Apr 222014
 

Opal Fire (A Stacy Justice Mystery Book One) Stacy Justice is an investigative reporter related to the Geraghty Girls, older women who are known around town as the local witches/nutters.  Stacy would rather concentrate on her everyday life than being branded a witch, but her aunts just won’t let up.  Her life takes a turn for the bizarre when her cousin’s bar is torched, seemingly to hide a sinister secret. Stacy’s curiosity gets the better of her and before she knows it dead bodies are turning up everywhere she goes, and her witchy powers just keep poking through.  With the help of her faithful Great Dane, well meaning if irritating relatives and to the annoyance of her chief of police boyfriend, Stacy follows lead after lead in an effort to find out what the hell is going on.

It took me a while to get into this book but once the story took off I enjoyed it. Not a romance which is my preferred genre but it had a good smattering of comedy and suspense so the story line kept me interested. The plot-line kept me guessing although I did suss who did it before the reveal, but not by much!

The female characters were generally good, although some of the decisions they made beggared belief and I found the male characters very irritating at times. Stacy’s boyfriend might be the chief of police but he really seems to have no way of maintaining order and Mario made me want to puke! I think I agree with Stacy in that the only male she can rely on is her dog! I loved the older Geraghty girls who seem totally nuts in their own way and Thor is so cute!

This was an easy read and although a lot seemed to happen it was easy to keep up with the plot, the ending was satisfying and threw up a new mystery that made me want to go get the second book – so I did!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Barbra Annino
  • Series: A Stacy Justice Mystery (1)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

Apr 032014
 

Watch Your Back A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…
 
Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
 
It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide…

Wow, this was one breathtaking, heart stopping, gut-wrenching ride!

Stevie is a character I have loved for the longest time and have been both frustrated and tearful both with her and for her.  Clay is just a sweetheart and is no different in this book.  When he does the powerful man thing though, it makes my knees quite weak!

I think this might be the final book focussing on this grouping of characters – I hope I’m wrong because I love them dearly but I’m not sure what direction it would go in now.  Having said that, Karen Rose does have the most amazing ability to connect characters and story-lines across books so there may well be some mention to see how they are doing.  I can only hope!

The story was fast paced and I thought it was extremely well judged to keep me right on the edge of my seat. The plot reveals came thick and fast and I don’t think I could have stopped reading even if I’d wanted to – there was just so much I had to KNOW.  I lost count of the number of times my heart was in my mouth and my husband had to keep checking I was OK, as I would make an audible sound (not that I was aware of it!).

The bad guys were actually really bad and Ms. Rose cleverly wove several elements from previous books into this one and the big reveal at the end – I thought I knew, but wow, I really didn’t.

Just phenomenal and as usual I am desperate for her next book, even if it does involve different characters.  In fact I think I need to read them ALL again!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen Rose
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Mar 262014
 

Made in Nashville: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance 10 years ago Honor Blackwood was Nashville’s brightest country music star until an attack on stage left her with scars both physical and emotional.

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall hears Honor singing and wants her on his tour but she hasn’t sung publicly for 10 years and is determined not to start now. Will he wear her down, and is his interest in her, or her voice?

Well at the end of this I was melted in a puddle on the floor and wanted me a Jared of my own!

This story has everything I could wish for – romance, sex, emotions both high and low and of course more romance.  Oh yes, plus a very sexy guy!

Jared and Honor are both flawed emotionally and their development throughout the story is believable and emotional. They seem to get together fairly quickly and all seems to be going well then bam, you get hit from left field with something. There were two moments in the story I didn’t see coming at all (and I’m not going to give them away and spoil it) but I will say that one part was so cleverly done, it had me expecting something totally different.

I love Jared, he is hot, sexy, a total romantic and a bad boy – what’s not to love? Honor could easily have become an irritating character who was a bit of a wuss, but as her self confidence increased, so did her spine and she grows into a great character.

At the heart of Made in Nashville is the romance, but it becomes so much more with the angst and strong emotions running through it. I went through all the emotions you could possibly think of but, importantly for me, I finished the book in a very good state of mind.

Some people might be put off because it’s heavily based in the country music scene in America, and the book blurb talks up the country music angle. Well I am from the UK and know nothing about country music and I loved it.

Overall, this really is a great story – I cried, I laughed, I sighed and I smiled and I could not put it down (I was even reading while cooking tea). This is the first book I’ve read by Mandy Baggot and I need more!

As at 26th March 2014 the Kindle version is only 99p on Amazon – go buy it if you love romance.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mandy Baggot
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

Feb 172014
 

Truly, Madly, Deeply From wedding days to special anniversaries, steamy one night encounters to everlasting loves, Truly, Madly, Deeply takes you on an unforgettable romantic adventure where love really is all you need.

This is a collection of 24 new stories from some of today’s best romantic authors including Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Miranda Dickinson. There really is something for everyone here, but I must confess I did not like all the stories, and some authors that were new to me and I will not look to read again. However, there were also a number of authors who I had never read before that will definitely have me looking for more of their work – Nikki Moore (she made me cry!), Alison May and Heidi Rice to name but three.

I have to say I’m not a big fan of short stories like this, as there is not enough time to really develop characters or a story. Having said that, I am amazed at how well some authors could drag me into their story in only a few pages.

I am also an extremely quick reader so short stories like these can take only a matter of a couple of minutes to read. Probably why I prefer a longer story I can get my teeth into. I do like a drawn out romance :)

This is however a great collection of stories and if you are the sort of person who likes to read in bite sized chunks this is perfect. Romance abounds and as mentioned you may discover some new authors to add to your reading shelf.

Please note this is a review of the paperback version, the e-book contains a number of bonus stories which I have not read.

Book Information
  • Author: Sue Moorcroft
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Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Feb 032014
 

Just For Christmas When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants to do is to be alone – and as far away from Edinburgh as possible. Moving to a Cornish Cottage, which comes complete with the world’s scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all.

I picked this book up because I love Christmas stories and it seemed like a perfect book to curl up with on a cold winters day.  I really enjoyed it and it met that criteria perfectly – it was romantic, funny and emotional.

The cast of characters are likeable and everyone from Buoy the dog to Lucy the barmaid have their own stories and personalities that shine through. This is not just a story about Alex and Ruan, it’s a story about life in a tight knit community and the people (and animals) who get under your skin before you know what’s happening.

Of course nothing is plain sailing and there a few misunderstandings along the way along with one huge problem when Alex’s reason for running to Cornwall turns up – what a jerk he is!

I love Ruan, fell in love with him the minute he stormed into the pub soaking wet looking to kill the new harbour master. The description of him was so perfect I wanted to move down there myself (but not to be a harbour master!)

Away from everything she knows, Alex has an opportunity to find herself and realises she’s not the person she and everyone else thought she was for so many years.

Ultimately this is a feel good romance perfect to escape with for a few hours and leaves you feeling very satisfied. I will definitely be looking for more by this author

Book Information
  • Author: Scarlett Bailey
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Dec 052013
 

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Rules of Scoundrels) For twelve years ‘Temple’ has been known as the killer Duke. Having no memory of the night his life changed forever, he has accepted the moniker and forged a life as one of the proprietors of the notorious casino ‘The Fallen Angel’.  When his ‘victim’ Mara Lowe turns up offering him the chance for absolution, he is determined revenge will also be his, but the best laid plans and all that…

This is the third book about the men of The Fallen Angel and I love it. These books are about a seedier side of Regency London and Ms. MacLean certainly knows how to bring it to life.

We have been introduced to Temple – in reality William Harrow Duke of Lamont – in the previous books in this series but this is the one where we really find out what makes him tick. I love him as a character, he has so much depth and is just desperate to be loved and have a family of his own… and of course just oozes sex appeal!

I found it hard to warm up to Mara to start with after the really crappy thing she did to Temple, but as the book progressed and we got more of her back story, things started to make sense and I was rooting for their happy ending. I did find it irritating the way she refused to tell Temple about that night, although I guess his words “Nothing you could say would make me forgive” made her feel there was no point. After all, she had to think of what impact telling him the truth all in one go would have on others.

This is definitely a darker book than the previous two and emotions are running high throughout. There were some very tense and dramatic scenes and of course some very romantic ones, and I really enjoyed it. At times you are reminded of how lethal the men of the Fallen Angel are when one of their own is threatened – no matter who the aggressor may be!

Passion and emotion just flew off the pages and once I’d warmed up to Mara I was totally drawn in. Of course you know it will all be okay in the end, but the journey certainly had its ups and downs!

Overall an excellent addition to the Rules of Scoundrels series, full of drama, emotion and of course romance. Only Chase left to go now, and I cannot wait for his story.

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah MacLean
  • Series: Rules of Scoundrels (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

Nov 262013
 

Sleigh Bells in the Snow Workaholic Kayla Green hates Christmas and just wants to hide until it’s all over, so when she needs to go to snowy Vermont to woo a potential new client over the holidays, she jumps at the chance.  Jackson O’Neill is desperate to save the family business and hopes marketing hotshot Kayla is just the person to do it. Kayla soon realises that far from avoiding Christmas and families, she is about to face her biggest challenge both personally and professionally.

Romance and Christmas – two of my favourite things, so what could be a better combination in a book, and this story does not disappoint. Kayla and Jackson are great characters, complete opposites in their outlooks on life and work which leads to sparks flying both sexual and emotional.

It was good to see how much Kayla developed as a character, as Jackson and his family started to get under her skin and breaking down her barriers. I think her changing emotions were well written. She could also be a bit clueless at times which led to some humorous moments – I mean heels in snow!

Jackson is gorgeous, my kind of guy and if I could have him wrapped up for Christmas I would be happy (but don’t tell my husband!).

There are some truly romantic moments in this book and at the end I had a smile and a satisfied sigh. The setting is perfect for a Christmas story and the imagery created by the author’s writing is so good, I felt like I should have a log fire and snow boots!

I defy anyone to not be feeling christmassy at the end of this book, probably not so good in June, but at this time of year – perfect.

The rest of the O’Neill family are introduced and there are some real characters in there. I’m looking forward to finding out more about them in future books

The author has created a cast of characters I cannot wait to find more about and a setting that I cannot wait to return to. I have always enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s books and this longer novel is a real treat, a must for fans of romance and Christmas and at 99p for the UK Kindle edition (November 2013) what are you waiting for?

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Morgan
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Nov 132013
 

The Sum of All Kisses: Number 3 in series (Smythe-Smith Quartet) Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

This is the third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet and another great book from Ms. Quinn. Something I always love about her work is the way she wraps romance and humour around a great story-line.

The prologue refers to the same event as the prologue in the previous book but it’s told from the other point of view, and the fall out from that comes to a head towards the end of this book in a dramatic fashion.

Sarah is a complete drama queen and does everything in the most dramatic fashion possible, Hugh is a bit of a nerd and the sparks that fly when they interact are anything but boring. Hugh has a damaged leg and emotional scars but an imperfect man is always more loveable!

Of course no book in this series would be complete without the usual references to the annual musicale and it’s hilarious watching Sarah and her cousin Iris trying to dissuade Daisy from performing an impromptu performance.

The minor characters in this book are as great as the protagonists, in particular Sarah’s youngest sister Frances who steals the show at times.

Overall a great book with equal parts humour and romance, a must for fans of Julia Quinn.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet (3)
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Nov 052013
 

The Proposal Amy Carroll is left heartbroken when her rich boyfriend dumps her just before Christmas.  A native New Yorker with no money to fly home, she faces a lonely Christmas.  Eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton has unfinished business in New York and puts an advert out for a companion to travel with her over Christmas. The solution to both their problems.

The story takes place in modern day with flashbacks to the 1950′s and Georgia’s days as a debutante. I didn’t realise we still had debutantes as late as that, I assumed it had all died out years previously. It was really interesting seeing snippets of what life was like for someone in that situation, and the descriptions were both vivid and colourful.

The story itself is quite simple – a tale of lost love, regrets, betrayal and ultimately new beginnings, but the writing is very descriptive and emotive. It certainly managed to make me cry. I will say the ending was not exactly what I hoped for, but it was good and I finished the book in a happy place. It’s always very important to me that books should leave me feeling satisfied!

The two female leads initially seem quite different but this book shows how alike they are and how young women in any generation have similar problems! Amy is awkward in Georgia’s wealthy world, just as in the 1950′s when Georgia was a debutante who did not really fit in.

The 1950′s story unfolds gradually as we are transported between modern day Manhattan and 1950′s London. Once the true tragedy of Georgia’s situation becomes clear, Amy is determined to do what she can to put it right.

This is primarily Georgia’s story but along the way Amy discovers herself and realises that she deserves more than she has been settling for. Both the characters are likeable and Georgia in particular is just how I would like to be as an old lady (but without the tragic past obviously!)

Overall, The Proposal is an emotional read which leaves you reeling and I defy anyone to not shed at least a few tears through this.

Book Information
  • Author: Tasmina Perry
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Oct 212013
 

Bound By Night (Moonbound Clan) A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories-along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation-a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

A new series by Larissa Ione??  Yes please!

With the Lords of Deliverance series ending and the characters merging with the Demonica, it did feel like there was now a void that needed filling (until Reaver is released!). Happily we now have Bound by Night and our introduction to the MoonBound Clan Vampires.

Nicole and Riker are just magic together and their interactions are brilliant whether it’s romantic or confrontational.  They have every reason to hate each other but being ‘with’ them as they worked through everything just made me love them more, even when they are being idiots. Such is the charm of Larissa Ione’s characters!  Intriguing glimpses of the other members of the MoonBound Clan give me hope that this series will have a good few books and I am really looking forward to reading the next, which I think will be Hunter’s story.

Initially I was a bit doubtful about ‘yet another vampire series’ but in all honesty, I loved the premise of this one.  Vampires are out in the world but are treated as little more than animals – kept as slaves, farmed and experimented on, yet there are also clans of ‘wild’ vampires who remain hidden and fight to live their lives with honour in spite of the human threat.

The lore is drawn from Native American history and again, while this is not an interest of mine, Larissa Ione made it interesting and added her own twist to it which I loved.

Everything I love about Ione’s clean writing style and visual storytelling is in this book; emotional conflict, characters you want to kick one minute and love the next, tense battle scenes and hot, hot sex.  By the end I was completely in love with the new characters and wish I could pick up the next novel already. The pace of the story was nicely judged and when mixed with fluid prose, it made for an extremely easy to read, but no less enthralling book.

Bound by Night is just amazing – more please!!

Book Information
  • Author: Larissa Ione
  • Series: MoonBound Clan Vampires (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★