These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Review: At Last

At Last At Last by Cynthia Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At Last is the fifth song in the Love Sing Standards series, and as with the prior books it was a wonderful read. I’m going to be honest and say it is not my favourite read – Can’t Help Falling In Love holds that title – but it is certainly up there in my top three reads of this series. Now the series is really flowing, it has reached a high that I believe shall remain consistent throughout the books.

Note, although this is book five, it is perfectly fine to read this book as a standalone novel. Each book is a standalone read, there is no reason for you to read them in order, but I would suggest you do so. You can really see how the series develops, you get to experience how the series is growing and finding its footing with each book that is added. Whatever your views on jumping into a series of standalone books, I certainly recommend you jump into this series.

Cant’s Help Falling In Love, book four, had a rather romantic suspense feel to the story. Whilst At Last has some of these elements, it much more in line with the prior books in the series. There is still the suspense and dire situations, yet we tone back somewhat on the horrors our characters face. With this one, we’re once again given a true to life romance. There is hardship, yes, but there are many positive emotions to be found throughout the day-to-day rituals of the characters.

What I really love about this series is how real the characters and storylines are. You do not need a dire situation to find true love – you just need to find that special someone, and that is what this series shows. There are difficulties to face, things will not always run smoothly, yet it is worth it in the end. Such is what this book shows: the fear to be found in everyday life, the troubles face through job choices, and yet there is love shining throughout.

It really is refreshing to see relationships dealt with in this way, especially considering our male lead has a high stress job. Most of the time such a job will lead to over the top events bringing the characters together, but this story simply shows life as it truly is.

Another wonderful addition to the series. Again, I became truly invested in the characters and story, unable to tear myself away until I got to see how everything played out. I cannot wait to see what book six brings.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Blog Tour: Scandal.

Scandal banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Scandal by Athena Grayson. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.

ScandalScandal (Scions of the Star Empire #1)
By Athena Grayson
Genre: Sci-fi dystopian with romantic elements
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: 23 March 2017

Blurb:
They can have anything they want...except a future.

Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis--gossip journalist Jaris Pulne--is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who's no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.

For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father's shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion--and freedom from his father's ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse--force them together before their time.

Damage control turns into danger when their attempts to retrieve the images lead them both into the dark underbelly of the glittering city-planet, exposing secrets of both friends and foes that could lead to more than just social suicide.


You can find Scandal on Goodreads

You can buy Scandal here:
- Amazon
- B&N
- Kobo
- iTunes
- Google Play
- Smashwords
- Books2Read

You can also find all the buy links for this book here on the author's website.


About the Author:
Athena Grayson likes kickass heroines, big-brained and sexy beta heroes who aren't afraid of strong women or their own feelings, and stories that turn the genre tropes sideways. If you're looking for something a little unexpected, a little more, and a lot of fun...this is your kinda place.

You can find and contact Athena here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Amazon
- Goodreads
- Bookbub

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Scandal. These are the prizes you can win:
- 2 paperback copies of Scandal by Athena Grayson (US Only)
- 2 $10 Amazon Gift Cards (International)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Opaque

Opaque Opaque by Calix Leigh-Reign
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m going to be completely honest – I was unsure about this one at first. The synopsis grabbed me, but when I started reading the book, I feared I was not going to enjoy it. To put it simply, I wasn’t pulled in. I wasn’t enjoying the characters, the story wasn’t moving at the rate I had been expected, and I just wanted more.

Then that ‘more’ hit me – and damn did it hit hard.

I cannot give you an exact page number, an exact sentence, when the change happened – but once the change happened, I could not put the story down. It went from a possible three star rating to a solid four star rating in the blink of the eye, from a story that felt like it would take forever to finish to a single sitting read. In other words, what I’m saying is that you need to give this one a chance. It may not grab you straight away, but I assure you, the story is wonderful once it gets moving.

There’s a lot to take in with this one, the story being extremely rich. We have complex characters – they’re multidimensional, we watch them develop, and they’re more than simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We have wonderful world building – a variety of powers, a rich history, and a story that merges in multiple ways. We have a storyline that holds you attention – the individual character storylines, the overall story arc, and the way everything comes together to leave you experiencing a wide mix of emotions throughout.

I honestly cannot begin to express how much my view of this story changed as I continued to read. My love for each new element grew stronger and stronger, leaving me thoroughly addicted to the story. I cannot wait to see where the series heads from here – there are so many possibilities, so many things I wish to find out more about, and I’m positive I will love the future books even more than I came to love this one.

Without a doubt, this one is well worth the read.

View all my reviews

Review: Dark Warrior

Dark Warrior Dark Warrior by Denna Holm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Warrior is a super quick, super fun, read. I’m usually tentative when it comes to stories of this length, yet I adored this one. I really was pulled in, and I would love to see this story result in an amazing series.

In all honesty, I’m not quite sure whether to label this story as science fiction or fantasy. It’s one of those wonderful stories where the line blurs in the most wonderful of ways. We’re given fantasy creatures – vampires and werewolves – yet their existence is due to a science fiction element – another planet. It truly is a wonderful merge of the two. It made for a very interesting story, giving us the kind of wonderful world building that pulls you in deep. I could say so much about this alone; just know it’s a great way to mix the two elements together. Admittedly, I would have liked a little more depth to it, yet I feel as though such a thing will come should future stories be released in this world.

From the start, this story has action. It feels like a bit much as you’re unsure about the world, but once you’re a couple of chapters in everything comes together so well. The confusion is lifted, the characters wiggle into your heart, and the story moves at a rapid pace. It really is a wonderful story – my biggest complaint being that I wished the story were longed. I would have loved to spend even more time in this world, with the characters and their story. I really do hope there is a sequel – if not with these characters, at the very least I hope they make a cameo appearance so that we get a glimpse as to how their life progressed.

If you’re looking for a shapeshifter story with a refreshing twist, one that will pull you into the world and leave you unwilling to put the story down, then Dark Warrior is for you.

View all my reviews

Review: The Girl from the Woods

The Girl from the Woods The Girl from the Woods by Chris Keane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Girl from the Woods is a book I expected to really enjoy. The synopsis grabbed me and the reviews were great. Unfortunately, I’m part of the minority, as I did not enjoy this one.

Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate this book. There were some good moments to be found. However, the book was not at all what I had been hoping for. I wanted to be pulled into the story from the very beginning, yet I wasn’t. I wanted a romance I would adore, yet I never really cared much for the romance. I wanted a paranormal read that would leave me with all kind of crazy emotions, yet the paranormal element seemed to take a backseat. All in all, I wanted more from this one.

I think a large part of my issue with the story is that I expected more depth from this one. It’s a very quick read, but even for a quick read, there isn’t quite the depth I would have liked. Things hit you one after the other – they just are, without much by way of explanation. I found myself questioning too much, I found myself unable to buy into a number of aspects of the story, which in turn prevented me from enjoying the way things came together.

It had potential, but for me it didn’t quite deliver.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 24 June 2017

MASHED Interview with Cobalt Jade.

MASHED is an anthology of 17 sensually sinister stories curated from over 200 submissions from around the world.

Each story is a unique blend of horror, humor, food and sex, resulting in tales that will leave you both scared and slightly turned on, while laughing out loud and contemplating whether or not you should have your next meal.

Stories including:

“A Woman’s Corn” – By J. Donnait
“Charlie’s Chunky Munching Meat” – By Stephen McQuiggan
“Halloween Nosh” – By Brandon Ketchum
“Biscuit: A Love Story” – By Grivante
“Burnt Scrambled Eggs” – By Devon Widmer
“The Disagreeable Dinner” – By Mark Daponte
“Sugar” – By Darla Dimmelle
“The Henry Problem” – By John Grey
“Nibble, Nibble, My Wolf” By – J.L. Boekestein
“The Wrath of the Buttery Bastard-Taters” – By Alex Colvin
“Sauce” – By Steven Carr
“The Care and Feeding of your Personal Demon” – By Maxine Kollar
“P.A.C.D. : The Kitchen of Tomorrow, Today!” – By R.A. Goli
“Arabica” – By Cobalt Jade
“Toilet Manners” – By Eddie Generous
“The Stray” – By Calypso Kane
“The Tall Man in the Hat” – By Nicholas Paschall

Do you like food? Sex? Horror? Humor? Then this book is for you! Guaranteed to leave you scared, aroused and possibly a little hungry.


From the twelfth to the twenty-fourth of June, get inside the minds of twelve of the authors from the anthology. Find out what inspired the stories, what other projects the authors are involved with, and generally get to know the authors better.

Today, get to know more about Cobalt Jade and Arabica.


In the age-old first date manner, tell me a bit about yourself. 
I am a writer, landlady, and former graphic artist living in Seattle, but I spent my formative years on the east coast, in a decaying industrial city. The combination of early urban blight and later beauty and social progression has influenced me strongly. Generation-wise, ethically speaking that is, I’m more of a Gen X than a Baby Boomer. I’m very changeable in my interests. For a span of months I will be very into a certain topic, like Killer Whales, and research the hell out of it, then get into something else. Right now I’m obsessed with writing horror and have a nascent interest in pulp magazine covers. 

Who has influenced you most as a writer?
I had an uncle who was involved in First Fandom through the 1950s to the 70s, and he generously gave me some books, which I treasure to this day. Among them was Jack Vance, Philip Jose Farmer, and Ray Bradbury, my first love. I fell in love with his use of language. On my own I discovered writers like Ursula K. LeGuin, Tanith Lee, and Anne McCaffrey. All were big influences. 

What are your favourite books and why?
I’ve got a lot of faves, and they change from time to time. In a re-reading sense, I do The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Left Hand of Darkness, and Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour every few years. I think the former is the penultimate ghost story.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
Around age 10 when I started my first science fiction opus, inspired by no less a luminary than Ziggy Stardust!

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I am a big fan of word generators. There’s a product I use by Gammadyne called Random Word Generator that I program to create the various languages I use in my work. I also use it to generate phrases for story prompts, like “The Walking Coffin.” Which is a magic item that carries the body of a deceased person back to their homeland for a proper burial, while keeping the body pristine and odor-free.

How did you become interested in writing this particular genre?
Erotic horror? I wrote a lot on the newsgroups in the late 1990s, like alt.sex.stories.moderated. I started for a lark. It was a guaranteed readership and I did fetish stuff that no one else was doing well.

What was the inspiration behind your MASHED story?
I like the combination of the erotic and the machine, also the sense of bondage in being, or acting like, an inanimate object. It was based on an idea from my fetish-writing days. I was also having a problem in drinking coffee, it was irritating my bladder, so I thought what if someone underwent a kind of hypnosis to cure their caffeine addiction, but their mind came up with something their body didn’t like (or maybe did, but too much?)

With over two hundred submissions, what was your reaction upon finding out your story had made the cut?
I expected it, who else could write a story about a human espresso machine?

Each story is a mix of horror, humour, food, and sex; what kind of reaction should a reader expect to have upon finishing your story – will they be more turned on or terrified?
Probably turned on in a reluctant way.

Do you have another writing project in mind or in the making? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
I have ideas for a lot of stuff, some straight horror, some erotic horror. Currently I am working on a story involving Seattle’s grunge years and a crime in present-day Florida. It will be psychological horror and (non-explicitly) erotic.

Excluding your own, which of the MASHED stories is your favourite?
The Wrath of the Butty Bastard Taters, I could relate to it.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Cover Reveal: Bound For Life.

Bound to the Bad Boy: Book 1
Published: August 1, 2017
Cover Reveal: June 23
Pre-order on iTunes: June 20 - July 7
Pre-order on other sites: Sign up on http://alexabbottauthor.com/newsletter for release info
Mafia Romantic Suspense

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Blurb:

Bruno:

I gave up everything for her, and she never even knew it. When I saved her from the mafia, I traded my freedom for hers. I’ve never regretted it. Never looked back. I cut her out of my life to keep her safe.

I did everything I could to protect her from the retribution of the Italian Mafia, but it wasn’t enough. They’re after her again, and all that’s standing between her and the darkest fate imaginable is me.

Serena:

It’s scary the things you can close your eyes to. Even after I was rescued from men who wanted to do the worst things to me, I went on with my life. I forgot all about the threats of the mafia, about what they forced me to do, and even the man who saved me from them.

But now, my hero has returned, and just in a nick of time. Because the mafia is coming for me, and this time, I don’t know if we’re going to get out of this alive.

Links:

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Amazon: Coming soon! Sign up here for notification: http://bit.ly/2tqeTzN
Kobo: Coming soon! Sign up here for notification: http://bit.ly/2rS5Ple
Nook: Coming soon! Sign up here for notification: http://bit.ly/2rS5Ple
Google Play: Coming soon! Sign up here for notification: http://bit.ly/2rS5Ple

Giveaway:

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Win a Signed copy of Bound for Life, a $20 gift card to LUSH, and a $20 gift card to your favourite ebook store! From June 20 - July 31!

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Link:


Teasers:

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Excerpt:


The orange afternoon sun is on my back when I bring my car to a stop about a block away from the well-to-do little store on the corner of the street. When I turn my ignition off, I lean back and just stare at it, letting out a deep breath.

How long has it been?

The light playing off the glass window panes make it impossible to see inside the shop, but the sign outside is clear as ever: Bathing Beauty. I feel a smile on my face. As many mixed memories as it stirs up in me, there’s something comforting about knowing it’s still there, unchanged as ever. Maybe even a little nicer.

All thanks to her.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the car mirror. I’ve changed so much over the years. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was just a teenager, freshly landed in America. I kept my hair cut short back then, and my face was clean-shaven. I run a hand through the long locks that hang nearly to my shoulders now. It’s grown out thick and wavy. Even I have to admit it’s unkempt, and the short, coarse black beard on my face matches.

My voice sounds different, too. I think back to the thick accent I had in those years that I was still learning English, fresh from the old country. I’m so used to it now that English almost sounds as natural as my native Italian on my tongue. I might as well be a different person.

Better that way, I think. When I look into that mirror, I’m not sure I even see myself anymore. What I do see is the face of a man who’s done terrible things. A “made man,” they call us in this country. Mafioso.

What are you really doing here, Bruno?

My mind flashes back to her face, that gorgeous face that’s kept me going all this time. A bright candle in the darkness.

That face doesn’t need to know fear ever again. It doesn’t need to know me.

So why am I here, coming to risk dragging the past back? I don’t dare turn the ignition and drive off. I’ve made my decision, and I’m a man of my word.

After all, I tell myself, I’m not here just to see her, to remind myself that she’s alive and living happily, that what I did for her was all worth it. I’m here to make sure she’s safe.

Author Biography:

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Alexis Abbott is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes about bad boys protecting their girls! Pick up her books today and find yourself transported with super steamy sex, gritty suspense, and lots of romance.

She also writes as Alex Abbott for her erotic thrillers and contemporary romance.

She lives in beautiful St. John's, NL, Canada with her amazing husband.


πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜Social Media:πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

πŸ””πŸ””πŸ””Author Links:πŸ””πŸ””πŸ””
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MASHED Interview with Nicholas Paschall.

MASHED is an anthology of 17 sensually sinister stories curated from over 200 submissions from around the world.

Each story is a unique blend of horror, humor, food and sex, resulting in tales that will leave you both scared and slightly turned on, while laughing out loud and contemplating whether or not you should have your next meal.

Stories including:

“A Woman’s Corn” – By J. Donnait
“Charlie’s Chunky Munching Meat” – By Stephen McQuiggan
“Halloween Nosh” – By Brandon Ketchum
“Biscuit: A Love Story” – By Grivante
“Burnt Scrambled Eggs” – By Devon Widmer
“The Disagreeable Dinner” – By Mark Daponte
“Sugar” – By Darla Dimmelle
“The Henry Problem” – By John Grey
“Nibble, Nibble, My Wolf” By – J.L. Boekestein
“The Wrath of the Buttery Bastard-Taters” – By Alex Colvin
“Sauce” – By Steven Carr
“The Care and Feeding of your Personal Demon” – By Maxine Kollar
“P.A.C.D. : The Kitchen of Tomorrow, Today!” – By R.A. Goli
“Arabica” – By Cobalt Jade
“Toilet Manners” – By Eddie Generous
“The Stray” – By Calypso Kane
“The Tall Man in the Hat” – By Nicholas Paschall

Do you like food? Sex? Horror? Humor? Then this book is for you! Guaranteed to leave you scared, aroused and possibly a little hungry.


From the twelfth to the twenty-fourth of June, get inside the minds of twelve of the authors from the anthology. Find out what inspired the stories, what other projects the authors are involved with, and generally get to know the authors better.

Today, get to know more about Nicholas Paschall and The Tall Man in the Hat.


In the age-old first date manner, tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m thirty-one years old with a degree in History, a Buddhist, and a writer. I enjoy Amaretto Sours on the occasion I choose to drink, and belong to a few book clubs. I write horror and fantasy, all of it with a dark bend as I feel the light-hearted Twilight and Piers Anthony novels have made both genres a little soft.

Who has influenced you most as a writer?
I would have to say my time as an editor at my college newspaper really influenced me, and my Junior year high school English teacher had a way of making the words come alive. I guess I also wanted to leave my mark upon the page, so to speak, as I never plan on having children. Whereas I have nephews and nieces, I treat my stories with the delicate care one would a finely tune instrument or a carefully crafted ceramic doll. As such, they’re all my children.

What are your favourite books and why?
Horror, obviously. I have a few favourite authors at the moment: David Wellington and his Laura Caxton series of vampire novels are a must have, and Sarah England’s Magda series is amazing. If I had to nail down a favourite book I’d say The Exorcist. It was a shock of the generation, and is far better than the film adaptation.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a child. I would love to create intricate stories, and would often find myself writing out short tales for the sheer joy of it. I think there are over a dozen notepads from every year I was in high school that need to be burned, as my voice hadn’t quite formed yet. By the time I took my first Creative Writing course in college I was ready, and wrote a knock-off of the marvel character Dr. Strange. I’ve adopted the persona sans the hubris and have yet to drop him into one of my stories. Perhaps a novel…?

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I start numerous novels at once and then write a chapter a day for each of them. Sometimes I’ll get burnt out on one so I’ll write two chapters for each of the other books. Now, I have four novels being considered by publishers, one coming out June 15th, 2017, and ten more on my computer waiting for me to finish/edit them.

How did you become interested in writing this particular genre?
I was working a dead-end job as a salesman at this rip-off gym, and on break I was reading a horror novel I’d scooped up from the bargain bin at Half-Price Books. I finished it in one sitting and wasn’t impressed. A co-worker expressed interest in the book, so I gave it to her (never lend a book, you’ll never see it again) and thought nothing of it.

She came in the next day and threw the novel at me. Surprised, I asked what happened and she said she had trouble going to sleep after reading two chapters. I thought, are you serious? So I decided to try and write something scarier, with better suspense, and got it published as a piece of flash fiction in Dark Moon Digest.

What was the inspiration behind your MASHED story?
Funny story, my wife and I like to try and come up with the most bizarre stories imaginable. She dared me to write an erotic horror story, as horrifying as I could make it. So, I spent three days making this and came up with the first draft, which totally had her on the edge of her seat. The problem was, this child of mine was too mean and had no place to go. So, when MASHED came around, I tweaked it a little and sent it in. The editors and I combed over it and changed a few things around, but the story on the whole remained true to form. I love the gingerbread cookies!

With over two hundred submissions, what was your reaction upon finding out your story had made the cut?
Amazed. I laughed for like five minutes and sent back a positive response and said I’d be free to have it edited whenever. They sent me a copy they wanted revised, I laughed at the awesome ideas they inserted and came up with a few new ones on the spot. I think we laughed at the story and how disturbing it is as we worked on it, twisting the knife deeper and deeper as we tried to find the nerve of every reader.

Each story is a mix of horror, humour, food, and sex; what kind of reaction should a reader expect to have upon finishing your story – will they be more turned on or terrified?
I am by no means an erotic author, so terrified and disturbed is more my direction. Little to no gore, mostly suspense and wonderment. There is some sex, of course, but the story doesn’t revolve completely around it like some of the other stories do. If my story had a rating, it would be R instead of NC-17.

Do you have another writing project in mind or in the making? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
I HAVE A NOVEL, THE Father of Flesh, coming out through Darkwater Syndicate June 15th 2017. It’ll be available for order from major retailers and should be in stock at more than a few big box book stores. It’s an Indiana Jones/Lovecraft story where an aged professor takes on an ancient evil, hoping to make it out in one piece.

Excluding your own, which of the MASHED stories is your favourite?
Arabica. I’m not going to say why as that would spoil it, but the action is full of suspense and leads up to a climax you don’t see coming.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: True North

True North True North by Elizabeth Burgess
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoy the Complex series – in all honesty, I have not read as many of the books as I would like to be able to claim I have – but all I’ve read I’ve found to be a lot of fun. True North is no different – whilst it’s not my favourite in the series, it’s certainly an enjoyable read.

As with all the other books in the series, this book offers up a drama-filled romance in a complicated world of supernatural creatures. I really enjoyed the use of mages in this one, as none of the prior books I have read in this series has used mages. It was a very simple approach when compared to the mermaids and giants that make up my favourite reads in this series, but it was still enjoyable – in fact, the simplicity of magic users made this enjoyable in a completely different manner.

It’s a book of overcoming prejudice, of shifting views, keeping the story very much in line with the series. I would have personally liked a bit more depth when it came to the development of the mages and their hatred of humans, but that’s mostly because I adore rich histories. We’re given an enjoyable history, yet I wanted a little bit more from it. Nevertheless, it did supply us with a great backdrop.

For me, the reason I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I enjoyed some of the other books in the series, this one felt as though things progressed much too quick. I like slow build up when it comes to romance, and things seemed to change in the blink of the eye. In fact, a lot about this one seemed to happen quickly. You can easily work out how things are going to tie together – the way the romance will play out along with who is really the bad guy – and I would have liked for things to have another couple of layers just to shake things up a bit.

It was enjoyable, yes, but it felt too quick for me. Mostly it’s because I’m comparing it to my favourite books in this series – whilst all the books are short and snappy reads, this one felt shorter and snappier than my favourites.

Enjoyable, yes. A great addition to the series, yes. Worth the read, yes.

Although it’s not my favourite, I’d certainly recommend it for fans of the Complex series.

View all my reviews

Blog Tour: An Unlikely Bride.
















AVA

The meek shall inherit the earth, they say.

Bullshit. Look at me now. What do I have? Nothing.

I thought I wouldn't get past a second heartbreak. I was wrong. I never should've closed myself off in tears when Lucas told me he loved me. I should've had faith he wouldn't betray me.

Regaining his love will mean throwing away my pride, my armor and laying myself completely bare. I have to trust that he won't crush me at my most vulnerable.

The attempt will leave me bleeding. It might just kill me. But I definitely won't survive knowing that I didn't fight for what I wanted: my future.

A future with the only man I ever loved...a man more important than the very air I breathe...


LUCAS

You gotta put yourself out there to get what you want.

My ass.

I bared my heart to Ava. I begged for her trust, her love.

Instead she shattered my soul.

She's circling me, her pretty eyes vulnerable. She won't fool me this time. I'll never give her another shot. I'll break her before she breaks me...

Note: The last book in Lucas and Ava's epic love story! No cliffhanger.

Nobody can be you. You’re the only woman who’s made me yearn.”
The quiet intensity of his gaze and voice ripples over me. It soothes the wounds of my soul, and I close my eyes to savor the warm, sweet moment.
“When I saw you for the first time at that restaurant, it was like seeing my fate. My future.”
I grin. “You liked my body. I remember you checking me out.” An understatement; he’d stripped me bare with his eyes.
“Nice bodies and pretty faces are dime a dozen. You were different.” He takes a bite of his lunch and lets the silence stretch for a moment.
“Then why did you act like you didn’t want me back? You never wanted to stay the night or take me to meet your family or friends. If they’d seen me before the accident, maybe things would’ve turned out differently.”
He hesitates.
“You don’t want to talk about it,” I say finally.
His fingers twitch. “It’s not that. I’m trying to figure out how to say it so I can avoid looking like an idiot…” He sighs. “Okay, it was my fault. Even as I wanted you, I was fighting it. I felt like I didn’t deserve that kind of love.”
Then I know. “Your mother.”
“What do you mean?”
I shake my head. “Don’t do that. We promised to be honest with each other, and you’re not. It’s not fair.”
“You’re right, it’s not. I’m sorry. No, I don’t want to talk about her.”
“Okay.” He isn’t willing to open up yet, so I’m not going to push it. After all, we can’t continue to have mutual respect and honesty if we refuse to let the other person be. I’m afraid to push too hard and ruin what we have. “Then can you tell me about the deal between you and your father? What the tabloids said… It’s true, isn’t it?”
He nods, his shoulders relaxing a bit. “Basically. What they didn’t publish is that the whole thing came about because Dad was furious we missed his Wedding Number Six.”
“To some woman who isn’t even half his age.” I saw that part too on the Internet.
“I’d be surprised if she finished high school. She’s so young she could’ve been our sister.”
“He must love her, though.”
Lucas snorts a laugh. “He can’t stand his wives. His ego was hurt that we didn’t show. Blake, Ryder and Elizabeth opted to attend their cousin’s wedding—it was his first marriage, after all—and Elliot and I chose not to go because after a while, you don’t want to be part of your parents’ circus. But Dad wanted to make a point, and he knew he could use the portraits to get to us. There were some complications with Grandpa’s will, and the paintings went to my father, who thinks we’re all bunch of worthless losers, and that our grandfather was too soft on us.”
“That’s awful. He’s your father.”
“A reluctant father. I’m sure he regrets he didn’t ask his wives to get abortions.”
I gasp.
“We were just bargaining chips in the divorces, although it didn’t work out the way he wanted with me and Elliot.”
“Why not?”
“Because our mother didn’t try to win custody. She preferred a fatter alimony.”
My image of Lucas as a child, growing up in abundance with everything a person could want, crumbles. Everything online portrayed an enviable life, and I accepted it all without question. “So what’s so special about the portraits?” I ask. “Everyone seemed to be focused on how much they’re worth, but that’s not it, is it?”
“Their monetary value isn’t even a consideration for us.” He jabs the air with his fork. “I’m not denying they’re each worth millions of bucks, but let’s face it. We don’t need the money. If we get them, none of us will ever sell them. The value—to us—is entirely sentimental. Our grandfather painted them when we turned eighteen, and they show the potential and greatness he saw in us.”
“They must be amazing. I wish I could see the one of you.”
Lucas shifts his weight, then reaches for his beer. “It’s pretty romanticized. Grandpa only saw the best in everyone.”
“I don’t see the best in everyone, but I think you’re incredible.” I finish the last of my fries. My mind is made up. “Let’s get married.”
He stares at me as though I’ve asked him to climb Everest in the nude. “Ava…we can’t.”
“What? Why not?”
“I didn’t go after you to get the painting.”
“I know, and that’s fine. I just think that now—”
“I won’t marry you. Now yet.”
Well, this is unexpected. I cast about for the right argument. “But that means your father’s going to win.”
He shrugs.
“Don’t you want to win?”
“Yes.”
I narrow my eyes. “You aren’t marrying anyone else, Lucas Reed!”
“Absolutely not. I told you already, you’re the only one for me. But I’m not marrying you either, not until the six months is up, because I’m not giving you any cause to doubt my love for you again.”
Now it becomes clear. “Lucas… I won’t.”
But he isn’t listening. “My brothers and sister will just have to get over it. I’ll find a way to make it up to them.”
“But you were going to marry Faye…”
“I didn’t love her, Ava. It’s not the same thing.”
“You’re right, it’s not. This way, you get both the painting and the woman you really do love. So what’s the problem?”
“If anything happens between us because of the damned deal…” He inhales roughly. “I can’t go through…everything…again.” 











New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nadia Lee writes sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

Currently, she shares a condo overlooking a small river and sakura trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.

Stay in touch with her via her website, www.nadialee.net, or her blog www.nadialee.net/blog/





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