Tag Archives: new-to-me author

When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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The Ones Who Got Away, by Roni Loren (sneak peek)

12 Apr

Format: e-ARC, sneak peek of first three chapters

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

To Be Published: January 2, 2018

ISBN: 9781492651406

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My review: *** This review is for a sneak peek of the first three chapters, which were provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

Oh, this is sooo good! I haven’t read a Roni Loren book before but I’ve been aware of her work and her writing advice, so when I saw the unique premise in the blurb I knew I had to have it. Even from just the sneak peek I can get a good sense of the characters and what they have been through as survivors of a school shooting. Twelve years later they’ve returned to film a documentary, and the chemistry between Liv and her secret love, Finn, doesn’t appear to have diminished, although she has blamed him for what happened to her that day. He’s a bit of a man of mystery as an adult, and – this goes without saying – super hot. Just this taster was not enough and I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. Is it January yet?

My rating: 5/5

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Frostblood, by Elly Blake

22 Feb

31134210Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Hodder & Stoughton

Published: January 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781473635173

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

FROSTBLOOD is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies – but together create a power that could change everything.

My review: That beautiful cover was the first thing that made me want to read this book, and coupled with the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley. I wasn’t disappointed, and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Ruby is a wonderful heroine, the only Fireblood left in a world of ice manipulators. She is imprisoned more than once, but fights on until it almost appears all is lost.

Her initial rescuers, an elderly monk and a mysterious soldier with a covered face, train her to fight and use her powers to destroy the evil Frostblood throne, and although they start out full of animosity for each other, I loved the way Arcus and Ruby came to love each other. His secret was fairly obvious for me early on, but that never detracted from the story or the big reveal at the end. I only wish we had seen Brother Thistle again to make sure he was okay. The second book can’t some soon enough for me.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Elly Blake.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

14 Jan

Format: e-ARC, 363 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: August 9, 2016

ISBN: 9780349414256

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: NEMESIS (n)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .

My review: The Hating Game is one of those books from which you resent real life taking you away. Many times I had to put it down to go and do RL stuff, only to find myself muttering “Joshua Templeman…” I loved the snarky banter, and the swoons were many. Nothing came as a surprise, as I was paying attention and could see where things were going, but I loved it all nonetheless. I think Sally Thorne is about to become my latest auto-buy author. When I started this I was unaware she was someone who had been recommended to me often by friends in an online writing community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was fantastic. I highly recommend, and will be keeping a keen eye out for Thorne’s next project.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Fire and Rain (Rising Storm Season 2, Episode 5), by R.K. Lilley

10 Oct

31681620Format: e-ARC, 79 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc

Published: September 27, 2016

ASIN: B01KGGHV4A

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

As Celeste Salt continues to unravel in the wake of Jacob’s death, Travis grows closer with Kristin. Lacey realizes the error of her ways but is afraid it’s too late for reconciliation with her friends. Marcus and Brittany struggle with the continued fallout of Hector’s return, while Chase and Anna Mae face some hard truths about their past…   

My review: This is the raunchiest episode so far this season. Marcus and Brittany finally get some alone time, and I’m certainly rooting for them to have a HEA. Things look pretty bleak at the Alvarez house, but at least Joanne is having moments where she stands up for herself. There’s hope there, and also with the possible thawing of relations between Mallory and Lacey, and with Dakota finally questioning her father’s behaviour. I’m not a fan of the Travis/Kristen storyline, but something’s going to have to be done to snap Celeste out of her grief.

R.K. Lilley is new to the series and a new author for me. Her writing fitted into the series seamlessly. Keen to get on to the next installment.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

 

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The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, by Max Wirestone

31 Aug

25700251Format: e-ARC, 313 pages

Publisher: Redhook Books

Published: October 20, 2015

ISBN: 9780316385978

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: For anyone who has ever geeked out about something and for fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. She is unemployed, broke, and on her last bowl of ramen. But that’s all about to change. Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she’s offered a job. A job that she’s woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

My review: It has taken me forever to finish this, even though it was laugh-out-loud funny. I loved the wit and pop culture references, but about a third of the way through I suspected I wasn’t a big enough geek to actually get a lot of the in-jokes. I don’t game online or do cosplay or LARPing, and so the intricacies of Zoth had me a bit befuddled. However, after putting it down for a while, I decided to not get so bogged down in the lore and instead treat this as a snarky detective story, and then I just raced through it. Dahlia is a heroine you can’t help rooting for , and I’m so glad there’s going to be a sequel so I can see more of Nate and Detective Shuler.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Die Of Shame, by Mark Billingham

12 Aug

29474754Format: e-ARC, 448 pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Published: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 9780802125255

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: From British thriller master Mark Billingham, a recent finalist for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library, Die of Shame is a chilling story of addiction, subterfuge, and murder.

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of addiction. But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?

My review: My sister has been recommending Mark Billingham to me for a while, so I jumped at the chance to get this ARC when it popped up on Netgalley. And I was not disappointed. This standalone story introduces us to an addiction therapy group full of interesting, well-crafted characters. I was gripped from the outset, and although there were many twists and red herrings, I was satisfied my suspicions were confirmed in the end. In fact, that ending was one of those wonderful “gotcha” moments that make a reader grin, knowing the crime will not go unpunished.

Billingham’s experience as a TV writer shows, and I can easily see this as an excellent British crime drama. I hope we’ll see more of DI Nicola Tanner and her interesting colleagues in future. Meanwhile, I’m definitely going back to read Billingham’s earlier works. My sister was right.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Knitted Toys, by Jody Long

6 Jul

25497490Format: e-ARC, 112 pages

Publisher: Dover Publications

To Be Published: July 20, 2016

ISBN: 9780486802886

Genre: Crafts & Hobbies

Back cover blurb: Create a teddy bear, propeller plane, Russian doll, fire engine, and other cuddly toys with this easy-to-follow book. Knitters will treasure this guide to crafting 20 fanciful toys that appeal to boys and girls alike. Toys range from such traditional items as a bunny and a puppy to winsome versions of more unusual animal companions ― a snake, bumblebee, mouse, caterpillar, and other endearing creatures.
There are step-by-step directions for each of the toys — several with bonus accessories to knit — as well as color photographs of the completed projects. Suitable for knitters at all levels of experience, these toys make wonderful gifts and cherished keepsakes.

My review: I’m a sucker for a cute knitted toy pattern, so this book – full of 20 of them – immediately drew me to it. These are all so cute, and can be created by knitters of all abilities. I may just have to try all of them, although the fire engine, pig and cake, and gorgeous dog who reminded me of Gromit from Wallace and Gromit will be top of that list. The instructions are clear and concise and cover all angles. Overall, a lovely pattern book.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, by Suzanne Kelman

11 Jun

27256097Format: e-ARC, 261 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 9781503934146

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually publish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.

My review: I picked up this book purely based on the gorgeous cover, and the best way to describe its contents would be “cosy.” After a slow start, I really rather enjoyed the club’s road trip adventures, and Grace’s story at the end was lovely. The characters were all great, except Stacey, who was just a spoilt brat. I couldn’t help feeling, also, that Janet came across as much older than forty-something, especially given her husband’s favourite song was “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Paper Hearts, Volume Two: Some Publishing Advice, by Beth Revis

8 Jun

27984642Format: e-ARC, 284 pages

Publisher: Scripturient Books

Published: December 1, 2015

ISBN: 9780990662686

Genre: Reference, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Launch the right career for you.

There are more options than ever to get your book published. But what’s the right path to a career as an author for you? Discover the different publishing paths, learn what’s right for your story, and use specific tools and activities to present your work in the best possible way.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that explores both traditional and self publication, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Pick the Right Publishing Path for You
-Basic Professional Advice
-Practical Information on Agents
-How to Write a Query Letter
-Dealing with Traditional Publication
-Developing a Book for Self Publishing
-Budgeting and Investing Money in Your Career
-Steps to becoming a Career Author

…And much more!

BONUS! Includes an actual query letter that snagged an agent, plus guidelines and models to write a query or book description from an author who has successfully published in both methods.

My review: Some excellent advice for anyone who has written a book and doesn’t know how to get it published. I’ve worked for the last half dozen years in the publishing industry and even I learned quite a bit, especially regarding self-publishing and the mysteries of the query letter. Revis writes in an amusing and informative way, and I’ll definitely be hunting out the other two books in this series. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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