Showing posts with label Anniek's reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anniek's reviews. Show all posts

Dec 23, 2015

Book Review: The Starlight Chronicles by Lisa Orchard

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Review by Anniek

Lark Singer has only got one dream. She wants to be and will be a famous rock star. Lark has a band named Starlight together with Bean and Steve. They have found their big ticket out of the little town they live in. The only thing they have to do is win The American Singer contest. It turns out that even though all the band members want to win just as badly as Lark does, not all of them have a clear mind or conscience.

I loved Lark. She is a young girl with a good head on her shoulders. She lives alone with her mother and has no idea who her father is. Her mother only finds confidence when in a relationship. This is so hard on her. Lark wants a better life for herself, but she is never patronizing where she comes from. She is really a good girl who wants to achieve more than the odds are giving her. In real life she would be a very good role model for young girls.

Lisa Orchard provides lots of twists and turns in her story. There were times when I knew more or less what was coming, but I was so hoping that I was wrong. This story has some dark sides and the writing is great. I loved the fact that the characters were all thought out very well. This completed it for me.

The message I got from Lark is that no matter what curve balls life is throwing at you, keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused and stay true to what you believe in. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Dec 13, 2015

Book Review: The Aubrey Rules by Aven Ellis

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Review by Anniek

Aubrey Paige is on her way to a job interview when she falls flat on her face coming out of an elevator. She is so embarrassed when the most handsome guy she has ever met helps her up and makes sure she gets to the interview on time. Aubrey lives by her rules and is very strict with them until she meets Beckett. 

Beckett is a professional hockey player. He is the captain of the team, a beast on the ice who stands for his team, but who is socially awkward off the ice. His boss wants him to be more open about his personal life and to use social media more. He has no idea how to do that but when he meets Aubrey he's found the perfect person to help him. 

I loved Aubrey. She feels so real to me. She is clumsy, likes her pizza and fries and she is also feisty. She stands up for herself even though it is sometimes hard to do so. Aubrey could be the girl next door. She is really easy to relate to. Beckett is one guy I wished was real. He is gorgeous, big, dorky and oh so sweet. He really went out of his way to make Aubrey feel comfortable and stood his ground when he needed to. Even though he is shy it didn't stop him from speaking his mind and I really liked that. 

This was my first time reading a book from Aven Ellis and it absolutely won't be my last. The first thing I noticed was the cover. It really pulled me in before even have read the blurb. When I looked up her other books I noticed that they all have equally gorgeous covers. The way Aven Ellis writes feels so comfortable. Her story was really easy to read because of the fact that the words just flow somehow. Her characters feel like real people and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. 

In The Aubrey Rules you will also meet Landy and Livy both best friends to Beckett and Aubrey. I can't wait for their story to come up next because they will be a sure thing for some fireworks. In Aven Ellis I have found a new writer to follow. I look forward to reading much more from her.

Dec 10, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Double Book Review: A Miracle at Macy's by Lynn Marie Hulsman

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Review by Anniek

Charlotte is a person who isn't really outgoing. She is a bit shy and prefers her own company. When she desperately needed a friend she found Hudson. This little dog became her family. After losing her mother, Charlotte was raised by her aunt Miranda. Miranda is everything that Charlotte is not. Miranda 'rules' the world while Charlotte keeps to herself.

When Hudson gets lost Charlotte is in sheer panic. Miranda knows of only one person who can help her niece get her dog back. This person is Henry. He is Miranda's right hand and is very resourceful. Henry comes from a simple background. He grew up on a farm, but took the first opportunity he got to be educated well. Ever since his girlfriend thought he wasn't good enough for her he is determined to prove otherwise. He has worked very hard to get where he is today and he isn't very happy to be searching for a lost dog.

When he and Charlotte meet there are sparks, real firework even. They are so right for each other. Hudson couldn't have done a better job than to get them together. While they are chasing after Hudson all over Manhattan their hearts bond. Charlotte learns to come out of her shell and Henry learns the true meaning of Christmas and family again. I absolutely loved this magic story. Picturing Hudson having the time of his life really made me smile.

Lynn Marie Hulsman really did an amazing job on creating magic and making you feel like you are right there with Charlotte and Henry searching for Hudson. For everyone who loves Christmas this really is the book to read. It is a funny, feel-good, heartwarming story. It proves to you that there really are more good people out there than you would have ever imagined.

Review by Tanya 

This is a heart-warming fun story that really got me in the Christmas mood, thank you Lynn Marie Hulsman, I certainly needed this. The book is about Charlotte a food blogger and recipe tester, who lives in New York but is English. She ended up there when her mother died and she went to live with her Aunt Miranda. During the book Charlotte loses her dog Hudson and she is lead on a goose chase all over New York looking for him. She is supported with this hunt by an employer of her aunt called Henry Wentworth. Initially she does not get along with him as she is certain that he is only doing the task as a way of pleasing her aunt. Also she is not used to being in someone’s company for such long periods of time.

I loved the bond that is formed between Charlotte and Hudson and also how he seems to make her do things that she does not feel comfortable doing. The adventures that Hudson gets up to are fun and exactly what I would love to do if I visited New York. He makes Charlotte come out of her comfort zone in her search which is great for her confidence. She also makes some great friends on the way and realises that she is not alone. 

I felt really upbeat after reading this story. It is a great read for anyone who loves Christmas.

Dec 7, 2015

Australia Days Book Review & Giveaway: Called by Fire by Delwyn Jenkins

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Review by Anniek

Kamryn Vale is a fire witch who lives with her roommates at the Collegium. This is an academy for Dhanan witches where they can learn to control their power. After a witch graduates she will have her full powers and will return to her home in the world below. Kamryn and her roommates are a very powerful group of witches. Containing all the elements earth, fire, air and water.

When one witch has been murdered and another one is missing the primus witches who rule the school have no choice but to bring back the Knights of the Watchtower. They were banished from their grounds hundreds of years ago but now they have to come back to take their rightful place again  beside the witches.

Alex is a Knight of the Watchtower. Knights are trained to protect the Dhanan witches and to increase their power when needed. When he lays his eyes on Kamryn he knows that she is his and his alone. Can he protect her against all the darkness that lies ahead?

When they work together, 4 witches and 6 knights, they are the most powerful group to come across. They will certainly not go down without a fight to reclaim their missing witch from the tentacles of the most dark sorcerer of all times...

Sometimes you start reading a book and it just grabs you from the very first line. Called by Fire is one of those books. It is fast-paced and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved the characters. The witches are all feisty women who hold their ground against the knights. All four of the witches are women who you don't want to have as an enemy. They are resourceful, sparkly but also very sweet and loving.

What about the knights... I must say I fell in love with the knights. These men are exactly what a knight should be like. Big, gorgeous and manly but also very loving, caring and protective of their own. They see the witches as family and will protect them until their very last breath.

To make sure that all of you readers out there will understand how blown away I am by this book I wrote a little chant myself.

Because of the fact that my zodiac sign, Capricorn, is an earth sign I gave myself the same element.

Goddess of the earth here my voice
for reading this story I had no choice
reveal it's greatness for all to be
this is my will so mote it be

Of course I want to end my review in the style of this story:

Go in Safety and in Love

Merry we meet
Merry we part
and merry we meet again

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dec 3, 2015

Australia Days Fabulous Freebie Book Review: Lethal in Love Episode 1 by Michelle Somers

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Review by Anniek

Jayda is a homicide detective. She comes in action when a dead body turns up. She is feisty and also a bit of a loner. Jayda and her partner Chase are the lead investigators when a serial killer starts leaving victims again after 25 years of silence. They never caught him all of those years ago and now he's back. Jayda has big shoes to fill as her father was a detective before he retired. He was very well respected during his years on the force. Will Jayda be able to stop the Night Terror Killer before he takes more lives?

Chase had a little thing for Jayda. They almost had a slip-up together but in the end it didn't happen. Jayda sees this as a good thing because she wants to stay professional and she knows that Chase will always have her back. Sean is a journalist who is not happy with his current job. He is looking for the perfect story to give him the boost he needs to get better offers. Is the Night Terror case the one he needs?

Lethal in Love Episode 1 will deal with all the things I mentioned above. It reads like a television series. My number one addiction is, obviously, books but number two, television series, is not far behind. I love the fact that this story feels like this. In the evening I always want to watch a little bit of television, but a movie is usually too long, so I love to watch an episode of one of my favorite series. They take no more than 45 minutes of my time and then I can also still do other things. Often this will be reading. You can finish an episode of the Lethal in Love series easily in one evening as well.

Michelle Somers did an amazing job in writing a fast-paced story. She will keep you guessing from page one and makes you hungry for more after the ending of an episode. Since the very first lines I find myself guessing who the serial killer is. Now I have to keep reading until I finished all the six episodes to see if I am right. Like every good episode the first part of this story has an open end, so it will seduce you to come back for more. I cannot wait to be reading the other episodes. I guess I found myself another addiction.

Dec 1, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: A Distant Voice by Bridie Blake

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Review by Anniek

Violet Hayes struggles through life. Her father walked out on her leaving her to deal with her mom and her sister Rose all alone. Ever since her father left her mom is not leaving her bed, let alone the house and Rose mostly doesn't even leave her room. They pack up their stuff to live with her grandmother Iris in a small town called Wandorah.

Iris O'Connor once was a very famous singer but her career went out like a flame after a performance that went bad. Violet has a lot to deal with. Her mother is depressed and her sister Rose wants her all for herself. This results in Violet pulling back from the rest of the world. She doesn't think she needs or deserves friends. Happiness isn't in her cards either so she pretty much keeps to herself. Unlucky for her, Wandorah has some great residents who are not willing to let Violet fade into the background.

Sometimes you read a book that you feel all the way to the middle of your heart. A Distant Voice is one of those books. Violet is beating herself up for the tragedies that happened which she could do nothing about. She feels selfish and puts herself aside for her family members who need her. I felt for her! Such a young girl who has to endure so much. I was rooting for her to find her own voice again and to understand that she can be who she wants to be without feeling guilty.

Some of the events in this story were really difficult for me to read about because they hit very close to home. I never saw the ending coming. It surprised me and brought me to tears. I finished this book literally with tears in my eyes. Bridie Blake did an amazing job with making the reader feel the emotions and she doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. This is an author I will keep following and I am really looking forward to be drawn into her world again.


One very lucky reader of this blog will receive a kindle copy of A Distant Voice. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Nov 28, 2015

Australia Days: Interview with Bridie Blake

Interview with Bridie Blake by Anniek

1. Could you tell a bit about yourself?

I live in Melbourne, Australia and am very lucky to have my friends and family live nearby, and even luckier to have my parents (and their fully stocked kitchen) within walking distance. I work five days a week in administration and the majority of my spare time is spent writing.

I have a dog, Poppy, and cat, Mac and until I have kids those two are my babies! And I’m one of those people who takes an insane number of photos of my animals and then forces people to look at how cute they are. If you meet me, you’ve been warned!

I hate to fly, but love to travel so I’m waiting on someone to invent a machine that transports me from one country to another in a flash. Fingers crossed. 

2. How does it make you feel to learn that Violet is loved just as much by your readers as by you?

Ecstatic! As a writer, you spend so much time getting to know your characters, being inside their heads and feeling what they’re feeling, and when someone tells you they love your characters it’s a pretty special thing. That’s what you want. You want readers to identify and sympathize with them. You want them to finish the book and remember the characters you created. I was a little worried in creating Violet that some people might get frustrated with her and not see past some of her flaws, but so far the response to her has been great. 

3. I love it that you tell on your website how A Distant Voice came to life:
What made you write about this?

I love hearing where authors get their ideas from. Imaginations are a wonderful thing and I think it’s interesting to find out how people go from one simple thought to having a story, or a song or poem written. 

I have a friend who is a fellow writer and we’re constantly having discussions about our story ideas and where they come from, and it’s something I like to share with people. Plus, I love talking about writing and every step of the process so I see it as another avenue to talk about what I love.

4. You have a large family. You are one of nine children. If we would ask one of your siblings to describe you what would they say?

I wish it were something cool like ‘she’s fearless’ or ‘she’s one of the smartest people I know’, but they’d be lying. If you asked my youngest brother he’d probably tell you that I’m boring. Or annoying. I live alone so when I go over to my parents’ place I do tend to talk a bit. And ask questions. Hey, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be inquisitive.

They’d probably say I’m a daydreamer. I’ve always been a daydreamer, and I always will be.

5. On your website you are introducing the characters of A Distant Voice to your readers. Did you have these images of them before you finished your book or did it come to you afterward?

I always have images in my head of my characters because it helps me form their personalities. I wish I had the ability to draw so I could paint them how they appear in my mind but sadly the best I can do is a stick figure. So, I go to the next best thing, which is the internet and celebrities. When I first came up with Violet, Hailee Steinfeld popped into my mind.

The images on my website I found after I’d finished the book and was working on my book trailer. Luckily they ended up being fairly spot on to what I had in my mind. Although I struggled to find the right Carter. When I first thought of him, I had Matt Lauria from Friday Night Lights in my head.

6. Who is your favorite character and why?

If I’m choosing one I’ve created, I pick Violet. She can annoy me at times but I love her. Flaws and all. I found it really easy to stay in her character while I wrote her and never felt the need to switch POVs at any time because I loved following her thought process and reactions to things. She’s impulsive with her words when she’s angry and then has to live with the consequences of them, and she’s very unsure of herself and awkward when offering a kind or supportive word.

My favourite book character of all time is Sirius Black (and coincidentally he’s Violet’s too). From the moment he appeared in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I was hooked. He suffered and lost so much, but his belief in what was right stayed with him to the end. His relationship with Harry was one of my favourite parts of the Harry Potter series. 

7. What do you daydream about the most?

Story ideas, plot lines and character conversations take up about 90% of my daydreaming. They go through my head non-stop. When I’m not thinking about those things I daydream about anything and everything. Travelling, recipes I want to try, characters and storylines I wish had never been introduced into shows, books I want to read, books I wish were made into movies. Everything!

8. You love musicals. If you could be in one which one will you choose and why?

How do I choose?? I think I’d lean towards Wicked. I’ve seen the production a number of times, I listen to the soundtrack non-stop and dream of a movie version.

Telling such a well known and loved story from the perspective of the villain is such an interesting concept. I've read the book it's loosely based on and found that just as interesting. By the end of the book and show, you're rooting for the Wicked Witch over Dorothy. It's great! 

I know the words to all the songs and have been known to belt them out with a friend of mine, who will probably hate me for mentioning that! ‘For Good’ is a favourite. And I love ‘No Good Deed’. Well, there’s not really a song I don’t love so yes, definitely Wicked. I wouldn’t even care what part I played. I’d happily stand there and pretend to be a tree. 

9. On the first three places of your top five Contemporary Young Adult Books you have placed books from the author Melina Marchetta.
Could you tell us why she (and her books) are so amazing?

I’m a tad Melina Marchetta obsessed! Her books are incredible and if you love YA, you need to read her. She pulls you into her stories from page one and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster no matter how many times you read it. She can have you laughing one minute, and then on the next page you’re sobbing. She’s a master at it. I will read anything she writes.

10. If you could be anybody for one day who would you be and why?

J.K. Rowling because I’d love to be the genius mind behind Harry Potter. Even if it is just for one day. And in being her for the day I’d know all the answers to every question I’ve ever had about the series. Life would be pretty sweet.

11. What are your plans for the future?

Books, books and more books. I love writing and I don’t ever want to stop. I’m working on a new Contemporary YA at the moment and I’m hoping to have the second draft completed before Christmas. I also have an idea for a follow up to A Distant Voice. Over the Christmas break I’ll work on an outline and see if there’s a story behind the idea. If not, I have plenty of other stories waiting to be told.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au

A review of A Distant Voice will follow soon. I highly recommend this book!

Nov 23, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway: I Wish for You by Camilla Isley

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Review by Anniek

Ally is expecting her relationship with James to go to the next level. Instead of that James breaks up with her for no apparent reason. Ally is heartbroken and is willing to do anything to have James love her again. When James moves on into another relationship that is progressing very fast into a marriage Ally finds herself desperate for a solution. His fiancée is also a coworker of her and is not a very likable person.

On one morning Ally goes to a flee market with her mother and it is there that she finds a beautiful box. Without her even knowing it the box ends up in her home. She learns then about Arthur, the genie in the box. Arthur has been cursed centuries ago and is placed in the box to spend eternity fulfilling other people's wishes. Ally gets five wishes. One catch: these wishes have to include herself. Now she has everything she needs to get Arthur back. But will she see the love that is right in front of her? When Ally finally opens her eyes to see reality will it be to late?

This book gives you the ultimate love story. Who doesn't want five wishes AND a gorgeous gentleman.  If you haven't completed your Christmas wish list then you really should include this book as well. I found myself thinking about what would I do if I had five wishes. Of course I was thinking of wishes within the rules that are set in the story. 

Because they have to include myself this is what I have come up with:

1. I wish to be kind and loving to everyone I come in contact with and that these people take over my behavior and spread it on to the people they meet and so on.

If I can not wish for world peace I think that the world will become a better place this way even though it might go a bit slower.

2. I wish to be rich and stay rich no matter how much money I spend.

I can't stand the fact that there are people and children in the world who are hungry or dying because of having no food or water. No person should be homeless or begging for money to get through the day. If I think of the huge amount of money that soccer players and actors make I can't understand why this problem is not solved yet.

3. I wish to have the ability to heal myself of sickness and injuries and being able to heal others too if they are near me.

4. I wish to be slim no matter what.

Now I can't even look at a glass of water without gaining so this would be a great solution.

5. I wish to be a successful writer and publisher.

While I was thinking about my five wishes I found out it was harder than I thought it would be.

 Please feel free to share your wishes with me and the other readers. I am really looking forward to be reading from you.

Now please bring me Arthur.


You can win one of two kindle copies of I Wish for You. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Nov 17, 2015

Fabulous Freebie Book Review: The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

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Review by Anniek

On the evening of her debut, her coming out into society, Victoria learns that her true faith is not attending balls. She is the heir of the Gardella family and the chosen one. Victoria needs to fulfill her destiny and be the next female Venator. Having her own strength combined with the strength of her family members who declined their prophecy Victoria is a very powerful and skilled vampire hunter. 

Even though she is hunting and killing vampires she cannot escape her other 'destiny'. With her mother breathing down her neck, Victoria needs to attend the balls and parties to find a suitable husband. Philip knows that Victoria is coming out and he has been waiting for this moment a long time. Having met her when they were younger he never forgot the little dark haired fury. He can't wait to meet the woman she has become.

When the most powerful vampire of all, Lilith, is bringing death and devastation to their town. Victoria and her companion Max have no choice but to take them on. Will they succeed? Being a Venator comes with a lot of responsibility, people are depending on her. Now she has to make her own choice between her destiny and love. This choice will come with great sacrifice either way.

Colleen Gleason has created a fantastic story which will keep you awake and wanting more. In the beginning I had a little bit of trouble to get into it because of the old fashioned language. This really needs to be a part of the story because the setting is decades if not centuries ago. After the second chapter I was used to it and really was able to connect with the characters. I loved the fact that Victoria is a strong and independent woman who thinks for herself and is not led by the rules within society. She really is an amazing heroine. 

This book had me on the edge of my seat and surprised me more than once. It really compelled me to keep on reading. I love a good story that has me questioning about what will happen next. Luckily I already have the next book of this series so I can continue reading. I can't wait to find out more and I love to be amazed. With this series I'm good to go. 

Don't hesitate and grab this first book while it is still free and get to know Victoria and her companions in their quest of saving mankind.

Nov 7, 2015

Interview, Review & Giveaway: Warm Hearts in Winter by Helen Pollard

About the Author:
Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She firmly believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor - to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love ... and we all need a little love, right?

A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers and a psychotic cat. Antiseptic cream is always close at hand. When Helen’s not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.

Questions by Suze

1) Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I was born and brought up in Yorkshire and now live there with my husband, two teenagers and a psychotic cat. I like to read, but my eyes are often tired from being on a screen at the day job and again at home in the evenings, writing. I don't watch much TV nowadays – I'll watch the odd movie, but a series has to be really good to keep my attention. I try to go for a short walk once a day to blow away the cobwebs, and I enjoy treating myself to a decent coffee out and a chat with close friends.

2) Warm Hearts in Winter has a beautiful setting, how did you get the idea for the house and the surroundings?

When I was a child, we used to visit the village of Haworth in Yorkshire (home of the Bronte sisters) every year near Christmas. On the drive, I would wonder who lived in some of the old stone houses we passed that looked out across the beautifully bleak landscape of the moors. Ahem-number of years later, when I knew I wanted to write a winter romance, it wasn't hard to choose the place that I always associated with winter from my childhood visits.

3) What makes winter stories with a lot of snow so romantic?

It's a common enough romantic fantasy, to be cozied up with a handsome hunk while the wind howls outside;  long evenings by a log fire with nothing to do except get to know each other - isn't it? Or is that just me …

4) A lot of your story is about writing, why have you chosen an author and his assistant as your main characters? (Such a great idea by the way, I always love books that show their love for stories).

When I thought about the isolation of the setting, I had to think about who might live in an old house looking out over wild moors, and who would choose to be out there in the middle of winter. My imagination came up with Jack, a widowed novelist who lives in London but uses his house in Yorkshire as a retreat for solitude, writing and grieving. The previous year, his editor provided him with his own newly-retired secretary as a temporary personal assistant, and Jack was hoping to repeat the arrangement – but she is suddenly unavailable, so with a deadline looming, Jack has no choice but to accept someone else. Cue Abby's arrival … and she has her own reasons for accepting such an arrangement at short notice.
As it turned out, the more I got into the book, the more I enjoyed exploring Jacks methods and the way his mind worked with regard to his writing.

5) There's an element of mystery in your story as well, how was it to mix that with a romantic story in a beautiful setting?

I wanted to add an extra element of interest - there's only so far you can go with two people stuck together in a house, no matter how romantic! The isolation of the setting and the nature of Jack's writing – dark thrillers that drag innocent characters into murky events outside of their control – led me to want to add something a little sinister to the story. It wasn't intended as a complicated whodunit, but to add layers to the story. Jack is keen to ignore the threats that interrupt their winter idyll, but Abby is more anxious about what they mean and who is behind them.

6) What are your 3 favourite winter romances?

If we're talking books, I must admit that I don't have particular favourites that I read year after year. Last year I enjoyed The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts on the recommendation of an online American author friend, which was gently humorous and ideal for cat lovers! I also enjoyed both A Winter's Tale and Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley. There are so many wonderful-looking Christmas romances out there at the moment, though … I wish I had time to read them all!  
If I could pick romantic Christmas films, who could beat White Christmas and Love Actually?

7) Do you base your characters on people you know?

No, not at all. I suppose occasionally my characters may have the odd personality trait of someone I know, but that would be a subconscious thing. I like to start from scratch with my characters – I very much want them to be their own person.

8) Could you tell me what you like most about Jack and Abby? 

Jack can be grumpy, but he always knows when he's gone too far and will apologise. He's capable of loving deeply, and so is still struggling to get over the death of his wife three years on.
Abby is willing to give Jack space to breathe, even though she is attracted to him – she won't rush his grieving process.

9) What would your dream location to spend a cold winter look like?

I've been to Austria and Switzerland (a long time ago!) in the summer and enjoyed beautiful walks there, but I've never visited in the winter. Since I don't ski, I would have to settle for wrapping up warm and sitting out on the balcony of a lovely wooden chalet, sipping glühwein and looking out at the fabulous scenery. What a hardship!

10) What are your plans/dreams for the future?

I've just finished writing a more humorous, down-to-earth novel set in France – not specifically a romance but with a hint of it - and hope to find a home for that soon.
I'd love to have more time to write and to spend more time with my husband, as the children are heading for grown-up now! A little travelling would be nice . . .

Can two hearts thaw on the midwinter moors?
Forced by circumstance into the world of temping, when Abby Davis accepts an assignment in the wilds of Yorkshire as personal assistant to a widowed novelist, she assumes he is an ageing recluse.
Thirty-something Jack Blane is anything but. Still struggling to get his life and writing career back on track three years after his wife’s death, Jack isn’t ready for a breath of fresh air like Abby.
Snowed in at his winter retreat on the moors, as the weeks go by and their working relationship becomes friendship and maybe more, Abby must rethink her policy of never getting involved with someone at work … and Jack must decide whether he is willing to risk the pain of love a second time.
Buy links:
Warm Hearts in Winter is ON SALE at $0.99 / £0.99 until 30th November at:

Find Helen at:
Website & Blog:     

Book review:
by Anniek
Abby needs a new job so she can keep paying her rent. Her best friend is the manager at a temping agency and she has the perfect opportunity for her, a last minute assignment to be a personal assistant for the author Jack Blane. Abby doesn't have any time to think about it and trusting her best friend she says yes. So there she goes. She doesn't know a lot about Jack, but with the information she did get Abby is expecting an old(er) man. When she finally makes it up to the house through a snowstorm she is more than surprised to find out he is anything but old.

Jack is back at the house he once shared with his wife. He needs this secluded area to write his new book. Distraction is the last thing he needs. The previous year he worked with a personal assistant as well, a kind elderly lady who took good care of him. The house is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so it was also nice not to be alone all the time.

When he opens the door and sees Abby wet and soaked from the snow he can't believe his eyes. She is not what he expected to get at all. After a little bit of a rough start they find a routine together. The storm is making sure all options of other accommodation for Abby are out of the question. Abby is worried about a letter she found in the mail and the phone calls they keep getting. She fears that there is someone out there, close by, who wishes harm to Jack. Slowly their feelings are growing. Will Abby be able to let down her walls? Will Jack be able to love again? 

Warm Hearts in Winter is one of the sweetest stories I have read in a long time. I loved the scenery and can understand why an author will go to this house to write his book. It is a house where I would be more than happy to ride out a storm together with my loved ones. Abby and Jack both have their issues which they have to work through and come to terms with. Helen Pollard put a lot of effort in making these characters come to life. I felt like I was reading about real people. You will instantly love them both. My heart was aching for Jack because of his pain and sadness. Abby is a sweet loving person who has been judged wrongly.

I read this book in one sitting! I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know if they would find each other in the end and who that nasty person was that was threatening Jack. This book grabbed me and kept me captivated until the very last line. 


Three very lucky winners will receive a PDF copy (which you can also put on your kindle) of Warm Hearts in Winter together with very special mail: a gemstone bracelet, heart gemstone keychain and handwritten postcard from Helen Pollard. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Nov 4, 2015

Interview, Book Review & Giveaway: Tattooed Hearts by Mika Jolie

About Mika Jolie

Mika lives in New Jersey with her Happy Chaos – her husband and their two energizer bunnies. She’s addicted to Spotify, lip balm and a cute scarf.

When she does have time to breathe, and isn’t behind her computer, you can find her working on her garden, reading, hiking with her camera slung over her shoulder, or practicing her knitting skills.


1. What made you want to become a writer?

 I’ve been telling stories forever. Writing has always been in my system; however, it’s not until three years ago did I decide to take it seriously and work on getting my work published. 

2. Why did you choose Martha's Vineyard for your stories?

 (Smiles) I absolutely love it there. Funny thing the first book of the series was already written and I was on the island with my family for vacation. I was editing and I started changing the location to the Vineyard and it felt right. 

3. You write about a tight group of friends do you have a 'wolfpack' of your own?

Totally. My family. 

4. On your website you have visualized the characters and made them come to life. Did you do this before or after you created your story?

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. It’s currently being redesigned and I can’t wait to launch the new look. I typically do this as I write the stories. 

5. Claire, your leading character from Tattooed Hearts, is a singer with a love for the 80s and 90s music. What are three of your favorite songs of all time?

Aw man, this is tough one because I absolutely love music. I even have a playlist for each book. My Way by Frank Sinatra, La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf and With or Without You are definitely three songs I can listen to over and over. 

6. What kind of books do you read yourself?

I have a very eclectic taste. When it comes to reading I’m not tied to any particular genre. A good read is a good read. On any day, you can find me reading A Year in Provence or In Cold Blood. 

7. Which book is your number one must-read and why?

Two of my favorite books are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve. 

8. If you could be someone else for one day who would you be and why?

(Laughs) I don’t usually dream of being someone else, but if I had to…it would have to be my mother. I admire her strength, poise, and she’s my best friend. 

9. How do you come up with ideas for your stories?

Ideas come at any time. A stranger could pass by and I find myself thinking I can write a story about him or her. (Laughs) Or it can be an article I read about a specific topic. For example, The Scale addresses body image and the idea came to me after a conversation I overheard in the gym. 

10. What are your plans for the future?

Definitely to write more books. I love bringing words to life. I love it when someone takes the time to let me know how my books have touched them. 

Book Review

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Anniek

Claire belongs to her 'own' wolf pack. The pack is formed by Jason, Forrest, Adam, Blake and Claire.  Claire didn't really fit in at first because she isn't a boy, but after following Jason around like a shadow the boys took her in anyway. Jason is the brother she never had and even though Adam and Blake are also gorgeous it is Forrest who has stolen her heart. Even as a little kid she loved him and she never stopped. On her 18th birthday Claire and Forrest finally give in to their feelings for each other, not planning on having their loving hearts being torn apart. 

Forrest is not a player. He is a one woman kind of guy. Jason made him promise to not pursue Claire until she was at least seventeen years old. He made good on his promise. Claire is the only one he ever loved and the only one he will ever love again. He just has to be willing to open his heart. 

Being a young and insecure teenager Claire was being 'told' she was not good enough for Forrest or for either of the other boys. In the end she would be nothing more than the daughter of the housekeeper. Now she's a successful singer and back at Martha's Vineyard. This time she is in it for the long run. 

I absolutely loved this book. Couldn't put it down and couldn't read fast enough. Every chapter starts with a little quote. The quote that stuck with me the most was: 

"Every heart sings a song incomplete, until another heart whispers back". 

This really brought tears to my eyes because this is exactly what true love means. Mika Jolie brought a lot of passion into writing this story. You can feel it in every line. She made me cry, laugh and had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't stop reading. I'm a new fan and I will be following this writer and every new story she writes. 

Tattooed Hearts is the third book of the Martha's Vineyard series but each can be read as a standalone.


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a kindle copy of Tattooed Hearts and a $10 Amazon gift card. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.
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