Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Murder in the Morning - Betty Rowlands

Murder in the Morning (Melissa Craig #2)Murder in the Morning by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second Melissa Craig book in the series and the second that I have read. Like the first, this is an enjoyable who done it in the classic mystery style. It's described as a cosy mystery, but as I've explained before, I'm not keen on this term. The book centres around Mel Craig, a mystery writer, who seems to stumble onto real life (or at least real life in the book) murder mysteries.

Unfortunately, for me, this second book didn't quite work as well as the first. There were a couple of things that just didn't work. One of the biggest problems is that this book is really showing its age. The attitude of some of the characters; forgiving men hitting women (it was just a slap) and just about every character being very homophobic and pearl clutching when it came to a lesbian character. The 'romance' aspect just didn't ring true either, what on earth did she see in the vile man? Nothing as far as I could I could tell.

The mystery itself was quite good, although I solved it a long time before Mel herself had a clue. In fact, when it came to the big reveal she was startlingly obtuse. Fortunately, she got there in the end, if a little slowly.

I wouldn't let this put me off the series. I think as long as you remember when reading it that this book was written quite some time ago it can still be enjoyable. I'd definitely like to see that she'd given up the romantic interest though, he's a complete waste of space.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Hot Pursuit - Kay Marie

Hot Pursuit
Kay Marie
(To Catch a Thief #1)
Publication date: August 27th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
**Only $0.99 for a limited time! Save $3!**
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days meets White Collar in this sassy and sweet romantic comedy, new from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie.
All Jolene Carter has ever wanted is a bakery of her own. There’s only one problem. Her father, Robert Carter, is a world-renowned art thief and she’s, well, sort of his protégé. But he’s promised her this next job in New York will be their last, and she won’t let anyone get in the way of her dreams…especially not the distractingly delicious FBI agent hot on her tail.
Agent Nate Parker has been on the Robert Carter case for years, and if rumors of the aging criminal’s retirement are true, this might be his last chance to nail him. With the legacy of his late father in the back of his mind, the stakes are more personal than anyone realizes. He won’t let anything stand in the way of justice…especially not the red-headed vixen who keeps giving him the slip.
He’s a cop who’d never bend. She’s a con who’ll never break. But all’s fair in love and larceny…

Author Bio:
Kaitlyn Davis, a bestselling author with over a quarter of a million books sold, writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publishers Weekly has said, “Davis writes with confidence and poise,” while USA Today has recommended her work as “must-read romance.”
Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at:
Sign up for Kaitlyn’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of her new releases, to receive exclusive subscriber bonus content, and more!


My Review

Opposites attract novels can be a lot of fun and what greater opposites can there be than an FBI agent and the daughter of an art forger, who also happens to be a hacker herself? To be honest, I was interested to read how this story panned out, as I couldn't see how two such mismatched people could really find their way to one another. 

I liked both Jolene and Nate. I think that I would have prefered Jolene to be a bit less, I'm not sure, fluffy? I know that she was interested in baking and having her own bakery, but she could have still done that and been a bit tougher I think, but maybe that's just me being picky. Even so, I did like both characters and liked to see the way that they developed their interest in one another. 

Despite my concerns about how these two would be able to come together, it did work and their relationship was believable. I'm not sure that if this were real life things would be so simple as they were at the end, but it worked in this book. This was an enjoyable read and I'd be happy to read the next in the series. 

Three Irish Brothers - Sienna Blake





I used to think I was one of the lucky ones.

But at twenty-six, I’ve left my life in New York behind—my perfect fiancé, my stylish friends, my high-flying marketing career—and moved to Ireland.

Truthfully, my perfect fiancé is now my ex after I walked in on him face-deep in my best friend’s p***y.

And my career? It’s over. Because that cheating ex-fiancé of mine… he owns the company I worked for.

I know. I know. Don’t screw your boss. Trust me, I’m never making that mistake again.

On my way to the remote Irish farm I’m now working on, my car hits a ditch. I’m rescued by the three sexiest men I’ve everseen.

The three Irish O’Callaghan brothers.

Broad shoulders, strong arms, accents that make me wet just to hear them.

I want them. All of them.

I know they all want me.

Plot twist…

Turns out they’re my new bosses.

Sienna's Quick & Dirty series consists of full-length standalone novels which are hotter, dirtier and quicker than her other novels.


Warning: This is a sexy yet emotional reverse harem romance, a full-length, standalone novel at 50k words. Three sexy Irish brothers who want nothing more than to please their special woman. All at the same time.

Sienna Blake is a storyteller & ink slinger, word spinner of love stories with grit, and alter ego of a USA Today Bestselling Author.

She loves all things that make her heart race — roller coasters, thrillers and rowdy unrestrained sex. She likes to explore the darker side of human nature in her writing.

If she told you who she really was, she’d have to kill you. Because of her passion for crime and forensics, she’d totally get away with your murder.

Sign up for my newsletter and get Paper Dolls, a full-length romantic suspense as a thank you gift. You’ll also be the first to hear about new releases, sales, and giveaways 
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My Review

A new Sienna Blake book is always dangerous. I've just got back from a trip overseas and have so much work to do that it's ridiculous. Unfortunately, once I'd picked this up, I couldn't resist keep reading and ended up getting very little done.

This is a reverse harem book, as in one woman, three men. I wasn't sure how this was going to work as the three men in question are brothers. I needn't have worried, as the book progressed it all seemed very natural. 

To be honest, to begin with, Savannah is a bit annoying. She's a spoilt princess type who seems more interested in fashion and appearances than anything else. Once she leaves the life that she thought she had behind, she soon comes into her own and becomes much more likeable. It's a good job really, seeing as she gets to have three, very different, hot men. Killian, Fionn and Aiden are all very different despite being brothers and I think this is why this works as a reverse harem book.

This was a good read that I really enjoyed. There was also a little cameo appearance from one of Sienna's Irish Kiss books if you've followed that series. I love Sienna Blake's books and can't wait for the next one, hopefully next time I'll have a little less work on so I have time to read it!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Up in Flames - Jennifer Blackwood

Up in Flames (Flirting with Fire, #2)Up in Flames by Jennifer Blackwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, I'm glad I don't live in America. The book opens with the hero attending a fire call and getting shot in the shoulder when he bangs on the door and doesn't stand far enough to one side. His boss, the chief, holds him responsible for this, he should have known better and has only got himself to blame for being injured. What an awful way to live, to have the threat of being shot is so commonplace as to need to have the police attend a call out to keep everyone safe!

Reece Jenkins is the firefighter in question. A modern-day Cassanova, he's slept his way through the local nurse population. All apart from Nurse Practitioner Sloane, who also happens to be his younger sister's best friend. Slone and Reece have a difficult relationship. They have known each other for years and while Reece used to have feelings for Sloane, the animosity between them seems to have killed them off. One drunken night Sloane asked Reece to take her to bed, he rejected her, not wanting to take advantage of her drunken state, but didn't do it in a particularly chivalrous way. She now hates him and is out for revenge.

When Sloane gets the opportunity to extract four favours from Reece, she sets out to get all she can. Of course, the more time that they spend together the hotter things become.

I really liked both Sloane and Reece. There was obvious chemistry between them from the beginning. I did wish that they'd both just talked though. It's one of those catch 22 problems with many romance novels. If the hero and heroine actually just talked, then there would be a lot smoother ride, but of course, there would then be no story.

There is something that almost keeps them apart at the end of the book. I would like to think that he would come around without her fixing things, because it was a mistake, not being malicious that caused it. Everything works out in the end though and we get our happily ever after.

I really enjoyed this book and would be keen to read more in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 24 August 2018

Undue Influence by Jenny Holiday

Undue Influence: A Persuasion RetellingUndue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this book because it was described as a retelling of Persuasion, it's been a while since I last read Persuasion, but I'm a big Jane Austin fan, so couldn't resist giving this one a go. Although it is based on that book and there are Jane Austin references through the pages, it doesn't really matter if you know the story or not. The book is a good read in its own right.

Freddy and Adam were both really quite sweet characters. They had been lovers in their late teens early twenties, but haven't seen one another since. Neither has forgotten about their past love and neither of them has got over it. When Freddie returns to their hometown, where Adam still lives, it isn't long before they find themselves in one another's company again.

This was really quite a sweet story. I couldn't help but hope that Adam and Freddie would find their way back together again, even though, it being a romance, I really 'knew' that they would. I haven't read any other books by Jenny Holiday as yet, but based on this one, I'm sure that I'll be looking out for them in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Better Together - Crista McHugh

Better Together
Crista McHugh
(One Fond Embrace, #1)
Publication date: August 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Hawaiian rancher Alex Kahale needs a temporary wife to close a deal that’s vital to the welfare of his herd. Thankfully, he’s already married to a woman stole his heart in less than a week, even if that same wife filed for divorce a few days after they said their “I dos”.
Rising country music star Britney Moore had a wild fling with a cowboy in Las Vegas a year ago which ended in a drunken drive-through marriage. Once she returned to Nashville, she filed for divorce to save her squeaky clean image. Besides, spontaneous marriages never last, and she knows better than to risk her heart on Alex. But no matter how many requests she sends him, he refuses to sign the papers. Then he sends her an intriguing offer. Come to his ranch on Kauai and pretend to be his wife for two weeks for business purposes, and he’ll sign the papers.
As much as Britney tries to resist his charm, Alex manages to tear down her defenses one by one until she falls for him all over again. But when the press finds out about her secret husband, will their revived romance be killed by the tabloids?

Author Bio:
Crista McHugh is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING author of fantasy and romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary. She also writes fantasy with a little less kissing and bit more action (outside the bedroom) as C. A. McHugh.
Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.
She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.
Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she's had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.
And she's also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)
To be the first to know about her latest releases or to be entered into exclusive contests, please sign up for her newsletter using the contact form on her webpage,


My Review

I enjoy second chance romances, where the main characters have met at been lovers in the past but for some reason or another it didn't work out at the time. In this case, Alex and Britany had a whirlwind romance and marriage during a week in Vegas. She left in the middle of the night and since then Alex has refused to give her a divorce. Now Alex needs someone to play the part of his wife to impress someone he wants to do business with, who better than his actual wife, and perhaps he will even manage to win her back in the process.

Alex is very sweet, in fact, he's a little too sweet. I get that he loves Britany, but she vanished overnight and refused to talk to him. He wants to win her back, but I think really she should have had to grovel more to reach that point. As for Britany, I don't really understand her motivation. If they hadn't had a quick marriage, then perhaps, but to get married during their fling and then to suddenly vanish... I'm not totally sold on that.

On the whole, though, this was an enjoyable read and I did want them to work it all out. What I really did like about this book was the setting. I like the use of the Hawaiian language and the feel was very 'Pacific island'. I always find the similarities between the various Polynesian languages interesting. 

I'd definitely be keen to read more books in this series and see how the others characters stories develop. 

All that compels the heart - Erin Bowlen

All that compels the heart Erin BowlenAoife O’Reilly had the perfect life: her dream job working in a publishing house, a successful boyfriend, and the two best friends she could ever ask for. But, when tragedy strikes, she begins to feel like her life is unraveling. Seeking some sort of divine answer to what she should with her life she seemingly finds her answer in the charming village of Ballyclara, and in a bold move, Aoife uproots her cozy life in Dublin and moves to the Irish countryside. 

Purchasing the long-abandoned Aldridge Manor, she throws herself into the task of renovating her new home with the help of local pub owners and contractors, Michal Flanagan and Brendan McCaffrey. While Aoife easily becomes friends with the other residents of Ballyclara, she finds herself perpetually at odds with Michael, who seems to have a deep dislike of her she cannot explain. But somewhere beneath his stubborn and irascible exterior, Aoife slowly uncovers a man she feels she may have misjudged at first, and who may have misjudged her. As the two try to find common ground, her old life begins to intrude, and she has to choose between her life in Dublin with her boyfriend, Danny, or the possibility of a new life here with Michael. 

Just as Aoife finally finds peace with her choice, a career opportunity in New York presents itself and she is left with the question: will she choose to stay in Ireland? Or should she take the job in New York and leave everything behind? 


My Review

This book opens with the main character having lost her job due to the economic downturn. She is faced with changing her direction in life and deciding where to go. This leads her to the village of Ballyclara where she hopes to find the answers to what she wants in life.

The writing style of this book is rather descriptive. I found the first chapter quite hard going as we are told so much information with very little being shown, it, unfortunately, makes for quite a slow paced book which doesn't seem to flow that well. I struggled to get into the storyline, this style of writing just wasn't for me. I like a little bit more showing and for the story to almost seem to develop on its own so that it almost feels as though you aren't reading, the events just unfold in front of you.

I think that if you do enjoy this style of writing, then you would probably also enjoy the book as a whole. Sadly this time, it just wasn't for me.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage - Betty Rowlands

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage: An absolutely gripping cozy mystery (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 1)Murder at Hawthorn Cottage: An absolutely gripping cozy mystery by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I was a little confused by this novel to begin with. Having got a copy from Netgalley, I assumed that it was a new title. Something just didn't seem right though, there were no mobile phones, computers or modern technology. The main character, detective novelist Mel seemed older than 45. I soon found out that this was a reissue of a book from 1990 and suddenly everything made sense. Once I'd placed it in a time frame, it was much easier to get into and enjoy.

This is a character-led novel that moves at a gentle pace. Although it's described as a cosy murder mystery, I felt that it had more depth than much of the books in this genre. There weren't the cliched animal companions or silliness disguised as humour that often pops up in similar books. Personally, I'd call it a classic mystery.

I really enjoyed this read and am looking forward to getting into the next in the series. I didn't manage to solve this until almost the very end. The solution itself worked well which is always a good sign. If you enjoy gently paced mystery novels then this may well be for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Only the Beginning - Daphne Dubois

Only the Beginning
Daphne Dubois
Publication date: April 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
After a heartbreaking betrayal, Melissa Legacy shuns romance. So when her best friend joins the Lovers Oasis website and fears her fiancé will find out, Melissa agrees to meet the anonymous Romeo, prepared to explain her friend’s change of heart—then she sees him.
Failing restaurant entrepreneur, Craig Wheaton hasn’t been home since his mother’s tragic death. Now he’s back to confront his demons and stand beside his brother as best man. Dreading the reunion, he agrees to meet his avatar lover, but at the last moment he reconsiders the arrangement—until he lays eyes on her.
When Craig assumes Melissa is his online consort, she impulsively plays along, resulting in an afternoon of unexpected intimacy. But with Melissa using her friend’s identity and Craig dealing with a family fallout, is a future together impossible, or will they discover that love at first sight is Only the Beginning?

Author Bio:
Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she's not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.
You can also find her writing for teens as B.R. Myers.


My Review

This is the second book that I've read by Daphne Dubois, in almost as many weeks. I was given copies to review, but having read the first, I was quite happy to have the second to read. This second book didn't let me down either.

Dubois writes complex characters and that's one of the things that I enjoyed most about the book. Often in stories like this, the main character has been betrayed by someone they saw as a friend, which does appear to be the case here. In fact, to begin with, I thought that Melissa seemed to be a bit of a doormat when it came to her best friend Brooke. As the book progresses you realise that there's far more to their friendship than that, and Brooke and Melissa have a very genuine friendship. The relationship between Craig and his brother and father is also similarly complex. I like the way that things aren't black and white, it certainly gives a more realistic feel to the book.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a fairly quick read (although I am on holiday at the moment which tends to speed things up), but satisfying all the same. I'd be very interested to read any future books by Daphne Dubois.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Right Fit - Daphne Dubois

The Right Fit
Daphne Dubois
Publication date: April 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
She’s sworn off love, he’s sworn off sex, but together they’ll score the goal of a lifetime.
When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.
As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.
That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

Author Bio:
Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she's not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.
You can also find her writing for teens as B.R. Myers.


My Review

I do enjoy a good contemporary romance now and again and I think that this would definitely fall into that category. Maxine has recently split up with her fiance and is struggling to get over him. Why I'm not entirely sure, he sounds delightful. Her path crosses with a professional hockey player, Antony Laurent. Antony has been struggling recently and has hit a playing slump but once he meets Maxine, he suddenly improves, could she be his lucky charm.

Antony is very sweet and he and Maxine make a great couple. Despite feeling that he needs her to do well in hockey, he clearly really likes her. Maxine has her own demons and struggles to see why someone like Antony would be interested in her. He keeps his job as a professional sportsman a secret from her though, something that she is bound to find out about and then wonder why he lied.

I liked that Maxine didn't need to change, she was perfect for Antony as she was, she just needed to see that. The only slight problem is that I prefer it when they discover this themselves, rather than needing the affirmation of a man. However it happens, she soon finds out that they really are the right fit for one another. 

This was a nice story and I enjoyed reading about Maxine and Antony's romance. There were plenty of supporting characters who could have their own stories in the future, I'm not sure if that's the plan, but I'd be happy to read them. If you like a good contemporary romance, particularly with a hero who's also a sportsman, then The Right Fit would be a great choice.