Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop


Hi there! I'm taking part in Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop hosted by Valerie @ Stuck in Books, and I'm giving away a $10 Giftcard at either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository.  The giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. See below for participating blogs or click HERE.

For this hop I'm featuring a few of my favorite holiday/winter season reads:


The Rancher's Christmas Song was a super sweet holiday romance.  Mean Streak is one of my all-time favorite Sandra Brown! Christmastime Cowboy was an emotional second chance romance! Setting up a wine tasting room to open during the Christmas Season was beautifully described, and made the story all the more enjoyable. A true Winter Wonderland!




 $10 @ US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 @ The Book Depository.  This giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  Click HERE for list of countries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 11 December 2017

Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine
Publication date: December 12th 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
My rating: 2.5 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33199875-the-good-daughter
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.
 


My Thoughts:
Melvin Royal is out and on the hunt for Gwen and the kids.  Keeping safe and hidden is almost impossible with Absalom assisting Melvin at every turn.  So, Gwen and Sam decide to go on the offensive, while leaving her kids, Lanny and Connor with Javier and Kenzia to keep safe.

There’s no doubt that Killman Creek was an exciting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of read, I read this in one day because I couldn’t put it down.  I can’t really say I enjoyed it, though, because it was gruesome in parts and pretty intense.  Also, I wasn’t happy with the characters.  Evidence conveniently surfaces that again casts doubt on Gwen, was she Melvin’s Little Helper after all? Instead of waiting to see if it was fabricated, there was an immediate rush to judgement.  After all they’d been through in the last book, their quick loss of faith in Gwen was super disappointing. 

I don’t know if I could’ve forgiven Sam for what he did in the end.  It was a complete betrayal that was just swept under the rug in the end.  To me, there should’ve been a lot more talk on the subject and a lot more groveling, maybe I could’ve come to terms with it then, but the way it was quickly shoved aside and forgotten didn’t sit well with me.  Gwen was amazing, but I thought she accepted that crappy treatment way too easily. I suppose it was from the lingering guilt of feeling like she should’ve known what her ex-husband was up to when he was killing all those women, but still.

There’s a third book coming in the series, not sure what it’ll be about since things are wrapped up here, but I would like to see Sam, Gwen and the kids in the future. Maybe some of my lingering disappointment with the characters actions and reactions will be put to rest then.  It’s hard to rate this since I had big time issues with the characters, but I can’t ignore that it was a compelling thriller, one I didn’t want to put down.  I think it’s somewhere between 2-3 stars for me. 


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Review: So Over You (Chicago Rebels #2) by Kate Meader

So Over You (Chicago Rebels #2) by Kate Meader
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: December 4th 2017
My rating: 4 stars  


Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels.... Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won Olympic silver, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then... let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless. Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual. That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice...

Meader once again gives us a sizzling follow up book in the Chicago Rebels series with So Over You. I thought I had read it all with Irresistible You, I had a new favourite crush in Remy and the romance between him and Harper was off the charts. But then comes along Vadim in So Over You and I’m a complete goner (just imagine Gleb from Dancing with the Stars, which I did every single time *swoon*). I love it when characters have a history and then are forced to deal with each other again. When Harper decided to sign Vadim to the Rebels team, I really didn’t think too much about it, but then when we were given little hints that there was a past between Vadim and Isobel, I was completely intrigued, what had gone on between them? Of course, it wasn’t anything that I ever would have imagined, there was so much that had gone on, with interference from multiple parties and miscommunication that made me want to shake sense into people. But I was hoping that now with Vadim and Isobel having to work with each other, this would give them the perfect chance to sort everything out, despite the constant denial from Isobel that nothing could happen between them. 

Once again just like with Harper and Remy, Isobel and Vadim’s relationship was a tough one, Isobel was co-owner of the Rebels, but also acting coach for Vadim, he hadn’t played much since his knee injury, so Isobel was enlisted to coach him back to fitness one on one. I loved the early interactions between Vadim and Isobel, both characters were so stubborn thinking they knew what was right. But once they were able to overcome this, the heat and passion between them was super hot! Meader once again worked her magic with their relationship wonderfully, the build-up was slow burn much to my liking, but then once we reached that point where Vadim and Isobel couldn’t get enough, the romance was sizzling! I really liked this relationship between Vadim and Isobel, because it had spanned a few years, so the depth of their feelings was totally realistic; we had the side which was totally swoon worthy, but also a tender and vulnerable aspect of their relationship too, as mistakes had been made in the past, and because their feelings ran so deep. Like I already said, their relationship was beautifully done, it was also tinged with some heartache and betrayal, which really did make my heart hurt, but I think it was needed for certain characters growth along the way. 

So Over You, wasn’t just full with a wonderful romance, but it featured some great side stories too, we had Vadim’s family, Isobel still attempting to build on her relationship with her sisters and the Rebels trying to make the play offs. There was so much going on in this book, but I loved it! There’s still so many characters that I feel like we have so much to learn about and to explore that I’m kind of gutted that there’s just one more book to go, but 2018, can’t come soon enough, as I need to be back with these wonderful characters as soon as possible.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

Weekly Wrap Up #18

Hi everyone. Jasprit is feeling a bit under the weather, so it's just me, Rachel, here this week sharing the last couple of weeks worth of reading and activities, and linking back to The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer.


WHAT I READ/REVIEWED 

(Click on title for Goodreads link)




I listened to The Mountain Between Us, and really enjoyed it, but I could've done with less flashbacks.  George Newbern's narration was fantastic! I really want to see the movie now, but I'll have to wait for the DVD because it's not playing anywhere close to me now.  Both Darkness at the Edge of Town and The Lullaby Girl were second books in a thriller/mystery series that did not disappoint! I'm looking forward to the next mystery in each case! Fantastical wasn't as quite as good as The Golden Dynasty, but still really good. The Love Experiment was hot and fun! The Outpost was also a pleasant surprise from a new-to-me author.  Of course Once Upon a Christmas Eve was a pleasure; Elizabeth Hoyt is always wonderful!


BOOKS RECEIVED 

(Click on title for Goodreads link)



I can't tell you how excited I was to get approved for a copy of This Fallen Prey!  I love Kelley Armstrong's Casey Duncan series! Final Siege promises action, suspense, and a second chance romance. I hope I love it!  I really enjoyed Lauren Smith's A Gentleman Never Surrenders so when A Scottish Lord For Christmas popped up I couldn't resist.  I read MK Schiller's A Girl by Any Other Name some time ago and loved it, so I'm hoping Kiss the Sky is good.  It sounds adventurous and suspenseful, climbing K2 while trying to evade a killer.


NEW TO MY TBR

(Click on Book for Goodreads link)



I love Robyn Carr and her Sullivan Crossing series has a special place in my heart since it's set in a sort of backpacker's stopping place between the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail for "thru hikers".  I can also add to this list with books that don't have a cover yet, but I'd kind of like to wait until my adds have covers. :)


  WHAT I'M WATCHING:



 I started up on Justified again this week and I still hate Raylen's ex-wife, but damn, its good!  I watched Beautiful Creatures today and actually loved it! I read the first and second book about a million years ago (more like 2011) and didn't remember much about the book, but the movie was very atmospheric and the cast was excellent! I doubt there's a 2nd movie since this one was made in 2013.  That's unfortunate.





EVENTS OF THE WEEK

I have been soooo busy with real life lately! I didn't have a turkey dinner until last night and my husband and I worked our asses off to make it happen. I'm still so tired, but it was fabulous and I'm high off the carbs!  Thanksgiving weekend I was hard at work renovating our family's vacation home in Central California.  It's been a long time coming and a lot of hard work. Glad it's done, but seriously, I'm tired! I barely made it out of my PJ's today and I've only been reading or lounging at the TV! I'm happy in my new occupation as a vegetable today. :) 



 So, what have you been up to?


Friday, 1 December 2017

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
My rating: 5 stars.  



Marriages of convenience are so...inconvenient. For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions. Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago. Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Where do I even start with this amazing book, Roomies was just everything I could have asked for, it really takes a lot lately for a book to have me fully absorbed, and because with this with book there was so much going on, I just wanted to drop everything that I was doing and read this book, why did life and work have to get in the way? The fake marriage/relationship trope has always been a favourite of mine, and whilst I can only count a handful of books that have really done this trope well, I’m glad to say that Roomies was one of these books. The relationship and even marriage of Calvin and Holland was super quick; they’d agreed that for Holland’s uncle their marriage would work out perfectly, Calvin needed a green card in order to work his dream job and Holland’s uncle had found the talent he had be looking for in Calvin, also the fact that Holland had a big crush on Calvin beforehand wasn’t a bad thing either. But despite just getting married for convenience, the marriage between Holland and Calvin was realistic and believable, and this is what I loved the most about it. I did have my niggling doubts along the way just like Holland did when unexpected surprises were thrown her way, but most of all because I’d fallen so hard for both characters, I so wanted their relationship to work beyond the initial year that they had both agreed upon, it was obvious to me, that beneath the façade, there were some genuine feelings involved and both could end up with something neither could have imagined. 

I absolutely adored Holland’s character, I saw myself in her in so many aspects and I think that’s one of the reasons why I felt so close to and could understand what she was going through. She was just skating through life, not really knowing what she wanted to do, she had a great support network in her uncles, who can I just say were two of my favourite characters and now Calvin too and of course I wanted her to succeed. There was just constantly so much to take in with Holland’s life, with its ups and downs and shock revelations along the way, my heart at times had a hard time dealing with everything that she had to go through, but these obstacles that Holland had to deal with really gave depth and strength to her character. Her relationship with Calvin was also a beautiful one, like I said sometimes I did have my doubts about Calvin’s character and his true intentions, but he was such a sweet guy, I loved how he went out of his way for Holland and also who can resist a guy with an Irish accent? I for one definitely can’t! 

Roomies really was such a wonderful story, I loved how I couldn’t’ stop thinking about this book for days afterwards, how Lauren gave us such fantastic and memorable characters that I had a hard time letting go, and just a story which could be heartbreaking at times, but also tinged with laughter and one of the best relationships I have come across in a long time! Seriously everyone needs to give Roomies a go!



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review: Darkness at the Edge of Town by Jennifer Harlow

Darkness at the Edge of Town (Iris Ballard #2) by Jennifer Harlow
Publication date: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Alibi
My rating: 4 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33199875-the-good-daughter
A complicated, charismatic forensic psychologist tries to rescue her brother from the clutches of a maniacal cult leader in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the author of Beautiful Maids All in a Row.
 
After catching an infamous serial killer, Dr. Iris Ballard has become a TV sensation. Exhausted from her appearances on the talk-show circuit, she’s looking forward to some quality time with Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and on-again, off-again lover. The last thing Iris wants is to get pulled back to her dying Rust Belt hometown, but after the frantic call from her mother, she doesn’t have a choice.

Iris is a disgrace in Grey Mills, Pennsylvania, but her twin brother has gone and outdone her. Billy has abandoned his fiancée, drained their checking account, and quit his job to join a cult called the New Morning Movement. Expecting to find something sinister at play, Iris is eager to destroy the quixotic hold they have on her brother. And that means outwitting the cult’s cunning, sadistic founder, Mathias Morning.

Iris has logic and reason on her side. But Mathias doesn’t play by society’s rules. Just as Iris begins to lose hope, her investigation leads her to cross path with the DEA. And now she needs to save Billy’s life before they’re both caught in the crossfire.


My Thoughts:
Darkness at the Edge of Town takes us back into the life of Iris Ballard not long after the events in the last book where she and her best friend and former FBI partner, Luke took down The Woodsman.  Iris is just finishing on the talk-show circuit, and planning on spending a time with Luke when her mother calls begging for Iris to come immediately and help get her twin brother, Billie, out of the clutches of some cult.

Iris, although not pleased, rushes back to her hometown, a town that holds many a bad memory, and discovers her brother has been going through some tough times, and is vulnerable. Just the kind of prey a manipulative cult leader like Mathias, the New Morningstar’s charismatic leader, and his followers are in search of.   Iris must put her natural talent and training as an FBI profiler to use, to stay one step ahead and outsmart Mathias. The more Iris finds out, the more she’s worried for her brother.

I couldn’t wait to get back to Iris and Luke after the events in Beautiful Maids All in a Row.  It was clear that the feelings between Iris and Luke were finally going to come out soon.  I had hopes that their unrequited love would go somewhere, as they’ve clearly been tortured by being apart.  I think my biggest complaint with this installment is that there wasn’t more Luke in the beginning, but boy-oh-boy was I thrilled with how things played out once he’s fully in the picture again!  Luke is everything I want in a man, or fictional hero!  Totally devoted, protective, while fully confident and proud of Iris’s abilities.  They knew each other so well, had a wealth of history between them. The irresistible pull of attraction a palpable thing between them!  I just love a friends-to-lovers sort of romance!  The love between them was obvious to anyone looking, and yet each were hesitant to take the next step.  I read with bated breath every interaction and crossed my fingers they wouldn’t screw things up!

The romance isn’t the only pull in this story.  I was awed by Iris’s skills in reading people, and treading in just the right way to get what she needed.  It was unfortunate that others in law enforcement didn’t always heed her advice here. 

This is the second book in the series, and I don’t recommend reading this as a standalone.  The mystery/conflict part could be read and understood, but you’d miss the best part: the history and relationship between Luke and Iris.  Their interactions and final outcome wouldn’t mean as much without the first book for reference.  I loved both books!

Initial impressions:
Loved, loved Luke!! Iris is pretty bad-ass and great, too, but I LOVED Luke!




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