Caroline’s Current Reads – Nov ’14

Hello readers, it has been a while since I have made a list of my current reads, and although you are probably aware of our recent reviews, I thought it would be a great idea to share what my reads are going to be between now and the New Year.

There is a nice collection of contemporary romances, chick-lits, sci-fi, paranormal, crime, as well as a travel/non-fiction. If you are a fan of historical romances and/or erotica there will also be reviews from Tina and a current reads post from her soon.

Amongst my reads there is the newly released, A Way From Heart to Heart (a contemporary romance), from the amazing Helena Fairfax, All I Want for Christmas by Amy Silver (to add some festive cheer) and books from Torrid Books (an imprint of Start Publishing) and Wattle Publishing!

We hope you enjoy them!

Caroline 🙂

Cursed & Obsession (Cursed Trilogy, #1 &2) by Georgina Hannan, Young Adult horror/paranormal

CursedCursed blurb: A young adult story about a group of four friends who embark on a holiday together to the georgeous 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 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.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

ObsessionObsession blurb: 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? 

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

A Way from Heart to HeartA Way From Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romance

Blurb: 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?

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The Girl In Between (The Girl In Between Series Book 1)The Girl In Between (The Girl In Between #1) by Laekan Zea Kemp, fantasy

Blurb: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive. 

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

All I Want for ChristmasAll I Want for Christmas by Amy Silver, chick-lit/contemporary holiday romance

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…

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

79840-front2bcoverTequila & Tea Bags by Laura Barnard, chick-lit/contemporary romantic comedy

Blurb: Sent to live with her cousin Elsie in the Yorkshire countryside, Rose has only one thing on her mind; joining her friends as a club rep in Mexico.

When she hears about a council incentive offering the promise of free flights to the person who clocks the most volunteering hours at the local care home, she’s got her plan set.

But she doesn’t plan on bonding with the old ladies, going after the village bad boy and trying to persuade Elsie not to become a Nun.

Soon she’s questioning who her real friends are and whether her old life is one she wants to return to.

Can the village win her over and will she win the chance to leave it behind? Will she even want to?

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Bethany's Heart (Unearthly World Book 3)Bethany’s Heart (Unearthly World #3) by C.L. Scholey, sci-fi romance

Blurb: Amidst the snow and icy wasteland, Earth has become a watery grave to many. Zargonnii warriors Finn and Blu search for any remaining human females. Luck abounds and six females are found struggling to survive. The moment his blazing red eyes settle onto Bethany Finn feels in his heart she is the one he wants to end his loneliness. When Bethany encounters two massive aliens, eyes alight, long white hair wildly flying, she knows the pair are either death or salvation. Their encounter leads Bethany on the wildest adventure of her life. After the Zargonnii ship is annihilated by the enemy a shuttle leads Finn and Bethany straight into the path of peril more times than the couple care to count.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Dead of NightDead of Night (The Tom Mariner series, #7) by Chris Collett, crime drama/procedural investigation

Blurb: When a young woman disappears on her way home from work, Detective Inspector Tom Mariner tackles his most challenging investigation yet”
18-year-old Grace Clifton vanishes on her way home from work in the centre of Birmingham late at night, the case is remarkable in that not a single witness comes forward. The more he has to deal with Grace s wealthy and overbearing father, Council Leader Bob Clifton, the more Tom Mariner is inclined to believe that Grace left of her own accord.
Then the package arrives. It contains Grace s clothes, neatly pressed and laundered. A second woman disappears. And a disturbing pattern begins to emerge.
Still adapting to a new investigation team and struggling to pull its members together, Detective Inspector Mariner is about to tackle one of his strangest, most challenging cases to date.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Love BitesLove Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan, romance

Blurb: Love Bites is the provocative debut collection of short stories by Valeria Kogan. From heartbreak to redemption, Love Bites provides a spellbinding interpretation of love and friendship, glamour and guilt, secrets and deceit. Each story provides a captivating insight into the world of love; its profound impact and effect; and how women relate to their partners. This cleverly constructed collection of short stories will leave you tantalized and yearning for more. Love Bites is a must-read for every modern woman, reader of romance and romantic enthusiast.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Travel BitesTravel Bites by The Hungry Traveller, non-fiction

Travel Bites is a collection of short stories that criss-cross the globe. It is the first work by The Hungry Traveller who has combined his two great life passions: travelling and eating!

The Hungry Traveller has been travelling for the last fifteen years and, along the way, has experienced many different sights, tastes, smells and cultures. Central to his travel experiences has been the role of food. Through his unique and very personal style of storytelling, you too can share in the highs and the lows of his stories from around the world. At the end of each story is a recipe for a dish inspired by his adventure.

Travel Bites will capture your imagination and curiosity; and will leave you yearning to plan your next holiday, adventure or escape!

The Hungry Traveller is a travelling enthusiast who loves to eat! When travelling, he enjoys meeting new people and engaging with locals to learn about their culture, history and the food that they eat. He is ‘currently between trips’, saving money, but always has his passport on hand, ready for his next adventure! He always likes to hear about other peoples’ travel experiences and your thoughts on his book!

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

**REVIEW & Kindle e-book GIVEAWAY** Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson

Here Lies Love

A Reader’s Review Blog are excited to host our review and fantastic giveaway of Dan Thompson’s New Adult Dystopian ‘Here Lies Love’! Be warned – there are some dark and adult topics and therefore, it is not one for the faint-hearted!! (Please scroll down for details of the e-book giveaway!)

Blurb: Would death be less painful than life?

When she is sold by her father, Abbey discovers that nightmares can occur when you’re awake. Trapped inside a wooden cage, Abbey is forced to listen to the horrors and atrocities above; time ticking down until it is her turn. But Abbey isn’t prepared to become a victim; she will escape.

Although, what Abbey isn’t prepared for, is how harsh and unfair the world can be. With the sun turning its back on humanity long ago, life gives no opportunity. The only thing Abbey can do is learn to survive. To exist. And that means stealing any opportunity that comes her way. Haunted by the unpleasant memories bestowed upon her only nurtures Abbey’s paranoia, until she realises that to truly live in the world, she must confront the person who was responsible for her misfortune – her father.

Here Lies Love is a New Adult tale of actuality, of facing up to the fact that love comes in many guises. Can Abbey find the one glimmer of hope or will she be overcome with the darkness of revenge?

REVIEW

Wow! There are some very dark topics in this New Adult dystopian, Here Lies Love, and it is definitely not for the faint hearted! Not only is it one of the darkest novels I have read for some time, being set in an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it survival narrative but it also deals with captivity, violence and sexual abuse, where the victim considers suicide as it may be preferable to carrying on. There is also the presence of betrayal and loneliness surrounding the main character, Abbey. Be prepared for an intense, emotive adventure, where the reader truly cannot predict what will happen on the following page, let alone at the end of the story!!!

The reader is introduced to Abbey at a time when the sun hasn’t shone in the sky for many years. The human race is barely surviving and Abbey has been sent away by her father to live with Stefan, a man who offered Abbey a chance of minor housework to earn her keep and food. Little did Abbey know that she would be under lock and key and only taken out when Stefan, the monster, wanted to play. Abbey not only has to live with the fear of what this guy will do to her, but she can hear the screams of other girls. She cannot let him carry on doing this to her.

The reader feels every sense of terror, anxiety and tension, longing for Abbey and the others to escape. This story takes you places that you would not really want to venture to from the beginning. However, by doing this the reader is hooked on hoping for Abbey to make it out. For a New Adult novel, Dan Thompson writes so carefully, explaining the depths of desperation that Abbey is at, allowing every moment to be clear to the reader without being completely graphic as a more mature read could be. This shows a level of sensitivity and the author helps create the horrific scene with atmospheric descriptions just as much as the abusive situation in which Abbey is in.

Abbey’s emotions towards her father are mixed. She was close to him and her gran when she was younger but she cannot understand how her father could just give her away to a monster like Stefan. Abbey feels angry and betrayed by her father. She wants answers and he is the only one that holds them. Her father and her home at the lighthouse are all she knows and so her objective is to face her father to find his truth and possibly seek revenge.

Here Lies Love also keeps the reader on their toes just as much as Abbey is. I find dystopians in general are dark reads and concentrate on surviving, and this is no different in many ways. There is a lack of trust in people, the need for food and warmth, etc, but Abbey is also struggling with the coming of age at the same time as having her innocence robbed and then to top it all off she falls for another survivor of the apocalypse in Tristan.

Meeting Tristan, although careful and cautious of him at first, provides Abbey with a certain feeling of affection that she has long forgotten. She has only had to think and care for herself, and now meeting Tristan and his best friend, Ryan, she begins to feel connected with people again, if just a little. However, due to her young age and trying to deal with what has happened to her makes it very easy for Abbey to become paranoid and concerned about the true intentions of Tristan and Ryan. The reader does question, ‘Is there hope for Abbey’s future?’

Towards the end of the novel the answer to that question is still one for the reader to possibly judge for themselves. And where does it leave Tristan? I want to know so much more about these characters and, although the story is pretty well wrapped, I would still like to follow these characters into a sequel to find out exactly what becomes of both of them and whether or not they are together? Despite the seriousness, darkness and sheer desperation that Abbey felt, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. If you are a dystopian fan and enjoy a dark read this is definitely one for you!!

A copy of Here Lies Love was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win an e-book (mobi version for Amazon Kindle) of Here Lies Love all we ask is for you to leave your name and/or a comment in the comments box below before Monday 29th September 2014.

Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page post at www.facebook.com/AReadersReview before the closing date, Monday 29th September 2014!

The winner will be randomly selected and notified as soon as they are selected.

Good luck to all those who enter. We wish you every success!!

Caroline & Tina 🙂

And if you are unlucky, or simply cannot wait then here are the purchase links:-

Here Lies Love is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

The Mechanic by Tim O’Rourke **REVIEW plus 2 x GIVEAWAY**

Wow!! Released today, we have the thrill of hosting Tim O’Rourke’s New Adult sci-Fi romance ‘The Mechanic’. Not only were we privileged to read this fantastic story before its release BUT we are also excited to host a 2 x paperback GIVEAWAY. (Please scroll down for the blurb, our review and info on the giveaway, plus links.)

OKay, this is the blurb for 'The Mechanic'. I hope you enjoy it :) x </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The Mechanics were built to help people. They looked and behaved just like humans. But when the Mechanics malfunctioned and started to kill those who had given them life, they were hunted down and destroyed, until only one remained. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>When twenty-two-year-old, Hope Last, has a chance encounter with a mysterious man named Aidan Croix, an immediate and intense attraction forms between them. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Hope soon fears that Aidan is keeping a terrible secret and begins to suspect that he might not be human after all but the last of the Mechanic’s the world has been hunting for. But Hope knows that it isn’t just her heart but her very life, Aidan holds in his hands. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Written by Tim O’Rourke and hidden away in the ‘box’ beneath the stairs for many years, ‘The Mechanic’, is published for the first time as an Amazon Exclusive and available from July 31st 2014.

Blurb: The Mechanics were built to help people. They looked and behaved just like humans. But when the Mechanics malfunctioned and started to kill those who had given them life, they were hunted down and destroyed, until only one remained.

When twenty-two-year-old, Hope Last, has a chance encounter with a mysterious man named Aidan Croix, an immediate and intense attraction forms between them.

Hope soon fears that Aidan is keeping a terrible secret and begins to suspect that he might not be human after all but the last of the Mechanic’s the world has been hunting for. But Hope knows that it isn’t just her heart but her very life, Aidan holds in his hands.

Review

The Mechanic is a dark, exciting and mysterious sci-fi romance, with plenty of passion and curiosity to keep you tense and guessing until the end! Within the first few chapters alone the reader is introduced to the characters, is aware of the situation with the mechanics and is subjected to an incredible action sequence which does end in upset and controversy for some. As well as working out the stranger in Hope’s life, Aidan, there are also murders to solve and a cop to answer to.

The Mechanic is written from Hope’s point of view. The reader sees everything from Hope’s mind and knows her every thought. This creates a feeling of empathy and understanding for the reader towards her, and as we do not see from the others POV it is very easy to suspect and mistrust the other characters. This is great for the story and allows the reader to keep questioning who The Mechanic could possibly be.

Hope has recently been cheated on by her boyfriend, Jake, and feels so alone. She feels abandoned by her dead mother, and now once more by Jake. Betrayed and let down, Hope is vulnerable and empty until Aidan Croix enters her life. He changes her world.

Aidan has all that a fictional love interest should have with his good looks, infectious smile and sweet mesmerising stares. There is a profound connection between him and Hope that reaches way beyond the physical attraction. There were moments when I was captivated by his character, especially with the physical love scenes, and yet I couldn’t quite bring myself to fall for him completely as I was constantly questioning whether or not he was The Mechanic, a killer, the hunted. I felt like I was Hope’s conscience and yet where Hope allows his presence to fulfil her every moment of loneliness I would be more cautious.

To set the scene of the mood of the story we know that Hope lives in a more run-down apartment in the city, there is plenty of rainfall, and the thunder and lightning create an eeriness, a feeling of danger, tension and yet heightened passion. Yes, there is plenty of passion between these two characters!! Not hearing from Aidan’s point of view makes him more mysterious to the reader. But Hope drowns in him, longs for his touch as soon as he leaves her each morning, longs to be with him for eternity.

As Hope begins to wonder if Aidan is The Mechanic being hunted there is also a part of her that cannot live without him, she cannot be lonely again. She’s been left alone by her mother, her boyfriend, so Aidan is the one thing that she can hold on to. She begins to question if it is possible to fall in love with a machine, and could a machine fall in love too? Even if he is The Mechanic will she be able to give him up? She is torn.

Hope’s conflict doesn’t end there as she hears her friend’s, Ingrid’s, warning in her subconscious about Aidan, making her confused and frustrated. And to add to her confusion there is also the feeling that she knows Aidan from somewhere else, maybe from her past, or maybe he is a friend of a friend. Either way nothing is clear, apart from the sense of love that she feels for him.

As always Tim’s writing is very direct, easy to visualise and a quick read. And yet it packs so much on terms of plot, character and emotion. Even the setting, the 80’s soundtrack and mechanical descriptions, although not too heavy, were so interesting with the cogs, springs, etc and help create a dark and eerie mood which really adds to the story. I absolutely love it!

There were elements that even reminded me of The Terminator (movie) – the notion that a machine can have human flesh, blood, bodily functions as well as possibly developing feelings towards a human. Then there is the storyline that he is the only one left and he is being hunted down. (However, there is no time travel or end of the world scenario in The Mechanic.) I personally thrive on this level of excitement in a book and Tim O’Rourke is a genius when it comes to these fast-paced adventures.

I thought it ended brilliantly with great twists and wraps up with all questions answered. Without spoiling, it was quite surprising and emotional and ends with a slight possibility for a sequel (fingers crossed!!). Throughout the novel there are hints and clues as to what could be, and who The Mechanic is. If Aidan is The Mechanic, then he has possibly murdered and is now being hunted! How can Hope fall for him? Can a virtually human machine have the possibility of developing human feelings and emotions? Hmm, I think you’ll have to have a read to find out!


A copy of The Mechanic was received gratefully in return for an honest and fair review.

GIVEAWAY INFO


To celebrate the release of The Mechanic, A Reader’s Review Blog has been offered to host a paperback giveaway of two copies!!!

For a chance to win one of two paperback copies of The Mechanic all you have to do is add your name in the comments list below (or on our Facebook page) before Thursday 13th August 2014, when the two lucky winners will be randomly selected. Good luck, guys 🙂

If you simply cannot wait The Mechanic is also available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker