Monday, 30 January 2017

My Best Friend's Girl - Patricia Ryan

If you've read my blog before, you'll know that one of my favourite author's is Patrica Ryan. I've been reading her North Moon Bay and Hot City Night's series. I've been a bit behind with the reviews unti now, so I'm hoping to share my thoughts over the next few weeks, starting with this one.

My Best Friends Girl

He had a damn good reason to stay away from her… and now a million reasons to come back.
My Best Friend's Girl by Patricia Ryan

Dean Kettering: The quintessential lone wolf, he’s led a solitary existence on his sailboat since leaving the Air Force. Then one simple act puts this antisocial bad boy in the middle of a media frenzy, earning him the title of “hero” along with an unexpected windfall of a million dollars. He doesn’t want the money—doesn’t feel he deserves it—but he knows someone who does….
Laura Sweeney: Dean’s polar opposite, devoted to home and hearth, she’s the woman he secretly longed for even after she married his best friend… the friend who made Dean promise to take care of her as he lay dying. But when he finally sought her out, their long-simmering passion flared into irresistible, white-hot need.
Dean walked out of Laura’s life that night, only to return years later with a million dollars he insists she must take. But if she does, she’ll have to let him back in… and tell him the truth about her little girl’s father.
North Moon Bay series.

My Review

I have read this book before, under it's previous title, Million Dollar Baby. It's one that I really enjoyed though, so reading it again was no hardship. This series has been updated from the original version, to modernise it slightly too, so it wasn't exactly the same as the last time I read it.
Dean has always loved Laura, even when he knew that he shouldn't love her. Even when she was with his best friend and he knew that he could never do anything to hurt him or their relationship. Laura had always know that Dean was attracted to her. She felt something for him too, even though she loved her husband and didn't want anything else.
Laura doesn't trust Dean any longer. He hurt her and seemed to prove that he was the heartless, love them and leave them type that he'd always seemed to be. He runs away when she needs him most and for years she hears nothing more. When Dean returns with a million dollars to give her, Laura want's nothing to do with him. For all these years she's been keeping a secret from him and to let him into her life and heart could endanger everything.
I loved the way that the relationship between Dean and Laura developed. Dean had to learn to accept who he really was in order to get all he'd ever wanted. Laura had to learn to trust that Dean really could offer all that she'd ever wanted. Laura's best friend was a great character too and I enjoyed the dimension that she added to the story. I also loved Laura's five year old daughter Janey.
The only downside with this book is that it was over far too soon. That might be my own fault though, for reading it far too quickly and not putting it down.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Girl Before - J.P. Delaney

A Girl Before by J. P. Delaney
It's been a while since I read a good psychological thriller, so I was excited to get a copy of The Girl Before through Netgalley.

The Girl Before

A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season.

Everything that is yours, was once hers . . .
Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price? 
For all fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and GONE GIRL comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level.
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

My Review

For me, the sign of a good psychological thriller, is one that you can't put down, even though you know that the more you read, the more likely something bad will happen. I started The Girl Before, yesterday and finished it this morning. It is a cliche to say that you couldn't put a book down, but I really wanted to know what was going to happen. 

The story is told through alternating view points, Emma, who lived in the house previously and Jane, who is the current resident. We soon discover parallels between the two women; from the way that they look to the things that happen to them. Jane becomes more and more interested in Emma and more importantly, what happened to her and who was to blame.

Everyone that Jane meets has a different view of Emma and what happened, but which is the right one? There were lots of twists and turns as the story unfolded, some that I saw coming and others that were a surprise. 

I haven't read the Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, so I can't comment on whether this book is similar or not. Personally I tend to prefer books to stand on their own, rather than claiming it's like something else. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as the story unfolds in The Girl Before.

There were some aspects of the book that didn't really work for me. I was a little put off with the way that rape was used as part of the plot. I see what the author was trying to do, adding to the confusion surrounding who to believe, but I think that it could have been done just as well with something else, without adding to the fiction that perpetuates rape culture in modern society.

On the whole this was a fast paced, exciting, well written and enjoyable read. I did guess what was going to happen a few times, even towards the end of the book, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. (I do sometimes like to guess the ending and get it right, it makes me feel clever.) I look forward to reading more by this author and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Staking a Claim - Devon McKay

Staking a claim by Devon McKay

Staking a Claim

For most people, seeing Alaska is a dream come true. For Miami Beach resident, Samantha Held, it is merely a job assignment. An advertisement for vacationing in Alaska is one step closer to achieving her career goal, partnership in Kolinsky’s Advertising Agency. As far as accepting the offer of assistance from Blake Langford, a hunky Fish and Game officer and local rancher, though it is offered in a sour manner, she wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. 

Determined to sabotage Sam’s goal in every way, Blake isn’t willing to accept any exploitation of his beloved state, no matter how desirable the striking, southern blonde bombshell with fiery green eyes. Falling in love with the enemy was never part of the plan.

My Review

Staking a Claim is a city girl meets country boy story. Sam is from Maimi and is used to dressing in suits and heels. Blake, also known as Wolf, is a Fish and Game officer, who also owns horses he takes out on trecks and wants to turn this into his livelihood. Blake has grown up in Alaska and is at home in the wilderness. Sam is a fish out of water. I have read a few books now, with a similar premise, in some ways I'd like the characters to be a little less stereotyped.

On the whole I enjoyed the book. It was a nice story and I liked both of the main characters. It wasn't perfect, but was a good quick read. I was a little disapointed in the sudden finish, it seemed to end a chapter or maybe two sooner than I expected it to. I also felt that sometimes it didn't flow as well as it could have done. But that might just be a personal preference.

If you enjoy nice, quick romances, then I don't think that you will be disapointed with Staking a Claim. I'd be interested in checking out future books by Devon McKay.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A place to belong - Claire Boston

A place to belong by Claire Boston

I haven't read any of the books in Claire Boston's Flanagan Sister's series, so jumping in at number four is always going to be interesting. Fortunately, although it is part of a series with reoccurring characters, it can also be read as a standalone novel.

A Place to Belong

Sean Flanagan has spent a lifetime alone and rejected, constantly hiding who he really is.
With a father who deserted him and a mother who despised him, Sean didn’t think things could get much worse … until he was kicked out of home for being gay. Now he’s discovered he has three half-sisters on the other side of the world. This might be his last chance to find people who will love and accept him. But he’s terrified that if they find out who he really is then they’ll reject him like the rest of his family.

Sean arrives in Houston and is stunned by the warm welcome he receives from his sisters. He begins to hope that maybe this time things will be different. That’s when he meets Hayden Johnson. To follow his heart means risking everything with his newfound family.

Hayden is tired of endless dating. He’s looking for a man to love, someone to spend the rest of his life with. His boss’s new brother ticks all the boxes on the attraction scale, but there’s just one problem – he’s not gay. 

Will Sean let his fears rule him, or will he let in the chance of love and find a place where he belongs? 

A place to belong book tour

My Review

There's always a danger when you come to a series part way through, that you will struggle with the characters that are already well known to other readers. Not having read the stories of sisters Carly, Bridget and Zita really didn't matter though and didn't detract from Sean's story.

This is not just a love story, or rather not just a romantic love story. But rather a story of someone accepting who they are, learning to love themselves, find the love of their family and romantic love along the way. 

Sean has lived a life hiding who he real is and what feels. Learning about his half sisters and then meeting them for the first time is is chance to have a family and people who care for him, he doesn't want to do anything to jeopardise that. He tries to hide the fact that he is gay and is attracted to Hayden, as he fears their rejection.

This was a lovely and well written story that I really enjoyed. Although it's number four in the series, I don't think that really matter. Having said that, I really want to go back now and read the other books in the series and find out what I've been missing out on.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Sweet - Lisa Hahn

I have to admit that you could probably put my knowledge about ballet on a postage stamp and still leave room for a margin, so I wasn't sure how I would get on with a romance set in the ballet world. I needn't have worried, Sweet grabbed my attention right from the very beginning. 

Sweet by Lisa Hahn

Cat Brown spends the first six years of her career as one of the lowest-ranking members of the Bretton Falls Ballet. Despite the dancer’s undisputable talent, artistic director Lillian Smith insists Cat is too short for a leading role. When Lillian is forced to retire, world-renowned ballet dancer Dmitri Fedorov takes over and casts Cat as the premier performer in his first production with the company. Cat struggles to fend off a host of distractions as she prepares for the most important role of her career: the most insurmountable of which is her instant attraction to the new boss.
Dmitri, once known for his theatrical performances and womanizing proclivities, disappears into seclusion after a horrific car accident shatters his knee and renders him unable to dance. Looking to escape the constant reminders of how far he’s fallen, Dmitri escapes to Bretton Falls in hopes of elevating the small ballet company there to international prestige. The task proves to be more challenging than Dmitri had bargained for when his surprising interest in Cat Brown becomes fodder for gossip among the company.
Cat and Dmitri both have a lot riding on their upcoming production of The Nutcracker, knowing that their careers depend upon the outcome. However, the biggest challenge they face will be staying away from one another.

My Review

As I mentioned at the beginning, my knowledge of ballet is pretty limited. I did once attend a ballet class when I was around four. They wanted me to pretend to be a penguin, while I was just disappointed not to be leaping around in a tutu. I took the only course of action sensible in such situations and hid in the curtains. Fortunately our heroine in this story, Cat Brown, has fared far better in the discipline than I ever did and has dedicated her life to it. Now in her early 20's Cat is still in the corps of the ballet company and not taking the coveted soloist roles or moving onto one of the larger, better know ballet companies.

Cat is starting to think that perhaps she should move onto a different career, when finally her dreams seem to be coming true. A new director arrives who casts her as Clara in the Nutcracker. The only problem is that Cat finds herself drawn to her director in ways that she should not explore and the feeling is more than mutual. No matter how hard they try, the pull between them is too great and Dmitri and Cat can't seem to stay away from one another.

I really loved this book. The chemistry between the two is great and the developing relationship really well drawn. I really enjoyed following the story as it unfolded and we found out what was going to happen to Cat and Dmitri in the end.

If you love ballet, them I am sure that you will love this book. If you don't really know anything about ballet, then you will probably still enjoy it just as much. I did.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Fighting for Phoebe - Jennifer Ann

Fighting for Phoebe

Fighting for Phoebe by Jennifer Ann

Jace Daniels is undeniably sexy.

I mean who doesn’t like the muscular, tattooed type who’s all mysterious and brooding? But he’s on the run from something dangerous, and I have enough of my own problems.
My existence has revolved around deception for as long as I can remember. Sometimes lying is like a damn disease…one I’ve been exposed to since birth. And as many times as I’ve dreamed about running away, my mother’s grasp on me runs deep.

Phoebe Carson is hot as hell.

She’s not just gorgeous, but quirky and a lot of fun. Even though I can’t afford to get involved with anyone, I feel a need to protect her from her psychotic ex.
After a failed attempt to expose the truth about a fellow Marine’s disappearance, running was my only option. I don’t know how much time I have until they’ll arrest me, but I’m determined to make things right.

My Review

Phoebe Carson has lots of problems, not least that her mother has been emotionally abusing her and taking advantage of her for years. She feels trapped and unable to break out from the life that she's been living. When Jace Daniels turns up on the scene and offers her a chance to escape, Phoebe feels that she can't take that step and leave her mother for good.

The attraction between the two is intense, Phoebe and Jace can't resist one another. Jace wants to protect and save Phoebe, but things aren't that straight forward. Without knowing it, they both have answers to the questions that each other have been searching for.

This is a fast moving and exciting read, with plenty of heat and romance between the two leads. I have to admit that at times I wasn't completely taken with Phoebe and I found her a little annoying. That aside though, it was a satisfying and enjoyable read.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Murder at Midnight - John Ukah

Murder at midnight book tour

I always enjoy a good murder mysery, so I was excited to read Murder at Midnight. Set in a hotel with a limited cast of suspects, it follows in the footsteps of some of the great detective stories.

Murder at Midnight

Murder at midnight by John Ukah

Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guesthouse and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …

My Review

Alex Simpson has stayed at the Kinging Guest Lodge before, when he did there were two deaths at the hotel. Even so he returns for another stay. He starts to get to know the other guests at the lodge and settle into his stay.

Of course, as with all good murder mysteries, we start to see tensions between the various characters and people who potentially could be killed or be killers. The actual murder didn't occur straight away, but that gives the reader chance to get to know some of the people in the book.

Once the murderer strikes Alex starts to investigate and try to get to the bottom of the mystery. Fortunately, as he is an ex-policeman himself, the other guests are quite keen to unburden themselves on him without his needing to ask too many questions. 

For a murder mystery to work for me, I either need to be able to solve it, but without it being too easy. Or, I need to be surprised by the killer, but for it not to be unbelievable. This time around I was surprised by the killer, but it worked and made for an enjoyable read. My only real criticism was that there was another incident that occurred further on in the story. It didn't really fit in with anything else and was probably intended as a red herring. It didn't really work as such for me, so much so that I'd actually forgotten all about it until it was mentioned again at the end of the book.

Over all this was a good read and I enjoyed it. I assume that this is the first in a series, I'd be more than happy to dip into other titles when they are released. 

Purchase “Murder at Midnight” on Amazon: United StatesUnited KingdomGermany, FranceSpainItalyNetherlandsJapanBrazilCanadaMexicoAustralia, and India

It is also available on SmashwordsKobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook)Okadabooks, and major online stores. 
Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

My Heart My Home by Jessa Chase

My heart my home by Jessa Chase

My Heart My Home 

Kate Jacobson took the first bus out of Madelia, Washington the day she graduated high school, and she hasn't looked back. With a blossoming medical career at a busy New York hospital, she has found her calling. But when her best friend is gunned down in front of her by a drug-addled patient, Kate turns back to her small town roots, looking for stability and a place to belong.

Logan McAllister has worked his entire adult life to make the people of Madelia see him as more than the kid from the wrong side of the train tracks. He's built a business with his own two hands, revitalizing the historic landmark homes in town to their former glories. He grew up with parents so completely infatuated with each other, he can't imagine wanting to jump into the suffocating arms of love himself. But when his high school crush Kate comes back to town, he can't help but fan the fires and reignite their old flame.

But not everyone is happy about her return . . .

When Kate's clinic is vandalized, the two set aside the differences stemming from their pasts and set out to find and stop the vandal. As they work to solve one problem, their undeniable feelings for one another present another problem that's even more dangerous-at least for her heart.

Kate can handle the crazy politics. What she can't handle is smart, sexy, reformed bad boy Logan, who keeps showing up on her doorstep, determined to kiss the living daylights out of her. 

Logan was wrong for her when she was eighteen, is he even more wrong for her now? 

My Review

Starting a New Year with a new book is always good, so this year I settled down to read My Heart, My Home, when I had some time over the holiday. I was in the mood for a nice, light, enjoyable read and this ticked all of those boxes. This is the story of Kate and Logan, who once kissed before she left town for good after graduating high school. Kate returns to her home town after her best friend is shot right in front of her while she's at work as a doctor in A & E.

Kate's return to Madelia isn't an easy transition, with people being reluctant to visit her clinic and accept her, even though this is the town where she grew up. Logan helps her to settle in and gain people's trust within the town. Seeing her again re-ignites the feelings that he had for her when they were both younger and it isn't long before romance is blossoming between them.

This is quite a sweet story, as the love develops between Kate and Logan. The only real stumbling blocks are understanding what they and each other really wants. Although Logan had a reputation as a 'bad boy' in his youth, now he's clearly reformed, a trustworthy and reliable man. 

Over all this was a great light read, that I polished off in a day or so. I really enjoyed it and as it's the first in a series, I'll look forward to checking out the later titles in the series when they come out. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A Way Back Into Love - Cover Reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher
5th January, 2017

About the Book:

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love… Well, that makes complicates everything complicated. When you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.
Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life is turned upside-down when she realizes she's in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home... to the man she left behind?

About the Author:
Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!
Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Contact the Author:
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