Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Over the last 3-4 months I've been a pretty crappy blogger. Our family went through a tough time and I've been spending more time with friends and family recently than reading and blogging. I also have an unhealthy obsession with Grey's Anatomy which I'm currently binge watching. Again. 

I'd really like to get back into blogging and get my reading mojo back in the next year so for now wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016 

Erin xx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Review of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

The bit on the back…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

This is Angela’s first novel and it’s also the first crime thriller I’ve read in about 10 years. To say this is not my typical genre is a gross understatement. It seemed like every other review being tweeted was a raving review of one of Angela’s D.I. Kim Stone novels. So like the book crowd follower I am I took myself straight to Amazon and downloaded Silent Scream.

This book is set in the Black Country and focuses on kick ass detective Kim Stone and her pursuit for justice.

One of the things that drew me to this series, along with the great reviews I’d read, was the female lead. As I’m new to this genre I thought I would more easily identify with a female main character than a male. Kim Stone is a strong and seemingly fearless woman. She’s headstrong, stubborn and damn good at her job. Although her stubbornness sometimes lands her in hot water with her boss her instincts and the way she worked through the crimes in her head completely drew me to her.

I had immense respect for Kim by the end of the novel. Alongside the main storyline we get a glimpse of Kim’s past coming through in her moments of reflection, brought on by the closeness of the case to her own history.

As the story unfolds and as the body count goes up the story of the past and present is interwoven. At some points I thought I had the murderer pegged but it turned out I was completely wrong. For the most part Kim tells the story however there are scenes from the murderer’s POV too which were unnerving but had the effect of keeping me turning the pages. Just when I thought I was starting to work things out, learn what to expect, Angela through a complete spanner into the works in what has to be one of the best character twists I’ve read ever.

There were so many twists in this novel that my head was spinning by the end. I was a little bit apprehensive about finishing this when I was in the house myself… and when it was night time! It’s cleverly written, completely unpredictable and gripping to the very end. Reading this has definitely ensured that I want to read more not only from this author but in this genre – starting with 24 Hours written by one of Angela’s fellow Bookouture authors Claire Seeber.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Review of A Girl's Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk

The bit on the back…

After the crazy six months she’s had, if there was a ‘clear history’ button for your life, Tess Brookes would be the first in line to press it.

When the opportunity arises to join her best friend, Amy, in New York for Christmas, Tess jumps at the chance. The only slight hitch is that Nick, the man who broke her heart, lives there. And Charlie, the man she turned down, has just started talking to her again. And she has just four days to take a photo for a competition that could save her career.

But aside from that, everything is going to be great: it’ll be the best Christmas ever. Won’t it?

I, like all of Lindsey’s other fans, was looking forward to this book immensely. I couldn’t wait to get back into Tess’s crazy life and finish the whole Team Nick/Team Charlie debate – although Nick will always be my guy – makes love-heart-in-eyes face.

The prologue threw me for a loop. At first I was like wait, wait just one minute what’s going on here?! But then it all became clear! After those first few pages I was effortlessly engrossed in Lindsey’s writing once again. Every other page had me laughing and at times I was on the verge of tears. Tess’s life has one big chaotic whirlwind from assuming her flatmate’s identity and job to making a name, her own name, for herself and completing her adopted family circle. One thing missing was her man – but which man was the question.

Tess finds a way to make Christmas in New York happen. I’m so glad that this story was set in New York primarily because Lindsey and writing about New York go so well together. Lindsey’s I Heart series begins in New York and I loved going back there with her. I also loved the fact that we got to catch up with I Heart series main characters Angela Clarke and Jenny Lopez. If ever there were three characters who were destined to be besties it’s these three.

As usual chaos reigns where Tess is involved but she just about manages to turn things round for herself. The ending to this book is probably one of my favourite endings of all times. It just seemed absolutely perfect although I don’t want to ruin it by revealing anything more about it.

There are a few things that keep me coming back to Lindsey’s writing over and over again. Firstly the fact that every single time I read a new book of hers I am completely transported to wherever the location is. I never feel like I’m just reading about a place, I can visualise it and I feel like I’m experiencing it first-hand. Secondly is Lindsey’s sense of humour and sharp wit. It feels so aligned with my own and my sister’s that it makes me want to be BFFs with her main characters. I would love to meet Tess in real life, Angela and Jenny too. I can’t wait for whatever’s next from Lindsey.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Review of Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd

The bit on the back…

Livvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her.
But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own.

In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way.

Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.

Firstly, thank you to Headline Eternal for sending me a copy of this book for review. I’d never read anything by Natasha Boyd before but I would definitely read more from this author based on this book.

This story is all about Livvy and Tom. Livvy is seeking refuge in her Grandmother’s cottage in South Carolina but when she turns up expecting the cottage to be empty she finds she is isn’t the only one seeking refuge there.

There is not a single emotion left uncovered by this book. I felt raw after reading this because every single page I turned the words on the next one seemed to hit me right in every single feel. Livvy’s running away from her life but you don’t find out for a while exactly what’s happened to her that’s made her run. She recognises Tom but is never sure until much, much later in the book where she recognised him from. She’s skittish, plagued by nightmares and completely unsure of herself and who she is. The transformation in her character throughout and the journey she takes is heart-wrenching. At times I could empathise with her and at others I was at a complete loss to what Livvy was feeling as I couldn’t possibly imagine myself in her situation.

Tom is a very real character. Real in his guilt, real in his attempts to rectify everything he feels guilt for and real in his need to fix everyone around him. He allows Livvy the room she needs to heal and to find herself, although in doing this he doesn’t fully disclose who he is and all the way through the book I had an awful feeling about what was going to happen between the characters. I quickly deduced who Tom might be to Livvy and was on tenterhooks waiting for the big reveal. I love Tom’s part in her recovery and how his feelings develop for her.

I cried, I smiled and then I cried again. I am not exaggerating the level of emotions in this book because they are absolutely clear to anyone who reads this. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of K.A. Tucker and Samantha Young. Yes. Pass me the next one!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Review of One King's Way - Samantha Young

The bit on the back…

When he's not working at the club, Craig Lanaghan looks out for his mother and little sisters. So when it comes to women, all he wants is a good time. But once Rain Alexander walks into his life, there's no denying that this woman could be worth much more than a one-night stand . . .

Rain's lifelong regret is having left her sister Darcy alone years ago with a guardian who turned out to be abusive. So when Darcy's boyfriend publicly humiliates her in a cruel way, Rain's overprotective instincts kick in and she follows him to Club 39 - where she meets a guy who just might be her perfect match.

The chemistry between Rain and Craig is explosive, but Rain is out for revenge, and refuses to be sidetracked by flirtation. As things between them heat up, she'll have to make a heartbreaking choice between giving in to the man of her dreams or putting her sister's happiness first . . .

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for ages – more so since Samantha posted a teaser on her Facebook of an excerpt of the story written from Craig’s POV. I’ve loved the little re-imagined excerpts from the On Dublin Street series told from the hero’s perspective that Sam has posted on her website so I knew she could nail this!

I love reading from both male and female perspectives in a book, especially in a novella when you have less time to get to know the characters and their stories. We have already met Craig as he worked alongside Joss & Jo at Braden’s night club but Rain is a brand new character. I was a little confused at first but quickly realised that One King’s Way is set way back between the first and second books in the On Dublin Street series.

Craig and Rain meet in the night club and although Craig is his usual charming self, Rain is too distracted to notice. Although she’s caught up in her own business I love that her level of distractedness meant that Craig had to double his efforts to win her attention.

Over the course of this short read we learn more about each character and their loyalty to their families and what drives it. The relationship between Rain and Craig is sexy and intense but there was always something in the back of my mind that thought the heat and the passion was masking the real issues that Rain was harbouring.

I didn’t quite expect the ending but I loved the both usual and unusual tie in that the title had, as with the rest of the series this novella belongs to. Sam is one of those writers whose work I could read over and over again and this is no different. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Review of One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

The bit on the back…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . to fall in love

The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over.

With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.

But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fufil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.
Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count.

Firstly, thank you to Bookouture for approving me for a copy of Mandy’s latest read via Netgalley. One Wish in Manhattan is all about Hayley, her 9 year old daughter and Oliver.

The story is told from both Hayley and Oliver’s POV. I love this in a story anyway, but it works well in this one because there are a lot of different things happening for each character. Hayley is very family focused and is trying her best to fulfil her daughter’s Christmas wish and on the other hand Oliver shies away from commitment in general but also from being part of his family. They are an unlikely match but there is something that just works with them both. Hayley brings out Oliver’s good qualities almost unbeknownst to him and by the end he is the genuinely great guy he is capable of.

Both Hayley and Oliver have a lot of time to reflect in the novel and there is a lot of self-discovery for each of them. The biggest change though, remains with Oliver in all aspects of his life right down to learning his employee’s names.

I absolutely loved the setting. Mandy brought New York to life in this book and I loved that Hayley’s New York treasure hunt took her and Angel beyond the usual sight-seeing hot spots. It felt like an insider’s guide to New York and I loved that she and Angel kept thinking of reasons why New York was better than home.

Just like the cover says, this is an uplifting read. It’s about going after what you want, going after what you deserve and living life to its fullest for you and for your family. Mandy had my emotions all over the place throughout this book but one thing is for certain – her writing reels you in, wraps you up and invests your heart in her stories. More please!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Review of Snowflake Wishes by Maggie McGinnis

The bit on the back…

Noah Drake was that guy--the one always on the lookout for his next adrenaline high, so it was no surprise when he took off across the world, seeking adventure as a travel writer. But one thing he could never escape was Piper Bellini, the girl who got away--the girl he let get away, a fact he's never let himself forget.

When he returns to Echo Lake to see if there's any chance the flame between them can be rekindled, he never expects to spend the night holed up with Piper in a roadside diner while a blizzard rages outside. It's exactly the kind of situation that sent Piper running years ago. But this time, Noah may have been handed a Christmas miracle, and he intends to make all of his and Piper's wishes come true...

Firstly thank you to St Martin’s Press for approving me for a review copy of this title. I’ve read one other book of Maggie’s so far, although I have more on my TBR (shocker), and I really enjoyed her writing. When I saw this Christmas shorty I knew I would want to read it. I think it’s perfect for fans of Paige Toon too.

I LOVED Noah. I mean really what is there not to love - he’s handsome, he’s fit and adventurous and he’s the one that got away. Or rather he’s the one that went away.

The end of this story is predictable and a happy ever after, but the journey to the ending was unexpected. Piper and Noah separated when Noah followed his free spirit back across the world not caring about what it could cost him. There are a lot of unresolved feelings between the pair of them and their connection is rekindled almost as soon as they see each other.

I liked that the story had them going on a trip together. Being stuck together during the story allows both characters to work through their feelings about each other and their relationship. The journey back also shows Noah’s heroic side and Piper’s ability to overcome her fears.

I am looking forward to more from Maggie’s Echo Lake series after this lovely, wintery read.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Release Day! The Revenge by Holly Martin

Happy publication day Holly! The final installment in The Sentinel series is out today!

The bit on the back...

After the Oraculum orders Eve’s execution, she has to flee her home in the fort as those that have been guarding over her are forced to turn against her. Amongst the chaos, a new Sentinel is named. Adam, Eve’s half-brother. 

Adam has spent his life incarcerated by the Oraculum while Eve was allowed to grow up with a family and friends. Now he is hell bent on revenge. He rules over his Guardians and his new kingdom with arrogance and a cold heart, but his one ambition is to make Eve’s life a living hell. Nowhere is safe from him, not even her dreams. 

With the threat from the Putarians moving closer, her own Guardians betraying her, the survival of the world hinges in the balance. 

Above all else, Adam must be stopped. But when Eve has a prophecy of her and Adam saving the world together, she quickly realizes she needs to work with him not against him. 

But can Eve get through to Adam before it’s too late? Or will Adam’s evil heart result in the destruction of all?