I Owe You One

owe

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

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I have been reading Sophie Kinsella’s work for more than a decade, and I have never not fallen in love with one of her books. I Owe You One is her more recent novel and another great story. It was so good, that I have actually read it twice, before even getting my review written!

This book has some of my favourite romantic tropes: family drama, a cast of secondary characters, and a hot wealthy man ready to sweep her off her feet.

The main character is nick-named Fixie, and this perfectly personifies her. I think it is cute and (too my way of thinking) common in British literary humour. I was reminded of the book I’ve Got Your Number (also by this author) but I still didn’t feel like I was reading the same book twice.

Now I need to point out here, the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I misread the promotional blurb and thought that it said the IUD that changed everything, not the IOU. lol, the story is still amazing!

The best things about Kinsella’s stories are that you can always count on a happy ending and the story itself is fairly light. I recently read some “romances” that had me bawling my eyes out and that is not my cup of tea. With Kinsella, I know exactly what I am getting: humour, romance, entertainment and maybe a moral lesson or two!

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Not a Hero (Sons of the Survivalist #1)

Sons of the survivalist #1

In the Alaska wilderness, four streetwise boys became men—and brothers

Now the crazy ex-military survivalist who plucked Gabriel and three other boys from an abusive foster care home has died. But the sarge leaves them a final mission–to revive the dying town of Rescue.

Gabe is done with being a hero.

Wounded in body and soul, the retired SEAL simply wants to remain holed up in his isolated cabin. He sure doesn’t want to be chief of police in some defunct town. But he has his orders.

Audrey needs a place to hide

After the Chicago librarian discovers a horrendous crime, she wakes to an assassin in her bedroom. Injured and terrified, she flees, covering her trail every inch of the way. New name, new ID. New home. As Audrey learns to survive in Rescue, she begins to fall for the town…and the intimidating chief of police who protects it.

Can the shy introvert and the deadly police chief find a life together?

Despite the discord in town, Gabe is finding his own peace…with the quiet young woman who seems to have no past. She’s adorable and caring and so very lost. But how can he trust someone who lies to him with every breath she takes?

—                         —                         —

Not a Hero is the first book in a new series by Cherise Sinclair. It is set in Alaska and features 4 alpha male hunks who stumble across their true loves.

It is the first book of Ms. Sinclair to not feature BDSM (to my knowledge). I have always been a huge fan of hers and every series or standalone that she has written to date.

This one wasn’t a hit for me though.

Audrey is every book nerd’s alter ego I think. She goes from quiet, shy, introverted librarian with little self-confidence and social skills, to a kickbutt survivalist at the heart of her newfound community in Rescue, Alaska.

Gabe was also a great character, but I didn’t warm up to him as much. He is extremely measured and controlled. And not that dominant personalities have a stranglehold on those traits, but it reminded me of Ms. Sinclair’s Dom characters so much that I found it difficult to separate him from the lifestyle.

It just felt like something was always missing in this story, and I am pretty sure that it was the BDSM. Maybe it is because I am so used to this author writing alpha male kinkster heroes that I couldn’t accept it wasn’t meant to be in this series, or maybe it is the author who cannot separate her characters from that mindset, but I couldn’t quite fall into the rhythm of this love story.

I still plan on reading the following stories, although I hope the author keeps writing her existing series as well! Maybe you will like this book more than I did 🙂

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Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)

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Breezy Simmons was born into a ruthless motorcycle club—and now that she’s out, she’s never going to be that girl again. But when her past catches up with her, Breezy must go to Sea Haven to seek out the man who almost destroyed her. The man who chose his club over her and left her feeling used and alone.

As vice president of Torpedo Ink, Steele is ride or die for the brothers he lived through hell with. He never thought he’d find something as pure as his feelings for Breezy, or that keeping her safe would mean driving her away with cruel words that turned her love for him to ash.

Now, Steele won’t let her walk away twice. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Breezy his woman again—especially when he learns the real reason she came to him for help, and that the stakes are higher than he ever could have imagined.

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Vengeance Road starts off like a rocket, with action and confrontation between Steele and Breezy. There are a lot of strong emotions on the table, so the story captures your attention right away, and holds it through to the end of the book.

I think I have some sort of “hero manhandling his true love” fetish going on here …..

There is a lot of communication in this romance. More than any other couple in the Sea Haven books, I think Breezy and Steele really work through their issues with communication.

I liked the introduction she has to Torpedo Ink. Although she had met the members in the past, she has never seen their true selves or experienced the family aspect of club life. Feehan gave us insights into characters mostly in the background until now, especially Maestro and Savage, and I for one cannot wait to read their stories!

Vengeance Road has some seriously dark parts, and Steele goes to his assassin roots in his efforts to retrieve his son from kidnappers, but this would hardly be a surprise to any regular reader of Christine Feehan.

The one thing that annoyed me – and maybe its just because I have seen numerous authors do this lately – is that Steele and Breezy talk about anal sex without actually doing the deed on page. A lot of “dark romances” I’ve read recently have had this trend. If an author is going to write about it, WRITE ABOUT IT! It feels like they are too scared to put it in, for fear of scaring of other readers.

Otherwise …

This will definitely be a book I read again and again. In fact, I have already re-read some of my favourite scenes a couple of times. Can it just be said that I want a Torpedo Ink man for myself, and also Breezy’s home?!!

The next instalment in this series has been confirmed as Vendetta Road (Ice’s story), and it will be out in 2020. Definitely recommend check them out!

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Twisted Emotions (Camorra Chronicles #2)

camorra chronicles book 2

Nino Falcone is genius and monster. As the right hand man and brother of the Capo of the Camorra, his lack of feelings is a blessing, not a curse – until his brother asks him to marry for the sake of the Camorra.
Kiara Vitiello, cousin of the Capo of the New York Famiglia, is chosen to marry Nino Falcone to prevent war with the Camorra, but what she hears about Las Vegas makes her veins pulse with terror. After her father betrayed his Capo and paid with his life, her family thinks marriage is her only chance to bring honor to her name; but only Kiara knows she’s a faulty prize given in return for peace.
A man incapable of emotions and a woman scarred by the past – an arranged marriage with the potential to unite, or destroy…

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This was my favourite book from the author since her first one, Bound by Honor. It pumped me up for the next in the series which is supposedly coming out in April 2019. Thankfully, I don’t have a long wait until then.

For a long time fans of Reilly, Twisted Emotions will feel like a throwback to her earlier style. Rather than a love match, Kiara Vitiello is forced to marry Nino Falcone in order to secure a period of peace between the Las Vegas and New York mafias.

Nino is a bit of a cold fish, much like the character Dante Cavallaro was in the second book. However, underneath that cold, calculating brain there is a simmering volcano of emotions, brewing from severe childhood trauma that he has yet to deal with. Slowly, Nino’s emotions break loose loose with Kiara, although he remains very emotionless in every other situation.

Twisted Emotions ended very abruptly, and I didn’t feel like the story built up to an explosive ending. It was a little bit anticlimactic other than the epilogue scene. However, that epilogue very clearly sets up the next book in the series – starring Remo – and I have a feeling that Nino and Kiara’s story will continue to unfold as secondary characters.

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Bound by Love (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #6)

love

Nobody expected them to fall in love.
When Aria was given to Luca in marriage, people were sure he’d break her.
Aria feared the worst from a man like him.
A man without mercy.
But somehow she gained his love.
Love – a weakness a Capo like Luca shouldn’t risk.
When Aria betrays Luca by going behind his back for her family, she realizes too late that she might have lost what she’s fought so hard to get in the first place: Luca’s trust.
The trust of a man who never allowed himself to trust someone unconditionally before.
Can their love survive in a world of betrayal and death?

—                         —                         —

Luca and Aria were the stars of the first book in this series, and now readers get to catch up with them again. Bound by Love takes place over approximately four years. It recaps many key events in previous books, telling the story from Luca and Aria’s perspectives this time around. While some aspects of this were really interesting, I grew bored during most of those moments.

From my perspective, the story really picked up when the author shared new material, but that is quite far into the book.

One thing that I really didn’t like about this book is how the author seems to be setting up war between Luca and Dante. While technically New York and Chicago have been at war for ages, NY and Las Vegas are not teaming up to take Dante’s circle down. This would be fine if the author hadn’t spent an entire book telling the romantic story between Dante and Valentina, but she did and I am just as emotionally invested in them as in Luca/Aria. Perhaps even more so.

I also detested that Aria kept making the same stupid mistakes time after time.

If you don’t mind revisiting old storylines, you will probably love this bad boy mafia romance that reads a little like a reunion. Otherwise, you might just want to wait for the next book to be released.

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A Little Submission (Collection)

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Together in one complete set, six historical Victorian romances from USA Today Bestselling author Zoe Blake.

Pleasure and pain are one in the era of Victorian romances. An essential collection from the author who has mastered the genre. USA Today Bestseller Zoe Blake is known for her explicit descriptions, creative chastisement and wickedly wanton love scenes.

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Zoe Blake is an author that I have mentioned on this blog before. She writes historical and contemporary erotica, largely focused on DD/lg or BDSM.

The titles in this collection are:

The Submission of Little Emmie

Disciplining the Maid

Penelope’s Punishment

Chosen to be His Little Angeline

The Duke’s Possession

Papa’s Little Pain Princess <this book contains aspects of sadism/masochism>

In the last couple of months I have been going through a really big kick of historical romance which is super unusual for me. I’m usually about about LEO and mafia romances. But sometimes we need to roll with the punches and broaden our horizons a little, amiright?!

This collection contains 6 historical novellas set in the 1800s of Britain. Each features a masterful male member of the aristocracy and the woman he “insta-love” falls for. They are definitely short enough to read one each evening before bed, and it is much cheaper to buy the collection on Amazon than purchase each book individually. Wish I had realized that a little sooner :/

Every story contains spanking scenes, and infantilism of a grown woman. Most of these brides have a nanny who disciplines them as well, but there is no sexual relations between the women. Check out the tag section of this post to find out more of the kink, and if this collection is right for you. I would have rated the books higher if they had been longer and a little more balanced between story and sexy times.

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Leopard’s Run (Leopard People #10)

Leopard Run

He keeps his emotions on a tight leash, but she can see the desire burning in his eyes…

Timur Amurov has one purpose in life: protect his family at all costs. With lethal skills honed from a violent upbringing, Timur is a leopard shifter who sees any newcomers as possible threats–and the petite blond barista who his sister-in-law, Evangeline, has hired to work in her bakery is definitely hiding something. While Timur still needs to determine if Ashe is an enemy, he does know that she is the only woman whose presence has ever truly calmed the beast roaring inside of him.

Ashe Bronte is well aware she has a type: sexy, gorgeous and dangerous as hell. Despite the fact that Timur is all those things and more, Ashe is in San Antonio for reasons that do not involve getting wild with a ruthless leopard–and she cannot afford to make any mistakes. But Timur has ignited something deep within her, and even though she knows she should keep her distance, every move he makes has her craving a taste…

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Leopard’s Run starts of super sexy and heated. There is plenty of tension between Ashe and Timur in the beginning. Especially during this interrogation scene between the two of them.

Ashe pressed her fingers to her eyes, covering them for a moment. When she took her hand away, the female leopard was gone. “I don’t understand what’s happening and you clearly do. Would you mind if we moved this inquisition to the living room?”

“Yes. You stay right where you are.”

The living room was all glass. Anyone could see in if those drapes were open. He had the feeling she planned to do just that. In the bedroom, she was trapped. She was also more vulnerable. Both of them knew it. He had the psychological advantage as long as she sat on the bed dressed in her skimpy, lacy pajamas and nothing else. That made him a dick as a man, but a very good bodyguard for his brother.

Feehan, Christine. Leopard’s Run (A Leopard Novel) (pp. 45-46). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This book wasn’t everything that I expected it to be. Leopard’s Run begins with adrenaline but that petered out for me. I think I was expecting there to be more mixing between the couples, which barely occurred. They are family and see each other every day, so that surprised me.  Fyodor/Alonzo didn’t seem to have any interest in getting to know his new Sister-in-law, even though she is good friends with this wife and Fyodor cares very much for his brother.

Ashe also was a bit of an enigma. She recovers and forgives a little too easily after the interrogation scene in chapter three, which has a particularly violent moment between her and Timur. She acts like this is normal in her universe but it isn’t. She was raised to be a survivalist, but has never been in a real fight and was raised in an isolated cabin in the mountains. Timur has definitely proven that he is faster/tougher/stronger than she is in a violent (albeit controlled) manner, but Ashe has no problem trusting and lusting after him immediately following the scene.

My favourite part of this book was at the very end, in the first chapter excerpt of the next Torpedo Ink saga, Vengeance Road. It will be released in January 2019 and I cannot wait for it.

Overall, this book was off-key for me. There were parts that didn’t see to add up exactly. There is a note from the author in the start of the book, where she explains she had a very difficult time writing this one. That is definitely a publishing mistake in my opinion. It should have been at the end of the book or excluded altogether. When I read it, I felt like the author didn’t have confidence in her book and it may have coloured the story for me before I had even had a chance to read it 😦

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Crime Lord’s Paradise (Crime Lord #4.5)

crimelord

After Gavin Pyre steps down from his position as crime lord, he and Lyla focus on picking up the pieces of their lives and creating the paradise they deserve.

Publisher’s Note: This novella intersects with book 4, Awakened by Sin, so books should be read in sequence.

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This is a 128 page novella that catches us up with original couple Lyla and Gavin in the Crime Lord series. I’m pretty sure this book is the result of obsessive and persistent begging from fans, lol.

OMG. I had forgotten how completely badass Gavin is!! He is uber sexy and dark and it is overwhelmingly obvious in this instalment that Lyla is the only thing keeping him just this side of the line.

But, man! that girl has changed. She went from this annoying, facetious young woman in the introduction to the series to a fierce woman and mother, battling PTSD and poor parenting models and rising above.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. It felt a bit like a catch-up with old friends and will eagerly await book #5.

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Defiance (Masters of the Shadowlands #13.5)

defiance

Z’s day begins with sadness
A phone call from a dying friend leaves psychologist Zachary Grayson determined to fulfill the old survivalist’s request–a send-off that will comfort his grieving sons.

And then turns deadly
The death threat is only the beginning…because the letter isn’t a hoax. Z walks out of his office into a barrage of bullets. He can take being shot at, but when the second shot splinters the empty child-seat in his car, he’s shaken to the core. The horror of what would have happened if his little girl had been there spurs him to action.

Master Z is a Dom, a husband, a father—every instinct drives him to protect those under his care. When the police can’t catch his stalker, he must take matters into his own hands.

He must keep danger far from those he loves.
Secrecy and distance is the key. The funeral in Alaska is the perfect location, especially since Z won’t be alone. The survivalist’s sons have grown into men with lethal skills. With their help, he can trap the shooter and keep his family safe.

As long as his impetuous and all-too-observant wife, Jessica, doesn’t discover he’s using himself as bait.

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Defiance is a novella in the Shadowlands series. It serves to give an update on original couple – and fan favourites – “Z” and Jessica, and also to introduce a new contemporary romance series the author will premiere in January. I really like that she is starting her new series in this manner. Even if I wish she was writing certain other books for characters desperately in need of a HEA!

This short story is listed as #13.5 in the Shadowlands series, but I think it should also be listed as 0.5 in the new series. The style of writing is much more romance than erotica. There are sex scenes between Z and Jessica, but nothing like we’re used to seeing in the Shadowlands.

Defiance is a contemporary romance with military themes. It was enjoyable and I think it will flow well through both series, although regular readers might not be prepared for the lack of steam. Ms. Sinclair is one of the few authors I know who can take the short word count necessary in a novella and still produce a cohesive, nuanced story with character development, emotions and background characters.

There is a secondary character, DeVries, who pops up. He is from Mrs. Sinclair’s Dark Haven series. It was nice to see these universes blending again… I had a dark satisfaction throughout the story, knowing that DeVries hates the cold and got stuck working in Alaska to protect Z.

I am still devastated that my favourite author is moving away from the BDSM scene – at least in her books. However, I am looking forward to following up with these new characters in her upcoming Alaskan series. They might not be Doms, but they sure are alphas!

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Twisted Loyalties (The Camorra Chronicles #1)

Camorra Chronicles 1

Fabiano was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps as Consigliere of the Chicago Outfit – until the man abandons him. Left to fend for himself, Fabiano is forced to fight for a place in the mafia world. As a ruthless street fighter, he quickly earns his place as the new Enforcer of the Las Vegas Camorra – a man to fear.

Leona wants to build a decent life for herself, away from her drug-addicted mother. But soon she catches the attention of a dangerous man – Fabiano Scuderi. Staying out of trouble and living a normal life are near impossible with a man like him.
Leona knows she needs to avoid Fabiano, but men like him aren’t easy to shake off. They always get what they want.

Fabiano cares about only one thing: the Camorra.
But his attraction to Leona soon puts his unwavering loyalty to the test. Is Leona worth risking everything he’s fought for, and ultimately his life?

This is the first book in the Camorra Chronicles. This series is a spinoff from the Bound Series. Both are Mafia romance.

I have had a love-hate relationship with several of my one-click authors lately, and unfortunately, this is one of them.

I detested the previous book that I read from this author, so I bought Twisted Loyalties with some hesitation. It was better than I worried it would be, but also is not one I can imagine myself reading again and again.

Fabiano is very different from the little boy of 5 that we first met. He has grown up hard and dark and cruel, so much so that he would be willing to kill his own sister for political gain, if ordered to by his Boss.

I found that these characters were difficult for me to relate to, although the write is much improved from what I recently experienced in the previous novel.

I do intend to read the next book and hope that Ms. Reilly is able to build on it.

So should I recommend this book? If you are a mafia romance junkie or like your heroes dark, definitely give it a go. Otherwise I would say pass and save your money.

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