Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Way Back Home by Carmen Jenner


August Cotton shouldn’t be here. When a tragic accident calls him home to Magnolia Springs, this returned Veteran adds his parents to the list of things he’s lost in recent years, right along with his IED detection dog and his left leg. As the sole guardian of his four-year-old sister, August must rely on his Marine training in raising a tiny hellion who’s as stubborn as he is. But the Corps could never prepare him for this. Nor could they prepare him for Olivia Anders, a woman who’ll stop at nothing to get her way.

As owner of Paws for Cause, Olivia is no stranger to the broken men and women who return home from war. She’s no stranger to broken dogs either. In fact, she’s made it her mission to pair the two and enrich both of their lives, but pairing ornery and aloof August Cotton will take some work. The last thing August wants is some pushy southern woman occupying his parents’ bed and breakfast and forcing him to open up about the hell he narrowly escaped, but that’s exactly what Olivia intends.

They complete one another, and yet they can’t stand to be in the same room.

Can Olivia make this hardened Marine feel again and finally show his heart the way back home?

*** Intended for a mature 18+ audience only. This book may contain triggers for some readers.***

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: May 2017.

When I read my first Carmen Jenner book I remember thinking, wow she writes tattooed bad boys so well, then when she turned her hand to rock stars I again had the same thought, would you believe it, with each of the new tropes she tackled, from motorcycle gangs, to small town factory workers, to returned veterans, she has captured the very essence of characterisation that allows the hero and heroine to exist in a real state, off the page, and in our hearts.

"There's nothing like feeling lonely when you're surrounded by a crowd."

When I first met Olivia Anders, it was her take no sh*t attitude and resilience I adored, she was strong and feisty, determined to do her part to keep making the world a better place. There was a sense of someone who had seen and experienced far more than she had let on, and it was both endearing and inspired.

"Every day I tell myself I'm brave, I'm strong, that the past does not dictate who I am or the woman I've become. I keep hoping that one day it'll stick."

August Cotton has had a pretty crap run, he enlisted and went off to war, never really expecting to return to the life he left behind, returning home under the worst of circumstances has left the brittle and battered man even more determined to steer of everyone and everything in his small town. August has lost too much, left to rear his baby sister, the last thing he needs or wants is a pushy Olivia telling him what he needs and wants.

"Because wounds on the inside can be so much harder to heal than those of the flesh."

In true Jenner style, The Way Back Home is full of angst and emotion, everything about Olivia drawing you in, while August resolutely pushes you away, the building tension and blinding chemistry make this story impossible to put down, but its true beauty comes from those unparalleled moments of raw and real anguish, the moments that we watch as the walls these two people painstakingly built come crashing down, it's in those moments that Carmen Jenner truly shines, as she tugs and pulls at your heart, bruising it, battering it, before piecing it back together slowly and surely and sending you on your way.

About Carmen Jenner:

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

Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU, 2015.

A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore makeup addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.

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

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Plight by KM Golland


Plight [plahyt]
Noun: a difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation.
Verb: pledge or solemnly promise. Be engaged to be married.

I promised myself to a man. Well, technically, I promised myself to a boy. We were eight years old. Neighbours. He gave me a Cheezel, pushed it onto my finger, and asked me to marry him.
I ate the Cheezel.
I also said, “Yes” but that we’d have to wait until we were thirty.
It was my thirtieth birthday last week and now he’s calling in that promise.
Seriously, Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks that an out of the blue private Facebook message stipulating the binding law of an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two-year bullshit engagement.
I wonder if he really does look like his profile picture, though.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: May 2017.

Plight was such a fun premise, two childhood best friends who agreed to get married when they grew up, a deal sealed with a cheezel, I mean lets be honest, most of us wore our cheezel rings with pride when we were kids, the only caveat was that Danielle refused to don a white dress unless she was single at thirty. As is inevitable, Danielle and Elliot have drifted apart, well over a decade has passed since they last spoke, and for better or worse Danielle has moved on with her life, just after turning thirty, she receives a private message from none other that her betrothed, when Elliot reaches out to honour his proposal from all those years before, we know in true KM Golland style the fun is just beginning.

"Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks that a private Facebook message stipulation the binding law of an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two year bullshit deal. In.Sane."

Danielle is every part the sassy and strong heroine I've come to expect from KM Golland, despite a few set backs in her life, Danielle is doing just fine, thank you very much, not one to be reliant on others, or ask for anyone's help or approval, she is tackling each day with vigour and determination. When the boy she once loved more than herself or her traitorous teenage heart could handle waltzes back into her life and demands her time and attention she's finding old feelings rushing back to the surface, childhood crushes and teenage heartbreaks, and all these emotions she didn't ever want to have to deal with.

"Except Danielle had never been the girl of my dreams, she’d been the girl of my reality, my best friend and that was even better."

Elliot was always a resourceful kid, but Elliot as an adult, who has set his sights on the ultimate prize isn't going to let Danielle's annoyance get in his way, the girl of his dreams has always been Danielle, despite all the twists and turns his life has taken he has always been sure of one thing, and now that Danielle is back within reach he will stop at nothing to convince her what they have is real, what they have is not something you walk away from, that what they have is forever.

Everything about Plight is engaging, Danielle and Elliot entice you with their witty banter, but beneath the hilarity is a tender love story that begs you to read a little deeper, and surrender to the magic that Golland weaves. Equal parts heat and heart and Golland's trademark humour Plight is the perfect Sunday afternoon read that feels familiar and intriguing all at the same time.

About KM Golland:

“I'm an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable little people. I'm a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I'm also a self-confessed shop-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and choc-aholic.” Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland studied law and worked as a conveyancer before putting her career on hold to raise her children. She then traded her legal work for her love of writing and found her dream career.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

All That I Am (Men of Monroe #1) by Rachel Brookes


A kickass home d├ęcor boutique – tick
A sassy mouth and absolutely no filter – tick
A wall so strong no man could ever tear it down - tick, tick, tick!

Or so I thought.

Until I meet Detective Ben Hunt, the owner of exquisite blue eyes, a god-like physique and a seductive smirk that makes me weak at the knees. He charges into my life like a force of nature. No matter how hard I try to keep the walls up around my heart, he’s made it his mission to shatter them. I have no chance of resisting him, but I would make sure I won this tug of war.

Which was what I wanted.

Right? When did the idea of losing myself to him start to sound so good?

I wish Ben was the only battle I faced. There’s a reason this small town needs a good detective. One way or another I’m going to have to brace for impact, because no wall I build can stop the new threat thundering toward Monroe.

After all, secrets only stay a secret for so long around here.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: May 2017.

When Rachel Brookes first spoke of All That I Am over a year ago, the thought of midtown American filled with these alpha broody men had me intrigued, I mean was it based on a real place, could I visit there?? The Author often teased that ATIA would be different to her previous books, and for a fan of her earlier work, statements like that could be met with equal parts eager anticipation and trepidation. Change after all is good, but there's often a healthy sense of fear that you may not love what comes next. In Brookes' newest release she shows a growth that even I as a seasoned reader wasn't anticipating, there's certainly a deeper realisation of her characters, one that is sure to resonate deeply with old and new readers alike.

"The scariest part wasn't what he said. The scariest part was how it made me feel."

For a self confessed lover of Alpha Hero's Brookes certainly created the strong, brooding type to a tea, Ben Hunt comes across as gruff and demanding, hard edged and tightly controlled, he commands a certain air of authority that his career belies. Hunt is clearly not a man to be trifled with, as a decorated Detective he is clearly a shrewd operator, determined to undercover the worst of society and put them behind bars where they can't hurt anyone else.

"My heart screamed as his words penetrated. How could I love what he said but in the next breath want to erase every memory I had of him."

On the outset Sasha Hamilton is all sass and bravado, she's strong, determined and independent, she's had enough knock downs and set backs in her life to have learnt how to look after herself, she's been meticulous in surrounding herself with a small group of people she trusts, to those outside her circle Sasha is the girl about town, who's carefree and loving life, but on the inside she's still weathering the effects of one too many past hurts to fully trust anyone or let them in.

"Give me the keys to your heart, Sweetheart. You won't regret it. Let me get in there and start clearing out the hurt. I don't want to keep losing you."

When the hot headed Hunt and smart mouthed Sasha collide both of their lives shift, it's a battle of wills, where they need to be prepared to bend and break to have a chance at something permanent and real. Brookes' flexes ability to create the kind of angsty, suspense that romance readers love, with a sense of foreboding that overshadows so much of this story, I felt myself simultaneously wanting to read more and savour what I was sure to be short lived moments of peace. With a heady mix of impending fear, and heart swelling joy, All That I Am struck all the right notes for a book that felt almost impossible to put down. For fans of Kristen Ashley, lovers of dirty talking, raw and masculine absolute alpha males, of strong and fiery heroines who seem to come back swinging no matter how many times the world seems to knock them down, for fans of steamy romance with a side of edge of your seat suspense, and most importantly, for readers who want to be immersed so deeply in their books that they don't ever want to leave All That I Am is for you.

"Let me be the man who gives you the life a woman as incredible as you deserves."

About Rachel Brookes:

Rachel Brookes is from the east coast of Australia and writes angst ridden love stories with a pinch of craziness, a dash of drama, a cup of romance, and a bucketload of sexiness. With five novels currently published, she is constantly writing and getting ready to release her next hero and heroine into the world. An avid reader, Rachel can often be found with her kindle in her hand, and getting lost in a happily ever after. She has an unhealthy obsession with The Walking Dead, and social media, and loves hearing from readers.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mister Romance (Masters of Romance #1) by Leisa Rayven


Max Riley is the man of your dreams. Or at least he will be, for a price.

As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York's socialites can't get enough. Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he's careful to keep his real identity a secret.

Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes.

Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn't fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies.

Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story.

Don’t miss this sizzling new standalone from the internationally best selling author of Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet, and Wicked Heart.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: May 2017.

So here's the thing, I'm a sucker for certain tropes, childhood best friends, brothers best friend, enemies to lovers, and male escorts... it's with an almost giddy sense of anticipation that I find myself diving into these stories, add to that, the author has easily become an automatic 1click for me and you may be able to guess reaction to the idea alone of Mister Romance, I mean Leisa Rayven is the woman who created Ethan Holt and Cassie Taylor... and for those who have been following GPI for a while now, you'll no doubt remember my reaction the Starcrossed series, in truth, I still have that same reaction, it's part awed by the story and part far too emotionally invested in fictional characters to be classified as sane.

Now that you know my trope loves, let me add that the idea of opposite's attracting is another one of the things that makes me giddy, so combining Eden Tate, perhaps the worlds most cynical and anti love young woman, with Max, Mr Romance himself, who's goal is to create the most romantic of situations for his clients and you're almost guaranteed to make me just about beg for more.

Eden, is young, smart and sassy, she's knows all about failed relationships, and partners that split when things get hard. She's seen first hand the devastation a broken relationship can have on a person, let alone on a family. Despite those around her seemingly charmed by the notions of forever loves and happily ever afters, Eden is determined not to end up distraught after believing in something that isn't real, instead she's focusing on fixing her stalling career and finally busting out of the click bait nonsense articles her boss is forcing her to write. Eden is determined to become the savvy investigative journalist she's always dreamt of, when she stumbles on Mister Romance - a $5000 a date escort who is servicing the social elite and making romantic dreams come true, she might just have found the key to her professional success.

"Is that why I'm hesitating? Because on some level, I think this man, who's sitting there pretending to be another man, sees through the person I'm pretending to be."

Max AKA Mr Romance has created a lucrative career out of wining and dining rich women and fulfilling their romantic fantasies. He's not trading sexual acts, and all parties involved are consenting adults, so he's hardly doing anything wrong...right?? When Eden infiltrates his inner sanctum and threatens to expose not only his business but his wealthy clients, his only option is to issue a challenge he knows Eden won't be able to refuse.

"I'm trying to ignore how goddamn attracted I am to you."

I've been finding myself more and more drawn to the not quite slow burn books of late, where I once craved lots of sex and fast gratification in my books, I now find myself gravitating to that deliciously sexy chemistry that you only find in stories where the build is just as important if not more than the climax. I want that edge of my seat feeling, you know the one...where you're desperate to read more, to live and breathe the story, where you're so enamoured by the characters that you want to be them, know them, everything about the story draws you in and demands you pay attention, you're hungry for that first touch, first kiss, first everything...'s that heady feeling of need and desire and love and lust that tickles your senses that I crave, and within the first chapter I was feeling those initial stirrings pulsing through my blood, in a matter of pages I was so utterly invested that I was buzzing and on edge ready for everything Rayven was bound to throw at me. The more I read, the more intense my reaction, before I knew it I was desperate, the authors ability to convey emotion and elicit a response from the reader overwhelming.

"Their partners give them sex, but what they truly crave is for someone to see them. Value them. Love them. That's what Maxwell does."

The beauty of this story lies in not only Rayven's exquisite prose, but her snappy dialogue and sharp characterisation. Eden and Max leapt from the page, I craved their interactions as much they did, feeling rather than simply reading their conversations. Everything about Mister Romance flowed effortlessly from the page, creating a story that felt more film than book, making it utterly addictive leaving me entirely unable to put it down.

About Leisa Rayven:

Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn't long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.

Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that's because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.

Since then, she's honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.

These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing, and she is now the proud mother of numerous book babies, including BAD ROMEO, BROKEN JULIET, and WICKED HEART. (Macmillan New York)

Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three judgmental cats, and a kangaroo named Howard. (*NB: Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.*)

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