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When Day Breaks (KGI #9)

By Maya Banks

Synopsis

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

Eden is said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her face has graced countless magazines and her body has sold millions of dollars of clothing. But her fame and beauty has earned her more than she ever imagined. Evil is stalking her, determined to extinguish the ethereal beauty forever.

Swanson or “Swanny” as his teammates call him is always up for the next mission. He came back from Afghanistan wounded and scarred. Hardly the kind of man who even belongs in the same room with Eden. And yet there’s something about the quiet beauty that stirs his blood and makes him dream of the impossible. Because Beauty loving the beast only happens in fairy tales and KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever.

Review

Firstly I love the cover and it really matched to the story of Swanny & Eden.

When Day Breaks is probably so far my least favourite of the series. Why?, well because there was less KGI action and more sweet romance between Swanny and Eden.  I love the senior KGI brothers of Sam, Garrett and Donovan and they really were only in small portions of this so I missed them in their save the world mode.

My favourite chapters were all the action and suspense which is what KGI is all about and then throwing in the love interest to ultimately protect and rescue.  We did get to all that eventually and to me it felt like we got 75% of Swanny & Eden getting to know each other and then only 25% of the suspense and action of KGI.  So this is not as good as the rest I have read so far however we did get a little more of Hancock and I am excited to read his story which is next being Darkest Before Dawn #10.  I have always been intrigued by Hancock since  we met him in Rio’s story and he is definitely a mystery guy and I think when he falls it will be outstanding – well I hope.

I did not pick up who was the threat until it was revealed by the team so that was a great surprise.

Two characters I really enjoyed were Skylar and Edge, they provided great support to Swanny & Eden with humour but also emotional support.

When Day Breaks ended lovely and we get to see Eden and Swanny in their new life together however I was again surprised she would go back to modelling as prior to the kidnapping she was all about the assignment being her last so that did not make sense.  I really thought she wanted to leave the limelight as she was going to make enough money to retire and enjoy eating real food.

Quote: They were a true study in Beauty and the Beast

When Day Breaks (KGI #9)

My Rating: 

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The Hard Truth About Sunshine

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.

What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?

He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.

The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

Review

I don’t even know where to start with this review, mainly because I just don’t think I have the words that will do this book justice.

When I first received the ARC request for THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE, I spent several days wavering between signing up for it because it’s a Sawyer Bennett book, and not signing up for it because it sounded too intense for my tastes.  I finally decided to request an ARC, but when it was time for me to read it, I hesitated again.  I still wasn’t sure if it was right for me and I’ll admit I regretted signing up for it.  But then I started reading it and I have never been happier to prove myself wrong.

I want to slap their sunny smiles off their faces, and I want them to come down to my level where they can wallow around in the sludge of desolation with me.  I want everyone to feel as bad as I do, because it’s unfair that I can’t seem to feel better on my own.

I won’t sugar coat it, Christopher starts out as an absolute arsehole.  He’s so bogged down hating his own life and being angry at the world over his disfigurement, that he doesn’t care about anyone else’s problems.  After being abandoned by his family and girlfriend while recovering from his injuries, he’s bitter and unwilling to let anyone else in.  But after just a few days into a road trip with the three members of his therapy group, he starts to open up and let them in, and he grows up a lot in a short amount of time because of it.

I choose to live.
I choose to love.
I choose to forge my path.
Life is my choice.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is told only in Christopher’s POV, so it’s his story you learn the most about.  But while Christopher is the focus, Jillian, Connor and Barb play big roles from beginning to end.  Their personal stories will break your heart at the unfairness of it all, and all three will grab your heart in their own ways.  This is a stand-alone and despite the devastating topics woven throughout, it does come with a HEA, one that is both sad and beautiful.  It was a perfect end to an emotional story.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is beyond amazing.  It is real, deeply emotional and it will break your heart before putting it back together again.  I smiled a little.  I laughed a little.  I cried a lot.  I think I will be hard pressed to find another book that will affect me as deeply as this one did for a very long time.

The Hard Truth About Sunshine

My Rating:  

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Echoes at Dawn (KGI #5)

By Maya Banks

Synopsis

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…
 

They live by night.

Grace Peterson is desperate, in hiding, and on the run after escaping a shadowy group determined to exploit her extraordinary ability to heal others. Her only lifeline—an unerring telepathic ability she shares with her sister—has been severed, leaving her alone and vulnerable. And time is fast running out…

Enlisted to bring Grace home is Rio, relentless member of the KGI. He’s unprepared for his reaction to this wounded, damaged woman, and he’s fiercely determined to protect her from those who nearly destroyed her. In Rio, she finds a safe haven, and for the first time…hope. But the mission is far from over. The danger Grace has eluded is fast closing in. And now it’s pitching two lovers toward an unfamiliar horizon, with no place left to hide.

Review

Echoes at Dawn is another favourite book of mine in this series as the connection between Rio and Grace can be felt almost immediately.  These two characters are both strong, Rio in body and Grace in mind although when they meet Grace is at her lowest and Rio is her warrior.

The rescue mission in the Colorado mountains and also at the end of this book are two reasons why I love this story.  It is so action packed and really well written and I can imagine all these scenes so clearly in my mind and then we get to Rio’s compound in the jungle and again it was like I was there upon the pages with these two.

Elizabeth was an interesting addition and the ending was so romantic and tied up very nicely.

Grace and Shea’s connection and their history is further revealed along with Resnick’s part and we can now move on from their story after starting in book 4 and finishing here.

Rio’s team were also great characters and the way they connected and protected Grace was perfect and Hancock well he has so many questions surrounding him and provided surprise towards the end.

Interesting also that the Kelly’s are not overly in this story, only in the last part of this story, they are more a back drop as this really is centred with Grace and Rio and I loved that.

Echoes at Dawn (KGI #5)

My Rating: 

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Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Hello Goodbye Series

The Wingman

By Natasha Anders

Synopsis

She was supposed to be his one-night distraction. But their attraction is undeniable.

Introverted Daisy McGregor is used to being a wallflower, but what she lacks in style, she makes up for with an acerbic wit, a passion for life, and a deep devotion to her family. So she’ll suffer through her sister Dahlia’s bachelorette party and accept the cloud of pity for going stag to the wedding.

Out at the pub, sexy bad boy Mason Carlisle is a reluctant wingman tasked with entertaining Daisy while his brother flirts with her oldest sister, Daffodil. When the plan fails and Mason’s true intent is revealed, he feels intense guilt—and a sensual spark of desire for the unlikeliest of women.

Daisy decides to use this unfortunate encounter to her advantage: to make it up to her, Mason will be another kind of wingman, playing the role of her boyfriend and wedding date. Will their ruse unravel completely—or will Mason and Daisy’s undeniable attraction ignite a scorching love affair that knows no rules?

Review

THE WINGMAN is the second book I’ve read from Natasha Anders, the first one being THE UNWANTED WIFE which was amazing.  This story was less intense and angsty than that one, but still enjoyable.

I liked both Mason and Daisy, who are very nice people, but they also frustrated me a little with how sensitive and how easily offended they were.  They both also lack confidence, but Daisy more so than Mason.  All her life her sisters, Dahlia & Daffodil, have been called the pretty one and the cute one respectively, while Daisy has always been referred to as the other one, so I can understand her lack of confidence.

I couldn’t figure out why Mason didn’t think he was good enough for a relationship because he was a nice guy.  Unfortunately, this belief has him pulling Daisy in, only to push her away over and over, which got tiresome.  What I liked most about him was that right from the start, he was disgusted by the things people said about Daisy and defended her at every opportunity.  My favourite scene was when he defended her against those pigs on the golf course.

THE WINGMAN is told in dual POVs, with Daff getting some chapters in her POV as well.  At the time of writing this review, this book appears to be a stand-alone, but I get the feeling that Daisy’s two sisters will also get a story of their own.  There’s not much sex to be found in this story, with the first sex scene not coming (no pun intended) until almost the 80% mark.  Until that point, Mason and Daisy spent their time getting to know each other and slowly falling in love.  Would I read the next book in the series?  Yes, I would.

The Wingman

My Rating:  

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Daddy’s Girl

By Isabella Starling & Demi Donovan

Synopsis

Every brat needs a Daddy.

Daddy’s tastes are naughty and rough,
finding the right girl has been tough.

Daddy’s had them all you see,
but his little girl is the one he can’t set free.

Now Daddy has a lovely pet,
a naughty toy that’s scared of every threat.

But brats are always hard to train,
and Daddy’s girl has earned the cane.

Time to break out the whips and chains,
get some blood pulsing through baby’s veins.

Think twice before you disobey,
pretty girls in tears make Daddy’s day…

Review

Daddy’s Girl has me torn in two, how can I devour a book that is just a little bit wrong and dirty? Well I read it in a day, could not put it down, knew It would be hard but you once you pick this up you will like me keep turning those pages wanting to know how it ends – I simply loved the ending.

Lily’s mother was one character that I truly wanted to hurt very badly and then Law, well words fail me on that man, he is demented and dangerous but wow when he is that erotic and dominating man within the dark walls of Lily’s life well – speechless.

The mystery of Lily’s family and then the other players in this underworld is astonishing and when you realise where she is being held – well I was shocked – I had to take a moment as I was horrified and just so angry.

Lily’s strength her way to adapt to her situation and her issues obviously with her own father – her back story was interesting and helped me understand her actions and emotions to her situation.

Daddy’s Girl

My Rating: 

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Don’t Speak (A Modern Fairytale Book 5)

By Katy Regnery

Synopsis

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of the North Carolina governor at a fancy party where she is working.

Laire, who wants more from life than her little island can offer, is swept away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate finds them together once again, they will discover the terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

Review

Don’t Speak is a new adult romance in this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. The relationship between Laire and the people around her is what pulled at my heart.  This novel is broken into two parts with an interlude.  The first part is the journey of self discovery and the second part is about a second chance at love.

Laire is a girl that is becoming a young woman.  She wants more for her life than her tiny island can provide.  Laire is caught between what is expected of her and her dreams of seeing what is beyond her home town.  Her family has outdated values and anything but settling down and starting her own family is out of the question.  I found myself hating Laire’s family more and more through the story.

Erik is a young man who has dreams of his own but his future has already been mapped out for him. Erik’s mother is determined for him to achieve the goals that she has set for him.  He is embarking on his own journey and did something he never thought he would do.  He fell for an island girl while on vacation with his family.

Don’t Speak is an emotional journey for a young woman who must choose between who she is and what her family believes in.  And for a young man whose own family provides obstacles on his way to happiness.  I found the interlude especially gut wrenching and effective to mark the passage of time.

I definitely could identify The Little Mermaid in this story between Laire and Erk.  And it made me see more complexity in The Little Mermaid.  This was am emotional journey for this two people whose families were not on board for their relationship.  And in the end they had to see past what was expected of them.  This was a very effective retelling of a classic story.

Don’t Speak

My Rating:  

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Fakers (Canaan Island #1)

By Meg Collett

Synopsis

Kyra Aberdeen is a YouTube sensation. Her bubbling personality and fresh beauty capture her audience each week, but they don’t know the truth-she’s just faking it. Beneath the surface of light-hearted smiles is a simmering darkness threatening to pull Kyra under.

When Kyra moves to Canaan Island and buys her deceased mother’s childhood home, she hopes to confront the lurking shadows haunting her every step. But when she meets her grumpy contractor, even her best-laid plans start to unravel.

Hale Cooper is as brutally honest as he is intriguing. He hates fakers, and isn’t afraid to call Kyra on her false personality. Yet, she is drawn to him, and the unexpected attraction to a man who challenges her to be her true self lands her in unchartered waters.

But if she lowers her guard and allows herself to be honest with Hale, will the darkness creep in too?

*This book is recommended for mature readers due to some sexual content and language. Cutting is represented in this book, and scenes may be considered triggering to some.*

Review

Fakers has one of the best group of characters I have read in a long time and I can honestly say this story is more than just Kyra and Hale, it has Stevie and Cade along with all the eccentric residents of Canaan Island.

Upon finishing Fakers I immediately downloaded book 2 Keepers which is Stevie’s story.

As I began highlighting favourite paragraphs because they touched my soul and gave me tingles it told me I am reading a beautiful love story and Faker’s did not disappoint.

The friendship between Stevie and Kyra was beautiful as was Kyra’s story of finding her home and a connection to her mother.  Kyra’s background story with her grandmother and mother is heartbreaking but also immensely gripping and it is not finished – what is in her mother’s diary? Will her grandmother give Kyra’s mother a beautiful gravesite with light and flowers?

One character who showed he is more than just alpha hotness is Hale, he stepped up at the end of this book and he is my hero.  The love, compassion and instinct in pushing Kyra to open up gives an amazing depth to this story.

I love the new covers of this series with the weatherboard houses.  Faker’s covers some deep and emotional issues, it is done with compassion however it has so many moments of humour and lightness that it does repair your heart.

I am in love with this story, it’s residents and it’s location, I cannot wait to start book 2!

Quote: “We just cope the best way we know how, but its not the best way, because it hurts us. So we have to learn a new way, a better way. Because we deserve the happiness we fake.”

Fakers (Canaan Island #1)

My Rating: 

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A Harmless Little Game (Harmless # 1)

By Meli Raine

Synopsis

Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.
Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.
The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.
Share.

They shared me.

But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?
Not one single thing.
That was my boyfriend, Drew.
And that was the last time I saw him.

Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.

You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.
Never faced consequences.
Until today.
Game on.

Review

WOW!  A HARMLESS LITTLE GAME is a book that grabbed me right from the very first page and did not let me go.  I know a book is good when I’m up until 1am reading.  Since this is the first book in the Harmless trilogy that focuses on Lindsay and her desire for revenge, I can’t say much, so this will be a fairly short review.

What Lindsay went through four years ago was horrific.  What’s worse is that the men involved got away with it.  If that doesn’t fire up your anger, I don’t know what will.  I really felt for her and I admired the strength and courage she displayed to stand up for herself.  I also liked Drew, who is a very quiet and controlled man.  I have a feeling that when his control slips, the fallout will be huge and it’s going to be a sight to behold.  I absolutely hated her parents, especially her mother.  Honestly, if it turns out that she had something to do with what happened to her daughter, I would not be surprised at all.  The scene where Lindsay stood up to her mother was awesome and I was so cheering her on.

This book left me with a lot of questions.  Questions that I’m sure will be answered in the following two books.  How did those men get away with it?  Who is protecting them?  Why did they do it?  Did someone put them up to it?  Who is her friend?  Who is her enemy?  Who is telling the truth?  I have so many more questions, but I can’t list them here without giving away some spoilers.

This first part of the trilogy takes place over two to three days and ends in a cliffhanger.  I did find it a little repetitive at times, and I also got annoyed when Drew kept telling Lindsay that she had no idea what she was in for.  I wanted to yell at him to just tell her already, but I guess that would have shortened the story quite a bit.  A HARMLESS LITTLE GAME is told only in Lindsay’s POV, with the next book in the trilogy being told in Drew’s POV, which I’m really looking forward to because I can’t wait to get inside his head.

Please Note:  This book contains scenes that may be triggers for some people.

A Harmless Little Game (Harmless # 1)

My Rating:  

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Harmless Series

The Pine Forest (The Iridescent Realm # 2)

By Michelle Dare

Synopsis

One touch, one spark, two lives forever changed.

Pine and Azure. The war between the two kingdoms lasted far too long. Peace was finally established, but the survivors would never forget who fought on the front lines. Oliver Sage had a reputation for being a ruthless knight. He’d seen enough death to last a lifetime and worked on putting the past behind him, although not all would let him forget.

Addison was the only daughter of King and Queen Azure. With three brothers, she knew she’d always be protected, but she also wanted to learn how to take care of herself. She was strong, had a good heart, and wanted to be treated as an equal. Magical abilities ran in her family, and she had one no one knew of.

Oliver had given his heart to one princess, until the night he dreamed of another. Addison was the last woman he should desire, especially given who she was. However, what if she wanted him as well? They’d hated each other their entire lives, but suddenly couldn’t resist the desire which built between them. There were also those who didn’t think they should be together. Forbidden romance could only stay hidden for so long in the dark depths of the Pine Forest.

Review

I’ve had a soft spot for Oliver since meeting him in THE AZURE KINGDOM.  It was so sad to see the woman he was promised, the woman he’d sworn to protect, the woman he was in love with, fall in love with someone else, and I really wanted him to get his own HEA.  THE PINE FOREST did not disappoint.

I really liked Oliver, who is the Pine Kingdom’s fiercest knight and the King’s most trusted friend.  He’s cool under pressure and strong in battle.  He’s kind, loyal, honest and has a good sense of humour.  I liked Addison and thought her magical abilities were interesting, but I felt those abilities were not displayed to their full potential.  I was also disappointed that, for a woman who trains with soldiers and was constantly saying she could protect herself, we never saw her showcase her fighting skills.  I was waiting for her to go all badass on someone, but that didn’t happen.

As bad as this will sound, not a great deal happens in this book.  Oliver and Addison meet, they touch and feel a spark, they communicate in their dreams, they fall in love, her life is threatened, they defeat the threat, the end.  But you know what?  I think that’s a good thing, because sometimes there can be so much going on in a story that the relationship takes a backseat.  Here though, their relationship was front and centre.  Despite the connection they feel to each other, they don’t rush things.  Instead, their relationship builds up slowly and they get to know each other over several weeks while they come to terms with the fact that only a few months earlier, they were at war.

THE PINE FOREST is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Elliott Azure’s (Addison’s brother) POV, who I assume will get the next book in the series.  He is very hateful of the Pine Kingdom despite his family’s desire to put the past behind them, and I hope to see him come around in his own book.

The Pine Forest (The Iridescent Realm # 2)

My Rating:  

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The Iridescent Realm Series