Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Renovated - Nikki Kiley

Renovated: A Workplace Romance
Nikki Kiley
Publication date: August 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

They’ve been hired to remodel a mansion. Will they end up getting a room?

Marisa Sanchez has grand designs for her future. After taking over her grandfather’s construction firm, the successful vlogger and civil engineer is about to take the next step with a new show on the Home Design Network. But she’s not pleased to find out she can only have the lucrative gig if she agrees to work with a handsome rival.

Levi Chance takes the responsibility of providing for his brothers seriously. So when his biggest client asks him to come into the spotlight to co-host a new program, he reluctantly accepts. But he fears the pretty, camera-loving partner he’s been assigned might bring his top-notch reputation tumbling down if she can’t deliver the goods.

Discovering her teammate is quite capable, Marisa battles her attraction to him as she ambitiously turns the project upside down. And the more Levi works with the smart Latina, the more he worries he’s about to push the “no sex” morality clause in their contract into forbidden territory.

Will Marisa and Levi’s fixer-upper turn into a happily together forever?

Renovated is the charming first book in the moving Chance Brothers contemporary romance series. If you like sparkling attractions, comedic moments, and steamy action, then you’ll love Nikki Kiley’s well-built romp.

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Author Bio:

Nikki Kiley is an aspiring author of Contemporary Romance. Since she was a young girl, she dreamt of writing stories that would entertain and move her readers, like she was and still is, by talented authors.

When not working the day job running a medical office, she spends hours crafting and writing stories about heroes and heroines earning their chance at love. She makes her home in Puerto Rico with her husband, two young adult children, and a gentle giant, the bull mastiff, Kira.

She loves the beach, her Nespresso maker, and cupcakes (S’more in particular).

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My Review

Renovated is a fun forbidden love romance. Levi and Marisa are working together and have signed contracts to say that they won't get involved in any way. Unfortunately, their chemistry is so strong that they just can't seem to resist one another. Marisa had a troubled childhood and she struggles to trust anyone or let them in. Levi knows what they have is real and isn't ready to let Marisa go without a fight.
Levi and Marisa work really well together as a couple, and I enjoyed reading about their relationship's growth. When Marisa's childhood comes to light, there are quite a few big issues dealt with and it works well within the storyline. I did find when this happens though, the other reasons that they can't be together are almost forgotten about and don't really seem to be an issue to anyone anymore, which was a little odd.
I enjoyed this read and it was a good start to what seems to be the start of a series. I'd be interested to read the rest of the books when they come out and spend some more time with the Chase family. 

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Sing For Me - Tam Derudder Jackson


Sing For Me
Tam DeRudder Jackson
(Balefire Series, #2)
Publication date: August 26th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


My entire life is my music—and all the trappings that come with it. Sex, booze, and rock ’n’ roll is all I ever wanted. Touring the world as the lead singer of Balefire, I have it all. Until on hiatus, I meet the girl next door.

Ashleigh Baker is nothing like the groupies and celebrities who usually have all my attention. In her cute floppy hat with her knees stained with dirt, she spends her days creating a flowering show piece from her rented yard. She’s the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever met, and she acts like she doesn’t want a damn thing to do with me. But from the moment I laid eyes on her, she’s all I can think about.


Growing up the only child of an Air Force Colonel, all I wanted was to stay in one place for more than a minute. When I score a pretty little house with a long-term lease, I just want to grow my flowers and my freelancing gig as a music reviewer. Then a loud Harley wakes me from a sound sleep and I discover my neighbor is Blu Connolly. Yeah, that Blu Connolly, lead singer for my favorite band Balefire. With his killer good looks and panty-melting voice, he’s a walking temptation to sin. Though I do my best to avoid him, it seems Blu has other ideas. He’s on a mission to wear me down, let him in, but what happens when he stops wanting to sing for me?

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Author Bio:

Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

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My Review

Rockstar romances can be a bit of a mixed bag. It usually involves a hero that has already managed to sleep his way through a huge amount of female fans. While our hero here does fall into that category, our heroine doesn't meet him in that way. Instead, she is fully aware of his status as a musician and for a bad that she loves, but living next to his mother means that she meets him in his more 'normal' persona.
This was an entertaining romance and did well juggling the famous rock star with the side of his personality that wants to more conventional romantic life, once he meets the woman for him.
There were a few things that I felt were left a little unresolved by the end of the story. None of these was a major plot point. (Having said that, we don't really find out if there is any consequences for the person who tries to come between them.) I do wonder if this is because this is part of a series and we will find out more about some aspects of the band's life when we see the other band members stories.
Overall this was an entertaining read that I enjoyed. I'd be keen to read more in the series and follow the bad for a bit longer. 

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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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