9/10

#BookReview #BlogTour
The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan
@GerHogan @Aria_Fiction

Synopsis:

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.


Book Rating: 9/10

Uplifting, absorbing, and delightfully inspiring!

The Girl I Used To Know is a heartwarming story that immerses you in a tale about letting go of the past, embracing the future and discovering one’s true self at any age.

The prose is effortless and fluid. The plot is a wonderful blend of heart, humour, and hope. And the characterization is spot on with a memorable cast of characters, including two strong, determined, resilient women who learn through compassion and friendship how to move on, find true happiness and be unconditionally loved.

The Girl I Used To Know is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, dreams, heartache, infidelity, family, and romance. It is a beautifully written, beguiling novel by Hogan that highlights just how meaningful and powerful friendships can truly be.

 

About the Author:

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

 

Thank you to Faith Hogan and Aria Fiction for providing me with a copy in an 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 Faith Hogan visit her website at: faithhogan.com

or follow her on Twitter: @GerHoganFacebook: faithhoganauthor, or Instagram: faithhoganauthor

#BookReview
The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale
by Rebecca Stonehill @bexstonehill

Synopsis:

A compelling page turner of a buried past resurfacing, set against a backdrop of the 1960’s youth culture and war-torn Crete.

1967. Handsome but troubled, Jim is almost 18 and he lives and breathes girls, trad jazz, Eel Pie Island and his best friend, Charles. One night, he hears rumours of a community of young people living in caves in Matala, Crete. Determined to escape his odious, bully of a father and repressed mother, Jim hitchhikes through Europe down to Matala. At first, it’s the paradise he dreamt it would be. But as things start to go wrong and his very notion of self unravels, the last thing Jim expects is for this journey of hundreds of miles to set in motion a passage of healing which will lead him back to the person he hates most in the world: his father.

Taking in the counter-culture of the 1960’s, the clash of relationships between the WW2 generation and their children, the baby boomers, this is a novel about secrets from the past finally surfacing, the healing of trauma and the power of forgiveness.

A captivating story that will mesmerise fans of Lucinda Riley, Dinah Jefferies and Tracy Rees.


Book Rating: 9/10

Atmospheric, insightful, and profoundly moving!

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale is predominantly set on the island of Crete during both the 1960s and WWII and is told from two perspectives; Jim, a young man who travels to Matala to live for the moment and be free from his stifling home life and strained relationship with his father; and Alfred, a young man embarking on a journey of survival in a time of utter devastation and destruction.

The prose is expressive, vivid, and eloquent. The characters are multi-faceted, genuine, and sympathetic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with life, loss, familial dynamics, secrets, determination, self-discovery, loneliness, friendship, war, survival, forgiveness, and love.

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale is truly a wonderfully written, poignant novel by Stonehill that does an exceptional job of blending historical facts, remarkable characterization, and heartfelt fiction into an incredibly moving story that reminds us that life is very precious and often all too short.

If you haven’t read my review of Stonehill’s previous novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, one of my favourite novels of all time, be sure to check it out here:

About the Author:

Rebecca Stonehill is from London but currently lives in Nairobi with her husband and three young children where she set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give children greater access to creative writing and poetry. She has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books but The Poet’s Wife (Bookouture) is her first full-length novel, set in Granada during the Spanish Civil war and Franco’s dictatorship. Her second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, was published by Bookouture in June 2016.

 

Thank you to Rebecca Stonehill for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s always an honour!

 

This book is available now.

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

For more information on Rebecca Stonehill, visit her website at: rebeccastonehill.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @bexstonehill

 

#BookReview
Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
@SarahMorgan_ @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

She’ll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list–dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi–how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple–he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all–letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?


Book Rating: 9/10

Vivacious, uplifting, and downright swoon-worthy!

Moonlight Over Manhattan, the latest novel in the From Manhattan with Love series, is a delightful, character-driven rom-com set in the snowy streets of New York City that introduces us to the sweet, devoted, caring Harriet and the organized, dependable, stoic Ethan as they discover that everything they need and want they may just find in each other.

The prose is witty and crisp. The characters, including the supporting characters, are engaging, fun-loving, and affable. And the plot is a truly festive treat with lots of heart, humour, soul-searching, heat, spirit, and chemistry.

Moonlight Over Manhattan is undeniably another bestseller for Morgan. It’s enchanting, effortless, and the perfect holiday read.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for some of the other novels in the Manhattan with Love series be sure to check them out here: 

 

 

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 3 time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Look out for HOW TO KEEP A SECRET, Sarah’s first standalone women’s fiction novel, out 2018!

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Harlequin Books, 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 Sarah Morgan visit her website at: sarahmorgan.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @SarahMorgan_


 

#BookReview
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
@PenguinRandomCA

Synopsis:

A beautiful, life-affirming novel about a remarkably loving man who creates for himself and others second chances at happiness.

A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.


Book Rating: 9/10

Powerful, poignant, and charming!

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a touching novel that reminds us that life should be lived to the fullest and that family can be any unit created by love and not limited to those related by blood.

The story is told from three different points of view; Arthur, a kind-hearted widow whose loneliness is palpable and who spends the better part of his days at the graveside of his late wife; Maddie, a troubled teenager, struggling with bullies at school and an apathetic father at home; and Lucille, a retired school teacher who has spent most of her life pining for a lost love.

The prose is eloquent and reflective. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are strong, multi-layered, and endearing. And the plot is a compelling tale of friendship, happiness, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, honesty, humour, unconditional love, growing old, and the true meaning of family.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a moving, delightful story that will make you laugh, make you cry and is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year.

 

About the Author:

Photo by: Joyce Ravid

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House 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 Elizabeth Berg visit her website at: elizabeth-berg.net

#BookReview
Zenka by Alison Brodie
@alisonbrodie2

 

Synopsis:

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?


Book Rating: 9/10

Dark, action-packed, and down-right funny!

In this latest novel by Brodie, Zenka, we are introduced to an extraordinary cast of characters, including a ruthless mob boss with a heart, a bashful administrator with a pet cat, a couple of goons who’ll do anything for a little dosh, a Hungarian pole dancer obsessed with revenge, a slovenly roommate up for anything, and a male nurse who learns to fight dirty, and that’s just to mention a few.

The writing is creative, fresh, and unique. And the plot is jam-packed full of outrageous twists, unpredicted turns, witty banter, oddball mishaps, a dash of romance, violence, murder, and a whole slew of slapstick moments.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this novel, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Zenka is a hoot from start to finish and clearly highlights Brodie’s incredible imagination and ability to write stories that are highly entertaining, depraved, and exceptionally funny! 

 

About the Author:

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:

BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

 

Thank you to Alison Brodie for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

For more information on Alison Brodie visit her website at: alisonbrodiebooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at@alisonbrodie2 or Facebook at: AlisonBrodieAuthor

#BookReview
The Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox
@VFoxWrites @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

Something terrible happened here…Hollywood, 1975: Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti, and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister, and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets.

Tuscany, Present day: Everyone in London is searching for Lucy Whittaker – so Lucy needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…


Book Rating: 9/10

Heartbreaking, romantic and utterly alluring!

The Silent Fountain is an incredibly absorbing and emotive novel about love, life, loss, deception, infidelity, friendship, family, jealousy, obsession, and tragedy.

There are two main memorable characters in this novel. Vivian, a starlet from the 1970s who moved to Italy with the love of her life until one day everything she held dear was taken, shattered and destroyed. And Lucy, a young woman who fell in love with the wrong man and is now hiding from the public and media revile being cast her way.

The writing is eloquent and expressive.  The plot is well crafted and uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create suspense and emotion as it subtly unravels all the histories, personalities, relationships, and motivations within it. And the characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are distressed, raw and endearing and a setting, Castillo Barbarossa, that is a character itself with its dereliction, isolation, and multitude of secrets.

The Silent Fountain is truly a clever, haunting, atmospheric novel that swept me away to a city touched by both cruelty and love and immersed me in a poignant, moving story that certainly had me shedding a few tears. This was the first novel I’ve read by Victoria Fox but I can guarantee you it won’t be the last.

 

About the Author:

 

Victoria Fox lives in Bristol with her husband and young daughter. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of seven novels. 

Victoria’s favourite things are blustery walks, golden retrievers and Argentinean red wine.

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books 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 Victoria Fox, visit her Goodreads profile at: VictoriaFox

or follow her on Twitter at: @VFoxWrites

#BookReview
How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh
@PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUK

 

Synopsis:

Definitely, maybe…yes?

Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns out that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…

The laugh-out-loud, uplifting new book from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake and Sophie Kinsella.


Book Rating: 9/10

Heartwarming, amusing, and positively enchanting!

How Not to be a Bride is a lighthearted rom-com full of heart and humour that reminds us that life is often full of pressures, challenges, misunderstandings, and surprises and sometimes all we need to do to find happiness is communicate, compromise and find balance.

The writing is crisp and witty. The characters are flawed, lovable, funny and sincere. And the plot sweeps you away into the lives of Mia and Leo as they learn the importance of being true to one’s self, family, friendship, trust, acceptance, and unconditional love.

Once again, MacIntosh has written a novel that I truly adore. How Not to be a Bride is wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable and has a storyline that will make you laugh, smile and most definitely leave you wanting more. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for Portia MacIntosh’s other novels, The Accidental Honeymoon, It’s Not You, It’s Them, or Truth or Date, you can check them out here:

About the Author:

Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it’s really like for women who don’t find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

Thank you to Portia MacIntosh and HQ Digital 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 the following links.

                                 

For more information on Portia MacIntosh, visit her website at: portiamacintoshbooks

or follow her on Twitter at: @PortiaMacIntosh

#BookReview
Hello Again by Brenda Novak
@Brenda_Novak @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered–or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends–and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .


Book Rating: 9/10

Riveting, dark, and spine-chillingly eerie!

In this second book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, we head back to Alaska and the isolated Hanover House where some of the most depraved serial killers are housed and studied, and danger seems to be lurking inside and out.

The writing is seamless and taut. The characterization is spot on with some of the usual gang back including the hardworking, determined Evelyn and the patient, sexy Amarok. And the skillfully-crafted, well-paced plot keeps you on the edge of your seat with twists, turns, violence, murder and a cliffhanger ending that will undoubtedly leave you eager for more.

Hello Again is a clever, gritty and incredibly captivating tale that not only has all the elements you look for in a romantic suspense novel but proves Novak is still one of the best in the genre.

If you haven’t already had a chance to read my review for the first novel in the series, Her Darkest Nightmare, be sure to check it out here:

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this story 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 Brenda Novak, visit her website at: brendanovak.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Brenda_Novak

#BookReview
The Last Move by Mary Burton
@MaryBurtonBooks @JoanSchulhafer

Synopsis:

In this gripping stand-alone from bestselling author Mary Burton, an FBI agent must catch a copycat killer. The only difference this time: she’s the final victim.

Catching monsters helps FBI agent Kate Hayden keep her nightmares at bay. Now an urgent call brings her back to San Antonio, the scene of her violent past. A brutal new murder shows hallmarks of a serial killer nicknamed the Samaritan. Tricky part is, Kate already caught him.

Either Kate made a deadly error, or she’s got a copycat on her hands. Paired with homicide detective Theo Mazur, she quickly realizes this murder is more twisted than it first appeared. Then a second body is found, the mode of death identical to a different case that Kate thought she’d put behind her.

Now Kate and Detective Mazur aren’t just working a homicide; the investigative pair is facing a formidable enemy who knows Kate intimately. While Mazur is personally trying to protect Kate, the closer they are drawn to the killer, the clearer it becomes that in this terrifying game, there is only one rule: don’t believe everything you see…


Book Rating: 9/10

Disturbing, engrossing, and adrenaline pumping!

The Last Move, the latest novel by Burton, is a well-paced thrill ride featuring the tenacious and tough FBI agent, Kate, and the intelligent, patient homicide detective, Theo, as they join forces to hunt a serial killer with a penchant for reenacting the most heinous of crimes.

The writing is taut and tight. The characterization is well done. And the plot is a captivating police procedural with twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, vengeance, depravity, murder and a smidgen of romance.

I have yet to pick up a Mary Burton book that wasn’t an entertaining, eerie, romantic mystery with exceptionally intriguing characters and The Last Move is no exception. And even though this novel is being billed as a standalone I sure hope we get to see Hayden and Mazur on another case sometime down the road.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of my reviews for The Forgotten Files series by Burton you can find them here:

 

Thank you to Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story 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 Mary Burton, visit her website at: maryburton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MaryBurtonBooks

#BookReview
Arm Candy by Jessica Lemmon
@lemmony @readloveswept

Synopsis:

Last call! At the end of the night, a clean-cut hunk and a rebellious bartender act on their unlikely chemistry in this frisky standalone novel from the author of Eye Candy.

Davis: I’ve had my eye on Grace Buchanan for a while now. Unlike the bubbly blondes I usually date, the feisty, flame-haired bartender both intrigues and bewilders me. Something about Grace—the tattoos? the nose ring?—makes every part of me sit up and beg. There’s only one problem: She hates me. Trading insults and one-liners has become our M.O. But when Grace bets me that I can’t get a date with a non-blonde if my life depends on it, I’m determined to prove her wrong by landing the ultimate non-blonde: her.

Grace: I’m used to regulars hitting on me, and I’ve turned them all down, except for one: Davis Price. I like giving him a hard time, and he’s kind of cute in his suit and tie—if you’re into that kind of thing. Anyway, I don’t care how many blondes he takes home . . . until one of them sidles up to him in my bar. Nuh-uh. But after my little bet with Davis backfires, our first date lands us in the sack. So does the second. And the third. Neither of us wants more than the best sex of our lives. The trouble is, it’s not a question of what I want. It’s what I need. And what I need is Davis.


Book Rating: 9/10

Charming, romantic and witty!

Arm Candy is a classic, opposites attract rom-com between the quirky, impeccably dressed Davis who has sworn off redheads and relationships, and the spunky, fiery Grace who has made turning down men a challenge and an art form in a tale about learning to trust, support, and commit.

The writing is fluid and crisp. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are engaging, lovable, and fun. And the plot is a wonderful combination of light drama, sexy innuendoes, smoking chemistry, and delicious heat.

Arm Candy is the second novel in the “Real Love” series, and it was everything I was hoping for and more. In a time when contemporary romance novels seem weighed down with angst, it was exceptionally nice to read something lighter with snappy dialogue, lots of laughs, and genuine characters.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for the first novel in the series, Eye Candy, be sure to check it out here:

 

And stay tuned for Man Candy (Real Love #3), Dax’s story, due out in early 2008.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and 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 Jessica Lemmon, visit her website at: jessicalemmon.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @lemmony

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