Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Rules of Engagement by Mika Jolie

REVIEWED BY
Tina Shobe


Rules of EngagementRules of Engagement by Mika Jolie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an attempt to keep custody of his daughter Lucas agrees to Kate's suggestion of a fake engagement until after the court date. He has known Kate for years. She is his best friend's sister.

Lucas's ex is a headcase. I giggled every time Kate had a dialogue with her. Kate is my kind of woman.

I love that fact the #1 priority in Lucas's life is a priority. You also get the story from his point of view with his thoughts and feelings on relationships past and present. The quote that he said that has stuck with me 'Nothing sexier than confidence'.

I loved the blog that Kate wrote that she put her own personal thoughts and feelings out for others to read. Lucas read then and knew her well enough to know she was talking about him.

This was an absolutely wonderful read for me. Good friends who unbeknownst feelings for each other (because you don't act on feelings of your best friend's sister) whose fake engagement starts turning to something so much more.


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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

REVIEWED BY
Melinda Lazar 



Overnight SensationOvernight Sensation by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

Soooooo excited was I to get my hands on Castro’s book and Bowen - as always - delivers a wonderful read. The Brooklyn Bruisers series is a favorite of mine to read and reread and Overnight Sensation is a welcome addition.

Jason Castro doesn’t do relationships anymore. He used to, way back when, but he doesn’t want to experience anything close to what he went through when he was younger. But the thing is that Heidi has been making eyes and throwing out ALL the signals at him and it’s getting harder and harder to resist the attraction. Heidi is a good girl - always says and does the right thing and what’s good for her. She’s decided that what’s good for her is a short, dirty fling with Jason and what Heidi wants, Heidi gets through sheer guts and determination.
To move out from under her father’s thumb, Heidi (in a roundabout way) becomes Castro’s couch-surfer and things remain platonic until they just can’t hold off any more.

This was a great, great read. I love the BB family and revisiting them is always a pleasure. Castro lived up to every sexy, cocky, likeable image I had and while it took me a while to warm up to her, Heidi has also become a firm favorite. This was a very sweet, amusing, and at times emotional book and I am so so very eager for the next book in this series!

*I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

**Reviewed by Melinda for Joandisalovebooks Blog.

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The Voyages of Trueblood Cay by Suanne Laqueur

REVIEWED BY
Micky Barnard 




The Voyages of Trueblood CayThe Voyages of Trueblood Cay by Suanne Laqueur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE VOYAGES OF TRUEBLOOD CAY was a rather overwhelming read in many ways but mostly emotionally and if you’ve read Suanne Laqueur before, you’ll appreciate the phenomena. There’s a definite familiarity that hits once you meet the crop of main characters, it’s not out-right Stef and Jav but Pe and Fen, Raj and Lejos are parts of the Venery journey and you’ll feel a sense of home.

I’ve never felt at ease reading one of Suanne Laqueur’s books because the subject matter always challenges you and I didn’t feel at ease in the Trueblood Cay world. This is a story of family, friendship, there are dark moments and there is a beautiful unfurling of a grudging friendship into everything.

“The khieron is beautiful to me. His face and body and eyes, his story in my heart-these are beautiful things.”

So far, my review could make this sound like a contemporary read, but this is a fantastical conception in a clever but complex world. I had significant difficulty getting to and past the first 20% of the book. It was complicated, with heavy world building and I did not feel connected to any character to anchor me to the story in that first part. I felt confused but I had a buddy I was reading this with and we were able to talk out aspects of my confusion. Once I got past 20%, I connected, I settled, I lived in the story. My rating would probably be divided up as 3 stars for that first struggle and 4.5 stars for the rest.

Once I understood the world that this adventure was placed in, I began to appreciate the view, the creatures, the boats, the land and most of all, the characters. The connections, platonic and more are written most beautifully, in a way that your heart literally aches with warmth or hurt...and when it hurt, it really hurt. I needed that buddy of mine to process the beauty, the horror and the devastation.

This story is a vivid, technicolour tale. If you read it, you’ll remember it, I would probably find it difficult to explain the story to you, but that is not necessary in this review. I am glad I read it, I am glad I got to experience the Venery world through this fantasy lens. I remain a fierce fan of this writer’s talent.

“Here. Take it. You’re free. You always were.”

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

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Monday, 21 January 2019

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely

REVIEWED BY 
Melinda Lazar 


Birthday SuitBirthday Suit by Lauren Blakely
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely

This book was *exactly* what I needed to start the year off! It was the perfect friends to lovers story with a bit of a second chance for one of our characters as well. Leo and Lulu were friends years ago and now that Lulu is back in New York, the friendship picks up (almost) where it left off.

Lulu is a master chocolatier who is back in NY to realize her dream and Leo is on the hunt for the next rising star to partner with at Heavenly Chocolates. From the moment they cross paths again, they fall into old ways with their usual banter and it’s almost as though the last few years haven’t passed.

Leo, bless his sweet, unselfish heart has been in love with Lulu for YEARS. From the moment they met, she was it for him. Unfortunately, Lulu was also ‘it’ for Leo’s best friend, Tripp. Those two hit it right off and even though it was never a competition, Tripp won the girl. Leo and Lulu are now at a different stage and time in their lives and are free to explore the possibilities of a romantic relationship.

I don’t know what to say.... this book made me feel all sorts of wonderful things. I smiled and craved chocolate throughout. I laughed and swooned at the witty banter that is synonymous with a Lauren Blakely book. My heart melted and ached and mended beautifully. The relationship between Leo and Lulu was pure and organic. There was nothing forced or contrived and it was utterly believable. I was rooting for these two to find themselves and their happy ever after, particularly Leo who was just such a beautiful person and friend. I’ll also add that I loved the little story within the story - my day was made although I wouldn’t mind a little novella there! But for now, I’m looking forward to Cameron and the mysterious woman in his life!

*I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

**Reviewed by Melinda for Joandisalovebooks Blog.

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Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely


REVIEWED BY
Monique Cashmere 


Birthday SuitBirthday Suit by Lauren Blakely
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was so much about this book that I loved and want to tell you all about it and why you should read it. But if I did, I would give far too much away. So let me condense it a little. In my honest opinion, it is a friends to lovers romance that is full of sweet gestures, hope and faith. There were some sad moments, and just as many funny times. It is a book with a full cast, being that of the main characters and their best friends, family, co-workers and parents. If you get the chance, which I did, add the audio, with every character getting an individual narrator, it is definitely one NOT to miss. Just brilliant. Some of the best moments were discovering NYC through their eyes, I just love that city. Also, I have to be straight with you, I was drooling over the descriptions of the chocolates! Now if we can only get those delivered with the book, that would be something!

Lulu was back in town, after needing to find space and herself and was setting up shop with her chocolates. She bumps into Leo, and other things, who is her long time friend. Leo has the means to help bring Lulu's creations to a bigger audience and they set about doing that. Along the way, they partake in a scavenger hunt through the city and this helps them rediscover their bond. It is not completely smooth sailing for these two to achieve their HEA, because guilt plays a big part of why Leo can not let go of the past.

The only way to conclude this review and to stress why you need this book is to tell you that once I was finished, my heart was full. I went about the rest of my day with a smile on my face and thinking about them and what else could lie ahead. Now if that isn't a great romance novel, that makes you happy and hopeful, then I don't know what is.


**Reviewed by Monique for JoandIsaLoveBooks Blog.

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Friday, 18 January 2019

When Ashes Fall by Marni Mann


REVIEWED BY
Becky Cox 


When Ashes FallWhen Ashes Fall by Marni Mann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Ashes Fall is an emotional roller coaster. The emotional turmoil that Alix experiences is so real it bleeds off the page. The author has done an excellent job of making you feel her pain and confusion.

The unfolding of the story is expertly done. It reveals itself slowly so the reader lives each layer along with Alix, Dylan and Smith. These are great characters living something horrific and I couldn’t help but be drawn to them all.

I always enjoy Marni Mann’s writing and she has written another amazing story. Yes, it is sad and tears at you, but that it was a great story will do.

Reviewed by Becky for JoandIsaLoveBooks


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dare me again by Shelly Alexander

REVIEWED BY
Joanne Swinney 


Dare Me Again (Angel Fire Falls, #2)Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Shelly Alexander dared me again and I’m thankful she did. I have loved this new series which book one and two can definitely be read as standalones, but honestly, you’ll want to read both, two fantastic fun loving reads, two hot brothers. I can’t wait for book three which mean another hot brother to swoon over.

Elliott Remington has plans, big plans and none of them involved staying on the island, and they certainly don’t involve spending time with his ex-girlfriend. Life really has a way of turning things upside down, and inside out.

Rebel Tate never expected to be back on the island where she left long ago. She has her reasons for sure, heartbreaking reasons. But she is back, she has a job to do. Elliott can either help her or not. Maybe he hasn’t got the balls. (laughing face inserted here)

This story is fun, but also heartbreaking. Being a dog lover I was truly amazed by the storyline. Second chances can happen for anyone, and if anyone needs a second chance it’s Rebel. That girl has a heart of gold. Elliott knows life will never be the same without Rebel in it. Maybe some things really are just meant to be.

This is a book all romantic comedy and animal lovers need to read.


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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Faking It by K. Bromberg

REVIEWED BY
Melinda Lazar



Faking ItFaking It by K. Bromberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Faking It by K Bromberg
3.5-4*

I like a good enemies to lovers and that’s exactly what we get here with Faking It. Harlow meets Zane when he makes her late for an interview she’s desperate to nail after he mistakes her for the dog walker. Once she’s done putting him in his place, she hightails out of the building and returns home without her interview having taken place and oddly, without her shoes. Being ever so resourceful, Zane tracks her down and invites her to an event which might provide connections and potential job opportunities and what follows is a web of lies and a series of events that takes them on their (fake) journey.

Overall, I liked Faking It. I really liked Harlow but Zane less so. He had me rolling my eyes more than once and frankly, he could have done with a backhand or three. Harlow’s character was a strong one and I have admiration for her. I do get annoyed by other characters pulling strings and having too much influence over the main characters and I felt some of that come across here, which shows in my rating. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read and I do wonder if Bromberg will write stories for any of Zane’s friends.

*I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

**Reviewed by Melinda for Joandisalovebooks Blog.

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The Consequence of Falling by Claire Contreras

REVIEWED BY
Monique Cashmere 



The Consequence of FallingThe Consequence of Falling by Claire Contreras
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am normally a fan of this author's work, and it pains me to say this but I felt this book fizzled out after the first few chapters. The storyline is good and had great promise. It can fall into the opposites attract, enemies to lovers trope and slightly also a second chance romance. We have teenage Presley Rose, the spoilt daughter of a brewery magnate who is only after a little attention from her parents. She is a typical teen that can be quite bratty when her emotions get the better of her. She meets Nathaniel Bradley in a unique way and from that moment on, it is tit for tat with the word ribbing. Even when she thinks she likes him, he pushes her away and then she is back to hating him again. Fast forward a few years, with some encounters along the way, and Presley is working in the family business with her father and Nate. The banter is still very active and now they have to find a way to work together.

I think the thing that made this book fail for me was the to and froing all the time. The mixed signals were giving me whiplash and major eye rolls. I get that she had a lot going on in her life, and needed to sit back and evaluate where to go with it all, but it felt like she was all over the place. I had no problem with her emotions and did not feel she was weak at all. I would have been a mess just the same and I connected and liked her more for it. I get that this is a work of fiction and that normality does not always make for a good story, but added angst and drama is not the answer. And this comes into play with Nate as well, a reaction he has towards Presley seemed out of character and unauthentic. I liked Nate too, he set about improving his life and making something of himself despite his background. He was building a life and now was his chance to pounce per se on Presley. Another aspect I had a dilemma with was at times, even though this is a standalone book, I sensed I was missing out on something. That the gang had an inner circle that I wasn't privy to their jokes or nicknames.

That being said, it is not a bad book, I just didn't love it. It will not stop me from trying again from this author.


*I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.
**Reviewed by Monique for JoandIsaLoveBooks Blog.

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Thursday, 3 January 2019

Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins

REVIEWED BY
Melinda Lazar 


Right Where I Want YouRight Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins
2.5-3*

Sebastian is the Creative Director at Modern Man. He’s cultivated a reputation as a player and it’s come at a cost. While men want to be him and women want to be with him, the image he portrays is costing the magazine their readers and subscribers. MM hires Georgina to come in and do damage control in the form of whipping these bad boys into shape. She’s obviously met with some resistance but still prevails.

This was an okay story and while I love slow burn romances, I felt this dragging a little. I also didn’t feel that is was really enemies to lovers: yes, there was a bit of antagonism at the start, but for me it just seemed like foreplay rather than hate. I loved Sebastian and I felt sad for George and what she’d gone through. Overall it was a good read and both sweet and swoony at times.

*I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

**Reviewed by Melinda for Joandisalovebooks Blog.



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The One You Fight For by Roni Loren

REVIEWED BY
Micky Barnard 



The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3)The One You Fight For by Roni Loren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE ONE YOU FIGHT FOR was another solid read in the The Ones Who Got Away series and I find that I’m still invested in these characters and their shared story. I’ve done a little bit of rounding up to 4 stars and I’ll explain why towards the end of this review.

What I’m enjoying about the stories in this series is that each pair of main characters is different from previous ones, their shared story is also unique so I don’t feel that I’m reading the same thing again and again. In this book, Taryn comes to the fore, the professor, researcher and lead champion for change and prevention of school shootings. She’s a serious but compelling character and yet I quickly wanted her to find a life, some me-time and a guy. Shaw is every kind of easy and every kind of hidden complication that Taryn does and doesn’t need. The chemistry was palpable and the power cut was something else.

I was cheering for these two and I loved their easy fall into companionship but I had some moments of difficulty with the convenience of the wrap up of the story. I felt that Shaw’s whip-lash emotions and change of mind was a little quick and unrealistic. Just a little more time was needed over this element. However, I did enjoy the story overall and I am waiting for the next book and character with some anticipation.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.

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Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins

REVIEWED BY
Monique Cashmere 



Right Where I Want YouRight Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really struggled with this book, in so many ways. It is classified as a romantic comedy and a contemporary romance, and I will go with the latter. There may have been some funny lines, but it was definitely no rom-com. I have seen others consider it a slow burn romance, but for me, unfortunately, it was just slow. As this is my first read by this author, I’m not sure if it is her style or just this particular novel, but I wasn’t a fan of all the self asked questions either.

The story in itself was sweet, an office love with cute dogs. He was an editor of a Men’s magazine who was in a slump due to personal reasons. She was the person hired to solve the problems and get the mag back up in the ratings. I found some of it confusing with them both jumping back and forth with their actions and feelings. There is a thin line between love and hate, but also between weak and arrogant. They were both bordering on that line a few times in my opinion. I’m sad to say that this book just didn’t do it for me but if you’re a fan of this author, you may well enjoy it.

*I voluntarily read an early copy.
**Reviewed by Monique for JoandIsaLoveBooks Blog.

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Enemies With Benefits by Roxie Noir

REVIEWED BY Ann Meemken  Enemies With Benefits by Roxie Noir My rating: 4 of 5 stars Eli and Violet were nemesis since Kinderga...