I’m sorry but I’m not accepting review requests at the moment.
FIND SOME OF MY RECENT REVIEWS BELOW
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF MY REVIEWS PLEASE CHECK MY PROFILE ON AMAZON – CLICK HERE.
5 out of 5 stars
Sweet Love Story
I’m a total sucker for a good romantic story so I fell head-over-heels in love with Snow
Kissed. Sadie and Jamie are so cute together. This is a novella so I knew it would be a quick read; but, Lisa Swallow left be drooling for more. I’d love to read more about these two characters as well as others like Charlie and Lottie. I don’t know if they appear in other books by Lisa since this is the first one I’ve read by her. It won’t be the last for sure as I’ve just downloaded Summer Sky.
Even though the title is shorter than a full-length novel, it’s quite well developed. Setting and plot are engaging; pace is fast; characters are well fleshed out and believable. Not to mention the cute jokes about Jamie’s family name and its connection to another famous billionaire whose last name is a color that rhymes with “say”. LOL That’s my lame joke, by the way. Lisa’s are good ones.
I recommend Snow Kissed for readers looking for a cute love story filled with sensual tension yet no explicit action. Sadie and Jamie set my imagination on fire. I didn’t need much details to feel their passion. However, as a writer of erotic romances, I’d love to read more about these two plus a few more detailed scenes just to make sure my imagination was right. LOL
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: August 31st 2016
5 out of 5 stars
Roller Coaster of Emotions
When I received an invitation to review this book, I considered it very carefully as the theme of drug abuse is one I don’t take lightly. So I confess I was apprehensive as I started reading it because Stacey kept using drugs to compensate for her insecurities and anxieties and I feared this idea might hold some allure to young people like her. I didn’t want the story to go in that direction. However, Elizabeth Miceli does a great job of keeping the story realistic, sometimes frighteningly so, and Consumed becomes a warning tale rather than one glorifying drugs. Having watched close family members, very dear ones, struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, for what seemed like endless years and losing some of them in the end, I cannot bear it when drug abuse is treated as something less than what it is: a life-and-death issue.
My personal experience with drug addicts led me to highlight too passages of Consumed. I won’t write specifics about who says those things, or when, because they’d be spoilers, which I don’t like writing or reading. So forgive me for not providing a complete reference here:
First – “When I look at you I see a million amazing qualities. I wish you could see that”. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a loved one suffering from low self-esteem knows how true this idea is and how often it represents their struggle. The most frustrating part is when you know this factor is a huge contributor in that person’s addiction. That’s how it is in real life and that’s what Ms. Miceli so skillfully writes about in Consumed. And this is only a tiny example of her qualities as an author.
Second – “Trying to recover. Trying to be happy. Trying to live”. If you’ve had a chance to follow someone’s path from drug abuse to treatments to relapse and to recovery, like I have, then you can appreciate the truth in those three simple yet complex sentences. They’re simply structured; but they carry such complex ideas. A drug addict’s fight for survival is a constant struggle to recover, to find what makes them happy, so that they can have real a chance at living. Elizabeth Miceli deals with those profound truths honestly, which makes her book brutally beautiful at times and definitely gutsy.
Be warned though that Consumed isn’t a light read. Stacey’s journey will make you want to slap her, cuddle her, shake some sense into her, cheer her up, and a myriad of other conflicting feelings. In my book, that means her story is so well told you forget you can’t smack or hug a fictional character. That’s a clue as to the author’s talent in character development. Not only Stacey comes across as a realistic character, but all the others as well. However, know that when characters are realistic it often means they aren’t picture perfect. After all, who is in real life, right?
Finally, the sex scenes are an important part of the story. They’re well written, but also quite detailed. As a writer of erotic romances, I can deal with lots of hot action; although, I prefer when they’re intrinsically connected to the story. That’s the case here. Besides, Stacey’s behavior towards sex reflects a lot of her personal struggles with self-image, overcoming past traumas, and dealing with her own choices. As readers, knowing how Stacey feels about sex and her sexual partners helps us understand her a little better.
For taking me on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions, I rate Consumed as a five-star story.
Marry Your Billionaire
by C. J. Anaya
My rating 4 out of 5 stars
Marry Your Billionaire: A Modern Cinderella?
First of all, as an author of erotic novels, I feel it’s my duty to warn my readers, who also follow my reviews, that this book is nothing like the ones I write. Marry Your Billionaire is a totally smut-free romantic comedy.
And I recommend it to all incorrigible romantics out there because it will satisfy your thirst for romance and to jaded readers because it will warm your heart. C. J. Anaya’s a talented author I’ve just discovered, but certainly will follow her work very closely.
Although I don’t usually read romantic comedies, I occasionally watch movies in the genre. In fact, my all-time favorite comedy is Some Like it Hot. Therefore, I’m aware I shouldn’t expect a realistic plot from this kind of story. After all, no matter how gorgeous Tony Curtis looked in drag, it’s hard to believe Joe’d have gotten away with pretending to be Josephine for that long, right? LOL
That’s why I knew going into this book that I’d need to exercise some suspension of disbelief. However, I think that need went a bit too far and it ended up getting in the way of my enjoyment of it and that’s the main reason I knocked off one star in my rating. I mean, I found it hard to cope with the basic idea that sparkled the whole story. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that a successful businessman in the online dating industry, trying to do some much needed damage control after the media painted him as an opportunistic womanizer and dishonest business owner, would consider participating in a ‘Who-wants-to-marry-a-millionaire’ kind of reality show as a good idea. Really? I wholeheartedly agreed with Midge’s vehement and eloquent speech about all the many reasons why that was a horrible idea. And then, not long after that, she’s onboard with it. What?!
Granted, she was blackmailed into taking part in the show by her own father. That sounds plausible, right? No! Midge’s own issues with her parents, and the way she dealt with them in the past, seemed a bit exaggerated. In fact, for a supposedly level-headed person she comes across as quite the drama queen. And stubborn. Moreover, it’s very unlikely that a person who avoided the spotlight and walked away from fame and fortune like she had done, would open up about private affairs of the heart on a TV show as she did in the final taping session. Also, the lack of punishment for the villain didn’t sit well with me. Finally, I couldn’t see this story as a retelling of the Cinderella tale as Midge was a trust-fund kid herself.
On the other hand, there are many qualities to the book. The writing style is fluent, elegant, and engaging. C. J. Anaya paints a vivid picture with words. Character development is skillfully achieved. The main couple is interesting and their interactions are entertaining. The supporting characters add to the story and help move it forward. My favorite one is Blanche, by a long shot. Her sassy, non-nonsense attitude is the kind I admire. Also, it was refreshing to read about a millionaire playboy, who was actually a sensitive and non-promiscuous bachelor looking for his better half. I mean, right after meeting Midge he says, “I plan on sweeping her off her feet, turning her world upside down, and laying bare my heart while winning hers in the process”.
The fact that it takes quite a few twists and turns for him to accomplish his goals speaks volumes as to the quality of the plot. Speaking of which, both plot and setting are well-written. The use of third person POV in alternating perspectives between the two main characters is always a favorite of mine. C. J. Anaya handles it admirably.
Finally, on a very personal note, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the author has lived in Brazil, where I grew up. I share her admiration for Djavan, a Brazilian talented songwriter. His song Faltando um Pedaço is also one of my favorites.
** I read this book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription**
Beyond Your Touch
by Pat Esden
(The Dark Heart #2)
Fast-paced, thrilling paranormal novel
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
I don’t write spoilers because I don’t like reading them so the following quote from Beyond Your Touch is intended to show a little of the high-quality of its writing. Pat Esden opens each chapter with a quote and this happens to be my favorite one:
“There is a border no eye can see, a place beyond my touch. But if I listen to the wind and sea, I hear your voice: A whisper in the sky, a catch in my breath, the ache in my hollow heart”.
If you haven’t read the book yet, the text doesn’t give away anything; but if you have, it’s full of meaning. Intrigued? You should be! This book is awesomely written and this is a tiny example of Pat Esden’s skills.
She creates believable and realistic characters to the point that some will annoy the heck out of you like was the case with both Annie and Serena for me. Granted, they’re quite young and I kept reminding myself of that; but they made me very angry sometimes. Serena can come off as a spoiled brat and Annie’s jealousy seemed a bit exaggerated for a one-month-long relationship. However, I know people her age with similar mindset so that’s the realistic part I mentioned before. LOL Being fifty allows me to see Annie’s and Serena’s flaws from a greatly different perspective than readers close to their age so my comments on their behavior should be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, Chase is a fascinating character in many aspects. Although still quite young, his upbringing under ruthless conditions in the djinn realm has given him a furiously loyal disposition, which is endearing. You can’t help but root for him and suffer with him. Believe me, you’ll do a lot of both.
As for setting and plot, the author does a great job with establishing a fast pace full of twists and turns. I particularly liked Annie’s dream sequences and her flashes of intuition. They’re insightful and it’s a pity she doesn’t listen to them. Also, the use of first-person POV from Annie’s perspective helps readers identify with her at the same time as it keeps us in the dark as to what’s really going on, which adds to the thrill and sense of mystery. I loved that. Finally, I liked that Pat Esden introduces key elements of the first book to readers who, like me, have started the series in its second installment. It’s possible to follow the action; but I’m sure I missed a lot on background story development. That’s why I recommend reading the first book in the series, which I intend to do.
Although there’s no conclusion to this story as it ends in a massive cliffhanger, we do see the outcome of the protagonists’ quest. I obviously won’t say what but technically speaking, there’s a final result. And even though the addition of the first chapter of book 3 at the end doesn’t give away much, it is quite tantalizing. It allows a quick glimpse into what’s to come and makes the reader salivate for the next installment.
I recommend this book for fans of extremely well-developed stories filled with paranormal elements wrapped in tons of deliciously elusive mysteries.
The Scorpion’s Empress
My rating 4 out of 5 stars
Well-written erotic fantasy
** I read this book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription**
As an avid erotica reader and a writer of erotic novels, I’m always on the lookout for new talents in this genre because we do need them. Yoshiyuki Ly does NOT disappoint. I found her voice remarkable and her style refreshing. That’s why I wish I could rate this as a five-star book; however, I couldn’t ignore some aspects.
Although the overall quality of the writing is quite good, it’s not consistently so. Some parts of the book are excellent whereas others are just good. For example, the way she writes the characters’ background stories is engaging; however, world building is a bit spotty, which is a shame because this seems to be quite an interesting fantasy world and I’d have liked to understand it better.
Another point I struggled with was wording. I for one don’t think it’s necessary to use eighteenth century English in fantasy books in order for royal characters to sound noble or their subjects to sound respectful. And Yoshiyuki Ly doesn’t do that in Scorpion’s Empress, which I appreciate. She uses formal structures, although not over-the-top ones mixed up with informal utterances. However, the formal/informal registers are unevenly distributed. For instance, Raj, who’s the Empress, will sound very formal when we read her reflections yet extremely informal when she’s addressing people in some dialogues. It gets to the point that she would use words and expressions such as “ain’t”, “gonna”, and “you sayin’ this shit to me”. It feels odd.
The Scorpion Empress possesses many positive points. The use of first-person POV always gives the reader a privileged seat from which to better enjoy a story. Here, the writer chooses to tell the story in alternating chapters from Raj’s (The Empress) and Videl’s (The Paladin) perspective. We go inside their fertile minds and have a chance to understand their motivations, fears, and weaknesses. I particularly appreciated the choosing of names for characters and places. Some are ironic, some poetic, and many carry a distinct double entendre. Some examples are Mistress Fury, Excalibur, Slutgarden, Eden and Nirvana.
As for the plot, it’s gripping and engaging with quite a few twists and turns, which despite being predictable, make sense in the story. Finally, character development is rich and believable both for main characters and secondary ones. I don’t write spoilers so I’ll be a little vague now, but one of my favorite moments is a poignant scene when Raj goes back to her hometown and Videl offers her support. Without getting into too much detail I can say it’s an extremely well-written, powerful moment for both characters. Kudos, Ms. Ly!
I always leave my favorite bit for last – erotica content. This is my area of expertise and I can vouch for The Scorpion’s Empress. It’s very well-written; however, I’d have used less metaphors in some key moments during the sex scenes. But that’s only me and I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me. As far as BDSM goes, the author must have done a great deal of research about the topic because the scenes are believable and hot.
Finally, as far as I understand, The Scorpion’s Empress is Yoshiyuki Ly’s first novella, which means it wouldn’t be fair to expect perfection. Nevertheless, it is an excellent debut story and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
by Ella Quinn
My rating 5 out of 5 stars
Brilliant Regency Novel
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
I’ve a soft spot for regency romances; but it’s been quite a while since I read my last one. I’ve been too busy writing erotica, I guess. LOL So when I was offered a chance to read When a Marquis Chooses a Bride I jumped at it. I couldn’t be happier I did. I’ve just found my new Regency series to read.
Even though this is book 2 in the Worthingtons series, it’s a standalone so you can enjoy it if you hadn’t read book 1 as I hadn’t. Although the first installment has just made it to the top of my ever growing TBR list.
You’ll find all the elements of the best Regency stories here: a smart, beautiful, and non-traditional heroine; a gorgeous, wealthy, and honor-bound hero; a mean villain; and a bunch of delightful supporting characters that add so much to the readers’ enjoyment of the story. The coming-out protocols of the English society in the nineteenth century also serves as the backdrop for Thea and Dom’s story. Yeah, I know the blurb says ‘Dotty’ and the other characters call her so, but I’d rather use Dom’s nickname for her, which sounds better than Dotty, in my opinion.
Ella Quinn does an excellent job at character’s development and story building. The plot got me hooked from page one and I didn’t want to put it down because I didn’t want to return to present-day America. I wanted to stay in Regency London! Her writing is that good! Moreover, the twists and turns, although a bit predictable if you’re an avid reader of this kind of romance like I am, are entertaining and engaging. They’ll keep you turning the pages. Or scrolling the Kindle, as was my case. Finally, the love scenes have just the exact amount of heat one expects from romantic novels, which means they’re swoon-worthy.
I recommend When a Marquis Chooses a Bride to all fans of well-written Regency romances or enjoyable romances in general.
My rating 5 out of 5 stars
Change is good!
Hell, change is AWESOME! I’m sure Fitz would agree with me. Oh my! I think I’ve just found a new book boyfriend and he’s a damn hot rock star!
Granted, I’m a huge rock fan and I’d die if anything close to this storyline happened to me in real life so I might be a bit biased here; but I just couldn’t put this book down. I’m also a lot like Brooklyn. I share some of her low self-esteem issues – although not for the same reasons as her – and I often get stuck in routine just because it feels safe. Well, safe is overrated often times. Taking a leap of faith can be terrifying though. Making up your mind about life-changing issues can be a long and painful process. I know because I did it. Renegade’s main storyline is about that: change. And it couldn’t me more realistic.
Also Heather brings up the characters’ background story through their interactions in a seamless way. She eases the reader up into their psyche and memories. One of the reasons you just want to keep on reading. Plus, alternating POVs between Fitz and Brooklyn and using present tense to narrate the story give the readers both a sense of immediacy and a chance to be inside the two main characters. That also makes for a thrilling reading experience when well executed, which is the case here.
Another characteristic of good writing skills in character development is the fact that characters do evolve through a story. If they’re flat, they’ll start and end a story unaltered. That is definitely NOT the case in Renegade. With two exceptions, which I won’t name here because I don’t do spoilers, all the other characters end up different from where they started. We see minor and major changes, but they change. Moreover, they do so in a realistic way.
For example, Brooklyn’s makeover has more to do with her insecurities and low self-esteem than anything else. She doesn’t completely morph into a new person out of the blue. Like Poppy relentless tells her, Brooklyn had always existed inside Brooke. She just decides to believe it with a little help from her friends; especially a certain drool-worthy, six-packed hot lead singer.
On the other hand, Fitz has always been a sweet guy who enjoyed the perks that come with rock and roll stardom. Don’t rush to judge him because he does come off as a bit shallow in the beginning. But that will last for like maybe the first five minutes into the book until you realize he’s actually just hiding behind a mask. It’s more about self-preservation than being a jerk. When one is that famous, it might get hard telling the real friends from the leeches so I could see why he kept things superficial to avoid getting hurt. However, in his interactions with the other band members and their manager, we get to see the real Crosby Fitzgerald and he’s swoon-worthy! One of my favorite quotes from Fitz, “it’s at times like this I want to go back in time and beat the shit out of everyone that’s made her doubt herself”. You can’t ask for much more than this. I mean if you’ve got a guy like that fighting on your corner, you’ve got it all, right?
I always leave my favorite part for last: Love scenes. Boy you’ll need some time-out except you won’t want to stop reading. The sex scenes are that engaging and that scorching hot. I’m talking about sighing-out-loud descriptions and squirming-on-your-seat sensations. Fitz took my breath away multiple times. *winks* Believe me! I know what I’m saying because I write erotic romances and Renegade’s one of the hottest, best written stories I’ve read recently. YAY, Heather! You rock! (Yeah pun intended)
Renegade’s got it all! I laughed out loud, I rooted for Brooklyn, Fitz, Poppy, and all the others, I got hot and bothered, my eyes even got misty a couple of times. Oh who am I kidding… a lot of times. Much like Brooklyn, I cry easily. LOL
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-written romantic story that can be sweet at times and downright naughty where it truly matters.
** I read this book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription**
Hot Russian hunk meets stubborn American beauty
I like bad boy romances as much as the next girl. I’ve got a soft spot for those men who look tough-as-nail on the outside to hide their caring and loving core. In that aspect, Vladimir is a prime specimen because only Carter has access to his fun-loving and carefree side. However, I draw a line at criminals. No matter how you try to spin it, murderers are criminals so I’ve got a problem with storylines that mystify the Mafia. To quote Carter, the road that got Vladimir and her together “was wrought with landmines, deceit, and fear”, often times in a quite literal way. Growing up in Brazil where organized crime is a plague that destabilizes its society, I can’t endorse part of the storyline of Russian Tattoos: Prisoner because I don’t think organized crime makes a fitting background for a romance trilogy.
However, that’s my pet peeve so I urge potential readers to make their own judgment about the book, especially if you like Mafia romances. As for my review, I did knock off one star and, even though the Mafia issue bothered me taking away a chunk of my enjoyment, it wasn’t the reason for the four stars rating. Other aspects of the book were key to my evaluation.
Russian Tattoos: Prisoner is book 2 in a trilogy and it’s not a standalone as it takes off exactly where book one had finished. That meant I felt lost in the first couple of chapters but was able to deduce the background story out of the bits the author provides either as flashbacks or in the dialogues between Carter and Boris. Reading the blurb for book 1: Obsession helped me put together other missing pieces. So I’d say it’s possible to start the trilogy with the second installment; although I’m considering reading the first one just to get more of Carter and Vladimir while skipping the mafia stuff. LOL
There are many positives to Russian Tattoos: Prisoner. Characters development is one of them. I like it when characters are presented under one light – favorable or not – and the reader gradually discovers other facets. Kat Shehata is able to do that even with characters whose background stories and personalities have been explored in the first installment of the trilogy without making it redundant to those who have read Obsession; at the same time as she doesn’t leave readers high and dry who, like me, haven’t it. Personal growth as well as the ability to learn from one’s mistakes and evolve are also indicators of good character development. I’m not saying all the characters go through that evolving process though. Certainly not some key ones who seem so set in their ways I wanted to scream. For instance, I wish I could smack Carter hard frequently and had to remind myself she’s only nineteen. As for Vladimir, I’ll just say that for a genius, he can be very obtuse. But, he did learn from past mistakes that he made in book one. He’s trying to avoid them and be a better man. His weakness, in my opinion, is planning. Boy, does he come up with some darn, stupid ideas! LOL The secondary characters are very well fleshed out and you’ve got all kinds of them: the ultimate vicious villain, the cute kids, the antagonizing family members alongside the loyal ones. My favorites: Dmitri and Pasha.
Regarding plot and narrative style, Kat Shehata builds suspense that puts the readers at the edge of the seat with quite a few twists and turns, which aren’t totally unexpected, but make sense and engage readers. Because I don’t write spoilers, I’ll be vague in my examples here. There’s a little reverse Romeo & Juliet thing going that was well executed by the author, except for a tiny glitch: If I were planning on killing someone, I’d be very suspicious if they dropped dead without me having planned their execution. The explanation presented after the fact convinced me initially, but the subsequent actions of those involved were so contradictory I remained unimpressed. Again, I apologize for the cryptic comments.
Another positive is the quality of the narrative where people’s feelings and reactions are concerned. The story is told exclusively in first-person from Carter’s POV, which could make readers feel they were getting a biased, one-sided version of facts. However, it’s so skillfully written that we have a pretty good idea of other people’s feelings. That’s especially true about Vladimir, mainly in their sex scenes.
Talking of which, I always leave my favorite part for last. As an avid reader and writer of erotic fiction, I’m a specialist on the topic. This couple sizzles! Their chemistry is amazing and their love scenes are elaborate yet realistic and extremely well-written. Even the Russian cultural aspect of valuing Carter’s virginity makes sense in the story. By the way, her being a virgin isn’t a spoiler if you’ve read the first book; and she mentions it in the first or second page of this second book. At the same time, expect romantic exchanges such as Carter saying, “Losing you is my worst nightmare”, to which Vladimir replies, “You’re the reason I breathe, angel”. Isn’t he swoon-worthy? LOL It can’t get much better than that.
by Paula Quinene
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Enchanting journey to WWII Guam
I don’t write spoilers in my reviews because I don’t like reading them so I’ll be vague about some scenes in the story. Please bear with me, okay?
Paula Quinene did an amazing job with this book and, in my opinion, the huge list of materials she has used as sources is an eloquent example of why that is. Her obviously thorough research into the subjects and narrative skills bring a time period and a place alive for the reader. As you turn the pages, you feel as if you were watching the scenes unfold rather than reading. Her enthralling descriptions of Guam make the reader feel surrounded by its luscious beauty. Kudos!
Moreover, an engaging storyline that you won’t wish to put down, which is brimming with terrifying war scenes, family values, and Chamorro traditions. By the way, stories like the tataomo’na ones sounded so great to me because they illustrated how the Chamorro’s spiritual traditions got woven with Catholic beliefs. Personally, I found it fascinating because it’s very similar to what has happened in Brazil, where I grew up. Although Brazil’s officially a Catholic country, a lot of the native peoples’ spiritual beliefs, as well as those brought by African slaves, have been assimilated but the Christians resulting in many colorful customs.
As for the characters, both the main and the supporting ones are realistic and endearing. O loved Mames’s advising and how it cheered Jesi on giving her self-assurance. Awesome job there, Paula! Another example of the books quality, is the characters’ growth. Johan, for instance, starts off as a broken man borderline on suicidal, having joined the army after losing his will to live. Through his experiences in Conquered, Johan ends up as a man committed to making Jesi feel safe and loved. One of the loveliest scenes is when Mrs. T teaches Johan to cook Jesi’s favorite food.
By the way, can I just say that Johan is the sweetest guy ever? The surprise he orchestrated involving tons of lanterns and flowers such as orchids, hibiscuses, plumerias, and wildflowers plus the tag he gave Jesi for her birthday are only two examples of how awesome he is. I fell for him immediately and it just got stronger as I read the book.
Jesi is a strong young girl whose horrific experience during the Japanese occupation of her beloved Guam toughens her up without breaking her. Even though she witnesses as well as lives traumatic situations at a very young age, Jesi comes out of them as sweet as before the war. In my opinion, her religious and family values might be at the core of that because she never abandons them. They keep her sane at the same time as they guide her actions.
Finally, my specialty: the love scenes. As an avid reader of romances and a writer of erotic short-stories and novels, I feel quite comfortable discussing the topic. I enjoyed Johan and Jesi’s lovemaking a lot. It was sweet and an intrinsic part of the storyline. My guess is the book is under the erotic romance category due to the frequency of their love scenes because as far as the description and the quality of them, I’d say they’re light and lovely rather than kinky or over-the-top steamy as it’s the case in most erotic stories nowadays.
I recommend this book for fans of WWII stories, romantic stories, gorgeous places, and good food. You’ll find it all in Conquered.
by C.M. Seabrook
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Not an easy read but definitely a brilliant one
I’m a sucker for second chances romances so Theo stole my breath at the blurb; when I got to the first scene, he had worked his way to my heart, and by the end of the book, I was “his forever: heart, body, and soul”. He’s as intoxicating as drugs. I couldn’t get enough of him. I read the book almost in one sitting and probably would have done so if life hadn’t gotten in the way. LOL
Readers should be warned though that this isn’t a light-weight romance. It’s a heavy-weight novella, and definitely a champion. Despite the warning in the blurb that the “book contains mature themes, steamy, sexual scenes and graphic language”, I wasn’t expecting it to be so gritty and raw. That doesn’t mean I disliked it. On the contrary, I loved this book but it felt like a blow to my stomach multiple times.
All the fighting metaphors have to do with the fact that Theo is an MMA fighter. When he was young and started picking up fights to release frustration, his mom enrolled him in martial arts, which eventually led to a very lucrative career for him. At twenty-five, he’s won enough fights and got enough money to think about retiring. To be honest, I don’t like fighting so that element of the story was a bit of a concern for me in the beginning; but it wasn’t an issue in the book. In fact, it was interesting to see how much control Theo had over his anger and violent tendencies. At no time does he threaten the people he loves and that’s awesome, in my opinion. I’ve seen that happen in real life to people very close to me so it’s a sensitive topic and one the author tackled skillfully.
For me, the only tiny chink in this otherwise sparklingly brilliant book is Mac’s awful choices. I get that she was only 19 when the world fell on her head – I don’t do spoilers so NO WAY I’m going to be any more specific here. I understand that three years later she might not have matured much, but still… there were many times throughout the book when I wanted to shake some sense into her. My respect for Theo only grew even more in those occasions because he managed not to do that. Barely…LOL
The supporting characters are also quite well developed, realistic and believable. My favorites: Moody, Logan, and Clair, in the order they appear but not necessary in the order of preference because I wouldn’t be able to rank them. I liked them for different reasons but with equal force. I’ve got no idea if the author is planning on making a series out of this story but I would LOVE to read Moody’s. *winks* However, not all supportive characters are likeable. C. M. Seabrook did a great job with the villains as well. They’re MEAN and you can smell it in the air. Her descriptive skills are that good! They make your skin crawl and your blood boil.
As for the storyline, it’s a page-turner if I ever read one. I literally had to force myself to stop reading when it turned midnight yesterday because I needed to get up at five. Then, today, I couldn’t get home fast enough to finish reading it. There are enough twists and turns to keep you engaged and even the predictable bits are so well done and fit so snuggly in the big picture that you’re glad you saw them coming, know what I mean? Under the characters’ circumstances, the situations are plausible and realistic. I mean that they might not be something that happen to people on a daily basis; but they most certainly could happen in real life the way they unfold in this story. Finally, the author uses alternating first-person POVs to tell the story from Theo’s and Mac’s perspectives. That always adds realism to a narrative because you’re inside the character’s head. It’s not something easy to do but C. M. Seabrook aces it.
I saved my favorite bit for last: sex! Boy were those scenes melting hot or what? Theo took my breath away every time. And Mac’s as well. LOL With all their past history, things get hot between them quite early in the story without feeling rushed. It feels oh so right! As a writer of erotic romances, I know how hard it is to build the tension and create the right atmosphere for a good love scene. One that will involve the reader at the same time that it advances the story. Again, C. M. nails it! (pun intended) Theo and Mac’s chemistry is potent; they’re sexy; and their lovemaking is intense. You can’t ask for much else in a romance. Well, maybe a gorgeous yet flawed leading lady. Check. Hmm, how about a drool-worthy, tough-looking but soft-at-the-core hero? Check! See? Fighting Blind’s got it all!
Loves of Our Lives
by A.C. Chenier
My rating 5 out of 5 Stars
Brilliant, unusual, and courageous new romance author
As a believer in reincarnation, I jumped at the opportunity to review this book once I read its blurb because it’s so rare to find novels like this in English. I grew up in Brazil where believing in reincarnation is widely accepted and many authors write about past life experiences but that’s not so in other countries; mainly in English speaking ones thus the rarity of titles about this subject.
As an author, I relate to the difficulties. I’m currently working on a story that deals with reincarnation because I feel so strongly about it. But I set it in Scotland in Celtic times because I thought it would be easier for readers to think it was a fantasy book even though it’s not. Therefore, I applaud A. C. Chenier for her brave debut in the literary world tackling a subject that many might find controversial or downright unbelievable.
For me, it’s clear she writes from the heart and that makes up for the little – no, strike that – tiny glitches I found with this book. For instance, the author, through Katie, spends a great deal of the first 15% of the book introducing the readers to the ideas and work of Dr. Brian Weiss. It bothered me a bit in the beginning until I realized it would be necessary if the writer was trying to present a novel, controversial idea to the general public.
Although I believe our souls return many times in different bodies, I also firmly believe we forget our past lives for good reason. It can be unsettling to poke around in the past and some people get stuck in it. That’s why I don’t think past life regression should be done lightly. Moreover, it should only be use in extreme cases when it can help a person’s understanding and managing of his/her present situation, and never out of curiosity just to learn about a past life. So I was relieved that both Maria and Katie turned to that kind of therapy for very serious reasons and that they took their regression sessions seriously. Maria was attempting to deal with her terminal cancer and Katie, as her best friend, eventually had to seek therapy so that she could support Maria and cope with the situation herself.
Regarding writing style, I for one favor third person omniscient POV like the author used in Loves of our Lives. I don’t have problems following the changes in perspective. However, some readers find it hard as I learned the hard way when I published my first short-story. Lol Here the author does a great job with that so even if you think you don’t like this kind of POV, you should give this book a chance and you’ll be surprised.
Present time events are told in chronological order while the past life regressions aren’t, which was a great positive for me. There is a puzzle-like quality to the past lives narration and I personally enjoy it because it feels like putting together pieces of a jigsaw. Bravo!! And each time Katie visits her past lives, the author brings us, the readers, with her into the past and all of a sudden we’re reading a delicious, well-written historical fiction. Even word choice and sentence structure are different from the present day narrative. Not to mention that the author subtly touches other controversial issues such as homosexuality and mixed race marriage in the 19th century. Bravo again!
As for the characters, there are many in the three different timelines described: present-time Canada, 18th century England, and 19th century United States and they’re fascinating. A. C. Chenier does an excellent job of building their background stories and presenting them to the readers. I liked that the main characters change and evolve. Ward and Katie seem like a loving couple for the first five minutes into the book but the surface soon starts cracking. Ward shows his real colors pretty soon and we learn that he can be quite selfish. No wonder “cute train guy” picks Katie’s interest. Still, I like the fact that both Johan and Katie have solid values and how they show in their attitude. That’s why their struggles feel so realistic. Also, for Katie, the concept of past lives was foreign to her in the beginning so it made sense she needed time to, first, fully understand them; then, be able to make tough decisions in her present life so that she would stop repeating patterns from past ones.
I recommend this book for open-minded readers looking to discover a new, talented author.
Chasing What’s Already Gone by Michael Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fun, heart-warming, and unusual romance
I had read Michael’s thriller ‘Hand over Fist’ before embarking on his first-attempt at writing romances so I knew his abilities and skills. Let me tell you he surprised me in the best way possible. Chasing What’s Already Gone is a refreshing take on a well-established genre that is in dire need of new voices. Let me count the ways…
- Author is a man, which means a quite different perspective in the romance genre;
- Danny Pearson as lead character is a soft-hearted, handsome man whose POV tells most of the story in first person;
- Other characters also have their POV told in third person. Now here I must say that it’s one of my favorite aspects in Chasing What’s Already Gone. The way the writer creatively weaves together different POV’s from different voices adds so much to the storytelling without ever giving the reader that dreaded ‘head-hopping’ feeling. Kudos, sir!
- Our lead female character, is a strong-willed, intelligent, and successful woman… well, there’s another clue for you. Doesn’t she sound like something a female writer would have created? LOL;
- Ella/Gertrude/Gemma/Jess – that’s as much as I can say without spoiling things for the readers. Believe me you don’t want that spoiled and it’s AWESOME;
- Supporting characters are delightful – funny, smart-ass, no-nonsense attitude. My favorites: Rob, Gemma, and Bill; In fact, I’d love to read Bill and Mary’s story. *winks*
- An engaging plot, dripping with wit and quip, masterfully told. Any avid reader of romantic stories knows they require some kind of suspension of disbelief. Some might even say this book requires it as well. I prefer to paraphrase Bill and say that the secret to true, everlasting love is equal parts of luck and patience. Danny is a hell of a lucky, patient dude. LOL
Michael Ross did a great job with both the storyline and the characters. Danny and his leading lady (no spoilers, sweetie! – Yeah, I’m a sucker for the Tenth Doctor Who LOL) are expertly written out. I’d dare say the writer went for a slight role inversion here as the woman comes out as a bit tougher than the man. Danny loves romantic comedies for crying out loud! It can get more gender inverted than this! Moreover, the supporting characters are delightful and really add to the story, which means they’re not mere fillers, they do support the main characters.
Although the book is under the ‘Contemporary Romance’ category in Amazon, I’d say there’s a distinct feel of romantic comedy to it and I don’t mean it only on Danny’s account. LOL There are plenty of lighter moments and funny interactions, especially when Rob or Gemma are in the scene. However, my favorite plotline was the one regarding Danny’s pursuit of the love of his life. You’ll find enough turns and twists there to make you wonder if you’re really reading a romance. The final one is the best but let me warn you. Even after you think you’ve got it all sorted out, Michael will surprise you with new information you’ll never see coming.
I had one tiny little disappointment in this book. To avoid spoilers, I’ll only say that the unavoidable conflict (we’re talking romance novel so there’s got to be a conflict between the main couple at some point, right?) here seemed a bit farfetched because the couple acted out of characters, in my opinion. That was the only instance where I used suspension of disbelief so I got over it. And it honestly didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the story.
Finally, even though the title says ‘Second Chances Book 1’, this is a complete story so if the author is planning on writing more I guess it’s going to be also a standalone. I’m hoping it brings back Gemma! No spoilers so I won’t name the leading man but I’d love to read their story.
Oh, and be sure to download the extra scene. It’s hilarious!
DAMAGE ME by Shana Vanterpool
PUBLISHER: Swoon Romance
Gritty, realistic, and brilliant
It took me a while to connect with Hillary and Dylan; but not for lack of talent on the writer’s part. On the contrary. Her fair warning that the book contains triggers and sensitive issues must not be taken lightly. For the first third of the book, I cringed and even skipped a few paragraphs because the emotions were too raw for me to process. I wasn’t embarrassed at all. The reason wasn’t sexual content but Dylan’s PTSD and Hillary’s assault. Reading from their perspectives, because the story is told in alternating POVs, made it all too personal and too real. Again, only talented writers are able to pull that off, and Shana Vanterpool does it brilliantly.
Although Damage Me is a standalone, I felt I would have understood the dynamics of the love triangle involving Dylan, Bach, and Harley better if I had read the first book in the series – Destroy me. Shana does fill the reader in on the important aspects of it, but I’m sure I would have had a different perspective on their story. I guess I’ll just have to read it now. LOL
Without giving away spoilers, I can say Damage Me is a great book even though it’s not your everyday kind of sweet romance. It’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s realistic. It’s gut-wrenching and heart-warming. It makes you teary, enraged, elated. The author takes us on a crazy ride from moments like Dylan’s terrifying nightmares to the first kiss with which he pecks Hillary’s cheek. Again, no spoiler so I won’t reveal the circumstances other than it was such a sweet moment! Awnn…
Both main characters are damaged in body and soul. They have the lowest self-esteem you can imagine but with reason. They’ve sustained physical wounds and suffered psychological traumas that are hard to overcome. Their pain is so in our faces; their actions are so visceral; and their struggles so intense, it’s impossible not to care for them. You get sucked in and have no other option than rooting for a happy ending for their trials.
I rarely quote the books I review but I can’t help doing it here. Dylan’s thoughts sum up his inner battle and his self-image so clearly, “So I leaned my head away because the last thing I needed was to inhale her good. The bad in me would rebel.” When you’re talking about damaged souls, it can’t get much better than this war between darkness and light. Damage me brilliantly exemplifies that.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sexy Italian chef meets erotic writer
I chose this book because the blurb seemed to describe me: an erotic romance writer called Liz who is attracted to a man ten years her junior. As I started reading, I was convinced the author knew me. Liz, the female character, is a curvy woman insecure about her looks and flirting abilities. To top all that, she hides the fact she writes steamy fiction for fear that people will judge her a slut. In her case, living in a small town would certainly cause some embarrassing moments. In my case, even though I grew up in a city with twenty million inhabitants, it took me one year to tell people I was a writer and many acquaintances still don’t know I write erotica.
Regardless of the similarities between my own life and the main character in the book, I enjoyed reading it because Luc is an awesome read. I’m a sucker for second chances stories and this is partly what this book is about. But it is also about friendships, family, and trust. It’s an engaging story line about realistic characters. I don’t like reading spoilers so I don’t write them in my reviews. However, some things are clearly stated in the blurb so I can say that Luc has serious trust issues and with reason. After all, trust is a fragile thing, which once lost can take a long time to be restore. And even though Liz wasn’t the one who made Luc distrust women, he still needs time to heal so that he can trust her. I had a very close relative go through exact the same thing Luc went through so his story hit home. Again, no spoilers and that’s why I’m deliberately withholding information here. Like I said before, I was on Team Liz before I started reading and wasn’t disappointed. She’s smart, beautiful – without knowing it – and loyal to a fault. On the other hand, her insecurities get in her way of her happiness, which is a shame but totally understandable. The supporting characters are just as interesting and I’m eager to read Nic’s story.
I recommend Luc if you’re looking for a quick read full of heart and soul plus some quite steamy scenes.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A journey into a new culture to find true love
*** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
Boy am I glad I got it!
I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Literally. I had tons of homework and work to do and still couldn’t make myself stop reading Meilin and Drew’s story.
It was so refreshing to delve into a different culture than mine and such a great opportunity to know more about it. Their story and struggles are quite realistic and accurately depict the values and priorities of a culture that puts family first and above all else. Growing up in an individualistic society such as ours, it might sound farfetched for some people. But believe me when I say it is not. Meilin;s conduct was exactly what I expected it would be and I loved it. Sorry, guys. I’m against all kinds of spoilers so that is as much as I will say on the subject.
Just as the storyline is realistic, the characters are believable and multifaceted. That goes for both main and supporting characters. They seem to jump out of the pages right in front of you. Drew is so awesome and droolworthy you just want to hang out with him. Well, to be honest, the ladies will want a tad more than that, but back off – he’s taken. LOL Oh, I wasn’t talking about Meilin; I was talking about me! He’s my newest book boyfriend. Hehe Seriously, though, they make for such a great couple! Meilin is gorgeous, bright, and loyal. Drew is exactly the same! Birdie, Randi and Court are amazing and even pain-in-the-b… Jack is an interesting character. Despite his pain-in-the-b…ness, that is.
Finally, even though this is book 2 in a series, it is a standalone story. I haven’t read the first one and was perfectly able to follow the characters and their journey. However, Shea gives us enough glimpses into Randi and Court’s story to makes us want for more. Book 1 just made its way into my never ending TBR list. LOL And I’m so psyched to find out Book 3 is about Birdie’s story. I loved her so much! There… the list just grows bigger and bigger every day.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for something different to read this summer vacation. You’ll find romance, friendship, and family in Her Unexpected Affair. But most importantly, you will find an ‘against-all-odds’ kind of love story while learning something a different culture. Or revisiting your own, depending on the case. Either way, Meilin and Drew’s story will warm our heart.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 **** – Steamy story in romantic Paris
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
26 Hours in Paris has everything I look for in an erotica read: great, sexy bedroom scenes (a little on the kinky side); believable characters, and a good storyline. I mean, setting it in Paris also didn’t hurt. After all, Paris is the world’s finest destination for romance, right? Toss in a gorgeous leading man and a smart heroine and voilà – you’ve got yourself a great story.
Except, it’s not that easy. Adding up ingredients not always guarantee the expected outcome. I know what I’m talking about since I’m an avid reader. On the other hand, as a writer of erotica myself, I empathize with the difficulty of finding the right tone and the best balance so that a story delivers what the audience expects while stays within the realms of possibility and reality.
26 Hours in Paris was the first book I read by Demi Alex; however, I’m sure many other will follow as she skillfully builds a believable story around realistic characters. Marko is a sensitive guy without being obnoxiously sweet and Kat is a strong woman still fighting her inner demons. Believe me – the stronger the woman, the more vicious her inner monsters. And most often than not, they exist only in her head created by herself, and seem harmless to other people. I guess that’s one of the reasons I related to Kat so much. LOL In fact, I fell in love with Marko and Kat from the get-go and rooted for their HEA.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a hot read to match the summer heat.
Owned by M. Never
(Decadence After Dark #1)
Owned is a dark erotic romance. Please pay close attention to the use of the words dark, erotic, and romance. It has intense sexual situations, a Master/slave relationship, mild abuse, and some violence. Reader discretion is advised.
“I like you collared, baby. I like you naked, I like you mine.”
Ellie Stevens has lusted over Kayne Roberts since he first walked into the import/export company she works for a little over a year ago. As Expo’s most important client, Ellie has always kept a safe distance from the man with the majestic blue eyes – until temptation finally gets the better of her. Impulsively, Ellie invites Kayne to one of Expo’s infamous company parties her flamboyant boss is notorious for throwing. Unbeknownst to Ellie, the god in the Armani suit isn’t just the suave entrepreneur he portrays himself to be. Underneath the professional exterior is a man with a secret life, dark desires, and nefarious contacts.
In a hidden corner of a trendy New York City lounge, the spark kindling between the two of them ignites. Unable to resist the sinful attraction, Ellie agrees to leave with Kayne, believing she is finally bedding the man of her dreams. Little does she know when she walks out the door, she’s about to be Owned.
5 STARS Intensely dark, wickedly engrossing
I’m an avid reader of erotica but before I decide to buy anything, I read reviews. I usually begin by reading the one-star reviews because depending on the kind of complaints I know what kind of kink to expect. Funny enough, most of the time the one-star reviews convince me to read a book because, let’s face it, there’s just too many prudes out there. LOL
Another constant for me is finding people who don’t understand the difference between erotica and sensual or erotic romance. Hint – if the book is in the erotica category in the online store, expect it to be filled with sexual content. If the blurb says ‘dark’ expect to find strong and often controversial topics. As an erotica writer myself, I felt for the author when I read so many comments from people complaining there wasn’t enough romance in Owned and that sex drove most of the story. It made me wonder if these people realize the book is under the Erotica category.
Regarding the story itself, I emphatically recommend you don’t start reading this book if you won’t have time to finish it in one sitting because you will try to. I mean, it’s a page-turner so you’ll need to be available. Don’t do like me and start reading it late at night. I almost didn’t hear the alarm going off the next morning. LOL As for the characters, I like my heroines to be smart-ass and independent, strong-willed and intelligent. Ellie is all of that and some more. Alpha males are my downfall and I prefer them dark and secretive. Kayne is all that plus drop-dead gorgeous. Their chemistry is scorching hot and the sex scenes are intense and very well-written. There is enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. All these reasons combined makes Owned so much better than a certain famous trilogy about a billionaire and a wide-eyed, fresh-out-of-college young woman that I thought the reviews I read comparing them were unfair. There’s no comparison because Owned in much superior.
Finally, the book’s subtitle clearly states this is the first in a series and, although I prefer series made of standalone books, I don’t mind a good cliffhanger when I know I’ll soon get to read the end of the story, which is the case with this one since the three books have already been published and they’re relatively short ones.
Claimed is a dark erotic romance. Please pay close attention to the use of the words dark, erotic, and romance. It has intense sexual situations, a Master/slave relationship, mild abuse and some violence. Reader discretion is advised.
With one look he consumed me.
With one touch he marked me.
With one kiss he owned me.
With one whisper he claimed me.
“No matter where you go or who you’re with, you’ll always be mine.”
Ellie Stevens thought she had moved on from the domineering man who abducted her. Now living in Hawaii and following her dreams, no one is going to keep her down. But things aren’t always as they seem.
Kayne Rivers reluctantly let Ellie go, but just because she’s gone now, doesn’t mean she’ll be gone forever. She is his, and he won’t stop until he’s reclaimed her as his own.
5 STARS Wicked, dark, but oh-so-good love story
You may think it’s odd for an erotica and dark romance to be called a love story but that’s exactly what Claimed is about. When I finished reading Owned I couldn’t wait to start Claimed but mid-term week in my Master’s program didn’t allow me to do it so I had a serious case of Kayne-withdrawal, let me tell you that. LOL The second book in the Decadence after Dark series is just as addictive as the first one yet you have such a better understanding of the main characters and their motivations. Interestingly enough, M. Never tells the readers at the end of the book that she wrote Owned just so she could present Kayne as we see in Claimed. However, I think she managed to insert plenty of glimpses of this Kayne in the first book as well. At least I saw him this way. I won’t say much because I don’t like spoilers but if you read the first book you’ll understand what I mean. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? LOL
The book has tons of sexy scenes, a lot of suspense, and some serious soul-searching. It’s exactly what you expect from a dark romance and then some more. The characters are well fleshed-out, the plot is engrossing, and the pace is steady up to the middle of the book when all hell breaks loose and you feel like you’ve been thrown in the middle of a Hawaii Five-0 episode. A good one, that is. LOL Even though I knew I was going to get my HEA, there were some pretty tense moments.
In both books, the author does a great job of portraying a master/slave relationship, which differs from a D/s one in many ways. People who aren’t into the lifestyle may not know one from the other so I’m sure many readers didn’t get it. However, M. Never brilliantly shows us how Kayne and Ellie develop their relationship. Again without spoilers, I can safely say that a certain neighbor’s reaction got me laughing out loud because she represents SO MANY PEOPLE out there who does not have a clue about what happens inside a couple’s bedroom yet feels like they can pass judgement. It was brilliant. Kudos, Ms. Never!
Finally, I’ve got to say I fell in love with Kayne in the first book, deepened my feeling in this one, and can’t wait to read the last book of the trilogy. Moreover, I’ll never look at a cupcake the way I used to do before Kayne and Ellie’s story. LOL
No matter his name, one fact remains the same. He’s the man who enslaved me, ensnared me, claimed me and ruined me…For all other men that is.
All belong to him.
I belong to no one but him.
He owns me.
And I own him.
Ruined is a 29,000 word novella and is the completion of Kayne and Ellie’s story. It contains intense sexual situations and a Master/slave relationship. Reader discretion is advised.
5 STARS Great ending for an extraordinary trilogy
Just like Ellie, I’m totally ruined for other men – book boyfriends, that is. Kayne bewitched me from the very beginning and each chapter of his story made me a bigger addict since book one. All because of the author’s talent to tell an engrossing story despite the dark issues she tackles. Add to that mix memorable characters and you have a winner. That’s what Decadence After Dark is. But it’s not for the prude or the faint of heart. Read the author’s warnings and take them seriously. I’m an avid erotica reader and an erotica author and still there were many scenes that felt like a punch to my stomach. Not the sex ones though. No worries! They were scorching hot and left me breathless but in the best sense possible. LOL
Max Wells is a ball-busting, ass-kicking testament to female empowerment, who’s yet to meet the person who can push her down.
Until she meets a man she only knows as Sir.
Shamelessly deviant, Hayato, knows exactly what Max thinks of Dominants like him. So ready to dismiss his lifestyle, she’s the type to assume she knows everything about it and him after one cursory glance from the outside in. But, looking at Max—at her intelligence and passion—he can see more in her than the misconceptions she’s deliberately blinding herself with.
And, determined, he plans to show her more.
Max finds herself fascinated by this man who insists on challenging her every belief as he leads her into his world of dark desires. Matching his clash of wit, will, and seduction, Max begins to question all she knows about what it means to be empowered.
Used to being unquestionably on top, Hayato is intrigued by Max’s formidable delight in playing games and striking deals that shifts his usual power dynamics as they negotiate roles and rewrite rules.
But, just as their game heats up, it gets used against them. Seeking to punish them with their play, someone threatens to drag their private lives out into the public spotlight.
With high stakes and bitter scandal looming over their heads, Max and her Sir will have to work together to show that what the world thinks they are does not define who they are.
5***** – Realistic portrayal of assertive woman embracing her submissive side
In the name of honesty, I confess to both being an avid reader of erotica and a writer in the genre, which means I’ve come across some very bad excuses for books over the years. However, as any genre, there are expectations and unwritten rules to any erotica story. Sonni de Soto manages to comply with said rules while going so much deeper than the average BDSM writer. I’m convinced her introduction to the book explains clearly why she’s able to do that. Most of the authors who write about BDSM aren’t into the lifestyle and the fact that Sonni is makes a hell of a difference in the most positive way.
Having said that, there’s also the issue of one’s ability to translate personal experience into good writing. Sonni accomplishes that and then some. Her scenes are quite realistic and convincing; her characters are well fleshed-out and believable. She’s got a sarcastic sense of humor that appeals to me and a strong author’s voice.
Interestingly enough her feminist stance was the only thing that bothered me a bit and made it a little harder for me to connect with Max in the first third of the book. I’m aware the writer needed to build Max’s character and present her to the reader but, personally, I could’ve done without some of her stubbornness. I’m a feminist and quite stubborn myself – ask any of my friends and family LOL – but I’m sure I’d have changed my mind about a relationship, which I thought was doomed to fail, if it lasted for over five (happy) years. In fact, I’ve done exactly that a couple of times. Haha So Max’s denial to accept Kat and Peter’s happily kinky marriage didn’t convince me and distracted me in the beginning of the story. Once I got into it though, I was in for a HOT ride.
Another quality of Show me, Sir, which stands out and showcases Sonni di Soto’s talent, is offering a truthful depiction of a lifestyle that has been so badly portrayed lately. I was already a converted before reading this book, but if I had had any doubts about the possibility of balancing out a woman’s assertive personality with her innermost (and unconfessed/unrealized) desire to be a submissive, they would have disappeared. In fact, only those who don’t understand the lifestyle think these two aspects are mutually exclusive.
Kate is ready to start a new life in a great city. Determined to follow her dream, she left college to write a book. Arriving in New York City, she vows to live in the present, not the past. Easy for most to say, except she has a secret. Kate is a time traveler. She met the love of her life back in 1927. But he’s here now. No looking back. No going back.
3 *** – Time travel that feels like a loop and huge cliffhanger ending
I had a lot of expectations before start reading this book because I’m a big of fan of all things time-travel, from Somewhere in Time to Back to the Future and Dr. Who. That might have been one of the reasons I didn’t connect with Second Chances but I’m sure there are many readers who will so please don’t take only my word on that. I’ll give you my reasons; however, I urge you to take them with a grain of salt because they might not work the same for you.
The first issue to bother me was that the book’s blurb says, “Second Chances is a new adult novel in Nancy Pennick’s ‘Waiting For Dusk’ world. It can be read as a stand alone (sic) novel, though it will be best enjoyed by those who have read the ‘Waiting For Dusk’ trilogy”; but the book is not a standalone per se. I mean the story isn’t independent from the other books because the main characters are the same and the events are all connected. I haven’t read the series so how do I know things are connected? Because about two thirds of Second Chances is made of retelling of past events. That’s just too much retelling in flashback. For a newcomer like me who hasn’t read the other books, this way of presenting the story feels wrong. And I guess for readers who are familiar with the series, the flashbacks might have been unnecessary. This kind of introduction to the past events made things confusing. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a good puzzle-like storytelling but this one felt odd. A reader is naturally a spectator but when the author overuses flashback retelling, instead of flashback action for as long as Nancy Pennick did in Second Chances, it feels like you’re eavesdropping when you should be watching. Moreover, at about 70% into the book (I read it on my Kindle app), when I thought the story we’d finally move forward, someone finds a recording of parts of the retelling of past events and we need to read it all over again. Seriously? I felt like I was chasing after my own tail like a dog does. Oh I’m sorry about the whole ‘someone’ thing but I don’t do spoilers. I hate reading them so I try not to write them. But, like I said before, this writing style might not bother you so if that’s the case, please go ahead and download the book.
The other contradiction in the blurb is that the book’s description says ‘New Adult’. For an NA, it felt too much like a YA to me with its petit rivalry between old and new friends, jealousy over little nothings that escalate to biblical, life-altering proportions, and things like that. Even the adults act childish. I won’t say who – ‘spoilers, sweetie!’ (I apologize but I HAD to make this Dr. Who joke) – but one of the adults breaks up a marriage in writing. Really? Who does that? Then comes around after a five-minute talk with somebody who states the obvious, which the person already knew quite well before breaking up in the first place. Again, if you’re into this genre – YA – Second Chances might do it for you. I don’t like Young Adult stories and probably wouldn’t have chosen to read this book if I knew it wasn’t exactly NA. I mean, just because the characters are over twenty or just about turned twenty-one it doesn’t mean they’re mature, right?
As a writer of erotic romance and an avid reader of it, I prefer more explicit love scenes as long as well-written and justified by the context of the story. On the other hand, I did not rate Second Chances less because of its ‘behind-the-door’ love scenes because I respected the writer’s choice. I’m just mentioning them in case other readers might want to know. After all, many people prefer NOT to read explicit love scenes so they might like to know this is a clean book.
Real time travel doesn’t happen until you reach the 73% mark on your Kindle. By then I thought it’d never start. And when it finally does, do we get real action or more retelling? Any guesses? More retelling because the characters must discuss their past actions, during their other past time travels, about a gazillion times so that they don’t forget what they need to do because if they ‘don’t’ follow the script to the T’, they’ll change history. Really? What’s the fun in reliving the exact same thing over and over like ‘Groundhog day’? I love that movie exactly for the things Bill Murray changes when he goes back in time, not the ones he relives. They were just boring. Again, that might not be case for you! Make your own judgement.
Granted I haven’t read the other books in the ‘Waiting for Dusk’ series but as far as I understand after reading their blurbs, Nancy Pennick has already written four books telling Kate’s story. I don’t get why in the acknowledgements section of Second Changes she says she had to write this book telling Kate’s story and giving it a proper ending when the book finishes with a huge cliffhanger and promises a new installment.
Sadie Layne, a creative and motivated high school drama teacher, is grateful for second chances. After surviving breast cancer, she embarks on a celebratory trip to LA with her two best friends. Sadie never expected to run into the handsome and charming Vince De Carlo in the hotel lobby. She hasn’t seen Vince much since they worked together in a theater company years ago. Their meeting interrupts her plans and reminds her of the life she left behind.
Vince, a struggling actor and cover model, is in LA to promote a television pilot. His old attraction to Sadie is stronger than ever. He never forgot her, even though a trusted friendship and a scripted kiss was all they’d shared.
The reunited pair give in to temptation, but reality soon collides with lust as strong doubts about their blossoming romance get in the way. Sadie dreads facing her defeat as an actress, and Vince doesn’t think a struggling actor like himself is capable of providing the accomplished teacher with what she deserves.
Will the couple find a way to keep their sizzling romance alive and build a future together? Or will their uncertainty win the lead role and smother the flames?
♥♥♥♥♥ Absolutely loved this book
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I admit I’m a sucker for second chances. I mean who doesn’t want to have one right? I know a bunch of people who have had their second chances and these stories always fascinate me. I’ve been planning to write about that as well. My family and close friends would be amazing sources of material for me. LOL
That being said I had high expectations for Love’s Encore and I was NOT disappointed. Kathleen Ann Gallagher does a very good job at tackling delicate issues such as breast cancer. After all, it affects a woman’s self-image and self-esteem. Also she creates believable characters you care about and want to know more about their stories. And those stories are craftily woven by Ms. Gallagher.
Speaking of characters, in Love’s Encore you’ll find some great ones and so realistic you feel like you know them. I for one totally related! Just like Sadie, I too have great friends and they have actually threatened to call the police in case I didn’t report back to them right after a recent date I had. They didn’t know the poor guy very well and worried for my safety. However, I waited until I was back in my place on the next day to text them instead of sneaking into the bathroom of the hotel room like Sadie did. LOL
In fact, there was one tiny detail in this book that I think wasn’t as good as it could have been; but then again it might be because I’m an erotic romance author. I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t even notice or care. I felt the love scenes were a little off, a little rushed even. I don’t like spoilers but I’ll give you an example without giving away too much. The first time Sadie and Vince sleep together, the dialogue sounded stilted to me. First, because there was too much of it; second, the utterances were repetitive. For example, they said ‘I want you’ for times in two pages. But in reality, I don’t think there should have been so much talk. There could have been more actions and sensations, instead. But that may be just me. And in all fairness, writing a love scene is NOT easy. It’s tricky and the results often don’t please everyone. That’s why I didn’t rate the book any lower because of this aspect; specially since it didn’t affect my general enjoyment of the story.
When an old friend disappears, Martin learns nothing is what it seems…
Martin Russell can barely face the future. With dismal life prospects and an estranged family, he is at the end of his rope. When an old friend, Hannah, elbows her way back into his life, Martin’s luck begins to turn around.
Hidden within the shadows of evil, there must be some good…
Ex-policeman Bobby Tanner lost everything one rage-filled night. Now he runs a reading group for alcoholics where he meets a young drug dealer, Zack, who disturbs him in a way that’s hard to define. Bobby soon discovers the teenager is in over his head and has been dealing with a despicable individual known as The Chemist.
The roots of evil run deeper than we imagine…
Martin’s lucky streak begins to unravel when Hannah suddenly goes missing, and he turns to a friend of a friend, Bobby, for help. Thrust into an underworld empire of corruption and half-truths, he learns his friend may not be who he thought she was.
In a shadowed world of deception, stalkers, and despicable drug dealers, Bobby and Martin must uncover the truth, and fast…
Several lives depend on it.
♥♥♥♥♥ Fast-paced page-turner: don’t read it before bed.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So in the name of honesty I must begin by saying I don’t usually read this genre, which is an excellent way of keeping my opinion unbiased. It’s also good not to have expectations before start reading the story.
Anyway, that was the case here and was I positively surprised mainly considering this is the author’s debut novel! He did a great job of fleshing-out characters whose backgrounds and/or present day activities aren’t exactly role model material. But this kind of character is usually the most realistic one, in my opinion. And Michael Ross proves he know how to deliver a realistic story.
I particularly liked the way he introduced the characters and built the plot. More specifically, I loved the use of the third person omniscient POV because it’s something the big publishers and editors have been refusing to do for a long time. I’ve had problems convincing my editor to let me use it for my second novel and ended up agreeing with her and changing for third person restricted POV. It wasn’t as gratifying for me as an author so I applaud Mr. Ross for going with that. As a reader, it’s my favorite kind of POV and I don’t care if the publishers call it old-fashionable. LOL For a thriller like this one, it fits like a glove. Finally, I liked the puzzle-like quality of the author’s way of introducing the characters and their storylines. It was creative and engrossing.
I recommend this book to all fans of thrillers and suspense novels who are seeking a new, promising writer. Mark my words: Mr. Ross is going places! Just don’t start reading it too late at night because you risk not getting up on time the next morning.
Just one kiss to break the spell…
That’s all she needs.
Cursed by a jealous witch, Penelope DeLacroix’s spells are all going wrong and backfiring, creating havoc in town. The vengeful witch won’t quit until she has all of Penelope’s powers. And all it will take is one perfect, heartfelt kiss from Penelope’s one true love to put an end to all this turmoil.
The only problem? Penelope has no idea that Dr. Lucas Collier, the compassionate local veterinarian, is in love with her. Nor does he know that she’s in love with him. They’re both too stupid to figure it out.
But I know.
And I have to do something about it.
But what can I do?
I’m only her cat.
Every witch has a cat.
And I’m going to fix this.
♥♥♥ Good beginning of a series
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a paranormal comedy with a very refreshing characteristic – the animals are sentient and communicate among themselves; plus, the narrator is a cat. Talisman is a familiar who has been in the DeLacroix’s family of witches for over three hundred years. In the present generation, he watches over Penelope and lately he’s been trying to find out why her powers have been so unpredictable. At the same time, Talisman worries about her inability to see that a certain cute vet has a humongous crash on her and he wants to help Pen with that too. However, the plot thickens as new characters are introduced and old and new mysteries unfold during the investigation Taliman and his fellow pet PIs start.
Being the introductory book in a series of four very short reads (around 70 pages each), Talisman establishes the foundations for the story. Therefore, I didn’t expect to get any solutions for possible questions or problems in this installment. The huge cliffhanger was also a given. In my opinion, the basic elements for a promising story are all in this book. They make you want to know more about the characters, who are well-developed and as realistic as one would expect them to be in a story about witches. The plot is engaging enough and the book is short enough that I finished reading it in under one hour. Finally, having a supernatural cat narrate the story is a clever way to vary point of view and one I really enjoyed.
At this point, you must be wondering why I rated it as a three-star book if it sounds so great, right? It seems contradictory. I know. I did it on purpose so you know the book is NOT bad and it’s worth your time. It’s just that I’m too picky. Also, I had hoped that by now many of you have already been convinced to get a copy and won’t bother reading the rest of my review. LOL Nevertheless, I’ll tell you why I shaved off the two stars to avoid sounding like a lunatic.
This isn’t the first book by Colleen Charles that I read and I had loved Baked (which belongs to a different series) so much I had high expectations for this one. I know what she’s capable of and I’m sure this is part of my frustration with Talisman. On the one hand, I had laughed out loud in many scenes in Baked which didn’t happen in Talisman. On the other hand, some editing issues annoyed and distracted me. For example, in chapter two, Jessie and Harry are at Penelope’s house when Elias arrives and tells them he had had an informative conversation with Bianca about her family and Pen’s. Then Amelia storms in babbling about something that had happened in the library. The characters have a long interaction, about which I won’t go into detail here. When Elias is leaving, Ami reminds him he’d never finished telling them what Bianca had said. She couldn’t have known Elias had said anything before she entered the house.
A pet peeve of mine is redundant information in stories and Talisman has that problem in a few situations. Another editing flaw that annoyed me was a scene that felt like there was some continuation issue. Tali’s human form – a naked, mute and gorgeous man – shows up at Pen’s door in the middle of the night. She lets him in, he tries to tell her and Ami something by pointing at a passage in a book. They don’t get it. End of scene. Next scene, he’s running through a forest as a cat and talking to his furry/feathered buddies. WTF? Finally, when the narrator male cat meets a gorgeous female cat the attraction is natural and understandable. So far so good for me. But when he calls her a “beautiful woman” and talks about her “feminine scent”, it gets weird and confusing.
All in all, and as I’ve mentioned before, Talisman is a fun and promising first installment, which I recommend for a quick read and to put your mind off problems and hardships. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
2015’s Twenty Short Story Contest winners assembled in one place. Five stories from each category (Super Powers, Deserted Island, Horror, and Labyrinth), including the top winners of each contest shown below.
The Era of Super Weapons – Roger, America’s super-soldier, embarks on what seemed a routine mission –until his enemies turn to allies against a horde revealing information that will turn the entire world on its head.
Synchronysi – A steampunk masterpiece. After her volunteer operation, a woman awakens to a world made entirely of tine crystals. As she travels the shining island, the product of her surgery reveals much more than she may be able to handle—neither the land of crystals nor the world from which she arrived are exactly what they seem.
Terrors Great and Small – A couple barricades themselves in their home to escape a viral outbreak carried by mosquito bites. As the days of panic and solitude stack up, they battle with both their own crumbling sanity and the terror of what really awaits them beyond their front door.
The Walls Are Alive – in a world where violent offenders are placed in a deadly, automated labyrinth—designed to let no one escape alive—the labyrinth’s caretaker steps inside for a routine maintenance. When the automation turns on him, he’s forced to run the maze like all the criminals he’s sent to their own demise.
♥♥♥♥♥ – Eclectic group of authors and their short-stories
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As it often the case with collections and anthologies, not all stories will have the same level of quality and polish nor will appeal equally to the readers. It’s not different with this one except the number of stories I disliked was exactly ZERO. I liked some less than I enjoyed others but that was about it.
Being a writer of mainly short-stories myself, I was looking forward to reading this book and wasn’t disappointed. For an outsider, it may seem easier to write a short-story than a novel. Let me tell you – it might – emphasis on ‘might’ – be quicker but it’s not at all easier. After all, it takes talent to pack action, plot, and character development into a couple of dozen pages as opposed to three hundred. One needs to keep the reader focused, keep the flow of the story going, and keep the characters interesting. All in the space of a (relatively) few pages. But the authors in this anthology are quite talented so they deliver well-developed characters and plots to my absolute delight, which doesn’t come as a surprise because the authors won the publisher’s contests for each of the four themes that constitute the four different themes in this collection.
I’m glad this is just the first volume because I’m looking forward to the next ones. Who knows maybe with different themes? I’m just saying… LOL
It’s 1927 and Lord Zoltan Kristos, Hungary’s Minister of the Interior, takes great pains to hide the fact he’s a werewolf from the world. Despite his efforts, he’s recognized when he goes to the Austrian-Hungarian border to inspect the area for damage from a recent rare earthquake.
Zoltan is accused of stealing Kurt Meklau’s witch, Inna, and is recklessly followed to Volturn Manor, a residence belonging to another werewolf family, the Vargas. After a fight with Meklau, Zoltan barely escapes and his adversary is found dead.
Sophia Varga and Tomas Martin find Zoltan. Sophia is determine to attend to Zoltan’s injuries and protect her home, but when Kurt’s father, Marcus, comes seeking revenge, Sophia is tested like never before. As Zoltan and Sophia work together, attraction and desire flame between them.
Will the secrets Volturn Manor harbors offer Zoltan and Sophia the clues they need to defeat Marcus and give them the opportunity to explore their feelings for one another?
♥♥♥♥ Very good book in the series
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A heads-up – although this is Book 4 in the Budapest Moon series, it is a standalone.
This isn’t my first rodeo with Stephanie Buckhart’s writing so I knew I was in for a good read. So I guess that was why I was a bit disappointed with some aspects of it, which led me to the four-star rating. I was surprised to find quite a few typos, missing words, and even sequence problems in a book that has been published by a publishing house as opposed to self-published. Just as an example, towards the end of the story, Sofia and Zoltan are described as sitting down on a bed then the next movement is Zoltan holding her hand and guiding her to the bed. What? I was also disappointed with one aspect of the plot, which I won’t reveal because I don’t like spoilers. But I can safely say that, for the longest time, characters follow leads they find in the house about a certain mystery in a certain family’s history. They even find a piece of information that seems essential to the solution of their predicament and the author keeps hinting at it. Do they use said information when the time comes? No. The solution comes from a totally different source but not in a positive wow-I-didn’t-see-that-coming way. It just feels like you were misled.
But please don’t get me wrong. The good aspects far outweigh the issues I’ve found with the book. For example, personally, I like my heroines to be straightforward, independent, and intelligent. Sofia has all these qualities and then some. Being the daughter of a werewolf and a human, she has inherited heightened senses and physical strength from her father and high sensitivity from her mother. On the other hand, Sofia struggles with a few issues of her own like professional choices that have upset her parents or insecurities that she covers up by putting on a brave face. But isn’t this kind of duality what makes a character richer? In my opinion, it does. The same is true for Zoltan. Although he’s a powerful man and an even more powerful werewolf, he fights demons from his past at the same time he’s learning how to control his powers and more basic tendencies. Not an easy task but again one that makes him all the more realistic and therefore a more complex character. Stephanie Buckhart does a great job at showing you those qualities instead of telling you about them. The secondary characters are equally well fleshed-out, which makes the book more complex and engrossing.
The book in this series that I had read before was The Count’s Lair, which interestingly enough was the story about Sofia’s parents. I like it a lot. However, there are many similarities between the two books. Once again, we see the big bad werewolf (pun intended) Marcus trying to recover a witch he believes was taken from him. But this isn’t a negative thing per se as we learn more about the characters’ pasts and family histories.
All in all, I enjoyed The Secret Door very much and recommend it for fans of romances without erotic elements. On a personal note, as an author of erotic stories, I prefer my reads to be a bit more explicit in that area; but I did NOT hold it against The Secret Door because the interesting plot and likable characters kept me turning the pages regardless of the ‘behind-the-door’ quality of the love scenes.
The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.
Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.
In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.
But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.
5 STARS – Great Start of a New Series
** I received a copy of this book in Exchange for an honest review**
In the name of honesty, let me start by saying I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre per se; although I’ve read and enjoyed authors in the genre like Tolkien or Marion Zimmer Bradley. However, I don’t rate stories based on my personal preferences because that wouldn’t be fair to the author. It would be the equivalent of rating Romeo & Juliet because I don’t like the fact the main characters die in the end of the play. The fact that I rooted for them and felt my heart going to pieces when they died would be a better way of evaluating the author’s ability to get the readers involved with the story.
That’s what Mr. Pere did in Calling the Reaper. Through a series of eight short-story-styled tales, divided in three acts, the author weaves the threads to create the beginning of a promising new series. I describe them as ‘short-story-styled’ because I have a hunch they’re not really short-stories in the sense they’re not as independent as they seem as you read them. One has to keep in mind the book is the first in a series, which usually means the author is setting the stage for whatever is coming in future installments. Each story tells the tale of a different character from a certain place and in a certain time. They are as different as a soldier in Roman times or a pirate during the Spanish Golden Age or a Marshal in the Wild West. The connection between them apparently is the question surrounding the death of their protagonists – who’s going to collect their souls: the Valkyries or the Reaper? Again I reserve judgement on whatever connections really exist between the seemingly independent stories in this book as the author might find a way to bring them together in the future.
Furthermore, the author incorporates mythological concepts into the stories without turning them into lectures, which is quite positive and avoids interruptions of the story flow. The characters are well fleshed-out, the settings are vividly described ant the plots are believable. Leaping through distinctively different time periods and places also help readers have the feeling the story is progressing fast. I am curious to know where Mr. Pere is going to take this story next so I’ll be looking out for book two.
A collection of short erotic fiction that will tickle more than your taste buds and wet more than your appetite.
With a range of genres and styles, this book has enough steam for everyone.
GREY MANCHESTER—contemporary romance in 1000 words. Will Nadine choose to drop her knife or her knickers?
DOUBLE TROUBLE—ménage a trois in 2000 words. After a dry spell, Sophia gets more than she bargained for with a solicitor and a teacher.
DRAGON KISSED—shifter romance in 3000 words. Jenna’s life is fairly run of the mill until she has a flying accident. With a dragon. All is not as it seems in this fiery romance.
TRYST—contemporary romance in 4000 words. Polly pushes the boundaries on a workplace night out.
LOVE ON THE CORNISH LINE—contemporary romance in 5000 words. Becky falls flat on her face, and madly in love. Her weekly commute home proves to be anything but routine.
THE INLAW—contemporary romance in 6000 words. At 43, amputee Carla never expected in her wildest dreams to be called a MILF by a hot young stud. Trouble is, he’s her son in law’s brother. And young enough to be her son. Sparks fly when she’s caught with her hands in the biscuit tin.
NIGHT NURSE—contemporary romance in 7000 words. Denise has only weeks left to live. What constitutes life, though? What fills the yawning hours of empty days? Who are you once the chemo and the cancer have stripped you bare? What to do?—Go out on a slow fizzle, or with a big bang?
OVERBOARD—contemporary romance in 8000 words. When Stella falls overboard in the middle of the Pacific, she gets more than she bargained for. Sharks and storms not withstanding.
ALIEN LIAISON—alien romance in 9000 words. When the military transport, Lunas Two, crash lands on Zorth, Jay is given the job of liaising with the locals. She’s seen plenty of aliens in her four years of service, but never one as finger licking good as Lemo. How far will she have to go to keep the peace?
SAVING FACE—historical romance in 10,000 words. Non-related step brother and sister, David and Annalise, break all the rules in this steamy historical romance. Forced to live apart from the love of her life and into an arranged and loveless marriage, Annalise has to grow up fast. When all is lost, will she be able to save face?
READER ADVISORY: This book contains explicit sex scenes and language hot enough to melt your Kindle. For mature readers only.
5 STARS – High-quality erotica short-stories
I’ve been an avid reader of Harmony Kent’s books for a while so expecting high-quality texts from her is a given. However, I was particularly excited to learn she had decided to venture in the erotica genre. Not only because I’m a writer of erotic romances but mostly because the addition of talented authors to this genre is always quite welcome. And Harmony has disappointed me at all. Her creativity shines through right from the presentation where she explains to the readers the concept behind each short-story’s word-count, which was born as writing challenge Harmony proposed to herself. Isn’t that awesome?
As for the texts, she made sure to give readers an impressive variety of styles that range from shifter romance, to menage, to aliens, to historical, and to contemporary romance. There are also many different themes to satisfy all tastes: second chances, sweet romance, sexy romps, lighthearted interactions, and dramatic situations. But in all of the stories readers will find complex characters dealing with real-life issues everyone can relate to. What else is there to expect from a good book, right? Interludes has it all.
Three young girls go to a psychic after pooling their allowance money together. It’s been thirteen years and none of the prediction have come true until today. They face turbulent times in their lives that will make them stronger and bring them back together. The power of true, unceasing friendship and love conquers all. And the help of a psychic along the way doesn’t hurt.
The predictions a psychic made thirteen years ago bring three young women at the height of the most critical moments in their lives back together. Through their friendship, these young women learn about love, life, and cherishing what matters most.
3 STARS – Not a bad story
*** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
When I read the blurb, I was excited about it so I expected to like this book more. Even a novella of little less than 200 pages as this book seemed to be can offer a storyline with depth and well-fleshed-out characters. Actually, even short-stories can do that. I know it because most of the books I write are short-stories. So I was taken aback when Psychic Readings finished. And to be honest, it took me a while to understand that it had. I went so far as to check the book’s blurb to see if it was the first part of a series because the story still had a long way to go, in my opinion. I say that not only because the plot hadn’t been totally developed but because my ereader told me I was still reading at about 66% of the book. However, it was really over.
Regarding character and storyline development, the author did a good job of creating interesting main characters and supporting ones as well as writing an attractive storyline. But I had problems with her writing style. This is my personal taste, which might not be the same of the book’s intended audience’s because I’m much older than them so please take that into consideration. On the one hand I like when authors break the mold and mix the temporal line of their stories – that didn’t bother me in this book. I also don’t’ mind the recent tendency to write in the present tense. On the other hand, overuse of present continuous instead of present simple doesn’t sit well with me and Tanille Edwards does that. The other issue I had with the book is that some situations seemed too unrealistic. I don’t like to give away spoilers so I won’t go into details but I can say that in real life great professional opportunities rarely come out of the blue.
However, I’m not saying Psychic Readings is a bad book. On the contrary, as the title of this review suggests the book is good and I’m sure its target audience will connect with it much more than I did. After all, teens will probably enjoy the many fashion references Cassandra makes, which is in-line with her character being a fashion designer. Moreover, teens will also enjoy the lifestyles the three main characters lead. So I recommend this book to all teenagers and young adults who are looking for a quick read about friendship, making money, finding the right guy, and being happy.
5 STARS –Hauntly beautiful story mastefully executed
Yesterday, when I sat down to finish my read it was just as though I had never stopped reading Milele. The characters are so strong and well written, the story is so captivating and strong I hadn’t forgotten any details. Kudos, Jan Hawke!!
As I’m not one to write spoilers, I won’t give away many details but I will say this: fans of complex and realistic characters and layered and deeply moving stories will love this book. But you need to have a strong heart to stomach some bits of the narrative as this isn’t an easy-breezy book. It’s one that will stick with you and maybe haunt you for a while. Don’t you love it when that happens? I do!
4 STARS – Powerful fiction that feels like true stories
It’s no spoiler of I say this book’s subject is the death of young children as the title clearly suggests.
In three very brief short-stories, talented author Kathy Golden manages to tackle the pain, the emptiness, and the utter dispair that follows the loss of a young child.
At the same time, amid the gruesome reality of this world’s worst type of cruel sickness (I won’t specify which kind to avoid spoilers), Ms. Golden inserts a ray of light, the subtle touch of the invisible powers that surround us and give us hope.
Although the stories are self-contained and present no cliffhangers, I was left unsatisfied. I would have loved to read more about these moving stories.
5 Stars – Gripping story brilliantly written
This is a real page-turner not only for History buffs like myself but for all readers who like well-told stories. Once I started reading Forever Torn I couldn’t put it down. When day job interfered with my leisure time, I had to force myself to power off my Kindle.
Be aware that this fictional biography will put you in the middle of the action in such a way that you won’t be able to tell the difference between your actual surroundings and the images that unfold before your eyes. The book is filled with tragedy, family drama, war, struggle and love. Jason Greenfield expertly tells us the tale about his grandfather’s amazing life and origins, including vivid depictions of Europe during World War I and II.
I recommend Forever Torn for anybody who likes Historical fiction and is searching for a hot new author.
5 STARS – What a page-turner this book is! I read it practically in one seating.