Tag Archives: Stand Alone

Home Tears

By Tijan

Synopsis

Dani’s survived a lot of sh*t storms.
Her mother died. Her two sisters loathed her. One aunt hated her. The other was strangely distant, but the worst storm—being dumped by her childhood best friend/high school boyfriend/first love for her younger sister.
There went the one person who was hers and with that, the main reason she stuck around. So, she left for ten years. But now she’s back, and nothing’s the same.
With help from Jonah Bannon, a reformed—kind of—bad boy she remembers from high school, Dani uncovers family secrets that have spanned generations. And along with those, she’s about to face the biggest sh*t storm of her life.
Only this time, she may not survive.

**Full-length standalone**

Review

Home Tears was my kind of story, love a girl returning to her home town to face her demons, lick her wounds, repair her heart and have a second chance at love.  It does have a different feel from other Tijan stories but is was great to read a standalone with plenty of emotion, drama, angst but also have the character heal and her issues be resolved.

Jonah for me was perfect for Dani at this stage of her life, he was an anchor she needed to hold onto for stability and to stop the flow against her.  Dani was losing control and it was interesting to see her return to the start of her troubles and face what she walked away from.

The family dynamic, secrets and hidden moments I devoured and there were some wonderful characters such as Mae.  The history of this family amongst the women whether they were sisters, mothers, daughters and grandmothers was a great tale woven with hurt and love.  It had me guessing who these men were that these women fell in love with and made multiple mistakes with and it was just riveting to see each generation make the same mistakes.  Would this young generation follow in their footsteps?  It was definitely interesting to follow the two sisters left being Dani and Julia.

I love how in a small town people know what you are doing before you are even thinking about it, the humour amongst these old school friends and the change in power kept me entertained.

Jake, Boone and Jonah, what more can I say about these alpha men, they definatly kept Dani on her toes.  I actually admit I was immediately a team Boone fan but then Jonah slipped under the radar and I was hoping he would be Dani HEA.

I loved especially the last few chapters, Erica’s final words and the Epilogue was perfect.

Home Tears is a wonderful story of a girl leaving home and returning a woman and finally finding her peace, strength and in the end creating family connections.

Quote:  I’m a walker That’s what I do. I walk away.

Home Tears

My Rating:  

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Battle Of The Sexes

By Adriana Locke

Synopsis

Carver Jones’ partner at Jones + Gallum had to step down for medical reasons. He’s absolutely devastated. He swears. Just ignore his cheeky grin, okay?

When word reaches his fancy corner office that Gallum is replacing himself with his daughter, Amity, Carver is ecstatic. 

For real this time. 

Jones squashes men in the business industry flat. A woman? Pfst. He’ll be completely in charge in no time, doing whatever he wants. He’s so ready for this. 

But is he ready to fight the hardest fight of his life? No, not the one to maintain control of his company. The one to keep control of his heart.

The battle may begin in the boardroom, but the war will definitely be won in the bedroom. May the best sex win.

Review

BATTLE OF THE SEXES was a quick and lighthearted read about two ex-childhood friends, thrown back into each others lives and forced to compete for the same CEO position in their families business.

It took me a while to warm up to Carver, mostly because the sexual innuendos he laid on Amity at the beginning were laid on way too thick.  Can you say “Sexual Harrassment”?  That being said, he has very fond memories of Amity and you could tell that despite a few idiotic choices, he genuinely liked her…then and now.  I liked Amity’s tenacity and that she gave as good as she got from Carver.  I also liked how she had to guts to tell Carver exactly how that one night all those years ago affected her, and still affects her to this day.  Don’t worry, she’s not a “woe is me/I’ve never been able to love” person; she’s too strong for that.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, though I will say that I was disappointed with how the battle for the CEO role was won.  Yes, it was sweet and I could understand the reason behind it, but I was disappointed nonetheless.  BATTLE OF THE SEXES is told in dual POVs and at this time, it appears to be a stand-alone.  It’s also a novella, so it’s a fairly quick read.  From memory, we see a bit of foreplay but no sex, so if you’re looking for a read that’s steamy, you won’t find it here.  But if you’re after an ex-friends-to-lovers story with witty banter and a HEA, this one is for you.

Battle Of The Sexes

My Rating:  

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Shacking Up

By Helena Hunting

Synopsis

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

Review

SHACKING UP is the first Helena Hunting book I’ve read, and it left me wondering why I hadn’t read the other one of her books that’s just been sitting on my Kindle…for the past twelve months.  I enjoyed the romantic buildup between Bancroft and Ruby: they meet, fall in lust and then seperate for five weeks while Bancroft is out of the country.  They get to know each other better⎯and flirt outrageously⎯by talking on the phone and video-chatting almost every day while he was away.  It was an interesting way to build a relationship.

I liked Ruby, who comes from money but wants to be financially independent from her father.  She’s a little jaded about relationships and she’s a bit stubborn when it comes to people offering financial assistance, and while I could understand her reasons, it did become tiresome after a while.  I looooved Bancroft.  He also comes from money, but just like Ruby, he’s down-to-earth despite his upbringing.  He is polite, affectionate and generous, but he’s also a little rough around the edges and when the situation calls for it, he can be quite the dirty talker.

“I’m sorry.”
“For What?”
“For thinking the worst.”
“No need for apologies, but if you still feel bad about it later you can let me fuck your mouth.”

SHACKING UP is told in dual POVs, and while right now it appears to be a stand-alone, I get the feeling this will turn into a series of stand-alones with different couples.  I’m hoping Ruby’s best friend Amie will get her own book considering her fiancé is a total douchebag.  When preparing this review, I was shocked to learn that the print length is 480 pages, because it honestly didn’t feel that long.  Which, for me, is a sign that the story doesn’t drag despite the high number of pages.  That being said, the chapters are very long, and I found myself putting the book down in the middle of a chapter here and there because I just couldn’t make it to the end.

Shacking Up

My Rating:  

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The Bad Guy

By Celia Loren

Synopsis

My name is Sebastian Lindstrom, and I’m the villain of this story.

I’ve decided to lay myself bare. To tell the truth for once in my hollow life, no matter how dark it gets. And I can assure you, it will get so dark that you’ll find yourself feeling around the blackened corners of my mind, seeking a door handle that isn’t there.

Don’t mistake this for a confession. I neither seek forgiveness nor would I accept it. My sins are my own. They keep me company. Instead, this is the true tale of how I found her, how I stole her, and how I lost her.

She was a damsel, one who already had her white knight. But every fairy tale has a villain, someone waiting in the wings to rip it all down. A scoundrel who will set the world on fire if that means he gets what he wants. That’s me.

I’m the bad guy.

Author’s Note: This is a dark romance with an HEA and no cheating. 

Review

The Bad Guy is my fifth book by this author and it is my absolute favourite.

The Bad Guy is one of those stories that my god makes me think I need therapy because from the first few chapters I was right there in Sebastian’s corner wanting Camilla for him.  Every step of his “out of the box” way to get her to be with him – well I am sorry I forgave him and was hoping like hell Camilla would fall in love with him.

The author gives Camilla purpose, she is smart, has a passion and i really savoured her individual moments with her plants so thanks to the author for making her more than just a mans obsession.  Sebastian also showed an appreciation for Camilla’s passion and he fed and nurtured her as she did her plants – I loved this part of the story.

Sebastian pulls some questionable manoeuvres to obtain Camilla for some one of one time and well done for making parts of her life available to the fact she can disappear for a week and no one really notices.  The background story of her friends and job actually makes this quite believable and did not have me questioning the what if’s.  I was totally in the moment with these two characters and thoroughly enjoyed them making new boundaries in the agreement.

Now onto the supporting characters, loved his dad and his various talks with Camilla and his total love of his son.  I was glad my gut instincts were right about Link however the ending was a big surprise for me and I never would have guessed so there are some great twists and turns.

My favourite chapters were from 40 to 44, I was shaking and scared and had tears in my eyes, my heart hurt and I felt like I just wanted to hug Camilla – she was so strong and fearless.

The Epilogue made me so happy.

The Bad Guy

My Rating:  

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Bear to Have and Hold: Kodiak Den #5

By Amy Lamont

Synopsis

Wedding planner Kayla Mackenzie specializes in creating spectacular destination weddings in exotic locations. But when her newest clients decide they want to get married in the wilds of Alaska, anxiety rears its ugly head. Sticking to cosmopolitan cities and tropical beaches allows her to avoid the one creature that scares her more than the words “prenuptial agreement.” But heading to the heart of werebear country means she’ll have to face her biggest fear.

Outdoor adventure guide Trent Black gets grouchier each day that goes by without finding his mate. But the last woman he expects to ignite his possessive instincts is a high maintenance human like Kayla. It’s bad enough she hates everything to do with the outdoors, but her obvious fear of bear shifters leaves him questioning his attraction. When fate steps in and strands them in a late winter blizzard, he has one chance to help her to overcome her fear and open her heart.

Review

Bear to Have and Hold is a classic of story of girl meets boy and boy just happens to be a bear shifter.  The story is a tale of acceptance and forgiveness.  It is also about seeing things for what they really are.

I liked Kayla because she has faults but she’s okay with them. And her best friend is not afraid to point them out.  She is a successful business woman that is just going through the motions of life.  She has her fears and she has to understand and overcome them.

I loved Trent.  He is perfect for Kayla.  He is an outdoorsman that lives his life and does more than go through the motions. Kayla learns a lot from him.

This book has a good heart to it.  It was short but had good characters in it.

Bear to Have and Hold

My Rating:  

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Yes, Prime Minister

By Aria Cole

Synopsis

As the Prime Minister of the greatest nation to the north, boyishly handsome Bryce Gallagher gets exactly what he wants, exactly when he wants it. He’s never met a foreign dignitary he couldn’t charm, or an office assistant that didn’t swoon with one panty-dropping smile. But Bryce has never met a woman that’s caught his attention. And then Juliette Alexandre walked into his life.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks requires grit, and Juliette Alexandre has it in spades. She’s worked tooth and nail for every accomplishment she’s earned, which is why she is zero percent interested in the perfectly round, incredibly taut, viral-worthy assets of her new boss, Prime Minister Gallagher. She’s finally landed the dream job, now she just has to avoid drooling over the sexy-as-sin Prime Minister every time he shoots her that toe-curling grin. The fate of the country may depend on it.

Review

YES, PRIME MINISTER was downloaded onto my Kindle as soon as I heard about it.  A beefy story about the hot Prime Minister of Canada?  Yes please!  Sadly, I had no idea that this was going to be an insta-love novella, one without much of a story to sink my teeth into.

For me, a novella can be a hit or a miss.  If it’s part of a series with previously established characters, it’s generally a hit.  When it’s a stand-alone, not so much.  Some have too much happening.  Some move too fast.  Some don’t delve into the characters backstory.  YES, PRIME MINISTER doesn’t have a lot thrown in; instead it focused purely on the relationship between Bryce and Juliette.  While the story itself didn’t move too fast, their relationship certainly did, with Bryce declaring Juliette was “the one” before they had even been on a single date.  In regards to the characters, we learn almost nothing about them personally from reading this story.  For example, Juliette grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and has worked very hard for everything she has, but we only know this about her because it’s mentioned in the blurb.  It’s not mentioned anywhere in the story at all.  What’s the point of giving her a difficult past if it’s not going to form a part of the actual story?

YES, PRIME MINISTER had potential, but I felt the insta-love and the overall lack of a story was too much to overcome.  If you like quick reads that take less than an hour, contain no conflict and have some light kink thrown in, this novella is for you.

Yes, Prime Minister

My Rating:  

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Wasted Words

By Staci Hart

Synopsis

Some universal truths refuse to be ignored.

Peanut butter and jelly are a match made in heaven. Spaghetti and meatballs are best friends forever. And guys like Tyler Knight don’t go for girls like Cam Emerson.

She knew from the second she met him that he didn’t belong on her bookshelf, the six-foot-six ex-tight end with a face so all-American, it could have sold apple pie. So she shelved him next to the supermodels and rock stars and took her place on her own shelf — the one with the flannel-clad, pasty-faced comic book nerds. Most of her boyfriends have existed between the pages of books, but rather than worrying over her own lacking love life, she puts all her energy into playing Cupid, using her job at the book bar, Wasted Words, as her stomping ground.

Tyler Knight always looks on the bright side. His career-ending injury turned into a job as a sports agent. A horrible breakup led him to Cam, his quirky, smart roommate who is far more beautiful than she realizes. She’s made it perfectly clear she’s not interested in him — not like that at least — but if she ever changes her mind, he won’t hesitate. Because he doesn’t see the lines she’s drawn between them, as much as she insists that they’re there. Deep down he knows that despite their differences, they’re a match well made.

Review

WASTED WORDS is the first book I’ve read from Staci Hart, and I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it like I hoped I would.  Which is a shame, because the blurb sounded like something I’d really be into: Hot Jock (Tyler) falls in love with Geeky Girl (Cam) who doesn’t know how beautiful she really is.

While I liked Tyler a lot, I found Cam completely unlikeable and it was her behaviour that proved too much to overcome.  She was supposed to be smart and funny, but I found her to be childish, too insecure and downright bitchy when something didn’t go her way.  She thought she knew what was best for everyone, so when they threw a wrench in her plans, she threw a tantrum.  Literally.

Unfortunately, my issues with WASTED WORDS didn’t end with Cam.  It was a slow moving book that became a struggle for me to finish, so much so that I ended up skipping sections without feeling like I missed anything important.  I noticed some thoughts and comments were repeated, as well as several spelling mistakes and missing words throughout.

WASTED WORDS is told in dual POVs and comes with a HFN ending for Tyler and Cam.  It does appear to be a stand-alone, but I know at least one other couple have had a book written about them.

Wasted Words

My Rating:  

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Villain

By Jackie Wang

Synopsis

I go by many names: Playboy, Hustler, Villain.
They call me a sadistic a-hole because I rob from the poor and cheat on the weak.
Do I ever regret the choices I’ve made? All the damn time.
But it’s too late to turn back, and too late to start over…
I’ve never even considered giving it all up for anyone or anything before. Never had a reason or motivation to change.
Until I met her.
Callista Rayner. Heiress. Goddess. Need-her-ass-up-on-my-mattress.
My last chance at redemption.
Problem was, I couldn’t afford to fall for her, because I didn’t want to ruin her.
I didn’t want to destroy her, like the others that came before.
Too bad I had no choice.
Too bad she was my pawn and I had to use her.
Too bad, too bad, too bad.

Note: This dark romance contains sensitive subject matter and is intended for a mature audience.

Review

Villain tested my resolve and I found myself feeling so angry and upset for Ryder, regardless of the decisions he made in his life I was so upset for how he was living and found myself really angry at the adults who had played him.  I hated how he was living, he had nothing and was scraping by, it really made me sad and I could rant all day about ‘The Kept Woman’ !!

I wanted his revenge, I was with him every step of the way as his father is a brutal man and then throw in all the other people playing with his feeling and emotions well no wonder he is so aggressive.

The last quarter of this book just explodes with so many questions but also big answers and then the final chapter just blows it out of the water, I had no clue and well I was pleasantly surprised by this so well done to the author.

I kind of wished we had a couple of more chapters after the explosive revelations as by then I really had connected to Ryder and Callie as a couple in the romantic sense.

So my only complaint was I did want more emotional connection between Ryder and Callie, I did not feel them, they were both playing their cards so close to their chest if affected my ability to think they were attracted to each other emotionally and physically.  I really did not connect to them until right at the end which was a shame and I also found her friendship group strange.

Quote:  I married a monster. The monster wore a kind mask. He Said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Villain

My Rating:  

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A Change in Tide (Northern Lights #1)

By Freya Barker

Synopsis

What impact would it have when everything suddenly faded to black?

For Mia, a crowded subway ride changes her entire life. Retreating to the wilderness helps her cope with a world that is suddenly too loud, too turbulent.
Her existence safely contained to the small cottage on the lake, she is unprepared for the neighbor that moves across the bay

A career-ending injury has Jared permanently benched. His reputation as The Enforcer won’t survive the unanticipated responsibilities awaiting him.
Away from the public eye, he adjust to his new reality, under the quiet observation of the intriguing hermit on the other side of the water.

Review

A Change in Tide is my first book by this author and will not be my last, her writing style, the way she interconnects the characters, their emotions, passion and humour was just fantastic.

As I got towards the Epilogue my eyes started to well with tears, I was simply not read to say farewell to this group of characters, I will be reading this story again and again, it is a beautiful story of hope, family and new beginnings.

The cover is pure and simple Jared, all masculine in that outdoors way, yet someone who would engulf you in a big bear hug and fight your demons.  I also am happy to say I loved that Jared was shy of 40 and Mia was slightly older, it was wonderful to read a mature love story of second chances and changing your life’s direction.

The story is told from both Jared and Mia POV and it switches with ease and we also get an entwining story of Jared’s sister, now I could read a whole novel on her running parallel to this story as so many scenes I was like, I want to know what is being thought, felt and whispered, but that is just me.  The humourous scenes around Jordy and Ole made me laugh many times which provided relief and John was a wonderful character and perfectly included – I was so in his alpha corner all the way.

Mia’s condition is written with heart and soul and it was respectful and as a reader you too were feeling the helplessness and loneliness.  I was with Mia every step of the way in her fighting through and deciding to embrace life again and to go with the flow of the tide.

A Change in Tide was a simply beautiful romantic story and upon finishing the last page I had a smile on my face and tears in my eyes – my soul was nourished.

Quote:  But if I truly want a new beginning – a total change in tide – I have to start with me.

A Change in Tide (Northern Lights #1)

My Rating:  

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Boomerangers

By Heather M. Orgeron

Synopsis

Boomerangers [boo-muh-rang-ers] noun, informal: an adult that moves back home to live with a parent after a period of independence.

Spencer

I love sex. I love the power, the intimacy, the euphoria it brings. Too bad I’m not having any . . . You’d think as New Orleans’ most renowned sex therapist that I’d be swimming in single men. In a way, I am . . . except for the fact that one is in diapers and the other two are drowning in preteen hormones. As a single mother of three, my days are devoted to my clients and my kids, and my nights are spent with Fabio, my trusty vibrator. When my world begins to unravel, I have no choice but to move back home. And when my high school sweetheart comes waltzing back into my life, comedy and chaos ensue.

What can I say? I never said I could pick ’em, but you can bet your ass I know how to fix ’em.

Cooper

As soon as the ink dried on my divorce papers, I made myself a solemn vow: I was done with relationships. Moving home to take over my father’s firm was the plan, until Spencer decided to return, along with three souvenirs from the life she’s lived without me. 

I’ve been in love with the girl next door for nearly all of my life; the rest was spent trying to forget her. I’d give almost anything for a second chance with her, but I have no time for distractions—especially the kind that involve diapers, bottles, and eighteen-year commitments. 

The problem is, she’s already got me by the balls . . . and I’m beginning to feel the noose tightening around my heart.

Review

BOOMERANGERS is the first book I’ve read from Heather M. Orgeron and I found it to be an enjoyable read.  It’s a second chance romance between Spencer and Cooper, who broke up at the end of high school.  In the fifteen years since then, they’ve both been married, divorced, and Spencer has had three children: twelve year old twins Landon and Lake; and two year old Kyle.

I liked both Spencer and Cooper and was rooting for them to get back together.  Although to be honest, I can’t figure out why Cooper broke up with Spencer in the first place.  You see his reason during a flashback scene, but it just didn’t make sense to me, especially given that he didn’t capitalise on it.  To me, the way he behaved in that flashback looked like he was being forced to break up with her when he really didn’t want to.

I liked that Cooper accepted total responsibility for their breakup all those years ago and that he regretted letting her go.  The only thing that annoyed me about him was how fixated he was on the fact that Spencer’s kids were not his.  It’s almost like he resented their existence, although that is too harsh a description.  That being said, I loved his one-on-one time with Kyle.  In one particular scene, he became Kyle’s defender and protector, and facing off against that other adult and getting into lawyer mode was just plain hot.

BOOMERANGERS is a romantic comedy, and while there were times where I laughed, I also thought some of the humour was a bit forced, and that a scene or two were random and thrown in for humour’s sake.  It is told in dual POVs and comes with a very nice HEA.  As I said above, this is the first time I’ve read Heather’s work, and I would gladly read from her again.

Boomerangers

My Rating:  

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