Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Wild Child by Molly O'Keefe

Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe is the complete package. This is more than your simple romance novel, there is drama in a multitude of misunderstandings; deception in both internal (self deception) and external (deceiving others) forms; hope in the competition that could save the town; humour in many absurd situations and a rather comical looking dog; and complexity in all manner of relationships (familial, community and personal).

The characters are complex and have emotional baggage. Their issues run deep and at times I wondered if Monica and Jackson (the main protagonists) would ever resolve a thing. I despaired they would ever get together. It appeared that Monica’s (heroine) hangups would derail their budding relationship, fortunately the author recognised this as “point of no return” and Monica found herself struggling to rein in her anxiety levels before demonstrating an element of personal bravery. Thus began her journey to recovery.

Jackson (our hero) was a walking contradiction. After years of selfless service; he put his life on hold, first for his sister and then for his home town Bishop - he plans a future without either of those things. His superficial goals are the reason most of his relationships are shallow, they are also the impetus behind some rather poor decisions. Fortunately he too, comes to appreciate the town and its inhabitants and begins to make better choices than before

Without detracting from the main story, Molly O’Keefe introduces a series of secondary plot lines with characters who serve to enrich Monica and Jackson’s interactions and promote their personal development as they each begin to open up to themselves, each others and their friends. 

A truly a well rounded book.

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.
Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.
About The Author
Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.
She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.
Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.
Connect with the Author
On TwitterFaceBookGoodreads & Molly's Website

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

My Thoughts

I actually loved Shadow Woman by Linda Howard - right up until the ending. The prologue intrigued me; I wondered what occurred to warrant Lizzie’s transformation and her isolation? How did she come to be under surveillance, watched 24/7 by two separate groups? I listened to this book in audio format, and those around me at the time were also interested. We had discussions about what happened to Lizzie; we speculated as to the link between her and X; we debated her association to the events outlined in the beginning?

Where did the story go wrong? Linda Howard spent the bulk of the novel leading up to a massive climax. The reader is lured into thinking a fantastic shoot out is coming, and it doesn’t happen the way it should. In fact, the two main characters are barely involved in the conclusion at all. How is that even possible? If the book is about Lizzie and X, the finish should be theirs as well. 

Now, as a reviewer of mostly romance novels, I’m also going to add something quite unusual for me... A profession of love could have been left out of the story all together. It was out of character and if genuinely delivered, the recipient should have been floored, but it was just ignored. Furthermore, I don’t think the declaration was necessary, I mean who stalks someone for several years, on their own dime, if not for love?

So... how do I rate a book that was awesome until the very end? 2+ seems too harsh and 3 feels too generous. I really am that disappointed.

My Rating



I purchased an audio book for my own reading pleasure. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.


Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.

Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.

Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all

Connect with Linda Howard

on Goodreads 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Countess's Groom by Emily Larkin

Published by Entangled Publishing

The Countess’s Groom by Emily Larkin

I want to ask why is this a short story? It was a fantastic read, but it ended to soon. It was certainly over before I was ready for it to be done. It could have been longer and at times I felt that that story lines were cut too short. Information that the reader could have benefited from appeared to have been axed, quite brutally. Yes, this kept the plot moving, there were no lengthy descriptions waxing poetic at the scenery, but it also meant there was some depth missing to important event sequences. 

I would like to see this extended into a full length novel.

Emily Larkin does a fantastic job at making the reader invest in her characters, even within the limited word count. She created a tale that was, well, a little bit nerve racking... I worried the Countess’s letters would be found and her affair would be exposed. I worried her vile husband would discover her duplicity and foil her plans of escape. I worried she would suffer more beatings. I worried the groom would be accused of theft, then I worried he wouldn’t return. My autocrit report is going to pull me up on how many times I used the word “worried” in the sentences above, but I think it’s important to let you know just how anxious I was.

Is a short story really supposed to illicit such strong concern? 

My Rating

I would happily read more from Emily Larkin, especially something of a greater word count

I obtained an ARC from the publisher with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary
Rose, the Countess Malmstoke, is trapped in a marriage from hell. Escape seems impossible—until her horse groom Will Fenmore offers to help her find a way out.

Will has loved Rose since she was brought to Creed Hall as a new bride, but their relationship has only ever been that of mistress and servant. Born worlds apart, Will knows he could never be her husband, but maybe he can be her salvation.

As they plan her escape to the American colonies, Rose learns to trust Will with her life and her heart, but trusting him with her body is another matter. Can she conquer her fear of the marriage bed? Is the future she dreams of—being Will’s wife—possible?

About the Author

Emily grew up in a house full of words and books -- her mother worked as a librarian and her father was a novelist – so perhaps it’s not surprising that she became a writer.
She loves to travel and has lived in Sweden, backpacked in Europe, and journeyed overland in the Middle East, China, North Africa, and North America. She enjoys climbing hills, yoga workouts, and watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.
Emily writes fantasy novels (with strong elements of romance) as Emily Gee, and historical romance novels as Emily Larkin.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis

Published by Random House

I gave this book a solid 


Accidental Cowgirl - a delightful and easy read, a little outrageous, a tad reminiscent of soap opera and totally unbelievable! The only reason I didn’t award the full daisy chain was because I thought Maggie McGinnis included a crisis or two, too many. In the words of Austen Tayshus “How much can a Koala Bear”?

This book has everything; betrayal, massive injuries, psychological trauma, panic attacks, rogue police officers (with Alzheimer's) , jealous ex-girlfriends,  pushy new love interests, mean tricks, lost girls, freak storms, bear scares, bar fights, broken bones and near fatal barn fires. I may have missed something, but I’m sure you get the picture. Poor Kyla Bennet, she’s a disaster magnet,  more accident prone than Bella Swan (Aca-Believe It!) 

Decker Driscoll hasn’t fared any better in life. His family history is quite heartbreaking. Reading his about his past made me cry, an element of reality that grounded the story. So much suffering portrayed with sincere meaning and beauty.

The relationship between Decker and Kyla grew slowly. Decker needed to contend with many interruptions; other girls trying to stake a claim; guilt, pride and a sense of unworthiness also played a role. Kyla was just plain vulnerable as a result of her ex-fiancĂ©s deceit and she found it difficult to trust her own reactions and responses. The rest of the novel, the parts that were light, they were necessary to allow both the readers and the characters room to breathe. 

A well crafted emotional journey... superbly done.


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.


In her Loveswept debut, Maggie McGinnis tells the tale of a city girl who’s running on fumes—and the cowboy who shows her all the good things she’s been missing.

After being betrayed by her con man ex-fiancĂ©, Kyla Bennett nurses a broken heart. But Kyla’s friends have other ideas and when they whisk her off to Whisper Creek, a dude ranch staffed by cowboys so hot they dim the Montana sunset, all Kyla wants to do is hide under a quilt. Then in rides Decker Driscoll. He’s hauling about as much emotional baggage as Kyla, but when he stands close by, both of them want to stay close—and begin to succumb to an undeniable attraction.

After experiencing personal tragedy, Decker never thought he’d see Big Sky country again. But now that his family's Whisper Creek property is in deep with a Vegas gambler, Decker’s back for the summer—and spending all his time running from “cowgirls” who come to the dude ranch to score some dudes. Then he meets Kyla, a kindred spirit who brings on a stampede of protective feelings . . . and a powerful hankering to sear her with a new brand of love.

About Maggie

Maggie started writing when her twins were infants and she was desperately seeking sanity. The fact that she found it only with imaginary people makes her a bit concerned, but at least they do what she tells them to … usually. 
She lives in New England, though she spends an inordinate amount of time on Arizona real estate sites in mid-January. While snow piles up to her windowsills, she cyber-stalks the blue skies and pink houses of the Southwest. It's cheaper than therapy … 
She used to be an English teacher, a certified black belt, and a cool-car driver. Then ... twins. Now she swills caffeine while driving the one vehicle she swore she'd never own: a minivan. It sort of hurts even to admit it. 
Her debut novel, a cozy mystery, was a Golden Heart® finalist, and her debut romance, Accidental Cowgirl, will be published in October of 2013 by Random House Loveswept! 
Maggie is thoroughly grateful to her wonderful agent and fabulous writer-gal friends for making this journey so much fun!
She's just hoping that one of these days, her family will understand...
Connect with Maggie
on Twitter @Maggie_McGinnis
on her Website

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gracie's War by Elaine Everest - Cover Reveal

My Thoughts
This cover reminds me of the old photographs you find in boxes at your Nanna’s house. Even if you know the person in the photo you might still wonder about what they were like during that age and time.
The black and white aspect of the cover, along with what is featured in the image helps to date the story around the Second World War. The expression on “Gracie’s” face (my assumption) alludes to a time of innocence and contentment, which is belied by the summary. I feel for any young girl whose “transformation to adulthood is swifter and more brutal than she could have ever imagined” and I found the whole notion compelling.
If you find this cover and its blurb intriguing... get excited because it comes  out 15th October 2013
Do our actions and decisions mark us and stay with us for the rest of our lives? Gracie has her life before her as the dark clouds of the Second World War gather. 

Though she and her family cope well with the stresses on the home front, Gracie's transformation to adulthood is swifter and more brutal than she could have ever imagined. 

Gracie meets Tony, who arouses such feelings in her that she has never experienced before - not with Joe her regular beau who considers her his girl. Then, one night, one mistake, and she realises she is carrying Joe's child. 

And now Tony has gone to war.

About the Author

Elaine Everest is a freelance writer and lives in Swanley, Kent with her husband Michael and Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry. She has written over sixty short stories for women’s magazines worldwide. Her features have appeared in publications ranging from The Guardian, The Daily Express and the Daily Mail to My Weekly and Your Dog. Her opinion pieces have led to many appearances on radio including chatting to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour about having a husband under her feet all day long. Elaine has written numerous columns for canine publications centred around her expertise in the world of dogs. This has led to commissions to write three successful books for dog owners. 
Elaine’s successful writing life led her to become a qualified teacher for adult education. Four years ago she founded The Write Place creative writing school and holds regular classes at The Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford Kent.
Elaine was BBC Radio Short Story Writer of the Year in 2003, short listed for The Harry Bowling Prize in 2012, Short listed for The Festival of Romance novel competition in 2012 and winner of the Myrmidon Books (Pulse Romance) Write for Us competition in 2013.
Gracie’s War is her first published novel and is set in North West Kent where she grew up. A member of the Romantic Novelist Association, Elaine is a graduate of the RNA New Writers Scheme. Gracie’s War is short listed for their Joan Hessayon Award in 2014.

Connect with the Author
On Twitter using 

Connect with the Author
On this Website

***This has been a Fiction Addiction Book Tour

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A Lady's Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlin

My Thoughts
A Lady’s Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn is an enjoyable read from start to finish. The story captured my attention readily enough, and I remained happy to continue all the way through.

Things I enjoyed
The central characters presented as well described, and the progression of their relationship developed in a believable manner. I loved each of the supporting individuals and found them to be identifiable as well. I could picture them all, and appreciated the extra depth they added to the story and the main protagonists dimensions.
The lead characters were flawed, and had emotional baggage. Whilst I wanted greater attention given to those events important in shaping their motivation, I can accept that this may have resulted in the reader becoming bogged down in extraneous detail. A finely balanced novel. 
The hero and heroine accepted their counterpart's history, without judging or sugar coating what had happened and this included acknowledging the others own erroneous deeds.
The story followed a good linear order, without any confusing flashbacks. 
The phrasing was sound and on occasion the work struck as entirely quotable (See my favourite ones below)

Things that might be improved upon...
Some of the transitions between scenes were sudden and ill-conceived. One character decided on a course of action, then events suddenly occurred contrary to their decision. This discrepancy was explained by announcing he’d changed his mind. It appeared the story had been altered during an edit and having the character backflip would have been an easier option than rewriting the previous chapter.
I felt that some events relevant to the conclusion, were not adequately explored - one particular example pertaining to the ending, didn’t seem to have eventuated or was left out of the closing chapters. 
Once the wording led to a “what the...???” moment of incongruity e.g. “-her strength and intelligent conversation made him want to stretch out naked with her on a fur throw and discuss all manner of topics while sipping wine and sampling an assortment of bite-size delicacies”. It just seemed (to me) an extraordinary leap, “hey you’re smart, lets get naked while we talk about this and eat?”
One of my favourite characters died... #NotCool #TraceyDevlynIsAMeanie 

Fave Quotes from the Novel
“What had she done? Fallen prey to a man who consumes women like one feasts upon a favorite treacle tart?”

“Until she thought of nothing but the warmth of his breath and the caress of  his hand and the glide of his flesh against hers.”

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

Seduction to His Duty to King and Country

Ethan deBeau has charmed his way into the beds of countless women, enticing them to whisper all kinds of state secrets in his ear. But his latest assignment is completely different: find a missing young boy. It's practically child's play for a master spy such as Ethan. Until Miss Sydney Hunt threatens to unravel all his carefully laid plans. Who is the world is this woman?

But Tempting Her is All for Pleasure

Sydney has worked hard to maintain a facade of respectability—all while keeping a network of contacts among London's underground world. When she hears of strange activities at a local home for orphans, she's determined to find out what's really going on. Until she runs headlong into a notorious rake eager to expose every inch of her...

Connect with the Author