Review: The Boy and His Ribbon (The Ribbon Duet #1) by Pepper Winters

Title: The Boy and His Ribbon
Author: Pepper Winters
Series: The Ribbon Duet #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dark/ Contemporary
Links:

Blurb:
“What do you do when you meet your soul mate? No wait…that’s too easy. What do you do when you meet your soul mate and have to spend a lifetime loving him in secret?
I’ll tell you what you do.
You lie.”

REN

Ren was eight when he learned that love doesn’t exist—that the one person who was supposed to adore him only cared how much he was worth.
His mother sold him and for two years, he lived in terror.
But then…he ran.
He thought he’d run on his own. Turned out, he took something of theirs by accident and it became the one thing he never wanted and the only thing he ever needed.

DELLA

I was young when I fell in love with him, when he switched from my world to my everything.
My parents bought him for cheap labour, just like they had with many other kids, and he had the scars to prove it.
At the start, he hated me, and I could understand why.
For years he was my worst enemy, fiercest protector, and dearest friend.
But by the end…he loved me.
The only problem was, he loved me in an entirely different way to the way I loved him.
And slowly, my secret drove us apart.

My Review:
Initial thoughts immediately after reading: Original, captivating, thought-provoking, and completely unputdownable.

It’s been a few weeks since I read this duet and I still can’t get Della and Ren’s story out of my mind. I am still reeling from reading their journey, and, honestly, I think I’ll have to pick it up and reread it again. I am still blown away by this heartbreaking story that I know will stay with me for a long time. I don’t think this review will do this book or this series justice, but I will try.

I’m open-minded, especially when it comes to love, but it’s fair to say this story challenged my beliefs at times which I LOVED. I constantly found myself stopping and thinking deeply about the themes, especially the modern day notion of family. What exactly constitutes family? It goes beyond blood, in my opinion, and that is what made this story difficult to read at times. I felt the sibling bond between Della and Ren in their formative years and as their feelings transformed, I was uncomfortable, at first, until I had no choice but to root for them because I felt the deep, intense love they had for one another.

Ren was always her everything, and I could see how easily she could fall in love with him. It was more complex for Ren – he had been her carer since she was a baby and he fought the feelings brewing inside him. I admired him for that, even as it pained me. He was only existing, not living, so cut off from everyone and society and he didn’t want to feel at all, except when it came to his ribbon. He needed control and order whether they were surviving in the woods or forced into shelter during the winter – once he felt in control, he was okay. When she started pushing him, forcing him to confront his feelings, to explore outside those boundaries, he started drowning and that’s when he made choices that ended up hurting both of them.

Man, the feelings were so real. So raw. I felt every single emotion they were both feeling. It pulled my heartstrings, twisted my stomach into knots, and I was like an addict, devouring pages well into the early hours of the night.

Even though it was a morally wrong (I still believe that) I couldn’t stop myself from wanting them to find a way to be together, because it was also so right. This internal dilemma playing through my mind the whole way through this first book only upped the angst factor for me and added to my enjoyment. At the end of the day, the heart wants who it wants and no amount of logical or forced morality can change that.

I loved both mains, but I loved how steadfast Della was, in particular. Even though she was young, she knew from an early age that what she felt for Ren was more than a crush, that it was the real deal, the kind of intense, soul-deep love very few people ever get to experience, and she never stopped fighting for it. I admired her strength and her resilience.

This book was beautifully written and executed. Character and plot development was flawless. I’m in awe of Pepper’s profound understanding of the human psyche and she nailed the emotional journey of both mains. Completely nailed it. I deliberately held off reading my comp copy until the second book was released because I just knew that I would want to delve straight into the rest of the story immediately, and my gut instinct was right.

While this is a different story, it reminded me a little of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. I remember similar conflicted feelings reading that brilliant story and how thought-provoking it was too.

In summary, this was a highly-emotive, angsty, unique romance that is superbly written and one I cannot recommend more highly.

Thank you so much to the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own and I’m writing this review voluntarily.

What a fantastic introduction to Pepper Winter’s books, and I definitely look forward to reading more.

Cover Reveal: Interlude – An Illusion Series Novel by D. Kelly


Today is the cover reveal for Interlude – An Illusion Series Novel by D. Kelly! I love this series and can’t wait for this book.

Title: Interlude
Author: D. Kelly
Series: An Illusion Series novel
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: January 29, 2019
Links:

Blurb:
Jordan Weston is good-looking, mysterious, and sexually uninhibited, but his life is more like the name of his bar―Just an Illusion. His cousins are the bad boys of Bastards and Dangerous, but their fame hasn’t made everything rainbows and sunshine for him. He’s haunted, flawed, and the sole survivor of a homicide that wiped out his immediate family.

Allie Baker, the most recent hire at the bar, can see through Jordan’s façade. She knows he’s everything she doesn’t need, but she’s beginning to crave his cocky attitude and the way he looks at her. The more she tries to stay away from him, the more she wants to get to know him.

Jordan knows falling for an employee is a bad idea, but Allie pushes buttons he never realized he had. Even though Allie desperately needs her job, she soon decides being with Jordan is more important. Will they be able to compromise, or will she let her chance at love pass her by for the sake of a paycheck?

About the Author:
D. Kelly, author of The Acceptance Series, The Illusion Series, and standalone companion novels Chasing Cassidy and Sharing Rylee, was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a wife, mom, dog lover, taxi, problem fixer, and extreme multi-tasker. She married her high school sweetheart and is her kids’ biggest fan.

Kelly has been writing since she was young and took joy in spinning stories to her childhood friends. Margaritas and sarcasm make her smile, she loves the beach but hates the sand, and she believes Starbucks makes any day better.

A contemporary romance writer, D. Kelly’s stories revolve around friendship and the bond it creates, strengthening the love of the people who share it.

Links:

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Cover Reveal: The Bet by Natalie Wrye


Today is the cover reveal for The Bet by Natalie Wrye!

Title: The Bet
Author: Natalie Wrye
Series: standalone
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
It was supposed to be an innocent wager, a harmless game.

It turned out to be so much more.

Maybe that’s because everything involving Violet Keats was so much more.

More frustrating.
More pain-in-the-ass.
More sexy than anything I’d ever seen.

You know what they say: All’s fair in love and business.

And what happens to Manhattan’s toughest lawyer when she ends up on the wrong side of my bitter family feud should be no different…

Until one night changes everything.

I knew what taking this dangerous bet would do to her. What I never bet on is what taking this gamble would do to me…

About Natalie Wrye

Natalie Wrye is a tequila connoisseur, Game of Thrones addict and author best known for writing steamy bedtime reads.

A Jersey Girl living in the South, when she’s not obsessing over a new Netflix series or yelling at college basketball games on TV, she’s usually crafting sexy stories about hard-bodied, alpha males and the strong-willed women who crave them.

She loves it when people get weird with her on Facebook, NatalieWrye.com or NatalieWrites@NatalieWrye.com.

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Giveaway

Review: Crave Me (The Good Ol’ Boys #4) by M. Robinson

Title: Crave Me
Author: M. Robinson
Series: The Good Ol’ Boys #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
They say in order to find yourself you have to go home.
What if home was what you’re running from?
Where did that leave you?

Always on the other side of the fence.
Always looking in.
Always wishing you were someone you couldn’t be.

Until one day you meet her.
The one.
She was my high, but she was also…
My demise.

STANDALONE within a series. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Strong language and themes, and sexual content, not intended for readers under 18. This is a Full Length Novel.

My Review:
For me, this was, hands down, the best book in the series. It was also the darkest and some of it was difficult to read but I still couldn’t put it down. The author handled the addiction story line perfectly and though I had periods where I hated both mains, my heart hurt for them more than anything. Their chemistry seeped off the pages of my Kindle and I shipped them so hard. I felt every emotion with them and I was hooked from the first page to the very last.

I really felt for Austin, and I was disgusted with Lucas, Dylan, and Jacob in parts, as well as his parents. The only one who ever listened to him growing up was Half Pint. His self destruction and loathing after the accident was palpable and watching his demise was heart wrenching. Thankfully, it ends in a happy place.

It was great to catch glimpses of the other characters and I like how all the storylines tie in with previous books. All in all, this was a great series and one I recommend. The author has created a great set of characters I became very invested in, and I loved all the angst and drama too. Ticked a lot of the boxes for me!

To the reader who suggested it on my Inseparable product page – thank you! I would, most likely, not have discovered this book or this author otherwise.

Reverse Harem Advent Calendar

Avail of some fab reverse harem freebies with this awesome online advent calendar! From 1 till 24 December there will be a new featured free book each day, so make sure to stop by daily to pick up that day’s cool freebie. Some books will only be free on that exact date, but others may be free for longer. Click on the graphic below and start downloading your free e-books!

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Title: One Small Thing
Author: Erin Watt
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

My Review:
I’m a massive Erin Watt fan and the blurb for this new book sucked me right in. I love a good forbidden romance and this was very close to perfection. Poor Beth. My heart bled for her. She was a great combination of vulnerability and strength. Chase was amazing, and I really felt for him. I was screaming at my Kindle at the abusive treatment he endured. The romance was a little too light for me with this one, and I hated that every single authority figure seemed to think it was okay to bully a boy who had already served his punishment. Other than that, I loved every bit of it and I think the authors did a wonderful job portraying the grief and torment in an authentic fashion. I also really enjoy Erin Watt’s style of writing and the pacing flowed beautifully, so much so that I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading this in one sitting. Highly recommended, especially if you are already a fan of this talented duo.

Review: Wicked Games (Wicked Bay #4) by L.A. Cotton

Title: Wicked Games
Author: L.A. Cotton
Series: Wicked Bay #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The edgy, angsty, addictive YA/NA crossover series from L. A. Cotton continues…

They thought the fight was over…

All Maverick Prince ever wanted was to play basketball in college. So starting for the Steinbeck Scorpions should be a dream come true. But not everyone wants to see him succeed. Just because you’re on the same team, doesn’t mean you play by the same rules.

Lo Stone thought her life was finally on an even keel. As if being a senior and having to think about her future isn’t bad enough, she’s a stranger in her own house. And the longer she goes without seeing Maverick, the harder it is to ignore the little voice of doubt whispering in her ear.

They thought the games were over, but the war is only just beginning…

My Review:
Another amazing addition in this highly addictive series. I just love Lo and Rick. They are right up there with Sam and Mason and Ella and Reed in my opinion. New antagonists combine with familiar ones to add suspense and tension, and Lo has to dig deep to find inner strength and finally overcome her demons, in this latest installment. I’m very intrigued by Macey now and I look forward to her story. Kyle was hysterical as usual. All in all, another fab read.

Thanks to the author for providing an ARC of this book which I am voluntarily reviewing.

Review: Reckoning (The Four Horsemen #7) by L.J. Swallow

Title: Reckoning
Author: L.J. Swallow
Series: (The Four Horsemen #7)
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The gripping conclusion to the bestselling reverse harem urban fantasy series, The Four Horsemen.

The book talks about Truth, Chaos and Order. But what about Love?

Now the shocking truth about Vee’s identity is revealed, the five are forced from to leave the UK in pursuit of the god threatening to end the world.

But Chaos hasn’t finished his games yet. The countdown is on to stop the portals opening and to discover his whereabouts.

The arrival of new allies sends shockwaves through the group when they discover Joss’s theories are true. But with them comes new hope.

And following one more stunning twist about Vee’s identity, and her connection to them, the five discover their place in the world is much bigger than they realised.

In the midst of the storm swirling around them, the five grow closer as emotional barriers breakdown. Is their unshakeable bond enough to save everybody in the final battle with Chaos? Or will they be lost in their struggle to save the world?

The Four Horsemen is an urban fantasy series with a reverse harem twist. Prepare to follow the lives of Vee and the Four Horsemen through addictive books filled with action, supernatural suspense and magic. Start the series with Legacy and discover why readers have fallen in love with the books–and the Horsemen! The series slow burns to steamy scenes, has a kickass heroine and four guys who’ll do anything for the girl who’s the centre of their world.

My Review:
A very fitting ending to the series and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll miss Vee and my pony boys. This series is up there with my fave reverse harem series and it’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Love all the guys, love Vee, love the interesting world building, suspenseful plot, fab writing and spot-on pacing. Definitely worth checking out, especially now the series is complete and you can binge read it in one go!

Review: Ruin (Gods #1) by Samantha Towle

Title: Ruin
Author: Samantha Towle
Series: Gods #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From Samantha Towle, the New York Times bestselling author of Wardrobe Malfunction and Breaking Hollywood, comes a dramatically powerful and passionate new contemporary romance.

And the new heavyweight champion of the world is…

Those are the words that Zeus Kincaid has been waiting to hear since he first put on a pair of boxing gloves. He just didn’t think they would come with a tragedy that would change how he viewed the sport forever.

Cameron Reed was in her second year at Juilliard when her childhood sweetheart, Zeus Kincaid, walked away from her. A few months later, Cam realized that she would never fulfill her dream of dancing for the New York City Ballet.

Now working as a dancer in an upscale club in Manhattan, Cam is brought face-to-face with the man she once loved. And it’s her turn to walk away from him.

After five years of missing Cam, Zeus isn’t prepared to let her go again. But when he finds himself standing on her doorstep the next morning, things don’t go quite as he expected…

My Review:
4.5 stars. Loved it. Great writing and great characterization. Loved Gigi girl. Spent the first part of the book hating on Zeus and then I fell head over heels. Swoon. Wish there had been more flashbacks to their teen years, when they fell in love, but that’s only a minor complaint.

Review: Just an Illusion – Unplugged (The Illusion #4) by D. Kelly

Title: Just an Illusion – Unplugged
Author: D. Kelly
Series: The Illusion #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sawyer Weston is cocky and arrogant. With his sinful smile and sexy dimples, he’s gotten his way most of his life. Infamous for his one-night stands and moves between the sheets, the lead singer for Bastards and Dangerous has never considered relationships—until he meets her.

With her curvy body, sarcastic mouth, and uncanny ability to put Sawyer in his place, Amelia Greyson has captured his heart. She can see into his soul and knows what he truly wants from life. Sawyer has a problem, though—she’s dating his twin brother Noah.

Although he wants her with every breath he takes, Sawyer and Noah’s complicated history prevents him from making a move on her.

Just an Illusion—Unplugged tells Sawyer’s story. Every thought, every feeling, are yours for the taking. Are you ready?

My Review:
I am so in love with this series. It was amazing getting to read the first part of the story from Sawyer’s perspective, and I love how he loved her all along, and how obvious it is now that I see it through his eyes. Can’t wait for the last book to release. Roll on the summer!