Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Summer - Sierra Dean

Cooper Reynolds has been missing for months.

The whole town of Poisonfoot, Texas believes he has run away, proving they were right not to trust him. They believe he left like his brother and father before him: another good-for-nothing Reynolds man leaving the small town in his dust. No one is looking for him.

No one but Lou Whittaker. 

Lou knows Cooper was taken, she just doesn’t know where he is or how to get him back. With the help of budding witch, Max, and an unlikely ally in her former enemy Archer Wyatt, Lou is determined to find Cooper and bring him back in one piece.

But time is running out. Summer is upon them, and if they don’t find Cooper before his 18th birthday, they’ll be bringing home a wild animal instead of their beloved friend. 

My thoughts:
I am sad that it's over, but at the same time it ended well. It did not drag out, so for that I am happy.

Cooper and Marnie was taken in book 3, and now they are gone. Who took them (we get to see that, hush hush.) The town thinks he just left (damn town!). So no one is looking for him, but everyone is looking for Marnie.

I should not say no one is looking, Lou and his family are looking. She would do anything to get him back. She is fighting for him, magically and with everything she has. But at the same time I knew, that even if she finds him, he is still doomed. In just a few weeks he will turn 18 and be a coyote forever (damn curse!) So I kept wondering, how will he be saved!? In more than one way.

There was a sadness and melancholy over this book. The curse was so darn close. That town is so darn bad. The people who have him are so darn evil.

But hey, beneath the UF and Paranormal it's still a romance, and this is the last book. It will end happily, I can tell you that.

Conclusion:
A race against the clock, and I read it fast to see what would happen. 

Cover
Cute, but it does not look like a cover for some reason

ebook, 160ish
Published June 30th 2015 by Sierra Dean
Dog Days #4
Urban fantasy romance/ YA
For review


Monday, 29 June 2015

Hearts of Stone - Simon Scarrow

1938. A perfect summer on the Greek island of Lefkas for three young people untroubled by the simmering politics of Europe. Peter, visiting from Germany while his father leads an archaeological dig, has become close friends with locals Andreas and Eleni. As the world slides towards conflict and Peter is forced to leave, they swear to meet again.

1943: Andreas and Eleni have joined the partisan forces resisting the German invasion. Peter has returned - now a dangerously well-informed enemy intelligence officer. A friendship formed in peace will turn into a desperate battle between enemies sworn to sacrifice everything for the countries that they love... 

My thoughts:
The story is told in the present and in the past.

In 1938 three teens meet and enjoy life. Eleni, Andreas and Peter.

In the present Anna meets an descendant of Peter, and one who wants to meet her grandmother Eleni. Not something Eleni wants, but instead she tells her story to Anna. Though I must say, it was not really Eleni's story we get, it is Andreas' story. Quite the shame, cos yes his story is good, but Eleni's would have been so different. A woman's perspective. 

Ok, back to the past. The war starts. Italians and later Germans invade Greece. Andreas goes off to fight. Eleni stays at home, and Peter who knows Greek and the island will later be sent there. They will all meet again. And we all know that wont be pretty.

It's war. There is hate. There is struggle. They all want to fight for their country, even if their country is not always making the right choices, and they realise that. But it's still their country.

But there is more. Peter was on the island with his father, who was an archaeologist. And later Germans come back to find that which was not found, or was it? And to take it...

Conclusion:
I do not think I have read a book set in Greece during WWII before. I liked the mix of war and the hunt for that which was hidden. It was also sad to see how the anger still lingered on. Still, more of Elenis' story would have been nice, but that would have made the book too big. Not to mention to see how Peter fared before he came there. Now that would have made it even bigger. So I am happy with what I got.

Cover
It fits

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 4th 2015 by Headline
Historical fiction
For review


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Carole's Sunday Review: Brailling for Wile - James Zerndt


Author: James Zerndt
Title: Brailling for Wile
Genre: Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: April 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (given to me by the publisher/author for my unbiased opinion)

BRAILLING: Feeling the surface of a tile while your hand is in the bag in order to draw a blank or other specific letter. This is strictly forbidden. -from SCRABBLE’s Official Glossary

Brailling was something twelve-year-old Mattias Long learned to master during the games of Scrabble he used to play with his mother while they waited for his father, Wile, to close up the family restaurant. But now, one year after his father’s suicide, it’s Mattias who feels cheated. He hates his father. He hates him for leaving Mattias and his sister, Georgie, alone. He hates him for turning his mother into a young widow who hasn’t left the house in months. And he hates his father for leaving behind his stupid tree. Four of them are planted outside the restaurant, one for each family member, his father’s now casting the biggest shadow. That is until Mattias’s mother, no longer able to stand the sight of the tree, hires a local landscaper to remove it in the middle of the night. This seemingly unremarkable act soon sets in motion of series of events in the small Colorado ski town that leaves more than just young Mattias groping in the dark for answers.

Brailling For Wile is a unique novel told from multiple points of view about loss and the lengths some will go to heal the human heart. Ultimately, it is a story about lives being uprooted and what it takes to go on living even when everything in the world might be telling us it isn’t possible to. 

I adore the writing style of James Zerndt. This is my second novel by this author. I really must read the others, because he has a certain way with words and telling a story. He is the King of POVs. There are multiple POVs in this story, but it is done in a way where it doesn't take away from the story, but enhances it. Also, I do not get confused about who is talking. 

Sadly, I didn't connect with any of the characters. That is my only complaint, because I just couldn't relate or connect. However, that didn't really take away from the novel entirely. I did feel bad for Mattia and especially for Mattia's mom. The dad was a jerk and I resent him for killing himself....

Anyways....

This was a good, quick book about how the acts one person can impact many people even after the person is gone. WHICH I loved the whole symbolism behind the trees and scrabble. Beautifully done. At first I rolled my eyes about the connection of scrabble, but after a while it all connected with me and I actually grew to like it. 

There is not much else I can without spoiling the book for everyone, but yes, the ending was good and it fit. 

In the end, I highly recommend this for people who like people stories. This is a people book with a serious and horrible act of one person. I wish I could have connected the with characters, but I don't think it took away from the story even though i didn't connect with it. Out of five stars, I shall stamp this with 3 stars.





Saturday, 27 June 2015

#FitReaders Check-In: June 26, 2015 and 2 reviews


Join in :D


Sat, 1 h walk, 4 km bike
Sun, 1.10 h bike
Mon, 1 h bike, 30 min walk
Tue, 1 h bike, 30 min walk
Wed nothing :/ It rained for 24 hours, but I did clean for 3,5 h
Thu, 1 h bike
Fri 1 h bike, 30 min walk
Sat, 1 h bike

Eh, I could do better


......................................

Major Sir Robert Campell is a hero to the Scots and English alike. He's revered for his prowess as a leader and a soldier. He takes control of any troublesome situation...except when it involves the beautiful English woman who stole his heart four years ago. 

Lady Claire Campbell was smitten the moment she laid eyes on Rob. Who can resist a powerful Highland Warrior in a kilt? Especially one who has the rugged face of a god and can't take his eyes off you... 

Time and tragedy have torn Rob and Claire apart, and now Rob is going to the Continent to fight a brutal battle against Napoleon and the French. Claire follows him, desperate to heal what has broken between them. But some wounds go deeper than blows Rob receives on the battlefield. And some wounds can never be healed. 

My thoughts:
This was an example on a novella that did not really work.

It happened too fast. I had no idea what went wrong between them. It all starts at Waterloo, a married couple are estranged for some reason, I did not care why, I did not really understand why...

The woman was named something, she was dull, the guy was named something, he was a highlander. And he got a new job and they lived happily ever after...and I never understood why.

Meh

Kindle Edition, 121 pages
Published August 31st 2014 by Jennifer Haymore
Highland Knights #1
Historical romance
Freebie

Someone else might crave excitement, but Dr. Natalya Pulaski was enjoying her ordinary life. Then she received a chilling call from her best friend—and the line mysteriously went dead. She felt in her bones something bad had happened. And that she had to get answers.

Detective Michael DiPalma's Friday night plans did not include working a missing person's case—or uncovering a dead body. But something about Natalya's vivid green eyes and killer curves demanded his immediate attention. As they teamed up, it was clear the walls around their guarded hearts were about to crumble. Were they brave enough to take the fall?

My thoughts:
Yawn, this one was barely ok.

A doctor gets a phonecall, her friend is dead. She will get to the bottom of this! She meets a sexy cop. He in investigates. Then they live happily ever after.

Chemistry 0
Yawns 100

I was not that impressed with this one. It was slightly better than dnf, sigh.

Kindle Edition, Silhouette Intimate Moments, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Silhouette Books (first published April 1st 2007)
The Doctors Pulaski
Romantic suspense
Freebie


Friday, 26 June 2015

Watch the Lady - Elizabeth Fremantle

The daughter of the Queen’s nemesis, Penelope Devereux, arrives at court blithely unaware of its pitfalls and finds herself in love with one man, yet married off to another. Bestowed with beauty and charm she and her brother, The Earl of Essex, are drawn quickly into the aging Queen’s favour. But Penelope is saddled with a husband who loathes her and chooses to strike out, risking her reputation to seek satisfaction elsewhere. But life at the heart of the court is not only characterised by the highs and lows of romance, there are formidable factions at work who would like to see the Devereux family brought down. It seems The Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen but as his influence grows so his enemies gather and it is Penelope who must draw on all her political savvy to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Told from the perspective of Penelope and her brother’s greatest enemy the politician Cecil, this story, wrought with love, hatred and envy, unfolds over two decades in which we see the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty. 

My thoughts:
It was hard, but I refrained from googling so I could see how it all turned out! Oh, but it was so hard! My fingers were itching to see how it all would play out, but I stayed my course, and finished the book, and then googled! A good historical fiction novel always makes me google everything, and everyone.

Penelope Deveraux, the name does not tell me anything. Her brother, Earl Essex tells me more. But then the author does mention how history likes to erase those women who did more than they should.

Penelope comes to the court of Queen Elizabeth and becomes a favorite, and then we get to follow her life. Her unhappy marriage, how poetry was written about her beauty. Her lover and scandalous life. And her mind, if she had been born a man she would have gone places. Now she schemed in the background.

I know from page one that it would be good, and it was. I liked reading about Penelope, and how the author portrayed her. She lived an interesting life, not always a happy one, but she did her best. A fascinating story

Conclusion:
It does make me want to go back and read what else she has written. The author keeps you on your toes so that you never lose interest. 

Oh, and yes it's part of a trilogy, but not really. It's a stand alone. Just as previous books were stand alones about different people. They just happened to be part of the same court,

Paperback, 560 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Simon & Schuster
The Tudor Trilogy #3
Historical fiction
For review


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Author Interview and Giveaway: Alison May

Today's interview is with Alison May, and there is a giveaway of her new book at the end.

Welcome!

 1. Who is Alison May?

I am. Me. Here. Er.... ok, already these questions are tricky, tricky and weirdly existential.
I’ll try again. Hi. I’m Alison May. I’m a writer and writing tutor, and I live in Worcester. I write romantic comedies which are sometimes described as dark, or gritty, or edgy, and sometimes described as chick lit. I tend to give the chick lit people a bit of a hard look.

 2. What is your new book, Midsummer Dreams about?

It’s about four people with very messy lives, and one night that changes everything for all four of them. The main characters – Emily, Dominic, Helen and Alex – are all very different from each other, but all unhappy with their lives in some way. Midsummer Dreams is about all of them trying to work out what might fix their unhappiness, with varying degrees of success. And there’s a sword fight. And maybe a donkey.

 3. It feels silly to ask this (cos duh), but what was the inspiration behind the book?

What do you mean ’it feels silly to ask’? What? What do you mean, there’s a play with a similar title... really?? Who knew?

Seriously, of course Midsummer Dreams is based on A Midsummer Nights’ Dream, but you definitely don’t need to be a fan of the play to understand what’s going on in the book. If you do already love the play though, hopefully you’ll find lots in the book that you recognise from the play, and a few little surprises as well.

 4. Was it hard to get all the pieces to fit together, and still write something new?

Honestly? Yes. There were at least seven points were I decided that the whole idea was impossible. I write realistic contemporary stories set in modern Britain. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in a forest next to a sort of semi-mythical version of Athens, and it has fairies, and ten (I think!) main characters, and a bit where a bloke gets turned into a donkey. With the best will in the world it’s a tiny bit tricky to get all that into an average night at the pub.
But problems and constraints like that force you to be creative and try to think differently about how you make the novel work as something new and original. Hopefully I pulled it off! 

 5. Are you working on something new right now?

At the moment I’m just finishing the third novella in the Christmas Kisses series. Over the last two Christmasses I’ve told the stories of Holly and Sean, in Holly’s Christmas Kiss, and then Cora (Sean’s ex) and Liam in Cora’s Christmas Kiss. At the moment I’m working on Holly’ best friend, Jessica’s, story, so for the third year in a row I’m listening to Christmas tunes at my desk in the middle of June.

 6. And last, 5 words why this is the book to read this summer.
Romance. Jealousy. Magic. Empowerment. Donkey.

Thanks!

Giveaway
1 e-copy of Midsummer Dreams

1. Open to everyone in the universe
2. Ends July 2nd
3. Enter by commenting

PS. As always, if I can't find your details, I can not find you.


Blurb for Midsummer Dreams
Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …  
Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.  

Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.  

Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.  

Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.  

At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.  

Buying Links:

Author Bio
Alison May was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now lives in Worcester with one husband, no kids and no pets. There were goldfish once. That ended badly.
Alison has studied History and Creative Writing, and has worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and a freelance trainer, before settling on 'making up stories' as an entirely acceptable grown-up career plan.
Alison is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2012. She writes contemporary romantic comedies, and short stories.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Boneshaker - Cherie Priest

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive. 

My thoughts:
I am in a lazy mood, and that is not good for review purposes so...

Zeke is an idiot teen who goes into the forbidden town where there are zombies, cos he wants to clear his dad's name (his dad destroyed Seattle and boom zombies.)

Brian finds that her idiot son has gone into the forbidden zombie infested town so she goes after him.

It's the 1880s. It's steampunk, and yes this world actually feel steampunk, + with zombies. The world was different, there wasn't just gadgets. An interesting world.

But then it wrapped up nicely and I saw that book 2 is not even about them. It's about new people. I wanna see how it goes with Seattle and the zombies.

Conclusion:
Interesting, but something was still missing (I think it might have been the characters.)

Cover
works

Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Tor Books
The Clockwork Century #1
Steampunk
Library


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Golem and the Djinni - Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance, they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

My thoughts:
For me it felt like one of those more quiet books. It was a folktale told, it was sweet, sad and made you wonder.... 

A man goes to a rabbi and tells him to make him a wife. And the rabbi makes a Golem, the best one ever made. Then Chava is brought to New York.

"Ahmad" is a djinni, free and curious. Until the day a wizard captures him and he awakes a thousand years later in New York.

They are both lost, not human, and trying to find their way. To act as human as they can. To figure out what life really is. They will eventually meet and for a moment feel like they are not alone in the world.

I liked how the book was real, but at the same time, maybe there used to be Djinni, maybe there still are, but they have learned to be hidden. Maybe a rabbi of the old really could create a golem. So it works.

I already said it felt quiet, and it did. The pace was, ok not slow, but not fast. Stuff did not need to happen, we could just go with the flow, experience thing. It was the way this story had to be told and it worked splendidly that way.

Conclusion:
Interesting and beautifully told. 

Cover
eh

Paperback, 484 pages
Published April 2013 by Blue Door
Fiction
Library


Monday, 22 June 2015

The Providence of Fire - Brian Staveley

War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings...
The Annurian Empire's ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people's goddess in an ordeal of flame.

As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies - then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire's borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.

Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden's actions could save the empire, or destroy it. 

My thoughts:
I liked this one better than book 1, book 1 was also good, just shaky at first. Here it all just flowed better.

First, I love everything I hear about the Csestrim (sp?). They are so evil and dark. Every time we get another tidbit I am all, ohhhh, are they all dead? Are some still around? They are so strange.

But back to the story. In this one Adare had a bigger part. She was hardly around in book 1. But here she is fleeing for her life, and getting in deeper.

Valyn found his brother in the last book and now he is trying to stay alive and figure out who is trying to kill them.

While the heir to the throne, Kaden, wants to find the mysterious monks that knows secrets long lost to the world.

They are all running and trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Who is after them. Who is trying to destroy the empire. And then a new enemy emerges too. Ohhh.

Adare, hm, I had difficulties with some of her choices. Valyn is all valour. Kaden, ok I get your ideas but for them to work, no chance.

And then more stuff happened and I was all whaaaat? No way, I did not see THAT coming.

Yup, this review is all over the place. We have action, intrigues and secrets. 

Conclusion:
At the end I wanted more, and darn it! I have to wait until 2016, sigh.

Cover
ok

Hardcover, UK edition, 606 pages
Published January 15th 2015 by Tor UK
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #2
Fantasy
Library


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Joint review: In the company of the courtesan - Sarah Dunant





This month Carole and I will be reading 'In the Company of the Courtesan' by Sarah Dunant! 


Author: Sarah Dunant
Title: In the Company of the Courtesan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 368
First Published: 2006
Where I Got It: My shelf

Escaping the sack of Rome in 1527, with their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companion, Bucino, head for Venice, the shimmering city born out of water to become a miracle of east-west trade: rich and rancid, pious and profitable, beautiful and squalid. 

With a mix of courage and cunning they infiltrate Venetian society. Together they make the perfect partnership: the sharp-tongued, sharp-witted dwarf, and his vibrant mistress, trained from birth to charm, entertain, and satisfy men who have the money to support her. 
Yet as their fortunes rise, this perfect partnership comes under threat, from the searing passion of a lover who wants more than his allotted nights to the attentions of an admiring Turk in search of human novelties for his sultan's court. But Fiammetta and Bucino's greatest challenge comes from a young crippled woman, a blind healer who insinuates herself into their lives and hearts with devastating consequences for them all. 



-What did you think of Bucino as the narrator?
B: I was not a fan. I guess I expected more from this book, more courtesan stuff, not just him going shopping and being boring. So I would rather have had no narrator in that sense. Hers and his pov would have been better.



C: It was certainly an interesting POV. I didn't mind seeing the world from his eyes, but honestly, I wish that the author would have done half and half. Half Fiammetta's and half of Bucino's.



-And him as a person?
B: He can't have been very memorable. I read the book yesterday and I am already forgetting him. He was not very nice, well he was nice, but then not so much.


C: Meh. He was okay. An interesting character, but he was not very nice. He pretty much caused the death of another character and it was not nice. However, he is a courtesan's “pimp”, so I guess he has to be mean sometimes.


-I did not really get the feeling of Fiammeta as an awesome courtesan, did you?
B: Well I already answered my own question. I never got that feeling like she is the best. We were told she was super pretty, but any whore can be pretty. Since she was not the narrator I never really saw if she was any good.

C: She was certainly a beauty, but I think she let her emotions get the best of her sometimes which took away from her “power”. However, I do wish some of the story through her eyes, because maybe she is different when she is actually doing the deed.


-I felt that a few changes could have made the book better, or did you like it as it was?
B: Why are all my questions like this? Anyway, her POV would have been a great start so we could see her life too. As it was now it was good, but sometimes I felt it was only ok.

C: It was alright. I would have had the POV divided between the two main characters. I also wished more action and drama took place throughout the book, because there was a lot of dry spots and it bored me. Simply bored me. However, when the drama and action did come I was hooked! Too many dry spots though....

   


-What did you feel about what happened to La Drarga the healer?
B: Of course it was wrong, but at the same time, those were the days, people were idiots. It was kind of obvious it would happen to her.
C: Ugh I felt so bad and it was sooooooooooooooo unnecessary! :/ It really made me mad.


-What did you think of the ending?

B: I felt meh.
C: It was a decent ending, but....it felt too easy. 

-How did you feel about the writing style of the author?
B: I did think that she was a good writer, I just felt she went about it all wrong. It could have been so much better.
C: Beautifully written! She certainly brought the characters to life and the setting. I just wished she would have given more spotlight to the courtesan. 


-Courtesan, healer/witch, nun, or arrange marriage? Why?

B: Ohh tricky! A courtesan still has choice. A witch may be free, but is also doomed. A nun, god NO! Arranged marriage, eh, could work, I would do my thing, he would visit his courtesan so I go with arranged marriage. But only if he was rich, if not then I would be a courtesan.
C: Heck no to the nun; worse then death for me. Honestly, I am torn between a courtesan or an arranged woman. It probably depends on how pretty I was. If I was meh, an arranged marriage, but if I was super pretty, I would be a courtesan and save up a whole bunch of money and never need a man. 

-THE END-





Saturday, 20 June 2015

#FitReaders Check-In: June 19, 2015 and Her Best bet


Join in :D

Sat, 1 h bike and 1 h bike/walk mix
Sun, 1.10h bike
Mon, 1 h bike
Tue 1,5 bike, 30 min walk
Wed, 1 h bike
Thu, 1 h bike, 1 h walk
Fri, 30m in walk?


-------------------------

Face her ten-year reunion as a lowly traffic manager? No way. Izzy Gordon is going to realize her dream of becoming a filmmaker. Her documentary about an old Wisconsin lodge and its gangster history is sure to be a winner. And she's got an ace up her sleeve, since her family owns the land.Too bad this film drops her into a brewing feud. Seems her family wants to sell the property and the lodge owners are fighting to stay open. They've drafted Gib Murphy--globe-trotting photojournalist and prodigal grandson--to stack their hand. Wow. Could this get worse? Apparently it could, because she's developing a thing for Gib...one he's returning. So at what point does her bluff get called and she has to confess her real identity? 

My thoughts:
I do like a book you can read in a day *coughs* few hours. Cos it was just really short and easy. Forgettable too, not in a bad way just..you know.

Izzy wants to do more with her life, those old dreams of being in show business. To make movies. So she makes a documentary.

Gib comes back to his grandparents who has a rundown resort. But they do not own the land and it is being sold...but Izzy's parents!

They meet, have fun, fall in love. She does not tell him her real name. She has a fiance that she does not want. Tiny bit of drama and then they love happily ever after.

Conclusion:
It was good for the purpose I wanted it for. A sweet short read.

Cover
ok

Paperback, 248 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Harlequin
Contemporary romance
Own


Friday, 19 June 2015

Beneath London - James P.Blaylock

The collapse of the Victoria Embankment uncovers a passage to an unknown realm beneath the city. Langdon St. Ives sets out to explore it, not knowing that a brilliant and wealthy psychopathic murderer is working to keep the underworld’s secrets hidden for reasons of his own. 

St. Ives and his stalwart friends investigate a string of ghastly crimes: the gruesome death of a witch, the kidnapping of a blind, psychic girl, and the grim horrors of a secret hospital where experiments in medical electricity and the development of human, vampiric fungi, serve the strange, murderous ends of perhaps St. Ives’s most dangerous nemesis yet. 

My thoughts:
I did assume it would take place more beneath London, I mean that is the name of the book. But it mostly took place above ground. Which sort of was a shame, cos the underworld seems really strange with toadstools that eat people.

Steampunk wise, yes it was an alternative Victorian England, but it was more gadgetwise it was steampunk. A few here and there, and witches too, oh and those weird toadstools.

It is a series, but I thought it worked well in its own. Sure there was talk about other characters. And I am sure I could have experienced things even more if I had read the other books, but that is the downfall when you jump into a series. So it works like this too.

The story. We have a professor St Ives who gets a new case about what is beneath London. But then more things happen. A psychic girl is kidnapped. Strange things are going on in London. Are they all connected somehow? To his help he has his wife, and well more people. But I can give you the details cos as things happen, we meet more people...as things happen. Spoilers darling.

It's kind of a thriller mystery set in a steampunk world. There is a strange sort of dry humour there too. The tone is actually really hard to describe. 

But sure, sometimes I felt like, maybe everyone was too nice. More boom, and toadstools please! It was cool, but not always for me.

Conclusion:
An interesting mix.

Cover
eh

Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Titan Books
Steampunk mystery
For review


Thursday, 18 June 2015

How I wonder what you are - Jane Lovering

“Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …”

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.

But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.

Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn … 

My thoughts:
Two people hurt by love find each other, and ha, oh how they meet each other! You have to read that for yourself. So funny, sad and weird.

Molly is hiding away in a house in a village in the middle of nowhere. She has been hurt. But why is she running from love? What happened? And we get to see issues with her love life. She needs to think about that (and does.)

Phinn has even bigger issues and is hiding away in a crappy old house he inherited. Poor guy is drinking too much and is depressed. He is also super smart and has a phd in astrophysics. 

They meet (very weird meeting.) They meet again. They meet again (ha, even stranger.) They slowly start to talk, get to know each other more. But she is hiding from something, and he is running from his own feelings. They both need to heal. And we all know how that will work, yes let them heal each other :D The road there is long, but then loves does not come easily. 

Conclusion:
An amusing book that also was serious at times. Romance and, not for be forgotten, strange lights in the sky. What are those? :)

Cover
Cute

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 7th 2015 by ChocLit (first published November 1st 2014)
Women's fiction
Own


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Author Interview and Giveaway: Kathryn Freeman

Today's author interview is with Kathryn Freeman, and there is a giveaway of her new book at the end :)

Welcome!

1.Anything new and exciting that has happened in your life? Since you were last on my blog in 2014.
Well, let me see. I reached a milestone birthday – but though the celebration (a weekend in London) was certainly exciting, reaching fifty was not! From a writing perspective I’m thrilled to have my second paperback out this month (Too Charming). I’ve also been writing and editing my third Choc Lit book (Search for Truth).

2.  And tell me about your new book, Too Charming?
It’s a romance, perhaps an unlikely one, between dashing defence lawyer Scott Armstrong, and no nonsense police detective Megan Taylor. Megan’s been hurt in the past by a man who was too handsome and too charming, so she doesn’t have much time for Scott. Her opinion of him isn’t helped by the fact that he spends his days defending the very people she works so hard to imprison. 

Scott’s a confident guy though, and he isn’t too daunted when Megan snubs him. As he sees it, she’ll soon start seeing him not as a lawyer, but as a man. He does make progress (it’s hard for a woman to keep turning down a sexy man, I imagine …) but then he’s caught up in the middle of a case that throws his life into chaos. It also has Megan re-evaluating everything she thought she knew about him.

3. What was the inspiration behind this book?
I’d just written a book where the hero was gorgeous but gruff (Do Opposites Attract, my first paperback) so I was keen to write about someone very different in my next book. That’s how the charming, smoothly handsome Scott was conceived. But I also wanted him to be more than the reader saw on the surface, so I had to find something (and someone) that would rattle him. The rest of the story flowed from there.    

4. Now give me some nice details about our hero Scott? ;) What makes him tick?
He’s a barrister and he practically bristles with self-assurance, at least on the outside. At just over 6ft with dark hair, grey eyes and a dimpled smile, he’s good-looking and a bit of a ladies man. He likes to flirt. He also likes to ride his Harley-Davidson and draw. But what you see with Scott isn’t quite the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (sorry, it was too hard to resist ). Beneath his easy charm and ready wit is a man not quite as confident as he appears, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed writing his point of view.

5. Why is this a perfect book to read this summer?
I like to think it has something to please most readers. A feisty heroine, a witty, sexy hero, a bit of mystery and some scenes which I hope will sizzle as much as the summer (and if it’s an English summer, I hope they will sizzle more ).

Thank you so much for interviewing me. It’s such a pleasure to be on your blog.

Thank you!

Giveaway
1 e-copy of Too Charming

1. Open to everyone in the world.
2. Ends June 24th
3. Just comment and you are in.

PS. Remember, if I can't find your details, I can't find you.


Biography
A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

With two teenage boys and a husband who huffs at buying a Valentine’s Day card, any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes come in many disguises.

Contact details:
Website:   
Facebook:   
Twitter:   


Buying links:
Too Charming is now available in paperback as well as ebook format.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pure Blooded - Amanda Carlson

Jessica arrives back from the Underworld to find her father embroiled in a battle against the Made wolves. She and her crew drop everything to join them.

Once she arrives, the threat is after her. Jessica is lured into danger when her adversary takes something precious from her. With help from an unlikely source, Jessica goes up against her creator in a battle that will decide the path of everyone involved. She must war against a new set of foes, ones who could not only steal her power, but could take her soul as well. 

My thoughts:
Do you know what I hate? Ebooks that fool you into thinking there are 20 pages still to go. No no! Suddenly the book ended and I was all, was that it? There should be a law against that. It's sopcruel.

This book was non-stop action. Good and bad. 

Good that is was non-stop action, so something kept on happening. Bad cos there was non-stop action. I am pretty sure no one ever took a pee break, or had anything to eat except that hamburger on page 1. I was all; spread it out, let them breath. Now there was non-stop action, or talk about the next course of action. And everything happened in the same swamp.

SO yes, duh, non-stop action. Jessica comes out from the underworld, is in a plane crash in a swamp and must find the next bad guy there and kill that person. She is kick-ass, and gets the job done.

But that big bad that happened in the last book is still hanging over her so the next book is sure to be intense. Stuff is going down! It will be...non-stop action for sure ;) Good and bad.

Conclusion:
So yes I enjoyed it, but honestly, I could take a break from the non-stop action for a sec. Let the poor girl breathe and then throw a demon at her. Calm down. It's too intense.

Cover
Nice

ebook, 320 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Orbit
Jessica McClain #5
Urban fantasy
NG


Monday, 15 June 2015

Too Charming - Kathryn Freeman

Detective Sergeant Megan Taylor thinks so. She once lost her heart to a man who was too charming and she isn’t about to make the same mistake again – especially not with sexy defence lawyer, Scott Armstrong. Aside from being far too sure of himself for his own good, Scott’s major flaw is that he defends the very people that she works so hard to imprison.

But when Scott wants something he goes for it. And he wants Megan. One day she’ll see him not as a lawyer, but as a man ... and that’s when she’ll fall for him.

Yet just as Scott seems to be making inroads, a case presents itself that’s far too close to home, throwing his life into chaos.

As Megan helps him pick up the pieces, can he persuade her that he isn’t the careless charmer she thinks he is? Isn’t a man innocent until proven guilty? 

My thoughts:
A bit of suspense; a tiny bit, some drama and romance. Two people falling in love, two people being idiots. That good old story,

Megan is a cop. She was hurt by the man she loved, now she thinks pretty men are no good.

Scott is a defense attorney. He has played around...a lot. But when he sees her, he wants her.

First issue: She is a cop, he defends criminals (or well people accused of a crime). Clashes at once. How you can defend that a-hole!? It's my job! You get the point. She thinks like a cop, he like a defense attorney. 

Second issue: She can not trust men. 

Third issue: Her case, his case, clashes. A new case. Oh no!

SO you can see that they have their work cut out for them. I did feel that she was too I do not trust him. I understood her, but at the same time, trust him a bit wont ya! The chip on her shoulder was too big, I would have left long ago. But that proves what a great man Scott was, he did not leave. He stood by, trying to make her trust him. 

So the romance is not really a romance. It's a story about a woman learning to let go. It's also a story about how the past can haunt you, and not just her, him too.

Conclusion:
A romance that builds.

Cover
ok


Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 7th 2015 by Choc Lit (first published September 8th 2013)
Women's fiction /romantic fiction
For review


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Carole Reviews: Return to Outer Banks House -Diann Ducharme


Author: Diann Ducharme
Title: Return to the Outer Banks House (Outer Banks House #2)
Genre: Historical Fiction & Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: December 2014
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)


She was the spirited daughter of a North Carolina plantation owner, and he was a poor fisherman who she tutored on the porch of her family's Nags Head cottage. When we last saw Abigail Sinclair and Ben Whimble at the close of "The Outer Banks House," they'd overcome their differences in life stations and defied convention to begin their new life together.

But now it's seven years later, and "Return to the Outer Banks House" finds the couple married and in hard times-riddled by poverty, miscarriages, and weakened family ties. The strong bonds that once held them together have eroded over time, and their marriage threatens to unravel, particularly when relationships from the past and ambitions for the future find their way into the mismatched couple's present predicament.

Can their love survive? Or are the challenges they face insurmountable? "Return to the Outer Banks House" carries readers back to 1875 to answer these questions and explore the ebb and flow of a rocky marriage set against the enchanting North Carolina shoreline. Replete with history, intrigue, and plenty of maritime drama, it's an evocative tale of struggle in the Reconstruction-era South.


This is the sequel to "Outer Banks House" that I had begged for in the last review. I must repent and take back what I said. I wish I could have stayed oblivious and allowed them to have an HEA and just imagined there life afterwards!

There is no HEA. This is real life people! They were an impossible couple that made it. Yes, they married, BUT real life comes in like a tidal wave. So many issues arise, can they really make it? I will not tell, but you must read the book to find out. I am glad that the author stuck with reality, that yes, this will be a hard marriage to keep, because they are both so different. He is an uneducated fisherman and she is a plantation owner's daughter who loves to read. They fell in love, but sometimes that love needs a lot of hard work.

All at the same time the South is recovering slowly from the Civil War. It's the reconstruction-era and its a brutal time in history. So much has changed and the people are having issues changing along with it. Hardtimes are everywhere, because the slaves are gone and the economy is slipping. It just adds to the intensity of the book with the main couple.

Oooooh Ben...you silly boy. He made me mad again, but again...he kinda sorta fixes it.

I did like Eliza more in this, which surprised me.

WHY IS THERE NEVER ANY COMMUNICATION!!!!! UGH! It drives me crazy, because in my relationship we do talk, so why can't other couples? Why just assume. You have no idea what the other person is thinking or feeling. GAH!

Anyways....

This was written brilliantly like the other one. However, I am just bummed, because I didn't except this couple to have SO many issues. Yes, some, but I felt like things just kept building and building and building to the point I had no hope for this couple.

In the end, the setting and the writing was lovely. Not as good as the first one, but still good! Again, the other did a wonderful job with the intensity. I had little hope for this couple. The ending was good and that is how I would have ended it. I totally recommend this to those that like historical fiction mixed with some romance and drama. However, you need to read the first one first. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3 stars.
















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