Browsing Tag

Favourite Book Couples

Her Last Goodbye by Melinda Leigh

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 26th August 2017
Her Last Goodbye by Melinda LeighHer Last Goodbye by Melinda Leigh
Series: Morgan Dane #2
Published by Montlake Romance on September 26th 2017
Pages: 334
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Young mother Chelsea Clark leaves the house for a girls’ night out…and vanishes. Her family knows she would never voluntarily leave her two small children. Her desperate husband—also the prime suspect—hires Morgan to find his wife and prove his innocence.

As a single mother, Morgan sympathizes with Chelsea’s family and is determined to find her. She teams up with private investigator Lance Kruger. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier their investigation gets. When Morgan is stalked by a violent predator, everything—and everyone—she holds dear is in grave danger.

Now, Morgan must track down a deranged criminal to protect her own family…but she won’t need to leave home to find him. She’s his next target.

Sometimes it seems as though I’ve been waiting for Melinda Leigh’s sequel to ‘Say You’re Sorry’ for too long. But Lance Kruger and Morgan Dane have not strayed too far from my thoughts so it’s relatively easy to slip back into their world where they are more than friends but not quite lovers, working together against crime just as they iron out the kinks in their own relationship. Leigh left them in a very hopeful position when the first book ended, and I was thrilled to read more simply because she handles pacing, dialogue and adult character-interactions brilliantly.

A new case that Lance and Morgan deal with—the disappearance of a parent of an infant—takes precedence over the romance, as it did with the first book. On its own, the case didn’t seem like a standout at first, but Leigh’s writing is compelling enough to make me stick with it, if only for the way her characters carry out an adult relationship that I find so sorely lacking in books these days. Lance and Morgan, whose romance is barely there at all, have such chemistry it’s hard to look away as they work as a team already in sync. Sometimes it seems as though they’re superhuman, doing all the things they do with little sleep and a ton of other things to juggle.

The mystery of the missing women—when truth finally came out—was a bit more contrived than I expected but it’s something I can overlook maybe because the rest was just done deftly. Generally speaking though, intelligent writing, maturity of characters and some subtle inserts of heat and humour have made me a fan of this series and ‘Her Last Goodbye’ is definitely more than a decent read.

four-stars

Hot Valor by Lynn Raye Harris

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 19th July 2017
Hot Valor by Lynn Raye HarrisHot Valor by Lynn Raye Harris
Series: Hostile Operations Team #11
Published by H.O.T. Publishing, H.O.T. Publishing, LLC on July 18th 2017
Pages: 316
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Colonel John "Viper" Mendez searches for a ghost from his past... and when he finds her, nothing will be the same!

They told him she was dead. They lied...

Colonel John "Viper" Mendez is having the second-worst day of his life. Accused of using the Hostile Operations Team to assassinate a foreign official, he's gone from being a respected military black-ops commander to a fugitive in the space of an hour. On the run, hunted, and stripped of his honor, Mendez has nowhere to go--and few people he can trust.

Russian spy Ekaterina "Kat" Kasharin is a carbon copy of the woman Mendez once loved. Twenty-one years ago, Valentina vanished from his life. Kat claims to be her twin--but Kat's lying. Ordered by her superiors in Russian Intelligence to abandon the man she loved--or watch him die--Kat had no choice but to obey.

But twenty-one years is a long time to love a man from afar, and Kat won't stand by as a traitor plans his death--even if it means risking her heart and her life to save him. She can never reveal her true identity--or the secrets she keeps locked away. Secrets he would hate her for. Working with him is strictly business, and she won't let emotions get in the way. But the attraction between them is smoking hot--and it's not long before they're burning up the sheets.

When the truth comes out, the mission implodes. Everything Mendez thought he knew was a lie. He'll have to pull it together though before a deadly foe succeeds in taking away all he loves. By the time he realizes Kat might be most important of all? It could be too late to save her...

Now then, just spank me silly. Who knew Mendez had it in him?


‘Hot Valor’ is one of the better HOT books I’ve read by Lynn Raye Harris in a long while.

John Mendez has been the grumpy, terse guy in charge since the beginning and I’ve never had any inclination to read his story (if he even had one) but Harris has made him grow as a compelling character as time went by. ‘Hot Valor’ is simply the culmination of all those glimpses that we’ve had of him throughout, unveiling the layers of Mendez and I loved that he was paired with a ghost from his past—a woman as deadly and competent as he is, but with the calmness and toughness of an operative worthy of HOT. I hadn’t an inkling of what would happen in this installment but the ride was a good one nonetheless, with an uneasy nod to the politics of Russian meddling taking the headlines these days.

But ‘Hot Valor’ stands out mostly because it defies the majority of the books that have 20- or 30-something heroes/heroines by putting a silver fox and a woman in her forties at the forefront. It’s also a story of 2 people who have fallen down a long time ago, gotten up, dusted themselves off and learned the meaning of carrying on.

And maybe that’s where the prickly issue of age might come in for some people, but having an older pairing here simply showed the finer points of romantic suspense with a distinct lack of TSTL moments and hormonal tantrums. Both Mendez and Kat should be over the hill, but they aren’t and as Harris shows in such a brassy fashion, competence and coolness—acquired only through pain and tragedy—are actually sexier than the typical hot-headed traits that seem imbued in the romance genre’s many alpha men (and women).

Mendez and Kat do have an intriguing history that I knew I wanted uncovered immediately and it was frankly, easier to sympathise with the both of them and what they’d gone through in their private lives. Kat/Valentina hadn’t disappeared from Mendez’s life on a whim because she had personal issues; she’d left only because there was a danger to Mendez and her dedication to someone who hadn’t been a part of her life for 2 decades in the way she rushed to keep him alive was top class. That Mendez could, by the end, get over it enough to get his own HEA was probably icing on the cake.

I had hell of a time, to say the least, drawn in as I was to the romance as well as the intrigue and the politics of the HOT universe. ‘Hot Valor’ did make my day and while Harris’s books are typically a hit or miss for me, I’m actually quite grateful to say that this made me one happy girl.

five-stars

My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews 6th June 2017
My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan QuinnMy Best Friend's Ex by Meghan Quinn
Published by Amazon Publishing on June 1st 2017
Pages: 248
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.
Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn't be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he's still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I'm trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.
Boy, was I wrong.
Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.
Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.
But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.
Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend's ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that's what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

At this very point in time—the very moment I finished turning the last page of this book—I’m inclined to think that I’ve barely yet recovered from the amazing Tucker Jameson (who made my heart break many times throughout for him yet I loved him more for it) before I needed to pound out a review for a story that pretty much took my breath away.

‘My Best Friend’s Ex’ is so much more than what the flirty little blurb suggests; it’s instead a perfect mix of funnies and heartbreaking moments that leave you breathless with laughter then wrung out completely the next.

And that’s mostly due to Tucker and Emma—2 characters with so much chemistry and so much love between them that you can’t help but think there’s no better out there for either of them. I loved every bit of the build-up and how they re-established their relationship and despite some cock-blocking moments, was gratified when they finally hit the sheets. I’ve no desire really, to read the first book that introduced Tucker as a broken, peripheral character (especially if he’s the one left behind in it), who’d been alone in dealing with his bitterness, guilt and hurt when the group of friends he had pulled away from him as well.

But even with a huge load of tragedy behind him, Tucker is admirable in the way he pulls himself up and away from it, finally putting himself out there again for Emma, who is as compassionate and understanding as they come, living up to her reputation as the one who has always taken care of others. But because they’d been friends long before that, the journey is slightly easier, softened by years of memories and camaraderie, so this friends-to-lovers trope is in some way, easier to bear, given their history.

There isn’t much more that I can say, except that this has been a perfect afternoon indulgence that made me run the entire gamut of emotions and then once again. And if this genre can’t do it, then what can?

five-stars

Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Edelweiss/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 14th January 2017
Accidentally on Purpose by Jill ShalvisAccidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #3
Published by Avon on January 24th 2017
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

There’s no such thing as a little in love…
Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .
There’s no such thing as a little in lust…
Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .
There is such a thing as…
As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

Archer and Elle have a very long history and it isn’t an entirely happy one, filled with ghosts of the pasts and inexplicable feelings that both can’t articulate beyond yearning and want. Since Elle blew in like a hurricane back into Archer’s ordered life a year ago, their already fraught sniping at each other finally changes that holding pattern when Elle attempts to move on. Their incorrect perceptions of each other form the root of the conflict – Elle thinks that she is always indebted to Archer while he tries to convince himself that all he wants is for her safe and at a distance – but it’ll take more than just the growing sexual tension between them for things to snap.

‘Accidentally on Purpose’ somehow feels like the furthest from the light-hearted and sometimes clichéd-ridden plots that I associate with Jill Shalvis’s books. Instead, it’s grittier, more drama-filled, more angsty than usual and even skirts the edge of suspense with a whole load of emotions gutted so raw that I found it difficult to put the book down at all, making it as a whole, a story so surprisingly engrossing that stopping ceased becoming an option. Surfacing at an unholy hour after finishing it, then putting together the words for a review became a problem I happily wanted to have, because such moments – thank my cynical self – are dismally rare these days.

Many aspects of the story were compelling simply because it felt as though Shalvis seemed to finally let go a little of the preppy, rom-com (and frankly, exhausting) tropes that have been cheerfully employed in most of her series and dug a little deeper to explain and unravel the complexity that surrounded Archer’s and Elle’s personal histories. And there was much to reveal. At every turn, it felt as though I was uncovering hidden aspects of her lead characters that I never quite felt with the rest of the peanut gallery in the first two books thanks to their shared history, but that simply could be the wonderful characterisation of Elle and Archer (probably more of the former) that ensnared me from the start – which definitely contributed to the scorching heat and subsequent explosion when their simmering cauldron of unspoken attraction and yearning finally spilled over.

It’s fair to say that Elle generally brought out the fangirl in me: that ice-cool strength, the no-nonsense and take-no-prisoners attitude that were the only things that could counter Archer’s emotionally-stunted behaviour. I cheered for her for calling him out when he hid behind reasons so flimsy it took her sharpness to tear it open, for asking him the difficult questions that he couldn’t directly answer and for pushing back in some manner so that she wouldn’t be given the short-straw when he in turn, tried to push her away. Hard when she needed to be, caring because she couldn’t help it, I’m almost tempted to say, like Archer, that Elle’s “it for me”.

As ready as I was to give up on this series, I’m suddenly glad I didn’t. ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ is probably one of the more entertaining reads to graze my e-reader in a while and as much I don’t exactly like first two books, the third is proved to be everything I hoped for.

four-stars

On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Netgalley/ New Adult/ Reviews 22nd December 2016
On Broken Wings by Chanel CleetonOn Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces #3
Published by Berkley Books on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex "Easy" Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend's widow, Easy's caught between what he wants and can t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who's always held his heart ends up in his arms.

Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker's memory. But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together.

‘On Broken Wings’ returns with a very unique look at the burden that military wives and girlfriends shoulder and how the military men gossip with heart-to-hearts as insanely as the women. Anticipation has always been half the fun and the build-up to Easy’s and Dani’s story over the past few months has played a huge part in it.

The storyline isn’t at all unpredictable, following a trajectory that had no major surprises I couldn’t guess, but as always, the highlight is Cleeton’s illuminating writing about a journey of unrequited love, tragedy and grief, a friendship that weathers all of it and finally, how it all goes in a different direction when feelings change. But it’s also an incredibly romantic road that Dani and Easy go down, despite the pages of angst and guilt that pour off them and I thought them both so brave in their own ways as they dealt with the death of Joker and their feelings for each other.

I read this in a single sitting, then re-read it, mesmerised by this deeply-character driven POVs, the long, emotional declarations and the ending which always makes you want more: about the more distant future, the unsold house, Easy’s future deployments and their lives post-hospital.

But Cleeton chooses to sign off just as her characters step into their deliriously happy-for-now ending where the light of the end of the tunnel just pierces the gloom, as though friends, family and the absolute present matter the most of all, rather write them into a future that none can yet predict.

It’s bittersweet, worth the wait and best of all, a fantastic reason for a sleepless night.

five-stars

Shielding Lily by Alexa Riley

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Young Adult 13th September 2016
Shielding Lily by Alexa RileyShielding Lily by Alexa Riley
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing on September 13th 2016
Pages: 132
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s Lily Parker’s first day at a new high school. She’s a senior finishing her last semester, and all she wants to do is graduate and get out of town. Her home life is a secret hell, and she’s trying to find a way out. But everything changes when Ren says hello and sees right through to her truth.

Ren Hendrick’s succeed's at everything he touches, including football. But he’s never been passionate about anything. He’s quiet and keeps to himself, which pisses people off. But he can’t find the desire to care. He’s lived a life without color, until Lily walks in and lights up his world.

Their story is one of sweet young love and finding your forever before you can even dream of what that is. It’s one of protecting what belongs to you and having the courage to follow your heart, no matter your age.

Could it be possible to read something entirely so happy and tooth-achingly sweet that I wouldn’t quite know how to review this? From the crazy start to the even madder multiple epilogues, Ren’s and Lily’s high-school first and only love affair is the stuff Shakespeare would crow about in hyperbolic metaphors, minus the tragedy and the comedic confusion.

From what I’m starting to gather about Alexa Riley so far – which admittedly isn’t too much – is the sheer enjoyment of subverting the usual manwhore/inexperienced woman trope and bringing to light the kind of story that colours outside these typical boundaries. Riley does bring an over-protective alpha male and a woman so in need of help who are on the cusp of adulthood to full term without the rising tension and conflict towards the end, which is probably still something that amazes me because of the rarity of it all.

Not that I’m complaining though, because ‘Shielding Lily’ is a fun (albeit rather unrealistic) romp that simply shows a couple going from strength to strength without the difficulties reality can toss their way. I’d say it’s escapism at its finest, but even that might be a little too cynical for me.

four-stars

Black Diamond by Susannah Sandlin

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 11th September 2016
Black Diamond by Susannah SandlinBlack Diamond by Susannah Sandlin
Series: Wilds of the Bayou #2
Published by Montlake Romance on October 18th 2016
Pages: 265
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.
The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

An unusual, gory scene in the wild bayou opens the story and had me grimacing straight out in revulsion and sympathy. And maybe that was how I had a good feeling that this was going to be a wild and exciting joyride in store.

I emerged from the last page a little dazed and needing more, glad that my initial suspicions were proven right.

Riveting and well-written, ‘Black Diamond’ was hard to put down as it introduced lead characters with their quietly broken pasts we never really find out about until much later because the suspense and the brisk action took precedence over the romance. Drug-running and smuggling in the Louisiana bayou frame Cole’s and Jena’s ever-growing connection, but even that tenuous friendship and attraction fade slightly into the background as Susannah Sandlin carefully draws out the mystery and the tangled web of lies that Jena and her partner Mac have to wade through.

It’s also primarily why I’d be more comfortable categorising ‘Black Diamond’ as a suspense novel with romantic elements, rather than romantic suspense. The slow, slow build between Cole and Jena isn’t quite the priority or the central focus of the book, which made every scene with them together all the more precious, intense and excruciating. I hankered after every part of their relationship development, disappointed when it only solidified in the epilogue and not earlier as I’d hoped.

Yet for all the little we’ve been given of them, I loved both of them together immensely, but perhaps more so because they handled themselves in a manner – withdrawal and uncertainty yet with so much contemplation and self-awareness – that I found myself able to respect more than the typical response of (male) characters who simply become unthinking womanisers after a momentous tragedy in this genre.

That Jena/Cole managed to forge a gentle, quiet understanding early on surprised me pleasantly – Cole learns that the isolated hermit he has been isn’t who he wants to be when he is with Jena; she conversely, lets her own pain go when she finds the same depth of empathy with him. That there’s such dignity and maturity written into them made it all the more difficult to see the pages close on their tentative steps towards a future that’s finally sort of broken free of their pasts. But this being a series, I can only hope both Cole and Jena – with the odd man Mac – will return soon.

four-stars
Back to top

Pin It on Pinterest