10/10

#BlogTour #BookReview
Break Down by Rebecca Norinne
@rebecca_norinne @InkSlingerPR

 

Synopsis:

He knows his place on the pitch, but in life, it’s a whole other game.
All his life, Liam Donnelly looked and wondered. Could he? Would he? And then, finally, he did. But when he sampled a taste of that forbidden fruit, his whole world came crashing down, his position with Dublin Rugby right along with it. When the chance to ply his trade in Edinburgh comes along, Liam jumps at the offer, knowing it could be his best opportunity to start fresh and get back to the man he once was. But one look at Chef Lachlan MacLeod-his knowing, whisky-colored eyes, the abrasive scruff dotting his jaw, and the colorful ink lining his forearms-and Liam’s wondering all over again. Can he? Will he? His heart says no, but his body says yes. Too bad love is never that simple.

He’s conquered his own demons; can he help another man do the same?
Out and proud Chef Lachlan MacLeod has no problem with who he is, except he has a history of hooking up with bi-curious straight men. He’s vowed never to go down that path again, but when Liam Donnelly shows up in his restaurant, his eyes filled with heat and secret longing, Lachlan can’t help himself. He knows the closeted rugby player is a terrible idea, but the man calls to him in a way no one ever has before. What started as a safe way for Liam to explore his sexuality quickly morphs into something much deeper, and now Lachlan wants more. But can his heart reconcile what his head already knows-that loving the gorgeous, broken athlete might actually mean letting him go?


Book Rating: 10/10

Passionate, provocative, and deliciously steamy!

Break Down is a sultry, sports romance featuring the confused, closeted, sexy Liam and the mature, confident, supportive Lachlan as they discover that the heart wants who the heart wants and that some things are definitely worth fighting for.

The prose is fervent and crisp. The characters are multi-faceted, vulnerable, and endearing. And the plot is an alluring mix of sizzling tension, palpable chemistry, heartfelt emotion, mouth-watering fare, sporty moments, and explosive heat.

Break Down is, ultimately, a seductive, heartwarming story with scrumptious characters and an intriguing plot that is hands down one of my favourite MM romance novels of all time!

————–

About the Author:

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Norinne writes steamy contemporary romance featuring strong, determined heroines and sexy, dominant heroes. If you love books filled with heart, heat, and happily-ever-afters, she’s got a story for you.

When not writing, Rebecca is watching Rugby, drinking craft beer, and travelling the globe in search of inspiration for her next story. She lives in Dublin, Ireland, with her husband, but is originally from California.

 

Sign up for Rebecca’s Newsletter

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                              

 

————–

 

And don’t forget to check out the previous novels in the series!

 

                                                        

 Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo   Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo   Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

 

————–

 

 

Thank you to InkSlingerPR and Rebecca Norinne for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

#BlogTour #BookReview & #GuestPost
Prosecco and Promises by A.L. Michael
@ALMichael_ @canelo_co

 

Synopsis:

Meet Mia: an unforgettable heroine learning the meaning of life and love on a beautiful Italian island. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.

Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.

Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer?

If you love Prosecco and Promises, why not read more about Mia’s best friend Savvy in Cocktails and Dreams? Out now!


Book Rating: 10/10

Uplifting, romantic, and genuinely heartfelt!

Prosecco and Promises is predominantly set on the island of Ischia in the Mediterranean and is the story of Mia, a young woman who heads to her mother’s homeland and the relatives she barely knows when the impending loss of her beloved father turns her life upside down.

The prose is expressive and effortless. The characterization is well-developed with a wonderful cast of characters that are multilayered, strong, charming, and determined. And the character-driven plot interweaves the lives of multi-generational families as they learn to cope, survive, heal, respect, support, and love each other unconditionally.

Overall Prosecco and Promises is sweet and incredibly touching with a real undercurrent of heartbreak, loss, loneliness, and grief. And even though it had me in tears more than once, it also had me smiling, laughing and completely enthralled by all the big family antics and budding romances.

 

About the Author:

A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of 10 novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, started with Cocktails and Dreams, to be followed by Prosecco and Promises, and Martinis and Memories. She likes to write about difficult women. Well, they say to write what you know. Andi works as a Content Writer, as well as a therapeutic facilitator. She has a bunch of degrees in stuff to do with writing, and wrote her MSc dissertation on the power of creative writing in eating disorder recovery. She truly believes stories can change your life.

 

 

And now A.L. Michael with:

My Writing Routine

When I first started out, writing was a very different game – I was a pantser, no doubt, letting the story flow where it felt like. I still think that’s really important, discovering the story as you write it. It’s half the fun, where plot points and ideas just suddenly appear from thin air (when really, you’d been leading your mind there with breadcrumbs as you’ve been writing). The first draft is always you telling yourself the story, and there’s something beautiful in that – your brain telling your hands or fingertips a tall tale.

My process has changed a little since then – I’ve got a 9-5 and I’m still writing at least two books a year. I can’t poodle along like before. My ideas need to have a least a little structure, a few plot points to work towards, to keep me on track. When you’re working towards deadlines, and you don’t have too much time to write, knowing where you’re going and making the most of that precious time is important.

When the story is evolving, I’ll be writing notes on my phone, usually fragments of conversation that gives me an idea of who my characters are, without having to know what they’re talking about. Usually, these don’t get used. I’ll start typing it up straight away, usually after writing a brief outline. And then it’s onto the daily typing – I fit it in wherever I can. Writing this article now is instead of my lunchtime writing. I bring my laptop in almost every day and write for an hour. Usually I can get about 1500 words done. When I get home, I’ll try and write some more after dinner, with the TV on in the background. Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings are when I get up early and snuggle into the sofa to grab a few hours, and those are probably my most productive times.

Being in the story, even when you can’t be writing, is becoming more important. I’ve been creating playlists for my novels, and I listen to them on the way home from work, to prepare myself for the scene I’m going to write.

When you’re in the story, everything suddenly starts to relate to it – it’s like being in love. Everything you see, or read, or hear, starts to influence and connect to what you’re writing. I’ve always been a one for stealing snippets of phrases I hear on the train, or things friends say, and so I take every experience that isn’t writing as inspiration for writing.

The biggest excuse for anything is not having time. Not having time to see people, to write books, to workout. I refuse to let that stop me. Because time is what you make it. If you’re scribbling notes on your morning commute – you’re writing a book! If you’re writing full time doing 20 minute springs – wahey, you’ve found your rhythm! We use and value our time differently, and it’s true, I don’t have kids or a huge amount of responsibility, so I’m using every minute I can, so that when I do have less time, I won’t feel guilty.

I’ll never forget at my first book launch I heard another writer say ‘Well, I could have a book published if I had the time,’ and it still makes me laugh to this day, because you have the time. We all have time. When it gets towards deadlines and I’m up until 1am editing and I don’t go out at the weekends and I’ve had to tell people not to call me for a week – that’s me having the time. It’s like when people look at modern art and say ‘my kid could have done that’, my answer is always: ‘but they didn’t, did they? This person did.’

So that’s my routine – snatched moments wherever I can, and whether you need structure or not, I would encourage you to snatch those moments too. They’re precious, and finite, and when people ask you how you did it, you tell them you made the time.

 

Thank you to A.L. Michael and Canelo for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

For more information on A.L. Michael, visit her website at: almichael.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @ALMichael_ or Facebook at: A.L.Michael.writer

 

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Wonder of You by Harper Kincaid
@HarperKincaid @InkSlingerPR

 

Synopsis:

What if Alice didn’t fall down the rabbit hole, but instead, traveled through Lincoln Tunnel into another kind of Wonderland: New York City.

The best day of twenty-five year old Alice Leighton’s life was the day she got to put her nothing special, lil Southern town in her rear-view mirror. Good-bye to phony ‘bless your hearts’ and ‘I’ll pray for you’ crap, all while talking trash behind her back. She’s New York City’s latest addition and she’s going to work her ass off proving she earned her spot in the country’s top grad program.

Never again will she let some jerk derail her future and break her heart. Oh, and no more players. She’s D.O.N.E with the ‘cool guys’.
Getting caught up in Dare Grangeworth, the art world’s resident bad boy, was not part of her Alice 2.0 plan, even if he is just her type, with his beard, tats sleeves and intense green eyes. When he’s not dodging the press or his cultish fan base, Dare’s making art that makes a statement. Women seem to lose their heads around him – all the more reason why he finds Alice’s candor refreshing. He’s used to women giving in – not giving attitude.

He has to get to know this girl, even if it means allowing himself to be the subject of her research. Before too long, he becomes more than a simple outlier she can explain away. And for him everything starts to feel larger than life and upside down, like a heady rush, all while desperately trying not to lose his heart.

Become lost and found in this re-imagined story of Alice and her cast of characters, in a world where Wonderland meets Sex-and-the-City.


Book Rating: 10/10

Sexy, sweet, and adorably sassy!

The Wonder of You is a delightful, character-driven rom-com set in the idyllic streets of New York City that introduces you to the intelligent, spunky, doctoral student Alice and the intense, mysterious, artist Dare as they discover firsthand the power of attraction and love at first sight.

The prose is witty and whimsical. The characterization is spot on with an incredible cast of characters who are unique, feisty, intriguing, and endearing. And the plot using a charming mix of narration, internal monologues, text messages, southern colloquialisms, and classic Alice in Wonderland quotes immerses you in an enchanting modern-day fairy tale complete with sizzling chemistry, playful banter, a handsome prince, a fiery princess, and a swoon-worthy happy-ever-after ending.

The Wonder of You is a refreshing, well written, addictive novel with irresistible characters that I devoured. It’s the first book in the A Different Kind of Wonderland series and I have my fingers crossed it’s only the first of many. Harper Kincaid, you have a new fan in me!

————–

 

 

————–

About the Author:

Born in California and raised in South Florida, Harper Kincaid has moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on her head ever since. For years, she was a jill of all trades and a master of none, but is now tickled hot pink to pen stories that break and mend people’s hearts for a living. Kincaid believes seduction occurs from the neck up, which is why her characters are smart, sexy, and slightly quirky – and definitely worthy to be your next hard-core book crush.

When not writing, she adores listening to indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to her laugh ’til they snort. She is a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but has now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia.

Sign up for Harper’s Newsletter

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon | Bookbub

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

 

Thank you to InkSlingerPR and Harper Kincaid for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview
Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne
@_LaurenLayne @readloveswept

Synopsis:

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge.00

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.


Book Rating: 10/10

Seductive, amusing, and undeniably addictive!

In this latest novel by Layne, Runaway Groom, she sweeps you away to a tropical paradise and onto the set of the reality TV show Jilted, a Bachelor-type show where Gage is reluctantly the new bachelor up for grabs, Ellie is determined to be sent home first after shamelessly plugging her t-shirt company, producers are hoping for as much drama as possible, and eighteen other women are committed to marrying the man of their dreams.

The characterization is perfection, with an incredible cast of characters who are fun, charming, quirky, and loveable. The writing style is humorous and crisp and a delightful mixture of text messages, letters, and first-person narration from dual points of view. And the plot is an irresistible blend of emotion, drama, witty dialogue, hilarious hijinks, smoldering chemistry, and steamy romance.

Runaway Groom is pure magic. It’s a light, funny, entertaining read that’s deliciously swoon-worthy and hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

 

About the Author:

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

For more information on Lauren Layne, visit her website at: laurenlayne.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @_LaurenLayne

#BookReview
The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
@Loreth @AmazonPub

Synopsis:

Detective Angie Pallorino took down a serial killer permanently and, according to her superiors, with excessive force. Benched on a desk assignment for twelve months, Angie struggles to maintain her sense of identity—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, pulling her into an investigation she recognizes as deeply personal.

Angie’s lover and partner, James Maddocks, sees it, too. But spearheading an ongoing probe into a sex-trafficking ring and keeping Angie’s increasing obsession with her case in check is taking its toll. However, as startling connections between the parallel investigations emerge, Maddocks realizes he has more than Angie’s emotional state to worry about.

Driven and desperate to solve her case, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship, career, and very life in pursuit of answers. She’ll learn that some truths are too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage.

But Angie Pallorino won’t let it go. She can’t. It’s not in her blood.


Book Rating: 10/10

Edgy, enthralling, and adrenaline pumping!

The Lullaby Girl is an engrossing, eerie thriller that takes you on a journey into the dark and disturbing criminal underworld and immerses you in all the manipulation, violence, murder, immorality, depravity, wickedness, and pure evil found there.

The writing is skillfully crafted and crisp. The characters are relentless and determined, including the self-destructive, stubborn Angie Pallorino whose greatest struggles involve her inability to conform to authority, her secretive past, and the newly expanding intimacy with Maddocks. And the masterful plot will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish with all its twists, turns, and surprises.

The Lullaby Girl blew me away. It was so much more than I ever expected. It had exceptional pace and great depth in both the character development and storyline and made it very evident and clear that White is an impressive storyteller.

The Lullaby Girl is the second novel in the Angie Pallorino series and even though there are some references to events from the previous book it can certainly be read as a standalone. However, I would have to recommend you start this brilliantly clever, satisfying series from the start by picking up The Drowned Girls, book #1, first.

 

About the Author:

Loreth Anne White is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic suspense, thrillers, and mysteries.

A three-time RITA finalist, she has also won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall, in addition to being a Booksellers’ Best finalist, a multiple Daphne Du Maurier Award finalist, and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award winner.

A former journalist and newspaper editor who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she’s not writing, you will find her skiing, biking, or hiking the trails with her Black Dog.

 

Thank you to Loreth Anne White for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

For more information on Loreth Anne White, visit her website at: lorethannewhite.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Loreth

#BookReview
The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley @AtriaBooks

Synopsis:

From the breathtaking beaches of Thailand to the barely tamed wilds of colonial Australia, The Pearl Sister is the next captivating story in New York Times bestselling author Lucinda Riley’s epic series about two women searching for a place to call home.

CeCe D’Aplièse has always felt like an outcast. But following the death of her father—the reclusive billionaire affectionately called Pa Salt by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe—she finds herself more alone than ever. With nothing left to lose, CeCe delves into the mystery of her familial origins. The only clues she holds are a black and white photograph and the name of a female pioneer who once traversed the globe from Scotland to Australia.

One hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, a clergyman’s daughter, abandoned her conservative upbringing to serve as the companion to a wealthy woman traveling from Edinburgh to Adelaide. Her ticket to a new land brings the adventure she dreamed of…and a love that she had never imagined.

When CeCe reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people, and her soul reawakens. As she comes closer to finding the truth of her ancestry, CeCe begins to believe that this untamed, vast continent could offer her what she’s always yearned for: a sense of belonging.


Book Rating: 10/10

Poignant, enthralling, and exceptionally moving!

The Pearl Sister, the fourth instalment in the The Seven Sisters series, is predominantly set in the dusty Australian heat during both the early 1900s and twenty-first century as it delves into the life, ancestors, and heritage of CeCe, the struggling, awkward artist who seems adrift and in desperate need of some inspiration, companionship, and contentment.

The prose is expressive, eloquent, and heartfelt. The characters are complex, genuine, and endearing. And the plot is a compelling, heartwarming saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, grief, determination, passion, and loyalty, as well as an in-depth look at the culture, history, and politics of Australia, including the effects and influence of both the aboriginal people and the pearling industry.

The Pearl Sister is hands down another mesmerizing, superbly written time-slip novel by Riley that continues to highlight her incredible talent and imagination as a masterful researcher and storyteller.

 

About the Author:

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Atria Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

 

For more information on Lucinda Riley, visit her website at: lucindariley.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @lucindariley

#BlogTour & #BookReview
That Girl by Kate Kerrigan
@katekerrigan @HoZ_Books

Synopsis:

You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.


Book Rating: 10/10

Compelling, beguiling, and undeniably moving!

That Girl is an enthralling story about dreams, courage, heartbreak, goals, secrets, adventure, new love, self-discovery, and friendship all set against the backdrop of 1960s London when King’s Road was alive and grooving and had more than its fair share of velvet, miniskirts, pubs, gangsters, and violence.

There are three main Irish lasses in this novel; Hanna, a young woman running from an abusive past; Lara a hardworking, brokenhearted seamstress; and Noreen a fun-loving gal, looking for a good time.

The prose is expressive and effortless. The characterization is spot on with a wonderful cast of characters, including some determined, fearless women who learn through friendship and compassion to let go of the past and embrace the future. And the plot is the perfect blend of heart, humour, hope, surprises, and drama.

Overall, I have to say that Kerrigan has done a smashing job on this novel. That Girl is truly a fantastic read with a little bit of everything, suspense, romance, and even a dab of dark comedy and just in case you couldn’t tell already, I absolutely loved it!

 

About the Author:

 

Kate Kerrigan lives in County Mayo, Eire, with her husband and children. Her novels include Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, shortlisted for the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award and Ellis Island, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read.

 

 

Thank you to Head of Zeus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

For more information on Kate Kerrigan, visit her website at: http://katekerrigan.ie

or follow her on Twitter at: @katekerrigan

 

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
@Kristan_Higgins @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.


Book Rating: 10/10

Mesmerizing, heartwarming, and brilliantly crafted!

Now That You Mention It is a touching story that immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, embracing the future, and discovering one’s true self.

The prose is well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, genuine, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, love, forgiveness, familial drama, friendship, courage, community, and happiness.  

Now That You Mention It is the perfect mix of hope, heart, grit, and humour and undoubtedly Higgins at her best. It is so much more than expected. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, and leaves you with a smile, and I absolutely loved it!

 

Giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

 

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. Her books have been honored with dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books and Romantic Times.

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                             

For more information on Kristan Higgins, visit her website at: kristanhiggins.com 

or follow her on Twitter at: @Kristan_Higgins

#BookReview #Q&A
The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks

 

Synopsis:

They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman, and behind London’s most powerful leaders, there stands only one — Alex Hyde, Business Coach par excellence. She’s the woman they turn to for advice and strategy when the pressure gets too much.

So when she gets a call from an esteemed whisky company in Scotland asking for her services it’s business as usual. Only, she’s never met anyone like Lochlan Burr before. CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, he’s also the son and heir of the company’s founder. He’s a maverick, an enigma, a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees. But as she tasks herself with finding a way in, she finds she’s the one being maneuvered; for once, she isn’t in control. And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that changes everything, she’s suddenly not so sure she should be.


Book Rating: 10/10

Absorbing, enthralling, and positively addictive!

In this latest novel by Swan she sweeps us away to Isle of Islay where the people are the salt of the earth, the terrain is rugged, the peat is unique, and the whisky is smoky, smooth, and plentiful!

The prose is remarkably well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, eccentric, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally compelling tale about life, loss, grief, war, familial dynamics, friendship, forgiveness, courage, community, happiness, love, and good Scotch.  

Alternating between the past and the present, The Christmas Secret has it all. It’s humorous and lighthearted, emotional and heartbreaking, mysterious and sweet. It grabs you from the very first page and with its wonderfully blended storyline of historical facts, snappy fiction, and delightful romance it’s truly the perfect holiday treat! 

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for some of Karen Swan’s previous titles be sure to check them out here:

 

And now a little Q&A with Karen Swan:

The Christmas Secret is set mainly in Islay, Scotland. Prior to writing the novel did this locale have any personal significance for you?

Yes, my father is Scottish so I have spent much of my life in the Highlands and I love it: I was married there, my first born was christened there; it’s very much a part of me and I identify strongly as being of Scottish blood; ‘Swan’ is actually a shortening of my maiden name MacSwan MacLeod. Also, my father knows the Robertson family, whose grandfather, Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill, had the grim task of identifying the bodies of the soldiers washed ashore after the American troopship Tuscania sank. It was a devastating incident for such a tiny, rural community to have the war literally wash up on their sands like that, and tragically it was compounded just a few months later when another American troop carrier, the Otranto, sank in a collision with its own convoy just off Islay’s shores. The Tuscania tragedy was the single largest loss of American lives in one day since the Civil War and was met with national dismay back home. The centenary anniversary is coming up for both events so it felt like an opportunity to remember those who perished.

In the Christmas Secret, as well as some of your other novels, you interweave a historical event, in this case the tragic sinking of the SS Tuscania, with contemporary fiction. Do you find this harder or easier to write than your novels that are purely fictional?

I’m increasingly interested in incorporating a historical element in my stories, for it adds weight but also pathos too. It does make it more complicated though, in this case ridiculously so, as I chose to reveal the backstory through a variety of different sources and characters all of which involved different research and tones of voice. Partly I did this because I wanted the impact of what happened to be spelled out in three-hundred and sixty degrees; it also fractured the telling of the event for the reader, giving a haunting, dream-like quality to the story. I asked myself several times over the course of writing it, whether it was strictly necessary to devote some much time and energy to this thread and those characters, but I think the closing sentences of the epilogue rather sum up why it had to be done. They brought me to tears.

The Christmas Secret is a beautiful story about small-island life, love, forgiveness, community, and whisky, but Is there any sub-plot or chapter that you had to edit out because of the flow that you really wish you could have kept in?

Funnily enough, it wasn’t a matter of cutting anything out but rather, having to refrain from putting too much in. I would have liked to go in closer with some of the characters in the back-story but I had to write very lightly, taking care not to make anything too obvious or heavy-handed. The historical story could easily have overshadowed the present day story if I wasn’t careful and I had to constantly remind myself that it was there to underpin and explain the main action, not overwhelm it.

In The Christmas Secret and all your previous novels you have a strong, independent female protagonist that is often fashion savvy. Do you do this consciously or unconsciously based on your own success as a fashion editor?

Yes, I think I do really. Although I’ve moved on from that world, I still believe that fashion and how we present ourselves is an incredibly – and increasingly – important tool in how we navigate our lives. I tend to use a good sense of style as evidence of an ordered, urban, sophisticated life.

In The Christmas Secret and your previous novels you always have incredible, memorable secondary characters, such as Callum and Louise. Would you ever consider writing a novel featuring one of these characters in the lead?

I would love to, not least because sometimes – not always – I even prefer them to the main characters. There’s a little more freedom that comes with the support cast – they don’t need to be as well-behaved, or even as likeable. I think if I were to do that, it would be with Kitty in The Perfect Present. I took her very much to my heart.

In the past you have written one sequel that I know of, Summer at Tiffany’s which was the sequel to Christmas at Tiffany’s. Do you think we might see more sequels in the future or do you prefer to create new characters and fresh storylines?

It was an interesting exercise writing a sequel to Christmas At Tiffanys, not least because those characters really became very beloved to my readers and it was lovely to revisit them again. The tricky thing for my genre, however, is that the core of my stories is not the actual plot mystery but the romantic element between the characters; I really care about whether their love story feels genuine and authentic and that’s the rub: for a reader to want to turn the pages, a story must be compelling, which means creating tension and conflict; no-one wants to spend 300 pages reading about other peoples’ perfect happiness. But in order to create that necessary tension, I would have to dismantle the very relationship I had spent the previous book building up, and to me, that risks falling into ‘soap opera’ territory. If my books could be based around my characters’ jobs, rather than their love lives, it would be an enticing prospect, not least because I find most of their jobs fascinating: Flora Sykes, the fine art agent for example? She could be my equivalent to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon! Why not? I can see it!

 

About the Author:

Writer Karen Swan


Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. Her Globe and Mail bestselling books include Christmas at Tiffany’s, Summer at Tiffany’s, The Perfect Present, Christmas in the Snow, The Summer Without You, Christmas on Primrose HillThe Paris Secret, and Christmas Under the Stars (set in Banff for her legion of Canadian fans!) and The Rome Affair. She lives in Sussex, England.

 

 

As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Karen Swan and it’s an enormous honour to have her participate in a Q&A for this blog. I also must thank PGC for their continued support and for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Karen Swan, follow her on Facebook at: Karen-Swan

or on Twitter at: @KarenSwan1

 

 

And if you live in the GTA don’t miss your opportunity to attend a “Night with Karen Swan” hosted by Publishers Group Canada.

 

© Alexander James

OAKVILLE, ON
Tuesday, November 14 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Oakville Public Library
Central Branch • Tickets on sale now

KITCHENER, ON
Wednesday, November 15 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Kitchener Public Library
85 Queen Branch • Registration required

WHITBY, ON
Thursday, November 16 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Whitby Public Library
Central Branch • Registration required

 

For more information on a “Night with Karen Swan” check out the events newsletter HERE

Writer Karen Swan

 

#BookReview
Touch of Red by Laura Griffin
@Laura_Griff @Pocket_Books

Synopsis:

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.


Book Rating: 10/10

Enthralling, adrenaline pumping, and menacing!

Touch of Red is a riveting tale that immerses you into the evidence collection and investigation into the violent homicide of a young woman, the pursuit of a missing witness and the hunt for a ruthless killer.

The writing is effortless and crisp. The characters are relentless, hard-working, determined, and patient. And the story starts off with a bang and never lets up as it quickly spins through well-timed twists, unexpected turns, red-hot chemistry, steamy liaisons, corruption, brutality, and murder.

Laura Griffin’s Tracer series is like watching CSI only better, and Touch of Red is no exception. From the very first page I was hooked. And even though Touch of Red is the twelfth book in the series and has a few nice appearances from characters in the previous novels, it can definitely be read as a standalone. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for At Close Range (Tracers #11) be sure to check it out here:

 

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of writing romantic suspense. Her books have won numerous awards, including two RITA Awards (for Scorched and Whisper of Warning) and a Daphne du Maurier Award (Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin where she is working on her next book.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Pocket Books, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Laura Griffin, visit her website at: lauragriffin.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Laura_Griff

%d bloggers like this: