A Book Review: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

A Book Review: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

A Book Review: Hooking Up by Helena HuntingHooking Up: A Novel five-stars
by Helena Hunting
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 7th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 304
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Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

Review of Hooking Up

 

Hooking Up is a hilarious contemporary romance novel written by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting. The story follows Amalie Whitfield, a young woman with a long history of making questionable choices in her love life. These choices come to a predictable, though shocking, climax when her husband of a mere few hours is overheard on speakers engaging in an explicit act with another woman. What ensues is a scene of chaos and hilarity when Amalie, reeling from shock, hacks off her wedding dress and tackles the groom’s cousin Lexington, or “Lex”, to the ground. Lexington and Amalie have always shared a bit of chemistry, however, Lex’s cousin Armstrong managed to hijack Amalie’s interest in Lexington and convince her that he was nothing but a manipulative playboy. It was Armstrong with the questionable morals and inability to remain monogamous, that was the true manipulator and deceiver.

Amalie, needing to escape the gossip and the shredded remnants of her marriage, embarks on her honeymoon to Bora Bora alone- well, not completely alone, as Lex decides to escape the gossip and speculation to the same small island as Amalie. From the plane ride to the island, to the time spent in Bora Bora and New York City, Lex and Amalie fall helplessly into a secret affair where they learn what they want from life and each other, while trying to deal with the fall-out from the failed- albeit brief- marriage.

The story was fast-paced and riddled with humor, steamy scenes, and exciting dialogue. Amalie was likable and conflicted. She grows from an unsure and resigned young woman, to someone who takes charge of her future and makes decisions that, at one time, may have frightened her. Lex, with help from his experiences with Amalie, learns to let go of an age-old conflict with his cousin Armstrong and learns to navigate new feelings. From beginning to end, Hooking Up was a thrilling and amusing story that left an impression with me. In fact, I can confidently say that Lexington has joined the ranks of my current “book boyfriends” list.

Five stars!!

 

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five-stars
5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille

5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille

5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah CastilleRocco five-stars
by Sarah Castille
ISBN: 9781250104083
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 350
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Mafia enforcer Rocco De Lucchi is the best in the business.

Cold, hard, and utterly ruthless, Rocco is the most dangerous of men. Feelings are a luxury he cannot afford—until a chance encounter brings him face to face with the only woman who found her way into his heart and touched his soul.

Grace Mantini has spent her whole life running from the mob. The daughter of the boss's right-hand man, she is both a prize and a target. When Rocco walks back into her life, she wants nothing to do with the man who betrayed her and broke her heart. But only Rocco can protect her from the dangerous forces that seek to destroy her family. Can they escape the hands of fate closing around them? Or will love be the kiss of death for them both?

“Castille [gives] readers the compelling romance they crave.”—RT Book Reviews

Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille

 

Rocco is the third novel in the Ruin and Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille. Rocco, also known as Frankie, is a hardened and cold mafia enforcer for the Toscanis in Las Vegas. His childhood was devoid of comfort and love, and his future appeared to be heading that direction…until he met Grace, the daughter of a powerful mafia underboss, someone he has sworn to protect. Intense passion and love pulled them together and swept them into a forbidden entanglement that, while strong and fiery, was severely tested in the cruelest of ways, thus forcing them apart and spurring Grace to run.

Years pass and Grace has made a life for herself in Las Vegas, far from the horror that was inflicted upon her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not wishing to be embroiled in the turbulent life of the Mafia like her father and brother, Grace distances herself and obtains a degree to counsel others, while her secret passion for singing is put on hold. The physical scar she carries upon her face as a result of the night that sent her fleeing and her heart breaking, is a deterrent to her in the novel whenever she finds herself longing to indulge in her passion.

While in Las Vegas, Grace and Rocco run into each other at a funeral and all the passion they have been holding at bay threatens to explode. Their encounters are filled with so much emotion and pain that you can practically feel it leaping from the pages and taking a hold of you. It is quite evident that there is still a lot they needed to say to each other and a lot of feelings they were never able to dispel. When Grace’s life is threatened once more, Rocco steps in and is once again in a position to protect her. He’s given a second chance to prove to her that he can keep her safe, that he can love her.

I loved Grace’s character. She is sweetness and strength all rolled into one. I love how she starts to come to terms with the past and is able to move past her disfigurement. Seeing Grace bring life and compassion back into Rocco, and watching as he did the same to her was a beautiful feeling. The story was a perfect blend of passion, suspense, forgiveness, and redemption. It tugs at the heart strings while steaming up the room!

Five out of five stars for Rocco!! Check it out today!!

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five-stars
Review of Luca by Sarah Castille

Review of Luca by Sarah Castille

Review of Luca by Sarah CastilleLuca four-half-stars
by Sarah Castille
ISBN: 9781250104069
Series: Ruin & Revenge, #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on June 27th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 350
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

The mafia men of New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille’s Ruin & Revenge series are hard, hot, and ruthless. They show no weakness and take no prisoners. But the right woman can soften their stone cold hearts and make them come alive with dark desire.

Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in Las Vegas, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart...until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants—and Luca will do whatever he can to possess his mysterious temptress...

Police detective Gabrielle Fawkes lives for revenge. She lost everything at the hands of an unforgiving ruler of the Vegas underworld. Now she wants to see him six feet under. But when a near-fatal attack leads her into Luca’s arms, what was meant to be one night of unbridled passion becomes something forbiddingly more. Luca has his own agenda, but when strong, determined, kick-ass detective Gaby sets her sights on her target, Luca feels compelled to stand by her side and protect her at all costs. However, pursuing danger comes at a high price—and both Gaby and Luca must work together in order to eliminate the dark enterprise that threatens them, in Luca by Sarah Castille.

Review of Luca by Sarah Castille

Review by: April Hughes

Luca is the second novel in the Ruin and Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille. After reading the first novel Nico, and being completed awestruck by how amazing it was, I had high hopes for the second one…and I was not disappointed. Luca continued its fascinating dive into the dark underworld of the Las Vegas mafia, with its charismatic characters and ominous rules and “guidelines”. Luca’s intensity, wickedness, and deep sense of loyalty and family made him an instant favorite of mine. In fact, I believe Mr. Luca Rizzoli- a Toscani crime boss- has the honorary position of being my current book boyfriend *sigh*

As for Gabrielle Fawkes- a narcotics (and theft) detective for the LVPD- well, I simply adored her. In fact, should I ever create a book bestie list, she would be right there near the top. Gabrielle, still recovering from the violent murder of her husband David, starts the story off by getting herself shot during her quest for revenge against the drug lord who killed him. Thankfully, this near-death experience places her in the hospital right next to the equally indisposed Luca Rizzoli. So, this cop and a mafia boss are wheeled into a hospital room…sounds like the start to a joke, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. It’s the start to an explosive, fiery, and all-consuming story of tragic loss, quests for revenge, fierce loyalty, and heart-stopping passion.

Despite being on opposite ends of the law, Luca and Gabrielle are clearly perfectly matched. Luca is feared and respected in his line of work- he has no qualms about decimating his enemies and protecting his family. Gabrielle is equally fierce about protecting those she loves- this is seen multiple times throughout the novel. She didn’t hesitate to protect her best friend from a threatening altercation with a man twice her size, and she didn’t hesitate to throw herself into a precarious situation to protect Luca (probably one of my favorite scenes in the whole book). It’s clear these two are meant to be together. They make one badass couple.

As for the rest of the novel- the secondary characters contributed wonderfully to the story. I enjoyed getting to know the unique and dynamic members of Luca’s crew. I was also intrigued by the mystery behind the drug lord Garcia, and found myself anxious to put all the pieces together with Gabrielle and the Toscani mafia.

And- I just love a good surprise ending!

All this story has done is make me hungry for the next one titled “Rocco”, which is scheduled to be released January 2nd of 2018. Do I have this book pre-ordered? Why yes, I do.

If you haven’t read the first novel of this series, Check out my review of Nico! 

Check Out “Luca” on Amazon!

four-half-stars
Review of Nico by Sarah Castille

Review of Nico by Sarah Castille

Review of Nico by Sarah CastilleNico four-half-stars
by Sarah Castille
ISBN: 9781250104045
Series: Ruin & Revenge, #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on December 6th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 350
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

A dangerous proposal

In Nico, the first book in the Ruin & Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille, Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off. . .

Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties...but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?

Review of Nico by Sarah Castille

Review by: April Hughes

 

This novel is ADDICTING!

Nico is the first novel in the Ruin and Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille. The story follows Mia Cordano, the daughter of a violent and immoral mafia boss in Las Vegas. Unlike most of her family, Mia doe not condone the actions of her father and seeks to build a life away from that of crime. So, she becomes a hacker and starts up a business testing security systems for various legitimate and legal organizations. It is during one of these security testings that Mia meets Nico Toscani, a mafia boss for the Toscani family. Unfortunately, despite the sparks that fly between them, Mia and Nico’s families are warring due to the murder of Nico’s father.

This story may have a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, but this novel is far from that. Both main characters are strong and competent, and rather than become overwhelmed by all the obstacles stacked against them, they overcome them with clinical and strategic planning and foresight. Nico and Mia have astounding chemistry that you can practically feel leaping off the pages. Their ability to reach into the heart (metaphorically speaking, of course) of one another and see past all the hardships placed on them by their families, makes them extraordinarily compatible.

It was a thrilling journey to be sucked into the insidious underworld of the infamously glamorous Las Vegas. I have always been a fan of mafia-based stories, and was blow away by how detailed and knowledgeable the author was on the subject. The mafia families in this series are gritty, dark, sensual, dangerous, and operating from the murky gray area of right and wrong. The characters were “real” and struggled with numerous moral dilemmas.

I finished this story in less than a day. I mentally devoured it. Any spare moment that I had was filled with me snatching this book up and sticking my nose in it.

And why did there have to be an excerpt of the next novel Luca at the end?? Ugh! Now I’m going to obsess until I get my hands on him…I mean it…the book *cough*. **UPDATE** See my Review of Luca here

See Next

Review of “Full Contact” by Sarah Castille

Review of “Against the Ropes” by Sarah Castille

Nico on Amazon

Pick up a copy of Nico on Amazon

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