Review: Darker Than Desire by Shiloh Walker


Title: Darker Than Desire (Secrets and Shadows #3)
Author: Shiloh Walker
Date of publication: 3 March 2015
Genre: Romantic suspense

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4 stars



No matter how many times he’s left her in the past, Sybil Chalmers can’t ignore her feelings for the one man who stole her heart years ago. For countless nights, she has waited for him—for his kiss, his touch—and has longed for him to emerge from the shadows of his past. Only when she is in his arms does Sybil really feel alive…and finally, after all these years, that time is now.


He’s a man raised in a world of strict rules and unbreakable traditions and he’s always yearned to break free. But when a family tragedy lures him back home, he finds his one true passion has been there all along. With Sybil, he can explore his greatest potential—and allow her to discover a whole new level of ecstasy. But will a long-buried secret threaten to tear them apart? The only thing he knows for sure is that he will do anything to keep Sybil in his life…and keep her coming back for more…


This the final book in the Secrets and Shadows series and it concludes a very gritty and raw romantic suspense/mustery story. I liked this series but I have to warn it's not for the faint of heart. There is no real grpahic description of the violance the characters suffered but we see its devastating consequences everywhere and there were parts that were painful to read through.  

It's a character driven story of dark secrets and even darker past and in this book we finally see the mystery fully unraveled. Ms Walker has managed to keep the suspense throughout the three books building the tension to its culmination here. 
I'd say this was the hardest story of the three since it focused on the main victim, Cain/David. We see a grown-up man who had suffered horrible abuse as a child which has shaped him today. His struggles with himself broke my heart for him more than once. I understood his need to act cold and unfeeling, running away hiding but the time has come for him to face the past, and try to look forward to the future. 

Sybil was a great character - complex, strong. She has been in love with David for years and has tried to give him eveyrthing he needed - understanding, acceptance, love. Still, she wants all or nothing with him and doesn't let him push her around, even if he thinks it's for her own good. 

The mystery plot had quite a few unexpected twists and turns which I really didn't see coming, some action,  but most importantly some passionate, rough well-deserved love. 

It's a dark, but felt real, very emotionally intense, the consequences of child abuse are horrific. It's not by any means a comfortable read, yet an engaging, I-put-it-down book.

It can be read as a standalone, though we see a lot of characters from the previous books, we even often get their POVs and it could be confusing. I recommend reading the whole series in order to get a better understanding of the thriller aspect of the story. 

My only minor complaint is that I felt some things were left unresolved in the end. I'll put them in spoiler tags in my GR review if you are curious about them. They didn't affect the romance at all and the mystery was also resolved to my satisfaction even these tiny loose ends. 

Recommended romantic suspense/mystery series!

Purchase links: BN | Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | iBooks


Release Day Launch for Holding Strong by Lori Foster



An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in Lori’s irresistible new novel.

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…

Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree façade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…

 EBOOK:            AMAZON       BARNES & NOBLE    iBOOKS     KOBO


Holding Strong will have you holding your breath while burning fingers quickly turn the pages.”
“…a fun and sexy read. It has a touch of suspense to it as well to keep the pace of the story going along.”
“The men of Foster’s Ultimate series may be powerful fighters, but they are all heart, and none more so than the hero of this installment. His unwavering support for his feisty, frightened heroine redeems them both in time, but it is their searing chemistry that will hold readers’ attention.”
“Foster…manages to keep characters evolving throughout the course of a novel, becoming true ‘heroes’ by the time ‘The End’ rolls around.”

Gaze softening, her attention went all over his body. “Seriously, Denver. Did you really want to argue right now?”

He searched her face. “No.” Hell no. Especially not with her looking at him like that. He moved in again, one hand on the wall by her shoulder. “Thing is, I’m not sure you want what I want.”

For the longest time, their gazes held while her breathing quickened and her cheeks warmed. Finally, in a whisper, she asked, “Do you want me?”

With one short nod, he pressed her to the wall, feeling her all along his length. “Have for a long time.”

“You hid it well.”

“Then I’m one hell of an actor.” He brushed his mouth over her forehead. “We have a lot of talking to do, but I’d as soon do it after.”


“After I’ve had you. Maybe several times.”

She dipped her head down so that he stared at the crooked part in her fair hair. He brushed his nose against her, down to her temple, her ear.

Her hands clutched at him. “I got the feeling you didn’t like me.”

“I like you.” It was how her flirting made him feel that he didn’t like so much.

Pushing him back so she could see his face, she asked anxiously, “You won’t change your mind?”

The laugh tried to escape, but he wanted her too much to take a chance on pissing her off. “Where’s your room?”

“Close.” On a sharply inhaled breath, she stepped him back a few paces and darted around him in a rush. “Come on.”

At first he just watched her, her obvious urgency, the way her hair teased over her shoulders. She stopped halfway down the hall and fumbled in her purse before pulling out a key card. She opened the door, jammed the key card back into her purse, and glanced at him.

Ah, hell. Definitely close. In a few long strides Denver reached her.

Seconds later they were in her room.

A second after that he was kissing her.

About the author:

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.

Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.

Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here :


Review: Afterimage by Ais and Santino Hasell


Title: Afterimage (In the Company of Shadows #2)
Author: Santino and Ais
Genre: Romantic suspense, Dystopia, M/M

Santino's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest
Ais' links:

My rating: 4 Stars 
Add on Goodreads 


In the Company of Shadows is a series about two people who are thrown together as partners in a secret agency; their mission is to disband rebels who have propagated in a post-war future, but they have to deal with everything that comes with an unlikely partnership as well.

Miscommunication, periods of distance, fleeting smiles and learning to trust someone when a person can't even trust himself, these are what they struggle with while still trying to do their jobs. One is a psychopath, called a murderer and monster and generally deemed subhuman by nearly everyone who knows of him; the other is an introvert, cold and emotionless and so lost in thoughts that he would agree that he can be called a monster of inhumanity. But what makes a person human; is it humanity, compassion, or is it simply the ability to reason? Can a monster be human, and general humanity breed monsters?

While they learn about each other, they learn about themselves; where their loyalty and morality lies, and how learning to trust another person can be incredibly difficult, bittersweet, and rewarding all at the same time. Join Hsin Liu Vega (aka "Sin") and Boyd Beaulieu as they struggle to find where they fit in a world slowly recovering from war.

Mini Review

This is the unedited version, so it's much longer and wordy than book 1. It took me some time to read it but I really enjoyed it. 

I found it a bit slow, especially at the beginning. I found it too introspective and the inability of Boyd and Sin to really talk to each other, though understandable given their background and current situaiton, was really frustrating.  

Boyd and Sin go through a lot here; though they are separated most of the time and their relationship hits an all-time low here. I  feel so much for Sin that I'm ready to accept/excuse his behaviour no matter how inappropriate it was. Boyd, on the other hand, made some spectacular msitakes. I realize he meant well and he needed to take care of himself, but his actions did make me so angry and sad. I 'm struggling with myself to forgive him.

I love how emotionally invested I'm in everyone we meet in this series. The authors introduce a lot of new characters in this installment and they have quickly warmed their way into my heart as well (Kassian, especially but also Cade and Emma and the rest of their group). We see some old secondary characters in a new light - Ryan, Ann, Carhart and I particularly appreciate how multilayered the both the plot and characters are becoming. 

Ais and Santino make a perfect blend of compicated relationships, interesting plot full of unexpected turns and lots of action and heartbreaking moments of honesty and intimacy. It feels like a truly epic story, painfully real despite the dystopian setting. 

This whole series is available for free on

Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal for All of You by Laura Florand


RT Magazine calls her works “silky and addictive”, nominating Florand for Best Book of the Year, Publishers Weekly says they’re “decadent”, and Library Journal says they’re as “sexy and flirtatious as… poignant and caring”. Now international bestselling author Laura Florand brings you her sexiest, sweetest romance to date: All for You.

PARIS HEARTS: A new series from Laura Florand 
Three young women trying to make their way in the most romantic city on Earth must learn how to open their hearts to love. 

ALL FOR YOU (Paris Hearts Book 1)

Some crushes aren’t meant to be

When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…

Coming May 5, 2015! 
Add to Goodreads


Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Her international bestselling books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 

After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website:

*** *** ***

As a big fan of Ms Florand's books I've read and reviewed quite a few of them. Here are the links to my reviews, if you are curious to check them out:

The Chocolate Touch (Amour et Chocolat #4) - 3.5 Stars
The Chocolate Heart (Amour et Chocolat #5) - 4.5 Stars
Shadowed Heart (Amour et Chocolat #5.5) - 3.5 Stars
The Chocolate Temptation (Amour et Chocolat #6) - 4 Stars
Snow-Kissed (Snow Queen #1) - 5 Stars
Sun-Kissed (Snow Queen #2) - 3.5 Stars

Julie James

Waiting on Wednesday: Suddenly One Summer by Julie James


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Suddenly One Summer (#2)
Author: Julie James
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Lawyer
Release Date: 2 June 2015

Add on Goodreads
Pre-order: AmazonB&N / Kobo / Itunes


From the New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Wedding comes a novel about a man and a woman whose summer is about to get very, very steamy…

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for…

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this book? - I love Julie James' US Attorney/FBI series and this one is loosely connected with it since we met the hero in one of the previous books. My James creates engaging contemproary romances with life-like characters, witty banter and hot chemistry, what more can a girl want. And she just shared the Prologue to this book in her latest newslatter, so now I'm even more impatient for this release.


Release Day Blitz for Salvation of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland


The Salvation of Vengeance Blitz Banner 

The Salvation of Vengenace CoverTitle: The Salvation of Vengeance (Wanted Men #2)
Author: Nancy Haviland
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Organized Crime, Romance
Purchase links: Amazon - Nook

Add to Goodreads


Only something as important as her best friend’s wedding to mob boss Gabriel Moretti could allow Nika Paynne a reprieve from captivity. Her abusive husband has kept her under his thumb with footage of her beloved brother, Caleb, killing another man. But the respite from her violent life isn’t the only draw. Vincente Romani—Gabriel’s deadliest guardian—will be one of the best men at the wedding, and Nika has lingering thoughts about the fascinating mobster…covetous thoughts that may put her life in danger. With the heartbreak he’s suffered and the brutality he effortlessly delivers, Vincente knows he’s the last person who can offer Nika a happily-ever-after. But his vow remains. He will do everything in his power to free his redhead from her violent prison—even if that means losing her forever. In the second thrilling and passionate Wanted Men book, a dangerous line is drawn between loyalty to the mob and loyalty to one’s heart.

About Nancy Haviland

Nancy Haviland
Nancy Haviland writes about her alpha mobsters and their ladies from her home near Toronto, Ontario. She has three children, an arrogant but playful kitty named Talbot, and she adores her Tim Horton's coffee, as any self-respecting Canadian would. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching.

IndieSage PR


Review: Champion by Marie Lu


I'm joining another challenge this week. TBR Challenge 2015  hosted by Wendy at Misadventures of Superlibrarian. The topic for March was catching up with series we have neglected. 

Title: Champion (Legend #3)
Author: Marie Lu
Date of publication: 5 November 2013
Genre/Themes: Young adults, Dystopia 

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars


He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. 

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


I used to read a lot of YA, including Dystopian back in 2011-2012 and Marie Lu's Legend series definitely stood out among the rest. I loved books 1 and 2, they had all the element I enjoy in dystopian stories - great world building, captivating story, character development, complex plot. One of my all-time secondary characters comes from this series, June's brother, Metias, was a formidable presence in this series, even just as a memory.

Gradually, I started reading more romance and less YA, so by the time the final book was released, I got it and kind of left it on my Kindle. I've been meaning to read it for a long, I even have a wonderful board on Pinterest about it which reminds that I don't know what happened with June and Day but other books kept popping up and stealing my attention. Honestly, I don't know how I've avoided reading any major spoilers so far.

Recently, I came across the TBR Challenge on Elisabeth Lane's blog and the topic for March was reading a book in a series we need to catch up and I knew right away that now was my chance to complete this series. 

I'm glad to say that Marie Lu didn't disappointment and this book was the perfect ending to a great series. The story was very dynamic, full of action and plot twists that kept me on the edge till the very end. We have alternating chapters told from dual POV and we get to see the complexity of emotions of both Day and June.
I loved their romance, their getting back together was slow and real, fraught with tension and whispered confessions. It was not overly sappy or melodramatic but just right - first time, once in a lifetime, true soulmates kind of love.

I very much enjoyed all the other characters - Anden, Eden, Tess, Pascao. Even the bad guys had a powerful presence, I particularlt appreciate the complexity of Thomas' storyline.

This was not just a romance but also coming-of-age story where we see June and Day (and Anden) slowly growing up, becoming adults amid war and chaos. I loved the mixture of painful, raw and beautiful. The decisions the characters were forced to make, all the moral dilemmas they faces resonated deeply with me. 

I'm not very happy with a particular episode involving Day's mother but I understand why it was there, yet it felt too sentimental and cliched for me. It's a matter of personal preference rather than a weakness of the story.

The epilogue was brilliant. And the ending was just beautiful! (it's no spoiler that things end on a happy note with the possibility/certainty for HEA to come).

Ms Lu has a great writing style, imaginative, yet real and she manages to give her characters normal human emotions in a bleak dystopian world. It's an engaging story which involves some politics, some action, some sweet romance, overall a recommended series for fans of dystopian YA!

Purchase links: Barnes & Noble | Amazon


Waiting on Wednesday: Busted by Shiloh Walker


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Busted (Barnes Brothers #3)
Author: Shiloh Walker
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance
Release Date: 5 May 2015

Add on Goodreads
Pre-order: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


Like his brothers Zach and Zane, Trey Barnes thought he had found the love of his life. But fate had other plans. A widower who’s had to raise his five-year-old son on his own, Trey has not allowed himself to be with another woman. Until he meets Ressa Bliss at—of all places—a children’s library program. The beautiful librarian is wonderful with his son, Clay, but every time Trey even considers asking her out, he is tortured by guilt.

Fate is indeed fickle. When the two meet again at a conference, this time the attraction is too powerful to resist. But is their connection and passion strong enough to survive Trey’s deep inner torment?

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - I've read the previous book in this series, Razed, and quite enjoyed it. This series is focused on the Barnes brothers, as the title says, and family type of romances work well for me, so I'm giving this one a try. Plus it's an inter-racial romance, and the hero is a single dad, all big bonuses in my book.

Book Blogging

Book Blogging: Reading and Blogging Habits


Recently Elisabeth Lane at Cooking Up Romance posted an interesting post on the pressures and joys of being a book blogger/reviewers. so many of the issues she raised resonated with me - what do I want to do with this blog, keep a balance between personal (and possible interesting for just a few people, or me only) or try to make more appealing to a wider audience. it's an ongoing process - I participate in some promo events but still try to keep the main focus on the reviews I write. I recently started doing the occasional personal posts sharing my thoughts, opinions on reading, blogging, reviewing. And this is one of those.

I love picking my next read spontaneously, on the spur of the moment. yet, over the past two years with this blog and reviewing regularly I feel the pressure to organise my reading in some way. I want to keep the spontaneity and the surprise factor as much as possible because it's one of the joys of reading for me, yet often I end up reading books I don't like and just passing for later books that my be a better fit for me. So, I will try to reorganise my reading and change some bad reading habits I feel I've fallen into lately. 

I need to be more careful when requesting/accepting books for review. I'm open to new authors, genres, types of stories and very often I end up taking books for review that turn out to a huge disappointment and really struggle to finish them. It rather kills my joy reading turning it into a task I need to finish and not something I do for fun.

Every time I pick up a book that is outside of the box for me and I end up not liking it, I go back to the safety of favourite authors and familiar types of stories. When I gather enough courage and when a particular book catches my interest, I go off experimenting again. Pretty much the same philosophy I apply to life - trying new things and when they backfire, shutting down, until I get carried away with a new crazy idea. 

I already have a huuuuuuge TBR list that keeps growing and growing. I've lost interest in some of the books I've added as to-read on GB but at least 10 new ones have taken the place of every one I've discarded. I won't be organising it in any formal way for now because this stresses me out too much. I'm taking baby step towards some semblance of order instead. I've decided to join at least some reading challenges

- The first is Dive into Diversity hosted by Rather be Reading and Reading Wishes which I already joined with my review of Nothing Like Paris (my reivewby Amy Jo Cousins - small town New Adult m/m romance featuring aMexican-American character. It's a fun monthly challenge highlighting books that celebrate diversity of all kinds - gende, age, religion, social standing, ethnicity, etc.

- Later this week (18 March) I will be posting my review of Champion by Marie Lu as part of the 2015 TBR Challenge, hosted by Wendy at The Misadventures of a Super Librarian. The aim it to read one book a month from your TBR list and post your review on the third Wednesday of the month. There are specific topics for each month to help organise things. 

And I've made some rather general resolutions about my next reads:

- I've read only one historical romance so far, The Suffragette Scandal (my review) by Courtney Milan and I want to explore more this genre, so I plan on reading at least 1 historical a month this year.

- I tend to fall into reading similar books or sticking to a certain genre, mostly romance and these days it's predominantly m/m romance. I'm making a conscious effort to try other books too, not really stepping out of my comfort zone, but rather other genres I've enjoyed in the past - some fantasy and urban fantasy, some YA fantasy/realistic fiction, ect.

- I've been trying to post at least two reviews a week but I've decided be more relax, sometimes I read longer books and can't finish them in a week (ICoS, I'm looking at you), other times I just don't have the time to review. I've decided not to stress myself with the number of reviews I post but to focus more on the quality.

- I'd like to participate in more book discussions when I have the time. I joined Twitter (@e_savova) recently and I love the chats I'm having there mostly with my bookish friends, though I have to admit that following a conversation there is a bit confusing. 

What about you? What are your reading strategies? How do you choose what books to read? I'd be happy to hear from you.

Amy Jo Cousins

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins


With this post I'm joining the Dive into Diversity challenge, hosted by Rather be Reading and Reading Wishes. This monthly challenge highlight the diverse books we have read and loved.

Title: Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break #2)
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Date of publication: 3 March 2015
Genre/Themes: Romance, New Adult, m/m

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / FacebookGoodreads

Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars


Humble pie wasn’t supposed to taste this sweet.

Jack Tarkington’s life is in the toilet. He was supposed to be spending his junior year studying someplace cool like Paris or Rome. Instead, after taking out his anger on the campus “golden boy”, whose dad ripped off his parents, Jack is facing possible expulsion.

Sure, it’s all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town he thought he’d escaped, after crowing about his admission to a prestigious school, has been a humbling experience.

When he runs into Miguel, Jack braces for backlash over the way he lorded it over his old friend and flame. Instead, Miguel offers him friendship—and a job at his growing farm-to-table store and café.

Against the odds, both guys bond over broken dreams and find common ground in music. But when Jack’s college gives him a second chance, he’s torn between achieving a dream that will take him far from home, and a love that strikes a chord he’ll never find anywhere else.

I loved this story so much. It's setting is completelty different from Off Campus, yet it worked perfectly for me. Ms Cousins has managed to create these real, flawed characters who totally captivated me with their story. 

There is drama and pain and miscommunication and secrets but they felt real and there was not over the top or excessive about the characters and their feelings. It all fitted very nicelty with being a young person in their 20s figuring out how to be a grown-up.


We met Jack in book 1, Off Campus, and he was a total jerk there, compeltely unlovable and plain mean. I wasn't sure how and if at all Ms Cousins will manage to redeem him. But boy, did she redeem him.

At the beginning, I was all about Mike (Miguel). He was perfect. He appeared all calm and collected, a responsible grown-up, business owner, yet he was as confused and misguided as any young person. I loved his relationship with his family and Andie. 

The greatest strength of the story for me is the way the author protrayed that awkward stage when you are no longer a teenager and everybody expects you be a grwn up and act like it, yet you are a confused boy/girl, making mistakes, struggling to be a responsible adult. As someone in her mid 30s who still sometimes doesn't feel much different from her confused, misguided, naive teenage self, I can relate so well and easily to that.

Jack and Miguel's is a second-chance love story and first-love and friends-to-lovers all in one. They both had some grwoing up to do, time to figure how to be together and still chase their dreams (and deal with one harsh reality). 

Jack was really bad initially, angry, hurting everybody who tried to help him, mostly Miguel. Years of neglect at home, emotional abuse, lack of love, support and understanding from anyone besides Miguel and his family have make prickiness and verbal agression his way of protecting himself. He had to learn how some pretty harsh lessons, saying sorry, trying to correct some of your mistakes didn't come easily or naturally to him.

Their getting back together was slow, sexy and intense. They both had some difficulty opening up about their feelings. Jack's journey was a fascinating one, he really did learn how to deal with the bad things in life in a better way. 

I loved how the issue of bullying was presented in a rather unique way. We see a gay guy who was bullied high school turning into a bully himself in college. There are many social issues woven intricately into the text without sounding preachy. 

The story doesn't show a perfect good/bad guy - just normal (young) people learning to be grown up by making mistakes, doing stupid things, but ultimately doing the right things. Things are no black and white, all the charaacters we meet, were complex real people with real feelings and real issues. Andie was fantastic (I hope she will get her book too, she soooo deserve some lvoe in her life).

Miguel was dealing difficult issues of his own. He was acepted and loved by his family, yet his relationship with them was a complex one - he needed to be needed and I understand this very well. His was having his own fight between responsiblity and desire to follow his dreams/heart. 

This is an intense story with some funny times, teary times and sexy times, a lot of anger, resentment, tenderness, passion. A highly recommended read!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks / Samhain


Waiting on Wednesday: The Salvation of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: The Salvation of Vengeance (Wanted Men #2)
Author: Nancy Haviland
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Mafia
Release Date: 24 March 2015

Add on Goodreads
Pre-order: Amazon 


Only something as important as her best friend’s wedding to mob boss Gabriel Moretti could allow Nika Paynne a reprieve from captivity. Her abusive husband has kept her under his thumb with footage of her beloved brother, Caleb, killing another man. But the respite from her violent life isn’t the only draw. Vincente Romani—Gabriel’s deadliest guardian—will be one of the best men at the wedding, and Nika has lingering thoughts about the fascinating mobster…covetous thoughts that may put her life in danger.

With the heartbreak he’s suffered and the brutality he effortlessly delivers, Vincente knows he’s the last person who can offer Nika a happily-ever-after. But his vow remains. He will do everything in his power to free his redhead from her violent prison—even if that means losing her forever.

In the second thrilling and passionate Wanted Men book, a dangerous line is drawn between loyalty to the mob and loyalty to one’s heart.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - I haven't read anything by Ms Haviland and I don't have much experience with mafia romances but I feel in the right mood for one now - something darker, edgier. It book 2 in the series but as far as I understand it can be read as a standalone, so I can't wait to dive into the Mafia world of crime and violence and love!

Nalini Singh

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh


It's a lovely romantic story between a mouse and a T-Rex, full of fun, slowly growing attraction, great chemistry and sweet HEA.

Title: Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 10 March 2015
Genre: Romance, rugby

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.


I'm a big fan of Nalini Singh's PNR series, Psy-Changeling and I was excited to try her contemporaries. I was not impressed with the first book, but the novella was definitely better. This one is by far the best so far. It's very loosely connected with the previous books and can be read as a standalone.

I'm not generally a fan of stories of billionaires/CEOs, even less when the romance involves their assistant but I was curious if and how Ms Singh could turn this around in a captivating love story. And I'm very happy to say she did make a captivating, raw and heartwarming love story out of this unlikely ingredients. 

Charlie is a wonderful heroine. She is shy and intimidated by men after serious physical and emotional trauma in her past. At same time she had this inner strength and sass when dealing with Gabriel in his mode of a slave-driving, high-powered, high-maintenance boss. She was hesitant to open up to him as a woman to a man but very much wanted. I liked that she was aware of her issues and wanted to deal with them.

Her problems were far too serious to just magically be cured by loving and being loved by a good man like Gabriel. She had to work had on letting herself start a relationship with Gabriel. And here comes Gabriel and there is only one word to describe him - perfect.

I liked how patient he was with Charlie, how understanding of her issues and how he takes his time to really woo her and win her over. He was the alpha hero I want to read about in romance - caring and protective, confident without becoming overbearing, aware of his power but never abusing it.

She is his assistant and he is her boss which adds another obstacle to them being together, and I generally wouldn't welcome this type of relationship but the way is was developed here didn't bother me and I felt it fitted the characters and their story arc.

The story functions on many levels - a real down-to-earth story of abuse and dealing with it, powerful and tender forever-type of romance. The magical writing style of Ms Singh's PNR stories was easily discernible her e and made to story really shine for me. 

It's a powerful character driven, complex story, which may seems bit cliche on the surface but it's more than familiar romance trope bundled together. They are presented with depth of understanding making them stand out and engaging the reader in the journey of Charlie and Gabriel. Recommended read for fans of Nalini Signh and any romance lover in general. 

Purchase links: iBooks / Kindle / Kobo / Nook

Mini Reviews

Mini Review: The Virgin's Night Out by Shiloh Walker


Title: The Virgin's Night Out
Author: Shiloh Walker
Date of publication: 6 April 2015
Genre: Romance

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 2 stars


Sloane Redding is the shy one, the timid one. The morning of her wedding, she's dumped by the man she'd thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. Humiliated, she turns tail and runs, leaving Nowhere, Alabama for a job in the city. Sloane sets out to remake herself. She succeeds...on the outside. On the inside? Different story. She still the shy Redding. Still quiet, still more interested in standing on the standlines. But all of that is about to change.

The night before her brother's wedding, she strolls in the lone bar in Nowhere wearing wicked red and she's got one goal in mind: to show her ex-fiance just what he lost.

The night before his best friend's wedding, D.B. "Boone" Cassidy walks into the lone bar in Nowhere, Alabama with one goal in mind. Get wasted. Former military, he's spent the past few years as a security specialist and all around troubleshooter. It should have been easy to spot the trouble that night...a sexy woman in wicked red. It should have been easy. Yeah, right.

One thing leads to another and his plans to get wasted turn into a night with the sexy woman in red . Boone gets the shock of his life the next day when he shows up at his friend's wedding to find out he'd just spent the night wrapped around his best friend's little sister...and that isn't the only surprise.

Mini Review

This is my 4th book by Shiloh Walker and while I quite enjoyed all the previous ones, this was a great disappointment for me. 

It's a novella-length story which started promising with a revenge one-night stand between strangers but things quickly went downhill for me. The blurb doesn't really reveal much of the actual story so I'll try to keep my review spoiler-free which will inevitably make it a bit vague.

I felt the story lacked depth, too many things happened and they were just skimmed over without being fully fleshed out. The same holds true about the characters - there was no real spark to make me engaged in their fates. 

The heroine was annoying pretty much from the start and she went making one wrong decision after another. Sloane outright lied to Boone and the fact that she tried to convinced herself and the others that it wasn't so based on semantics really put me off. Boone's character was more interesting and I felt more sympathetic with his situation. Yet again his plot arc lacked depth and detail and I couldn't fully connect with him, either.

The first encounter between them involved a whole bunch of tropes and stereotypes which I personally don't enjoy in my romances. The way the romantic relationship developed or rather, the lack of a real relationship was frustrating.

The ending was quite abrupt and just added to my dissatisfaction with this story. It had great potential but I felt it was wasted. The story went in a direction which I didn't really liked - based on lies, half-truths and miscommunication. The main conflict seemed fabricated and I didn't really feel the tension and intrigue to keep me interested in the story.

It was a quick and easy read, just not for me.

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | ARe

L. H. Cosway

Review: The Hooker and the Hermit by L. H. Cosway and Penny Reid


Title: The Hooker and the Hermit
Author: L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid
Genre/Themes: Contemproary romance / Sports
Release Date: 5 February 2015

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My rating: 3 Stars



Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.


Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…


When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together. 
What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is?

My review

This is a very difficult review to write since I absolutely love Penny Reid's books and I'm a fan of L. H. Cosway's stories as well, but this book really didn't work for me. I was naturally excited when I heard they are teaming together to write a romance, a sports one at that, which I particularly enjoy.

The story is told from a dual POV of Annie and Ronan and even though I loved some aspects of it, there were a few things that bothered me and left me conflicted.

I quite liked Annie initially - she just as adorable in her unique and strangely awkward ways as Ms Reid's heroines from the Knitting in the City series which I have come to love so much. Annie is a contradiction in terms - shy and closed-off in real life and open and outgoing in her online persona. I was intrigued by her quirks and was curious how her character will develop throughout the story. 

On the other hand, I didn't like Ronan very much initially. He came on to Annie too strong embodying all the stalkerish, alpha male traits so popular in romance lately and which I hate so much. His invasion of her personal space especially during their initial meetings was totally unacceptable for me.

Their relationship went through many ups and downs and throughout the story the characters changed quite a bit. I got the like Ronan more, his past and his character made him more sympathetic. Still, the whole BDSM element came out of the blue for me and it was not a nice surprise. Annie also changed a lot and even though her opening to the world and her acceptance of her feelings for Ronan were part of her growth as a character, I felt she just became a different person overnight. Her quirkiness and hermit-like style was completely gone in the second half of the book.

The story had the trademark wittiness and humour typical for Ms Reid's work but it didn't flow as smoothly as her other works. I found the story employed one too many romantic cliches and elements that I personally don't enjoy in my romances. That is not to say that it's an inherently bad story or badly written, on the contrary, I feel it's good book, just not the right one for me.

In short, I found this book quite different from Ms Reid's previous ones. For me it lacked the off-beat, out-of-the-ordinary quality of her other works and felt much too similar to most popular romances today. I think this story may work better for fnas of hot sexy sports romance with a touch of BDSM.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords


Waiting on Wednesday: Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Shooting for the Stars (Gravity #3)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Snowboading
Release Date: 16 March 2015

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Pre-order: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks


For one night she had everything.

Pro snowboarder Stella Lazarus has always loved her brother's best friend. But the one time she tried to show him, she was shot down faster than you can say "competitor disqualified."

Until one blissful night in Tahoe, when Stella finally gets her man.

Or does she? In the morning, Stella and Bear wake up to horrible news. The sort that sends them racing back to Vermont, and straight into the arms of guilt and family obligations.

For all of Bryan “Bear” Barry’s life, three natural laws held true: his best friend Hank was destined for greatness, Hank’s sister Stella was off-limits, and Bear would always manage to negotiate the rocky paths that life threw his way. In the space of two days, that’s all shattered. 

Bear can't believe he slipped up so badly with Stella. Even if his best friend wasn’t lying broken in a hospital bed, it would still be unforgivable. Determined to do better, he devotes himself to his friend's recovery, denying himself the very person he loves. And the very thing he needs.

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Why am I waiting for this? - I love Sarina Bowen's NA series, The Ivy Years. Book 1 in the Gravity series, Falling from the Sky (my review) was a nice sports romance and I'm interested in reading more of this series. Hank's sister sounds like a wonderfully unique heroine :) 


Release Day Launch for Darker Than Desire by Shiloh Walker


Darker Than Desire RDL Banner   

Darker Than Desire CoverTitle: Darker Than Desire (Secrets and Shadows #3)
Author: Shiloh Walker
Date of publication: 3 March 2015
Genre: Romantic suspense

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase links:
Amazon * B&N * iTunesKobo*



No matter how many times he’s left her in the past, Sybil Chalmers can’t ignore her feelings for the one man who stole her heart years ago. For countless nights, she has waited for him—for his kiss, his touch—and has longed for him to emerge from the shadows of his past. Only when she is in his arms does Sybil really feel alive…and finally, after all these years, that time is now. 


He’s a man raised in a world of strict rules and unbreakable traditions and he’s always yearned to break free. But when a family tragedy lures him back home, he finds his one true passion has been there all along. With Sybil, he can explore his greatest potential—and allow her to discover a whole new level of ecstasy. But will a long-buried secret threaten to tear them apart? The only thing he knows for sure is that he will do anything to keep Sybil in his life…and keep her coming back for more…


The skin on the nape of his neck stood up.

His blood started to pump.

Slowly, he shifted his gaze and found himself staring across the neat, tidy little lawn.

There. That was the other thing he felt, a bizarre mix of need, longing and a twist in his heart that he couldn’t fully understand. It only happened around one person.

It wasn’t a surprise that she’d found him here.

Nor was it a surprise when his heart did that odd little twist.

She was the other person who managed to make him feel.

She made him want.

She made him need.

She made him regret, too.

Regret that he needed to push her away, regret that he couldn’t reach for her the way he wanted.

Regret that he wasn’t as strong as he should be, because even as he told himself to push her away, she started up the walk, the short skirt she wore barely clinging to her thighs and all he could think about was pulling her into his lap so that the skirt rode higher and he could cup her hips, pull her down to straddle him.

Vivid, overbright starbursts seemed to explode behind his eyes as that fantasy played out in his mind. It would be so easy. This was a secluded street and people had finally given up on the rubbernecking. Hardly anybody drove down the street to check out the burnt out wreck of the Frampton house. He could pull that stretchy bit of fabric up and be inside her in two minutes. It would be so easy to just lose himself to her.

She came to a halt in front of him while his blood pounded in slow, steady waves, while need clenched inside him like a fist.

Tell her to leave, common sense dictated. He’d already made the decision he needed to make.

But his head, his heart, his cock didn’t want to listen.

“Hey,” she said, her red-slicked lips curving up.

He stared at her mouth, thought about seeing that mouth open, seeing it glide down his chest.

Blinking, he managed, barely, to look away. “Hey back.”

This was yet another thing he lacked, the ability to talk, even to her, about anything that didn’t involve getting her naked and fucking her. Naked wasn’t even necessary as long as he could be inside her, lose himself to her, hide away from the demons that chased him.

But if he kept doing that, all those demons were going to start chasing her, too.

He wasn’t worth a whole hell of a lot and he didn’t care about a whole hell of a lot. But he’d burn this whole damn town to the ground before he let anything from his past start to haunt her. Every moment of peace he’d ever known had come from her. She mattered, more than anything or anybody else in his miserable world.

So instead of reaching for her, he stared out at the water, acutely aware as she sat down at his side. The journals sat at the other and he resisted the urge to grab them, disappear inside the house, hide them away from her. Hide them away, hide their secrets, as if that would make the truth any less than true.

“I don’t blame that kid,” Sybil said out of the blue.

Caught up in his own head, he barely understood what she meant. Looking over at her, he tracked her gaze and then, as a shiver of cold raced up his spine, he looked back over the water.

“Plenty of people don’t. Too bad he couldn’t find a way to trap his dad and uncle in there, too.”

Sybil murmured, “His uncle’s brains splattered all over the chief’s wall.”

“He went too easy.”

“True. But he is still gone.” Her gaze came over to him. “We fell asleep on you. What did you think about the movie?”

He frowned, tried to remember something about it. The boy. Wands. A rock. Then he shrugged. “What sort of name is Snape?”

Sybil laughed. “An interesting one. For an interesting character. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?”

The question caught him offguard. Then he looked down. “What does it matter?”

“Well, if you want to watch more of the series with us, it would be kind of fun for me to know now, what you think of him. He plays a big part in it.”

I’m not watching more. That was what he should tell her. Sighing, he looked away. Everything he should do, he couldn’t do. It had been like that for most of his life. He should found a better way to make people listen. He should have fought harder. He should have run sooner.

Then there were the things he shouldn’t have done. He shouldn’t have involved Lana. He shouldn’t have stayed in town. He shouldn’t have reached for Sybil that first night.

A hand reached up, touched his cheek. “You’re always so serious, baby.”

“Little reason to be otherwise.”

“True.” She moved then and he didn’t even have time to brace himself before she had settled herself in his lap, one leg planted on either side of his hips. Her hands came up, cupped his face. “How much longer until you decide to tell me?”

His hands moved of their own volition, fingers splayed wide across satiny soft thighs. “Tell you what, Sybil?”

“Don’t play games with me.” She dipped her head so that her hair fell around them like a curtain. “You’ve never done it before. Don’t start now.”

Noise clamored in the back of his head, all that chaos rising to a roar as he stared into those beautiful eyes. They slid between gold and green and right now, they all but glowed as she watched him.

Send her away. Tell her.

He slid his hands up, cupping her ass. And he groaned when he found her naked under that sorry excuse for a skirt. “I keep thinking it’s time to tell you to just go. To stay away from me.”

“That’s what I thought.” She rubbed her mouth against his. “Why don’t you do it, then? So I can ignore you and we can fight it out?”

The cool silk of her hair brushed against his cheek. He tangled one hand in it. “This isn’t a game anymore.”

“It never was.” She eased back, watching him with knowing eyes.

He curled his lip. “It was one thing when you were fucking some guy you thought was an Amish builder. It’s another thing when it’s me, possible murder suspect, sick degenerate. It’s just a matter of time before the cops decide to start pulling me, demanding answers about what happened the night I disappeared. Just a matter of time before everything comes out in the open. When nobody knew—”

She lifted a hand and pressed her finger to his lips.

“I always knew.”

Check out the previous books in the series!

Deeper Than Need - coverSweeter Than Sin - cover

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Author Photo
About Shiloh Walker: 
Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her newest series, Secrets and Shadows, launched in April 2014. Look for the newest book Deeper than Need, to be followed by Sweeter than Sin and Darker than Desire. She writes romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.         

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