Monday 30 May 2022

A Daring Pursuit: The Ruthless Rivals Book 2 by Kate Bateman (2022)


The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate in Kate Bateman's A Daring Pursuit.

Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her—and her family—if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the 
ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act—the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.

Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs a respectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?

A lovely, scorching historical romance that you'll want to read in one sitting.
Carys gets a kick out of being scandalous and she absolutely delights in doing so in order to get a rise out of Tristan, her childhood enemy and the man she loves. Tristan can't help but respond and their verbal sparring is a joy to read. I loved how he challenged Carys on her behaviour but he wouldn't countenance anyone else causing her harm or upset, especially Lord Howe.
There's a whole cast of characters I want to get to know better. Carys has a large family of overprotective brothers and Tristan has a group of meddling aunts. There is a lot of humour in the book which made it lighthearted and fun to read.

A Daring Pursuit is out now.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Keep You Close by Mary Burton


Old secrets are hard to keep buried in this gritty and gripping novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

Kelsey Warren may now be a high-flying journalist, but she’s never forgiven her reckless mother Donna for abandoning her as a teenager.

Yet when Kelsey returns to her hometown and discovers her mother’s body at the bottom of a flooded quarry with a gunshot wound in her chest, Kelsey’s world is flipped upside down. Her mother didn’t desert her; she was killed.

Despite Sheriff Mitch Garrett's pleas to leave the case alone, Kelsey is determined to uncover the truth about her mother. But small towns hide big secrets, and someone has their eye on Kelsey and is set on silencing her for good.

Previously published as In Dark Waters

A quick read with a good mystery and characters I really liked. The mystery and the relationship between Garrett and Kelsey kept me turning the pages and I read the whole book in one morning. 

Garrett and Kelsey have unresolved feelings for each other and I was interested in seeing how they were going to work through their awkward past mistakes. There were a few twists with exciting and dramatic scenes although it was obvious from the outset who was most likely to be the murderer. 
I thought it strange that Stu hadn't worked out who the killer was when two random people managed to do it off-page and get murdered for it. This didn't bother me though but I did wonder how they figured it out.

Keep You Close is a good blend of mystery and romance and it certainly entertained me for a few hours and two pots of tea on a rainy Sunday morning.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Vets With Benefits (Angel Peaks Book 2) by Sophie Penhaligon (2022)


Vets with Benefits: A Friends to Lovers Romance (Angel Peaks - A Small-Town Contemporary Romance Series Book 2)

In the second book of the Angel Peaks series, sparks fly when frenemies Reece and Maddie try to work as a team to help their friends plan a wedding.

Maddie Moreno, the only CPA in the small town of Angel Peaks, has a reputation for being a bit of a hot head. With a whole menagerie of interesting animals and a bad habit of getting into verbal skirmishes, things look like they are about to get interesting when she is asked to be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding.

Local veterinarian Reece Mackey has had the hots for Maddie since he arrived in Angel Peaks three years ago and she tore him off a strip for parking in her spot. They’ve had a love-hate relationship ever since and he just loves to push her buttons. However, he’d rather push his agenda for getting up close and personal. When he’s assigned the role of best man, he sees it as the ideal opportunity to get intimate with the feisty maid of honor, but will she agree to stepping outside the friends zone?

Throw in an aggressive llama named Dave and a potty-mouthed parrot and you have the recipe for a fun and sexy read.

I laughed so much while reading this book. The banter between the characters and the interactions between Maddie and Reece was so funny. I loved how they made fun of each other and flirted at the same time. Their relationship moves quite fast but it's such a fun and lighthearted story it's so easy to get swept along with them.
Both Reece and Maddie were adorable. They both love animals and it was nice to see how very caring they were towards them. They also have a fun-loving and loyal bunch of friends who are a hoot.
I missed the first book in this series but I definitely want to read Sam and Kate's back story.
This was a fun and humorous romance that left me with a smile on my face.

Vets With Benefits is out now!

Friday 20 May 2022

BOOK TOUR *** COLD GRAVE (Detective Gaby Garin #6) ****JENNY O'BRIEN (2022)

Cold Grave: An absolutely gripping crime thriller that will leave your heart racing (Detective Gaby Darin, Book 6)


It’s every parent’s worst nightmare…

Seventeen-year-old Bryony Lloyd’s father drops her off at a friend’s house to study – but when he returns to pick her up there’s no sign of her, and the woman who lives in the house swears she lives alone. Bryony has vanished into thin air, and her ‘friend’ doesn’t seem to exist.

DI Gaby Darin immediately sees similarities with another missing-persons case: seventeen-year-old Christy Taylor, who vanished without warning several months earlier. There’s nothing in the girls’ personal lives to suggest trouble at home – could someone have taken them both?

After a third case is linked, Gaby knows time is running out if she’s going to find Bryony and Christy alive. After going missing over a year ago, this girl’s just been found dead.

When a tragic accident means Gaby loses a vital member of her team, she distracts herself from her grief by throwing herself into finding the missing girls. Even if it means putting her whole career on the line…

A gripping and thrilling mystery for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel McLean and Cara Hunter. Cold Grave will have you hooked!

Absolutely brilliant. I think this may be my favourite of the Gaby Darin books. 
Gaby has to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of several teenage girls and find a particularly devious and twisted serial killer. The story is told from different people's perspectives, including young Bryony, the latest girl to go missing.
 My heart was in my mouth for her knowing what could possibly happen as she tried to find a way to survive.
I love the relationship Gaby has with her team. It's like a big family and it hurts emotionally when any of them gets injured. Rusty and Gaby's relationship goes through a few hiccups, and they have a few issues to discuss and resolve. Rusty is adorable and I loved how things worked out for them at the end of the book.
I read this book in one day, and I couldn't put it down. It is exciting from start to finish from the drama of the investigation as it made progress to the final nail-biting conclusion.

Cold Grave is out now.

Sunday 15 May 2022

A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin (2022)

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting: The hottest new historical fiction debut novel of summer 2022

The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune.

Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With just twelve weeks until Kitty and her sisters are made homeless, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her. And Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

Charmingly addictive and a real treat. A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting has the best of Heyer and Quinn combined to create a remarkably original regency heroine who takes the ton by storm.

The London season doesn't know what's hit it when Kitty arrives with the sole aim of landing a rich husband in order to settle her family's debts. The scheming and machinations that go on behind the scenes in order to present a passable facade to high society are humorous and witty. I loved watching Kitty convince the ton to accept her and her family to the fold. The banter between Lord Radcliffe and Kitty as she embroils him unwillingly into her scheme makes for delightful reading. The pair are reluctant allies and they spend more time riling each other up and quarrelling than finding Kitty a suitable match. Archie and Cecily's dramas were as equally entertaining as Radcliffe and Kitty's scenes. I also adored Mrs Radcliffe, a Mrs Bennett type of character who only has the best interests of her children in mind.

A Lady's Guide to Fortune Hunting is an uproariously good read and I'm excited there's a talented fresh new voice in regency romance.

Thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins and Netgalley for the review copy.

Lucky Star (Starstruck #4) by Susannah Nix (2022)


A lonely barista’s dreams come true when her celebrity crush asks her to pose as his fake girlfriend for the paparazzi.

Boone Sheridan is a TV heartthrob with a public relations problem. He needs to clean up his image and create a distraction ASAP. What better way to do that than pretending he’s settled down with a nice, wholesome, ordinary girlfriend?

Eve Tracey is as ordinary as they come—a pre-school teacher and part-time barista working two jobs to make ends meet. She also happens to be a recovering Boone Sheridan superfan. So when the object of her former obsession walks into her coffee shop and makes her an unbelievable offer, how can she refuse?

Acting like she’s in love with Boone Sheridan is no problem for Eve. But she’s read enough fake dating fanfics to know that being on the receiving end of Boone’s pretend affection is almost certainly a recipe for heartbreak—and she’s too realistic to believe the fantasy will extend any further than that.

There’s nothing for a starstruck fangirl to do but brace herself for the pain of letting Boone go at the end of their temporary arrangement.

I only realised after reading this book that it's the fourth in the series! What a fabulous read. I binged it in one day, I couldn't get enough of Boone and Eve. 
Eve is having a crappy time at the beginning of the book but still manages to be really nice to everyone she meets. 
Boone steps in with a favour to ask which could solve both their problems. I loved how nice and supportive he was even though he and Eve weren't actual friends in the beginning. They made very cute and sweet friends at the beginning of their relationship. I loved how honest they were with each other and that there were no surprise secrets to tear them apart later in the book.
I was expecting more tension or problems to pop up in relation to Eve's ex-boyfriend but all the angst and drama was centrally focused on Eve and Boone's own personal inner feelings and insecurities.
The author teases the reader with a lot of sexual tension and a build-up of romantic feelings. I loved the slow burn aspect of the story. It kept me turning the pages. 
The earlier books in the series have now been added to my TBR. Alice and Griffin's story was alluded to in this book and it really caught my interest. Another character I liked was Chuck Hammer. He was funny and flirty and I hope the author gives him his own story next.

Lucky Star will be published on Tuesday the 17th May.

Thursday 12 May 2022

Starry-Eyed Love (Spark House #2) by Helena Hunting (2022)


Charming, hilarious, and emotional, Starry-Eyed Love is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Having just broken up with her boyfriend, London Spark is not in the mood to be hit on. Especially not when she’s out celebrating her single status with her sisters. So when a very attractive man pays for their drinks and then slips her his number, she passes it right back to him with a ‘thanks, but no thanks.' As the business administrator for their family’s event hotel, the Spark House, London has more important things to worry about, like bringing in new clientele.

As luck would have it, a multi-million-dollar company calls a few months later asking for a meeting to discuss a potential partnership, and London is eager to prove to her sisters, and herself, that she can land this deal. Just when she thinks she has nailed her presentation, the company’s CEO, Jackson Holt, walks in and inserts himself into the meeting. Not only that, but he also happens to be the same guy she turned down at the bar a few months ago.

As they begin to spend more time together, their working relationship blossoms into something more. It isn’t until their professional entanglements are finally over, that London and Jackson are finally ready to take the next step in their relationship. But between Jackson’s secretive past and London’s struggle with her sisters, London must question where she really stands - not just with Jackson, but with the Spark House, too.

A Starry-Eyed Love is a lighthearted and charming romance with two very appealing main characters, London and Jackson. Jackson in particular is adorable and I loved how he found reasons to work with London just so he could spend his day with her, much to the bemusement of his employees and business partners. Their interactions were very sweet and often hilarious. London isn't always very graceful in speech or demeanour and this leads to a few humorous and awkward moments between her and Jackson. More fun can be found in their online exchanges while they worked on updating the same document. I loved reading their teasing banter!
Not everything is plain sailing for the pair. Miscommunication is a key component of all disharmony between London and Jackson. The drama surrounding Selene would not have been as big a deal if Jackson had communicated better. 
The story is written with a dual point of view and I always feel like I get to know the characters better when it's written this way. I could understand Jackson's cautious approach to dating London while they were working together and I got a glimpse of all the angst she was feeling because Jackson was sending mixed signals.
London also has some family issues of her own to deal with. Running Spark House is exhausting her and convincing Avery to hire help is proving difficult. Something has to give.
I was surprised at how intractable Avery was and how oblivious she was to the needs of her sisters as she was such a lovely character in book one. 
The story concludes in a feel-good heartwarming way and I eagerly anticipate the next book in the series.

Saturday 7 May 2022

The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman (2022)


Dream job. Dream house. Fake fiancé.

A year in a gorgeous Italian castle…

When Anna Roberts’ life implodes, an online search leads her to an ad for the ultimate dream job – management of a gorgeous castle on the shores of Lake Como, accommodation included. The only catch? Anna can’t do it alone…

…With the last man on earth she’d choose!

The castle owners will only accept a couple as caretakers, which means Anna needs a man on her arm at the interview. Enter her neighbour, Jake Tucker. Though Anna and Jake have never seen eye-to-eye, Jake’s had a rough few years and an escape to Italy sounds ideal. Yet, when they get the job and jet off, Anna and Jake face an unexpected challenge. Pretending to be a couple is difficult … but pretending the tension simmering between them doesn’t exist is quickly proving impossible!

I binge read this book and felt sad when it was over. Anna and Jake have amazing chemistry even though they both irritate the heck out of each other. Their squabbles and barbed comments are funny especially as the reader is privy to both persons' points of view and we know that most of their problems come down to prejudice, pride and simply misunderstanding each other. 
Working together for a year sounds like a match made in hell but once they get to Lake Como they both slowly ease their way to a truce and begin to get to know each other better. Their sweet moments and flirtatious banter made me smile and I couldn't wait for Anna to stop thinking of him as the bad boy next door and just go for it. Jake has some self-esteem issues after being in prison and I could understand why he would doubt himself and question whether someone like Anna could be serious about him. 
There were a few hilarious scenes mostly involving the very obnoxious son of the castle's owner. Jake's cheek and I couldn't care less attitude in response really made me laugh. 
So the story is a little bit far fetched but who cares when it's delivered with such charm, comedy, romance and a happy ever after we'd all fake date for!

The Italian Job is out now

Monday 2 May 2022

BLOG TOUR Playing With Fire by Mary Burton


* Previously published as The Arsonist.

An unsolved mystery ignites a deadly game of chess in this scorching thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn't Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist's previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and 

Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

Playing With Fire is fast-paced and suspense-filled. The author did an excellent job with the two main characters, Darcy and Gannon. Both of them have detailed and eventful backgrounds which means that the reader comes to care about them from the moment they appear on the page. The duo have great chemistry from the get-go and it was fun to watch the beginning of their romance. Both have their own insecurities which made them more relatable. Darcy in particular had more than one problem to deal with and I was completely sucked into all the family drama that she had to cope with along with trying to investigate the Nero fires. 
I enjoyed the action and suspense and it ratcheted up a lot as the story progressed. The suspense and sense of danger the fires created made the story quite exciting and one I couldn't put down. The story concluded in a way I wasn't expecting but loved. It left me with a tingly, nervous feeling imagining what might happen next! 

Find out what my fellow bloggers think of Playing With Fire by checking out their stops on the blog tour.