Ellie reads fiction

22 May 2015

Friday Favourites #5: Tammara Webber

The latest feature on my blog, Friday Favourites, an Author spotlight where you have a chance to learn more about my favoruite authors in a blitz interview and see what their favourite books are, enters its second month. In this edition, please welcome, Tammara Webber, author of some of my favourite New Adult books, the series Contours of the Heart


Friday Favourites


Favorite place
My bed faces a wall of windows with a view of the city and just enough sky to watch the sunrise. My husband and I sit with coffee and talk in the early morning before he goes to work and I go to my desk to write.

Favorite food and drink
My other favorite place is a Salvadoran restaurant on the ground floor of the building where I live. I love going there and sitting at the bar at the end of a long day, or sometimes in the afternoon. The food is delicious—I’ve never had anything there I didn’t like—and the bartenders are friendly and skilled and know exactly how I want my drink mixed. (My favorite drink is a margarita from this restaurant – Don Julio reposado, Cointreau, lime, no sugar – my husband hates it because it’s so sour, haha.)

Favorite music 
My favorite song for years now is Holcombe Waller’s song “Hardliners,” which is what Jacqueline and Lucas listen to in Easy. My favorite band at the moment is from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. They’re called Green River Ordinance and I love just about everything they’ve ever done. (They’re fabulous live, too.) You can find a sample of their songs on my playlist for Sweet: https://www.youtube.com/user/tammarawebber

Favorite TV series
At the moment – Walking Dead is my favorite. I’m also watching Game of Thrones. Both are super gory and sometimes I need a break from it so I watch a favorite movie like The Princess Bride. Also waiting impatiently for Pinky Blinders to return because OMG, Cillian Murphy. *swoon*

Favorite hobby
I love to read, of course! I also lift weights. I’ve been doing that since I was twenty-one – I like taking walks if it’s nice out, but if I’m running, something is chasing me.

Five books that made me want to be a writer (in no particular order)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - and the Kindle edition is free on AMZ
classic romance

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Young adult, realistic

You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
Fiction, classic, Southern American

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Young adult, realistic

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolff
Fiction, Classics

Thank you!
Author Bio and Links

I’m a hopeful romantic who adores novels with Happy endings because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart and I’m Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.




Her newest release is Sweet (Contours of the Heart #3) – a spinoff/standalone novel, which I absolutely loved!



Synopsis


He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:
Sweet.

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo |Amazon UK


Don't forget to stop by the blog next Friday when it's time for Jessica Topper to share her favourite things and give you her book recommendations!

21 May 2015

Review: All for You by Laura Florand

Title: All for You (Paris Hearts #1)
Author: Laura Florand
Genre/Themes: Contemproary romance, chocolatiers, Paris
Release Date: 5 May 2015

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add on Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars



Synopsis


Some crushes aren’t meant to be

When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.

Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance.

Review


This story is another winner for Ms Florand. I'm addicted to her writing, it's so rich and sensual, telling tender and passionate love stories.

This is book 1  in her new series, Paris Hearts, featuring female chefs. These books are sort of spin off of her Amour et Chocolat series. All for You tells the story of Celie, who is a chief chocolatier in Dominic Richard's shop (from The Chocolate Touch) and Joss!

It's a tale of second chance of love, a story of growing up. Both Celie and  Joss are young and passionate, a bit stubborn and ultimately meant to be together. She is 23 and her is 26 but they have overcome so much. Celie has had a crush on Joss since she was a teenage girl and he broke her heart when he left her and joined the Foreign Legion when she was 18.

I enjoyed the compelxity of their relationship, the constant push-and-pull and efforts they made to get together. There was a lot of growth for them both, especially for Joss who had this static image of Celie as a young, somewhat naive princess he felt he had to woo her, to take care and protect, to make himself worthy of her. In fact, in his 5-year absence she had grown into her own person, had become a successful chocolatier, a young women with a social circle of her own. 

The conflict between them is more than a simple misunderstanding. They seem to have completely opposite views on life. Ms Florand, like in her other novels, plays skilfully with traditional fairytale expectations/tropes to create a heart-warming contemporary romantic story. 

I liked how Dom and Jaime helped the younger couple find the path to being together. Dom was his grumpy, growling self and it was ironic and too funny to see him giving relationship advise. I'm excited to read the short story about him and Jaime which Ms Florand has included in her latest newsletter. 

It's one of the best books of the year for me so far, together with Ms Florand previous release, Once Upon a Rose which is book 1 in yet another new series! Recommended read for anyone who loves romance!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo


My reviews of other titles by Laura Florand:

19 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: For Real by Alexis Hall


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: For Real (Spires Universe)
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre/Themes: Romance, MM, BDSM, May-December
Release Date: 1 June 2015

Add on Goodreads

Pre-order: Riptide





Synopsis


Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - Two words: Alexis Hall. I just absolutely love his writing and he is one of the few authors that I'd read anything they write. This book is a challenge for me since I don't usually read BDSM and I'm not a big fan of May-December romances but knowing Mr. Hall's style, it's bound to be a very emotional, real and touching story and I can't wait to read it.

18 May 2015

Review: Sharp Shootin' Cowboy by Victoria Vane

Title: Sharp Shootin' Cowboy (Hot Cowboy Nights #3)
Author: Victoria Vane
Genre: Romance, cowboys, military men
Release date: 2 June 2015

Author links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 3 Stars



Synopsis


TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT, COWBOY…
A Weary warrior… After eight years as a Marine sniper, war-scarred Reid Everett is back in his native Wyoming. He knows and loves this rugged land, so working for wildlife services to reduce the booming wolf population suits him to a T.

A Caring crusader… Wildlife biologist Haley Cooper is desperate to make a difference. Leaving the world of academia behind, she accepts a position as a wolf advocate to protect the animals she loves.

Raw attraction… Their jobs set them on a collision course, but chemistry sparks like wildfire between Reid and Haley. They’ll have to brave some rough territory if they hope to reconcile their polarizing views with a passion that won’t be denied.

Review


I went into this book without reading the blurb really, I saw the cowboy cover and since I haven' read many cowboy romances I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be more than cowboy romance but rather a curious mix of military, cowboy and wildlife/environmentalist story.

I liked the writing and the story had an easy flow to. It takes place over the course of a few years and I especially appreciated the slow build up of the romance. Reid and Haley met when she was really young and there was strong chemistry between them but the timing was all wrong and with him on a mission in Iraq they started an epistolary friendship. After getting together some years later with a little help of some friends, unfortunate circumstances and personal difference drew them apart until they finally met again when both were ready for each other.

It's a nice, curious story of becoming your own person, making tough choices but deep down it is a tender, heartfelt love story. 

A really strong aspect of the story which I particularly enjoyed was the how different Reid and Haley were. They stood at the opposite sides on everything, yet they managed to overcome their differences once they were grown up enough to think things through and discuss them openly. 

Haley's choice of career, wildlife biologist, especially working for preservation of the wolf population was in direct conflict with Reid's family business as ranchers and lodgers/hunting guides. I liked all the details were given into these issues, they added a solid background to the romance and made the characters feel real.

I enjoyed most of the story, things were dynamic and there were a few surprise twists thrown in. It was engaging and felt realistic. Unfortunately, everything went too too sweet and cliche in the final 1/4 of the book after Reid and Haley got together eventually. I like the HEA in my romances as much as the next girl but I want it to feel a natural fit to the characters and the overall story line and not something forced and artificial, written there just to make everyone happy. 

In short, not a bad cowboy/military romance, a bit curious, a bit too sweet but still worth a try for fans of romance.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Indiebound / Books-A-Million

15 May 2015

Friday Favourites #4: Molly O'Keefe

Friday Favourites is a new feature on my blog where you have a chance to learn more about my favoruite authors in a blitz interview and see what their favourite books are.



This week my guest at the blog is Ms Molly O'Keefe, author of the contemporary/small-town romance series Boys of Bishop which I love.

Friday Favourites


1. Favourite place
Oh wow, well, my bed would be a good one. The park near my kids school. This shot-gun shack I rent with a friend on a beach of Lake Huron but really, my favorite is Spring Lake Pool in my home town. It’s just the best community pool. I loved it as a kid, I loved working their when I was older and I love taking my kids their now… Love that place and all the memories.

2. Favourite food and drink. 
First of all – a good cup of coffee, followed by a pint of dark ale. Favorite food…. Garbanzo beans and anything that can be made with them. Any kind of baked good. Mexican food. The virtuous side of me wants to say salad of some kind – but really, I love chicken wings. Love ‘em.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. I love him, love his music. I had If I Fall Behind sung at my wedding. I think that makes me some kind of crazy mega fan.

4. Favourite movie/TV series
Hmmmm…. I love Field of Dreams and Good Will Hunting – which makes me sound like an old man. I love Crazy Stupid Love. Right now I’m on a huge Grey’s Anatomy glom, which is so fun. What an amazing show.

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
I love running and swimming. Traveling. I love playing board games with my kids. Going to the beach.

Favourite books 

Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary sports romance

Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward
Paranormal romance, vampires

The Shadow and The Star by Laura Kinsale
Historical romance

The Room by Emma Donague
Contemporary fiction

Oh, the 5th one is hard. I loved Elizabeth Lowell, but I don’t recommend that a lot. Maureen McGowan’s YA’s – I recommend a lot. Simone St. James’s gothic historical ghost stories, Susanna Kearsley. There are just so many great books.


Author bio and links

M. O’Keefe can remember the exact moment her love of romance began—in seventh grade, when Mrs. Nelson handed her a worn paperback copy of The Thorn Birds. Writing as Molly O’Keefe, she has won two RITA awards and three RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two kids.







Her latest release is a heart-warming story of two friends who find love where they least expect it in A DATE FOR A CHRISTMAS WEDDING. It's included in the Sweet Talk Box Set on 10 new romances compiled by author Brenda Novak and all proceeds of the sales will go to the Diabetes Research Institute via Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research.











Don't forget to stop by next Friday too when my guest will be Tammara Webber!



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