Tag Archives: standalone

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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GRAVITY by LAUREN RUNOW :: REVIEW

Standalone : Childhood friends to lovers angsty romance spanning over twenty years.

24th TBB Rec

SYNOPSIS
Gravity is not your normal, sweet romance of childhood friends to lovers. Spanning over twenty years—it’s raw, it’s real, asking the question if soul mates really exist.

Lily
At eight years old, the boy next door changed my life. He was the force pulling me toward him despite our differences. It was like magic.
We understood each other, supported each other and in the process became everything to each other.
But in chasing Trevin’s dream, I lost myself along the way.

Trevin
Through tremendous heartache, she was there. Through fame and fortune, she was there. Loving Lily was the one thing I got right.
Eclipsing her in my shadow, I took from her until she was empty. Now I must do anything to prove I can be the man she wants, no, the man she deserves.

Pre Order GRAVITY below – Releasing 24th January

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Gravity Review

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

“You and me, we’re meant to be together.”

This was our first experience with Lauren Runow’s stories and we’re certainly keen to try out more. In Gravity we meet Lily Pace and Trevin Allen who become firm friends at eight years old and who live a life of ups and down, successes and failures, missed opportunities. And as the synopsis suggest, it’s certainly not a warm and gooey childhood to lover’s story, indeed it’s not. This is one angsty journey for Lily and Trevin that’s full of heartbreak, loss and bad decisions, and begs the question, can soulmate love fight, survive and conquer?

‘Without each other, we both will float away into darkness, because my life would be nothing without her.’

Trevin Allen lives in a troubled household with an alcoholic cruel father who really was one of the most revolting characters we’ve met. He made our stomach turn and his treatment of Trevin was hard reading, in fact his behaviour was downright bizarre at times.

A friendship with Lily develops when they are both eight, with Lily’s companionship being the reprieve Trevin craves. They share a reckless innocence which is so sweet and develops as the year’s progress into something more than friendship. At thirteen Trevin’s talent and passion for Baseball could be his passport out of his situation, but it is music that is his dream, and apart from Lily, his love.

‘I will try my hardest to be the best man anyone would want to love, especially the girl holding me right now.’

Trevin’s life begins to take a downward spiral thanks to his father in which Lily tries to pull him out and show him his potential, signing him up for an audition with Sony records. Trevin’s life changes, leaving Lily behind as he chases his music dream.

Trevin tries to include Lily into his life but it’s clear the prim and proper Lily is out of her depth with Trevin’s drug taking, rock star companions and cracks in their relationship and friendship develop.

Gravity follows Trevin and Lily from eight to thirty five and it’s quite the journey. We advise you to hang onto your Kindles because you’ll want to throw them a time or two! Both Lily and Trevin change in personality, behaviour throughout the story, fighting to find their identity whilst exploring the complexities of growth and eventual maturity. Life at times is erratic, separation unavoidable, and both have to learn to bend and make allowances for the other, which is easier said than done.

‘He’s been here, with me, every day since I was eight years old, and now he’s gone.’

Despite Lily’s belief and encouragement in Trevin, we did find Lily to be a little judgemental at times, and felt the time jumps didn’t allow for us to actually feel and live their story some of the time. We know Trevin had drug issues throughout his rock and roll lifestyle but we feel as though we didn’t really experience the gritty, raw aspects of this, and so the impact wasn’t as compelling as it would’ve been if we had lay witness to it.

“He’s my gravity I’m pulled toward him, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

The path to true love isn’t always straight and narrow, it’s rocky and full of potholes, and no more so than in the case of Lily and Trevin. Their love tested us, their reasoning frustrated us, some of their decision making infuriated and confused us, but there’s no doubt Lauren Runow’s story held us captive as we hoped with our hearts in knots that love would eventually prevail for these two.

4 Stars

Gravity

 

 

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GOOD ME, BAD ME by ALI LAND :: REVIEW

A TBB 5 Star Top Read
Standalone psychological suspense thriller.

good me bad me

SYNOPSIS
‘NEW N A M E .
NEW F A M I L Y.
S H I N Y.
NEW.
ME . ‘

Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

GOOD ME, BAD ME is available to purchase below

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Good Me Bad Me

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny – 5 Star Spoiler-Free Review

‘But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes.’

Well this was certainly a psychological thriller that packed quite the punch. It felt unique and the writing was compellingly different, short and sharp sentences where every punctuated word hits you hard. Harrowing, disturbing, chilling and haunting. Nothing detailed, most left unsaid, yet the simplicity of the thought provoking words conjuring up a thousand pictures of a horrific childhood, a parental serial killer and a heart-breaking tragedy. The imagination runs rampant.

‘The word ‘no’ lodges in my throat, won’t launch. Can’t say it, doesn’t work anyway. No meant yes, meant you always got what you wanted. Took it anyway.’

Human conditioning through violence and pain. Your empathy will be questioned as you try to lend support to a girl’s fight against the emotional grip from the only parent she has. Mummy dearest….chills run up the spine. A mother’s love which disregards everything good, decent and loving.

“How come no one knew what she was doing?” “She was clever. Spectacular.” “In what way?” “People liked her, trusted her. She knew how to fool them.”

Twisted, daring and through provoking, this is a must read for anyone who loves to read with one eye open. Milly’s voice will shock you, it’ll frighten you, and it’ll break your heart. It’s a voice that reflects every second, minute, hour, day, week, year she’s spent being frightened and forced to play a part from the strong hold of her Mum’s terrorising ways. Milly’s voice questioning, conflicted, separated into good and bad- in her own words. Trying to be different to everything she’s known. Trying to desperately find normality in a world in which she feels lost, lonely and isolated. Human compassion and understanding up against everything that came before. Trying to grasp at any human decency and contact she possibly can. Is everything as it seems?

‘I welcome the contact. I am real. See me, feel me, but know that I come from a place where this is merely a warm-up.’

Bravo Ali Land- this debut novel set in London ticks every box for originality. An intriguing chilling account by a teenage girl brought up in a house of horror. This is a story that’ll be discussed and dissected till the early hours of the morning.

‘I can do this, I can do life after you.’

 Good Me Bad Me

 

 

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Filed under Ali Land, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny