The girl who came back

The Girl Who Came BackThe Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?

When five-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil. How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?

Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?

If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?

Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. Even from the very beginning you know there is something interesting going on but throughout most of it, you’ll be hard put to figure out exactly what it is. The characters were intriguing and I liked the fact that the author kept the dark and mysterious ambiance going throughout the novel all the way to the end.

The main character was exciting because I wasn’t sure if she could be trusted or not and if she was who she said she was. I liked the way the author intertwined more than one story together and made me question whether or not the two different stories would tie neatly together in the end.

This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night thinking about the story even after you have closed the book. The descriptions were good and the ending was surprising. I thought I had it all figured out, but it was a little different than I expected. Overall, I thought this was a great book and would recommend it to others that enjoy mystery and suspense.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Tangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

Tangled MoonTangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

She could feel her blood pulsing through her veins. Her heightened senses had turned inward and all she knew was this moment and what he was doing to her. She held him tightly, wishing she could pull him inside of her. Pull her inside of him. Something. Someplace where the unrelenting tug and pull between them could finally end…

Danielle Howard likes her life, as strange as it is. For her, this is as good as it gets. Who needs things like family, a home, and romance, anyway?
She spends her days as a mortal woman, and her nights as a wolf, killing vampires for a living. What could be better than that?

Well, maybe there is one thing missing…

Danielle thought one day she and her hunting partner, Lothar, would be more than friends. But some things just can’t be. Lothar is next in line for the High Council seat, and that means he is way out of her league. She’s talked herself into doing her job, with or without his love. He’s still her alpha, and that has its own appeal.

Nick Shepard knew there was more to life. He’d just never been able to find it. When the sexy Danielle comes into his life, everything changes.
All he’s ever wanted is to know who he is, and why he’s different.
Being unprepared for the truth, isn’t going to stop him from embracing it. Whether Danielle is a part of his future or not, he’s not sure, but he knows one thing…

He is never going back.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of books out there with werewolf and vampire characters, but few of them hold my interest. This one did. I liked the way the author handled the story, making sure this was not just another repeat of other books that have come before it.

Lothar, Nick and Danielle are all really interesting characters and the strained relationship between them gives this series a solid foundation to work from. As is the norm with this author’s books, you know from the beginning that you are in for some serious surprises and she doesn’t let you down. There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you whipping through pages, but she also gives you the emotional aspects of her characters and their relationships to one another. Even the side characters come off as important and integral to the overall plot.

There is enough steam in this novel to keep the romance readers happy, but not so much that it is intolerable for those of us that don’t want to read a book with a million pointless love scenes. The descriptions of the scenery and the shifting in this book are fantastic. I could feel the atmosphere from the first page, perfectly appropriate to the plot.

If you are looking for something paranormal but different, this will satisfy the craving. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Education of a Coroner

The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating DeathThe Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are tired of TV shows getting it all wrong and sugar coating what a real coroner does, read this book and you will come to a new understanding of how it all works. Ken Holmes built his career in Marin County and has been through it all. This collection of his experiences is not only interesting, difficult to read at times, perhaps, but also makes you think about the realities of the world we live in.

From inner office politics to the actual hands on job of dealing with bodies and investigating, the author leaves nothing out of this gritty book. I found that once I began reading this, it was impossible to put down. The pages flew by until I reached the end. In some ways, it’s hard to believe that these cases could be real, but they do say that truth is stranger than fiction. The level of human depravity and violence that Ken encountered day to day would break most people. You have to respect him for what he’s seen during his career.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic book filled with interesting details that will likely make most people stop and think, perhaps even appreciate the lives we lives each day. This is eye opening and terrifying, well-written and thought provoking. Definitely worth the time to read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Why do you read?

books and flowers

As an author, I am always curious about what motivates people to read. I’ve done posts before about how people choose books, about covers and colors and what you seek in a blurb, but this post poses a simpler question with perhaps an opportunity for more complex answers.

Why do you read?

Sometimes I read to learn, sometimes to go on an adventure in a far away place I will probably never get to in real life. Occasionally, I read because it is such a part of me. Whereas some people enjoy movies, music or the theatre, favourite sports or socialising with others, I like books. I love the feel of them, the scent of them, the way they make you feel like someone understands when no one else does.

Sometimes I read to improve my craft. There are so many reasons. I also love the feeling of finding a new book–you know the rush of wondering what is inside the cover and if it will be as good as it sounds. The excitement of a new book can be better than…

My heart flutters and I dance from foot to foot until I can get the book home and see what it has to offer. I might be a little obsessed.

So what about you? What makes you return to the pages of a book? Why do you read?

Stalking–a serious matter

roses are red

This blog tends to be lighthearted most of the time and about books, the ones I’ve read and the ones I want to read. Sometimes it is about writing and my personal pursuits. But on occasion something happens in life and I feel the need to get a bit more serious.

Today, I wanted to share some important info with everyone about stalking. Sure, people joke about it, make passing remarks and everyone seems to have their own ideas about what it means, but when it happens to you, it can be a truly frightening and even dangerous situation.

What is stalking? According to the United States Department of Justice:

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking can include:

Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.

Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.

Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.

Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.

Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.

Harassing victim through the internet.

Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.

Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, contacting victim’s friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.

Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime

So what should you do if this is happening to you? First of all, you have to accept that it can happen to anyone, male or female and that downplaying these types of behaviours can result in bodily harm to you or someone you love. This is NOT okay. You should have a right to use social media, your phone and live your life without fear of someone always being there making you miserable and making you feel insecure and unsafe.

What can you do about it?

There are many steps that can be taken to help protect yourself and to let the person involved in these actions know that you will not tolerate it.

 

Stalking is a dangerous crime that affects an estimated 6.6 million women and men each year.
Stalking—generally
defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear—is
a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the federal government.
As many as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime
and most often the stalker is someone the victim knowsan acquaintance, a relative, or a current or former intimate
partner.
  • Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous.
  • No two stalking situations are alike.
  • There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet victims can take steps to increase their safety
.
What To Do If You Are Being Stalked
1. Trust your instincts.
Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s
behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.
2. Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger.
Explain why even some actions that seem
harmless—like
leaving
you a gift—are causing you fear.
3. Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker.
Be sure to also document any police reports.
4. Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims.
Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on
social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
5. Get connected with a local victim advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE.

For More Information
National Stalking Awareness Month
Stalking Resource Center
You should never have to live your life in fear. If you or someone you know is dealing with this type of situation, do something about it. Do not assume that it will get better or just go away on its own.
If you want to know more, please check out https://www.justice.gov/ovw/stalking

 

The Big Little Festival

The Big Little Festival (Rabbit's Leap, Book 2)The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes

Join the whole village at The Big Little Festival for the perfect summer day out!

With only weeks until the little Devon village of Rabbit’s Leap holds its first ever festival, Jody McArthur is desperate. She – more than anyone – wants to raise the funds to rebuild the local swimming pool and when she fell pregnant with her twin boys, it was the village who was there to support her. So, to stop disaster in its tracks, she brings in bigshot London events manager Christian Middlemore to make The Big Little Festival the huge success everyone deserves.

But Jody is totally unprepared for the impact reserved-but-gorgeous Christian has on Rabbit’s Leap – and her heart! Except Jody has avoided relationships for so long, and anyway, she’s sure romance between a country-born-and-bred single mum and a career-focused city boy would be impossible – wouldn’t it?

As tensions rise along with the home baked scones and miles and miles of bunting, Jody is about to find out!

The second book set in the picture-perfect Rabbit’s Leap, this little village is where love blooms!–from goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was adorable and a fun way to pass a couple of lazy afternoons. I liked Jody and Christian both and they had plenty of chemistry to keep the romance reader in me happy. There are a lot of small, English village romances to choose from these days, but I thought this one was better than most. These characters had real struggles to overcome and mistakes in their past that haunted them. It was nice to see some depth rather than the fluff that a lot of romances are made up of.

The twin boys were fun and I enjoyed their antics, having twin boys of my own, I could relate to the things the main character went through and how she felt about the possibility of a new relationship. The author did a great job with descriptions and I like the way she made the secondary characters feel so real and full of life.

This is a really cute story with a bit of steam and a story line that won’t let you down. Recommended for those who like romance with a cosy feel.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Any Dream Will Do

Any Dream Will DoAny Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.–goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book reminded me of all the reasons that I look forward to Debbie Macomber novels. The friendships formed during the course of the book were wonderful and the romance was sweet and charming.

This author has always been good at making unlikely love matches work and this book is no exception. I really liked the characters here, both the main characters and the supporting cast. Shay had quite a history and from the beginning, she touched my heart and I wanted to see here settle down and succeed. Drew was lovable right away and the descriptions of his children made me feel like they were family.

I like books where there is a point to the love story and the characters have to work to overcome obstacles and that’s what happens here. The hurdles they face are things that any one of us could be up against and that makes the book more authentic. Regular people with pasts and current concerns make Debbie’s romances close to the heart. This was a heartstring-tugging book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

It was Always You

It Was Always YouIt Was Always You by Georgie Capron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will give you all the feels. I laughed and fell in love and cried and wished I could be seeing the sights that the main characters saw during her time in Italy. You want to eat before you read this because it will also make you hungry if you don’t.

I liked the main character, Libby, from the beginning. She starts out the book mostly carefree as she takes a final trip for herself before embarking on a serious career. I liked the way the author used such beautiful descriptions to enhance the reader’s experience and make it feel like you were right there alongside her characters. I also thought she did a stellar job of showing how we can get our hearts involved in a relationship without letting our brains control us, even when we should know better.

As the book progressed, I felt even closer to the main character as her future goals were basically the same as mine. I loved the emerging relationship that the author describes in the second half of the book and couldn’t wait to see where things led. If you are looking for a novel that you can throw your heart into, this would be a good one to choose.

With many different themes in this novel, including betrayal, forgiveness, family, friendships, new beginnings and more, there is sure to be something in these pages to satisfy anyone. I loved this novel.

I’m looking forward to further books from this talented author.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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the Tannenbaum Tailors and the Brethren of the Saints by JB Michaels

The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Brethren of the SaintsThe Tannenbaum Tailors and the Brethren of the Saints by J.B. Michaels

Thrills and mayhem run rampant in the continuing saga of suspense, sacrifice, and the spirit of Christmas.

The Spiritless are angry with Captain Brendan for making them think they’d stolen the Secret Snowball, and they get their revenge by attacking the Christmas tree of a human boy named Jack with termites. And another very special tree is in danger…

The Spiritless trap Brendan and the other Tailors and entice Jack to tell his parents all about the Tailors. But doing so would ruin the magic of Christmas!

The Tailors swoop in at the last moment, preventing Jack from spilling the beans, and send the Spiritless packing. For over a year, Brendan searches for the Spiritless leader—to no avail. He’s arrested and imprisoned for telling a human about the Tailors, so the Spiritless are able to continue in their diabolical plan.

Can the Tailors save the Home Tree—and Christmas?–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading the first book in this series, I was excited to see that the author had written another. Whilst the first in the series set the pace for future stories, this one really took off with new characters and an exciting adventure that children and adults alike are sure to love. From the beginning of this story interesting events unfold and continue to keep the characters rushing to solve the mysteries until the very last page.

There are a lot of things about these books that make me happy, but it is always the creativity of the author–the Christmas related gadgets and gizmos that I love the most. Full of fresh and original ideas, these books light up the imagination. I can just see those tiny little elves zipping around the Christmas trees performing their unique tasks to ensure that kids everywhere have the holiday they deserve. The imagery alone is worth the read.

I like it when I can see a series grow from humble beginnings and this one is doing just that. This book is packed with a sense of adventure and exuberance and leaves you wanting more when it is finished. The characters are cute and will definitely keep the attention of a child, but they also have a way of working themselves into your heart. This book is charming, has a good overall message about the spirit of giving and reminds you why Christmas is such a joyous time.

The only thing I can see that might be a small negative, is that there isn’t much of a back story in the beginning, so if you haven’t read the first book, you might find yourself a bit lost when you start this one. Otherwise, I thought this was delightful and am happy to recommend it to others. A perfect read for Christmas Eve, settled beside the fireplace with the stockings hung–or any other time of year that you want to entertain the kids.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Leave the Night on

Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom, #4)Leave The Night On by Laura Trentham

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge–life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage–and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a great book! It is no secret that I have issues with a lot of romance novels because I feel like they aren’t really going anywhere or because I feel like they have all been done before, but this one I loved.

The romance between Sutton and Wyatt was electric from the beginning and the other elements of the story that included his family and her relationship with her best friend made this one worth reading. In fact, I read it nearly in one sitting, not wanting to put it down to get back to real life.

I love the kind of romance that starts out as a slow sizzle and builds and builds, taking the reader along for the ride and this novel does that perfectly. I didn’t feel the sex scenes were added as an afterthought, they were perfect for the book and matched the personalities of the characters. I was rooting for their love affair from the very beginning and was satisfied with the way things worked out for everyone involved in the story.

The author is great at dialogue and the characters felt very real. I like the way she expressed their emotions through their actions as well as through their thoughts. Reading this book made me forget about everything else for a while. That’s how I measure a good novel. I was sad when it was finished because I wanted more.

A small town. well–two I guess, actually, and characters that will touch your heart. Definitely recommended for those who love romance.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.