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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Accidental Tryst by Natasha Boyd



Blurb:

A new standalone, sexy, romantic comedy! Meet Trystan Montgomery. Suit monkey, commitment-phobic serial dater. No more than three dates, unless he hasn't ... you know.

Emmy:
What a disaster! I only just made my flight to New York to help my uncle, and the phone I’m holding is not mine! It seems to belong to some commitment-phobic serial dater who’s never made it past four dates (according to the constant notifications he's getting from his fake dating profile...) And worse? I have a sinking feeling it’s that hot suit-monkey with the arctic grey eyes I just had a run-in with at the airport. Somehow I have to persuade him not to get a new phone until I get back. My whole life is on that phone. It’s only a few days. Surely we can handle it.

Trystan :
This is a joke, right? My life could not get more f*cked up. I’m in the middle of selling my company and on my way to a funeral and that hot mess hippie-chick stole my freaking phone. I’m not sure how she convinced me not to immediately walk into a smart phone store and get a new one, but now she’s going to have to play stand in and distract me while I deal with my long-avoided and estranged family. I don’t have my dating apps after all, and frankly she’s pretty funny. And sexy. And why can’t I stop texting her? And now we’re talking. And … look, I’ll admit that I usually run for the hills the morning after, but the morning after phone sex? That’s not really real, right?

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2MvNV3f
Amazon PB: https://amzn.to/2yhBXai
Amazon UK:https://amzn.to/2tgtQVL
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2t3BN1g

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2018.

I feel as though I've been on a quest to find the very best in slow burn romance, my requirements always remain the same, witty banter, electric chemistry, a story that grabs my attention from the first chapter. Accidental Tryst was sitting on my kindle, it's bright cover calling to me. The fun and flirty chemistry between Trystan and Emmy was intoxicating, the unexpected emotional connection between the two from text to in person made this story absolutely impossible to put down. 

Trystan L Montgomery is locked up tight, rigid business man, typical Type A personality, I'll be honest, he seemed like such a jerk. He's built a life focused solely on his business, forsaking relationships and companionship for physical pleasure when needed that's free of commitment and complications. 

“I’d really love to fall asleep talking to you.”


From their first, albeit brief meeting Emmaline Angelique Dubois seems like Trystan's polar opposite. Despite first impressions Emmy isn't the free spirited gypsy Trystan thinks. Emmy has commitments and people who love her, people she loves and will do anything for even to the detriment of herself. 

‘Maybe most people never meet that someone, or maybe they don’t recognize when they do. Maybe they pass them on the street and share a look, but they don’t realize the size of the opportunity they are passing. Or they do but their hands are tied.’

It's the growing connection between these two that I found so thrilling, the banter that erupts between
the two from their very first accidental and brief meeting, from the texts they exchange, to the phone calls that soon develop into something far more. It's their sizzling chemistry and their electric connection. It's the way something that started out as mistaken phone sway evolved into something so much bigger. Accidental Tryst left me feeling all those warm, lovey feelings as I turned the last page, Boyd created a story that was filled with so much raw emotion that I felt that familiar tug on my heart. The deeper I got into Trystan and Emmy's story, the more I needed from them. Smile on my face and a song in my heart, Accidental Tryst was an absolute joy to read leaving me giddy.


About Natasha Boyd:


Winter Rose FINALIST 2013 (Eversea), Digital Book Award Winner 2014 (Eversea) and Chatelaine Awards for Romantic Fiction FINALIST 2015 (Deep Blue Eternity).

Connect with Natasha on Facebook




Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang



Blurb:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Jwzuhn
Amazon PB: https://amzn.to/2Mn6tSY
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2LKHyHP
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2sTjtrz

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2018.

The sheer level of hype that surrounded The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang had me intrigued, as a lover of slow burn, witty banter and real relatable characters I had a feeling that this debut would be right up my romance reading alley. Once I started though I had to wonder how often I read stories that were unapologetically feminist and with a heroine with high functioning autism at the same time. In short, the answer was never. One way to my book loving heart is to be firmly entrenched in a strong feminist ideal, something I'm proud to say I see more and more of on a daily basis, however upon reflection the only stories I could recall recently discussing autism were focused on the male experience. In my own familial history my experience with autism has been limited to young boys and male adolescents, and without knowing any differently, I mistakenly assumed autism was easily identifiable through some of the more stereotypical traits most of us would have come to expect. The male and female experience are often so very different, manifesting in a range of different and diverse behaviours and traits.

“He exhaled sharply, and his brow creased in puzzlement. 
“You don’t like French kissing?”
 “It makes me feel like a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish.” It was weird and far too personal.”

Stella Lane is a successful young woman, professionally at least. Despite being a valued member of her company and earning far more then she could ever need, she still seems to be falling shy of making her mother proud. Figures and data have always made sense to Stella, whereas human connection and intimacy leaves her confounded. Her mother wants nothing more than for her to meet a mate, settle down, get married and have children, but Stella's limited experience with the opposite sex has left her unimpressed and underwhelmed. Her past exploits have been disappointing at best, the only plan that makes sense is to hire an escort to teach her how to be less awkward and more into dating and sex. 

“She ached so badly to be held it felt like a sickness had invaded her muscles and bones. As usual, her own arms provided little comfort.”

Michael Phan never dreamed that he would work in the worlds "oldest profession". Once upon a time Michael had plans and a dream, but now he's struggling financially to support his family. Escorting was supposed to be a quick fix to bring in extra money, but the toll is becoming too high for even he to bear.

The Kiss Quotient isn't my first escort themed book, over the years I've found myself recommending Escorted by Claire Kent whenever the trope has come up, it's long been a firm favourite of mine. While both titles contain a male escort as the hero, and the heroine, their newest customer, the similarities end there. In Escorted I had a profound interest in understanding the hero and his motivations for doing what he did for a living, in The Kiss Quotient my interest was singularly focused on Stella. I knew through the authors portrayal of Michael that he hated his job, I understood his need to shower thoroughly after each client was in an effort to metaphorically wash away his sins, to make himself clean. I knew that and yet the lasting impression I took from that was it's connection to Stella's fastidious night time ritual of showering, cleansing herself of all interactions with people during that day. My connection to this story, was so heavily based on my connection to Stella. My emotional state volleyed with her as she set about trying new experiences and pushing herself far out of her comfort zone, often in an attempt to please others. My heart swelled with her when she made forward movement, whether it be in her professional or personal life, and similarly it ached when she stumbled and berated herself for not doing better.

“She had a disorder, but it didn’t define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.”

The more I devoured of this book, the more intrinsically I knew Stella. I found myself in deep discussion this afternoon with my best friend discussing heroines in romance novels, and how women collectively judge heroes and heroines through a different set of parameters. How it's often certain behaviours we find intolerable in female characters to be almost expected in males. How in romance novel world we want women to be loud but not too loud, strong but not too strong, vulnerable but not whiny, in tune with their sexuality and libido but not a whore, confident but not a bitch, and yet in real life we often speak of empowering other women, body positivity, owning ones sexual desires and pleasure. What I loved so much in The Kiss Quotient is that Stella started as a young woman desperate to please her mother, desperate to try to become a better lover in order to please a man enough that dating her would be acceptable, and yet the more she learnt about herself the more she comfortably grew into her own skin. The more she fought to be unapologetic in owning who she was and is. When we talk about the single most important lessons we as women can learn that is the one I want to shout loud and proud. 

“This crusade to fix herself was ending right now. She wasn't broken. She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her. She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn't change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn't feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.”

Hoang's debut was effortlessly engaging, inherently thrilling and absolutely impossible to put down, despite the trope used or imaginative narrative created, the overwhelming message was clear, one of acceptance, love and accepting your past in order to move forward with your future. From the first page, to the heartfelt authors note at the end, this is a story I surely won't soon forget. 




About Helen Hoang:


Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Connect with Helen on Facebook




Monday, 11 June 2018

The Varlet and the Voyeur (Rugby #4) by Penny Reid and LH Cosway


Blurb:

He kept his salacious secret for years. But soon, everyone is going to be reading about it in their morning paper…


THE VARLET (and the VOYEUR)
William Moore is a long way from home. A farm boy from Oklahoma, he’s now the most well-respected member of the Irish rugby team. But appearances are often deceptive, and Will isn’t the clean-cut, all-American good-guy everyone imagines him to be. He’s got a secret, one that will tarnish his reputation forever.

THE VOYEUR (and the VARLET)
Josey Kavanagh is a self-proclaimed mess, but she’s finally getting her shi…uh, act together. She’s set her sights on becoming a veterinarian, but there’s one teeny tiny road bump. Her living arrangements are coming to an abrupt end, leaving Josey homeless and in need of a job to pay her way through college.

THE PLAN
What he needs is a companion to keep him on the right path.
What she needs is an apartment with free rent.
Will is convinced Josey will make the perfect companion, since she’s brutally honest and basically ‘just one of the guys.’ Josey is convinced she can ensure Will doesn’t succumb to his voyeuristic proclivities by keeping a scrupulous eye on him.
Except, what happens when the varlet is tempted by the voyeur, and vice-versa?!
Perchance something very, very volatile. And vexing.

The Varlet and the Voyeur is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the 4th (and last) book in the USA TODAY bestselling Rugby Series

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon PB: https://amzn.to/2Mky3QN

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2HMHfu1

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2HLC11e

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2t0Z5nw



Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2018.

It's not often til you revisit old friends in your most beloved books that you realise how much you needed to revisit the authors work. After a week filled with great book after great book I needed something I would love just as much. When I picked up The Varlet and the Voyeur I was quietly confident I wouldn't be disappointed. Individually Penny Reid and LH Cosway have written some of my favourite titles, together they've created books I've adored. With the fourth and final instalment in the Rugby series landing on my kindle I was ready to be swept away.

Josey Kavanagh is the very definition of hot mess, she's honest to a fault, has absolutely no filter and is absolutely living in the present with little to no thought of the future. Happy to be a home body and spending the majority of her free time with her eclectic parents, she's blind sighted by the news of her parents wanting to sell her childhood home pushing her to move out and forge her own path. Hurt and still very much in shock Josey has no plan and no idea what she's going to do.


"She wasn't crazy, she was kind. She wasn't nutty, she was naïve, trusting. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Josey, and I silently promised I'd never let Bryan - or anyone else - plant seeds of doubt about her again."


William Moore has done his best to live as private a life as possible despite being his chosen profession, he's been the consummate professional, a good friend to those around him, albeit stoic in his interactions with others. When the media grabs hold of a scandal of an intimate nature his once carefully constructed persona is blown apart. With vultures at every turn vying for blood he's thrust into a spotlight he never craved.


"She'd eradicated the emptiness, but she'd made the space bigger, fuller, brighter than before. Her leaving would create too large of a chasm, one that I'd feel both acutely ad chronically."


Josey needs somewhere to live, Will needs someone who will hold him accountable and not be afraid to ask him direct questions, it seems like a perfect arrangement right? In the land of romance we know it's going to be anything but smooth sailing for these two.


The beauty of these two slightly quirky characters is in the vulnerability and honesty that laces all of their interactions. In a world full of deceit and make believe being open and earnest can be a revolutionary act. The way Josey and Will exist around one another means so much because they operate without judgement. It's their connection from tentative to all encompassing that I found so thrilling. I wanted them to be each others safe haven, I wanted Josey to know Will's kinks and love him not in spite of it, but because it was part of who he is, and I wanted Will to see this young woman who was too loud, too quirky, too awkward for so may others and worship her because it's what made her, her. It's what we all crave after all, a genuine connection, an unshakeable bond, a person who is our common sense, our mischief, our best day, our sounding board. Someone who knows our hopes, our dreams, our fears and encourages and supports us through all of it. Someone who knows all of our best qualities and our worst ones as well. It's being vulnerable with someone knowing they will safeguard your heart. It was this connection that had my heart swelling and skipping a beat because having that connection with someone regardless of whether it's in the form of a friend, soul mate or lover is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts we can receive.

"Unfortunately, a tear had already formed inside me. And where there was a tear, pain was inevitable."

The Varlet and the Voyeur had the same humour I've come to expect from Reid and Cosway, it was sexy and fun in equal measure ticking all the boxes for this romance reader, and yet it had this depth that I wasn't quite ready for, with moments of unyielding beauty, an exquisite rawness that stole my breath. The vulnerability on the pages that had me so utterly invested in the characters that I found this story impossible to put down. I adored every moment of this story, I fell hopelessly in love with Josey and Will, with the way Reid and Cosway breathed life into them so they jumped off the page and straight into my heart. Full of frivolity and fun, and laced with so much emotion that I'm not sure to forget these two anytime soon.

"I wasn't falling in love with Josey because I was already in love with her."



About Penny Reid:


Penny Reid is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny on Facebook


About LH Cosway:


L.H. Cosway lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Connect with Lorraine on Facebook




Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Mariana Zapata Binge Reading Review



I don't know where to start right now friends, because this past week has been a whirlwind of delicious reading time, I've been utterly swept away, lost in a Mariana Zapata abyss, and to be totally honest, I don't know if I'm ready to emerge yet.

Back in August 2016, at the second Sydney Author Event I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Mariana Zapata, it seemed at the time her books had taken the Romance Reading world by storm, the titles on everyone's lips were Kulti, Winnipeg, Lingus. When my follow SAE organisers were RAVING about the new Queen of Slow Burn I'd been ignorant to her books. I was so enamoured by our meeting though that I ordered a collection of her paperbacks to read at a later time. And yet in the blink of an eye, almost two years passed, while those pretty (and heavy) paperbacks collected dust on my bookshelf. When I started a new job at the end of April I knew that the extra long commute would give me ample time to get back into reading, or more aptly, back into audio. I started listening to book after book during those long drives, slowly reaffirming my love of the romance genre.


“I was an only child; I didn't know how to share, and I wasn't willing to learn. What was I going to do if I started developing feelings for a porn star?” - Lingus

When Lingus popped up on my kindle, I figured why not, it had been one of the titles I'd been meaning to read after all. I started and those long commutes starting feeling way too short, instead of turning of my kindle when I got home I found myself reaching for it not long after walking in the door. I found myself using any excuse to grab my phone, desperate to sneak in even one more chapter. For those who know me, you know I love a long book, once I've connected with an authors words I crave more and more, I love the banter and slow burn, the delicious feeling that rumbles through your body when your head and your heart play the will they won't they game. Throw in a porn star hero and I was all but assured to be in my book nirvana. The storyline had me giddy and I loved the quirkiness of real life meeting...well porn life, I loved that the portrayal of the adult industry wasn't seedy and underground. I adored how Zapata explored the themes while crafting an engaging and hilarious story about two people who just happened to meet at a Porn Convention. 

“I was going to murder his ass. One day. One day long after I quit, so no one would suspect me.” - The Wall of Winnipeg and Me.

After Lingus I moved on to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, and you know I'm a sucker for Sports Romance. Throw in a frienemies / my boss is a complete and utter jerk storyline and holy moly was I on the fast track to worshipping at the Zapata alter. The chemistry between Vanessa and Aiden...the banter that had me so invested that sleep no longer seemed important, the snap, crackle and pop of their developing relationship made me want to weep for joy. I adored these characters, and despite the long length I still found myself bereft as I turned the last page, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Aiden Graves and Vanny but more than that, I certainly wasn't ready to move onto another author when there were still more books in Zapata's back catalogue to explore.

"It was the worst non-break-up ever in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who didn't even know I existed." - Kulti.

From Winnipeg, I moved on to fan favourite Kulti... the man, the myth, the Legend. Another sports romance? YES PLEASE. This time I met Salome (Sal), twenty seven year soccer star, head strong, determined and filled with talent, has dedicated her life to her profession. As a child she fell in love with German Soccer legend Reiner The King Kulti, as an adult she's just learnt he's accepted a role as her new assistant coach. Kulti, known for his talent and temper in equal measure makes waves, but it's the unlikely bond these two develop that shocks them both. In true Zapata style, Kulti is slow burn all the way, despite the length, the story never feels disjointed or tedious. The push pull of growing fondness for one another left me giddy. The sizzling chemistry, the will they won't they left me desperate, I wanted... no I needed more of these two characters. Not since discovering the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley have I been this voracious of a reader. With a thirst that couldn't be quenched, moments after turning the last page I downloaded every title in print, both ebook and audio to continue my love affair with Zapata's words. 

“Right then, in that moment, Dex The Dick grinned. Grinned. And sweet mother of God, it was devastating. So completely catastrophic I just stood there and absorbed the nuclear bomb going off in front of me, defenceless.” - Under Locke.

From Soccer stars I dove into Motor Cycle Clubs and Tattoo parlours. Under Locke introduced me to Iris and Dex. Down on her luck and needing a job in a new city, Iris uses the connections of her half brother to secure employment at a tattoo parlour. Her first day doesn't go as planned and her new boss is a jerk. While Iris is used to looking after herself, there's something about the jackass boss that gets under her skin more then she would like. As their connection deepens, and their proximity to one another causes all kinds of close calls, Iris finds herself seeing Dex in a different light. More fast paced then her other titles, Under Locke had me smiling and giggling and down right swooning as this heroine showed time and time again that she didn't need saving. 

"Real love was gritty. The real kind of love never quit. Someone who loved you would do what’s best for you; they’d stand up for you and sacrifice. Someone who loved you would face any inconvenience willingly.” - Wait For It.

Four books in as many days and I found myself opening Wait For It. To my surprise I found myself face to face with Vanessa's (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me) bestie and Sal's (Kulti) cousin Diana. In the years since Winnipeg and Kulti ended, Diana has had a rough go of it. A relationship that ended badly, and inheriting two young nephews in the worst possible way, she's just managed to keep her head above water. Moving to a new home is all the upheaval she can handle. Until she meets her new neighbour and coach of the Select baseball team Dallas. Oh boy did Wait For It do a number on my heart. Ya'll I cried real tears (something that doesn't happen that often anymore) I felt every second of Diana's struggle while she navigated her own grief, as well as the pressure to be the best parent to her nephews. This book hit me in the feels and refused to release it's choke hold on my heart. I smiled so damn big as I turned the last page, not ready to say goodbye. 

“Because if I remember correctly, your text message said, ‘I just kicked the hottest guy I’ve probably ever seen in the ass.’ And I asked you what he looked like and you texted me back, ‘Like a double bacon cheeseburger I’d take a bite out of.” - Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin.


From single aunts raising a young family to rockstars seemed like the logical next step. In Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin in which we meet Gabby, freshly dumped and with no job prospects knocking down her door after finishing college, the idea of going on tour with her brother and his two knuckle headed best mates doesn't sound so bad. When the four of them join together again hilarious pranks
and sometimes good natured ribbing is sure to happen while touring around the States, Australia and Europe. What begins with a untraditional first meeting between Sacha, lead singer of The Cloud Collision and Gabby soon blossoms into something far more. Rhythm had me laughing out loud literally, I could not wipe the smile off my face from the first page until the very last. This book was ridiculous in the best possible way, the bonds Gabby shared with her twin and her extra brothers from other mothers had me giggling throughout, the connection between Gabby and Sacha gave me the kind of butterflies every romance reader dreams of. Rhythm was fun, sweet and one hell of a hilarious adventure.

“Mostly though, Rubes, I want to go back in time and beat every single person’s ass who’s ever made you doubt yourself, because the girl who makes me smile ‘til my face hurts even on a shit day needs to see that in herself. I feel like I owe it to you.” - Dear Aaron.


As I picked up Dear Aaron, it felt like the beginning of the end. From musicians I swiftly moved into pen pals. Ruby lives a quiet unassuming life, she's in her early twenties and lives at home, a seamstress by day and er night, and regularly takes part in a program writing letters and emails to an assigned soldier serving overseas. After a couple of pairings she's assigned Aaron, after a slow start and no reply she's ready to bid farewell to her newest match. When Aaron finally replies the two embark on an ongoing conversation of sorts. The more they exchange emails the more they find themselves turning to each other as more than just a pen pal. Aaron is weary of relationships after a bitter breakup, and well Ruby is just weary in general. Both desperately trying to guard their hearts and yet slowly finding more and more reasons not to around each other. While all of Zapata's books have had me captivated, Dear Aaron was a like a punch to the gut, because boy did I feel all of Ruby's insecurities and fears. I felt every moment of her hurt and doubt and I felt it in spades. I wanted to hold her in my arms and whisper all kinds of tributes to the incredible woman she is. The slow burn and build of their relationship was so deliciously satisfying that I felt bereft as I turned the last page.

“Everyone, Jasmine, everyone that’s an athlete—that’s successful—has had to give up a lot. Some of us more than others. You’re not the first person, and you’re not the last person that sees that and feels bad about it,” he started to say, his voice steady and even. “You don’t get to become good at anything without sacrificing something to make time.”

I pressed my lips together and closed my eyes and tried again. “Successful people, Ivan. It’s worth it if you’re successful, not if you’re not.” - From Lukov With Love.

What did I say about the beginning of the end... from pen pals to figure skaters, and to the last book on my list. Remember Ruby from Dear Aaron, it was my pleasant surprise that the figure skater I was about to read about was none other then Jasmine, Ruby's younger sister. OMGGG can you sense my smile from there?? Page one and I was HOOKED! From Lukov With Love is Jasmine's story, in the years that have passed since the end of Dear Aaron, Jasmine hasn't had the best run, her professional career has had set back after set back, and she's never gotten back to the level of success she enjoyed years before. Skating singles or in pairs hasn't seen her rise to the top of the pack, and even at her tender age she knows her time competing on the ice might be coming to an end. When her arch nemesis Ivan makes an offer she can't refuse she might have found the golden ticket to her dreams of success. The snarky banter, the constant bickering, the way these two move around each other captivated and thrilled me. I was floating on cloud nine so utterly with this story that I could of dropped dead with a smile on my face. When Jasmine faced a set back I wanted to lift her up, and when she excelled I was cheering her on.

Despite my love of all things slow burn, and let's be clear, Mariana Zapata is, without a doubt, the undisputed Queen of Slow Burn, what I adored was the depth of technical knowledge that went into each story, from NFL to Soccer to Musicians to Armed Forces Letter Campaigns to Figure Skating, to ahem Porn Stars to Baseball to Tattoo Parlours and MC clubs Zapata gives the reader enough to be well informed without overloading the technical background. Her storytelling seamlessly giving the reader characters to love and cherish, and a story that fills them with hope, heartbreak and joy in equal measure. Stories that are filled with heroines that are strong and sassy, flawed and sometimes vulnerable, women who are above all else real, the connection from character to reader often tangible. Mariana Zapata has cemented herself as a MUST READ author for me, her books skyrocketing to my all time favourites list for so many different reasons. I feel so many things as I sit here pouring out my jumbled thoughts onto paper, oh so bereft that I've finished, but so very grateful for the journey.



Purchase Links and GPI's suggested reading order:

Lingus:

US: https://amzn.to/2HpVvbM
AU: https://amzn.to/2sCxMk3
UK: https://amzn.to/2JjdjHd

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me:

US: https://amzn.to/2Jw7w4G
AU: https://amzn.to/2szqqhe
UK: https://amzn.to/2kU7lCi

Kulti:

US: https://amzn.to/2LoO4nK
AU: https://amzn.to/2JfJtYf
UK: https://amzn.to/2HoMgbL

Under Locke:

US: https://amzn.to/2sK9XG9
AU: https://amzn.to/2sAWQI1
UK: https://amzn.to/2sA1aaK

Wait For It:

US: https://amzn.to/2xMRrTp
AU: https://amzn.to/2syGqQK
UK: https://amzn.to/2kT2f92

Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin:

US: https://amzn.to/2xMCyjT
AU: https://amzn.to/2JeSOzy
UK: https://amzn.to/2kSNZgT

Dear Aaron:

US: https://amzn.to/2Jw95Q6
AU: https://amzn.to/2JhaU3S
UK: https://amzn.to/2JiUbct

From Lukov With Love:

US: https://amzn.to/2JoOeuN
AU: https://amzn.to/2sC0ktO
UK: https://amzn.to/2Jdmugk

About Mariana Zapata:


Mariana Zapata began writing love stories soon after she learned how to spell. She probably shouldn’t admit that she started sneaking romance novels from her aunt’s bookshelves way before she was old enough to even understand what it meant when a man flipped up a woman’s skirt… don’t tell her mom. Luckily, she stuck to stories about princesses and princes for a while.

In her teens, she wrote boy band fanfiction (there’s still a website up somewhere on the internet with those masterpieces), and in her early twenties, she picked it back up again with Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight. Eventually, her significant other finally told her to do what she wanted to do and she began working on her original work. Her novels tend to include potty humor, bodily functions, and bad words.
Mariana lives in a small town called Pagosa Springs, Colorado with her husband/best friend, Chris Letchford, and their two well-beloved (and emotionally manipulative) Great Dane children, Dorian and Kaiser. When she’s not pretending to write, she’s reading sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk or historical romance novels. You can usually find her harassing her dogs, being a hermit at home or cracking jokes at the expense of her family members.

Connect with Mariana on Facebook











Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Bittersweet by Carmen Jenner and Lauren K. McKellar



Blurb:

From two USA Today bestselling authors comes a tale of miscommunication and muffins.

Romy Love knows weddings. As the author of a hugely successful wedding blog, you’d think she’d have love covered. It is her last name, after all.
When it comes to her big day, Romy has the flowers picked out, a dress collecting dust in the back of her closet, and a preacher on standby. There’s just one problem: the groom doesn’t know it yet.

Romy has eyes for the Italian coffee god and single dad who owns the bakery in her building—she also has plans for his delicious buns—but in order to get her happily-ever-after, she has a few things to check off her list first:

Lose twenty pounds

Take over the blogging world one wedding at a time

Make Coffee Hottie fall in love with me

Yeah, this shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Find on Goodreads



Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2HeJbuW
Amazon PB: https://amzn.to/2LS6fDa
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2syLXGJ
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2xJiaQW
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2sszVP4




Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: May 2018.

Romy Love runs a successful wedding blog, she should live and breathe all things love and weddings, but after a messy break up she's feeling anything but romantic, a little bit jaded would be far closer to the truth. All that's left of her own wedding plans is a dress that she might never get to wear. Romy spends her days dividing her time between working from home and the café below her apartment working on blog posts for brides planning their special day, while quietly crushing on the sexy owner Elio. 

Everything about Elio draws Romy in, and leaves her wanting more. For lovers of slow burn romance Bittersweet hits all the right notes, as each day passes and Romy and Elio spend more time around each other, their relationship grows into something more than just customer and business owner. The trading of sweet smiles and often awkward conversations only serves to allow their budding relationship to flourish.

As Romy and Elio learn more about each other, they still keep parts of themselves hidden in an effort to protect their hearts. Despite everything going for them, their sizzingly chemistry that delicious temptation proves too much. When miscommunication rears it's ugly head, their fears of getting hurt only lead to heartbreak. Every thing about Bittersweet was all consuming, utterly enticing and so very addictive. For every book I've loved and blogged about of late, there's been others that I've failed to connect with, from the very first page of Bittersweet I felt that zing, that exhilarating rush that left me breathless and desperate for more. There's something all consuming about combining two of your favourite authors, the absolute joy that comes from relishing their words and their ability to craft a story that played out in my mind like my very favourite romantic comedy film. 

"Because as much as I love the idea of indulging in Elio, I know a guy as delicious as him would never go for a woman like me."

The thing I adored most about Bittersweet was the way I was able to connect with Romy, I felt her insecurities, I knew with a clarity that only comes with a life well lived that sometimes you need to confront those past hurts, face those fears of heartbreak and pain to find something worth risking your heart for. With a one two punch that is Lauren K. McKellar and Carmen Jenner writing together, Bittersweet is exactly what I needed to pull me out of my self imposed reading funk. Bittersweet was a sassy, fun, and heart warming read that left me wanting more while still getting the ending I needed like every great book should. 



About Carmen Jenner:


Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA Today and international bestselling author.

A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore makeup addict, cake fanatic, and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives in sunny Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.

A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?

Connect with Carmen on Facebook

About Lauren K. McKellar:







Lauren K. McKellar is a writer of contemporary romance reads that make you feel. This hybrid-published USA Today best-selling author loves writing books with stunning local settings, heart-throb heroes, and leading ladies who overcome great hardships in their lives.
In addition to writing, Lauren loves to read, and you can often find her up at all hours of the night with a glass of wine, some chocolate, and a good book. She lives by the beach in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband, infant son, and their two dogs. Most of the time, all four of them are well behaved.

Connect with Lauren on Facebook