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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Baking & Babies (Chocoholics #3) by Tara Sivec

 
Blurb:


"I’m pregnant."

Molly Gilmore had a good life before she uttered those two stupid words. While preparing to graduate from culinary school and building up the courage to make a move on her hot, sugar-cookie-smelling pastry instructor Marco, she can't wait to finally have the GREAT life she’s always dreamed about, instead of just the good one she’s been living.

Always known as the quiet ninja, she fully intends to stay hidden in the shadows with her nut-job family, so they have no chance to embarrass her around the man she's crushed on for two years. Unfortunately, her family has other plans. When they yank her straight out of her comfort zone, she finds herself starring in the craziest train wreck she's ever witnessed.

Molly ultimately gets a more exciting life that doesn't revolve around school, but she's pretty sure the man of her dreams won't be sticking around long after her family gets ahold of him. There aren't too many guys who can handle smelling like pee, having the whole world know how he masturbates, and being forced to eat an entire bag of dicks.

Join the Chocolate Lovers and Chocoholics gang for one final story about love, baked goods, making poor life choices, and remembering how important family is—even if they drive you insane.

Mostly because it's illegal to kill them.
 
 
 
 
Purchase Links:
 
 
 Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2015.
 
I need to take a trip down memory lane for a moment here, so bare with me, a few years ago I stumbled across a relatively new indie author on the scene, her name was Tara Sivec, she had one book released titled Seduction & Snacks, it was touted as being hilarious, and so incredibly different from other books available when the world seemed enamoured with kinky millionaires and rockstars and sporting heros, here was a book about a young woman who got knocked up in college after having a drunken one night stand and losing her virginity, Claire's voice was everything other reader's were saying, funny, irreverent, snarky, but outside of the outlandish humour, this book was seriously sexy and sweet, I was hooked instantly, I still remember my first time reading it, lying in bed, my kindle app on my phone set to night to dim, and shaking uncontrollably with laughter, stifling my giggles and loud guffaws with my pillow, praying I wouldn't wake up my husband....I didn't succeed, several times over the two or so hours my eyes were glued to my phone, my husband rolled over to bestow upon me his usual "are you kidding me, go to sleep face" I couldn't though, because Carter and Claire, Jim and Liz, Drew and Jenny, George and Gavin...even twatface Tasha had me in hysterics, as soon as I finished I messaged friends and demanded they read this book.
 
Moving forward several books, two series, and a whole lot of laughs I dove into Baking & Babies, this was a bitter sweet moment, because I've grown up to an extent with Sivec's stories, my reading tastes have changed, evolved, but one fact has remained the same when I'm asked which book do I read when I want to laugh, Seduction & Snacks is always my answer. When I need a break from emotionally draining stories, Tara Sivec is my go to, when my soul is weary and I just need to escape she is the first author on my list.
 
Baking & Babies gives us #Ninja extraordinaire Molly's story, always the quiet stealthy one, Molly, has always felt like the odd one out in her family, sure she shares a love of sweet treats with her Aunt Claire, but the only thing that she has ever felt passionate about is baking, and now that she's on the verge of using that to propel her forward in life, things become complicated. Between finally having the man she's lusted after Marco seeing her for the first time, and her fake baby on the way, the reader can rest assured they are in for one hell of a ride.
 
There's never a moment in a Sivec book where you think "wow she took that too far", everything about the Chocolate Lovers and Chocoholics series is in your face funny, and yet somehow equally heart warming, there are moments that truly stole my breath, that made my heart squeeze, that despite that insanity of these crazy families, made me sit a little straighter and breathe in her words. The moments between Liz and Claire, when you see the unbreakable bond these two women share, one that's deeper than spouses, deeper than vulgar tirades and name calling, one that's deeper than the dreaded C word....Cancer people... Cancer....although the other C word is in there too. This bond is what left me smiling long after I turned the last page, this is what keeps me coming back to these two series time after time, this is what makes my heart smile.
 
 
 
 
 

The Art of Stealing Forever (Love & Art #3) by Stella London

 
 
Blurb:
 
 
Charles St Clair’s secret is out. My billionaire art collector boss has been hiding a double life - and now he wants me in on the deal.

I’ve never been one to break the rules, but there’s something about him I can’t resist.
It’s thrilling. Intoxicating.
Sexy as hell.

But how far can we go before someone gets caught?
I’m going to find out.
 
 
Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2015.
 
 When we left off in The Art of Stealing Kisses Grace was freaking out, standing in front of Charles, trying to make a decision... in the final instalment in the Love & Art series, Stella London dives straight into the murky waters that is Charles St Clair, you've no doubt heard the saying, the man, the myth, the legend...that is certainly true for St Clair, the man is an enigma, he's a cacophony of traits that leave us guessing the entire time, is he the suave business man, the consummate professional, the swoon worthy Romeo, or the criminal mastermind...it's not only the reader who is left guessing as Grace tries to tear apart everything she thinks she knows to find out who the real Charles is.
 
Stella London, sets the pace for The Art of Stealing Forever from the very first page, this is a often fast paced adventure that examines the grey area that lurks between the black and white, Grace has lived her life playing it safe, treading the line between what she wants and what she dreams of and now that everything she ever imagined possible is within her reach she needs to decide if she can trust the man she's fallen in love with despite the damning evidence or can she turn her back and walk away in order to protect herself.
 
The Art of Stealing Forever was a sexy and suspenseful action packed ride, and the perfect way to end the series, I don't want to give away the story, but if like me you met Grace and Charles and were intrigued by their stories, you definitely wont want to miss the final chapter in their journey. 
 
 
Purchase Links:
 
 
 
 
 
 


The Fall Up by Aly Martinez - Review

 

Blurb:

I wanted to jump.
He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.

 
Purchase Links:
 
 
 
 


 
Kristine's Review:


Reviewed: October 2015.

Where do I even start with The Fall Up...I'm at a loss for words right now to describe the emotional pull Martinez's words had over my heart...I'm ashamed to say this was my first book by the author, but after absolutely devouring this book, sneaking in every spare second to immerse myself in the world Martinez created it certainly won't be my last. I was captivated by the very first page, from the very first line, it was just that I was enraptured by the story telling, but that I was so instantly invested that I didn't want the book to end, to feel that way at 80 or 90% is a feat in itself, but to feel that way within the first few pages...well that is a testament to the author's talent.

Levee Williams is a pop princess, she's instantly recognisable wherever she goes, the darling of social media, she spends her days touring mercilessly, performing and in her spare seconds she visits children's hospitals to put a smile on the face of sick kids, but as with anything, when you spend so much time trying to be everything for everyone, eventually you lose track of who you are, the weight of the world and the pressure you place on yourself weighs you down, and you're left questioning who you are and how you ended up this way...

"Don't tell me you're fine. Don't tell me you have to go. Don't tell me that everything is okay. Just tell me the truth your eyes are so desperate for me to hear."

Sam Rivers by all accounts has a good life, he has a loving mother, a best friend Ryan Meeks, and the surrogate family he provides, his business is booming and on the outside his life pretty much rocks, but that's the thing about shiny façades, we portray to the world what we want them to see, and while Sam's life seems to be smooth sailing, there's a world of darkness that he hides inside.

"Levee, I'd like to struggle with you"

This book hit so incredibly close to home, there's still a huge social stigma that surrounds depression, and mental illness despite how many times we share posts on Facebook and social media to the contrary, suicide is something we push behind closed doors and like to pretend it doesn't exist, but the sad truth is that mental illness effects over 20% of all people in Australia, with over 2000 deaths every year attributed to suicide in this country, it's a universal fact that you will either suffer from depression or mental illness or know someone who does in your lifetime, and I commend Martinez for taking on such a heavy subject and handling it with sensitivity and heart.

"...you have no idea what you're getting into"
 "No one ever does. It's the beauty of taking risks."

The Fall Up is about so much more than pop stars, or suicide or depression though, this story takes the reader on a journey where two people not only find their way to each other, but most importantly find themselves, the author tells the reader that it's okay to feel overwhelmed, it's okay to lose yourself, it's okay to feel shackled to the image you've portrayed to the world, and most of all it's okay to step back from trying to be everything to everyone, Martinez reminds the reader that they aren't Spiderman and that's okay. I felt unseasonably low when I picked up The Fall Up, I wanted something to carry me away and allow me to forget for just a little while, the author didn't just do that, the gift she gave me was infinitely better, she reminded me of my strength, she reminded me that feeling emotions does not equal weakness, she reminded me that life isn't about finding someone to weather the storms for you, but to stand by your side while you find even just a sliver of light in your darkest moments, and most of all, she reminded me that sometimes we have to allow ourselves to fall apart in order to fall back together.



About Aly Martinez:

 
 
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five- including a set of twins. Currently living in Chicago, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.
Find Aly on Facebook

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Game Plan (Game On #3) by Kristen Callihan - ARC Review

 
Blurb:
 
 


A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friend. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Dex is looking for a forever girl, but they live vastly different lives in separate cities. Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he's her forever man.

Game On.
 
 


Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1GY0QjZ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1GnZqoc
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1LTG4Yz
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1NZ7Gh4
iBooks: http://apple.co/1RrlP4m

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2015.

I'm going to be completely honest, the second The Game Plan hit my kindle I was desperate to dive in, I'd read an excerpt the author released a few months ago and from that moment I was waiting with bated breath... #DexTheLumbersexual has been in my head since...

Ethan Dexter is one hulking mountain of man meat... tall, broad, tatted, rocking the man bun and beard, he's a walking talking female fantasy come to life... only he doesn't really talk all that much, Dex is no doubt consistently one of the strongest men on any team he plays for, he's smart, resilient, level headed, he analyses everything around him before calling a play or making a decision, he's loyal to a fault, steadfast and the kind of man you would want to have your back, sure he's sexy as sin, and a talented athlete to boot but he's been able to fly under the radar, keep to himself, hide in the background and people watch.

Fiona Mackenzie is always the life of the party, she's loud, she's fun loving, she's independent, and she says what she thinks without bothering to filter it first. Dex has been watching her for two years, from the moment they met he was captivated, but their timing was never right, he's bided his time and waited for the perfect opportunity, struggling between the urge to stay away and to draw her close, and when he finds his moment, when she finally truly looks at him, sees him clearly, he's going to fight with everything he has to make her his and to keep her.

There's so much here in The Game Plan, it's so so much more than a New Adult tale of a couple embarking on a burgeoning relationship, it's more than the strong, silent, sexy hero moving past his fears  and past hurts and coming into his own, it's about more than just a happy go lucky heroine struggling between staying true to herself and following the path of least resistance, it's about more than a 24 year old virgin that looks more like a bad boy biker than an all star athlete (even though everything about Ethan added to make him one sexy, soulful alpha) where Callihan could of focused the entire story around the hero's virginity, she instead used it to showcase another side of her alpha male, endearing him to the reader all over again.

"And never forget this. As much as I want your respect, you never, ever live your life to make someone else happy. You got me."

This is a story about masks and the images we put out into the world, it's about embracing every facet of your personality, the things you wish were different, the things that make you proud, it's taking all of it and putting yourself out there and screaming at the top of your lungs this is me, and I'm okay with that. The Game Plan is about tearing down those walls you erect to keep yourself safe, and letting people in, it's about being okay with putting the real you out into the world, living an organic life.

"Truth is, we all project a false front to the world, peppering our social media pages with witty words and silly emoticons. Life narrowed down to 140 characters, stage selfies, and tirades over opinion posts. Life lived for the approval of the masses, all while tearing strangers down for all slightest misstep.
And when you turn away from that electric glow, when you no longer see those silent, pixelated opinions, who are you, really?"

We live in a social media age, we post selfies angled just right, photos of holidays and nice meals out, we go about our daily lives without even realising it most of the time, in some way or another we all wear masks, projecting the me we want the world to see, but the thing is, when the blinds are drawn, and the world shuts down around you for the night, what we're left with is the person we are under it all. The Game Plan quieted my mind in a way so few books have, it pulled apart all the clutter, deconstructed the things I usually think are important and left in its wake the bare necessities of life, Callihan's begged me to ask myself a question, WHO AM I? and forced me to be truly honest, answering I don't know, but the true moment of clarity is being able to admit, I don't have all the answers yet and that's okay.

There's a beautiful message here about opening yourself up, letting people in and trusting them to catch you when you fall, it's about owning who your are, and accepting so much of life's great joy comes from the journey not the destination, to say I adored The Hook Up would be an understatement, that book stole my heart, I raved about it for weeks to anyone and everyone who would listen, when The Friend Zone came along I sunk back into their world and was instantly hypnotised by Callihan's writing, her words capturing my attention, demanding me to sit back and enjoy the journey, Dex and Fi have climbed their way up my favourite couples list, and as always I'm left here waiting with bated breath for what Callihan does next.


 
 
Excerpt:
 
I grin up at him. “You know, before this, I’d have taken you for a hard rock, or maybe even a bluegrass fan.” 
“It’s the beard, isn’t it,” he asks. 
“And the man-bun.” 
He laughs, a short rumble of sound. “Want me to let it down?” 
Yes. Maybe. 
“Not necessary. Man-buns are hot. I blame Jason Momoa. There was only so much watching him bang Khaleesi the female population could take before they wanted their own Khal Drogo.” 
Shit. I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Because it sounds a lot like flirting to me. Instinct tells me flirting with Ethan Dexter isn’t something to do lightly. And there’s the fact that I don’t go for athletes. At all. I don’t care how fit they are. Or how confident. I don’t like sports. Football bores me. Oh, I know tons about the sport—kind of impossible not to in my family—but I don’t want to pretend that I care when I’d rather talk about other things. 
Dex’s eyes crinkle again, and he turns toward me, leaning an elbow on the table. “Doesn’t Momoa have a beard?” 
I wave my hand. “Who has time to look at his beard when his muscles are on display?” 
I most certainly do not look at Dex’s phenomenal arms. 
“So your stance on beards is?” His gaze so strong I feel it in my toes.
My breathing picks up. “Don’t particularly like them.” 
It’s the truth. And yet I can’t help but look at his. It’s dark, framing his mouth, which should be a turnoff for me. Only it draws all my attention there. To the shape of his mouth—the upper lip a gentle curve, the lower lip fuller, almost a pout. There’s something slightly illicit about the whole effect. 
I clear my throat, glance up, and find him watching me through lowered lids. He doesn’t seem particularly put out by my frankness. 
“What don’t you like about them?” 
Is he serious? 
He stares at me. 
I guess he is. 
Taking a quick sip of my drink, I search for an answer. “They’re just so…fuzzy. Prickly.” 
He moves in, not crowding me, but putting himself at arms’ reach. He smells faintly of cloves and oranges. It must be his aftershave or cologne, but it works for me. 
I’m distracted by it and almost jump when he speaks again. “Do you know this based on experience, or are you making an assumption?” 
My gaze narrows. “Aren’t you the philosopher.” 
“You didn’t answer the question.” 
“Fine. Assumption.” 
His lips quirk. “You should find out if your assumption is true before you condemn the beard.” 
“Is this some sort of creepy way to get me to touch your beard?” 
A challenge flashes in his eyes. “There are a few guys at the bar sporting beards. You could go ask them. But I figure since we know each other…” 
“Not that well.” 
“You’d rather ask a stranger?” 
“You’re assuming I care enough to ask, Slick.” 
His teeth shine white in the shadows of the club. “I know you’re curious. You’re fairly twitching with wanting to know.” 
I flatten my hands against the table and glare. Is it just me, or is he closer? Close enough that I can see his eyes are hazel, lighter around his cornea with a starburst pattern. I wish I could see the colors, but he’s painted in shades of blue and gray right now. 
And he’s watching me. Patient. Calculating. Tempting. 
“It’s always the quiet ones,” I mutter before taking a breath. “Okay, I’ll pet your fuzzy face.” 
“Hold up.” Without hesitation, he reaches for my drink and takes a sip. “Liquid courage.” 
A strangled laugh leaves me. “Because I’m sooo scary.” 
“You have no idea, Cherry.”
I think I growl at him. I definitely want to give his precious beard a good, hard tug. But he simply lifts his brows at me. “Get on with it, then.” 
This cheeky bastard is totally playing me. And here I am falling into his trap. Because I cannot look away from his beard now. More specifically, his lips, which are parted just slightly. An invitation. A dare. 
Shit. I’ve never been very good at ignoring a dare. 
I hate that my hand trembles as I reach up to touch him. He stays perfectly still, his arm casually slung on the edge of the booth behind me, his body turned toward mine. But I don’t miss the way his breathing has kicked up just slightly. 
I hesitate, shy almost. Hells bells, I’m only going to touch a bit of facial hair. Why does it feel like we’re two kids tucked in a dark corner, playing a game of “I’ll show you mine”? 
Annoyed with myself, I close the distance between us.

GPI Review: The Hook Up
GPI Review: The Friend Zone
 

About Kristen Callihan:
 
 
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer's Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine's Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Website




Fictionally Yours, Melbourne....A recap



Early on Friday 16th October 2015, my husband Michael and I boarded a plane for Melbourne, #FictionallyYoursMelbourne had finally arrived, I was about to catch up with some of my closest friends, meet some new amazing authors I'd only spoken to online, I was going to get my fangirl on after months of countdowns...


We arrived in Melbourne and met up with some of my faves for a few drinks and lunch at Merrywell, before we knew it the afternoon had passed us by and it was time to head to the event room to get tables set up ahead of a busy signing day on Saturday...


Saturday morning saw an early start, I was fortunate enough to be assisting one of my fave authors, and someone I'm lucky to be able to call a friend... Leisa Rayven absolutely stole my heart with her breakout debut Bad Romeo, she proved the dreaded sequel flop theory unequivocally wrong with the stunning follow up Broken Juliet, when I doubted she could top the emotional reaction I had to Bad Romeo Leisa cemented herself as an author I'll follow, Broken Juliet nabbed a PLATINUM LIPSTICK review from me and is sitting pretty in my top books of all time. Sitting with her, watching fans and readers interact with her, fangirling over Ethan and Cassie with them, and discussing our theories on Wicked Heart was both a joy and a pleasure. If I wasn't already a fan, I would of surely ended the day enamoured with her.


In the afternoon, after my assisting duties came to an end, I wandered the room and chatted with authors and readers alike.






Saturday night saw a quiet dinner to celebrate the lovely TJ Hamilton's birthday, Trish is one of the nicest, funniest, and most real people I have had the pleasure to meet since finding my way into the book community I'm now part of. Good food and wine, great friends, and many laughs later we sang happy birthday and gorged ourselves on delicious dessert.


Making our way to Bobby McGee's for one hell of an after party was next on our agenda, within seconds of entering we had glasses in our hands, 80s and 90s filled the room, it was definitely time to let your hair down and relax, celebrate what was undoubtedly a very successful signing, the dance floor was packed, lines of happy people waiting for their chance at photo booth shenanigans,  drinks to be drunk, hugs to be shared, toasts to be cheered, and most of an, an opportunity to revel in what an amazing industry this truly is.






Making our way back to the crown, we changed shoes and snuck into the casino for a night cap, we laughed at photo booth photos squirreled away in our clutches, we drank giant cocktails, and we wound down enough that we could regroup before round two the following day.

Sunday morning saw a quick breakfast before we we're ready for another full day. Doors opened and I was sitting next to one of my best friends, my husband refers to Carmen Jenner as my other spouse, often asking if I've checked with my wife before making decisions. I knew spending the day with this talented lady would be filled with laughs, selfies and conversing with readers. Listening to fans gush about this lady's writing always puts a smile on my face.


As the crowds died down, it was time for a few more selfies, before packing up for a bit of down  time.



It's inconceivable how much work goes into planning an event if you haven't been involved in one, from planning meetings, countless hours spent online chatting with your team, endless phone calls and emails, to Penny, Simone and Tina, congratulations on putting together an incredible event, to Angela, Tash, Trish and Erin, any leader or organiser knows that you're only as good as your team, your dedication to this event ensured it will be one that will live on in both readers and authors memories.

Sunday night saw a group of us converge in our hotel room for a few glasses of bubbles, before heading out of the crown for dinner, while we scared Monica & Ben with tales of drop bears and all of the creepy crawlies to steer clear of while visiting our beautiful country.


Monday morning came by way to quickly, after a relaxing breakfast and a stroll around Melbourne it was time to gather our bags and head to Tullamarine airport, a cider later we were boarding our plane, tired but happy, with memories that left smiles on our faces.




Until next time....



 

The Game Plan (Game On #3) by Kristen Callihan

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1GY0QjZ
iBooks: http://apple.co/1RrlP4m

Blurb:

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friend. That ends now. 

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed. 

Dex is looking for a forever girl, but they live vastly different lives in separate cities. Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he's her forever man.

Game On 


 
Excerpt:
 
I grin up at him. “You know, before this, I’d have taken you for a hard rock, or maybe even a bluegrass fan.” 
“It’s the beard, isn’t it,” he asks. 
“And the man-bun.” 
He laughs, a short rumble of sound. “Want me to let it down?” 
Yes. Maybe. 
“Not necessary. Man-buns are hot. I blame Jason Momoa. There was only so much watching him bang Khaleesi the female population could take before they wanted their own Khal Drogo.” 
Shit. I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Because it sounds a lot like flirting to me. Instinct tells me flirting with Ethan Dexter isn’t something to do lightly. And there’s the fact that I don’t go for athletes. At all. I don’t care how fit they are. Or how confident. I don’t like sports. Football bores me. Oh, I know tons about the sport—kind of impossible not to in my family—but I don’t want to pretend that I care when I’d rather talk about other things. 
Dex’s eyes crinkle again, and he turns toward me, leaning an elbow on the table. “Doesn’t Momoa have a beard?” 
I wave my hand. “Who has time to look at his beard when his muscles are on display?” 
I most certainly do not look at Dex’s phenomenal arms. 
“So your stance on beards is?” His gaze so strong I feel it in my toes.
My breathing picks up. “Don’t particularly like them.” 
It’s the truth. And yet I can’t help but look at his. It’s dark, framing his mouth, which should be a turnoff for me. Only it draws all my attention there. To the shape of his mouth—the upper lip a gentle curve, the lower lip fuller, almost a pout. There’s something slightly illicit about the whole effect. 
I clear my throat, glance up, and find him watching me through lowered lids. He doesn’t seem particularly put out by my frankness. 
“What don’t you like about them?” 
Is he serious? 
He stares at me. 
I guess he is. 
Taking a quick sip of my drink, I search for an answer. “They’re just so…fuzzy. Prickly.” 
He moves in, not crowding me, but putting himself at arms’ reach. He smells faintly of cloves and oranges. It must be his aftershave or cologne, but it works for me. 
I’m distracted by it and almost jump when he speaks again. “Do you know this based on experience, or are you making an assumption?” 
My gaze narrows. “Aren’t you the philosopher.” 
“You didn’t answer the question.” 
“Fine. Assumption.” 
His lips quirk. “You should find out if your assumption is true before you condemn the beard.” 
“Is this some sort of creepy way to get me to touch your beard?” 
A challenge flashes in his eyes. “There are a few guys at the bar sporting beards. You could go ask them. But I figure since we know each other…” 
“Not that well.” 
“You’d rather ask a stranger?” 
“You’re assuming I care enough to ask, Slick.” 
His teeth shine white in the shadows of the club. “I know you’re curious. You’re fairly twitching with wanting to know.” 
I flatten my hands against the table and glare. Is it just me, or is he closer? Close enough that I can see his eyes are hazel, lighter around his cornea with a starburst pattern. I wish I could see the colors, but he’s painted in shades of blue and gray right now. 
And he’s watching me. Patient. Calculating. Tempting. 
“It’s always the quiet ones,” I mutter before taking a breath. “Okay, I’ll pet your fuzzy face.” 
“Hold up.” Without hesitation, he reaches for my drink and takes a sip. “Liquid courage.” 
A strangled laugh leaves me. “Because I’m sooo scary.” 
“You have no idea, Cherry.”
I think I growl at him. I definitely want to give his precious beard a good, hard tug. But he simply lifts his brows at me. “Get on with it, then.” 
This cheeky bastard is totally playing me. And here I am falling into his trap. Because I cannot look away from his beard now. More specifically, his lips, which are parted just slightly. An invitation. A dare. 
Shit. I’ve never been very good at ignoring a dare. 
I hate that my hand trembles as I reach up to touch him. He stays perfectly still, his arm casually slung on the edge of the booth behind me, his body turned toward mine. But I don’t miss the way his breathing has kicked up just slightly. 
I hesitate, shy almost. Hells bells, I’m only going to touch a bit of facial hair. Why does it feel like we’re two kids tucked in a dark corner, playing a game of “I’ll show you mine”? 
Annoyed with myself, I close the distance between us. 


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Crave by BJ Harvey - ARC Review

 
 
Blurb:
 
 
I have a craving.

A dark urge I’ve failed to resist despite years of trying to do that very thing.

I’ve forced myself to hide behind a mask, a perfect orchestration to hide my true self.

After I met her, my wants and needs, my inner most desires changed.

She encouraged me to embrace who I truly am, and she was willing to do anything and everything I wanted, giving herself to satisfy my most carnal appetite.

Then everything in my carefully managed world came crashing down around me. A moment in time, a loss of control, and the very thing I cherish was nearly taken from me.

My fate now lies in her hands.

The very life I’ve built for myself…everything I’ve ever done now waits in purgatory, all caused by a lack of focus at a time when my most concentrated attention was needed.

The very thing I crave may now be the end of me.
 
 

Purchase Links:


Amazon US - http://amzn.to/1LpoiLl
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/1Me56h6v
Amazon AU - http://bit.ly/1QYLLnM
Google Play - http://bit.ly/1WMERpB
Kobo - http://bit.ly/1LxXImj
B&N -bit.ly/1ZbcDXD
Apple - http://apple.co/1PC7Zyy
 



Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2015.

To be honest I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I picked up Crave, BJ Harvey had been speaking about this book for a long time, the teasers hinted at something dark and almost sexily depraved, there was a sense of intrigue, of suspense, of something very different from her previous work. Crave is all that and more.

From the opening lines, Harvey had me invested, her prose exquisite, I was enraptured almost instantly, Crave had a slow start, the initial chapters really focusing on setting the scene and creating a sense of intrigue, Callum Alexander is a man of mystery, an enigma, he hints towards this deep, dark secret he is struggling to contain, something so sinister that it could spell his downfall if he were to act on it, and while I was intrigued by the secret what I truly wanted, was to know more about the man behind the legend, Callum is a renowned architect, he along with his best friend and business partner Grant Richardson have been awarded accolades cementing their place at the top of their field, they've built an empire with Alexander Richardson that is set to shoot them both from local celebrity to infinite stardom.

Callum is content to continue his life the way he is currently living it, as a island adrift in a sea of masks and facades, the image Callum portrays to the world around him is one of a successful business man, nothing more and nothing less, he makes it a point to keep his romantic life to a minimum, preferring to keep his sex life discreet, physical relationships purely provide a means to an end, there is nothing passionate there, that creative and passionate side of his brain filters directly into his work, he has little time to be distracted by anything else, it's too risky to chance exposing the side if him he's worked so hard to maintain control of. When he meets Lucia Harding, his world is titled off it's axis, for the first time ever, he's distracted.

Lucia Harding is the kind of woman who makes her presence known instantly, not through showy revealing clothes or by being loud and obnoxious, she radiates an aura that's hard to ignore and impossible not to notice. She's head strong, confident, and self assured, Lucia is a breath of fresh air from all of the money hungry, social climbing, barbie dolls that Callum is used to, there's a instant connection between the two, an awakening of sorts, the attraction isn't one sided, and Lucia definitely seems like she can give as good as she gets.

Crave definitely had a sense of instalust, but there was a slow burn to their romance, but as their blossoming relationship fought to take centre stage, there was someone or something waiting in the wings to derail everything Callum had fought so hard for both personally and professionally. Harvey cultivates this sense of foreboding, almost a sense of dread as things begin to happen, there's a creep factor that permeates every scene, what's that old saying...what goes up must come down...that's what I felt, for every slice of happiness that Lucia and Callum carved out for themselves, for every new dream and wish they threw into the air, I was waiting for them all to come crashing down ...waiting for the perfectly created façade Callum had crafted to begin to crack. Once I dove in, wading into the murky waters of a man struggling to be perfect example of poise and control, I couldn't put it down, I needed to know what came next. Harvey certainly showed her range here, Crave very much a deviation from her most recent Bliss series, this is undoubtedly sexy, it's sizzling hot, and the connection between Lucia and Callum is intense, their chemistry undeniable, the easy banter between Callum and Grant lifted the often dark and brooding vibe that I initially expected. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Harvey's take on sizzling suspense, and now the only question I'm left asking is...when does Grant Richardson get to tell his story?

 
 
Excerpt:
 


“What was that thought?” she asks curiously.

I lift my eyes from her hand resting on the black leather seat between us to her face to see a sly smile has appeared on her lips. “What thought?”

“The one that just had dirty written all over it.” Her smile grows wide, her eyes glittering with heat and a touch of amusement at the position she’s cornered me into.

“It’s a thought that would be more suited to the end of the date, if we are following your predetermined description of a how a first date should be, that is.”

Heat overtakes amusement as the air inside the car crackles with the right type of tension, the exact type of mood I have been hoping for and dreading. Our eyes remained locked, like neither one of us is able or willing to look away from the other.

Knowing I’d need to acquiesce, I look back down to where her hand rests beside her leg and bite the bullet, reaching over and lacing my fingers with hers.

“See?” she says as I catch her smile out of the corner of my eye. “Wasn’t that hard, was it?”

“It’s like that, is it?” I say, my voice filled with humor. She leans over, turning her body toward mine and rests her mouth against my jaw, just below my ear.

“If you want something from me, Callum, you just need to ask for it or take it. I highly doubt any of the thoughts running through that very handsome, highly intelligent head of yours could put me off.” Her breath warms my skin, sending the nerve endings into overdrive. “You’re welcome to try though . . .”

Before I can attempt to put my public mask in place, I tilt my head until we are cheek to cheek. Presented with an opportunity, I follow my instincts and graze my teeth slowly against her ear lobe. “I was thinking how your hand would feel touching me again . . .”

Her breath stutters momentarily, before quickening. She pulls back, leaning her shoulder into the seat but not returning to her side. “I’m sure we can arrange to hold hands again, Callum. It’s all part of getting to know each other.”

I mimic her pose, our bodies still close but not touching, as I let out an uncharacteristic chuckle. “You’re trouble with a capital T.”

“And I’m thinking, Mr. Alexander, there’s something about my brand of trouble that you’re drawn to.”


About BJ Harvey:



 
 


 


BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She writes contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and romantic suspense.
An avid music fan, you will always find her with headphones on while writing, and the speakers blaring the rest of the time. She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and when she’s not writing – she’s reading.
BJ resides with her family in what she considers the best country in the world—New Zealand.
She describes her writing as a little swoon, a lot of heat, a bit of drama and a whole lot of love.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bjharveyauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bjharveyauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6886702.B_J_Harvey
Tumblr: http://bjharveyauthor.tumblr.com/
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/MfpyP
Instagram: http://instagram.com/bjharvs


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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Pucked Up by Helena Hunting - ARC Review

Released: 25th October 2015.
 
 
Blurb:
 
 
Miller “Buck” Butterson has been banging his way through life ever since a puck to the face fixed his messed up front teeth, and he was drafted into the NHL during his first year of college. After five years of deflecting goals on the ice and scoring them with puck bunnies across the Continental US and parts of Canada, Miller is ready for a girlfriend. A real girlfriend of the non-bunny variety. One he takes on dates and doesn’t jump into bed with after five seconds of conversation.

Miller thinks he’s found that woman in his teammate’s sister. Except, unlike Alex Waters, center, team captain and all round nice guy—who happens to be dating his step-sister—Miller’s manwhore reputation is well earned, and not blown out of proportion by the media. Beyond that minor detail, Miller doesn’t know the first thing about having a girlfriend. But he’s determined to make it happen.

What he doesn’t take into account is the amount of time and effort relationships require, or that constantly letting bunnies take selfies with him to post all over social media isn’t going to win him any points in the boyfriend department. Miller learns—not so quickly—that if he wants to make Sunshine “Sunny” Waters fall for him, he going to have to do a whole lot more than show her his stick skills in the bedroom.
 
 


Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1MT5INN
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1jSO94N
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1QRQ4RY
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1LKutLo


Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2015.

Buck always kind of seemed like a dirty skeaze in Pucked, despite his manwhoring ways he had this soft side that shone through when it came to his step sister Violet, a fierce protectiveness when it came to those he cared about, but before he met Violet's boyfriend Alex's sister Sunshine, he never had a reason to feel protective over another girl. Sunshine, or Sunny as she prefers is different to every girl he's ever met, she's not the usual puck bunny he is used to, she's funny, smart, into yoga and clean eating, she's not about to drop to her knee's to please him and for the first time Miller has the opportunity to prove there's more to him than just the hard partying Manwhore of hockey.

Pucked Up has the oh my god I can't believe Hunting went there moments I was expecting, but there was also so much heart here, Miller exhibits stupidity at every turn when it comes to his own awareness of social media, but you can't help feeling sorry for him, he seems to meet bad luck at every turn, while it's hilarious for the reader, his life seems to be a series of one step forward and two steps back. Miller is an enigma of sorts, he's carefully created this image of himself, and for a long time the way he was viewed across social media didn't matter, because he didn't have anyone he desperately wanted to believe in him, Miller is all to aware of how the media skews the truth, and getting Sunny along with the rest of the female population see him in a new light might just be his biggest fight yet.

While Buck appears steadfast in his attraction, it's Sunny who needs to be sure of not only him, but of his intentions, to anyone who's met Buck, she appears to have reasons to be wary, and while the reader knows his thoughts and feelings as Pucked Up is in his POV, to the outside world it's almost inconceivable how wrong things go, it's comical to down right crazy how badly Buck misjudges situations which could ultimately lead to his downfall.

Where Sunny always had this innate sweetness to her, who I truly adored here was Buck, which is a strange turn of events for me, because I always tend to veer towards the heroine, everything about Buck was silly and irreverent, dirty and crass, sweet and almost romantic, he was the ultimate example of dichotomy in action, I wanted to him to be smarter, to look at his life from all angles, to think through the image he presented to the world, but I also wanted to accept him for his strengths and his weaknesses, and I wanted to shout from the rooftops how special he truly is, I wanted to be his greatest supporter to prove to all those who judged him that there was more there then just some rich kid who was living large both on and off the ice. The trademark wit and snark between Violet and Buck had me constantly giggling and the riotous adventure Hunting takes you on was a no holds barred journey that I wont soon forget.

 


About Helena Hunting:

Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her degree in English Lit to good use by writing contemporary erotic romance. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.

Website

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Art of Stealing Kisses (Love & Art #2) by Stella London

 
 
Blurb:
 
A priceless painting. A devastatingly handsome new boss.
A mystery I can’t resist.

Ever since billionaire art collector Charles St Clair crashed into my life, my whole world’s turned upside down. Now I’m trading my old waitress uniform for designer gowns, and bad blind dates for steamy hookups with the most eligible bachelor in town. But a string of daring art heists is turning heads - and all the clues point to St Clair.

Who is the man behind the myth? And what secrets is he hiding behind that million-dollar smile?
All I know is, I’m going to enjoy unwrapping the truth.


 
Kristine's Review:


Reviewed: October 2015.

When The Art of Stealing Hearts leaves off Grace is left with her every dream in her grasp, a career she has longed for, a sexy man offering her the world, her life is set to change and it's almost impossible for her not to be swept up in the dream life that is becoming her reality, she may know Charles in the biblical sense but he's still very much an enigma, she knows so little about him, and as a result she's almost going into their new working relationship blind.

There's a sense of intrigue and suspense here, London traces the fine line through wistful new love and lust and suspense and action, Grace is swept up in the romance of everything surrounding her, new job, money in the bank, respect at work, and a man hell bent on showing her a kind of life she's only every dreamt of, but Charles might not be the man she thought he was, and she's wading through the waters trying to figure out if he's what Agent Lennox suggests or the man she's desperate to believe he is.

I enjoyed the second instalment in this series, and I'm eager to see where London takes me next, but I felt a sense of disconnect at times, the first 40% I struggled to truly connect the Grace the way I did in The Art of Stealing Hearts, once Lennon reappeared I felt that tension, that desperation to uncover the truth, to uncover the whole story, I'm hoping the third instalment will grab me from the very first page, and from where The Art of Stealing Kisses I'm assuming it will, this series is fun and sexy and has a youthful, almost wistful vibe at times, I'm excited to see where Charles and Grace go next.
 

 
 
 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1KbbDaG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Oxa0fm
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1Rcr6fS
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1PuVaoX

Love & Art Series: