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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Friction by Sandra Brown..

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Friction

Blurb:

A Texas Ranger with a tarnished badge…
An enemy hell-bent on revenge…
And the lady judge caught in the middle.

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him doing deskwork and his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, an ambitious and confident judge, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

Review:

I’ve been a long standing Sandra Brown fan and have read and enjoyed her books over the years. So it’s no surprise that whenever a new book comes out, I have to buy it immediately. I just recently finished Friction, which released on 18th August. Friction met and exceeded my expectations.

The story revolves around our hero, Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt who is trying to win custody of his 5 year old daughter from her grandparents. Four years ago, Crawford lost his wife in a road accident and in his grief, lost his way and began to drink and behave carelessly. Unable to look after his daughter or let go of his grief, he agrees to give temporary custody to his in-laws. Four years later, Crawford Hunt is no longer the same man who lost his wife. He’s cleaned up his act and has settled closer to where his daughter, Georgia lives, hoping to bring his daughter back home. The final decision rests on the shoulders of Judge Holly Spencer who has just taken over temporarily from her mentor. Wanting to ensure that she has a good chance of permanently taking over her mentor’s position, Holly has to make sure she makes the correct decision. Although Holly realises that Crawford loves and cares for his daughter deeply, she’s worried about whether or not he’d be able to fully look after her. During the final custody hearing Holly is about to give her decision when all hell breaks loose; a masked gunman barges into the courtroom and head’s straight for the judge.

Fortunately, Holly is saved by Crawford but what ensues is a cat and mouse race to find the real shooter and figure out his motives for carrying out the shooting. From start to finish, Sandra Brown takes the reader on a hellish journey where brutality knows no limits, threats are made and life-changing secrets and betrayals are revealed.

My favourite character was Georgia, she stole the show for me. Perhaps because of her innocence or her love for her father, Georgia completely stole my heart in whatever scenes she appeared in , especially the ones with Crawford. Throughout the novel, Georgia was the only proof readers needed, to know that Georgia should be by her father’s side. I liked Holly and Crawford, both as individuals and as a couple. Holly is a kind and caring person but she’s also an ambitious woman who believes in what she does and completes it to the best of her ability. Crawford is an enigma. As the story progresses, layers of his personality are slowly peeled off and revealed. At first I wasn’t sure whether or not he did deserve having Georgia’s custody, slowly but surely he won me over through his actions throughout the book and with the twist at the end, my heart was completely sold on him. He’s a great three dimensional character who you can’t help but feel sympathy for. He was given a difficult time by fate but he never stopped fighting for what would ultimately save his soul; having his daughter back in his life permanently.

The narrative is absolutely brilliant. The amount of twists and turns in this book had my head spinning and me grinning from ear to ear after a new clue was revealed and new secrets were confessed. Sandra has a superb way of engaging the reader and inviting them into her world of mayhem where nothing is as it seems. My suspect list was quite long but I do confess to figuring out who the culprit was. The only slight niggling issue I had was with the reason for why the culprit did what they set out to do. I wanted there to be a bit more of a scandal surrounding it. Perhaps that’s just me but the reasons for committing the crimes sounded weak to me. Nonetheless, it didn’t take away my enjoyment and overall I loved the book.

If you’re looking for a high octane romance thriller, then this book is for you. Friction is a classic Sandra Brown novel that will leave you feeling breathless and craving more from our fascinating cast of characters. Be prepared to be swept away into the mind blowing, chaotic drama that is Friction. Pick up your copy now, I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 10/10

More information about Sandra and her books can be found in the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter – Goodreads

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BLOG TOUR: Just The Way You Are by Lynsey James..

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Today is my stop on the Just The Way You Are Blog Tour, a delightful romance novel by Lynsey James. A lot to get through today so first up is a quick bio on our author, following a review and then an awesome opportunity to partake in a giveaway! Without further ado..


Author Bio:

lynsey

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

You can find out more about Lynsey and her novels in the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter


Blurb:

Dear Ava,

How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can’t remember the last time she had a second date. It’s a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she’s in love with someone else. Someone she’s never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she’s determined to unmask Mr Writer…and find out once and for all if he’s Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

Review:

Just The Way You Are is a promising debut novel by Lynsey James that takes you on a journey full of love, laughter and second chances.

The story revolves around our protagonist, Ava who has recently started receiving letters from a secret admirer. Now as this is a romance novel, these letters are anything but stalkerish or creepy. In fact, it’s actually a (somewhat) pleasant surprise for Ava, who received similar letters from her admirer back in university. Unfortunately, not everything ended the way Ava hoped and her heart was broken. As such she tried to put the letters and the writer out of her head, until history repeats itself. What follows is a story of finding out who exactly this mysterious writer is and even more important, will Ava have her heart broken a second time?

The premise of this book is definitely different and I love that Lynsey made the plot stand out with her funny and at time charming characters. They truly brought the story to life.

I liked Ava, she was an endearing character. I could definitely relate to her at certain points in the book; although her disastrous attempts at finding the writer had me laughing to no end, I also wore a sheepish grin on my face knowing that I probably would have made the same mistakes. The supporting characters brightened up the pages for me and kept me hooked from start to finish.

As a debut novel, I was certainly pleasantly surprised by Lynsey’s style of writing. Her writing engages the reader from the very beginning and to me that’s very important. Although predictable at times, I really enjoyed Lynsey’s narrative as she made it her own through her quirky writing style, and for me, that really made her voice stand out.

For someone who reads a lot of crime and suspense, it’s always nice to take a break and read a relaxing and enjoyable romance novel and Just The Way You Are does that perfectly for me. I do enjoy romance novels that are an easy, light read where I’m not bombarded with overly theatrical characters and drama filled plots that overwhelm you. Lynsey’s novel definitely gives you a respite from that, so if you’re like me then I would recommend you pick up a copy soon!

If you’re a fan of an easy summer romance read, then look no further because Just the Way You Are ticks all the right boxes! A promising debut by an author who has written a delightfully charming romance novel.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Just The Way You Are can be purchased from the following places:

Amazon UKGoodreadsAmazon US

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Click on the link below to enter an awesome giveaway! 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bf63305733/

 

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon..

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secrets

Blurb:

The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen’s lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria.

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of them, Helen and Victoria grow inseparable. But when a stranger appears, Helen begins to question whether the secretive Dover family are really what they seem.

It’s the kind of summer when anything seems possible . . .

Until something goes wrong.

Review:

First of all thank you to Transworld publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. A brilliantly written debut novel from Sarah Jasmon that depicts a truly heart breaking coming of age story.

The story revolves around the friendship between Helen and Victoria. Helen is a quiet, introverted young girl who is spending her summer holidays alone with her books and father. As lonely as her world seems Helen is getting by, just barely. Everything changes when a family moves into the neighbourhood and brings Helen into their livelihood. The Dovers, Victoria especially, bring a light to Helen’s otherwise dim world. As the summer passes by the friendship between the two girls grows until they are inseparable. When everything seems to be going well for Helen, something happens that destroys her newfound happiness and changes the lives of the Dover family irrevocably.

Reading this novel, I never once felt that it was a debut novel. From the 3 dimensional characters to the vivid descriptions of places and events in the story, the novel was solid and I especially loved Sarah’s style of writing; her interweaving of certain twists added substance to the plot and made her voice stand out in the story.

The characters take this story from ordinary to extraordinary. Helen and Victoria were my favourite and what I appreciated most was the fact that neither of the characters were flawless. They both had certain issues to deal with as youngsters but from the past they learn to adapt and develop into adults that are mature, understanding and accepting of everything that has occurred in their life. I felt great deal of sympathy for a lot of the characters but Helen was the one I felt my heart breaking for. As an individual you see her develop into this wonderful woman who has made unfortunate mistakes.

The novel itself is written through flashbacks of the past corresponding with the events of the present. I enjoyed reading the past narrative in third person and the present narrative in first person. The ending of the novel completely sold the book for me. So cleverly written and presented to readers that you can’t help but feel the pain of the characters.

A story of friendship, family and unfortunate dire mistakes, The Summer of Secrets takes readers on an unforgettable journey of redemption. Characters that will resonate with you long after you’ve turned the final page, Sarah Jasmon has created a gem of a novel that allows you to turn back the time and remember your own childhood. A perfect summer read and an exceptionally satisfying read, pick up a copy as soon as possible!

 Overall Rating: 9/10

More information about Sarah and her debut novel can be found in the following places:

Official WebsiteGoodreads – Twitter

The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth..

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colette mcbeth - the life i left behind

Blurb:

Six years ago Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. She coped by locking away her memories, burying herself. The man responsible was caught and convicted. Even his release from jail won’t derail her new life. She’s a survivor after all. Then the body of another woman is discovered in identical circumstances. Like Melody she has blond hair and green eyes. Like Melody she is found holding a gold bird cage chain.

Her name is Eve Elliot.

The woman were strangers, so Melody thinks. But Eve knew all about Melody’s life. She’d been talking to her friends, she knew their secrets. She knew the man who attacked them had never been caught.

Eve has left behind her story, the clues that will force Melody to confront her own lies and the lies she’s been told.

The clues that will put her life in danger all over again.

Review:

A big thanks to Headline Review for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This is Colette’s second book and I loved it just as much as her first. Colette was kind enough to send me a signed copy of her debut novel and from the moment I turned the first page, I became an avid fan. The Life I Left Behind cemented Colette as one of my favourite psychological thriller authors!

The story revolves around our protagonist Melody who was a victim of an attempted murder six years ago. Although physically she’s mostly healed, emotionally she’s still as tormented and distraught as before. Melody has tried really hard over the years to move on from what happened to her and in some ways believes that getting married is a step forward in that direction. However, unfortunately things never usually go to plan in a crime novel and before anyone realises, the body of a woman is found tortured in the same way Melody was. Although it was initially presumed that the man responsible was convicted, Melody becomes convinced that something isn’t right and somehow, someway a killer is still lying in wait. The woman who’s body was found is called Eve Elliot and she becomes one of the three main narrators, with the other two being Melody and Detective Inspector Victoria Rutter, who was in charge of investigating the crimes. From the moment we read about Eve’s murder, the novel takes an abrupt turn and becomes this fast paced journey of finding out whether or not the killer was actually convicted and how this will put not only Melody’s life in jeopardy but also those around her.

Now I love a good ghost story as much as the next person but The Life I Left Behind is so much more than that. Melody’s narrative was by far my favourite. Perhaps because she already knew about the lies surrounding the characters or maybe it was just because of how she was as a character but I really loved getting into the mind of a woman who was brutally murdered and who has now made it her mission to warn and protect Melody.

Both Eve and Melody were likable characters. Their grief was saddening and at times I felt that their characters shined the most when they were at their worst. Melody has suffered a great deal and although her family wants the best for her, it becomes apparent that the trauma she has suffered is long term and it’ll take a long time for her to fully overcome it, if ever. In that regard, I found Eve to be quite refreshing, one wouldn’t presume that she’s a individual who has just been murdered. Her sole focus is to warn Melody of the dangers that lie ahead. It was Eve’s narrative that had me turning page after page.

The writing style is unique in the sense that Colette is very detailed in how she goes about telling the story of these two characters. There were times when I felt the story went slightly off tangent but Colette quickly draws the reader back in by adding a new twist in. Like her debut novel, this story too had many twists and turns that are enough to keep you reading from start to finish.

Although I prefer my psychological thrillers to give me the chills and keep me on the edge of my seat, The Life I Left Behind is an intelligent and well crafted thriller that allows you to appreciate this genre to its full capacity. Colette’s storytelling is brilliant and one that I thoroughly enjoy and if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then this book is definitely worth a read! The Life I Left Behind is a well written, fast paced novel that captivates you from beginning to end and takes you on a thought provoking journey of just how deeply a trauma can impact you and those around you.

Overall Rating: 9/10

You can find out more about Colette and her books from the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter

The Silenced by Heather Graham..

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the silence heather graham

Blurb:

Where is Lara Mayhew? 

Lara, a congressman’s media assistant, suddenly quits her job—and disappears on the way to her Washington, DC, apartment.

Novice FBI agent Meg Murray, a childhood friend of Lara’s, gets a message from her that same night, a message that says she’s disillusioned and “going home.” To Richmond, Virginia. Meg discovers that she never got there. And bodies fitting Lara’s description are showing up in nearby rivers… Could she be the victim of a serial killer?

Meg is assigned to work with special agent Matt Bosworth, a hard-nosed pro in the FBI’s unit of paranormal investigators—the Krewe of Hunters. They trace the route Meg and Lara took more than once in the past, visiting battlefields and graveyards from Harpers Ferry to Gettysburg. Places where the dead share their secrets with those who can hear… As Meg and Matt pursue the possibility of a serial killer, they find themselves in the middle of a political conspiracy. Is there a connection? If so, has Lara been silenced for good? And whom—besides each other—can they trust?

Review:

Heather Graham is one of my favourite suspense authors, especially because she goes a step further by adding in the paranormal with a touch of romance. The Silenced is the 15th book in the Krewe of Hunters series and it’s my eighth KoH read. 

The story revolves around the disappearance of Lara Mayhew, a strong and bold woman in an otherwise corrupt political government. Having recieved an upsetting voicemail from her childhood friend, FBI Special Agent Meg Murray makes it her mission to find out what has exactly happened to Lara.  

Having just graduated from Quantico, Meg is still finding her bearings until she meets Adam Harrison, the director of a special unit within the FBI, nicknamed the Krewe of Hunters. She’s brought into the team and partnered with seasoned Special Agent Matthew Bosworth. Now they may seem like ordinary people investigating the usual crimes but what makes this unit so special is their ability to interact with the dead. Every member of this (incredibly large) unit has in one way or another interacted with ghosts.

The story follows a secondary investigation where bodies of women sliced and gutted are piling up and it becomes a race to find out whether or not the two crimes are connected. 

Both of our leads are very likeable characters and individually their stories shined. However I had a problem with the romance between the two. It didn’t feel as realistic to me and when they did come together I felt it was slightly venturing away from the plot – I wasn’t entirely convinced by their relationship. Having said that I did enjoy the small backdrop stories we recieved for both the characters and I especially liked discovering about the relationship between Meg and Lara. 

I was hooked from the first few chapters but unfortunately I felt the pace of the novel drag a lot and I found myself skipping pages. Heather has a unique way of creating a story that integrates so many subjects whilst still maintaining its authenticity. At times this was apparent but I did miss some of the thrills and chills I used to get from previous books in this series. 

Although this is book number 15 in the series it can definitely be read as a standalone. If you’re a fan of paranormal suspense with a little romance then you’ll enjoy this book. However if you’re are looking to read a Heather Graham book for the first time then I recommend you choose from some of her earlier books in this series, as I thoroughly enjoyed those. 

I was intrigued by plot of the novel and the writing style is good however there was just something missing from this book that I’ve definitely seen in Heather’s other books. Regardless, do pick up other Heather Graham books as they are are much better and more enjoyable. 

Overall Rating: 7/10 

You can find out more about Heather and her books from the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookGoodreads

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis..

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second chance summer

Blurb:

What do you do when you run into the man who broke your heart?

Lily’s been back in Cedar Ridge for less than ten minutes when she bumps into Aidan, the former love of her life. So much for sneaking back into town unnoticed. And thanks to frizzy hair and armfuls of junk food, she’s turning his head for all the wrong reasons. No one knows why Lily is home after ten years, and she’s determined to stay no longer than the summer. But Cedar Ridge and Aidan have other ideas. As they set about persuading Lily to give them a second chance, she finds herself falling under the spell of the Colorado mountains … and the one man she could never forget.

Review:

First of all a big thank you to Headline Eternal for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. Jill Shalvis is one of my favourite romance novelists and I was ecstatic to hear about her new series, Cedar Ridge. The first book in the series, Second Chance Summer, does not disappoint for what looks to be another promising series for the author.

The story revolves around our female lead, Lily Danville, who has arrived back in Cedar Ridge, Colorado, her childhood home, after a decade away. After losing her job and self-esteem, Lily is hoping to re-evaluate her life and the decisions she’s made leading up to the loss of her job. Arriving back in town is guaranteed to create a stir amongst the well-meaning residents who knew Lily back when she was just a child. However, no one is as surprised as Aiden Kincaid, Lily’s former friend and crush. After an incident that broke apart Lily’s family she moved away from Cedar Ridge, never looking back to see everything she had left behind, including Aiden himself. Although initially wary of one another both Lily and Aiden set out on a journey to discover themselves and all that they lost years ago. What follows is a story of love, laughter and moments of absolute hilarity. Underneath it all is a journey of forgiveness that leads Lily to finding her own peace with the tragic incident that shattered so many lives.

The story is a typical Jill Shalvis triumph. What I absolutely love about her novels is the familiarity between the characters and the community they live in. The community spirit and the supporting characters in Second Chance Summer are a delight to read. My favourite has to be Mama Kincaid. The matriarch of the Kincaid family is the epitome of maternal warmth and she definitely doesn’t let her  boys boss her around no matter how old they are. Another personal favourite was Penny, who I instantly loved!

The main leads, Lily and Aiden were great characters and Lily, especially, developed so much as a character. Seeing her grow from someone who was unsure of herself and had the guilt of the world on her small shoulders to a woman who grew in confidence and began to love herself and free herself from the burdens of tragic circumstances was a pleasure. Lily is definitely one of the best characters I’ve read about from the already brilliant characters written by Jill.

I’m a sucker for a series set in beautiful fictional towns and Jill’s Lucky Harbor series is one of my all time favourites. I love the small details Jill scatters in this novel about the town and its beauty. Her descriptions enhanced my pleasure of reading and definitely made me want to go visit (and maybe stay) at Cedar Ridge.

This is definitely a solid start to an already promising series by Jill and I look forward to reading about our next hero’s story, Hudson. If you’re a fan of romance novels that make you smile from ear to ear, then this book is definitely for you. A delightful tale of love, forgiveness and redemption. Second Chance Summer will have you rooting for the characters until the very end and have you eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

Overall Rating: 8/10

More information about Jill and her books can be found in the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter