Saturday, 30 June 2018

Upcoming Release Book Review: The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite


About the Book





THE PERFECT FRIEND 
by Barbara Copperthwaite
releases 5 July, 2018

She’ll do anything for you…

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.
My husband has left me.
My children won’t speak to me.
My friend Carrie is the only person I have.
She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.
She’d never do anything to let me down.
Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.


My Thoughts

“We all have locked boxes inside us that only certain people get the keys to”

From the beginning of Barbara Copperthwaite’s THE PERFECT FRIEND, there is a premonition that we are not being told the entire story, and the book’s narrators certainly show their version of events is not always reliable the further into the story we proceed.

Alex, a recovering anorexic and Carrie, a cancer sufferer, meet at a support group. Their friendship intensifies rapidly; Carrie is terminally ill and Alex is determined to help Carrie while she is alive as atonement for past transgressions.

Copperthwaite’s writing is engaging and pulled me into the story immediately. I found the story well paced; there are many twists and turns and while I think some of the secrets were obvious, it didn’t take away from impact these revelations had at the time they were disclosed in the book.


THE PERFECT FRIEND is the first Barbara Copperthwaite book I have read and I definitely plan to check out her other books. 


About the Author

Barbara Copperthwaite the Amazon, Kobo, and USA Today best-selling author of psychological crime thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, and HER LAST SECRET. More importantly, I love cakes, wildlife photography, and my two dogs, Scamp and Buddy (who force me to throw tennis balls for them for hours).
Having spent over twenty years as a national newspaper and magazine journalist, I've interviewed the real victims of crime - and also those who have carried those crimes out. I'm fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers' eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line. 




Upcoming Release Book Review: In The Dark by Cara Hunter


About the Book



IN THE DARK 
by Cara Hunter 
releases 5 July, 2018


DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY'RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive...

No one knows who they are - the woman can't speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. And the elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock - how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .


My Thoughts

This was my first Cara Hunter book, so DI Adam Fawley and his team are new to me. I really enjoyed their personal stories, especially when they intertwined with the cases being investigated.

IN THE DARK has the team working on two cases: A woman and small child have been discovered after being locked in a basement for several years while an unsolved case is reopened after new leads come to light.

The book held my interest but I was jolted out of the story when written communications such as typed police interviews, TV scripts, newspaper articles, emails etc. were used to move the story along. I’ve realised I am not a big fan of this method.

There are plenty of twists and turns but the story is easy to follow. There are some uncomfortable moments as we discover how some of the characters have been victimised, and it’s easy to imagine this type of thing happening in suburbia today.

The writing is well paced and the tension increases nicely the closer we get closer to the end. The mysteries are solved, leaving no loose ends but I groaned a bit at what I felt was a somewhat far-fetched resolution.  


About the Author

Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books. Close to Home is her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, releases 5 July, 2018.


Friday, 29 June 2018

New Release Book Review (& Excerpt): Hard Pressed by Kate Canterbary


She's town sweetheart...with a side of sass.
He's the new sheriff...and he has some disorderly conduct in mind.





Title: Hard Pressed
Author: Kate Canterbary
Release Date: June 29, 2018




Dear Jackson,

I'm leaving you this note because I know you're very busy and I don't want to waste the town sheriff's time. Lord knows I've already wasted enough of it.

Thank you for taking me home last night and...everything else. I made you a basket of wild blueberry muffins for your trouble. That seemed like the appropriate baked good for getting naked in your living room.

I wasn't myself last night. I didn't mean to kiss you or fondle your backside or ask all those intimate questions. Thank you for pretending to enjoy it.

It was very noble of you to sleep on the couch while I was starfished on your bed. I couldn't help but notice it's quite large. The bed, that is. I swear, I didn't notice anything else when I let myself out this morning.

As you know, Talbott's Cove is a ridiculously small town and there's no chance we can avoid each other. Not that I'd want to avoid you, of course, but I'm not sure I can look at you without thinking of the forty different ways I made a fool of myself.

Instead of avoidance, let's try to be friends. We'll forget all about last night…if that's what you want.

Please burn this note after you read it—

Annette

p.s. I whipped up some cinnamon buns, too. Please enjoy them. I'm not sure why, but I couldn't get buns out of my mind today.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39076627-hard-pressed



Follow Kate Canterbary at Book+Main for exclusive Hard Pressed content!
(Plus, stay up-to-date with The Magnolia Chronicles, a multi-part women’s fiction story, #exclusive to Book+Main)


*Hard Pressed will be added to Kindle Unlimited July 1, 2018

Amazon Universal | iBooks | B&N | Kobo


^*^*^
My Thoughts


I am a pragmatist by nature and not one for flights of fancy so I was somewhat cringing at myself when I finished HARD PRESSED because all I wanted to do was sigh with satisfaction and happily clap my hands. There may have even been a desire to twirl around in sheer delight. Suffice it to say that I loved this book.

HARD PRESSED is a wonderful romance that’s full of hope, passion, vulnerability and humour.

Annette Cortassi is feeling unwanted and wary after her hopes of a relationship with Owen Bartlett (from FRESH CATCH) never pan out. She knows he was never her true love but his dismissal of her hurt. No man has ever put her first; no one has ever chosen her so for now she’ll sell books and get inspiration from episodes of The Great British Bake Off. And when Sheriff Jackson Lau sets his sights on her, she does not trust in his feelings for her.

Jackson is new to Talbott’s Cove, and from the start he’s had his eye on Annette; not in creepy way but in a manner that shows he truly appreciates her. He most definitely has some alpha tendencies, but for her, he wears his hear on his sleeve and it’s so sigh-worthy. His words may not make into a book of poetry but they are poetic because they tell Annette how much she means to him. He shows her and he tells her what he feels for her. He did not grovel but heavens, did he give her everything she needed and wanted.

Together, they are simply fabulous. The passion is scorching hot but they also delight in just spending time with one another.

The secondary characters are hilarious. Annette’s BFF Brooke gives us many memorable one liners. I am convinced she and Shannon (from CORNERSTONE) are made from the same mould. And Jackson’s mum Bonnie would definitely give Brooke a run for her money should they ever meet.


HARD PRESSED is a superb read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

^*^*^






Chapter One
Jackson


For five minutes every morning, my life was pure agony.

On most days, I went out of my way to avoid her. I scheduled myself for early patrols or wellness checks on some of my elderly residents. Anything to get out of the station. It was a necessity. I couldn't see to the public safety of this town with my dick harder than a nightstick.

I knew because I'd tried. The squad was too small for briefings from behind a podium. When it came to positioning a clipboard or the sheriff's standard-issue campaign hat over my crotch, I could only hold that pose for a few minutes.

Oh, I'd tried to hide it but the only solution was staying away from the station and the sweetheart of Talbott's Cove, Annette Cortassi. The bookstore she owned on Main Street was no more than fifty yards from my desk and I had a front row seat for her morning rituals.

Annette walked down the street as if surrounded by moonbeams and unicorns, her smile radiant. I didn't know it for sure, but I'd put money on her being the homecoming queen back in high school and Miss Congeniality, too. I'd also put money on her making it her life's work to torture and torment me. She was a devil in angel's clothing, I knew that to be fact.

Since my first days in this sleepy fishing town, it was the spunky brunette shopkeeper who'd stolen my attention. Annette knew how to wear the shit out of a summer dress. That woman's bare calves were a public safety hazard. And her ankles. Fuck. Since when were ankles sexy? They were bony joints, for Pete's sake. But all it took was the sight of her walking through the village in strappy sandals to turn me on.

As if the ankles weren't enough, her round hips swayed like a hypnotist's pocket watch. I couldn't avoid the sight of her sun-kissed skin or her waterfall of dark, wavy hair if I tried. More than once, I'd found myself gazing after her, hands clenched, jaw on the floor, and a puddle of drool beside it.

Annette was the brightest star in the Talbott's Cove sky. Every time I caught sight of her, I was powerless to look away. And that was why I couldn't look at all.

I was a newcomer here, still working my way into the good graces of the natives. Bedding the town sweetheart wasn't the way to those good graces, no matter how much she enjoyed it. And she'd enjoy it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

But that didn't matter. For the time being, I was sleeping alone. A temporary vow of chastity was the right thing to do. The town deserved my full attention, and my predecessor had made it clear I was to lead by example. No boozing, no gambling, no skirt-chasing. Not unless I wanted a one-way ticket back to Albany.

I wasn't much of a boozer, gambler, or skirt-chaser, but I heeded the previous sheriff's warnings nonetheless. Getting this job was a big step up for me. It was an even bigger step away.

In the span of a couple of months, I'd left my job and sold my home in upstate New York and headed for this town on Maine's rocky coast. It was a bold move, but a necessary one. I wanted to find a different pace of life, and somewhere I could do important work and make some small difference.

I didn't say it in job interviews or mention it in conversation, but I also wanted to belong somewhere. Maybe, eventually, belong to someone.

I shot the clock on my SUV's dashboard a bitter glare. I'd already looped the town twice this morning, fielded complaints about a pair of foxes lurking around the Lincolns' chicken coop, helped the innkeepers fix a section of their back fence that went down last night, and mediated a dispute between fisherman over some missing buoys. So far, a productive morning and yet I still had fifteen minutes before Annette would be tucked inside her shop.

I'd only managed to speak to her a handful of times. It wasn't nerves that kept me away but a complete inability to look at her without wanting to step into her personal space and smell her hair. I didn't understand that reaction and a part of me resented Annette for surfacing it. Hair-smelling. What kind of witch was she?

Instead of doing or saying something I'd regret, I kept my distance. This small town didn't allow for any true distance but I didn't have to watch her scrawl the quote of the day on the shop's chalkboard sign or arrange and rearrange potted plants on the sidewalk.

Just the thought of her kneeling down to write in one of her gauzy sundresses drew a knot of want low in my belly. She was beautiful and alluring in the most simple, honest ways. Hell, she couldn't jot down a Dickinson quote without lighting a fire inside me from across the street.

But I couldn't get Annette messy and dirty. I couldn't make her scream my name. Not unless I was also ready to wife her up, and I wasn't sure about that. I couldn't casually date her with the entire town watching—and they would watch—and chances were good I couldn't casually fuck her either. She looked altogether too by-the-book for fuck buddies, and there was no room for a tomcat sheriff around here.

That left me killing time by patrolling the town's back roads and praying the lovely book mistress was on time today. My cock couldn't take any mix-ups this morning.




Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since.

Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.




New Release Book Review (& Author Giveaway): Rockaway Bride by Pippa Grant




Title: Rockaway Bride
Author: Pippa Grant
Genre: Sexy Romantic Comedy
 Release Date: June 29, 2018



Blurb

A Rockstar Bridenaps a Preschool Teacher...

Kidnapping the bride seemed like a good idea at the time.

Her fiancé stole my fortune, so I stole his woman.

Tit for tat. Or tat for tit. However you want to look at it.

The one thing I didn’t expect?

Willow Honeycutt, preschool teacher, boy band super fan, is completely crazy.

And somehow she’s turned the tables on me.

Now, she’s holding me hostage, and she won’t let me go until we hit every item on her sparkly new, completely insane bucket list.

And that last item?

That last item might cost me more than any fortune.

It very well might cost me my heart.

Rockaway Bride is a romping fun romance between a down-on-his-luck rock star and a boy band-loving preschool teacher, complete with a road trip, handcuffs, and fun with nuns. This romantic comedy stands alone with no cheating or cliffhangers and ends with a rockin' awesome happily ever after.







Purchase Links

$2.99 for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






My Thoughts

Rockaway Bride is my favourite Pippa Grant book to date! Her comedic writing shows no signs of abating. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, be it from situations our characters find themselves in to the naming of characters.

I loved Willow and Dax. Willow’s a preschool teacher who sings at juice bars in an all-girl boy band cover band. Dax is a thrice-divorced rock star who’s lost control of both his personal and professional life. Willow is friendly and approachable. Dax is a grump. Poor Dax; he’s yet to realise doesn’t stand a chance against Willow.

Willow and Dax are two imperfect main characters who find themselves in a situation neither wants to be in. One kidnapping/escape plan later (you decide which it is because Willow and Dax still disagree), these two traverse Europe in search of adventure. Well, Willow wants adventure; Dax is sticking close by because she is the key to him getting his money back. And adventure is what they certainly find. From lifestyle bloggers, to truculent farmers, to a gaggle of nuns, it’s definitely a fun ride as Willow ticks items off her bucket list.

The physical attraction between Willow and Dax is scorching hot but more importantly, they fall for each other as people with personalities. Even with all the antics along the way, I loved that focus was never taken off our couple as they shake off the bad things in their lives and emerge as better individuals as well as a couple in love.

Rockaway Bride sees many of the characters from previous books making an appearance. I loved getting to know Eloise much better and I can’t wait for her book. Dax’s band mates are just as quirky as Willow’s friends, making for an even better read.

Rockaway Bride is one rollicking good ride! If you’re after a fun, humour-filled read, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
^*^*^

Also Available


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited


AUDIO PRE-ORDER 

Releasing July 3, 2018




AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited




AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

Pippa Grant is a stay-at-home mom and housewife who loves to escape into sexy, funny stories way more than she likes perpetually cleaning toothpaste out of sinks and off toilet handles. When she’s not reading, writing, sleeping, or trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, she’s fantasizing about chocolate chip cookies.


Author Links

New Release Book Review (& Author Giveaway): How To Fall For The Wrong Man by Harmony Williams


How to Fall for the Wrong Man

by Harmony Williams 

Publication Date: June 25, 2018 
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Amara, Historical, Romance

AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2tzqHAk

SYNOPSIS

If Mary Babington-Smith knows nothing else, it’s that Lord Edwin Sutton kissed her. Regardless of who-kissed-whom, with the deed witnessed, they have no choice but to carry on with a temporary, fake, engagement. When Edwin sweetens the deal, offering Mary the money she needs to pursue her independence if she can play the lovesick fiancĂ©e for two weeks, Mary rises to the challenge. In two weeks, she’ll have everything she wants, and this time she’ll be the one to walk out of his life.
Despite Sutton’s argumentative, self-assured nature, when Mary glimpses a sliver of the boy he used to be, she vows to peel away every layer of armor he uses to shield his emotions. Somewhere underneath that worldly exterior is the kind-hearted man she once loved, but in order to find him, she’ll have to give him the power to hurt her…and he’s already broken her trust once.

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My Thoughts

This was my first Harmony Williams book. I enjoyed her writing and the overall premise of the book. The action takes place over a two week period when Edwin and Mary enter into a fake engagement that suits both their short term needs.

I liked Edwin. He may not be verbal about his attraction for Mary for much of the book but his actions make it clear he is; and Williams certainly knows how to write intimate scenes. The interactions between Edwin, Mary and the servants are fun and offer light relief throughout the book.

However, I developed an early dislike for Mary and was never able to shake it. Mary might be a saviour to animals and people less fortunate than herself, but she is often rude; and her selfishness and wilful ignorance of the needs and desires of the people around her makes for an unlikeable character.  It wasn’t until around the 80% mark that she lowered her walls and showed some vulnerability and compassion to those around her. It was too late in coming for me.

I also feel that some plot threads were abandoned leaving me with more questions than answers. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the writing enough that I would be interested in reading another book by the author.

 ^*^*^

ABOUT HARMONY WILLIAMS




Harmony Williams has been living vicariously in Regency-era England since she discovered Jane Austen. Since time machines don’t yet exist, she’s had to make do with books—fictional and non-fictional. On the rare occasions she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she likes to drink tea and spend time with her 90-lb lapdog. A feminist, she writes stories about strong women and the men who support them as equals.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

New Release Book Review (& Excerpt): Getting Schooled by Emma Chase

    

About the Book


Head of the class...

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.
The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy — he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.
Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.
And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school...
Callie has a pretty sweet life herself...on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she'd prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.
Now she's facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore...and that's just the teachers.

Just like old times...
When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance - and then has to stop herself from jumping him.
Good friends are all they can ever be.
Or...these teachers just might end up getting schooled — hard — by love.


^^^^^
My Thoughts

Getting Schooled was such a fun read! The characters are humorous, witty and the banter is outstanding.

The book is written in dual points of view, and while I enjoyed Callie, it’s Garrett that was the standout character for me. His take on life, his ability to interact with such genuineness with all the people in his life – young, old or canine – is an absolute pleasure to read.

The narrative is well paced and there’s a nice balance between Callie/Garrett and the other characters. And the supporting characters? What a hoot some of them turned out to be. From their families, to the students they teach, there are plenty of personalities that bring spirit to the book. 

I do wish we spent more time with Callie and Garrett as their current relationship developed. Often it felt like their teenage feelings for one another became the default for how they feel today. They just seemed to fit together so seamlessly that it came across as a tad too easy. Did neither of them even develop a bad habit to drive the other nuts in the intervening years?    

Getting Schooled is definitely a feel good romance and I was happy to read that this is the first in a series. I can’t wait to read more.


^^^^^


AVAILABLE NOW

AMAZON | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Paperback




EXCERPT

High school parking lots are one of the most dangerous places on earth. I don’t have statistics to back that up…but I know it’s true.

I pull into the school parking lot Monday morning in my Dad’s giant, newly repaired mint-green Buick, with Back in Black by AC/DC blasting from the speakers. I feel tough, powerful—like I’m driving a tank.

I’m a badass teacher—I’ll run you down even if you’re a student—I’ve got twenty-nine more in class just like you.
The outfit helps too—leather boots, blue jeans, a starched white blouse and a black leather jacket. It’s my armor. The morning air is cool and crisp today, but I barely feel it. I’m locked and loaded and ready to roll. 

As I march towards the main entrance, I spot Garrett and Dean and Alison Bellinger outside the doors. They pause when they see me, waiting.

“Damn,” Dean chuckles. “Callie’s got her shit-kickers on. Did you dig them out of a mosh pit from 1993?”

Garrett crosses his arms. “Somebody’s channeling Michelle Pfiefer in Dangerous Minds.”
He looks fantastic. His hair is tousled from the breeze and kisses his brow, and he’s wearing a dark blue sweater that’s snug around his biceps and soft, worn, light blue jeans. I remember his arms around me yesterday on my parent’s porch. The wonder and exhilaration of the moment.

Of him.

The intensity in his eyes, the desire and possessiveness in the grasp of his hands. The scorching feel of his mouth, his wet talented tongue that made my stomach swirl and my head spin.

So much for not complicating things.

But I’m not going to play head games with myself or Garrett—we’re too old for that shit.
I have feelings for him—I always have—our break-up had nothing to do with either of us not wanting each other desperately. But these aren’t just leftover echoes of a sweet, first love—this is something new. A throbbing, breathless attraction to the amazing man he’s become. I want to be near him. I want to know him, inside and out, all over again.

And he feels the same way. Garrett wants this version of me as much as he always did—maybe even more. I heard it in his whispered words and felt it in his kiss.

I don’t know if we have a future, if it can go anywhere. We have separate lives on opposite ends of the country. But I’m not going to worry about that—for now, I’m going to take each day as it comes and enjoy every moment we can.

Except for now. Now is not the time for enjoying or worrying or relationship building…now is the time for focusing. Now is the time to be ice and steel—don’t smile, don’t waver.

“Little fucknutters don’t know who the hell they’re dealing with,” I growl.

Allison pumps her fist. “That’s the spirit.”

Garrett opens the door for me. “Go get ‘em, Gangster’s Paradise.”


^^^^^
 
   


 Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. 

Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine. 

Book Review (+ Author Giveaway & Excerpt): THE HIGHLANDER’S HELLION by Eliza Knight

Celebrate the release of  THE HIGHLANDER’S HELLION,  the latest in the Sutherland Legacy series by USA Today Bestselling Author Eliz...