The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sympathy for the Devil

Well now. The Devil is here in all his glory! Blond, cold and a little too perceptive for his own good. Not convinced? I supply one blurb and one excerpt for your consideration....

Sympathy for the Devil on Shara Azod

Blurb. Not bothered.

Toni has met the perfect boy in...
West who unfortunately happens to have a Devil of a best friend called...
Pierce, dangerously cold and incredibly rude. He sees a world of lies in  Toni straight away. His snap decision to split her and West up brings him right into confrontation with...
Cari, Toni's best friend and guardian. In between the war of words, Cari begins to see beyond Pierce's smart mouth and terrible reputation. Horribly, she starts to feel for him.
As much as Pierce is amused and entertained by his manipulations, he wonders if his energy would be better spent pursing Cari, a girl the complete opposite to his type who makes him remember what morals are.
Not devil like at all.

The thing about the Devil is, he didn't start out evil...

Excerpt. You know. Whatever. 

Pierce put his phone away and before I dug into my steak, he swapped ours over. “This is the medium. That’s the rare.”
       “Good catch.” Whatever appetite I’d had before I turned up tonight had probably taken the long tube back to halls.
       “What about family?”
       “My family?”
       “Yes, Antonia, your family.”
       Don’t get me wrong. I love my name. I really do. I appreciate that when people shorten my name, in my head I’ve turned into a Cockney plumber who has three sugars in his tea, has four kids, and always brings home kippers for the missus. But Pierce full-naming me? Not good. It felt like an insult.
       “It’s just me and my dad. Only child. Dad’s still a publican. He runs about three pubs in the East End. He spoils me.”
       “And your last relationship?”
       Yeah. No. “What about it? You know it’d be easier on you to hire a private investigator.”
       He put down his knife and fork to look at me. Without a sneer or curled lip of disdain, he stared at me. I felt X-rayed. “Are you hiding something? What are you so afraid of me knowing?”
       “Nothing,” I lied. “It’s just the most extraordinary interview I’ve ever had. If you must know, my last relationship ended nine months ago. He was a dick. Anything else you want to know? Favourite food? Music? Single friends? No? Great. Fine.”
       He applauded. “Fantastic performance. Matinee show tomorrow?”
       “I’m a nice person,” I insisted, tears prickling uncomfortably in my eyes.
       Pierce shrugged. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
       “Why not accept it until I prove you wrong? Like normal friends do?”
       He picked up his cigarettes and lit one without hesitation. “You know why people talk about me? Because I see right through them. Every single time. They don’t like it. So it’s easier for them to make up shit about me. And therefore, I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, you are not good enough for my friend.”
       Shaking uncontrollably, I tucked a lock of hair behind my hair. How to make a girl feel like crap in ten seconds? “Can you predict the lottery numbers for next week as well?”
       He blew a plume of smoke over my head. “You’re insecure. You keep making jokes to deflect attention from yourself. That top you’re wearing, you keep tugging at it, because you were talked into buying it, and you certainly didn’t choose to wear it tonight. You cling to whoever can support you at the time. That guarantees you being unfaithful. In the interest of you not ruining my friend’s life… Maybe, I don’t know… Leave him alone?”
       I clutched a hand to my chest as Pierce got to his feet, the cigarette perched on the edge of his lip, counting out fifty-pound notes. I felt as if he’d stabbed me. Right in the chest with his poisonous words.
       “Enjoy the food. The company’s not for me.”
       West awoke with a snort. “I’m up!”
       Pierce slapped him on the shoulder. “And I’m off.”
       Without another word to me, he removed the cigarette and walked through the doors of the pub. His eyes boozy and red, West hung an arm around my stiff shoulders. “All right, my sweet? Was he nice to you?” No. He was not nice to me, Weston. “Ah, he paid. Marvellous. See? No problem, right?”
       Big problem, I thought, struggling to avoid West’s groping and compose myself at the same time. Big. Huge. Massive problem.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Back Again

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Windows is available for purchase again. I've messed around with it enough. With my little added extras, I'm pleased it's back out there for new readers to discover, and for my old faithfuls (you know who you are!). To celebrate the re-release and honour the fact that three years have passed since it was first published, I'm offering it at a 30% discount for the next 3 weeks!! Well I would if Amazon would let me. The discount will take place from 27 August. More deets to follow!

If you don't know how important this book is to me, let me re-share.

Four years ago, my mother and I went to Greece. Our first girls holiday. We fought, we laughed until we cried, we got absolutely muntered and we baked our skins into next level darkness. Metaxa brandy is lethal. I can't tell you everything that was happening in my life at that time, but let's just say the holiday was a looooooooong time coming. And in the midst of sipping the booze, slapping away mosquitoes, I began re-writing a story I made up when I was eleven.

I kept the loose leaves of paper under a mosquito repellent candle and wrote pages and pages by hand. Lady London was the one (under severe influence) who told me to type it up. Let other people read it. Essentially telling me to stop keeping things in. That if I couldn't talk about my feelings, then to express them in writing. So I did.

And 80,000 typed words later in February 2011, it was published. Liked, loathed, loved in varying measures. It amazed me how people connected. Whether they found Gina infuriating or Nick overbearing or the rude auntie Belinda hilarious or Sofia as a star in waiting. To see them telling me how they couldn't believe two people could be so oblivious to each other's feelings for so long (been there, done that) or that the connection between my hero and heroine touched them.

There has rarely been a time in my life when I haven't put pen to paper. While it's allowed me to exercise some squatting demons, it's also allowed me to make the most amazing friends and meet the most incredible people from all over the world. I feel very blessed about what I do and it all started with this book. My first love. So here it is, once again. The story that started it all....

Windows on Amazon

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Son of a Gun

Coming very, very soon...

Sympathy for the Devil

Mr No Fs to Give is almost here! Rather interested to find out how you take to him, if you do at all! The blurb is just below.

Toni has met the perfect boy in...
West who unfortunately happens to have a Devil of a best friend called...

Pierce, dangerously cold and incredibly rude. He sees a world of lies in Toni straight away. His snap decision to split her and West up brings him right into confrontation with...
Cari, Toni's best friend and guardian. In between the war of words, Cari begins to see beyond Pierce's smart mouth and terrible reputation. Horribly, she starts to feel for him. 
As much as Pierce is amused and entertained by his manipulations, he wonders if his energy would be better spent pursing Cari, a girl the complete opposite to his type who makes him remember what morals are. Not devil like at all.
The thing about the Devil is, he didn't start out evil...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Talk Dirty

This weekend, I'll be reformatting On Caristo's Watch to include all the goodies I'll have with Windows and it's sexy new cover.

Reading through it, I know that my characters truly are alive. There is no way in hell I would say even a quarter of the things that Tony says or Lydia comes up with. I mean, look at this: "I quite like having you within arse-spanking distance." Who says that? Anthony Caristo says that. He's so pleased with himself. Too pleased with himself.

And this: "There! Tell me I can't cook a flaming risotto!"

Lydia. Darling. I love you. But cooking is not your strong point. It's not a weak point. It's not a point in your vast array of charms.

Then Tony throws out this threat: "You are never allowed to address her as a bitch, fat or otherwise. Because if I press here... you don't ever walk again."

Uncontrollable. Not from my mind but completely and utterly out of my hands. I had nothing to do with it.

Any stand out lines for you up there? Let me know if Tony talks to you, or Lydia tells you off, or if anything Nick throws out that raised your eyebrows, had you chuckling or stuck in your mind. Quote the line in the comments section and put yourself up for winning a copy of the new version of On Caristo's Watch. Kinda like a collector's item.

No Tony. That does not include you.

Friday, 11 July 2014


Lucky 7/11! Since this a super lucky day and those boys are pretty damn lucky (bullets not the other, thank you very much Nicholas) I'd thought I'd share something with you all. A little snippet of what's coming via a certain mad scientist and his even more mad surgeon. Like Dr Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (surgeons in the UK go by Mr or Ms) two sides of the same coin, Beppe and Mimi go together like crumble and custard (on a diet, thinking about food sorry). Think of this as a leg up to look in at the dawn (or rather dusk given the scenario) of a strange and all but natural alliance. This is Murano, aka Italian Knights Book Seven...


Light stung his eyes, as he slowly regained consciousness. Where am I? He thought. I did the job and... 
“Hello there,” a voice said cheerily. “Welcome back. For a minute, I thought I knocked you out too hard.”
Panic filtered through him. He desperately tried to sit up and found his wrists and ankles bound to the elaborate four poster bed. Perched on his right, sat the blond virus they called Giuseppe Nardiello. Rumoured to be psychologically unstable. The mad doctor who experimented on his victims. 
“I won’t tell you anything,” the man braved, his mind filtering through all the terrible ways men had been disposed of at Giuseppe’s hands.
Giuseppe laughed. “Let’s just set things straight. I mean, you may end up changing your mind. Over to your left, is my lovely, brand new wife, Amelia.”
“Hi!” An even cheerier voice intervened. The man glanced to his left. Amelia suited the soft lighting of the elaborate hotel suite. Her hair rippled in waves like a dark chocolate waterfall over one shoulder, generous mouth curved in a smile. During his attempt to end her life, the man hadn’t appreciated her beauty. He wondered briefly if Giuseppe had drugged him, because the Madonna-on-the-rocks-like serenity that lifted her features gave her an angelic glow. Drugs. For certain.
“Not looking too great there,” Amelia said, a wince in her crisp voice. “Talking will help.”
“My Amelia happens to be a most skilled surgeon,” Giuseppe announced. I’d say the best in the country.” 
“Aww, Bep!”
“True,” her husband shrugged off the endearment without artifice. “And what you’ve done, is try to kill her on her honeymoon. Do you know how long it took me to convince her to go out with me, let alone marry me?”
“Long time,” Amelia agreed. “Tried to have him sectioned for mentioning marriage.”
“Really tried.”
Amelia made a noise in her throat that vocalised uncertainty. “Kinda tried. If I really tried, you’d still be under psych evaluation.”
“Do you get it?” Giuseppe addressed him directly. And she actually likes me. She may not seem it, but Amelia is not happy right now.”
“When she’s not happy, she’s more deadly.” Giuseppe leaned forward, his voice lowering to a whisper. “The longer you keep quiet, the unhappier my sweet, new wife is going to be. All because you fucked up her honeymoon.”
“Truly fucked it up. It wasn’t the way I planned on spending my first twenty four hours as Signora Nardiello, but... You just had to interrupt it.”
“See? She’s fuming. I mean I know she’s smiling, but that’s because she loves me.” Amelia blew Giuseppe a kiss. “And she really enjoys cutting people up.”
“Second most favourite thing to do in the world.”
“Tell me again,” Giuseppe said softly, “how much you don’t want to talk. Make yourself a nice wedding present to my bride.”
Stubbornly, the man kept his mouth shut. Between uncertainty of what was to happen to him and what would be done to him if he did talk, he found his vocal cords frozen.
“Scalpel please, Lost Boy,” Amelia demanded, voice impatient as she snapped her fingers. “I need to cut.”
“Start with a kidney,” Giuseppe offered, getting to his feet. “He’s Venetian. He won’t miss it. Not much. Yeah. He’s going to miss it...”

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Here I Go Again

With a shiny new cover comes a few little extras in the Windows Remade version. I've completed soundtracks for all my books, and I have been deeply, deeply remiss with this one. My debut. My baby. The reason I bit the bullet and tattooed myself. Scrolling through my iPod (yes I still have one - 2008 and going strong!) I recalled all the songs that made me laugh and cry and wonder if anyone really would read this without peeking between their fingers. Seems like... 

In all it's glory, here is the soundtrack to the beast that is Windows. Enjoy!

  1. James Brown Sex Machine
  2. T.I ft Swizz Beatz Swing Ya Rag 
  3. Bob Marley Three Little Birds
  4. Bloc Party Luno
  5. Justin Timberlake Damn Girl
  6. Daft Punk Face to Face
  7. Sly and the Family Stone Que Sera Sera 
  8. Madonna Heartbeat
  9. Gorillaz Dare
  10. Justin Timberlake Losing my way
  11. Nelly Furtado Say it Right
  12. Jordin Sparks Battlefield
  13. Eminem ft Rihanna Love The Way You Lie
  14. Kings of Leon No Money
  15. Marvin Gaye Too busy thinking about my baby
  16. Daft Punk Digital Love
  17. Alicia Keys Distance and Time
  18. White Lies Fairwell to the Fairground
  19. T.I ft Justin Timberlake Dead and Gone
  20. Oasis Wonderwall 
  21. Coldplay Politik 
  22. Bob Marley No Woman No Cry
  23. Madonna Spanish Lesson
  24. Eminem ft Lil Wayne No Love
  25. Jay-Z ft Rihanna and Kanye West Run This Town
  26. Bob Marley Buffalo Soldier 
  27. Frederik Olufsen Rocks
  28. Foals - Spanish Sahara
  29. The xx - Heart Skipped A Beat
  30. The Temper Trap Sweet Disposition
  31. Mumford and Sons The Cave
  32. South - Paint the Silence
  33. B.o.B Don't Let Me Fall 
  34. Kanye West Power
  35. Jay-Z and Linkin Park Numb/Encore
  36. Akon Gun Shot
  37. Mr Hudson ft Kanye West - Supernova 
  38. Coldplay Fix You
  39. Damien Rice Amie
  40. Bob Marley Could You Be Loved
I've done all the hard work and created a play list of the above for you to listen on the glorious Spotify!

Windows on Spotify

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


I am full on loving this World Cup business. Well, I am now that every country I have a vested interest in has gone, I can sit back and enjoy it. The great thing about football, is how it unifies people. Sitting in a pub with friends, when that magical goal is scored, you find yourself hugging strangers, screaming in their faces, jumping on tables, accidentally flashing nipple... All in the name of your country. 

When Italy played, I said there were divided loyalties in the Italian Knights household. As much as one can love the Azzuri, one must remember that the Azzuri are not going to feed them their desired food. The Azzuri will not warm their bed and the Azzuri most certainly will not put up with regular male nonsense. When their is a mix of nations in the family, one must always choose their battles carefully. Is loudly proclaiming "your team are shit!" going to see you on the sofa later on in the night? Most definitely. 

I remember the last time Italy played Ghana in the World Cup and truthfully, a certain someone didn't get a civil word out of me for days. Chose. The. Wrong. Team. To. Back. 

In any case, one can watch and write at the same time. Hopefully, by the time the cup is complete, so will Stella and Niels' tale. All this sway of emotion is not doing my health any good at all. If you have no idea who I'm talking about:


I can almost taste the end!