Posted in 7 Days of Books, Book Review

#7DaysofBooks #Read #Reviews #bookblogger #amreading @Jolliffe03 #JaneHuntWriter

What I’ve read and reviewed over the last seven days.

Click on the link on the image for the full review.

I received a copy of these books from the publishers via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

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Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift – Nic Tatano – 5*Review



The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive?


Amazon UK



The Empire State Cat's Christmas Gift

I enjoyed the first story in this series, ‘The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club’, featuring career driven, intelligent best friends; Madison, Tish, Rory and A.J and their lovable kittens. This book, the second in the series is delightful with its festive twist. A good standalone read but I recommend reading book one first for maximum enjoyment.
There is a great love story, mixed with humour and suspense, which is an easy, enjoyable read. As you expect with Nic Tatano books, the characters are believable, complex and intriguing. The plot has plenty of twists and a lovely romantic ending.
The supporting cast of characters also make this book something special, especially, Socks the matchmaking kitten, whose antics will be familiar to every cat owner.
Tish is a lawyer and so is Spencer, so courtroom scenes are inevitable. These appear authentic and are full of crisp dialogue with moments of humour and poignancy. There is great pacing that moves the story along nicely and provides subtle clues to the plot twists and development of the romance.
A lovely festive read with an original storyline and memorable characters.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Empire State Cat's Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

The Christmas Promise – Sue Moorcroft – 5* Review



For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…


Amazon UK



The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat!This isn’t your usual festive tale, although Christmas cheer, or the lack of it is integral to the story. The concept is original. Ava is struggling to make her hat-making business pay, fending off unwanted attention from her ex and trying to rise above her ingrained dislike of Christmas. Enough conflict for a festive tale? Perhaps, but there’s even more in this complex story. Ava ‘s trust is abused, pushing her emotional limits to breaking point. The story focuses on important, relevant issues, which are the downside of our digital age.
Well developed, realistic characters define this story. Ava is easy to empathise with and the perfect women’s fiction heroine. Sam is attractive both in terms of his physical attributes and personality. He is the ‘good guy’ but not without his flaws, which threaten any chance he may have with Ava.
There are enticing twists in the plot that make this a page turner. The pacing is right for a women’s fiction book, steady rather than fast paced. There is a phenomenal amount of detail, ranging from how to make a couture hat, to how to run a viral social media campaign. Although this sometimes slows the pace, it is vital for the story’s authenticity.
Poignant moments are plentiful and there is a lovely romantic thread contrasting cleverly with the sometimes, sordid backlash of an intimate relationship. Despite the rollercoaster emotions and the seriousness of some of the plot themes, this story is an absorbing, easy read, set at lovely festive time of the year.
There is also an intriguing glimpse of the author’s next book, which I look forward to reading, next year.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat! by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Christmas Promise The perfect cosy festive treat! by Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft

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Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Guest post, New Books

Love Triangle – Nic Tatano – Guest Post and 5* Review – Blog Tour

It’s lovely to be featuring Nic Tatano’s latest book on my blog. Ever since ‘Wing Girl’, I look out for his books and they always make me smile and often laugh out loud. Nic’s characters are ‘larger than life’, yet retain their authenticity. He shares a few secrets of making your characters’ shine below  in  his post about accents and slang.


The Love Triangle Blog Tour Schedule

By Nic Tatano

We’ve all heard the old saying that “opposites attract” and that usually applies to personalities and appearance. But to me it’s a lot more fun to add another element into the mix: different accents and the slang that goes with them.
Do you hear a character’s speaking voice when you read? I do, and also when I write. And having lived and worked all over the country, and traveled extensively, I’ve heard a lot of different accents. So why should all characters have perfect diction and similar voices? Giving a character a distinct accent adds flavor to a personality.
And putting two “opposite” accents and the slang that goes with them together in a romance is fun.
I have some favorites:
-New York. (The accent I had to lose when I started working in broadcasting.) When you know a character has a Noo Yawk accent you immediately get the picture. Fast talking with an attitude in the voice. There’s nothing remotely genteel about this accent or manner of speech, but to me it is still cool, and I slip back into it when I visit the city.
There are some rules about this accent. “You guys” becomes “youse.” Many questions are ended with “or what” added to the end. “Youse wanna pawty afta woik, or what?”
“Fuhgeddaboudit” is the famous all-purpose phrase which can mean several things. “Is Henry Cavill hot? Fuhgeddaboudit.” In this case it basically means, “Damn right.” It can also mean you disagree. “You actually think Episode One of Star Wars was a good movie? Fuhgeddaboudit.”
-British. Nothing sounds more proper to an American than a British accent. And few things are more attractive to us when it comes to the opposite sex. I have loved visiting the UK, and hearing the accents is a treat. Good things are “lovely” and great things are “brilliant.” The Brits make everything sound polite and nice, even if something is really bad. Imagine the difference between an American television news anchor and a British presenter covering the end of the world. The American would add a ton of drama. “The bombs are on the way! We’re all gonna die!” While the Brit would maintain composure. “The nuclear warheads will arrive on schedule (pronounced: shed-jool). You may feel a slight bit of discomfort and a tad warm as you’re vaporized, but this will pass in a nanosecond.”
-Southern. A slower pace of speaking, and much more polite, especially compared to a New Yorker. “Youse” becomes “y’all.” And “I’m” becomes “ah’m.”
One favorite southernism is “fixin’ to” which means “I’m going to.” As in, “Ah’m fixin’ to go the beach.”
Then there’s what I call the “Southern disclaimer” which allows the polite Southerner to insult someone… sort of… by adding “bless his little heart” at the end of the insult. As in, “He is such an idiot… bless his little heart.” Which sort of means the guy is stupid but can’t help it.
-Boston. Fast, nasal and somehow charming. A favorite word is “wicked” and a common phrase is “wicked hard.” Add the Bastin accent and you’ve got someone who is going to “pahty wicked hahd.” (Have a lot of fun with some alcohol involved.)
-Upper Midwest. Watch the movie Fargo for an example of an accent actually being a key element of the story. Nasal combined with old fashioned values, and without the profanity. “Yah. Fer sure.”
Now that you’ve got your accents, put a few of them together in a romance. My favorite combo is New York and British, as I did in “It Girl” and you’ll also see in “The Love Triangle.” Lots of opportunity for “lost in translation” moments as well since the slang which goes with the different accents can mean different things.
Writing characters with different accents is very enjoyable… at least till the editing stage when I hit spellcheck.
And then? Fuhgeddaboudit.



Blurb -2

When you need damage control, you call a doctor.
Nope, not a medical doctor. A spin doctor.

And public relations expert Lexi Harlow is so good at getting her clients out of trouble, she’s known as Spin Girl.

After an incendiary breakup (setting fire to her cheating boyfriend’s pants) she decides to play the field for the first time in her life. Two suitors are vying for her affections; pro quarterback Jake Frost, New York’s most eligible bachelor; and sports agent Kyle Caruso. But when the athlete hires the agent, and both enlist her services to take care of public relations, well…

There’s only one way Lexi can spin her way out of a love triangle before everything blows up in her face.
Choose one.
But when the candle she’s burning at both ends meets in the middle, the choice is no longer hers.

Buy Links -2

Amazon  UK


My Review

Take one intelligent and independently minded woman. Add a drop dead gorgeous celebrity sports star and a hardworking, yet to hit the big time sports agent and you have a ‘Love Triangle’ with a difference. Not reliant on political intrigue or rampant sex, this story is humorous and poignant, full of charm, glamour and good old fashioned romance.
The setting is vivid and realistic adding to the story’s vibrancy. Who knew there was so much affordable fun in New York? The characters are complex and distinctive.
The triangle is interesting and realistic, with plenty of dramatic irony. It’s easy to choose a side and hope Lexi makes the right decision. The support characters and sub plots enhance the story. Notably, Lexi’s assistant who is male and British, with a unique take on Lexi’s love interest, which provides lots of comic moments.
The media knowledge is evident in this story and this air of authenticity makes the story more enjoyable for the reader.
With a surprising twist, later in the book and a lovely ending, this is a page turning read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Author Bio -1

Photo-Nic-Tatano-1-218x247I’ve always been a writer of some sort, having spent my career working as a reporter, anchor or producer in television news. Fiction is a lot more fun, since you don’t have to deal with those pesky things known as facts.

I spent fifteen years as a television news reporter and anchor. My work has taken me from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno’s backyard. My stories have been seen on NBC, ABC and CNN. I still work as a freelance network field producer for FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC.

I grew up in the New York City metropolitan area and now live on the Gulf Coast where I will never shovel snow again. I’m happily married to a math teacher and we share our wonderful home with our tortoiseshell tabby cat, Gypsy.


Links -1




Posted in Book Review

4* Review: Summer of Fire – John Sinclair Mystery #3 – Kitty Pilgrim

Blurb - Coastal
On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society—from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe.
Buy Links - CoastalAmazon UK
My Review - Coastal

Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3)‘Summer of Fire’ reads as a standalone, even though it is the third book in the ‘John Sinclair Mysteries’. If you enjoy adrenaline packed thrillers, this one is for you. The writing is atmospheric and the pacing fast, some of the volcano scenes take your breath as you read.

John Sinclair and Cordelia connect a diverse group of characters and scenarios, which pull the reader into the world of a royal princess hounded by the paparazzi, an organised crime network and a series of volcanic eruptions, which give the book its name. There are plot twists to keep you guessing but it is the gangsters and the volcanoes that make this story worth reading.

In contrast, to the action, John’s and Cordelia’s romance is gentle. Their emotional journey is implicit rather than detailed, presumably because it started at the beginning of the series?
I am intrigued enough to want to read the first two books in the series.

This story is action and imagery rather than character driven but is definitely worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Summer of Fire
by Kitty Pilgrim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summer of Fire (John Sinclair Mystery #3) by Kitty Pilgrim

Kitty Pilgrim

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5* Review : Try Me On for Size – Stephanie Haefner

Adult Read

18870201Blurb - FlowerWith their business in trouble, Mia and Bryn must pull out all the stops to save their shop. Things get sticky when Mia, owner of Classy & Sassy Lingerie, has to go on five blind “dates” to find the right model for the big marketing plan that will save the store. But they aren’t your ordinary blind dates. Mia has to test out the goods to find the perfect “spokespenis” the model for Classy & Sassy’s newest line of lifelike dildos.

Not realizing Mia is on a mission, Oliver Christensen approaches her in a bar and Mia mistakes him for model #1. Oliver decides to play along. But just how far is he willing to take this charade in order to get closer to Mia? And what happens if Mia’s Blind Date #1 turns out to be The One?Buy  Links 3Amazon UK
My Review 2

Try Me On for Size‘Try Me On for Size’ scores highly on the originality scale; Bryn and Mia, struggling lingerie shop owners, desperate to stay afloat, decide to diversify into the sex toys market. To attract quality clientele they need a bespoke product. Decision made. They need the ‘real’ thing and that’s when the fun starts. 

Mia and Bryn, friends since school, always look out for each other. Single Mia is guilt tripped by her friend to test out the models. Serendipity plays a major role in Mia and Oliver’s meeting. The resultant heat, generated when they connect, is more personal than professional. Mia’s expectations of love are unrealistic and Oliver is not what he seems, which makes their romantic journey full of potholes.

The fast paced, story takes lots of unpredictable turns and makes entertaining reading. Alongside the humorous, naughty scenes are poignant interludes and contrary to the title, romance. The setting for the story is atmospheric and enhances the story’s authenticity. The characters are easy to visualise and either like or hate, depending on their motivation.

I enjoyed reading this unique, adult story.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Simon and Schuster in return for an honest review.

Try Me On for Size by Stephanie Haefner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Try Me On for Size by Stephanie Haefner

Stephanie Haefner

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

3* Review: The Haunted Academy – Derek Muk

indexParanormal BlurbProfessor Albert Taylor and his assistant, Jan, are paranormal investigators. They are hired to investigate spooky, mysterious goings-on at an exclusive all-girls school after a young student is murdered. What they assume will be a routine ghost haunting turns out to be something much more.

Paranormal Buy LinksAmazon UK


Paranormal My Review

 Haunted AcademyThere are lots of interesting themes in this short story; paranormal occurrences, the academic ghost hunting team and the mysteries hidden beneath the exterior of an elite school. The appealing characters need further development, to show what motivates their actions and beliefs.

I like the beginning, which sets the scene for the investigation that follows. It highlights teenage bullying and having nowhere to turn. An informal writing style and simple plot makes it easy to read. It’s the type of story teenagers tell each other at sleepovers or round campfires.

What I read, I liked but I wanted more depth and dialogue. This storyline needs more words; more from Erica’s point of view. She is a major player but we only see things from her point of view at the beginning. The ending is suitably horrific.

The Haunted Academy is a quick, easy read and I would like to see more investigations from this academic duo.

Haunted Academy by Derek Muk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Haunted Academy by Derek Muk

Derek Muk

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Posted in Blogging Community, Book Review, Writing Journey

Book Reviews – How Important Are They?

DSCN1102 (2)So typically  as the holiday season starts in the UK there were thunderstorms and rain last night and when I woke up this morning it was still raining. I don’t know about you but when the weather is grey and miserable my mood mirrors it, even if I have nothing to be unhappy about. Yet when its sunny I am happy and the day has never-ending possibilities. Is this just me or are you like this too?


Anyway  onto the real subject of this post, book reviews and how important are they? 

I come to this debate from two viewpoints; I am an avid reader and book reviewer and a new author who knows how difficult it is to get reviews for my own book but does this matter? It’s still selling with the small number of reviews I have but I can’t help but think it would sell so much better if it had more reviews on Amazon , Amazon UK  and Goodreads but is this really the case? 🙂


  Yet as a reader and book reviewer I rarely read  other people’s reviews before I read a book. I rely on personal recommendations from my writer friends or the book blurb. Many of the books I read and review are sent to me by the author or through NetGalley as these are often advanced reader copies (ARC) I rely entirely on the book blurb to pick my next read. 

Do you read the reviews before you buy a book or  is it the cover and book blurb that make you take the plunge?

My book reviews are popular because they are quotable. Snippets can be included on Twitter, Facebook and Google +, which help draw attention to the book that is being marketed.  Book reviews are now important marketing tools.  If they are positive they assist book promotion  and help authors and publishers judge the popularity of different story brands.

Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. 🙂

DSCN1096 (2)Click here if you want to check out my book reviews.

Click here if you want to check out my book ‘The Dragon Legacy’ to read and review


Happy Weekend. 🙂

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