‘The Break’ by Marian Keyes

the breakWelcome back, Marian Keyes! Oh how I didn’t realise I had missed you.

It feels like it’s been years since I read a book from this fantastic lady and on re-cap I realise it has been 10 years since I finished “Anybody Out There?”. That book was truly a wonder to read and was one of the few books I have openly cried while reading.

But… we aren’t talking about the book. We are talking about ‘The Break’.

We are introduced to Amy and Hugh – married, kids, living in Dublin and very much a blended family with some beautifully odd family members. Don’t laugh we all have a couple and if you can’t think of them they are probably you! haha!

Hugh has been having a tough time after his Dad passed away and he decides the only way to get out of his slump is to take a break from his life in Dublin. 6 months to travel and to find himself again. The break includes from his marriage, so if he meets a nice lady then so be it. (wink, wink)

I want to say Amy takes it in her stride but she doesn’t. She represents us all. She is a mess and goes through every emotion before, during and after ‘the break’.

The way this story is told is with 2 timelines running. One with flashbacks of Amy’s life when she was younger, how she met Hugh and what she was up to a year before ‘ the break’. The second timeline is what is happening in the current with Hugh and her daughters. Once we are all caught up the flashbacks stop. But they are informative and tell us a lot about Amy.

I really loved Amy and she was written beautifully. I felt I was along for the ride with her and at times I totally understood where she was emotionally.

This book is what Marian Keyes does best. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and show us a character who isn’t perfect and who is going to make mistakes. Amy may make some interesting choices and be a complete mess at other times, but she always dusts herself off and gets right back up again. She’s a fighter and she’s to be admired.

Thank you Marian Keyes for coming back and giving us this book, I loved it. It has inspired me and yes I will admit a few tears were shed on this one too.

“Yes, you were great. You couldn’t have been better.”

My rating 5/5.




‘Relativity’ by Antonia Hayes

relativitySecond book club book for 2018. and wow… was this one hard slog to get through.


Relativity is the first book written by Australian author Antonia Hayes and is set in Sydney.

The story revolves around Ethan and his mum, Claire. Ethan loves everything physics and astronomy and pretty much any chance he gets he is talking about it. Claire is his mother and she is doing her best to be both mum and dad.

Ethan’s dad, Mark is absent and then suddenly he’s in town and everything starts to bring them together. Like gravity I guess.

The constant talk of physics and astronomy drained on me throughout this book. Basically this story is a generalised science lesson rolled into a good old fashioned family drama. It would be safe to say that a point I did start skimming over the science jargon just to get through the book.

However, I would suggest if the science wasn’t in there it would have been a much smaller book and wouldn’t have the intensity that this topic allows the story to draw on.

We find out through the book that Ethan was a victim of ‘shaken baby’ when he was 4 months old. And his father was accused and convicted of it. Interesting twist, as we are then drawn into the inner-workings of the characters as they all question whether he is guilty or innocent.

I actually found this part of the story quite good and I myself began to question whether Mark had committed the crime. Right, when I convinced myself he hadn’t and there was hope for this little family, BOOM! We are hit with the truth.

Antonia, handles the flashback to the incident really well and I could feel the magnitude and emotion in the flashback. This was the 20% of the book that I truly enjoyed reading. Plus bonus – there wasn’t that much science in that bit.

Perhaps like Schrodinger’s cat, this book would have been left on the shelf. That way, it could be considered to be both a good and a bad book.

Sorry, but science is just not my thing. Unless it is in a Doctor Who episode.

My rating 2.5/5.


‘Cairo’ by Chris Womersley

cairoFirst book club book of 2018. Not a book I would normally be drawn to. But isn’t that the point of joining a book club.

The book is written by a “melbournite” and is probably a large reason why I enjoyed reading this book. Having spent the better part of 5 years living in the same suburbs these characters live in, it was like being back there. The descriptions of the city were detailed and well done and at times I felt he had painted a great picture of what it is to live in inner-Melbourne.

I will admit right now that I don’t know that much about art. I’m very much of the view that if I enjoy looking at it, it’s a winner. Of course, making this admission would probably mean that the main characters of Max, Edward, Sally and Gertrude would probably want nothing to do with me.

At times I did find that my lack of art knowledge meant that I needed to do a little research throughout this book to keep up. However, educational as it was, as I never knew about the art heist of the ‘weeping woman’. So that was interesting to learn about.

Tom (our narrator) moves into Cairo the apartment block and is befriended by Max. To put it nicely, Max is a whack-a-doodle. He is fascinating to both Tom and us the reader. He has interesting friends and views. His wife Sally seemed quiet in comparison to him and is Tom’s love interest.

The book moved at a good pace once you got about 60 pages in and had met Max and co., prior to that I was ready to walk away from it.

It has many iconic Melbourne/Aussie items in it and generally the characters are likeable as you begin to get to know them more. Max is the only one that I have mixed emotions about throughout the book. He sleeps around, hits his wife, bullies his friends, kills a person and generally things everything should be his way. Towards the end I wanted Tom to work out this man was not a good man. Which he does and he tries to show Sally the truth too. However, she’s too far gone.


My one left over question that I would like confirmed is …. Is Sally’s baby fathered by Tom???

My rating 3/5.



‘Fighting Dirty’ by Lori Foster (Ultimate #4)

fighting dirtyWoohoo… Armie and Rissy. Finally!

Ever since meeting Armie in the first Ultimate book I just wanted to find out what would happen to him. Out of everyone I needed him to have his happy ever after.

Lori Foster did not disappoint me.

Armie has been so important in all the other books. He’s kind hearted and full of love and yet you know that with the excessive man-whoring he is hiding something and he is hurting BIG time. Lori Foster does not shy away from giving us an alpha male that has emotional baggage and I love that. They are tough and manly but the moment they fall they fall hard.

I feel like I never really got to know Rissy in the other books that much. However, I found in this book we got to know a lot more about her and what she was like AND out of all the leading ladies, she’s probably my favourite. She’s tough and has a lot of respect for herself and she doesn’t let Armie push her around (too much).

One of my favourite parts was when all the ladies went ‘shopping’ at the video store. I could totally imagine that scene playing out in real life and I got a good chuckle out of it.

I feel like this book left all the main characters in a spot and I can leave them knowing they are all where they need to be. Of course I would love to know about Armie and Rissy’s wedding and the babies… but I’m assuming I will get little bits in the Body Armour series. Here’s hoping.

Thank you Lori Foster…. this series got me out of my reading slump and has inspired me to begin again on my TBR pile.

My rating 4/5.



‘Tough Love’ by Lori Foster (Ultimate #3)

tough loveHmm….I felt like this third book was a bridging book to the fourth one. The one we are all waiting for!

This third book focuses around Stack and Vanity and it was almost a huge sigh of relief when they finally got it on.

I mean seriously how many things can happen to a couple before they get to have “the sex”. The drawn out story in this part was a little painful and frustrating to read. No doubt it would have been for the characters too… hahaha…..

I didn’t hate this story and I enjoyed reading it. However, I struggled to really love either of the main characters and I came to really cherish the little bits that we were getting of Armie and Rissy.

Look out Book 4 – I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

My rating 3/5.



‘Holding Strong’ (Ultimate #2) by Lori Foster

holding strongSecond book in the Ultimate series and wow it hit it’s stride a lot earlier than the first book. Wham, Bam! Within the first couple of chapters we had quite the steamy scene and I appreciated that.

However, If Denver said ‘girl’ one more time I was seriously going to throttle him. How degrading and just rude to Cherry. It got on my nerves so badly. There were times when I wished Cherry held her ground on this a bit more. I know he’s a big handsome man but have a bit of respect for yourself.

And yes I’m aware that my complaining is ironic as i’m reading a romance with an alpha male and that is how it is. But there is no crime in having a female character that is in love AND has self respect.

Any who… apart from that minor issue I really enjoyed this story. It seemed to move a lot quicker than the last story and I think because I had already been introduced to the guys I could just enjoy their antics a bit more.

Both Denver and Cherry were likeable characters. I found Denver to be pushy but with good intentions. Cherry at times annoyed me and I think it was the lack of self respect she had. Not sure if that is a consequence of her upbringing.

I’m hanging to read the story about Armie. More than anything I need him to find ‘happy’. He and Cannon are great characters and I find myself wanting more of them.

All in all, I’ll keep reading, if only to get to Armie’s story.

My rating 4//5.


‘No Limits’ (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

no limits - lori fosterI seem to have acquired a taste for reading books about sexy alpha MMA fighters.

What’s the appeal i hear you ask and i’ll tell you…. they sound hot and rough but in a gentle way and they seem like big loving dudes. What isn’t to love about that?!

It would be safe to say that Lori Foster can write a decent story about them and that I will be devouring every one of the books in this series.

This first book is set around Cannon and Yvette. They’ve known each other for a while and they both are carrying massive lust for the other. However, Cannon never acted on it 3 years prior when he saved Yvette from some nasty dudes.

They have both been left the estate of her late grandfather and this leads to them living together and the lust begins to build.

I find that Lori Foster has a gift for creating sexual tension between her characters and it’s saucy. However, “the big bang” scenes are limited and perhaps a little disappointing after all the tension that has been there. Of course i can live with this!

Cannon is a good character and seems like someone you would want to be friends with and you can see where he gets the name “Saint” from. All his friends are MMA fighters and seem like gentle giants.

Yvette did not inspire me. Yes, I get that she was trying to prove she wasn’t a victim anymore but at times she was painful. I really wanted to tell her “snap out of it. He’s hot! go for it.” There was a lot of focus on this idea that she couldn’t orgasm because she wasn’t with the right person. Of course, Cannon fixes that, but I found this aspect of the story a little odd.

Lori Foster certainly uses this book to build the tension between numerous characters and you can see that these will be the future books. But I’m keen to read on and find out how they all meet their matches.

My obsession with hot MMA fighters continues.

My Rating 4/5.


‘Burnout’ (Legal Heat #2.5) By Sarah Castille

burnoutAahhhh… yes, hot motorcycle men… I remember this world. It’s taken me over a year to realise there was a 3rd book to this series. Shame on me.

However long the length of time between books it hardly matters as Sarah Castille is certainly someone I enjoy to read. She writes her men alpha hot with a protective steak and a soft creamy centre. Her women are strong, independent and can stand on their own 2 feet. I like that a lot.

This book is a little after book 2 and the Rogue Riders who were just an idea in the second book are now a fully fledged motorcycle gang. I liked this look into where they had ended up. It felt like coming home to good friends.

Ace and Sophie are the main characters and both are fantastic examples of Sarah’s writing. Ace is the ‘sergeant at arms’ at the club and Sophie is a police officer and together they need to find Sophie’s brother.

I liked that both were a little damaged and yet together they felt like they had come ‘home’. I especially enjoyed Ace. He took the leap and changed his life so that he could be with Sophie and help her with her dreams. What’s not to like about that?

It was nice to check in with Ice, Ryder, Lana, Jackie and of course Kickstand. I was disappointed to see Jackie hadn’t met her Happily Ever After in Viking Dan.

Not sure if this is the end of this series, but I would be happy to read more of these guys.

This would 100% be one of those books I would read again if I needed something light and fluffy to take my mind of life.

My rating 4/5.


The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series #1 – 3.5 by Lisa Renee Jones

amy bensenI picked up the first book in this series at the local library. The sticker the librarians had place on it was “Adult erotica” and I thought golly you don’t see that often in a public library.

Upon reading the first book, i was struck with the notion that if this is what the library classed as erotic then “fifty shades of grey” would potentially make their hair go grey and their toes curl. hahaha….

Fair warning there are a few steamy scenes in all these books but nothing too scandalous.

The series follows Amy Bensen who has been on the run for the last 6 years. For what we are unsure just that she doesn’t trust easily. Enter stage left, Liam Stone. He’s a billionaire and upon first sight he must have Amy for himself. The series follows them as they tackle the mystery of Amy and why she is in hiding and more importantly will she ever be safe.

I enjoyed the first book (Escaping Reality) a lot. the story was set up well and I was enjoying getting to see the dynamic of all the characters. Towards the end of the first book i think Lisa realised she need to move things along and for a reason I’m unsure of things began to speed up.

The second book (Infinite Possibilities) felt like it never truly slowed down and at times I needed to re-read things to 100% understand what had happened. I didn’t really love this one in the series. This book felt like the weakest in the set.

Book 3 (Forsaken) was probably my favourite. It focuses on Amy’s brother; Chad. I liked Chad a lot. Probably because he’s the bad boy to Liam’s ‘prince charming’. This book focuses more on why they are running and how things happened. This felt like it filled in some of the gaps. However it was still too fast for me.

I found it hard to believe that something the size of a pencil eraser was going to produce enough clean energy for the whole world. But i’m an accountant so what would I know.

Book 3.5 – Unbroken finishes the whole thing off and brings it to a conclusion.

I enjoyed reading this whole series and that is evident in the fact that i read them all within one week. Adult erotica they are not by they are a nice easy read with a good mix of adventure, danger, love and the all essential naughty scenes.

My rating for this series is 3/5.


‘It Ends with Us’ by Colleen Hoover

it ends with usThere is nothing scarier then when a friend recommends a book to you. Book recommendations speak volumes about the person and you never want to tell your friend that you didn’t enjoy a book they loved.

So with that in mind, I was a little nervous when this book was suggested as my next read.

But, wow! I loved the shit out of this book and if it had have been up to me I would have stayed home from work to finish it. That’s how good it was.

We meet Lily and Ryle at the beginning and they are both solid characters and you do love both of them. Lily is a bit more complex, as she is dealing with the death of her abusive father and so she is reading old journal entries and of course her first love is in them. Atlas.

As Ryle and Lily’s relationship blossoms (pardon the pun), we find out Atlas is in Boston with them.

Oh no, love triangle ahead….

Alas, no….. Colleen Hoover is smarter than that. She creates a story for these 3 characters that makes you question what is right and wrong and what you would do in their situations. (i’m trying to avoid spoilers). This is a sign of a good writer. Someone who can make your emotions swing backwards and forwards. The story is well written and at times you almost feel like you can feel their pain.

On a lighter note, there are a lot of references to Ellen Degeneres and Finding Nemo. I actually really liked that. It added a lighter side to an otherwise darker story.

Just Keep Swimming.

Put simply, this book was great and I will not hesitate to take future recommendations from this friend or to read other books from Colleen.

My Rating 5/5.