*REVIEW* ~ Touch of Smoke, by Karissa Laurel

 #Romance #Paranormal

Book Blurb

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

My Review ~ Riveting second chance romance with a paranormal twist

5 Stars *****

I hugely enjoyed Touch of Smoke, by Karissa Laurel, a flawlessly orchestrated second chance romance with a paranormal twist. It is the first book that I have read by the author and I found it to be a compulsive read.

The story commences in the present day when the heroine Rikki, plagued by nightmares of what happened in her home town, returns there, after an absence of three years. She vows to find answers. Her quest compels her to confront Owen, a young man whom she was once very close to. It soon becomes clear that she still has strong feelings for him, however, it is Owen whom she fears is the source of her nightmares. Can she trust him? Is Owen the monster? What really happened the night Mina died?

I was glued to my Kindle throughout this read. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the way the book was constructed, using flashbacks to progress the story and link the present to the past. Both the central characters, Rikki and Owen have considerable baggage from their past: Rikki through personal loss, which has resulted in trust issues, and Owen through the trauma of having served in the US military. Rikki is a strong character, despite her inner fears and self-doubts and Owen is a real hottie, whose secrets the reader wants to get to the bottom of!

The couple has many hurdles to overcome, even without the increasing menace of evil the reader senses as the book unfolds. I was rooting for the couple throughout and once Owen’s secrets were out of the bag I was on tenterhooks as to how the story would play out. Once more, the weaving of the paranormal element into the story and their relationship certainly added to my enjoyment of the read.

I’d recommend this read to lovers of romance and the paranormal.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for a fair and honest review.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~Trailblazer (Verdant String #3), by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifiromance #suspense

 

Book Blurb

He’s on a mission . . .
She’s running for her life . . .
And if they get off-planet alive, she’ll have to trust he won’t reveal her darkest secret.

Tally Riva is not what she seems, and even she’s not happy about it. Infected, invaded, she’s not quite sure how to describe it, but on a disastrous mission to a ghost ship, something burrowed its way into her body. Into her mind.

When her commander decides the best cure for what he thinks is Tally’s trauma is to send her on the famous Veltos Trail, Tally goes without revealing what’s really behind her mental anguish. Anything to be seen as normal again, anything to ignore what she’s afraid is happening to her.

But Veltos isn’t the safe place it seems. The chosen military personnel lucky enough to be offered the chance to walk the Trail are supposed to be the only people on Veltos. But Ben Guthrie, a captain in Arkhoran Special Forces, knows they’re not. He and his team have been on Veltos for a month already, tracking suspicious enemy activity, and he’s gone undercover on the Trail in search of a satellite his superiors are sure has been shot down.

When Ben’s worst fears become reality, and they find themselves hunted by a cunning enemy through the thick forests of Veltos, Tally and Ben fight together to survive. And Tally has to decide if accepting the changes inside her will save them both, or be her doom.

TRAILBLAZER is a standalone novel, and the third full length book set in the world of the Verdant String.

Books in the series are: Interference & Insurgency (Two Novellas of the Verdant String), Breakaway, Breakeven, Trailblazer.

My Review – 5 stars

Suspenseful and adventure packed

This is an expertly crafted and suspenseful read with plenty of action and also a romance for the central character Tally. I was so engrossed in the story that after a while I felt as if I was living and breathing alongside Tally and her fellow trail walkers on the planet Veltos where much of the book is set. The story worked well for me as a standalone, although I feel that if I had read the earlier books in the series they would have only added to my enjoyment.

I loved Tally the central character. She is one strong woman despite the trauma she has recently endured of being the sole survivor on a ghost ship, where an alien entity has invaded her body and mind. This makes her vulnerable as she finds herself at war with herself. For although whatever it is that has burrowed inside her is determined to protect her, its host, from harm, she is sometimes compelled to act in ways that are at odds with her free will.

Sent on the Veltos trail to aid her recovery from what was a disastrous mission, she is at pains to conceal what has taken up residence inside her and her oftentimes new abilities. However, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from fellow trail members as they find themselves the quarry of an enemy who is stalking them. It is especially difficult to hide the truth from Ben Guthrie, a member of the special forces who is on a mission to find out what really is going on on Veltos. Ben too is a strong character and a worthy mate for Tally.

I found the whole premise of the book, combined with the central characters of Tally and Ben and the secondary characters, made for a cracking scifi adventure. The read has plenty of tension and suspense as the plot develops and truths reveal themselves. I was on pins with how far Tally could control the entity inside her and how others would react when and if its presence was revealed. and also whether they would survive the enemy stalking them.

Thoroughly recommended for lovers of sci-fi and space opera who also love romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given t me by the author for a fair and honest review.

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MARCH 2019 SALE – RED RIVER VALLEY BOOKS 1-4 BY SHELLY ALEXANDER, 99p EBOOK SALE

Amazon UK Sale, Red River Valley Series by Author Shelly Alexander

hosting RRV MARCH 2019

A sweet, stirring romance series with just enough steam and chemistry to make you swoon. It’s set against the charming landscape of the Southern Rockies, where the nights are cool and the romance is hot.

Books 1 – 4 in Red River Valley Series ONLY 99p each on Amazon.co.uk.

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In a close-knit small town like Red River, keeping your business—and your heart—to yourself is next to impossible. Neighbors become friends, and friends can sometimes become much, much more. Against a backdrop of stunning mountains and quirky businesses, locals and visitors alike discover soul mates, second chances, and new beginnings. Shelly Alexander’s sweet and steamy Red River Valley series offers compelling characters grappling with contemporary issues in emotion-packed stories tinged with wit and warmth. Red River: an unforgettable small town that romance readers will want to visit again and again.

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Release Date 11 March 2019

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Shelly Alexander’s first published novel was a 2014 Golden Heart® finalist. She is an Amazon #1 bestselling author in numerous categories, including contemporary romance, contemporary women’s fiction, and romantic comedy.

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Shelly grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in business for twenty-five years. With four older brothers and three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels…and has been hooked ever since. Now, Shelly spends her days writing novels that are sometimes sweet, sometimes sizzling, and always sassy. She lives in the beautiful Southwest with her husband and toy poodle named Mozart. Visit her at www.shellyalexander.net

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*REVIEW* ~ The Firebrand (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #3) , by Susan Wiggs

#historicalromance #suffragettes #romance

Book Blurb

On October 8, 1871, one small spark ignites the entire city of Chicago, sending its residents into panic. But amid the chaos, a chance encounter leads to an unexpected new love. Wiggs’s USA Today bestselling trilogy is now reissued.

Chicago is burning

And Lucy Hathaway is running for her life.
As she rushes past a fine hotel engulfed in flames, a wrapped bundle
tumbles from a window into her arms. Seconds later the building
crumbles–and Lucy is astonished to discover the swaddled blanket
contains a baby.

Five years later Lucy walks into Rand
Higgins’s bank and knows: the orphan she rescued that day actually
belongs to this ruthless financier. Now, to keep the child she’s come to
love, she’ll have to give up her hard-won freedom and become his wife.
But giving Rand her heart? That, she could never have expected…

My Review ~ Fantastic read! ~5 stars

This is the first book that I have read by Susan Wiggs and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has plenty of tension and conflict between the hero and heroine, which for me is always a strong plus. Not only that but it gave me an insight into the terrible fire that engulfed Chicago and the women’s movement in America at the time.

Rand, renowned for his strong business and financial acumen, is both a scarred and bitter man, the Chicago fire of 1871 having impacted on his life in a terrible way. Yet a miracle happens and the child he thought he had lost reappears in his life. To do right by her he is compelled to forge a marriage of convenience with the headstrong radical and social outcast, Lucy Hathaway. Lucy is everything Rand despises in a woman and sparks fly between the two of them as does an undeniable attraction …

Can this union of opposites ever have a chance of succeeding when many in Chicago society are against it? The journey both the hero and the heroine embark on is an emotional one and I admired their commitment to the child that they both love. Can Lucy reign in her radical views and activities and conform to the expectations of polite society or will she lose her sense of self in the process? Can Rand change his chauvinistic views and give a little? It is not an easy ride for either of them and there are many hurdles to overcome.

I loved this entertaining romance and the companion books in the series are now on my to read list. I’d highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*ARC REVIEW* ~The Monster’s Wife (The Fenris Series Book 2), by Samantha MacLeod

#eroticromance #erotica #norsemythology

Adult/18+ read


Book Blurb

Saved by the monster!

Sol and her lover Fenris escaped the cruel king Nøkkyn and fled deep into the Ironwood. Yet life in the forest proves more perilous than Sol imagined. Is the handsome Týr, one of the Æsir from the myths of her childhood, a friend or a foe? How well does she actually know the mysterious man who saved her from Nøkkyn’s clutches?

And, even hidden beneath the shadows of the Ironwood forest, are Fenris and Sol truly safe from the King’s reach?

My Review ~ 5 stars *****

Sizzling Instalment to Fenris series

Oh my goodness, my Kindle almost ignited on reading this sizzling instalment to the Fenris series! Samantha Macleod has most definitely taken hotness up a notch or two to a whole new level with The Monster’s Wife. Sequestered together in the depths of the Ironwood Forest, away from the prying eyes of villagers and King Nøkkyn, Sol and Fenris just can’t get enough of each other…

Fenris, eager to please his wife, will go to any lengths to satisfy Sol and Sol’s love for him grows as she discovers more about his complex past. Yet can Sol adjust to the life Fenris can offer her away from the bosom of her family and village life? Who is the mysterious Týr and what is his relationship with Fenris? Are they really out of the reach of King Nøkkyn or will they forever be looking over their shoulders for fear of being caught?

Once again the author excels with her trademark style of beautifully descriptive, lyrical erotica which delves deep into the emotions of her characters and brings Norse mythology alive.

Highly recommended for readers of erotica and erotic romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

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Review~The Mercenary (The Araloka Chronicles Book 1), by Petra Landon

#spaceopera #sci-fi #romance #interspeciesromance

Book Blurb

2018 RONE award finalist for Sci-Fi / Time Travel

She’s a prisoner of the Imperial Forces. He’s a nomad with a mercenary army. Can a girl’s desperate gamble and a fierce warrior’s love turn the tide of war and rewrite the destiny of their corner of the galaxy?

In a distant corner of the galaxy, Sector Araloka burns in the flames of a deadly war. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected.

Saakshi
Imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, a young Budheya rebel is sent to a distant space station to work in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe walks into the alehouse.

Zoran
Zoran is Hadari’Kor – notoriously fierce mercenaries who only fight for hire. Drawn to a weary-eyed server girl, Zoran is forced to confront age-old traditions and question his role in the war.

The Rebel & The Mercenary
Alone, friendless and far from home, Saakshi makes a desperate gamble to trust an enigmatic stranger whose hot gaze haunts her dreams. The echoes of this unlikely alliance reverberate across the sector. As a relentless enemy hunts Saakshi, Zoran must fight with everything in his arsenal to protect her. When passion ignites amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will a warrior’s quest for justice bring a mighty Empire to its knees …

Author’s Note : A spirited and resilient rebel, a fierce warrior with a mighty heart, a fiery passion that flares amidst the debris of a deadly war and a love that will alter the fate of an entire quadrant.

This is a standalone story that sets the scene for The Araloka Chronicles – a collection of SciFi Romance tales with Space Opera undertones.

My Review

Fantastic start to a new series – 5 stars

I so loved this! I adore sci-fi romances, especially when they involve inter species relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of Saakshi and Zoran, the rebel and the mercenary – they are perfect for each other but have many obstacles to overcome before they can secure their HEA.

The plot centres on their romance but it also introduces us to the politics and the wider issues at play. The narrative contains some great world building and I enjoyed learning about the various personalities and factions within the Alliance and the Imperial Forces, the later who are holding Saakshi prisoner and who have control over her destiny. The reader is also introduced to other characters who will no doubt have a role to play in future instalments which I am eager to read.

Saakshi is a strong woman who has gone through a lot and she clearly needs protecting from an enemy who does not have her wellbeing at heart. Zoran is truly an honourable male and Saakshi is one lucky girl indeed to have him on her side as a knight in shining armour. I enjoyed the interplay between the couple for although Zoran is a very dominant male he ultimately takes great care to allow Saakshi the space to determine her own future.

Although the romance is a sweet one there are a number of sizzling scenes and also ones containing violence and threats of violence as Saakshi seeks to escape from an old foe who has a score to settle with her. Zoran will have to question his role as mercenary and decide what is important to him. Can he protect Saakshi? Will they have a future together? What impact will his actions have on the political power balance? Will Saakshi ever be able to return to her home planet?

All in all a fabulous read for fans of sci-fi romance, especially those who enjoy sweeping space operas.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Marquess to a Flame, Rules of the Rogue book 3, by Emily Windsor

#sensual #regency #romance #historicalromance

A London rogue with a winter’s heart… A Cornish lady with a glimpse of spring…. Seasons collide & passions flame as the seducer becomes the seduced.

Tone: Warm. Witty. Romantic.
Heat Level: Sensual. Moderate.

Release Date: 30th January 2019

Blurb

A winter’s heart…

“Debonair, handsome and with a devil’s smile. How could any woman resist?”

The Marquess of Winterbourne has long been guided by his Rules of the Rogue, but as emissary for the Crown, his next mission will break every single one. Sent to the wilds of Cornwall to beguile secrets from a country miss, the last thing this rogue expects is to unearth his own buried heart.
A taste of spring…

“A rogue and a fribble. How could any woman succumb?”

Miss Tamsyn Penrose remains far from impressed by charming London scoundrel Lord Winterbourne, preferring a wild gallop over the moors to flashing black eyes and fulsome flattery. But as danger lurks and prejudice ebbs, she uncovers a complex man who awakens her hidden strength and arouses her forgotten fire.
Seasons collide…

Desire sparks and passion flares in this Cornish land of cove and tor. Can Tamsyn step from the shadow of her past? And will Jack Winterbourne tear up the rules for a woman who maddens his senses and thaws his heart?

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes a fusty valet with a secondary love story, picnics, swordplay, peacocks and…piskies.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Witty and Suspenseful 

I loved this witty and suspenseful Regency Romance, penned by Emily Windsor. In it, the quintessential London rake, Jack Winterbourne, is brought to his knees by a country miss, Tamsyn Penrose. We met Jack in previous books in the series and I have been eagerly awaiting his story as he appeared to be a rogue beyond redemption! Although it is not necessary to read the other books in the series, I’d urge you to do so as they are equally as enthralling as this one.

I loved both the hero and heroine. Indeed, I went through the whole gamut of emotions when reading this novel – a number of scenes had me recoiling in horror, whilst others had me laughing and crying with laughter – the antics of Jack, Tamsyn and the cast of supporting characters kept me entertained throughout. The read contains a secondary romance between Jack’s valet and Tamsyn’s companion and this added to my enjoyment.

The book refers to moving events from both Jack and Tamsyn’s past, events which have shaped their characters. The author does an excellent job of illustrating how both the hero and heroine need to overcome their inner conflicts to ensure their HEA. It is not an easy path but throughout the read I was rooting for them to be together, although at times I did want to shake them and give them a good talking to!

Emily Windsor skilfully weaves romance coupled with sparkling and witty dialogue with danger and suspense which kept me guessing throughout. Will Jack and Tamsyn overcome issues from their past and take a chance on love before it’s too late? Will dangers from Tamsyn’s past come back to ruin her future happiness? Can a rogue’s heart finally thaw?

All in all a super read for fans of sensual Regency Romance which contains wit, charm and romance in spades. Thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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