Wednesday 24 February 2016

Review: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 9th June 2015
My rating: 4 stars 

Before: Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go... After: Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to. Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.

I’m always a huge fan of second chance romances. I always love that anticipation of our characters paths crossing once more and that dread in the pit of your stomach of not knowing how things are going to work out this time, but enjoying the slow build up of possible things that could be. For some reason I didn’t realise that Last Year’s Mistake was based around a second chance romance, but I’m so glad that I gave it a go, as the romance was done beautifully.

Kelsey and David became fast best friends over a chance meeting whilst Kelsey was spending her summer at her uncle’s. What started off as a summer friendship, developed into so much more when David ends up at the same school as Kelsey. I love how Ciocca gave us the build up of Kelsey and David’s relationship through alternating chapters between the present and past, to be honest I didn’t really care about past chapters earlier on, as so much was kicking off in the now, but then there were so many unanswered questions flying about and so much hurt and heartbreak coming through, that the past chapters became a pivotal point in understanding everything that was going on and honestly I couldn’t get enough of the story. I had my suspicions of what had gone down between Kelsey and David, but I don’t think I could have been more prepared for it. I could understand the reason Kelsey reacted the way that she did, she was scared and confused and had been put through so much, with her best friend really not on her side. But I sort of could see it coming, the slow build up to their romance was done beautifully, but I just wish someone had the guts to say something sooner and maybe a lot of heartache could have been avoided along the way.

But I’m hugely grateful that David had a second chance to be part of Kelsey’s life. When I found out the way things had ended, I knew they deserved their second chance and to finally make amends. Kelsey could be a stubborn person when she wanted to be, and I really wanted her to push that aside and be honest about her feelings and about what an amazing guy she had right in front of her. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, misunderstandings and obstacles which really made me think their relationship will never be, but underneath this I had the hope that things would end up as they were meant to. I ended up devouring Last Year’s Mistake in one day, it was that good, and the way Ciocca developed the relationship between Kelsey and David made me connect with them that much more, made me feel the heartache and pain they were going through too, the frustration when things finally seemed to be going right, only for things to go back to or be worse than before (the back and forth really became real pain at times), but for me the time Kelsey and David spent together and the beautiful relationship that evolved from it really made up for it.

Overall I adored Last Year’s Mistake, it really could have been my first five star read in a year, but Kelsey’s indecisiveness kind of took that away from me. This minor gripe aside, I think readers will fall in love with Kelsey’s and David’s story, it really was one done beautifully.

Friday 19 February 2016

Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen
Publication Date: March 24th 2015
My rating: 4 stars  

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny? Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

I’d had my eyes on Written in the Stars ever since my friend Siiri put it on my radar, I do like my books which deal with such realistic tough issues, but more so when done really well. I was thrilled when Written in the Stars was picked as our book club read, as I was finding it really difficult to keep my attention with any book, I needed something that would keep me really hooked, but also would be a book I would think about days afterwards and I’m glad to say that was exactly the case with this book. Of course Allie, Rashika, Siiri and I planned to read this book together, it had been so long and Written in the Stars seemed like the perfect book for a buddy read and to have never ending discussions with throughout. But Allie ended up finishing in a few hours and normally I’m the slowest reader ever, but ended up reading it in one day even before Rashika had made a start (sorry), but honestly once the story got going and things started picking up, I couldn’t put the book down until I found out how things went down.

Saeed did an incredible realistic portrayal of how difficult and horrific forced marriages could be. When I was at school I’d heard so many stories of girls being taken away on holiday by parents and then coming back married. I couldn’t imagine what it could have been like for a young person going to a foreign country and then being forced to spend the rest of their lives with a complete stranger. How frightened that individual must have been and how the parents could even do that, if they cared that much about their child like they said they did, how could they abandon their child that way? Naila’s parents were strict with her, that I could understand, they wanted what was best for her with no distractions, but their reaction to finding her with a guy at prom (okay she was meant to be having a sleepover and prepping for college at her best friend’s house and apparently Saif’s family were seen as the “black sheep”, after Saif’s sister had married out of religion). But a bit of understanding could have gone a long way instead of deciding to immediately visit Pakistan, (when you hadn’t been in 20 in years), making Naila miss graduation. I know what it feels like when families think nothing else matters when all respect has been lost from the family. As I come from an Indian family myself, maintaining the families respect and other people’s high impressions of you is vital to a lot of families, that sometimes an individual’s own opinions get completely overlooked in the process. And that is the harsh reality Naila had to deal with. I hated the way Naila was deceived in Pakistan, how she was left clueless and left with no choice at all. The little support that Naila did get along the way I appreciated, anyone who was caught helping Naila not only would they face the wrath of Naila’s parents, but her extended family too. I didn’t think things could get any worse, but it really was a scary time for Naila, I wanted Naila to get out, to be able to go and be safe in the comfort of her own home, but it really seemed an impossible situation to get out of.

I also completely lost respect for Naila’s parents as the story went on, I know they felt they had Naila’s best interests at heart, but they just made me so mad, if I was in Naila’s shoes I think I would have treated them exactly the way she was. Despite some parts of the story being really grim and scary, there were characters who really brightened up things for me and gave me the hope that things would be okay, Saif and Selma were characters who I hugely appreciated for the risks they were willing to take for Naila, but especially Saif’s resilience for not giving up and still keeping the belief in his and Naila’s relationship. Also for everything that Saif did and was willing to do for Naila, I could see and why Naila would fall for Saif.

I don’t want to say how things ended up for Naila, but honestly the last few chapters gave me serious heart palpitations. (Highlight to view spoiler) My only complaint about the ending was that I wish we had got some more detail about how they managed to make it back home, there was so much suspicion already about Saif being around, I also expected Naila’s uncle to be on the rampage. Also I wanted Naila to come face to face with her parents one more time too, we were told of an eventual meeting happening, but I wanted them to realise their daughter had become a better person without their interference. But this minor complaint aside, Written in the Stars was a book which I really appreciated reading. Saeed dealt with a really difficult subject that a lot of individuals still seem to find themselves in today in a raw and realistic manner.

Friday 12 February 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16th 2016.
My Rating: 2 stars 

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart. But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

What is going in this year with me and books I’ve been highly anticipating for ages? The Shadow Queen was a book I couldn’t wait to gobble up after hearing about it in a few months back, being in the lacklustre book run I had been in it sounded exactly what I needed: a kickass MC, an unexpected romance, and a fierce battle between individuals, one trying to remain in control and one trying to gain back what was rightfully hers. And don’t get me wrong The Shadow Queen started off wonderfully with perspectives from Lorelai, Kol and Irina I was hooked, also despite getting perspectives from these characters we were still in the dark about the full extent to what the characters would go (or be forced against their will) in order to remain in control.

Irina was a right piece of work, she had everything but still this wasn’t enough for her, she wouldn’t stop until she had killed her stepdaughter Lorelai. But being powerful as she was, she also had her weaknesses, her power could only go on for so long and in order to reserve her energy, the perfect strategy falls into her lap: use Kol as a huntsman to track Lorelai down. I did like this retelling aspect and with me also sort of knowing how things would end I was eager to find out how our characters would deal with the numerous obstacles thrown in their way. I admired Lorelai and her fierceness, how nine years later she was still trying to keep her promise to her father, to keep her brother safe and avenge Irina for all the destruction she had caused. But at times I was unsure whether Lorelai would be able to do it as Irina would never give up, destroying everything that would come in her way. Despite starting off great, I found my concentration waning in the second half. I did like the introduction of Kol and his interactions with Lorelai, but aspects of the story just got a bit too farfetched for my liking that I found myself skimming over a lot of the second half of the book. I also didn’t care for the characters after a while. Yes I wanted Irina to be put in her place, but the gusto and brilliance that The Shadow Queen started off with lost its spark with me. Which is a real shame as I adored Redwine’s books in the past; her writing has always had a great ability to get me lost in a world wind of her incredible world building skills. But alas The Shadow Queen was not meant to be.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Review: The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer

The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer
Publisher: Harper Collins AU
Publication Date: February 1st 2014
My rating: DNF 

Josie Browning dreams of having it all. A stellar academic record, an amazing career in journalism - and for her current crush to realise she actually exists. The only problem? Josie can’t get through twenty-four hours without embarrassing her sister Kat or her best friend Angel, let alone herself. Josie’s luck changes though when she lands an internship at the glossy fashion magazine Sash. A coveted columnist job is up for grabs, but Josie’s got some tough competition in the form of two other interns. Battle lines are drawn and Josie quickly learns that the magazine industry is far from easy, especially under the reign of powerful editor, Rae Swanson. From the lows of coffee-fetching and working 10-hour days, to the highs of mingling with celebrities, scoring endless free beauty products (plus falling for her cousin’s seriously gorgeous flatmate James) this is one year Josie will never forget. Totally fresh and funny, this debut novel from industry insider Gabrielle Tozer reveals just what is behind the seeming glamour and sparkle of the magazine industry.

The Intern was a book which I found myself eager to read after reading the blurb (it reminded me a lot of The Devil wears Prada, a book I enjoyed and loved the setting of) and seeing it pop up a lot of Aussie YA reader’s blogs. I was also in the mood for something light and fun and the fun aspect was totally there, I liked how Josie and the other two interns had to compete at the well known Sash magazine, especially as there was a cash prize up for grabs too. I was all behind Josie from the beginning to be successful, especially as her mum had to work so hard in order to provide for her and her sister. Also Josie was more down to earth that some of the staff at Sash, also in comparison to intern Ava, Josie was genuinely talented in her writing ability and also genuinely a nice person. Of course the comparisons to The Devil Wears Prada can be made, as Josie was a nobody before coming to Sash, she had no real sense of style in comparison to the other girls and of course she had a bitchy boss to deal with who had deadlines that needed to be met straight away and of course Josie was pushed to carry out tedious tasks initially. Like the Devil Wears Prada I was looking forward to Josie getting her moment to shine and show that she was a talented individual. So I’m glad when that moment came, because after with the hard slogging and running back and forth to Sash magazine, Josie deserved it.

However one of the reasons I had to DNF this book in the end was because Josie’s character was too young for my liking. Before going into The Intern I didn’t know that our MC would be 17 years old, yes I’ve read so many books with 17 year old MC’s in the past and not had a issue with them before, but being in Josie’s head just became really difficult at times, it’s not that she’s a whiny individual, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the things she was thinking about. Yes I was super curious to find out who would win the grand prize, and whether the massive doozy Josie found herself in would be revealed and whether she and James would finally get together. But that lack of connection with Josie and just the youngness of her character really made it difficult for me to continue with this story, which is a real shame, as I really had high hopes for this book. 

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Review, Giveaway & Interview: The Bride Wore Starlight by Lizbeth Selvig

The Bride Wore Starlight (Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys #3) by Lizbeth Selvig
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication date: February 9th 2016
My rating: 4 stars
Barnes & Noble / Amazon / iBooks / GooglePlay

Once comfortable on stage in front of thousands, Joely Crockett is now mortified at the thought of walking—or rolling—down the aisle at her sisters’ wedding. Scarred and wheelchair-bound, the former beauty queen has lost more than the ability to walk—she’s lost her fire. But when one handsome, arrogant guest accuses her of milking her injuries and ignites her ire, Joely finally starts to feel truly alive again, and soon it’s impossible for her to resist her heart’s desire.

Alec Morrissey knows a little something about loss. A famous rodeo cowboy before he was injured in Iraq, he’s managed to create something of a normal life, even if it’s not the one he always imagined. Encountering stunning but damaged Joely, he sees a kindred spirit who can learn from his mistakes.

As these two healing souls begin to fall in love under the Wyoming stars, they must discover if they are willing to give in to the tragedies of life or fight for a future together.

My Thoughts:
After a severe truck accident damages Joely Crockett for life, she’s not in the best place mentally or physically.  Physical therapy has been painful and slow going.  To add insult to injury, her benefits through her soon-to-be-ex-husband are about to be cut off, leaving her to figure out her own way. Attending her sister’s double wedding as the maid of honor, and wheeling herself down the aisle, is the last thing she wants to do.  Basically, Joely’s been holding her own pity party, which to be fair, she did have right to, but as a reader you realize this did her no favors and it was a little frustrating.

Joely is even more annoyed when one of the groomsman, Alec, won’t leave her alone and even goes as far as pushing her to dance just to show her she can do way more than she thinks.  Joely’s incensed by his presumptuousness, thinking that Alec has no idea how hard her life has been, but Alec has far more in common with her than she knows.

Alec was one of the best things to happen to Joely.  She needed someone there that wouldn’t coddle her, and could still understand and relate to her pain.  She needed someone to give it to her straight, and Alec was just the man. 

He didn’t see Joely as a diva, but clearly she’d gotten used to things being easy for her throughout her life, with her gorgeous face, beauty pageants she couldn’t lose, and her family’s over protectiveness.

Alec was there by her side, but I appreciated that didn’t take over and push solutions.  Alec did have his own issues, though, and I liked that Joely didn’t just take and take in their relationship, but she was able to provide support, understanding and a useful objective opinion, as well.

As for Joely and Alec’s romance, even though they were immediately attracted, it was a slow build as they got to know and trust each other.  They really got each other’s circumstances like no one else would’ve been able to, and with everything Joely and Alec had went through, I was definitely rooting for their HEA!  The Bride Wore Starlight was sweet, realistic and free of over-the-top drama.  I adored this romance!


Hi Lizbeth, Thanks for joining us! To get started, why don’t you give readers an introduction into the Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys series, and The Bride Wore Starlight

1. You have a passion for horses and horseback riding. How did that influence the themes and settings around your books?
Pictures of horses adorned my bedroom walls from the time I was five, when I was a little city girl in Minneapolis. I collected all the stories about horses I could and had my first book boyfriend crush on Alec Ramsay in The Black Stallion series. I got my first horse as a graduation from college present from my husband, and I was hooked for life, even getting my daughter her her first pony when she was six years old so we could ride together. She went on to become an equine veterinarian, and I still help her care for all the horses she’s collected since that first pony! I still have a horse of my own, so you can see I’m obsessed and have a hard time imagining a world without horses in it!
All my books have included horses to some extent. I’m not even stuck on one type of horse, or riding or rider—my first series of books revolved around English riding, dressage and eventing. My current series “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” takes place on a Wyoming ranch so I get to spend a lot of time with horses in these books. In my stories, I’ve used horses as therapy animals, as challenges for my characters, and as comforting best friends. I love sharing the beauty and versatility and healing power of horses with my readers.

2. What is it about your two main characters, Alec and Joely, that have made them so strong after going through such traumatic experiences?
I think what’s amazing about Alec and Joely is that neither of them has any idea when their story starts just where their real strengths lie. Joely was a beauty queen several times, and even though she isn’t vain she has always believed that what she has to offer the world revolves around her physical looks. What she discovers after her physical body is broken and scarred is that she doesn’t need to trade on outer beauty—her talents of kindness, understanding, and the ability to love despite peoples’ flaws are her truest assets—and they (along with Alec’s help) are what make her strong in the end.
Alec completely believes what makes him strong is the ability to bury things that remind him of pain and could make him bitter. He has a major physical disability, but he ignores it and gets on with life—and he even has the sunny disposition to go along with it. But what he doesn’t know is that burying his past and his anger really is a weakness. When he learns (with Joely’s help) to embrace what he sees as weaknesses and truly face his fears—he grows into the truly strong and resilient man he wants to be.

3. How long have you been writing and who influenced you?
I started making up stories and telling them to myself at night in bed as far back as when I was four and five years old. Later, when other kids were reading themselves to sleep, I started writing down these stories. I guess it was what would now be called fan fiction—I had lots of fun affairs and adventures with my favorite pop stars from Paul McCartney to Bobby Sherman! Eventually I started writing “real” short stories and then novels. In the 80s and 90s I fell in love with the romances of LaVyrle Spencer. To this day she’s my ideal when it comes to telling a love story and I don’t try to copy her, but I do try to live up to her example.

4. Do you have a favorite romance? Tell us!
I mentioned LaVyrle Spencer, and whenever I’m asked this question I have to go back to her. Sadly, most younger romance readers today don’t know her work, but she was known for her beautiful lyrical writing and her warm, identifiable characters. My favorite romance is a book by her called “Hummingbird.” It’s an American historical about a “spinster” who takes in a wounded train robber. Their love affair was so tender, and LaVyrle wrote such a memorable first-attempt at sex scene that I’ll never forget it. Suffice it to say the first try at lovemaking was awkward at best—but so realistic. Naturally, she made up for it later—and it was totally worth the wait!

5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I mostly write in my office at home. Lest you think that sounds hoity toity, however, it’s also my sewing room and storage for my granddaughter’s “grandma’s house toys,” so it’s very far from tidy and it’s not all that private. Still, it’s my clutter and filled with things I love, and during the day it’s very quiet. I have two windows so I can always see outside—perfect for daydreaming-ah, brainstorming!

6. What’s on your bucket list for this year?
I’m already planning to attend Romance Writers of America’s annual meeting in San Diego as well as the Romantic Times Reader Convention in Las Vegas. My “bucket list” addition is that I want my hubby to come meet me at both of them since I’ve never been to either city. I’d like to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Beatles Love” performance in Vegas, and I want to visit the zoo in San Diego because I love zoos. I’d also love to go back to Alaska and visit my dear friends—those I made when I lived in Anchorage from 2006-2009!

7. One of your books, Rescued by a Stranger was a *RWA RITA® Award Finalist. What was that like for you?
Oh my goodness, I look back on that and I still can’t believe it happened! I was so flattered and honored because it’s a peer award, and to have made the cut with some of my absolute idols (Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis) was a dream come true. I swear it’s also true that it was an honor just to be a finalist. I mean, with all the stellar fellow finalists—it didn’t matter in the least that I didn’t win. It was extremely special to be wined and dined and treated like a queen for a week at the convention—a very meaningful sure wouldn’t mind bringing home one of those gorgeous, golden RITA ladies!

8. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming works?
I’m super excited about the last four books of the “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” series. The next three books will belong to the triplets, Grace, Kelly, and Raquel who were named for their father’s favorite two movie stars! Grace comes next and she meets the small-time poker player who thinks he has a generation’s-old claim to Paradise Ranch (and a very precocious five-year-old daughter).  Kelly falls in love with a secondary character from “The Bride Wore Red Boots” – one of the veterans suffering from PTSD who has become a hotshot firefighter. It may or may not be the best choice for either of them. Raquel falls for a doctor who is a total science geek to her active tomboy personality. It’s hard to see how sparks can fly when one’s never seen Star Wars and the other won’t go out if it means missing Dr. Who. The last book of the series will introduce a surprise character: Cami Colarusso—a cousin to the Crockett sisters whom nobody knew existed. To end the series we need a little fun:  how about dinosaurs on the ranch?!
In addition to the Brides books, I’m working on a proposal for a completely new book in a slightly different genre—women’s fiction. More on that to come! And I have a cross-over story coming out in May as part of a Kindle Worlds series set in Sapphire Falls—the world created by bestselling author Erin Nicholas. One of the characters from the Brides series is going to make his way to Sapphire Falls. I’m so excited, so watch for that, too!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lizbeth Selvig lives in Minnesota with her best friend (aka her husband), and a gray Arabian gelding. After working as a newspaper journalist and magazine editor, and raising an equine veterinarian daughter and a talented musician son, she won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® Contest in 2010 with her contemporary romance The Rancher and the Rock Star. In her spare time, she loves to hike, quilt, read, horseback ride, and spend time with her new granddaughter. She also has four-legged grandchildren—more than twenty—including a wallaby, two alpacas, a donkey, a pig, a sugar glider, and many dogs, cats, and horses (pics of all appear on her website She loves connecting with readers—contact her any time!

The publisher is giving away an e-Copy of The Bride Wore Denim and The Bride Wore Red Boots, the first two books in the series to one lucky reader! Simply fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win:

Monday 8 February 2016

Review: Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Find Her ( Detective D.D. Warren #8) by Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: February 9th 2016
My rating: 4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Audible
Flora Dane is a victim.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless.

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

My Thoughts:
Find Her was chilling and one of the more disturbing stories I’ve read by Lisa Gardner.  Once I truly sat down and started reading, I couldn’t put the book down and I have to say the story haunted me.

Detective D.D. Warren is called to bizarre homicide where the victim turned the tables on her abductor before he did her any damage.  Once D.D. starts asking questions she soon realizes there is more than meets the eye with the victim, Flora Dane, because this isn’t the first time Flora has been a victim of abduction. 

Flora Dane was held for four hundred and seventy-two days by a monster.  She survived, but forever changed.  Now five years later Flora will not be a victim again, quite the opposite, she’s obsessed with cases of missing girls.  The case of Stacy Summers particularly captures Flora’s interest.  Stacy goes out having drinks at a bar and disappears.  The last she’s seen is on a surveillance video being led away by a dark figure. That was three months ago, and Flora’s determined to find her. Unfortunately, her investigations put her in danger and she goes missing.  Will D.D. be able to put all the pieces of the past and present together and find Flora before it’s too late?  Man, I was hoping so!

Like I said, Find Her was disturbing and suspenseful, a real nail-biter!  I found the shifts to Flora’s past upsetting, not that the details are explicit, but my imagination has no problem filling in the blanks. My stomach twists thinking about what Flora went through, as little by little the story of her past abduction is revealed, and how she came out of it.  But Flora is a survivor, and I relished the parts where she stood up for herself.  She took control by taking self-defense and educating herself.  This was very much a tale of what happens to a victim after they’re “saved” because it’s apparent after reading this story that is most definitely not the end to their ordeal.

You don’t have to read the previous books in this series or know the prior history of Detective D.D. Warren to enjoy Find Her, but she is one of my favorite regulars in Lisa Gardner’s mysteries.  While her personal story is very much in the background, I’ve enjoyed seeing her find love and family throughout the series.  Not that there haven’t been ups and downs, but I love it when an author portrays a solid marriage weathering tough times together.  D.D. needs to thank her lucky stars that she found Alex, such a supportive and understanding husband!  I love every scene with that man!  D.D. is on restricted duty after sustaining an injury in Fear Nothing (book 7) but staying on the sidelines in a supervisory position is not her style.  She’s in the thick of things hunting down the bad guy!

If you haven’t picked up a Lisa Gardner mystery you are missing out.  I’ve been a fan of her well-plotted and researched mysteries for years.  Her stories will stay with you and leave you thinking for days if not years.

Connect with Lisa Gardner:

Sunday 7 February 2016

Cover Reveal & 1st Chapter: Chase Me by Laura Florand

As most know I’m a huge fan of Laura Florand’s writing so I’m thrilled to be part of the Cover Reveal for Chase Me her newest installment in the Paris Nights series (previously named Paris Hearts)! As a special bonus Laura Florand is sharing the first chapter of Chase Me, and it sounds sexy and fun!  After reading I'm dying to get my hands on this book!

Book 2 – Paris Nights – on sale April 2016
“Silky and addictive.” – RT Book Reviews


by Laura Florand

April 2016 / Ebook & Trade Paperback / Original / Fiction

$4.99 ebook / 978-1-943168-04-0 / $14.99 trade / 978-1-943168-06-4
Pre-Order Links:
Amazon | KoboiBooks

About the book:

Laura Florand, bestselling author of The Chocolate Thief, combines smart dialogue, provocative sensuality, laughter, a touch of danger, and two irresistibly strong characters in Chase Me, an ode to the romance of Paris and the beauty of falling in love.

A Michelin two-star chef at twenty-eight, Violette Lenoir could handle anything, including a cocky burglar who broke into her restaurant in the middle of the night.

Or so she thought.

Elite counterterrorist operative Chase “Smith” had been through things that made Hell Week look easy. But nothing had prepared him for a leather-clad blonde who held him at bay at knifepoint and dared him to take her on.

Now if only saving the world didn’t require he ruin her life.

Two people who thought they could handle anything now have to take on each other.
It's a battle neither one expected.  But with their futures on the line, they have nothing to lose...but their hearts.

Warning: This book contains one arrogant Navy SEAL, nights of Paris passion, and a woman who wants to have it all.

  Chapter One:


“Chocolate, Paris, and a Greek god for a hero; this delectable confection has it all!” – Library Journal Starred Review

“(Florand) captures the nature of love, its fierce, soul-warming necessity, in a way that will make you as happy as the finest bonbon could.” Eloisa James, The Barnes & Noble Review, a Best Book of 2013 selection

“Florand outdoes herself with this exquisite confection… painstakingly crafted and decadent as the sweets it portrays, leaving the reader longing for just one little taste.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Adorable, charming, whimsical.” – Smexy Books

“Florand serves up a mouth-watering tale of slow-burning passion and combustible consummation that’s as perfectly crafted as the hero’s surprisingly complex confections and as silky and addictive as the heroine’s dark chocolat chaud.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!, RT Seal of Excellence, RT Reviewers Choice nomination Best Book of 2013

“A delectable summer bonbon.” – NPR Books

“This is one of the cleverest, most persuasive enemies-to-lovers stories I’ve read in a long time.” – Dear Author, RECOMMENDED READ


Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website:  

More Praise for Laura Florand’s Novels

“The battle of pastries is an erotic subtext for their love affair, and every bit as decadent.” – Publishers Weekly

“All the elements of [Florand’s] successful recipe for reading pleasure—headstrong heroine, dashing hero, sinful desserts, and sultry situations—come together in another deliciously entertaining offering.” BOOKLIST

“Full of whimsical charm, great dialogue and what turns into a very sexy romance. The author weaves the food these two create into their romance so well… a truly charming book. Highly recommend.” –  

“Sweet, sexy, and all around delicious. I’m addicted. I can’t wait for the next book.” – Nalini Singh, NYT bestselling author

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