Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones #3) by Helen Fielding (blurb & review)

Bridget Jones: Mad About the BoyBlurb: What do you do when your girlfriend’s sixtieth birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s thirtieth? Is it better to die of Botox or die of loneliness because you’re so wrinkly? Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating? Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice? Is it normal to be too vain to put on your reading glasses when checking your toy boy for head lice? Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant? Is it normal to get fewer followers the more you tweet? Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood? If you put lip plumper on your hands do you get plump hands? Is sleeping with someone after two dates and six weeks of texting the same as getting married after two meetings and six months of letter writing in Jane Austen’s day? Pondering these and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of loss, single motherhood, tweeting, texting, technology, and rediscovering her sexuality in—Warning! Bad, outdated phrase approaching!—middle age.

REVIEW:

This was an absolute pleasure to read. Oh, I have missed Bridget! Mad About the Boy is as hilarious as ever and very heart-warming. I found myself laughing out loud one moment and resorting to tears the next at this sensitive time in Bridget’s life. And now she is back on the ‘single’ pile, a born-again virgin. Only, her friends urge her to change that fact! Is she ready?

Bridget (now 51), has aged, along with her audience; she was married, had children, and lived a settled family life. I found this easy to relate to as a reader, making the story believable and easy to read. I loved how Fielding has kept to the characters we all know and love, i.e. her family, her friends and even…… Daniel Cleaver!!! And yet, at the same time she has also introduced new characters as potential ‘love interests’ for Bridget. The main focus being on Roxster.

Roxster (29) is a fun and lovable character. He is cheeky, rude and dirty – but not in a Daniel Cleaver womanising way. Roxster is really uplifting for Bridget. He is silly, flirty, and yet he is respectful and mature when accepting Bridget’s lifestyle. The introduction of Roxster’s character is also great to cater for the younger audience, therefore building on the following that Bridget has.

As well as having to deal with her love-life, kids, mum and friends, Bridget is also juggling a screenwriting career and trying to work her way around modern technology! Being useless with a tv remote is one thing, but then figuring out Twitter, along with numerous dating sites, adds to the comedy. I found Fielding was able to use this aspect of the story to cleverly incorporate current issues into the storyline, e.g. horse meat found in ‘beef’ products, the Royals and their new arrival, etc. This kept the story real by allowing the reader to relate not only to the characters but the storyline as a whole.

There are areas of the story which I will not go into for fear of spoiling it for the potential reader. However, I do feel many of you will be a little disappointed with Mark Darcy’s storyline. I must admit that I was. However, life changes and it doesn’t always work out the way we thought. With this thought in mind, I was able to accept this instalment of Bridget Jones. Oddly enough, it is Darcy’s storyline which is fundamental to Bridget’s whole situation.

My only other niggle is that the story ended a little abrupt for me. There are twists (which I enjoy), however towards the end I didn’t feel that there was enough build-up for the reader to get too excited about. This did not change my overall feeling towards the novel as throughout I was giggling and generally feeling most of the emotions that Bridget was at the time. For me that was an important factor.

Mad About the Boy is written in the same diary-style we are used to seeing in this series. Bridget is still noting down her weight, calories and units of alcohol, with the added comical occurrence and sarcastic remarks. Due to the style of the chapter layouts it is very easy to put down and pick up where you left off so easy, whilst also allowing for those readers that can only fill a few minutes of reading here and there.

Certainly not my favourite of the Bridget Jones series (that will have to be the original), however for fans of the series, Helen Fielding and/or those who are looking for a fun, heart-warming starting-to-date-again chick-lit/rom-com Mad About the Boy is a touching and exciting read!

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US in both ebook and hardback versions, with paperback versions set for release in June 2014.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

The Dragon’s Heart, Dragon Lore #1, by Eden Ashe

Cover-FINAL-200x300Hot, Sexy and Addictive!

Urban Fantasy Romance

Forget other shifter types, the dragons have it in spades in Eden Ashe’s first instalment of The Dragon Lore Series, The Dragon’s Heart! If I had to sum up this book in three words they would be HOT, SEXY and ADDICTIVE! Readers who love urban fantasy or paranormal romance are well advised to check out this novel.

Book Blurb

The dragon-shifter king will do anything to keep his mate alive…even if it means war.

“We’re dragons. We don’t do the mushy friend thing.” – Daniel

After millennia as king of the dragon-shifters, Daniel Ashborne wants a little peace and quiet, especially from the beautiful Hollywood starlet who haunts his memories. His escape tactics end abruptly when he is called to the ER to save the one woman he wants to forget, but who now bears his mark.

Shelby Kincade’s life and movie career were nearly destroyed when Daniel vanished a year ago. Now he’s back, claiming they have been accidentally mated. Getting over him once was hard enough, but she must choose either the life of her dreams or the man she can’t live without.

With peace finally on the horizon between the dragon-shifters and the Hunters, an assassination attempt on the dragon king and his mate shatters everything. Tensions rebuild as Daniel and his loyal team of shifters try to discover who put out the hit. Enemy and ally lines are crossed, but in the end–after the battle ash has settled–no one could have foreseen who has plotted for their own gain.

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic fight scenes, lots of great sex, and hot, hot, hot dragon men.

My Review

The Dragon’s Heart is a fast paced read which is full of emotion, action and suspense. I liked how the author brought the hero and the heroine together early on in the novel and how she portrayed the conflict arising from their past and the misunderstandings between them. Daniel is clearly a hero torn between his attraction to Shelby, whom he accidently mated (and I loved how this ‘accident’ happened!!!), and the events which prompted him to vanish from her life and his duties as Dragon King. Daniel is one sexy dragon-shifter whom I fell for straightaway. Without giving too much away this tortured alpha has a reputation for being ‘difficult’ and with good reason based on experiences throughout his long life.

Shelby is not your usual kick-ass urban fantasy heroine, which I found refreshing. Instead, she is petite and has an air of vulnerability beneath her professional façade. I found her to be the perfect mate for Daniel however, as she does not shy away from putting him in his place and facing up to the shock of realising that the world of Dragon shifters exists. I loved how Daniel falls for her despite his best intentions and how Shelby adjusts to her new reality. There are many scorching scenes between the couple which I lapped up – Eden Ashe has a very active imagination when it comes to the ‘what, where and how’ and I now want my very own dragon shifter to fly with! Aside from the romantic tension in the tale, the main conflict is whether or not Daniel and his warriors can discover who is behind the assassination attempt on Shelby and who wants them both dead, as they are not giving up. There are some surprises in store and I enjoyed the action and suspense.

As this is the first book in the series the author spends some time describing the creation of the guardian race of shape-shifter dragons and also the Hunters, an elite team of immortal humans set up to keep rogue dragons under control. Aside from Daniel and Shelby, whose romance is central to this novel, we are also introduced to a number of other characters, one of them  a Hunter, and a swoon worthy collection of dragon warriors allied to Daniel.  I am hoping that Eden Ashe will pen another tale in The Dragon Lore Series very soon, so I can get up close and personal with these warriors again!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

I won a copy of this novel in an author giveaway which did not in any way stipulate the requirement for a review. The opinions given in my review are my honest opinion after reading the book.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with Eden Ashe

http://edenashe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Eden.Ashe.Author

Seconds Before Sunrise, #2 in The Timely Death Trilogy, by Shannon A Thompson

Seconds Before SunriseCompelling and Addictive!

Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

Seconds Before Sunrise, the second book in author’s Shannon A. Thompson’s Timely Death Trilogy, continues the epic tale of Light versus Dark, at the centre of which is the heatfelt love story between the Shades Eric and Jessica. It has a compelling and addictive narrative which explores the elemental themes of good versus evil, love and self-sacrifice and fate versus free-will. All lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance are advised to check out this series so that they do not miss out on a fantastic reading experience.

I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of the novel, due out on 27th March, for an honest and unbiased review, which is posted below: 

Book Blurb

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war. Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

My Review

Please note that my review contains some spoilers for Minutes Before Sunset. If you plan to read this series, you may therefore wish to check out my review of this first (click on the title for the link).

In the previous instalment, Minutes Before Sunset, we met Eric Welborn, who as the First Descendant, Shoman in his Shade form, is destined to battle to the death with the Descendant of Light, enemies of the Dark, to safeguard the fate of his kind. Eric found out that the unknown Shade, ignorant of her birthright, whom he trained to develop and control her powers, and Jessica Taylor, a new student at his high school, are  one and the same. Not only that, but Jessica and Eric fall in love, a love that threatens the approaching battle as Jessica’s very existence, as the third Descendant, could jeopardise his victory. To protect Eric and his mission, as well as Jessica, the Shade Elders remove her memories of what she is and her relationship to Eric.

Seconds Before Sunrise continues the tale of Jessica and Eric and the approaching confrontation between Dark and Light. I particularly loved how the author delves into Jessica’s psyche to illustrate that she is aware that all is not well as she feels that something is missing. It is only in her subconscious mind, through frequent and vivid nightmares, that she maintains a tenuous link to past events and the present menace which she somehow senses. Although she is weakened by her memory loss and does not comprehend what her dreams are about or why she is having them, her inner strength compels her to find out their meaning. At the same time Jessica cannot help but be drawn to Eric Wellborn, the taciturn and mysterious boy in her class……

Eric struggles to maintain the required distance between them for her safety as well as that of his people but Jessica and fate have other ideas. Jessica also has to contend with male attention from other quarters and danger is ever present. The tension ratchets up after Eric’s accident, secrets unravel and the plot becomes darker and more sinister as the final battle looms.

Once again I loved how Shannon Thompson created and maintained suspense throughout the tale as neither the Light nor the Dark  recognise each other in their human form. Protection of this human identity is paramount for safety and cannot be compromised. Although the reader is familiar with the human form of the characters who represent the Dark, the identities of those who are fighting for the Light is  not revealed, which keeps the reader guessing and adds tension. Another successful plot device is that the chapters are written either from the POV of Jessica or Eric, which gives a deep insight into their motivations and emotions. The novel also contains many vivid and imaginative paranormal scenes which transport the reader into the worlds of the Light and the Dark.

The supporting characters are well drawn, from the adults to Eric and Jessica’s fellow pupils.  We can only guess at their true identity and nature. Although I have my own opinions as to who is Eric’s arch nemesis, the Descendant of Light, I know that such is the skill of this author that I am likely to be surprised when his identity and those of others are revealed.

Seconds Before Sunrise is a truly emotional and compulsive read, with a suspenseful and fascinating plot that becomes darker as we approach the climax and I am itching to know how the series will conclude! I recommend it to readers of both adult and young adult paranormal romance.

To read an interview with Shannon A. Thompson in which she answers a series of questions about her inspiration for her work, her writing process and more and to read an excerpt from Seconds Before Sunrise, in advance of its publication,click here.

To read an earlier post, in which Shannon talks about her inspiration behind the series, please click here.

Tina 🙂

Author Shannon A Thompson website

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AEC Stellar Publishing

Cover artist Viola Estrella

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

*INTERVIEW* with Shannon A. Thompson and an EXCERPT from her forthcoming release SECONDS BEFORE SUNRISE!

Headshot of Shannon ThompsonToday we are delighted to feature an interview with Shannon A. Thompson, author of The Timely Death Trilogy, a Young Adult paranormal romance. The first novel in the series, Minutes Before Sunset, one of our top reads for 2013, was reviewed on this blog last year and I have re-posted it underneath this post to give you a chance to read about it again. It is a series which examines the elemental power struggle between Dark and Light and the power of love, destiny and self-sacrifice.  Paranormal romance lovers will not want to miss it!

Seconds Before SunriseLater this week, on 27th March, Shannon will be releasing the second novel in the trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise. I was fortunate to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of this book to review and I’ll be posting my thoughts on it tomorrow – but I will say that it is just as an addictive read as the first instalment! Now over to Shannon!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

1.Your first published novel, November Snow, is a YA Sci-Fi tale and The Timely Death Trilogy is a YA paranormal. What do you think prompted you to write in these genres and have you any plans at the moment to write in another genre?

I’m actually a huge believer in writers exploring every possible genre they have time for. I have poetry and a short story (military fiction) published, too. Artists grow by pushing through their comfort boundaries. My next novel is going to be a YA, dystopian, but my most challenging work yet has been a novel directed at 20-somethings.

2. Your website is full of helpful advice to writers and aspiring writers. Can you describe your writing process in five words?

The characters are in charge.

3. Are any of the characters in your novels based on people you know or reflect elements of your own personality? As a writer how useful do you think the art of people watching is?

I don’t purposely base my characters off of real-life people, but after I’ve been removed from a piece for a few years, I start to see similarities. Watching people is really important, but I mainly study psychology and sociology in my spare time. In college, I was originally a psychology major, but I decided on English instead because I knew I had to follow my dream. I think I made the “write” decision.

4. If you could give an aspiring writer one tip, what would it be?

Write with passion; succeed with self-disicipline. This has been my personal mantra, but it mainly means this: if you remind yourself of how much you love writing, nothing will stop you from achieving your dreams.

5. Congratulations on graduating from University and gaining your bachelor’s degree in English. What are your plans for the future and when do you hope to complete the final novel in The Timely Death Trilogy?

Thank you! It’s been a wild ride. The trilogy was actually completed before I ever submitted it to my publisher, so it’s already written. I plan on publishing the first of a new series before I publish the last book of my trilogy. I’m very excited for my next novel plans, too, because I think it’ll give my readers another range of emotions and experiences. It’s a lot more serious and dark, like November Snow is, but it’s going to be my first novel that is told from only one perspective. I also got to include pets this time!

6. What is your favourite genre to read and what are you reading at the moment?

The 5th Wave – my friend recommended it, and I’m always up for recommendations. I’m planning on reading more poetry next. I love poetry.

7. What do you love most about being a writer?

Being able to wake up and go to bed knowing that I am pursuing what I love and always will love. Too many people sacrifice their dreams, which is truly tragic, because I think our dream is how we ultimately express ourselves, even after we are long gone.

8.Tomorrow our blog is featuring our review of Seconds Before Sunrise, the second book in The Timely Death Trilogy. Do you want to say anything about the book or share anything about it with readers?

How about I give you an inclusive excerpt???

ERIC

“Dad.” My tone was sharp. “You can’t change it now, and you shouldn’t want to.” I wanted to continue, but the door rattled with an assortment of rushed knocking.

“It’s probably Jonathon,” my dad said, standing, but I stopped him.

“I got it,” I said, walking downstairs to get it myself. My aggravation grew as Jonathon continued to knock. He knew Mindy and Noah wouldn’t be home. He could’ve transported in.

“You don’t have to knock—” I silenced when I opened the door and saw the person in front of me. Her hand hung in the air, ready to knock again, and her brown hair frizzed around her scowl. “Jessica—”

“We need to talk,” she said, barging into my house.

“Wha—what?” She was the last person I needed around me. “You can’t be here.”

“I don’t care,” she said.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you for the interview Shannon! Your answers to the questions are fascinating for both readers and writers to ponder. I particularly liked your answer that ‘the characters are in charge’ when you are writing. I also find that you delve deep into the characters’ psyches in your writing and this clearly reflects your interest in psychology. I am glad that you opted to follow your dream and wish you every success with your upcoming release Seconds Before Sunrise and your future works. Tina 🙂

To Find out More

You can read more here (http://www.amazon.com/Seconds-Before-Sunrise-Shannon-Thompson/dp/1940820030/ ) or if you want to check out the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, click here (http://www.amazon.com/Minutes-Before-Sunset-Timely-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00CKN4RFE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392688743&sr=8-1&keywords=Minutes+Before+Sunset )

Minutes Before Sunset recently hit 100 ratings and 58 reviews with a 4.48 star average on Goodreads! (https://www.goodreads.com/series/121294-the-timely-death-trilogy)

To Connect with Shannon

Author Shannon A Thompson website

Facebook

AEC Stellar Publishing

Cover artist Grace Griffin, Autumn Fog Photography

Minutes Before Sunset, #1 in The Timely Death Trilogy, by Shannon A. Thompson

shan-003Epic Battle between Light and Dark – Young Adult Paranormal Romance Series

Shannon A. Thompson will be releasing Seconds Before Sunrise, the second book in The Timely Death Trilogy on 27th March. The first book in the series, Minutes Before Sunset, was one of my ‘top reads’ for 2013 and I recommend that you check this series out to see if you would like it to. Just in case you missed my review first time around, as we have gained some more followers since it was first featured, I’ve reposted it ahead of my review of Seconds Before Sunrise, which will be posted tomorrow.

Tina ❤

Minutes Before Sunset is the first book in Shannon A Thompson’s Timely Death Trilogy which tells of the elemental power struggle between Dark and Light. It is an amazingly well crafted and multifaceted novel with a fantastic hero and heroine and memorable supporting characters.

In Minutes Before Sunset, seventeen year old Eric Welborn lives in the Midwest town of Hayworth. Eric is a shade, not just any shade, but a descendant, destined by prophecy to battle with the descendant of Light, ancient enemies of the Dark, when he is eighteen, in a battle that will decide the fate of many. Eric has been rocked by tragedy in his life and his obligations weigh heavily on his shoulders, making him a loner, who fears to care for anyone, lest they be taken away from him. However, two encounters are about to change his life – one with Jessica Taylor, a new student at his high school and another, with a powerful, nameless shade, ignorant of her birthright and as such vulnerable to not only his shade community who do not trust outsiders, but also to the Light. He breaks the rules by not reporting her to his Elders and trains her to develop and control her powers, but cannot reveal all his secrets to her.

Jessica Taylor has moved to Hayworth with her adoptive parents, committed to finding out about her deceased biological family who were local to the town. To garner help from her adoptive parents in this quest they  require her to obtain perfect grades. This task appears impossible as she is paired with the taciturn Eric Welborn on a key science project. Eric is distant and preoccupied, often skipping class and is disinterested in completing the project with her. However,  not only will Jessica not fail her science project, but she also wants to find out more about his secrets and at the same time feels drawn to him.

As the battle between Light and Dark approaches Eric must devote more time to his training and remain focused. However, his thoughts often stray to the nameless shade, who grows more and more powerful and he is also distracted by Jessica, who piques his human side. Key players in the Light close in on Eric and he must protect those he cares about and keep himself alive until the battle commences, a battle he fears that he is destined to lose. Yet when he discovers that the Dark Elders have lied by omission about key elements of the prophecy, he feels deceived and the events which ensue threaten dire consequence for all he holds dear.

The cast of supporting characters is strong, from the adults to Eric and Jessica’s fellow pupils. The fact that neither the shades nor the Light  recognise each other easily in their human form adds an element of mystery to the plot and we as reader are therefore not party to the secret identity of  many characters. We can only guess at their true nature and I am sure that the author will reveal more in subsequent books in the trilogy.

Minutes Before Sunset is an original and compulsive read. The tale is told in the first person, with chapters told from the perspective of Eric and Jessica. This is effective in terms of both advancing the plot and giving depth to the characters. I particularly enjoyed the maturity and selflessness of the hero and heroine, Eric and Jessica, and found their growing attraction and love for one another both believable and sweet. The novel ends in such a way that I am chomping at the bit to read the next instalment.

Minutes Before Sunset is a magical, if slightly dark tale, containing romance and adventure, which explores fate and free will and self-sacrifice. I recommend it to readers of both adult and young adult paranormal romance.

To read author Shannon A Thompson’s author post, in which she talks about her inspiration behind the series, please click here. Tina 🙂

Author Shannon A Thompson website

AEC Stellar Publishing

Cover artist Grace Griffin, Autumn Fog Photography

**SP0TLIGHT BLITZ** The Stable Boy, by Harmony Stalter

Romantic and Emotional Contemporary

Welcome to the Spotlight Blitz for Harmony Stalter’s new release, The Stable Boy, a romantic and emotional tale of love, loss and second chances. Check out the book blurb and find out about the author. There are also a couple of great teasers and an excerpt to wet your appetite even further. Enjoy! Tina 🙂 

Teaser-9

Claire is a 40 year old widowed farm owner. She lost her husband in a terrible freak accident. In a constant state of depression for the past two years, her farm is failing. She barely has enough money to survive and her last farmhand just left to follow his new wife’s dreams.

She is all alone, until he walks into her life. She knows she needs the help, but does she want his help? Can she resist his good looks, charm, and flirting or will she give into temptation and open her heart and bed to him?

the stable boy

harmony stalter

goodreads

Excerpt

“What am I going to do with you, Josh?”

“I can think of a few things.”

“I can’t believe you just said that,” I said, hiding my face in a dishtowel. It was as if he could read my mind. He laughed. He walked over and wrapped his arms around my shoulders.

“What can I help you with?” he asked as he hugged me.

“You can take the pitcher of tea outside with some glasses,” I said hugging him back. I did not want to let go.

“Okay,” he said, slightly pulling away. He leaned in to kiss me. Backing me up against the counter, he kissed me hard. I let out a slight moan. This made him smile a little. He kissed me deeper and harder. He went to pull away. I pulled him back in. I returned his kiss, this time making him moan. He picked me up and sat me on the counter, continuing to kiss me. He kissed my neck, working his way down to my chest. I stopped him.

“We can’t do this right now,” I said. The panic was starting to kick in.

“Was it something I did?”

“No, it is definitely not you. It’s me.”

“I’m sorry. I will try to restrain myself.”

“It’s okay. I just keep thinking I am some how cheating on my husband.”

“But,” he said.

“I know, I know he is dead. Alison said the same thing the other night. I want to, believe me I want to, but I think we need to slow it down some.”

“I can go as slow as you like,” he said with a crooked smile.

purchase links

amazon us | amazon uk | Barnes & Noble

ten fun facts about harmony

1.     I smile at everyone.

2.     I love making people laugh.

3.     I am a lover of local bands. I see them as often as I can.

4.     I dance around the house constantly, even when there is no audible music playing. If a song is in my head, I dance to it.

5.     I cannot count how many concerts I have been to. There are just too many.

6.     I treat people how I would like to be treated. I have been told I am one of the nicest people going.

7.     I prefer to work in my pajamas, but driving an hour to my 9 to 5 job, I am sure I would get some looks from the other drivers and my boss when I walked in the office.

8.     I have a habit of staring at people, almost to the point of being a creeper. It is just my way of memorizing the parts of them I want to use for a character in my next book.

9.     I am an animal lover. They all seem to know it. Even as a child, I would walk up to any dog and hug it. My mother was always afraid I was going to get bit. I have never been.

10.I am very shy. I tend to keep to myself most times, but I do love to hang out with friends.

about the author

Harmony Stalter (1976-Present) was born in Newburgh, New York. She currently makes her home in Central Florida, and is a freelance writer that currently writes for a monthly magazine called All Access Music Magazine. She was an architectural drafter for three years before she dove head first into pursuing her career in writing, her first love. Employee Body Language Revealed: How to Predict Behavior in the Workplace by Reading and Understanding Body Language is her first book.

Since completing this book, she has written Dancing the Night Away, Bulk Cooking: Everything You Need to Know, and The Great Wolf Lodge 2011 Travel Guide. Look for these, and more upcoming titles from this writer on the rise, and make sure to visit her website at http://www.harmonysfreelancewritingworld.com.

Contact Links

Facebook | Twitter: @writer247