Friday, 31 October 2014

Giveaway: Books I'm Grateful I Read Hop

Hello readers! I'm participating in Books I'm Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop hosted by StuckInBooks.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a complete list of blogs participating and holding their own giveaway.  
 This time of year a lot of people reflect on things they are thankful for and for this post I'll feature a few books that I'm thankful I've read.  My giveaway will be a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Giftcard or choice of book $10 or less at The Book Depository. 
(Click on covers for Goodreads link)

Snow Kissed by Laura Florand

This is one of the best marriage-in-crisis stories I've read. Heartbreaking and beautiful, sensual and passionate! It brought out so many emotions in just 122 pages!

Saving Francesca   The Piper's Son
Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
I adored Saving Francesca but I absolutely LOVED the sequel, The Piper's Son. Melina Marchetta can have you laughing your head off one minute and crying the next, but she always makes you FEEL!  She is just a phenomenal writer!

These were just a few of my favorites that I'm thankful I've read. What about you, what books are you thankful to have read?

My giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Click HERE for a list of countries. Winner's choice of: $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Giftcard or choice of book $10 or less at The Book Depository.

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra

Carolina Blues (Dare Island #4) by Virginia Kantra
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: October 7th 2014
My rating:  4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Jack Rossi is Dare Island’s new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department.  He’s learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world.

Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad.  She’s fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story. However, sexy Jack Rossi is a distraction that’s too hot to ignore, and it’s igniting an affair too combustible to resist—or quit.

But when their pasts come looking for them, Jack and Lauren find themselves fighting for the future they deserve, whatever the price.

My Thoughts:
Carolina Blues was a story that just sucks you in quietly, but surely with beautiful, understated prose and a passionate romance!  

Suffering writer’s block and panic attacks, Lauren has come to Dare Island to escape the city and finish her novel, Hostage Girl: My Life After Crisis. Lauren negotiated her way out of tragedy during a hostage crisis that captured nationwide attention.  The writer’s block persists on Dare Island, but soon she’s distracted by Jack Rossi, the hunky police Chief.  He’s darkly handsome, cool and in control, and exudes a confidence and strength that appeals deeply to Lauren. 

Jack is on Dare Island after a messy divorce.  His wife not only cheated, but did so with his partner on the force.  Their work lives and families were so entwined that Jack needed a clean break, a fresh start, and Dare Island fit the bill perfectly. When Lauren shows up on the island, there’s an instant spark of attraction between them, but he’s hesitant to invest in something that seems like it can only be temporary.

Lauren was honest about her needs and desires, and I appreciated there were no immature mind games. There were obstacles in their relationship; the question of what happens to them once Lauren is supposed to go home lingers over them. But even so they savored each other in the moment while exploring their relationship, both cautiously hoping for something permanent. 

Oh, I do love a hero man in uniform, and Jack Rossi filled the role nicely! He wasn’t the showy alpha-type that can come off as unrealistic in some romances, but he seemed real and very male! Lauren was very appreciative!  This romance was steamy. Parts were languid sensuality, and parts were zinging with electricity!   

“I never knew it could be like this,” she admitted. “That I could have all these feelings inside. Jack makes me feel…” Cherished.  Desired.  Safe. “Alive.”

Peripheral events play into their story adding a dash of danger with some relationship drama sprinkled in making a Carolina Blues a captivating story.  I longed for Jack and Lauren to find a way to overcome their obstacles and find a way to stay together, because these two really got each other emotionally in addition to their physical attraction.

Virginia Kantra really impressed me with this installment!  Her writing was gorgeous without being overly flowery and she made me feel every emotion right along with her characters.  I can’t wait for the next story!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: October 9th 2014
My rating: 4 stars.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

This book was seriously all kinds of adorable! I was of course saving this book for a cold night maybe over the Christmas break, but as soon as I read the first story, I immediately wanted more. I’ve written brief reviews of a few of my favourite stories

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
This book was just the best to start with, I loved the cute flips in time, and even though this story was short and went by so quick, I felt as if I got to know so much about Noel and Mags in these short passages. I loved how Noel and Mags just clicked, how even though they were opposites, Noel - popular, always laughing and having fun and Mags who was reserved, they were the perfect fit. I loved the countdown to the one new years we had been all waiting for. Noel and Mags were just too cute, I loved their growth, they definitely need their own full story.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
This was such a super cute story, I gobbled up all of Jenny’s previous books, so was thrilled to do the same with this (again I was disappointed when I’d reached the end). But I liked the different perspective that Han decided to go with in this story, I had to do a double take to make sure that I was reading it correctly, but it was certainly a fresh take amongst the many wonderful stories in this book. Again once again it was one of those stories that did have some sort of closure, but not completely there, therefore leaving you with the hope that this story could move into a positive direction for our character.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This story was all kinds of adorable. It was surprising how a place can appear to be so dull, boring and full of inconsiderate people, until a stranger comes and spreads a Christmas cheer. This story made me super hungry, I could actually imagine all the scrumptious looking food Ben was making and loved how he went that extra mile for people. This story was certainly about opening your eyes and appreciating what was in front of you or in other cases making a fresh start.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
This story ended up being a favourite of mine, as we were never clued into the complete back story of our character, instead we were given little snippets of why this girl would give her ticket away to a random stranger and then pretend to be a Icelandic girl called Hulga, why would she do this? What she was running away from? I had a few ideas going through my head, but it wasn’t what I expected. I liked how despite the obvious, this girl was not Icelandic, Ethan’s family took her in as she was and actually gave her a safe haven, something that she had been missing out and not had all this pressure on her all the time. This story went on to show just how tight knit a family that you don't even know could be when you need them the most. Again like a lot of these short stories. I was left wanting more.

I’m not an anthology sort of girl, but this book I highly recommend giving a go, it’ll definitely brighten your day over the cold Wintery months!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Spotlight & iPad Mini Giveaway: All I Want For Christmas is You by Jessica Scott

I'm thrilled to be part of the Spotlight & Giveaway for All I Want For Christmas is You by Jessica Scott because I LOVED this novella!  I'll be posting my review sometime in November, but in the meantime, scroll down to find out about the book and make sure you enter in the giveaway for an iPad Mini! Awesome, right?!

All I Want For Christmas is You (Coming Home #5.5) by Jessica Scott
Publication Date: October 24th 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Novella (108 pages)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
All Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left - and she doesn't know if she can love him anymore.

But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what's coming for them. It's going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart. 


It was not a gentle kiss. It was not tame or timid or questioning.

It burned her down to the root of Sam's soul. It touched something deep and dark and hidden.

Something she'd thought was long since dead and buried and gone.

Patrick’s tongue slid against hers, stroking to life the very sensations she thought she'd never feel again.

It was electric, the feel of his mouth against hers. The scrape of stubble against her chin, the taste of him. The smell of his skin.

He nipped her. Pinched her bottom lip between his teeth and sucked it. And she sighed at the pleasure, at the raw ache his taste and touch aroused in her, pushing aside the darkness that haunted her.

Sam felt him. Felt everything. The heat of his skin. The warmth that drew her closer. That made her want to crawl into his lap and unzip his pants and push up that damned flannel shirt until they were skin to skin and there was nothing between them but sweat and heat.

One hand slid down her side. Tugged at her fleece and...

"Dear lord how many layers of clothing do you have on under this thing," he muttered against her lips.

She smiled. "You weren't wondering why I wasn't cold?"

"Well you'd be a champ at strip poker right about now," he murmured.

Then his fingers found her skin and she was no longer thinking.


Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time  and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Connect with Jessica Scott:

Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray

Loving Him Off the Field (Sante Fe Bobcats #2) by 
Jeanette Murray
Publisher: InterMix
Publication date: October 21th 2014
My rating:  3.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…

Aileen is a sports reporter trying to make a name for herself without relying on her looks, And what better way to do that than to break a scandal about one of the fastest rising stars on the Santa Fe Bobcats? Killian seems too good to be true, so she knows he must be hiding something…

It’s hard enough breaking into the NFL—even more so when you’re a single dad. Killian isn’t proud that he’s keeping his son a secret, but his ex has a reputation that could tarnish his squeaky clean image for good. So when Aileen starts sniffing around, Killian decides to distract her by any means necessary.

But Aileen is more than capable of giving as good as she gets…

My Thoughts:
Aileen is struggling journalist trying to make a name for herself while keeping her integrity.  She wanted to live up to her parent’s example as trustworthy journalists. Finding a breakthrough story is proving difficult when she doesn’t want to compromise her principals. That is until she spies Killian, the Bobcat’s kicker and media mystery.  He stays out of the spotlight and almost nothing is known about him. Looks like Aileen has her work cut out for her, though, because Killian is reluctant, bordering on hostile.  Aileen won’t take no for an answer and goes on wearing him down.  She doesn’t plan on falling for him in the process, and even though they go beyond their professional relationship, Aileen wonders what kind of future they could have if Killian never fully trusts her. 

Killian is intrigued by the petite, freckled Aileen until he finds out she’s a reporter. Killian avoids the media and press at all costs for the sake of his young son, Charlie.  No one knows of his existence and if they did, it could stir up a hurtful past that Killian is trying to keep buried.  Killian agrees to an interview, but on his terms in an effort to control what gets out.  But the more he gets to know Aileen the more he falls for her.  

I admired Aileen from the very beginning. It was evident from the start that she didn’t want to be a trashy reporter capitalizing on other’s drama and trauma.  She has pressure from her boss to go after sensationalized stories, but she stands her ground and still keeps her integrity.  Knowing she was basically on her own in the world after losing her parents at the age of eighteen made my heart go out to her even more. Aileen didn’t let Killian’s abrasiveness turn her away and didn’t let his comments hurt her for the most part, but I hurt for her. 

While I can understand where Killian was coming from once I found out exactly why he wanted to keep Charlie’s existence secret, I didn’t get an inkling what the secret was until about 72% into the book.  This made is especially hard to make allowances in the meantime for Killian’s gruff and rude behavior.  Yes, he was attracted to Aileen and he couldn’t keep his hands off her, but Killian was on constant guard and never completely trusted her until almost the end.  Even though it was more than evident, IMO, that Aileen wasn’t like other cutthroat reporters.  Still, as a parent I can understand how his desire to protect Charlie would cause him to be so hesitant.

I did still enjoy their romance, and the fact that once Killian realized how amazing Aileen was, he went all in won me over.  I was happy when Killian started seeing the big picture and let his walls down, not just with Aileen, but with his fellow teammates as well.  They were able to provide support and friendship he’d been missing out on for so long. The ending of Loving Him Off the Field was everything that I hoped for.

Connect with Jeanette Murray:

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