**Blog Tour & REVIEW** Sex Hell: A Love Story by Joe Canzano

sexhell 2 banner

Digital_Cover_ILLUS_2Title: Sex Hell

Author: Joe Canzano

Genre: Comic fantasy/paranormal, humour, romance

Date of release: April 1st 2016

Released by: Happy Joe Control

Length: 318 pages

Blurb: When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing–but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by a laughing demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid–or does she?

Sex Hell is an absurd comic fantasy about the confusion of relationships. How is love related to sex, and how is sex related to love–and do love and sex need to be related at all?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations

Buy Links: Amazon US & Amazon UK

REVIEW **** (4 star rating)

Has Debbie found the one, the love of her life, in boyfriend Mike? Although they work well together outside the bedroom, if truth be told she’d much rather eat popcorn, and read and write her novel than get it on with him! Is there something wrong with her? Or, are they just not compatible?

Sex Hell begins as I would expect a contemporary romance to. However, the story takes a special turn when Velva turns up. After overhearing Debbie express her concerns to her colleague and best friend, Cynthia, in a diner Velva decides to offer Debbie a deal: in exchange for some years from Debbie’s life, Velva promises super, hot sex for Debbie. Not only is this a preposterous idea that Debbie initially turns down, it is also tempting after more time spent trying to avoid sex with Mike, and with a little negotiation.

“I’ve got a desire to be younger, okay? And you’ve got a desire to have better sex. And for a small price, I can fix your problem. All I want is a little bit of your youth. Gimme about ten or twenty years; lets call it fifteen. In exchange for that, I’ll fix your sex life. No more awkward fumbling around. No more faking orgasms – oh! oh! oh! And no more having to do anything you don’t want to do. Hell, you can just eat snack food all night and read a book, and he’ll be happy as a pig in a pie store. And you won’t have to die alone.” – Velva

With many enlightened moments, there is a great sense of fun in Sex Hell. The dialogue is brilliant, and the whole story is a fast-paced, exciting read. Debbie’s personal thoughts are often comical and full of humour, despite her sex life concerns.

A love triangle develops early on as the one Debbie finds herself with in Sex Hell is musician, Juan. Juan plays guitar in bars and has had relations with many women. Although, there doesn’t seem to have been anyone special in his recent past. That said, he is a hot lover, and boy does Debbie know it! With feelings of guilt after, and wanting to build on her relationship with Mike, she finds it increasingly more difficult returning to Sex Hell and having many sexcapades with Juan.

The laughing demon, in monkey Carl, who just happens to be watching her sexcapades does seem to offer advice on how to end Velva’s spell. However, the reader is never too sure on who’s side he is on, and whether he is sending Debbie and Juan on a wild goose chase. To make matters worse, Mike and Cynthia are on their tail, and there are moments when they look a little too cosy.

There’s just no telling if the spell will ever be lifted, and just who Debbie wants to be with. What will become of Velva and the demon? What will become of Debbie? This fantasy adventure ends with plenty of paranormal action and will leave the reader on a high with its comical undercurrent. Definitely a read to perk you up and put a smile on your face!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Author Bio:

Joe Canzano_800x600colorJoe Canzano is a writer and musician who lives in New Jersey, U.S.A. He likes loud guitars and food that screams. His wacky debut novel, “Magno Girl,” received a fair amount of love and hate—because that’s the kind of reaction his writing gets. For more information about Joe, please visit www.happyjoe.net.

Links

Website: http://www.happyjoe.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/happyjoecanzano/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/happyjoecanzano

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12965170.Joe_Canzano

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/joecanzano

*Promo* Ghost on the Lake by Alex Alexander

Ghost on the Lake

Title: Ghost on the Lake

Author: Alex Alexander

Genre: Supernatural thriller, paranormal

Date released: June 30th, 2015

Length: 194 pages

Blurb: Imagine dying very suddenly. Only to realize you may still be alive, but lost in another dimension. 

And imagine the terror of knowing the only way back to your body and the love of your life is to overcome the darkest of evils, ancient tribesmen, and the sinister deception of someone you trusted. 

Ghost on the Lake pits the power of love and evil in a battle between Earthly and supernatural forces that have the power to change life as we know it. 

 As students at the University of Chicago, Mike and Laura are soulmates, preparing to spend their lives together. Until unthinkable tragedy strikes. While swimming, Mike mysteriously vanishes. But Laura isn’t convinced he has drowned. She suspects other shadowy forces are at work. 

She’s joined in her quest for the truth by Ron, a close friend from Mike’s past. However, things become heated and frightening when Laura and Ron become entangled in a worldwide criminal plot to control a secret substance that makes it possible to leave your body and visit other dimensions

Can Mike escape the clutches of evil and return to his life? Will he be cut off from his body forever by the criminal syndicate tormenting Laura and Ron? Or is his biggest challenge an unsuspecting clan that holds the key to the mystery of the secret substance. 

The answers will shock you.  And your perception of life, love and death will never be the same.

Author Bio:

Alex Alexander is an experienced physicist and engineer with an extensive international background. Having worked in numerous countries, his exposure to scientific and cultural diversity provides a rich source of insight for Ghost on the Lake, a supernatural thriller that deftly blends science, spirituality, passion and suspense.

Alex’s professional and personal experiences came together in a highly unique fashion to fuel the writing of Ghost on the Lake. After graduating from college with a degree in Experimental Particle Physics, he began his global travels as he shuttled between various European countries. His professional and academic experience during this time included working in particle accelerator complex and earning his Ph.D.

In 2000, Alex was recruited by a leading global management consultancy where he spent more than four years excelling in a number of capacities that included consulting management positions. Since 2005, he has worked with an industrial company where he is able to utilize his broad range of experience within multiple Company divisions.

While vacationing one summer with his wife and children in Europe, Alex and his wife had a life-changing encounter with a “spirit presence” that occupied the home in which they were staying. This made an indelible impression on Alex.

These fascinating mystical experiences combined with Alex’s extensive scientific background, provide a compelling juxtaposition that serves as the inspiration for his enthralling novel, Ghost on the Lake.

Author links:

http://www.alexalexanderbooks.com

http://www.alexalexanderauthor.com

Ghost on the Lake book trailer

Amazon link

“This book takes the reader through a gigantic labyrinth of spellbinding twists and turns of suspense, intrigue, paranormal and supernatural activities, near death experiences, and love…a real page turner and truly a great read for adults and young adults alike.”  – Amazon Verified Purchase

 

 

**REVIEW w/excerpt** Lunchtime Eavesdropper by Joanie Chevalier

lunchtime eavesdropperTitle: Lunchtime Eavesdropper

Author: Joanie Chevalier

Genre: Contemporary, psychological self-belief fiction

Release date: July 20th, 2015

Length: 40 pages

Blurb: Meet Marlee, a woman who lives a comfortable but simple life with her loving partner, the adorable Larry. She discovers that covertly listening in on other people’s conversations during lunch hour excites her and adds to her otherwise humble life. When she overhears unpleasant gossip about herself, she becomes obsessed with changing her personality and makes the bad decision to become someone she’s not. After her total makeover, Marlee suddenly finds herself basking in the attention of her co-workers and is ecstatic when she’s finally invited to sit at the “popular” table at work. But is a personality change really worth the price? Is being popular worth losing herself, possibly the love of her life and/or redefining her own definition of happiness?

Come and take part in Marlee’s life, even though it’s only for a short time, and experience her yearning to belong and be accepted for who she is. You may be surprised by the unexpected twist in her story.

REVIEW

Lunchtime Eavesdropper is a real ‘stay true to yourself’ kinda read. The psychological effects of overhearing people talk about yourself can take over even rational thoughts. And, this is how is affects Marlee. Although the comments are hurtful, she takes heed and begins to question herself, doubting who she really is.

It all became a bit of fun, changing her appearance, wanting to share some time with girlfriends and being able to talk with them. But, after a night out clubbing, she begins to think that she has taken things too far. She never really enjoyed these girls’ company anyway, so why start to now?

This novella explores the psychological effects that others can have on a person when expressing their personal opinion, or even the opinion that they believe others want to hear when they are trying to be popular and fit in.

Marlee loves Larry. He is the love of her life. He has always loved her for who she is and how she treats him, But, with changes that Marlee is making, it does begin to affect him too.

It isn’t all too serious as Marlee tells the reader in first person her most innermost thoughts. Some are quite flippant or amusing comments. And when she begins making some changes, during a shopping trip she gets a little excited when she finds a beautiful photo frame, but with the perfect, handsome guy she’s ever seen. She decides to buy it and later places it on her office desk, making out that the guy is in fact Larry!

With some surprises there are a few times when you will question what is really happening. There is a slight realisation towards the end of this short story that did make me smile, even though there is a more serious message. Is it really worth changing for other people? For the trouble and upset it can cause you and those around you? The story hints in places at having some criminal element, but the most powerful subject is Marlee’s psychological state and how she deals with her life – fantasy or otherwise!

A copy of Lunchtime Eavesdropper was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Lunchtime Eavesdropper is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

EXCERPT

Reluctantly, I returned the frame to the dusty shelf, swearing, almost sure that my bizarre behavior was probably because I’ve been depressed ever since The Tragic Event.  I felt ashamed and I walked away slowly and dejectedly from the shelf with the beautiful frame.  But when I reached the end of the aisle, I couldn’t help myself and made a quick u-turn causing my heel to squeak as it left a black skid mark on the linoleum.  When I returned to the framed photo, I snatched it up, like a metal claw inside a machine full of stuffed animals.  My hand was the claw and I had won the top prize: a beautiful sea shelled frame with a photo of a gorgeous male model, his deep brown eyes gazing at me with desire.

Author bio:

I was born in the L.A. area and our family moved up and down the West Coast for most of my childhood, finally settling in Washington State when I was about 12. After living many years in Washington State, where it is gray for 350 days of the year (might be an exaggeration but it’s close!), I finally decided I needed more vitamin D and made the decision to move to the San Francisco Bay area. I pay more taxes in California but I call it the “Sun/Fun Tax,” so it’s okay! Since I didn’t know anyone when I moved, I decided that I could write in (all) my spare time (besides working full-time). In addition to writing, I love being out in my yard creating color and camping in my teardrop trailer. I’m lucky that I have one fantastic boyfriend who loves traveling with me and I live with my son, an awkward teenage boy/man who does laundry when he can’t find anything clean to wear from his floor.

Author Links:

Twitter: @JoanieChevalier

Website: Joanie Chevalier, Author and Book Reviewer

Goodreads

Independent Author Network

Facebook: Author Joanie Chevalier

*WEEPING ANGELS* by Cristy Rey ~ Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Four years ago, Frankie Rios walked away from her best friend and big sister, Iris. To Frankie, Iris died the day that she last rejected Frankie’s attempts at getting Iris alcohol and drug treatment. Rather than accept grief for her beloved sister’s loss, Frankie turned to her music. A renowned cellist, Frankie has managed to ignore the pain and suffering of losing the person she loved most in this world. With Iris out of her mind and out of her life, Frankie was able to move on…or so she thought. Until Iris really died.

Topher went to war in 2001 only to return two years later damaged and broken. Unable to reconcile the war vet with the boy he used to be, Topher gave up on life. When Iris Rios, his long-lost childhood best friend, dies from liver failure at thirty-two years-old, Topher is forced to confront his past. He must decide whether he deserves to heal. He must decide whether he will take that first step and then take another until he can recover what he lost: himself.

Weeping Angels is a story of grief carried and grief ignored. It’s about learning to love and moving on. Mourning someone once is hard enough, but mourning someone twice is unimaginably harder.

 

Weeping Angels

Cristy Rey

Goodreads

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release date: June 27, 2014

Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords

Excerpt

What Frankie says breaks me. It breaks me. And it’s not even about Iris or me; it’s about Frankie. Everything she said about Iris fills me in on years that I’ve missed. Even when I’d been standing right beside her, I was ignoring what now seems so obvious it’s blinding. Yet, for all the talk about Iris’s alcoholism and suicidal tendencies, what Frankie’s opened up about is herself.

I’m not even sure she notices because she’s so guarded. Never once has she reflected on what she’s said. She’s been stating facts, telling stories. That’s what she thinks, anyway. I know this like I know myself, because it’s what I do. I state facts and I tell stories, and what I’m actually doing is diverting attention from what’s going on inside.

Frankie’s all Iris this, Iris that, but what I hear is: I can’t live with myself because Iris was never happy and I couldn’t save her. It’s what I hear inside myself every minute of every day, and my heart breaks for Frankie and for me. What I do next comes so naturally that it scares the living shit out of me. I don’t let her leave. I hold her as close as I can because what I want is for her to be inside of me the way she’s let me be inside of her.

In this space and time, Frankie and I are one person. I’m angry with her. I’m aggressive about it, maybe even hurting her, but I reason that it can’t be any worse than how she’s been hurting herself by balling this all up for decades.

As much as I need her to be close, I want to push her away. I want her to leave and never come back. I want Frankie to take flight tomorrow morning, and I want to be the one to deliver her to the airport because what I’m feeling is something that I’m not ready to deal with. I tell myself to let her stay here, to give her this space from death that she needs. I’m surer now more than ever that we have an unbreakable bond, but I don’t want it.

We have right now and I need it right now, but I can’t want to have it tomorrow. I can’t want to have it ever again. It’s like being with yourself all the time, but only with the ugliest parts of you. It’s looking at all the broken pieces of your psyche and being forced to confront them.

That’s what Frankie is to me. That’s what she’s been to me all day if I cop to it. Maybe it was like that last night when I went out after her in the parking lot and walked her back to the service. Maybe it’s why I couldn’t believe that she could be out there alone with no one to hide her sadness from the world. I’m making up for it today, though. Right now, I’m making up for leaving her naked and on a slab for the world to pick apart. The more I hold her, the more I fear that I’ll never be able to let her go, but I keep doing it because she’s something worth saving and, if she can be saved, then maybe I can be, too.

My Review

A Beautiful, Raw and Intense Love Story

I am familiar with Cristy Rey, having read her Paranormal Romance Taking Back Sunday which I hugely enjoyed. Weeping Angels is an entirely different read, billed as Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance, it portrays an intense journey embarked on by two lost souls and deals with the raw emotions of grief, guilt, anger and pain. It is also a beautiful inspirational love story, unlike no other I have read, and I am awed by the versatility of this writer.

In Weeping Angels Frankie and Topher meet after Iris, Frankie’s sister, has died as a result of alcoholism. Frankie, a renowned cellist, has been estranged from Iris and her family for four years after Iris refused to seek help for her addiction and her family did not acknowledge that she had a problem. Frankie pours her anger and grief at the situation into her music, which in many ways has been her constant prop in the face of witnessing her once beloved sister’s slow demise since childhood. Despite qualifying and working as a lawyer after being discharged from the military, Topher has all but given up on life and struggles to cope with PTSD arising from a Traumatic Brain Injury. Topher used to be Iris’ best friend before he enlisted, having little to do with the reclusive Frankie who refused to party and was devoted to her music.

However Iris’ death draws them together. Topher gives Frankie first the physical and then the emotional support she needs and a strong bond develops. Yet Topher believes that he is broken beyond repair, too broken for Frankie, who has her own demons to deal with. Frankie too has issues, not least her guilt at the death of her sister and the anger towards her family who did nothing to help her sister deal with her addiction. With Topher based in Miami determined to protect Frankie from himself and Frankie living in San Francisco any future together appears doomed, unless the bond they formed is strong enough to overcome their distance and overcome the tangled emotions at play.

I was totally absorbed in the development of the relationship between Frankie and Topher. Cristy Rey cleverly portrays their innermost thoughts in chapters alternating between Frankie and Topher’s POV. Both are broken in their own way and their coming together does not magically make their problems go away. Instead their meeting offers them an opportunity to overcome their problems and embrace a future together if they are willing to chance it. I loved both characters, who display a great deal of strength despite the cards Fate has dealt them. I also loved how the author illustrated Frankie’s character and emotions though her relationship to her cello and how Frankie’s music helped strengthen their bond.

Weeping Angels is a beautiful, original and emotional read, which although will have you reaching for the Kleenex, is also an inspirational one. I strongly recommend it.

A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

About Cristy Rey

Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. The first book, Taking Back Sunday, and a short prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, are available now at online retailers. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Her first standalone, Weeping Angels, is available now, and her second, Heart Grow Fonder, will be out in winter 2014/2015.

Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.

Contact Cristy

Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Website

A few of Cristy’s other novels

  

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

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Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) by C.J. Pinard

Patriotic-duty-smashwords1400Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) has everything that I love in this contemporary romance by C.J. Pinard (Enchanted Immortals series). This short novel is fun, cheeky, sexy and saucy but not without the drama of a beautiful romance. If you’re looking for a hot, cute soldier who’s looking for more than somewhere to spend the night, then Riley is your man and Patriotic Duty is your kind of book!

Single mum and recent divorcee, Cara Reid spends most of her weekends with her best friend, Miranda, having fun going to clubs, living it up and meeting hot guys. She is young and not in the least thinking to settling down any time soon, especially after her experience with her ex. However, one night after hooking up with Riley her summer is planned. He is to be in California for the summer before he is due back in Colorado, and so they spend summer together.

Cara naturally opens up to him and accepts his ways far more than she would anyone else. She is falling for him, even though she doesn’t want to admit it. Of course, it is just a summer fling. Or at least that is what she keeps informing Miranda when she stops partying for a while to be with Riley. However, as the summer comes to a close, Riley is given orders to do a tour of nine months in Afghanistan. As they agree to keep in touch, Cara is left feeling a little lost. Still not wanting to admit to her true feelings and yet not wanting to return to her life of partying with Miranda, Cara is left with a decision to make. Will she wait for her cute, hot soldier or does she move on with her life?

During the summer that they are together, Cara and Riley spend day trips together, go to a concert, visit bars, have some hot, fantastic sex, and Riley even gets to meet Cara’s son on some occasions. This shows how well their relationship is going, as usually Cara keeps this side of her life away from her son. Riley is very sweet, although the strong, silent type in some instances. Cara seems to be his world and the reader feels his sincerity to her. It is only his quieter side at times that makes Cara and the reader wonder what he is really thinking. But all will be revealed as the story moves on.

Patriotic Duty is a nice, light romance that becomes a little more serious and dramatic as the novel enters its second half, especially with Riley on tour in Afghanistan and Cara having little contact with him. What is going through Cara’s mind? Can she focus on getting her party life back with Miranda?

When Riley Met Cara has the potential to bceome much more complex and darker as the series moves on. However, for the first book of the series it does have a simple straight forward plot, which I loved after reading some heavy psychological horrors recently!! There were parts early on that made me laugh out loud as the interaction between Cara and Miranda was fun. They certainly knew how to have a laugh and cheer each other up.

I found Miranda to be a great supportive friend for Cara. Miranda, also a single mum, had been left by her ex to bring up their child and therefore, was in the same boat as Cara. Both characters are realistic and so long as the babysitters are available, of course young women would want to go out at weekends and have some fun. They also spend time together with their kids and meet up for lunch during their working week, and so have a tight bond, like sisters.

Although, Miranda’s attitude towards Cara does slightly change as she realises that Cara is becoming quite serious with Riley. She is perhaps worried for Cara that Riley will treat her bad in the end, and she may be a little jealous of the time that Riley spends with Cara when she could be with her. This is what makes Patriotic Duty realistic and easy to connect with. The characters have real feelings and thoughts that the majority of us have, and these lead to similar situations that we have either been in or those that we know have been in.

Brilliantly written by C.J. Pinard, Patriotic Duty is very fluid and there is not a moment that you lose grips with the story. I read this book in one day and so it is a very quick read. Due to the hot love scenes this book is recommended for those above the age of 18 yrs.

If you are a fan of C.J. Pinard’s urban fantasy/paranormal series, Enchanted Immortals, you will see a whole different side of her work in Patriotic Duty. C.J. has shown just how versatile her writing can be, and I for one absolutely love it. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the When Riley Met Cara series.

A Reader’s Review Blog received a copy of Patriotic Duty from the author in return for fair and honest review.

You can find Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) by C.J. Pinard on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Smashwords.

If you would like to contact C.J. Pinard you can reach her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CJPinardAuthor or you can e-mail her at cjpinardauthor@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Charades, by Ann Logan

17801498[1]-001Reviewed by Tina and Caroline (below)

Tina’s Review

High Octane Powered Tale of Love and Deception

Charades, by Ann Logan, is a thrilling tale of love and deception, where no one is who or what they seem. Caught in the centre is an innocent young woman, Mercedes Fuentes. Mercy not only has to face ghosts from her past she did not know existed, but she also has to cope with a man to whom she has given her heart but who betrays her trust.

In Charades, Mercy, whose parents are deceased and who has been sequestered in academia for years, is offered an opportunity she cannot refuse. Her task is to pose as girlfriend to Wulf Rheinhart who needs a fake fiancée for a week to close a business deal. In return, Mercy will receive a large sum of money to pay off much of her student debt.  Although Mercy is shy around men, she is persuaded by Hazel, who was a friend of her mother’s that Wulf will pose no threat as he is an honourable man and she decides to go ahead with the deal.

As soon as Wulf and Mercy meet there is a mutual attraction. Mercy senses that Wulf is a good man and something of a kindred spirit as he appears a little awkward and devoted to his work. She quickly places her trust in him as his non-threatening demeanour disarms her. Once Wulf’s business deal is secured the couple fall in love and Wulf persuades Mercy to accompany him to Germany, to meet his parents.  However, once in Germany, Mercy learns that Wulf is not the man she thinks he is. In fact she discovers that his very mission was to lure her there for another purpose entirely. She soon finds that her very life is on the line and she does not know whom to trust. Her heart tells her one thing but her mind another. Sinister forces are at play in this suspenseful tale that is full of humour, danger, adventure and plenty of romance.

I liked how Mercy’s character grew in strength throughout the novel. When we first meet her she is nervous around men, favouring dowdy clothes that hide her femininity and being prone to panic attacks. We soon learn that this is due to an experience she had when she began her studies. However, once she falls in love with Wulf she gains a lot of confidence and is able to draw on an inner strength to enable her to cope with the many difficult revelations and events which follow. I think that she surprises herself, Wulf and others with what she is capable of. However, she still retains her overall sense of vulnerability, innocence and goodness, which makes her such a likeable heroine for whom the reader wants to see a HEA.

Wulf, the hero, stole the show for me however, as he is such a lovable character. He is uncomfortable with his mission from the onset, more so when he discovers what an innocent he has to deceive. However, he feels compelled to go through with the task, for reasons that I will not divulge as it would spoil the plot. He soon falls for Mercy and rises to the occasion when he realises that she is in very real danger and uses all of his resources to keep her safe.

I loved the growing relationship between the couple, which was beautifully orchestrated. I felt that their courtship was very realistic and the lovemaking scenes sweet, Wulf being a masterful lover who soon overcomes Mercy’s fears and inhibitions. You could really tell that they were destined to be together, despite the difficulties the plot threw at them. I could understand Mercy’s misgivings when she discovers Wulf’s initial deception and other times when he did not put her fully in the picture.  I also felt Wulf’s angst at having to deceive the woman he loves.

There were many other characters in the plot, which transports the reader from the US, to Germany and to Mexico. Of special note is Hazel, who was instrumental in bringing Mercy and Wulf together and Anton, Wulf’s boss and mentor. These characters, in addition to the others, have an interesting back story and are not whom they first appear to be.

I liked the author’s writing style, which I feel gave a good balance of romance, suspense and plot twists which kept me entertained throughout. I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy romantic suspense or contemporary romance, where there are strong elements of intrigue, danger and adventure. I would read another book by the author.

 Reviewed by Tina Williams

 Caroline’s Review

‘Charades’ is an absolutely enthralling ride of love and deceipt. The apt title of this novel explains the story very well, as for poor Mercedes Fuentes one charade snowballs into many more, causing an avalanche of confusion and leaving her uncertain of where to turn. Does she remain on this path with her new-found acting fiancé, Wulf Rheinhart, or does she run? This story, characters and plot, become bigger and better as the story moves on. From the beginning when the reader believes that they are reading a contemporary romance the novel unfolds to suspense romance, thriller, crime, action, adventure and espionage.

Mercedes, more familiarly known as Mercy, has hidden herself into a life of academia, building up student loans, in order to avoid the male population. However, when a family friend offers her a chance to pay off most of the loans, Mercy cannot help but take on the offer. Mercy meets with her friend, Hazel, who has a job lined up for her to act as Wulf Rheinhart’s fiancée in order for him to make a huge business deal with his oil company. Wulf feels like he needs to portray himself as a family man and so needs Mercy to act as his fiancée for a week to secure the deal. Over the course of the week, as well as being attracted when they first met, they begin to develop a love interest for each other and, once the deal is done, Wulf takes Mercy to meet with his family in Germany.

Once in Germany, the naïve and shy Mercy discovers that she has a grandfather in Germany that once was an SS Nazi soldier and had stolen a great deal of money from the Jewish population at the time of the Second World War. It is then that she realises that Wulf’s intentions to bring her to Germany were not for the reasons she thought. Wulf has lied to her and deceived her. Now she is in paramount danger with people that seek this enormous amount of money, knowing that she is the granddaughter, with a man  that betrayed her and in a country away from anyone she trusts. On the one hand she could try and run, but where would she end up if she was alone? Her only other option is to stay with Wulf, as even though he has betrayed her, he seems to be the only one that wants her to be kept alive and safe!

I really like the name and the character ‘Wulf’ in Charades. His name sounds heroic, strong, domineering, decisive and exciting. Along with his physical appearance of being tall, rugged and muscular, this makes for a fabulous hero, one of which the readers will adore and he is perfect for the role in which he plays with Mercy. I’m sure any reader would be at his mercy given the chance! The tension between these two characters is brilliant. One can really sympathise with both characters as the reader is given both points of view as the story moves on. On the one hand Wulf has deceived Mercy on many levels by lying to her, mostly for her own safety. However, it is clear that he hates this situation. He longs to be honest with Mercy but can only do so when it is safe, therefore, Mercy only hears the truth in fractions at a time. This also leaves the reader screaming in parts for Wulf to open up more.

The story itself keeps the characters on their toes with espionage, car chases, kidnapping, threats and plenty more action from America, across to Europe, then Mexico and back! Charades is one hell of a ride. The further into the story you read the reader faces more puzzles and confusion. Ann Logan has written in such an exciting manner that the story becomes bigger and bigger. I think it reflects in the novel that Ann has a wide knowledge of visiting different countries and throughout the book there is always a deep sense of family. It definitely rings true to life in some areas as it made me wonder about my extended family and past generations. What did they get up to?

One of the interesting sides this novel has is the growing of Mercy’s character. At the beginning of this novel she was a naïve student, wary of all men and shy. She blossoms as does her relationship with Wulf and towards the end of the Charades Mercy is no longer as naïve as what she was. In the short time she has known Wulf, he has given her an insight into so much, helped her overcome a fear and she finds out how deep some people will go for love. She is now a worldy wiser woman, well aware of her sexiness and attraction and could possibly deal with any scenario she was faced with. As a reader, I found myself feeling proud of her. She is a great heroine.

Charades is definitely a fascinating read. What began as a contemporary romance for me, with love at it’s core and some really passionate sensual scenes, became a fast-paced thriller with a great plot, plenty of action and crime too. This story has it all!!

Charades was received by A Reader’s Review Blog gratefully from the publisher, Book Hub Inc. for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Charades cover art by Bri Bruce

Published by Blue Star Books