Monthly Archives: August 2014

BRIGHT SIDE – BRIGHT SIDE BOOK ONE by KIM HOLDEN

bright side

SYNOPSIS

Secrets. 
Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

♫ ..•* ★¨`*•♫.•´*.¸.•´♥ ♫

bright side

Reviewed by Jenny

Jenny:  ✯✯✯✯✯ ‘do epic ‘ stars

‘Regret just leads to second-guessing and anger and sadness and I sure as hell can’t afford any of those.’

I. AM. NUMB! As I sit here wiping the tears off my keyboard I’m at a loss for words, and hours after finishing Bright Side, I’m still an emotional mess. This story made me swoon, it made my heart soar, it made me laugh, it made me sob, it devastated me and it inspired me and it wrecked me!

I inhaled Bright Side in one sitting and when it was over, I was left staring into space and I’m not really sure how to adequately convey my thoughts and express my feelings.   I experienced the whole gamut of emotions throughout this book which had me laughing one minute, swooning in romance heaven the next, and openly sobbing my heart out at the turn of a page. Kim Holden brought this powerful and breathtaking story to life and did it beautifully with heartfelt and gut wrenching emotion .

“I’m always looking forward toward the future…..I can’t afford not to. The future is all I have.”

I fell in love with all the characters, but Kate, Keller and Gus were something else. What special people they were. My heart alternated between overflowing with happiness and being completely annihilated and you know what? I wouldn’t have missed a second of it because when a book evokes that much emotion from you, you know you’re onto a winner.

For those who may be a bit hesitant to give this book a go, if you take a deep breath, open the page and allow yourself to be swept away you’ll be rewarded with spending time with some beautiful, memorable and unforgettable characters that will enter your heart and never leave. Yes, this story is gut wrenching and at times devastating, but it’s also inspiring, thought provoking and heart-warming.

‘I look forward to spending every minute I get to spend with her. Every minute of every day wouldn’t be enough.’

Friendship and love are at the forefront of this story and both the relationship between Gus and Kate and Kate and Keller are so beautifully portrayed, you experience both sides of Kate’s heart. Bright Sky is told through the pov’s of Kate and Keller, which only served to intensify the emotional impact of the story. There were times Keller’s pov broke me.

Kate was such a kind, positive, happy and accepting character. Despite not having the happiest of upbringings, Kate saw the good in everyone and everything; she was pure of heart and loyal and forgiving to a fault. She really does earn her nickname Bright Side. This extraordinary girl exudes a light and warmth that draws people to her and really possesses a truly beautiful soul. She owned my heart and she broke my heart.

‘What in the hell just happened? I feel like I’ve been asleep for years and I’ve only just woken up.’

Kate has been blessed with a unique and enduring friendship with her buddy Gus, an up and coming musician with his band Rook. It’s a friendship that has known happiness, pain, tragedy and loss and a shared connection brought about by their love of music cements a bond which is unbreakable. Gus owns a piece of Kate’s heart and I have to say, he owned a piece of mine too. He was such a beautiful big bear of a man and their friendship was so special.

“Gus, it always gets better.”

Whilst Gus takes off to tour and establish his band, Kate starts a new life at College in Michigan. Kate knows where she’s heading and has a plan. It’s a plan that doesn’t include love, but somewhere along the way Keller Banks entered her life and threatens to shoot that plan to pieces.

Keller Banks. Well, words fail me on this beautiful, giving and completely selfless man. He was divine and I loved him! Keller was living a life pleasing others, never taking his own happiness into account, carrying secrets from his past that weighed him down. Katie entered his life like a bright shining star and knocked him for six.

“I fell in love with you. It would’ve happened whether you loved me back or not. It’s impossible not to love you.” – Keller

I completely swooned over Kate and Keller’s relationship. It built at a slow and steady pace and I felt their connection deep in my bones. There was so much to Keller and as his and Kate’s secrets came to light, the true testament of this man and his character came to be. Arrgghhh Keller. I can’t think about him without crying. What a man!

“You give me courage I never knew I had.” – Keller
“I didn’t do anything. It was there all along, you just had to find it.” – Kate

I connected to this book on many levels. There were times it did feel a bit cliché but at the end of the day these thoughts were soon forgotten and I find myself reflecting on the feelings I experienced and what a profound effect this book had on me. And it wasn’t just the characters and story I connected with in Bright Sky. This author clearly shares my passion for music and made it so it became an extension of her story as it wove through the pages.

I knew nothing going into this book and I’m thankful for that so I’m definitely not going to give anything away. I can’t say it enough about how this book made me FEEL. Grab some tissues (you’ll need them!) and READ THIS BOOK!!.

This is one of those stories that hits your heart hard and carries messages that will leave you contemplating what’s important in life…you know… don’t sweat the small stuff. Be tolerant. Be forgiving. Open your heart and grab life by the scruff of the neck. Love hard, laugh often, follow your dreams and love life.

 “Thank you. I’m not really into the whole being rescued thing, but you make one helluva white knight, Keller Banks.”

I’m still a bit numb, so in the words of Katie….go forth and ‘do epic.’

 

♫ ..•* ★¨`*•♫.•´*.¸.•´♥ ♫

Purchase your copy of BRIGHT SIDE here
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK 

bright side


GUS – BOOK TWO is now available!
Amazon us || Amazon uk

gus

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Filed under Kim Holden, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Jenny

THIS SKY by AUTUMN DOUGHTON

this sky

SYNOPSIS

When he touches me, the sky and the earth switch places


Gemma Sayers has spent the last six days rotting in a hotel room, wallowing in a noxious combination of gin, junk food and self-pity. She’s no stranger to disappointment but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that unfolded when her celebrity boyfriend publicly humiliated her. Now the fairytale is officially over and Gemma is determined to put the past behind her and strike out to find a new dream. Just a few teeny-tiny details to work out: she’s currently broke, homeless and unemployed. 

Landon Young has his own worries. Surfer by day and bartender by night, he doesn’t have the interest or the time to be anyone’s happily-ever-after. Weighed down by the memory of what happened two years ago, Landon can barely keep his head above water. 

This Sky is the thoughtful and often funny story about broken trust, an unexpected love and the hopes we keep sewn in the linings of our pockets.

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

this sky

Reviewed by Jenny

Jenny: ✯✯✯✯ 1/2

“I’m recovering from a broken heart.”
“I’m recovering from a broken life.”

I want to hug this book!  I fell head over heels in love with the characters, their story and Autumn Doughton’s wonderful lyrical prose in This Sky. Wow! The way this author would describe a scene! I could envision every demonstrative moment, every nuance of her characters and her vividly descriptive, exquisitely poetic prose had my heart soaring.

‘Pain doesn’t go away because someone kisses it better. Sadness doesn’t recede because a person posts an inspiring quote on your Facebook wall. Grief doesn’t sink into the shades the moment the sun comes up. You can’t sleep your way through misery. There are some hurts that become a part of you.’

This Sky pulled me in immediately as I became part of the story. You know when you’re reading a book and catch yourself grinning like love struck fool? Yep, that was me with This Sky. This story exuded a warmth that enveloped me.

The story was never bogged down with unnecessary angst, the relationship between the characters built at a believable pace, there was no insta love here. The secondary characters were a hoot and left me with a big smile on my face with a sufficient amount of drama to keep me thoroughly invested in Gemma and Landon’s story.

Gemma our heroine was delightful. My heart went out to this girl who had been the subject of public humiliation when a sex tape featuring her actor boyfriend Ren and a waitress, complete with Gemma’s reaction was splattered across social media for all to see.

“Gemma, you can’t stop the tide; but if you don’t stand in the water, it can’t pull you under.”

After wallowing for a while, she takes off with her Chinchilla, Weebit (he is so cute!) to stay with her good friend Julie in San Diego in attempt to start afresh and leave her broken heart and embarrassment behind and it is there she meets up with Julies neighbours Claudia and Smith, who decide what Gemma needs is a rebound guy as a bit of a confidence boost and a distraction from the events that had taken place.

Enter Landon ….be still my beating heart……Young, a gorgeous former pro surfer who spectacularly dropped out of the circuit after his life took an unexpected twist was a such beautiful character. This man certainly had his demons but his issues never dragged down the story because this author handled these emotions with sweetness, warmth and humour and it was executed beautifully.

‘Maybe the truth is that all I’ve ever wanted is to be good for somebody else.’

Neither is looking for a relationship and each has major trust issues, though it’s obvious they clearly have chemistry so they decide on a friends with benefits type of relationship but the heart knows what the heart wants and these two could build walls to the stars and eventually something would have to give.

“You were this beautiful, brilliant girl and for once it felt like I had something worth holding.”

As Gemma and Landon opened up and their painful pasts unfolded I found myself welling up as hearts and hurt were exposed, but these moving moments were peppered with fun banter that had me clutching my heart one minute and grinning the next.

The secondary characters were so much fun and provided lots of laughs and love along the way but it was the witty back and forth, the romance, emotion and beauty of the interaction between Landon and Gemma that made my heart all warm and fuzzy.

“You’re beautiful when you’re standing with  your face tipped to the sky, when you’re sitting at the bottom of the stairs in the dark, when you’re on the beach, at work. You’re beautiful anywhere you go and I can’t seem to stop watching you. Did that sound creepy as I think it sounded?”

The steam factor wasn’t high in this book but it didn’t need to be because Autumn Doughton conveyed the intimacy perfectly and made me feel every moment of passion without the need for blow by blow (no pun intended) descriptions. There was beauty and feeling in the subtlety of these scenes.

‘At night we lay in his bed, nose-to-nose, our toes brushing and our hands tucked between our bodies, and we trade stories until our throats are raw and scratchy and our eyelids are drooping shut. This is how I learn Landon Young. Inch by inch. Moment by moment.’

Arrgghh see what I mean? I loved this standalone read! It was a perfectly sweet, beautiful, emotional, funny and completely swoonworthy story about hope, friendship, love and self discovery. I would have liked to have spent a little more time with Gemma and Landon because it did feel as though it finished a little too abruptly and I do love my ‘afters’, but that could be because I didn’t want their story to end!

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

THIS SKY by AUTUMN DOUGHTON
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA

this sky

 

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Filed under Autumn Doughton, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Jenny

SHOW ME, BABY – 1001 DARK NIGHTS (A Master of the Shadowlands Novella – #9) by CHERISE SINCLAIR

show me baby
SYNOPSIS

After his last lover chose her career over him, Jake knows he wants a woman who will put him at the top of her priorities—as he would with her. One of the trainees, Rainie, has caught his attention. Lush body, a gift for living life to the fullest, always laughing or smiling. Yeah. She trips all his switches. But she’s never given him a second look and that’s damned annoying. 

Rainie has been burned enough times that she’s not going to get serious about any man. Sure, the BDSM club trainees are supposed to be looking for a permanent Dom, but no harm, no foul—they don’t need to know she lied. Trainees get to be involved in everything—and with everyone. But there’s one she avoids. Master Jake is always frowning at her. No matter how gorgeous he is, she doesn’t need any disapproving Dom up in her business. 

Unfortunately, her best friends are having a double wedding. Little hearts are floating in the air. Every breath is filled with romance. Rainie is doomed.

♣     ♣     ♣    ♣

Show Me collage

Reviewed by Gitte

Gitte:  ✯✯✯✯

This series never fails to have me inhaling every word written and just indulging in the brilliance that is Cherise Sinclair. Every instalment provides raw emotion; romance, passion and great characters. I can’t really fault any story in this series and highly recommend it. I’ve enjoyed them all, some more than others sure, but there’s no question that this is one of the best BDSM series out there. As always, in my opinion, this series should be read in order as it centres round the BDSM club – Shadowlands and you form a relationship with all the characters along the way.

I loved Show Me, as not only did we get Master Jake and Rainie’s story we also had Gabi and Sally’s joint bachelorette party and wedding which was so bloody sexy and funny! Catching up with the whole gang was brilliant, I love them all and I never fail to immerse myself fully in their world every time I pick a new story up. It always feels like I’m coming home to spend time with friends when I pick up a new book in this series.

‘He’d saved her….He made her feel special.’

Master Jake was LUSH; every Dom in Shadowlands has that attractive sexy protective nature, the addictive passionate raw sexuality. Well, Jake also had a romantic streak with a hint of vulnerability and a nurturing side.  Jake is perfection in a complete package, oh and add to that, a bit of a filthy mouth.

And Rainie, well what can I say? She felt so real and this is something that’s a given in most of Cherise Sinclair’s stories. The heroines are people you ‘know’; their inner struggles completely believable. It makes reading their journeys that much more heart-warming and you can’t help but empathise, feel and rejoice with them in their journey to find their perfect Master.

‘Everyone had let her down. In a way he’d been part of her trauma. That ugly revelation still grated through his system.’

Rainie had such insecurities and suffered the after effects of a traumatic childhood. Yet her loyalty and strength was quite something. She showed that she’s so much more than the sassy and naughty trainee sub at Shadowlands.

“God,” she moaned.

“I usually suggest Sir or Master, but I suppose God is adequately respectful.”

Show Me is a novella and in a way I felt that a little bit. Not for character development or storyline though. I just wish we’d had more background on Jake and Rainie as well as more ‘afters’. We got some but I’d have loved more.

And my oh my….Master Marcus…my favourite Shadowlands Dom is back and I loved every scene he was in, being back with my man…..swooning and reminiscing. Made me want to re-read his story! Now, I’m not sure whose story’s next but I’m hoping its Mistress Anne’s!!! Bring it on….

 ♣     ♣     ♣    ♣

Purchase a copy of SHOW ME, BABY : 1001 DARK NIGHTS here
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA

show me baby

♣     ♣     ♣    ♣

BOOK ONE – CLUB SHADOWLANDS is currently FREE!
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | AMAZON CA

club shadowlands
♣     ♣     ♣    ♣

MASTER OF THE SHADOWLANDS READING ORDER
CLUB  SHADOWLANDS
DARK CITADEL
BREAKING FREE
LEAN ON ME
MAKE ME, SIR
TO COMMAND AND COLLAR
THIS IS WHO I AM
IF ONLY
SHOW ME, BABY

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Filed under Cherise Sinclair, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte

THIS IS FALLING (Falling #1) by GINGER SCOTT

this is falling

SYNOPSIS

First, I had to remember how to breathe. Then, I had to learn how to survive. Two years, three months and sixteen days had passed since I was the Rowe Stanton from before, since tragedy stole my youth and my heart went along with it.

When I left for college, I put a thousand miles between my future and my past. I’d made a choice—I was going to cross back to the other side, tolive with the living. I just didn’t know how.

And then I met Nate Preeter.

An All-American baseball player, Nate wasn’t supposed to notice a ghost-of-a-girl like me. But he did. He shouldn’t want to know my name. But he did. And when he learned my secret and saw the scars it left behind, he was supposed to run. But he didn’t.

My heart was dead, and I was never supposed to belong to anyone. But Nate Preeter had me feeling, and he made me want to be his. He showed me everything I was missing.

And then he showed me how to fall.

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

This is Falling collage

 

 ‘I just gave up on something because I’m afraid. And it hurts.’ 

J&G: ✯✯✯✯ 

Gitte: This is Falling was such a sweet and heart-warming story; and I really enjoyed it. There’s not much I didn’t like; sure it was very young at heart and quite slow at times but the essence of the story was emotional, hopeful and endearing.  I’ve never read anything by this Author before and I have to say I loved the writing style and character development. I felt every word and whilst it was a bit young compared to what I normally chose to read and the fact that we didn’t get much on Nate’s background; I fell in love. It’s one of those stories that build and build and just creeps into your heart.

‘And then it’s there – the smile. It’s joy. And I just gave it to her. My God, do I want to give it to her again.’ – Nate

My heart broke for our heroine; Rowe. She survived an extremely tragic and traumatic event which had her living but not truly experiencing life and its many joys. That is until the sweet and gorgeous Nate entered her life.

‘It’s like I’m caught in an internal tug-of-war with myself – my heart begging to beat from thrill, but caged by fear.’ – Rowe

I fell in love with both Rowe and Nate. They were well written characters and Nate’s heart, wow, so big and so good. Rowe had quite a journey to make and Nate was there with her every step of the way.

“You are the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. You are the face in all of my dreams and the smile I see when I close my eyes.” – Nate

It has to be said that the secondary characters all played a big part in this story too; none more so that Ty, Nate’s brother. I loved the banter and camaraderie between these two and thought it to be a lovely aspect of this story. So yeah, I enjoyed it; a tad predictable and slow but overall a really sweet read. What did you think, Jenny?

Jenny:  I ended up really enjoying this one too Gitte, though like you I did find it a little slow at times and did wonder if it was going to grab me. I’m glad I persevered because once This is Falling started unfolding I was rewarded with an emotional telling of Rowe’s past and the sweet, sometimes rocky relationship between Rowe and Nate.

‘Time stood still…………….and my clock never started ticking again.’

These two adorable goofs stole my heart and I became completely sucked in to their story.  The relationships between all the characters were witty and fun and the banter perfectly timed to balance out the emotion of the story.

“I will wait, but I won’t wait forever.”

The back and forth between Nate and his brother Ty had me grinning like a fool. What a wonderfully amusing and special relationship theirs was.

Nate was a truly beautiful character. Despite having his fair share of relationship heartache, he was such a funny, charming  protective  guy with a huge heart indeed! How could I not be taken with him. Rowe so broken and so displaced, her story and her ties with her past was heart-breaking,  but with Nate by her side, with his conviction and his love I hoped Rowe would eventually see her way.

“I’m not perfect, Nate. I’m a work in progress.”

This Is Falling is the first book in the Falling Series and can be read as a standalone. I’m so looking forward to Ty’s story. I have a feeling his is going to very emotional.  The beauty of Ginger Scott’s  writing and the engaging characters ensured this was a read I really enjoyed.

**Reviewed off an ARC copy provided via Netgalley**

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

THIS IS FALLING by GINGER SCOTT
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK AMAZON AU AMAZON CA

this is falling

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Filed under Ginger Scott, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

BLACK LIES by ALESSANDRA TORRE

black lies

SYNOPSIS

Brant: 
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee: 
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

black lies collage

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

Jenny:  Before we start, I’m going to say two things to readers…..BEWARE OF SPOILERS! It’s imperative that you go into this book blind, and then…prepare to be gobsmacked!!!

Black Lies was our first read by this author and it most certainly won’t be my last. I completely fell in love with her almost poetic writing style which captivated me throughout and although I did peg the ‘outcome‘ very early in the story (which we both discussed in one of our early ‘progress chats’ G) this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story nor did it deter me from desperately needing to flick through the pages to discover the ‘how and why’s’ of what came to be. What played out was at times suspenseful, exhilarating, passionate and heartbreaking.

Although I personally didn’t experience the big shock factor, I’m going to say, hang on to your Kindles because you are going to be completely blown away by the events that transpire in Black Lies. Despite my guessing how things would unfold, this was still one hell of a ride.

‘I will fight for this love. Lie for it. Steal for it. It is worthy of that.’

The men in Layana’s life were so, so different yet each fulfilled a need within her and who each held a piece of her heart. Brant….a brilliant, successful, loving, unassuming yet passionate man whose unequivocal love for Layana knew no bounds and who Layana loved implicitly. This man had the ability to break my heart at times.

“I love you. You, Layana Fairmont, are impossible not to love.”

Brash, volatile and unpredictable Lee who speaks to her wanton side and who, despite his vast differences to Brant becomes an essential part of her life.

‘Love. It makes us do crazy things.’

So, how far would you go for love and how do you choose between two men who together your heart and needs craves to make it whole?

‘I love her too much to share her. I hate him with a vengeance that turns my blood white.’

My logical self was left with a few unanswered questions but my reading/entertainment self was left very satisfied with Black Lies. I couldn’t put it down.  An addictive, exhilarating and clever book that readers are going to devour and be talking about long after finishing.

Gitte: I have to agree; I love Alessandra Torre’s writing. It comes across effortless; it’s so vividly descriptive without bogging the story down. It just flowed and I inhaled every word wanting to know how it was all going to be tied up in the end.

‘True love makes a person reckless, makes them take risks and make sacrifices. True love tests the boundaries of our person, makes us yearn to be better and fight for the ground we stand on.’

I too guessed the twist before it was revealed, the questions that I had whilst reading mounting and pointing to the same answer and conclusion. However I agree, it did not hamper my enjoyment, though I’m glad I didn’t know going into this story as it was like playing Ms. Marple and I do love a confounding mystery. There were a few plot holes along the way, however, those aside I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Layana was at the heart of the mystery and whilst I loved her sweet, honest and caring side; it was her passion, love and loyalty that really endeared her to me. Along the way I questioned her dubious actions but they were borne out of just those qualities, so yeah…..

‘I risked losing him. I risked destroying his life. I risked saving our love. Our future.’

Black Lies has everything that keeps a reader reading, intrigued and invested till the end. It was passionate; emotional, thrilling and very sexy. I really enjoyed it and thought the characters were brilliant. I did mostly lean towards the cocky sexy-arse Lee, I have to admit, he’s my kind of man. The filthy and dirty hands on working man.

“Everything fades unless I’m with you.”

I’m a bit over the whole billionaire posh boy show, though of course I fell in love with Brant too. I couldn’t resist that hidden vulnerability behind the well-polished hard exterior. Oh and he was a bit of a geek, which I love. Two very different men; both with lovable and attractive characteristics. I wouldn’t say no to being the meat in that sarnie that’s for sure.

**Reviewed off an ARC copy provided by the author with thanks**

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

Purchase your copy of BLACK LIES here
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU
black lies

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Filed under Alessandra Torre, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny