1946, Berlin. War correspondent Kate Mancini is in Germany, reporting on the aftermath of the devastating war. For her readers back home in New York, she tells the stories of innocent families, trying to rebuild the wreckage of their lives now the soldiers have left at last. But in the Russian-held sector of Berlin on an icy winter’s day, Kate breaks all the rules, rescuing Mia Stein, a silent orphan who she fears will otherwise perish.

Together with her fellow journalist, handsome Rick Shearer, Kate manages to find a safe house for Mia before she returns to America and vows to keep in touch. Back home, the reality of post-war life for women is stark. Whilst Rick walks into his dream job, no newspaper will hire a woman. The editors laugh her out of their offices, telling her to get married and raise a family. Rick does all he can to support her, as she takes her first steps towards the new medium of television news, and their friendship deepens into something more.

Then tragedy strikes: Rick is falsely named as a communist sympathizer. He is arrested, blacklisted and faces prison.

Kate knows she must do all she can to free the man she loves. But that means returning to Germany, to seek out the little orphan girl who is her only chance at salvation. Kate and Rick saved Mia—will she help them both now? And even if Kate succeeds, freedom might never be hers when she returns home…

From Amazon Charts bestseller Ella Carey comes an utterly heartbreaking historical novel, inspired by true events, about the courage, love and friendships that sustain us in the darkest of days. Fans of Fiona Davis, All the Light We Cannot See and My Name is Eva will be totally captivated.

Author Bio:

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.

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My Review

This is the second book in the Daughters of New York series. While they are a series, you don't have to have read the previous book as the storyline does not continue. The previous characters do appear very briefly, but the continuity has more to do with location and the themes that are covered. Like book one, The Lost Girl of Berlin deals with women finding their place and challenging their roles in the male drive world of post-war America. This story deals with Katia, a successful journalist, who finds that now men are back from war and getting all of the jobs, she's lucky if she gets to cover fashion, cooking, and other 'women's' issues rather than the politics that she knows so much about.
There is an element of romance in this story, it isn't the main theme here but rather plays out alongside everything else that is happening and in many ways is used as a way to show how women were viewed and treated. If they wanted to have a career and be successful, then there was no chance of marriage.
The Lost Girl of Berlin also plays a large part in the story. The book begins with her being found by Katia and Rick, alone by her abandoned home in Berlin. Although she doesn't appear in person very much, thoughts of her are what drives Katia a lot of the time.
This was a gripping read and I was desperate to know what would happen to the various characters. It touched on many topics, but they were all woven together expertly to produce a complete storyline that didn't feel artificial or forced. Instead, I found myself carried along and dying to know what was going to happen to Katia, Rick, Biannca, Mia, and Frances. It isn't the kind of book that I would necessarily reach for immediately, but in this case, I'm glad that I did and I'd recommend that you do the same.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Pieces of Eight - Tricia Leedom

Pieces of Eight
Tricia Leedom
(Lost Souls’ Treasure, #1)
Published by: Firefly Hill Press
Publication date: July 13th 2021
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance

From the author who whisked you away on a wild escapade in The Key West Escape Series comes a sexy, adventure-packed spin off. Follow Mitch Thompson and his team of misfits as they find danger, intrigue, and romance on the hunt for the legendary Lost Souls’ Treasure…

Former special ops aviator Griffin Dodge spent two years working on a marine salvage crew based out of Key West after his military career abruptly ended.
The only person he let himself get close to on the Salty Dog Crew was a woman called “Bug.” They couldn’t have been more different – the former all-star golden boy from the Midwest and the scrappy French circus performer turned salvage diver – but she became his best friend. Griff was happier than he’d been in a long time, but when his first love called to say she wanted him back, he caught the next flight out of town.

A year later, Bug still resents Griff for ghosting her and the crew after he left. She’s furious when he shows up out of the blue to do a favor for her boss. It doesn’t matter that Griff is single again or that he’s sorry, she hates that she’s stuck flying shotgun to Martinique beside the guy who abandoned their friendship and betrayed her trust.

The trip was supposed to take two days tops. Just enough time to meet with an artifact collector who claims to have the missing pages of a diary that could lead them to The Lost Souls’ Treasure. But when the deal goes south, and Griff and Bug are caught breaking and entering, they’re forced to escape up the side of a volcano where the lava isn’t the only thing about to bubble over. The tension between them erupts into an unexpected night of passion that leaves them both uncertain about what comes next.

While Griff starts to question if settling down in the suburbs still fits the man he’s become, Bug isn’t so sure she’s willing to open her guarded-heart to the only man who’s ever broke it.

When a rival treasure hunter hellbent on beating the Salty Dog Crew to the treasure takes Bug hostage, Griff realizes his future plans won’t matter, if he can’t bring his best friend home alive.

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Author Bio:

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men… even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom

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My Review

Pieces of Eight is a friends to lovers story with an action/suspense storyline. Griff and Bug were best friends who worked together, but when Griff's long term on again off again girlfriend got back in touch, he ran off leaving Bug behind. Not only is she mad about the way that he left, but she's had a huge secret crush on him for all of that time.
I wasn't sure how I was going to get on with a heroine called Bug, it is just a nickname, but even so, seemed a little strange. I managed to get past that once I was into the story though.  She and Griff are clearly well suited, they just get one another and while he's never seen Bug as much more than a friend, there's clearly a connection there.
Griff isn't a particularly nice guy, he completely takes Bug for granted and treats her feelings quite callously. Although she tries to backtrack on her feelings for him, it's obvious he knows how she really feels. He does redeem himself somewhat towards the end of the book and Bug is certainly left happy and getting what she wants. I'm just not sure that what she thinks she wants is really all that great for her.
Overall this was an entertaining read with plenty of intrigue and action. It's the start of a series and I'd be interested to see where it might go next.

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Friday, 9 July 2021

Savage - Anna Ray

 He scares the living daylights out of me. But not for the reasons he might think. And that scares me even more.


He’s magnetic. Tall and commanding.
Heartbreakingly gorgeous.
Borne of ice. Ruthless.
And his dark, mesmerizing gaze is locked onto me.
This man is fantasy in the flesh.
Callum O’Daire.
Darling of Boston’s moneyed society and king of the underworld.
And I’m here to ask a favour from this soulless creature. Beg, if I have to.
I despise him. Body and soul.


Hazel Brentwood.
Even from a distance, she’s striking.
Stands out.
Eyes like dark gold that glittered with fire and untapped passion.
She needs my help. But I hate the Brentwoods.
All of them.
Old money that covers sins and crimes that will never be answered to
The very thing keeping Hazel so pampered and pretty.
Blood money.
If anyone’s going to tear her to shreds, to destroy her, it’s going to be me.
My way.

Sultry stares, passionate embraces, and suspense await you inside Savage. This enemies-to-lovers mafia romance will have you flipping the pages, begging Callum or Hazel to make the first move!

My Review

This was a bit of an unusual 'romance.' There was certainly chemistry between our hero and heroines and the relationship between them developed into something more than attraction, but in many ways, this book had more of a mystery element to it. I think that this was partly because there was something about it that reminded me of Raymond Chandler novels. That sounds a bit odd and it's perhaps not an obvious similarity, but there was something there.
Hazel and Callum both have things that they want to get to the bottom of and while Callum does his best to keep Hazel out of things, it's clear that she's not going to let him find out everything on her own. She might have grown up in a privileged world, but she has plenty of grit and determination.
This was a really good read. A romance with a really big helping of mystery and with plenty of twists and turns before we get to the end. 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Tell Me S'more - Beth Merlin

Tell Me S’more
Beth Merlin
(The Campfire Series, #4)
Published by: Firefly Hill Press
Publication date: May 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary

“A beautifully written contemporary romance, with plenty of enjoyable comedy, it challenges us to evaluate our lives and make big decisions on who we want to be and not necessarily what everyone expects us to be.” – Adventures in Lit about The Campfire Series

Camp Chinooka was supposed to be a place of inspiration, the place where Perry Gilman would finally compose his symphonic masterpiece. But four years later, Perry Gillman isn’t any closer to his dream of becoming a world renowned musician. Instead, he fell love in with Gigi Goldstein and he thought that love would be enough. Now, struggling to find the right subject for a new musical while hustling as a piano player at a local jazz bar, he can’t help but measure his own shortcomings to his famous father’s monstrous success. So, when he stumbles onto the idea to write a musical about the life and times of Elizabeth I, everything finally changes. The musical is an international sensation and suddenly, Perry is on the fast track to super stardom.

However, fame and success come at a price. When his relationship with Gigi is thrown into a tailspin, he must decide whether to follow his dream for which he fought for so long or sacrifice it all for true love.

Told from Perry’s perspective, Tell Me S’more shows that there are two sides to every story and a cost to every choice.

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Author Bio:

Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

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My Review

It's always hard when you come to a series mid-way through. Will it work as a standalone? Will I understand what's happening? While I think that both of these are true for Tell me s'more, I do think I would probably have enjoyed it, even more, had I read the other books first.
This isn't a romance really, although perhaps the series as a whole might fall into that. Really, it tells the story of Perry and his slightly troubled relationship with his father and how that drives him to really chase his dreams and be all that he can be. His relationship does suffer alongside the growth of his career and this made for an interesting read, but with not having read previous books, I hadn't really got the connection between Perry and Gigi. By the end of it, I was invested in if Perry was going to be successful, but I wasn't bothered one way or another about their relationship. As I say, I'm sure that this might be different if I had read the other books. 
Perry is supposed to be British, I say supposed to be because I just didn't really see him as being a Brit. I think much of this is because the author made lots of little mistakes that probably wouldn't be noticed unless you were from the UK yourself. These weren't major things, just streets with numbers as high as 1112, which is almost unknown and certainly not likely where they were. Talking about Grammar school, when talking of secondary school years (even someone who went to a grammar would be unlikely to refer to it as such) being charged to go into the V and A. At one point he mentions the fourth year as being the same as a senior in the US. Again, such a minor thing, but fourth-year is around 14 years old, upper sixth would be nearer to the senior year, in any case, it's not a term that's been used for nearly thirty years as they are now year seven, eight, nine, etc. As I say, not something that would probably even be noticed by many people, but there was so many that they just built up and irritated me.
This was an interesting and entertaining read, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but was good all the same. There's clearly still more to come with this story and I'm not sure where it will go next.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Remission - Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez
(Heartland Metro Hospital, #1)
Publication date: June 30th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He nearly destroyed her career. So why cant she stay away from him?

As Dr. Carolina Ramirez’s career is taking off, she gets incredible news. Dr. Hector Medina, the doctor she idolized as a teenager and whose research she used to design her cutting-edge clinical trial, is joining her team. As her boss.

But they say you should never meet your heroes, and Carolina is about to get far more than she bargained for. She knows a liaison with her boss is a bad idea. But in addition to the intellectual spark they share, theres an undeniable physical connection between them she cant seem to ignore.

Then it all goes wrong and instead of explaining himself, he skips town, nearly destroying her—and her career—in his wake.

Seven years later, hes back and opening up old wounds she’d thought long healed. She’s recovered her career, her reputation, and her confidence despite his devastating betrayal. She should hate him. Instead, she finds herself drawn to him once again.

Why cant she get him out of her head? And why does her body still react to him after so many years apart?

This steamy, slow-burn, medical romance has a wonderful happily ever after and is perfect for fans of Mariana Zapata, Alexis Daria, and TL Swan. 

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Author Bio:

Ofelia Martinez is a Mexican-American romance author. Originally from the Texas border, Ofelia now resides in Missouri with her partner and their dog, Pixel.
She loves good books, tequila, and chocolate. Though she identifies most with Makoto Kino, she proudly shares a birthday with Usagi Tsukino. When not writing, you can find Ofelia making visual art.
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My Review

If you enjoy slow-burn romances with lots of misunderstandings and buried passion dying to burst through, then I think that you will enjoy Remission. The story takes place over a long period. It starts with a prologue nine years later and then we go back to learn what led to that point.
Carolina is a Doctor who is doing really well in her field, she is passionate about her work and dedicated to her patients. When her professional hero, Dr Hector Medina comes to work with her at the hospital, she is worried that he is trying to take over all that she has done, but he promises that he is there to mentor her. As they work together, it's clear that there is much there than just a professional relationship and connection.
I loved this story. Carolina is a fantastic character, she knows what she wants and is driven to get there in her professional life, but her personal life seems to take second place. Hector has a lot to deal with from his past, but possibly with Carolina, he can find a future, if he doesn't destroy it all before they have the chance.
I gather that this is the start of a series. The next deals with another doctor and a patient that met in this one. I also wonder if we will see a story featuring Carolina's friend Sara. It's mentioned in this one that she is married by the end, but not who to, although I think I might know.
This was a great read and one I would highly recommend. 

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

The Child in the Photo - Kerry Wilkinson


I stare at the newspaper article about a baby snatched from the back of a car thirty years ago, and wonder why someone would post it through my door. Looking closer, my blood freezes. The little girl in the photo has an unusual scar – just like mine. I’ve never met anyone with one like it. Is this
stolen child… me?

Trembling with shock, I know I have to confront my mother. My parents got me through a horrific accident, helped me find a job I love teaching art, and even with buying my own house. But was it all built on lies?

She tells me the day I was born was the best day of her life, and I’m flooded with guilt for questioning her – but why do I catch her burning papers in the garden the next day?

Then I come home to find a woman sitting on my doorstep, covered in bruises and claiming she knows who abducted me. I don’t know if I can trust her – or if I’ll be the next to get hurt.

Because all the while, I’ve been hiding my own secret. Does whoever sent the article know what really happened the day of my accident? Desperate for the truth, I break into the house of my supposed kidnapper. Inside, I find a handwritten list of names. A shiver goes down my spine as I realise wasn’t the only child to be stolen.

Then I hear a key in the lock, and I know my life is in terrible danger…

An absolutely addictive read that will have you racing through the pages and questioning everything you thought you knew about your family. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena.

Author Bio:

Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.

He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.

Buy LInks:

My Review

From the moment I picked this book up, I was drawn into the story and didn't want to put it down. It tells the story of Hope. She's faced some difficulties in her life, but seems to have come out the other side and is doing well. When an old newspaper article is posted through her door suddenly she finds herself questioning everything that she ever believed about her life.
We follow Hope who tries to get to the bottom of the truth and find out who she really is. Are her parents really her parents or did something else happen when she was small? The story is exciting and there are lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing. I did see some of the twists coming, but there was plenty there that I didn't. I have read similar storylines before, but this was a fresh take on the idea and it worked well. I couldn't help but feel for Hope and the position that she finds herself in.
This was a great read and one that I really enjoyed, polishing it off in just over a day.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Adrift - Isabel Jolie

Isabel Jolie
(Haven Island)
Publication date: June 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

I can be your dream girl…for a price…

Ever heard of Only Fans? It’s not my ideal job, but it pays the bills.
It’s even made me somewhat of a celebrity. My subscribers love my provocative shots, and I’m oh-so-good at teasing them.
Then he shows up in my small town and complicates everything.
See, Mr. Green-Eyed Gazillionaire is so far out of my league it’s ridiculous. We’re polar opposites.
That doesn’t change the fact that even though I’m a fantasy to most men, I only want to be his reality.
But nothing real can ever happen between us. Logically, I know that.
Too bad logic and I have never had anything but a passing acquaintance.
Because now, if I’m not careful, I’m afraid this sexy billionaire will smash my poor, pathetic heart into oblivion…

A delicious hot billionaire romance featuring two polar opposites adrift on a resort island with a small-town atmosphere, right of the coast of North Carolina.

This is a steamy contemporary romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhanger, and no cheating.

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Author Bio:

Isabel Jolie, or Izzy to her friends, is an Amazon bestselling indie author with an unquenchable thirst for a good, sexy love story. Izzy’s heart pumps faster for stories with strong heroines, down-to-earth realism, and an unexpected twist.

When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be found with a glass of wine in hand relaxing with her husband, daughters, and good friends lakeside.

Izzy fills her Instagram feed with funnies, inspirational “brain candy”, and anything that meshes with her mood of the day. #mood.

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My Review

We met our hero and heroine in this book in Rogue Wave which I reviewed a little while ago. While it was clear in that book that there was something going on between Poppy and Gabe in that book, we don't really see much of their relationship and there is plenty to discover here.
Gabe seems to have it all, he's rich, successful and doing well in life. Poppy is in a very different situation, she dreams of running her own restaurant but having lost her job after Covid, she is now making money using Only Fans. While it might be a good way to keep money coming in, when combined with her very low self-esteem, it's clear that it's not something that she can keep up for long.
I have to admit that I struggled with Gabe somewhat in this book. Poppy has a lot of issues and I'm not sure that he is the best to deal with them. She has been treated very poorly in the past by men and she sees him doing the same. In some ways, he is no better and doesn't see her as much more than a project and something that he can fix. Even with his plans to help her feel better about herself, he doesn't really understand her and I'm not sure that he makes a great effort to do so.
Having said that, this isn't just a story about Poppy realising her true worth. Gabe has a lot of growing to do and while it might not be as obvious to begin with as for Poppy, he does change over the course of the book. Ultimately, becoming someone worthy of Poppy's love.
I enjoyed this read, Isabel Jolie's books aren't light and fluffy romances, there's far more depth here with bigger issues dealt with. 

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