Monday, January 11, 2016

REVIEW: Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark #16) by Kresley Cole

Title: Sweet Ruin
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: December 2015/Simon& Schuster, UK
ISBN: 9781471149870
Series: Immortals After Dark #16

An immortal assassin is caught between desire and duty...

A foundling raised in a world of humans

Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Her baby brother Thaddeus was as perfect as she was flawed; protecting him became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl... to would-be superhero... to enchanting, ruthless villain.
A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission

A threat to the Møriør has brought archer Rune the Baneblood to the mortal realm to slay the oldest living Valkyrie. Whether by bow or in bed, he never fails to eliminate his target. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty conceals a black heart. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, taking his forbidden blood - and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin...

Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. Despite his millennia of sexual conquests, he can’t ignore the unfamiliar longing she arouses deep within him. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.

My first Kresley Cole book, and potentially not the best point to start a sixteen book series, but I have to say it did not detract from my enjoyment of Sweet Ruin.  Paranormal used to be my go to read, but it’s actually been a while since I picked up a PNR novel.  Sweet Ruin has successfully reignited my love of the genre with its extensive cast of immortals wrapped around a gorgeous (and feisty) love story.

Rune Darklight is a dark fey, (half fey, half demon) and archer, assassin and information broker for the Morior.  His good looks, charm and sexual prowess mean he is renowned amongst immortals.  Known as Rune the Insatiable, his sexual appetite is endless, however, his poisonous ‘baneblood’ means his encounters are limited for the safety of his partners and consequently he is never entirely sated. Rune has resigned himself to an immortal life time with no true mate, considering his service to the Morior as an honourable duty.

Josephine Doe is a new arrival on the immortal scene.  She lived a short and traumatic existence as a human and transitioned across to her current, vampiric, state with no knowledge of the immortal world surrounding her.  A true loner, and self appointed protector of prostitutes, Josephine longs to belong, to be wanted. She is brash and wields her wit and strength like a blunt instrument.  I loved Josephine, she made me laugh out loud with her witty comebacks on more than one occasion.

As Josephine explores her abilities she begins to encounter other immortal beings and it is not long before she spies Rune.  To say he piques her interest is probably an understatement.  Rune is equally intrigued by this young and beautiful being, who is not affected by his poisonous blood, and finds himself pursuing her with a view to recruiting her for the Morior (or so he tries to convince himself).

What unfolds in Sweet Ruin is actually a beautiful love story, complicated by the actions of two people who have never really shared a connection of the sort they uncover with one another.  Both are strong willed, independent loners, and yet beneath their gruff exteriors each longs for someone to spend their days with.

As they search for Nix, who has Josephine’s younger brother Thadeus in tow, their sexual chemistry explodes and yet they both fight what they are feeling, desperate to maintain their independence.  Rune and Jo have expectations of each other that seem impossible to meet, but without compromise they run the risk of losing a love like they have never encountered before.

It took me a little while to fully immerse myself into Sweet Ruin, primarily because it is based around a complex world that I had not encountered before.  Despite it being my first Immortals After Dark novel, I didn’t feel lost in the world, the book established people and places for me really well.  While it was a little slow going for me at first I soon found myself lost in Rune and Jo’s story, not able to put the book down. I’ll definitely be reading more Kresley Cole based on my Sweet Ruin experience.

5 out of 5 stars

Photo by Deanna Meredith

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers Series, and five award-winning historical romances. 

A master's grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. 

Her IAD books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

REVIEW: Before by Anna Todd

Title: Before
Author: Anna Todd
Published: December 8th 2015 by Gallery Books
ISBN: 1501130706 (ISBN13: 9781501130700)
Series: After (Book #5)

Book Five of the After series—Anna Todd’s Wattpad fanfiction that racked up one billion reads online and captivated romance readers across the globe! 

As told by Hardin and other characters, Before will explore the hero’s life before he met Tessa, reveal what happens after After, give you new insights on their turbulent romance—and revel in the awesome power of true love. #HESSA

I read Before having not read any of the other books in the ‘After’ series by Anna Todd, and was a little worried it was going to impact my enjoyment of the book.  I’m happy to say it didn’t, and I’m keen to pick up the rest of the series now.

Before tells the story of how Hardin and Tessa first met, and provides the background to their tumultuous relationship.  Hardin is the ‘bad boy’ – I’m reluctant to describe him as a ‘typical’ bad boy because it felt like there was more to him.  Intelligent, angry, rebellious, and yet despite that Tessa manages to catch his interest.  Nothing like the other dalliances he has had, Tessa is the ‘good girl’, she screams innocence and even so finds herself drawn to Hardin like a moth to a flame.

Before is brilliantly written.  The characters are well developed and like I said, the story engaged me to the extent that I will go and read the rest of this series.  Hardin grapples with his attraction to Tessa, what starts out as a cruel game becomes so much more for him and he soon realises that he risks losing the one thing that is actually starting to mean something to him.

Before is told from Hardin’s point of view and many of the chapters start with a paragraph or two written in the third person.  I really liked the greater insight these gave to Hardin’s character.  It wasn’t a quick read for me, while it was easy to read, there is a complexity about the story and I didn’t want to rush the experience.  I found myself putting it down and then pondering what would happen next between Hardin and Tessa before coming back to the story.

If you’ve read the ‘After’ series then I would expect you would need no encouragement to pick up Before.  For those of you new to the series, it may be best to start with book #1 ‘After’, but you can definitely read Before without having read the series and still thoroughly enjoy this introduction to #HESSA.

4 out of 5 stars

Photo: JD Witkowski

Anna Todd is a writer spending her days in Austin, Texas, with her husband. She has always been an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true. She now knows what life is like when you get to do what you love. She also has a thing for things that begin with T's: Tom Hanks, TOMS, Target...

REVIEW: The Best Goodbye by Abbi Glines

Title: The Best Goodbye
Author: Abbi Glines
Published: December 1st 2015 by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501115383 (ISBN13: 9781501115387)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the next sizzling novel in the Rosemary Beach series, featuring well-known playboy and Blaire’s half brother, Captain.

The look on Rose’s face had screamed that she was hiding something. Hell, she’d practically run away from me. There was something to that. I knew there was...

After ten years in the employ of a mysterious crime boss, River “Captain” Kipling is ready to leave his sordid past—and his cover occupation as an upscale restaurateur—behind him. The only thing standing in the way of his “retirement” is his commitment to launch a new restaurant in the resort town of Rosemary Beach. With his sister, Blaire, nearby, Captain can delay his dream of running a humble bar on the waterfront, but the unwanted attentions of his head server, Elle, have him itching to get out.

Until he notices Rose Henderson, the new server at the restaurant. All he knows about the pretty redhead with the cute glasses is that she’s a hardworking single mom from Oklahoma. But there’s something overly familiar about her laugh...something strange about the way she looks at Captain...

The Best Goodbye is the latest installment in the Rosemary Beach series from Glines.  It's the sweet, second chance, love story of Rose and Captain. While I've read many of the Rosemary Beach series I haven't read them all, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. Beautifully written, as are all of Glines books, The Best Goodbye is told from alternating points of view, with flash back scenes to ten years prior where we learn the back story of Rose/Addy and Captain/River.

Cruelly separated as teenagers, ten years has passed and Rose/Addy has finally tracked Captain/River down. Conscious that many things have changed in both their lives she is cautious, focussed on understanding if the man he has become is someone she can have in her life once again. The stakes are much higher second time around, it's not just her heart that will suffer if Captain the man, falls short of the boy she once loved. Disguising her appearance Rose starts work as a server in Captains soon to open restaurant. While he doesn't recognize her, things about Rose reawaken memories from his past, reigniting pain he thought he'd moved on from.

Rose struggles with what she sees, and doubts whether she can trust Captain again ... but then she gets glimpses of the boy from her past causing her to second guess the emotions that are being reignited when she's in his prescience. An unplanned encounter forces a key decision for Rose and the two are soon both questioning whether the love they once shared could ever be again, or whether the time apart and the life choices they made are too much to move beyond.

I fell in love with both of these characters. They each sacrificed so much for the other that all I wanted was for them to get their second chance. The alternate point of view gave me insights into each character, so I felt I got to know them and their perspective really well. The flashbacks added real depth to the story and helped me to understand the choices they were both making as the story unfolded. I was a little disappointed with the ending, it felt like it just stopped. I would have liked an epilogue to give a little bit more substance to the end of this gorgeous story, particularly given the challenges the characters faced.

The Best Goodbye was a really quick read, perfect for a lazy day where you just want to get lost in the pages of a book for a few hours.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Photograph: Keith Glines
Abbi Glines is the New York TimesUSA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Field Party, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted book lover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Release Blitz: Finding Bliss (Bliss #4) by B.J. Harvey

Title: Finding Bliss
Series: Bliss #4
Author: BJ Harvey
Release Date: June 16, 2015


The End of an Era

They call me the walking dildo.

Gratifying? Yes.

Something my mother would be proud of? Hell no!

Watching my best friend and my old friend-with-benefits blissfully walk down the aisle has just reiterated the fact that I’m thirty and perpetually single.

I thought I’d found the woman I wanted to spend my life with, you have to open your eyes to realize that it’s never gonna happen.

Funny how meeting the right person can finally make you see sense.

My name is Noah Taylor: kickass trauma surgeon, closet idealist, wishful thinker, and all round cocky asshole, and this is the year my life will change for the better.

*Disclaimer: This book features hot sex, filthy language, misuse of on-call rooms and the overdue redemption of the fake orgasm*


“I got a text from Dan warning me that you might be a little drunk.”

“I’m a lot drunk, but that’s not the point. I’m not sure I can be with you anymore.”

He freezes mid step, and turns to face me at the same time as swinging my body around to meet his, chest to chest. “Say that again. I think you lost me.”

Because I’m drunk and although— in my mind — I’m telling myself that I deserve a lifetime of orgasms and I need to break up with him, I wind my arms around his neck and pull myself hard against him. His hands drop to my hips and hold me hostage as his eyes bore down into mine, obviously waiting for me to explain. “See, we got talking and Mac said she had to fake an orgasm with you, and I can’t live without orgasms. I like having orgasms. They’re fun and good for me, and they make me a very happy girl, so I need to have orgasms and if you’re just giving me your A game to lure me in and then you’re going to switch to your C or D game soon, which would suck—although Kate said the C game can be fun if you do it right . . . anyway, I need you to promise me a life full of lots and lots of orgasms or else I can’t go out with you anymore.”

Then I’m stopped by his lips hitting mine, his tongue delving into my mouth when it opens on a gasp of shock. He takes his time, he does the job right, and when he pulls back and nuzzles my neck, I’ve sagged against him and my hands are gripping into the back of his head as if my whole life depends on it.

“Are you going to start back up again, or do I need to put something in your mouth to stop you from spouting this shit?”

“It’s not shit. I need org—” He cups my jaw and kisses me long and deep, and with lots of effort on his part, and mine once I get past the shock of him shutting me up with his mouth for the second time in as many minutes.

“Now that we’ve established that you’re not breaking up with me, or going anywhere else other than my bed right now, can I take you inside so I can show you every trick I have in the book? And I’m gonna keep going until you get it through that drunken head of yours that you’re never going to have to fake an orgasm with me, now or ever.”

BJ Harvey is the International Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She writes contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and romantic suspense.

An avid music fan, you will always find her with headphones on while writing, and the speakers blaring the rest of the time. She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and when she’s not writing – she’s reading.

BJ resides with her family in what she considers the best country in the world—New Zealand. She describes her writing as a little swoon, a lot of heat, a bit of drama and a whole lot of love.



Also Available

#1 Temporary Bliss



#2 True Bliss



#3 Blissful Surrender



#3.5 Permanent Bliss



Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Release: Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley

Title: Vicious Cycle 
Author: Katie Ashley
Series: A Vicious Cycle Novel 1
Genre: Motorcycle Club Romance
On Sale Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Penguin 
Imprint: Signet
ISBN: 0451474910
Print Length: 328 pages

New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.
Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hells Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

As I entered the door, I took a deep breath to try and still my out-of-control nerves. Smoke hung heavy in the air, stinging my eyes and causing me to cough. Several men in leather biker cuts lounged on stools at the bar, nursing beers. Across from me, a heated pool game was taking place.

I took a few steps inside and then froze. “Are you lost, darlin’?” a big busted woman in a halter top asked.

“Uh…I’m looking for David Malloy,” I said.

Two men at the pool table whirled around. The shorter of the two, a tough but cute looking blond, cocked his head curiously at me. But then the moment my gaze locked on the other man, I knew he was Willow’s father. They had the same dark hair, soulful dark eyes, and heart-shaped face. David, however, had dark scruff covering his face. Although he was Rev’s brother, I didn’t see any resemblance between the two. Although he was shorter and slightly less built, David was just as good-looking as Rev. “Mr. Malloy?” I questioned, as I closed the distance between us.

He tossed the pool stick on the table. Taking a long drag on his cigarette, he then stubbed it out in an ashtray on the table. “What do you want?” he demanded.

Without even glancing around the room, I knew that every eye in the place was on us. “I really need to speak with you for a moment.”

His dark eyes narrowed as they raked over my body. Then the next thing I knew, he leapt at me, knocking me back into the wall. One of his hands came to grip my throat while his body pinned me in place. Fear like I had never known overwhelmed me, sending my heartbeat drumming wildly in my ears. It was so loud it felt like a cannon blast going off around me. “Please,” I murmured.

David glared at me as his thumb pressed harder into my throat. “They’re really falling down on their job at the academy.”

“E-Excuse m-me?” I stammered.

With a smirk, he replied, “Don’t they train you ATF bitches to hide your fear a little better? I mean, you’re practically pissing your pants right now, not to mention your heart is beating ninety to nothing.”

I shook my head slowly back and forth as I tried processing his words. “ATF? I don’t understand.”

He rolled his eyes. “A white-bred piece of ass comes waltzing into my clubhouse wanting to talk to me alone. It doesn’t take a fucking genius to realize you’re a Fed.”

A Fed? It took me a moment to process what he meant. Holy shit, he thought I worked for the government as an agent of some sort. Quickly, I replied, “No, I’m not.”

A voice came from him. “Deacon, man, you’re gonna get your ass jacked up even further for this.”

Glancing over his shoulder, Deacon said to the young, blond haired man, “Stay out of this, Bishop.”

Bishop held up his hands. “Fine. It’s your fucking funeral.”

David’s hand slid down my throat to the buttons on my dress. Glancing over his shoulder at the others, he questioned, “What do you bet she’s wired up under her tits?”

When his hands started to rip open my dress, I couldn’t hold back my scream. “No, stop! I’m not who you think I am. I swear!” I protested.

“Then just who the hell are you?” he demanded.

Before I could answer, a tiny voice came from behind us. “Miss Alex?”

The sound of Willow’s voice caused David to release his hold on my dress, but his body still kept me pinned to the wall. At that same moment, Rev entered the clubhouse. When he saw me, his eyes bulged, and he broke into a run to reach us. Grabbing David’s shoulders, he slung him away from me. “For fuck’s sake, Deacon, what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m giving this undercover ATF bitch what she deserves,” Deacon spat, taking a step back toward me.

“Christ, she’s not ATF,” Rev countered.

“Oh, then who the hell is she?”

“She’s my teacher…and my friend,” Willow answered in a small voice.

Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition Series, Runaway Train Series, as well as several New Adult and Young Adult titles. Her latest series, Vicious Cycle, has been picked up for publication by Penguin Books.

She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo. 

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in English Education, she spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

She is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management