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.

“Yup.”

“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.”

“Sorry.”

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 …