Friday 31 October 2014

Giveaway: Books I'm Grateful I Read Hop

Hello readers! I'm participating in Books I'm Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop hosted by StuckInBooks.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a complete list of blogs participating and holding their own giveaway.  
 This time of year a lot of people reflect on things they are thankful for and for this post I'll feature a few books that I'm thankful I've read.  My giveaway will be a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Giftcard or choice of book $10 or less at The Book Depository. 
(Click on covers for Goodreads link)

Snow Kissed by Laura Florand

This is one of the best marriage-in-crisis stories I've read. Heartbreaking and beautiful, sensual and passionate! It brought out so many emotions in just 122 pages!

Saving Francesca   The Piper's Son
Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
I adored Saving Francesca but I absolutely LOVED the sequel, The Piper's Son. Melina Marchetta can have you laughing your head off one minute and crying the next, but she always makes you FEEL!  She is just a phenomenal writer!

These were just a few of my favorites that I'm thankful I've read. What about you, what books are you thankful to have read?

My giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Click HERE for a list of countries. Winner's choice of: $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Giftcard or choice of book $10 or less at The Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 30 October 2014

Review: Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra

Carolina Blues (Dare Island #4) by Virginia Kantra
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: October 7th 2014
My rating:  4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Jack Rossi is Dare Island’s new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department.  He’s learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world.

Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad.  She’s fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story. However, sexy Jack Rossi is a distraction that’s too hot to ignore, and it’s igniting an affair too combustible to resist—or quit.

But when their pasts come looking for them, Jack and Lauren find themselves fighting for the future they deserve, whatever the price.

My Thoughts:
Carolina Blues was a story that just sucks you in quietly, but surely with beautiful, understated prose and a passionate romance!  

Suffering writer’s block and panic attacks, Lauren has come to Dare Island to escape the city and finish her novel, Hostage Girl: My Life After Crisis. Lauren negotiated her way out of tragedy during a hostage crisis that captured nationwide attention.  The writer’s block persists on Dare Island, but soon she’s distracted by Jack Rossi, the hunky police Chief.  He’s darkly handsome, cool and in control, and exudes a confidence and strength that appeals deeply to Lauren. 

Jack is on Dare Island after a messy divorce.  His wife not only cheated, but did so with his partner on the force.  Their work lives and families were so entwined that Jack needed a clean break, a fresh start, and Dare Island fit the bill perfectly. When Lauren shows up on the island, there’s an instant spark of attraction between them, but he’s hesitant to invest in something that seems like it can only be temporary.

Lauren was honest about her needs and desires, and I appreciated there were no immature mind games. There were obstacles in their relationship; the question of what happens to them once Lauren is supposed to go home lingers over them. But even so they savored each other in the moment while exploring their relationship, both cautiously hoping for something permanent. 

Oh, I do love a hero man in uniform, and Jack Rossi filled the role nicely! He wasn’t the showy alpha-type that can come off as unrealistic in some romances, but he seemed real and very male! Lauren was very appreciative!  This romance was steamy. Parts were languid sensuality, and parts were zinging with electricity!   

“I never knew it could be like this,” she admitted. “That I could have all these feelings inside. Jack makes me feel…” Cherished.  Desired.  Safe. “Alive.”

Peripheral events play into their story adding a dash of danger with some relationship drama sprinkled in making a Carolina Blues a captivating story.  I longed for Jack and Lauren to find a way to overcome their obstacles and find a way to stay together, because these two really got each other emotionally in addition to their physical attraction.

Virginia Kantra really impressed me with this installment!  Her writing was gorgeous without being overly flowery and she made me feel every emotion right along with her characters.  I can’t wait for the next story!

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: October 9th 2014
My rating: 4 stars.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

This book was seriously all kinds of adorable! I was of course saving this book for a cold night maybe over the Christmas break, but as soon as I read the first story, I immediately wanted more. I’ve written brief reviews of a few of my favourite stories

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
This book was just the best to start with, I loved the cute flips in time, and even though this story was short and went by so quick, I felt as if I got to know so much about Noel and Mags in these short passages. I loved how Noel and Mags just clicked, how even though they were opposites, Noel - popular, always laughing and having fun and Mags who was reserved, they were the perfect fit. I loved the countdown to the one new years we had been all waiting for. Noel and Mags were just too cute, I loved their growth, they definitely need their own full story.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
This was such a super cute story, I gobbled up all of Jenny’s previous books, so was thrilled to do the same with this (again I was disappointed when I’d reached the end). But I liked the different perspective that Han decided to go with in this story, I had to do a double take to make sure that I was reading it correctly, but it was certainly a fresh take amongst the many wonderful stories in this book. Again once again it was one of those stories that did have some sort of closure, but not completely there, therefore leaving you with the hope that this story could move into a positive direction for our character.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This story was all kinds of adorable. It was surprising how a place can appear to be so dull, boring and full of inconsiderate people, until a stranger comes and spreads a Christmas cheer. This story made me super hungry, I could actually imagine all the scrumptious looking food Ben was making and loved how he went that extra mile for people. This story was certainly about opening your eyes and appreciating what was in front of you or in other cases making a fresh start.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
This story ended up being a favourite of mine, as we were never clued into the complete back story of our character, instead we were given little snippets of why this girl would give her ticket away to a random stranger and then pretend to be a Icelandic girl called Hulga, why would she do this? What she was running away from? I had a few ideas going through my head, but it wasn’t what I expected. I liked how despite the obvious, this girl was not Icelandic, Ethan’s family took her in as she was and actually gave her a safe haven, something that she had been missing out and not had all this pressure on her all the time. This story went on to show just how tight knit a family that you don't even know could be when you need them the most. Again like a lot of these short stories. I was left wanting more.

I’m not an anthology sort of girl, but this book I highly recommend giving a go, it’ll definitely brighten your day over the cold Wintery months!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Spotlight & iPad Mini Giveaway: All I Want For Christmas is You by Jessica Scott

I'm thrilled to be part of the Spotlight & Giveaway for All I Want For Christmas is You by Jessica Scott because I LOVED this novella!  I'll be posting my review sometime in November, but in the meantime, scroll down to find out about the book and make sure you enter in the giveaway for an iPad Mini! Awesome, right?!

All I Want For Christmas is You (Coming Home #5.5) by Jessica Scott
Publication Date: October 24th 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Novella (108 pages)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
All Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left - and she doesn't know if she can love him anymore.

But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what's coming for them. It's going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart. 


It was not a gentle kiss. It was not tame or timid or questioning.

It burned her down to the root of Sam's soul. It touched something deep and dark and hidden.

Something she'd thought was long since dead and buried and gone.

Patrick’s tongue slid against hers, stroking to life the very sensations she thought she'd never feel again.

It was electric, the feel of his mouth against hers. The scrape of stubble against her chin, the taste of him. The smell of his skin.

He nipped her. Pinched her bottom lip between his teeth and sucked it. And she sighed at the pleasure, at the raw ache his taste and touch aroused in her, pushing aside the darkness that haunted her.

Sam felt him. Felt everything. The heat of his skin. The warmth that drew her closer. That made her want to crawl into his lap and unzip his pants and push up that damned flannel shirt until they were skin to skin and there was nothing between them but sweat and heat.

One hand slid down her side. Tugged at her fleece and...

"Dear lord how many layers of clothing do you have on under this thing," he muttered against her lips.

She smiled. "You weren't wondering why I wasn't cold?"

"Well you'd be a champ at strip poker right about now," he murmured.

Then his fingers found her skin and she was no longer thinking.


Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time  and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Connect with Jessica Scott:

Monday 27 October 2014

Review: Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray

Loving Him Off the Field (Sante Fe Bobcats #2) by 
Jeanette Murray
Publisher: InterMix
Publication date: October 21th 2014
My rating:  3.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…

Aileen is a sports reporter trying to make a name for herself without relying on her looks, And what better way to do that than to break a scandal about one of the fastest rising stars on the Santa Fe Bobcats? Killian seems too good to be true, so she knows he must be hiding something…

It’s hard enough breaking into the NFL—even more so when you’re a single dad. Killian isn’t proud that he’s keeping his son a secret, but his ex has a reputation that could tarnish his squeaky clean image for good. So when Aileen starts sniffing around, Killian decides to distract her by any means necessary.

But Aileen is more than capable of giving as good as she gets…

My Thoughts:
Aileen is struggling journalist trying to make a name for herself while keeping her integrity.  She wanted to live up to her parent’s example as trustworthy journalists. Finding a breakthrough story is proving difficult when she doesn’t want to compromise her principals. That is until she spies Killian, the Bobcat’s kicker and media mystery.  He stays out of the spotlight and almost nothing is known about him. Looks like Aileen has her work cut out for her, though, because Killian is reluctant, bordering on hostile.  Aileen won’t take no for an answer and goes on wearing him down.  She doesn’t plan on falling for him in the process, and even though they go beyond their professional relationship, Aileen wonders what kind of future they could have if Killian never fully trusts her. 

Killian is intrigued by the petite, freckled Aileen until he finds out she’s a reporter. Killian avoids the media and press at all costs for the sake of his young son, Charlie.  No one knows of his existence and if they did, it could stir up a hurtful past that Killian is trying to keep buried.  Killian agrees to an interview, but on his terms in an effort to control what gets out.  But the more he gets to know Aileen the more he falls for her.  

I admired Aileen from the very beginning. It was evident from the start that she didn’t want to be a trashy reporter capitalizing on other’s drama and trauma.  She has pressure from her boss to go after sensationalized stories, but she stands her ground and still keeps her integrity.  Knowing she was basically on her own in the world after losing her parents at the age of eighteen made my heart go out to her even more. Aileen didn’t let Killian’s abrasiveness turn her away and didn’t let his comments hurt her for the most part, but I hurt for her. 

While I can understand where Killian was coming from once I found out exactly why he wanted to keep Charlie’s existence secret, I didn’t get an inkling what the secret was until about 72% into the book.  This made is especially hard to make allowances in the meantime for Killian’s gruff and rude behavior.  Yes, he was attracted to Aileen and he couldn’t keep his hands off her, but Killian was on constant guard and never completely trusted her until almost the end.  Even though it was more than evident, IMO, that Aileen wasn’t like other cutthroat reporters.  Still, as a parent I can understand how his desire to protect Charlie would cause him to be so hesitant.

I did still enjoy their romance, and the fact that once Killian realized how amazing Aileen was, he went all in won me over.  I was happy when Killian started seeing the big picture and let his walls down, not just with Aileen, but with his fellow teammates as well.  They were able to provide support and friendship he’d been missing out on for so long. The ending of Loving Him Off the Field was everything that I hoped for.

Connect with Jeanette Murray:


Sunday 26 October 2014

Showcase Sunday: #61

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.  

Hi everyone! Despite being quite behind on review books, I still can't resist a quick peak on NetGalley/Edelweiss now and again to see if they have any new books up, I was quite good in that I only got three books this week (I really shouldn't have got any, but my excuse is that they were on my tbr already, so I wasn't really adding any new books :/ also how could I resist these pretties??)

Forman and Alderson are my go to people, Forman can elicit the feels every single time and Alderson just brings all the swoon (the book by Lola Salt is the one by Sarah Alderson). And everyone I know who has already read I'll Meet You There has loved it, I've been warned to keep some tissues at the ready, but you know me I love those sort of books!

Jasprit's Haul:
(Click on title for Goodreads link)


Rachel's Haul:
(Click on title for Goodreads link)
Immortal in Death (In Death, #3) Made for You Silver Thaw (Mystic Creek, #1)
All I Want for Christmas is You (Coming Home 5.5) Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)

Thank you to Harper Collins, Signet, Jessica Scott, Edelweiss, and Crystal!

I've just finished Immortal in Death, the third in the In Death series and had a lot of fun even though I tagged the murderer pretty early. After seeing great reviews for Made For You, I snatched it up on Edelweiss and I hope to get to it soon. I've also finished All I Want for Christmas is You by Jessica Scott and I LOVED it! It's only a 100 pages but it was an amazing marriage-in-crisis story. Crystal, my bloggy friend from Winterhaven Books sent me a copy of Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews. Kate Daniels is one of my all time favorite UF series, so I'm really excited to pick it up!

What did you get in your book hauls? Leave us a link and we'll stop by and check it out!

Thursday 23 October 2014

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: October 28th 2014
My rating: 2 stars 

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

The last dragon themed book that I read and loved was Seraphina, I loved the world and character’s that Hartman created and her world building was fantastic. So when I heard about Talon I was beyond excited. The beginning actually started out really great too, Kagawa did a fantastic job at setting the back story of this world; dragons have been hunted by order of St. George for as long as anyone could remember. The men of St. George have been trained to track down and kill down any dragons, but what they never expected was one of their own men to fall for one of the enemies.

When Ember and her brother Dante move to the area, all they want to do is fit in, no one so more than Ember, yes she knows she has to remain under cover, fit in as much as possible and of course remain loyal to Talon. But the more time Ember spends with other humans and of course the rogue dragon Riley the more she realises that there’s much more to life than Talon. But her brother is all she has, she doesn’t want to leave him to Talon, but what choice does she have? Kagawa once again did a brilliant job in getting you stuck in with the story. We wanted Ember to succeed in her disguise around humans, to keep her temper in check and as we didn’t know much about the order of St George I couldn’t wait for Garret’s arrival and for things to kick off. And whilst at the beginning I was all for whatever was developing between Ember and Garrett, it became a bit too obvious and forbidden for my liking. Yes Ember was a dragon and shouldn’t be falling for a human being, but she couldn’t help herself and yes Garrett knew from the beginning (which was another thing which rubbed me the wrong way), that Ember could be his target, but he decided to keep it undercover for way too long. Usually I’m all for forbidden relationships, but in my eyes Ember and Garrett fell for each other way too quickly. Yes in parts their relationship was sweet, but still I didn’t find myself completely behind them. And then when Kagawa decided to add a third component to this already strange relationship, it made me even less concerned with what was going down in this book. How quickly could Ember shift her feelings, I was totally baffled when this person even became a potential love interest as I always saw him as a friend. And then when we were given his pov too in the middle of the book, that made me even more confused.

All in all I was left slightly disappointed with Talon; it had the great potential to actually deliver an interesting start to what could have been a great series. But sadly I don’t think this will be one series I will be returning to.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Every Breath by Ellie Marnie

Hello readers! I'm (Rachel) so excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Every Breath the first in Ellie Marney's YA Mystery/Romance series because I adored this story! As part of my tour stop I have my review. For a complete schedule of tour stops which include fun guest posts, reviews, & interviews, click HERE.

Every Breath (Every #1) by Ellie Marney
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication date: October 14th 2014
My rating:  4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

     While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...

My Thoughts:
My first obsession in reading was mysteries, with a little romance, of course!  So when I heard the premise of Every Breath, a sort of teenage Sherlock Holmes genius, I was completely excited, and I’m happy to report it lived up to my high expectations! Mystery, romance, danger and even well placed humor made for an awesome start to this addictive series!  I need book two, STAT!

Rachel Watts has had to move from the country to the crowded city of Melbourne, and the change wasn’t a welcome one.  She pines away for the country as she adjusts to the harsh realities of city life.  Cramped living spaces and a hardly seeing her family, all working hard to make ends meet separately instead of the team they once were on the farm.  

James Mycroft, Rachel’s neighbor, is one of the bright spots in her life, even if his genius mind seems to get them into quite a bit of trouble.  She’s never bored hanging around him, and her growing attraction to him is hard to ignore.  When Rachel and Mycroft stumble upon their murdered friend, Homeless Dave, “the game is afoot” as they try and piece together the clues and get justice for Dave.

This story was a pure joy to read.  The aspects of the mystery were fun and exciting.  I felt like I was right there with Rachel and Mycroft deciphering clues, sizing up potential suspects, and trying to figure out a motive.  There was plenty of danger, and at the end, that “light bulb” moment where everything comes together was wicked thrill ride! I liked the fact that even though these were teenagers trying to solve a crime it didn’t come off as unbelievable, as can happen sometimes in YA crime/mysteries.

But that was just part of the story.  I enjoyed gradually getting to know both Rachel and Mycroft and see their relationship develop into more as they sleuthed about.  Each had struggles, Rachel was adjusting to city life after financial crisis forces her family to move, and she’s understandably sad and bitter because she loved her life on the farm.  Mycroft struggles with the loss of his family, and their love, often with self-destructive behavior.  Rachel and Mycroft provide support and understanding for each other and grow closer as they do. It’s apparent to everyone around they’re more than just friends even if they’re the last ones to admit it.  I loved their slow burn romance! This may be YA, but let me tell you their chemistry was off the charts once they finally get a clue!

There was a well developed cast of secondary characters: their awesome friends, Mai and Gus, as well as Rachel’s family make this the story come alive. I like that Rachel had caring, albeit imperfect, parents that were present and aware of their children’s actions and mental state.

Every Breath was a breath of fresh air. As you may know I’ve had a struggle enjoying YA lately, but Ellie Marney’s talented writing captivated me with multi-layered characters, a twisty mystery and a swoon-worthy romance! Even though Every Breath wraps up nicely, I still can’t wait to pick up Every Word!

About the author:
Ellie Marney was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia,Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about kid’s literature at libraries and schools, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Ellie’s short stories for adults have won awards and been published in various anthologies. Every Breath is her first novel for young adults.

 Connect with Ellie Marney:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...