Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Mortmain Hall - Martin Edwards

Mortmain Hall (Rachel Savernake #2)Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mortmain Hall is the second Rachel Savernake book. Although Rachel is a main character in these stories and one around whom much of the action takes place, I think that they could just as easily be called the Jacob Flint series. While Rachel sits in almost God-like observation of the action, Jacob blunders through along with us, trying to understand what is actually happening. He's not exactly a Watson to Rachel's Holmes, although he does fill much of that role, it is certainly through his eyes that we see more of the action and mystery.
This second story is again set in the golden again of crime, although as with the first book, there is a much darker edge that is absent from books that were actually written in the period, or at least missing from those that I have read so far.
Mortmain Hall is a complex mystery, not simply a case of a couple of murders and lots of suspects. In fact, it would be more than fair to say that it's not immediately apparent what the crime that we are trying to get to the bottom of is. There is more than one mystery to solve here. It's not as simple as the good guys work out who done it and the bad guys get punished.
I have to admit that while I'd figured out some of the solutions to this, but there were other aspects that I missed entirely. At the end of the book are a number of 'clues' that signposted who was behind various aspects and why, all in the style of some books from the golden age. I spotted some, but missed most.
Overall this was another gripping read from Martin Edwards. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Rachel and Jacob 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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The Diary of a late bloomer - L.M.L. Gil

The Diary of a Late Bloomer; A quirky coming of age novel
L.M.L Gil
Publication date: June 29th 2020
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance, Sports

Every wallflower blooms at their own perfect time, but some like quirky Lo, take longer than others.

Lo is a sheltered 20-year-old who loves baking, manga/anime, and octopi. When she spots her college swim team’s tryout flyer sporting her favorite sea creature, an octopus she knows it’s a sign that she must join the Flying Octopi. The only things standing her way are her social awkward nature and the fact that she just learned to swim.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

L.M.L. Gil is a writer, a reader, and a dreamer.

When she is not writing, editing, or thinking about her next story, she is either in the kitchen testing out a new recipe or snuggling with her fur munchkins reading.

As a glutton, she equates a good novel to a scrumptious dessert, which leaves your heart a little lighter and a smile on your face.

She hopes her novels provide a sweet treat without the calories


My Review

The Diary of a Late Bloomer took me a little while to get into, possibly partly because it's been a while since I last read a diary-style book. I've long been an Arian Mole fan and more recently Bridget Jones, so once I was back into the swing of things, I was away. 
I did think to begin with that Lo, our heroine was quite young, only 16 or so and a young 16 at that. Even with the title being 'Late Bloomer' I hadn't expected anyone who was 20 to be quite so immature in their outlook. It didn't help that her mother was overprotective to the point of being abusive, but fortunately, Lo overcame that in the end.
This is quite a sweet story. It's obvious to everyone (including us) who Lo will end up with and when she finally realises what her feelings have been telling her, it is very satisfying. I really enjoyed some of the support characters in this. 
This was a great read that I managed to get through in one day. If you feel like something fairly light-hearted, not too taxing and sweet then I suggest you read a bit more about Lo and her life. 

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Hate Crush - Angelina M. Lopez

A fake relationship could help Princesa Sofia save her kingdom. Only problem: She’ll have to fake it
with the man who broke her heart.

Ten years ago, wild child Princesa Sofia Maria Isabel de Esperanza y Santos fell in fast crazy love with heartbreaker Aish Salinger during one California harvest season. Now, all grown up and with the future of her kingdom on her shoulders, she hates him as passionately as she once loved him. Even if her body hasn’t gotten the hate memo. Faking a relationship with the now-famous rock star for the press and public will ensure the success of her new winery and prosperity of her kingdom. All she has to do is grit her teeth and bear his tattooed presence in her village and winery—her home—for a month. Trying to recover from his own scandal, fallen superstar Aish Salinger jumps at the chance to be near Sofia again. Leaving her was the biggest mistake he’s ever made, and he’s waited ten years to win her back.
He never counted on finding a woman who despised him so much she didn’t want to be anywhere near him. A war of wills breaks out as the princess and rock star battle to control their fake relationship. She wants to dictate every action to keep him away from her. He wants to be as close as he can be. She’s already lost so much because of Aish, he won’t be the reason her people lose even more. But he also won’t make her break her life’s most important vow: To never fall in love again.

Read Filthy Rich Book One, Lush Money, available now from Carina Press!

Buy Links:


About Angelina M. Lopez

Angelina M. Lopez wrote 'arthur' when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she's been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. Finally, she found her way back to 'author.'
Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it's not true. She's a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn checkboxes. She checks them with glee.
You can find more about her at her website, AngelinaMLopez.com.

Connect with Angelina M. Lopez
Website: http://www.angelinamlopez.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaMLopezDC/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelinaMLo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelinamlo/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19213274.Angelina_M_Lopez

My Review

This is the second book in the Filthy Rich series, but as it works well as a stand-alone, you don't need to have read the first one before you read this. Hate Crush is a second chance romance with an almost romantic suspense element. There's certainly something else that this couple has to face and get to the bottom of.

Sophia and Aish fell in love ten years ago, but when it came to choosing between their relationship and his career, Aish left Sophia behind. They haven't seen each other in all this time, but now both faced with needing to resurrect their images, they need to work together and appear as a couple in front of the media. 

Aish is quite a sweet character, he's obviously had a checkered past, but it becomes clear as the story unfolds that all might not as it might first appear on this front. There were a number of things that were revealed as the book unfolds, I don't think that they were hugely obvious, but I did guess what more than one of them might be before it happened. It didn't stop me from enjoying the story though.

Sophia is a very strong female character. She has a wild past, something that is often avoided in romances, which is a shame, I liked the way that she was a character who knew what she wanted and had had plenty of fun in her past. Aish and Sophia worked well together, complimenting one another and having plenty of room for their characters to grow as they start to come together as a couple.

I really enjoyed this read, there was plenty going on and much more depth than you often find in a romance novel. I'd certainly be keen to read more in this series if I get the chance. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Jagger - Amanda McKinney

Jagger: Steele Shadows Investigations
Amanda McKinney
Publication date: June 18th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Secrets, lies, deceit… A former Navy SEAL turned homicide detective has met his match in this new *standalone* addition to the number #1 Bestselling Steele Shadows Series…

He found her covered in blood.
She promises she’s innocent.
The question is… Can he trust her?

Feared just as much on the streets as at a crime scene, Homicide Detective Max Jagger has dedicated his life to one thing—speaking for the dead. Everyone and everything else be damned, including his own demons. During one of the most oppressive heat waves to hit the small, southern town of Berry Springs, the former Navy SEAL is called to a scene where a real estate heiress is found standing over a dead body, holding the murder weapon. The local cops immediately dub it a slam-dunk case, but if Jagg has learned anything from his days running special ops, it’s that nothing is as it seems… including this suspect.

Despite her name, Sunny Harper is as beguiling as a fallen angel. Clever, cunning, completely unwilling to cooperate, and, perhaps his least favorite quality—mind-numbingly intoxicating. When evidence from the scene suggests an accomplice, Jagg begins to believe that Sunny is both innocent and in danger, despite the towns’ uproar to lock her up. Torn between his growing feelings for his suspect, he takes Sunny to a secluded lake house where he discovers there’s much more behind those enchanting green eyes… including secrets that could take them both under.

With his career on the line and the clock ticking, Jagg must decide if he can trust Sunny… before they both get burned.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten steamy romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance.

Her books include the HOT new bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series and BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES.

Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 to receive Amanda’s newsletter and get the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub

My Review

I have to admit that I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy this one. Although it's a romance, really that takes second place to the mystery element of this book. To begin with, we didn't really even meet Jagger's potential love interest and his investigation and rookie sidekick Darby took centre stage. Jagger isn't actually that likeable, he has an aurora of the old gumshoe detectives, the fact that much of the story is told from his point of view gives it an almost Raymond Chandler like feel. I think that it was this that made me wonder if we were going to get on. Not that I don't enjoy that kind of read, it was just not what I had been expecting.
Sunny is an interesting character. She's clearly got a lot of baggage and history. I think that it mentions that she's in her late 20's, but in many ways, she seems to be an older character than this. Perhaps simply because of what she has been through. 
For me, the suspense side of this book was the winner. Although there is romance here, it wasn't the main part of the story and I wasn't really that invested in their relationship. I did want to know what was going to happen and who was behind it all though. I think that it was that that made this ultimately a very enjoyable read. 

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Monday, 22 June 2020

High Heat - Annabeth Albert

High Heat (Hotshots, #2)High Heat by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading High Heat, I didn't immediately realise that I've actually read the first book in the Hotshots series Burn Zone. Although we did meet one of the main characters from this book in the previous book and the two main characters Lincoln and Jacob also make a cameo appearance this time around, it really doesn't matter if you have read the first one or not.
Garrick is coming to terms with the accident that he suffered while doing his job as a smokejumper. He broke both legs and injured his spine. Although there has been a huge improvement, he's still not as well as he would like to be and is trying to do everything that he can to get back to full fitness, learning to walk again without his crutches or wheelchair and even hoping that he may be able to rejoin the crew at some point. When a stray dog helps him to meet his elderly neighbour's grandson, it leads him on a that makes him question what he really wants out of life. Rain has always been quite directionless but meeting Garrick helps him start to think about what he really wants out of life.
I liked Garrick and Rain's relationship. They were both eager to please one another and although neither was sure where the relationship was going to go, I liked their journey to get there. I also really liked Garrick's Dad and the way he dealt with his son's situation and relationship.
Alongside the romance angle, there is also the question of Garrick coming to terms with the changes in his life. Although he is determined, sometimes that isn't enough. I liked the way that he adjusted to his new normal. Having said that, the idea that his treatment might be stopped not simply because the clinical team decides that it's not in his best interest but because the insurance refuses to continue to pay is hideous. Makes me more glad than ever that I don't live in a country where we have to rely on insurance for healthcare.
This was a good read and I also enjoyed having a little glimpse of Jacob and Lincoln from the previous story. I'm pretty sure that there's more to come from the Hotshots and I'm looking forward to reading more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Sunday, 21 June 2020

Dirty Tactics - Emma Salah

Dirty TacticsDirty Tactics by Emma Salah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dirty Tactics is the first in a new series featuring a family of sports stars. This first book deals with the only sister in the family, Reagan. Unlike her brothers, she doesn't actually play sport but instead is an agent for sports stars. She's also been in love with one of her brothers' best friends since she was 15.
Zac has huge chemistry with his best friends sister, but she's off-limits. Not only if she the youngest member of the family that he's seen as his own after they took care of him when his own parents were less than ideal. He believes that he can't love, having only his father's abuse and his mother's acceptance of it to base relationships on. If only he could stop the passion that explodes with Reagan, then he'd be fine.
I do enjoy friends to lovers romances and this one certainly falls into that. Although Zac is best friends with Reagan's brother, it's clear that their own relationship is very close before anything romantic happens between them.
There are issues for both Reagan and Zac to deal with and although there isn't some big romantic gesture between them, I still liked the way that this one unfolded and played out. I really enjoyed the book and having met Reagan's brothers, I'm looking forward to reading their stories 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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Arrogant Bastard - Jennifer Dawson

Arrogant Bastard (Bastard Series, #2)Arrogant Bastard by Jennifer Dawson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cat and Caden don't want to get involved with each other, but the fiery chemistry between them means that avoiding each other just isn't going to happen. Caden is the new farm manager, but he won't tell boss Cat anything about his past, it's clear that he's brilliant at his job and being desperate, she employs him anyway.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Cat and Caden and their attempts, at least to begin with, to avoid it. It was clear that they were going to be unable to resist one another, but I enjoyed the push and pull before that. Caden clearly has a past and it is this that makes him unwilling to get into something with Cat. There's a lot of game playing from both the hero and the heroine and at points that was a little bit annoying. They both have specific things that they expect from the other but aren't willing to actually explain what it is that they are waiting for.
Where I wasn't completely convinced with this one, was when Caden's past was revealed. Although it went some way to explaining why he was reluctant to get involved with Cat it didn't really seem to fit his character. Everything that we had learnt about him up to that point seems very much at odds with what supposed to have happened at his previous job. It didn't ruin the story or anything like that, but it did seem a bit strange. Other than that, this was an enjoyable romance.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thursday, 18 June 2020

Fake Play - Carla Swafford

Fake PlayFake Play by Carla Swafford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite the fact that I know next to nothing about ice hockey, I do seem to enjoy these 'hockey romances.' I haven't read one by Carla Swafford before, but she seems to know her stuff (as much as someone who hasn't a clue can judge that is).
Fake Play is a fake relationship romance. This genre can be difficult to convincingly set up, but for the most part this one worked. I did wonder why neither of them could remember what had happened, but that was explained towards the end. The idea with this one is that after a drunken night, these two strangers end up married to one another. Connor, our ice hockey star, needs to remain married to help counter all of the stories about his wild lifestyle. Lily needs his help to save her families ice rink, so agrees to play along.
I liked the romance between these two. Connor, in particular, is quite a sweetheart and he soon wants far more than the fake relationship that they're playing at. It takes Lily a little longer, but they still worked really well together.
This isn't a perfect romance. We never find out what inspired them to marry in the first place and unlike many from this genre, there's no sudden crisis that brings everything right. In some ways it was a nice change not to have that.
I enjoyed Fake Play and I'd be more than happy to read more from Carla Swafford.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Sunday, 14 June 2020

I hate to stand alone - Casey Winter

I Hate to Stand Alone: A Small Town Enemies to Lovers Romance (Little Fall, #1)I Hate to Stand Alone: A Small Town Enemies to Lovers Romance by Casey Winter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn't a bad little romance, but I wasn't swept away with it either. Set in the town of Little Fall, a town that our two leads have both left years ago, this story is an enemies to lovers book. Although Hannah and Luke don't really know each other, there are enough problems between their two families to make them think that avoiding each other might be for the best. It's just a shame that the intense chemistry between them stops them from doing just that. The more they try to stay away, the stronger the need to be together becomes.
As I mentioned, I neither loved nor hated this one. There were aspects of it that I enjoyed and then others that just didn't gel for me. The dialogue at times seemed quite forced and just didn't flow. I also didn't fully buy into their reasons for disliking one another. It was almost as though there was something missing here a little extra polish that might have put this story into the really good category.
This is the first in a series and I can see where we're going to go next. Although this one fell a little short for me, I'd certainly be keen to read the next and see what happens to some of the other characters that we've met.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Player's Kiss - Sienna Blake

Player's Kiss

It was supposed to be my big break—landing the coveted spot as the All Ireland Rugby team's new PR assistant.

Instead I've become a glorified babysitter, lumped with the heinous job of keeping their star winger out of trouble and out of the papers.

Eoin O'Sullivan.
Cocky. Charming. Outrageous. Destined to drive me feckin crazy.
Party boy.
Ladies man.
An absolute PR nightmare.

Never mind that he's can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you gorgeous. Forget that the sparks (and insults) fly whenever we're together.

Too bad he's decided that torturing me is his new favourite “game”. And he's not stopping till he gets what he wants…

Me. Naked.

My Review

After Eoin got his heart broken in the last Irish Kiss novel, My Brother's Girl, he had to have his own story and have things put right. The Eoin we knew before, quick to give his heart and eager for love is long gone. But perhaps this new Eoin might be ready for a more mature and real love if he can stop feeling sorry for himself and wallowing in self-destruction long enough that is. 

Duffy has one focus in life; to be a success. If she can control Eoin long enough and keep him out of trouble, then she might get all that she's ever wanted. The security that her mother was never able to give her as a child. The only problem is that the more time she spends with Eoin, the more that she finds herself acting like her love-hungry mother, risking everything for a man. 

I loved the development of these two characters. Although Eoin seems like a man child to begin with and Duffy much too serious, they both have a lot of developing and maturing to do, in order to discover what is really important and to become the person that the other needs.

After the last book in the series, which if I'm honest left me feeling a little unsettled about the relationship in it, this was a great concluding read. While both books are very much stand-alone novels, this is one of those that I think that you will get even more out of if you read both books. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

To be your last - Rae Kennedy

To Be Your Last (To Be Yours #3)To Be Your Last by Rae Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't read the first two books in this series, which is a shame if this one is anything to go by. To be your last is a second chance romance, sort of. I say sort of because, although this is the story of two people who have been together, split up and then get the chance to try again, most of the action in this book takes place in the before of their initial relationship. I think that it was perhaps this that made me enjoy it so much.
I particularly liked both the hero and heroine. The story is told from the heroine, Grace's point of view. She is taking risks and trying things that she has never done before, it's this which leads to her being on the road touring with a rock band and meeting and falling for Colin, the lead singer. Colin is a fantastic character. He's not perfect, but when it comes to a moody lead male who actually has a heart of gold, he does come pretty close. It's not hard to see why Grace falls for him so quickly and completely.
I really enjoyed this book and I have to admit that I was sneaking glances at the odd chapter when I should have been doing something else. I loved this book and I'd really like to read more in this series or by this author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Night Deception - Tamsen Schultz

Night DeceptionNight Deception by Tamsen Schultz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Night Deception is the second of Tamsen Schultz's Tildas Island series, it also links to her previous Windsor Series. As with all of her other books, this series is an almost perfect blend of thriller and romance. I've said before in previous reviews, but it's rare for a book to get the balance so right. usually, a book is either a thriller with a side serving of romance or a romance with a slight thriller edge. Night Deception is neither of these things but manages to be a fully-fledged version of both genres.
This book deals with FBI agent Alexis and former SEAL and now bar owner Isiah. They have felt a strong attraction between them for some time, but Isiah has made it clear that he isn't interested, not wanting a brief fling with someone he assumes doesn't live locally. Things change when it becomes clear that Alexis is local. He also finds a mystery thrown into his lap that he needs her help to get to the bottom of.
This is where the thriller aspect of the story kicks in. An old friend and colleague of Isiah's contacts him and asks for help finding and helping a spy. Alexis and her team are drawn into help, not least because it somehow seems to connect to the work that they are all there to do on Tildas Island.
This was a great and gripping read that I devoured quickly once I started. As I mentioned the romance and action is well balanced. I think if you like either or both genres you would get a great deal from this book. I certainly did. These first two books have been a good strong start to this new series and I'm excited to see where it is going to go next.

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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Simmering Stu - Pamela Burford

Simmering Stu

A hot tub can be a great place to decompress—provided your tub toy isn't a Glock 9-millimetre. When Death Diva Jane discovers that Stu Ruskin has taken decompression a little too far, everyone assumes his sudden demise was self-inflicted. The result of a guilty conscience perhaps? After all, no one who knew Stu would describe him as a Boy Scout.
Jane begins to suspect murder when disturbing secrets come to light. As it turns out, some of those secrets involve Martin McAuliffe. All Jane really knows about yummy bad boy Martin is that he has a mysterious past and is a darn good kisser. But hey, Sexy Beast approves of him, and when has Jane’s neurotic canine sidekick ever steered her wrong?

My Review

Simmering Stu (Jane Delaney Mysteries Book 6)Simmering Stu by Pamela Burford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've loved the Jane Delaney mysteries since I first read Undertaking Irene over five years ago. With each new instalment, I've quickly devoured each one and Simmering Stu was no exception. The previous book, Preserving PeachesPreserving Peaches, ended with something that I'd been hoping for for a while. Simmering Stu picks up from where that book left off, which is exactly what I had been hoping for.
Jane yet again stumbles across a dead body, I have to say, I think that I'd start to avoid Jane if I happened to live nearby, for fear that she'd find another body or that I might become one myself. Jane, of course, starts to investigate the murder. I didn't manage to get there before her this time, but it was an enjoyable read all the same and I did my best to guess where things were going. Ultimately, I was happy with the conclusion, which is all that really matters in these things.
There are a few things I love about this series, one is the murder mystery element, another the humour and almost my favourite bit, the relationship between Jane and Martin. This book had more on that and I'm happy to say that Jane does seem to be following the route that I was hoping for. I can't wait to read the next book and see how things develop.
I love this series. Jane is a great character and her supporting cast (not forgetting dog Sexy Beast) are brilliant too. I hope that we don't have to wait for too long to get our hands on book 7.

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