Saturday 30 November 2013

Review: All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Under a crimson dawn sky, Artyom Telvatnikov stands in a field of cows, his fingertips glistening with warm blood that streams from their ears.

It is April 1986, and ten miles away, above the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, clusters of sparks fill the air, inflaming the final years of the Soviet Union, inciting its citizens to actions of brutality, mystery and terrible beauty. Grigory, a surgeon working in the wake of the disaster, in a place where all natural order has been distorted, is forced to question everything he has known. In Moscow, his estranged wife, Maria, a former dissident, struggles to free herself from the constraints imposed upon her by the state. Her nephew Yevgeni is a nine-year-old piano prodigy whose sense of rhythm is rapidly eroding.

In All That Is Solid Melts into Air, Darragh McKeon blends an array of these and other characters into a strikingly visceral portrait of a place and a people in the midst of terrifying change.

ebook, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 11th 2014 by HarperCollins
Terri's Review
I received this ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication is March 11th 2014.
I am a big fan of stories that take place during periods of historical significance and this story did not disappoint.  I admit that I do not possess a great wealth of knowledge about Russian history or the events that occurred at Chernobyl as I was too young to be interested in the world outside my door.  This is the main reason I was prompted to read this book. 
What I liked about this novel is that I was able to learn more about this place in time without it feeling like I was reading a history lesson.  The story was told through the characters and their journeys as opposed to just a descriptive narration of the events that occurred.  I was able to feel what each of the characters was feeling and experiencing even though my life has not been remotely similar to theirs.  I particularly enjoyed the story surrounding both Grigory and Maria.  The remaining characters and stories while interesting in how they added an extra dimension to the book were not the main drawing points.
Those that are familiar with my reviews know that I do not like to give away any aspects of the plot however with the subject matter of this story it is obvious that this is not a happy go lucky read.  These were dark times in a place where people were still struggling under the rule of the Soviet empire and add to that the disastrous events that occurred at Chernobyl that we still hear about to this day.  Anyone looking for a story that is wrapped up neatly by the end of the read would be disappointed.  This book instead was realistic and honest in it's portrayal of this time and I am thankful for that.  Anything else would have been an injustice.  I also thought that the conclusion to the story was exactly as it should been in keeping with the theme of the novel.
It is my understanding that while McKeon has written several short story that this will be his first published novel.  As someone who has read numerous upon numerous novels from both experienced and novice writers I found that this was a very impressive read regardless of experience.  I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and not afraid of a read that is a little bit of substance.

DARRAGH McKEON is a theatre director who has worked throughout Europe and the U.S. with several renowned companies. In his native Ireland, he has been nominated for the Francis MacManus Short Story Award and the RTE Short Film Award. He lives in New York.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #8 We are the featured blogger!!

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 

    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

We are the featured bloggers this week!

When did you start blogging?
We actually started blogging back in 2011 with the encouragement of my (Kristine) 12 yr old daughter who blogs. Shortly after, Terri (the other half of Twin Spin) was diagnosed with a rare muscle disease and had a rough year getting it under control and we had to let it slide. This year has been a very positive year with her health so we started regularly blogging again back in September.

What is your favorite part of book blogging?
We love it all! Being able to talk about our favorite passtime to other like minded people is great. We love connecting with so many wonderful people.

What type of books do you mainly blog about?
We try to cover as many different genres as we can so that we have a wide range for everyone. Lately I have been blogging a lot of New Adult and Terri has been blogging a lot of Historical Fiction but we are not limited to that.

What is your favorite book(s)?
This is a tough one to answer because we have read so many great books. Some authors that we really enjoy and agree on are Kate Morton, Sarah Jio and Diane Chamberlain. Terri's favorite book that she has read in recent years is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I can't pick just one although I did adore The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?
I think that the best thing would be connecting with so many great authors that we would never have heard of if it wasn't for blogging. We've had the opportunity to read a lot of great titles from up and coming authors that we would not have found otherwise. Connecting with so many other bloggers and talking books is an added bonus as well!

This week's question is...

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving Day food? If you’re not American or Canadian, what is your favorite holiday food?

Our favorite Thanksgiving meal (can't pick just one food) would be the traditional turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, turnips, homemade dinner rolls, a wide variety of salads and apple pie for dessert.  My mouth is just watering thinking about it. Our Thanksgiving was back in October so it has been a while since we have enjoyed over-eating with our families! Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American followers. What is your favorite food?

That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc and bloglovin and we would love it if we could get some new followers on twitter and on facebook.


Review: A Little Bit of Holiday Magic by Melissa McClone

A new family…for Christmas?
All widow Grace Wilcox wants is a fresh start for her and her young son, Liam. When her truck spins off the icy road, her rescuer turns out to be the hottest firefighter in Hood Hamlet, and even wary Grace can't say no to his offer of help!

Bill Paulson has stuck to his no-dating rule so far this Christmas, but having Grace in his home is testing his chivalrous side to the limit! Her little boy is melting his heart, even asking for a new daddy from Santa….

But Grace has already loved and lost one hero. Can she really let herself get close to another?

Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Harlequin
Genre: Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I won this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.*

What a sweet holiday read set in the snowy, picturesque town of Hood Hamlet. If you are looking for a Christmas story that centers around family, feelings and a little bit of magic then this quick and easy book is the perfect fit.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was the setting itself. McClone does a spectacular job of describing the snow covered town, holiday ambiance and small town closeness that screams Christmas cosy. As much as I hate snow, it just isn't Christmas without the white fluffy stuff. In reality I hibernate all winter but while reading I could visualise making snow angels, snowmen, and taking a sleigh ride through town and actually enjoying it.

When widow Grace sets out with her three and half year old son to start a new life she did not expect to crash her truck in a snow storm and find herself stuck in Hood Hamlet. She also did not expect the hospitality of self proclaimed player and hunky firefighter/rescuer Bill Paulson. His kindness and concern gives the small family a place to stay in his house while the storm blows over and her truck gets fixed. Liam, Grace's son, hits it off immediately with Paul and vice versa and the story takes off from there.

The characters in this book are extremely likeable, down to earth and real. They feel like the type of people that you would run into at the corner store. I adored Liam and the interaction between him and Bill.

Although somewhat predictable, this book filled my craving for a feel good Christmas read. For those of you that enjoy a lot of "hot and heavy" this is not for you. Those that like to believe in the magic of Christmas, family and romance will definitely enjoy it.


About the Author

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two daughters, son, dog and too many cats! She writes "sweeter" contemporary romance novels for Harlequin and Tule Publishing.

Twitter- melissamcclone

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Review: An Unexpected Grace by Kristin Von Kreisler

From bestselling author Kristin Von Kreisler comes a poignant, uplifting novel of one woman's journey to healing, and the surprising soul mate that helps guide her there. Lila Elliot knows she's lucky. A shooting rampage at her office left several colleagues dead and others seriously wounded. Lila's injuries will heal in time. Yet though she gratefully retreats to her best friend's house to recuperate, Lila can't quite move past her fear and anger. Being drafted into caring for Grace--a shaggy, formerly abused golden retriever--only adds to her stress. Lila has been terrified of dogs since childhood. But Grace, like Lila, needs time and space to recover.

Grace keeps her distance, sensing Lila's wariness, and only perks up for Adam, the neighbor who rescued her. Though struggling to make sense of her recent tragedy, Lila, an accomplished artist, begins to see beauty in Grace's wisps of fur and haunted eyes. As Adam points out, Grace, too, has suffered through no fault of her own. And in helping Grace to trust, Lila is being gently nudged toward the courage she needs to do the same.

Rich in warmth and humor, An Unexpected Grace is a story of compassion and connection, and of finding that what truly makes us whole again may be the love we give away.

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Kensington      

Terri's Review

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

**Disclaimer**  I read this book while curled up with my two and a half year old Golden Retreiver so my opinion may be biased**

Without going in to the storyline too much, this is a story about someone who survives a traumatic incident and must learn to move on in the aftermath.  Along with this is the story of a dog, Grace, who has also survived some horrific actions.  Together they assist each other in getting past their mutual horror's and learn to trust again.

Dog lovers would really enjoy this book.  I saw many similarities between Grace and my dog Maya.  From the way that she does things on her own time, the way she only wants to be loved, the way she greets at the door with a toy in her mouth and a cry and the way she must always be touching some part of me.  Von Kreisler must be an avid Golden Retriever/dog lover or she researched their mannerisms very well.  She could have easily been writing about my dog.

The bottom line is that this story reflect the unconditional love that a dog gives and their ability to provide comfort and healing to us regardless of what they have been through themselves.  Any dog lover will appreciate the journey of Grace and Lila.

I will caution that a dog lover may not rave about this story as much as I have.  The highlight of this novel for me was Grace and others may not enjoy the rest of the storyline.  Lila's inability to get past what happened to her at times seemed a little much however I have not experienced what she went through so I should not judge harshly.  Also the relationship between Lila and Adam was a little odd for me.  Adam took a little while to warm up to even though I knew what he was trying to accomplish with Grace and Lila.  Once he was more present in the storyline things picked up however at that point I feel their relationship went to fast.

At the end of the day if you are a dog lover with your own furry friend who owns you then you will appreciate this read.  It read like a love story to my dog.

About the Author

I could not find any information on Kristin Von Kreisler online.  I will update if I find any of her data.


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Review: Crashing Back Down by Kristen Hope Mazzola

Mags McManus has just become a war widow in her mid-twenties. Her late husband, Randy, left for the Army right after their wedding. Instead of celebrating his homecoming and living in marital bliss with her soulmate, Mags finds herself living in constant agony. Dealing with the guilt of still living without Randy, are Randy's best friends and parents.

Rising from the ashes of this tragedy, Mags starts to learn how to love and trust again, finally being able to find happiness. But sometimes things really are too good to be true and again Mags learns how cruel the world can be as she crashes back down.

 Published November 7th 2013
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

Crashing Back Down is the debut novel by Kristen Hope Mazzola and I do believe this is a name to watch out for. She does an amazing job of telling the story of one woman's journey through grief after becoming a widow at a very young age. This book is packed full of emotional highs and lows as Mags struggles to survive and function without the love of her life.

Mags is in a very dark place when this book begins. She deals with every emotion from grief to guilt and doesn't know how to or if she even wants to find her way back to normal. The only thing she can do is drown herself in work to keep the pain at bay. With the help of family, friends and a little professional help she slowly begins the process of learning to live again. I could feel her pain every step of the way. I was married at the same age as Mags character and I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose your future before it even had a chance to start. Mazzola does an incredible job of portraying the emotional mess that is Mags.

Mags finds comfort in the support in her dead husband's best friend Walker. Together they are both dealing with the pain, grief and survivors guilt. As feelings begin to emerge, Mags is even more confused as she struggles with feelings of infidelity, guilt and attraction.

Together Mags and Walker slowly learn to start living again. There are some beautiful moments and heartbreaking moments as their journey unfolds. I do have to warn you that there are a couple of twists and a shocking ending that will leave you wide eyed and begging for the next book in the series. I have no idea how it will play out or how I even want it to play out but I can't wait to find out.

The only thing that stops me from giving a 5 star rating is the extreme amount of alcohol use in this book. Initially I thought that the book was going to be about alcohol abuse in the grief process and how Mags overcomes it. That was not the case... they just drank a lot all the time and even though responsible drinking and driving was mentioned on two occasions there was an over abundance of times where there was drinking involved and then the characters would drive.

I think Mazzola has a bright future ahead of her. I can't wait to find out how the story ends!


About the Author

Kristen Hope Mazzola is an up and coming independent author from sunny South Florida. Crashing Back Down is her debut into the literary world. Kristen is currently working on the rest of her Crashing Series, which will include a sequel, Falling Back Together, and a prequel, Walking Away. She even has a few more tricks up her sleeve, with more characters to introduce and more twists to unravel, so keep your eye on this talented young author!

When Kristen is not driving a pen into paper, she enjoys reading all different genres and fishing. “There is just something so magical about water and the calm it brings to my life,” says Kristen. Even though writing is not her only career she is pursuing, Kristen hopes to one day be a full time writer. Having a day job and a busy life, makes finding time for writing difficult, but anything worthwhile in life is difficult. Loving life, writing, and fishing basically make up her world.



Monday 25 November 2013

Review: Wild for Mr. Wrong by Virna DePaul

Can an uptight prosecutor and a laid-back defense attorney find love despite their opposing agendas?

Bryn Donovon became a prosecutor for a reason and defense attorney Daniel Mays seems to take his job about as seriously as he does his love life. While straight-laced Bryn can't deny she's attracted to the southern charmer, she's determined to keep her distance. Instead, she ends up finding something she'd lost long ago--a willingness to risk all for love.

Kindle Edition, 83 pages
Published March 14th 2011      

Terri's Review

This story was one of the stories featured in the He's Irresistible compilation that I had secured via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that This was my least favorite of the three stories yet that does not mean I did not enjoy it.  Perhaps due to its short length I felt that it lacked some character development.  I do however feel that there was great potential particularly with Bryn.  She obviously had some issues from her past that required some attention and this could have been explored further.  Daniel on the other hand was perfect as the male in these types of stories usually are.

This book was steamy.  There was sexual chemistry between the characters from the get go and the reader was not left disappointed when they finally succumbed to their attraction.  I only wish I could have spent longer within the story.  I will admit that this read got me through a workout on the treadmill in one session.

While this read will not go down as one of my all time favorites it was a nice interlude nonetheless.

About the Author

A former prosecutor, Virna DePaul writes "heat, heart, & HEA" for Harlequin and Random House. She is also a bestselling Indie author, with Bedding The Wrong Brother being a top 100 contemporary romance on Amazon with over 150 5* reviews.

Twitter:  virnadepaul

Sunday 24 November 2013

Review: Cedar Hollow by Tracey Smith

Cassidy St. Claire still wasn't sure what she'd been hoping to find when she began the search for her birth parents, but all she’d uncovered was a bunch of death certificates and one ailing great-uncle who’d finally kicked the bucket last week. Since Cassidy is the last surviving member of the family that means his estate, a small seaside bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, has been left to her. An odd stipulation in his Will requires that she appear in person to inherit the property. Cassidy isn't very hopeful that this weekend trip will lead to anything more than a momentary distraction from her busy life, and an excuse to take her convertible for a long drive up the coast.
She certainly isn't prepared for Mr. Tall Handsome and Brooding; Ben Riley has been running the bed and breakfast for the last several years, and he is definitely less than welcoming. His instant dislike for her is staggering, but his penetrating green eyes burn with a dangerous mixture of hostility and attraction.
Within days of her arrival an attempt is made on her life and then another. Suddenly Cassidy finds herself trying to unravel the mysteries of the past, while outrunning the dangers of the present and finally turning to the strong, protective arms of Ben Riley and a future she'd never imagined.

Released: November 14, 2013
272 pages
Genre: Romantic/Suspense

Kristine's Thoughts

I don't always read the synopsis when choosing books to read because I find that sometimes it gives too much of the story away. When choosing this book I quickly skimmed the first bit and totally missed the last paragraph. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the end of chapter one and there was a paragraph from "The Chosen One" and I realised that Cedar Hollow was a romantic/suspense. It was a welcome break from my last few reads and I was hooked!

Cassidy inherits a bed and breakfast from the last member of her birth family which brings her to Cedar Hollow to sign the legal papers. An unusual stipulation dictates that she live in the house for 30 days before she can claim it and the story takes off from there.

Cassidy's initial impressions of the bed and breakfast are not good. She finds it dark and creepy and can't understand why people would want to stay there. It is here that she meets the cook/housekeeper and grounds keeper that have been running the place for years. Cassidy has an immediate physical attraction to the hunky but mysterious groundskeeper, Ben, but quickly discovers that the personality does not match the body and they begin to butt heads immediately. Ben thinks that Cassidy is a spoiled, rich city girl that only cares about selling to the highest bidder and being on her way.

I really enjoyed the interaction between Ben and Cassidy and how their relationship changed as the story progressed. Ben went from barely tolerating Cassidy to extremely protective when they both realised that she was in danger and someone was after her. There is an undeniable chemistry between the two that continues to build until fireworks explode. I found myself smiling and thinking "finally!"

I will admit that I figured out who "The chosen one" was very early on in the story but that is not unusual for me and it did nothing to stop me from enjoying it. The mystery behind Cassidy's birth family and their suspicious deaths kept me glued to the pages. Cedar Hollow is very well written and I enjoyed every minute of it. Tracey Smith is a new author to me and I have no doubt that I will be reading more of her books.


About the Author

 Tracey Smith grew up in Southern California, but as a teenager moved with her family to a small town in Arkansas. It was in Arkansas that she met and fell in love with the man of her dreams, who had also recently moved to the state. Fate brought them both to that small town and into each other’s lives and that is where they continue to live today raising their two children and living out their happily ever after.




Saturday 23 November 2013

Review: From Fame to Shame by Veronica Blade

When good-girl Maddie switches places with her famous bad-girl twin Jackie, she has some pretty high stilettos to fill.

Despite the danger of tabloid drama if their identity swap is discovered, Maddie has to save her sister's butt. When Jackie’s ex-boyfriend shows up with a rekindled spark for “Jackie,” his deep gray eyes and sweet kisses make Maddie's heart thumpety thump. But dating the guy who dumped her sister is a no-no. Too bad Dallas isn’t used to girls saying no. What will happen when he discovers Maddie’s deception?

Paperback, 125 pages
Published April 2012 by Crush Publishing Inc              

Terri's Review

This was the second story in the He's Irresistible book that I received from Netgalley.

Let me tell you that this story was so much fun for me.  As a twin myself it was fun to see two twins switch places in each others lives to deceive others.   It made me wish that my sister and I had did it more often when we had the chance.

This story was light and fun.  The glitz and glamour and deception of Hollywood mixed with some romance.  The chemistry between Maddie and Dallas was sizzling yet Blade kept the story clean which was nice in the context of this story.  The moral dilemma of falling for your sisters ex-boyfriend gives it an extra edge.

Although there is never any doubt how this story will end it was a fun intermission to the real world for a while.  It put a spin on literally walking in someone else's shoes.  I truly enjoyed it.

About the Veronica Blade

Veronica Blade lives in Southern California with her husband and children. By day she runs the family business, but each night she slips away to spin her tales. She writes stories about young adults to relive her own childhood and to live vicariously through her characters. Except her heroes and heroines lead far more interesting lives — and they are always way hotter.

Twitter:  veronicablade

Thursday 21 November 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #7

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

This week's question is...

You Are It! We are playing #FF tag this week. Comment on as many blogs as you can, even if they aren’t participating in #FF. Just say Happy #FF! At the end of your comment. Keep a running total if you want and update your post with it. The bigger the number the more impressed we will be! 

 69 #FF! handed out so far and working my way through!

 That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back.  Happy #FF!

Review: Broken Beauty by Chloe Adams

Sometimes bad things happen to beautiful people.

When socialite party girl Mia Abbott-Renou wakes up in a garden she has little recall of the previous night -- except that she is naked...hurt...terrified. Not only has she been raped, but she knows one of her assailants: the son of a wealthy politician who happens to be her own father’s political ally.

Mia wants and needs justice. Except this privileged boy has an alibi and her father forbids her from going to the police. It’s a critical election year, one that his party might lose if his image as a doting father is soured due to Mia being labeled a lush or worse, promiscuous.

Devastated at not having the support of her family, Mia finds herself in a tug-of-war with her conscience over what to do, especially since she can’t remember exactly what happened that night. Worse, the men who attacked her have hurt several other girls, and Mia may be the key to stopping them.

Mia tries to forget, until the unthinkable happens, and she’s left reeling once again, faced with a new challenge that will force her to take more control of her life.

Originally published in October 2012 as "No Way Back" by Chloe Adams

ebook, 78 pages
Published September 22nd 2013 by Indie Inked 

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Broken Beauty is the first novella in a series about Mia, who comes from an influential family, who is brutally raped by two men and her physical/emotional struggles to recover after that night. To make matters worse, one of her attackers is the son of one of her father's biggest political contributors. Mia's fathers only concern seems to be about his career and the scandal that it could create. He is more concerned with getting it buried than the effect it is having on his daughter.

This is one of the better novellas that I have read in a long time. There is a fairly thorough plot development and it doesn't feel rushed. Of course the story does not end when the book does so perhaps that is the reason why. Mia's story will continue on through a series of novellas and I will definitely be reading them.

There are many likeable character and even more unlikeable ones in this story which contribute to Mia's conflict over what do do. The story is well written, powerful and highly emotional. I was hooked from the very first page.

I think what I appreciated most is that this novella deals with a very serious topic, rape, which unfortunately too many people know about first hand. The victim made to feel like the criminal is sadly what millions of rape victims encounter and probably one of the biggest reason why so many go unreported. I am interested to know how it all turns out and will be watching for the rest in the series.

This series is recommended for people over the age of 18 because of the graphic content and subject matter but I disagree with that. I feel that it is a subject teenage girls of any age would benefit from reading about. Kids drink before the age of 18, can get drugged and get raped before that age as well. The more informed about what can happen (in my opinion) the better as far as I see it.
I can't wait to read the rest!

The author is Lizzy Ford writing as Chloe Adams

Lizzy Ford is the author of over seventeen novels written for young adult and adult paranormal romance readers, to include the internationally bestselling Rhyn Trilogy, Witchling Trilogy and the War of Gods series. Considered a freak of nature by her peers for the ability to write and release a commercial quality novel in under a month, Lizzy has focused on keeping her readers happy by producing brilliant, gritty romances that remind people why true love is a trial worth enduring.

Lizzy’s books can be found on every major ereader library, to include: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Sony and Smashwords. She lives in southern Arizona with her husband, three dogs and a cat. 


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Review: Love at First Date by Susan Hatler

Ellen’s figured out that finding the right guy is all about compatibility. That’s why she’s signed up for Detailed Dating—the local online dating scene in Sacramento. Learning men’s preferences up front, plus a few weeks of email correspondence, has resulted in two candidates she’s excited to meet in person.

When Ellen’s best friend asks her to baby-sit her beloved pooch, dog-sitting leads to disaster and Ellen ends up at the local vet where she meets a man she can’t stop thinking about. Henry isn’t a logical choice, but Ellen suddenly finds herself signing up for a week-long doggy class to spend more time with him.

Now, Ellen has a choice: Go with one of the logical choices or let herself fall for the one man her heart seems to want.

Terri's Review

I got this novella was on of the stories in the He's Irresistible compilation that I discovered via Netgalley.

Sometimes you are in need of a nice light romance to distract you from the daily grind and this story did just that for me.  Mix in some likeable characters and some dogs and what more can you ask for?

I enjoyed Ellen with her preconceived notions on what would make a lasting relationship.  Her dates with her "compatible" men made me giggle.  Then there is Henry who sounds like every girls dream.  Funny, a little mysterious and a dog lover to boot!  I can't forget to mention the canine characters who were completely adorable and whose behaviors were very relatable to my experiences.

Overall this was an enjoyable read.  The majority of the story takes place is puppy obedience school and the chemistry between Ellen and Henry was undeniable.  I'm glad I found this novella and I will be sure to see what else Hatler has to offer.

About the Author

SUSAN HATLER is an international bestselling author who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too. You can visit her website at
Twitter:  SusanHatler

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Review: Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser

Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.

Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful "Mrs. Sydney" from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.

ebook, 48 pages
Expected publication: November 25th 2013 by Entangled: Ever After 

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

What would you do if you traveled to the past and found that you were stuck with no way to return to the present? This is the dilemna that Sydney finds herself in. Will events and her actions change the course of history? She has only one solution according to protocol but when her secret is discovered by handsome Miles Griffin on Christmas Eve, she finds herself questioning her original plan.

This story moves quickly as it is only 48 pages long. I found it to be cute and well written but because of the length it lacked some of the emotion that I was craving. Although there was chemistry between Sydney and Miles I did not feel it as strongly as I would have if there had been more build up to it. Also, Sydney's dilemna was so enormous that it would have been better served with more pages. There was enough of a story that I feel it would have made for a great full length novel, filling in holes and capturing more of the emotion and chemistry.

If you are looking for a quick, easy Christmas read then I recommend picking up Christmas Past. Even though it is short and wraps up quickly, it is still a cute pre-Christmas read.

About the Author
Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grae. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did. 
When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books, the opening decaes of the 19th century. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still gives her heroines great hair.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows.


Monday 18 November 2013

Review: The Other Side of the Bridge by Katharine Swartz

Ava Lancet has lost her job, her marriage, and her baby when she discovers she has inherited her grandmother’s dilapidated farmhouse in a tiny village in central Greece. With the kind of emotional impulsiveness that has frustrated her stony-faced husband for years, she decides to move there and recover from life’s sorrows. It only takes a few minutes in her new home to realize just what a dump it is, and how ridiculously rash her decision was. Yet Ava perseveres, and thanks to her grandmother’s legacy, is welcomed into the village... as well as by handsome widower Andreas Lethikos.

When an elderly woman in the village mistakes Ava for her grandmother, telling her, with tears trickling down her face, that she is so sorry, Ava is both touched and intrigued. What is the woman sorry for, and what secrets did her grandmother keep? With the help of a local schoolteacher who is interviewing the remaining Second World War survivors in central Greece, Ava discovers the
surprising threads of her grandmother’s life... and they help to weave her own life back together.

In 1942, in Italian and Nazi-occupied Greece, Ava’s grandmother Sophia Paranoussis is fighting to keep her family, and especially her impulsive sister Angelika, safe. When she is approached by a stranger to help with the local Resistance, she longs to refuse, yet a sense of both duty and honor compel her to agree. Frightened and yet with growing courage, Sophia begins to aid twelve
British SOEs who have parachuted into Greece to blow up the Gorgopotamos viaduct--and falls in impossible love with one of them.

Spanning three generations and exploring the lives of two very different and yet surprisingly similar women, The Other Side of The Bridge will remind you how a fragile hope can spring from both tragedy and despair. Written by USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt, writing as Katharine Swartz.

Terri's Review

I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

For those that know me they know that this is the type of novel that I gravitate towards.  Historical fiction surrounding wartime.  When I read the synopsis of the story I knew I had to read this book.

This book was centralized around Greece during WWII and the Greek resistance.  This was an aspect of the war that I have not been introduced to previously and I enjoyed learning another new piece of the puzzle.

The story is told through two different characters.  Ava in the current day who flee's to Greece to overcome the grief of losing a child and a failing marriage and Sophia during wartime who plays a reluctant role within the Greek resistance.

For the first time I was drawn to Ava's story more than Sophia's.  Normally I am drawn in to the story of the past however I felt Ava's journey was compelling and complex and I enjoyed how her story progressed.  Without giving any of the plot away her journey was one of growth, acceptance and love.  By escaping to rural Greece she learned to see past her own issues to accept that other's may handle situations different than herself and that does not make their feelings any less real than her own. I liked how she was vulnerable yet strong. I enjoyed how her relationship with Simon played out throughout the course of the book and felt that it was realistic.

I was less drawn to Sophia's story at first.  Although a strong character I felt that the reader did not really know who she was for the first half of the book.  Her character was focused on what was expected of a female during this time and the traditions that needed to be honored.  It was not until her story started to conclude that we saw the strength of her character and she started to win me over.  I will not tell how her story played out however the conclusion was both tragic and beautiful.

Another highlight for me was how Greece was highlighted through a small rural village.  It held a charm of its own throughout the story.  I could easily visualize it and dream of visiting a place like this.

It is my understanding that this story was written by Kate Hewitt under the name of Katharine Swartz.  As I found this an enjoyable read I will be checking out other works by both names.


About the Author (Kate Hewitt)

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of 25 romances with Harlequin Presents, hundreds of short stories, and several historical novels and anthologies now available on Kindle.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in New York City, she now makes her home in a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, with her husband, four children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

Twitter:  katehewitt1

Sunday 17 November 2013

Review: Return of the Heroine by Kaye Michelle

For Joan of Arc, it was about surviving in a man's world. Nearly six hundred years later, at West Point, not much has changed.

One of the greatest heroines of all time returns and reveals the wisdom she received from Archangel Michael. "When you dare to commit to your deepest desires, your heart grows to accommodate the task at hand, no matter how daunting," Archangel Michael advises Joan of Arc before she embarks on a mission that will change the course of history. With only eleven days left to live, she must take yet another leap of faith, surrender to the guidance of Archangel Michael, and set the record straight to ensure those in the future know the truth.

Her legacy reaches across the veil of time to awaken the heroine in all women. And for one twenty-first-century woman, Jane Archer, a West Point cadet, it means finding the courage to expose a cultural crime that has been disempowering women for centuries. In the process, she must learn to trust her own inner guidance.

Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Balboa Press 

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

 This book tells the story of Joan of Arc in the 1400's and Jane Archer in the 1990's. Although two completely different woman, it depicts the challenges they face in doing what they believe is right for the greater good. Instead of taking the path of least resistance they both find the courage in an uphill battle to fight for what they know in their heart is right.

I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the book that told the story of Joan of Arc through her eyes as the narrator. It was well written, descriptive and engaging. Although I knew how her story ended I found myself routing for her and feeling her pain. Michelle did a marvellous job at bringing the character to life.

Jane's story was a little harder to get lost in as it shared a lot less face time which made it more difficult to connect with her character. Although her battle was just as important and worthy it felt rushed which, in my opinion, took away from the powerful message it should have portrayed and the significance of her actions.

Over all it was an enjoyable story about two heroic woman from two different times that share a connection and an even stronger conviction.


About the Author

 Kaye Michelle is a teacher, author and healer who works inspiring others to find their courage within. She co-founded Franklin Yoga, has been published in the 2009 Chicken Soup for the Soul-Power Moms, and 2012 Stay at Home Moms.
Kaye also founded a nonprofit for environmental and human relief. Her experience being appointed to West Point as a young woman was a catalyst for this novel and she is currently penning two more books.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Review: Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter

Terror stalks a small Virginia town.

FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer. But she's never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods. As the body count climbs, Evelyn's relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career - and her life - at risk. And the evil lurking in the Burier's mind may be more than even she can unravel.

Terror is closer than she thinks.

The Bakersville Burier knows he's got an FBI profiler on his trail. He knows who she is and where to find her. And he's biding his time, because he's planned a special punishment for Evelyn. She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it's her turn to be hunted!

Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Harlequin MIRA   

Terri's Review 

I received an ARC of this book via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book is outside of the normal genre that I tend to gravitate towards however I am extremely pleased that I got the opportunity to read it.  I really enjoyed the time spent within the pages of this read.

This story reminded me of an episode of the TV show Criminal Minds.  The main character was a criminal profiler and the language and terms used throughout the book were the same.  Although I can see how some might be critical of these similarities I rather enjoyed it.  There was no need to learn new terms such as BAU and unsub.

Evelyn was a tough cookie on the exterior with a vulnerable interior that made the story interesting.  Her drive and determination was predictable yet infectious.  I like how she was pint sized and underestimated yet she managed to overcome peoples views of her.  The storyline moved at a good pace and kept me interested from the first to last page.

I rate a book on how it made me feel and not necessarily on the genre, or how original it was, or if there was some dramatic twist.  This book entertained me and I could not ask for more than that.  I truly enjoyed the hours spent hunting the Bakersville Burier.

About the Author

ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range.

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. Her manuscripts have been finalists in the Golden Heart®, Marlene, Daphne Du Maurier, and Golden Gateway contests and she won Suzanne Brockmann’s 2010 Haiku Contest. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

In 2012, Elizabeth fulfilled a lifelong goal when she sold her first five novels.

Twitter:  ElizabethHeiter


Thursday 14 November 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #6

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
This week's question is...

 Are there any book to movie adaptations where you think the movie is better than the book? 

This is an easy one to answer...


 The movie wins hands down. I loved the movie (even with the low budget war scene) and thought the book was just OK. How about you?

That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back.