Release Blitz and Book Review: Never a Saint by Lila Rose

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Never a Saint Ebook Cover-1I was excited to receive book #2 in the polished P&P series as I really enjoyed book #1 Wreck Me Forever (review to come). This was another MM romance with one of the main characters never having thought about being involved with another guy. There are a few novels of this trope around at the moment and I am really enjoying them. I like the idea that it’s not always clear cut about who we fall in love with.

This novel focuses on Kylo and Saint (Zion) who we met in book #1, but this can easily be read as a standalone if you like. Saint is one of the high up members of the Diamond MC and part-owner of Polished Pussies and Penises, a brothel and escort service. When Kylo goes for a job there and a challenge is made, things take quite the turn for these two. I really enjoyed the dynamics between these guys, it was both sweet and amusing and I loved the way Saint persued Kylo much to Kylo’s disbelief.

Kylo’s background is not a good one and this comes to a head in the last third of the book, the way it plays out is pretty violent, but this is a Motorcycle Club after all.

I loved catching up with the characters from book #1 and look forward to book #3.

BLURB

Kylo Lee, prospect to the Diamond MC, makes a career shift to help better his future. He doesn’t know it will change him in more ways than one, and it’s all to do with a certain man who confuses and annoys him, while sending his emotions wild.

Just when everything is falling into place, life takes a turn down a road where Kylo doesn’t want to go. His past comes back to bite him in the ass. Pain surrounds him and all that can make him happy is vengeance, and the man who surprisingly still stands at his side.

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Never a Saint CR TeaserEXCERPT

“Kylo,” he called. I looked to him as he walked back to where he’d left his phone. Then he had my eyes again. He put a knee to the bed, leaned over, and pressed his lips to my shoulder.

“Night,” he said, and looked up at me.

I cleared my thick throat.

He’d kissed my shoulder.

My skin.

“Yeah, night.” I nodded. He grinned, straightened, and walked from the room.

What the hell was that all about?

Why did he do that?

This was fucking weird. He made no sense. I scrubbed a hand over my face.

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Wreck Me Forever#1 Wreck Me Forever

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AUTHOR BIO

Lila was born in Brisbane Australia, her step-dad was in the Army which caused them to move around a lot. They finally settled in country Victoria, Australia. Being the youngest of four children she admits she was spoilt a bit. Even drove her mum crazy when she refused to eat meat at a young age.

Now, Lila lives with her husband and two children.

She started writing in 2013 and self-published the first of the Hawks MC: Ballarat Charter series- Holding Out. Since then, she has published eleven other titles, which range from erotica, humorous romance, YA and paranormal.

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New Release Book Review: Her Last Words by Kim Kelly.

her last wordsI have sat with this review for a week because I just didn’t know what to write about this wonderful new novel by Kim Kelly. Every novel she writes is so distinct from the previous ones, it is always a delight to open up her book and see the words she has written transform into something wonderful. Once again this novel is entirely different, both in the way the story is told and the story itself. It is many things, a crime novel, a love story, an insight into the publishing world, a search for redemption, a story of grief.

The inspiration for this novel came from a very sad and personal experience of the authors. Also, knowing some of the author’s background as a writer and book editor working in the publishing industry for over 20 years, Penny’s journey as a commissioning editor deciding if she wants to remain in an industry, such as the big publishing world has become, has a definite personal feel to it.

Throughout the story, there are many serendipitous moments that are seemingly unconnected to each other but show the ‘small world effect’ where things are interconnected in ways we may never fully be aware of. Though some of these moments seem most unlikely or too serendipitous, I loved them all the more for this reason and I loved how they were woven into the story.

There are 6 main characters in this novel, though one, Thisbe, who is murdered at the start of the novel, is the catalyst for the things that transpire for the other characters. I loved all the characters, except Jane, I hoped with everything I had that she would get what she deserved by the end of the story. I was easily able to understand or empathise with the rest of the characters and loved being part of their journey, I wanted to be there for them for the ups and the downs, the triumphs and the defeats.

There were many moments in this story that spoke to me and many lines I highlighted to read again.

He’d always thought the idea of sticks and stones breaking bones but names never hurting was stupid, especially after he’d banjaxed his ankle at eighteen playing football, and three months later his very first girlfriend was telling him,‘ I do like you, but I don’t want to go out with you anymore. You’re too weird.’ He could say then, definitively, that words hurt worse. Bones heal, don’t they, and a bit of physical incapacitation is always a good excuse for more reading; good for reassessing that career as a world-famous midfielder you were never going to have, too. But words hang in the air forever; they write themselves onto your soul so that when you least expect it, they return, their power undiminished.

I could empathise completely with John’s struggle with depression and the description the author uses to describe depression was so apt for me personally.

Depression is an eel that slips between the ribs unnoticed until it’s feeding on your heart. It darts between circumstantial sense – the relationship between bad things happening and bad feelings had – and the shark shadows of every nightmarish dream, every unnameable, aching need.

And lastly, Penny and I are on the same wavelength with this quote.

‘If I’ve enjoyed a book, the last thing I want to do is see the movie. Breach of copyright on the one I’ve already made on my own – always a poor ripoff.’

This was a wonderful novel that brought out many emotions and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

20Backlistin2020: Book Review: Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie

Devils LairThis book has been sitting on both my shelf and my kindle for over a year and after reading Sarah Barrie’s newest book Deadman’s Track, I was keen to finally get this one read.

This was an absolutely brilliant romantic suspense novel. Once again set in Tasmania, we get to meet the characters from Bloodtree River and Deadman’s Track again and this time it is Connor’s turn to find happiness. After what he went through in Bloodtree River, he is understandably in two minds about starting anything new. When he meets Callie, who is trying to fly under the radar after her own traumatic experiences, he finds it hard to stay away from her.

This novel had me reading well into the middle of the night, there was plenty of tension, secrets, and ritualistic murders, alongside romance, new friendships, and new beginnings.

There were so many twists and turns in this story that I just did not see coming, every time I thought I had things figured out, I would have that theory pulled out from under me.

Callie was a very strong character, for someone who had been through what she’d been through, losing her husband in a violent incident and a lengthy court case, the fact she came through it as sane as she did amplified that strength.

The cottage and house that Callie stays in thanks to her friend Paisley’s help, is both beautiful and very creepy, I don’t think I could have stayed there.

The character that creeped me out the most was Paisley’s brother Ned, talk about stalkerish and crazy, I’d have had a restraining order out on him from the start no matter how harmless people were telling me he was. There was something seriously wrong with Ned from the beginning and he was just one of the spine-chilling aspects of the story.

I loved the romance that blossomed between Connor and Callie and their relationship made me smile plenty even when they were having their disagreements.

This novel also deals with the important issue of mental health issues and how support or lack of support can affect people who suffer with these illnesses.

I highly recommend this novel and though it can easily be read as a standalone, I recommend reading them in order: Bloodtree River, Devil’s Lair, Deadman’s Track.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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New Release Book Review : Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

cover191048-mediumOMG what a roller-coaster of a terrifying ride this novel took me on.

With at least two bad guys on the loose, there was plenty for the characters in this book to be worried about.

Tess was a great character, full of spirit, brave and sure of herself for the most part.

Aaron was a truly horrible character right from the start and any scene that he was in had me wanting to put the book down, sure things were going to turn out badly. His behaviour was classic of an abusive partner and I hated the way he treated Tess.

I loved Jared, the local police officer, he had a big job to do trying to keep up with escalating burglaries.

When Tess lets herself get roped into taking a group of teens out on a trek for a week, I was perplexed at her change in behaviour, because she had been so adamant it wasn’t a good idea, and I knew it wasn’t going to end well, but even I had no idea just how badly things were going to go.

There are several different threads going on during this novel, all becoming tangled up together by the end and not in a good way.

This was a great read and despite the terrible things that happen throughout this novel, I’d love to go trekking in Tasmania at some point, I just hope the bad guys are busy elsewhere when I do.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Published date 8th July 2020

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Book Review: The Game of Love by Libby M Iriks

the game of loveThis was a really lovely second-chance romance novella by local West Australian author Libby M Iriks. Set in Rockingham a coastal suburb just south of Perth, Libby uses the local activities and environment to help her characters come together.

Alyssa has put her career on hold and returned home from living over East for the past 10 years. She is struggling with a not so hopeful medical issue that is going to require treatment and has returned so her family can support her. The very last thing she is thinking of is romance, especially with an old friend from her teenage years.

Dean is a happy-go-lucky guy who plays the field and has absolutely no intention of finding ‘the one’ of falling in love and settling down. When he literally bumps into Alyssa both of these characters will have their plans for the future knocked on their heads.

I loved these two characters and really enjoyed the friendship that formed between them, I loved all the experiences they did together, especially the skydiving, which is one of my favourite experiences ever, though I did mine in Jurien Bay, not Rockingham, I can still picture what it was like to be free-falling over the ocean like they did.

Both of these characters second-guess themselves and what they are doing more than once, and both need to learn to open up and talk to each other and share what they are thinking and feeling and what they have been through if they are ever to make a go of having a future together.

An enjoyable read for a lazy afternoon. You can get your copy for free by subscribing to Libby M Iriks newsletter here.

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New Release Book Review: Blazing Fear by Leisl Leighton

Blazing FearThe second book in the CoalCliff Stud series, book #1 Climbing Fear was a great introduction to the CoalCliff Stud and the extended family that live there, I enjoyed returning to CoalCliff Stud and it’s cast of characters along with some new ones including the new doctor in town Prita and her adopted son Carter.

Prita is a tough and capable doctor who is starting a new life in town whilst hiding from some personal issues she doesn’t want to deal with. She is being threatened and she thinks she knows who the culprits are, but when things escalate she has to start taking the threats more seriously.

Flynn from out at CoalCliff Stud lost his wife a few years before in a fire and is determined not to get emotionally entangled again. Unfortunately, his connection with Prita is stronger than his determination to stay away from her. I really liked the connection that was between Prita and Flynn and I liked the fact that when push came to shove they weren’t able to fight it.

As the secrets Prita has been running from catch up with her, they really highlighted the difference in the way people perceive things and how with communication, so many misunderstandings could be avoided. They also showed what a giving person Prita was and the sacrifices she had made for others. I liked that she was realising that it was time to focus on what she needed and wanted.

I really enjoy the friendships and family connections that this series contains and the way everyone is there to help when needed. There is definitely something to be said for small-town communities. There is plenty of suspense in this novel and while I thought I knew who one of the bad guys was, I wasn’t completely sure until the end.

Another great read in this series and I really hope there is more to come in this series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Escape Publishing for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

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New Release Book Review: The Octopus and I by Erin Hortle

IMG_20200616_120841I’ve had a lot of trouble reading recently due to some stressful things going on, but on Monday it was all over, and although there are other stresses now to deal with, the big one which has been taking all my energy and brainpower is now finished and I was hopeful I might be able to pick up a book and also catch up on some reviews. I have been going for light romances to try and keep my mind off of everything, but on Tuesday I thought I’d try something different. Thanks to Allen & Unwin, I had a copy of The Octopus and I waiting to be read and I think its serious nature and beautiful language and metaphors, was just what I needed.

I became totally absorbed in this novel, I could feel and empathise with all the tumultuous feelings that Lucy, the main character was feeling and dealing with. Lucy has survived breast cancer, with her ‘fake’ new breasts, she feels she has lost who she is and what her body means to her now. While I thankfully haven’t had to deal with this myself, I could still understand and empathise with Lucy and her struggle to love her body again. 

I really slowed down to read this novel, it was beautifully written and the octopuses and the other sea life that play a part in telling the story were at times touching and beautiful and at other times quite violent and disturbing. There was one chapter about a seal that I found particularly hard to read.

I have a friend who had her breasts removed due to breast cancer and went down the same road is Lucy in choosing to cover the scars and skin with tattoos, I could imagine how Lucy felt as the tattoo emerged and she dealt with the changes that were going on both on the outside and on the inside as she allowed herself to heal.

There is a small cast of characters, Flo, Harry and Jeb, who play important roles in Lucy’s life after her breast cancer and then after an accident she has whilst trying to save a pregnant octopus. Flo, an older lady who she connects with initially over catching octopuses, becomes such an important support system for Lucy and she learns many lessons through the interactions she has with her. Life can be confusing and people can be enigmas and difficult to understand. Lucy’s relationship with Jeb is like this and as Lucy struggles to understand herself, her relationship with Jeb suffers and she has to take a good look at the both of them. Harry, Flo’s son is a quiet character who really ‘gets’ Lucy, he really sees who she is and seems to understand the journey she is on. I really liked Harry and the part he played in Lucy’s journey of self discovery.

A heartfelt and emotional read, it was exactly what I was looking for.

 

New Release Book Review: The Scottish Boy by Alex de Campi

The Scottish BoyI truly loved this novel, it had intrigue, romance, and sex galore as well as fighting and dirty politics as was consistent with the time of 1333.

This was another Pigeonhole read, one stave a day, and I so wanted to be able to read the whole thing in one hit, I woke each morning hoping that today’s stave had been delivered early and I could read it before work. There was a lot of discussion during the read, which I quite enjoy and the majority of us really enjoyed it. There were however a few who were not at all happy with the sex scenes, they felt they were far too graphic, and I wonder if this was just because they were between two males and if it had been a heterosexual couple whether they would have had the same complaint or not. I had no issue with the sex scenes and I thought they built the relationship between the two main characters perfectly, showing what an intense relationship they had in every aspect. But I will say that yes, the sex scenes are quite graphic, so if you don’t like this, then maybe this won’t be the book for you.

An LGBT historical novel set in the 1300s, a time I knew nothing about, and a time I am glad I didn’t live in. It was certainly a violent time with wars going on for land and titles continuously, as well as plots to take France or Scotland or for France to take England, so much scheming going on I don’t know how anyone, especially Edward III slept at night.

Harry is young and eager to become a knight, he has very little idea of what this truly entails only having fought and trained in tournaments. Turning up just after a fight he was hoping to be in, he is pulled into a scheme he has no understanding of, but which will change his life completely.

The first fight scenes were gruesome and disturbing, just as fighting would have been in that time, Harry is completely disturbed by this and I stood with him, watching the massacre that was going on with disbelief and horror. There was really no such thing as honour, especially among the men that Harry found himself teamed with. These men scheme throughout the novel, using their love of England as their reason, when really it is their love of power that drives them.

After this first Massacre, a prisoner is taken, Harry has no idea who this Scottish Boy is, but when he is given to him to be his squire, he finds his life entwined with Iain’s and both of their lives will eventually depend upon the other. Iain is a tortured soul who with the help of Harry learns who he wants to be and what truly matters. As much as he wants to be left alone, the secret of who he is won’t allow this to happen.

The book spans many years, many plots, and intrigues and Harry has to learn who he wants to be and who he can truly trust. There are some surprising alliances formed and I really enjoyed the way I was at times not sure where everything was leading and how it was going to end up. 

I have read comments that some of the histories in this novel are not totally accurate, but for me, not knowing the history anyway, it certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this novel. 

20Backlistin2020 book review: Out of Luck by Kendall Talbot

Out of LuckOh my god, this book has sat on my digital shelf for 11 months, I am so glad I finally got to it because it was an action-packed read that kept me guessing until the end.

When Charlene’s father is murdered in front of her it is the catalyst that sets of a series of events that after a while she has no control over, as secrets and lies begin to come unravelled, Charlene throws herself into the path of danger.

While I couldn’t even begin to imagine running off to Cuba to hunt down my past, that is exactly what Charlene does. Her only saving grace is that she is lucky enough to have landed sexy ex-naval officer Marshall as her skipper to get her across from the US to Cuba, an illegal and potentially dangerous journey in itself.

These two have an instant connection, but both fight it as they have their own agendas and their own personal issues to deal with.

Charlene was one tough young woman, her father had given her lots of training over the years, and this is the only thing that kept her alive. While I thought some (most) of her decisions were really not the best idea, she was running completely on her emotions and to her, they seemed to be the only decisions to make.

While Marshall is determined not to care about Charlene, when she doesn’t make the rendezvous, he is, of course, determined to try and save her.

There is plenty of action, suspense, and chemistry in this fast-paced romantic suspense novel and I am going to try and hunt down the first book in the Maximum Exposure series. I remember reading and enjoying book 2 Out of Mind but it looks like these are being rereleased, so I might have to wait to read book 1 Out of Reach.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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New Release Book Review: The Cake Maker’s Wish by Josephine Moon

IMG_20200531_120111I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump recently, flitting from one book to another without really being pulled into any of them. The Cake Maker’s Wish however ended that slump, hopefully for good. I had two extremely late nights reading this novel, I did not want to put it down, but sleep was calling at 2am.

Though I have a few Josephine Moon books on my bookshelves, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, but after this one, I’ll be making time to catch up on them.

I was pulled into Olivia and her son Darcy’s life as they arrive in the small village of Stoneden in the Cotswolds after leaving Tasmania for a new start as part of a Renaissance Project to bring life back to the dying village. What a massive step for her to have taken, to move to the other side of the world with her young son, knowing no one and not knowing if the project will work out, I thought Olivia was very brave to do this. But after her grandmother’s death, she needs a fresh start and an extra incentive is her son’s father, who lives in Norway. These two have never met and their whole relationship is based around skype videos, this is the chance for them to hopefully forge some kind of real relationship.

There are quite a few wonderful characters who have also moved to Stoneden for this project, all for different reasons and most having a past link to the village. For Olivia it is her grandmother who grew up there and then moved to Australia. Olivia would love to find out more about her life, but there are plenty of secrets in Stoneden and they won’t be shared easily.

Not everyone is happy about the newcomers to the village, for various reasons, and some make this felt more than others. There are some very underhanded events that occur to the newcomers’ businesses, making them feel unwelcome and even scared. I really felt for these people who are only trying to make a new start and help the village become alive again.

Olivia and Darcy make some wonderful friends, as well as there being a potential love interest in a dairy farmer. There’s also complications that arise with Darcy’s dad.

There’s so much to love about this novel, from misunderstandings about cake ownership, to stolen apples, friendship and secrets, hope for the future, and holding on to the past, this novel has it all.

Thanks to Better Reading Preview and Penguin Michael Joseph for my cpy of this book in return for an honest review.

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