Friday, 13 April 2018

Book tour: Inescapable Fate - Hanleigh Bradley (The Fate series #1)


When Georgia Kentley breaks up with her long-term boyfriend Darren over Christmas, she really can't wait to return to work on the 27th of December.

The excitement dies when she meets her new boss, Walker Trent. DCI Trent is a misogynistic pain in the arse. Being a young police officer, Georgia has met her fair share of men who don't understand that she can hold her own. Every single time she has proven them wrong.

Will she be able to prove to Walker Trent just how capable she is or will she get herself into a heap of trouble, danger and chaos? And when chaos ensues who will be there to save her?


My opinion.
They say "don't judge a book by it's cover", and that's definitely what you shouldn't do with this one. The blurb convinced me to read this book - and I'm glad I did! Because the cover, to me, does not sell or represent the book. It's not the right fit for the genre, and I feel it does not do the strong, independent Georgia justice. (Sorry!)
There's no lack of interesting characters and this first installment in The Fate series sure introduces us to some of them already. I do feel, however, that - maybe because this was so clearly set out as being only the first book in a series - those character introductions were a bit rushed and their dynamics insufficiently explained or defined. This keeps you as a reader from getting truly invested in them or their relationships. There's some information about their personal lives, their past on the job and some horrible cases that definitely need a bit more time than they're given now. Because all of it, characters, cases and events, is definitely intriguing enough!
The fireworks between Georgia and Trent create a wonderful tension as we ease into the story. I loved their dynamic and the atmosphere it created. But almost from one chapter to the next, the fireworks seem to disappear when the "crime/thriller" part of the story heats up, and their relationship loses all its excitement and tension.  I could have used some more build up in their relationship, and a better balance between the fast paced, thrilling part of the story on the one hand, and the romance on the other. It's almost as if there's two different books into one, with the first part being romance and the second a crime thriller, with an unsuccessful (hospital) scene in the middle that tried to merge the two.
That being said, when the crime/thriller part of the story picks up when there's a serial killer on the loose, I couldn't put the book down and at one point it even gave me goosebumps. I love the dynamics of a police force and all the different personalities that come with it, the crime element mixed with some romance and friendship & family bonds - even though that mix hasn't been balanced out correctly yet.
And the ending is such a torturing cliff-hanger!! I actually tried swiping a couple of times before realizing that, yes, I actually had reached the last page. I cannot wait to see how this police force handles the rest of the case, what will happen with the killer and between Georgia and Trent. All things considered, a promising start to a new series.


 



Thursday, 12 April 2018

Book blitz: The Holiday Cottage by the Sea - Holly Martin (Sandcastle Bay #1)

 


Escape to Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover a charming little seaside village brimming with heart-warming friendships, quirky characters and plenty of sunshine.


The perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Tori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

A joyously romantic summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.


My opinion.
I am in love with Holly Martin's version of the world. I would move there in a heartbeat. Yet another cute, rustic English village full of wonderful people... and very gorgeous men.
As always, the characters in this latest page-turner are incredibly easy to love. Holly knows how to get her readers invested almost immediately, and leave them wanting - needing - more until way past closing that final chapter. I kept thinking about these characters and the wonderful Sandcastle Bay, until I just gave up, dropped everything and continued reading. True to Holly Martin's writing, she pulls those heartstrings mercilessly. Avoid reading this book in public, where there's no hiding behind big sunglasses or blaming those tears on hay fever ;-) I laughed out loud and fell in love with yet another gorgeous book boyfriend. Warning though for the real men in our lives: Aiden (and his brothers) set the bar (way) high. Swoon alert! 
I loved Tori as the main (female) character. She has her doubts and reservations when it comes to romance, but she's confident and unapologetic about who she is. She is passionate about her job and hobbies, she is incredibly funny and a wonderfully loyal friend. The flirting between her and Aiden is hilarious from the start and their witty banter is as sexy as their physical chemistry. The interesting careers and quirky hobbies, the wonderful friendships and family bonds add extra colour and flavour to this already 'joyously romantic' read in this stunning setting.
Absolutely loved everything about this book. Bring on the next one, Holly!


 

Don't miss the rest of the tour:


About the author: 
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.


Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Book tour: Reality Blurred - Aven Ellis (Rinkside in the Rockies #2)



Rinkside in the Rockies #2, can be read as a standalone
236 pages

-

He lied to her. Fed her the same lines as he did all the other girls. Instead of proposing, he dumped her on national TV. Would a romance with a hockey superstar prove just as disastrous—or could it be the greatest love story of her life?

Cast as America’s reality show sweetheart after being jilted on a dating show, Skye Reeve is ready to stop being a brokenhearted woman by proving she’s more than what the camera portrayed her to be. She’s landed her dream job as a TV lifestyle reporter and promises to work hard to be a success.

Skye also vows never to be swept up in a fairy tale romance ever again, as she obviously has no clue what real love is.

Being in the same city as Denver Mountain Lions hockey star Maxime Laurent, however, might make this last goal impossible.

Dealing with ghosts from his own past, the Belgian hockey star is known for keeping his life off the ice private. He’s not sure if outgoing Skye could be a match for him, but he can’t deny his attraction to her.

When the two embark on a romance, will they be able to move forward from the past to let love into their hearts?  With no reality blurred, will Skye find real-life love to be what she had been looking for all along?


My opinion.
OK., let's start this off with a confession. I love a good romance - that's not news, I know - and as my guilty pleasure... I watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. Yep, it's true.
Anyway, here comes Aven Ellis with her latest deliciously feel good romance and who else but a reality dating show survivor stars as main character?! Now Aven's insightful writing finally gives you a plausible idea of what actually happens "after the final rose". Skye's life is turned completely upside down because of the show and it's aftermath. It has left some scars, and even some open wounds, but she's ready for a new start. 
And in walks Maxime. OK so I may be a biased, but a BELGIAN hockey player? Me likes! ;-) In all seriousness though, Maxime is yet another perfect book boyfriend in Aven Ellis' hockey world. He is insightful, caring, funny,... I know, I'm smitten. Oh, and have I mentioned there're cats in this book too?! Talking about a perfect match...
Apart from all the swooning that was happening while reading, there was a point where I was really annoyed with both of them... mostly Skye. I just wanted to shake her! Her doubts and hesitations, although completely valid, were almost exhausting. Over-analyzing and being careful and sensible is all good in real life, but losing yourself in the romance and just jumping in, blind... isn't that kinda what a romance novel is for? I know, I know, one of the best things about Aven's characters is how "real" they are, but still. More swooning, less worrying! 
I loved how hockey played a more prominent role in this book than in some of the previous hockey romances. Even though I'm not a big sports fan and I know next to nothing about hockey - apart from what Aven Ellis' novels have thought me - I love the scenes where practice schedules, tactics or games are featured. There's definitely room for even more hockey-related scenes in these novels. Same goes for Skye's career, actually! 
As always, I fell in love with the characters from the start and I loved going through the ups and downs with them and seeing how they dealt with everything thrown at them. Reality Blurred is a wonderful romance novel, with characters that are easy to love and hard to forget.



 

About the Author - I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I’m a hockey nut (Go Stars!) and watch as much as humanly possible. I also love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. In addition to be obsessed with the Duchess, I’m equally obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.



Links

Website/Blog - http://avenellis.com/


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Book tour: Christmas at the Candied Apple Café - Katherine Garbera (Guestpost + GIVEAWAY)




There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…
Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!
Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.
If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Social Media Links  



Guest post!
Welcome to M's Bookshelf, Katherine!

Christmas Traditions!

It’s safe to say that most if not all of my traditions revolve around my family and food.  My earliest memories are of sitting in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house with my mom and her talking, laughing and eating.  I like to linger at the kitchen table when I have friends and family over.  There is something that just feels so right about it.

I can still remember the sadness and sense of loss I felt the year my grandmother died.  My mom and sisters and I helped pack up her house and we were drawn to the kitchen and her pots and pans and her cookbooks.  We split the cookbooks up and I found that the cookbooks were a link to her.  She’d written all sort of notes on recipes and left her own variations on pieces of paper in the books.

Whenever I use one of her recipes I feel like she’s right there in the kitchen with us, giving us kisses and telling us how wonderful we are.  One of those recipes is a traditional Italian Christmas cookie.  They are called struffoli.  They are little bits of fried dough coated in honey and sprinkles.  Now my kids and husband will tell you I have an unnatural propensity to use sprinkles on every holiday and on everything—ignore stories of the green sprinkles for St. Patrick’s day in the biscuits which made it look like they might be moldy.  J

Stuffoli receipe: 

2 cups sifted flour.  Mix in 3 eggs beat after each egg.  Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix well to make a soft dough.  Roll into a long strip of dough (like when you gnocchi) and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Roll the pieces in your hand until they are round.  Drop into hot oil  and cooking until they are brown on all sides.  Take from the oil and drain on a paper towel for a few seconds then toss in honey and coat with brightly colored sprinkles.

What holiday food reminds you of your family?

Mmmm, getting hungry already! Bring on Xmas lunch/dinner! Thank you so much for stopping by, Katherine. I can't wait to try out your recipe. Happy Xmas!


Giveaway 
Win 5 x Signed Copies of Summer in Manhattan 



5 lucky winners will win a copy of Summer in Manhattan, Katherine Garbera’s previous book for Harper Impulse. 



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Book tour: Squeeze Play - Aven Ellis




306 pages
Publisher - Self Published
Release Date - 25th October 2017

The blurb.

Full of enthusiasm, recent graduate Hayley Carter is thrilled to be working for a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Having spent a lot of her life in the background due to family circumstances, Hayley is eager to step up and be heard—and bring much needed change to her new organization. With romance on the shelf, it’s time to focus on herself and new career. Armed with a workbook to help her improve on a personal and professional level, Hayley is ready to become a better version of who she already is.

But will a baseball player for the Washington Soaring Eagles challenge her thoughts on not only dating, but the person she thinks she needs to be?

Brody Jensen is the new catcher for the professional team in DC. Baseball is everything to Brody and has been his salvation while growing up. Brody wants to make the most of his full-time shot behind the plate. Which means no serious relationships.

However, when a chance encounter leads him to Hayley, Brody finds himself wanting to know all about the beautiful blonde who has engaged him from the moment he spotted her. Together, they find themselves questioning the ideals they had set for not only relationships, but themselves, too.

When the cherry blossoms bloom in the nation's capital, Cupid puts a squeeze play on Hayley and Brody. Will they be brave enough to love themselves and each other? Will love be called out? Or will their relationship be safe at home?



My opinion.
I've absolutely loved reading "Squeeze Play". Brody and Hayley are definitely some of my favourite Aven characters to date. Their witty, flirty dynamic is addictive and I fell in love with them right from the start. Although this book is unmistakably an Aven Ellis novel, something about it made it feel new and '"fresh". Aven Ellis' writing is strong and confident and it translates beautifully into these character's dialogue and personalities.
"Squeeze Play" is Aven Ellis' funniest novel yet, and might just be my favourite too! Fun, flirty, smart and original characters as always - a joy to read. I guarantee you'll fall in love with Brody and Hayley just like I have.


 

Read an extract here.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Release day blitz: Squeeze Play - Aven Ellis ( + extract!)



306 pages
Publisher - Self Published
Release Date - 25th October 2017


Full of enthusiasm, recent graduate Hayley Carter is thrilled to be working for a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Having spent a lot of her life in the background due to family circumstances, Hayley is eager to step up and be heard—and bring much needed change to her new organization. With romance on the shelf, it’s time to focus on herself and new career. Armed with a workbook to help her improve on a personal and professional level, Hayley is ready to become a better version of who she already is.

But will a baseball player for the Washington Soaring Eagles challenge her thoughts on not only dating, but the person she thinks she needs to be?

Brody Jensen is the new catcher for the professional team in DC. Baseball is everything to Brody and has been his salvation while growing up. Brody wants to make the most of his full-time shot behind the plate. Which means no serious relationships.

However, when a chance encounter leads him to Hayley, Brody finds himself wanting to know all about the beautiful blonde who has engaged him from the moment he spotted her. Together, they find themselves questioning the ideals they had set for not only relationships, but themselves, too.

When the cherry blossoms bloom in the nation's capital, Cupid puts a squeeze play on Hayley and Brody. Will they be brave enough to love themselves and each other? Will love be called out? Or will their relationship be safe at home?

OUT TODAY!!

 

EXTRACT

  I extend the cup toward Brody. “Close your eyes and inhale the tea.”
“What?” Brody asks, appearing surprised.
“Do it,” I encourage.
Brody grins but complies. He dips his head forward and closes his eyes, slowly inhaling the scent of the hot tea in front of him.
This shouldn’t be a sexy experience, but it is. There’s something about watching this gorgeous man close his eyes and breathe in the drink that is a huge turn-on to me.
I refocus before he opens his eyes and catches me staring at him.
“You should be detecting the rich, dark tea, floral scents, and the brightness of citrus, all coming together for a lush, aromatic experience.”
Brody slowly opens his eyes.  “I detected something else.”
“Really? What?” I ask, curious. “Those were the things mentioned on the Earl Grey website I pulled up.”
“I smelled fresh-cut flowers and spice, mixed together,” Brody says. He reaches across the table and gently brushes his thumb across the inside of my wrist, and I shiver as soon as I feel the roughness of his skin move against mine.  “Your perfume is what I noticed.”
I can’t breathe.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Blog Tour: The Angel - Katerina Diamond (extract)


The Queen of Grip-lit is back…
‘A terrific story, originally told. All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT
‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN
THE TRUTH WON’T STAY LOCKED UP FOREVER
When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?
DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.
When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.
Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge.

Extract Twelve from Chapter Four, pp 40-41

The windows of the Serco prison transport van – or sweatbox as it was more affectionately known – were blacked out from the outside, but from the inside he could see the people on the streets going about their business. He saw a skater flipping off a hotel step and instantly wished he had his deck, just to feel that freedom. Freedom; something he had never fully appreciated until he was sat in this box. He was being put on remand until his hearing. He tried to focus on his breathing, unwilling to let his asthma get the better of him in here of all places. He didn’t even know if they would open the door if he had an attack. If they would even hear him? If they would even bother to help? Instead, he just counted inside his head to make the rising panic go away. He couldn’t think about what he had done to get into this situation; the fact was that he was here and he was guilty. Of arson. Of manslaughter.
He had never meant to kill anyone. The words went round and around his head. He was a killer; he had ended someone’s life. He couldn’t allow himself to cry. He couldn’t be seen to be entering the prison with tears in his eyes. He had a few friends who had done time in Exeter prison, and by all accounts it was grim. Understaffed and overpopulated, the Victorian building that was barely fit for purpose – not in this day and age – still housed well over five hundred prisoners both on remand and serving shorter sentences. And he was about to join them.
At least the police had seemed to believe that he hadn’t intended to start the fire; hopefully the judge would too. Every time he closed his eyes, Gabriel imagined what it must feel like to burn alive. Why hadn’t they checked the place was empty? Why had he allowed himself to be pushed into something so bloody stupid? He longed for the sound of his parents screaming at each other when they thought he was out of earshot. Anything but this.
The van started moving and Gabriel allowed himself to breathe. He looked outside, wondering if he would ever walk on a street again. He was afraid that he wouldn’t even last a week in jail; either the asthma or something worse would get to him. The invisible strap around his chest tightened. One, two, three, four, five. He soaked in as much of the city as the route would allow. The bus station, the pub he went into with Emma sometimes. As they pulled into the prison, Gabriel held his breath again. He had very little idea of what to expect, but he was going to keep his head down, speak when spoken to and keep himself to himself. He was grateful at least for his six foot two inches of height, hoping that might deter any unprovoked attacks.