Monday, 17 April 2017

Rough - Sybil Bartel

Rough Blog Tour, Sybil Bartel

Rough by Sybil Bartel

Jared
I’m not your boyfriend. I’m not the guy next door. I don’t even play nice.
My hands twisting in your hair, my whispered demand in your ear—I’m the fantasy you’ll wish you never had.
When I’m through with you, every inch of your body will know where I’ve been. You won’t crave more, you’ll beg for it. Because I’m not just the cocky smile with military hardened muscles you paid five grand for—I’m the experience you’ll never forget.
One night with me and you’ll know exactly why women pay me to be rough.


Purchase:

Purchase book 1:

My Review

I think that the first thing that I should probably admit, is that once I'd picked up Rough, I couldn't put it down. I polished it off in one day, if not quite one sitting. The pace is fast and the book drew me in quickly.

On the whole I liked both Jared and Sienna. The chemistry between them was pretty much instant from the moment they met. As they learn more about each other, they soon discover that this is far more than a passing interest. Both Jared and Sienna have things in their past which make them reluctant to trust. Jared is dealing (and not particularly well, it has to be said) with PTSD. Sienna has been used and lied to by her family and the man that she thought that she might have fallen for. To begin with, neither of them were looking for more.

There are a few things in this book that I've come across in other similar books, but the quality of the writing and the way in which the story unfolded was different enough for that not to matter. I really enjoyed this book and as I said, read it far too quickly.

This post is part of a blog tour, you can find the other blog posts here.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Paradox Forged in Blood - Mary Francis Fisher

I found this book available for review on Netgalley. I'm always interested in a mystery book and one with a historical setting is even more appealing.

Paradox forged in blood by Mary Francis FisherParadox Forged in Blood

A murder on Millionaire’s Row. 
A killer's chilling words, "Shh. I know where you live.” 
A woman tormented by her guilt-ridden past. 

A historical murder mystery, Paradox Forged in Blood is set in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Four decades after the murder of socialite Louis Sheridan, the cold case is resurrected with receipt of new evidence that transports detectives back to Nazi Germany. The only living witness, Ellen O’Malley, must confront a haunting secret and her complicit actions.

My Review

This book has so much going on. The heart of it is an unsolved mystery. To begin with it seems that the start of the book is just laying the scene for this mystery. In actual fact it's doing more than that. This book doesn't just have one mystery, but a number of them, all interwoven and connected as the story unfolds.

There is so much potential in this book. Unfortunately, to some extent, that potential is also it's undoing. There is so much going on that it's easy to get lost in the multitude of characters and events. Although they all build to a final reveal, it would have possibly been better if some of it had been cut out and trimmed down slightly.

The writing style wasn't completely to my taste. It tended to tell what was going on, rather than allowing the reader to experience the events as they unfolded along side the characters. It meant that at times the book was slow moving and you didn't really feel the connection with the people that you get in other books.

On the whole I enjoyed the story. I do think that with a little careful editing, it could have been much better. Over all though, not at all a bad read. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Wounded Dance - Deanna Roy

A few weeks ago, I read and reviewed the first book in the Lover's Dance series by Deanna Roy; Forbidden Dance. I really enjoyed it, so when I was given the chance to read the second book, Wounded Dance, I jumped at it.

Wounded Dance

For four years, I’ve had a terrible, wonderful, beautiful secret.

But now it’s out.

My brief brush with fame caught the attention of a boy I once loved. He was ripped from my life at a tender age by my father, who moved us and hid me away so that we could not meet again.

Only after he was gone did I learn I was pregnant with his child.

He’s spent years trying to find me.

And now he’s at Dreamcatcher Dance Academy.

He’s going to find our baby, he says. The adoption wasn’t legal since he didn’t know.

He has no idea how close our little girl really is. That I secretly teach her ballet.

He can’t know how important it is that I keep the secret.

But when your boyfriend is Blitz Craven, the reality TV dance show star, the press follows you everywhere.

And no matter how much Blitz wants to protect me from my old love, from the threat he poses to our happy life, there’s one fact I have to face.

My past has caught up with me.

Wounded Dance is book two of the Lovers Dance series. Each book is full length and stands alone, but should be read in series order to avoid spoilers.

My Review

If you read my first review, then you'll know how unimpressed I was with Livia's Father. In this book, his actions and behaviour are shown to be even worse. We learn more about what happened in the past and what lead to the way he kept her locked away from the world. There are a few surprises here and they come quite early in the book. I said before that I'm looking forward to following the rest of the series, as long as it doesn't include a reconciliation with him. After this book, I'm even more adamant on that score. He's a horrible, emotionally abusive man.

The plot of this book had far more to with Livia and her past, than Blitz. He's still there with her every step of the way, and being very supportive, but his story takes a back seat in this book. I suspect that there might be more to come, in future books, that will deal with his fame.

There's still plenty of romance between Livia and Blitz, we also learn about Livia's past love as well. The father of her child. There's a lot going on in this book other than that though, with issues such as teenage pregnancy, lies within families and how people cope with things. I really enjoyed it, even more than the first book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series. 

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Du Lac Devil - Mary Anne Yarde

The Du Lac Devil is the second book (third story, when you include the novella, The Pitchfork Rebellion) in the Du Lac Chronicles series. My review of the first book can be found here. I received both free as part of a review tour.

The Du Lac Devil

War is coming to Saxon Briton.



As one kingdom after another falls to the savage might of the High King, Cerdic of Wessex, only one family dares to stand up to him — The Du Lacs.



Budic and Alden Du Lac are barely speaking to each other, and Merton is a mercenary, fighting for the highest bidder. If Wessex hears of the brothers’ discord, then all is lost.



Fate brings Merton du Lac back to the ancestral lands of his forefathers, and he finds his country on the brink of civil war. But there is worse to come, for his father’s old enemy has infiltrated the court of Benwick. Now, more than ever, the Du Lac must come together to save the kingdom and themselves.



Can old rivalries and resentments be overcome in time to stop a war? 

My Review

I couldn't wait to get stuck into the Du Lac Devil, after I had finished The Du La Chronicles and The Pitchfork Rebellion. In both of these stories, the character of Merton had stood out for me and this book is more about him. Merton is in many ways the typical tortured hero, bad boy who is misunderstood, or the victim of his circumstances type of character. I have to admit that I do have a bit of a soft spot for similar characters. There is something about Merton that really draws you to him.

Time has moved on from the first book, Merton has been working as a mercenary, using his talent with a sword to earn money. His only aim is to help keep Alden's kingdom safe. Not only is the money he earns used to rebuild Alden's stronghold, but he is also being blackmailed by Wessex. As long as he keeps paying and spies for him, then Wessex will not attack Cerniw. Wessex is greedy, the more that Merton pays, the more that Wessex wants. 

Merton has found himself doing more and more things that have led him further down the path to become known as the feared Du Lac Devil. Not all that they say about him is true, he hasn't completely sold his soul to the devil, but as far as he is concerned, the more feared that he is the better. 

After finding himself in an impossible position, which he does not expect to get away from alive, Merton makes his way back to his brother Budic's castle, Benwick. Here he finds that Budic's wife and heir have died and that Alden is also there to pay his respects. Danger surrounds the three brothers, but are they able to unite to face it? 

Merton also comes back into contact with his one time sister in law, Lady Amandine. Merton discovers that the feelings between them are far from brother or sisterly. Soon, it becomes clear that she is what he wants and that if he is to have a future, then he wants it to be with her. Amandine returns his love (who wouldn't after all, there is something lovable about him). There is the small problem of her marriage to another man, that stands in the way.

One thing I love about this series is the way that the characters sometimes question themselves and each other. Although Merton and Alden are loyal to one another, they don't just accept that as a given. They always have the possible fear that those that love don't return that loyalty and love completely. I think that this makes it more realistic and the characters more rounded.

I loved this book, just as much, if not more, than the previous book. The story of the Du Lac brothers was gripping and I really can't wait to read what will happen next. I love the historic feel to this book. Of course some of the language may be a little modern, but the joy of writing about a period like this, is that it doesn't matter. The people then spoke very different languages to the ones we speak today, any language would be different to what they spoke, so it doesn't seem out of place. It probably does help that the author is English, so it sounds more natural to my English ear.

I highly recommend this book and this series. If you are going to read it, please start with the first book, it would be a shame to miss the start of the series.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Forbidden Dance - Deanna Roy

Forbidden Dance by Deanna Roy

Forbidden Dance Deanna Roy


Forbidden Dance
Deanna Roy
(Lover’s Dance, #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.
An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy
For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Homeschooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.
Then Blitz arrives.
He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.
At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.
He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.
I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.
But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.
____________ 
Forbidden Dance is a full-length standalone HEA, although fans who fall in love with Blitz and Livia can continue the series to follow more of their love story

My Review

Livia has been living with an emotionally abusive father, who has controlled her every movement. Despite the fact that she is 19, she is given less freedom than someone ten years younger would expect to have. Her parents have used the excuse of something that happened four years ago to completely shut down her life and take control. We are frequently told that life used to be different, before the mistake that Livia made, but I suspect either it wasn't that different, or her father just looked for an excuse to become this evil controlling git.

Into this world steps Blitz, disgraced TV personality and star dancer. Blitz and Livia fall for one another almost instantly. Hardly surprising seeing as she has been treated in this way by her father, who wouldn't want to escape. But, is their love destined to last, can they make the change that means that they will be part of one another's life?

I suspect, that if this were real, they would get together quite quickly, as an escape route for someone in Livia's position. I didn't find the idea that she fell in love with him so quickly too far fetched, even if other aspects of the story were. I just don't think that they would stay together long term, particularly as Blitz shows many signs of not being keen to change.

Over all I enjoyed the story, I'm not sure if it had a happily ever after, so much as a happy for the time being. There are more stories in this series and I would be interested to see what comes next. Although, not if it involves her forgiving her father, to be honest.


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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Du Lac Chronicles - Mary Anne Yarde

I received a copy of the Du Lac Chronicles after signing up to review the second book in the series. Thank goodness I did. This is a great series and while I'm sure that the Du Lac Devil could be read alone, I wouldn't want to have missed the start of this series.

The Du Lac Chronicles

“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your heart, and you will not recover.” So prophesies a wizened healer to Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves.

Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.

Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.

The Du Lac Chronicles has a recommended reading age of 16+

My Review

I do have a bit of a thing for historical novels. This is set rather earlier than 'my own' period, it follows the lives of the sons of Lancelot, knight of Arthurian Legend. King Arthur and Lancelot are both long gone, Cerdic of Wessex now rules Arthurs old kingdom and has his sights set on the high kingship. He has invaded the kingdom of Cerniw and taken Alden du Lac, son of Lancelot and King of Cerniew captive. Tourtured and sentenced to death, it seems that there is no escape, but Wessex's daughter, Annis risks everything to save Alden, even though it means giving up the only life she has ever known.

Alden and Annis battle their feelings for one another, whilst fleeing from Wessex and attempting to reach one of Alden's brothers; Budic. Alden needs the support of Budic and the army of Breton, if he is to have any chance of winning his kingdom back. Even if he does manage to regain his previous position, will any of his subjects ever accept a member of the enemy's family as their Queen. Everything seems to be against Annis and Alden, but they cannot help but be drawn together.

I have noticed in other reviews that people have commented that Annis was a little whiny and annoying. To be honest, I think that anyone who had be brought up the way that she has, would be unlikely to be that self assured and would no doubt be quite insecure. Either way, it wasn't something that really irritated me. I liked both Annis and Alden, although Alden's other brother, Merton, stole the show when he appeared.

I did like the way that all of the characters were fairly complex. All of the Du Lac's and Annis had different things to deal with and it was not always obvious how they would react to the situation. I think that in many ways this was a lot more realistic than other books that I've read. Battling their fears and worries made them seem like more rounded and real characters. 

This is described as a young adult novel, something that I would normally ignore. I'm not sure what exactly puts it into that genre, don't let it put you off, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I don't usually go for YA novels. While there is a strong romantic element to this story, there's also a lot more going on. 

I really loved this novel and couldn't wait for the next installment. Fortunately I was able to get hold of the novella; The Pitchfork Rebellion and I already have The Du Lac Devil, book two to read. Review to follow shortly.

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Bulletproof Boy by Lorretta Lost

When I read the Fireproof Girl a few weeks ago, I was quite excited about moving onto the second book in the series. Here's my review of the Bulletproof Boy.

The Bulletproof Boy

The Bulletproof boy by Loretta LostFighting his way to the top, Cole Hunter has built the successful architectural firm he dreamed of all his life. But after a recent brush with death, Cole realizes what really matters to him and shifts his priorities. He is furious with the woman he loves for abandoning him, and he is willing to give up everything--his company, his friends, his fame--just to give her a taste of her own medicine. 

But his revenge has unexpected consequences... 



------



A life-threatening journey into the Nevada desert holds many discoveries for Sophie, including an emotional reunion. 
At twenty-seven, she is given the opportunity to meet her biological family for the first time. But an innocent woman has been killed by the same monster who shot her brother, and she feels compelled to help bring her justice. For the first time, Sophie is feeling torn between her separate lives, but when an old enemy gets dangerously close to finding her, no identity or location might be safe any longer...



My Review

Having read the fireproof girl, I had more of an idea what to expect this time around. Although Sophie has been reunited with Cole, they still both face a lot of questions. Who has been trying to kill him? Will Sophie finally get away from the fear and shadow that Benjamin has cast over her life, will Sophie get answers about her family and what happened.

Now that Sophie and Cole have been reunited, they both want to stay together. Cole finds out why Sophie left in the first place and they begin to rebuild their life together. Although they clearly belong together, they are still both a little uncertain how to go about that. 

I really enjoyed this installment. I wasn't completely convinced by the reason that we were given for Cole having been targeted, but I don't think that it detracted from the story overall. Cole and Sophie still have many things to address and questions to have answered. The book is fast paced and keeps you gripped as the story-line unfolds. 

There is still a lot going on in this book and clearly far more to come. This book is left on a bit of a cliffhanger, although it does work in a story as it's own right. I think that it would be better read as part of the series rather than on it's own. I'm really looking forward to the third book in the series. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Triple Threat - A.K Leigh

I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. I thought that the idea of triplets working together to solve cold cases, with some romance thrown in, sounded like an interesting idea.

Triple Threat

They’re beautiful, accomplished, and they have identical interests...
Triple Threat by A.K. Leigh
In their spare time, identical triplets the Farris sisters work together to solve cold cases. Lizzie uses her skills as a Criminal Profiler, Nina her Scenes of Crime Officer experience, and Carrie assists through her work as a both a Forensic Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist.
Romantic and idealistic, Lizzie is picky about men. But despite the good-natured teasing of her sisters, she refuses to settle for anything less than ‘The One’. She loves her life, her job as both a profiler and a university lecturer, and her sisters, and won’t make changes for anything less. If that makes her unrealistic, then so be it. 
Gabe Montcoeur has just moved across Australia from Perth to Cairns and starts a job as a journalism teacher at Cairns University: the same university where Elizabeth Farris works. On the surface, the move seems innocent, but he has an ulterior motive. Gabe wants to elicit the aid of the Farris sisters in solving the murder of his family members, and the only way to circumvent their notorious ‘no contact’ policy is to reach out to them in person. 
But when Gabe meets Lizzie for the first time, the attraction is instantaneous — and mutual. The deeper they fall into each other, however, the more guilty Gabe feels about his real motivation for getting close. Lizzie wants the real deal, the one, true love — can Gabe ever offer her the future she deserves if he keeps holding on so tightly to the past?

My Review


I have to admit, that books that focus on twins, are not my favourite, I don't think that I've come across one about triplets before though. I think that if anyone else were writing it, I'd have the same concerns that I do with twins; using the usual twin cliches, using twins as an obvious plot device, only using twins because they are twins. If the author in question is a twin, then it's different, our author in this case is an identical triplet, so obviously, they have the insight to write from that perspective. 

There was a lot I liked about this book. The mix of crime novel and romance made for interesting reading, two of my favourite genres. I liked Gabe and Lizzie, I liked the way that their romance played out. The book is a quick read and quite short, so I did wonder if it would have been slightly better if there had been a bit more room for things to be developed a bit more. The romance happened quickly, despite their plans to take things slow. The mystery was cleared up fairly quickly too. I would have liked a little more time spent on both of these things.

This is the first book in a series of three, I'm not sure, but I would expect that the next books are going to focus on each of the other sisters as they find their man. I did think that the question of Gabe and Lizzie wasn't completely resolved in this book. (It's not that there's a cliffhanger, or that the question of their relationship was left up in the air, more that there's certainly room to find out what will happen next with them.) I'd be keen to read the next book in the series and find out where the story is going to go. I found this an enjoyable and entertaining read.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Tea for Two by Kailee Reese Samuels

Tea for Two by Kailee Reese Samuels.

I have to admit that I haven't read any of Kailee Reese Samuels books before, so I was interested to give Tea for Two a go.

Tea for Two


He’s spent months learning to keep clients happy to line his wallet. When an unlikely friendship spins his world upside down, Sal ends up discovering the girl of his dreams. Chasing after Bertie the only way he knows how, Sal pushes out of his comfort zone and forces everyone to realize how far he’ll go to get what he wants. 



Welcome to the story of Sal & Bertie… where some dreams only end in a nightmare. 



TEA FOR TWO (The SOS Series Book 2) is set within the Juliet world and provides further glimpses into Salvatore Raniero’s backstory. 



KAILEE REESE SAMUELS writes contemporary, romantic, and suspense, with an erotic flair. Let her words whisk you away, escaping with delicious guys, toe-curling kisses, and addictive stories.



WARNING: This book contains graphic BDSM, strong sexual situations, and explicit language. Contents intended for MATURE readers 18+ ONLY.



My Review

In many ways this is a hard book to review, for me at least. Having not read any of the other books in The SOS series, or Juliette before, I was coming to the characters blind. I don't think it matters too much if you start with this book. It is after all a prequel to Juliette and the story line within it works as a stand alone. Having said that, there are quite a few people to get your head around and I found myself a little lost in the early chapters, as to who was who and how they fit in. Once I got into the book, it didn't really matter and didn't detract from my enjoyment.

On the whole I enjoyed the story line, it was interesting seeing both Sal and Bertie question who they were and what they wanted. They both questioned what they had been lead to believe about where they fit in and what is expected of them. The emotional pull that Sal experiences, as he juggles his emotions for both Bertie and Kaci. 

I didn't find that BDSM or writing to be too graphic, I think sometimes when you have a warning that it is going to be graphic and for older readers only, you tend to expect it to be even more full on than it actually is. 

Tea for two deals with some interesting questions about who we are sexually and if that is something that is set in stone or more fluid than that. It asks Sal to consider who he really is, what he wants and if he is prepared to risk his idea of himself to get it. I enjoyed this book, I suspect that I would have enjoyed it even more had I read the other books in the series. It's definitely worth giving a go though. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Way Back into Love

A way back into Love by Veronica Thatcher.

A Way Back Into Love


Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned. 


Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she's in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home...to the man she left behind?

Review

I'll start by saying that I did wanted to know what was going to happen in this book. I keep reading and wanted to know how it turned out. 

I did have a few issues with the book though, the text doesn't flow particularly well, it's almost as though someone has gone through what was there with a thesaurus and added more complex words. In some cases though they slow the text down, at some points, they don't even make sense with in the context. Once you get through this, you can ignore that. It is also confusing with the main Character and her sister having very similar names, especially when they are both referred Em. 

On the whole this is a best friends love story. I have to admit that I did feel sorry for the sister, I'm not sure that there was any need to cast her as a rival. On the whole though it's a nice straight forward romance.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Legally Charming - Lauren Smith


Legally Charming is the first in the new Ever After series by Lauren Smith.


Legally Charming

THE RIGHT DRESS CAN CATCH THE EYE OF PRINCE CHARMING… 


Felicity Hart has one goal: Completing her masters in art. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. She reluctantly agrees to attend a Halloween party with her best friend. After sneaking away from the party and falling asleep in an unoccupied room, she wakes to the sexiest pair of eyes she’s ever seen. Eyes that belong to the one man who could turn her well organized world upside down. When he flashes that wicked, panty-melting smile at her the vow to not fall in love seems impossible… 



EVERY PRINCE IS LOOKING FOR HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY TO KISS… 



Jared Redmond used to be the ultimate bad boy. But now his legal career is taking off and the partners of his firm are trusting him with high-dollar real estate transactions. Jared’s king-size bed is empty. But when he arrives home on Halloween to find a princess sleeping in his bed – his all work and no play attitude goes out the window. There’s nothing he wants more than to explore the hidden desires of this mysterious beauty and show her just how much of a bad boy he really is by fulfilling her every fantasy. 



WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES AND COACHES TURN TO PUMPKINS… 

Underneath the glitter of this fairy tale romance, Felicity and Jared might have found true love. But the mounting pressure of their real lives takes hold again and Jared and Felicity are pulled further and further apart. Can they find their fairy tale ending or will they be left with the dying embers of what could have been? 

My Review

I'm always happy when there is a new Lauren Smith book out, as you probably know, I'm a big fan of her work. Getting my hands on a copy of Legally Charming before it came out, so that I could review it, was fantastic. This is a new contemporary romance and the first in the Ever After series.

This is a lovely story and a nice, quick read. Our hero, Jared isn't sure that he has time for romance, but once he meets Felicity, he soon changes his mind and decides that she's for him. She isn't quite so sure, she's drawn to Jared and finds herself falling for him. With the end of her university course rapidly approaching and her plans to move for her job, Felicity isn't sure that they can have a future together.

The only slight issue I had with this story, was Felicity. She appears to be much younger than she actually is at times and the way that she deals with thing seems a little silly and unfair. I'd have liked to shake her. 

This is  great read and I'd recommend it. 




Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Romance Readers Guide to Life

The Romance Readers Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a review. 

The Romance Readers Guide to Life

Neave and Lilly Terhune couldn’t be more different. Lilly is a beauty who runs through men like water. Neave, having been told at an early age by their mother that she will not be able to get by on her looks, always has her head in a book. Her favorite is The Pirate Lover, a romance novel about a young woman who refuses marriage to the highest bidder and instead escapes to the high seas where she meets the love of her life. 


During WWII, when the men are gone, both sisters start working. But when the servicemen return and take back their jobs, Neave and Lilly are left with few options besides marriage. But they have other ideas. They start to build a makeup business (think Avon in its early days) and soon have a hit on their hands. But just as their business is truly taking off, Lilly disappears and Neave must figure out what happened. Luckily, she has Lilly’s assistance helping from above, even if she doesn’t know it quite yet.


Alternating between the sisters’ story and that of Neave’s beloved Pirate Lover book, Sharon Pywell shows how all romantic relationships have dark undercurrents, how even the most cerebral amongst us can enjoy a swashbuckling, page-turning romance, and how sometimes the guiltiest of pleasures might contain essential kernels of truth.

My Review

The title of this book may lead you to think that it is simply a romance story. There is romance, but that isn't all there is. In fact, there is more than one romance in this book. First of all there is story from Neave's Pirate book, a straight forward traditional love story. Then there is the romance from the main story line. Along side all of this, is the question of what has happened to Lilly and why. Really though, this book is about Neave and Lilly and their ability to make something of their life, despite it being a man's World in the 1950's.

I loved the many elements of the story line. I wanted to know what would happen to Electra in the Pirate storyline. I wanted to know how Neave would cope once her sister was no longer there. Both story lines kept me turning the pages, trying to find out what would happen next.

There were some elements that were a little unusual. I wasn't entirely convinced about the role their one time family dog played in the story line. It was a little strange and to be honest, pushed the boundaries a little too far towards the end.

On the whole though, this was a fantastic read that I really enjoyed. It was very different, without being different for the sake of it. I found myself unable to put the book down and enjoying every second of it. It really wasn't what I was expecting when I picked it up, but I certainly wasn't disappointed. 



Monday, 6 March 2017

Fiance for Hire - Pamela Burford

When four high school friends promise to find husbands for one another if any of them are still single at age thirty, they have no idea how complicated the pact will make their lives twelve years later! Book 4 of the Wedding Ring series is Fiancé for Hire.

Fiance For Hire 
Fiance For Hire by Pamela Burford

The Prospective Bride: Amanda Coppersmith, successful at everything except marriage. Been there, done that—twice! No way is she going to let her matchmaking pals fix her up with another husband. She’s determined to remain single, which means outwitting her well-meaning friends.
The Prospective Groom: Nick Stephanos, studly New York taxi driver and the perfect choice for fake fiancé.
The Hitch: Nick is willing to play along, and the meddling matchmakers are completely taken in. So how did a simple fake engagement become so darn complicated?



My Review

This is the fourth and final book in the wedding ring series. Unlike her three friends, Amanda has been married twice before. Two divorces later and she has sworn of men for good. Her friends are unwilling to let her get away with not taking part in the wedding ring pact though, so Amanda hires someone to play the part of her new love interest. If she's found someone herself, then there's no need for them to set her up with someone. Nick seems like the perfect candidate for the role, but as time goes on, Amanda finds herself doing the unthinkable and actually falling for Nick.


Amanda might be busy scheming so that she can avoid her friend's plans, but Nick has plans of his own. It soon becomes apparent that there is far more to him than initially meets the eye. Amanda has far more on her hands than she first counted on.



I enjoyed this final installment in the wedding ring series. I liked Nick's character and I thought that he was a good fit for Amanda. We learn more about Amanda in this book, she isn't the worldly, assured woman that she portrays. 



I wasn't entirely convinced that even as close friends as the four women who make up the wedding ring circle are, would be able to predict so well how one of them would behave. It did help the story line though and was certainly enjoyable. As with the other three books in the series, I'd recommend Fiance for Hire.




Wednesday, 1 March 2017

All that glitters - Blog Tour

~ All That Glitters by Liza Treviño ~
Book Tour - 1st to 10th March



Book Details:

Title: All That Glitters - A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams
Author: Liza Treviño
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Koehler Books 
Published Date: March 1, 2017
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1633933083
ISBN-13: 978-1633933088



Book Links:




Synopsis:
Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?

All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.

What early readers are saying:

"Treviño tells her story with wit, intelligence, and an undercurrent of sadness at the plight women face to make a name for themselves as human beings instead of strictly as women. Treviño may have cloaked her ideas in entertaining vignettes and snappy dialogue, but underneath is a bite that stays with you."
— Jonathan Marcantoni, author and publisher of La Casita Grande Press.

"Liza has a way of taking you with her as she tells this very compelling story. She draws readers in with her as she describes scenes and characters with colorful detail and vivid imagination. This story is a testament to it's title: it really glitters!"
—Reesha Goral, author, The Servant Boy

"With distant echoes of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls in the background, Alexandria Moreno, the protagonist of All that Glitters, chases after the allure of Hollywood, all the time substituting pills, booze and sex for genuine happiness. It is only after she reaches success that she has an awakening leading her to realize the emptiness of her aspiration, and finally accepting true love. Kudos to Liza Treviño for giving us this unique image of the New Latina! I urge reading All that Glitters. You won’t regret it."

—Graciela Limón, author

Read an Excerpt:

Los Angeles
Oscar Night, 1990


When did things start going wrong?
Alexandria Moreno gulped another swig of champagne from the bottle. She picked at its broken gold foil. It was the same stuff she used to buy back in the days when spending more than ten dollars on bubbly was an extravagance. Now she sat in the best limo money could buy, inching along the craggy hillside road waiting for her turn to put in an appearance at the first of many scheduled post-Oscar parties. She was obligated to dole out heartfelt hugs and kisses to any of the beautiful people who might want one. Tonight, everyone was going to want a piece of her. She was the girl of the hour.
Until recently, Moreno had been an unknown writer-producer. She rocked Hollywood, winning Academy Awards for Best Director and Original Screenplay for the lushly violent, low-budget film, Win or Lose. Moreno, widely considered a dark horse contestant in the Oscar race, was the first Hispanic woman to be nominated, and win.
Two golden statues for writing and directing lay on the limo’s floor and the vehicle glided to the top of Hollywood’s heights. Beyond the winding canyon road, the Los Angeles electrified grid shimmered like Moreno’s own personal cauldron of gold. She understood that more than just a movie had won tonight.
She had won.
So why doesn’t it feel better?
Why don’t I feel better?
Despite everything she’d done to reach this moment of glory, Alex understood that none of it mattered. Not one bit. No matter what happened to her, she was still alone and drinking the same convenience-store champagne.
“Want some of this blow, babe?” Nick sniffed and dropped his head back with a slight shake, giving the chemicals a little jumpstart in the brain he liked to say.
“No thanks,” she said, “I don’t want to mix tonight.” Alex turned her attention from the scrubby hillside to handsome Nick Sirianni sitting across from her, casually relaxed in his Armani tuxedo. Though he favored stiff Wall Street suits, Nick was always casually relaxed due to the fact that he was worth millions from a Hollywood Midas touch.
Alex heard Leonard Cohen’s gravel-rubbed, breathless voice floating faintly through the air, crooning his patented melancholy love proclamations, and she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander along Nick’s impeccably tailored suit. Her hands absently grazed the familiar bluish-purple marks on her wrists currently hidden under make-up.
Nick’s thin lips curled into a slow, understanding grin. “Fine, but I have some X for later, and I don’t care what you’ve taken already,” he said in a tone Alex had learned not to question. “I’ve got plans for you, babe.”
“I guess it’s gonna be a long night.”
“The longest ever.”
Alex could tell he had taken off. She absently twirled a lock of her black, shoulder-length hair.
“Hey,” Nick nudged her leg with his polished leather dress shoe, “let me see.”
“Not right now.”
“I’m not asking, Alley Cat. Let me see. And do it right.”
Alex locked eyes with him, but she relented.
She found the fold of her straight wraparound skirt of crepe and beading that draped to the floor. She peeled it back and uncrossed her legs beneath the gown, giving Nick a peek-a-boo of her
narrow ankle and high-heeled foot. She loosened her knees, proving to Nick she’d followed his instructions.
Nick looked her over and loosened his collar.
“Good girl,” Nick said and shifted toward her, the leather seat creaking beneath him. He knelt between her legs and softly traced the length of her pale grey stocking from her shoe, along her leg, up to the matching garter, and over her supple brown thigh exposed between the garter and its straps. Nick kissed her just above where the stockings ended. He breathed in deeply and peered up to her.
“I gotta have a taste, baby,” he said and dipped his handsome face between her thighs.
Alex sighed and sank back into her seat.
How did things get so out of control? Isn’t tonight supposed to be everything I’ve worked for? Everything I’ve sacrificed for? Or, what I’ve sacrificed everyone for?
Alex knew she had purposely cut off anyone who had the misfortune of ever giving a damn about her. And there were such people.
It certainly wasn’t Nick. She’d made her deal with this particular devil nearly a year ago. Things between them were comfortably tawdry. Nick owned her. She knew it. He knew it. They had an understanding.
A flicker nudged her: so many things that could have been. She took another swig of champagne, letting the alcohol’s fizz and burn push everything back into the darkness.
Alex registered Nick’s velvet tongue expertly stroking her crevices, and she couldn’t help but give him all the access he wanted. She felt him smile when she dropped her head back and settled deeper into the limo’s bench. The car halted forward and the lazy, swaying sax turned up the tension in Cohen’s sonic plea for love.
Alex peered beyond the cracked sunroof, searching the starless LA sky for some answers. A corner of the tinted sunroof caught her faint reflection and she saw a vacant-eyed, thirty two-year-old wasted stranger. She’d never known herself less than at this moment. Her passion for work was burned out and, even tonight, she couldn’t muster excitement. Now, everything was just a game requiring too much effort.
She shut her eyes tight and sucked in air sharply, breathing in the car’s mixture of broken-in leather and artificial lemon scents. She clasped at Nick’s broad shoulder, wringing the expensive jacket sleeve as if it were nothing more than a cheap cocktail napkin. After a moment, she relaxed.
Nick brushed a sweet kiss on her inner thigh before he returned the thin black crepe material of her skirt to its full length. He slid back to his seat across from her and smoothed his hair back.
“Damn, you taste good, honey.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“We’re next in line, ma’am,” the chauffeur’s voice crackled through the intercom. The limo moved into place with a definite stop.
Nick grinned. “It’s show time, Alley Cat.”
The cool night air took Alex by surprise as she waded into the sea of people and flashing cameras. She staggered, unsure she could move.
“One foot in front of the other,” Nick said in his soft voice through her hair. “I’ll get you a drink once we get inside.”
Alex smiled serenely and nodded. She focused on the live band somewhere in the distance belting out a Sinatra standard. Her eyes found the majestic Griffith Observatory looming in the distance, hovering above the white party tents.
Inside, the camera flashes kept coming.
“And here we are,” Nick offered as he swiped a couple of champagne flutes from a roving waiter’s tray. “This should get ya right, babe.”
Alex took the glass automatically. Another bulb flashed near her and she saw blue sprinkles. She regained focus quickly, but then her stomach dropped. Across the room was the last person she wanted to see.

◊◊◊

Jamie Douglas stood out in any crowd. Angular looks punctuated by oceanic blue eyes, a naturally lean athleticism, and down-to-earth boyishness had made him a reigning movie star around the world for almost twenty years. And right now, Alex saw Jamie’s eyes find hers through the crowd. When they caught each other, a flash sparked between them like one of those popping camera bulbs. Jamie’s surprised look gave way to a lopsided grin; it was a look so familiar to her.
Alex registered Nick snake his arm around her thin waist and she broke her gaze from Jamie.
“Okay, Alley Cat, time for our victory lap.”
“Perfect timing,” she said.
Timing—everything always came down to timing. It seemed to her that her timing had always been off. Not crazy off, just that extra millisecond that pushed everything either too early or too late. And now, she understood that it was too late.
Suddenly, she couldn’t bear to go through with the whole charade of tonight. Maybe, she couldn’t even bear to go through with the whole charade of her life any longer. Just leave, a soft voice whispered inside her head. There’s nothing written you have to stick around. It’s practically programmed into your DNA that you’ll be checking out of this world early.
All at once, Alex understood that simple fact. She, Alex Moreno, would leave Los Angeles tonight as anonymously as she had arrived nearly a decade earlier. She knew that wasn’t an entirely accurate account of how she’d started.
Now I’m alone, and that’s just how I knew things would always turn out.


Author Bio:

Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider's view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.




Catch Up with Liza Treviño on her Website