Friday, 9 December 2016

Blog Tour: On Thin Ice - Aven Ellis

Holly Johansson knows some things in her life are certain after college graduation: 

1.) It’s a long road to become a full-time author. 
2.) She’ll need to work to pay her bills. 
3.) And Dallas Demons superstar Matt Rhinelander will never return her feelings.

Holly knows her unrequited crush on the partying hockey player is ridiculous. There’s no way Matt would be attracted to a woman who prefers nights in watching TV or reading books when he’s known for his frequent bar hops and fast lifestyle. Obviously he would never see her as anything other than his teammate’s little sister.

Yet Holly is drawn to the other side of Matt—the man she knows has always been thoughtful and easy to talk to whenever she’s been alone with him. It is this Matt that fueled the crush Holly has on him. And she knows it will always be just that—a secret crush.

Or will it?

Because when Matt helps Holly through a crisis, her heart begins to believe that there might be feelings on his part, too. After a night of hard partying puts Matt in jeopardy with the Dallas Demons, can Holly be the one to save him? And when Matt admits he sees her as more than Nate Johansson’s sister, will it put both of them on thin ice? 

My opinion.
It's no secret that I've enjoyed every single one of Aven's novels, ever since she first published her debut "Connectivity". With On Thin Ice though, she wrote my favourite one of hers yet. All Aven's leading ladies are inspiring, beautiful girls you'd be lucky to have as your friend. With Holly Johansson she takes this to a whole new level. Not only did Holly feel like a best friend from the start, I recognized so much of myself in her. 
Holly is the heroine of the quirky, nerdy girl. She proves that, although it is faaaar from easy, being yourself without fear of judgment and overcoming your fears is worth it. Something we could all learn from..
The fact that she's encouraged in this by a very sexy, sweet, smart and funny male lead is of course the ultimate bonus ;-) Another perfect book boyfriend - thank you, Aven!
As a couple they face their share of obstacles. Some maybe a bit predictable, but when both of them open up, you find out there's much more to them - and their relationship - than you'd first assume. The connection they have is intimate, romantic and gaaaah I just love how they both see the best in each other, even when they don't see it themselves. I couldn't think of two characters better suited for each other.
On Thin Ice made me laugh and cry, and left me hopelessly in love with Holly and Matt's story.


About Aven Ellis

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.

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Check out more fabulous books by the amazing Aven Ellis:

Monday, 24 October 2016

Book tour: Christmas under a Starlit Sky - Holly Martin (A Town Called Christmas #2)


Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember. 

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season? 

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself. 

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith? 

My opinion.
She did it again. Holly Martin, Christmas book queen. Not only does this book have the most gorgeous and cosy backdrop of a Town Called Christmas, the love stories are intense, moving and compelling. With the island and hotel introduced in the first installment in this series, Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky (read my review here), there was a lot of room and time in this story to further invest in its characters - some new, and some 'old' friends. 
Snuggling up under a blanket on a cold day, Christmas Under A Starlit Sky was a perfect, heartwarming read. With each Christmas book Holly Martin writes, she gives me new reasons to love Christmas. I sincerely hope we'll have a chance to catch up with this snug  little town and its loving characters.
Christmas Under A Starlit Sky left me feeling warm, emotional, festive and in love.


in A Town Called Christmas series

What others are saying about Christmas Under A Starlit Sky:


Monday, 17 October 2016

Book review: The Alchemist's Secret - Scott Mariani

Where there’s Hope there’s trouble…

THE ALCHEMIST’S SECRET introduces hero Ben Hope, a former elite SAS soldier tortured by a tragedy from his past, who now devotes his life to rescuing kidnapped children.

But when Ben is recruited to locate an ancient manuscript which could save a dying child, he embarks on the deadliest quest of his life.

The document is alleged to contain the formula for the elixir of life, discovered by the brilliant alchemist Fulcanelli decades before. But it soon becomes apparent that others are hunting this most precious of treasures – for far more evil ends. It seems that everyone – from the Nazis of the past to the shadowy modern organisation known as Gladius Domini – wants to uncover the secrets of immortality.

Teaming up with attractive American scientist Dr Roberta Ryder, Ben is led on a wild and dangerous trail from Paris to the ancient Cathar strongholds of the Languedoc, where an astonishing secret has lain hidden for centuries…

My opinion.
The Alchemist's Secret is a fast paced thriller that takes you across France, searching for a centuries old mystery while being hunted down by a small army of professional killers.
Ben's motivation behind this dangerous - and what sometimes seems or feels to be futile - quest, is the life of a little girl. By uncovering this ancient knowledge he hopes to find a cure that will save her. A noble goal, but for some reason that motivation or urgency didn't translate - nor did it feel real.
The story is fast paced in the sense that things happen in quick succession to one another. But for the entire novel I felt like I was a bystander, seeing things unravel from a distance rather than feeling involved. Although some details about Ben's past are revealed, they're just not enough to make you, as a reader, feel as if you know the character. The same goes for Roberta. There's potential there for an awesome team, but it felt as if the author was too busy killing off hired killers and planning attacks on their lives, than to actually invest in his main characters.
The book showed an interesting and 'forgotten' part of history and takes you on an adventure - one that's covered in mystery and bloodshed.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Book review: The One Plus One - JoJo Moyes


Jess Thomas wants . . .
. . . to be more than a single mum getting by day after day
. . . to do her best for her gifted but sensitive daughter Tanzie
. . . to find a way back from the loneliest place on earth
Ed Nicholls is hoping . . .
. . . he won't go to jail
. . . there's a way back from the biggest mistake of his life
. . . something or someone will make it all go away
Jess and Ed are . . .
. . . two strangers looking for a little kindness
. . . two lost souls with a lot to learn from each other
. . . about to find out that one plus one makes more - so much more - than two

My opinion.
Starting The One Plus One, I had no idea what to expect. I was taken completely by surprise by the turn of events and felt myself hopelessly invested in these character's lives. I'm not even sure how or if I can describe how intensely I felt for them.
A weird road trip, almost comical in its absurdity, turns into a little bubble where these characters - all broken in different ways - find themselves safe and included, and maybe even healed?
The entire reading experience was emotional and it's just not the kind of story you can put 'on hold' while closing the book - this little group of misfits stays with you.
The One Plus One doesn't shy away from difficult topics. From family bonds, bullying and standing up for who you are, to what it's like to live on minimum wage trying to make ends meet while raising a family. Jess' reality is in stark contrast to Ed's, for whom money lost almost all meaning, and therefor handles it without thinking of the (legal and other) consequences. The way they live their lives and the priorities they have couldn't be more different, but what could (or should) have driven them apart, may not be as much as a deal breaker than they - or you as a reader - might have thought.
Tanzie and Nicky stole my heart from the very beginning and you can't help but want to protect them. I laughed when they were happy, I cried when they were hurt. 
An emotional roller coaster I couldn't put down - absolutely loved this book.



Friday, 7 October 2016

Book review: The One We Fell In Love With - Paige Toon

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a musician seems to be spiralling down the drain.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with…

My review.
To be honest, the blurb alone would not have sold me on this one. Love triangles (or... squares?) are usually not something I go for. But having read - and loved - Paige Toon novels before I decided that I'd go for it. And hurray for that!During the first half of the book I had a love-'hate' relationship with all three of the sisters. Depending on which of the girls was telling the story, I felt closer to one of them and more apprehensive about the other. Until their stories became one story, and I could see, love and appreciate all three of them individually.
Now we've all read those cover-quotes from other authors or big magazines, but never did they feel so accurate than with this book, and I have to be careful not to just copy-paste them into my review. I did laugh and cry, and the book made me both sad and happy. It made me appreciate and enjoy what I have even more - although now I maybe wish I had a sister as well as a brother ;-)
When I say I cried, I'm being a 100% serious. I didn't even care I was the "strange girl" on the train, first laughing and then crying by myself. I even had to stop for a few minutes before going into work, getting the book out of my mind. The story is intense, the relationships complicated and both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
Absolutely loved it.


Friday, 30 September 2016

Book review: The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My opinion.
When trying to come up with a way to describe my reading experience, reading The Secret Keeper, I kept struggling with the mix of being completely taking by surprise by several plot twists, and having found the reading progress - especially for the first half of the book - rather slow.
I think it took me rather long to really get to know the characters - both past and present - well enough to really feel a connection to them and becoming absorbed in their story.
By the time the secrets started to unravel, however, I couldn't get the book out of my mind. I loved how unexpected Dolly's story turned out to be and the setting of London during the London Blitz was something completely new to me. Without a focus on the war, the atmosphere of the time and the way people's perspectives change during a turbulent time like that were displayed wonderfully.
From reading Kate Morton before I already knew how good a storyteller she is and her descriptions of both past and present have the ability to transport you to another (time and) place with just a few lines.