Tag Archives: Debut Novel

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

Buy LinksAmazon

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

Buy LinksAmazon

Visit Natasha Anders:  Click Here


The Unwanted Series

Worth The Fall (The McKinney Brothers # 1)

By Claudia Connor

BR Worth The Fall

Synopsis

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.
 
They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.
 
But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

Review

Matt is a Navy SEAL who is grieving the death of his best friend.  On a forced beach getaway with a cousin, he stumbles across Abby and her children playing in the sand.  The kids are in desperate need of a father figure and really cling to Matt after they meet.  Matt’s not in a very good place, but he enjoys spending time with Abby and her family, so he inserts himself into their lives for the week they’re away.  But one week is not enough and they start a long-distance relationship while Matt decides if his future is with his SEAL team, or with Abby.

I loved everyone in this book⎯Matt, Abby and her kids.  Abby has always dreamed of having a large family, one that would never leave her.  But her husband travelled overseas for work and was never there for her or their kids, so when he died, it wasn’t much of a loss for her.  I liked that she didn’t cling to Matt in the beginning, despite her attraction to him.  She took her time, she was cautious and she made sure he was serious before starting anything with him.  What can I say about Matt?  He’s sweet.  He’s hot.  He’s a wonderful man to Abby and a wonderful father to her kids.  You just know that he would do absolutely anything to keep them safe and happy.

“I can’t breathe when you look at me like that.”
“Like what? Like I love you? Because I do. More than I ever thought possible.”

I’ll be honest, when WORTH THE FALL came out in September 2014, I wasn’t interested in reading it.  A book about a man falling in love with (and presumably having sex with) a pregnant woman who already has four kids?  Yeah, that didn’t sound like something I’d be into.  But as time went on, I kept seeing the book and the series pop up in my FB newsfeed, so I finally decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad I did because it truly was a beautiful story.  WORTH THE FALL is told in dual POVs, is the first book in the McKinney Brothers series and I believe it is also the debut novel from Claudia Connor.  The only fault I had with the story is that there were times where a conversation or a thought didn’t make sense, only because said conversation or thought seemed to come out of nowhere.  Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading book two, WORTH THE RISK, real soon.

Worth The Fall (The McKinney Brothers # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy LinksAmazon | iBooks

Visit Claudia Connor:  Click Here


The McKinney Brothers Series

Loving Daniel

By Stacy Ford

BR Loving Daniel

Synopsis

When Kenzie Hart’s boyfriend dumped her and broke her heart, she didn’t let it stop her from living life. Kenzie went out and made a great life for herself. She has a loving husband, two kids, and a thriving career. She is living the life of a modern day fairy tale. But if Kenzie should have learned anything, it’s fairy tales are a work of fiction. There are no happily ever after’s. When tragedy strikes, she moves back to her hometown to start over with her friends and family at her side. 

Daniel Roberts has always regretted the way things ended with Kenzie. There has not been a day in the last twenty years he has not wished he could go back in time and change what happened. Now she is coming home after the loss of her husband. He is determined to show her he can be the man she and her kids need.  

Will Kenzie be able to forgive Daniel? 
Could he give her a second chance at a happily ever after?

Review

Kenzie and Daniel were high school sweethearts, but Daniel joined the Army and didn’t want to leave Kenzie waiting for him at home, so he broke up with her on the night of their senior prom.  Twenty years later, Kenzie has been married, had two children and lost her husband to cancer.  Knowing that she’ll head back home, Daniel retires from the Army with the sole purpose of winning Kenzie back.

I liked Kenzie a lot and thought she was an amazing character.  She’s lost her husband and is raising two kids by herself as well as running a home business.  She has a great support network and is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it.  I also liked Daniel and his determination to win Kenzie back.  He made it very clear he was not out to replace her husband or her children’s father and he did a wonderful job with helping them honour Ben’s memory.  But I was a little disappointed with some of his actions.  He avoided his brother’s wedding because he didn’t want to see Kenzie with her husband, and when he got the news that Kenzie’s husband was dying, he dumped the woman he’d been in a relationship with so that he could go home to win Kenzie back.  Some women might swoon over stuff like that, but it didn’t sit right with me.

LOVING DANIEL is a sweet and sometimes emotional read that is told in dual POVs.  You’ll definitely need tissues when Kenzie talks about her late husband.  I did notice several spelling and grammar mistakes, and there was also an issue or two with the timeline, so it could use an editor.  My copy of LOVING DANIEL was an ARC/Master Copy, so perhaps by the time it went live, the mistakes I found had been fixed.  And I’m not sure if this will make sense, but the story felt like it moved quickly, but moved slowly at the same time.  But for a debut novel, I thought this was a pretty good read.

Daniel:  We have consumed way too much soda and pizza, but that’s what you do when the wives leave.  No one is going to get a balanced meal, but we’ll keep them alive.

Loving Daniel

My Rating:  4 Hearts

Buy LinksAmazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Visit Stacy Ford:  Click Here

Full Measures (Flight & Glory # 1)

By Rebecca Yarros

Promo - Full Measures 5

Synopsis

She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead. Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart. Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction. Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

Review

On her 20th birthday, December’s world is shattered when she learns that her father has been killed in Afghanistan.  Her mother shuts down and, being the oldest of three children, she is forced to take control of the family and handle everything in relation to her father’s death.  Her self-involved boyfriend is of absolutely no help and her sister starts rebelling, which only add to the strain.  And on what is the darkest day of her life, the reappearance of her high school crush, Josh, and the feelings he awakens are confusing and not what she needs to deal with right now.

December and Josh are a beautiful couple.  December is a very strong and selfless young woman, even when she doesn’t want to be.  She wants to break down.  She wants to grieve.  But she’s the glue keeping her family together, so what she wants will have to wait.  While everyone in this book suffers a loss of some sort, December is dealt with more than anyone else and it’s amazing how much she takes without breaking.  Josh is an absolute sweetheart but he’s no pushover.  He’s kind and patient, and he steps in to help however he can, even when she swears she doesn’t need him.

This is not the first time I’ve read FULL MEASURES but it still had me crying, so having tissues nearby is a must.  It was good reading this again because certain comments made by Josh throughout the book made a lot more sense the second time around.  If you’re looking for a read that will grip your heart within the first few pages and not let go, FULL MEASURES is for you.

Full Measures (Flight & Glory # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

Visit Rebecca Yarros:  Click Here


Flight & Glory Series

Reawakened Secrets (Reawakened # 1)

By Mari Denae

BR Reawakened Secrets

Synopsis

Some secrets should never be kept… 

Growing up in the servants’ quarters at Haven Hill, Claire Brown was a poor outcast, living in a world of money and privilege. Her only solace was best friend, Alice Sinclair, and secret desire, Jackson Montgomery. Rich and connected, they were perfect in every way and perfect for each other.  

Still, Claire was foolish enough to fall in love with Jackson, and desperate enough to hide it. When Alice found out, there was a terrible accident that left her in a coma. Jackson disappeared, leaving New Haven without even saying good-bye. 

Ten years later, Claire has managed to build a life without them. So when Jackson calls out of nowhere to say Alice is awake, Claire’s first thought is Thank God. Her second? I’m screwed. Lusting after Jackson destroyed her. It’s nothing compared to what she’s hiding now. 

But nothing stays hidden forever.

Review

Caught up in a love triangle, Jackson left Claire ten years ago to stay by Alice’s bedside while she was in a coma.  Now that Alice is awake, he plans to win Claire back because he’s been in love with her since he was a teen.  But Claire, who was left devastated by Jackson’s departure and that he never once contacted her, has no plans to let him back into her heart if she can help it.

REAWAKENED SECRETS is the first in a three-part serial novella about Claire and Jackson and does end in a cliffhanger.  It’s told in Claire’s POV and contains flashbacks to her teen years before Alice’s accident.  REAWAKENED SECRETS is the debut novel for Mari Denae and while it’s not a bad story, it was predictable and I found myself skipping sections to get to the end.  While I wasn’t a fan of the story, I thought it was written very well for a new author and the cover is absolutely beautiful.

Reawakened Secrets (Reawakened # 1)

My Rating:  2 Hearts

Buy Links:
Amazon.US:  Reawakened Secrets
Amazon.CA:  Reawakened Secrets
Amazon.UK:  Reawakened Secrets
Amazon.AU:  Reawakened Secrets

Visit Mari Denae:  Click Here

Leo (Leo # 1)

By Mia Sheridan

BR Leo

Synopsis

Evie and Leo met in foster care as children and formed a bond of friendship. As they grew, their bond turned to love, and they vowed to make a life together when they turned 18 and were no longer a part of the system.

When Leo unexpectedly gets adopted as a teen and moves to another city, he promises Evie that he will contact her as soon as he gets there and come back for her in a few short years. She never hears from him again.

Now eight years later, in spite of the odds, Evie has made a life for herself. She has a job. She has friends. She’s content. Then a man shows up out of the blue, claiming that her long lost love, Leo, sent him to check up on her. The attraction between them is undeniable. But, should she trust this sexy stranger? Or is he keeping a secret about what his connection to Leo is really all about and why Leo disappeared all those years ago?

THIS IS A STANDALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY LEO. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Review

At the tender ages of fourteen and fifteen, Evie and Leo love each other very much.  They’ve known each other for a few years and have formed a bond that is unbreakable.  They’re older beyond their physical years given all they endured prior to being placed in foster care.  They have plans to stay together forever, until Leo is adopted by a wealthy couple and moved across the country.  Before he leaves, he promises he’ll write to Evie everyday and will come back for her when she’s eighteen to start their lives together.  But after he leaves, she’s left heartbroken when she never hears from him and he never returns, breaking every promise he ever made to her.  When Jake enters her life eight years later with information about Leo, hurt is not a strong enough word for what she’s feeling.  Attraction is another word not strong enough to describe her feelings towards Jake.  But how will she cope when she learns the truth about Jake and Leo?

Evie is an amazing woman who was dealt a crappy hand in life, but she didn’t let it break her.  Those who take the time to really see her know how special and amazing she is.  She works hard for everything she has and is loyal to her friends; people she considers her family.  Leo also had a rough upbringing that sadly didn’t get any better after he was adopted.  But where Evie made positive life choices despite all the negativity, Leo didn’t, and it caused him to spiral for years until an accident forces him to take a good look at his life.  Jake’s connection to Leo was obvious, but I don’t think the surprise twist was really supposed to be that surprising, given the title of the book and all.

LEO is another great read from Mia Sheridan, which if my quick investigation is accurate, appears to be her debut novel.  It’s a story that alternates between past and present events and while it is a stand-alone, there is a companion novel, LEO’S CHOICE, that is told in Leo’s POV.  The story talks about child abuse and rape, so take caution if these are triggers for you.  But there are moments of levity; the stalker/creeper jokes between Jake and Evie are funny and those scenes helped lighten up the book a little.  And of course, the story comes with a beautiful HEA.

Leo (Leo # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy Links:  Amazon

Visit Mia Sheridan:  Click Here


Leo Series

Storm (Ashes & Embers # 1)

By Carian Cole

BR Storm

Synopsis

The calm before the storm… 

I lived in the quiet stillness.  
I felt the wind rustle, warning me, telling me to get out of its path. 

But I didn’t. 

I never stood a chance. 

A series of weather and road mishaps leaves me trapped in the middle of a blizzard with a complete stranger. In the back of a pickup truck. For forty-eight freakin’ hours. 

A stranger with long hair, tattoos, and rippling with muscle.  
A stranger with an insanely sexy voice and a wicked smile that turned my insides to jelly.  
A stranger who held me in his arms, calmed me, and then set a fire in me that I couldn’t put out. 

Storm lives up to his name. Beautiful. Dangerously inviting. Tumultuous. Dark. A clash of hot and cold. 

He’s used to getting everything he wants. 

And now he wants me. 

Some people chase storms for the beautiful thrill. What happens when the storm chases you?

Review

Evelyn meets Storm when he comes to her rescue after she has a slight accident driving in the snow.  But as luck would have it, he also crashes his truck, leaving them stranded for two days until the blizzard stops.  She’s very fearful of him at first but they spend their time together getting to know each other and end up liking each other.  Sort of.  Their meeting might have been unconventional, but their connection was undeniable.  He wants her and she wants him, but she has a long-term boyfriend and is not willing to throw away a 12 year relationship on what might just be a fling.

Initially, Evelyn annoyed me because she acted like a princess throughout their ordeal and she was very rude to Storm several times, even when he was trying to help her.  But I quite liked her by the end of the story because she became more strong and independent.  Once she made her decision to be with Storm, she never went back on it or questioned it.  She stood up for herself during the break-up with her boyfriend as well as Storm’s wannabe-girlfriend.

Storm:  “You’re like a little spastic kitten.  One minute you’re cuddling and purring, and the next, the claws are out and you’re pouncing in five directions.”

Storm I loved because he’s so friggin’ sweet but so friggin’ dirty at the same time.  You could see he was in love with Evelyn because only a man in love would put up with her crap.  He was always there for her whenever she needed him, even when she thought she didn’t need him.  And man oh man, does he have a way with words.

Storm:  “What I want, what I fantasise about with you … is you being my sweet angel during the day and my whore at night.”

I really enjoyed STORM and didn’t realise it was a debut novel until I started writing this review.  I felt that at times the story moved a little slow and for a series based around a band, there’s surprisingly very little band time.  Obviously it’s a series and throughout this story we meet Storm’s brothers and cousins who I assume will be getting their own books.  VANDAL and LUKAS are already out, with TALON coming out in next month.

Storm (Ashes & Embers # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy Links:  Amazon

Visit Carian Cole:  Click Here


Ashes & Embers Series

Beach Wedding

By Bella Cruise

BR Beach Wedding

Synopsis

Three weeks. One quirky small-town. The wedding of the year. What could go wrong?

Big-city wedding planner Ginny Austen has landed the job of a lifetime. Her new celebrity clients want a smash hit TV wedding, and they’ve got their hearts set on a quirky home-town wedding. Her home-town: Pelican Key Cove, Florida.

Ginny hasn’t been home since she high-tailed out of town the night before her high-school graduation with nothing but a vintage pink Camaro and a broken heart. She’s spent years building a life of her own, but now she’s got just three weeks to face her past and put together a dream wedding — in a town that makes ‘eccentric’ its middle name. 

Ginny may be determined to stay professional, but the inhabitants of Pelican Cove have other ideas. And between her crazy aunts, a TV producer who puts Macciaveli to shame, and a downright sexy former flame, nothing about this wedding is going to plan. Can she pull off the big day with her sanity – and heart – intact? Or will her reputation go down in flames — on national TV?

Review

Please Note:  This has since been republished as SPARKS FLY.

I have to start off by saying that I absolutely love the cover for BEACH WEDDING.  It’s so bright and colourful and a perfect compliment to the story inside.  Ginny has just been handed the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to plan the wedding for reality TV stars Pixie and Clyde.  There’s just a slight catch, they want somewhere off the beaten track and think Ginny’s home town of Pelican Key Cove is the perfect location for not just the wedding but to film their upcoming season too.  The only problem is that Ginny hasn’t been home since she left ten years earlier, driving away in the middle of the night and leaving her family, friends and boyfriend behind without ever looking back.  But this opportunity is too good to pass up despite the risk of seeing her ex, Luke, again.  It’s quickly apparent that time doesn’t heal all wounds when she finally comes face to face with him again.

I really enjoyed this story and all it’s characters.  Ginny and Luke are obviously the main characters, but every other character helped make this book what it is without overloading it.  BEACH WEDDING is a second chance romance filled with awkward moments, embarrassing situations and humour.  Lots and lots of humour.  The sex is skipped over, so if you’re expecting something raunchy and juicy, you won’t find it here.  But you will find a nice book with a cute story, quirky characters, hilarious happenings and most importantly a HEA.

Ginny:  “We’re going to walk right up to the line of tacky, stare it in the face, and then throw some glitter at it.”

Beach Wedding

My Rating:  5 Hearts

Buy Links:  Amazon

Visit Bella Cruise:  Click Here