CLOSER by Kylie Scott

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott comes a new story in her Stage Dive series…

When a stalker gets too close to plus-size model Mae Cooper, it’s time to hire some muscle.

Enter former military man turned executive protection officer Ziggy Thayer. Having spent years guarding billionaires, royalty, and rock n roll greats, he’s seen it all. From lavish parties through to every kind of excess.

There’s no reason some Instagram stylista should throw him off his game. Even if she does have the most dangerous curves he’s ever seen…

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**


Title : Closer
Author : Kylie Scott
Series : Stage Dive #4.6
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Evil Eye Concepts
Release Date : September 24, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


I had a bad day one friday before release of this book and needed an easy, complete story to drift into and away with. CLOSER took me from my life and wrapped me up in the engaging story of Mae and Ziggy. Following on from Strong, the precursor novella from 1001 Dark Nights, it has a bodyguard context with plenty of Stage Dive characters for good measure.

Mae was a model with a nasty package waiting for her when she returned from an assignment. Ziggy was the stoney-faced, gorgeously suit-clad close protection officer ‘bodyguard’ assigned to her. He was all ‘Miss Cooper’ and never cracked a smile. I really don’t want to say more than this about the actual story as this is a novella you can read in an hour and half, so you want all the good bits without any spoilers.

Bonus elements to this novella included a dash of this and a dash of that. There was chemistry for days with lots of uncertainty. There was slight suspense element and in the length of a novella there was slow burn, but not necessarily in days. Scott manages to avoid insta-love very well.

This is a novella on the shorter side yet it feels to be a complete story with detail and satisfaction as a reader. There is definite skill pulling this length of book off and Kylie Scott did. I will definitely re-read this when I need a quick, easy and satisfying romance.

Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for the review copy.

LOVE HACKED by Penny Reid – reread 🎧

There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 
1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra–near desperation and maybe a little tipsy–gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the third book in the Knitting in the City series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone.


Title : Love Hacked
Author : Penny Reid
Narrator : Devra Woodward
Series : Knitting in the City #3
Format : Audiobook
Length : 13 hr 56 min
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Audible Audio
Release Date : March 2, 2014

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


This was a most intriguing story from Penny Reid; it’s full of mystery and fun. Alex is the most curious hero, a waiter who is clearly something more but that’s the big mystery. What or who is Alex? I’ve liked Sandra from the knitting crew but not really had the measure of her character properly until now. Sandra was a smart, witty lady, often found being sarcastic or self deprecating. I really liked her. Her lack of love life was hilarious and she was the woman who made men weep then get therapy.

The direction of this storyline was unexpected, unusual and had me reaching for the Internet to do some research. That’s not to say that background isn’t explained adequately, I just found myself curious as to the reality of the story context and it’s grounded in fact. Penny Reid bring her signature wit and intelligence to this series but I found this book a little hotter than previous books in the series. this was a slow burn connection with all the heat boiling to a frenzy; such a delight to listen to.

I drank in the connection between Alex and Sandra. I swallowed my frustration with Alex at times. I revelled in what could be. Most of all, I sat back and enjoyed almost every minute of this book.

This was a re-read by audio and second time round, it was a dream. The audio was a single pov, single narration audio and Devra Woodward did a fantastic job in general but also with male dialogue. She captured the snark and humour so well and brought these characters alive.

You can totally just listen to this as a standalone but to appreciate the full knitting crew, start at the beginning with Janie.

THE BEST THING by Mariana Zapata

Some things are easily forgiven. Other things… not so much.

Lenny DeMaio made herself a promise: she was done.
Done thinking about him.
Done worrying about him.
Done reaching out to a man who clearly didn’t want to be found.

Too bad no one gave Jonah Collins the memo.


Title : The Best Thing
Author : Mariana Zapata
Format : ebook (KU)
Page Count : 493
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : August 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

I devoured this book in the best way I know how, on holiday, with my full and undivided attention, just what any Zapata book deserves. THE BEST THING gave me all the things I love from my favourite Zapatas – family and friends, the slow burn build and all of the stomach-crunching feelings. What was special about this book was that it went a direction that Mariana hasn’t gone before and it worked so darn well.

This story has a split sport context of MMA and rubgy…hello…this is fine by me. What a picture was painted, I loved the home of Maio House. This book delivered on some of the best characters I’ve read from a MZ book, Lenny (Elena), Jonah, Grandpa Gus, Mo (special squidge to the stomach here) and Peter. Each of these characters had my heart and all equally, I cannot favour one over the other.

Lenny was a woman let down, let down in the biggest way. Each chapter start gave a very brief past context to the ways in which Lenny had been let down and the more that the book progressed, the more those chapters starts kicked me in the gut. Jonah was the guy, THE GUY and it’s amazing how my heart, mind and affections moved towards understanding him. This big, bumbling, shy and gorgeous creature was swoon-heaven but guess what, Lenny was a champion MMA fighter, she could totally kick his ass with a foot swipe and her mouth.

There was nothing he could do that I couldn’t fight. There was nothing he could say that would possibly hurt me. I had prepared for this.

What was it that he wanted to explain? Why had he disappeared? Why hadn’t he called me back? What hadn’t he wanted to be part of…my life? Why he’d decided to come back now?

The unexpected element of this book was thrilling to me and this aspect was written so well, my heart was warm and cozy, wrapped up in the family-ness of this book. Sorry for the vagueness but it is necessary.

This second chance story with a deep connection at the heart, was fantastic. It was written with a style that just seemed to appeal to my mind and heart. I saved the last 6% for my flight home and what an idiot I am because that epilogue had my eyes sweating on take off. That said, that epilogue was just right for me.

Go read, go love, go savour.

THE YEAR I LEFT by Christine Brae

Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind. 

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself. 

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back. 


Title : The Year I Left
Author : Christine Brae
Format : eARC
Page Count : 284
Genre : Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Vesuvian Books
Release Date : August 20, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★.5


Micky’s 1.5 star review

I found the synopsis for THE YEAR I LEFT appealing. I like books with married couples, mid life troubles and the worries and stresses that evolve in a relationship; it’s real. That said, this book was way out of what I thought when I read that blurb and I’m going to try to pinpoint why it didn’t work for me. There might be some mild spoilers.

The protagonist, Carin is a workaholic, driven and hugely successful business person with a husband and son. They’re financially loaded as a family and pretty materialistic. Carin was unlikeable from the off despite her circumstances and her grief. I could see her mental health problem immediately but that didn’t mitigate who she was and how she behaved. I’m sorry to say that I disliked her from start to finish and therefore, I didn’t really connect with her.

I did however, understand her feelings about Jack, her husband but I could not reconcile her parenting or connection with her son, Charlie. As for Matias, again I made no connection with him as a character or them as an evolving work colleague, friendship and more. To me, this was a story about unrelatable selfish people. The storyline took a ridiculous turn that sealed my difficulty with this book.

Added to these difficulties, the narrative was largely in the first person which I don’t normally mind. However, in this book it was written as a letter to Matias and I found it awkward to read and it continually took me out of the story. You find out later why this is, but it doesn’t help with processing the story for the rest of the book.

Whilst this book wasn’t for me, I do think some people will find the format and story appealing as it has emotional and angsty content. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the early review copy.

THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup.

The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:
– Nude pics are by invitation only
– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice
– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Title : The Right Swipe
Author : Alisha Rai
Series : Modern Love (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : HarperCollins/Avon
Release Date : August 6, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ .5 /


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

So I didn’t love this, which is obvious, and there’s a bunch of reasons for that but it’s mostly because I didn’t like the characters. Specifically, Rhiannon.

The plot opens up with our heroine fixated on the fact that she wants to buy up this eHarmony-esque dating site, one of the OG sites of its type, to expand her own app-based dating service. We see her drive, we see her reminisce about the one that got away, and who happens to be the new face of her competition’s marketing campaign? The one who got away. The one she almost threw her rules out the window for. And boy does she have a lot of rules.

The girl is.. rigid. Uncompromising. Unforgiving. Hard to forking love and, as a reader, hard to endure. I don’t want to be dismissive of the heroine’s very real trauma and trust issues but holy forking shit did she also make this a brutal read. She’s something of a shark when it comes to business, she’s successful, all that, all of which are positive things that loads of women get flak for, so it’s unfortunate I found this kind of character so frustrating, but she’s also problematic. She skirts very very close (and sometimes crosses the line) into outright manipulation of the hero — as well as relying on an emotional debt she feels she’s owed (and maybe sorta is but not in this particular context) — and it felt gross. She constantly doubted him, (falsely) accused him of this that or the other thing, was totally hypocritical.. and it was just hard. I am exhausted from it.

She’s not the only drawback THE RIGHT SWIPE, though. The hero, for all his goodness, didn’t do much for me. There’s a whole secondary plot line surrounding brain injuries and concussions (which makes for the second or third time I’m reading of this particular issue in sports-ish romances — not a complaint, just an observation) and a whole lot of baggage that Samson is carrying around but, back to my point, it didn’t do much for me. Which is rather how I feel about the story itself.

What didn’t frustrate or exhaust me just.. did nothing.

There were a few side characters that lightened some of the load of the plodding, and that helped a bit, but not enough. Infact, a certain eccentric aunt did the opposite of what I think she was supposed to do — which was charm the reader. Even she annoyed me. Or, maybe more to the point, I didn’t care and so, again, I was unmoved.

The writing made for an easy read but the plot, the people, the point? Nope. I have yet to determine if I’ll read on in this series. I think it hugely depends on which side character will get the spotlight and I’ll definitely have to pay closer attention to the plot. It’ll have to really draw me in for me to push on in this spinoff. I’ve loved Rai’s books in the past, in particular her Forbidden Hearts series had so much greatness, but this one just totally missed the mark for me.

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


Micky’s 3 star review

THE RIGHT SWIPE has a synopsis that bites, a cover that entices and an inside that lacked something in execution for me. A dating app mogul is how I would describe Rhi (Rhiannon). She’s all hard lines, walls up to the sky and even a little harsh with those that she loves, her family and friend. Her life’s ambition was work, work over family, work over her friend and work over down time. I found her so very hard to like and that was my biggest struggle with this book.

Samson Lima, ex-NFL player and minor shareholder in his Aunt’s rival app to Rhi’s Crush app was everything opposite. He was kind, patient and a large gentle soul. I really liked Samson’s character and in particular, his background family story which was rich and detailed. I get that these two were opposites but I remained forever uncertain that Rhi deserved Samson’s affection and more.

This isn’t about not tolerating a women in the mogul position, a reversal on that trope found in so many romance books, it is about how Rhi was written right to the end, she was so harsh. For me, it was also about Rhi and Samson’s lack of ‘more’ until the final pages. I felt all we got was friends with benefits and I was ready to move beyond that from halfway through the book.

What I did enjoy was the general storyline focus of the battle for the matchmaker app and also the background story of concussion in football players. There was some weak resolution for both, however. The harrassment in the workplace storyline was the strongest and it gave me all the feels. All that said, it was a relatable and contemporary storyline for the age group of the main characters.

THE RIGHT SWIPE was an okay read but it didn’t grab me in the way that previous Alisha Rai books have. I am interested to see character beyond Rhiannon in this series, particularly her friend Kirsten.

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the review copy.