Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Beau and the Belle by RS Grey


Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: February 2018.

I've been such a huge fan of RS Grey's for a long time now, in fact when I first discovered Grey's unique narrative I was so infatuated that I devoured every title in her back catalogue that was available. I spent days lost in a Rachel Grey bubble and I loved every single second of it. Her subsequent releases have often hit my best of each years top buying guide, without a doubt she is and will continue to be a must read author for me. It's the reason why this review is so hard to write because unfortunarely The Beau and the Belle was not for me, I struggled to connect in the way I usually would with Grey's words. I found myself putting it down in the early chapters and when I picked it back up not finding that thing that would grab me and fail to let go.

“It didn't eat away at him like it did me. I wanted us to both suffer & that's why I'm here now. He owes me heartache.”

I continued but failed to truly connect with the story the way I'm accustomed to with Grey's work, while I could recognise the strength of her talent, and a well crafted story, I found I lacked that illusive oomph that usually has me so invested in Grey's characters that I find it near impossible to stop for even the briefest of breaks. While I did eventually find my AHAAA moment at the half way mark, my inability to initially connect hampered my enjoyment through the second half of the story.

“When I'm 40, I'll be able to re-enact this scene for my therapist with chilling accuracy”

I desperately wanted to love Beau and Lauren, and there were moments where my hope glimmered, this story was never quite the perfect fit for me. Funny in parts, sweet most definitely, The Beau and the Belle will no doubt be a hit for many, unfortunately it wasn't my favourite.

About RS Grey:

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of fourteen novels, including THE FORTUNATE ONES. She loves books, chocolate, reality TV, and cold weather. She lives in Texas with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. 

Connect with RS Grey on Facebook

Friday, 16 February 2018

CAKE by Carmen Jenner Cover Reveal

Author: Carmen JennerGenre: Rom-com
Cover Design: Ben Ellis, Be DesignsIllustration: Yehuda DevirRelease Date: March 1, 2018


Poppy Porter's ex is getting married ... to her ex-best friend. To land her dream job of partner in the most prestigious firm on the Upper East Side, Poppy must now pull double shifts as their wedding planner and maid of honor. And the icing on a truly craptastic cake? Leo Nass. Handsome, infuriating, womanizer, and … the best man. Despite their longstanding loathing, Poppy doesn't see Leo coming. Literally.

One ruined cake.

One archnemesis.

One hour to save the wedding.

Can they put their hatred aside long enough to save Poppy’s job and Bridezilla's head from exploding?

Piece of cake, right?



PRE-ORDER LINKS: (to come)


“Are you still going to this wedding, or can I eat your cake?” I mean for that to come out nothing like it sounds, but of course because apparently I’m now a teenage horn bag, it comes out low and sounds just like cake is a metaphor for her grumpy cat.


“Yeah I can eat your cake?” I ask, somewhat breathlessly. Jesus, fuck. When did I grow a pair of ovaries?

“Yeah, I’m still going. My job is on the line, and no, you can’t eat my cake. Don’t think I don’t know that was a metaphor. You’re not going anywhere near my cake.”

“Damn. I’m excellent at eating cake. Everybody says so.”

Poppy rolls her eyes. “That’s the problem.”

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?

Connect with Carmen on Facebook

Thursday, 15 February 2018

True Crime, Active Shooters and Gun Control.

The week of Christmas I was made redundant from my job, in the weeks that followed as I started studiously applying for jobs, I would reward myself each day with an hour of television. Long before I discovered Romance I was a self proclaimed lover of True Crime. I was known to devour books on serial killers and mass murderers, the psychology behind their decisions and reasons for "snapping" intrigued me, in all honesty it's why I chose electives at University like Abnormal Psychology.

There was one time years ago when flying that a stewardess asked me what I was so intently invested in that I didn't even notice that dinner service had begun. I was showed her my book, Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman with it's dark cover and title it's no wonder she was surprised. The truth is the inner workings of a depraved mind has long instilled in me a sense of intrigue.

Fast forward back to mid January when I was searching the Australian paid television network Stan, I stumbled on a documentary series that caught my eye. Active Shooter: American Under Fire. Each episode focuses on a mass shooting in recent years, speaking with law enforcement and first responders from the day, family members of those who lost their lives, injured victims, and in some cases even family members of the perpetrator. It's a sombre look into the lives of those impacted in the most personal of ways by these crimes. It examines the procedures first responders follow and the changes that have been made since as local law makers and politicians try to come to terms with a growing death toll. It examines the lives of those left behind and the long lasting trauma left on the heroic first responders that ran in when most of us would want to run out.

 It almost seems surreal now, that weeks after watching this series in the comfort of my own home, a world away another tragedy is unfolding. A nineteen year old former student opened fire on unsuspecting students and teachers at a Parkland Florida High School killing seventeen. My first reaction was what, how, why.... now I'm sitting here wondering how much more it will take before law makers do something instead of trotting out the old adage "guns don't kill people, people kill people."

After Columbine we said we would learn, and here we are almost twenty years later with no change, no tighter gun control laws, and more active shooter situations then ever before. Semi automatic and automatic weapons have only one purpose and that’s to kill lots of people in the shortest amount of time possible. These are not weapons needed by farmers, hunters or recreational shooters. This isn’t about constitutional rights, this is about changing and tightening laws to make your people safer.

Before you say but the shooter clearly has mental health issues...I'm certainly no refuting that, there’s no doubt that the lack of mental health care and preventive measures have played a role in this, and no doubt the stigma attached to mental health has not helped, but tougher gun laws means that people can’t easily access weapons like this. Columbine, San Bernardino, Charlestown, Washington, Orlando, Oak Creek, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Connecticut.... how many more people have to die before the American people say no more?

And before we get in to the disabling of Constitutional rights, any responsible gun owner will tell you the prime use of semi automatic and automatic weapons, more over they will also tell you there’s no need for them. The truly disturbing fact is in the days that follow we will rage against the system, we will scream how unjust and unfair this is. We’ll cry for those injured and murdered, and we’ll tell ourselves never again.... but before injured victims are even released from hospital, long before the shooter even stands trial we will forget. Parkland Florida will just be another location like Columbine Colorado, Santa Monica California, or Newtown Connecticut, like countless other places that saw death and destruction.

In the last few years of my retail career I'd attended copious rounds of active shooter training, what to do if an active shooter situation was to occur in the shopping centre I was working in...get your customers and your staff into your backroom, close the shutters, turn off the lights and barricade yourselves in with your mobile phones and anything nearby you could use as a weapon, get low and stay quiet. Did you know that the training for first responders since Columbine has changed time and time again as they try to find the best method to take down the shooter/s. Because in the time it takes to secure and clear the scene and find the shooter/s, injured people are bleeding out and dying. First responders are being trained to go against their primal instinct and usual training to stop and render aid and to secure the scene first. 

In the days and weeks that follow today I hope for a different outcome, I hope that the tears and outrage that will inevitably turn to thoughts and prayers, that will culminate in calls to action will change the trajectory of gun control for the American people. I hope that instead of the empty promises that politicians will surely trot out, we see a swelling of ground support that says we want preventative measures put in place instead of tears and platitudes in the aftermath. I hope we see a different America then the one we see today, where school shootings, and active shooters are not merely our new normal.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Fifty Shades Fan Girl for Life...why I will be forever grateful to EL James.

In early 2011 I got married, I was working two full time jobs, and my life was full and busy, late nights and early mornings were an everyday occurrence, I was slowly becoming tired, melancholy and burnt out. I had started to forget about me, I wasn't depressed per say, but I wasn't waking up every day grateful for a new day, I needed a holiday, but would of happily settled for a full day off. 2012 started with more of the same, long days, longer night, sore feet from jobs in retail and hospitality, back pain, lack of sleep and ultimately a lack of motivation started my downhill descent into a period I'm glad to be out of. As the early months of 2012 began to pass there seemed to be a book that was making waves in the romance world. You might remember it, black cover with a simple grey tie... I'd heard whisperings, I was mildly intrigued.

One of my staff came in to work one morning and in between unpacking and hanging boxes of clothes and serving customers she mentioned she had bought a new book in an effort to get back into reading, the title... FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by EL James. This book was sexy, super sexy, with a narrative cloaked in the BDSM realm, something I had no experience or knowledge of, it was the tale of a young Anastasia Steele and the enigmatic Christian Grey. Jenn asked me to read it with her, I agreed, it had been a while since I was utterly obsessed with a book, Twilight and The Bronze Horseman had been and gone and I secretly hoped this book would capture my imagination the way they had.

My team of eleven was almost entirely female, save for two young men who were unfussed by the idea of joining out group read, the rest of us however raced out to buy our paperbacks and start. Text messages would be the start of this new wondrous dialogue that Fifty would inspire, the following morning bleary eyed we counted in floats and opened the store, a chorus of ohhhhs and ahhhhhs and constant discussion about this whole new world we had discovered together. We devoured the trilogy, but more importantly I devoured them, I lost sleep and didn't care, I found myself sneaking to the back room "to check for something" to read one more page, I was utterly and unequivocally obsessed. I had amassed multiple copies of Grey, Darker and Freed as people asked to borrow my books and I feared they might not return them.  I walked back into Borders Books and asked what I needed to read next and left with a shiny new copy of Bared to You by Sylvia Day.

Shortly after I took to google to ask what was next, finding Maryse Black's blog and discovered the world of Kindle and ebooks. I was fervent in my thirst for new titles, new worlds to discover. Slowly but surely I not only l discovered new characters to love but rediscovered myself. I found a joy that was mine, I found a sense of peace when I read, I found a way to just be for the first time in a long time.

I devoured books in a somewhat solitary manner for over a year, adding Authors as friends on Facebook and building my e-library. It wasn't until late 2013 that stirrings of book signings in Australia focused solely on the Romance genre really took shape. Indie and Trad published authors would be there to meet and speak to in person...all these years later and I still can't quite believe just how big of an impact picking up Fifty Shades of Grey would have on my life.

These random musings of mind would still be swirling around in my head, my closest and dearest friends would be living their lives and we would have never met. That incredible trip to Paris and the UK in 2016 for Four Brits Book Fest would be a figment of my imagination. The millions upon millions of words that have been published by thousands upon thousands of Romance Authors would still be trapped on saved files on laptops and computers around the world, because they would have never seen the explosion of Anastasia and Christian and thought to themselves WHY NOT ME?

With the release of Fifty Shades Freed on the big screen the inevitable naysayers are pulling out and dusting off their soap boxes ready for one final hurrah. People who haven't read the books are quick to remark that their relationship is abusive, others snicker behind their hands that it's mummy porn, other's complain about how the story was not to their liking, even throwing out that their books are far better. It seems it's easy to forget that the fact that there is now a billion dollar romance industry that allows them to push publish was spurned on by the release and subsequent success of that book they like to raise their pitch forks at. Fifty Shades very clearly gave romance and erotic romance readers not only a voice but a buying power that was entirely unheard of previously. 2012 saw authors like Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines, Tammara Webber, launch successful careers, we saw Samantha Towle and Samantha Young capture our hearts with Jake Wethers and Braden Carmichael, we saw Jodi Ellen Malpas bring to life The Lord of the Manor, we discovered and devoured countless heroes and heroines in an effort to stave off our seemingly unquenchable thirst. 

As I sit here still encased in a Christian Grey shaped fog from last nights viewing of Fifty Shades Freed, I am overcome with emotions, I smile freely reminiscing about all that has happened since first hearing the name EL James, and hope that one day I can genuinely thank her for giving us something that so many of us truly needed. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Upside To Being Single by Emma Hart


If anyone asks, I knew better than to flash my boobs for Mardi Gras beads.

I still don’t know why I did it.
Maybe it was the dare from my two best friends.
Maybe it was the guys on the balcony saying they’d throw Fireball shots with the beads.
Or maybe it was the quiet guy in the corner of that same balcony with piercing gray eyes, wavy dark hair, and a smile so tempting I wanted to climb up there and lick it off his face.
Maybe it was because I never thought I’d see them again.
Not that it matters. Not today.
Because the hotel I manage was finally bought—and the guy who walks in and introduces himself as my new boss is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent.

There are many upsides to being single.
Your new boss knowing what your boobs look like?
Not one of them.

(THE UPSIDE TO BEING SINGLE is a standalone, romantic comedy from the author who brought you MISS FIX-IT and BEING BROOKE.)

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Purchase Links:

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: February 2018.

I'll be honest, Emma Hart has been on my radar for a while now, I've one clicked book after book of her most recent releases, each filled with quirky, bright covers and fun, catchy names, and yet somewhere along the way, during a time where far too much overtime was logged and distractions seem to mount, they found their way to my To Be Read pile, instead of my What I'm Reading Now pile. The Upside To Being Single though... that cover, the opening line of the blurb, the fact that the author would be signing at an Author Event I'm co-hosting in mere months meant I had to dive right in and forsake job hunting (what I am doing right now should any family members ask).

I often wonder if there is important information I should be privy to before I dive into a new to me authors work, with little more than a handful of online conversations with the author herself and a fun blurb I switched on my kindle and got to work. Almost instantly I felt a connection to Melanie “Mellie” Rogers, I mean for starters my maiden name is Rogers so there's that, but after twenty years working in customer service, retail and hospitality that opening scene made me smile for all the right reasons. There's a saying that the customer is always right, let me tell you that you'll disagree with that statement quick smart after handling ridiculous requests, rude customers and silly complaints on  daily basis. It's not all bad though, in between the newest entries into the MOST BIZARRE CUSTOMER File each customer service manager complies mentally, there are days filled with happy customers and great friends. Add to the obvious connections, is my uncanny ability to do something stupid when I have an audience, if its not making bad decisions, it's falling over, slipping, stumbling or just being downright awkward. 

Mellie is without a doubt one of those heroines you want to know in real life, funny, real, self deprecating, she may have doubts about her ability to adult most of the time, but her skills, experience and personality is what makes her the perfect person to manage the aging complex she has devoted the last several years to. Her voice is both young and genuine and her often awkward moments only make her more endearing. 

“Because you are a spitfire. You’re so gentle but at the same time, you’re incredible, fierce.”

Jacob Creed is every bit of the Tall, Dark & Silent Mellie purports him to be, the dual POV added to my enjoyment, giving me the insight into his thoughts and actions, his initial thoughts of a more intimate nature are clear, but so is his enjoyment of the continued interactions. 

This book hit all the right marks for me to forget time and just revel in the sights and sounds of New Orleans. If I wasn't already desperate to travel to NOLA and experience Mardi Gras I would be adding it to my travel bucket list. A book filled with chemistry, exuding fun and frivolity, with a heroine who expunged all the reasons why dating and settling down was absolutely the wrong choice for her, to a hero who proves that finding someone who not only accepts your quirks but relishes them is the very best rebuttal to her argument. For an introduction to Emma Hart's writing The Upside To Being Single seemed to be the perfect choice, sexy, light and filled with laughs.

About Emma Hart:

Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels and has been translated into several different languages. She first put fingers to keys at the age of eighteen after her husband told her she read too much and should write her own.
Four years later, she's still figuring out what he meant when he said she 'read too much.'

She prides herself on writing smart smut that's filled with dry wit, snappy, sarcastic comebacks, but lots of heart... And sex. Sometimes, she kills people. (Disclaimer: In books. But if you bug her, she'll use your name for the victims.)

Connect with Emma on Facebook

COMBUST (Everyday Heroes #2) by K.Bromberg


From New York Times Bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new standalone book. Just how hot will firefighter Grady Malone turn up the heat?

Songwriter Dylan McCoy has been burned.

By her boyfriend she found in her bed . . . with someone else.

By the contract she signed that obligates her to work with him until the songs for his new album are complete.

By her agent when she asked Dylan to keep their breakup on the down-low.

When she finds herself in Sunnyville, she refuses to let her new roommate burn her too. Still . . . a rebound has never looked so good.

That’s her first thought when she sees firefighter Grady Malone.
Sexy. Charismatic. Unapologetic. He’s a man who carries his own scars—the ones on his back, the survivor’s guilt on his soul, and the fear in his heart.

When an unexpected visitor puts their roommate status to the test, will their undeniable attraction burn out, or will they both take a chance and play with fire?

Find on Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon PB:
Amazon AU:
Amazon UK:

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: January 2018.

As a blogger and reviewer I've always found it easiest to sit down in front of my laptop as soon as I've finished a book, put pen to paper so to speak, and allow every feeling and emotion pour out as I pound the keys, hoping for something that will make sense of the thoughts swirling around my head. As I sat down at my trusty keyboard I expected the same ease that I usually find after finishing one of Bromberg's books, sure I may stumble over my words as I try to contain my emotions, but as I get the essence of my emotional reaction on screen I can weave together my words into something that should make sense. This time however I started typing...tap tap tap... then I hit delete...delete ...delete... this went on and on, until I pushed aside my laptop and settled back down with Grady and Dylan one more time.

Grady Malone knows all to well that bad things can happen at work, he's been there, done that, and got the physical and psychological scars to prove it. Working as a Fire Fighter sure sounds glamourous and heroic, but there's a side that only those who PROTECT and SERVE will truly every understand. With a family built on that very legacy, the Malone boys all truly know that each work day could be their last.

There’s definitely something beneath the sexiness of Grady Malone. Question is, do I want to get invested enough to find out what?

Dylan McCoy thought she had things mostly figured out, a career she's exceptional at, a boyfriend she loves, a life so far removed from the tension of her childhood, she knows with certainty that her partner will come home from work each day safe and unscathed, what she didn't expect though, was the heartache of finding him in bed with another woman.

Stop staring at me like I’m going to f*cking break. I’ve already broken, Dylan.

The dichotomy of these two characters couldn't have been more obvious, one who wants a family to call her own versus one who refuses to make a real emotional connection, but what truly stood out for me was how similar these two were, both strongly grounded in a sense of family, both who despite their need to guard their hearts love easily and unreservedly, two people whose souls sought each other out, seeing the fear and hurt behind the fast smiles and snappy comebacks and knew instinctively that this could be real.

In Combust as the name would suggest there's scorching heat, electric chemistry and everything you would expect from Bromberg, but as always what I truly love about this author is her ability to convey emotion so freely and openly. It's her inherent desire to give her readers an experience rather then just an experience. It's willingly checking your heart at the door as you step into her world despite not knowing how or what condition it will be returned to you in. It's sitting here, after scrapping seven versions of this review, and still not being sure how to adequately and articulately describe the range of emotions you're still feeling over two fictional characters. It's knowing that your life is richer from reading Bromberg's words.

About K. Bromberg:

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

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

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

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

Connect with K Bromberg on Facebook