February Book Reviews

February 6, 2019

 

It's February book reviews time! And our #PHSBookReviews team has another great collection of reads to get us in the mood for Valentine's Day.

 

Would you like your book reviewed by one of our team? Are you an avid romance reader who would be interested in becoming a PHS Reviewer? If so, then we would LOVE to hear from you! Just send us a message via our book reviews page and we will get back to you ASAP.

 

 

The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

 

Bath, December 1812. With her wedding just weeks away, Lady Helen Wrexhall is staying with friends while preparations are finalised. But Helen's focus is far from her forthcoming nuptials. Time is running out to find the Bath Deceiver, who holds vital information that the Dark Days Club will need if they are to stand any chance of defeating their unknown foe, the Grand Deceiver.

 

Helen knows that much of this essential information is also locked away in her own mind from when she absorbed the power of the Ligatus. She and her mentor, Lord Carlston, form the two halves of the Grand Reclaimer, and they must find a way to retrieve the information in time so that they can use their bond to fight the Grand Deceiver. Yet the very power and knowledge that Helen possesses is creating a rift in her mind and threatening to destroy her.

 

As Helen tries desperately to juggle the demands of her double life and resist her feelings for Carlston, an old enemy arrives in Bath bringing death and destruction. The final confrontation between the Grand Deceiver and the Grand Reclaimer is set in motion, and Lady Helen's story races towards a shocking conclusion full of passion, betrayal and heartbreak.


Rated: 5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Imogene

 

Colin Firth arrived dripping lake water into the romantic fantasies of people across the world, quite possibly causing more than one sexual awakening. Just imagine Darcy with Mr Rochester’s hidden and mysterious past, add a hint of Heathcliff and the rumour of a murdered wife, and you have the delicious, delightful and devilishly dangerous Lord Carlston. Or as I prefer to think of him, Bae-ston.

 

While most unmarried regency ladies are worried about landing a suitable husband, this third and final book in this historical paranormal romance series has Lady Helen more worried about demonic, soul sucking succubus-like creatures as well as planning her wedding. All under the care of Lord C. Who is NOT her fiancé. Helen has landed the marital coup of the season. A handsome, wealthy Duke who is not only a close friend of her brother’s, but also supportive of her world saving activities with the Dark Days Club. At least until their wedding! How can a Duchess also be a demon hunter, who spends all her time training and hunting with another man? Especially one who she harbours feelings for!

 

There were at least three moments in the book that made people laugh at my traumatised reactions, and more than a few that had my crying happy tears. Goodman’s research and grasp of character nuance are impeccable. Even the minor characters such as Darby, Helen’s maid, are given depth. Her characters remain true to themselves and their honour. After three books, we finally get a happy ever after.

 

Plus, in case we did not believe that Goodman knows her readers? Lord C somehow manages to get himself into a watery situation, leading Helen to remark to herself, “Lud, the linen was almost transparent”

 

5 Buffy meets Lizzie Bennett moments out of 5.

 

 

See the Light by Kate McMurray

 

Kate McMurray brings friends-to-lovers to the Great White Way Up-and-coming Broadway actor Jeremy was given two days to get up and get out. Dumped by his long-term boyfriend and suddenly homeless, he needs a sofa and a sympathetic ear, stat. Enter Max, aspiring makeup artist and Jeremy’s BFF and former roommate. Max has been in love with his best friend forever. Now that Jeremy is back in his home, his old feelings are back, too. He’s happy to help his friend, but this time…it’s complicated.

 

When Jeremy gets his big break in a new show, the message of the play hits home. “Live life to the fullest” means recognizing how he really feels about Max, and that’s not complicated at all. Jeremy’s in love, and wants to move full steam ahead.

 

But Max has waited too long for Jeremy to look at him this way, and he doesn’t want to risk his heart. If this is just a rebound fling, or if Jeremy is only interested in Max because he’s convenient, it will not only shatter him—it will ruin the best friendship he’s ever known.


Rated: 5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Mercy

 

Max and Jeremy have been best friends since they were kids. They have shared many things over the years including crushes, college dorms, apartments, and a deep love of theater. They’ve also shared feelings beyond friendship for one another. The timing has never been quite right. Now Jeremy is recently single and in need of a friendly couch to crash on and a shoulder to lean on. Could this finally be their time?

 

This book stole my heart instantly. It was perfectly paced, not a slow burn and not hot and heavy, just superbly measured. From the opening paragraph the relationship between Max and Jeremy felt real and honest. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt disengaged from this beautiful, sometimes achingly so, story. The dialogue was fresh and natural. The love scenes were perfectly orchestrated too. This novel touches on some important and relevant societal issues as well as a ton of interesting theater details. I thoroughly enjoyed the peppering of drag culture throughout as well.

 

Kate McMurray did a stellar job of giving life to characters that deserve a happy ending. Max and Jeremy are funny, relatable, believable, and frankly loveable. If you are looking for a truly sincere and heart-warming love story, then this is it!

 

Un Marriageable by Soniah Kamal

 

A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan...

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl can go from pauper to princess or princess to pauper in the mere seconds it takes for her to accept a proposal. But Alys Binat is resolute she will not marry.

 

This warm and witty tug-of-love between mothers, daughters and rich, eligible bachelors is a fresh take on Jane Austen’s original.


Rated: 5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Imogene

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice beginning with an #ownvoices Pakistani Muslim school teacher named Alys, is guaranteed to give you the feels. Mrs Bennet…sorry Binet, cursing the cost of keeping five daughters in sanitary napkins, or bemoaning the fact that a pair of “fine eyes” won’t get you far in today’s Pakistani elite was more than I knew that I needed. Quitty Binet becoming a body positive role model, or Annie dey Bagh seeking out books on women overcoming sickness and disability were enough. Darcee’s cousin, this story's version of Colonel Fitzwilliam even has a lovely boyfriend, and hello, Alys and her favourite sister Jena are in their THIRTIES!

 

Luckily one of Alys’ former students is having THE society wedding of the year, aka, an opportunity for Mrs Binet to get at least a few of her daughters married off. I’m a little worried about 15 year old Lady running loose at the celebrations however…

 

More than just a variation that swaps evening gowns for saris, and scones for samosas, Kamal manages to capture the heart of Austen’s witty, insightful, amused view of the foibles of a world that only thinks about “marrying well and eating well”. She also manages to capture the heart of a culture still figuring out who it is after the heavy colonial influences, inter-religious strife, and Partition.

 

Of course, we don’t just read Austen for her insightful social discourse, we want the ROMANCE! Give me my Lizzie and Darcy! Granted, written within a Muslim setting, the sexiness is just as much between the lines as the original Austen. Wickaam is temptation incarnate, “Bungles” Bingla has never been more charming than when confessing to Jena his failure to know his own heart under persuasion, and Darsee?

 

THE MAN GIVES BOOKS AS COURTING GIFTS!

 

5 Pink Hearts. I repeat…FIVE.

 

 

Heart and Hand by Rebel Carter

 

Anyone who was absolutely anyone knew the story of how Julie Anne Baptiste’s parents met: the blue-blood Union cavalry officer and the freedwoman on her way North fell madly in love at first sight, all in the midst of the Civil War. It was legendary within New York City's Four Hundred, and from girlhood, Julie daydreamed of her finding own true love match. But now, as a well-seasoned debutante of twenty-one years, Julie only dreams of teaching and much prefers the vibrant world of her books over the company of society’s most eligible bachelors.

 

Julie is content to perform the role of affluent debutante until she realizes all of her tomorrows have horrifyingly become occupied by a gamut of social engagements, and they will remain so until she marries. Desperate and knowing only a wedding will put a stop to the madness of living as a debutante, Julie does the unthinkable: she responds to a mail order advert in the Heart and Hand Matrimonial Times. No longer a girl fantasizing of love, Julie did not anticipate forming a genuine romantic connection with the man she corresponds with, but when ex-Union soldier Forrest Wickes writes her, Julie loses her heart.

 

All seems well with Julie’s plan to leave the city and marry, until the society pages intercept one of her letters and within the hour all of New York knows of Julie’s decision to become a mail-order bride. However, the New York City society pages don’t know they only reported half the truth about Julie Baptiste. The debutante intends to marry not only Forrest Wickes but also his best friend, William Barnes. Her secret of taking two husbands safe, Julie sets out for the Montana Territory before the papers can learn the truth. But how will a debutante-turned-teacher manage frontier life with two husbands?


Rated: 5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Ali

 

This is the polyamorous, diverse historical frontier romance, with a black debutante mail-order bride, that I didn't know I needed. Julie leaves the bright lights of New York City to answer a very unique advertisement for a bride in the newspaper. Needed? A bride who is prepared to become the teacher in their frontier town, and also to marry not one, but two husbands!


Julie's two husbands—Forrest and William—are best friends and as different as different can be.  But they're both very sweet, and they're both clearly head over heels for the woman that they've been exchanging letters with for the past year. Of course, a relationship with one person is difficult enough, let alone two, and it's wonderful to see all three of them navigate the nuances of their life together.

 

One of the things I most loved about this book, was the setting. The town that Julie moves to is full of people who are open-hearted; the wedding between all three of them is one that the entire town are invited to and the cheer and celebrations are both real and amusing. I think it's incredibly telling, particularly when considering some of the debate surrounding "realism" and historical romance, that this is one of the most realistic historical romances that I've read in a long time. It doesn't ignore race or prejudice, but it models an HEA that made me cry.  

 

We need more romances like this, and I cannot wait for Julie's brother's book—which I hope will be very soon!

 

 

How to Seduce a Bad Boy by Traci Douglass

 

Melody Bryant has heard it all before. Sure, she's the epitome of the stereotype for a librarian. Loves order. Loves rules and deadlines. Loves books. But what she doesn't love is still being a virgin at twenty-four. Unfortunately, the only guy she's ever been interested in turned her down flat. And then left town. Eight. Years. Ago. Ugh.

 

Now her birthday is fast approaching and she just can't take it any longer. She's finding a guy before her birthday in five weeks or she's adopting two more cats and fully embracing becoming "the crazy cat lady."

 

But when her latest date ends in epic failure—everyone thinks of her as the "proper librarian," she realizes what she needs is to ruin her reputation. And she knows the perfect guy to help her: the baddest bad boy in town. This Army vet won't know what hit him...


Rated: 5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Megan

 

How to Seduce a Bad Boy is a light, quick read with a very well known story line, and whilst the plot is nothing new, the characters make the book well worth reading. Melody and Adam are great on their own but together you can't help but cheer them on, especially when we see how perfect they are together. In between Melody’s makeover shopping, flirting lessons, and everyday life you're sure to find yourself laughing. Adam's serious nature, loyalty to his best friend, and love for Melody and his friends make you want to hug him.

 

Melody is quirky, quick witted, and tired of being boring. She wants to lose her virginity before she turns 25 and she thinks her long time crush is the perfect guy to help her—as long as she can convince him of course! As she stops him in the night, you can feel her desperate yet entertaining plan come to life. Especially as Adam keeps saying no because he’s her best friend’s brother… But when he realises that she’ll do this with him or without him, he says yes so that some other guy doesn't just take advantage of her. So, naturally it's all the more fun to watch their spark and love unfold.

 

Melody's best friend and her brother have enough appearances and history together that you're also secretly cheering them on which leaves Douglas open to write a follow up with them that would be equally enjoyable I'm sure!

 

How to Seduce a Bad Boy is definitely worth a read and will be sure to leave you with a smile. 

 

 

An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole

 

An assassination plot that could end the Civil War, and a hidden enemy that could destroy a secret league of unsung heroes …Daniel Cumberland, born free in Massachusetts, studied law with dreams of helping his people—dreams that died the night he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Daniel is rescued, but he’s a changed man. When he’s offered entry into the Loyal League, the covert organization of Black spies who helped free him, he seizes the opportunity for vengeance against the Confederacy and those who support it.

 

When the Union Army occupies the Florida home of Cuban Janeta Sanchez, daughter of an enslaved woman and the plantation owner who married her, her family’s wealth does not protect her father from being imprisoned. Under duress and blaming herself for the arrest, Janeta agrees to infiltrate a group called the Loyal League as a double agent—and finds a cause truly worth the sacrifice.

 

Daniel is aggravated by the headstrong and much too observant new detective he’s paired with, and Janeta is intrigued by the broken but honorable man she is tasked with betraying. As they embark on a mission to intercept Jefferson Davis and thwart European meddling, their dual hidden agendas are threatened by the ghosts of their pasts and a growing affection that could strengthen both the Union and their souls—or lead to their downfall.


Rated: 4.5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Frankie

 

I am ashamed to say it, but this is the first book that I’ve read by Ms Cole. Gasps in horror! Have I been living under a rock? Anyhow, this is book three in the Loyal League series and, I can happily say, this can easily be read as a stand-a-lone.

 

After being kidnapped and sold into slavery, Daniel is full of anger—not just at himself, but at those who have treated him so maliciously. He has lost the one woman he loved and when he is rescued he is determined to do whatever he can, not only to fight against those who wronged him, but against the whole confederacy and with it his hopes of proving himself to his love; Elle. Which is why he joins the League…but then he meets Janita who is facing her own personal trials. I really don’t wish to say too much, as it has so much going on and some wonderfully poignant moments between them.

 

With its multi-layered plot, which features everything from slavery, spies, resistance and a heartwarming -romance romance, it has the makings of brilliant fast action film. It is thrilling, engaging and beautifully written. This isn’t the easiest book to read, the subject matter being one that I’d love to see more of in romance. After all this is history, it happened, and we should learn from the past to create a better future. Which is why stories such as this are so important and need to be read, especially when they give us such a satisfying HEA.

 

You get a real sense that the author has put her heart and soul into this story; overall a hard-hitting, powerful story that will stay with the reader long after the last page.

 

 

Ordinary is Perfect by D. Jackson Leigh

 

Army veteran Catherine Daye long ago accepted her passable looks, mediocre talent, and average intelligence. In fact, she bought a rundown farm on seventy acres to retreat from the world and live out her simple, ordinary life.

 

Atlanta marketing superstar Autumn Swan’s world is anything but simple. Constantly plugged in to what’s trending on social media, it’s her job to keep her clients ahead of the competition. When her favorite cousin dies suddenly, she finds herself the owner of a modest country home, guardian to a sullen, tomboyish ten-year-old, and neighbor to an intriguing woman who isn’t as ordinary as she appears.


Rated: 4.5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Ali

 

I love a forced proximity romance, and I’m also a sucker for a romance where the two love interests have to co-parent a child that they’ve been left as guardians for, and Leigh’s Ordinary is Perfect delivers both in spades. There’s something incredibly charming about this small town romance, which features a vet with PTSD and a workaholic marketing guru as a fish out of water in the quiet town.

 

But it’s the details of this novel that makes it shine. The slowburn romance between our two couldn’t-be-more-different heroines. The orphaned Gabe who Cat adores and whom Autumn comes to love. And of course Elvis the dog.

 

I was particularly impressed with the sensitivity with which Cat’s PTSD was dealt with, and the complications some of her medication threw up between her and Autumn. And I really enjoyed seeing a workaholic character who wasn’t demonised for putting in all of those hours and clearly stating that their business was important to them.

 

Sweet and charming, with a very satisfying HEA.

 

 

Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

 

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

 

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

 

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.


Rated: 4.5 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Imogene

 

In a world in which the blessed few are gifted with strange and wondrous powers, it’s no wonder that marriages amongst the wealthy and powerful are arranged with genetics and the inheritance of possible powers in mind. Social and political power belongs to the Houses, practically magical corporations. Minor powers can often go unnoticed, but the few, the very few ultimate powers known as Primes are more interesting than the royal families. So when the brutally powerful Prime Connor “Mad” Rogan marries the completely unknown Nevada Baylor, newly minted head of House Baylor and Prime, it's big.

 

Bigger than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

 

Of course, this being an Ilona Andrews novella, shenanigans are definitely going to occur. If the wedding planner up and quits right before the big day no worries, little sister Catalina Baylor will step in. If Rogan’s family—who had expected to inherit everything—are suddenly freaking out about the upcoming wedding, Catalina’s got it. If the family tiara, worn by every Rogan bride, goes missing... Yep, you’ve got it, Catalina’s your girl.

 

It’s an almost-cozy mystery about a young woman who just wants to save her big sister’s wedding. So what if she’s still coping with the aftermath of the revelation of her own Prime Siren power? So what if she can cause such intense feelings of love and adoration in anyone around her that she can cause riots, or even find herself in genuine danger? So what if she was forced to use her power on the one man who she wants to want her for herself…?

 

A tasty tease for the next Hidden Legacy book. This ship is ready to sail, and it’s time to get on board.

 

4.5 stolen tiaras out of 5

 

 

​​Prince of Air and Darkness by M. A. Grant

 

Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control.

 

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

 

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

 

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

 

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.

 

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

 

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.


Rated: 4 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Gwessie

 

I was definitely captured and drawn in to this book, feeling like I was there witnessing everything as the story unfolded. The flawed heroes of our story were both unique and made a perfect team. I loved reading about them learning to work together, despite the fears they have, the fights they have together and with each other. I loved their coming together, as always love conquered all.

 

I love reading about how two people from completely different backgrounds, both beautiful in their own right, can come together in love and work together to conquer any evils faced. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy journey for them; their love is very hard won and they face hardship both alone and together. But l honestly, feel that harder won love is the best kind, most true and longer lasting, as shown in this fantastic story.

 

My one critique is that I felt as if the prologue was not needed, as what happened during it was referred to and mentioned several times throughout the rest of the narrative, certainly enough to grasp what had happened previously. I feel that it would have been more beneficial to have an epilogue, especially if leading into another book.

 

It’s the first book that I've read by this author, but it will certainly not be the last.

 

 

 Flare Up by Shannon Stacey

 

Nursing a broken heart while everybody around him seems to be drowning in happiness has Grant Cutter wondering whether staying with Engine 59—or even Boston Fire—is in his future. It’s tempting as hell to pack up what fits in his Jeep and hit the road. But then a 9-1-1 call brings the woman who shattered his heart back into his life, and he knows he won’t ever be able to fully leave her in his rear-view mirror.

 

For a few months, Wren Everett had thought the nightmare of her past was behind her and she might live happily ever after with Grant. Until she got the phone call letting her know the time her ex had spent in jail for assault hadn’t cooled his temper or determination that she belonged with him. Cutting ties with Grant was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but it was also the only way to keep him safe.

 

Now that Grant is back, he’s not letting Wren push him away again. And even with the trust issues between them, Wren dares to hope she and Grant might have a future together after all…if they’re willing to fight for it.


Rated: 4 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Tamara

 

Wren left Grant, no explanation, no nothing...he is wracked with hurt and she is hiding…Until the moment when there’s a fire in her place and he’s one of the firemen who comes to her rescue. He is full of questions and eventually, she explains everything and, one would say that is it for this book...case closed, what else can happen?

 

Nothing much happens, but...  Grant is who got me thinking and changed my rating from 3 to 4 Pink Hearts, this book is not about action and sizzling romance, it is about trust. Trust takes time and lot of questions and soul searching. He believes her, loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her... But he has trust issues and that is—in my opinion—what this book is about. It`s slow reading, no tears, no drama, just simple life questions; things that are important for when you give your heart and soul to another person, when you know everything in life is okay just with simple look or touch. For Wren, Grant is everything she never had and Wren is everything Grant ever wanted.

 

I realized that this book is part of series, so I will be checking out the first 5 books, as the interactions between the other characters are interesting and their banter was really fun.

 

 

Crashing Into Her by Mia Sosa

 

Relationships are a thing of the past for Eva Montgomery. Her current motto? You can’t spell “manipulative” without man. But Eva has needs, and a one-night-stand at her best friend’s wedding is the perfect way to kick off her new approach to singledom. Then a job opportunity puts her in the same city with the guy she can’t forget…

 

Anthony Castillo is a perpetual bachelor—no strings, just flings—a status he maintains by being honest about his intentions and never looking back. So why is he still thinking about the firecracker of a woman who rocked his world at his cousin’s wedding? It’s a question he refuses to answer, until she comes crashing back into his life, taking his emotional walls down with her.

 

When her father doubts her ability to make it in LA, Eva vows to go big and prove him wrong. With her athletic background, she’s an ideal candidate for stunt work. But first she’ll need training, and the instructor is none other than her former hookup, Anthony Castillo. Except he’s not as cocky as she remembers and he’s definitely still sexy as sin. The only problem is…Anthony doesn’t want her anywhere near his stunt school—or his heart.


Rated: 4 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Ali

 

The third book in Mia Sosa’s Love on Cue series, Crashing Into Her takes two characters who seem to be at completely different stages on their journey to love, and shows us what happens when irrefutable attraction gets in the way of the characters’ plans.

 

I think what really makes this book shine, are our two main characters, Eva and Anthony. Told in alternating first person perspective, there’s something incredibly satisfying about the fact that we can see them fall for each other whilst remaining completely oblivious. And then there’s the internal battle, the fight against falling in love, which makes it all the more delicious when they finally give in to their feelings.

 

Also, the emotional depth that’s explored through both Eva and Anthony’s relationships with their parents – and in particular their fathers – shows us how a romance doesn’t have to be choke full of tropes in order to be deliciously satisfying. Sosa crafts a romance that feels fresh and modern, whilst making us laugh, cry and sigh.

 

Charming, sexy and funny; Crashing Into Her is a contemporary romance that will give you all of the feels.

 

The Rake & The Maid by Lotte R. James

 

Euphemia Fortescue ran away from an arranged marriage ten years ago, and since, she has suffered the whims and trials of false friends and twisted lords. But since becoming a housemaid for Harcourt Sinclair, she has found some semblance of peace and purpose.

 

Harcourt Sinclair has been planning his revenge for twenty years against those peers of society who took everything from him. But his single-mindedness will cost him, unless he can learn to trust his least expected saviour...

 

Both live in the shadows, and know all too well the cruelty of those in power. The darkness in their hearts means they can never love—doesn't it?

 

A tale of redemption, adventure, secrets, desire, and love in Regency London.


Rated: 4 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Rachel

 

The Rake & The Maid is the first book of Lotte R. James' Vixen & Villain series. Harcourt Sinclair is a rake in every sense of the word. He has been playing a game of seduction of with Miss Lydia Mowbray who has not given into his advances and so he decides to make her jealous.

 

Euphemia Fortescue (Effy) has been working for Harcourt in his residence as a maid, and is shocked when he propositions her to help him make Lydia jealous. Effy doesn’t trust Harcourt but she reluctantly agrees. Things change between the two when someone hires thugs to kill Harcourt. After saving him and nursing him back to health, both Effy and Harcourt’s masks are exposed. This sets them on a path of not just danger, but learning to trust another person which is new for both of them.

 

I really enjoyed this book; the plot being nothing how I imagined, when first reading the blurb, which came as a pleasant surprise for me. I thought the pacing of the story was really good. The only criticism I had of this book was that I thought that some of the plot points needed further explanation. Like the assumption of different identities and none of the ton recognizing her? Plus, there was some scenes that given the time period I don’t think that Effy would have gotten away with. Other than that I was on the edge of my seat.

 

I really liked all the characters in this story and I love the pairing of Effy and Harcourt. Both have a hard time trusting other people. I like how the author really played on this, and I think this made the story more authentic. I highly recommend this story, and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

 

 

The Conspiracy by Kat Martin

 

Harper Winston's brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn't responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can't find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother's best friend, now the only man she can trust...or so she hopes.

 

As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper's father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there's more to Michael's disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard.

 

As the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons' snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe...and both of them alive.

 

Rated: 4 Pink Hearts       Reviewed by: Imogene


It’s been years since Harper Winston first laid eyes on Chase Garrett, back when her big brother Michael brought him to her sweet 16th birthday party. It’s also been years since the friendship between Michael and Chase fell apart due to Michael’s drug addiction and a whole lot of family secrets. But it’s been six days since Harper has heard from the now healthy, clean, and sober Michael, who is taking a solo cruise through the Caribbean. After everything that they went through, Michael promised that he’d never let his little sister have to worry about him like that again. After nearly a week unable to contact him by radio or phone, Harper does the only thing that she can do. She’s going to bring in Chase.

 

Chase Garrett, cowboy PI never expected to see Harper again, or to be drawn back into the Winston family. He also never expected to find the woman that he thought was a spoiled society princess living on Daddy’s dirty money was in fact a stubborn, smart, sexy businesswoman who would be willing to do anything to find her brother. Now they just have to put aside their attraction in order to track down what has happened to Michael. Never mind that they’ve had it bad for each other since they first met….

 

Harper and Chase’s acknowledgment of their sexual tension AND the fact that they need to put it aside for now is one of my favourite parts of the book. None of this ridiculous “oh, but he could never want me”, Harper knows. Our girl also knows howto use a gun, and to pack! She can fit an evening gown AND hiking gear into a carry-on bag, which somehow makes me adore her even more.

 

The twisting thrills and conspiracy are the focus, more than the romance, but don’t worry, there will be hotness! Plus this is not just a disappearance, the book is named conspiracy for a reason! Martin has also begun building an ongoing world, populated with the Garrett brothers, sexy ex-soldier Cowboy, sexy businessman cowboy, and Chase’s entire investigation firm filled with all kinds of sexy. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Ms Martin (as long as you lay off the constant brand name dropping!)

 

4 outta 5 Pink Hearts.

 

 

What are you reading this month? Have you recently read a book you think everyone should hunt down? Let us know in the comments or join the PHS community on Social Media using #amreading And authors, if you want us to review your book, we are now open for 2019 submissions! You can check out the guidelines here.