Tuesday, 31 March 2020

A Game of Wings and Marks - Rebecca Crunden

A Game of Wings and MarksA Game of Wings and Marks by Rebecca Crunden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know what I would really classify this as, as strange as that might sound. While it is a romance with paranormal or supernatural themes, I'm not completely convinced that it fully fits that genre. In many ways, it has more of a fantasy feel than anything. While there is a love story in here and the heroine gets her man, in many ways, that doesn't feel like the main drive of the story.
I think my reason for saying that, is perhaps that there are two males (one being a demon and the other an angel, I don't think that 'men' would be the right term) who are interested in her. I won't tell you who she ends up with, but I personally liked the demon Zev more than angel Raphael. We see far more of Zev and he is quite an interesting character, much more willing to bend the rules and make things happen his way. Raphael is a far more steady character. Admittedly he is torn between his feelings for Octavia and his need to stick to the rules, but he just lacks the mischievous edge that Zev has.
I really enjoyed this read and read it fairly quickly, mostly because I wanted to see how it would all pan out. In many ways, the storyline was almost as though it was set up for future stories in that world, I don't know if that was the case or not? I'd certainly be interested in reading more from this interesting world.

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Saturday, 28 March 2020

Spark by Gillian Archer

Spark (Burns Brothers, #3)Spark by Gillian Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just wanted to add a quick word of warning, this book does mention and in passing deal with miscarriage.
I haven't read a book for a little while with a broken hero. Logan and Sabrina were in the early stages of a relationship when he left to fight wildfires. After he was injured and lost one of his best friends in the fire, he decided that Sabrina was better off without her, not realising what she might be facing herself.
I liked Logan, he clearly had a lot of issues to work through. I wasn't so convinced about the way that he dealt with meeting Sabrina for the first time again. Other than that he was really nice, despite the issues that he was battling with. Sabrina is obviously a good match for him, although, as with many romance novels, a bit more communication would help. Much of this book is about not trying to protect the other person too much, to trust that they are able to deal with things, rather than trying to shield them. A number of characters face this in the course of the story, not just Logan and Sabrina.
This was a good read. It's a standalone story, although I am interested to go back and read the other books in the series and possibly future ones too.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Flying Gold by Vanessa North

Flying Gold (American Heavy Metal, #2)Flying Gold by Vanessa North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember my Dad taking me along to watch drag racing when I was little, it was the dullest thing I have ever watched in my life and I come from a country that follows a sport that goes on so long they stop for tea. That said, I really enjoyed this romance that features drag racing and American muscle cars (I'm not entirely sure what they are).
This is a second chance romance, which I love. I usually don't enjoy ones where they have split up due to cheating, but this time I'm prepared to forgive that. Matt and Tiffany were teenagers when they were together and although they still clearly have feelings for one another, what Matt did was back when they were very young and happened ten years ago. I think that both characters needed to be alone and become who they are before they can fully be together when they are older.
I haven't read the first book in this series, but that didn't matter. I'd be more than happy to go back and read it now and I'd certainly be keen on the next in the series. This was a good romance and I enjoyed reading it. Just what I needed to lift the spirits at the moment. Something I think we could all do with right now.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Wicked Embrace by Olivia Boothe

Wicked Embrace (Chronicles of a Dancing Heart, #2)Wicked Embrace by Olivia Boothe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did make a bit of a mistake with this one, although it is book number 2 in Chronicles of a Dancing Heart, I hadn't actually realised that it was a continuation of a previous book. For the first chapter or so I felt as though I was missing something somewhere, as the story seemed to start mid-way through or in the middle. I soon found out that I was missing the first part of the story. It didn't really matter though, I soon got into the story and the characters and although it would have been nice to have read book 1 first, I still enjoyed this one.
Tom and Sara were both interesting characters with lots of back story and past. Much of that past comes back to be dealt with in this book. There's also a 'new' threat for them to deal with. I liked them as a couple and seeing them together. I did get a little bit annoyed by their unwillingness to talk and sort things out, many of the problems that they face could have been easily dealt with by just talking a bit more. Tom, in particular, was quite closed off at times and I think in Sara's shoes I would have been ready to shake him. I think that is part and parcel of this being a longer story and a continuation of the first book.
Overall this was a good read. I would rather have read book one first, but I still enjoyed this second one coming into it halfway through as it were.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Deadly Surrender - Katie Reus

Deadly Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City Series Book 5)Deadly Surrender by Katie Reus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace has been burnt by love in the past, not only after being jilted at the altar but even growing up her mother was not the most loving. She struggles to accept that someone might actually want her. That hasn't stopped her from being attracted to Logan. He has a reputation as a bit of a player, (although to be honest, although Grace mentions it, there is no other evidence of that being the case in this book. This is the first in the series that I have read, so perhaps he has been more of a player in previous titles). It's obvious to everyone else how Logan feels about Grace, but she is reluctant to get too close and be hurt again.
Logan is very sweet. He clearly really likes Grace and wants a future for her. In fact, if it weren't for the suspense element to this storyline, I suspect this would be a very quick read as he soon makes it clear what he wants and isn't going to stop until he gets it.
This was a good romantic read. A good mix of heat and love with characters that work well together. It also has a suspense element, which fits well with the storyline and is not distracting or almost as an afterthought as sometimes happens in romance books. I enjoyed this and would be keen to read others from the same series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Hers to Tame- Rhenna Morgan

Hers to Tame

Hers to tame by Rhenna MorganAs an avtoritet for the most powerful crime syndicate in New Orleans, Kir Vasilek doesn’t act without purpose, doesn’t speak without thought and never, ever loses his cool. The lives of his brothers, his family, depend on it. But then Cassie McClintock strolls back into his life, and staying cool is next to impossible. Cassie was the one who got away—and Kir is willing to break all his own rules to keep it from happening ever again.
It’s one thing to report on the Russian mafia; it’s quite another to sleep with one of them, especially one as dangerous, and as sinfully sexy, as Kir Vasilek. Even though the information he once provided helped make her career—and the memory of his touch still keeps her up at night—Cassie knows too much about his world to go down that path. But when Kir reaches out for help after a rival family comes for one of his own, Cassie doesn’t want to
say no, either to investigate a gruesome murder or to the heat that pulls her right back into his arms…and his heart. Taming Kir—and helping to save the family she’s come to call her own—is not the
story she thought she’d write, but it’s the one she’s determined will get a happy ending.
Hers to Tame is the highly anticipated follow-up to His to Defend. And don’t miss Roman’s story in Mine to Keep, coming soon from Rhenna Morgan and Carina Press.

Buy links 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335962646
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hers-to-tame-rhenna-morgan/1133500058
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hers-to-tame/id1479851710
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hers-to-tame
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rhenna_Morgan_Hers_to_Tame

My Review

Kir doesn't do relationships, he doesn't want the commitment or to be tied to one woman. Until he meets Cassie that is. She can't help but be drawn to him, but with his mafia ties, she's frightened of getting too involved with him. Once they come into contact again she can't help but be drawn to him. Their relationship quickly goes from just starting out to full-on almost overnight.
On the whole, I like the relationship between Cassie and Kir. I'm not completely on board with overbearing men, which is certainly what Kir is. Cassie could give as good as she got most of the time, but he was a little bit much. The chemistry between them worked well and I liked them as a couple.  
This is the first book in this, or the associated series, that I have read. I don't think it really mattered. The only point that I thought that more knowledge of the series might have helped was when the 'family' flew in to see them and there was talk of the wives and mothers. I had no idea who they were and not having already met them in previous books, for me they added nothing to the story. 
I enjoyed Hers to Tame and would be more than happy to give the other books in the series a go. 

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Wish by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

WishWish by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great read this was. I started it this morning and polished it off in one day. I'm glad that it was so good, I've had a bit of a slump in the good books department lately. I think that what I really enjoyed about this storyline wasn't the great writing or engaging characters (although it had both of these things) it was how fresh and original the storyline was. There are so many romance novels that follow well-trodden paths, that it was really something to come across something so different.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I might be a bit vague. It took me a while to see where this book was going. Was it a paranormal book? Was there more here than met the eye? Was it actually a romance at all? I have to admit that this one kept me guessing until the very end. Ginnie is a great character and she really meets her match with the hero in this book. I loved the development of the story.
This book has a good balance of lighthearted moments, it has a feeling of almost being a romantic comedy, without being laugh out loud funny, alongside some more serious elements.
I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this, one of the best and most original romance novels I've read in quite some time.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 14 March 2020

Boudreaux's Lady by Lauren Smith

Boudreaux's Lady: A Boudreaux Universe NovelBoudreaux's Lady: A Boudreaux Universe Novel by Lauren Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I believe that this book is an origin story for the Boudreaux Universe, I haven't read any of these books, but being a fan of Lauren Smith, I wanted to give this one a go. Beauregard Boudreaux (try saying that after you've had a drink) is a confirmed bachelor and rake. He lost his father as a young boy and watched his mother fall apart due to his loss. He avoids love at all costs, or at least he had until he meets Phillipa Wilson.
This is a bit of a rags to riches tale. At birth Phillipa's twin brother died, her father was desperate for an heir and so she was switched with the newborn son of the miller. You do have to suspend belief a little, the idea that the miller and his wife would have been willing to swap babies is a bit silly, but if you can just ignore that, then we're all set up for a good story.
As a young woman, Phillipa is the spitting image of her mother. When her father happens to see her one day, he immediately knows that he must get rid of her before everyone can uncover his secret. With everyone after her, Phillipa finds a saviour in the form of Beau and it's not long before romance begins to build between the two.
There's plenty of romance and excitement in this book. If you're a fan of Lauren Smith's League of Rogues series then I'm sure that you will love the cameo's from the main characters in this book. A bit of a bonus.
Overall this was a great read, I'm sure if you are a fan of the Boudreaux universe, then you'll enjoy this origin story. If like me, you haven't come across the books before, then there's still plenty for you to enjoy here.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Unleash You - Diana A. Hicks

Unleash You
Diana A. Hicks
(Cole Brothers #4)
Publication date: March 11th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Eight years is a long time gone…
After graduation, artist Anabelle Copenhaver returns home to find that the only family member she has left is missing in action.
With her brother gone, his infuriatingly handsome best friend, Wesley, is now responsible for her family’s estate. Anabelle doesn’t need a babysitter, especially not her childhood crush—the first guy she ever loved.
Former marine Wesley Cole lives by his word. He promised to protect Anabelle and that’s exactly what he intends to do. His biggest challenge will be to keep his hands off the blue-eyed beauty who has a way of setting his soul on fire.
Anabelle is resourceful and determined to bring her brother home, but how can she when Wesley blocks every turn, messing with her plans and her heart?

Author Bio:
Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Book two in her Desert Monsoon series, LOVE OVER LOGIC, won the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Romance – Suspense genre
When Diana is not writing, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.

My Review

With each of these Cole brothers books, you see events from the other books from a different point of view. This time the story revolves around Wesley and Annabelle, who grew up next door to the Coles. She has been in love with Wesley for years, but he has never seen her as anything but a younger sister. After her own brother began to hate her, she has been trying to win him around by writing to him. She didn't know that for years, it's actually Wesley who has been returning her letters, not brother Charlie.
There's a lot going on here, not just the romance element. The whole storyline involving Annabelle's brother Charlie is quite full-on. I don't want to give any spoilers away, but I think it's fair to say that it didn't unfold as I expected.
The only thing that I found a bit confusing was the whole getting a visa from the congressman part of the storyline. Why or how would a US congressman be able to get and more importantly sign to make it valid, a visa for a foreign country. It just didn't make any sense? A visa can only be issued by the country that you are travelling to, not the officials of the country you're from? I don't know what that was about, but it was a bit distracting from the rest of the storyline.
Overall this was another enjoyable instalment in the Cole brothers' series. I'm looking forward to the next and final one.


Monday, 9 March 2020

A Wicked Hunger - Kiersten Fay

A Wicked Hunger (Creatures of Darkness #1)A Wicked Hunger by Kiersten Fay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll start by saying that I didn't realise that this book would end on a cliffhanger. I gathered as I neared the end that that was the way that it might be going, but up until then, I hadn't known.
Coraline has had a hard life. After her marriage, she thought that things might be on the up, but when her husband firstly doesn't seem that interested in her and then gets murdered, it's clear that she isn't about to have an easier time soon. She finds herself under the care of a vampire, she had unpleasant experiences with his kind in her youth and is now terrified of what might happen. Mason is a different kind of vampire and she soon begins to realise that she can trust him.
This book did feature something that seems to happen in a lot of similar books in this genre, she has powers and a past that she had no idea about and through the course of this book, she is only just beginning to learn about them. I don't always like this as a plot, as it's been done so many times. It does mean that it makes describing the world that she finds herself in a little easier and I did enjoy much of the rest of the story, so I'll let it go.
I liked the romance between Mason and Coraline. I'm not sure where it's going to go in the next book, but so far so good. I assume that Knox will play a greater role in the future and possibly at least one other vampire that has been mentioned. Really not sure other than that where it's going to go.
I will say that this one did keep me guessing. On more than one occasion it seemed to disappear in a different direction than I had been expecting. In some ways, the previous events seem to almost have been forgotten about. Little is made of her marriage or loss of her husband or what was going on there. This might simply be because it is something that will come up again in later books. Overall, this was a good read. I want to know what happens next, but I'm not diving straight into the next book, I think I can wait a little while
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Sunday, 8 March 2020

Bench Player - Julianna Keyes

Bench Player (Charleston Thrashers #2)Bench Player by Julianna Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should start by saying that what I know about baseball would fit on the back of a stamp and still leave room for a margin. It seems to be a bit like rounders but played seriously by adults and it's not cricket. That's all I know. That didn't stop my enjoyment of Bench Player though. This is actually a story about two people sorting out what is important in life and rethinking their priorities.
I liked both Connor and Allison. They were both characters who have to prove who they really are, as opposed to the image that those who work with them see them. They are both passionate about what they do and the Charleston Thrashers and I think that it is this shared love that helps them to see beyond the preconceived ideas they have about one another. Both characters grow as the story progresses and I think that really added to the romance element of the story
I didn't know how this one was going to work out. Obviously, one of the many reasons that romances are popular is that they offer a happily ever after. That's not to say that this one doesn't, but I did wonder for a while there what form it would eventually take as it seemed impossible for everyone to get what they wanted.
I enjoyed this read and would be more than happy and keen to read more in the series. It didn't matter that I have no baseball knowledge, but I think that someone who does enjoy the sport would enjoy this book just as much as someone like me who doesn't.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 7 March 2020

Her Wicked Duke by Lisa Torquay

Her Wicked DukeHer Wicked Duke by Lisa Torquay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Imperious Lords series and the second that I have read. It works well as a stand-alone novel and there is no need to have read the previous books before this one. (Although, the one that I read was good, so I'd certainly recommend giving them a go.)
Phillipa and Titus met four years ago at a house party and were drawn to one another from the first sight. Something happened between them (we don't find out straight away how far or not this went) and then they discovered that he was to betrothed to her second cousin. Since then, they have avoided one another both hurting and remembering their connection. Titus is now a widow and when Phillipa once again falls into his path, they find that they are both drawn to one another and keen to stay apart. The chemistry between them sizzles and despite their best efforts, they cannot seem to stay apart.
I enjoyed the build of the romance between the two. Titus is overbearing and domineering. But, while he might be used to his word being law, he being a duke, she does not give an inch. I loved the push and pull between them as they accepted what they felt and learnt what the other wanted.
This was a fun, quick read with plenty of romance. I think there's one more yet to come and I'd be keen to read that once it's out.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

A Fiery Whisper - Tamsen Schultz

When murder is just the beginning
A Fiery Whisper by Tamsen Schultz

A Fiery Whisper

FBI agent Damian Rodriguez never thought he’d see his former lover, Charlotte Lareaux, again—they’d gone down in flames over a year ago and now lived oceans apart. But when she shows up on his doorstep on Tildas Island in the Caribbean, bleeding and nearly dead, the distance between them suddenly feels trivial.

Charlotte has no idea why anyone would want to kill her or her friends and relying on Damian and his teammates to find those answers is the right thing to do—even if it isn’t easy. But when they discover that a single, simple question set off the events that left her and a friend fighting for their lives, no one believes that’s the end of the story.

In fact, they all know it’s just a whisper of things to come.

My Review

A Fiery Whisper is the first, I assume, in a new series from Tamsen Schultz. Although it isn't part of her Windsor series, one of the main characters does appear in some of those books. This is both a second chance romance and a thriller and much like the Windsor books, it does both well, without becoming more of one with the other tacked on as an afterthought as some books do.
Damian and Charlotte have a past, once very much in love, they separated for a variety of reasons. When Charlotte finds herself in a life-threatening situation, it's Damian that she instantly turns to. It's clear that their story is not yet done.
I liked both Damian and Charlotte. They are both strong characters who know what they want but still have that element of vulnerability that allows them to come together as a couple. The thriller aspect of this novel was fairly complicated, I suspect that is in part because there is still more to come and also because I don't fully know or understand some aspects of American politics. 
There is a conclusion to this story, but everything isn't completely tied up by the end. It's clear that there are to be future books and stories that unravel exactly what is going on and why. I'm looking forward to reading them and finding out more about the FBI team that Damian is part of.