Lexxi Callahan

Review: Sweetened with a Kiss by Lexxi Callahan


Title: Sweetened with a Kiss (Southern Style #1)
Author: Lexxi Callahan
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release Date: 25 June 2013

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

My rating: 3 Stars
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Jen Taylor has loved Stefan Sellers all her life. When he surprised her with an engagement ring, she thought all her dreams were coming true. But when she discovers Stefan has an agenda that she never even suspected, she breaks off the engagement and goes to pastry school in Paris. Now she's back in New Orleans, and she has no intention of marrying him for all the wrong reasons. She just has to convince him that marriage is a bad idea. If only she wasn't having so much trouble convincing herself.

Stefan Sellers has waited years to make Jen his wife so when she wanted to go to pastry school, he decided a few more months wouldn't matter. But six months later, the girl he picks up from the airport shows very little resemblance to the quiet, sweet girl he let fly away from him. The girl that came back from Paris is wearing five inch stilettos and waving an attitude that is laying waste to everything Stefan ever thought he knew about Jen. His calm, methodical approach to life is suddenly under siege and he can't seem to keep his hands off her.


This is my first book by this author and quite enjoyed it. It has its weaknesses and things that I didn't particualry like but overall it's a sweet and quite sexy Southern romance, involving some super riches heroes and heroines and their high-level games of seduction, keeping secrets and blackmail.

The beginnign of the book is what I'd describe bubbly. All of a sudden we meet one too many characters which made it difficult to keep track who is who and what the relationships were. It felt like the story is a sequel and I should already know this people but I didn't and it made thigns confusing for a while. 

Stefan is your typical  alpha hero, taking possessiveness and protectiveness to the extreme which I didn't particularly enjoy. He had total control over the heroine since he managed her trust fund and it reallu put her in a position of dependance. It didn;t bother me much, sicne I think it was handled well and the author managed to convince me of the truth of the characters' feelings for each other. 

I had some issues with the heroine as well. She appeared too naive for a 22-year old woman, though it was somewhat understadable becase she has been overprotected her whole life, sheltered from reality in a way. his mental issues made her feel real and and her story explained (at leat in part) why the hero felt so strongly about her to the point of denying her any indepedant thought or action.

Their chemistry as off the charts and the sexual tension was esquisitely presented though it became repetitve at some point. The wait for their coming together felt unnecessarily prolonged. 

I found the pace of the story a bit uneven, jumping from lighthearted and fun to serious and gloomy in a heartbeat.

It's more of fantasy romance with the perfect HEA than a realistic contemporary romance. It made it an enjoyable and fun read for me, albeit not a very deep one. I've already got book 2 in the series and will be starting it soon.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N 

Katie McGarry

Waiting on Wednesday: Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry


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: Nowhere but Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre/Themes: New Adult, Realistic fiction, bikers
Release Date: 26 May 2015
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Pre-order links: 
Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | iBooks | Indie | Kobo


Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - I really enjoyed Ms McGarry's Pushing the Limits series. I read less YA/NA than I used to a couple of years ago, but realistic ficiton with a touch of romance is still a favourite of mine. I love how real the charcters in Pushing the Limits feel and how invested I get in their fate. Nowhere but Here is book 1 in new series and brings bikers/Motorcycle clubs in the world of YA/NA charcters. In short, I'm very much curious how Ms McGarry will make this connection and how real and authentic it will feel. 

What new releases are you most excited about? Leave me a comment and I'll stop by your blog to check out yout WoW post. 


Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy


What a refreshing New Adult college romance!

Title: The Deal (Off Campus #1)
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult, Romance, College
Release Date: 24 Feb 2015

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
My rating: 4 Stars

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She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy... 

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. 

...and it’s going to be oh so good. 

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.


I admit I read New Adult but I'm very picky about it since I often find it too unrealistic, angsty and the characters can be too immature. this is my first book by Elle Kennedy and it's was wodnerful - funny and sweet, with some angst but no artificial drama. 

It's told from dual POV and both Hannah's (Wellsy) and Garrett's voice sounded true and very authentic for young college kids (granted I have no personal expreince of the American college system). Their fears and concerns reflected what young people generally experience when trying to find their own place/self in the world for the first time. 

I'm not a big fan of fake-boyfriend trope but it was well done here and fitted the characters. Both of them had issues in their past (who doesn't) but they were not overexposed and certainky didn't overtake the romance. I even felt that Hannah's problems were treated a bit lightly, but at the same time I liked how she didn't let her past get her down and stop her from getting on with her life. 

It's a typical story of young love, some immature desicionss and childish mistakes, yet it was told in an eganging way. I appreciated the witty banter between the characters, the sense of teenage humour and college shenanigans. 

I really liked Hannah, but I was Garrett who stole the show in this book. He is not your typical dumb jock, yet he is a player but he was not ashamed or appologetic about it. I really liked the ambiguities and compelxity of his characters, his patience with Hannah was endearing. She was fun, and independant, and smart, though she did act pretty childishly at times. 

My minor complaint is things lost their freshness and good humour towards the end. The grand gestures and declarations of eternal love didn't really fit these two young people. 

In short, it's an eaasy-going, fun college love story with some humour, some great chemistry between the main characters and a wonderful cast of supporting characters. Logan is a particualr favourite of mine and I can't wait for his story (I really hope, next book will be about him). 

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


Review: Falling from the Sky by Sarina Bowen


Title: Falling from the Sky (Gravity #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre: Contemporary romance, sports
Release Date: 2 Feb 2015

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

My rating: 3.5 Stars
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She's the woman he doesn't remember. He's the man she can't forget.

Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.

Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.

With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.


Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series was one of the nicest surprises in my reading last year. I loved her New Adult romances and was excited to try her adult romance series Gravity, as well. Furthermore I have a soft spot for sports romance and what better time to read about a snowboarder falling in love than during one of the coldest weeks of the year. It was a nice contemporary romance and I enjoyed it a lot but not as much as Ms Bowen’s college hockey books.

I liked Hank and his journey from a superstar snowboarder to a person bound on wheelchair. His struggles to come to terms with happened to him and to move on and build a new life for himself were interesting to read.

The heroine, Callie, who is a doctor, was shy, focused on her work and really missing have someone in her life. Her attraction to Hank was pretty clear and even after his injure she saw him as desirable, someone she wanted to be. She acted somewhat childish and immature which I found annoying.

I felt the story lacked some depth, it dealt with serious issues (disability, professional ethics, etc.) but I wished we were given more insight into them instead of focusing mostly on Hank's attempts to get together with Callie and her fears and distrust.

The romance was slowgoing and felt real and intimate. There was some quietness and bit of predictablity to it but overall, it felt me feeling happy for the couple. 

The story had an easy flow to it, nice and pleasant but nothing really stood out. The conflict wasn't very strong and overall things were rather tame. I wanted more tension, a bit more raw emotion. I'd have loved to see Hank at  his darkest/lowest moments after the injury and the way he dealt with the irrevocable  changes in his life.

Still, it's a nice, uplifting story without being too sweet or too gritty, keeping a middle ground. I can recommend it to fans of sport romances. I'm curious about the other characters and plan on continuing with this series.

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

My reviews of other books by Sarina Bowen:
The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) - 4.5 Stars
The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) - 4 Stars
The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) - 4 Stars


Waiting on Wednesday: Sweet by Tammara Webber


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: Sweet (Counturs of the Heart #3) 
Author: Tammara Webber
Genre/Themes: Romance, New Adult
Release Date: 27 April 2015

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Pre-order links: Amazon / iBooks


He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her. Sweet.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - Easy is one of my favourite NA romances and it's companion novel, Breakable (my review), was a great read was well. We meet Boyce and Pearl int he second book and he got me intrigued right then and there. I can't wait to see how things between him and Pearl work out in the end.

Alexis Hall

Review: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall


Another wonderful romance by one of my favourite authors, Alexis Hall.

Title: Waiting for the Flood
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre/Themes: Contemproary romance, m/m, novella
Release Date: 23 February 2015

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

My rating: 5 Stars
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People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to a build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn't need to try.


This is a sweet, truly romantic love story written in the amazingly intimate, touching style of Mr. Hall. I loved every word of this rather short book and very much felt like highlighting all of it on my Kindle.

It's a quiet, understated attraction (which might grown into love or not) that happens to two ordinary people. The story is told from the POV of Edwin and I liked his journey to finding his voice, accepting it as it was and finally moving on with his life/love. 

In short, I loved everything in this book, the story is itself is rather simple and straightforward but the way it was told makes it unforgettable for me. There is so much warmth and sincerity in the writing. 

There are not grand gestures or drama in this book, it’s just two people meeting by chance and taking tentative steps toward each other, getting to know each other, sharing their dreams and hopes, their fears and insecurities. It felt so real, often I thought of Edwin’s messy emotions "Oh, I've felt this way. I still feel this way sometimes." 

For me, this ordinary contemporary love story carried the same magic and passion in it, as Mr Hall's paranormal stories (Sand and Gold and Ruin, in particular). Perhaps it’s his way of rendering human emotions into words on the page that makes the everyday life magical, turning it into a story of life, love and the human soul.

Edwin is my kind of guy in everything. I loved his personal quirks, weaknesses and strengths and I felt the happy, optimistic ending holding a promise for the future was perfect for him (and Adam, of course). 

This is a recommended read for me. If you haven’t read Alexis before, this novella is a great opportunity to get familiar with his style (and to fall in love with his writing).

Pre-order: Riptide 

My reviews of other books by Alexis Hall:
Glitterland - 5 Stars
Prosperity - 5 Stars


Review: Meatworks by Jordan Castillo Price


Title: Meatworks 
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre/Themes: Dystopia / MM romance
Release Date: 3 July 2014

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
My rating: 4 Stars

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Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.

Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.

Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.

Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?


Most of my GR friends and people whose opinion on books I value highly raved about this book so I decided to try it. Furthermore, I was intrigued by the dyspotian setting and the character(s) with disabilities.

It's an engaging, thought-provoking read, skillfully written, leaving a very memorable impression. Told from the first-person POV of Desmond is his tale of finding his place in a cruel/emotionless dyspotian world where robots serve the people as much as control them. 

It started rather bleak and gloomy, too depressing for me. The world building was great and the future world portrayed was really distrubing. it's a story about Desmond's life with all his ups and downs, mistakes and the very, very few good things that happened to him. There is romance in the story but it's not the fantasy, all-chamging, saving tupe of love, rather this was raw and real, love-is-messy kind of story. None of the characters has it easy, even Jim, and consequently their feelings for each other were all over the place - love, lust, hatred, distrust, honesty, hope and desperation. 

Desmond is not a nice person, yet the author did manage to make me care deeplty for him, to want him to find his happiness. His journey, his growth didn't erase his past mistakes but they did make him a better person.

Corey and Jim are sort of Desmond's past and his future. I liked the intricacies of the relationships between the three of them, they felt real. There is no magic way to deal with disabilitity, with disillusionment, with life (the good, the bad and all in between).

The story reminded me in a way of Alexis Hall's Glitterland, though the setting couldn't be more different. It's a story of love/life gone compeltely and irreversibly wrong, before finally going right. A trial by error journey for Desmond (and Corey, to some extend).

It's capativating story, not for the faint of heart. It's about the ugly and raw in life, the people who have lost themselves, yet they still have feelings and hopes and dreams and they deserve to be happy as much as anyone else. 

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

Release Day Launch

Release Day Launch for the Gravity series by Sarina Bowen


I discovered Sarina Bowen last year through her Ivy Years series which I restored my faith in the New Adult college romance and which I absolutely loved. Now Ms Bowen is re-releasing another romantic series - adult sport romances, the Gravity series. Check out the beatiful new covers and get ready for a snowy adventure!

Title: Falling from the Sky (Gravity #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre/Themes: Romance, sports

Release Date: 2 Feb 2015

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


She's the woman he doesn't remember. He's the man she can't forget.

Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.

Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to the clinic’s newest patient that they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.

With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.

*** *** ***


“Hi,” Callie said softly. “I’m Doctor Anders. Or Callie, if you wish.”

“Callie,” he cleared his throat. “You look really familiar.”

That wasn’t what she had expected him to say. It would have been as good a time as any to mention that they’d met about ten minutes before his accident, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Who would want to be reminded of that afternoon? “I’ve been here all week,” she said instead. “But we don’t expect you to keep track of the dozens of people who prod you all day.”

“And all night,” he added.

She sat down on a stool next to his bed. “That’s my fault. I need to know that they’re looking at your vitals every three hours. It helps me sleep.” She winked, and was rewarded with half a smile. “Now, quick—before the room is invaded again by nurses’ assistants—how’s your pain? Is there anything you need?”

Hank lifted one hand to his face, and Callie was glad to see it. If his injury had happened farther up his spine, he wouldn’t have been able to do that. With his palm, Hank rubbed several days’ worth of whiskers, which only served to make him look more rugged, while he considered her question. “Let’s see…I need a full rack of Curtis’ ribs, with spicy sauce and a baked potato. And I need to get the hell out of this hospital.”

She nodded obligingly, even though she couldn’t fulfill any of those requests. But if he was talking about food and getting out of here, those were both good signs. “You’ll be transferring to a rehab facility soon.”

“Yeah,” he sighed. His gaze wandered again, his eyes aiming at the window.

“The rehab place will let you sleep through the night,” she said, keeping her voice light. “And you’ll have your own clothes. I hear the food is better, too.”

“Couldn’t really be worse,” he said, turning to face Callie again. His dark eyes locked onto hers, and Callie felt the moment stretch and take hold. He didn’t say anything more, but he didn’t have to. Silently, an understanding passed between them. It didn’t matter if the food got better. Hank Lazarus was in for a shitty time, truly the shittiest time of his life. The distance he’d come these past five days was a descent from the highest high to the lowest low. And there wasn’t a damned thing either of them could do about it.

“Hang in there,” Callie whispered. “This right here is the very worst part.”

He didn’t break their staring contest. “You promise?” he rumbled, his voice pure whiskey and smoke.

*** *** *** 


Ms Bowen is giving away two paperback copies of Falling from the Sky. And the giveaway is open internationally, yay!

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Anne Calhoun

Waiting on Wednesday: The List by Anne Calhoun


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 List
Author: Anne Calhoun
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance

Release Date: 3 March 2015

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Purchase links: Amazon / B&N


Who’s on top?

Matchmaker and stationery shop owner Matilda Davies brings people together. For those on her list, Tilda will find the man or woman of their dreams—whether it’s for an hour or a lifetime. But due to a painful past, the British expat has never put her own name on the list. Instead, she limits herself to emotionless and commitment-free hookups. Then she meets Daniel, who wants not just her body, but also her heart…

Daniel Logan hides the soul of a poet under the suit and tie of an FBI agent. Specializing in financial crimes, he pieces together stories of greed and ensures justice is done. He plays by the rules—until he meets Tilda. He’s drawn in by her passion as well as her mysteriousness. Daniel knows that no matter her secrets, he’s the perfect match for Tilda. But even pleasure doesn’t come with a guarantee

*** *** ***
Why am I waiting for this? - I've read only one romance by Anne Calhoune, Jaded (my review) and I enjoyed her style a lot. I'm in the mood for a hot and complex romantic story and hope this will be it. Besides, the cover is so beautiful, I couldn't resist it!

Blog Tour

Blog Tour and Giveaway for The Hooker and the Hermit



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

Review: to come
Purchase links:
Amazon US / Amazon UK / B&N / Kobo / iBooks / Smashwords 


New York’s Finest February 14, 2015 LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement!You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? The one with the anger management issues and the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy.
Well, I have a confession to make… 

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? The Hooker and the Hermit is a collaboration between authors L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid, is a full length 100k word novel, and is a standalone.

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About L.H. Cosway

5622223L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

About Penny Reid

SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing). By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

Awesome giveaway!

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Review: Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand


Title: Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses #1)
Author: Laura Florand
Genre/Themes: Contemproary romance
Release Date: 26 January 2015

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

My rating: 5 Stars

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She stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.


This was a truly beautifully written love story that was a pure pleasure to read. I couldn't put it down and finished in 2 days despite my desire to savour every word, every emotion it brought to life. I almost never reread stories but I'd love to go back to this one at some point. There are so many layers to this story that I'm sure I've missed some the first time round and I’d only be to happy to find them.

I'm a big fan of Laura Florand and her Amour et Chocolat series  is one my favourite romances. Once Upon a Rose is the first book in a spin-off series focusing on a dynasty of producers of rose oil in the South of France. It is the most perfect, romantic and tender love story I’ve read lately. Everything in it worked perfectly for me.

Ms Florand has this distinctive rich style of writing, very sensual, very detail oriented. I particularly like how she weaves elements of traditional fairy tales in her romances and they don't feel like an addition but rather are an intrinsic part of the story. She skilfully plays with stereotypes and expectations, with traditional roles.

Layla was a interesting character - she is of mixed origin (French/Lebanese), a free-roaming musician in search of her inspiration back and (more importantly, though she comes to this realisation only gradually in the course of the story) a place to belong to. Matt was her total opposite in many way - he was part of the land, his valley defined him but it was aslo smothering him, just as her non-stop travelling was killing her artistic self.

Matt and Layla's romance swept them off their feet in a matter of days and was at true love at first sight. It's was magical, a story of a princess and her knight, though with a sense of humour and enough dose of reality to keep it grounded and prevent it from being too sweet. Their story was a beautiful journey of self-discovery and of learning who you are and who you can be. The struggle between their heart's desires and their words/actions was very intense, sometimes sad, oftenimes funny and most certainly honest and intimate. 

I liked Layla but Matt stole my heart. He was like a big teddy bear (the bear analogy runs strongly throughout the story and I loved it). He hides a tender heart behind his growls and he, can you believe it, he blushes, this big, dark, who scolds and growls all the time, actulally blushes. How cute is that! Layla didn't stand a chance against that just as he didn't have a chance against a petite girl with big eyes and masses of curls who wore her heart on her sleeve for everyone to see.

Ms Florand also gives us a great set of supporting characters set of characters who helped give the story a strong sense of place. There was a lot of focus on the importance of family in all its forms and complexities. I loved the Rosiers cousins, Tante Collette and grandpere Pepe were amazing as well. Can't wait for the next story in the series.

Another element which mades this book stand out is the many layers the author add the love story - subtle presence of history of the French Resistance, the issue of what makes a family, the freedom the be yourself and the need to have someone stand by your side and to be able to share your world with them, the burden of obligations and expectation. 

A fantastic read that I can't praise enough. Even this early in the year, I can honestly say that this will be one the Top Reads of 2015 for me! Now I'm going to read rest of the series - Raoul's story (part of the No Place Like Home Anthology) and the prequel novella, Turning Up the Heat (Daniel and Leah) and The Chocolate Rose (Gabriel and Jolie) which is actually book 3 in the Amour et Chocolat series. 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Black Iris by Leah Raeder


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: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Genre/Themes: New Adult, Queer romance
Release Date: 28 April 2015

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Purchase links: Amazon • B&N • Indiebound • iTunes 


It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting about this? - I have the debut novel of Ms Raeder, Unteachable, on my kindle but haven't read it yet. I've heard great things about this book and I'm curious to try it. The blurb is really intriguing and it fits nicely with the diverse books I've been reading lately.


Recommended Reads: January 2015


It was a rocky start to my reading this year - some amazing read, some disappointments from favourite authors, some free short and extremely long reads. Quite a month!

I have two favourite books this month and they both happen to be romantic suspense stories - Evenfall by Santino and Ais and Lay It Down by Cara McKenna.

Genre/Themes: Dystopia, queer romance, agents
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I read the directors cut of the first book which is divided in two parts. This is an amazingly complex and enthralling series and I'm excited to continue with it. Fans of dystopian stories with lots of action, complex plot and touching (m/m) romance shouldn't hesitate trying this series. 

Genre/Themes: Romantic suspense, bikers, small town
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Purchase links: Amazon / B&N

I also have two honourable mentions this week, books I enjoyed a lot but they didn't quite make it into the Best of the Best list. 

Genre/Themes: New Adult, Romance, College
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Purchase links: amazon | apple | nook | koboall romance | smashwords

I love Ms Milan's historical romance but the words Billionaire CEO in the blurb of this contemporary made me hesitant to try it. I'm glad I gave it a chance since it turned out to be a great NA story and a good start of rather promising series. Great writing style, intriguing premise, witty dialogue and amazing characters. Even if you don't generally read NA romance, I think you should try this one!

Genre/Themes: Dystopia, M/M Romance
Review to come 
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Purchase links: Amazon - Smashwords - iTunes

I had great expectations for this book and all my friends loved it but I just liked it a lot. It's intriguing and unique, well written with strong, complex characters. Desmond was not easy to like but I ended rooting for things to work out for him. Not sure what was missing for me to make a 5-star read but I can recommend it to anyone looking for a different story - bleak and gloomy, somewhat desperate, yet ultimately, hopeful and romantic in its own way.

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