Monday, 21 July 2014

✪ Review ✪ Restoring Hope ✪CP Smith




   



Life throws you curve balls, but no parent should ever bury a child. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes with his son as he made with his daughter, Nic Beuve is single-minded until Hope walks into his life.

Hope Delaney, a woman with a past that almost broke her, tries to keep people at bay for their own protection. Fortunately for her, no one listens when she says she wants to be alone. 

Burning desire, a deep need to protect, and a woman who looks like an angel breaks down Nic's defenses until he can
t ignore them. He wants Hope and what Nic wants

Hope thinks she can walk away at any time she just wasn't counting on a man like Nic to get in the way, or a nosy but loving Cajun Boss. All's fair in love and war and what Maman Rose wants is Nic and Hope together.

Will their relationship survive an ex-wife with an agenda or will her past come between them... or kill them?

 I was over the moon to receive and advanced copy of CP Smith's second Novel, Restoring Hope.  So different from her first novel A Reason to Breathe, but just as wonderful.

 

Set in New Orleans, Nic and Hope's story is an amazing read.  Nic and hope are both broken and exhausted.  Troubles from their past are still playing on their minds, in their every waking thought.

Who would have thought that two such emotionally broken people could be so right for each other - but they are.

I couldn't help but love Nic. I mean, who wouldn't.  From the minute he sees Hope, he goes into protective mode for her.  Not all alpha, beating the chest, MINE kind of protective (which I do love - well in my books, might be a bit much to take in real life)

And while I did not connect as much with Hope as I would have liked, I think it is because she is so cautious and at times withdrawn.  She is such a strong woman, going through hell but mostly with a smile on her face - even if she is constantly looking over her shoulder.


You just know from the first minute these two are in a room together that things are going to be pretty spectacular with them, that things are never going to be easy but they are going to be explosive.

If you are not on the sidelines cheering for this pair to get together, I don't know what is wrong with you.

There are some great secondary characters in Restoring Hope.  Nic's son Nicky is your typical teenage boy in some respects, but so much more mature in others.  At times my heart was ripped out, taped back together and shoved back in my chest, just ready to be ripped out again.


New Orleans is such a big part of this story.  The sights, the smells, the traditions.  But most of all, the beignets (I swear I put on 2 stone just reading about all the beignet eating.... damn, now I want some!!)  You can almost hear the music and noise of Bourbon Street, feel the hustle and bustle of tourists.

BUT the scene stealer in the story is definitely Maman Rose.  She is bold, brassy cajun, who is as spicy as the food she serves up!  Her and Big Daddy are fantastic, and as much as they are in your face, you know they'd have your back, and they prove over and over again what they do for their friends.

So, will Nic and Hope get their happy ending? 

Nope, for that you are going to have to read for yourself.

Just be aware there is a fair bit of French/Cajun talk, and at the beginning it is i bit overwhelming.  But Ms Smith has put a handy glossary at the beginning of the book, and after a few chapters, I didn't even need to go back to check it.

Ms Smith writes with the maturity of someone with more than 2 books behind her.  The stories flow, the characters are well developed, I get drawn into them as soon as I pick them up.

Now, can't wait to see what she has in store for us next.




















 

✪ Hooked On A Feeling ✪ Ainslie Paton ✪

© Bianca Janeane
    




AINSLIE PATON
HOOKED ON A FEELING
• 274 pages
• release date - 1 August 2014
Escape Publishing Australia

★★★★★

5 Stars





A groovy romance about changing times, growing up, breaking out and second chances. Set in Sydney in 1975, when pants and collars were wide, hair was big, eyelids were blue and neighbours shared each other’s lives.
There’s a sexual revolution going on, but not in Gayle’s life. She’s never felt so old, so unattractive, and so helpless. Your husband asking for a divorce could do that to you. Now she’s the scandalous new neighbour, the single mum, the divorcee, who needs a job but doesn’t know how to balance her own cheque book.
And then Steve and Ray arrive in her life, the former with chocolate hair and hurt eyes, the latter with a tomboy daughter and an uptight attitude. Suddenly, being separated doesn’t feel so shameful. This is the story of how Gayle lost her home to find true friends; her marriage to find a new life; and her husband to find love.



Australia 1975.


Gayle has just left her husband and her safe life in a nice suburb of Sydney. He doesn't love her anymore and he's having a baby with his girlfriend.
So Gayle and her son Dean were graciously allowed by her husband Max to move into a little house on their own.
Remember this is 1975 - so it's not an everyday thing that a single mum moves into the neighbourhood.
Scandalous!!! o.O
Even her parents won't talk to her - they blame her for everything!!

But Gayle quickly finds friends in her new neighbour Hazel - a young teaching-student who's in love/lust with their very hot neighbour Steve.
Steve!!!
Phew - Gayle is totally in lust-at-first-sight.
Which is something completely new for her - she's practically a virgin after being married to Max for eight years.
Then there's Steve's brother Ray - who's the father of Kim - who's the new best friend of Gayle's son Dean.
Ray! ♥ They kind of can't stand each other at the beginning!

this is kind of my idea of a mix between Ray & Steve ☺ I couldn't find a hot 1975 guy!

Lots of new people - lots of new opportunities - maybe a much happier future?

But Gayle's ex Max is still controlling everything - he's the one paying for the house after all - and he's the one who can legally take away Dean if he feels like it!

And the new men in Gayle's life - Steve and Ray - they're not without their own problems either.

The story is told from Gayle's, Ray's, Hazel's & Dean's POVs - that way we can hear everything they think and feel.
How little Dean loves it in this new neighbourhood - he loves his new friend Kim, but he kinda misses his Dad. But Steve and Ray are totally cool too.

Poor Hazel has been in love with war veteran Steve for years. But he's such a (sexy) womanizing idiot!

Ray is fighting to keep his life on track - his PTSD brother, his little girl and the annoying - and hot - new neighbour.

And Gayle. She doesn't really know what she wants. What she could have now that she's a single mom.
She has dreams and wishes but wouldn't it be safer and better for Dean if she wouldn't have left her husband?

WHO WiLL GAYLE END UP WITH???
WiLL THERE BE A HEA???
WiLL THERE BE A CLiFFHANGER???

 NOPE..... I'm not telling you ☺



I don't want to spoil anything!!!
______________________________________


I REALLY LOVED THE BOOK!



This was such a beautiful story!
Sydney 1975 - I was a bit worried about that at first. But you don't really notice it that much - ok - there are lots of seventies brands and bands and cars mentioned, and nobody has ever heard of feminism - but I really loved the book.

Such an amazing group of people - Gayle & Dean - Ray & Kim & Steve & Hazel.
And all their lives pretty much start anew when Gayle and her son move into the street.

It was so adorable to watch them struggle and fight and love and have fun....

I felt like I was right there with them - maybe like an old TV-Show or Movie - coloured, but a little bit faded like an old photograph - which doesn't make it any less wonderful - maybe it makes it all even better.
Everything is described to beautifully and vividly. I wanted to move in next door to Steve or Ray - to be the one who could save them and make them happy again!

I think I spent the last third of the book crying - it was soo moving and sad and beautiful!


Was there something I didn't like??
Hm - maybe the moustaches the guys had on their faces! I hate that - but I can't blame Ainslie - it was the seventies - guys did have those back then - I think I will blame Tom Selleck or whoever started that horrible face-hair-idiocy ☺
But don't let the "1975 in Australia"- thing stop you from reading this beautiful Love Story!

HOOKED ON A FEELiNG was such a beautifully romantic, adorable and moving seventies Love Story!
You will fall in love with Ray & Steve & all the others too!!!






Thank you Ainslie Paton for giving the the chance to relive my childhood whilst reading Hooked on a Feeling!

Although maybe not so many thanks for making me feel old!!

Seriously, it was like I was reliving growing up in the suburbs of Sydney.  Be warned non-Aussies that there are quite a few product names and brands mentioned, but they are mainly at the beginning, and I see it as payback for all the American brands and names I always have to read about!!


I loved the story of Gayle, newly separated and trying to make do on her own for the first time ever, along with her son Dean. At first her shame at being dumped by her douche of a husband is palpable. 
But then it is like a switch was flipped.  It is like she finally started to live her life when she moved into the quite suburban street.


The whole neighbourhood seems to come alive when Gayle and Dean move in.  And she does not escape the notice of the single men in the area either.  Ray and Kim, Steve and Hazel didn't know what hit them!

I loved the brothers Ray and Steve, each in their own way.  Steve is a flirtatious, hands on kind of guy, while Ray is more standoffish, brusque, mean kind of guy. Or is he?

So who will get the girl?  Will there be a happy ending?

Nope, not telling.

This is such a different kind of book to the others that Ms Paton has written.  It is beautifully descriptive, heck I could almost hear the waves at the beach, feel the sting of a summer sunburn, hear the cicadas echoing down the street.

It is a sweet, romantic book - even if it did make me cry for a big portion of the last half!  My heart broke for more than one character in this book as their stories came to fruition.  There was so much heartache and trouble for so many of them at different times in the story.
I have to agree with Bianca up there about the moustaches.  Hey, I know it was the style at the time, but my grandmother always said "don't trust a man with a moustache, he has something to hide".  But boy did these boys rock their pornstachios - I swear all I could picture was 70's porn staches!
Ms Paton has written  a sweet, beautiful book about love and loss in a time that felt so near but so far away - and thankfully not a hippy in sight.  She has not disappointed me in the past, she has not disappointed me with Hooked on a Feeling, and I am sure she will not disappoint me in the future.
 So get groovy baby and read this unreal book!



LiNKS TO THE BOOK & AUTHOR



STALK AINSLIE ON:
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 Ainslie Paton is a corporate storyteller working in marketing, public relations and advertising.

She’s written about everything from the African refugee crisis and Toxic Shock Syndrome, to high-speed data networks and hamburgers, and for everyone from George Clooney to Barry Humphries—as Edna.

She writes cracking, hyper-real romances about strong women and the exciting men who love them.


       

Friday, 18 July 2014

✪ Cover Reveal ✪ Alluring Infatuation ✪ Skye Turner



Dade Rodrigue is the levelheaded, bass guitarist for Bayou Stix, the hottest rock band in the country. Hes the oldest member which often places him in the role of protector and mentor. Women love a rock star and Dade is no exception. When events in his own life become overwhelming, he takes a much needed retreat for some quiet and down time away from his Dade the rocker existence.
Melonie Bird is a well-respected OB/GYN with a successful practice. Shes beautiful, smart, and career focused. She likes things neat and orderly and her life is no exception. When her perfect life derails, she takes off on an island adventure to refresh and recharge.
An exotic location, a chance encounter, and two beautiful people -who arent quite who they seem- will have both of their worlds spinning.
What happens when the unexpected changes your life? When the things you never thought you wanted turn out to be exactly what you need, what do you do? What happens when the one you cant forget isnt exactly who you thought they were?  
Can a spark of lust ignite the fire of love?



Skye Turner is an avid reader and an editor turned writer.

She attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University where she majored in Mass Communications, centering her studies in Journalism. Unfortunately life intervened and she made the choice to leave her studies.


She lives in small town Louisiana with her husband, 2 children, and 5 fur babies.


When she's not chained to her laptop pounding out sexy stories she can usually be found playing Supermom, reading, gardening (playing in the dirt), listening to music and dancing like a fool, or catching up on her family oriented blog.









✪ Blog Tour ✪ Giveaway ✪ Let Love Live (Love #5) ✪ Melissa Collins

 
SYNOPSIS
Who would you become if you lost the only person who ever mattered?

For twenty-six year old Dylan Hopkins, the answer is easy. Hes become no one. Memories of the happier times are all he has left as he finds himself meandering numbly through his now dull life. Though he cares about his work and family dearly, hes yet to let himself find love again. Afraid of letting go of what he once had, Dylan chooses to keep his heart buried, where it belongs, having died a long time ago. 

Conner Michelson is about to change everything Dylan knows. Hes every bit the bad boy persona - tatted up, ex-MMA fighter, but after an injury leaves him unable to fight, he has to rethink his goals. Having just opened his own gym, Conner can cross his first major life accomplishment off his very short list. Next up: find a man he can settle down with and build a family. Seems simple enough - a dream most people have, but when he meets Dylan, his carefree, easy-going life is thrown into a tailspin. 

Determined to keep Dylan in his life, Conner vows to resurrect Dylan's long ago buried heart and let love live once more.



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ARC received for an honest review

Let Love Live is the 5th book in this series, but it could be read as a standalone - but why would you want to miss out on the goodness that is the entire series?

Let Love Live is told in two parts - 8 years ago and present.  In the previous books we learnt about Reid's brother Shane, but not the ins and outs of his story.  And we have only quickly met Dylan in the previous books.
Now we get the full Shane and Dylan story from the past, and Dylan's present story.

And I have to tell you, Dylan's story made my ugly cry on more than one occasion.  Shane and Dylan as teenagers was a sad but also joyous story.  You could feel the anger, the pain, the sorrow, the angst vibrating off Shane as he dealt with not only his sexuality, but also his family's reaction to it.  You can't help but feel for him, cry for him, have your heart break for him.  But not just Shane, but Dylan.  While their childhoods may have been complete opposites, the hurt and sadness is felt on both sides.

If you have read the earlier books in the series, you will remember what happens with Shane (though I won't say anything much about it for those who haven't read them), and this is the main thing that makes Dylan who he is today.  I think I spent nearly the whole first half of the

Fast forward 8 years.  Dylan is still hurting from incidents in his past, and they are stopping him from moving on with his future. 

OMG the hurt in my heart for him!

I am pretty sure I spent the entire first half of the book  ugly crying!
 You just know that it is going to take someone extremely special to break down those walls and help him live again, and boy does he find that in Conner.

I couldn't help but love Conner right off the bat.  He is funny, sweet, sexy, and completely enamoured with Dylan right from the get go.  Oh, did I mention he is an MMA fighter - drools!!

I love the interaction between Dylan and Conner.  Both hurting but both ready to move on with life.  I loved how Conner gave Dylan that gentle nudge he needed to take that step.

It is no secret that I am a huuuuuge fan of m/m romance, and I have read some great and not so great stories lately.  And Let Love Live... Ms Collins has knocked it out of the park.  The emotions, the guilt, the fluttering in the stomach with new love.  She didn't make it cheesy or camp.  In my opinion she needs to write more of it!

I also loved that we got more of the characters from the earlier books in the series, particularly Reid and Maddy.  Reid and Dylan's friendship goes back so far, and it just wouldn't have been right if he was not part of Dylan's story.  I loved how close they still were after what they had gone through.

Ms Collins has not disappointed me yet with any of her works that I have read, and I hope she keeps them coming!







Read Prologue over at Melissa's Blog (CLICK HERE)


   


Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that its been a dream. 

Her passion for writing didnt start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasnt long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissas brain and The Love Series was born.







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