Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kicked by Celia Aaron


Trent Carrington.
Trent Mr. Perfect-Has-Everyone-Fooled Carrington.
He’s the star quarterback, university scholar, and happens to be the sexiest man I’ve ever seen. He shines at any angle, and especially under the Saturday night stadium lights where I watch him from the sidelines. But I know the real him, the one who broke my heart and pretended I didn’t exist for the past two years.
I’m the third-string kicker, the only woman on the team and nothing better than a mascot. Until I’m not. Until I get my chance to earn a full scholarship and join the team as first-string. The only way I'll make the cut is to accept help from the one man I swore never to trust again. The problem is, with each stolen glance and lingering touch, I begin to realize that trusting Trent isn’t the problem. It’s that I can’t trust myself when I’m around him.

This is a full-length, sweet, hot, safe, standalone American football romance novel.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2016.

Kicked was my first book by Celia Aaron, from the outset it sounded like something I could sink my teeth into, sports romance....CHECK, college students....CHECK, sexy...., CHECK, sweet....CHECK, and air of second chance romance...CHECK CHECK CHECK! From the very first page I was smitten, Cordy seemed like the kind of girl you'd want to be friends with, funny, smart, and holds a position on the mens football team, no, before you ask...Cordy is not a cheerleader, due to some previous inclusion issues, Cordy holds a place on the team as second string kicker, sure she may be the one token female on the team, but she's a talented athlete, while her passion may reside in soccer, her place on the football team ensures a partial scholarship.

I was immediately drawn into the story, while moments seemed predictable - manwhore best friend loving her from afar anyone, there was a level of intrigue surrounding Cordy and team superstar Trent that had me entranced. They had a past two years ago but it crumbled before it even had a chance to flourish. I needed to know more, I found myself devouring those first few chapters, desperate to know why their romance didn't work out, but I found that knowing why didn't leave me with that OH MY moment I was hoping for, and instead I was left feeling a little underwhelmed.

From that moment the story felt both rushed and intensely slow for me, the moments I wanted to see more developed fell flat and other moments I felt dragged onto long, extended sex scenes that while hot, didn't necessarily add to the story for me. I wanted to love Kicked, initially I truly believe I would, but overall the story was just to inconsistent for me, individually I enjoyed the characters, and times I felt a stronger sense of connection to Aaron's words, but unfortunately for me I just wasn't able to engage with the story as a whole and found myself more easily distracted than I would like when fully invested in a book.

About Celia Aaron:

Celia Aaron is the self-publishing pseudonym of a published romance and erotica author. She loves to write stories with hot heroes and heroines that are twisty and often dark.

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

GPI takes on Paris June 2016

Over six months ago I booked flights to Europe for a once in a lifetime experience, attending a book signing on the other side of the globe, it felt like a dream on the precipice of coming true, travelling the world with one of my best friends, Carmen Jenner, sitting by her side at Four Brits Book Fest, experiencing Europe with wide eyes. As we discussed our travel itinerary, and our plans began to take shape, KM Golland said she'd join us for a whirlwind tour of Paris. Our plans were set, on the 5th June we would leave Australia to travel abroad.

What we wouldn't know at the time of booking is that Sydney would experience torrential rain that weekend, that we would eventually be facing cancelled flights and be ground in Sydney for an extra night. Kell would be spending her first night in Paris alone...(don't feel too bad for her, she had a comfy bed and room service) and we would still be in the air.

Fast forward to navigating Charles De Gaulle with heavy suitcases on weary legs, enduring the worlds longest cab ride, to arriving at our home away from home in Paris. From there we unpacked, freshened up and made our way into the streets of the most romantic city in the world. The sights, the smells, the architecture, the street vendors, the pastries... ahhh the giant hashtag monument doesn't lie...Paris We Love You.

From sightseeing famous monuments like Nostredam to the Arc De Triumph to the Moulin Rouge, to coffee in cafes on every street corner, to fresh pastries, √©clairs, and croissants oh my... to trips to Sephora (don't act know we'd go there...) and a quick browse through shoe shops to round out the day (yes the Queen of Heels Kell wouldn't let us walk past a store...) before circling back around on our double decker bus, and picking up the dinner of champions....vino, cheeses, sliced cold meats and crackers.

Day Two dawned seeing us exploring more sights, the Louvre, and arguable
one of the most famous pieces in the world, the Mona Lisa (yes it was a tad's small and behind glass, and apparently you're not supposed to take photos...oops) we wandered the museum and took in hundreds of years worth of priceless art before we made our way to yet another café for a lunch of pizza and wine (the whole Paris lifestyle definitely has its perks.) People watching might just be my new favorite past time, the Parisian lifestyle is certainly good to it's people, with some of the best looking law enforcement and army officials I've ever seen, if any author is ever after alpha hero inspiration I strongly urge you to take a trip overseas.

From sight seeing to shopping for shoes and make up, to cafes and bars, dinners to desserts, from the Moulin Rouge, to the Eiffel Tower, Paris was everything I imagined and more, the more we wandered the more I was awed by the architecture, the buildings, the people, the fashion, the shopping....the food...oh my the food. Exploring the city with Carmen and Kell ensured that every moment was filled with laughter, the days filled with hours walking, browsing, shameless selfie taking, from Sephora's on every street corner, to those pretty blue boxes from Tiffany & Co that I love so much, to Lefayette Galleries where we wandered for hours from Louboutin to Ferragamo to CosmoParis and Vuitton, to a tour of the Eiffel Tower and a final dinner on the Champs Elysees where snails were had and beer was drunk.

As our time in Paris drew to a close, we got closer to descending on Birmingham for the first #FourBritsBookFest.

Paris, you stole my heart, I promise I'll be back one day!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen


She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2016.

Have you ever picked up a book with zero expectations about how you think the story will play out and yet finish it thinking WOW! That is so not what I expected?? Now I know I probably sound crazy, but the thing is I didn't really have any idea how Ms Bowen would craft a story about a recovering addict, from the first book in the True North series I expected laugh out loud funny, I expected steamy sex, I expected those swoony moments that Bowen writes to perfection, what I didn't however expect was to read a story about a recovering addict and all the pain and regret he experienced, all the hurt he left behind, but most of all I didn't expect a story to capture so eloquently the destruction addiction causes. From Jude's introduction in Bittersweet I *knew* that he would be something special, addiction isn't only hard on the addict, but on those that love and care for them.

Even knowing very little about the man Jude Nickel was before he went to prison for vehicular manslaughter, it was easy to see how much his time incarcerated changed the man he is now. Three years in prison and six months in rehab is an awfully long time to spend reflecting the choices and mistakes you made, even the least repentant person would struggle under the weight of that kind of solitude. Beating addiction might have been the one of the hardest things Jude ever had to do, but returning to his hometown, of Colebury Vermont , confronting the ghosts of his former life, the ghost of the only woman, the only person who ever loved him was infinitely the hardest.

"Keeps me sane, knowing that if I stay strong all week I get to see you."

Sophie Haines was once the perfect stepford daughter, she did exactly what she was told, she played along with whatever her Sherriff father wanted, she lived her life in the shadows, a quiet  but lonely existence, Jude Nickel was the badboy she'd lust after from afar, a boy like him would never go for a good girl like her, meeting him, changed her, their teenage romance changed each other, in him she found wild and crazy, lust and romance, support and love. At seventeen she thought their love was invincible, but one night changed both of their lives and she was left heartbroken and alone, trapped with a mother who still hadn't mourned her son's passing and a father who blamed her for his death.

"He didn't keep me sane - he made me crazy. Until he'd shown up I hadn't realized how lonely I was."

Two people's lives changed irrevocably one night, one man died, and two families were left broken, addiction is insidious, it breaks trusts, damages lives, shatters families, I know this from personal experience, addiction leaves gaping holes in it's wake, rehabilitation is never an easy fix, it's a statistic universally proven that the rate of return use amongst users is extremely high, as a society we seem to believe that the hard part is admitting you have a problem, is rehabilitation, either forced or voluntary, but the simple fact is that that is the easy part, staying sober while in a regulated treatment program isn't hard, it's returning to your life once your out that shocks the body, that challenges that heart and soul, it's the cravings that tempt you, while all the things you once found so hard to deal with are back breaking down your resolve, it's the knowing how easy it would be to find your drug of choice, Reading books that deal with addiction is difficult because I've heard the I'm sorry's, the I won't do it agains, the I didn't mean its, the I'm tryings, I've heard them so many times that they lost their meaning, they became blank words, a void, and yet the more I read of Jude and Sophie's story the more I let go of some of the anger I didn't realise I was still holding onto.

"Those are just bullsh*t labels. And since when are you interested in other people's opinions."

Jude and Sophie's story isn't one of your typical addict, nor is it one of your typical badboy tempting the good girl, it's multi layered feel left me clutching my chest, it often left my heart feeling heavy, and my soul in need of support, it dealt with a topic that is a trigger for so many and dealt with it with sensitivity and respect, without demonising or sugar coating the reality of it. Steadfast isn't only about drug addiction and recovery, nor is it only about young love, it's paints a beautiful message about forgiveness and redemption, of others and yourself. Steadfast was raw, heart wrenching and utterly addictive in the best possible way.

About Sarina Bowen:

Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in the wilds of Vermont. Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is...cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2016.

Everyone has that author, you know the one, the one you pick up to reread, the one that you know with certainty will make you feel better, make you laugh, send your heart into free flight, leave you feeling sated and yet desperate for more? Authors like that are rare gems, once you find them, you never want to let them go, with a rare blend of chick lit, women's fiction and sexy contemporary romance Alice Clayton stands out amongst the crowd, with a unique mix of scintillatingly sexy, uproariously funny and a realness that is often lacking in fiction she cemented her place in my favorite authors.

"You're the brie girl with the great big ass."
"You want to say that again? To my face."
A slow grin spread across his face. "Which part?"
"You know exactly which part."
"Oh, the part about your great big ass?
I blinked in total surprise. "I can't believe you have the balls to say that out loud."
"What, that you've got a great ass?"
"Come again?" I asked, confused.
..... "I love watching your great big ass." 
 In Nuts we were introduced to Natalie Grayson, and Oscar Mendoza, while Oscar is a man of few words, Natalie is a lady of many, fast talking, up front, say it to your face this leading lady certainly isn't a docile wallflower, Natalie has built a successful career knowing exactly how to market any product, with her smart, inventive sales pitches she's cemented herself amongst the cream of the crop, surrounded by friends and a loving family, Everything about Natalie drew me in, her sass, her confident swagger, her don't mess with vibe, her fast talking, quick thinking, and undeniably funny personality hit all the right notes for me to become a devoted fan. So often in books the heroine is either classically beautiful or undergoes an almost She's All That (yeah taking it back to a 90s movie reference with that one) transformation, you know once they remove the nerdy frames or stop dressing in flouncy, baggy clothing we see the hot girl underneath, she'll end up bringing the hero to his knee's and you'll cheer along as she does, however in Cream of the Crop, Natalie is rocking the curvy girl mantra, she's not a size 8 or 10 (I'm talking Australian sizes here) she's got curves, junk in her trunk, breasts women pay for, in a world where the media and fashion magazines tell us that big is not beautiful it's refreshing to see a leading lady sticking up her proverbial middle finger to beauty standards and saying this is me and I'm ready to rock this life. As one of those aforementioned curvy girls, watching her attitude spring forth, seeing the way she commands a room, owns her sexuality, demands respect and then hearing all of her inner most thoughts, from the down right comical to the heartbreakingly raw, left me feeling stronger, had me doubting myself that little bit less, and even allowed me brief moments of reprieve where I could admit to those days that left me feeling battered and bruised without being scared my Queen card would be taken away.

Where Natalie was lively and outgoing, Oscar is quiet and reserved, well maybe that's not entirely an apt description, Oscar lives up to his famous Sesame Street counterpart, he's grouchy and stand offish, his sometimes grunted answers and one word responses are legendary, he's untouchable, lacking a filter or any of those pesky pleasantries one would usual use he's bound to ruffle a few feather, sure he's sexy as sin, and has women just waiting to catch any crumb he may toss their way but no one ever seems to catch his eye. As Natalie bumbles and fumbles her way through their usual Saturday morning market interactions, completely losing her usual effortless cool, we see the stirrings of a man who's on the verge of change.

"Because while Oscar didn't talk much, when he's focused on something, he's all in. Fully present. This kiss, these kisses, they are lazy and unhurried, frantic and frenzied. How can they be both?"

Where Clayton could of just written the perfect romantic comedy and been done with that, she instead seamlessly blended such raw emotion that at times I found myself nodding along, sharing in her moments of heartbreak, in those quiet moments when she doubted herself, in the moments she raged, in the moments when she wandered lost and confused, in those quiet moments I felt that strong connection, the moment that catapults a book from being one I liked to one I loved, and I need to tell you that I loved this book, from the very first page I was hooked, the more I read the further I fell for these characters, the more I wanted to lose myself equally on the streets of New York and on a dairy farm, effortlessly captivating to the very last line, I devoured the words, finishing it in one sitting.
Everything about Cream of the Crop held me captive, while Oscar undoubtedly ticked all the boxes for the alpha hero, what I truly loved so much about this story was Clayton's leading lady, so many times throughout this book I found myself declaring that I wanted to be Natalie when I grew up. Fiercely strong, wildly protective, smart, funny, confident, the ability the kick ass and take names and yet still have this gentle, beautifully raw, vulnerable side, she was a shining example of the true dichotomous nature of women. This uproariously funny, supremely sexy, savvy business woman was everything I look for in a heroine, with touches of Wallbangeresque humour and Redhead heart and the sexy styling that is entirely Clayton Cream of the Crop easily rose to one of my favourite reads this year.

NUTS (Hudson Valley #1):
Nuts & Cream of the Crop PB Bundle:

GPI's review of NUTS:

About Alice Clayton:

ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read laptop).

She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.

Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Summer Games : Out Of Bounds by RS Grey - Cover Reveal

Release Date: 1st August 2016.


I despise Erik Winter.

He’s arrogant and cruel—a man I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy—and by some twisted turn of fate, he’s my new Olympic gymnastics coach.

I’ve had to contend with gruff coaches in the past, but Erik is far worse. His stern demeanor complements a body built for intimidation, and his reprimands come from a mouth so cunning, I know it could strip me of my defenses—if I let it.

Though each of us would love to be rid of the other forever, we are bound to each other by need and necessity. I’m his rising star, his best shot at proving himself to his critics. And without a coach, I have zero chance of winning gold in Rio.

The easiest way forward would be to wave a white flag and make peace with the man I’ll be sharing close quarters with for the foreseeable future, but he is intent on war.

Fine. By. Me.

If he pushes me, I’ll push back harder. If he wants to test me, to play with my head, I’ll show him just how many boundaries I’m willing to cross. Because I know it’s not a choice between winning or warring—not if you can have them both. At the end of it all, I plan on leaving Rio with gold around my neck and his icy heart in the palm of my hand.

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About RS Grey:

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things... everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things "funny". Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Reckless Hearts (Oak Harbor #2) by Melody Grace


“When you’re ready for a real man to show you what it feels like, you just let me know.”

It should be the offer of a lifetime: sexy craftsman Will Montgomery wants to rock my world, and boy, does he know what to do with his hands – and that filthy, delicious mouth of his…

Only problem is, I don’t believe in relationships. And Will has ‘boyfriend material’ written all over his chiseled, hunky abs. He was supposed to be an impulse fling, but now he’s shown up in Oak Harbor, NC, to put down roots, and he’s determined to make me com…mit.

I’ve been hurt before. Love always ends in tears and tequila, but Will seems different. He’s charming and funny, and did I mention that miraculous mouth of his? Despite all my better judgment, I’m falling. Hard. But can something this good turn out to be true? Or will old scars keep us from building a future together? For the first time ever, maybe I want to be proven wrong...

A sexy, heart-felt stand-alone with a guaranteed happy ending from New York Times bestselling author, Melody Grace!

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2016.

Reckless Hearts was my first book by Melody Grace, and to be completely honest I went in fairly blind, in fact I didn't even realise it was book two in the Oak Harbor series, in saying that, Reckless Hearts is a stand alone within the series, regardless of whether you are new to this series or a long time fan of Ms Grace this book is bound to easily captivate.

Delilah Morgan is having a rough day, first of all she lost out on a sales pitch she desperately wanted to make, then her handbag is stolen in a bar, and as if that isn't bad enough, she's hours from home with a car but no keys, no wallet or phone. When things couldn't possibly get worse a knight in shining armour appears, Will Montgomery has swagger and confidence, and the way he fills out a suit should be illegal, but the likelihood of every seeing him again is slim to none. Delilah is soon enough on her way home and will continue to go about her usual life without the interruptions of sexy Will.

"I don't know why you've got those walls built so high, But sooner or later, you're going to realize I'm not like the other guys. I don't play games, I don't run scared because a woman wants to call the shots. I can give you everything you need. EVERYTHING..."
Despite all of Delilah's false bravado, and confidence, Will see's right through her, he see's her fears and her doubt's, he see's a woman he wants to spend time with, wants to get to know her, wants to tear down the walls she's built. Their chemistry is immediate, their connection electric, their banter making Reckless Hearts impossible to put down, everything about this book had me utterly captivated, invested from the very first page, desperate for Grace to take me on Will and Delilah's journey, fun and frivolous, exciting and fresh, I absolutely needed to know if Will could convince Delilah that he was worth taking a chance on, I wanted to know if Delilah could abandon her fears and take a leap of faith, woven in between the deliciously sexy and the laugh out loud funny were moments of pure tender wonder, swoon worthy snippets that left me giddy.

"I don't know how to do this, I don't know how to be with someone, like this, for real. I've never even come close."
While moments were predictable, and at times I had to remind myself this was fast paced fiction, what I found was that I was so utterly enamoured with not only Will and Delilah but Lottie and Sawyer and everyone else that I didn't care enough to truly pause, small moments that would normally pull me from my book infatuation didn't manifest that way, I merely noted it and kept going, devouring Grace's words, mesmerised by her story, while I may have been new to the Oak Harbor series and this author, it certainly won't be the last of her work to grace my kindle, I was searching and one clicking before I turned the last page eager to find out more about this series, to experience more of Melody Grace's fun and feisty storytelling.


# 0.5 Heartbeats – A Heartbreaker Prequel Story


#1 Heartbreaker – A Full Length Novel


About Melody Grace:

Melody Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of the Beachwood Bay series. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover, after spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk. She lives in LA with her two kittens, Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers.