Tag Archives: Debut Novel

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: 

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Echo (Archer’s Creek #1)

By Gemma Weir

Synopsis

Echo

I’m a Doomsday Sinner. A biker to my very soul. Women have always been the same – interchangeable. Until her. She loves my control and craves my touch. Now she’s mine. I’ve claimed her in every way possible and I won’t let anything, least of all her, tear us apart.

Olivia

I was on the holiday of a lifetime, until I ended up stranded in Archer’s Creek. Then I met a badass, Harley riding biker boy who laughed at me. He’s a bloody pain in the arse. Bossy and controlling, he’s the unexpectedly perfect guy at the worst moment – because even the strongest love can falter when a crazed psycho decides I need to die. 

Review

Firstly, the cover of Echo immediately drew me in and is perfect for him, I can imagine this biker from the first few chapters.

Echo is dominating to a point of at times I found him a bit too hard with Olivia.  I wanted to understand him more and at times it became too much with all the sex scenes.  This was prevalent in the first half of this story.  Moving onto the second half we get more under the skin of Echo and how he copes when Olivia is in danger and hurt.

Olivia, I connected to immediately and enjoyed her humour and stubbornness.  Her family was weird and slightly unnecessary.  I do not understand how they did not see her after the traumatic event?  This point in the book when Olivia is in danger is full of surprises and suspense and helped to keep me turning the pages.

The sexual scenes between Echo and Olivia were enjoyable however I wanted more verbal interaction.  The MC club plays a secondary role in this story, we meet members however the main focus is Olivia and Echo’s relationship.

I found the continual reference to use of condoms annoying at times, I found myself saying yes I know there will be no surprise pregnancy!

The ending was simple and lovely however I would have loved to know Echo’s thoughts on the new chapter in their relationship.

Quote:  So I fall and let fate catch me; after all, that fickle bitch obviously has plans for us.

Echo (Archer’s Creek #1)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Delivery Girl (Minnesota Ice # 1)

By Lily Kate

Synopsis

Good things come in extra-large, smoking hot packages.

Things like pizza.

The very pizzas that I deliver for my dad’s restaurant, Peretti’s Pizza. It’s a temporary job, something to pay the bills until I graduate from school, but it does the trick. In fact, it’s working quite well until Ryan Pierce of the Minnesota Stars decides to order a pizza from me, and life as I know it turns upside down.

You see, Ryan Pierce doesn’t just open his front door. He opens it buck naked. And suddenly, I’m not the one boasting the biggest, hottest package in the room. However, it’s what happens next that gives me butterflies whenever my phone beeps. Ryan starts to call, and then text, and then fifteen pizza deliveries and one fantastic night later, we’re friends with benefits.

So when he asks me to be his fake girlfriend at his brother’s wedding, I’m happy to help. But the longer we pretend, the more I worry that this is one package I might not be able to handle.

Review

I had DELIVERY GIRL on my TBR list for six months before I finally got around to reading it.  With all the positive reviews, along with the great sounding synopsis and it being about a hockey player, I thought it was a shoe-in for being a great read.  Unfortunately, I really struggled with this book.  It took me three days to read it and several times I considered not finishing it, but ultimately I kept going in the hopes it would get better.  For me, it did not.

Firstly, I can’t remember anything personal about Ryan and Andi, and I didn’t feel any chemistry between them.  What I do remember is that they spent almost the entire story trying to figure out their relationship.  Is it just friendship?  Is it friendship with benefits?  Is it a relationship?  If so, can it work?  Is it real?  Is it fake?  The status of their relationship was brought up by both parties in almost every chapter, and that kind of repetitive thinking quickly became irritating.

Secondly, I thought it was odd that Andi knew who Ryan was before she met him, knew that he was a famous hockey player who is predicted to become very big in the NHL, yet she knew nothing about the game, going so far as to call the puck a “little black thingy”.  If the man stars in your fantasies, you’d be watching his games just to see more of him and would therefore quickly learn a lot about the game.

Thirdly, why would an up-and-coming player, one without a history of bad behavior, have to beg for a new agent and a new team?  If he’s really that good and has great potential, agents and teams would be knocking down his door to get him.

Finally, the agent’s behavior bothered me greatly.  What kind of agent prefers their clients to be manwhores over being in committed relationships?  What kind of agent threatens a potential (yes, potential) client with ruination if he doesn’t break up with his girlfriend before signing with them?  The agent gets the next book in the series, but I disliked her so much that even if I loved this book, I’d have no desire to read her story.

DELIVERY GIRL is told in dual POVs and comes with a nice HEA for Ryan and Andi.  The story takes place during the off season, so if you’re after some hockey action, you won’t find it here.  I know my complaints may seem minor, petty and too technical to some people, but when they affect my overall enjoyment of the story, I can’t help but fixate on them.  It pains me to give a bad review, especially to a debut author, but going by all the positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m clearly in the minority with my opinions.

Delivery Girl (Minnesota Ice # 1)

My Rating:  

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Minnesota Ice Series

Ain’t He Precious? (Sex and Sweet Tea # 1)

By Juliette Poe

Synopsis

Welcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.

Review

AIN’T HE PRECIOUS is the debut novel from Juliette Poe (aka Sawyer Bennett), and is the first book in the Sex and Sweet Tea series.  This is a second chance romance between Trixie and Ryland, who broke up when Trixie wanted to return home after they finished law school instead of moving to Boston with Ryland.  After more than a decade apart, letting go of the other is their biggest regret, and the attraction between them is still off-the-charts when they see each other again.

There’s a good amount of humor in this story, and most of that is thanks to big-city-boy Ryland’s reactions to life in the south.  Ryland and Trixie are both very likable characters, as are most of the characters we meet in this book.  The only person who didn’t win me over was Trixie’s brother, Lowe, who acted like a spoiled brat every time he appeared.

The case that Trixie needed Ryland’s help on only takes up about ten minutes of the entire story, and he could have easily helped her from Boston, but then I guess there wouldn’t be a story if he didn’t make the trip to Whynot.  Instead, most of the story surrounds them discussing why their relationship ended, all while Ryland gains some understanding on why Trixie chose to return home all those years ago.

At only 120 pages, AIN’T HE PRECIOUS is a short, simple and sweet read.  It is told mostly in Trixie and Ryland’s POV, but it also has a few chapters told in Trixie’s grandfather’s POV.  Each of the Mancinkus siblings will get their own story in this series, with Lowe getting the next book, STUBBORN AS A MULE.

Ain’t He Precious? (Sex and Sweet Tea # 1)

My Rating:  

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Sex and Sweet Tea Series

Twist of Fate

By Anna Reilly

Synopsis

Alyson Fisher can’t stop living in the past. She is certain a vital part of her died when her husband, Joe, was killed in a tragic car accident two years ago. She can’t find the will to move on and is becoming increasingly reclusive. Her family and friends have been suffocating her with their good intentions and matchmaking ploys. A few months ago she made the bold decision to move across the country, far away from them and all reminders of her past with Joe. She is desperate for a fresh start but when she finds herself injured and alone in the middle of a deadly storm, she realizes that it might be too late.

John Smith can’t remember his past; even his present is muddled at times. He has a sense that he is running from something so he keeps moving from town to town, rarely settling down for longer than a few months. People make him nervous so he avoids human contact as much as possible. He has no identity, no home, no past, and often it seems, no future. He definitely has no hope.

A chance encounter between Alyson and John changes the course of both their lives. As they forge a tentative friendship, they can’t help but wonder if his past will reveal some horrible secret to threaten the tenuous progress they’ve made.

Review

Twist of Fate kept me fully engaged and I could not put this down as the two main characters had such incredible stories to tell of events outside their control impacting their current way of life.  As Alyson and John meet, engage with each other, share moments but then forge their own paths to repairing their lives was simply thought provoking.

It is a highly emotional read, it is more than just romance and when the characters share emotional and physical interactions in caring for each other during the storm it starts to open other possibilities and more importantly John taking those first steps of finding out who he is.

John’s story was my favourite part of this whole book and it is such a surprise and then the flow on effects, well I was beside myself. When Alyson realised she truly wanted to live was a magical moment for me after simply existing since her husbands death. The author detailed her grief that gripped my heart and I just wanted her to have some happiness. There is a great cast of supporting characters from the small town who help John and I loved Nellie for Alyson.

Twist of Fate is a wonderful debut novel, I love the cover and the ending gives you closure for these characters.

Twist of Fate

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon 

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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

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