Thursday, 21 August 2014

Book review: The Memory Closet - Ninie Hammon


Something happened to Anne Mitchell when she was 11 years old so horrible her mind erased the whole first decade of her life. Twenty-five years later, she has come home to a dried-up Texas prairie town to live with her crazy grandmother in the rambling old house where she grew up--in a final desperate effort to remember.      


Unless she recovers from her amnesia, Anne will never solve the mystery of the anguished confession her mother choked out as she lay dying. She will never be able to respond to the unexpected romance in her life. And Anne will remain forever a slave to what she calls the "Boogie Man"--strange images from her lost childhood that haunt her dreams and stalk her waking hours.     


Though Anne has finally summoned the courage to take action, to face her past, she really doesn't understand how expensive remembering will be. The cost of her memories could very well be her sanity. And in a surprise, suspense-filled ending, she might even have to pay for her childhood with her life.


My opinion.
Wow. What a thrilling read. The Memory Closet is such a moving, intriguing piece of brilliant writing by Ninie Hammon. It's such an emotionally charged story and it shows how scary and suffocating the mind can be. Anne has no memory of her childhood. The only thing she knows is that it is haunting her. And the only possible way out, is remembering. The little snippets of memories and clues given by family and old friends promise nothing but horrors. You're almost as scared as Anne is to find out what actually happened to those little girls, but just like Anne.. you can't stop. You have to know. Ninie Hammon's brilliant story telling makes this a moving, heartbreaking page turner that will stay with you for long after you finished reading. The Memory Closet is a captivating story that gives such a remarkable account of inner demons and mental health. Maybe not as bedtime reading, but I definitely recommend this book.


 

About this author. I was born in Socorro, New Mexico, sometime shortly after the earth cooled off. It’s clear that from the outset my parents never intended for me to amount to anything. How could I? With a name like “Ninie?” Please.Fame and fortune do not come to people named Ninie Bovell (My maiden name.) Gabriella Bovary? You could work with that. Even something as pedestrian as Madeline Bovell or Rebecca Bovell or (though you’d lose points here for lack of originality) Elizabeth Bovell. But Ninie? I never had a chance.
If I sound a mite hostile, bear in mind that in one decisive stroke my parents sentenced their precious newborn daughter to a lifetime of explanations that began my first day at Muleshoe Elementary School. (Yeah, Muleshoe. The hits just keep on coming.) After a painful week, I had a rap down that I still use today:
“No, it’s not Ninnie like skinny and penny. It’s Ninie—rhymes with tiny and shiny. 9e…get it? And no, it doesn’t mean anything, it isn’t short for anything, long for anything, or a substitute for anything. It just is. (Pause here for the inevitable ‘Why?’) You got me, pal, I couldn’t tell you.”I grew up in Texas, got a BA in English and theatre from Texas Tech University and snagged a job as a newspaper reporter. Didn't know a thing about journalism, but my editor said if I could write he could teach me the rest of it and if I couldn't write the rest of it didn't matter. I hung in there for a 25-year career as a journalist. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but as soon as I figured out that making up the facts was a whole lot more fun than reporting them, I never looked back.Now, I write suspense--every flavor except pistachio: psychological suspense, inspirational suspense, suspense thrillers, paranormal suspense, suspense mysteries.In every book I write I try to keep this promise to Loyal Reader: I will tell you a story in a distinctive voice you'll always recognize, about people as ordinary as you are--people who have been slammed by something they didn’t sign on for, and now they must fight for their lives. Then smack in the middle of their everyday worlds, those people encounter the unexplainable--and it's always the game-changer."

website: http://www.niniehammon.com

Thank you so much, Ninie, for sending me a review copy
and giving me the opportunity to read The Memory Closet.
I really enjoyed reading this book & looking forward to reading more!


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Book review: Behind Closed Doors - JJ Marsh

 

Suicide – the act of taking one’s own life.
Homicide – the act of taking someone else’s.

An unethical banker suffocates. A diamond dealer slits his wrists. A media magnate freezes in the snow. A disgraced CEO inhales exhaust fumes. Four unpopular businessmen, four apparent suicides. Until Interpol find the same DNA at each death.

Beatrice Stubbs, on her first real case since ‘the incident’, arrives in Switzerland to lead the investigation. But there’s more to Zurich than chocolate and charm. Potential suspects are everywhere, her Swiss counterpart is hostile and the secretive world of international finance seems beyond the law. Battling impossible odds by day and her own demons at night, Beatrice has never felt so alone.

She isn’t. Someone’s watching.
Someone else who believes in justice.
The poetic kind.


My opinion.
Behind Closed Doors is a brilliant crime novel. In the first part of the books we learn about the 'suicides' that have taken place over the last couple of years, by means of "flash back" chapters. Although this means you - as a reader - are a few steps ahead of Beatrice and her team, the suspense is still tangible. The story becomes even more fast paced when the 'suicides' catch up to the present time. Beatrice and her team are fighting a battle against time, without even realizing how little time they actually have left. You feel the urgency, maybe even more so than they do. I love the cover art work (James Lane). The colours are beautiful and the cover really suits the story. At times the dialogues felt a bit awkward and it was hard keeping up with all the different names and cases, but Behind Closed Doors is a very exciting crime mystery with a lot of suspense and exciting characters. I definitely look forward to reading more - and lucky for me, Behind Closed Doors is only the first book in the Beatrice Stubbs series!


 



About this author. As a child, Jill read so obsessively she got kicked out of the school library. But her passion for words continued. She graduated in English Literature and Theatre Studies from the University of Wales and set up a theatre company. Since then, as an actor, director, teacher, writer and journalist, she’s worked in fifteen countries. She learnt something from each one.Now, with her husband and three dogs, Jill lives in Switzerland, a country with four languages and mountains of new words.She works as a language trainer all over Europe, collaborates with Nuance Words and Triskele Books, and contributes regularly to Words with JAM magazine. But most of the time, she writes. And reads.
Behind Closed Doors is the first Beatrice Stubbs novel, a European crime series set in compelling locations all over the Continent.

You can find out more about JJ Marsh's Beatrice Stubbs European crime series on her website:  http://www.beatrice-stubbs.com/  
Or follow her on Twitter: @JJMarsh1

Thank you so much, Jill, for the opportunity to read and review
Behind Closed Doors. I really enjoyed Beatrice story. Thank you!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Book review: Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista


Recent college graduate Avery Andrews is ready to begin a new life in the big city. She’s landed an apartment in Chicago’s famed Lincoln Park neighborhood–and has her eye on the cute commodities trader just a floor above.

If Premier Airlines knew about her fear of flying, they never would have hired her to be their marketing assistant—but it’s not like Avery wants a lifelong career. Right now she simply wants a job to pay her bills…and fund a few little shopping excursions, too.

Her new lifestyle comes with a price tag, as Avery is not only faced with paying a ridiculous rent but finds she’s perceived as one of the vacant, husband-hunting fashionistas who live in the area. Avery resents this stereotype—so she doesn’t want a lifelong career, and she loves fashions she can’t afford, but that doesn’t mean she is empty-headed and spoiled, does it? 

When an opportunity to participate in a documentary at work arises, Avery finds a two-fold solution to her problems. She’ll earn extra money for it, and the documentary will show her as a serious career woman, enabling her to shed that husband-hunting fashionista label for good.

When the camera is on, Avery attempts to be a motivated professional woman. But when she is challenged by Deacon Ryan, the videographer assigned to cover her story, Avery finds herself wanting things she was never supposed to want—like a lasting career—and Deacon. And Avery might just gain more from the experience than a perfect career image and extra cash to put in her Tory Burch wallet…


My opinion.
Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista is yet another fun and flirty romance by Aven Ellis! Although Aven's MC's are known for their fashion sense, Avery has taken this to a new level: Fashionista with a capital F! She lives and breathes fashion, and that's what stands out when she meets Deke. I can't blame him, it took me a while to see past her designer clothing and tendency to overspend as well... But once you've gotten to know her, you can't help but like this loving, smart, driven,... stubborn young woman!
A classic story about two people falling in love, but afraid to admit it. They both have their reasons to turn their back on this chance at love, but will they bring out the best in each other and take that leap of faith or will they be too afraid to leave their comfort zone?
Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista is a fun and flirty danger to your credit card (you will go shopping after reading this). Very entertaining - another brilliant book by Aven Ellis!


About the author.
Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

Get in touch with Aven
Connect with me on Facebook,
Talk to me on Twitter,
Visit me on the web and
Check out my pins on Pinterest.

Thank you so much, Aven, for the opportunity to read an ARC of 
Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista!
Not only are you a brilliant author, you're a fantastic woman
and the most wonderful friend!


Friday, 8 August 2014

Book review: The Queen Of The Tearling - Erika Johansen

 

Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive...



My opinion.
This is just one of those books.. How am I going to write a review for this?! You just feel this is an epic story that's going to be known throughout the world. The book is already a massive success, not to mention the movie deal (I can't wait, btw!)... This is going to be huge!
I really like Kelsea. Even though she's a big book- and history nerd like I am, I never really felt like I could see myself in her. Surprisingly though, this never bothered me and/or stood in the way of me loving every second of reading this book. I was completely hooked from the very start. The only thing I did have issues with, is the focus on beauty: Kelsea doubts herself because she's not pretty enough. I mean, seriously. I get that image is an issue every teenager (& even adults) deals with, but for some reason I just felt it was completely unnecessary to add these comments about her being 'plain' and 'needing to lose weight'. It almost felt like a forced attempt to get young girls to identify themselves with Kelsea. She's such a strong, kind, young woman as it is. She's an inspiration and example, as far as fictional heroines go. 
I loved how every chapter had an entry copied out of a (future) encyclopedia, history book or poem. Those glimpses of Kelsea's future as a Queen never felt like spoilers, they really added something special to the book.
I feel like there's still so much to learn about some of the main characters, about the country's history and this new world in total.. I can't wait for the next books in the series to come out! 


 

Check out my other "movie books" & watch the Movie Book page on this site for my thoughts on the movie... when it comes out!


Book Tour: Seven Weeks to Forever - Jennifer Farwell + GIVEAWAY



Cassidy Jordan knows she'll die a few weeks after her eighteenth birthday, and she can't wait. This is her second time here, and she knows what's waiting for her in The Life-After — the place most mistakenly call "the afterlife." Getting back there is supposed to be easy: she just has to find nineteen-year-old Riley Davis and help him get his life on track. But doing that isn't easy at all.

By the time Cassidy finds Riley, she has only seven weeks to help him before her time is up. Riley will die too young if she fails, and she'll never see The Life-After or have another chance at life again. But no one told her helping Riley would mean dating him; she hasn't dated anyone since the love of her first life caused her death the last time she turned eighteen. And no one warned her she'd cross paths with Selena Jensen, her ex-best-friend who hasn't forgotten why their friendship ended and is protective of Riley. Then there's Cassidy's family, who thinks she's a normal girl headed to Harvard in the fall. When her aunt discovers that's not the plan, she shows up to try and drag Cassidy from L.A. to Boston.

Helping Riley is already hard with her aunt and Selena in the way. It's almost impossible when Cassidy realizes she's falling for him and is faced with a choice: give Riley the life he's meant for and leave when it's time, or give up eternity for the true love she's never had, knowing Riley will die the same way she did in her first life and that her entire existence could end at any time.


My opinion.
What an amazing book. Cassidy is such an interesting person, not to mention intriguing. Her past, her mission,... From the very first page Jennifer Farwell keeps you captivated. Mentions of "the after life" or anything spiritual like that might scare some people off at first (I know I'm always a bit apprehensive), but  Seven Weeks To Forever is definitely a story everyone could enjoy. Personally, the book had next to nothing to do with spirituality or anything like that: it's a story about love, loss and friendship first and foremost. The connection she has with Riley is just so real, so beautifully told... I got completely lost in the story. Seven Weeks to Forever is a wonderfully sweet and original love story. I'm definitely watching out for more Jennifer Farwell!




Jennifer Farwell has been writing since the day she picked up a navy blue Crayola as a toddler and began scribbling on her parents' freshly painted white walls. She's the author of SEVEN WEEKS TO FOREVER (her most recent novel), as well as ROCK STAR'S GIRL and its forthcoming sequel, HIDING OUT IN HOLLYWOOD (2015). When not writing novels, she can often be found at a Kundalini yoga class, cheering on the L.A. Kings during hockey season, or curled up with a good book. She grew up in Thunder Bay, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Pico.




Connect with me:





GIVEAWAY

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Book blitz: Summer sale Safe & Sound - T.S. Krupa





Summer e-book sale for "Safe & Sound" ($3.99 as opposed to the regular price of $9.99) from Aug 1st - Aug 31st on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Get it now!

Read my review for "Safe & Sound" by the wonderful T.S. Krupa here!



ame: Safe & Sound: A Novel
Author: T.S. Krupa (TwitterFacebookwebsite)
Format: kindle edition
Pages: 312 pages
Release date: 1st January 2014
Publisher: Advantage Media Group

Book Tour: The Fallen Stars - Stephanie Keyes - Guestpost



The Fallen Stars
By Stephanie Keyes
Paperback: 530 pages
Released: April 12, 2013 | Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
 ********************************************************
When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.

Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birthright, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart.

In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?



Imaginative and fast-paced. Couldn’t put it down!”—E.G. Foley, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Gryphon Chronicles

“I found myself so completely drawn into this world it was like the pages were possessing me.”—Jenny Marston, Reviewer

**********************************************

Welcome Stephanie Keyes to M's Bookshelf!

GUEST POST

The world of The Fallen Stars is one that I love to live in. When I was writing this book, which is the second novel in the series, I knew that Kellen and Cali were going to go on the run. But where? We’d had them roaming throughout Ireland and England, but if you wanted to go into hiding where could you possibly go.

Enter Bar Harbor, Maine. I picked this location for Kellen and Cali to go into hiding in part because it was where I honeymooned with the Dreamy Mr. Keyes and fell in love with the place. The other reason? It seemed to me to be one of the last places you’d go if you were on a beach in Ireland. So Maine, it was.

Twelve years had passed since I’d been to Bar Harbor, so, to stay true to the location, I packed my husband, two kids, and my mother into a rented minivan and drove sixteen and a half hours to Maine. We spent the week in the Parson House in Otter Creek—it’s still available for rent if you’re planning a vacation! (photo courtesy: vacation rentals.com

From there I explored every part of the area that was featured in the book: Cadillac Mountain, Jordan’s Restaurant (Jacob’s in the book), the Bandstand, Sandy Beach. I also made a special trip to Compass Harbor to check out the path Kellen travels at night when he comes across Willock searching for Wintergreen.

Check out some of the other places and inspirations for The Fallen Stars on my Pinterest Board.

**********************************************

Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

Contact Stephanie
Website: http://www.stephaniekeyes.com


Google+: https://plus.google.com/101104903861657395788/posts

Photo courtesy of Kristina Serafini Photo http://www.kristinaserafiniphoto.com/


Friday, 1 August 2014

Cover reveal: Chronicles Of A Lincoln Park Fashionista - Aven Ellis


COVER REVEAL

CHRONICLES OF A LINCOLN PARK FASHIONISTA
Author: Aven Ellis
Genre: Chick Lit


~ SYNOPSIS ~

Recent college graduate Avery Andrews is ready to begin a new life in the big city. She’s landed an apartment in Chicago’s famed Lincoln Park neighborhood–and has her eye on the cute commodities trader just a floor above.


If Premier Airlines knew about her fear of flying, they never would have hired her to be their marketing assistant—but it’s not like Avery wants a lifelong career. Right now she simply wants a job to pay her bills…and fund a few little shopping excursions, too.

Her new lifestyle comes with a price tag, as Avery is not only faced with paying a ridiculous rent but finds she’s perceived as one of the vacant, husband-hunting fashionistas who live in the area. Avery resents this stereotype—so she doesn’t want a lifelong career, and she loves fashions she can’t afford, but that doesn’t mean she is empty-headed and spoiled, does it?

When an opportunity to participate in a documentary at work arises, Avery finds a two-fold solution to her problems. She’ll earn extra money for it, and the documentary will show her as a serious career woman, enabling her to shed that husband-hunting fashionista label for good.

When the camera is on, Avery attempts to be a motivated professional woman. But when she is challenged by Deacon Ryan, the videographer assigned to cover her story, Avery finds herself wanting things she was never supposed to want—like a lasting career—and Deacon. And Avery might just gain more from the experience than a perfect career image and extra cash to put in her Tory Burch wallet…


~ Cover Designer ~
Christy Caughie

~ Release Date ~
September 10, 2014



~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~



Aven Ellis

Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night. Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published next year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

Social media links:

Book tour: Coco Pinchard, the Consequences of Love and Sex - Robert Bryndza


 

Since Coco Pinchard found first husband Daniel in bed with another woman, she hasn’t just picked up the pieces: she’s now a best-selling author married to her hunky soul-mate Adam. She feels stronger and wiser and surely the second time round she’ll have learnt from her mistakes? 

But things aren’t going quite according to plan... Adam has lost his job, Coco’s grown-up son Rosencrantz seems to have derailed his life in spectacular fashion, and ex-mother-in-law Ethel keeps letting herself into the house thanks to an endless supply of spare keys. When literary agent Angie takes on Coco’s arch rival, the indomitable Regina Battenberg, it looks as though things can’t get any worse. And then Coco discovers she’s pregnant; at 44. 

Can she really go through it all again? Sleepless nights, stretch marks on top of stretch marks, and poo as a normal topic of conversation? 

The third and final book in Robert Bryndza’s bestselling series is a hilarious diary with Coco’s trademark wit and honesty, tracing the raging hormones and extraordinary twists that take her to motherhood for the second time.

*Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex can be read as a stand-alone*


My opinion.
The first thing I noticed about this book was it's fabulously colourful cover... and title. It just looks like something you have to read, something highly entertaining. And I wasn't disappointed. The Consequences of Love and Sex is written as Coco's diary. This threw me a bit at first and I wasn't too sure about it, but I forgot all about these doubts after only a few pages. I love how Robert Bryndza really knows his characters and really takes the time to introduce his readers to them. I even forgot The Consequences of Love and Sex is the third book in the Coco Pinchard series. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel. I didn't feel once like I missed out on something - although having read, and enjoyed, book 2, I'm definitely planning on reading the first two Coco novels as well.
Robert Bryndza's writing is highly insightful, entertaining and funny with rich, easy-to-relate-to characters you can't help but love.

  

clip_image004About the Author
Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján. His debut novel The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard became an Amazon bestseller and two sequels have followedCoco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding and Coco PinchardThe Consequences of Love and Sex. A Very Coco Christmas, is a delightful introductory novella to the Coco Pinchard series.  When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs – all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.
Author Links
Robert Bryndza on Goodreads 
Robert Bryndza on  Twitter @robertbryndza

Excerpt