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** Tim O’Rourke’s Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy, #3)

Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy, #3)

A Paranormal Horror Adventure Filled with Action, Adventure, Surprises and Heart-warming Moments! A great trilogy for Halloween!!

Weak and still not yet a true vampire, Winnie McCall heads north toward Scotland in the company of the last of the werewolves, Thaddeus Blake. Hunted relentlessly by two police officers, Thaddeus and Winnie must find the Moonshine, a prism that when matched with the Moonbeam, will destroy the vampires.

When two ancient enemies go head to head, the body count soon starts to rise, but who is it leaving a trail of dead bodies along the path that Thaddeus and Winnie are taking? And what is the terrible secret from Winnie’s past that is preventing her friend Ruby Little from staying dead?

With terrifying consequences, Winnie discovers how far she and the man she loves, Thaddeus Blake, will go to survive and remain the last of their species.

A shock ending that will leave you stunned, ‘Moonshine’ is the final book in ‘The Moon Trilogy’ by bestselling author, Tim O’Rourke.

REVIEW

Another action-packed adventure of paranormal horror and drama from Tim O’Rourke, with many twists and turns, especially as the ending nears. You will be blown away with this ending and the many surprises that the author reveals. Two questions many of you will be asking are, ‘Can there ever be a truce between vampires and werewolves?’ and ‘Will Thad and Winnie’s love be enough to hold everything together?’

Winnie is slowly turning into a vampire, whilst Thad is the last of the werewolves. Being hunted down by his last love’s vampire father, Thad has to keep going to prevent the end for all werewolves. After Winnie has been bitten by a vampire, and turning into one herself, these two are very unlikely characters to unite and work together. Yet Winnie’s love for Thad keeps her doing just that! For the very first time in Winnie’s life she feels the love and the freedom she thought she would never have. Thad has given her so much, despite his early intentions. The bond they have is strong and the reader feels that anything is possible as long as these characters are together.

Not only do they share their love for each other, but they both need each other to survive. During full moons, Thad needs Winnie to ensure he doesn’t harm anyone in his wolf form. He needs to be caged somewhere and watched until he returns to his more human state. Meanwhile, as Winnie is becoming more vampire-like, she also has the need and thirst for blood. She needs Thad to help her through her thirsts. They need to ensure their safety from each other as well as the safety for humans to prevent either of them being harmed and to prevent the truth from coming out.

“She would have to look after him as much as he would have to take care of her. They needed each other. Thaddeus, therefore, knew in his heart that he couldn’t leave Winnie behind, even if he wanted to – because without her at his side, he risked dying as much as she. Whether she held him back or not, they were now forever linked – held together that shrouded the world he lived in.”

The plan for Thaddeus is to travel to Scotland where he can threaten to destroy all vampires if he connects the Moonbeam with the Moonshine. As a result of this connection, all vampires will cease to exist. With Winnie turning, Thaddeus is hoping that the vampires are willing to see reason and once they are aware of the true love that exists between Thad and Winnie then perhaps a truce can be made. To make matters worse, there is a trail of dead bodies that are following Thad and Winnie and the local police are following them. The police are not all they seem to be as readers may be aware from Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, #2), and with vampires hunting them down Thad and Winnie do not have a great chance.

As well as the action, the chase, the attacks and the sheer desperation that Thad has, another element of Moonshine is the more spooky and eerie side, where the reader is given a much more detailed account of Ruby Little. Ruby Little was Winnie’s best friend from when they were younger and then living on the streets together. After Ruby’s death, Winnie began hearing her voice and seeing her. She has provided Winnie with advice and warnings. Still looking out for her friend from the other side. Some of these scenes are spooky and become more gory and horrific, especially as the trilogy has come on and the reader can envisage a Little Red Riding Hood character, back from the dead, but with maggots where her face should be. It is sad, especially for Winnie, and it is also horrifying and scary.

Moonshine is broken down into three sections: Thad and Winnie; Winnie and Ruby; and Winnie. Although I loved all three sections, I thought the flashbacks of Winnie’s history with her friend, Ruby Little, really stood out. This is partly due to the tragedy of Ruby’s life, the horrors that she endured. The whole atmosphere of this section is both dark and light as the reader begins to understand exactly what Ruby has gone through and her strength to cope with it and yet she also forms a special bond with Winnie that perhaps would never have been created if it wasn’t for the dark occurences. I feel that this type of scene is a new avenue for Tim O’Rourke and he has captured the hearts and minds of the reader magically. It is also extremely heart-warming when we discover how Ruby is protective of Winnie and she goes to great lengths, without really explaining an awful lot to Winnie to begin with. This is a friendship like no other and even after death, Ruby still looks out for her friend.

During the last chapters the tempo builds up again as the ending comes to a close. The rollercoaster of the series is set to turbo boost as the reader is thrown from one possible ending to another. The reader feels as desperate as Thad and Winnie as the heartbeat quickens from fight scenes to chases, from the uncertainty and the horror. This finale will leave the readers a little gobsmacked and torn between what has happened and maybe what they thought would happen. I love it when an author can completely baffle the reader and that’s what Tim O’Rourke has done.

The Moon Trilogy would be fantastic to read one book after the other, as one complete novel, as the reader is left on tenterhooks with the first two books. The pace is also very fast and full of action that you simply don’t want to stop reading. I would certainly love to see this series in a box set, but for now all three books are available for very affordable prices. (Currently Moonlight, The Moon Trilogy #1, is available for £0.77 at Amazon UK and $1.24 Amazon US. Please note that prices are subject to change.)

A copy of Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3) was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

You can purchase Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3) at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review for Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Review for Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Reviewed by Caroline Barker