Saturday 31 December 2016

Donna's 5 star reads ~ 2016

So another book year has come to a close. Every year I am blown away by some amazing reads from some amazingly talented authors and 2016 was no different. I read 364 books by over 200 different authors in 2016 of which 44 were five star reads. 44 books that made my ever stingy fingers click on that 5 star rating. 44 books that are totally different in their own way but share one thing in common, for me they were exceptional. Whether it be emotional, suspenseful, hilarious or thrilling, each of these books, for me, were perfect and touched me in some form or another.

I posted my top 20 a few days ago (click the link) Donna's Top 20 and these are included below, but I have added the other 24 that complete another outstanding list.

As I said a few days ago, the authors are delivering and are pushing our expectations and laying new benchmarks to rate other books. This is a good thing though, authors are honing their craft and making their books stand out. A win win for us readers.

And for that "author" my list includes both published and indie and if it wasn't for those indie reads, my year wouldn't have been half as fulfilling or entertaining.

So in close I would like to thank all those authors that have contributed to another fantastic reading year, thank you for your blood, sweat and tears that have been poured into every book, every page and every word. This reader appreciates it.

Some fun facts:-

1) According to Goodreads I have read over 81,000 pages (I question it's accuracy though)

2) According to Goodreads my average rating is 3.9

3) My most read author in 2016 with 7 novels/serial is Andrea Smith, closely followed by Aleatha Romig and Sawyer Bennett with 6 novels and then Ella Frank, K Webster, Kate Stewart, Meghan Quinn and Penny Reid with 5 a piece.

4) Kate Stewart is on my 5 star reads list with 4 books this year, this has NEVER happened, Kate Stewart has had a truly outstanding year.

Anything But Minor (Balls in Play #1) and Major Love (Balls in Play #2) by Kate Stewart

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

All the Ugly & Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Memoirs Aren't Fairytales and Scars from a Memoir by Marni Mann

Memoir's Aren't Fairytales

Scars of a Memoir

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Win Some, Lose Some by Shay Savage

Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Wild Abandon by Jeannine Colette

Happinesss for Beginners by Katherine Center

Wicked Dix (Hard Love #2) by Monica James

Isadora (Masters Among Monsters #2) by Ella Frank

Down to my Soul (Soul #2) by Kennedy Ryan

The Mind (Reluctant Romantics #1.5) and The Heart (Reluctant Romantics #2) by Kate Stewart

Elude (Eagle Elite #6) by Rachel Van Dyken

Stroked Long (Stroked #2) by Meghan Quinn

A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner

Legend (Real #6) by Katy Evans

For All the Evers by Debra Anastasia

Undecided by Julianna Keyes

My review:

The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

Mr President (White House #1) by Katy Evans

Grin & Beard It (Winston Brothers #2) and Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) by Penny Reid

The Spiral Down (The Fall Up #2) by Aly Martinez

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Southern Comfort by Andrea Smith

F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

The Silent Waters (Elements #3) by Brittainy C Cherry

So Much More by Kim Holden

Dawn of Forever (Jack & Jill #3) by Jewel E Ann

Ladies Man (Manwhore #3) by Katy Evans

For the Love of English by AM Hargrove 

The Score (Off Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

One Day Soon by A Meredith Walters

Down Shift (Driven #8) by Kristy Bromberg

Collared by Nicole Williams

Black Swan Affair by KL Kreig

Into the Light by Aleatha Romig

Friday 30 December 2016

Friday Frights ~ PNR Review ~ Where Darkness Lives (Guardians of Eternity #8.5) by Alexandra Ivy

Book Description:

Drama. Scandal. Secrets. 
And a whole lot of supernatural goings-on.

No one’s more surprised than Sophia when she’s struck by an unfamiliar maternal urge to move closer to her daughters. But there’s one obstacle to enjoying her luxurious new home near Lake Michigan: her fourth daughter, Cassandra. Revealed to be a rare prophet, Cassandra is missing. And that means the whole family is in danger. So instead of being greeted by a welcome committee, Sophia is targeted by kidnappers—and saddled with an exasperatingly sexy bodyguard…

Six feet of pure-blooded Were, Luc is gorgeous, ruthless, and immediately stunned by Sophia’s smoldering beauty. The man in him is on a mission to protect—while the wolf in him is on a mission to seduce, and possess. All the more reason to keep Sophia safe—assuming she doesn’t get them both killed first…

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Shirley ~ 5 stars

I have read this series from Book 1 and I have never been disappointed and this book is no exception. It has drama galore and very sexy moments between our two main characters, Sophia and Luc, both alpha wolves. Danger abounds in this story and it is directed at Sophia, a pure blood wolf. Mother of four daughters which has been an amazing feat in itself as the werewolf community is on the decline as female wolves have not been able to reproduce.

Sophia has moved to be close to her daughters, setting up home near Lake Michigan and opening a new business called Menagerie, a high-end strip club with the finest male dancers. Everything is going well except for two things; her youngest daughter is missing and she herself is being targeted. Her family is very worried for her and has asked her to move in with them but Sophia has not earned the name bitch of all bitches for nothing and refuses to hide from the threat that surrounds her. She is an alpha wolf and will fight whoever it is, but she did make a concession and got herself a bodyguard and what a bodyguard her acquaintance Troy had hired for her. A man stepped from the shadows…

“No, not a man ... a pure-blooded Were, she quickly corrected, catching the feral scent of his wolf. And so sinfully gorgeous that he made her heart slam against her ribs.”

Sophia could not understand her reaction to him, he had taken her breath away.

When Luc was introduced to Sophia as her bodyguard, the attraction was immediate not only by him but by his wolf. The woman was stunning but for his wolf to sit up and take notice was very unusual and Luc was disquieted about it to say the least. Their first meeting did not go well but in the end Sophia had to agree that she needed help to find whoever is out to get her.

Be prepared for a bumpy ride between Sophia and Luc but the attraction between them was running hot and neither of them could deny it.

“With a wicked smile, Luc branded her lips with a kiss of pure hunger. The taste of his wolf on her tongue sizzled through her, setting off small fireworks of pleasure.”

And Luc made sure he showed Sophia just how much he wanted and needed her during their lovemaking. Sophia couldn't escape it anymore, Luc meant more to her than anyone else has.

This book is a very enjoyable read. A story to curl up with in your favourite chair. I said at the start of my review this is a great series and one I would highly recommend for anyone to read. Another winner Ms Ivy loved it.

Thursday 29 December 2016

Release Day Review ~ Franco (Bright Side #3) by Kim Holden

Book Description:

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.

Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.

Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.

Enter Gemma Hendricks.

She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.

The attraction is instant. 

So is their friendship.

It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.

Or is it?

There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.

And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.

Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

Note from the author: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is recommended for mature audiences.

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“God bless the wankers.”

Kim Holden only knows how to “Do Epic” and Franco is no different. Franco is the drummer in Rook, Gus’s band and though he has been mentioned throughout this series we have never actually really got to know him. Gus has a great taste in friends and band mates and there was nothing about Franco I did not like. In fact, he was adorable.

“These tears are love. Don’t ever apologize for that.”

Franco is not your average rock star, especially when it comes to women. He has a type, a type that doesn’t come along very often. In the circles he treads the women are superficial something that Franco is immune to. Franco likes his women honest, modest and with a personality.

Gemma was a northern lass from England with a spit fire personality to match. Gemma was fun with a capital F, but not in your face. She was intelligent, and was coming to the end of a yearlong work project as an architect. Gemma was in her late twenties and had her life mapped out, but she didn’t bet on meeting Franco.

“…I believe that dreams fuel life. And it’s when you’re chasing them that you’re most alive. There’s no reward in settling for the safety of status quo.”

When these two meet, the chemistry is instant, you literally feel those sparks flying off the page, and a lifelong friendship is born. Both Franco and Gemma know that their time together is limited, both leery to let their hearts get involved, but sometimes when a chemistry is that strong and that intense, the heart makes up the mind.

“I think the best sex is a mixture of harmony and discord. A battle within the bliss.  Because anything that feels this damn good should make you want to work your ass off for it. Chase it. Sweat for it. Force your muscles to burn for it. Make your lungs gasp for it. When we come, I want to feel like we’ve fucking earned it.”

I’m not going to say anymore because you need to experience all those emotions first hand for yourself, but as with any Kim Holden read she nails that character connection which only intensifies everything that you read. Franco and Gemma came to life with some fantastic dialogue that had me laughing one minute and swooning the next. These two together were a perfect match and Kim Holden portrayed that perfectly.

“…I genuinely miss her friendship. A ten-day bond that felt more like ten years strong. Unexpected.”

The friendship between Gus and Franco was adorable and seeing these two interact lit up every scene that they were in. That camaraderie, friendship and mutual hero worship had me once again laughing one minute and smiling from ear to ear the next. Every single scene with these two killed me in a good way.

“If I setup a goddamn Pinterest account, I want you to punch me in the fucking face.”

My only niggle, I would have loved to have known more about Franco and Gemma before they met to get that background info that I crave. This book does move at the rate of knots, is relatively short and is predictable, but this was not about the predictability of the plot, this was all about the journey. Yes, I knew it was going to happen but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable when I got there. As with any Kim Holden book the power of positivity is woven throughout and it is this that really brings this book together. We all learned our lesson in the first book…always look on the Bright Side. Franco is a book boyfriend that is going to be on a lot of peoples lists after reading this. He was perfect, he was adorable, just like this book.

Excerpt Reveal ~ The Separation Games (The Games Duet #2) by CD Reiss


Separation Games by CD Reiss
Series: The Games Duet # 2 
Release Date: January 3, 2017 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

"CD Reiss writes the best erotica I have ever read." 
Meredith Wild, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hacker Series


Book Description: 

The stunning conclusion to the New York Times Bestseller. 

There’s one, unbreakable rule in the game.

Stay collected. Compartmentalize. Think your next move through. Never let your heart dictate your tactics. 

The heart is impulsive. 

The heart makes bad decisions. 

The heart doesn’t see the long game. 

Because the heart may have decided to get Adam back, but when the endgame comes, the heart’s going to be the first thing to break.


Adam pulled me to the next door to the left. It opened into a small theater with about two dozen red velvet seats with lights at the bases.
“There was this guy in Marine Park who collected vintage pornography. When he died, one of the clubs uptown took it and preserved it. When all the clubs merged, they reels moved here.”
“We’re going to watch porn together?”
He guided me down an aisle. “Yes.”
“How adventurous of us.” I smiled at him, flirting.
He smiled back a little, but was reserved in his enthusiasm. We sat in the center.
“Now I’m sorry I wore pants,” I said.
The lights dimmed to black. I took his hand, and he paused before dropping our entwined fingers in his lap.
“I’m trying to illustrate something. I want to talk. So I’m glad you wore pants.”
The bullseye countdown appeared. Adam leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and exhaled. They went back to the screen as if all necessary strength had been gathered.
She’s blindfolded, arms tied above her. He’s lashing her.
“These are from the late sixties,” he said as the picture flickered. There was no sound. “The stuff here is very real. There’s no retouching. It’s 16mm, so there’s none of the porny quality of video.”
He’s wrapping her tits in black tape.
“I see,” I said.
He was right. The frame was raw. The beauty of her submission wasn’t on the film. I didn’t feel as though I was watching something. I felt as though I was witnessing something.
He’s clamping her nipples until they’re elongated meat.
“This is called tit torture,” he said matter-of-factly. “Every step of this was worked out beforehand. You’re not seeing the dozen things he’s not doing.” He twisted in his seat to face me. He was backlit, so I couldn’t see his expression. “Give me an adjective. What do you think of it?”
“Is this your thing?”
“Answer me first.”
I loved him. I wanted him. I’d get on my knees and submit to him.
“It’s gruesome.”
“It’s not my thing.” He sat back and faced the screen. The light flickered on his face. “There’s so much more though.”
He’s putting the business end of a hairbrush in her anus.
I’ve never seen skin that shade of purple.
What is she eating?
In all of them, the submissive may have cried or screamed, but she always came back for more. She kissed the Dominant’s hand or looked at him admiringly. Her lips did a dance of gratitude.
Thank you.
Ten minutes in, I couldn’t hold my questions anymore. “Why are you showing me this? You don’t want to wrap me in duct tape.”
“Someone might. I want you to know what it looks like first.”
“Adam Steinbeck!” I stood and put my fists on my hips. “You fucking shit!”
He crossed his legs, shrugging as if it wasn’t his fault. He just worked here. “What?”
“You’re trying to scare me.”
“I’m trying to inform you.”
“To hell with this. I’m going out there right now and getting someone to fuck me with a wooden spoon.”
I stomped down the aisle. He grabbed my arm. I spun around to face him. Behind him, a woman was getting choked, and every time she breathed, the ecstasy on her face was unmistakable.
“Let go of me,” I growled.
“Look at it. You weren’t meant for this.”
But he was? But Serena was? Was I too good? Too weak? Too strong? None of that mattered.
“You love me. Say it, Adam.”
“I’m keeping the love I have left.”
“Why can’t you love a submissive?”
“I don’t know.”
“You can’t love weakness?” I asked.
“I said I don’t know.”
“You’re unworthy of a woman who would kneel for you?”
“What do you want out of me?”
He was hurting me. I jerked my arm away, and he let go.
“I want you to leave me for a reason. A real reason. I left you because I was unhappy. I thought we were incompatible. You’re leaving me because you asked me to submit to you and I love it. You’re leaving me because you love me a little but not enough. What is all that? It’s not a reason.”
“I’m protecting you!”
“You’re protecting you.”


Separation Games Pre-Order Links: 

Begin the Games Duet with Marriage Games 

Available now!

Add to Goodreads 

About the Author:

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

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