Book Review: Hidden Kingdom Series by L. Rose (Lila Rose)

A Torn PageA lost pageA final Paige

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve read a few of Lila Rose’s MC Romance novels and enjoyed them, so when I saw she had released something new, I thought I’d give it a try. The Hidden Kingdom series comprises of three novels that fit under the speculative fiction umbrella. They are fantasy and reverse harem with mmfmm relationships.

I really enjoyed this series, there were plenty of different types of nonhuman beings, in Paige’s group alone there was a vampire, magician, ghoul, elf and wolf shifter.

Paige finds out she is a ghoul by accident, she knew she had changed, but she had no idea how, or what she had become. I thought she took everything extremely well, I’d have fallen down into a complete mess if I had been in her shoes. She also discovers at the same time that she is Queen of the ghouls and has many different beings who live under her rule and protection. There has been a lot of corruption and wrongdoings under the previous rule and Paige is just the person to sort it all out.

The original 3 men we meet are a vampire, shifter, and magician, these guys belong to a council who under the guise of protecting all of humanity, seek out threats within the supernatural community. When these three men encounter Paige and feel the connection they have with her, they become enemies of the council and find out how corrupt this organisation is too.

There is plenty of action, plenty of sex and plenty of bad guys to fight, book 1 ended in a cliffhanger, so I was forced to download book 2 immediately to see what happened next and then the same for book 3 because I couldn’t be left hanging after investing so much of my time into these characters.

*This is a reverse harem romance trilogy. There are adult themes, coarse language, humor, and mm scenes, for 18+ only.

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#AWW2020 16/50 17/50 18/50

Book Review: Into the Fog by Sandi Wallace

IMG_20200302_182746I loved Dead Again, book 2 in the Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series so I was straight down the library to order book 3, Into the Fog. I think this series just gets better and better and I found myself not wanting to put this novel down despite having to work the following day.

I was totally absorbed in the disappearance of three children whilst on a camp in Mount Dandenong which has been organised by Franklin and his colleagues from the Dalesford Police Department. Looking after the group of children are his colleagues, Sam and Lunny are Georgie, his daughter Kat and Josh a teenager who Franklin has worked with at the boxing centre. They are all in total panic when the kids go missing, the terrible icy weather makes things harder for the people searching and more dangerous for the kids.

Franklin heads straight up to his group after hearing the news, despite it possibly affecting his chance at making detective, these kids are his local kids and Franklin is all about his community. There is a fight for Franklin’s team to stay involved in the hunt for the kids and the possible perpetrators after the local police are called in, a conflict of interest is cited, but there are plenty of allowances made to start with and between them, they do some good working into finding out who is behind the disappearance.

In today’s society, we are constantly reminded to be aware when on social media, especially in regards to our children who are easily influenced and where criminals can pretend to be whoever they want to be in order to lure them in. Sandi Wallace has done a thorough job of showing us how easily this can be done and the terrible outcomes that could occur because of this medium of communication.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints, including one of the missing children and the story progresses both fast and slow, but at the same time, it felt like nonstop action in the desperate hunt to find these children.

The chapters are mostly quite short, and this is an easy way to trick me into reading far more than I planned before going to bed, just one more chapter, was I’ll just read one more because they are short, which lead to me turning page after page in the need to know what was going to happen.

I really hope there are more Georgie Harvey and John Franklin novels to come. This series is being rereleased, so preorder this book now ready for June 2020.

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FB_IMG_1577105032228          #AWW2020      15/50

New Release Book Review & Release Blitz: The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott

TheRichBoy EBOOK (1)I’m a fan of Kylie Scott’s romance novels, they are all very different and you never know what you are going to get with each new book. This time she gives us a leading man, Beck who is a very likable busboy when we meet him, only he isn’t quite who he is pretending to be. He expresses an interest in Alice, a waitress at the bar where he is working. She’s a very down to earth girl who is exactly who she seems to be, and I think that is a big part of Beck’s attraction to her.

I’m not a big fan of the billionaire trope, but this is different from some of the other books I’ve read.

Alice, after going against her initial doubt about trusting Beck, falls hard and is drawn into the world he has been running from, knowing nothing about what she is about to encounter. It turns out Beck is rich, very rich, and now Alice is under the microscope of Beck’s family members.

I thought that Alice, despite initially thinking she wasn’t the right kind of girl for Beck, shows how strong she really is and how she believes in who she is and is unwilling to change too much because of this rich family’s expectations. I really liked the way she stood up to Beck when different things came to light throughout the story, I liked that she stood her ground and made him reassess what it was he wanted and who he wanted to be.

Beck was lovely, but growing up in his messed up family has left him emotionally stunted and he has no real idea what will make someone like Alice happy. If you’ve always seen money as a way of buying the people around you, you would find it hard to understand what drives a normal everyday person.

I enjoyed watching all the family relationships change, mainly due to Alice’s influence on those around her. I especially liked how she got the better of Beck’s evil old grandmother. While Alice and Beck’s relationship wasn’t an easy ride, it was an enjoyable one, there were moments I thought, she should let him loose, but was glad that she didn’t in the end.

Thanks to Social Butterfly Pr for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

About the book:

“Rich Boy takes you on a literal ride! Funny. Angsty. It’s a definite recommendation from me!  –   Tijan, New York Times bestselling author

The Rich Boy, an all-new slow-burn standalone with white-hot chemistry and witty banter from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is out now!

I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.

But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?

Only there’s so much more to him than that.

Billionaire playboy? Check.

Troubled soul? Check.

The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.

But nobody does complicated like the one percent.

This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.

Download your copy today!

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Kylie Scott author picAbout Kylie

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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#AWW2020   14/50

New Release Book Review: Going Home by Carole Brungar

New Zealand author Carole Brungar is able to write of an incredibly terrible time, the Vietnam War, in a very emotive and realistic way. I can always see myself there during those terrible times, whether in the jungle with the soldiers, in the helicopter flying into dangerous situations or at the hospital tending the children with horrific injuries. I can smell the smell and hear the sounds of everything that is going on during these chaotic and dangerous times.

Screenshot_20200305_102306This book, the third in the Return to Nam series, stories about the Vietnam War and the NZ soldiers, nurses, photographers and entertainers, who went there without knowing what the were flying into, takes us out of the jungle and into the town, where Ronnie has signed up to do a stint (12 months) as a nurse.

When New Zealander Ronnie arrives she has a naivety about her, but she is a strong and determined young woman, whose strength and determination get her through everything that happens during her time there. She works tirelessly for these children and instigates many changes to the ward to help with the healing of these children who have been caught up in the middle of this war.

Ronnie meets American pilot Joseph who is on his second tour of duty, they hit it off straight away despite Ronnie believing that nothing can come from having a relationship during a war. Joseph is a strong and happy character who lives for the thrill of going into dangerous situations.

I really enjoyed the relationship these two built between them and I loved Joe’s perseverance when chasing Ronnie and trying to get her to want more.  I could see things from both characters POV, it isn’t really a great time or place to fall in love, but at the same time, what if this is their only time and place in which it can happen, the future certainly was not guaranteed for anyone.

There were several very tense times throughout this novel when danger showed it’s head and not always from where you were expecting it. There were a few tears and some moments of joy and many many times where I thought, there is no way I would have survived what these guys have been through.

The cast of supporting characters was great to meet and I really enjoyed the small appearances from characters from the previous two novels The Nam Legacy and The Nam Shadow. I really look forward to whatever Carole Brungar brings us next. If you are interested in a novel about relationships and the Vietnam War, then I highly recommend this novel and the previous two novels in the series.

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New Release Book Review: Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

I have a few Kelly Rimmer books residing on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read, and if it hadn’t been for Beauty and Lace, Truths I Never Told YouTruths I Never Told You may have been sitting there for just as long.

This was a very moving story about family, relationships, secrets, death, grief, but most importantly about postpartum depression and how it can affect both the sufferer and those who care for the person suffering.

Despite not having suffered postpartum depression, I very much related to both Beth and Grace’s experiences, because I have suffered from depression and they look pretty similar, minus the children. Because of this I always worried if I had children, I would not cope and could completely see where these two women, especially Grace, were coming from.

From the beginning, when I read Grace’s first letter, I knew I was in for an emotional time, and there were definitely moments that make me cry or brought tears to my eyes. All the characters, excepting Grace and Maryanne’s parents we so relatable and I enjoyed passing my time with them, even in the sad parts.

I liked the ways the stories ran in parallel, the 1996 timeline telling Beth’s story and the 1958 timeline telling Grace’s story through her letters to herself and then Maryanne’s story, all complimented each other and I enjoyed uncovering things slowly with Beth, though for much of the time we know much more than Beth and her siblings, we get to uncover the final secret at the moment Beth does.

Patrick’s illness, his heart disease, and his dementia were extremely sad, it is always a sad thing when someone ceases to be the person they were, but even sadder for Patrick as he couldn’t verbalise what he was wanting to say. This was a new type of dementia I was unaware of, where language is interpreted in painting or some other creative pursuits. I could visualise Patricks series of paintings so well in my mind, imagining what he would have painted to go with each of the letters. Art is a wonderful way to get our feelings out and at least Patrick had this outlet for his emotions.

There were other topics that were important throughout this story, especially the expectations put upon women to marry, look after the house and have children, the lack of say in what they can do with their own bodies, the lack of access to birth control and the way it was frowned upon to use it if you could access it. All of these things that we as westerners now take for granted. This is what Maryanne and her desire for change was hoping to get for women everywhere.

Beth – “It’s hard to believe how different things were for her. I mean, I’ve been sexually active for…” I pause and do the math, then grimace, “God. Over twenty years. I was on the pill for more than half of that time, until Hunter and I started trying to conceive. It was actually quite easy for me to avoid pregnancy until I was ready.”

  “Society moved on so fast. That’s what we wanted, of course,” Maryanne says and sighs as she pats my son to sleep. “But there’s a cost in rapid progress like that, because women your age don’t always understand how lucky you are. 

It’s true, we forget how lucky we are in many respects compared to only 60 or so years ago. One thing that still hasn’t changed enough though is the stigma around mental illness, yes it is more understood and less stigmatised than it was, but we still haven’t reached the point where people are comfortable asking for help and worrying about what others will think. Stories about mental illness are vitally important if we are going to change this. Beth, unlike Grace, had lots of support even when she didn’t want it, how different Grace’s life and in turn Patrick and the children’s life might have been had she had the support of her parents.

This was a very moving story with some very important themes and I was hooked from the beginning. I’ll definitely be getting the rest of Kelly Rimmer’s novels as soon as possible.

FB_IMG_1577105032228  #AWW2020 13/50

Book Review: Call Me Lucy by Rania Battany

Call me LucyI really loved this novel, an Enemies to Lovers romance set around a cast of characters who are part of a linked series Stolen Hearts, with the next book Choosing Lillian coming out early March.

This novel, as the title suggests is about Lucy who has been in an accident and suffered some traumatic brain injury and has no idea who she is or where she comes from, but the saddest part is that no one has come forward to say she is theirs.

Lucy is lucky in one respect, she is assigned Lillian as her social worker and Lillian is completely about protecting Lucy after she herself has suffered a loss that we slowly uncover details about. Lillian sets Lucy up at her flat where her brother Billy is living and Billy is given the job as unwilling ‘babysitter’.

This was a really moving story, Lucy’s struggle to remember her identity, while at the same time being terrified of learning who she really is, was one that pulled at my heartstrings many times throughout the novel. The fact no one has come forward for her makes her feel that she must have no worth to anyone. Billy’s behaviour towards her when she first comes to stay reiterates this feeling of having no self-worth.

I actually really liked Billy despite his behaviour to begin with, you could see he was struggling with his own demons and that deep down he cared a lot. He especially cared about his sister Lillian and I really enjoyed the dynamics of their relationship.

Lucy meets a very unlikeable character in Tyler when she is revisiting the scene of her accident. From the get-go, I knew there was something off about Tyler and as the story progresses I could see why I disliked him. Tyler is all about emotional and psychological abuse. He plays Lucy from the start and whenever these two characters met, I got a horrible sense of foreboding. Rania Battany has done a great job of portraying both the mindset of the abuser and the effects this can have on the person being abused.

Lillian is working with a police officer Blake, the chemistry between these two is palpable and there is hope something might be stirring ready for the next book in the series.

There are a few other characters we meet who will be part of the series, Lillian and Billy’s mum Helen who comes across as a loving mother, loud and sure that food is the answer to any problem, characteristics that are often part of a Lebanese family. We also meet Gabby, their cousin who also is loud, outgoing and thinks food, especially pastries can cure anything. And we briefly catch up with Leila and Jacob who have their own novella Letters to Leila, which is set slightly before Call Me Lucy. I didn’t like Leila in the novella and her brief catch up in this novel didn’t change my mind about her, though I am glad Leila and Jacob are still together.

I really enjoyed Lucy and Billy’s growing friendship and relationship. I loved the way they both took tiny steps towards trusting each other, sometimes leading to more steps backward, but ultimately leading towards something real and strong that is worth pursuing. Billy really was just what Lucy needed in order to heal from her past and from her accident. Lucy is a tough person, at the same time as being completely vulnerable and I really loved her character.

This was a great read full of emotions and the mystery of finding out who Lucy really was.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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FB_IMG_1577105032228       #AWW2020   12/50

New Release Book Review: Walking by Kim Kelly

WalkingAnyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of Kim Kelly’s writing, I would read just about anything she wrote. She has an amazing gift for drawing me completely into her stories , the places and the times, and I live through everything the characters do. All of her novels are written so differently, from the tone to the point of view, they are all completely individual.

Her newest offering Walking is written in two completely different perspectives. Firstly we have Lucy Brynne who tells us the story from her point of view, later in the story we also have Jim telling the story from his point of view, I really loved these chapters from the get go. The other chapters, Hugo Winter and the god-awful Eliot Slade are told from the point of view of a narator telling us their part of the story. I admit to taking a bit longer to get into this style of writing, but once I got used to it I was hooked.

I have to say, not much housework got done the weekend I read Walking thanks to Lucy, Jim, and Hugo (and the god awful Slade). I couldn’t put Walking down. What fabulous tale Kim Kelly has told.

How angry Eliot Slade and the rest of the medical institution made me whilst reading this novel. How absolutely upset and angry I get when I read about the prejudices of people because of race or religion, especially when I hear about it happening in Australia. Things are obviously better now than they were in Lucy and Hugo’s time, but there’s still so much of it that goes on. I thank her for bringing these things to the forefront of people’s minds, maybe it will make them look at how they behave now and how they allow this behaviour to continue to happen. Hmm slightly off track there, but that’s what happens when I get onto a topic I’m passionate about.

Doctor Hugo Winter is a German sugeon who has immigrated to Australia after falling in love. He is a renowned and respected orthapedic surgeon in Germany and has an abrupt manner when dealing with those he finds stupid, I really enjoyed his quirky character which had so much passion and compassion underneath his abrupt and sometimes oblivious manner. Hugo Winter’s character is fictional, but is based on the real life German-Australian surgeon Max Herz. To read more about Kim Kelly’s inspiration behind Hugo click here.  I really liked Hugo, and once I got used to the style his part of the story was written, I embraced him wholeheartedly. The way Hugo was treated during the war, the way most German-Australian’s were treated, was just awful, as I mentioned above, and I can’t for the life of me understand what makes people so prejudiced against those of a different race, especially those they have lived and worked beside for years.

I loved Lucy so much, I’ve been through the sexism she went through most of my working life, but like her I just kept my head down and kept on, for the most part. Lucy is a physiotheraspist, unusual for the 1940s, and she is not given the respect she deserves from the rest of the medical staff, and especially from the nursing staff. Lucy’s journey from her disadvantaged childhood, her accident that required treatment from Doctor Hugo Winter, something that completely changed both of their lives, through to her life now as a physio, was a story I was completely invested in. Lucy spends a lot of time thinking and telling herself off in her head, and I could so relate to this, and where in some characters it can be annoying, I found this suited Lucy’s character so well.

Jim was a great character too, I loved how Lucy and Jim complimented each other so well. From their first meeting in the hospital bed as Lucy’s patient, you just know the relationship is going to become something more. Jim’s accident turns out to be a blessing for many reasons and not just because of the love story between him and Lucy.

There were a couple of other characters worth mentioning, Anton, a friend and colleague of Hugo’s was a wonderful character, I loved his quirks and his drive as much as I did Hugo’s. Then we have our antagonist, the god-awful Eliot Slade, who had no redeeming features at all. He was a horrible, jealous individual, only out for himself, even his patients didn’t matter, and what he puts Hugo through for decades is more than I would have been able to stand.

This is a story about grief, hope, dreams, love, prejudice, racism, sexism and more and I highly recommend it.

Music plays a part throughout the story and in Kim Kelly’s blog post about Walking (that I have linked above), she lists some of the songs, so I have made a playlist on YouTube for anyone interested.

 

I thank Kim Kelly for providing me a digital copy of Walking in return for an honest review.

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#AWW2020 11/50FB_IMG_1577105032228