Book Review: Hard to Protect, by Incy Black

Hard to Protect (Black Ops Heros #3)Hard to Protect by Incy Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incy Black delivers once again!

Our third hero in the Black Ops Hard to… series, Will Berwick, is about as penetrable as a rock, and his therapist, Dr. Angel Treherne really doesn’t like him with his egotistical alpha-male temperament, even if he does have a grief-stricken past.

Then there’s the rather awkward matter of Will’s orders from The Top to seduce the doctor, to find out whether she’s harbouring her fugitive brother; something Will has absolutely no intention of doing. Not only is she evidently repelled by him, Angel Treherne does ice better than Queen Elsa. And anyway, that’s DEFINITELY NOT his style.

Despite this obvious conflict, the chemistry between them is rife; he’s a mass of iron filings to her magnet (and vice-versa) even if they can’t see it themselves.

True to form, Incy writes a cracking suspense novel with a conflicting romance bubbling underneath, threatening at any moment to boom or bust. When the guards are lowered, passion and intimacy is heightened, but not for long. Both Will and Angel have their own secrets to hide, and their defences are as tough as a relentless winter; you’ll be left wondering if there’s enough heat to melt their hearts indefinitely.

Incy Black writes fast-paced, action-packed romantic suspense novels. If you like intricate thrillers featuring alpha-males and feisty heroines, a touch of dry-humour and a healthy dose of sexual chemistry, you’ll love Hard to Protect. ♥

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Book blurb and buy links below:

“Some Black Op missions are too dark—even for him.

Volcanic hot and ambitious Special Agent Will Berwick doesn’t give a damn what his orders are; he’s not taking the enemy—the lovely but arctic Dr. Angel Treherne—to bed. Oh, he’ll root out her secrets, but on his own terms.

Caught up in a tangled web of deceit and betrayal, Angel trusts no one—certainly not alpha-cocky, cunning Will Berwick. First he’s hostile, then he’s charming. Why? What’s he hiding? With her life on the line, she needs to know. Preferably without losing her heart in the process.”

NB: The above book blurb is taken from Entangled Publishing‘s website.
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Book Review: He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly

He Said/She SaidHe Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grew on me. At first I found it a little slow-going (hence four, rather than five, stars), but the storyline was intriguing, with an uneasy undertone.

But like most great books, once embroiled in the story, I couldn’t put it down.

The story follows a back-and-forth timeline, although it is quite easy to determine the past or present from the narrative if you (like me) often don’t pay attention to the chapter title.

The research and work that has gone into this novel is commendable. To write about such a grave (and often taboo) subject, the pin-balling of human emotions, court-cases and all the legalities with such detail cannot have been a walk in the park, and I feel the author deserves recognition for that.

What I loved most about this book was the feeling that something wasn’t quite right in what each of the characters were portraying, and that’s what kept me turning the page; I felt each one of them had a secret to hide.

It’s definitely a He Said/She Said case – who do you believe?

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

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Book Review: Blood Dark by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Dark (Blackthorn, #5)Blood Dark by Lindsay J. Pryor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I read a new instalment in the Blackthorn series, it’s touch and go whether they will top my favourite (which happens to be Blood Roses – the second book in the series of eight). I love all of the Blackthorn books that I’ve read so far – they never cease to keep you on the page, turning the leaves long after you should have put the book down and go to sleep… or feed the kids… or the cats… or do the weekly food shop (you know, the boring-but-necessary stuff). But it’s always been Blood Roses for me. The ultimate will-they-won’t-they love affair, the kind of love that’s impossible to survive against the odds, and leaves you hanging like an unspent intake of breath. If there was ever a contest for the best in the series, for me, it’s Blood Roses. Hands down. The emotional turmoil and suspense in THAT book tops them all.

Until now.

Blood Dark is the fifth instalment of the Blackthorn series, and brings us back to Kane and Caitlin, who we saw in the first book of the series. The pair have an undeniable chemistry, which we were privy to in Blood Shadows. As a VCU (Vampire Control Unit) agent, Caitlin Parish is the most unlikely candidate for a relationship with Kane Malloy – the most wanted vampire by the head of the Global Council. And her decision to return to work after the dangers they faced and battled together is driving a wedge between them. Kane has his own demons to deal with – literally – and the ultimate struggle for this hero/heroine is that they still can’t seem to trust each other, especially as they both seem to be on different sides. It’s not just a battle of vampires vs. humans in this series, or indeed this story, as Lindsay J. Pryor introduces us to more of the intricately described – and terrifying – fourth species (monsters to any Blackthorn virgins). As a master vampire, it’s Kane’s job to keep Blackthorn safe, but his relationship with Caitlin is complicating matters. He’s got an important job to do, and being with Caitlin is not only putting her life in danger, but also the future of Blackthorn. The whole book is a rollercoaster of emotional tension, but it was the twist at the end that got me. I’ve since read Blood Instinct – book number six – but Blood Dark is still very much at the forefront of my mind. Kane Malloy is a classic alpha male hero – you know he’s bad, he can be really bad – but this book gives us what many Kane fans will already have guessed; that underneath it all is a tortured bad boy who really just wants to love and be loved in return. It’s got it all – the suspense, the horror, the heat, the ‘ahhh’ moments, and best of all, the ‘oh my god I can’t believe the author has just done that to me!’ moment.

I LOVED it. I frowned. I gasped. I cried. I had my hand clamped over my mouth on a plane from Inverness to London. Then it ended. I closed the book, and then I mourned for a brief period. You know – that book hangover period.

And then I downloaded the next one.

If you haven’t tried Blackthorn yet, isn’t it about time you did?

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The following text is from the book description on Amazon.co.uk. See below for buy link:

‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

Caitlin Parish should have been the last person to fall for a vampire. A member of the Vampire Control Unit, her relationship with master vampire Kane Malloy had explosive consequences. Caitlin’s colleagues count her as the enemy. And now she’s going back.

Kane has made powerful enemies of his own – and is being targeted by the head of the Global Council, Sirius Throme. With the stakes higher than ever before, Kane knows caring for Caitlin makes him vulnerable. Worse, her decision to return to VCU feels like betrayal.

With Throme threatening to tear Blackthorn apart, and the prophesied vampire leader finally revealed, Kane and Caitlin must both fight with everything they have to stop an all out war. But they’re fighting on opposite sides…

Right when she needs him most, Caitlin makes a shocking discovery about Kane. Has he been playing her all along? And can she trust him with her life when he won’t even trust her with the truth?

The choice Caitlin makes will change the game in Blackthorn forever.

Download Blood Dark from Amazon here.

If you’re a Blackthorn virgin, click here to begin your journey into the world of Blackthorn with Blood Shadows.

Are YOU in control of YOUR life?

I recently discovered a little gem, delivered in the form of a book, which was recommended by Jeff Goins – an inspirational guy who blogs about writing and marketing, creative business ideas and making a difference.

I’ve not yet finished this book, but it has reawakened in me something that I have long believed (and recently forgotten), and that is the knowledge that we are in charge of our own destinies. In fact, it’s not even that I had forgotten this, more the fact that I have succumbed to what the book’s author comes to describe as Resistance. If this sounds familiar, you might indeed have already read this book – aptly titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Because there is a little war going inside all of us. Resistance – as the beginning of this book talks about – is that little voice in our heads that prevents us from being productive, or making those all-important changes in our lives. That health-kick you keep promising yourself. That change of job you really want to go for. It’s the voice of procrastination, the nagging doubt that we won’t be good enough, that we will fail. By listening to these thoughts, we’ve already set ourselves up to fail. If you’ve ever read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers, you’ll be conscious of that familiar feeling that stops you doing something you know will benefit you in the long run. Instead, you subconsciously (or, even consciously), make all the excuses you can come up with, not to pursue an opportunity. Often, one excuse is all you need to talk yourself right out of it. You then convince yourself that you made the right decision, and feel better for it. Because it’s so much easier to stay locked inside that comfort zone of those familiar slippers, that warm blanket; to stick with what you know, and not attempt to stretch yourself. Take that path of least resistance (excuse the irony here). Because any opportunity that can make you grow as a person, isn’t going to offer that instant gratification we crave as human beings. It’s going to be hard work, you’re going to have to stretch yourself, and what if the end result is failure, after all that effort you’ve put in?

This book has triggered a whirlwind of thoughts and I’m not even a third of the way through it yet. It’s actually got me sitting up in bed at 5am, drafting this blog post with a cup of chamomile because I can’t sleep, and overcoming Resistance. It has got me laughing Resistance in the face, ignoring the voice of ‘But I can’t drink tea and read! I have to go back to sleep so that I’m not tired in the morning,’ followed by, ‘I will still have I don't have enough timeto get the kids up and do the school run and all the other chores that await me!’ This book has enabled me to go one step further, and actually write 500 words in the middle of the night (it might be morning to some of you, but it’s still the middle of the night to me). And that is the first step to me resuming my life’s journey – on my calling to writing, on improving my health, and the next step towards the rest of my life.

As Steven Pressfield says in his opening paragraph of the chapter ‘What I do’; it doesn’t matter if the words I wrote weren’t that great. The only thing that matters, is that I reached my daily goal. I ignored that nagging voice that prevented me from achieving my work or desire. I overcame Resistance. You see, that one word, that has so much control over us, is the only thing stopping you from fulfilling your dreams and aspirations.

Click here for more information: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Book Review: Time by Samantha Darling

TimeTime by Samantha Darling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isobel Smith believes she is living her very own fairy-tale, until a bombshell shatters her dreams into smithereens. Newly married and pregnant with their first child, she discovers that her life as she knows it is about to come to an abrupt end.

This is a touching story which will stay with you for a long while after you’ve read it. The author has a rare ability to capture and portray raw human emotion with some very sensitive issues that many folk will have dealt with at some point or another. This particular novel struck a personal chord with me, as I’m sure it will with anyone who has had to deal with grief on such a close, personal level. I was also 8 months pregnant when I read this book, which had me crying and cringeing along with the heroine on the journey of her pregnancy, knowing that I’d have to go through the same as her when I reached the end of the gestation! The way the story was delivered made me think the author had actually written a journal of her own experience, it was that realistic.

If you’re looking for a heart-wrenching romantic tale to get lost in and set free any hidden emotions you’ve kept under lock and key, then choose this book. ‘Time’ will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and bring home how precious human life is, remind you of sadder times and encourage you to cherish the happier times.

A truly beautiful tale of loss, heartache, love, and a journey of self-discovery.

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Book Review: Hard to Forget by Incy Black

Hard to Forget (Hard to... #2)Hard to Forget by Incy Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!

I think that just about sums it up, together with 5 glowing stars for this novel, Incy Black’s second offering of the ‘Hard to…’ series.

I loved this novel, from start to finish, with its non-stop action and serious conflict between stubborn, impossible Jack-bloody-Ballentyne, and an equally loveable heroine to boot, who metaphorically speaking, definitely wears the boots when it comes to how to live her life. No-one tells Lowry-bloody-Fisk what to do, which is an absolute nightmare for Special Agent Jack Ballentyne, whose sole mission is to protect her from herself and the danger she’s faced with, despite the extremely inconvenient physical attraction he feels towards her. Not to mention the horribly tragic secret she’s hiding, which I felt the author handled with the utmost sensitivity.
The writing is sharp, witty, and deliciously fast-paced, with superb, descriptive narrative… ‘His chest hurt, a mild understatement given it felt more like a steamroller was using it as a parking bay.’
This is a truly gripping story, and on more than one occasion felt like I was watching a Bond film playing out in front of my eyes. It’s full of action, suspense, conflict and pain – a real page turner. Well done, Incy, and thank you, for a bloody fantastic spin.
I received an Advance Review Copy of this novel in return for my honest opinion.

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The Blurb….

A thrilling category romance from Entangled’s Ignite imprint.

A warning ignored…a love denied

Four years ago, Commander Jack Ballantyne followed Special Agent Lowry Fisk into a death trap. Fortunately, both of them lived to tell the tale, but when he had Lowry drummed out of the British Intelligence Service for her own safety—and his own peace of mind—he knew she’d never forgive him.

Lowry Fisk knew, she just knew, that the Assassins, the secret black-ops unit of the Service she and Jack belonged to, had a mole. And as the Assassins Commander, Jack should have believed her, even though she had little evidence beyond a gut feeling. But when he hadn’t, she’d taken it upon herself to find the traitor—and ended up assaulted, shot, and left for dead. Jack had come to her rescue, but it had been too little, too late. Now all she wants to do is forget the attack, the Service, and the sexy, steely-eyed Commander with the power to make her feel weak.

But the mole is on the move, and he’s coming for Lowry to finish what he started. Jack has to get the stubborn, dangerously gorgeous woman to let him back into her life and allow him the Assassins to protect her—without allowing her to worm her way into his heart.

Book Review: Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Confessions of a Chalet Girl (Ski Season, #1)Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holly is out of her comfort zone when she takes a job as a chalet girl to escape her demons, but she quickly becomes involved with her super sexy boss, Scott. However, he has a secret of his own, one which could send her on the next plane home.

I read this gloriously sweet, decadent novella in one evening, a lovely mix of heat, spice and conflict and a nice big dollop of Love.

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Book Review: Waking up Married by Mira Lyn Kellly

Waking Up MarriedWaking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really loved this story, great heart-felt romance to keep you turning the page. I was however a little shocked just over half way through at some revelations which were a little close to home, but of course being able to identify with a story is what makes great fiction. A nice little happy ending, although it felt a little rushed after a fabulous build up to the climax. Still got the ‘Ahh’ factor though 🙂

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Book Review: Hard to Hold by Incy Black

Hard to HoldHard to Hold by Incy Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anna Key Marshall is about to get what she’s always wanted: a baby. Granted, it’s through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can’t have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart. 

 
Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna’s back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He’d like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs. 
 
As old wounds resurface, Nick begins to doubt his version of what went down with Anna so long ago. And he begins to believe they might have a second chance together. But with Anna’s would-be killer on the loose—it will take the full force and fury of his protective instincts, fueled by a powerful love he can’t leave behind, to hold on to the woman he still loves. 

 

When I was given the opportunity to read this novel in return for an honest review, I eagerly accepted, as I love nothing more than reading an author’s debut. Apart from the need to satisfy a craving for another exciting story, I am generally curious to read work by another author, to discover their voice, their style, and whether or not they can keep me turning the page.

After starting just a few days ago, I read the second half of Hard to Hold in one evening and closed the last ‘page’ on my kindle just before midnight. I loved the opening, which throws you right into the action and the conflict immediately, including the love/hate relationship between the heroine, Anna, and her ex-husband, Nick.

In this romantic suspense novel, Anna Key Marshall quickly finds that she’s a target – someone’s trying their best to get rid of her. To add insult to injury, Nick Marshall reappears in her life after five years of separation, much to her annoyance, and because of his status – an agent within the British Intelligence Service – he has no choice but to protect his former spouse and get to the bottom of whoever is making attempts on her life. No easy feat when the woman he once loved (and still does) keeps complicating matters further. In his opinion, she’s just a magnet for trouble, and he’d rather not get involved. The problem is, the history between the pair runs too deep for him to leave her future – and the dangerous plight she’s found herself in – in the hands of the Service.

Ms Black’s voice oozes dry wit and sarcasm, which is portrayed through both characters as they fight not only each other, but the attraction which still burns between them. Although I found there to be quite a lot of introspection within the story, the dialogue is sharp and the story is intense as both of these well-flawed characters try to outwit one another in a struggle of emotional self-preservation, as well as trying to protect each other. Add into the mix the author’s ability to write a great action scene and an antagonist to make your skin crawl, and you have yourself a page turner. This suspenseful novel is tightly woven and neatly wrapped up, with a nice little twist at the end.

4.5 stars from me. Great first novel, Incy Black, I look forward to your next one.

 

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