Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Book Review, Giveaway: A Summer to Remember by Victoria Cooke

A Summer to Remember 
by Victoria Cooke

Sam lives by the mantra that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

After the tragic loss of her husband, Sam built a new life around friends, her cat Coco and a career she loves. Fending off frequent set-ups and well-meaning advice to ‘move on’, Sam is resolutely happy being single.

But when Sam gets seconded to her firm’s Boston office for the summer, it is more than her career that is in for a shake-up. A spur of the moment decision to visit the idyllic beaches of Cape Cod could end up changing her life forever.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

I try to ignore the fact he’s incredibly attractive, because beauty comes from within, and there’s a gargoyle residing inside him.

It’s as though his mother went to the gene-pool buffet when she was making him and had first dibs on all the good stuff.

‘You stand here.’ Absentmindedly, I place my hands on his shoulders to manoeuvre him, and the shock of their firmness and sheer size jolts me and I almost recoil. Touching a man is such uncharted territory for me. It’s been such a long time that I feel like I’ve reached out and grabbed a forbidden sculpture at the Louvre or something.

As much as I’d like to stay here forever, England is my home. I can’t just emigrate at the drop of a hat. Besides, don’t you need the blood of a fairy godmother, half a shooting star and the wispy hair of five baby pixies just to get a green card to live here in the States?

It can take people a lifetime to figure out what makes them happy. At least you’ve figured it out while your jowls are tight and you don’t have cataracts.

My Review:

I enjoyed Ms. Cooke’s wry wit and clever humor as well as many of her secondary characters and story threads, although I waffled in my opinion and enjoyment of this book during perusal as the main character of Samantha wasn’t as endearing to me as I would have preferred; I struggled with her selfishness and deceit. I was increasingly impatient for her to gain some self-awareness and pull on her big girl panties and was more than exasperated with her immature and avoidant behaviors by the time her epiphany finally came. But this is but one of my personal pet peeves; I probably need a trigger warning for extended angst.

About The Author

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and traveling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.

Her third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.

Social Media Links –


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Victoria Cooke and Chocolates (UK Only)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: Flame (Men of Inked - Heatwave #1) by Chelle Bliss


 (Men of Inked: Heatwave #1) 

 by USA Today bestselling author - Chelle Bliss.

Flame is book one in the Men of Inked: Heatwave series. 

Men of Inked: Heatwave features steamy romance, hot alphas, and strong heroines   
(**City & Suzy's Daughter**)

Genre: Contemporary Romance /Romantic Suspense




Could you love a man surrounded by danger?
Gigi Gallo's childhood was filled with the roar of a motorcycle and the hum of a tattoo gun. Fresh out of college, she's about to start working at her family's tattoo studio -- Inked. But when she shows up the first day, she never expects to run into someone tall, dark, and totally sexy from her not-so-innocent past.
Pike Moore is a bossy biker with a cocky attitude and an even bigger ego. He came to Inked to start over. New town. New job. New roots. None of that included coming face-to-face with the hot chick who spent a week in his bed before she vanished without a trace.
But when Pike's dark family history catches up with him, can he stop Gigi from being caught in the crossfire?
Flame is book one in the Men of Inked: Heatwave series by USA Today bestselling author Chelle Bliss. The Men of Inked: Heatwave series features steamy romance, hot heroes, and strong women.


Signed Copy:


My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

The guy isn’t just hot, he’s Freaking Fine with capital Fs…

You’re a good kid. If I had a son, I’d want him to be just like you, Pike. Instead, I got a daughter because I’ve done bad shit in my life and the big guy found a way to pay me back.

I’ve also been around enough wrong women to know when I’ve found the right one.

“You out for a stroll?” he asks, confirming I am, in fact, moving too slow. But I have one speed, and it’s sloth.

“Auntie Fran, go easy on him,” Gigi says as the woman plasters her body against me, resting her head on my chest. “Shh. Don’t ruin this for me, girl. When you’re my age, there’re very few thrills left in life… Don’t ruin this for me,” Fran says again, her fingers digging into my pecs. “God, to be young again.” 

My Review:

I can never get enough of these loving, loud, luminous, and living large Gallos. Chelle Bliss kicks off her new series with a bang - featuring the next generation of sassy and brassy troublemakers with a first installment that left me tapping my little foot and eager for the next one. The storylines were heaving with irreverent humor, family drama, and breath-stealing sensual steam as well as generous lashings of danger and suspense. I inhaled this engaging tale with a steady smirk and a few gasps for good measure. Please, hurry with part two Ms. Bliss, before the little pea in my brain forgets all the deliciously juicy details. 

Meet The Author

USA Today bestselling author Chelle Bliss currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She's a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. She's written over ten books and has two series available. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and her hamster.
Before becoming a writer, Chelle taught high school history for over ten years. She holds a master's degree in Instructional Technology and a bachelor's in History. Although history is her first love, writing has become her dream job and she can't imagine doing anything else.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: Pedalo Pandemonium (Scott Family Short Story, Book 4) by Amanda Paull

Pedalo Pandemonium
 (Scott Family Short Story, Book 4)
by Amanda Paull

Amazon US / UK / AU / CA  

Laura and Ben are still together, against all the odds. Laura's Family the Scotts are adorable - but they wreak havoc wherever they go. The couple has survived first date silicon dog poo, Christmas mayhem and even dodgy marshmallows.

Their future together may have looked doomed on more than one occasion, but here they are at the airport – eating bacon sandwiches and watching planes take off, as they wait to board their flight to Mallorca.

A whole week in an idyllic Spanish fishing village. Just the two of them. Away from their families and the usual chaos. Wonderful.

What could possibly go wrong...?

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

She’d noticed that Ben had recently started calling Fenella, Mother, again in front of Laura. He seemed to have forgiven Laura for criticising him. Likening her wonderful boyfriend to Norman Bates in Psycho could have turned out to be the worst mistake of her life.

‘My brother has a pretty fierce wife.’ Ben gave Laura a wry smile. ‘Mother is no match for Millie.’ Laura felt uneasy. ‘Oh my. Ben, I really don’t think I could cope with ever meeting her.’ Ben laughed. ‘None of us can cope with Millie. Looks like a kitten, mauls like a tiger. My brother is a brave man.’

‘You looked quite stressed while you were chatting to your mam earlier,’ she said, trying not to laugh. ‘Shh, she’ll hear you and call me back,’ he said, looking around the room like a sniper and cackling.

Can you imagine being abandoned by your family?’ said Maureen, aghast. ‘Sometimes,’ said Laura.

My Review:

This was a quick and amusing diversion with those meddlesome Scotts taking their intrusive natures on the road by inserting themselves in Laura and Ben’s Mallorcan vacation. Poor Ben, I think they would need to book an outer space mission to ever escape their parents’ interference. I picked up two new words for my Brit Word List with stotted – which is British for banged, and pedalo – British for paddle boat, something poor Ben will never want to ever see again.

About The Author

My name is Amanda Paull. Well, that's my pen name, not my real one, which helps to keep my writing separate from my day job.

I grew up in the North East of England and couldn't wait to move away. However, after studying and then living both in England and abroad, I returned to the North East and wouldn't dream of living anywhere else now.

Going to Grammar school in the days when teachers wore black caps and gowns and walloped at will, wasn't much fun for a shy, quiet child like myself. So, I just kept my head down, did my homework and tried to stay invisible.

I used to love daydreaming and making up stories in my head, but I never thought about writing them down. In those days, the writing wasn't an enjoyable pursuit, it was more of a time to tow the line and avoid being hit by a flying blackboard rubber. I was the type of pupil who would have been mortified to have 'made' a teacher launch one at me, so I would have shown respect by not ducking.

A short career in teaching was a revelation, to put it mildly. After going back to University, I settled into my current post in the public sector, where I am very happy.

​It was Jim, a work colleague, who suggested around 12 years ago that I write a book. Apparently, my contribution to coffee break conversations always seemed to be either tragic or hilarious. But to me, it was just normal stuff. No-one would want to read about that.

​Then, a couple of years later, while sunbathing in Mallorca with my boyfriend, who is now my husband, and a glass of Cava, the idea of writing a humorous fiction novel came to me. I didn't need to make it all up though as I had a plentiful supply of funny real-life snippets.

To get started, I studied creative writing through the Open University, which fitted nicely around my job and, to my delight, was absolutely nothing like school. The Scott Family Short Stories started out as an assignment for this course. A Christmas Day Kerfuffle was the result of the fictional account of the first Christmas brunch my husband spent with my family. Of all the short stories, this one has more true snippets in it than the others. The taxi driver and bike box scene in Pedalo Pandemonium were pretty true to life, too. The driver looked different, but the airport to hotel transfer only required slight embellishment.

I also write Women’s Fiction. Pictures in the Sky was my debut novel, and I am currently writing my second, Painting Bananas.

Social Media Links – 




Book Review: Hit&Run (PASS Series Book 1) by Freya Barker

 (PASS Series Book 1) 
by Freya Barker

Amazon  US / UK / AU / CA / B&N

Returning home to Grand Junction would not have been Rosie Perkins’ first choice, but with her mother no longer able to take care of herself, it’s the only one she has. As is working the night shift at a local hotel to bring in a much-needed income.

Rosie juggles to keep all the pieces of her life together and has no room to add anything more. One morning after a long shift, when she witnesses a hotel guest crash into a dumpster, her careful control starts to unravel.

Security specialist, Jake Hutchinson, has his hands full protecting the arrogant lead actor of a movie being filmed in town. Since the production company and crew arrived at the hotel, the entitled star has been nothing but trouble.
The only thing that can improve his mood is the occasional nightly glimpse of the redheaded housekeeper.

Until he finds himself trapped between desire and duty.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Grant in a tent—I would give good money to see that. “Sweetheart,” he starts in complete diva mode, waving his hand up and down the front of his body. “See this six foot six frame of carefully honed muscle, coated in a rich coat of cocoa, polished and waxed to a perfect shine? This here body will not stuff itself in any sleeping bag, it does not fit in any tent, it is not intended for rough terrain, and it does not find the idea of peeing in a bush at all romantic.” He takes a deep drink of his beer, slams his empty bottle on the counter, and belches loudly, only adding to our hilarity, before he finishes. “This is a body designed for feather beds and the soft slide of twelve hundred thread-count, Egyptian cotton sheets. I’ll sleep in the wild when I’m dead.”

“With that scruff, he’s like catnip for soccer moms.” “Are you calling me a soccer mom?” she protests. “No. I’m calling him catnip.”

“I tried calling: no answer. I left a message: nothing. Finally I called your office—” He points a scathing look at Jake. “And threatened whoever was unfortunate enough to answer the phone, that I would sit on them, hold them down, and roll rubber bands through their chest hair until they’re as smooth as a baby’s butt— to get this damn address.”

For years I’d harbored the dream of a family, but eventually simply gave up even hoping. My fortieth birthday had been a come -to-Jesus moment when I felt I passed that invisible barrier between; it could still happen, and your ovaries now grow dust bunnies.

My Review:

With every new book she writes, I adore Freya Barker just a little more. She gives us everyday hard-working and well-seasoned heroes and heroines who have or are struggling with real-life issues and doing their best at jobs they may not enjoy but need to hold on to. Most of us have been there. And quite often doing those thankless jobs conflict with doing the right thing, which causes additional stress and dissatisfaction, lots of us have been there too. 

Hit&Run broke ground for an action-packed new series with several busy, realistic, and compelling storylines and a full slate of uniquely interesting, likable, and relatable characters who labor away at relatively common jobs and are doing so with healthy servings of dignity as well as a side order of irreverent humor. And of course, I must not forget to mention the supportive and sensual romance that blossoms amid of all this intriguing peril and chaos. 

All of Ms. Barker’s thoughtfully written books that I have read have been remarkably self-contained standalone stories that seamlessly interconnect with the others in their series. I am already eager for the next installment.

About the Author

Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.  Driven to make her books about 'real' people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and some hot, sizzling sex in their lives.

A recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya has not slowed down.

She continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Book Review: Silver Brewer (The Silver Foxes of Blue Ridge) by L.B. Dunbar 

Title: Silver Brewer: The Silver Foxes of Blue Ridge
Author: L.B. Dunbar 
Genre: Over 40 Romance Standalone
Release Date: September 12, 2019

Olivet Pierson needs his land. 

Name your price, Mr. Harrington. 

She has her reasons, and this muscular mountain of masculinity isn’t going to get in her way. However, her heart has a different plan after she accepts his crazy conditions: three nights up on the ridge.
George Harrington is a quiet, giant of a man. 
No sale, Cricket.
He’s a war hero, a widower, and COO for the family brewing company, but his life lacks spontaneity. Then, she arrives, chirping away at him, roaming his body with those sky-blue eyes, and negotiating for something he won’t put a price on. Too bad his heart is immediately sold.
With the challenge accepted, this silver fox can no longer deny his desires for something a little different.
Welcome to Blue Ridge where sexy silver foxes meet their match of feisty vixens.
The Harrington brothers are a spin-off from Second Chance, but don’t you worry, this over 40 romance can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.

PP’s Bookshelf - “Sexy. Emotional. Angsty. Real. Honest. Heartbreaking. Swoonworthy. Heartwarming.”

Bibliophile Chloe - “Ms. Dunbar doesn't fail to amaze me with her writing of mature characters, still full of life, still wanting to find love and the holy hotness of the chemistry and smexy times!”

Cee Cee Houston - “L.B. Dunbar has found her niche. The over 40’s is definitely a trope she does extremely well.”

My Rating: 

Favorite Quotes:

“Micro-penis? Poor guy.” “Wrong again. Poor me.”

I’m content to have him kiss me like he is, like I’m the air he needs to breathe and the color in his wind.

Hope is a dangerous emotion.

I don’t think there needs to be a time limit on love or grief. Grief ends when you’re done. And love begins when you’re ready.

My Review:

She was his Cricket and forever chirping.

He was her Giant ax throwing, he-man, sex god, and part-time shampoo boy.

I always enjoy Ms. Dunbar’s clever and uniquely appealing character development as well as her use of witty banter and toe-curling sensual romance. This couple was a study of opposites and contradictions; which can be a good thing, although I found myself growing increasingly annoyed with the repetitive inner musings of angsty doubt and obtuse miscommunications.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it, there was far too much contrived conflict just for drama’s sake for my taste, but that’s just me, angst and flighty flip-flopping characters are never going to reside on my list of favorite things. But, in the plus column - he washed her hair, there were freezer fairies, and did I mention the breath-stealing and volcanically hot and erotic sex scenes? I thought I might have ;)

“Before you try to steal my land, perhaps you should learn a thing or two about it.”

I stare up at him as his expression turns virile. 

“I know this piece of property could earn you millions.” I look beyond him, taking in the small bit of landscape I can see around his broad hips and crossed arms.
“I told you, I don’t want the money.” He scoffs. “I’m talking about dirt under your toes. Wind in your face. Stars in your eyes.” His eyes nearly dance as though he has undisclosed information he’s waiting to share with me, and strangely, I want to know his secret. And though dirt under my toes doesn’t sound pleasant, it doesn’t sound terrible either.
Tell me. Tell me all your wisdom and woes. I swallow with the intensity of his glare and rub a hand down the thigh of my jeans.
“Okay, so I’m not Pocahontas. How would I learn?” My voice cracks, sounding meek. Teach me, Yoda.
“From the land.” He pauses. His crossed arms bulge before me and lift with the heave of his frustrated inhale. What would those arms feel like around me?
“And your land will just teach me?” Oh God. Did my voice just drop? Did I exaggerate your land, implying something other than the greenery around us? Damn Marcus and his damnable innuendos, but if this man means I can hike his landscape, I volunteer as tribute. “How?”
“What?” I stammer. My mouth falls open.
“Camping. Three nights of roughing it and then I’ll think about your proposition. You break before that and no deal.”
My proposition? Did I proposition him? Can he see the images racing through my mind? I want to do all kinds of things to him, starting with the body part closest to me. My heart races, and my sweaty palms…sweat more. My breath catches.

Anything whispers through my mind along with the song “Colors of the Wind.”

My eyes narrow. My heart thuds to a screeching halt. 
This is crazy.
But I slowly rise, pressing up on my thigh as I stand. I come to my full height, which doesn’t quite match his, but with the help of the two step difference, I’m close. My gaze meets his fiery eyes. There’s one thing this man needs to learn about me. I like nothing more than to prove others wrong.
“Challenge accepted.”

L.B. Dunbar loves the sweeter things in life: cookies, Coca-Cola, and romance. Her reading journey began with a deep love of fairy tales and alpha males. She loves a deep belly laugh and a strong hug. Occasionally, she has the energy of a Jack Russell terrier. Accused—yes, that’s the correct word—of having an overactive imagination, to her benefit, such an imagination works well. Author of over two dozen novels, she’s created sexy rom-coms for the over 40; intrigue on an island; MMA chaos; rock star mayhem, and sweet small-town romance. In addition, she earned a title as the “myth and legend lady” for her modernizations of mythology as elda lore. Her other duties in life include mother to four children and wife to the one and only.