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totallyaddictedtoreading

TOTALLY ADDICTED TO READING

I am an avid reader who loves sharing the stories I have read with my fellow readers. I enjoy reading Mystery, Legal and Political thrillers, Horror and all types of romance.

  

 

Currently reading

Red Hot Obsessions
Sky Corgan, Olivia Rigal, Ember Casey, Blair Babylon, Molly McLain, V.J. Chambers, Lacey Silks, Daizie Draper, Clarissa Wild, J.C. Valentine
Progress: 80%
Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI) - Carolyn Arnold

Carolyn Arnold has proven once again that she is good at what she does. That is writing riveting, entertaining and suspenseful police procedurals. ‘Remnants’ is the 6th book in the Brandon Fisher series. There is no need to read the series in order as each story can stand on its own.

The beginning of the story is intense, as the killer is hunting for his next victim. From that moment, the story pulled me in and it proved a difficult book to put down. Has is typical of all serial murders, the FBI is called up on to assist in the investigations. Brandon Fisher and his team flew to Savannah to investigate when multiple body parts were discovered and investigations indicate that they were from different bodies. The hunt is on to capture the killer. Will Brandon and his team be able to figure out his end game before he strikes again?

Before, I proceed to tell you what I enjoyed about this story; I want to warn you that it was not unique. It bears a strong resemblance to a favourite television series of mine, but it in no way diminished the shock factor of the story.

Having read the previous book, Violated, I am familiar with the dynamics of Brandon’s team. They worked well together and had each other’s backs. They were a focused team when it came to the investigation in spite of the personal issues they faced. Brandon is a good agent, but there were moments when he displayed a measure of insecurity when it came to his boss. He would deliberately do or say things that he thinks would impress his boss.

The story gave us the killer’s perspective, which for me is a plus for stories like these. Here we have a killer who feels he has to kill. I found this fascinating along with the way his mind worked and his motives for carrying out his gruesome acts. He had issues, but what these did not come to light until after his identity was revealed. One thing was certain he had a superiority complex. He was looking for infamy and praise. There were moments in the story when I felt empathy for the killer, but I had no sympathy for those who aided and abetted him. They knew of his issues, but instead of getting him the help he needed they enabled him. In my eyes that made them crazier than the villain.

Figuring out the killer’s identity was a difficult task. The suspect pool was large, making it difficult to pinpoint the actual villain. At one point, I thought I had it figured out, but then the author twists things up and once again I was back to figuring out his identity. During this time, my excitement levels increased and my curiosity peaked, as I was eager to discover how it would all unfold. Then there was the jaw-dropping twist near the end when all the clues came together to reveal identity and motive.

As usual, the writing style was impeccable. The manner, in which the story was written, made it easy for me to visualise every event that took place. The scenes were chilling, gruesome and not for the faint of heart.

The switch between POVs was flawless making it easy to follow. Brandon's was in first person, while that of his coworkers and the killer were in third. I find that at times when stories are written this way, they tend to be confusing, however, this was not the case here.

Verdict
‘Remnants’ is a well-written and engaging police procedural I recommend to fans of the genre. If you have read nothing written by this author I encourage you to do so, as I am sure you will have no regrets.

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Source: http://totallyaddictedtoreading.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-remnants.html
Broken Justice, Blind Love - Rena Koontz


This is my first experience reading a story written by Rena Koontz and it will not be my last. The story engaged me from the first paragraph and from that moment, I had difficulty putting it down. The impeccable writing, complex and character driven plot had me devouring the story at each page turn, as I was eager to discover how the events would unfold. 

 

As a fan of romantic suspense, I am always on the lookout for stories from the genre. What I enjoy about these stories is the author's ability to balance the romance and suspense. Rena Koontz accomplished that balance in this book. The romance and suspense did not overshadow each other; instead, they both enhanced and made the story come alive. Although the twists and turns that one would expect with this genre were not present, the suspense and drama coupled with the author's clear and concise writing more than made up for it. 


The story follows patrolman Trish Kleery and gym owner/instructor Bryan Dejwel. These two are as different as night and day, but that made them perfect for each other. Trish believes in doing everything by the book. For her it is black or white, no colouring outside the lines permitted. However, her beliefs came under testing when she became emotionally involved with Bryan. 

 

Bryan knows what it means to make mistakes. After spending time in jail for a crime he did not commit, he is determined not to repeat his mistakes. He turned his life around and he now owns his own business where he has staked a reputation for himself in the fitness world. In addition, his personal life heats when he and Trish became involved, however, someone is determined to destroy his reputation and his budding relationship with Trish. Now he finds himself in a fight to prove his innocence. Will Trish follow her heart and stand by her man or will she go by the book and destroy her newfound happiness? 

 

The romance did not run smooth between these two as expected, given the circumstances. Her tendency to see things as black and white placed a strain on their romance. Trish, despite being a good cop, struggled with self-esteem issues when it came to her personal life. She has difficulty separating her personal life from her professional life, which has tested not only her relationship with Bryan but also with her best friend Kandee. As the story progressed, she evolved and showed that she could put the woman before the cop when necessary. She came to realise she can be both without compromising one for the other. 

 

There were two stories taking place, which at first seem to be unconnected. However, as it progressed, the connection became clear. At first figuring out the killer's identity was not so easy, but as events unfold, I had a suspect who fit the profile well. My early identification of the villain did not affect my enjoyment of the story. I was on the edge of my seat as I tried figuring out what his next move would be. Getting a glimpse into the killer's mind was a scary experience, especially when his actions supported his thoughts. 

 

Verdict: 

 


This story had a lot going on. I am unable to go into details as it may lead to divulging the plot. As such if you love romance and suspense then I recommend you read this book. Well written with developed characters and an engaging story that will keep you entertained to the end.


Review originally posted at




The Romance Review 




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Review: Fighting Attraction

Fighting Attraction - Sarah Castille

From the moment I met Rhampage aka Jack Caldwell in ‘Against the Ropes,’ he intrigued me. His quiet demeanour, his camaraderie with his friends and his propensity to gossip made him an interesting character. A man shrouded in mystery and it made me curious to learn what made him tick. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to read and review his story.

When I read the blurb, my excitement dimmed somewhat, as I am not a fan of BDSM. However, I must confess I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story unfolded. Yes, it has BDSM theme, but ‘Fighting Attraction’ was more than that. It is a story of healing, self-discovery, acceptance, trust and love. It tells the story two people who suffered betrayal at the hands of the persons they believed they could trust. Be warned this book touched on some heavy themes such as abuse, suicide, and self-mutilation, so if you have triggers where these issues are concerned then skip this title.

The name of the book is fitting as the main characters who, clearly attracted to each other were determined to fight their feelings for each other. They felt they did not deserve each other. Eventually, though they came to realise that they belonged together. They helped each other to realise they were worthy of love. I enjoyed their interaction with each other, which at times were funny, sexy and emotional.

Connecting to the characters was easy. Penny Worthington is a damaged heroine. She grew up in an abusive environment and was constantly made to believe that no one loved her. Years of hearing this led to her having low self-esteem issues, which I understood. It is my belief this was one of the reasons she attracted the wrong men. Her struggles with the physical and emotional pain were real and watching her overcome them was admirable. She had many layers, which made her a fascinating character. She is a fiery, strong, prim and proper British woman willing to fight for what or who she wants.

Jack an up and coming MMA fighter is a DOM who gets pleasure through pain. He is this way not because he is damaged, but because it was in his nature. His fiancée betrayed him, and his family disowned him and since then he kept this side of him a secret from his friends and counterparts. He is ashamed of what he is as he is as he was made to believe a southern gentleman would never indulge in such behaviour. His attraction to Penny is evident, but he refuses to seek anything but friendship from her, as he was afraid to cause her pain. However, she broke down his barriers and made him feel things he never expected.

Due to them, thinking they did not deserve each other, there was a lot of push and pull especially on Jack’s side. At times, their behavior got a bit frustrating, but eventually, they got their act together. What I liked about their relationship was that they were friends long before they became lovers. There were many great scenes, but the one that put a smile on my face was seeing Jack grovel to win over Penny when he finally came to his senses.

Verdict
‘Fighting Attraction’ was a great read from start to finish and I am eager to know whose story will be next. I recommend this title to persons who love MMA fighter stories, alpha males, and hot romance.
N.B It can be read as a stand-alone

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Full Contact - Sarah Castille

I never remembered that I had received ‘Full Contact’ for review until I received a request to review the fourth book in the Redemption series. Although it was unnecessary to read ‘Full Contact’ prior to reading the fourth book, I decided to read it in order.

Having read and enjoyed the earlier books in the series, my expectations for this instalment was high. I hoped for well-developed characters, strong romance and a great storyline. I got most of what I hoped for except the romance, which was disappointing. What I got was a pull-push relationship and sex that had a touch of BDSM and lots of pain. I found the pain aspect of main characters’ sexual relationship disconcerting, in light of the heroine’s past issues.

Sia O’Donnell, a fan of underground fighting and even bigger fan of the MMA fighter known as ‘The Predator’. Her visits to the club are two-fold. As a tattoo artist, she goes there to get inspiration and ideas for her designs and to view her fantasy in the flesh. Sia has been fantasising about ‘The Predator’ for some time now but was not willing to go beyond fantasy due to the danger that surrounds him. However, when he sets his sights on her, she found that reality proved better than the fantasy.

I admired her resolve to move past her traumatic experience, although I thought the steps taken were drastic. These steps were only a band-aid and not a solution to her problem, which was evident in her interaction with her family, friends, and associates. Her failure to address the root of the problem prevented her from moving on and as result prevented her from having a meaningful relationship. There were times her actions frustrated me. One moment she was confident and sassy and the next she appeared to lack confidence in her abilities to succeed and overcome her past.

Ray Black AKA ‘The Predator’ is a man of mystery and he remained that way even after the story ended. The tragedies from his past shaped him into the man he is today. He has no desire for a committed relationship due to the danger that surrounds him, but Sia would have him breaking his rule. In addition to being an underground fighter, Ray is a PI and by all appearances, he is involved in other activities, which no one is privy to. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, his words have an impact. Despite his dominant nature, he had a sensitive side, especially when it concerned Sia.

I was not a fan of how Sia and Rays’ relationship developed. It lacked credibility and so I had a hard time connecting to them as a couple. Their knowledge of each was limited. He told her of the tragedies in his past, but she was not that forthcoming. It was around 60% into the story before she disclosed her painful history to him. I found it strange that Sia did not know Ray’s full name until 90% into the story. In addition, what was even more strange is that they have never been on a date. There was no substance to their relationship, as it was not built on a solid foundation. Furthermore, the constant push and pull between them nearly gave me a crick neck. One minute they are into each other, and the next, they are not good for each other. I believe that having the story told from both character’s POV would have enhanced the storyline, as it would have helped the reader understand what makes the characters tick. Unfortunately, we only got Sia’s POV.

The story was well- written, for the most part. There is a scene I could not figure how it fit into the series of events. Someone connected to Ray kidnapped Sia, but the information provided was sketchy. He appeared in the story several times, and it was evident he was up to no good, but I had no idea who he was and why he wanted to get even with Ray. I enjoyed the interaction with the secondary characters which funny and interesting. I am interested in learning more about them, especially Sia’s brother.

Verdict:
This was an average read. Out, of all the books is the series, this is my least favourite. Despite the issues, I had with this instalment, I am not giving up on the series. If you have, an interest in contemporary romances set in underground fight clubs, with a dominant

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ReCAP: A NORMAL Novella - Danielle Pearl

I enjoyed reading 'Normal' by Danielle Pearl, which was told from the heroine’s POV. I thought seeing the events unfold from the hero’s perspective would have made the story that more effective. Therefore, when I discovered that Recap provided Sam's perspective I could not resist acquiring a copy of this instalment.

The title depicts the storyline. It is a recap of some of the events in 'Normal' through Sam's aka Cap's eyes. Seeing these events unfolding through Sam’s eyes was refreshing. This was not a blow-by-blow account of Normal. What the author did was to focus on important scenes where Sam’s voice had an impact.


When I first met Sam, I believed him to be a special guy, and this instalment confirmed my beliefs. He believes that relationships and romance were not his things, but that was before he met Rory. Now he wishes for Rory to reciprocate his feelings. In ‘Normal’ Sam appeared to be in control of emotions, however, in 'Recap' we are privy to his daily struggles with anger. His issues with anger is a product of his abusive past. Growing up, he learned from an early age to protect the women in his life, so his wish to protect Rory is understandable. Here we see that Rory is not the only one who has triggers. Sam has them too, which, is clear from his emotional outbursts whenever he perceives that Rory is in crisis.

‘Recap’ gives insight into who Sam was as an individual. The author aptly portrayed his emotions. I got a firsthand look at the lengths he was willing to take to ensure that Rory was fine and that she would remain in his life.


Verdict
I enjoyed Sam’s perspective of the events in ‘Normal’. If you read the earlier book, then I recommend you read this instalment. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Twist (Dive Bar) - Kylie Scott

This is my first time reading anything written by Kylie Scott. I heard great things about her work, so when the opportunity to read and review her latest release came knocking I could not pass on it. "Twist" is the second book in the Dive Bar series and can be read as a stand-alone.

The story follows Alex Parks and Joe Collins, two people who had nothing in common. They met each other through an online dating service. During this time, they developed a rapport. However, Alex did not know that the man to whom she was baring her soul was not who he portrayed himself as. She discovered the deception when she decided to fly across the country and surprise him for his birthday. However, instead, she got the surprise when she discovered that Eric the man she thought was her online pen pal was actually his brother Joe. She was royally pissed and understandably so. You see she took a big risk when she decided to leave Seattle. She suffered from a mild case of agoraphobia. After the embarrassing meeting, she decided to return home, but her plans got derailed when she became ill after walking to her hotel in the rain. This gave Joe the opportunity to prove to her that he was not the douche bag she thought he was.

I loved how the romance developed. Joe is not Alex’s type at least so she thought, but that was until she got to know him. I loved their banter, which was tinged with humour and a lot of steam. They had me laughing for most of the first half of the book. Theirs was not an insta-love, but a slow burn connection. I enjoyed Joe’s friends’ hilarious attempts to pair them both. Alex’s best friend for me was the life of the story. The way she called out Joe for making Alex believe that he was his brother.

Again, he listened. In fact, he listened for quite a while. “You’re… I… Okay, yes, I’m a raging asshole. I should never have done that to her, you’re right. But…” He paused. Then he took an almighty big breath, letting it out real slow. “Yes. You’re right, there’s no excuse for such a willful act of bastardly and I definitely deserve to be castrated and burn in hell for all eternity. Um. Who did you say you were again?” The man massaged his temple, making the muscles in his upper back move. Nice. “Valerie, Alex’s best friend.

The story started out on a high note. The witty banter along with the steamy scenes made for an interesting read. Things were going well up to this point, but tragedy struck, changing the dynamics of the story. It took on an emotional feel, which was not a problem. My problem was with Joe’s treatment of Alex at this point. He took a shocking 360-degree turn. From that moment, he became my least favourite person. The connection established earlier was damaged. I knew he blamed himself for what happened, but it does not justify what he did to Alex. If I had his POV, I may have understood his actions.

Although I did not agree with Alex’s choices after what transpired I respected her for the decision she made to stick around. If I were in that situation, I may not have stuck around. It is my belief that, she was opening herself for more hurt in light of the events that followed. I could not understand the anger he expressed when she decided that heeding his request would be in her best interest.

I struggled with my decision in rating this book, which is due in part to the issues with the second half of the book. Did I enjoy the story? Yes, it is a well - written story, with lots of snarky and humorous banter. Would I read more of the author’s work? Most definitely. I am planning to continue the series and I hope the other books will meet my expectations. Would I recommend? Yes, I would, especially to fans of romantic comedy.

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REVIEW: BREAK THE RULES

Break the Rules (The Flanagan Sisters, #1) - Claire Boston

When I discovered that Claire Boston wrote this book, I silently wished that I would be able to get my hands on a copy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was available for request through The Romance Review, I immediately jumped at the chance to get a copy for review. You are probably wondering why I was so excited. Well, after reading Into the Fire, which I enjoyed, I figured, especially after reading the synopsis, that this would a good read. It proved me right; I enjoyed every moment spent reading this installment. 


The premise is intriguing. The protagonists, Bridget and Jack, met in a nightclub. They immediately hit it off. Jack, after spending three years in Australia, recently returned to Texas, due to a lucrative job opportunity that he could not resist. Bridget is not in a good place. The promotion she was hoping for never materialised, and to add insult to injury, an outsider got the position over her. Having been burned by a previous relationship, she threw herself into her job, which proved to be a waste of time. Therefore, meeting Jack at a time when she felt unworthy seemed like the best thing that could have happened to her.

Bridget is a person who lived by the rules and she had specific ones when it came to dating--never sleep with a man on the first date and do not date a co-worker. When she met Jack she was willing to break the first rule, little did she know that this would lead to her breaking the second rule.

The characters are relatable and realistic. The issues are a replica of real life. Bridget is a responsible person who took life seriously. For her, it was all work and she hardly spent time having fun. She is caring, selfless, determined, industrious, dedicated and passionate. Jack is a lovable person. He liked and respected Bridget. He understood her fears and even though it did not help his case, he did not try to push her. However, keeping to her resolve was not easy as circumstances kept putting them together outside of the work environment. Compromise is the name of the game in this situation. Would breaking her rules bring happiness or will it end in heartache?

The dialogue between the characters is funny and engaging. I especially loved the dialogue between the protagonists as well as their interaction with their families. I did not particularly like Bridget's best friend. She is willing to manipulate anyone to get what she wants, it did not matter who got hurt in the process.

This is a beautiful love story loaded with lots of sexual tension due to its forbidden nature. The writing is solid; it held me captive throughout the entire story. I liked that it did not focus solely on the romance between Jack and Bridget. It spoke also to the discrimination that women face while working in an environment dominated by men and safety in the workplace. Sadly, these issues still plague our society, even after years of fighting for equality and the well-being of employees.

Verdict:
A great start to the series, and one which I recommend. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.


REVIEW: ILLICIT

Illicit: A Novel - Ava Harrison

If I were to describe this book using one word, it would be interesting. This was not just a story of a student and teacher falling in love with each other; it was also a story of survival and acceptance. Forbidden love stories have always been one of my favourite tropes. I love the thrill, suspense, the fear of getting caught that comes with these stories. Therefore, when I read the blurb, I decided at that moment I needed to read it.

As stated earlier this is a teacher/student romance, but the beauty of this is that there were no moral issues involved. Lyn is an 18-year-old high school senior. She is spending an extra year in school due to her spending a year away from school while travelling Europe with her mother. While at a party, she discovered her boyfriend cheating, which led to her meeting a handsome stranger who would change her life in ways she never expected. The only thing she knew in that moment was that they were two broken and lonely souls who shared both a physical and emotional connection. They made the decision to enjoy their current situation with no expectations of a future together. Therefore, you can imagine the shock when their paths crossed once again but this time in the capacity of student and teacher.

The Story:
The prologue set the pace for the rest of the story. It pulled me in and had me craving for more.

"I’ve stopped wishing for extraordinary. I’ve stopped wishing for that one moment so profound it will change everything. I know it will never happen, so there’s no point in dreaming. But like all things in life, extraordinary happens when you least expect it, and in the blink of an eye, everything can change".

Who wouldn’t want more after reading those words?

This complex, emotional and passionate story had ups, downs, twists and turns that made me feel as if I were on a roller coaster ride. The range of emotions experienced as the progressed was profound. The themes of friendship, family, healing, coming of age, finding purpose and fulfilling dreams all came together to produce a beautiful story.

The Characters
Carson and Lyn both had issues that played a role in how they related to each other. I loved them both, but I must admit that sometimes I felt (if it was at all possible) to knock sense into them. I understood how conflicted Carson was about their feelings for Lyn, however; I did not agree with the manner in which he dealt with the situation. I thought the author did a good job in her portrayal of Carson. I enjoyed discovering what made him tick.
Initially, Lyn’s actions did not endear me to her. She lacked the maturity for an adult relationship, which her behaviour reflected. It did not help that she has issues with her parents. As the story progressed, we see how much she has changed from a selfish and weak person to a strong and caring individual.
Lyn’s mom and ex-boyfriend, Matt were not likeable characters. Her mom is a piece of work who needs lessons in what it means to be a mother. Matt is a douche, which I had established at the outset and reaffirmed as the story progressed.

The Romance
Relationships/romances that are forbidden can never progress smoothly as Lyn and Carson would discover. There were hills, valleys, and bumps that came in various forms, but through it, all their love for each shined through.

Verdict
Although I enjoyed the story, it was not perfect. There were moments when I felt disconnected from the story. There were events, I had issues with, but it did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Overall, this was a well-written story, one I recommend for fans of angsty teacher/ student romance.


Oliver (This is Our Life Book 3) - F.G. Adams, Julia Goda

When deciding to read a book there are three things I take into consideration, the cover, the synopsis and the author. Now when this book came on my radar, the things that grabbed me was the cover and the synopsis as it would be my first time reading the author's work. At the time I made my decision I did not realise that it was a part of a series, I guess that happens when book covers are distracting. However, assurance provided by the provider of the book indicated that it was a stand-alone read. To be honest, it can be read in that manner, but, I felt like I was missing something, which probably would be revealed by reading the previous books.

This belief stemmed from my inability to connect with the main characters. Seeing that the story was told from both their POVs, I was expecting to connect with them on a deep level. This, however, was not the case. Oliver Bishop is in mourning and has been this way for six years until the photograph of a woman had him believing in second chances. He is determined to rescue her, even if it meant she felt she did not need rescuing. Fallyn Blackwood, the young woman in the photo has been on the run for the past fifteen years. She escaped an abusive relationship and her main concern was protecting her daughter, who was a product of that union. Therefore, a stranger coming to her rescue is not something she will entertain in spite of their sizzling chemistry. Sounds good right? Well from the perspective of the premise, I would say yes, but that is where it ends.

I could not wrap my head around several things. First, I found it strange that it took the photograph of a beautiful woman to make the Oliver cease mourning the loss of his fiancée. Second, he never knew her, yet he fell in love with her even before he met her in person. Third, I had issues with how Fallyn placed her trust in Oliver so soon after meeting him. Mind you, this was before she knew his agenda. Given her situation, I would expect her to be wary, especially as it relates to her daughter. Then what I found even more disturbing is the speed in which she fell in love. After her experience with her ex, I would have expected her to be cautious in the relationship department.

Another issue I had was that details about the demons that plagued them both were not mentioned until around 70% of the story. By that time it was too late for me to empathise with them. I felt that having this information earlier would have helped me to understand their pain and suffering allowing me to connect with them.

The writing style was good, and it played a role in my completing the story in spite of the noted issues. I found the dialogue between Oliver and his friend entertaining. The pacing was fine for the most part, however after the main aspect of the story was resolved it became painfully slow. I found the dialogue between Oliver and Fallyn cheesy at times. There were times when I could not help but roll my eyes at their interaction.

Verdict
This story had potential. A great storyline and characters who had the potential to make an impact. The romance lacked adequate development. The instant love connection did not work in this scenario and it played a part in the characters not making an impact. However, if you want to take a chance on this book, don’t let my views sway you from doing so. Who knows you may just find a gem.

It's You - Katy Regnery, K.C. Kelley

“I belong to you. And you belong to me. For what is bound cannot be broken.”

When I heard that Katy Regnery would be branching out into the paranormal genre I was intrigued. She is known for writing sweet and steamy contemporary romance. Paranormal romance is a whole different ball game as such I was curious to see how she would handle this one, and boy did she nail it.

“It’s You” is not typical of the books that I have read in this genre so far. The story hidden in the pages of this book is beautiful, engaging, sweet and heartbreaking. It’s a story about a love that has bound two people for eternity, a love so strong, that it broke centuries-old traditions and laws, a love that is forbidden but could not be denied.

All it took was one kiss for Jack Beaulop to recognize that Darcy Turner was his one true love, but there was one major problem, she was human. This went against everything his pack believed in. To them, humans were the enemy. To make sense of the situation he returned to his origins, leaving Darcy broken hearted. Twenty years later, after a lot of soul-searching, he has returned to claim what is his. Would Darcy be receptive? Twenty years is a pretty long time to wait for someone.

Darcy Turner never forgot her first kiss, which she received at the age of fifteen. It was a kiss to end all kisses, one that would ultimately change her life. The only problem was the initiator of the kiss disappeared without saying goodbye. Twenty years later he has returned and her life as she knew will never be the same.

“Twenty years, Will. I don’t think I’d ever stopped hoping that I’d see him again.” “Yeah. I could see it on your face.” “But, now he’s back and…I’m so…”


“It’s You” was a beautifully written story that held me in its grip from the first page. I had difficulty putting it down. I became so immersed in the story, that I felt as if I were living Jack and Darcy’s life. It felt so real. The emotions, the scenery, and the activities just kept pulling me in.

The story was broken down into two parts. Part one was told from Darcy’s perspective and part two gave us Jack’s POV. This helped me to understand their thoughts and actions. I felt and saw everything that they both went through, which made them relatable and realistic characters. I found myself rooting for them at every page turn.

Their romance was sweet, beautiful and soul stirring. It was not typical of what I had come to expect from shifter romances. Yes, they were bound, but Jack did not try to force his will on Darcy. He loved her too much for that. He gave her the space she needed to sort out her feelings. I loved how he was protective of her. They both had their questions as it relates to their connection. They had their doubts like any normal couple. This is not one of those stories where everything fell into place perfectly. Secrets threatened to tear them apart.

I am not a big fan of cliffhangers, which is front and centre of this book. However, seeing that I don’t have to wait long to read the sequel, I wasn’t bothered by it this time around. I can’t wait to get my hands on it as I eager to see how the story will end.

Verdict:
“It’s You” is one the best paranormal romances I have read in a while and I highly recommend to fans of the genre. Even if you have never ventured into the genre before I am sure you would enjoy “It’s You”.

“I love you. With everything I am. With everything I’ll ever be.” “Jack—” she sobbed. “That’s all I wanted to say. That’s all I wanted you to know. No matter what happens between us, Darcy Turner…I love you forever.”

“You. I’d dream of you. Like I always do. Like I always have.”




IN Pursuit (An Ivy Nash Thriller, Book 2) (Redemption Thriller Series 8) - John W. Mefford

OK, I am not thrilled with the way this installment concluded. What in the hell was that? I will not go into the details at the risk of revealing spoilers, but know this; I will have to wait for the next book in the series to get the answers I so desperately need. Despite my issues with the ending, I must confess that I did enjoy this installment. The story started out with a bang and it had me hooked from that moment, then as the story unfolded, it became intense and had me on the edge of my seat to the very end.

In this installment, Ivy is trying to come to terms with the traumatic event that occurred in the earlier book. Her determination in preventing it from controlling her had her pouring her heart and soul in the running of her new business ECHO. Unfortunately, she is still not safe as someone is determined to take her out by any means necessary. In addition, a serial killer is making it his mission to kill persons who in some way connected with Ivy. Is the killer someone from her past? Does it have anything to do with her traumatic experience? In the midst of all this, she has taken on a case involving missing parents. Despite this not being the type of case that ECHO investigates Ivy decided to take the job, albeit reluctantly. As the story developed, it became clear that the case with the missing parents was connected to the current spate of murders.

One of the things I enjoy about the author’s books is his portrayal of the villain. Readers get a peek into the killer’s mind and trust me this is one sick individual. The manner in which he carries out his kills was morbid, definitely not for the faint of heart. The motive for the murders became clear as the story unfolded and so did the killer’s connection to Ivy. The author did a fantastic job in peeling away the layers that made up the villain, which made him a fascinating character.

I admired Ivy, a tough as nails heroine, who is determined to rise above her abusive past. However, there were times when I found her actions frustrating. For example, she was aware that she was in danger, but she refused to accept police protection. I understand her need to be tough, but I thought her refusal to acknowledge her need for protection bordered on being reckless.

The author creates a story that is not only thrilling, but also mysterious. He pulled me right into the story with his descriptive scenes, which made me feel as if were a part of the narrative. This story is dark, gritty, and filled with jaw-dropping twists.

VERDICT
If you are a fan of mysteries and thrillers, then this is a must read. Note to get a full understanding of Ivy’s life and the events that led to her current situation, then its best to read IN Defiance prior to reading this installment.


Review: Normal

NORMAL (Something More) - Danielle Pearl

‘Normal’ by Danielle Pearl was anything but normal. It completely blew me away. It was inspiring and heartbreaking. It was nothing like I expected, but what it delivered was all I hoped for and more. I believe that every female, teen or adult, should read this book.  This is the type of story that will stay with you days after you have finished reading. It is a story of one girl’s desire to get her life back to normal.  It will break your heart into tiny pieces.

 

Now and again, I come across characters that are inspiring and make my reading experience worthwhile. Rory is one such character.  She is relatable and it helped that I got the story from her POV. Seeing the story through her eyes helped me to understand her emotional turmoil.  I admired her strength in conquering her demons.  She may not have seen it, but it was there. I could not fathom all she had been through, but one thing I knew is that she was a survivor. Her desire to get her life back to normal was a perfect demonstration of her survival skills. The pain, the grief and struggles she faced daily were heart-wrenching, but watching her overcome them one day at a time was inspiring. I know there are persons who would be quick to judge her, thinking that she made poor choices, and as a result placed herself in her current position.  In addition, some may believe that because she lived in the electronic age, she should not have made those choices, but I consider that as sheer rubbish. I haverealised that it is easy for persons who have never been in the situation to passjudgement, but until they are in the position, they will never truly understand. Yeah, her actions may seem frustrating, but who are we to judge?

 

The highlight of this story was that Rory did not have to fight her battles on her own. Rory had trust issues when it came to the opposite sex, so meeting Sam and becoming his friend was a life altering experience.  I appreciated how he treated her. At no time did he judge her. He was patient and gentle with her, even when herbehaviour bordered on erratic. He was just what she needed. Thanks to him, she was taking charge of her life and finally living again. He showed her what it meant to enjoy life and helped her acknowledge that she was a survivor.

 

‘Normal’ is a well-written story that took me on an emotional journey, which I may not recover from anytime soon. There were times I found myself putting the book down so that I could absorb the events, as they were intense and overwhelming. The story was well- developed, captivating and the pace fitting. It moved between the past and the present, thus providing readers with insight into Rory’s life and the events that led to her current state. There was some repetition, which was due in part, to how the story was presented.

 

My advice to you is, read this book. However, do not expect a sweet and fluffy story. It is definitely not a story for the faint of heart. It touches on sensitive issues of abuse and assault so if this is a trigger, then this is not for you. However, if these issues do not bother you, and you take my advice be ready for an intense and emotional journey.

REVIEW: BEAUTY OF THE BEAST

Beauty of the Beast - Rachel L. Demeter

Rachel L. Demeter is a new to me author, so I had no idea what to expect. I chose to read this book because it was a retelling of one of my all-time favourite fairy tales. In addition, I was curious to see how she would handle a timeless tale for a mature audience and I have to say she did a remarkable job. A captivating story, which had me hooked from the first page. I found myself completely immersed in this magical tale. The characters were intriguing and made for an interesting read, but the one that captured my heart was Prince Adam Delacroix.

Adam, an enigma had emotional and physical scars, brought over from his childhood. His life has never been the same since that fateful day when he lost his family. He lived his life in seclusion and had no friends except for the man who had rescued him twenty-five years ago and a wolfhound named Stranger. He hid from the world, as those who saw him perceived him as a monster due to his physical appearance. The walls that surrounded him was not only physical, but also emotional. He struggled with hatred of self and the demons of his past, which haunted him constantly. Initially, he appeared mean and hateful, but as the many layers that made him up were slowly peeled away, I saw a man who had a huge capacity to love. The opportunity to share his capacity to love arose the day Isabella Rose came to his door seeking shelter. She touched him in ways he never expected. She brought light into his life and made him feel alive.

Isabelle Rose is such a beautiful soul. She is the apple of her father's eye. Loved by the community she is kind-hearted, compassionate. A romantic at heart, she had dreams of being swept off her feet by a handsome prince. She thought her dreams came through in the person of Raphael Dumont, but she would discover that his intentions were far from honourable. I thought Raphael was the devil incarnate. The story gave insight as to why he is that way and I almost felt sorry for him, but then I realised that he was beyond redemption. To avoid being with him she ran away at his expense, but did run away propelled her into something more dangerous. When she first encountered Adam, she perceived him a monster based on his actions. However, the more time she spent in his company she came to realize that beneath his cold façade lay a heart of gold.

This story reminded me that beauty lies not in the outward appearance, but within the heart. Love has the power to heal and watching Adam and Isabelle discover this was a delight. The romance was sweet and tinged with sensuality. Their love for each other grew over time as they learned to trust each other. The writing was simply beautiful, poetic and the emotions expressed on the pages were pulsating and powerful. In fact, everything about this book was beautiful, the words, the cover, the writing and the characters. I have read a few fairy tale retellings, but what makes this stands out from the rest was that it kept the original story alive but with a realistic touch.

Verdict

The author has woven a magical and poignant tale of love and healing. Her diligent attention to detail coupled with the steady and constant pace allows readers to savour every moment of the story to the fullest. If you love fairy tale retellings and enjoy stories that are edgy and sensual, then this book is for you. I can’t wait to see what next the author has in store for her readers.


FAVOURITE QUOTES
"Adam was a flesh-and-blood enigma, a beautiful master that she ached to unravel. His music was enough to leave her breathless- and his refined mannerisms and the innate way he held and asserted himself reaffirmed that cultured upbringing"


"Winter melted into spring, and along with it, the icicles that had clung to Adam's heart deftly fell away like shackles"

"For so long, I've lived as if I'd died. I've forgotten how it feels to be alive, to breath fresh air and feel the sun on my face."

"Everything seemed to fade away while the heat of their bodies mingled as one. Her heart banged against her ribs as she sought the depths of his eyes. At this range, flicks of gold contrasted against his sky-blue irises. Much of the sadness seemed to have vanished, leaving an almost boyish delight in its wake"



Take Me Back - Meghan March

When I heard that Meghan March would be releasing a new stand-alone novel I was over the moon. I have been a fan ever since being introduced to her ‘Beneath’ series. When I started this book, I thought this would be an emotional read about a couple, trying to rekindle the flames in their marriage. Indeed that was the case, but it went deeper than that, in fact, the turn of events took me by surprise. From that point, I had difficulty putting my kindle down. This is the second book that I have read in less than a week that blindsided me in a good way.

‘Take Me Back" is an amazing second chance love story. It's an intense, touching, addictive, sexy and suspenseful read that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story started out slow, but that pace was fitting for the events at that time, but then at around fifty-five percent, the angle of the story changed in a manner I never saw coming. Based on how the story was going, I knew something was going to happen but it went beyond what I expected. However, the secrets that Dane had kept about his life made the events fitting.

The story told from Dane and Kat’s perspective was written mainly in the present day. There were flashbacks to help readers understand what led them to their current position. Dane recognized that he and Kat had issues that needed solving and so he decided to take steps to address these issues. However, he ended up getting more than he bargained for.

This is a well-written story with fantastic characters. The romance and suspense were well-balanced. I should warn you the romance was written in true Meghan March style. That is hot and steamy. The story flowed seamlessly from start to finish and the pacing good. The story which was gripping held me captive to the end. It was not perfect as there was a particular scene, which I found somewhat unrealistic. I choose not to state what it is as doing may lead to spoilers. This, however, did not make me like the story any less.

This novel reinforced the fact that for relationships to succeed all parties involved need to play their part. Without the proper nurturing, a relationship is bound for failure. The first step in salvaging what was lost is to recognize that there is indeed a problem. I liked that Dane and Kat recognized that they had problems. Their love for each other gave them the strength to fight for what they once had. Their willingness to accept their share of the blame for the breakdown of their marriage was admirable. Theirs was a marriage established on secrets and lies, which would come back to haunt them.

Verdict:

Take Me Back is a story of forgiveness, loss, restoration and healing. If you enjoy second chance romances that are action-packed and have some steamy scenes then this book is for you.


Below the Surface (The Witness Series Book 5) - Heather D'Agostino, Kellie Montgomery


“No matter how far you run, you can never outrun your past”.

When I read the synopsis, I figured I knew the angle the author would take. After reading the first paragraph, I was even more convinced that I was right in my assumptions. Boy oh boy! Was I wrong? This was nothing like what I expected.

I look terrible,” I mumbled as I scrutinized my reflection in the mirror. Who would want to hire me? I look like I just went a few rounds with a baseball bat. I sighed as I dropped my chin to my chest and let my shoulders sag. I was running low on funds, and if I didn’t get a regular job soon I was going to be back at the shelter. That thought alone propelled me into motion. Melissa had been a godsend, but life in hiding and running is not something that I ever want to go back to. The ladies at Thrive made me feel like I could do this. I can survive on my own, and I will make it. I just need to find a place that doesn’t ask a lot of questions.



Below the Surface, the 5th book in Witness series was intense, shocking, suspenseful and addictive, but the thing that set it apart from the other books was its darkness and edginess. It is a well-written story with fascinating characters and a captivating plot that made this a difficult book to put down.

Lena, having experienced unspeakable horrors had no trust when it came to men. Haunted by painful memories, but with the will to survive she sets out to reclaim her life. However, demons from her past had other plans and now her sister was in grave danger. To save her sister would mean returning to a fate worse than death. I admired her inner strength and selflessness. The fact that she was willing to go back to the world that broken and destroyed her mentally, emotionally and physically to save her sister spoke to who she was as a person.

The story moved between the past and present, making easy to relate to Lena’s traumatic experience. It took place at around the same time as book 4. However, reading book 4 before reading this installment is not a requirement. The story is easily read as a stand-alone. There were scenes that gave me an uncomfortable feeling; however, I was curious to see how the events would unfold. This is definitely not for the faint of heart. Not only that, it had me on edge throughout most of the story.

Despite me liking the story, I believe a few areas needed more development. I had a hard time accepting that Lena’s sister could so easily get over her experience after being in such a hell hole. Her actions were not typical of someone who experienced trauma making that aspect of the story somewhat unbelievable. Then there were the secret Jeff, the male protagonist was keeping. To be honest it was not what I expected and it left me feeling disappointed. I was hoping for something with a little zing. Honestly, I did not believe that his family being well off was that big of a deal and besides I did not see where it added any value to the story. Furthermore, he did not have a relationship with his family. I was hoping for a reconciliation, but the author did not explore that angle Nevertheless, I loved the role he played in the story. He is patient and protective, especially with Lena

I don’t want to say much about the plot because personally, I believe one should go into this story blindly. If you only knew how tempted I was to skip the pages to see how it played, but I am, glad I did not yield, as that would have ruined the experience for me. One thing I will say though is that I liked how the events played out.

I do not think there is anything else I can say to convince you to read this book. All I can say is this if you enjoy stories that are intense, suspenseful, edgy and semi-dark then this book is for you.



Book Review

Whisper of Love - Melissa Foster

One of the things that I find attractive is a man who single-handedly takes care of his child. A man who is willing to give up his carefree lifestyle to ensure that his child has the best of everything. Nash Morgan from Whisper of Love is the epitome of such a man. From the moment I met him, I could not help falling in love with him. Then there was his adorable baby boy Phillip, I just wanted to hug him. The bond between a parent and a child is so profound, and Melissa Foster aptly demonstrated this in her latest installment.

Nash had dedicated his life to taking care of his son as such he rarely had time for inter-personal relationships. This was further compounded by events from his past, which he has yet to come to terms with. These events induced a fear within him that led to him being overprotective of his son. His over-protectiveness led to him, keeping both he and his son in seclusion. Financial constraints would see him making a hard decision, which would lead to him admitting a stranger into his life. Making this decision resulted in him meeting the fiery and cautious Tempest Braden, which would push him beyond his boundaries in ways he never imagined.

Tempest Braeden, a music therapist is looking to take her business in a new direction. To do this she decided to move to Pleasant Hill. Being an overly cautious person, she was a bit hesitant in renting the room that Nash was subletting. However, once she let down her guard and made the choice of being room-mates with a complete stranger, she would learn that sometimes it does pay to throw caution to the wind.

The attraction that Nash and Tempest felt for each other was intense and this was clear from the day they first met, however, fear and pain from the past proved a hindrance. Thankfully, their feelings were stronger than their fears, which led to them discovering the healing power of love.

I enjoyed the story, but the parts that resonated with me was the interaction between Nash and his son. Their moments together were heartwarming and funny. The love they had for each other just rolled off the pages. I understood Nash’s protectiveness when it came to his son, although at times it may seem as if he went a bit overboard. I loved how Tempest was able to blend in with them and in the process helped them to view things in a different light.
One of the things that stand out for me with books written by this author is her portrayal of family and friendships. I love stories that demonstrate the beauty found in close-knit families and friendships that have survived varying obstacles. Ms. Foster has a knack for highlighting these themes in her stories in such a way that one cannot help but wish they were a part of something so beautiful.

Written in the third (3rd) person the story gave both Nash and Tempest’s perspectives. The writing is beautiful, the pacing steady and the descriptions vivid. There were varying ranges of emotions flowing through the story. There were moments of laughter, anguish, and sadness which when combined created a story that left me wanting more.

Verdict:
This is a great addition to the Bradens at Peaceful Harbor series. If you enjoy romance stories that are sweet, heartfelt and passionate then you will love Whisper of Love.

N.B. Although it is a part of a series, it is a stand-alone read.

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