Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review of The Kiss Before Christmas by Sophie Pembroke

The bit on the back…

An English Girl in New York

As the snow starts to fall on Manhattan, PA Dory Mackenzie is a long way from home, far from the comforts and cheer of her cozy family Christmases back in Liverpool.

So when her boss Tyler Alexander offers to pay her pricey ticket home for New Year, Dory just can’t say no… even if she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for the holidays!

Tyler may be hiding the real reason he needs a girlfriend-of-convenience but that’s the least of Dory’s worries when she’s up against the disapproval of his high society mother, and the suspicions of his gorgeous older brother Lucas, the black sheep of the family.

There’s no fooling Lucas, and it’s not just the truth he wants to get closer to… So before the bells have even rung out for Christmas day, Dory finds herself caught up in the Alexander family’s dramas – and sharing more than just a few kisses under the mistletoe!

This is the first book of Sophie’s that I’ve read. It’s a short Christmassy novella and it fit the bill for the perfect pre-Christmas read. Ashamedly, it’s not the only Sophie Pembroke title on my kindle but I’m looking forward to the others all the more now.

The story is all about Dory and her attempt to help her boss out of a sticky family situation in return for a trip home to Liverpool.

Dory is one of those characters who you can connect with straight away. She’s down to earth, seems normal and really just wants to go home for Christmas. She reminded me a bit of Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart series main character Angela Clarke who was always getting herself into something messy.
I took an instant dislike to her boss Tyler because of the way he manipulated Dory into helping him but it did have one bonus – his brother Lucas.

Enter Luke, gorgeous, anti-family gatherings, anti being forced into the family business, anti-feelings Luke. I loved him. Fans of Maggie McGinnis will like Sophie’s hero in this book Dory and Luke have an instant connection in their slight disdain for Tyler and as they spend more time together Dory’s predicament seems harder and harder to get out of.

At first I wasn’t sure where the book was going to go but it became clear quite quickly. I liked knowing, or assuming I knew anyway, where it was going because it built up a sense of anticipation for that moment when all the puzzle pieces fell into place.

I downloaded The Kiss Before Midnight which is about Dory’s sister Molly which I read shortly after this. Although the book is set over Christmas it could be set around any family gather which makes it an ideal read for any time of the year.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Review of Sweet Deception by Tara Bond

The bit on the back…

I could just imagine my mother's face when she saw me - her troublemaking youngest daughter, the university dropout who worked in a bar - turning up hung-over and in a ridiculously tiny miniskirt... Ah, to be the black sheep of the family…

Eight years ago, Charlie lost her brother in a mountaineering accident. She's come a long way since, or rather has fallen a long way down… A drop out, an alcoholic and promiscuous to boot, she is a constant disappointment to her family.

Eight years ago, Richard Davenport watched his best friend die. Now a successful businessman, he's never forgotten the promise he made to Charlie's brother that he would keep her safe. But how do you go about saving someone hell-bent on self-destruction?

One night Charlie goes too far and Richard is her only option for help. Can he break through and stop her lying to herself? Or will Charlie finally succeed in tumbling over the edge…

This is the 2nd book of Tara’s and after enjoying Beautiful Liar I had high hopes for this book.
Sweet Deception is all about troubled MC Charlie and her road to redemption.

I tried to like her, I really did, but in the end she kind of ruined the whole book for me. It’s usually more common to have a “together” female MC trying to change a guy who is a bit of a bad boy but this was very much the opposite. Charlie is rebellious and felt very naive and irresponsible. She also seemed to be pretty selfish getting herself so drunk that some nights could have ended in tragedy. She constantly adds to her parents stress but doesn’t see it. When you get to know more about her family’s story, Charlie looks even more selfish in comparison.

I didn’t feel Richard’s attraction to Charlie strongly and this is due, in part, to the fact that he spent most of the book trying to help her or bailing her out of whatever situation she’d got herself into. He gave her chance after chance to help herself and she just threw it back in his face. She also acts this way with Richard’s employees and for someone seemingly intelligent she comes off as pretty stupid at times.

I was hoping for some big realisation of the attraction between Charlie and Richard. Some no holds barred, explosive turning point but Richard was proper to a fault so I was left disappointed.

Unfortunately the characters didn’t do it for me this time, but I will continue to read more from this author because the writing I’d enjoyed in Beautiful Liar was the same throughout Sweet Deception.  

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Review of the Calling Me series by Louise Bay

The bit on the back…

Is it possible for a guy to turn on a switch and realize he’s been in love with a girl that’s been under his nose for over a decade? Ashleigh Franklin can’t decide. Ashleigh wants the fairy tale. Ever since she was a kid, her best friend’s brother, Luke, has been her fantasy Prince Charming. Now he’s trying to convince her that she’s the one he’s wanted all these years. There’s no way it’s that easy to escape the friend zone.

Single after years living with a girlfriend, Luke has finally woken up. What he’s been waiting for has been right under his nose for almost his entire life. Can he persuade her that he’s serious and won’t break her heart?

Firstly, thank you to Louise Bay for providing me with a review copy of this title. I was initially drawn in by the cover and then the blurb because it sounded right up my street. I love the whole friends to lovers storyline because everything between the characters is so familiar but completely new at the same time.

This series is made up of 3 novellas – Calling Me Back, Calling Me Away and Calling Me Home - each one taking off where the previous left off. The series is all about Ashleigh and her best friend’s brother Luke.

The first part of the story, through the initial stages of the changes in their relationship, was my favourite. I enjoyed the build up of the sort of angsty/chemistry filled suspense. It’s like watching something inevitable happen in slow motion. Familiarity crosses the line into new territory where the characters feel and see new things about each other and the hints to the change in their relationship plant seeds and take form.

The more I read, I began to lose some of my initial interest. I felt like Ashley was playing a game with Luke and kept putting obstacles in the way of their relationship. It almost felt like she regreted how their relationship progressed in some parts – kind of like what they say about how you should never meet your heroes.

The story seems to happen fast but at times the narrative is fast forwarded by a number of weeks so it feels like you miss out on some of the important stuff. I enjoyed the writing and the dual POV even though I had my hang ups about the characters.

I would definitely read more from Louise based on this book and if you are a fan of Christina Lauren or Samantha Young you are likely to enjoy this series.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Review of November 9 by Colleen Hoover

The bit on the back…

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

Can Ben's relationship with Fallon - and simultaneously his novel - be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

I’ve yet to come across a CoHo book that I haven’t loved. Bold, but true. November 9 is up there with the best of them although Ugly Love will always be my absolute favourite, which is quite coincidental when it comes to November 9 seeing as Miles and Tate make a cameo appearance in this book.

Colleen’s latest novel is all about Ben and Fallon. I absolutely loved the premise of this book where the characters only meet on the 9th of November each year and have no contact in between.

Be prepared – this book will break you. Particularly Ben and his profound ability to encourage self-worth and confidence back into Fallon. He also insists that she chases her dreams and lives her life for her the way she needs to, doing what she wants. I loved Ben’s character. He’s honest, loyal and his belief in Fallon is never failing. He never attempted to hide his feelings for Fallon and I really liked his openness.

The story is broken down into each November 9th instead of regular chapters and I think that made me want to read faster because I could feel the sense of anticipation for each year to come round building with every word I read. The intensity of feelings between Fallon and Ben threaten to overwhelm as you get swept up in their journey.

I honestly cannot recommend Colleen Hoover’s books enough. Every emotion is touched upon in this book and I had the tissues out more than once. This is one of those books I wish I could start again for the first time, and one I will always keep to re-read in the future.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Blog Tour: Fighting Dirty by Sidney Halston

Enter to Win a 
$50.00 Amazon eGift Card

Worth the Fight #5
Sidney Halston
Releasing Jan 5th, 2016

If you love the MMA romances of Vi Kreeland and Kendall Ryan, Sidney Halston’s Worth the Fight series will knock your socks off! In Fighting Dirty, a geek-chic cage fighter proves that appearances can be deceiving . . . and oh-so-tempting.

With his preppy clothes and horn-rimmed glasses, Enzo Silva is the last dude anyone expects to find in a mixed martial arts gym. A wealthy Brazilian banker who never had to fight for anything, Enzo’s stuck in the amateur circuit—but he burns to make the pros. Maybe that explains the heat he feels whenever he’s around Jamie Lynn Calhoun. The pint-size, magenta-haired bartender with the Texas drawl is everything he’s not . . . and everything he craves.

Tough as nails and independent to a fault, Jamie Lynn—JL to her friends—works hard to pay her bills and keep life simple. Enzo is doing his best to complicate that. Even though she likes to bust his balls, he’s got some kind of a nerdy-hot vibe that makes JL wonder if she might finally be able to let her guard down. It might do the boy some good to spend some time in her world, where blood, sweat, and victory are as sweet as the first taste of real love.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “Just do it.” And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Book News: A Home In Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh

Book blogger and author Rebecca Pugh revealed the cover of her 2nd novel with Carina earlier this week. Read on to find out more!

The bit on the back...

There’s no place like home…
Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister…
Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?
Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!

Release Day: 9th February 2015

Publisher: Carina UK

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2015 Goodreads Challenge and a look back...

In 2014 I smashed my Goodreads reading challenge by 39 books reading a total of 189 for the year. So when it came to setting my challenge for last year I set the same number of books assuming that I'd probably read about the same. Towards the end of the year I started to lose my reading mojo as spending time with my family took precedence. I ended up falling just short of my target but if you were to count all the books I re-read I'm pretty sure I'd have hit target!

Looking back at the list of books on my 2015 "Read" shelf makes it incredibly difficult to whittle down to a top ten so I've decided to cheat a little bit and include book series as one entry in my top ten. I am a total rebel.

In no particular order...

Ten Tiny Breaths series K.A. Tucker

Puffin Island series by Sarah Morgan

Burying Water series by K.A. Tucker

Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

Wild Seasons by Christina Lauren

Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O'Keefe

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Hero by Samantha Young

Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young

The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson

And... just because I can't reflect on last year without mentioning a few more books here are some more fantastic reads from last year...

The Two of Us by Andy Jones
Harder by Robin York
Beat by Vi Keeland
The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon
Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
A Girl's Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk
Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

I hope you've had a great end to 2015 and that 2016 brings you lots of great reads, new authors and of course beautiful book boyfriends.