The Whole Package by Marie Harte

Always the caretaker, former Marine Reid Griffith wants to help his brother adjust to civilian life...and help other former servicemen. What better way to utilize their brawn, discipline, and charm than a moving company that hires veterans? But although Reid prides himself on being strategic, he certainly doesn't plan to fall in the spotlight of one brilliant—and beautiful—PR whiz..

PR expert Naomi Starr is determined to bring Vets on the Go! into the spotlight. But when she meets Reid, it might mean breaking her rule to never mix business with pleasure. Especially once she discovers that underneath Reid's sexy rough-and-tumble exterior is a vulnerable man who just might need what she's got to give.

Title: The Whole Package
Author: Marie Harte
Series: Moving' On
Pages: 352
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: /


Marie Harte seems to be an author who writes a lot of different genres - contemporary, historical, menage, fantasy etc etc. Despite this, I’m pretty sure that this is the first of her books that I’ve read.

Sadly, this book didn’t inspire me to delve into her back catalogue. It really was missing something for me - and I’m sorry to say that I think that the something might be a plot.

The premise sounds fun and quirky - the main reason I picked up this book was because I love a contemporary romance that adds something a little different into the mix. A bunch of hot (obviously) veterans starting their own moving business? Yes, please! But almost from the very first, this book didn’t live up to my expectations.

I didn’t mind Naomi but she didn’t really inspire any great feelings in me - good or bad. But at least she was better than poor Reid who just seemed to blend into the wallpaper. His brother, Cash, was a bit more developed as a character but I really, really didn’t like him. I like a bad boy - especially one with a dirty mouth - but good God, that man needed to sit down and shut up. There were also a slew of other characters popping up all over the place but they were very one-dimensional and I neither cared for them nor really understood their relevance to the story.

But the main thing was that nothing really happened. Two people met, liked each other, got together, had a misunderstanding, overcame that misunderstanding, and lived happily ever after. I was waiting for something - anything - more. Yet despite the simple plot, the book seemed to go on for a long time. Other reviewers have called this a ‘slow burner’ so perhaps I’m just a little less patient than them.

There were times - a lot of times - in the book where I think Naomi was supposed to come across as a strong, independent female. Instead, she came across as an immature and hugely insecure girl. And even if that message had come across, Reid and Cash - and at times just the general dialogue - were misogynistic at worst - ignorant and tactless at best. It was creepy and left me with a grimace on my face as I read - never a good sign.

So, this book didn’t inspire any great feelings in me. Despite the things I disliked, I imagine that the book will fall easily from my mind in the coming days and weeks. Which means that I won’t be averse to picking up other books by Marie Harte in the future. This one’s not for me, but give it a go if you’re a fan, as I do note that there are many people who have very much enjoyed this story. 2 stars from me.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Movin' On Series:

Out of Time by Monica McCarty

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace—they are The Lost Platoon.

With his men scattered to all corners of the globe after a disastrous secret op in Russia, Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor is trying to find out who was responsible for leaking the information that killed half his platoon. Were it not for Natalie Andersson, the woman he'd been secretly dating in the Pentagon who'd warned him of the danger, he knows they'd all be dead. Scott is devastated when he hears that the woman he loved and hoped to marry has been killed for helping him—until he learns that Natalie was the spy who betrayed them. But when his search to clear his name brings him face-to-face with a very much alive Natalie, Scott realizes that justice and vengeance might not be as clear-cut as he thought.

Natalie Andersson, or as she was born Natalya Petrova, has put the memories of her early childhood in Russia behind her. She never dreamed that she would be at the center of an elaborate "sleeper" espionage program. Even when she learns the truth, she refuses to spy for the country of her birth, until the Russians threaten the lives of the only family she's ever known. But Natalie is the worst spy in the history of spying, falling for her target. When her attempt at misdirection leads to irreversible consequences, she's forced to run for her life, with her lover hot on her tail.

Title: Out of Time
Author: Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon
Pages: 384
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, US
Hot Buttons: /


Before I start to wax lyrical about this fantastic book - let me first say that this is the third book in the Lost Platoon series. It does stand alone but had I read the other books before this one, I would have been a bit more up to speed with who the supporting characters were and what the general background of the whats and whys of the mission of SEAL team nine. I’m assuming these stories fit in nicely to the timeline of this one and characters from those books (Going Dark and Off the Grid) make very minor appearances in this one. Except Kate and Colt - but more on them later.

This story features Scott and Natalie and I just couldn’t have loved them more. Despite the assassins, spies, and general death and destruction - their’s is the kind of relationship that I want!! Scott is a by the book, very alpha, very capable navy SEAL. And, obviously, he’s gorgeous to boot. His job is his life…until he meets and falls in love with Natalie. From there, he’s still all about the mission - but he can’t get Natalie out of his head or heart - even when she’s outed as a Russian spy. Natalie was a really relatable character (Russian spy business aside). She was fun, feisty and her emotions were always right there for us to see. She’s the kind of girl I would want as a friend. Her and Scott together - oooft - it was intense! Lots of tension, lots of smouldering and, when we finally get to it, lots of deliciously enthusiastic sex. The emotion fairly smoked off the pages as you read. Yum!

The story was fairly simple and while there was some ‘wonderings’ of who was doing what to whom, the author didn’t use confusion or a smoke-screen in order to tell her story and make it suspenseful and gripping. The writing was fresh and clever with the romance, suspense and action all managing to take centre-stage yet not over shadow each other. For me, the most telling thing about this book was that I fair devoured it. I couldn’t stop the pages from turning and I even found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading. Who needs to think about anything else than reading anyway?

As a bonus, we get another second chance love story included with this book. I’m assuming that Kate and Colt popped up in the earlier Lost Platoon books - we certainly hear that there’s been some  more recent history between this ex-husband and ex-wife. And their story gets its resolution in this book. If I wasn’t already in love with the book because of Scott and Natalie - I certainly was after Kate and Colt. Their story was almost heartbreaking in its intensity. Everything that had gone on between the pair seemed almost insurmountable except that they truly did love each other and want it to work. This could have been a full-length novel in and of itself so I was delighted to have it included with the main story.

Out of Time is a gripping and intense story with interesting and relatable characters - highly recommended. I’m now off to buy and read the first two books in the series and keeping my fingers crossed that there are will be more from the Lost Platoon. 5 stars.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Lost Platoon Series:

COVER REVEAL: Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart...

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

Title: Ruthless King
Author: Maya Hughes
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse
Pages: tbc
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: tbc


Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! :-) I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.

I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.








There is a giveaway for two (2) paperback ARCs of Ruthless King and five (5) eARCs of Shameless King 
(7 winners total, open internationally) 


Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker

A jilted blind date turns into an unexpected chance meeting for Cordi, but when she runs into the same, handsome stranger at her friend's Christmas party, all bets are off.

A sweet, holiday romance full of hope, wonder, and holiday cheer. Follow Cordi as she learns to believe in Christmas miracles when a chance meeting turns into something more.

Includes a Spotify holiday playlist to accompany the story.

Title: Mistletoe and Fire Glow
Author: Nicole R. Locker
Series: /
Pages: 28
Genre(s): Contemporary, Christmas, US
Hot Buttons: /


This is a short and sweet tale about a blind date gone wrong - or maybe just right.

I loved Cordi - she was so relatable and I rooted for her from the start. Russ was the same - the handsome stranger who can take a girl’s breath away when he walks into a diner for pie. And he appreciates her appetite for said pie. Where can I get my very own Russ?

The story was fun, the writing was fresh and I really got a festive glow from reading the beginning of the romance between Cordi and Russ. I even found myself laughing out loud on a couple of occasions - always a bonus.

We get a spotify playlist to go along with the story - basically songs are name checked at different parts of the story. It’s a fun wee trick that just amps up the Christmas feelings.

The only reason I didn’t award the story 5 stars was because the head hopping between characters mid-paragraph did cause me some confusion at times.

Overall a great, festive story that will leave you with a smile on your face. And it will only take you 20 minutes or so to read. I very much enjoyed it.


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Love & Chocolate by Gail Cleare

When Sarah Westwood’s deadbeat husband deserts her and their young son, she takes a job at her family’s restaurant, The Three Chocolatiers, working with her famous chef grandfather and her pastry chef cousin, Paisley. Determined to never fall for the wrong guy again, Sarah vows to stick to chocolate and steer clear of men, especially her delicious ice-cream supplier, Blake Harrison. But when Paisley signs her up for a dating site, Sarah is soon engaging in a sexy online flirtation with a stranger.

Blake Harrison wants nothing more than for Sarah to give him a chance, but all she’ll give him is the cold shoulder. Never one to run from a challenge, he works on becoming the kind of man Sarah can’t refuse. And since he just happens to be on the same dating site, he’s not above using a little cyber-intel to worm his way into her heart.

When Sarah’s grandfather collapses just weeks before an upscale chocolate-themed wedding that could make or break the business, the staff of The Three Chocolatiers is sent into a tailspin. With the pressure rising on personal and professional fronts, Sarah might just have to let someone sweet melt her defenses.

Includes four recipes from The Three Chocolatiers Cookbook.

Title: Love & Chocolate
Author: Gail Cleare
Series: /
Pages: 217
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: /


I’m a huge fan of chocolate and a huge fan of romance - it would be like Sophie’s choice if I had to pick between the two! - so I was a little surprised when I just didn’t take to this book. I tried really hard to get into it but it was obviously just not meant for me.

We start off well enough with Sarah and Blake and their obvious attraction for each other. The author does a very good job of setting the scene and painting a picture for the reader. But…that’s also the first negative that I found. We are given so much detail - down to the very minutiae of what’s going on at any one time (the crinkle of the packet for the dog’s biscuits, the smell of them, the slobber on the dogs chops etc) - that it lost some of the sparkle and I felt went off every which way just to build a complete picture.

Then came the online chats between CocoLvr and HotNCold. And I could not cringe any harder. I actually could barely read them it was so embarrassing. It was like reading your mum and dad attempting to sext each other. *Shudders* And having dated online myself, I can tell you right now that if anyone writes ‘how r u’ or ‘c u l8r’ etc etc - you shouldn’t have sex with them. And, for that matter, if someone messages you and the very first thing they say to you is ‘want to cyber(sex)?’ the answer should also be a resounding no. Have some standards, people. Good grief.

And after all that we don’t even get any good stuff when they get down to the (real-life) dirty deed. The door is closed. And locked. The front door is guarded by a snarling dog and the moat is filled. We got nothing. It might have saved the book for me - it might not. I guess we’ll never know.

Finally in my list of grievances, we have the story itself. Sarah and Blake like each other at the beginning of the book. So there’s very little story to tell. Oh sure, we’ve got Sarah’s grandfather’s heart attack (which happens so early in the book that I wasn’t emotionally connected enough to care about) and the running of the chocolate restaurant (which I don’t believe could have lasted 1 month the way it was described as being run) but this is supposed to be a romance and there just wasn’t enough there, in my opinion, to make this a decent story. And if the roles were reversed, and it was Blake who slept with Sarah then ignored her for 2 weeks, and then jumped to conclusions when he saw her with another man and called her choice names - I don’t think that would have gone down so well. And I’m not game for that kind of double standard.

There were also some confusing parts where I’m not sure if Blake (and his brother at times) were being misogynistic, if they were being funny or I was just overly sensitive. Just things like ‘she should have fallen for me by now - I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do’, ‘go to the bathroom and do the things you females do’, ‘Most women seemed interested in him - Sarah’s reaction was illogical’ — just language and actions that made me uncomfortable for some reason - especially in  a book (presumably) written recently.

Despite not really enjoying the story, I had to give the book 2 stars rather than 1, because I did get to the end - even if I was skimming through chunks here and there.

This book just didn’t hit the right mark with me, I’m afraid. Having looked at other reviews, it would seem that I’m very much in the minority - so if the you love chocolate, and the premise of the story hits the spot - then I would still recommend you give this a go. But still only 2 stars from me.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

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