Category Archives: 3.5 Stars

WORTH THE WAIT (McKinney/Walker #1) by CLAUDIA CONNOR :: REVIEW

Emotional second chance romance featuring children

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SYNOPSIS
He broke her heart. When he finds out just how badly, it will break his too.

Nick Walker found the love of his life when he was just nineteen.

Found her.
Loved her.
Lost her.

It’s been ten years since Nick watched the only woman he ever loved walk out of his life. Now this FBI Special Agent will do anything to win her back.

But it won’t be easy…

Mia’s heart was shattered by Nick. They’ll have to face their painful past if they want a future, including Mia’s own secret about that day it all fell apart.

Do you believe in second chances.

WORTH THE WAIT is available to purchase below

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Worth The Wait

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

‘They just were. Nick and Mia. Always.’

We picked Worth the Wait up not having read the series from which this is a spin off, on the basis it’s being tagged a standalone. For us, we felt like we’d missed out somewhat on Hannah and Nick’s sibling bond, but yes, in most respects this stands alone. There’s absolutely no question that Claudia Connor’s writing is beautiful. She demands attention with a powerful and passionate prose. We felt incredibly sad with very heavy hearts as we read one of the more emotionally upsetting romances we’ve read in a while. It’s very difficult to read a story where the heroine and hero spend more agonising time apart than they do together. You begin to doubt it’ll ever happen for whichever tragic reasons presented.

“It’s been a long time. Maybe you don’t know me anymore.”

“I know you.”

We fell in love with all the characters in this story; especially Nick and his much younger sister, Hannah. Their relationship melted our hearts whilst making us all teary at the same time. Nick found himself in the distressing position of having to hold his parent-less family together when he became the head of the family through heart-breaking circumstances. A heavy load for a young man barely out of his teens. His caring, protective, determined and nurturing side knew no bounds and we fell in love with this young man.

“How can I forget when you always remind me?”

Worth the Wait is a book of continuous past and present. Through the flashbacks we learn of how it all began for Mia and Nick; with two year old Hannah in tow. From the present we learn of them being apart, and the struggles facing them individually, due to a horrific event which separated them a decade ago. It broke us. In the flashback’s we felt some of their love and connection. In the present we felt their agony and subsequent emotional pain.

‘He was barely there, so lost in his dark cage of anger and guilt he’d built for himself, he’d locked himself in and locked her out.’

Whilst we loved many, many parts of this story we felt the balance was excessively weighted towards the incredibly heavy angst, guilt, responsibility, despair and suffering. We barely experienced any joy nor happiness.

“You’ve got the past clenched so tightly in your fist, I’ll never be enough to make you let it go. I can’t go back to that place we were. It nearly killed me.”

Now, we love our highly emotional reads, however we do need some happy or at least an epilogue that completely mends our broken hearts and leaves us more than satisfied that everything is okay and everyone is where they need to be. Particularly after a journey that was as emotionally taxing as this one. This is a personal preference so we may be in the minority. Saying that, there is no question that this talented Author made our hearts bleed and kept us riveted, needing to find out if Mia and Nick would ever find their way back to where they began after so many years separating them.

“It still shakes me that something so enormous as our love could be erased so simply.”

3.5 Stars

 Worth the Wait Teaser


The McKinney Series by Claudia Connor

Worth The Fall Book One

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Worth The Risk Book Two

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Worth It All Book Three

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Claudia Connor, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

UNRIVALED – A BEAUTIFUL IDOLS NOVEL by ALYSON NOELL :: REVIEW

First book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

unrivaled cover

SYNOPSIS

Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Available to purchase below:

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Unrivaled

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“Just how far will you go, to get what you want?”

We absolutely love this Author and have a soft spot for her from our memory of inhaling her Evermore series years ago during our paranormal binge. So when we saw Alyson Noël had a new series out, we grabbed Unrivaled. This is book one in the Beautiful Idols series and it could not have been any more different to what we were expecting, whilst this deflated us a wee bit it did not mean we didn’t enjoy it for what it was. It was very in your face and almost like car crash TV. Unrivaled is one of those books you hate to love, in our opinion. It’s full of arrogant and unlikable characters and reads like a reality show full of arrogant and backstabbing people- some spoilt and rich, some bored and indulged, others chasing their dream. It was a bit of a hot mess but we could not look away. Think Gossip Girls and the childish, selfish dramatics of High School with a menacing twist and you’re there.

‘…the whole freaking world read it – it’s all anyone’s talking about.’

So, our main players are: Layla, Aster, and Tommy. Each have their own POV and backstory. Layla is a Blogger of celebrity gossip, but really she has aspirations of moving to NY and becoming a respected journalist. Her boyfriend Mateo was a star for putting up with her. He sounded lush and we would’ve gladly taken him off her hands. Aster is a self-indulgent cow. Sorry, but we disliked everything about her. There were no redeeming qualities and the woe is me act did not work with us. As for Tommy, he didn’t harbour those petty and ugly characteristics and he could have easily made revelations to change the game, however at times he was quite the weak character…

Where the contest was concerned, they were all puppets in his twisted theatre, with Ira yanking the strings.’

Now, for the game, basically these three characters find themselves invited, amongst other players, into the glamorous world of the Los Angeles’s nightlife. Each given the task of night club promoter for several of the enigmatic Ira Redman’s clubs. The aim is to make the assigned club the most successful and luring the famous Madison Brooks to frequent it.  A huge cash incentive is used as bait. However, is all as it seems??

“In the world of nightclubs, the younger, the hotter, and the more famous your gets, the more points they’re worth…Each week, the promoter with the least points will be eliminated, while the promoter with the most points will earn cash to spend on marketing and party planning for their clubs. The promoter with the most points at the end of the summer wins.”

The biggest mystery of them all; Madison Brooks, the latest IT Girl with her own secrets. Even though we got her POV we were only given snippets of secrets, power plays and hints of something sinister. It was all very clandestine and cloak and dagger so we are dying to find out what happens next….

“Impress me. Dazzle me. Wow me. But whatever you do, do not disappoint me.”

We can’t deny that this story intrigued us, especially as we came to realise how dark and creepy it was really turning out to be. The beginning thrilled us and the end had us riveted, so it was a shame that the middle let it down a bit by being quite slow and uneventfully repetitive. However, saying that – we will definitely continue with this trilogy as it had a delicious what the @%$£ ending!

3.5 Stars

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ROOKIE MOVE (The Brooklyn Bruisers #1) by SARINA BOWEN :: REVIEW

Standalone in a series – Hockey romance, second chance love.

6th

SYNOPSIS

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

Available to purchase below:

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rookie-move

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

‘Breaking up with him was something I did because I had to. Not because I didn’t love him.’

After falling in love with Sarina Bowen’s previous work and being big fans of sports romances and second chance romances, it was a no brainer we were going to pounce on the first book in her Brooklyn Bruiser series. Hot hockey players and the women who win their hearts….hmmmm you had us at hello!

Leo Trevi and Georgia Worthington were high school sweethearts but theirs was no puppy love, rather it was the once in a lifetime soul mates love, they were one another’s first everything. First date, first kiss, first love, first heartbreak.

“We don’t have one night stands, Georgia. We have forever night stands.”

Six years ago after a traumatic experience Georgia asks Leo to let her go and considering what she went through, Leo didn’t want to make life more difficult for her and so he granted her wish much to his utter loss and heartbreak. Leo was 19 when they broke up, the pain of losing Georgia, devastated him. He’s never forgotten the love of his life and six years later, seeing her again only recaptures those feelings.

‘Letting Georgia go was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. And he’d only been able to manage it because he was sure it would help her be happy again.

Rookie Move was a sweet and sexy first book in this Hockey romance series with some deeply heartfelt moments and difficult subject matter which was handled sensitively and with love via Sarina Bowens words with Leo especially stealing our hearts. Boy did we experience his confusion, his hurt and the pure soul deep love he felt for Georgia. He is quite a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.

‘Georgia was his Kryptonite. Nobody else made him feel so alive. He never wanted it to end.’

As the story progresses we are privy to the events that led to Georgia making the most difficult decision of her life in letting Leo go and how those actions affected not only her and Leo, but those around them.

“We used to be equals. But now I’m always going to be the one who’s worried. It’s still the same problem. I used to be fearless ….’

Whilst we did enjoy this first first book in the series, we didn’t experience the wow factor that makes us fall in book love. For us personally, we felt as though we were being told the story rather than being participants, looking from the outside in and for that reason we didn’t feel as emotionally invested in the characters as we had hoped. At the end of the day though, this was a sweet romantic escape with the team brotherhood and camaraderie we love in our sports themed romances! However…..you can bet we’re looking forward to more of this series, and we’re especially keen to hear a lot more about the young billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Bruisers..…now that will be a story to tell!

3.5 Stars

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3rd

HARD HITTER BOOK TWO
Pre order now for 3rd January release

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Sarina Bowen

THE RULE BOOK by JENNIFER BLACKWOOD : REVIEW

Standalone – wealthy boss/employee funny romance

‘Some rules are meant to be broken’

available to purchase below:
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK 


the rule bookSYNOPSIS

Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide
1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side.
4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.
 


The Rule book collage

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

Rule #738: Employees must not, under any circumstances, store fish or any food items with garlic in the company refrigerator. Employees will refrain from consuming garlic items during work hours.

We were in the mood for a laugh and a swoon and we certainly got that in The Rule Book. It was a light easy read that was low on angst. Sometimes that’s just what you need and this one delivered on that.

Lainey Taylor Rule of Life #32. If you don’t want to board a train to Crazy Town, stop trying to read into things. Seriously, stop.

Sweet, fun and quirky – three words to describe both this story as well as our heroine, Lainey. We meet her in her first week working as the second assistant to the CEO of Starr Media. She desperately needs to not only earn enough money to pay her Mum’s medical bills but also she’s trying to get ahead in her career in the social media industry. Presented by a Rule Book on her first day and scared into submission by the number one assistant to The Boss aka Mr. Antichrist himself – well, things don’t get off to a great start.

“I never knew what I was missing until the day we met.”

Brogan was quite the enigma. A man and Boss who lived by his rules expecting everyone else to follow suit. We really liked him and understood his ambitions and eccentric ways.  Whilst we enjoyed it, we did find it a tad uneventful in the sense that we didn’t feel like we fully got to know the characters and the story didn’t go into much depth. We feel like we only skimmed the surface, which was a shame. We wish we’d had Brogan’s POV too as we may have gotten to know him better that way. Saying all this though, we certainly did enjoy it and definitely recommend it for readers in the mood for a sweet and funny romance.

‘The rule-maker broke all his rules for me. And that meant everything.’

 3.5 ✯

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THE PROTECTOR by JODI ELLEN MALPAS :: REVIEW

Standalone – seductive, suspense romance

Available to purchase below.

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6th

SYNOPSIS

People think they have Camille Logan nailed: daddy’s girl; beautiful, spoiled young woman with her father’s bank balance to fund her lifestyle. But Camille is determined to have a life free from his strings. Out on her own, she’s made mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press. Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father’s ruthless business dealings. Caught between resentment and fear, Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. But nothing could prepare her for the ex-SAS sniper who crashes into her life.

Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell. He was distracted from duty once before, and the consequences were devastating–both personally and professionally. He vowed never to let that happen again. Accepting the job of bodyguard to Camille Logan isn’t the kind of distraction from his demons he should take. Women and Jake don’t mix well, yet protecting the heiress seems the lesser of two evils. But Jake soon discovers that she isn’t the woman she’s perceived to be. She’s warm, compassionate, her presence settling, and his duty to protect her soon goes deeper than a well-paid job, no matter how hard he fights it. He needs absolution. He comes to need Camille. But he knows he can’t have both.

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Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

The Protector

‘I cling onto him like he’s all I have.
Because I feel like he is. Strong.  Dependable. My Protector.’

When we saw one of our favourite authors, Jodi Ellen Malpas was writing a standalone we were ecstatic. When we heard all about our leading man being ex SAS turned Bodyguard, who breaks his rule of ‘no emotional connection’ we couldn’t contain ourselves! When we were offered a review copy by the publisher……well, turn us over because we were done! Torn between wanting to rush straight into reading The Protector yet wanting to hold off to savour it for a little longer, we decided we’d been patient long enough and set ourselves some valuable reading time getting to know all about Jake!

Jodi Ellen Malpas is a dab hand at delivering those swoony, intense dominant alpha males and Jake Sharp is no exception. This guy is quite the protector that’s for sure! He’s damn dreamy, but would we expect anything less from this author? We think not and on that note, she did deliver.

“Take it all,” he commands hoarsely, motioning down his tall body. “Please, just fucking take it all.”

However, The Protector fell a little short of our expectations.  There were times it felt reminiscent to Jodi Ellen Malpas’ previous books and this was both a blessing as well as a curse. A blessing because we love the passion she injects in her stories, this aspect never fails to grip us and her descriptive prose allows us to become a part of her stories. A curse because at times The Protector felt as though we were reading the same characters placed in a different setting and so The Protector had a tendency to feel a bit ‘samey’ for want of a better word.

There is a lot of underhandedness and twists in this story, some we worked out, some took us completely by surprise and overall we did enjoy the story, however, we sadly weren’t convinced by the instant intense connection between Jake and Cami which saw declarations of soul searing love being professed within 2-3 days. This, despite the fact Jake and Cami didn’t really know each other all that well.

‘I’m mad for her. I need to keep her. I need to protect her.’

Sure, they connected on a physical level, of that there is no doubt, but their love felt somewhat superficial as neither really knew anything about the other and left us feeling as though we needed more. More build up, more revelations…… just more belief in their intense relationship.  We needed Cami to force Jake into revealing himself before she gave her heart to him. After all,  Cami had witnessed Jake’s volatile side yet never thought to question it. Jake on the other hand knew Cami more on a second hand information basis than a soul deep level. Neither really got to the depths of who they truly were, what they were. The ferocity and timing of their feelings was too immediate and a somewhat  unbelievable. In order to believe it we have to feel it…and sadly we didn’t in this case.

“You’re the missing piece I wasn’t looking for, angel. And now I’m scared of being incomplete again. I’m so scared of being without you.”

In saying that, the story picked up with vigour towards the end and the latter part of the book was absolutely beautiful revealing the real inner strength and torment Jake had endured. This was proper heart-warming stuff!  We did feel that the dual POV worked to perfection as we were able to catch a personal glimpse of both Cami and Jake. Whilst this wasn’t our favourite by this author, we did enjoy much of the story as a whole, we just wish Jake and Cami’s characters could have been fleshed out more and their relationship allowed to develop more organically in order for us to really and truly experience the intensity of their feelings for each other.

3 Stars

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TB ALSO RECOMMENDS 

THIS MAN TRILOGY

this man trilogy

This ManAmazon US | Amazon UK | Our review
Beneath This ManAmazon US | Amazon UK  | Our review 
This Man ConfessedAmazon US | Amazon UK  | Our review


ONE NIGHT TRILOGY

one-night-series-books

One Night Promised : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Our review
One Night Denied Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Our review 
One Night UnveiledAmazon US | Amazon UK  | Our review

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny