Monthly Archives: September 2015

THE AIR HE BREATHES – THE ELEMENTS SERIES BOOK 1 by BRITTAINY C CHERRY

Standalone second chance at love romance.
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the air he breathes

SYNOPSIS

I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

The Air he Breathes

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

 ✯✯✯✯ 1/2 “tick and tock” stars 

“You know that place in between nightmares and dreams? The place where tomorrows never come and yesterday don’t hurt anymore? The place your heart beats in sync with mine? The place where time doesn’t exist, and it’s easy to breathe?
I want to live there with you.”

The Air He Breathes had all the makings of a rich, romantic and beautifully told ‘second chance at love‘ story between two wretchedly broken characters seeking solace with, and in each other following the loss of their loved ones. There were many, many moments throughout this book that gripped our hearts.  This was a moving and stunningly told story, of that there is no doubt and for the most part, we loved it and felt the emotion of Brittainy C Cherry’s exquisite words.

‘Our mouths crashed together and he whispered a name, but I wasn’t certain that it was mine; I whispered one back, not positive that it was his.’

The slow burn relationship was superbly and sensitively handled by Brittainy C Cherry, the romance was emotional and yet encompassed a swoon factor that took our breath away.

We have to give kudos to this author for retaining the loving memories held by Tristan and Elizabeth of their past. So many times we read a story where the memory of the ex becomes tarnished in some way with the goal being to coerce the reader into believing the previous relationship was second rate, thereby believing this strengthens the bond between the H&H. To be honest it’s become a tiresome theme and it takes a gifted writer to have us believe and love the previous relationship as much as we believe and love the relationship between the H&H.  Brittainy C Cherry succeeded in ensuring we loved and adored the relationship between Tristan and Elizabeth, as much as being moved by their past relationships and the love they held for their partners. We were so relieved Brittainy chose to retain the beautiful memories Tristan and Elizabeth cherished and didn’t cheapen them as a vehicle to enforce the love between Tristan and Lizzie.

“Show me the shadows that keep you up at night. Kiss me with your darkness.”

We couldn’t even begin to count the poignant, touching and downright heart-warming and heartbreaking moments of this story. We highlighted so many stunning passages and cried a few times. The story of Elizabeth, Tristan and Emma was the stuff book heaven is made of, so we bet you’re looking at our rating and thinking…then why isn’t this a 5 star read?

‘She undressed me and made love to her past.  I slid into her and made love to my ghosts. It wasn’t right, yet somehow it made sense. Her soul was scarred, and mine was burned.’

When we started this book we sent a text to each other proclaiming “OMG….this book…5 star read coming up.” We were THAT sure this book was going to have us experiencing emotions of immeasurable proportions, and at times it definitely did achieve that, however there were a couple of things we felt really let down Liz and Tristan’s love story and we’ll explain as much as we can without giving away spoilers.

If this story had concentrated on the relationship, the healing and the love story between Tristan and Lizzie and little Emma, this would have been a sweeping 5 star read…no questionSadly there were a couple of aspects that not only annoyed us but gutted us as they felt completely out of place in a story of such rich and powerful beauty.

What marred this otherwise heartbreakingly beautiful romantic and moving story was:

1) Faye, Elizabeth’s best friend. In our notes we wrote “where the hell did this character come from and how was she friends with someone as intelligent and sensitive as Elizabeth?” The character of Faye had an excessive juvenile vulgarity to her. Now we’re no prudes, we can cuss like sailors and love a filthy joke as much as the next person, but we found Faye’s character to be crass and sadly we felt she brought a cheapness to an otherwise moving and poignant story. She felt entirely out of place in this story and if the purpose of her personality was to bring some form of light-heartedness to this story then it failed in our opinion because all she did was anger and repel us with her vulgar banter. It was completely over the top, banal and examples such as the following were repetitious.

“The wind kind of pushed the penis toward my mouth first. This is why people shouldn’t go out on windy days. The penises are on a rampage on the windy days. “

The honest and poignant light-heartedness was brought to the fore from little Emma who more than held the story together in this regard.  Emma was cute, sweet and heart meltingly funny, the banter between her and Tristan was so powerful and witty and was all that was required to relieve the sorrowful mood of the story without detracting from the emotion therein. For us, and in our honest opinion, Faye’s character cheapened what was an otherwise beautiful and emotional story.

2) The drama element of the story was balanced perfectly until the introduction of an unnecessary plot twist towards the end.  The source of the angst was believable and understandable until…it wasn’t. It came to a point where it became a little ridiculous causing us to eye roll at its inclusion.  There was a decent enough dose of angst included without overdosing on it towards the end. Less is more, more often than not.

The three main characters Tristan, Lizzie and Emma were the glue that held this story together and they more than achieved this on their own. We wish the author had solely concentrated on them because THEY were the foundation of story and the points we mentioned above only served to detract rather than add to the story.

“Elizabeth?”
“Yes?”
“It’s easier with you.”
“What’s easier with me?”
“Being alive.”

As far as romance, love, emotion and the adoration of two characters (make that three counting Emma) – we couldn’t have been more pleased with The Air He Breathes, because we loved that aspect with all our hearts. Brittainy C Cherry once again showcased how moving and affecting her words truly are. We’re just saddened our enjoyment was tarnished by the events we discussed above.  Despite our misgivings we highly recommend this beautiful, poignant story and hope we are in the minority with our issues! This author sure does know how to pull at those heart strings because she certainly pulled at ours. Prepare to be moved!

“Show me the part of you that you try to keep buried. Show me where it hurts the most. I want to see your soul.”

**Reviewed from an ARC copy provided by the author, with thanks**

´♥ ´♥ ´♥

THE AIR HE BREATHES
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the air he breathes

We also recommend this Standalone by Brittainy.
LOVING MR DANIELS : amazon us || amazon uk
Our review

loving mr daniels cover  


THE ELEMENTS SERIES

THE AIR HE BREATHES BOOK ONE
                

 THE FIRE BETWEEN HIGH & LO  BOOK TWO 
         
THE SILENT WATERS BOOK THREE|
          
THE GRAVITY OF US BOOK FOUR
          

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Brittainy C Cherry, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

BEGGING FOR IT – ASKING FOR IT #2 by LILAH PACE

begging for it

SYNOPSIS

The provocative author of Asking for It once again explores the dark side of erotic obsession, and the secrets that make it as dangerous as it is irresistible.

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they’re taking are far more dangerous than they’d imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is..

Begging for It (1)

✯✯✯✯ Stars

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“Since when did life start giving us what we deserved?”

We loved the first book in this two book series so were eager to see how it was all going to end up for Jonah and Vivienne. This series is quite emotionally charged and hard to read at times. However, the writing is so incredibly beautiful and vividly expressed that you can’t not keep reading, wanting these two characters to heal themselves as well as each other.

“I don’t want to leave you. I don’t even think I could, unless it’s the only way to keep you safe. Make you whole.”

It’s hard to know who to feel sorry for more but all the way through we couldn’t help but feel that Jonah had the biggest mountain to climb in overcoming an absolutely horrific childhood. We have to say that we didn’t feel that Jonah’s character development was all that apparent in this instalment. He had suffered tremendously and his sexual needs were not fully explored nor delved into all that much. We didn’t feel that he was given the same attention and chance of healing and self-realisation as Vivienne did. This saddened us as we felt so incredibly sorry for him.

‘He always wants to endure his pain alone, I realize. He doesn’t think about protecting himself, only protecting others.’

Relationships are hard to begin with yet when you add the extra emotional baggage of a horrendous past which ties in with sexual depravity there’s no question it will play a huge part in making it that much more difficult. Jonah and Vivienne are suffering still; yet together they have a release albeit it plagued with guilt, remorse and confusion.

‘His eyes are glazed like a man in a trance, and he’s started shaking harder than me. “Silver”, he says. “Silver.”

Vivienne went through the biggest change insofar as realising and overcoming the huge stumbling block evident from how her past plays out in her future; albeit not fully life altering change. She did however experience a setback which in turn turned out to be an eye opening discovery on the whys of her needs and wants.

“You and I, what we have together, it’s more than this. And yet this is a part of us. It always will be.”

Whilst we certainly did enjoy this instalment and fully appreciated where the Author eventually went, we did feel that Jonah was somewhat ignored as a character and that he didn’t get what he needed to heal and feel ‘safe’ in his own skin as well as in his relationship with Vivienne. We also felt that not a lot actually happened development wise in the story and through character growth. Saying that though; there’s no denying that this Author is an incredibly talented and evocative writer! We definitely recommend this series.

“We’re intertwined now, you and I. Our lives aren’t separate.”

THE ASKING FOR IT SERIES by LILA PACE

lilah pace

ASKING FOR IT – BOOK ONE
Our review
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BEGGING FOR IT – BOOK TWO
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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Lilah Pace, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

SINS OF SEVIN by PENELOPE WARD

Standalone emotional forbidden romance
Available to purchase below

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sins

SYNOPSIS

What happens when the one you want is the only one you can’t have? 

My name is Sevin.

Homeschooled and sheltered by my ultra-religious family, I was always taught that lust was a sin. 

Elle was the girl who’d been carefully chosen for me.

After a long-distance courtship, I’d be moving into her family’s guesthouse so that we could get to know each other in the months before the wedding.

Boundaries were set: no inappropriate touching, no kissing, no sex before marriage.

I’d accepted those rules and my fate.

Until I met the one I wanted to sin with.

That was when restraint became a problem…especially since “the one” wasn’t Elle. 

It was her sister, Evangeline.

You know what they say about best laid plans.

My name is Sevin, and I have sinned.

***Told in alternating points of view, Sins of Sevin is a full-length standalone novel. Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. Only appropriate for adult readers age 18+

Sins of Sevin

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

✯✯✯✯✯ 

“I have so much love inside of me that’s all yours, and it’s been trapped inside. I need to give it to you, because holding it in is killing me. I know your heart belongs to me. But I’m selfish. I want all of you. I want you.”

We’re overcome with emotion! What twists! What turns! What a story! Oh our hearts! This is one of those times we are going to beg you to trust us and trust the author, to leave your preconceived ideas at the door and go into this book blind, letting the story and the author guide you. Do so and you will be rewarded!

*Sniff, sniff* you’ll have to excuse us a minute while wipe tears off our Kindles. Wow! What an emotionally charged story that was! We’re pretty sure our notes were stained with tears as we relived the story through highlighted quotes, welling up time and again as we chatted about and reflected on Sevin’s story which quite literally moved us to tears!

“I wish I could rid you from my heart, but you are my fucking heart.”

We’ve been a bit leery of picking up books claiming ‘forbidden romance’ of late because in more cases than not, the author has tended to focus on the mechanical sexual taboo factor of the story rather than the emotional pull we so desperately seek in this theme. All too often it’s the shock factor of forbidden sex that is favoured over the soul stirring emotional and personal conflict of forbidden ‘love’.

Well not so in Sins of Sevin because Penelope Ward crafted an incredibly powerful, stirring, evocative, passionate and heartbreaking story of a forbidden love between two people whose love ran soul deep and whose choices would have disastrous effects on themselves and those around them.

“You’re my truth.  The only thing that has ever felt natural to me is loving you. No one is going to tell me I can’t love you.”

The sexual chemistry between Evangeline and Sevin was clearly evident and tangible from their first meeting however this took a back seat to the deeper connection we immediately felt between them. Theirs was a comfortable relationship, almost as though we felt them expel a big breath upon their first meeting. They were soulmates in every sense of the word. So comfortable with each other, their love so inevitable, it was as though they could finally just ‘be‘ with no lies or pretences.

“I’m lucky that you’ve trusted me. I’ve gotten to see your passion and your vulnerability…your need to be loved.”

We feel to divulge anything, to even give a hint as to what unfolded in this story could lessen the emotional impact, the surprise and shocks some revelations will have on you. We will say, be prepared to experience a rollercoaster of emotion because for every up Penelope Ward delivers, there is a down, for every second of calm there is an abundance of turbulence and we felt every single moment as though we held our breath and gripped our Kindles from start to finish.

‘There’s got to be more to life than living in fear of punishment.’

Sevin was a sensitive and lost man, a man who gave every part of his heart to a woman who was his other half, who showed him he was worthy of loving and being loved, even if he didn’t believe it himself. Their love went against their teachings, morals and consumed them with guilt and we felt it all as Penelope Ward delivered an alluring and emotive story that shook us, excited us, broke us and gave us hope. The direction she took and the manner in which she delivered her story only served to showcase the brilliant talent of this author. We just wished this beautiful story hadn’t been cheapened by ‘Abs Marketing’ – we wish that whoever made or suggested this cover had actually drawn from the incredible poignancy of Sevin’s story.

‘Evangeline could pretty much rip out my heart, stomp on it, then feed it to me, and I’d still hand it back to her. She owned it.’

A piece of advice….have tissues on hand. If you’re anything like us….you’re going to need them! LOT’S OF THEM! We can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!

“Sometimes, we don’t get over painful things, we just learn to live with them.”

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

  ஐ   ஐ

ANOTHER TB TOP PICK by PENELOPE WARD
 STEPBROTHER DEAREST 
Our Review
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stepbrother

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Filed under Our Reviewers, Penelope Ward, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

BADGER by C.M. McKENNA

Standalone dark emotional love story
This is not a romance

*Purchase Badgeramazon us || amazon uk

badger

SYNOPSIS

C.M. McKenna’s compelling voice has earned a devoted audience and multiple awards for her erotic fiction (as Cara McKenna.) Her page-turning literary debut, Badger, disturbs and titillates with the story of a recovering pill addict whose compulsive fascination with a Boston antihero spirals out of control.

Nearly twelve months sober, Adrian Birch feels like a nobody. But when her wrist is broken in a hit-and-run accident, she’s avenged by the Badger, a secretive street vigilante. Instantly obsessed, Adrian takes to staging suicide and constructing chance meetings to get his attention. Their resulting affair is harsh and needy, wrought with McKenna’s signature dark eroticism—until the connection gets out of hand and ignites the violent passions of the city.

✲✲✲✲

Badger

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

✯✯✯✯✯ 5 are not enough stars for this book! 

 ‘People said he was dirty and feral, an urban transient. People loved or hated him.’

There are certain books that deserve to be read in one sitting to fully appreciate and maximise that intense and incredible emotional connection you ultimately feel when you are swept away in the story and characters. To be so fully immersed in a journey so vivid – ugly yet flawless – so gritty and powerful that you travel with it as if your whole body and mind is swept up in its rapid watery current.

“Why on earth would you love me? What have I ever done that would make you feel whatever that feels like?”

“I don’t know.” Why is rain wet or snow cold? It just is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be what it was.’

We have always been avid lovers of Cara McKenna’s writing but we have to say Badger left us in stunned awe of this Author. There is no question that what she gave us in Badger surpassed anything we have ever read by her, it was quite simply awe inspiring perfection.

‘He was so deeply screwed up, no one person, no well-intentioned woman, stood a chance of being enough to make up everything that had happened to him. Especially not one as unremarkable and flawed as me.’

Badger went beyond every expectation and thoughts we had upon starting this story. Yes the synopsis gripped us and we knew we HAD to read it, but we were not prepared in the slightest. You have to suspend much of what you may be used to and what you feel is right. Leave it at the door as you enter a story that will have every single one of your senses on high alert. You will cry. Not a few measly tears of compassion, no….you will CRY. You will laugh as situations so dark and disturbing have an injection of sarcasm and irony. You will be tested morally and perhaps even further. You may even judge. You will be provoked and think how incredibly ugly this story is, you may even think it’s a lost cause so why continue?

“Give up on me, Adrian, for fuck’s sake.”

“You make it sound awfully easy.”

Why? Because it’s one of the most powerful stories we’ve read in a long time. Because it is written in such a way it commands you to not be a quitter. To show such strength, compassion and understanding. To see beyond mere words and actions, till you feel and see the human heart trying it’s best to be what it needs to be – all it can be – under the circumstances. To overcome and live with the past, the now and the future.

‘His damage was all so much more tangible than mine, so tactile. Like the darkest scenes from his life were stamped in Braille across his skin.’

Badger is not your usual romance, in fact to call this a romance would not be entirely fitting. Badger is a story of love; the love that when stripped down to its unique components consists of loyalty, respect, compassion, empathy and a deep rooted sense of empowerment and self-realisation. That love when you feel and know you need to be with the other person whether it be right or wrong because the pull and the feeling of being without is incomprehensible.

“I’m riding around and everyone and everything is either black and white or bright, angry red, everyone blurry and 2-D, there to be ignored or attacked. Except you. I’m riding around in fuzzy, flat monochrome, then there’s you, all in color, in focus, in like, five dimensions.”

This Author managed to write a story that is unlike any we’ve read before. She takes subjects that yes have been written about countless of times in our romance fiction, but what she tells us in her story is like none of its predecessors. She says yeah I’ll see your completely broken man and raise you a ‘Badger’ and I’ll see your struggling woman trying to rebuild her life as well as herself and I’ll raise you an Adrian Birch.

‘He was very human behind all the animal mannerisms. Very human and very, very screwed up.’

“Did I traumatize you?”

Whilst yes – we get one side of a story – we are given so much more. Biased? Perhaps but the journey we saw through Adrian’s eyes gave us everything…..absolutely everything. Cara McKenna gave us a story that felt true, honest and uncompromised. Bravo, such a breath of fresh air through a raw, morose, dark and almost hopeless journey.

“The only bearable thing about being human is that you can change, the second you feel like.”

Badger and Adrian Birch are not your stereotypical characters; you may have never even come across such or even ever again. However, we urge you to read this very unique story of a man and a woman trying to do their best in life with the hand they’ve been dealt. We implore you to pick up Badger, we have to be honest here, we don’t even know how we are supposed to move on from this story……..

‘When I watched him leave for the last time, I knew it would feel like he’d eaten my heart straight out of my chest. He might as well know the taste of my blood.’

 **Reviewed from an ARC Copy provided by Brain Mill Press, with thanks **

 ✲✲✲✲

MORE Standalone’s from CARA

HARD TIMEAmazon us || Amazon uk|| Our Review
AFTER HOURSAmazon us || Amazon uk||Our Review

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

PAPER HEARTS – HEARTS #2 by CLAIRE CONTRERAS

A Standalone second chance romance
*See our note re Torn Hearts #1.5 below*
Purchase Here::  amazon us || amazon uk 

paper hearts cover

SYNOPSIS

I lost her.

No, I didn’t lose her. I threw her away.

She was my best friend.

I was never supposed to fall in love with her.

I was careless.

She was heartbroken.

I was doing fine until she came back into my life and reminded me what love was supposed to feel like.

When it’s all said and done, she may not want to stay, but this time I’m going to do everything in my power to not let her go. 

PAPER HEARTS

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

tb talks

 

Claire Contreras: Paper HeartsAn incredibly raw and passionate story of soul mates who had to overcome unexpected events which set them on a path so different to the one that was intended and should have been. Soul mates who had to find their way again when the time was right in order for their crossed path to heal, for them to discover and reaffirm what never left them.  Totally Booked – 5 Paper – Approved!

“I’ve lived in pain since the moment I lost you. I’ve learned to live with it, but I haven’t learned to accept it.”

@Reader1: Do I need to read any other books before this one?

@TotallyBooked1: Yes, we read TornHearts (Hearts #1.5) first which follows Mia and Jensen’s story in the beginning. We highly recommend reading this prequel prior to reading Paper Hearts. It is now included in the Paper Hearts ebook so don’t skip it!

‘Ours was a story that would remain untold, because living it was painful enough.’

@Reader2What is Paper Hearts all about?

@TotallyBooked1Ultimately, it’s a second chance love story. But not only that, it reiterates the gift and value of sacrifice and forgiveness. Paper Hearts shows what it means to grow and move on from being stuck in a spiral of hurt and pain. Through understanding and fighting for what you want, need and believe no matter the odds stacked against you. It really was an incredibly beautiful and evocative read.

“Real love stories never end.”

@Reader3What’s the writing like in Paper Hearts?

@TotallyBooked1:We absolutely LOVED the writing. It was so emotional, intense and vivid we felt EVERYTHING, Mia and in particular, Jensen felt. ESPECIALLY Jensen! This man wore his heart on his sleeve. The writing was flawless, our favourite read by Claire Contreras; as she mixed high emotion with humour, angst – including irony and sarcasm. It was a brilliant mix making us unable to put Paper hearts down.

‘Some say I loved her to the point of madness, bordering on obsession.’

@Reader4Was the romance believable and how does it measure up to other second chance love stories?

@TotallyBooked1YES! It was absolutely believable – we felt it deep in our hearts. Mia and Jensen’s romance made our hearts soar, swoon and bleed in equal measure. It was romantic perfection in all its beauty.  We cried till our eyes hurt. We smiled till our cheeks hurt. Perfection.  Without question Paper Hearts has cemented itself in our hearts as one of our favourite second chance romances.

“Fragments of my soul were scattered on those pages…and you burned them.”

@Reader5Did Paper Hearts stand out as being different, if so why?

@TotallyBooked1No question yes! It felt original and new. We think primarily, Jensen is why this story felt so amazingly intriguing and addictive. We’ve not really come across a male hero with a POV quite like his. It hinted at a vulnerability, an intelligence, compassion and love so strong which we’ve not come across often in our books. He is one of our ultimate Book Boyfriends. Yes, Ladies….TB hereby claims Jensen!

“For Mia, who never tried to alter my language, but instead learned to translate the meaning behind my silence.”

**Reviewed from an ARC copy provided by the author, with thanks**

PAPER HEARTS by CLAIRE CONTRERAS
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paper hearts cover

HEARTS SERIES by CLAIRE CONTRERAS

HEARTS series

KALEIDOSCOPE HEARTS #1 – Standalone amazon us || amazon uk
PAPER HEARTS #2 – Standalone amazon us || amazon uk

 

 

 

 

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