Single for the Summer

This is a perfect feel good summer read from Mandy Baggot and a definite one for the suitcase. I have never been to Corfu but it is clear the author loves the place and I now feel I should go there. The imagery is so vivid I can picture the island clearly and can almost smell the sea.

 Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.
When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras
To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

Andras is very sexy – how do I know this without seeing him?  Because Mandy Baggot had him embedded in my mind’s eye from the moment he started doing pull ups on the door frame while shirtless!! It’s probably a good job there is no picture – not sure my hormones could take it. Initially I thought he was a bit of a wimp by not standing up to his mother, but he is just being a good son who doesn’t want to upset her.

Tess has some very weird ideas- coke with 3 sugars! My teeth hurt just thinking about it. She also refuses to walk anywhere barefoot, which seems a bit neurotic but we do get to find out the reason why eventually. She doesn’t know what she wants, everything was clear before she came to Corfu but as the days pass she starts to re-evaluate her life.

There is a great cast of supporting characters providing lots of humour along the way. The Greek wedding of Andras’ brother takes up a lot of his time and some of the escapades had me laughing out loud. The conversations between the characters in the wedding party are great, although his mother is a bit scary.

Sonya of course plays a large part in this book and helps Tess to see the beauty of Corfu while dealing with her own uncertain relationship.

And Hector definitely deserves a mention – how did he keep escaping?

This is a perfect feel good summer read from Mandy Baggot and a definite one for the suitcase. I have never been to Corfu but it is clear the author loves the place and I now feel I should go there. The imagery is so vivid I can picture the island clearly and can almost smell the sea.

I have read all of the author’s books and can honestly say her last couple have been excellent, and this is no exception. If you are looking for a romantic read that will have you laughing as well, look no further. I loved it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mandy Baggot
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Ebury Press
  • Genre: Chick Lit
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Deadmen Walking

The author, as always, does a great job of immersing the reader in the setting, and Devyl like all her heroes is super sexy and definitely not someone I would turn away if he came knocking. He has a lot of secrets and suffered scorn and hatred from Marcelina, rather than expose himself. He is focused on revenge, but like all the Deadmen, he is hoping for redemption.

 To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane – an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn – an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen: humanity’s last hope to restore the gates.

But things are never so simple. And one of Bane’s biggest problems is the ship they sail upon. For the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient people he wronged – a woman who is also sister to their primary target. Now Marcelina, the Sea Witch, must choose. Either she remains loyal to her evil sister and watches humanity fall, or she puts her faith in an enemy who has already betrayed her. Her people over the totality of humanity? Let’s hope Bane can sway her favour. . .

This is a new series based in the Dark-Hunter world, although there is very little about them other than the odd mention. It was a bit confusing initially as it is set 300 years before the contemporary series. When Acheron was mentioned, there was nothing about his current situation (but that makes sense as it wouldn’t have happened yet!) This is a good thing however, for people who have never read the Dark-Hunter series as there are no spoilers!

The author, as always, does a great job of immersing the reader in the setting, and Devyl like all her heroes is super sexy and definitely not someone I would turn away if he came knocking. He has a lot of secrets and suffered scorn and hatred from Marcelina, rather than expose himself. He is focused on revenge, but like all the Deadmen, he is hoping for redemption.

The romance between the protagonists took a while to materialise, but surprisingly for me I didn’t mind.  This is probably because there was so much else to think about, plus a lot of scene setting for future books. As the book progressed the secrets came tumbling out, and Devyl became more exposed than he has ever been, while Marcelina has to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew.

As this is the first in a new series there is a lot of background information and lots of new races to learn about, and as such, I did find it hard to keep who was who clear in my mind at times.  Once I got into the story though,  I was hooked and read it in one sitting.

A great new cast of characters who I cannot wait to find out more about, especially Thorn, who seems to be to the Deadmen what Acheron is to the Dark-Hunters.

Overall it is great to be excited again about a new series, I really enjoyed this and look forward to the next one.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Series: Deadman's Cross (1)
  • Format: Hardback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
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The Lucy Kincaid Series

I absolutely love these novels and cannot stress enough how great I think they are. Each book manages to drag my emotions through the wringer and the last couple in particular have had me sobbing.

Allison Brennan is an author that is new to me, who I discovered about 6 weeks ago. I devoured the books so quickly I felt it would be better to review this series as a whole rather than individual books.

The Lucy Kincaid series consists of the following books :

  • Love is Murder (0.5)
  • Love me to Death
  • Kiss me, Kill me
  • If I should die
  • Silenced
  • Stalked
  • Reckless (novella)
  • Stolen
  • Cold Snap
  • Dead Heat
  • Best Laid Plans
  • No Good Deed
  • The Lost Girls

NB: I have read all of them except Love is Murder and Stolen.

Lucy Kincaid is an aspiring FBI agent who survived a horrific attack as  a teenager but is determined not to let it ruin her life. She comes from a family who fights injustices both on the right and sometimes wrong side of the law.

This series starts while Lucy is in the application process for the FBI and moves through to her working as an FBI agent- and there are more books to come – yay!! It also focuses on her developing relationship with Sean Rogan and the trouble they manage to get into together.

I absolutely love these novels and cannot stress enough how great I think they are. Each book manages to drag my emotions through the wringer and the last couple in particular have had me sobbing.

While Lucy does have emotional scars, she is a very strong character who is constantly fighting against the protectiveness of her family. They think her earlier experiences mean she is unable to deal with the challenges of everyday life. Sean is a security expert and super hot ? but comes with his own baggage, but together they are a formidable force.  Sean does not always work within the law and Lucy does not like working outside it, so while he usually ends up involved in her investigations, the results are not always positive.

The mysteries in each book are complex and intriguing and I love the way both Lucy and Sean’s families are often involved with solving/ interfering in the various cases. As the series progresses we see more of their involvement, in particular Kane Rogan and Jack Kincaid who both work as mercenaries, but often end up helping the FBI. We also see Lucy working with partners other than Sean and as she is having to adapt to their various styles, this does not always go well!

While each book has a stand alone story, I recommend reading them in order to truly appreciate the character nuances and development. Having said that, I have not read Stolen and do not feel I missed anything. If you can’t read them in order, I recommend that you definitely read ‘Best Laid Plans’ before ‘No Good Deed’ as they do follow on.  There isn’t a cliffhanger in ‘Best Laid Plans’ but these two are by far the best in the series.

The latest book I have read is The Lost Girls, and again this is brilliant. I was completely immersed and was even thinking about the book when I wasn’t able to read it! It is very emotional and has some very dark moments. There is a lot going on and tension builds between Lucy and Sean as they both deal with the emotional fallout from their respective cases.

I absolutely cannot wait for the next in the series which I have pre-ordered – the only disadvantage is that these books are not available on kindle in the U.K. ? And the new book comes from America so having to get it 3 weeks later than release.

This series is, in my opinion, as good as if not better than the In Death series by J.D. Robb – if you know me, you know that is high praise! Hopefully these will be available on Kindle in the U.K. soon so that a new set of readers can discover this amazing set of books.

If you wanted to read the series before this, where Lucy is attacked (set 6 years before these novels occur) you need to read the Evil trilogy, but this is not essential to appreciate the Lucy Kincaid books.

  • Speak No Evil
  • See no Evil
  • Fear no Evil ( this is the one with Lucy involved)

I discovered this author by accident but am so glad I did!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Allison Brennan
  • Series: Lucy Kincaid
  • Genre: romantic suspense

 

 

 

 

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New York Actually

 An agony aunt seen as an expert at relationships but with no relationship of her own and a cynical divorce lawyer who thinks relationships are a bad idea. Meet Molly and Daniel – what could go wrong!

Molly only has one love in her life – her Dalmatian Valentine and no interest in developing another. Daniel doesn’t own a dog but decides the only way to get to know the girl he sees with the Dalmatian is to get one. He borrows a dog from his sister and sets about getting to know Molly.

Sarah Morgan has again created a wonderful story with great characters – and I’m not just talking about the human ones. The interactions between the characters is believable and real and I love watching Daniel gradually turning into a dog lover against his better judgement.

As always there are some bumps in the road as secrets are inevitably uncovered as both characters are hiding some big ones! But the romance is perfect without being over the top and humour is threaded throughout. It is emotional in places and one of the things I love about Sarah’s books is her ability to make me feel everything along with the characters.

There are links with the authors previous New York trilogy but it is not required to have read them first. As someone who has read them however it is great to see snippets of how those characters are doing.

This book does not disappoint and if you are looking for an uplifting, feel good book to get you through the dark, cold winter days I highly recommend starting with this.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Morgan
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Obsession

As with all books set in a small town there is a great cast of characters and the writing made every single one of them seem believable.

 Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all round the world.

Now she has decided to put down roots…but as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it…

This is another great book by Nora Roberts, I was hooked from page one, as 11 year old Naomi follows her father through the woods. The description in those early pages was gripping. The first third of the book focuses on Naomi during adolescence, dealing with the aftermath, while the rest focuses on her putting down roots and trying to come to terms with her past.

As with all books set in a small town there is a great cast of characters and the writing made every single one of them seem believable. This book focuses on the difficulties Naomi faced growing up and her inability to trust others, the actual murder element comes in much later than you would normally expect. I worked out who the killer was pretty much immediately but I think this book is as much about Naomi’s journey and her courage as it is about the suspense.

No Nora Roberts book would be complete without a gorgeous hero and Xander fits the bill no question! I liked the way he didn’t allow Naomi to push him away and called her out when he felt she was doing so. Strong, sexy and supportive. I must give a mention to the dog – Tag. I loved him and he was a hero in his own right.

My only criticism is that the ending felt a bit rushed, but it is still a great book and highly recommended. I have to confess I read it in one sitting – deep into the night.

Nora Roberts is one of my go to authors whatever genre she writes in and under whatever pseudonym. If you haven’t tried her yet you should give her a go!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Format: Hardback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Romantic Suspense
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Why do I keep books I have read?

I was talking about my books the other day with a friend who asked what the point was of keeping a book I have already read. I said to re-read of course to which they asked me why?

Well this made me think a bit, why do I re-read books when I have so many other books still yet to read? For me the answer is twofold, firstly, when a new book in a series comes out it may have been a year since the last one so I will re-read the previous book. If it is a series I love I will read all the books before starting the new one – I am a very quick reader so this does not take as long as it sounds! The second reason is that sometimes I want to read something I know I will love, I might not be in the mood to read something new or be in an odd mood reading wise. For me then sometimes books are like comfort blankets, old friends into which I can escape.

Over the past few months I have re-read a number of series including the JD Robb In Death series, The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas, the entire Cynster series by Stephanie Laurens and Gaelen Foleys Knight Miscellany series. Clearly I have been primarily in a historical romance mood!

Ultimately you never know when you will want to re-read a book – with a kindle it is easy as they are always there but there is something wonderful about walking into a room and seeing shelves of books floor to ceiling. I can escape to anywhere I want to in the past, present, future and even to worlds that don’t exist – or do they!

Would love to know what other people do, do you keep books or once read do they go forever?

 

Christmas Ever After

What can I say about Alec? He is so hot, I’m amazed the snow didn’t melt around him. He is a guy so emotionally damaged by a previous relationship, he swore off women like Skylar (or who she projects anyway!) As he softens towards Skylar, he just becomes even more gorgeous. Much as I love my husband I wouldn’t say no if he came calling!

 Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be merry or bright.

This is the third and final book in the Puffin Island trilogy and it does not disappoint. I absolutely loved it! Sky and Alec had made appearances in previous books and I was definitely looking forward to their story as the tension when they were together could be cut with a knife.

Sky always comes across as very resilient and confident but during this book we get to see below the surface she presents to the outside world. She is smart and sassy but not always as confident as she makes out. The author writes her emotions so well, I was dragged in laughing and crying with her.

What can I say about Alec? He is so hot, I’m amazed the snow didn’t melt around him. He is a guy so emotionally damaged by a previous relationship, he swore off women like Skylar (or who she projects anyway!) As he softens towards Skylar, he just becomes even more gorgeous. Much as I love my husband I wouldn’t say no if he came calling!

As we return to Puffin island we get to catch up with old friends which I always enjoy, having said that this can easily be read as a standalone book.

This is sexy, romantic and set at Christmas time, what could be better for a romantic like me? I was left with a warm glow and happy heart at the end.  Sarah Morgan always delivers the perfect romantic read and this is no exception. I am sad to say goodbye to Puffin Island but am excited to see what series comes next.

Win a signed copy of Some Kind of Wonderful!

I was lucky enough to meet the wonderful Sarah Morgan at an event in the Summer and she kindly signed a copy of “Some Kind of Wonderful” which is book 2 in the series but can be read standalone.

To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous book, leave the answer to the following question in the comments below.

What is the name of the island this series is about?

Due to postage costs, UK residents only please.

The giveaway will end midnight GMT on 15th November 2015.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Morgan
  • Series: Puffin Island (3)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Publisher: Mills & Boon
  • Genre: Romance
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

The Other Me

 Eliza Bennett has the life she always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she wants to be with. But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family. This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia: one woman, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from.

This book blew me away. It was brilliant. Compelling, emotional and heartbreaking; bringing alive the feelings and thoughts of the individuals so well they jump off the page.

Once I had started it I just could not put it down, turning every page to see what was going to be revealed next. The story is told from 3 points of view – Klaudia, Eliza and Ernst, in 1986, 1996 and the 1930’s respectively. Ernst’s recollections in particular were thought provoking and heartbreaking and each narrative managed to evoke the era very well.

This book shows how quickly a lie can spiral out of control, how what we believe isn’t always the truth and the heartache of families torn apart by miscommunication.

The blurb indicates it is a thriller but I wouldn’t call it that at all, it is a powerful story about a young woman’s journey in dealing with the shadows of her past, accepting there are things she cannot change but do not define who she is now; there is also a love story entwined but is a very small part of the overall story.

Definitely not a book I would normally pick up to read but having been sent it by the publisher for an honest review I am so glad I did.

I would definitely recommend reading this, but put time aside to read as once you start you won’t want to stop!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Saskia Sarginson
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Redemption Road

This story shows how one mistake, one miscalculation of judgement can ruin everything and leave hopes and dreams in ashes.

 The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she’s spent her life remembering little – her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life?

Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness.

Well this is not my usual kind of book, in fact there is no romance at all, so why did I pick it up? The blurb on the back cover intrigued me and the publisher sent me a copy for review, and boy am I glad they did. This is a really compelling book and once I got into it, I could not put it down.

It did take me a few chapters to get into it, as it is told from three different perspectives (and also 2 different eras). I often struggle to keep it all straight in my head to start with and have to keep going back to check dates etc! Having said that, after those first few, I was dragged in and read it at every opportunity. Once I got used to the characters and the way the book told the story, it flowed very well. I felt it was very well written and vividly descriptive.

Parts of the story I could easily see where it was going and there wasn’t any surprise when it happened, but I was still compelled to keep reading, to see everything tied up. This story shows how one mistake, one miscalculation of judgement can ruin everything and leave hopes and dreams in ashes.

The characters are believable and fallible and I especially felt drawn towards Big George, even when I felt I shouldn’t! I liked the way their layers were revealed bit by bit and this story shows you should never take things at face value.

It was emotional and a real page turner for me, not something I would usually pick up, but I can definitely recommend it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Ballantyne
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Tracer

This book literally explodes into life from page one and while it’s not the sort of book I usually read, I was dragged in by both feet! With explosions and betrayals, you end up looking at everyone and thinking ‘are they a good guy or are they about to turn round and shoot you’?

 A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable.

What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run.

Riley Hale is a tracer – part of a group of people who make money delivering goods to different sectors of the space station. She never looks at what she is carrying until one day it all goes wrong, she inadvertently sees her cargo and nothing is the same again.

This book literally explodes into life from page one and while it’s not the sort of book I usually read, I was dragged in by both feet! With explosions and betrayals, you end up looking at everyone and thinking ‘are they a good guy or are they about to turn round and shoot you’?

Riley is fast and resilient and can definitely take a punch or two, although I’m not sure how she managed to stay standing at times.  She is a strong heroine but has hidden depths and when the time comes, she shows just how strong she really is.

Darnell is the main villain of the piece and he’s evil, nasty, completely nuts and so well written I could imagine him very clearly.

There is also a large cast of supporting characters, all of whom are interesting and multi layered.

The world building is good and you get a sense of the despair felt by people living on this crumbling space station – it makes you want to think about taking better care of this planet we are on!

I guess my only criticism would be that at times it felt like I was watching an action film at the cinema (and this would translate to a big budget blockbuster very easily). You could argue of course that feeling like I was watching a film shows the quality of the writing – that I can see it all so clearly, but for me at times I felt it was a bit over the top.

Overall, I did enjoy it and it is a good book, just not my usual genre (although there was a teensy bit of romance).

Generally though this is a non stop action thriller set in space, and if that is the sort of book you enjoy, you will love this. Very well written, descriptive and immersive.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Rob Boffard
  • Format: Kindle
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Genre: Science Fiction
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