Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel - Tori Fox

Missing Pieces
Missing Pieces by Tori Fox

I WAS READY TO START OVER.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Divorced at 26 and driving to Florida to move back in with my parents.
Until my car breaks down in Smalltown USA.
Not the place meant for a city girl.
Until I meet the cocky asshole that is fixing my car.
I should probably stay away but the pull is too strong.
He was just meant to fix my car but I think he might fix my heart.

My Review

Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel (The White Creek #1)Missing Pieces: A White Creek Novel by Tori Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good 3 1/2 star read.
I've read a few books set in small towns in America, where someone from the city comes and then falls in love both with it and someone who lives there. This one was one of the better-written ones.
I have to admit that to someone who grew up in the UK and now lives in New Zealand, the idea of being stranded in a town because your car has broken down and needs thousands spending on it for repair is a bit of an odd concept. A day or so maybe, but not long enough to take a job in order to pay for the repairs. Does public transport just not cover these areas? I'm guessing that it's mostly down to scale, America being so much bigger and taking longer to travel across.
I liked Harper, she had been royally screwed over by her ex-husband and is running home to her parents' post-divorce. Of course, this means that she's also carrying lots of emotional baggage. Her new love interest, mechanic Eastern, also has similar baggage, so they make a good pair. There's always a danger with this kind of pairing, that they are too damaged for one another, but it seemed to be a good balance.
There was quite a bit of going to and fro, particularly for Harper. Would she stay there or not. At one point it seems everyone thinks she has changed her mind (including her) and they get angry with her. It was a little odd because as far as I could see, there was no indication that she was going this way before it all blew up. Like many romance books, much of the upset and hurt could have been avoided with more communication. I know that there might not be a story with no misunderstandings and conflict, but in this case, I think that a little more talking would have helped the storyline.
I'd certainly be interested in reading the next book in this series.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Murder by Matchlight - E.C.R. Lorac

Murder by MatchlightMurder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great golden age mystery, again from another writer that I haven't come across before. I used to think that I was quite well read when it came to those classic British mysteries from early to mid last century, this series from poisoned pen press just keeps on showing me how wrong I was about that.
This story is set during London in the second world war. This adds a special twist to the mystery itself, with much of it taking place in darkness, in the middle of the blackout. In fact, in many ways, what makes this a mystery to puzzle out, only works because of this setting, with two people witnessing the murder, but due to the blackout, not really being able to see much at all.
One of the joys of these books has been the way that it shows the period in which they are set so clearly. If you were interested in wartime history in England but were not that bothered about mystery books, I think that you would still get a lot out of this. It sets the scene so well.
I have to admit that I didn't solve this one until right at the very end when it all became obvious. It worked well as a mystery and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 16 February 2019

Murder at the Old House - Betty Rowlands

Murder at the Old House (Melissa Craig, #13)Murder at the Old House by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. Each one just gets better and better. This time, the story takes place away from Melissa's village. Her father has been murdered and her mother is the prime suspect. Mel hasn't seen her parents for over twenty years (possibly nearly thirty?) as they threw her out when she got pregnant with her son Simon and wasn't married.
Although the story is a murder mystery (one which I didn't actually solve this time, I was barking up the wrong tree completely) much of the actual story is about Mel and her relationship with her parents. We have been told that they are estranged previously and why, but it has only really been mentioned in passing. Now we not only get to meet her mother, but we find out more about both Mel's past and her parent's relationship.
We also see much more of Mel's agent, Joe in this book. He has been a background character in previous stories, particularly because Mel has wanted to keep him at arm's length. In this book, he not only features quite prominently but Mel herself come to rely upon him more.
There are another two books still to go in this series and I have one earlier one to go back and read. I'm loving them and I'll be disappointed when they finally come to an end. The Mel Craig series is highly enjoyable.

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Kill for me - Rebecca Bradley

Kill For Me (DI Hannah Robbins #5)Kill For Me by Rebecca Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems a long time since I last had the pleasure of reading a DI Hannah Robbins book, in actual fact, it's only been five months. However long it is, it's always a please to tuck into one of these well-written mysteries, that have the added bonus of being set relatively locally to where I grew up.
I have thought with previous books that I hope that Rebecca Bradley never decides to go on a murderous rampage. She seems to have an uncanny knack of thinking up some of the most devious and disturbing ways to commit murder. Not, in this case, at least, the way that the murder actually was done, but the background that leads to it. She also likes to tell stories that push seemingly ordinary people beyond the limits to act in a way that they never dream to be possible.
This time around, I did wonder a few times if people really would go to these lengths? I really don't know. It was a gripping read in any case and I really enjoyed it.
If you haven't read any of the series as yet, then I really would recommend going back to the beginning and reading all of them. It doesn't really matter though if you'd prefer to start with this one, it's a great read and works just as well as a standalone novel. I'm looking forward to finding out what Hannah will face next time.


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The Heart of You - Cover Reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
The Heart of You 
(A Geeks of Caltech Novel)
by Aarti V Raman


Mixed martial arts studio owner Kit Barranos has always been a fighter. He will fight for his family. For his friends. For anyone in need.

What he doesn't know how to do is fight for himself...

... Or the inconvenient and consuming desire he has for single mom Lily Fallahil.

Office manager, Lily has spent the last decade raising her son and proving her independence to her protective and overbearing brother, Drake.

She has no time for romance. Especially with Kit Barranos, who has a body to die for and eyes that rip at her soul.

When Kit reveals his heartbreaking secret to Lily - he has a brother he never knew about, one he considered his closest friend - it brings them closer, creates a bond neither can deny.

And paves the way for a steamy attraction that explodes between them.

But it isn't just Lily that Kit is slowly but surely falling for. It's her adorable son, Bret.

Navigating the holidays, their families and their feelings is no easy task.

Flawed and fiercely loyal, Kit and Lily have fought the odds and survived.

But, survival no longer seems enough.

Can they take a chance on each other, on their hearts... On a love that braves The Heart of You?

The Heart of You is Book Three of The Geeks of Caltech, a unique band of friends bonded by loyalty, brotherhood, and pain. The Geeks of Caltech are to die for and their women all they wish to live for!

COMING SOON!

About the Author:
Aarti V Raman lives in Mumbai, India and has been a commercial editor and business journalist for the better part of a decade.
She is an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing Happily Ever After to life for the characters in her head. She has three traditionally published novels out, all contemporary romances from 2014-2016, with the next one slated for release in 2019.
She currently writes and self-publishes steamy contemporary romance for urban millennials with a global twist. Sometimes, there are guns and car chases too.
Her new contemporary romance series include GEEKS OF CALTECH and ROYALS OF STELLANGARD as well as standalone romances - all of which have become Amazon India and US bestsellers.
She has also appeared as speaker at lit festivals and events around India and also dabbles in poetry, while conducting creative writing workshops.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook Page * Twitter * Instagram


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Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Decanted Truths - Melanie Forde

Decanted Truths by Melanie Forde


Decanted Truths


Decanted truths by Melanie FordeFor Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life -- and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surroundings: whether the lace-curtain Dorchester apartment overseen by her judgmental Aunt Margaret or the wild Manomet bluff shared with her no-nonsense Aunt Theo and brain-damaged Uncle Liam. A death in the family disrupts the tepid life path chosen for Leah and sets her on a journey of discovery. That journey goes back to the misadventures shaping the earlier generation, eager to prove its hard-won American credentials in the Alaskan gold rush, the Spanish-American War, and The Great War. She learns of the secrets that have bound Theo and Margaret together. Ultimately, Leah learns she is not who she thought she was. Her new truth both blinds and dazzles her, much like the Waterford decanter at the centre of her oldest dreams -- an artefact linking three Irish-American families stumbling after the American Dream.

My Review


This was quite an unusual book. To begin with, it isn't really completely obvious who the main subject of the story is and where it is going to go. We are introduced to Leah fairly early on and while in many ways this is her story, it isn't only her story. By learning more about her family and where she comes from, we learn more about her. The book follows the course of the lives of a number of different members of a family and the other families around them that are connected through marriage and just from living nearby. To begin with, the various stories do not seem to have that much to do with one another, but as the book progresses, we find out that they all help to tell the story of Leah. About who she really is and where she comes from.

A lot of this book revolves around the idea of where someone comes from. Much is made of the fact that many of the characters have Irish ancestors. I suppose this is a story about where you come from, even if you personally don't come from there, shapes who you are and how you act. In many ways, that makes it a very American story, as they do seem to be far more into the idea of putting labels on people than much of the rest of the world.

This was a really interesting story and once I'd got into it I couldn't help but read and see what would happen next. The only slight issue with it is that it covers a lot of ground and as a result, much of the story is told rather than shown. In the early chapters, this made it quite heavy going and I didn't find myself dragged along by the story, which is what I personally like to happen when I read. It was still a very interesting plot and that shone through as the book progressed.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and engaging read. If family sagas are your thing, then you'll probably love it. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

They found him dead - Georgette Heyer

They Found Him DeadThey Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good who done it and this one is certainly that. Not only did I find that the storyline drew me in, but I also loved all of the characters. They were beautifully portrayed and I found them so engaging from the very beginning.

Much of the start of this book is spent building up the background story, with the mystery coming in later in the book. Sometimes books like this can drag a little bit, but the story itself drew you along so that it didn't matter that there wasn't much of a mystery to get your teeth in straight away.

Once the murder actually takes place, there was the usual cast of potential suspects and plenty of clues and red herrings to confuse and enlighten. As well as the two professional detectives, Hannasyde and Hemingway, (who apparently appear in some of Heyer's other mystery novels). A young member of the family, fourteen-year-old Timothy, spends much of his time trying to work out who the murderer is. I loved how excited he was, diving around, without really taking anything very seriously. He reminded me very much of my own son, who is a little bit younger, he was fantastic though and really added to my enjoyment of this book.

The mystery itself worked well. I had pretty much solved it by the end of the book and before the detectives in the book had got there. It wasn't too obvious though and worked well (my two usual tests for a good murder mystery).

This was a great read and an excellent classic style mystery. I really enjoyed it and I love Georgette Heyer's writing. I'll certainly be giving some more of her mystery novels a go.

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

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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Murder at Benbury Brook - Betty Rowlands

Murder at Benbury Brook: An absolutely gripping English cozy mystery (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 9)Murder at Benbury Brook: An absolutely gripping English cozy mystery by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great book from Betty Rowlands in the Melissa Craig series. I did wonder how she would fare now that Iris, her next door neighbour and close friend had left for France. The arrival of a new neighbour to live, at least for the time being in Iris's cottage soon throws Mel into the midst of another mystery and it isn't long before she finds herself involved in a little sleuthing.

With the changes that happened in the last book, I knew that we were likely to be without a few of the supporting characters from previous books. Although I have always enjoyed reading about them, they weren't really missed her and Mel still had a couple of friendly faces to rely upon.

This time the mystery focuses on the death of a girl was it an accident, or something more sinister? There is also something decidedly seedy going on in the village. It becomes pretty clear what's going on, although there are no graphic descriptions, just enough hints to make it clear what certain characters have been doing. I've said before that I feel that these books are more 'classic mysteries' than cosy mysteries. Although things aren't spelt out as such, I think that the crimes do make these more classic than cosy, but perhaps that's because I tend to be a little dismissive of the term 'cosy' and see it as twee and insubstantial, which these novels certainly aren't.

One of the joys of this series is the way that village life is depicted. I don't know if it's because I grew up in an English village and I relate to this picture, or just because it's so well written, a little of both perhaps? I suppose that there is a little nostalgia too, with these books being set (and written) twenty years or so ago now. That doesn't detract from the enjoyment though, these are great mysteries and a good read, even if the world has moved on a little.

The more of this series I read, the more I enjoy them. I can't wait to see what the next book has in store for Mel.

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

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Fading to Black - V.H. Luis


Fading to Black
V.H. Luis
(Uninhibited #2)
Publication date: November 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
We’re flawed. Both full of scars and tormented by the shadows of our past. But in each other’s arms we find solace, we find perfection.
Adam Black. Gorgeous, demanding, a sinful dream that once was my reality.
I was his… until I walked away.
For months I’ve managed to curb my Adam addiction. I’ve focused my energy on my painting career. I’ve found success. Still there is a dangerous urge within me I can’t resist, one that tempts me to be reckless. My life isn’t complete.
Something is missing… he’s missing.
I left him, but fate again has made us collide. And this time I won’t turn away—I won’t be the only one revealing the scars of my past.
I was his… am his… and this time he’ll be completely mine.


Author Bio:
V.H. Luis is the author of the Black Series, an erotic romance trilogy that follows the love affair of Evelyn Snowe and Adam Black. Her debut book WAKING to Black, was released May 2, 2018, and the subsequent sequels FADING to Black, and SURRENDERING to Black, will follow shortly thereafter.
I’m a born and bred Miami Girl–and proud of it! I would wear shorts and flip-flops everyday of the week if I could. Growing up in Miami, surrounded by my parent’s heritage has made me proud of my Cuban ancestry. Cafecito and a guava pastry for breakfast? Yes, please! Salsa music while I tidy the house? Of course.
If I’m not busy scribbling notes about a story, I’m painting, listening to music, or spending time with the love of my life–my son. If I decide to travel, I bring the whole family (in-laws included), or at least I try to, because life is too short not to spend it with family; one of the many lessons my father taught me.

My Review

 After reading the first book in the uninhibited series, Waking to Black, I was keen to read more and find out what would happen with Evelyn and Adam. While the first book followed the beginning of their relationship, this second book focuses on from when they have separated and follows them as they find one another again.

In the last book, I was interested to see how Evelyn would deal with a very controlling man, which is what Adam is. As a rule, I don't like these domineering characters, but Evelyn, despite her many problems, does seem to be able to match him and I think that there's a real chance that they could become equals. In this book, that relationship develops further, with both Evelyn and Adam trusting one another more and more and giving more away.

Both Adam and Evelyn have pretty hideous families. We saw a little of this in the previous book, but Adams family, in particular, seems to get even worse this time. It seems that everything is against them.

I really liked seeing the relationship between Adam and Evelyn grow. They still have a little way to go I think, which is probably a good thing, seeing as there's another book to go as yet. Although this book doesn't leave on a cliff hanger as such, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered, not only for our main characters but Adam's sister and Evelyn's best friend also seem to have storylines that need a little more explanation.

This is a good read. I would suggest reading book one first so that you can follow the story from the beginning. I'm certainly looking forward to book three, I hope that I don't have to wait too long for it.

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Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer

The Convenient MarriageThe Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure why I haven't got around to reading more of Georgette Heyer's novels, as I thoroughly enjoy them when I do. The Convenient marriage is in many ways, more of a comedy than anything else, but it certainly also has its share of romance and I was left with a contented smile on my face by the end.
The hero and heroine are in many ways a complete mismatch. Horry is headstrong, immature and only 17. The Earl of Rule is quite a bit older and seemingly has no real need or wish for his wife. After Rule's sister suggests that he marries and Horry's family needs one of their daughters to marry well in order to save them from financial ruin, Horry and Rule enter into a marriage of convenience, with Horry promising not to interfere in Rule's life.
I know that many people are put off by the huge age gap. By today's standards, it's pretty big, but this is a story set over 20 years ago and people are a little concerned that someone just out of the schoolroom has made such a great match but don't seem to be too concerned about the age difference. Horry is a little bit young for Rule, but by the end of the book she has grown into her role as wife and they seem quite suited. If you can put aside modern sensibility, then I really don't think that the age difference is a problem.
I loved the humour in this book. Rule has a very dry wit and I found myself chuckling whenever he appeared. He clearly finds himself drawn to Horry's character and finds her frankness and direct approach delightful. I can easily imagine them becoming a close couple that understands each other very well as their relationship progressed.
This was a highly entertaining read, with many of the side characters adding to the humour, Pom and Pel, in particular, are very funny with their continued well-meaning, but ultimately hopeless attempts to help. I loved Horry and Rule and seeing how their marriage becomes more than a convenient one by the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


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Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Jeopardy in July - Barbara Venkataraman

Jeopardy in July (Jamie Quinn Mystery #5)Jeopardy in July by Barbara Venkataraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is, sadly, the last book (so far) in the Jamie Quinn series. I hope that it is only so far and that another is to follow soon as I've become quite a fan after reading the previous books. I think that I mentioned in previous reviews that each one just seems to get better and better and that was still the case with this one.
I am probably repeating myself here, but much of the joy of this series is the characters who appear in every book, rather than the mystery so much. Jamie herself is fantastic and I love reading about what she gets up to. Then there is the ever-growing cast of supporting characters, from the wonderful Duke, her tame private detective, to Jamie's best frenemy Nick. Each of them adds too much to the books and I'm as keen to find out what is going to happen with Jamie and her boyfriend/fiance-to-be Kip and with Jamie's father.
The mystery this time has to do with the residents of an old people's home (an assisted living facility I think is the current term) a number of whom seem to have got themselves mixed up in art fraud. Jamie, of course, is in the thick of it, even though she doesn't intend to get involved in these things, she seems to have a knack for it.
This was another great instalment in this series and I can't wait to read more if and when they come out.

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Monday, 28 January 2019

The Bayou Bachelors - Geri Krotow


Bayou Vows
The Bayou Bachelors #3
by Geri Krotow
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 1/8/2019

Not even the wildest Bayou Bachelor of all can resist the right woman.

Jeb DeVillier has a lot of explaining to do. True, he did steal millions from the sailboat business he ran with his partner, Brandon, and disappear to South America. But Jeb has a good reason—Brandon’s sister, Jena Boudreaux. A decade ago, she broke his heart when she chose career over their relationship. Still, when he learns she’s being held for ransom by drug dealers, he doesn’t hesitate. He’ll save her life, no matter what the danger.
When Jena called Jeb out of the blue, it was to ask him to give her last words to her family. She knew the risks when she took one final mission for the CIA. Suddenly, Jeb’s riding to the rescue like her own personal Cajun knight. Yet now that they’re both safe in New Orleans, he refuses to give her a second chance.
That’s not good enough for Jena. Because when you find someone crazy enough to risk everything for you, the only sane thing to do is to hang on tight . . .
'

My Review

This third book in the series sees Jena and Jeb's story. They have a past, both when they dated in high school and then again as friends with benefits more recently. They can't seem to stay away from one another, but neither can they seem to commit to one another.

As in the previous books, much of the 'action' has already taken place and the book deals with the aftermath of all that has gone on. Out of this, the two tentatively move towards a romance and ultimately love. 

Of the three couples Jena and Jeb seem to have the most trouble sorting out what they mean to one another and ultimately accepting what they really mean to each other. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of their story before this book starts. Their relationship and how they deal with one another afterwards is interesting though. 




Bare Devotion

The Bayou Bachelors #2


Sweet and sultry, hot and wild…that’s desire, Louisiana-style. And there’s no one better to explore it with than one of the Bayou Bachelors…
Returning to her flooded New Orleans home to face Henry Boudreaux, the man she jilted at the altar, is the hardest thing attorney Sonja Bosco has ever done—even before she discovers she’s pregnant. Sonja backed out of the marriage for Henry’s sake. He wants to be part of his father’s law firm, and his parents will never approve of an interracial marriage. Better to bruise his heart than ruin his life.
Henry can’t forgive Sonja, and doubts that he can trust her again. But learning that they’re going to be parents means there’s no avoiding each other. Springtime on the bayou is already steamy enough…now they’re living in the same small space while their damaged house is repaired. And with each passing day they’re getting a little more honest. A lot more real. And realizing that nothing—not even New Orleans at Mardi Gras—glows brighter than the desire they’re trying to deny…

My Review


This is the second book in the Bayou Bachelors series. In the first book, we saw Sonja and Henry fail to get married and this story deals with the aftermath of her leaving him at the altar.
It seems that in both this book and the previous one, a lot of the 'action' has already happened or is 'off-screen' and then what we do see can be a little bit repetitive. 

I liked the way that Henry and Sonja learned more about each other and the reason that things had failed. I also liked the way that the approached the way that they would parent their unborn child. Of course, I was willing them to get together again.




Fully Dressed
The Bayou Bachelors #1

There’s nowhere hotter than the South, especially with three men who know how to make the good times roll. But one of the Bayou Bachelors is about to meet his match…
New York City stylist Poppy Kaminsky knows that image is everything, which is why she’s so devastated when hers is trashed on social media—after a very public meltdown over her cheating fiancé. Her best friend’s New Orleans society wedding gives her the chance hide out and lick her wounds...
Brandon Boudreaux is in no mood to party. His multi-million dollar sailboat business is in danger of sinking thanks to his partner’s sudden disappearance—with the company’s funds. And when he rolls up to his estranged brother’s pre-wedding bash in an airboat, a cold-as-ice friend of the bride looks at him like he’s so much swamp trash.
The last person Poppy should get involved with is the bad boy of the Boudreaux family. But they have more in common than she could ever imagine—and the steamy, sultry New Orleans nights are about to show her how fun letting loose can be…
New Orleans serves as a strong supporting character in Fully Dressed as Krotow gives an inside view on the sights, sounds, and tastes of the bayou.” —RT Book Reviews

My Review

This first book is about Poppy and Brandon. Poppy has recently lost everything, her fiance, her cool (flipping out about the break up very publically and then having everything splashed all over social and not so social media) and her business. Brandon (who for reasons that are never explained, is also known as Gus) has had a similar loss. His best friend and business partner Jeb has scarpered, taking all of the businesses money and now he faces losing everything too.

I think that the three books could probably be read as stand-alone stories, but there is clearly a lot of cross over. Or I assume that to be the case, this being the first book, I'm not sure how things will play out in the other two. The main romance story is contained well within this first book, but there are a lot of questions left about other events, which I assume are to be the main storylines in the next two instalments. I did find the timeline a little confusing throughout the book, things seemed to move along at what seemed an odd rate whenever the passage of time was mentioned.

As for the romance itself, I liked it. Poppy and Brandon work well together and I particularly liked Brandon as a character. Poppy was a little less likeable, but she grew on me as the story progressed. Overall, their romance worked and was satisfying.




Geri Krotow is the award winning author of more than thirteen contemporary and romantic suspense novels (with a couple of WWII subplots thrown in!). While still unpublished Geri received the Daphne du Maurier Award for Romantic Suspense in Category Romance Fiction. Her 2007 Harlequin Everlasting debut A Rendezvous to Remember earned several awards, including the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for Excellence.
Prior to writing, Geri served for nine years as a Naval Intelligence Officer. Geri served as the Aviation/Anti-Submarine Warfare Intelligence officer for a P-3C squadron during which time she deployed to South America, Europe, and Greenland. She was the first female Intel officer on the East Coast to earn Naval Aviation Observer Wings. Geri also did a tour in the war on drugs, working with several different government and law enforcement agencies. Geri is grateful to be settled in south central Pennsylvania with her husband.



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Sunday, 27 January 2019

Brothers in Arms - Penny Dee

Brothers in Arms (Kings of Mayhem MC, book #2)Brothers in Arms by Penny Dee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was keen to read this as soon as I could, after reading book one in the Kings of Mayhem MC series; Kings of Mayhem. While the first book focused on romance and Indy and Cade, who had broken up 12 years previously but never got over one another. This book had more of a thriller element to it.
It picks up straight after the last book finished and moved at a pretty rapid rate from then on. There is still a little bit of romance, again focused on Cade and Indy who quickly move from just being back together to becoming an established long term couple. The thrust of this book though is who has it in for the Kings of Mayhem. Is it a rival gang, or is there something else going on here? With more and more of the gang members being targetted, it becomes clear that no one is safe until they get to the bottom of what's been going on and who has a problem with them.
Cade is struggling with the loss of his cousin, who in every other way, was like a brother to him. Indy, although suffering from the loss herself tries desperately to ease his pain. If anything it helps to strengthen their relationship, in spite of Cade's bull-headed stupidity that he knows best.
There's a lot to go through here, with abuse, rape and murder all touched on in one way or another. If you are looking for a sweet gentle romance, then this just isn't it. As mentioned before, in many ways, this novel belongs more in the thriller category. Either way, it was a great read and one that I couldn't put down.
I don't know where book three in this series will take us? Back to a romance, a thrilling crime novel or something different. I can see that these books wouldn't be for everyone, but I am really enjoying them and can't wait to find out what will be next.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 26 January 2019

Engaged in Danger - Barbara Venkataraman

Engaged in Danger (Jamie Quinn Mystery #4)Engaged in Danger by Barbara Venkataraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series just gets better and better. I'm not sure if it's because I've got to know the characters more, or that the storylines are improving, I suspect that it's a combination of both. Either way, what was a very good series has developed into a very very good series.
This time, like in previous books, there's as much going on in the back story, in terms of Jamie's life and loves as there is in the main story of the book itself. This time there's even more of a mystery, with two elements for Jamie to look into.
There is a murder to solve, but that doesn't seem to happen until at least halfway through the book. It doesn't really matter though, as there's plenty to keep you guessing before that. I was so involved in all that was happening that I couldn't put it down.
I'm loving this series, that is on the cosy side of mysteries, but still with plenty of intregue and interesting storylines. Just what I was in the mood for. I can't wait to read the next Jamie Quinn mystery.


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Thursday, 24 January 2019

Sour Puss - Merricat Mulwray


Sourpuss
Merricat Mulwray
Publication date: January 20th 2019
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary, New Adult
Sourpuss is a blistering satire of the depraved and entitled culture that pervades college campuses.
Mallory Wahl loathes the campus party scene . . .
She’s sprinting through her senior year obsessed with winning a spot on the US Olympic track team. But she runs straight into a hurdle in the form of fraternity president Graham Patterson, an intern assigned to help her recover from an injury – one she blames on him.
Once Graham’s therapies begin to work, Mallory pretends to fall in love but traps herself in her own scheme and tailspins deep into his debauched world. When a scandal erupts which threatens to shatter her Olympic dreams once and for all, Mallory must finally face the dark truth she’s been running from since freshman year.
In the style of a ’90s dark comedy flick, Merricat Mulwray’s debut brings an insightful and humorous perspective to the reckless behavior college students perpetually get away with. Mallory, herself a flawed heroine, is backed by a self-serving cast of athletes, party girls, townies, and fraternity brothers so hilariously dark that the book will leave you wondering if anyone ever gets what they deserve.

My Review

I have to admit that I swung back and forth with this one. Initially, I wasn't sure about it at all and didn't know if I was going to even be able to finish it. This is a very dark story about American College life. It's not something that I know a great deal about, as it seems very different to the British University that I attended.

The characters in this book are not particularly likeable, which is one of the things that makes it a complex read and hard to identify with. But, this is a satirical book. I think if you go on with that in mind, rather than expecting an obvious dark comedy, you might get much more out of it. I think that's where I struggled to begin with, the description had me expecting a light, humorous read, but Sourpuss is certainly not that.

Rape culture, fraternities and sportsmanship all find themselves in the spotlight and under fire in this book. No punches are pulled, each is attacked by being pushed to the extreme. As I got further into this book and understood what it was trying to do, I enjoyed it more.

This isn't a perfect book. There are things that I think could have been improved, but if you approach this as a damning satire, rather than expecting a light comedy, then you might just find that it's quite an interesting read, just like I did. 


Author Bio:

Merricat Mulwray is the collaboration of two sisters. They live in Los Angeles where they hatch plans and develop schemes, sometimes these turn into novels.

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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

A Song for the Stars - Ilima Todd

A Song for the StarsA Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I suppose that's obvious from the five-star review, I don't tend to give out many of those, but this story and the way that it was told earned it. I was captivated from the moment that I first started reading to the last sentence.
This is a love story. A romantic love story, where two people grow to love one another as they learn more about each other, but also a love story about the place that it is set. I have never been to Hawaii, but it was portrayed so clearly, that I could picture it clearly. I do have some experience in the Pacific, currently living in New Zealand and having visited a number of other Polynesian islands. Even for someone who knows little of the culture, it's so clearly explained through the eyes of Maile, who has never known anything different and John, who is a visitor to the shores.
I'm not sure if this is a more of a romance or more of a story about two different cultures meeting and learning about one another for the first time. Either way, both parts of the story weave together to create an overall fascinating and satisfying read. Maile and John learn that they have as much in common as they have differences and as they discover more about one another, they fall in love.
This was the kind of book that gripped me from the start, pulled me willingly along on the journey and then left with me with a contented sigh at the end. In many ways, it was perhaps inevitable that I would love this book. Historical fiction has long been a soft spot, combined with the Polynesian setting and a romance, what wasn't to love. What really brought this story to surpass all of this was the wonderful way in which it was told. I fear the only downside is that I may now be left suffering from a 'book hangover' for a while, where nothing else quite measures up and I feel the loss of the joy in its pages. Highly recommended.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday, 21 January 2019

Murder in Langley Woods - Betty Rowlands

Murder in Langley Woods: A completely addictive cozy mystery novel (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 8)Murder in Langley Woods: A completely addictive cozy mystery novel by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm getting through these Mel Craig mysteries at the moment, up to book eight already with book nine ready to go next. Like the previous books in the series, these are classic mysteries with a who done it to solve.
This time Mel finds herself drawn into the case after the disappearance of an old freezer from the house of a fellow resident of her village. To begin with, she thinks nothing of it, but when the freezer turns up twenty miles away complete with a dead body inside. Mel being Mel, she can't resist but find out what has happened and with the help of journalist Bruce, she begins to investigate further.
In the previous books, Mel has been involved in a relationship with ex-policeman Ken. She's kept him very much at arm's length and now he's pushing for more commitment. The main problem is that he doesn't like her getting involved in the investigations that she seems to find herself in the middle of.
The end of the book resulted in some changes or coming changes in Mel's life. I don't know yet what this will mean for some of the characters who have been regular so far. I am looking forward to finding out and seeing what mystery Mel gets involved in next.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Colour of Murder - Julian Symons

The Colour of Murder (British Library Crime Classics)The Colour of Murder by Julian Symons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second Julian Symons' novels that I have read. I have to admit that prior to seeing them on Netgalley, I hadn't heard of him. Although these books have a certain similarity in style to those of the golden age of murder mysteries, they are quite different too. They are written and set later, in the post-war era of the 1950s, but this is still 'old-fashioned' enough to us today to seem similar to the earlier books.
The story itself is told in two halves, with the first being the lead up to the murder, told by the accused, as he shares his story to a psychologist. The second half takes place in court, with the cases for the defence and prosecution. This means that it's slightly different to the usual classic puzzle types of murder mysteries, although there is still a question over who done it and why.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. Partly because it's a well-written look at both life in the late '50s in England, partly because of the way that the court scene is portrayed and partly because of the story itself. It's a little different to many other books of its genre and I suspect when it first came out it would have been something very new.
This might be my first two Symons' novels, but I'd certainly been keen to look out for some more. They are well written, engaging and a glimpse at an earlier time as well as being good examples of the mystery genre.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 18 January 2019

Shadow Walker - Anya J. Cosgrove


Shadow Walker
Anya J. Cosgrove
Publication date: January 17th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
A newborn witch is rescued by two smoking-hot brothers. Can she unravel their dark secrets? Or will she lose her soul trying?
Alana sucks at witchcraft. Healing, telepathy, seeing through illusions… she can’t master any of it.
Sparring with the six-foot-three muscular Walker brothers doesn’t help her focus. Alana’s not about to let herself fall for a man—or a demon—especially not the ones that abducted her in an attempt to save her life.
When a bitter demon learns of Alana’s existence, he’ll stop at nothing to possess her and drive a wedge between the two brothers. If Alana can’t learn to use her powers, she’ll die. If she can’t discern illusion from reality, she’ll lose her mind.
Nothing stays black and white in a world full of shadows.
Demons, witches, forbidden love… visit the otherworld today.

My Review

When I'm talking about a new to me author, I often start by saying that this is the first that I've read by this author or that I haven't read one of their books before. While that is true in this case, that is also because this is Anya J. Cosgrove's first novel. Not that you would think it, it was an excellent read and while this might be the first of her books that I've read, I'm confident that it won't be the last. If nothing else, I'll want to know how the rest of this series pans out, now I've started it, I'm hooked.

The Bloody Hearts series is a paranormal romance series with a love triangle at the centre. I don't know how many books are planned in the series (I forget if it's actually been mentioned somewhere) but this is a slow burn romance and at the end of the book I'm not sure where it's going to go. I know where I want it to go, but I'm going to have to wait and see.

Alana's life has been turned upside down and she has to deal with her new found status as a witch, with only a demon, his brother and another witch to guide her. She's been interested in Thom since he turned up in one of her classes and now he and his demon brother are guiding her to come to terms with her powers.

I liked Alana and I enjoyed her antagonistic sparing with Liam. I have a fondness for love-hate relationships and that's certainly what we've got here. To be honest, we see less of Thom, who is there more as a solid presence when he's around, while Liam is unpredictable and wild (and let's face it, quite exciting).

I don't know where this is going to go next, but I'm really looking forward to finding out. There is a prequel novella available, which you can get by signing up to a newsletter. More than worth doing, as I'll definitely want to know when the next book in the series is out. I'll be reading the prequel shortly and waiting patiently to know what's going to happen next for Alana, Liam and Thom.



Author Bio:

Anya J Cosgrove lives in Québec with her husband, her beautiful son, and two mischievous cats. She works as a veterinarian by day. She’s a travel and Disney junkie and is passionate about her favorite paranormal series.
What would Buffy do? Kick ass!
Read it first! http://bit.ly/anyaslair

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Kings of Mayhem - Penny Dee

Kings of Mayhem (Kings of Mayhem, #1)Kings of Mayhem by Penny Dee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's a lot in this book that might put some readers off. In fact, I'd go further and say that there's a lot in it that would usually put me off. But, I really enjoyed it. The book opens with the hero with another woman. He's in a motorcycle gang and while they avoid drugs and guns, their business interests certainly lie on the more unsavoury side of life (brothels, strip clubs and pornographic films). Then there's the reason that this couple split up in the first place, 12 years ago...
For some reason though, despite all of the things that would normally put me off a little bit, I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of both the club in the modern day and the scenes from Cade and Indy's childhood were great and really added to the story.
I loved both Cade and Indy and the way that the interacted as they rediscovered their feelings for one another. As a rule, I struggle a bit with second chance romances, which is what this is in effect, but somehow it really worked. I did want Indy to drop her defences a little quicker with Cade, but in some ways, the fact that she didn't added to the overall feel of the book and worked well.
Although I have some reservations about the setting, I did like that neither Cade nor Indy felt that had to change who they were or what they did.
There was one thing I wasn't so keen about this story though, the fact that it was left on a bit of a cliffhanger. Now I HAVE to read the next one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

One Day - A.M. Salinger


One Day
A.M. Salinger
(Nights, #9)
Publication date: December 28th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I will never tire of this man. Whatever he wants. Whenever he wants it. I will accept it all. All of him. Forever — Gabe
He taught me so much. How to love. How to laugh. How to fight and make up. And every day that I spend with him is another day I thank God for the gift He granted me when He gave him to me — Cam
With their wedding two months away, Cam Sorvino and Gabe Anderson receive an unexpected invitation from Gabe’s estranged parents to visit them in the US. But the trip doesn’t go as planned and Gabe leaves his family home with a bitter taste in his mouth, the memories of his past trauma fresh in his mind once more. Until Ethan asks him to join him on an incredible project, one with the potential to change Gabe and Cam’s lives forever.
With Ethan in charge of their secret bachelor party, Cam, Gabe, and their friends go on to enjoy the weekend of a lifetime, including one surprisingly hot and wicked night organized exclusively for them by the sexy bartender.
But as the countdown begins to their wedding, Cam can’t help worrying that Gabe is hiding something from him. Little does Cam know about the breathtaking surprises Gabe and Ethan have in store for him and Joe when they finally gather on the island where the wedding ceremony is to take place. And that’s not the only wonderful thing that unfolds in the beautiful surroundings of the tropical paradise.
Join Cam, Gabe, and all the couples of the Nights series in an epic finale that will have you crying, laughing, sighing, and cheering for all their happily-ever-afters.
Note from the author: this book is the final installment in Nights and cannot be read as a standalone. So, what are you waiting for? Get the entire series now and discover the hot, funny, sexy, wicked couples of Nights!
This is a novella length MF/MM romance with a collection of most splendid HEAs!

My Review

I've recently read all of the books in this series and I've really enjoyed them. The individual stories are fun, hot, quick reads and I really enjoyed them and getting to know the characters in them. This time we come to the end of the series with a book that brings everything together. 

Unlike the previous books in this novella series, this final book can't really be read as a standalone. It is really the large epilogue to all of the previous stories. In this, we catch up on all of the previous couples, so if you haven't read the earlier stories, this probably wouldn't do a great deal for you.

Again, as with the earlier books, there is lots of sex. Which, I suppose is to be expected, seeing as that made up the main part of the previous stories. I enjoyed this series as a whole and it was nice to finish off all the stories. I would have liked a bit more Ethan and Joe though. All in all a fun read.


Author Bio:
Ava Marie Salinger is the pen name of an Amazon bestselling author who has always wanted to write scorching hot contemporary and erotic romance. In 2018, she finally decided to venture to the steamy side. NIGHTS is the first of several sizzling series featuring sweet, sexy men and women with dark pasts and a whole lot of love to give to the ones brave enough to fight for their hearts. When she’s not dreaming up hotties to write about, you’ll find Ava creating kickass music playlists to write to, spying on the wildlife in her garden, drooling over gadgets, and eating Chinese.
Want to be the first to know about Ava’s new releases and get access to exclusive content, sneak previews, sales, and giveaways ? Then sign up to her Reader Group here and join her VIP Facebook Fan Group here.

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Monday, 14 January 2019

Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman

Peril in the Park (Jamie Quinn Mystery #3)Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series. Each one so far has been better than the last and I really enjoyed this instalment. These stories are cosy mysteries and they are really on the cosy side. There is a murder in this one, but it's almost a minor part of the rest of the story.
In previous books, there hasn't been really much investigating or many suspects. This time around there were a few more potential suspects and it was more like a traditional mystery book. What I really love about these books is the characters and the background story. All of the recurring characters, from private detective Duke to Jamie's best friend Grace and boyfriend Kip are lovely and really add to the whole read.
There are some more books in this series and I'd be definitely keen to check them out.


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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Guardian Angel - Ruchi Singh

Guardian Angel Ruchi SIngh

Guardian Angel

A thrilling tale of unconditional love amidst danger and certain death.
Guardian Angel by Ruchi Singh


The Man 
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel 
Should an innocent man be left to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.

My Review

I don't mind admitting that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I didn't really know what to expect going in, but I was engrossed within minutes of picking the book up and I polished it off pretty quickly. I always enjoy a good un-put-downable read and this one certainly fell into that category.

The characters in this book and the story as it progresses soon drag you quickly along. I believe that Nikhil has been introduced in a previous book, The Bodyguard, but unfortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of reading that as yet. We meet him in this book in mortal danger. He has been injured in a bomb blast and now finds himself blind and bandaged. He has no idea where he is or what has happened to him to end up there.

His only assistance is from the young woman who tends to his wounds each day and patiently feeds hi via a straw. She won't talk to him and when he hears her speak it is in a language that he doesn't understand. 

I really don't want to give too much away about this book and what is going on. I'd hate to give away any spoilers as there are twists and turns in the plot of this book that I didn't spot coming. Needless to say, if you are looking for an exciting and thrilling read with a good dose of romance thrown in for good measure, then I would highly recommend this one. Give it a read, I don't think that you will be disappointed.

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