Reviewed and Recommended

The reviews on this page have been supplied firsthand by Susan Horsnell, Leanne Rogers, Robyn Corcoran, and Marnie Jay,  but is open to take submissions from other readers.

Send reviews to horsnells@yahoo.com.au for inclusion.

REVIEWS FROM FRIDAY 29 JULY 2022

Tortured Soul

Series: The Dirty Souls MC

Author: Emma Creed

Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran

Rating: 5*

Warning: When you start reading this book, like the other books in this series, you won’t be able to put it down. This fast-paced story grabs you by the throat and holds you hostage until the very last page. So much happens that there is never a dull moment throughout the book. In fact, its unpredictability is one of the best features. In this story, Storm’s sister, Riley, is still missing and the Prez receives a new lead on her whereabouts, which leads to a plan to get her back.
Screwy sees the world in black, this describes him perfectly, but he has every reason to, we learn. The more the story goes back in time, the more I become incensed on behalf of both of the twins, but mainly Screwy. It explains why he is so hard on himself and this makes me want to wrap him up in a snuggle blanket and keep him safe—yes, totally ridiculous, but you get the idea. I truly want Screwy to be happy… bottom line, end of story. This is the depth of feeling that you experience because of the author’s expressive and emotive writing.
Lydia is without doubt one very strong young woman. My admiration for this character is immense and as the story progresses so did my admiration. She is intuitive, caring and supportive of those around her; she’s accepted and befriended by those around her because she is a genuinely delightful person.
Honestly, there’s so much drama and action that the story zips by so quickly. I was entertained and delighted, at times I was scared, shocked and angered, too, but most of all I was totally enraptured with everything Screwy. This is definitely a raw, gritty book but humour slips in occasionally from the last person you’d expect—Screwy! Of course, Squealer and Rogue both add some fun in too. All round, this is worth more than 5 stars, I loved it.

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Isolate

Series: The Nola Defiance MC Series Book 2

Author: K E Osborn

Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran

Rating: 5*

After the ending of book one, Gravitate, that teased us, it was terrific how this second Nola Defiance MC book continued the
story off straight away, without any fuss. Isabelle, or Izzy, and City grew up together and were best friends until City’s best friend in the LA Defiance MC club, Dice, was introduced to her and then there was quite a complicated love/friendship triangle.
The to and fro between Izzy and City nearly did my head in and I wanted to sit them down and spell everything out very clearly. Yes, I realise it’s a fictional relationship but that’s how invested in the story you get. They certainly had incredible chemistry and everyone around them could almost feel it it was that tangible.
I liked both lead characters, even with that pesky yo yoing I mentioned. 😀 City was a loyal friend who tried to be supportive and caring. Izzy certainly had it tough after City left LA but in her heart she knew she could rely on her friendship with City.
One of the main things I enjoy about these stories is the solidarity between brothers and Defiance clubs. The characters are all interesting and often very quirky, like Bayou with his unusual pet. 😁 There’s always great action and drama with other bits and pieces threaded into the fabric of the story in each book, these help to gradually create a bigger picture—and usually one filled with a rival or two of the club, good stuff.
Be prepared to hope on the old emotional hurdie gurdie where at times, not only will you feel anxious or fearful but also down right angry too. On the other hand there is a great balance with the happiness of a terrific romance but also light relief in the clever sense of humour.

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Double Dog Dare

Author: Tracy Solheim

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

This was such a fun read.

Luke is an athlete and Summer a curvaceous musician.

Total opposite and yet chemistry off the charts.

The connection was their grandparents assisted living home…oh and the dogs, yep they met first and hilarity followed.

He was dating her cousin first, a fling using each other for their own reasons.

But can’t deny the heart as Luke and Summer kept crossing paths.

Emotional scenes and plenty of humour will have you loving their story.

I highly recommend it.

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Local Girl Missing

Author: Lisa Regan

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

Oh my goodness, it’s so stressful to review a great story and do it justice.

My heart is still racing and I hated to finish this story.

Josie and Noah are partners in life and careers.

A local mystery, one girl dead and the other running for her life.

Josie and Noah were returning from leave, stopped in the fog and this crime played out in front of them.

This story was so well written, I couldn’t tell who, why and what on earth was going on.

Little flask backs from someone’s life played out between the chapters, I’d no idea who that was.

There are so many twists and turns in this plot you may be dizzy.

I loved the way the author wove all the pieces together wrapping up this mystery.

I just couldn’t put this book down, bravo Ms Regan this is a winner.

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Colorado Cold Case

Author: Elle James

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

This story grabbed me from the beginning, the author does a fantastic job with these characters.

I really love the Brotherhood Protectors, their missions and finding love in dangerous places.

Griff is medically retired on his way way to join the team, he finds himself saving and protecting a local cop Rachel, she is someone from his past.

She has a stalker, is it because she resembles her murdered sister?

She’s on her own mission to catch the criminal and could become a victim herself.

I really enjoyed how the pieces of this puzzle all fell together.

Also the rekindle of their relationship.

Great story, I highly recommend this series.

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Tempting Justice

Series: Brothers of Justice Book 2

Author: Fiona Archer

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

Update: 5 years after reading this the first time.

What a pleasure it was to revisit this story and it’s characters.

I’d forgotten most of the story line with the 100s of books that I read.

I remembered this is the story that sent me shopping online for stationery.

Heath and London were great characters along with the rest of their families.

A mystery of murder surrounded this story…just ‘whodunnit’. It still took me by surprise.

There are added bonuses and scenes in this new ed. Fantastic story, I highly recommend it.

2017: I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book.

Such a fantastic story, that I was totally engrossed and almost missed my train stop.

This is Heath’s story along with London, younger sister of his colleague which could be awkward.

The plot was certainly entertaining with drama, action, murder and love.

Just when I thought I had that side character b!tch worked out the author threw in a twist that I didn’t see coming.

I enjoy the banter of the Justice Brothers, tough young men who grew up on the streets and developed into these tough but caring men.

I didn’t want this book to end and I certainly look forward to the next brother’s story.

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REVIEWS FROM TUESDAY 19 JULY 2022

Level Up 

Author: Kindle Alexander

Reviewer: Susan Horsnell

Rating: 5*

I have just finished reading this book, and like everything else I have read that has been written by this author, I loved it!

This is Book 2-the first being BREAKAWAY, and I recommend that is read first so you have an understanding of the three brothers.

In Level up, Ducky, the youngest of the three brothers is trying to figure out who he really is and where he fits in this world.

Chad, with his not so gentle coaxing, is trying to help Ducky see his worth beyond money and success.

As online gamers, these two had known each other for years and each had a hidden fantasy for the other. It’s not until a holiday in an idyllic location brings the two together that they finally come clean with their feelings.

This was a truly beautiful story of Ducky’s ‘awakening.’

I highly recommend you read Breakaway and Level Up.

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REVIEWS FROM SUNDAY 17 JULY 2022

Guard Me 

Author: M.C. Frank

Reviewer: Susan Horsnell

Rating: 5*

Olivia is princess and heir to the throne of a small European country who is trying to have a normal life like every other college student in America.
It’s not long before things start to go horribly wrong and she wonders if her dreams will ever come true.
Marco is dangerous, mysterious, and not who Olivia thinks he is. When she sets off with him, things take an interesting turn.
Secrets abound, indiscretions from the past bulldoze into the present, and the reader is left wondering if the mess will ever be sorted.
Not my usual genre but I was asked by the author to read and review and I am glad I did. I really enjoyed this story and recommend readers check it out.

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REVIEWS FROM TUESDAY 12 JULY 2022

Free Rein 

Series: The Phoenix Force Series – Book 5

Author: D’Ann Lindun

Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran

Rating: 5*

I am totally fangirling the lead character in this story, Nevada Phillips. She is one determined, loyal and loving young woman. Her skill set is nothing to sneeze at either and makes her one tough appointment, but it’s her confidence in herself that I admire the most.

This is yet another wonderful story in the Phoenix Force series of special black ops women and each book is different. In Free Rein, revenge is still the main objective but it is the style and plan of attack that is so different and extremely clever.

Enter Rafael de Luna, a dashingly handsome man who is also bitter about the same man Nevada is set to destroy. Things don’t go smoothly but I won’t give any more away or it will spoil it for you. 😉

I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into this dangerous world of missions where bombing, shootings and villains are all in a day’s work. Add in a touch of romance and you have the full package.

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Exploitation of the Diavolo

Author: Aleisha Maree

Reviewer: Marnie

Rating: 5*

Author Aleisha Maree is the queen of poetic beauty clothed in the darkest of writing. Hand on heart I could wax lyrical forevermore about this most passionate of violent dark romances and the unconditional love that Mafia Boss of Bosses, Don Domenico Rossi has for the Angel of Death, Mafia hitwoman, Aviva D’Angelo.

I loved everything about the hero that Ms Maree created in Domenico. He was undoubtedly the top alpha of the Mafia Families, so much so, that even as he forcefully took over from his father and set new rules in place, he saw his Queen, his love, his ‘woman’ as his equal, and damned if he wasn’t man enough to stand back and let her show the others just how strong enough she was for their world. The man was a killer and a criminal, yet the author’s written language gave us as true a romantic hero that we could ever have read, should we be picking up a generic feel-good-light-hearted-romance.

In surviving her teenage years and bringing about her own brand of retribution, Aviva inadvertently created in herself, perfection for Domenico Rossi. She was damaged beauty and strength. Her actions were extreme but her heart and motives were pure and as such she garnered such loyal friendships that I absolutely loved for her. Ms Maree’s writing of these interactions between Aviva and her self-appointed guardians were so intensely written, that at times I felt goose-bumps on my skin.

The poignant emotion that Ms Maree infused into her writing had me going for the tissue box more than once. I’m an emotional reader, and this book, even with level of dark violence, broke my heart. Family honour was betrayed so badly that I sat there stunned and gutted, crying into my bourbon and wishing that I could be there to inflict damage and extract bloody reparation. I lauded Domenico as he ensured Aviva was given this as a gift. That right there was true and unconditional love 💛

What an epic 5-Star read this was. In fact, I’ll even add that I reckon it’s up there as one of my top 2021 reads!!!!! If you love the dark and twisted beauty of two deadly and damaged souls coming together in one of the most romantic books that I have EVER read, then one-click this violently beautiful mafia romance for yourself. 🌟☠️🌟✶

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Always

Series: Always and Forever – Book 1

Author: Kindle Alexander

Reviewer: Susan Horsnell

Rating 5*

I stumbled across this book quite a while ago and absolutely fell in love with the story. This book started me on my Kindle Alexander journey and I have since read everything published by this author. I highly recommend any book in her collection.

Always:

Avery Adams was a silver spoon kid from a well-known family, a lawyer, playboy and full of himself.

Kane Dalton is a gentleman restaurateur who is struggling to come to terms with the fact he’s gay after being brought up in a conservative church going family.

When these two collide, both of their worlds will be turned upside down and life will never be the same for either.

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Talking Bones 

Series: Psychic Visions – Book 21

Author: Dale Mayer

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

I really love this series, you never know what to expect. If you are a fan of Kay Hooper I hope you’ll give this series a go.
Gage woke from a coma caused by a serious accident. He was a different man, he could see things not meant for the human eye.
Skylar has a store in New Orleans, the last place that Gage’s uncle frequented before his disappearance. She has abilities of her own, an extremely powerful woman. He is fascinated with her but can he accept everything that is hard to believe. Their lives could be in danger over an object his uncle was looking for.
Once again this author has brilliantly penned a wonderful story, I couldn’t put it down.

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Protecting Falcon 

Series: (Special Forces: Operation Alpha) (Prey Security)

Author: Jane Blythe

Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran

Rating: 5*

This third book in the series is set in the Amazon rainforest, Columbia to be exact. The story follows on from Protecting Raven with Falcon promising his older sister that he would rescue Hope. Right from the beginning the story grabs your attention and continues with plenty of drama and action.

Falcon Oswald is, as the book states, a ‘…gruff, grumpy, intimidating soldier…” but he is also a fiercely loyal person, a protector and someone you would want to have on your team. His long held ideas are sorely challenged by the petite, red-headed woman—Hope Delancey! Her sassy mouth and quick comebacks quickly endear herself to Falcon. She is a strong and determined woman who doesn’t understand the words ‘give up’. I have to admit my admiration for her is enormous, I know I would be buckling under the pressure. Her spunk even in the most harrowing of times made me admire her even more. I also like how Falcon reflected on his perceptions and feelings honestly, well for the most part—he is a male after all! 😉

The mystery of who destroyed the Oswald family unity when the siblings were young continues in this story and becomes even more interesting and mystifying. It’s a very clever thread to have moving through each book and I am dying to know who is causing the problems and why, also who really killed Mr and Mrs Oswald. Bring on the next book about Sparrow, the next sibling in this terrific series.

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In Between 

Author: Andi Jaxon

Reviewer: Marnie Jay

Rating: 5*

In Between will challenge your romantic belief in this emotionally written book!

What an amazingly written story!!!! Welcome to the third stand-a-lone book in Author Andi Jaxon’s Love Is Love series where each perfect book has been more perfect, and the interconnected characters are people who have faced the worst of circumstances and triumphed – in the end. If you ignore everything about my review, don’t ignore this: just read IN BETWEEN because it is one-helluva-must-read-book!!!

Ms Jaxon dealt with some pretty strong and disturbing subjects and opinions, and my heart sat heavy, then out of the blue she made me laugh in surprise where food or drink were spat onto my tablet. My emotions were continually on the boil meaning that IN BETWEEN was no passive read.

She absolutely invested so much of herself into this book, and that she engaged sensitivity readers to ensure she’d perfectly captured the lives and experiences of our characters, especially Julian, showed the level of integrity that she aimed to achieve. Hell, she did achieve it!!! The saddest and most heart hurting thought for me, was to know that familial experiences were included and I couldn’t even imagine, nor would I want to, how life was for people of colour to live, and who are still living with the level of bias that Julian and his family experienced 💔😭

The hypocrisy, the apathy and the lack of hope. I felt desperation just bleed through the voices of Mary, Dylan and Julian. In these enlightened times, I struggled to believe that these attitudes still existed from the very people who tout the word of God. I felt broken hearted for our throuple.

“Your ability to play football and sleep around are the determinate factors for important members of society. “Boys will be boys,” is a common mantra around here, basically giving them free rein to do whatever the hell they want with no consequences. Unless it’s with another boy.”

A disturbing attitude for their town within the bible belt. Hypocrisy most certainly ruled. I wrote this review as I read my way through the book, with tears in my eyes, catching in the back of my throat. Ms Jaxon described the rising awareness between Dylan and Julian through episodes of violent racism and parental abuse. The most crucial scene for me though, where the three intersected was early in the book and each stood up for the other. It was only moving forward that a delicate friendship began to form, camouflaged by aggressive moves from Dylan.

Oh man I loved his self depreciating sense of humour. He lived to wind people up, earn the ire of others and getting involved in fights. The pain that others dished out was easy compared to what was handed out at home. His life was pain, bruises and abuse and his father, the Sheriff was a hypocritical bully showed nothing but contempt for his only child, so Dylan’s manner of reaching out to Mary and Julian was rough, almost agressive being that it was the only acceptable way to invite interaction. And it was in the gift of Ms Jaxon’s writing that his desire to touch and love shone through even as he waited to be slapped back and rejected. I adored him.

From the moment we were introduced to Julian, my heart broke for him – so many times. His witty yet appalled observations of the society into which his family had moved into were sad yet hilarious. His character, like the love of his family was strong, resilient and upbeat. I just admired him for the beautiful young man he was. Like Mary, his strength of conviction in treating people with respect, until they proved undeserving, was admirable and his defence of those he loved was strong.

I can’t say enough how much I LOVED Julian’s family!!! Loving, loud, supportive, raucous, all inclusive, and a beautiful example of people who attend church, live by God’s word and feel blessed even in the face of adversity. They were totally hilarious and an absolute foible to the seriousness of the situations that our three teens had to deal with on the daily.

I loved that Julian took charge of Dylan, the only one to calm the his demons and be his safe person, all while controlling their kisses through an owning grasp around the back of his neck. It might not sound romantic, but as written by Ms Jaxon, oh yes, it totally was.

And finally, FINALLY we get to hear from Mary! Oh wow, I just loved her feistiness and her inherent good heart. She surprised me and the boys and I just loved Dylan’s captivated appraisal of her.

“Oh, Shit! Little Mary’s got some serious backbone! I think I’m in love.”

She often put herself in the way of physical harm as she defended those she loved and she wasn’t shy about it. Regardless of who she chose to love, her integrity and love for God was apparent, even as she questioned and was appalled at her father’s teachings.

I could absolutely go on and on. There was so much to love and to think about. IN BETWEEN was a book that I’d looked forward to reading, and Ms Jaxon absolutely delivered. Love isn’t perfect. It can’t be when the people involved aren’t perfect, but it was perfect for them.

Seriously, this book will be one of my top reads for 2022 and deserves a perfect score. I’d love to rate it at more than 5-Emotionally-Challenging-Stars!!! 💚°*🖤*°

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Drake 

Series: Iron Horse Legacy – Book 6

Author: Elle James

Reviewer: Leanne

Rating: 5*

This crew are one of my favourite series, great characters and location.
Hank wants Drake as part of his Brotherhood Protectors but Drake and his friends are tired of war, politics, injuries and everything else that goes with the military. Instead they are refurbishing and old lodge. They found more than they expected while tearing down walls. A town’s mystery to be solved. Murder and attempted murder prove they are getting close and someone is nervous. Deputy Cassie is on the hunt with Drake and their chemistry cannot be denied. There is more than mystery here and I really enjoyed how the story unfolded.
Great series, I highly recommend it.

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Start a War   

Series: (Saint View Psychos Book 1)

Author: Elle Thorpe
 
Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran
 
Rating: 5*
 

I was so excited to start reading this book and honestly, every bit of excitement was justified!

Straight up the prologue hooked me in and I needed to know what happened to Bliss.

My attention and focus on the story was so strong I kind of forgot I had washing to do and lots of other things as I literally couldn’t put this book down.

The fast-paced storyline has some excellent humour that often seemed to sneak up on you and leave you chuckling. The serious elements in the story almost simmer, with bits and pieces added gradually to make the mystery even more interesting. The mystery of who the killer is executing people has me guessing all sorts of things. At times though, I found myself on the edge of my seat with the intensity of the drama and action, great stuff.

Literally, Vincent just slips under your skin and you can’t help but like him, a lot! I dearly want to strangle his parents though. He is such a complex guy yet simple at the same time. Nobody is going to diss Vincent to me, he’s just intense and unloved yet so capable of love. So, yeah, I really like Vincent, can you tell? 😁Scythe? Well… the jury is still out but I get the feeling he might grow on me a bit too.

Nash is one gorgeous guy who I so desperately want him to break his walls down with Bliss and admit his feelings, sigh. There’s still time, I know! 😀 Now, War—oh my gosh (and yes, I am being polite) he is one gorgeous, alpha biker who instantly made me want Bliss to hitch onto the War train. 😉 Now, Bliss—I really enjoyed seeing how she stretched and grew throughout the story. She shows such strength and her self honesty while reflecting on how her life is going is refreshing.

I am excited to see where this story is going to go in the next book, as well as book three. With such a thrilling ending my mind is spinning with all kinds of ideas.

 

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Stolen by a Sinner 

Author: Michelle Heard
 
Reviewer: Marnie
 
Rating: 5*
 

Without exception, Author Michelle Heard’s heroes are deadly and exacting. They’ll deliver death to those who deserve it, and show an inordinate amount of fair treatment to those who do them well. Fierce and fair is what her men are, and now in STOLEN BY A SINNER, Gabriel Demir is among them.

We met him in Sinners Book 2, OWNED BY A SINNER where Liam Byrne related better to the stoic Head of the Turkish Mafia more than the other leaders in the priest hood. Gabriel was on a path of vengeance and he’d worked hard on his way to power so that he could avenge the deaths of his parents. His romantic character though; honestly my heart stupidly fluttered as he developed previously unknown feelings of protection and compassion for the woman who puzzled him no end.

Since the death of her mother when she was 12, Lara hadn’t known that kindness or mercy existed, and her learning curve was heart-breaking yet inspirational. Ms Heard wove one hell of a plot around her character, and it wasn’t one that I saw coming. As many books of hers I’ve read, they’re still exciting and unpredictable, and I swear to you that I love each one better than the last, something that her books stats are also proving. She’s no fly-by-nighter, and sits firmly in the best-seller areas of Amazon. She is an author you need to be reading if you like darker and edgier books with a devastating soul to them. She’ll break your heart, and then bring it together again.

Lara also had to be one of the most positive female personalities I’ve come across in a long time, seriously, and the only one who believed that getting shot was an absolute gift that brought her to a new life!!! It had been one of a pain-filled torturous existence in a household where life was regularly snuffed out at the whim of a deranged tyrant. When shown care and love, she blossomed and for me she was the best part of the book along with a great cast of secondary characters. Women who would straighten another woman’s crown before she knew it was crooked. From invisible victim to protecting the older women in Gabriel’s life, I absolutely admired her and what a Cinderella story it all was.

I was also rewarded with cameo’s from the heroes I’ve totally loved. With the mention of names, I recalled each book and the story surrounding the couple, compounding the euphoric feeling of joy I already had going on with the entire plot Ms Heard brought together in STOLEN. The dark banter between our skilled killers has to be read to be appreciated, and I loved meeting these honourable charismatic men again. As a part of the Underworld Priesthood, Gabriel had previously done favours for these men, and now it’s time for him to call them for information and manpower. The testosterone fair emanated from the virtual pages of my kindle and I loved every minute of it. They’re so alpha, they’ll do anything for the women in their lives, and they’re man enough to own it.

On a final note, Ms Heard wrote such a beautiful moment where a gift of redemption and peace meant so much to one character that I couldn’t help but cry. What an amazing author talent, and what an amazing book. It deserves allllll the freaking stars!!!!!!🖤💥💣

 

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Sunset Kiss 

Series: Baytown Boys – Book 17
 
Author: Maryann Jordan
 
Reviewer: Leanne
 
Rating: 5*
 

Another fantastic Baytown story, I love the place and its characters.Luke is a man who made his own way in the world despite a hard childhood, his brother however ended up in prison blaming everyone else for his actions.
Taking on his niece and nephew he needed to make changes in his life to satisfy the authorities, namely a larger home.
Allie changed his life, they fell for his other. Was it too fast rushing things to make his life easier?
I really enjoyed the latter part of this story, the danger and thinking ‘don’t do it’.

So well written, to find out how it unfolded was such a good tale.

 

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The Day We Died 

Series: The Sydney Booth Series – Book 1
 
Author: Wendy Owens
 
Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran
 
Rating: 5*
 

Holy moly, what a story! The beginning hooked me in straight away, and although there was a lot in the middle with plenty of drama, it wasn’t until towards the end that everything became extremely exciting again. The middle part was imperative though, as it explained so much.

My heart went out to Sydney, to her family too, but mainly Sydney as her mother irritated me a bit. 😆 Sydney was such a strong person and she needed to be. She certainly took on her role of carer for her brother at a very young age. I liked how honest she was with herself too, even when she wasn’t sure about anything that was going on in her life.

The mystery of just who is the copycat serial killer is addictive and I literally couldn’t put the story down. It gives you quite a few suspects, I had a strong suspicion but I also had suspicions about a few of the characters. 😁 The suspense was fantastic and at the pinnacle of the story my heart rate was supercharged.

As with all thrillers, the content was serious and often made me ponder about things. However, in this book I also enjoyed some lighter moments, especially in Sydney’s thoughts about Frankie. 😀 A great balance, I believe. I look forward to reading the next book ‘An Influential Murder’.

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Embracing My Nightmare

Series: Embattled Dreams – Book 1
 
Author: H.J. Marshall
 
Reviewer: Marnie
 
Rating: 5*
 

From the first page, Author HJ Marshall claimed my tears as her own. I can’t even describe to you the hold that she had over me while I was reading this book. From the first chapter I was absolutely invested in Elise’s well-being, and needed her to be rescued and loved.

I cried for Elise as a young one and what she suffered at the hands of her adoptive parents before being rescued from her nightmare childhood. I also cried as she described the 11 years of her life since, and the gorgeous people who had made her their daughter in all but name. Hells teeth, I absolutely fell in love with Chuck and Blair, and everything they taught a frightened and scarred teenager about unconditional love and stability, and from Chuck, life skills of survival. She flourished, even as she romanticised her nightmare rescuer, as I did. Then the man with the black heart came for her 🖤

What can I say about Elise’s dark saviour? He is every man we don’t want our daughters to bring home for dinner, yet he will go to extremes to protect the one he loves obsessively. So many dark secrets within him, how is it that HJ Marshall can make me fall in love with the worst type of man……

I have to say that I am a lightweight when it comes to the darker side of life that some books contain, and while some parts could be considered distressing, I found that Ms Marshall wrote them with a factual sensitivity that is the cornerstone to both Elise’s story and that of her rescuer.

I loved everything about this book, and as much as it contains dark content, it is beautifully balanced with unconditional love and romance. 5 dark and beautiful stars. 🖤

 

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Maverick Loves Londyn:  

A Bad Boy/Good Girl Forbidden Romance (Misfits Remix)

Author: Jordan Ford
 
Reviewer: Leanne
 
Rating: 5*
 

Jordan Ford is my favourite YA author.

The romance and characters are sweet without being childish.

This school makes me think of 90210 the original, the snobby rich kids in school. Actually like any highschool there are divides between the students, the rich, the nerds etc.

Londyn and Maverick are from opposite sides, like Romeo and Juliet, she’s rich and he’s a charity case so to speak.

They both love the arts though and find a connection.

There was added drama in this story, parents and teachers who can’t possibly believe the truth.

Will honesty prevail in the end?
This was a wonderful story with such likeable characters, I couldn’t put it down.
Can’t wait to read about the next characters in this series..

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Oliver 

Series: Project Arma – Book 7

Author: Nyssa Kathryn

Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran

Rating: 5*

The Project Arma series is one of my favourite series and this seventh book is right up there with the rest as being exciting, action-packed and thrilling. Oliver and Tori’s story is one you, like me, will probably find once you start—you simply can’t stop until you finish the book.

Oliver, aka Ax, is one sweetheart of a guy who, like the rest of the team, finds that when true love calls—it literally grabs you and you have no choice but to embrace it. For Oliver there were many doubts though and I did feel for him, however, I also felt immensely sorry for Tori too. Tori is so torn in this story but the support given, especially by the female partners of the team, is amazing and leaves you with a fabulous feeling. I liked Tori from the get-go and yes, there were questions, but then again in a mystery there always are!

The suspense element is twofold in this book because it revolves around who Tori is and what she has done, as well as, the ongoing team challenge to eliminate Hylar and the other mutated team, the ‘bad’ guys. Lots of twists and turns take you on a wild adventure that is simply incredible and all from the comfort of your lounge chair! 😉

Oh boy, does this author know how to build clear descriptions of her characters, especially the evil ones. Just when you think Hylar couldn’t get any worse… yep, he does! You definitely experience all of the emotions in this book and I mean every, single, one—from fearing anger to excitement and happiness.

Bring on book eight but… I don’t really want this series to end as it is absolutely brilliant, every book is five star quality!

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The Secrets to Heartbreak:

A Brother’s Best Friend Romance (The Heartbreak Series Book 2)

Author: Brittany Taylor
 
Reviewer: Marnie
 
Rating: 5*
 

SECRETS OF HEARTBREAK is the second stand-a-lone in Author Brittany Taylor’s Heartbreak series, and I had been anticipating the arrival of Colton and Vada’s book. It’s every bit as intense, every bit as emotional and every bit as unputdownable as RULES OF HEARTBREAK was, and once started, my backside didn’t move from the seat until I’d finished reading. For me it was that good!

This book also had a very different ‘feel’ about it that I can’t describe. There was a lot more going on around Colton and Vada, but it was all necessary to in order to appreciate the internal struggles that they both dealt with. My heart hurt for both in that they did love each other but the walls and the doubts 💔 Ms Taylor did such a beautiful job in writing their emotions.

Colton’s behaviour was quickly explained when we met his Parentals. An overbearing and critical father and a mother who was merely a shell that reflected the personality of her husband. I just felt she had the saddest of lives especially as they’d all just suffered a huge loss, making his father more dictatorial than ever. That house would’ve been the worst to have grown up in and I understood him so much more.

Vada’s emotions and personal fear spoke to my own. We all wear a mask, and carry fears close to our hearts, and hers was of always being second. Second best, second choice and of course, second chances. It seems she was always offering those to Colton even as she’d told him that it was time for all or nothing. I was worried if she would ever get to putting herself first. And even as they seemed to move in the right direction together, the shifting sands of security never seemed stable beneath her feet. It seemed that Vada was always looking beneath people’s facade and second guessing their motivations. Some might have thought her flighty and unplugged, but I believe her misgivings were written perfectly.

I also need to point out that Ms Taylor has become very accomplished in the art of writing some pretty damn hot ‘scenes’ between her characters 🔥 I’m totally *nudge, nudge, wink, winking* like crazy here because the heat and the chemistry between Colt and Vada were ramped on high 😳

I also loved hearing more from Dallas and Sloan as their relationship continued to move forward from RULES and the character set ups for Cassidy and Levi were perfect. Cassidy featured quite heavily in SECRETS in a tragic twist that I just loved, and it has me wanting to actively stalk Ms Taylor for more until their book is released in October 2022.

Forgiveness and redemption, this is a time where ‘second’ is a good place to be. A second or more chance at forgiveness, or of realising where a dream truly lies. Where a second chance to repair an almost unsurmountable fracture within a family and the soul deep hurt of a mother is forgiven and healing can begin.

Ms Taylor has put together a story that is bigger than her main characters. SECRETS TO HEARTBREAK is not just a romance about a couple, it’s about family heartbreak and family secrets, and at the end of the day, it could all be boiled down to the selfish actions of one man. How we treat people has wide ranging and exponential effects on the lives of others. Hell, after reading this book, I’d be surprised if Ms Taylor didn’t own up to an interest in Psychology or people watching!

I started and finished this book in one evening because I couldn’t put it down. Magical words infused with vision and emotion, SECRETS TO HEARTBREAK is a 5-heart-healing-Star read for me 💔💖✶

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Craving Justice 

Series: Brothers of Justice – Book 1
 
Author: Fiona Archer
 
Reviewer: Leanne
 
Rating: 5*
 

I am so excited that this author is gifting us with her words once again. Not content to move forward with new stories she has revised this story and made a terrific story even better. I was hooked from the very beginning and the storyline captivated my attention throughout with its fast-paced, smooth story telling. “Some families are chosen.”—is a line from the story and it sums up so much about the book.

The two lead characters, Seth and Harper, find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Both attracted to each other but both targets of a nasty person… I won’t say anymore or it will spoil the story. Seth is such a strong alpha character, he knows what he wants and goes full steam ahead to get it. Harper is more of a free spirit yet as a business owner is grounded, too. I absolutely love Harper, well Seth too, but there’s something about Harper that sparkles for me, she’s definitely a rare gem.

Meeting Seth’s brothers, as well as, Harper’s best friend, Jinx, was like a smorgasbord of gorgeous men with a side of sweetness. More importantly, these are all really interesting characters and I look forward to getting to know them better in the coming novels.

The mystery is a great one where you really aren’t sure who the real ‘baddie’ is until all is exposed and then the dramatic culmination of the suspense, where I literally read as quickly as possible with my heart thumping madly in my chest—awesome writing.

Sprinkled throughout this story is a great sense of humour, from little things that happen to fun banter between characters to hilarious thoughts characters have like this one. “The pressure was on to make herself more interesting than a hummer full of Kardashians on Emmy night.”-Harper’s thoughts. 😆 This humour lifts you up as you read along making you feel like a million dollars.

This is a fabulous book and the bonus epilogue sure is a treat, answering a question I had wondered about. I’m so pleased there will be more of this goodness to come.

 

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The Devil’s Secret:

A Dark Second Chance Mafia Romance (Cavaleri Brothers Book 3)

Author: Lilian Harris
 
Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran
 
Rating: 5*
 

I absolutely love this series and was looking forward to reading Enzo’s story, it was everything and more I’d hoped it would be. This friends to enemies to lovers romance has so much happen you need to buckle up for an amazing ride.

Enzo, the jokester of the family, found out that you can’t always have what you want or even need from a very young age. Now, he has worked to the point where he feels he deserves to have it but when he meets Joelle things change and I have to say for the better as he grows in maturity during this period, I think it even surprised Enzo how much he’d grown. I like Enzo, I did in the first two books but he can be annoying at times. 😀 This is one of my favourite quotes from the story as it shows the fabulous banter between the lead characters:
““My God, could you be a little less perfect?”
“I do kill people.”
“I’m willing to overlook that.”
—Joelle and Enzo.

Joelle’s story is one of heartbreak and continued trauma, I honestly wanted to do something drastic to Agnelo and his brothers, that’s how angry they made me. Again, they always have and with each brother I think nobody can be as bad as Faro but then learning about what the next brother is truly like 😳 yep, they are so rotten. His author is excellent at created ‘evil’ characters that are very believable.

Together Enzo and Joelle would make a great couple yet the situation seems hopeless, another thing this author does well too. I sat reading, thinking of ways situations could be solved and got stumped! I love when a story is unpredictable and this one has quite a few twists and some major surprises—brilliant writing. Together with some terrific descriptions of the characters, feelings and emotions this book is definitely five stars.

I can’t wait for The Devil’s Den after that ending, bring it on!

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Only Once 

A Second Chance- Celebrity Romance

Author: Ashley Munoz
 
Reviewer: Marnie
 
Rating: 5*
 

… that brought me to my knees in anguish for the two people who experienced that love, and lost it.

I should make this a short one-line review: I absolutely LOVED-LOVED-LOVED this second chance sports/movie star angsty romance and reckon it’s one of my top reads for 2021. I would absolutely recommend it to all and sundry, so go and read it now!!!

I honestly don’t know how she does it, but Author Ashley Munoz packed a lot of feels into this book that I seemed to get through rather quickly, but with it being at almost 400 pages apparently, I can’t say that it’s a short read! What I can tell you is that once again, I was a slave to her words, consuming it in one sitting by staying up until the early hours of the morning to get it finished – the first time.

In the prologue we met Bexley as the unwanted child of a man who visited her mother occasionally and refused to acknowledge her very existence as his daughter. Her mother compared her to ice-cream flavours; she was not a flavour that her father liked, and she would learn that she would not be everyone’s first choice of flavour. At nine, she decided she “didn’t want to be someone’s second or third—or last— choice.”

This set the tone for her future choices, her future heartbreak, and the heartbreak of others. Ms Munoz wrote a book that contained all the feels. All. The. Feels. 😭😭😭

I loved Bexley. While she did carry the weight of never-ending heartbreak, disappointment and loss heavily around her neck, her absolute love for her children shone like an aura around her character. She was a ‘real’ person, a mother who died of embarrassment at the behaviour of her little cretins, but would do anything in the world to love, feed and clothe them. Especially when her cheating ex neglected to send his share of the kids’ support money through, or was too busy with his new family to carry out fatherly duties.

Ryan, our gorgeously buff and tattooed movie star hero carried anger. So much anger. It fairly vibrated from him at times and I wondered what an earth Bexley could have done to him to deserve the diatribe that she got. Her early promises to herself, and hearing their history in her POV certainly differed from his, and he came across as the young and selfish 20-year-old that he was at the time. Hearing from these two characters is exactly why I love the dual POV style of writing. We know that people see the same situation through different lenses of previous life’s experiences, and for them, that is exactly what happened.

All this sounds black and white, but it wasn’t. Ms Munoz put into writing the mess and feelings that are human emotions. They swirled around the story in a whirlwind that whipped even the present love and reconnection between them with so much muddy childish insecurity that when other’s stirred in some trouble, it was hard to move past the existing hurt and distrust.

I have a special shout out for the unconditional love that Gary and Gloria, Ryan’s parents, had for Bexley and her kids. It’s as if Ms Munoz wrote my in-laws into her book, and they’ve been the best ever in-laws and grandparents I could ever have wished for me and my children.

I just loved everything about this book. It’s worth more than 5 Stars •💖•

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Amor Prohibido:

A brother’s best friend romance

Author: Vi Summers
 
Reviewer: Robyn Corcoran
 
Rating: 5*
 

This story is one that leaves you feeling utterly fantastic when you have finished reading it. The characters are all really likeable and very entertaining, the romance is a work of art—one that is moulded around the solid foundation of friendship and family ties; some cracks emerge then get patched up to take on an even better shape. The descriptions are detailed and easy to visualise as you read. All round, Amor Prohibido is a great love story.

What stands out as well is how genuine the characters are and how real life the story is with the very real possibility of this happening or rather I imagine it has happened to a degree. Yes, it’s a fictional story but it’s written in such a manner that it feels less fiction and more true life.

There are some very intense scenes that are extremely well written, I applaud the author for not going overboard with these too. As there are some very humorous parts, especially coming out of Jace’s mouth. 😄 I also loved the crossover of characters from other stories by this author, minor roles that were a delight but you don’t have to have read any prior books as it doesn’t affect the story in any way.

Ah, a true love story that is beautiful at heart and has that little pinch of sass to make it more interesting.

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Priest

 
Author: Amy Thorn
 
Reviewer: Marnie
 
Rating: 4.5*
 

Seriously this is an amazing read! It’s raw, gritty, filthy, violent and verbally profane. So don’t be looking for polite heroes in this book from Authors Amy Thorn and Raven Amor, and then bleat because your delicate senses have been offended by the oppressing darkness that the world they’ve created, wraps you in. They’re dark MM Romance Authors, and have delivered exactly what was promised in the blurb and the warning – s_x, violence and bad language.

Bear this in mind because PRIEST is not a book for everyone.

In the vein of Shakespeare’s Romeo and a burly male Juliet equivalent, this MM MC book mirrored the deadly rivalry between opposing houses, or MC’s in this case, and our lovers aren’t so young, nor are they hapless. Brothers are hated with a burning and violent passion merely for the family they’re born into or belong to. And while I felt the theme of our characters and their darkness within was written rather repetitively, it was accurate and it would be an insult to call the intense connective emotions between Priest and Nico romantic. It is still every bit as much of a love story, but if readers want a romantic mushy kind of love, then they’re going to be hella disappointed. Priest and Nico both own their s_xuality, but Nico keeps his a closely guarded secret, that his father, President of the Hades Outsiders, regularly and viciously punishes him for. His situation is complicated as you will soon appreciate throughout the book, and choices may be spoken off, but, what would you choose if the only alternative was death???

I liked Priest and Nico for each other. These two were individually strong, didn’t bow under the face of pressure, unless they chose to, nor used to giving control to another. For me, the created balance of Enemies-to-lovers, forbidden almost age-gap love worked between them.
There were some pretty hot and steamy encounters going on and the written scenes scorched my eyeballs. Hells teeth but the passion (probably the wrong word for MM MC characters!!) was off the charts hot, taking over their senses before the reality of their situations kicked back in. Priest did blow hot and cold with Nico, but, they did belong to rival MC’s, and the reality of their situation meant that death would inevitably the result should their paths ever cross.

PRIEST is a reasonably quick and easy read at 30k odd words, so a lot of main and side character investment is missing. I still developed an intense hatred for the Nico’s brothers in Hades Outlaws, and loved those who unquestionably had Priest’s back in his MC, Satan’s Disciples. Their respect and loyalty to him was evident, even as they swallowed their frustrations at the situation they’d all found themselves in. The grief and anger was palpable and my heart broke for them all.

Seriously, I loved this book. For me there were a couple of issues involving repetition, but they didn’t detract from the overall flow and feel for the book, especially as it is a short novel. It’s one that I recommend for lovers of this genre – absolutely check it out. 4.5 Stars 🖤☠️🖤

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