Sunday, March 31, 2019

Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say 
by Kelly Rimmer

Amazon US / UK / AU / CAB&N

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

There was nothing to bury, no body to conduct a service over. Instead, we heard that he was gone, and that was that… Nothing had changed, except that nothing was the same anymore, because once I had two brothers, and now I had one… Our oppression was loss without reason, and pain without a purpose.

I didn’t yet understand the horrific depths of the evil of the Nazi agenda— but somehow in the moonlight that night, I felt the loss of humanity, a very pause in the heartbeat of our shared existence on this planet.

War breaks us down to nothing more than our most selfish will to survive— but when we rise above that instinct, miracles can still happen.

Life has a way of shattering our expectations, of leaving our hopes in pieces without explanation. But when there’s love in a family, the fragments left behind from our shattered dreams can always be pulled together again, even if the end result is a mosaic.

My Review:

This captivating tale was my introduction to the breathtaking storytelling of Kelly Rimmer, and it was an exceptional and epic experience.  I was immediately embroiled in the vastly different situations and timelines that consumed and defined Alice and Alina’s worlds, with each storyline cast with curiously and uniquely fascinating characters and circumstances. 

The writing was craftily emotive, intriguing, and devastating. I was well and fully hooked and sat riveted to my Kindle while alternating between cringing, sighing, and occasionally gasping and gulping past the hot rocks in my throat.  I was wrecked, gutted, and burning with indignation over the well-orchestrated and demonic cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis as a whole and at the individual level. 

I cannot begin to imagine the massive amount of research involved to pull all the various historic and profoundly complicated elements together.  However, I am even more impressed and completely awed by the elegance and mastery in finessing such a poignant and thoughtfully compelling narrative among the ghastly backdrop of occupied Poland in Alina’s timeline, as well as the emotional challenges and troublesome issues of dealing with a beloved dying family member on top of the harried day to day considerations involved in caring for the specialized needs of a child on the autism spectrum in Alice’s timeline.  Ms. Rimmer’s original premise and intensely engaging storylines were brilliantly crafted and flawlessly executed.  She has just acquired a rabid fangirl, for life.

Empress DJ

About The Author

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction novels including Me Without You, The Secret Daughter, When I Lost You, A Mother’s Confession and her most recent release, Before I Let You Go. She lives in rural Australia with her family.
For further information about Kelly’s books, and to subscribe to her mailing list, visit
 Connect with Kelly

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Review: Your Secret’s Safe With Me by Rosie Travers

Your Secret’s Safe With Me
by Rosie Travers

Amazon US / UK / AU / CA 

Career girl Becca Gates’ organized life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met. 
Worse news follows when Pearl tells Becca she intends to leave London, quit writing, and retire to her new fiancĂ©’s idyllic waterside home on the south coast. Becca is determined to prevent Pearl from making a disastrous mistake, but when she arrives at Rivermede, more shocks await when she stumbles upon a familiar yet unwelcome face from her past.
As Pearl embraces her new life amongst the local sailing fraternity, Becca receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede, and if she wants to keep her family safe, she should keep them away. 
But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

My Rating:

My Review:

This was my first sampling of the crafty storytelling of Rosie Travers; she is quite the raconteur.  I would classify the genre as an excellent example of Women’s Fiction as it consisted of several original and intriguing storylines that were slowly and carefully developed and dabbled in various genres including annoying family member drama, second chance romance, ironic humor, and elements of suspense.  Ms. Travers cleverly tossed in a few sly twists at the end that I certainly didn’t see coming. 

There wasn’t a tautly written edge of your seat or lip-biting tension, although there appeared to be a curiously well-maintained prickle of unease and uncertainty for the future that held fast throughout, as the main character of Becca was a worrier, and for good reason.  Ms. Travers excelled in filling the history and skins of her characters with realistic foibles and peculiar traits; they were often selfish, maddening, and exasperating - as most families are - yet they also worried about, covered for, and cared deeply about each other.  I admired the shrewd pacing and thoughtful consideration in bringing all the various elements and subplots together for a highly satisfactory conclusion before ambushing us with the largest secret of all.  Rosie Travers is one slick customer.  

Empress DJ

About The Author

Rosie Travers grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book at a very early age. After many years juggling motherhood and a variety of jobs in local government she moved to Southern California in 2009. With time on her hands, she started a blog about the perils of ex-pat life which rekindled a teenage desire to become a writer. Now permanently settled back in the UK, Rosie takes inspiration from the towns and landscape of her native south coast and enjoys writing heart-warming stories sprinkled with mystery, tragedy, comedy, and romance. Rosie’s debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was published by Crooked Cats Books in August 2018. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Social Media Links –
Twitter @RosieTravers
Instagram: @rosietraversauthor

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: NAKED LOVE by Jewel E Ann

by Jewel E Ann

Read Chapter One

What happens when a high-heeled diva goes camping with her sister’s dog? 

Avery Montgomery, fashionista and preacher’s daughter, needs a ride from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. 

“Make my death quick, and please don’t tie me up. I’m claustrophobic.”

Jake Matthews, diva-hater, agrees to let her tag along on his annual but primitive trek to the West Coast.
“Okay, Princess, I’ll take you to L.A., but your crown won’t make it there in one piece.”

She’s desperate and out of options.

He’s ruthless and out of patience. 

Don’t miss this sexy, hilarious, and heart-warming journey of self-discovery and raw … naked love. 

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

I admit it—if only to myself—I, Avery Montgomery, am a wuss. I’ve canceled clients because of an irritated hangnail. Menstrual cramps leave me bedridden for twenty-four hours. And I’m one of those patients who require nitrous oxide just to get my teeth cleaned. It’s genetic. There has to be a low pain tolerance gene.

Yeah, all men are lying, cheating, monkey-spanking dick cheese.

My life is a game of limbo—how low can I go?

The list of reasons why he deserves to come close to dying is so long, I can’t even see the end of it with binoculars, but …when I’m not hating Jake, I kinda like him.

Jake Matthews just knocked on the window to my soul and whispered, “I see you.” Not the million imperfections I see in the mirror.

Sometimes no words are the best words.

I’m going to Hell. But that’s not a newsflash.

My Review:

Jewel E. Ann is a wily trickster.  I was gleefully tripping through what I thought was a delightfully steamy, cleverly written, and wryly insightful romantic comedy that had me smirking and snorting with mirth, and then boom, she broke my heart.  And just like that, I was stunned.  Then I was thunderstruck with an epiphany.  I realized this cagey author had deftly layered poignant details into her narrative with ninja-like stealth, all the while her artfully penned storylines had been ironically amusing while my heart was being squeezed with all the feels.  All of them. 

Jewel E. Ann has cunningly crafted a tale around the main character of Avery, who was comically entertaining but not at all admirable or initially likable.  Had I been trapped on a cross-country road trip with the shallow, vain, self-possessed, and quirkily high-maintenance diva Avery, I would most likely have smacked her a few times before reaching our destination, all right, probably more than a few…  Yet this talented wordsmith had me feeling torn up over her distress – the only explanation I can come up with is word voodoo…  And lucky for us, Jewel E. Ann obviously has a strong dose of it.  I have added her entire backlist to my TBR as I covet all her clever words.

Empress DJ

About Jewel:

JewelEAnnJewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor. 

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business. 

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked.

 Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing. 

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course…heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels. 

Connect with Jewel:
Stay up to date with Jewel by joining her mailing list:

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Book Review: A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane (Lily Pond Lane #7) by Emily Harvale

A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane
 (Lily Pond Lane #7) 
by Emily Harvale

Amazon US / UK / AU / CA 

The Angel Bell is ringing for Mia and Jet’s Big Day – but will the Wedding of the Year go without a hitch?

Every bride wants the perfect wedding and Mia Ward is no exception. But she is the only bride in Little Pondale and everyone in the village has ideas for her Big Day. Drowning in suggestions, Mia needs some help.

When she bumps into childhood friend, Breanna Wright on a shopping trip to London, Mia’s convinced it’s Fate. Breanna’s only ambition was to be a wedding planner with her own business, The Wright Wedding … so Mia doesn’t hesitate.

Breanna’s now got three months to plan a wedding where the sky’s the limit, budget-wise. She should be over the moon. Especially as she’ll get a chance to see old friends again, including her first love. There’s just one tiny hitch ... Breanna doesn’t have a wedding-planning business.

She should tell Mia there has been a slight mistake, but as usual Breanna’s life isn’t running smoothly and she could really use a break. And when you’ve dreamt about planning weddings all your life, how difficult can it be?

Will this be the chance Breanna’s longed for? Or will Mia’s Dream Wedding be Breanna’s biggest disaster yet?

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Ella tutted. ‘He’ll never change. Almost five months living with me and I still haven’t knocked the ‘posh’ out of him.’ She raised her eyes skyward and laughed.

This village is a hotbed of lust, you know. If you’re looking for a man, this is the place to be.

Don’t let Garrick see that expression on your face… He won’t let you see Flora if you’ve got a face like a sad sausage.

My Review:

Little Pondale was abuzz with a new resident to gossip about, new romances to follow, and an exciting wedding to plan.  I adored the new addition of the accident-prone Bree; she was highly sympathetic and endearingly awkward and sincere.  Bree was a welcome item of fascination to the residents of the tiny village that consisted of a few lanes of cottages, a church, pub, bakery, vet’s office, and a long history of myths and superstitions as well as eccentric inhabitants such as the ancient Ben who was seldom seen but wondered around “dressed like a Jedi Knight.”   I cannot seem to get enough of Ms. Harvale’s delightfully disarming and highly amusing storytelling.  But I have to wonder, what does a “sad sausage” look like?  

Empress DJ

About The Author

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All-Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

Book Review, Giveaway: Pink Bits by JB Heller

by JB Heller

Did you know the medical term for a butt crack is intergluteal cleft?

My name is Reagan, and spouting random facts like this one at inopportune moments is my affliction. I’m chronically awkward, socially inept and completely lack a filter. Believe it or not, men do not find these attractive traits. 

When my sexy-as-sin neighbour barges into my apartment at the arse crack of dawn, everything changes. For some strange reason, my brand of crazy doesn’t send him running for the hills. Instead, he settles in for a nap on my couch…

Oh, and did I mention he was completely naked?

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Unless your biological mother has changed her mind about removing my testicles with her bare hands. Then she’d be welcome to join us as well.

I’m SOOO sorry but I have to cancel tonight. I’m surfin’ the crimson wave and Mother Nature is being an extra cruel bitch this month. I feel like a slasher film is being enacted inside my uterus.

Bleed out? That’s a little dramatic. You’re going to need stitches, not a funeral director.

My Review:

Reading this delightful book was pure fun, smirks and giggle-snorts abounded, and there may even have been a bit of a situation of spewed Diet Dew during an unfortunately inconvenient second when my throat couldn’t contain a giggle and swallow at the same time.  I didn’t even mind as I was so besotted with this cleverly written tale and deliciously quirky couple.  Reagan was a totally filterless and a drama llama who claimed to suffer from “a debilitating case of awkwardness.” She was brimming with a mountain of peculiar quirks and a tendency to blurt out oddly comedic and hysterically inappropriate trivia and random facts.  I coveted their stamina as much as her amusingly witty collection of coffee mugs.  Colorful characters and nimble levity flowed through each page and my only regret was that the story had to end.  I would greatly enjoy knowing these enticing characters and spending time with them every day; they were naughty good fun. 

Empress DJ

Don't forget to enter JB's awesome giveaway! 2 winners will be randomly chosen to receive a limited edition foil print paperback, an awkward tank and a $25 Amazon gift card!

About the Author  

I'm a regular Aussie chic, with a spunky husband and a few kids.

I've worked in many different fields, trying to find my niche. But nothing felt right until now. I have found my fit. I am passionate about reading as well as writing and I have gained some incredibly inspiring friends from this journey.

I write contemporary comedic romance with a bit of spice to keep things interesting.

I like to write fun, interesting characters that grab your attention from the very beginning.

I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. X

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Book Review: Worth the Wait by J.B. Heller

Worth The Wait 

(Alpha One #2)

by JB Heller

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU 

Some secrets shouldn’t be kept…

Being with Ellie is easy. She’s fiery, brilliant, gorgeous and knows her way around an engine. I knew the moment I saw her, fire flashing in her green eyes, that she was it for me. We fit together perfectly, her outspoken nature complementing my reserved one.

I’ve never been so at peace, so absolutely content. There’s only one thing that could ruin it all, my past. There are things I haven’t told her, things she needs to know. But I’m not the only one who’s been keeping secrets, and it’s all about to surface in the worst possible way.

I can’t lose her, not when I only just got her. Protecting people is what I do, it’s more than my job, it’s my sole purpose in life. It’s why I joined the military then became a bodyguard. 

The man threatening what’s mine obviously doesn’t value his own life, because nobody messes with my family and walks away unscathed.

Worth the Wait is a sizzling standalone novel in the Alpha One Protection romantic suspense series. If you like sexy alpha men, free-spirited women, and shocking plot twists, then you’ll love JB Heller’s danger-riddled romance.

**Book two in a series of interconnecting standalones.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

I was smiling because you make me happy, you crazy little gremlin. That’s all… Can’t a man enjoy your company without it being creepy?

“No swearing near her,” I snap. “Her brain is like a sponge. She’ll remember that shit.” Paco glares at me, “You just said shit.” A frown creases my brows. “I’m workin’ on it.”

My Review:

I am conflicted in how to rate this one; it was a mixed bag for me.  I enjoyed the first half of the book which was equal parts humor, sizzle, and angst while delving into the blossoming relationship of Zak and Ellie, a feisty pint-sized female mechanic who was an apparent turd magnet with an unpleasant relationship history and alarmingly poor taste in men.  It was no wonder Ellie was questioning her good fortune and a bit distrustful in hitting the jackpot with Zak, her current love interest, who had been outstandingly patient with her smart mouth, quick temper, and outlandish antics and was exceptionally gentle with her despite his large size.  Zak was extremely thoughtful had a complicated history and a large, tender, and generous heart.  Midway through the storyline changed and became increasing more convoluted and difficult to follow until it skidded off the rails into OTT land and I was approaching DNF territory.  I stuck with it out of curiosity and was rewarded with a return to the lighter tones of levity and steam before ending in a satisfying HEA.  

Empress DJ

Author JB Heller


JB Heller is an average Aussie housewife in her early 30’s with a wicked sexy imagination. JB and her family live in Central Queensland, Australia on a mini farm of sorts, surrounded by animals.

She writes both romantic suspense and contemporary romance with a healthy splash of wit. You'll love her dashingly handsome alpha hero's and their feisty counterparts. Then swoon over her beautifully damaged, and flawed characters.

Most day’s JB can be found glued to her laptop, taking advantage of school hours or trolling Pinterest for her next potential muse. And when she needs a break from the voices in her head she indulges in one of her favorite past times, reading or binging on Netflix.

Want to know more about JB? Check her out, you’ll be guaranteed a good laugh if nothing else.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Book Review, Giveaway: Mr One-Night Stand by Rachael Stewart

Mr. One-Night Stand
by Rachael Stewart 

Amazon US / UK / AU / CAB&N

One night only. 
Just think of the possibilities

The second she sees Mr. Oh-So-Delicious, Jennifer Hayes knows she needs one night of crazy. No names, no strings, no rules. Except that Jennifer's naughty one-nighter is actually Marcus Wright—her new business partner! Now they're mixing business with all kinds of pleasure. But when it comes to falling in love her sexy Mr. Wright is either Mr. Wrong or the best mistake of her life…

My Rating:

Favorite Quote:

Crack? It wasn’t a bad way to put it. He certainly felt as if someone had ripped him apart and put him back together all wrong.

My Review:

Sizzle and snap, this lascivious story had my Kindle throwing off sparks. It was lust at first sight and this couple was a five-alarm fire hazard. I could skip any plans of cardio for the day as this tale had me gasping for breath, elevated my heart rate, and doubled my laundry. It could best be coined as an out of office unromance as neither party was willing to have anything to do with the other once they realized they would be working together. Yet neither could seem to concentrate. The premise wasn’t unique but the storylines were entertaining with frequent lashings of salacious inner musings. It was a quick, easy to follow and umm, highly sensual read. Certainly not one I would recommend for my elderly mother’s church ladies book club. Keep cool libations handy and ceiling fans set on high.

Empress DJ

About The Author

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Social Media Links –
Twitter: @rach_b52

Win an e-copy of Mr. One Night Stand
by Rachael Stewart
(Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.