Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Book tour: Reality Blurred - Aven Ellis (Rinkside in the Rockies #2)



Rinkside in the Rockies #2, can be read as a standalone
236 pages

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He lied to her. Fed her the same lines as he did all the other girls. Instead of proposing, he dumped her on national TV. Would a romance with a hockey superstar prove just as disastrous—or could it be the greatest love story of her life?

Cast as America’s reality show sweetheart after being jilted on a dating show, Skye Reeve is ready to stop being a brokenhearted woman by proving she’s more than what the camera portrayed her to be. She’s landed her dream job as a TV lifestyle reporter and promises to work hard to be a success.

Skye also vows never to be swept up in a fairy tale romance ever again, as she obviously has no clue what real love is.

Being in the same city as Denver Mountain Lions hockey star Maxime Laurent, however, might make this last goal impossible.

Dealing with ghosts from his own past, the Belgian hockey star is known for keeping his life off the ice private. He’s not sure if outgoing Skye could be a match for him, but he can’t deny his attraction to her.

When the two embark on a romance, will they be able to move forward from the past to let love into their hearts?  With no reality blurred, will Skye find real-life love to be what she had been looking for all along?


My opinion.
OK., let's start this off with a confession. I love a good romance - that's not news, I know - and as my guilty pleasure... I watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. Yep, it's true.
Anyway, here comes Aven Ellis with her latest deliciously feel good romance and who else but a reality dating show survivor stars as main character?! Now Aven's insightful writing finally gives you a plausible idea of what actually happens "after the final rose". Skye's life is turned completely upside down because of the show and it's aftermath. It has left some scars, and even some open wounds, but she's ready for a new start. 
And in walks Maxime. OK so I may be a biased, but a BELGIAN hockey player? Me likes! ;-) In all seriousness though, Maxime is yet another perfect book boyfriend in Aven Ellis' hockey world. He is insightful, caring, funny,... I know, I'm smitten. Oh, and have I mentioned there're cats in this book too?! Talking about a perfect match...
Apart from all the swooning that was happening while reading, there was a point where I was really annoyed with both of them... mostly Skye. I just wanted to shake her! Her doubts and hesitations, although completely valid, were almost exhausting. Over-analyzing and being careful and sensible is all good in real life, but losing yourself in the romance and just jumping in, blind... isn't that kinda what a romance novel is for? I know, I know, one of the best things about Aven's characters is how "real" they are, but still. More swooning, less worrying! 
I loved how hockey played a more prominent role in this book than in some of the previous hockey romances. Even though I'm not a big sports fan and I know next to nothing about hockey - apart from what Aven Ellis' novels have thought me - I love the scenes where practice schedules, tactics or games are featured. There's definitely room for even more hockey-related scenes in these novels. Same goes for Skye's career, actually! 
As always, I fell in love with the characters from the start and I loved going through the ups and downs with them and seeing how they dealt with everything thrown at them. Reality Blurred is a wonderful romance novel, with characters that are easy to love and hard to forget.



 

About the Author - I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I’m a hockey nut (Go Stars!) and watch as much as humanly possible. I also love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. In addition to be obsessed with the Duchess, I’m equally obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.



Links

Website/Blog - http://avenellis.com/


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Book tour: Christmas at the Candied Apple Café - Katherine Garbera (Guestpost + GIVEAWAY)




There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…
Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!
Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.
If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Social Media Links  



Guest post!
Welcome to M's Bookshelf, Katherine!

Christmas Traditions!

It’s safe to say that most if not all of my traditions revolve around my family and food.  My earliest memories are of sitting in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house with my mom and her talking, laughing and eating.  I like to linger at the kitchen table when I have friends and family over.  There is something that just feels so right about it.

I can still remember the sadness and sense of loss I felt the year my grandmother died.  My mom and sisters and I helped pack up her house and we were drawn to the kitchen and her pots and pans and her cookbooks.  We split the cookbooks up and I found that the cookbooks were a link to her.  She’d written all sort of notes on recipes and left her own variations on pieces of paper in the books.

Whenever I use one of her recipes I feel like she’s right there in the kitchen with us, giving us kisses and telling us how wonderful we are.  One of those recipes is a traditional Italian Christmas cookie.  They are called struffoli.  They are little bits of fried dough coated in honey and sprinkles.  Now my kids and husband will tell you I have an unnatural propensity to use sprinkles on every holiday and on everything—ignore stories of the green sprinkles for St. Patrick’s day in the biscuits which made it look like they might be moldy.  J

Stuffoli receipe: 

2 cups sifted flour.  Mix in 3 eggs beat after each egg.  Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix well to make a soft dough.  Roll into a long strip of dough (like when you gnocchi) and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Roll the pieces in your hand until they are round.  Drop into hot oil  and cooking until they are brown on all sides.  Take from the oil and drain on a paper towel for a few seconds then toss in honey and coat with brightly colored sprinkles.

What holiday food reminds you of your family?

Mmmm, getting hungry already! Bring on Xmas lunch/dinner! Thank you so much for stopping by, Katherine. I can't wait to try out your recipe. Happy Xmas!


Giveaway 
Win 5 x Signed Copies of Summer in Manhattan 



5 lucky winners will win a copy of Summer in Manhattan, Katherine Garbera’s previous book for Harper Impulse. 



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Book tour: Squeeze Play - Aven Ellis




306 pages
Publisher - Self Published
Release Date - 25th October 2017

The blurb.

Full of enthusiasm, recent graduate Hayley Carter is thrilled to be working for a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Having spent a lot of her life in the background due to family circumstances, Hayley is eager to step up and be heard—and bring much needed change to her new organization. With romance on the shelf, it’s time to focus on herself and new career. Armed with a workbook to help her improve on a personal and professional level, Hayley is ready to become a better version of who she already is.

But will a baseball player for the Washington Soaring Eagles challenge her thoughts on not only dating, but the person she thinks she needs to be?

Brody Jensen is the new catcher for the professional team in DC. Baseball is everything to Brody and has been his salvation while growing up. Brody wants to make the most of his full-time shot behind the plate. Which means no serious relationships.

However, when a chance encounter leads him to Hayley, Brody finds himself wanting to know all about the beautiful blonde who has engaged him from the moment he spotted her. Together, they find themselves questioning the ideals they had set for not only relationships, but themselves, too.

When the cherry blossoms bloom in the nation's capital, Cupid puts a squeeze play on Hayley and Brody. Will they be brave enough to love themselves and each other? Will love be called out? Or will their relationship be safe at home?



My opinion.
I've absolutely loved reading "Squeeze Play". Brody and Hayley are definitely some of my favourite Aven characters to date. Their witty, flirty dynamic is addictive and I fell in love with them right from the start. Although this book is unmistakably an Aven Ellis novel, something about it made it feel new and '"fresh". Aven Ellis' writing is strong and confident and it translates beautifully into these character's dialogue and personalities.
"Squeeze Play" is Aven Ellis' funniest novel yet, and might just be my favourite too! Fun, flirty, smart and original characters as always - a joy to read. I guarantee you'll fall in love with Brody and Hayley just like I have.


 

Read an extract here.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Release day blitz: Squeeze Play - Aven Ellis ( + extract!)



306 pages
Publisher - Self Published
Release Date - 25th October 2017


Full of enthusiasm, recent graduate Hayley Carter is thrilled to be working for a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Having spent a lot of her life in the background due to family circumstances, Hayley is eager to step up and be heard—and bring much needed change to her new organization. With romance on the shelf, it’s time to focus on herself and new career. Armed with a workbook to help her improve on a personal and professional level, Hayley is ready to become a better version of who she already is.

But will a baseball player for the Washington Soaring Eagles challenge her thoughts on not only dating, but the person she thinks she needs to be?

Brody Jensen is the new catcher for the professional team in DC. Baseball is everything to Brody and has been his salvation while growing up. Brody wants to make the most of his full-time shot behind the plate. Which means no serious relationships.

However, when a chance encounter leads him to Hayley, Brody finds himself wanting to know all about the beautiful blonde who has engaged him from the moment he spotted her. Together, they find themselves questioning the ideals they had set for not only relationships, but themselves, too.

When the cherry blossoms bloom in the nation's capital, Cupid puts a squeeze play on Hayley and Brody. Will they be brave enough to love themselves and each other? Will love be called out? Or will their relationship be safe at home?

OUT TODAY!!

 

EXTRACT

  I extend the cup toward Brody. “Close your eyes and inhale the tea.”
“What?” Brody asks, appearing surprised.
“Do it,” I encourage.
Brody grins but complies. He dips his head forward and closes his eyes, slowly inhaling the scent of the hot tea in front of him.
This shouldn’t be a sexy experience, but it is. There’s something about watching this gorgeous man close his eyes and breathe in the drink that is a huge turn-on to me.
I refocus before he opens his eyes and catches me staring at him.
“You should be detecting the rich, dark tea, floral scents, and the brightness of citrus, all coming together for a lush, aromatic experience.”
Brody slowly opens his eyes.  “I detected something else.”
“Really? What?” I ask, curious. “Those were the things mentioned on the Earl Grey website I pulled up.”
“I smelled fresh-cut flowers and spice, mixed together,” Brody says. He reaches across the table and gently brushes his thumb across the inside of my wrist, and I shiver as soon as I feel the roughness of his skin move against mine.  “Your perfume is what I noticed.”
I can’t breathe.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Blog Tour: The Angel - Katerina Diamond (extract)


The Queen of Grip-lit is back…
‘A terrific story, originally told. All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT
‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN
THE TRUTH WON’T STAY LOCKED UP FOREVER
When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?
DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.
When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.
Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge.

Extract Twelve from Chapter Four, pp 40-41

The windows of the Serco prison transport van – or sweatbox as it was more affectionately known – were blacked out from the outside, but from the inside he could see the people on the streets going about their business. He saw a skater flipping off a hotel step and instantly wished he had his deck, just to feel that freedom. Freedom; something he had never fully appreciated until he was sat in this box. He was being put on remand until his hearing. He tried to focus on his breathing, unwilling to let his asthma get the better of him in here of all places. He didn’t even know if they would open the door if he had an attack. If they would even hear him? If they would even bother to help? Instead, he just counted inside his head to make the rising panic go away. He couldn’t think about what he had done to get into this situation; the fact was that he was here and he was guilty. Of arson. Of manslaughter.
He had never meant to kill anyone. The words went round and around his head. He was a killer; he had ended someone’s life. He couldn’t allow himself to cry. He couldn’t be seen to be entering the prison with tears in his eyes. He had a few friends who had done time in Exeter prison, and by all accounts it was grim. Understaffed and overpopulated, the Victorian building that was barely fit for purpose – not in this day and age – still housed well over five hundred prisoners both on remand and serving shorter sentences. And he was about to join them.
At least the police had seemed to believe that he hadn’t intended to start the fire; hopefully the judge would too. Every time he closed his eyes, Gabriel imagined what it must feel like to burn alive. Why hadn’t they checked the place was empty? Why had he allowed himself to be pushed into something so bloody stupid? He longed for the sound of his parents screaming at each other when they thought he was out of earshot. Anything but this.
The van started moving and Gabriel allowed himself to breathe. He looked outside, wondering if he would ever walk on a street again. He was afraid that he wouldn’t even last a week in jail; either the asthma or something worse would get to him. The invisible strap around his chest tightened. One, two, three, four, five. He soaked in as much of the city as the route would allow. The bus station, the pub he went into with Emma sometimes. As they pulled into the prison, Gabriel held his breath again. He had very little idea of what to expect, but he was going to keep his head down, speak when spoken to and keep himself to himself. He was grateful at least for his six foot two inches of height, hoping that might deter any unprovoked attacks.


 




Blog tour: Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles - Phillipa Ashley (Extract)



Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.


For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the first in a stunning new series from Phillipa Ashley. The perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas. 




Extract Sixteen from Chapter Ten, pp 65-66

‘Come in and sit down,’ he said gently. For a split second, Maisie was reminded of Keegan, in the early days, when she’d first thought he was a rock of a man, not a flaky sandcastle who crumbled with the first rough tide. But Patrick McKinnon wasn’t a rock either, she reminded herself: just a drifter with a cleaning fetish.
‘I don’t need a shoulder to cry on,’ she said.
‘I’m not offering one.’ He smiled. ‘You wouldn’t want to get too close anyway, I’ve been hard at work and I need a shower.’
‘Not in that health hazard of a bathroom,’ she said, sniffing the air: a bit of a chemical factory but definitely clean.
                ‘You could eat your dinner off the floor now,’ he said. ‘Let me wash my hands and I’ll make you a cup of tea.’
                Maisie glanced at the kitchen. The units, cooker and fridge were basic and old but clean. The stainless steel sink sparkled and the work surfaces gleamed. She hated showing weakness but she was too weary. Hugo had phoned her again and asked her if she’d had time to think over his plans. It had been all she could do to give him a civil answer. He’d said that more residents were ‘seriously thinking’ of selling and although he might be bullshitting her, Maisie wasn’t sure. She’d felt like telling him to stuff his offer but for a few seconds she’d also felt like caving in and saying, ‘Have the bloody place.’ If her dad was ill and needed urgent health care, or decided to leave the island, circumstances could look very different.
‘It’ll have to be black coffee or hot chocolate,’ he said, holding up a jar of Nescafé and a tub of Cadbury’s Highlights. ‘I’ve inspected the contents for weevils and they look OK, even if the previous occupant was a Neanderthal.’
Maisie laughed. What harm could it do to have a drink with him? And she was really, very relieved that he’d cleaned the place up himself. One less job on her list.
‘I’ll risk the hot choc, please.’
‘Wise choice.’ He filled the white plastic kettle and switched it on. Maisie sat down on a rattan chair in front of the single bed. The place had been dusted and had had the Henry Hoover round it, by the looks of the tracks on the carpet. It was very basic, but at least it was clean. The cost of getting new furniture – new anything – out to the island meant that things couldn’t be thrown away unless absolutely necessary.
As the kettle boiled, Maisie tried to compose herself and let her heightened feelings calm down. Patrick opened the kitchen window and the top light in the bedsitting area to let some fresh air in. He’d also left the door open a crack so there was a route for escape if necessary. If she wanted it.
Patrick handed her a mug of hot chocolate and lifted his own, chipped mug from the rattan table next to her.
‘Cheers,’ he said, clinking her mug with his. ‘Here’s to our working relationship.’
Maisie smiled. ‘Back at you, and here’s to you doing as you’re told from now on.’

‘Good luck with that.’

 


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Book tour: Playing Defense - Aven Ellis (Dallas Demons #5)


Dallas Demons #5 - can be read as a standalone
238 pages
Publisher - Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Release Date - 27th September 2017


After a string of bad set-ups and boring dates, Reese Brannon is done with men. She’s focused on her job as a fitness model and blogger. Her life in the city is fun. She’s young. There’s no need to look for a man because she doesn’t want one. Especially when relationships usually end in heartbreak. 

Jean-Pierre Rochat—known as JP— is done with women. All this Swiss hockey player has ever wanted is to fall in love, but his relationships never end with a happily ever after. Believing he’s always going to be dealt the friend card, JP is over it. If he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone, he’ll keep things casual for his new endgame. 

But will one hot Dallas summer night change everything for Reese and JP? 

Because when the two meet again when JP returns for hockey season, Reese finds her attraction to him hasn’t waned since their first meeting. Charming and intelligent, JP is different in all the right ways, but Reese realizes letting him in will make her vulnerable, something that terrifies her. JP never forgot Reese from their initial introduction last winter, and the sparks fly for him even more so the second time. But with Reese, his thoughts are anything but casual . . . 

Can JP and Reese let their guards down to take a chance on love? Or will this simply be a game of playing defense?


My opinion.
Time and time again, Aven Ellis comes up with these quirky, original heroines. And, time and time again, the most wonderful book-boyfriends to match. Although this is the 5th Dallas Demons' star we meet, JP is again a unique character. Easy to swoon over and fall in love with, and a treat to get to know better. I love his European background which, to Reese, gives him that extra flavour of mystery and sexiness.
With Playing Defense, Aven Ellis again created these wonderfully approachable characters who feel very "current", easy to relate to but also inspiring in their determination to chase after their goals.
The only remark I can make is that, after reading some of (... well, all of) Aven Ellis' previous books, the time-line of their love story feels a bit predictable.
But the chemistry between JP and Reese is just amazing. They can be flirty, goofy, sexy,... they feel very natural together. And boy does JP know how to make a girl feel special!
I loved seeing their relationship unfold and the fact that they have such a close knitted group of family and friends (some of whom are starting to feel like your own, if you've read the previous books in the Dallas Demons series), makes you feel even more invested in their love story.
It was love at first Oreo! ;-)


 

Click here to read an excerpt:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I’m a hockey nut (Go Stars!) and watch as much as humanly possible. I also love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. In addition to be obsessed with the Duchess, I’m equally obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.

Connect with Aven

Website/Blog - http://avenellis.com/