Saturday, August 18, 2018

Review: Tippy-Toe Murder

Tippy-Toe Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating:  4 Stars

When retired dance instructor Caroline Hutton disappears, the search is intense for just a short period of time. But then the search fizzles and comes to an end as no clues turned up. Her disappearance is especially suspect because her beloved dog was left behind.  With three young children and pregnant with her third, and during an agonizing heat wave, Lucy hardly has time to play amateur sleuth again as she did during the holidays, but, as before, she just cannot help herself.

The scene changes with the cantankerous owner of the local hardware store is found dead in his office. Just as with the missing woman, Lucy becomes embroiled in this case as well. When her friend Franny is arrested as a suspect in the murder, Lucy steps in to save her. Franny became the primary suspect because she was fired by her boss shortly before his murder. Meanwhile, Lucy is as busy as can be between family life and all of its connected activities.

Tippy-toe Murder was a rather intense read as it dealt with more serious topics other than the typical initial murder we see in these cozy mysteries. As with the first book in this series, Mistletoe Murder, it was a quick and engaging read. I am rating this book a four instead of the four and a half I would have liked to give it. I must say that the reason why is that there is a particularly disturbing scene, albeit brief, that I feel could have been left out of the book that I had to gloss over. Other than that, this is a solid read.

In this book we see the Lucy we've already come to love, her growing family, and other characters that we met and more we will no doubt see again in future installment of this series. Although the first few titles in this series may have been written in the early 90s, the stories seen quite relevant to me. The only problem that I have is not with the author, Leslie Meier, but with my busy schedule. I have an overfull review queue and only heard about this series just yesterday. I hope to sneak a book a day until I finish all of the titles.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Quick on the Draw

Quick on the Draw by Susan Moody

(Did not finish)

My rating:  1 Star

Ex-police officer Alex Quick has been hired to go to Venice by a young family friend Sandro Grainger when he is sure that one of his friends is a thief. He realizes this after a dinner party at his uncle's a pair of valuable items have gone missing. This is rather odd as all of the guests are well off in one way or another, so why would they steal? As Alex is now a writer for art books and magazines in Venice, and has received a new commission, she decides to go ahead and take Sandro's offer for a job as a pseudo-detective, but not before one of the dinner guests is found murdered. Before she even heads to Venice, she learns that one of the dinner guests is found murdered.

This is where the review takes a turn.

As I hadn't had the opportunity to read the first two books in the series, I wasn't completely clear of Alex's past, although the reason she left the employ of the police is briefly explained. There were twists and turns along the way that kept the book rather interesting for a while. However, I realized that by 39% into the book that I wasn't able to continue. There were so many characters and situations and I couldn't connect. This is my first DNF read. I have put this review down for a few days so that I could try and read the book again, but I just could not. I hope the best for the author and hope that others can find something that I could not.

Many thanks to Severn House Publishers and to NetGalley for this ARC to review; this is my honest opinion.

Review: Runaway Girl

Runaway Girl by Emma Tallon

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Anna Davis has run away from her abusive gangster boyfriend. She knows he will stop at nothing to find her and to kill her. She starts her new life when she meets Tanya Smith and becomes her flatmate, and eventually best friend and business partner. She also meets businessman Freddie Tyler. He seems the complete opposite of her ex, Tony. She loves how kind he is and how he is eager to make her happy. Now that she has these two fine friends, has Anna's life taken on the change she's needed? As a reader, I hoped so, because there are shocking things about both Tanya and Freddie, especially Freddie, that Anna will soon find out. And, is she truly free of Tony, who is as ruthless as they come?

Oh the terror and the excitement! I was equally proud of Anna and her resilient strength, but just as horrified at the thought that she might be caught by Tony, because if she is found, it will mean the end for her. Tony was brutal, and reading of his acts towards Anna and others truly scared me, making me worry about Anna's safety. Tony has everything at his disposal and has many people watching out and looking for Anna.

Although I have read crime thrillers before, this is indeed one that features organized crime members as central characters. I was glad that, although gritty, there was a huge measure of sensitivity in the story. I found this to be a smooth read and the hours just melted away into the night as I read this book through. Granted, I read fast, but this stunning book made that abundantly easy. I was gripped from the first page when Anna was running away. Wow! It was truly frightening. In this very moment, I knew Anna was going to be one of my favorite heroines. This excitement continued right through to the riveting conclusion, especially with the shocking twists and turns along the way. I am utterly amazed that this is a debut novel. It is written with fine detail, exceptional characters and an excellent narrative.

I am reading the next in this series, Dangerous Girl for review, so I purchased this book in order to know Anna and the situation that she was in. I don't know for sure, but I am fairly certain that I needed to read this book before reading the next. I am so glad that I did. 

Review: Mistletoe Murder

Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating: 4 Stars

While on a break at work one night, Lucy Stone finds her boss Sam Miller's body, As a busy mom with a tiring night job, the the last thing Lucy needs to do is to be playing amateur sleuth. Why is she playing sleuth? Because his apparent suicide was declared a murder, much as she already figured out. Much to the consternation of her husband, Lucy has never been one to let things go. She just can't help herself. So, she begins to uncover clues.

Mistletoe Murder is the first book in the Lucy Stone Mystery series. This was a fast-paced story and had a good sense of intrigue. I already adore Lucy. She is a great wife and a good mom and makes a fantastic little detective. It was fun watching her work things out and follow leads. I can see myself devouring this entire series in short order. If you enjoy cozy mysteries as much as I do, then you will really love this book. This delightful little story was a terrific one-sitting read. I eagerly look forward to the next in this series, Tippy-Toe Murders.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: One Perfect Kiss

One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton

My rating: 4 Stars  

Teachers and good friends Josie Barnes and Zach Powers shared an instant connection from the very start. But friends is all they've been up until now. Josie has been focused on trying to find a strong sense of home, and she has found that in Hope, Oklahoma. A high school English teacher now, she has found so many wonderful friends, especially fellow teacher Zach. As Josie is not one to believe in fairy tales, she can't imagine taking their friendship beyond a little fun.

Zach is a history teacher and, as a former pro football player, is now the high school's football coach. Currently, however, he is a bit aggravated, although completely drawn Josie as she has threatened to bench a couple of his key players. How can he avoid the dual frustration with keeping his players on the team and his growing attraction to Josie?

One Perfect Kiss is a real feel-good read. I smiled widely more than once while reading this story. There was a strong sense of magic and love during this journey to true love This was also a sensitive and engaging read, especially concerning Josie and her past and feelings. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful animals in this story, it added a level of sweetness to such a well-written book.

This is Book 8 in the Hope Contemporary series and is full of all of the friends that have met and fallen in love in all of the previous titles in this series. Although a terrific stand-alone novel, for a great sense of continuity of character development, don't hesitate to read the previous titles.

ARC received and this is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Catch Him if You Can



Today is my day for the blog tour for Catch Him if You Can by Jennifer Shirk. 

About the book:
 
Veterinarian Wade Roberts it done with love. But try convincing the elderly folk of Cape Harmony who are determined to play matchmaker. ow the young single women in town are bombarding him with baked goods and love notes, and being “taken” is the only way to stop the meddling grannies—which is why he needs a fake fiancée. Fast.

Aden Pearson  loves planning weddings. Other people's weddings, that is. After her own engagement ended in disaster, she prefers to live vicariously through her work. But when she needs to persuade a big client that she’s capable of planning the celebrity wedding of the year, she’s willing to go as far as pretending to be engaged herself to her best friend’s older brother.

Soon their ruse has everyone in town believing they make the perfect couple—including Arden. She’s always been nothing more than a kid sister to Wade, and it might take a village to convince him otherwise...

Purchase links:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PfXPXV
B&N: https://bit.ly/2M9op6u
iBooks: https://apple.co/2LZOt4s
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2vn8jwt
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2vnMVXG

GIVEAWAY:
$15 Amazon Gift Card
Rafflecopter Link


EXCERPT: 

Wade stood in line at the Drip N Sip, about seven people back, mentally warming up to let good old matchmaking Judy Tavish have an earful. What a friggin’ exhausting morning he’d had at work on Saturday, combating the flirting, the date requests, and the come-ons. Becky was right. His office had served more like a singles bar than a veterinary clinic. Well, no more. He was done with that, but mostly he was done with the meddling gray-haired coffee barista, looking over at him now and shooting him that wide, cheery-assed smile of hers.

“Oh, hello, Wade!” Judy waved, all sunny and good-natured, which ironically had the direct opposite effect on his already foul mood. He gritted his teeth and didn’t wave back.

“And what animal peed on your parade?” a feminine voice asked beside him.

He glanced to his right. Arden Pearson stood next to him with arms folded and an amused grin on her glistening pink-glossed lips. Arden was his sister’s best friend and all-around town sass-mouth—at least to him. He’d known her since high school when she had braces and blond hair down to her butt. Her mouth was still as sassy—maybe more so—but the braces were gone and her straight hair was cut shoulder length in a mature, professional style now. He’d always thought she was a cute girl back then, but as an adult, she was pretty damn stunning—when she wasn’t ribbing him. She had moved back to Cape Harmony about five years ago to open up her wedding planning business. Wade rarely ran into her in town unless she was with Kinsley, which made this day all the more agitating.

He turned away. “Right now, I’d actually welcome being peed on,” he muttered.

She made a tsk tsk sound. “Wow, you are having a bad day. Well, join the club.”

“Join the club?” Wade turned back to her and blinked. Damn, she had the prettiest eyes. The most unique kind of blue he’d ever seen. He immediately looked away. “Are you being bombarded at work and at home by hordes of single marriage-minded women?”

“Well, no— Wait.” She laughed. “Hold on. Are you?”

“Yes. And it’s all Judy Tavish’s fault,” he said, jerking his thumb in Judy’s direction. “She’s taken it upon herself to become my own personal walking, talking Tinder account.”

“Hmm…” Arden’s delicate brows drew together. “So, does this mean you want to book me ahead of schedule for a discount, or do you want to wait until the actual wedding proposal?” she said with a chuckle.

“I knew you wouldn’t see the seriousness in the situation.”

“You’re right. I don’t.” She shrugged. “I mean, so what if Judy thought you should get out and have some fun and gave your number to a few nice women. Oh, boo-hoo.”

He looked her dead in the eye. “Twenty-six women, Arden. Twenty-six. Not including the crowd that showed up at the clinic on Saturday with their fake sick pets. And did you know that when I got home from work there were brownies and half a baked chicken left on my doorstep.” Arden whistled. “Damn. Remind me to use Judy when I’m looking for a date. Or need a snack.”

“That’s the problem. I’m not looking for a date. I’m not looking for anything. Why can’t I just be left alone? My life was pretty damn good until this point.”

Her eyes softened as she stared at him. “Was it really, Wade?” she said quietly. “Was your life really all that good?” He bristled at her implication but couldn’t keep her gaze. “Of course it was good. It is good.”

Or at the very least…safe.

He and Miranda had planned a long life together. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Children. They’d been about to buy a house. But instead, cancer stole all that from him. He’d wallowed in grief and just when he’d thought he’d recovered, his dad passed away and he went through it all over again. Wade had completely shut down after that. He didn’t even reach out to his sister, he just continued to use work and his time volunteering at the animal shelter as a shield. And now that he had carefully carved out this solitary existence, being alone was second nature. It fit.

Arden heaved a sigh. “Look, I know your sister will kill me if I tell you this, but…she’s been worried about you. Actually, I have to admit, even I’ve been a little concerned about your hermit-like tendencies.”

“I’m not a hermit. I go out on dates. Once in a while.”

“Once in a great while you mean.”

“You should talk, Miss Married-to-My-Job.”

Arden’s jaw went rigid. “Oh no you don’t. Don’t turn this around on me. At least I go out with my friends. When was the last time you went out for fun?”

Wade scratched his head, then it occurred to him. “Last Sunday,” he answered with confidence.

“Really? Where did you go?”

“My in-laws.” Former in-laws, he mentally corrected. “I go there every other Sunday for dinner and it’s always fun.” Usually fun. Usually kind of fun. His skill at three-person mah-jongg was at an all-time high.

She rolled her eyes. “Ooh, I stand corrected, Kanye. You’re a regular party animal. I’ll make sure and tell Kinsley she has nothing at all to worry about then.”

Wade sniffed. Okay, maybe calling dinner with your dead wife’s parents fun was stretching things a bit. But it was always…comforting and he did appreciate their company. He enjoyed hearing her parents talk about Miranda, sharing memories with them. He found he often needed that. Miranda was slipping from his mind more and more every day. But whenever he was around her family, it was much easier to hold onto her memory.

So what was wrong with that?

Just then his neighbor, Isabel Rollins, turned around and came walking their way with a box of doughnuts clutched in her eighty-four-year-old hands. “Wade Roberts,” she said with a warm smile. “How are you, dear?”

“I’m good, Mrs. Rollins. How are you?”

“Never better. Are you here to get your daily dose of vitamin D, too?”

He frowned as he glanced out the window. No sunshine. The weather looked about as miserable as his mood. “Vitamin D?” he asked.

“Why, yes. vitamin doughnut,” she said with a chuckle.

“Oh. Good one, Mrs. R.”

Mrs. Rollins’s smile faded as she cocked her head at him. “What’s wrong, dear? Has your love life not picked up yet?” His jaw dropped. “My what?”

“Your love life. After I saw that post on Faceblog, I gave Judy a few names of some women who are complete sweethearts. Good cooks and such fun personalities, too. One of them even holds the speed-knitting record in Ocean Township.”

He heard Arden snicker behind him, which helped him keep his own similar reaction at bay. He always found women were a poor judge of what was actually attractive to men about women.

“It’s Facebook, Mrs. Rollins. And with all due respect, I don’t want to meet any women,” he said firmly.

“Don’t tell me you’re into men now.” She shook her head wistfully. “I knew it. It’s always the handsome ones. What a waste of sperm.”

He heard Arden half choke, half snort next to him.

“Hey,” he said, feeling a rush of indignance, “for your information I am not now into men, but even if I were, it would be nobody’s business but mine.”

“And your partner’s of course,” Arden chimed in.

Mrs. Rollins pointed to Arden. “She’s absolutely right. Whatever you want to do with your partner is your business.”

“But I don’t have a partner,” he stressed. “Male or female. And I don’t want one. Male or female.” Good grief. They had him babbling now.

“Methinks thou doth protest too much,” Mrs. Rollins said sadly. “Well, don’t let your sister’s engagement get you down. You’ll get married again someday I’m sure. Same-sex marriage is now legal in New Jersey.” She smiled brightly, then, after giving him a light pat on the cheek, turned and walked out the door.

Wade looked at Arden with disgust. “Did you hear that?”

“Heard it and loved it.”

“You could have helped, you know.”

Her lips twitched. “You’re right, you did need help. You did do a terrible job of coming out of the closet just then.” Wade closed his eyes and ran a hand down his face. This was a friggin’ nightmare. He’d bet his veterinary clinic that tomorrow he would have love notes and baked goods from men now, too. If he couldn’t make this matchmaking nonsense stop he would have no choice but to sell his practice and move ten towns over.

“Wow, I’m so glad we ran out of coffee today,” Arden said, taking another step up in line. “This whole exchange has made my week. In fact, whenever my problems are about to get the best of me, I’ll only have to look back on this day for cheering up.”

He eyed her grimly. “You’re a twisted soul, Arden Pearson.”

MY REVIEW:

My rating:  4 Stars

When the elderly folk of Cape Harmony hatch a plan to become matchmakers for veterinarian Wade Roberts, he becomes desperate. Desperate enough to ask his sister's best friend to pretend to be his girlfriend. As a widower still very much missing his wife he is not interest in a relationship, especially with a random woman thrust at him.

Due to the fact that Arden Pearson's own engagement ending in a sudden disaster, the closest she imagines getting married is by being a wonderfully successful wedding planner. Now with a huge client that can really set her on the map, she decides to pretend to be engaged - to none other than Wade. Even though they have known each other for years, and this may all be a ruse, their secret desires indicate otherwise.

While this is my first read by Jennifer Shirk, I can I was quite pleased. It is a delightfully fun, quirky and quick read with a sweet romance. Watching these two come together for real was quite a delight. I quickly read this book in one sitting. Catch Him if You Can is Book Two in the Accidentally Yours series, but read quite easily as a standalone.


About the author:

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.


She is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing. Her novel, FIANCE BY FATE, a 2015 Readers' Crown Finalist, became an Amazon #1 bestseller for Series Romance. And recently, WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH, WON the Sweet Traditional category of the 2017 Golden Quill Contest and became a #1 Amazon bestseller for Holiday Romance and USA Today bestseller.


She serves on many volunteer boards in her community, but is most proud of her work on the Ocean City Free Public Library Board of Trustees, where she has served as President for over 3 years. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and dog (Sox).


Connect:

BLOG TOUR: A Holiday to Remember



I am very pleased to be participating in the blog tour for A Holiday to Remember by Suzanne O'Leary.

Buy Links: 

A side-splittingly funny summer read about two best friends who decide to take a chance and travel the world, finding themselves – and finding love – along the way! 

Until a few weeks ago, Leanne was a thirty-something who lived with her mother. And yes, she still slept under her Barbie bedspread.

Until recently, Maddy was married to a man whose golf club got more action than she did.

But not anymore.

Leanne and Maddy (and their miniature poodle Bridget) have packed their suitcases and bid goodbye to their dreary lives for the summer. After winding along Italy’s sun-dappled Adriatic Coast in a shiny red convertible, sailing around Croatia’s gorgeous Dalmatian Islands awaits them.

Days splashing around in sparkling turquoise waters and wine-fuelled nights under the stars are every girl’s dream. But with a devilishly handsome Italian on board, old flames to get over and holiday flings to contend with, there’s plenty of drama ahoy. One thing’s for certain, Leanne and Maddy’s trip promises to be a holiday to remember…

A joyful, laugh-out-loud and feel-good story that will make you want to pack your bags, set off on an adventure and live life to the max. Fans of Fiona Gibson, Lucy Diamond and Carole Matthews will love this hilarious and heartwarming read. 


About the author: 

Susanne O'Leary is the bestselling author of fifteen novels, mainly in the romantic fiction genre. She has also written three crime novels and two in the historical fiction genre. She has been the wife of a diplomat (still is), a fitness teacher and a translator. She now writes full-time from either of two locations, a ramshackle house in County Tipperary, Ireland or a little cottage overlooking the Atlantic in Dingle, County Kerry. When she is not scaling the mountains of said counties (including MacGillycuddy's Reeks, featured in Full Irish), or keeping fit in the local gym, she keeps writing, producing a book every six months.

Visit Susanne at her website, http://www.susanne-oleary.co.uk
or her blog, http://bit.ly/11F4e4S
Find her on Facebook, http://on.fb.me/1A2NAbr
and on Twitter, http://bit.ly/1rH67dK


MY REVIEW:

My rating:  4 Stars

Leanne and Maddy are back in this second book in this series about their travels as they continue on in their travels. The two teachers have won a special lottery and are enjoying a remarkable road trip. In this story they are expanding this road trip and are now going on a boat trip with new friends. Along for the ride is their cute little dog Bridget. 

This is a sweet story where, in the first book, The Road Trip, Maddy found a love interest, and now it is Leanne's turn, although for a while she thought she might be disappointed. This was a quick read, with a light air of mystery and drama. I will say that this wasn't the side-splitting read that I expected, but it was quite enjoyable nonetheless, especially with all of the sight-seeing I was able to do from my couch. This was a delightfully engaging series that I was pleased to read.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Desperate Girls

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin

My rating:  4.5 Stars

After friend and judge Jen Ballard is murdered, defense attorney Brynn Holloran and her partner need protection as the suspected killer of the judge may be after them. The suspect in question is a recently escaped murder convict with a mission to go after everyone responsible for his conviction.

Erik Morgan is her primary protection from the recently hired security agency. He is a former Marine and Secret Service Agent and takes his job very seriously. The team includes three agents for each lawyer as the threat is intensely real, especially when another attorney connected with the murder case has been murdered. Brynn doesn't take being guarded so closely very easily. She is strong woman, primarily when it comes to her job, but her personal life is quite off the rails. Brynn is quite stubborn about having three bodyguards. Meanwhile, there is a powerful and undeniable attraction between her and Erik.

Desperate Girls is a fast-paced romantic thriller. I was gripped from the first page and was engaged to the very end. This was a very quick read, and while I am quite pleased that I was able to read this book cover to cover in two sittings, I hated to have to take the interruption that I did. I was enthralled with the exciting suspense. Since this is also a romance, I expected and enjoyed the happy ending, but I was shocked at the conclusion. This is the first book in a new series by Laura Griffin. The security agency is full of hunky heroes which leads to the potential of fantastic books to follow. I look forward to reading every one.

Thank you Gallery Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review; this is my honest opinion.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Review: Valentina

Valentina by S. E. Lynes

My rating:  5 Stars

Shona and Mikey have moved to an idyllic but very isolated cottage in rural Scotland. Shona's isolation is made far worse due to Mikey's new job on an oil rig where he is away from home two weeks out of each month. Shona is a new mother and is starving for adult contact. When she meets Valentina, she finds the perfect best friend. Or so she thinks...

Valentina is quite effervescent and rather enigmatic and she pushes boundaries with Shona right from the very beginning. Shona accepts this dynamic because her fears and loneliness are now at bay. Unfortunately, and rather desperately for Shona, her life begins to fall apart, and those scary woods surrounding her isolated cottage are not the most nerve-wracking thing in her life.

This hair-raising story is told in first person, in three captivating parts, and gave me the chills right from the very beginning. It is told after the events occurred, which lent itself to an even more terrifying story. The book is utterly captivating and I literally read it from cover-to-cover in two sittings. At this point all I can say is Wow! Just Wow! There are secrets, lies, breakneck twists and turns driven fast to a shocking conclusion.

What breaks up the terror in this stunning story is the style of writing, as there is sharp humor in this retelling. I was quite pleased that Bookouture decided to reissue this book, as I was presented the opportunity to read it. To discover that this was a debut novel was quite the shock. It was written exceptionally well. S.E. Lynes has a book due out next month, The Proposal, which I am now extremely eager to read.

I received this ARC from Bookouture, and this is my honest opinion.

Review: Cooper's Charm

Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster

My rating:  4.5 Stars

When Phoenix Rose approached Cooper's Charm RV Park and Resort, she knew it was the perfect place to escape, to get away. Phoenix suffered unimaginable loss after a horrid burglary at her previous place of business, and her life was completely shaken up. Up until then, her life was very much on track, as she owned a successful business and was engaged to be married. After her loss, however, she gave it all up, only to try and start again six months later.

Aside from the beauty of the resort, and her lovely new coworkers, one affected her more than everyone else, her wonderful and very sexy new boss, Cooper Cochran. While at first intimidated by Cooper, she finds herself undeniably drawn to her. Cooper has suffered a very great loss himself, as he lost his wife several years ago.

While Phoenix is making great strides, here comes her sister and best friend, Ridley. She is bearing bruises of her own after a divorce which has shaken her, and gladly takes on the job as housekeeper at the resort. Ridley is not shy by any means and is greedily drawn to the resort's scuba diving instructor Baxter. The thing is, for both Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper's Charm was meant to be a temporary escape, but with hot men part of the agenda, it bodes to be far more.

This is the first book in the Love at the Resort series. This story is a true delight. It is spicy and fun, with just a hint of intrigue, which was a nice surprise. Cooper's Charm is full of terrific characters and interesting storylines and is quite a charming read. As with all of Lori Foster's books, it is a very quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm and loving relationship between the two sisters. No doubt, the rest of the series will be just as engaging. I am eager to see whose story is next.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

BLOG TOUR - The Affair


I am very pleased to share in the Blog Tour for the Affair by Sheryl Browne.

Buy Links:
Amazon
iBookstore
Kobo
Googleplay

The moment she opened her eyes, she knew everything had changed. The stale taste of alcohol; her uneasy stomach. She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, and knew she would never tell anyone what happened last night.

You will think you know what happened to Alicia that night.

You will see a desperate wife, lying to her husband.

You will watch a charming lover, trying to win her back.

You will judge her, just like everyone else.

You will assume you know what happens next. But everything you think you know about the past, the relationships, what drives Alicia and her husband to lie... is wrong.

If you loved The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and The Sister, you’ll love this compelling and gripping psychological thriller from Sheryl Browne. The Affair will have you hooked from the very first page!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. Sheryl’s latest psychological thriller – THE AFFAIR – the second of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Chic Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.

You can find her on:
Facebook
Twitter

To find out more about Sheryl, go to www.sherylbrowne.com.


MY REVIEW:

My rating: 4 Stars

Justin is a good, solid man. He is a busy doctor, caring husband and wonderful father. Justin has come a long way in his life. Before his first child was born, suffered great loss and was almost completely lost, and his marriage almost destroyed. Never would he have imagined the far-reaching effects of that unbelievable time in his life. His wife, Alicia, is wracked by guilt. She is hiding a huge secret from Justin. She feels that this secret will lead to the ultimate destruction of her family. Well, her fears may just have been realized. When a man from her past, Paul Radley, shows up at her sister's birthday party, Alicia begins to unravel. She is determined to protect her family, even telling lies to perpetuate her secret.

Due to the actions of a crude hit-and-run driver, their sweet baby Luke loses his precious little life. Justin is convinced that it is his fault driving while distracted, and exhausted due to a tough shift at the hospital. Alicia thinks it is her fault because it is repayment for her lies, that she is being punished, and her family is paying the highest price imaginable. In the middle of all of this tragedy is fifteen-year-old Sophie. The loss of her little brother is completely unbearable for her. She then witnesses a strange interaction between her parents and when she decides to spend time with her aunt, she overhears something that turns her life upside down. She suddenly disappears, and her parents, albeit separately, desperately begin searching for her.

While this story could have been one of family angst and righting one's wrongs, as well as healing, it was indeed so much more. It was full of incredible twists and turns. So many questions need answering. What does Paul Radley want all of these years later? Why does Alicia keep lying? How strong is Justin? And, finally, what of Sophie? Will she be safe now that she has run off? These questions and more are answered, but not before surprises abound in this story. I was riveted to this story, especially as it was told by multiple points of view, allowing me to strongly connect to each character. The conclusion came as quite a shock in this compelling story, which was a true page-turner.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review: The Lost Letters

The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell

My rating:  4 Stars

During the present day in Canada, Martha's father has died, and she and her sister discovered that he had intended to travel to England, after not having set foot there in over seventy years. There is a stack of curious letters and proof that he booked a hotel and rented a beach hut there. Also, Martha's daughter Janey is attending school in England. For those two reasons, Martha finds herself on a plane. Between her curiosity about her father and the fact that her relationship with her daughter is quite difficult, these travel plans are a must. It does not take Martha long to begin to piece together her father's past, and she learns so much about the war through these facts. However, it does take quite some time to settle the rift between herself and her daughter.

In 1940s Norfolk, England, Sylvie's husband has gone to war, leaving her with two children to raise alone. She has just discovered that she was willed a beach house near her parents' home and develop a strong friendship with Connie, a woman she met on the beach. Secrets are shared, and lives are forever changed.

The Lost Letters had a bit of a slow start for me. But with the plan that Sylvie and Connie set in motion seeming quite risky, and the history of how war affected the lives of the innocent, well, it was quite touching. Martha's putting these pieces together drew me right into the story. The mystery and questions that I as a reader needed answers to were handled quite satisfactorily by the conclusion of this engaging story. A fabulous start for a debut author.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Closer


Woo-flipping-hoo! SOOOOOO excited to reveal the cover and description of CLOSER the latest gripping psychological thriller from @KimLSlater @Bookouture
Out on 24th October but you can pre-order from Amazon right now right here: mybook.to/CCover
But let us tell you more...
I know my daughter better than I know myself and if there’s one thing I know for sure at this moment: it's that Maisie is not ok.
My ex-husband Shaun and I are still friends.
We would do anything for our beautiful little girl, Maisie.
But now Shaun has moved in with Joanne and suddenly, Maisie has a brand new family.
And there’s something not quite right about it…I know Joanne isn’t everything she says she is. Yet no-one will listen.
I need to discover what she’s hiding.
Because if I don’t, my daughter will be in terrible danger.
The most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the Kindle top five bestselling author K.L. Slater. If you love The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you’ll be absolutely hooked.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Review: Betrayed


My rating: 4.5 Stars

In Accused, the first in this series, we learned a lot about Mary DiNunzio as she progressed to partner in her firm, and her unusual case. This book focuses on Judy Carrier. She is a bit of a maverick, a lawyer who doesn't stop until she gets answers. When her aunt Barb's housekeeper and best friend is found dead, it is supposed that she had a heart attack. Before long, however, Judy realizes that foul play may have very well been responsible. While at first, she stands by her aunt when she expresses a strong sense of uncertainty, Judy's keen senses assure her that her aunt is correct, and that there is no way the death could have been due to natural circumstances.

Meanwhile, Judy has some personal problems she is coping with. For one thing, her aunt is seriously ill with breast cancer, but she kept it from Judy, although they are quite close. On even a more personal level, her long-standing relationship is beginning to fizzle out. As much as they've been moving towards marriage, things just aren't as they should be and Judy is quite unhappy. As far as work in concerned, Judy is facing a mountainous workload, including a damages case, that is sure to take all of her time.

I really loved Betrayed. It was full of suspense, was fast-paced and an all-around great read. I know that there would be suspense as the ladies in the law firm are adamant about getting to the bottom of unusual situations. What I didn't expect was the amount of action in this book. It was riveting and had me turning pages really fast. Having become a new fan of Lisa Scottoline's it is no surprise to me that I flew right through Betrayed, reading it in just two sittings. Ms. Scottoline's Rosato & Associates series was quite successful and it seems that this series, Rosato & DiNunzio, will follow right in suit. Currently there are six titles in the series, as Feared will be released August 14, 2018.

Friday, August 3, 2018

BLOG BLITZ - Telegrams and Teacakes


Today is my day for the Blog Blitz for Telegrams and Teacakes by Amy Miller.

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Telegrams and Teacakes is a romantic World War Two saga full of heartbreak and hope, perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Nadine Dorries and Sheila Newberry.

‘There was no denying it, being cheerful was a challenge. You just had to be grateful for small mercies: a sunny day, a night without an air raid, an extra rasher of bacon from the butcher.’

England, 1942: 23-year-old Betty runs away from Bristol to make a new life for herself. Betrayed by her husband, Betty flees to the seaside town of Bournemouth, where she has fond memories of childhood holidays. There, she finds a small family bakery, in desperate need of a new shop girl…

At the Barton Bakery, Betty finds a sanctuary with shopkeeper Audrey Barton, but Audrey is fighting battles of her own. Her husband is at war and in grave danger, she is heavily pregnant, and her customers are horrified by the demands imposed by rationing.

Audrey’s stepsister Lily receives a letter from a man she once loved very much, a man she thought was lost to her forever. He offers her a new future with him, but one that will mean sacrificing so many of her hopes and dreams…

As Winston Churchill tells the country to ‘never give in’, the women of the Barton Bakery struggle on to keep their families, homes and loved ones safe in a time of turmoil.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amy Miller lives in Dorset with her husband and two children. New to saga, she has previously written women's fiction under a different name.

Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook


MY REVIEW:

My rating: 4.5 Stars

During 1942 in England, 24-year-old Betty Mitchell is devastated by the ultimate betrayal of her husband, Robert. In addition to that, their house was bombed, leaving Betty with a very very hard decision to make. With the clothes on her back, she flees Bristol and heads to Bournemouth as she discovers an ad for employment at a the Barton's Bakery shop there. Although times are incredibly difficult, the bakery is especially busy. The bakery's owner, a very pregnant Audrey Barton, is running it alone while her husband is away at war.

Meanwhile, Betty eventually meets Sam, a Canadian soldier, and they hit it off quite well. The thing is, Robert was also married to another woman and he suddenly shows up at Betty's door with his three children and Betty ends up having to care for the children. She was just getting on her feet and now this! Also, Audrey is nearing the delivery date for her baby. The whole lot of characters are absolutely marvelous and they all pull together - not just for Betty and the three children now in her care, but for Audrey as she prepares for motherhood, all while she is sadly and desperately missing her husband Charlie.

This is a story that very well includes Bettty's plight, but it also pays acute attention to Audrey's family and friends, as well as the townspeople who frequent the bakery. As this is the third in the series, I took a chance reading this first, as I may have missed the continuity of the characters and stories. Despite missing the previous titles, this story is so well-written that I was quite comfortable while reading this story.

This story was fiction, no doubt, but very affecting when it came to understanding what it was like living in the throes of World War II. There were the rations, air raids and bombings, along with the constant worry as to whether or not loved ones would return home from the war. The story was quite sad as everyone is greatly affected by the war. My emotions were ripped apart as I was left in tears more than once. But there was also a fantastic sense of camaraderie and family. Telegrams and Teacakes was truly engaging, filled me with warmth, and and truly leaves me wanting more from this series.

After just a few pages in, I was already in love with Audrey with her generous, kind and loving personality. I have read a handful of historical fiction stories this year set in times of war. It seems that the stories are getting better and better, and this one certainly is no exception. The connected characters are marvelous and I do wish that I'd had the time to read the first two books in the series so that I would have really known all of them. Amy Miller is an exceptional author and penned a remarkable story. I look forward to reading much more from her.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

BLOG BLITZ - My Very Italian Holiday


I am pleased to participate in the Blog Tour for this wonderful book by Sue Roberts.

Buy Links:
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Summary:

A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?

Once upon a time, thirty-year-old Gina was on top of the world. Running a gorgeous hotel in the Lake District with her husband Adam was a dream come true. But then her world was turned upside down.

When Adam tragically passes away, Gina is left all alone. Her friends and her sister try to cheer Gina up with wine-fuelled karaoke nights and plenty of gossip – yet life has never quite been the same.

But when an Italian guest comes to stay at her B&B, change is in the air. Before long, Gina finds herself in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life – and her heartbreak. But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling lakeside guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?

Escape to the gorgeous mountains and glittering Lake Como in Northern Italy! This laugh-out-loud funny and feel-good story of starting over and living life to the max is perfect for fans of Kat French, Jenny Oliver and Carole Matthews.


About the author:

I live in Lancashire with my long term partner Derek and have had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.

I always assumed that ‘one day’ I would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.

The inspiration for my first novel came to me on a holiday to a Greek village. My daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!

Find Sue:
Twitter
Facebook


My review:

My rating: 4 Stars

Gina has been widowed for two years now and is running a successful B&B in the Lake District. She is running her small hotel with her sister Hannah, although that was not her original plan, which was a dream she shared with her husband. She enjoys a variety of pleasant guests, but one guest, in just one short week, has truly touched her heart. Fabio stays at the guesthouse while visiting his uncle. She is surprised to hear that he himself has inherited a B&B of his own at his home in Italy. They communicate from time-to-time upon Fabio's return home, and eventually Gina decides to visit him.

I was quite touched by Gina's memories of her husband Adam, while allowing her heart to make room for Fabio. Her marriage was too short, but she has so much more life to live. She is rather surprised by her attraction to Fabio, well, except for the fact that he is drop-dead gorgeous. Fabio may be a bit of a flirt, but he knows what he wants, and that is Gina. Aside from the feelings the two are developing for one another, the fact they both own B&B's gives them a firmer foundation. From the Lake District in England to Lake Como in Italy, both locales provide beautiful pictures.

My Very Italian Holiday was a very engaging read, one that I devoured in just one sitting, as I truly enjoyed watching Gina and Fabio's relationship blossom. This delightful story had me laughing at times and also experiencing moments of sadness. There was a wonderful sense of coming home in this story, for more than just Gina and Fabio, giving a sense of rightness to this sweet romance. I so love happy endings and was certainly not disappointed. For a quick, summer read, definitely pick this one up! I definitely look forward to reading much more from Sue Roberts.

Many thanks to Bookoture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Review: Batman, Volume 6: Bride or Burglar

Batman, Vol 6: Bride or Burglar 
by Tom King, Author; 
Mikel Janín, Illustrator

My rating:  4 Stars

I willingly confess that it has been years since I have seen a Batman movie, and decades since the television show, and I've never fully read a graphic novel, but when the opportunity to review this title came up, I gladly jumped at it. How exciting to read about Batman and Catwoman, whose altar ego is Selina Kyle, being engaged! The two were archenemies in years gone past, but now they are about to become a married couple. While the nuptials are approaching, chaos continues to abound, bringing both Batman and Catwoman to the brink of danger.

The story begins with a young idol of Batman's and of the terrible tragedy he has just experienced, that of the murder of his parents. This hits just a little too close to home to Bruce Wayne's own younger life. As Batman hunt's for the killer, there are things about his very life that he is brought face-to-face with, a past that he would've preferred to remain there, in the past. The drama continues to unfold as Batman and Wonder Woman are forced together during some strenuous situations, making their very futures look rather bleak. The villains abound, with a perfect level of action and continuity. One night, in the midst of all of the chaos, Catwoman sneaks off to try and find the perfect wedding dress. I just had to smile, because I almost cannot imagine Catwoman picking out her dress for the impending nuptials.

I am very glad that I picked up this graphic novel, and for several reasons. The art itself is outstanding, as is the storyline itself. The fact that there were shorter stories within made this an engaging read as well. As briefly mentioned, I loved the continuity of friends and foes. So much so that I immediately went over to NetGalley to request more titles. Also, I will be seeking out the advice of my future son-in-law, because he is a true aficionado if these types of novels.

I confess to being a newbie so I do hope that I did this review justice. Should I get to read another book of this nature, I now know more of what to expect, like the connected stories, flashbacks, and to expect a very quick read. By the way, now I see why people spend so much money on these novels, because they are enticing and people do want a lot of substance and the thinner ones end almost all too quickly. What is good about that, however, is that the reader is definitely left wanting more.


Many thanks to DC Entertainment and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

BLOG BLITZ - The Getaway Girls


I am happy to say that today is my day for the Blog Blitz for this delightful read by Dee MacDonald.

Buy Links:
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One morning, Connie McColl wakes up and decides to swap her ordinary life, for an extraordinary adventure…

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet - and drive off into the sunset together…

As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

Gill will do anything to have one last holiday romance, Connie has a surprise inheritance awaiting her in Italy, and Maggie has a secret that is going to catch up with them all…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

From the bestselling author of The Runaway Wife, The Getaway Girls is a laugh-out-loud, life-affirming journey of friendship, romance and living life to the full. If you loved The Kicking the Bucket List and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this book is for you.


About the author:

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book - at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Her second book, The Getaway Girls, will be published in August.

You can find Dee on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dee.macdonald.18659
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DMacDonaldAuth



MY REVIEW:

My rating: 4 Stars

Readers of Dee MacDonald's Runaway Wife met Connie McColl and the new adventures she added to her life. Well, it is about time for more change and her ordinary life is about to become extraordinary. Previously, she divorced her husband of forty-one years. Lately, Connie has been giving flower-arrangement lessons and, quite truthfully, was becoming quite bored. As it seems, Connie has discovered "The Box", a box which contains proof of Connie's past. Having been adopted at age five, she is more than intrigued.

To identify the contents of The Box, Connie will have to leave her comfortable home in England and travel to Italy, especially if she wants to find out about her past. She hatches an ingenious idea - she will buy a caravan and make the trek that way. The thing is, she and her family know she could never make the trip alone. After spending time with two ladies there were in her flower-arranging class, Gill and Maggie, a true plan is hatched. Although their friendship is still rather new. the three ladies decide to travel together.

While I wasn't too sure what to think of three nearly septuagenarians on a road trip, by the earliest chapters, I was happily along for the ride. Not only was the adventure exciting for the ladies, but for me the reader as well. Things are not simply smooth sailing. Connie needs to know what is in store for her, Gill is seeking the love of her life and Maggie has a secret, something that could derail all of their plans. The story had an element of mystery and danger as Maggie just barely stayed one step away from her ex.

I enjoyed reading The Getaway Girls. It is great fun, has excellent pacing, and was easily read in just a few hours. I so enjoy a story that can make me laugh out loud and this book certainly did just that. It also had quite an enjoyable romance story and, in all, is tender and truly sweet with a fun conclusion. I look forward to reading even more from Dee MacDonald, and it may seem like I am going backwards, but I am putting the previous title, The Runaway Wife, on my TBR list.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Love You

Love You by Stacy Finz

My Rating:  4 Stars

In the third in the Garner Brothers series by Stacy Finz, Darcy Wallace decides that her life needs more excitement. She is employed by Garner Adventure, but want she wants is quite a different kind of excitement. Having lived with a sexually-frigid husband and gone through a difficult divorce, she hatches a plan to literally get her groove back with the town's playboy, Win Garner. However, despite his reputation, Win refuses to play along. He had a near-miss at almost being roped into marriage, so he is trying to avoid hopping into bed with any woman right now. Besides, Darcy works for his company.

Despite initial objections, Win and Darcy are paired up on a work project, so they are forced to spend time together. With the sudden tension between them now, it is quite a surprise that they get on together quite nicely. Win and Darcy share an undeniable chemistry. Things spiral on out of control almost immediately when Win makes a shocking announcement to their families.

Love You was a quick, fun and sizzling read. Stacy Finz weaves a delightful story with characters and situations that sizzle right off the pages. She writes exceptionally well and pens quirky characters.  The humor was a surprising twist to this engaging story. I loved the ending, and even though this stands perfectly well as a standalone, I would love to read the first two books in the series. It was nice, however, to get to know other members of Win's family, so I sensed the continuity that I missed. I will also follow Ms. Finz and read her books in the future.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Purrder She Wrote

Purrder She Wrote by Cate Conte

My rating:  4.5 Stars

JJs House of Purrs is Daybreak Island's new cat café where customers can get cozy with an assortment of friendly felines―and maybe even adopt one or two. She and her business partners have done all they can to establish the "purrfect" grand opening. However, a cat fight ensues, but the fight is actually between two women. Things get back on track rather quickly, and the opening day becomes a wonderful successes. However, almost immediately after, the café is visited by the police to state that one of the women in the argument has been murdered. The other lady in the argument, one of Maddie's volunteers, is the main suspect in the murder.

Maddie's café may be open, there is still a lot of work to do. If that isn't enough to completely stress Maddie out, the fact that one of her volunteers is being questioned is truly disturbing to her. Meanwhile, another of her volunteers has been acting rather oddly. There is the possibility of someone else being responsible, but there is no love lost between them and Maddie. Her family is now involved, and her family means the world to her. Her love for family is just as intense as her love of cats.

This is a cozy mystery with just the right air of intrigue and quite a bit of humor. Maddie doesn't set out to be an investigator by any means, but can't help but be involved in trying to figure out what happened. Purrder She Wrote was an enjoyable, fast-paced read with a delightful plot, really likeable characters and wonderful little felines.The conclusion was rather a surprise. This is the second book in the series, and no doubt, several of the characters make repeat performances. I love Cate Conte's writing style and definitely look forward to reading more in this series. Maddie's cat JJ is a smart, fun cat and I hope he shows up in future books.

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.