Tag Archives: standalone

WOLFSONG by TJ KLUNE :: REVIEW

5 Epic Stars!
Standalone MM Paranormal

SYNOPSIS

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

WOLFSONG is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“I’m not a wolf.”
“No,” he said. “But you’re something.”

Be still our book loving hearts because we just read a story that catapulted itself to a place in our heart where our all-time favourite books live. T.J Klune captured every single one of our breaths, every heart beat and every nerve ending of our emotional being as our body mind and soul became completely tethered to a story of love, loss, grief, family and friendship. Of responsibility, honour and integrity. Of war, redemption and personal sacrifice. Stunningly written as if we were reading a journal, its unique and almost poetic prose astounded us. This is unlike any paranormal we’ve read in a long while and we took all the characters into our hearts.

‘But hearts are a funny thing; they beat strongly in our chests, even though they can shatter at the slightest pressure.’

No word from us can ever do Wolfsong any justice. This is the story that is everything, a story that was everything. A story that every reader needs to experience. Even if you’re not a reader of paranormal nor m/m we highly encourage you to give this story the chance to open your heart to a brilliance that will light you up with exquisite book love.

‘Sometimes, when your heart gets so full, it takes away your voice and all you can do is hold on for dear life.’

Wolfsong was an epic compelling read of grand proportion. We never wanted it to end and whilst this was a long book it felt like time barely passed from the turn of the first page to the last. Vivid imagery, powerful scents and an exceptional emotional grasp, it captivated us, thrilled us and left us awestruck.

“You confuse me. You aggravate me. You’re amazing and beautiful, and sometimes, I want to put my teeth in you just to watch you bleed. I want to know what you taste like. I want to leave my marks on your skin. I want to cover you until all you smell like is me.”

Wolfsong is primarily about Ox, a beautiful young man who has grown up being told he’s nothing by a Father who acts like anything but. Ox is different but not in any way other than the fact that he has a huge heart, a sweet vulnerability and an immeasurable emotional strength despite his home life.

‘Here was where I felt most at home. Here was where I wouldn’t be judged.’

Unbeknownst to him things are not what they seem around him and more exists than that of which he’s aware. His Mum is the only person he has in his life, their bond sweet and loving. Their life a hardship a lot of the time.

‘Joe was overwhelming. Everything was him. He was all I could hear and see and taste and smell.’

Everything changes when a family descends and moves in close by. A world is opened to Ox and he becomes part of something bigger he never dared dream existed. Ox meets a young Joe Bennett and he’s immediately pulled into a life where his eyes are opened to what exists in between of what is known. Ox and Joe’s story is one of laughter, tears and suspense. We fell in love, we laughed and we cried uncountable tears. It was thrilling, epic and awesome. It smelled of pine cones and candy canes. It grabbed our heart and soul.

‘It should have been obvious. It should have been obvious what they were, but then I wasn’t looking for the incredible buried in the ordinary.’

 

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A WAR LIKE OURS by SAFFRON A. KENT :: REVIEW

A liar…a hater….a forbidden kiss. A gritty, raw standalone love story.

SYNOPSIS

A liar…

Three weeks ago, James Maxwell’s wife died in a car accident, but he hasn’t been able to tell his five-year old daughter the heartbreaking truth behind her mother’s death. Instead, he packs them up and leaves for a summer resort in upstate New York to spend a few peaceful weeks and to gradually break the news. But a spirited and outspoken maid at the resort has figured out his secret.

A hater…

After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of her stepfather, Madison Smith has turned aimless and bitter toward the world—men, in particular. Her dead-end job at the local resort and her convenient girlfriend barely keep Madison from falling apart. When she meets James, however, she’s driven to protect his child from the darkness she sees inside him.

A forbidden kiss…

But Madison doesn’t expect to find that very darkness irresistible. Drowning in guilt and memories, neither does James expect to be drawn to the sharp-witted woman who has made his life miserable. When their tempers flare, a brutal kiss triggers a need that blurs the lines of hate and desire. As their lust spins out of control, they must decide if their attraction is worth fighting for or if love is the real enemy.

Author’s Note: This book is intended for mature audience. It has trigger elements: Abuse, self harm, death. 18+ ONLY. Despite having an HEA, this story doesn’t follow the usual or conventional rules. It’s rough, edgy and yes, difficult to read in places. The characters are broken and jagged and so is their descent in love. Please proceed with caution. Thank you!

A WAR LIKE OURS is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

 “You push me and push me and push me. Every single moment with you is a battle.”
“You’re right. Every moment with us is a battle. A war. And I’m going to win this war, James. You’re going to lose.”

Well wow, we may be lost for words. A War Like Ours is the debut novel by Saffron A Kent and it completely turned us inside out. You know those books that shock you, yet compel you, because they’re so unexpected. The kind of book that you just know is going to be a marmite book. Well this is it. We still don’t know what we truly feel and have spent hours discussing this story. It’s a fine line between love and hate and we veered across this line touching both sides throughout. We love books that provoke a reaction out of us.

‘Famished. Insatiable. Mad. That was what I felt when I was around her.’
“Hurt me. You know you want to.”

First of all we have to say that we are so surprised this is Saffron A Kent’s first book. The writing was sublime, flawless and highly evocative. She does not mince her words and the emotion they induce are spot on. The quality of writing is why we continued reading this story and why we could not look away. We struggled to connect with the characters and we’re not sure we liked them all that much. That may sound harsh but it’s a testament to this Author that we kept reading despite this struggle. James and Maddison intrigued us, they challenged us and they provoked us. We loved them – we hated them.

‘I looked up, and the fogged mirror reflected a man – diseased and inhuman – with tiny streams of blood snaking down his torso. A liar. A coward. A disappointment.’

This is not a hearts and flowers romance. This is an ugly and quite frankly painful romance. Why? Because Maddison and James are seriously chaotic and emotionally messed up characters. Their relationship is beyond anything we can relate to. Whilst it’s dirty and hot at times it’s the twisted actions, extreme behaviour and emotional turmoil of these characters that left us reeling. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of this book, though we have to give this Author credit for writing a believable ending that fitted the story and the characters. Our hearts bled for these characters.

‘Where had she been all these years? She matched me in every single way. She was just as raw and untamed. Just as angry and selfish. Perhaps that was why she got to me. Because I saw myself in her, a better me, in fact. I saw how unfettered she was, and I desired that, to be unchained, guilt-free.’

Maddison and James are both damaged emotionally for reasons very personal to them. Neither have had a life smelling of roses nor many happy memories.  One could say that they have no idea or comprehension on what love truly is. Both have been starved of it. So when they meet, the recognition of themselves in each other, is incredibly visceral. Neither is convincingly looking to be healed nor looking to change or get better.  Their pain is what it is. This is who they are, who they believe they are. What they do recognise after a physical empowerment spurred in the other, is the possibility of love. A War Like Ours was in our opinion a unique story brilliantly written with a bruised and battered pen.

“Let the pain take over. Let it own you, turn you inside out. Let it win, Maddison. That’s the only way to stop this, to stop feeling.”
“Show me how.”

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Filed under Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Saffron A. Kent

FOR FINLAY by J. NATHAN

Standalone New Adult football themed romance

SYNOPSIS
Finlay Thatcher is a lost soul, guilt-ridden after the death of her twin brother. When Alabama’s football coach gives her the opportunity to work for him, she knows it’s her chance to move on, even if it means living her brother’s dream.

Caden Brooks is Alabama’s star quarterback. He’s got it all. The attention of adoring fans. A girlfriend who’d do anything to hold on to him. And a future in the pros. He’s getting along just fine until Finlay steps into his life, despising him at first sight and pushing his buttons like no other.

Unfortunately for Finlay, and her attempt to keep Caden at arm’s length, there’s nothing Caden loves more than a challenge. The problem with this challenge is she comes with a secret that has the power to destroy everything.

FOR FINLAY is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

4.5 Fabulous stars!

‘But living in the shadow of someone else was the worst kind of fate. And for my own sanity, I put an end to it.’

We were in the mood for a sports romance and they don’t come much better than For Finlay. This felt like a classic old school NA romance with a well written football theme. J Nathan is a new to us Author and we fell in love with her story and characters. A fabulous frenemies to lovers’ story that’ll burrow deep in your heart. Whilst incredibly sad at times it’s also very sweet, passionate and funny.

“Never be afraid to tell people what you’re really thinking. It’s one of the most refreshing things about you.”

After a bit of a slow start we became hooked and this story captivated us as we went on a journey of high emotions, heartfelt angst as well as the tragedy of loss and self-discoveries. Do we live our lives for ourselves or others? Do we let the consequences of our past impact our future?

“He judged me before hearing the truth.”

For Finlay is a story a girl, Finlay, who suffers the dreadful loss of her twin brother during a time when their relationship is strained and fractious. The guilt is all encompassing and she’s living a life of regret, loneliness and trying to -in her own way- fulfil her dead brother’s dreams. Finlay is, despite what she thinks, quite the feisty independent girl with a quiet unassuming strength.

‘He made me feel things I’d never felt before. Things I wasn’t sure I’d feel again. But that’s why it was so scary.’

Caden is the all-American hero. The star quarterback who’s immediately drawn to Finlay for unexplainable reasons as she absolutely despises everything about him and makes this known daily. Despite her cold and somewhat hostile treatment of him, he can’t stay away. The chemistry is palpable and he craves her despite her outward hatred towards him. He wants to understand her. He wants her to feel like he feels. He wants her.

“Let me do whatever it takes to make this right.”

The flow of this story felt so natural and believable. We really got to know the characters, their stumbling blocks, insecurities and inner fights. There were times we had tears in our eyes and others were our hearts melted. Such a beautiful story that for some reason sparked a sentimentality in our hearts. A fabulous sports romance that did exactly what it set out to be!

 

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Filed under J Nathan, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

WAR POPPY by NICOLE LYNNE

Standalone tragic and heartbreaking second chance love story

6th

SYNOPSIS

Poppy
Love and war. Two words that should have little association, but to me the two go hand in hand. Both are a tragedy. They rip you open and spit you out. The war killed my husband, Connor, shattered my will to live, and took my best friend. Brandon may not have physically died in that war, but his soul did. And now we’re left to pick up the wreckage. Expected to move on when all that is left is the ruins of a life we once had.
Brandon
War. It took everything from me, even myself. When you’re only able to exist, death seems like a blessing. Pain…a welcome distraction. I ran from everything associated with my past, and then she found me, fighting, drowning myself in whisky, trying to forget. She reminds me of Connor, of what I’ve lost—what we’ve lost. In the midst of destruction, she’s a salvation I don’t deserve.
I shouldn’t love him.
I shouldn’t love her.
Love is a war we never should have fought.

WAR POPPY is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

4 Hearbreaking stars

‘It’s as though he wraps himself around my lonely soul and nurses it back to life with the splintered remnants of his own.’

If you’re looking for a sweet hearts and flowers romance, War Poppy by Nicole Lynne, is anything but. In fact, it’s a tortured, honest, brutal love story which carried a sense of foreboding throughout.  As we read, we had that nervous, gut wrenching feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was a feeling that felt inevitable rather than probable. Such was the tone of the story.

‘As much as we pretend we aren’t alone, we are never more alone than when we are tripped in our own mind. And Brandon – the place he’s trapped, it’s a place I could never begin to understand.’

The flourishing partnership of Stevie J Cole & L.P. Lovell has shown to be a formidable collaboration, delivering some dark and downright uncomfortably gritty stories, but this time, in War Poppy, they’ve written a story that is tragically heartbreaking and they did it in their own inimitable style.

Connor Blaine, Poppy Turner and Brandon O’Kieffe were the three musketeers growing up.  A trio of misfits that gelled together perfectly. They shared an adventurous childhood, leaning on one another, sharing adolescence and adulthood.  Brandon would be Poppy’s first crush, first kiss, first love, though it would be Connor who would ultimately marry their childhood sweetheart.

War Poppy begins with the loss of Connor during his time in Afghanistan with Brandon. Connor was more than a mate, he was his brother in every sense of the word. Riddled with guilt and despair, Brandon goes AWOL, turning to the bottle and underground boxing bouts in an attempt to exorcise the demons living within. Brandon is only functioning physically following Connor’s tragic death.  Poppy’s re-emergence into Brandon’s life gave us the hope that he can overcome his demons. Is love enough?

‘Two lost souls trying to save each other from unsalvageable events. She may be my hope, but I’m surely her destruction.’

The sense of hopelessness in this story is overwhelming, and we did experience that aspect through Brandon’s character who struck our hearts painfully and deeply. However, we felt we didn’t get to fully experience the level of anguish and sadness we would have expected from this story and feel this stems from being denied the bonding experience of Poppy and Connor’s relationship. This was such an important part of the story, yet we felt we knew very little about the man at the centre of all the pain and whose death was the catalyst for unfolding events. We couldn’t conceive how Poppy came to marry Connor, what their life was like…in fact, we knew nothing of this background, other than the snippets from childhood. Every reader is different and for us, this was something we desperately needed to experience to completely grasp the full extent of Poppy’s devastating grief and her profound love for Brandon.

 “Everything in life is a risk, you just have to decide which risks are worth taking, and to me, and you are a risk worth taking because without you, without what we have, I will be existing. And I want to live, Brandon.”

War Poppy is told in dual pov between Poppy and Brandon, as well as flashbacks to their childhood and Brandon’s time at war and we can tell you, being inside Brandon’s head during those times was chaotic and unbearably heartbreaking. Witnessing him trying to claw his way out of the darkness and living those devastating moments with him broke us.

‘I’m left standing in the middle of destruction, staring at the violence that must constantly be swimming inside of his head. And when I’m finally able to draw in a good breath, I collapse to the floor, head in hands wondering when love turned into war.’

It’s clear to see these authors poured their soul into this story and it must have been an agonising love story to bring to fruition, because as a reader it was difficult reading. We applaud their courage in telling this story their way as in doing so they made Brandon and Poppy’s story feel authentic and believable. War Poppy is a gut-wrenching story of friendship, loss, courage, grief and love with the hearts of these two authors clearly visible on every page.  And whilst it most certainly moved us, we just fell short of experiencing the complete decimation of our hearts we had anticipated.


For more STEVIE J COLE  and L.P. LOVELL TBB Recommendations, click below

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Filed under L.P. Lovell, Nicole Lynne, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Stevie J Cole

MISTS OF THE SERENGETI by LEYLAH ATTAR :: REVIEW & EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

See why we declared this incredible story “one of the best books we’ve ever read.”


TBB Top ‘All Time Fave’ Read
5++ STAR SPOILER FREE REVIEW :: MISTS OF THE SERENGETI

Standalone epic, breathtakingly beautiful romance. 

mists on the serengeti

SYNOPSIS

Once in Africa, I kissed a king…

“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newly born butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”

When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.

Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.

Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.

But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?

“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”

A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.

MISTS OF THE SERENGETI is available to purchase below

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Mists of the Serengeti

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“Will I miss you? Like a dream that starves and curls up beneath my bones.”

Sometimes a book comes along that grabs your imagination by the very scruff and demands you to vividly experience, feel, see, scent and taste every single word conveyed by its Author. A story that burrows so deep into your heart that it finds a home. A story that makes you feel as if you are an integral part of events unfolding, whilst it takes you on an unforgettable journey, forever seared into your very being. A story that sings hymns of truth in an exquisite, powerful, harrowing and passionate manner.

‘It was the kind of magic that comes after a lifetime of searching, when you stumble upon something so perfect, you stop looking, and you say: Yes. This. I know this. I feel this. I’ve heard its footsteps echo down the hallways of my soul.’

A reader lives a thousand lives and the life we led in the Mists of the Serengeti was quite simply spectacular. A masterpiece. A rich and fragrant life filled with beauty, heartbreak, tragedy, hope, suspense and ultimately a love story of grand proportion. A love story that convinced and compelled us to the point where we saw nothing else but two souls merging through fate and ultimate consequence. Love in picturesque multicolour where darkness seeps in to scar and destroy. A love that rose out of rubble and dust. Despair and injustice walking hand in hand with hope, spirit and inspiration.

‘This is what it looks like when you wander somewhere between the sand and stardust, and meet a piece of yourself in someone else.’

Sometimes a book comes along where you feel a heart beating amidst the pages. A story where the very life, breath and soul of its Author lives – where words are penned by the heart – the hand a mere conveyor of the magic that resides within. A fluid transfer of an epic love story set amongst passionate, sumptuous and colourful beauty. We felt the magic deep in our bones, our tears flowing in time to the beat of the rhythm of this story’s magnificent heart.

‘My greatest loss had led to my greatest love. Hearts were broken, and hearts were healed. Lives were lost, and lives were saved.’

We know without a doubt that what we just experienced will never leave us. Its impact and poignancy so grand and its searing splendour so vibrant it left a lasting imprint which whispers and echoes; out of the most heart-breaking tragedy an inspirational love can rise and emerge stronger than that which tries to tear it down. Leylah Attar has left us speechless and awestruck; she has left a piece of herself in our hearts forever.

‘Sometimes you come across a rainbow story – one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.’


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Laylah Attar

I woke up early the next morning. For a few long, languid moments, I lay in bed enjoying the warmth of the woman sleeping beside me. My eyes roved over her brow, the small hairs that blended into her hairline, the pink, soft cushion of her lips. I placed the tip of my little finger in the groove between her nose and upper lip. The philtrum. I had looked it up. It was mine. It fit me perfectly. Just like the rest of her. Every part of me was made to fit every part of her.

My desire stirred, hot and heavy, under the covers. I wanted her with a craving that knew no depth. She was beautiful and devastating. Just like love should be. I could spend forever in the corners of her mind and never get bored. I could kiss her lips every morning and still not learn all the flavors of her soul. I was gone for this girl—so far gone that it terrified me.

I pulled the comforter over her and slipped out of bed, smiling as she snuggled deeper. We had woken up and gone at it again. And then again. I had exhausted her. In the best possible way.

Take that, I said to the naughty paperback lying on the floor. Then I paused and flipped through it. Hmm. Maybe we can do this tonight. No. This. This is even hotter. Holy fuck.

When Rodel came downstairs, I was on the couch, feet propped up, eyeballs deep in a romance novel.

“Really?” She crawled on top of me and kissed me. “I don’t know which I find sexier. You reading this book or the morning stubble on your face.” Her fingers traced my jawline. “I’m still not used to seeing you without the beard.”

“Does it feel different when I do this?” I pulled her in and reclaimed her lips.

“Wait!” She rescued the book getting crushed between us. “Oh. My. God. Did you bend the corners of my book?” She sat back on her heels and flipped through it.

“Just the parts I think we should re-enact.”

“Jack.” She shook her head in woe. “You never, ever fold a corner over in a book.”

“You’re so hot when you go all book-nerd on me.” Her nightshirt was riding high on her thighs, her lips were pouty, and she was cradling the book as if it were a hurt child. “Do you know—” I flipped her over so she was on all fours, her nose lodged in the folds of the novel “—I have sex with you a lot. In my head. Just like this.” I squeezed her sweet, round ass and rubbed my throbbing shaft over her panties. “Read to me, Rodel. Read to me while I ride you.” I pushed the fabric of her panties aside and slipped my finger inside of her. She let out a muffled groan.

“Are you burying your face in that book? Rodel.” I tsked. “You never, ever manhandle a book like that. This sexy ass, yes.” I slapped her full, round cheek. “But the book…” I grabbed her hair and tugged so she was looking down at the pages before her. “Read it, Rodel. Unless you want me to stop?” I slid another finger inside her and nipped the back of her neck.

Her voice quivered as she started reading the passages aloud. She kept losing track. I kept reminding her. A little yank, a little spank, to keep her head in the game. Her body squirmed against mine, engulfing my senses, engorging my passion, until the air was thick with hot, heated need.

She opened her mouth to say something, but as I thrust into her, the book fell away and the only word that escaped her was: “Unghhh.” It was a throaty, unintelligible whisper that was mind-blowingly hotter than all the erotic words I’d made her read.


TBB Also recommends this wonderful Standalone by Leylah

THE PAPER SWAN can be purchased below

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the paper swan cover

SYNOPSIS

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense.

Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers. 

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Filed under Excerpt, Leylah Attar, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny