Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Hiding

The Art of Hiding, by Amanda Prowse

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; July 18, 2017

art of hidingAbout the book: 

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the run-down Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

My Review:

Who, What, When, Etc. 

Nina is a wealthy wife living in her beautiful home with her husband Finn and her two sons, Connor and Declan. She has always kept to herself and shied away from socializing with the other parents at her sons’ upscale school, preferring to take her sons to school each day, take care of their home, do the grocery shopping, pick the boys up, and cool dinner. 

One day when Nina is at Connor’s rugby game, she gets a call from the hospital informing her that her husband has been in an accident. After Finn’s death, Nina learns from their accountant and attorney that they have nothing. No home, car, or money.

Nina packs up her boys and the few belongings they have left and returns to a less than ideal flat in her old neighborhood. From there, Nina struggles to help her boys acclimate to their new school and new life, as well as, rediscover herself as an adult woman apart from her husband. 

Thoughts and Reactions

Over the years I’ve heard countless divorcees say they never handled the finances in their homes and were shocked after the divorce about various financial issues. Imagine losing your husband and then discovering that you are about to lose every material possession that you own. Whether we want to face it or not, this is a very realistic possibility for any number of us that aren’t in charge or involved in the financial affairs in our relationships, therefore, note to self and to everyone – get informed!

This story poses several issues about the overwhelming guilt and weight of debt, as well as, the absurdity of a spouse thinking they are being protective when they keep these issues from their loved ones. More importantly, this novel is about survival, growth, and reinventing one’s idea of happiness. 

Nina struggled with such burdens helping her sons through their father’s death, then the loss of everything, then adjusting to a new town, new school, and new peers. All the while she was struggling on her own trying to find a job and her only support system being her older sister that, until Finn’s death, they had not been very close. 

Nina’s strength and determination were incredible throughout this novel and I love that the author did not feel the need to include a love interest, but rather focus on Nina’s own personal growth. But the most outstanding and compelling character was her teenage son, Connor. His character was so wonderfully developed as he went from being angry to sad to helpful to caring. As time passed, his insight into his father’s death and their situation was so moving and so impressive, that he absolutely stole the show in this novel. 

Let me say that this novel leaves you with a wonderful and optimistic feeling about life, but only after taking you down to the lows of losing everything and having to put everything back together all alone. The Art of Hiding is intelligent, relatable, emotional, and inspiring. It was such a pleasure to read and review this book by an author that I already admired. There is no unnecessary drama or exaggeration in this novel, but it is real life with real people that will shake you to your core, but eventually, inspire you. 

*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase The Art of Hiding on Amazon!

Learn more about Amanda Prowse.

 

Reviews

Book Review: Wicked Dance

Wicked Dance (Lovers Dance Book 3),

by Deanna Roy

Publication: Casey Shay Press; April 28, 2017

wickedAbout the book: If there’s one thing that chases you and never lets you go, it’s fame.

Despite being a painfully shy and sheltered ballet student, three months ago I charged onto one of the most popular TV reality shows in the world and changed the course of five lives.

— Mine, when I accepted the star of the show, Blitz Craven, as my lover and dance partner.
— Blitz’s, just as he was about to walk away from his hard-won career.
— And three girls who were the finalists on the show.

Those girls are back to get their vengeance, and as usual, the producers of the show are in it for the ratings.

So now I have a choice: let each of them have another shot at my lover.

Or take them on myself.

But Blitz is mine.

Game on.

Wicked Dance is book three of the Lovers Dance series, which ends with book five, Final Dance. Each book is full length and stands alone, but should be read in series order to avoid spoilers.

My Review:

Happy release day to Deanna Roy with Wicked Dance! This third book in the series about Blitz and Livia did not disappoint! Blitz and Livia are enjoying quiet time together in San Antonio with dance practice and teaching their class for ballerinas in wheelchairs. Everything is perfect until he gets into a nightmare negotiation with the producers of his show, Dance Blitz, Unless Blitz (and Livia) agree to film the final episodes, they are up against a huge lawsuit. 

I felt so bad for Livia in this novel because she simply wants to be with her man, take dance classes, and volunteer at Dreamcatcher Academy. But instead, she’s forced to deal with the three original finalists of Blitz’s show, as well as, all of the producers and attorneys that are out for blood. Blitz was sweet and romantic once again in Wicked Dance, but the reader gets a different glimpse of Blitz – the side that truly enjoys some of the moments in the spotlight with cheering crowds and cameras flashing. Granted there were some moments where Livia was excited about all of the adoring fans, but for the most part, she wasn’t. 

As a closet reality tv junkie, I really enjoyed this story with all of its industry secrets and behind the scenes look at producing a reality tv show. Wicked Dance is just that – wicked – full of tons of backstabbing and selfish characters, which made this quite an exciting read. Most importantly, however, was that Blitz and Livia continued to demonstrate love and commitment, while also keeping things sexy and spicy behind closed doors. 

I love Deanna Roy’s writing with its amazing characterization and imagery. She makes the good guys good and the bad guys very bad. But while reading this novel it feels much more like watching a tv show or movie instead of reading a book. She pulls the reader in forcing complete investment in her writing until the very last line, all while celebrating the beauty of dance itself. If you have not yet started this series it’s time to catch up. I continue to be impressed with Deanna Roy, her characters, and the page-turning novels in this series. 

*Thanks to the author for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

New to this series? Check out my previous reviews of Forbidden Dance and Wounded Dance!

Purchase Wicked Dance on Amazon!

Learn more about author Deanna Roy by visiting her web page!

Reviews

Book Review: Our Last Chance at Forever

Our Last Chance at Forever (The Chance Series Book 3), by K.B. Andrews

Publication: April 4, 2017

our last chanceAbout the book: 

Overcoming everything that was meant to tear them apart, Mason and Lennox thought they had it all. Their lives blend together seamlessly as they work to rebuild the shop and plan their perfect wedding. It seems like they might get their chance at forever after all.
But forever is never within reach when someone is trying to steal it all away from you. Chris will stop at nothing to get his hands on Lennox. He’s tired of the game they’ve been playing and he’s playing to win. Even Mason’s overprotective ways can’t save Lennox this time.
Will Chris finally take Lennox away from Mason once and for all or will someone be lost trying to escape the dangers that await them?

**Disclaimer: The following story contains mature themes, strong language, violence, and sexual situations. It is intended for mature adults. Reader discretion is advised**

My Review:

Happy release day to K.B. Andrews and Our Last Chance at Forever! This is the third installment in the Chance Series novels and it did not disappoint!

Mason and Lennox have faced and overcome a ton of obstacles since meeting a few years ago. They fell in love and then fell apart as Lennox followed her dreams of singing professionally and went on tour. Even worse, they had to deal with stalkers and people out to get them. But now they are together and Mason’s shop has been rebuilt and ready to open, not to mention them being busy planning their upcoming wedding! Everything should be perfect, but is it?

I absolutely adore this couple and loved this third story about them. The epitome of two people in love, Mason and Lennox are pure romance and chemistry! We also get to see more about Alissa and Dane and their blossoming relationship. I wasn’t so naive to think Mason and Lennox would have smooth sailing as the shop re-opened and they planned the wedding, but this novel was full of tons of surprises, twists, and turns! Once again we meet the evil and narcissistic Chris, as well as, a new villain out to cause this couple pain. The drama and conflict make for a very suspenseful and exciting read, but please take into consideration possible triggers involving physical violence and kidnapping.  Just when everything seems light and happy in this story, things change very quickly, but the important thing is the untouchable love between Mason and Lennox. They are beyond adorable and this installment provides a wonderful look into the ways that their relationship grows and changes. 

I must admit that early on in the novel there was a moment that I thought, “no, something is up here,” but then I quickly forgot and went on to be totally surprised several times. K.B. Andrews has a flawless yet easy writing style enabling me to really dig into the story and characters without trying to figure out who the narrator is and what’s going on. Her characterization is also amazing, especially with Dane and some of his grumpy moods he goes through during this novel. Basically, she takes a romance and adds excitement and suspense, which add up to a wonderful read!

Lovers of romance and new adult this is a must-read, but you really need to start with the first novel, A Chance at Forever – which is free through today!. This is a series and an author that you do not want to miss!*Many thanks to K.B. Andrews for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Our Last Chance at Forever on Amazon!

Learn more about K.B. Andrews!

 

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Lie to Me

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…

My Review:

I am so thrilled to tell you all about Lie to Me, an upcoming novel by Jess Ryder! This novel begins with Merideth cleaning out items in her Dad’s attic. She finds a box of her baby clothes but then finds an old VHS tape with her name and a date written on it. After getting it converted to DVD, Meredith watches the video of herself and cannot believe what she is seeing or hearing. This leads to her searching for people named Cara (who was murdered) and Christopher Jay (who was accused but acquitted) along with others who may have known her mother, Becca and may know about the murder.

This novel grabbed me instantly and was wonderfully suspenseful until the very end. Meredith is the main character but there is a lot of interaction with her ex-boyfriend/police officer Eliot. After giving Eliot a copy of the video and asking him to look into Cara’s murder, he grabs the attention of a Constable that worked the now cold case many years ago. This also leads to the discovery of Cara’s best friend, Isobel and Isobel’s wife, Alice. The novel is told from varying points of view from Meredith, Christopher Jay, and Cara – and it all works together perfectly. This is one of those novels where about halfway through, I decided that I had figured out who killed Cara, but I was wrong! I didn’t see it coming until it was revealed, which through one of many surprises and plot twists into this novel. Even the epilogue was mysterious and made me wish for so much more about these characters. 

Surprising, I don’t feel like I connected with Meredith. However, I quickly connected with Becca, Cara, Christopher Jay, and even Isobel. Let me clarify this connection by saying that I was invested in the characters and found them well-developed – I didn’t connect with some of the insanity, mental illness, and urges to commit murder! Something I loved about this novel is that practically everyone was lying about something or keeping something from someone, even Meredith’s Dad. There was certainly no opportunity to get bored while reading this novel because something was revealed or occurred on nearly every page. 

Lie to Me is suspenseful, surprising, interesting, and creepy all wrapped up in one novel. I cannot recommend this novel enough to any lovers of this genre and promise that you will not be disappointed!

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Learn more about Jess Ryder by visiting her web page!

Pre-Order Lie to Me on Amazon!

Reviews

Book Review: Hart Broken

Hart Broken: A Wounded Hero Romance (Cale & Mickey Book 1),

by Annie Arcane

Publication: June 7, 2016

hart-broken

Synopsis: 

Mickey Hart doesn’t do one-night stands. Until she wakes up in a luxury penthouse. With nothing but a t-shirt and no idea whom it belongs to.

Enter Cale Windermere. Driven. Ambitious. Successful. And so gorgeous he could’ve walked straight out of a romance novel…

Except I can’t walk.

Not that it ever stops me from getting what I want.

And I want her.

Even if she’s keeping secrets.

That could tear me to f*cking shreds.

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

My Review:

I’m so excited to write this review today and so excited that I’ve discovered author, Annie Arcane!! Besides just being a cool, quirky girl Arcane’s writing is fabulously addictive 🙂

This is the story of Cale and Mickey, beginning with her waking up in his wonderful penthouse after a serious night of drinking. After rescuing her from some drunken incident (she rarely drinks) Cale took Mickey home, changed her into a t-shirt, then proceeded to sleep on the couch while giving her his bed. When she wakes up she has no clue where she is or who she is with, but quickly meets the incredibly handsome Cale, who just happens to be in a wheelchair. Besides being insanely gorgeous Cale is also a super wealthy businessman who instantly falls for Mickey. They eventually spend more time together and get to know one another, complete with several awkward moments relating to Cale being in a wheelchair, but nevertheless, they fall for each other. Both are wounded in different ways with Mickey struggling with scars from her past and Cale fighting his inner demons relating to his accident and paralysis, but they still can’t stay away from one another. 

First of all, I absolutely LOVED that the hot, sexy, rich, man-candy main character in this novel is also a paraplegic. The storyline is so original and being that Cale is in a wheelchair adds so much more depth to the novel in that his character is strong and confident on one hand, but also struggles with feeling less of man because of his limitations. He’s smart and successful one minute, but then almost childlike at other times because of his desires to be everything for and do everything with Mickey. Not to mention, he has quite the sailor mouth frequently spewing several four letter words, but it completely works for him. Mickey is one of those drop-dead gorgeous women that doesn’t realize it, or if she does, she doesn’t care. Successful, driven, and hilarious, Mickey is a wonderful leading lady in this novel, although she’s battling a lot of serious demons from her adolescence causing her to struggle with love and commitment. She has a fantastic best friend, Mel, whom she affectionately calls “Mom” frequently throughout the story because of her meddling ways, of course, all done with good intentions. Cam, Cale’s twin brother, and business partner is also prominent in the novel, although he honestly drove me crazy. I found him incredibly obnoxious and insulting and didn’t see many good qualities in the man, but he had a sweet wife and cute little kids. 

Hart Broken is written from alternating points of view between Cale and Mickey and sometimes it was a bit confusing trying to figure out who was talking or who was thinking to themselves, however, it also gripped me from the first page. Throughout the novel when it switched to Cale’s point of view, it frequently began with “this girl…” leading into him explaining something adorably cute, adorably sexy, or adorably aggravating that Mickey had done. That just made me love him more. Arcane’s writing also contains a lot of short sentences, sometimes just a word or two, which I loved because it almost made me feel as if I was in the character’s head, better able to understand their personalities and emotions. The bulk of the plot centers around Cale and Mickey meeting and falling in love, along with numerous complications stemming from his disability and internal fears and Mickey’s abusive past and tendency to withdraw. Annie Arcane poses several questions that I think anyone would wonder about if unfamiliar with paraplegia. Some are answered and some are left to the imagination. However, it really shows Cale’s vulnerability and Mickey’s genuine need to understand.  A wonderful and surprising thing about the novel is the laugh-out-loud humor. Cale and Mickey are both very quick-witted and there are several hilarious moments in the story. But there are also heart-breaking moments, along with incredibly frustrating moments usually because of Cale’s stubbornness.

I cannot stress enough how much I loved this wonderful novel and how highly I recommend it to any lover of romance and women’s fiction. I was unable to put it down as soon as I started reading and shamelessly begged Annie Arcane for the 2nd installment in the series as soon as I had finished reading. I believe that there are going to be 4 total novels and novellas in this series, but make sure that you start with Hart Broken. I dare you to try to read this without falling in love with the characters and without going crazy for the follow-up novella! This novel is fast-paced with a fantastic storyline and is so refreshing focusing on a leading man that has a physical disability. Way to challenge those stereotypes my friend! 

*Many thanks to the amazing Annie Arcane for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Hart Broken on Amazon! 

Learn more about Annie Arcane by visiting her web page.

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Almost Missed You

ALMOST MISSED YOU,

BY JESSICA STRAWSER

PUBLICATION: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS; MARCH 28, 2017

almost-missedSynopsis: 

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

My Review:

“Almost Missed You” is an upcoming thriller/suspense by Jessica Strawser. I was really looking forward to reading this ARC and had such high hopes for it, but in the end, it left me frustrated. 

Written in different time periods, this is the story of Violet and Finn who meet at the beach, get separated before getting each other’s names, and then later meet again (also they went to the same obscure camp in Pennsylvania when they were young). While on vacation, Violet is lying on the beach with a book and a pina colada reflecting on how happy her life is with Finn and their young son, Bear. But when she goes back to the hotel room hoping to wake Bear from his nap, she discovers that Finn and Bear are gone. Everything is packed up, they’ve left in the rental car, and Finn has disconnected his cell phone. From there, the story is told from the points of view of Violet, Finn, and their best friend (Finn’s best friend first and for longer), Caitlyn. The FBI begins searching for Finn and Bear, along with any clues as to why he just up and left, and in the meantime, Violet discovers a secret about Finn that she never imagined. While Violet is at home falling to pieces over missing her son and realizing she hardly knew her husband, Finn shows up at Caitlyn’s demanding help, threatening her with a secret that could devastate her happily family. 

To begin with, I think that Jessica Strawser is a very talented writer. Although the story got a little slow at times, sort of boggled down with too many feelings and memories, I thought this was an overall good story and plot. The writing flowed well, despite the time and point of view jumps, and was wonderfully suspenseful at times. My main issue, however, was with Finn. I disliked his character so much it made it difficult to truly love this book. His character is one of the most self-absorbed, ridiculous humans I have encountered in a novel. Obviously, there was some psychosis there, but people experience tragedies every day and that doesn’t mean that they up and disappear with a young child. I also struggled with Caitlyn. I get that Caitlyn and Finn had been very close friends for a long time, however, the fact that he blackmailed and threatened her, yet she still showed compassion towards him, as well as, didn’t immediately tell Violet where Bear was, just aggravated me to death. If your supposed best friend threatens to ruin your life unless you help harbor their fugitive butt, I’m not sure that’s what I would call a friend. But, that’s just me. 

I liked Violet, but I loved Gram. Violet was lucky to have such a compassionate and wise woman in her life, and I felt that Gram was right on several times when confronting Violet about her and Finn’s lives. Regarding the ending of the novel…. I am hoping that I read too much into it and that what I think was happening didn’t really happen. Without giving spoilers I can’t really explain, but if it went the way I perceived that it did, then I truly feel like I wasted 3 hours of my life reading this book. It made absolutely no sense to me and as a wife and a mother, it’s truly unimaginable. But again, that’s just me. 

There are several wonderful reviews of this novel on Goodreads, so if you were interested in reading this, don’t let my review scare you off because it appears that I’m in the small minority of reviewers so far. I have to admit that it has stayed with me since I finished reading and I find myself thinking about parts of the novel again and again. Which as I’ve said before, I always attribute that to great writing. Whether I like a book or not, if I keep mulling it over, then the author did a great job of reaching me as the reader.  If you do read it, let me know what you thought! I’m anxious to hear other opinions! 

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

Learn more about Jessica Strawser by visiting her web page. 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Start Over

START OVER: A NOVEL (START AGAIN SERIES #2), BY J. SAMAN

PUBLICATION: JANUARY 30, 2017

start-overSynopsis: I like to play by the rules. But when I get coaxed into crashing a party, I run into the last man I ever thought I’d see again, my one and only one-night stand, Luke Walker. It’s been ten years since we’ve seen each other, but our chemistry is just as palpable as it was that night so long ago. The only problem is, I’m leaving in one month for a pediatric fellowship across the country.

I like to keep everything close to my chest. But when I see Ivy Green again, the woman I was never able to get out of my mind, I want her. It doesn’t matter that my dark past and dangerous present mean I can’t keep her. That my secrets would destroy any shot at a real future. After all, she’s leaving in a month. What’s the worst that could happen?

My Review:

This is my 3rd time (I think?  Maybe 4th?) reading and reviewing one of J. Saman’s novels and once again found myself in love with her characters and the story line.  Ivy is a Pediatric ER doctor that meets a young woman, Claire, in a bar one night and suddenly finds herself crashing an engagement party. Once mingling at the party, Ivy realizes that several of her colleagues are there, but also she spots Luke Walker – her only one night stand ever from when they went to CalTech. Although Ivy still feels the same attraction from last time that they met, she tries to shrug Luke off, especially since she’s a month away from leaving for a fellowship on the east coast. Ivy doesn’t think Luke remembers their night together, but as she starts spending time with him, she finds herself very drawn to him, although she also feels like he has secrets. 

I loved Ivy’s character in this novel – literally, she was absolutely fabulous! Ivy and Claire meet while they are both drinking in a gay bar, although Ivy doesn’t know it’s a gay bar at the time.  Once Ivy agrees to tag along to Ryan and Kate’s engagement party – whom she doesn’t know at the time, she even plays along that she is Claire’s date. Claire’s group of friends are all very welcoming making Ivy an instant member of their group, which made me love these people all the more. Ivy’s smart, independent, and driven – but it doesn’t take long for Luke to get under her skin. Luke seems absolutely adorable although it’s obvious from early on that he’s had some legal issues and some secrets. I loved Luke’s persistence, as well as, all the sweet little things he did for Ivy to show her how he felt. 

As much as I loved these characters I was also SO frustrated with them several times! Basically just because they weren’t doing what I wanted them to do, lol! However, I loved that Ivy followed her dreams while Luke was trying to get the messes in his life straightened up. I found myself cheering for this couple very early on, once again as a result of the author’s incredibly relatable, realistic, yet gripping writing style. You’ve probably read before when I mention I felt like I was in the book participating in the conversation, rather than someone sitting there reading a book, and this is one of those instances. J. Saman makes it effortless to lose yourself in the story and the characters, although it does leave you somewhat disappointed when the novel ends and you’re snapped back into reality. She also manages to leave the reader with a HEA ending, but only after the rising and falling of various conflicts. When you read this novel, don’t make assumptions about what will happen at which point, because you will likely be wrong 🙂

This author is gifted in characterization and relevant subplots in her stories, making it a great pleasure to lose yourself in one of her books for awhile. If you have not yet read any of J. Saman’s novels then you are truly missing out on fantastic contemporary romance! I so look forward to reading more from this talented author in the future!

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

Purchase Start Over on Amazon!

Learn more about J. Saman by visiting her web page!

 

Reviews

Book Review: The Sacrifice

“THE SACRIFICE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES,” BY INDRAJIT GARAI

PUBLICATION: INDRAJIT GARAI; AUGUST 25, 2016

sacrifice

 

Synopsis: 

In this collection, meet:
Guillaume, who gives up everything to protect his child; young Mathew, who stakes his life to save his home; and François, who makes the biggest sacrifice to rescue his grandson.

 

 

 

 

My Review:

“The Sacrifice” is a wonderful collection of short stories by Indrajit GARAI that I finally got to read today after receiving a review request in November. I am so sorry for the delay and was truly wowed by the writing in these stories. The stories included are The Move, The Listener, and The Sacrifice. 

The Move is the story of a farmer named Guillaume and his son Hugo. Guillaume, like many other farmers in his area, is struggling to make ends meet and keep his farm running. Although primarily a dairy farm, they also have a goat, a cat, and a dog named Mustang. The story focuses on Guillaume trying to get money owed to him from the various milk buyers, trying to keep his farm running, and also take care of his son. He is offered various jobs elsewhere but continues trying to hold onto his farm as long as he can. When a cattle sale deal goes unpaid and his animals become ill, everything starts to fall apart within Hugo. The best way to sum it all up is that everything goes wrong for this poor man and his son, but in the end, we learn that things aren’t always as bad as they initially appear. 

The Listener is about a young boy named Mathew who frequently retreats into the forest to “his tree,” where he finds peace and calm not otherwise in his life. His best friend is somewhat of a delinquent and he also questions the love of his mother due to her new relationship with his teacher and her interest in sending Mathew to boarding school. When the local government begins chopping down trees in the area, Mathew fights for what he believes and tries to protect his beloved tree. During the process, he learns about victories, defeats, and relationships. 

The Sacrifice is a sweet story about an older man, Francois, who was once a famous writer but has struggled over the past few years. Francois is raising his grandson, Arthur, due to his daughter/Arthur’s mother attempting suicide and suffering from mental illness. Francois loves having Arthur and Arthur loves being there with his grandfather, despite their financial struggles. As the story progresses and Arthur helps his grandfather get his newest manuscript published, they each make secret sacrifices for the other and put each other first. Francois’ only concern is Arthur and that he be taken care of, as where Arthur only wants his grandfather to be happy and know how appreciated and admired he is. 

I think my favorite of these stories was The Move. It was easy for me to identify with because of the overwhelming love of animals present in that story,  the struggles of farmers (my own grandfather was a farmer), and that it was about a Dad raising his child alone (I lived with my Dad growing up). The animals were such a strong presence in this story, but the overall theme was one of love, devotion, and how much we need each other in this world in order to feel complete – whether human or animal. I also loved The Sacrifice and the amazing bond and love between Francois and Arthur. Although like The Move, there were some heart-wrenching moments, the story left me with an overall peaceful feeling and admiration for the characters. I was not as crazy about The Listener, but still loved the overall theme of fighting for what is important.

Indrajit GARAI’s writing is absolutely stunning in all three of the stories. The words flow easily and keep your mind going the entire time as you consider each of the characters and their circumstances. I also loved the somewhat gray areas in each story that prompt the reader to think and reach their own conclusions, rather than just clear cut resolutions or summaries. These stories are full of emotion and thought-provoking events, not to mention incredible language and imagery. It was an absolute pleasure reading these short stories and I sincerely hope to read more from this author in the future. 

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

Learn more about Indrajit GARAI by visiting his web page. 

Purchase “The Sacrifice” on Amazon. 

Reviews

Book Review: The Law of Duality

“THE LAW OF DUALITY,” BY J.D. DAVIS

PUBLICATION: OCTOBER 8, 2016

dualitySynopsis: With his wife gone, Sean Case did his best to raise their deaf, seven-year-old son alone. On a day when he did not think things could get any better, the most miraculous thing ever happened, he discovered his son’s ability to communicate with telepathy.

After finding hidden cameras in his home that could have recorded the event, strange things start happening.

As a hybrid monster pursues him and his son, he encounters someone he never expected and another he never knew. He soon learns that the monster is the result of hideous DNA research, but that is not all. Sean Case is the nucleus of the DNA experiments surrounding him and everything he’d known until then are fabricated tales and lies.

The Law of Duality is the gripping, turbulent story of a family being chased by not only a brutal monster intent on killing them but their own horrendous past.

My Review: 

“The Law of Duality” was a complete page-turner with a ton of wild stuff going on! The novel begins with Eva, a molecular biologist, at home with her hearing-impaired son Aiden, and as she wonders to herself where she could have misplaced her pen, Aiden suddenly walks up and places it on the table. After thinking she was crazy and pacing around the house, she realizes that Aiden can communicate with her telepathically and she sits down and enjoys an afternoon of communicating with him back and forth in their minds. Fast-forward two years to Sean raising Aiden on his own, when Sean also learns about Aiden’s ability to communicate telepathically and is overwhelmed with joy that he can “talk” to his son without signing and also able to hear his son’s voice in his head. But one evening when friends are over for dinner, the power goes out during a storm, prompting Sean’s best friend, Alex, to notice a light in a vent in the kitchen. After investigating further, Sean learns that there are numerous cameras hidden all over his home and wired up to an internet server. Sean and Aiden’s lives are suddenly changed as Sean discovers more about the cameras and learns that whoever planted the cameras is now after him and Aiden.  

First of all, I loved Sean’s innocence paired with his protective and caring instincts regarding Aiden. Being a successful science fiction writer, Sean is used to creating fantastic stories, but throughout this novel he continues to learn more and more things that at first seem impossible, although they are not. Besides being on the run from a “big-brother” that’s been watching him, Sean learns that his father-in-law has been cloning and genetically manipulating humans for decades and furthermore, nothing Sean has ever known about his life was true. 

As the story progresses, several great characters come along, including Drake and Gunter who are trying to help Sean and Aiden. They move from place to place trying to avoid this genetically mutated thing that is after them, and Sean continues to be shocked and surprised by more and more things along the way. Eden and Nadia come along, that I can’t really go into because of spoilers, but Nadia is an amazing character in the story with incredible, unique abilities. A character that I disliked from the beginning was Sean’s aunt Millicent. Initially, she just appears overprotective due to raising Sean after the death of his mother and then wanting to care for Aiden, but she quickly became very creepy. 

“The Law of Duality” is absolutely one of the most unique and interesting novels I have read in a while. It is not like anything else and truly embraces several fiction genres. There are sad moments, happy moments, scary moments, and even funny moments as well. The book does have a very happy ending, but before that, there are endless times of stress and suspense. I have to admit that there were times when I was thinking, really, what else could possibly be thrown into this plot. However, it all blended and worked very well and all of the unbelievable elements just added to the overall excitement of the story. Some of the planning between Sean, Eden, Gunter, and the rest of their “crew” dragged on for me, but again, I think it was necessary to stress the challenges they were facing. 

I loved the action in this novel and also the fact that the main character was having to deal with his entire world being turned upside down. This is a fun read that you will read in one sitting just to figure everything out. J.D. Davis is a talented and creative writer that has created a novel that does not disappoint!

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

Purchase “The Law of Duality” on Amazon. 

Learn more about J.D. Davis by visiting his web page.

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Pieces of Gray

“Pieces of Gray” (Broken Pieces Book 4),

by Kelly Moore

Publication: January 7, 2017

pieces-of-gray

Synopsis: Would you risk your life for someone that you love? Would you risk theirs?

Gray Milby was a badass sniper in the Army. She was held captive deep in the jungles of China for two years. She left behind the only man she has ever loved believing that he was dead until now. She risks her life and others to rescue him, returning to the place where her own nightmares come from.

Captain Kell Crew has survived four years of torture, being held captive in a cage. Physically he survived, mentally he will never be the same man that Gray remembers. In order for him to survive again, she has to make the choice of giving him up once more.

A year later they accidently meet again and Kell is drawn to every part of her being. He feels he remembers Pieces of Gray, but how is that possible when he has never met her before? All he knows is that he wants her.

Gray has tried everything to move on with her life and forget about her love for Kell. He forces his way back into her life and she can no longer push him away. Her love for him is too deep. Being with him risks his own life. Their love for each can destroy them both.

Someone else is lurking out there waiting to seek revenge. He just might kill them both.

My Review:

If you follow my blog you already know that I am a Kelly Moore nut having read the first 3 books in the Broken Pieces series, as well as, her stand-alone novel, Next August. And yes, I loved them all. I am trying to be more objective when reading and reviewing regardless of whether I previously loved or disliked an author’s work. However, there is no way to contain my love and excitement for Pieces of Gray!

We’ve read about the parents and we’ve heard Steel and Ady’s story, but this time the focus is on Steel and Syn’s cousin, Gray. As we learned in the last novel, Gray joined the military just like her cousins, where she became an expert sniper. After being captured and tortured in a POW camp, Gray finally gets out and gets home, thinking that the love of her life – Kell Crew – has already been killed.

A few years later, Gray is informed that there is a chance Kell is still alive, so she and Syn risk their lives to find the camp and rescue any prisoners alive. Luckily, Kell makes it out but is a changed man both physically and mentally after 4 years of torture. Back in the U.S. at a military hospital, the doctor’s have run out of options with the exception of an experimental procedure with PTSD patients where their time in the military is erased from their minds and replaced with other memories. The only catch, Gray must stay away from him to avoid triggering his old memories. Kell would get a new life and work as a private detective with her cousin Syn, assigned as his “handler” to ensure that the treatment is effective and the memories don’t resurface. Although she’s lost Kell again, Gray tries to carry on until one night they see each other in a restaurant and Kell is immediately drawn to her. As he tries to get to know her and get more involved in her life, she tries to push him away for his own good, but eventually she can’t fight how they feel for one another. Because of her inability to resist Kell, it results in challenges and hardships for everyone. 

I already loved Gray in the last novel, but was absolutely crazy about her character in Pieces of Gray. Gray is beautiful, caring and feminine, but is also a brilliant and intelligent Veteran. Being raised with her two male cousins and having a Dad that taught her how to handle a gun early in life, Gray is not some petite little flower unable to take care of herself. However, she also has a very sweet and adorable relationship with her cousins Steel and Syn who always want to keep her safe while still remembering that she is an equal. Through Gray’s flashbacks, we learn all the wonderfully sweet, romantic and heart-breaking details about Gray and Kell, what happened before and what happened after they were captured. Moore guides the reader on a journey of the love that developed between them, as well as, their devastation after being captured and separated. Gray’s strength and will were tested repeatedly throughout the story, honestly making me crazy just wanting everything to work out for her. 

Kell is my new book character boyfriend. From Gray’s first flashbacks until the end of the novel I loved everything about that man. I don’t know what else to say. No seriously, I loved how Moore developed his character showing the strong soldier at the beginning, then revealing the prisoner he had become over 4 years, and then the various changes and phases he went through after being rescued. Not only did it address possible effects of PTSD, Moore also demonstrated the difficulties and challenges when one person remembers their love and one does not, almost reminding me of one person of a couple developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.  One thing that definitely could not be ignored was the amazing chemistry between Gray and Kell, but also the continued bonds shared between Gray and her family. 

Something I both love (and sometimes hate, lol) about Kelly Moore is that her writing is so gripping and so realistic that you forget you are reading a book! It feels as if you are right there and a part of everything – both good and bad – but then you reach the ending and realize that it’s over and you’re snapped back into reality! There are never any lulls in her writing, no dull moments that seem to drag, but instead contains non-stop dialogue or action strengthening your personal investment in the characters. It’s impossible not to feel the emotion, concern, fears, joy, and love among this family and the characters in this novel, just as in the 3 previous novels in the series. Once again I have started and finished one of her books within a few hours, completely getting lost in the incredible story with all of its hardships and celebrations. Pieces of Gray is full of romance and suspense, but as always with Kelly Moore, it’s just an outstanding work of fiction that is an absolute must read. 

*Many thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Kelly Moore by visiting her web page.

Pre-order “Pieces of Gray” on Amazon.