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Love is What You Bake of it (The Meraki Series Book 1) by Effie Kammenou – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Love is What You Bake of itLove is What You Bake of it by Effie Kammenou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kally Andarakis is a greek woman with a plan, she has her dog, her best friend, her cafe and her family and doesn’t need anything else, but it hasn’t always been that way, eight years before, she took a risk on a man who was the complete opposite of what her family wanted for her, mysterious, long haired and tattooed who drove a motorcycle, but when tragedy struck and he died, she discovered something which would shatter her trust in men and it broke her heart completely.

Today is her sister’s name day and Kally has a family meal and celebrates it at her childhood home in Port Jefferson, so she quickly stops in at home to change and take her dog for a quick walk before she heads over there. As usual there is plenty of food, drinks and love, her family is a close one, albeit a bit stifling at times and with some old fashioned greek ideals to boot, but she wouldn’t change them for the world. In her day to day life, when not attending family events, Kally has a routine she has perfected, in the morning she gives her dog a quick walk, then heads to work to begin baking pastries, scones and cakes for her customers, so headphones in and music on, she dances round her kitchen until the rest of her team show up to start their day, then she greets her regulars and chats with the other customers as she prepares their orders, however, today is not like any other when she finds a license plate outside her shop and so she picks it up and resolves to call the police about it when she gets a chance. When an officer shows up to collect the license plate, the cafe is busy and so she grabs it and turns to see which of the local officers had arrived, however, this one she has never seen before and he doesn’t quite fit the description of one, he is gorgeous and she is tongue tied, however, her ever present and man-crazy best friend thankfully takes the lead and makes the small talk. While he is talking Kally notices that although he complements the establishment, she is taken aback a little at the fact that he didn’t introduce himself, but her friend says his name is Max, according to his name badge, but she doesn’t need a man and he is definitely not the one for her, despite what her coworkers think.

The next day, life carries on as normal, however, Kally cannot get Max out of her head, so she bakes to take her mind off him and when her team come in it helps even more, however, when he comes back in to give her an update on the license plate, his interest in her baked goods, followed by an insult to her scones, she doesn’t know how to take his mercurial mood swings. After the cafe closes, her favourite book club arrives and talk diverts to a more steady topic as they discuss the months book and eat the sweet treats accompanying it, however, when a friend of the family tries to set her up with her nephew, Kally is less than impressed, but agrees to meet him if they run into each other at church. Meanwhile Max cannot get Kally out of his mind either and decides to come up with a way to see her again, even if it isn’t in his\best interest, he can’t afford to be distracted from the new life he is creating since moving back home and away from the disaster of his past. After church, he meets up with his daughter, his sister in law and her son and takes them to Kally’s cafe, Kally is happy to see Max and when he introduces the two kids with him, she is happy as well, they are lovely and the little girl worms her way into her heart, but when a beautiful woman joins them at the table nothing else quite goes to plan and she backs away thinking that it was too good to be true after all. When the group is ready to leave, Max stays behind to talk to Kally, he loves how she was with his daughter and feels like things are going well. However, when he bumps into her the next day, he cannot understand why Kally has suddenly lost the warmth she had when she looks at him and talks to him, although when he discusses it with a coworker later on, he realises the reason and is determined to clear up the misunderstanding.

Will Kally listen to Max, let him clear the air and take a chance on him, or will she hold back her heart behind the walls she has erected over time? This is a romance where the past affects the present in more ways than one as experiences are discussed, truths are revealed and hearts are thrown around on a rollercoaster ride, but can a family mystery from the past help two hearts to find each other? Only reading to the end can tell you.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Myths & Legends: An Indie Love Anthology – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Myths & LegendsMyths & Legends by Laura Greenwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book contains tales of romance where nothing is simple and everything is fantastical.

Mistress Of Sky And Stars is all about Nut and Geb, they have a forbidden love and when their secret is revealed, it is a race against time for a god and a goddess to enable the birth of their children, but will they manage in time, or will they be lost forever?

Queens of the Underworld is a lesbian retelling of the story of Persephone and Hades, but the twist is that Hades is the job title of the ruler of half of the Underworld and Maia has just gotten the job, but will the duties and challenges she face be made easier or harder by Persephone who rules the other half?

Frost And Flame is the story of a Phoenix called Carrie who is responsible for ending and rebirthing the world, however, she is special as she has both Fire and Ice within her, but they also carry the risk that she will be consumed by one before she has the chance to use her skills, will she be able to learn how to control both facets of her powers, or will she be have to choose just the one?

In Search Of Ghosts is s story of betrayal, mystery and true love where Alec has just lost his father and all his plans and goals have been derailed by the betrayal accompanying is, so when he decides to try and follow a ghost from his past, will it turn out in sync with his mothers memory, or will it lead to something unexpected, yet unbelievable?

In Cursed To Love is a twist on the typical tale of a hero and their quest, this is the story of one the ones who protect these objects of desire, they are the cursed, each curse is different and in the case of Maya, her curse is one of love and only love can undo it, but until that one person can come along who wants her for her and not the object she protects, she will kill anyone who tries to take it from her. Will this ultimate love story be told in a favourable light, or will death be the only solution?

I Do It For You is another retelling, this time of Robin Hood where Millie had everything her heart desired, the job, the hot boyfriend and the best friend who knew all her secrets, that is until one disaster of a night destroyed it all. When a letter is delivered with information about an uncle she had no idea existed and then she meets Micheal, a bad boy with a secret past. Will this mystery man be able to help her figure out who this uncle was and what the other benefactors mentioned in the letter might do, or will her life continue to crash down around her?

The final story is Dragon’s Heart and the story of dragon mates Geraint and Mary. Geraint is a dragon shifter and member of the Welsh Dragon Guards, a secret military elite who investigate the actions of a group of people hunting mythical creatures, all the while, keeping his home village safe and he has been waiting a long time to find his mate. Mary has had dreams of dragons all her life, but the night of her twenty-first birthday, a mystery man makes an appearance, his name is Geraint and he is hot as hell, but he is just a dream, isn’t he?

This indie romance anthology is filled with fantastical tales with something for everyone and well worth a read to discover something new.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Antipodes by T.S. Simons – Review by Rayne East

AntipodesAntipodes by T.S. Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intriguing, thought-provoking and brilliant. This book had me questioning so much about how long the current world can keep existing. I really connected with the main character and was quickly emotionally vested. The setting (my backyard) was so easily visualised and the messages of survival, sustainable living and inclusion were so craftily interwoven in this dystopian sci-fi based in our own world. This book had me questioning so much, even when I wasn’t reading. There is a lot presented in the pages but being the first book in a series this is expected and by the end it will have you wanting to know even more.

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Murder at Honeybee Lake (Shadow of a Doubt Book 2) by Jessica Aiken-Hall – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Murder at Honeybee Lake (Shadow of a Doubt, #2)Murder at Honeybee Lake by Jessica Aiken-Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book which is only for those over 18 due to the triggers it contains within.

Randy Fletcher is a best selling author of children’s horror novels and is celebrating the anniversary of his boyfriend Ben moving in with him as a couple together in a boat on Honeybee Lake, or at least they were until a knocking sound on the outside of the boat annoys Randy enough that he convinces Ben to have a look, however, when he finds a dead body attached to a rope underneath the dock, their plans are immediately forgotten and the police are called. Randy doesn’t want to believe what he is hearing but Ben’s reaction to the situation convinces him it must be true, so as they wait for the cops to show up, they go back down to the lake and support each other but they end up arguing, especially when Ben hides their relationship from the cops by saying that he is just a friend, it doesn’t help when the cop is dismissive of the whole situation and state that they can’t see as it is too dark and that they will have to come back in the morning to confirm it instead. Ben is stunned by their nonchalance and ends up taking it all out on Randy when all he wants to do is help, they manage to talk it through and spend the rest of the evening trying to forget about the body in the lake.

The next day the cops come back to the house and have the same bad attitude as the day before, but one is eventually convinced to get into the lake and take a look, when they do, it is confirmed that there is a dead body and that it is a crime scene so they have to call in a team to remove it, while they are doing that, they send Randy and Ben back up to the house to wait, but not before another argument. Meanwhile, Mandy Blake is having snuggles with her daughter when the phone rings and her wife brings it to her saying it is her brother Randy and he sounds awful and when he tells her what is happening at his house, her first thought is to go there and support him and Ben, but he delays that telling her there is nothing she can do, he just needed to talk to someone about it all, so she asks her sister in law Tessa if she has heard anything from Randy, but being busy herself, Mandy isn’t surprised when she doesn’t get an answer until later on. Five hours later and the body is on its way to the morgue but with no further information about who the person is, apart from it looks like they have been there a while, so with nothing else they can do, Randy and Ben try to take their minds off it and decide to try and get some sleep.

Mandy is still trying to get her head around what Randy told her over the phone and has a bad feeling about the whole situation, which is confirmed when she sees a bunch of missed calls and messages saying Randy has been taken in for questioning, Randy is waiting for her there in an interrogation room when two men in suits enter and start demanding that he tells them what is going on so that they can get on with their day, but when he clearly states multiple times that he has no idea what they are talking about, they reveal the identity of the body and Randy is completely taken aback and decides to ask for a lawyer before they go any further with their questions. When they leave and Mandy comes in, all the emotions he has been holding spill out when he tells her he has just found out that it is someone from his past better left forgotten and she is as dumbfounded as he is. They leave together and after everyone has returned home, this is when Tessa calls back, this is when she decides to communicate with the victim and see if they can help figure out what happened. When things take a turn for the worse and evidence is collected, fingers are pointed and confusion, temptation and betrayal reign, will Randy, Mandy and Tessa be able to unravel the mystery of the body found in Honeybee Lake, or will the past come back to haunt them all with deadly consequences? This is a triller with a paranormal twist which keeps you guessing all the way through, as you try to figure it all out as you go along the journey with them.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Blue Summer Part One by Everly Taylor – Review by Rayne East

Blue Summer Part OneBlue Summer Part One by Everly Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This walks the line between sci-fi and paranormal and does it brilliantly. The story is told in multiple POV – which I really like. The FMC is so easy to relate to and I enjoyed her inner monologue. The world building is good and the story is fast paced with a underlying message of acceptance and not judging a book by its cover. There is a slight cliffy that had me really wanting to move straight onto part 2.

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Love Unexpected by Marina Hanna – Review by Rayne East

Love UnexpectedLove Unexpected by Marina Hanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by this author and it was a very enjoyable steamy quick read. I have a bit of a weakness for alpha male romance books and this did not disappoint. I really liked Jules and her no bull approach. The story moved along at a good pace and there was some added plot lines to keep me vested. The connection between Jules and Adam unfolded easily and did not come across as forced. I recommend this book.

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Key West Dead (Jake Wolfe Book 6) by Mark Nolan – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Key West DeadKey West Dead by Mark Nolan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jake Wolfe and his ex-war dog Cody are back in another of their thrilling adventures and this time, they are in Key West in Florida so that Jake can attend the wedding of a friend, it is a barefoot beach wedding at one of the resorts on the Marina and while Jake is mingling with the other guests and catching up with people, he has a feeling that all is not well, his neck is tingling and the feeling of a premonition of danger, despite the fact that most of the guests are veterans and it is probably one of the safest places in the Keys, but this feeling only intensifies when a drone passes by and looks directly at him, even though this particular hotel has a no fly policy. After the ceremony finishes and the reception is over, Jake and Cody sail the newlyweds to their cruising sloop, however, as they approach it, Cody alerts Jake that he can smell something on the boat, the newlyweds stubbornly don’t allow Jake and Cody to investigate, preferring to set off on their honeymoon instead. Unfortunately, minutes after they set off there is an explosion followed by a ball of flame as the boat blows up in front of Jake. As the authorities arrive and take control of the situation, Jake is struggling with feelings of guilt and remorse and he is blaming himself for not insisting harder on carrying out the check until he sees the same, or very similar drone flying around and this throws him into a rage where he threatens the person behind it and swears revenge.

The next day, all the local news networks are talking about the devastating event and the person who has claimed responsibility for it by sending them the drone footage, as well as their ransom demand for $30 million from Monroe County. Meanwhile, the criminal being discussed is planning their next targets, the timings of them, planning the method of placement and finding out as much as they can about the man who threatened them. Jake is having breakfast with friends and trying to make sense of what happened when Jake receives confirmation that his request to take Cody to check some of the other marinas in the area has been approved and so the pursuit of the bomber commences in earnest. When the group leave, Cody turns up outside the restaurant and so Jake splits off from the others to take him for a walk back to the marina, but just as they are passing the county courthouse, Cody signals that he senses something followed by Jake seeing an individual jumping out of a car and heading away on a bicycle. Jake realises what is about to happen and shouts a warning before firing a gun shot in the air to encourage people to listen and just as the two clear the area and take cover, there is a blast from the abandoned vehicle. Jake goes into marine mode and starts to fight the fires in the immediate area while making sure that people are ok while demanding that someone calls the authorities. When they arrive at the area, he again has to make a statement and he is again annoyed that he wasn’t able to stop it, or protect the people around him, but as he talks it over with people later on, he is even more resolved to help solve the mystery of what is happening.

As the days follow on and more attacks are planned and carried out, the locals and tourists are becoming increasingly worried by the situation, as are the local government, but they are worried about the economic impact it could have on this area which revolves around tourism. Will Jake and Cody be able to figure out who is behind the attacks and why before more innocent lives are lost, or will they be the next victims before they get the chance? This is another thrilling race against time where an ex-marine and ex-war dog take on another criminal with malicious intentions.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Love by Design (The Meraki Series Book 2) by Effie Kammenou – Review by Robin Taylor

Love by Design (The Meraki series, #2)Love by Design by Effie Kammenou
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He’s the boss. She’s infatuated. Mia Andarakis and Nicholas Aristedis are more than drawn to one another. However, in many respects in this love/hate story Mia and Nicholas have everything working against them. Not only due to the fact that Mia’s job as Nicholas’s assistant is a new one, one that cannot be upset by revealing the very strong feelings she has for him, the fact that they come from two different worlds bears serious consideration.


Love By Design
is a wonderful read, and follows Love Is What You Bake of it.
These are delightful stories rich with warm characters and who find love despite difficult obstacles. The trope in this book does not come without merit and I loved finding out what baggage Mia and Nicholas were holding onto and what it took for them to be able to work things out. The setting in this book is added a special touch, especially due to the fact that the characters are Greek, also the family owns a café and the fact that delectable recipes are included made the book even better.

I love that Mia had such a strong crush from the start and I truly enjoyed watching Nicholas come around. This story was sensitive, warm and definitely made me smile. Watching the pair navigate their professional and personal lives all while trying to learn how to deal with their feelings was a joy to read. I am already eager for the third book in this series.

Many thanks to Effie Kammenou for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Love by Design (The Meraki Series Book 2) by Effie Kammenou – Review by Erica Fish

Love by Design (The Meraki series, #2)Love by Design by Effie Kammenou
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love by Design is the second book in the Meraki Series by Effie Kammenou. I highly recommend reading the first book to get the most enjoyment of the series. This is a contemporary romance story. It is a story that I found myself in with the characters. The characters are fully developed and complicated. Mia has found her dream job but she has to work with Nicholas, her crush. They are on an adventure of a new publication. Both Mia and Nicholas have a past that has been a bit rough. They must find some healing before they can start a relationship. Can they find peace and healing from their past? I highly recommend this book to find out what happens to Mia and Nicholas.

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Betrayal at the Beach (Dangerous Curves Book 1) by K.L. Montgomery – Review by Erica Fish

Betrayal at the Beach: A Cozy Christian Mystery (Dangerous Curves Book 1)Betrayal at the Beach: A Cozy Christian Mystery by K.L. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

K.L. Montgomery is an amazing writer. I have read her books before and I knew I would like this book as well. Her plotline is a simple mystery. She makes you feel like you are a part of the story. Her characters are simple but complex at the same time. Sunshine is the librarian for the small town of Bryce Beach. She was in charge of finding the person(s) involved in robbing the library. She is a bit nervous because her job depends on her finding the culprits. Can Sunshine and her squad find the stolen items? Will the robber be a colleague? I highly recommend this sweet cozy story.

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