Saturday 28 February 2015

Review: Remember by Eileen Cook

A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protesters. Her father runs the company that trademarked the "Memtex" procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn't be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Simon Pulse

Terri's Thoughts

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The book was just released this week.

This is a story aimed for the YA audience and one that I think most parents would approve of.  The book was very clean with very little profanity and the romance kept at a PG level.  For the most part it is about regular high school students with regular problems until..........

Enter the Memtex.  Imagine a world where you have the ability to get a treatment to eliminate or "soften" bad or painful memories.  Think about it, there has to be memories you wish you could erase.  There are a lot of pictures people have posted on Facebook that have traumatized me and I can never un-see.  This could wipe them from my memory!!  Seriously though...this story deals with the good and bad side of this possibility when people are not educated to the consequences.

This story was entertaining as Harper tried to figure out what was real in her mind and who she could trust.  It moved at a swift pace towards its conclusion.  While it could be argued that the story was a little glossed over it was intended for the YA audience and I can see how it would be fitting for a "tween" reader.

I have to say I enjoyed it

About the Author

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Twitter:  eileenwriter    

Friday 27 February 2015

Feature and Follow Friday #62

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:

Your house is burning down and you have time to select three books you own to take with you. What three books? - Suggested by Alison Can Read

  Terri's Answer

This is such a tough question!  How do you narrow it down to only three??? To help narrow it down I will only choose from the paperbacks I own and eliminate any digital books I have.  Lets appears they would all be in the historical fiction genre.

1.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

2.  The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

3.  Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Kristine's Answer

Yikes! Terri did better than me. I don't think I can pick three. Also, if there were a fire I'd be more concerned with getting my family and fur baby out. Books can be replaced. I will mention one book though and that would be...

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

This book in my opinion is one of the BEST love stories ever written that I have had the opportunity to read. It is part of the historical fiction genre but I honestly think even non fans of the genre would enjoy it. My daughter read it at 14yrs old and loved it so much that it actually inspired her major independent project in grade 10 history on the Leningrad Blockade. Her teacher was so excited that she picked it because none of the other students had even heard of it.

So I am going to cheat and just pick the one and grab my Kindle too!

Were you able to pick 3 books easily?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.  

Thursday 26 February 2015

Review: Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy

People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it.

Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty.

For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now.

And maybe I don’t want to.

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by Bantam 
Series: The Fowler Sisters #2

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Random House- Bantam via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is the second book in The Fowler Sisters series. I did not read the first book, Owning Violet, but was able to follow the story easily. The first book was about Violet whereas this one was about the youngest sister Rose. From the tidbits that were mentioned, I would like to go back and read Violet's story but it did not impact my enjoyment of this one at all.

This is the second book by this author for me and I can definitely say that Monica Murphy knows how to write about sex. From the chemistry between characters to the act itself, Murphy writes with enough descriptive detail that it is sure to please any fan of erotica. In fact, I would say that this book is probably about 60 to 70% sex and 30 to 40% story. Anyone who follows my thoughts on different titles knows that I enjoy sexual content in books as long as there is a story to go with it. There was just enough story, although somewhat predictable, to go with the sexual content that I was able to enjoy it. It did run the risk of what I call the "wash, rinse, repeat" cycle. For those of you that have not heard me say that before, let me explain. I compare the sexual content in some books with washing my hair. It feels great the first time but becomes a little monotonous after a while, therefore wash, rinse, repeat. There were a few times where I thought that maybe the story was going to get lost in the bedroom but then Murphy would pull it back together.

The story was a little predictable but it was still an entertaining read with a lot of heat. I look forward to reading the next instalment.

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of new adult contemporary romance. A believer in kissing. A believer of love.

I also write romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

I'm a wife, a mom and I live in California.

Connect with Monica

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, three very different women will discover that friends can become family, and that life is richer with sisters at your side.

Paperback, 416 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Mira

Terri's Thoughts

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  he book was just released.

Every once and a while I am wrong about things and there were two things I was mistaken on about this book from the beginning.  The first was I thought I had read other works by Susan Mallery however when I go back and check I did not see any.  Perhaps it is because I see her name everywhere I just assumed I had?  The second was I had just assumed that this would be a romance type novel.  Nope, wrong again.  There are elements but there was so much more.

I loved the fact that this was a story about three friends and their journey separately and together. While the storyline for each woman was tied in to the relationship struggles they were each having the underlying theme (to me) was their friendship and the fact that they were always there for each other.

I will not divulge plot but instead will express my feelings about each story

Nicole's Story

I wanted to absolutely murder her husband.  He was so useless and self centered.  There is no way that even for a millisecond I would put up with what Nicole put up with.  A person with such little regard for family and responsibilities would share no space in my life.  I was waiting for her to drop kick him right out of the story.  This story appealed to my angry where is the justice side

Shannon's Story

Her story had the most appeal for the inner optimist in me.  A woman who wants it all, career, man and family finally realizing that it really may be possible.  A story of finding someone you can potentially spend the rest of your life with and not have to compromise your career goals.  Don't get me wrong, there was conflict within the story but it left me with an optimistic outlook (even though I already have this

Pam's Story

This appealed to my OMG this may be me someday side.  I identified with Pam the most as she struggled to break the patterns of a long term marriage and the routine that it settles in to.  As in all relationships there is a tendency to get comfortable and want to break out of the norm.  I can see this.  What happens afterwards is something that broke my heart.  I can't even think about walking in Pam's shoes although her storyline was very realistic.  I felt I identified the most with her character.

In the end I really enjoyed how these three woman supported each other and were there when the others needed them.  It is rare as we get older that we can maintain such friendships and it was refreshing to read about three adults who were in different age groups be able to provide a lifeline to each other.  This was very endearing to me.

I would recommend this story and now that I have finally read Mallery's work I will be reading some more!

About the Author

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived


Tuesday 24 February 2015

Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Ballantine Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Ballantine Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

When I think about this book and everything that happens in it I really should have hated it. The moral half of my brain should have been shaking my head at it. The mother in me should have been using it as a teaching moment with my kids. The truth is that new adult is my guilty pleasure genre and I kind of really liked it.

The idea of friends with benefits is not a new one and the outcome was totally predictable but what was different with this book was the "sorbet sex." It was so out there and the concept was so ridiculous that it kind of made sense in a young, hormone driven, college kid kind of way. I have to give Cahill kudos for coming up with the concept. It made a not so original story line completely original.

The book is filled with humorous moments and dating mishaps. Both Joss and Matt were challenged in the dating game and I found myself giggling at a number of the situations they got themselves into. Of course, as the reader, it was easy to see why they had such bad luck but it was fun (and frustrating) to follow them in their oblivion as they slowly figured it out.

This book was pure entertainment from beginning to end and I was able to get through it quickly. I'm not sure if I can look at sorbet the same again but it definitely put a new twist on an old story. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to read it and look forward to more work from this author.

About the Author
ELLIE CAHILL is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, WI with her husband, son and the world’s loudest cat.

Connect with Ellie

Monday 23 February 2015

Review: First Time in Forever (Puffin Island #1) by Sarah Morgan

Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…

It's been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of "just breathe" pep talks she's given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…

Ryan knows all about secrets. And it's clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won't let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he's going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else's hands?

Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by HQN Books

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher HQN Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is February 24th.

This is the kind of story that fits in my guilty pleasure category.  Its a feel good read with some sizzling chemistry between the main characters that must be denied.  Or does it have to?  The anticipation is killing me.  You know how it goes.  You can sit and relax and enter a world where the characters are hot and outcome is almost always pre-determined.

There were two main aspects of the story that appealed to me.  The first being the setting of a small island where the community really helps it's own.  Although fictional I would like to think that places like this exist.  In fact I know they do as coming from a small town I have seen it first hand.  The second was Lizzie.  She was just too cute and added to some of the angst between Emily and Ryan.

Ultimately this is a story you turn to when you are looking for an escape.  Morgan knows how to string together some interesting characters and storylines.  I am anxiously anticipating the future instalments to this series as there are several characters that I would like to know what happens next with.  the only thing I am a little unsure of is how the title of this story came to be.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated four years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. She also won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their 'Top Pick' slot.

Sarah lives near London, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.

Twitter:  SarahMorgan_

Sunday 22 February 2015

Review: One Wish by Robyn Carr

Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement.

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other.

But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by MIRA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thunder Point #7

Kristine's Thoughts: 

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

One Wish is book seven in the Thunder Point series. Although it is not necessary to read the first six to follow along, there are many secondary characters in the book that you may understand better if you do.

This was a typical and average contemporary romance. Although there wasn't anything that made it stand out as great to me, there was also nothing that made it the opposite. Did I wish for a stronger connection between Troy and Grace? Yes. Did I find Troy's personality lacking slightly? Yes. He came across a little immature for his age. Even with these slight faults it was an entertaining way to lose myself for a few hours.

I think my only complaint is that the author spent too much time setting up and beginning the story that will be found in the next instalment. I was deep in Troy and Grace's story when all of a sudden a new character and story is introduced in the middle of it. I understand the need to introduce characters when you are dealing with a series but I thought way too much time was spent on it and at a point in the story that interrupted the flow of Grace and Troy's. The stories did eventually blend somewhat but not before causing a slight speed bump.

One Wish is your typical story about two people who are attracted to each other in a tight knit community that you will find in these types of series. There are many characters and personalities and I feel it would be beneficial to read from the beginning although not necessary. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.

About the Author
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Connect with Robyn

Saturday 21 February 2015

Review: Back in the Game (Stardust, Texas #1) by Lori Wilde

New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde welcomes you to Stardust, Texas . . . where dreams come true and love is always right around the corner...

Wanted: ghostwriter. Must be female, a baseball fan, and have a great pair of legs.

Ex-pitcher Rowdy Blanton never saw a woman he couldn't conquer or a team he couldn't beat. And now that he's off the field he's ready to tell all about when he played the field. So he chooses Breeanne Carlyle to do the job—she's got the requirements, but more important, there's something about her that makes him want to be a better man.

Convinced there's more to Rowdy than a good fastball, a wicked smile, and a tight pair of pants, Breeanne can't help but be tempted. After all, it's boring always being the good girl, and Rowdy dares her to be just a little bad. The stakes are high, but win or lose, this time Breeanne's breaking all the rules playing the game of love.

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Avon

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is February 24th 2015.

I have to say the book started out strong for me.  How could I not identify with a character who cherishes books and cannot stand to see dog eared books or broken spines on a book?  I could seriously see myself and appreciate this trait in Breeanne.

Although this story follows the typical formula of the romance/contemporary genre it had a slight variance that I found compelling.  The part about the mysterious woman and the hope chest that grants wishes was a nice touch.  It had me intrigued at the beginning and looks like it may be the launching point of future installments.

The chemistry between Rowdy and Breeanne was smoking from the start.  I liked the fact that the reader is kept waiting for them to succumb to their feelings.  Many times in these types of books the characters jump in to bed before there is any real emotional chemistry however this is not the case.

My only real pet peeve about this story was the overuse of the phrase nut bunny.  Really?  Can you make a character any more dorky than by having them use this phrase over and over?  Luckily the phrase pretty much got thrown away at the halfway point so I could start picturing Breeanne as the twenty-five year old she was instead of a ten year old.

Overall a solid read for the romance genre.

About the Author

Lori Wilde can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to write. She even went to nursing school so she could have a schedule flexible enough to allow her to write on the side. She nursed for 20 years, working in a variety of settings from the newborn nursery to the recovery room, to dialysis. But she never lost her desire to write.

She sold her first book in 1994 to Silhouette Romance but later discovered she had a flair for comedy and branched out to Harlequin Duets and now, to Blaze.

Lori is an adventuresome soul who loves to travel. She’s taken flying lessons, completed two marathons, rode in a hot-air balloon, performed with a professional jazz band, traveled Europe as a teenager, hiked volcanoes in Hawaii, trod on glaciers in Alaska, shot white-water rapids, water-skied, snow-skied, raced all-terrain vehicles, bodysurfed in the Gulf of Mexico, and photographed grizzly bears in Yellowstone.

She lives in her native Texas, with her own real-life hero, Bill, her red heeler/Australian shepherd dog, Cinnamon, and four ducks, Quacker, Big Guy, Affleck, and Sheepidy.


Thursday 19 February 2015

Feature and Follow Friday #61

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:

Do you like fantasy or realistic books? - Suggested by The Realm of Books

Terri's Answer

If I have to choose between the two I would have to say realistic.  I like when something is feasible as it actually catches my imagination more.  A good tear jerker that pulls at my heartstrings or a controversial topic that makes me think.  That being said I am a sucker for magical realism however in my opinion that leans more towards realistic than fantasy.  You never do know what is or is not possible and it tends not to be too out there.

Kristine's Answer

I am with Terri on this one. My natural instinct would have me picking up a realistic book over fantasy. There was a time when I wouldn't read anything that couldn't happen in real life. I had no real reason for it, I just wouldn't. I then realised (thanks to Terri) that I really like magical realism and the occasional ghost in my books. Since then I have become more open minded and have ventured into fantasy on the recommendation of others. I am glad that I did because I have read some great books because of it. One thing that I have found is that I either love the book or hate it and there is no middle ground.

How about you? Do you prefer fantasy or realistic?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.  


Review: Some Other Town by Elizabeth Collison

Channeling the emotional intensity of Susan Minot and Amy Bloom—and infused with a witty, dream-like surrealism reminiscent of Margaret Atwood—this mesmerizing debut takes us inside the unsettling world of Margaret Lydia Benning, which turns upside down when she falls in love…and then unravels before our eyes.

“What I have to tell Ben is just this. At last I am certain. All the signs, all the dreams are in. And I know now I have made a terrible mistake. I was wrong, it turns out, about us.”

Margaret Lydia Benning lives adrift in the same Midwest town where she went to college. By day, she works at a low-level job for the Project, a university-sponsored educational publisher housed in a former sanatorium. There she shares the fourth floor with a squadron of eccentric editors and a resident ghost from the screamers’ wing. At night, Margaret returns to her small house on Mott Street, resigned to the disturbing overtures of her strange neighbor, Mrs. Eberline.

Emotionally sleepwalking through the days is no way to lead a life. But then Margaret meets Ben Adams, a visiting professor of art at the university. Despite the odds—and their best intentions—Margaret and her professor become lovers, and she glimpses a future she had never before imagined. For the first time, she has hope…until Ben inexplicably vanishes. In the wake of his disappearance, Margaret sets out to find him. Her journey will force her to question everything she believes to be true.

Told through intertwined perspectives, by turns incandescent and haunting, Some Other Town is an unforgettable tale, with a heart-breaking twist, of one woman’s awakening to her own possibility—and her ability to love, and love well.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Harper Perennial 

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Harper Perennial via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I couldn't really get into this book. The characters and the plot lacked that certain something that keeps my interest. At 20% I debated giving up on it but didn't fully give up until I hit 35%. Normally I will see a book to the end regardless of how bad it is but with so many books to read I really wanted to move on to something that I would enjoy. There really wasn't anything that could have happened that would change my opinion of the story by that point. It just lacked clarity and was a little sloppy for my taste.

About the Author
 Elizabeth Collison grew up in the Midwest and now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has worked as an editor, graphic artist, and technical writer. This is her first novel.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Review: Golden State by Stephanie Kegan

An exquisite literary drama, with a ripped-from-the headlines urgency, Golden State asks hard questions about the limits of loyalty, and what it means to be a sister, a daughter, a wife, and a mother.

All her life, Natalie Askedahl has played the part of the good girl. Growing up as the youngest child in one of California’s most prominent political families, she worshipped her big brother, Bobby, a sensitive math prodigy who served as her protector and confidante. But after Bobby left home at sixteen on a Princeton scholarship, something changed between them as Bobby retreated deeper into his own head. Now that Natalie is happily married, with two young daughters, a satisfying job, and a house in the Berkeley Hills, her only real regret is losing Bobby.

Then, a bomb explodes in the middle of her ideal-seeming life. Her brother is accused of carrying out a lethal campaign of terrorism against California’s universities. Thrust into overnight notoriety, Natalie is torn between helping him and protecting her own family. The decisions she makes will send her down a rabbit hole of confusion, lies, and betrayals that threaten to destroy her relationships with everyone she holds dear. As her life splits irrevocably into before and after, what she begins to learn is that some of the most dangerous things in the world are the stories we tell ourselves.

Hardcover, 300 pages
Expected publication: February 17th 2015 by Simon & Schuster

Terri's Thoughts

I received a copy of the book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The book has just been released.

Arghhhhhhhhhhh....I wish I was a member of a book club so I could debate this story as opposed to struggling with how to express my thoughts on this one.  I will say I found the story utterly frustrating.  What I struggle with is the question was I was frustrated because I didn't like the story or because I didn't like/agree with the actions of the protagonist?  My best guess is it is the latter however it is clouding my judgement on the former.

The concept is simple.  Nathalie's brother is accused of some terrible crimes and she is conflicted with trying to defend the brother she thought she knew and coming to terms with the facts being presented to her.  The answer in my world is simple.  How can you know someone who has cut you out of their lives for more than 10 years?  How can you let it impact the life you have built when the truth is sitting right in front of you.  In my eyes, you don't.  You cut your losses and come to terms that someone is not who you seem.  He is a stranger and fond memories from childhood should not be enough to justify your loyalty to someone you do not know in your adult life.  Seems simple to me.

Alas this is not the way Nathalie handled the situation which is what caused me to be so impatient with her as I was reading.  I literally wanted to strangle her.  Then again I am viewing this from my high horse over here and I am wearing my own pair of Ugg's as opposed to walking in her shoes.  In my opinion there is only so much family loyalty that is warranted.  I love my family however I can't see myself defending any of them if they committed a violent crime just because they bought me ice cream as a child.  I certainly can't see doing it at the expense of my current family.  Call me cold but that is how I see it.

Needless to say that my view did impact my ability to enjoy the book.  I couldn't wait for it to end.  Based on that I would score this story low however standing back the fact that I am even having this inner monologue with myself has to stand for something also.  Is this not what Kegan would want?  The debate on how you would handle this situation?  Some bonus points earned back for that.

Random thought: The ironic part to this whole rant is that I have been summoned to appear for jury duty next week.  I seriously do not think that I am what they would want to help decide someone's fate!

About the Author

Stephanie Kegan was born in North Dakota and raised in the much warmer Southern California. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in history, she worked at mostly numbing jobs until she could support herself as a writer. Her new novel Golden State—coming from Simon & Schuster in 2015—explores how fragile the foundation of an ordinary life can be. She is the author of a previous novel, The Baby, many magazine articles and series of guidebooks published by Chronicle Books. Stephanie lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Review: Touch & Go by Mira Lyn Kelly

USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly cranks up the heat for two lifelong friends whose most secret longings come true in every delectable way.

Vivacious and successful, Ava Meyers is living her dream life, except for one thing: Ever since childhood, she’s been in love with her best friend . . . and she’s never admitted it. Back then, Sam Farrow was a damaged young man with a tough past. Now he’s supremely confident, super-sexy, and totally untouchable—until the night when Sam pretends to be Ava’s boyfriend to save her from some unwanted attention. In a moment of weakness, Ava finds out that a long friendship is no match for blistering sexual chemistry.

After years of denying his own feelings, Sam finds that one amazing night with Ava isn’t enough to chase away all the pent-up fantasies. So he proposes they spend a few weeks driving each other wild, exhausting their every desire, and then return to their perfect platonic relationship like nothing ever happened. But Sam’s plan has one fatal flaw: the part where they give each other up. Because the more they let go of their inhibitions, the more they’re tempted to never go back.

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Expected publication: February 17th 2015 by Loveswept 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Touch & Go is the second book in the Dare to Love series but if you haven't read the first one you can still enjoy this one. I didn't know that it was the second book in a series when I started it and I had no problems following along and it did not impact my enjoyment.

This is the story of two best friends who decide to add some benefits but there are some secret unrequited feelings that complicate things and make things messy. It is a story line that has been done a million times before but for some reason it really worked with this one. I found myself enjoying it a lot more than other similar stories I have read.

What I think made the story was the characters themselves and the relationship they had. I adored Eva and Sam and the comfortable, know everything about each other friendship they shared. The fact that they could snuggle while watching a movie, talk about anything and route through each others drawers was so sweet and left me wishing I had a best friend like that. I particularly loved Sam with his charming personality, extreme loyalty and his addiction to all things "as seen on TV." The fact that he was oozing with sex appeal did not go unnoticed either. There were plenty of moments that I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle him or slap some sense into him but even in the moments when I loved to hate him I still adored him. Kelly did a fabulous job at penning two characters that felt real, believable and likeable. You could really get behind Eva and Sam.

For readers that like their pages hot, this book delivers on that as well. I can be picky when it comes to sex in books.  I absolutely don't mind it if there is a story and emotion to go with it but get bored with the "wash, rinse, repeat" formula as I like to call it. I can honestly say that I didn't feel like I was washing my hair with this book and it never got monotonous. It will take me a while to look at a tool belt the same again!

I really enjoyed this book and this author's style of writing. Now I feel the need to go back and read the first book and I look forward to any future instalments. Job well done!

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four beautiful children and naughty dog provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isn’t reading, writing, or running to keep up with the family, she loves watching movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends.

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Monday 16 February 2015

Review: Snowed In by Sarah Title

There’s nothing like a hot kiss on a cold day…

Librarian Maureen O’Connell might have predicted she’d find herself crying into the ice cream case at the supermarket after a bad breakup—but she definitely never imagined that a guy hot enough to melt the Rocky Road would flirt with her right there in the freezer aisle. Only Gavin Fraser isn’t a fantasy, he’s a mouth-watering new flavor…

When a freak snowstorm strands Maureen at Gavin’s after just one date, it’s a perfect excuse for something a lot steamier than hot chocolate in front of the fire. It’s definitely lust. Can it also be love?

ebook, 96 pages
Expected publication: February 17th 2015 by KENSINGTON

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this novella from the publisher Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is February 17th 2015.

This story was not very long so there is not a lot that I can say without divulging the entire storyline so this will be a short review.  Let's go through the checklist to see how many boxes it ticks

Easy to read:  check
Instant attraction between strangers:  check
Hot male character: check, check, check
Eccentric elderly neighbor:  check
Instant chemistry:  check
Hot & heavy bedroom scenes:  check
Cute love story:  check

I think I captured it all.  This was a nice little love story with plenty of hot scenes dripping from the pages.  For those who like a little interlude from reality and are seeking a sexy read to pass the time (but not a lot of time as the story is short) then this will check the boxes.

About The Author       

Sarah Title has worked as a barista, a secretary, a furniture painter, and once managed a team of giant walking beans. She currently leads a much more normal life as a librarian in West Virginia. Kentucky Home is her first novel.

Twitter:  TitleAuthor

Sunday 15 February 2015

Review: Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

A house as old as Fiercombe Manor holds many secrets within its walls. But which dark chapter of its history is haunting Alice, a young woman staying there during the course of a fateful summer?

In 1933, naive twenty-two-year-old Alice is pregnant, unmarried, and disgraced. She can no longer share her parents' London home, so her desperate mother concocts a cover story and begs her old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, for help. The housekeeper at rural Fiercombe Manor, Mrs. Jelphs is moved by Alice's "plight" as a new widow and agrees to watch over her in the secluded English countryside until the baby is born and given up for adoption. Because the manor house's owners, Lord and Lady Stanton, no longer live there, Alice's only company will be Mrs. Jelphs and her skeleton staff.

Thirty years before Alice's arrival, Lady Elizabeth Stanton awaits the birth of her second child, fervently hoping he will be the boy her husband desires. But as her time nears, she is increasingly tormented by memories of what happened with her first baby and terrified that history will repeat itself . . . with devastating consequences.

At first, Fiercombe Manor offers Alice a welcome relief from her mother's disapproving gaze. But she begins to sense that all is not well in the picturesque Gloucestershire valley. After a chance encounter with Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice discovers that Fiercombe's beauty is haunted by the clan's tragic past. She is determined to exorcise the ghosts of the idyllic, isolated house.

Nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley?

ebook, 416 pages
Expected publication: February 17th 2015 by Harper
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Harper via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

After reading the synopsis I can say that this book sounded like it was exactly what I needed to get me out my string of bad luck when it comes to books lately. Two different woman from two different times in the same house filled with mystery, secrets and clues was a sure fire way to get my attention.

First off I have to say that the story and writing reminded me slightly of Kate Morton. This is very high praise from me because I have never been let down by any of her writing. I don't think I can go as far as saying that it was as good but it is pretty close.There was something in the the way the setting is described and the story told that drew me in and made me feel like I was there. I could feel the shift in the wind, the chill of the water and the heat of the sun. The valley spoke to me and I was dying to know its secrets. The hint of ghosts, secrets and tragedy had me glued to the pages.

We hear two voices from two different times in this book. Alice is sent to Fiercombe Manor in 1933 after she makes a decision that will alter her entire future. Lady Elizabeth Stanton lived in the same valley 30 years earlier. Through these two alternating voices are two stories with some similarities and common links. The stories unfold in a slow and unrushed manor which worked in its favour. Sometimes I complain about stories being too slow but with Fiercombe Manor it was very effective. Often I find myself enjoying one story better than the other but I enjoyed each one equally. I liked both Alice and Elizabeth and the way their stories unfolded.

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and I love stories that go between past and present. With this book it goes between past and even farther past which was an added bonus. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and look forward to reading more from Kate Riordan.

About the Author

Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk, and she is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.

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Saturday 14 February 2015

Review: Undertaking Love by Kat French

Sexy and smart, with an extremely desirable male lead, this is a delightful debut from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction.

When Marla Jacobs discovers that the shop next to her Little White Wedding Chapel is to become a funeral parlour, she declares all-out war.

Funny, romantic, and dangerously sexy, perfect for fans of Jane Costello and Lucy Diamond.

Marla’s chapel in the sleepy Shropshire countryside has become a nationwide sensation, but the arrival of Funeral Director Gabriel Ryan threatens everything Marla has worked for. She can picture the scene: wedding limos fighting for space in the street with hearses; brides bumping into widows; bouquets being swapped for wreaths.

Marla’s not going down without a fight. She enlists a motley crew of weird and wonderful local supporters, and battle lines are drawn. But, as soon as Marla meets her nemesis, she realises just how much trouble she’s in. His rugged good looks and Irish lilt make her stomach fizz – how is she supposed to concentrate on destroying him, when half the time she’s struggling not to rip the shirt off his back?

Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 17th 2015 by AVON, HarperCollins Publishers

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is February 17th 2015.

Sometimes you do not need to say a lot to express that you enjoyed a book.  This is one of those cases.  It is typical of it's genre, a romance with a little bit of extra storyline to keep you engaged from beginning to end.  It has the required conflict mixed with attraction for the two main characters.

What I enjoyed were the various sub-plots that were found in the story.  The story of Emily and her failed attempts at pregnancy, the a-dora-ble Dora and the crazy Melanie.  Many times I found myself anxiously waiting to get back to their stories.  Not to mention that Gabe is the super sexy guy that one would expect in one of these stories.

These stories tend not to pull on my emotional heartstrings to much nor do I expect them to BUT there were a couple of tears shed from my eyes.  Bluey...I will say no more.

Overall this would be a good choice for fans of the romance/contemporary genre.  I happened to be reading this during my beach vacation and it was a great pick.

About the Author

Romantic comedy writer, disorganised mum, fairy light lover, and champion wine drinker.
Slightly less smutty alter-ego of Kitty French, USA Today bestselling smut fictionista.
Twitter:  katfrench_

Thursday 12 February 2015

Review: Amherst by William Nicholson

From an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and the author of Motherland, a novel about two love affairs set in Amherst—one in the present, one in the past, and both presided over by Emily Dickinson.

Alice Dickinson, a young advertising executive in London, decides to take time off work to research her idea for a screenplay: the true story of the scandalous, adulterous love affair that took place between a young, Amherst college faculty wife, Mabel Loomis Todd, and the college’s treasurer, Austin Dickinson, in the 1880s. Austin, twenty-four years Mabel’s senior and married, was the brother of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, whose house provided the setting for Austin and Mabel’s trysts.

Alice travels to Amherst, staying in the house of Nick Crocker, a married English academic in his fifties. As Alice researches Austin and Mabel’s story and Emily’s role in their affair, she embarks on her own affair with Nick, an affair that, of course, they both know echoes the affair that she’s writing about in her screenplay.

Interspersed with Alice’s complicated love story is the story of Austin and Mabel, historically accurate and meticulously recreated from their voluminous letters and diaries. Using the poems of Emily Dickinson throughout, Amherst is an exploration of the nature of passionate love, its delusions, and its glories. This novel is playful and scholarly, sexy and smart, and reminds us that the games we play when we fall in love have not changed that much over the years.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster 
Genres: Historical Fiction/Fiction/Romance

Kristine's Thoughts: 

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book tells two different stories at the same time. There is the story of Austin and Mabel from the past and Alice and Nick from the present. It is told in alternating chapters and there are slight similarities between the two stories.

I quite enjoy stories that go from present to past and as usual I found the historical portion of the plot much more interesting than the present. In fact, I could take or leave Alice and Nick and was indifferent to their story. I felt no connection to them and actually feel that the book would have been better served without them in it. I found that the direction their story turned towards the end left a bad taste in my mouth. It kind of ruined the rest of the story for me. I just wasn't interested enough in the two characters to enjoy their journey.

My rating is solely on the historical part of the book that tells of Austin and Mabel. I didn't know a great deal about Emily Dickinson's brother so I was quite fascinated. The story is taken from their love letters and diaries and I feel like it read like it too. Although I did find it interesting it didn't really give me anything more than what I could get out of just reading those entries. It read a little like journal entries and didn't flow like a story.

To sum it up I guess I could say that I craved a little more from Austin and Mabel and instead I got way to much of Alice and Nick.

About the Author
William Nicholson is a screenwriter, playwright, television writer, and novelist. In addition to his Academy Award–nominated screenplays for Shadowlands and Gladiator, he is the author of Motherland; several young adult and fantasy novels; and a sequence of contemporary adult novels set in England. He lives in Sussex, England.  

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