Tag Archives: 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge

Release Blitz and Book Review: ‘Extra Credit’ by Poppy Dunne

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Book Title: Extra Credit
Author: Poppy Dunne
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 22, 2017
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

The first time I saw Will Munroe I had him pegged as a typical LA douchebag—a little too handsome, a little too rich, a little too into his probiotic kale smoothies. The next time I ran into him—at his daughter’s parent/teacher conference (me: teacher, he: parent)—I noticed his steel grey eyes, his hard chest under a crisp white button down, and his suggestively bare ring finger. I was hooked.

If life really imitated art, he’d have swept me off my feet and taken me right there on the principal’s desk. Instead, we are stuck in our assigned roles. He’s the workaholic single dad of a precocious girl child, and I’m her fiery substitute teacher. Never the two shall meet. Enter one zany, yurt-dwelling ex-wife, a stock market that never sleeps, and some over-the-top, A-list fundraisers, and I’ve got plenty of drama ahead. Better to keep my hands to myself.

But when Will asks me out for a pancake breakfast, how can I resist? My heart (and my stomach) say yes, but am I willing to risk my job for a short stack and a romp in the hay? A slow, sensual, mind-blowing romp in the hay…

But where there’s a Will…

 

Review

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that made you laugh out loud. Funny quirky characters that will have you in stitches right from the start with the type of humour they bring.

You know how some children wish to run away and live with the circus when they are young. Well Chelle wanted to go live accountants. You may think that’s a bit strange but it seems her normal life was a circus, quite literally with her parents being clowns and all. Loved them when they showed up, hilarious even though only in it for a small part. Growing up in that environment is probably why Chelle went into the theatre, specifically helping putting on children’s plays. She only wishes it would be something a bit more full time. She’s just moved to LA to start working as a substitute theatre studies teacher at Bay of Dreams School. Seriously this school is a little bonkers but in a great way. Very spiritual in its environment and how everyone interacts with each other. I love it when she talks about its quirks, mainly with what the kids’ names might be. Seriously Kale, who would you call their kid Kale? So she’s there for a few weeks (though she’s hoping it will turn into something longer) to put on a play, Oliver Twist. ‘Twist’ should definitely be in the title as they do alter the story a bit. I mean there’s a killer whale at the end of it – work that one out people! I seriously need to see how the play turned out because the description alone is enough to get you intrigued. But its not just the play that becomes a reason to stay, might have something to do with handsome stranger she first meets while walking her cute little dog Archie.

It’s a bit of an amusing first meet with Chelle and Will when they bump into each other on Runyon Canyon while walking their dogs. She might take notice of this handsome stranger to begin with but it’s the dogs that seem to like each other a bit too much. A bit of banter and then they are on their way thinking to never see each other again. He managed to stay on her mind though and it seems that luck (or maybe fate) has put his daughter Amelia in her class. After having to meet him for a spiritual intervention where finger painting is involved (yes really) you can see the underlying chemistry start to flow. But Chelle has been burned before in her past relationship with lies and half-truths so she’s not looking for anything here. Yeah well she can keep saying that to herself but we all know she would love to get a bit creative with him.

Seems Will’s on the same wavelength but has been out of the game for a while so doesn’t know how to play it. Shouldn’t worry too much as his daughter volunteers him to assist with the play. Now they are going to be spending a lot of time together, something they are both very pleased with. Love when he asks her out and just assumes she will know it’s a date by the place he says to meet at. When she turns up in very casual wear it’s like a rabbit caught in headlights moment where she then just wants to run. No running here though as he has no intention of letting her go. He gives her two options: they can either talk about the play prep work or she can put her notepad away and they can see where it leads. It leads to some very hot fun it you ask me but not as much as the day after. I’ll just say that she gets double the desserts when she’s with him. She is definitely a foodie with quite a sweet tooth, something that Will is intrigued by. No matter what he starts with Chelle he still has to try and deal with his hippy free spirited ex-wife Suzonne. When it’s mentioned she lives in a yurt with their daughter I had to look them up to see what they looked like. Have to admit some of the more extravagant ones look all right. Though I’m guessing Suzonne would have picked a very basic one due to wanting to become minimalist.

A hidden romance is very enticing but having one could cause a lot of trouble if it ends badly. Chelle longs to settle in one place with a full time career so doesn’t need to be found out in the middle a scandal. Chemistry is believable and not over the top. They are opposites in some ways but then match made in heaven in others. Will is clearly a devoted father who respects his ex – even if she’s a bit of a hippy – and wants Chelle with a passion the longer he is with her. Chelle is a free spirit herself, just not as far gone as the other schools teachers, loves her family no matter what they do and is loyal to a fault. Passion from the start so lets hope it doesn’t fizzle out by opening night.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

excerpt

I’m asking for a tissue when he sweeps me up into his arms and kisses me. His mouth covers mine, nothing tentative about it. It’s a masterful kiss, him claiming my mouth over and over again. My arms twine around his neck, when what I should be doing is pushing him away with a Scarlett O’Hara “I do dee-clayah! Mr. Munroe!” But I don’t. Instead, I pull him closer, feeling the scrape of his stubble against my cheek. He tastes like breath mints from heaven, or something else celestial and minty fresh. When we finally pull apart—which body does not want, but brain insists on—I find I can finally exhale. Will lowers me back to the ground like I’m floating back out of a dream, back to my job and the school and…the fact that I’m still doing my job at the school.

While snogging a parent.

Snogging’s a great word.

Okay, brain. Let’s get back to it.

“That was…” Will’s voice trails off. The tone is deep, rugged, sexy.

I respond, “Shhweee.” I think I was looking for the word sweet, but we’ll never know.

“Very,” he agrees. He steps away, even though every molecule in my body right now is telling me to fling myself back at this tall, infuriating, infuriatingly gorgeous man. But just as I’m about to throw caution and my bra to the wind, someone adorable comes bouncing up to us, her mouse-eared hoodie still on.

meet the author

After ten years of hiding behind a bathroom door, Poppy Dunne has sent both children to school, emerged from the bathroom, and is excited to release Room Service, a romantic comedy plotted mostly on the toilet.

Poppy writes books with relatable heroines who speak their minds and whose riotous inner dialogue reflects their complex characters. Her goal is to deliver a story that has equal parts heart, romance and humor. Her heroes are swoon worthy, yet hold on to your suspension of disbelief, because they pick up their own socks and cook.

In her free time, she looks for hobbies other than Netflix and procrastinating to fill out this author bio. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

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Filed under Humour, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Release Blitz, Romance

Book Review: ‘Cascade’ by Peter Harper

Title: Cascade

Published: 28th November 2016

Author: Peter Harper

 

Synopsis:

On hearing the news her adopted father has suffered a second heart attack, Shani Balcescu dashes from St Aquinas College in Oxford to be at his bedside in Prague. Her father asks her forgiveness, but Shani takes his words to be little more than the ramblings of a dying man. Until the following day, when she discovers the name Tuma Dangbo, a former Séroulése president gunned down in a devastating coup in the West African state thirty-six years ago. French journalist, Nicolas Dubois, helps Shani make sense of her ancestry, before introducing her to the leader of the rebels at a safe house in London. Just as Shani starts to trust and have feelings for the journalist, he sends her a bizarre text and breaks contact. Nicolas’s disappearance threatens to derail her already fragile state of mind, and with an attempted coup in Séroulé virtually underway, ‘friend or foe’ takes on a new meaning for Shani as she questions whether she is being manipulated by the rebels, and that the present despotic regime is about to be replaced by another, only with much greater and far-reaching repercussions. 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by a male author. Action, suspense and political drama all rolled into one well written riveting read.Séroulé, West Africa is where we start our journey to the past to help figure out the present and the family Shani never knew she belonged to. It seems that thirty-six years ago a military/political coup occurred to get rid of Tuma Dangbo, the President of Séroulé, and his family. Against all odds his youngest daughter Zinsa managed to evade capture and escape. Something that Kuetey, the man who orchestrated the coup so he could take over as the new President, can’t seem to let go.

This is where we come to present day to Shani Balcescu. She has just started a fellowship at St Thomas Aquinas and even though is scared knows she needs to move on to grow. She has suffered from insecurities and anxiety for a while now and after her current break up ended badly, when you find out you may want to punch him, is starting to panic a bit by being alone in a new place. After only being there for a day or so though she gets a call that changes everything. Her adopted father/grandfather Andrei has suffered from another heart attack and she is needed at his side back in Prague ASAP. Dusasna, a close family friend, keeps saying that he was asking for forgiveness from her and mentioning the name Zinsa. This means nothing to Shani and even after she gets there he keeps mentioning it. Something about a small girl and the name Zinsa. She doesn’t know at the time what it means or why he would be asking for forgiveness. It’s not until later while taking a look at his safe after a vivid dream that things start to come to the surface. It brings more questions than answers though about who her family really was, how she’s related to Zinsa and what happened to her to loose her foot. What she finds first leads her to Romania and then Paris. A reporter in Paris, Nicolas Dubois, has some information for her she might find useful. She found an article written by him about her grandfather dismissing the corruption claims. He has insight on what happened with the coup and how Zinsa got away. He also knows of a freedom fighter movement where plans are in place for another coup to get rid of Kuetey and his evil corruption. Khamadi Soglo is the man in charge and Nicolas knows how much he would want Shani to be apart of their movement. Cloak and dagger meetings are one thing but they tend to lead to danger the more you get involved.

President Kuetey is very much a twisted man with far to much power. You are longing for his downfall and just trying to figure out how and when it might happen. He’s obsessed with the blood of Tuma still being out there so as long as he’s around Shani will always be in danger. Well her and anyone she is close to, Nicolas soon gets put in the thick of it. From the moment Shani started on this mission to figure out the past, it’s the same past that’s been on its way to get her. Its lucky when Osakwe comes along in a time of need, he certainly appears good at getting you out of tricky situations – though Shani has her moments too. The wheels are turning and there’s no turning back.

Gripping story that will have you second-guessing yourself about what people’s real motives are. Secrets throughout to keep the reader hooked trying to figure them out. Shani and Nicolas have chemistry and intrigue right from the start and are clearly like-minded people to blend together so quickly. Hold on to your hats people this is going to be a wild ride exploring the greed of powerful men.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Flame and The Arrow’ by Emigh Cannaday

Title: The Flame and The Arrow (The Annika Brisby Series Book 1)

Published: 11th November 2010

Publisher: Silver Poplar Press

Author: Emigh Cannaday

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/ClubCannaday

Twitter: @EmighCannaday

Instagram: www.instagram.com/emighcannaday

Synopsis:

“Don’t do it, Annika,” he taunted. His eyes were no longer bright and charming but dark and intense, yet they still twinkled. He was tempting, but was he harmful?

Aspiring rock star Annika Brisby thinks she knows where her life is going until she steps through a broken portal that leaves her stranded in a fae – filled realm of fairies, shapeshifter druids, psychic vampires, and other mythical beings. Unable to return until it’s repaired, she’s rescued by wood nymphs who believe her sudden arrival is no accident. After being taken in by a prominent family of elves, Annika finds herself struggling to resist the seductive spell of their youngest son, Talvi. Equal parts arrogant and alluring, the notorious heartbreaker seems like the perfect distraction for her homesickness. Her new friends warn her that she’ll probably regret ever laying eyes on him, and what begins as a casual fling with a telepathic elf for a lover quickly burns too hot to handle. By the time Annika learns the consequences of their forbidden trysts, Talvi’s already under her skin and dangerously close to her heart. But on the journey home she discovers that there’s a mountain of secrets that he’s not telling her, and Annika can’t help wondering who’s really in danger.

You’ll enjoy this edgy & dark blend of New Adult Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, and Paranormal Romance if you’re a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton, Kresley Cole, Donna Grant, Charlaine Harris, Karen Marie Moning, Jeanine Frost, J.R. Ward and Lynsay Sands.

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book over 400 pages. Well this fantasy story has a bit of everything in it all rolled up in to a complex but interesting story. You have elves, fairies, vampires, druids, a unicorn and so much more all hidden through portals to another world. A world Annika is about to get a crash course in.

Oh my there are so many characters in this that at times it’s hard to keep up and remember who is who and how they are connected to each other. The key players help create such a dynamic group though that you just go with the flow. I did feel that the first part, even though good, did drag a little and then the battle at the end went all too fast. I guess it just helped build the tension with what was going to happen alongside the ever-present tension between Annika and Talvi – one very hot elf. A match made in heaven or hell, you can never be too sure with how they act around each other throughout. A prophecy seems to be the key to everything though and not just with them. One he has had time – 300 years to be exact – to think over and finally accept, Annika on the other hand not so much. There are quite a few sub stories running alongside this as well with Talvi’s sister Yuri and her love interest Konstantin, who happens to be a vampire. Also I can never really get a feel for Talvi’s older brother Finn. He’s meant to be such a gentlemen but for how long I wonder.

Annika is going through a bit of a disaster in the love life department. She had a guy, he even proposed, but she never really felt that she was meant to be with him. On some level I think she knew she was meant to be somewhere else with someone else. So when her Uncle Vince says she should come and stay with him while she thinks things through she jumps at the idea. Little did she know then that it would be the start of a whirlwind adventure that would take her to another dimension, Eritahti to be exact. While checking out the village near by a group of people catch her eye. Mainly from how they act but also how they are dressed, almost hippy forest like. I say she’s looking at the group as a whole but really it’s the guy that draws her in. So much that she follows them into a bookstore. Its here that things start to get a little strange with the girls as they all but pounce on her, start calling her Magda and keep trying to get her to lift her top up to look for a birthmark. Flustered she runs away but not before the guy chases her down to say he will find her again. Chemistry is seen right from the start with Annika and Talvi, no matter how much they both try and fight it. He caught her attention enough for her to follow him. Their first meeting you are asking yourself whether it was by chance or fate? It’s later when she’s trying to find herself and explore that she lands herself in trouble. Lost in the woods with a hurt ankle she spots the strange girl from the day before and all but begs for her help. The girl tells her she shouldn’t follow – as she may not get back – but Annika’s in so much pain I don’t think it really registers. When she goes through a waterfall and into a portal however she may want to change her mind, but by then it’s too late.

So now she’s stuck with Sariel, Runa and Hilda who happen to be wood nymphs. Something she’s not quite sure she believes could be real and it gets stranger when they keep telling her she must be related to them due to her birthmark. Seems this is the start of a crazy adventure, one at times she wishes she could escape. Thrown into a strange world with stranger creatures and no way home. The journey will have danger but also some fun along the way. Well if she gives in to Talvi’s suggestion that is. He is drawn to her but keeps holding back and returning to his wondering ways with how he acts around other women. You may want to slap him at times. Annika can never really get a feel on what he really thinks of her. The first time they kiss they both see visions of a future, not that he tells her his straightaway. Perhaps if he had then they wouldn’t have caused each other pain later on. Fate put her on this path and she must keep moving forward not back. Only then will she find her way home. Though she may start to question where home really is as its clear she is part of both worlds and they clearly want her in both.

The fae saying Talvi tells Annika about their love, even if she doesn’t fully understand it at the time, is really sweet. Talks of bumble bees crossing a meadow to get to each other’s flowers. I love that he references it at the end; it did make me laugh, and that it’s inscribed on something important. Their story it seems has only just begun.

4 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Aversion’ by Kenechi Udogu

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Title: Aversion (The Mentalist Series Book 1)

Published: 1st December 2012

Author: Kenechi Udogu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KenechiUdogu

Twitter: @KenechiUdogu

Synopsis:

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a one-word title. It’s such a sweet romance blooming between Gemma and Russ. Young love growing at its best. A connection is there from the start even if they don’t really know how to explain it.

Living in Sandes with her father Gemma is part of the Mentalists group in training for being an Averter. An Averter is someone who has the ability to alter peoples’ minds. The purpose is to stop them from doing something that could alter their lives too much – like say by getting attacked, robbing something, dying in a car crash, anything really. Seeing a jolt from someone means she is meant to change the outcome. The only difference with her and other Averters is that she is female and, at the moment, seems to think she is the only one. After seeing a visual of what might happen to a guy at school she, along with her father, goes to prevent it by performing her first solo Aversion. She has to push into the persons mind and convince them not to do what they were going to do while making them forget she was ever there. She’s meant to do that and only that. At first all seems to have worked with Russ. He doesn’t go back out so she thinks it’s a job well done. Well that’s before he suddenly comes up to talk to her the next day. Seems she might have messed up and has somehow linked herself to him – not that he really minds. Making a mistake with someone’s mind is dangerous and all she can think about is trying to fix it without letting her father know. She just doesn’t want to see the disappointment in his eyes.

Seems that both Russ and Gemma are drawn together whether they want to be or not. Something bigger is going on and once the Orb that her father gave her to help with her emotions starts changing colours she knows she needs answers. Seems her father has been keeping her the dark about what Averters and Mentalists as a whole are really like. Once she goes down this road more questions seem to rise up rather than getting answers but with Russ by her side she might just figure out what she is meant to do. Well fingers crossed anyway.

An interesting world being created with the Mentalists and Averters with what they can do. Lets see where the journey goes from here on out and how Gemma’s powers are going to expand. Hopefully no more tear filled goodbyes and no more running away which seems to be her go to move, one that’s been taught from her father who does the same thing. Her dad clearly only ever did what he thought was best for her, even if at times he was in the wrong. Lets see how many things can be righted in the next instalment. Roll on Sentient where we hopefully explore more about Sentient Twins.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘All the Frogs in Manhattan’ by Carrie Aarons

all-the-frogs-in-manhattan

Title: All the Frogs in Manhattan

Published: 3rd March 2017

Author: Carrie Aarons

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarrieAarons

Twitter: @authorcarriea

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/14160972.Carrie_Aarons

Synopsis:

You know how Cinderella had the whole glass slipper, pumpkin carriage, fairy godmother thing?

Yeah…with foot-destroying stilettos, Uber, and a Twitter horoscope, my life is far from a happily ever after.

In fact, instead of Prince Charming, I end up dating every slimy, scaly, brainless frog in the kingdom of Manhattan. And by frog, I mean all of the stereotypical bad guys that Mom and Lifetime movies warned you about.

The meathead player.
The mommy’s boy.
The namedropper.
The cheapskate.

If they suck at relationships, I’ve probably kissed those cold, clammy lips in the hopes of finding love. Until one day, when one man with commitment issues offers to help me find the Romeo to my Juliet.

But what happens when the frog, who was never supposed to turn into a prince, kisses you at midnight? Ok fine, he propositioned me for some afternoon delight after brunch, but not everything can be straight out of a fairytale.

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a place in the title. I loved the Sex and the City vibe throughout with Gemma and her friends. They even do the whole girls brunch gossip thing, sex talk and all. Gemma and Oliver were quick-witted sassy characters that worked brilliantly together as, at first, they weren’t really trying too hard. Seriously how many frogs does a girl need to kiss before her prince comes along? In this case a few rotten ones and when a prince comes along he may not be the one you were looking for but turns out to be the one you need.

The dating game is hard and Gemma’s slim pickings from a dating site are just making it harder. So when she’s on yet another bad date that she wants to get out of she needs to use her ace card. One sure way to get the guy to leave after he asks you back to his place is to say you’re on your period. Works a charm but it happens to get witnessed by a handsome stranger. A small bit of banter nothing more and then she’s on her way not thinking anything of it. That is until he walks over to her while she’s having brunch with her friends a few days later. Seems he remembered her and they just click. She can tell he is putting out the “I’m not looking for commitment vibe” loud and clear but with how easy the banter is going she knows what she wants. Him back at her place, simply because she’s horny and can clearly see they both fancy each other. A one time hook-up to start with and so neither has the ball in their court they both take each other’s numbers. A fun afternoon of delight that she didn’t really think she’d repeat but a week later after running from another disaster date she folds.

Seems Oliver is more than happy to oblige. A ‘friends with benefits’ idea is soon very much on the table but things never stay simple for long. With her not wanting anything from him romantically she is acting like herself for once. Also means that neither are afraid to ask for exactly what they want in the bedroom department, or frankly anywhere that might take their fancy as not having a bed isn’t a deal breaker. The longer she is in his life the more he wants to lets her in. Which is a bit of a foreign concept for him with being such a recluse and a non-commitment kind of guy. He never thought he acted like a jerk before with other women because he was always so upfront about what they would have. Or not have in this case, as all he’s looking for is stringless fun. But the longer he spends with her the more he starts to want, which ends up freaking him out so you just know he will push her away. Gemma can never really get a hold on what he’s thinking no matter what crazy moment they are in next. She still longs for a romance but keeps getting frogs and is only just starting to notice that her prince might be under her nose. Well if he doesn’t run scared that is. The saying ‘wanting what you can’t have the moment it’s not yours’ comes to mind with certain people.

Loved the back and forth banter between them right from the start and only got better the more they got to know each other. Playful fun read to devour in a couple of hours.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from Give Me Books for my honest review.

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