Review Round-Up – May ’15

Dear readers, Welcome to May’s Review Round-Up! We have plenty of romance reads for you, whether they be contemporary, historical, erotic or humour. Not to mention the paranormal fantasies and mysteries.

I have been a little quiet on the blog-front recently seeing my daughter through her SAT’s exams, and being busy with decorating the house. But, I have enjoyed Christine S. Feldman‘s hilarious romcom, Winging It, Jamie Drew‘s (aka Tim O’Rourke) November Lake: Teenage Detective books 1 & 2, and I am currently reading the amazing C.J. Pinard‘s dark paranormal, SOUL REDEMPTION (Rebel Riders #2)! Meanwhile, Tina has been busy at the Vestry with settlement papers and writing some text for the Staffordshire Archives Roadshow which will take place at Tamworth Library on 4th July. She has also been involved in proposals for Tamworth Literature Festival, in which we are both hoping to be a part of. All this at the same time as reviewing some great romances, from Skye Warren‘s Loving the Beast, to Lily Harlem’s Toy Boy, and erotic sci-fi time travel series When in Rome by Jessica Nyman. How does she find the time to make rhubarb wine too?!

We hope that you enjoy the selection of books, as well as the reviews we provide. As always, please click on the book titles and author for our main feature review plus more….

We hope that you have a super Bank Holiday weekend 🙂

Caroline & Tina ❤

Pose 1Pose for a Billionaire (Billionaire Encounter books 1-3) by Lucee Lovett, contemporary erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Books 1-3 comprise of ‘When the Rent is Due, What Do You Do?‘, ‘There’s No Room for Mistakes, When You…‘ and ‘Secrets and Lies & Everything in Between‘.

Blurb (book 1): What choice does a young girl have, when she’s a twenty-two year old high school dropout? She has a deadbeat dad who has run off with his latest whore. Then her mother gets locked up for dealing drugs, leaving her with an eight-year-old to care for. Now, the rent is due and Mia Blackman, has no job, no money and very few options. She is forced to use the only asset she has when she poses for enigmatic, enticing, billionaire, Roman Evans. This changes Mia’s life in more ways than one.

November Lake: Teenage Detective (The November Lake Mysteries books 1 & 2) by Jamie Drew, YA crime/mystery (reviewed by Caroline)

November Lake 1Blurb (book 1): When 18-year-old police recruit, November Lake, joins training college, her curiosity and desire to solve mysteries soon has her investigating a series of creepy and chilling crimes.

With the help of her friend and colleague, Kale Creed, November is soon caught up in a dark world of strange and inexplicable mysteries, each with a deadly twist.

Three novella length mysteries in one book:

The Dead Girl In The Room

The Kidnapping at Blackwater Farm

The Menacing Stranger

November Lake 2Blurb (book 2): When police recruits November Lake and Kale Creed are ordered to stay away from each other by Sergeant Black, they can’t help but be drawn back together again.

Working side by side, November and Kale solve four more grisly and chilling mysteries. The first deals with deceit, the second betrayal, the third revenge and the fourth the greatest mystery of all – love.

Four novella length mysteries in one book:

The Reappearing Knife

The Death at Hook Inn

Splitfoot & The Dead Girl

The Mystery of November Lake & Kale Creed

WhereWolves Cover - realisticWherewolves by John Vamvas & Olga Montes, YA horror/thriller/paranormal (reviewed by Caroline)

Synopsis: Using a fun, explosive style, full of new slang and fresh dialogue, WHEREWOLVES is the story of a group of high school seniors, most “military brats”, who are headed for an army-type survival weekend.

The underdogs, Jeffrey and Doris, do not want to go as they fear for their safety among the disdain and cruelty of the popular students. Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, their teacher, as well as their dysfunctional parents pressure them into going, but it is an unforgivable act by their peers that propels the pair to go. Likewise, Elie, a student resented because of his Arab roots, is even more determined to prove himself this weekend. In the background, a news report cautions of a wanted couple with alleged super-human strength supposedly brought on by a new drug on the streets.

In the woods, the students hike, hunt, camp, and soon act in unity as the forest brings them closer together. But does it? O’Sullivan leaves them alone for the night. The students bond, chant, tell campfire tales, and quickly lose their fears and inhibitions. HOO-AH! Though sexual tensions are high, it soon turns to violence and everything quickly turns sour.

When the kids start disappearing one after the other, the remaining begin to unwittingly “act like the natives” carving spears, ready to face whatever is out there. What has gotten into them?

Amid blood-curdling growls and gruesome deaths, the story’s underlying layers are revealed. We see how misconceptions, prejudice, greed, fear, and hatred bring out the worst and best in them.

WHEREWOLVES is a thought-provoking, intense, action-packed ride loaded with plot twists that will keep you guessing:

What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

d5c5e-under2bthe2bmayhaw2btreeUnder the Mayhaw Tree by Charlotte Boyett-Compo, contemporary romance suspense (reviewed by Tina)

Keynote:

Living under a cloud of tragedy for which he’s assumed blame, Drew Dunne has known hell for the past sixteen years. Then he meets Allison Bennett. But in the small town of Colquitt, Georgia, evil lurks around every corner and capturing happiness has an incredibly high price.

Synopsis:

SWEET VICTORY

Small-town football star Drew Dunne sacrificed everything for friendship and guilt. He’s spent most of his life unloved and unwanted. A kind touch, a gentle smile, an encouraging word are all wisps of memory from before the accident. For him there is only family, duty, loyalty. And longing. Until he meets Allison.When Allison Bennett looks in the mirror, she sees a woman whose life has gone from bad to worse. At the mercy of an abusive husband, sweet tenderness is something she can only dream about…until she finds it in the arms of Drew Dunne.Not every sacrifice is worthwhile, not every promise is worth keeping, and events in a small Georgia town will test this pair to the very depths of their souls, but at the end of the journey is the truth that—if you’re willing to pay the price—true love can conquer all. Drew Dunne will finally be with the woman he loves. Or die trying.

When in Rome (An Unexpected Vacation & The Emperor’s Dungeon, books 1 & 2) by Jessica Nyman, erotic sci-fi fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Jessica Nyman 1Blurb (An Unexpected Vacation, #1): A young and geeky college girl wins a trip to Rome and while visiting the ancient ruins, she gets transported two thousand years back by a mysterious magic artifact. She is immediately seized by the city guards and brought before the most notorious emperor Rome had ever known. She’s in for a big surprise and some hot, steamy, action beyond her wildest dreams.

When In Rome Vol 1: An Unexpected Vacation is the first part of an erotic romance serial short stories exploring the lifestyle of ancient Rome from the eyes of a twenty first century college girl. Approximately 7000 words.

Jessica nyman 2Blurb (The Emperor’s Dungeon, #2): Our heroine meets a mysterious witch who agrees to help her go back to ancient Rome. However the locket’s magic effects last for a limited time and she comes back to the 21st century when it expires. Will she be able to solve the mystery of the locket and stay in ancient Rome for good? Will she break and tell her secret when the emperor ties her up in heavy chains and ‘interrogates’ her in the dungeon?

When In Rome Vol 2: The Emperor’s Dungeon is the second part of an erotic romance serial short stories exploring ancient Rome from the eyes of a twenty first century college girl. Approximately 5000 words.

Loving the BeastLoving the Beast: A Beauty Epilogue by Skye Warren, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: The sexy journey began in Beauty Touched the Beast and continued in the Beauty series. Now read the breathtaking conclusion in this epilogue novella…

Since their forbidden beginning, Erin and Blake’s relationship has been marked by deep sensuality and intense emotion. Each challenge only makes them stronger, and Blake is ready to take his new fiancee to meet his family.

Home holds secrets for them both. A dark legacy threatens everything they’ve worked to build. When old debt comes between them, both Blake and Erin must fight to protect each other–and their love.

Books in the Beauty series:
1. Beauty Touched the Beast
2. Beneath the Beauty
3. Broken Beauty
4. Beauty Becomes You

And now the sexy ever after… Loving the Beast: A Beauty Epilogue

coverThird Debt (Indebted #4) by Pepper Winters, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: “She healed me. She broke me. I set her free. But we are in this together. We will end this together. The rules of this ancient game can’t be broken.” 

Nila Weaver no longer recognises herself. She’s left her lover, her courage, and her promise. Two debts down. Too many to go. 

Jethro Hawk no longer recognises himself. He’s embraced what he always ran from, and now faces punishment far greater than he feared. 

It’s almost time. It’s demanding to be paid. 

The Third Debt will be the ultimate test… 

To Tame the WindTo Tame the Wind (Prequel to Agents of the Crown Trilogy, #1) by Regan Walker, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Paris 1782… AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN 

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear.… her.
 
A BATTLE IS JOINED
 
The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.This is the prequel to the Agents of the Crown trilogy but can be read as a stand alone.

83e80-bride_cover_finalThe Duke’s Bedeviled Bride (Royal Pains #2) by Nina Mason, erotic historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: The tawdry tale of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody continues…

Maggie Armstrong, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne, is bedeviled by her husband’s limited definition of fidelity. After observing him in a ménage à trois at the court of King Charles II, she is determined to bring him around to her way of thinking—by any means necessary. Robert doesn’t mind being punished for his transgressions. Rather,  he enjoys being whipped, especially by his beloved bride. Unfortunately, her heart might not belong to him alone. His younger brother, who he’d sent abroad to clear the way for himself, is coming home sooner than expected, and Maggie’s feelings for Hugh may not be as dead as her husband had hoped.Both duke and duchess soon learn, to their peril, Hugh Armstrong is not the honorable man they’d been led to believe. Insanely jealous of his brother’s situation, Hugh will stop at nothing to strip Robert of all he holds dear—including his life.But the real danger for Robert and Maggie is not the villainous Marquess, but the growing friction betwixt Catholics and Protestants in Restoration Era Great Britain.Can their love survive the trials that await them?

Toy BoyToy Boy by Lily Harlem, erotic cougar romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Getting something unexpected can be a shock, but it can also be a wonderful treat, if you allow yourself to indulge, that is.

Kay is bubbling with excitement. She’s booked a sailing holiday of a lifetime in Greece with a man she’s fallen for hook, line and sinker. They met on the Internet. She’s from Oxford, he’s from Washington State. She’s a business lecturer, he runs his own successful business.

They’re perfect for each other, and she can’t wait to meet him and spend time in and out of his bed, allowing him to seduce her for real and not just with softly spoken words over the telephone.

But when she arrives in the idyllic port of Fiscardo, she’s in for a shock. There’s a reason Sullivan’s photographs were grainy, and it’s not because he’s sporting a potbelly or balding as she’d suspected. It’s because he’s over a decade younger than her and could rival any Greek god in the looks department. What’s more, his sex appeal and lust for her is off the scale.

Should Kay take what she can with her ‘toy boy’ and have some fun in the sun or hop on the first plane back to England? It’s a tricky decision for a woman who believed she couldn’t be surprised by life anymore.

Werewolves of Shade 5Werewolves of Shade (Beautiful Immortals #5) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal fantasy (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From Tim O’Rourke #1 bestselling author of ‘The Kiera Hudson Series’ comes ‘Werewolves of Shade’ a werewolf romance with a twist.

When the entire population of Shade go missing, investigative reporter Mila Watson knows this could be the big break she has been waiting for. Setting off into the mountains to the village of Shade, Mila soon learns that the village isn’t as deserted as she first believed it to be and that creatures lurk in the shades…

‘Werewolves of Shade’ (Part Five)

Note: This ends in a cliff-hanger. Part six will be published within the next few weeks.

For readers 16+

the girl in betweenThe Girl In Between (The Girl In Between #1) by Laekan Zea Kemp, YA/NA+ up paranormal fantasy (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive. 

Winging ItWinging It (short story) by Christine S. Feldman, comedy/humour, contemporary romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Up until now, straitlaced Simon Kirkendale has done an admirable job of keeping his high society mother’s demands for grandbabies at bay, but lately she’s kicked things into high gear. So he isn’t too disappointed to delay her latest matchmaking attempt when a pretty stranger hops into the backseat of his car en route to one of his mother’s dinner parties and tells him to drive. A car-jacking? Nope. More like a bird on the run, but this particular bird happens to be a parrot who has slipped its cage, and Simon’s new acquaintance desperately needs to get it back before she loses sight of it altogether.

Ever the nice guy—and okay, maybe also a little intrigued by the colorful Miss Juleen Pruitt’s sudden appearance in his car—Simon hits the gas pedal and obliges only to find himself unwittingly dragged into a wild goose chase around town for a bird who seems to be determined to either get itself killed or the two people trying to catch it. Simon’s money is on the latter.

But it turns out that a little disruption and chaos in his life might just be what Simon needs most—especially if it comes in the form of Juleen.

If he can just manage to survive meeting her…

About Caroline Barker

I am a happily engaged mother of three and I absolutely love to read and write. Therefore, I am setting up a book blog in the hope to influence some readers out there!

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