Lessons from a One-Night Stand – Piper Rayne

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of To the Stars and Back. Today I’m reviewing a book that came to my attention from other bloggers reviewing it and it sounded great.

I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the story as a bit of light hearted fun between being bored to tears doing short courses for research for my diploma. The one thing that held me back a little bit reading this one was Game of Thrones starting up again and having all my brain power being zapped by theories.

My first response to this book was that it sounded hilarious. But at the same time, surely, you’d know something was up if a hot new girl has just moved to town days before the new principle starts at the school you work for? Or is that too practical for a romance?

I found that there were a few too many plot twist things happening to really be invested and drawn in properly. I mean really, how are there this many twists?

  1. Holly is Austin’s new boss
  2. Holly is only staying 3 months
  3. Austin leaves in 3 months
  4. Lake Starlight Buzz Wheel
  5. Holly’s come to find her dad
  6. Holly’s dad is Austin’s family’s nemesis
  7. Austin’s youngest two sisters are causing drama
    about college
  8. Phoenix doesn’t want Holly and Austin to end up
    together and is trying to ruin it
  9. Everyone else in Austin’s family wants them
    together
  10. Everyone else in Austin’s family decides they
    don’t like Holly because of her dad
  11. Holly’s mum rocks up out of no where

Like, I’m all for a good couple of twists so you don’t see it coming. But I felt like RIGHT as I was getting invested in one of these something else popped up and ruined it for me. Sometimes less is more. In this case, streamlining the story and expanding on Austin and Holly more could have given me so much more and really hooked me in.

My mind can’t keep up with two Game of Throne level craziness stories at the same time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Heart of Stone by Ben Galley.

To the Stars and Back – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, from the wilds of Tanzania we’re back to western countries. Specifically, Los Angeles in America with a nobody engineering professor and a famous Hollywood actor.

I started this one on a Friday night after writing up a bunch of stuff for my professional blog and some more notes for my assignment. By Sunday morning I was finished. And no, I didn’t read all day Saturday, I was actually busy studying!

I think after the emotional intensity of Outlander and Game of Thrones finishing, I just needed something light-hearted and easy. And this fit into that need perfectly.

It had the girl at the lowest point in her life having a chance meeting with a famous actor who she doesn’t even know exists. He falls for her quiet beauty and the fact that she doesn’t know who he is. Romance blossoms. He stuffs it up royally in an attempt to protect her from his world.

And of course, the grand gesture and pursuit to make it all work out in the end. But what I loved about this gesture was that he did the little things that count. Not some big grand showy thing that money buys. He did things that were meaningful to her.

Why can’t more guys be like this?

I definitely needed this break in something uplifting before jumping into the next book, coz that’s another heavy one. So this was a great break, quick, easy win for me that just worked on so many levels for me. Including the fact that the writing just felt so natural that I didn’t feel like anything was forced.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Heart of Stone by Ben Galley thanks to a Write Reads tour! Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

You can find her on the socials below as well as BookBub and Pintrest.

Giveaway - Win a To the Stars and Back Tote Bag (UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter
using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random
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reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged
18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is
used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the
exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway
organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s
Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for
despatch or delivery of the prize.

The Bastard – Lisa Renee Jones

Welcome back everyone, after a brief step back in time we’re back into modern times. This time in America where we have a mix of romance and suspense.

I found myself underwhelmed with this story as a whole. It had some great moments that captured my attention. But at the end of it I found I wasn’t dying to read the next book. Considering the last book I got from NetGalley I immediately bought the rest of the series this was a massive let down.

It’s not that the writing wasn’t good. We had a great mix of past and present, twists popping up at the right time etc. But I felt like I just didn’t really care. I feel like maybe there was some emotional buy in missing right at the start of the book.

If I had that buy in, I think I would’ve liked this a lot better.

Would I read the next book if it was given to me? Probably, but only if I felt like I had nothing else to read.

I’m kinda hoping that I just wasn’t in the mood to read this style, or at all when I read this. It would make me feel better about not really being interested given how highly it’s rated on Goodreads. But it just didn’t do it for me. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley.

The Baobab Beach Retreat – Kate Frost

Welcome back everyone, after a romance set in England we’re now moving to where I wish I could be. A beautiful beachscape on the coast of Tanzania.

I really enjoyed reading this novel as it had a great mix of beachy-ness, emotional recovery, discovery of a new romance and heartbreak. These don’t necessarily happen in that order, or just once. But it felt like a really good balance.

There were parts of this story I was a little surprised with and didn’t really think it fit what I knew of the characters personality or how you’d react to what she’s been through. But I guess that’s something I can’t control, and those choices I didn’t like were a very minor blip in the story, so I quickly got over it.

Having worked in hotels when I was younger and having friends who have lived and worked in resorts, I wasn’t surprised by some of the stuff Kate described as going on. In fact, I was surprised it wasn’t worse based off what my friends told me!

I think the main thing that confused me about this story was that Baobab Beach Resort doesn’t really play much into the story until right near the end. So much so that it took me a few minutes of reading when it was first encountered because I realised that was the books namesake.

And the worst part of the book? Reading about a beautiful beach, snorkelling and the chill lifestyle while winter sets in and I have to go to work every day. How is that fair?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She has eight books published, including her Greek and north Norfolk set series, The Butterfly Storm. The Baobab Beach Retreat is the first in what will be a series of foreign-set romances. Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, their five-year-old son (who still loves waking up before 5am), and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Giveaway - Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (open internationally)

*Terms and
Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Make him Howl – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, after my first NetGalley request last week we’re back to Zoe’s Shift series. At this point in time when I’m writing this (in very early April!) this is the last book in the series available.

After reading Bearly Married, Trust the Wolf and Truth or Bear I was used to a certain level of excitement, drama and romance all blending together to form a captivating story. Even though Zoe’s quality of writing was still up there with the other books, I felt it was written a bit differently.

Since we’re following on from the end of Truth or Bear our lovers are separated thanks to Parker being kidnapped. Even though we’re a month on from where we left off, Gabriel hasn’t managed to find any promising leads to find Parker. Although this separation was great for building up Gabriel’s feelings for Parker. It meant that the rest of the story had to adapt to suit it.

Zoe has even given us a playlist to listen to while reading Make him Howl

Throughout most of this book I felt like it was a bit flat emotionally compared to the rest of the series. There were certainly peaks of drama and excitement. But not to the same levels as the other books.

After finishing that story, I feel like it could have been done better as a novella. That way it cuts out the flatter sections or could have at least condensed it. Leaving us with all the good filled bits!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about Zoe, and don’t forget to check out the reviews for the other books in the series.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She's also on Pintrest so you can check her out there or through her socials below.

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The Wrong Kind of Love – Lexi Ryan

Welcome back everyone, after making the next stop on The Time for Alexander series train, we’re back to modern America. I wasn’t in greatest of places when I read this, in that sinusitis had kicked in real bad and I couldn’t concentrate or really do too much. But since I couldn’t fall asleep, I decided to read. So please excuse anything that’s a bit vague, I did read this while not being able to concentrate properly.

I really enjoyed reading this relatively clean romance that had a surprisingly large focus on depression and how that impacts those around it and how society views those that suffer from it.

In this case you’ve got one person who is open about the fact that they have depression but suffers from people’s perception of her mental state because of it. And on the other hand, you’ve got someone who’s lost someone to depression and doesn’t know if they can handle that in their life again.

Given depression wasn’t mentioned at all in the blurb I wasn’t really expecting it. But at the same time, the references aren’t over the top or what I would consider triggering. But you never know with these things.

Also, I loved this one so much after finishing it that I jumped onto NetGalley (this if my first one that I’ve officially requested and received!) to grab the next book in the series only to discover that #5 was available for request but none of the others.

So, what did I do?

I went onto Amazon.com.au and bought books #2-4 so I can read those before #5 in case I get approved! Fingers crossed I get approved so I can read and review it along with the rest of the series!

Thank
you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing
Make him Howl by Zoe Ashwood.

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of One?. I found it difficult at times as an Aussie but still enjoyed it, but time to get back to a series I’m really enjoying, the Time for Alexander series!

Writing Style

The first thing I want to say is that it seems Jennifer has either gotten over those overly direct sentences, or she got a new editor for this book that managed to get rid of almost all of those annoying, jarring sentences. YAY!

That left me being able to focus more on the story rather than feeling like I was thrown out of it because of a string of short sentences that just felt weird to read.

Overall, I feel like there’s a maturity to Jennifer’s writing that hasn’t quite been there with the first two books. And I’m loving it. It feels like the story is more cohesive and purposeful rather than a string of great ideas and plot points strung together.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the first two books. It means that I found this book much easier to engage with which meant I could enjoy it much easier and quicker.

Initial Thoughts

I’m struggling to remember what exactly happened at the start, but I remember that I was a little on edge wondering if Ashley and Alexander would find their son. Given there are 7 books in the series I wasn’t sure if this quest was meant to span all those books or whether there’d be more to their story if they found him.

After a harsh climb up a mountain pass, they were met by an old man who welcomed them but seemed to be delaying and delaying them seeing their sun. Which of course made me wonder if their son was even still there or had yet again been stolen away from them.

What they discovered was certainly not what they, or me, were expecting which brought about another question. What were they going to do now?

And that’s what drove the rest of the books story.

Final Thoughts

As usual, I finished this book dying for the next book. Which makes me think, if anyone wants to know what they should ever gift me (in case you were wondering), get me this series with matching covers in paperback. Coz this is a series I will come back to again in the future (I can already tell) which mean’s I want it in my burgeoning library for proud display.

I’ve mentioned already that I really engaged with this book better than the first book. I loved the battles, I loved that Ashley sacrificed for love and I love that she’s willing to ask for what she really wants. A full life with Alexander where they can live in peace without the people from the future killing them and erasing them from history.

This really brought me back to the start of the first book which made me wonder if this was a clue as to what was happening then. Maybe, maybe not. I’ll have to wait to find out.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Probably the Best Kiss in the World by Pernille Hughes. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Giveaway - $10 Amazon gift certificate and mug (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

One? – Jennifer Cahill

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading about my first book box last week. This week I’m back to an author requested review, and I never know what I’m going to get with these ones!

Writing Style

I really wasn’t a fan of the way Jennifer wrote this one. So much so, I wrote to her letting her know the issues I was having with her writing style. My main problem was that it was too stilted and formal for how people really talk.

Not to mention, having the characters thoughts written out word for word rather than summarised or hinted at kept interrupting the flow of the story. But what made the flow worse for me was that we’d change character perspectives with no break to signify there’s a change.

Most books that I read that change perspective will have say a line going between the paragraphs, or one of those cute little images (say, a leaf). Or at the very least, a much bigger gap between the paragraphs. This didn’t have that, so it was just suddenly, I was following someone else.

This one is probably very minor if you’re British. But being an Aussie I don’t know the postcode system over there and Jennifer was using the postcodes as a way to signify where we were landmark wise in the story. I was left going “what is SW4? What is EC1?” because to me they mean nothing. It feels like me saying to you “o you should totally check out the Ferris Wheel at 3008!”

Seriously, how many of you know what I’m talking about right there?

Minor problem if you’re British, bit of a waste of space if it’s not explained; which it’s not but Jennifer has said she’s open to feedback and will be writing the sequel slower so it’s less stream of thought and more structured so it’s not difficult to read which is awesome! Being her first book, I think she’s done a pretty good job if my only problems are things an editor can fix!

My Thoughts

I already mentioned that all my problems with this book stem from a lack of editing. Other than that, I had some fun reading a very Sex in the City style book set in the early 2000s rather than the 90s. Given I was born in the 90s, this made it much more relatable to me.

Something else I really liked was the way Jennifer openly discussed the pressures women feel to get married, have kids but still hold a highly successful full-time career. We might be getting to really seeing that part (possibly?) but she’s hinted at it and we see and hear it in all of Penelope’s thoughts.

I especially connected with this because I personally have started to feel the pressure because I don’t want kids, but I do want my career. And I hate that people do that. Getting married, having kids and having a career are all very personal choices that every individual should be able to make without feeling judged. So, I love that this theme is starting to come through, whether it was intentional or not I’m not sure.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the third instalment of The Time for Alexander series, Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire.

Truth or Bear – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed last week’s dystopian review because we have another change of pace this week! This week I’ve gone back to Zoe’s Shifter series, this time with her latest release. So, if you like the sounds of it please go and support her by grabbing a copy.

Writing Style

This book felt more action packed than Trust the Wolf, and in a way it was. We started off with an action scene rather than a potentially romantic interlude scene.

Thinking back (I’m writing this review a week after reading the book, and after also reading Bearly Married, the prequel to the series) it feels like Zoe started off with what was safe and easy to write about. And with each book has explored something new.

Whether it be a new angle for love. A new level of intimacy and the build up of desire. And in this book, it feels like she’s exploring her ability to write about the action scenes.

There’s more detail in them, more focus on them and they feel like they belong more. From my knowledge, this series is Zoe’s first published books (sorry Zoe if I got that wrong!) so I’d say it’s normal to see that progression.

I just find it interesting coz I can’t say I’ve noticed it in other authors. It doesn’t mean it’s not there. I just haven’t noticed it like I have with Zoe’s writing.

Initial Thoughts

Initially I was a bit disappointed. But that probably has more to do with me not reading the blurb before asking for this book after finishing Trust the Wolf.

If I had have read the blurb, I wouldn’t have set myself up for disappointment, so that’s totally on me. Not Zoe.

Why was I disappointed?

Because this book doesn’t continue to follow Emilia and Jason. Instead it, follow’s Emilia’s cousin Claire and her love interest Nik from about 2 months into their relationship. And I wanted to know how Emilia went in her new job and how she was going adjusting to the Shifter world.

But I didn’t get my wish. Instead, I got two new characters that I wasn’t sure I’d like.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I actually ended up enjoying Claire and Nik’s story, which I really wasn’t sure I would.

It did get off to a rocky start, but over time I ended up enjoying their banter and their acceptance of their positions. I think it’s really mature of them and I’m glad Zoe brought up the issue of falling for someone when you weren’t meant to and struggling to figure out how it could possibly work.

Luckily, Claire’s father is really understanding which is something I can relate to. Reading about someone else facing these challenges reminded me of when I was experiencing the same issues.

The only difference is, I could at least turn to my mum which Claire couldn’t really do.

I’m not sure I love Claire and Nik as much as I love Emilia and Jason. But I don’t know how much of that is to do with the fact that I read their story first, or because their story was actually better. I’ll have to keep thinking on that one.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Brooklyn by Colm Toibin Continue to read further down to find out about the Zoe.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She is also on Pintrest if you're interested.

Group