Sunset Rivalry – Shannyn Leah

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Anya Caliendo left her family’s resort two years ago after becoming involved in her father’s dirty dealings. Anya is forced to return home in order to find a secret file that will clear her name and right a wrong that she feels responsible for. However, she doesn’t plan on running into her ex-lover Quinn Barker. Quinn used to work for her father, and is also on the hunt for a mysterious file so they decide to make a deal, and look for them together. Can they find a way to trust each other without knowing what the other is hiding?  Will they even be able to keep things strictly professional given their intimate history?

So each book in the Sunset/Caliendo Resort series is stand alone, but they are still interconnected. Kind of like Jamie McGuire’s Maddox Brothers series or Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive Series. As you already know, I’m a huge fan of this format so definite points to Shannyn Leah, excellent choice, I love it. I can also attest to the fact that each story is truly stand alone, as this is the first book in the series that I have read (which I believe is #2) and I didn’t feel lost, or disorientated. I knew exactly what was going on which is a tricky thing to do when you have crossover characters.

However, I will note that Leah does recommend you read the books in order to really enjoy the series, as all the characters appear in future books.

Sunset Rivalry was a 3*s for me personally because I didn’t truly connect with the main characters, but with this type of series I always find you’ll have your favourites, Quinn and Anya just weren’t mine. But I’m interested to see what else happens at the resort! And from my Goodreads research, I see Leah has written a few other series in this style so I’ll definitely be checking those out as well. The storyline was also a little predictable. Not just in the usual HEA way we expect and love, but I had guessed the plot twist before it happened. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like or enjoy the read though, I just saw it coming.

Overall, I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a nice, easy, romantic read with characters that will return if you fall in love with them. I have a feeling a few of you are going to want to see Quinn again…

This is a perfect summer read!

I RECEIVED A COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE AUTHOR IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS IN NO WAY AFFECTED MY OPINION OF THE BOOK, OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW.

Cover Reveal: Sway – Adriana Locke

Page One are excited to be a part of the cover reveal for the first book in Adriana Locke’s new Landry Family series, Sway. I can’t wait to read this one guys!

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BARRETT LANDRY has it all.
Power, prestige, and plenty of women, the dapper politician’s life is pretty phenomenal. But in the midst of the biggest campaign of his life, he needs to focus. The last thing he can afford is a distraction.

ALISON BAKER is a work-in-progress.
As a single mother to HUXLEY, she’s rebuilding life on her terms. She’s focused on family, faith, and a future for her son that can’t be taken away. Putting her child first means not being careless, no matter what.

A chance encounter forces Barrett and Alison to redefine what they really want out of life. But everything comes at a cost … and sometimes, even for love, it’s a price too steep to pay.

And here’s a little bit about the Author if you don’t already know her:

USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.

To find out more check out Adriana’s website, and follow her on FacebookTwitter,  PinterestInstagram and Goodreads.

PRE-ORDER ALERT

 If you’d like to receive an email when Sway goes LIVE, please fill out this form: http://goo.gl/forms/73zfwBbJm9 

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Roisin Black – Someone to Come Back To

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Lieutenant John Sullivan of the U.S. Navy SEALs is a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to love. He needs to be in control to feel like he has everything secure and in order. When a recent mission doesn’t go as planned he takes refuge in his cabin in the Adirondack wilderness for some decompression and relaxation. What he does not foresee is running into Dr. Maggie O’Brien a city girl, also seeking respite from her stressful job. A broken down car and an incoming storm mean that the two are forced together, where maybe they realise that isolation isn’t the best form of R&R.

First I want to get a few niggling things out the way before I get to the good stuff. Remember this is according to my own personal tastes!

I found that Maggie made a lot of assumptions, especially after sex. For example when she thinks John is married, she shuts him out. I found that this led to their behaviour being hot and cold. They have sex, she shuts him out, they have sex, she accuses him of being married and once again shuts him out, they have sex, and she leaves – shutting him out. This, for me, didn’t quite work because it was a little repetitive and became predictable. Also in the conversations after sex, when she’s emotionally shutting him out and building walls around herself, she seems to do a lot of spitting. No, not actual spitting, but when she talks to him she often ‘spat’ her words at him.

This feeds into my other niggle about repetition. Quite a few phrases and words were repeated and I know this was in all likelihood done to show how Maggie and John have a similar mind-set, but it just grated on me a little. The two best examples of this that spring to mind are the chicken and bacon sandwich, both use almost exactly the same phrase to say how Aunt Bridget sure makes a mean sandwich, only pages apart. The other example is towards the end where John says he doesn’t like where the situation is heading, only Snake (his team mate) said exactly the same thing not two pages earlier. Like I always say, my reviews are subjective and it’s a well-known fact now that repetition is like a red flag to my bull. So please don’t assume that this means that the book wasn’t well written or that it didn’t flow smoothly, because it did. It was fast past and kept me interested throughout.

Roisin is a talented writer who sucks you into the lives of her characters. I may moan about the repetition but at the end of the book I had a tear in my eye at the HEA (happily ever after). Only a good writer can do that for me. I loved how stubborn Maggie was, always thinking she can do everything herself and in some cases ending up in some sticky situations. I did kind of want to see Maggie grow in her relationship with her mother, because that’s where I felt Roisin was heading so I was a little disappointed when it didn’t. I’m hoping that Roisin writes a book for either Snake or Joker and maybe has Maggie and her mother in the background briefly just so I know if they’ve reconnected or are still distant.

I also loved how Roisin made John’s team come together. They all had these little nuances and distinctive personalities, which made me what to find out more about them. The devil, with Roisin Black, is definitely in the detail. Not only did she make her characters grounded and likable, but the food and wine descriptions had me salivating at work, craving a nice glass of whatever John was offering.

Overall I’d recommend this is you’re after a HEA, with a fast paced, interesting storyline (if a little predictable at times), a stubborn female lead and a sexy dominant male. I really enjoyed this debut full length novel from Roisin and know that whatever she has planned next will be even better.

A New Look for Page One Books!

We’re super excited to announce that Page One Books is getting a make over! If you follow us on social media, you’ve already had a little sneak peek of our new logo which we revealed during the Cassandra Clare Lady Midnight book signing. But now we’re ready to share everything with you guys.

logo-01So there you have it, our new logo!

Our design was inspired by a lot of different things: tarot cards, Art Nouveau, the Gothic, Steampunk, the fact that a lot of our favourite characters are fiery red heads.

But what’s even more exciting? We now have business cards that are actually designed to look like tarot cards including the sizing, and bookmarks!

Front:

Back:

We’re  also hoping to have all sorts of branded goodies for giveaways real soon! We’re thinking bags, mugs, stickers, the works. We think you guys are going to love it.

A big thank you, and shout out to Alex Colbourne our Graphic designer! Without him, this would never have happened. He listened to all of our crazy ideas and made it a reality. You can check out more of his work here. If you are interested, he is always happy to take on freelance work so if you have any questions regarding a project you can get in touch with him on the contact page of his website.

Missing, Presumed -Susie Steiner

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Manon Bradshaw is a respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force but her personal life is a mess. After yet another horrific internet date, she turns on her police radio and is alerted to a crime scene near by where Cambridge University student Edith Hind is thought to be missing. The door to her house has been left open, her phone, keys and purse are still inside and there’s a trail of blood in the kitchen. Manon instantly knows that this isn’t her usual case.

I am so torn about Missing, Presumed. It’s just there were a lot of things that I liked about it. The story is told from alternative perspectives, offering the reader an insight into the police enquiry and the experiences of those closest to Edith. Steiner’s characterisation of the police, particularly Manon and Davy, suggests that while they have a duty of care to serve and protect, they are still human. They are not the extraordinary, trained in all areas CSI/Criminal Minds/Sherlock Holmes detectives that we have become accustomed to. They are real people, with real lives and are deeply affected by their work. They are stressed, they are emotional, and they are prone to error. And I was surprised by certain outcomes by the novel’s end.

But! And it’s a big but.

It was so slow! There were long gaps between leads, and I found myself hoping they’d finally find Edith’s body and then like 10 others to force the pace forward. I understand that Steiner was probably trying to convey a more realistic approach to the investigative process, but it just left me a little underwhelmed.

And I had such high hopes! Hmmph.

Overall, I have serious mixed feelings about this one but I’d still recommend you check it out because it was a different take on the detective genre, less sensationalised, more reserved. If you read a lot of these books, I think you’ll find it refreshing.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Reviewing – what to say

Ash has recently been asked to give a breakdown of how we review things here at Page One, and we thought you’d be interested too. Ashleigh’s reviews tend to be concise and directly to the point, she talks briefly about what the book is about without spoilers, then expands into what she liked and what she didn’t. My reviews follow a similar format, but since I’m the ‘Queen of Waffling’ they tend to be almost double in length.

I like to use the WWW and EBI if format. This is What Worked Well and Even Better If. I also like to discuss the things I personally didn’t enjoy or found grating as a reader. But a key thing is to remember that as always our reviews are subjective.

What Went Well- (1)

My Basic Review Format

Overview – Say a little something about the storyline, the main characters and the situation without giving too much away.

WWW– Did you like the main character? Why? Did you find the dialogue snappy and quick? Did the book make you laugh/cry/catch your breath?

EBI – What bits didn’t quite work for you? Why? What would you have liked to have seen instead?

We all have personal gripes, mine is repetition – woe betide you if you use the same word more than three times on the same page. A lecturer once told me that we all have a favourite word when writing and we use it more than we should without realising it. That’s why mentioning any issues like this can be useful to the author. It helps to pick up on tiny things that the  Beta readers and editors may have missed.

Rating & Recommend – Would you recommend it to a friend? What type of reader would you recommend it to? For example, ‘I’d recommend this to someone who enjoyed The Notebook and is looking for a quick, steamy romance to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon’. What star rating would you give it? What symbols would you use? You can find Page One’s rating symbols here: RATING SYSTEM

This feedback is vital because it can help the author fine tune their next project. Feedback should always be CONSTRUCTIVE. It’s not intended to put the author down or be a personal attack.

We hope this is handy to any other reviewers out there! Leaving reviews is extremely important for authors, it helps boost their reach and of course, it makes them feel like their blood, sweat and tears were all worth it.

Linzi Basset – His Brazen Sub

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His Brazen Sub is a stand alone novel although Linzi Basset recommends reading the Club Alpha Cove series in order. This book contains scenes of humiliation, BDSM- masochism, bondage, whipping, graphic language and very, very graphic sex scenes. His Brazen Sub is what’s called a ‘one-handed read’ in erotica circles. This means that the aim of this book is to arouse and enjoy, so it’s not necessarily got a full story arc, or pays much attention to detail outside of the Club Cove setting and the central couple.

Jade is  a successful fashion designer. As she visits family to celebrate her cousin’s wedding she runs into the Dom she left behind eight months ago. Her five nights with Zane Wolf ruined the BDSM scene for her, no other man could match up to Zane. The attraction between them means that within minutes they’re back in the bedroom again, Zane punishing her for leaving and Jade enjoying it. She is brought into Club Cove, a BDSM club, and marked as his, meaning that no other Dom will touch her without his express permission.

Zane has some serious control issues, he doesn’t allow Jade to come without his permission. When she does come without his say so, he uses that to punish her again. Let’s just make this clear though, Jade does have a safe word – something that Zane reminds her of constantly through the book.  So their punishing/defiant relationship is consensual, but this book probably isn’t for you if that type of thing makes you uncomfortable. Jade has a few issues of her own, which Zane struggles with,  using public humiliation and getting other Doms to sexually torture her into opening up to him. That was one of the things that grated on me a little, but that’s my personal taste. The actual storyline with The Syndicate for me was also a little unconvincing, as were Jade’s issues with her father. But then again, that wasn’t the point of the book.

As a ‘one-handed read’ I’d give it four stars, it was hot and exciting. But if I was reading this for the storyline, personally it’s a three stars from me. The storyline was weak, the humiliation just wasn’t for me and at times I just wanted her to say ‘Weddings’, her safeword, to shut control freak Zane up. I’d recommend this if you enjoy BDSM and are after something quick and steamy.

Me Before You – JoJo Moyes

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You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

Louisa Clark has just lost her job and needs to find a new one as soon as possible because she helps support her family. She applies to the job centre but nothing seems to work out until her support worker finds an advertisement for a carer/companion. At first Louisa is convinced that Will Traynor hates her and she’ll never be able to stay in the position, but  they start to develop an understanding and their friendships grows. Will was a high achiever who lived life to the fullest before the accident that left him paralysed so he challenges the unambitious Louisa to live her life. Louisa also wants to remind Will that life can still surprise you. But will this be enough to change Will’s mind as he plans to end his life through Dignitas, an assisted suicide organisation?

It almost goes without saying that this is not an easy read.

While this is an emotional read, it is also politically charged, dealing with a topic that remains controversial as todays governments fail to reach a majority decision on the terms of assisted suicide. Not everyone who reads this is going to agree with some of the decisions but Moyes seems to anticipate this, offering different voices to the ongoing debate. While the prevailing voice remains Louisa’s, Moyes shifts to alternative perspectives so as readers, we remain informed and can make our own decisions about this moral argument. In this way Moyes handles the topic with dignity and grace while still impressing upon the reader gravity of the situation. 

However, Moyes doesn’t give Will the chance to narrate his own story, which I feel is a little reductive given that his character feels he has limited choices in this world. While his opinions are strongly felt throughout the novel, I still think his voice should have been  afforded the same opportunity. A more indepth understanding of his perspective would have only strengthened the narrative. 

I loved Louisa and her crazy wardrobe. I loved how Will forces her to develop as person and in turn, I loved how she softened his character. I loved that theirs isn’t a conventional love story. I loved this book while absolutely hating it at the same time. I was emotionally wrecked, torn apart from the inside out. I didn’t have enough tissues. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t expecting the way it ended. I, just, ugh. JoJo Moyes why do you do this to your readers? I still haven’t recovered and it has been days, DAYS! I’m definitely suffering from a book hangover. Too. Many. Feelings.

This is a must read in my opinion.

P.S. I’m not even sure I can go see the film adaptation when it comes out in June!