Saturday, 28 February 2015

Do Judge A Book By It's Cover - Week 5

So here we are week 5 of the blog meme Do Judge A Book By It's Cover started by Gill over at The Book Magpie 

Every week Gill posts a theme & then you have to go pick a book cover based on that theme that you love or has caught your eye. 

For week 5 the theme is cover of a YA book which is a very fitting theme for me seeing as I've spent a lot of my week planning a big YA mini convention type day for for work that will be happening later in the year.

This was quite an easy one to pick for me, I didn't have to trawl my Goodreads shelves for too long. So my cover for YA is





Matched by Ally Condie                                                 
This book came out back in 2010 & it is one of those that has really stood out to me when shelving books in my job in a library.

It's very simple in it's design but the use of the colour green against the plain background really makes it pop & it always catches my eye.

The image is gorgeous too & take a look at the other covers in the series as they are equally as amazing.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Book Blitz: Surf & Surrender by Riley Edgewood with giveaway





Surf & Surrender by Riley Edgewood 
(Summer Love Series #2) 

Publication date: February 23rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The Blurb




She wants to forget he ever existed. He’d never give up her memory.

Quinn Westwood is completely over Sawyer Carson. He broke her heart years ago and disappeared from her life without a word. So yeah. She’s over him. Never even thinks of him. In fact, she’s spending her college summer break surfing and lifeguarding in the Outer Banks, while nursing a bruised heart from a different relationship gone wrong. She doesn’t have room in her mind or heart for Sawyer—until she runs into him at a beach bonfire and the sparks that fly between them are way hotter than the flames heating the sand.

Sawyer never got over Quinn. The only thing stronger than what he feels for her is the secret keeping them apart, but sharing it would destroy more than just his life—it’d ruin hers, as well. Still, he can’t seem to keep away from her, can’t seem to keep his hands off of her soft, tempting skin. Especially since she has even less self-control when it comes to reigniting the physical side of what made them perfect together.

But secrets have a way of slipping out, and when Sawyer’s is revealed it threatens to shatter everyone involved. He’ll have to face walking away a second time, and Quinn will have to decide if fighting for him is worth it when the fallout could affect more than just her heart, but also those of the people she loves most.

Surf & Surrender is the second book in Riley Edgewood’s Summer Love series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.






Goodreads / Amazon / B & N / iBooks / Kobo


About The Author


Riley lives in the DC area and spends most of her time with her characters, playing with her toddler and husband, and pretending she knows how to be an adult. Former dancer. Current writer. Lifelong lover of accessories, books, and the beach. And cats. Can't forget the kitties. Of which she has two.

You can also find her online:
rileyedgewood.com
twitter.com/rileyedgewood
facebook.com/rileyedgewoodauthor


Extract

QUINN

Whatever Danny's response was, it's drowned out by the sound of glass shattering and a loud shriek. We all turn toward the bonfire as a girl with long brown hair sprints in our direction, laughing as she passes us.
And behind her?
Sawyer Carson.
Shock is an iron collar tightening around my neck.
No. It's Novocain, making my face completely numb.
I recognize his stance before my gaze even gets to his face, and the sudden understanding of his shape is an electric cannonball slamming into my chest, where it sits still for a moment, ticking, ticking… The enormity of it is too heavy to leave room for breath.
Then we catch eyes, and the damn thing explodes in my veins.
The entirety of me buzzes. Under my skin. Vibrations. Jolts. They hurt.
They burn.
They thrill.

* 3 Things More Shocking Than Seeing Sawyer Again *

1. A strike of lightning.
2. A live electrical appliance dropped in water.
3. Nothing. Sawyer's face in front of me is the third most shocking thing there is.
It even beats out a defibrillator.
Though if my heart doesn't start beating again soon, I may need one.

* * * * * *

He's changed. Where he used to be lanky, he's toned. His skin looks like honey in the backlit glow of the fire, and his eyes are such a bright green, I can see their color even in the dark.
There's a tension in his posture, some dark thing coiled under his skin, barely kept in check. And whatever it is, it's all about me. He still hasn't looked away.
He's sexy as hell.
But I can't just stand here studying him. I need to move. To act. To do something.
For instance, breathe. I need to breathe.
So I do. 



Giveaway

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card


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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Review: Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
(Little Beach Street Bakery #2)


Publication: 26th February 2015
Genre: Romance, Women's Fiction
Stars:4 ****



The Blurb


Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

My Thoughts

I was so excited to get approved for an ARC of Summer At The Little Beach Street Bakery by Little Brown on Netgalley as I fell in love with the characters & Mount Polbearne in the first book. It was so great to be back on Mount Polbearne with it's wonderful characters and of course Neil the puffin.

The story opens very differently from the first book, Polly is finally settled & happy, her business is going well, she's now living in the lighthouse she bought and she is in love with Huckle. Everything is going so well but then suddenly it isn't & Polly's life begins to unravel again putting her almost back at square one. Throw in yet another powerful storm that rocks the island & brings the memory of the storm that took one of the islanders a year ago & you have one heck of a story.

It was a joy to be back on the island, to see how Polly's relationship has blossomed with Huckle and how she has embedded herself right into the heart of the community. All of the islands inhabitants are back & help add lots of character & charm to the book. There are the characters you can't help but love which include Jayden, Flora & Kerensa & then there are characters like Polly's new boss, Malcolm that you can't help but despise.

Polly is back in Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery with her fighting spirit and her determination to do what is right for the island. The book was full of Jenny's usual humour and wonderful dialogue & whilst the island still had all it's idyllic charm it just wasn't quite as engaging as the first book which is why it only has the 4 stars instead of 5.

And Jenny if you are reading this I would really love to see a book set out in Savannah with Huck's family farm taking centre stage. I would love to see more of his brother Dubose & Clemmie.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I'm A World Book Night Giver

In my job as a library manager World Book Night is one of the biggest events on my calendar. Last year was the first time I was successful with my application to be a WBN giver & I wasn't just successful with my personal application but also with my institution one as well. It was so great being able to hand out so many books to people that don't normally visit the library for books, to hand them out our our WBN event with John Hegley & the best bit was leaving them on the tube & at bus stops at the end of the school day in the hope that teenagers would discover them.

I'd totally forgotten that this year's givers were being emailed yesterday (23rd February) & I was sitting at work when I saw a tweet appear on the library twitter feed from somebody who'd just received an email to say they had been successful with their application. I immediately checked my own email accounts & discovered that my personal application had been successful but there was nothing in my work inbox about my institution application but hey 1 out of 2 isn't bad. Except about 4 hours later I checked my work emails again to see that my institution had been successful as well.

So I am going to have loads of books to gift again this year. I am so pleased to be given this opportunity again as I absolutely love being able to share my passion for books & reading.

So on April 23rd I will have 18 copies of the wonderful Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen to gift & I now need to wait to see how many titles I have been allocated for my institution application. Fingers crossed it will be copies of The Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb as I would really love to be able to share my love of fantasy with others.



Monday, 23 February 2015

Review: Catching Lightning by Katie Stephens


Catching Lightning by Katie Stephens



Published: 23rd January 2015
Genre: Romance
Stars: 5 *****


The Blurb


Is there ever a right time and place for love? 
Can one ever tell when or where it will strike? 
Can the love of a man win over the loathing of his country?

You never know where or when lightning will strike, but when it happens on a trip back to Kenya to bury your parents you know the timing isn’t great. 

Mel has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she had come to hate, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kamuti for her parents’ funeral, forcing her to face her fear of flying and hatred for the place which has now stolen her parents from her for good. But meeting the people who meant so much to her parents and above all the gorgeous, England-educated Sam was not part of the plan.

Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she has had things wrong all these years.
Will taking the trip help her find her answers? Will visiting the most beautiful and memorable locations of the land make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?

When Mel discovers the ultimate painful secret about her past and loses her job as a teacher at a posh girls’ school, she has one final choice to make – as they say lightening only strikes once.

A modern day OUT OF AFRICA in reverse story, CATCHING LIGHTNING provides the kind of realist escapism which would appeal to readers of Jill Mansell, Erica James and Santa Montefiore, with a pinch of Belinda Jones thrown in for good measure.

My Thoughts


I always sign up for blog tours with a little bit of trepidation, saying that you will read a book with know previous reviews to look at & then review it can be a bit daunting. What happens if you don't like it? Thankfully I didn't just like Catching Lightning, I loved it from it's gorgeous cover to it's exotic location, there was just so much to love.

Melinda Purcell is a teacher in a girls' secondary school, she enjoys her job & at the beginning of the book we see her looking forward to spending her annual holiday with her parents. Her parents, Nick & Freda have spent most of her life working for a charity in Kenya so she treasures the time that she spends with them. Unfortunately tragedy strikes when her parents are both killed in a tragic car accident forcing Mel to face her fears & get on a plane to Kenya to attend their funeral & sort out their estate.

Her fear of flying is so great that she has to be sedated in order to fly to Kenya & it's not just her phobia of flying that is causing her concern. She has a strong hate for Kenya always feeling that her parents loved it their more than they loved being with her. So with a sense of duty she heads out with her godmother Moira to make arrangements to bury her parents, Mel has every intention of getting everything over & done with quickly so that she can return to her life England as soon as she can.

Upon arriving in Kenya, Mel meets Samson who picks her & Moira up from the airport & despite his good looks she can't help but find him annoying & arrogant. On the drive from the airport to the camp she can't hide her disgust for the country that she believes took her parents from her & it takes a while for her walls to come down. What follows is a journey about Mel finding peace as well as finding her parents even though they are gone. Mel had always believed that her parents chose Kenya over her but through her mother's scrapbooks, journals & diaries she learns otherwise.

This is a truly beautiful story about love & loss, secrets & lies & about a young woman's need to find herself in a country that she has loathed for so long. Mel is a truly wonderful character who has to overcome so much at such a painful time in her life. Kenya really gets under Mel's skin and I found myself falling in love with Kenya through Mel's eyes. Katie Stephen's writing had the ability to sweep my along & I devoured Catching Lightning in one sitting, staying up way too late in order to finish it.

Catching Lightning made me feel so many emotions, I felt Mel's pain, I shared her joy, at times I found myself smiling to myself as Mel experienced new things. The story was also made by the many secondary characters who all played major roles in telling Mel's story. Kerry who became Mel's friend whilst at the camp added some humour & sparkle & it was wonderful seeing the bond that grew between the pair. There were the many other people that Mel met during her time in Kenya, the teachers & children at the school and of course Samson. Samson plays a major part in helping Mel to grieve and find the peace she has been so desperate to find.

This was a magical read from start to finish, a wonderful setting, an engaging story & a wonderful cast of characters. It was both a powerful & emotional book that left me longing for more. Well done to Katie Stephens for writing such an amazing story.

About The Author



Katie Stephens is the #1 bestselling author of CANDLES ON THE SAND. She works in PR and lives in Surrey, England, with her husband Will and two young daughters. In 2008 Katie signed herself up for a creative writing course, loved it and found herself spending all her spare time (not much with 2 young children) at the computer. Her first novel Candles on the Sand, set on the Amalfi Coast, was published in 2011 and went on to become an Amazon bestseller.



Sunday, 22 February 2015

Guest Post : Angela Marsons Shares Her Top 5 Inspirational Female Authors

I am really pleased to be hosting Angela Marsons on the blog today. Her debut novel Silent Scream was published last Friday (20th) by Bookouture & what a debut it is. I gave it a massive 5 stars, it is quite simply outstanding & my review will be up on the blog shortly. 

I fell in love immediately with D.I Kim Stone in Silent Scream, she is such a fantastic strong female character, so I wanted to find out from Angie  who her top 5 inspirational female authors are & why.


Karin Slaughter - This is one of my favourite authors.  I read all the books in the Grant County series before moving onto the Will Trent series.  I admire the way this author is not afraid to make bold decisions with her main characters that then allow her other characters to grow and thrive in their own right.  I think her decision to intertwine two different book series together was pure genius.

Carol O Connell - I have read all of the 'Kathy Mallory' novels in order and devoured each one.  This author features a borderline sociopath as her main character.  We should not like Kathy Mallory as much as we do.  These books inspired me to write about a character that wasn't always perfect or pleasant but still passionate and stubborn for the right reasons.

Mel Sherratt - I am inspired by this author for two reasons.  I am equally engrossed by her psychological thrillers as I am by her crime stories.  I dare anyone to read 'Watching Over You' alone.  Additionally, her tenacity and determination in the face of rejection has been a driving force in my own journey to publication.

Val McDermid - I am inspired by this author from the first page to the last word of each book.  I have yet to see an adaptation that does justice to the multiple plot lines woven throughout every story.  I like to learn from everything I read and enjoyed her foray into geographical profiling in 'Killing The Shadows.  I feel that with every Val McDermid novel I step away with just a bit more knowledge than I had before. 

Lynda La Plante - This author never fails to carry me along on an emotional journey.  Her characters are fallible and lifelike and I feel as though I've met them all at some stage in my life.  My two personal favourites are Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect and from the 'Cold' series of books: Lorraine Page.  I could not read the final pages of the third book of this series due to crying.  And I mean crying!



Silent Scream - The Blurb


Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?


About The Author


Angela discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.

Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.

After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer's News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.

She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion - Crime.

After many, many submissions Angela was signed in a 4 book deal to http://bookouture.com as their first crime author.

Her first book SILENT SCREAM will be published in February 2015.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Do Judge A Book By It's Cover - Week 4

So this week's theme for Do Judge A Book By It's Cover meme set up by Gill over at The Book Magpie is free choice.

Hmmm! Now giving someone who is totally addicted to book covers a free choice makes it even harder than when there is a theme. How on earth do I choose just one? Every month there is going to a free choice week so I need to start thinking about how I pick my free choice book covers. 

For this free choice I have decided to take a look at what has been/is being published in February & I've picked the cover that has most caught my eye. It is also the book I'm currently reading so here is my pick for week 4


Summer At Little Beach Street Bakeryby Jenny Colgan


And what do I love most about this cover? It's Neil of course. I fell in love with Neil the puffin in Little Beach Street Bakery so it makes me very happy to see that he has pride of place on this cover. And for those of you who have read book one Neil is just as loveable & adorable as he was in book one.

I also like the use of muted colours, it is a total contrast to the bright colours on the cover of the first book. Jenny's books all have very distinctive covers & this one certainly grabs my attention & make me want to take a look inside.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Giveaway: Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman

To celebrate the publication of Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman in paperback Transworld have very kindly given be a copy to give away to one lucky winner.


The Blurb



Run, run, girl. In the name of God, run.

1141. A mercenary watches from the icy reeds as a little girl with red hair is attacked by his ownmen. He is powerless to stop them.

But a strange twist of fate brings them together again. Sheltering in a church, he finds the girl
freezing cold, close to death, clutching a sliver of parchment. And now he is certain of what he must do.

He will bring her back to life. He will train her to fight. And he will protect her from the man who calls himself a monk, who lost a piece of parchment he will do anything to get back . . .


An epic account of the brutal winter when Stephen and Matilda tore England apart in their battle for its crown – when atrocities were inflicted on the innocent, but bravery found a home in an old solider and a young girl.

It's 12 Century England and the civil war between Queen Matilda and King Stephen is raging. But life in the fens carries on as usual. Until the mercenaries ride through. And a small red-haired girl named Em is snatched and carried off. After the soldiers have finished with her they leave her for dead. But fenland girls are not easy to kill. Although she has lost all memory of her past life including her name, Em survives and teams up with Gwyl a Breton archer who has almost completely lost faith in humanity. Together Gwyl and his new protege--now crop-headed and disguised as a boy--travel through the countryside giving archery exhibitions. But there is one man who hasn't forgotten the little red-haired girl. He has some unfinished business with her and he is determined to finish it. And one freezing winter in a castle completely besieged, he might well get his chance...

Winter Siege is a stand-alone historical novel started by the late Diana Norman under her pseudonym Ariana Franklin. It has been completed by her daughter Samantha Norman.



About The Authors



Ariana Franklin was born in Devon and, like her father, became a journalist.
Having invaded Wales dressed in combat uniform with the Royal Marines for one of their military exercises, accompanied the Queen on a royal visit, missed her own twenty first birthday party because she had to cover a murder, she married, almost inevitably,another journalist. She then abandoned her career in national newspapers and settled down in the country to bring up two daughters, study medieval history and write.

Ariana was the author of the acclaimed, award-winning Mistress of the Art of Death series. She passed away in 2011, before she was able to deliver the manuscript for Winter Siege. Her daughter, Samantha, decided to complete the novel on her mother’s behalf.

Samantha Norman is a journalist and broadcaster who is mad about horses. She lives in west London with her two sons Harry and Charlie, and their dogs Becks and Spider.



  • One copy of Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman. UK only!


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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Guest Post: Bruce Blake - Where did the idea for When Shadows Fall come from?

One of the most common questions asked of authors is 'where do your ideas come from?' If you read a few interviews, you'll find a wide variety of answers, many of which are pre-formulated to evoke laughter or feelings of inadequacy. Part of the problem with the question, I think, is that so much time has often passed since the author had the idea for the book, he or she likely doesn't even recall the impetus for the novel.

In the case of my book, When Shadows Fall, not too much time has passed, so perhaps I can give you a tour of the writer's mind (please tread carefully...there's a lot of darkness and it's a bit messy).

I had finished writing the third book in my Icarus Fell urban fantasy series and began work on another project which, I'm sorry to say, didn't go so well. It did, however, put me in the mood to write epic fantasy; it had been nearly six months since I completed the Khirro's Journey trilogy, so it was time.

Step one to story idea: choose your genre (or sub-genre).

Once I've settled on what kind of story I want to write, I try to think of ways to make it a little bit different from the norm. In the Khirro's Journey trilogy, I chose a non-traditional protagonist. For this series, I decided to have a prophecy discovered on an ancient scroll. Not so different, you say? How about a little confusion as to who the prophecy refers to, both on the good side and the evil side? I'm interested.

Step two to story idea: think of a twist.

The third thing that came to me as I pondered the nature of this prophecy was the term 'Small Gods', which then became the title for the series. Something about it captured my attention, possibly because when we think about gods, we don't think of small things, but big, all-powerful beings. This prompted me to sit down and really think about the Small Gods, their role in the story, and other details about my world in general.

Step three to story idea: build your world.

As the world came together, more characters and story ideas came to light. I started thinking about having two groups known as Small Gods to throw more uncertainty into the prophecy. When I began digging into the religion, which I decided to be Goddess-based, I wondered what it would look like if the devotees of the religion were all women. What would happen to the men? What if a sect of men broke off and were secretly in opposition to the women? The more I thought, the more possibilities screamed at me to get writing.

Step four to story idea: challenge yourself.

The last thing I decided on—which is something I hope most authors do when they set out to write a new book—was to challenge myself. Not only does When Shadows Fall follow four different story lines, but I was determined to make the voice of each different and distinct. But it gets worse...in the second book, being released on February the 16th, I am writing one story line from the POV of a blind character—no description based on sight—and another from the POV of a character who doesn't speak the same language as anyone else in the story. Fun stuff.

So there you have it...where a story idea comes from, at least in the case of When Shadows Fall. For me, it is rarely in a dream or a flash of light, fully-formed and ready to put pen to paper—it's work. Not as glamourous as thinking a muse sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear, but it gets the job done



The Blurb  

A hundred times a hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?





Author bio


 Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

 Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

 Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.



Sunday, 15 February 2015

De-Clutter Giveaway

Yesterday was Valentine's Day but with my hubby working & my mind needing a de-clutter I spent the day sorting out my office space which meant reorganising all my book shelves.

The good news for you is that by sorting out my books I now have a huge pile that I no longer have space for. Over the coming months I will be running giveaways in order to shrink the pile.

The winner of this giveaway will be able to pick 2 books from the list I will send them. It's quite an eclectic mix as I read so many different genres so hopefully there will be something for everyone.

The giveaway is only open to people in the UK


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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Do Judge A Book By It's Cover - Week 3

Love is in the air........ Or not as it seems with me reading so much crime. I just don't seem to be drawn to many books that have pink covers.

I've trawled my read shelf & my TBR shelf looking for a pink cover for Gill at The Book Magpie's new meme but it's hard. The covers that are really pink are just bleurgh & would never have made me pick the book up in a bookshop or library. I've ended up with lots of covers that have pink elements on & actually some of those are incredibly beautiful so I am going to have to cheat just a little & pick one of those. 

So my pick for book with a pinkish cover is 


The Perfect Lie by Emily Barr    



I love, love this cover. In fact all of Emily Barr's books always have covers that make you want to pick them up & hug them.

What I love most about this cover is the way that the pink elements pop against the blue back drop of Venice. It makes for a really eye catching cover. And hey the book is set in Venice. Is there a more romantic destination?

If you've not read The Perfect Lie or indeed any others by Emily Barr then I highly recommend them. All of Emily's books are wonderful cross between a  little bit of chick-lit & romance with a lot of suspense & mystery thrown in. 


Friday, 13 February 2015

Review: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown



Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Publication: August 19th, 2014
Genre: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Stars: 4 ****


The Blurb


Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.
Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.


Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo / Goodreads


My Thoughts


I've read Sandra Brown books before & in turns of romantic suspense novels she is up there with the best so I was really pleased to be part of the Mean Streak Blog Tour being run by Xpresso Book Tours.

As with all suspense novels, Mean Streak is quite difficult to review without giving too much of the plot away so I am going to try & keep it fairly short. Dr Emory Charbonneau is a well respected paediatrician in her small town with her own practice. She is an heiress due to her parents dying when she was in her teens but this doesn't stop her working hard at her practice or the efforts she puts into raising money for charity. She is a very motivated and driven woman and other than her work she uses that drive in her marathon running.

At the start of this book we see Emory heading out to the mountains of North Carolina for a solo marathon training run having just had yet another disagreement with her husband Jeff. The arguments seem to be more frequent & quite honestly their marriage is in rapid decline. Emory can't even remember the last time they slept together. Whilst out on her run Emory is knocked unconscious & discovered by a passing stranger. With the bad weather closing in the stranger who is of course handsome takes Emory back to his cabin in the woods.

Emory is eventually reported by her husband Jeff after a couple of days & it is his delay on raising the alarm that makes him suspect numero uno. However he has an alibi for when Emory went missing, an alibi that comes in the form of his mistress. So begins a massive search for Emory with the local investigators Knight & Grange determined to track down the person responsible. Throw in an FBI agent hot on the trail of our handsome stranger & you have one hell of plot.

Our mysterious stranger is a loner who lives out in the woods. He is a quiet & brooding sort who reveals nothing about himself to Emory not even his name. He looks after Emory though putting her needs first as she recovers from her blow to the head. There is great tension between Emory & the stranger that is both sexual & dangerous. She is deeply drawn to him but knows that he must have done something truly awful to be hiding the way he is. When we find out what he has done it is one heck of a surprise & opens the storyline right up.

The book has lots of little sub-plots that Sandra Brown pulls masterly together & it is these that build the tension & the suspense throughout the novel as we hurtle towards the heated conclusion. There are enough red herrings littered throughout the story for the ultimate OMG moment when the culprit responsible for leaving Emory for dead is revealed.

The storyline starts out slow but picks up pace quite quickly and the wonderful secondary characters of Agent Jack Connell, Knight & Grange and the hillbilly brothers Will & Norman just had to the story & help keep the reader engaged. With a few touches of humour, a handsome hero and a well plotted tale I don't hesitate to recommend this book. Mean Streak kept me totally hooked and was a real page turner that kept me up way past my bedtime.


About The Author

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (US and Canada)

  • 5 winners will each get a signed personalized copy of MEAN STREAK in Trade PB and swag (image attached) + a dozen buttercream cookies from Cheryl's.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Book Blitz: When Shadows Fall by Bruce Blake includes excerpt


When Shadows Fall by Bruce Blake
(The Small Gods #1)

Published:October 2013
Genre: Fantasy

The Blurb


A hundred times a hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?


About The Author


Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.

The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.


Excerpt


Prologue
 It rained fire the day the Small Gods fled.
Balls of flame fell from the sky, shattering homes and skulls alike, burning gardens and turning forests to ash, setting alight both farmers’ fields and farmers’ lives with disregard. Much later, it would be said the Goddess banished them for their wicked ways, but on that day, the Small Gods were naught but men and women afraid for their lives. In the eyes of history and legend, the width of the line between banishment and flight is thin.
***
“Watch out!” the priestess Rak’bana shouted, ducking behind Love—one of the granite Pillars of Life.
A ball of flame hammered into the earth with a spray of dirt and the stench of burnt grass. She covered her head, waiting for the ground to cease shaking before she peeked out from behind her arm to find her twin brother. Ine’vesi peered back at her from around the corner of the next column in the row of nine—Trust.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
The crackle of flames all but kept his voice from her ears, but they were well enough connected she knew what he’d ask without needing to hear. She nodded in response and he crept out from behind the column, the roll of parchment in his hand.
“Time is short, Vesi,” she said. “The Goddess is angry.”
Ine’vesi made no effort to hide the sneer upon his lips as he hurried across the ruined garden to her side. Before he opened his mouth to spill out the blaspheme imprinted on his brow, she raised her hand and gestured with her fingers. A thick stream of water the height of five men rose from the river and flowed across the air. It splashed into the newly lit fire with a hiss of doused flames and white steam billowing toward the sky. Another ball of fire crashed into the top edge of the nearest wall, sending chunks of stone tumbling to the ground. The twin siblings ducked their heads.
“We have to go,” she urged.
“Out of the city.” Ine’vesi brandished the roll of parchment. “Once we have inscribed the scroll, it will not be safe here. The wrong hands will find it.”
A fiery ball crashed into the base of a towering pine, its flames leaping up the trunk, spreading through its branches, jumping to the next tree like a playful squirrel, then skipping to the next. Rak’bana raised her hand again, intending to call the river and extinguish the fire to save her garden, but Ine’vesi caught her by the wrist.
“Let it burn, Bana. Let it be a testament to the unjust wrath of a jealous Goddess.”
The priestess’ eyes widened and she shook her head, unable to comprehend why he’d speak such blasphemous words. She pulled her hand free of his grip and faltered back a step toward the river.
“You are a priest, Vesi. You know as well as I that we have brought this on ourselves. Righteous anger falls from the sky, not jealousy. The Goddess gives what is deserved.”
“The--”
Another ball slammed into the pine. The great tree leaned with a creak of wood, bending slowly at first, then the trunk split with a crack louder than thunder, and the tree that had grown in the courtyard for a dozen hundred seasons toppled, spilling flame across the dry grass. The fire raced toward the siblings, fueled by a swirling fireball, then another. A third pelted the ground, the closest yet, and the impact threw Ine’vesi into his sister, his momentum carrying them both into the river.




Saturday, 7 February 2015

Do Judge A Book By It's Cover - Week 2

The lovely Gill over at The Book Magpie started a new blog meme called 'DO Judge A Book By It's Cover last Saturday. Unfortunately I missed week one but as I am reader who tends to pick their books based on the cover a lot of the time I intend to take part every week.

The idea is that every week Gill will give us a theme & we have to blog about our favourite book cover that fits that theme. It doesn't have to be a book that we've even read. Once a month there will be a Free Choice that will allow you to post any cover you like. You can read more about the guidelines & how it works over on Gill's blog

So the theme of week 2 is FANTASY , a genre that I happen to love & one of my favourite fantasy covers belongs to a book that I read back in 2012.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


This cover is just so beautiful & really captures what the book is about. I love the simple use of the black & white colour scheme with that little bit of red just thrown in. I love the silhouettes  & all of the little images that are on the lady's dress.

If you haven't read this book yet then please give it a go. It is a truly magical read and a great book for reading groups