Sunday, 19 August 2018

Catch Him If You Can by Jennifer Shirk

Title: Catch Him If You Can
Author: Jennifer Shirk
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: Accidentally Yours
Format: Digital eBook
Digital ISBN: 9781640636156


Veterinarian Wade Roberts is done with love. But try convincing the elderly folk of Cape Harmony who are determined to play matchmaker. Now the young single women in town are bombarding him with baked goods and love notes, and being “taken” is the only way to stop the meddling grannies—which is why he needs a fake fiancĂ©e. Fast.

Arden Pearson loves planning weddings. Other people's weddings, that is. After her own engagement ended in disaster, she prefers to live vicariously through her work. But when she needs to persuade a big client that she’s capable of planning the celebrity wedding of the year, she’s willing to go as far as pretending to be engaged herself to her best friend’s older brother.

Soon their ruse has everyone in town believing they make the perfect couple—including Arden. She’s always been nothing more than a kid sister to Wade, and it might take a village to convince him otherwise...

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Copyright© 2018 Catch Him If You Can
Jennifer Shirk

Wade stood in line at the Drip N Sip, about seven people back, mentally warming up to let good old matchmaking Judy Tavish have an earful. What a friggin’ exhausting morning he’d had at work on Saturday, combating the flirting, the date requests, and the come-ons. Becky was right. His office had served more like a singles bar than a veterinary clinic. Well, no more. He was done with that, but mostly he was done with the meddling gray-haired coffee barista, looking over at him now and shooting him that wide, cheery-assed smile of hers.

“Oh, hello, Wade!” Judy waved, all sunny and good-natured, which ironically had the direct opposite effect on his already foul mood. He gritted his teeth and didn’t wave back.

“And what animal peed on your parade?” a feminine voice asked beside him.

He glanced to his right. Arden Pearson stood next to him with arms folded and an amused grin on her glistening pink-glossed lips. Arden was his sister’s best friend and all-around town sass-mouth—at least to him. He’d known her since high school when she had braces and blond hair down to her butt. Her mouth was still as sassy—maybe more so—but the braces were gone and her straight hair was cut shoulder length in a mature, professional style now. He’d always thought she was a cute girl back then, but as an adult, she was pretty damn stunning—when she wasn’t ribbing him. She had moved back to Cape Harmony about five years ago to open up her wedding planning business. Wade rarely ran into her in town unless she was with Kinsley, which made this day all the more agitating.

He turned away. “Right now, I’d actually welcome being peed on,” he muttered.

She made a tsk tsk sound. “Wow, you are having a bad day. Well, join the club.”

“Join the club?” Wade turned back to her and blinked. Damn, she had the prettiest eyes. The most unique kind of blue he’d ever seen. He immediately looked away. “Are you being bombarded at work and at home by hordes of single marriage-minded women?”

“Well, no— Wait.” She laughed. “Hold on. Are you?”

“Yes. And it’s all Judy Tavish’s fault,” he said, jerking his thumb in Judy’s direction. “She’s taken it upon herself to become my own personal walking, talking Tinder account.”

“Hmm…” Arden’s delicate brows drew together. “So, does this mean you want to book me ahead of schedule for a discount, or do you want to wait until the actual wedding proposal?” she said with a chuckle.

“I knew you wouldn’t see the seriousness in the situation.”

“You’re right. I don’t.” She shrugged. “I mean, so what if Judy thought you should get out and have some fun and gave your number to a few nice women. Oh, boo-hoo.”

He looked her dead in the eye. “Twenty-six women, Arden. Twenty-six. Not including the crowd that showed up at the clinic on Saturday with their fake sick pets. And did you know that when I got home from work there were brownies and half a baked chicken left on my doorstep.”

Arden whistled. “Damn. Remind me to use Judy when I’m looking for a date. Or need a snack

About Jennifer Shirk:

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing. Her novel, FIANCE BY FATE—a 2015 Readers' Crown Finalist—became an Amazon #1 best seller for Series Romance. And recently, Wrong Brother, Right Match, WON the Sweet Traditional category of the 2017 Golden Quill Contest and became a #1 Amazon bestseller for Holiday Romance.

She resides in a beach resort in NJ, so when she's not writing or working on her tan, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter and puppy (Sox).

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Siren's Curse by Katee Robert

Title: Siren’s Curse
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Publisher: Indie
Series: The Sea King’s Daughters
Page Count: 76 pages
Format: Digital


Lorelei Fischer is cursed. A mermaid who can’t shapeshift, can’t create portals, and is no longer fully who she was meant to be. Too ashamed to admit how badly she failed to her sisters, she takes refuge in a small town in northern California and opens a used bookstore. With no way to regain what she’s lost, she resigns herself to a life half-lived.

After nearly drowning under the dark of the new moon, there’s no escaping the truth. She’s being hunted, and this enemy will stop at nothing to take her.

Lorelei must find a way to reclaim her birthright and her abilities before it's too late. Because the sea holds more monsters than she could have dreamed—and one of them wants her dead.

Look for other stories in this exciting Urban Fantasy series from Philippa Ballantine, Stacia D. Kelly, Lauren Harris, and Asa Maria Bradley.

Available at:  



For such a short read, Katee Robert sure does know how to pack a lot in! The prose is tight and descriptive, the action is non-stop, and every character had its place. I only wish it was a little longer.

While this is third in a multi-author series about mermaids, I didn't feel like I was missing out by starting here. Instead, my interest was piqued and now I'm interested in reading the other books.

There's a new wave on urban fantasy on the shores of Booktopia and I recommend giving this one a go.

Four salty stars.

I received an ARC from Barclay publicity.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Bedded Under the Christmastide Moon


For years, Lady Melloria Whitmore has believed her childhood best friend and secret love Brigham Clarke agreed to marry her out of a sense of duty. Knowing how important Brigham’s work with Parliament is to him, she agrees to see him once a year, when he returns to his country estate for the holidays. This Christmas, Mellie vows to give Brigham the one thing he has always wanted: an heir. For one night, she’ll share his bed, and she’ll have that memory of passion to get her through the long winter nights without him.


Except Brigham doesn’t want just one night—he wants forever. He’s loved Mellie all his life, and making her his Viscountess Whitmore was his dream. He just never thought Mellie returned his feelings. So when Mellie begins her seduction under the Christmastide moon, Brigham receives the best gift of all: his wife’s love.

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay


Mellie has always loved Brigham, the Viscount next door. For his part, Brigham always planned to offer for Mellie's hand. When a sudden death forces his hand, they find themselves in what each thinks is a marriage of convenience.

Yep, they both spend <em>five years</em> pining over their spouse.

That might be the entirety of the plot, but this novella packs a lot of angst into so few pages. You know they are meant to be together if only one of them could spit it out. Both Mellie and Brigham are well fleshed out for such a short book and I love how the author romanticised Brigham's glasses. True love really is blind!

For a short read with angst and passion, pick up this one - though be warned, the last scene left me thinking "that can't be comfortable..."

Four pining stars

I received an ARC from Barclay Publicity

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Highlander's Stolen Bride by Eliza Knight


After a harsh betrayal, Magnus “Strath” Sutherland, Laird of Dornoch, accepts a commission from the king to squelch an English lord’s siege at the Scottish border. What better way to torment his new English enemy than to defeat his army and steal his beautiful bride? At first, Strath plans to toss the Sassenach lass into a dark cell and forget about her, but there is something about the way she defies him that he finds alluring, not to mention how very much he’d like to kiss her.

Eva de Clare, youngest daughter of the Earl of Northwyck, is pledged in matrimony to a cruel lord blackmailing her family. Her salvation comes in the form of a terrifying Highlander who interrupts
the ceremony. But salvation turns to horror when she’s plucked from where she stands and whisked
across the Scottish border. Eva isn’t about to be made a prisoner of war, and once she sees the
kindness beneath her captor’s hard exterior she decides she won’t be sent back to England to be wed either. In fact, she just might be the woman to warm the Highland warrior’s hardened heart.


Eva loves her father, even though he is draining their Earldom dry at the behest of the odious Lord Belfinch. Things become untenable, however, when he offers her hand in marriage. She sees no way out - until a band of Scots invade the keep and rescue her from the altar. They are led by the handsome and honourable laird Strath, who has orders of his own.

I enjoyed the character of Eva, as she reached out to help people despite her own circumstances. I can't say she was always the most sensible but she meant well and that counts for a lot. The growing bond between her and Strath was nice - they didn't fall in love immediately, though it was a close thing, but you do get to see them bicker and tease each other. Strath has his own problems and tended to overreact, and I wish someone had called him out on that.

I do feel like the ending came rather abruptly, for the number of plot lines that were hanging. I have no problem with the content of the end, but it seemed to be a deus ex (or three) and leaned a bit heavily on telling rather than showing.

While a quick Google lets me know this is second in a series that is a spinoff of another series, I thought it stood well on its own and was not overwhelmed by past characters. This was a solid Scottish romance where everyone got what they deserved, but while I liked it, I didn't love it.

Three stolen stars.

I received an ARC from Barclay Publicity

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

I Had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness

This is a classic modern coming-of-age story set in rural Australia. It’s the story of Hamish, who has exactly one friend, and how his life changes after popular Charlie Parker dies in a car accident. It’s well written and peppered with Aussie slang, though a little predictable at times.

I can’t call this an easy read. It’s full of grief, past and present, and painful self-discovery. Hamish can be selfish, thoughtless, and a terrible friend - at least he’s candid about his faults and grows.

I am not the target audience for this book - I couldn’t see myself in any of the characters, I am only too glad to be free of high school, and the only happy thing about the ending is that it isn’t an ending at all - it’s a hopeful “life goes on” to what would otherwise be a rather depressing read. On the other hand, while this book might not be for me, I am sure there are others for whom it will resonate, and I hope it finds its way into their hands.

Three lonely stars.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham


Having overcome financial ruin and redeemed his family name to become the most legendary investor in London, the Duke of Westmead needs to secure his holdings by producing an heir. Which means he must find a wife who won’t discover his secret craving to spend his nights on his knees—or make demands on his long scarred-over heart.

Poppy Cavendish is not that type of woman. An ambitious self-taught botanist designing the garden ballroom in which Westmead plans to woo a bride, Poppy has struggled against convention all her life to secure her hard-won independence. She wants the capital to expand her exotic nursery business—not a husband.

But there is something so compelling about Westmead, with his starchy bearing and impossibly kind eyes—that when an accidental scandal makes marriage to the duke the only means to save her nursery, Poppy worries she wants more than the title he is offering. The arrangement is meant to be just business. A greenhouse for an heir. But Poppy yearns to unravel her husband’s secrets—and to tempt the duke to risk his heart.

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This is an interesting romance in two parts. To start, it’s an unconventional romance between a duke and a gardener. (I loved that the heroine was a businesswoman and this was both encouraged and deconstructed).Then, someone does a thoughtless thing in the name of romance (which rather neatly turns the matchmaking trope on its head). Thanks to her, the book veers into a marriage of convenience, with both of them hiding their hearts because they know the other doesn’t feel the same.

It’s a rollercoaster of a ride as problems and miscommunications hinder their way to happily ever after. The heart of their communication problems is a secret BDSM club in the heart of London and the magnitude of this secret meant it never felt forced. I do think the Duke’s use of this club veered perilously close to cheating, which made me uncomfortable.

Overall, this is a romance for someone who wants to see something a little different, but heads up for the near-cheating marring an otherwise excellent read.

Four stars

I received an ARC from Barclay Publicity

Saturday, 21 July 2018

#Starstruck by Sariah Wilson

Have you ever dreamed about that movie/musical/sports star sweeping into your life and sweeping you off your feet? Starstruck is that story. It’s every girl’s fantasy poured onto a page. It’s the story of Zoe, a college student, and of Chase, the heartthrob actor who falls for her. This was a deliciously self-indulgent story about love, secrets, and celebrity.

Zoe’s family are adorable, especially her baby sister Zia, and I treasured Zoe’s best friend for being kickass and funny in her own right. I also loved that Zoe had boundaries around sex that Chase respected - too often, the girl is a virgin who hasn’t met the right guy (who inevitably isn’t a virgin, btw), and it’s up to him to coax her into it. I found this particular plot point refreshingly different.

I did find the storyline a bit predictable, however, and the middle portion drags a bit as Zoe faces the same conflict again and again. While her flaws make her real, her stubbornness left me exasperated. I reckon some of that could’ve been cut without affecting the climax of the book.

Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read that left me happy and wanting just a little bit more. I'd be keen to read more from this author.

Four stars.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley