Reviews

Book Review: Until Now

“UNTIL NOW” UNTIL SERIES BOOK 1,

BY CRISTIN COOPER

PUBLICATION DATE: FEBRUARY 18, 2015

until nowSynopsis: 

Then: Sixteen-year-old Bridget Larson was no stranger to heartbreak. When she found herself pregnant and alone with barely enough money for a hotel room for one night, the flashing neon sign of a neighborhood diner changed her fate. Hungry and cold, with just enough money for a cup of soup, Bridget discovered the love and belonging she craved in a family strangers at the fifties style cafe.

Twenty-four-year-old Billy Hall struggled with his own grief. Months ago, he was wandering Europe, in search of his purpose in life, when he received a call that would leave him saddled with his family’s diner. It was a noose around his neck until a pregnant teenager stumbled in hungry and alone. Inexplicably drawn to the girl, he had no idea the purpose he travelled the world to find was simply waiting for him to come home.

Now: After hiding their feelings for each other over the past eighteen years, Bridget and Billy’s life is about to change again. The baby who brought them together is leaving for college today. They both wonder if Katie leaving will take away their last reason to stay in each others lives, or is she giving them a reason to stay together?

Review: Wow this was such an amazing, feel-good novel! I sat down to read “Until Now” earlier today, unsure what I would think of it, but now I want everyone to read it! The story begins with Bridget, a teenager in love with a college guy (who thinks she is older), she gets pregnant, and he, along with everyone else turns his back on her. After her father kicks her out she stumbles across a diner where she meets Billy. Billy has been wandering around Europe for the past few years but returned home to run his parents’ diner after they died in an accident. Their lives instantly changed when Bridget walked in. He gave her a job, the studio apartment above the diner, and everyone basically became her surrogate family helping her and her daughter Katie however they could. The book starts, however, with the day Katie is flying thousands of miles away to attend college. Through a series of flashbacks, the reader learns about Billy, Bridget, and Katie over the past 18 years, and you learn that Bridget and Billy have had much deeper feelings for each other for a long time.

First of all – I absolutely love Billy. He’s handsome, kind, loving, and devoted his life to taking care of “his girls.”  This was not a guy out for sex or just wanting Bridget, he loved them both and spent 18 years making sure they were happy, healthy, and taken care of, even though Katie was not his child. For any woman who has ever raised a child on their own, you know what I’m talking about. His jealousy over Bridget’s boyfriends, his rage towards Katie’s boyfriends, and his nervousness about telling Bridget how he felt just made him that much more adorable. I loved Bridget also, but honestly, she took a back seat to Billy in my opinion. Yes, she was thrown out at 16, pregnant, boyfriend and friends dumped her yet she still survived. But, would her life have turned out so well without Billy? She never asked him for a thing, but he was always there anticipating any needs that she or Katie had. I liked her, don’t get me wrong, but I got more attached to Billy.

What I really loved about this book is how it demonstrates that everyone’s family is different. Family doesn’t have to mean that you are blood-related, married, siblings, etc. Some of us are close and warm and fuzzy with our family, while some of us choose our own family of people who we care about and trust. Billy, Bridget, and Katie didn’t have the “typical” family in the novel, yet Katie grew up happy and healthy and loved them both. Sometimes a family just falls into place whether because of bad circumstances like Bridget’s, or just people that are alone and looking for others to connect with in a way that they couldn’t connect with their natural family.

Let me say that there are some aggravating moments in this novel. Not because of the writing, but because I would get frustrated with either Billy or Bridget for not just speaking up and saying how they feel! Honestly, I adored this story and cannot wait to read more of Cristin Cooper’s novels in the future. This novel was romantic but realistic, dreamy but mixed with real-life. This isn’t some billionaire novel where he comes in and sweeps the girl off of her feet, this is two people who just happened to come together and try to make the best life possible for a little girl.

Learn more about Cristin Cooper and her other novels by visiting her web page.

Wanna know the best part? “Until Now” is free on Amazon right now! Get it and read it, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Reviews

Book Review: “Cover Me”

“COVER ME”

(THE DONOVAN FAMILY BOOK 5),

BY MARGARET WATSON

PUBLISHER: DRAGONFLY PRESS; APRIL 28, 2015

cover meSynopsis: Chicago cop Brendan Donovan loves the adrenaline rush of his role on a tactical team. So when he’s assigned to an undercover job to ferret out the supplier of a new and deadly sex drug, he’s thrilled. His partner is Cilla Marini, a detective he’d met recently during a traffic stop. He’s intrigued by Cilla, but his sister told him that Cilla doesn’t date cops. Which is exactly what they have to pretend to do. Brendan loves a challenge.

Cilla is shocked to find out that Brendan is her mystery partner. After an incident that forced her to transfer from her district and isolated her from her fellow cops, Cilla knows relationships with cops are off the table. But she’s spent far too much time thinking about Brendan since he pulled her over for speeding. Now, not only are they working together, they have to pose as a couple to find the source of the sex drug that’s already killed several men. As the action heats up, Cilla and Brendan don’t have to pretend they want each other. But when secrets put them both in danger, will they have each other’s back? Or will their quarry divide and conquer them before they can find their way to happily ever after?

Review: I cannot express enough how much I loved “Cover Me,” book 5 in The Donovan Family series! This was my first time reading anything by Margaret Watson, but you don’t have to have read any of the previous installments in this series prior to reading this one. Brendan and Cilla are paired together to work undercover on a deadly sex drug case. Brendan is a hot cop that never gets serious with women and Cilla has a strict rule about not dating cops. But when they have to pretend to be a couple while working undercover, they both get to the point where they can’t resist each other. Besides fighting growing feelings for one another, they also have to learn to trust each other and work together as partners.

This is an absolutely fabulous novel with a perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and romance. Brendan and Cilla are hot, sexy, and smart cops that are afraid of relationships. They both have their own hard and soft sides, surprising you how quickly they can flip back and forth. Then there are deadly sex drugs being sold and killing people all over Chicago. Mix that with bad cops, hostage situations, and complete twists and turns – you get a killer novel that you won’t be able to put down. There are a lot of secondary characters including family, good cops, potential bad cops, attorneys, and sleazy judges. Watson’s writing gives you a perfect picture of this secondary characters without weighing you down with too much side information. While the romantic part of the plot was somewhat predictable, the rest of the novel had me on the edge of my seat and provided several surprises. The people I thought were going to be the “bad guys” weren’t, and people I thought were innocent weren’t always what they seemed to be.

I can’t recommend this novel enough for anyone who loves romantic suspense novels. There is truly nothing negative that I can say about this book or about Margaret Watson’s writing. Now if only she will send me more of the series to read, I will be a very happy girl 🙂

Learn more about Margaret Watson, her other novels, and her life as a Veterinarian by visiting her web page.

Purchase “Cover Me” on Amazon.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: “Heartborn”

“HEARTBORN,” BY TERRY MAGGERT

PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

heartborn

Synopsis: Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there is violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival. Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice. Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

“Heartborn” is the newest, upcoming release from Terry Maggert, and this was my first time reading anything by this author. Keiron is a Heartborn, from a different world above where most are cruel and ruthless, except that Keiron is good, and wants to save a girl on Earth named Livvy. Before falling to Earth, Keiron’s brother Garrick cuts off his wings and pushes him. In Keiron’s world, there are all sorts of people with different skills and jobs, but Keiron has always been special being that he is a Heartborn. Livvy has just begun working at a library with a mean boss, mean girls hanging around, and gets out of breath just walking to the break room because of heart problems. Livvy makes an instant best friend, Dozer, but it isn’t until Keiron walks in the library that her world changes.  Keiron and Livvy are quickly drawn to each other while he researches and tells her about the empire and world he is researching, and she tells him about her life and her heart. While they are becoming closer, his family is on the brink of war back where he is from. His parents and sister are fighting battles with the Council, waiting for Keiron and Livvy to return to help them win their war.

First, I must hand it to the author for his level of creativity in developing this story and the characters within it. This is definitely unlike anything I have read previously and I think it will really appeal to the YA audience that likes paranormal/fantasy novels. I was really able to get involved in the parts of the novel with Livvy but struggled following the chapters involving Keiron’s family, all of the different characters, and the war that was brewing. I struggled with keeping up with who was good or who was bad and especially started getting lost between extremely lengthy conversations between Keiron’s parents and Cressa. Without giving spoilers, there is a climactic part with Livvy in the library towards the end which also completely lost me. I can’t elaborate without giving spoilers, but I was just confused. With that being said, I still feel that a reader within this novel’s intended age and interest group would get into this novel, and more than likely follow along much better than I did. I’ve become a bigger fan of science fiction and paranormal writing over the past year, however, my heart still lies with stories that are more concrete so that I can easily recognize and understand what is going on.

“Heartborn” is definitely an interesting read and this is absolutely one of those times where my recommendation is if you like this genre then absolutely read this once it’s released next week. Maggert has created unique and different characters along with an imaginative and exciting plot.

Learn more about Terry Maggert by visiting his web page.

*I received a copy of the ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews

Book Review: Children from Dark Houses

CHILDREN FROM DARK HOUSES (AN ATTICUS & ROSEMARY MYSTERY THRILLER BOOK 1), BY CARLYLE CLARK

PUBLISHER: BRANCH & CRANE; 1 EDITION; JUNE 1, 2016

childrenSynopsis: Irreverent private investigator Atticus Wynn and his idealistic partner Rosemary Sanchez will stop at nothing to save a damaged boy, even when it means taking on a pair of professional killers and a gang of outlaw bikers in this action-packed and gallows-humored first novel in the Atticus & Rosemary Mystery Thriller Series.

When Atticus and Rosemary are hired for the seemingly routine job of finding Imran Khan, a runaway from San Diego’s posh Barrington Academy for troubled teens, the detectives quickly discover this case will be anything but routine. Imran wasn’t running away from the rigid rules of Barrington, he was running into the arms of an enigmatic beauty who goes to great lengths to stay in the shadows. As soon as Atticus and Rosemary learn of this mystery woman, they’re targeted by a brutal outlaw biker gang.

When the detectives finally meet their employers in person, Imran’s parents, the pieces fall into place. They discover a family seething with rage, an abused boy seeking love, and a secret so powerful it shines a light on the dark world of dirty money, deadly spies, and double-crosses. The detectives will need all of Atticus’s street smarts and Rosemary’s combat experience to survive as they race down a road of blood and broken people toward a showdown where the very boy they’ve sworn to save what could be the biggest danger of all.

Carlyle Clark has completely won me over with “Children from Dark Houses” and his wonderful main characters, Atticus and Rosemary. Let me begin by saying I have one piece of negative criticism and that is the cover. When I looked at the cover, I thought it was going to be a spooky thriller, but even with the bad crap that happens in this novel, it is absolutely hilarious. Atticus and Rosemary are in my eyes, the perfect couple. Any two people who can exchange such smart-ass and hilarious banter while keeping a straight face and being in love are my heroes. This private investigator couple consists of Atticus, who is African-American, and Rosemary, who is Mexican American. They are funny, fearless, and repeatedly think ahead of situations and manage to come out o.k.

There are so many other characters in this novel, and what is so fantastic is the variety of characters. There are the prejudiced/racist bikers (which in itself is kind of prejudiced assuming that the bikers would be prejudiced,but I found this as funny as everything else), a young Indian man, Imran, and his dad Khan that basically launders money and exchanges money under a more romantic sounding tradition, and Imran’s mother that was bought at a brothel in the Middle East and hates men. There are the evil Sabellia and Eiger, pretending to be sweet cousins, Atticus’ police officer sister who is also a lesbian, and a sweet caucasian girl who is best friends with Imran but not allowed at his house. Oh and a cross-dressing friend that helps Atticus with his fashion sense. My point is, Clark covered all the bases on ethnicity, lifestyle, and gang crime – but in a humorous and light-hearted way.

It would be too difficult to discuss the plot without giving away spoilers, but this is a hilarious page-turner from the beginning that will keep you guessing the entire read. There are so many twists and turns, but not to the point of confusion – it completely adds entertainment value and suspense to the story. I think what impressed me the most was the depth and complexity of the characters, despite how many characters there are in the story. Clark’s writing style paints perfect portraits of each character to where you feel you are there in the story with them. If you don’t like smart-ass/dry humor in novels, this may not be the book for you. However, this is one of the best books that I’ve read in a while, and cannot recommend it enough to someone who loves suspense, mystery, and hilarious banter. I cannot wait to read more from Carlyle Clark and this definitely goes on my list of my top favorite books that I have read this year.

Learn more about Carlyle Clark by visiting his web page.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Posts

What am I reading?

I got way off track last week with my reading list! Between writing and other books that kept popping up, I didn’t get to 3 of the books that I had planned. So, here is my planned list through the weekend, that I really am going to read!

CHILDREN FROM DARK HOUSES (AN ATTICUS & ROSEMARY MYSTERY THRILLER BOOK 1), BY CARLYLE CLARK

PUBLISHER: BRANCH & CRANE; 1 EDITION; JUNE 1, 2016

childrenSynopsis: Irreverent private investigator Atticus Wynn and his idealistic partner Rosemary Sanchez will stop at nothing to save a damaged boy, even when it means taking on a pair of professional killers and a gang of outlaw bikers in this action-packed and gallows-humored first novel in the Atticus & Rosemary Mystery Thriller Series.

When Atticus and Rosemary are hired for the seemingly routine job of finding Imran Khan, a runaway from San Diego’s posh Barrington Academy for troubled teens, the detectives quickly discover this case will be anything but routine. Imran wasn’t running away from the rigid rules of Barrington, he was running into the arms of an enigmatic beauty who goes to great lengths to stay in the shadows. As soon as Atticus and Rosemary learn of this mystery woman, they’re targeted by a brutal outlaw biker gang.

When the detectives finally meet their employers in person, Imran’s parents, the pieces fall into place. They discover a family seething with rage, an abused boy seeking love, and a secret so powerful it shines a light on the dark world of dirty money, deadly spies, and double-crosses. The detectives will need all of Atticus’s street smarts and Rosemary’s combat experience to survive as they race down a road of blood and broken people toward a showdown where the very boy they’ve sworn to save what could be the biggest danger of all.

COVER ME (THE DONOVAN FAMILY BOOK 5),

BY MARGARET WATSON

PUBLISHER: DRAGONFLY PRESS; APRIL 28, 2015

cover meSynopsis: Chicago cop Brendan Donovan loves the adrenaline rush of his role on a tactical team. So when he’s assigned to an undercover job to ferret out the supplier of a new and deadly sex drug, he’s thrilled. His partner is Cilla Marini, a detective he’d met recently during a traffic stop. He’s intrigued by Cilla, but his sister told him that Cilla doesn’t date cops. Which is exactly what they have to pretend to do. Brendan loves a challenge.

Cilla is shocked to find out that Brendan is her mystery partner. After an incident that forced her to transfer from her district and isolated her from her fellow cops, Cilla knows relationships with cops are off the table. But she’s spent far too much time thinking about Brendan since he pulled her over for speeding. Now, not only are they working together, they have to pose as a couple to find the source of the sex drug that’s already killed several men. As the action heats up, Cilla and Brendan don’t have to pretend they want each other. But when secrets put them both in danger, will they have each other’s back? Or will their quarry divide and conquer them before they can find their way to happily ever after?

HEARTBORN, BY TERRY MAGGERT

PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

heartborn

Synopsis: Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there is violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival. Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice. Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

 

Until Now: Until Series Book 1, by Cristin Cooper

Publication Date: February 18, 2015

until nowSynopsis: 

Then: Sixteen-year-old Bridget Larson was no stranger to heartbreak. When she found herself pregnant and alone with barely enough money for a hotel room for one night, the flashing neon sign of a neighborhood diner changed her fate. Hungry and cold, with just enough money for a cup of soup, Bridget discovered the love and belonging she craved in a family strangers at the fifties style cafe.

Twenty-four-year-old Billy Hall struggled with his own grief. Months ago, he was wandering Europe, in search of his purpose in life, when he received a call that would leave him saddled with his family’s diner. It was a noose around his neck until a pregnant teenager stumbled in hungry and alone. Inexplicably drawn to the girl, he had no idea the purpose he travelled the world to find was simply waiting for him to come home.

Now: After hiding their feelings for each other over the past eighteen years, Bridget and Billy’s life is about to change again. The baby who brought them together is leaving for college today. They both wonder if Katie leaving will take away their last reason to stay in each others lives, or is she giving them a reason to stay together?

Leave Me: A Novel, by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Algonquin Books; September 6, 2016

Leave meSynopsis: Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.

With big-hearted characters–husbands, wives, friends, and lovers–who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing the fears we’re all running from. Gayle Forman is a dazzling observer of human nature. She has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head on and asks, what happens when a grown woman runs away from home?

As always, let me know if you have any reading suggestions or would like for me to read and review your book! Happy reading 🙂

 

Book Blitz, Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: Caught Between Worlds

CBW Blog Tour Button (1)Caught Between Worlds

By G.P. Gadbois

Publisher: Roane Publishing

Release Date: August 15, 2016

 

Synopsis: Gabrielle and three college friends must deal with a temporary setback when they are stranded in St. Clair, USA. Her holiday unravels in a series of exhilarating events. Her salvation, the handsome deputy Brady, succeeds in keeping her safe and captures her heart.

Deputy Richard Brady’s peaceful life ceases when Gabrielle shows up at his door. It is his duty to keep the charming Canadian safe from the life-threatening supernatural activities, but his personal motives frighten him more than the danger itself.

Will love conquer and bring them together after Gabrielle returns home?

caught between

 

“Caught Between Worlds,” by G.P. Gadbois is a different kind of contemporary romance with a little paranormal and suspense mixed in.  After their car breaks down on the way to the beach, Gabby goes looking for help and end’s up at Rick Brady’s front door, a deputy for the local Sheriff’s department. Rick calls his equally gorgeous mechanic friend, Bill, to tow the car, but now the girls must stay in St. Clair for a few days waiting for the part to arrive. Gabby, Suzanne, Wendy, and Julie end up at a local bed & breakfast owned by Carla and Jack and so far everything is working out almost too well considering they had car trouble in a strange town. Everyone is very welcoming and the four young women are making the best of things, but Gabby soon experiences odd things around her. Gabby and Suzanne tell Rick and Bill about their experiences, which leads Rick to investigate a local myth in the area while trying to keep Gabby and Suzanne safe.

I liked Gabby from the beginning, although I was surprised by her innocence at 20 years old. Gabby is kind of quirky, funny, sweet, and basically just goes along with whatever. Suzanne was also a likeable character but Wendy and Julie didn’t really stick out in any way. Rick is the quiet, sexy, protective type and I liked him, but there were times his character fell flat. Honestly, there were times I wondered if he was the “bad guy” they were searching for because Rick was so often short-tempered and all business.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story because I love romances that have something different like “Caught Between Worlds.” It took me quite awhile to start figuring out the mystery in the novel and I loved the suspense. My only issues were times I wished the writing flowed more easily and I wish the characters would have been more developed and complex. If you are looking for a contemporary romance that includes paranormal activity, crime, and suspense, you should check out this new novel by G.P. Gadbois.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:G.P. is Canadian. A wife and mother of three who works in school bus transportation. In her last year of high school, she enjoyed writing a weekly column published in the French newspaper in her home town. Writing took a back seat for years and now that her children are grown, it’s become her favorite hobby.

Entertaining others is like breathing – it is part of who she is.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GPGadbois/?fref=ts

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Summer of Irreverence

“Summer of Irreverence: The Rock Star” (The New York Artists Series),

by Cathrine Goldstein

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc, July 6, 2016

summer

Synopsis: Straight-laced, veterinary surgeon, Summer Wynters is ready to break the rules. And who better to break them with than the most irreverent of all men, mega rock star Malcolm Angel? With one last summer free from work obligations, Summer moves to New York City, and at the coaxing of her friend, pretends to be a model so she can spend one wild night with Malcolm.

Rock star, Malcolm Angel, tortured by a dark past, may be the poet laureate of romance, but he, like science-minded Summer, has never believed in romantic love. How could he? With his history, he doesn’t deserve to be loved.

When Summer’s honesty, kindness, and exuberance for life changes his perspective, the two discover they are in deeper than either dreamed possible. But when Malcolm discovers Summer’s been perpetuating a lie, will he forgive her? Even if forgiveness is possible, can a man immune to love teach someone else to believe in it?

Ahhhh, this was such a good book! “Summer of Irreverence” by Cathrine Goldstein is her recent romance novel about Summer and Malcolm, and it’s a definite page-turner. Summer is a veterinary surgeon who has time off over the summer before starting her new job. She visits her fashion model friend Jeanette in New York City and decides that she wants and needs something different and exciting in her life. That something different is rock superstar, Malcolm Angel, whose band is managed by Jeanette’s boyfriend, Elijah. Jeanette agrees to get them  into one of Malcolm’s concerts to meet him, but warns Summer that he only does one-night stands and that Summer needs to tweak her good-girl image and pretend to be a model rather than a veterinary surgeon. With new clothes, hair and make-up they head to Malcolm’s concert and he absolutely notices her.

Malcolm has had great pain in his life but has become one of the biggest rock stars around. Besides his 18-year-old dog, Winston, Malcolm doesn’t get close to anyone and looks at women as one-night-stands only. Meeting Summer is different, however, and he finds himself mesmerized by her natural beauty and innocence. Malcolm questions whether Summer is really a model, but finds himself asking her on dates and spending all of his free time getting to know and falling for this different girl. The combination of Malcolm’s past experiences, his reputation as a bad boy, and Summer’s omissions about who she really is puts their relationship to the test and leaves you wondering if they will make it.

“Summer of Irreverence” was such an easy novel to read and fall in love with. I mentioned in a review a few days ago how I love romances with down-to-earth and relatable characters, and you definitely get that with Summer Wynters. She has been in a safe relationship with another veterinary surgeon, realized he’s not what she wants, and she decides to do something different and crazy. Summer has worked hard to get where she is but feels like she needs to do something different, and who hasn’t been there at some point? Malcolm is very relatable too, despite being a famous rock star. The way he runs with his dog, the way he slowly “courts” Summer, and the way he breaks down exposing his pain to her. Yes, there are some hot and steamy moments between them, but this novel is much more about building a relationship and emotions than it is about the physical aspect. There were times I was frustrated with her for not being open and honest and there were also times I was frustrated with him for being so closed off and stubborn. In the end, you realize that Goldstein has created characters that you become invested in and attached too.

The plots, subplots, and pace of this novel all had that “just right” feeling where things weren’t overly complicated but definitely not boring. “Summer of Irreverence” is almost a higher level romance because of the eloquent writing style and flow of the novel, while still maintaining a sweet and light-hearted tone. Without giving spoilers, my favorite part of the novel was the end. This is not a cliffhanger novel that leaves you frustrated but instead provides closure, as well as, a glimpse of hope for the future of the characters. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for something new and fresh in romance novels.

Learn more about Cathrine Goldstein by visiting her web page.

Purchase “Summer of Irreverence” on Amazon

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: The Sunlight Pilgrims

“THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS,”

BY JENNI FAGAN

PUBLISHER: HOGARTH; JULY 19, 2016

sunlightSynopsis: It’s November of 2020, and the world is freezing over. Each day colder than the last. There’s snow in Israel, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south. But not Dylan. Grieving and ready to build life anew, he heads north to bury his mother’s and grandmother’s ashes on the Scottish islands where they once lived.

Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything with restorative and trading value. When Dylan arrives in their caravan park in the middle of the night, life changes course for Estella and Constance. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they’ll all be ready.

Written in incandescent, dazzling prose, The Sunlight Pilgrims is a visionary story of courage and resilience in the midst of nature’s most violent hour; by turns an homage to the portentous beauty of our natural world, and to just how strong we can be, if the will and the hope is there, to survive its worst.

So, I have had “The Sunlight Pilgrims” for about a week or so and was really excited to read this new novel by Jenni Fagan. The synopsis sounded really cool and unique, and just different from things I’ve read recently. This is something I never do – I am writing a review for a book that I was unable to finish. I love all genres of books, am a fast reader, and love reading. However, I could not get into this story and could not connect with any of the characters. The plot sounded good when I read the description of this book, but unfortunately, it read more like a textbook or some sort of how-to manual. There were several times I would come to the end of the page and then realize I had no what the hell I had read on that page, so I would go back and re-read it, but it was just as slow and boring as the first time.

As far as the characters, Stella is absolutely the most interesting. Stella is transgender and has been changing from male to female over the past year. Doctors would not give her the medication to stop the change due to her age, so she’s been coming to terms with going from being a boy to a girl. Her mother, Constance, has several love interests and other than trying to support her daughter through her changes, she just didn’t stand out. Dylan has lost his mother and grandmother within 6 months of each other and is heading north to the caravan and to spread their ashes. I empathize with the loss of his family, but Dylan was just too pathetic for me to take.

With all of that being said, remember I did not finish this book. It may have all come together in some exciting ending, etc. but I just couldn’t do it. Reviews on this book are mixed so check it out for yourself if the synopsis sounds interesting. “The Sunlight Pilgrims” just was not the book for me.

*Disclaimer: I received this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

Reviews

Book Review: Whiskey and Wine

“Whiskey and Wine,” by H. Dillon Smith

Publication date: March 17, 2016

whiskey and wineSynopsis: Ellie Ray Vaughn needs a fresh start. Daughter of a washed-up ex-musician and alcoholic mother, ex-girlfriend to an abusive psycho, and unwanted house guest to her aunt and uncle that have had to take her in. College is supposed to be that fresh start. She has her best friend Annie by her side and a determination to pursue anything but music in hopes of not ending up like her mother. But in Nashville, it’s hard to run from the music that runs in her veins. She’s determined to leave her past behind her, but a certain blue eyed, tattooed guitar player refuses to let her stifle her talent…or her feelings.

Dean Thomas is just like any other arrogant musician. Girls are plentiful and fleeting, music is all that matters, and feelings belong only in the lyrics that he writes. He’s not looking to fall in love, only to leave his painful childhood behind and focus on the future. A future that involves music, record deals, and no one to tie him down. But when Dean meets Ellie he doesn’t hesitate to throw away his one night stands and wild nights for the girl he never thought he would find. He just didn’t expect it to be so hard.

“Whiskey and Wine,” is H. Dillon Smith’s debut novel and it is a fantastic romance. Ellie hasn’t had the best upbringing dealing with an alcoholic musician mother that gave her away, as well as, recently breaking up with an abusive boyfriend. She was raised by her aunt and uncle but always felt like a guest in their room rather than family. Getting ready to start college, Ellie and her best friend Annie are out at a bar when Ellie’s cousin Chandler begs her to fill in for their singer. Luckily Ellie agrees and she meets the guitarist Dean Thomas.

Dean also has a dark past after the death of his real father, his mother marrying a controlling and abusive Marine, and then with his mother’s death. While she was dying, she would talk to Dean about him meeting the girl he will fall in love with. She described a girl who has also had a troubling past, expresses herself with words and music, and is stubborn. Dean’s track record with girls has been one night flings so far, and he has a reputation as a player. But as soon as Dean meets Ellie, and especially after hearing her sing, he knows he has met the girl for him.

Ellie tries to push Dean away or at least remain just friends but things become challenging once she realizes he is rooming with her cousin right down the hall. Moreover, they have classes together, hang out with the same crowd, and he always seeks out her input on his songwriting. Ellie’s abusive ex-boyfriend is back in the picture also, calling and texting her to the point she thinks she may need another restraining order. Dean is persistent but not pushy, and eventually, Ellie can’t ignore their feelings for one another.

Why is “Whiskey and Wine” a different and unique romance? To being with, Ellie and Dean are amazing characters that are relatable and draw the reader in. They’re a mix of talent and fear, hope and painful memories. This isn’t an easy, storybook romance where everything just happily falls into place. Both of these complex main characters are battling demons from their pasts, as well as some demons in the present. Their talent and love for music help bring them closer, but her fear of his previous reputation also holds her back. There are a lot of sweet, romantic moments between these two, not just physically, but in-depth conversations and really getting to know one another. Smith developed a fantastic storyline and provided enough subplots for depth, but this novel doesn’t overwhelm you with too many details from too many characters. The only exception, without giving spoilers, is a scene in the hospital where there is a sort of revelation about Ellie’s past and family. I was confused as hell for a few minutes and had to go back a few pages to re-read, but I eventually got it 🙂

I loved this story and certainly loved the characters. This is a book you will read in one sitting because you can’t tear yourself away. H. Dillon Smith has written an amazing debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future!

Visit H. Dillon Smith’s web page to learn more about her.

Reviews

Book Review: Bayou My Love

BAYOU MY LOVE, BY LAUREN FAULKENBERRY

PUBLISHER: VELVET MORNING PRESS; MARCH 1, 2016

bayou my loveSynopsis: Thirty-year-old Enza Parker is at a crossroads. To prove to her overbearing father she can flip a house on her own, she takes on an ambitious project and it puts her in the path of the most alluring man she’s ever met. Enza plans to flip the house she inherited from her estranged grandmother, Vergie, in Bayou Sabine, Louisiana. As a child, she spent summers there until the day her mother—Vergie’s daughter—inexplicably left. Since then, Enza hasn’t let anyone get close to her.

Arriving in Bayou Sabine, Enza finds her house occupied by bedeviling firefighter Jack Mayronne. Enza has no intention of being a landlord, but Jack convinces her to let him stay in exchange for helping her with repairs. With only six weeks to fix the house and sell, she’s determined to prove her father wrong, but she didn’t count on all the delicious ways Jack could distract her. When Enza’s fling with Jack intensifies, she finds herself entangled with a vengeful arsonist from Jack’s past. As she reaches her breaking point, she must decide: Should she sell the house and leave her past in Bayou Sabine behind for good, or can she overcome her fears and build a new life there with Jack?

Goodness, I’m not sure how to even begin to review the fantastic “Bayou My Love,” by Lauren Faulkenberry! After reading the novella, “Back to Bayou Sabine” I was hoping that the follow-up novel would be wonderful, and it was. “Bayou My Love” picks up with Enza inheriting her grandmother Vergie’s home since her death. Enza convinces her father to let her take the lead on the project of flipping Vergie’s house and heads back to Bayou Sabine. Upon arriving she realizes that an adorably gorgeous firefighter, Jack, has been renting Vergie’s house since before her death. She reluctantly agrees to let him stay in exchange for help with the house but quickly finds herself falling for him. The bad part, however, is that strange voodoo items keep turning up in the yard, and one bad thing happens after the other.

This is such an outstanding book and absolutely one you won’t be able to put down. Enza’s character continues to amaze me with her beauty, strength, and intelligence. Faulkenberry shows a more sensitive side to Enza as she starts falling hard for Jack, but she is just as determined and strong-minded as before, especially when she stands up to her father. Then there’s Jack, and I’m honestly not sure there are any flaws to Jack. He’s sweet, caring, funny, and sounds like an absolute delight to like at! He doesn’t rush or push Enza but allows her to let down the walls around her at her own pace. We also meet Jack’s family Buck and Josie who are wonderful, and then the not so wonderful characters Remy and Miranda. Duchess is also introduced as a voodoo priestess from whom Enza seeks help, and there’s the sheriff, Andre, who is trying to find the arsonist and protect Enza.

“Bayou My Love” is definitely romantic and sexy with the undeniable chemistry between Jack and Enza, but it’s a sweet romance because he falls for hard so hard and is adorably cute about it. Besides the mushy-gushy stuff, this novel is very suspenseful with an arsonist burning down buildings all over town and the dog, Bella, finding and bringing back spooky voodoo symbols of unrequited love and obsession. Whenever thought I had figured out what would happen next or who the real bad guy was, I would end up surprised. Mystery still remains pertaining to the box of Vergie’s items in the house with letters and journals, making you eager to find out if Enza learns anything about her mother. This novel is not a cliffhanger that will leave you frustrated, but when done reading you will certainly be eager for the next novel to come out.

Lauren Faulkenberry completely drew me in with her writing style, complex characters, and captivating storytelling. “Bayou My Love” is wonderfully unique and stands out among romance novels with its blend of love, suspense, crime, and the unknown. If you have not yet had a chance to read her novels, it is absolutely time to catch up and experience Enza and Jack in Bayou Sabine.

Learn more about Lauren Faulkenberry by visiting her web page.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author and LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase “Bayou My Love”
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