Tuesday, 2 January 2018

GPI's BEST OF 2017

2017 started with a bang and continued to introduce me to new favourite reads, lots of angst, love and laughter filled my pages, four titles joined my all time must read list and twelve more rounded out my best of 2017.


Let's get right to it, in no particular order:

The below titles earned themselves a PLATINUM LIPSTICK effectively securing their place on my very most favourite, absolute must read list. 

2017 cemented my love of some incredible authors, not surprisingly all of my MUST READ titles were not new to me authors, but what was a revelation were the three authors who marked their place more than once with GOLD reviews, and two of those that also earned themselves a PLATINUM review. 2017 was a much slower year for me reading wise, I slowed down to smell the roses so to speak, I read the books I felt like reading when I felt like reading them, family health crisis's zapped my mojo, and I found myself revisiting old favourites and relearning my love of reading. These titles reminded me of the sheer joy a good book can bring, they gave me much needed respite during difficult times and made me smile when I wasn't sure I remembered how.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Fortune (Not Like The Movies #2) by Lauren K. McKellar


Grace Storey can’t wait to escape her small-town chaos and head for the big city for three main reasons: Work. Better cell-phone service. And the prospect of meeting her very own Prince Charming. After all, when the guy you crushed on since high school turns out to be a psychopath, and the only viable alternative is Creepy Keith, you need to take drastic measures to ensure life as a crazy cat lady is not in your future.
What she doesn't need is a bad-boy musician with a penchant for getting under her skin. Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll are the last things on her mind.

Darcy Fortune has three things on his mind: Sex. Drugs. And rock ’n’ roll (in that order). It’s how it has to be to keep the pain from his past at bay. After all, when you’ve hurt someone you love, it’s easier to numb the pain to keep on surviving. Easier to turn off your feelings than face the cold, harsh truth.
What he doesn’t expect is the sassy reporter with so much soul in her eyes. Could this woman be the one who breaks him?

Staying in control has never been as dangerous as this.

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
Amazon AU:

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: November 2017.

Down and out country girl Grace Storey meets famous rock star Darcy Fortune... fake relationships ... can you hear the angels singing in the background, I totally did, the normal girl meets super famous dude was one of my first beloved tropes so it's always fun to revisit. 

Grace has left the comfort and safety of home for the big city, her trek from her country town has been long and trying, the last thing she wants or needs is to run into a sexy stranger in a compromising position when she just wants a hot shower and warm bed. Darcy is charismatic in a way she isn't used to, utterly dangerous to a girl just trying to get her life sorted out.

Darcy knows all about enjoying the perks of being a rock star, seeing the world thanks to his record company, and having no shortage of women just waiting for their chance for one night with him, as with anything though, all perks have their downsides - people only seem to want something when you're at the top and no one cares about anything that can't bring them into the spotlight by association.

This might just be my favourite work by this author to date, it's pacing - spot on, the angst - real and most importantly believable, the relationship that grows and develops between Darcy and Grace felt organic - I like a good dash of reality in my fiction, and McKellar nailed it for me here. This story was fun and light and had all the hallmarks of everything I look for in my romantic comedies, a breath of fresh air, Fortune left me smiling from ear to ear.

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

One Shot (Chances #1) by BJ Harvey


Boy meets girl, boy wins girl, boy nails girl -- boy’s gone by morning.

I think for sure it must've been a dream because there’s no way a guy could look like that, touch me like that and be so in tune with me on every known level, and disappear, leaving me with nothing but a good story to tell my friends.

When he walks into my bar three months later, everything I thought I knew and what we’d had disappears in the blink of an eye and the blinding light of the three-carat diamond on his fiancée's hand.

It seems what I thought was a dream is now my most complicated reality, and I've got absolutely no idea how to fix it - or if I even want to.

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:
Amazon AU:
iBooks -
B&N -
Kobo -
Google -

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: November 2017.

Harvey has long been an author I enjoy, her books filled to the brim with soon worthy heroes, wise cracking strong heroines and equal amounts of laugh out loud funny mixed with fan your face steam, One Shot had that in equal measure but what truly stood out for me was the angst, and holy moly was this one angst filled story.

Prologues are a tricky mistress for me, when done well they leave me hungry for the story, they fuel my desire for the words and leave me desperate and insatiable, it's more than a want to continue reading, it's an urge, primal, a NEED to set aside any plans and dive into the world the author has created. 

“You completely and utterly intoxicate me. You just have to breathe and I’m reeled back in.”

Millen seems like the total package, charismatic, sexy, confident without being cocky, his dedication to proving to Kenzie that he wasn't just another guy after a quick romp truly endearing, I wanted to believe in him, in his lustful gaze and earnest words, I knew there had to be more to the story then what it seemed because I genuinely wanted to care for the suave and sexy Millen. 

“When we’re apart I’m broken. When we’re together I’m whole.”

Kenzie is the kind of heroine I expect from Harvey, string, independent, funny as f*ck, the no nonsense, grab the world by the balls kindle of woman most days I aspire to be. Kenzie could seemingly take on the world and still be standing at the end of it, and yet unlike other men, Millen make his home in her heart almost immediately. 

One Shot as the title suggests is a story about those moments in life that have the ability to shape and change us irrevocably, Harvey kept me on the edge of my seat as my emotions waged a war inside me, this story was irreverent and funny at times, and yet absolutely heartbreaking at other, showing the author's ability to change gears, I wanted to LOVE LOVE LOVE One Shot, while I enjoyed the authors departure from her usual style including the angsty overall feel of the story, the ending felt rushed for me, I wanted more from those final chapters after such a build up. For lovers of angst ridden romance this will no doubt be a hit, as always I enjoyed the authors ability to create a world I wanted to lose myself in for a few hours, unfortunately it wasn't my favourite of hers. 

About BJ Harvey:

BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She also regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer and a funny romance thinker upper.

An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly but loving every minute of it. She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and hails from what she considers as the best country in the world—New Zealand.

Connect with BJ on Facebook

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey


At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…

James Ashwood.

He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want.

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
Amazon CA:

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2017.

Oh gosh... I've just endured a .... well let's just say an unpleasant day at work, it was long and tedious and headache inducing and yet I still have a smile on my face, I'm physically drained but my heart is still soaring, and I have R.S. Grey to thank for that. 

In true Grey style The Fortunate Ones was sassy and sexy and laugh out loud funny, but even more than that there was a synchronicity to her words that made this story absolutely impossible to put down, in fact I don't remember the last time I stayed up all night reading, that feeling of complete and utter FOMO if I dare putting my kindle down for long enough to rest my eyes, and yet last night as the clock struck one (don't judge me I get up early and can't read all night like I used to) I was still lying on my side devouring Grey's exquisite prose as they wrapped themselves around my heart like a warm embrace, as I turned the last page, my soul filled with joy and smile on my face I slept a soft dreamless sleep, still thinking of James and Brooke.

"Some people carve their initials so deeply into your heart, they’ll always be a part of you."

Brooke Davenport had big plans at school and college, and for a few years those dreams came to a bright, beautiful fruition, living and travelling abroad while working as an Au pair life seemed almost perfect, but when her perfect job came to an abrupt end Brooke found herself back in Austin, and virgin daiquiris to precocious preteens. This is certainly isn't the job or life she had planned for herself, but it pays the bills and contributes to her savings account that will one day take her around the world again when she lands her next Au pairing role.

James Ashwood is the talk of Austin, he's a tech genius, devastatingly handsome and a legacy member of Twin Oaks, from afar he could be the cool and aloof billionaire some say he is, or just maybe he's a man in his thirties who's looking for something real and genuine away from the world of hangers on and followers.

Before you think this is a tale of poor little cabana girl who gets saved by the big bad James Ashcroft, you're way off.... like wayyyyy off. Forget all the regular tropes because The Fortunate Ones was so much more than a coming on age for a twenty something young woman, or a billionaire hero or anything else you've ever read, this was fresh and fun and full of chemistry that leapt off the page.

"That's great. I want those things for you too, but I want to be honest about what I want. I'm sick of serial dating, sick of living out of an empty house I don't want to come home to at the end of the day."

Gahhhh I'm trying to relay every moment I loved without giving away too much,  I could wax lyrical about every moment that had me laughing out loud, swooing or clutching my heart. I could shout praise at Grey for absolutely captivating me from the first page until the very last line, I have been a long time fan of her work, several of her titles have earned their places of my favourites lists, The Fortunate Ones is certainly no different, in fact it's easily earned its place alongside my very favourite books of 2017 and my Top Reads of all time.

About R.S. Grey:

Rachel is a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, metaphors and similes, black labs, and cold weather.

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

CUFFED (Everyday Heroes #1) by K. Bromberg


From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville—at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons—sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?


I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for—like that’s a hardship—but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2017

I am adrift in a sea of emotion, I feel as though I'm struggling to find words to do this story justice despite how many rereads of passages and quiet moments of contemplation I've had since picking up Cuffed for the first time. In true Bromberg style, this story tested me, there were moments where I teetered over the edge of a snicker right into a loud boisterous guffaw, and in the next moment I sat stunned with tears streaming down my cheeks, heart breaking. I went into Cuffed absolutely blind, with that hot cover I expected light and sexy, but the thing about Bromberg's books is that while they may be laugh out loud funny at times, and absolutely bursting at the seems with sizzingly sexy escapades there is *always* so much damn heart and soul that her words change you, they implode and set your world on fire, in a dazzling technicolour display that simultaneously shatters your heart and gently pieces it back together. 

"She’s sunshine with a little bit of hurricane thrown in, and I’m willingly walking straight into her storm with nothing more than the clothes on my back."

Grant Malone was once upon a time a little boy who would take on the world to protect his best friend, the years have passed and little Grant is now a man but who he is hasn't changed, Grant now spends his days trying to keep his community safe, as a police officer with a predetermined hero complex and father who once protected and served there was never going to be another choice for Grant.

Emerson Reeves was once the little girl with the big eyes who loved her best friend Grant, but Emmy had secrets, secrets that break and shatter and when her world exploded she turned her back on everything she had known. Emerson is back for the first time in twenty years and she's fiery and independent and she's definitely not a little girl in need of saving anymore.

"You’re used to calling the shots and being in control. News flash, I don’t budge when I’m pushed and no one controls what I do."

As Grant and Emmy collide and memories of a past one wants to remember and the other wants to forget rise to the surface, only the strongest will survive the fall out that remains. With rich characterisation and a story that had the ability to absolutely decimate me one moment and leave me joyous the next I found myself putting Cuffed down several times to revel in the sheer unrelenting beauty of Bromberg's words and shroud myself in her raw and jagged imagery. Bromberg has never shied away from tackling heavy or sensitive topics, in fact it was her ability to do so with sensitivity and grace that cemented me a long time fan of her work, but even with that I was unprepared for the effect this story would have on me, how much this book would make me feel.

"We forget the memories and just chase the moments."
Years ago I would of read Cuffed and handled the heavy subject matter in the abstract, because while I knew of it happening, my world was untouched. Now, well now however I know differently, and my heart shattered over and over again reading this story, because it hit too close to home, and like Grant I know with certainty that I can't save everyone, I can't take away someone's hurts, nor can I erase their memories. Therein lie the beauty of Cuffed, in the subtle message of Bromberg's words, words that shake even the strongest resolves and leave you knowing with absolute certainty that the greatest gift we can give someone is support, that they are already the hero of their story and don't need saving, that sometimes love is found in the darkest of places. It only thrives once it hits the light.

"This hurt doesn't take away my pain, only being strong will. I am in control of me. I will survive despite it. I am loved regardless of it." 

About K. Bromberg:

New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, Kristy has sold over one million copies of her books across sixteen different countries and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by Passionflix with the first movie slated to release in the summer of 2018.

She recently released a two book, sports romance series, The Player and The Catch. Cuffed is the first book in her new Everyday Heroes trilogy. This three-book series will be about three brothers who are emergency responders, the jobs that call to them, and the women who challenge them. The remaining standalones in the series are Combust (January 29th) and Cockpit (Spring 2018).

Connect with Kristy on Facebook