Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Blitz: Fragile Simplicity by Tara Neideffer includes giveaway

Fragile Simplicity by Tara Neideffer 
(Sweet Haven #2) 

Publication date: January 29th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

The Blurb

It only took one letter to make every painful memory resurface. But it took Kyleigh Helton thirteen years to bury those memories. The question in that letter will force her to make a difficult decision. Forgive, or continue to let resentment and anger consume her fragile core.

The simple life she craves seems miles away when she’s dealing with an ex who won’t let her go and a boyfriend whose problems mimic a past she’d rather forget.

She realizes it’s time for things to change. But every decision and change she makes has a consequence, and she begins to wonder if she’s strong enough to handle them.

David Madison has been struggling with guilt and grief since his brother’s death and finds comfort in the one thing Kyleigh despises. When a phone call pushes him over the edge and guilt consumes him even more, he breaks a promise to Kyleigh that threatens to tear them apart.

As quickly as things fall back into place, his world shatters again, pushing him to the breaking point, and he begins to wonder how much more he can take before he turns to the one addiction that started it all.

But he can’t. He promised. He needs to stay strong for Kyleigh. Because now she needs him more than ever, and he won’t let her down again.

***This is book two in a trilogy but each book can stand-alone***

***Due to sexual content and language, this novel is intended for audiences ages 18+***

About The Author

Tara Neideffer was born and raised in Indiana with a love for animals, especially horses. As a child, she could always be found in the saddle, running her horse at full speed through open fields. She also has a love of ghost stories and a morbid fascination with watching murder mystery shows. When she's not busy writing, she's taking care of her animals, spending time with her family or reading. She still lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and stepson, on twenty acres, with too many animals to name.


Pulling out a handful of mail, she stood next to the mailbox as she shuffled through the stack. As her eyes fell on the last envelope, her hand flew to her mouth, almost as if she was containing a scream that had been buried for years. Her body refused to move as her mouth hung open in shock, her mind telling her that what she was seeing couldn’t be real. She stood there staring at the letter, her mind in its own world as everything around her seemed to stand still. Every noise outside seemed to stop and the only sound she heard was the rapid beating of her heart.

 Kyleigh gripped the white envelope with enough force that the edges began to crinkle and bend, her shaky hands making the letters bounce almost to the point that the name was unreadable, but even with blurry vision from fresh tears careening down her cheeks, there was no denying whose name was sprawled in a sloppy attempt at cursive handwriting. It was a name she could never forget.

How did he find me? The questioned pulsed over and over through her frazzled mind.

She absently reached out and placed her hand against the side of the mailbox for support as all the hurt and fear from so many years ago came crashing back into her. Her body began to tremble as buried emotions and deeply embedded memories lit up her mind like the continuous flash of a camera.

They were too much to handle.

         “Oh, God,” she finally choked out as sobs began to take over. She bent forward and placed her hands on her knees as all the emotion fell from her in the form of hot tears. Seconds turned to minutes and time seemed to drag on forever as the past tore through her fragile core. Pain, fear, and anger. All these emotions flooded her body without remorse.

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • A surprise swag pack
  • 5 ebook copies of Fragile Simplicity
  • A signed paperback of Fragile Simplicity

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Book Blitz: Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd includes giveaway

Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd 
(Deep Blue Eternity #1) 

Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The Blurb

Livvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her.

But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own.

In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way.

Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.

"A captivating, heart-wrenching, beautifully written story about those who scar us and those who help us heal. I could not put it down and am still thinking about it!" - Mia Sheridan, New York Times Bestselling author of Archer’s Voice

"Boyd skillfully navigates the scorching physical desire and personal insecurities of her protagonists, crafting a relationship that is tense, torrid and sure to keep the pages turning." ~ RT Book Reviews

“Fans of the Sea of Tranquility or Mia Sheridan will absolutely love this story.” ~ MissIngrid’s reviews.

“I can’t recall ever reading a novel that made me laugh, smile, cry… just, feel as much as this one did.” ~ Books over Bros Reviews

About The Author

Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author with a background in marketing and public relations.  Her debut novel Eversea was a finalist in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest for Contemporary Romance and won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers and Island Writer’s Network in coastal South Carolina where she has been a featured speaker on book marketing.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head. 

Tell us about your current release?

My new release is DEEP BLUE ETERNITY. I am so excited about this book. It’s a definite departure from the world of EVERSEA but no less true to my writing style. Formerly known as The Cottage (and funnily enough the cottage in the book is almost like an additional character in the story, bearing witness to the love story), my UK publisher felt that Deep Blue Eternity, a phrase used in the book to describe love would be a better fit. And I agree! Why didn’t I think of it first?

What genre would you say the book is?  

Contemporary definitely, as it is present day. And of course romance. However, there is a suspenseful and gothic undertone to the story as it is set in an area rife with superstition.

If you had to sum your book up in 30 or less words, what would you say?

DEEP BLUE ETERNITY is a deeply emotional book and while it deals with some tough issues, it’s about the aftermath and recovery of those things in our past. It’s about forgiveness and it’s about how falling in love changes us.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? 

Darynda Jones. I love her sense of humor. I think we’d be besties.

Do you prefer eBooks, paperbacks or hardcover? 

My son says the books he reads that he holds in his hands stay with him longer. I might be inclined to agree. But in the end, I just love books. For ease of transport and instant gratification (1-click buy anyone?)  - eBooks.  

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?

Great question! This doesn’t happen very often, does it. I’m so glad they turned outlander into a show so we could keep the detail that made the book so extraordinary. The Beach, The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – oh, and Fifty Shades of Grey!

So what are you working on next?

Aaaah the age old question.  I’m actually working on several projects. But hopefully the next thing that will be ready, finally, is a spin off of the Eversea series featuring the heroine’s best friend Jazz.

White wine or red?


Coffee or tea?


Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?


What are 4 things you never leave home without? 

Book, Kindle, phone (with kindle app), pen and paper for inspiration, updated inspiration playlist.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad – ?

In the beginning of my writing career I felt like I had bipolar, one review would make me high, the next would cut me down so hard I wouldn’t want to ever write again.  But than fully that phase was short-lived. If you do all you can to make sure it’s your best work  - then bad reviews have to be ‘water off a ducks back’... But seriously, bad reviews probably bother you most when you know deep down you could have done something better.  That’s probably a backwards way to look at it… but I guess that makes me backwards J Good reviews?  Aaaah, good, honest, unexpected reviews… there’s nothing like it.  And the reviews where someone lets you know that reading your book got them through a tough time, or started a new love of reading? Well, that makes it all worth it!

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?

Macchu Picchu in Peru.

One of your favorite quotes -  

Man will never discover new oceans, unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore – AndrĂ© Gide.


“Please,” I added, realizing I needed him on my side, and unable to avoid the hint of desperation in my tone. I mentally cringed. “Please don’t tell anyone I’m here.”

He assessed me, leaning back, one arm slung along the empty chair back next to him and his eyes narrowed. There was a gemstone that exact color. What was it called?

I frantically thought of a way to explain what I was doing here. And I wished I could see something else in his expression through the facial hair.

“Fine,” he said finally, with a stiff nod.


“Yes, fine.”

“What are you hiding from?” I asked suddenly, not sure where the question came from.

I almost missed the flicker of shock in his gaze, before he shrugged nonchalantly. “And we won’t ask each other questions.”

“Okay,” I agreed, with abundant relief, despite the weirdness of our situation.
Well, well, well. Wasn’t that an interesting puzzle? Why would a guy who was obviously 
well-spoken and educated, from what I could tell, take on the lonely job of looking after an isolated cottage in the middle of nowhere?
The silence was extremely uncomfortable as we both regrouped.

Eventually he sighed. “You look better without all the black shit all over your face.”

Obviously, he was referring to the black eyeliner and lipstick I’d taken to wearing. It matched my nails, my usual clothes and my mood. And it hid me. People’s eyes glided away from me when I started dressing like that, so I kept it up. It made things easier for me out in the world. All I had to do was also block out the whispers in the hallways of my preppy school. It had the added benefit that my parents hated it.

“Well, you’d probably look better without that hairy shit all over your face.” I bit my lip as soon as the words were uttered.

Seriously, sometimes I had no filter.

There was movement in his beard.
Was he actually going to smile? His caramel eyes crinkled up and suddenly his beard split open in a wide smile filled with perfect white teeth, and a snort of laughter came out. He was almost beautiful, not that I was into older guys. I didn’t know where to look, but his wheeze of laughter was infectious and I found myself fighting my own smile.

Then he took a deep breath. “I … I was in love with your sister. That’s how you know me,” he said.

The words were out there so suddenly, and he looked so shocked that he’d uttered them, that neither of us spoke for interminable minutes.

No questions.

Abruptly, he got up, scraping the chair across the old wooden floor, and walked to the front door. He paused a moment, his shoulders rigid, then yanked the door and smacked the screen open. In a moment, he was gone, both doors slamming shut behind him, leaving a vast emptiness in his wake. 

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • $150 Amazon Gift Card
  • 3 Signed Paperbacks of Deep Blue Eternity
  • 5 Infinity/Anchor Karma Bracelets

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Review: Breath Of A Scandal by Sandra Brown includes giveaway

Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown 

Published by:
 Grand Central
Publication date: February 26th 2013
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller

Stars: 4 ****

The Blurb

On a rainy Southern night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman’s worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers. Robbed of her youthful ideals and at the center of scandal and tragedy, Jade ran as far and as fast as she could. But she never forgot the sleepy “company town” where every man, woman, and child was dependent on one wealthy family. And she never forgot their spoiled son, who with his two friends changed her life forever. Someday, somehow, she’d return . . . exacting a just revenge, freeing herself from her enemies’ grasp, and, perhaps, fulfilling a lost promise of love.

Amazon / B & N / Kobo / ITunes / Goodreads

My Thoughts

First of all I just want to say that I am a fan of Sandra Brown's novels so I was really pleased to be able to take part in another blog tour for one of her books. If you want to check out the rest of the tour schedule then visit Xpresso Book Tours 

This book was first published back in 1991 but because the initial storyline takes place in the 1970s & because the plot is so character driven it feels as though Sandra Brown could have written it yesterday. Don't let the fact that the book is almost 25 years old put you off reading it as it has truly stood the test of time.

At the beginning of the book we meet 18 year old Jade Sperry, she's the girl that has it all. She's beautiful, popular, has just received a full scholarship to college and is totally in love with her high school sweetheart, Gary Parker. However things take an unexpected turn for Jade one night when she is subjected to a brutal & violent attack that changes everything & her world begins to spiral out of control. The knock on effects of that fateful night leave Jade with both scars that run forever deep and a constant reminder of what happened.

Fast forward 15 years and we see a very different Jade. She has picked herself up, dusted herself off and now she is heading back to her home town of Palmetto hell bent on revenge. She has a plan to take down everyone involved in the attack and the cover up that followed. She's determined that the good old boys club that stuck together and ensured that no one believed Jade's story all those years ago will be held responsible for their actions.

We also have our hero, Dillon Burke who has also been traumatised by tragic events from his past. Since losing his family he has been a loner and moving around working on building site doing manual labour. I must admit that Dillon's story caught me a little off guard when we are first introduced to his story as it seems totally unrelated to what is going on with the rest of the story. I really couldn't work out where Brown was going with his story arc & even found myself thinking that maybe the e-book I was reading had been corrupted with another story. However once Jade meets Dillon whilst looking for a project manager for the newest development her firm are working on all the pieces begin to fall in place.

What follows is the journey of a strong woman heading back home to face her demons and a man who carries his own demons with him supporting her and teaching her to be able to trust men again. Jade has been left so scarred by the events of that night all those years ago that relationships of any kind have always been very difficult for her.

This book had some really wonderful and some really despicable characters. Jade is such a fantastic character, she is strong and driven and so determined not to be defined by what happened to her. She is a character who due to what we see happen to her we are instantly drawn to her and on her side. She goes on one heck of a journey to put her life back together. Then we have the ring leader of the group who attacked Jade, Neal Patchett who along with his father is truly one of the most detestable characters I have ever come across in a book. He has no redeeming qualities what so ever. He's a man driven by jealousy and always used to getting his own way and his sense of entitlement is strong believing that he can have whatever he wants. 

I loved the relationship that Jade had with the college dean and his wife who take her in when she has absolutely no one left to turn to. All of sudden she feels warmth and acceptance for the first time and the bond between them is very clear and carries through right to the end of the book. Then their was the friendship that Jade had with Hank who so obviously wanted more from her but was happy to just be friends if it meant keeping her in his life.

At times the book was a little obvious and it certainly made for some uncomfortable reading but Sandra Brown handles Jade's character sensitively and this led to me being hit quite hard emotionally. I would have liked more from the ending and this is the reason I have only given Breath of Scandal 5 stars as it all fell a little flat but I was so pleased that justice was served in Jade's own unique way. The book is a fast paced and addictive read and I devoured it really quickly eager to see that the those involved in the scandal got their come-uppances. Sandra Brown is truly the Queen of romantic suspense and I highly recommend giving this book a read if you a fan of the genre.

About The Author

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

  • 5 winners will each win a trade paperback of Breath of Scandal + a signature Henri Bendel candle

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Book Blitz: Haunted Love by Jessica Frances includes giveaway

Haunted Love by Jessica Frances 

Publication date:
February 23rd 2015
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance

The Blurb

My name is Thea Bell and I was murdered.

I always assumed that death was the end. So when my life was cruelly taken away from me, I never thought I would get a second chance to say what I needed to.

But then I was given a choice, a choice that allowed me to see the people I had left behind, and I knew I had to take it.

I wanted to say a proper goodbye. I needed justice for what happened to me.
But even in death, things rarely go to plan.

I never expected to meet him. I didn’t anticipate falling in love. I hadn’t considered the repercussions of coming back. I never realized I would put another person in danger.

I didn’t know my actions were going to haunt us forever.

My name is Detective Aiden Mercer, and I think I have gone insane.

I am seeing the murder victim of my current case alive and in the flesh, and that is simply not possible.

I can see her, hear her, touch her. She’s real to me, however I know this cannot be real. Right?

But try telling my heart that, because as I grow closer to catching Thea’s killer, I also fall deeper into trouble.

Because love is rarely anything but trouble and I know this love will haunt me forever.

Excerpt One

For the first time since I have been here, Aiden wakes up before me. Or perhaps he never went back to sleep. Either way, the first thing I see when I open my eyes is Aiden walking towards me holding a tray. He sets it down carefully on the bed before he cautiously hops back in next to me, pulling the tray to rest between us.

“You made breakfast?”

“It’s the least I can do since you’ve made me breakfast every morning. I’m not as good as you, but I do know how to make a mean toasted bacon sandwich.”
I smile at him, pick up the uncut sandwich, and take a small bite, pulling half of the crispy bacon out with me.

“Good?” he asks me nervously.

“Perfect,” I reply around my mouthful, sounding incredibly unladylike.

He gives me a true smile, and my heart suddenly squeezes in my chest. Is that not the best smile I have ever seen in my life? I desperately want to see him smile again.

He takes a huge bite out of his own sandwich, drowning it with a mouthful of hot coffee. I also decide to try the coffee he made, barely swallowing any before I spit it back out into the mug.

“What’s wrong?”

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s coffee, I think.”

“Did you just grab some dirt from outside and add hot water?” I don’t filter my response, realizing afterwards how harsh I sound, but he replies by laughing at my comment.

“Max used to say the same thing to me when I made him coffee. It’s not that bad.”

“Actually, it is.” I slowly put the mug down, acting like I expect it to explode at any moment, and I am thrilled when he again laughs over my antics.
Was I actually excited about his smile before? Because his laugh is so much better. Deep, hearty, and his eyes light up with his mirth.

“Why are you staring at me? Do I have mayo on my face?” As he wipes his lips, I mentally slap myself.

I shouldn’t care about his smile or his laugh. Well, not in the my heart is skipping kind of way. The most Aiden can be is my friend, and friends don’t stare longingly at each other.

Excerpt Two

I leave Aiden scanning over the boxes, moving back through my house and taking time to look over the photos I have hanging up. It’s strange how I had them along my walls, in my eye line for years yet never took the time to look at them. I used the photos as decoration instead of a reminder of the good times I shared with friends and family as well as the few amazing places I got to visit.

I take my time now, smiling at the memories sparked of Flynn, laughing at the reminders of the fun times we shared and yearning for the places I will never get to visit. I had a list of countries and activities I wanted to do for my summer vacation. I wanted to take at least one trip every summer and slowly work away at the list. Now I’ll never get to see any of those places, never have the chance to skydive in New Zealand, eat gelato in Italy, or go skiing in Switzerland. The most exciting thing I managed is a school field trip to New Orleans where we toured the main tourist destinations, and I ate beignets and gumbo.

I shake my head, slowly moving through the lower level of my house, checking over the mess made from the forensics people who appear to have coated every surface looking for foreign fingerprints. I don’t find anything suspicious here or out of place. There is nothing I can see that is missing, and nothing screams to me that there is a clue here. While I’m disheartened to still have nothing to give Aiden to go on, I stare up my staircase, knowing I will need to check up there, too.

With each step, my legs grow heavier. Soon, I’m dragging my feet. I purposely check every other room, leaving my bedroom for last. I’m dreading what will happen when I glance back inside that room. I feel ill as I approach the still ajar door.

I know I need to get this over with. I might remember something about the murderer in there. If anything is going to be amiss that might help us figure out who my killer is, it will be in my bedroom.

But how am I supposed to enter the room where I lost my life?
The room where I was beaten and violated?

Even if it means catching my killer, can I face what I might see in there? Do I really want that memory etched into my brain? Isn’t already having a good idea what I went through bad enough?

Then again, what if he is out there right now, terrorizing other women? What if my reluctance to walk into this room means another person will lose their life?
I take a deep breath, my hand reaching out to push the door open.

“You don’t have to go in there,” Aiden tells me.

I glance over my shoulder, seeing both worry and fury in his eyes. “I do.” I sound more sure then I feel, but I force my feet forward. Within two steps, I am standing inside my bedroom.

About The Author

Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • A paperback copy of Haunted Love

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Between The Cracks - Week 4

Between The Cracks is a new blog meme that is now on it's 4th week. The meme was started by Shaz over at Jera's Jamboree and each week you identify a book that has fallen between the cracks on your To Be Read shelf. You can read more about the meme here

This week to help me narrow down my choices I went to page 22 of my TBR shelf on Goodreads, 22 because today is the 22nd. This narrowed my selection just a little bit but there was one book that really stood out and that book 
was ......

A Killing In The Hills by Julia Keller

This book has been on my TBR since June 2012 when I was successfully approved by the publisher on Netgalley. At the time it was very high up my list of books I really wanted to read as it was book one of a new crime series. I do love a good crime series and by all accounts this one featuring Bell Elkins is supposed to be pretty good.

It also has a tag line from one of my favourite crime authors, Karin Slaughter. I've read a few books that Karin has recommended & I've always enjoyed them.

But for one reason or another I just have never gotten around to reading it. I even have copies of books 2 & 3 on my Kindle as well.

Hopefully by mentioning it on the blog today will raise it back nearer the top of my TBR pile.

About The Book

In A Killing in the Hills, a powerful, intricate debut from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller, a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it's too late.

What's happening in Acker's Gap, West Virginia? Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner, and seemingly half the town is there to witness the act. Still, it happened so fast, and no one seems to have gotten a good look at the shooter.  Was it random? Was it connected to the spate of drug violence plaguing poor areas of the country just like Acker's Gap? Or were Dean Streeter, Shorty McClurg, and Lee Rader targeted somehow?One of the witnesses to the brutal incident was Carla Elkins, teenaged daughter of Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, WV. Carla was shocked and horrified by what she saw, but after a few days, she begins to recover enough to believe that she might be uniquely placed to help her mother do her job.

After all, what better way to repair their fragile, damaged relationship? But could Carla also end up doing more harm than good—in fact, putting her own life in danger?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Do Judge A Book By It's Cover - Week 8

Well here we are at week 8 of the blog meme Do judge a book by it's cover. Every week Gill over at The Book Magpie picks a theme and you have to pick a beautiful book cover that matches that theme.

This week we have another free choice week which I always find the hardest as there are so many stunning book covers out there that having to pick just one is always really hard.

So my pick for week 8 is The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. I was lucky enough to attend a blogger event hosted by the Books And The City team at Simon & Schuster earlier this week. Whilst I was there I was lucky enough to grab myself a copy of The Hurricane Sisters. This has been a much coveted book for me largely due to it's cover as it has one of those covers that I am instantly drawn to.

I have great love for the beach & the ocean so any pretty covers that show the sea or a sandy beach are always books that I have to pick up & have a look at the blurb.

The other thing that really strikes me about this cover is the beauty in it's simplicity. When you look at it there really isn't much to it, we have a girl, on a beach, holding a parasol but it is that solitary girl on the cover that really draws you in. That & the use of the wonderful red font against the blue of the sky. This one is definitely a strokeable worthy cover.

About The Book

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long - for three generations of one family, drama is headed in their direction too.

At eighty, determined matriarch Maisie Pringle is a force to be reckoned with. She will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, dreams of a future that keeps them all at odds.

This storm season, Maisie, Liz, and Ashley will deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. Can they establish a new order for the future of the family?

This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Guest Post: Author Debbie Rix talks Historical Heroines

The latest historical offering from Bookouture is out today, Secrets Of The Tower by Debbie Rix. Debbie has very kindly joined me on the blog today to talk about the inspiration behind the historical heroine, Berta who is central to the plot of Secrets Of The Tower.

Over to you Debbie.

The moment I knew that Berta di Bernardo would be the heroine of my novel ‘Secrets of the Tower’, was when a wonderful professor of medieval history in Pisa dismissed her with the words ‘ Oh the widow – she left the money for the Tower to be built – that’s all…’.

‘But why?’ I asked, not unreasonably. And this charming, erudite man looked a little blank.  ‘Piety?’ he suggested a little uncertainly.

I have replicated that scene almost word for word in the novel as my modern day heroine Sam goes in search for more information about this mysterious medieval lady.   In many ways, Sam’s journey is similar journey to the one I took myself.  She, like me, becomes fascinated with the woman who made the Tower of Pisa possible.

Surprised by my interest, Professor Pierotti rummaged around on his desk and found a copy of Berta’s will – fortunately translated from an ancient Tuscan /Latin dialect into modern Italian. She left sixty soldi, or coins, to the city of Pisa to start work on the new belltower that would grace the Piazza del Duomo. The will had some interesting witnesses - the notary to the Emperor Frederick, and a master mason called Gerardo di Gerardo.  I did a bit of digging and discovered that Gerardo had worked on the tower, and had been assistant to the famous architect Deotisalvi who designed the Baptistery in Pisa. Deotisalvi is also sometimes credited with designing the Tower, but there is no real evidence that he did so.

I was intrigued, not least by the presence of these two men at her death bed. The presence of the notary indicated that she was a woman of some substance and influence. As for the builder… were they just friends, colleagues or something more?

Unable to discover much more about my main character, I was determined to find out as much as possible about the city, its people, and the period I was writing about.  Professor Pierotti was hugely helpful of course, explaining what life was like for the ordinary Pisan in 1150. I spent weeks in the British Library poring over medieval texts,digging up information about the real merchants and traders who dominated this seafaring power.

I studied dress styles, jewellery, hairstyles and household objects of the period. I trawled culinary reference books and kept a list of typical medieval Italian dishes.I researched the medical practices of the day – most of which involved herbs and plants. The architecture, which perhaps is the other ‘star’ of my novel -was also was carefully researched; as the daughter of two architects it was vital that I didn’t make any errors there. 

The pressure to try to provide an accurate and truthful landscape for my characters was enormous, so much so, that after months of research, I felt paralysed, unable to begin the writing process. But finally I realised that people throughout the ages have loved, lost, given birth, died… and the feelings that accompany those life-changing moments are the same now as they have always been.   A historical novel is really just a love story, or a mystery, or a thriller in a different setting to the one we live in now.

I am already planning my next novel but have not yet found my historical heroine. I am drawn to the people who history has forgotten;  the people who have had an impact on the world, but whose story has not yet been told. I just hope that the next lady, whoever she is, provides me with more than just her will to work with.

About The Book

Two women, centuries apart, bound together by the secrets of one of the most iconic buildings ever created.

Pisa, 1999

Sam Campbell sits by her husband’s hospital bed. Far from home and her children, she must care for Michael who is recovering from a stroke. A man she loves deeply. A man who has been unfaithful to her.

Alone and in need of distraction, Sam decides to pick up Michael’s research into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Immersing herself in the ancient city, she begins to piece together the mystery behind the creation of the tower, and discovers the woman who history forgot…

Pisa, 1171

Berta di Bernardo, the wife of a rich merchant, sits in her chamber, dressing for a dinner party. A gathering that will change the course of her life and a young master mason, Gerardo, forever. 

A strong, intelligent woman, Berta’s passion for architecture also draws her closer to Gerardo. As she embarks on a love affair, her maid Aurelia also becomes spellbound by the same man. Yet for Berta, her heart’s desire is to see the Tower built, and her determination knows no bounds…

A richly drawn and absorbing novel of passion and power, love and redemption that will captivate fans of Victoria Hislop, Tracy Chevalier and Kate Furnivall.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Book Blitz: Closed Set by Julia Harlow

Closed Set by Julia Harlow 

Publication date: June 15th 2014
Genres: Erotica, Romance

The Blurb

Cassandra Carlson is working on her five-year plan. A professional dancer, she moved to Los Angeles after college to work at her best friend’s Hollywood dance studio. She decides she can put up with the glitterati for the time being until she saves enough to open her own studio back home in Cincinnati.

When soon-to-be A-list British actor, Christopher Edwards, comes to her for dance lessons for his new film, the attraction is instantaneous and intense. Both are young, available and beautiful, but while she finds Hollywood garish and superficial, he’s on the brink of realizing his life’s ambition with no inclination for a serious relationship. Or so he thinks.

Just when their white-hot desire can no longer be denied, a jealous actress targets Cassandra in an insidious scheme, and a powerful studio head poses a formidable threat to them both. Cassandra puts herself in jeopardy in order to protect Christopher, but will she lose him in the process?

About The Author

I love romantic fiction. Any kind of romantic fiction, whether it be historical, contemporary, fantasy, erotic - you name it. What's not to love about a swoon-worthy hero and a spunky heroine plagued by all sorts of conflicts keeping them apart, until it all works out and they live happily ever after? For the most part.

My first book, Closed Set, was published in June 2014. I am currently working on my second book. It definitely has a very swoon-worthy hero and an unforgettable heroine. Stay tuned for more info!

Closed Set Excerpt

I face Cassandra, firmly grasping her shoulders. Without taking my eyes from hers, I nod towards the door. “Tell him to give us a minute.”
Her eyebrows shoot up and her perfect pink mouth frowns at me. “What are you doing, Mr. Edwards?”
“Please, just tell him to wait.”

“I’m trying to run a business here.”

I pull her into the alcove away from Kurt’s view, with her reluctantly trailing behind me. “You need to be really careful around this guy. He’ll take one look at you in that leotard,” my eyes flicker over her curvaceous body, “and if you touch him the way you touched me, he’ll interpret it as an open invitation to have sex with him.”
She backs away from me dislodging my grip on her shoulders and bites out, “I appreciate your concern, Mr. Edwards. Consider me duly forewarned.” Before I can stop her she’s across the room, greeting Kurt and showing him where to change. She stalks back to me none to gracefully.
“Well?” With her hands planted on her hips, she nods towards the door, clearly expecting me to leave.
“Being on your guard is not enough. I’m staying.”
“You are absolutely not staying.” She might as well be stamping her dainty foot with that petulant expression on her face.
“Look, I know Kurt Jordan. He’s in the film I’m working on. This guy’s got a criminal record.” I soften my voice hoping to get through to her. “Please, don’t do this.” Casting her black-lashed eyes up at me I finally detect understanding in those green depths.
“Okay, okay.” She shakes her head and sighs. “I’ll have my boss come down and stay in my studio while he’s here.”
“Is your boss a man?”
“Brinley Collins is every ounce a woman, but I wouldn’t cross her if you value your manhood.”
“Call her. I’ll wait.” Glancing skyward in exasperation, she grabs her phone and calls Brinley.
“Let me have your cell number so I can call you after his lesson to make sure you’re all right. Please.” I pat down my sweats in search of my phone to enter her number but remember it’s in my jeans pocket in the changing room. 

“My cell number is private and not for clients.” She starts to turn away from me.

“Either I get your number or I stay here. Your choice, Cassandra. This is serious.”

She grabs and pen and scribbles her number on a piece of paper and thrusts it at me. “Happy now?”

“No, but at least it’s something.”

Kurt passes me on my way to the changing room. After making a disgusting wet sound with his tongue he says, “That’s one sweet piece of ass in there. Can’t wait for my turn.”
“What?” I snarl, jerking around to face him, fists tight at my sides, itching to knock that smirk off his cocky face.
“Don’t be such a stiff ass, Edwards,” he sneers, punching me hard in the shoulder before sauntering toward Cassandra.
Yanking off my sweats, T-shirt and shoes, I change quickly, far too agitated to shower. A small stack of colorful Dance Academy of Beverly Hills brochures sits on a glass-topped table at the entrance of the changing room. I snatch one up on the way back to the studio doorway hoping it contains information about Cassandra, whom I really shouldn’t be interested in.
A slim blond with soft features perches on a stool keeping a hawk- eye on Kurt Jordan. Must be Brinley Collins.
The mild, breezy late summer day is lost on me as I stalk to the parking lot. What the fuck am I doing? Without even knowing this girl for more than a couple of hours, I’m intervening in her business. Focusing on my career is first and foremost after struggling for fifteen years to finally get recognition. The last thing I need is to get ensnared in this Kurt Jordan shit, or to get involved with Cassandra Carlson. With a sharp yank, I slam the car door, start the engine and accelerate away from the Dance Academy of Beverly Hills and that frustrating, enticing woman.

Julia's Top 10 Favourite Fictional Male Characters

We all love a solid alpha male character. A man who is dominant without dominating. Who’s confident and controlled. Witty and intelligent.  Passionate, driven, composed. He must be comfortable with himself. And of course tall and physically fit. Oh, and very successful and a good listener. This is fiction, after all.

So here are my top 10 favorite male characters. If you haven’t met them, you should!

  1.    . Jamie Frazer - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2.      Gideon Cross - Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  3.      Braden Carmichael – On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
  4.      Ted Beaudine – Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  5.      Cal Morrisey – Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
  6.      Travis Maddox – Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  7.     Kenny Traveler – Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  8.     Phin Tucker – Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
  9.    Gabriel Emerson – Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
  10.       Christian Grey – Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James