BOOK REVIEW: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

thelawofmoses644If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

review

“If I were to paint you, I would use every color.”

You know you’re going to experience a myriad of emotions just by opening an Amy Harmon book, having personally welcomed many a sunrise curled up in bed sobbing like a baby while not getting a wink of sleep, simply unable to put her beautiful words down. But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer exquisiteness of this story, and for the marvellous characters Ms Harmon has once again gifted us with. Every part of this book surprised me, thrilled me, made my heart burst at the seams, and the biggest gift I’m going to give you, my fellow readers, is by not telling you what this story is really all about.

“This is the story of love with no end . . . though it took me a while to get there.”

We meet Georgia Shepherd at the tender age of seventeen—a simple girl from a small country town, a tomboy, a loving daughter. Georgia’s love of horses and her unique talent at taming them have always meant that her future would never be uncertain, but Georgia’s rather sheltered small town upbringing has also made her hungry to leave home for a while, seek the unknown and experience freedom for the first time in her life. Yet everything changes when a young man with an unusual life story moves into the house next door.

“… when Moses came to Levan, he was like water—cold, deep, unpredictable, and, like the pond up the canyon, dangerous, because you could never see what was beneath the surface.”

Moses Wright was born a ‘crack baby’, and found abandoned in a laundry basket when he was only a few hours old. Moses has always been different from other little boys of his age, his unusual looks only overshadowed by his peculiar behaviour, his unpredictable temperament and his determination not to let anyone get close to him. Constantly tossed from one relative to another, never wanted by any, repeatedly dismissed as a ‘messed up kid’ who could not be fixed, his life never became easy. However, everything changes for Moses the day his great-grandmother decides to take him in on a permanent basis, despite being advised against it by her entire family, her love for him making her confident she could pull him out of his self-imposed solitude. But Moses is not an ordinary young man. He holds a secret that has shaped his entire existence, every human contact, everything he sees around him, and that very secret has made him afraid of loving anyone in his life. His incredible but highly unusual art is a visual representation of everything he keeps to himself, his only escape from the images he cannot hide from.

“If you don’t love, then nobody gets hurt. It’s easy to leave. It’s easy to lose. It’s easy to let go.”

The last thing Moses expects to find in life is someone like Georgia Shepherd. She is open, unpretentious and her every failed attempt at making Moses warm up to her and let her be his friend only seem to make her even more determined to sneak through the cracks of Moses’ brooding disposition. Georgia is the kind of girl who loves freely, generously, and her pride never gets in the way of her honesty, regardless of how many times he rejects her or mistreats her with harsh words. She speaks without thinking, says everything and anything that is on her mind, gives her heart unreservedly, and eventually, a bit of Georgia’s light manages to shine through the dark cracks that Moses so desperately tries to hide.

“She was a small town girl with a simple way of speaking and thinking, a frank way of being that turned me on and turned me off at the same time. I wanted to run from her. But at the same time, I spent all my time thinking about her.”

As their budding romance progresses very slowly, and Georgia grows more and more attached to Moses, heart-shattering loss strikes this young man’s life again, and his future suddenly changes forever. When faced with returning to a place that only holds sorrow for him or taking off to never return to that place again, Moses decides to flee, leaving behind a heartbroken girl whose only sin was loving him without restraint.

“I’m a very ordinary girl, Moses. I know that I am. And I always will be. I can’t paint. I don’t know who Vermeer is, or Manet for that matter. But if you think ordinary can be beautiful, that gives me hope. And maybe sometime you’ll think about me when you need an escape from the hurt in your head.”

Seven years later, their paths suddenly cross again, but neither of them are the same as they once were. Life has changed them both deeply, taken away their innocence and altered their perception of what they once shared. However, some loves never fade, some loves survive all hurt, and some loves never stop reminding you of everything you should be grateful for.

“Georgia’s eyes, Georgia’s hair, Georgia’s mouth, Georgia’s love, Georgia’s long, long legs.”

As always, there is a subtle but very powerful message woven into every word, every single heart-warming scene. By letting us hear both the main characters’ voices, we are given the opportunity to bond with them equally, to understand them, empathise with them, share their hopes. Moses’ ‘secret’ is a crucial part of the story itself, an angle I never expected to find or adore so much, and because of the way it astonished me, I wish for you to uncover it on your own too. This is a book about gratitude, about never forgetting that there is always something to be thankful for in life, even in the grimmest of moments, and that it is never too late to seize happiness and never let go of it again. It’s a story that does not shield us in any way from soul-crushing heartbreak, a few scenes being so intensely distressing that I could not breathe from the sheer heaviness of them, but the beauty of the moments of joy we are given throughout this book is what we walk away with, smiling through our tears and babbling our own ‘five greats’ to ourselves.

There are no words that would ever do justice to a story like this one. Ms Harmon has once again given us an inspiring tale to cherish forever, a story written so elegantly, at times even poetically, that breathes itself into our hearts and, hopefully, even leaves a small part of itself behind. An absolute delight to read, as always.

“If you would just let me in, if you would just love me back, we could have a beautiful life.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

captivatedbyyou

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened up old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp; my greatest fears becoming my reality; my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream . . .

review

“You okay, angel mine?”
“I’m in your arms. Life doesn’t get better than this.”

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a reader that the Crossfire series is my own personal kryptonite. No other series has kept me as emotionally invested for such a long time as these books have, having re-read each one of them countless times and always discovering new layers to the story, new details that I might have missed or skimmed over on that first…or tenth…or twentieth re-read. This is one of the most powerful, passionate love stories that I know of, Gideon and Eva being two such meticulously developed characters that we cannot help but want to talk about them over and over again, psychoanalysing their every action, their every word, their every breath, because they feel that real to us. This fourth instalment in the series is possibly my favourite of the lot, encompassing every single element I hoped to find in it, in particular the careful attention that is paid to these characters’ emotional growth and change. There was not a moment that I did not understand the motivation behind their actions and reactions, and there was not one scene that did not make my heart race or skip a beat. Every word in it counts, every emotionally charged scene plays a vital role in the overall storyline, and every part of the puzzle is fundamental to our deeper understanding of the key players in it. This book was everything I wished it would be, and so much more, my mind still reeling from the mere brilliance of the way these characters are brought to life. Bravo, Ms Day!

“Are you in love, Mr. Cross?”
“Irrevocably.”

They may have known each other for just a few months, but Eva and Gideon’s tumultuous relationship has survived through enough trials to last them a lifetime. But even after exchanging vows in secret and promising their forevers to one another, they know that there are still many obstacles before them, most of them stemming from Gideon’s past and the painful memories he refuses to address. Their unique connection is their biggest strength—their almost visceral bond and need for each other being their greatest weapon against the world that questions their commitment to one another and tries to pull them apart—but that connection is also their greatest weakness as it isolates them from others, making them codependent and essential for each other’s happiness. As we finally hear Gideon’s voice in this book, we get to see firsthand the depth of his love for Eva and how her presence in his life has changed him. Her unwavering devotion, her protectiveness of him, and her every touch silence the demons that devastate him through his dreams and affect his every human connection.

“You’re the reason I breathe, I can’t turn it off. I think of nothing but you. All day. Every day. Everything I do, I do with you in mind. There’s no room for anyone else.”

As the limelight is put on the their young relationship, their private moments in each other’s arms are what drives that relationship forward, their intimacy with one another growing with each sexual encounter, every kiss, every embrace. Behind closed doors, they are one, both physically as well as mentally, completely in sync and vulnerable only to one another. They understand the other person’s needs and addictions better than anyone else in their lives, their frequent and very intense lovemaking sessions sustaining and temporarily satiating their hunger for one another. No part of themselves is hidden, no sexual act is off limits, and their physical as well as emotional addiction to each other only grows. And within their unique dynamic, sex still remains their primary mode of communication.

“She was every promise, every hope, every fantasy a man could have. And she was mine.”

But as they work on improving themselves in order to have a functional and healthy relationship with each other, old foes from Gideon’s past keep resurfacing, relentlessly set on destroying him and making him pay for his past sins. For the first time in his adult life, he has shown the world his only weakness—Eva—and they are willing to hurt her in order to get to him.

“She’s the chink in your armor, you heartless piece of shit. You’ve got ice in your veins, but she bleeds … It’s time to pay, and your billions won’t cover the debt.”

We watch our fearless hero battle his past, fight for a future with the woman he loves, all along navigating through marital waters he never imagined himself embarking upon. Nothing in their marriage is left to chance, their every energy dedicated to honouring their commitment to one another, to being what the other needs, craves, wants, and to shouldering each other’s burdens. But every step comes with a hurdle, every achievement with a mistake, and every lesson learned with a hefty price attached to it.

“I would set the world on fire to clear a path for her, if that’s what it took.”

There is an extraordinary self-awareness present in these characters that makes them incredibly fascinating to watch, overcoming their personal hang-ups being their greatest challenge both personally as well as a couple. I was enthralled start to finish, reading slowly in order to absorb every emotion, swallow every word. Ms Day’s writing style is unmatched, her confident and sophisticated prose pulling us in and making us feel every emotion she wishes us to feel. I walked away emotionally drained, with the biggest smile on my face, thrilled for everything that my two favourite characters achieved in such a short time span, but more than happy to wait for their grand finale as their story concludes in the next book.

“I’m hanging on by a thread, Eva.”
“You don’t have to hang on. Let go. I’ll catch you.”

5stars

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Crossfire – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Bared to You: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAHardcover
Reflected in YouMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Entwined with You: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Captivated by You: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
One with You: TBA

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BOOK REVIEW: Love, in Spanish by Karina Halle

LoveInSpanish“She sat beside me on the bus – and she changed my whole life.”

Successful, wealthy and absurdly handsome – Spanish ex-football player Mateo Casalles seemed like he had it all. A high-society wife, an adorable little girl, and flashy apartments in Madrid and Barcelona only sweetened the deal. But there was more to Mateo than met the eye – a life of uncertainty and regret that colored his black and white world.

That was until Vera Miles came into his life like a shooting star. Tattooed, wild and young, Vera seemed like Mateo’s polar opposite at first. But you can’t choose who you fall in love with and the two lost souls did everything they could to be together, all while suffering the grave consequences.

Now with Mateo divorced and living in Madrid with Vera, there is a whole new set of challenges and setbacks facing the couple and rocking the foundation of their star-crossed relationship.

Unfortunately for them, the brighter the star, the faster they burn.

review

“I’ll forever keep searching for you. I will look up to the sky and let it point me your way. I will not let you go, Vera. I will never let you go.”

For a self-proclaimed seeker of fairy-tale endings, I have an uncanny penchant for stories that feel particularly ‘real’ to me, stories that refuse to be sugar-coated or bubble-wrapped in forced imaginary scenarios, stories that are so honest and raw that even the sweetest of happily-ever-afters often comes with a healthy and sobering dose of truth. They put your heart through the wringer, they jerk it around like their favourite toy, but the most satisfying thing about them is the way they colour the lenses through which you see your own life, the lives of those around you, and the way they expand your view on things you would have never considered otherwise. Love, in English will forever remain one of my most beloved books. It is not a love story with a big red bow on top—it is a love story born when it perhaps never should have been, a love story that has been scrutinized, dismissed, judged, attacked, and yet it remains alive because two people met on a bus in Spain and ended up falling for one another so deeply and so irreversibly that every hurdle before them pales in comparison. Mateo and Vera’s relationship has never been easy—it is not that kind of love story—but their love for each other has never been in question. It shows us that some things in life are worth fighting for until our very last breath, and that it is never too late to find oneself, to embrace the person one is born to be, to capture happiness, even when knowing that no gift in life comes without a sacrifice to pay.

“Our journey has never been easy. The only thing easy in all of this is my love for her. It is pure, it is simple, and it is true.”

We saw them meet, we saw them fall in love, we saw them fight that love, we saw them give in, and we saw them become one. But for Vera and Mateo, the road ahead was never meant to be simple, and it was always going to be marred by prejudice and opposition.

“Through it all we have each other, two exiled souls. We pay for our sins with each kiss, we feel our mistakes with each touch.”

Mateo Casalles has finally found the love of his life, a woman who has changed him and given him purpose, and when faced with having all his dreams come true as professional fulfillment is once again within his reach, he is suddenly reluctant to accept more change in his life, fearing it might cost him the one he loves the most. Being in the public eye brings its own set of challenges for their young relationship, their every public move now dissected and twisted around even more, but Mateo never stops putting Vera’s needs first, her happiness being his key concern, knowing how heavily her role in the break-up of his marriage weighs upon her.

“I see her as my star, one she thinks has burned too much for the both of us.”

By hearing Mateo’s every thought and every fear, we are faced with a very different man than the one we met in the first book. A better man. His every action is now seen in a different light, his every word now speaking volumes about the gentle-hearted, selfless, loving man that he is. His love for Vera is a sight to behold. The raw intensity of their every touch is only outmatched by how much her happiness means to him, and how much of himself he is willing to give to her.

“I follow every part of you, everywhere. You go before me, Vera. You always will.”

As they embark on the next chapter in their lives, the odds playing against them only keep multiplying, from scorned ex-spouses to meddling paparazzi, but through it all, Vera remains his constant, his own guiding star, and Mateo is not a man who ever forgets how dark his life had been without her. Or would once again return to be.

“You are my star, my light, my love. And it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not because it is the truth and the truth always finds a way to shine.”

I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book so thoroughly and so ardently as I have this one. I found myself constantly stopping, re-reading entire paragraphs, desperately trying to absorb the beauty of every single line in it. Karina Halle has a very unique talent for weaving words almost poetically, the sheer elegance of her writing style only outshone by her meticulous character development and the annihilating power of the notions behind her stunning words. And ‘meeting’ the real Mateo Casalles this way has been quite a treat in itself. A complex man, an intelligent man, a passionate man, a caring man—Mateo’s only ‘sin’ is to have fallen in love with someone whom society deems inappropriate for his social standing and reputation, but it is his relentless devotion to the woman he loves and his emotional vulnerability and honesty before her that make us weak at the knees as readers. And utterly enchanted with him.

“Just a man in love. Just a hero. Just a coward. Just me.”

Karina Halle does not just give us heroes and heroines, she gives us real, tangible people for us to identify with, learn from, and she gives us stories to talk about for many moons to come. I know that a lot of people often dismiss these books because of the ‘cheating’ theme in the story, but it is my personal and humble opinion that this story is not about a cheating spouse or a homewrecker. It is about what happens when people fall out of love, or have never experienced true love before, and then they are given the unexpected gift of finding someone who suddenly lights up everything in their life, including the person they are but never got a chance to be. These are not reckless human beings, they are not driven by hormones or lust—they are fallible individuals who feel deeply the sting of every single consequence of their actions and who never forget what their happiness has cost them.

This novella only completes an already perfect story in my eyes, a story that might not be your traditional idea of a fairytale, but whose brutal honesty makes it that much more unforgettable.

“We were worth every sacrifice, every burnt bridge.”

6stars

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Love in English – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Love, in English: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Love, in Spanish (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Where Sea Meets Sky (spin-off): Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (31 Mar 2015)

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BOOK REVIEW: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

BuryingWaterLeft for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

review

“The mind, it can be a deceitful thing. But it is no match for the heart.”

It is such a thrill to a zealous reader like me to not only realise that one of my favourite authors never fails to blow my mind with her stories, but that she also remains capable of surprising me, time after time, as I never quite know what kind of ‘journey’ she would take me on, always somehow managing to leave me utterly stunned in the aftermath of her extraordinary tales. This book was like no other that I have ever read, its unique structure and pace designed to make our hearts race, skip beats, melt and crush from one moment to another, never knowing what to expect next. Meticulously assembled to ‘feed’ us only little snippets of the story at a time while our minds are frantically tiling the puzzle pieces to form the picture we are so desperate to complete—this is an impeccably written story, infused with suspense and cloaked in mystery, showing us the hefty price of a second chance at happiness in life.

“You get to be whoever you want to be, without the burden of your past.”

A young woman is found beaten, raped, and left for dead in the middle of a forest, her young body desperately clinging onto its last thread of life. We don’t know much about the man who rescues her except that he is in love with her, and that no one can know that she was found. After a myriad of life saving procedures and a long hospital recovery, the young woman wakes up with no recollection of her past or any of the events that caused her injuries. Confused, scared, ashamed of her scars, her battered body is a constant reminder of everything that has happened to her, and of everything she has no memory of, her mind having locked itself in a desperate act of self-preservation.

“Why can’t I seem to recall a single scrap of my life? Not a face, not a name, not a childhood pet. Nothing.”

And then we suddenly flip into the past, where we meet a young trophy wife to a cruel man several decades her senior, whose life is nothing like she hoped it would be. Physically and mentally abused on a daily basis, Alexandria Petrova is alone in the world but for the man who had promised to hand it to her on a silver platter, trapped in a loveless marriage and in a life that requires her to abide by her husband’s every whim. When a young man’s unexpected act of kindness stirs something inside her, Alexandria begins to question her decisions in life, and wishing for more. The more time they spend together, and the more his every action shows her the way she always dreamed of being loved, the more she blossoms before his eyes, becoming the vivacious but gentle young woman she was born to be. But some mistakes in life are not easy to erase, Alexandria’s newfound happiness making her oblivious to the dangers lurking within her own marital bed.

“I’d never leave you alone in the dark.”

Jesse has loved Alexandria from the moment her lips touched his on a stormy night on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He felt her unhappiness in her every breath, but her passionate kiss marked his soul, making him unable to forget her even though he never even saw her face. When he recognises her in the young wife of the ostentatious brute who hires him to restore his car, he is unable to look away. Or walk away until she is his.

“In your life. Are you happy? Or do you ever wish you could just start over?”

We are given two timelines to follow simultaneously, constantly flipping from past to present, but in both we see two people falling in love, slowly, cautiously, irreversibly. In the past, a young woman is afraid of her own future, incapable of walking away from the only happiness she has ever experienced in her adult life regardless of what it might cost her to pursue it, while in the present, that same young woman is terrified of her past, her scars an incessant reminder of what her mind won’t let her recall.

“Someone must be missing me. Even just one person, right?”

What I loved the most about this story is the fallible nature of all the characters in it, especially the two leading ones. Jesse and Alexandria are imperfect people, people who make mistakes, act impulsively, fail to consider the consequences of their own actions until it becomes too late, but they are only following the paths their hearts have drawn before them, which is even more evident when they are given a second chance at happiness. Their love story is not about an all-consuming passion burning between them and making them blind to the world around them—it is a story of two souls being drawn to one another, finding more joy in the few fleeting moments spent in each other’s company than in anything else in their lives. It felt to me as if we were intentionally left craving that emotional intensity that was implied in their every word, in their every glance directed towards one another, putting all emphasis on the irresistible pull between them and the unique connection that brought them to each other time after time. This is not a love story born out of carnal pleasure. This is a story about love, first and foremost, a selfless love, a genuine love, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love.

“If she doesn’t remember me, if she didn’t feel trapped and utterly alone, would a girl like her fall for me a second time?”

I never wanted this book to end. It was such an enjoyable reading experience beginning to end, with an incredible cast of secondary characters that made the story even more colourful and hard to let go of. Every single aspect of this story is unique, unexpected, riveting, and every moment spent reading it has been outright unforgettable. A must-read.

“If you wait long enough, the truth always finds its way.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

echoesofscotlandstreetShannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude to win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.…

review

“You’re worth every bad thing that’s ever happened to me, because going through them led me to you.”

It’s rare to find a series that book after book never disappoints, never fails to capture my attention and make me fall head over heels in love with the characters, but On Dublin Street is not only one of these extraordinary instances, it is also a series that never stopped getting better and better. Two characters oh-so easy to love, an emotional storyline that kept me glued to my seat for hours on end, literally gasping for the next page—this is a book I adored and could not walk away from even days after I first finished it, needing to re-read parts of it over and over again. I have never not loved a Samantha Young book, but this one just might be my new favourite.

“Are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
“What is a hero, really?”
“I suppose it’s someone that saves people.”
“Yeah, I supposed it is.”
“So, do you save people?”
“I’m only fifteen. Give me a chance.”

Shannon and Cole met as teenagers, for a brief but unforgettable moment in time, and while their lives have led them onto very different paths, they both ended up becoming survivors of the cruel hands that fate has dealt them. While Cole’s childhood has been marred by neglect, and physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his only parent, he has grown into a kind-hearted and protective young man, whose ‘tatted-up’ bad boy appearance stands in stark contrast to his true character. Shannon’s emotional scars, on the other hand, come from a different but no less traumatic place. Every single relationship that she has been in has left a bad taste in her mouth, her last one leaving her battered both physically as well as emotionally. Moving to a new town might seem like the only way to escape her painful past, but she soon realises that no matter where she goes, her memories would inevitably follow.

“…somehow, hopefully, along the way I was going to find the girl I’d lost because of him.”

When Shannon steps into Edinburgh’s most revered tattoo studio looking for a job, she has no idea that her new boss would be the same boy she walked away from nine years before, the vivid memory of him still very much alive in her mind. But Cole’s tattoos and cocky demeanour remind her also of every bad boyfriend she has ever had, making her misjudge him at first sight. And no matter how charming or friendly he is towards her, she rejects both his friendship as well as his not-so-subtle advances, making it crystal clear what she thinks of “his type”.

“…Cole Walker represented everything wrong with my life and the choices I’d made thus far.”

But appearances can be deceiving and, soon, Shannon realises that she might have made the biggest mistake of her life by pushing Cole away. And that her own prejudices could cost her the affections of the best person she has ever met.

“You really are the biggest disappointment, Shannon MacLeod.”

While this is a truly heartfelt romance between two people you cannot help but fall madly in love with from the moment you meet them, this is also a story about knowing when to put the past behind you, learning from it but not letting it affect your future happiness. Shannon’s unfortunate past has the power to either define her or make her even stronger than she is. Having loved someone who constantly belittled her, made her believe she was talentless and stupid, and unworthy of someone like him, has not only damaged her self-esteem and confidence, but it also made her distrustful of her own ability to judge a person correctly and not to make the same mistakes again. Having someone like Cole Walker in one’s life, however, is all the motivation a girl needs to put her big girl panties on and take a chance.

“That wasn’t my voice in my head. That was someone else’s and he did not get to win like that.”

This is an inspiring tale of courage and resilience, framed by a beautiful and truly touching love story, and I ate up every hypnotic word of it. Ms Young never lets me down, always blows me away, and rarely leaves me in a state where I’m quite ready to enjoy another book. It’s been two days… maybe it’s time for a re-read!

“I’m going to f*ck every bad memory of those unworthy gits out of you, even if it takes me a lifetime. Starting tonight.”

5stars

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On Dublin Street – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
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On Dublin Street: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Until Fountain Bridge (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Down London Road: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Castle Hill (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Before Jamaica Lane: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fall from India Place: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Echoes of Scotland Street: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan

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When the world as you know it has ended, when all that you love has been washed away, where do you find strength?

When the new world you’ve stepped into is as isolating as the last, when your heart is broken, and your future is unclear, where do you find hope?

Finding Eden is a story of strength, discovery, forgiveness, and undying love. It is about believing in your destiny and following the path that leads to peace.

This is the continuation, and conclusion, to Becoming Calder

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“I’ll be waiting for you, by a spring. Come find me, I’ll be there.”

I rarely ache for a book. I might be curious about a story to the point of completely pausing reality and forgetting everything around me, but it doesn’t happen very often that my heart needs it, craves it, wants it so much that I cannot enjoy another in its stead. Becoming Calder pushed me out of my comfort zone by immersing me into a world that I like to pretend it doesn’t exist, and it made me fall in love with two of the most amiable, kind hearted characters I have ever come across. It made me see the world through different eyes, aware of how much of my own life I tend to take for granted, but it also left me utterly desperate for the sequel, willing to beg, steal and bribe for a mere peek at it. In this heart-stopping conclusion to a most extraordinary tale, after unthinkable loss and sorrow, we finally see life balancing itself out to make up for all that it has taken. While the first part of this story celebrated human resilience and our innate capacity to find love even under the direst of circumstances, in the second part, we get to see what happens to the human spirit once it is set free—free to grow at last, free to flourish, free to spread its wings, and free to love without restraint.

“Anything you want. If it exists in this world, it’s yours.”

The tragedy that our young heroine survived has changed her, made her afraid of the world around her, but all it takes is one random act of kindness from a complete stranger to give her hope and a reason to go on. Eden might have walked out of Acadia physically unscathed, but her heart is shattered. Her love for Calder is the only thing she knows, the only thing she has ever known, and it is still the only thing she clings onto. Now truly alone in the world, Eden has to find the strength to be her own person, to decide for herself what she wants to believe in, who she wants to be. But even when life finally offers her what she has always craved to have, the constant void inside her never stops reminding her of all that she has lost.

“I was still loved. I belonged to someone again.”

And yet, this is not a story about loss. This is a story about new beginnings, about the type of love that conquers all, about the endurance of the human spirit and its ability to heal itself even when weighed down by memories of a harrowing past. In a feat of sheer brilliance, we are also given the kind of story that tells us that there are two sides to every coin, showing us that the human spirit can sometimes break from mere powerlessness and despair. This is a story that challenges the assumptions we make about people, about their lives and their motivations, and it shows us that every demon has its own demons keeping it awake at night.

“I swear to you, my beautiful, sweet love, everyone deserves a love story that doesn’t hurt.”
“Even us?”
“Yes. I promise. Even us.”

There are so many moments in these two books that ripped my heart right out of my chest, made me forget how to breathe, but there is an unwavering current of hope and positivity driving this story forward, and it is that very message that we take away from it in the end—life can change a person, steer them off course, make them lose their way, but it is one’s heart that is the true measure of a person, each one of us deciding what defines us in the end. These characters are perfect examples of the kind of beauty that can come out of darkness, their strength and determination showing us that no matter how many times you strike down a wildflower, try to exterminate it or hinder its growth, it somehow always finds a way to live and bloom.

Every facet of this inspiring tale left me breathless, astonished, overwhelmed and overflowing with emotions, and I believe a tiny part of it will forever live inside me, reminding me to appreciate even the smallest moments of beauty in life. And one day when I grow old and wrinkly, the mere thought of a morning glory will still make my heart smile.

“As pretty as a flower . . . as strong as a weed.”

6stars

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A Sign of Love – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links

(LeoLeo’s Chance, and Becoming Calder + Finding Eden are stories that unfold over two books, while Stinger and Archer’s Voice are standalone novels)

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LeoAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Leo’s ChanceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
StingerAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Archer’s Voice: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Becoming CalderAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Finding EdenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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The Author

Mia is an avid reader, and now writer of romance and erotic novels. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband who is a police officer and her biggest fan (not necessarily in that order). They have four children here on earth and one in heaven. When she is not sitting on her couch with her head buried in her Kindle, Mia can be found writing or doing anything creative from building a patio, to sewing pillows.

Connect with Mia: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Becoming Calder by Mia Sheridan

BecomingCalderThere is a place in modern day America with no electricity, no plumbing, and no modern conveniences. In this place, there is no room for dreams, no space for self-expression, and no tolerance for ambition.

In this place, there is a boy with the body of a God and the heart of a warrior. He is strong and faithful and serves his family honorably. But he dares to dream of more.

In this place, there is a girl with the face of an angel and a heart full of courage. To her family, she is the vision of obedient perfection. But she dares to want that which she has been told can never be hers.

Becoming Calder is the story of good versus evil, fear versus bravery, and the truth that the light of love has always found its way into even the darkest of places… From the beginning of time, to the end of the world.

review

“Where do you find your strength, Morning Glory?”
“From you.”

I believe a small wonder is coming. A love story so epic and unique that will wreck us all and leave us in a blissful haze of ‘book hangovers’ for months to come. I believe I would have never read this book had it not been written by this particular author. Would have not even glimpsed at it twice. I believe Mia Sheridan has just written one of the most stunning, unpretentious romances of our age, and this book is going to change us all. I walked into this story completely blind, refusing even to read the blurb, confident in this author’s superb storytelling talents and in the unquestionable beauty of every single one of her previous works, but after only a few pages, I knew I had hit a hard limit with the setting of this book. My brain was screaming at me, telling me I couldn’t possibly enjoy anything of this sort, but my heart never even entertained the possibility of stopping because I knew that Ms Sheridan would blow my mind, as she always does, and that this was going to be one of those life-altering reading experiences that stays with you, changes you, makes you look at the world in a different way. I trusted my heart. And my heart was right.

“A storm is coming.”

This story is set in modern day America, but far away from the comforts of the society we know and live in. Acadia is a close-knit community of small families renouncing modern technology and living a sheltered life, an uncomplicated life, a focused life, in the middle of the Arizona desert. Except that every aspect of their way of life finds its source in the teachings of one man, a self-proclaimed Prophet, promising to lead his people to eternal life after a great flood erases life on Earth as we know it. We meet Calder as a ten-year-old boy living in Acadia with his family, on the very day he sees the “blessed one” for the very first time. An orphan and younger than Calder, Eden is brought into Acadia as the future bride of the Prophet who would stand by his side on doomsday. But at nine years of age, Eden is just an innocent little girl who is curious about the world around her and who dreams of a normal life where she is allowed to play with other kids, where she is loved, and where she is not one scary man’s object of affection.

“You’re mine, Eden. You always have been, from the very first second I saw you.”

From the moment Calder and Eden lay eyes on each other, their connection is immediate and irreversible. We watch them grow up, become young adults, but their mutual adoration never falters, never fades, and it only becomes stronger as they somehow manage to weave a secret friendship without ever even exchanging a word between them. And then one day everything changes when their one place of escape becomes the very place where they fall in love with one another.

“If I were just a boy, and you were just a girl, I wouldn’t kiss you once like you asked. Eden, I’d kiss you long, and I’d kiss you often.”

Everything they were taught to believe tells them that loving each other is wrong, sinful, forbidden, but the more stolen moments of pure joy they share in each other’s company, the more it becomes impossible to deny their hearts. And the more they are told they should not love each other, the more they start doubting the very beliefs that are meant to keep them apart.

How could this be a sin when my heart was bursting with love for this strong, kind, incredible boy—the one who had taught me all things brave and beautiful? How could this be a sin when it was the most joyful moment of my whole life? Could it be wrong to be so happy?

We watch them fall in love, hesitantly at first, discovering those emotions and each other’s bodies as any two teenagers would, and we feel it all with them—the exhilaration, the joy, the curiosity, the lack of control, the certainty that they were made to belong to one another. And our hearts grow tenfold. But as Eden’s eighteenth birthday draws near, the malice that tries to keep them apart only grows stronger and more determined, challenging everything they once believed to be true.

“All I know for sure is that you belong to me and I’m going to protect you. I’m going to make a life for us. Somehow.”

There is a stunning contrast between the world that Calder and Eden secretly build for themselves, between them, and the one they are told to live in. The beauty and purity of their bond throws an even darker shadow on the life they were taught to accept and never question, and each shift from one ‘reality’ to another only intensifies the angst we feel as readers. As much as I enjoyed every second of this truly extraordinary tale, I have to admit that my heart was in my throat from beginning to end, constantly on guard, fearful for the characters I loved from the get-go, and uncertain how it would all end. A beautiful story of human resilience and strength, a masterpiece in the making, a reading experience that has shattered me in the best possible way—this is a book none of us will ever forget.

This story continues and concludes in Finding Eden.

“As long as we’re under the same moon, we’ll always find a way to each other.”

5stars

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A Sign of Love – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links

(Leo + Leo’s Chance, and Becoming Calder + Finding Eden are stories that unfold over two books, while Stinger and Archer’s Voice are standalone novels)

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LeoAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Leo’s ChanceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
StingerAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Archer’s Voice: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Becoming CalderAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Finding EdenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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The Author

Mia is an avid reader, and now writer of romance and erotic novels. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband who is a police officer and her biggest fan (not necessarily in that order). They have four children here on earth and one in heaven. When she is not sitting on her couch with her head buried in her Kindle, Mia can be found writing or doing anything creative from building a patio, to sewing pillows.

Connect with Mia: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

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The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy, right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule… 

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she’s shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It’s a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on.

review

“I’ve just experienced the hottest, most erotic, life-changing sex of my life, and I don’t think I’m going to get a repeat. Tonight was obviously an ill-advised hook up for her. And I’m so screwed because it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

I think I’m too old for college-themed stories. Or at least I like to tell myself that I am. The truth is that they rarely have the emotional complexity and substance that I now, as someone who is no longer of college age, seek in my reads. I do love some trademark elements present in this genre of books—the hesitation of the characters when faced with the inevitable transition from early adulthood to full-grown maturity, their struggle to accept the future before them, and the people they are becoming—but stories like these often do not have the multilayered character development that I, personally, need in order to connect with those characters and to immerse myself fully into their journey. However, once in a while, a book comes along that proves me wrong by showing me that, when flawlessly written, any story, regardless of its main themes or the age of its characters, can pull you in and blow your socks off. This is one of those books. Nothing about this story is predictable, everything is just perfect, and apart from being phenomenally written, it is one of the most refreshing and surprisingly touching tales I have come across. Do yourself a favour and allow this book to rock your world, because mine is still shaking from the aftershocks of reading something truly awesome.

“I loved being one of thousands, not one of a hundred. Because I could start fresh, be myself without being told that being myself wasn’t good enough.”

Anna Jones is the girl no one sees. After years of social isolation in high school where she was made to feel inadequate, ugly, unworthy of attention, she might have blossomed into an attractive, seemingly confident young woman, but the scars from having survived such a childhood still run deep and make her apprehensive of people’s eyes on her. She also grew up watching her unlucky-at-love mother getting her heart broken time after time by men who came and went, vowing never to allow herself to become that vulnerable or let a man become her all. Her new college life has given her a fresh start in life, far away from the misguided reputation she painfully carried all throughout her younger years, and apart from her two best friends, she fiercely guards her anonymity.

“No one knew the old me. I was no longer that weird loner who everyone assumed was smoking up before class.”

Drew Baylor is the popular jock, the football superstar that everyone wants to know or be, but under his perfect exterior hides a lonely young man, the untimely death of his parents having left him alone in the world and craving a true connection with someone. When the voluptuous redhead sitting next to him in class catches his eye, one look at her leaves him utterly breathless. She leaves him tongue-tied and uncertain of himself, but with every word they exchange, he knows he wants to know her more.

“I want her. The whole prickly-mouthed, sweetly curved, irresistible package.”

What starts as an irresistible boy-pursues-girl scenario, quickly turns into a sizzling friends-with-benefits arrangement between them, initially simply a casual ‘hook up’ of sorts to appease their bodies, but before they know it, those moments spent in each other’s arms, selflessly giving their bodies to one another and sharing secrets, are their happiest moments on any given day. Unfortunately, their willingness to embrace that happiness differs from the very beginning—while Drew sees what his life would be with someone like Anna in it and wishes to capture it forever, Anna remains emotionally distant, her growing need and feelings for him overwhelming her and making her want to run in the other direction.

“I’m not worth it. I want to shout it to him. I’m not worth his pain. He has the world in his palm. He doesn’t need the burden of me.”

Anna’s reluctance to let Drew in, to give herself permission to love him and entertain the idea of them as a couple, stands in stark contrast to Drew’s ever-growing fondness for the woman who refuses to be seen in public with him. He gives her space, time, bends backwards to make her as comfortable as possible with their little arrangement, but he secretly craves for more. He craves to claim her and let everyone know that she is his.

“Life has more color, more flavor, and heat in the few hours I’m with Anna, than I’ve experienced in all the years I’ve partied… With Anna, I feel like I’ve landed right where I want to be.”

This story might appear predictable at this point, cliché in a way from this deceivingly simple storyline, but it is the unique character development, the precious opportunity we are given as readers to hear both our characters’ inner voices, their innermost fears and doubts, that make this story so different. Our heroine is a young woman who is so terrified of being judged by others by living in the limelight with Drew, that she would rather break her own heart than come out of the shadows in which she hides. She cannot help but feel the disapproving eyes of everyone around them, watching them, wondering what Drew sees in someone like her, and that awareness cripples her.

“It’s happening already. The disbelief. The questioning. Why would Baylor pick me?”

This might have started as a captivating little college romance, but it became quite clear to me from very early on that this book did not follow any given formula. This story is incredibly multi-layered, so flawlessly written that I found myself re-reading passages just so that I would fully absorb the beauty of the prose, and it moved me deeply. The inherent vulnerability of both these characters, the powerful connection they share, the way they express with their bodies what they won’t or can’t in words, their humbling self-awareness—this story had everything that makes a true must-read for me, and then some. Ms Callihan has also given us a rare type of hero in a young man like Drew Baylor—he is unafraid to express his feelings, to become emotionally exposed before the woman he loves, and his kind of love is awe-inspiring. As much as I loved and understood the heroine, Drew was definitely the highlight of the book for me. I never expected to like a story like this, but some books are written so well, you cannot help but break away from your own preconceptions. A superb read.

“Don’t you understand? I felt like an impostor. I kept waiting for you to realize that you’d got it wrong. That I was the girl you were never supposed to see.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: One More Chance by Abbi Glines + A Little Surprise

OneMoreChanceShe was it. His one. His only. Then he made the mistake of letting her go.

After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.

Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?

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“All my life, I’ve dreamed of having someone love me like you do.”

Loving every single book an author has ever written is daunting at times because you are always dreading that no story could ever match the quality of the last one. But book after book, Ms Glines keeps delivering such distinctive love stories, her trademark style recognisable from a mile, but each time injecting something new, something unexpected, something utterly addictive into these stories to keep us glued to our chairs and totally oblivious to the world around us. Apart from this being one of the most beautiful romances she has ever written, this book is also her most heart-wrenching one. Every part of this story touches your heart, confronts you with your worst fears as a woman, and then leaves you in a daze of blissful optimism and irrepressible cluckiness.

“I was a bastard, a heartless bastard. I didn’t deserve her, but I wanted her more than I wanted to breathe.”

Grant Carter is a broken man. His actions have driven the love of his life to flee from him and seek solace at her brother’s farm in Texas. But a broken heart is not all that Harlow is suddenly faced with, her passionate but short-lived affair with Grant having opened the one door she never even hoped of peeking through. And she has no intention of closing it, whatever the cost.

“I loved Grant Carter. I loved him so much. But I loved someone else just as fiercely.”

We watch the young lovers suffer acutely from the separation, desperately missing each other, wishing they never parted ways, but Harlow’s priorities have shifted now and she remains determined to stay hidden from the man she still loves and the media that is still hounding her. Grant, on the other hand, would give anything to find her—he leaves her daily messages, professing his love, apologising, begging her to call him, hating himself for allowing his fears to push her away, all in the hopes she would give him one more chance at showing her what she means to him.

“If I could hear your voice tonight, Harlow, if I could just hear you tell me you’re OK . .  . I would be better. I would be able to take a deep breath. Then I’d beg. I would beg you to love me. I would beg you to forgive me.”

When they finally reunite, their love is the only thing they can both count on as everything else unexpectedly hangs in the balance, and their future together remains uncertain. As we witness their struggle to stay positive, to believe that fate wouldn’t have brought them into each other’s lives only to take it all away, we also get to feel their every fear, their every doubt, their every heartbreak. And this book will most certainly make you feel. There are parts of it that made me cry like a baby, there are others that are so emotionally intense that they made my chest tighten in pain, and then there are moments in the story whose sheer beauty left me utterly speechless.

“… I don’t accept that I won’t get forever with you.”

This book is quite the departure from its relatively light-hearted prequel. While in the beginning of their relationship the focus stayed on the chemistry between these characters and the irresistible attraction that wouldn’t allow them to be apart, this part of their story is all about the emotions, the sacrifices, the dreams, the hopes. Grant started off as an ‘acquired taste’ type of hero, one who acted on impulse and made a million mistakes in the process, but in this book we get to see a different side of him. His remorse and fear of losing the woman he loves change him, set his priorities straight and show him what his life would look like without her. Harlow, on the other hand, has always been a fearless heroine, a young woman used to looking after herself, and that aspect of her personality gets only amplified once she is forced to make some difficult, life-altering decisions. But we also get to see a softer side of her, a more vulnerable one, making her one of the most commendable female leads I have ever come across.

This story truly caught me off guard, I never expected it to take the turn it eventually ventured on, and every single second of it was a thrill to read. So, dive in, brace yourselves for your hearts to be stretched to their limits, but know that you’ll be alright in the end, because there is no greater romantic among us than Ms Glines herself.

“If we have a lifetime or only a few moments together, you will be the most important thing that ever happens to me in this life.”

5stars

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Rosemary Beach – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Fallen Too Far: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Rush Too Far: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Never Too FarMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Twisted PerfectionMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Forever Too FarMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Simple PerfectionMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Take A Chance: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
One More ChanceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
You Were MineAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA (2 Dec 2014)
Kiro’s Emily (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA (25 Dec 2014)
When I’m Gone: Amazon US | Amazon CA (7 Apr 2015)

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Now… are you ready for that surprise? Well, there is a novella coming about the epic love story between Harlow’s parents, Kiro and Emily, to be released on Christmas Day, and it will be FREE. It will be Abbi’s Christmas Gift to her readers! Feast your eyes on the beautiful cover of Kiro’s Emily!!!!

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The year is 1992, and no one on the rock music scene is hotter than Kiro Manning, the lead singer of Slacker Demon. With a multi-platinum record, total ownership of the Billboard charts, sold-out concerts, and sinful amounts of money, Kiro can have anything—and anyone—he wants.

So when a dark-haired, conservative beauty rebuffs him at a concert after-party, his first thought is, “Who the hell does she think she is?” His second thought: “How do I make her mine?” Kiro has always loved a good challenge, but not every girl wants to get involved with a rock god. Especially this girl.

He let her go that night, but he never forgot her. And when they met again, he vowed not to give up again so easily.

As the world worshipped Kiro, he came to worship the girl, who became everything he never knew he needed. The only girl he would ever love. His Emily.

Pre-order novella: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
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The Author

Abbi Glines is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted booklover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She can often be found hiding in her office pretending to write while actually watching episodes of Buffy on Netflix. If she’s not in a Vampire Slayer mood she can be found watching Friday Night Lights. But please do not tell her husband. He has no idea she isn’t always hard at work.

Connect with Abbi: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

blackliesBrant: Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for three years. Has proposed four times. Been rejected four times.

Lee: Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost two years, whether he knows it or not.

I love two men. I want two men.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

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“I have lied for this man, stolen for him, cheated on him… and sold my soul to his with our first kiss.”

The moment I opened this book and read the first few pages, I felt that tingling sensation in the back of my neck that usually alerts me of something great about to happen, and I knew, just knew that I had come across something truly rare. And the more of it I read, the more I knew I was right—this was the most perfect piece of writing I had read this year, and quite possibly ever. Every part of this unique story is sheer genius, ever facet of it truly unexpected and utterly mind-blowing. By the end of it, I felt like my mind had been stretched so far, I needed a map to navigate back to the mundanities of regular life. Without giving anything away, I will tell you that this book is not to be taken at face value. This story is so brilliantly woven together, so meticulously assembled that nothing is accidental, everything is intentional, and your preconceptions and assumptions as a reader need to be left at the door because apart from being a phenomenal storyteller, when Alessandra Torre decides to write an epic love story, she ‘recalibrates’ the entire genre. Remember that.

“When you really love someone, you cannot walk away. No matter what they do. No matter the lies from their mouth, or the actions from their bodies, you tie yourself tightly to their sail and vow to be there through thick and thin. Let the wind blow you where it may. Even if that place is a crash. Even if that place tears you apart and kills anything good.”

We meet Layana Fairmont on her twenty-fifth birthday as she comes into possession of a large trust fund designed to provide her with the same affluent lifestyle she grew up accustomed to, while she follows in her mother’s footsteps and seeks a wealthy husband whose name she would carry and whose arm she would adorn. But Layana is nothing like her own mother. Passionate, opinionated, generous with her heart—she hopes of finding an equal in the man she marries one day, someone who would share the same goals in life, someone to forge a future with, free from secrets and deceptions, someone to love her completely and unconditionally. Someone to ignite her body and stimulate her soul.

“I wanted the happily-ever-after of movies. Where my family would share their day while eating at a round table. Wanted to visit life in a world where mothers hugged daughters with bruises and consoled them after their first dates went awry.”

When Layana meets Brant Sharp, one of the country’s most eligible bachelors, a self-made billionaire, philanthropist and computer genius extraordinaire, she falls for his quiet charms and unassuming good looks, but what draws her to him the most is his intense interest in her, his focus on her pleasure and her happiness, something no man has ever given her before. However, she soon discovers that as perfect as their connection has been from the moment they laid eyes on each other, being the girlfriend of an inherently reclusive man presents its challenges, especially when those closest to him are willing to offer obscene amounts of money just to keep her away from him. But the more people try to discourage her from dating him, the more Layana sticks around, her feelings for him only growing stronger each day.

“It didn’t make sense. He was too perfect. How was I the first woman to tie him down?”

Layana’s fairy tale romance becomes her own personal nightmare when she discovers that the love of her life is not as perfect as she always believed him to be, his one hidden flaw having the power of tearing them apart, and yet she stays, her heart quietly hurting, but her determination to love him forever never wavering, not even for one single flicker in time. And that is the moment Layana meets Lee.

“We did not feel like strangers; our mouths instinctively knew each other.”

Lee is everything Brant is not—cocky, arrogant, sexually dominant and emotionally vulnerable all at the same time, a man who acts on instinct in all aspects of his life, showing no care for the consequences of his actions. And one look at him is all it takes to make Layana want him body and soul, her relentless pursuit of him knowing no limits. His passionate touches, his unapologetic use of her body for his own pleasure, his desire to claim her as his but thinking himself unworthy of a woman like her, make Layana’s addiction to him as true as her love for the man whose heart she risks breaking with her deceit. But her own heart won’t let her stop.

“Why does she cheat on me? What do I not provide for her? What part of me is not good enough?”

And this is where I must stop and let you unveil the rest of this story at your own pace, navigate through your own conclusions and ‘ah’ moments, to discover one of the most heart-stopping and heart-breaking love stories I have ever read. Never have I been so tempted to cheat and fast-forward to the end of a book like I have while reading this story. I was desperate to see the finishing line, to assure myself that my heart would remain in one piece because it did not stop racing beginning to end. But I didn’t—I inhaled every word, absorbed every scene, and let this story slowly reveal itself to me as intended.

“I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. Everything… everything fades unless I’m with you.”

Brace yourselves for one of the most astonishing tales you will ever read, and then want to re-read immediately after to make sure you did not miss a single thing. Faultlessly written, impeccably mapped out, this story shows us how far a person is prepared to go for true love, how many sacrifices they are willing to make, and how far they would derail from their own moral compass just to make sure they never lose that love. This story had everything I always hope of finding in a book, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I was enthralled, I was stunned, and I was left speechless by the end of it. And then I went back and re-read it.

“I will fight for this love. Lie for it. Steal for it. It is worthy of that… I love her completely. She returns the love wildly. This love is worth the unsaid truths. The hidden lies.”

6stars

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SERIAL REVIEW: Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams

W G WILLIAMS_Reasonable Doubt_Series Banner

My cock has an appetite.

A huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a f*cking liar…(Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was, until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview–a college-intern interview, and everything f*cking changed…

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“I’m giving you two weeks to come to your f*cking senses…”
“What?”
“Two weeks,” he whispered. “That’s when you and I are going to meet face to face, and I’m going to claim every inch of you.”

It doesn’t happen too often that I become consumed with a story from the very first page, something in the writing style and the voice of the characters grabbing me instantaneously, but from the moment I opened the first book, I was obsessed. Normally not a great fan of serials due to my inherently impatient nature, this story crushed all my biases and made the anticipation of the rest of the series so deliciously addictive, I think the wait was half the fun. And as I now reflect on the story as a whole, I am in total awe of the skilful way it was told, peeled off layer by layer, making me realise that every deceptively random scene had a set purpose in the big picture that is the story of Andrew and Aubrey.

I know this feeling will only last for so long; it never stays. In less than a week, I’ll have to find someone else.

Andrew Hamilton is a successful lawyer, a loner, a man who professes not to believe in relationships and who hides his past fiercely. The last six years of his life have revolved solely around his career and his pursuit of the next one-night-stand. He avoids building friendships and emotional attachments in his life, no woman ever making him want to change his one and only ‘dating’ policy…

“One dinner. One night. No repeats.”

But while sifting through his favourite online social network and dating sites, looking for the next ‘lucky’ recipient of his kiss-and-run routine, he meets a woman whose smart mouth and adamant refusal to have sex with him intrigue him and keep making him come back for more. Aubrey Everhart is a young woman torn between her innate passions and her parents’ expectations of her. She juggles her life trying to please everyone around her, but the more pressure is put on her to forget her childhood dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, the more her stubborn heart remains unchanged. Andrew and Aubrey’s frequent interactions soon become the only thing still capable of putting a smile on Andrew’s face, their email and phone exchanges taking the form of one of the sexiest games of cat and mouse I have ever come across. They tease, provoke, tempt and arouse each other, but their odd friendship stays within the confines of inconsequential personal information and more lies than truths. Everything changes when Aubrey starts working as an intern at Andrew’s firm, and all their lies suddenly catch up to them.

“I believe you and I are currently in an unfortunate web of deceit.”

Their physical attraction is immediate, irreversible, unstoppable, and no matter how much they both wish they could, they cannot keep their hands off each other. But their expectations remain very different—while Aubrey keeps looking for the man she befriended online, the man she believed cared for her, Andrew wastes no opportunity to make it clear to her that there could never be anything more between them than just sex. Even though he doesn’t ever seem to be able to get enough of her.

“You’re the only woman— only person actually, that I talk to outside of my hours at this office, the only woman I’ve ever f*cked over the phone, the only woman who’s been in my car, and the only woman who’s lied to me and still gotten me to stay…”

But the moment Aubrey asks for more and makes him break too many of his self-imposed relationship rules, he walks away. He bolts. He shows no concern whatsoever for the woman whose heart he so recklessly breaks while denying them both what they want the most. And this is where the game ends and the story shifts from amusing to heart-wrenching in a matter of minutes. We get to watch these characters tackle the aftermath of their breakup in very different ways, forced to deal with everything that is dysfunctional in their lives while pretending they are not missing each other.

“I miss the idea of you— of what you could’ve been.”

I am still unsure what it is exactly about this particular story that owned me so zealously start to finish, but I suspect the phenomenal writing style has something to do with it, not to mention two of the wittiest characters I have ever had the pleasure of finding in a book. I loved the personal journeys these two people travel in this story, their go-getting personalities, their willingness to put everything on the line for what matters the most in their lives, and how much them being together or staying apart does not define them as individuals. It was refreshing, it was inspiring, and it made me fall for them even more. This series is the full package—fun, sexy, cleverly written, and it is a read you will not want to miss.

“Dear Mr. Hamilton, F*CK. YOU. —Aubrey

5stars

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Reasonable Doubt – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Reasonable Doubt Vol. 1Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Reasonable Doubt Vol. 2Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Reasonable Doubt Vol. 3Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Reasonable Doubt Series BundleAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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BOOK REVIEW: Five Ways to Fall by K.A. Tucker

fivewaystofallSometimes you can’t change—and sometimes you just don’t want to. 

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

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“She’s everything I never knew I wanted. She’s everything I never knew I could have.”

It is truly rare to find a series that delivers so consistently and at such a remarkable level one book after another, each story unique, gripping, unforgettable, a series that never stops getting better and better. So it came as no surprise to me that this last (fingers crossed that it is not!) book would become my personal favourite of the lot. Reese and Ben’s story had all the magic of its ‘predecessors’—a strong, independent female lead; a charming, irresistible hero who changes his bad-boy ways for the woman he cannot stay away from; a whirlwind romance with all the right ups and downs to make us hopelessly addicted and clinging onto every single word. But this story had something more for me, an added pinch of angst that made me wholeheartedly invested in these characters’ ultimate happy ending. There is so much bittersweet emotion driving this story forward, so much hidden self-deprecation in these characters, all under the guise of fearlessness and over-confidence. Mesmerised by all the beautiful layers of this story, and once more, by this author’s inimitable trademark humour and flawless prose, I was in book heaven cover to cover.

“I was smart. Some may say I’m still smart. But I’ve made so many wrong turns along the way, I don’t know how many right ones it will take to course-correct.”

Reese MacKay has been a thorn in her social-climbing mother’s sight ever since adolescence, her rebellious, reckless shenanigans landing her in hot water time after time, and so we meet her in the middle of her latest trouble, at a police station, arrested for destruction of private property, her only hope of getting herself out of this situation being to call a man who raised her, but whom she hadn’t seen for nine long years, ever since he divorced her mother. But her ‘get out of jail free card’ comes with conditions—to come to work for him as a paralegal and start sorting herself out, away from the pain of her past and all the reasons she acted out in the first place. Six months later, she is on the cusp of getting a fresh start in life by starting her new job, in a new city, living with and working for the only quasi-parent who has ever seen her true potential. But during her twenty-first birthday celebration in Mexico, her last act as a careless youth, she meets a cocky playboy whose wide grin and steely blue eyes become her undoing. Their connection is immediate, their attraction indisputable, and yet all she walks away with is the memory of one embarrassing night spent in his room hugging the toilet bowl, too drunk to do much else. Two months later, that same cocky guy walks into her office, and he does not waste a second reminding her of their one disastrous night together.

“… I’m trying to control the hyperbolic flashback that took weeks to suppress… as the walking, breathing proof of one of my most mortifying nights stands in my office.”

Ben Morris is the confident new lawyer hired by Reese’s stepfather. His good looks and flirty personality have made him a hit with the ladies, something he did not mind in the least while working nights as a strip club bouncer to pay for his law degree. But his obnoxious swagger is only a playful façade he enjoys teasing Reese with, riling her up having soon become his favourite past time.

“Have you always loved yourself this much?”
“I had an awkward year in ‘ninety-nine, but I got over it quick.”

As they play a delicious game of cat and mouse, their daily interactions quickly blur the lines that Reese is so adamant to preserve, especially when her cheating ex-husband enters the scene and she needs someone to be her fake boyfriend. One kiss is all it takes for them to re-ignite the spark between them, something that no friends-with-benefits agreement can suppress. The more they pretend to be in love and the more they try not to fall for one another, the more they can’t keep their hands off each other.

“Reese, well .  .  . she’s all angry and fire-breathing bitchy until her lips find you, and then you’re sure she must have a cocaine-laced tongue because you can’t get enough of her sweet mouth.”

Reese and Ben are polar opposites in so many ways. While Ben is like a ray of sunshine any minute of the day, having been raised by a mother who loved and supported his every decision, and nurtured his interests in life, Reece has never felt that kind of unconditional love from a parent. She craves for someone to make her come first in their life, for someone to finally choose her, love her, make her their priority. Everyone who ever counted the most has always let her down, made her feel rejected and thus naturally distrustful of people around her. Ben is the first person in her adult life who makes her feel wanted, appreciated, good about herself. His cheerfulness and protectiveness towards her ground her and make her blossom as a person. Reese, on the other hand, is the first woman in Ben’s life to make him want to believe in something he has always looked at with disdain—love.

“I think Ben has a strange power over me— the ability to balance my chaos. And, the more time I spend here on the grove— in his life— the more I think that his entire world seems to stabilize me.”

A truly beautiful, light-hearted and yet deeply emotional story of two people quieting each other’s demons and becoming one another’s anchors in life—this is one of those books that warms you from the inside out and draws you to re-read it whenever you need a story to make you feel happy. From two charismatic leading characters to one of the most colourful casts of secondary characters I have ever encountered, this is a tale that shows the true meaning of family bonds as much as it is a love story, all laced with a delightful undercurrent of humour and wit. I am besotted, I am in awe, and I cannot recommend this book, as well as the series as a whole, highly enough.

“… if you have to fight over a guy, he’s not worth it. Go for the one who’s waiting for you.”

5stars

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Ten Tiny Breaths – Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
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Ten Tiny BreathsMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
One Tiny LieMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
Four Seconds to LoseMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
Five Ways to FallAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
In Her Wake (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA (1 Sep 2014)

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The Author

KATucker_picBorn in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Connect with Kathleen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

dontletgo

Noah Ryan and Jules Doucette spent every moment together, first as best friends and later as young lovers. The two had planned a life together—until one unspeakable decision tore them apart for good.

Twenty-six years later, Jules is still carefully living the life her mother planned out for her. She’s running her mother’s store, living in her mother’s house, following her mother’s rules, and keeping the secrets her mother made her bury.

Then Noah comes home and any sense of an ordered life flies out the window. Noah’s return does more than just stir up old memories—it forces Jules to see her life in a whole new way and uncovers secrets even she didn’t know were buried. Secrets that could easily destroy her world once more.

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“Never settle, baby. Never, ever settle.”

Second chance at love stories are my personal weakness. I love when characters are given a chance to re-do their lives, mend their broken hearts, correct the mistakes of their youth by choosing a different path in life, a better one, a happier one, and embrace a happy ending that should have been theirs in the first place. These stories literally make my skin tingle and while many have moved me and kept me enthralled, very few have truly left a mark on my soul as this beautiful tale has. Couple that with an exquisite writing style and a myriad of characters I adored, and I was in book heaven. This is one of those timeless love stories that shows us how unique true love is, how hard it is to find it, or let go of it. I giggled, I swooned, I fought to catch a breath while sobbing like a baby, and I have loved, loved every single moment of it. One of my favourite books of the year, one of my favourite stories ever.

“Whose life was I living? Mine or my mother’s?”

Julianna “Jules” White is a woman in her early forties, a mother to a rebellious teenager, a small business owner, a divorcée. She lives a normal life in the same small town where she was born and raised, the same normal life her mother lived, the same normal life her mother expected her to live. But everything in Jules’ life has been the result of one bad choice, one moment in time when she trusted someone else to make the right decision for her, and she has felt the crushing weight of regret in every breath she has taken ever since. And then, after twenty-six years of living a half-life, everything comes to a standstill when the love of her life comes back to town.

“Once upon a time you thought you’d die without him. Then you thought you’d crumble into dust if you ever saw him again. Well, he’s back. And you’re still standing.”

Noah Ryan is the boy who stole Jules’ heart when they were just kids, and he never gave it back. He is the boy who left her heartbroken, confused, angry, alone at seventeen and forced to forget every dream they ever made together. Her choices drove him away, but the day he left her swearing never to return again was the day Jules’ life became everything she never wanted. She closed her heart off to everyone who ever tried to love her, giving only part of herself to them, because her whole heart never stopped belonging to the one who got away. And now, as a forty-three-year-old woman, she is faced with the biggest ghost from her past as he returns with the proof that he has moved on in life.

“It’s been a lot of years. Everything got put away—doors locked up tight. But now you fall out of the sky and knock all those doors open. And suddenly I’m not sure where I am half the time.”

What follows is a heart-warming, comical at times, sexy, moving, somewhat bittersweet tale of giving love a second chance, but also of parenthood and finding that golden balance between overprotectiveness and letting your child make their own mistakes in life. Jules is not just a woman fighting to get her heart to beat again—she is also a mother desperately trying not to make the same mistakes her mother made, and to be the kind of parent she has always wished she had.

“And the romp in the rain?” she said, gesturing to the door. “That was—what?”
“Me finding him in the park,” I said.
“Because that was your obligation?”
I huffed out a breath. “No, Nana Mae, that was me looking to help a friend who was hurting.”
“By falling into his mouth.”
I stared at her. “So—my daughter’s having sex right now.”
She paused and raised her eyebrows as she looked down. “Better subject?”
“Frighteningly so.”

Every part of this story got to me, every part of it made me feel, and what I loved the most was how imperfect the premise of this story was, how heavily tainted by one single mistake these characters’ lives have been, and how heavy the price of some happy endings can be. I was left smiling through my tears, replaying all the what-ifs in my head, knowing that this story was the best example of human resilience, forgiveness, and unconditional love. This is a book you will want to hug, revisit, tell your friends about. And it is a story you will forever hold dear in your heart.

 “I’ve spent two decades living behind lines I never crossed. Twenty years of holding back, not giving my heart completely, not even to my husband. Not ever wanting to feel crushed like that again. And fifteen minutes with you blew all that away.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Lead by Kylie Scott

Lead

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry.

But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

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“I don’t know why the f*ck I put up with you.”
I shrugged. “No, me neither. But you keep paying me so I keep hanging around.”

She’s done it again! Kylie Scott has given us another absolutely flawless instalment in the Stage Dive series and this one just might be my new favourite. It’s a story that made me laugh as many times as it made my heart clench, and every part of it, every single word was just perfect. There are scenes I have read so many times, I could recite them by heart, and on every single re-read I experienced a new emotion, saw a new side of the characters’ multifaceted personalities. This is in essence a story of unrequited love, of two people falling for one another very differently—with different perceptions of their own rapidly growing feelings for each other and with different emotional capacities to deal with those feelings. I loved being in these characters’ heads, loved dissecting their strengths and weaknesses, and I absolutely adored how much attention was paid to the natural progression of their relationship. This book is the very best example of the kind of story that leaves me breathless and makes me never want to stop reading.

“Fancy falling for someone you didn’t even particularly like half the damn time. Who did something so stupid?”

Lena Morrissey stopped believing in love when her heart could no longer bear the constant disappointment from always falling for the wrong kind of man. She is sarcastic, strong-willed, and she does not let others walk all over her, even if her stubbornness ends up costing her her job. But when her outspoken, sassy personality is the very reason she is offered to become a live-in assistant for the lead singer of Stage Dive, she is not sure whether this is a joke or the best thing that has ever happened to her. Shortly after meeting the grumpy and yet utterly irresistible rocker, however, she fears she might be in more trouble than she ever bargained for.

“Verbally sparring with Jimmy was fast becoming more fun than I’d had with most other men naked.”

Jimmy Ferris’ perfectly groomed appearance might give him an air of poise and self-control, but behind closed doors Jimmy is moody, hot-tempered, hard to live with on the best of days. His poor emotional coping skills have resulted in addictions that cost him dearly and almost made him lose everything he has ever valued in life. Unable to work with any of his past sobriety companions, he is coerced by his bandmates into hiring Lena into that role, knowing all too well that he has met his match. His dynamic with Lena is one of constant bickering, both personally as well as professionally, but when faced with his first meltdown while in his employ, she proves to be the only person he trusts to see his deepest fears and triggers. He lets his defences down with her, showing her the man very few people in his life get to see, and their bond grows.

“Don’t hate me, Lena,” he whispered. “You want to be mad at me when I do dumb things, that’s fine. But don’t ever hate me. I couldn’t take that, not from you.”

As their relationship changes over time and Jimmy begins to depend on her strength in his darkest moments, so does Lena’s growing infatuation with her boss. She falls in love with him silently, reluctantly, fully aware that she should not be feeling that way, but incapable of fighting it. She knows that he would not return those feelings, so she hides them, pines after him secretly and pretends that nothing has changed between them. But when her secret is no longer that and their working arrangement is at risk of ending, the only solution to their predicament is to find ways to make Lena ‘get over’ her crush… even when the only thing that remains to try is to sleep with one another.

“Lena, focus. What was the frown for?”
I stared at his cock, mesmerized. Even incased in rubber it remained a thing of true beauty. Had I any talent with a pen, I’d have written in poems. A haiku perhaps.
“Lena?”
I was hypnotized, helpless. Cock-struck.

One of the main strengths of this story is the way the author shaped these characters, subtly but impeccably, and the way she made their differences the very thing that makes them so perfect for each other. She gave us a plus-sized heroine whose physical appearance in no way defines her as a sexual woman or diminishes her fearless personality. And then she gave us a hero who is physically flawless, but a complete mess inside, unable to cope with emotional closeness and harbouring unresolved abandonment issues. Their every interaction is explosive, hilarious, unforgettable. As a couple, they clash at every turn and yet they make complete sense. The dialogues in this story, as in all the previous books in the series, are simply fantastic, carrying Ms Scott’s signature humour in almost every character interaction. They are clever, unforced, and always fresh. I simply couldn’t get enough of them.

I rarely find myself loving and connecting with every layer of a given story, but in this case, I truly adored every last word. This series keeps getting better and better, which is rather scary since it was perfect from the very beginning. An absolute, super enjoyable must-read.

“You okay?” I asked.
A nod.
“Feeling a little emotional, huh?” I petted his hair. “That’s okay. It was an emotional blow job.”

5stars

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Stage Dive – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
LICK_new play Lead Deep
Lick: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Play: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Lead: Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback
Deep: Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (6 Jan 2015)
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The Author

Kylie is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Connect with Kylie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Rogue by Katy Evans

rogueGreyson King…

My boyfriend. My friend. My protector. He’s the reason I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and the reason I fall asleep limp, worn out, and aching for his warm arms around me. When we make love, he says my name like it means something. Like I mean something.

He

Lied.

His name is Greyson King, but his alias is Zero.

There’s zero trace of him, he has zero past, and now I know that with him, I will have zero future.

He may leave no trace of him anywhere, but his imprint is in me, in my very soul–and I hate that a mere look at him commands the beat of my heart. The temperature of my body.

I’ve looked for love my entire life. I’ve waited for the butterflies, the rainbows…

Instead I’m in a free fall of emotions and there’s no one to catch me but the one man I should be running away from. The one man I thought was my prince charming.

Except this prince charming went rogue.

Greyson will stop at nothing to make me be with him. He’ll let no one stand in our way, will allow no one to threaten me, and maybe this is what scares me most of all…

What will my rogue do to keep me?

 

review

“As long as I have breath in me, you’re going to be my princess.”

Whoa. Why was I not told I’d need one of those walk-in freezers while reading this book? Apart from being one of my most scorching reads of the year, the ‘realness’ of the love story took me totally off guard, and held me captive until the very last word. This is a book I expected to like, and found myself obsessively devouring. The level of emotion, the raw chemistry between the characters, the insight into both their personalities—this book was the total package for me and one I’d recommend unreservedly.

“I get up every morning and put on my perfect face and promise myself to have the perfect day and to someday have the perfect family. But I’m failing.”

We met Melanie Meyers in previous instalments of the series as Brooke’s loyal best friend, but it is not until now that we meet the real Melanie and the hopeless dreamer behind the mouthy vixen. Melanie has always been the perfect daughter, the bright hope in her parents’ life, perennially bubbly and optimistic, her appearance and attitude reflecting that positivity and cheerfulness. Deep down, however, Melanie feels like a fraud, unworthy of the life she was given because she keeps failing at the one thing her parents wish the most for her—finding a good man and falling head over heels in love with him. She keeps ‘kissing frogs’ in the hope of finding the man of her dreams, but all she is ever left with is a string of one-night stands and a heart that keeps breaking from the constant sting of disappointment. And yet, Melanie never stops hoping that her perfect man would suddenly walk into her life and love her the way she craves to be loved, the way she sees her friend Brooke being loved by her husband—completely and desperately.

“I am prepared to fall, and fall hard, if only I would just find him.”

Her loneliness and desire to have at least some parts of her life fall into place drive her to make the kind of mistake that puts her entire future in jeopardy, the very mistake that brings a dangerous man like Greyson King into her life.

“F*ck her prince charming. She’s getting me.”

Greyson is the ‘heir apparent’ to an organisation that sets up fighting events all across the country, called the Underground. They are also in charge of all gambling activities related to the fights, and Greyson is their collector, a ruthless man with very particular talents and an unmatched success rate. But Greyson never wanted the life he was forced to live or the future he is now asked to embrace. When his only weakness is used against him, he accepts a job that makes him cross paths with the only woman who has ever made him wish he were someone else.

“She makes me feel like I’m not a robot, like I’m flesh and blood, a man, not a number, not a job . . . not a monster, not a bastard, not a zero.”

What starts as just one night of earth-shattering passion, slowly grows into an emotional connection neither of them can deny. When they are in each other’s arms, nothing else matters, they belong to one another body and soul, but when they are apart, their personal demons try to pull them apart and make them doubt what their hearts have known from the very beginning—they belong to each other. While Greyson is convinced that his hands are too dirty to be worthy of a woman like Melanie, she allows her insecurities to make her believe that a man like Greyson could never love and want to keep someone like her, regardless of how much of her love, of herself she gives to him.

“He is the one. The one who’s going to wreck me. Hurt me. Demolish me. The one who is going to remove every inch of the girl in me. He will be the memory I will never forget, and good or bad, he will be THE one I dream of.”

I’ll be honest, I never expected to find this story, or rather, the intensity of it, when I first started reading this book. The way these characters were developed so flawlessly and so meticulously made me feel like I understood their every move, their every though, their every emotional struggle. I simply got them. And don’t get me started on the chemistry between them because it is electric. Devastating. Epic. The sex scenes between Melanie and Greyson are so powerful, urgent, almost savage in the way these characters part with their inhibitions and self-control while their bodies take over. This author has a very unique talent for transforming even the most explicit of sex scenes into moments of pure emotional vulnerability and demonstrativeness which end up only tying these characters even further to one another. I was overwhelmed, utterly ruined by those scenes, everything about them being just right for my taste.

“I look at him, and he doesn’t scare me. He lures me. He tempts me, exhilarates me. He makes me want to claim him as if I’m claiming back a part of me that was once lost. Makes me want to tame him. Let him tame me.”

There is also something extremely appealing to me about a heroine who is so emotionally unguarded and yet so resilient. Melanie’s strength of character, her unwillingness to let go of her dreams, even after so many disappointments, and her courage to put her heart on the line time after time, are qualities that made me love her from the very first page. Greyson might have been the dominant ‘alpha male’ in this scenario, but it is Melanie’s persistent heart that was the true hero of the story. I loved their romance beginning to end, every component of it fit just right, including the language used by the characters, and I found myself without objections.

“You are so f*cking mine you don’t even know how mine you are.”

A deeply emotional story, a story that caught me by surprise and made me adore every delicious, dirrrty moment of it. I was enthralled, I was moved, I was bewitched, and I never wanted it to end.

“Whoever you end up with, just know you were mine first. A part of you will always be mine. When you find your prince charming, the one who has everything you’re looking for, perfect, you’ll still be my f*cking princess and not any other’s.”

5stars

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Real – Reading Order and Purchase Links
real5
mine2
remy
rogue
RIPPED

RealAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
MineAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
RemyAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
RogueAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
RippedAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (9 Dec 2014)

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