The Week ahead in books

 

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndzathe girl int he ice

What they say: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza’s new series today – at a special launch price.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

I’ve already started this book, but other commitments prised it out of my hands. I am so hooked and cannot wait to properly sit down with it again. It’s the first thriller I’ve read in some time that lets you see the daylight as you investigate the murder, so it doesn’t drag you along in the gloom the whole time. As I said, Cannot wait!!

 

The Summer We Danced by Fiona Harper

thesummerwedanced

What they say: After a humiliating divorce and watching her former rock star husband leave her for a model live on reality TV, Pippa is determined to disappear. So she returns to the small Kent village where she grew up to make a fresh start. Little did she know that would mean saving her beloved childhood dance school or falling for her old school crush Tom too!

I started this today as it’s out on the 7th April and I wanted to be done ahead of that date. I read The Little Shop Of Hopes and Dreams back when I began to blog and I absolutely fell for Ms.Harper’s descriptions. I’m happy to say that so far not only are they as mesmerizing here, but they’re also joined with a narrator I love, with a narrative I love, and a story-line that has already grabbed me; Pippa has returned to her childhood dance class to lose weight and begin her new life. Bring it on! Out April 7th.

The Rest of my Life by Sheryl Browne

therestof

What they say: You can’t run away from commitment forever …
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

Every review I’ve read of this has been glowing. Cannot Wait. Out April 7th:)

What about you? What are your plans for the week? To the comments!

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review of Holding Out For A Hero by Victoria Van Tiem

 

Holding out for the Hero Tour Promo 1

HERO-US COVER

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What they say:

Their love survived the 80s. She wished she hadn’t. A funny, bitter-sweet romantic dramedy set to an 80’s soundtrack that proves first love never truly dies.

Libby London fell in love with the 80s, came of age in the 90s, and in the 21st Century is coming completely apart. Her New York fashion sensibility is more ‘vintage tragedy’

than ‘retro babe’ and might just be what’s holding her back in all matters of life and love…

At least that’s what her well-meaning friends think. They’ve staged an #80sIntervention determined to bring Libby bang up-to-date, but how do you move forward when the one you love holds you in the past? Between her dreaded birthday party, friend’s madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her Pretty in Pink resale thrift shop, Libby’s at the end of her rope. If her therapist isn’t quick, it could be a literal one.

Excerpt

Prologue

My birthday hangs over my head like a noose.

I’d rather just skip it and take the day off. I’m like Cameron in Ferris Bueller: overwhelmed, wound up and seriously pessimistic about the whole idea. Ollie, my best friend’s older brother and I used to debate this movie non-stop when we were teenagers. He swore the entire day was a delusion created by the very sick and depressed Cameron.

‘It’s a crazy theory that’s been floating around, but I stand behind it,’ he’d say with absolute certainty. Oliver liked nothing better than to argue.

I liked nothing better than to wind him up. ‘Sure, he was miserable and the timeline of events impossible, but it doesn’t prove Ferris was a figment of Cameron’s imagination. Was everyone fake? And why would he do that?’

I could hear him pacing, and imagined him at the other end of the line, wide-eyed and gesturing. I loved it when he got that way. I loved everything about him.

‘They’re real, Libby, just not in the context of Cameron’s fantasy. He created Ferris, or at least that version of him, because he had to. He needed a hero.’

Right now, I need a hero. Seriously: where’s my white knight upon a fiery steed? He doesn’t need to be strong, fast, or fresh from the fight, he just needs to be larger than life and capable of saving mine. It’s a mess. But there’s no way I could’ve predicted the position I find myself in right now.

No one could.

Holding out for a Hero Promo 3

And The Review …

First off thanks so much to Chick Lit Plus and Victoria Van Tiem for the chance to participate in the Holding Out For A Hero Blog Tour, and also for the book in return for an honest review. I really enjoyed ‘Holding Out For A Hero.’ From the second I heard about it I was thrilled to hear that music was an intricate part of it. As you can see from the blurb, the book was all about Libby London, who runs ‘Pretty in Pink,’ a thrift shop, which allows her to dress as she wants, in 80’s gear, complete with the hair of the era. Her friends decide to intervene and give her a modern day makeover while organising  dates for her. I loved Libby’s race to save ‘Pretty in Pink,’ and her friend Dora’s ‘interfering,’ although at times I did feel they were too tough on her. I will say that humour wise, it wasn’t always in the same vein as my own, but that’s a subjective thing, and there is a wealth of people out there who loved it for the comedy.

We soon learn that  the reason she’s ‘stuck in the eighties’ isn’t solely due to her love of the movies (with 80’s playlists and movie references such as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink dropped regularly, the attention to detail is amazing), fashion and music, there is also something that happened that kept her tied to that time and never allowed her to move on. This is examined and explored with the help of her psychologist, Dr Papadopoulos, who is helping her figure out her issues with depression. I felt that this was dealt with very well and is a commendable topic to team with a book that would appear to be lighter than that.

Actually, I really enjoyed Dr Papadopoulos’ character and in general the characters in Holding Out For A Hero, and while I enjoyed Libby’s journey, and in particular her realisations as to how she really felt about certain people (no spoilers!), I would be very interested to find out more about her best friend, Dora’s life (sequel maybe?!) All in all, I really liked this book, the musical and cinematic references were flawless, and although I didn’t ‘get’ all of them, I enjoyed them. The romance was well done, as were the flashbacks and the ending that was a different outcome to the one I would have predicted. If you’re a die hard 80’s fan you’re in for a treat, and I’d advise you to get to it!

Rating: 4/5

WIN!!!

Click HERE  To be in with a chance to win a copy of Holding Out For A Hero!!

About the Author:

Victoria Van Tiem Author Photo 2

Victoria Van Tiem (pronounced ‘team’) is an international author of romantic comedy and dramedy novels, a former gallery owner and creative director with a background in brand development. She lives just outside of Indianapolis on a small hobby farm with her husband and two teenage boys.

Find her here:

http://www.victoriavantiem.com/

Twitter

Facebook

GoodReads

Instagram

To follow the tour on from here, or to look back over some other ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ posts:

March 7th

Literary Chanteuse – www.literarychanteuse.blogspot.ca – Review
Ali -The Dragon Slayer – http://cancersuckscouk.ipage.com/ – Review
Judging More Than Just The Cover – www.ambergreggbooks.com – Excerpt/Review
Grass monster – https://twitter.com/Lost815_Oceanic – Review

March 8th 2016

A Thousand Lives – http://athousandlivesbook.wix.com/bookblog – Review
Boundless Minds – www.boundlessminds.org – Excerpt
Emma’s Book Reviews – www.bookreviewsem.blogspot.com – Excerpt/Review

March 9th 2016

Pretty Little Book Reviews – http://www.prettylittlebookreviews.com/ – Review
ItaPixie’s Book Corner – http://itapixie.blogspot.it – Review/Excerpt
Bookish Escapes – http://bookishescapes.weebly.com – Review

March 10th 2016

Hello…Chick Lit – http://hellochicklit.com – Review
Steamy book momma – http://steamybookmomma0.blogspot.com – Promo Post
BRMaycock’s book blog – http://Brmaycock.wordpress.com – Excerpt/Review

March 11th 2016

Around the World in Books – http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/ – Excerpt
Book Groupies – http://bookgroupies2.blogspot.com/ – Excerpt
One Book at a Time – http://booksandwinearelovely.blogspot.com/ – Excerpt/Review

 

 

This tour was scheduled and arranged by HCL Book Tours

hcl^click here to check it out^

Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

make a christmas wish

What they say: A HILARIOUS and JUST-A-LITTLE HEARTBREAKING FESTIVE TREAT for anyone who’s looking for a little bit of MAGIC this CHRISTMAS TIME!

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?

Perfect for fans of CAROLE MATTHEWS, TRISHA ASHLEY and JENNY COLGAN.

 

The review: First off thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review. I had heard a lot about this book before I started, there were big fans out there so that would be something to bear in mind here.

In Make A Christmas Wish we’re introduced to Livvy, who has died in an accident after hearing about her husband having an affair. The way things work is explained to her by her spirit guide Malachi, who appears in the form of a black cat. She is told that she has unfinished business and so cannot pass over to the other world. The unfinished business is seemingly obvious but, in a nice touch, the glaringly obvious is turned on its head throughout the book. Livvy was a strong character and though her faults were plenty, you still had to feel for her, especially in finding out HOW she died. If you are looking for something along the life of ‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’ by Hannah Beckerman, which was more of a mother looking in to her family’s new life, with no say in what was happening, then this is not it. Livvy is bitter and resentful and rather than watching her family to see what’s happening she’s doing her best to turn things upside down so she can get back to them and to what she remembers her old life to be. There are some hilarious moments in this, with the hauntings very well done. We see her life as flashbacks and meet their son, Joe, who had Asbergers initially through a series of notebook entries, which was a lovely touch.

We also meet her husband, Adam and his new girlfriend, Emily, and I think this was where my problem with the books started. As I said the book was in flashbacks, mostly to show how Adam ended up having the affair. The wish to keep us surprised meant that I empathized with the ‘wrong’ characters here. I couldn’t take a liking to Emily and Adam and continued to feel bad for Livvy. Whatever happened they both still came off as selfish to me. As well as this, somewhere along the line the book which, already out of the ordinary, turned a little bit too wacky and beetlejuicy for my liking. In a converse way, if you like things turning a bit crazy and spooks and beings everywhere, then go for this book! It’s also quite a funny book and had I liked the characters more, there’s a chance I could have loved it.

All in all a tough one to judge. I wasn’t a fan, and watched the percentages go by on my Kindle (never a good sign) but plenty more will love it, and it is a different type of Christmas book.

Rating: 3/5

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

ChristmasEverAfter

What they say: Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.

Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women―and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye.

With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?

Fall in love with the all new Puffin Island series from Sarah Morgan, the bestselling author who brought you Sleigh Bells in the Snow:

Book 1 – First Time in Forever – Out Now!

Book 2 – Some Kind of Wonderful – July 2015

Book 3 – Christmas Ever After – October 2015

‘A gorgeously sparkly romance about letting go and learning to love again. The perfect Christmas read!’ – Julia Williams, bestselling author of Coming Home for Christmas

The Review: “Skylar Tempest stepped out of her hotel and lifted her face to the sky. Soft, thick flakes of snow drifted down from a sky of midnight blue, dusting her hair and blending with the wool of her white coat.”

And so it begins. A beautiful, simple snowy scene as our lead character, Skylar, leaves to attend an exhibition of her new jewelry collection. It is described as the most important night of her life and what follows is indeed that, though not in the way she thinks. Cue the most gripping proposal scene I remember to date, with a result that is unexpected to say the least.

We meet Richard, a character that is absolutely hideous, and yet Ms. Morgan makes him thoroughly believable. In fact the characters in Christmas Ever After all played their parts flawlessly, Alec Hunter, who has a hate/ hate relationship with Sky but becomes a knight in shining armour, his family in the Cotswolds, who are warm, charming and funny, and Sky and Alec’s friends in the beautiful Puffin island. The banter between Alex and Sky was brilliant, as was the way Sky kept surprising everyone. I loved her independence, her work ethic and her personality, especially her sharp wit.

The Christmassy descriptions were beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The heat between the characters was fan-frigging-tabulous, and perfect! All intense and electrifying and yet so romantic and gorgeous. Swoon. This went hand in hand with the romance which was exemplary – this was possibly one of the most heart catching (you know what I mean) books I have ever read.

My only slight gripe was the ending, which was a tad sudden for me and, I thought, let Sky’s character down just a little, but then, it just wasn’t my type of ending, I know plenty more people who were thrilled with it! This book is one of the Puffin Island Series (it’s book 3) but I read it as a standalone and had absolutely no problem with it being this. Thanks so much to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

To be honest, this is my Christmas book to beat, I adored it that much, and I will most definitely be looking out further books from Ms. Morgan’s extensive collection. A must read (Read it!).

Rating: 5/5

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

What they say: An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

The Review: We meet Abbey Fuller as a hardworking mother of one who has a job caring for Caroline Sinclair, a charming elderly lady. Abbey is employed by Nicholas Sinclair, Caroline’s grandson, who is an extremely rich businessman, with an extravagant house that comes complete with a range of staff. Abbey leads a very different life, happy and in love with her son, Max, and with a close knit family of a very helpful Mum and a granddad that lives close by. Abbey’s problems are purely financial as she worries about how to cater for Max’s Christmas wishes and some medication that her granddad cannot afford to help with his Parkinsons. When, by chance, she’s offered an opportunity to decorate Nick Sinclair’s house she takes it, purely for the money, even though she only has experience of decorating one home.

The Christmas descriptions were absolutely beautiful, amplified by the fact that she was decorating a house at Christmas time with a lavish budget that afforded her the ability to make it truly magnificent. I could see it all and it was wonderful.

Abbey was a gorgeous character, outgoing, charming and very warm. The story-line with her granddad was very touching and I loved that Abbey was so selfless in wanting to give anything she could to help him. The pacing was great too and, although I had to leave the book for a day or two, I welcomed settling back down with it and enjoyed it thoroughly. I suppose my only problem was actually with Nick, who I couldn’t stop seeing as Christian Grey (disclaimer: I have neither read the book nor seen the movie!). Abbey was very naive and a bit too forward with him while he seemed to find her something of a novelty and so that took away some of the magic for me. That being said there were some lovely moments between them that contributed to a very light read that will be welcome for many as they sit in the armchair by the fire surrounded by Christmas finery. Many thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg

 The Middle of Somewhere

What they say: A troubled, young widow hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness on the John Muir Trail to elude her shameful past in this emotionally gripping story from the author of House Broken.

With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.
They set off together alone under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.

The review: First off thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review. Where to start? The beautiful cover is one place, and I did think it very beautiful, it jumped off the page for me. As an aside, for some reason the blurb doesn’t do it for me, but I suppose it is a difficult feat, because for me this book is so hard to categorize that I feel like the blurb is trying to catch a multitude of readers, where it needn’t, the book is THAT good.

I loved this book. The more I think about it now, the higher in my esteem it climbs, and I only wish I had the paperback, because I think a paperback version would suit this. First the main characters, Liz and Dante. Both strong characters that fulfilled their duties brilliantly, she as the strong independent trekker who is on a mission to trek this grueling journey, he as the understanding boyfriend, who is there solely as her partner. From the start the banter between the two of them was perfect. Her sporadic irritation was seamlessly integrated with guilt that she had caused him to do something he had no interest in. This simmered nicely as she tried to guide him, smacking against his shock at the grueling nature of their journey, and the absence of beer or tv at their stopping points. Their dialogue was vibrant , smart and funny and I felt both of their pain. The story took us daily through the trail and I was there, the starkness of some of the scenery, coupled with the beauty of more of it, making it come alive. Added to all of this was the author’s obvious knowledge of climbing, as the minute details added to the experience and taught me so much about the area they were traversing, the equipment required, and endless facts on the what to do/ what not to do in excursions of this nature.

The story was punctuated by Liz’s back story, that of her and her dead husband, Gabriel. This was dealt with in flashbacks aided by the build-up of stress brought on by a monumental secret she was keeping from Dante. The introduction of other characters was well done, as we climbed, hiked and stumbled along with the pair. We encountered some helpful climbers, an actor there solely for research and the very odd Root brothers, a pair that added to tension I started to feel as it hit home that where they were there was nowhere to run. I had only two problems with the book. One was that at times Liz could seem a little over dramatic, not in her problems, which were substantial, more her way of expressing them. The other were said Root brothers, who I found to be slightly cartoon-like at times, this took away slightly from the tone of the book, though not much.

To finish I will add simply that the bookclub questions at the end of the book were a lovely addition and served only to validate my opinion on the book. Brilliant.

Rating: 5/5

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

Anendlesschristmas

 

What they say: On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

 

The review: Thanks to Netgalley and Worthy Publishing for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

We start this novella with a front row seat of the spectacle of Katie, saying no to a proposal from her boyfriend of ten months, Micah. As well as us, there are numerous members of Micah’s family, as Katie is at their home for Christmas. Awkward? Not really. Katie is surprised that the reaction of the family is to continue to welcome her as if nothing has happened!

This book reminded me of the rom coms that surface on television at Christmas, with a female lead that everyone knows, where there is constant pandemonium and brightness and festiveness, except this was done so much better! I will admit there are a LOT of characters in this, which will be a no-no for some (I’ve no problem with it at all), and even after reading all of this book (in one day), I would not be able to name them all, but for some reason, it didn’t matter. The story flew by with so many lovely, touching moments, told better than any Christmas story I can remember.

There were so many scenes in this book that were so heartwarming, the moments between the grandparents, the introduction of unexpected members of the family, and a little different to the ones you’d expect. There was very little comedy in it which was surprising given the opening scene, but I soon forgot about that. I cried four times in the book which was something, and I smiled a lot too. So beautifully written in parts (I actually highlighted some short phrases which I particularly enjoyed), I flew through it from start to finish.

Bad points … Well, although Katie was great, we did get hit over the face a little bit too much with the lead up to the mysterious reason she had said no. I liked all of the characters, though the other points of views that were brought in were brought in so late that it was a bit of a shock after only seeing things through Katie. Also this was quite a holy book, which mightn’t suit some people (I have to warn just in case people have a problem with it but given that it was a Christmas book, I enjoyed the references).

One last aside, there were some formatting issues, which might have been my Kindle, but they did mean that at times the dialogue was difficult to decipher, as two people speaking might be featured on the same line, or gaps would appear making it look like a scene had changed. Just something I have to note but it could have been my Kindle and anyway it was a great read. I look forward to looking out more from Ms. Ruchti.

“Christmas week with the Binders … Is as good a place as they come to figure out where your heart is. ” Says it all.

Rating: 4.75/5