Tag Archives: books: 4*

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by @RobertBryndza

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster, #4)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

One-Sentence Summary: A serial killer is targeting young girls and Erika must stop him

Review: One of my favourite crime authors is back with the latest book in his fantastic crime series and it is everything you’ve come to expect from an Erika Foster novel: the detective forces herself on a case and will stop at nothing to solve it.

I love her relationships with Moss and Peterson and they were at the forefront of this novel just as much as her battles with her superior officers.

Like I’ve said before, the fact that most of the story takes place in familiar locations to me of South East London and Kent is a real added bonus and Bryndza’s descriptions certainly make me feel like I’m right there with the characters.

Now we’re four books in, I can’t help but wonder when the case that killed Erika’s husband is going to come back to haunt her ….

‘It’s your bed… I’m not used to sleeping on such a soft bed,’ she said, tipping her head back and enjoying the release on her tense shoulders.
‘Erika, that’s a really expensive memory foam mattress.’
There was a knock at the door and Moss entered, just as Erika said: ‘Well, it’s not hard enough for me…’
‘Sorry, is this a bad time?’ said Moss, looking between them. Peterson dropped his hands.
‘No, we were… It’s fine,’ said Erika, sifting through the papers in front of her.
‘And we were talking about my mattress, my mattress not being hard…’ said Peterson, moving back around the desk.
‘It’s memory foam. The mattress. Very soft,’ added Erika. There was an awkward pause.
‘Thank God for that,’ grinned Moss. ‘Although I do have a friend who’s tried Viagra, and he says it’s changed his life… Another friend thinks laughter is the best medicine, but I suppose that’s not very helpful when it’s things going soft.’
‘A soft mattress is very good for you,’ said Peterson, a little defensively. Erika and Moss started to laugh. ‘It is!’
‘Come on, I’m only teasing,’ said Moss, giving Peterson a nudge.
‘Idiot.’ He grinned. Erika was pleased they’d had the opportunity to laugh, even for a moment. It had broken the tension.

A Millionaire at Midnight by Naima Simone

A Millionaire at Midnight“The prince slid the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot, and of course it was a perfect fit. So then he carried Cinderella to his waiting carriage and his castle where they wed. But the prince ended up being a cheating asshat, and Cinderella, who really wasn’t all that sweet in the first place, moved out, taking the prince for half his kingdom and his entire fleet of carriages. Which served him right because he should’ve kept his dick in his damn pants in the first place. The End.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Fake Relationship

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Bachelor auction prize -> Boss -> Fake fiance

Review: This was my first introduction to Naima Simone and what an introduction it was!

I loved Morgan, the sassy heroine who always seemed to have a quick-witted reply on the top of her tongue and Alexander the hero with a love of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings was broodingly delicious.

Mentions of fandoms like Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls made me smile. The only thing that I didn’t really like was the overly sugary sweet ending – scrap gooey baby stuff I say!

If like me you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the previous books in the series then do not fear as I am pleased to say that you don’t need to in order to enjoy this one.

“So you’re trying to convince us you don’t care about Cynthia and Troy?” Angela scoffed.
Morgan shrugged. “Sorry to disappoint you. Sure, I was upset for a minute. I mean, I’d just sent in the check to have the Backstreet Boys perform at our reception.” Again, she lifted a shoulder. “But what’re you going to do? Besides, this city is full of CEOs and millionaires. Where there’s one, there’s another, and most are ready and willing to get laid… and agree to have Nick Carter sing “As Long as You Love Me” for our first dance. As a matter of fact, there are ten of those ready and willing men here tonight. What can I say? We can’t all marry for love like you did, Angela.” Cocking her head to the side, she pointedly glanced in the direction of Angela’s husband, who resembled Hugh Hefner’s older brother. “Can we?”

Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay #3) by @JillShalvis

Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay, #3)ARC received from: Edelweiss

Rating: 4*

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Elle’s past comes back to haunt her and Archer

Review: Archer/Elle’s story is the one I’ve most been looking forward to in this series but I have to say that it didn’t play out quite how I thought it would.

Given their tension in previous books, I thought Shalvis would focus on that and the repressed feelings. As it turns out Archer and Elle didn’t wait long to act on their feelings and the majority of the story is concentrated on who is less likely to want to commit to giving their relationship a real go.jill-shalvis-archer

Archer/Elle have an interesting history together which is brought to the forefront when Elle’s sister Morgan makes an appearance. The history that Archer/Elle shares is probably the most interesting thing about their story and gives a unique foundation to their relationship.

I am hoping that other characters in this book will get a chance to have their stories told but fear that this is another trilogy-based series which comes to an end with this book. Poor Spencer!

Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3) by @SarahMorgan_

Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love, #3)“Here lies Eva, whose Christmas wish was to find herself up close and personal with a man, but didn’t specify the circumstances.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Festive romance

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Opposites attract in a NYC penthouse apartment at Christmas

Review: No one quite writes a festive romance like Sarah Morgan!

This book had an unusual setup in that I don’t think I have ever read a book where the “Meet-Cute” goes quite like that or that the Heroine gets paid to be a crime writer’s inspiration! Bonus points for originality.

Lucas Blade is an anti-Christmas, anti-love, brooding hero whilst Eva sarah-morgan-lucasis the overly optimistic, ridiculously nice heroine. It really is a case of opposites attract and watching these two dance around each other was magical.

As well as the romance, this book deals with grief and loss and follows two people trying to move past that grief-rutt they’ve been stuck in. I love how Lucas and Eva founded what they needed in each other to close those chapters of their lives.

My one gripe was that I was so sure that when Lucas proposed the abandoned puppy would be there waiting, or at the very least when they got back to his apartment. I feel robbed of a secondary happy ending!

I thought there were hints in this book as to what Morgan’s next series is going to be about and I’m glad that my suspicions were confirmed. Can’t wait to start reading the spinoff from this series.

“To friendship,” Frankie continued. “Because true friendship transcends differences. I’d rather read a thriller, you’d rather read a romance. It’s okay. I forgive you for having weird taste.”

To Love and to Cherish (The Wedding Belles #3) by Lauren Layne

To Love and to Cherish (The Wedding Belles, #3)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Friends-to-Lovers

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: An accountant forces a wedding planner to confront their mutual attraction

Review: This one was so hard to review!

I don’t know whether it’s because I’d been looking forward to Logan/Alexis’s story the most that when it arrived, it just seemed to be …. rushed. The pacing for me was off.

I loved the start of the book and learning how Logan/Alexis first met. I loved the dancing around each other that Logan and Alexis did and the kisses full of UST. Then as soon as they cross the line, things move really really fast with Logan having waited for 8 years, suddenly unwilling to wait any longer for Alexis to process what was happening between them. Alexis has an epiphany moment and then suddenly -boom- happy-ever-after is achieved.

Logan’s commitment to take over his father’s business was never lauren-layne-loganreally resolved either even if it is made clear he never ended up moving back to London.

I did like how it was the guy who was the one pining over the girl who refused to see him as anything more than a friend. I also liked how with Logan there wasn’t any denial of his feelings, he OWNED his feelings for Alexis without apology.

Four stars because overall I loved Alexis and I was invested in her relationship with Logan, even if didn’t play out quite how I would have liked it.

To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne

To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles, #1)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Weddings!

Chemistry: Low Boil

One-Sentence Summary: Cynical millionaire meets romantic wedding planner.

Review: Lauren Layne is back with another scorching series, this time based in the world of wedding planners. This was a slick romance with the wedding planner going head-to-head with the cynical brother of the bride.

I am always of romances that start with the couple being hit with a barrage of instalove the minute they set eyes on each other but I quite enjoyed how this one played out in the end.

However, I was probably more intrigued with the idea of Grant/Maya than with Seth/Brooke and I really wish that Grant/Maya were given proper secondary romance status and that we got to see them actually get together.

Sting by Sandra Brown

StingARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Romantic Suspense

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Stockholm Syndrome on speed and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction

Review: It was this time last year that I first discovered Sandra Brown when I got approved for the ARC of Friction. Since then there has been no going back. She is undoubtedly one of the best romantic suspense authors.

Sting didn’t quite equal the heady heights of Friction but even when Brown is not at the peak of her game, the result is still far superior than most author’s best efforts.

This book, like all her best work, has engaging main characters, interesting secondary characters and enough twists to keep the reader on her toes. I guess my main complaint is that *SPOILER*even when Jordie thought Shaw was a hitman who had just murdered someone in cold blood in front of her, she was still wildly attracted to him. Whilst I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and for Shaw to reveal his true identity, it didn’t even occur to Jordie that he was an undercover cop so I found it a bit weird that sexual thoughts would even occur to her when she was sure he was going to kill her.  It was a little like a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Still, that is all I have to complain about and I loved the way the rest of the story played out.

Here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait for another year before we get a new Sandra Brown novel!

One Week to Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan #3) by @KittyMeader

One Week to Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan, #3)ARC received from: The wonderful Kate Meader herself

Rating: 4*

Trope: Brother’s best friend

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Olivia uses her brother’s best friend for his body but ends up wanting more

Review: Aaaaaand Kate Meader is back with another sexy slick read.

For those of you who read the preceding book in the series, Taking The Score, you will have already had a glimpse at Flynn and Olivia’s explosive relationship and in this book that relationship, well, explodes, both figuratively and orgasmically.

The start of the book finds Olivia drowning her sorrows at a hotel Kate Meader - Flynnbar on her wedding day after finding her fiancé in the throws of it with her maid of honour, and like any self-respecting woman in her situation, Olivia is determined to make up for lost time by having lots of one-night stands. Enter Flynn, a perfect candidate and willing to be used for his body – the only downside being the oodles of history between him and Olivia and of course the ever-present “bro-code”.

Whilst the fact that Flynn’s best friend Brody is Olivia’s brother is of course the source of some tension, Meader does what most authors do not in this trope and avoids making it the main source of conflict between the couple. That honour belongs to the fact that throughout their friendship, Olivia feels that Flynn has been blowing hot/cold and coming in and out of her life as he pleases. Now Flynn has to prove that he is here to stay.

This book is a Brazen and needless to say full of sexy, hot scenes so best avoided as a lunchtime read at work!

Then He Kissed Me (Cottonbloom Novels #2) by @LauraTrentham

Then He Kissed Me (Cottonbloom Novels, #2)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Friends to lovers

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Two childhood friends reconnect

Review: Why is it that during all my years at the University of Edinburgh, a Nash didn’t come into my life?! Sad times.

Anyway, that aside, it took me a little while to really fall in love with this book: the start seemed a bit of a repetition of Cade/Monroe’s story with Tally/Nash playing in the river when they were young followed by years of separation. Then there was the emphasis thatLaura Trentham - Nash they were best friends in present-time but they hadn’t seen each other in twenty years – I’m sorry but you’ll never convince me that you can stay away from each other for two decades and immediately slip back into the best friend status.

So I was convinced that this book was a 3.5* all the way until the last third where it finally clicked for me and I fell in love the story. The added layer of Tally’s Uncle and Nash’s Aunt made it all the more interesting as did Nash’s reconnection with his Dad.

Overall though, whilst I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would at the start, I still feel that this is the “filler” book for me, bring on Sawyer/Regan’s story!

Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom Novels #1) by @LauraTrentham

Kiss Me That Way: A Cottonbloom Novel“You needed me?” Her voice was husky, and she lifted her gaze the last few inches to meet his, the green as dark and beautiful as a magnolia leaf.
“I do need you.” His whisper hooked her a step closer. His eyes flared and he cleared his throat. “I mean I need your help with my nuts.”
“Your nuts?” She dropped his hand and startled back a step.
“Of the nuts-and-bolts variety.” They both glanced toward his crotch. He scrubbed his hand over his head. Red tinged his cheekbones even as a small laugh stuttered out.
His smile lightened the mark so many desperate years had left and her lips mimicked his instinctively. She would put on a clown costume and hit herself with a cream pie if she could keep a smile on his face forever. She wasn’t sure what that meant, but it couldn’t be good.
“I’d be happy to help with your nuts.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Small town romance

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Two people from different sides of the track rediscover an old friendship which grows into something more

Review: This is the first book I’ve read by Laura Trentham and it looks like I chose the right book to try. I fell in love with the characters and setting and before I had even finished, I was already looking forward the two subsequent books in the series.

This book is set in a small Southern town which is divided into two along economic lines. Cade and Monroe come from different worlds but started a blossoming friendship when Cade rescued thirteen year-old Monroe from one of her alcoholic mother’s predatory boyfriends. Cade moved out of town when he was a young adult and is only forced back by his brother and sister to recuperate from an injury.

Monroe and Cade reconnect and grow closer as they help each Laura Trentham - CadeMonroeother work through issues from their past. Throw in Cade’s brother and sister and Monroe’s best friend who will all feature in future books, you have a really well written romance which plays out in an interesting setting.

It lost a star because I felt that whilst Monroe’s job as a physical therapist is what brought Cade back into her life, her job and his injury (especially when he was lifting her up the riverbank) were soon forgotten about. Also I wasn’t sure about the fact that one minute Cade was exploring the idea of staying in Cottonbloom with Sawyer but as soon as Monroe turned up he told her categorically that he was going back to Seattle.

Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!

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