Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Blog Tour: The Angel - Katerina Diamond (extract)


The Queen of Grip-lit is back…
‘A terrific story, originally told. All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT
‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN
THE TRUTH WON’T STAY LOCKED UP FOREVER
When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?
DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.
When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.
Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge.

Extract Twelve from Chapter Four, pp 40-41

The windows of the Serco prison transport van – or sweatbox as it was more affectionately known – were blacked out from the outside, but from the inside he could see the people on the streets going about their business. He saw a skater flipping off a hotel step and instantly wished he had his deck, just to feel that freedom. Freedom; something he had never fully appreciated until he was sat in this box. He was being put on remand until his hearing. He tried to focus on his breathing, unwilling to let his asthma get the better of him in here of all places. He didn’t even know if they would open the door if he had an attack. If they would even hear him? If they would even bother to help? Instead, he just counted inside his head to make the rising panic go away. He couldn’t think about what he had done to get into this situation; the fact was that he was here and he was guilty. Of arson. Of manslaughter.
He had never meant to kill anyone. The words went round and around his head. He was a killer; he had ended someone’s life. He couldn’t allow himself to cry. He couldn’t be seen to be entering the prison with tears in his eyes. He had a few friends who had done time in Exeter prison, and by all accounts it was grim. Understaffed and overpopulated, the Victorian building that was barely fit for purpose – not in this day and age – still housed well over five hundred prisoners both on remand and serving shorter sentences. And he was about to join them.
At least the police had seemed to believe that he hadn’t intended to start the fire; hopefully the judge would too. Every time he closed his eyes, Gabriel imagined what it must feel like to burn alive. Why hadn’t they checked the place was empty? Why had he allowed himself to be pushed into something so bloody stupid? He longed for the sound of his parents screaming at each other when they thought he was out of earshot. Anything but this.
The van started moving and Gabriel allowed himself to breathe. He looked outside, wondering if he would ever walk on a street again. He was afraid that he wouldn’t even last a week in jail; either the asthma or something worse would get to him. The invisible strap around his chest tightened. One, two, three, four, five. He soaked in as much of the city as the route would allow. The bus station, the pub he went into with Emma sometimes. As they pulled into the prison, Gabriel held his breath again. He had very little idea of what to expect, but he was going to keep his head down, speak when spoken to and keep himself to himself. He was grateful at least for his six foot two inches of height, hoping that might deter any unprovoked attacks.


 




Blog tour: Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles - Phillipa Ashley (Extract)



Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.


For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the first in a stunning new series from Phillipa Ashley. The perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas. 




Extract Sixteen from Chapter Ten, pp 65-66

‘Come in and sit down,’ he said gently. For a split second, Maisie was reminded of Keegan, in the early days, when she’d first thought he was a rock of a man, not a flaky sandcastle who crumbled with the first rough tide. But Patrick McKinnon wasn’t a rock either, she reminded herself: just a drifter with a cleaning fetish.
‘I don’t need a shoulder to cry on,’ she said.
‘I’m not offering one.’ He smiled. ‘You wouldn’t want to get too close anyway, I’ve been hard at work and I need a shower.’
‘Not in that health hazard of a bathroom,’ she said, sniffing the air: a bit of a chemical factory but definitely clean.
                ‘You could eat your dinner off the floor now,’ he said. ‘Let me wash my hands and I’ll make you a cup of tea.’
                Maisie glanced at the kitchen. The units, cooker and fridge were basic and old but clean. The stainless steel sink sparkled and the work surfaces gleamed. She hated showing weakness but she was too weary. Hugo had phoned her again and asked her if she’d had time to think over his plans. It had been all she could do to give him a civil answer. He’d said that more residents were ‘seriously thinking’ of selling and although he might be bullshitting her, Maisie wasn’t sure. She’d felt like telling him to stuff his offer but for a few seconds she’d also felt like caving in and saying, ‘Have the bloody place.’ If her dad was ill and needed urgent health care, or decided to leave the island, circumstances could look very different.
‘It’ll have to be black coffee or hot chocolate,’ he said, holding up a jar of Nescafé and a tub of Cadbury’s Highlights. ‘I’ve inspected the contents for weevils and they look OK, even if the previous occupant was a Neanderthal.’
Maisie laughed. What harm could it do to have a drink with him? And she was really, very relieved that he’d cleaned the place up himself. One less job on her list.
‘I’ll risk the hot choc, please.’
‘Wise choice.’ He filled the white plastic kettle and switched it on. Maisie sat down on a rattan chair in front of the single bed. The place had been dusted and had had the Henry Hoover round it, by the looks of the tracks on the carpet. It was very basic, but at least it was clean. The cost of getting new furniture – new anything – out to the island meant that things couldn’t be thrown away unless absolutely necessary.
As the kettle boiled, Maisie tried to compose herself and let her heightened feelings calm down. Patrick opened the kitchen window and the top light in the bedsitting area to let some fresh air in. He’d also left the door open a crack so there was a route for escape if necessary. If she wanted it.
Patrick handed her a mug of hot chocolate and lifted his own, chipped mug from the rattan table next to her.
‘Cheers,’ he said, clinking her mug with his. ‘Here’s to our working relationship.’
Maisie smiled. ‘Back at you, and here’s to you doing as you’re told from now on.’

‘Good luck with that.’

 


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Book tour: Playing Defense - Aven Ellis (Dallas Demons #5)


Dallas Demons #5 - can be read as a standalone
238 pages
Publisher - Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Release Date - 27th September 2017


After a string of bad set-ups and boring dates, Reese Brannon is done with men. She’s focused on her job as a fitness model and blogger. Her life in the city is fun. She’s young. There’s no need to look for a man because she doesn’t want one. Especially when relationships usually end in heartbreak. 

Jean-Pierre Rochat—known as JP— is done with women. All this Swiss hockey player has ever wanted is to fall in love, but his relationships never end with a happily ever after. Believing he’s always going to be dealt the friend card, JP is over it. If he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone, he’ll keep things casual for his new endgame. 

But will one hot Dallas summer night change everything for Reese and JP? 

Because when the two meet again when JP returns for hockey season, Reese finds her attraction to him hasn’t waned since their first meeting. Charming and intelligent, JP is different in all the right ways, but Reese realizes letting him in will make her vulnerable, something that terrifies her. JP never forgot Reese from their initial introduction last winter, and the sparks fly for him even more so the second time. But with Reese, his thoughts are anything but casual . . . 

Can JP and Reese let their guards down to take a chance on love? Or will this simply be a game of playing defense?


My opinion.
Time and time again, Aven Ellis comes up with these quirky, original heroines. And, time and time again, the most wonderful book-boyfriends to match. Although this is the 5th Dallas Demons' star we meet, JP is again a unique character. Easy to swoon over and fall in love with, and a treat to get to know better. I love his European background which, to Reese, gives him that extra flavour of mystery and sexiness.
With Playing Defense, Aven Ellis again created these wonderfully approachable characters who feel very "current", easy to relate to but also inspiring in their determination to chase after their goals.
The only remark I can make is that, after reading some of (... well, all of) Aven Ellis' previous books, the time-line of their love story feels a bit predictable.
But the chemistry between JP and Reese is just amazing. They can be flirty, goofy, sexy,... they feel very natural together. And boy does JP know how to make a girl feel special!
I loved seeing their relationship unfold and the fact that they have such a close knitted group of family and friends (some of whom are starting to feel like your own, if you've read the previous books in the Dallas Demons series), makes you feel even more invested in their love story.
It was love at first Oreo! ;-)


 

Click here to read an excerpt:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I’m a hockey nut (Go Stars!) and watch as much as humanly possible. I also love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. In addition to be obsessed with the Duchess, I’m equally obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.

Connect with Aven

Website/Blog - http://avenellis.com/



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Book review: Moonlight over Manhattan - Sarah Morgan + GIVEAWAY


She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle… 

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

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

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


My opinion.
What an absolute gem of a Christmas novel! I truly enjoyed reading this and just couldn't put it down. I cried, laughed out loud... and yes, fallen in love with this gorgeous book and its characters.
I wasn't sure at first what to make of Harriet. To be fair, we do meet her at an unfortunate moment ;-) But she won me over pretty quickly. An even greater mystery at the start of this book was Ethan. Unlike with most book heroes, we get to see some his flaws early on. This only makes you more intrigued to get to know him and to find out what makes him tick. And although hesitant at first, Harriet feels the same way: despite his faults, she sees something which makes her take a closer look. He pushes her out of her comfort zone, and "project Harriet" or not, I don't think she could have walked away from him even if she tried. 
The chemistry between these characters - both extraordinary people - combined with cute animals and a Christmas atmosphere... This is the perfect book for a winter's night reading, cuddled up with a hot drink and a warm blanket.
Moonlight over Manhattan is without a doubt one of my favourite Christmas novels, one I'll definitely revisit in years to come. Sarah Morgan just kicked off the Christmas season in a spectacular way!


  

OUT 5th OCTOBER!
Pre-order now:

 


GIVEAWAY






Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Book Blitz: Playing Defense - Aven Ellis (Dallas Demons #5) (Excerpt)


Dallas Demons #5 - can be read as a standalone
238 pages
Publisher - Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Release Date - 27th September 2017


After a string of bad set-ups and boring dates, Reese Brannon is done with men. She’s focused on her job as a fitness model and blogger. Her life in the city is fun. She’s young. There’s no need to look for a man because she doesn’t want one. Especially when relationships usually end in heartbreak. 

Jean-Pierre Rochat—known as JP— is done with women. All this Swiss hockey player has ever wanted is to fall in love, but his relationships never end with a happily ever after. Believing he’s always going to be dealt the friend card, JP is over it. If he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone, he’ll keep things casual for his new endgame. 

But will one hot Dallas summer night change everything for Reese and JP? 

Because when the two meet again when JP returns for hockey season, Reese finds her attraction to him hasn’t waned since their first meeting. Charming and intelligent, JP is different in all the right ways, but Reese realizes letting him in will make her vulnerable, something that terrifies her. JP never forgot Reese from their initial introduction last winter, and the sparks fly for him even more so the second time. But with Reese, his thoughts are anything but casual . . . 

Can JP and Reese let their guards down to take a chance on love? Or will this simply be a game of playing defense? 


OUT TODAY !

 


EXCERPT

JP,” I say, heading over to it. “You got a piano?
“Yeah. My special delivery came today,” JP says, following me over to it. The piano is set up in the corner of his living room, next to the large bank of windows overlooking the city. “I can finally play again, which I’ve been wanting to do.”
“I didn’t know you played,” I say in amazement. “How did I not know this?”
“I love music,” JP says, sitting down on the bench. He pauses for a moment, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt and revealing his powerful, tanned forearms and causing my pulse to burn in response.
I swear there is nothing sexier than powerful forearms.
“I have to keep some things for you to discover about me,” JP says. “I’d hate for you to lose interest.”
“I don’t think you have to worry about that.”
“Good,” JP says. “Here, have a seat. I learned something for you today.”
My heart is about to burst as I sit down next to him.
“What?” I ask, amazed.
“It’s a piece in your honor,” JP says, flipping some sheet music.
His fingers begin flying across the keys, and a familiar tune fills the air.
I lose my breath as I realize what it is.
It’s “Under the Sea” from the movie The Little Mermaid.
JP begins to sing the words, his deep baritone filling the air, and I know he learned this song for his mermaid.
Me.
I swallow down tears as I listen to him sing. He’s an accomplished pianist, his fingers moving effortlessly as he plays. JP is a brilliant, amazing man with many gifts to give.
And he’s giving me this song.



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Blog tour: Christmas at Mistletoe Cove - Holly Martin (Hope Island #3)



Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea.

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?
 

My opinion.
I'm desperately running out of new ways to describe the magic of a Holly Martin novel. 
Her previous books already showed there's no better way than a Christmas + Holly Martin combination, but oh boy did this book surpass all my expectations and more! Nothing compares to the romance of the Christmas season and with Holly's gorgeous stories this only gets magnified... times a thousand.
I'm not sure how many more ways you can conjure up the perfect (book)boyfriend, but again, I've completely fallen in love with the hero in this story. Those men on Hope Island... Pfew!
Dougie Harrison is romantic, sweet, sexy, loving, caring,... and although his career and professional ambitions take a back seat to his and Eden's love story in this book, he's also creative and driven which makes him pretty much perfect. I don't blame Eden for fearing he's too good to be true. Although with Eden's humor, her passion for her job and the same qualities of being a caring, loving person, it's not hard to see why Dougie would be head over heals for her too.
As far as romance book series go, the Hope Island series is probably the best I've read. The sequence of seasons in the titles, the unique family that gave the opportunity for three separate love stories without feeling forced, the way that all three of them got their moment to shine, but without completely ignoring the others in the meantime,... The build-up for book two and three started in book one, and the relationships of the first two books also got their shining moment in the third one. Perfectly balanced. Not only are you completely immersed in the love story you're reading, you truly feel like you know and understand the characters better, thanks to knowing so much about their environment, but also about the most important people in their lives. This gives a whole extra debt to these stories. 
I could go on, but let's summarize: Holly Martin is a genius. Her stories and book heroes will make you swoon. And Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is just another perfect example of her skills as an author and storyteller. I'm in love!



 



also in the Hope Island series:

 






Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Blog tour: The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane - Ellen Berry (extract)

 


**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up…**
Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

Extract Seven from Chapter Two pp 29-30

Sean took her hand as they fell into a brisk walking pace. ‘I still can’t believe you were baking something for me,’ he added, throwing her a fond glance.
‘Hmm. Well, I probably won’t again.’
‘No, it’s really sweet of you. But it’s not very . . . you, is it?’
‘Obviously not,’ she muttered.
‘I mean, it seems more like something your sister would do. Didn’t she send you that tin of edible tree decorations at Christmas?’
‘Yes. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I hadn’t got it together to buy a tree . . .’ In fact, Roxanne had taken the delicious snowflake-shaped butter cookies into the office, and everyone had swooped upon them over drinks one afternoon. This was when Cathy was still editor and it was possible to have fun at work, in the days when there were frequent gales of laughter and the sound of a cork being popped.
‘I’d never have thought of you as a baker,’ he added.
‘Yes, okay, Sean . . .’
‘It’s quite sexy actually,’ he added, grinning now.
Despite the turn of events, she couldn’t help smiling. ‘I knew it. You actually want a wifey type in an apron, don’t you? That’s what you’ve been holding out for . . .’
‘God, yes,’ he teased. ‘Floury hands and lipstick on, waiting for your man to come home . . .’ He fell silent as they turned the corner into Roxanne’s tree-lined street.
‘Sean, look!’ They both stared. A fire engine was parked outside her block.
‘It’ll be okay,’ he said quickly, taking hold of her arm. ‘It might not be your place. It could be another flat . . .’ But this time, she shook him off and broke into an actual sprint. Despite her unsuitable footwear, she clattered towards the vehicle. She quickly spotted Isabelle, who was looking her usual elegant self – chic silver bob, simple navy blue dress – and hovering at the main door.
‘It was Henry who called them, love,’ she announced. ‘I told him it’d be nothing – that you’re always burning toast. A waste of resources, I said! I phoned your mobile a couple of times but it just rang—’
‘Sorry, Isabelle, I didn’t realise . . .’ Roxanne hurried past her and charged upstairs. She always put her phone on silent when she was out on a date with Sean.
‘I said you once burnt your fringe off the gas ring,’ Isabelle called after her, ‘when you were lighting a cigarette . . .’ The elderly woman’s voice faded, to be replaced by strident male tones on Roxanne’s landing on the top floor: ‘Sounds like someone’s coming now – finally. Christ, what a bloody waste of time . . .’