Friday, 2 December 2016

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe - Liberty Bell and Scarlett Brodie

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe

Chloe Charlesworth has had the week from hell. Not only did she have her dream job as a fashion journalist, snatched away from her, then her aunt breaks her leg. So, Chloe leaves London on a mercy dash to Rum Cove in North Yorkshire to help run her aunt’s businesses, the Contraband Café and trekking centre. Chloe imagines she will be simply popping in to check that her aunt has the right help, but when she accidentally poisons her aunt’s horses and argues with the local vet, she feels obligated to help out with the numerous Rum Cove’s Christmas events, which all centre around the Contraband Café. But, Chloe is desperate to get back to London, move in with her boyfriend, Marcus, and find another journalist’s job, the only trouble being that he doesn’t seem too keen on the idea.
Rum Cove, an old fishing village, is undeniably beautiful and the locals very friendly, except for the local vet Luke, who is appallingly rude and arrogant. Thankfully Marcus decides to visit and Chloe soon realises that she has some serious decisions to make. A sparkling, Christmas romance.

My Review

I always love finding a new book by a British author (or in this case authors). Finding a book that was set in an area that I know, was an extra bonus. My grandparents lived in Bridington, so the North Yorkshire coast is an area that I'm familiar with, although it's been years since I was last there or in Whitby.

I have to admit that when the book began I didn't really warm to Chloe, she was silly, self centred and rather vacuous. Fortunately she improved once she had left her job in London, although it wasn't an overnight transformation. Once at her aunt's house she made became the city girl in the countryside, fish out of water and made one or two mistakes. Things were quickly rectified and Chloe began to fall in love with the cafe and the village.

Overall I enjoyed this book. There were a couple of things that I wasn't totally sold on. The actions of the villain in the piece were a little rushed and I didn't really understand why he'd done what he did. My other slight problem was that there's a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of the story. I want to know what's going to happen next, but I'll have to wait for the next book. The event that lead up to this cliff hanger are possibly a little bit (in my opinion) out of character for the hero, but I suppose that will depend on what happens next.

If you're looking for a fun, quick and lighthearted romantic read, then I don't think that you can go far wrong with Christmas at the Contraband Cafe. Just be aware, that you're probably going to be left wanting to know what happens in the next book.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Seaside whispers - Melissa Foster

Seaside whispers blog tour

Seaside Whispers

Seaside whispers by Melissa FosterHaving a mad crush on her boss’s son, Matt Lacroux–an intriguing mix of proper gentleman and flirtatious bad boy–is probably not the smartest idea for single mother Mira Savage. Especially when the company, and her job, is already on shaky ground. But as a Princeton professor, Matt’s life is hours away from Mira’s home on Cape Cod, keeping him safely in the fantasy-only zone. And as a single mother to six-year-old Hagen, with a floundering company to save, fantasies are all she has time for.
With hopes of becoming dean off the table, and too many months of longing for a woman who lived too far away to pursue, Matt’s publishing contract couldn’t have come at a better time. He heads home to Cape Cod on a brief sabbatical, intent on starting his book, and finally getting his arms around sweet, seductive Mira.
A surprise encounter leads to white-hot passions and midnight confessions. The more time Matt and Mira spend together, the deeper their relationship grows, and the love and attention Matt showers on Hagen is more than she has ever dreamed of. But Matt’s sabbatical is only temporary, and Mira’s not saving his father’s company so she can leave it behind. Will their whispers of love be enough for one of them to change their life forever?
Seaside Summers is a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.


My Review

Coming to a new series midway through, can always be a bit hit and miss. This book is part of the love in Bloom Series and also the Seaside Summers Series. Fortunately, although there are obviously characters appearing that have been in the previous books, this was a stand alone novel. There was a little bit of what I suspect was an update into how previous characters were getting on, but it didn't detract from the story.

In some ways this was a little different to the 'usual' formula that makes a romance novel. While there was the hero, heroine and of course the happily ever after, there wasn't the misunderstanding that often occurs part way through. Don't get me wrong though, this wasn't all plain sailing. Mira is a single mother and needs to juggle her son with her own needs. Matt has had a academic career that he has channeled everything into, he's not sure if he is ready to leave it behind and move onto something new.

Although Mira and Matt are hesitant to take things to the next level, soon their overwhelming attraction takes over and it becomes clear that they are meant to be together. I enjoyed reading about their growing relationship and I did feel that it was believable and not too over the top. My only real reservations were how protective they both were of Mira's son Hagen, it just didn't quite ring true to me. I was also not entirely convinced when a potential bump in the road appeared towards the end of the story. It was all dismissed without any discussion and it was probably a bit unnecessary.

This was a good read over all, I enjoyed the blossoming relationship between Matt and Mir. The growing relationship between Matt and Mira's son, Hagen was also lovely. I'll remember this series and might check some of the other titles out at some point. If you're looking for a fun, easy, romantic read, you can't go far wrong with Seaside Whispers. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

In the line of duty - Carolyn Arnold

In the line of duty by Carolyn Arnold
I haven't read any of the books in the Madison Knight series before, so I wasn't sure about starting with book seven. I thoroughly enjoyed this book though and it really did't matter that I hadn't read any of them before.

In the line of duty

He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?

 It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him—shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

 When news of Weir’s murder reaches the precinct, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves, just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more people pay with their lives.

My Review

I haven't read a police procedural novel for a while, although I do enjoy them. I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. I was a little worried before I started that being book seven in the series, I might struggle a bit. Fortunately, even though there were small references to what I assume are previous books, it didn't detract from this one at all. It could be read as a stand alone novel, as I did, although now that I've read one, I'd quite like to go back and read the rest in the series.

If I had a fault to find with this book, it would be that I got a little confused towards the end. I wasn't sure who was who when Madison was solving the crime. There were lots of interconnected characters who were mostly refered to by their surnames. I was a little bit lost as to who was who, although it didn't really detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

I thought that the loss of a collegue was very sensatively and thoughtfully handled. There was also the interesting subplot of the relationship between Madison and her boyfriend Troy. I really enjoyed this well written, police procedural novel and I'll be back for more in the series.

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Saturday, 19 November 2016

A Harmless Little Ruse - Blog Blitz

A Harmless Little Ruse

A Harmless Little Ruse (The Harmless Series)
Meli Raine a Harmless Little Ruse

Author: Meli Raine
Release date: November 18, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Political Thriller


She has no idea what she’s doing. Loose cannons never hit their targets.

And they take out plenty of collateral damage.

Four years ago Lindsay experienced the unspeakable right before me, and I couldn’t stop them.

But that’s all changed now.

When her father, Senator Bosworth, contacted me to ask — demand — that I protect her, it was a second chance. A shot at redemption.

An opportunity to right an unspeakable wrong.

Controlling Lindsay as she seeks her revenge on the monsters who hurt her won’t be hard.

Containing my own out-of-control feelings for Lindsay and keeping up this ruse of cold-blooded distance will be.

Even harder than admitting to her what really happened that night four years ago.

It turns out I don’t have to, though.

Someone else did it for me.

And I’ll make sure they regret it.
* * *

A Harmless Little Ruse is the second in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine. This series includes:

A Harmless Little Game (Now available)
A Harmless Little Plan (release date December 13, 2016)

Buy links:

Google Play: Coming Soon

Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them.

Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

All signs lead back to you - Aniesha Brahma

All signs lead back to you.

All signs lead back to you


As the final bell for the day rang on their last day in school, Diya Rai, had a chill run down her spine. The chill of not knowing what the future holds for her and her high school sweetheart, Ashwin Chowdhury.
So she does a preemptive strike.
She dumps him before he can hurt her.


Two years later, Ashwin and Diya, cross paths. Each holds grudges, feelings and only one half of the story that completes them.
Told from alternating points of view, through a non-linear timeline, this is the story about
first love, second chances and ALL the SIGNS THAT LEAD BACK TO YOU.

My Review

All signs lead bay to you by Aniesha Brahma
Although this book sounds, from the title, as though it's going to be a romance, it really is a story about friendship. The friendship that existed between Ashwin and Diya, while they were at school and now the friendship between Diya and Nina.

Diya finished with Ashwin when school came to an end, because she felt that she would loose him anyway and wanted to have a get out plan first. When they meet again, there are clearly still feelings there, but is it love, or friendship, or even the love that friends feel. where does Nina fit into all of this?

I did like the story and I thought that it was an interesting take on the idea of friendship. The three main characters worked quite well and I enjoyed the development of the story both now and in the past, as we learnt both at the same time.

Unfortunately the minor characters didn't quite work as well, which was a shame. I really could see no reason for Ashwin or Diya being involved with their new partners or potential partners and they didn't really add anything to the story.

Over all this was quite a nice sweet read with an interesting concept. I managed to polish it off in a couple of days, so if you're looking for a quick read that will leave a smile on your face then I don't think you can go far wrong with All Signs Lead Back to You. 

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Butcher's Daughter - Mark M. McMillin

The Butcher's Daughter by Mark m. McMillin
I have to admit, that I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book before I started it. I quite like historic fiction and although the Elizabethan era is one that I've studied, I haven't read much fiction set in that period. I was quite keen to give the Butcher's Daughter a go. 

The Butcher's Daughter

In an age ruled by iron men, in a world of new discovery and Spanish gold, a young Irishwoman named Mary rises from the ashes of her broken childhood with ships and men-at-arms under her command.  She and her loyal crew prowl the Caribbean and prosper in the New World for a time until the ugly past Mary has fled from in the old one finds her.
Across the great ocean to the east, war is coming. The King of Spain is assembling the most powerful armada the world has ever seen – an enormous beast – to invade England and depose the Protestant “heretic queen.” To have any chance against the wealth and might of Spain, England will need every warship, she will need every able captain. To this purpose, Queen Elizabeth spares Mary from the headman’s axe for past sins in exchange for her loyalty, her ships and men.

Based on true historical events, this is an epic story about war, adventure, love and betrayal. This is a timeless story about vengeance. This is a tale of heartbreak…

My Review

I think I had perhaps better start by saying that this book opens with a rape scene. It isn't a particularly graphic rape scene, but it's always worth having a bit of a warning for people who might be effected by it. Mary, the Butcher's Daughter of the title, finds herself in command of her own ship and loyal crew. Despite being a woman in a man's world, at a time when many women didn't hold such roles, Mary has their respect and they follow her. 

Mary starts to earn her fortune by smuggling, at first around Ireland, but after a run in with a powerful family who are out for Mary for revenge, she moves over to the Caribbean, trading with the Spaniards and other nations that are building the New World over there.

In all honesty, I didn't know how I would get on with a novel about ships and the sea, but I really enjoyed this. It was exciting and interesting and I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen to Mary and her crew. I thought that the book had a really good feel of the time, I could believe that the characters were of the period. I would really recommend this book, if you're after a read with a bit of excitement and adventure.

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Black Sheep - Patricia Ryan

The black sheep by Patricia Ryan
A few weeks ago, I read and reviewed The Marriage Arrangement by Patricia Ryan. This was actually the second in North Moon Bay series. Although the books are linked by a similar location, they are actually completely stand alone novels. I decided to go back and read the first book, The Black Sheep.

The Black Sheep

While house-sitting at a waterfront estate, sweet, straight-laced Harley is stunned by the arrival of her employer’s supposedly dead son, an Alaskan bush pilot with a bad boy rep who’s been wounded in an airplane crash. Coming home after years of estrangement—and a stint in prison—to make amends with the old man is difficult for Tucker, but not half as difficult as keeping his distance from the super-sexy but virginal Harley while they share the house, awaiting his father’s return.
Having given up on the idea that he’ll ever fully heal from his ravaged leg, Tucker balks when Harley urges him to swim as physical therapy—until she adds a unique incentive: “Catch me and you can have me.” Her certainty that he’ll never be able to swim that fast evaporates when he embarks on a rigorous training regimen, determined to claim her as his prize. But when she unearths the dark secret in his past, will she still be willing to pay up when the time comes?

My Review

It will probably come as no surprise to hear that I really enjoyed The Black Sheep. I like a good bad boy story and this is certainly that. Although Tucker seems to be the stereo typical bad boy, it soon becomes clear that there is much more to him than that. I did find Harley a little annoying, because she was so uptight, but she soon relaxes with Tucker.

The relationship between Tucker and Harley is lovely and I loved the way that he had to work to get to know her and work to get better in order to win her. The relationship is believable and I like both of the characters. There is, of course an 'issue' for them to get over, before they can have their happily ever after. In some ways, I would have liked Harley to have handled things slightly differently, but as she had the experiences of her childhood to deal with, I can understand why she immediately assumed the worst.

If I had to find fault with the book, I would just have to say that it is over too soon. It was a great quick read, but of course I wanted more.