28 Sep 2016

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Book Review / Winter's Camp by Jodi Thomas

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas has captivated readers around the world with her sweeping, heartfelt family sagas. To introduce her brand-new series, Jodi tells the story behind the unforgiving Texas landscape and how one man claims Ransom Canyon—and a timid beauty—for his legacy…

A wanderer’s life was all James Randall Kirkland had known since he was an orphaned boy in San Antonio. And while years of adventure had satisfied his younger self, now he’s longing to put down roots of his own and is prepared to go it alone. But when he sees the Apache slave woman with the startling blue eyes, the course of his journey is changed forever.

Ever since the Comanche raided her village and took her for their own, Millie hasn’t known any kind of freedom. After years of being outcast, beaten and traded from tribe to tribe, she’s unprepared for James’s patient tone and gentle ways. Still, as her handsome savior slowly earns her trust, Millie struggles between desire and fear, sure it’s just a matter of time before James tires of her and her burgeoning feelings are nothing but another wasted memory.


Published:     1st August 2015
Publisher:  HQN Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 0
.5, Ransom Canyon
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

I am so glad that I decided to read this book just after reading book 1 in this series, Ransom Canyon.  This book takes place in the past, well before Staten, Quinn and all the others in Ransom Canyon existed.  We follow James Kirkland who is travelling the land when he comes across a woman tied up and being beaten by tribes women.  For the price of a broken watch, he 'buys' the woman and decides to help her.    This story follows their story as they travel to a new village with James' vision of opening up a ranch.  

With quite a few twists and turns in this story, I jsut could not put it down.  It put a lot more perspective on book 1 in this series as this story is more of a 'this is where the story really begins'.  I found that reading this book straight after reading Ransom Canyon was definately the better way of reading it.  

Intrigued to find out what the story is going to be in book 2...
Continue reading Book Review / Winter's Camp by Jodi Thomas

Cover Reveal / Her Last Breath by JA Schneider



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32178869-her-last-breath?ac=1&from_search=true

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men...
 
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can't remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them - or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent...but is she?
Continue reading Cover Reveal / Her Last Breath by JA Schneider

26 Sep 2016

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Book Review / Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice…

Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendent of Ransom Canyon's founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O'Grady… or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.

Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand's son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn't imagined.

Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn't plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town's weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car's pedals, isn't prepared for what he encounters.

In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.


Published:     25th August 2015
Publisher:  HQN Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Ransom Canyon
Source:  Owned

 


 MY REVIEW

This book just gets better and better the more I read it.  As I had bought the rest of the series so far and had the final book on my review pile I decided to start right from the beginning and read this one again.  I read this in September last year and loved it then.  

Just to be reunited with Staten and Quinn and watching them reconnect was my favourite part in this whole book.  You have Staten who has his own scars with both his wife and son dead and you have Quinn who is a recluse for some reason that she does not reveal until nearer the end of the book.

You then have Lucas and a bunch of friends, including Lauren the sheriff's daughter, who decide to investigate an old gypsy house but unfortunately there is an accident.  This part of the story was more of a will they won't they type of situation.  Definitely kept me at the edge of my seat.

Lastly, you have Yancey Grey who is definitely an interesting character to say the least.  With secrets from his past he arrives in Ransom Canyon and decides to set up camp there as a handyman to the retirement community.  He obviously has secrets he wants to keep quiet but that may not be possible in such a small town.  
  
Such a great start to what I hope will be a firm favourite series in my collection...  Can't wait to start the next book!!!


Continue reading Book Review / Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

23 Sep 2016

Author Interview / Tim Vicary




How much should you lie for the man you love? Can you really know your ex husband? And how can suicide look like murder?

Just three of the questions which confront barrister Sarah Newby, as she struggles to revive her legal career. Shaken by her second divorce and the murder of her former lover, Sarah wonders if all her relationships with men are doomed. Her admirer, Detective Terry Bateson, hopes not, but what if he, too, has a secret he’d prefer to keep hidden?

And if Sarah’s client is innocent of murder, why has he told such obvious lies?








AUTHOR INTERVIEW


1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I've never thought of working with another author, but if I did, I think it would be someone whose skills complemented mine.  Since I write a series of legal thrillers called The Trials of Sarah Newby about a British barrister (trial lawyer) who faces challenging criminal cases in court, it would be great to work with someone who has actually done that for a living. A British version of Marcia Clark, perhaps. She was the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial and now writes a series of her own crime novels. There are lots of fascinating differences between the work of a British barrister and a Californian District Attorney, but the bottom line is the search for justice. I think my fictional barrister, Sarah Newby, would love to meet Marcia.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
The hardest part of writing by far, is getting the plot right. The plot is the bones of the story, the skeleton if you like, and if that's not working correctly, the tale just limps along. I try to plan it all out beforehand, but it never completely works because bones, as a doctor once told me, are living things which grow and develop like muscles but more slowly. Time and again what seemed like a good idea at the start either turns into a roadblock, or if I'm lucky, solves the problem by setting off in a whole new fertile direction. For example in my latest book, Broken Alibi, I was getting stuck halfway through when I suddenly remembered that my lawyer Sarah Newby has a student daughter, Emily, who came home from college and started to play a major role. That wasn't in the original plans at all, and as soon as she appeared the story gained a whole new energy.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
A typical working day for me is get up, take the dog for a walk, sit down and try to write at least 1,000 words -  1,500 on a good day, snooze or read after lunch and then go through what I have written to correct it, and jot down a few notes about what's supposed to happen in the story tomorrow. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea, so I keep a notebook and pencil by the bed.

4. When and why did you first start writing?
I've always wanted to be a writer but although I had several novels published by reputable publishers like Simon & Shuster they didn't make enough money to live off so I became a schoolteacher and university lecturer instead and wrote in the evenings when I had time. Then I got side-tracked into writing school textbooks and graded readers for foreign learners of English (which did earn a lot of money) but when ebooks and self-publishing appeared I went back to fiction and had a new lease of life.

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
My latest book, Broken Alibi, is the fourth legal thriller about barrister Sarah Newby. Each book can be read alone but the main characters age and develop throughout the series. Sarah became divorced in the third book, Bold Counsel,  so I had to decide where her life was going - did she need a man, could she afford her new flat, would she recover from the trauma of being nearly murdered in the previous story, and so on. Her ex-husband is suddenly arrested on suspicion of historic child abuse - something that allegedly happened twenty five years ago. That's big strand in the book which was prompted by many recent cases in this country. On the one hand many horrific cases have been uncovered, for example serial abuse by the TV presenter Jimmy Savile - but on the other hand several people, mostly men have had their lives and careers ruined by totally false allegations. I read a book called Love, My Year under the Yewtree by Paul Gambuccini which made a big impression on me, so I tried to put Sarah's fictional ex-husband through something similar. Where is the right and wrong in all this? It's a difficult, topical issue.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I am a big reader. My house is full of books and so is my kindle. I am currently reading On the Edge of the Abyss, the third volume of Ken Follett's huge historical trilogy about the twentieth century. It's great - I should be planning my new book but it's stopping me working! (See contrast with advice below)

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Advice for aspiring writers? Just do it, every day if you can, even when you don't want to. A novelist is a person who finishes a novel, and then writes another.
Continue reading Author Interview / Tim Vicary

22 Sep 2016

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Series Review / The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin



Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

Published:     Book 1 (2011), Book 2 (2012) & Book 3 (2014)
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Goodreads :  Book 1     Book 2    Book 3

Series or Stand-Alone:  Trilogy
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...   The mystery of the story was the best part for me.  What happened to Mara and her friends in the accident?  What was happening to her now?  I really wanted to know more.  The more Mara found out the more I wanted to know what else was going to happen. 


What I didn't like about this story...  This is one of those trilogies that I honestly did really enjoy reading but the story just didn't stick with me afterwards.  Its a good thing that I take notes as I really couldn't remember a lot of the story or the characters.  Its not that the story wasn't good or the characters weren't interesting but the story wasn't memorable for me. 


In summary...   Interesting romance with a great mystery/thriller twist to it.  A very easy read with no complications.  
Continue reading Series Review / The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

19 Sep 2016

FREE CHAPTER PREVIEW - Love is a Four-Legged Word by Michelle Gorman


Best friends Scarlett and Shannon spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur, running their dog business together. Scarlett’s intensive training course, Ruff Love, fixes owners as much as their pets, while Shannon spends her days walking spoiled pooches.
They share more than their business though: they also share Scarlett's husband, Rufus, who's been Shannon's best friend since childhood. It's a cosy setup. Unless one of them has a secret...

When Scarlett and Rufus's baby plans are decimated by a surprise turn of events, their marriage hits the rocks and they both turn to Shannon. All three relationships are pushed to breaking point, but when loyalties become divided, how do you decide who's most important?







Read the first five chapters of Love is a Four-Legged Word.. 
 


Up to the 12th October the price for pre-ording this title is 99c/99p. On October 13th, publication day, the price will go back up to normal ($5.99/£2.49).

QUOTES

  • “She and Scarlett were in the sisterhood, they loved each other and they ran their business together. Besticles before testicles!”
  • “In her head she was the love child of Doctor Doolittle and Sigmund freud, a fairy dogmother who transformed pet owners’ lives across Greater London. In reality she spent a lot of time being drooled over in the mud.”
  • “Inside jokes. Sometimes she envied that about Rufus and Shannon’s childhood friendship. She’d come late to the party, and she suspected that some of the best songs might have been played already.”
  • “The excitement in his expression made Scarlett’s nether parts start to wibble. Finally, they were on the same page… or at least in the same book. She didn’t mind skim reading ahead to get to the good bits if she had to.
  • “Barkley glued his eyes to the aluminium foil as she unwrapped it. Dog treats? Leftover sandwich? Was it even edible? It didn’t matter – could he get it into his mouth? Chicken! It’s chicken! Everybody, the lady’s got chicken! He looked from Charlie to Hiccup. Hiccup wasn’t as impressed with the big reveal.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Michele writes books with heart and humour, full of best friends, girl power and, of course, love and romance. Call them beach books or summer reads, chick lit or romcom... readers and reviewers call them "feel good", "relatable" and "thought-provoking".
She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word "portion". 

Instagram: @michelegormanuk
Twitter:@MicheleGormanUK
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MicheleGormanBooks
Blog: www.michelegormanwriter.blogspot.com
Website: www.michelegorman.co.uk
Continue reading FREE CHAPTER PREVIEW - Love is a Four-Legged Word by Michelle Gorman

18 Sep 2016

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Book Review / November 9 by Colleen Hoover




Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.





Published:     10th November 2015
Publisher:  Atrica Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Owned
 


MY REVIEW

What I loved about this book...  This is one of those books that I am so glad I decided to read as an audio book rather than reading a physical book or ebook.  With some books, audio books just works really well.  With this book I could definitely feel the romance in the air listening to Fallon and Ben meet and continue to meet every November 9.  There are so many things that were really great about this book but by far my favourite part was the realness to the characters, what they were going through and the relationship between Fallon and Ben.  It wasn't one of those stories where they fall in love too quickly etc etc.  I loved how both Fallon and Ben were scarred in their lives in very different ways and overtime learns to deal with that in one way or another.  There was a really great twist to this story that honestly I was not expecting.  The last half of the book I was completely engrossed in what was happening that I just kept listening for one or two hours straight!  It was definitely one of those 'will they won't they' style stories and I LOVED IT!


In summary...   A heartbreaking romantic story I just could not stop listening to!  I would highly recommend the audio book for this one.






Continue reading Book Review / November 9 by Colleen Hoover

13 Sep 2016

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Book Review / Soldier's Wives by Fiona Field




This page-turning soap opera interweaves the stories of three women trying to get to grips with military life.

Chrissie, orphaned young, finds solace in her career as a medic in the regiment, but will love for a married man prove her undoing?

Maddy, a brilliant Oxford graduate, is bogged down with a fretful baby and a super-ambitious officer husband. Will she be able to stand life as a regimental wife?

And Jenna - glamorous, bad girl Jenna, who doesn't believe in rules and regulations. Will she destroy her husband's career? Or will it destroy her?





Published:     28th May 2014
Publisher:  Head of Zeus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Soldier's Wives
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


 MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  This is one of the first stories I have read that is based in army life and I really enjoyed following each of the families, watching how they live and seeing how they deal with their other halves working as soldiers.  I liked how most of them try to work together and 'make the best of it' just to make sure that it all works and their lives all work together with the regiment life.

What I didn't like about this story...  There was one particular character in this book that I really could not stand.  Absolutely despised.  Jenna is young, self involved and I had the impression that all she cared about was herself and her life,despite the fact that she was recently married and should be settling into that with her husband.  She didn't seem to get that if she did certain things it could get her husband into trouble and could also make him lose his job.  She was more concerned with what she got out of any situation.  I really hated that and although that was what she was meant to be like that particular character really bothered me to the point where I couldn't really enjoy the story. 

In summary...  This was a really fun book to read about Regiment home life and I will definitely be picking up more in this series but I might just give it a break for a bit just so I can go into book 2 with fresh eyes.


Continue reading Book Review / Soldier's Wives by Fiona Field

7 Sep 2016

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Blog Tour Book Review / The One Real Thing by Samantha Young

Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….


Published:    1st September 2016
Publisher:  Piatkus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Hart's Boardwalk
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I loved about this book...  I was so excited to get to read this for the blog tour.  I had previous read Hero by the same author and adored that one.  There were so many great things about this book I really don't know where to start!   You have Jessica who at the start of the story seems like she is maybe stuck in a rut and looking after everyone else's needs apart from her own.  When she discovers letters written by an prisoner and decides to deliver them personally, that is when the story became great for me.  Jessica gets swept into this town where she meets so many characters who become friends and one that becomes more than that!  Along with the romance and new friendships, there is also an enemy in the midst wanting to come in and upset the town and its inhabitants.

What I didn't like about this book...  I would have loved to have had more of a story with the letter Jessica found and wanted to deliver, the whole reason she want to Hartwell in the first place.  Now that I know that this is book 1 in a series, maybe there will be more on that and maybe not but it seemed like that part of the story was just put in there so Jessica has an excuse to go to Hartwell in the first place.  I would loved to have learned more about who the letter was destined to and more about that story.

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The One Real Thing by Samantha Young

6 Sep 2016

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Blog Tour Book Review / The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

Presenting a dazzling new historical novel … The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.

Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.

Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?


Published:     8th September 2016
Publisher:  Harper
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source: Review Copy from Publisher


MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...  This story is split into three character perspectives - Loretta, Teddy and Dolly.  Dolly has started a new job in The Savoy as a chambermaid so at the beginning of the story we see  her learning her hew trade as a chambermaid.  She also has dreams, big dreams which she tries to make come true.  Loretta is a famous actress on the stage but in this story we see more of her when she is not on the stage such as her weekly lunch dates with her brother etc.  On a chance encounter, Loretta's brother bumps into Dolly and then again when she answers an ad of his for a muse for his painting, Dolly gets introduced to Loretta who tries to help her.  You then have Teddy.  Teddy is Dolly's long lost sweetheart from her past.  They were so in love until he left for war.  After that, he was never the same having suffered injuries meaning that he could not remember who she was.  After that Dolly decided to move onwards and upwards to the Savoy.  The three different perspectives in this book definitely added depth to the story and I especially liked how each of the characters progressed throughout it.   The characters in this story were for sure the highlight for me. 

What I didn't like about this book...  The pace of this book was slower than what I had hoped for me.   This is definitely one of those books that you need to just sit back, relax and enjoy at a reasonable pace.  I had hoped for a few surprises along the way but this is not one of those stories.  This is more of a 'slice of life as it happens' type of story and should be enjoyed for exactly that. 

In summary...   A really great story with great character development.  The pace could have been faster with a few more twists and turns or even a few surprises along the way (but that is just my personal preference rather than a reflection on the story itself) but this story certainly made me want to pick up more books in this era (1920s) that's for sure!





Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

1 Sep 2016

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Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

 




Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. 

But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.






Published:     21st February 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Aristotle and Dante
Source:  Owned


MY REVIEW

What I loved about this book...  After just finished reading the Andalusian Nights trilogy by Hannah Fielding, which I loved and gave 5 stars to, I had not anticipated moving on to read something equally as fantastic as quickly as this.  Going into this book I didn't even read the description.  I wanted to go into this blind.

This book was so beautiful and moving I read it in one sitting.  Yes, one sitting.  I started it one evening and read right through until the early hours of the next day.  I just could not put it down.  The love in this book was so magical and beautifully written I could not put this down.  And the ending, that ending........  It has been a very long time since a book has moved me so much to tears but this one did.  Such emotion in this story, so beautiful. 

In summary...  A truly amazing read, once you pick this up you will not want to put it down until the very last page!  For all those of you who love reading about love, this is definitely one to pick up.  

Continue reading Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz