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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

February Book of Choice Giveaway Hop



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a February 2018 release of your choice worth $15. 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: Survive Another Day & Die Another Day by Baileigh Higgins - Book Reviews & Giveaway


Review by Anniek

During the first days of the apocalypse ordinary men and women are trying to understand what is happening. Going to the supermarket because they forgot something can be the last thing they've ever done. Nobody understands what the effect will be once they've been bitten. With innocent ignorance they all go home suspecting a full recovery from the wound. Little do they know, that because of them their loved ones will be fighting for their lives, trying to survive another day. Who has the strength and the luck to make it out alive?

Survive Another Day tells the background stories of the characters we got to know in the first book of the Dangerous Days series, Last Another Day. Some of the characters are instantly recognizable and some of them will be lesser known. I loved to read about the first days when the world they knew has ended forever. It feels more real learning about how some of them got infected and what their lives were like. These tragic events fortunately have survivors as well. The stories evolve around the following question, how will you keep going when everything you held dear has been taken away from you?

Survive Another Day contains eight chapters about different people who were confronted with the walking dead. Even though these are short stories, they tell a full tale and they all grabbed me immediately. Baileigh Higgins makes you feel the fear that her characters are feeling. I absolutely love it when I get lost in a story. Ever since I started Last Another Day I've been hooked on this series. I read Survive Another Day in one sitting and I started in the next book immediately.


Review by Anniek

After the biggest loss of his life Logan roams the country. He sleeps in his truck and is drunk every single day. The buzz of the alcohol keeps him numb and that's exactly the way he needs to be right now. Logan was part of a community, but he left the members behind. He's always been a loner and now he's gone back to his old ways. While he's driving through the streets he spots a big group of zombies. They're trying to reach someone who lies unconsciously on a roof. If the zombies are still trying to reach for her, that can only mean one thing, the girl on the roof is still alive. Will Logan get to her before the zombies do?

The other survivor's of Logan's community are in desperate need of medical supplies. With two women in the last stage of their pregnancies they have to be prepared. The only way to get these supplies is to raid the hospital. These are death traps and they have to carefully plan their trip. When they open up the wrong door by mistake the halls are filled with the walking dead. They barely make it out alive. A doctor and his bodyguard were trying to find a cure and they're devastated that they have to leave the lab. Can this doctor do the impossible and find a cure for the zombie virus?

After all they've been through it turns out that the walking dead are not the only threats the members of the community have to deal with. A nearby group of malicious survivors are on the hunt for more power. These men are evil and have no respect for other human beings. The community has done so much already to keep out the zombies, but they hadn't thought about how to keep out the living. They instantly have to come up with a plan or everything they have built could be destroyed. 

Logan's friends have lost so much and even after all the hurt and pain they still stand tall. I admired that in this group. I was hoping for them to come out as the winners without too many casualties. Die Another Day is an action-packed story about the survivors in a zombie apocalypse. Since I'm a big fan of the zombie genre I can't resist to pick one up if I think it will be a good one. I was already drawn in by the covers of these books and the stories don't disappoint. Baileigh Higgins kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole series. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough because I wanted to find out what would happen next. The Dangerous Days series is absolutely brilliant and is a definite must-read if you love to read zombie stories that will chill you to the bone.

Advice

If you love the post-apocalyptic and zombie genre the Dangerous Days series is a series you don't want to miss. The books can't be read as standalones and they have to be read in chronological order.

Free book

If you sign up for Baileigh Higgins's newsletter you will get Lycan Advent and The Hybrid Theory for free, plus you will be notified when she has a new release, promotion or giveaway.

About Baileigh Higgins


South African writer and coffee addict, Baileigh Higgins, lives in the Free State with hubby and best friend Brendan and loves nothing more than lazing on the couch with pizza and a bad horror movie.

Her unhealthy obsession with the end of the world has led to numerous books on the subject and a secret bunker only she knows the location of. She's never happier than when surrounded by friends and family. After all, home is with those you care the most about.

Links

Website: https://www.baileighhiggins.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BaileighHiggins/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HigginsBaileigh
Amazon: amazon.com/author/baileighhiggins
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15863007.Baileigh_Higgins

Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and digital copies of Last Another Day, Survive Another Day, Die Another Day and Live Another Day.

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

When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham - Book Review & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Willa tries to stay as invisible as possible. She works for cash in a garage owned by the Abbot brothers in Cottonbloom. Willa is great with cars, but not so good with people. She doesn't have any friends and keeps everyone at a distance. This changes when Jackson, one of Willa's bosses, starts noticing her as a woman instead of just a good mechanic. Willa has always liked him, but she doesn't think it's wise to get involved with someone because of her past. The attraction proves to be difficult to resist, can she risk following her heart?

Jackson knows Willa is keeping secrets. He wants to protect her and gain her trust, so she will open up to him. Willa is a vital part of the garage and he values her both as a colleague and since a short while also as a friend, but he'd love for them to become something more. Willa feels safe with Jackson. Can he use this to make her talk about what's been bothering her for so long and can Jackson help her to solve her problems, so they'd have a real chance together or is their relationship too fragile for Willa to put her trust in it?

When the Stars Come Out is a wonderful romantic story. Willa is tough and capable. She hides her vulnerability between thick walls she's built around herself. She doesn't want to let anyone in, but Jackson proves to be persistent and slowly he makes some progress. I couldn't wait to see if he'd be able to convince Willa she'd be able to tell him everything and read their story in one sitting. Willa's secrets are interesting and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out what she was hiding. She and Jackson are a great match. They're both kindhearted people with plenty of intriguing layers.

Laura Trentham's wonderful descriptions of her settings are always making me fall in love with her stories straight away. I really enjoyed reading about the garage and it was fun to go on a fictional journey to Cottonbloom again, it's one of my all time favorite romantic settings. I love the vivid descriptions of the town and its inhabitants. Laura Trentham combines a mesmerizing place to read about with fascinating love stories that put a big smile on my face. I loved When the Stars Come Out, it's a fantastic feelgood story.

Advice

If you love stories about true love, secrets and wonderful towns you will definitely like When the Stars Come Out. It's the fifth story in the Cottonbloom series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Laura Trentham


An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Links

Author Website
Facebook
Author Blog
Twitter

Giveaway

One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will win a paperback copy of Leave the Night On.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Laura Trentham's giveaway

One very lucky winner will receive the first four books in The Cottonbloom Series. Kiss Me That Way, Then He Kissed Me, Till I Kissed You and Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham. If the winner lives in the US the books will be signed.

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Books by Sophie McKenzie, Mugs, Chocolate, Tea & Tin Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win books by Sophie McKenzie, mugs, chocolate, a tin and tea. Good luck!


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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

With Love for Horror Books: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

After Winter's father disappears in the wood it's Winter's job to guide lost travelers back to where they're from. This guardianship is part of her heritage. Winter's father never had the chance to complete the instructions he was supposed to give to his daughter, so Winter has to do a lot of discovering on her own. Sending accidental visitors home isn't too difficult, but this changes when the wood becomes darker and more violent. Why is it transforming?

Winter doesn't have to find out more about the problems with the wood by herself. A traveler from a different time ends up in her section. He isn't there by accident, he's entered her world on purpose because he's looking for help. Together they're trying to unravel the mystery behind the increased violence and the disappearances of their loved ones. The wood is poisoned and is becoming more and more dangerous, will they find their answers in time to stop this process or will Winter lose everything she holds dear?

The Wood is a fantastic creepy story. I loved the setting, a forest where lost wanderers appear who need to be sent back to their correct time and place. It's a great idea for a story. I liked that the wood is sentient and couldn't wait to discover more about its secrets. Winter is a smart and resilient main character. She's brave, attentive and resourceful. I loved how she keeps following her instincts and this eventually leads her to the truth. I was really curious about the secrets the wood was hiding and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out more.

Chelsea Bobulski's writing has a nice easy flow. I was enchanted by her setting. I love reading about scary places that the sunshine can't reach and the volatility of the wood kept me on the edge of my seat. I was intrigued by the magic she describes and liked the combination of time traveling with dark fantasy. The Wood is a captivating book filled with family secrets, eerie characters and unconditional love.

Advice

If you love fantasy with dark creepy settings The Wood would be an excellent choice.

About Chelsea Bobulski


I’ve always been obsessed with storytelling, a passion that was cultivated from an early age by my mother reading The Berenstain Bears and Little Critter books to me before bedtime. It doesn’t matter the medium—books, movies, TV, theater, dance, art—if there’s a story to be shared, you have my full attention. I was the kid on the playground who couldn’t just play hide-and-seek or tag; I had to come up with a story for why we were hiding or running away (not sure if the other kids found this charming or simply tolerated it. Probably the latter).

After an author visited my elementary school, I realized I could take these wild stories I was always coming up with and write them down. In my middle school years, this love of writing turned into fanfiction revolving around my favorite TV shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and my favorite book series (Harry Potter).

I continued writing through my high school and college years, although it was much more of a hobby at that time, something I did when I was bored or supposed to be taking notes (shh, don’t tell anyone). It wasn’t until I took a writing class at the Thurber House taught by the amazing Lisa Klein that I realized I wanted to pursue writing as my career. I immediately told my boyfriend what I wanted to do with my life, and he has been my number one fan and supporter ever since.

Suffice it to say, I married him.

Links

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Goodreads

The Books, TV Shows, and Movies that Inspired The Wood
Guest post by Chelsea Bobulski

I’ve been obsessed with horror from a very young age. Specifically, with the idea that there is not only more magic in this world than meets the eye, but that there is also a constant battle between good and evil, forces of light, and forces of darkness. I think that’s actually a very common obsession for young children. There’s something about that time in our lives when our eyes are more open to seeing and understanding the hidden layers of our world, but many people lose that fascination and that curiosity as they get older. The world becomes more matter-of-fact; more surface-level. The only things that matter, the only things that are “real,” are the things that meet-the-eye.

But, for some of us, those forces we instinctively recognized from a young age still draw us in; still call to that part of us that sees past the surface level of this world to the many hidden things buried beneath. For me, this curiosity and fascination reveals itself in the kinds of books I

like to write. Books in which nothing is as it appears on the outside; where magic lives side-by-side with every day life; and where forces of light and forces of darkness still clash.

My debut YA novel, The Wood, is a contemporary fantasy about a magical wood that connects worlds, and the girl who has been called to guard it, and although it contains elements of different genres blended together, there is a good amount of horror in it, as there tends to be with all of my books thanks to this predilection I’ve had since I was a young child, and that was especially cultivated by the books, TV shows, and movies I loved in those formative years. So, without further ado, here are the horror books, shows, and movies that shaped me as a writer, and that, in turn, shaped The Wood (if you’re a fellow 90s kid, you’ll probably recognize all of these).

Books

(1) The House on Hackman’s Hill by Joan Lowery Nixon: I was obsessed with this book as a child (which I’m pretty sure I got from the Scholastic Book Fair the year it came out), and when I try to think of the horror books I read as a kid that really shaped me as a writer, this one tops the list. An old house haunted by the spirit of Anubis? Yes, please. (2) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: If you are a fan of horror and have never read this book, or if you’re new to horror and looking for a book that really encapsulates what the best of the genre looks like, you MUST read this book. It’s considered by most horror writers to be the quintessential example of what good, modern horror should be. (3) The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red by Ridley Pearson: This book was written as a companion novel to the Stephen King TV miniseries, Rose Red (see below),

“documenting” the life of Ellen Rimbauer, one of the spirits that haunts Rose Red. This was one of those books that gripped me from the very first sentence and never let go, and that lingers in my mind to this day.

TV

(1) Are You Afraid of the Dark?—I terrified my older cousins by making them watch this show. I think I was around three or four when I first started watching it, which, admittedly, was probably way too young, but it was such an entertaining show, where each episode told a different scary story. I still think of the monster in the swimming pool episode every time I go swimming.

(2) Rose Red—A horror miniseries by Stephen King about a parapsychologist and a group of psychics investigating the weird disturbances at a haunted house inspired by the real-life Winchester Mansion. A definite must-watch for Stephen King fans.

(3) Scariest Places on Earth—This was a documentary series hosted by Linda Blair that ran on ABC Family from 2000-2006. Each episode highlighted a certain place known for paranormal activity, and then sent an ordinary family there to investigate it overnight. I’m pretty sure I saw every single episode (Dracula’s castle stands out in my mind as being particularly good), and I still get chills down my spine when I think of the creepy voice that narrated it.

(4) Buffy the Vampire Slayer—This show was everything to middle-school me, and it’s not only one of the best female-empowering shows ever written, but it was also a master class for me on good writing, pacing, character development, and how to increase the

stakes. I recommend it to all writers, not just fans of horror/paranormal (although for you horror fans, the Hush episode is particularly terrifying).

Movies

(1) The Ring—I watched this more times than I can count as a kid. I was obsessed with this story, both in the way it was written, and in the cinematography used to capture it. It is really a very beautifully-crafted movie, and also absolutely terrifying. And the really funny thing is, I don’t know if I could watch it today, because the concept is so horrific in a soul-deep way, and Adult Me doesn’t handle that nearly as well as Child Me did. Probably because I recognize just how messed up it is on a deeper level now than I did then.

(2) The Others—This is another move that I watched over and over again, but that I can still watch today, mostly because it’s the kind of horror that is more intriguing and mystifying than it is soul-deep disturbing. This one is also beautifully written and beautifully executed.

(3) Sixth Sense—I wouldn’t be a 90s kid talking about horror movies if I didn’t mention the movie that launched M. Night Shyamalan’s career, as well as his reputation for a good, slap-you-across-the-face twist. Although this movie will always be a classic to me (and another that I forced my older cousins to watch with me, and made them wonder what the heck was wrong with me that I enjoyed it so much), I have to say that Signs is my favorite Shyamalan film.

*BONUS MOVIE*—To throw in a recent movie that didn’t influence The Wood, but that creeped me out way more than I thought it would, and that will probably influence any future horror I may write, I have to mention last year’s Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele. The writing and cinematic execution of this movie is a stunning example of how sometimes nothing can really get inside of your mind and change the way you view horror like a very simple, but very intentional, story. The things that creeped me out in this movie (like the guy running straight at the camera out of pitch darkness with that horrifying music playing) are not things that, on the surface, you think would be all that terrifying, but I had nightmares over that one scene alone for a week (and that’s not even getting into the premise behind this movie, which is the kind of disturbing that lives inside of you forever once you’ve seen it). Basically what I’m saying is, it’s fantastic, and you all need to watch it.

So, those are the books, TV shows, and movies that shaped me into the writer I am today, and that influenced The Wood and all of my writing. They are also a big reason for why I like to look deeper than what-meets-the eye in this world, to the hidden things lying beneath. Because there is more to this world than what you see.

You knew it when you were a child.

Do you know it still?

Giveaway

One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a hardcover copy of The Wood.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

My Scot, My Surrender by Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan - Book Review & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

It's 1819 and Sorcha is being equally skilled at fighting as her warrior brothers, she might even be better. She's a lady, but she has a reputation. She also has scarring in her face that makes her well known. When she meets Brandt at a festival Sorcha sees a way out of a dire situation. Brandt is a horseman and he's interested in both Sorcha and her animal. When Sorcha kisses Brandt in public they're being forced to marry. This arrangement will suit both of them. Sorcha will get out of a promise she doesn't want to fulfill and Brandt will get the horse he longs to have. However, when they say yes to each other they get more than they bargained for.

The cruel man Sorcha had been promised to by her family doesn't let her go without a fight. He's chasing after her and Brandt. They are both skilled fighters, but they need to find a safe place and shelter at some point. During their journey past secrets come to the surface. Brandt and Sorcha don't even know each other, was their marriage really a good idea and what will they do when they are being confronted with the large number of consequences of their union?

My Scot, My Surrender is a fantastic romantic story with impressive main characters. Sorcha is a fierce warrior. She's a skilled fighter and a smart woman. I liked her spirit and determination. Brandt is a strong man with a good heart. He has a lot of questions about his past and I was curious about the answers. I couldn't wait to discover the truth behind his ancestry. Brandt and Sorcha meet each other by chance, but it's clear they are a great match and I couldn't wait to find out if they'd have a chance together. From the moment they say yes to one another they're being chased and I was gripped by their adventure from beginning to end.

Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan have written another terrific love story. I loved their descriptions of the beautiful rough Scottish landscape and was impressed by the way they're making the time they're writing about come to life. I could easily picture the battles, the power struggles and the family feuds. I enjoyed the combination of an action-packed journey with true love. My Scot, My Surrender is an amazing entertaining, sexy and charming story.

Advice

If you love historical romance with fierce main characters you should definitely read My Scot, My Surrender. It's the fourth book in the Lords of Essex series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Amalie Howard


AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of My Rogue, My Ruin in the historical romance series, the Lords of Essex. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

Links

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

About Angie Morgan


Angie is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult and middle grade books written under two other names (Page Morgan and Angie Frazier), and is now thrilled to be taking a much-anticipated leap into the world of adult romance. My Rogue, My Ruin is the first of three books in her new Lords of Essex series, co-written with good friend and fellow author, Amalie Howard. Angie lives in New Hampshire with her husband, their three daughters, and a menagerie of pets.

Links

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of My Hellion, My Heart.

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

With Love for Books Second Anniversary - Guest Post & Giveaway by Camilla Isley


The Proverbial Glass
Guest post by Camilla Isley

When Anniek and Suze asked me to write a guest post about positivity and kindness to celebrate their two-year anniversary, I couldn’t be more inspired by them and their work. Joining the online book-blogging community a few years ago as an unknown author nobody had ever heard of, I was overwhelmed by the sheer kindness and support I encountered in this nurturing group of people who share a love for reading and want to share that same love with others. So my first words are words of gratitude for Anniek and Suze, thank you for creating such a happy place on the web. We constantly hear news of Cyber-bullying, Cyber-shaming, and other Cyber-horrible-things, but With Love for Books is a Cyber-happy island of joy. A place of love and inclusion, run by two of the most pay-it-forward kind people I had the pleasure to meet as an author.

When thinking about positivity and negativity, I pictured at once in my mind the proverbial glass of water. How the same glass can—and could always—be seen as half empty or half full. Life is a lot like that glass of water, in every situation we can focus on the negatives or the positives. It takes a great effort and a strong mindset, not to be cranky, not to complain, and not to focus on the “bad” stuff. Sometimes it’s just hard to look at the bright side, or even imagine a bright side is there to look at. But we should all try to take a more positive approach toward what life throws at us because complaining for the sake of complaining really accomplishes nothing good.

In my fiction, I always have a lot of fun throwing all kinds of curve balls at my protagonists. I like them to start at rock-bottom and then struggle with them as they pick up the pieces and put their life back on track, learning that what seemed like an unsurmountable obstacle in the beginning, became a mean of growth and transformation. It’s what I like to think all my heroines have in common: a strong will to fight through and never give up on their dreams. And, yes, it is fiction, sometimes way over-the-top fiction—like when I crashed a honeymoon plane for Joanna in A Sudden Crush, stranding her on an island with a perfect stranger—and you probably will never have to deal with a gruff Midwestern rancher on a desert island, or an opinionated genie of the box (I Wish for You), or a gorgeous-but-commitment-phobic new boss (I Have Never), but we can all adopt the same will-deal-no-matter-what attitude in real life.

By writing positive, “happily ever after” books, I try to send a spark of joy out in the world. I want my novels to be a refuge you can turn to when you’re having that proverbial crappy day and seeing the full half of the glass is really difficult. Often, I’m asked what is the best part of writing a novel, and for me, it’s to make people smile. Over the years I’ve received e-mails from readers telling me how they were going through a rough patch and how one of my books gave them a brief escape, made them smile, and put them in a good mood. And that still makes my day, every day, even months later.

Don’t get me wrong, we need sad books, too. Because sometimes we’re just in the mood for a good old cry. But if you want to cheer up, I hope to become one of your go-to authors.

I want to end this post with a happy story. So I write fiction, but like many authors I take inspiration from the little real-life tales I overhear—and it’s not like I eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations on the bus, *cough*—around me in everyday life. In my debut novel, I needed an epic meet-cute for my protagonist, Ally, and her ex, James, and so I borrowed it from reality. Here’s the novelization version:

“You never told me your story. How did you two meet?”

“It was very romantic—a stroke of destiny, you might say.” I gratefully sip my heavily sugared tea before launching into my narration. “It was a rainy day in September. I had just found my first job… well, my only job, since I’m still in it, and it was time for me to move out of the apartment I was sharing with Brooke.

“Upon graduating from college, we decided to split the rent for a nice condo in Wicker Park. But after just a couple of months of cohabitation, it became clear for the both of us that living together wasn’t good

for our friendship, as we kept arguing about almost everything. Plus, she was getting quite serious with Dave, and I sensed they were just waiting for me to move out so he could move in.

“So, I started searching for a place to live on my own where the rent wouldn’t cut too deep into my entry-level salary. After four years of hideous college roommates and the not-so-good experience with my best friend, I’d decided I was going to live alone, no matter the financial stress. If it hadn’t worked with Brooke, it would’ve never worked with anybody else, and I wanted to be free for once. Free to shower at any weird time of the day or night, to clean when I wanted to, and not when it was ‘my turn’, to watch whatever the hell I wanted on TV, and I was tired of having to wash every single dish the second I’d finished using it.”

“Is it not a custom to have maids attending to these mundane tasks?” the genie asks without a trace of irony.

“Not if you’re young and broke. Anyway, back to that day. I was heading home from work, and of course, I’d forgotten my umbrella. Soaking wet and in a hurry to reach the subway, I had my leather bag suspended over my head in a vain attempt at salvaging my hair from the pouring water, achieving only a reduction of my field of vision by half.

“Partly blinded by the rain and by my outstretched arms, I jumped on the first steps leading to my station without paying much attention to the track, and I gladly leaped on the arriving train. Inside, I found a seat right across from James and one of his friends.

“I was immediately fascinated by his dirty blond hair and warm mocha-brown eyes. He smiled at me, made a funny comment about the weather, and started a conversation. We chatted comfortably for a while until I heard the train’s speaker announcing the next stop. I asked no one in particular about what direction we were heading, and James confirmed that I had taken the train in the opposite direction to Wicker Park. At that point, I jumped up from my seat, eager to get off as soon as possible, but with my usual clumsiness, I sent my bag flying in the air, spilling its contents all over the floor.

“I quickly managed to collect everything in time to get off, and I was looking around to check if anything was missing when James handed me a book I had just started reading that had fallen under his seat. He had a dashing smile stamped on his lips, and I remember disembarking the train feeling sorry I would never see his charming face again.”

“But if you left, how did you find him afterward?” the genie asks.

“Be patient, I am getting to it,” I say, carrying on with my story. “The very next day I found this apartment. I know it may not seem like much to you, but for me, a one bedroom with a decent size living room, one and a half baths, in a nice neighborhood, and at an affordable price was all I could hope for. Having five hundred and twenty square feet solely to myself was a humongous improvement at the time, and more than enough for my first bachelorette pad. Anyway, that weekend I packed all my belongings, including the novel I was reading, and I was ready to move.

“As you may have noticed by now, I am not the tidiest person in the world. In fact, it took me a couple of months to sort through all the boxes, and it wasn’t until then that I rescued the famous book from lying forgotten at the bottom of one of them. I remember it as if it were just yesterday. It was a freezing Saturday afternoon in November—going out was out of the question due to the weather, so I decided to spend the afternoon cozily reading at home.

“When I reached about halfway through the book, a white business card fell out of it. I recall being equally puzzled and excited by the discovery, even more so when my brain did the math and I understood it was the card of the attractive guy I’d met on the train. He must’ve slipped it in before returning the book to me.

“I kept flipping it in my hands for a very long time, undecided whether to call or not. I mean, I had met him two months previously—for all I knew, he could have a girlfriend by then, or he could be mad at me for not calling him sooner. In the end, I decided to give it a go. Whatever, I thought. Nothing to lose here. So I called him.

“At first I was a bit embarrassed, and I rambled a bit until he connected the dots and asked me if I was the soaked girl from the train. I said yes, and he joked that I was the slowest reader he knew. Then he asked me on a date, to which I said yes again. And, well, the rest is history.”

You may say now, what an incredible story. Yeah, and also a 100% true story. A real couple met just like that, and the best part is they got married, eventually. This meet-cute is a perfect example of how a dead-negative distraction like taking the wrong train at the end of a long day of work could turn into the chance encounter of a lifetime. And I’m not saying that every little mishap will turn into an epic stroke of luck, only that I prefer to believe it could. And that positive things are always waiting just around the corner, all we have to do is walk there and be willing to look.



Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Author links


Free books

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I Wish for You & Let's Be Just Friends are free on Amazon right now. I Wish for You will be free from January 30th until February 3rd.


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Giveaway

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One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a The Bucket list planner and a digital copy of I Have Never. Two runner ups will get a digital copy of I Have Never.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Kindle Fire 7 & Happy Jackson Pouches, Notebooks and Mug Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7 and Happy Jackson pouches, notebooks and a mug. Good luck!


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

London, Can You Wait? by Jacquelyn Middleton - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Alex believed that she could do it and she did. She's living in London and is a playwright. The play she wrote has been doing well and now the public is awaiting her next success. When Alex first arrived in London she had an awful start, but she's found great friends and has been in a steady relationship with Mark. Mark is everything Alex ever dreamed about and their relationship moves to the next level when she meets his family. Is Mark the happily ever after she always hoped she'd find?

Mark is an actor and when a role in a British TV show hits it big he becomes famous overnight. This means that Alex has to share Mark with the public and this is not always easy. Mark is away a lot and he finds it difficult to say no to the suggestions of his agent. Now that Mark is a big star his life is looking bright and positive. Alex has had problems with anxiety attacks before and they've come back with a vengeance. Not wanting to ruin Mark's success she keeps this from him. How much will Alex keep to herself before she has to make a choice to bend or break?

Alex is such a sweet and kind person. She is also terribly naive, but she knows this about herself. She always gives everything in relationships and friendships, only to get hurt most of the time. She struggles with her self-confidence. Her mother isn't supportive of her choices and Alex has a hard time dealing with the emotional consequences. Mark has been her rock and I loved how caring they are towards each other. Alex is not afraid to be tough when she needs to be, but this often costs her a lot. Mark has been hiding a secret and I was hoping for him to find the courage to tell Alex what happened in the past.

London, Can You Wait? is a beautiful love story about two people who are so right for each other. I always love to read stories which are based in London. I've been there several times and all of my wonderful memories came to the surface while I was reading London, Can You Wait? Jacquelyn Middleton's writing is realistic and I could easily sympathize with the main characters. I loved her debut novel London Belongs to Me and with London, Can You Wait? Jacquelyn Middleton has written another great story that I highly recommend. London, Can You Wait? is a delightful story with fascinating main characters, many interesting emotional layers and brilliant writing.

Advice

London, Can You Wait? is the second book in the London Belongs to Me series. It can be read as a standalone, but if you want Alex's complete story you should start with London Belongs to Me. These stories are the perfect choice for readers who love romantic stories set in London. 

About Jacquelyn Middleton


Hey guys! My name is Jacquelyn but feel free to call me Jackie. Everyone does! As a little kid who was just learning how to write, Jacquelyn felt so long and complicated. Add in my surname and it’s even longer. My mum didn’t want my name shortened, but it ended up that way. It was just easier and the shortened name stuck. I did make a promise to myself though that if I wrote a novel, I would use my ‘proper’ name. My mum always believed in me, always said I would write a book, so I feel like I’m honouring her by using the name she so lovingly bestowed on me. I’ve dedicated London Belongs to Me to her. She passed away a few years ago, and I miss her every day. I hope that she’s proud of me. I did it, Mum!

I live in Toronto with my British husband and Schipperke dog. I’ve spent most of my adult life working in television (at CHUM Television: Citytv and MuchMusic; and at Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting: Discovery Health Channel, Slice, and National Geographic Channel), but I’ve been writing full-time now for about eight years. In that time I have won several national writing awards and have been published by several of the most popular magazines, newspapers, and websites in North America including USA Today, Canadian Living, Best Health, National Geographic Travel, The Toronto Star, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, and Flare. I’m also the creator of AUTHORS CELEBRATING AUTHORS, a column in my blog featuring Q&As with my favourite authors. K.A. Tucker, Jill Santopolo, and Penelope Douglas have been among my esteemed guests.

Pop culture favourites—I have so many! Sherlock, Humans, Doctor Who, Outlander, Riverdale, Gossip Girl, and Gilmore Girls live on my iPad. I love hockey and soccer/football, comic cons, and have an unhealthy fascination with London, England. Music is also a huge part of my life. I even named both London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait? after favourite songs (by Saint Etienne and Gene, respectively and yep, they’re from London, of course!). Give me British milk chocolate, magazines, and tickets to a play, and I’m a happy girl.

I’m a proud member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Romance Writers of America.

London Belongs to Me is my debut novel. If you want to read more about how it almost didn’t happen, check out my blog post about how the book came to be. My second book, London, Can You Wait? was published on October 26, 2017. It can be read as a stand-alone novel; however, if you’ve read London Belongs to Me, you will have a deeper understanding of the characters and their world in London, Can You Wait?. Because there are more sexy times in London, Can You Wait?, I would recommend it for readers 16+.

Links

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Interview

1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Jacquelyn Middleton and I’m an award-winning writer and author living in Toronto, Canada. I’m a stereotypical Canadian in that I love hockey (Go Leafs Go!), Tim Hortons donuts, and say “sorry” far too much, but my heart belongs to London. I’ve visited more than thirty times and feel most at home there. My husband is from England and we live in Toronto with our very crazy and clever Schipperke dog. I love books, movies, am addicted to Doctor Who, Sherlock, Outlander, and Humans, and have a thing for chocolate and cheese (but not together—never together).

2) Could you describe the main characters of London, Can You Wait? in six words each?

I love this question! It sounds like one of the things I do to create my characters! Before I start my books, I write detailed ‘bibles’ on each character, answering a laundry list of questions as well as discovering their main traits, flaws, wounds, and what they think of the other characters. As per your request, in six words, my characters are:

Alex Sinclair: introverted, creative, courageous, anxious, strong, impatient

Mark Keegan: charismatic, loving, kind, forgetful, patient, workaholic

Lucy Hardy: outspoken, loyal, honest, spunky, pushy, protective

Freddie Ryan: funny, tolerant, charming, nosey, extroverted, flirty

Simon Desjardins: mature, loyal, smart, opinionated, creative, secretive

Harry Manville: loyal, generous, confident, hospitable, happy, oblivious

Tom Chadwick-Smythe: flirty, lazy, funny, sensual, friendly, playful

Niamh Keegan: kind, loving, sensible, sentimental, nurturing, decisive

3) How did your writing journey start?

As much as I’ve always loved books growing up, I never wrote stories. I liked to draw cartoons and at first I thought I would be a cartoonist. But when I drew my cartoon characters (and I still have the binders full of characters—over a hundred), I also made up stories and created my own little comic books, so I was writing in a roundabout way. Through school, I was all about writing articles for the school newspaper and that journalist spark almost led me to a journalism career, but I ended up heading for TV instead. I did my first professional writing for one of the TV channel’s websites and from there my freelance writing career took off. When freelancing grew quiet due to magazine layoffs and budget cuts, I decided to make that leap and try writing a novel. London Belongs to Me was the end result and a happy one, too! It’s sold thousands of copies around the world and I’ve received fanmail from the most incredible readers in the US, Canada, the UK, Estonia, Slovakia, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Spain, France, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and more—it’s been amazing and I’m so thankful.

4) Do you have a specific writing routine?

I make a point of writing every day. Most of my life, I worked in television broadcasting, so when I switched gears and became a freelance writer working from home, it took some adjustment. It’s so easy to go fold laundry, play with the dog, or organize your closet when you’re at home and should be writing. So many distractions! But I think my years freelance writing were great training for being an author—they got me into the habit of having a definite writing schedule at home and I rarely deviate from it. I write during regular business hours. I also write on weekends and major holidays—I even wrote for an hour or so on Christmas day. But I’ll never be one of those writers nursing endless coffees at the local café, though. The bustle in a coffee shop would be too distracting and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Plus, cookies and muffins…my weakness. Must. Stay. Away.

I also think writing isn’t just sitting at your laptop. I come up with some of my best ideas when I’m not at the computer. Ideas seem to come to me while I’m on the treadmill, listening to music, in the bath, walking the dog…doing tasks that let your mind wander are great for creating characters, stories, and twists. I also listen to people when I’m out and about. You never know when you’ll hear a great piece of dialogue you can use.

5) On your blog you do Authors Celebrating Authors. Which I absolutely love!
How did you come up with such a fantastic idea?

Thanks so much! I’m glad you like it. Yeah, I’m a total bookworm and I fangirl over so many authors. Too many times I stay up super late, reading until I finish a great book and then I’m left with an epic book hangover. Ugh! All I want to do is talk about the characters, the plot—spend more time in that book’s world. I just don’t want to leave the characters behind!

Authors Celebrating Authors was my way to feed that need, and I knew if I felt that way about books, my fellow readers would, too. I’m still new to this whole author thing so I’m jaded or beyond gushing over people who inspire me, so I thought, why not use your author platform to shine the light on fellow authors? I think we are at our best when we look outward and applaud others. In this age, we can be so me, me, me with social media. It’s nice to celebrate someone other than ourselves and let them speak about their art and creative process. To date, I’ve featured Q&As and signed book giveaways with Nicole Trilivas, Jill Santopolo, K.A. Tucker, Karen Swan, and Penelope Douglas. I still have pinch me moments because I adore all of these women and it’s been such a treat speaking with them. To read about the fabulous authors I’ve featured so far, please visit my website at www.JacquelynMiddleton.com and click on the blog link.

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

I’ll never tell! When I’m writing, I cast people as my characters all the time, but I never share that info. Why? Readers create the characters they want to see in their own minds and I would hate to tell them “no, you’re wrong. She’s this person.” One of my favourite authors once mentioned who she saw as the male love interest in one of her books and I didn’t agree at all. In a way, it kind of ruined who I saw in my own mind, so I vowed never to share my character picks—unless someone guesses, and so far, only one person has correctly identified one of my characters.

7) What makes your heart beat faster?

Visiting London! Going to plays, seeing my favourite bands, exploring New York City, when the Toronto Maple Leafs or Manchester United win! New episodes of my fave TV shows, hearing a new song from my favourite bands for the first time, making a genealogy breakthrough, reuniting with friends who live half a world away, playing with my dog, spending time with friends and family, and my lovely husband. He’s my best friend and so much more.

8) You write romantic stories, what does true love mean to you?

I love romantic stories and putting happiness out into the universe. There’s so much bad, scary news out there, it’s nice to escape. That said, my books aren’t all sunshine and roses. Romance is messy, angsty, and often painful, and my books show all that for better or for worse. The show love realistically.

True love is several things to me. It’s people who always have you in their hearts. You might not see them every day, but they make sure you know you’re loved through texts, cards, even a funny GIF. My husband and I had a long-distance relationship for several years (before Skype, and before I owned a cell phone or laptop), so I know firsthand if you care for someone and can’t be with them, there are ways to stay connected and let them know you care. I also think true love is someone who supports and loves you through the triumphs and the tragedies. People who don’t scatter when the going gets tough, and that can be romantic love, family love or platonic love between friends. People who listen and show up when you need them—that’s true love to me.

9) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I know everyone says just write, but it’s true. I wanted to write a book for ages and it was one of those things that was on my to-do list and never happened. You have to make the time to write. Now three years later, I have created this world of characters who feel like old friends—I love them so much. Writing my two books was such a joy—sure, there were tears and lots of anxiety along the way, but it was such an amazing experience, and now my two books have earned amazing Kirkus and RT Book reviews, received awesome author blurbs, and have connected with readers around the world. I am so grateful to everyone who has read my books and helped spread the word through word of mouth, blogs (like yours!), YouTube, and Instagram. To think I could still be procrastinating right now! So, my fellow authors out there…stop procrastinating, just do!

I also think writers shouldn’t give up if they aren’t signed by an agent or a traditional publisher. There’s more than one route to becoming a published author these days. Trust your talent, persist, and forge your own path if you desire to do so—that’s what I’m doing as an indie. Indie books and authors are thriving, and sometimes do much better than many traditionally published works. Your readers are out there, trust me. It’s a ton of work—it’s not easy—but if you like having control over covers, release dates, and marketing, it’s a good path to take. And it’s so satisfying when a reader tells you they loved your book. All that effort is so worth it.

Even if you don’t sell millions (very few writers do), or end up on the ‘best of the year’ lists (which are totally subjective), you will have created something special from your heart. It’s yours!

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

I’m currently working on my third novel, another contemporary romance scheduled for release fall 2018. It’s not a continuation of London, Can You Wait?, but it takes place in the same world, so the characters you know and love from London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait? might be mentioned and some may show up and say hi!

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive signed paperback copies of London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait? & three exclusive bookmarks.

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

With Love for Books Second Anniversary - Guest Post by Louise Marley & Giveaway


A Writer’s Guide to Thinking Positive
(Or, Never Give Up, Never Surrender!*)

Guest post by Louise Marley

If you’re an unpublished author chasing an elusive book deal, it can be hard to keep feeling positive about writing. One of my early novels, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, took so long to find a publisher I started calling it Why Do Fools Write Books inside my head. But it eventually went on to sell over 40,000 copies, mainly because I’m not the kind of person who gives up easily – a fairly essential qualification for a writer!

I found it helpful to become more pro-active in my approach. So if you’re fed up with having your novel rejected, why not explore other avenues to publication – writing short stories or entering competitions – which is how I got my first book deal. Or perhaps change genres? A romance-gone-wrong could be twisted into a psychological suspense.

Here are some other tips to help you finish that work-in-progress and get it published:

1. Read widely. If you’re not keeping up with what is being published, how will you know where your novel fits into the market? If you want to write romantic comedy, read all the romantic comedies you can get your hands on. Then think about how you could write something that fits snugly into that genre, yet would still feel fresh and different.

2. Don’t chase trends. Psychological suspense seems to be going on forever, but other genres can be very short-lived. So write from the heart, the kind of thing you love reading. Even if the kind of thing you want to write is deeply unfashionable, and you feel you can’t write anything else, don’t despair. All genres eventually come around again – but usually with a twist. For example, domestic noir is basically romantic suspense with a lot less romance and a lot more gritty suspense.

3. If you’ve spent a lot of time on a single writing project, it can be hard to see where you went wrong – yet it could be something that’s easily fixed. Consider signing up for a writing course or pay to have your work critiqued by a professional. Alternatively, the Romantic Novelists’ Association offer a free critique as part of their New Writers’ Scheme. And writers’ conferences often offer critiques or one-to-ones with editors and agents – a chance to chat about your work with a professional!

4. Making friends with fellow writers can help keep you motivated. No one understands a writer like another writer! Join a writing group, or start a writing group if there isn’t one locally. Not feeling brave enough? There are plenty of writers on social media – published, unpublished, self-published, writing in every genre you can think of – and some genres you probably didn’t even know existed.

5. And while you’re on social media, follow people in the industry, such as editors and agents, but don’t expect them to follow you back, and definitely don’t pitch your novel unless invited to do so. Some editors and agents have blogs where they post writing tips, tell you when they are open for submissions and what they are looking for.

6. Feeling depressed, worried and stressed can lead to writers’ block. So if you’re physically unable to write, consider that something else might be the cause. Likewise, struggling to write when you’re ill will make you feel worse – and your work might not be up to your usual standard (which will also make you feel worse).

7. Starting to feel a lack of confidence in yourself as a writer? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there will always be someone out there who’s a better writer than you. However, success can be just as much about working hard and being in the right place at the right time as it is about talent. Learn to separate yourself from your writing. It’s your work that is being accepted/rejected/praised/criticised – not you.

8. Unmotivated? Are you sure you want to be a writer? If you find yourself cleaning the bathroom rather than writing, that’s called ‘procrastination’ and it’s A Bad Thing. Try re-thinking whatever writing target you’ve set yourself. Instead of “I’m going to write 1,000 words today” and hating yourself when you fail, turn it into “I’m going to spend an hour writing today” – even if that means just staring into space. Although you might achieve a better result if you try writing a character study, or describing a location, or anything that will trick your brain into writing. Alternatively, go ahead, clean the bathroom! If you’re stuck on a plot point the answer might pop into your head when you’re least expecting it.

And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have a nice clean bathroom!

*Quote taken from Galaxy Quest

About Louise Marley


Louise Marley writes murder mysteries and romantic comedies. She lives in Wales, surrounded by fields of sheep, and has a beautiful view of Snowdon from her window.

Her first published novel was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which was a finalist in Poolbeg’s ‘Write a Bestseller’ competition. She has also written articles for the Irish press and short stories for UK women’s magazines such as Take a Break and My Weekly.

Her latest novel is Trust Me I Lie.

Links

Website: http://www.louisemarley.co.uk/
Blog: http://www.louisemarleywrites.blogspot.co.uk/
Romantic Novelists’ Association: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouiseMarley @LouiseMarley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouiseMarleyAuthor

Giveaway


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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive Kindle copies of Nemesis and Trust Me I Lie & a Paperchase 'Make Dreams Happen' notebook and pen.

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Horror Book of Choice Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a horror book of your choice worth $12. Good luck!


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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Four YA Books, Chocolate, Mugs, Tea & Candy Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win four YA books, tea, candy, chocolate and mugs. Good luck!


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

Book Review - Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi

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Review by Suze

Nina likes to drink and does this a lot, but she doesn't think she has a problem. However, the gaps in her memory, embarrassing moments she doesn't have any control over and rash decisions she normally wouldn't have taken are proving she doesn't have her alcohol intake under control. When one night something devastating happens Nina feels dirty and ashamed. She doesn't remember the exact details of that night, but she knows something is terribly wrong. To make these feelings stop she drinks even more and this is the beginning of a downward spiral Nina can't easily get out of.

Nina's mother is busy with her job, her new husband and Nina's little sister Katie. Nina's problems are an inconvenience. When Nina needs her mother more than ever she's even more out of reach than she used to be. Nina is completely on her own and has to battle her demons by herself. She finds comfort in alcohol and drinks even more. What will happen to Nina now that her life is completely unhinged and everything she does feels totally wrong?

Nina is Not OK is an impressive story. Nina drinks a lot and she doesn't know when or how to stop. This makes her lose her boundaries and she gets into all kinds of situations she doesn't want to be in, but she can't help herself. She has a lot of problems and not many people are helping her. They don't see how much she's struggling and don't understand her behavior, which clearly comes from pain. This often made me tear up. Nina is unbalanced in many different ways and this made me feel really sad for her. She's such a bright and sweet girl and I kept hoping she could find her way through the darkness and get out of the nasty downward spiral she's in.

Shappi Khorsandi has written a fantastic emotional story. I was greatly impressed by the writing style and the vivid descriptions. She doesn't leave out any details. Nina is Not OK is a shocking book with many raw scenes. I love that it's an honest story about a young girl with alcohol problems. This is an important topic that should definitely be read and written about. Nina's story is thought-provoking and distressing. Nina is Not OK is a compelling poignant read filled with emotional layers, harsh reality and eventful twists and turns. I was blown away by this perplexing story.

Advice

If you love shocking emotional YA you should definitely read Nina is Not OK.