Reviews

Book Review: Hart of Hers

Hart of Hers: A Wounded Hero Romance (Cale & Mickey Book 3),

by Annie Arcane

Publication: Annie Arcane; March 31, 2017

hart of hersAbout the book:

I said yes.

To the most difficult, frustrating, hard-headed workaholic on the entire planet. Don’t even get me started on his massive ego. Sometimes it’s tempting to strangle the stubborn idiot.

Instead, I’ll just marry him.

Because I’m in love with the world’s sexiest stubborn idiot.

And if Jerkface thinks he can threaten my man…

He’s got another thing coming.

Warning: Strong language, mature content, drama, and angst included. Shirt sold separately.

This novella is an adult contemporary romance featuring a disabled hero who (still) happens to be a rich and sexy alpha male with a potty mouth.

My Review:

Oh, how I love Mickey and Cale! This is the third installment in their series and Annie Arcane never disappoints. Mickey and Cale are now engaged, but still struggling with his stubbornness, her desire to push his buttons, and the importance of telling the truth – no matter what it is. This novella is told mostly from Mickey’s perspective, yet we still get some chapters told by the sexy, bad-mouthed, but wonderful Cale. 

Being a short novella, I can’t go into a very lengthy review without spoilers, but I loved this one just as much as the previous two in the series. First, I adore these two characters that Annie Arcane has created. They are wonderfully flawed with a lifetime of issues of their own. Yet they are successful and happy for the most part. Most importantly, they are madly in love with each despite the flaws. Secondly, Arcane’s writing style, specifically the way she captures both dialogue and inner thoughts, is amazing. The way she presents this to the readers allows you to see their expressions and hear their voices as you read as if you were sitting there in the room with them. 

If you have not yet started this series, it is past time! I highly recommend this to lovers of women’s fiction and romance with an edge.

*Many thanks to the awesome and bad-ass Annie Arcane for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Hart of Hers on Amazon!

Learn more about Annie Arcane by visiting her web page!

 

 

Book Blitz, Giveaway, Reviews

Review & Giveaway: Forbidden Dance

Forbidden Dance
Deanna Roy
(Lover’s Dance, #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.

An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy

For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Home schooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.

Then Blitz arrives.

He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.

At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.

He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.

I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.

But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.

Forbidden Dance is a full-length standalone HEA, although fans who fall in love with Blitz and Livia can continue the series to follow more of their love story

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My Review:

Forbidden Dance is the story of a nineteen-year-old young woman named Livia. After becoming accidentally pregnant at 15, her family forced her to give the baby up for adoption and they all moved from Houston to San Antonio to avoid the shame of an unplanned pregnancy. Even worse, she became a prisoner in her own home, rarely allowed to leave without one of her parents, even at 19. Her one joy is dancing at Dreamcatcher Academy where she started ballet at age 17 and now helps with dance classes, including a ballet class for children in wheelchairs. Blitz is from San Antonio but has been in L.A. for years filming a semi-reality tv show where women vie for the chance to become his dance partner and wife. After an embarrassing and inappropriate tweet destroys his reputation, his manager sends him home to Dreamcatcher Academy to volunteer his time as a dance instructor. Then he meets Livia. 

I had a difficult time getting into this novel because I found it insane that Livia was still living so close under her parents’ watchful and critical eyes at her age. She could only watch tv if it was with and approved by her parents. She could not have a phone or any sort of computer or internet access. Her only opportunities to be out of their house were when she went to dance class or to a volunteer job at a church. Despite all of this, I found myself very invested in Livia and her story once Blitz showed up at Dreamcatchers. I loved their instant connection and especially loved watching Livia slowly come out of her shell and start making choices for herself, rather than constantly living in fear of her parents. 

Without giving spoilers, there are some heartbreaking moments with Livia flashing back to having her baby, as well as, what the future has brought as a result. But again, the novel was a joy to read as Livia started taking chances and making decisions for her adult self, rather than the child/prisoner her Dad still viewed her as. I also noticed how others that had always been so protective of her started to tear down their own walls and opinions to allow her to flourish and gain some life experience. 

Something else that did bother me was the almost “Cinderella-like” story of her being whisked away into a happily-ever-after with Blitz. Not that I’m some major, militant feminist or anything, but I kept thinking to myself, “even if she were to run away with him, she has no job experience or skills, no higher education, no real friends (at least over the age of 18), so what would she do if one day he decided he no longer wanted to be in the relationship?” But then again, this is a work of fiction, so I am guessing I shouldn’t stress over such details!

I truly enjoyed Forbidden Dance and found myself quickly swept away in the author’s easy writing style. I loved the idea of the famous, hot tv star falling for the sheltered, shy hometown girl. I also loved the focus on the ballet class for the children in wheelchairs, which completely pulled at my heart strings! What I’m most excited about is that I learned from the author’s website that there are several more installments coming out in this series about Livia and Blitz! I cannot wait to read more about their story and where life takes them!

*Many thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and author Deanna Roy for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Author Bio:

Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction.

She is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She has several books on the subject, including her bestseller FOREVER INNOCENT, a romance about a couple whose baby is taken off life support at seven days old.

She has run the website PregnancyLoss.Info for fifteen years, including many large spin-off support groups both online and in person.

To learn about new releases, sign up for her subscriber list at http://deannaroy.com/news. She has regular giveaways in conjunction with major pregnancy loss events.

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Posts

What Am I Reading??

I’ve read some great books over the past week, and some not so great 🙂 But I am looking forward to my planned reading and reviewing list! Have you read any of these?

Lie to Me, by Jess Ryder

Publication: Bookouture, April 19, 2017

lie to meAbout the book: 

We’re going to tell our story and then it will all stop and Mummy will be safe. You want Mummy to be safe, don’t you?

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother she’s never known.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera?

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

The Dinner, by Herman Koch

Publication: Hogarth; Reprint edition October 29, 2013

dinnerAbout the book: 

An internationally bestselling phenomenon, the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

The Freedom Broker, by K.J. Howe

Publication: Quercus; February 7, 2017

freedom brokerAbout the book: 

There are twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom (K&R) specialists in the world. Only one is a woman: Thea Paris. And she’s the best in the business.

Twenty years ago, a terrified young boy was abducted in the middle of the night by masked intruders while his sister watched, paralyzed with fear. Returned after a harrowing nine months with his captors, Thea’s brother has never been the same.

This life-shattering experience drove Thea to become what she is today: a world-class freedom broker. Most hostage-recovery work is done at the negotiation table, but when diplomacy fails, Thea leads Quantum Security International’s black-ops team on highly sensitive rescue missions to political hot spots around the globe.

Her childhood nightmare resurfaces when her oil magnate father, Christos Paris, is snatched from his yacht off Santorini on his sixtieth birthday, days away from the biggest deal of his career. The brutal kidnappers left the entire crew slaughtered in their wake, but strangely, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests-just obscure and foreboding texts written in Latin sent from burner phones.

Knowing the survival window for kidnap victims is small, Thea throws herself into the most urgent and challenging rescue mission of her life but will she be able to prevent this kidnapping from destroying her family for good?

Silver Jubilee (Cape Harriet Series Book 5), by Roma Brooks

Publication: April 18, 2017

silverAbout the book: 

How much will you sacrifice for the sake of your friends?
Dana, Izzy, Vivian and Alisha meet in college and become inseparable. Twenty-five years later, all is not well among the friends. Summoned by a promise they made several years ago, they accept a mysterious invite to the Rising Tides Inn. Will the magic of Cape Harriet renew their bonds of friendship? Or will the stark reality of their painful past tear them apart forever?
Fans of the Cape Harriet series are in for a rich story high on emotion and intrigue. Readers will keep turning pages as the narrative alternates between different timelines, portraying various slices of the girls’ lives.
Unlimited Drama, sun-soaked beaches, small town life and yummy food (with recipes) is just a bonus. Come join the Divas as they celebrate the Silver Jubilee of their friendship.

All the Best People, by Sonja Yoerg

Publication: Berkley; May 2, 2017

all the bestAbout the book:

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

Reviews

Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY,

BY HANNAH TINTI

PUBLICATION: THE DIAL PRESS; MARCH 28, 2017

12 lives

About the book: 

Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

My Review:

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley completely mesmerized me from start to finish. I was drawn to this title because of the father-daughter story, being a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl myself, but this novel’s main focus is telling the story of Sam Hawley. Sam is raising his daughter, Loo, alone after his wife Lily drowned when Loo was a baby. Sam and Loo have been on the run going from place to place for years until Sam decides to return to Lily’s hometown and raise Loo in one place – and try to provide her with a “normal” life. The chapters of the novel fluctuate being past and present telling both the story of Sam and Loo, as well as, flashing back to reveal Sam’s past and how he received each of his 12 bullet scars on his body.

Loo was raised around a ton of guns and taught to shoot when she was a young girl. Not only was she raised around weapons, she was also taught how to pack up what’s needed and be on the road in a moments notice until they finally return to Olympus. Loo struggles making and keeping friends and is often bullied until she decides to fight back, resulting in Loo acting a lot of anger and frustration during her adolescence. But she was also brilliant and graduated high school at 16. Loo reconnects with her maternal grandmother, Mabel, after returning to Olympus and begins to learn secrets about her mother and father’s past, as well as, her own. 

Sam is a quiet and stern man with a primary focus of raising and protecting his daughter, however, he is also stuck in the past. No matter how often they picked up and moved from hotel to hotel, apartments, and so on, Sam always recreated a shrine of sorts to Lily, by filling the bathroom with her toiletries, cosmetics, pictures, or notes that she had written. As the novel unfolds the reader gets a glimpse into Sam’s past which explains the situations in which he had been shot during his life, as well as, his own personal struggles involving right and wrong. I really loved the character of Sam. Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting his criminal lifestyle or some things that Loo was taught or exposed to while growing up. But in spite of that, this was a man that loved his daughter more than anything and wanted nothing more for her to be safe, smart, and self-sufficient. Overall this novel was about immense and unyielding love. 

Sometimes this story was funny, sometimes it was very violent, and sometimes it was extremely heart wrenching. Regardless of which emotions were evoked in me as I read, this story grabbed me and held on tight until it was finished. I must admit, I did yell out a few four-letter words after reading the last page, left startled and confused about the ending. However, the conversation with the author at the end cleared things up for me. I still didn’t like the ending, but understood it and why it worked. 

Hannah Tinti’s writing and this incredible story about Sam and Loo is amazing. Her slow and methodic creation of Sam Hawley and how she developed it into this story demonstrates so much passion and creativity that it’s mind-boggling. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone, regardless of your typical genre preference. This is a story with rich and unique characters that you will still be thinking about long after finished reading. 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley on Amazon. 

Learn more about Hannah Tinti by visiting her web page.

Tinti eCard 2

Book Blitz, Giveaway, Reviews

Tour, Review & Giveaway: Just Like You Said it Would Be

Just Like You Said it Would Be
C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Did you ever want something so much that it felt like a kind of sickness, one you didn’t want to be cured of? On New Year’s Eve the feeling compels seventeen-year-old Amira to text the Irish ex-boyfriend she’s been missing desperately since they broke up at the end of summer, when she returned to Canada.

They agreed they wouldn’t be friends, that it would never be enough. But that was then— back when Amira’s separated parents had shipped her off to relatives in Dublin for the summer so they could test-drive the idea of getting back together on a long haul cruise. Back when Amira was torn away from a friend in need in Toronto only to fall in love with a Dublin screenwriting class and take a step closer to her dream career. And only to fall for cousin Zoey’s band mate, Darragh, the guy who is first her friend, then her enemy and later something much more complicated—the guy she can say anything to, the guy who makes every inch of her feel wide awake in a way she hadn’t known was possible. The guy she might never see again. Or is there, despite the distance, somehow still a chance for them?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My Review: 

Just Like You Said it Would Be was such a wonderful YA romance! It tells the story of Amira that lives in Canada, but is sent to Dublin to spend the summer with family while her parents are on vacation and trying to mend their marriage. Amira is soon introduced to Darragh, one of her cousin Zoey’s band mates, and I love/hate relationship quickly ensues. Regardless of the tension between them and attempts at only being friends, they soon find themselves confiding in one another, spending a lot of time together, and falling in love. Unfortunately this is overshadowed by the lingering date for Amira to fly back to Canada. 

This novel drew me in from the first page and I was not able to put it down – despite it being a Teen/YA novel. It was so well-written and full of different and complex characters that I found myself easily invested in. Although Amira and Darragh’s relationship is definitely the meat of the novel, there are several other subplots going on regarding friendships, family, education, dreams, and definitely disappointments in life. Teen and YA readers will easily identify with the uncertainty that comes with growing up, going away to college, first loves, etc. Adult readers – prepare to find yourself quickly being swept away in the nostalgia of your own experiences at the age. Whether it was joy, curiosity, anger, worry, or sadness, author C.K. Kelly Martin perfectly captures the varying emotions associated with that age. 

While reading, I found myself cheering like crazy for Amira and Darragh, resulting in having to remind myself that first, it’s only a novel and second, they live on two different continents with their entire lives ahead of them. Amira with her talent and dreams of being a screenwriter and Darragh with his investment in his band made for a happily-ever-after not seem promising, but still, I hoped. 

Reading about the author I learned that this was a long work in progress in which she poured her heart and soul, however, I do cross my fingers that she has more to tell the world about Amira and Darragh because I will be the first on in line to grab a copy!

**Many thanks to Xpresso book tours and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

 

Author Bio:

Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major–not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. in Film Studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always thoughts I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that writing about young characters felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can. My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008 and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, was published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and I’m pleased to announce they’ll be releasing my upcoming contemporary young adult novel, Delicate, on September 16th. Watch my website for more details!

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Reviews

Book Review: Who You Think I Am

WHO YOU THINK I AM,

BY CAMILLE LAURENS

PUBLICATION: OTHER PRESS; MARCH 28, 2017

who you thinkAbout the book: This is the story of Claire Millecam, a 48-year-old teacher and divorcee, who creates a fake social media profile to try to keep tabs on Jo, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Under the false identity of Claire Antunes, a young and beautiful 24-year-old, she starts a correspondence with Chris–pseudonym KissChris–which soon turns into an Internet love affair.

This is the story of Claire Millecam, a 48-year-old teacher and divorcee, who creates a fake social media profile to try to keep tabs on Jo, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Under the false identity of Claire Antunes, a young and beautiful 24-year-old, she starts a correspondence with Chris–pseudonym KissChris–which soon turns into an Internet love affair.

WHO YOU THINK I AM is a true novel of our times that brilliantly exposes the disconnect between desire and fantasy. Social media allows us to put ourselves on display, to indulge in secrets, but above all it allows us to lie, to recreate a life, to become our own fiction–a mixture of sentimental naivety and manipulative perversity which echoes the libertine novels of the 18th century.

My Review:

I was excited by the description of Who You Think I Am but was sorely disappointed. Prepare for one of my shortest reviews of all time. I thought the story sounded interesting with a woman creating a fake social media account to keep tabs on her ex, but it was impossible for me to get into the story or connect with Claire. This is a short novel at 196 pages but I must confess that I gave up on page 51. There are so many long run-on sentences and it’s confusing at first who is talking and who she is talking to. I can only think of one or two occasions where I put a book down and didn’t finish it, but it was necessary for my sanity. I looked over other reviews once putting it down to see if I am crazy and this is actually a fabulous novel, but it appeared that 3-4 other reviews agreed with me regarding the difficult to read writing style and the confusion regarding time, place, characters, and so on. This novel was translated from French to English so it could also just be a writing style I am not used to, but regardless, I couldn’t see this one through to the end. 

*Thanks to Edelweiss for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Reviews

Review: Lovers Lies and Lilies Part 2

Lovers Lies and Lilies Part Two,

by Ronald D. Walker

Publication: December 12, 2016

lovers part 2About the book:

In 1945, Sarah Barnes no longer lives the meager existence of a battered housewife. She has outgrown the constraints of society’s expectations for women and experienced love and grief like none she ever imagined were possible.
A generous gift from Jon Bartleaux elevated her to the prominence of a respected businesswoman. Sarah’s life becomes so full and busy that she barely has time to spend with an unexpected suitor while jet-setting between Texas and New Orleans to rid her companies of theft and management executives’ tyrannical treatment of Bartleaux employees. Dale and Twyla’s situation is coming to a desired resolution, when Sarah learns of another friend suffering from violence in her marriage.
As love blooms, the dangers in Sarah’s life grow. She will learn who her close friends and trusted employees are as she adjusts to her new life and new love.
Will her carefully devised plans come crashing down? Will Sarah’s secret change the lives of another victimized woman, or will Dale’s demise be her undoing?

My Review:

Yesterday, I read and reviewed Lovers Lies and Lilies Part One, and although I had other things on my weekly reading list, I couldn’t go to bed until I had read the second one! Sarah is now in charge of all of Jon’s businesses since his death and that includes an enormous amount of money – especially for a woman in 1945. She begins traveling back and forth to New Orleans for meetings to review her current holdings and starts her own restructuring to grow the businesses even further. Sarah continues helping Twyla deal with her abusive husband, as well as, keeps entrusting Twyla and her sister to run Sarah’s business she started in Part One. Sarah also decides to pay a visit to Richard, whom she promoted to store manager in the last book, and quickly discovers that he’s in love with her. As they work on developing a relationship and work together on her new business ventures, Sarah meets numerous new people and finally experiences the feeling being wealthy and powerful, rather than the abused housewife that she once was. 

I’m not sure if I enjoyed Part One or Part Two better, but I loved watching Sarah continue gaining confidence and developing a full and meaningful life. I was hoping there would be a surprise plot twist regarding Jon but also applauded Sarah for moving on with Richard. Although I do find it peculiar that the characters in these novels can fall so madly in love with one another so quickly! In New Orleans, Sarah gets a driver named Dwayne and he introduces her to other people that new Jon or had business dealings with him. I loved Dwayne but was crazy about the chef/restauranteur, Tyronne. 

Sarah was still busy trying to rid the universe of Twyla’s abusive husband Dale, dealing with the police regarding Dale, and also playing matchmaker between Twyla and the county Coroner. There were moments I was sort of put off by Sarah’s attitude and demeanor because it appeared she had gotten a very big head and was flaunting her wealth and power. However, as the novel went on I understood she was simply trying to establish that she was now the person in charge and also trying to keep those close to her and that she could trust in important positions within the company. Regardless of my back and forth feelings about her, it was wonderful reading about a character in 1945 that had not only had a sexually awakening but had become the owner of numerous businesses and assets. By the end of the novel, it seemed as if Sarah was becoming the local “go-to” person for wives being physically abused, just adding to her already busy life, but I appreciated that she remembers where she was not long ago and wants to help and inspire others.

Once again, Ronald D. Walker has crafted a unique and engaging novel that defies female stereotypes in the 1940’s. Fans of women’s fiction, erotica and romance should absolutely enjoy this novel, but you do need to read Part One first. Walker’s writing style flows easily and you will find yourself unable to put this one down!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Lovers Lies and Lilies Part Two on Amazon. 

Learn more about Ronald D. Walker by visiting his web page. 

Reviews

Review: Lovers Lies and Lilies Part 1

Lovers Lies and Lilies Part One,

by Ronald D. Walker

Publication: Ronald D. Walker; 1 edition; February 4, 2015

lovers part 1About the book: In 1944, women were thought to be the weaker sex. Divorce was unheard of—a woman’s place was in the home, obeying her spouse and raising their children. After a miscarriage, Calvin Barnes blamed his wife Sarah for being too weak to carry out her duties. His violent, drunken rampages turned deadly.
A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger empowers Sarah to find freedom, sexual enlightenment, and love. Wealthy businessman, Jon Bartleaux, teaches Sarah there is more to life than the 1940s mindset of sex only being for procreation at the pleasure of the husband. Treated as an equal, he teaches her that tender, generous, mutually satisfying sex can be enjoyed by both partners.
Sarah puts the pain and guilt of her past behind her until her sister Carol asks for help with a neighbor who is desperate to escape her husband’s abuse, with the added danger of a standing hitman contract should anything happen to him. Will Sarah risk revealing her secret weapon for ending spousal abuse to help Twyla?
Will Jon’s terrible secret unravel it all?

My Review:

Lovers Lies and Lilies is a very unusual book, but one that I definitely enjoyed reading. So different than anything I’ve read, the story is set in the early 40’s with a woman named Sarah and her physically and emotionally abusive husband. Sarah is desperate to get away from Calvin but knows that she can’t just leave him, despite the begging from her sister Carol. When she finally gets the opportunity to be away from Calvin, she meets a rich business owner, Jon Bartleaux, who helps her in many, many ways. Jon assists with getting her finances in order, provides her with a wonderful home to start her life over, and opens Sarah’s eyes to how sex should be between two people. Sarah quickly learns that she has never experienced sexual pleasure before Jon, nor had she been in a respectful and loving relationship with a man. Jon employs her to help with his businesses while Sarah also starts up her own business – all while helping another woman escape from her own abusive husband. Everything seems to be going perfectly, except that Jon keeps reminding Sarah that they can’t be together for very long…

Here’s what I loved about this novel. First, I love that this is an erotic romance set in the 1940’s. Women were not meant to have high expectations of physical intimacy at that time and this story is Sarah’s own personal awakening or coming of age novel because she learns so much about her own body, men’s bodies, and what intimacy is really like. Second, I love how empowered Sarah became throughout the course of the novel and how her confidence grew, not just sexually but personally, financially, and professionally. Third, I loved Jon and how caring and generous he was with Sarah. The woman deserved to finally have some romance in her life!

The issue I had with this novel was some of Jon’s forever long dialogue. I found myself skimming as he analyzed men, women, sexuality, etc. Talking about a long-winded man, and I thought that I talked a lot. Also was his formal tone and way of speaking about sexual intimacy. It almost sounded robotic at times and would personally have sent me running out of the bedroom. Nevertheless, the erotic scenes were tastefully written with plenty of detail but not in a “dirty” way. 

I was cheering for Sarah and Jon to live happily ever after, but there is a huge twist at the end which left me incredibly eager to dive into Part 2. The author left the ending open but in a hopeful way regarding Sarah and her new life away from abuse. This was a creative and original story that was a quick read but full of characterization and emotion. *Warning about triggers regarding physical and emotional abuse – there are some horrific scenes of abuse involving both Sarah and Twyla. 

This was a great read and if you are a romance/erotica fan, this is a very different spin on the topic. I cannot wait to devour Part 2 and will post the review after reading!

*Many thanks to Ronald D. Walker for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Lovers Lies and Lilies on Amazon. 

Learn more about Ronald D. Walker by visiting his web page. 

Reviews

Review: The Good Enough Mother

THE GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, BY ANOUSHKA BEAZLEY

PUBLICATION: LARCHWOOD PRESS; JULY 9, 2016

good enough

About the book: 

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

 

 

 

My Review:

The Good Enough Mother is hands-down one of the funniest books I have ever read! This is the crazy story of Drea and the incidents occurring after her live-in boyfriend Alex lives her for a younger woman. Alex doesn’t just leave Drea, but his teenaged daughter, Ava – along with the burden of her expensive private school tuition. Drea and Ava live with Drea’s Dad, an old man obsessed with watching porn. Drea is not a cookie-cutter type of Mom, but instead drinks a lot, smokes a lot of weed, and frequently uses very colorful 4-letter words. So as Drea tries to figure out how to keep paying Ava’s tuition, she decides to turn to a life of crime. 

I thought Drea was absolutely fabulous, however, be warned that if you are easily offended by language then you probably won’t be a big fan of Drea or this story. But anyway, this is a book that had me laughing at loud the entire time. Drea is so inappropriate in the way she behaves with everyone, especially Ava, but Ava is a great girl and obviously has grown accustomed to Drea and the crazy things she says. While Drea is thinking up and carrying out criminal acts to raise tuition money, Ava is busy trying to make friends with the popular girls and also running for class President. Drea’s Dad typically stays in his room watching porn, but he’s started venturing out somewhere every day, although Drea isn’t sure where. Drea shifts from hating and arguing with the elite moms at Ava’s private school to trying to fit in with them, and even agreeing to participate in a bake sale. In the meantime, she has a therapist that hits on her and wants to take her home to his special “room,” as well as, a detective investigating the crimes in the area taking a special interest in her also. 

As outlandish and crazy as this story is, it does address a very real and possible situation for many of us – how to come up with school tuition? Granted there is the argument of sending your child to public school, but Drea wanted Ava to stay in the school she had attended for so long and maintain some normalcy for her in light of her father leaving. There are also several political undertones weaved throughout the story about the overall debate between public and private schools and how fair it is for some to get a better education because their parents have more money. The great thing about the whole thing, however, is an unexpected source for the tuition that emerges throughout the novel! 

Another issue is Drea’s lingering grief related to her childhood and the loss of her mother. Drea hasn’t had the opportunity to properly deal with and process what happened and her associated feelings, as well as, almost feels as if it’s her legacy to follow in her mother’s footsteps. I don’t want to provide spoilers but it does provide insight into why Drea is the way she is and there are pronounced personal improvements and changes in her by the time the novel concludes. 

If you’re a very prim and proper PTA mom then, this may not be the book for you. However, if you’ve ever felt slighted or outcast by the snobby, perfect, over-bearing mothers out there, then this wildly entertaining and hilarious novel may be just what the doctor ordered! Anoushka Beazley’s writing style, characterization, and blunt dialogue all add up to a fabulous novel that I was not able to put down!

 *Many, many thanks to the author for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase The Good Enough Mother on Amazon!

Learn more about Anoushka Beazley by visiting her web page!

Reviews

Book Review: The Runaway

THE RUNAWAY, BY CLAIRE WONG

PUBLICATION: LION HUDSON PLC; FEBRUARY 17, 2017

runawayAbout the book: 

“Legends start with a kernel of truth and mine will begin here…”

Every teenager has thought of running away from home…or threatened to. What happens when one finally does?

At almost eighteen, Rhiannon Morgan’s life in a quiet welsh village is anything but serene. When another argument between her and her guardian, Diana, finally pushes her over the edge, Rhiannon does the one thing we all have considered. She runs away.

Reaching Dyrys wood, hurt drives her not to return. The woods will now be her home. But how will she survive? Struggling in isolation against harsh conditions, Rhiannon’s imagination takes flight. She dwells in a world of stories – stories that Maebh, the village storyteller, has been telling Rhiannon since the death of her mother.

Back in the small welsh village the fragile balance of community life begins to crack under the strain of Rhiannon’s disappearance. A dark truth, suppressed for a generation, starts to surface. And Maebh’s stories begin to seem less and less like folklore and more like a history retold…

Told with a gentle and sensitive touch, this beautiful novel is about the power of stories; about fitting in and wanting to be wanted. A must read for any story lover.

My Review:

When I saw this novel I was fascinated not only by the description but also the incredible cover. However, I’m sort of mixed on my overall thoughts about this story. Rhiannon is 17 years old and has been raised by her Aunt Diana after the death of her mother. Rhiannon and Diana seem to butt heads almost constantly and Rhiannon is known for verbal outbursts with others. She has always enjoyed spending time with the elderly Maebh, who knows everything about the village’s history and loves telling stories to anyone that will listen. Right before her 18th birthday, Rhiannon decides to run away after another argument with her aunt and heads to Dyrys woods to be alone. As she works to find food and shelter – determined to make it on her own – the townspeople work at finding Rhiannon and also get to know two newcomers who are there searching for information about their father’s past. 

I liked the character of Rhiannon, although I was a bit confused about her socially-unacceptable outbursts. It was clear that she felt like an outsider living with her Aunt and cousins and that she and her aunt did not see eye to eye. Her escape had always been stories – listening to them, telling them to her cousins, or telling them to herself during stressful or sad times. I loved Rhiannon’s whimsical imagination but also loved her useful and responsible survival skills in the woods, which she learned from her late Uncle. Diana seemed concerned only with her political role in the village and her two young children. There were several other key characters, but I didn’t feel like they were very developed. One character, Callum, comes to also hide in the woods after a misunderstanding and it’s obvious that he and Rhiannon hate one another, but I was never clear as to why. Grace and Adam show up in the village not long after Rhiannon runs away and quickly become friendly with the village residents and seem very pleasant and helpful, but again I didn’t feel like I knew them. I think that was what kept me from really loving this novel was the lack of connection with most of the characters. 

Claire Wong is clearly a creative and imaginative writer and I adored her concept of a girl running away to the woods, mainly because I believe I had that daydream SEVERAL times when growing up. Rhiannon was obviously strong and resourceful, but it was unfortunate that the only relationships she could create and maintain were either with Maebh and an injured hawk that she nurses back to health. The pacing and flow of the novel were great, but I did find myself skimming quite a bit when it came to some of Maebh and Rhiannon’s stories. I appreciated the themes of supporting one another rather than pointing fingers, but I still just didn’t connect with this novel. Perhaps a younger reader would find this more entertaining? 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Claire Wong by visiting her web page.

Purchase The Runaway on Amazon.