Gym or Chocolate? by Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

REVIEW

My instant thought to this title was “Duh! No contest!” Chocolate is the obvious answer but what if we could have both?  Well, oddly enough we can, who knew?!

Gym or Chocolate is an emotionally, hilarious story of two opposites attracting and meeting somewhere in the middle…of a donut. Cady Callahan is a happy, contented radio host who has battled with her weight for years, finally learning to accept that she is who she is and other people can either like it or not.  Rick Roberts is the sullen, stubborn,   gym-owning fitness freak who has the pleasure (or not!) of gifting Cady with a year’s free membership and personal training at his gym.

When Cady finds herself being ridiculed on national television she accepts not only the gift but also agreeing to run the next New York marathon.

Rick and Cady definitely get off to a rocky start but as their friendship grows they both realise that there is more to the other than mere physical appearances.   But can their relationship outlast the marathon or are their differences just to great.

I loved Cady and her enjoyment of all forms of food.  I was seriously empathising with her throughout this story. As a woman of larger build who has had weight issues since a child, I could relate to Cady and her desire to just be who she is.  Her take no nonsense attitude had me laughing and cheering especially when it was directed at the despicable Molly McKinney (never liked her in Undefeated and Model Boyfriend).

Rick Roberts took some warming to.  I’ll be honest and say that if he treated me the way he did Cady at the beginning I’m not sure I’d have continued to go but he did soften eventually.  Much prefer the cake and cream eating version 🙂

My favourite though, has got to be Vin, Rick’s best friend.  His shame knows no bounds, he has no filter and although he appears chilled and relaxed, he would be the first person to stand by your side when you needed him.  Really hoping he gets his own book.

Another fun, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable book by the awesome writing duo of Stu Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick.

ARC supplied by Jane Harvey-Berrick

Rating 5/5 

Synopsis

Career girl and radio host hotshot Cady Callahan has never met a chocolate she didn’t love. She has curves and doesn’t care.

She’s shocked when a raffle ticket bought to support a veterans charity means she’s won a year’s membership to Body Tech, an exclusive Manhattan gym, where all the top athletes train and all the A-list actors go to get in shape for their action roles. She’s also won a personal trainer in the shape of far too tantalizing Rick Roberts.

Rick is less impressed when Cady’s arrival leads to a media circus. The retired British rugby ace runs a serious training facility, and he definitely doesn’t have time for anyone who doesn’t want to work hard.

When curvy Cady challenges him to train her to run a marathon by the end of the year, it seems a solution to both their problems. If … when she drops out of training, his gym will go back to normal.

But Cady isn’t planning on losing the bet—she just wasn’t counting on any complications. And surly Rick is very complicated. And as tempting as the tastiest treat…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45302950-gym-or-chocolate?ac=1&from_search=true)

 

 

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)

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)

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)

Saving the Billionaire – Justin Trainer #2 by Jane Harvey-Berrick

REVIEW

The exciting second and concluding part of the Justin Trainer series.

Trainer is an ex-marine turned close protection operative…essentially a bodyguard.  His current assignment is the multi-billionaire Devon Anderson.  Anderson has a few skeletons in his cupboard but with a new love interest he is trying to turn, his once sorry self, into a regular human being.

Trainer has is own love-life to contend with in the form of Anderson’s housekeeper, Rachel Smith, who continually turns down his offer of marriage.  Trainer is not a man to give up without a fight in any aspect of his life.

When an unknown person threatens to reveal Anderson’s dirty secrets, Trainer and his team are put to the test to prevent the reveal and track down the culprit but will they be too late and what happens when the threat becomes personal? Trainer has more than his job to keep safe.

Justin Trainer is the quiet, unsung hero of many a ‘Billionaire’ romance.  The man in the background protecting the lead role, but this time the focus is on him.

I absolutely adore Justin Trainer.  He is the rough-around-the-edges type with a heart of gold.  His love for Rachel is only paralleled by his love for his daughter and he would do anything to protect them both.  His interaction with his ex-wife is both funny and depressing (I really don’t like Carla no matter how often Justin thinks she is a good mum, she was a horrible wife!) but his inner-voice monologues are hilarious, which also includes when he’s thinking about his boss.  There are good and bad times ahead for Trainer.  Threats, tears and tantrums along with love, laughter and longing will encompass everyone at Wolf Point but like any good romance there will be a ‘Happily Ever After’ too.

Fantastic ending to a brilliant series.

ARC courtesy of Jane Harvey-Berrick

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

He’s a fast-talking, hard-hitting guy who goes to work with a weapon in his holster. He’s also sexy, loyal and damn good at his job, even when he’s guarding a billionaire boss with too many secrets.
T
He’s Justin Trainer.

You won’t notice me and you won’t hear me, but I’m always there, watching, listening and waiting. I’m armed, dangerous and funny as hell. 

I’m the bodyguard, and I’m the guy who’ll take a bullet for you. Although I’d rather not. I’m the man in black, saving my billionaire boss from blackmailers and computer hackers—but mostly from himself. 

THE NAME IS TRAINER. JUSTIN TRAINER. AND I’M THE BODYGUARD…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44590399-saving-the-billionaire)

 

My Perfect Stranger by Kat French

REVIEW

Honeysuckle Jones has a good job working in a charity shop, good friends and a nice flat. The only thing she doesn’t have is a man.

Honey’s new neighbour is less than charming.  He swears, he drinks, and he is just plain rude, but despite these faults Honey can’t help feeling a connection (attraction) to him.

Hal’s life has taken a downward spiral since his accident 18 months ago.  He used to be a famous chef living the high life. He owned his own restaurant, mingled with celebrities, and was set to marry his fiancée the following year. Now he hides himself away, consumed by the darkness that no light can penetrate… until he meets Honey.

With her job under threat, her friends interfering in her love life, and her obnoxious, good-looking neighbour being… well, obnoxious, Honey finds her cheerful demeanour wavering and takes her aggravation out on Hal.  When she realises the reason for his behaviour she wants to be the one to bring him into the light, but will he let her?

This is a great story with lovely characters.  Honeysuckle is a naturally light-hearted person who wants to see the good in everyone.  Hal is the bitter and twisted individual who has had a rough time. Honey’s friends, Tash and Nell, are as diverse as they can get and desperately trying to get her fixed up with a pianist in the hope that his good finger skills will work wonders.  While the octogenarians from the local retirement home show her that fun never gets old.

Perfect for reading on the beach in the Summer, or curled up in front of a fire in the winter.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

You: kind, piano-playing sex god
Me: hopelessly romantic charity shop manager

Honeysuckle Jones has a problem, and her best friends Nell and Tash are on a mission to help her solve it. She needs a man – a caring, intelligent, funny man. But most importantly, a man who’s good with his hands…

Luckily Honey’s new neighbour – moody, antisocial ex-chef Hal – fails on almost every count. Even though the chemistry between them is electric, he’s obviously wrong for her in every way.

But when Honey discovers the devastating reason for his moods she decides to give him another chance. And discovers that the best songs aren’t always in tune…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36075382-my-perfect-stranger)