Review & Giveaway: Beached by Ros Baxter

Title: Beached {Aegira Chronicles #2}

Author: Ros Baxter

Published: Escape Publishing April 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from April 06 to 07, 2014 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Beached is the second book in Ros Baxter’s Aegira Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy with a creative twist on Norse legend. The first, Fish Out of Water, introduced Rania Aqualina, deputy sheriff of small town Dirtwater, and half mermaid. Her investigation into the discovery of a dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street leads Rania to uncover a plot which could mean the end of her underwater home, Aegira, and her own life, at the hands of a crazed sorcerer, Manos.

In Beached, the focus of the story shifts to Rania’s sister, Princess Lecanora whom the Queen has sent to Land to find support for the battle against the Sorcerer from none other than the Presidential candidate. Lecanora, while struggling to adjust to the ways of the Land, joins her sister, mother and their allies to gain the candidates favour while dodging over zealous bodyguards, Manos’s army and saving two worlds.

The action is fast paced, as Manos launches his attack, determined to take Lecanora as his bride so he can rule over Aegira, and destroy any chance of the prophecy of ‘the Three’ thwarting him by killing Rania. The fight moves between land and sea, finally culminating in an epic battle in Aegira.

As in Fish Out of Water, there is a strong romantic element within the story and it’s Rania’s ex, Doug, who leaves Lecanora breathless. Peace loving Lecanora is baffled by her attraction to the gun toting, ex special forces, bad ass and the strange feelings he evokes. It’s insta-love of a sort, but not too badly done.

I enjoyed the humour which came from Rania’s snark, and Lecanora’s naïveté. Baxter writes well, with snappy dialogue and descriptive prose. I’d recommend reading Fish Out of Water before Beached though it’s not strictly necessary, Baxter provides enough back story to orient a reader new to the trilogy.

Beached, like Fish Out of Water, is a fun book, combining action, fantasy, humour and romance, which I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading the final adventure in the Aegira Chronicles.

***

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Ros Baxter

I have 1 e-edition of

Beached

to giveaway

**Open worldwide**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close April 20th, 2014

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***

Beached is available to purchase from

Escape Publishing

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown

The Red Hot Chili Cook Off Cover

Thank y’all so much for inviting me and the cast of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off  to visit Book’d Out today. We’re enjoying a recipe blog tour and talking about different foods that play a part in The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off.

For those of you who are hearing about this book for the first time, it’s the second in a trilogy set in Cadillac, Texas. Lenny Joe Lovelle has been bitten by an acute case of terminal stupidity. He’s been cheating on his wife, Carlene, one of the three cousins (Alma Grace and Patrice are the other two owners) who own Bless My Bloomers, a lingerie shop in Cadillac. Lenny Joe’s mother, Kitty, has accused Alma Grace’s daddy of coming on to her and Sugar Magee—that would be Alma Grace’s mama—has moved into the upstairs bedroom above the panty shop. Yes, it’s quite a twisted up mess but in the south a good hot cinnamon roll for breakfast can cure a multitude of sins…even if one of them isn’t a low-down, scumbag, cheatin’ son-of-a-bitch of a husband.

First a little excerpt and then the cinnamon roll recipe and your chance to win 1 of 2 great prizes!

 Excerpt

(NOTE: the panty shop is in an old two story house and there are three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Carlene has moved into one and now Aunt Sugar is in one of the other bedrooms.)

The aroma of hot cinnamon slipped up the stairs, through the crack under Carlene’s door, and made its way through the feather pillow she’d crammed over her head to keep out the noise of Aunt Sugar’s snores.

A week ago she’d packaged up a cute little bright red outfit and rang up the sale to Bridget who was going to Vegas with her sugar daddy. That little red pair of panties didn’t have a tenth of a yard of fabric in them. Hell, they didn’t have enough material in them to sag a clothesline and yet they’d turned her world, her family, and the whole town of Cadillac upside down.

She carefully removed the pillow from her head and got an even stronger dose of the cinnamon rolls. What would the scent of cooking do for sales? Would it make the customers hungry and they’d leave without buying anything?

She rolled out of bed, peeked out the door, and made a mad dash to the bathroom before Aunt Sugar claimed it. Mama said that Sugar always took two hours to get presentable in the morning. She didn’t go to breakfast without checking for stray eyebrows, chipped fingernail polish, and saying her morning prayers. Carlene didn’t know if Sugar prayed in the bathroom but she didn’t have time to wait two hours before she went to work.

She passed Sugar on the landing on her way back to her bedroom. Fully dressed in a cute little sundress and sandals, her makeup was perfect, and her earrings glittered in the sunlight filtering in from a bedroom window.

“Good mornin’, darlin’. Did you know that you snore?” Sugar asked.

“Yes, ma’am. And good morning to you, Aunt Sugar.” Carlene smiled. “You’re runnin’ a little late. Alma Grace and I’ve already had devotionals and I ordered cinnamon rolls from Clawdy’s. Trixie was good enough to deliver them for me.”

“Guess I’d better get on the ball if I want to grab one. Patrice loves cinnamon rolls and she’ll eat them all,” Carlene said. “After morning prayers, I’ll be back downstairs. Now you run along and get dressed in something pretty. If Lenny comes by again, you want to look nice.” Sugar blew her a kiss.

Carlene dressed in a fitted bright blue dress with a scoop neck and long sleeves. It was Friday and the appointment calendar said that two wedding parties were coming from Sherman so Alma Grace would need help. She picked up a necklace of chunky blue, yellow, and red stones wet with sparkling crystals between the different colors and fastened it around her neck, then added the matching bracelet and earrings. She carried her high heels down the steps and padded barefoot to the kitchen.

She took one look at the pan of cinnamon rolls and said, “Shit, Alma Grace! You can’t take them right out of the middle. That’s not playing fair.”

Patrice caught the last sentence as she pushed the door open. “She’s right. No taking them out of the middle. Did Aunt Sugar get up this early and get food already?”

“She gets up early every morning. We have devotionals before I come to work.” Alma Grace ignored them and removed her second cinnamon roll from the center of the pan. “And she is always dressed with her makeup done and jewelry on, too.”

Patrice cut two big rolls from the middle of the pan. “We’ll treat this like a Scrabble board. I’m playing off Alma Grace’s choice. So praying is done for the day?”

Alma Grace sighed. “Oh, no! Mama is upstairs doing her morning prayers now. And Daddy says he’s going to church at the CNC with me until she gets over her hissy and that means I can’t sit beside or flirt with Jack Landry. Come on Pat-tee, help me out here.”

“You call me that again and I’ll smack you right in the mouth. You know I hate nicknames,” Patrice said.

Alma Grace slid a nasty look toward Carlene. “Don’t look at me. I didn’t make Jamie kiss Kitty or Kitty kiss Jamie or your mama move in here,” Carlene said.

Patrice slapped Alma Grace on the shoulder. “Stop blaming Carlene for everything that happens. I swear if you got a pimple you’d figure out a way to make it her fault.”

And now for the cinnamon roll recipe that they use over at Miss Clawdy’s. It’s the same one I use in my kitchen here in southern Oklahoma.

  CINNAMON ROLLS

  • 2 cups hot water, not boiling
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 T. or two packages of dry yeast

Mix together and set aside until it bubbles.

  • Add 3 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Stir well! Now add 2 to 3 cups of flour to that. More flour makes stiffer dough which makes heavier rolls. Less flour makes lighter rolls. Put into a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for one to two hours until double in size. Punch down and roll out on floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Cut up two sticks of butter into think slices and arrange on top. Cover that with brown sugar (I usually use about two cups) and then shake cinnamon over that. Roll it up and cut into one inch sections, place in two 9×12 cake pans. Let rise about an hour, covered with a cloth, and then bake at 350 degrees until light brown. Turn upside down onto cookie sheets or heavy duty foil if you are taking it to a friend’s house. Ice with a powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk glaze while still hot.

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WIN!

Do you have a favorite bread recipe? Share it in the comments (along with your name and email) for your chance to win one of two prizes courtesy Sourcebooks:

Prize #1: a print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
or

Prize #2: A Carolyn Brown Prize Pack

o Print copy of The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee

o Print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

o Cute recipe card set—so the winner can save the recipes shared along the tour!

*This giveaway is open to US and Canada only – Closes April 13th 2014*

**************

Be sure to follow along on The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Recipe Sharing Tour!

  Learn more about The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off and find out some delicious recipes from Carolyn and other readers along the way. Chances to win at each stop!

April 1: Carolyn Brown’s Facebook Page

April 2: Dew on the Kudzu

April 3: Fresh Fiction

April 4: Book’d Out

April 7: Book Reviews & More by Kathy

April 8: Chick Lit Central

April 9: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

April 10: Bitten By Love Reviews

April 11: From the TBR Pile

 

To Purchase The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off:

Amazon Barnes and Noble Books-a-Million Chapters/Indigo IndieBound iBooks Sourcebooks

THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF BY CAROLYN BROWN – IN STORES APRIL 2014

More Than the Chili’s Heating Up Cadillac, Texas Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac. Carlene’s cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm…and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown. Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.

Praise for The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off:

“With a cast of characters that will leave readers grinning, Brown’s latest is delightful, humorous “chick lit”… Fun, fun and more fun is on hand in a story that wins a blue ribbon in both originality and wit.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars “Fun, fresh and hilarious… The author showed that laughter is the best medicine and a sure fire cure for the toughest of challenges in life.” —Chick Lit Reviews “The characters are vibrant and engaging, the story is endearingly off beat and full of down home folksy charm. A wonderfully heartwarming and highly entertaining novel.” —Book Reviews and More by Kathy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

carolynbrown2010

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. Her bestselling cowboy romance series include the Lucky trilogy, the Honky Tonk series, Spikes & Spurs, Cowboys & Brides, and the new Burnt Boot, Texas series. She has also launched into women’s fiction with a Texas twang. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. For more information, please visit http://carolynlbrown.com/.

Review & Giveaway: Tiddas by Anita Heiss

Title: Tiddas

Author: Anita Heiss

Published: Simon and Schuster AU March 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from March 03 to 05, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Tiddas is Anita Heiss’s fifth novel, an engaging story of friendship, life, love and five strong women.

The tiddas (sisters) are lifelong friends having grown up together in Mudgee. Now approaching midlife, each lives in and around Brisbane providing each other with support, love and friendship. Over a period of a year we are witness to their lives, their relationships with one another, and with themselves and with others, as they each journey towards a personal epiphany about what they value in each other and themselves.

These are women we can likely relate to in one way or another, smart, savvy, socially aware, they are varyingly wives, mothers, daughters, cousins, in law’s and of course tiddas. Each of the friends are distinct characters, struggling with their own issues,  Xanthe is crushed by her inability to fall pregnant, her obsession placing strain on her marriage and her friendships. Izzy, on the verge of becoming Australia’s ‘Oprah’ and who has never expressed a desire for a child, is horrified to discover she is unexpectedly pregnant. Veronica’s self esteem has crumbled in the wake of her husband’s desertion for a younger woman and Ellen, who has always been content to play the field, is questioning her aversion to commitment. Finally best selling author, Nadine is drinking far too much, alienating her tiddas and her extraordinarily patient husband with drunken tirades she barely remembers the next morning. They variously evoke admiration, sympathy and laughter and I thought their personal journeys, and their sisterhood, to be portrayed realistically.

Three of the women, Izzy, Xanthe and Ellen are Aboriginal and their cultural heritage plays a large part in the novel. I did sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by Heiss’s socio-political agenda, the emphasis on Aboriginal issues is integrated in some contexts, such as the women’s book club discussions and the way in which the women related to their family and their mob, but I thought it came across as intrusive, even preachy, in some instances.

Tiddas is a slight departure from Anita Heiss’s chicklit backlist, including Manhattan Dreaming and Avoiding Mr Right, that each focused on a twenty something single woman searching for love. I personally appreciate the maturity of the characters, and their conflicts, in Tiddas.

An engaging, warm and amiable novel this is a lovely novel. I enjoyed spending time with the Tiddas, just as I do with my own friends.

I published a Q&A with Anita Heiss earlier today, CLICK HERE to read it!

Available to Purchase From

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 via Booko

***

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia

I have 1 print edition of

Tiddas

to giveaway

**Open to Australian residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close March 16th, 2014

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AWW Feature & Giveaway: Q & A with Anita Heiss

anita

Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a regular guest at writers’ festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature. She is an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Anita is a role model for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy and an Advocate for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. She is an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS and currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MCing, and being a ‘creative disruptor’. Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards. She lives in Sydney.

I am excited to introduce Anita’s new novel, Tiddas, today.

This is a story about what it means to be a friend… Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books … and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other’s lives seems the most natural thing in the world – and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don’t they? But each woman carries a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck.

My review of Tiddas can be read HERE.. meanwhile Anita was kind enough to answer a few questions I had for her.  Read on…

Q: What does the title, Tiddas, of your new novel mean, or reference?
Anita: Tiddas is a term of endearment in the Aboriginal community for a female friend, sista or even daughter. It became a household word in Australia during the decade 1990 – 2000 thanks to the all-girl folk band The Tiddas made up of Lou Bennett (Yorta Yorta), Amy Saunders (Gunditjmara) and Sally Dastey (non-Indigenous). Lou Bennett is currently one of the Black Arm Band.
So the term has had national currency for sometime, and it is a word that encompasses everything that is good about and the strength in female relationships, which is something I want to promote in my novel. I call my friends – black and white – tidda. I know of women who call their daughters tidda, or tid for short.

Q: What was the first element of inspiration for the story?

Anita: I was in Mudgee doing an event for Manhattan Dreaming in 2010 and a conversation with a woman there Kerry Barling, inspired to do a story with characters from the town. Then, after travelling to Brisbane quite a bit doing school visits, that city got under my skin and into me head and heart, and I married the two settings, and then came the storyline.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing Tiddas?

Anita: It was the first time I had five protagonists in one book. So the challenge was making sure they each had equal coverage, their stories were all told with the same depth and detail and that in some way they all evolved and grew through their individual journeys.

Q: Do you have a favourite character?

Anita: I think I might lean towards Ellen more than the others. She is straight down the line, tries to be funny, is the least needy, and yet we see her vulnerabilities as well. And she’s fit and runs her own business. In fact, I’d like to be a little more like Ellen!

Q: You are one of the few fiction authors who write about the lives of contemporary Koori women, do you feel any pressure to represent them, or their issues, in a particular way?

Anita: I don’t feel any pressure really. I simply write what I know, what I’m interested in, and what I think Australian audiences would benefit from and enjoy reading. I don’t really censor myself, and fiction is also a good place to write all the things Anita Heiss wouldn’t necessarily say herself in the public domain – where there may be more pressure to take a certain line.

Q: How do you hope readers feel on finishing Tiddas?

Anita: I hope they feel they have connected with at least one the characters and that they have been moved emotionally in some way. I hope they are glad they spent some time the five women also and that they recognise the strength and value in their own friendships.

Q: Can you please share three of your favourite novels by Australian women writers?

Anita: Okay, this is so hard so I’ve chosen three I’ve read and loved in the last six months.

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko
Red Dirt Talking by Jacqueline Wright
Liar Bird by Lisa Walker

Q: What is your preference?
•    Coffee, Tea or other?  Water
•    Beach, Pool or River? Beach
•    Slacks, Jeans or Leggings?  Leggings
•    Butterfly, Tiger or Giraffe? Butterfly
•    Swings, Slide or Roundabout? Roundabout

tiddas comp

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Available to Purchase From

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 via Booko

***

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia

I have 1 print edition of

Tiddas

to giveaway

**Open to Australian residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close March 16th, 2013

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Review & Giveaway: Lingerie for Felons by Ros Baxter

Title: Lingerie for Felons

Author: Ros Baxter

Published: Escape Publishing March 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from February 01 to March 03, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Lingerie for Felons is a funny, engaging romantic comedy with a social conscience by Australian author, Ros Baxter.

Lola’s parents have always told her she can make a difference and she is determined to do just that, whether she is wearing a red lacy thong or superman emblazoned undies. She can’t let the blazing chemistry she shares with Australian hottie, fund manager Wayne, who thinks Doctors Without Borders is a porno and Joni Mitchell sounds like a harp seal being battered to death, distract her and Lola is confident that breaking up with him is the right thing to do. But letting go is more difficult than she ever imagined.

I liked Lola a lot, she delights in bucking the stereotype of math geek, is passionate about important issues and loyal to her family and friends. But with her heart and her mind in constant conflict with one another she is never quite sure about exactly what she wants or needs. This is particularly evident in her relationships with Wayne and Clark, who both offer her very different things. Lola is an ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl and fiercely independent, unsure how to compromise without sacrifice.
It is fair to say though that Lola always means well, her ’causes’ often lead her into trouble (wearing unsuitable underwear), having never quite thought things through. She winds up in some odd situations, including jail three times, though luckily always with the support of her quirky, opinionated family.

The time shifts of the narrative are a little disorientating to begin with though eventually I settled into the rhythm. The prose is spiked with witty banter, the dialogue natural and the story is well paced.

Combining romance, humour, drama and politico-social commentary, Lingerie for Felons is an enjoyable read with hugely appealing characters and a happy ending that will leave you smiling.

Available to Purchase at:

AllRomanceEbooks Amazon Amazon UK Apple Barnes & Noble BIG W Booktopia ebooks Google JB HI FI Kobo

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Ros Baxter

I have 1 e- edition of

Lingerie For Felons to giveaway

**Open worldwide**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close March 16th, 2013

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Review & Giveaway: The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala

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Introducing The Curl Up and Dye, the start to a new series by author Sharon Sala.  Sharon Sala, who has also written under the name Dinah McCall, has 85-plus books in print, published in four different genres.  The Curl Up and Dye is her first foray into women’s southern fiction described as ‘Wally Lamb meets Steel Magnolias’ in which Sala introduces the residents of Blessings, Georgia.  At the heart of this community lies Ruby Dye’s beauty salon, privy to the romance, drama and secrets of the small town and its characters.

I had the chance to ask two questions of Sharon Sala after reading her prequel novella, Color Me Bad. Read on to discover her answers, and my thoughts about The Curl Up and Dye.

Q: What was your worst hair dye experience?
Sharon Sala: The worst hair color experience I ever had was when a salon owner used a shampoo especially for women with gray hair (I’ve had gray hair since I was 30) and it turned my hair purple. It was a nice shade of lilac but I was appalled, just the same.

Q: Why do you think clients spill their secrets to hairdressers? What is the most indiscreet or funniest thing you have overheard in a salon?

Sharon Sala: I think people tell secrets everywhere, but a beauty shop makes people feel better about themselves, and when they do, they usually talk about everything. The funniest thing I ever heard at a beauty shop was from a kid about ten years old. His mother had dropped him off to get a haircut and as the lady was finishing his haircut, the boy piped up with the information that his Mama was going to pay her when she got back, and she hoped to hell the check didn’t bounce. LOL

My Thoughts:

LilyAnn Bronte was once the envy of her high school classmates. Sweet, popular and beautiful she was valedictorian, head cheerleader, crowned ‘Miss Peachy-Keen Queen’ and dating star quarterback, Randy Joe. But then Randy was killed in Afghanistan, having enlisted after the tragedy of 9/11, and LilyAnn’s blessed life fell apart. Grieving for her fiance, she withdrew and ten years later she is overweight, out of shape and alone, still visiting Randy’s grave every week. Its the arrival of a handsome stranger in town that finally inspires LilyAnne to reinvent herself, unaware that his notice is not something you would want.

While a large part of this story is about LilyAnne’s efforts to rebuild her life, the focus is firmly on the romance between LilyAnne and her neighbour, Mike Dalton. Having been in love with LilyAnne since the tenth grade, Mike is hoping that the changes she is making will include the way she sees him, but she remains largely oblivious until Ruby, the owner of the Curl Up and Dye Salon, chooses to give them both a little push. The development of their romance is beset by miscommunication, misguided attempts at provoking jealousy and the misinterpretation of intentions, and though a happy ending is never really in any doubt, it is satisfying when LilyAnne and Mike finally get it together.

What did surprise me was the subplot involving the stranger, T.J. who proves to be a nasty piece of work. I really wasn’t expecting some of the violence that occurs during the course of the novel, and it may be confronting for some readers caught unawares.

To offset the drama there is humour and southern snark, quirky characters and a charming small town atmosphere. The Curl Up and Dye beauty salon is the place to which all the characters gravitate, best introduced in Sala’s prequel novella, Color Me Bad, in which LilyAnne briefly appears.

The Curl Up and Dye is a quick, engaging read blending romance, drama and humour. Well known for her romantic suspense fiction, Sharon Sala is sure to pick up some new fans with her foray into southern fiction who will be looking forward to revisiting Blessings as the series progresses.

Read an Excerpt

Available to Purchase from

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GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Sourcebooks/Landmark

I have

1 print edition of The Curl Up and Dye to giveaway

**Open to  US/Canadian residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close March 9th, 2014

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Review & Giveaway: The Lost Girls by Wendy James

 

Title: The Lost Girls

Author: Wendy James

Published: Michael Joseph: Penguin February 2014

Status: Read from February 23 to 24, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

Read an Extract

My Thoughts:

Wendy James has been described as “A master of suburban suspense” {The Age} after the publication of Where Have You Been? and The Mistake. The Lost Girls, the author’s fifth novel cements this reputation with a compelling story of loss, grief and family secrets.

Fourteen year old Angie’s body was discovered a few days after she went missing in the January 1978, she had been strangled with her own scarf and dumped in the national park. Her unsolved murder, eventually blamed on an unidentified serial killer dubbed The Sydney Strangler, devastated her adoring cousins, Jane and Mick, with whom she was spending the summer, and the loss has haunted them ever since. Thirty years later, a journalist approaches Jane requesting an interview, claiming to be developing a radio documentary about the impact of murder on the loved ones of the victim. After so many years of silence, Jane finds relief in talking about the beautiful teenager idolised by her twelve year old self, but it isn’t just her talking, Jane’s brother Mick, her mother, and Jane’s husband, Rob, all have stories, and secrets, to share about Angie – about the way she lived… and about the way she died.

The Lost Girls is told through memories, interview transcripts, newspaper articles and the story of the present day, revealing the events that led up to, and followed, the death of Angie. As the novel unfolds, moving between time, place and perspective, the reader begins to piece together a wider view of the tragedy, and those affected, than any one character has.

While Jane remembers the cousin she adored with childlike innocence, her mother recalls a manipulative girl who, “…wasn’t really all that nice a child. She was always looking out for herself.” p158. Mick’s teenage crush on Angie colours all of his memories of the girl Angie was, while Rob has held one of her secrets for thirty years. Somewhere amongst their memories is the truth about who Angie was and how that may have contributed to her death.

It soon becomes obvious that the ‘journalist’, Erin Fury, is not motivated by professional curiosity but by a personal connection to the case. Her motivations are obscured for much of the story, helping to raise the tension as Erin digs for the answers to questions she is not even sure how to ask. Her ‘reward’ is learning a truth she wishes she never knew.

With a well crafted, multi-layered plot exploring the ways in which the past shapes us, and the difficulty in leaving it behind, The Lost Girls is an engrossing story of domestic drama and suspense. I’m happy to recommend this slow-burning but gripping suburban thriller.

Available to Purchase From

 

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GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Penguin Australia

I have

1 print edition of The Lost Girls to giveaway

**Open to  Australian Residents only**

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close March 9th, 2013

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We are all winners!

AustraliaDaybloghop2014

I want to thank all of those who chose to be a part of the 2nd Annual Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop. The feedback from both hosts and ‘hoppers’ has been very positive and I was pleased to see such excitement and enthusiasm over the long weekend.

If you found a new book to read, or a new blog to follow, then that makes you a winner!

But two Book’d Out visitors are especially lucky, from a field of just over 200 entries, they have won a book of their choice from my giveaway.

***

 The Australian winner is:

Nat H

who chose The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The international winner is:

Farhana R

who chose Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

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Congratulations to them both!

I hope you all join me again in 2015!

It’s the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!

AustraliaDaybloghop2014

Welcome to the  Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!

To celebrate Australia Day on the 26th Jan and the accompanying long weekend I am giving you the chance to win a book by an Australian author!

After you have entered my giveaway, make sure you follow the linky at the bottom of this post for more chances to win!

I will be drawing TWO winners via Random.org

One winner will be drawn from those who indicate they live in Australia and one winner will be drawn from those who indicate they live outside of Australia

Entries close at midnight on Tuesday 28th 2014. The winners will be announced Monday February 3rd.

You can choose from these titles:

***NB: You MUST qualify for the BookDepository free shipping to win one of the print books listed – see if your country is listed here, If you do not qualify for free shipping with Bookdepository you can opt for an alternative prize

{click the cover image for more details}

*If you happen to have read all the above titles you may choose another not listed to the value of AU$15.00

ENTRIES CLOSED

Then hop around the blogs of the other Australian’s celebrating with me!

Book’d Out Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog
Helene Young 1girl2manybooks
Juliet Madison – Humorous & Heartwarming Fiction Lily Malone – romance writer
Nicole Hurley-Moore Kendall Talbot Blog
Creative Conversations Jenn J McLeod
 Bronwyn Parry
 Carpe Librum
 Booklover Book Reviews  Booksaremyfavouriteandbest
 Tien’s Blurb  BernadetteRowley
 A Reader’s Heaven  Jennifer Scoullar
 Eleni’s Taverna  The Never Ending Bookshelf
 Write and Read with Dale  Phillipa Fioretti
 Suzi Love  Journeys with Noelle
 The Sweet Escape  Sarah Belle – Romagic Comedy
 Marisa Wikramanayake  Biest Books
 Pieces of Whimsy  The Eclectic Reader
 Elise K. Ackers, The Write Frequency  Carol @ reading,writing and riesling
 Elisabeth Storrs
 Kathryn’s Inbox
 The Incredible Rambling Elimy  Loretta Hill
 Kate Forsyth’s Blog  Tea in the Treetops
 Rachael Johns  Things Made From Letters
 Musings by Wink  Margarette Lyn Sharp
 Sarah Foster  Matthew S Wilson
 Write Note Reviews  Jennifer Collin
 Sherryl Caulfield  Literary Exploration
Lisa Walker  Wendy Orr

 

Review & Giveaway: Cemetery Girl by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

Title: Cemetery Girl {Book One: The Pretenders}

Authors: Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden, Don Kramer, Daniele Rudoni, Jacob  Bascle

Published: Jo Fletcher Books January 2014

Status: Read on January 07, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Cemetery Girl Book One: The Pretenders is the first in an original graphic novel trilogy authored by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden with art and letters by Don Kramer, Daniele Rudoni and Jacob Bascle.

Cemetery Girl introduces a teenage girl who awakens in a graveyard with no memory of who she is but certain someone tried to kill her. Taking her name from the gravestones that surrounds her, Calexa Rose Dunhill decides to remain hidden until she can figure out who she is and why someone wants her dead.

The mystery of Calexa’s identity, and the person who tried to kill her, is the obvious arc for the series, but the plot of this book features a group of teenagers playing at raising the dead, which takes a dark turn and endangers Calexa. There is a paranormal element to the story, but it is also blends crime and action.

Though the speech/thought is minimal, when combined with the art, the story is communicated clearly. The panels are of various sizes and move the action along well. I think the realistic art is well detailed and the colouring evokes the appropriate atmosphere – shadowy and dark in the cemetery at night or when danger is present, muted when Calexa is alone, brighter when she feels strong and warmer when Calexa is with the cemetery groundskeeper and the old lady she befriends across the street. Memories are tinged with sepia.

This is my first read of a graphic novel and the medium offers much more than I expected. I was impressed, not only entertained but also quickly involved in the storyline and I am curious to know what will happen in Book Two: The Inheritance.

Available to purchase from:

Jo Fletcher Books I Amazon UK I AmazonUS I BookDepository

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GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Jo Fletcher Books

I have

1 print edition of Cemetery Girl to giveaway

**Open to  UK/Australian Residents only**

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Entries Close Jan 19th, 2014

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