Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cupcakes & Confetti: The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea (1) by Jane Linfoot

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Review by Suze
 
Poppy bakes wedding cakes for a living and she rents an apartment above Brides by the Sea, a wedding shop. She knows a lot about weddings, which is why she's being asked as a wedding planner on Daisy Hill Farm. She has to take the job to help out her good friend Cate who's booked a wedding at the farm. The previous wedding planner has made a mess of things and Poppy should be able to clean it up. She wants to make sure every couple that has booked their special day at the farm will actually have it. That means she has to solve plenty of problems and she has to be creative when things aren't going according to plan.
 
The farmer, Rafe, is moody and he isn't happy with the wedding business. It brings in money, but he doesn't have to like it. Besides keeping her cake business going and making sure the wedding business at the farm runs smoothly Poppy now also has a boss who makes things extra difficult, but she can handle a challenge and she might even like it, a lot...
 
Cupcakes & Confetti - The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea (1) is a wonderful book. I loved it from the first sentence. I'm a romantic person and therefore love to read about weddings. Jane Linfoot describes the whole process in such a vivid and detailed way that I could picture myself shopping for a dress at Brides by the Sea and booking a countryside wedding at the farm. Her settings are amazing and I couldn't get enough of reading about them. The farm is stunning and it's the ideal location for a wedding. The shop is fun and classy with a fabulous selection of clothes. Plus there are plenty of mouthwatering descriptions of food and drinks, what's not to like?
 
Poppy is a sweet person and she's always there for others. Someone took advantage of that and broke her heart, so she's reluctant to start a relationship again and wants to make it on her own. She has some very good friends who support her no matter what. The friendship in this book is heartwarming and it made me smile many times. Poppy manages to get herself in all kinds of uncomfortable and often funny situations and I love Jane Linfoot's sense of humor. She also knows how to create good chemistry. Rafe is moody and kind at the same time. He's a hot farmer with a sensible head on his shoulders. He's the perfect main character for a very romantic story.
 
Jane Linfoot's writing is fantastic. Her sentences are well-constructed and they have an easy flow. Once I started this book I couldn't put it away. I loved the ending, it's a dream come true and it will melt everyone's heart. Cupcakes & Confetti - The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea (1) is a delicious summer read with enchanting locations, gorgeous main characters, a lot of unexpected twists and turns and plenty of surprises.

The Rest of My Life by Sheryl Browne - Guest Post, Book Review & Giveaway

About Sheryl Browne


Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers' Association, Romantic Novelists' Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies. Sheryl's latest contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit. When she's not writing, Sheryl can be found doing strange things like skydiving from 20,000 feet or abseiling down buildings, which possibly makes her a little bit mad.

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It’s here!
 
Thanks to the lovely people at Choc Lit and the wonderful WH Smith Travel Book Buyer, Matthew Bates, The Rest of My Life is on the shelves at WH Smith Travel! How fabulous is that? After the odd bazillion years writing, this author is one happy little bunny. I am honestly thrilled to bits and I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to the many book bloggers and readers who have supported me every step of the way. My writing journey has been a bit of a bumpy one and I confess to dropping down the odd pothole along the way. Without my friends lending me a hand – or a shoulder, or an ear! – I might still be languishing down there. I could not do this without you!
If you do happen to spot The Rest of My Life on your travels, I would love you to post a pic to Twitter or Facebook. It might take me a while to get around all the stores – and then I’ll probably be arrested for loitering.
If you don’t happen to be passing a store, you can still grab it on Amazon of course!

Meanwhile, here’s a teeny little EXCERPT:

‘Bloody hell, I don’t believe it,’ Nathaniel gasped as he crossed the bridge over the river.
‘No, me neither.’ Lauren gave Sienna a despairing glance over her shoulder. ‘You should see what’s she’s writing.’
‘He’s up! He’s running!’ Nathaniel slowed the car. ‘Either I’m having a mental aberration or he is.’
‘Who?’ Lauren glanced idly through the windscreen.
‘Adam.’ Nathaniel nodded ahead to a jogger coming towards them. ‘He hasn’t done that since … In a long time.’
‘Adam?’ Sienna and Lauren exclaimed together.
‘One and the same,’ Nathaniel assured them, slowing the car to a crawl as he pulled out to allow Adam to pass on the inside.
‘I don’t believe it,’ Lauren echoed Nathaniel, now gawking through the windscreen.
Nor do I. Sienna peered between the two of them, her eyes travelling the length of Adam as he approached and her mouth all but drooling. Delicious. Muscle-ripplingly, heart-stoppingly, tummy-clenchingly gorgeous. Sienna breathed deeply, her muscles down below luxuriating in another mini-orgasm at the thought of what that body had done to hers.
‘Don’t strain anything, will you?’ Nathaniel shouted through Lauren’s hastily opened window, as Adam slowed.
Adam grinned mischievously, his eyes flitting to Sienna. ‘I’ll try not to,’ he said, waving behind him as he jogged on.
‘Not the bits that count anyway. Wouldn’t want the entire female race to die of disappointment,’ Lauren commented drolly, her head twizzling on her neck and her eyes gazing appreciatively after Adam, nevertheless. ‘Looks like he’ll be charging you more for it now he’s honing it,’ she said with a smirk, turning back.
‘Lauren!’ Sienna’s eyeballs almost flew out. ‘Shhhh.’
‘Oh. Oops.’ Lauren looked sheepish this time as she glanced at her. ‘Sorry, hon. I thought Nathaniel knew you and Adam were … Ouch!’
Lauren scowled as Sienna tugged on a lock of her hair.
Perfect. Sienna closed her eyes. Adam finally does something his friend approves of and now he’s no doubt back in the doghouse. ‘He doesn’t charge,’ she mumbled. ‘I told you, Lauren, it was a misunderstanding. The woman wasn’t paying him. She was …’ Sienna stopped, searching for a way to diplomatically say what she actually was.
 
And The Rest of My Life – VIDEO!
 


In other news, Learning to Love is now proof read and will be released in May!
I don’t have an official release date or cover image yet, but do you fancy a peek at the video? I would LOVE your feedback (it’s one I’ve agonised over. I think it’s okay, but …)
 


Thank you for allowing me to shout out my news!
Keep safe all!

The Rest of My Life
blurb
 
“You can’t run away from commitment forever …”
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.



Review by Suze

Adam is a handsome man and women tend to notice him. He does sleep around, mostly with married women who aren't looking for any kind of relationship. Commitment is something that Adam doesn't want at all. He drinks, he takes risks and he doesn't have a steady job. His life isn't going anywhere and his friend Nate keeps trying to stand by him and warn him when he's about to make a mistake. Adam is so troubled by his past that he can't get himself together. Then he meets Sienna. Sienna knows Adam is someone she should stay away from, but she sees something in him. She's giving him chance after chance, because she knows he's broken. They like each other a lot, but will he change his ways for her, will he actually be able to do that or will he break Sienna's heart?

Adam lives on a boat and Sienna keeps seeing him with different women. That's how she knows he's good in bed and she needs something from him. He's helping her, but that help has a price. Is this price something that both of them are ready to pay? Even though Adam isn't ideal boyfriend material there's something endearing about him. I could understand why Sienna wanted to give him a chance. I wanted it to work between them, but there were so many obstacles. I kept hoping and was keeping my fingers crossed for this unusual couple.

Sheryl Browne's words are sparkling, they are so energetic. I admire the way she writes her stories, they are full of life. Sheryl's main characters are different, they have quirks and they don't have standard jobs. I love that about them. Even though Adam should be bad news I liked him straight away and I wanted him to find love. He isn't a bad guy, he's messed up. Sheryl Browne manages to give her characters a lot of depth. She doesn't only do that when she writes big and important scenes, but also with small gestures. Adam is trying to do the right thing for Sienna, he's courting her, he's trying to convince her dad that he's worthy of his daughter's love and he's there when she needs to be saved. All of that makes his mistakes easily forgiven and forgotten. Adam and Sienna are an unusual couple and their story is quite unique. I liked that a lot. I really enjoyed reading this book, I love Sheryl Browne's strong and intense writing, it's a joy to read.
 
 
Giveaway
 
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of The Rest of My Life.
  
 
All of our giveaways are international. The winner will be notified by email and has three days to reply.

Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop

 
 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Children's, Middle Grade or YA book of your choice. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has three days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.
 

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver - Book Review & Giveaway

 
About Trisha Leaver
 

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press.
 
 
Book review
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze

Ella and Maddy are twins and they look so much alike that it's hard for people to tell them apart. They sometimes switch when it's convenient, but normally they're good at letting people know who's who because they couldn't be more different. Maddy is the popular one who has a large group of friends. She also has a steady boyfriend. Ella is the quiet one who has one good friend. She has no experience in love, she's a good student and she loves to draw. She's the opposite of popular and thinks everybody prefers her sister over her.
 
Then one terrible night they get into a car accident and Maddy dies. Ella is the one who survives, but everybody thinks she's her sister. She doesn't dare to correct them and that means she has to start living Maddy's life. Only that appears to be a lot more problematic than she thought. Maddy was keeping secrets and Ella has no idea what they are. She has to find out before she can figure out what to do next. Will she be able to keep her sister alive for everyone who loves her or will she go back to being herself?
 
The Secrets We Keep is an interesting story about two sisters who might look alike, but who have very different personalities. I immediately liked the talented and studious Ella. She can use a bit more confidence and courage, but she has a good heart. Maddy is the pretty one, the outgoing and stylish of the two. She also is the person who's pushed her sister away and who's keeping secrets. I love stories about sisters and this is a good one. The swap is a great idea for a story that works very well. Pretending to be someone for an hour is a lot less difficult than permanently living their life. It leads to all kinds of complicated situations, something I loved about this story.
 
Trisha Leaver's writing flows easily. The Secrets We Keep is a quick read and I finished it in one sitting. The focus is mainly on the impact that everything that's going on has on Ella's life. I enjoyed reading about her creativity and even though she doesn't feel comfortable with her situation she does everything she can to make things right. I loved the ending of the story, it's both fitting and very sweet.

Buy it

The Secrets We Keep is now out in paperback.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound | Goodreads
 
Giveaway
 
One very lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn

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Review by Suze
 
Shiels has a type A personality. She's a leader, someone who achieves. She's working hard to be able to have a bright academic future. Everything changes when there's a new student at her high school. His name is Pyke and he's a pterodactyl. Shiels has a steady boyfriend, but she feels attracted to Pyke straight away. Every student dreams about him and when he sings (or screeches) people become ecstatic. At a performance of Pyke's band Shiels loses herself completely. So much that even her nose becomes purple, which is a sign that she is Pyke's.
 
When everything spirals out of control Shiels is the person who wants to save Pyke. But who is he really and what does she know about him? Is she willing to give up her former self for a hot pterodactyl?
 
Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is a strange book, which is exactly what I liked about it. I'm a big fan of absurd stories. I loved Pyke from the start. He can hardly talk, he's primal and he's more a beast than a boy. Still he's intelligent enough to go to school and everyone falls under his spell. Shiels has a special connection with him, but does she truly understand what Pyke is like? I loved following her discoveries about both Pyke and herself. The arrival of Pyke means chaos and Shiels is a person who wants order. Of course those two things have to clash and the outcome is a wonderful story.
 
When I read a book like Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend I let all my expectations go because I want to enjoy being surprised. I love it when a story is unusual and creative. I liked Alan Cumyn's sense of humor. Even though this isn't a laugh out loud book the essence is funny. It was great to be entertained by a story that's both extraordinary and incredible. This book is so much fun. I think it's a story you either get or don't get and if you get it you will think it's brilliant and you will love it so much that you want to read it again.
 
I like how Alan Cumyn's mind works. He's chosen an extinct creature and made it come to life again. Pterodactyls are ancient and at some point they actually existed. Putting one in the modern world brings endless possibilities and I think the author has done such a good job exploring them and turning them into an original story. His writing style is easy to read while it's quite literary at the same time. He's created something special and I think this book is absolutely brilliant. 


100,000 Views Celebrations - The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard Book Review & Signed Book Giveaway

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Review by Suze
 
Emmy's relationship with Nathan isn't what it used to be. They've grown apart and Emmy wants to make things better between them. She books a holiday in France at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful place in the Loire. They arrive at the guesthouse and everything looks fantastic. Emmy instantly loves the place, but the company is a little bit less pleasant. After just a few days Emmy gets the shock of her life and her relationship with Nathan is suddenly over.
 
Rupert, the owner of the guesthouse, needs to take it easy for several weeks. Nathan has left with Gloria, Rupert's wife, and Emmy is there to clean up the mess. She tries to help Rupert with his business as much as she can. Rupert is in his sixties and even though Gloria is younger, she's still quite a bit older than Nathan. Emmy doesn't have much time to cry, because running La Cour des Roses is quite a bit of work. She also makes new friends very quickly. Everyone is warm and welcoming and some of them are going out of their way to make her feel happy again. Maybe the holiday that had such a disastrous start isn't so bad after all. Only it's just a vacation, so the good times have to end at some point...
 
The Little French Guesthouse is a book about a topic I absolutely love, a guesthouse in France. I like nothing more than to travel there and stay at one, which is one of the reasons why I fell in love with this novel as soon as I started reading it. Helen Pollard has brilliantly captured the French countryside atmosphere and her descriptions are both detailed and accurate. I loved La Cour des Roses and would have traveled there straight away if I could. Rupert is a wonderful man and I had so much fun reading about his eccentric character and his charismatic way of dealing with his friends and his guests that I kept wishing he would be real. 
 
Emmy is a sweet woman who's always there for others. I loved how her heart and her head constantly battle. I was curious to see which of them would win. She loosens up a little and the French countryside is good for her. I could picture the beautiful surroundings, the delicious food and the handsome men very well. I especially enjoyed the market day scenes which are so realistic. They were a lovely trip down memory lane for me.
 
Helen Pollard is a great writer. Her sentences flow easily and it isn't difficult to lose yourself in the amazing surroundings she writes about. Her stories come to life really well and I'm glad there's going to be a second book as I didn't want The Little French Guesthouse to end. I'm a big fan of France, I love a good romantic story and I have a weakness for mouthwatering food descriptions. This book has it all and I think it's the perfect summer read.
 
Giveaway
 
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of The Little French Guesthouse!
 
 
The winner will be notified by email and has three days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Review by Suze
 
Lennie has lost her best friend Dylan. In her honor she's going to gatecrash a party. The party is the event of the year and it's time Lennie gathers some courage so she can experience things. She doesn't want to stay safe all the time, she wants to live a little. Her uncles have a moonshine business and she brings a few jars of their special liquor. The tradition is that everyone who drinks from the jar can make a wish. Lennie knows exactly how to perform the ritual as she's seen it done so many times already. There's only one thing she doesn't know and that is that her uncles don't let people make a wish as a joke. However, when Lennie finds out the truth it's already too late...
 
Down with the Shine is a unique story. I loved the idea of the magic moonshine. Lennie doesn't have a good reputation, but she knows how to stand up for herself. She's a bit too serious which is why she wants to let go just for once, but the aftermath is terrible. I loved Kate Karyus Quinn's vivid descriptions and her fantastic sense of humor. There were quite a few funny scenes and I laughed out loud several times. I liked the be careful what you wish for aspect and Down with the Shine is a great interpretation of the expression.
 
Kate Karyus Quinn has an easy flowing writing style. Down with the Shine is a quick read. It's light read with some pretty dark aspects, which is a good combination. There isn't a dull moment in the story. There's so much chaos and plenty of running around and I could feel the panic and the guilt. The ending is surprising and original and I liked it that the author chose to finish the story with an unpredictable scene. I really enjoy reading original and creative stories and Down with the Shine definitely fits into that category, I love it when a book is different and there's nothing like it. If you're a fan of Magical Realism you should definitely give this book a try.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Welcome Home Cowboy by Annie Rains - Book Review & Giveaway

 
About Annie Rains
 

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.

Author Links
 
 Website | FB | Twitter | GR
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze

Julie is back in Seaside again. After a bad breakup she needed a fresh start and going home to her friends and family was the only thing she wanted. She's looking for a job and because the search isn't going too well she decides to be brave and create something instead. She offers to give yoga lessons to veterans with PTSD to make them feel more relaxed and help them with their recovery. Lawson is one of her students. He's been through a lot and because he needs them Julie's yoga lessons are being made mandatory for him by his boss. At first he isn't interested, but soon he changes his mind, about both the lessons and his teacher. Only he isn't in a good place and Julie doesn't want a relationship, so do they really have a chance?
 
Welcome Home Cowboy is a romantic story about two damaged people who deserve a second chance at happiness. Lawson is a great man, but he's traumatized due to a horrible experience in a helicopter. Annie Rains writes about what happened to him with compassion and sensitivity. Julie's relationship with her ex-boyfriend was awful and that scarred her for life. She's strong and she's determined to make the best of the chances she gets. I liked that about her and I loved reading about her personal growth. A lot was taken from her, but she doesn't feel sorry for herself, she works on getting it back. I admired that and enjoyed reading about her progress. Julie and Lawson are both wonderful and that is a big part of the charm of the story.
 
Welcome Home Cowboy is a story about emotional boundaries, loss and hope. It's has many different layers and Annie Rains describes them all very well. Her writing is heartwarming and she makes the readers come close to her main characters. They know exactly what they thinking and feeling and I really liked that. The descriptions of the yoga exercises and life as a marine are vivid and believable. I enjoyed reading about Julie and Lawson's passions very much. Their jobs are a big part of their life and they define their personalities. It was interesting to read about what makes them feel happy and alive. I genuinely hoped they would get that back. I love stories about second chances and people who deserve a break and Welcome Home Cowboy is definitely a good one.
 
Giveaway
 
The winner of this giveaway will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Good luck!



Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich - Guest Post, Book Review & Giveaway


About Karin Rita Gastreich


Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wild lands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Find out more at

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Guest Post
 
What’s so fascinating about magic by Karin Rita Gastreich

This question could be taken a lot of different directions, from the general appeal of magic across the genre of fantasy, to the special importance of magic in Eolyn’s world.

In chapter three of the first novel of The Silver Web, Eolyn and Akmael meet as children. During this encounter, Eolyn discovers that unbeknownst to her, she has been learning magic. She and Akmael have the following exchange:

“Whenever I draw earth from the air, there’s a sensation that makes me feel all warm inside,” Eolyn said. “Does that happen to you? Does magic make you happy, like when the sun shines on a spring day or when winter’s first snow begins to fall?”

“I don’t know.” Akmael had to think for a moment. “It’s not exactly happiness I feel, it is more like a sense of power over great movement, as if a river were flowing through my hands. It reminds me a little of what it’s like to ride a spirited horse.”

In just a few sentences, Eolyn and Akmael capture one of the fundamental beauties of magic: The experience of magic is unique for each individual. Even for the same person, invoking magic as a child has an entirely different quality compared to invoking magic as an adult.

In Eolyn’s world, magic is forbidden to women. The ruling class claims many justifications for this prohibition, but in the end, everything boils down to one concern: Magic is a source and symbol of power. The noblemen of Eolyn’s world, anxious to maintain control over restless and sometimes rebellious subjects, stripped women of the rights to practice magic because they fear that women’s magic incites sedition.

Maybe they’re right. Then again, maybe a little bit of sedition would not be such a bad thing in this brutal medieval realm.

Eolyn, in fact, is not a warmonger. All she desires is the opportunity to express her gifts fully, and to use these gifts to serve her people. But in order to get that opportunity, she may have to wage war against those who would rather see her burn.

Those are a few thoughts on magic in Eolyn’s world. What about magic for the rest of us?

For me as a reader and an author, magic brings a sense of the unexpected to any story. By definition, magic breaks the rules, often in surprising ways. Magic also adds a layer of wonder to any moment or journey. This is true in our lives and in our stories. Like many people, I like to see magic in my everyday life, in the beauty of spring flowers, summer sunsets, and fresh-fallen snow.

In short, magic makes me happy.
What about you?

Book review

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Review by Anniek
 
Eolyn was very young when a heart wrenching tragedy sent her deep into the woods. Being guided by the Guendes she found Ghemena. A high maga who lives in solitude after escaping her own death.
It is believed that there are no maga left in the world so they must be careful they won't be discovered.

Eolyn goes out in the woods all the time and it is there that she meets a young boy. He is a mage and is trained to become a high mage. What she doesn't know is that when he grows up he will be in the position to make or break her.

When Ghemena learns who eolyn's mother was she teaches her everything that a maga needs to know. Eolyn excepts her true calling and is being honored by the Dragon to become a High Maga.
With this calling also comes a difficult path. Every woman in the nation is being carefuly watched.
If anyone suspects them being a witch they will end up on the pyre. Only the men can have magical abilities. A male witch is a mage and they are all being trained by a very powerful and dark wizard who once made sure all the High Maga found their excruciating death.

Eolyn is such a sweet and pure girl but not naive. I loved those subbleties about her. She is the only High Maga alive and she is destined and determent to bring magic back into the lives of all people. Even though she has seen a lot of tragedies in her life she still remains positive and strong.
Together with her own 'army' she will face the King to get the succesful outcome they all long for. When enemies become allies and allies become possible enemies who will come out on top?
Will Eolyn be able to see through the people who are closest to her of will she end up paying for her mistakes?

Karin Rita Gastreich created a wonderful magical world that sometimes feels like a fairytale.
The main characters are so diverse in all their abilities that it is a joy to read about them. It was very easy for me to clearly picture the scenes. Even though it's sometimes hard to
understand how the worlds work within this genre I had no trouble at all with understanding the story straight from the start and I found myself totally grabbed by all the magical beings that are a part of Eolyn's world.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $ 15,- Amazon or B&N gift card.
 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane - Book Review & Giveaway

 
 
About Melanie McFarlane
 

Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it's uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her upcoming YA debut There Once Were Stars, and her YA urban fantasy Summoner Rising.

She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.

Connect with Melanie

Website: www.melaniemcfarlane.com
Twitter: @McFarlaneBooks www.twitter.com/mcfarlanebooks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mcfarlanebooks
Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/melaniemcfarlane
Instagram: www.instagram.com/mcfarlanebooks
Wattpad: www.wattpad.com/mcfarlanebooks
 
Book review
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze
 
Life in Dome 1618 is structured. People are living in a protected environment because of high radiation levels. A terrible virus and the aftermath of it made life a lot more complicated and the domes are offering security and protection. Nat is eighteen and she has to start working. She's especially good at getting in trouble and she has no idea what she wants to do yet, but there also isn't much time to think about it as someone has made the decisions for her. Her parents were famous scientists who died under suspicious circumstances. Suddenly it is assumed she will work at the same department and Nat doesn't have a say in the matter.
 
There's an outsider in the dome. His name is Evan and he's a few years older than Nat. He comes from a different dome and is there to gather information. There are a lot of things he isn't telling her and Nat doesn't know if she can trust him. He needs her to work with him though. They're trying to uncover a big secret that the high officials in the dome are trying to hide at all costs. Will they be able to find out what it is and is there a price to pay?
 
Nat has lost her parents at a young age. She isn't happy, she wants freedom, but instead she's being confined. There are many rules to follow and nothing in the dome really appeals to her. Her eighteenth birthday changes everything as she has to start working. With some help she gets a job at the department her parents were working for and she has the chance to work alongside an outsider. They instantly have a connection, but life in the dome is complicated and Nat can't do what she wants. She's defiant and headstrong and she isn't afraid to speak her mind. I liked that very much about her. She's a great main character and I loved her impulsiveness.
 
Melanie McFarlane is a good writer. I loved the world building and the setting of the story. Her descriptions are precise and creative. There are creepy tight rules and I could feel Nat's uneasiness and stress. She isn't good at following orders and often makes a mess of things. I liked that she's far from perfect, but whatever happens she keeps going and fights for what she believes in. Bit by bit she discovers what killed her parents. I was intrigued and couldn't wait to find out more. The ending is fitting and I loved it. There Once Were Stars is a great dystopian read. If you like the genre, you will definitely like this book. 
 
Giveaway
 
Five lucky winners will receive a digital copy of There Once Were Stars.
 

Bright Blaze of Magic: Black Blade by Jennifer Estep Book Reviews & Giveaway

 
About Jennifer Estep
 

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.

The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.

Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.

Author links

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor
 
Book reviews by Suze
 
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Lila is on her own and is now permanently living in Cloudburst Falls, the most magical place in America. Her mother died four years ago, when she was thirteen. They moved from place to place, but came back every summer. Until one summer Lila became an orphan. Because foster care wasn't working she's secretly living in a library. She's a great thief and makes a living by stealing things and bringing them to a pawn shop. When she's there to collect some money a fight breaks out and Lila is an excellent fighter. Because the person who's being attacked needs her help she decides to help out, which is something she's never done before, with a reason. Her decision has life changing consequences.
 
Cloudburst Falls is divided among several rivalling families. The Draconis are the worst and it's no secret they want to rule the entire town. The Sinclairs are their main opponent. Coincidentally Lila has saved a very important member of the Sinclair family and now she has to choice, she's being hired as one of his guards. Devon is handsome, but he also has a good and pure heart. Lila can see inside people and knows what's really there. This helps her to discover who her enemies are and she needs it, because something bad is happening and she's the only one who can prevent it.
 
Cold Burn of Magic is a fantastic thrilling read. Lila is a strong and feisty heroine who isn't afraid to fight for what she believes in. She still misses her mother and that drives her to be the best person she can be, but it makes her careful with her heart. She doesn't easily let herself get attached to people. Being part of the Sinclair household is different, but it isn't all bad. It was great to read about the families and their different strengths and histories. I love Jennifer Estep's world building skills. It was easy to lose myself in the story.
 
Lila is a great fighter and I loved the combat scenes. Jennifer Estep writes vividly and I could clearly picture every punch, kick and trick. It was fun to see how Lila manages to get herself out of tricky situations over and over again. I loved this fantastic book, it's filled with plenty of great energy and activity.
 
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Lila has to enter an important tournament. Her boss has decided she's a worthy candidate to fight. Only that means Lila has to come out of the shadows she likes so much to take her place in the spotlight. She has no choice and what's even worse, she has to fight her friends. The tournament starts with sabotage and Lila wants to find out who's behind it all. Will she be able to make it to the end?
 
Meanwhile monsters are dying. They are being killed for no apparent reason. Lila loves monsters. Her mother has taught her how to interact with them and it hurts Lila that they are being brutally slaughtered. She tries to figure out who's responsible. Is there a connection between the murders and the tension between the candidates of the tournament? And why is Victor, the head of the Draconi family, so interested in their abilities? It's obvious that he's making plans and Lila has a tough choice to make, will she choose the greater good or herself?
 
Dark Heart of Magic is another action packed Black Blade book. I flew through the pages and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. I love how Jennifer Estep builds up the suspense. There's hardly time to breathe, her stories are a whirlwind of fabulous moves and excellent fighting. Lila is a planner and she needs those skills more than ever. She has to fight against formidable opponents who have all kinds of magic they can use in combat. It was interesting to see what she would come up with to stay ahead of them. Her mind works in a fabulous way.
 
Devon becomes a very good friend. He's such a sweet guy. Lila also becomes close to several others and she discovers some important things about herself and her mother's past. Family is important to her and it was amazing to see how loyal she is. I enjoyed Dark Heart of Magic very much. I liked the idea of the tournament and the ending is both gripping and surprising.
 
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Lila and her family have to prepare for a war against Victor, the head of the Draconi family. He plans to take over and destroy the other families. Lila is an excellent thief and her skills help to prevent him from becoming too powerful. He's still a terrible force and he does something that surprises the other families completely. Lila is the only one who can save them all. Fortunately she isn't alone. She has her friends and she has Devon. Will that be enough to defeat this terrible evil?
 
Bright Blaze of Magic is a rollercoaster of fantastic action. I read the story in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. It's a brilliant page-turner filled with magic, powers, tricks and scheming. Lila is stronger than ever. She's ready to fight and to save as many people as she can. She's a kick-ass heroine. Devon is as wonderful as ever and he completes her. That was wonderful to see. She tries to open up and that makes her even more likable.
 
Victor has done so many awful things and whenever Lila sees him memories are threatening to overwhelm her. They are also feeding her strength and she's determined to do something about his violence and hunger for power. He's insatiable and does things that are to terrible for words. Lila wants this to end, but can she defeat him? He has more power than anybody can imagine and he's cunning. I loved Lila's bravery and her spirit, she doesn't hesitate to put herself in danger when it's needed to protect the important people in her life.
 
Jennifer Estep's sentences flow easily and her writing is imaginative and colorful. I really enjoyed her detailed descriptions of Lila's world. I like stories about magic and the Black Blade series is definitely one of my favorites. The main characters all have specific character traits that are making it easy to love and adore them. Because of their strong connection to each other the reader automatically feels close to them. I loved watching them plot and kept looking forward to their next moves. Every scene is exactly as it should be. The Black Blade books are filled with terrific energy. I highly recommend this series, it's absolutely brilliant. 
 
Giveaway
 
 
One international winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card. Three winners from the USA will receive a copy of Bright Blaze of Magic.
  

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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Review by Suze
 
Tessa left Fayette after a terrible incident. She's moved in with her grandmother shortly after it happened and hasn't seen her mother and sister in years. Callie used to be Tessa's best friend. It was Callie's cousin who died that awful night. Callie and Tessa were very young, but they were key witnesses in the trial. A man was locked up for the murders and is about to be executed. There were several murders, but Tessa is having doubts. She doesn't know if the monster who committed them all is actually behind bars. Tessa is back in Fayette because of her father's illness. She's staying with Callie. They haven't spoken to each other in years and it's time they start to be honest about what actually happened the night Lori died, to each other, but also to themselves.
 
Tessa and Callie decide to investigate the murders. Slowly Tessa finds out more about who killed Lori. Meanwhile she's also trying to find her family. She has no idea why her sister disappeared all those years ago and wants to speak to her and ask her some important questions. Only can they do this without being found out and will they be able to discover who the killer is without putting themselves in danger?
 
The Darkest Corners is a gripping thriller about two girls who have been through something traumatic. They both can't cope with the memories and they struggle every day. Slowly Tessa and Callie start talking again and it was interesting to see what they had to say to each other, especially about their testimonies and what they actually heard and saw the night Lorie was killed. Tessa is quite strange. She doesn't dare to ask for anything she needs, which makes her life unnecessary complicated. She's also really strong and smart. Those two sides of her character kept amazing me. Callie makes reckless decisions and Tessa often has to be the one in charge. When someone broken is taking the lead things can get pretty complex sometimes and it was fascinating to see how they would develop.
 
The Darkest Corners is a complicated story. There are many threads, plenty of characters and there's a big puzzle with many missing pieces. The story isn't very fast at first, but slowly Kara Thomas adds speed to the story until at the end there's a multitude of surprising incidents that lead to a fitting conclusion. It felt like a hurricane that's slowly building up its power. All of a sudden you're in the middle of the chaos and in the eye of the storm. I found that quite unique. The Darkest Corners is a thrilling read with many fascinating twists and turns and a really strong finale. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Summer We Danced by Fiona Harper

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Review by Suze
 
Pippa used to be an excellent dancer. She was so talented that she could have done it professionally, but something stopped her from going through with it. After a painful divorce from a famous rock star Pippa now lives in her hometown again. She feels humiliated and alone. Because she wants to do something that makes her come out of her shell she goes back to Miss Mimi's to take dancing lessons, exactly like she used to all those years ago. Even though Miss Mimi is in her eighties now she still runs the school. She can use a little help and Pippa's return couldn't have come at a better time.
 
Pippa's teenage crush, Tom, has a daughter who's taking lessons as well. He's a pretty good dancer himself, but hasn't danced for a long time either. Pippa still feels the old attraction and spending time with him is more fun than she ever thought it would be. Now that Pippa is helping Miss Mimi she discovers that there are some major problems. Will she be able to fix them together with some assistance even if it means being around Tom a lot more often than she thinks she can handle?
 
 The Summer We Danced is a wonderful novel about a dancing school that's the center of a lot of people's worlds. Pippa loves dancing and when the movements take over and she stops thinking she's finally happy. She constantly underestimates herself and she needs to rebuild her self-esteem. I enjoyed seeing her grow and find out how amazing she actually is. The dancing and the people she's dancing with are changing her. Tom is a handsome man, but he's also troubled. They're a great match, but there's so much standing in their way. I love how Fiona Harper used their dancing to show how perfect they are together.
 
Miss Mimi is fantastic. She's a strong lady who lives for her work. She loves being the center of attention, but she's also sweet and has a big heart. She is the heart and soul of the dancing school. I enjoyed reading Fiona Harper's vivid descriptions of the school itself, the moves and the feelings of the main characters. I felt like I was watching a really good show. I liked The Summer We Danced very much, it's such a fun and heartwarming story.

100.000 Views Special Giveaway: Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge

About Samantha Tonge
 
 

I live in Cheshire with my lovely family and our cat Mitzie, who is ever-ready with her handbag for my book launches.

When not writing, I’m walking in the Peak District or watching horror and disaster movies – not a lot beats a box of chocolates in front of The Poseidon Adventure! I also love baking, but watch out – one story I sold reflected the time I accidentally slathered puddings with Hollandaise sauce, instead of custard!

My background is in languages, encouraged by a childhood love of holidays in France. In my twenties, I formed part of the Opening Crew at Disneyland Paris, which allowed me to enjoy that wonderful city – surely the most romantic place in the world. I loved writing the sequel to Doubting Abbey – From Paris with Love – and mentally revisited some of my favourite Parisian haunts. In October 2014 I travelled to wonderful Japan. My summer 2015 book, Game of Scones, is set in Greece.

Despite this love of foreign climes, I’m never happier than when holed up, in my spare room, in the UK, tapping away at the keyboard. Unlike many authors, I started off writing novels, before turning to short fiction. I made my first magazine sale in 2011. Since then I’ve sold many dozens of stories to mainstream women’s magazines. My debut novel, Doubting Abbey, from HarperCollins (CarinaUK), was inspired by the hit series Downton Abbey. Its fun, standalone sequel, featuring a spy, is From Paris with Love. Mistletoe Mansion, starring a different set of characters, is a book for fans of cake and Christmas – so I’m guessing that most of us! And Game of Scones, is – yes, you’ve guessed it – another story about food, that won the Love Stories Awards 2015 Best Romantic Ebook category. My festive novel 2015, My Big Fat Christmas Wedding, is out now!

Find out more at

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Interview

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
 
I live in Cheshire, North West England , with my lovely family and a cat that thinks she is a dog! I have sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. My debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic Ebook award 2014. My summer bestselling novel, Game of Scones, got to #5 in the AmazonUK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook award in 2015. My summer book 2016 is out in July and is called Breakfast at Poldark’s!

2. When I was browsing your website I read that you like horror and disaster movies. I am a big horror fan so please tell us what is your favorite horror movie?
 
Ooh, it is so hard to choose! I particularly love zombies, so the Dawn of the Dead series and World War Z are favourites. Also I recently saw 10 Cloverfield Lane which is more of a suspense until the end but soooo scary, even though it was only rated a 12a.

3. If you pick up a horror or disaster movie do you have a preference about the topic?
 
No. It is the characters I find most gripping. I love the old disaster movies The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno and the stories that come out around each character. What I DO NOT like though is the kind of Cabin in the Woods style of horror movie. That really freaks me out and I don’t watch those any more.

4. You have travelled around. What place is still on your wish list to visit?
 
Top of my bucket list is to try and see the Northern Lights. I would love to return to Japan – I went to Kyoto in 2014 and fell in love with the people and way of life.

5. You have written several books (love your covers by the way). Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
 
Thank you! Usually from what is current in society or the news at the time. Doubting Abbey was inspired by the popularity of the hit TV show Downton Abbey. It intrigued me as to why a historical series was just so popular with modern viewers and gave me the idea of having a story where a thoroughly modern gal had to live like an aristocrat for two weeks. The title of Game of Scones came from Game of Thrones but the story – and that of its sequel, My Big Fat Christmas Wedding – includes the Greek economic crisis and the plight of the Syrian refugees.

6. If you could go back in time and meet a writer from the past who would that be and why?
 
I only ever have one answer to this question: Jane Austen. I would love to tell her just how much relevance her story Pride & Prejudice still has today.

7. Do you have a favorite season or holiday?
 
I adore the autumn months – especially did when the children were small there was so much fun to look forward to.... Halloween then Bonfire Night and Christmas... One party after another! I am not a sunbird and after the summer always look forward to dark evenings.

8. What do you dream about?
 
Goodness, you don’t want to know – all sorts! I dream vividly every night and always remember them. Recently I dreamt I was drowning at the bottom of a swimming pool slide. I have had several unpleasant recurring dreams over the years – as a young woman about exam deadlines. I have dreams where deceased loved ones make an appearance – people and animals. Also celebrities. Sometimes I wake up laughing as well!

9. Can you tell us how you spend your free time?
 
Spending time with my family. Going to the cinema. Cycling. And baking.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?
 
My summer book Breakfast at Poldark’s is out in July 2016 in Kindle version and paperback in the August. It is a little different to my usual very light-hearted style. More emotional – but still with humour. And it is set in beautiful Cornwall.

Book review

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Review by Suze

Pippa loved spending her summers in Taxos, a beautiful village on the Greek island Kos. When her life started to become more serious with a university degree and a career in London she stopped going. Now she finally has the time to spend a long holiday there. She needs some space to think about her relationship with her sensible and dependable boyfriend Henrik and is surprised to find out he wants to come with her. Henrik doesn't want to go there to relax though, he has work to do.

Pippa is happy to see all of her friends from Taxos again. She especially missed her childhood sweetheart Niko. Even though they're both in a relationship, their friendship is still as strong as it used to be. It's fantastic to be back, but Taxos itself has shocked Pippa a little. The village is struggling and people are poor. Pippa loves baking and together with everyone else in the village she comes up with a plan that might make things better. This also means she finally has a chance to make her biggest dream come true. It's only temporary though, soon she has to leave everything she loves behind to go back to her sensible life...

Game of Scones is a fun story set on a stunning Greek island. I loved Samantha Tonge's descriptions of the pretty village and its fabulous inhabitants. I wanted to pack my bags and travel there straight away. The people in the village are struggling, but Taxos is in their hearts and they love it more than anything. It's worth fighting for and I enjoyed watching Pippa become one of them again. The amazing atmosphere was the best part of the book for me.

Samantha Tonge has a great sense of humor and her stories always put a smile on my face. Game of Scones is a quick and easy read. If you're looking for something light and enjoyable to relax with this book is a good choice. I really liked the main characters. Pippa has to come to terms with her feelings and she has to make a choice between what her mind tells her and what her heart wants her to do. Taxos changes her and it was wonderful to watch. I loved the ending of the story. Game of Scones is an ideal summer read. It makes you dream about good food, gorgeous locations, handsome men and sweet romance.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will win a signed copy of Game of Scones.

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The winner will be notified by email and has three days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.