Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse and NetGalley.
The Life You Left
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.
If you love me, you will give me the space I need…
Tell the children I love them.

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the pack lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds.

There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.

Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate.

But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.

There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever. For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong
she truly is.

Set in a small coastal village on the beautiful Irish coast, The Life You Left is a story of redemption and the strength of love.

The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Life You Left(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse and NetGalley.)

This book was (in my opinion) a big old mess.

Sarah was clearly nuts. Not only did she speak to an invisible guardian angel, she acted on what he said, and then found other people who were also nuts to corroborate her story! I did think she had guts for going to speak to her husband the way she did and confronting him about what was going on, but in truth that was a necessary evil.

The storyline in this was just bizarre. I expected it to be about Sarah’s husband leaving her, but it truth it was only a little bit about that, and mostly about this murder than Sarah’s guardian angel had told her to investigate! I mean really?

There was romance in this, but I didn’t really like it.

The ending was okay, and one part of it was probably the best part of the book. I really didn’t enjoy this book though, I found it unbelievable, and irritating, and I wouldn’t want to read another of this author’s books.
Overall; barmy,
4 out of 10.

Book Blitz and #Giveaway - Highballs in the Hamptons (Girlfriends of Gotham #2) by Delancey Stewart

Highballs in the Hamptons (Girlfriends of Gotham #2)
Release Date: 09/3014
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Natalie Pepper thinks she can just be friends with CJ, the man of her dreams. But after seeing him every day at work – and after he lays it all on the line – it becomes pretty clear that something’s gotta give. She’d admit to herself, and to him, that all she really wants is him…if she wasn’t so afraid of losing the best job she’s ever had (and the life it has made possible).

At least she’s got her friends to distract her. Lulu Rossi is an unorthodox and unpredictable spitfire of a girl who has a habit of saying whatever’s on her mind. And while that attribute entertains friends and intrigues her new boyfriend, Andrew, it might be the one thing that stops their relationship from moving forward. Lulu has unintentionally entered the world of Upper East Side royalty, as her ER doctor boyfriend turns out to be the pedigreed heir to an old money fortune – one that is watched over by his manipulative and exceedingly judgmental mother, Elizabeth “Tippy” Barton.

Natalie’s insane supervisor worsens the situation at work when her own man troubles result in a new “no fraternization” policy, and CJ finally gives up and begins to look for other opportunities. Natalie is forced to decide what is important to her for once and for all. Will it be CJ or her job?

Lulu must prove her worth to Andrew’s family – or make him see that the only person whose opinion really matters is his.

Men and Martinis (Girlfriends of Gotham #1)
Release Date: 12/03/13

Summary from Goodreads:
Candace Kanie wins at every game she plays. From the boardroom to the bar, she’s confident, clever, perhaps just a tad overbearing. It’s not easy for a girl like Candace to admit that love may be the one game she can’t win…at least not until she’s willing to change her strategy. In Men and Martinis, Candace Kanie will learn that sometimes to be at the top of your game, you have to hit rock bottom.

Men and Martinis is the first release in Delancey Stewart’s series “Girlfriends of Gotham” – a voyeuristic voyage through the lives of a group of twenty-something girls who dance, date, and drink their way through Manhattan during the days of the dot com boom. During an era when the up-and-comers in New York were partying like Studio 54 had never died, this group of friends discovers that the city is theirs for the taking; and they find their often-hilarious way through the forces that work to redefine the way they know themselves and each other.

Buy Links for Men and Martinis:

About the Author
I'm not big on labels, but there are a few that fit me (not necessarily in this order. Or maybe in this order):
- wine drinker (and wine geek)
- mother of small boys
- military spouse
- writer
- chocolate eater

I've written the Wine Country Romance Series, which ties my love of wine to my love of falling in love... and the Girlfriends of Gotham series, which begins publishing with Swoon Romance in December 2013.

I also love short stories, and my themed collection (all set in the same NYC brownstone across the span of a century) published in 2012. 

Author Links:
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@delanceystewart @swoonromance

Excerpt - LULU -
Candace was on my doorstep at exactly nine o’clock, as promised, looking poised and put together with her signature bob and short skirt. I had always thought Candace was very sexy. She had a small blond girl with her, whom she introduced as Tamara.
“Where are you from, Tamara?” I asked as I poured from our usual extra-large bottle of Pinot grigio. There was nothing about this girl that made me think she was from the city, but something in the tilt of her chin told me she was fierce and determined.
“I grew up in Indiana,” she said, smiling as she reached for a wine glass. “‘With those Indiana boys on those Indiana nights,’” she added, winking a bright blue eye as she held her glass in a toast.
“What?” I asked. She was cute, but maybe she was crazy. I flashed a look at Candace.
“It’s a song lyric, Lu,” Candace said, reaching between us to take a glass.
“Oh.” I shrugged as Tamara and Candace sang about someone named Mary Jane.
“Tom Petty?” Tamara said, raising her eyebrow. She was at least a foot shorter than I was, but she projected confidence, and the three-inch heels on her boots were impressive. I hadn’t figured this girl out yet, but decided to like her.
“She’s from Brazil,” Candace said, as if that explained everything.
“Whatever.” I knew of Tom Petty, but I didn’t know the song.
Tamara smiled. “That’s so cool!”
I smiled. Being from a foreign country always seemed impressive to Americans. I hadn’t figured out why yet. I knew plenty of assholes in Brazil. Being from there didn’t automatically qualify you as a good person.
Candace and Tamara moved to the couch as the buzzer rang again, and I waited by the door to let Natalie and Maggie in. Catalina, Maggie’s roommate, was with them, and I could see that Natalie was not pleased. They didn’t get along, despite Maggie’s constant efforts to mend whatever hurt existed between them. It all came down to jealousy, I thought. Catalina had gone out with the man Natalie liked from work. I honestly didn’t see the big issue, since Natalie refused to date him. But I was trying to be neutral.
Natalie hugged me and immediately poured herself a glass of wine and went to sit across from Candace. I could hear her introducing herself to Tamara.
“I’m so excited to meet your man,” Maggie said to me, a huge smile on her face.
“Is he handsome?” Catalina asked.
I poured wine for them and answered. “I think he’s adorable. But that’s just my five cents. I’m biased.”
They looked at each other and began giggling.
“Honey,” Maggie said, leaning in and putting a hand on my arm. “You only get two cents.”
“What?” What the hell was she talking about?
“The expression, it’s ‘that’s my two cents.’ Not five cents.”
Irritation made my skin tingle. “Whatever,” I told her. “Maybe I get more because I’m Brazilian.” American expressions made no sense at all.


Monday, 29 September 2014

Scorched by Erica Hayes

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse and NetGalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can't trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains. Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.

Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…

Scorched by Erica Hayes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Scorched(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse and NetGalley.)

This book started out a little confusing but okay, but as it went on I got really bored.

Verity was just a confusing character really. At the start of the book it was like she barely knew her own name, and it was really difficult to know whether to believe what she told us was going on or not! Unfortunately this didn’t really improve over the course of the book, and I really didn’t warm to her at all.

The storyline in this was quite jumpy and difficult to follow. Things were revealed during the course of the story, but I was so bored that I stopped caring. After the 20% mark this story just lost me, and really could not regain my interest right up to the end.
There was some romance, but I didn’t really appreciate that either.

The ending was again a bit confusing, but I really didn’t care what happened at that point.
Overall; dull and confusing,
4.5 out of 10.

Book Blitz and #Giveaway - Black Atonement by Sasha Hibbs

Black Atonement
Release Date: 09/26/14
Evernight Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
The burden of Dave’s girlfriend’s death pushes Brandi, the Seraph of Love, to abduct David Howels hoping she can protect Dave from his murderous father, Ragnar, and also atone for all her sins. Leaving a trail of broken hearts, will Brandi be able to show Dave that all in life is not lost in death? Twists and turns abound as Brandi discovers her own shocking revelation: That Dave has been her soul mate all along.

Separating Dave and herself from their allies on the threshold of the apocalypse, Brandi turns to an old friend for help-a witch-to aid her in her quest to prepare Dave to face his worst fears and her own. Filled with curses, secrets that threaten to destroy everything, Brandi must find forgiveness from within before she can find love with a boy she’s forced to hate her. In the past, healing a broken heart would’ve been easy, but now faced with the task of healing Dave’s broken heart while not exposing her own, Brandi learns why love is truly the greatest gift of all.

Buy Links:

Books in this series:
(Covers linked to Goodreads)

About the Author
By age 5, Sasha Hibbs' favorite movie was Gone With the Wind. By age 12, she completed her 7th grade book report on the sequel, Scarlett. By 18, she met and married her very own Mr. Rhett Butler and as it turns out, she never had to worry about going back to Tara to win the love of her life back. Fortunately, he stuck with her.  

With a love of all things paranormal, the ambiance of the South with its gigantic antebellum mansions and canopies of Spanish moss, and a love for her husband’s rich storytelling of blacksmiths and the mythology surrounding their origins, it wasn’t long until the world of her debut novel, Black Amaranth, was born.

When not working her day job as a nurse, you can find Sasha dreaming of her next beach trip, reading the latest YA novel, and drinking more white chocolate mocha than she should.  

Sasha lives in mountainous West Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two daughters, Aeliza and Ava. She is currently hard at work on her next novel in The Vulcan Legacies series.

***Author Links***
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Excerpt 4:

“Tell me!” Dave shouted, hitting the invisible wall again, his face growing red with anger. “You said your soul mate belonged to another. We danced. We kissed. You saved me….”
“Yes,” Brandi said in a breathy whisper.
“Abraham told me to remember, told me I would know the exact moment,” Dave said, lowering his voice. “He gave me the counter spell for a spell I hadn’t even known was cast. It all makes sense now.”
“Dave, please,” Brandi said, tears streaming down her face in silver lines. “Please don’t try to understand.”
“Why would you save me? Why would you take me away after Ragnar killed Lucy? Why would you string me along like a damn sidekick when you’ve never liked me? Never had any intentions of letting me go into the Void to claim my revenge?” Dave looked at her, his gaze heated. “I’ve asked myself all these questions, trying to form answers for something that never made any sense. And then to remember memories that were taken from me…of us, together. I get it now. I understand. I want you to tell me, Brandi. I want to hear you say something I already know.”
“I can’t,” Brandi said, her lips quivering, the pain in her chest tight. She couldn’t voice it, put a name to it. She couldn’t bear to see the comprehension on Dave’s face and to think he might be sickened by the truth, by her lies, by her deception.
“You didn’t know either, did you?” Dave said.
Brandi simply shook her head.
“Answer me!” Dave said.
“No,” Brandi said as a sob escaped her.
Dave laughed, his voice becoming unhinged.
“Edgar was never your soul mate,” Dave said. “Was he?”
“No,” Brandi said.
Dave nodded slowly as though taking it all in stride, still processing what Brandi knew but he was just beginning to understand. 
“I am,” Dave said. “I’m your soul mate, aren’t I?”
“Yes,” Brandi answered, the secret she harbored from Dave now shared between the two of them.


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a collection of fairly odd poems, and it all got very repetitive as the book went on.

Basically every poem in here was about eating disorders and being over-weight, and while I could maybe put up with that for a short while, it all just got too much. I mean how many times do we need to hear about girls comfort eating? How many times do we have to hear about throwing up or not eating at all? I mean the first couple of poems got the point across, so the rest were basically repetitive and redundant. Considering how few words there were in this book, it certainly seemed to drag on a long time.

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about poetry, so I can’t give you any idea of how poetic or technically brilliant these poems were, but I can tell you that as a reader of YA fiction, this just didn’t cut it for me.
5 out of 10.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Pieces of You by Ella Harper

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Avon NetGalley.
Pieces of You
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Lucy. I don’t even know how to start this letter.
Something happened. Something terrible . . .

Lucy was always sure of one thing – her future with husband and soulmate Luke. But after eight long, heartbreaking years trying to have a baby, that future is crumbling before her eyes.
When a terrible accident puts Luke into a coma, Lucy is forced to reassess everything she thought she wanted.

Then a woman arrives with a shocking secret that will force Lucy to make the hardest decision of her life.

As compelling and powerful as Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty, PIECES OF YOU is a heart-rending, haunting and ultimately life-affirming novel about a love tested to its limits.

Pieces of You by Ella Harper

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Pieces of You(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Avon NetGalley.)
Lucy and Luke have been trying for a baby for 8 years, and every time they conceive they end up saddened when Lucy miscarries. This time Lucy has made it to 16 weeks though, and they’re hoping that things are finally going their way, when suddenly everything goes wrong in the worst possible way.
Can Lucy get over the coming tragedies in her life? And will things ever be the same again?

This was a difficult story about grief, pregnancy, miscarriage, and infidelity.

I liked Lucy and the whole way through this book I felt so sorry for her. She had lost so many babies, and wanted a baby so badly, and every time her dreams were snatched from her. Then to have even more bad luck and grief piled on to her was unbelievably sad.

The storyline in this was pretty sad, Lucy just had bad luck and then more bad luck, and then had the very foundations of her marriage rocked. The poor girl just could not catch a break, and the further into the story the worse things got for her. I have to say that blurb has awful spoilers for this book though, really quite bad!

The ending to this was okay, but it certainly wasn’t a classic ‘happily ever after’ but more of a realistic ending. I have to say that poor Lucy really did go through a lot in the book though, and she really did handle things well, the poor girl had her whole world cave in on her, and somehow came out of things still able to see the good things that came from the bad.
Overall; a difficult story about grief, pregnancy, miscarriage, and infidelity,
7 out of 10

Friday, 26 September 2014

Remember Me (Find Me #2) by Romily Bernard

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Remember Me (Find Me, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In the sequel to Find Me, Wick Tate, sarcastic teen hacker, is back and once again dealing with criminals and corrupt cops…and a brooding new love interest. Will Wick persevere when some secrets refuse to stay hidden?

Wick had thought her troubles were over.

But she should’ve known better.

Not only is she embroiled in a new murder case, which starts with a body with “Remember Me” carved into it and doesn’t stop there, but she also discovers new evidence surrounding her mother’s suicide…which leads her right back to her imprisoned deadbeat dad. And she has to deal with her flirty new hacker friend, Milo, sniffing around—which her boyfriend, Griff, isn’t too happy about.

The pressure might be too much as secrets—including Wick’s own—climb to the surface.

Remember Me is an edge-of-your-seat thrilling read that’ll have readers turning the pages at lightning speed! The paperback of Find Me is on sale simultaneously, and a digital original novella from Romily, featuring Griff, is on sale just a few weeks before!

Remember Me by Romily Bernard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Remember Me (Find Me, #2)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was an okay story, and I did like it a little more than the previous book in the series, but in general, I don’t think this author’s books are a right fit for me.

I did like Wick a little more in this book compared to the first one. I felt quite sorry for her and the way she was obviously being targeted. It was bad enough that she was being hounded by a police detective, never mind being victimised by other people!

The storyline in this was okay, but I think the writing style is just not for me. I found the pacing a little slow, and while I wanted to know what would happen, the story itself irritated me somehow. I can’t even put my finger on what exactly it was that made this story less enjoyable for me, but it just didn’t do it for me, and it struggled to hold my attention because of that.

The ending to this was okay, but I was glad to be finished really. I’m glad that I gave this book a chance to be better than the first, but I think that really this author’s books are maybe just not for me.
Overall; okay story, but not really for me,
6 out of 10.