Sunset in Central Park – From Manhattan with Love #2 by Sarah Morgan

REVIEW

All the friends are back together for the second installment of the ‘From Manhattan with Love’ series.

Paige, Frankie and Eva are gradually building up their new business although much to Frankie’s horror it seems to be the season for weddings.  With her past still haunting her can Frankie get over her fears and move on with her life.

Matt, Paige’s brother, has been in love with Frankie for a long time but he knows that she doesn’t believe in love or long-term relationships so he plans on taking a slow approach.  Gradually turning their friendship into something further is going to take skill, planning and a whole lot of patience.

When Matt asks Frankie for her help with a new job he has, Frankie takes him up on it, with the full support of Paige and Eva. Working together brings them closer and Frankie soon finds herself opening up to Matt more than she thought she ever would.

Can Matt finally break through that tough, stubborn exterior and reveal the soft, lovable Frankie underneath or will past ghosts forever haunt her.

Frankie and Matt are perfect for each other.  Matt has the patience of a saint, which is needed when dealing with Frankie’s insecurities.  She is not the fairy-tale princess type, more Stephen King meets the Karate Kid! Her toughness hides her vulnerabilities and although she feels herself weak and cowardly she is much stronger than she realises.

A story of overcoming past fears and reaching to a happier future.  Allowing love to reach in and grab hold of your heart and trusting that the person doing the holding won’t break it.

A hearth-warming summer read, perfect for the garden or the beach!

I would recommend reading book 1 – Sleepless in Manhattan first but it is not essential.

Book 3 – Miracle on 5th Avenue is Eva’s story and based around Christmas time so I will be reading this one later in the year.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt–but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29855735-sunset-in-central-park)

The Immortal Chronicles by Sloane Murphy

REVIEW

This is a four book series that has to be read in consecutive order:

Descent, Crash, Soar, Rapture

Adelaide Tate, or Addie to her friends, has one goal in life – to join the Red Guard.  Since the Outbreak, humans have worked alongside the Fae and the Vampyrs to prevent the Demons from rising again.  From a young age Addie had dreamed of being the first human female to enter the Red Guard but when the time comes will she succeed or does fate and the Fae have a different future planned for her.

Addie is a kick-ass, no nonsense girl who, when the time comes, realises that there is more to her than what she has been lead to believe.    Xander Bane, a Fallen and head of House Bane, has always known there was something special about Addie and vowed to keep her safe.  But just who is he keeping her safe from?  Xander and Addie have a special love that transcends the Earthly realms but it is a forbidden love.

Through the course of the series there will be love, friendship, betrayal and heartache.

I was impressed with the first two books.  There was lots of action and character building, the plot line was intense and it felt that Addie would be able to shine in all her glory during the third and forth books, unfortunately I do not think this happened.  Don’t get me wrong the basis of the story was still strong but the characters just didn’t connect. To me Addie became very high maintenance and I wondered why any of the men (yes, there are multiple love interests) were in love with her, and the love/hate relationship she had with Xander became a bit annoying after a while. There were lots of secrets and mistrust between everyone and nobody seemed to know which side they should be on.  I think my biggest problem with books three and four is that Addie lost the strength of will she possessed in the first two books.  She took control of her demon but it was as though the demon never even existed later on.

Saying all that…the story was very interesting and exciting, and on the whole I did enjoy this series. I will read more by Sloane Murphy in the future.

Rating:  5/5 for books 1 & 2, 4/5 for books 3 & 4

Synopsis

Descent

Six hundred years after The Outbreak, the human population stand side by side with the Fae & the Vampyrs to stop the Demon King from starting a second Dark War.

Seventeen year old Adelaide Tate is in her last year of the Academy, with her eyes set on becoming part of the Red Guard.

Who cares that no female has ever joined?

When a dark force develops an unhealthy liking for her, Adelaide needs to fight for her life and figure out what makes her so different from the others.

Betrayal. Fear. Anger. 

She must overcome it all in order to turn her world the right way around again. 
Adelaide has one choice. Accept the help offered to her by Xander Bane, or face the Demon Hoard alone. 

One thing is for sure. The descent will be bloody.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31195632-descent)

Crash

Addie 

In that one moment everything changed. Everything I thought I knew shattered with just a few words.
Who knew the truth could be so devastating. 
I need to decide which side to take. But can I even trust myself?

Xander 

She’s gone, but I’ll scorch the earth to find her if that’s what it takes. 
I’ll call upon friend and foe for the battle that is to come. The fires of hell couldn’t keep me from her and whoever 
thinks they can take what is mine, is going to regret it for all time.

One thing is for sure. The Crash could ruin us all.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32680712-crash)

Soar

There is only so much one person can endure before they break. 

There was nothing I ever wanted less than to be Princess at the Royal Court. After devastation rocked my whole world, the return of my mother doesn’t seem like the dream it was supposed to be. 

I know how to be a warrior. I have no idea how to be a princess… 

With her whole world turned upside down, and her heart still broken, who will Addie be at the end of it all? 

Hearts can break, faith can plummet, but souls can Soar.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33410042-soar)

Rapture

I never wanted to lie to her, but I knew I couldn’t keep her safe if she knew. 
I hurt her, more than I ever wanted to and I have to live with that each day that I’m away from her. But one day she’ll know, that every day spent away from her was hell. 
Watching her move on. 
Watching her change. 
But it will all be worth it once she’s safe.
Even if she doesn’t know it, she is my Rapture. 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36299802-rapture)

Perky by Julia Kent

REVIEW

This awesome sequel to the hilarious Fluffy brings all our favourite characters together again. Persephone, or Perky as she prefers to be called, is in a dilemma.  The man she loved but who betrayed her is back after 5 years of being apart and her hormones are in a state of quantum flux and her heart doesn’t know whether to reach out or run for cover.

Perky’s trust in Parker Campbell, now the esteemed Congressman Parker Campbell, was torn to shreds when she believed that he posted a topless picture of her on the internet. He has always claimed his innocence but Perky just couldn’t get her head around the fact that he may not have done it.  Five long years later and the pair are reunited for Will and Mallory’s wedding rehearsal rehearsal dinner (no I did not make a mistake, she is actually having a rehearsal of her rehearsal dinner!).  Perky has a plan but is revenge what she really wants?

Perky is a great character.  She has an ‘I don’t care attitude’ but deep down she is a very vulnerable, mistrusting person.  Parker has worked his way up through the political ranks and is now a congressman. One thing that never changed was his love for Persephone (he is one of only two people who call her that) and he will keep claiming his innocence until she final listens to him.

As with any Julia Kent book there is mischief and mayhem in abundance.  Perky’s brilliant idea doesn’t quite go according to plan and Parker seems to have turned into the Grim Reaper! Will and Mallory are stuck in the middle, although Will is awesome when he defends Perky.  If ever you need an excuse not to have a voice activated recording app on your phone, then just remember poor Perky!

A definite must-read this summer.  It’s not essential but I would highly recommend reading Fluffy first, and don’t forget Little Miss Perfect – the prequel to Fluffy.

Looking forward to seeing what ‘Feisty’ has in store for us!

ARC courtesy of Julia Kent.

Release Date 30th July 2019

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

One hundred years ago when I was young and impulsive (okay, it was five, alright? Five years ago…) I let my boyfriend take, let’s just say… compromising pictures of me.
(Shut up. It made sense at the time).
Surprise! The sleazy back-stabbing jerk posted them on a website and, well, you can guess what happened. That’s right.
I’m a meme. A really gross one.
You’ve seen the pictures. And if you haven’t – don’t ask. And don’t look!
As face recognition software online improves, I get tagged on social media whenever anyone shares my pictures. You try getting a thousand notifications a day, all of them pictures of your tatas.
So. I’m done.
It’s time for revenge. Let him see how it feels! But how do you get embarrassingly intimate pictures of your jerkface ex who double-crossed you five years ago?
Especially when he’s a member of the U.S.House of Representatives now?
Getting sweet between the sheets with a congressman is pretty much every political roadie’s dream, right? I’m one in a crowd.
Except to this day, he swears he didn’t do it. Pursued me for months after I dumped him five years ago. Begged me to take him back.
And I almost did it. Almost. I was weak and stupid and in love a hundred years ago.
Okay. Fine. Five.
But I still have the upper hand. Second chance romance has all the emotional feels, doesn’t it?
I can’t wait to punch him in the feels.
All I need to do is sleep with him once, take some hot-and-sweaty pics of him in… delicate positions, and bring him down. That’s it. Nothing more.
Pictures first. Revenge after. And then I win.
At least, that’s how it was supposed to happen. But then I did something worse than sexting.
I fell in love with him. Again.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45184722-perky)

Too Wilde to Wed – The Wildes of Lindow Castle #2 by Eloisa James

REVIEW

When Miss Diana Belgrave broke off her betrothal to Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde, she never meant for it to ruin his reputation. Two years later he returns from war to find Miss Belgrave working as a governess in his own house with a young child in tow.

Despite the scandal surrounding the child, those close to Diana know the truth and with this knowledge they strive to bring North and Diana together.  North has never stopped loving Diana and vows to make her his again despite her objections and continued denial of making a suitable Duchess.

Diana finds that the post-war North is not the dandy he portrayed himself as during their betrothal but a much more dangerous and intriguing man.  Her heart is once again captured and her desires for North increase, but she cannot give in to life of a duchess and all the restraints upon the title.

Can North and Diana find their way through the rocky course of societal restrictions and expectations to find their own true future?

A beautiful tale of love, loss, and learning to live again. Diana is a very head-strong and stubborn woman who knows that she does not want to be a duchess but in doing so she could lose Lord Roland. Roland knows he wants Diana but what can a future Duke do when the woman he loves does not want to be his Duchess?  Out of the mouths of babes comes the answer, it just takes the two to realise that love can overcome the boundaries.

I have read several Eloisa James novels and really enjoyed them. This was up to her high standards and I look forward to reading more in this series.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he’s notorious: polite society has ruled him “too wild to wed.”

Diana never meant to tarnish North’s reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child’s father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.

When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.

Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he’s determined to win.

He wants Diana, and he’ll risk everything to call her his own.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37928989-too-wilde-to-wed)

Seductive Secrets – Secret Lives #1 by Carrie James Haynes, Colleen Connally

REVIEW

Alyce Hythe has always believed in her father’s innocence but being hidden away has prevented her from finding the truth.  When mysterious occurrences begin that threaten Alyce’s life she finds herself removed from hiding and once again back in the society that has shunned her.  A chance encounter with Lord Julian Casvelyn leads the pair on a journey of discovery and love but when the threats to Alyce’s life increase they must race against time to find who is behind it.

There are many twists and turns with this story that keep it exciting but also can become a little confusing. The plot is interesting and intriguing with secrets, lies and deception at every turn.  I liked the connection that Alyce had with Julian but also with Charles. The loyalty she has to her friend and his happiness very nearly prevents her own happiness but, as with every good romance, it all worked out in the end.

An enjoyable historical romance with elements of paranormal and mystery.

Rating 4/5

Synopsis

Someone wants Alyce Hythe dead… 

Shunned from London society for being the daughter of England’s most notorious spy, Alyce Hythe desires only to clear her father’s name. For years, she has been hidden away from all prying eyes, given a new identity and told to forget who she was. But strange things have been happening causing old rumors to once more be whispered. Long has Lord Julian Casvelyn lived with guilt brought on when his brother was murdered by England’s most infamous traitor. But one eventful night has changed everything Lord Julian believed about his brother’s death. Never did he suspect the woman he has just saved from certain harm is the daughter of that man. Now Julian is caught in midst of a conspiracy and desire for that woman. Thrown together by fate, the two search for answers long denied them and along the way discover a love that can free them both.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15780001-seductive-secrets)

Sleepless in Manhattan – From Manhattan with Love #1 by Sarah Morgan

REVIEW

All through her life, Paige Walker has had people making decisions for her.  Now that she is older and healthier, Paige is determined to make it on her own, despite her over-protective brother living in the flat above.  When the promotion that she has been waiting for falls through and actually ends with her dismissal, Paige must risk everything to venture out and start her own business.

Jake Romano, Paige’s brother’s best friend and renowned singleton, has caused her heartbreak and humiliation in the past and is the last person she wants to accept help from, but with no contacts he may be her only hope.

Can Jake break through Paige’s stubborn walls and convince her to accept his help and can Paige break down Jake’s doubts on love and convince him to open his heart?

Paige portrays a strong, confident persona but deep down she is scared and vulnerable.  She has had her control taken from her and now she feels weak if someone offers help.  I liked Paige’s independence and her mistrust of the relationship that was forming between herself and Jake.

Jake has a reputation that, although he doesn’t dispute, is actually not justified.  He may have had a lot of dates but that does not mean that he slept with each one.  His feelings for Paige have been buried deep for a very long time and when he finally lets them rise to the surface he doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions.

The connection between Paige and Jake is undeniable and I really enjoyed their love/hate relationship. Paige’s friends and brother form a significant part of the story and the friendship between all of the characters is lovely to read.

A great ‘curl up with a cup of tea’ story that will pull on the heartstrings and keep you reading long into the night. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and see how Frankie and Eva find their happily ever afters.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone. 

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27190170-sleepless-in-manhattan)

Last Lullaby – Detective Natalie Ward #2 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

A gripping and chilling thriller that will leave you wondering if anyone is who they claim to be. DI Natalie Ward and her team are back, this time on the hunt for a killer who beat a woman to death in her own home.

When the body of wife and mother, Charlotte Brannon, is found beaten to death by a baseball bat, Natalie seeks to find the truth about what really happened that evening.  With alibis that turn into lies flying around it is hard to get any story straight, but as the pieces of the puzzle begin to align is the real picture forming or is someone playing games?

With the discovery of a second body, DI Ward is on a race against time to track down the culprit and ensure that they can’t strike again.

A captivating mystery suspense that had me picking suspects all the way through and then discarding them as new information was revealed. Natalie is not shy in showing her frustration when the case is not going her way and her team are right behind her.  There is a great dynamic within this team and a connection that goes beyond simple work colleagues.  Natalie’s home life is still up and down, David is keeping secrets and blaming Natalie for just about everything. With home and work demanding more and more from her, Natalie seems on the edge of breaking point, lets hope someone will help her pick up the pieces if/when it happens.

Great series. Next in the series – The Dare

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she? 

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up. 

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her. 

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show. 

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger. 

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42105401-last-lullaby)