Friday, 19 February 2021

Collided - Anna Ray

They say keep your enemies close. But what if you fell in love with your worst enemy?

Chiara Fiore

My father selling my hand in marriage had pissed me off. It was his fault that he’d drained the entirety of

the family money gambling. I was paying the price. But then, I finally met Luca. I was really annoyed with how good-looking he was. I wanted to hate him but his strong jaw, and an attitude that screamed “take charge” made me lose my mind.

Luca Mendacius

Chiara was such a breath of fresh air. She isn’t a woman that takes things lying down. She's sharp-witted and smart-mouthed. It’s a pity that she’s just a pawn in my game.
I’d waited seventeen years to get my revenge on the Fiores, and I wasn’t going to waste my chance now.

Chiara and Luca will have to navigate a rough road to become closer, and even if their differences don’t tear them apart, their enemies might.

Read on to see how the sparks fly when these two heated personalities collide!

Collided is the third book in the Mafia Sinners Series and can be read as a standalone an Arranged Marriage Mafia Romance.

My Review

Arranged marriage books can be hard to pull off. In this day and age, there has to be a good reason for someone who wants to enter in one. For Chiara, it's the thought of saving her family. After the death of her mother, her father, a mafia boss, has slowly gambled away the family business and drunk whatever was left. She needs to ally with rich newcomer Luca in order to change their fortunes.
Luca isn't all that he seems to be and has his own agenda and reasons for wanting to be with Chiara. The more time that they spend together, the more difficult it becomes to keep everything on a purely business footing, for either of them.
This was an entertaining romance that keeps you guessing until the end. Chiara and Luca make a great couple. It's clear that they are both facing threats, but can they work out who they can trust. 
I really enjoyed this great read and loved Chiara and Luca's story. I'm looking forward to reading more from this series in the future. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

A Beauty So Cruel - Beena Khan

A Beauty So Cruel
Beena Khan
(Beauty & The Beast #1)
Publication date: February 14th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

I was a beauty, a stray orphan until the beast took me as his hostage.

Once upon a time…
A Don by the name of Vlad Vitalli ruled New York. He’s a mafia man. The leader of one of the ruling families, La Cosa Nostra. He’s a monster. A trained killer and a cold-blooded murderer. Tall, mysterious, with icy gray eyes, and he rarely smiles. His smile was made to fool any girl. He’s ruthless, cold, dangerous, and wants to kill me.

I was the wrong person at the wrong time.
Just an innocent at the masquerade ball. The mafia has rules: no witnesses left behind. To save my life, I made a deal with the beast. I handed myself to the cruelest man in the kingdom.

For him, It was supposed to be an easy kill. I’m an orphan raised in poverty. No one would have missed me. Just as the Don Vlad was about to order the hit, I threw off my masquerade mask, revealing my face, and offered myself to him. One look and I was doomed. He took me as his hostage. His captive. He didn’t know by taking me, Dahlia Hadid, he sealed his own fate.

Welcome to New York’s Underworld.
Loosely based on the fairytale.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Beena Khan writes literary fiction and edgy, contemporary romance. She 27 years old and lives in New York. She’s from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology. She enjoys reading, writing, and netflixing. The Name of Red is her debut novel published at the age of 26. All of her books are on Kindle Unlimited + Free Novella!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

My Review

I do enjoy dark romances and this one certainly falls into that category. Dhalia finds herself under the control of notorious mafia Don Vlad Vitalli after witnessing a murder. He takes her and keeps her hostage in his house, never allowing her to leave, but also never taking things further with her. The more time that she spends with him, the more that she begins to questions the idea of him being the beast he has a reputation for being.
This is a retelling, or perhaps it would be better to say that it is inspired by, Beauty and the Beast. Vlad is captivated by Dhalia's beauty and his reputation and actions make him a beast. Just like the original fairy tale, the longer that the two spend together, the closer that they become. But, can anything 'real' develop between them when Dhalia is a captive?
This was a gripping and interesting read. It doesn't actually finish with the end of the book. In fact, we're left with almost as many questions as we might have had in the lead up to it. It's clear that there is much more to come with this story. I wouldn't like to guess where it might go next, but I'm interested to find out. 

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Monday, 15 February 2021

Fire Opals - Janet Louise Roberts

Fire Opals: Passions blaze in this classic Regency romance (Rebecca Danton Regency Romances)Fire Opals: Passions blaze in this classic Regency romance by Janet Louise Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that when I started this book, I was a little wary. This book is (very slightly) older than me. Sometimes, when I've read romance books that are a little bit older, I've struggled a little. Just because they have become so dated. Of course, when you are dealing with a novel that's set in the past, it is already in some ways 'dated' so that doesn't always matter.
I quickly got pulled into Fire Opals and really enjoyed the way that the story unfolded. It's marketed as a Regency Romance, but to me I would have thought it later, perhaps victorian. There is a lot about the mills and the conditions that the children are working in. Although I think that weaving and spinning mills were around in the Regency period, much of it was fairly new technology. I'm sure that it's mentioned that in the case of our hero, the mill has been in the family for a couple of generations at least. Our heroine's father has also worked his way up from working as a child to owning his own mills in Leeds. It just all screams Victorian to me, not regency.
The romance itself is very much in the style of Georgette Hayer. We have the brooding and sarcastic (but ultimately misunderstood and very much in love with our heroine) hero. Our heroine is trying to fight for her freedom, falling in love with the hero but thinking that he hates her.
I loved the story. I couldn't help but read on and find out how Charlotte and Darcy would work out their differences. Although Darcy is distant from Charlotte, he's not a monster. The first night they have sex was a little uncomfortable, as she is clearly not fully willing, but I think in the context of the period and the situation it was actually handled quite well.
There were a couple of things that did stand out to me, although not full of Americanisms it was quite clear that the book is written by someone who is not British and having checked she was American. It's not anything major, just little things that someone living in the UK would know. (Types of trees, slightly odd turns of phrase, that kind of thing.) Also, rather oddly, the mill is based in the Cotswolds, but the children from the mill have Scottish accents. Why, how did they get there, where did they come from (other than Scotland obviously) it makes no sense, but never mind.
I really enjoyed this romance. It has a feel of Hayer, but with a very little bit more of the romance and physical side of things than she would show, although less than we might be used to today. I would certainly be keen to read another historical romance from 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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Friday, 12 February 2021

Kensie's Treasure - J.M.Schneider

Kensie’s TreasuresKensie’s Treasures by J.M. Schneider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good four and a half star read. I really enjoyed this adventure-romance story. Although many romance stories contain an element of something else (suspense, mystery, adventure or the like it's usually an add on or a plot device that influences the way that the romance plays out. Less commonly, you come across a story where the other element plays as important a role as the romance. Kensie's Treasures is one such story.
Kensie has been obsessed with a pirate called Cyrus Buckwell. She leant about him as a teenager as he had some kind of connection with her school (I forget what exactly) and since then she's read and researched him. So much so that not only is it now her area of expertise at the university she works at, but she also is the only one who is an expert on him who has a different opinion of where his ship might have sunk and with it the priceless treasure that he stole from London and had been part of the crown jewels. When no one listens to her, she takes the opportunity when on a cruise to attempt to discover the missing treasure herself.
I don't want to give a full break down of the entire plot, but she meets Julian Burke, a seemingly scruffy layabout, but the only one willing to take her where she needs to be to dive for the missing treasure. The more time they spend together, the closer they become and the more that she questions what's really important.
This is an exciting and gripping read. I really wanted to know what was going to find out. Would Kensie find her treasure? Could she trust Julian? What really is important? It was easy to get pulled into Kensie and Julian's world. Not only are they treasure hunting, but it's clear that they are falling in love and that there's a great deal of chemistry between them. There's also the added danger of the shifty characters who also want to get their hands on the missing jewellery.
I do sometimes get a bit put off by the idea of the heroine not being seen as that attractive until the hero comes along and then suddenly she shines. There is an element of that here, but I think it has more to do with the fact that Kensie hasn't made time for romance and men in her life. She doesn't need Julian to see her worth, but he encourages her to recognise what's important.
I really enjoyed Kensie's Treasure and would recommend it to both lovers of romance and those who enjoy a bit of action and adventure in their reading material.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Unforgotten - Garrett Leigh

Billy Daley hasn’t been home in years, and he likes it that way. He’s just fine on his own—he has a
cash-in-hand job at a scrapyard, a half-feral cat to keep him company, and many miles between him, his hometown and all the baggage that comes with it.

Until the job goes sideways. Suddenly he’s back in Rushmere, working for none other than his brother’s best friend—a man whose kiss Billy can’t seem to forget.

Gus Amour’s memories of Billy Daley are all spiky edges, lips crushed against lips and a reckless streak that always ended in trouble. But when Billy needs a place to stay, Gus steps in. He’d do anything for the Daley family, including living, and working, side by side with a man who makes his heart beat too fast and his blood run too hot—two things he’s been running from for years.

It doesn’t take long before their easy banter, lingering touches and heated glances become a temptation too hard to resist. But falling into bed and falling in love are two different things, and love has never come easy to either Billy or Gus. Only when fate threatens to steal away their opportunity for a second chance will they realize they don’t need easy.

They just need each other.

My Review

When I read the first book in the Forgiven Series by Garrett Leigh, Forgiven, I couldn't wait to get stuck into the second book in the series. We had met Gus and in a much smaller way, Billy, in that first book and I had a feeling that I was going to enjoy reading about them. I was not wrong.
Billy has had a difficult time, drifting from place to place and getting himself into all kinds of trouble. He's a damaged young man after the death of his father and feeling that his older brother Luke abandoned him. In many was Gus seems to have everything sorted, but he's experienced much of the same pain and difficulties that Gus has been faced with. Together they begin to heal and put old demons to bed.
I loved the interactions between Gus and Billy. I think that they worked particularly well as it wasn't the case that one had to fix the other, just that together they were able to deal with their own problems.
This was a great read and I really enjoyed joining this family again as they sort themselves out and fall in love. I don't know if there will be further instalments in this series or it will remain as a duet of books. Either way, it's a satisfying and enjoyable read and I'd highly recommend it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Buy Unforgotten by Garrett Leigh 


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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer.

Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at, and co-owns the specialist stock site with photographer Dan Burgess

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Saturday, 6 February 2021

This Side of Midnight - Tamsen Schultz

 A thrilling tale of murder, conspiracy, friendship, and love.

This side of midnight by Tamsen Schultz

Despite constantly having to struggle to prove she’s worthy of the title, Detective Anika Anderson loves her job with the Tildas Island Police Force. But when tourists start dying under suspicious circumstances, she never imagines that the biggest battle she’d have to fight is within her own department. That is, until her friend, Dominic Burel, and the FBI Task Force he’s a part of, prove she’s right to be concerned.

As an FBI agent and former PJ with the elite Air Force Pararescue Unit, Dominic Burel has been happy to move through life solely focused on work. But when a family visit leaves him shaken, he realizes his friendship with Anika could, and should, be so much more. Now he has to change her mind about them and he’s not above using his investigative skills to finagle his way into her case—and life—to do it.

As Anika and Dominic hunt a killer, they quickly realize they’ve uncovered something much more sinister. The simple murders aren’t so simple and there’s a much grander plan at play. And when they find they aren’t the only ones hunting, it will take everything they have to stay out of the true killer’s crosshairs.

If you revel in escaping into a story, this friends-to-lovers romantic suspense will keep you turning the pages.

My Review

This Side of Midnight is the fourth book in the Tildas Island series. It doesn't have to be read as part of the series, but as there is an overarching storyline, across the whole series, then you might want to check out the others too. 
This time we have Anika and Dominic. I have mentioned before, when reviewing books by Tamsen Schultz, these don't really fall just into romance or mystery/thriller books. They seem to be able to do both of these genre's justice, which is really quite unusual. Anika is a detective in the local police force when she has a couple of dead bodies to investigate, it soon becomes clear to her that there is something not quite right going on. She might be under pressure from her superiors to sign things off as accidents and suicides, but she is fairly sure that there is more going on here. She turns to Dominic, an FBI agent who is on the island on a long term assignment. Together he and his team help Anika to get to the bottom of things.
Dominic and Anika work well together in a professional sense, but it is clear that there is much more between them than that. They cannot avoid the chemistry and things develop between them on a personal level as well as a professional one. I liked the relationship between them and the way that it developed. 
It's clear that we need the next instalment of the Tildas island series to really see what is going on and who is behind it all. I'm looking forward to finding out how it is all going to unfold. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Beautiful Façade - Kathryn S. Rose

Beautiful Facade
Kathryn S Rose
Publication date: February 2nd 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

On the day that 16-year-old Winter Starling had her life and dreams shattered by a sexual assault, she meets Kai, a boy from her high school obsessed with music. They develop a deep friendship, which comes to an abrupt end when Kai unexpectedly has to leave. Winter has no idea why he went or any way to contact him.

Ten years pass, and Winter has constructed a new reality for herself. Now living in Melbourne, she has a successful career in advertising and is engaged to Liam King, a star player in Australian Rules Football. Winter has a perfect life.

During a night out, Winter runs into Kai, now the lead singer of ‘The Stonevilles.’ Winter and Kai rekindle their friendship, and to everyone around them, their attraction is evident. With Kai back in her life, Winter’s past threatens to ruin her relationship with Liam and everything she has worked to achieve. But can she risk losing Kai a second time?

Emotional and edgy, Beautiful Facade is about love, loss, healing, self-discovery, and the messy battle between one’s head and one’s heart.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Kathryn S Rose is a mum, wife, reader, writer, traveller, and food enthusiast. Writing a book was always on her bucket list, and finally, with Beautiful Facade, it has come into fruition.

Kathryn is interested in the study of human behaviour and obtained a Bachelor of Social Science, with a focus on Community studies and Welfare Work.

Since completing her studies, she has worked in several jobs, which have enhanced her understanding of social issues, human development, relationships, and lifestyle. Some of these insights are reflected in her writing and give her inspiration.

Besides books, Kathryn has many other loves. She enjoys listening to live music, relaxing at the beach, embarking on random hiking adventures, and indulging in too much food and wine with ​family and friends.

When Kathryn and her family aren’t traipsing around the world, they can be found residing in Perth, Western Australia.

Website / Instagram


My Review

There are lots of reasons that might lead me to choose a particular book over another. Sometimes it's just the description and the kind of thing that I'm in the mood for. At others, there are little things that attract me to a story. With Beautiful Façade, not only did the story sound interesting, but one of the main characters was called Kai, which is my oldest son's name. I thought that I might have to give it a go.
Kai and Winter have a history, as teenagers, they were best friends, or perhaps even more than that, although they never took the step to become more intimate before Kai suddenly left. Now, ten years later, Winter is engaged to another man, but when she meets Kai again it makes her question who and what she really wants.
I enjoyed this second chance romance. I wasn't sure how things were going to play out to make Winter realise who she really should be with as it was clear from the start that her relationship with Liam, wasn't ideal. I did feel that there was something a little bit lacking though. He wasn't painted as a complete villain, they were just not quite as compatible as would be ideal. I think that in many ways Winter and Kai were given a bit of a 'get out of jail' free card with the way that the story played out. It worked, but I think that it could have been done slightly better without the need for some things that happened.
That said, I did enjoy this book and the way that things panned out eventually. Overall, a good read. 

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