The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor @cjtudor @CrownPublishing #bookreview #bestof2018

TGIF bibliophiles!

We are heading to the end of the year so I thought I’d share with you some of my fave reads of 2018! Now technically I read this in 2017, but the book came out in 2018 and this was one of my very first blog posts so probably only like three people saw it!😂

Love this book and I’m excited to share my review with you all again! And I cannot wait to read her next book “The Hiding Place” that is sitting on my Kindle just waiting for me to have a minute, along with 1000 other books😉 at least they aren’t lonely!

OK without further ado….

The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

About the Book

The must-read thriller of 2018. This riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand.

But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same. In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

My Thoughts

WOW! I cannot believe this is this authors debut book…. it was just so extremely well thought out, the characters were well-developed, the pacing of the plot was perfect, I really just can’t think of anything wrong with this book….

The story is told from the perspective of Ed…. with two different timelines his present life as a teacher in 2016 and his 12-year-old memories in 1986….

Ed and his buddies find a dead body in the woods, and the murder has never quite been solved (at least not in Ed’s mind)…. The boys had used chalk drawings to communicate with one another back in the day…. so when Ed receives a drawing and a piece of chalk in the mail, he begins his quest to figure out what really happened all those years ago…. I don’t want to say any more than that and ruin it… just know you will go on a wonderful adventure with Ed filled with twists and turns and revelations you never will see coming…..

In addition to this fantastic mystery filled with these wonderful characters, was the nostalgia of the 1980s….as somebody who spent all of her teenage years in the 80s, I thought the author did such an amazing job of making me long for those good old days…. A time when you could ride your bike to the playground, hang out with your friends all day, and didn’t need to come home until the street lights came on…. I didn’t grow up near woods, I never found a dead body, but this book did definitely make me feel a little nostalgic for my childhood….

Can’t wait to see what this author has in store for us next!

*** thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***

Enjoy,

Berit

Posted in Blog Tour

Ginger Snapped by Chloe Sunstone @ChloeSunstone @rrbooktours1 #excerpt #giveaway

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Congrats to Chloe Sunstone on the release of her exciting Cybercrime Thriller, Ginger Snapped

Read on for more details, an exclusive excerpt, and a fantastic giveaway!

Ginger Snapped - eBook small.jpgGinger Snapped: A Cybercrime Thriller with a Shocking Twist

Publication Date: October 22nd, 2018

Genre: Thriller

How does an amazing professional opportunity descend into a living nightmare?

Carefree Ginger’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Harder” shapes her life. So when her husband, Jake, gets a job offer on the other side of the country, she is up for the adventure.

But after Jake accepts the promotion, nothing is as expected. While Ginger remains in Cleveland to sell their house, she is plagued by strange prank calls, premonition-like nightmares, and the feeling that she is being watched. Is Jake’s new job putting her in danger?

Unfortunately, she ignores her intuition and soon finds herself face to face with a ruthless killer. Trapped in a deadly world of corporate corruption and murderous greed, she must overcome her own fears and rely on her wits if she plans to survive.

Although the first in the Ginger Gibson series, this is a standalone book. 

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Oh No! I’m back. I am surrounded by inky black nothingness. The air is musty…damp, my nostrils fill with the smell of dank basement. Like in a haunted house, filled with saws and chains and bloody hooks, this is the perfect place for any psycho to hide his tools of the crazy trade. I’m trembling, from the all-encompassing fear, eating at every cell in my body.Where am I? My fingers search out for clues. Beneath me is a thin mattress on a hard surface. My head rests on a concrete-like pillow. My breathing escalates as the panic rises in my chest. I open my mouth to scream, but only a muted croak escapes. Over the thunder of my pounding heart, I hear a booming crack, a gunshot. I recognize the sound from a trip to the range with Jake years earlier.

I swing my legs over the side of my perch, thinking in my blind panic to run even though I cannot see. I can’t ignore this intense urge to flee. But my impulse is thwarted by an unknown restraint trapping my left arm, a rope? Panic has me in its grip. I gasp for air to fill my lungs but produce only whimpers and muted pleas.

A loud screech reverberates through the darkness. Rats? Oh, please, no rats! Could this get any worse? Hysterical, I yank relentlessly on the rope tethering me. With each tug, the line cuts deeper into my skin. My arm warms as blood seeps from the gouges, coating my hand and fingers. Behind me, the pounding sound of footsteps startles me. Before I can turn to confront my visitor, I feel the rush of air preceding the impact to the back of my head. A blaze of bright stars then, a different blackness envelopes me.

Available in Paperback & Kindle

Amazon USAmazon CA | Amazon UK

About the Author

Chloe_Sunstone

After over twenty years in Human Resources, Chloe decided to make a change. She returned to her first love of writing. She combined her corporate experience with her love for the written word to create engaging cyber-crime thrillers.

On a personal note, Chloe lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her loving husband, Mike. They spend their free time boating, scuba diving, and of course, reading. Her latest cybercrime mystery, Ginger Snapped, is available on Amazon.

Chloe Sunstone | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

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The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne @Olivia_Beirne @annecater @headlinepg #bookreview #randomthingstours

Happy Thursday, it is a rainy day here in Southern California, yes it does rain in Southern California! Not much though!

Delighted to share with you today my review for this absolutely charming story! Many thanks to Anne Cater for my invitation to the tour and two Olivia Beirne for her wonderful words💕

The List That Changed my Life Cover

Sometimes all you need is a little push…

When Georgia’s sister is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she promises to do everything her older sibling can no longer do, resulting in a journey that will change her life forever…

Georgia loves wine, reality TV and sitting on the sofa after work. She does not love heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or activities that involve a sports bra. And she will never, ever take a risk.

That is, until her braver, bolder, big sister finds out that she won’t be able to tick off the things she wanted to do before turning thirty, and turns to Georgia to help her finish her list.

With the birthday just months away, Georgia suddenly has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Could she be brave enough to take the leap, for her sister?

And how might her own life change if she did?

A hilarious and heart-warming journey of a lifetime, showing us what it means to really be alive.

My Thoughts

This was a heartwarming delightful story full of humor and Hart!

This book kept me up Way past my bedtime… laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face, trying not to wake up my kids… this book had a definite Sophie Kinsella vibe to it and that’s a huge compliment because she is one of my faves… this was such an entertaining uplifting debut that I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to read…..

Georgia was such a fantastic character, I am definitely adding her to my book BFF list! She was so down to earth, so generous, so funny, and she had a heart of gold… her relationship with her sister Amy was remarkable, it made me wish I had a sister of my own…. all the secondary characters were fantastic, Georgia’s parents, her BFF Natalie, her boss Bianca…. Jack her love interest was supportive, sweet, and swoon worthy 😍

George’s sister Amy is diagnosed with MS… Georgia is devastated, and does not know what she can possibly do to help her sister… so, when her sister presents her with a list of things Georgia should do before she turns 30, how can she possibly turned her down? But skinny dip? Skydive? Go on a date with someone you meet on Tinder? Not to mention bake an impossible cake? This book was really about taking chances and living your life to your fullest… to push yourself out of your comfort zone and crush self doubt…

An uplifting story that will put a huge smile on your face and bunches of hope in your heart… absolutely recommend to anyone who is a fan of a well told story with wonderful characters and a delicious aMount of humor…

*** many thanks to Headline for my copy of this book ***

Olivia BeirneAbout the Author: 

Olivia Beirne is a 26 year old writer, who previously worked in casting. She lives in Tulse Hill, London with her friends and their resident mouse and grew up in Buckinghamshire. This novel is a standalone debut and she is currently working on her second novel.
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Have a lovely day! Berit

Posted in Blog Tour

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes @samhayes @bookouture #bookreview

Happy Wednesday book lovers!

Another book I am excited to share with you today! This was a fantastically dark atmospheric Red that kept me riveted! Thank you so much to Noelle for my invitation to the tour and Samantha Hayes for her delicious words!🖤

The-Liars-Wife-Kindle

When Ella wakes up in hospital following a hit and run incident, she is scared and confused. Close to tears, her eyes fall on a get-well-soon card on the window sill and the nurse reassures her that her loving husband will be back soon.

But Ella has never been married…

Absolutely love twisty and unputdownable psychological thrillers like Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and Gone Girl? Then you will be totally hooked by this jaw-dropping novel about the dangerous secrets behind a perfect marriage.

My Thoughts

HOT DAMN!!! This was one disturbingly dark and addictive read!

This book was claustrophobic, atmospheric, and completely engrossing…. some books you read and some books you live, this was definitely the latter… I was on pins and needles throughout this book, breathing every breath and feeling every fear write along with Ella…

Ella has a secret, a secret so dark that it has her trapped in her own life… work Eat Sleep Repeat…. no social life, no friends, no romantic entanglements, but it is better than the alternative… facing her passed…. then one day she gets in a horrible accident and wakes up in the hospital and is told by the nurse that her husband will be right back… The problem? Ella doesn’t have a husband…. so who is this man? Who is this Jacob? You know he is someone from Ella’s passed, but what does he have over her? And why is she letting him play this terrifying game?

Told from both the present and the past you really get to see Ella before and after the secret that changed her life…. Ella is a very sympathetic character and the more you get to know her younger self the more you realize how much this secret event has impacted her life…. Jacob is a monster, the kind of character you love to hate! He is evil to the core and so cruel, and just when you think he can’t get any crueler he does… there is abuse in this book both emotional and physical, so if that is a trigger for you this is not the book for you…

Absolutely recommend this dark and twisted story with an ending that I definitely did not see coming…

*** many thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***

NEW Samantha Hayes author photoAuthor Bio:

Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’
The Liar’s Wife is out now!
To find out more, visit her website http://www.samanthahayes.co.uk
Or connect with Samantha on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor
And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

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could have a day filled with words! Berit❄️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

The Good Samaritans by Will Carver @will_carver @annecater @OrendaBooks #bookreview #randomthingstours

Happy hump day everybody!

Thrilled to bring you my review for this dark disturbing book, but a little bummed that it is not available in the US? Maybe soon? A huge thank you too Anne Cater for my invitation to the blog tour, and to Will Carver for his intriguing story🙃

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.inddOne crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home… And someone is watching… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

My Thoughts

this is a dark, disturbing, delicious story that will leave you thinking, “WTH did I just read???”

This book will suck you in, turn you on your head, spin you all around, and then spit you out… leaving you wordless, breathless, a little less innocent, and in need of a shower…. there is a reason for those six bottles of bleach! This book is like no other you have red before, I can promise you that! It is bold, it is edgy, it is graphic… this thriller had more graphic sex then most romances, there is no fading to black! That also goes for the violence and killings…. Will Carver gives you a front row seat to all the gory details and doesn’t hold any punches! This book is not for the faint of heart, if it were a movie it would be rated X, but what a wonderful movie it would make!

Multiple points of view, multiple flawed characters, multiple twists and turns, multiple “oh no they didn’t!” moments…. this is a book best gone into without knowing much… I don’t want to go into the characters at all, I don’t want to spoil anything, just know that they are all completely screwed up! This story is dark, the characters are creepy, you won’t want to turn the page because you aren’t sure if you can handle what’s coming next, but you have to because the compulsion is too strong….

You’ll spend this entire book in the mind of crazy! Short chapters that will leave you jumping from one nut job to another, but never quite getting enough of the madness…. that is until the very end… the end will leave you gasping and shaking your head…. I could tell you I never saw that ending coming, but I never saw the last 60% of this book coming, so that would be an understatement! This is the kind of book that makes you question your self because you really loved it and yet it was JUST. SO. WRONG.

Absolutely recommend if you love a twistyier darker more graphic thriller that is completely original and edgy!

*** many thanks to Orenda for my copy of this book ***

View More: http://razialife.pass.us/vanessa-and-brendans-wedding

About the Author:  Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

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Thank you for dropping bye! Berit☀️✨

Posted in #Giveaway, Blog Tour

Five Ladies Go Skiing by Karen Aldous @KarenAldeous_ @rararesources #bookreview #giveaway

Happy Wednesday bibliophiles!

Excited to share with you today my review for this lovely story with a winter vibe! Many thanks to Rachel for my invitation to the tour and to Karen Aldeous for her wonderful words!⛷❄️✨

Five Ladies Go Skiing

Five Ladies Go Skiing_FINALGinny is alone now after losing her husband, so her friends (her F.L.O.W.E.R.S) decide with his first memorial imminent, learning to ski in the Swiss Alps would be a great distraction for her. What Ginny’s friends fail to add into the equation however, is their own distractions! The baggage they carry with them not only threatens their skiing but scales mountainous emotions throughout the trip. The questions then are…can their friendships survive, and can Ginny ever trust enough to love again?

My Thoughts

This was a fun festive story about friendship, love, and moving on….

Just as the title implies this is a story about five ladies that go skiing ⛷ I have read several books lately that were about ladies in the twilight of their lives…. as someone who is knocking on the door of 50 I have enjoyed these stories immensely, it never being too late for adventure or to start over… this was a lovely story of laughter and tears set in beautiful Switzerland….

Ginny and her four friends the “flowers“ plan a skiing trip on the anniversary of Ginny‘s husband’s death… I loved the bond between these ladies, even though they all had some secrets they were hiding… I enjoyed them all learning to ski, it was kind of a metaphor for life… it really made me want to take a girls trip, it also made me wonder what secrets my friends are hiding?

The pace of the story was that of a skier going down the bunny slope rather than a black diamonds run… it was a bit slow especially in the beginning… but just like a novice skier at the end of the day, by the end of the book it picked up some steam…. I really enjoyed watching these ladies grow as individuals and as friends throughout the story…

Recommend as the perfect winter Reid especially when you’re all snug and warm….

*** many thanks to HQ Digital for my copy of this book ***

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/FiveLadiesGoSkiing on Amazon worldwide

Five Ladies Go Skiing on ibooks

Five Ladies Go Skiing on Kobo

Five Ladies Go Skiing on NOOK

Author Karen Aldous High ResAuthor Bio –

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Much of Karen’s inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in ‘Karen’s World’ screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!

See more… http://www.karenaldous.co.uk/about-me/

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenAldousAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenAldous_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenaldous_/

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Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of Five Ladies Go Skiing (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December).  UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Posted in Contemporary Romance

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting @HelenaHunting @StMartinsPress #paperbackrelease #excerpt

Happy Tuesday all!

Excited to celebrate the paperback release for this wonderful romance filled with sizzle and laughter!🔥🔥🔥

About the Book

 

“Fun, sexy, and full of heart…Helena Hunting has done it again!”
USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow

 Shacking Up

 

By New York Times Bestselling Author

Helena Hunting

 

 

 

 

They say every cloud has a silver lining, but does that include missing your big acting break because of a bad cold? Maybe, if being actually sick turns into being lovesick. From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, SHACKING UP (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, November 27, 2018, $7.99), is a hilarious, swoon-worthy novel about sex and the city—and everything in between.

 

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with an important audition. But instead of getting her big break, Ruby gets sick as a dog and ends up with her tail between her legs. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed her—and then coughed on her—at a party the night before.

Ruby’s BFF might have found her the perfect job opportunity: pet-sitting in the lavish penthouse apartment belonging to hotel magnate Bancroft Mills. But when the newly-evicted Ruby meets her jet-setting employer, she realizes he’s the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet . . . and maybe back into his arms?

 

#                  #                  #

 

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Pucked and I Flipping Love You, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romanceranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 3

SCREW YOU, AWESOME KISSER

RUBY

I eat an entire Listerine PocketPak on the subway ride home to kill any lingering germs in my mouth from Awesome Kisser. I’m annoyed by the whole thing, but at least he apologized and seemed sincere about the acci- dental tongue invasion. Too bad the hotness of the mem- ory is marred by raging Brittany and the hack in the face.

After getting home, I rinse with mouthwash, down six vitamin C capsules and some anti-flu holistic stuff, and then I go ahead and make myself my customary before- bed, pre-audition nighttime drink of hot honey-lemon water, and pray I’ve done a good enough job of ridding myself of cough germs.

I climb into bed, note my sheets lack a fresh scent, question when I last washed them, then I set my alarm and close my eyes. Behind my lids appears the hottie— whose name is apparently Banny, or maybe I misheard and it’s Danny. It’s not really a hot guy name. I’m going to stick with Awesome Kisser.

Now that I’m past the shock-and-awe factor I can fully

26 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

appreciate that man’s hotness in the shouty caps sense of the word. It’s unfortunate he dates vapid, self-absorbed model-y types and not starving artists. I have a feeling “date” isn’t the appropriate word anyway. It’s also unfor- tunate that he has poor coughing manners.

I consider that he was likely a guest at the engagement party and he very well may be a guest at the wedding as well. If I’m still dateless by then he could make an ex- cellent potential dance partner, depending of course on how tight he is with Armstrong. If they’re close friends I don’t think it’s advisable to get involved in any semi- unclothed dancing outside of the wedding celebrations, no matter how hot he is. I don’t want to run the risk of encountering him again should things not go as well as one hopes.

Eventually I stop fantasizing about what’s under his suit and pass out.

I’m about to find out exactly what’s in Awesome Kiss- er’s designer pants when a repetitive, annoying sound dis- tracts me. I pause just before I smooth a hand over the amazingly prominent bulge while he tilts my head back, his soft lips brushing mine, his hot tongue sweeping . . .

The wisps of the dream fade and I crack a lid. The fantasy breaks with the obnoxious sunlight screaming its wake-up call, along with my stupid phone. Sometimes I’m slutty in my dreams.

I reach for the phone, remembering that Amie prom- ised me a morning call, just in case I messed up my alarm, which has happened in the past. I was on the ball last night, though. I set three alarms, all within five min- utes of each other so I wouldn’t have an opportunity to fall back asleep.

“Rise and shine, Ruby! I’m your wake-up call!” How

SH ACK I N G U P 27

she manages to sound so damn chipper at seven-thirty in the morning after her engagement party is beyond me.

A seal-like bark comes out when I attempt to grum- ble hello and tell her off for interrupting my dream.

“Ruby? Are you there?”

I make a second attempt at speaking but all I manage is another bark.

“Do you have a bad connection? I told you not to go with the cheap provider. You know how terrible the re- ception is.”

I clear my throat and immediately regret it, as it feels like knives are traveling up my esophagus.

“Ruby?” Amie asks again and then sighs. “I’m hang- ing up and trying again.”

Once the line goes dead I immediately hit the video call. Amie picks up right away. She’s wearing a white robe with her wavy hair pulled up into a ponytail, look- ing as fresh as baked bread out of the oven. I on the other hand, look like yesterday’s garbage based on the small image in the corner of my phone.

“Oh my God. Are you okay?”

I motion to my throat and shake my head. I give speak- ing another shot, just in case my inability to make more than random, audible sounds is a result of waking up. I usually don’t have to use words until after my morning coffee. All I get is another one of those squeaky moans and more sharp pain in my throat.

Amie sucks in a gasp and slaps her hand over her mouth. “You have no voice!”

I nod.

“How are you going to audition?”

The final dregs of sleep slip away. I mouth oh God. A mime is the only part I can audition for with no voice, or one of the dancer roles with no lines. They don’t make

28 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

nearly as much money as central, or even secondary character, roles—which is what I’m hoping to score. The pay scale for that is far higher than for a lineless role. It definitely won’t cover the basics, like rent and food, let alone the minimum payments on my credit card. I’ve been banking on this audition to get me out of the hole I’ve dug for myself over the past few weeks.

The phone conversation is pointless since Amie can’t read lips and I can’t respond. She tells me she’s coming over. I try to tell her not to bother, but again, with the lack of words it’s impossible to convey. I wait until she hangs up and text her to tell her it’s not necessary. Besides, this thing I have is clearly contagious since I must’ve gotten it from Awesome Kisser, and I don’t want to pass it on to her. Damn Awesome Kisser—ruining the already ques- tionable state of my life.

I roll out of bed, the full-body ache hitting me with the movement. I must be dying. And I’m not just being dramatic. Every cell in my body hurts. I drag myself to the kitchen and fill the kettle. Maybe a lemon-honey hot water toddy will help restore my voice. Based on my re- cent unlucky streak, I have my doubts.

I shuffle to the bathroom, turn on the shower, and root around in the medicine cabinet for some decent drugs. All I have is regular-strength Tylenol, so it’ll have to do. I climb into the shower without checking the temperature first—it takes forever to heat up and then fluctuates be- tween lukewarm and scalding. I step under the spray during a scalding phase and huddle in the corner until it’s bearable.

I’d like to say the shower helps me feel better. It does not. The warm water also does little to help my voice. Although I’m past just squeaking to barely audible one- word phrases, such as “ow.” I’m praying to the voice-

SH ACK I N G U P 29

miracle gods that the honey-lemon combo will further improve my ability to speak.

Once out of the shower I doctor up my water, adding extra lemon and honey. Not only do I burn the crap out of my tongue, it feels like serrated blades coated in acid sliding down my throat. Still, I get dressed in basic black tights and a black tank with a loose, gauzy gray shirt over top. I dry my hair and put on makeup in hopes that ap- pearing put together will make it so. I have to double up on powder when the effort to prepare my face causes me to sweat.

I take a second hot lemon-honey toddy with me on the subway and arrive for my audition half an hour early. Not that my promptness matters. I’m still unable to speak above a whisper. My despair balloons like a marshmal- low in the microwave at the mass of people performing voice warm-up exercises around me.

I make an attempt to do the same, but the hoarse, croaklike sound is drowned out by the crystal clear voice of the perfectly gorgeous woman standing next to me. As I listen to the sound of a thousand soaring angels spew out of her mouth, I shiver with what I fear is the begin- ning of a fever. Sweat breaks out across the back of my neck and travels down my spine, along with a violent shiver. As if today could be any worse than it already is, my stomach does this weird, knotting thing.

“Ruby Scott.”

I glance at the director, who’s thankfully still looking fresh, and not beaten down by hundreds of craptastic au- ditions. Those are yet to come. I shoulder my bag and follow him to the theater.

“You’re auditioning for the role of Emma today, cor- rect?” He doesn’t give me a chance to confirm. “I’d like you to start with the song at the beginning of act two.”

30 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

“Okay,” I croak feebly, cringing at the raspy sound. At least I can speak, even if I sound like a prepubescent boy with his nuts caught in his zipper.

The director looks up from his clipboard, his frown an omen.

“I seem to have lost my voice.” He has to strain to hear me.

He heaves a frustrated sigh. “You can’t audition if you don’t have a voice.”

“I didn’t want to miss it. Maybe I could audition for a dancer part?” Fewer words are better.

He purses his lips. “Auditions for dancer roles aren’t until later in the week.”

“I understand, but I’m here and if you can’t hear me sing, at least you could see me dance?” I fight the gag reflex as another wave of nausea hits me.

He sighs and relents, gesturing to the stage. I thank him, then drop my bag at the edge of the stage and get into first position. My brain is foggy and my body aches horribly, but I can’t pass up this opportunity for a mod- est, yet steady income for a few months. I can’t afford to rack up additional credit card debt, and I don’t want to ask my father for more money, because that will make him aware of how much of a struggle this is. Then he’ll make his case for me to come work for him, as is his mas- ter plan. I know I can do this.

The music cues up, and as I start to move my stom- ach does that rolling-heave thing again. There isn’t any food in it, but all of a sudden the honey-lemon water I consumed this morning decides to stage a revolt. I’m in the middle of a spin—not the best idea when nauseous— and the next wave hits me; violent and unrelenting.

I attempt to keep my mouth closed, but the intensity of the spasm forces it open. I spray the stage with par-

SH ACK I N G U P 31

tially digested honey-lemon water, and what appears to be last night’s shrimp tarts and mushroom canapé appe- tizer dinner—in an Exorcist-like dramatic flair.

And thus ends my audition.

For the price of a Subway sandwich you could read this book, it is quite fabulous! Berit☀️✨
Posted in Blog Tour

The Shape of Us by Drew Davies @Drew_Davies @bookouture #bookreview #pubday

Happy Tuesday and happy publication day to this quirky lovely story!

A huge thank you to Kim for my invitation to the tour and to Drew Davies four his wonderful words!🙂

My Thoughts

A unique and quirky look at life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, in London.

this book took four seemingly separate threads and slowly wove them into a beautiful story… The characters were all so well drawn and colorful… all different ages and in different stages in their lives… each character brought something new to the story, however I have to say I liked JoJo The Best… although I found Addams story the most compelling…. Daisy and Chris had the craziest first date EVER!and Dylan‘s story tugged at my heartstrings… four people appearing to be completely unconnected in the beginning, but the Author brought them all together brilliantly & beautifully….

Joe Joe is in her 60s and having an affair with her husband… yes her husband, she is trying to win him back from his mistress… some of my favorite parts of this book involve Jojo and mistress Belinda, they made quite the team…. JoJo’s struggle to take the highroad was at times quite hilarious… Adam lost his job and he ended up living in an office building, something about this story just completely fascinated me… Daisy and Chris are just starting out, I found this story quite sweet… Dylan is a teenager suffering from a chronic illness his life is quite shelter, however he still manages to fall in love with an older woman…. i’m sure you are wondering, how in the world are these stories connected? Well, you’re going to need to read this little gem to find out!

This was a unique story filled with unusual characters with unlikely connections…. a well constructed story, A lively puzzle that you piece together throughout the book…

Absolutely recommend when you want something a little different, a little refreshing, a little unique and a whole lot of wonderful!

*** many thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

If you read one book this year, make it this hilarious and emotional novel about love, loss and second chances. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineThe Note and Jojo Moyes will be utterly charmed by this unique love story.

One day in London…

Daisy is rushing to work when a stranger on a bicycle almost knocks her over – and then asks for her number.

Dylan, a teenage boy, lives with an illness which means he can’t leave his bedroom – but which hasn’t stopped him from falling hopelessly in love.

JoJo, a wife in her sixties, is trying desperately to win her beloved husband back from his mistress.

Adam has recently lost his job and lies to his housemate about where he goes every day.

These four total strangers – whose paths cross in the charming city of London – have one thing in common. They are all lonely souls looking for love. But what are the chances of them actually finding it?

An absolutely unputdownable, uplifting and unforgettable book-club read for anyone who has ever made a mistake, been broken-hearted, or waited by their phone for it to ring.

About the Author

Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years. Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London. The Shape of Us is his first romantic comedy. 
Twitter @drew_davies. 
Instagram @drewdavieswriter.

Available Now

Have a wonderful day! Berit☀️✨

Posted in Christmas

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan @SarahMorgan_ @HarlequinBooks #bookreview #holidayread

Happy Monday and happy countdown to Christmas!

Delighted to share with you today my review for this heartwarming festive story from a fabulous author❄️✨

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

My Thoughts

!

A heartwarming story of love, loss, forgiveness, and acceptance sprinkled with a generous dose of holiday cheer!🎄

Sarah Morgan is fast becoming a favorite author… she does an amazing job of developing wonderful realistic characters… breathing life into them with her words… along with a beautiful storyline her books are quite the treat… this festive story is the perfect bow on top of any Christmas present!🎁

The McBride sisters are coming home to Scotland for Christmas… Suzanne is delighted to have all her girls under the same roof, but there are still some wounds that need to be healed… I appreciated how we got each sister’s point of view, we really got a true glimpse into each of their lives and hearts… Posie had an extremely adventurous side and a budding Romance that was the talk of the town… Beth, was probably the most relatable to me, a mother struggling with the decision to go back to work or not, feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated… Hana, was a reserves workaholic who played her cards close to her vest… each girl had their own triumphs and struggles, and each was impacted by the death of their parents in a different way… Suzanne had her struggles as well, suffering from survivors guilt and determined to succeed in her role as adoptive mother to these three wonderful sisters… so, can these sisters now adults come to terms with things that happened in the past?

The delightful snowy setting of Scotland added a festive vibe to the story… I really felt a connection with all these characters, and wanted nothing but the absolute perfect Christmas for them all!This book truly evoked some strong emotions in me, I felt as though I was living and breathing this book along with these sisters… a wonderful winter read that will make you smile more times then it’ll make you cry…. A book of love, laughter, and life lessons, seasoned with snow and holiday cheer!

Absolutely recommend as the perfect addition to your holiday reeds❄️

*** A huge thank you to Harlequin for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas? 

Have a wonderful day! Berit ❄️✨
Posted in Blog Tour

The Diary by Vikki Patis @PatisVikki @bookouture #bookreview

Happy Monday! Back to life, back to reality! It’s always hardest that Monday after a long weekend!

I had a weekend filled with wonderful Bookouture reads, and this was one of them! A wonderful psychological thriller that reminded me of PLL💛

Many thanks to Noelle for my invitation to the tour and to Vikki Patis for her wonderful story! you have a new fan in me!💕

My Thoughts

A juicy and compelling story full of secrets, misconceptions, and lies!

Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

six girls, six secrets, 10 years,and a mystery…This book had a definite Pretty Little Liars vibe to it, and bonus you find out who “A” is in the first book! (Although her name is poly in this book, not A) Vikki Patis did a really good job of juggling six characters and two timelines… I was never confused, each girl had a distinct personality… additionally the teenagers acted like teenagers and when they were adults they acted like adults… you could definitely see the growth and changes in each and every girl… I also appreciated all the pop-culture references, I always enjoy those in books!

Lauren returneds home after being away for 10 years, to attend her childhood BFF Hanna’s memorial… Lauren already feels responsible for Hannah’s death, but when she starts receiving Messages from an unknown number suggesting that they know her secret, she begins to question her decision to return home… after running into her friends from the past she realizes she is not the only one receiving these messages… each girl has something to hide, something that Hannah knew, but who did Hannah share their secrets with? With everybody having things to hide and a diary filled with Hannah’s true thoughts, everybody is a possible suspect…

A well-crafted story that dealt with so many issues that so many teenagers face… I am certain everyone will be able to find something to relate to when it comes to the teenage angst in this book…. some of the subject matter was disturbing, but handled very well… Lauren was a very likable character and you felt her guilt and regret right along with her… The other characters weren’t quite as well fleshed out, but it’s hard with such a large cast… and I think they were all important to the story, because it really shows the true group dynamic of teenage friendships…. The ending was unexpected, but made complete sense! This is Vikki Patis’s debut, and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Absolutely recommend to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller with plenty of characters and a well constructed plot, I also believe this is a thriller that will appeal to fans of young adult…

*** Big thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

I know all your secrets, Lauren.’

Lauren has spent years running away from her home town, her childhood and the memories of her best friend, Hannah.

Until the tenth anniversary of Hannah’s death forces her to return home and to the group of friends she abandoned there. It should be a quick visit, just so Lauren can pay her respects.

At home, Lauren finds Hannah’s old diary. A diary full of secrets. The terrible things Lauren did, the lies she’s told, the reason she ran away. And she receives a message:

‘I don’t know why you’re back, but I know why you left.’ 

But no-one else has seen the diary, and Hannah’s dead, isn’t she?

A suspenseful psychological thriller full of twists and turns – you won’t be able to stop turning the pages of The Diary. Perfect for fans of The Sister, The Girl on the Train and We Were Liars. 

Amazon: http://geni.us/TDSocial

iBookstore: https://tinyurl.com/ya2m9gjt

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/ybsggslj

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/yd3d3n5f

18056213_10212585030317919_1956936559119292765_oAuthor Bio:

Vikki Patis is an author and blogger, as well as an avid reader and book reviewer. When she isn’t working as a Regulatory Affairs Manager, she can usually be found drinking tea, baking cakes, or taking walks in the Hertfordshire countryside. She lives with her partner and two cats.

Social Media Links:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/vikkipatis/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/PatisVikki

WEBSITE: https://vikkipatis.com/

have a lovely day Berit☀️✨