Category Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Book Review: ‘Masterpiece’ by Xavier Neal

Title: Masterpiece (Adrenaline Series Book 3)

Published: 28th August 2015

Publisher: Entertwine Publishing

Author: Xavier Neal

Facebook: www.facebook.com/XavierNealAuthorPage

 

Synopsis:

As Merrick McCoy, legendary street racer and infamous criminal, approaches the biggest moment of his life, he will have to make one final decision. Will he turn the dark tragedy his life has become into just another court statistic or will he take this chance to turn it into a Masterpiece?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a car chase in it. Well our boy Merrick is a legendary street racer so you now there has to be at least one time he gets a little fast behind the wheel. But is it a street race or someone chasing him? Either way you know he won’t get caught anytime soon.

Well I still don’t know whose ass to kick yet for Ben but I do know who needs to be taken care of so they can’t hurt my McCoy boys no more – none other than The Devil himself. Let’s see where his deeds take our boys and if they can get out unscathed.

So the McCoy’s are struggling to cope with Ben’s death. No matter what the police report says they know there was nothing wrong with his car to cause the accident. Someone just wants to make it look like it. Very emotional side you see of all of them, Knox (who I class as a McCoy anyway), Jovi and Halie also. They want answers but it seems that will have to take a back seat when the Devil comes back on the scene with unfinished business.

Jovi is getting ready to leave for college so is starting the pack up. She is trying to grow and find herself without living with her father’s restrictions. When she finds out about Ben’s death she knows she is going to the funeral. She just doesn’t expect her father to know anything about it. Seems he knows about the accident and is all for blaming the driver Ben McCoy. Thinking him no good. This just gets right on Jovi’s nerves and she just snaps at him. Letting it slip that she knew Ben and in the process letting Nadie in on the real identity of Merrick, Ben’s cousin. You know with him being a McCoy and all.

Having issues with her father is the least of her problems when Jovi spots a picture of the infamous Ghost in a photo in her fathers case files. Seems Ghosts build and the car he is in reminds her of a certain someone – namely her fiancé. To say this news doesn’t go down well would be an understatement. This would also be the moment the devil strikes.

To save his girl Merrick is willing to do anything, no matter the cost. How similar will our classic twist on Romeo and Juliet go? With the devil at their heels it’s all to play for. This might be the end to their story, which I have loved, but it’s the beginning for the rest of the family. I loved all the McCoy’s and can’t wait to check out their stories and get inside their heads. Loved the author’s style of writing with the different POV’s talking direct to the reader. Makes it a bit more fun with the journey you are taken on with them.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Serenity’ by Janet Nissenson

Title: Serenity (Inevitable Book 5)

Published: 25th April 2017

Publisher: BookBaby

Author: Janet Nissenson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/janetnissensonauthor

Twitter: @JNissenson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7375780.Janet_Nissenson

Synopsis:

Matthew Bennett has suffered the worst sort of betrayal a man can ever know, and he’s trying to put his life back together after years of unhappiness and emotional neglect. He desperately needs the care and devotion of a good woman, someone who will not only erase the hurt he’s experienced, but help him cope with the tremendous stress and responsibility he endures daily as the CEO of a multibillion dollar corporation.

Through the yoga classes that she teaches, and her successful massage practice, Sasha Fonseca spends her days helping others improve their health and wellbeing, and also learning to combat stress. She leads a simple but serene life, content with the little she has, but shies away from any sort of long term commitments or serious relationships. Her unconventional upbringing has also made her fiercely independent, and she won’t let anyone try to mold her into something she’s not ever again.

Sasha is enlisted to help Matthew in a professional capacity, but it isn’t long before she finds herself drawn to him on an emotional and physical level as well. With a woman like Sasha in his life, Matthew finally believes he’s found the happiness that’s eluded him all these years. But will his scheming, soon-to-be ex find a way to destroy him once again, or will he get the happy ending that he deserves?

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – The fifth book in a series. It’s a great series that you should definitely check out. They are classed as standalones but when other characters pop up it will make more sense if you have read from the beginning, as you know why they might do or say something. Insider clue almost, so why not check them out?

Like the title suggests with serenity this book had a calming feel to it from the start all the way through. Seems our Matthew needed some balance in his life to bring this back into focus. Namely by looking after himself and children better and by getting rid of his cheating soon to be ex wife Lindsey.

Loved how it started and how Matthew found his wife with another – younger – man and how he almost didn’t care. Its at this point you get a very clear idea that he had known about what his wife was up to for some time now. All he wants is for them to get out so that he can collapse on a bed – not his as he now needs to get that replaced – to recover from a very bad case of flu. I thought it was hilarious when Lindsey tried to say to him that ‘it’s not what it looks like’. Come on love he caught you being taken from behind right on his bed, what is that meant to look like? Seems this was the push that he needed to finally say enough was enough to leave his wife and start divorce proceedings. Seems Lindsey is none too happy about this and willing to do anything to get him to come back. She may not really want him anymore but it’s more to do with her image and the lifestyle she has become used to, than anything else.

To give him a bit of a helping hand in the recovery department after starting the divorce his friends Ian and Tessa insist that the first stage would be to look after him better. One way Tessa sees this happening is for Matthew to have a massage as with all the stress of his business and now the divorce he surely could use one. Funny how just mentioning a massage reminds him of his chance encounter with Sasha at Ian and Tessa’s wedding. She drew a reaction out of him that he wasn’t expecting and made him feel calm from the moment she started talking. More so when they started dancing and she told him to start looking after himself better. Main thing to start with would be getting a massage. Seems this is just the starting point for a new way of life with someone new in it.

Seems Sasha remembers him straight away and has a bit of a reaction to him herself. She is intrigued but more than that she really wants to help him be happy. An hour session isn’t enough to get rid of his knots so its not long before a pattern arises with weekly appointments. Seems within the sessions Matthew has a bit more of a reaction to getting relaxed than would be expected. Sasha can turn a blind eye to this but a girl has her limits. When Matthew asks her to see her at his place instead of her practice she knows it could be asking for trouble. When he gets the same reaction he has been for the last few weeks and catches her eye when he turns over she knows things are going to change, more so when he pulls her towards him. The chemistry had been building from the start and didn’t take long to bubble over. Its not just the physical chemistry that drew them to each other but on an emotional level too as she is helping him be a healthier, happier version of himself. Something they are both happy about. He might want to start something but Sasha is a bit reluctant with him going through a divorce. Seems she wants to keep things casual but its not long before that slowly starts to change.

With getting more serious it would mean the introduction of Sasha to Matthew’s children. Now Casey was a sweet young boy who clicked with Sasha straight away but his moody sister Hayley was another matter entirely. Given the right incentive it seems her mother can push her into doing all sorts. Trouble is brewing and it’s not long before things start to get out of hand. Seems Lindsey is taking being a manipulative bitch to a whole new level and dragging her own daughter down with her.

Through it all Matthew needs Sasha beside him as she is the first person to truly make him happy in years but there is only so much a girl can take. She’s been through her own struggles in life and you can see why she has chosen the calming one she has now as a coping mechanism. You definitely have a feeling throughout that it’s the calm before the storm and you would be right. You just hope that they can find a way to get through it together.

Loved that you got snippets from all the others from the series so far and how they are all interconnected to each other. It’s mainly with the girls Julia and Tessa but their men do make an appearance too. Can’t wait to get to the next one.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Sensational’ by Janet Nissenson

Title: Sensational (Inevitable #4)

Published: 6th November 2015

Publisher: BookBaby

Author: Janet Nissenson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/janetnissensonauthor

Twitter: @JNissenson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7375780.Janet_Nissenson

 

Synopsis:

THEY SAY YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST LOVE…

Lauren McKinnon has always prided herself on never backing down from a challenge, living life to its fullest, and refusing to be ruled by her emotions. She is the quintessential wild child who became a bold, fearless woman, she doesn’t believe in regrets or second chances, and thinks that true love only happens in fairy tales. Except for the time it happened to her one magical summer. But unlike fairy tales, in real life love can also be cruel, and after having her heart broken Lauren has vowed to never allow herself to be vulnerable again.

Ben Rafferty has always been a loner, never truly belonging anywhere or to anyone, until the summer he visits Big Sur and meets the girl he immediately recognizes as his soulmate. But Lauren’s star shines far too brightly, and to stay with her means the real possibility of dimming that brilliant light. The decision to leave her behind will be the most difficult of his life, and for years later he’s left to wonder what would have happened if he’d stayed.

When their paths inevitably cross again, Lauren’s pride and refusal to forgive continues to keep them apart, as does the new woman in Ben’s life. As truths are eventually revealed, and emotions can no longer be denied, will Lauren and Ben finally find their way back to each other, or will they be destined to forever remain apart?

 

Review:

Clues in the title to how I feel about authors’ style of writing, sensational. Have loved this series so far and couldn’t wait to get to Lauren’s story. Knew it was going to be good from the get go but didn’t realize how long it would take for Ben to grow a pair to get his girl and then for Lauren to stop being so stubborn. But it’s the tension that makes a good story and helps build a more realistic one, so here goes.

Loved how this story was going on at the same time as all the others have been (Julia and Nathan, Tessa and Ian and then Angela and Nick). It seemed at first that they all were the ones that found true love first but in reality it was Lauren all along. She just hid it well from those around her and she was also the first one to suffer complete heartbreak, but we will get to that in a bit.

I liked that you got to start at the beginning with them and not present day so you could see how their lives, and lives of others’, slowly intertwined with each other. So we start in Lauren’s favourite place on earth. Her families place along the coast in Big Sur. One said place where she encounters a very handsome man, Ben. She just strolls on up in short shorts and a barely there bikini top, one he can’t seem to keep his eyes off, and informs him that he is trespassing. Ben just wanted to take a really good picture of the bay to go with a travel piece he was working on but when she sees the excuse of a camera he is uses she insists he use one of hers. He thinks she is a bit too trusting of someone she just met so I like it when she shows him exactly how she can handle herself no matter the situation. She saw something in him from the moment they met and knew what she wanted to happen from the moment he turned to look at her. As soon as she got him back to her place, with photos collected, he almost feels like he is home. Which was rare for someone who never really felt settled anywhere. You may say she pounced on him but it wouldn’t have been long before he made a move, she was just getting there first. What started as a possible one-night stand turned into a passionate escape from reality where time seemed to stand still for them both. Hot enough to build a campfire from. Young love almost too passionate to handle perhaps? It was this moment when Ben realized just what she might be capable of doing and knew, well thought he did anyway, that if he stayed she wouldn’t fulfill her dreams. So he does what he thinks is best, he leaves. Biggest mistake of his life, one he longs to take back.

You are in complete agreement with Lauren when you think of him as an asshole that doesn’t deserve her. Shame her heart doesn’t seem to get the message straight away. He might think that because she is younger than him that she would just bounce back and get with someone new within months but that was never going to be the case. From this moment on she kind of shuts down emotionally but never really lets on to the people around her. She may give off the impression in other books that she is wild and carefree but that only really applies to her career not her love life, or lack there of. Her career is all that she thinks about and years after her heartbreak thinking that she would never see Ben again she gets one hell of a shock on that front.

The same goes for Ben too when he finds out he is her new boss. Then lets rub some salt in the wounds by bringing up that he is seeing someone, Elle. Not that he is truly ‘in’ the relationship. Its almost like he feels responsible for her. She is a very highly-strung person who was never going to be more than his friend as his heart has only and will only ever belong to Lauren.

This isn’t a cheating book, as they then have to work together, along with all that tension, for the next couple of years. So when I say that you are just waiting for them to get their act together you are waiting a little while. The chemistry is as evident in present day as it was in the past but they hold back. Lauren would never go for someone who is involved with another. The longer they are in each other’s presence though the harder it gets to exist in Lauren’s eyes. She wants what she thinks she can’t have and if she had only let him explain earlier why he left then things may have sped up.

Seem history might be repeating itself when Lauren finally opens up to someone, her Aunt Madelyn. Loved the side romance story with her and how she was reunited with her lost love. She doesn’t want her niece to follow in her footsteps by waiting too long so its this moment that gives her the push she needed.

Another great read that brought together all the characters from the previous books and you can see what Lauren was really going through along their timelines which is cool. Can’t wait to get on with the rest of the series.

5 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Moon River’ by Amber D. Tran

Title: Moon River

Published: 17th September 2016

Publisher: Little Creek Books

Author: Amber D. Tran

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amberdtran

Twitter: @amberdtran

 

Synopsis:

In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.

Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.

A novel that takes place in a small town in northern West Virginia, Moon River is a story that exploits the brutal honesty in growing up fast, loving too young, and losing too soon.

 

Review:

A coming of age story filled with some darker traits throughout in regards to what these children go through. From bullying, to sexual references at such a young age (main character is 9 to start with and story follows her for 5 years), depression, suicidal thoughts and selfishness from a few draining so-called friends.

It’s really a downward spiral right from the start with everything Abigail and Ryan go through. Ryan was Abigail’s first real crush. It only took one look and she was infatuated with him. In her mind he became the other half of her but it would take a year or so for him to really notice her. The first time they speak is at a very emotionally damaging event for her. She goes to a sleep over at Kimmie’s but it’s one of her friend’s that takes thing in a strange direction. Creating a right of passage so to speak for her to be included in the group. This was the first part that made it a bit uncomfortable to read and you can see how badly Abigail was affected by it. What almost finished in a horrible night takes a slight happier turn when Ryan, Kimmie’s cousin, turns up, even if it was embarrassing in how he caught her. When Kimmie says he asked about her after she left it only helped fuel her crush more.

Ryan’s birthday party is another key moment in joining them together, along with Kimmie and Scott, Abigail’s cousin, as it’s after this that they have a summer to remember. Involves kids just being kids with hanging out on bike rides or in the pool. Things soon change when school starts though. Its like the minute it did Ryan went back into himself and shut her out. You can already see the cracks start to appear with him and also slowly see how fragile Abigail is as well.

Things take a mark darker turn with the introduction of Lilly. (Sorry but bitch is thy name no matter her age). She starts out wanting to be Abigail’s friend, saying they are the same, connected like no other. When she starts dating someone it gives Abigail ideas about Ryan. Talking all night on MSN is one thing but she wants to feel connected to him when the world can see. She gets what she wishes but he has already started to slip further down the rabbit hole with his behavior and it’s not long before its trouble in paradise. Lilly and Ryan go darker into themselves and its not until the end when you find out Abigail was almost dragged down too. Lilly was an abuser, even at a young age, with how she treated Abigail. Walking all over her, bringing her down and alienating others. She might have been the catalyst but these kids already had a few problems that they were dealing with. Ryan didn’t need someone to follow him down into the darkness that seemed to pull at him from a young age. He needed someone to pull him into the light.

You feel for them all and hope for a different outcome but get the feeling very soon on that this isn’t a happily ever after read. Deals with a lot of issues that don’t get mentioned in books much. It was an interesting, but at times, hard emotional read that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel because I really disliked a certain character, along with the very strong language from the start which was a bit surprising given their ages, it made it harder to enjoy the book more but it was well written and definitely worth a look.

3.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Uncharted’ by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Title: Uncharted (Countermeasure: Bytes of Life #1)

Published: 24th April 2013

Authors: Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Authors.ChrisAlmeida.CeciliaAubrey

Twitter: @calmeidacaubrey

 

Synopsis:

The suspense driven Countermeasure Series combines full-length novels and Bytes of Life short stories about sexy, technologically inclined men and women. The series is filled with heart-stopping danger and enough twists and turns to make a hair-raising “roller coaster” seem tame. In the series, Trevor Bauer, a tough as nails NSA geek, and his even more tenacious love interest, Cassandra James, are on a quest for clues in the mysterious disappearance of Trevor’s parents. Joined by fate, their search drops them into the mysterious and violent world of data espionage, one that tests their love as they sweep the world with romance, sex, and ingenuity to find answers that will have the power to change their lives forever.

In the short prequel to Countermeasure, love is the utmost cardinal emotion and shines brightly as Conor and Maeve Brennan struggle with a life changing decision. In this glimpse into the hearts of the Brennans, you will see the strength of a love unlike any other–a love that transcends right and wrong. A love that remains unchallenged to this day.

NOTE: Countermeasure: Bytes of Life is a tie-in series to the Countermeasure Series novels. This new series of shorts gives the readers glimpses into the day-to-day life of the Countermeasure characters.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with two authors. A quick read to get you interested in the rest of the series.

An intriguing prequel giving you a glimpse into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peter’s parents Maeve and Conor Brennan. It doesn’t give too much away about the ‘why’ they are leaving, just that they are. A sailing trip like they do yearly but this one with an ulterior motive. To find out what the true motive is you will have to check out the series.

You can clearly see the love they have for each other, and their son, and willingness to do what they must when times are at there worst. Which seems to be right from the start, though we never find out why. It has the ability to grip you, even with only being short. Leaves you wanting more, which is a good pull towards the series. Are they doing what they are doing to protect their son, themselves or maybe both?

Well-written short read that makes you wonder what, or rather whom, they could be running from and whether they will ever be able to come back.

3 out of 5 stars

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