Friday 30 October 2015

LOVE, CALIFORNIA STYLE series by Ellen Butler

#1   Heart of Design  

Sophie Hartland has recently turned 30, and is five years out from a confidence crushing divorce. She's sworn off men in favor of making her interior design business a success when her best friend introduces her to La Heat's hot new star, Ian O'Connor. He's one of Hollywood's beautiful people, with an Irish accent that makes Sophie's toes curl. Ian hires her to renovate his home, and at their second meeting he initiates a scorching kiss that knocks her socks off. Even though she would love to drop down and go for it on the funky kitchen floor, Sophie sticks to her guns and enforces her "no dating clients" rule.
The tabloids portray flirtatious Ian as Hollywood's latest playboy who has women falling at his feet, and Sophie refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. But Ian isn't the type to take no for an answer, and he finds Sophie a refreshing change from the actress wannabes trying to hop aboard his new gravy train of success. Using his charm, he tries to persuade Sophie to break the rules.
Can Sophie ignore her traitorous libido and hold Ian off for the next five or six weeks until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? More importantly, can she protect her heart in this game of wills?

A charming and entertaining start to the series. Sophie and Ian make a cute couple. Sophie is a character with great integrity and has a rule of not dating clients. TV star, Ian, is no exception to the rule. Ian isn't deterred though but reluctantly acquiesces to her decision. It was fun to watch the two of them bond over shopping excursions and develop a true friendship.

I was a little bit confused over Ian's identity at the beginning as he had an Irish accent, which I couldn't quite hear, but he alternated between speaking like an old fashioned English person or a Scottish guy when he called a girl lass. 
His parents also divorced when he was a child but divorce wasn't allowed here until the mid nineties. He refers to the Irish language as Gaelic instead of Gaeilge or simply Irish, the way we refer to it here. (There were also fadas missing when he spoke in Irish) In Ireland, if you said Gaelic we'd assume you were talking about Gaelic football. 
However, my confusion was cleared up quickly as Ian explains his peculiarities. He speaks like an English person because he spent time there growing up. His parents divorced in America and then he moved back to Ireland with his mother, and later moved to the UK. 
The only times I could actually hear his Irish accent was when he called Sophie 'luv,' and when he used Irish slang to give an insult. My Dad has been calling my Mum 'luv' for close to fifty years. It also wouldn't be out of the ordinary to hear my Dad say, 'she's got a face on her like a dog's arse,' or something similar out of his repertoire. (But thankfully, not in reference to my Mum)

Ian and Sophie's blossoming romance was fun to read. The story is both sweet and funny. I found myself smiling through most of it as I found their story entertaining and charming. It was impossible not to love these two characters. I was also thrilled when a suspense element was added to the story involving some background characters. This added lots of excitement to the story and it ticked off a couple of more boxes for me. 
After reading Heart of Design everything else on my TBR list was put on the back burner as I couldn't wait to delve into the second and third books of the series.

Available in paperback and ebook 

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                   #2  Planning for Love

Poppy Reagan is a Type A personality who runs her professional life with the precision of a Swiss watch. After catching her latest boyfriend cheating, she decides it’s time to take her dating life as seriously as she does her business. She swears off the bad boys and strategically maps out a plan to find an honest, attractive man to become her life partner.
As she works her way through a summer of dates ranging from crazy to plain boring, she begins to wonder if her soulmate’s even on the same coast. Her foolish emotional spirit secretly yearns for the sexy Ohio dermatologist she met on a trip to Hawaii last year. The one who she insists is “just a friend,” because she refused to engage in a long-distance relationship.
Will her heart overrule her head and move this California girl to the Midwest?

I think Poppy is my favourite character from the series. She's smart, funny, successful and beautiful. She has no shortage of men wanting to date her but she has terrible taste and always ends up with a two-timing eejit. 

There is a high element of comedy in the story.
I had to laugh at how Poppy responded after catching her last boyfriend with his trousers down. Her revenge involved a good mix of ingenuity and gumption!
After this, she decides to join an online dating site which results in many hilarious and disastrous dates. 

She relates all the details, to her email friend, Adam, with whom she had a holiday fling.  I loved reading their email exchanges. They were flirty and funny and set me up for wanting a happy ever after for the pair.
Adam is secretly pining for Poppy and is determined to persuade her to forget online dating and give him a chance. Poppy also has feelings for Adam but is afraid of making that leap. 

I couldn't get enough of Poppy and Adam. With great chemistry between them, the pair were strong characters, loveable and funny.

Available in print and ebook

                        #3  Art of Affection

Holly Hartland has spent the last year in Los Angeles finalizing her divorce from an abusive husband and getting her career as an art gallery curator back on track while trying to raise her young daughter. She shares a nanny with Lapd detective Gary Sumner, whose wife ran off to France with another man, abandoning him and his daughter.
With full-time careers to juggle, Gary and Holly end up relying on each other to help keep watch over their girls, who've become fast friends. The platonic co-parenting roles they've adopted are perfect for two people who've sworn off romance, but the burgeoning sexual chemistry they share proves hard to ignore.
When a Christmas wish puts the children in danger, Holly and Gary are forced to set aside their trust issues and work as a real team to keep their families safe. But can they overcome their baggage enough to open up their hearts to love?

I was hoping that Gary and Holly would get their story. Planning for Love didn't have any suspense so I was pleased that there was an element of danger and suspense underpinning the story in Art of Affection. 
The characters from the first two books also play a good role in supporting the story and providing entertainment. 
Gary has more of a serious personality in comparison to Ian and Adam and so there is less comedy in Art of Affection than the previous two novels. 
Holly, a strong character, is a survivor of domestic abuse and is good friends with her neighbour, Gary. They are both single parents and rely on each other a great deal. Their path to romance isn't straight forward though. First, things go awry at Ian and Sophie's party and some dangerous characters begin to make trouble. Someone is threatening Holly, Gary's ex-wife turns up with some dodgy friends, and eventually the children's lives are put at risk. It is a race against time to save them. 
I loved the suspense filled action, the angst that Holly and Gary felt while hiding their true feelings for each other. The adorable little girls Eva and Annie tugged at my heartstrings and it was impossible not to root for these neighbours/friends to find love together and become a unified family.

This was a fantastic series and I enjoyed each book immensely. You can't go wrong in buying these books and they'd make a great present for a sister/mum/aunt. I'd recommend reading all three. Each one works as a stand alone but you'd really be missing out if you didn't get all three. 
They are feel good romances with comedy and suspense. What more could a girl want?

There were two characters I'm hoping to see get their own stories- Poppy's blind date guy and her last internet date. 

I'll definitely be following Ellen Butler's books from here on out.

Available in paperback and ebook

I was gifted a copy of these titles from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Lost in Tennessee by Anita DeVito (2015)


Sometimes a man finds trouble...and sometimes it comes looking for him...
Heartache makes for good country music. It's what country superstar Butch McCormick keeps telling himself. He's done with women and can't handle one more disappointment. He's taking a few months off to work on the old house on his parents' land to fix shutters, scrape paint, and figure out what he wants in life... 
Then she appears out of nowhere, with red hair and a peaches-and-cream complexion...and just so damned lost.
Architect Kate Riley doesn't have the luxury of getting lost, having a damaged car, or being smitten by a sexy-talkin' cowboy with an irresistible smile. But the longer Kate stays at Elderberry Farm, the stranger things get. For one, there's the crazy chemistry between her and Butch. For another, dead bodies are starting to turn up...and Kate might be the murderer's next victim.

I really enjoyed this book. The sparks flew between Kate and Butch and their interactions were filled with witty banter. Kate has an adorable cousin Tom and Butch has a protective older brother, Jeb, with an intriguing story of his own which I can't wait to read. Kate and Tom are hilarious when they are together and I found myself laughing out loud at their antics.
Even though the pace of the story was good it was fairly obvious early on who the murderer was and I was just waiting for the rest of the characters to wake up! However the book was filled with so many funny moments that this didn't annoy me too much. Kate and Tom's pairing up to find and catch the killer was hilarious. The friendship that developed between Tom and Jeb was also fun to read. The three guys became good friends and I hope to see them having a starring role in any sequels.

The Highlander's Accidental Marriage (Marriage Mart Mayhem #6) by Callie Hutton (2015)

Scotland, 1817
The Duke of Manchester's sister, Lady Sarah Lacey, always abides by the rules of etiquette. Fate, however, has no such confines. On a journey to the Scottish Highlands, Lady Sarah is set upon by misfortune–leaving her without carriage or chaperone, and left to the mercy of a kind and handsome gentleman. Whom (in order to secure a room at an inn) she announces is her husband.
When she proclaims they’re married in public, Professor Braeden McKinnon can't bring himself to correct the lovely Lady Sarah. After all, her reputation would be ruined. Nor can he tell her that her proclamation is not only legally binding in Scotland, but sharing a room is considered to be an act of consummation...
Now they are bound together until death do they part–even if Sarah has no intention of becoming any man's wife.

This story is filled with drama. It begins with with a carriage accident followed by the maid becoming ill and left behind. This leaves Lady Sarah unchaperoned and needing help getting to her sister's home. Handsome professor Braeden McKinnon is near at hand to reluctantly guide events and escort her on her journey. Unfortunately things get complicated when Lady Sarah announces to the innkeeper that they are married. Lady Darah is very strong willed and has no intention of ever getting married, not even to Braeden whom she now adores. Her first love is writing and she doesn't want to give it up. I found her independent streak less endearing and more annoying towards the end of the book as she refused to discuss her fears with Braeden. I found myself just wishing that she would hurry up, get on with it and just tell him. Eventually, after much upset and frustration, the pair finally talk and come to a compromise leading to the much anticipated happily ever after.

Falling For Her Enemy by Victoria James (2015)


She’s falling for the one man who could destroy everything…

Alex McAllister always dreamed of a life filled with the laughter and love of a family, but being abandoned at a young age left her wary of letting anyone in. Now that she’s settled in Still Harbor, Alex struggles between keeping her distance and the magnetic pull of the handsome stranger who claims he’s the biological father of her adopted daughter. 

Hayden Brooks never wanted to be a father. Long hours spent building his family’s real estate empire suits him just fine. But when he discovers an ex put the baby he unknowingly fathered up for adoption, his world crumbles. He tracks the child to Still Harbor with the intention of bringing her home—and comes face to face with his daughter’s stunning adoptive mother. 

The paternity test is in. And Hayden’s about to make the most shocking decision of his life, just in time for Christmas

If you like sweet contemporary romances then 'Falling For Her Enemy' should tick all the boxes for you. 
I really liked Hayden and Alex. Their initail meeting was very humorous and I found myself identifying with some of Alex's personality quirks.  Their developing friendship and eventual romance was fun to follow. I also really enjoyed the circle of friends Alex had surrounded herself with and I would like to read more of their stories.
I would rate this book with 3 out of 5 stars as I felt that the story dragged a little bit. There were no surprises and the story unfolded more or less the way I thought it would.

Monday 19 October 2015

Suspense Titles Released TODAY

If you love men in uniform, country rock-stars, and page turning mysteries don't miss these three new romantic suspense novels from Entangled!


After his partner was murdered, Simon Dunn was done with MI6. But the cold, violent world of British intelligence never lets anyone go free. Now Simon has been blackmailed into a new job...with a beautiful new partner who's going to get them both killed. 

Robotics expert Cassie Watson is a newbie field agent with as much sophistication as...well, a pacifist, vegan computer nerd. Now she's abruptly thrust into the cutthroat world of espionage with a partner who is as cold as he is brutally—and brutishly—handsome.

But when their mission is betrayed from the inside, Cassie will be forced to place her life in the hands of the one man who's anything but trustworthy...

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About the author:

Veronica Forand is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense. She has lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveller, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and children in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate. 

Connect with Veronica Forand



Risking his own life is one thing. Risking hers is another...

It was supposed to be a girls-only weekend in the California mountains. But when Lucy Parker is carjacked by an escaped prisoner, her fun weekend takes a nightmarish turn. Now she’s caught up in a dangerous world of stolen money, vicious drug dealers, and murder, and the only thing keeping her alive is her oh-so-hot captor.

Imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, undercover cop Jake Dalton wants answers—now. Worse, he’s dragged Lucy into the mix, and she’s now guilty by association. With their lives on the line, the race is on to get to Las Vegas before they're killed...and they're running out of time. 

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About the author:

Cathy has always loved writing, but that pesky thing called Real Life cast writing into the backseat for years. Now she has reunited with her creative passion, and devotes every moment she can to all the plots and characters milling about in her imagination. She admits she finds story plotlines in everyday occurrences going on around her.
When she’s not writing her special mixture of romance and humor, she likes to travel read, and take long walks with her husband (the inspiration for her happily-ever-afters). Cathy looks forward to many years of writing for readers’ enjoyment. 

Connect with Cathy Skendrovich



Heartache makes for good country music. It's what country superstar Butch McCormick keeps telling himself. He’s done with women and can’t handle one more disappointment. He's taking a few months off to work on the old house on his parents' land to fix shutters, scrape paint, and figure out what he wants in life...

Then she appears out of nowhere, with red hair and a peaches-and-cream complexion...and just so damned lost.

Architect Kate Riley doesn't have the luxury of getting lost, having a damaged car, or being smitten by a sexy-talkin' cowboy with an irresistible smile. But the longer Kate stays at Elderberry Farm, the stranger things get. For one, there's the crazy chemistry between her and Butch. For another, dead bodies are starting to turn up...and Kate might be the murderer's next victim.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

About the author:

Anita DeVito is a Cleveland, Ohio, native who grew up on a diet of mysteries, rock-n-roll, and her nonna’s homemade pasta. By day, she works as a Civil Engineer unraveling the mysteries of water challenges, while by night, she applies her talents to the vexing question of “Who dunnit?” Visit Anita’s website at for more information on her fast-paced style of storytelling and to sign up for her news-less newsletter, Equinoxious. Start every season with short stories, games, puzzles, and some brain teasing fun. Anita lives with her husband, two sons, and two ornery dogs. 

Saturday 17 October 2015

Say You'll Love by Ally Broadfield (2015)


All of Lady Abigail Hurst’s dreams seem to be coming true when at long last her childhood sweetheart asks for her hand. But when a maid is found dead, and her betrothed is the chief suspect, Abigail begins to wonder just what manner of man she's marrying...
The Marquess of Longcroft, Edmund Townsend, has always preferred complex mathematical equations to the trappings of society. And love? Love is a non-quantifiable concept. Still, Lady Abigail is his sister's friend, and he finds himself drawn into the mystery of her affianced…even as he begins to anticipate Lady Abigail's company with unfathomable pleasure.
Investigating the murder may reveal more than the sordid truth.
It may just reveal the love Abigail always wanted...a little too late.


A great blend of romance and murder mystery. I'm already itching to read the next book in the series. 

Edmund is quite an adorable character. He's more interested in Science and mathematical equations than having a social life. However, he puts his interests aside in order to help Lady Abigail discover the truth about her fiancé. I liked Abigail's inquisitive nature and her sense of self worth. She was not afraid to question the wisdom of the men around her when their lack of judgement directly affected her.
The mystery was intriguing but was solved too quickly for me. I would have liked to have doubts about Robert's innocence to the end. He was a good 'bad' character but not bad enough. The scene with Robert, Abigail, Edmund, and Baxter in Abigail's bedroom was both exciting and funny. However, the situation with Robert was very quickly resolved after that with the consequences for his actions happening off page.

The romance between Abigail and Edmund was slow burning and sweet. I liked that they didn't rush their feelings for each other and that their relationship was allowed to develop slowly. A house full of sisters to marry off ensures subsequent titles of the series. I will look forward to catching up with this couple and of course Baxter, the dog.

I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Immortal Kiss by Laura Daleo (2015)


          A compelling dark vampire saga of love, secrets, lies, and betrayal.

Centuries ago ten powerful vampire gods first walked the earth; their blood thirst knew no boundaries. The destruction of mankind was inevitable. Recognizing their weakness, they selected twelve wise human beings to transform with their godly blood. These twelve, known as The Old Ones and The Council, govern The Ten. A blood lottery appeasing The Ten's hunger was set forth into the human world and passed down every fifth generation, continuing into the present day.

All of Beth Ryan's life a mysterious mist watched over her, a mist she believed to be a vampire. On a cold winter night, she comes face to face with Philippe Delon, a 700 year old vampire with a human soul. Beth is certain Philippe is the vampire behind the mist. She is drawn to him, accepting his immortality without question or fear.

Beth and Philippe cannot deny their love for each other, nor do they try to fight it. Within days of their encounter, Beth accepts Philippe's invitation to move into his mansion. The mansion unlocks the door to the vampire world and exposes secrets from Beth's past. Within its walls, she learns the true identity of the mist, her link to the blood lottery, and betrayal of her loved ones. Surrounded by lies, Beth stands before The Council begging for resolution.

I liked this foray into the dark world of vampires. The author added some new twists to the vampire genre which made the story more interesting.

I thought the blood lottery was an interesting aspect to vampire lore and it added a layer of tension and drama to the overall feel of the novel.

Initially I found it difficult to connect to Beth and Philippe as their interactions just didn't seem realistic. There wasn't any build up to their falling in love and I felt that it all moved a bit fast. However, the pair grew on me as the story progressed.  

 Things get complicated for Beth when the true figure behind the mist, Amon, makes his presence known. He is very clear as to what his intentions towards her are but there is the added complication of her marriage to Philippe. There wasn't much of a backstory to Philippe and so I didn't have a whole lot of sympathy for him when his relationship with Beth was threatened. I enjoyed Amon's character and I liked him a little bit more than Philippe. 
The Council is tasked with deciding the fate of Beth, Philippe and Amon, who will also have to contend with plotting and scheming from within The Ten, the original vampires, some of whom are against Amon's attachment to Beth. The Ten are an intriguing bunch of characters and I would be greatly interested in reading more about them. I'd love to know what happens next with the trio. Things were getting very interesting and exciting as 'Immortal Kiss' was coming to an end and so I will definitely be looking out for 'Bound by Blood' to read more of their story.

Buy now AmazonUK   The Book Depository

I was gifted a copy of 'Immortal Kiss' by the author in exchange for an honest review.

                    About the author, Laura Daleo


Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College.  Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, and Research. She enjoys anything paranormal or urban fantasy related, and writes in both genres for adults. A creative writing class in junior high sparked her desire to tell stories. Throughout Laura’s professional career, she crafted her writing skills by taking courses and by joining a writer’s critique group and Writers Digest. Through hard work and many late nights, her first novel Immortal Kiss was born. 
Laura loves to hear from her readers, please visit her websites.
                                 Author Interview

What made you want to write? 
A passion inside me to tell stories.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Paranormal and Urban Fantasy. I love creating vampire or supernatural characters and dropping them into a modern day setting.
What was the first book you ever wrote, no matter how young you were?
In seventh grade, I wrote The Murder.
What is your favourite out of all of your books, published or not?
The Vampire Within
And what makes this your favourite? 
A certain scene, character, plot? The main character struggles to understand what’s happening to him and his determination to find the answer.
What is your daily routine when it comes to your writing?  
Unfortunately, Monday – Friday, I’m at my day job so I fit writing in a little bit here and there. The majority of my writing is on the weekends.
What is something that you struggle with when it comes to writing? 
It’s so much easier to tell a story rather than show a story, but we’ve all heard the phrase show don’t tell. Sometimes I do struggle with showing.
What is your favorite thing about writing? 
Creating characters and entering their worlds.
Where do you get your ideas for writing? 
I have a very active imagination. Ideas are constantly popping into my head. I can’t turn it off.
Who is your author inspiration and why?
Anne Rice. In my opinion, she is the Queen of vampire story telling. No one has even come close to her vampire Lestat character. I want to be the next Anne Rice.
What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
Interview with a Vampire. It was such a different take on the vampire legend and it started off with a great hook that kept me turning pages until the end.
Where do you see your writing career in 5 years? 
I hope to be a bestselling author, with a large fan base anxiously awaiting each release.
If you would like to include of list of your works, please do: 
Currently working on the sequel to Immortal Kiss, Bound By Blood. These are unpublished works that I have in my queue to revive and modernize: The Vampire Within (2004), A City of Vampires (2007), The Soul Collector (2010). Future works for creation are: The Ten, The Old Ones, and Vampire Amon.
Anything else you want to share: 
I’m also an animal advocate. I have 4 basset hounds and 1 bird at home. They are my furry kids.