Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Oath-Breaker - River Starr

Oath-Breaker
River Starr
( Angel of Death & Demons #1)
Publication date: May 5th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

No one survives their meeting with the Angel of Death—except for me.

After being accused of rallying citizens to revolt against him and breaking the rules of engagement with demons to save my best friend—guilty as charged on both accounts—the Angel of Death demands to personally oversee my sentencing in his obsidian castle of demons and death.

I’m done for. This is the end. But my death won’t be in vain—I’ll die a martyr to the Paladins Order’s cause, and I’ll rescue my best friend at the same time. She’ll be safe and the paladins will pick a new leader. They’ll thrive and continue the fight.

Or so I think. When judgment day arrives and I’m knelt before the Angel of Death, with his onyx eyes, his ebony hair, and his seductively imposing stature, my soul doesn’t leave me.

It soars.

Because when I dare to look the Angel of Death in the eyes, everything changes. And what unfolds in my anger and vengeance’s stead is a thread of events I never could have foreseen.

I survived my meeting with the Angel of Death. But can I survive his love?

OATH-BREAKER is the first of a M/F paranormal demon romance duology full of steamy goodness.

Goodreads / Amazon


My Review

I love a good paranormal romance and this one is certainly that. This is the first book in a two-part story, which ends with you wanting to know more, but not in a gratuitous cliffhanger which these kinds of stories sometimes can. It was enough to make me want to read the next book and find out what is going to happen next.

Alya and Lucius make a good couple. There's a lot of instant attraction here, but with the whole idea of fated mates, particularly reluctant ones, I don't mind, it works well. I certainly was keen to see their relationship progress and find out how they are going to come to terms with their differences. There was a little repetition around Alya's coming to terms with what the Angel of Death is to her and how her previous mate fits into all of this. I get that it might take her a while to accept, but I don't think repeating that really helped emphasise the point, sometimes less is more.

The book ended with a bit of a twist. It wasn't a completely unexpected one if I'm honest and I thought that it was going to be what was going on. Even so, that didn't detract from my enjoyment. I'm keen to find out where next for this couple and how they are going to sort out the problems their world faces. 


Author Bio:

River Starr writes books that help you escape, especially fantasy romance full of magic and supernaturals. Favorite things: coffee, wine, chocolate, and a heavy dose of books to chase away the dark... or invite delicious darkness in.

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Thursday, 5 May 2022

An English Garden Murder - Katie Gayle

 Meet Julia Bird: recently single, reluctantly retired, and… an amateur sleuth?


Julia Bird has left London for a fresh start in a picturesque Cotswolds village, and the rustic charm and cosy fireplaces of her little cottage are everything she’d hoped for. But when she tears down the old garden shed to make way for a chicken coop, she unearths much more than she’d bargained for… the body of a young woman, apparently buried for decades, thrusting Julia into a baffling mystery.

With only one copper on the case in Berrywick, Julia decides to solve the who and whodunnit herself, taking her wayward puppy 
Jake along for the ride. And so begins a whirlwind tour of the village – from the dotty 90-year-old to the delightful doctor and the village gardener, it seems everyone has something to hide.

Soon, Julia is convinced she has discovered the killer’s identity, until Jake, a true Labrador, finds a new love of the local lake’s waterfowl and instead ends up catching her chief suspect… drowned. Back at square one, with potential culprits galore, Julia – newly nicknamed the Grim Reaper – despairs at ever solving the murders.

But as Julia ruffles feathers village-wide, the clock is ticking. There is someone in the village who has killed twice already. Will they be prepared to make it third time lucky to keep their secret safe?

This totally addictive page-turning cozy mystery is perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton, Faith Martin and Betty Rowlands.

Author Bio:

Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats.

https://www.facebook.com/KatieGayleWriter

https://twitter.com/KatieGayleBooks

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Katie Gayle here: https://www.bookouture.com/katie-gayle


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Audio Links:

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My Review

I do enjoy a good, old fashioned murder mystery and that's certainly what An English Garden Murder is. Even the title has that feeling of Midsomer murders or similar. I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one and I really wasn't disappointed when I did.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this story and I have to admit that I really didn't know who was behind it all by the time we got to the big reveal at the end. I'd been barking up all kinds of wrong trees as I'm sure was the intention, as each time I was sure who was behind it all, it would all suddenly be blown out of the water and I'd be back to scratching my head over who was behind it again.

I hope that this book is going to be the start of a new series, because I really enjoyed reading about Julia Bird and the village that she's moved to. It's marked as book one, so fingers crossed book two won't be too far away.




Monday, 2 May 2022

A Body on the Beach - Dee Macdonald

 It’s Tinworthy village’s summer fete: a brass band, cream teas, gentle gossip... and a body on the beach? The party’s just getting started for super sleuth Kate Palmer!


Kate Palmer thought spending the day at Tinworthy’s annual summer party would involve sea air, sunshine and Cornish cream cake – how very wrong she was! When Kate goes for a cliff-top walk she is shocked to spot the body of Sienna Stone – Cornwall’s biggest gossip – on the sandy beach below.

Rumours swirl around the close-knit community and all eyes are on Kate. Half the village saw her arguing with Sienna at the party earlier that day. It was the usual bickering between neighbours, but when Kate finds herself in the frame can she – and her new husband 
Woody Forrest – solve the puzzling death and clear her name?

There’s a long list of people who might have wanted to push Sienna – 
her long-suffering husband Irvin, her jealous younger sister Sally and Timmy Thomson, the man who idolised her, not to mention all the villagers who felt the sharp end of her tongue. Finding out the truth isn’t going to be easy…

Just as Kate thinks she’s getting closer to an answer, an unexpected afternoon visitor shares some curious information over tea and scones that sets her on an entirely different path. And soon she starts to wonder if she might be in real danger too…

Can Kate solve the curious case before the murderer declares the party over? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end?

If you love cosy crime stories complete with quirky characters, twisty plots and plenty of suspects, A Body on the Beach will have you absolutely hooked until the very last page! Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Clare Chase.

Author Bio:

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.


She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.


Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!


Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.


https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeeMacDonald

https://twitter.com/dmacdonaldauth


Buy Link:

My Review

I do enjoy these Kate Palmer stories. While the idea of a woman finding herself in quite so many sticky situations when it comes to murder mysteries might not be entirely believable, they are very entertaining. This time Kate even manages to find herself as a suspect and not only does she want to find out who done it, but she's also obviously keen to clear her name!

I did think that Kate (or perhaps our author) did show her age somewhat. She was most concerned about a young woman that her son brought around for a meal having her hand resting on his thigh. I'm not entirely sure what was so scandalous about it, but Kate goes in for a bit of pearl clutching as a result. I think perhaps the idea was to show how quickly this young lady was getting herself into the relationship. Personally, I'd have been raising an eyebrow over the speed of inviting her around to meet the parents.

I didn't manage to solve this one until nearly the end. As often is the case with this kind of story, there were plenty of red herrings and blind alleys to lead you away from who was really responsible. Just the kind of misdirection that makes these classic style mysteries so appealing. I hope that we get more from Kate again soon, maybe this time I'll be a little bit more successful in my sleuthing! 



Friday, 29 April 2022

Only For My Daughter - Emma Robinson

 I look at my lovely girl. The child I always promised to keep safe, the child I know I’d love no matter what. I look at her and in that moment, my heart breaks into pieces. Because right now, I am not sure I know her at all…


Julia’s daughter Grace is her whole world. To Julia, she’ll always be the little girl who would put her tiny hand in hers, who she could heal with the smallest kiss, who would trust her mother with everything.

But Grace has changed since becoming a teenager. She’s fallen out with her childhood best friend and has become quiet and distanced. Julia wants more than anything to find a way reach her only daughter. Even if some days it seems impossible, Julia knows her lovely, sunny girl is still in there.

Until today when Grace came home after school, covered in blood, and she’s refusing to speak, except to acknowledge that her former best friend is lying in a coma in hospital.

Julia is forced to ask herself: what could Grace be hiding? She can’t believe her little girl could have done something terrible. But her instincts tell her that Grace 
is keeping a secret. And if it’s what Julia fears it might be, she could lose her fragile, gentle daughter forever.

And – as another mother’s daughter fights for her life – Julia will have to ask herself, how far would she go as a mother to protect the child she loves with her whole heart?

This totally unmissable, heartbreaking, grab-your-tissues story is perfect for fans of Kate Hewitt, Diane Chamberlain and Jodi Picoult.

Author Bio:

Emma Robinson is the author of several women’s fiction novels. She also blogs about the funny side of parenting and has contributed to podcasts such as Funny Women. Whilst her early novels are humorous, her recent work focuses on emotional themes and these novels are both heart-breaking and life affirming. Emma enjoys writing stories which explore the power of family and friendship in the most challenging circumstances.


Emma currently lives in Essex with a husband, two children and a small black dog.

https://motherhoodforslackers.com/

https://www.instagram.com/emmarobinsonuk/


Buy Link:

My Review

I'm often not quite sure how to classify this kind of book. It's not quite a thriller, but also not quite not. The story is told from the point of view of two mothers, both of whom would do anything to protect their daughters. The girls were once best of friends, but something has happened to push them apart and now, things come to a violent and dangerous head.

This book deals with many of the issues that young women have to face, bullying, friendships slipping away and unwanted male attention. It's done in a sensitive way, but this is still a somewhat confronting book. It's easy to feel for both Samantha and Julia as they juggle their own emotions with keeping their daughters protected. I'm not sure that I could entirely relate to either of the women entirely, there are ways that I would have dealt with things differently, but it's hard not to empathise with their situations.

Only for my daughter is a gripping read and one that I would highly recommend. 




Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Her Thrilling Fling - Susie Warren

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Her Thrilling Fling
Susie Warren
(Love at the Office, #1)
Publication date: October 5th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“I love this author, her writing is crisp, clear, flawless, and her story-telling is brilliant.” 5 STAR

A daring ultimatum – and an unlikely romance!
Perla Lyman is the glamorous force behind Lyman News, and insists on the truth being told. After surviving a bitter tell-all by an ex-boyfriend and hidden financial issues, the final blow is having a slanderous article posted to her news site–causing her reputation to shatter.

Powerful billionaire Lucas Braxton is darkly handsome and wildly successful, yet refuses any contact with the media. Especially someone as flashy and curious as Perla Lyman. But when his young, impulsive sister hacks into Lyman News, he is dragged into negotiating with the beautiful influencer.

When Lucas asks her not to press charges, she offers him an ultimatum. She’ll grant the favor if he’ll accompany her as her besotted date to various high-profile events and give an exclusive tell-all interview to Lyman News.

When their orchestrated romance puts them in close proximity, it proves impossible to resist their secret desire. Will their stark differences fuel their growing passion, or will they go their separate ways when their bargain ends?

*******
Her Thrilling Fling is the first book in the series Love at the Office. Each book is a stand-alone office romance and tells the story of one of the Lyman family members.

Love at the Office Series

Meet the Lyman Family: Albert and Victoria Lyman sold their family’s newspaper business a decade ago and relocated their family to Florida. Within the year, they launched a popular tabloid and the family went from barely making ends meet to fabulously wealthy. Their four children grow up juxtaposed between their previous life running a newspaper in New Jersey and a glamorous life near the beach. The Lymans embody all the strengths of a large, close-knit, loving family. They pull together in times of stress, openly show love and appreciation, and go the extra mile for each other when needed!
In the years that follow, each sibling embarks on their journey to find success and love.

Book 1: Her Thrilling Fling (fake relationship)
Book 2: His Boundless Fascination (second chance romance)
Book 3: Her Charming Entanglement (revenge plot)

More books coming soon!


Her Thrilling Fling is on sale for just 99c for the duration of this blog tour! 

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

Susie Warren is an up-and-coming author of smart, sexy contemporary romance. Her novels feature swoon-worthy heroes and determined, sassy heroines. Her stories take the reader on a heartfelt, emotional journey about discovering true love with plenty of plot twists, passionate moments, witty dialog, fiercely loyal family members and ultimately, a satisfying happily-ever-after. Each novel is part of a series with a large, tight-knit family expressing affection, showing endless support, and overcoming difficult circumstances together. Each novel can be read as a stand-alone romance or as part of the larger series.

Growing up in upstate New York with five brothers, endless responsibilities, and a large, extended family nourished her gift for storytelling. Fast forward a dozen years, she met her own larger-than-life hero in Chemistry class and after graduating college, they married and had three daring, creative children. In the intervening years, her passion for writing was mostly satisfied by writing advertising copy, technical briefs, and working for non-profits. As her oldest daughter graduated college, Susie took the creative leap and began writing full-time. She now has nearly a dozen published novels and the ideas for countless more.

Sign up for her newsletter for a chance to read her next book early and receive information on discounted prices and free books!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter

My Review

Her thrilling fling is a fake relationship romance. I do enjoy this kind of romance, but finding a reason for them that works is often hard. In this case, Pearla gets Lucas to be her pretend lover for a number of dates after his sister causes some difficulties at the newspaper Pearla owns and runs. Wanting to protect his sister, then the very private Lucas, is willing to spend time with journalist Pearla.

We hear a lot about how Lucas and Pearla are opposites and in some ways this is true. Lucas is money-driven and very private, while for Pearla her job is about what she does rather than what she can make from it. Even so this couple do seem to work well together and their relationship doesn't seem forced or unnatural.

I wasn't completely drawn into this world, possibly my problem rather than the book itself. It just didn't leave me desperate to find out what was going to happen next. Might just have been my frame of mind though. It was an interesting read and I'm sure that lots of people will really love it.

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Thursday, 21 April 2022

StrangeLove - T.L Bradford

 

StrangeLove
T.L. Bradford
Publication date: April 18th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Archer

The year began great for me.

Became the starting quarterback for an NFL team – check.
Secured a multi-million-dollar contract – check.
Moved to LA and lived the glamorous life – check.

What could possibly cause me any issues?
Oh yeah, one more thing. I’m gay.

I was outed a couple of years ago to my former team and my family, but it hasn’t been made public knowledge yet. Well, that is, until now. I’ll be known as the first LGBTQ+ active player in the league’s history. And if I stick to the conditions of my contract, it won’t be a problem. The thing is, I’m not really a guy known for playing by the rules.

Most people think of my personality as the three B’s: bold, brash, and blunt. My mouth has gotten me into more predicaments than I can count. Even my best friends have told me I’m stubborn as a mule and have the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. This presents a big problem for me because I have my eyes set on winning over the guy who stole my heart years ago, only he doesn’t know it yet.

Getting his attention is going to be challenging. It’s a good thing I’m tenacious.
Unfortunately, it’s not great timing and could get me into a whole mess of trouble.
Why does falling for a guy need to be anyone’s business but mine?

Kai

The past couple of years were a whirlwind of activity. My career took off after my guest shot appearance in Americana. I appeared in a few indie features and finally got a shot at my first major motion picture release. The work came as a great distraction from my personal life, which took a further nosedive after I found out the guy I was falling for had already fallen for someone else.

Why should I be surprised? He was another in a string of failed relationship attempts. I swore I wouldn’t get involved with anyone else, choosing to stay focused on my career instead. That is, until the force of nature known as Archer McMillan came storming into my life.

To be the pursued instead of the pursuer was not in the cards. To top it off, he’s everything I’m not. Yet, there’s something to be said for a guy who can make you laugh when it’s the last thing you want to be doing. I’ll admit he’s got a playful and determined spirit. Archer also has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known. Not the mention the cute way he… Hold on. What am I doing? We cannot be a thing. Nope. Not gonna happen. Ever. Right?

**

Follow Kai and Archer as they cross the lines as friends, partners-in-crime, and confidants, to discover a love beyond boundaries that needs no definition.

(StrangeLove is a funny, heartwarming, slow-burn love story. It contains a cast of fully developed characters that encounter romance, laughter, and life lessons. It contains adult language, mature themes, and is best enjoyed by those over the age of 18. It can be read as a standalone; however, if you would like to know the backstories of some characters, check out the prior books in the series.)

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Author Bio:

T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words. Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly. Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while.

Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them. T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.

As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story. Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.

She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.

T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

My Review

StrangeLove is actually the third book in the Young Americans series. While I haven't read the previous books, this one works as a standalone. I gather that the same characters do appear in all of the books, but I don't think that I was missing much by not having read the first. This story was particularly about this couple, which the previous two books weren't.

Kai and Archer are opposites, but there is something that draws them to one another. Archer, an American Football player is a macho mans-man, while Kai is a dancer. When they get together though, it soon becomes clear that for whatever reason they just work.

I did enjoy this romance. Kai and Archer were sweet together, although I didn't entirely buy all of the reasons that they had for avoiding their relationship in the first place seemed a little stretched at points, but there were some real obstacles that they had to overcome. Some of the other characters are a little mean to Archer, his 'friends' early on in the book and later Kai's family, I didn't really enjoy that aspect if I'm honest. He doesn't let it get him down though. 

For me, the book was a little bit long. I felt that the whole story could have been told in one book. While we're not left on a cliffhanger here, there really is a great deal still for this couple to work through and work out. I just think that everything could have been wrapped up a little sooner without too much difficulty, by shortening some other aspects.

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Saturday, 16 April 2022

Garden of Secrets - Suzanne Kelman

 1940, England: A heart-breaking, unforgettable and powerful story about love, wartime secrets, and betrayal. Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen’s The Victory Garden and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.


When Anya is sent to rural England to work as a spy, she’s glad to escape a terrifying situation at home in war-torn Russia. But as she settles into life as a land girl, she fears she’s made a terrible mistake.

With her life at risk every day, she can only turn to her fellow informer, Nikolai, who she finds herself impossibly drawn to. They both desperately want to join the fight against the Nazis and when they are told Russia has switched allegiance, they start to believe their love might stand a chance.

But no one can ever know their secret history, and being together puts them in the gravest danger. So they devise a plan. If they’re ever separated, they will find their way back to each other. They just have to follow a series of secret coded messages. Clues no one else could possibly understand. Starting with a small key, left in the place that has become most precious to them: the secret garden.

Now, England: When Laura agrees to restore a beautiful garden in the grounds of an English stately home she sees the opportunity for a new start, away from heartbreak. But when she finds a box buried under the weeping willow tree, she is spellbound by its contents – a key and a cryptic note. As she begins to piece together the fragments of a love story that stretches across wartime Europe, Laura doesn’t realise it, but she is embarking on an unforgettable journey. One which will change her own life forever.

Author Bio:

Suzanne Kelman is a 2015 Academy of Motion Pictures Nicholl Finalist, Multi-Award-Winning Screenwriter and a Film Producer. As well as working in film she is also an International Amazon Bestselling Fiction Author of the Southlea Bay Series – The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, Rejected Writers Take the Stage and The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding. Born in the United Kingdom, she now resides in Washington State.

https://www.suzannekelmanauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/suzkelman

https://www.instagram.com/suzkelman/

https://twitter.com/suzkelman


Buy Link:

Audio:

Listen to a sample here:


My Review

I've read quite a few books set during or just after the second world war recently, this one is a little different. Set mostly in England, it tells the story of a pair of Russian spies who first come over to the country when Russia is still on the side of the Nazis. Neither of them is particularly passionate about their cause but they have their own reasons for having left their homeland on this dangerous mission.

At the same time, we have the modern-day story of Laura, who has recently separated from her boyfriend. She also carries the scars, mentally at least, of an accident that happened when she was just a child. As she starts to renovate the walled garden at a stately home, she uncovers a seventy-five-year-old mystery.

I enjoyed both of the stories in this book, both the modern-day one and the spy story from during the war. There is a certain bittersweet ending to the older story and while I could see where it was going, I did hope that it might not quite play out the way that it did. While I enjoyed the modern-day story, I was a little disappointed with how incredibly passive the main female character was. At one point, she simply stands by mutely, not speaking up about the way that she feels or what's happening. While things do resolve themselves eventually, I am a little over these doormat women, who seem to think being quiet is a virtue. Give me some fire!

This was a good read overall and one that I enjoyed.