Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Release Day Review: Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole

The guys from Eagle Securities are back for the final instalment of the Love Over Duty series and the focus is on Cabe Moss. All novels are standalone although there's a connecting plot thread which ties them together. I've read the previous novels and recommend them as highly as this one.

FBI Agent Amy Murray is newly transferred to San Diego, after leaving her post in Atlanta under a cloud. She's eager to shake off the past and prove her worth and when she's asked to go undercover for an assignment, she knows this is the opportunity she's waited for. However, she didn't expect to fall under the spell of Cabe Moss who is part of the operation. He's someone who respects her competence for the role she must play and somehow he steals her heart too.

Working an assignment alongside 'G-men' isn't an ideal situation, so Cabe Moss is pleasantly surprised when he meets Agent Murray. He's impressed with her professionalism and skills to undertake her assigned undercover role...she's a distraction he didn't account for particularly when it stirs up mixed emotions of desire and guilt.

Exciting and fast-paced, the sizzling chemistry sparking between the protagonists adds to the thrilling suspense as the Eagle Security guys embark on a new mission; bringing closure to them all for varying reasons. For Cabe, he finally finds peace with a tragic event in his past and allows himself to open his heart again. Meanwhile, Amy finally shakes off the discriminations which have blighted her career so far and finally proves her worth.

I particularly like the balance of the writing with more emphasis on the suspense rather than the romance. Yes, we are very aware of the difficulties the protagonists are facing relating to the balance between their work and the sexual tension which sparks between them. However, the action takes precedence. In addition, the camaraderie between the Cabe, Six and Mac is second to none; they've known each other since kindergarten and particularly enjoyed the scenes where the three of them exchange lively banter.

If you're looking for an exceptional romantic suspense series to read, Love Over Duty series is definitely worth reading. As a fan of Scarlett Cole's writing, I'm tentatively waiting for her next book release.

***arc generously received courtesy of St Martin's Paperbacks via NetGalley***


Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty—at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancĂ©e nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI Agent Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together…

Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly—and the stakes rise to dangerous heights—the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all… 

"Cole is a genius." –USA Today
“Sizzling chemistry...” –Book Riot on Final Siege
Final Siege offers romantic suspense readers everything that they could want.”  –RT Book Reviews
“After devouring this fast-paced thriller and cheering on Mac and Delaney, readers will be eager for other members of the team to find their matches too.” Publishers Weekly on Final Siege
“A wonderful example of what a romantic suspense novel should be." BookPage

Monday, 30 July 2018

New Release Spotlight: Half Empty by Catherine Bybee

Title: Half Empty
Author: Catherine Bybee
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Trina Petrov’s marriage-by-contract was only meant to be temporary. But when tragedy strikes, Trina is left one of the wealthiest women in the world. To recover from the shock, she takes some time off in Italy, swearing not to fall for any men while there. But that doesn’t mean she can’t fall for anyone on the trip home . . .

Country-music superstar Wade Thomas is lying low in a hotel bar when he gets the cold shoulder from the woman next to him. He’s used to fans fawning at his boots, and Trina is a refreshing change—so is the fact that she has no idea who he is.

As things begin to heat up, Trina discovers that the circumstances of her late husband’s death are not what they seemed. Now she’s in trouble, and Wade isn’t about to let her out of his sight. Getting close to love and danger could get them killed . . . or it could sweep them both off their feet.

They closed the bar and took their last round to the hotel lobby.

Wade had to admit he was a bit more than tipsy, and Trina wasn’t exactly sober. She’d tucked her feet under her on the lobby sofa as she described Venice in a way that made him want to visit.

“There isn’t one car?” he asked.

“No place for them. You only get around on foot or boat. Which is probably best to help counter the pasta you consume while you’re there.”

“So why did you pick Venice?”

Her eyes drifted away, something Wade had noticed happened a lot when she was lost in thought. A hint of sorrow quickly came and went, almost as if she caught herself. The smile she flashed felt forced. “I wanted isolation so I could study.”

“Study?” She rattled off something that went completely over his head.

Her dark brown eyes glistened with her smile. “I’m learning Italian.”

Wade blew out a breath. “Oh, thank God. I thought maybe that last beer was one too many.”

“I like languages.”

“As in many?”

“A few.”

He was happy to speak English. “I’m impressed.”

“Don’t be. Most Europeans are fluent in a minimum of two languages.”

“Are you from Europe?”

“No. Born and raised in Southern California. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Mexico. Spanish was always spoken in our home.”

“So you speak Spanish as well?” He squirmed in his chair.


“Now I’m feelin’ a bit inferior.”

“Language is my hidden talent,” she said.

“So how did you end up in Texas?”

Her gaze met his before she wrinkled her nose and gave a quick shake of the head. “It’s a long story.”

“Which is your way of saying don’t pry.”

She stretched out her arms. “It’s my way of saying that we’ve had a pleasant conversation, and bringing up my recent move will change all that. I’d just as soon keep this light.”

Wade wasn’t expecting her reply. “Now you’ve piqued my interest.”

“Another time,” she said.

He offered a smile that usually had women crawling all over him. “Am I going to have that chance?”

“Chance for what?”

“Another conversation.”

Her eyes bored into him as if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “I told you, I’m not interested.”

He lifted one eyebrow, flashed a dimple. “What if I told you I was rich?”

She burst out in laughter.

His smile fell.

“Sorry…” She appeared to pull in her mirth. “You’re gonna have to do better than money.”

“Good lord, woman.”


He scratched his head. “I’m famous.”

She bit her lip. “That explains the arrogance.”

Wade placed a hand on his wounded chest. “I am not.”

Trina tossed her head back, and her deep laugh filled the empty lobby. “My name is Wade Thomas, you don’t know who I am?” Her mimicry of him was off by several octaves.

Her laughter tickled his gut.

“I can teach you the two-step.”

She pinched her lips together, trying to contain herself.

His pride was starting to dim.

“I’m not bad looking.”

She looked him up and down … twice. “I’ll give you that.”

He lifted both hands in the air. “Finally.”

For the span of a full minute, she stared. Her smile slowly started to fall, and he knew she was talking herself out of dating him.

“Tell you what. I’m flying home tomorrow. Private charter, because I’m rich, famous, and arrogant.” He moaned on that last word.

“And good-looking.”

Now they were getting somewhere.

“I can give you a lift home.”

Trina blew out a breath. “I’m avoiding going home,” she reminded him.

“And I was thinking I needed a quick stop in Nassau … where the plane might not be able to leave right away. That tropical depressed storm and all.”

She pointed a finger in his direction. “I like the way you think.”

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than 4.5 million copies and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.

Release Day Spotlight & Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Three by Audrey Davis

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …
Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

Get your tissues at the ready – both for laughter and tears – with the final instalment of a trilogy that has been hailed ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, and ‘a great feel-good read’.

Hattie is back as the narrative picks up where we left off at the end of Part Two. The Haunting of Hattie Hastings is a trilogy of novellas which need to be read in order. The first part ends on a cliff-hanger. The second part leaves you craving for the third and final novella. I'm lucky enough to have read them all back to back so my waiting time was equivalent to waiting for the kettle to boil before settling down with a fresh brew. I'm not sure I'd have been as invested within the plot if I had to wait for each episode as I don't normally read novellas.

The now familiar writing style continues, the narrative is busy with witty banter and humour. Hattie and her eclectic bunch of friends and relatives continue to go about their daily lives albeit not quite in the way normal people do! Like the previous parts, it's equivalent to a fast-paced episode of a favourite soap opera with a new incident or accident awaiting the unsuspecting characters at any given point. It's laugh-out-loud funny most of the times yet sad and emotional moments are present too. All the plot threads carried through are tied up with an emotional ending leaving me more than satisfied with the conclusions.

I've deliberately not given any information away about the plot because the pleasure in finding these novellas is the unknown expectation...besides the book blurb gives enough information to entice a potential reader. I dived in totally blind and I'm so glad I did...it definitely heightened my overall reading experience. Ms Davis is a new to me author and after heartily enjoying this trilogy, I'd definitely pick up one of her books again.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher***

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: 'There's been a murrrrder!'

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancĂ©. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for 'artistic' use of naked men's bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn't bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it's packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we'll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn't until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Spotlight: Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer
Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.

Whist staying at her Great Grandmother's cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.

Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold  will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.

The Teardrops of Summer - magical crystals that render the owner immortal - have been stolen.  Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the 
Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

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1st Prize – Signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer (UK Only)
2nd Prize – E-copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer (International)
*Terms and Conditions –You are only eligible to win the signed copy if you are in the UK. Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Spotlight & Extract: The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir

The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir
A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare. 

It's Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?
As Luigi's story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.

Amazon US      Amazon UK 
It’s Easter 1970 and Janie Juke is looking forward to her aunt’s homecoming. Jessica has been travelling around Europe for the last nine years and has now returned to Tamarisk Bay from Italy, with a friend in tow. She arrives at her brother’s house and is welcomed by an effusive niece, but later that day Janie finds that, Luigi, her aunt’s friend has been poking around in her father’s bedroom. The more she discovers about the stranger, the more ill at ease she feels. She suggests that Luigi would be more comfortable staying in the nearby Summer Guest House, run by Rosetta Summer...

He is a friend of your auntie?’ Rosetta said quietly.
More of an acquaintance. He’s a bit of a strange one though. I can’t make him out, he’s hardly got a word to say. I’m not sure why he’s come to England, but he doesn’t seem thrilled about being here.’
Janie’s mind flashed back to the night before when she had seen Luigi coming out of her dad’s bedroom. ‘You don’t know him, do you? You seemed to recognise his name.’
The name Denaro. I remember it from somewhere. No matter.’ Rosetta’s concentration appeared to drift for a moment as though her thoughts were elsewhere. Then she smiled. ‘Perhaps he will relax a little more now he is with me. A reminder of home for him, eh? And tomorrow I have another visitor arriving from Italy.’
A friend of yours?’
No, I think he is a businessman.’
What’s an Italian businessman doing here in Tamarisk Bay? Perhaps he wants to start up a new coffee shop? Competition for Jefferson’s, I’d better tell Richie to watch out.’ Janie smiled.
All I know is his name, Mr Bertrand Williams.’
He sounds English, maybe he’s got family locally. Although it’s not a name I recognise from Tamarisk Bay. Mind you, I did go to school with a Margaret Williams.’ Janie chattered on without realising that Rosetta was barely listening.
I am pleased you come here today. I have an idea. Tomorrow is Good Friday. I would like to cook a special meal and I would like to meet your aunt. Will you come? You, Greg, your father? Bring the baby too. I haven’t seen her for over a week and at this age they change every day.’
Are you sure? That’s a lot of cooking. Why don’t we each bring a dish?’
It must be fish. All fish on Good Friday. I will cook.’

Up in Room 2 Luigi opened his suitcases. One case contained every sweater he owned. Already since his arrival here in England he was feeling in need of extra layers. His second suitcase was part filled with cigarettes. He guessed it would be difficult to find his favourite brand here in Tamarisk Bay, so he had come well prepared.
He’d had his first cigarette when, at the age of fifteen, he was left in the house on his own for a weekend. His father was away on business, as usual, and his mother had made a trip to Bologna. It was rare for his mother to go anywhere outside their home town of Anzio. Occasionally she would spend a day in Rome, returning with a new pair of shoes or a handbag. She’d told him the Bologna trip was to a dressmaker who had been recommended to her by a friend. He remembered how she was like a young girl going to her first party, full of anticipation. It was a mystery to him how anyone could get so excited by clothes. To him they were merely something that had to be kept clean and neatly pressed, an annoyance if anything.
Before she left for her weekend of fashion she showed him every item of food in the fridge and cupboards. Opening each door, she spelled out what she had prepared for each meal in such a painstaking way he vowed to himself to spend the whole weekend out of the house. She would return to find all the food untouched. It was a small act of rebellion.
As soon as she left he went into his parents’ bedroom. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been in there. When he was a toddler perhaps. He opened the wardrobes. His father’s was filled with suits, neatly ordered, with shoes lined up in pairs below. As he opened his mother’s wardrobe waves of her perfume washed over him. He stepped back, struck by a sense of her presence, when in reality it was merely her scent. Next he sat at her dressing table, opening up the jewellery and trinket boxes that covered the surface. He recognised the double string of pearls, a recent gift from his father. She had unwrapped the gift in front of Luigi and asked him to help fasten the clasp. There were matching earrings too. They were the latest offering of many. Each time his father returned from a business trip he would bring a gift. Perfume sometimes, occasionally flowers, but often jewellery. And yet now, as he looked through her jewellery he realised she had taken none of it with her on her shopping trip.
Moving away from his mother’s dressing table he walked past the bed. Unlike his own, which was topped with a single linen coverlet, theirs was covered with a sumptuous satin bedspread and piled high with silk cushions. Either side of the bed stood rosewood bedside cabinets. He pulled open one of the drawers, not knowing whether it was his mother’s or father’s side of the bed. But once he opened it he knew. There, in amongst a leather wallet, pencils, and bizarrely a silver whistle, lay a packet of cigarettes. He had never seen his mother smoke, but he had rarely seen his father without a cigarette in his hand. This then was the best act of rebellion. He picked up the packet, pulled out a cigarette and put it in his mouth, enjoying the feel of it. He pushed his hand towards the back of the drawer and discovered a lighter. He held the lighter for a moment, admiring it. The body of the lighter was the palest green, onyx perhaps, the top and mechanism fashioned from silver. He flicked it, the flint firing into action, providing a bright little flame. He lit the cigarette and drew in a long breath.
Now, fifteen years later, standing in Room 2 in the Summer Guest House, he repeated the same action and it felt good.

Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries - all set in Sussex.

'The Tapestry Bag' is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now - 'The Invisible Case' - the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon.

The 'Janie Juke mysteries' are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Isabella has also published 'Ivory Vellum' - a collection of short stories.

She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing - she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Invisible Case (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Friday, 27 July 2018

New Release Spotlight: Born to be Wilde by Eloisa James

Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James
Series The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 31, 2018

The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself! 

For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there’s only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.

Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he’s chosen a far more suitable bride.
But when he learns of Lavinia's desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he’ll find her a prince.

As usual, there’s no problem Parth can’t fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…

Why does the woman who’s completely wrong feel so right in his arms?

Gentlemen didn’t kiss like this. And yet he couldn’t stop . . .
She tasted better than anything—anyone. She tasted like honey and spice, like brandy ans excitement.
Dimly, he was aware that blood was thundering through his veins . . . from a mere kiss.
The reality of it shocked him back into sense and he pulled back, ending the kiss. Lavinia opened her eyes. Annoyed. She was annoyed. Years of reading her face told him exactly how she was feeling.
Kiss me again, Mr. Sterling,” she ordered, her voice husky. For a moment he just felt a flare of anger at that formal address, but she tugged at his hair.
He dove back into the kiss as if it had never ended.

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ELOISA JAMES is a New York Times best-selling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

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