Monday, May 25, 2015

The Liar by Nora Roberts

4 Star

Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning … 

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I have to be honest when I say that I never wanted to like Nora Roberts. My mother is a long time big fan and probably because of that, I never wanted to like her books. Despite that, and not being a big romance fan in general, I found myself really getting into this book and enjoying the story.

More than just a romance, this book had all the elements of a good mystery or suspense novel. Discovering her former husband had a lot of secrets (and lies), Shelby decides to start over her life by going home. Always being able to return to family was an important theme in the book and one that I could personally appreciate. I think that it is something that will resonate with other readers as well.

The book was very interesting to me because it kept me guessing as to what would happen next. I could not imagine Shelby's life, past or present, and felt that even though it might be somewhat far fetched, it was still believable. And this is probably also one of the reasons that I feel that Nora Roberts is so popular. She is able to take a situation or story that is incredibly "out there" and make you believe that it is or could be real-which is a real strength for an author to possess. 

My only complaint about this book is that is was quite lengthy but it was quite an easy read with mostly shorter chapters so it didn't end up feeling too weighty despite some intense events in the story. Another hit for one of romance's foremost leading ladies!

Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Nora Roberts:
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Tess Woods Stranded on a Desert Island

Please welcome Tess Woods, author of Love At First Flight, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Tess:

Tess Woods is a health professional who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Love at First Flight is her first novel. When she isn't working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.

Connect with Tess:
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Tess Woods Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

How To Survive On A Deserted Island by Tim O’Shei.

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

My GHDs. Those are my fovourite three letters of the alphabet when they come magically together to form GHD, that most essential item in my frizzy haired life!

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

A nice big fluffy towel.

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I would absolutely love it. Perhaps not even so briefly. Extended solitude sounds appealing right now!

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

Definitely my husband. We haven’t been anywhere alone together for fifteen years so some deserted island time sounds fabulous.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

My phone. It is an extension of my palm, I would feel like an amputee without it.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Diet coke. Serious addiction going on there.

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

Many, many, many days.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Check my phone!

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

A bikini selfie. I imagine I would have lost lots of weight, being stranded without nightly access to chocolate so I would actually fit into a bikini and I would be rocking a tan. I am not going to pass up that once in a lifetime chance to show off a bikini body to the world!

Love At First Flight

A family is threatened by an irresistible attraction in this compelling debut that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Anita Shreve.
Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it.
What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?
Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.
What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.
Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.

Available at:
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

4.5 Star

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

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Kaley - 4.5 Star

Have you ever wondered what really happens behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace? Authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan have so they decided to write a novel about how they envisioned Prince William and Kate's courtship played out. Royal lovers will really enjoy this one but you don't have to be obsessed with the British monarchy to fall in love with this book.

Even though I adored this book and have been telling everyone to read it, I knocked off half a star because of the length. In a strange twist, I found this novel to be too long and, at the same time, I didn't want it to end. I know other readers have had this problem too but I didn't find it nearly as troubling as they have. I didn't really find that it dragged and I didn't get bored but there were times I found myself wondering what would happen next and could we just get on with it and find out already? I think the problem, for me anyway, is that the novel takes place over quite a long period of time so some parts were just too stretched out when they should have been condensed or eliminated altogether. 

I normally hate prologues, I just don't see the point, but I found that I was really happy to have the prologue in this novel. It meant I knew what the end game was, even though I didn't know how it would come about. It hinted at a couple of things so, over the course of the novel, I found myself thinking, "Could this be what was mentioned in the prologue? Could this?" and it kept me even more interested. 

I really loved Bex. She is such a great character – strong, smart, funny, real – and I loved reading about how her relationship with Nick evolved. I liked that she struggled with falling for the heir to the British throne just as anyone would (I think it showed that she cared more for Nick than the allure of being a royal). Even though she has to give up a lot in order to be with Nick, she does it because she loves him. There are problems that pop up, of course, but I was rooting for her from beginning to end. 

I absolutely loved The Royal We. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan have written a funny, charming, and entertaining novel that chick lit and Royal lovers alike will enjoy. I hope they write another book soon because I can only imagine how awesome it'd  be!

Thank you to Hachette Book Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan:
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Stolen Girl by Renita D'Silva

5 Star

For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else. 

Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby…

Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister.

Told through the eyes of Diya, Vani and Aarti, this is a heart-breaking story of friendship and betrayal, love and motherhood, which asks the question;  how far would you go to protect your only child?
Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Every time that I read one of Renita D Silva's books, I find myself simply amazed by her incredible talent. Each story is woven together in a fabulous way, making me fall in love with each and every character and every aspect of the story. To be such a masterful storyteller is truly a blessing.

The story of Diya switches back and forth between herself and Vani and Aarti. The story is easy to follow despite hearing different opinions and events and takes place, as is typical in D'Silva's books, in England and India. The facts are portrayed so well that it makes this feel like a very real and honest experience that could easily be based on a true story.

My heart broke for Diya and all of the pain and uncertainty that she had to go through. This story was uncomfortable to read because it dealt with a lot of hurt and dishonesty. That fact did not take away from the incredible plot but the subject matter is not light nor is it easy to forget. 

I could also feel for Vani and Aarti, the two mothers involved, who were raised in very different circumstances, which ultimately had long term effects on them and also on those they held dear. I always find it very telling (and interesting) to see how societal norms can affect an individual in a new country or life, much like the characters in this novel.

This book was everything that I love about a great read. Amazing characters, realistic, heartbreaking yet heartwarming. A must read for anyone who loves a great story that will resonate with you for a long time afterwards.

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Renita D'Silva:
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Friday, May 22, 2015

It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

5 Star

Delia Moss isn't quite sure where she went wrong. Everything was going smoothly. Ok, she had a slightly rubbish job working for the council and she hadn t seen her best friend Emma in god knows how long, but she'd been working up to proposing to Paul for months. This. Was. It.

But with one annoying little beep beep, Delia's life is turned upside down and rather than stick around and commit GBH by punching her cheating scumbag boyfriend (who still wants to be with her) in the chops, she decides the best thing to do would be get some head space and leave for London.

But a new city is never going to be the answer, and with a dodgy new job in media PR, where a suspicious yet devastatingly handsome journalist seems to be sniffing around and endangering her job, Delia can't run forever. Where did the old Delia go? And can she get her back?

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Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have to admit that I have been a fan of Mhairi's since I read her first book, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest. Happily I was not disappointed as this book was so enjoyable that I practically gobbled it up. I pretty much did since I read it in a day and at 544 pages, this was no mean feat!

One thing that has always drawn me to her writing is the fact that her characters are so realistic and down to earth. I feel like a lot of the things they go through are things that I could also have gone through and in some cases, we actually shared experiences. For me, the sign of a great book is being able to identify with the characters in that way.

I loved just how easy this book was to read. It almost felt like a conversation with a friend. One of those "we are catching up and haven't seen each other for awhile" type conversations but also one of those very good and heartfelt conversations.

My heart just ached for Delia at times. What she was going through was definitely not easy but unfortunately seems to be something a lot of us have experienced, in one way or another. I really loved how the story progressed with the ultimate outcome being utterly satisfying in every way.

If you are looking for a great summer read, or really anytime read, I cannot recommend this story enough or even this author enough. One of my favorites by far, this book has already got me longing for her next!

Thank you to Harper Collins for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Mhairo McFarlane:
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe

4.5 Star

Emmaline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it’s 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960’s, Emmy doesn’t see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all. Only when Emmy’s fiancĂ© shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act—falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy’s eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under—and their effect—changes completely. 

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Kathryn - 4.5 Star

I’d read a few reviews before picking up this novel (not good practice I know and very unlike me) and so I was prepared for the onset of the story to be slow.  I have to agree with others that the pace didn’t pick up until a quarter of the way into the story.  However, there is very good reason for the slow start.  Emmy isn’t living a fast paced existence in the beginning of this novel and it therefore makes perfect sense that the narration is somewhat sluggish.  Like her life and prospects ahead the vision in front of her is a slow-moving sludge rather than a free-flowing river.

I appreciated this only once I got into the story though and admit that I pushed myself to keep reading (again, due to the fabulous reader reviews) and am so very glad I did.  I’m no expert on the period or the area so any historical liberties or misplaced facts slipped right past me. I was entirely caught up in the life of Emmy and the awakening of her own desires.  It was indeed a peculiar time to be coming of age in small-town America - a time when religion still dominated the landscape and ones parents planned out one’s life- it was valuable to try to place myself in Emmy’s shoes.  Her refusal to accept the man she’s been planned for was a relief but I liked that Amy Scheibe didn’t rush this part- it was done methodically with as much back and forth as one would expect.  I would have hated for her to suddenly up and change her life without a second thought- it would have never given credibility to the character of Emmy.

The remainder of the novel took a number of twists and turns as Emmy uncovered not only her own self but her family’s secrets and history. I found the story plausible (though perhaps a touch convoluted) and it was made more realistic by the family members who come into Emmy’s life.  I ached for her aunt Josephine as well as her father and even her mother and sister were characters I was fond of in the end.  I also was impressed with the subtle storyline surrounding Bobby- it was well executed without becoming another “big” thing.   

A great book- if you find yourself less than attached to Emmy at the start please keep reading!

Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Amy Scheibe:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel

5 Star

The last thing twenty-eight-year-old Lauren is looking for is love, so why do the men she's dating assume she's searching for The One?

With men running for the hills, Lauren takes drastic action and turns her love life into an experiment, vowing to follow the advice of a different dating guide every month.

From releasing her inner siren to swearing off sex completely, Lauren will follow The Rules and play The Game, all with the help of her disapproving best friend and her newly loved-up housemate.

But as she searches for the holy grail of no-strings sex minus the heartache, Lauren soon realizes that dating is more complicated than just swiping right - and that the things you run from tend to always catch up with you...

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Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Also known as Age Sex Location, this was classic chick lit at its finest. I definitely enjoyed the novel a lot as it reminded me of my own forays into the dating world, and often with some strange methodology similar to Lauren's. I often thought my dating experiences could add up to a good story and now having read this latest book of Melissa Pimentel's, I am even more convinced that this is true.

Definitely hilarious and absolutely intriguing, this quick and addictive read had me giggling and reflecting on similar situations I had found myself in in the past. Probably a book that most women, especially those who are perpetually, or seemingly perpetually single, can relate to.

I really loved every aspect of this book and can't find anything to criticize about it at all. The characters were realistic and easy to relate to, which is a definite must for me in this genre. I like to feel like I could be the protagonist in the story and Lauren and I felt like kindred spirits in many ways.

For anyone who wants a great and entertaining read, this book is definitely one for you. I would even go so far as to say it will be one of my favorite books of this year since I enjoyed it that much!

Thank you to Penguin for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Melissa Pimentel:
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