Tag Archives: 5 Hearts

The Real Deal

By Lauren Blakely

Synopsis

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

Review

I’ll be blunt, I debated for quite a while about whether to read THE REAL DEAL or not. I’ve read a few books from Lauren Blakely before and my most recent reads did not win me over. But THE REAL DEAL sounded different from those books—it sounded light and fun—so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I sooooo glad I did.

I really liked Theo and April. Despite the crappy hand life had dealt him, Theo was a nice guy. He was very down-to-earth and he had a wonderful sense of humor. April came from a more blessed background, but she never acted like a spoiled princess. She never judged Theo for his past and she worked hard to carve out her own life and successful career path. I really liked April’s family as well, especially her mother and father.

As the bulk of this story takes place over five days, THE REAL DEAL is most definitely an insta-love romance. But what I found interesting is that it didn’t feel like one. The chemistry between Theo and April was exciting from the moment they met, and watching that chemistry build as the story progressed made their time together feel a lot longer than just five days.

THE REAL DEAL is told in dual POVs and is currently listed as a stand-alone. If you’re looking for a read that flows well and includes a fake boyfriend, meddling but well meaning family members, competitive games, and some laughs, then THE REAL DEAL is for you.

The Real Deal

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

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Giovanni

By Natasha Knight

Synopsis

I’m the right-hand man of the mafia king.
She’s a girl with a past she’s desperate to hide.

But I need something from her.
And I know she won’t help me. Not willingly.
She’ll need some persuading.

Lucky for her, I can do that.

Something about this girl makes me curious, though, and it’s more than the scars that line her back. She’s on the edge of something. Something bad. She’s like a perfect, beautiful doll coming apart at the seams. And the last string is about to snap.

She thinks I’ll hurt her. Break her.
But thing is, she’s already broken. And she and I, we’re two peas in a pod. She’s my match, the perfect opponent. She’ll fight me to the finish, but I’ll win. I always do.

Because I’m a man used to getting what I want. And what I want is her.

Author’s Note: Giovanni is a STANDALONE dark mafia romance set in the Benedetti Brothers Mafia World. It’s an emotionally gripping enemies-to-lovers romance with a hard-earned HEA.

Review

Firstly, I got to chapter 22 and literally put the book down, I took some deep breaths and thought to myself you need to see this story through.  Be like Emilia, this strong and courageous woman, I was beside myself with fear and what a reward for the ending.  When Emilia faces her past to try and move forward, amazed at her bravery.

I loved, loved, loved this story, Giovanni captured me from those first few pages and Emilia takes you on a roller coaster of emotions.

You know Emilia’s story is harrowing but I had no idea the depths of deception she endured.  Giovanni is her saviour, her warrior, and her lover and he balances those throughout this story perfectly.

Their passionate scenes are off the charts however the depth of emotion these two encounter is what surprised me.  This is more than just a mafia romance, so many layers for both main characters that just make this story simply perfect in my eyes. Again this author has given us a wonderful Mafia story to be addicted to and devour in a day.

Quote:  “To answer your question, no, I don’t think I can break you, Emilia. I think you’re already broken”

Giovanni

My Rating:  

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A Change of Pace (Northern Lights #3)

By Freya Barker

Synopsis

Once a man who lived by the letter of the law.

Newt Tobias will do anything for his little girl. Even take early retirement, sell his city home, and move to cottage country, hoping that the simpler life will provide a better balance for his troubled teenage daughter.

Yet, not long after they’ve settled, he finds himself toe-to-toe with a stubborn, fiery-tempered woman with pretty brown eyes.

Once a recluse preferring to live alone.

Working with troubled adolescents, Frederique Marchand doesn’t suffer fools and won’t put up with bullies. Especially handsome strangers like Newt who think they can run roughshod over her. She loves her work, but on her own time, she much prefers the company of her menagerie of animals.

But with the welfare of a teenager at stake, she must put aside rocky first impressions and work with a man who needs her as much as she’ll come to need him.

Review

A Change of Pace is now my favourite of this series, I did not think anything could top Book 1 but this Author has told such an incredibly heartfelt story with too many wonderful characters.

I simply loved the dedication at the beginning to motherhood – it sets the tone of the entire story.  A woman can be a mother to a child without giving birth, love knows no boundaries.

The journey that Freddy and Millie take together was just inspiring and to see Millie grown as a young woman will melt your heart.

With sensitive subjects covered we are given moments of small-town humour and adolescent struggles.  The story continues with so many rich layers of new families forming and solid friendships.

The menagerie of animals and children and the concept of different families strengthened the message in A Change of Pace of motherhood in all different forms.

These characters, in particular, the trio of Freddy, Newt, and Millie all had battle scars of loss.  They all fought in their own way to want to live fulfilling lives and believe in love and second chances.

Newt’s love of his daughter knew no bounds and his desire for her to find herself again by trusting others.  Jim and Jordan’s storyline is another I loved as father and son and what a surprise with Phyllis – loved that curveball.

Finally, the Epilogue gives hope and also wonderful closure for Millie, Newt and Freddy.

Quote:  “Sometimes you need time to slow down so you can appreciate the wealth around you.  Most days we just run past it”

A Change of Pace (Northern Lights #3)

My Rating:  

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Devoted to Pleasure (A Devoted Lovers Novel)

By Shayla Black

Synopsis

BOUND BY DUTY…

Bodyguard and former military man Cutter Bryant has always done his duty–no matter the cost. Now he’s taking one last high-octane assignment before settling down in a new role that means sacrificing his chance at love. But he never expects to share an irresistible chemistry with his beautiful new client.

…TEMPTED BY PLEASURE

As the star of a steamy television drama, Shealyn West knows fame well, but it has come at the expense of her heart. With a blackmailer watching her every move and the threat of career-ending exposure looming, Shealyn hires Cutter to shore up her security and keep her safe, never imagining their attraction will be too powerful to contain.

As Shealyn and Cutter navigate the scintillating line between business and pleasure, they unravel a web of secrets that threaten their relationship and their lives. When danger strikes, Cutter must decide whether to follow his heart for the first time, or risk losing Shealyn forever.

Review

In this first full length cross-over book between the Wicked Lovers series and the Devoted Lovers Series we find Cutter having to decide between his heart and his loyalty to his best friend.

This book captures everything that made the Wicked Lovers series so good.  It picks up at the end of Holding on Tighter.  Cutter and One-Mile definitely hate each other.

Cutter is a great guy who believes in loyalty.  He is even willing to sacrifice is own heart to save his friend from small town ridicule and her fathers wrath. When he starts to fall for the woman he is protecting he has to make serious decisions.

Shealyn is also just a good person but she has been caught in a complicated situation with no easy way out. People are depending on her for the show and their personal lives.

I loved Devoted to Pleasure.  It has great characters that just build on each other.  It was fast paced and over too soon.  I really liked the internal struggle that Cutter was having between what to do with his best friend and Shealyn.  And I really liked the mystery in this story. I can’t wait for the next addition to this series to come out.

Devoted to Pleasure

My Rating:  

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My Angel (Bewitched and Bewildered # 9)

By Alanea Alder

Synopsis

Vivian Mercy has been running from the past for so long she doesn’t know any other way of life. When a panicked call comes from one of her only friends she finds herself returning to the city of her nightmares where her dedication as a doctor and resolve to help others is put to the test.

Etain Vi’Aerlin has been watching over Noctem Falls for centuries. Sent by his queen he became a silent sentinel in the shadows helping Magnus whenever he could. While the sickness around him claims more lives he discovers what it feels like to be helpless, as an ancient warrior he doesn’t have the skills to fight this unseen enemy.

At any other time finding a mate would be cause for celebration, but Etain wants Vivian as far from Noctem Falls as possible, unfortunately, as the only doctor with an intimate knowledge of diseases she has to stay in the city, and finds herself working tirelessly to discover a cure in the middle of the deadly chaos sweeping the levels.

As Vivian’s past is revealed she finds herself not only combating the terrible virus but also the rebellious faction of the Founding Families. Etain vows to stand by her, even if it means abandoning the post assigned by his queen.

It’s a race against time to unravel the lethal secrets the virus is hiding before the city itself is lost forever.

Review

MY ANGEL is the ninth book in the Bewitched and Bewildered series and was another very enjoyable read. The story continues on from MY DEFENDER and follows the mating of Etain (fae) and Vivian (vampire), and we’re still in Noctem Falls.

Quite a lot happened in this book, all of which was really exciting. I apologize if the below is spoilerish, but it was all so interesting that I can’t help but write it all down.
1 – The mysterious sickness plaguing the shifter children has now started affecting adult shifters and vampires, including Prince Magnus.
2 – The group is concerned at discovering that over 50% of the Vanguard units are unaccounted for.
3 – Two Royal families previously believed to have been extinct are reinstated in front of all the Noble and Founding family heads. Those two families align with the other two Royal families, giving Prince Magnus more support against those who seek to seize power and control of Noctem Falls.
4 – In that same scene, it was demanded that Gavriel prove he was royalty. Not only did he prove it, but he also revealed that he is over ten thousand years old and is also known as the Dark Prince from their history and legends. Without a doubt, this was my favorite scene.

In regards to the two main characters of this story, there’s not much I can say about Etain because apart from being Vivian’s mate and having a close connection to the Fae Queen, there’s really nothing else to him. Vivian stands out more because she was pivotal in quite a few scenes throughout the story.

I’m still having a lot of trouble keeping track of all the characters we’ve been introduced to so far, and the number of characters increases by at least two with every new book. It’s gotten to a point where if I’m struggling to remember who a character is, I stop trying and just continue on with the story, otherwise it does my head in. This does take away some of the enjoyment from the story, but the mystery of what is going on around them keeps me coming back for more, so I’ll just have to deal with it.

MY ANGEL is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Micah’s POV as he’ll get the next book. While each book is about a different couple, the books in this series cannot be read as a stand-alone and must be read in order.

My Angel (Bewitched and Bewildered # 9)

My Rating:  

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Bewitched & Bewildered Series

Hell Upside Down

By Mia Villano

Synopsis

Scarlett Ferguson wanted out of her dreary life in Cutler, Maine. Every day was only an existence living in poverty in a run down trailer with her dad and his girlfriend. Working a dead end job in a restaurant, Scarlett’s life changes the day Hugh Cruz walks into her world.


He is gorgeous, rich and charming, sweeping Scarlett off her feet after a few dates. When he wants to marry her in a rush, she thinks nothing of it, other than it is true love. That changes on the night of her honeymoon. The night Scarlett realizes, things are not what they seem. It doesn’t take long for Scarlett to become someone she swore she never would be, in a life she swore she never would want.

Heartbroken and confused, Scarlett realizes that the life she ran away from is the life she truly wants.  Secrets unravel as Scarlett discovers the real reason Hugh came into her life. No one is who she thought they were and the people she trusted are soon revealing their true identity. Hell Upside Down is a dark, emotional standalone novel filled with suspense. Each page has you wanting more. 

Review

Hell Upside Down I literally finished in a just a few days, I could not put this mystery romance down.  The author begins her novel perfectly, we are given a taste of Scarlett’s life, we then go back to where it begins.  The first half of the story we are heading to that pivotal moment in her future.  I was simply on the edge of my seat knowing this and the hell she was going to endure.  The pacing was perfect to me, giving me enough to keep turning the pages.  The second half of the story is forging a new life for herself and this is where she simply shines.

Scarlett is such a strong and resilient character, she was my purpose to continue this often dark and dangerous tale.  Her marriage and will to survive in an abusive environment was simply heartbreaking.

Durango did not disappoint, I had hopes for him in the beginning and he plays his part to perfection.

The most surprising of this whole story was all the mystery and players in the second half, this story is no way finished when Scarlett gets rescued.  The story literally begins and we learn so much about all the people in her life.  I never picked all the knights in shining armor that were silently there in the background nor the hidden dark players.

Hell Upside Down

My Rating:  

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The Kiss Quotient

By Helen Hoang

Synopsis

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Review

The Kiss Quotient is a beautiful story of the journey through life. This story was a story about relationships and how complex they are.  Whether the relationships are between mother and child, siblings or even co-workers they all take work and understanding and this story expresses these relationships with sensitivity.

I love Stella’s character and how she approaches the world.  Her uniqueness draws you to her.  She has Asperger’s which makes relationships difficult for her.  Her passion is definitely numbers.  Her mind solves mysteries by the numbers but matters of the heart are harder for her to understand.  She believes in lists.  I loved the fact that she even had a list for her new teacher on how her lessons should go.

Michael is just a good person.  He has a lot that he has taken responsibility for.  This forces him to pursue a job that he isn’t so proud of.  He meets Stella and knows there is just something special about her which makes him break all his rules.

I think this story is so special. I love Michael’s family and how they are like a real family.  They get mad at each other but they are always family.  I love Stella’s honesty.  Her character had so many levels to her. She doesn’t realize how she affects the world around her. Stella and Michael work so well together.  They make each other better and you can’t ask for more than that.

The Kiss Quotient

My Rating: 

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On Her Master’s Secret Service (Masters & Mercenaries #4)

By Lexi Blake

Synopsis

Her submission fulfilled her

When Eve St. James married Alex McKay, she had her whole life ahead of her. They were the FBI’s golden couple by day, but by night Eve gave herself over to her husband’s world of Dominance and submission filled with pleasures she came to crave.

His betrayal destroyed her

Worried for her safety, Alex left Eve behind to tackle a dangerous mission. But Alex never suspected that Eve was the real target and her security is destroyed by a madman. By the time he rescues her, his wife has been changed forever.

But when her life is in danger he is her only hope

Unable to heal the damage, Alex and Eve are still trapped together in a cycle of pleasure and misery that even their divorce cannot sever. But when a threat from Eve’s past resurfaces, Alex will stop at nothing to save her life and reclaim her heart.

Review

Alex and Eve’s story has blown this series out of the park, this is my favourite so far.  So much action, emotion, passion, and secrets.

Firstly, about halfway through I had a feeling about a character, I was beside myself wanting to know if I was right, the ramifications!!  What a fine tale the author wove and I can only imagine what Big Tag’s story is going to give us.  The last few pages give us an insight and I am so excited.

Alex and Eve have been two characters who held my attention from the first book.  Eve has played her part in helping Sean, Adam, Jake, and Liam to open their hearts to love.  Can Eve open hers again?  Her story is tragic and one I was not prepared for.  This story flowed really well and I could not put this down.

I kept changing my thoughts and opinions on characters, who the bad guys were, who would be Eve’s saviors?  She is a fighter and my heart wept with joy with her returning to Alex and his strength and dominance.  These two characters are simply soul mates and I loved seeing them return to each other.  I hope further miracles happen for these two.

On Her Master’s Secret Service (Masters & Mercenaries #4)

My Rating:  

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Survival of the Richest (Survival of the Richest #1)

By Skye Warren

Synopsis

An heiress without a cause.
Two billionaires determined to claim her.
And a war fought on the most dangerous battlefield–the heart.

“What an incredible book! Survival of the Richest has everything — Skye Warren’s beautiful writing, a sexy, compelling story; intricate characters, and a provocative love triangle that will captivate you until the very end.” ~ New York Times bestselling author Nina Lane

My story starts with a plunge into the cold water of Manhattan’s harbor.

A strong hand hauls me back onto the deck of the luxury yacht. Christopher was supposed to be my enemy. Instead, he protects me with fierce determination.

That should have been my happily ever after, but then Sutton appeared–ruthless and seductive. He doesn’t care that my heart belongs to someone else, because he’s determined to win. No matter the cost.

It’s an impossible choice, but I can’t have them both.

Review

Normally I do not like love triangles but Christopher, Sutton and in particular Harper weave together through their own darkness.  It was an interesting story and at no time did I become agitated with the indecision and confusion by Harper.

At times I was as indecisive as Harper as to who I thought would feed her heart and soul.

Towards the end I admit I probably always wanted Christopher to choose Harper.  Their beginning which is told in the Trust Fund (Prologue) probably cemented my love for Christopher.

My most favourite part of this story was the relationship between Harper and her parents .  How that affected Harper’s life was really interesting.  Then throw in Christopher’s part and the tale is woven with manipulation from her father.

Sutton was dark and dangerous and there are some great erotic moments.  His friendship with Christopher and his own personal demons gave another layer to this story.

We meet the Thieves club and also other characters from the Endgame and Masterpiece Series which I loved.  It was great to see Avery, Penny and Damon Scott.

This is going to be another great duet series by Skye Warren that I am going to devour.

Quote:  It doesn’t feel like a loss.  It feels like being free.

Survival of the Richest (Survival of the Richest #1)

My Rating:  

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Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

A heart-warming and deliciously funny story about the world’s worst behaved dog and how he trained his human how to love herself again.

Through the haze of vodka and self-loathing, Hazel Roundtree saw the poor creature lying in a ditch.

One brown eye. One blue.
Covered in mud and crying from pain, the puppy was desperately trying to free itself from a hopeless situation.

She almost kept walking by. She had her own problems and besides… no one had ever stopped to help her.

Who we’re ultimately meant to be is a journey without end, but there’s always a defined start…

Hazel had no idea the dog would be her beginning, her second chance, the miracle she never saw coming. She named him Atticus. He grew up to be a very bad–and completely awesome–dog. He took Hazel on a life-changing journey filled with mischievous adventure and painful heartbreak. In the end, Hazel grew up to be completely awesome, too.

Review

Wow!
Seriously…just WOW!
Beautiful.
Emotional.
Heartwarming.
Gratifying.
An absolute must read.

ATTICUS is a story about love, friendship and forgiveness, but is it a love story? I’d say yes, but not in the way you might be expecting. Told in the POV of Hazel and Atticus, it’s about the unconditional love that forms between a dog and his human. It’s about Hazel learning to love herself and that she is someone worthy of being loved. There is a sliver of romance towards the end, but romance is not the focus of this story, and the story is beyond amazing without it.

I want to say so much more about ATTICUS, but I’m really struggling with words because I feel as though no matter what I say, I just can’t do this book justice. So I will simply say this:

I could not put this book down.
I laughed.
I cried.
I was deeply moved.
This is the best book I have read this year, and I strongly recommend you read it.

Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

My Rating:  

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