Sunday, 30 November 2014

Exciting News + The Book Den's Facebook Group

Hello Lovely Readers!
This is just a quick post to let you know about some new changes I’ve made to the blog, and some of the upcoming exciting things that will be happening over the next few weeks and months. 

Facebook Group:
We’ve been having some glitches with the contact pages and the blog layout itself is reasonably restrictive in terms of what you can post. So that I am able to make the blog as exciting, engaging and interactive as possible, I’ve created a private Facebook group just for you! 

This is where we’ll hold competitions and giveaways and it’s also the best way for you to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I’m very open to constructive criticism so if there are any problems with the blog, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m also open to hearing from readers, authors and publishers regarding books that they would like to have reviewed (this is something I’ll talk about a little more below). Please understand that I’m open to reading all kinds of books, but I will always post an honest, but polite, review. While you’re able to contact me directly, you should also still feel free to comment on the blog posts whenever you like, just remember to keep it civil!

You can find the group here  or by searching "The Book Den: Book Reviews" on Facebook. 

Each month I’ll add up different posts specific to the blog, but this group is for you so feel free to add content that you find enjoyable and exciting. There are only two rules: 
Rule 1: keep things civil and polite. Rudeness, bullying and bad behaviour will not be tolerated.  
Rule 2: try to keep posts related to romance/erotica/fiction type areas. Feel free to post photos, especially of real-life people you think would fit characters from your favourite books, snippets , suggestions for books you’d like to be reviewed or posts about books you’ve read and loved. Join in, add your friends, be creative and have fun! 

New and Exciting Things!
Now for the new and exciting things! I’m planning to make a couple of exciting changes to the content of the blog, to make it a little more dynamic and interesting. You can read a little more about those changes below, and feedback is always welcome! 

Author Spotlight Week
I had a great time with the Inaugural Author Spotlight Week here on the blog and had some great feedback from it too. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I plan to do an Author Spotlight Week about once a month and I want to make it as exciting and fun as possible. To that end, I would love to select the author from a list of authors suggested by readers. Of course, if an author would like to be chosen they’re more than welcome to nominate themselves too (or publishers are welcome to nominate authors as well).
I want to keep these posts fun and dynamic, so I’ll be doing reviews of their work, maybe cover reveals or snippets, interviews if the authors wish to do that and giveaways. Suggestions on how to make these posts exciting and interest are very welcome! Author Spotlight Week will be run jointly between the blog and the Facebook group. 

Reader Appreciation
We’re a very small blog but our page views grow a little each week. I love the support the blog has received and I hope that people love reading it as much as I love writing it! To show my appreciation for readers, I’ll be putting up one post a month that will stay open the entire month, where readers can post book suggestions, mini-reviews, post photos of sexy book-boyfriends or favourite snippets from books or even ask for book requests. You can post sound-tracks for books or really anything you like that it is related to the wonderful world of books! This post is all about you; the only requirement is that it stay civil and fun. Fighting or rude comments won’t be tolerated. Each month one commenter will win a surprise giveaway! Readers of all kinds (authors, publishers too!) are welcome to post comments, but publishers won’t be eligible for the giveaway.

Book Review Suggestions
I’ve been reviewing books for most of my adult life. I found that, particularly on purchasing website, the atmosphere can be a little toxic for reviewers which is one of the many reasons I started this blog. One of the other major reasons I started this blog is to introduce new readers to fabulous books and authors. I have a selection of authors I LOVE to read and I’m certainly attracted to certain styles of writing. I don’t want this blog to become stagnant or boring, so I would love it if readers (or authors, or publishers) would suggest new books and authors to read and review. That way, you’ll get snippets from authors you know and love, but you’ll also get a peek at a much more exciting range of books and authors. 

Guest Posts
I read every day and I would love to be putting out book reviews every single day too! But I’m a full time student and, especially around peak-assessment times, I don’t always have time to post regularly. I want this blog to stay as consistent as possible, so that fresh material is added regularly, so if you have a book review or something relevant that you’d like to post please feel free to contact me so that we can have a chat about it. I’m completely open to hearing from other reviewers (professional or not), readers or authors.
So that’s all from me today. Thank you for stopping by and reading and if you have any suggestions, questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Best Wishes,

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Gift Wrapped by Karla Doyle + A Sexy Snippet

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Gift Wrapped from Karla Doyle as part of her release day blitz, but I also purchased a copy of the book (it’s that good!). As always all opinions and recommendations shown here are my own. 

Book Blurb:
After catching her boyfriend cheating two weeks before Christmas, Brinn is seriously lacking in holiday spirit. So when she looks into the eyes of a last-minute shopper after closing on Christmas Eve, she’s sarcastic rather than sympathetic. But Brinn is ever the good girl and her conscience wins out. She offers the handsome stranger ten minutes to select a gift and ends up with a present of her own—a date. On Christmas Eve.

Davis hates Christmas. Especially this year, since a neighborhood heist liberated him of his hard-earned belongings and the few gifts he’d purchased. But the robbery led him to a cute store manager with a sense of humor, smokin’ body and no plans for the evening. Mistletoe might be in order after all.
Their Christmas Eve date is like gift-wrapped, sexy satisfaction. But the best gifts keep on giving, and one naughty night may not be enough—for either of them.

Book Review:
I’m a huge fan of Christmas-themed romances, and I’m also a huge fan of Karla Doyle’s work, so Gift Wrapped had quite a legacy to live up to. I was hoping for a light, fun and sexy story but what I got was so much more than that. Gift Wrapped is a super sexy, slightly kinky story that was incredibly fun but also had some serious depth and fantastic plot points. I guarantee, even if you hate Christmas stories (one of the characters is very anti-Christmas so you two will get along great!), Gift Wrapped will jingle all your bells. Yeah I went there, it was an opportunity too good to miss!

So often, romance features conventionally attractive people with jobs that most people salivate over. One of the many things I love about Karla Doyle is that she writes characters that are so real they could be people you know. But they’re characters you don’t ordinarily see in standard romances.  She’s had a red-headed hero, a heroine who photographs erotic scenes, a very complicated threesome with a teacher, a tattooed labourer and a businessman, and now, with the smokin’ hot Davis Rourke, she’s featured a hero who is huge and bald, and Brinn, a retail manager who is kind of short, kind of curvy, kind of snarky, but also sexy and cute, which I’m completely delighted by! They’re not convention, but together they are so sweet, so sexy and so incredibly real that you can’t help but to fall in love with them. 

 Davis is a complicated guy. He comes from a long-line of stuffy people with sticks up their butts (not literally, of course).  Growing up, his family didn’t do fun, they didn’t do delightful Christmas celebrations or silly things and while he’s bucking family tradition, those years of un-funness coloured his world and made him kind of a Grinch. He’s a head chef at a great, but not top-tier, restaurant and he does some really amazing things with food throughout the book. I adored Davis! Everything about him is so real and organic and I can picture a guy just like him acting just the way he does. I loved that he was kind of grouchy about the whole Christmas thing and that he’s wary of getting involved with women long-term because he’s dealt with a whole bucket of crazy in the past. But he’s hilarious, he’s protective and sweet and so, so cute with Brinn and as his roughness slowly melts, your heart will too. On top of all that goodness, he also has a penchant for very hot, unconventional (read: kinky and sexy but not whips and chains kinky) sex that is so hot it’s likely to light your Christmas tree on fire.

Brinn, our sassy heroine, is incredible! She’s the kind of woman I want to be friends with because in spite of having copious amounts of crappy relationships, she’s still forging ahead and making her life as fabulous as she can. She’s stubborn, she knows what she wants and she’s kind of snarky. She’s bright and funny and has a love of Christmas that is infectious, but it’s balanced with her wariness over letting another man dictate her life choices. She’s hopeful and sassy and incredibly sweet but she more than matches up with Davis’ dark and kinky side. I loved her interactions with her family, watching them all together way heart-warming. I also loved the choices she made, they were realistic and I could see myself making the same choices in similar circumstances, though there was a scene in Chapter Eleven that broke my heart and made me want to smack her upside the head. They fit so well together and they way they sort of melt into each other’s life is adorable and heart-meltingly sweet. 

Karla Doyle has done a great job balancing these characters’s personality attributes so that they come across as achingly real but also, not too silly and bubbly and not too grouchy and wary. The character progression feels organic and natural and completely makes sense and the plot flows beautifully around these two characters. The story happens in a relatively short period of time, but it doesn’t feel too short, and a lot happens within the 13 chapters to make it a wild ride you’ll want to sink into and never come out.
The dialogue is on-point, realistic and each character has a very unique voice. It can be tricky for female writers to convincingly write gruff, sexy masculine dialogue but Karla Doyle completely nailed it! The background characters are rich and inviting, and I definitely want to know more about Brinn’s brother. The plot, as I mentioned above, is realistic and flows so organically that it’s very easy to lose yourself in the book. There are enough plot points to keep you hooked and none of them come across as silly or contrived and they all flow together well. 

Now, I’m going to be honest with you here…I absolutely loved this book but I have one teeny tiny complaint that is completely personal and has nothing to do with the brilliance of the book. And that complaint is that Brinn went home with Davis the first time she met him, without knowing anything about him except that he was a seriously sexy guy and his flirting was practically smoking up the pages. Within the book it felt organic and natural but it tweaked all of my Girl Safety 101 triggers. But to be honest with you, if I was faced with a real-life Davis, I probably would have gone home with him too…especially if it involved pudding! 

Overall, this book is absolutely fabulous. It’s endearing and sweet, smokin’hot, kinky and sexy, it’s light and fun but still tackles some pretty deep concepts and issues, it’s fast and snappy but flows so well that you’ll sink into it and never want to come back out. The dialogue is phenomenal, the characters are incredible and the plot is organic and natural and I guarantee you, it will jingle all your bells AND light up your Christmas tree. 

Purchasing Information and Social Links
Gift Wrapped is available from a bunch of online retailers, so there’s bound to be one that tickles your fancy, and you can find all the purchasing information here:
If you’ve read Gift Wrapped and loved it, I recommend all of Karla Doyle’s books and there are plenty of ways to keep up to date on Karla Doyle's other upcoming work below: 
Karla’s Website:

Thursday, 13 November 2014

One In A Million by Jill Shalvis

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of One in a Million from NetGalley under the condition that I give a completely honest review of the book on my blog and Amazon. I received no compensation for my review.  All opinions and recommendations here are my own.

Book Blurb:
As the brains behind wedding site, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It’s that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she’s sworn off love . . .
Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past-and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he’s still paying for his own mistakes? It’s hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there’s something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she-and his son-deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?

A Comment on the Last Trio
I’ve never been one to play favourites with books, it feels like picking a favourite child…or cookie, and that’s just plain wrong! But I have to admit, this last trio of books from the Lucky Harbour series are quite possibly some of my favourite books of all time. This is in part due to the incredibly sexy, loveable, complex alpha males that grace the pages of these books. But in this case, I think it has to do with the women. This last trio of heroines are incredible. They’re real, they’re relatable, they’re passionate, they’re scared and a little bit damaged but in ways that make you want them to win in all the best ways possible. They’re strong, endearing, and hilarious and they’ve fought for their little piece of Lucky Harbour heaven. They’re the kind of women I want to know, and they’re the most captivating part of each of these stories. Though, the delicious sex scenes are pretty damn captivating too. 

Book Review:
One In A Million had a lot to live up to. It’s the last book in the beloved Lucky Harbour Series by Jill Shalvis and it followed 11 phenomenally terrific books. And I can tell you now, Tanner and Callie are one amazingly adorable, smokin’ hot, goofy couple that will make you want to go awww. 

I fell in love with Tanner in It’s In His Kiss. You don’t see him much, but what you do see of him is a little dark and a little teasing. He’s drop dead sexy, he’s funny, he’s a guy who does everything he can for the people he loves and his relationship with his mother made my heart swell. But it was the care he took with Callie, the fact that he always had her back, the way he teased her and obviously found her completely adorable even when she showed up to a busy bakery in yoga pants and fake uggs (who hasn’t been there before?!) and the sheer love he had for his son, the fact that he was willing to put up with all that irritating teenage angst and attitude and the copious amounts of muttering that really won me over. 

But Callie…she stole the show. She’s the kind of woman every woman can relate to. She trips over her own feet, she chokes on donuts when confronted with the sheer sexy that is Tanner, she forgets to wear real pants while seeking out fortification that only caffeine can provide, and  in the wake of something awful and heart breaking that happened to her, she picked herself up and made a real, solid life for herself. She embraced her inner nerd, she moved back to a town that held bad memories for her just so she could help her Gramma, and she handles ridiculous bridal demands with calm, sassy efficiency while wearing her slippers. She was so incredibly real, so funny and so many kinds of adorable it’s hard to count them all. She’s strong, and while the past still impacts her, she’s risen above it to make a wonderful life for herself. She’s warm, kind and the kind of person you want to be friends with. 

The dialogue, as always, is spot on. Each character has a unique voice and even the background characters are well developed and rich. Lucky Harbour is a world you could sink into and never want to leave. Callie is spunky and hilarious and Tanner is teasing and a little sarcastic. 

The sex scenes are both sweet and sexy, with a whole lot of sizzle. The plot is fantastic and develops so naturally that you just sort of sink into it and it’s so delightful it was impossible to put down! 

One in a Million was a little heart breaking, what with being the last of the Lucky Harbour books, but it’s endearing, it’s funny, it’s heart warming, it’s ridiculously sexy and I was rooting for them the whole time. I frequently wanted to smack them both upside the head (though, that happened more with Tanner because the man could be so damn obtuse!) but they’re so freaking perfect together. Watching the relationship between Tanner and his son blossom and grow was a beautiful thing, but watching Callie grow strong on every page was just as heart warming. Reading along as two people who had given up on love found happiness was glorious and rewarding and wonderful. One in a Million is an absolutely terrific end to the Lucky Harbour Series and it will melt your heart (and possibly other parts of you too!)