Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Bind (Donovan Dynasty) by Sierra Cartwright

"Only one man can help her. Is she willing to pay his price?

Faced with the potentially overwhelming loss of her familyís fortune, Lara Bertrand turns to the one man who can help her, the gorgeous and powerful Connor Donovan.

She knows heís dangerous to her on every level. Only desperation would drive her to make such a risky proposition. After all, she knows all about his ruthless nature and relentless determination to succeed.

When the classy, elegant Lara walks into his office with an outrageous proposal, Connor is stunned and more than a little intrigued. Ever since he first met her, heís been attracted to the cool beauty, but sheís more than kept her distance.

Connor is absolutely willing to help her out. For a price. He not only wants her hand in marriage, but also her total submissive surrender."

I cannot compare this to Fifty Shades as I must be one of the only women in the country not to have read it, but the cover states that it is even racier than Fifty Shades.  I cannot argue that it is racy; it will certainly get your pulse racing.

The story itself is actually a great story.  Set in the business world, the plot is intruiging and I was genuinely interested in the characters and where they ended up.  Those characters and the relationship they have, the chemistry between them, is absolutely captivating.  The actual relationship and feelings that are on show in this book are the sort of thing that many people will think only exists in dreams or fairytales, but find the right man and you realise that this kind of thing actually exists in real life.  Whether you're in that place or single and think you might be looking for that place, it will be equally enjoyable to delve into the lives of Lara and Connor and watch as their relationship becomes something which neither of them expected.  A classic "when you least expect it" story.

I also liked the family dynamics that you see throughout this book.  The whole premise is based on relationships and it works incredibly well. 

A captivating read, believable characters that you instantly warm to and some seriously sexy bedroom (or other room) scenes.  A winning combination.

I had not read anything by Sierra Cartwright before but I definitely would again.  This book is the first in a series following the Donovan brothers, however, I'm certain they will work as standalone books.

As a little treat, Sierra has written about 'The Books That Inspire Me' just for you.  I hope you enjoy:

There’s never been a time I didn’t read, but the very first book I remember reading by myself is What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge. I can’t honestly remember many of the details, but the feelings the book inspired still linger. I was a young girl in England when I read the novel, and so Katy as an American visiting England was fun for me. I remember raptly following her journey to the Continent. And I certainly hoped she’d end up with Ned. I think the groundwork for being in love with romances goes that far back!

When I moved to the States, I signed up for a library card, and every summer I entered the reading challenge program. As I recall, we received awards for each ten books read. I made it a point to earn more certificates than anyone else. I went through the entire Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series one year before being turned on to science fiction. I became a fan of Ben Bova. And of course, because I was competitive, I took home anything I could get my hands on. A book that lingers forever, though, was a non-fiction title that has remained with me forever, The Diary of Anne Frank. I think that’s the book that also made me realize that biographies could be every

One Christmas as a pre-teen, my parents bought me an entire collection of Star Trek books. Over the holiday break, I read them. Which meant I devoured more than one novel per day. Those paperback wonders provided the inspiration for the very first big book I penned—a 123-page handwritten tome. Back then, I had no idea it was considered fanfiction. I just knew I was inspired to stay up late at night, drinking coffee, even though my father insisted it would stunt my growth! Since I’m not quite five-feet tall, his dire warnings were quite possibly correct.

From there I moved on to Harlequin novels, little dreaming that I would go on to sell nine books to them. I’ll never forget a Greek pagan Harlequin Presents hero who was described as having a patrician nose. Harlequin and their heroes, one in particular who drove a Mercedes Benz sports car, ruined me for regular men!

One book I fell in love with as a young adult was Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught. It turns out I was captivated enough that I named my daughter after the heroine. In one memorable scene, I recall Whitney, the heroine, riding standing up on the back of a horse. My Miss Whit, aged two, was caught riding her rocking horse, standing on the top instead of sitting in the saddle. As William Shakespeare famously asked, “What’s in a name?”

I continue to have my breath taken away by some fabulous books. I often read thrillers when I travel. Two auto-buys are Lee Child and Harlan Coben. I’ll read anything they write. I love the way my pulse races as the protagonists race against the clock and unravel a complex mystery. I’ll admit, I do root for Reacher to fall in love, though.

No matter what I reach for in my free time, I know I’m going to be transported to a new world where I’ll fall in love. In some way, I’ll be transformed. And I’ll be a better person for it.

BIND is out NOW and can be purchased here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Resurgence by Kerry Wilkinson (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy, Book #3)

"Following Reckoning and Renegade, Resurgence is the thrilling conclusion to Kerry Wilkinson's heartstopping Silver Blackthorn Trilogy.
'Can I ask you one thing...why does it have to be you?'
My throat is dry but I manage to say the words clearly enough: 'If I don't do it, who else will?'
An entire country has been lied to. Silver Blackthorn was supposed to be one of the privileged few, chosen to serve and help rebuild a shattered nation. Instead she has been forced to become a rebel.
Tales of her defiance have spread throughout the land. King Victor and the Minister Prime want her dead; the resistance groups are desperate for her help.
Silver's friends and family are in dire jeopardy - hiding is no longer an option. As her travels take her into the furthest reaches of an unknown land, she is forced to make new friends and hunt for new allegiances.
Final battle lines are being drawn. The time has come.
And then there's the hardest choice of all: Opie or Imrin?"

Another whole year I had to wait to find out what happens to Silver Blackthorn and her friends and it was totally worth it.  As always with trilogy books, it takes me a little while to settle back in and get my bearings having had to wait for a whole year.  As before, I always think it would be a good idea to read the previous book in the trilogy only to leave it too late and have the newest book arrive and then I can't bring myself to wait any longer.

Once I had settled back into the book, I raced through it, desperate to know what happens.  It really felt like I'd never been away, the storyline and pace picks up just as though it was yesterday that I last read Renegade.  

As expected, fans of Silver Blackthorn will find this book emotional as Silver's path runs far from smoothly.  It is lovely to see all Silver's comrades back, although be prepared to lose some along the way.  

As with the first two books, fans of The Hunger Games will love this.  There are plenty of twists and turns to keep fans guessing what will happen to Silver.

I loved reading the afterword from Kerry Wilkinson and finding out that the ending was the only one ever planned right from the very start.  I love that!

An excellent YA trilogy which was well worth the wait! If you haven't started it yet, I envy you as you'll be able to read all three in one go and I bet you will, as you won't be able to put them down!

Resurgence is out NOW and available to buy here.

And as part of the blog tour, a nice little treat for fans of Kerry Wilkinson who tells us about his five favourite fictional heroines:

My favourite thing about Dorothy’s escapades in The Wizard of Oz is that she’s clearly the baddie. She starts her killing spree the moment she gets to Oz, her house crushing an innocent ‘witch’ who was going about her business. Probably on the way to Tesco, or something. When interrogated as to whether she’s a witch, Dorothy says she can’t be – because she’s too young and good-looking.
She’s an ageist and massive narcissist who believes attractive people are naturally good, and she celebrates this by having a group of little people – munchkins – put on some sort of weird dance for her. If that’s not enough, she then taunts the (so-called) ‘Wicked’ Witch of the West about killing her sister and steals the dead woman’s shoes.
Instead of returning the shoes, Dorothy later murders the ‘Wicked’ Witch by throwing water on her, which is an over-reaction to say the least. This is family genocide! She then steals the witch’s broomstick just because she can.
She has no control over her dog, endangering the wizard’s return to Kansas because Toto leaps out of the balloon. Dorothy also gets a scarecrow, tin man and lion to do her dirty work. PETA should have a word. After all the chaos she’s created in Oz, she then clicks her heels and sods off home.
There’s something about being an evil psychopath masquerading as a do-gooder that I find intrinsically pleasing.

The West Wing is one of my favourite shows of all time – and at its absolute core is perhaps the strongest female lead TV has seen. CJ is consistently the smartest person in a room of very smart people. She doesn’t enrapture the others around her with bimbo-esque giggles and skimpy clothes; she does it through intelligence and wit.
She’s once asked, ‘What are you wearing?’, by a reporter and replies, ‘A dress’. She doesn’t need saving by any of the characters and, instead, is frequently their saviour. The best thing about the character is that she doesn’t need other characters to point at her and say, ‘she’s smart’. This is a conclusion that viewers can figure out for themselves simply by watching. The fact Allison Janney won four Emmys for her portrayal of CJ should give you a clue as to how great both she and the character is. 

Before the success of the Netflix TV show, Jessica was the star of her own very adult-themed comic, named ‘Alias’. She was the hard-drinking, arse-kicking female superhero before it was cool to be any of those things. Beyond that, however, I always enjoyed the smaller stories, specifically the Come Home arc.
It’s set in a small American town, think high-school-where-everyone-knows-everyone-else; a church where they are all judged on a Sunday. There’s a sheriff and a reporter and they’re all looking for a missing teen, suspected of being a mutant. There are other things going on in the town, too – but I love the idea of someone with superpowers being involved in something that’s seemingly so tiny.
For me, the television show never quite got there – but this is my favourite iteration of Jessica. I can go back to that story again and again.

Every list like this needs an up-to-date entry – and I love Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Critics can say it’s a remake of the first movie or whine about other plot points but I DON’T CARE. I saw it on the day it came out in a packed cinema and then again a couple of days later. I’ll keep watching it for many reasons, one of which is that Rey is such a terrific heroine.
I love that she doesn’t need, or want, Finn to save her (‘I know how to run without you holding my hand’; that she can fly the ‘trash’ Millennium Falcon as well as anyone; can wield a lightsaber; scavenge; look after herself – and everything else.
I get that critics say she’s a ‘Mary Sue’ character – an idealised female – but we’ve only seen part of her story so far, so let’s wait and see how it all pans out, yeah? Plus, no one bats an eyelid when male leads are seemingly great at everything . . .

One of the biggest disappointments of The Walking Dead TV show is that Michonne has been sort of forgotten by the writers. While Carol and Maggie have been given plenty to do, Michonne is on the sidelines, looking badass but rarely getting in on the action.
In the comics, Michonne is the character on whom everyone can rely. I don’t want to spoil much – but she has a better revenge on The Governor than ever happens on-screen, plus she has her own storylines. After 130-odd issues featuring her, she is still a key part of the plot – and long may that continue.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Don't Be Afraid by Daniela Sacerdoti

"When you've forgotten how to live, help can arrive in mysterious ways...

Successful artist Isabel Ramsay has never come to terms with the tragic death of her mother. Haunted by what happened, Isabel finds her own life spiralling out of control until, one winter's day, she gives up, unable to bear the pain of living any longer. Yet somehow she wakes up, remembering a vision of a mysterious woman who has saved her. But alone in a locked house, surely that's impossible?

With her family and friends worried out of their minds, her husband Angus finds a companion to watch over Isabel while he's away from home. Warm, wise Clara can connect with Isabel in a way no one else can, helping her face up to her painful past, rediscover her passion for art and become brave enough to live her life again. But there s a mystery surrounding Clara: who is she, and why does Isabel feel she's known her all her life?

Don't Be Afraid is a beautiful, life-affirming story of how even the most difficult struggles can be overcome and how help can arrive in mysterious ways."

As I write this, it has been four years since I first discovered Daniela Sacerdoti, all because I won a competition hosted by Shaz at Jera's Jamboree.  Looking back at my initial review, posted here, it has been almost four years to the day since I first reviewed Watch Over Me, my first Daniela Sacerdoti book.  That book, its characters and the setting still stay with me to this day as being one of the most beautiful books written and one of my absolute favourites of all time.  

Since then, readers have had the delight of revisiting Glen Avich twice more - in Take Me Home and Set Me Free.  Now, once again, we get to go back and revisit the people and place so many of us have come to love in Don't Be Afraid.

The Glen Avich books are like building blocks. Although each of them could definitely be read as standalone books, as a set each new one that comes along adds another layer to the story.  There will always be references to characters you have seen before.  No matter how small those references, they brighten the book as you get to glimpse what has become of those characters you loved so intensely once upon a time.

Don't Be Afraid is the story of Isabel, who is a character which we have met before.  Time has moved on and Isabel is suffering in a way she feels nobody around her can understand and in a way that makes her do things which will hurt those she loves so immensely.  Don't Be Afraid intensely focuses on Isabel and how her mental illness impacts the lives of those around her; her husband, her brother-in-law (Torcuil, who we also know from previous books) and Margherita (the focus of Set Me Free).

Dani continues to write in her unique style which, in my opinion, sets her books out from any other of the same genre.  As always, there is a paranormal element which adds to the magic of the story and is carried off so well in a way only Dani seems to be able to manage.  I have to admit that, on this occasion, I guessed Clara's 'secret' long before it was revealed but this absolutely didn't take anything away from it for me and made no absolutely no difference to how I felt about the story.

Don't be fooled, Don't Be Afraid, is not a book that will leave you feeling depressed.  The subject of depression and mental illness is handled exceptionally well, although I don't feel that Dani held back. Ultimately it is a story of a man fighting to save the woman he loves and a woman fighting to stay afloat.  It is uplifting and it is full of hope and magic.  

Don't Be Afraid is out now and at the time of writing, only 59p on kindle as an introductory price (what an absolute bargain!!!).  You can grab yourself a copy here:


Alternatively, you could have a go at winning yourself a copy.  As a celebration of the last stop of the Don't Be Afraid blog tour, Black and White Publishing have one copy of Don't Be Afraid up for grabs.  Just click here to enter the competition.