It Ain’t Me, Babe by Tillie Cole

So I’ve reached the last book to review in my Tillie Cole series! (At least until Sweet Fall is released at the end of August anyway!!) And this book is a little different to those I’ve reviewed before….There’s still heart break, despair and a hottie to get your blood pumping…. but this time around? There’s a Biker MC and a religious cult thrown in the mix too…

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It Ain't Me, Babe by Tillie Cole

Sinning never felt so good…
A fortuitous encounter.
A meeting that should never have happened.

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.

Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.

River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight.

Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away.

Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…

Dark Contemporary Romance/New Adult Novel.

Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up*

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When I first read the blurb for this book I was both intrigued and wary – having read some MC books before, I was wondering how Tillie Cole was going to pull it off as her previous books are nothing like this! But I should never have doubted Tillie’s writing ability because once again it’s utterly flawless and completely compelling.

In the opening scenes we meet a young boy named River who accompanies his MC President Dad to bury a body. Wandering away from the car he comes across a high metal fence around a large compound of some kind, and sitting at the edge is a young girl who must be either his age or younger. Seeing she’s crying he tries to talk to her but River suffers with an awful stutter and apart from his dad and best friend Ky he has to use sign language to talk to everyone else. But somehow he manages to talk to this girl making her his number three. This girl, though she barely speaks a word, enthrals River with her long dark hair and wolf eyes – she’s also his first kiss. His dad calls him away before he finds out her name and for years since he tries to find the compound again and the girl with the wolf eyes but he never does and the rest of the club believe he dreamt it all.

Salome (or Mae as her sisters call her) has lived in the commune her whole life – one of the four Cursed women whose beauty is believed to cause others to sin, she’s spent most of her life in solitude, locked away and treated abysmally for supposedly being created by the devil himself. Along with her two blood sisters and her best friend Lilah she’s suffered sexual and physical abuse since a young age but unlike her sisters Salome was chosen to become Prophet David’s (the leader of the commune) seventh wife on her 23rd birthday but after a horrendous event Mae manages to escape the commune but badly injured and finds herself outside the Hades Hangmen MC.

River, now known as Styx, has recently become the club President and finds Mae outside covered in blood and on the verge of death. Seeing her eyes he realises this may be the wolf eyed girl he discovered all those years ago and doesn’t hesitate to take her in. The rest of the story describes Mae’s new life in the world outside the fence, a world she was only taught is full of evil but now she realises she truly knows nothing about. She struggles with outside customs, the MC and her growing relationship with Styx – but can she ever really escape the commune’s clutches? And what about her sisters she left behind?

This story is full of grit and also tackles so many issues that I previously didn’t know anything about. Mae’s religious cult is something else – and the ‘Lord’s Sharing’ as they call the sexual abuse Mae suffers is horrifying, especially as the stories shared are based on true ones Tillie was told during her University studies. Again with Styx’s speech impediment, I really loved watching his journey as he slowly tries to find his voice for Mae. Much like all of Tillie Cole’s characters you can’t help but love those found in this book. Mae’s sweet naivety and determination to find herself a better life mixed with Styx’s strength and adoration of Mae makes for a great read.

Along with the fab characters, Tillie always adds a great twist into the story and boy is there an absolutely brilliant one in It Ain’t Me, Babe!! I loved her take on a biker MC book and the depth that the cult added to the story – it was completely compelling. It’s dark, gritty and hot as hell – with some hunky bikers to boot! Yet another Tillie Cole bestseller to add to your collection!

To read It Ain’t Me, Babe by Tillie Cole for yourself check out…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

To find out more about author Tillie Cole check out her website or Facebook page

What did you make of It Ain’t Me, Babe? Let me know in the comments below!

Bring on Book 2!

Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole (#2 Sweet Home Series)

As a follow up to my review of Sweet Home I thought I’d do a quick review of Sweet Rome the next book in the series, telling the original story from Rome’s point of view.

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Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole

You met Romeo Prince in the Amazon & USA Today bestselling novel, Sweet Home. Now hear the story from his lips: unbarred, uncensored, and raw to the bone.

It makes me laugh when I hear folks think Molly and I rushed into things too fast, spouting that we couldn’t possibly have felt what we did for each other in such a short space of time. I say, how the hell would they know? We made it, didn’t we? She became my whole life, didn’t she? And as for my folks not being real, being true? Tell that to me aged ten, eleven, twelve—damn, all my bastard life—when I was never enough, when I was beaten until I bled for being too good at football and not being everything they’d dreamed: the perfectly dutiful son. Tell that to thousands of kids around the world getting wailed on by asshole parents for whatever stupid reason; tell them evil don’t exist in their eyes.

Fuck Romeo and Juliet. This is the story of me and my girl, from my lips. No mushy sentiment, no cheese, just the plain, hard truth, and, because I’m feeling generous, I’m going to let you in on more of our story too.

Sweet Rome is a New Adult Companion Novel to Sweet Home—contains adult content, sexual situations, and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.

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In Sweet Rome we revisit the original story found in the first book but this time around we get to read it from Rome’s point of view. As I’ve already described the main story in my previous review I thought I’d spend some time talking about what’s new and my opinions on it all. As you already know I’ve never been too keen on reading alternative POV books but I have to say that Sweet Rome managed to pull it off and keep me interested.

Molly and Rome’s story is one filled with such emotion and depth that reading it from Rome’s POV only added to the story and your emotions whilst reading it. Yes there are the inevitable repeated scenes and conversations you read in the first book but this time round you get to read Rome’s thoughts on each and feel the run of emotions he feels. The addition of these to the scenes keep them fresh and keep you engaged. There are also some bonus conversations thrown in which were an added bonus!

The first time I read this story I was, quite frankly, an emotional wreck, but after reading it again from Rome’s POV with his depth of emotion and pain it was utterly heart breaking. I fell in love with Rome in the first book but I still managed to fall harder after reading this one! You feel his pain, despair and heart ache – but at the same time you also feel his joy and happiness when he finally finds his happy ending.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again Rome’s parents are just so horrendous – the way they treat Rome is completely devastating and when Molly miscarries their baby because of Rome’s mum….those scenes are hard to read without watery eyes, especially as you now get Rome’s take on it all. This book is just packed with so many emotions, with the addition of Rome’s feelings it’s heart breaking. At the end of the book there are some extra scenes from Molly and Rome’s future which I really loved! I’ve always been a sucker for finding out where a character’s future is going and I was so happy we got to read Rome’s happily ever after with his Molly Juliet.

Sweet Home left me an emotional wreck yet still salivating for more, but Sweet Rome? A whirlwind of emotion, packed full of heart ache, steamy scenes and a leading man who will ruin you for all book boyfriends – it’s a deep, swoon worthy, full on sobbing and laugh out loud tale which will leave you reeling for weeks after reading it. And Romeo Prince? If you don’t fall madly in love with this romantic hunk of muscle there is clearly something wrong with you!!

Read Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole for yourself at…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

Or visit Tillie Cole’s Goodreads or website for more about her new books

Don’t forget Tillie is releasing Sweet Fall, the third book in the series, at the end of August! Stay tuned to hear all the latest news about the release….

Apricot & Pistachio Cake

This week I discovered this little gem – an apricot and pistachio cake. It looks and tastes incredible; so far I’ve had it for both dessert and afternoon tea so it’s the perfect cake for all occasions. It’s perfectly moist and adds a hint of Morocco to your table – it’s even better the next day too.

 Apricot & Pistachio Cake

Serves 8 (supposedly….!)

Per Serving: 455kcal, 27.1g fat, 13.7g saturates, 21.8g sugars, 0.32g salt

Apricot and Pistachio cake• Ingredients •

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar (plus an extra 1 tbsp for syrup)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g pistachio kernels, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 411g tin apricot halves in fruit juice, drained (reserve juice!)

• Recipe •

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, fan 160ºC, gas mark 4. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed square cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and orange zest together in a bowl and then set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl or an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until it becomes a pale, creamy mixture. Gradually add the eggs, mixing it well until they are incorporated (Tip- you may find the eggs look curdled as you add them to the mix, add a tbsp of the flour mixture with each addition to aid mixing). Finally, using a spatula, stir in half of the pistachio, the flour mixture and milk. Pour this into the cake tin and level the top.
  4. Arrange the apricot halves over the top of the cake – you will find they sink in slightly. Bake this in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted to the middle of the cake.
  5. Whilst this bakes, heat the reserved fruit juice in a small pan with the extra 1 tbsp of caster sugar. Simmer this for 5 minutes until it’s reduced to about 3 tbsp.
  6. Once the cake has cooked and is still warm, spoon the syrup over the top and let it soak into the cake. Scatter the remaining pistachios over the top and leave it to cool.
  7. Serve with some Greek yoghurt for a lush dessert or enjoy the next day with a cup of coffee. (Once left over night the syrup will have soaked into the cake properly leaving it lovely and moist – it tastes even better in my opinion!).

I’d recommend keeping this cake in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep it fresh as its quite a sticky, moist cake. I love the versatility of this cake, there aren’t many cakes you can enjoy at any time of the day – some are too dry to have for dessert and others are too indulgent to have with lunch, but this sticky yumminess is just right!!

Have a go making this Moroccan delight and let me know how you get on!

 

Eternally North by Tillie Cole

In the next of my Tillie Cole reviews, the focus is on Geordie RomCom novel Eternally North. As an English girl myself Eternally North has to be one of my favourite stories purely on the amount of British humour it contains and the absolutely fabulous characters, particularly Tash and Tink….you can never have too much glitter!

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Eternally North by Tillie Cole

Natasha Munro is your typical twenty eight year old girl, well, your typical twenty eight year old Geordie: curvy, fun and a whole load of fab-u-lous. Her life is all going to plan — good job, great friends, close family and a loving boyfriend — until an unexpected event turns everything on its head.

Nursing a broken heart and decked head to toe in tasselled chaps and rhinestones, Natasha and her flamboyant fairy of a gay best friend, Tink, uproot from their Northern nest, throw caution to the wind and embark on a new life together in Canada — the land of Rocky mountains, Maple Syrup, oh, and an ‘in-between movies’ Hollywood mega-star.

Enter infamous bad-boy of the big screen, Tudor North.

Bonafide hunk and actor-extraordinaire.

Tudor is big, brooding and gorgeous and is harbouring a deep secret. Tudor’s cold and intimidating demeanour successfully keeps everyone at bay, that is everyone but a certain Ms Munro. It soon becomes clear, what with her smart mouth and lusciously ample arse, that Natasha proves more than a match for the emotionally distant star.

Will Natasha and Tink settle into their new life abroad?

Will Natasha ever find her fairytale happy ending?

Can a movie star and an ordinary girl ever really make it work?

Or will the secrets lurking in Tudor`s past threaten her chance at happiness?

Addictive, hilarious and heart warming. A fast paced comedic journey of self discovery, unyielding friendship and of course, a suitable dose of slap and tickle.

Warning: contains a foul-mouthed voluptuous Brit, a self-named ‘Friggin’ Fantastic Fairy’ and an abundance of bulging muscles and tattoos.

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If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted and completely lovable book this summer then you’ve just found it! Written about a couple of fabulous Geordies who move continents to start afresh, Eternally North is a fresh new take on the old fashioned RomCom with bags of glitter, quirkiness and British sarcasm.

Natasha (Tash) Munro is a secondary school teacher with a low-life boyfriend. After catching said boyfriend in a… err *cough* compromising position, Tash packs her bags and asks the universe for a sign on what to do next. A Jane Austen quote and a run-in with a homeless man later, Tash finds herself at her best friend John’s house – or as he’s more commonly known as Tink! As you can probably guess Tink is quite fabulously gay, and has been Tash’s BFF since they both were forced to join the victims of bullying group at school. I have to say at this point how amazing Tash and John’s nicknames are – Wilbur and Tink! Tash was fat in school and John was gay, causing them to name each other Wilbur (as in the pig character from Charlotte’s Web) and Tinkerbell (as in the fairy from Peter Pan)!! Some of the pig and fairy related terms of endearment thrown around had me laughing all day – the humour in this book is amazing! But back to the story…

Tash tells Tink all about her now ex boyfriend and his antics and vows to live her life to the full from now on. After several drinks of Tink’s concoction they come up with the brilliant idea to move abroad for a year – if they like it, they stay but if they don’t they return to Newcastle. They let the television and fate decide and end up moving to Calgary, Canada.

Tash gets a great job at a posh school and though her classroom decorations were looked down on (who doesn’t love a mini henry hoover for your desk?!), she’s soon asked to take charge of some problem girls after school using performing arts to conquer their problems (cue the Lady Gaga dance routines!). In this class she meets the shy but lovely Boleyn Jones, who she helps to bring out of her shell.

One fateful night Tash and Tink decide to paint the town red meaning a whole lot of fake tan, short skirts, fake eyelashes, hair extensions and glitter descended onto Calgary. Meeting Tink at the restaurant he works at, Tash enters at the back greeting the staff with her usual drunken antics, only to discover her student Boleyn is there eating with her family, and unfortunately, wants her to join them! And who just happens to be Boleyn’s big brother? None other than Hollywood’s own Tudor North, brooding bad-boy and gorgeous hunk of a man! After a couple more run-ins (literally) Tash and Tudor soon become inseparable but after a series of events regarding Tudor’s past and how he’s dealing with it things become strained. Eternally North tells the tale of Tash and Tinks’ adventure in the cold climbs of Canada and their new found love of their home and the men they find there. You play witness to both Tash and Tudor’s growing love affair and Tudor’s secrets – but the question is, will Tudor ever tell Tash the truth? And will their relationship survive the fallout?

There are so many elements to this book to fall in love with – the story, the language, the characters. Each character in this book you can’t help but fall in love with, whether it’s because their so relatable or just down-right hilarious! Tink the flamboyant fairy BFF comes out with the most amazing comments sometimes – and the pig related names (“my little pork scratching, pork chop…”) are so ingenious I found myself laughing like a loon! Tash is just so Geordie! With her love of fake-tan, drinking for England and her witty humour, she makes for a fab-u-lous heroine. I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and her dialogue – she’s such a refreshing female lead with her no bullshit attitude. Her parents are equally as brilliant, especially her overly Scottish Dad! As for the Norths, Tudor is just what you want in a hunky book-boyfriend and his secret just makes your heart melt for him! The rest of Tudor’s family are pretty great too, especially Boleyn and Tate (who I’m classing as Tudor’s family!) who are both so sweet and completely lovable.

I guess the main reason I’m in love with this book is the way it’s written. With such witty sometimes sarcastic commentary, and other times rather Geordie language and humour you can’t help but fall in love with them all – though for those non-Brits amongst you fretting about not understanding the jokes, don’t worry this book will still have you laughing out loud and definitely will not disappoint. At the end of this book I was near ready to bow down to author Tillie Cole for her pure writing skill and awesome use of language! The story itself is pretty brilliant too and would make for an amazing summer holiday read with its refreshing humour and yumminess.

Eternally North is sheer brilliance – with witty humour, relatable quirky characters and a storyline which will have you gripped and begging for more, this is a book I can’t recommend enough. So lather on the fake tan, stick on your eyelashes, and get ready to slut drop in a whole lot of glitter because this is definitely a must read!

Read Eternally North by Tillie Cole for yourself by visiting…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

Check out some more reviews on Goodreads and to find out about Tillie’s other books visit her website

Sweet Home by Tillie Cole

This month I’m loving all things Tillie Cole! To be honest I love everything she does all year round but this month in honour of her new book release I’m dedicating the majority of my posts to her. Sweet Home is the first book in Tillie’s series entitled the same, and tells a modern day spin on the classic Romeo and Juliet story…

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Sweet Home by Tillie Cole

At age twenty, Molly Shakespeare knows a lot.

She knows Descartes and Kant.

She knows academia and Oxford.

She knows that the people who love you leave you.

She knows how to be alone.

But when Molly leaves England’s grey skies behind to start a new life at the University of Alabama, she finds that she has a lot to learn—she didn’t know a summer could be so hot, she didn’t know students could be so intimidating, and she certainly didn’t know just how much the folks of Alabama love their football.

When a chance encounter with notorious star quarterback, Romeo Prince, leaves her unable to think of anything but his chocolate-brown eyes, dirty-blond hair and perfect physique, Molly soon realises that her quiet, solitary life is about to dramatically change forever…

Mature New Adult novel—contains adult content, highly sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up

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Molly Shakespeare has spent most of her life alone, with no family left she stuck her head into books and graduated from her English secondary school a year early. Now studying for her Masters degree, she follows her teacher to the University of Alabama both to be her teaching assistant and for a fresh start. When she arrives she gets roomed with locals Lexi and Cass who instantly become her closest friends. Having spent most of her life studying, Cass and Lexi are determined to make sure Molly actually has a social life in Alabama.

On her first day as a TA Molly finds herself running across the quad (or campus for my fellow Englishmen), and manages to drop her papers everywhere. And who should be the one to help her up? None other than the Crimson Tide’s (‘Bama’s Football Team) star QB (that’s quarterback in football speak by the way) Romeo ‘Rome’ Prince. Being British Molly has no clue about American Football or the players so doesn’t know who Rome is, but he certainly leaves an impression. And as luck would have it Rome also happens to be in her teaching class…. but so does Queen Bitch Shelly, as I’ve now named her, who you just know is going to be Molly’s evil nemesis throughout the book and boy is she ever!

After her first day of classes Molly reluctantly goes to a sorority initiation with her new besties, as Lexi (a goth) has a dream of joining the cheerleading squad and apparently this is her only way in. But surprise surprise, guess whose in charge of the sorority? Yep you guessed it, Shelly. For their initiation they have to kiss a member of their brother sorority whilst blindfolded and guess what food they’ve just eaten – I don’t know about you but I certainly couldn’t do this! Molly ends up going last and Shelly pairs her with the most disgusting brother, who she can practically smell a mile off. But there’s a commotion and the stinky guy is replaced by one who smells of man and mint. After a very (VERY) passionate kiss her blindfold is removed to find Romeo Prince, and it’s from here that Molly and Romeo burgeoning romance unfolds.

Their main trouble comes in the form of Rome’s parents, who can I just say are horrific!! Their attitude and treatment towards Romeo is just awful and your heart breaks for him over and over. I love how Romeo was given his name and I also loved the ties to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet story, particularly their names – obviously Romeo Prince but also Molly Juliet Shakespeare – and how Rome climbs up to Molly’s balcony to see her. They also face the expected trouble from fellow classmates as Rome is a famous QB and Molly is just the nerdy English girl. Now I know that this is a typical young adult romance storyline but in Sweet Home it isn’t the main storyline and rather than being an annoying side I really do think it adds to the story.

It’s both sweet and light-hearted but at the same time it’s filled with so much angst, heartbreak and depth. It tackles issues that many can relate to such as parent trouble, loneliness and abuse. You will laugh, hold your breath, stay up until the early hours and cry a bucket of tears. Rome’s parents’ involvement with Molly at the end just ruined me, you will definitely need a massive box of Kleenex (that’s tissues for those outside England) and maybe some Ben & Jerry’s! Having said that there were many times where I caught myself smiling or laughing along with the characters. Molly and Romeo’s relationship just felt so real, their chemistry was incredible and I loved them as both a couple and as characters.

“I don’t remember Romeo being this pushy with Juliet!”…..He arched his eyebrows meaningfully. “And look at how that worked out for them. My way is better—less death, more orgasms.”

Knowing nothing about American Football myself, I really enjoyed the big football presence in the book and how it was used to tie storylines together – Rome’s teammates, his fame, his dreams and his parents’ for him and of course probably my favourite thing ever ‘The Lucky Kiss’! I won’t ruin it for you but at the first of Rome’s games Molly attends a lucky tradition is started which runs throughout the book creating some of most beautiful dialogue I’ve ever read at the end of the book, I cried, a lot! Another personal thing I loved about Sweet Home was just how English it was! Molly is a brilliant character who I found I could relate to a lot and the amount of English humour was amazing! Often I find when I’m reading a book, whether it’s written by someone English or not, sometimes they fail miserably to portray a true English character but Tillie Cole has done no such thing – so thank you Tillie!

As well as Molly and Romeo, the other characters in the book were equally as good, each adding something different to the story. I really loved Rome’s teammates and Molly’s best-friends and I can’t wait to read about their individual stories, particularly Sweet Fall (Austin and Lexi’s story) which we are celebrating the release of later this month! (Check out the cover reveal here)

Sweet Home is heart-wrenching, heart-felt and heart-breaking – when the characters cry, so will you. You feel their pain and their happiness, their joy and their sorrow, the characters so real you hold your breath along with them. With hidden depths, this is a story worth smiling about and you’ll definitely feel the heat in the steamier scenes! But when it comes down to it, this truly is a modern day story of Romeo and his Molly Juliet.

To read Sweet Home by Tillie Cole for yourself get it from…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

And to read more reviews check out Sweet Home on Goodreads

Or find out some more about Author Tillie Cole and her books on her website or Facebook page!

“It only took Romeo one look at Juliet and his fate was sealed. Maybe I’m just like my namesake, and maybe you’re just like yours.”