Thursday, May 25, 2017

Welcome to Forever & Welcome to Forever, Starting Today by Annie Rains - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Micah is a single dad and loves his son Ben very much. Both of Ben's parents are Marines, but Micah isn't interested in being stationed any longer. He wants to stay with his son and tries to be the best dad he can be. Micah has started a landscaping business and his first big job is at a school, Seaside Elementary. Micah and Ben have just moved to Seaside and Micah hopes Ben will have a good time and make friends. Ben's principal Kat tries to do her very best to run a friendly school, which should be perfect for Ben. Will he be happy there?

Due to heartbreak in her past Kat doesn't want to date Marines. She doesn't want to risk the black hole she's found herself in for quite some time ever again. However, when she meets Ben and his cute dad Micah, she can't deny that she loves spending time with them. Ben is fond of Kat and Micah can't help but admire her brave spirit and her attachment to all of her students. Kat is reluctant to go out with him because of her promise, will Micah be able to change her mind and do they have a chance?

Welcome to Forever is a heartwarming romantic story. The main characters are all wonderful. Kat is idealistic, kind and welcoming. She's a young and ambitious principal and her ideas to make her school a better place kept making me smile. Micah is gentle, loving and patient. He's a chivalrous man and would do anything for his son. I really enjoyed reading about his love for Ben. Ben is a cute kid. He's smart and wise for his age and his matchmaking attempts are endearing. He knows exactly what he wants and is determined to reach his goals. This makes him the perfect person to bring Kat and Micah together. I liked this sweet part of the story a lot and instantly fell in love with Welcome to Forever because of the amazing main characters.

Annie Rains writes about what it's like to have an uncertain future when working as a Marine. She writes about grief and danger in an empathic and honest way. Her story is filled with hope, love and sunshine as well, which gives it a nice balance. I liked the combination of deep emotional layers with feel-good romance. The story has many surprising twists and turns and the ending is unexpected and unique. Annie Rains has written a fantastic complete book. I highly recommend Welcome to Forever, it's a wonderful charming story with plenty of sparks and positivity.

Advice

If you like reading impressive small town romance combined with gorgeous men in uniform you will definitely like Welcome to Forever.
 
Goodreads
Review by Suze

Kat and Micah are getting married. What will their big day be like? Are they finally going to get their happily ever after?

Welcome to Forever, Starting Today is a short story about Kat, Micah and Ben. It was a lot of fun to read about them again and to find out what happens after the ending of Welcome to Forever. I really enjoyed reading this free story and think it's wonderful that I had the chance to find out more about the future of these lovely main characters.

Free book

If you enjoyed the Hero's Welcome series, don't miss the short wedding story for Kat and Micah (Welcome to Forever). Get it here for FREE: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/aTSl1
 
About Annie Rains


USA Today Bestselling Author, 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: http://www.annierains.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Annie-Rains-1452963021669865/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnieRains_
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13911602.Annie_Rains
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/annie-rains

Interview

1) Can you tell a bit about yourself?

I’m a married mother of 3 young children (8, 6, and 2), so I’m always busy and always tired, lol. I also work full-time, so all of my stories are written in the wee hours of the morning. The chickens aren’t even up when I’m making my first cup of coffee! I’ve always written, though. It’s what I love and it’s what keeps me sane in this crazy world.

2) What's the best thing about writing about men in uniform?

There are a lot of good things about writing men in uniform. The uniform automatically brings honor and a heaping dose of alpha to the character. Any man who risks his life for his country is already a hero, in my opinion. I also think, and it could just be me, that women love the sight of a man in uniform.

3) What do you like the most about romance?

The sexual tension! It's all those little moments that lead up to that first magical kiss. I just love getting lost reading and writing romance. Even though you know (or hope) there's going to be a happily ever after, there's always that moment where you say "uh-oh. Maybe it won't happen this time." That's true for me every time I'm reading or writing a romance. 

4) Where do you find the inspiration behind your characters, are they based on real people or do they come purely from your imagination?

My characters are purely based on my imagination. They come to me as real people in my mind. Then I just have to figure out what makes them tick, what their backstories are, and what do they want. If I can't figure it out, I have a group of author friends who are lifesavers to me. 

5) What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

That’s a hard question, actually. I don’t remember any one piece of advice that has stuck with me. After walking this road, though, my advice to other aspiring authors is always: Never give up! I came so close to finally getting an agent so many times (which was my goal), and then got let down. If I would’ve given up, I never would’ve gotten that first yes from my agent and then from my editor. And I probably would’ve always regretted not continuing toward my goal. If you never give up, you’ll eventually make it. 

6) Where do you read and where do you write?

I write at a desk in my husband’s office. My first office became the baby’s nursery and my second office became my middle child’s room. So now I’m sharing an office with my husband (which is really only a small corner that he cleared for me). It’s fine, though. All I need is my Mac and a little peace and quiet in the morning. Oh, and a few cups of coffee :) 

I read mostly while my children are taking their baths. I also like to listen to books on Audible while I'm driving back and forth to my day job. 

7) What would your ideal romantic day look like?

Ohhhhhhh. I wonder if my husband will read this! My ideal romantic day would probably involve breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and then a walk on the beach. Just us (which rarely ever happens anymore!). Then he’d cook me dinner that night and we’d talk about all the things we still want to do in life. I loveeeeeee daydreaming. We'd end the day on the couch together watching an episode of one of our favorite Netflix shows. That’s my idea of romance. The characters in my books have far more romantic outings, but that’s fantasy. 

8) Can you tell our readers 3 interesting facts about your books?

1) All of my books so far have been set in North Carolina, which is where I was born and raised. 

2) I really like emotion. I'm not having fun while I'm writing unless there's LOTS of gut wrenching, heart breaking emotion. 

3) So far, I've always had to rewrite the ending of my stories. They're never right the first time or usually even the second time. 

9) Where did your love for romance start?

My love for romance started in kindergarten when I started watching soap operas with my mom. I know that’s young, but I loved Days of Our Lives more than any cartoon. In high school I started reading Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks. I devoured what they wrote and decided that’s what I wanted to write one day, too. 

10) What are your plans for the future?

To write more books. Lots more books!

Thank you for the interview, Suze! This was a lot of fun!

Summer giveaway

Annie Rains is having a Summer giveaway on her website. One very lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. You can find her Summer giveaway here.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital or audio book of choice from the Hero's Welcome or Blushing Bay series.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

With Love For Horror Books: Fool's Apocalypse by Anderson Atlas - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Zilla is plotting the end of the world. He needs other people to help him accomplish this. It isn't long before he has a group of loyal followers. They all have their own job to do. Ian, for instance, has been going to several buildings that belong to the government and justice departments to plant listening devices. At least, that is what he thinks they are. It turns out that these devises release a deadly virus that turns humanity into the walking dead. Zilla rewards his followers with an antidote so that they won't get sick. What will the group do when they find out that Zilla made them responsible for the apocalypse?

The virus takes over the body of those who are getting sick. Death is inevitable, but their bodies keep going. The virus is using these bodies as a host and will attack the living every chance it gets. These puppets are everywhere and escaping seems impossible. The group hopes that the virus hasn't spread into other parts of the world. With a sailing boat they head out to Cuba, hoping to find refuge there. Is their destination as safe as they think it will be?

The group that Zilla has recruited consists of a colorful bunch of people. All members have their own strengths and weaknesses. I loved how they got together and learned how to function as a group of survivors. Their struggles felt so real since they all have to deal with their guilt. Neither of them wants to be a part of world destruction, but they are being dragged into this nonetheless. They believed in the wrong person and are now paying the price. I was hoping for them to find a safe place to live and to find a cure for the virus.

Fool's Apocalypse approaches what the end of the world would look like in a unique way. In most stories about zombies the apocalypse just happens without a clear reason why. In Fool's Apocalypse Anderson Atlas explains why the deceased are still stumbling around. I found it refreshing to have a background story. I love to read about conspiracy theories and because of this the story felt more real to me. Anderson Atlas has also included drawings in his story. These pictures made it easy for me to follow the story and they made it come alive in a great way. Fool's Apocalypse is different, original and creepy and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time the 'fools' were fighting their way to safety.

Advice

If you love to read the zombie genre and like a new and unique approach Fool's Apocalypse would be a great choice.

About Anderson Atlas


Anderson Atlas is an author and illustrator that lives in the hot Sonoran Desert among scaled survivors, steely eye hawks and majestic saguaros.

He's inspired by crowded malls, streams hidden by massive boulders, patches of moss, charred forests, and distant mountain ranges. To date, he's written 4 novels and illustrated a growing collection of beautiful children’s books. He also runs a successful freelance career involving painting for other children’s book writers and novelists.

Atlas, his wife, son and daughter live in Tucson, Arizona, where he is actively involved in book groups, helping with a ninja kid class and sailing in Southern Arizona lakes. In his free time, he reads, watches movies and spends a lot of time with family and friends.

Anderson Atlas is Bradley Peterson’s pen name.

Author links

Website: http://andersonatlas.com/
Blog: http://andersonatlas.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anderson.atlas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndersonAtlas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anderson-Atlas/e/B003VS3OLA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was an illustrator first, and would draw pictures that told stories. but the stories were too simple, like a beat in a song. It was incomplete. I branched out one day and flipped my drawing over and wrote a whole story about it. It was surreal, like a day dream and it made me feel less tense and stressed about work, family etc. That was it for me. I found a way to put two hobbies of mine together, reading and drawing and now my stories only get deeper, bigger and more exciting. 

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

I typically freak out about ghosts and demons. Fools’ Apocalypse has a zombie theme, and that gets my heart going also, but there’s more of a thrill there. It would seem that surviving that world might be just a tad easier than a world full of demons, so as an act of self preservation I enjoy zombie genre horror the most.

3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?

Insanity

4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?

I’ve a plan. But I can’t tell you my plan, lest it be taken by others. :) Just kidding. I’d actually get my friends and family together and others, too. I’d build a big group- strength in numbers right. Then we’d migrate south to the less populated areas. In Fools’ Apocalypse, it really is my fantasy of what I’d do. I’d get the biggest sailboat I could find and get to an island that would be easy to protect and live on. It was a fun part of the book to write and I’ve heard from readers that it was really fun to read.

5. What's your favorite horror movie?

I’m a fan of some old school flicks. Shining, Nightmare on Elm st, Evil Dead, Alien, Return of the Living Dear those were pretty epic. Newer ones that topped my list were WWZ, zombie land, 28 days later, Others, Cabin in the Woods

6. What's your worst nightmare?

The endless maze, the closing walls. I’ve had variations since I was young. I do have the occasional zombie dream, but that’s not a nightmare. Those are fun.

7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?

Michelle Rodriquez is Isabella, Kate Winslet for Hana, Christian Bale for Ian, (I know, bit price tags here!), Colin Ford as Tanis, Forest Whitaker for Markus- though older, Billy Gardel for Ben. 

8. What inspired you to write horror stories?

Zombie gere is one of my favorites. It was really just a fun, thought process, sketch pad, I’d-do-this-if-the-zombies-came kind of project. I mostly write YA sci/fi fantasy horror. But this was my first Adult book- rife with blood and guts, political themes and cussing. 

9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?

It’s like fantasy. The doors are so far open, they practically don’t exist. The horror genre bends time, space, expectation, ideology, fear, love. it’s got it all and so does Fools’ Apocalypse. 

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m writing book 2 now. It’s called Killing Salvation and its all about what happens when the survivors get to Cuba. It’s different and flies a bit far from the zombies that plague the rest of the globe, but gets darker and dirtier.

Giveaway

Four very lucky readers of With Love For Books will receive a digital copy of Fool's Apocalypse by Anderson Atlas.


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.
 


Book Review - Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Review by Suze
 
Bea's husband hasn't left her much money and the Social Security check she receives every month isn't enough to cover her costs. She's almost run out of money and loses everything she has left to pay her bills with because of a telephone scam. Bea now only has her van and as she can't pay the rent of her trailer anymore she's homeless. She takes her cat and decides to make the most of her days by driving along the Pacific Coast. The only problem is that she doesn't have money for food or gas, so she has to be creative to make others pay for even her most basic needs.
 
Allie's parents have been arrested for tax fraud. Allie doesn't have any family she can stay with and her parents don't have close friends who can take her in either. This means Allie is being sent to a group home. Allie is afraid, because her roommate is a dangerous girl who's threatened to harm her. She tries to escape, but once she's on the streets more danger awaits her. Allie doesn't have anyone left and nowhere to go, until she meets Bea. Bea reluctantly agrees to take Allie with her, but traveling with a fifteen-year-old is the last thing she thinks she wants. However, when the days go by Bea and Allie are actually starting to enjoy themselves. Will they be okay in each other's company?
 
Allie and Bea is a fantastic story about the incredibly journey of an old lady and a young girl. Allie and Bea meet by chance and find out they are both struggling with the same issue, they don't have a place to stay and they don't have any money. Allie is quite na├»ve and Bea hasn't seen much of the world. They learn from each other and become equals, which is something I loved about their story. Allie has to grow up quickly and she's surprisingly wise for a girl her age. Bea is a clever lady and together they manage to eat and find places to stay. Their journey is unusual and while seeing the beautiful Pacific Coast they're forming a terrific interesting connection.
 
Catherine Ryan Hyde writes about a unique bond between two people who couldn't be more different from each other. Allie is young and grew up in a wealthy environment and Bea is old and has been poor her entire life, but they do find things they have in common, which is something I really enjoyed about their story. I love the way Catherine Ryan Hyde describes what they're going through, she does this with warmth, empathy and honesty. It was easy to connect with the main characters and their adventures sometimes brought tears to my eyes, but they also made me smile on a regular basis. I loved this story from beginning to end and highly recommend it. Allie and Bea are very special main characters and their story is absolutely brilliant.
 
Advice
 
If you love beautiful stories about a surprisingly amazing connection between two very different people you should definitely read Allie and Bea.

Room Seven Mug & Pillow, Kindle Fire, Yeh Tea and Sterling Silver Necklace Giveaway

 
 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Room Seven mug and pillow, a blue Kindle Fire 7, Yeh biological tea and a sterling silver heart necklace. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

With Love For Reviews - Guest Post by Victoria Cornwall



Review Appreciation
Guest post by Victoria Cornwall


I have a confession. As a reader, I rarely left book reviews. In my defence, I did not realise the true value of leaving a review for a product I had bought, yet, perversely, it was other people’s reviews which helped me to decide my next purchase. For years, I did not notice my contradictory behaviour, until one day the tables were turned and I saw it from the other side.

Today, I am a writer and see things very differently. When my debut novel was released in January, I knew that readers would have to take a chance on buying my book because, after all, I was an unknown quantity. For the first time I really appreciated the true worth of reviews, which could help to elevate my book from the billions available to purchase online. It also came as a shock to discover just how few readers left them. I could not blame them as I was like them once. Yet, I like to think that if someone had pointed out to me why it was so important, I would have done it before now … and happily so. Just a line or two to say that I enjoyed it, nothing too detailed that would take up my time.

So how does it help an author? Although it is always lovely to hear that a reader has enjoyed a book, a review does far more than stroke an author’s ego. As mentioned before, book reviews help readers to decide their next purchase. The more positive reviews a book has, the more confidence a potential purchaser has to buy it.

What then? Well, the more sales a book gets, the more likely the publisher will publish the author’s next book. If a book does not sell well, another book contract may not be offered or the print run will end. Either way, the author is at risk of being cut adrift. The book trade is a business, not a creative utopia where people indulge in their hobby of writing. In the end, despite a writers “need” to be creative, success and longevity of a writing career depends on sales. But it’s poor quality books that don’t sell. Right? Perhaps … but not always. I believe that many amazing books disappear below the surface, simply because of the lack of regular reviews, which tempt people to buy it. It is a mystery why some books take off and others don’t, but what I do know is that without reviews, a good book will fade into obscurity.


I believe that having a steady stream of new reviews is also helpful as potential purchaser are more likely to buy a book with the more recent reviews as opposed to an older book that has not been reviewed for two years. I don’t have any statistics to back up this theory, just a gut feeling, after all, how many times have we made a beeline for the “newly arrived” fashion rail in a shop and ignored the last season’s rail, despite all the rails having similar clothes. Perhaps there is something in our DNA that makes us want to be a part of what is on trend at the moment and what everyone is talking about.

So if you like a book and would like to read more from that author, please leave a review on the retail site where you purchased it. It does not have to be in depth and, in most cases, one sentence will be adequate. Just give your opinion, in an objective way, which is not tainted by the fact that your dog has just been sick on the carpet. Also bear in mind that you are reviewing the novel, not the retail site or their delivery standards. The author has no control over them and is as much at their mercy as you are.

As for seasoned bloggers, I have little advice to give and am in awe of the amount of time and effort they put into their blogs and reviews. My only advice is that writers often use a quote from a good review to help promote their book, so I recommend adding a phrase that can be easily quoted. I often quote lines from reviews and reference the source, therefore advertising the blog in return. Reviews are all about paying it forward, and I, as an author, am happy to do my bit for the blogger.

You, as a reader, have the power to support quality books so they can rise to the surface of the ever expanding fiction quagmire that can be found on the internet. Do I leave reviews for the books I read now? Yes, of course I do, as I understand their true value as, to a writer, they are worth their weight in gold.


About Victoria Cornwall


Victoria Cornwall grew up on a farm in Cornwall. She can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Victoria is married, has two grown up children and a black Labrador, called Alfie. She likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her the time to write. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society. The Thief's Daughter is a contender for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, which will be presented on May 18th in London.

The Thief’s Daughter is her debut novel and the first in a series of Cornish based novels.

Author links

Website: www.victoriacornwall.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VickieCornwall
Facebook: www.facebook.com/victoriacornwall.author
Instagram: www.instagram.com/victoria_cornwallx
Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/vickiecornwall

Books by Victoria

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

The Thief's Daughter was nominated for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

With Love for Horror Books: The Ghost House & The Secrets of the Shadows by Helen Phifer - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

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 Review by Suze
 
Annie Graham needs some time to recover and when her brother leaves the country he allows her to stay in his house and look after his dog and his property. Her brother's farmhouse is close to a dilapidated mansion. When Annie enters it to do some exploring she experiences something strange. Then she finds an old diary and takes it home with her. The diary tells the story of a servant who used to live in the large house. What is the matter with the house and has Annie made a mistake checking it out?
 
Annie is looking for some peace and quiet, but instead trouble finds her again. What is the connection between the house, its former inhabitants and several present day murders? Annie has finally found some happiness and she has to fight hard not to lose it all before she has the chance to actually enjoy it. Will she survive everything that comes her way?

 The Ghost House is spooky. Annie is a cop and even though she isn't able to work for a while, there is something only she can solve. I could picture the creepy house and its former inhabitants very well, because Helen Phifer's writing is so vivid. Annie is damaged, but she's tough and resilient. She wants to find a rational explanation for what's happening to her, but when she finds out what she's seeing and feeling is real she doesn't shut her eyes. Instead she starts doing her research. Her strong will and character are making her a great heroine.

The Ghost House is an incredibly creepy and gripping story. What happens and happened in and around the house is spine-chilling. The story constantly kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen to Annie. The ending is spectacular and made me want to read more straight away. The Ghost House is a magnificent read and it's perfect for those who have a strong stomach and nerves of steel.

Review by Suze

Sophie is scared because of a creepy man in the shadows. The man terrifies her and he smells really bad. He wants something from her and he isn't going to leave her alone. Father John is taking her family in as soon as he finds out about the reeking man in the shadows, but unfortunately Sophie isn't strong enough to fight against what she doesn't understand and the man in the shadows manages to take her.

When Annie Graham sees a little girl she has the feeling something is wrong. Annie instantly knows the girl is a ghost. Her colleagues at the police station are working on a murder case. A young woman is being found at a cemetery. Her murderer took the time to artificially drape her over a gravestone. What's the motive behind this horrible act of violence? Annie is doing something else to get some rest, but somehow she still finds herself involved in the frightening new case. Why is Annie seeing that little girl all of a sudden, what message does the ghost have for her? Will Annie be able to stay safe this time or is her life in danger again?

The Secrets of the Shadows is another gripping book about Annie Graham. Annie has some personal problems and therefore she isn't actively involved in the case her team is working on, but something isn't right and she has to find out what it is. I was intrigued from the start and was anxious to find out more about both the shadow man and the mysterious murder. Annie Graham is a brave and tough woman. She has such good instincts, she always finds a way out of dire situations and she's incredibly clever. Her cases are fascinating and eerie at the same time.

Helen Phifer writes in a fabulous descriptive way. I could almost smell the man in the shadows and it was easy to picture every single detail of the story. I was genuinely afraid because of the evil that can effortlessly find access to someone's house and take whatever he wants. It's a fantastic subject for a story and I liked the execution very much. The Secrets of the Shadows is a scary story both set in the past and the present and I found each of these parts equally compelling. There are many surprising elements, which made me want to keep reading without pause. I absolutely loved this amazing haunting crime story.

Advice

The Annie Graham series is a great choice for readers who love crime series with paranormal and horror elements. I'd advise you to start with the first book and read the stories in their correct order.

About Helen Phifer


I was a member of the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme in 2012 and it is brilliant. If you are an unpublished writer on a quest for publication I cannot recommend it enough. I met my lovely editor Anna at my first RNA conference in July of the same year for a ten minute appointment which changed my life. I am very proud to say that I am now a full member of the RNA and I am very excited to have been able to join the Crime Writers Association and The Society of Authors.

I have been reading and writing since I was very young, devouring every book in school and at home that I could get my hands on. I loved Enid Blyton and the Famous Five in my pre-teen years and spent many a Sunday afternoon whisked away to somewhere far more exciting than my small bedroom. In my teenage years I progressed to Stephen King who would scare the living daylights out of me and I could never get enough. I devoured everything he wrote along with James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton and many more.

I love to read books which are page turners and make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, unfortunately these books seem a lot harder to find than when I was a teenager so I set about writing my own. The Ghost House has taken about eight years from start to finish and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. The Secrets of the Shadows was written in just six months and I enjoyed writing that even more. I have the most amazing readers who take the time to Tweet and Facebook me to tell me how much they have enjoyed reading both books and it's fabulous. They tell me how they couldn't go to bed because they had to finish the chapter they were reading and that is exactly what I hoped for.

Author links

Website: www.helenphifer.co.uk/
Blog: https://helenphifer.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/helenphifer1
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7106247.Helen_Phifer

Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
 
I’m 46 years old married with five grown up children and four adorable grandchildren, I work for the police and I write every spare minute I can. I love coffee, cake, chocolate, champagne and everything that makes life worth living.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?
 
 Reading a scary book or watching some of the ghost programmes on the television, I’m quite partial to a good horror film as well. I recently watched The Conjuring 2 and it scared the living daylights out of me.

3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?
 
That would have to be Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s It, my all time favourite book.

4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?
 
Board up my house, stockpile as much food as possible and make as many weapons as possible. I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

5. What's your favorite horror movie?
 
Ooh that’s a toughie, probably The Shining with Jack Nicholson. I loved his portrayal of Jack Torrance, he has those crazy eyes which made him perfect.

6. What's your worst nightmare?
 
Waking up and being paralysed with fear because some spirit is pinning me down and I can’t see them or get them off me. I’ve had this a couple of times and I’ve tried to scream knowing that my husband is next to me and he can’t hear me to help.

7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?
 
It would have to be Simon Baker for Will Ashworth, Luke Evans for Edward and Julia Roberts would make a pretty good Annie.

8. What inspired you to write horror stories?
 
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved ghost stories, when I was a teenager I discovered Stephen King and Dean Koontz. That was it, I was hooked. I loved the fact that I could read a story that scared me half to death and they did, very much.

9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?
 
The fact that just about anything goes, I like the scope for stories. I love haunted houses, hotels, train stations. There is so much inspiration in every abandoned building I see. I like being able to scare people the same way I was scared as a teenager. I’ve had a few of my amazing readers tell me that they couldn’t get up in the night to go to the toilet which is amazing.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?
 
I’m currently writing the second book in a crime series which has no ghosts or ghouls in sight, but I have so many ideas for scary stories that as soon as I get a moment I’ll begin writing them because there are so many people who need scaring.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Ghost House by Helen Phifer.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review - Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Review by Suze

Scarlett and Tella are sisters and they're living a miserable life because of their father's abuse. They want to escape and Scarlett dreams of Caraval, a magical island where nothing is as it seems. Scarlett writes to Master Legend, the man who organizes Caraval's yearly week-long game with a much desired prize, the fulfillment of a wish. The audience is part of the game and in Caraval nothing is as it seems. Shortly before Scarlett's supposed to get married to a man she's never met she finally gets the letter of her dreams. She's being invited to take part in Legend's show.

Scarlett and Tella are planning on traveling to Caraval together. To reach Caraval they have to leave the island that's always been their home. Tella has a plan and without Scarlett's knowledge she manages their escape. However, when Scarlett arrives at Caraval, only shortly after her sister first set foot on the island, she discovers that Tella is missing. Legend has Tella and to get her sister back Scarlett doesn't only need to play the game, she has to win. Caraval is magic, it can fool people and there are plenty of unwritten rules. Scarlett has no idea who she can and can't trust. Will she manage to make it till the end of Legend's show and will she ever see Tella again?

Scarlett is serious and caring. She loves Tella dearly and does everything in her power to keep her sister safe. She's careful and because of her father's manipulative and abusive character she always tries to avert risks. Tella is much more adventurous. She's impulsive, she follows her heart and she easily gets into trouble. The sisters are very different, but they are incredibly close. When Scarlett finds out Tella is missing she's desperate to get her back. She has to play Legend's game and does it with much bravery and a good head on her shoulders. She has to follow her instincts and that isn't always easy. There's help and she might even fall in love, which she shouldn't because she's about to get married. I felt bad for the girls because they don't have much freedom and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out what the future would have in store for them.

Caraval is a fantastic story. I was immediately impressed by Stephanie Garber's creativity, ingenious writing, skillful world building and beautiful descriptive writing style. I could easily picture Legend's magical island, the tricks and illusions, the gorgeous surroundings and the surrealism of the place. I loved every single part of it. Caraval is an original story with many unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed being surprised in numerous different ways and liked the adrenaline rush of the game. The story has a brilliant ending, which kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend Caraval, it's a spellbinding, entertaining and compelling story.

Advice

If you love magical stories with an original setting and plenty of surprises Caraval will be an excellent choice.

Six Books by Philippa Gregory, Sterling Silver Necklace & Mug Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win six books by Philippa Gregory, a gorgeous mug and a beautiful sterling silver necklace. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt - Book Review & Giveaway


Bookreview
 by Anniek
 
Ava never thought in a million years that, at the age of 35, she'd be where she is now. She married David who is a lot older than she is. David is a millionaire and Ava played her part as a trophy wife. Ava thought they loved each other, sort of. When David dies unexpectedly and leaves her with the same amount of money as the housekeeper Ava feels betrayed. His children always disliked her and want her out of the house as soon as possible. How will Ava manage to get back on her feet with no education or any real work experience?

Ava finds a cute and small cottage at Willoughby Close. She moves in at number 3 with her dog Zuzu. Ava has close to nothing, but luckily she gets help from the caretaker Jace, who supplies her with some much needed furniture. Now that she has found a place to live Ava has to start thinking about ways to make money. She has to find a job and she has to find it rather fast. This isn't the first time in her life that Ava has to start over, but then life throws her another curveball when she finds herself pregnant. Will Ava be able to make a fresh start and give her baby a promising future?

Ever since she was a young girl Ava learned to depend on nobody but herself. She's beautiful and did everything that was expected from her while she was married to David. Ava doesn't have friends or relatives to lean on and I felt for her pain and sadness. I hated the way David's children treat her like she was nothing and I felt proud about the way that Ava handles them. Ava finds it difficult to trust people and I loved to read about her neighbors, who still managed to become friends. Ava is a sweet and caring person when she lets her guard down. I laughed out loud when I read about her bantering with old Lady Stokely, who lives in the manor close to Willoughby Close. Ava is feisty and outspoken and she'll love unconditionally if she lets you in.

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close is the fourth book in the Willoughby Close series. I fell in love with these cozy little countryside cottages ever since I read Meet Me at Willoughby Close. Kate is a skilled writer and I'm having no trouble at all to picture Ava and her neighbors living at the beautiful and warm Willoughby Close. The place is magical and I was looking forward to be reading about Ava. I loved her story about learning to trust not only herself, but also others again. With Kiss Me at Willoughby Close, Kate Hewitt has written another brilliant story, which is a perfect addition to her wonderful series.

Advice

The Willoughby Close series is perfect for readers who love small town romance. The books can be read as standalones. If you want to read the whole series, I'd recommend you to start with the first story, A Cotswold Christmas.

 About Kate Hewitt

 
About Kate Hewitt: Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.
 
She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.
 
Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

Author links
 

Giveaway

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One very lucky winner will receive a £10 Amazon gift card. One runner up will get a paperback copy of Find Me at Willoughby Close.
 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Face of All Your Fears Notebook, Tote Bag & Pillow Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a The Face of All Your Fears notebook, pillow and tote bag set designed by Liransz. Good luck!
 

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.
 
 


With Love For Reviews - Guest Post by Kelly Moore

 
 
Why are reviews so important to an author?
Guest post by Kelly Moore

There are many reasons reviews are important to an author. The first being that it increases our visibility and helps us to connect with our readers, which in turn increases our sales. Readers rely heavily on reviews as to whether or not they want to read a book.

Then there is the Amazon algorithm, which remains a mystery to me, but the more reviews we get, the more free promotion we get from amazon. Which leads to sites like Bookbub. The coveted Bookbub promotions won’t even promote your book unless you have so many reviews on amazon. So, reviews are important for us to gain promotions for us to grow substantially. I can have 45 4 to 5-star reviews on one book, but unless I hit their “magical” number, there is no advertising with them.

For me personally, I do read my reviews. I know some authors don’t. I read them because I learn from them. The negative one’s help me grow as an author if they are constructive. They tell me what I didn’t give them that they wanted. Was my bad guy cheesy? Were my characters likable? Why didn't they connect with them? It tells me what I could have done better. On the flip side, the positive reviews tell me what they loved and I can grow as an author from those comments as well.

Being an author and putting yourself out there for the world to see is tough. We like to hear whether or not what we wrote is what you like. It’s our reward for a job that can be very lonely. We spend long hours in front of a computer developing plots, writing, deleting, re-writing, and then editing. We put our hearts into each word on paper. Some books are emotionally draining and we depend on feedback to let us know that it was worth it.

Reviews can be a few words. I have a recent review that was posted on one of my books, all the reviewer said was, “I am mind blown,” leaving 5 stars. What a powerful review without writing a lot. Just a few words, takes very little time, but what a difference it makes to an author.

I appreciate so much everyone that leaves a review. I always want honest reviews. If a reader doesn’t like something, it’s okay to say it constructively. I don’t want to wear “rose color glasses” thinking I’m putting out good work when really I’m not. At the same token, if you really love a book, I want to hear about it everywhere. Word of mouth is one of the best advertising tools we have and it is free. I love free, just like readers love free books.

I personally want to thank every reader and blogger who has taken the time to leave a review. I cannot thank you enough.

About Kelly Moore

 
Hi my name is Kelly Moore and I am Southern girl raised in Florida. I am a registered nurse actually an ICU traveling nurse, wife, mother of two children and I have three grandchildren. I have always been an avid reader and kept journals. Until Broken Pieces, I never had the courage to attempt an erotic romance book and submit it for publishing. I tend to embrace the brokenness in all of us. It makes us who we are. I love to see people come out strong and win against past pains.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing the story…….

Author links


Books by Kelly Moore
 
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JillyJilly Book Lover & Space Notebook and Mug Sets Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Jilly Jilly Book Lover & Space notebook and mug sets. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

With Love For Horror Books: Life After the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair - Book Review & Giveaway


Review by Anniek

Krista is waiting for the school bus when things go terribly wrong. She hurries home and convinces her parents that something horrible is happening and that they have to do something. When the horde of zombies are shuffling down the streets Krista and her parents hide in the attic. They know that it's not safe to stay in their house for much longer. They decide to go to a military outpost and hope that they'll find sanctuary within their walls. When a lot of people have the same idea the check-in station is swamped with the living who can't wait to be inside. Will there be safety in numbers or will this only make the situation more dangerous?

Krista and her parents have climbed up into an outlook post to stay there for the night. The walking dead can't get to them, which means they can sleep and recharge their batteries, so they'll be as ready as possible for the dangerous journey that lies ahead. Krista has a strong need to find out what happened. She isn't blinded by human politics and will fight with everything she's got to make the world a habitable place again. A lot of people who are living safely in a secured hotel are pretending that the world hasn't been taken over by zombies. When true colors are shown, will Krista have what it takes to make the right choices?

Krista is just a young teenage girl when her world falls apart. She has to grow up fast to stay alive. Krista is smart and quick and her instincts are flawless. She listens to what her gut is telling her and when something doesn't feel right Krista will look for alternatives. I loved how determined she is to live and survive. She goes out on runs to get much needed supplies and she has trained endlessly to get very skilled at dealing with the undead. Krista has lost a lot but she stays strong. She also manages to keep her humanity amongst all the horror. She's a true kickass heroine and I was rooting for her to succeed in building a new and secure life for herself and others.

Life After the Undead is a gripping and chilling story about a young girl's survival in a zombie infested world. The terrifying situations kept me on the edge of my seat. Krista is such a great character, which made it easy for me to connect to her and her story. I love anything zombie related, so I'll never turn down the chance to read a story about this subject. Pembroke Sinclair has a great mind and I love how she puts in unexpected twists and turns without being too obvious. If Life After the Undead would ever be made into a TV-series I would be glued to my screen. I can't wait to read more books by this amazing author.

Advice

Life After the Undead brings you hordes of zombies and an amazing female survivor. If you're a fan of the zombie genre Life After the Undead is a story you shouldn't miss.

Free book

If you sign up for Pembroke Sinclair's newsletter you'll get a digital copy of Life after the Undead for free. You can sign up here: http://pembrokesinclair.blogspot.nl/

About Pembroke Sinclair
 


When I first started writing, my goal was to be classified as a sci fi/fantasy writer. But as I honed my skills and found my writing style, I found that I enjoyed writing in several different genres. Now, I write an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from Westerns to horror to sci fi to fantasy.

The first story I had published was based on one of my spouse's guiding adventures. After that, things just fell into place. I've had several short stories published in several different places, and I have two novels, with a third on they way, and I recently signed a contract for my fourth. One of my short stories, Sohei, was even voted as a "Best of 2008" story by the Cynic Online.

I also write nonfiction, which I publish under my real name. My first dabbling in nonfiction was when I wrote my thesis for my Master's in English. I never really got into it. I tried to get a couple of articles published, but no one wanted to read about slasher films, so I put them away.

My father-in-law hooked me up with a gig writing for an agricultural magazine, Western Farmer-Stockman. I knew very little about agriculture (still don't, really), but with a little research, you can become an expert in anything! I emailed the editor, and he took me on without looking at a resume or a writing sample. It was flabbergasting. Luckily for both of us, it worked out. After 3 years, I stopped writing agricultural articles. They became incredibly time consuming and tedious. I wanted to spend that time working on fiction and not looking for another person to interview. But the experience I gained was priceless. I'm glad I had the opportunity to work for Western Farmer-Stockman.

I was also a staff writer for a magazine that focuses on serial killers. I fell into that. My goal was to send in one article and leave it at that, but the editor liked my writing style so much, he asked me to produce more articles. I was also lucky enough to write the articles for the calendar they put out. I had several other articles published by them, but, like the agricultural articles, they were time consuming and not what I wanted to focus on.

My biggest nonfiction project to date is developing my thesis into a book. That has been interesting. That is still an ongoing saga...

Eventually, I finished turning my thesis into a book and found a publishing company who was willing to print it, Scarecrow Press. It was released in June 2012. For more information about my stories, please check out the "Short Stories" tab and the "Novels, Novellas, and Nonfiction" tab.

Author links


Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a digital copy of Death to the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair.
 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.
 
 
 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review - Blackberry Way by Emma Davies

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Review by Suze
 
Laura loves to make beautiful and delicious things with fruit and flowers she can find in nature. When Freya discovers what she can do she asks Laura to help her with her wedding decorations. Freya and Sam are getting married and she'd love to show people how creative Laura can be. Laura has closed herself off from others and is living a solitary life. It won't be easy to convince her to take the job.
 
When Laura and Stephen literally bump into each other part of Laura's past is coming to the surface once more. Stephen likes Laura and would love to see her again. He's trying to change his ways and become a better man. Sam and Freya have given him a second chance and he's finally getting his life back on track. Will there be room for a mysterious broken woman and how will Stephen convince Laura it's a good idea to spend time with him?
 
Blackberry Way is a wonderful romantic story. I love the Tales From Appleyard novellas and enjoyed reading about Freya and Sam again. I liked that Stephen finally sees that his behavior was wrong and does his best to make things right. He's genuinely sorry for the hurt he's caused and that made me like him a lot more. He's sweet and gentle with Laura and I loved how careful he is with her. She's smart and creative, but what happened to her in the past made her vulnerable and she prefers being on her own, with just a few older friends, so nobody will be able to hurt her again. My heart ached for her and I kept wishing she'd find some happiness again after all the tragedy she went through.
 
Emma Davies has a lovely warm writing style. Her stories are original and comforting and they always put a big smile on my face. I love her settings, especially the fields with flowers, cozy cottages and orchards with delicious fruit. She describes them in a beautiful vivid way and it's easy to picture everything she writes about. When I'm reading Emma Davies's stories I stop noticing what happens around me and I'm being transported to a gorgeous welcoming world. I highly recommend the Tales from Appleyard stories. They're cheerful, enchanting, invigorating and heartwarming.
 
Advice
 
Blackberry Way is part 4 of a series. I'd recommend you to read the Tales From Appleyard novellas in their correct order and start with Merry Mistletoe, so you'll have all the details of Freya's story. The Tales from Appleyard novellas are perfect for readers who love heartwarming countryside stories.