Renee Conoulty: January 2016

Books

Saturday, 30 January 2016

If I Should Lose You by Natasha Lester

‘Through a cast of memorable characters, If I Should Lose You pitches art against life, and in the process exposes life in all its frailties. Here is a story that resonates long after reading.’ — Andrea Goldsmith

‘I was captivated by this honest, beautiful story that fuses love and art with the most profound challenges of motherhood. Written with extraordinary emotional wisdom and intelligence.’ — Liz Byrski

Camille is a nurse specialising in supporting families through the difficult decision to donate the organs of their dying loved ones. Camille’s mother is a gifted but uncompromising transplant surgeon determined to make it in a man’s world until her own life falls apart. And Camille herself is a mother to Addie – five years old, critically ill and in desperate need of the very organs her mother and grandmother work with.



Hey! Here's my review.

If I Could Lose You was not a book I devoured in one sitting, it was a novel that I nibbled on, savouring each mouthful. Natasha's writing style is beautifully descriptive and engaging without being overwritten. Told from the point of view of a nurse, the story tackled life and death in that slightly detached way that those in the medical profession develop in order to cope. It was emotionally engaging and thought provoking, but not in an exhausting rollercoaster way. I loved the way Natasha wove together tales of past and present, art and medicine, love and loss. The novel discussed organ transplants from the perspective of the surgical team, the donor and their family, and the recipient and their family, prompting me to have a discussion with my husband about organ donation.

This is the first book I've read by Natasha Lester and I'm looking forward to reading more.
 


★★★★★ 

  • Where: Local Library
  • Format: Paperback

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Almana by Julayn Adams

In the aftermath of World War III, the world has become a dangerous place. The ruthless dictator, Equis, and his army, Armageddon, are quickly taking over major metropolitan areas on the west coast of the United States. The end of humanity is imminent. Their one hope lies in the hands of a seventeen year old girl, Alexa. When Almana volunteers to leave Heaven to guide Alexa, she never thought that her own destiny would include falling in love with a human. Now, cursed to remain on Earth forever, Almana finds that her task is much more than she bargained for.



Hey! Here's my review.

This YA dystopian paranormal novel tells the story of Almana - an angel who has given up her place in Heaven to come to Earth to protect Alexa and help her fulfil her destiny. This is book one in a trilogy. I loved the world building and the rich descriptions. The majority of this novel was setting up the series and it read more like a romance. I liked the characters and was drawn in emotionally to the story, but was left hanging at the end with more questions than I started with. 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. 



★★★★

  • Where: Author Invitation
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.




Hey! Here's my review.

I picked this book up mainly to be part of a book club discussion, then was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I would describe it more as influenced by fairy tales, rather than a fairy tale retelling. It had the feel of a fairy tale, without being totally predictable. 

Although one of the main characters is called Dragon, there aren't any real dragons in the story. There are plenty of other strange beasts though. I loved the world building and how the author was able to make me change my opinions of some characters when deeper layers were revealed. I enjoyed the fact that this is a stand alone novel and didn't leave me hanging, waiting for a sequel.



★★★★

  • Where: Borrowbox
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link
Amazon 


Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-jan-2016

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Write on

Hey Everyone!

Most of you have heard of Wattpad, an awesome website where writers post their books a chapter at a time and readers can check them out for free. I've also mentioned Tablo, which is an Aussie based website doing a similar thing. Well, now Amazon is in on the game and has a site called Write On by kindle. The aim is to "get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process".

It's free to participate in as a reader and a writer. A great way to gain feedback on your writing and discover new authors. 




Friday, 22 January 2016

The Quirks in Circus Quirkus by Erin Soderberg

Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages...Just as the Quirk family was settling into Normal... Ta da! The circus comes to town! At school, Molly, Penelope, and Finn are all learning circus skills in gym class. At home, they are putting similar skills to good use; it takes fancy footwork and stellar detective work to keep their nosy neighbor from snooping around and uncovering the Quirk family secrets. Each day in their new town makes one thing very clear: Life in Normal is a high-flying adventure!



Hey! Here's my review.

**Interview with my 5 & 6 year olds**

Me: What did you think of this book?
T: It was t-riffic
M: Awesome

Me: Who was your favourite character? Why?
T: My favourite character was Finn because he could go invisible.
M: Molly 'cause she can see the invisible guy.
Me: And what about her name?
M: Yeah, and 'cause she has the same name as me.

Me: What was your favourite bit?
T: My favourite bit was when they caught the new monster.
M: When they played with Niblet their pet monster.

Me: What quirk would you like to have?
T: I would like to go back in time so I can have desert over and over and over again.
M: I wish I could be a tiny fairy who could fly.

Me: What circus trick would you like to learn?
T: I would like to learn trapeze.
M: The 'peze same as Tom.
 



★★★★★ 

  • Where: Borrowbox
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mr. Crotchety by Rich Amooi

Greg Tremblay
Shoe store owner Roger Hudson has a chip on his shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore. Hiring real estate agent Sally Bright, the most-annoyingly positive woman ever, probably isn’t the smartest move but she’s the best. Her constantly bubbly nature gets under Roger’s skin but there’s an even bigger problem. She’s also getting into his heart. And don’t even get him started on her dynamite legs. 

Roger doesn’t fool Sally one bit. She knows his crotchety act is as fake as her best friend’s Gucci bag. She’s dealt with his type before but selling his home is proving to be harder than she thought. Especially since she’s developing feelings for her handsome client. But just when things seem to be going in the right direction, Sally’s secret could destroy everything she worked so hard for.




Hey! Here's my review.

Yet another fantastic rom com from Rich Amooi. Roger "Mr Crotchety" sends out the grumpy old man vibes. I usually don't like negative characters, but Roger had a softer side and I loved him. His grumpiness came across as amusing rather than annoying and I found myself giggling on numerous occasions. I enjoyed reading a romance with characters in their 50s and 60s and relished the resulting George Clooney massaging my feet fantasy.

I listened to the audiobook edition narrated by Greg Tremblay. He did a fabulous job, speaking clearly and at a good pace. His characterisation was excellent.
 



★★★★★ 

  • Where: Facebook Giveaway
  • Format: audiobook

Purchase link

Monday, 18 January 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.




Hey! Heres' my review.

I love books and I love books about books. I also love quirky characters, and this novel is full of them. Set in a small town that is dying away, Sara injects some new life when she comes to visit. I could relate to Sara finding true kinship with someone she has never met, I have done the same via social media, also bonding over a love of books. I'd love to go visit my faraway friends too. I was sad for Sara, that she never got to meet that friend in person, and enjoyed the letters that were shared throughout the book. 

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



★★★★
  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook
Purchase link

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people's expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.



Hey! Here's my review.

I found the concept intriguing, the idea of twins swapping places one day, as many twins do, but one manipulating the other into not swapping back. I loved the exploration into nature versus nurture. Identical twins with the same genetic makeup being treated differently; the "favourite" role swapped from one to the other, and how that affected their adult lives. The characters also dealt a lot with mental health issues. It made me wonder at times whether the mental health issues caused the poor behaviour, or if it was the other way around. 

The story was told from one character's perspective, but alternating between present day third person, and past second person. The character and her experiences were so unfamiliar to me, that I didn't relate well to the second person narrative. The jumping back and forth built tension and kept me in suspense, but I did feel a little confused at times. This is the perfect example of an unreliable narrator.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



★★★

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Plan Bea - Winter Blues Massive Book Giveaway

Hey Everyone!

Hilary Grossman is hosting a MASSIVELY HUGE Giveaway and she invited me to play!



Whether you feel the need to beat the winter blues or you're looking for your next beach read, there's something here for you. All 44 books wouldn't fit in the blog post, so some are here with rafflecopters, but you can find all of them in the Facebook event - for more chances to win... And here are the books!

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Could falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish woman to open her heart back up to her family? 
Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club. We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really?
On the outside, Annabel O'Conner has it all - the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother's love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her! This emotional and honest women's contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble - eBook $4.99 Print $14.95

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Stacey Ballis cooks up a delicious broth of a novel about a woman whose perfect life falls apart in spectacular fashion--leaving her with a house to restore, an antique cookbook (but no cooking talent), and one very unhappy schnauzer.
For fans of Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Emily Giffin. To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream. Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation. But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Gemma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along… “With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis’s writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious.”--Jen Lancaster
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble - eBook $11.99 Print $13.27
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If there’s one thing that Bridgette Reynolds has learned recently, it’s that the perfect shoes, the perfect hair, and the perfect dress do not make for the perfect proposal.
In fact, sometimes they make for the not-so-perfect breakup. Now, Bridgette must do everything in her power to win Adam back. She knows they are meant to be. And nothing will stand in her way—not her friends, not her grandmother, not even the fact that Adam is now engaged to Serene after a whirlwind romance. Focused on her plan to win Adam back, Bridgette isn’t expecting Ian—her college best friend, her love, her big regret—to come back into her life. They sink back into their comfortable friendship as if no time has passed at all, making Bridgette start to question her feelings for Adam. But Ian has a few secrets of his own . . . secrets that could shatter their friendship once and for all. Bridgette has to make some major decisions—should she speak now? Or forever hold her peace? Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $13.25
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How many faux engagements can one girl have? 
Hilary learns the hard way more than you can imagine. She has no idea what to do. She's been dating perfect on paper, Marc, for years. He's everything she wants in a man except for one thing. He's beyond afraid of commitment! Tired of waiting for Marc to come to his senses, the couple's friends decide to take matters into their own hands and throw a surprise "engagement" party. Only problem is their meddling has unforeseen consequences... In this real life chick lit story, Hilary Grossman digs deep as she explores the good, the bad, and the frustrating of dating. Dangled Carat is the perfect light hearted, funny, and relatable story for every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him. Chick lit readers will be hooked!
Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $12.74
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Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes.
With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it's all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go ... not as planned.From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything.


When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.
Available Amazon
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Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.
Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. But is there more to the story than meets the eye? After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones's Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn't have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn't see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. This is the year when all of Kim's dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone? This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.
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From Book 1: Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love. Just as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist...
Available Amazon eBook $6.97
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When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys.
Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.


With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.
Available Amazon
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You know what they say about best-laid plans… After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything.
Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof. It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated. Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning. But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?
Available Amazon
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Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only. Broken Pieces is an award winning book about relationships, a study of women, and a book with heart. Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, Broken Pieces is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again. While still non-fiction, best-selling Broken Pieces is not humor at all. In Thompson’s most intensive work to date, she opens her soul and invites the reader in for a visit. Thompson goes into those long buried rooms we lock up deep inside and shares a bit of her soul. Broken Pieces is vulnerable, raw honesty, and no-holds barred.
Available Amazon
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Hannah Rogers is lost: cynical, insecure, and withdrawn. Skeletons forged through a bad breakup that should have been a marriage proposal. 
Now four years later, Hannah follows her dead-end job to the big city where her only hope is to survive the next eight months as her flirtatious boss’s personal assistant. The last thing her predictable life needs is to collide with the boy responsible for breaking her heart, or the twist of fate that sends a sexy new neighbor to awaken feelings she’s long since put to bed. Alex Sorrento doesn’t have any room in his life for another pet project. He’s already put aside his career and his personal dreams to follow his half-sister Mackenzie to the big city. Lost in the guilt over the events that nearly took her life, he feels he owes her that much. When Mackenzie befriends the new girl on the third floor, Alex finds himself defenseless against the sizzling chemistry between them and the sadness in her eyes. Can he protect Hannah from her ex without losing his heart? In this turbulent journey about self-discovery, forgiveness, and love, some second chances aren’t worth taking, but others have their own rewards.
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble eBook $2.99 Print $16.95
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Welcome to the FORGIVE OR FORGET series, a compelling contemporary women's fiction love story and family saga series.
Cawood's love inspired medical romance series follows the close-knit McGowan siblings; Keon, Kiera, Cormack, and Cara, as they face the difficult choice between forgiving or forgetting true love after a broken heart. Does a heart ever really heal from its first break? On an unseasonably hot night in late September, Dr. Keon McGowan is called away from a family gathering to a hospital emergency. Amongst his patients that night is a blast from his past he'd rather forget. He'll certainly never forgive butterfly hunter Darcia Davenport for leaving him alone as a single dad while she chased butterflies through the Amazon rainforest. Coming face to face with the woman who broke his heart after all this time, Keon realises that he has never fully healed from it. But any chance of finding closure is ripped away when Darcy chooses to end treatment and live her final weeks without regret. Can Keon let her go? Or will he fight for the tomorrow they might never have? MAYBE TOMORROW is an emotional journey of love caught between fate and destiny, and Keon is forced to choose between his head and his heart, his wants and his responsibilities, forgiving Darcy or forgetting all about her, and between a second chance family or an ill-fated heartbreak romance.
Available Amazon Barnes & Noble
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When Vivian Cartwright was five years old, she witnessed her mother’s death.
Now, sixteen-year-old Vivian only wants a normal life, but to do that she must keep her ability to control energy a secret. Only her guardian, Charlotte, who has hidden Vivian from the man responsible for her mother’s murder, knows of her staggering power.

Her secret is safe until Vivian defends herself at school using her power. After this first use of her gift in many years, Vivian’s power seems to take on a mind of its own, increasing in strength and bringing dreams of her mother’s death and the mysterious man associated with it.

In her desire to unlock her past, Vivian is forced to use her supernatural gift over and over. With each use, Vivian fears she is losing control and discovers her powers are growing—maybe too much—bringing her unknowingly closer to the man who murdered her mother, but she soon learns she can’t escape her past . . . or her future. When she will finally learns the truth, it will turn her world upside-down.

Available Amazon
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Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname.
Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction. When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life. Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media. Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $7.99
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When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to indulge in wine, stuff her face with croissants, and fall in love. It proved to be much more difficile than she'd imagined.

In this laugh-out-loud memoir, this cheeky storyteller recounts the highs and lows of her life in the City of Light. Sassy and shamefully honest, Vicki makes you feel as if you're right there in Paris stumbling along the cobblestones with her.

Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will the French administration ever cut her a break?

Available Amazon
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Between unending housework and thankless efforts to appease a loutish husband and acid-tongue teens, Ginny Cooper’s to-do list never seems to get done.
Her guilty pleasure—fantasizing about her husband’s demise—her weakness—the drive-thru at Arby’s. On the job as head librarian at the county’s obsolete library, tedium reigns. One afternoon Ginny innocently stumbles upon a dating website, where the rabbit hole awaits. Who is Ginny Cooper? She is every woman who knows the exact number of calories in a Snickers bar, every woman who has ever struggled with her weight. She is every woman who has grappled with the gray areas, every woman who has wanted to escape her own life. At times the reader will want to reach between the pages, shake her, and talk some sense into her. But Ginny will have to navigate her own road. And through it all, we root for her.

Ginny’s childhood memories of her fading hometown provide a bittersweet backdrop for The To-Do List.

Available Amazon
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Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she's taken on to keep her business--a popular fashion-snark website--up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal. While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it's a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster--personally and professionally. To save the website and writing career she's made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind.
Available Amazon
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Is it possible to find two loves in one lifetime? 
Dubbed “The Child Whisperer” by his peers, twenty-nine-year-old Jake Harris is a lollipop-sucking, video game-playing pediatrician, who moves to Seashore Cove, Long Island to start a family. What he finds is an immediate attraction to his new nurse, Kate, and a list of reasons why he has to keep his distance. Kate Henderson is a grieving widow with two teenage boys, struggling to keep her head above water. She knows exactly why she must fight her growing desire for the new doctor, and nothing is going to change that. But Kate’s sons think Dr. Jake is the perfect match for their mother. When they put their heads together, the duo comes up with crazy little schemes in the hopes of igniting a spark. The teenagers succeed in throwing them together but is it enough to make their mom and the doctor tear up their lists and take a chance on love?

Available Amazon , Barnes & Noble
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Dylan Farrow puts on his pants every morning one leg at a time, just like everyone else at the Kerrigan Advertising Agency.
He handles high-pressure projects with a fast turnaround. He's prized for his keen intellect and admirable performance. But how did he get where he is today—to the level of Junior Executive of Design Production? Well, that involves how he takes his pants off... and for whom... Hoping to break through the glass ceiling under which she's been trapped for years, Valerie Caplan picks up her life and moves to Seattle. After hearing about the position of Senior Executive of Design Production from an art director at Kerrigan, she decides to apply. When she lands the big interview, she never thinks for a minute that she'll have any serious competition. She assumes that she has the job in the bag...until she discovers that the only competition has something she doesn't have—the willingness to go outside the office to impress Danica Stewart, their uptight female boss.

Available Amazon
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Violet Monte believed her love and marriage would last a lifetime–until she catches her husband in bed with a younger woman. 
When she realizes she was nothing more than a trophy wife, Violet decides to chase her own dreams. The only problem is, she has no idea what they are. Violet begins to pursue her own interests which sometime include spying on her mysterious neighbor, who might actually be a lady of the night. Just as Violet is finding stability–– and the possibility of opening her heart again–– her husband returns not with an apology, but with a signed pre-nuptial agreement, claiming he’ll keep everything and leave her with nothing. Violet is far from the compliant woman he once knew but she doubts she has the strength to fight and win, until her intriguing neighbor unlocks what Violet has been looking for all along. Can Violet fight back from a lost love and reinvent herself into the person she always wanted to be or will she forever be just an ex-trophy wife?
Available Amazon
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After attending three new mom groups, only to be banned for eating Cheetos (not organic!) and uttering the occasional swear word, Sadie Walker questions why she is trying so hard to fit in.
While sitting in another dingy community center playroom full of squealing babies and new moms enthusiastically discussing homemade organic baby food, Sadie meets John, a handsome, vivacious dad. They quickly form a friendship and Sadie finally finds an adult outlet. John soon becomes a lifeline and she looks to him for advice and support, and confides in him about her strained marriage and career as a copywriter. Sadie begins to have sexual fantasies about John. Those fantasies turn into opportunity when he tells her he’s in an open marriage. As Sadie contemplates how far is too far in regards to her friendship with John, she must also question herself, her marriage, an d her life. Will swinging with John improve that life, or destroy it?

Available Amazon
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Alex Rose is a 32-year-old divorced mother of two, looking for a better life for her and her sons. 
In search of answers, she returns to college to finally get that degree she’s always dreamed of. What she finds is something she wasn’t even looking for. Mason Brooks is every girl’s dream: 21 years old, tall, with dirty blond hair that curls when it’s wet, sea-blue eyes, and dimples. Hot, sexy…and deliciously naïve and innocent. Enter a tantalizing world where an average soccer mom utilizes her newfound knowledge of psychology to make life just a little more interesting. Follow along as Alex educates Mason on the art of seducing and pleasing a woman. Take notes as she introduces him to a whole new level of intensity and sexual pleasure. Study the sensual art of tantric sex as Alex creates her own style of silk and lace female dominance. This little tryst will never survive past college–but Alex is determined to enjoy it the fullest while it lasts.
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble
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BUT WAIT!!! There are more books!
You can win these too - check out the Facebook event HERE to win these books!

FB Books set 1
FB Books set 2FB Books set 3                                                                    

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Bookworm Buddies & Writer Friends

Hey Everyone!

Back in October last year I posted an interview with Rosie Miles, who I met by a chance encounter while browsing books in my local Target. With Rosie being an author, and me being a book blogger, we had an instant connection and kept in contact online. I jumped at the chance to read Rosie's debut novel Never Surrender and shared my review here.

This week, Rosie was back up my way visiting her family so we had a chance to catch up for coffee. Just like the last time I met up with some authors for coffee and a chat, talking with Rosie was like hanging out with an old friend. We talked reading, writing and life in general. We shared knowledge and motivated each other. We were so wrapped up in our conversation that morning tea didn't finish until 1pm.   We even had so much in common, that we accidently coordinated our outfits!

Do you have bookworm buddies you can share your love of reading with?
Do you have writer friends who encourage you and keep you motivated?
Where did you meet them?



Sunday, 10 January 2016

Who's Afraid? by Maria Lewis

werewolf alpha female
Incredibly exciting new voice in paranormal fiction.

This is the story of Tommi, a young Scottish woman living an ordinary life, who stumbles violently into her birthright as the world's most powerful werewolf. The sudden appearance of a dark, mysterious (and very attractive) guardian further confuses her as her powers begin to develop and she begins to understand that her life can never be the same again. The reader will be swept up in Tommi's journey as she's thrown into the middle of a centuries-old battle and a world peopled with expert warriors and vicious enemies - this is the start of a series - and a world - you will fall in love with.



Hey! Here's my review.

I first came across Maria Lewis in a short story collection and loved her strong, spunky female protagonists. I hunted down her first full length novel and in the hopes of finding more strong women and Tommi fulfilled that alpha female role perfectly. 

 I was a little confused at first with all the paranormal political names, but it all made sense once I settled into Tommi's new world. I loved the romance element (Maria, you big tease, I want more) and there was plenty of bone crunching action. Overall, a great set up for a fresh new five book werewolf series. (I have inside information that the rest of the series is already mostly written, so there shouldn't be any George R. R. Martin style 5+ year waiting time between books.)

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


★★★★

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Grass is Greener by Loretta Hill

The grass always seems greener on the other side . . . until you get there.

For generations Bronwyn Stevenson’s family has thrived in the legal profession and a position at their prestigious firm is hers by right. Only problem is: she doesn’t want it.

Her best friend Claudia has always dreamed of being a lawyer, but tragedy struck and she took up the reins of her father’s vineyard instead. It was supposed to be temporary . . . now there’s no end in sight.

Bronwyn wants Claudia’s life so badly. Claudia can’t imagine anything better than Bronwyn’s job. So the friends hatch a crazy plan to swap places.

Both are determined to be the person they always thought they could never be. But achieving your dreams isn’t easy – and falling in love with the men who oppose them isn’t a good idea . . .

The Grass is Greener is a captivating novel about best friends, family and fighting for what you want, against all odds.
 



Hey! Here's my review.

I loved The Maxwell Sisters and was excited to find another book set in that world, even though those sisters only get a passing mention. This novel has the same women's fiction feel, rather than pure romance. I loved the best friends relationship and personal growth that was explored in this novel.

I found both Bronwyn and Claudia likable and relatable. They were both so different, but I had things in common with both of them. I enjoyed the fact that I had a few chapters in a row with each character before the POV changed, so I had time to bond and sink into the storyline before it changed.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


★★★★

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself… 

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. 

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George. 

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? 

Snuggle up with a piece of Christmas cake and mulled wine, and spend the festive season at White Cliff Bay. You won’t want to leave! Christmas at Lilac Cottage also out now.




Hey! Here's my review.

I started reading this as soon as I put down Christmas at Lilac Cottage, and finished reading it on Christmas Eve. Living in the tropical north of Australia, I didn't read this while snuggled in front of a hot fire (though it would be perfect for that), but imagining all that snow did help me to cool down while sprawled out under the airconditioner in the midst of a tropical storm.

I love Holly's writing style and I'm working my way through her novels. I enjoyed seeing glimpses of the characters from Lilac Cottage in this novel. I particularly enjoyed the main romance plot between Libby and George, the best friend to boyfriend. The side story of Amy and Seb was great too. I loved seeing each of these characters grow throughout the novel and gain the strength to overcome their insecurities. And of course, I loved the giant willy reference ;) Who doesn't giggle at the thought of a seven foot willy chasing you down the street for a hug!

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


★★★★★ 

  • Where: NetGalley
  • Format: ebook

Purchase link