Release Day Book Review: Lone Star Defender by Jennie Jones

The last book in the Calamity Valley series sees the third sister Pepper have her chance at finding Mr Right and breaking the family curse for good. Except Pepper isn’t interested in finding Mr Right. Along with Mr Right and breaking a curse, Pepper has to save her town from completely dying out.

Screenshot_20190729_163343I enjoyed this final book in the trilogy, it can be read alone, I’ve only read books two and three, book one is still waiting quietly in the Kindle vault and I was able to grasp what was going on, I think it would flow better if you did read the series as it is written though and it’s such an enjoyable series, romance with a touch of Paranormal, that why wouldn’t you want to read them all.

Pepper is a headstrong character who doesn’t always think before she speaks, with so many things placed on her shoulders, she seems to do it a lot, getting herself into strife more than once.

Her old friend Jack, and the person who has been tasked with keeping her safe, is a lovely guy, who has mixed emotions about Pepper.

Both are in denial of the things they really want, there’s some unspoken secrets and conversations from the past that should have been worked out years ago, but are now continuing to cause issues for Pepper, Jack and some family members.

Once again the bad developer guys are back and causing plenty of trouble for Pepper and the townsfolk.

There was plenty of humour in this novel and I enjoyed once again the paranormal tilt to the story.

It seems a shame to say goodbye to Calamity Valley, but at least all three towns are in good hands.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tule Publishing for a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Lies by Kylie Scott Blog Tour & Excerpt

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Lies, a steamy, fast paced standalone filled with the perfect blend of heat and humor from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is available now!

I loved this book, read my review here

About the book:

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.

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Excerpt:

“You’re going to break his heart.”

“No, I’m not,” I say. “That’s sort of the whole point. If I really thought leaving him would break his heart, then I probably wouldn’t be leaving him in the first place.”

My best friend, Jen, does not look convinced.

Boxes fill a good half of the room. What a mess. Who knew you could accumulate so much junk in only twelve months? At least we weren’t together so long that I can’t remember who owns what. One year is about the sweet spot for this issue in relationships, apparently.

“The fact of the matter is, we’re not in love. We have no business being engaged, let alone getting married.” I sigh. “Have you seen the packing tape?”

“No. He’s just such a nice guy.”

“I’m not debating that.” I climb to my feet, then head up the stairs to the second bedroom. Thom’s unofficial workout room/home office. Not a room I normally go into. But it only takes a bit of rummaging to find what I’m looking for. Whatever else might be said about them, insurance assessors are organized. The bottom drawer of Thom’s desk has a neat stash of stationery. I grab a couple rolls of thick tape.

“And leaving him this way…” Jen continues as I head back down.

“How many times have I told him we need to talk? He’s always putting it off, saying it’s not a good time. And now he’s away again. I’ve been messaging him for the last week and he barely replies.”

“You know he has to drop everything once a job comes up. I realize he’s not the most exciting guy, Betty, but—”

“I know.” I smack down a line of tape with extra zest, sealing the lid of the last box. In this Operation Abandon Ship Posthaste, I know I’m definitely slightly the bad guy. But not totally. Say sixty/forty. Or maybe seventy/thirty. It’s hard to tell to what degree. “I do know all of that. But he’s always busy with work or away on some business trip. What am I supposed to do?”

A sigh from Jen.

“When you realize you’ve made such a monumental mistake, it’s hard to sit and wait to fix things. Nor is it fair on either of us to keep up the pretense.”

“Guess so.”

“And the fact that he’s yet again made no effort to prioritize our relationship and make a little time for me in his busy schedule is just further proof that I’ve made the right choice in ending this now before it gets any more complicated. End of rant.”

Nothing from her.

“Anyway, you’re supposed to be on my side. Stop questioning me.”

“You wanted to get married and have children so badly.”

“Yeah.” I sit back on my heels. “I blame it all on playing with Ken and Barbie’s dreamhouse when I was little. But it turns out that being in a relationship with the wrong person can be even lonelier than being alone.”

Jen and I have been friends since sharing a room in college. We’ve witnessed the bulk of each other’s dating ups and downs. For some reason, I’m the type of girl who guys will go out with, but don’t tend to stick with. Apparently, I’m fuckable—just not girlfriend material. Maybe it’s my smart mouth. Maybe it’s the whole not fitting current societal expectations of beauty i.e. I’m fat. Maybe I was born under an unlucky star. I don’t know; it’s their loss. Like anyone, I have my faults, but all in all, I’m awesome. And I have a lot to give. Too often in the past few months, I’ve had to keep reminding myself of this fact.

“There are just so many jerks out there,” Jen says. “I was happy that you’d found a good one.”

“I think I’d prefer a jerk who was genuinely into me than a nice guy phoning it in.

Honestly, I’d rather go adopt a dozen cats and settle into old age and isolation than be with someone who treats me as if I’m an afterthought.”

She looks at me for a long moment, then nods slowly. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”

“Me too.”

“Time to start filling up the cars. Boy, do you owe me.”

I smile. “That I do.”

Jen stands and stretches before picking up one of the boxes labeled kitchen. “I just didn’t want you to do something you’d regret, you know?”

“I know. Thank you.”

Alone in the two-bedroom condo, everything is silent. My parting letter sits waiting on the coffee table with his name written on the front. A slight bulge in the

envelope betrays the shape of my engagement ring. It’s a sweet, simple ring. One small diamond perched on a band of yellow gold. My hand feels wrong without it. Naked. They say there are different love languages and you have to take the time to learn your partner’s needs. It’s like he and I never quite got there. Or maybe I’m just crappy at relationships.

The bridal magazines I’d collected are in the trash. Perhaps I should have taken them into the florist shop where I work so someone could get some use out of them. But this feels more symbolic, more definite. My family are a couple of states away, and I have only a few of what I’d classify as good friends. Being an introvert makes it hard to meet people. A boyfriend, a husband, would mean I’m no longer alone. Someone cares about me and puts me first. At least part of the time. Only Thom doesn’t any of the time, so here we are.

I tighten my ponytail of long dark hair. Then, in a rare display of dexterity that my yoga instructor would be proud of, I stack three boxes in my arms and head outside into the hot afternoon sun. Jen’s Honda Civic is parked at the curb, the trunk standing open as she moves things about inside. My old Subaru sits in the driveway waiting to be filled. Birds are singing and insects chirping. It’s your typical mild autumn day in California.

That’s when the condo blows up behind me.

About Kylie Scott

Image previewKylie 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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New Release Book Review: Fast Lane by Juanita Kees

I really enjoyed Overdrive: book 1 in Calhoun Customs Garage series when I read it last year, but I loved Fast Lane: book 2 even more.

Fast Lane (Calhoun Customs Garage, #2)There’s plenty of adrenaline-packed action and chemistry to be had in this book as well as some more serious issues.

Trinity Calhoun is a world-class race car driver and she’s just about to retire and return to Bigfork to be with her dad who is struggling with Parkinson’s. A freak accident in her last race has her meeting gorgeous paramedic Reece, better known as Angel.

Racing is a dangerous sport and a tragedy has touched Reece and he is now guardian for 9-year-old Tyler. This tragedy has also brought him to Bigfork.

I really enjoyed returning to the town and to the Calhoun family.

Trinity’s love of speed and Reece’s dislike of the dangers of speed and cars mean that these two getting together have them needing to overcome some obstacles. I really enjoyed the growing relationship between these two, something that started out as a fun kiss turns into so much more. I liked the way they discussed things and tried to work out what they both wanted.

One character I hope we get to hear more from was Tyler, he has survived a tragic accident, but has definitely not come out of it unscathed and it will take a lot to make him feel whole again. Having Reece and Trinity in his corner will definitely help his healing and I really want to know how he goes after this book.

I also look forward to seeing how the other Calhoun siblings go with finding their HEAs, it was great to see how Chase and Charlie were going from book 1.

I hope I don’t have to wait 12 months for the next instalment of the Calhoun Customs Garage.

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

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New Release Book Review: Lies by Kylie Scott

I enjoy Kylie Scott’s novels, one of my favourite reads last year was her book It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time which kept me up all night. When given the opportunity to read her new novel Lies, I jumped at the chance and am so glad I did, it was an awesome read!

LiesKylie has given us something new with Lies and I enjoyed it so much. Betty is leaving her fiance Thom because he is boring and their relationship just isn’t what she wants or needs. But as she is leaving things take an out of control turn for the worst and she finds herself in constant danger whilst at the same time finding out Thom isn’t who he says he is, not by a long shot.

He’s an operative and people are out to kill him, and now Betty is in their line of fire too.

I just loved Betty’s character, she was pissed at finding out all the Lies Thom had fed her, pissed at being taken hostage, at being in danger and on the run. But she takes it in her stride, her attitude is great and she doesn’t let Thom feed her any more lies. She has a great sense of humour as well as a sense of self-preservation, she turns into a bit of a badass over the course of her experience.

Thom is also many things, and as Betty starts to see the real Thom she realises that maybe she doesn’t want to leave after all. Thom is sexy and a definite badass, he’s also socially awkward at times with Betty, but I absolutely loved the dynamics between him and Betty. The chemistry between them is there too and I loved seeing them try and work out what their relationship actually was.

Thom’s crew, or the Zoo as Betty calls them are a mixed bunch and some aren’t on his side after all. The bad guys are full-on and dangerous and you wonder if these two and the Zoo crew can survive.

This book is action-packed, exciting, fast, with some laughs along the way as well as some serious stuff.

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

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Book Bingo Round 15 and New Release Book Review: Mercenary Royal: Dead Suns by Shona Husk

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It is definitely starting to get harder now and I’m going to have to start purposefully reading books for specific squares rather than hoping one will just fit. This fortnight I’ve chosen to cross off the square (luckily I read a book just last week that fits) Themes of science fiction.

I read a new release by Aussie author Shona Husk called Mercenary Royal: Dead Suns. This is book #6 in The Obsidian Rim series, but book #1 in the Dead Suns series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book set in space when resources have been used up and mercenaries are everywhere as well as ultra rich people determined yet again to be powerful despite everything.

Screenshot_20190720_213521This novel plunged me into a dangerous adventure in a previously unknown location. Nyssa, our heronine has a seriously bad situation to escape from, and for the most part I found her brave, smart and savvy. Jessie made a great hero and leading man who had some major issues of his own that come to the fore when meeting Nyssa. There was plenty of sexual tension between the two and many issues to sort out. Bad guy Riel is one dispicable person and I was on the edge waiting to see if the team could take him down. This was an action packed read with plenty of twists and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading, I look forward to the next book.

New Release Book Review: Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for supplying me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

IMG_20190715_094103This was an absolute delight to read. It was an emotional journey at times, that seemed to meander along, not saying a lot, but saying so much at the same time.

I adored 11-year-old Allegra, I loved the way she thought, she was a delight to get to know. I struggled along with her in the situation her grandmother’s had put her in, along with her father Rick. I could completely feel her having to split herself 3 ways to keep everyone happy.

I really liked Rick, I felt sad for him, that somehow he’d been pushed out of Allegra’s upbringing, like he was only there on the periphery, now and again being allowed to be her father. I was pleased when things started to turn around for him and he took some control. I love how Rick uses surfing to connect with his daughter and at times he had some very philosophical things to say.

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Allegra’s grandmother’s, Joy and Matilde, well they were two completely different people, their characters having a great impact on Allegra and how she was forming as a person. I never really took to Matilde, though I did gain understanding and respect for her along the way.

Joy is a woman’s libber as Allegra discovers and owns a penny turtle called Simone De Beauvoir, I’m interested in finding out more about Simone’s writing after reading this novel. Her fight to help women in trouble is inspiring.

There were some big secrets being kept from Allegra and some huge hurts that needed to be mended if life was going to allow Allegra to grow into her own person.

Allegra’s friend Patricia, her only true friend was inspirational and made such a difference to Allegra and the way she thought, she bought so much knowledge and insight, that Allegra may not have discovered without her. I loved that Allegra didn’t notice or care about any differences she may have had with her friend. Patricia is clever and insightful and is such a wonderful friend to Allegra.

Over the course of the story, there are many changes that happen to Allegra and her family, all of them for the better. I enjoyed the use of music throughout this novel, helping to enhance the message or set the mood. I have looked up many of the songs since reading the book.

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a heartfelt read.

New Release Book Review: Home For June by Juliet Madison

I absolutely loved this lovely second chance romance. I have all of Juliet’s books and I’ve loved every one that I’ve read. I have all the Tarrin’s Bay books, but for some reason I haven’t gotten round to reading any before now. Home For June was absolutely enjoyable, so I’m going to have to go back to The January Wish and start from the beginning of the series. They are definitely able to be read as standalone novels though.

Screenshot_20190709_115504I’ m glad I have finally gotten to experience Tarrin’s Bay, I think I’d like to move there in fact.

In Home For June we meet Hannah who is making moves to leave Tarrin’s Bay to live in Sydney (big mistake, I hate cities). We also meet Luca who is returning to Tarrin’s Bay after leaving 20 years beforehand. These two were friends in high-school and had a connection but nothing ever happened. Is it too late now or can they find out where that connection might lead.

I loved these two characters, Hannah and her plans, her need to have everything laid out exactly as it’s going to play out. I enjoyed the times she let go and was spontaneous. But afterwards it was straight back to following the plan.

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This is my favourite line and I’m lucky Juliet made a meme just for me to use (lol). Hannah was so stubborn about veering off the plan, I so hoped she could see what might be had by doing just that.

Luca was a beautiful guy, having lost his mum just recently and having made the decision to start a new and set down roots in Tarrin’s Bay, I loved the way he threw some disorder into Hannah’s carefully laid out plans.

I really enjoyed the interactions between these two characters, I liked how the relationship grew and changed and made them both take stock. Working together to create Luca’s dream restaurant pushed them together and allowed for these changes.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, Hannah’s parents especially, they were great people and cause for some added humour. Luca’s brother Stefan had a great relationship with Luca, if only all siblings could have such a great relationship.

Juliet Madison always manages to infuse her novels with humour and this one is no exception. Her characters are relatable, as are their problems and circumstances. A lovely feelgood romance.

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

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