Thursday, 28 August 2014

August Library Haul #2

Yesterday brought my second library trip this month. It's always such a great feeling when you walk through the doors and not just one but TWO of the books at the top of your tbr list are sat on the 'just in' shelf waiting for you. Can't wait to get stuck in!

Petite Mort - Beatrice Hitchman
A silent film, destroyed in a fire in 1913 at the Pathé studio, before it was seen even by its director. A lowly seamstress, who makes the costumes she should be wearing, but believes her talent - and the secret she keeps too - will soon get her a dressing room of her own. A beautiful house in Paris, with a curving staircase, a lake, and locked rooms. A famous - and dashing - creator of spectacular cinematic illusions, husband to a beautiful, volatile actress, the most adored icon of the Parisian studios. All fit together, like scenes in a movie. And as you will see, this plot has a twist we beg you not to disclose...

India Black and the Gentleman Thief - Carol K Carr
India Black’s double life operating a high-class brothel and running high-stakes espionage for Her Majesty’s government can take its toll. But there’s no rest for the weary—particularly when an international conspiracy comes knocking…
 India Black is one of Victorian London’s most respected madams—not a bloody postmistress. So when Colonel Francis Mayhew forwards a seemingly innocuous shipping bill to her address, she’s puzzled. And when three thugs bust down her door, steal the envelope, and rough up both her and fellow agent French…well, that’s enough to make India Black see red.
 The veteran spies soon discover that Mayhew has been butchered in his own bedroom. An impromptu investigation leads them to London’s docks, where India makes a startling discovery she can’t bear to tell the rakish French—she has a history with their chief suspect, the gentleman thief who once stole her heart…

What's new on your shelves this week?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Summer in Sorrento by Melissa Hill

Maia and her husband Jim, in a moment of spontaneity, bought an old farmhouse in Sorrento and moved their from their native Ireland for a change of pace once they hit their forties. A few years later and Maia is alone, mourning her husband and struggling to make ends meet. Along with her friend and house helper Camilla, Maia opens up her home as a Bed and Breakfast, and is surprised not only at the popularity of her home, but also by how much she enjoys being hostess. Each of her guests have their own stories to tell and problems to solve, and Maia finds herself loving every minute of it.

Having spent a few days in Sorrento myself this summer I couldn't help but be excited when I heard about this book. It  is one of the most magical and beautiful places I have ever visited and I would return there in a heartbeat. It is therefore not hard for me to believe Maia's story of her and Jim falling in love with the place and deciding to move there. Maia is a very likeable character, and there's plenty of scope to do more short stories with different guests, maybe even a full length novel, and so I really hope that Melissa writes more!

4/5 stars: A charming tale of love and loss set in one of the world's most breathtaking places, I just wish it was longer!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Release Day / Giveaway: Reluctantly Royal by Nichole Chase

Today I'm excited to be part of the release day launch for Reluctantly Royal by Nichole Chase.
This book sounds right up my street and I can't wait to read it! LOVE the cover too!
Read on for a synopsis and excerpt, and don't forget to enter the giveaway.
There's some brilliant prizes to be won: a signed set of the Royal
trilogy, a gorgeous crown necklace and a $25 gift card!
 I know I'll be entering!

Maxwell Jameson Trevor, prince of Lilaria, hates his royal role. Despising the limelight, he takes solace in his art studio and steers clear of any drama. But when one of the newly discovered royals passes away, Maxwell's brother Alex asks him to break the news to the old man's granddaughter. Though he hates to be the bearer of doom and gloom, he doesn't want the poor girl to find out from the tabloids. For Maxwell knows all too well how devastating that could be.

Coming from a broken home and modest background, newly ordained Lady Meredith Thysmer has seized her chance to make a better life for herself and her son. She's not afraid to use her best assets to get what she wants. But when the unpretentious yet devastatingly handsome Max delivers his news, her plans for the future come crashing to a halt. In the challenging days ahead, Max's compassion, humor, and steadfast loyalty to Meredith and her son win her over. She quickly finds herself doing something she swore would never happen again: falling in love. And yet Maxwell still refuses to completely drop his guard. Somehow Meredith's got to find a way to seduce this reluctant royal.
Goodreads    Amazon    B&N    iTunes    Indiebound    Kobo

As I turned to leave the room, my eyes fell on a sketch pad and I couldn’t help myself. Sitting back down in the chair I flipped it open and smiled at the drawings inside. Marty had promise for such a young kid. Turning to a blank page, I glanced around and searched for a pencil. Charcoal would be best, but pencil would do.
I started with the lines of his forehead, the curve of his impish nose, the roundness of his cheeks. I was lost in the sketch, enjoying the shadows, the tenderness in his expression, working to capture that moment of utter innocence.
“That’s beautiful.” Her voice was soft.
I looked up from what I was doing, not surprised that she had snuck up on me. When I’m lost in a project, the world disappears; the only thing I’m aware of are the layers of the project I’m working on.
“He’s a good subject.” I turned back to the paper and finished up the shading of the blanket.
“Only because he’s asleep and not moving.” Her quiet laugh sent shivers over my body.
“That does help.” I smiled up at her. “But it’s the contrast. The contrast of him awake versus him asleep. He looks so young right now, so innocent.”
“What do you mean?” She leaned closer to look at the picture.
“He’s so mature, quick-witted.” I whispered the words. “But here he is, looking like the child he is.”
“His teachers say that,” she said. “That he’s quick to pick things up.”
“I’d say so.” I turned and handed her the sketch pad. “I hope you don’t mind that I drew him. The light and shadows were too perfect to resist.” Sort of like her right now. The way the moonlight glinted in her eyes and shone along her hair. Her perfect features would make any artist ache to draw them. Her pixie nose, the heavy eyelashes, the curve of her body hinted at by the oversized sweater she had wrapped around herself. It made my palms itch. Partly because I just wanted to touch her, to see if she would taste as sweet as she looked in that moment.
“Thank you for keeping him entertained.” She stood up. “Can I keep this?”
“Of course.” I stood up and stretched. Her eyes swept over my chest and then back up to my face. Maybe I wasn’t the only one tempted to touch. I hated to admit it, but I had a flare of pride. “I enjoyed hanging out with him.”
I was surprised to realize I meant it. I never would have thought spending time with a six-year-old would have been enjoyable.
“Looks like he did too.” She moved away from the door and I followed her into the hallway.
“Did you get everything settled?”
“I think so.” She frowned.
“What’s wrong?” Her expression worried me.
“Granddad would have hated a large ceremony.” She sighed and headed for the stairs. “But I guess that as a duke there are some things that have to happen.”
“I don’t blame your grandfather.” I followed behind her. “I would want a small ceremony, not to be made into a production.”
“I’m starting to think you don’t like any type of production.” She looked at me over shoulder.
“Not really, no.” I wasn’t going to lie. “I don’t like being the focus, being the center of attention. It makes me uncomfortable.” I wasn’t going to lie, but I hadn’t intended to tell her so much about me.
“And yet you agreed to help me with my grandfather’s funeral.” She turned to me at the bottom of the stairs and set the sketch pad on a table. “Why?”
I stared at her for a minute, enjoying the way her eyes looked up at me, the tilt of her chin, the way her hair cascaded around her shoulders. “I don’t know.”
Unable to help myself, I reached out and touched her cheek with my fingers. Her pupils dilated and she inhaled softly. With one thumb I traced the dip under her plump bottom lip. Her hand reached up to trace my jaw and she took a step closer to me.
“You should be running from me as fast as you can.” She whispered the words. “I’m everything you don’t want.”
“I’m not so sure.”
“I live for the spotlight, it’s my food.” Her eyes were half lidded as she edged closer to my mouth. “And you’ve seen my family. I’m trouble, Max.”
Did I care? I wasn’t sure I was capable of making a real decision as her smell wrapped around my senses. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to taste her, to touch her, to press her against my body. To hear her say my name again.
Dipping my head, I grazed her lips with mine and I was lost. On a sigh, she leaned into me and wrapped her hands around my neck. Tilting her head back, I brought my mouth to hers carefully, softly, tasting. I wanted to deepen the kiss, to hear her moan, to feel the way her body could wrap around mine, but I kept it soft, sweet, and simple. She was in such a hard place, she needed to be protected, treasured by someone.
And right now, I was that person.

About the Author
Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at
the Romance Academy.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.
Author Website    Twitter    Facebook    Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Blitz / Giveaway: Catch my Breath by Lynn Montagano

Today I'm excited to be part of the book blitz for Catch my Breath, a contemporary romance by Lynn Montagano. This book sounds really good, and I have one copy to give away, so let
me know if you're interested! Read on for an excerpt...

Lia Meyers’ plan for a relaxing Scottish vacation is short-lived when one uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness lands her in the arms of a dangerously attractive Englishman.
The perfect opportunity for a much needed holiday romance? Wrong! Lia’s still reeling from the mother of all
bad breakups, and she really doesn’t have the patience for Alastair Holden – despite his effortless charm and cute British accent.
Arrogant and totally inscrutable, he’s exactly the sort of guy she wants to avoid but can’t: the man behind the mystery proves just too tempting to resist.
Drawn to him, Lia is forced to battle with her own insecurities, and the closer they become, the more she recognizes her own weaknesses as she peels away his layers with every night they spend together. Discovering the past Alastair is so desperate to conceal, Lia must decide if they can heal one another together or if their deepest fears will tear them apart.
Goodreads    Amazon    B&N

My heel snagged on the carpet, sending me flying. I landed nose-first in a charcoal gray tailored Armani suit. Momentarily stunned, I clutched onto the toned arms that were wrapped around me. As I looked up my heart nearly stopped.
Wide emerald eyes fringed with long lashes gazed down at me with guarded curiosity. His sculpted mouth twisted into a cautious smile, softening his jawline.
“Are you alright?” he asked as he loosened his grip on me. His voice was rich and smooth, like a full-bodied wine. The English accent he had could charm the pants off a nun. It made me want to fall into his arms again.
I stepped back, smoothing down my dress. He didn’t look much older than thirty, but his worn eyes betrayed his youth.
“I’m fine. I’m not usually that clumsy. Sorry.”
His brows furrowed. “I kept telling them someone was going to stumble over that patch of carpet. You’re sure you’re okay?”
“Aside from my bruised ego and general lack of grace, I think I’ll be alright.” I smiled up at him in an effort to thwart the growing blush from creeping up my neck. I wasn’t the type who embarrassed easily and needed to regain some sort of composure. No luck.
His expression altered subtly as his stare intensified. Something shifted in the air between us. It was as though he’d tethered me with some freakishly strong invisible rope. My pulse quickened. I was caught smack dab in the middle of his magnetic pull without any means of escape.
Not that I wanted to get away. His tall frame filled out the suit with powerful elegance. The quiet control with which he held himself mirrored royalty. A tousled mass of thick, dark red hair framed chiseled features that would inspire Michelangelo. But it was those eyes that got me.
They were so astute, yet veiled. I wanted to know what was behind them.
“Would you like a drink?”
How he made such an innocent question sound so seductive was beyond me. His dark stare was unflinching. If I said no, he’d probably take it as a personal insult. And I did want another one of those fruity-minty drinks; I just couldn’t articulate the words.
“I hear the signature drink is rather good. Would you like that?”
“Yes, please,” I finally managed to say.
Forget my cheeks, my whole body flushed as I watched him move toward the bar. A silver cufflink glinted off his crisply pressed gray and white pinstriped shirt. I noticed he paired it with a solid gray tie before he caught me looking. A smile ghosted across his lips as his languid gaze traced my curves. I made a big deal out of inspecting the carpet for more hidden traps that my shoes could fall victim to.
He handed me the drink, my fingers brushing his when I clasped the glass. Against my better judgment I fell captive to his stare once more. Luckily, I remembered my manners and thanked him.
“My pleasure. Have you been enjoying yourself?”
“Yeah. Well, aside from making an ass of myself just now.”
A flash of white appeared revealing a dazzling smile. It was extremely sexy and charming. And dangerous. I felt myself falling deeper and deeper under his spell.
“Trust me, stumbling on a carpet is not the worst thing I’ve seen at these events.”
“Stick around long enough and you just might see some of these well-dressed ladies toss off their shoes and throw some shapes when the band starts playing.” He grinned.
“Throw some what?”
“Dance.” His eyes flared with humor.
“You Brits and your crazy sayings,” I laughed.
“We like to keep you Americans on your toes.”
I took a long sip of my cocktail to prevent a stupid grin from spreading across my face.
“Don’t have too many of those. They’re rather potent.”
“But they’re so good. Don’t piss on my fireworks.” I smiled broadly.
A deep, throaty laugh filled the space between us.
“’Throwing shapes’ baffled you, but you know ‘piss on my fireworks?’”
“My sister only taught me the fun slang,” I laughed.
“Does she live here?”
“Not in Glasgow, no. She lives in London.”
“Well then, you’ll have to thank her for me,” he said, smoothing down his tie.
“Thank her for what?”
“Pretty Americans who know British slang are rare in these parts.”
“Interesting.” I looked up at him through my lashes.
“Someone just warned me that you guys have a thing for American girls.”
His eyebrows arched. “And what did they say?”
“It has something to do with our accents.”
“You have an accent?” He angled toward me. “I hadn’t noticed.”
The way that he was looking at me caused me to completely forget my exhaustion. His dark eyes and sexy grin woke me up in more ways than one, pushing several of my hot buttons.
“Be careful,” he said, clasping the glass in my hand. “You don’t want to spill it all over your dress.”
Way to go. “You must think I’m a hot mess. First I take a nose-dive into your suit and now I’m dropping drinks.”
“Like I said, I’ve seen worse.”
The longer I held his gaze, the faster my heart raced. There was something…forbidden in the way he looked at me.
“I should probably get back to my friends.”
“Do you have to?”
A suffocating aura of want enveloped me. He was closer, dominating the space between us. Our quick, breezy exchange was light years away from the hazy, thick fog of desire that hung in the air. Get it together, Lia. Walk away.
“You’re rather deep in thought.”
I blinked. “Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. I thought maybe I was boring you.”
A shrill ring sounded from his pocket. He fished out a cell phone, frowning at the screen.
“I have to take this.”
And just like that, I was pulled out of his engaging aura and plopped back into reality.

About the Author
A fresh, new voice in contemporary romance, Lynn is a former TV news writer who decided to take the plunge and write a novel. She's thrilled that her debut series is being published by Harper Impulse. The first book, Catch My Breath, was released in April 2014 to rave reviews. Its follow up, Unravel Me, hits the market in July. Lynn grew up in a small town in Rhode Island before venturing out into the world. She's lived everywhere from Los Angeles to Boston to Orlando. An avid traveler, Lynn's been as far away as Australia and as close as Canada. Her favorite place to visit is London. The small town girl is back on the east coast after a brief stint in Northern California. Lynn currently resides in Massachusetts, comfortably close to her beloved football team.
Author Website    Twitter    Facebook    Goodreads

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review Blitz: The Man Test by Amanda Aksel

Marin Johns is San Francisco’s Pollyanna couples therapist. She’s months away from wedded bliss when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair. After nursing her broken heart with Kleenex and break-up songs, she adopts a new brand of thinking when she uncovers a tell-all book that proves all men are liars and cheaters who will do and say anything so they’re not found out. No exceptions.

In an attempt to convince her friends of her newfound truth, she begins a fictitious relationship with James, a do-gooder from Montana. Marin seeks any means necessary to catch him cheating from hiring a PI to enlisting the help of a fidelity tester. Will her new "boyfriend" beat the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction of being right?

The synopsis of this book reminded me a little of the plot of the film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The whole girl fakes a relationship with a guy to prove a point storyline is a tried and tested idea, but one which I happen to love. Indeed, this novel falls nicely into the rom-com category and could easily be a film itself! It is written in the first person from the perspective of Marin, a couples therapist who walks in on her 'perfect' fiancé to find that he isn't so perfect after all. In an instant all her dreams are shattered, and after wallowing in self pity she decides enough is enough and turns to a self-help manual for instruction. Marin is an incredibly likeable but frustrating character in that you wanted her to stop all the crazy ideas and give the adorable James a break, and I liked the fact that the story was told entirely from her point of view. The perfect beach read providing hope to scorned women everywhere, The Man Test is a refreshing addition to the chick-lit genre. 4/5 stars.

About the Author
AMANDA (ah-MAHN-dah)- Latin- Meaning lovable or worthy of love. Fitting. I've always had an affinity for love. ​ Being born in sunny San Diego in the mid 80’s to a young military couple gave me plenty of insight into the dynamics of a romantic relationship. Somewhere between moving coasts every three years, I found myself engrossed in fairytale romances and dressing up like a bride. ​ My first real love was writing. By my sophomore year in a new high school in Virginia, I had a slew of short stories, songs, poems, and articles to my name. Writing was fun. It was a way to get the emotions, dialogue, and pictures out of my head, and create a destiny for my characters. ​I had no intention of making a career in writing, because it wasn’t what I did, it was who I was. In reality, I wanted to be an actress. Ah, to be the face of someone else’s authored story. The plan was to move in with my aunt in L.A. after graduation, but had a change of heart. Instead, I stayed with my high school sweetheart (now husband) and attended a film school in Norfolk, VA. It was at this school that I discovered my love for writing screenplays and felt compelled to follow that path. But…as the practical girl I was brought up to be, I decided to go to a real university. While working full time, I completed my BA in Psychology in four and a half years. Becoming a couple’s therapist had always been my “backup” career and there I was on my way to solving love's most complicated quandaries one couple at a time. ​ With all my new free time after graduation, I decided to turn my full-length screenplay into a novel in hopes it would help my screenplay sell. I think I was in the middle of writing chapter two when I realized that everything I had ever written was to prepare me for that moment when I knew I was a novelist. Talk about the affirmation of my life. Now my plan is to solve love's most complicated quandaries one novel at a time.
Author Website    Facebook    Twitter    Pinterest

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Review: The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne.

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie's passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix, and Evie's heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver...

I think I've found my new favourite author.

I absolutely loved this book, primarily because I could relate to Evie so much! From her romantic period fantasies and over-active imagination to her clumsiness I could almost have been reading a book about myself! Even Evie's relationship with her sister is identical to mine; my sister has regular clear outs whilst I'm a self confessed hoarder - I'm sure my hundreds of Beano comics will be worth something someday!

The story is filled with wonderful, mostly likeable characters who all add something to the plot. Fraser is adorable, and as for Robert... Like Evie he's not exactly my usual book-boyfriend type but I ended up falling for him just as much as she did. Kettlesheer house is a character in itself, and so well described that you can picture the endless staircases, rooms and corridors as if you're watching them on screen. I would have liked to read a bit more about what happened with Evie and Robert -whether she got her fairytale ending - and what happened with Kettlesheer; an epilogue would have sufficed. I'm hoping it ended as it did to leave room for a sequel!

I devoured this novel in a day and am definitely on the look out for more books my Hester Browne! I passed it on to my mum, who read it and passed it on to my Grandma! We all have such varied tastes in books that to find one we all love is a rarity. This is one of those rarities.

5/5 stars: The perfect read for a rainy day. Curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and lose yourself in this witty and heart-warming tale.

Review: Calling California by J.P Grider

Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her plate - her father is dying, she's working to help pay the rent, and she's two-years behind in college. Griffin Brooks is rich. He has not a care in the world - he's acing his engineering courses, his hobby is restoring his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.
When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of class, she's immediately smitten and thinks she's found the perfect guy. When Griffin sees Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their worlds collide.
Cali doesn't belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn't understand hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two different worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.
Is their love strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?

This novel follows the formula for YA fiction; it's full of teenage angst (to the point where I found myself skim reading huge chucks just to get through it) with a 'rich-boy poor-girl' standard plot, but the characters are a lot more three dimensional than I've found in other books in the genre. The flashback at the beginning of the book was a nice touch, and the 'secret' was a twist that I definitely didn't see coming! Cali is a troubled soul to say the least, and I was almost shouting at her at times to stop being so proud and accept Griffin's help. As for Griffin, well he was just all kinds of perfect! Although I have to admit that I find his change of character - changing from a self confessed skirt chaser to a one-woman-man in an instant- a little hard to believe. I've noticed a running theme in YA fiction of music, all of the stories seem to have a soundtrack of some kind -an idea which I love- and in this case it was classic rock. The choices of songs complimented the characters and their situations perfectly, and I was even introduced to a few songs that I hadn't heard before. I'd love to know what happens to Cali and Griffin in the long run, and given that the book is subtitled Hunter Hill University #1, I'm hoping that we're going to get a sequel of some kind! 3/5 stars.

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Book Blitz / Giveaway: Channel 20 Something by Amy Patrick

Today I'm excited to be part of the Book Blitz for Channel 20 Something, a contemporary
romance novel by Amy Patrick. This book sounds really good, and I 
love the cover! I also have one eBook copy to giveaway, so if
you're interested give me a shout!

From award-winning author and two-time GOLDEN HEART® finalist Amy Patrick comes a New Adult
contemporary series about twenty-somethings entering the world of TV broadcasting, where what happens behind the scenes is the real news.
22-year-old Heidi Haynes is almost one year into her “real life”. She has her first reporting job, her first apartment, and a comfortable relationship with her college sweetheart. But for some reason she’s not as eager to talk about walking down the aisle as he is.
Heidi secretly longs for big cities, big-market breaking news, and real independence from her way-too-close-by helicopter parents. Problem is, the last time she left the security of home for new places and new people, things didn’t go so well. Disastrously, in fact, and she came running back to a local college and a “safe” boyfriend.
Aric Serrano is definitely not safe.
He’s six-feet-four-inches of missing-Hemsworth-brother-hotness and plans to stay in small-market-Southern-Hell just long enough to grab a cup of coffee and put together a kick-ass “escape tape”. He’ll serve his one-year contract, then he’s taking off for a higher rung on the TV sports ladder—alone—the way he likes it. Then he meets his new co-anchor.

Heidi would be so much more comfortable if she could simply ignore Aric. He’s just her type—the type she’s so careful to avoid these days. But that becomes impossible when she's forced to work closely with him on the weekend newscast. Now the attraction between them is growing even faster than the ratings, and what happens behind the scenes is the real news.
Goodreads    Amazon    B&N    Kobo

About the Author
Amy is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Young Adult fiction as Amy DeLuca and New Adult romance as Amy Patrick.  She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up. She's been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.
Author Website    Twitter    Goodreads

Author Interview
Your main character in CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, Heidi, is a first-year TV news reporter/anchor. You were also a TV news reporter, right? Is Heidi anything like you?
Well, she’s definitely not me, but I did give her some of the same struggles and experiences I had as a newbie reporter/anchor. And like me, she grew up in a small Mississippi town. We also shared the same *unfortunate* nervous-stomach issue. 

Did you actually throw up in front of the governor of Mississippi one minute before going on live TV like Heidi did? 
Why yes. Yes I did. Nothing like rookie reporter nerves. Happy to report I did eventually get over that little problem and can now appear on television without any threat of my lunch reappearing. 

Do you have a favourite character in CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING?
It’s really hard to choose. I really relate to some of Heidi’s passion and confusion and mistakes. I love her sister Jane Elaine. But I’d have to say Aric is my favorite. I mean, what’s not to love? Ultra-hot guy who’s also funny and kind? Yes please. 

Do all the 20 Something novels take place in the South? 
As you know, book 1, CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, is set in Mississippi, where Heidi gets her first job. Book 2, STILL YOURS, takes place in Providence, Rhode Island, the news market where Heidi’s friend Mara is starting a new job (and running into the ex she hoped she’d never lay eyes on again). Meanwhile, Heidi’s other best friend Kenley has moved to Atlanta and is starting a job at WNN. We’ll hear her story in Book 3, STILL ME.

Beyond being a writer, what’s going on in your life?
I narrate audiobooks for other authors, and I’m in the middle of a fun small-town mystery series for author Sandra Balzo. I have a small recording studio in my house where I lay down my tracks, then I send them to a sound engineering for post-production. I also have two boys who are about to go back to school, so we’re making preparations for that while trying to squeeze in a bit more summer fun. It goes so fast! 

What’s one crazy fact about you that most people who meet you probably wouldn't guess was true? 
I used to be a professional singer. I’ve sung in several bands and did background vocals on a smooth jazz album. I also sang the theme song for SAS Airlines years ago. “Welcome aboard… to the skies… of S-A-S… where you’ll find… happiness.”

As I said above I have one e-copy of this book to giveaway, so comment below if you're interested! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Liebster Blog Award #2

A couple of months ago, Ashely @ Ashley's Paranormal Book Blog  was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Blog Award. The award is designed to give smaller blogs some love and attention, and to be nominated for a second time is an honour!

These are the rules:
  • Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you.
  • Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers with less than 200 followers. You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you.
  • Go to their blog and tell them that they have been nominated!
11 Facts About Me
1) I love playing and watching tennis. Roger Federer is my favourite player!
2) I'm sort of allergic to mushrooms.
3) I live on a farm.
4) I'm double jointed in my elbows.
5) My last holiday was to Rome and Sorrento. I desperately want to see the rest of Italy now.
6) I have a weird phobia of odd numbers.
7) I once met Richard Osman from Pointless and he told me I was cute.
8) I can remember lyrics to songs from ten years ago but I forget what I did last week. 
9) 'I'll Make a Man Out of You' from Mulan is my favourite Disney song.
10) I saw the film version of Mamma Mia five times in the cinema. Yeah...
11) Captain America is my favourite superhero.

11 Questions from Ashley
1) When did you start blogging? I started blogging in December last year. Since graduating from university with my English Lit degree I had kept a book full of thoughts on the books I was reading (once a critical reader always a critical reader!) and decided that a blog was the perfect way of voicing my ideas. 

2) If there was a zombie apocalypse and you could only choose one weapon, and that weapon is whatever is directly to the right of you, what would it be? The TV remote haha!

3) Favorite paranormal movie? Paranormal stuff really isn't my thing, so I guess Casper the Friendly Ghost is about my level!

4.) If you could choose any supernatural power, what would it be? It's a toss up between mind-reading and time travel, but I think mind-reading would be the most useful!

5) What's your preferred genre? Definitely Romance. I can persevere with most genres of books if there's a romantic theme in there somewhere!

6) Top 3 authors and books? I don't have any absolute favourite books, but three of my favourites picked at random are Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. 

7) Long walks on the trail or playing in the rain? I'm one of those weird people who LOVES rain. Not drizzle but proper, heavy summer rain. I've been known to run outside and dance about in it! I get really excited during thunderstorms too!

8.) What book would you absolutely have to make into movie? This is a no-brainer for me. I finished The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas a couple of months ago and since then have pretty much cast it in my head. Incredible book too!

9) How long have you been a blogger? I've been a book blogger for almost eight months. I've had a tumblr blog for at least three years but re-blogging photos of cats isn't quite the same thing!

10) How many posts have you made to date? This is my one hundred and fifteenth post. Wow that's more than I thought!

11) What's your least favourite music? There's no genre that I specifically hate, but I'm not a fan of rap music or really heavy metal. Lyrics are the most important part of a song for me, and so if you can't hear them properly, what's the point?

11 Questions from me
1) What got you into blogging in the first place?
2) What's your favourite book and why?
3) What was the last film you saw at the cinema and what did you think of it?
4) Do you have a favourite song?
5) If you could live in any fictional world (i.e. Narnia) where would you choose?
6) Who would your dream fictional husband/wife be?
7) Do you have a favourite cartoon character?
8) Do you prefer eBooks or physical ones? Which do you read most often?
9) What's your favourite TV show?
10) Why did you choose your blog name? Is there a story behind it?
11) In the film of your life, who would play you? And what would you call it?

My nominations
Katie @ Paperback Planes
Jen @ Ink on the Shelf
Gail @ Scripturient
Sandee @ A Whimsical Reader
Teisha @ Girl Writes Reviews
Anja @ She Likes Books
Dawn @ Crooks on Books
Zi @ Zi's Reviews
Jillian @ Jillian's Books

Over to you guys :)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

August Book Haul

It's been an exciting week this week: I have five new books waiting to be read!
Yesterday brought my first library trip of the month...

Sense and Sensibility - Joanna Trollope 
This has been on my to-read list for some time, and the other day I read a brilliant review of it over on Girl with her Head in a Book's blog. It felt like fate when I saw it on the library shelf yesterday!

When sisters Elinor and Marianne lose their father and their beloved home, Norland Park, all in a matter of weeks, the shock affects them in very different ways. As young architect student Elinor holds the family together, Marianne resists with all her might the change they must endure.
Thrust into a tiny cottage in Devon, the two sisters are soon united by one thing, dilemmas of the heart. But where Marianne proclaims her love, Elinor holds her tongue. And in a world that turns on an axis of money, sex and power, what will prevail: following one's head or one's heart?

Last Voyage of the Valentina - Santa Montefiore 
Since my holiday to Italy last month -which I still need to post about!- I've been a little obsessed with all things Italy, and especially Amalfi.

An eccentric aristocrat is savagely murdered in his Italian palazzo at the end of World War II. Twenty years later, this unsolved crime touches the life of Alba, a hedonistic girl who lives on a houseboat in sixties Chelsea.
Between these two events runs a thread of love, decadence and betrayal that takes Alba from the country houses of the shires to the olive groves of the Amalfi coast, rich with the scent of figs, the drama of wartime and lingering decay of tragedy.
As the past unfolds, it reveals a secret web of partisans and Nazis, peasants and counts and in the centre of it all, an alluring woman of mystery: Alba's mother.
Alba investigates not only a murder but also the forbidden truth. What she finds in the past is heartrending, but it's the gateway to her own future.

I also received this book via Bookbridgr to review:

and have these two titles on the way to me courtesy of Goodreads Giveaways!

It's going to be a busy month! What's new on your shelves this week?

Book Blitz / Giveaway: A Midsummer Night's Fling by Beth Matthews

Today I'm excited to be part of the book blitz for A Midsummer Night's Fling, a 
contemporary romance by Beth Matthews. As a lover of all things Shakespeare I couldn't resist
finding out more about this book, and now I can't wait to read it! If you want to read it too 
leave me a comment: I have an e-copy to give away!

After dating her childhood sweetheart Max on and off for years, aspiring actress Nicola Charles is finally ready to move on. It’s time for her to focus on her stage career and stay away from Max–before he can break her heart again.
Max regrets hurting Nicola, but he wants another chance. So when his play loses its leading lady, giving Nicola the part seems like the perfect opportunity to win back his old flame.
But the course of true love—and a theater production—never do run smooth. As Max fights to reignite Nicola’s love, the onstage antics can’t rival the bedlam backstage: a neurotic cast, a prickly crew, and an evil diva of a director who’s got designs on Max.
As Nicola and Max battle to keep the drama onstage, Max can’t help wondering if their romance will end with the last performance. Or have the two of them finally captured what they’ve dreamed of all their lives? True Love.
A contemporary romance that should appeal to fans of the wry humor and playful sexiness in the works of Julie James and Victoria Dahl.

He shrugged, his massive shoulders rising and falling like some kind of geological event. "This is the tent pole production of the company's summer season. We need A-level talent, and none of the girls already in the company are up to snuff. Rita knows you, she's had you in a lead role before, and you've played Titania -- "
"In grad school."
As Nicola said it, Cassie shot her a shocked look from the bathroom door which was basically, Why are you sabotaging yourself?
Nicola pretty much felt the same way: furious with herself for being so childish. But as juicy as this opportunity was, Nicola didn't want anything to do with anything that had to do with Max.
Max was a trap, a dungeon, a freaking oubliette. She'd barely managed to survive leaving him five years ago. She didn't know how to process this, how to deal with him. She was swimming in cognitive dissonance. Part of her was glad to see him. Part of her was squealing with joy at the opportunity he was offering her.
And part of her wanted to punch him in the head and throw him out of her apartment.
"Which one is A Midsummer Night's Dream?" Cassie asked, turning toward Max with a polite smile.
Traitor. Nicola glowered. 
"It's the play with the fairies," Max explained. "Puck. The two couples run into the forest, and the fairies meddle so people keep falling in and out of love with each other. Nicola would be playing the fairy queen --"
"I didn't say I'd do it!"
"Whose estranged husband, the fairy king, casts a spell on her so she falls in love with a man who's got the head of a donkey. And much wackiness ensues."
Cassie frowned, thinking. "Wasn't Christian Bale in that movie? He took his shirt off."
Max gaped at Cassie in horror.
Nicola bit back a grin. "Cassie isn't much for Shakespeare. You didn't used to be either, Max."
"I'm a reformed character," he said, his voice going warm and low. 
Nicola shifted, feeling her cheeks heat. Liar. 

About the Author
Beth Matthews is a California girl, born and raised. She’s a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. She lives in sunny SoCal with her boyfriend and two of the neediest housecats on the planet.

Author Interview
What inspired you to write A Midsummer Night's Fling?
I've been in A Midsummer Night's Dream twice as an actor (once as a fairy and once as Hermia, the ultimate Shakespeare bimbo) and I met my boyfriend during one those productions. So, for various reasons, it's kind of my sentimental favorite of Shakespeare's plays. Reunited lovers is also one of my favorite tropes so, when I started brainstorming ideas for a contemporary, the idea of reunited lovers having to work together to play Titania and Oberon (the ultimate Shakespeare power couple) just got all of my creative juices flowing.

What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
When I was doing research for A Midsummer Night's Fling I read this great story about Richard Burton and JFK having a contest at a party to see who could remember the most Shakespearean sonnets. (Burton won, by the way.) I knew I had to steal this for my book--and I did! The hero and several of the other actors have a "Sonnet Faceoff"--but working the contest into the story was difficult. I had to keep the pace moving and find a balance between working the sonnets in but not drowning the reader with them. I think I finally nailed it, but it took a LOT of drafts.

What's your favorite moment from your book?
I really love this exchange between the hero and heroine right after she joins the play:
"I should have asked for more money to do this play," she said.
Max nodded. "Probably."
"And my own dressing room." 
"And some sort of cabana boy to feed me grapes in the breaks between scenes."
"Well," Max paused, putting on a thoughtful expression. "We don't have anyone like that on staff, but maybe one of the interns."

Who's your favorite character in A Midsummer Night's Fling?
Well, of course I love the leads and I love their chemistry together, but one of the secondary characters snuck up on me too and became a real scene stealer. That was Lachlan, the hero's main rival in the theater company. Lachlan is really fun to write because he is snarky and sneaky and British and sexy as hell. (He might or might not be based a little bit on Tom Hiddleston…) Lachlan is going to get his own book at some point--he's just too much fun to write!

What is your next project, and when will it be released?
Right now I'm polishing up a New Adult romance, Love's Last Call, for release later this year. It's about a dorky bouncer and the cocktail waitress he's sure is out of his league. If people want to learn more they can check out the book's info-page on my website.

As I said above, if you fancy getting your hands on a free e-copy of this book let me know! 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Book Blitz / Giveaway: Stealing Third by Marta Brown

Today I'm excited to be part of the Book Blitz for Stealing Third, a contemporary romance 
by Marta Brown. Read on for a plot synopsis, excerpt and book trailer, and if it
sounds like your thing let me know: I have an e-copy to give away!

For Emily, going to camp, the summer before college starts, means leaving her feuding parents alone for the next eight weeks, and coming back to divorce papers is a risk she can’t take.
But no matter how many meddling phone calls, questionable hair decisions, and possibly illegal hookups she plans, her parents still march her off to Camp Champ totally against her will.
No matter. A few broken rules, and Em will be home free. That is, until she learns Tyler Ford, her baseball coach father’s star player and her drunken party hookup, is at camp, too.
For Tyler, summer is the onramp to the biggest decision of his life: med school or major leagues. Mega hot, possibly underage Emily? A complication he does not need.
But as the summer heats up with strikeouts and stolen bases will Tyler and Emily hit a home run and get what they’re after? Or will they both be thrown a curveball…in the game of love?

“Emily, there you are,” Jenny says, walking into the cabin, the screen door banging closed behind her. I fold the letter to Kat and slip it back in the box before shoving it under my bed again. “What are you up to?” 
“Just got back from the batting cages. You?”
Jenny smiles. “I went up to the baseball field with some of the girls after getting done with crew.”
“Watching the boys?” I ask, despite already knowing the answer. It’s her favorite daily activity. 
“Just one in particular,” she squeals, causing me to wince as she bounces across the room, still in her spandex from practice, and sits down at the end of my bed. 
I push further back against my pillows to put some distance between us and roll my eyes. This isn’t a hard one to guess either. If ogling Todd were a sport, she could have earned a first place ribbon last summer.
“Let me guess, you were checking out T—”
“Tyler,” she finishes, cutting me off. 
My breath catches. My Tyler? 
She must read confusion on my face because she clarifies. “You know, the counselor from cabin four—the one with the crazy kissable lips.” 
Yep. That’s the one.
A nerve in my neck pinches. “Yeah…I know exactly who you mean.” Considering his crazy kissable lips is all I’ve thought about for days.
“Anyway, I came to grab a blanket and some sunscreen and I’m headed back up to the field. Some of the guys are about to have a pickup game.” Jenny pushes off my bed, grabs her beach bag and starts to head out the back door before stopping and tossing me a look over her shoulder. “Btw—you can come if you want.”
A pickup game? With Tyler? 
I smile, knowing the invitation is superficial, but I could care less. 
I hop off my bed, throw on my tennis shoes and grab a hair tie. I’ve avoided him for long enough. If it’s games Tyler wants to play, at least this one I know the rules to.
“Oh, great,” she deadpans. “You’re coming.”
I sweep my hair into a ponytail and grab my lucky baseball hat. 
“Nope. I’m playing.”

The baseball field is dusty and hot, and it’s exactly where I want to be. 
Between job shadowing Doc, thinking about Emily in that teeny tiny bikini—which I completely shouldn’t be—and the pressure of choosing between medicine and baseball bearing down on me like the mid-afternoon sun, I’d almost forgotten how excited I was to spend the summer at a camp dedicated to sports.
“All right, guys, I know it’s just a pickup game, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to play like it’s the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series.” Mark, one of the other counselors who plays ball claps his hands. The whistle hanging around his neck and the clipboard tucked under his arm reminds me of Coach. “Am I right?”
“Right,” the team echoes in unison before scattering to our various positions.
Grabbing the rim of my baseball hat and tugging it down low to block the sun from my eyes, I pump my fist into the hollow cup of my well worn glove and settle in at shortstop.
“Let’s do this,” I call, and then proceed to choke on the cheek full of sunflower seeds in my mouth at the sight of Emily walking out of the other team’s dugout—in something way hotter than a tiny bikini. 
A baseball jersey. 
Shooting me a wink, she bends down, grabs a helmet, and slips it on before approaching homeplate. She kicks in her toes, drawing up dust as she grips the bat and readies herself for the pitch. 
Damn, she looks hot. And by the slack jawed faces of my teammates, and frankly, her team, too, I’m not alone in my thinking. Maybe that’s why Mark gives her a nice easy pitch right down the middle. 
She hits a hard and fast line drive right between me and the second baseman, and before I can even scramble for the ball, she’s on first and smiling at me.
I shake my head. Of course she plays baseball—why wouldn’t she? She is the coach’s daughter after all. 
But staring at Emily standing on first base, tying her jersey into a high knot and revealing her toned stomach, I’m starting to get the feeling she’s playing with a whole different set of rules. Ones I’m pretty sure her dad didn’t teach her.

About the Author
Marta Brown grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was a teenager when Doc Martens, Pearl Jam and flannel were the norm and Dylan loved Kelly forever. (Beverly Hills 90210 shout out) 
She still lives just outside Seattle, now with her husband and cat, and loves the rain.
When she’s not writing about cute boys, first kisses and the magic and wonder of being seventeen, she’s watching The CW. And she sleeps in. Late.

Sounds pretty good right? I love the cover too! As I said earlier I have one e-copy up for grabs so leave me a comment if you're interested!