5 Star Book Review ~ ‘The Heart Goes Last’ by Margaret Atwood.

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The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
A Positron Novel
Genres: Adult, Literary Fiction.
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 24th September 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Heart Goes Last’ by Margaret Atwood ~ 5 Stars!

This was a real winner from Margaret Atwood.

Because I LOVED Margaret Atwood’s other books so much, I was slightly nervous about starting ‘The Heart Goes Last’. I just didn’t want to part with the great impression they had left on me. But here I am after finishing ‘The Heart Goes Last’, and I am yet again in awe of Atwood’s talent!

This is a very different kind of book for me. but I was won over straight away. I identified with Stan and Charmaine as real people, living with the struggles that the fall of society has left them with, and the flaws that made them up. They were still a relatively new married couple, but Atwood gave us the insight straight away that sometimes love isn’t enough. Living in a car off the tips from Charmaine’s waitressing job would cause tension between even the most loving couple. It was great to see how their desperation to make a better life for themselves overcame their uncertainty about the Consilience experiment.

I love seeing how desperation will feed people into making choices they wouldn’t normally, and throughout this book I could see the choices for the characters being taken away gradually until there was no easy answer. But it wasn’t just this that made this book such a winner for me. It was how darkly comic it was. I laughed so much, yet not because it was overtly funny, but because of how true it was. Stan and Charmaine battle a lot through their story, a dystopian crumbling world, a life consisting of a month in and then a month out of prison, adultery and sabotage, yet throughout their views on life, their views on their relationship with each other, their thoughts on the temptations that cross their paths, all was done so with a human honesty, that I found both dark, yet hugely amusing. People are still people, even when the world is falling apart!

This story has everything I would have wanted from it, and I loved every bit! If you are a dystopian fan, a literary fiction fan, or even just looking for a good book. then you should definitely give ‘The Heart Goes Last’ a try!

A great book from one of my favourite writers!

5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Blitz ~ ‘Em and Em’ by Linda Budzinski.

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Em and Em by Linda Budzinski
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: September 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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SYNOPSIS

The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.

Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.

When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.

But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.

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Charles leaned toward her. “Come on, tell me. What kind of photographer do you want to be?”

Ember pulled the sleeves of her sweater down over her hands. She drew up her knees and hugged them into her chest. She’d never talked about this to anyone. What if it sounded stupid? “I want to be a portrait photographer, but not the kind that takes pictures in the studio; the kind that takes pictures of people out in the real world, being who they are and doing the things they love to do.”

She glanced at him. He didn’t look as though he thought she was stupid. He looked… interested. “You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, I want to tell stories about people. True stories. Stories of who they are deep down.” Like that picture of Trina. The one that proved she wasn’t too old or too cool to love the thrill of the wind tugging a kite up, up, up into the sky. “I want to take pictures that push past people’s images and uncovers something real.”

Charles whistled. “Now that’s a dream.”

“Sorry. It’s silly, right?”

“No, not at all.” Charles leaned in even closer, his face just a few inches from hers. His voice was barely a whisper. “I didn’t mean it’s an impossible dream. I meant it’s the kind of dream worth dreaming.”


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Giveaway Open Internationally
*$10 Amazon gift card + eBook copy of Em and Em*

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Linda Budzinski

I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer). I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.” My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”

I write young adult romance. My novels, both published by Swoon Romance YA, are EM & EM and THE FUNERAL SINGER. I am represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc


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Book Review ~ ‘Girl Wife Prisoner’ by Hanna Peach.

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Girl Wife Prisoner by Hanna Peach
A Good Wife #1
Genres: Dark, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 19th September 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

How far would you go to set yourself free?

Drake Blackwell is successful, controlling, and hiding a violent family past. He just made his latest investment: Noriko.

Imported from Japan, alone, and wed to a stranger, Noriko struggles to stick to the Rules of a Good Wife. Drake can’t seem to love her, not the way she wants to be loved. She dreams of freedom beyond the gates of Blackwell Manor.

She meets Keir, a passionate young gardener who shares her desire to break free. He gets under her skin and ignites a fire in her she can’t ignore. In the midst of her quiet desperation she thinks she has found happiness. And a glimpse of hope.

But this affair can’t last…can it?

Although part of a series, this is a standalone novel with no cliffhanger.
WARNING: For ages +18. There are scenes in this novel that infer or allude to physical violence.

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Almost a full head taller than me, he towered over me as he glared down at me. “What do you want, hime?”

For a second I was so taken aback I couldn’t speak. Hime is the Japanese word for princess. My chichi − my father − called me hime.

My surprise turned back into anger when I realized he was using the term as an insult. “I demand you show me around my gardens.”

He laughed. “I’m not your personal tour guide. Ask your husband to do it.” He turned to walk away.

Of all the rude, arrogant, insolent, rude−

I was so furious I just reacted. I grabbed his arm, whirling him around to face me. Our eyes locked. He froze, his mouth slightly parted, air sucking back into him.

His eyes were the richest, deepest brown I had ever seen, like melted chocolate with flecks of a lighter pecan brown. His lashes were so naturally thick and black that they seemed almost rimmed with kohl. They drew me in and held me like a lover’s grip. I forgot what I was about to yell at him. I forgot why I was even mad. I almost forgot how to keep myself breathing.

He glanced down and I followed his gaze. He was staring at my hand still on his arm, my fingers barely reaching halfway around his forearm. I felt the strength in his marble-sculpted muscle, the smoothness of his skin under my palm, the heat radiating from the blood that flowed through his veins.

Oh God. I was touching him.

I snatched my hand away. His eyes darted back up to my face.

“Yes?” he said, the word filled with impatience.

“You work for my husband,” I said.

“That’s right. I work for your husband. I don’t work for you.”

“If he were here−”

“He’s not here.”

“If he were here,” I said louder, “he would tell you to take me around the gardens. So do it. Now.”

He glared back at me, defiance flaring in his eyes, his cheek twitching as he tensed his jaw. The air between us filled with a thick, hot electricity. I got the distinctive feeling I had met my stubbornness match.

“And if I don’t?” he said.

He was challenging me. How far would I go to get what I wanted?

“You wouldn’t like that answer,” my voice slid out with menace.


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Book Review ~ ‘Girl Wife Prisoner’ by Hanna Peach ~ 5+ Stars!

Hanna Peach just knows how to hit every dot. ‘Girl Wife Prisoner’ was absolute perfection! Seriously, like 100% amazing! I sobbed, clutched my chest like my heart was breaking, but it was perfect in every way!

I was first introduced to Hanna Peach by her ‘Bound’ duet, and I knew right away that this was a writer with a LOT of talent! (If you haven’t read the ‘Bound’ duo, you simply must!) So needless to say I was super excited to get my hands on ‘Girl Wife Prisoner’. It is a very different story, but still captures that dark, uncertain essence that really spoke to me in ‘Bound’, and I literally devoured this book in hours, it was that good!

Noriko was a heroine that you have to come to understand, which is what made this reading experience so powerful. She had secrets, ones that are hid from the reader for a little while, and the pace at which her story is told, and how she adjusts to life in the US after leaving her family in Japan, was timed to perfection. As a reader you will want the best for this young, naive girl who knows so little of the world, yet you will fear for her as she fights for her right to freedom. I really loved seeing how her relationship with Drake turned, and how at first you almost wanted to root for them, so that she could be happy in her marriage, until you see the darker side to his life. These two characters had such fantastic scenes, where we really see how their relationship affects their psychological health. Seeing Noriko gradually come to understand and accept the reality of her situation had me a bundle of nerves!

Keir was a superb character, who I fell for in an instant, which is what made his passionate fight for a relationship with Niko and their subsequent quest for freedom all the more heartbreaking. This really is a story that you need to read to see what I mean, but although you will cry and rage, you will not want to change a single thing of his and Niko’s story!

5+ Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*


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Hanna Peach

Hanna is the bestselling author of the Bound romantic suspense series and the Dark Angel fantasy series. Although she writes in more than one genre she can’t write a book without weaving together a complicated plot and filling it with twists. She writes what she believes: good people can do bad things, ordinary people can do great things, and choose love above everything.

Eternally restless, Hanna has lived in Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Scotland, England, Croatia and Ireland – everything she owns fits into one suitcase. She’s planning her next move with her gorgeous (and understanding) partner right now.

If not writing, she can be found wandering a dusty market in Marrakesh or trekking a mountain in Peru, often using her travels as settings in her novels.

To WIN a copy of her next release subscribe to her newsletter: http://www.hannapeach.com/subscribe.


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Book Review ~ ‘Please Release Me’ by Rhoda Baxter.

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Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter.
Genres: Romance, Contemporary.
Release Date: 10th September 2015.
Publisher: Choc Lit UK 

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SYNOPSIS

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …

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Book Review ~ ‘Please Release Me’ by Rhoda Baxter ~ 5 Stars!

What a gorgeous heart-felt read!

‘Please Release Me’ is the first book I have read by Rhoda Baxter, but as soon as I finished it, I immediately ordered a copy of ‘Doctor January’ to read. Baxter has a brilliant flare with words, and I was swept into Sally, Peter and Grace’s story, and didn’t want to leave.

The hardest thing for an author to pull of is making an unlikable character, or at least one who is a barrier between two characters you root for, sympathetic and relatable. I loved Sally, despite all her faults, and it was from getting inside her mind and understanding just how much her past has affected her ability to trust and love, even though she thinks she lives safer. Her attachment to Peter, and how he begins as a challenge she has to win, but through her reluctant and unexpected friendship/hateship with Grace begins to show her the error of her ways in trying to trap him.

I adored Grace, and rooted from her from the get go. One of the most satisfying elements of this novel was witnessing Grace starting to live her life for herself, and putting herself first. I was sad for her with all the drama that Sally put her through, but really felt there was a special relationship between the two, one that made for some brilliant chapters and interactions. The romance between Grace and Peter was also perfectly timed, and I loved the will they/won’t they storyline which had me biting my lip and crossing my fingers that they would make it through.

This is a story that deals with emotional and tough issues, and manages to do so with smatterings of humour which doesn’t detract from the sensitivity with which they are dealt with. There is the underlying question throughout the novel which weighs on all the characters, which is; When is it right to let go of a loved one?

I adored this romance with a twist and am excited to read more from Rhoda Baxter!

5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Rhoda Baxter

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Book Review ~ ‘Following Her’ by Melody Anne.

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Following Her by Melody Anne.
Unexpected Heroes #2.5
Genres: Contemporary, Romance.
Release Date: September 14th 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

Ella was a woman Axel wouldn’t mind shadowing day and night—especially night.

Ella Brooks is strong-willed, independent, and stubborn, and when she hears something she’s not supposed to about her shady boyfriend, her safety is at risk. Much to her dismay, her cousin sends FBI Agent Axel Carlson to keep an eye on her. Ella’s determined to resist the infuriatingly sexy bodyguard—she can take care of herself!—but she soon discovers that beneath the six-pack abs and amazing biceps lies an equally amazing heart. But will a mysterious threat keep them from finding their happily ever after?

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Book Review ~ ‘Following Her’ by Melody Anne ~ 4 Stars!

Sweet and sexy, ‘Following Her’ is a gorgeous addition to the ‘Unexpected Heroes’ series, telling the story of the controlling FBI agent Axel and the stubborn, independent young lawyer Ella who is under his protection whilst she is the witness in her exes prosecution trial.

This was a lovely little story which you can easily read in an evening. It has all the elements that make a good solid romance, and I loved getting into both Axel and Ella’s minds as they begin to let down their defences and learn that sometimes it’s OK to work as part of a team and not just by yourself.

I loved the prosecution trial storyline, and was on tenterhooks each time Ella found herself being threatened. The way that her closest girlfriends rallied around her and held her together in her lowest points was so great to read. As much as I loved the closeness that Ella and Axel grew to have, I loved how real Ella’s life was outside Axel, and how to her, her friends were just as important to her.

4 stars only because I really wish this story could have been a longer one, or spread out into a novel size. I would have loved to have felt Ella grow more and more threatened by her ex as time went on, and to see a slower burn of her relationship with Axel. Nevertheless, a solid read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

4 Stars.

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Melody Anne

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Cover Reveal ~ ‘Paper Hearts’ by Claire Contreras.

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Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras.
Paper Hearts #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance.
Release Date: 10th September 2015.

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Mia and Jensen’s story continues in Paper Hearts releasing September 10th!

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SYNOPSIS

I lost her.

No, I didn’t lose her. I threw her away.

She was my best friend.

I was never supposed to fall in love with her.

I was careless.

She was heartbroken.

I thought I was doing fine. But here she is, years later, forced to work with me, reminding me why I fell in love with her in the first place.

And this time I’m going to do everything in my power to never let her go.

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claire bio

Claire Contreras

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs.

Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading.

She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter.

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.


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Book Review ~ ‘Playing with Fire’ by Kate Meader.

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Playing with Fire by Kate Meader.
Hot in Chicago #2
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary.
Release Date: 29th September 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

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Book Review ~ ‘Playing with Fire’ by Kate Meader ~ 5 Stars!

Fun, Flirty and Fiery, ‘Playing with Fire’ shows Kate Meader’s amazing storytelling ability once again as we return to Engine Co. 6 to the Dempsey family, this time to see Alexandra’s story told.

As soon as I finished ‘Flirting With Fire’ I was absolutely dying to get my hands on this next instalment of the series. Alex and Eli’s chemistry and the constant back and forth loathing that they seemed to have for each other just seeped from the page and I just had to know how their story would play out. I was not disappointed, and ‘Playing with Fire’ told the sexy, tempestuous relationship between Alex and Eli to perfection.

What I love about this series is how the women are portrayed so strongly. Their desperation to be seen as equal to the menfolk they work with makes the dynamics of the romances so exciting. With Alex I loved her fiery nature, and how she would often act first and then think later, often getting her into trouble. But even so, she never apologises for being who she is, and that is what really drew me to her as a character. I really admired her, and loved seeing how she had to really work at balancing out her impulsive and thoughtful natures.

Eli was just the same arrogant politician as in the first book, and I LOVED seeing inside his mind. His comments always made me roll my eyes and want to hit him around the head, so it was great fun to see why he had such strong opinions and favoured the idea of men in the firefighting workplace. Seeing how these two had to push and pull at each other, compromise and find an equal footing for their relationship, whilst still remaining protective was what made this story so thrilling.

With the addition of the appearances of the other members of the Dempsey clan and the girly trio Alex, Kirsty and Darcy make up, this is Kate Meader at her best, and I CANNOT WAIT for Wyatt’s story!!

5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Kate Meader

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