Book Review: The Holly Project by K.A. Sterritt


“One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out.”

Holly Ashton hasn’t celebrated her birthday since her mother passed away. Instead, it’s the one day of the year that she allows herself to grieve. The rest of the year is spent pretending to be the strong and independent woman she wants to be.

Professionally, she has it all together. A great job as an architect at Sydney’s most prestigious firm keeps her focused.

Her personal life is far less charmed. Emotionally detached from everyone other than her small circle of friends and family, relationships are a no-go zone.

Life is exactly how she wants it to be – until the day of her twenty-fifth birthday.

A chance encounter with Ryan Davenport, CEO of a property development firm, turns her tightly controlled life upside down.

Ryan is driven, ambitious and used to getting what he wants – and very unexpectedly, what he wants is the beautiful, smart-mouthed Holly Ashton.

When neither of them believes in happily ever afters, how are they supposed to find their own?

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I picked up The Holly Project at my first ever author signing. I loved the front cover, and I also really loved that it was set in Sydney, Australia. It’s the second day of school holidays giphy1here in Australia, and my children don’t seem to know what a ‘sleep in’ is…so rude!!! This morning I was awoken at a ridiculous hour, so ridiculous that even my Netflix and Presto streaming services weren’t awake yet. Annoyed that I couldn’t indulge in some mindless viewing I headed to my bookshelf and searched the books I had recentlygiphy picked up at the signing. The Holly Project jumped into my hands and it ended up being a lovely way to spend a morning, and then afternoon.

Holly is a woman who hides her feelings, not so neatly tucked away in a pocket of grief after she witnesses her mum dying from cancer (side note: Cancer SUCKS). A chance meeting one day with a man who ends up being her ‘client’ sets her off on an adventure of self-discovery and love. I truly believe in whirlwind romances (having had one myself) and although I knew there had to be come angst along the way, I really loved the way the author wove the story. It was such an easy read and I breezed through it, without missing a beat. Sometimes, love is worth the risk, breathe in, breathe out, and see what happens. The chemistry, the characters, and the backdrop of Sydney made for a fun romantic getaway read.

About the Author:

kateK.A. Sterritt is a contemporary romance author living in Sydney, Australia with her husband and three sons.

Her debut novel, The Holly Project, was published in November 2014, her second novel Collision (The Fight for Life Series #1) was published in October 2015 and her latest release Impact (The Fight for Life Series #2) was released in April 2015.

She writes the kind of novel she enjoys to read.

 

Book Review: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Genre: Fiction

In this moving, revelatory literary novel, a young writer finds himself unable to open up to the possibility of love — except through the companionship of his aging dachshund Lily. But with the unexpected arrival of a small octopus that affixes itself, unrelenting, to Lily’s head, it soon becomes clear this invader is strangling the life from his dog and threatening the bond between man and his one true friend.

With transportive spins into magic realism at sea and beautifully evoked universal truths of loss and longing on land, a hilariously sardonic and not altogether reliable narrator, and one unforgettable hound whose simple passions and inspiring wisdom will break your heart and put it back together again, Lily and the Octopus captures the singular search for meaning in the face of death and introduces a dazzling new voice in fiction.

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Excuse me for a moment while I wait for the emotional rollercoaster to slow down and cruise into the docking station, ready for me to get off. Oh my heart. This book is a wonderful, emotional, heart bleeding story of a man and his dog. Of course, once you read the first chapter you’ll know exactly how the story is going to go. Don’t let that stop you. Steven Rowley tells a wonderful tale of a dog and his owner. I fell in love with the relationship he has with Lily right from the beginning. I mean, surely everyone tumblr_mgoopn41in1rz2ot3o1_1280plays Monopoly and talks boys with their dog, right?! My heart is so full of love, but so heavy with sadness. This is a literary wonder. A book that makes you want to read it, but not continue on because you want to save yourself. You’ll never look at another dachshund without thinking of the beautiful Lily. Being a dog person I feel like I may have invested myself heavily in this book. There’s just no description of the love and loyalty a dog and owner have. Read this book… that’s all I can say. Read it and feel the love that exists in this world. I’ll be right back, I need to go and smother my two senior furry babies in lots of love!!!

~ A beautimous (both beautiful and fabulous) must-read. Grab this book! NOW!

Photo:Malina Saval

Book Review: A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

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Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Lit.

It’s the roaring twenties in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.

In a desperate attempt to support herself through Columbia University’s medical school, Evie auditions for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. But if she gets the part, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman – a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with, if only she lived a life less scandalous…

Captivating, romantic and tragic, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald follows a young woman ahead of her time amid the fragile hearts and glamour of Jazz Age New York.

 

 

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This book was simply the bee’s knees! Stepping back in time to the 1920’s was a copacetic experience. Whilst it did take me a little while to get a wiggle on, once I got over the hurdle, there was no turning back..only turning pages! The author has undoubtedly done her research, as there is so much culture spread on to the pages.

giphyThe main character, Evelyn (Evie) Lockhart is definitely not a wallflower. She is smart, clever, and strong. Although some of her choices are questionable, and I’ll admit they left me feeling a little uneasy reading through. Despite that, I was so glad to read all the way in one sitting, and found the ending truly satisfying.

964605036161d5630a6d5d25510043d8This book had me up until 2am in the morning! I could not put it down. The whole book was littered with language from the 1920’s which makes me want to bring it back! With settings like the speakeasy, to sayings like “spifflicated” (something I’ve certainly done on the weekends past), this book is a delightful insight into a woman who is faced with adversity in a time when men ruled, and women kept quiet…until Evelyn Lockhart came along. Much more than a love story.

 

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(This book is also available in paperback from leading book retailers)

Thank you to Hachette Australia and Natasha Lester for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Book Review: Make You Burn by Megan Crane

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Genre: Contemporary Romance. MC Romance.

Meet the Deacons of Bourbon Street, bad boy bikers who are hell on wheels and heaven between the sheets. Fans of Madeline Sheehan, Katie Ashley, Joanna Wylde and Kristen Ashley, buckle up – you’re in for a wild ride. First stop: Make You Burn by Megan Crane.

Sean ‘Ajax’ Harding’s oaths are inked into his skin. Once second-in-command of the Deacons of Bourbon Street motorcycle club, he left New Orleans to protect his brotherhood. But the death of his beloved mentor, Priest Lombard, has lured him back. Heading straight to the club’s hangout, he’s welcomed by the delectable new owner. A wild ride with her is just what he needs – until he finds out she’s Priest’s daughter, all grown up and off limits.

Sophie Lombard loved her father, but she’s done with bikers. Then Ajax roars into town and changes everything. Sophie knows better than to get close to an outlaw but Ajax is impossible to resist. Their chemistry is steamier than the Louisiana bayou – and with heat like this, it might just be worth getting burned.

 

 

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Stepping into the world of the Deacons of Bourbon Street is as thrilling as a fast paced ride on the back of a motorcycle. The first book, Make You Burn, is a scorching read covering loss, love, and tragedy. Sophie tries to navigate life without her father, the president of the local disbanded MC club, after he dies mysteriously in a riding accident. Enter, Ajax, returned home after ten years of exile by Sophie’s dad, slipping into the role of President. 

It was great to read a female lead who gave as good as she got. Sophie did not back down from a guy like Ajax, and was able to me meet him head on, creating chemistry off the charts. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding why Ajax and the three ‘brothers’ were exiled, and whilst you don’t find out in this book, the story line offers enough mystery and clues to start piecing the puzzle together.

“Why had Priest sent four of his most loyal and trusted brothers away ten years ago? Sure, shit had gone down wrong and blood called for blood, but why four exiled lives for one death? That math had never worked”.

I loved the setting of New Orleans-reading her as another character that created depth to the story. The book is full of flawed characters who live in a dark and dirty world. Together, can they create the light that can dim the darkness of the back alleys of NOLA?

A great read for anyone who loves a good, well-written, MC genre story.

~Book 1 in the Deacons of Bourbon Street. Look out for my future reviews of the rest of the series! 

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About the Author:

megancrane

Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who had great plans to star on Broadway, preferably in Evita, just like Patti LuPone. Sadly, her inability to wow audiences with her singing voice required a backup plan. Accordingly, she graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature, mostly so she could wallow in her obsession with the remarkable multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz and her idol, the bitter and hilarious David Feinberg. After many years in the rain and subject to the whim of seasons, she followed the sun to Los Angeles, where she lives with too many pets and an artist named Jeff. She is still plotting her Broadway debut.

Visit Megan’s website www.megancrane.com, find her on 63df2-icon-facebook-128 and on twitter-button

 

Book Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me

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THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me

Genre: Contemporary Romance – BSDM – Erotica  

She’s ready to try again. . . .

Sasha Blake is scarred from a BDSM session gone wrong, but she can’t deny how much a strong Master turns her on. Determined to overcome her fears and rejoin the Partners in Play community, she asks Abby and Nathaniel West to set her up with a Dom who can help her feel safe again as a sub. They know the very experienced Cole is exactly the kind of man who can push all of Sasha’s buttons—and she soon wants to go much faster than she had planned. . . .

Cole knows that Sasha is not the kind of submissive he needs. He wants someone who will serve him 24-7, not a part-time partner. Still, the further they go into their play, the more Cole begins to wish he could make Sasha his all the time. . . .

When forbidden desires turn into scorching action, Sasha and Cole come face-to-face with their demons—and realize their scorching relationship might be too dangerous to last. . . .

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In her latest novel, Tara Sue Me has masterfully written a world of sophistication and eroticism as we step into the pages and days of master and slave. The relationship between Master Cole and his submissive, Sasha, takes the reader on a journey of discovery and healing. Sasha has experienced a tragic experience in the world of BDSM, and it’s up to Master Cole to train her to trust again. Can he do it while remaining professional and not becoming emotionally involved?!  giphy

One of my favourite things about Tara Sue Me and her writing is the ability she has to build a world without to need to micro describe every detail. The reader is encouraged to use their imagination and form the characters and situations from the page to their mind.     

The Master is another delightfully dirty addition to the world of BDSM that Tara Sue Me started in The Submissive. Having the characters from her ‘series’ appear in this book makes it feel like you’re reading about a special group of people, that don’t usually let outsiders in. A true voyeuristic peek into the world of BDSM, both in and out of scenes.

The Master is a must read for anyone who loves eroticism sprinkled with deeper relationships. A stand alone that can be read as a part of the series, or on its own.

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I received a copy of this book on NETGALLEY

Book Review: Cage’s Misconduct by Nikki Worrell

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Genre: Contemporary Romance. Sports.

Dalton ‘Cage’ Booker is the number one goalie for the San Diego Scorpions. Most people describe him as willful and stubborn—sometimes even difficult to control. More often than not, words fly out of his mouth without the benefit of passing through his brain first. And women love him.

Karen LaGrange, little sister of the former enforcer for the Scorpions, lives in Canada, where she works with special needs children. After losing her job to downsizing, she makes an extended visit to San Diego, forming a friendship with the errant goalie.

Through frequent reminders that they are friends without benefits, Karen struggles to keep their relationship platonic, but the more she shuts him down, the more he wants her.

Can Cage convince Karen to slip under the sheets with him, or is he destined to be firmly entrapped in the friend zone?

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There is just something a little yummy about hockey players. I know they get their faces beat up a lot, which isn’t attractive, but I just love them!! This book is another in the hockey genre and it did start out as a typical hockey book. Guy tries to go after girl, guy is hot stuff, girl says she just wants to be friends. Cage is definitely a typical ladies man and you’re reading the book in the beginning, wondering how the story is going to play out. About forty percent into the book there was a pleasant surprise that shifted the storyline of the book. There’s more than you think in this book, and it’s full of flawed characters who are trying to find out who they really are. I found the book interesting with the different point of view chapters. It’s part of a series, and whilst it’s the third book in the “NHL Scorpians” series, I had no problem picking up the storyline, as a stand alone. Grab this book if you don’t mind a guy who drops a few ‘f’ bombs…and knows how to use his stick (hockey stick, of course!!)

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About the Author:

3c3097_3db1f64cc6b9447e90949c1679ecf3deAbout me. Let’s see. I work full time as a bookkeeper in a law firm located in Old City, Philadelphia. I’ve been there for almost ten years now. I am a country girl at heart and am more than ready to get home to my country living in South Jersey at the end of the day, but it’s nice to get a taste of the city too.

I have a B.S.B.A. in Human Resource Management. If I have any valuable advice to give, it’s to go to college directly after high school! I didn’t finish with my degree until I was thirty-eight.

I am married for over twenty years with no children. We prefer the furry kind, although I love, love, love my niece and nephew.

I write under two names. I use my real name, Nikki Worrell, for my hockey romance series and Michelle Craig (www.michellecraigauthor.com) for my erotic romances.

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*Book provided by promotional company in exchange for an honest review

Book Review: Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

Genre: MC Romance / Contemporary Romance / Bikers

Synopsis:

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.

Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

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Katie Ashley sets the pace almost immediately in the first chapter of Redemption Road.  After the first chapter I had to take a moment and go back and read the synopsis and what I was reading! The author does not sugarcoat anything, and as a reader I am grateful. It didn’t deter me in any way. The raw emotion, and tragedies spilled on the pages allows the pace of the book to flow perfectly.

Redemption Road is about a man and a woman, both coming from tragedy, and the power that holds fate in their hands. Through redemption, it’s love that should be able to bring them together. But will it be enough? One of my favourite moments happens just after the middle of the book when Rev ‘the big bad biker dude’, really doesn’t understand what’s happening after he’s rescued, ‘the girl’:  

“Deep down, I imagined I could fall in love with Rev Malloy with all my heart and soul, regardless of the length of time that passed or the circumstances that had bought us together. That revelation caused tears to well in my eyes. Rev’s eyes widened. “Oh shit. I’ve really fucked up, haven’t I?”
I shook my head vigorously and hurried to tell him, “No, no. You’ve done everything right. I swear.”

The chemistry and relationship between the two main characters, Annabel and Rev, is so well written that you’ll be sucked into their lives and eagerly awaiting fate to deal them a good card. Redemption Road is a great addition to the MC genre.  I’d sum this book up as a precise blend of gritty raw MC culture, and second chance romance after life has dealt you a crappy hand.

I have not read the first in this series, and appreciated that the author has written a ‘stand alone’. It’s great to be able to be drawn into an established world without feeling like you’ve missed out on something by not reading the other novels (yet!).

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~I was invited to read this book in exchange for an honest review.