Tag Archives: romance

Serious Moonlight, by Jenn Bennett

25 Jun

41453055

Format: e-ARC, 432 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children’s

Published: May 16, 2019

ISBN: 9781471180729

Genre: Romance, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books.

But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel. There she meets Daniel Aoki, the hotel’s charismatic driver, and together they stumble upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—is secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell, and in doing so, realize that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.

My review: Jenn Bennett can write swoony boys. No doubt about that. This book was a little different in that the main couple had hooked up before the story even started and it had ended weirdly, so there was an awkwardness to their subsequent meeting which felt so real. I enjoyed the mystery they were trying to solve, even though all the elements were pretty obvious to me from quite early on, the live-action Cluedo game was THE BEST, and the adults were all fabulous human beings. There is diversity, important messages for teens, and some quite sad moments. But Daniel is definitely a keeper.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Consumed, by J.R. Ward

9 Nov

39293128Format: e-ARC, 416 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia, Piatkus

Published: October 2, 2018

ISBN: 9780349420622

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

My review: Ward’s new series starts out okay, but with such an unlikeable heroine at its centre it was a bit of a slog to get through this first book.

Had it not been for the fact I read the prequel novellas I would find it difficult to see what Danny saw in Anne. She was very unsympathetic, and I had a hard time with her choosing to take the word of an acquaintance over Danny. She was pretty tough on her mother, too. Anne’s brother was horrible, and I also had a big problem with the idea that a fire chief could be in his thirties. Only Danny was great, and his buddies seem good guys – so far, so like the BDB. It seems Ward can write heroes really well but the women she has trouble with.

In fact, the more Ward I read, the more I am convinced she’s not a great writer. Her style is full of clichés and “gangsta lite” – instead of saying Danny lit a cigarette, Ward writes that he “got his smoke on.” Ugh. Tighter editing and removal of some of the clichés could have made this a much pacier, more enjoyable read.

I’ll probably continue with the series, but only because I know the heroes will probably be worth it.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

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The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli

4 Sep

31286202Format: e-ARC, 352 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s

Published: 11 April, 2017

ISBN: 9780141356112

Genre: LGBTQIA, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: “I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back.”

What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.

My review: The author writes authentically about what it’s like being a teen, all self-centred and constantly with crushes on unobtainable boys, but I found myself seriously disliking Molly’s twin sister. She is just horrible! I didn’t really find anything to like about Mina or Will and Max either. There is a lot of diversity, and that’s great, but this didn’t grab my interest quite the way it seems to have many other readers. I haven’t read Albertalli’s earlier book, which is apparently much better, so I will give that a try.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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The Office Christmas Party, by Aimee Duffy

13 Jul

30400216Format: e-ARC, 289 pages

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Published: 24 November 2017

ISBN: 9780008197254

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Natalie Taylor and Dean Fletcher are serial Christmas party crashers. But when they start crashing the same parties, the mittens are off!

As much as she loves Christmas, after her mother’s death, events planner Nat can’t face the jolly season anymore. So to get her festive hit she crashes everyone else’s party. It’s a sweet gig, until she meets her competition, tech empire millionaire, Dean, under the mistletoe…!

When it comes to relationships, Dean doesn’t do serious—being left at the altar will do that to a guy. So when he meets feisty Nat, the first woman in ten years to pique his interest, he’s tempted to break his one-night rule…just for the holidays!

Nat and Dean might get more than they bargained for in their stockings this Christmas!

My review: Of course I could see what was going to happen a mile off, but I still enjoyed this light, funny romance about a pair of Christmas party crashers who go from enemies to lovers. I really liked Dean’s POV, especially his relationship with his brother, and his mother was absolutely vile. Natalie was harder to like because I didn’t get the whole aversion to Christmas thing, but her banter was witty and I could easily see this as a Bridget Jones type festive film.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Flame in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh

16 Mar

36348675Format: e-ARC, 400 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 16 May 2016

ISBN: 9781473657977

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan.

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

My review: Firstly, I loved that this was set in feudal Japan. Ninjas! Throwing stars! Tea ceremonies! Add to that a kickass heroine, swoony boys, and magical powers, and you have a great read. I agree with other reviewers who found the names a bit tricky to keep track of, especially since some characters had multiple names, but other than that I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading the sequel. This was my first Renee Ahdieh book and I will certainly be reading her other works now.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Driving Miss Crazy, by D.J. Van Oss

22 Feb

30224056Format: e-ARC, 292 pages

Publisher: Blue Penny Press

Published: 16 May, 2016

ISBN: 9780692685730

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: He’s got a car. She’s got places to be. If only things were that simple.

Maggie MacNally always falls short, no matter what she does. Whether it’s her career or her love life, nothing ever ends up right, and even as she tries to put her work mishaps and dating missteps behind her to forge a new life in Washington DC, she wonders: is she really heading where she wants to go, or simply following in the family footsteps?

But just as she’s considering packing it all in, an out-of-the-blue proposal from her influential grandmother offers her one last chance at success — a chance which puts her in the path of beguiling and mysterious French diplomat, Valery.

Meanwhile, diplomatic driver and widowed father Adrian Adams isn’t looking to change anything about his life, he just wants to keep his seven-year-old daughter Charlie safe and happy. The last thing on his mind is finding love again – and the last thing he expects is to suddenly lose his job. Luckily, he’s soon got a new assignment, one which brings him face to face with an overworked, stressed-out, but oddly charming Irish girl with a penchant for talking to squirrels: Maggie. It’s not long before Adrian finds himself, unwittingly, falling in love again.

Will Maggie seize the life she’s always yearned for, or be left with the pieces of yet another broken dream? And will Adrian take a second, crazy chance at love, or just play it safe? And what’s with all the squirrels?

My review: I picked this up from Netgalley because of the cute graphics on the cover and the pun in the name, and then was intrigued to find it was a sweet romance debut by a male author. However, I wasn’t really bowled over by the plot. My favourite character was Adrian’s daughter, rather than the couple themselves, and the “intrigue” at the embassy was signposted so far out that nothing came as a surprise in the end. There was a love triangle, of course, and lots of people telling Maggie what to do so she came across as a bit of a child. So overall it was just okay.

Since it was first published the cover has been redone to show a photo of a couple, and I’d have to say that I wouldn’t have picked it up at all had that been the original cover. I much prefer the cute pink and blue graphics.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 2.5/5

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Eye Candy, by by Tijan, Tara Sivec, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, and Bella Jewel

14 Jan

35265623Format: e-ARC, 660 pages

Publisher: Swerve

Published: 5 September, 2017

ISBN: 9781250148230

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A frightfully good time! Dive into these Halloween novellas from bestselling authors Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel and Tara Sivec. Featuring stories set in the worlds of their popular series.

My review: I didn’t much like the Tijan story, which was the first thing I’ve read by her, but the rest of this anthology was solid and very enjoyable. The best story by far was Helena Hunting’s, and I’m keen to read more with these characters. I think I’ll also have to check out the other writers in the collection, too, whom I haven’t read before.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

 

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When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

29 Jul

32934117Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781473667402

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My review: I read this in a day and thought it was a delight. I loved the fact Dimple was a modern girl and Rishi supported the old traditions – the story wouldn’t have worked if Rishi hadn’t been willing to keep trying to win her over, and that meant it also didn’t fall into the old instalove trap. I think my Indian friends would totally relate. The minor characters didn’t interest me as much, but I liked Rishi’s brother a lot. This book is geeky and swoony and fun. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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Razr (Demonica #11.8, Demonica Underworld #4), by Larissa Ione

18 Apr

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Larissa Ione, comes RAZR, a passionate and spellbinding novella from the Demonica Underworld Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure you grab your copy today!

Today we have an exclusive excerpt and my review of this new book from one of my favourite authors.

 

RAZR - cover

About RAZR:

New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione returns to the Demonica Underworld…

A fallen angel with a secret.

An otherworldly elf with an insatiable hunger she doesn’t understand.

An enchanted gem.

Meet mortal enemies Razr and Jedda…and the priceless diamond that threatens to destroy them both even as it bonds them together with sizzling passion.

Welcome back to the Demonica Underworld, where enemies find love…if they’re strong enough to survive.

Amazon ** Amazon UK ** Amazon CA ** Amazon AU ** Paperback

 

 

RAZR - Tour teaser 2

 

 

Book trailer:

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Excerpt:

He moved toward Jedda, his pulse inexplicably growing faster as he neared her. He’d been in the presence of blindingly gorgeous females with unmatched power in his centuries of life, and none of them had affected him like this. No, this was different, a mix of attraction and anticipation he would almost compare to battle lust.

The thought made him slow his approach, his mind tripping over the implications of that. Was he hoping she was one of the demons responsible for the theft of his property and the deaths of his friends, in which case he’d kill her, or was he hoping she wasn’t involved? And which was worse? Oh, he had no problems with killing demons—it was what he’d been bred for. But it seemed like such a shame to slaughter someone so unique. Or so attractive.

Idiot. You never drooled over demons when you were a full-fledged angel.

No, he hadn’t. There had been a clear separation of class and species back then. But ever since he’d had his wings bound and his powers muted and had been tossed in Sheoul-gra to serve Azagoth, he’d relaxed his standards. Not intentionally, but he had to admit that living life on the other side of the tracks had given him new perspective.

He just wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad one.

Jedda looked up as he stopped in front of her. Up close, she was even more beautiful, with full, pouty lips made to stir up some wicked male fantasies. Her fine, perfect features made her seem delicate, fragile, even, but something told him she was stronger than she looked. Which made him wonder how that strength would play in bed.

Down, boy. Get what you want and get back to Heaven and females suited to your status. And species. “Hello, Ms. Brighton. I’m Razr.”

Cocking her head slightly, she gave him a long, assessing once-over before saying with just a hint of an English accent, “Razr? That’s not a common human name, is it?”

Either she couldn’t sense his species or she was testing him. Either way, he didn’t see any reason to lie. “It’s my fallen angel name. A take on my given name. Razriel.”

“Ah.” She gave him another long, measuring look, taking in the expensive suit Azagoth had given him for the event, and he wondered what she was thinking. “Until tonight, I’d never met a fallen angel, and now I’ve met two, including you.”

“Tonight? Is the other one here?”

She nodded. “Shrike, the event organizer. He owns this place.”

Well, that was mildly alarming. Fallen angels reveled in power and status, which meant that this shindig had probably been arranged for a purpose. An evil purpose.

 

My review:

Format: e-ARC, 120 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated

Published: April 11, 2017

ASIN: B01N0LRIL2

Genre: Paranormal romance

My review: I’ve said many times that Larissa Ione is one of my favourite authors, and once again she’s proved what an amazing writer she is to be able to convey so much, and have us utterly engaged by the characters and world building, in such a short story. In this novella she expands the Demonica universe to include elves, and the idea of a gem elf who cries diamonds and bleeds other precious jewels is unique and fascinating. Of course Jedda is kickass as well, and she’s a perfect match for Razr, an angel we met in Z’s book who’s not quite fallen but needs a jewel Jedda possesses in order to return to Heaven. They are drawn to each other from the beginning and the sexual tension is great as they go from enemies to lovers. I also loved the humour – I loved it when he called her Dobby and referred to her home realm as Middle Earth. It’s great to see the other characters from previous books as well, and meet some new ones of whom I hope we’ll see more in future. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the author via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

 

RAZR - Tour teaser 1

 

Larissa Ione’s RAZR – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

April 12th

A Fortress of Books – Review

Booklovers For Life – Review

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Rebels – Review & Excerpt

April 13th

Abigail Books Addiction – Review

Calling All Bookaholics – Review & Excerpt

GraveTells – Excerpt

Smut Book Jukie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 14th

A Woman and Her Books – Review

Milky Way of Books – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

The Ordinary Housewife Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

April 15th

danielriding.com – Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 16th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt

Shelf_life – Review & Excerpt

The Escapist Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

April 17th

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

That’s What I’m Talking About – Review

April 18th

Books, Baking and Other Objects of Beauty – Review & Excerpt

Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

Under the Covers – Review & Excerpt

April 19th

A Hopeless Romantic’s Booklandia – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Rambling Reads – Review & Excerpt

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

April 20th

Adria’s Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Loves Great Reads Blog – Review & Excerpt

Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 21st

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews – Excerpt

 

Larissa Ione - author imageAbout Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

 

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