*Book Blitz w/excerpt* Valentine’s Day is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

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Valentine's Day is Murder Final FrontTitle: Valentine’s Day is Murder

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Book Synopsis

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

Strap in for an adventure that will take you to the beautiful island of Jamaica and have you wanting a piña colada.

About the Author

Carolyn Author PhotoCAROLYN ARNOLD is the bestselling author of the Madison Knight series, the Brandon Fisher series, and the McKinley Mysteries. Her love for writing dates back to her teen years, but her passion was reignited in 2006 when a fellow employee said “tell me a story.” Since then Carolyn has never looked back.

Her writing has since been compared to New York Times Bestsellers such as JD Robb, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and more.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada, and she currently lives with her husband and two beagles in a city near Toronto.

For more information on the author visit https://carolynarnold.net/

Amazon – http://ow.ly/G4Yl6
Amazon UK – http://ow.ly/G4Ynv
Barnes & Noble – http://ow.ly/G4Ype
iTunes – http://ow.ly/G4Yqv
Kobo – http://ow.ly/G4YrU

Excerpt:

Chapter 4

Pineapples & Alibis

“There was no answer in her room. She may be out by the pool.” The front desk clerk lowered the phone’s receiver and gestured toward a wall of windows that faced a pool, and, beyond that, the sea.
“Thank you,” Sean said.
“No worries.” The clerk smiled and flipped some papers over that she had been working on when they had approached her to call up to Meredith’s room.
Tourists, clad in bathing suits in a spectrum of colors, dotted both the poolside and the beach. It had Sara wishing all she and Sean had to do was enjoy the scenery.
The sun was beating down, the warmth all-encompassing, but thankfully, the humidity wasn’t extreme. Sara still wished to slip out of her dress to reveal the bikini she wore underneath. The thought of the rays kissing her skin was almost too much to dismiss from her mind.
She scanned the horde of vacationers and spotted Meredith lying out on a lounge chair. She sat up as if she sensed Sara watching.
“There she is, Sean.” Sara nudged her head toward Meredith.
“She doesn’t look too upset, does she?”
Sara put a hand on Sean’s shoulder. “We’re not going to assume she’s behind this.”
He stayed put. “She’s not behind this and yet she’s new to his life and he’s never gone missing before.”
“We promised on the flight we would give her the benefit of the doubt, unless something came up to convince us of her involvement.”
“I’m starting to rethink that decision.”
“If Jimmy trusted her—”
“Yes, then we should too.”
“That’s right.” Sara pressed her lips, hoping she conveyed more conviction than she felt at times—this being one of those times.

*Review* Newly released: Playing the Field (Duty & Desire #4) by C.J. Pinard

Playing the Field (Duty & Desire, Book 4)Playing the Field (Duty & Desire #4) by C.J. Pinard

FRESHLY RELEASED January 15th, 2015, contemporary military romance/chick-lit

Blurb: An overachiever in uniform…

Jace Lawless is an overachiever, a go-getter, and determined to accomplish everything he sets his mind to. After serving his country in the U.S. Marine Corps, and receiving his college degree, he’s picked up by a popular minor league baseball team, all while continuing his service in the USMC reserves.

When Jace meets a beautiful, breathtaking single mother named Miranda Cates, it takes him by surprise. Her shady past and beautiful little girl are the conundrum that both confuses and fascinates Jace. He can’t tear his thoughts away from Miranda, and eventually he believes he can win her over with his dimpled smirk and witty charms.

Once Miranda becomes his, the part of him she hated the most – the part he had kept secret from her for so long – rears its ugly head. Will Miranda lean on her friend Cara for support while staying by his side once he tells her that duty is calling… or will she decide she can’t handle it and take her daughter and leave?

Playing the Field is the fourth and final installment of the Duty & Desire series. Contains adult situations and minor scenes of war.  

REVIEW

After reading Book 3, Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story), Playing the Field goes hand-in-hand as the final story of this sweet, contemporary, military romance series focuses on Jace’s point of view, his background with the U.S. Marine Corps and minor league baseball team, as well as his strong feelings for Miranda. If you’re looking for a refreshing, cheeky, fun and romantic read then this is a series for you!

From early on in the story the reader has a sense of just how much baseball and the Marines mean to Jace. As well as both being an enjoyment of his, he is also incredibly talented at both and his skills are noticed. They both play a huge role in his life, but it could all be about to change with Miranda about to enter it.

Not a fan of a military man, as she has been let down more than once, Miranda makes it clear to Jace that she would never date another! This leaves Jace wondering when he should let her know of his background. You can sense his genuine worry of losing her if she found out but knows that she has to know. How can he make her see his point and that he isn’t a player?

We learn that despite Jace’s macho appearance and strong masculinity, he is actually a rather sweet hottie. He is considerate towards Miranda, and yet has the self respect to follow his dream and remain with the Marines until his contract is up at least! But will he be able to convince Miranda to stay with him?

It isn’t too long before Jace realises his feelings for his ex, Samantha, were nothing compared to how he loves Miranda. Not only does he absolute love her delectable, curvaceous body, he also admires her strong will. Yes, Miranda holds his heart both physically and emotionally. And, he also adores her young daughter, Ashlynn, and has a strong sense that he can’t let these ladies out of his life.

Although his relationship is the core of the story, Jace is also tackling nightmares from when he was once deployed. The author writes with such care over these dark and serious events, and yet still manages to keep the read, as a whole, light. As the story continues some of these events are more frequent and add more power as the reader begins to see just how much the Marines mean to Jace, and also how he doesn’t want it to affect a life he longs for with Miranda. This could be one of the biggest battles he has ever had!

Playing the Field is a delight to read and, as the whole series has been, very refreshing! Fans of Duty & Desire books 1 and 2 will also be pleased to hear that Cara and Riley also have an appearance in Playing the Field, as the author carries on a little of their storyline too and how their relationship affect Miranda and Jace (Cara being Miranda’s best friend, and Riley a military man himself with a story to tell of his own). Yes, to thoroughly enjoy I would strongly recommend that the series be read as a whole, as these lives intertwine and each book is from a different perspective. They fit together superbly well and you truly get to see all angles. What a way to honour the military and their families, C.J.!

A copy of Playing the Field (Duty & Desire #4) was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Playing the Field is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also find Books 1 & 2 available!

Patriotic Duty (Duty & Desire 1) series previously entitled ‘When Riley Met Cara’

Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara #1)Blurb: Newly divorced party girl Cara Reid just wants to have fun. Much too young to even be a divorcee, she and her bestie, Miranda, set off to have fun and maybe a few casual hookups and live life. One night at a military bar, Cara meets Riley Forrester, a hot Army soldier who makes her melt with one look of his deep ocean blue eyes. But Riley is only staying the summer in California and then has to go back to Colorado when it’s over. Cara tells herself he’s just a summer fling and is determined to enjoy herself and let him go once the summer is over. But when Riley receives orders he wasn’t expecting, she’s forced to make a decision on whether she’s going to be there for him when he gets back, or move on with her life. What she wasn’t expecting was to fall so hard for the beautiful soldier boy, and now she’s faced with accepting her feelings or letting him go.

For readers 18+. Contains adult content.

Our review link

Amazon US link – currently FREE (please be aware prices are subject to change)

Amazon UK link – currently FREE (please be aware prices are subject to change)

Tour of Duty (Duty & Desire #2)

Tour of DutyBlurb: Army Sergeant Riley Forrester knew all about love, loss, and pain. He knew the love of a woman just to lose it. He had spent the best summer of his life with a beautiful single mother named Cara Reid, and then desperately needed her love to get him through a long, cold deployment. When things went horribly wrong overseas, he decided it was best to let Cara go and let her move on with her life. Cara wouldn’t be forgotten that easily, though. She had seeped her way into his heart and his dreams, and Riley knew he’d never love another like her. Contains adult content, for readers 18 and older. Also contains minor scenes of war.

Our review link

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) (Duty & Desire #4)

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda's Story)Blurb: Miranda Cates finally graduates from college and is excited to begin her dream career in law enforcement. After the final betrayal and heartbreak of her college boyfriend, Chris, she moves back home with a firm plan in place for her life.

However, the life she has carefully mapped out for herself takes a serious left turn. Miranda finds she not only has to be strong for herself, but for the daughter who hadn’t been part of her plan.

Determined to still believe in true love, life throws Miranda one more wicked curveball. She meets Jace Lawless, a hot minor league baseball player, whose warm aqua eyes and big dimple have her unraveling her carefully laid plans. A man who may be just be too good to be true.

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) is book 3 in the Duty & Desire series, and while it is recommended to read the books in order, it’s not necessary.

Our review link

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link

AUTHOR LINKS

If you would like to contact C.J. Pinard you can reach her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CJPinardAuthor or you can e-mail her at cjpinardauthor@gmail.com.

*Double Promo* ‘Forgotten’ and ‘Arranged’ by Catherine McKenzie

We are delighted to be working with Catherine McKenzie this year, Canadian author of Spin and Spun (novella sequel to full novel, Spin) – both of which are on my review list, as well as her Forgotten, and due for release on February 1st, Arrangedwhich is to be reviewed by Tina. These contemporary romance/chick-lit novels have been translated into French, Portuguese, and several other languages, and are international bestsellers, as well as being freshly released in the UK!

Please find below information for Forgotten and Arranged, with links for further details, and a short bio on the author.

Caroline xx

23641064FORGOTTEN

When everyone thinks you’re dead, how do you start your life over again?

Emma Tupper, a young lawyer with a bright future, sets out on a journey after her mother’s death: to Africa, a place her mother always wanted to visit. But her mother’s dying gift has unexpected consequences. Emma falls ill during the trip and is just recovering when a massive earthquake hits, turning her one-month vacation into a six-month ordeal.

When Emma returns home, she’s shocked to find that her friends and colleagues believed she was dead, that her apartment has been rented to a stranger and that her life has gone on without her. Can Emma pick up where she left off? Should she? As Emma struggles to recreate her old life, everyone around her thinks she should change: her job, her relationships, and even herself. But does she really want to sacrifice everything she’s working so hard to gain?

“McKenzie has created a charming character in Emma, witty, extraordinarily level-headed, and blessed with grace under fire in the most trying of circumstances. Forgotten is the story of one young women’s life, broken down, reconstructed, and forever altered. It is an endearing story of discovery and transformation and the importance of turning lemons into lemonade.”— BOOKLIST

For more info on Forgotten please check out the following links:

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 ArrangedARRANGED

Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she’s engaged, Anne can’t help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn’t a dating service; it’s an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company’s success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn’t it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out-until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all.

“With good dialogue, three-dimensional characters, and page-turning scenes, McKenzie expertly explores what makes a successful marriage work and the lengths to which some people will go to find true love.” –Publisher’s Weekly

For more information on Arranged please click on the following links:-

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Bio:

Saturday, August 8, 2009.   Photo/Robert J. Galbraith).A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN and HIDDEN, are all international bestsellers. She is currently working on her fifth novel, SMOKE, slated for release in 2015. Her novels have been translated into French, German, Portuguese Czech, Slovak and Polish. And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Website: www.catherinemckenzie.com

Promo w/Excerpt: Seven Exes are Eight too Many by Heather Wardell

seven exes-large

Blurb: The fiercely private Madeleine-Cora Spencer is the last person who should be on a reality TV show, but when she’s shunned by a friend’s new wife because “you can’t trust desperate single women” her pain and humiliation drive her straight to the “Find Your Prince” dating show’s web site.
 
Armed with date-appropriate clothes and a detailed game plan she arrives to meet her potential loves, only to be dumped… on a remote island with seven ex-boyfriends.
 
Seven exes! Could this be any worse?
 
Author Bio:
heather wardell seven exes-bwHeather is a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of sixteen self-published novels including the free ebook “Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo” which has had over 385,000 downloads. She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and has no plans to leave it. In her spare time, she reads, runs, swims, crochets, takes care of her aquarium and her cat Trinity, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.
Author Links:
Buy Links:

Excerpt

Chapter One

I stared at the seven men of my supposed dreams. Of my nightmares, more like, and theirs too judging by their stunned faces. The hotel ballroom’s walls closed in and dizziness shuddered through me.

The show’s host said, “What’s wrong, Princess?”, his overdone innocence making it clear: this was no accident.

I had to speak, had to take back some semblance of control, but knowing how many eyes and cameras studied my every move and reaction silenced me like a hand over my mouth.

The host raised well-tended eyebrows. “Nothing to say? Let me help. Gentlemen, I’m Peter Stanley. This, of course, is Madeleine-Cora Spencer. I say ‘of course’ because you all know her. Know her well, in fact.” He paused long enough for me to consider fleeing then added, his tone too casual, before I’d decided how to get past the camera crew, “You’ve all dated her.”

My exes exchanged surreptitious glances, no doubt mentally questioning my choices, as I fought to keep my face expressionless. Hearing the words from him made it all too real.

“Now, she expected to be on the ‘Find Your Prince’ show, but she can’t be on a dating show with her exes, can she?” Returning his focus to me, he shook his head as if sympathetic. “No, you can’t. Especially not the ones you called ‘flighty’… ‘ridiculously jealous’… ‘egotistical’…”

With each trait he pointed to the man it described, and my horror grew with each word. ‘Flighty’, predictably, didn’t seem bothered, but ‘jealous’ and ‘egotistical’ both looked ready to take me apart. I had to shut Peter up before he got me killed. “I did date them,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady, “and you knew that since I put them all on my appli–”

“Gentlemen, Madeleine-Cora,” he said over me, “you’ve been given various explanations for why you’re here, but now it’s time for the truth. You will spend the next twenty-one nights on a tropical island.”

‘Flighty’ said, “Cool!” but Peter ignored him and went on. “You will live together in a shelter, after you build it, and scavenge for most of your food. You’ll be competing for a million dollar prize, and in time we will explain what you need to do to win. Princess, gentlemen, the game is on.”

An island. Trapped with seven men. Not just any men, but these men. So much history. And cameras hungry for the men to reveal that history, reveal my most intimate secrets. Nowhere to hide.

My careful analysis of the real show’s previous seasons to see which strategies worked, the hours I’d spent considering how to get to know my potential princes. Wasted. This bunch of frogs didn’t contain my prince. I’d kissed them all, I should know.

I’d regretted signing up for the show a hundred times over the past two months, starting seconds after I’d filled out the application online through tears of rage and humiliation. Meeting new men and letting them learn about me would be hard, I’d known that, but I’d been sure that finding a good man would be worth the pain. But this? All pain, no possible gain.

“I’m so out of here.”

Greg, my most recent boyfriend, stormed forward and slammed to a stop facing Peter. “You told me I’d be the prince, the one choosing a woman, not this stupid thing. This isn’t fair.”

When Greg had told me he loved me on our third date, I’d been more than a little surprised and nowhere near ready to return the sentiment. He hadn’t seemed to mind, but the words had hung over us like a three-syllable cloud of doom, and I’d dumped him a few weeks later because I couldn’t handle knowing he wanted me to hurry up and fall in love so we could get married.

I’d almost left our pitifully short relationship off my application, but I’d been afraid he’d end up on the show with me in some horrific coincidence. Well, no coincidence, but here he was.

Or maybe not. “I’m leaving, and you can’t stop me.” He headed for the ballroom’s door.

He didn’t make it.

“I don’t want to stop you,” Peter said, his face calm and faintly amused, and Greg paused. “Give me the two hundred and fifty thousand dollars you agreed to pay if you quit the show, and I’ll drive you to the airport myself.”

“The…”

“Surely you read the contract before you signed it?” Now addressing everyone, Peter went on. “We’re allowed to change the show’s concept if we see fit. If you’re thinking of quitting, folks, make sure you have the money ready. Otherwise you’re ours for the duration.”

Greg’s defiance sputtered and died.

Peter ran his eyes over the rest of us. “Anyone got a quarter million burning a hole in their pocket? No? Then let’s go.”

And before I knew it, I was in the back of a limo with my ex-boyfriends on the way to twenty-one days of hell.

 

Caroline’s Top Reads 2014

Hi readers, it’s that time of year again when Tina and myself have lots of fun going through our reviews of the past year and choose our favourites to share with you! And, wow, there are so many it is difficult to narrow them down!Australian xmas card (2)

This is the end of our second full year and we cannot thank you all enough for following us and sharing our posts. We have made so many friends, be they authors, bloggers, agents, publishers and more, it has been overwhelming. We have received our first Christmas card from Australia (pictured), which was an absolute pleasure to receive. It’s amazing to see the sun and summer holiday reminders when the usual card for us is full of snow, log fires and dark evenings.

We hope that you have had a great year and are looking forward to the festive season. We are looking forward to sharing it with you. And I hope that you enjoy us sharing our favourite reads. Tina’s Top Reads will also be coming your way very soon. And here are mine!

Please click on the titles for my full review and much more info!

Contemporary Romance

Books of this genre and some contemporary rom-coms have been a big hit for me this year, and Helena Fairfax’s The Silk Romance was an absolute pleasure to read. It was written so beautifully, powerfully and thoughtfully, and certainly a read you will not forget! It is a Cinderella-type story that is highly intense and completely grips the reader. I have also likened it to some high-profile romance movies in my review as some aspects are similar and captivating!

TheLoveofMarisol_WP2014The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras is a short story of love and loss, but with the possibility of finding new love after. It is, again, very powerful and emotive, beginning as quite a dark and realistic read (although fiction). Taking only around an hour to read, it was one of my favourite reading hours of the year!

Contemporary Rom-Coms

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda's Story)As well as the serious side of romance, it is always uplifting and refreshing to read some fun reads, even though they still hold a serious undertone. The book that enlightened me in this manner is C.J. Pinard’s Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) (Duty & Desire #3). It is my favourite book of the Duty & Desire series. It is a light-hearted, fun and cheeky read. And I love how C.J. Pinard follows both Miranda’s career, as well as her romances, and at the same time the reader sees a different side to the friendship that Miranda has with Cara.

An Autumn CrushWanting to read a seasonal book at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson. It was a Bridget Jones style read, with plenty of humour and a real feel-good and refreshing feel that really captured the time of year. And with some sombre storylines for some characters it has an awful lot going on, but is still relaxing and fun to read.

Historical Romance

Summer in RyeLucy Oliver’s novella Summer in Rye is an incredibly intense short story, with power and the ability to grip the reader. Following a new governess to children that have been badly affected by smallpox, and a master that is tyrannical, Eva only has one choice: to turn to the master’s brother, who was once engaged to her. Passion reignites between these two, but after he lied before, can Eva really accept him back?

Paranormal

Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5)To top off my favourite paranormal reads is Tim O’Rourke’s Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5). Last year the first of the series, Vampire Seeker, was one of my favourites, and again this series has really thrilled me. It has everything from vamps, shifters, action/adventure and time travel! The romance and passion is also very intense, making for a very HOT read! This is a series not to be missed, and I cannot wait to review Vampire Watchmen (Samantha Carter #2) in the new year!

And, not always a huge fan of short stories, this year has certainly changed my point of view. I used to think that to create great characters that full novels would be more fulfilling. However, there are a number of short stories in my top reads this year and a certain series of short stories really blew my mind – Alisa Woods’ True Alpha series. There are six shifter stories, which follow Mia and shifter Lucas, their attraction and heat for each other! Yet, the dilemma is that Lucas lost his last mate, and being to close to another is just not an option. But, when rival shifters kidnap Mia, Lucas has to face his true feelings. Each story is complete with action, heat and intensity. Shifter fans will LOVE this series. Here are the links to each review:-

Desired (True Alpha #1)

Guarded (True Alpha #2)

Hunted (True Alpha #3)

Captured (True Alpha #4)

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5)

Claimed (True Alpha #6)

I am also hoping to review another short A True Alpha Christmas over the coming days before the big day. And, in the new year Alisa Woods will be releasing her Dark Alpha short story series!

Soul RebelNow, for my second entry of author C.J. Pinard we have Soul Rebel. This is my favourite novel of C.J.’s. With plenty of action, suspense and romance it really does have it all. The characters and storyline are brilliant. Nolan loses his soul during a kiss with a female succubus in a nightclub and he only has 7 days to claim his soul back! Time constraints cause the tension and really make the pace quick. Plus there are many surprises which make it an exciting read.

Blue Moon (The Blue Crystal Trilogy #1)Recommended for the younger adult (15yrs+) Blue Moon (The Blue Crystal trilogy #1) by Pat Spence is an enchanting and fairytale-like read with supernatural mystery and horror. It is highly recommended to fans of the Twilight saga, but without the vamps. It follows the idea of eternal youth, ancient links and an attraction between Emily (17) and the handsome Theo. It is highly emotive, with a great eerie atmosphere as the reader gets sucked in to the mystery. Blue Moon is a fantastic beginning to this trilogy.

Horror

Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy, #3)This year saw the final instalment of Tim O’Rourke’s Moon trilogy, Moonshine (The Moon trilogy, #3). A paranormal horror series that has it all; action and adventure, vamps, weres, heart-warming moments and plenty of surprises. The running theme through the trilogy is whether or not vamps and weres can exist in peace together. Or, will they both have to try and annihilate each other? Will the love of Winnie be enough to hold it all together? (Clicking on the links for books 2 and 3 may spoil the storyline for those who haven’t read book one.)

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Crime Thriller

COLD CALL BOOK COVER - with blood SAFE COPYCold Call by Colin Llewelyn Chapman, was an instant like for me. After being likened to author Martina Cole, Luther (BBC tv series) and with a pinch of Fifty Shades, Cold Call proved to be a gritty, well-planned read that follows both the suspect and the police with their investigation into the deaths of several women from seedy backgrounds. This is another read with surprises along the way that will keep you gripped until the end.

21 Hours - Dustin Stevens_1Dustin Stevens’ 21 Hours is full of action and suspense as an uncle and ex-con is attempting to save his two year old niece after she has been kidnapped. Being an ex-con he is not entirely trusted by the authorities, but he is so desperate that he will do anything! I have likened it to some action movies, such as Lethal Weapon, Commando, Ransom and Con Air as there are some elements of these in the book and especially in they way it left me feeling after I had read it. It is also another read that is quick-paced, partly due to the time that it is believed that the young girl has left!

Ooh, and now for some Festive Contemporary reads

As an added treat, and because they were brilliant reads, I thought I would share the following two festive reads:

CANDY CAIN by C.L. Scholey - Click Image to CloseC.L. Scholey’s Candy Cain is a short 55 page read that is festive, hot and full of suspense. After being snowed in during a blizzard and left on a desolate road, with only the stranger that she dislikes after briefly bumping into him earlier, the only way they can keep warm is by body heat! Hmm, I wonder where this will lead and what the outcome will be for them? There are also heart-warming moments and an underlying storyline about helping those in need.

All I Want for ChristmasAnd finally, a full-length story with a Christmas build-up, new friendships and a new romance in Amy Silver’s All I Want for Christmas. Beginning from the fourteenth of December, the story is written with each chapter being a new day in the lead up to the big day, when there are plans at The Honey Pot café for people of the neighbourhood to meet for a party of food and friendship for the lonely.

I have read many more great reads that I cannot possibly add due to the amount I have here. Crossing many genres, I always hope that there are reads in here to suit many, and I feel that there is a great mix of both published and indie authors.

I hope that you enjoy our posts and would like to thank each and everyone of you for following and supporting us. I sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas and an absolutely brilliant New Year!

Caroline Barker 🙂

If you would like to check our Top Reads of 2013 to recap on our previous year, you can do so here:-

Caroline’s Top Reads 2013

Tina’s To Reads 2013

 

 

*REVIEW* All I Want for Christmas by Amy Silver

All I Want for ChristmasTitle: All I Want for Christmas

Author: Amy Silver

Genre: Contemporary holiday romance, chick-lit

Release date: November 25th, 2010

Publisher: Arrow

Length: 325 pages

Blurb: It’s Bea’s first Christmas with her baby son, and this year she’s determined to do everything right. But there is still so much to do: the Christmas menu needs refining; her café, The Honey Pot, needs decorating; and she’s invited the whole neighbourhood to a party on Christmas Day. She really doesn’t have time to get involved in two new people’s lives, let alone fall in love…

When Olivia gets knocked over in the street, however, Bea can’t help bringing her into The Honey Pot and getting to know her. Olivia’s life is even more hectic than her own, and with her fiancé’s entire family over from Ireland for Christmas, she shouldn’t be lingering in the cosy warmth of Bea’s café. Chloe, on the other hand, has nowhere else to go. Her affair with a married man has alienated her friends, and left her lonelier than ever.

But Christmas is a magical time, and in the fragrant atmosphere of The Honey Pot, anything can happen: new friends can be made, hearts can heal, and romance can finally blossom…

REVIEW

This is a fab read for this time of year, not only due to the heart-warming and romantic storyline but also because of the layout, with each chapter being a date in December, beginning on the fourteenth and leading up to the big day!

It is written from Bea, Olivia and Chloe’s points of view and follows them through different times each day which really opens the characters up for the reader to get to know and enjoy.

For Bea, she wants to have her first Christmas with her young son. She has been through so much and deserves a fantastic year. After losing her husband two years before, she is now running the café, the Honey Pot, that her and her husband had started together. The previous year was quite a low point for Bea as she sunk into depression and drink, with her mother looking after her son. Which is why this year is so special. As well as this, Bea wants to hold a Christmas party at the Honey Pot on Christmas evening for the people of the neighbourhood, friends and for the lonely to have somewhere to go.

We meet Olivia early on in the story when she gets knocked over outside the café and Bea goes out to assist, bringing Olivia into the Honey Pot and having a chat over a nice, hot drink. This is really the beginning of a great friendship between these two characters. I feel that the author has taken great care with her writing to build these characters up and create a closeness between them. It is written well and is a flowing read which is easy to follow.

Olivia is about to get married to her boyfriend, Kieran. However, when his family comes over from Ireland in the run up to Christmas, she finds that she is having a stressful time feeding and entertaining them, as well as working. Not only this but when Kieran’s family begin suggesting wedding ideas and their future together, i.e. kids, when to have them and how many, Olivia begins to get a little cold feet and doubts whether she is doing the right thing. And, has she really slept with enough men yet?

It is a demanding time for her and she just wants things to remain the same for Kieran and herself. If she pleases him and his family her wishes will never be met. Plus, she knows she will never go through the getting-to-know-you stage again and is this just all too much to bear?

Meanwhile, one of Bea’s best friends, Sam, begins to really get to her. Sam has always been popular with the ladies and it isn’t unusual for him to have a new girl on his arm every week or so. Bea doesn’t really know why he is bothering her so much. They have always been close – only being next door he has looked after Luca, her son, and been there to talk to, lend things to, etc. And she has always known he was one for the ladies. But, Sam seems to be turning up recently when she’s in the middle of something, he seems to be getting closer to her and he gets under her skin at times.

It becomes apparent that Sam has feelings for Bea. This creates a brilliant will-they-won’t-they storyline. Bea knows that Sam has always been there for her, but does she feel that strong about him? And even if she does, she cannot betray her husband, Marco.

And then there’s Chloe. Chloe is introduced as a cold and rude character, having an affair with a married man and not really having much thought for anyone else. When it is first realised by Olivia and Bea that Chloe is in a relationship with a married man, they react quite judgemental towards her, which in turn brushes her up the wrong way. She retaliates by speaking harshly to Bea about her husband, as she sees Bea as the married man’s wife. However, she really doesn’t know Bea’s truth and has judged her completely wrong. But, despite this shaky start, is it possible for a friendship to blossom?

Surprisingly, Chloe was a character I really enjoyed. Even though she has been involved with a married man and comes across quite cold and haughty to begin with, I felt her character made the longest journey and she really is quite nice underneath it all. She seems to come to her senses and realise just how lonely she really is. She doesn’t fit in with her family and excludes herself to an extent from their visits as she is her own person really. I really admire this about her, as it does take strength to go your own way especially when you know it will be a lonely venture.

All I Want for Christmas is a perfect festive, heartfelt and relaxing read, and a reminder that people do have problems but that they also get through them. It is touching, but at the same time leads you into an excitement for the holidays, at the same time as being a relaxing read.

All I Want for ChristmasAll I Want for Christmas is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Review Round Up December ’14

Hi readers, we hope that you’re Christmas preparations are going well and that you are not too stressed with all of the arrangements, shopping and wrapping to do! Here is the last Review Round Up of 2014! As usual, there are quite a few genres with the fourteen books that we have reviewed, and we do hope that they pique your interest. (For the full review please click on the titles.)

You may be pleased to hear that we will both be doing our Top Reads of 2014 over the holidays. We have had the pleasure of reading many great reads and look forward to sharing them!

Enjoy!

Caroline & Tina ❤

Invasion Earth (Delroi Connection #1) by Loribelle Hunt, erotic/sci-fi romance (reviewed by Tina)

In the distant future, Earth has been ravaged by war and famine, and after generations of bloodshed settles into peace only to be invaded by the alien Delroi. General Alrik Torfa needs a mate and his seers promise mates for many of his people on the distant planet Earth. He doesn’t expect her to come easily, but is more than a little surprised to find her leading an enemy army. Outmanned and outgunned, there is no way the Earth forces can win.Sergeant Major Laney Bradford has always played her part and served her people well, but the demands of the Delroi’s surrender are a bit extreme. Marriage? To one of them? Not likely. But she’s fought for peace her entire life and when surrender talks are threatened by a conspiracy led by her people, Laney must choose. Will she submit to the alien invader or lead the fight against him?

Entropy by Robert Raker, dark crime drama, thriller suspense (reviewed by Caroline)

When a series of child abductions and murders disrupt the life of an economically blighted community, the consequences have far-reaching implications. The brutal crimes take a different toll on a disparate group of individuals; the scuba diver who retrieves the children’s bodies; the disfigured cellist who thinks he knows who’s responsible; the undercover federal agent; and the mother of one of the victim’s.
United in a situation not of their choosing, they are forced to take a deep, introspective look into their intersected, yet isolated lives.

To Avenge Her Highland Warrior (Highland Fae Chronicles #3) by Samantha Holt, historical romance, fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Lorna lost everything to war. Her home, her wealth… her lover. And now she wants revenge. When her hasty plan throws her at the mercy of her enemy’s men, she holds little hope of returning to her kin and fears death is around the corner. But could her salvation lie in the arms of her dark captor? Logan has little time to be dealing with a stubborn noble woman. His orders are to prepare for war. His laird—the man he owes his life to—intends to join forces with the Norse and bring a battle to Scotland that will see the fate of the country forever changed. Scarred, and with no memory of his past, Logan is determined to forge a new future for himself as well as prove his loyalty to the laird. But the beautiful lass has him questioning his previous life and his goals. When she starts claiming he once loved her, he knows he’s being manipulated and she’s taking advantage of his memory loss. So why is it so hard to resist the idea of having once been her lover? With the threat of impending war—a battle that promises to bring slaughter to her family—can Lorna persuade Logan to believe her, and is the bitter man he’s become even worth saving? Whatever the outcome of the battle, a certain interfering faery is resolved to see fate back on its correct path. And that means forcing Lorna and Logan together—no matter their differences.

COLD CALL BOOK COVER - with blood SAFE COPYCold Call by Colin Llewelyn Chapman, dark crime drama, thriller (reviewed by Caroline)

Wealthy entrepreneur Robin Bradford had it all – the house, the cars, the fine dining – and he lost it all. All except Lizzie, his perfect, loving girlfriend. Down on his luck and with no immediate prospects in business, Robin’s energies found another outlet, Just a little something spicy to bide his time until his financial world recovered, leading him down a very seedy path, onto a very rocky road. Time however was all he had, and all he was going to get.

Due to violence, drug references and sexual content, readers are recommended to be of 18yrs+.

Benddontbreak_front_coverBend, Don’t Break (Irrevocable #2) by Skye Callahan, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

I thought I was done.
my End
I couldn’t take my eyes off her as the bullet tore through me, leaving me with nothing but the hope that I had done enough to save her. The darkness tried to engulf me—to brand me as its own and drag me to my fate.
my Darkness
Waking to see her tear-stained face above me was enough to make my heart stutter. I was alive and free from that place—but not from the toll it had taken on my mind and body.
my Strength
My story should have ended, but one woman kept standing in the way of that. The only way I could have her was to find a way to put the darkness to rest.

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda's Story)Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) (Duty & Desire #4) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary military romance, romantic comedy, chick-lit (reviewed by Caroline)

Miranda Cates finally graduates from college and is excited to begin her dream career in law enforcement. After the final betrayal and heartbreak of her college boyfriend, Chris, she moves back home with a firm plan in place for her life.

However, the life she has carefully mapped out for herself takes a serious left turn. Miranda finds she not only has to be strong for herself, but for the daughter who hadn’t been part of her plan.

Determined to still believe in true love, life throws Miranda one more wicked curveball. She meets Jace Lawless, a hot minor league baseball player, whose warm aqua eyes and big dimple have her unraveling her carefully laid plans. A man who may be just be too good to be true.

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) is book 3 in the Duty & Desire series, and while it is recommended to read the books in order, it’s not necessary.

An Autumn CrushAn Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson, contemporary romantic comedy (reviewed by Caroline)

In the heart of the windy season, four friends are about to get swept off their feet…

Newly single after a bruising divorce, Juliet Miller moves into a place of her own and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that, in her mid-thirties, she’ll find anyone suitable. Then, just as she’s about to give up hope, along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, and the two women hit it off straight away.

When Juliet’s gentle giant of a twin brother, Guy, meets Floz, he falls head over heels. But, as hard as he tries to charm her, his foot seems to be permanently in his mouth. Meanwhile, Guy’s best friend Steve has always had a secret crush on Juliet – one which could not be more unrequited if it tried…

As Floz and Juliet’s friendship deepens, and Floz becomes a part of the Miller family, can Guy turn her affection for them into something more – into love for him? And what will happen to Steve’s heart when Juliet eventually catches the eye of Piers – the man of her dreams?

21473101Apartment 2B by K. Webster, Adult contemporary paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Sidney has a rough life. Her mom is incredibly abusive both mentally and physically. One day, she’s awarded the escape she’s always wanted and thrust into a world she barely understands. Each day is a struggle to feel human and not terrified of everything around her.

Sidney has rules. Routines. Structure. It’s the only way she can cope

When a handsome, yet mysterious stranger inserts himself into her life, Sidney begins to come apart at the seams. She’s having trouble sticking to her habits and it’s threatening to shred any hope of a normal life to pieces. Will this stranger help her in ways no other person can, or will things get worse for her?

He comes with his own set of problems and secrets he’s unwilling to share. Will they work together through the mess of their pasts or will they get caught up enabling each other? Will their toxic relationship ultimately be destined for demise?

MistUnveiled_HiResMist Unveiled (Elemental Desire #1) by Nancy Corrigan, erotic paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Cat has one love in her life—science. Facts rule her, not passion. At least it doesn’t until an unknown deadly virus claims her sister’s life. Cat’s quest for answers takes her to Greenland and drops her into the arms of the one man who sways her devotion from logic to passion. Rune stirs her lusts, ignites her desires and fuels her carnal cravings, but he isn’t simply a lover, nor is he human. He’s a weapon, one that has the potential to save or destroy her.

Rune, a child of the mist, awakens into a world hovering on the verge of destruction. Rising temperatures have released his enemies from their frozen prison without his knowledge. He searches for them but finds Cat, a human with the power to save him and the world. He hungers for her—blood, body and soul. Every moment of shared passion convinces him of the truth—she’s his greatest treasure, one he’ll die to keep.

Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives (Virginia #1, Lana #2 & Nella #3) by Rhian Cahill, Cate Ellink & Cathleen Ross, erotica (reviewed by Tina)

Cool, collected, confident – those who know Virginia in her personal and professional life would never expect to find her in Boyd’s, a bar across town from her circle of friends and socialite world. But Boyd’s offers her something she can’t get among her rarefied acquaintances: sex. Rough, hard, mind-blowing, anonymous sex. In her casual clothes, she’s no one important. Incognito, unnoticed by everyone except one: the bartender who knows her drink order – and would like to know a whole lot more.

22584Lana by Cate Ellink: Lana lives her life by her own rules – and she has very few. What she wants, she goes for, and she very rarely fails. So when a young, handsome waiter at her favourite restaurant catches her eye, she has no hesitation in asking him to escort her home. But one night of passion opens up exciting new possibilities, and a chance for Lana to enact one of her deepest, most illicit fantasies.

23510826Nella by Cathleen Ross: Nella is one hundred percent in control of her life – all aspects of her life. She excels at knowing what everyone needs, and in meeting those needs. So when it comes to her husband, Michael, and his deepest desires and most fundamental requirements, she is committed, creative, and unswerving in her responsibilities. A strong man needs a strong woman, and Nella’s love is as strong as steel.

Cursed (Cursed trilogy #1) & Obsession (Cursed trilogy #2) by Georgina Hannan, young adult paranormal horror (reviewed by Caroline)

CursedCursed: Reality and Myths collide.
A young adult story about a group of four friends who embark on a holiday together to the gorgeous countryside of Dartmoor, Devon. Each of them hoping for an adventure, something they will always remember. However it isn’t long before they get what they want.

The group are plagued by noises after hearing the myths and legends of the area. Is it just their overactive imaginations or is there a visitor in the spare room who is trying to get their attention?

Join the group on a spectacular journey as they discover what Dartmoor has to offer.

Obsession by Georgina Hannan_1Obsession: There’s a fine line between Obsession and Madness.

After a strange and exciting holiday, Daisy is looking forward to the new start University life will bring.

A life changing assignment makes her question the fine line between Obsession and Madness.

Can she tell the difference?
Can you?

CANDY CAIN by C.L. Scholey - Click Image to CloseCandy Cain (festive short story) by C.L. Scholey, hot, contemporary romance, festive (reviewed by Caroline)

Candy is on top of the world. She’s a high priced corporate lawyer with expensive cars, time on her hands, and money to burn. Although, she has no one to burn it on, except for a yearly ritual of buying toys and treats for the needy at Christmas time.

Cain is an egotistical enigma. A very deprived and hurting enigma, who feels wishes are for fools. A car accident leaves them stranded together, and the two have no choice but to warm each other’s cold bodies, lest they freeze to death.

As the temperature dips outside, the heat begins to sizzle inside. Candy and Cain, though worlds apart in society, begin to feel perhaps they have more in common than either could ever wish for.

Will they both discover the miracle of Christmas wishes isn’t just for the very young?

A Way from Heart to HeartA Way From Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romance (reviewed by Caroline)

After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Kate’s free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives – which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.

Reserved, ex-public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything.

But can Kate take a risk with her son’s happiness as well as her own?

6624391The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, historical romance, religious (reviewed by Tina)

Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems. Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley’s secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?