Review: Beautiful Surrender (Forever #3) by Priscilla West

beautiful surrenderTitle: Beautiful Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #3
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.

My Review:
Actual Rating: 3.75 Stars

This was the best book of the series and finally we saw some real suspense, some gritty action. I had a much better sense of both characters in this book though I have to say that I warmed to Vincent much more than Kristen.

Kristen flies off the handle with Vincent when she discovers what he’s done. I didn’t understand her reaction and it wasn’t natural in my view, all he was doing was trying to protect her and she freaked-out.

Marty is a very disturbed boy and the scenes at the end were explosive.

Now that I’ve read all three books I’m feeling a little frustrated because I think this series could be really great with a little bit more fleshing out and stronger plot development. For me, this story lacked originality: Everything that happens is predictable and apart from the romance there isn’t much else happening. Even the sub-plot centering around Marty could have been woven more intricately throughout the story so that he really felt like a threat. He only felt like that at the very end. I think there was a missed plot opportunity with Richard, and excepting Gizelle and her family, none of the side characters added any value to the plot. They should have been expanded on or removed.

Though this might sound like a contradiction, I did still enjoy reading this series, but I was frustrated at the wasted potential because Priscilla West is clearly a talented writer and I admire her writing style. I am definitely going to check out some of her other books.

With stronger structural/developmental editing this series could be so much better. I also think that this would work better as one larger book. While I know it’s trendy to serialise in shorter segments, I just didn’t feel like it worked here.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Secret Surrender (Forever #2) by Priscilla West

secret surrenderTitle: Secret Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #2
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

I knew that giving in to Vincent Sorenson was a risk, but it was one I was willing to take. I had hidden my heart for so long and for the first time in a long time, Vincent was close to breaking down the walls.

When a trip to Vincent’s exclusive private island reveals the real Vincent underneath the layers of suave nonchalance, I thought we were close to the start of something special.

Just when things were looking up for us, I would discover the one secret that Vincent never intended for me to find.

My Review:
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars.

I thought this book was better than the first installment though I still had some issues with it.

Character development was stronger in this book, mainly because it centers on Vincent and Kristen’s romance. I enjoyed the world-building as Kristen was shown a taste of what it’s like to date a wealthy, successful, man.

The romance is smokin’ hot, just as I like it!

The main issues I had again were underdevelopment of the plot. Kurt and Bernie were so obvious it was almost laughable. Poor Riley is relegated to the sideline which was a shame as she seemed like an interesting character in the first book. Kristen’s ex, Marty, makes an appearance but then disappears again. While Vincent took this seriously, Kristen was way too flippant. She’d been having nightmares about the guy for years and she was too easy-breezy about it.

The writing remains very good, but this series is still not hitting it’s true potential in my opinion.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Forbidden Surrender (Forever #1) by Priscilla West

Forbidden SurrenderTitle: Forbidden Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The minute I saw Vincent Sorenson, I knew he was trouble. Billionaire. Bad boy. And dangerously sexy. He was everything I craved, and nothing I needed.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just avoid him. The higher ups at my company decided they needed his business, and I was on the team to bring him in. Vincent Sorenson didn’t seem as interested in business as he was in me, but I knew that was a door better left unopened. If I got involved with him, it would only unearth the pain I spent years trying to bury.

I thought I had it under control, but I seriously underestimated Vincent’s seductive charm and silver-tongue. I would soon find out how delicious it would feel to let myself fall into this forbidden surrender.

My Review:
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.

I enjoyed the writing style and the book flowed smoothly, but it was too short and there wasn’t adequate time to really connect with the two mains.

Kristen was initially presented as risk-averse, sensible, a bit boring, and quite condescending when she first met Vincent. However, her character was inconsistent and she suddenly became aloof, fiesty, and then she totally folded on the second date. As you do.

Vincent actually seemed like a decent enough guy, if a bit overpowering at times.

Kristen’s work colleague, Richard, has slime-ball potential written all over him.

The romance happened too fast – there wasn’t enough build up – and the whole plot felt a bit rushed. For me, it lacked depth and substance.

However, I’m engaged enough to continue the series and I’m hoping the character development is stronger in Book 2.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Beautiful Elixir (Beautiful Oblivion #3) by Addison Moore

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00031]Title: Beautiful Elixir
Author: Addison Moore
Series: Beautiful Oblivion #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The sharper the lies, the darker the secrets…

Kennedy is mine. Too many tortured years have gone by without her, and I’m not about to let another one slip by. There’s nothing that’s going to keep us apart this time, not my psychotic family, not hers, not the tornado that’s ripping through her life or the one that’s ripping through mine.

I want to open up my heart to her, tell her everything I’ve done, but that’s the one thing I can never do. Some things in life are best left unsaid.

Caleb McCarthy is back in Loveless, turning heads, melting hearts and breaking them. We had a few sultry summers together, way back when. Those stolen nights were our treasured secret. But now he’s here, ready to take the next step with me just as my life burns to cinders. Our timing was never good. Someone has lifted the lid off Pandora’s Box and my every worst nightmare is floating around cyberspace.

All of the secrets I thought I’d take to the grave are filtering out one by one, and I need to find a way to put the lid back, to bury the box, before the darkest part of my soul is exposed—no one can know what I’ve done.

Kennedy’s every worst nightmare is coming true.

Caleb’s are just beginning.

My Review:
TEAM CALEB ALL THE WAY.

Loved this book and it was a fantastic addition to what is proving to be an excellent series.

This time we get Kennedy (Ken) and Caleb’s story. This one is a lot darker than the previous stories and filled with suspense and intrigue. It was difficult to read at first because Ken is filled with so much self-loathing and she’s really in a dark, self-destructive place.It’s not pleasant to be in her head.

Caleb and Ken had a few summer flings and both of them left a lasting impression on the other. Caleb always promised he would come back for her and now he has, and boy is he determined in his quest for the girl he’s always loved. He was completely unwavering in his commitment to Ken, even though she pushed him away and was less than honest at times. He is there for her through thick and thin and he never lets her down. Swoon 🙂

By her own admission, Ken is prone to telling lies and the tensions and suspense are well-developed as the story progresses. I did figure out the identity of the villain of the piece, and a few other things, but it had enough twists and turns to keep me on my feet.

Caleb is hiding his own secret, but it wasn’t as explosive as Ken’s. It introduced an interesting family dynamic though.

Ken’s sister Reese is in this book, along with Ace and all the other characters I’ve come to love. Reese actually grated on my nerves this time – she came across as fluffy and spineless and she was quite annoying. While I had minor irritations with her in the first book, I did warm to her character. Not so much in this book.

All in all, this was a fantastic read. Now I’m torn between Ace and Caleb – two amazing guys; great dilemma though!

I look forward to continuing this series when the next book is released.

Blog Tour: Cadence (Ruby Riot) by Lisa Swallow

Cadence_BLOGTOUR
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Cadence (Ruby Riot #1) by Lisa Swallow. I’ll share my review with you today! And there’s a tour wide giveaway!

Cadence.Ebook.AmazonTitle: Cadence
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Ruby Riot #1
Genres: Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Links:

Blurb:
Tegan Hughes joins Blue Phoenix and Ruby Riot on tour, and drummer Bryn isn’t the only one who notices his little sister isn’t a kid anymore.

Jax Lewis is the guitarist for Ruby Riot and the band are rising to success. He’s hot property and loving every minute of his new found fame. Now, he’s on tour supporting Blue Phoenix and living his rock star life to the full. Until Tegan walks into his world and puts the brakes on.

Tegan Hughes is taking a year out and has her sights set on touring Europe with her big brother’s band. Blue Phoenix drummer, Bryn isn’t happy when his sister arrives unannounced at his hotel in Lisbon, but Tegan isn’t the type of person to take no as an answer.

With her big brother breathing down their necks, Jax and Tegan attempt to keep a handle on their growing attraction but that proves harder than they thought. Jax is used to getting whoever and whatever he wants and after kissing Tegan once, he knows one thing…he wants more.

The problem is, Tegan isn’t rock star girlfriend material. She has ambitions of her own and refuses to let anything stand in the way of her plans. But when Jax and Tegan’s relationship becomes public knowledge life becomes a hell of a lot more complicated.

Cadence is the first standalone book in a new rock romance series, Ruby Riot. The series is a spin-off from the Blue Phoenix books but you do not need to read the Blue Phoenix series first.

My Review:
I love Lisa’s Blue Phoenix series and having only recently read Jem and Ruby’s story (which was my favorite of all the books) I was really looking forward to reading Cadence. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read Nate and Riley’s story next.

From what I learned previously, Jax is a total man-slut but he has a heart of gold underneath that player persona. What I didn’t realize until I read Cadence is that he’s drowning in this new world that he’s been thrust into, and he doesn’t have the self-discipline required to keep on the straight and narrow. At times, he was extremely immature and way out of line, but, for the most part, I felt an urge to mollycoddle him and shower him with love.

Tegan has begged her brother Bryn to let her tour with him and he reluctantly agrees. The minute she meets Jax they form an instant connection and I just knew the sparks were going to fly. Jax’s star is ascending and he’s in hot demand. Tegan doesn’t want to be another one of his groupies so she tries her best to stay away from him. When that proves impossible, she insists that they try dating in an attempt to have a normal relationship.

As they grow closer, they often grow further apart. Both are young and relatively inexperienced, and they most definitely are not equipped with the wherewithal to deal with the intrusive press and Jax’s obsessive fan base.

While Jax is sweet and protective of Tegan, there is no ignoring his destructive side. While Tegan is falling hard for him, she worries he will bring her down. Eventually, they deal with their demons, and the obstacles to their love and they get their HEA in the end.

I really enjoy Lisa’s writing style and her last book was exceptional – her best book in my opinion. The writing in this one was not quite as good but still well executed. I felt the plot dragged a little in the second half, was quite repetitive in places, and some of the dialogue was cringeworthy.

However, it didn’t impact my overall enjoyment and I will definitely continue the series.

If you enjoy rockstar romances, you should check out Lisa’s Blue Phoenix series. Summer Sky, Book 1, is free to download and all the other books are on sale this week.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Oh, and I love that stunning cover. Beautiful.

About the Author:
Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. She is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2001. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, three children, and Weimaraner, Tilly, who often makes appearances on Lisa’s social media.

Lisa’s first publication was a moving poem about the rain, followed by a suspenseful story about shoes. Following these successes at nine years old there was a long gap in her writing career, until she published her first book in 2013.

In the past, Lisa worked as an English teacher in France, as an advertising copywriter in England, and ran her own business in Australia. Now she spends her days with imaginary rock stars.
She lived in Europe as a child and also travelled when she left university. This has given Lisa stories which would sound far-fetched if she wrote them down, and maybe one day she will. These days, Lisa is happy in her writing cave, under Tilly’s supervision.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Beautiful Illusions (Beautiful Oblivion #2) by Addison Moore

Pageflex PersonaTitle: Beautiful Illusions
Author: Addison Moore
Series: Beautiful Oblivion #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you—in the most heartbreakingly beautiful way.

Gavin’s story.

I fell in love hard and fast as lightning. As quick as she came into my world she was gone. Demi said she has secrets—that she’s done horrible things. Who hasn’t? I’m not going to let the past determine our future. Sometimes love lays forever at your feet and sometimes you need to fight for it. Demi is worth every damn battle we’ll have to go through. I’d burn down the world just to keep her safe. And, after what I’ve discovered, I just might have to. All I need with Demi is one more night to convince her we’re worth it. And that one night is going to cost me everything.

My Review:
This is the second book in this series and on this occasion the story centers around Gavin and Demi. We met Gavin in the first book, but this is our first time meeting Demi.

Demi has had her fair share of knock backs in life – she has lost both her parents and had to deal with an evil stepmom and a thoroughly nasty stepbrother. She’s been on the run for the last few years and is barely treading water. She ends up in Loveless out of desperation and accidently bumps into Gavin. I think it’s fair to say it was pretty much love at first sight for both of them.

There was a good twist about 40% into this book that I didn’t see coming. Love when that happens.

This book has it all by the bucket load – hot romance, steamy sex, angst, torment, drama, betrayal, suspense, intrigue, revenge, pain, and longing.

The writing was superb and I loved both main characters and all the other side characters that made a reappearance in this book. The men in this series ( except Warren Jnr. and Snr.) are totally swoon-worthy – the obligatory movie star knock-out looks mixed with strength, compassion and an all-or-nothing type attitude when it comes to the women they love. Aw, love it! Gavin was willing to give up EVERYTHING for Demi and it was so endearing, but Ace still has my heart. 🙂

This book lost a star for me in the last quarter. I’m not sure what happened really, but it was almost as if the author ran out of time or steam at the end and just rushed it. There was a really great subplot that was totally glossed over and I felt it should have been fleshed out in greater detail. Then it got a little repetitive with both Demi and Gavin talking about love, fate, how they were brought together etc. over and over again. It had already been said on previous occasions and it was overkill, not necessary. The only other thing I didn’t like was how easily Warren appeared to be forgiven for what he did to Reese in the first book. So not cool. This is a serious subject matter and in my opinion it warranted being treated as such.

However, it was still an excellent read and I’m totally hooked on this series now.

Review: Scorched (Frigid #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

ScorchedTitle: Scorched
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Frigid #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

My Review:
I think this is Jennifer’s best NA book to date. Explorations of some heavy subject matter – alcoholism, depression and anxiety. Jennifer handles it perfectly; no glossing over, no sensationalism, raw, real, gritty,so powerful. Though it was downright difficult to read at times, it’s a superb book. The power of redemption is the key takeaway for me. Tanner is one awesome dude and I love him for patiently waiting for Andrea. Another show stopper from the incredible JLA.

Review: My Forever Valentine (Due South #5) by Tracey Alvarez

My Forever ValentineTitle: My Forever Valentine
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Due South #5
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Love small town romance and Happily Ever Afters?
Dive into the Due South world to find out what your favourite characters are doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with these four short and sweet romance stories.

Shaye & Del
Does Del’s stay in hospital after donating a kidney to his dad mean a Valentine’s Day spent alone? Not if his sexy fiancée, Shaye, can pull off some ninja moves and sneak into his room for a little romance…

Piper & West
Piper attempts to cook a Valentine’s dinner for two—guess how well that’ll turn out? But the results are a little unexpected…

Carly & Kip
An overnight hike on the beautiful Rakiura track is not what Carly had in mind for a romantic evening with her hottie barman. Kip, however, has an ulterior motive…

Kezia & Ben
Nothing will go wrong…the most dangerous phrase in the English language, especially when used to describe a Valentine’s Day surprise for Kezia and Ben.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because these four short stories of approximately 3,000 words each contain spoilers, they are intended to be read and enjoyed after the first four Due South Novels:
In Too Deep (Book #1)
Melting Into You (Book #2)
Ready To Burn (Book #3)
Christmas With You (Book #4)

My Review:
Another stomping good read – short, but sweet and sexy.

Shaye & Del and Kip & Carly are my fav couples from this series and I especially loved their short stories. Ben and Piper witnessing Shaye’s special Valentine’s treat for Del was hysterical. So funny.

There isn’t much else I can say without giving too much away. These are great little teasers for those readers who may not have read the series yet, though you should read all the other books first to maximise the reading enjoyment.

The first book, In Too Deep, is free to download from Amazon and if you sign up to the author’s mailing list you will receive book 2 for free (Melting Into You.)

I highly recommend this well-written series. Love these books! (Fan-girling all over the place)

Review: Christmas with You (Due South #4) by Tracey Alvarez

Christmas with YouTitle: Christmas with You
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Due South #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
She’s a Holiday Grinch…

Carly Gatlin doesn’t want to spend another Christmas alone. With her beloved father gone, she’s desperate to be part of a family—so she’s spending the holidays with her step-brothers on Stewart Island. But even with sand, sun, and not a snowflake in sight, everything reminds her of what she’s lost. So no tree trimming, cookie baking, or kisses under the mistletoe for her, thanks. Especially not from Due South’s sexy bartender, Kip.

He’s a too-hot-for-his-Santa-suit killjoy…

Kip Sullivan’s moved hundreds of miles away from his family who’d like to see him married off before his next birthday—on Christmas Eve. Then ten days before the big event, his meddling relatives arrive en masse, and dear God, they’re planning to stay. With match-makers breathing down his neck, it’s becoming harder to ignore the temptation to unwrap Carly like a present under the tree.

The Kiwi barbecue isn’t the only thing sizzling this summer…

Kip agrees to help make Carly’s first New Zealand Christmas special. He’s got five holiday missions to complete—one involving a frisky fake reindeer—before he hopes to claim a mistletoe kiss…and maybe even Carly’s heart.

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without this spicy yet sweet Due South novella.

My Review:
This series is INSANELY good. I could gush buckets about it all day.

This book is every bit as brilliant as the other books in this series. I already loved Carly from Ready to Burn and I was looking forward to her story.

Kip has been mentioned in some of the other books as a bit of a ladies man but we didn’t know much else about him. Turns out, he is a really decent guy, and much less of the ladies man than most people think. Having grown up in a house full of girls, he knows how to relate to women and he is sensitive and caring. He is also HOTT (extra T worthy as Wendy Higgins would say) and Carly has been trying to avoid falling for him. All that changes when his delightful family turn up at Christmas time and set about match-making.

Tons of wonderful dialog and plenty of LOL moments make this a joy to read.

Tracey has an amazing ability to take a plot that could be considered quite simple and transform it into something magical and special.

Another sensational read. My only complaint is that it was too short and I could easily have devoured more. I’m a major convert now and I know I will continue to read this author’s work.

Review: Ready to Burn (Due South #3) by Tracey Alvarez

Ready to BurnTitle: Ready to Burn
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Due South #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Love small-town romance with an unforgettable cast of characters? The Due South series will transport you to an unspoilt, wild island of the coast of New Zealand. Meet Shaye and Del…

Take one sassy Harland girl…

Shaye Harland, sous chef de-awesome, desperately wants the role of Due South’s head chef. Though a little out of her depth, she can totally cope with the extra de-mands if she can resist her future brother-in-law when he muscles in on her kitchen. The Hollywood wannabe is nothing but a troublesome distraction and he fries her sex-ometer to a crisp. But as far as romance? Forget it. Love, when she finds Mr. Perfect, will be as sweet as her to-die-for cookies.

Add a bad-boy from LA…

Del Westlake swore he’d never again set foot on the island he calls the “ass end of New Zealand.” With his reputation as a sous chef in one of LA’s hottest restau-rants trashed, and his estranged father’s restaurant needing a head chef, Del wants nothing more than to go in, get the job done, and get out. Except his feisty second-in-command carves herself a spot in his heart and completely incinerates his plans.

Watch the sparks fly as they burn it up in the kitchen…

Winning a spot on a TV reality show is just what Del needs to jumpstart his career back in the States. Nothing can get in the way of him winning—not even the woman whose trust he’d destroy if she discovers his secrets. But with a film crew capturing the explosive kitchen chemistry between them, will his bad-boy ways rear up and ruin his shot at becoming Shaye’s Mr. Perfect?

My Review:
Wow! What a mind-blowing book! Easily my favorite of all the books I’ve read in this series so far.

Ready to Burn has everything I adore in a book: Sublime writing, witty dialog, brilliant character development, stunning world building, strong emotions & relationships, lots of hot, steamy romance, and a fast-paced plot. There is nothing I would fault in the slightest.

Del Westlake has burned his bridges in LA so when an opportunity presents itself to go home, he can’t turn it down. Especially because it may well allow him restart his chef career in Chicago. Del is hiding behind his fair share of demons and it takes a very special lady to crack his nut. (Ahem!)

Shaye has been one of my fav characters in this series to date so I was really looking forward to reading this book. She is warm but sassy, strong yet vulnerable; particularly to Del’s charms.

They spark off each other at the start, and Shaye’s nose is understandably out of joint when she finds out Del has been hired temporarily as Head Chef, a position she believes she can easily fill. However, she quickly falls for Del’s Hollywood bad-boy charm and is soon in deep over her head.

I loved Del and Shaye as a couple and really enjoyed how Del transformed his whole attitude on life by the end of the book, even opening up to his family about the demons that have been torturing him. He was a great leading man.

I also adored the reality-TV theme, it added an interesting dimension to the story.

There was some really funny, laugh out loud moments in this book, like this bit: “Her revenge was squeezing your bum and letting you put a tongue in her ear? Sounds like cruel and unnecessary punishment.”

All in all, a truly amazing read. I’m only sorry I read it so quickly. I wish I could wipe my brain and start over, to relish the enjoyment all over again.

This is an excellent series and I highly recommend it.