Lee Child - Killing Floor (Reacher #1)

Publisher: Bantam Books

ISBN: 9780553505405

My rating: 5/5

Welcome to Margrave, Georgia—but don't get too attached to the townsfolk, who are either in on a giant conspiracy, or hurtling toward violent deaths, or both.

There's not much of a welcome for Jack Reacher, a casualty of the Army's peace dividend who's drifted into town idly looking for traces of a long dead black jazzman. Not only do the local cops arrest him for murder, but the chief of police turns eyewitness to place him on the scene, even though Reacher was getting on a bus in Tampa at the time. Two surprises follow: The murdered man wasn't the only victim, and he was Reacher's brother whom he hadn't seen in seven years. So Reacher, who so far hasn't had anything personal against the crooks who set him up for a weekend in the state pen at Warburton, clicks into overdrive.

Banking on the help of the only two people in Margrave he can trust—a Harvard-educated chief of detectives who hasn't been on the job long enough to be on the take, and a smart, scrappy officer who's taken him to her bed— he sets out methodically in his brother's footsteps, trying to figure out why his cellmate in Warburton, a panicky banker whose cell-phone number turned up in Joe's shoe, confessed to a murder he obviously didn't commit; trying to figure out why all the out-of-towners on Joe's list of recent contacts were as dead as he was; and trying to stop the local carnage or at least direct it in more positive ways. Though the testosterone flows as freely as printer's ink, Reacher is an unobtrusively sharp detective in his quieter moments—not that there are many of them to judge by.

Despite the crude, tough-naïf narration, debut novelist Child serves up a big, rangy plot, menace as palpable as a ticking bomb, and enough battered corpses to make an undertaker grin.

 My thoughts

An "OMG" wouldn't even be near how I like to express what I think of this book. A page turner? Definitely! Gripping? You bet! A must read? OH YES!

So I accidentally stumbled over this book. The cover was .... nahhhh .... the blurb was ..... nahhhh, but I wanted to read something different than the usual romance, a little break so to speak! And boy oh boy did I get a break.

So there's this guy Reacher who one day ends up in this little town called Margrave in Georgia. Out of the blue, really, because his older brother once mentioned that a famous guitarist, Blind Blake, died at that place. But there's a lot more he finds out and gets himself into in quite some trouble.

I honestly loved it. I found myself sneaking into a corner of the house at any given moment just to read another two or even five pages. The characters are interesting and well developed. The story was different to what I had read before (which doesn't mean too much due to my love for romance), but well explained and believable. Jack's great and in his own way very likable from page one onwards.

Verdict: hooked to the Reacher series and want more.

PS - Nice touch with the old lady at the end!


Jill Shalvis - Head over Heels

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

ISBN: 978 0 446571630

My rating: 5/5

Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life running their family's newly renovated inn. But soon her love of trouble--and trouble with love-draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who'd like nothing better than to tame her wild ways.

Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe's colorful past keep her from a love that lasts . . . and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor?
(from the back cover)

My thoughts

L-o-v-e-d    i-t !!!

Can't say it any other way. Okay, this was #3 in the Lucky Harbor (or should it be Lucky Reader?) series and all about Chloe. We've met Maddie in Simply Irresistible (one of my favourite reads this year) and Tara in The Sweetest Thing. I've really enjoyed the Lucky Harbor series so far, in fact since "discovering" Jill Shalvis spot on 12 months ago, it's been definitely "her" year in my household! :-)

I was really looking forward to reading Chloe's story. The wild one! The one with Asthma and lack of sex because of it. The one with issues like saying "I love you" and issues with settling down. And big kudos to Shalvis - SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Throw in a guy like Sawyer, a tough, sexy Sheriff, and complicate it a bit with some past issues for him as well.

With the usual Shalvis wit and humour we read how Chloe and Sawyer get closer. The development of their characters is nicely written and the care they show and give each other makes you keep reading day and night.

So .... bottom line, I could sit here and write about what else I liked, about Maddie and Tara, about Sawyer's friends, Jax and Ford, about Lance, the wonderful Lucille, but as I said, bottom line is, you need to get this one and just read it yourself. I promise you, you will not be disappointed! It's a real treat!

Now go and make 2012 YOUR Jill Shalvis year .... there's more Lucky Harbor to come - thank goodness!

Marian Keyes - The other side of the Story

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 11, 2006)

ISBN: 978-0060731489

My rating: 2/5

Jojo Harvey is a literary agent whose star is on the rise. In love with both her married boss and her burgeoning career, not much distracts her. Until she finds herself representing two women who used to be best friends. One of them, Gemma, has suddenly found herself from a broken home - at the age of thirty-two. Meanwhile, Lily - the woman Gemma has always blamed for stealing her one chance of happiness - is enjoying the overnight success of her debut novel. Set in the world of publishing, 'The Other Side of the Story' is about love, loyalty, glass ceilings and survival tactics - and what to do when you get your chance for revenge. (

My thoughts

I kinda thought this book was boring. I had read "Anybody out there" a while back and remember how much I enjoyed it and the tissue box which I had used up .... so I was looking forward to this one.

But really I can't say anything else than boring. We all have a bad day and I suppose what I did like was the description of the publishing side ... the pain we feel with bad reviews, the hope and the let-down - the roller coaster of being in this business. But there's nothing else to say. Gemma's story was ... okay. Dad falls in love with his secretary and leaves his wife. Daughter writes about it in emails and these emails fall into the hand of a Literary Agent. That is Jojo - her story. I have no idea. Lily is Gemma's friend. Well they used to be friends until Lily falls in love with Gemma's ex. Lily's just released her book - a bestseller.

So that's it. Sprinkle with a bit of relationship and you have "The other side of the story".

I did like a lot of the Lily's soul-searching. It was great reading - thus the 2 stars, but IMO too little too late.

I still have another Marian Keyes' book somewhere on my desk and will persevere, hoping it'll be more like the first book I've read.

Ruth Rendell - The Vault

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9780091937119

My rating: 2/5

Don’t forget,’ Wexford said, ‘I’ve lived in a world where the improbable happens all the time.’
However, the impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired. He and his wife, Dora, now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead, belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila.
Wexford takes great pleasure in his books, but, for all the benefits of a more relaxed lifestyle, he misses being the law.
But a chance meeting in a London street, with someone he had known briefly as a very young police constable, changes everything. Tom Ede is now a Detective Superintendent, and is very keen to recruit Wexford as an adviser on a difficult case.
The bodies of two women and a man have been discovered in the old coal hole of an attractive house in St John’s Wood. None carries identification. But the man’s jacket pockets contain a string of pearls, a diamond and a sapphire necklace as well as other jewellery valued in the region of £40,000.
It is not a hard decision for Wexford. He is intrigued and excited by the challenge, and, in the early stages, not really anticipating that this new investigative role will bring him into physical danger.

My thoughts

I didn't like it, to be honest. First I had an audio book and thought I was listening to Bob the Builder and the Gang. Weird! So I managed to get hold of the book, but it didn't improve my "desire" to read it. I found the book more often next to my bed than in my hands! And I used to love Ruth Rendell's Wexford stories.

The plot was .... well I don't know, because I couldn't really get into it. It was weak and based on quite a few coincidences. What I did like was Rendell's description of London - it was good to be "back". I thoroughly enjoyed that part.

Last but not least, what's the sub-plot with the daughter. Did I miss something or what was the relevance?

All in all - not my cuppa tea :-(

A Dog Gone Christmas

Lindsay asked me to post this as well. I can only wholeheartedly recommend her books. They're are a treat to read and I'm sure you all will enjoy themas much as I did.

A touching scene from A Dog Gone Christmas

When we write a certain scene into our book we might do it for the emotional impact, enhance the tension between characters, or for the humorous effect it would have on the reader.
In Emily Dahill, CID Part 1, I had one such scene which my editor thought was hilarious but that’s not why I wrote it. I just wanted to keep the soldier for grabbing for his rifle. You will find that scene in the story called, Right Place, Wrong Day.

In my current book, A Dog Gone Christmas, I had tension in the previous scenes and as such thought to lighten the mood a slightly while at the same time add a little poignancy to the story. I’ve had several people email me about how much the loved the scene.
I’m only going to give you a tiny taste of that happens. To find out what happened before and afterwards, well you’ll have to just go buy the book.

Don’t forget, for every copy sold I’ll making a donation to the local collie rescue organization. Collie Rescue League of New England

Even from his new vantage point, he could still see how the other kids and collies were doing. As the time came to a close, out of the corner of his eye he spied something very suspicious. The twins. Amanda seemed focused on moving Maggie and Jack not only away, but so their backs were to Nibs.
 Under normal circumstances, Thaddeus would alert the two, but something told him what he was about to witness could and would be priceless. Once he saw the adults had been suckered into dropping their guard, he watched as Adam slipped an arm around Nibs’ neck. Hunched over like in a cowboy movie Adam tried to lead the collie toward the door and freedom with him and his sister.
 Subtly, Thaddeus readjusted his position closer to the door to prevent the five-year-old from walking off with Nibs. When Adam, splitting his attention between his new buddy and his sister, got closer to the door Thaddeus stepped out right in front of Nibs who stopped, and sat dragging the hapless boy down with him.
 “Oomph,” Adam grunted, as his backside came in hard contact with the floor. As he looked up the first thing he saw was a pair of legs in khakis, the toes from penny loafers peering out from the cuffed pants. With a sheepish smile he lifted his head higher only stopping when he saw Thaddeus smiling down at him.
“And just where do you think you’re going with Nibs, young man?” Thaddeus kept his voice soft and non-threatening.
“Na, na, nowhere sir,” Adam stammered out. He followed Thaddeus’ eyes to the collie, happily sitting beside him. “Honest sir, he followed me. I’d never,” Adam slowly shook his head. “take him, even though I’d love to have such a smart buddy as him. I mean, my sister’s all right but a girl and us guys got to stick together.” To emphasize his love for Nibs, Adam encircled the collie’s neck with his tiny arms earning him a head rub. “I wish my sister and I had someone like him to talk to. Mommy’s good, but sometimes she just doesn’t have the time to listen. Ya know? I mean with daddy gone she has to work extra besides her soldiering.”

To request an autograph on your kindle (my author page)
Buy links for A Dog Gone Christmas

Jill Shalvis - Instant Attraction

Publisher: Kensington Brava

ISBN-13: 978-0758231239

My rating: 5/5

Accountant Katie Kramer is a quintessential good girl--working hard, recycling diligently, all the while trying to ignore the feeling that she doesn't fit in anywhere. That's all she wants. Well, that--and amazing sex, and the kind of daredevil escapade she can look back on when she's crunching numbers in a dusty cubicle. Which explains why she just took a job in Wishful, California, working for Wilder Adventures and Expeditions. Waking up to find a magnificently built stranger towering over her bed--that part defies explanation. . .
After wandering the planet for months following a life-changing accident, Cameron Wilder has come back to the only home he knows. Under other circumstances, he might be thrilled to find a gorgeous woman sleeping in his cabin, but now, while he'll risk his body taking clients on adrenaline-drenched excursions, his heart is off limits. Still, Katie's killer smile triggers something deep in his gut. . .among other places. Showing her how exhilarating it can be to stop balancing her life as if it was a checkbook is the biggest rush he's ever felt--and an adventure Katie's wishing would never end... (

My thoughts

No wonder 3/4 of the female population is ooh'ing and ahh'ing about this book. Two words: It's GREAT. It pulls you in from the very first page and doesn't let go of you until the very end.

The main characters are Katie and Cameron (Cam) who meet in Cam's bedroom on the very first page. Great start!

Katie's just survived a traumatic accident when she flees from her life to seek some adventure - in the Sierras where she's taken on a temp job with WILDER ADVENTURES. Cam returns from his year of "finding himself traveling the world" at the same time and finds Katie in his bed. He has to deal with his own demons as well after a snowboarding accident finished his careers.

Both have an "instant attraction" and agree to do the "no strings attached" fun time. Yet, over the few weeks they lean to cope and work at their bottled up problems. The way they help each other to deal with their past was well developed and I loved it. And with the Jill Shalvis' touch of wit and humour the story was close to perfect.

Katie's a great character - I really liked her. "Balls out" is her motto, live her life and no regrets. She's the one in the "relationship" who gives, is open about her feelings and so down to earth, one can not like her. Even a guy like Cam who's trying his darnest.

So if you please excuse me, I need to order Stone's and TJ's books .... NOW!


ebook Giveaway - Journey to Her Dreams

Journey to Her Dreams 
ebook Giveaway

Hollie and Sam live at opposites of the world and their lives couldn’t be more different, yet they share something in common.

Hollie Anderson is in her mid-twenties and living with her father, Murray, on a farm just outside Launceston in Tasmania. Her mother died at childbirth and Murray raised his daughter on his own. According to his own words he’s done a bloody good job with it, too. Hollie has got the looks, she likes her job at a local newspaper and loves the company of her friends, who go way back to school days. Two of those are Alex and Davo … she should be happy, right?

But lately Hollie’s dreams are literally keeping her from more than just having a decent sleep.

Apart from those dreams Hollie’s life is good. She enjoys life and her best friend Alex is a big part of it. The two young women have known each other since Kindergarten and have grown up together. They are a close team. At weekends they usually catch up with old school friends, like Davo, who is the oldest in their group and the one organising most get-togethers, or Ben, a primary teacher in Davenport and the one who has lately been the reason for the butterflies in Alex’s tummy.

During one of those nights out, Hollie meets Jeremy who has just moved into town. Jeremy seems to have everything a woman would like in a man, the looks, the money, the good job – and he knows it, too. Their relationship blossoms over the summer, but Jeremy knows that Hollie won’t fully commit to their new relationship until she makes sense of her dreams and what they stand for. So with the help from Alex and Davo, Jeremy organises a surprise birthday present which takes Hollie to Dublin … but what she discovers is so much more.

Sam Shaughnessy lives in Dublin, Ireland husband Padraic. Like Hollie, she works in advertising, though she is the Head of Advertising. She seems to have it all – a successful career, gorgeous looking husband, good looks and money.

But her life appears to crumble from underneath her and it’s when she meets Hollie and Davo that life all of a sudden takes a different turn. Sam as well will find more than she initially had looked for.

I'm giving away one free copy of "Journey to Her Dreams". This is an E-book (pdf) and is available for international winners. All you have to do is:

  • comment on this post and either FB share or re-tweet this post (pls add the link).
  • Winner will be chosen using
  • This giveaway is open to International entrants.
  • eBook Giveaway will end 3 December when I log in in the morning (Eastern Australian Time).
  • Winner will be notified by email and announced on my blog.
EASY ! Oh, and yes, Good luck!!

Rachel Gibson - No Man of Mine

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 9780061579110

My rating: 3/5

Autumn Haven's Las Vegas "to-do" list said to catch a show and play the slots—not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam Leclaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her run. And she did—right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality and before she could say "pass the coffee" Sam was gone.
Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn she hasn't clapped eyes on the heart-breaking hockey superstar for over two years... until she organizes his teammate's "Special Day," where Sam makes a BIG play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever? (

My thoughts

This story reads like a little stream of water trickling away in front of you - you like it, but it doesn't get your heart racing.
Autumn and Sam spent a few days and nights years earlier in Vegas, got married, got divorced, and Autumn ended up raising their son on her own, though with financial help from Sam and some overnight stays.

Autumn is a lovely character, a struggling mum trying to establish her business as a wedding / events planner. Sam is the typical "over-alpha-male" and  Hockey player with the Chinooks. After five years they meet again at a wedding. Wait, meet again? I thought they had a son together and Sam was taking him for overnight stays? Yes, I didn't get that one.

Anyway, they meet again and the whole "Why?" with-himself-conversation starts. And I don't get it either ... he left her in the hotel room, because she wasn't his type?  Then of course, Autumn's with-herself-conversation that she couldn't trust him. I kinda get that, once bitten twice shy ...

So - all in all, not the best Gibson story, but a lighthearted read for a weekend in front of the fire or at the beach .... don't expect too much though. If you haven't read a Gibson book yet, I'd recommend "Daisy's Back in Town"

Trailer - Journey to Her Dreams

I had a bit of a try with a trailer for my newly released book "Journey to her Dreams" by Astraea Press.
It's not designed to be a professional promo trailer, but in memory of a good friend I lost a few years back who I thought of when writing the story.
I hope you like it as well. If I get more than 10 comments I will randomly select a "winner" for a free  pdf copy of "Journey".

Release of "Journey to Her Dreams"

Published by Astraea Press

“Journey to Her Dreams”

is now available at every major online book store or here:

Would you travel around the world to uncover the reason for your dreams?
Hollie, a young woman from Tasmania does, and during her journey to Ireland, she is determined to find out what is behind those dreams about “the other woman”. Yet, during her quest for answers, Hollie finds more than just the reason for it.

Take control of your future today.
Sam rolled her eyes and shook her head at the sleazy slogan at the back of the bus. Yet, it gave her an idea and she thought about a possible Mega Rear Ad on the Dublin bus when her phone announced an incoming call.
“Good morning, it’s Phoebe here –”
But her assistant didn’t have a chance to finish the sentence. “Phee, I’m on my way to the office. I’ve only just come out of the meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald.”
A lie.
“Give me ten minutes.”
Phoebe persisted with her message though. “The meeting this afternoon with Mr. Jackson has been cancelled. He’s still out of town. The new appointment will be next Wednesday, same time.”
As she strode by the shop window, Sam admired her reflection. She liked what she saw. So what? She was vain, but appearance was important to her and she loved to accentuate the main feature in her face – her beautiful, bright blue eyes. She watched herself in the window, her long legs seeming even longer in her new high heels which had cost a fortune, her delicate fingers proudly showing off her wedding ring, the diamond earrings and her cheeks which had turned slightly rosy after the facial.
“This actually suits me fine,” she finally replied after admiring herself. “Don’t expect me in the office this afternoon. I’ll be out for the rest of the day. I'll work on the layouts for the January edition tomorrow.” She hung up without even waiting for a response, checked the time and dialled a number.
“Claire?” Sam opened her car and threw her bag in the back. “How about some lunch?”
“Sam, seriously, someone has to tell you one day that other people actually need to work hard for their money.” Claire replied. “How about I meet you in about half an hour on George Street?”
“Grand. I look forward to it.”
Sam got in her car and drove back into the main streets of Dublin. The cars ahead of her were slow, and she took a deep breath and tried to ignore her obvious dislike of the winter season. Dublin’s streets were still wet from the rain the last few days, and Sam cursed at the glare off the street from the afternoon sun and the more-than-usual midday traffic. Christmas wasn’t far off and the shops were doing their best to lure the customers into the main streets for some last minute shopping – Ireland’s capital was packed. While searching for a parking spot, she noticed how many Christmas lights had already gone up. The smell of candles and candies were in the air, which put a smile on Sam’s face. She remembered her family Christmases with great fondness. She crossed the street, and when she came out of the protection of the building she was brought back to reality with the icy breeze on her face. Sam pulled the collar of her coat a tad higher in a weak attempt to shield herself from the cold air and walked towards the café.
Sam noticed Claire gazing at her, but chose to ignore that her friend was shaking her head in disbelief.
“Don’t tell me,” Claire said with a courteous but patronising voice.
“Okay, I won’t,” Sam said casually as she greeted Claire with a kiss on the cheek.
Claire flashed a look of frustration. “You know exactly what I mean, Sam. He did it again, didn’t he?”
Sam’s mouth spread into a thin-lipped smile. “Let’s not talk about it.”
“Is this why we’re here?”
“No!” Sam protested. “I had a meeting cancelled and instead of going into the office, I thought I should catch up with you before Christmas. Things have been so hectic lately; it feels like I haven’t seen you forever. I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already. No idea where the time has gone. What are you up to for Christmas?”
Sam and Claire had been friends for a few years. Both had worked for a small Irish newspaper in Dublin before Sam got the promotion to her current job as Head of Advertising with a popular and well-established magazine. The women kept in contact over the years, developing a wonderful friendship. Claire moved to Dublin after she had finished school in Limerick on the west coast. She wanted to enjoy life in the big city – London was out of her reach, so she had settled for Dublin. Even though Sam knew Claire considered herself an attractive woman with her long dark hair, Mediterranean complexion, dark brown eyes and beautiful facial features, she always teased Sam about the time and effort she invested in her appearance.
The women went into their favourite café and made themselves comfortable in the far corner next to the open fire. Sam hung up her long black coat and ordered her coffee; Claire had her usual Espresso. They both loved the rustic atmosphere of the cosy little place amidst the Irish capital, the old-fashioned flair and the constant aroma of freshly made coffee – perfect spot for a chat and some time out.
Claire loosened her scarf a bit. I’ll be with Mum and Dad over Christmas. Hannah will be having her birthday party on New Year’s Eve. You should come. You remember Hannah, don’t you?”
Sam knew how much Claire missed her family in Limerick. Life in Dublin was wonderful, and everything her friend always wanted, but nothing could replace the comforts of family and home.
“I don’t know about the party yet, Claire. Padraic’s going skiing, but I’m not sure whether he’ll be back for New Year’s Eve or not,” she muttered uneasily.
Claire shrugged. “Well, let me know if you can come. It’ll be a grand party.”
“I haven’t seen Hannah since your birthday in June. How is she?”
“She’s still in Limerick. I did tell you about her pregnancy, didn’t I? The baby is due in late April. I so cannot wait to become an auntie.” Claire said excitedly.
Hannah was Claire’s younger sister who had chosen a different path of life than her sibling but, despite their different lifestyles, they were close. Sam somewhat envied them for their close bond.
Sam took another sip of her coffee. “We’ll be with Padraic’s family on Christmas. The usual, you know. I'll go to Mum and Dad’s the day after. Dad’s not doing too well at the moment, so I'll be staying with them for a few days.”
“The usual, indeed. Is this his excuse to go skiing?” Claire replied with heavy irony.
“No. You know he doesn’t get along with Mum and Dad too well. And a little break will do me good, too.”
Sam felt Claire’s gaze on her. “Sam. What you need is a big break. What is it with you? You’re beautiful. You’re intelligent. You’re successful, confident and married to a husband who doesn’t appreciate you. It’s time, Sam. It’s time for a change.”
“He’s not a bad person, you know. You see some bruises and instantly assume it was Padraic. Accidents do happen. He is a caring husband. And he is extremely successful, and easy on the eyes.”
Claire shook her head. “Accidental bruises. Good one, Sam.”
Sam waved her arm in the air. She didn’t want to hear about it anymore. “Anyway, what I actually wanted to tell you about was this dream I had the other night. The weirdest one I’ve had for a while,” Sam said. “Quite bizarre, actually. There was this girl, somewhere in the countryside, who was with this truly handsome guy. Short dark hair, beautiful eyes, tall, and, boy, did he have a sexy body. Anyway, they were driving in this dashing car. Once he made a move on her in the car, she panicked and got out. Bizarre how clear it all seemed. I can't recall ever having a dream like this.”
“Who was it?” Claire asked and Sam knew her friend would be annoyed with the change of subject.
“No idea. But you should have seen him. No way would I have left the car.” Sam couldn’t help herself, but her mouth twitched into a grin.
She was aware Claire disapproved of her love for flirting, particularly since she was married, and often expressed her opinion whether that could be a reason for Padraic’s moments of rage.
Claire gazed over the rim of her Espresso cup as she took a sip. “So you’re telling me about your dreams now, because we can’t talk about your real life?” Sam's eyes darted around the café in frustration. “Give it a break, Claire. I’m telling you because this one felt so real. You know, you have dreams, odd ones and mostly truly weird. This one was different. It was like somehow I sensed his touch on me.”
“Now you’re giving me shivers, Sam. Honestly, I don’t want to drag on about it, but I honestly think it’s just another sign of you and Padraic ...”
Sam shook her head regretfully. “Never mind! Just forget about it.”
Sam noticed a bit of anger and disappointment creeping up in her. She glanced at her watch. “Sorry Claire, I forgot to keep an eye on the time. I’d better go.”

WIP - next Chapter

This is part of chapter two of my current WIP.
I'd appreciate any comments.
Even better constructive critism.
Best of all would be comments if you like it.

Emma’s shift was only starting in an hour’s time, but she took a lift from Jack as she usually did on Mondays. Jack worked an extra hour each Monday and Friday to cover for a longer lunch when he was allowed to use the gym in the basement.

“Excuse me?”

Emma turned around and looked into Nadine’s beautiful eyes.

“Good morning, Nadine. It was Nadine wasn’t it?”

The girl’s face lit up. “Yes, but Mum always called me Naddie.”

“May I call you Naddie?”

Emma filled her glass with more orange juice. She always used the extra hour to enjoy a good breakfast at the hotel – thank goodness it was part of her arrangement. She studied the little girl, who was holding on to her oversized doll, which was wearing the same outfit as Nadine – pink t-shirt imprinted with ‘My beautiful Princess’, a denim skirt with a Barbie on it surrounded by lots of pink hearts in all sizes, pink shiny sandals and the brown hair done up in a pony tail.

“Where are your grandparents, Naddie?”

“Still in the room. Talking on the phone. Grandmother is always on the phone,” little Nadine added.

“Do you think you’re allowed to have a bit of breakfast with me?”

Nadine nodded overenthusiastically and sat down opposite Emma.

“Do they know where you are?”

The little head moved up and down and with her eyes wide open she said, “Told Grandpa.”

“I like your outfit,” Emma said while she took another glass and filled it with juice.

Nadine took one of the rolls. “Mum’s friend gave it to me for my birthday.”

“I take it you like Barbie.”

“Yes!” And that was literally the keyword to get Nadine started. She was bubbling with information about Barbie and which Barbie she had at home, which one she would like to have, about Ken and not to forget all the Barbie movies. Emma felt a bit overwhelmed by all these details but enjoyed listening to her new friend, when she all of sudden heard Teresa’s firm voice.


Nadine’s face suddenly lost its spark when she saw her grandmother.

“My apologies,” Teresa stopped in front of Emma. She hesitated. “Emma, wasn’t it?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I do apologies for Nadine. I have no idea where she has her manners from ...”

“Ma’am, there’s no need to apologise. I really enjoyed her company.”

But Teresa had already grabbed Nadine by the wrist and pulled her off the seat. Then she turned to Emma again.

“Say Emma, I need someone to look after Nadine this afternoon. Who would be the best one to contact here in the hotel to organise this for me?”

Emma was a bit stumped by this question. She stared at Teresa Gibbs and was a bit intimidated by her. Mrs Gibbs glared like her old English teacher from fifth grade with the hair that probably used to be black and had now faded into grey tied up in a bun, her face reading like a map of time with every line a memory of her life, her grey eyes dulled with age, lifeless and hollow, and her mouth tight as if a nice word had never crossed these lips. Not to mention her clothes, which Emma thought, would be older than Emma herself.

 “Well I suppose the reception, which will be me in about fifteen minutes.”

“Can I leave that in your capable hands to organise this?”

“Well ... I suppose ... I mean ... that’s a new one for me, but I suppose, yes.”

Teresa grew impatient. “Emma, is that a yes or no?”

“It’s a yes ma’am,” Emma replied slightly embarrassed but yet with more confidence this time, even though she had no idea how to handle this request.

“Thanks, Emma. I would need someone between one and two-thirty.” And with that she left. Emma quickly gave a little wave to Nadine before she was out of her sight.

She finished her breakfast, returned her dishes to the kitchen and made her way to the reception area where she caught up with Jacqueline before she took over from her at the reception. It seemed like a quiet morning as she glanced over to the hotel lobby. The spacious entrance lit up with crystal chandeliers in contrast to the contemporary colours of the sand-coloured marble floor and the walnut panelling on the walls. Again, Emma gazed envious at the chocolate brown coloured furnishings which were according to Management strategically selected and arranged to allow a visual play of light and space. She loved that slogan. It had so many words, but really didn’t say anything at all.

Nightshifts at the reception were usually done by Jacqueline, who tried to study Business Management during the day.

 “Hey, Jacqui?”

Jacqui turned towards Emma. “Hmm?”

“How do I get a babysitter for this afternoon?”

Jacqui just stared at Emma and slowly lifted her eyebrows. “A babysitter?”

“Yes, for Room 502. They need a babysitter for their granddaughter.”

“Geez, Em, you’ve just given me a fright.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right – as if.”

Emma followed Jacqui as she went over to the office and reached for a drawer and removed a little folder.

“You should find all the details in here. But good luck. I’m not sure whether they can provide anybody on such short notice.”

“Great!” Emma said wryly.

Jacqui padded Emma’s arm. “You’ll be right. Jack should be here any minute and he can give you a hand.”

Emma took the folder and quickly flicked through it. “Thanks Jacqui,” she mumbled, but when she lifted her head she saw Jack standing in front of her – and almost dropped the folder it gave her such a fright.

“Geez, Jack! You’ve scared the crap out of me.”

“A hand with what?”

“I need a babysitter.”

Jack raised his eyebrows and a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “No worries. I look after you.”

Jill Shalvis - Animal Attraction

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

ISBN: 978 - 0 - 425 - 24400 - 5

My Rating: 3/5

Sunshine, Idaho, is a quiet ranching town that provides a perfect refuge for injured animals ... and sometimes, people. And veterinarian Dell Connelly suspects there's a reason his clinic's ueberefficient receptionist has taken shelter here.

Jade Bennett couldn't be happier to escape her well-meaning but smothering family and their expectations, not to mention the big-city jungle. There's nothing like working with animals, having a forlorn, grumpy stray kitten make its home under her desk ... or enjoying the gorgeous views of her ruggedly sexy boss to help her forget her past.

But Dell's seductive, alluring ways have sparked an uncontrollable desire, one Jade hadn't expected to feel again. And though Dell has never had time for love, Jade's strength and sass is the kind of call no red-blooded male can resist ... (from the back of the cover)

My thoughts

Okay - there's no denying: I LOVE JILL SHALVIS' Books. I haven't read many, but each are like ice cream with an extra dollop of cream and sprinkles.

Yet, I have a feeling Shalvis had a bad day with this one. And we all have bad days, don't we, so we have to compromise and not only see the bad things.

I loved Animal Magnetism and the whole set up in Sunshine. So naturally I was looking forward to Dell's story (AND I CAN'T WAIT  FOR ADAM's TURN!). But it was a bit of a let down. It's almost 300 page of repetition of Dell being so alpha male and Jade leaving soon - and a bit of filler in between with Adam, Brady and Lilah. But it's the witty remarks, the witty conversations that make up for it and make it a worthwhile book to read, not only for Shalvis lover.

By far not as good as Lucky Harbour, which has been so far a brilliant series, and not close to Brady's story in Animal Magnetism, but still a must for all Shalvis fans!

NB - One tiny little remark at the end though. I wasn't sure whether to include it or not, but after two or more months of editing my own book I was distracted by all the mistakes in this book. For me it's about the worst part of writing, but as a reader I like a clean book even if it means I have to wait longer. I can live with mistakes, but this one was riddled with it.

So let's move on ... Lucky Harbour #3 is being released soon :-) ... *'s counting days already* ... and Adam's story in 2012.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Ain't she Sweet

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 978-0060589776

My rating: 3/5

Sugar Beth Carey, the one-time “wild child” of Parrish, Mississippi, returns home to face a slew of old enemies lining up to get even. Worst of all is Colin Byrne, the man whose career Sugar Beth destroyed. Now he’s a famous novelist living in Sugar Beth’s old mansion, and he’s using his writer’s imagination to figure out how to bring the town’s former princess to her knees.

My thoughts

Ain't She Sweet is one of those books where I was undecided on what rating to give this book.  It was a great read, and nowadays I don't expect anything less from SEP, she's just one hell of a writer, but ... hmmm .... how to put it into words. The plot was good, funny, witty, great dialogue etc, but I had a hard time warming up to the characters.

Sugar Beth is coming back to Parrish after years away and three marriages later. She's not welcomed with open arms is an understatement, old feelings of feelings of betrayal and dislike creeps up in most of the town's residents.
I liked Sugar Beth - she's one hell of a character, backbone comes to mind, matured alright etc. Colin's is OK, but the most annoying person of all was Winnie - in her insecurity she came across selfish, petty and shallow.

I'd recommend Ain't She Sweet to all of those SEP lovers, but it's certainly not her best work. For those readers (really? There are some out there?) please have your first Phillips experience with a different book like "Dream a little Dream" or "Nobody's Baby but Mine".

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Breathing Room

Publisher:  Avon

ISBN: 978-0060093914

My rating: 3.5/5

She’s Dr. Isabel Favor, America’s diva of self-help. He’s Ren Gage, Hollywood’s favorite bad guy. She’s lost her money, her fiancé, and her reputation. He makes his living killing people—one the the silver screen, that is. Sometimes all it takes is a special place . . . a special love . . . a little breathing room . . . for life to deliver all its glorious promise. (

My thoughts

Gee, I like SEP's books. Another great read. From start to almost the end. Yes, I have to admit, the end was close to ridiculous or unbelievable that I wondered whether I had picked up the wrong book.

The main characters are Isabel and Lorenzo "Ren". She's just lost everything important in her life when she flees to Italy for some time out. But she meets Ren who's in Italy about to start his next movie. Order meets Chaos! I really liked the two characters, Ren even more when he got the hang of playing with the kids, or the potty training. I had a good giggle.

The sub-plot is about Ren's ex-wife Tracey and her husband Harry. With their marriage in pieces, Tracey comes to Italy for help from Ren - out of all people!

It was a typically SEP story with twist and turns, love and misunderstandings and a really good read for everyone who loves a good romance. I wasn't really sure how to rate it because bottom line, I had it read within days and I loved it. But it doesn't have the characters like in Dream a Little Dream or even the depth.

All in all - a great read, yet not of SEP's best one, but still highly recommendable!

Kathy Reichs - Fatal Voyage

Publisher: Pocket Star

ISBN:  9781416510567

My rating: 3/5

She has a passion for the truth . . . and this time, it's taking her down.
A commercial airliner disaster has brought Tempe Brennan to the North Carolina mountains as a member of the investigative agency DMORT. As bomb theories abound, Tempe soon discovers a jarring piece of evidence that raises dangerous questions -- and gets her thrown from the DMORT team. Relentless in her pursuit of its significance, Tempe uncovers a shocking, multilayered tale of deceit and depravity as she probes her way into frightening territory -- where someone wants her stopped in her tracks.

My thoughts

This is a great story, but way to long and sometimes way too much into detail to keep me reading/interested. I like the whole forensic stuff, but there's a limit for my little brain - this book gave me an overload.

So there's a plane crash in in North Carolina and Tempe Brennan is (coincidental) just around the corner and is asked to help out. Ryan (the Montreal cop) will join the crash site (coincidental) as well. She goes of in the forest for some rest and .... surprise surprise finds a foot which is not belonging to the crash site. Then it starts to get reasonably interesting as the pressure is on her to prove that she did follow protocol with this foot. Pressure from the high ranking Lieutenant Governor of the State. Then it's really like a roller coaster, well it would've been if Reichs wouldn't yadi yadi yada around. The plane crash? Don't ask me, it was like a second, irrelevant plot.

I'd say less would've been more. The constant repetition of questions, not only regarding work, but her private life really made me skip pages in the end. And as I said above, the plane crash a big fizzer!

I think you will enjoy it if you're a Reichs Fan!

Cherry Adair - Hush

Publisher: Pocket Star

ISBN-13: 978-1439153826

My rating: 3/5

A reckless adventure in a deadly paradise.
Thrill seekers Zakary and Gideon Stark travel the globe in search of extreme adventure, but a trip to Venezuela to jump off the world’s highest falls catapults them into a perilous game of life or death—where they don’t know the rules.
A one-night stand that will change his life forever.
Kidnapped with a woman Zak knows nothing about, the brothers are held prisoner deep in the jungle. A risky, deathdefying escape separates them and nearly claims Zak’s life . . . until his recovery reveals a baffling new sixth sense.
An unexpected diversion with lethal consequences.
Now, to find his missing brother, Zak and the mysterious Acadia Gray will have to out-smart, out-gun, and out-maneuver not just the brutal kidnappers but also a new player who joins the adrenaline game: a ruthless opponent who wants the Stark brothers dead—at any cost. (fromt he back of the cover)

My thoughts

Wow! This was a great read. It sucks you in from the very beginning and has you on the edge of your seat literally right through to the end.

This was my first book by Cherry Adair, and I'm really grateful to my friend for recommending it to me. It's the first book in the Lodestone trilogy, so I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

It's all about a kidnapping of brothers Zakary and Gideon Stark - plus Zak's one night stand Acadia. The romance-adventure idea really appealed to me and I couldn't put the book down. A page turner!
The two main characters are great. Zak ignorant, arrogant and macho, but learning from Acadia that life can be enjoyable again. Acadia is very likable, in fact real. She's a small town girl, who after a win in the Lotto, travels to Venezuela to step out of her comfort zone from daily life. It's a massive step outside as she's stuck with the two brothers in the jungle running from their kidnappers.She conquers big and small challenges with instinct and flair. I really liked her!

Why only 3 stars??

There's a lot, A LOT of F-words, some may say that's how people talk nowadays, that maybe so, but I find that doesn't necessarily mean a book needs to emphasise the apparent need for it. There isn't one!

Also - Acadia's jacket! Now I am aware this is a fiction and I should give a little leanway, but when she got out a tent out of her pocket I was like "No way!". That was a bit of a turn off for me because it was edging on the "ridiculous" part.

Not really a reason for the 3 stars, but readers should be aware, there are some nice and steamy sex scenes in that book. Not necessarily for everyone!

Lastly (and nothing to do with the rating) - There are a view readers who mentioned the "sixth sense" Zak acquires after his death experience. I kinda liked it. For me it was probably more believable than the "jacket scenario". It's subtle and fits into the story.

All in all - great read (except the few points above) and I'd fully recommend it. I know I will go over the bookstore and will check out a few more of Cherry Adair's books.

Sequel to Sweet Dreams, Miss England

Just as often as the readers are telling me off regarding the ending of Sweet Dreams, Miss England, do I get asked about a sequel. I've been adamant that there would be no more "Nicky", but a few ideas have been floating in my mind and I've come up with a couple of possible ideas.

Here's one idea for a start. Let me know what you think!

"Good Morning, Miss Ireland'

Nicky's eyes shot wide open. "Are you sure?”
He moved the screen so it was visible for her. “Would you like to see it for yourself?”
Staring at the screen she slowly shook her head in disbelief. Her head fell back into the tiny cushion and she focused on a small dot at the ceiling. “I can’t do this. Not on my own. How - ”
She turned to look at her doctor, eyes filling with tears.
“There are ways ...”
She shook her head from side to side. “No,” she whispered. “How long?”
“I’ve got to do proper measuring, but I’d say about 12 – 14 weeks.”
Nicky was calculating in her head. About three months. Goddamn it!

I received "The Versatile Blogger Award" ... Yeah!

Today Meg Mims of Double Crossing Website awarded me with

“The Versatile Blogger Award.”

Thank you so very much. I very much appreciate the "Trophy", especially as I consider myself a rather lazy blogger. So thanks, Meg!!!!!!

Here are the Versatile Blogger Award rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave it to you and link back to them.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award along to other, recently discovered blogs and let them know about it.

So .... Seven ??? .... Seriously ??? You want to know SEVEN things about me? Yikes!
  1. I was born in Germany and came to Australia quite a few years back. Loving my life here!
  2. I've got two beautiful, beautiful girls who make me complete! Yes I know I do whinge sometimes, but hey, c'est la vie! ... They're two little cuties!
  3. Interesting Fact: Had to leave school after Year 10, as my grades in English and French weren't good enough .... Fancy that, twenty years later I write books in English.
  4. I selfpublished my first book "Sweet Dreams, Miss England". Feedback and reviews have been great, yet I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now about publishing.
  5. My second book "Journey to Her Dreams" will be published with Astraea Press soon .... Can't wait. AP has been a great help, guide and all of the wonderful things you can say about a publisher. I'm really proud being part of their team!
  6. My favourite food is probably Spaghetti's or Fajitas. If I could choose I would probably prefer European Food over anything else.
  7. I will never admit I said it, but yes I'm a "Coca Cola" addict :-(  ......  AND I DO NOT LIKE EATING LAMB!

Now, here are some of the best blogs I’ve discovered this year and I’m awarding each the

Versatile Blogger Award. Before you ask, no, they’re in no particular order:

Lynette Sofras, at Manic Scribbler

Antje, at Cresting the Words

Sheilagh, at Well Read

Lindsay, at Murders & Mysteries

Congratulations! Hope you're enjoying forwarding this "Trophy" as much as I did :-)

Breast Cancer Month ! A Funny Video on a Very Serious Issue!

Breast Cancer Month !!!

Let the guys explain to you about Breast TLC !
Funny, but seriously ladies, this is important stuff .

When young women get breast cancer it often spreads more aggressively, leading to tougher treatments and lower survival rates. Add such age-specific issues as fertility, diagnosis during pregnancy, childcare, financial security… and breast cancer becomes a triple threat to young women.
But here’s the good news: When it’s caught in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate for women ages 20-39 is almost 90%. We think that¹s a pretty fabulous reason for every young woman to get proactive about her breast health. (

"One for the Money" Movie Trailer

Am I looking forward to seeing the movie ?? You bet I am :-)
Trailer looks great, don't you think?

Details on the book - click here.

I'm sure you'll like it so why not check out Number "Explosive Eighteen" !!!

James Patterson - Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross #2)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

ISBN: 978-0446601245

My rating: 4/5

First came the stunning number-one bestseller Along Came a Spider. Now comes the scariest, most unforgettable novel in several years. In Los Angeles, a reporter investigating a series of murders is killed. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beautiful medical intern suddenly disappears. Washington D.C.'s Alex Cross is back to solve the most baffling and terrifying murder case ever. Two clever pattern killers are collaborating, cooperating, competing—and they are working coast to coast. (

My thoughts

Woohoo, what a page turner. Okay, it did take me a few pages to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I was really reading non-stop. I liked this one much better than "Swimsuit", which I had read recently.

It's a story about two serial killers: Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, both terrorising both US coasts at the same time. When Alex Cross' niece is taken as well, he travels south to North Carolina and investigates as well.

IMHO, this was truly well written; the characters well developed, the setting of the scene brilliantly described, though gruesome at times and explicit in details, Patterson has a skill to keep the reader  on the edge of their seat.

And the ending was a nice surprise as well!

Great Read!!

Lisa Vaughn - The Gifted Ones

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN: 978-1456506230

My rating: 4/5

Lisa was conservatively raised in a Catholic family in no-where middle America, where excitement is scarce and dreams are for sleeping. Little did she know, at age thirteen, she would suddenly find herself on a totally different path. Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she's surprisingly mesmerized, almost consumed, to befriend a girl who is obviously from the other side of the tracks...the cool side. Lisa does whatever she has to just to be accepted into this small club of coolness. Little did she realize, she was signing up for a lot more than social status. The two best friends find themselves innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither had experienced or saw coming. A rollercoaster ride littered with choices and challenges Lisa never fathomed facing, especially in no-where middle America. She will find out what she is made of as she faces the consequences and struggles that come along with going against the grain. Throughout their six year relationship, you will witness a touching story of human nature at it's best...and at it's worst. Showing just how far the human spirit can be challenged and pushed to a point where your “fight or flight” instincts naturally kick in. Struggling just to survive in a world where you are not like everyone else, but at the same time you really are. The daily struggles- both internal and external- are exhausting, yet necessary in their quest for one simple human Finally breaking through all constraints that hold them back, reaching levels of one-ness that few actually obtain in a lifetime with their partner...only to find once they've reached that special place, it's not quite the right fit...for one of them, at least. This contemporary story will lead the reader through highs and lows, giving insight to the every day challenges of the socially unaccepted, which will no doubt leave them rooting for the underdog. A true story of human resilience and the power of love...plain and simple. (

My thoughts

Lisa Vaughn sent me a copy of her story for an honest opinion. I first of all, though, would like to apologies to Lisa for taking so long to read it. Life has just been busy and it had nothing to do with the content of this book!

It wasn't the first memoir I've read, but admittedly the first memoir by a person I don't know and had never heard of. So I was a bit hesitant to accept the book. For me my private life is just that, private - okay, as much as you can keep things private when you're trying to sell books. So my sincere admiration goes out to Lisa for telling the story of her first love, a gay relationship, in such raw and open emotions. A true story of a young woman not only trying to find herself in the 1970s, but also fighting for what she believes in.

We start reading about Lisa's journey at a tender age of thirteen, growing up somewhere in Indiana with under the strict eyes of her parents, especially her mother, to whom she often refers to as "The Warden". This is also the time when she meets Selina, the girl she falls in love with, the girl she fights for and the girl she feels more than love for, she feels connected to.

It was a page turner for me. Once I got started I couldn't stop reading. Lisa wrote the story interestingly that I felt every pain and every happy moment with her. I felt like I conquered every milestone with her as well as laughed with her.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone to read. It's honest, fast paced and interesting and doesn't fall at all into the category to push any "gay" issues.

(Click here to read a great interview with Lisa Vaughn re the book)

Monique O'Connor James - The Keepers

Publisher: Astraea Press

ISBN: 978-1-936852-34-5

My rating: n/a

Jess denies God. In his infinite wisdom, He’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith. Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.
Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper. Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.
Never mind falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen. In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.
If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul will live and whose will perish?

My thoughts

One of the first lines you read when starting this book is that Monique O'Connor James dedicated that book to her late mother. And I have to tell you once you've read well into the story you have a feeling where Jess' (the main character) raw emotions come from ... the author.

For me this one was a risky choice - a paranormal story has to be beyond good for me to keep reading. I liked the idea. Jess' mother died and her faith in God is shaky. Then she meets Justin ...

OK, this book was so not my cup of tea (hence no rating, because that would've been unfair)  I had to put the book aside a couple of times. Not only because of the emotions and the food for thought they gave, but the constant fights between the two main characters were tiring. The discussions between them about faith, love, guilt and all those issues deserve a book over 200 pages, but at some stage I felt it was too much. And I couldn't really figure out between all their fights what made Jess so special to Justin for him to fall in love with her. Other issues I had was that the main character Jess was either sleeping, in bed or in the bathroom, other descriptions didn't make it clear enough for me to have an imaginary picture of the scene which made it even harder to follower the storyline.

The ending got me sucked in then. The dialogue and action with Dawson were fast paced and interesting, but the last pages were disappointing in a sense of leaving quite a few minor questions for me.

I know Monique O'Connor is a very talented writer and having said (or written) all this doesn't say it's not worthwhile reading. Paranormal is not my thing, but I was curious because I liked the blurb.