Friday, 30 August 2019

The Arrangement – A Homestead Legacy Story by Alex Jane

Homestead Legacy #1
54k words / 194 pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Payhip


1895. New York.

Gabriel Webster’s pack is in trouble. His father’s failing health and his mother’s untimely death mean that the vultures are circling. It won’t be long before his family’s assets are stripped and his pack disbanded. When an offer of help arrives in the form of a marriage of convenience, he has little choice but to accept.

The arrangement would be the perfect solution, if not for one thing. Gabriel is to marry Nathaniel Hayward, the Alpha who was badly injured in the accident that killed his brother ten years before—and the man Gabriel has been in love with for as long as he can remember.

Trapped in a business arrangement masquerading as a marriage—in a strange, empty house with a damaged husband who barely tolerates him — isn’t what Gabriel expected from life.

But sometimes the last thing we want is the beginning of something more.
And an ending can be the start of something beautiful.


It’s been a while since I read a book from start to finish in a matter of hours, but I couldn’t have done anything else once I read the first paragraph of The Arrangement. Set in an alternative version of 1895 this is a beautiful and gentle love story filled with all the feels without ever getting over-dramatic or angsty.

The story is told from Gabriel’s perspective and it’s hard not to feel for him when he accepts a marriage proposal not because he expects to live the rest of his life in a loving relationship but to help his father and his fellow pack members. When it subsequently becomes clear that his reluctance doesn’t stem from disliking the man he’s to marry but, quite the opposite, from having loved him for years and fearing he’ll spend the rest of his life dealing with that love being unrequited, my heart broke for him.

Except, that’s not exactly what’s happening. In fact, it was wonderful that almost from the start it was quite obvious to the reader (but not to the characters themselves) that these two men clearly belong together. I don’t mean this in a ‘it’s a romance therefore we’ll get a happy ending’ sorta way. Gabriel’s thoughts, even before he admits as much out loud to himself, make it clear he’s never gotten over his childhood crush for Nathaniel whereas Nathaniel’s words and behavior, right from the start, make it perfectly obvious to the reader that for him too this is more than a marriage of convenience, even if he treats it as such.

This story is the slowest of slow burns. In fact, for a long time it is more about Gabriel settling into his new life and finding his feet with the other pack and house mates, than his, seemingly non-existent, relationship with Nathaniel. But that’s only on the surface because through their daily life and interactions they do grow closer, almost despite Nathaniel doing what he can to stop that from happening, be it in tiny, almost imperceptible but totally natural stages.

It was endearing and funny how while Nathaniel was the Alpha, Gabriel was on several occasions the more capable, decisive of the two. And when, at last, the real reason for Nathaniel’s standoffishness becomes clear, my heart broke for him too.

Having said that, and with my heart broken twice, I have to stress that this is not an angsty read at all. It’s emotional, touching, and occasionally sad, but never dark or painful—which is, of course, exactly how I love my stories.

Also, apropos of nothing, how could I possibly fail to fall for an Alpha with a liking for licorice. 😊      

To sum it all up, The Arrangement is a delightful, touching, and very well written story featuring two outstanding main characters as well as a cast of entertaining and fully fleshed secondaries. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Vendetta in Death (In Death #49) by J.D. Robb

352 pages
Publisher: Piatkus


“He needed killing.
She’d researched, studied, planned the who, when, how and why for more than a year and had chosen Nigel B. McEnroy to be the first.”

When a family man is tortured, killed and left in front of his family home for all the world to see, Eve Dallas knows she is on the hunt for a particularly dangerous killer.

But death uncovers secrets and the killer leaves a note revealing the victim to be far from the family man he appears. As Eve scrambles to find out what she can to link victim and killer, another body is found. Another man with a dark and murky past.

The race is on before the killer strikes again but Eve must wrestle with her demons and her conscience as she decides whether she really wants to protect men who probably deserve everything they get...


For the first time ever, I’m reviewing an In Death title by J.D Robb before it is actually available in the shops. I’m totally addicted to this series and usually bring the latest edition home as soon as it arrives in the library branch where I work, so being fast with my review isn’t new—beating the publication date is. 😊

So, how did I get my hands on an early copy you ask? Well, picture this:

Nora Roberts was recently on holidays in Ireland (check out her blog for wonderful descriptions and photos) and took an afternoon out of her travel schedule to meet with about 170 readers/fans in the gorgeous The Lodge at Ashford Castle. I booked a ticket to the event as soon as I found out about it, turned it into a long overdue weekend trip to Ireland’s west coast, and enjoyed every single minute of it.

The ‘meet the author / book signing event’ started with a conversation between local writer Kate Kerrigan and Nora. From the start it was clear that Kate was at least as big a fan-girl as the audience which meant she touched on many subjects during what was more a friendly chat than an interview I would have mentioned too and all in a relaxed, intimate feeling atmosphere.

When I booked my ticket, I saw there would also be an opportunity to get books signed and I have to admit that I was silently raging that the event would take place about three weeks too early for the release of Vendetta in Death. So, imagine my delight when I discovered that the book seller on the day also had copies of that title available. Getting my hands on that book and getting Nora’s signature was the crown on an already perfect day.

As for the book, Vendetta in Death is exactly what I've come to expect when I open a JD Robb book. It is always a delight to return to this cast of characters who, after 49 titles, feel more like family than made up creatures, and join the while they deal with gruesome crimes.

But, for me, these crimes (horrific as they were) came with an extra layer in this book. It is very hard, in a time of ‘me too’ and men getting away with sexual assault because judges don’t want to ‘destroy their lives’, not to sympathize with a woman who decides to take matters into her own hands and extract her own, nightmarish, form of ‘justice’ where the courts and society at large have failed. (And no, I’m not advocating people taking the law into their own hands, just saying that there are times when fantasizing about it can be very satisfying).

Eve Dallas being who she is has no qualms about hunting down and arresting our vigilante, but while doing so also takes the time to make sure that those women for whom justice has been elusive find a path that might lead them there. It was the perfect balance in this book and made the story that much more realistic as well as touching for me.

For what is probably the 49th time I’m going to state that I can’t imagine ever getting tired of these books, the characters and their developing story lines, or the exquisite banter between Eve and the various other regulars, especially Roarke. It is safe to say that I’m already looking forward to book #50, even if I do have to wait until the new year for ....

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Third Wish by Jewel Quinlan - Audio Book Release


Owen only has one wish left. And this time, he wants to ensure it doesn’t come with nightmare side effects like his first two did. Unfortunately, Cleo, the scornful genie granting his desires, isn’t willing help. With the wish deadline fast approaching, Owen must find a way to gain Cleo’s assistance, or he’ll be stuck forever in a tangle of his own making.

Audiobook Details

Listening Time: 1 hour  18 minutes
Narrated by: Jack Calihan
Listen to a sample:

Where to buy the audiobook

Audible  |  iTunes  |  Amazon

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Or add it to your shelf on Goodreads


“…Maybe if you’d executed my first two wishes better I wouldn’t be so strung out.” Wrong thing to say. If I could have punched myself, I would have.

Cleo stiffened, eyes wide. And then they narrowed, and I could almost see the millions of ways she was killing me in her mind right now. I braced myself for a barrage of scorn mixed with profanity. If there was one thing I’d learned about Cleo in the past couple of months, it was that she had an extensive vocabulary of swear words. Not only was her range impressive, it was also interestingly exotic. I was well acquainted with it because it’d been directed at me on the frequent occasions I managed to get her to come out of the pill box. I’d thought I’d heard it all at this point in my life, but she proved me wrong. And somehow, whenever she directed her skill at me, I couldn’t help but feel that every term she used was eminently fitting.

“I’m so sorry you’re dissatisfied with your first two wishes, Master,” she drawled in an uncharacteristically chilly tone that made me shiver. “I shall return to my vessel and spend my time reflecting on how to do better with your third wish.” She turned and moved away from the door.

Fuck. The lack of profanity made me panic. I leapt up the stairs in one bound and grabbed her arm in desperation. If she evaporated back into the box, I’d have a hell of a time getting her to come out again. “Cleo, I’m sorry. Don’t go. I’m an asshole, okay? A dick. I’m—I’m every foul word you’ve called me since we met.”

The skin of her arm was soft beneath my fingers, but the biceps was firm. Did she work out? Would a genie even need to, being able to shapeshift and all? There was a small strange golden tattoo on her arm. I watched, fascinated, as it shifted from a crescent moon, to some intricate round design that reminded me of snowflakes, and then into a symbol of some kind. This close, her scent was warm in my nostrils. It was a mix of jasmine, incense, and something spicy that I had yet to identify. The intoxicating medley had visited me in my dreams more than once.

“Take … your hand … off me.”

The words were spoken slowly and in a deadly acid that had me snatching my hand back as though I’d touched a hot exhaust pipe. She glared up at me and twitched her arm as if to dislodge any germs I’d left on her creamy skin.

“Sorry. So sorry,” I said, my words coming out light and breathy as though I might set off a bomb. I took a half step back from her, lifting my hands in front of me in that universal I’m-not-armed gesture. “Please don’t go,” I pleaded. “I really need your help. Please.”

There were less than three days left for me to make my third wish, and I was desperate not to fuck it up.  I’d made the first two rather quickly, and they hadn’t turned out exactly as I’d hoped. Well, no, I can’t say that. I’d gotten exactly what I’d wished for. I was now ridiculously wealthy and famous. The problem was that both of those things had come with a lot of problems, like fleeing from people who were trying to kill me for reasons I had yet to determine. And I really didn’t want to spend the rest of my life using my new, magically-granted resources running, hiding, and generally having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my days. Of course, I could always wish to undo the first two wishes. But who in their right mind would do that? I ran a hand through my hair, and pleaded with her with my eyes.

Cleo made a scoffing noise and raked a critical gaze from my black biker boots, over my favorite well-worn jeans and grey t-shirt, and finally to my face, which no doubt looked more haggard than ever from worry and an overgrown five o’clock shadow. “And why should I help you? Out of the goodness of my heart?”

I scrambled to think of something to say, but my mind was blank. I was a mere human. And before she’d come into my life, I was only doing a passable job at being that. There was nothing I could give her that she couldn’t give herself, not even freedom.

“I can’t think of anything,” I said, feeling deflated. “But maybe you can.” It was a shot in the dark, but worth it. There was a faint glimmer in her caramel-colored eyes that signaled I was on the right track. Inspired, I pushed forward, desperate. “Is there something?”

She relaxed her stance, making hope soar within me. Then she dropped her gaze to the floor as if—No. Could it be?—as if she was reluctant to say it. I closed the gap between us again, feeling bolder, but I didn’t touch her. “Tell me,” I urged in a low voice, fascinated. “I want to know. No, I have to know. What I could possibly give you that you would want?”

Jewel is giving away 25 Audible Codes for FREE download of The Third Wish
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway from 8/21/19 through 9/21/19

About the Author

Jewel Quinlan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. Since her debut in late 2013, she has published seventeen stories and has many more to come. Restless by nature, she is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine, she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer drafting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

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