Friday, 10 April 2015

Review: The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

Publication Date: 9th April, 2015
Published by: Michael Joseph(Penguin UK)
Genre: Women's
Stars: 5 *****

The Blurb

Annie has a secret. But if she's not going to tell, we won't either. It's a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn't have - yet Annie isn't broken, not quite yet. Especially now there's someone out there who seems determined to fix her.

Kate has run away. But she's not going to tell us why - that would defeat the point of running, wouldn't it? It's proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.

Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren't entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .

A gripping and unpredictable story of two young women running from their pasts. We defy you to guess the twist . . .

My Thoughts

I've never read a Lucy Robinson book before despite having a couple of her others on my Kindle but if they are anything like The Day We Disappeared they will be well worth the wait. I will admit to being a little bit apprehensive when I first started this book as there has been just so much hype surrounding it that I was a little fearful that it wouldn't live up to it's hype. I had nothing to worry about though as The Day We Disappeared so deserves all it's hype and more.

So going into the book I knew there was going to be a big twist or reveal of some kind, it even says so in the blurb and that is one of the things that gets you immediately hooked, knowing something big is coming but not knowing when it is going to hit. This is such a clever, clever book that drew me in right in and left me eagerly flipping pages to get to the much talked about twist, I'm not sure I even came up for air other than to make much needed tea & I know I didn't manage to get out of my PJs I was that hooked.

It's very difficult to talk much about the plot & the characters without giving too much away but here is a summary. Our two main characters are Kate Brady and Annabel Mulholland, two very different women who became friends when they met on a backpacking trip in Asia a few years ago. The story alternates between the POVs of both Kate and Annie as they settle into new lives. Both of them are running from something in their pasts and are both looking for a fresh start, both ending up with new jobs and having incredibly good looking new bosses. On the surface The Day We Disappeared seems just like every other romantic comedy, a damsel in distress who falls for her boss and we are then expecting violins, flowers and a happily ever after with a few bumps along the way thrown in for good measure. However as you read more and more of the book and dig deeper below that surface you realise that this book is so much more and once you hit the reveal the story opens right up.

Kate Brady, is a loud & larger than life Irish girl, she's suffering from executive stress & burnout from her job with Google so applies to be a trainee at the equestrian yard of eventing Olympian & Team GBR heartthrob, Mark Waverley. She doesn't have a clue about horses but she is looking for a one way ticket out of the life she is living and working for Mark seems like the perfect solution. Kate is carrying a very big secret and it is very obvious from the start that she is hiding something more that executive stress.

Annie Mulholland's mum died when she was just 7 years old and the tragedy surrounding her mother's death has left Annie with a huge fear of abandonment and a big problem forming proper relationships in her adult life. She is a self employed masseuse who travels around London giving massages. One day she is offered a job by wealthy businessman Stephen Flint at his company. Stephen is very keen on looking after the well-being of his employee's and sets Annie up with her own treatment rooms in his office building.

So there we have the basis of the story, 2 women who are friends but who are both very vulnerable and struggling to make it through their daily lives. Lucy Robinson very slowly weaves darkness into this book, revealing just a little bit of Annie & Kate's past as she goes. She reveals just enough to keep us interested & intrigued but not enough to ruin the twist.

The Day We Disappeared was a beautifully written novel with totally engaging characters. It left me totally captivated and more than a little speechless when I got to the end. It is packed with humour, romance and some pretty big secrets - a powerful and absorbing must read.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review: Normal by Graeme Cameron

Normal by Graeme Cameron

Publication date: 9th April, 2015
Published by: Harlequin UK
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Stars: 4****

The Blurb

He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden.
He shops at your local supermarket. He drives beside you, waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement under his garage.
The food he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will – one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.
But this time it’s different…

Dark, twisted and compelling, this is the most exciting and original thriller of the year

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that it is difficult to sum up without giving too much away so I'm expecting this to be quite a short review, well short for me anyway. I read a lot of crime and reading the blurb for Normal I can see that it is certainly going to be a book that stands out from the norm.

We are launched amidst the blood and gore right from the opening pages where we meet our narrator, the killer cleaning up after murdering and dismembering his latest victim. Unfortunately he is interrupted by the young girl's friend Erica which leads to our killer taking Erica hostage and then keeping her imprisoned in his basement which is fully equipped for keeping his victims imprisoned. From this point on things start to go a little bit wrong for our killer. So many times he comes very close to being caught with the police turning up at the most awkward of times. And Erica just tries his patience but an unlikely bond develops between them which is quite unexpected for our killer.

Normal is such an interesting concept, seeing murder totally through the eyes of the killer. The book is entirely told from the killer's point of view which gives us a front seat to some pretty horrific and gruesome things. Normal is so gruesome in places and yet so matter of fact because our killer is just a normal guy going about his normal everyday things yet he carries with him a deep dark secret.

It's pretty unnerving feeling empathy for a murderer and it is really scary to just how normal a serial killer can be. Totally reminiscent of Ted Bundy and all his charm when he was on his killing spree in the US. You can't help but like the killer as a character and find yourself rooting for him when he begins to fall in love. I couldn't help but make comparisons between our killer in Normal and the serial killer Dexter from the US TV series of the same name. Of course Dexter's reasons for killing were for quite different reasons & I'm not sure that I understood our killer's reasons for murder other than he just enjoyed the hunt.

This is a truly chilling read but had just the amount of dark humour that makes being in the head of a cold blooded killer just that little bit easier. Normal was twisted and horrifying beyond belief but so compelling & I just couldn't but it down. Well worth the read.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review: The Killing Season by Mason Cross

The Killing Season by Mason Cross 
(Carter Blake #1)

Published by: Orion
Publication Date: 9 April 2015
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Stars: 5 *****

The Blurb

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.
When Caleb Wardell, the infamous 'Chicago Sniper', escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don't want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.
Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.
But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets' nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.
Slick, fast-paced and assured, THE KILLING SEASON is the first novel in the gripping new Carter Blake series.

My Thoughts

I get really excited when I discover a new series and just reading the blurb of Mason Cross's first book in the Carter Blake series had me clapping for joy. I saw reviews that compared the books to Lee Child's Jack Reacher so I had high hopes and The Killing Season doesn't disappoint. 

Carter Blake, the male protagonist of the series is the man people go to in order to find people who don't want to be found. In this case the person in question is Caleb Wardell the infamous 'Chicago Sniper' that has escaped from prison whilst being transferred two weeks prior to his execution. The FBI recruit Carter's services in order to help them track Wardell down, ideally before the press get wind of his escape. FBI agents Steve Castle and Elaine Banner are brought into help capture Wardell before his escape becomes public knowledge.

Blake is thrown into a manhunt to stop a killer who has no trouble in leaving behind a high body count. Caleb Wardell has scores to settle and he won't stop until he is caught. Wardell likes to play games and this time his opponent is Carter Blake.

This is one of those books that compelled me to keep reading right from the very start with the drama surrounding Caleb Wardell's escape. Mason Cross packed the story full of excellent tension and suspense throughout. It's a quick read that is both well written and well plotted with great twists that keep the suspense ramped up to the very last page.

I loved the anonymity of Carter Blake, how he can do what ever he pleases that and that he is such a good guy plus we are left with so many questions about Carter Blake and his past. I am so excited to have found such a great new character. It's been a really long time since I have found such a strong, likable, enigmatic character possibly not since reading about Jack Reacher or Alex Cross. Wardell was an excellent & psychotic villain and I also found Agent Banner an intriguing and likable character & hope to see her make a return in future books.

This is without doubt one of the best debut thrillers that I've read in a long time - a fantastic page turner that left me totally hooked on Carter Blake and Mason Cross has left me wanting more. A highly addictive read and Mason Cross is certainly one to watch.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Book Blitz: The Australian by Lesley Young includes giveaway

The Australian by Lesley Young 
(Crime Royalty Romance #2) 

Publication date: March 27th 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance

The Blurb

Charlie Sykes takes everything and everyone at face value—and believes life would be a lot easier if everyone else did, too. Aussie Jace Knight, international hotelier and purported playboy, has never met anyone like the absurdly literal and obliviously beautiful American who applies for his personal assistant position. The trouble is, how do you pursue a woman whose definition of flirting comes straight out of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? That, and he’s not the only one after Charlie. Seems Mr. Knight might not be a reformed criminal after all.

Soon, Charlie’s immersed in a whirlwind of international espionage that takes her from the hip streets of Sydney to the majestic Great Barrier Reef and the wild, desolate outback. A dangerous trap’s being set, but how will Charlie protect herself and prevent a tragic betrayal, when she can’t even sort out what her heart’s telling her?

About The Author

Lesley Young is a genre-defying author of unforgettable heroines who experience thrilling life- and love-altering journeys. Her debut novel was Sky's End; her most recent stand-alone series, Crime Royalty Romance, includes The Frenchman and The Australian. She loves to hear from readers.

Why We Want Australian Men

How Lesley Young imagined her dude from down under in her romance novel The Australian

If you’re picturing a Hemsworth right now, you already know of what I speak. Let’s face it, dudes from down under have something special. After all, they’ve been stealing leading roles for years (think Russel Crowe, Eric Bana, and Hugh Jackman). In writing the second book in my Crime Royalty Romance series (the crime is light! the love is not!), The Australian, I had to sort out just what it was that makes those Aussies boys so special and layer it into my hero. Here’s how:

May the surfer culture live on Of course, tan and fit surfer men are not on every Aussie street corner, but they are more common down under. And while my hero, Mr. Jace Knight, was not a surfer, I did want him to embody that casual, laid back attitude that makes those boys so charming. Not only does Jace look smoking hot in his cozzie (strine for swimsuit)—as noted on the book’s cover—he’s so playful and open, you forget he’s one of the most powerful men in all of Australia.

They own rugged masculinity  What does that even mean? Well, let’s just say that I don’t know for sure that Australian men can single-handedly wrestle a crocodile, make dinner and pitch a tent out of surfboards while cracking a few adorable jokes. But what really matters is that we think they can. That kind of rugged masculinity is rare, exclusive and highly valued by North American females who tire of Channing Tatum’s pretty boy dance moves. My Australian is ruggedly masculine in every way, and proves it in a pivotal scene in the wild Outback that requires life-or-death bravery.

They’re down to earth I’ve been told Australian men treat everyone the same—they fight for the underdog and have basic, fair expectations about life and what it has to offer—and that the same goes for their women. My Australian doesn’t play games, or put out pretenses. And he expects the same from his heroine Charlie Sykes. Unfortunately, she’s caught up in a web of lies that force her to try play him (she is, of course, wholly inadequate).

The Australian is a coming-of-age love story between a highly intelligent, awfully literal heroine and a man whose moral code is questionable, but whose honor is not. I layer in lots of culture, and descriptive details of some of Australia’s most popular tourist sights. The ride is wild—literally and figuratively

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 6 April 2015

Cover Reveal: The Day Of The Wave by Becky Wicks

I'm a big fan of Becky's Starstruck series so I'm really pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for her latest book. And here it is....

The Day Of The Wave by Becky Wicks 

Publication date:
May 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance

The Blurb

Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead. Unbeknown to each other and haunted by one of the biggest natural disasters in world history, Isla and Ben are living very different lives, until over a decade later when a chance encounter throws them back together.
Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.

About The Author

Becky Wicks lives in Bali and scribbles books, and she’s mostly powered by coffee. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, Before He Was Famous recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories, and her three travel books, published by HarperCollins are online to make feet nice and itchy. Mostly though, she loves to write love stories. She blogs most days at and always welcomes distractions on Twitter @bex_wicks. Especially if you have photos of cats.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Between The Cracks - Week 6

The Between The Cracks blog meme was set up by Shaz over at Jera's Jamboree . The idea being that each week you will identify a book that has fallen between the cracks on your TBR pile.

So with today being Easter Sunday I decided to type in the word Easter in the search box on my Goodreads TBR shelf fully expecting nothing to come up. I had totally forgetten about a book that I added back to my TBR pile in October 2011.

That book was Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes. I spotted Easter Island whilst tidying shelves in the library that I work in & initially I was drawn to the cover. There was something very haunting about it. I turned the book over and read the blurb decided that it sounded like something that I would enjoy & then added it to Goodreads using the app on my phone. And that is where it has stayed ever since, I don't remember ever looking at it again but now re-reading the blurb I'm reminded that it does sound like a book I would enjoy & I'm going to make a concious effort to but it higher up the TBR pile.

The  Blurb

In this extraordinary fiction debut--rich with love and betrayal, history and intellectual passion--two remarkable narratives converge on Easter Island, one of the most remote places in the world.

It is 1913. Elsa Pendleton travels from England to Easter Island with her husband, an anthropologist sent by the Royal Geographical Society to study the colossal moai statues, and her younger sister. What begins as familial duty for Elsa becomes a grand adventure; on Easter Island she discovers her true calling. But, out of contact with the outside world, she is unaware that World War I has been declared and that a German naval squadron, fleeing the British across the South Pacific, is heading toward the island she now considers home.

Sixty years later, Dr. Greer Farraday, an American botanist, travels to Easter Island to research the island’s ancient pollen, but more important, to put back the pieces of her life after the death of her husband.

A series of brilliant revelations brings to life the parallel quests of these two intrepid young women as they delve into the centuries-old mysteries of Easter Island. Slowly unearthing the island’s haunting past, they are forced to confront turbulent discoveries about themselves and the people they love, changing their lives forever.

Easter Island is a tour de force of storytelling that will establish Jennifer Vanderbes as one of the most gifted writers of her generation.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Review: Impossible Promise by Sybil Bartel

Impossible Promise by Sybil Bartel 
(Impossible Promise #1) 

Published by: Carina Press (HQN)
Publication date: March 23rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Stars: 4 ****

The Blurb

Three years ago, Layna Blair listened in horror over a telephone line as her parents were murdered. When the killer said she was next, Layna panicked and made a deadly deal—his secret in exchange for her life. She’s paid the price every day since, becoming a prisoner in plain sight.

Marine Sergeant Blaze Johnson offers Layna a way out—her freedom, his rules, no questions asked—and she takes it, despite knowing what her keepers do to people who get too close. She doesn’t know Blaze is fighting his own demons or that beneath his warrior fa├žade is a man on the verge of breaking.

Embarking on a wild revenge mission with Blaze and his smooth-talking best friend, Talon, is not what Layna signed on for. But attempting to run when Blaze has made no secret he intends to make her his is a reckless mistake. With the killer closing in, it’s up to Blaze to save them all—and to Layna to realize that she’s risked the one thing she can’t afford to lose.

Heat level: Steamy; not for under 17, it has open door sex scenes.

My Thoughts

Layna Blair is just sixteen when she hears her parents being murdered whilst on the phone with them. This tragic event leaves Layna all alone in the world and caught in the web of a mad man who she refers to as Miami. Miami has his men keep a watchful eye on Layna not allowing her to have a life and stopping her getting close to anyone.

When the books starts Layna is now nineteen and the one place she can escape from prying eyes is the local church where she goes for peace and time on her own. One night whilst in the church she meets Sgt Marine Blaze Johnson who is the church praying for his dying mother. Blaze picks up on Layna's fear and steps in when Miami's men up the ante.

Blaze is determined to keep Layna safe and help her seek revenge for her parents death. He takes to his friend Talon's house and leaves Talon in charge of keeping her safe whilst he is spending time with his mother. What follows is an action packed story that moved along at an exhilarating pace.

I loved the plot of Impossible Promise, it was such a great storyline and for the most part it was well executed. I must admit I was a little miffed to start with by how quick there was such a deep connection between Blaze & Layna but hey it's fiction. The books is full of some really great characters as well as some very steamy action.

Layna spends much of the story surrounded by hunky men, all trying to protect her. As a character Layna is very manic, she's all over the place, blowing hot and cold all the time. One minute she's happy & laughing and the next she is either ranting & raving or sobbing & in floods of tears but then this probably isn't surprising after all that she has been through. All of a sudden after 3 years of trying to rebuild her life she suddenly feels somewhat safe and no longer alone in the world & I guess that would play havoc with your emotions.

Both of the leading men had something different to offer. Blaze and Talon are best friends but totally different in every way. Talon is the ladies man with what seems like a girl for every night of the week.He is drop dead gorgeous in a totally different way to Blaze. Blaze is dark and brooding whilst Talon is the golden haired surfer boy. I will admit that I found Talon the more engaging of the two and felt that there was an obvious attraction between him and Layna, their connection seemed far greater and she seems to be the only one that can break down his facade of being a player.

I really loved the relationship that Layna had with Talon, their banter added so much humour to the book and it was clear that Talon's feelings ran deep for Layna. She was more than just another girl he could string along.

You really have to suspend reality with this book and not get caught up in the 'that would never happen'. Once I did this I was totally swept along with the story & fully engaged with what was happening. It was a really quick read and I found it impossible to put down. I really loved the sense of mystery that surrounds Layna's character and I'm really looking forward to seeing where Bartel takes the characters in book two, Impossible Choice. I read a sneak peek of book two and oh my it left me wanting more. I can't wait until August.

Check out the rest of the review's on Sybil's Tour

About The Author 

I grew up in Northern California with my head in a book and my feet in the sand. I dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew me into the world of storytelling. I love the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes me swoon.

I now live in Southern Florida and while I don’t get to read as much as I like, I still bury my toes in the sand. If I’m not writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in my backyard, you can find me spending time with my handsomely tattooed husband, my brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about me.
I grew up a faculty brat. I can swear like a sailor. I love men in uniform. I hate being told what to do. I can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks me out. My favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—I can’t decide. I have a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on me for driving directions, ever. And I have a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell my husband.

Tour-wide giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card (INTL)

a Rafflecopter giveaway