Tag Archives: Debut Novel

The Bartender (Modern Love # 1)

By Piper Rayne

Synopsis

Who knew sleeping with the enemy could be this fun?

Was the one night stand a good idea?  Well, no. Probably not in retrospect.

In my defense I had just moved back into my grandparent’s house, I’d lost my dream job, and a guy on Tinder had stood me up. It was like life had suddenly stamped ‘LOSER’ on my forehead.

So when the guy behind the bar started giving me THE look…you know, the one that promised I’d be screaming his name into the wee hours of the morning? When that guy also has the perfect amount of scruff on his chiseled chin, biceps bulging out of his t-shirt, and a cocky grin you knew he’d earned in the sack…when he gives you that look, you don’t bother to figure out what your six degrees of separation are. You jump on that horse and ride it!

Pun fully and completely intended. And accurate by the way.

I fully admit to feeling sorry for myself and acting impulsively, but by the time I’d figured out WHO the bartender was, I was already falling for him.

Review

THE BARTENDER is the first book from two USA Today Bestselling authors who decided to get together and write romantic comedies.  I don’t know who they are, but for what I assume is their first collaboration, I’d say they did good.

Whitney is one of those women who seems to have the worst luck.
Stood up on a blind date?  Check.
Lost her job because her boss started sleeping with someone else?  Check.
Forced to move back home?  Check.
Stood up by the guy she wanted a one-night-stand with on Tinder?  Check.
Can’t remember her night with the hot bartender she went home with?  Check.
Forced to work with the guy she’s hated for the past several years?  Check.
See what I mean?  You can’t help but love her and her determination to keep going despite the fact it appears the entire universe is against her.

I can’t say a lot about Cole because to do so would give away spoilers.  I will say that he was a manwhore, but he sees something special in Whitney that makes him want to change his ways and settle down.  While Whitney is treating their time together as a fling, he’s showing her exactly how special she is to him.

“Stop bowing.  I’m not royalty.”
“To the right guy, you are.”

THE BARTENDER was a lighthearted and funny read that I finished fairly quickly.  We were introduced to Whitney’s two best friends⎯stable Tahlia and wacky Lennon⎯who will get their own books in the Modern Love series, and every scene that Whitney’s dog⎯Sparky⎯was in was hilarious.  There were a couple of things that bothered me though.  Whitney kept alluding to how her life changed for the worse several years ago, before finally revealing what happened that night at the 74% mark.  By that point, I was over waiting for the big reveal.  I also thought Whitney’s reason for breaking up with Cole was weak, considering he really was trying to do the right thing.  Other than those two things, I enjoyed this book and would gladly read the next one in the series.  THE BARTENDER is told only in Whitney’s POV (at least from what I remember) and comes with a HFN ending for Cole and Whitney.  The epilogue also leads us into the next book, THE BOXER, which will be about Tahlia, and maybe we’ll get a quick update on how Cole and Whitney are progressing in their relationship.

The Bartender (Modern Love # 1)

My Rating:  

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Modern Love Series

Wicked Games (Steele Security # 1)

By A.D Justice

Synopsis

She has the story of a lifetime every investigative reporter dreams of landing.  
But the trail of incriminating evidence leads back to the only man she’s ever loved.
When she misses her flight, she watches the plane explode in mid-air, knowing the bomb was onboard to silence her.
Who can she trust?

He hasn’t been the same since the day he lost her. 
Then he catches an intruder in his house, only to find his long-dead love is still alive.
Lust, love, betrayal, and loyalty war inside him.
Treachery, deceit, and danger threaten them. 

When an unknown enemy holds all the cards, how can they survive the wicked games?

Review

WICKED GAMES is the first book in the Steele Security series and the first book I’ve read from A.D. Justice.  It is told in the past and present day, with a good portion of the story taking place between three to five years ago.  I can’t say much about the main characters because I felt the arms trafficking side of the story overshadowed them.  Or maybe that was the part of the story I was most interested in and enjoyed the most.  I will say that the person behind the arms trafficking was obvious and I hope it was supposed to be.

I could be wrong, but I believe this may be the author’s debut novel, which would explain the few technical issues I had problems with.  The story is told in multiple POVs, with the POV changing without notice, often several times within the same chapter.  There were occasional gaps in time that also came without notice.  One chapter, told in Brianna’s POV, takes place over several months, then the very next chapter, told in Noah’s POV, starts all the way back from where the previous chapter started.  These things disrupted the flow of the story, and overall I struggled with this style of writing.  Moving on, I thought it was odd that when Brianna was thinking about her parents, she would refer to them by their first names instead of Mom and Dad.  She would do the same with Noah, one minute calling him Noah and then switching to Reaper.  Lastly, Reaper’s team was called out several days before Brianna was to go home, but later on she says his team was called out just hours before she left.  While this is not a huge mistake, it is a sloppy one.

Despite what I’ve said above, overall I thought WICKED GAMES was an okay read, one that came with a HEA for Noah and Brianna.  I bought the first four books in this series as a box-set, and I will give the second book a try before deciding whether or not I will continue with the series.

Wicked Games (Steele Security # 1)

My Rating:  

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Steele Security Series

Under Her Skin

By Adriana Anders

Synopsis

Her Body is His Canvas

A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret—proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.

Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone…much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.

Review

Under Her Skin is a debut novel.

The synopsis grabbed me from the start and I loved the cover however I have a really strong opinion on one of the main characters and I have to just get this off my chest.  This character actually made me struggle with this story.

Mrs Lloyd, she was simply too harsh, I mean considering her own background I think this story could have had such a deeper impact with the personal demons of Uma but giving her a sympathetic soul to nurture and provide her a safe environment.   Uma was on the run, escaping a brutal man with next to nothing. I would have loved to have seen that Mrs Lloyd saw the damaged and tortured creature upon her porch that was Uma and immediately provide her a safe haven.  The poor girl is recovering in one chapter from the procedure she undergoes, Mrs Lloyd makes comments and I thought oh finally the woman is going to show compassion and yet nothing – go clean my kitchen you useless girl.  It actually made me hate Mrs Lloyd and I quite honestly did not like her for the rest of the story.  When her own personal history was revealed I was like – I don’t care – she was just mean.  I know she had issues but I would have loved for her to be the mother figure that Uma obviously needed considering her own mother provided nothing to her.  If Mrs Lloyd had showed some of the tenacity when she was holding that shotgun towards helping Uma breathe new life into her soul then I would have probably fallen in love with the old dear but by the 96% mark to finally show some human spirit – it was too late for me.

Personally this story  did not pick up until after half way which was a shame as there were some great characters namely Jessie and I did love Steve.  I thought the scenes with Uma and Ive were sensual and really well written considering her issues with touching and showing her demons.  I also enjoyed when she visited the practice and I wish I could have read more on her visiting and building a relationship with the doctor who was creating a new skin for her to live her new life.

The ending felt rushed and too quickly tied up especially with Uma’s ex partner – you knew it was coming – I was glad we got the HEA with Ive and Uma though.

Under Her Skin

My Rating: 

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FrostBite (The Hunter Chronicles Book 1)

By Claire Marta

frostbite

Synopsis

Jasmine Hunter is a rookie agent working for the covert Supernatural Department of Scotland Yard.

Being kidnapped with a co-worker is the last thing she’s expecting from only two months in a job she loves. She is even more unprepared for the sparks that fly between her and one of their captors, especially when her unique senses are screaming he isn’t human.

Eric is a vampire, deep undercover with centuries of secrets. He has no time for distractions, yet he can’t seem to get the feisty female out of his head, nor the hungering desires she evokes within him.

Forced to work together, they must stop the diabolical plans of Marcel Coupe – the French arms dealer responsible for her abduction. As time starts to run out can they save themselves and Paris from disaster? Or will the sizzling attraction between them be their downfall?

Review

FrostBite begins with Jasmine and her coworker Twitch being kidnapped by a very dangerous man. They are taken to Paris where she meets an equally dangerous man but one that she cannot deny that she is attracted to. The chemistry between the in undeniable but her only concern is escaping with Twitch.

Twitch is the one that Marcel Coupe wants.  Marcel is willing to harm Jasmine as leverage to get Twitch to do what he wants.  Twitch is a techno mage who is able to make the weapons for Marcel Coupe. Twitch and Jasmine are more than co-workers they are best friends.  They will do what they need to do to make sure they both make it out of there alive.

While they are captured Eric, a vampire that an undercover agent,  is trying to fight his unbelievable attraction to Jasmine.  This has never happened to him before.  He has already remained unemotional during a job.  But the mere thought of harm coming to Jasmine has his fangs ready to come out biting.

FrostBite is the debut novel for Claire Marta and it takes you on a wild ride from beginning to end.  I found the book hard to put down.  I loved the side characters especially Raoul, Eric’s blood brother.   I hope that in a future novel in this series, he will find out what undeniable attraction is so he knows what Eric went through.

I look forward to seeing what is the future holds for Jasmine and Eric.

FrostBite

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy Links:  Amazon

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The Brimstone Kings Mc: Ace

By J J Marstead

IAce Cover

Synopsis

Alison
I’ve lived in a small town my entire life. At eighteen, I don’t have a whole lot of life experience, and all I really have time for is my job. I’ve heard of the Brimstone Kings MC, but I’d never seen them until a group of them shows up at the diner where I work. That’s the day I met Ace.

Just his name sends shivers up my spine. That man is sex on a stick. But he’s a man. I’ve only ever been around boys. I don’t know if I’m ready for the kind of life that comes with a man like Ace, but he isn’t giving me much choice.

Ace
Shit, she is fucking beautiful. When I first laid eyes on her, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell she was legal. The minute I found out she was eighteen, it was game on. I will make her mine, if it’s the last thing I do.

Getting her to be mine proves to be harder than I thought though. I need to prove to her that I am the man for her. That I can take care of her. That I won’t hurt her. This woman is stubborn as hell, but I’m determined to make her see what it feels like to be with a real man.

Review

This is a debut novel by the author.  The basic storyline is a good one, typical of biker romance but I just found the flow of this story somewhat confusing at stages, we get both POV which helps in understanding the characters thoughts and actions. I just found it fast forwarded at the wrong times for me and there were two many storylines and I became lost and some outcomes I found the timeframes not working especially for Alison.

I have so many questions after reading this book.

What happened to her boss?, he was a major character in the start then just disappeared and considering his feelings, he could have thrown a bit of a power play into the story.

Porsche was one character, yes she was a typical bikie chick but I felt her part of the story did not flow into each other for me, in the end I found her inconsequential and her final scene with Ace in the hospital left me flat.  I mean all that drama and then zip.

The MC club really takes a back seat to this whole story, it is more about Alison and Ace. Ace is a real soft bikie for a VP and not my kind of rough and rugged – I did not feel their instant connection at all.

Alison is 18, her actions reflect this and once I got past that fact then I could forgive her when she became somewhat annoying and emotional – but do not get me wrong she grew on me by the end and probably is what kept me reading.

Now I have read a shitload of Bikie romance novels and yes I know they are fantasy but there are some actions in this book that just did not feel right for me. The main moment for me was when a member from a rival gang was in the clubhouse in the VP bedroom, I mean how did he get past the gates, through the club and then be allowed to just walk out through the front of the clubhouse – did not make sense to me – sorry. These were the gaps I needed in the whole mystery and drama that was trying to be portrayed upon the pages.

This story had really great moments that I wish were extended to perhaps help create a bit more depth, there was in some ways for me too much happening with so many different characters like her sister and Viper, their story started off as all drama then just fell off the radar and I really liked them as a couple – they had fire and fight. I would have loved to see a scene at the hospital between them two where they decide to move forward together as a couple as Viper obviously loved her.  That also would have entwined them into the final chapters where we get to see these characters further down the track.

This book gets all nicely tidied up at the end of the series, you get the HEA and see how these two characters are 10 years on which was a great way to close up the book and I was happy for them.

Liked not Loved.

The Brimstone Kings Mc: Ace

My Rating: 3 Hearts

Buy Links: Amazon

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Private Practice (Private Pleasures # 1)

By Samanthe Beck

BR Private Practice

Synopsis

He’ll teach her how to bring a man to his knees…

Dr. Ellie Swan has a plan: open her practice in tiny Bluelick, Kentucky, so she can keep an eye on her diabetic father, and make hometown golden-boy Roger Reynolds fall in love with her. But Ellie has a problem. Roger seeks a skilled, sexually adventurous partner, and bookish Ellie doesn’t qualify. 

Tyler Longfoot only cares about three things: shaking his bad boy image, qualifying for the loan his company needs to rehab a piece of Bluelick’s history, and convincing Ellie to keep quiet about the “incident” that lands him on her doorstep at two a.m. with a bullet in his behind. 

The adorable Dr. Swan drives a mean bargain, though. If sex-on-a-stick Tyler will teach Ellie how to bring a man to his knees, she’ll forget about the bullet. Armed with The Wild Woman’s Guide to Sex and Tyler’s lessons, Ellie is confident she can become what Roger needs…if she doesn’t fall for Tyler first.

Review

I’m going to start by saying that for a novella, this one took me a long time to finish.  I had trouble engaging with the story and while I liked Tyler, I couldn’t connect with Ellie, who I found to be too clinical and naive.  I was confused as to why I wasn’t enjoying this book because I’ve read books from this author before and loved them.  My confusion lifted when I read the acknowledgment at the end which states that this was the author’s debut novel.  Because this debut novel dates back to 2013, I’m not going to go into great detail with my review.  I will say that PRIVATE PRACTICE is told in dual POVs and is the first book in the Private Pleasures series.  I will also say that despite not enjoying this book, I know for a fact that her stories have improved, so I would gladly read from this author again.

Private Practice (Private Pleasures # 1)

My Rating:  2 Hearts

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Private Pleasures Series

Something So Right

By Natasha Madison

Sexy and fit couple in underwear

Synopsis

The moment everything changed didn’t happen in that cliché rockets-red-glare kind of way, it happened in the form of a waking nightmare. I caught my husband, my high-school sweetheart, the father of my children, balls deep in a sordid affair. 

That was when I gave up on men and love. 

I didn’t count on the NHL’s golden boy, the beautiful, arrogant Cooper Stone turning my life and my hockey rink upside down. 

My kids are why I wake up in the morning.
Hockey is what Cooper breathes for. 

We’re from different worlds and places in our lives but when our hearts collided something so wrong and different turned into something so right.

Review

SOMETHING SO RIGHT is the debut novel from Natasha Madison, and one I enjoyed.  It’s the story of Parker, a single mum to two kids who caught her husband having an affair two years earlier, and Cooper, an NHL superstar who’s rehabbing at her facility during the off-season.  Like Parker, when they first met I wanted to beat Cooper’s arse for how rude and arrogant he was to her, and I loved how she let him keep the upper hand for a few hours before knocking him down with a polite yet effective punch.  Parker is funny and easy-going, but she’s also not afraid to stand up for herself when she has to.  Cooper starts out unlikeable, but he quickly turns his attitude around and becomes swoon-worthy book-boyfriend material.

So, why only three hearts?  Because while I enjoyed the story, there were some things I didn’t like about it.
1 – The amount of sex in this book.  I know there are a lot of people out there that love snatching up a book when they hear a reader complaining about too much sex, so for those people I say “buy away” because you won’t be disappointed.  There are about a dozen sex scenes in all, and I started skipping them early on just to get back to the good part…the story.
2 – The dirty talk, especially when it came from Parker.  I still can’t make up my mind on whether I found it laughable or cringe-worthy.
3 – The number of times the word “vagina” came up in conversation or inner-monologue.  It was used six times in the first chapter alone, and used a total of nineteen times.  Maybe that makes me sound like a prude, but I can honestly say that I have never read a book where that word is used that many times.

So what did I like about it?  Well that’s easy:  the characters.
1 – I loved that Parker’s children acted their age.  Matthew was protective of his mother but he could also act like the surly teen you expect a boy his age to behave.  Allison was an adorable little girl whose innocence shined through the pages.
2 – I loved how Cooper interacted with the kids.  He always answered their questions with honesty and he always treated them with love and respect.  He never made them feel as though he was encroaching on their family, but instead that he was adding to it.
3 – I loved how Parker stood up for herself with Cooper’s crazy ex-girlfriend and that she didn’t let her lack of self-confidence weigh her down throughout the entire book.  After that first misunderstanding, she trusted Cooper’s feelings for her and never doubted their relationship again.

For a debut novel, I thought SOMETHING SO RIGHT was well written.  Once you took out the sex, what was left of the story was very enjoyable.  I did notice a few mistakes where I don’t know if there was something wrong with my copy, or if these mistakes were missed by the editor and beta readers.  Some words were missing at the beginning of a few sentences.  In a dinner scene, they’re supposed to be having steak, but then it turns into chicken.  At the beginning, it says that Cooper has won five Stanley Cups, but towards the end, it says he’s playing for his fourth Stanley Cup.  The only reason I caught this discrepancy is because I thought it was odd that a player could win five Cups in the span of a 12-13 year career, at least in this century.  These mistakes aren’t a big deal and they didn’t affect my rating, but I thought they were worth mentioning in the off chance the author reads my review and wants to correct them in a future edition.

SOMETHING SO RIGHT is told mostly in Parker’s POV, with a few chapters from Cooper’s POV.  At this stage it appears to be a stand-alone and it comes with a beautiful HEA set four years into the future.  I know I’ve brought up a lot of dislikes and issues, and it probably sounds like I hated this book, but I would happily read more from this author, who I think has a lot of potential.

Something So Right

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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The Sun And The Moon (Giving You… # 1)

By Leslie McAdam

BR The Sun And The Moon

Synopsis

She follows all the rules. 

He’s going to teach her how to break them. 

After a heartbreaking tragedy, successful attorney Amelia Crowley has numbed herself to the pleasures of life, clinging to a specific set of rules, finding strength in order and organization. When she meets easy going surfer Ryan Fielding, that organized life is turned upside down by a sea of washboard abs and sun-kissed hair. 

Sexy and charismatic, Ryan looks for pleasure however he can find it in an effort to silence his own inner demons. Until Amelia crashed into his life the only thing he chased was the next wave. Refusing to break their connection and determined to break through her carefully crafted walls, Ryan sets out to throw out every rule in her book and show Amelia that pleasure can’t be planned. 

Can Amelia let Ryan take the lead or will she cling to her rules and wipe out their chance at love?

Review

I hate saying this, especially when it’s an author’s debut novel, but I just wasn’t feeling this book.  I don’t know if the problem was with me, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood, so I put it down to come back to it later.  But after doing that a few times and still not connecting with the story or its characters by the 44% mark, I decided it was time for me to move on.  Most of the story up to that point was Amelia’s inner monologue narrating to the reader, and when Amelia and Ryan do talk, it sounded too clinical, too formal, and not natural at all.  Maybe the story would have gotten better-it has great ratings on Amazon and Goodreads-but I just don’t have it in me to try and find out.

The Sun And The Moon (Giving You… # 1)

My Rating:  1 Heart

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Visit Leslie McAdam:  Click Here


Giving You… Series

The Emperor’s Arrow

By Lauren D.M. Smith

Emperor's Arrow

Synopsis

The bride candidates have been summoned. Their numbers are many, yet only one is an Amazzi warrior. Only one would give her life to protect him.

Evony of Aureline, warrior of her people, has no intention of becoming a hideous old man’s bride. Though her people have sworn their loyalty to the legendary emperor Galen, Evony knows little of courts and intrigue. It’s simply not her world.

Yet it’s on the palace training grounds where Evony’s archery skills gain her the respect of soldiers and legates alike. The emperor himself takes notice of the beautiful, ruthless warrior. In turn, the young, steely eyed Galen is nothing at all what Evony expected.

This man could very well conquer her heart. But does he feel the same?

As the rivalry among the remaining bride candidates intensifies and the plot for the throne unfolds, Evony must make a grave choice: fulfill her destiny and protect her people or follow her heart and pursue true love.

Either way, the honor of the Amazzi people and the future of the empire now rests with Evony of Aureline. For she is the Emperor’s Arrow.

Review

The Emperor’s Arrow is a debut novel from Lauren D.M. Smith.  This story was smart and packed with action.

Galen is an emperor that is in need of protecting his empire.  Even if that means gaining a wife. He decides that he should hold a contest to decide who his wife should be.  Each of the different factions in the empire are to send their bride candidates.  Only problem is, are all the candidates friendly to his empire and his ideals?

Evony of Aureline from the Amazzi people entered an a contest with her sisters not knowing what the prize was.  If she had known that the prize was that she would be put in another contest to become wife of the emperor she may not have tried so hard to win.  From the moment she gets to imperial palace she earns the respect from almost all of the people she meets.

I love the way that Evony has unwavering confidence and loyalty.  There is not question in her mind what her skills are and that her people live a a code of loyalty to the emperor.  It’s her confidence that is the most attractive quality that she has and she is a really good role model to all who read her story.

The Emperor’s Arrow

My Rating:  4 Hearts

Buy Links:  AmazoniBooks

Visit Author:  Lauren D.M. Smith

The Unwanted Wife (Unwanted # 1)

By Natasha Anders

BR The Unwanted Wife

Synopsis

No one had ever looked at her and seen perfection—until now.

Delicate, titian-haired Theresa Noble has met her father’s associates in the past, but the gorgeous, Italian-born Sandro De Lucci leaves her speechless. Eighteen months into their marriage, however, Sandro has turned to ice. Desperate to escape a relationship that has proven to be as stubbornly passionate as it is cold and hateful, Theresa summons up the courage to ask for a divorce. But before he’ll grant her request, Sandro demands something from Theresa: a son.

The stalemate sickens her. Never mind that Sandro has yet to introduce Theresa to the large family that means so much to him. Or that Theresa overhears her husband on the phone with a mystery woman. Most damning is that Theresa senses, in Sandro’s treatment of her, the behind-the-scenes machinations of Jackson Noble, her cruel father. From the depths of her anxiety, Theresa must seek an empowering truth about the husband who calls her, with such cold affection, his cara, his beloved.

Review

“I want a divorce, Alessandro.”

After eighteen months of being married to a man who treats her with contempt, Theresa is calling it quits.  The man she fell in love with doesn’t love her in return⎯in fact, her resents her⎯and she sees no point in continuing on.  She wants a divorce but Alessandro won’t give her one, at least not until she bears him a son.  But when she keeps insisting on a divorce, he starts to question everything and discovers that she’s not to blame for the situation he’s been put in.  With the blinders off, he tries to salvage their marriage, but it’s too late; Theresa is too heartbroken to forgive and determined to divorce him as soon as possible.

I really liked Theresa and thought she was a very strong woman.  This is a woman who has been put through the emotional wringer, courtesy of her husband and her father.  She admits that she’s been a doormat in the past, but she stands up for herself and refuses to be treated that way anymore, and she does a damn fine job of it too.  She puts her husband in his place several times, not afraid to point out his poor treatment of her or that what he did was unforgivable.

“I’m your husband…”
“No.  You are not my husband.  You have never been my husband.  A husband loves, honors and cherishes.  A husband is a lover and a champion.  Look into the next room if you want to see what a real husband is, because you are no such thing!”

I’m just going to put this out there…you will not like Alessandro at the beginning of this book.  Even when he learns the truth, he still doesn’t treat Theresa very well thanks to his stupid male pride.  But when he puts aside his resentment and realises how badly he’s hurt her, he changes his whole attitude and becomes a man you’re truly hoping will win back his wife.  But eighteen months of poor treatment is a very hard thing to overcome, if at all.  Theresa is bitter and untrusting of his motives, and I don’t blame her.

“I’m trying to fix this, cara.”
“You can’t.  This…whatever it is…it’s irreparable.”

THE UNWANTED WIFE grabbed me from the first page and did not let me go.  Any opportunity I had to read it during the day, I took it.  I went through so many tissues throughout this book, especially in the beginning, which took me forever to get through because I was constantly stopping to wipe my eyes.  I was so sad and angry for what Theresa had been going through.  You will definitely experience several emotions while reading this story.  From memory, this is told only in Theresa’s POV and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.

“Why should I forgive you and love you again?  Why should I open up my heart to a man who could easily crush it in the palms of his hands?”
“You probably shouldn’t.  But I wish you would.”

The Unwanted Wife (Unwanted # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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Visit Natasha Anders:  Click Here


The Unwanted Series