Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book review: Give Me Love by Kate McCarthy

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably remember me singing (or rather writing) the praises of Kate McCarthy’s latest book, Fighting Redemption. I discovered her totally by chance and Fighting Redemption was the first book I’ve read. However, she had two more books before that, which are part of a trilogy and I recently decided to give them a chance, so I picked the first book, Give Me Love. When you suffer from a book hangover, like I did for Fighting Redemption, it’s hard to forget those characters and connect with the new ones; you can’t help comparing them. You can guess I was a little biased and thought I’d never be able to connect with Evie and Jared (the main characters in Give Me Love) the way I did with Finn and Ryan. So I started reading with a very critical eye, thinking I didn’t quite like the way Evie acted, especially with men; Mac, Henry and the Rice Bubbles made up for that though, and I decided to give Evie a chance. I’m glad I did, because once I understood the reasons behind her attitude, I immediately warmed toward her and I was glued to the pages, wishing I didn’t have to put down my Kindle to eat, sleep or go to work. I loved that for once it's actually the heroine being a badass rockstar; with all these books about the bad boy rockstar with the heroine falling at his feet I was starting to think it was a men's world out there. I didn't mind all the cursing found throughout the book, because it actually went with the characters so I actually found it rather amusing. In other books I may have found it annoying, because it didn't add up with the story, but in this book it's just how it needs to be. I mean, they're a rock band and badass cops and P.I.s, right? Who would expect them to go around shouting "Whoopsy daisy" or "Goodness me"? Now that would make for a rather unreal book! :)

Let me recap the story for you: Evie is the lead singer in an Australian rock band hoping to walk through the doors of stardom kingdom. Her father walked out on them (her mother and older brother Coby who, by the way, is absolutely HOT!) when she was little, then her mother died in a car accident the day before Evie’s 16th birthday, so she started doing reckless things like dating crazy guys and numbing the pain with alcohol, until Coby – after a crazy party turned out wrong – manages to bring her back to the right side of the tracks. We only get to know this through dialogues and storytelling on Evie’s side, because the story actually starts when she’s 24 and getting ready for a show. That’s when we’re introduced to all the members of the band, including Mac, her best friend and band manager, who’s Jared’s little sister. Now, Jared. He’s absolutely AWESOME. He’s a badass sort of P.I. working with Coby, but he’s also so sweet he made my heart melt most of the time. He had me at the first “baby” he said to Evie. They start out as friends, but the attraction is strong from the very beginning and as the story unfolds, their fight is useless and they can’t help but surrender to the feeling. So you’ll think it’s a bed of roses kind of story, right? Wrong. Their relationship will have to go through serious tests, including life-threatening events, that will keep you on the edge of your seats until the very last page (there were some parts that made me gasp in fear - and I thought this was absolutely brilliant!).

Although, like I said, I started off a bit slow because I didn’t know what to expect, once I got rid of my “prejudices” if you can call them so, I got so engrossed in the story I didn’t want to put my Kindle down.
I loved the chemistry between Jared and Evie; it was so strong and captivating, it jumped right out of the pages. Although there were sex scenes, I liked that they weren’t graphic. They were hot and romantic at the same time, and this helped me enjoy the book a lot more than if the author had written pages on what happened down to the smallest detail. This proves my theory that leaving it to the reader’s imagination makes it feels more like a romance book than erotica, yet it can still be engaging while keeping the focus on the main story. I know I sound like a prude but sometimes I still find myself skipping whole pages of sex scenes just because they’re so long they’ll make me lose the plot completely if I read them all. I guess it’s because I’m more the romantic kind of reader.
Kate managed to make the romance between them quite hot, without the need of long, boring sex scenes. Kudos for that, Kate!

There are some amazing side characters: Mac, Henry, the Rice Bubbles, Coby, Travis, Mitch, Casey and even Tim (I totally LOVED Tim from the minute he entered the scene – I wish he were my best friend and we could go shopping together!) and they helped make the story even more entertaining and somehow captivating. I’m so glad that Kate decided to write full novels about some of them (book 2, Give Me Strength, is about Travis – HOT! – and Quinn, the new band manager assistant; book 3 will be about Casey – SUPER HOT! He’s described as Jensen Ackles so well, who can turn a blind eye to that?). I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping she’ll actually decide to write a book for each one of them because they’re all fantastic characters who deserve the spotlight just as much as Jared and Evie did.

My only complaint is: I wish the book had been written in third person POV so we would've gotten to see Jared's side of the story. He's totally LOVABLE and I would've loved to read how he felt. Besides, Kate is one of the few authors who can master the third person POV storytelling, so I have no doubt the book would've been just as engrossing, even in third person POV.

After reading yet another book set in Australia, I’m honestly thinking about moving there. It sounds like such an amazing place to live in and, if all Aussie men are like the ones described in Kate’s books, well I guess I may just end up meeting my Prince Charming dreamed into life! :-)

Kate McCarthy climbed the chart of my all-time favorite authors with Fighting Redemption and she’s definitely keeping her spot there thanks to the Give Me series. I can’t wait to read more from her. You have a fan here in Italy, Kate! *waves frantically*

Have you read Give Me Love already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Release event: Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss

Title: Wind Chime Café 
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: February 7, 2014

When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street café on Heron Island, she thinks she’s finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the café into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents’ property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him “get his head straight.” The last thing Will expects is to fall in love…with his hometown and with Annie. But Will’s life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie’s love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?

Yes! Sophie did it again! From the author of the Selkie Trilogy, Sophie Moss (if the name sounds familiar, check out my reviews or The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress) comes another great trilogy. This time though, it's not set on a remote Irish isle - where I'd love to move - but in a small island in Maine - where I'd love to move, too. Okay, I can't make up my mind, so what?

Sophie has been kind enough to gift an ARC to me so I've already read this a couple of weeks ago and... well, here's my review at last!

I have to admit I love Sophie's writing style so I was pretty sure I was going to like this book too. The thing when you start a new trilogy by the same author is that you're still living in the previous books and are still sort of attached to the characters, so becoming fond of new ones can be hard. Not if you read a book by Sophie Moss, though. I immediately grew fond of Annie and Taylor, and obviously fell for Will the minute he entered the scene. She has a way of describing places and characters in such a way that you'll actually be able to see the scenes unfold in front of your eyes as if it were a movie.

As you know by following my blog, I'm very fond of Ireland (fond being an understatement) so it was easy for me to LOVE the Selkie Spell at once, since it was set on an Irish isle. I've never been to Maine, although I've watched every single episode of Murder, she wrote which is supposedly set in Maine (although I read the actual movie setting was in California? DUH!). Anyway, even though I have no idea what Maine looks like, I could see it all in front of my eyes, smell the delicious scent of Della's sweet rolls, feel the salty wind on my face, see the monarch butterflies and their beautiful colors. When I finished the book, I wanted to move to Heron Island. Words can't really express the emotions I felt while reading this book - you'll have to read it and find out for yourselves.

The story has a high level of chemistry without the need of graphic sex scenes that have become so popular in most of the books I've read recently, and this earns Sophie at least 100 extra points. Just like in the Selkie books, Sophie manages to capture the emotions and spark the heat between the two main characters with deeply emotional scenes, without all the annoying graphic details that sometimes really take me away from the main story. I love that there are still authors who can do this, who can create a connection using emotions instead of sex - for people like me who haven't read (and will probably never read) Fifty Shades and prefer the romantic Prince Charming over the badass alpha male this brings a great relief.

I loved Taylor, Annie's daughter; she's super cute and I spent half the book wanting to hug her. Her relationship with Will was lovely (and he was so hot when he was around Taylor!) Oh, and I loved that a dog was an important character in the story too. The way Taylor got attached to it was super cute. :)
I enjoyed every bit of this book, although I have to say that the fast forward bit at the end left me wanting for more (I can't tell you what happened or I'll spoil it for you, but I would've loved to read about what happened during those six weeks...)

I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which from what I've heard, it's going to be about Colin and Becca, two great side characters I truly loved. (Now, what is it with all these HOT army men these days? LOL).

Go grab a copy of Wind Chime Café, you won't be disappointed. And if you stop by Sophie's new website, you'll find some of the recipes mentioned in the book. YUM! :)

Sophie Moss is an award-winning author of four full-length romance novels. Known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings, her books have appeared twice in USA Today. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She currently lives in San Diego,California, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s walking the beach, testing out a new dessert recipe, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at or visit her website at