FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.


Title : Five Years Gone
Author : Marie Force
Series : Navy Captain John West #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 400
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : HTJB, Inc
Release Date : October 9, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

When I am in the mood, military romance (if that’s a sub-genre) can really float my boat, I’ve had some profound reads in this category that are totally memorable. With this title and the idea it conjures, I was looking forward to an angsty, emotional ride and guess what, that’s exactly what I got.

What surprised me about this book is that I expected this to be about the missing soldier but really it was about Ava, the women he left behind. It was a unique situation, John had kept her in the dark in their two year relationship, encouraging her not to share her connection to him and keep it a secret. Is this ringing any alarm bells for you? It did for me, but not Ava and in retrospect, she put this down to her age and naivety.

“I blame myself for not paying closer attention, but mostly I blame him for leaving me in this torturous state of limbo.”

Five years later, Ava had to move on. The story really concentrates on her new start in a new city and her friendship with Eric. Eric was a good guy, not unrealistically so but I did so like him; he won my heart. The slow development of something more between Ava and Eric was great to read, I’m here for the slow burn always. Ava was definitely a work in progress, a heart-repair project and I came to like her very much.

There were elements of this story that were predictable, it’s pretty obvious with the title that John, her first love returned but that didn’t take away from the reading experience at all. Whilst I didn’t cry, I can tell you that this is the kind of read that had all the feels and I enjoyed rolling with the emotions and occasionally closing my kindle for a breather.

This is my first book by Marie Force and I enjoyed her writing style and the story she crafted. There’s another book to this series, but FIVE YEARS GONE is written so that it can stand alone. That said, I think I’m going to have to pick up with the other character soon.

SCYTHE by Neal Schusterman

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. 


Title : Scythe
Author : Neal Schusterman
Series : Arc of a Scythe
Format : ebook
Page Count : 435
Genre : YA Dystopian
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : November 22, 2016

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Get ready to switch your brain on to full engagement if you are reading Scythe because there are levels in this book and if you want to experience it all, you need to jump in on full throttle.

What was unique about this read was the need to engage your emotional intelligence. I can only describe my experience of reading as being in an ‘ethical think’tank’. I felt challenged, doubtful, shocked and pondered a lot over the philosophy and corruption of this dystopian world. I absolutely loved the concept of the ‘thunderhead’ even though it was in the background. There were some great thunderhead twists and I am here for a book two with that same title.

SCYTHE was YA dystopia like I have never read before. It was eerie, engaging, morbid and quite frankly, it was very gory. It felt almost a bit too gory for YA, but I am sensitive to graphic description of violence and death. Two teens, Citra and Rowan, were taken on as apprentice scythes – those that end life in this world without natural death. However, these two caused ripples in the scythedom and that was the premise for the whole book.

“And it occurred to her that being a scythe was like being the living dead. In the world, but apart from it. Just a witness to the comings and goings of others.”

There was amazing character development to read in this book and side characters that engaged me hugely such as Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie. The story line was full and detailed with occasional lulls that soon powered into explosions and fast-pacing.

I didn’t really know where the end of the book would take the reader but the ending blew me away, it was that good. Also, I love a book in a series that ties up some ends without leaving you frustrated, this delivered in that way. I am pretty excited now to where the rest of the series will take me and this being a book club read, I get to pick the details apart and I think that’s pretty perfect.

GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW by Natasha Ngan

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her? 


Title : Girls of Storm and Shadow
Author : Natasha Ngan
Series : Girls of Paper and Fire (book two)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : jimmy patterson
Release Date : November 5, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ / ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

There was a quote I immediately thought of when I finished this book. It comes from Pitch Perfect 3 courtesy of Anna Kendrick who says :

Oh, honey, that was.. we didn’t like that at all.

I’m not as disappointed about this as I might have been had I actually liked book one to begin with. But I did hope the story, or plot, would transition into interesting avenues, or at least properly process trauma and/or grief. And it didn’t. I feel like little to nothing actually even happened in this instalment beyond journey chapters, training sequences, inappropriately timed jokes and banter (some of which felt so modern for such a distinctly historical-ish/fantasy story), and a few reveals that might have been surprising had I not clocked them through some poor attempt at being sneaky with foreshadowing.

I’ll admit I’m also disappointed this is not the duology I thought I would be and that I still have another book to read to finish this series (and I will read it) but that’s more a me problem than anything else. Though arguably it’s all a me problem.

I’m not enamoured by the writing, the plot, the bloated cast of characters and names that I lose track of, and while one of the few things in book one that won me over was the romance, in this one.. I don’t know. I feel the cracks that have begun to show are perfectly natural and expected considering both trauma, events, and losing the blush of one’s first love/exiting the honeymoon stage, but.. I don’t know. I don’t think these characters even like each other anymore? They just lust after each other and call it love. That sounds harsh but considering the genesis of their relationship, it might not too far off base. And also, hey, nothing wrong with lust? Just call it what it is?

Anyway, suffice it to say I’m still waiting to be won over by this series and at this stage I can only hope it ends well. It’s a pretty low bar for me at this point.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 2 star review

I felt that GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE left the reader in a good spot. I started the second book, full of excitement about what was to come and full of hope for more in terms of the relationship between Lei and Wren, as this was something that wasn’t realised for me in book one.

I am sorry to say that GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW was a disappointment and a ball of reading frustration for me, probably exacerbated by the high hopes I had for this second in the series. The story started well with Wren and Lei in exile and hiding. It was a rather slow start but in retrospect I found this slow start preferable to the chaotic pace and storyline that ensued.

One of the things I wanted and expected from this book was to truly feel the relationship and emotional connection between Lei and Wren. I did not get this and their intimacy was faded and jaded for me. I feel awful writing this and it is with no malice, but with this lack of tangibility in their relationship, I slowly retreated from my connection with them as characters.

The story itself was disjointed and kind of repetitive, from lull to battle again and again. I was bored reading it and began to care less. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a very contraversial trope appeared and it sealed the deal for me.

There were some things I liked, the castes, Merrin, Bo and Hiro. I liked the glimpses of Lei’s nemesis and would have liked more of this. I will be back to read the final instalment because at this point, I have invested but it will be a read with trepidation. That said, I really enjoyed book one, so I know there is possiblity of full circle.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

DEADLY LITTLE SCANDALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Think of the White Gloves like the Junior League-by way of Skull and Bones?”

Reluctant debutante Sawyer Taft joined Southern high society for one reason and one reason alone: to identify and locate her biological father. But the answers Sawyer found during her debutante year only left her with more questions and one potentially life-ruining secret. When her cousin Lily ropes her into pledging a mysterious, elite, and all-female secret society called the White Gloves, Sawyer soon discovers that someone in the group’s ranks may have the answers she’s looking for. Things are looking up… until Sawyer and the White Gloves make a disturbing discover near the family’s summer home–and uncover a twisted secret, decades in the making.

No one is quite who they seem to be.


Title : Deadly Little Scandals
Author : Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series : Debutantes
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA contemporary mystery
Publisher : Freeform
Release Date : November 5, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

If I thought the first book in this series was wild, I didn’t know anything. What a wild ride this truly was.

That said, things do veer towards the unreal and unbelievable but honestly it was still a really fun time. And also as long you read book one, and I don’t know why you’d skip it, you’ll be prepared for the kind of unreal and unbelievable things. But definitely not how far things will go or the surprises that are in store.

The hijinks are a little less light hearted and yet the way things resolved, and didn’t, felt.. right. Not too devastating and yet packing the right kind of punch for you to feel the rollercoaster without being too numb from all the wow moments.

Barnes keeps you guessing all the way through, and even leaves reveals almost to the very last chapter, and I think that adds to the fun. The predictable pacing of a typical kind of mystery doesn’t really apply here. Like I said, w i l d.

At this point, I could literally become a porn star, and I still wouldn’t be the real scandal in this family.”

I would definitely recommend this for fans of Pretty Little Liars and, even if that’s not your thing at all, but you still like tightly packed twisty stories with strong characters, you’ll dig this, too. Hah, dig. Sorry. Read the book and you’ll understand.

I have no idea if this is the final book in the series or if there’s more to come — because things did kind of follow a natural conclusion and close the book on all the scandals — but if so.. I will totally read on.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE HOW AND THE WHY by Cynthia Hand

A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.


Title : The How & The Why
Author : Cynthia Hand
Format : ARC
Page Count: 464
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 5, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

This is the second book I’ve finished today and both have made me cry. A lot. Is there a correlation between my tears and loving a book? Maybe. But not necessarily. I’ve definitely still cried for books I’ve hated, so. There’s that.

However. I didn’t hate this book at all. I figured this would be emotional as it was about adoption, family, and also likened to FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway — another story that I’m pretty sure I remember made me cry a lot.

This one is told in two timelines of a sort; via present day Cassandra and the letters being written by her birth mother, eighteen years before, while she was pregnant and waiting to give up her baby for adoption.

There was such a richness to this story, both in the various situations where people were adopted, and also the reasons that lead to them, but also just family in general — both those of your blood and those you choose.

I honestly have so little to say about this book despite loving it so much. I think mostly because I’m still a little stunned by the ending. I was loving this book, solid four, but the final chapter? I mean.. sure, maybe it’s a little bit incredulous, a little bit unlikely, maybe even fantastical, but that.. oh my god, I’m just.. yeah, hello, this gets a bump for that. But honestly, ending aside, this book is so great.

THE HOW & THE WHY packs a lot of punch but I think it also does it in a smart way. There’s romance but it’s not the focus. There’s strong enduring friendships that aren’t without realistic jealousies and natural speedbumps. And I love the focus on the bright, miraculous, even luminous moments in life, even amongst all the sadness or tragedy that we still experience. Sometimes things do work out. Sometimes we overcome our pasts. Sometimes we say the wrong things but are forgiven. Something we make a fool of ourselves but get something good out of it in the end.

Sometimes that’s just the how and the why of life.

Sorry for the cheese.

Read this book.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth. 

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. 

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life. 


Title : The Starless Sea
Author : Erin Morgenstern
Format : ARC
Page Count : 487
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Doubleday Books
Release Date : November 5, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime.

Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we? This won’t be a book for everyone. Just like THE NIGHT CIRCUS worked for you.. or it didn’t. But I can’t get enough of the way this author writes. Which makes it a travesty this is only book two from her. And yet.. if it takes this long to come up with something like this? I’ll happily wait. Again and again and again.

His religion is buried in the silence of freshly fallen snow, in a carefully crafted cocktail, in between the pages of a book somewhere after the beginning but before the ending.

If you enjoy evocative imagery, you’ll love this book. If you enjoy non-linear and/or disjointed narrative storytelling, you’ll love this book. If you enjoy stories within stories within stories (and on and on), you’ll love this book.

Do you want to know the secret to surviving once you’ve gone down the rabbit hole? [..] Be a rabbit.

I don’t know what to say about this one. Truly. It defies explanation and instead should just be experienced. It’s weird and wonderful and will wholly consume you. It’s complicated, it’s fantastic, it’s relevant, fantastical, and even a little bit meta. I have a feeling this is a read that’ll get better with every revisit and it’s already pretty fucking great after only one read.

“Sorry it’s so poetry out.”
So what?
Poetry. The weather. It’s like a poem. Where each word is more than one thing at once and everything’s a metaphor. The meaning condenses into rhythm and sound and the spaces between sentences. It’s all intense and sharp, like the cold and the wind.”
You could just say it’s cold out.
I could.

This is a story I didn’t want to leave while I was in it, and is lingering with me even now, and I’m sure I’ll still be thinking about it tomorrow. And the next day. But the one thing I’ll mention? I’m adding to this review on my “tomorrow” after having read, and reviewed, this yesterday. And the one thing I woke up thinking about was.. as much as I wanted to love the romance, I don’t think it endures. I don’t want to spoil things or get into detail on this one bit where I didn’t detail anything else but as much as I was living for certain elements, in hindsight, they do kind of pale against the rest. So. I’m knocking this down just a little from my original five stars. Maybe I’ll feel different in a reread? I don’t know. That said, it’s the only bit of weakness in an otherwise very strong story.

A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun.

My recommendation? Skip over the summary (which I never did read, ever) and just dive in. Do it now.

** I won an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in a giveaway with no obligation to review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 5, 2019

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN by Talia Hibbert is a story that features heroine who is fat, chronically ill, and trying to spice up her life so she doesn’t die whilst being, gasp, boring. The key to help spice things up? The landlord in her complex; who may or may not be a soft boy but also not without his own sharp edges, too. We have both read and loved this and think you will, too! Check out our full thoughts here.

THE HOW & THE WHY by Cynthia Hand is a story told in dual perspectives alternating between a pregnant teen mother giving her child up for adoption and the child looking to discover where she came from. This story wrecked this reader (I should’ve kept a cry count) but loved the focus on the bright, miraculous, even luminous moments in life, even amongst all the sadness or tragedy that we still experience. Hollis’ review will be up tomorrow.

CALL DOWN THE HAWK by Maggie Stiefvater is out. It’s here! It’s live! Hollis has no idea when her special edition is going to arrive (grr arg) but hopefully said delay will help her super high expectations (spoiler : it probably won’t).

DEADLY LITTLE SCANDALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the sequel (second installment?) to the author’s Debutantes series. These books have been highly enjoyable and if you’ve ever read Barnes, you’ll know why.

Unlike the circus in the author’s first book, THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern did not arrive without warning. Many announcements preceded it. And it is now here, when yesterday it was not. This is the author’s sophomore release eight (!) years after THE NIGHT CIRCUS entered our lives. Hollis’ review will be live later today.

GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW is the second book in this Asian-inspired F/F YA fantasy. Book one finished with a bang so expectations are huge for the second installment — out today. There’s a double review coming for this one too but sadly it was problematic for us both.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN by Talia Hibbert – double review!

Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…


Title : Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Author : Talia Hibbert
Series : The Brown Sisters (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon / Piatkus
Release Date : November 5, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 5 star review

The fact that this book exists makes me a little less angry that the world is a dumpster fire. Which isn’t to say that the world should continue stinking and burning, just that.. maybe this is proof we might one day be okay. Because this book? This b o o k.

She hadn’t always been like this, a tongue with a tip bitten off, her feelings squashed into box. But help and concern, even from the people she loved — even when she needed it — had a way of grating. Of building up, or rather, grinding down. Truthfully, guiltily, sometimes simple gratitude tasted like barely sweetened resentment in her mouth.

Hibbert really went there. She did it. She gave us a book that tackles chronic pain in a way that I, as a reader, don’t think I’ve seen before. Chloe Brown is a force. She hurts, every day, but more than that she’s been hurt by being left. She has walls but wants to.. not remove them but maybe install a door into said perimeter. She wants to open up, live her life; even, maybe, get one. And she wants to stop letting her physical pain get in her way; or at least stop it from being an excuse for not trying. Not recklessly, not at her own expense, but she wants to find her limits and go there. There is so much grace in giving us a character like Chloe. And I loved her so much.

We don’t have moose, Chlo. Or bears.
I’m quite certain that we do.”
We don’t.”
We definitely have bears.”
We don’t. If we had bears it’d be in the news all the time. You know, Fine upstanding British man attacked by a bear, EU to blame, Brexit now.
I’m quite certain I saw that headline on a copy of the Daily Mail the other week.

The author has also offered us a man who has been hurt, and is hurting, and yet doesn’t take that as a license to be an asshole to the world or to our leading lady. It doesn’t mean he’s a pure soft boy of total goodness, because like anyone who hurts they get low, they get scared, they maybe lash out, but he’s so self-aware. He apologizes. He makes amends. He strives to be better, to do better, and is more than just words. And that does, actually, make him as close to total goodness as one can get, I think.

The thing is, Red.. some of us have so many marginalizations, we might drown if we let all the little hurts flood in. So there are those, like me, who filter. I think you’ve noticed I filter a lot.

This book took me so long to read and I think it was because, subconsciously (unconsciously?), I wanted to delay the satisfaction a bit. Savour it. Because lowkey this book was equal parts a hilarious, swoony, delight, and also quietly devastating. Which isn’t to say those quiet moments weren’t also loud but.. the way they were handled was quiet. Carefully. Again, I’ll use the word gracefully. It made those moments pack an unexpected punch without amping up manufactured drama. It made it feel natural and real and all the more potent. And as a result I probably just needed a few more breaks than normal with this particular read but oh man was it worth it.

Throw a tantrum, if you must.
Throw a–? I’m not doing this with you.”
Doing what?
Arguing. I don’t argue with people.”
That sounds dull.”

And speaking of potent. Those swoons? Oh my god. This book was steamy af on multiple occasions but still maintained a slow sexy burn that was so delicious I have no words. None. Just (fire emoji fire emoji fire emoji).

Wait until you see the air mattress.
The what?
Well, you didn’t think I was going to fuck you on the ground, did you? I’m not a complete animal.”

If you’re looking for deletes all previous listings of what this book contains. No. Wait. If you like books, read this one. Full stop.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 4.5 star review

GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN was a read full of quirky goodness and the first contemporary romance I’ve ever encountered that has done justice to a protagonist with a chronic illness and pain issues. For this alone, it deserves all the kudos. BUT, that aside, it’s just a damn good story that swallows you up and doesn’t let go.

Chloe was a realistic heroine, the kind of woman you could identify with, mood swings and all. I’m not going to go into detail of what was wrong with Chloe, you can read that for yourself. However, she was ready to evolve as a person managing an illness, she felt it had ruled all her decisions for too long. Her journey to becoming more herself was such good reading. Chloe was full of snark, quips and a quiet, soft centre; I loved her. Her inner monologues, especially about Red, had me hooting with hilarity.

She was a caterpillar tucked into a universe-endorsed chrysalis. Someday soon, she would emerge as a beautiful butterfly who did cool and fabulous things all the time, regardless of whether or not said things had been previously scheduled.

Red was a man of integrity and goodness, there was nothing to not like. Suffice it to say, I loved him too, his patience, generosity and retorts were all the fun. These two together were fractious chemistry, burning slowly and getting on each other’s nerves.

Like maybe she was just an awkward, sarcastic grump and he should stop losing his temper around her.

The connection between Red and Chloe invited me in early on, from the tree incident (still snorting) to the camping. I enjoyed the time it took, the unravelling of feelings and intimacy and the realism of the effect of emotional baggage on future relationships.

I appreciated the storylines in this book more than I can say. Each element of these felt totally genuine from chronic illness to abuse. They were handled with research and sensitivity and this shows me what talent Talia Hibbert has, not only to include these, but to seamlessly and congruently weave this into a love story. I am an instant fan.

Thank you to Piatkus & Little Brown for the review copy.

NEVER GOT OVER YOU by Whitney G

Nine and a half years ago, you married a man who wasn’t me. He wasn’t even half of me…

Nine and a half hours ago, you walked through the doors of my billion-dollar boardroom for a job interview.

Although every person at the table fell for your charm and applauded, I didn’t dare. I couldn’t help but notice your bare ring finger. Couldn’t help but notice that you were even sexier now than you were on the night we first met.

I honestly didn’t want to hire you, but I had no choice. (I was outvoted 16-1, but trust me, you got this job by default.)

When you signed the papers and we shook hands, I didn’t bring up the fact that you didn’t “wait for me” like you promised to years ago, or that you just moved on with your life like what we had meant nothing. Instead, I insisted that we keep things one-hundred percent professional.

So, for the record: I’ve long forgotten about you and all the times we shared. (This includes the way your body feels under mine, the way your laughter used to make me smile, and the way you used to breathlessly say my name for hours at a time.)

I’m definitely not in denial, this is all one hundred percent true. You’ll never hear me say that you still have an effect on me, that you’re still the best I’ve ever had, or worse, that I never got over you…


Title : Never Got Over You
Author : Whitney G
Format : eARC
Page Count : 295
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : October 24, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I know what I’m getting into when I read a Whitney G book and the reality is I get a steamy story with an arrogant hero and usually a strong woman. I am content in this knowledge and it usually suits my mood when I’ve chosen to read.

NEVER GOT OVER YOU was a second chance romance (a trope I love) with hurt brimming over in both directions. Told mostly in the present and occasionally with a flashback, the story of Kate and James/Sean was slightly different to my expectations in some ways. James was a loyal type in his younger self and actually this did come through in the present. He was less asshole-ish than some of Whitney G’s heroes and I appreciated this.

Kate was a likeable if a somewhat chaotic character. She was multi-talented in a way you might have to suspend a wee bit of reality and I felt her backstory had some gaps which I just wanted a bit more detail of. I did enjoy her tenacity but I hated her parents and didn’t understand that part of the story either.

Kate and James together were fun to read and the steam was reliable and provided good in-the-moment narrative. The emotional connection needed a little more depth for me to truly buy into them as a couple past and present. As well as a couple, they were boss and employee, I found the emails completely unrealistic in their lack of professionalism, this could have been conveyed more convincingly.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it was easy to read with a little rushing towards completion. It is a great choice for a day’s read, a weekend or vacation.

Many thanks to the author for the early review copy.


BE YOUR ANYTHING by Jillian Liota

Lennon Day is a problem

She was supposed to be a one-time diversion, a friend that temporarily soothed the desires raging under the surface. Now we can’t keep our hands to ourselves, playing a game that we’re both going to lose.

I thought I liked my life how it was. I wasn’t expecting for anything to change, for my priorities to ebb and flow like a wave. And now I’m worried everything is going to crash down around me.

And that she might be the one who gets lost in the storm.

Lucas Pearson is a problem

He’s handsome, charming, my childhood crush… and unfortunately, not completely available. When I moved back to Hermosa Beach to work for my family’s foundation, I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. But it did.

Now, we collide like magnets, finding each other in the night to satisfy the urges we can’t seem to escape. It’s supposed to be casual. No strings. Emotion-free. And definitely a secret. So what’s the problem?

I’ll be anything for him… even if I lose myself in the process.

Welcome to Hermosa Beach

***Note: This is the second book in the Hermosa Beach Series. It contains significant spoilers, and should be read after ‘Promise Me Nothing’. 


Title : Be Your Anything
Author : Jillian Liota
Series : Hermosa Beach #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 295
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : October 15, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

It was a nice feeling to be back in Hermosa Beach for more of this cast of characters. They had the OC feeling, a young entitled crew that had some down to earth-ness about them.

This was a story of a purposeful love triangle (of sorts), where a couple had been in a long term relationship but an open one and were engaging in relationships with other partners; all parties were aware. BE YOUR ANYTHING focused on Lucas (the boyfriend) and Lennon (his girl on the side). It was definitely an unusual story from that perspective and I think a tricky one for readers to feel emotionally invested in for the above reasons.

I had problems connecting to both Lucas and Lennon. Lucas, because of the arrogance of the situation on the one hand. I must say, I would feel the same towards Remmy his girlfriend, she was no better, but in the background of this story. With Lennon I struggled with her passivity and willingness to be a bit of a doormat.

There was a good story in here, winding sometimes but it navigated the whole Hermosa Beach guys, catching up with Hannah and Wyatt which was definitely welcome. There was plenty more heat in this book and whilst I welcome that, I think because I didn’t feel that connected to Lennon and Lucas, I didn’t always feel in the moment reading these sections.

The story came together well and I was glad to get some of the drama behind me. I remain invested in the series as a whole even if this wasn’t my favourite.

Thank you to the author for providing the review copy.