Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Release & Giveaway: Devil and the Deep by Megan Tayte

In case you haven't heard of this series (which is awesome, by the way), then you need to check it out! Not only is it written by a super sweet lady but Death Wish (the first in the series) is a really good book that I gave 4 stars to! 

I'm ecstatic to introduce you to #4 in The Ceruleans series, Devil and the Deep!


Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.

For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.

Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.

But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with: Blood.

When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.

A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.

A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’

An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.

The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.

‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’

‘Did not,’ argued another.

‘Did too!’

‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’

Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’

I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.

But it was no good.

The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.

The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.

The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.

The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.

The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.

Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.

‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’

I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.

The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’

‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.

‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’

I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.

‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’

Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.

‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’

His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.

He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’

I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’


‘Yes, that.’

‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.

‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.

‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’

I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’

Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.

‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.

‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.

‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.

‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

Find Megan online here:

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Never Surrender by Rosie Miles

Police officer Maggie Sinclair prides herself on her independence. She doesn't need anyone, especially her ex-lover. Working undercover to expose a prostitution ring, Maggie rescues two teenaged girls—but blows her cover in the process. Now she's in deep, and the only person who can help her is the last man she wants to call...

Detective Quinn Keller remembers Maggie telling him Hell would freeze over before she needed him. He offered her everything, and she rejected him. Now he has the opportunity to show Maggie they're stronger as a team—even as their attraction becomes increasingly hotter. But this passion won't just bring them together or tear them could get them both killed.

Geez, I just don't know about this one! I hate that that statement is my opening line for my review but that is really how I feel about Never Surrender. When I first read the blurb for this one, I was intrigued. I thought that the whole thing sounded interesting and I was excited to crack it open. Well, not literally since I read it on my Kindle but you know what I mean. 

I'll just cut to the chase and get down to business on this one. I'll be honest, it felt like it jumped around a little. We would be in the middle of a situation and then all of the sudden it would go to something else seemingly out of nowhere. The conversations also felt ... disconnected. I didn't get that connection with any of the characters on any kind of level ... I never felt sorry for them or excited or happy or even sad. That being said, I still enjoyed the premise. I wanted to know what was going to happen (even though it was a tad predictable) but I found myself skipping sentences and then paragraphs because I was just not that engaged. 

Supposedly, this is a romance and some even say romantic suspense. But I didn't get the suspense and I really didn't get the romance part. The interactions between Maggie and Quinn felt forced and not from the character's standpoint, if that makes any sense. Let me see if I can explain ... the romance between those two just didn't feel ... normal. It felt forced and not because of their past. I know that there should have been passion between them because of the words that the author used but just reading those words isn't enough. There should almost be this palpable chemistry between characters, in my opinion. I should be jealous of the chick involved because she is with such a smokin' hot guy and he's so romantic or passionate or whatever. And I should want to make said smokin' hot dude my new book boyfriend. Instead, it was like witnessing two octopi (or octopuses if you prefer) making out ... sure there seems to be a lot going on because of all of the movement and rustling about but who is really for sure what is going on. That is exactly how the "romantic" moments in this book felt like. 

Back to the suspense part ... about a third of the way into the book there was a big surprise and I was so excited. I thought that things were looking up and I would become more entranced with the characters and all of that. Unfortunately, I just totally plateaued out for me. I found myself in the same position I was in previously with the plot jumping nonsense and the very sad excuse for a romance. 

I don't think that I'll be picking up another book by this author. I'm glad I gave it a shot because I would always wonder what it was like if I hadn't. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: October 19th, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Bad to the Bone by Wendy Byrne

Trust is a dangerous game...
When her Uncle Jack is arrested on drug charges, Sammie Murphy hops the first plane to Key West. Being rescued isn't on her uncle's to-do list, though. When he admits guilt and instructs her to go home, Sammie knows with 100% certainty something is seriously wrong.

Veteran DEA agent Enrique Santos knows when a bust is solid. So why is he allowing Jack Murphy's niece to mess with his head? He's been set-up and nearly killed by a woman like her before, and he's not about to make that mistake again.

But then things at Murphy's bar take a turn for the dangerous, leaving Sammie entangled in Enrique's dark past. Forced to second-guess his convictions, Enrique has no choice but to kidnap the one woman who could destroy everything...including his heart.


Bad to the Bone is the first book that I've read by Wendy Byrne and I was pretty impressed! To be honest, I would have given this book five stars but I became quite irritated with it in the beginning but we'll go over that a bit later. 

I enjoyed most of the characters in this book. I thought that Uncle Jack was endearing and completely overly protective (as he should be) and the author absolutely made me believe that this man would do anything to keep his niece safe. He is the main focus of this book but I was left with a few questions at the end that I wish that I didn't have. But it was nothing that was super important to the plot or anything. It comes down to the author creating an interesting character and me feeling like I just didn't get enough background info. But I'm never happy because I'm a greedy reader. Anyhow ...

Sammie. Oooh, Sammie. I liked her character. But only after the first 50 pages or so. Holy crap. Those first 50 were a bit painful and it was for an extremely stupid reason!! And please, keep in mind that this is just my issue, you probably won't have the same feelings. Hopefully. Here's the deal ... Sammie said over and over (ad nauseam) stuff about "bad boys". 

For example: Sammie is only attracted to bad boys, and bad boys are attracted to her ... look isn't this dude a bad boy? No, that dude might not be a bad boy. She likes how bad boys look but bad boys don't treat her nicely and bad boys always surprise her but not in a good way and you know she is destined to be with a bad boy so she might as well not try and be with someone else but aren't bad boys really cute, they are super cute but they are bad! BAD BOY! They're so naughty, those bad, bad boys.

Yeah. That was not a direct quote, by the way. That is just how reading the first part of the book felt. Damn, woman! You're like a dog with a bone but I've got it. I can read and understand most words in the English language, I think I've picked up on the fact that you like bad boys and they aren't good for you. Got it. Check that damn box and let's move on! After I got through that torturous part of the book, I was good. The author does calm down with that bad boy talk the further you get into the book. I understand why it was done ... it needed to be established that Sammie makes bad choices when it comes to men. But I think it didn't need to be so in your face. 

Like I said, I did enjoy this one and I would definitely pick up another book by Byrne in the future because maybe in the next one I won't be so sensitive and irritable and take it out on a poor, innocent book. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: Unlikely Venture (The Venture Series #1) by Kristen Luciani

Here's the thing about keeping secrets...

After learning Jessica's been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, her fiancé bolted out of her life as if he was on fire. She finds solace in her career--no distractions or romantic entanglements there!

But the universe has its own agenda.

Three thousand miles away from home and in the most unlikely of circumstances, Jessica meets Silicon Valley rising star James Callahan and her world is instantly turned upside down. Things go further awry when she encounters a ghost from the past. That one night of reckless abandon is back to haunt her and the control she fought so hard to regain is now in the hands of another.

Plagued by betrayal and guilt over his dad’s untimely death, James left Cambridge in search of a new beginning. With laser-focus, he built a cutting edge technology company now on the brink of financial success. Romance is the last thing on his mind…until he meets Jessica.

Fate brought them together, awakening their dormant emotions. But Jessica’s scandalous secret consumes her and threatens the very happiness she feared she’d never find with another man. Can James handle the truth about her past? Or did she pick the wrong guy yet again?

This marks the first and last book that I've read by Kristen Luciani. Just saying that makes me feel like a big jerk. Authors work so very hard on their book(s) and here I am, ripping it apart. Reviewing books is an awesome little hobby to have ... at least until you get your hands on a book that you just don't mesh with. Well, I guess I better stop stalling and get on with this. 

From the very beginning of Unlikely Venture, I had a super hard time connecting with the characters and the story. The book was reading ... flat ... I just didn't get any kind of emotion from any of the characters. I was just reading sentences and I wasn't being immersed into the novel. This continued throughout the entire book for me. There were times when you could tell that emotions should be high for the characters due to what was going on but even then, I got nothing. No emotional connection. 

It was even worse when James came into the picture. The conversations between him and Jessica didn't have that spark ... I didn't feel any pull between them. It read like they were brother and sister in the beginning. I was expecting something ... anything ... that would signify some sort of attraction between them and I just didn't get that. Hell. I'll be honest, I found myself 15% into the novel and I had no clue what the main character's name was. I couldn't even differentiate between Jessica and her friend Lisa, they both read like one person rather than two different ones. And not knowing their names until I was a quarter of the way through didn't help. I'm not saying that their names weren't given, they were. They were just completely forgettable to me. 

The whole story was forgettable. So very sad. There were quite a few elements that should have made this an unforgettable novel for me but for some reason, it didn't connect. I mean, this book had everything: romance, illness, estranged family, broken relationships ... I wish that I had liked it. 

Keep in mind, a lot of people really did like this one. Don't take my word for it, read some more reviews and then make your decision about reading Unlikely Venture. Maybe I'll pick this one up again and change my opinion but that isn't happening right now. 

As a side note ... I accidentally wrote a status update for this book on Goodreads for 37% and it was actually for another book ... mistakes happen and Goodreads update mistakes can't be deleted apparently because I can't find where to do it. Oops.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Review: The Best of Both Rogues (Rival Rogues #3) by Samantha Grace

The worst thing Mr. Benjamin Hillary ever did was leave his bride-to-be on their wedding day.
The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man.

After two long years abroad, Ben finds Eve every bit as captivating as she was the first time he saw her, and he vows to set things right.

Lady Eve Thorne has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble. She is no longer a starry-eyed young woman, and now that he's back, he can go hang for all she cares. At least that's what she keeps telling herself...

This was my first foray into the writing world of Samantha Grace and to be honest, it might be my last. Initially, I was really intrigued by the blurb on this one. I thought that it would be an interesting push and pull between two men that Eve are attached to ... one from the past and one from the present. And I thought that both dudes would be a bit sketchy because hey, the book is called The Best of Both Rogues. But that is not what I encountered. At all. 

I guess I'll just start with the title ... which was a little misleading, in my opinion. In these historical romance novels, when I see the word 'rogue', it leads me to believe that the man in question is sketchy or naughty or has some deplorable quality that (I will find endearing) will make him unappealing to a lady in the book. The two men involved in this novel aren't rogues. Hell, I even had to look up the definition because I thought that maybe what I thought was a rogue wasn't a rogue and I have been totally wrong all these years. But rogue means dishonest or unprincipled ... a villain, scoundrel, rascal, miscreant. I just didn't see one of these male characters as that and maybe I could see the other one as a scoundrel but it was only if I pulled a Mona Lisa ... you know ... when you squint and look away really quickly ... anyhow. The title was misleading.

I didn't have a problem with any of the characters, I generally liked all of them. I enjoyed getting to know Eve and Ben. I thought that Ben was a nicely tortured character (my favorite) and Eve was a sweet, yet strong female lead but other than just a general and flat feeling of being okay with these characters, I really had no other feelings toward them. None of them knocked my socks off or made me wish that I could have just one more sentence, paragraph or chapter with them because the thought of the book being over and the character's stories being done was close to crushing my soul. I was just okay with it being done.

The story itself was interesting but it felt pushed along. The plot didn't go just buzzing along at an interesting place, I found myself having to push through paragraphs just to get to the next part of the book. That is never a good feeling to have. Especially when it is a book in one of my favorite genres. I should be left wondering how the characters are doing or wishing that I could see just a few more instances where sparks are flying between the to leads. I wasn't to the point of wishing for my death rather than having to finish this book but I didn't seek the book out in my free time, either. 

All in all, I might pick up another book by this author and I might not. I don't know. I do know that this book has received a pretty high rating, so I might be super wrong about what I'm feeling and my thoughts on this one. Maybe I missed something. Maybe there is an outside reason why I didn't connect and maybe I would change my mind on my rating if I read it again. At this point, I stand completely behind my rating and I hope that the experience is different for other readers.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review: Stop at Nothing (Protect and Serve #1) by Kate SeRine

When a high-profile investigation goes wrong, FBI Agent Kyle Dawson is transferred back home where he is forced to confront his demons…and the only woman he ever loved. Three years ago, Kyle and Abby Morrow shared a wild, passionate summer—then Abby broke his heart.


Kyle never stopped loving Abby. So when Abby uncovers evidence of a human-trafficking ring, leading to her sister’s kidnapping, he swears he’ll stop at nothing to bring her sister home and keep Abby safe. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse and blindsided by their own explosive desires, they must set aside the past before it’s too late.

This is the first book that I've read by this author and I'll probably try another book by her in the future. Probably ... I had a few issues with this book and I need to see if it is what happens in all of her books. 

When I picked up Stop at Nothing, I was really excited. Romantic suspense has to be my absolutely favorite genre and to find a new author is like finding a pile of money sitting on your doorstep when you wake up. Anyhow ... I was excited. I immediately fell in love with Kyle Dawson. I liked his passion and drive and his smart-ass attitude. There's something sexy as hell about a witty smart-ass and I can't seem to get enough of it. I felt this way about him throughout the entire book, it wasn't just in the beginning (which sometimes happens). I hate it when a character starts to change and loses all of the qualities that I love about them. To be honest, I really liked most of the characters. I thought that all of them were really well written and I either loved them or hated them immediately. SeRine was able to elicit strong emotional ties to her characters from me and that was refreshing. I like being invested in a novel and all of that. 

Soo ... there was one thing that really chapped my ass. Well ... two things ... the first being that I had a bit of a hard time differentiating between Kyle's brothers. I know that there can be some struggles with telling brothers apart in a book but this wasn't just when I was getting to know them. It was during the entire book. I just had a hard time keeping them straight and who did what and who was who and who was dating who. They were just too similar for me. I mean, yeah ... siblings are similar. Obviously that happens but when reading a book,, I prefer them to be different enough to be able to tell them apart. 

Next up ... when I received this book, I didn't know that it was part of a series. After I started reading, I began to wonder if this book came in the middle of the series. There were a couple of parts in the book that felt like it either needed to be expounded upon or had already been explored in a previous novel. Come to find out, this is the first book in the series. I don't know if these few confusing situations will be explained more in future books or if they were just a glimpse of a background that we will never hear anything else about.

These two things were kind of big issues for me and I should have given this one 3 stars but I loved the characters so much, I thought it really deserved 4. I'm a reserved excited about the next book in the series, I want to read it but at the same time, what if these issues are present in this next book? It will ruin my views on this one and do I want to chance that? Only time will tell. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: November 3rd, 2015