Book Review · Science Fiction/Dystopian

#BookReview #SFR // Anomaly by Nicolina Martin

A Fated Gemini Novella
by Nicolina Martin

Of all the beer joints in all the towns in all the worlds, he walked into her one… who would ever guess how life-changing it would be.

I was blown away by this captivating story of a girl who wants to forget the future before it takes her past and the man who is not a man but is most certainly a hero. The hopelessness and misery of H-666 – Hell indeed – pummelled my emotions, which were then uplifted by the beauty and wonder of this special couple. Despair, desire and desolation combine in this passion-fuelled, heart-wrenching tale of love amongst the stars.

It’s not often that a book truly makes me cry, it’s even rarer for that to happen with a novella – after all, I have to be fully invested in my characters to care that much. However, Nicolina Martin achieved that all too easily with Ailee and Reece’s story. This pair of start-crossed lovers carried so much pain inside them, yet managed to find joy, and eventually hope, with one another.

Though the majority of the story is written from Ailee’s POV I still felt as though I got to know both protagonists well. The closing chapters, from two other viewpoints, were perfect and I am only too happy to recommend this seasonal sci-fi romance.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Science Fiction Romance


On H-666 the only thing more dangerous than love is hope…
The All Lights Celebration isn’t for me. I have nothing to celebrate. I’ll spend my last night of freedom drinking my misery away. Then I’ll submit to forced labor in the mines, where my body and spirit will be broken, and the toxic fumes will destroy my mind. It’s my lot in life, and if I want to spare my sister the same fate, I must accept it.
I wasn’t expecting to meet him, though.
Reece is…different. Stronger. More dangerous. His mesmerizing eyes see everything. I should run away, but instead, I run to him. He needs my help to get to Earth—and in return, he thinks he can save me. I know better. There’s no hope for me. I’ll die here. But I can’t let that happen to him. He deserves better than this place.
Better than me.
So, while I can give him my body, I can never give him my heart. Because in this place, love is an anomaly. It can’t be trusted.
I can only pray I have the strength to let him go when the time comes…

BDSM · Book Review · Dark

#BookReview #DarkRomance // His Keepsake by Cari Silverwood

His Keepsake
by Cari Silverwood

I slumped into the sofa once they released me, feeling all the small hurts multiply and flare. Those waned and merged into a sea of pleasant pain, as if I were an instrument recently played by an entire orchestra.

What happens when a girl who wants to be forced is taken by a man who wants to make her obey? You get His Keepsake. This book is twisted, wrong, scorching hot, sexy, dangerous and devastating. It was impossible to guess where the story was heading, whether Emme would ever discover Grayson wasn’t the man she thought he was and how two people who wanted, needed, to eschew free choice could ever hope to find a HEA.

Despite wondering if Emme was entirely sane, I adored her character, strength, determination, and brattiness, whilst I found Grayson utterly intriguing. His morals were so twisted but, despite taking what wasn’t his, he demonstrated a protective and caring attitude towards Emme. An attitude that was evidenced by his response to the CNC party. I found myself constantly wondering where the story would take Emme, Grayson and, possibly, Axl. After all, when your only desire is to be given no choice or to allow no choice, any possible relationship is bound to be fraught with danger and disappointment, this one was no exception.

She squirmed, and I propped my booted foot on her chest. “Do you like breathing, Emme? Move again and my heel will be on your throat, instead. Do you know how fragile a throat can be?”
Threats were easy. Threats were

The story is a strange dichotomy of scorching chemistry and excruciating terror, depraved debauchery and gentle tenderness. Lust oozes from its very pages, equalled only by the disquieting sense of wrongness. Yet nestled within the misdeeds is a strong sense of rectitude, a desire to do the wrong things for the right reasons amidst an inclination to do no permanent harm, at least not emotionally. There is also a delightful juxtaposition of snarky humour and dark misadventure that leaves the reader questioning their reading choices!

Grayson is just the right side of bad, well at least most of the time he is. He has a line he will not cross, though it’s open to negotiation. Axl is very much the bad influence in this story, with a desire to do some very bad things to our poor Emme.

“I’d return his toy dirty and slightly damaged. It was the least I could do. The chainsaw he’d borrowed last summer had ended up in the repair shop for a month.”

I shivered with delight at his relegating Emme to having no more importance than a possession, a boy’s toy.

The ending broke me a lot little, and then rather gently put me back together, before slapping my ass, calling me a dirty slut and rogering me senseless. Utter perfection.

I had put myself at his mercy and yet I knew nothing about the quality of his mercy.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Erotic Romance


Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
Some cravings cannot be denied. That was me with CNC. Going to clubs didn’t make me feel anything anymore. I wanted a soul-wrenching, destructive encounter with a stranger.
I wanted to be kept by someone… in a basement, or in a cage, like a bird or a treasured object?
I could pretend, couldn’t I? As long as we had a code, the beginning was SANE.
That would be fine. All good.
But when he didn’t say THE word… THAT word. I wonder if he is just messing with me?
Maybe this is a real abduction. If so, I should be scared.

Who knew that one day I would do what I had fantasized about for years? Or that my best friend would insist on joining me.
This is fun. Filthy. Darker than a grave with the hole filled in, except, she isn’t getting killed. I might keep her forever, though I’m not telling her that.
Or that I’m not the man she arranged to meet.I open my cellar door and study this precious creature I’ve caught, from her toes to those pretty, tear-filled eyes.

This story has a HEA but for some that will not be enough. There are more triggers in this dark tale than stars in the sky.

Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #ChristmasRomance // The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans

The Post Box at the North Pole
by Jaimie Admans

5 “Northern Lights” sparkling stars for this emotional and utterly captivating Christmas romance. Written entirely from Sasha’s viewpoint I initially found myself struggling to connect with her. However, it wasn’t long, no more than a chapter or two, until I found myself warming to the character who at first sight had appeared to be a bit of a do-nothing doormat. Once I’d gotten to know her, understand how worthless life had made her feel, she very quickly and easily captured my heart. I may also have shed tears for her – and on more than one occasion.

It’s just a sentence, but those are words I’ve always wished someone would say to me. Always wanted someone to feel about me. I’m on the periphery of most people’s vision – there but unimportant. Tav makes me feel like his number-one priority, and it’s a good thing I’m already sitting down because it makes my knees weak and my chest all quivery.

The Post Box at the North Pole is quite simply perfect, I wouldn’t change a single thing. The author created a beautiful and appealing setting, I actually feel quite sad that I can’t journey to Norway to stay in one of the themed cabins, watch the Northern Lights from a glass igloo, send a postcard with a North Pole stamp, see Santa’s home or take a reindeer-powered sleigh ride through the North Pole Forest. Even if something similar does exist it won’t have Tav, Sasha, Perce and Rudolph-slash-Clive, and they were what made this such a good book.

Tav and Sasha were eminently likeable characters, flawed, damaged by life, and a little worn around the edges. Wholly perfect for one another, I found myself delighting in every scene they shared, melting at Tav’s sweet, thoughtful gestures, and hoping beyond hope for Sasha’s dreams to come true. With themes of forgiveness, family and learning to trust, TPBatNP is a truly wonderful story. Even though I guessed the original owner of the North Pole Forest almost immediately I still adored watching how that aspect of the plot played out. The new owner twist took me by surprise though, as did the lists Sasha discovered, despite the generous amount of foreshadowing.

This was a book that I put down only begrudgingly, and that I couldn’t wait to get back to. If you are looking for a heart-warming Christmas romance then this is one I am happy to recommend.

“I don’t want to go,” I whisper into his hands, holding his arms around me.
It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud and there’s freedom in admitting it to myself as well as to him.
“I don’t want you to go.”
Tears. Instantaneous tears. No one has ever said that to me before. No one has ever cared whether I’m there or not, and I didn’t realise how much I wanted someone to want me until he did.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Holiday Fiction


Sasha Hansley hates Christmas. As a child, it was her favourite time of year, but ever since the tragic death of her mother, it has completely lost its magic.
But when she gets an unexpected phone call from her eccentric estranged father, she’s forced to dust off her snow boots.
He has been running a Lapland style Christmas village in Norway and after suffering a heart attack, he is on strict doctor’s orders to slow down. Eager to reconnect with her dad, Sasha books the next flight out there. Only she has never actually been on a plane before, let alone to the Arctic Circle.
Met at the runway by drop-dead-gorgeous Taavi Salvesen, they sleigh ride through the snow with the Northern Lights guiding their way.
When Sasha uncovers sacks of unopened Santa mail – letters that children and adults from all over the world write to Santa every year – she realises that she can send a little bit of magic out into the world by replying to some of them.
With Taavi on hand to help, will Sasha rediscover her own excitement for Christmas and find love among the letters?

Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #ChristmasRomance // Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea by Cressida McLaughlin

Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea
The Cornish Cream Tea Novels #5
by Cressida McLaughlin

Oh my word, and sniffle, and swoon, and sigh. What an utterly delightful, heartwarming and perfect-for-the-season book this is. I just wish I could forget it so that I can re-discover it for the first time again!

Meredith and Finn, along with the delightful Cornish setting and the super gorgeous Crumble, totally captured my heart. Meredith, our heroine, is a down-to-earth young woman with whom I instantly felt a connection. Already a very likeable character I enjoyed seeing her overcome those mental obstacles to truly become the best person she could be. Very notable was how authentic that growth felt; whilst Finn was the spark that lit the fuse it still felt as though Meredith had autonomy over her decisions.

The plot spread beyond the mere seasonal romance and incorporated several different aspects that helped move the story forward as well as engage the reader even more! The side plots involving Anisha and her family, the mystery of neighbouring Bernie, the hampers, and the artwork all added a vibrant richness to the book. There were one or two things I might have added to my Christmas list such as having at least a small amount of Finn’s viewpoint – particularly around resolving the issues around his parents.

The author’s voice felt like a warm hug; it has a smooth flow and steady quality to it. It took absolutely no time at all for me to be caught up in the story and invested in the characters. Cressida McLaughlin has a wonderful way with words, evoking strong emotions and precise images without being overly complex or descriptive. I was inside Meredith looking out through her eyes, rather than feeling like an outside observer. There may even have been occasions when I shed a few tears.

The book had so much hidden depth, not only with its themes of grief, family and love but also some of the other topics it touched on. The community aspect, the truth of Britain’s struggling High Streets and the joy of the season all combined into a first-rate story. This was all further enhanced by the beautiful setting and subtle yet solid world-building. The author wove Cornwall into so many aspects of the story, but in such a gentle way that it didn’t detract from the plot.

This may be the first book I have read by Cressida McLaughlin, if it is any indication to go by then I do not intend it to be my last.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Contemporary Romance


Warm hearted fun, with a sprinkle of love.’ Holly Martin
Can she spread Christmas cheer in Cornwall this year?
All Meredith Verren has ever wanted is to escape the holiday season without having to wear a Christmas jumper. Her new job at the cosy gift shop in a picturesque Cornish tourist spot is making it impossible for her to maintain her scrooge-like manner.
With their seasonal hampers on everyone’s wish list, Meredith must paste on a smile and fake some holiday cheer. Then she meets handsome new arrival, Finn, who wishes it could be Christmas every day and wants her to feel the same way too.
Can she embrace the holly and the ivy before the decorations are packed away for another year?

Book Review · Contemporary Romance

#BookReview #SecondChance #TBT // Unforgivable by Isabel Love

Unexpected Love #3
by Isabel Love

A “blast from the past” review.

The mistakes that will define us if we let them.

“A heartrending tale of how youthful mistakes can have lasting consequences.”

In my early days of reading, reviewing, and blogging arc books I took a chance on a new author. Her name was Isabel Love. She wrote a book called Untouchable, that book blew me away. She then released another book called Unconventional, and out of over 400 books I read last year that was in my top ten favourites. So when I saw she was releasing Anna’s book (she feature’s only briefly in Unconventional but had a huge impact on Charlie’s life) I was hoping for another good read. Actually, I was hoping for a book that would touch my heart in the same way that Unconventional had. I got everything I wanted and then some more. I got another top ten read, and maybe not just for the year but probably the decade.

Hope is a stupid, cruel emotion.

Wesley was the new boy at school, fostered by an indifferent couple and the victim of bullies. Anna, and her brother John, rescued him from those bullies and thus begins a lifelong friendship. Puberty turns childish feelings into something more, but Wes believes he isn’t good enough for a girl like Anna and eventually, she finds love in the arms of another. If you’ve read Unconventional you will know what happened between Charlie and Anna, how a rash decision of a naïve teenager changed both their lives. (Don’t worry, you find it all out in this book too, so it can be read as a standalone.) You will know how their love not only came to a crashing end but made Charlie hate Anna almost as much as Anna hated herself. At the same time, Wes makes his own foolish choices, which also have severe consequences.

Eventually, Wes and Anna find their way back to each other, but both are so broken by their pasts will they ever be able to find their future?

Quinn’s self-loathing and deep hurt in Unconventional made me cry. However, in Unforgivable we have TWO damaged and hurting characters. BOTH Anna and Wes made me cry, great huge ugly tears of the very best kind. They tore my heart from my chest, squeezed it, pummelled it, slapped it around and then stuffed it back in, leaving it feeling bruised and vulnerable. Yet they also filled it with great joy and hope.

The scenes from their teenage years were so packed with emotion. There was Anna’s desperation and longing for Wes to notice her and love her. There was Wes with all his pent up feelings for Anna and his deep sense of lacking any worth. I also totally believed in their connection, their feelings and their love. There was the clear love that Anna’s parents had for Wes, not that he could ever see it.

“Ever since you brought him home that day from school, with his nose broken and untrusting eyes, I’ve wanted to give that boy everything the world has failed to give…..”

The unfairness of so much of what happens, left me wanting to stamp my feet and demand justice for a fictional character, but a character who so wove his way into my heart that he felt real. Then we get the ‘later’ scenes when Anna is living in a deep hole of self-loathing and recrimination. Where Wes despairs that his life will ever hold anything good or joyous. Anna and Wes are such wonderful characters that you are desperate for them to have a HEA, though life (or should I say the author!) doesn’t want to make things too easy. This book repeatedly broke me and then remade me, it was quite simply an amazing read.

“I could never forget. The real challenge is to remember my past mistakes, accept them, and move on.”

There wasn’t a single page of this that I was tempted to skim. I devoured every individual page, sentence, word and letter. I just wished I hadn’t started reading it at 10 pm, as in the early hours I had to force myself to put it down and get some sleep. Not that sleep was ready to come with Anna, Wes and their battles spinning around in my head.

For quite a long story (between 4 and 5 hours to read) there are only a few ‘bedroom scenes’. They are pretty steamy but very much an integral part of the story, both feeling a very natural part of it, as well as enhancing it.

This is such a wonderful book I don’t want to limit my recommendation to one group or type of reader. It is so good I would recommend it to everyone, this author is one of the few whose books I will automatically one-click, no questions asked.

P.S.- keep a box of tissues to hand whilst reading this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Contemporary Romance


Standalone, new-adult romance about mistakes, acceptance and forgiveness.
There are certain things that are unforgivable…
Falling for your brother’s best friend is one of them.
That isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done, though. Not even close.
Shame and guilt follow me everywhere.
Except when I’m with him. With him, I can breathe again. Smile again. Love again. But he doesn’t know what I’ve done…