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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Travel Review: Uig Hotel, Uig – Scotland

Northern Lights - view from Uig Hotel

Sometimes, we all deserve a little bit of luxury.

A secret escape, to recharge and get away from daily life. Somewhere remote, where the way of life can be likened to willow branches swaying to nature’s soothing melody, instead of darting dragonflies dancing to Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

 

Northern Lights - view from Uig Hotel
Northern Lights – seen from Uig Hotel (photograph from website – used with permission of Uig Hotel)

Such a place can be found in the Northern Hemisphere, in a little village called Uig, on
the very remote Isle of Skye, Scotland; a truly beautiful island with some spectacular landscapes, dramatic hills and peaceful waters – where on a clear night you could be witness to the majestic display of the Northern Lights.

 

A beautifully kept, family-run establishment, Uig Hotel is an old coaching Inn dating back to 1831, oozing with character and indeed warmth. In the winter, the log fire is always burning, instantly heating your icy-cold cheeks and toes as you order a warming wee dram from the welcoming bar staff who will happily chat away the hours with you.

 

If you don’t feel like engaging in conversation, take a pew and gaze out the window at Uig Bay, or marvel at some of the scenic photography gracing the television screen adjacent to the bar. These are merely a taster of the breathtaking beauty to be found in the area, and the landlord will happily supply you with details of how to visit some of

Beautiful Rha Falls
Rha Falls – Isle of Skye (photograph from website – used with permission of Uig Hotel)

these hidden beauties, such as the Rha falls, tucked away along the road and found via a short, uphill climb along a mud-track – although beware, as it can often be slippery, and is best suited to surefooted walkers.

Fairy Glen stone circle, Isle of Skye
Stone circle found in the Fairy Glen – Photograph by P. Chapman

 

Other sites not to be missed include the Fairy Glen, a short drive (or a leisurely walk) over the hills behind the hotel, where you’ll encounter clusters of incredible up-down hills and pools. Let the magic, and your imagination run away with you, and you might find yourself away with the fairies.

 

Hiring a car on the Isle of Skye is a must if you’re going to do some real sight-seeing, and you’ll also need some decent (waterproof) walking boots. Help is at hand in nearby Portree, where you’ll find an outdoor shop with some helpful staff to assist you in finding the right shoes and any other gear you might need for hiking across the island. Another incredible day out not to be missed is an excursion to the Fairy Pools. But be warned – it’s a trek, and in wet-weather is not for the faint-hearted; depending on recent rainfall and the speed of the river across the path, you may find yourself having to take a leap of faith, or risk a tumble into the rapids (unless you can walk on water, or are very brave). It’s recommended to visit in summer, when the water levels are low enough to cross, and you can visit these magical waterfalls where access is only granted by Mother Nature at certain times of the year. Despite that, it is possible to soak up the breath-taking views from the safer side of the water.

 

Following a rejuvenating and yet pleasantly exhausting day in the fresh Scottish air, be sure to reward yourself on your return to the hotel; by recovery with a local tipple from the bar. There’s a choice of 8 whiskies from the Talisker brewery, and a healthy selection of local ale from the Isle of Sky Brewery. You’ll be ravenous, too, so ensure you make reservations for dinner. The restaurant is popular, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the local langoustine, lobster and venison. Of course, you can’t visit Scotland without sampling some real haggis, neeps and tatties either – also available on the lunch menu.

 

King-sized room at Hotel Uig
King-sized hotel room (photograph from website – used with permission of Uig Hotel)

After an energetic day of gallivanting across this wonderful land, fall gratefully and blissfully into crisp, clean sheets in a simple and tastefully-decorated room, complete with tea- and coffee-making facilities and en-suite bathrooms refurbished to a high standard with a luxurious feel.

The Uig Hotel has 3-star Scottish Tourist Board status, although it deserves so much more. The attention to detail, attention to guests and the overall experience earn this hotel a great reputation. But it’s not all airs and graces. It’s the personal touch and the feeling of being welcomed like a long-lost relative.

 

With such high-standards set by the management, they even cater for children – from high-chairs to cots and a children’s menu – but in all honesty, wouldn’t you rather keep this little piece of tranquillity to yourself?

 

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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.

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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Book Review: The Sicilian’s Unexpected Duty by Michelle Smart

The Sicilian's Unexpected Duty (Irresistible Sicilians, #2)The Sicilian’s Unexpected Duty by Michelle Smart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When innocent Cara Delaney spent a wild weekend with sexy Sicilian Pepe Mastrangelo, she definitely got more than she bargained for. Not only did he leave her high and dry without so much as a goodbye, but she’s found herself tied to him for the rest of her life – with an unexpected pregnancy. Deciding that he should be held accountable for his responsibilities, she approaches him with a deal – he provides for her and the baby financially and she’ll leave him well alone. Except Pepe has his own reasons for refusing to take Cara’s word for it, so forces her into an impossible situation – to reside with him until the baby is born and he can order a paternity test to prove the baby is his.

The chemistry is obvious from the start; the initial animosity between our hero and heroine is indicative of the undeniable attraction still simmering between them. Cara considers Pepe to be a stereotype of all she knows – and Pepe has his own trust issues, which is enough to prevent these two from giving in to their feelings for each other. As the story proceeds, it’s quite clear that their mutual attraction runs deep, but delightfully infuriating when both characters’ emotions and issues keep throwing up barriers to their happy ever after. Then, just as you think everything is going along wonderfully, you can’t shake that feeling that it won’t last forever… and that’s when the twist in the tale strikes you down.

However, this story is not without its requisite happy ending, so I can assure you, you will be clutching the book to your heart when you’ve turned the last page, with a satisfactory sigh.

Ms Smart will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion with this story, so be prepared.

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