The Soul and The Seed by Arie Farnam

The Soul and the Seed (The Kyrennei #1)The Soul and the Seed by Arie Farnam

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Soul and The Seed is an extremely powerful book. A Fantasy thriller that is very realistic. Sixteen year old Aranka lives in a trailer with her Dad and older brother, she has few friends and is unpopular at school. Very quickly the action starts when medical staff insist on a preventative health screen involving a blood test from all the students. There is a suspected super virus going around and from the results kids are quickly taken to hospital.

Fear and horror follow with the kids cut off from their families, they are given drugs to fight the illness. The treatment they get made me want to turn away in disgust, but I also needed to read on and find out what happened.

I don’t want to give away any more of this compelling plot, but there are myths and ancient runes mixing the past with a heart-breaking discovery of hope in the present, and an echo of many communities around the world who keep their own traditions but suffer from others who are hungry for power.

No! I wanted to shout when the book finished but the story had not. Can’t wait for book 2 in the series.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Arie will be joining us on the blog tomorrow as our guest author with news of her next book.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Dani reviews How To Climb the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein

Today we have a review from team member Dani, she blogs at http://onlybooksandhorses.wordpress.com/

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Dani chose to read and review How To Climb The Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein

How to climb the Eiffel Tower

Here is Dani’s review.

This book has become one of my all-time favourites. My ability to form a coherent review may be severely stunted by how much I loved it.

The story follows Lara Blaine, a super-fit workaholic who’s running from a tragic past. When she gets diagnosed with cancer, the world of relative safety she’s built around herself is shaken to the foundations.

While the story and beautiful characterisation is poignant and moving, it’s also acutely relatable. There were times when I looked up from the pages half convinced that had cancer – that’s how realistic Ms Hein’s character is.

In spite of the sober subject matter, the story is one of hope, of healing on more than one level and of fresh starts. It’s a grounded, accurate and enlightening tale of friendship and overcoming fears.

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower is fantastically written, and the plot was a perfect amalgamation of all of the factors in Lara’s life. I loved the careful growing of relationships (especially with Vanessa) and the way we get to see our protagonist grow as a person. I was, however, a little thrown by the suddenness of her romantic pairing (I was rooting for Tom!).

Jane and Lara also have a great relationship – their selfless natures and their unfamiliarity with the art of friendship make them a joy to read about.

My only real complaint about the book doesn’t affect the text at all; it’s just that I felt the cover image didn’t quite do the novel justice. This isn’t a wishy-washy rom-com, but a candid, down-to-earth story of life and – more importantly – of hope.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Echoes In The Darkness by Jane Godman

Echoes in the Darkness (Jago Legacy, #2)Echoes in the Darkness by Jane Godman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Echoes in the Darkness is an engaging Gothic horror romance. It gives you all the shivers and secrets of a forbidden past and wraps them up with a hot romance.

Dita Varga is on the run and when she gets to Paris she earns money by posing as a nude model, but she refuses to have her face painted in case her followers find her. When news arrives that those who seek her, are closing in Dita rashly accepts an offer from her flatmate to travel to England as his fiancé.

They leave behind them Paris, horrific murders of street girls and the only love of Dita’s life, an unknown man whom she spent one wonderful night with and never saw again. Eddie takes her to his family home in Cornwall, Tenebris or Athal House is his impressive ancestral home full of ghosts and dark secrets, but Dita feels like she is where she belongs.

Not long after their arrival village girls go missing and the fingers start pointing at Cad Vargo, in fact sinister happenings have always been connected to the Jago name. Bit by bit Dita discovers more of the family history and we wonder just how close to home more murders will come before the Jago madness gets the blame.

There were some beautiful descriptions and language used, some books I find myself sliding over the filler descriptions but this book kept me enthralled. Here’s an example of a line I loved “Nature’s clock was chiming the twilight of the year”. I also loved Dita’s beauty it shone out like a beacon against the darker side of the novel. Really enjoyed this, a great sequel to the first book, but easily a stand alone book too.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Melissa reviews “How To Climb The Eiffel Tower” by Elizabeth Hein

Rosie’s Book Review Team brings you today’s review by Melissa. She blogs at http://mllegette.com/

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Melissa chose to review “How To Climb The Eiffel Tower” by Elizabeth Hein

How to climb the Eiffel Tower

With a horrific past that left her bitter, closed off, and emotionally crippled, it is with the startling diagnosis of cancer that Lara truly begins to heal.

I found the first half rather slow and slightly difficult to remain engaged with, but that’s most likely due to Lara’s prickly personality. Truth be told, she was supposed to be prickly and I believe I was supposed to slowly grow to love her, which I did. By the second half, Lara’s icy exterior began to thaw as she opened up to the love around her and it became a much more pleasant reading experience. In the final scenes, I felt that I was there beside her, holding her hand, wanting to help her climb above all the pain. I give Hein tremendous kudos for a fantastic job at transforming her main character from a hide-in-your-shell turtle to a live and laugh and love butterfly.

Though I enjoyed it and recommend it, there were a few times when I was pulled out of the story, most commonly when Lara repeatedly said oh my god. It got a bit old and it wasn’t necessary.

Overall, a well written novel about friendship, love, courage, and cancer.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 30

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Welcome to Day 30, the last day of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Our final guest is Jane Linfoot. Catch up with more from Jane in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

High Heels and Bicycle Wheels

Where is your home town?

I live in Matlock Bath, which is a Georgian Spa Resort, set in the gorge of the River Derwent, in Derbyshire, England

How long have you been writing romance?

The romance writing bug grabbed me in the autumn of 2010.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

So far I’ve written contemporary romance/romcom/chicklit, with feisty twenty-something heroines.

What does Bryony do for a living?

Bryony works for a TV production company. She loves to work on programmes which deal with anything pretty, especially those involving homes and style, but she goes where the work is. High Heels & Bicycle Wheels sees her working on a sports programme, which is hard when she’s the least sporty woman on the planet.

Why is life leaving her high and dry?

At the start of the novel Bryony is facing a triple whammy – her last single friend just named the day, the guy she’s loved from afar forever just got married, and her mother, despairing that Bryony will be single forever, has just offered to pay to have her eggs frozen. Not that Bryony wants a partner…in fact she’s happily single and determined to stay that way.

Tell us about Jackson.

Jackson Gale is hot as they come, cycling’s bad boy superstar. He’s been out of the sport due to injury, and is desperate to get back into competition. For a guy who has only ever known success, the struggles of the last year have left him broken and bitter. He’s agreed to try to clean up his image, as the ultimate one night stand womaniser, but he’s resisting all his manager’s attempts to push him to explore new career options. And then he meets Bryony – and the idea of working on a TV show suddenly gets much more interesting.

Why are Bryony and Jackson heading off in a camper van?

As a writer, I decided a camper van trip offered a fabulous way to fling these two strong characters together. I hoped that the confined space of a camper van would hot-house their conflicts, and send their sizzling sexual chemistry off the scale, and it did. In the story, neither Bryony nor Jackson wants to make the trip. Going away with the other is each one’s idea of hell, but they both have good reasons why they can’t wriggle out of it. And so they set off to sort out the locations for filming a series of cycle rides for Bryony’s TV programme, Sporting Chances.

Why do they need a tandem?

The tandem is the original reason Bryony and Jackson are thrown together. Jackson is supposed to be riding a fun charity tandem race with another sports presenter, who falls ill at the last minute. Bryony is the very reluctant, highly unsuitable replacement. Fast forward to double trouble….

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

Before I begin a to write a new book, I always have the framework firmly nailed down. I like to have the structure of the novel and the characters and their conflicts very well worked out. I’m currently at this stage on my next book, which has a big vintage theme.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Jane Linfoot

My Author links are:

Author Page Facebook (It would be great if people liked my page!): https://www.facebook.com/JaneLinfoot2

Personal Page Facebook (I love to get friend requests!): https://www.facebook.com/jane.linfoot.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janelinfoot @janelinfoot

Website: http://www.janelinfoot.co.uk

Buy Links:

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1qvx4wo

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1jh3Z2x

Find out more about Jane from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Leiah reviews Abduction: An Angel Over Rimini

Today’s book review comes from Leiah, she blogs at http://www.soireadthisbooktoday.com

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Leiah chose to read and review Abduction: An Angel Over Rimini by Patrick Brigham

Here is her review;

I need to find a reason to go on with my life; to like what I do, to like who I am and to quietly pass the days until I can finally accept that I am doing the right thing; both for myself and – he supposed – my immortal soul. – DCI Michael Lambert – Abduction: Angel Over Rimini

22641895I truly enjoy European and British novels, especially police procedurals. The turns of phrase, characterizations and procedures are just enough different from American stories that I normally find myself dropping into the story and losing myself. While that is the norm, there are certain books that I simply can’t make myself like, not because the story isn’t good, but because it simply isn’t well written. In this case, though Mr. Brigham may have been a journalist, he is in great need of an editor.

Though there are those who seem to admire his writing style, I find that Mr. Brigham’s over-descriptive, ad nauseum style had me wanting to pound my head against a wall. A good third of the book could have been tossed out and tightened down in order to make the book more readable. For example, I really didn’t need to know which rail lines Lambert took from St Lazar to Gare du Nord, then to Charles de Gaulle, and how he bought socks and ties at the airport. Why not just bring them from home, anyway? And knowing that he bought ten eggs, a jar of honey, a packet of spaghetti, etc. – ugh. Instead of giving us your marketing list, as the book does focus on food in places, I would much rather know what he cooked for himself and let it go at that. It would be much more interesting than a market list! The whole book is weighed down with these types of descriptions – filler material at best – which slows the story and allows the mind to wander until you suddenly realize that you have totally lost track of the narrative.

That is not to say that the book is totally boring or uninteresting. There are sections of the book, focusing on the countries Lambert visits, which are jewels of writing. And yes, there are some “foodie” scenes that are well done. For example, sitting outside a café in Alexandroupolis, Greece, eating baklava and drinking a little sweet Greek coffee reminds me of my own experiences with the same. Moreover, the descriptions of the countryside Lambert visits are often well done.

As for the actual cold case, that Lambert is working for Europol? The story itself is heartrending, pointing out just how “inhuman” humans can actually be. The treatment of migrants, lives lived in squalor, child trafficking, guns, murder and death – all come sharply into focus.

As for the secondary story, of Lambert’s father’s extramarital relationship during the war in Europe and the outcome so many years later when Lambert meets the Duchess of Malfi, well, it rather strains credulity – not in the history, but rather in the extreme level of coincidence inherent in the plotline.

Overall, this isn’t a bad book in-and-of itself, just not one that makes me want to go back and read the first two in the series.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 29

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Welcome to Day 29 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Our guest today is Rae Rivers. Catch up with more from Rae in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Declan Cover

Where is your home town?

I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

How long have you been writing romance?

I started writing at the age of 12 years old and then more full time about a year ago when I signed my Keepers series with HarperCollins.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I usually enjoy stories that are well paced, spicy, filled with humour and romance. Contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense are always a favourite.

Who are The Keepers?

They are three swoon-worthy warrior brothers with very different personalities and powers – Archer, Declan and Ethan. A magical Paranormal Romance.

What do they protect?

They protect Sienna Beckham, a modern day powerful witch. They are her friends, her allies and her fierce protectors. Together, they preserve the balance of nature.

Who is Kate?

Kate is the heroine in Declan’s story. She has very unique powers that unfold throughout the book. Declan is the reckless, impulsive, bad boy of the three brothers and meets his match with Kate. The relationship that develops with these two is so sexy and beautiful. They were such fun to write!

Why was she breaking into The Keepers estate?

Kate’s after three daggers that belong to the Keepers. Her mother urged her to track them down as they’d offer her protection from the evil after her. Declan is at home when she breaks in – and all hell breaks loose. Once again, great fun!

This is part of The Keepers series, can it easily be read as a stand-alone book?

It’s written as a stand-alone book and so far, new readers to the series have found it easily reads as one, however, as it’s a series, it’s always a richer reading experience starting from the beginning. The prequel to the series, The Keepers: Sienna is FREE at all online retailers.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m currently writing the final book in the series, The Keepers: Ethan – and thoroughly enjoying it, despite the challenge of making this the big, epic finale my readers are hoping for!

Where can readers find out more about you?

Rae Rivers

 

My blog:             www.raerivers.com

Twitter- @raerivers1

Facebook – www.facebook.com/RaeRiversBooks

Amazon

http://smarturl.it/TheKeepers

 Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-keepers-declan-book-2-harperimpulse-paranormal-romance

 Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-keepers-rae-rivers/1119438570?ean=9780007536030

Find out more about Rae from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

 

 

 

Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Sterna reviews What It Takes by Terry Tyler

Today’s book review is from Sterna, she blogs at http://www.sternakruger.com/
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Sterna chose to read and review What it Takes by Terry Tyler
What It Takes
Book Blurb
“A tale of three sisters…
Karen Kavanagh has spent her life feeling like the runt of the family.
Her two elder sisters, domestic goddess Ava and salon owner Saskia, are mini versions of their mother, a gorgeous Danish beauty. Karen has inherited her father’s droopy, dull brown hair and long nose – pitted against two Scandinavian sauna babes, she feels like Cinderella in reverse.
Danny Alvarez doesn’t see her like that. He thinks she’s wonderful.
Lots of women want Danny, but Danny just wants Karen.
He pursues her with the devotion of a stalker – but she pushes him away. Then she realises what she’s done…”
“We always knew we were going to have problems with my sister Karen.
She was difficult even as a child.”
…the opening chapter already had me hooked! 

Karen is that one friend that all of us has, the seemingly over-sensitive one that’s sometimes little crazy maybe and you can’t help but like her.

I found myself holding my breath a few times though, wondering – oh no, Karen really is crazy…especially after the ‘incident…
I love that the story is told from different characters points of view – it gives the reader a personal connection to each of them and has you rooting for (or love-to-hate) them separately,  yet together at the same time.
 
Real characters with well written characteristics and human flaws – filled with heart ache and laugh out loud humor, it’s definitely a little more than just your usual Romance read.
 
I really enjoyed the book and I like her writing style – she’s won me over as a fan with this one and I’ll definitely be reading more from this talented author!
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 28

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Welcome to Day 28 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Liz Everly. Catch up with more from Liz in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Like Honey (eBook)

Where is your home town?

My hometown is Aliquippa, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh.

How long have you been writing romance?

About five years.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

It’s a toss up between erotic romance and historical.

What originally brought Jennifer to Scotland?

Jennifer had a mad love affair with a man who inherited the farm. They married and moved to Scotland.

Tell us about her honey farm.

It’s been in her husband’s family for generations, but when he dies, it fall to her to run it and she notices things are “off.” She tries to save the farm out of love and memory of her husband.

How does Grayson know his honey?

Grayson grew up on a honey farm in Virginia.

What is Grayson’s secret job?

He works for Homeland Security.

What is it that he is looking for on the honey farm?

Without giving away too much, I’ll say it’s illegal contraband.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m working on a non-erotic romantic suspense set in the Appalachians in Virginia, which is where I live.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Liz Everly

http://www.lizeverly.com

Amazon Author Page

Twitter @Liz Everly1

https://www.facebook.com/LizEverlyAuthor?ref_type=bookmark

Find a copy of Like Honey here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Find out more about Liz from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2 Week 23

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

September 21st – Today my son and my Dad share a birthday. It made my Dad’s day when my tiny baby hung on for a few minutes longer and then rushed out to share his day with his Granddad. Funnily though my Dad always reckoned he’d play second best from then on, and try as I might, it’s always a last minute rush to either buy or deliver my Dad’s birthday gift while all the time I’m really organised with my son’s gifts. We are off out to tea with the other Granny and Uncle. Will take around a book I have just finished reading. We That Are Left by Juliet Greenwood, a fantastic book written around WWI and the strength of the women who were left to survive in England while the men went off to war.

September 22nd – Have got together with a couple of my girl friends to keep us all positive and to stop us all worrying ourselves to death about our kids and the future (Think 3 women heading towards the menopause) The Hormones go berserk and we find ourselves freaking out about all sorts of strange things. So we’ve got together for a little girl power and I’m shouting the loudest about having treats and “me time” and being busy with other things. So this week I’ve challenge us all to find out how to cook a dish of “pulled Pork” and to go out and get the ingredients and try out a recipe.

Last night I read “Baby Girl, Book 1 : The Beginning by Elle Klass. At just 38 pages I soon had it read and will write up the review in a few moments. My next book will be Going Pecans by Gina Henning

September 23rd – Having a chat with BrookCottage Books about helping out with some chicklit book reviews. Checking proofs for the October editions of the local magazines I write book reviews for. My copy and pasting skills were appalling this month and I have apologised to the editor about my mistakes which need changing in the proof.

September 24th – Organised a couple of my book review team to help out with reviews for the BrookCottage team. Make that 6 of my team, thanks for volunteering everyone. Blogging friend Diane Coto has been helping point me in the right direction towards some new to me authors for the mystery book tour.

In my endeavour to try out something new in my life, I got all the ingredients together for pulled pork. Found a recipe and away I went, well those who know me better, know I tend to wing a recipe when I don’t actually want to use all the list of recommended ingredients, so keen to get on, I forgot how long it would take to defrost my joint of pork. Then found it was larger that the recipe recommended. Marinaded  it for 30 minutes, covered in foil and bunged it in the oven at 2.30pm. Recipe said a slow cook for upto 5 hours. At 7pm it was still raw in the middle, at 9pm it was nearly cooked but no where near the pulled look. At 10.30 I went to bed, switched off the oven leaving the pork in the heat.

September 25th -Pulled pork continued: Got up at 6am, the oven and pork were still just warm and my pork was just about pulled. Not sure it’s the runaway success I planned. Will serve it up for tea tonight and see what the family think.

Just had a lovely book morning chatting over a coffee with fellow writer Alison Williams. Can’t go anywhere without recommending a book these days and added a few more to Alison’s TBR pile. Good Deeds received, drinks were on Alison, thank you.

September 26th – Went to the local market and bought homemade jams as a gift for my husband’s aunt. Been really busy on the blog writing up lots of post drafts. Reading Romancing My Love by Melissa Foster

September 27th – Helped a man at the Supermarket this morning.

Have bought a copy of “Why Does My Book Not Sell?” by Rayne Hall, I’m sure it will be as good as her last one “Twitter for Writers” which I keep recommending to people. I shall be reading and reviewing it in due course.

Today I’m reading Seaside Dreams by Melissa Foster.