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Book Review: ‘True Grandeur’ by Cal R. Barnes

Title: True Grandeur: A Hollywood Novel

Published: 20th September 2017

Publisher: Magic Hour Press

Author: Cal R. Barnes



TRUE GRANDEUR is the tale of Conrad Arlington, a young man who moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a great artist. Within a few short years of his arrival, Conrad’s success as a writer brings him to the attention of Gracie Garrison, a beautiful and alluring socialite whose glamorous lifestyle is just as mysterious as the rumors that surround her. After spending a spirited and adventurous night on the town together – one fueled by an excess of beautiful people, extravagant parties, gallery openings, and the madness of a fallen director – Conrad ultimately falls in love with her, believing them to be destined. However, when he awakens the next morning to find that Gracie is gone, he is distraught, and thus embarks on his relentless journey to find her, resulting in a tumultuous spiral of passion, art, and romance as he searches his soul to try and uncover the greatest mystery of all – true love.

At its core, True Grandeur is not just a love story, but rather an in-depth study on contemporary romanticism, of how ideals shape one’s need for individuality and importance, and of how sociological factors such as fame, wealth, and social class contribute to one’s ability to receive – or not receive – true love. It’s a story of what it means to feel deeply, and attempts to accurately illustrate the internal progression of feeling that is the artist’s journey.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by an author who uses initials in their pen name.

This story it told through POV of Conrad Arlington who moves to Hollywood to make it as an artist. Will it swallow him up and spit him out or will he make it? To say that his belief in his talent abilities is high would be an understatement. It’s this mentality that drives him. His father and the great Arlington’s before him made sure of this kind of self worth and confidence. He wants to be ‘the last true artist’ but his attitude just comes off as being a bit obnoxious.

After finding and falling for a girl right off the bat he finds that his obsession in getting lost in her drove a different kind of artistic expression from him. He began to write about what he was feeling. His carefree attitude changes his views on what he wants to do after being there for a few years. Writing works as he can control the stories when things become uncontrollable around him. It’s creating a script that leads to meeting his next obsession.

Gracie auditions for a part in Conrad’s noir screenplay. Her eyes seem to have the ability to freeze him in the spot. He is drawn to the raw emotion behind her actions and longs to know her. So it’s good that she just happens to bump into him later at a bar. Just when his dreams of getting his film up and running falls through Gracie pops up to possibly save the day. In Hollywood it’s not what you know but rather who you know that helps. But is all what it seems? Rumours told at a party might start to fill in the blanks. Or maybe just raise more questions. Which isn’t good as that’s Gracie’s main rule – don’t ask questions.

Conrad is so easily infatuated with her that she could bend him to her will to do anything. He knows she could have anybody, so is shocked that she sort of chooses him. Will the charade last? Well long enough to get him to drive her around all night to the strange amount of parties and friends she needs to see. Talk about a weird night to remember. With the amount of booze he was meant to have put away I want to know how he could see straight, let alone drive anywhere? He falls for her hook, link and sinker. So you can imagine what might happen if she vanished. Feeling lost but longing to find her he turns into a bit of a creepy stalker not wanting to believe that it was in all honestly a dream of sorts with her. Will he get his dream back or be lost to the illusion forever?

I found at times that there was just a bit too much description before getting to some actual dialogue. There was just too much time in his head waiting for him to get to the point. Also how many times does he really need to say that he is ‘The Last True Artist’? Mainly comes into play when his pride has been hurt and he needs to pull himself out of the dark.

An interesting read but I just didn’t click with the main character. He just came across as annoying and a bit of a selfish prick at the end in regards to how he treated certain people who might have been the better choice. You can see how he got swept up in the ‘Hollywood’ vibe and the allure of Gracie. He thought he loved her but she was just an illusion of sorts. So it’s a shame how he throws away something real for it when it could never be. The dialogue bits were good but there was just too much in his head for my liking.

3 out of 5 stars

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


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Book Review: ‘Playing to Win’ by Ashlie Knapp

Title: Playing to Win

Published: 12th June 2016

Author: Ashlie Knapp

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorashlieknapp

Twitter: @authorashliek

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorashlieknapp



Spunky, quick-witted twenty-one year old Callie Thompson is a University of Oklahoma journalism student by day and Oklahoma City Thunder dancer by night. Callie hopes her connections with the franchise might get her foot in the door for a sports broadcasting job when she graduates. She just has one rule: never date the players.

Kyle Kelly is the deadly handsome and charmingly Southern Thunder man of the hour. All the twenty-six year old is looking for is an NBA championship to call his own. An unexpected meeting with an opinionated, feisty Callie, however, who is very unimpressed with his celebrity status, sets his sights toward winning two things: her heart AND the championship.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A contemporary romance.

Callie is a broadcasting major at college and a professional NBA basketball cheerleader for Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. For a girl who loves sports a great perk is being courtside for all the games, dream come true for a daughter of a career basketball coach. Her mother died when she was three so it was just them and with him being into sports it was only natural that the love of it got passed down to her. Her dream career might be to become a sports broadcaster but she has every intention of staying away from any players, in every sense of the word, due to a bag experience with an ex. She’s just not ready for a guy to want to try his luck with getting her attention.

Kyle might be the star basketball player for Oklahoma City Thunder but his final goal to tick off bucket list is to win the NBA championships. With being the star player he has to do lots of press after games. It’s after one of these that he literally bumps into Callie and finds a simple game of horse can change everything. If he wins she has to go on 5 dates with him – well they call them ‘hang outs’ as ‘dates’ scares her a little. He might think it’s an easy win being a star basketball player an all but is soon put in his place when she brings some skills to the court. As the daughter of a basketball coach she wasn’t going to make it easy.

She might want to not like him because of who he is but the longer they play the more she’s not sure if she wants to win or not. Even after he gives her the nickname Curly, she might hate it at first but I’m sure it will grow on her. ‘He was the veritable Goldilocks bowl of muscle – not too big, not too small. Just right.’ Very tempting in a lot of ways, which is why she wants to steer clear. Her way of getting out of any ‘hang outs’ is just to babble away that she doesn’t have any free time but in doing so ends up giving him some options. Hang out one to help her study for a test that night and two to go with her that weekend to have dinner with her father. She might have judged him as a dumb jock but he’s about to show her the error of her wayward thoughts. She’s caught his attention and I don’t think he’s one to let go that easily.

Loved Callie’s best friends Aria and Cassie. They both sound like a right laugh and after meeting Kyle are all for pushing Callie right into his arms. They can tell that she likes him no matter how hard she tries to deny it, from herself as much as anything. They just have a bit of a challenge in getting her to see that just because he’s an athlete it doesn’t mean he’s a player. Thought it was a bit funny that it’s not just her best friends that are trying to get her to go for it, her mind is very on board too if its heated imagination is anything to go by. More amusing when she tells it to shut up after it suggests things she doesn’t want to admit. Say for example kind of liking a certain hot basketball player. Minds on board, lets see about the rest of her.

Kyle is kind, honest, funny and really starting to get under her skin so she needs to stop judging him on her own assumptions of athletes. He might be planning on his next big win for basketball but I think getting her to date him for real and admit she really likes him is going to take priority soon. What his teammates will think of that is something else entirely. A romantic trip up to some waterfalls anyone? With sun halos, waterfalls and burning chemistry you know it won’t be long before that first heated kiss takes place. First of many if they play their cards right!

Kyle seems to be all in with making a go of a relationship with Callie. Love coming right and centre of his mind. He just needs to be wary of how fast he says things because too much too soon might make her run. With the NBA championships on the horizon he needs his head in the game. Shame Callie found a way to make it spin. Can she fix it so they both get what they really want before its too late? A little room switch might cause a lot of trouble. Let’s see if they can get back to where they were and play for keeps with what, or rather whom, they really want.

Fun read right from the start with the back and forth between Callie and Kyle. From romantic trips to waterfalls to birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese they were always going to have an interesting time together. Chemistry was always brewing under the surface but play fighting along the way made it fun. Good job Kyle saw what a good match they made and had no intention on giving up without a fight. Loved each of their best friends as well and can’t wait to check out their stories next.

5 out of 5 stars

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

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Sports Romance

Book Review: ‘Playing Deep’ by Amanda Love

Title: Playing Deep (Play Series Book 1)

Published: 26th October 2017

Author: Amanda Love

Facebook: www.facebook.com/a.love124

Amazon Page: www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071NCSXV8



After five years, Tyler has returned to his hometown – and to Jenna, the woman he left behind. He’s pretty sure she still hates him for the way he left – no note, no goodbye – just there one day and gone the next. But there are reasons he had to leave, why he had no choice but to let her go. The scars of his past run deep, and he knows that a man like him can never truly be worthy of the love of a woman as sweet and pure as Jenna.

When Tyler left, Jenna was devastated, and for five years she’s tried to forget him, to move on with her life and forget the feel of his mouth on hers, his hands on her body. But now he’s been pulled back to his hometown by tragic circumstances, bringing with him all the feelings she’s tried so hard to bury.

Will the past continue to keep them apart, or can they both find the courage to move on with their lives? Together.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book under 200 pages. Great start to a new series that I’m looking forward to devouring.

Tyler left five years ago but he’s back to claim what’s his – Jenna. He came back for her mother’s funeral because he knew she would need him. Her father however is none too pleased with his return. He might have been a reason – or a push in a certain direction – as to why Tyler left at 19 in the first place. Being a football scout you can see what way he might have been able to get him to leave. Tyler thought he couldn’t give Jenna anything at the time, even though all she wanted was him, that’s changed now.

I liked that the story kept going back to the beginning with flashbacks showing how their friendship started, what their childhoods where really like, how he got stronger to fight back when fists went flying and how their feelings grew into something more. They are all intercut within present day, almost like reliving a memory now the person from it is back in your life. Some painful, some not, all in a way to get back to each other. But could a secret she holds cause them to pull apart?

With the flashbacks you find out that Tyler’s mum left when he was five but he never knew why. There is a story in there hidden from him that he longs to find answers to, even if he won’t admit it. These also show what an abusive dick Tyler’s father was with beatings he would get, among other things. The marks would usually be hidden but sometimes he would get clumsy and hit his face. Meaning Tyler had to be creative about how “accident-prone” he was when going to a new school. When he died four years ago all Tyler could think was good riddance. Wouldn’t come back for that man. Only for his girl, though he wishes he had done it sooner. He knows he might not have a chance with Jenna, that she might still hate him for leaving, but he’s willing to do anything to try and get her back. Not just for now but for good.

Jenna’s father thought he was being so observant all those years ago. Trusting Tyler’s father and a few small glimpses when he was home. Labeled him trouble without really getting to know him. Good job her mother saw things differently and encouraged the friendship and taking Tyler under her wing.

Present day fireworks whenever they are close. It’s like all the built up energy from the past is rushing to the surface just waiting for that spark to push them over the edge. My guess when it does its going to be hot. Getting frisky in a lift always raises the temperature. They are sure about to make up for lost time. Burning hotter the longer they are together. Physical connection is one thing but emotions are running high with ‘I love you’ on the tip of tongues just waiting to be said. Could saying it help or make them run scared? Misunderstandings are rife with these two though. Needing to let the other tell them something before jumping to conclusions would be a start. Where do they go from here if their lives are pulling them in different directions?

This is a well-written fun story with passionate characters that were meant for each other. You can see the troubled past still has a hold on Tyler but with Jenna by his side she can pull him away from nightmares into the light. She was his from the moment they met, even after he acted like an idiot at first. A kiss by the lake held strong memories for five years. He was always coming back for her, the other part of his heart. Hopefully he’s not too late to claim it. Fun introduction to side characters Jake and Prue too, can’t wait to check out their book next. Interesting mix that I’m sure will find a way to push each other’s buttons.

5 out of 5 stars

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

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Sports Romance

Book Review: ‘Best Man’ by Lila Monroe

Title: Best Man (Billionaire Bachelors Book 6)

Published: 11th March 2019

Publisher: Lila Monroe Books

Author: Lila Monroe

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lilamonroebooks

Twitter: @lilawrites

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7109533.Lila_Monroe

Amazon page: www.amazon.com/Lila-Monroe/e/B00SRZKWN0



Arthur ‘Fitz’ Fitzwilliam is the hottest, most reckless playboy in town… and my new husband?!

Believe me, I never dreamed that I’d be walking down the aisle to a quickie marriage with a total stranger, but thanks to my eccentric god-mother, an iron-clad will, and a blind, three-legged cat called Alfred (don’t ask), I need to get hitched ASAP. And when the perfect candidate leaves me at the alter, there’s only one person crazy – and drunk – enough to step up at the last minute.

The best man.

Also known as the man most likely to get caught romping with three Rockettes in the back of a Sex and the City tourbus. The man who could melt my panties at twenty paces – and make me want to pour a bucket of ice-water over his head. The man I just pledged to love and honor and… oh god, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

Our arrangement was clear: keep up the charade long enough for me to claim my inheritance and send my slime-ball cousins packing. Our plan is working perfectly.

Then Fitz decides to change the rules….

Can this fake marriage turn into something real? Find out in the latest hot and hilarious romantic comedy from USA Today bestselling author, Lila Monroe



1 Very Irresistible Playboy

2 Hot Daddy

3 Wild Card

4 Man Candy

5 Mr. Casanova

6 Best Man



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – The last book in a series. That one being the fabulous Billionaire Bachelors one, I may have to do a re-read soon.

Becca needs a husband ASAP – as in that day – to be able to claim an inheritance in the form of the building her and her artistic friends live. The terms were that the building would be left to her and her “husband”, well she was engaged before but sounds like that went tits up so she’s in a bit of a bind. Marigold, the eccentric lady who owned the building, thought she was doing something nice by leaving it to Becca so that everyone would be ok but it seems to have put her in a tailspin. If she can’t get married the house will pass to Marigold’s nephew Brett, who she can see making everyone leave so the building can get turned into condos for millionaires, well that’s her guess anyway. She knows he is willing to play dirty so she needs to think big to get what she needs for everyone.

So she hires Olivia to find her a husband for a month, after that’s all squared away and the building is hers they can divorce. Thing is because its a rush job Scott isn’t really up to the challenge, so lets see if the best man can step in. Hello Fitz, seems Olivia is getting you on her books afterall. Is the bachelor playboy about to go off the market? Her 106page contract from Olivia is about to get signed, “Do you have a pen?” After hearing her story when he sees her after the failed wedding in a bar it seems he wants to help out. What’s the worst that could happen?

“That’s it?” I blink. “You’re willing to marry a total stranger because, what, you’re bored?”
“Seems a good enough reason to me.” Fitz offers me his hand. “Clock’s ticking, princess. What’ll it be?” Well the British accent usually turns heads and the fact he’s hot doesn’t hurt either.

When Olivia finds out that Fitz has taken on the role of fake hubby she is a little concerned. She knows what is riding on Becca getting the building to keep everyone at home. She doesn’t need to be messed about or it made into a joke – something Fitz likes doing, jokes and having fun. She also wants him to be clear in the whole fakeness of his marriage. Don’t blur the lines between fake and real. But who will start to feel more emotions first? Chemistry rising is sure to happen but at what speed?

Strangers connecting quickly, which is good, as they need to appear as the perfect head over heels whirlwind romance couple as possible. One connection being that they both seem to really like Alex Chase books. Umm… I wonder who writes them? Connecting aside they need to really convince Brett their for real or it’s game over. After dropping the bombshell on him that she’s hitched so can inherit he insists on meeting the new husband. Dinner date from hell commencing in five, four, three, well you get the gist. Stories evolving from each of them to make the others head boil but in a very funny way. All leading to the first ‘fake’ kiss but as these stories go that first one is always the key because the whole ‘fake’ part goes right out the window the moment their lips meet. Hello hotness how far are you going? Her contract says no touching but creative talking on a phone doesn’t count, right? Interesting start with how quick off the mark they both were with creative words.

Fitz needs to help sell the happy marriage and what better way than moving in. Close spaces plus sexual tension rising equals a lot of fun in the making. Her friends are all for her jumping her husband, is she going to do it? From the tension building you know it won’t be long. All that aside can we just note how romantic he can be – from bowling to a night helicopter flight over the city – well and silly too in the best way. You can see how their lust is sure to keep building. Is it going to be the start of something or a complication to deal with later? A little trip to England gets them closer still. Starts as a means to meet his parents now the cats out the bag with the whole marriage – man are they hard to please. Good job they have ways to distract each other when tensions start to rise. Holy hell they hot together. Shame Brett finds a way to freeze them over.

Feelings growing stronger with each moment together so it just hurts so much more when things fall apart. Can Fitz fix the mess they’re in? ‘Fake’ turn real, what can you trust and where do you want to go from here? These are the questions running through both their heads. Lets see if they come up with the same answers.

Side note: I just loved all the artistic people from her building, all a bit eccentric characters themselves too. A home for all that turned into somewhat of a family. Can she save their home?

Another fun filled sexy read with loads of heated passion and amusement. End to a series but start of another with spin off for Becca’s friend Poppy. Can’t wait to check out her story next.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Romantic Comendy / Humour

Book Review: ‘The Jezebel’ by Saskia Walker

Title: The Jezebel (Taskill Witches of Scotland Book 3)

Published: 1st March 2018

Author: Saskia Walker

Twitter: @saskiawalker

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/104558.Saskia_Walker



Once unleashed, a witch’s carnal curiosity knows no bounds…

Fleeing from those with unscrupulous interest in her magic, Maisie Taskill’s goal is to find safety in the highlands of Scotland, with her kin. In order to gain passage from London to her homeland she plans to win over a rugged sea captain with the only currency she has: her virginity. With her enemies on her heels, Maisie has never needed a hero more. Captain Roderick Cameron might be her man.

Maisie submits to Roderick’s raw sexuality in search of protection, but their initial attraction grows into unbridled desire, unleashing devastating powers within her. Then the journey takes a dangerous turn, because the superstitious crew are unhappy at having a woman on board.

With Maisie’s wealthy sponsor giving chase, Roderick must stay one step ahead of the British Navy before Maisie’s seductive magic causes a full-scale mutiny. He may believe he has full command of his ship, but with a potent witch aboard he’s about to get much more than he bargained for.


Please note: This is a paranormal, historical, erotic romance novel, an adult title featuring explicit language and scenarios appropriate to the historical setting. Previously published with a different cover.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with magic. We finally get the see the last missing Taskill sibling, Maisie, who makes an interesting first impression on our pirate Captain Roderick Cameron.

Maisie needs to escape London from her guardian, Cyrus Lafayette, and get back to her kin in Dundee. Her only option is to propose a bargain with the Captain of the Libertas ship, Roderick Cameron. That being something she wants to lose on her terms, her virginity. She knows that once given she will be able to embrace her powers fully, something she may soon need if Cyrus gets to her. He wants her powers but more than that he wants her, something she is very against. With dangers now following she has to wonder if the Captain is the best choice. Only one more like but could she cause more trouble for him when she gets on board?

Funny how Maisie is a bit shocked at how much she likes the captains rugged appearance compared to the gentlemen she grew up around. Perhaps it’s that his features remind her of people from her homeland with him being a Scot. So you can see how quickly she would be drawn to him and feel a connection. Might also have something to do with being able to sense her twin Jessie again. Everything happens for a reason so she’s just got to hope that this is meant to be.

Roderick waste no time in wanting to claim his reward she offered as soon as possible and after one kiss Maisie starts to feel the need herself. Nerves to start with but a longing for more soon follows. Her mother was right all those years ago when she said that a witch would always feel more connected and stronger when passion is fulfilled. She might have her fill on the voyage over but plans to leave him as soon as they land in Dundee. Will she really want to leave by then? Or better yet, will Roderick be willing to let her go? A passionate connection forming while being kept in close quarters, soon followed by a protective one too. Good thing too when danger starts following. More so as her powers increase – mainly by controlling the elements – the longer she is with Roderick. With a ship full of watchful eyes though she has to be careful not to be seen casting, the last thing she needs is someone crying witch.

With this book we get a few flash backs to key moments in Maisie’s life. We see the day her mother was put to death for witchcraft, while her brother was taken away, and Jessie and her were made to watch. It was here that Cyrus and his wife Beth took her. Now Beth might have wanted her as a daughter but Cyrus’s motives were for something else entirely. You see how he wouldn’t be happy about her disappearance, willing to do anything to get her back. With the flashbacks to when Maisie was a child you can see how long the manipulation went on and how long it took her to see his true motives with his magic lessons with her. How long can she out run monster that wishes to claim her and her magic? With her powers getting stronger he will soon learn that she isn’t so helpless anymore. Choppy waters ahead as dangers follow makes her wonder if she will ever get back to her kin. If so, can she keep her captain with her in the process or will be forever be called back to the sea?

Another fun, heated passion filled read with these Taskill witches. Maisie might have been late to the passion party but her and Roderick soon made up for lost time. Great series with magic, witches, danger, intrigue and of course lots of passion twisted together for a great trilogy. The witches of Scotland are a force to be reckoned with. Kin brought back home where gifts are seen more freely but must always keep a watchful eye on those that might cause trouble. Powerful witches pack a punch though so trouble should beware.

4 out of 5 stars

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

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