Wednesday 28 September 2016

Game of Throw-ins Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (2016)

Publisher's information 

I was a rugby player with a great future behind me. A 35-year-old father-of-five with an expanding waistline, who was trying to survive the bloody battlefield we call everyday life.
My son was locked in a violent turf war with a rival Love/Hate tour operator, my daughter was in love with a boy who looked like Justin Bieber and my old dear was about to walk up the aisle with a 92-year-old billionaire who thought it was still 1936.
I was, like, staring down the barrel of middle age with the contentment of knowing that I was the greatest Irish rugby player who no one in Ireland had ever actually heard of. Until a chance conversation with an old Jesuit missionary made me realize that it wasn't enough.
I was guided, as if by GPS, to a muddy field in - let's be honest - Ballybrack. And there I finally discovered my destiny - to keep a struggling Seapoint team in Division 2B of the All Ireland League.
Or die trying.

About the Author 
Paul Howard's 'Ross O'Carroll-Kelly' series are annual No 1 bestsellers - they have sold over half a million copies, are annually nominated for the Popular Fiction prize at the Irish Book Awards - where they have won the prize an unprecedented three times - and are also critically acclaimed as satirical masterpieces. Titles include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress, Should have Got off at Sydney Parade, This Champagne Mojito is the Last Thing I Own, Rhino What You Did Last Summer, NAMA Mia!, The Oh My God Delusion (chosen as Ireland's favourite book in Eason's 2011 125th birthday poll), The Shelbourne Ultimatum and Downturn Abbey. 


I remember reading The Ross O' Carroll segment in the Sunday Tribune and as I was roughly the same age as Ross I found his world and all his shenanigans to be absolutely hilarious. After all these years and many books Ross is still as funny as ever.  
Ross is a complete idiot and 'let's be honest,' a bit of an ass but he is completely likeable at the same time. I inwardly cringed and cheered for him as he careened from one blunder to the next. The Netflix and Chill incident really stood out as hilarious not to mention the episode in Bundoran with the dolphin! I had my fingers crossed for him each time his team played and especially in the epilogue where he has his final golden opportunity to shine on the rugby pitch.

The witty one liners had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion and I also had a good laugh at how the accents were written. It reminds me of how people from Derry city write all their Facebook posts in 'Derry speak.' It can be a little confusing with poor grammar and bad spelling but the accent is instantly recognisable and you can hear it distinctly as you are reading. The same applies to the variations in the Dublin accent in the Ross books. The only difficulty I had was with how the New Zealand coach's accent was written. It had me completely flummoxed!

For a funny and entertaining experience this is a must read series. If you are not familiar with Ross O'Carroll Kelly I don't think you would have any difficulty diving in at this late stage with Game of Throw-ins. The story lines are quite simple and the characters are all easy to follow.

Game of Throw-ins is available now Amazon Book Depository

Thanks to Penguin Random House Ireland for the review copy.

Monday 19 September 2016

Bound by Blood by Laura Daleo (2016)

Five years crawled by at a painfully slow pace for young vampire, Beth; each year more agonizing than the next. The powerful unyielding spell which masked Amon’s whereabouts showed no signs of weakening. Influenced by the binding ritual and Amon’s blood surging inside her, Beth will stop at nothing, and risk everything, to find him and turn the tables on Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. In foggy streets of London, lives are threatened by a new breed of hunter, and nothing is what it seemed. Beth once again finds herself surrounded by betrayal. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between Philippe and Amon – knowing that her decision will change one life forever. But whose?

This is the second book in the series and it picks up five years after Amon and Beth have separated. Beth is married to Philippe but yearns for her true love, Amon.
I enjoyed the story but felt that Beth wavered too much and unnecessarily between Philippe and Amon. Five years is plenty of time for her to have realised that marriage to Philippe wasn't working out and that she only wanted to be with Amon. I found this section of the book to be a little bit slow and I didn't have much sympathy for any of the characters. I really wanted Beth to stand up and say what she feeling regardless of any hurt feelings that may cause.

I loved the story line surrounding the hunters and I would have liked for it to have played a more prominent part in the book. The action and suspense involving the hunters towards the end of the book really drew me back into the story and I found it very hard to put down.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Available in Paperback and Kindle Amazon

Saturday 17 September 2016

Love Lost in Time by Marie Higgins (2014) Narrated by Nancy Peterson (2016)

Publisher's Summary

Andrew Merrick was whisked from his home in England, 1848, to another time - the very day a mob had attacked his family. Wondering why he remains in this strange place, all he wants is to find the treasure his father had hidden, hoping this might take Andrew back home. But he's running out of time. When he meets a lovely woman in this new century, he feels she is the one who will help him.
Halle Chapman has come to England to find her missing father. What she finds instead is a nice man who claims he's from the past. Although she doesn't believe in time-travel, deep in her heart, she knows she must help Andrew. What she finds instead is that discovering the key to her future lies in the past. Now, to return to her own time, she needs to solve the mystery surrounding Andrew Merrick and his family's murder.


This is a charming time travel romance and it's a little bit different as it involves both characters travelling forward or back at different times. The story primarily takes place in Victorian times and is exciting and full of suspense.

Halle's character really appealed to me as she was intelligent, confident and brave. I loved how she dashed to action when the occasion warranted her help. As I listened to the story Halle felt very real to me. I liked Andrew as well but he was more like a fairy tale prince and I think that added to the charm of the story. Their romance was magical and charming and I just loved that.

There were so many scenes in this book that I enjoyed but I loved all the suspense filled scenes involving Halle and the family's enemies.
The final showdown where the house is attacked is filled with danger and suspense. It had me on the edge of my seat wondering how successful Halle and Andrew were going to be in altering the family's fate.
The narrator did a wonderful job of performing the characters and I found it very easy to listen to. She really brought the story to life and I got a great sense of the characters' emotions and feelings through her performance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole book and I couldn't put it down. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Available now from Audible

Sunday 11 September 2016

Winter's War (Guy Winter Mysteries #1) by James Philip (2014) Narrated by Melanie Fraser (2016)

Winter’s War is the first full length Guy Winter Mystery. It is set in England in the Second World War at the time of the Battle of Britain and the start of the London Blitz. 

August 1940 - Chief Inspector Guy Winter has been Fleet Street’s favorite detective for over a decade. Dubbed the ‘Mystery Man’ by his friends and enemies alike, for all his fame he cuts a lonely figure at Scotland Yard, where every newspaper story is fresh grist to an already tired mill. Laid low by personal tragedy there are many who suspect that the great detective’s career is over. 

In Winter’s War Guy Winter, still in mourning the death of his wife in a tragic traffic accident the year before is summoned back to Scotland Yard to hunt for a psychopathic killer who is retracing Jack the Ripper’s fifty-two year old bloody trail of terror through London’s East End. 

Evil stalks the London blackout at the height of the Battle of Britain as a madman sets out to sow panic in the streets. But nothing is quite what it seems. As the threat of invasion looms ever larger and great aerial dogfights rage in the skies over southern England, as air raid sirens wail in the night, searchlights play across the face of the heavens and the first bombs fall, old scores are being settled and we discover that Guy Winter, the ‘Mystery Man’, has been living a double life more mysterious than anybody ever suspected. 

Now that double life has returned to haunt him. Now he no longer knows whom to call friend or foe. 

Now the sins of his past may be the death of him… 


The premise of the story i.e. a Jack the Ripper inspired murder mystery set in London during the Blitz, really appealed to me. The element of espionage added a layer of complexity and mystery to the story. The story line was very intriguing and the mystery had me hooked while the twists and turns kept me guessing. There were plenty of suspects and conspiracy theories as Guy Winters discovered who his friends and enemies really were. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

I liked Guy Winters; a complex and clever, albeit flawed, character with a skewed moral compass. There is never a dull moment as he flits from one woman to the next while investigating a string of gruesome murders. 
I also liked his Sergeant George Ransom who made a very likeable sidekick.

As always Melanie Fraser gives a flawless performance and The Guy Winters series is now one of my favourites. Her accent lends itself very well to the time period and the upper class characters portrayed in the novel. Their old fashioned phrases were in tune with the era and because Melanie voiced them with her RP accent I really felt like I was transported back in time. 


I received the audio book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Giving Up For You: Volume 2 (The Giving Trilogy), by L.M. Carr (2015) Narrated by Tracy Marks and Thomas Donohoe (2016)

Publisher's Summary               Audible

Breaking rules and tearing down walls, Adam Lawson and Mia Delaney give into a passionate love affair neither can resist. The love and intense bond they share is stronger than ever. But when dark shadows emerge from the past and threaten their families, how far are they willing to go to protect each other? How much are they willing to sacrifice to save the innocent ones they love? Join Adam and Mia as they navigate through this journey called love.


I loved the first book and I couldn't wait to dive into this one. The story was a little bit slow but at the same time I couldn't switch it off and ended up listening at every opportunity. I was expecting a little bit of intrigue or suspense but the story centred round Mia and Adam's break up and its aftermath. Adam has turned into quite an unlikable character and acts like a total ass to Mia and the children. He has much to do to convince Mia (and the reader) that he truly loves her and isn't going to leave when the going gets tough.

I love the scenes that involve any of Mia's friends. She has a great group of friends who stick by her and stand up for her when the need arises. They are also quite funny and add a little bit of humour to the story.

Both narrators performed Mia and Adam excellently. I loved the dual narration and felt that it worked very well here.

I am quite addicted to this series and I have to know what happens next. Book 3 here I come!

I received this audio book from the author in return for my honest review.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Going the Distance (No Excuses Book 1) by Mila Rossi (2016)

Publisher's Information

Once you slap the hell out of the light heavyweight champion of the world on the night of his first loss, how do you convince him to give you an interview? That’s the dilemma Samantha Wellington finds herself in after turning down the most desirable yet foul-mouthed athlete she’s come across. Unfortunately for her, her job depends on getting his interview and this boxer’s not talking. 

When Trent “The Punisher” Page is humiliated by the spunky reporter, then cornered for an interview, he does what he does best: he plays dirty. He didn’t earn his nickname for being nice, after all. If the little minx wants to know more about him, she’ll have to pay with the one thing she’s not willing to give - herself. 

Her elements of surprise meet their match in his determination to succeed. With vastly different motivations, can they break down the enemy without jeopardising themselves? 

DISCLAIMER: Due to Trent's foul mouth and sexual situations, this book is intended for mature readers.


The first book in the much anticipated new series from Mila Rossi.

The moment Samantha slapped Trent in the nightclub I wanted to cheer! I knew right then that I was going to love her character and their story. I wasn't wrong.
Samantha is a tough, independent woman who doesn't take crap from anyone no matter how famous or good looking they are.
Trent is an arrogant arse with a dirty mouth who needs to be taken down a peg or two. Samantha is just the girl to do that as she doesn't give a toss that he's famous. I loved how she didn't just fall at his feet like every other girl but instead drew him in through little acts of kindness and made him wait while they got to know each other. 
The more naughty scenes were very well written and not too frequent. I like a book to be more plot driven and I thought that the author got the balance just right.
I didn't particularly warm to Trent very much simply because of his bad boy personality. We don't get to see Trent having that Eureka moment where he realises the boxing ring isn't the only place he has to up his game. I liked how he reached out to Samantha during his TV interview but I felt that Samantha deserved a little bit of grovelling before she gave him a second chance.

Another reason why I liked Samantha's character so much is that we know more about her life. She didn't have an easy upbringing and if the novel had been longer I would have liked that aspect to have been fleshed out more. We got glimpses of the peril she faced growing up and I thought it could have made an interesting subplot with an element of suspense had the author wanted to go in that direction.
 Or maybe I just wanted to see Trent flex his muscles a little bit outside of the ring. 

Overall, Going the Distance is a fast paced, addictive read and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Buy now from Amazon

I received an advanced reading copy from the author in return for my honest review. 

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Crossing In Time (Between Two Evils #1) by D.L. Orton (2015)

Remember How It Feels to Fall in Love?

Race against the clock through a dystopian nightmare. Climb naked into an untested time machine (carrying only a seashell and a promise). Wake up twenty years younger on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded, with your heart in your throat. 

This is a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will make your pulse gallop and your palms sweat, have you laughing out loud through your tears, and leave you flush with the sublime pleasure of falling in love.


Brilliant! One of the best time travel stories I've read in a long time. In equal measures exciting, romantic, poignant and uplifting. 

If the human race is going to avoid a global catastrophe Isabel and Diego need to stay together as a couple so that a certain chain of events can unfold in a way that doesn't lead to end of the human race. 

Crossing in Time is a thrilling blend of genres; romance, sci-fi, suspense and time-travel. 
The second chance romance between Diego and Isabel is the heart of the story and the catalyst to all that follows. I was expecting the time travel element to happen fairly early on in the story but it actually occurs quite late in the book. Instead, a beautiful second chance romance fraught with danger and passion drives the story forward.

I loved the opening chapters of the book where Diego and Isabel meet after some years apart. Just as they have found each other again the world around them begins to fall apart after their city is attacked. These chapters were incredibly exciting and romantic and had be me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The thrills didn't end there as Diego and Isabel quickly go into survival mode and plan for the worst case scenario. Their plans go awry after a personal tragedy and then government agents come for Diego. Here we get a good look at how the world and society can quickly disintegrate in the wake of disaster.

The book is quite easy to read; absorbing and addictive. The story is told from the perspective of the main players with the chapters alternating mainly between Isabel and Diego's point of view. The chapters are short which lifts the pace and makes the book a very accessible one to dip in and out of during the day.

The story did raise a few questions for me. I wan't quite sure how manipulating events in an alternate reality was going to prevent catastrophe at home and to be honest I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. However the story continues with Lost in Time so I'm sure any lingering questions will become clearer. The first book ended in a nice optimistic,feel good way. It also left me with plenty to think about and demanding more. Thankfully the second book has already been published!

This is definitely a series to follow right through to the end.

Literary Awards

Novel Winnings Award Winner
Colorado Gold Award (2015)
PW Indie 'Stars of 2015' 
Indie Excellence Award Winner (2016)

Crossing in Time is available now 
Also available on Kindle Unlimited

I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.