Review

#BookReview
House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick
@NicolaCornick @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House–a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit and destiny…

1662–A queen

Bound by sex and birth to live for everyone but herself–and to love always in secret–Elizabeth Stuart entrusts a pair of arcane artifacts to her faithful cavalier to keep safe for her rightful heir. But fate will not be generous to the Winter Queen, throwing the question of succession into turmoil, the aftermath of which will resonate through the generations.

1801–A courtesan

Lavinia Flyte wanted so much more from life than to be a courtesan at the mercy of the cruel Lord Evershot. He has brought her to Ashdown, the home of his ancestors, for reasons he guards greedily. But the maids’ whispers of hidden treasures–a pearl with the power to foretell the future–consume her with a curiosity she confides only to her diary, unaware of the misfortune that threatens.

And the mystery that binds them

Alarmed to hear her brother has gone missing at Ashdown Park, Holly Ansell is inexplicably drawn to the clues contained in the journal of a Regency courtesan who was living at the historic home when it burned to the ground two hundred years ago. Lured by the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s search leads her not only to the truth about Lavinia, but deeper into her own connection with the Winter Queen.

For fans of Kate Morton and Barbara Erskine comes an unforgettable novel about the power one lie can have over history.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Romantic, fascinating, and exceptionally absorbing!

In Cornick’s latest novel, House of Shadows, she immerses us in an incredibly intriguing historical time-slip tale of love, life, duty, honour, friendship, family, passion, desire, and mystery.

The writing is fluid and vividly descriptive. The characters, in all time periods, are complex, independent, and strong. And the blended plot is a captivating, sometimes dangerous journey, from the Winter Queen’s exiled court in The Hague to the beautiful, wooded countryside of Sussex, England.

Overall, House of Shadows is a well written, exceptionally researched, entertaining novel that highlights Cornick’s knowledge and passion for history in a tale that interweaves historical facts, compelling fiction, suspense, and romance effortlessly and I can’t wait to read what she publishes next.

 

About the Author:

International bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes romantic historical mysteries and witty and passionate Regency romance. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Nicola Cornick, visit her website at: nicolacornick.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @NicolaCornick

#BookReview
Slap Shot by Kelly Jamieson
@KellyJamieson @readloveswept

Synopsis:

My name’s Max Hall, and I need to f***. As a pro hockey player who’s been away from the game for over a year, my libido has picked one hell of an inconvenient time to come roaring back to life.
 
After my wife died from a rare form of cancer, sex was the last thing on my mind. Same with hockey, the other love of my life. Now, after fifteen months of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally just feeling sorry for myself, I’m facing a steep uphill battle to get my ass in shape and play my way back onto the Chicago Aces.
 
So I’m not looking for a relationship. Just sex. Yeah, I know how that makes me sound. But the truth is, I’ll never love another woman the way I loved my wife. When I meet a sexy bridesmaid at my teammate’s wedding, I decide to scratch that itch. A fling with Kendra Armstrong in her posh hotel room could be just what the trainer ordered.
 
Not only is Kendra smokin’ hot, she’s dynamite in bed—one of the perks of being a sex toy designer. Since she lives in New York anyway, we agree to keep things casual, no strings attached. The arrangement is perfect . . . until one of us falls in love. And it’s not me.


Book Rating: 8/10

Steamy, heartfelt, and deliciously sexy!

Slap Shot, the fifth book in the Aces Hockey series, is a sporty, contemporary romance featuring Max a tough, honest, hockey player who is struggling to come to grips with not only the grief he continues to feel over the loss of his wife but the guilt associated with potentially moving on.

The writing is clear and emotive. The characters are genuine, believable and charming. And the plot is an impassioned tale filled with sizzling tension, scorching chemistry, poignant moments, hilarious innuendoes, flirty banter, and a swoon-worthy ending.

What more can I say, when it comes to writing entertaining, enjoyable novels about hunky hotshots who fall hard Jamieson is one of the best and Slap Shot with its heart, humour, heat, and hockey is no exception.

 

About the Author:

 

Kelly Jamieson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 40 romance novels and novellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. She likes black coffee, white wine and high heels…and of course cheering on her Winnipeg Jets during hockey season!

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available October 17, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Kelly Jamieson, visit her website at: kellyjamieson.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @KellyJamieson

 

#BookReview
The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
@sarahbailey1982 @GrandCentralPub

Synopsis:

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.


Book Rating: 8/10

Menacing, unsettling, and intense!

In this debut novel, The Dark Lake, Bailey transports us to Smithson, Australia a small town where gossip and deception run rampant, emotions run high, and solving the murder of the beloved local high school teacher may unearth more skeletons in the closet than anyone could have imagined.

The prose is dark and eerie. The characters, including the scarred Det. Sgt. Gemma Woodstock, are flawed, complicated, and self-involved. And the plot, using a past/present, back-and-forth style is a suspenseful thrill ride filled with familial drama, jealousy, obsession, grief, revenge, infidelity, secrets, and murder.

The Dark Lake is truly a well-written, gritty, absorbing story that highlights that rage and resentment fostered over many years can have devastating consequences.

About the Author:

 

Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived all her life and currently resides with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and has a career in advertising. She is currently a partner at creative agency, Mr Smith. The Dark Lake is her first novel.

 

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley, especially Grand Central Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Sarah Bailey visit her website at: sarahbaileyauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @sarahbailey1982

#BookReview
Cover Up by L.A. Witt
@GallagherWitt @SMPRomance

Synopsis:

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

Third installment of L.A. Witt’s Skin Deep romance series, COVER UP is a story of passion, pleasure, and happily ever after.


Book Rating: 7/10

Salacious, flirty, and ardent!

Cover Up, the latest novel in the Skin Deep Inc. series is a passionate, steamy tale involving the betrayed, resentful Nate who is struggling to come to terms with the end of his marriage and Lucas the young, hardworking tattoo artist with little self-confidence but huge talent.

The writing is crisp and clear. The characters are handsome, diligent, and likable. And the plot, although a little repetitive, has lots of dirty talk, chemistry, lust, sex, emotion, and love. 

Cover Up is the third novel in the “Skin Deep Inc.” series and even though I was really looking forward to reading Nate’s tale, I have to admit I would have liked just a little bit more depth to the storyline. However, saying that, Witt is still one of my favourite authors of this genre and you can be sure that her next release will once again be on my TBR list.

If you haven’t already had a chance to read my review for Pounding Skin, Skin Deep Inc. #2, be sure to check it out here:

 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following link.

                                 

For more information on L.A. Witt, visit her website at: gallagherwitt.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @GallagherWitt

#BookReview & #BlogTour
The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas
@Authoright

Synopsis:

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.


Book Rating: 8/10

Tragic, mysterious, and heartbreaking!

The Watcher is a moving tale that picks up where “Fifteen Words” left off, taking us back into the Portner household where the physical and psychological horrors of war still resonate, and the process of survival and healing remains a daily struggle.

The prose is somber and descriptive. The characters are wounded, secretive, and raw. And the plot is a poignant ride about life, loss, family dynamics, PTSD, suspicion, desperation, deception, jealousy, grief, and murder.

Overall, The Watcher is a well-written followup for Jephcott Thomas that does an exceptional job of highlighting the importance of trust, honesty, support, and intimacy in moving forward and rebuilding what’s been lost.

About the Author

monkika-jephcott-thomas

Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published. For more information on Jephcott Thomas visit her website at: monika-jephcott-thomas.com

 Thank you to Authoright for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

#BookReview
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain
@D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

From perennial bestseller Diane Chamberlain, a compelling new novel

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?


Book Rating: 10/10

Poignant, candid, and insightful!

The Stolen Marriage is predominantly set in North Carolina during WWII and is the story of Tess, a young woman who finds her life unexpectedly turned upside down after one night of irresponsibility and the choices and sacrifices she must then make to survive and ultimately find fulfillment, happiness, and unconditional love.

The writing is precise, captivating and fluid. The characters are multi-faceted, genuine, and endearing. And the plot is a sweeping saga filed with family, loss, secrets, determination, self-discovery, faith, discrimination, racial segregation, as well as an in-depth look at the devastating polio epidemic of the 1940s.

The Stolen Marriage is a wonderfully written novel by Chamberlain that grabs you from the very start and does an exceptional job of blending historical facts, suspense, and a little paranormal into an incredibly fascinating story.

Thank you to St. Martins Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Diane Chamberlain, visit her website at: dianechamberlain.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @D_Chamberlain


#BookReview
Bad Reputation by Nicole Edwards
@NicoleEAuthor @readloveswept

Synopsis:

Meet the most wanted players in sports . . . one ridiculously hot alpha male at a time.

Chase: With a nickname like “Sin,” it’s no wonder they call me the bad boy of hockey. Opponents curse me. Fans scream my name—in the arena and in other, much more private places. Penalties or not, I’m not afraid to dish out a little pain. But pleasure? That’s my weakness. And no one knows it better than my best friend, Cassie Desrosiers. I’d have to be blind not to notice her rocking body and teasing grin. So when she invites me along on a trip to Vegas, my curiosity isn’t the only thing that’s aroused.

Cassie: Chase Barrett is a world-class A-hole. As his best friend, I’m allowed to call him on his BS. Who else is going to do it? Certainly not the puck bunnies swooning at every flex of his biceps. Everyone knows that Chase is the love-’em-and-leave-’em type. There’s no such thing as commitment for the king of casual hookups. So why should I care? Maybe because all work and no play makes me a sexually frustrated girl. It’s time to put the hockey stud at my beck and call to good use . . . but after a week in Vegas with Chase, I might never want to go back to the real world.


Book Rating: 10/10

Witty, sexy, and delightfully romantic!

Bad Reputation is a passionate friends-to-more rom-com about the sinfully, delicious Chase, who finds it harder and harder to keep his attraction for his best friend a secret, and the focused and determined Cassie who realizes that sometimes things happen for a reason, and everything she’s ever wanted may be standing right in front of her.

The writing is crisp. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are fun-loving, charismatic, and lovable. And the plot is a perfect blend of emotion, drama, heat, sassy dialogue, hilarious hijinks, sporty action, unconditional friendship and true love. 

I would have to say that this is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved the story, I loved the chemistry, and I loved the characters. It had everything I look for in a light-hearted rom-com and more.

Bad Reputation is a fantastic start to the new Bad Boys of Sports series by Edwards, and now I will have to patiently wait for the next novel in the series, Bad Business, not due to be published until March 2018.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Nicole Edwards, visit her website at: nicoleedwardsauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @NicoleEAuthor

#BookReview
Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler
@AuthorLizLawler @BonnierZaffre @twenty7books

Synopsis:

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Fast-paced, gritty, and disturbingly creepy!

Don’t Wake Up is a character-driven psychological thriller that highlights how fragile the mind truly is and how easily someone’s behaviour can be questioned, misinterpreted, manipulated, and used against them.

It is, ultimately, a story about jealousy, revenge, hatred, violence, and murder.

The characters are multilayered, vulnerable, and at times believably unreliable.  The writing is well done. And the plot unfolds rapidly and has a nice balance of suspense, tension, suspects, and surprises.

Overall Don’t Wake Up is a compelling, well-written debut for Lawler that once started will keep you intrigued and entertained until the very end.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bonnier Zaffre – Twenty7 for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

For more information on Liz Lawler follow her on Twitter at: @AuthorLizLawler

#BookReview
Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree
@jamieraintree @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

Yes is such a little word…

Dr. Dylan Michels has worked hard for a perfect life, so when her longtime boyfriend, Cooper, gets down on one knee, it should be the most perfect moment of all. Then why does she say no?

For too many years, Dylan’s been living for her sister, who never got the chance to grow up. But her attempt to be the perfect daughter, perfect partner and perfect doctor hasn’t been enough to silence the haunting guilt Dylan feels over her sister’s death—and the role no one knows she played in it.

Now Dylan must face her past if she and Cooper stand a chance at a future together. But when Cooper makes a startling confession of his own, can Dylan find the courage to define her own happiness before her life becomes perfectly undone?

Set among the breezy days of a sultry Portland summer, Perfectly Undone is a deeply moving novel of family secrets, forgiveness and finding yourself in the most surprising of places.


Book Rating: 8/10

Emotional, vivid, and relatable!

Perfectly Undone is an engaging tale that takes us into the life of Dr. Dylan Michels, a woman who finds herself quickly unraveling as she tries to not only live with the responsibility and guilt she secretly harbours, but also balance a successful career, intimate relationship, and familial obligations.

The writing is descriptive and genuine. The characters are diligent, compulsive, and tenacious. And the plot is an intriguing tale full of heartache, loss, grief, betrayal, infidelity, relationship dynamics, family, romance, and love.

Overall, I think, Perfectly Undone is a fantastic debut for Raintree that does an excellent job of highlighting the importance of forgiving one’s self, moving on, and living life to the fullest.

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Jamie Raintree visit her website at: jamieraintree.com/for-writers/

or follow her on Twitter at: @jamieraintree

#BookReview
Rank & File by L.A. Witt
@GallagherWitt @RiptideBooks

Synopsis:

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.

Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.

When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.

But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.

Except—too late.


Book Rating: 7/10

Explicit, smoldering, and racy!

In this fourth novel in the Anchor Point series, Rank & File, Witt gives us a story that focuses on the struggles and hardships of falling in love in the military, including fraternization, responsibility, pressure, reputation, and work schedules.

The writing is exceptionally steamy. The characters are brave, bold, and determined. And the plot even though it’s not extremely deep, angsty, or emotional is certainly titillating, sultry, and fervent.

Overall, even though Rank & File wasn’t my favourite novel in the series if you’re looking for a book with lots of dirty talk, sexual tension, and heat with a happy-ever-after ending this one won’t disappoint.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for the first three novels in the series be sure to check them out here:

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Riptide Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following link.

                                 

For more information on L.A. Witt, visit her website at: gallagherwitt.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @GallagherWitt

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