Monthly Archives: September 2013

MAN OF MY DREAMS by FAITH ANDREWS

man of my dreams

SYNOPSIS

Mia Murphy may be married to the man of her dreams. But the man in her dreams is the one that got away—her high school crush.

Mia’s stuck in a rut, just like every other stay-at-home mom, and the only thing saving her from her monotonous routine is her perfect husband, Declan. He’s gorgeous, he adores her, and the man stole her heart with his sexy singing voice. Mia feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she discovers that Mr. Perfect is not Mr. Faithful. Mia is devastated. Everything she once believed about Declan and their marriage is now covered in a big cloud of doubt and regret. On impulse, she kicks the cheating bastard out, pushing them into a separation that could mean the end of the picture-perfect couple.

But when Mia receives an invitation to her high school reunion, she finds herself abandoning the present for the oh-so alluring pull of the past. Although her heart still belongs to her husband, inescapable thoughts of her crush, Noah, resurface. And ten years later, Noah isn’t afraid to make his move. When the build-up of fantasies and ‘what ifs’ comes to a head, sparks fly and it’s Mia’s turn to question if her marriage is everything she wants out of life. Searching for answers, Mia dives head first into dating Noah, falling further away from her husband and closer to her old flame.

But Declan’s not giving up so easily. Mia is his one and only and he’s not about to let another man win her heart.

man of my dreams collage

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

He has her past…….who will have her future?

 J&G : 5 Stars

Gitte: So, as far as love triangles go I thought the one in Man of My Dreams was both believable and sympathetically told from all sides! Without spoiling anything, I think readers who hate cheating are safe to read this story as the crux of the problem is a real grey area on both sides and minimal in the bigger picture. I truly loved this story and I think it’s one that has aspects many of us can relate to don’t you agree Jenny? The high school crush we’ll never forget as well as the ‘stuck in a rut’ routine you can so easily fall into once married. The grass isn’t always greener, how often do we get told that, we know it to be true, however who can control their dreams right?!  At one stage or another who hasn’t second guessed their life choices when their trust and faith has been breached? Wondering what would have happened if we’d said or acted differently. Made another choice. Where would we be now as a consequence?

I thought the writing was beautiful and the characters had real depth. The way in which we were taken easily from the present into the past gave me, the reader, a strong connection and insight. I believed in Mia and Declan, I felt their love and whatever they went through emotionally, I was right there with them.  Man of My Dreams was a beautiful and a very real and honest story packed full of emotion. It made me smile, laugh, swoon and yeah it also made me really cross at times mostly with Mia (hahaha we have the text messages to prove it don’t we Jenny!). I fell in love and if we’re talking teams, I’m definitely team Declan! Seriously, how much did we love Declan, Jenny?!

Jenny: Completely agree G.   I truly do believe readers who have a bit of an aversion to love triangles and/or cheating will actually still enjoy this story because as you said, there are so many aspects that many will relate to. The love triangle/cheating felt more like a ‘side note’ rather than the main focus and in my eyes, Man of My Dreams was more a story about a marriage and a journey of Declan and Mia as a couple more than anything else and in my opinion, the triangle/cheating merely served as a vehicle for delivering the message in this story.  Arrggh it’s so hard to explain myself without giving anything away but I do know that I feel this way because of how beautifully and flawlessly Faith Andrews handled this story and because I understood a lot about their relationship and I “got” it.

‘Life gets in the way of love sometimes.’ – Mia

As for being Team Declan?  Well, we were Team Dec from our first meeting and we never faltered….not one teeny tiny step. Our feelings for the beautiful and soulful man never deviated…Not once!

“I’m gonna kiss you in front of all these people babe.”- Declan

I loved Man of My Dreams and I still have that giddy book rush after finishing it. I loved experiencing that exciting anxious feeling when my work day was coming to a close and I was able to rush home and get stuck into this book. I knew I was on a winner at that point.

Like you G, I laughed, cried, swooned (oh boy did I swoooon!) and yes….we had some pretty expletive messages back and forth about Mia. lol  Hmmm we’ll keep those private I think.

Gitte: Mia loves her husband. They met in college, fell in love, married and had kids at a very young age meaning they grew up fast without really experiencing life on their own first. Mia had a high school crush which she’s never forgotten….Noah…the man who surfaces in almost every dream she has. It’s the one who got away so all Mia has are her dreams based on sweet and innocent high school memories. I actually liked Noah, he was inoffensive and seemed to honestly care about Mia. Despite the circumstances I thought he was a real descent and honourable man.

I think most readers will have an understanding of Mia’s situation and her reaction when her marriage to Declan is rocked off balance. She’s a stay at home Mum, she’s fallen into a routine of ‘an ordinary life’ and also…one word…KIDS!!! The romance and time with your hubby, even the nookie factor will always suffer!! Won’t it? When faced with even the smallest betrayal does true love or lust win? What would we risk for a chance with the boy we ‘loved’ in high school but never truly had?

“It’s not even the cheating that stings the most – it’s that he gave up on us.” ~ Mia

I really did empathise with Mia. Sure, I wanted to slap some sense into her a time or two after she did something that wasn’t warranted in my opinion. I suppose you could say I disliked her as much as I liked her. However, I felt she went through real personal growth and a journey of self-discovery.

“I’ve been able to live without Noah for a long time now, but the idea of living without Declan is unfathomable.” ~ Mia

Actually, I was surprised at how strong my feeling were in this story in regards to my compassion with Declan rather than Mia, so kudos to the Author for my emotions going in the opposite direction of what I would’ve expected! I put that down to brilliant writing!

How did you feel about Mia, Jenny?

Jenny:  Me too G. I’m so surprised that I didn’t go the other way and that my compassion wasn’t completely with MiaAlthough I understood Mia I have to say there were moments when I was gritting my teeth over her. I wanted to shake her a time or two but overall I could relate to why she did what she did.  It must be awful to have that constant niggling feeling thinking about a high school crush, the one that got away and wondering if the choices you made, if the life you lead was the right one. To have the object of your conflict make a starring role in some of your *cough cough* dreams…well, that would kind of put you off kilter that’s for sure. Especially if you feel you are not receiving the attention you desire and feel some kind of disconnection from your husband.

‘The word “torn” comes to mind, but torn doesn’t even begin to cover it. My heart feels like it’s being ripped apart and tugged in two different directions.’ – Mia

Life is full of what ifs and in Man Of My Dreams Mia takes the reader on an emotional ride as she gets to revisit her high school sweetheart and experience the time with him she so craved back in high school after her perceived “perfect” marriage hits a crossroads.

Noah was a lovely character and I could absolutely understand Mia’s feelings towards him but for me there was only one man in this triangle and that was Declan. My heart was unequivocally his and because of this I found myself questioning a few of Mia’s decisions and although she sometimes frustrated me I loved how we saw her mature and grow through this whole experience.

Gitte: As for Declan….the man is perfection in my eyes, so gorgeous, romantic, protective and loving.

“As if his incredible looks weren’t enough, the man has a heart of gold. Compassionate, attentive, and loving, he stole my heart on our very first date.” ~ Mia

He’s a fighter in every sense of the word. He stumbled, yes, but I kind of understood how it came to be.  After all, if nothing else this Author has written an extremely realistic account of what can happen in a marriage.

“I miss you, Mia. Please let me come home. I will never stop fighting for us. I love you!” – Declan

I felt this ‘issue’ was very true to life in respect to how it was dealt with. From the second he realised what ‘could have happened’, Declan did not put a foot wrong in my opinion. If anything, despite being younger than Mia, he showed incredible maturity, resolution and restraint. I fell completely in love with this man who was utterly and wholeheartedly in love with his family.

I nearly fell off my chair in excitement when we got to hear Declan’s voice. We got an insight into some very poignant moments in his relationship with Mia and it strengthened his case and my love for him even more.

When you stop and you’re forced to look at and examine your life. When something rocks it, do you not question everything? How far would you go to fight for what you want? In what manner do you question an honest reaction to the obstacles and tests thrown at you in a relationship?

So many question were asked off us and I have to say I absolutely loved this flawless and emotional story!

“Can we go home now? Start the rest of our forever?” ~ Declan

How did you feel, Jenny?

Jenny: For Declan, Mia and his daughters were his reason for breathing and he wasn’t going to give it all up without a fight, even if he was somewhat responsible for his predicament.

‘I wanted him to fight for me. Here he is fighting the only way he’s even known how.’ – Mia

There were times when I felt I really wanted  to get inside Declan’s head. My desire to understand things from Declan’s perspective overwhelmed me and I have to say that when I clicked over the page and saw “Declan” as a chapter heading I will admit I cried. To have my wishes granted at such a pivotal moment and to hear from the man himself took this book to a whole new level for me. Declan’s POV only served to intensify my feelings and understanding of this man and his actions. Yes, he tripped up, but I didn’t feel any animosity towards him over it and felt that in light of where he was at emotionally, the actions he took and what he was feeling at that time, I couldn’t denigrate him for it. 

‘I know life changes a person, but is it a fucking crime to miss the woman I fell in love with?’ – Declan

Marriage is about love, respect, communication and feeling connected. It’s about never taking each other for granted. Easy words to say, not always easy to put into practice when real life and every day demands take hold and sometimes it takes something to remind us of what we have and how important that is to our existence and this is the message in Man Of My Dreams.  Declan had the wakeup call he needed and Mia…. did she get hers?  You’ll have to read this wonderful book to find out.

‘……and I know it all too well – allowing words and emotions to flood your consciousness and pump through your veins, makes you feel goddamn invincible.’ – Declan

I loved this boo G. I loved Mia and Declan. I loved the flashbacks, the music and the pop culture references and most of all I loved it because it felt like such a real account of what can evenutate in a marriage.

‘Our love has always been the center love my universe, the power that could conquer all.’ – Mia

The past/present flow was so flawlessly written that I couldn’t help but ‘live’ every triumph and every heartache right along with Mia and Declan. Man of My Dreams was swoon worthy, warm, funny, heart-breaking, sexy and a real winner for me. Although the ending did feel a little rushed this didn’t impact on my feelings about the book as a whole. My heart fluttered and it faltered and I enjoyed every single minute of it.

ARC supplied by Author in exchange for an honest review. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

MAN OF MY DREAMS
Amazon us || Amazon uk

Man of my dreams

 

 

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Filed under 5 Stars, Faith Andrews, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

BOUND BY LIES by LYNN KELLING

bound by lies

Genre(s): Contemporary, Gay, Romance, BDSM

Available to purchase below


SYNOPSIS
Brayden Clare never wanted to return to small town life. Blond, athletic, and struggling with his sexual identity, a casual relationship on the beach in Florida suits him much better. When a family emergency calls him home, he is forced to trade his personal freedom for a job as a bartender in a town where everybody thinks they know who he is, and nobody has a clue—including Brayden. Jenner Parrish is the owner and operator of Parrish Pub, the social hub of Robertsville, Pennsylvania. Jenner is charming, dominant, and popular since they were both in high school together. Brayden finds his new boss intimidating, and is daunted to find that turns him on. Jenner finds his new recruit intriguing but mustn’t dare to ask an employee to submit to him. The two men find what they’re seeking at a masked BDSM ball in the next town over, and are startled to discover their desires rest much, much closer to home. (M/M – For content labels and excerpt, see details on publisher’s site.

BOUND BY LIES is available to purchase below
Amazon US | Amazon UK

bound collage

Reviewed by Gitte

Gitte: 4.5 Stars

I didn’t know much about this book going in.  I was immediately hooked though and have to say that this storyline is absolutely flawlessly written. I found it to be gritty, the emotions stripped backed to the basic of raw human emotion. It was ugly in places yet in most it was breathtakingly beautiful. Now I’m not a squeamish reader at all. I will read the darkest of the dark and my boundaries are pretty non – existent. However, at times I struggled in this story. Not because it covered aspects of storyline I haven’t read before but because this Author gave such an honest and un-romanticised view of a lifestyle and ‘a pure broken heart that finds love’ which more often than not is prettified for the reader.

“It’s okay to be weak and damaged because Jenner is strong.” – Braden

This story is about Brayden and Jenner, and what a story theirs was. It had just about every emotion you could wish for or feel. It had me in fits of tears one minute, laughing out loud and covering my face the next as I swallowed every word like a reader starved. But it was long, very long and that was the only drawback for me. A few times I found it dragged and the intensity waned, I guess in my opinion it was too descriptive at times when it didn’t need to be, their story was too all-encompassing and overwhelmingly beautiful I completely got it without the superfluous. My other struggle was the present tense written in third person. It took me a long while to get used to it and I have to say if it hadn’t been for the fact that I loved the characters and the storyline I would have put it down unable to continue reading.

The characters of Brayden and Jenner were individually written with pure perfection and I completely got the extreme need they each had of each other. One completed the other, both were a contradiction, but they worked. They were meant to be, I suppose you could say that one offered the strength the other needed to be true to themselves and live the life they were meant to live.

“Gripping the bar’s edge, leaning forward against it, a switch gets flipped in Jenner. He goes into predatory mode as his target, his prey, comes steadily closer, their eyes locked. Everything in Jenner screams at him to take, to plunder, to fuck, and it does so with such force he gets lightheaded with the strength of the need. But as Brayden approaches, something strange happens to his expression. Briefly, upon seeing Jenner, heartache so profound and poignant crosses Brayden’s face…”

The lifestyle which Jenner and Brayden chose to live was written in such detail and with such intensity that yes, at first I thought this is a ‘lamb to slaughter’ type scenario. However, even though it got a bit too much for me at times and I wanted to kick Jenner’s arse really hard, I did understand that this was two consenting adults who both needed and wanted this no matter my feelings on the degree to which they went.  Brayden and Jenner are two pretty fucked up people, so broken and hurt that I cried like a baby at times. I fell in love with both. I wanted to climb into my kindle and give comfort and hugs. Each were facing struggles that made life really hard for them.

“Someone hurt you.”

“Are you kidding? My life was hurt. Everything hurt…”

Bound By Lies is M/M BDSM and is not necessarily an easy read at times, especially if you struggle with this genre. However, it was heart-breaking, hot and sexy, beautiful and funny too so the balance was pretty spot on I thought. If you enjoy this type of story I would strongly suggest adding Bound By Lies to your ‘to read list’!

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Lynn Kelling, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte

CARTER REED by TIJAN

carter

 

SYNOPSIS

Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by the boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.

carter reed pic

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

J&G – 5 Stars!! 

Jenny:  So this is the first time ever that we have marked a book to read based solely on a cover. Hey, don’t judge us. Have you seen that cover?  Yep, this was one book we were dying to read and it would be an understatement to say it didn’t let us down, wouldn’t it G?

I absolutely LOVED Carter Reed. I was hooked from the first page and my life pretty much went on hold until I turned that last page. I was completely absorbed in every word of this author’s wonderful story.  I adored her writing and she is definitely on my “to buy” list for the future!  And words completely fail me about the hero Carter Reed.

‘I felt like the prey being caught by the predator’ – Emma

Wow! I’m devoid of speech thinking about how utterly delicious and dangerous this man was!  He had such a presence and was such a force. What an amazing job this author did with this character. Every nuance, every word, every movement from this man could be felt through her prose. Needless to say I’ve met my new book boyfriend.  I know you loved this one too G!

Gitte: Oh, are we admitting to being fickle in public Jenny hahaha yes we did indeed mark this to be read, because ‘have you seen this cover??’ And then to find that the story went above and beyond that, well, wow what an absolute treat. I loved this book. I didn’t put it down unless I absolutely had to. I was completely addicted and this Author completed that fantastic hat trick with drama, passion and brilliant characters. Yeah…Carter Reed, what a man. I’m actually speechless as words fail me too when trying to describe just how perfect he is. No doubt Jenny, new book boyfriend alert!!!

“I would declare war for you.”Carter

Jenny:  We’ll only briefly touch on the story because we really don’t want to give a lot away. For us, the enjoyment of this book was being surprised along the way, having our hearts racing, experiencing the suspense, the emotion and I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve been so completely intoxicated with the sexual chemistry between two characters. Sizzling doesn’t even begin to describe it. Every look, every touch and every word between these two passionate characters made me want more!

God, how could I want this man? He was cold, detached. He killed others.’ – Emma

Emma is on the run. Something went down and she’s in all sorts of trouble. The type that could get her killed.  The only person she trusts is her brother’s best friend Carter Reed who has now risen through the ranks of the Mob to become one it’s most valued and dangerous members.  Emma fears Carter on some levels but her brothers last words keep ringing in her head…….

“You don’t trust anyone, no one except Carter. Go to Carter. He’ll take care of everything. He’ll take care of you, Ems. I promise.”  – AJ

Emma has had to learn to be resilient. She’s a survivor. Emma wasn’t afforded the most stable of lives and the vicious murder of her brother some years earlier still haunts her to this day. But Emma realises her only chance of survival rests in the hands of Carter Reed and so she seeks him out.

“I was going to die. It was a matter of time.’Emma

And wow! This story really does take off at that point. So much unfolds and you’re taken on a heart stopping roller coaster ride that’s for sure. Emma remembers Carter from her younger years but he has now become a force in the Mob. Carter Reed. Where to begin to describe the strikingly handsome, cool and calculated man?  Danger, sensuality and sex emanates from every pore of Carter Reed. This man is feared and respected, yet he does have one weakness and that is Emma.  Gitte, you really did feel every intense, passionate and emotional moment that passed between Emma and Carter didn’t you?

Gitte:  I agree Jenny, it would be such a shame for this story to be spoilt for readers as the build-up and pacing is brilliant. The seductive passion, angst, drama and intrigue is palpable. I was so invested from the start, and not having any idea where this story was going to go, had me inhaling every word. My emotions were so high on this journey that I enjoyed every second of it. The chemistry between Emma and Carter is quite frankly so intense I felt every ounce of it. My pulse raced when Emma’s did because Carter’s presence is just so all encompassing, I mean, how you could function when this hot, intense and dangerous man traps you with just a look? Well….I was a goner no doubt about it, my face flushed and I got all tingly, he only had to enter a room or give someone a look and I went all swoony! He was a killer. A ghost in the shadows who was trained to pure perfection. The cold killer. GAH!! I want to go re-read some scenes now!!!

“A different look settled over him, a cold mask covered his face. He was no longer the Carter I knew, the one who held me and kissed me. This was the one who killed, and as that sunk in, everything changed. Time slowed until every second passed in rhythm with my heartbeat.”Emma

As for Emma, I really loved her character too. She was so very vulnerable because of her childhood and what had happened to her brother. Then she goes and commits the ultimate crime but with the purest of intentions setting up the story when she runs to find Carter Reed afterwards.

 “I have been protecting you since you were a child, Emma. I’m not going to stop now.”Carter

Now, despite this vulnerability, Emma had pure strength, she’s a survivor. Yes she felt guilt and conflicted emotions over the sudden path her life has taken, but in a situation where a loved one is threatened, this girl does not hesitate. She pulls her big girlie knickers on and gets the job done. There was nothing weak, annoying or needy about her.   Brilliant heroine that’s for sure!

“Four days ago, I thought my life was ending. Everything had taken a 180 degree turn.” – Emma

“You’re different Ems. We can’t be normal. You’re not normal anymore. I think what you did changed you too…It’s like a part of you died.”Amanda

Jenny:  I agree. I could re-read some of those scenes in a heartbeat and Emma was indeed a kick ass heroine. I loved the storyline, I loved the characters, the secondary characters added so much to the story and I was completely bowled over by this authors writing style. I really don’t know what else I can say about this book without prattling on forever. Definitely a favourite of 2013.  You know that feeling when a book is coming to an end and you’re torn between racing to finish and trying to savour every single delicious, heart stomping moment?  Well, yeah, that me with Carter Reed. I was dreading coming to the end because I knew I would want more and I did! An absolute winner! I LOVED IT!  How would you sum this one up G?  Hmmm do you think we should include the text messages we were sending whilst we were reading?

“You’re mine, Emma. You always have been. I won’t let you go.  Carter

Gitte: Well, this book sure had us burning up our mobile line Jenny! I absolutely loved this story, everything about it. The storyline, the characters and the emotions that I felt whilst reading. The writing was spot on and I’ve got no complaints whatsoever except I just didn’t want it to end and I was gutted to leave Carter behind. Mind you there’s no chance of him ever leaving my heart because he sure made his mark on me!

“This,” he growled in a whisper against my lips. “This is what I wanted that night. I couldn’t contain myself and I had to taste you, but tonight is the night I really have you. You’re mine, Emma. You always have been.” – Carter

Without question this Author has become a one click for me. Carter Reed the book and Carter Reed the man…pure PERFECTION!

ARC Supplied by Author in exchange for an honest review  

Text messages between us throughout  Carter Reed

J:  I have the screaming hots for Carter Reed. This book is bloody awesome! Love it.

G: I’ve had a shit day. Thank God for Carter Reed! That man is seriously HOT. LOVE this book!!!

J: Me too!! Loving it. I can’t put it down. I haven’t moved since I started it. I really need to eat! This man is definitely a knickers changer.  Effing LOVE him and LOVE this book so much!

G:  You can eat later Jubs. This book is like an addiction…keep reading food can wait!! Where are you in Carter other than the obvious lol

J:  I know! I’m seriously addicted at 47%. Where are you?  Geez how hot is the sexual tension and sexual chemistry between Emma and Carter?

G:  I’m about 40%. OMG lucky Emma, the tension and chemistry is killing me but I LOVE it!

J:   Definitely hot and heavy and such a good story!  I’m so into this.

G:  Yeah wow FAB story! And that man is bloody delicious.

J:  He sure bloody is! Hellooo new book boyfriend.

G:  This book is just what I needed. Love this story so much!!!

J:  Me too. This book was perfectly timed. It’s awesome! I don’t want it to end. Did I say I loved Carter?

G:  Me neither, I don’t want to let go of Carter!!

J:  Okay, I haven’t eaten or moved since starting this book and just finished it.  I have to say it…….I fucking LOVE CARTER REED.  I want more!!

G:  I’m at 90% and fuck a duck I bloody love this man and wish I was being watched over by him all day and umm at night lmao

J:  Ha! That doesn’t even sound creepy lol  Oh geez, we’re going to be suffering a major book hangover after this!!  Debrief tomorrow at 5pm my G! Be sure to grab a coffee and I’ll call you because we need to discuss this book and this man!!!

G: It’s a date Jubs! Book hangover is an understatement!!

THE CARTER REED SERIES by TIJAN

Carter Reed

CARTER REED BOOK ONE
Our Review
Amazon us || Amazon uk || Amazon au

CARTER REED TWO 
Amazon us || Amazon uk || Amazon au

 

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Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Tijan

HYDRAULIC LEVEL FIVE by SARAH LATCHAW

hydraulic

 

SYNOPSIS

How does a woman get over her one great love? With whitewater rafting, bluegrass, and a touch of revenge…

Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel’s family, the beloved Cabrals—first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own.

But when Samuel returns home for his sister’s wedding with a new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega, the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart, all leading to startling revelations about Samuel, about life…and about herself.

HYDRAULIC LEVEL FIVE is available to purchase below
Amazon US | Amazon UK

Five

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

Jenny:  Well, if there was ever a book that dealt really well with second chance love then this was it, don’t you think G?   Kaye and Samuel were soul mates. From very early on, you felt the bond and the love between these two implicitly.

I was continually asking myself at the beginning of this story, what could have possible gone wrong because Kaye and Samuel were so perfect for each other, they were so in sync, so in love that you couldn’t’ fathom what could have torn these two people apart.

‘For a moment, I was home – that perfect place everyone hunts for in music, and comfort food, and scents. Then, that perfect place slapped me with a goodbye letter and I remembered how he’d thrown this- me – away, with the callousness of a con artist.’ – Kaye

They really were like two missing pieces that became whole just being in the same room as each other.  I was dying to find out what it was that tore their marriage apart, you were too weren’t you G?

Gitte: They truly were soul mates Jenny and I really felt for both of them individually and the bond, despite their distance, was never really broken. As a reader you really felt that connection, it was brilliantly written. You felt their love and their pain equally. So yeah I was dying to find out exactly why these two weren’t together anymore and this second chance love really was quite heart breaking.

“You want to earn my trust? Well, you’ve got to trust me back. When there’s no trust…nothing…”

Jenny:  I did enjoy this second chance love story.  It was beautifully written and I loved the way Samuel’s stories were intricately woven through Hydraulic Level Five.  The bringing together of Samuel, the author, and Samuel the man was beautifully orchestrated and I was immersed in every moment.

‘How different a man he’d grown into, from the deep-feeling boy I’d once known.’

Samuel, a now famous author, was such a tortured man and oh how I loved him. His unravelling story broke my heart and I felt so much for this man and the demons he was carrying. Learning the cause of the careless and drastic decisions Sam made in his life really broke my heart. I know there were a few times I was in tears throughout this very poignant and moving story. Did you enjoy the way the author wove this story around Samuel’s storytelling Gitte?

Gitte: I have to say that Samuel completely got to me. His character was a bit of a mystery and yes, the Author wrote his character with such intrigue and emotion that I just fell in love and really felt so emotional over his character. It was pretty clear that Samuel was a troubled soul, who’d been through some bad stuff, he was needing to work through still. I have to admit though, that if it wasn’t for me wanting to find out exactly what had happened to Samuel consequently adding to the marriage break-up with Kaye I may not have enjoyed this story as much. Samuel kept me reading so kudos to the Author for writing a fantastic male hero who was both compelling and addictive.

Jenny:  Yes, Sam was definitely the catalyst for me enjoying this as much as I did. For all intents and purposes, Kaye, the extreme sports junkie, seems to have moved on since the breakup of her marriage to Samuel, a man she had loved since she they were childhood sweethearts, some 7 years earlier. In fact, they both seem to be at a good place in their lives. But looks can be deceiving and when you scratch the surface and delve deep you find there is a lot of bitterness, pain and hurt over the ending of their marriage.

‘Instead, there was fire. And I hadn’t seen true fire there in a really long time. Not since….not since high school.’

Not to mention confusing. These two never really communicated or let their hurt surface. They both kept so much inside, so much pain that bringing it to the fore was always going to be difficult but necessary if they were ever going to find their way back to one another.

Gitte: I’m still in two minds over Kaye. I loved her spunk and zest for life by enjoying the extreme sports and the adrenalin rush that comes with it. She’s quietly vulnerable yet shows such strength. She was wronged and she had my complete sympathy, however, I struggled to get a handle on her. I’m thinking this was the intention as she has to work through her own issues in order to fully understand what happened to the love of her life and her marriage.

“Kaye! How is it possible that you can dive head-first into white water rapids and not bat an eye, but when it comes to having a friendly exchange with your ex-husband – who may I remind you, was your best friend for years – your feet freeze?”

Again, I loved the crux of their story together, the childhood, the memories, the intensity of their love and friendship.

Jenny:  I adored the childhood flashbacks which cleverly introduced via Samuel’s story and I found Kaye’s voice to witty and entertaining.  Kaye was strong yet vulnerable and I found a beauty and sadness in her that drew me to her.  The banter between Samuel and Kaye and their friends brought fun and respite at a time when the story would feel heavy with emotion.  It was the perfect balance.

‘Samuel had always been an amazing storyteller, and his words allowed me to see the places he’d seen.’

This was a beautifully told story of loving, letting go, communicating, of soul mates, friendship and I really did adore this book for that portion of the story.  I have to say though G, that Hydraulic Level Five did at certain times become a bit bogged down with what felt like fillers to me and I thought parts of the story suffered because of it. For me, it seemed to stem from the amount of characters introduced, and the time spent on them rather than on Kaye and Samuel. I know that some of these characters formed and shaped Kaye and Samuel’s pasts, and these characters were necessary, but there were some characters who never really felt developed, and these had the tendency to drag the story at times which was a bit disappointing.

However, that can’t take away from what was a clever, beautiful and heart-warming, as well as heartbreaking story of two people finding their way back to each other.  Yes, I really did enjoy this story. I just wish it could have focused more on Kaye and Samuel at the expense of some of the unnecessary fill ins.  I’m so looking forward to rejoining them in Book Two and getting the closure I was hoping for in this one.

‘Her face is pure sunshine for him, warming his chest, searing the web of cracks closed. He will give her fairy tales, pages and pages of fairy tales, in exchange for her sunshine.’

Gitte: I have to say I absolutely LOVED all the scenes with Kaye and Samuel be they past or present, together or individually. I loved the idea of them trying to overcome their marriage break up step by step, trying to work back to how it all started when they were kids. Their banter and pranks made me laugh and I was so invested in these two characters. I loved Samuel, I just think he was amazingly written and I loved who Kaye became as the story moved on and she worked through some personal issues.

“He is also a poster child for order and logic. Chaos distresses him…But you, sweet child, are a messy whirlwind….”

For me though their story got somewhat lost at times amidst a sea of characters that in my opinion were unnecessary as many of them didn’t add anything to the story. Also, for a normal sized novel it felt really long, I think there were too many redundant fillers with secondary characters and at times I felt the urge to skim as the story dragged. Also, I felt confused over what was going on at certain points. As for the ending, well I was a bit disappointed, I have to say. I suppose in a way I felt as if I needed some kind of epilogue or perhaps for this to be just one book rather than a series. It was very abrupt and left me feeling frustrated. I will say though that the love I developed for Samuel and Kaye’s story and wanting them to be okay makes me really want to read the next book. I just hope it becomes about them and their love, first and foremost!

“Firecracker, he whispers, just to hear the sound of her name…”

 Jenny: 4.0 stars
Gitte: 3.5 stars 

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UNLOCKED (The Alpha Group #3) by MAYA CROSS

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SYNOPSIS

The breathtaking conclusion to the USA Today best selling Alpha Group Series.

Who is Sebastian Lock?

The heart can lead you to dangerous places. Abandoned by the man she loves, with nothing more than sweet words and riddles for an explanation, Sophia Pearce felt like her life was crumbling before her eyes. And then they came for her. Now, things will never be the same.

Confronted with the truth about Sebastian’s identity, she’s thrust into a high stakes world beyond anything she could have imagined. A world that threatens much more than just her feelings. Sebastian’s enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want, and they want her.

Their passion for one another consumes them, but as the danger mounts, and loyalties are tested, Sophia must answer one simple question. What is she willing to risk for love?

**This book is approximately 55,000 words, or about 200 printed pages. It contains erotic content and a dominant man who always gets what he wants in the bedroom. It is intended for readers aged 18 and over.**

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Reviewed by Gitte

The conclusion we were all looking forward to finally came and I’m not sure about you guys, but I was literally dying to know just who Sebastian Lock really was. I’m very conscious not to give anything away as this is the third and final book in a trilogy so I’ll keep this short with no spoilers.

I have to say all questions were answered and I really loved how this instalment wasn’t over in a flash like the previous books. However, I’m still of the same opinion as I’ve been from book one that this should have been one book. Because, what ultimately happened with three smaller instalments is that the character and story developments resulted in a bit of a disjoined storyline and abrupt character changes. Well, in my opinion anyway. However, read back to back as if one whole, I’d definitely say this series is a four star read. Splitting the story up resulted in sudden cut off endings that affected the momentum of drama, angst and emotional build-up, as well as the character development like I said. So, if you haven’t started this series I’d read all three books straight to get the whole effect of the story, which is definitely one I’d recommend.

We learn so much more about Sebastian, so many secrets are revealed and man does this guy have a lot of them. His persona changes quite dramatically, I suppose you could say we see beyond the controlling bad arse alpha exterior and get a more human and vulnerable snap shot of Sebastian. He never lost that protective ‘mine’ quality though.

“His touch was soothing. His presence washed over me, filling me with that primal sense of security…” – Sophia

I’d say Sebastian changes his demeanour in some ways. Some were for the better, some not so much. However, perhaps this was the intention. No matter what though I still love him.

“Nothing worth having comes risk free.” – Sebastian

Sophia loves this man, despite everything that’s happened, the predicament she now finds herself in. No matter what, he’s the one for her. She knows this. His presence in her life has turned it upside down and brought danger knocking on her door but she absolutely loves Sebastian. Even though he infuriates her at times.

“He felt like home, and for just that night, I pretended like he still was.” – Sophia

Sophia, you’ve got to give it to her, her strength is immeasurable and this girl keeps her sense of humour going even under intense adversity. I really do love her character!

Unlocked had loads of drama and action. It was the pinnacle of the crescendo from book one and two. Did I think this drama came at the expense of the passion and romance?  Yes, a little bit if I’m honest, however there were still quite a few heart melting moments and of course some of those ‘hot flush’ ones too! I have to say though, that I didn’t think it was necessary to tame the naughty side of Sebastian. He should’ve kept that, this disappointed me, as I don’t think it would’ve interfered with the secrets coming to light nor the drama. Or even us seeing the vulnerable side of him!

The secrets….well they both intrigued me, broke my heart and made me swoon and I have to say that overall I really did enjoy this series and I’m happy to say that I finally know who Sebastian Lock really is!

“No matter what I do, no matter how sure I am, you say just the right thing to make me question myself.” – Sebastian

Gitte: 3.5 Stars

ARC supplied by author in exchange for an honest review

 

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Series Reading Order and Links to purchase

Locked (The Alpha Group Trilogy #1)

Lockout (The Alpha Group Trilogy #2)

Unlocked (The Alpha Group Trilogy #3)

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Maya Cross, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny