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.

I’m curious…

Books and coffee
Are you sitting comfortably?
What’s your favourite type of story? I’m keen to start a new project… But I want to put it out there, and into YOUR hands, as the potential reader. What do you like it read? What kind of conflict do you like in your stories? What are your favourite types of characters? I’m not talking specifically about setting, or genre, but rather the characters you, as the reader, can identify with. What really gets you at your core in a powerful story? Of course, if you want to talk about your favourite genre, that’s fine too. Just think… Your input could be the inspiration for the next big thing. 

Leave me a comment below, or drop me a line at fionachapman1@gmail.com. I can’t wait to learn about what inspires you as a reader. 🙂 

Fiona X

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: 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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Book Review: The Dragon Legacy by Jane Hunt

The Dragon LegacyThe Dragon Legacy by Jane Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t normally read books which travel into the realms of fantasy, unless it’s something to do with vampires, preferring instead to be transported by film or television. So when I read The Dragon Legacy by Jane Hunt, I was pleasantly intrigued.
Fleur is a shy woman with little confidence, and decides to partake in a murder mystery weekend with an alternative persona, in the hope of having herself some good old-fashioned fun. What she doesn’t count on is encountering Lucas, who has another persona all of his own, as he’s also a dragon with only one mission – to save the last dragon egg, which the fate of humanity depends on. In the wrong hands, the dragon egg might see the end of the human race. For Lucas, love isn’t on the agenda, nothing can be allowed to interfere with his mission.
The murder mystery weekend is a useful facade, while Lucas and his companions search for the prophesied dragon egg. The only problem is, the customary antagonist, in the form of a smooth, slimy italian guest Xavier, is hell-bent on ruining the mission for his own gain. Xavier also has his own internal mystical creature – and not one you’d want to meet in the woods or a dark, dank creepy cave. Or anywhere else for that matter.
Add into the mix the impossible-to-ignore chemistry between Fleur and Lucas, and the stakes are high for the mission’s failure.
From a personal perspective, I would have liked to see more dialogue between the characters, however Jane Hunt has a wonderfully descriptive way with words, bringing some fairly shudder-worthy images to mind when showing us the incredible world she has created. One particular creepy paragraph even had me cringing and yelping out loud.
The story is dark, the romance intense. If you’re looking for a different world to escape into, pick this book for a page-turning read.

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Book Review: Bloodgifted – Book One of the Dantonville Legacy – by Tima Maria Lacoba

Bloodgifted (The Dantonville Legacy, #1)Bloodgifted by Tima Maria Lacoba

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Dantonville is a content, well-balanced woman living in modern-day Sydney with an unusual gift – she ages more slowly than any other normal human being. Her birthday marks a coming-of-age where she learns that she is descended from a line of vampires, her blood giving a vampire the ability to walk in the day-light. Enter her guardian, Alec Monroe, a vampire chosen to protect her from the others of their kind who must also feed from Laura to keep up his exceptional strength.

Laura struggles at first to accept this new information, which the author portrays very well. When the protagonist does eventually accept her destiny, her eyes are opened to a whole different world she’d never believed possible, where passion, conspiracy and danger lurk around every corner.

The story moves with excellent pace, with some humour thrown in for good measure, while a passionate relationship with a healthy dose of conflict develops between the heroine and her modern-day hero. The world which Ms Lacoba has created is amazingly vast, with a wealth of information and explanation, using her knowledgeable background of Ancient Roman history.

Very well written story for the first part of the Dantonville Legacy and I look forward to reading more from this author, having already sampled the first chapter of the next book.

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Book Review: What’s a Girl to Do? By Aimee Duffy

What's a Girl to Do? (Indecent Proposals # 1)What’s a Girl to Do? by Aimée Duffy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shey Lopez is a girl with attitude, working as an editorial assistant at one of New York’s top magazine publications. When she meets hotshot business man Calvin Jones, the chemistry between them is explosive from the start. But the combustible relationship which develops between them is far from smooth, as while they can’t resist their sizzling attraction to each other, both Shey and Calvin have their own secrets and trust issues to prevent them ever having a future together. Shey doesn’t do one-night stands, and Calvin won’t offer a relationship. Is it possible for them to work through their arrangement and satisfy their attraction to each other before moving on?
This first erotic novella from Aimee Duffy is scorchingly hot, but true to form, the author ties in a steamy read with plenty of emotional conflict from lovable characters.
A perfect read to escape from reality for a couple of hours, with two perfectly flawed characters. Oh, and did I mention the sexy hero?

This review was written in exchange for an advance review copy of the novel from the publishers. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Excerpt

The first novella in a thrilling, pulse-racing new erotic romance series, Indecent Proposals. Three best friends, Shey, Eloisa and Georgia take on the most powerful and eligible men of the New York dating scene. ‘I’m not coming over.’ Shey replied confidently. ‘Then maybe you could return the favor now.’ Wait, he didn’t mean… ‘Slide your hand beneath your panties and tell me how ready you are for me.’ Oh my god, he did. Single Manhattanite Shey Lopez doesn’t do one night stands, or have relationships she can’t control. Especially if giving in to playboy Calvin Jones means losing her heart in the process. However, Mr Won’t-Take-No-For-An-Answer always gets what he wants and there’s only so many times a girl can resist such a enticing proposal… View all my reviews