Love Connection (First Comes Love #1)

Love Connection (First Comes Love, #1) Rating:

*Note : I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Buy Links:

Kindle          Paperback

Synopsis2Have you ever wondered what might have been?
Gemma Dawson is at the airport, staring at two plane tickets to two different cities. Two different weddings. Two possible futures. She’s at a crossroads.
Be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding or crash her ex’s?
Gemma’s decision, unknown to her, hinges on a delayed flight and a chance meeting. Now her life is about to go down two parallel tracks—will Gemma fly toward a life with her first love or a future with a man she’s not even met yet? 

Love Connection is a feel good Romantic Comedy about one woman, life’s infinite possibilities, and the destiny that lies beyond two different choices.

My reviewThis is the first book I have picked up with this kind of storytelling. There are two separate stories running in alternate chapters – both as consequences of two different choices Gemma makes – one in which Gemma catches a flight to San Francisco to stop her ex’s wedding and the other where she catches a flight to Chicago to attend her best friend’s wedding. Both stories feature almost the same cast of characters, such as her best friend, sister and some similar events such as Gemma’s bachelorette party. It was a lot of fun to see similar events being played out differently as a result of Gemma’s choice. I liked how the author managed to keep all the chapters and events so consistent. I keep waiting to see if there would be any moment when some character would doff their hat acknowledging the “parallel universe” of Gemma’s life; and it does happen once. So, I did like that slight touch of magic.

Well, I am pretty critical of the whole altar-ditching when it features the main characters since I, as a reader, would be accompanying the MCs on their journey; and altar-ditching is a sure-shot way for me to lose sympathy with at least one MC in the whole situation. I always dislike it when a couple gets their happily-ever-after and has no thought, guilt or consideration for the broken hearts and dreams they leave behind. Since this is a short book with two stories – it was almost like two novellas in one – I didn’t expect pages and pages of stewing-in-guilt scenes. Having said that, and without giving away any spoilers, all I can say is that I really liked Gemma in one story more than the other. She acts like a ditz but she owns it that she messed up and gets these “I feel guilty, Karma is going to get me” stabs on her chest occasionally and well, that was good enough for me. I am not too convinced with the other story though – she got off guilt-free way too easily.

I also felt both stories had very convenient third-wheels who just absolved Gemma from feeling guilty because, well, they were just that forgiving. But, having said that, I didn’t mind it in one of the stories because I did somewhere want closure for Gemma too.  Moreover, like I said, I was happy the author let Gemma stew a bit. But I didn’t really like the final moments in the other story – I found a couple of people’s reactions to the situation a bit unbelievable.

One thing that never gets old in chick-lit is female friendships. I love how they rally around in times of crisis – can be running away from your own wedding or being single on your own honeymoon – and this book is no different.  Gemma’s sister and her best friend were precious ❤ and the three of them provided just the kind of laugh-riot needed to get the other through the times they were feeling lousy.

Overall impressions This book had all the elements of a fun romantic comedy – bachelorette parties, runaway brides and drunken binges with your best friend who is as broken hearted as you are. Now, imagine twice the fun when you have two different stories based on two choices by one person. A lot of rom-coms deal with the dynamics of the girl, her (ex?)boyfriend and her best friend.  Ever felt or wondered how a movie or a book might have turned out if the girl had preferred to place the well-being or interests of one person over the other? Well, this book explores two different possibilities – and keep reading to find out if both lead to the same or different happily-ever-afters.

Love Is – By Tia Kelly

Rating:

*Note : I won a signed paperback of this book in a blog tour giveaway*

Buy Links:

Amazon            Barnes & Noble

Summary (Goodreads):

It took a once-in-a-lifetime bond to teach her what love is, and a once-in-a-lifetime betrayal to show her what love is not… Love Is. A different kind of love story.

Diane Collins had big plans for her life, and hoops star Warren Scott was not among them. He doesn’t want to be the face of the NBA, and she doesn’t care that he is. His reluctance to be part of the limelight disarms her and the two embark on an unlikely friendship that becomes an even unlikelier romance.

Soon, his life is her life – filled with VIP treatment, parties and luxuries beyond Diane’s wildest imagination. But Warren is harboring a secret, and once it’s revealed Diane’s decision to stay or go could change the very fabric of who she thought she was.

My Review:

Set in the 80’s and spanning over a decade, Love Is is the story of Diane Collins, a girl with big dreams and ambitions for her career – a burning desire to earn her spot in the NASA space mission. But an airport encounter with the famous NBA athlete Warren Scott changes everything that she had planned for herself. They become close friends and soon she is travelling all over the country to his matches and attending parties. A year later, Diane is fed up playing friends and asks for something more – commitment and acknowledgement that their relationship isn’t platonic anymore. Does Warren step up?

Despite its languid pace in the first 100-150 pages, you do get a sense that Diane’s story is worth sticking around for. There is something very “slice-of-life” about this book, made up of everyday conversations, travels and occasions and not moments of high melodrama. Even during the times when Warren and Diane had huge fights and meltdowns, there was something understated in the way they were written. Warren turns from someone who is shown conflicted and flawed into someone who is an absolute jerk by the end of the book. I guess the only redeemable thing about him was he did his bit to support Diane financially.

Diane did a lot of things which I hate about the “strong female protagonist” in books and which I equate to stupidity, because I feel that the onus is on the author to make us empathize with their decisions and provide a clear insight into their “emotional rationale” when they do make those decisions. A lot of times that doesn’t happen and I get the feeling that we readers are somehow just expected to feel sorry for them because hey, WOMEN and SITUATIONS and PROBLEMS and LIFE.

But, that didn’t happen here. The author wrote Diane in a way that I could understand her, feel for her. Yea sure, there were times I wanted jump into the book and shake her into her senses, but I could fathom where she was coming from. I could see the long distance one has to travel between resolving to get back your life on track and actually getting there. Especially when you have had so many setbacks and lost so much time over a guy who just wasn’t worth it. And when you don’t have a strong family support system. (Gosh, her parents were a piece of work!  But I am guessing such parents are not that far removed from reality, considering the timeframe the book was set in, and her upbringing)

Life finally showed Diane what love is and what isn’t but she lost quite a bit in the process. But, she also rediscovers herself, a part of who she had lost waiting for a mirage. I had mixed feelings about some of the events in the end – it goes from a pointless tragedy to a bittersweet realization on Diane’s part about her defunct association with Warren.

“Now knowing what love was, how could she ever accept anything less?”

There were some socio-economic and religious beliefs and gender and race issues that were referred to, and I liked that they were not addressed in a heavy-handed or preachy way. As the book was set in the U.S. of the 80’s, a lot of the cultural references were lost on me and all the NBA talk went over my head. I honestly found it a bit difficult to get past at least 1/3rd of the pages because of all the info-dump related to NBA games, frequent travels, and weather research and space missions. I guess people who are more clued into the 80’s sports and entertainment scene in U.S. will enjoy and appreciate some aspects of this book a lot more. Do watch out for all the chapter titles! (I just reckoned they had to mean something so I googled them after I finished the book)

Natalie’s Getting Married – By Rosa Temple

9781942111061Rating:

Kindle
Paperback

*Note: I received this book from the author through Aimee’s blogiversary giveaways.

 Synopsis:

Career minded, Natalie Spencer, had never been in love. She could never understand what all the fuss was about. But when she met Jackson Humphries during Fresher’s Week at university, that all changed.

Utterly infatuated, Natalie quickly discovers the meaning of love and, before she knows it, she’s heading up the aisle – for the first time, that is.

This is a tale about four wedding dresses, a runaway groom and a girl who got so carried away, she couldn’t see true love staring her right in the face.

My Review:

I think I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than the second. Though predictable, it was a lot of fun, and who doesn’t like to root for a girl ending up with her college crush?

This is the story of Natalie and the men in her life. When Jackson proposes to her by the end of her University days, she couldn’t have imagined or wished for better. But is he the one? Her mom and dad are happy, her best friend Gabriel seems to be skeptical and Jackson’s mom hates her and feels they are making a mistake by rushing into things. Will their relationship last? Will they make it to the aisle? Is Jackson the one or is it someone else?

There are a lot of cute touches to the story – The whole, magical feel to the dress shop which felt like a nod to the wardrobe door in Narnia, Natalie’s surprise gift at the hen party and even some of the stereotypes like the rich, snooty, future mother-in-law were fun to read.  But as the book progressed, I became less sympathetic towards Natalie. It felt like watching someone make a repetitive trainwreck of decisions. Her resolve to “focus” on her career and stay away from men lasted only till she met the next hot or considerate guy. In her own words, I did find her to be a bit of a flake in the end. I found it ironic that for all the talk about her best friend Bella not sticking to one guy for a long time and being projected as the more “shallow” one of the two, she ended up sounding more worldly-wise and mature in the end. One more thing which I felt could have been better is build-up to some conversations on a couple of occasions when Natalie has a “How can you say that about me?!” righteous outbursts. I couldn’t connect to them and it made her come across as a ditz. On the other hand, Gabriel could have really used more animated moments. I mean, I get it, he was a rock and very, very mature, but whenever I pictured him while reading I always felt like I was listening and watching someone with infinite patience, no anger and amazing perceptibility when it comes to people. Oh well, what am I complaining about?! That’s Gabe for you ❤ ❤ ❤

There were a couple of other things which worked for me in the beginning but I felt they were overused and ceased to be funny later on. For example, Natalie’s mom crying and fainting spells whenever she is happy or excited. That continued throughout the book and was a bit of overkill. If I do have to pick one character who was my favorite from the secondary cast, it is probably Liam. Without giving away much,  I will just say that I really liked the way he was written and he shined in the page-time that he got – right from his thoughtful side to his anger and bitterness, everything felt apt and relatable.

So yes, there were some parts that I thought could have been better. But if I have to sum it up, it was a fun and ideal chick lit read. I finished it in a few hours and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Silent Sentry – By Theresa Rizzo

Rating:

*Note : I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Buy Links:

Paperback                Kindle

Synopsis:

Someone wants Gianna Donnatelli.  Preferably alive.  Alive and compliant.  He’s willing to kill to get to her.  But she’s got family. 
The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.
When a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve.

Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.

Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.

My Review:

At over 400 hundred pages, this is a pretty balanced and wholesome romantic-suspense; with the pace of this book best described as probably being on cruise control! And by that I mean, while it isn’t the kind of book which drops a bombshell every other page or is action-packed, it doesn’t slack much either. This did make for a leisurely read with ample time spent on both the romantic and mystery aspect.

Pretty early on we are given the hint that both Gianna and Joe are from families of considerable clout, more specifically – well-connected to or regularly dealing with old-world Italian mafia families. Neither of them has ever shown any interest in going into the family businesses though. Joe got married, became a successful surgeon, and well, got widowed when his wife was killed in a drive-by shooting. Gianna initially trained as a nurse, with her desire to “care for” stemming from watching her mom succumb to MS. She soon realizes her real passion is in software development though, so she quits nursing and gets into coding. Her altruistic side never leaves her as she decides to live among the poor and dangerous, dinghy Detroit areas to try and lead by example, and also coaxes her dad to help her with the finances to open a clinic nearby.  However, one day her house is broken into and she is attacked, and she ends up in the same hospital where Joe works in. Old, unrequited feelings for him resurface; but reciprocation is the last thing on her mind at the moment, as she tries to work out just what was the attacker after. She keeps her fingers crossed that it has nothing to do with Prometheus , her baby-  an invention that can revolutionize the healthcare industry.

One of the things I liked in the book is the world building. By that, I don’t mean just the descriptions and history of the place this is set in, but also all the characters and occupations and relationships that were mentioned. We are introduced to Joe’s and Gianna’s families and the author does dwell on their histories and the bond their families have shared. We also meet Gianna’s partners at work and Joe’s best friend.  There are times I feel that storytelling in some genres gets so .. insular when it comes to showing us about the protagonists’ lives, with pretty much no details given on anything else about them,  as long as it is playing up to the theme of the book. So it was nice to really know where everyone comes from. But on the flip side, I felt there were quite a few open sub-plots which were hinted to, but we never got any further answers or explanations. One that I can think of which really stuck out was this entire undercurrent of Joe not being on good terms with his extended family, specifically his uncle and cousin, due to some old incident. This was never really addressed. Similarly there were a couple of other things, like Joe having some secret in his past that he didn’t want anyone to know.

Coming to the romance, well most of it was unhurried and I liked that the author addressed how two people with fundamental ideological differences do have their work cut out for them if they have to proceed with a relationship. Having said that, I honestly found Gianna pretty irritating with her sanctimonious manner. And if I may add, self-absorbed, judgmental and insensitive whenever Joe tried to present his perspective. I thought, “C’mon girl, his wife died in a drive-by shooting in Detroit. Is it so hard to piece together why he feels that way about what you do?!”.  Thank heavens she got more bearable as the book proceeded!

The suspense part was not exactly an amazingly constructed whodunit and I honestly felt the entire book could have been much better with sharper editing. But, but, but, I love it when books that lure you into a false sense of closure finally throws up a couple of shocks in the final few pages.  And this is one of those books. I never saw them coming, so I was pretty spooked; and also glad that the book did end in a bit of a flourish!

[Blog Tour: Review+Giveaway]Uneven Exchange – By S.K. Derban

Rating:

Buy Links:

Kindle                    Amazon – Paperback                 Barnes & Noble

*Note: I received a print copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review for iRead book tour*

Synopsis:

Like fire and ice, Alexandra Callet’s life runs hot and cold. At the age of thirty-three, Alexandra owns a stunning home and a successful interior design company. But she is in love with her business partner, Jake Taylor, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a woman. She should be on top of the world, but instead she feels dragged down by the void in her heart. Hoping for answers, she decides a trip to Mexico might soothe her soul.

Jake Taylor only pretends to be a confirmed bachelor. Jake has been entranced by Alexandra’s determination and exotic beauty since the moment they met, but she has no idea how he feels. He considers confessing his love, but fears jeopardizing their friendship and business. He’s caught in a web of pretending he doesn’t care, and doesn’t see a way out of it. Alexandra is recruited for a dangerous mission. Following her trip to Mexico, her resemblance to a member of an assassin’s family leads Alexandra to be recruited by the DEA. Her training leaves her distracted, and her business begins to suffer. Jake notices her sudden change, and feels her slipping both personally and professionally beyond his reach.

Should he finally take the chance…before it’s too late? After all, he has nothing to lose. However, when Alexandra returns to Mexico for her mission, things go terribly wrong. Will she be able find the strength to fight and escape the peaceful haven that has now become her prison?

Or will Jake lose Alexandra forever…

My Review:

Kevin O’Neill is the agent in charge of the operation which is about trying to capture and smuggle Miguel Santiago aka “The Magician” out of Mexico. The Mexican government is uncooperative, so it is a covert operation. It doesn’t help that Miguel is well-protected at all times and his residence is an imposing fortress. When two of Kevin’s field agents spot Alexandra on her vacation in Mexico, the DEA finally feel the wheels of fortune turning in their favor. Because, if anyone can lure Miguel out of his safe haven, it is his sister Daniela. And by some twist of fate, Alexandra bears a striking resemblance to Daniela.

Alexandra runs a successful interior designing & architectural firm with her partner Jake. She has always nursed feelings of something more than just platonic towards him. Fed up with being just Jake’s friend and  professional partner, she welcomes the distraction DEA has to offer and agrees help them out. After a rigorous training where she perfects her voice pitch and body language similar to Daniela, she sets out to Mexico once again.

I loved the premise of the book – it had this whole larger-than-life and an almost cinematic vibe that was fun to imagine. There is a sizeable cast of characters, a lot of them being DEA field agents and undercover spies. So all the initial juggling where we are taken back and forth from Alexandra’s quiet life to the hectic DEA operation made for an engrossing read.  The pace was pretty good too. I couldn’t connect with some things though. Some of the dialogues, especially all the conversational humor felt a bit contrived. Then, there was this whole Jake and Alexandra’s unrequited love story. I am not exactly a huge fan of romance taking centre stage if the book’s genre is something else, but considering this book is pitched more on the lines of thriller/suspense-romance, I felt that the romantic part in this book ended up being sort of half-baked.  Jake doesn’t get much of page-time and I honestly thought it didn’t complement well with the rest of the story.  Then there were some other ideas which weren’t explored fully but just made as random observations. I mean, there is a moment in the book where Alex’s trainer comments that her transformation as Daniella is so convincing that she worries that Alex might find it difficult to shrug off Daniella after the case. At that point, I thought it was interesting and that something on that line of thought will be incorporated into the rest of the book, but nothing else happens. Another thing I couldn’t connect with is Alex’s faith.  I think it is nice to have a protagonist who is devout, but I just thought it was a bit out of place and over-emphasized, especially all the Biblical references and metaphors.

Overall, the book was quite engaging and easy to read. A good one to pick up if you would like to read something involving undercover ops, sprinkled with a bit of romance and lots of Mexican flavor!

About the Author:

745037Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, S.K. Derban moved to London within the first three months, and remained in England until the age of five. Her father, an American citizen, was a decorated veteran of the second world war. Derban’s mother, born and raised in the United Kingdom, was involved with the London Royal Ballet Company, and a great fan of the arts. Even after returning to the United States, Derban’s life was filled with a love of the theatre and a passion for British murder mysteries. S.K. Derban has always remained passionate about writing, and is thrilled to finally share her work with others.

Her personal travel and missionary adventures also help to transport readers virtually across the globe. When writing, S.K. Derban relies on all aspects of her life, from her faith in the Lord, to her love and knowledge of the arts.

Connect with the author:  

 Website   Twitter   Facebook

Giveaway:

Win 1 of 2 print or 2 ebooks of Uneven Exchange (USA only) + a $25 Amazon gift card (International) . Click the link below:

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Check out all the tour stops! :

TOUR SCHEDULE:

April 4 –   Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
April 4 –   A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog – review / giveaway
April 4 –   FLY HIGH! – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 5 –   Katie’s Clean Book Collection  – review / giveaway
April 5 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review
April 6 –   Books Reviews, Nature Photos, and Everything in Between – review
April 6 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway
April 7 –   Writing Pearls – review
April 7 –   Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
April 8 –   Seasons of Opportunity – review / giveaway
April 8 –   Book and Ink – review / giveaway
April 11 – Corinne Rodrigues – review
April 11 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
April 12 – Jorie Loves a Story – review / guest post
April 12 – Olio By Marilyn – review / author interview / giveaway
April 13 – For Life After – review
April 13 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – review / giveaway
April 14 – The Travelogue of a Book Addict – The Book Drealms – review
April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – review / giveaway
April 15 – Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
April 15 – misty103 @ HubPages – review / author interview
April 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – review
April 18 – A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 19 – The Reading Diaries – review
April 20 – Pause for Tales – review / guest post
April 21 – bookmyopia – review / giveaway
April 22 – booklovercircumspect4 – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 22 – Jessica Cassidy – review / author interview / giveaway

iRead Book Tour Logo Medium

Come back to me (Come back to me #1) – By Mila Gray

  Rating:

*Note: I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Cheryl from iheartfictionalpeople. Thank you Cheryl, the author (Mila Gray/Sarah Alderson) and publisher (Pan Macmillan) !

Buy Links:

Paperback
Kindle
Hardcover

Summary (From Goodreads):

Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend’s sister, Jessa – the one girl he can’t have.

But Kit’s not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa’s falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer’s over and it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa’s finally following her dreams and Kit’s discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

Jessa’s prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they’re forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

My Review:

The Goodreads summary is a bit different than the one on the hardcover. That synopsis ends with the same cliffhanger as the first chapter of the book – leaving us to wonder who dies – Kit or Riley(Jessa’s brother). We are soon thrown back to three months earlier when Kit and Riley come home on leave. So despite its ominous beginning, the book is a pretty breezy and lighthearted read for most part. There are a lot of familiar romantic and family tropes used and I did enjoy some of them. The Riley-Kit bromance was nice and so were all the father-son moments between Kit and his dad.

I think where I struggled with the book was that some issues were focused on way too much, some in an almost forced, dramatic way. And there were some other things which could have been fleshed out better, but was brought in suddenly, so it felt like some half baked sub plot. And most of the plot’s shortcomings are related to the way Jessa’s character and her family dynamics were described. She felt like such a stereotype, the dutiful, obedient daughter who hasn’t missed a day of school. She and her mom are always walking on eggshells and trying not to upset Jessa’s dad, who, they suspect might be suffering from PTSD from his early military days. But all it takes is three months of falling in love with Kit to change completely. From teaching her driving to coaxing her to go to acting auditions, Kit works miracles for her confidence.

The book is about two young people falling in love and there is this constant tussle in their minds about whether or not to admit or commit to their feelings. So while I was expecting pages of them kissing and getting intimate, I felt there were too many pages devoted to it where there was literally nothing else happening in the story. There is this whole plot of Jessa’s dad hating Kit and his dad because of some past incident. I found that easy to guess, and I think that’s another thing I found with the book- it was too predictable.

Coming to the military backdrop of this book, I liked how PTSD in military men was touched upon. I especially liked the way they showed Jessa’s mom being such a rock when it came to staying on with her dad and supporting him. While I understood Jessa’s anger at what the entire family collectively goes through because of her dad’s mood changes and her mom not speaking up, I honestly found her slightly fickle and self-absorbed sometimes. If I have to put it in simple terms, let’s just say I found Kit endearing though he checked all the boxes of familiar romantic tropes, whereas Jessa was a more irritating female version.

So yea, this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

[Book Spotlight+Excerpt+Giveaway] Silent Sentry – By Theresa Rizzo

Family drama was probably one of the earliest genres that I took a liking to, and if you combine that with crime/mysteries – I am hooked! So I am pretty excited to feature this book on my blog today..

Silent Sentry

Author: Theresa Rizzo
Genre: Crime/Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Rizzo Publishing
Release Date: September, 2015

Synopsis:

An entrepreneur must team up with the man she’s secretly loved to outwit a psychotic hacker before she destroys all she holds dear.

Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.

The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.

So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve. 

Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.

Excerpt:

The cool air-conditioning refreshed Gianna as she entered the house. She watched Paul steadily make his way across the crowded living room. How had he managed to get away from Aunt Rosalie so quickly? Must be his suave European manners. Gianna used to tease Paul about his charming demeanor, but apparently it had some advantages she’d overlooked. He shook hands and chatted with those waylaying him before smoothly excusing himself and moving on. With each delay Paul’s smile seemed a little less warm and his conversations more abrupt.

Excusing herself, Gianna followed her brother as he broke away from one final group of mourners and slipped into the study. Gianna hesitated at the closed paneled door before approaching footsteps propelled her into the room. Quietly she shut the door behind her. Although it’d not been quite two months since her attack in this very room, it seemed a lifetime ago. She frowned to keep the tears at bay.

“Don’t look that way,” Paul ordered gruffly. “There’s nothing you could have done.”

Gianna blinked to disperse determined tears. She cleared her throat, swallowing hard. “It’s my fault.”

Shaking his head, her brother made a dismissive noise. “It’s not.” Pacing from one window to the next, he searched the yard, watching people come and go from the house.

“I left Pa waiting on the front porch like a sitting duck.” Gianna took a shuddering breath. “I had the locks changed and forgot to send him a new key. He rang the doorbell a couple of times before I reached it.”

Paul unbuttoned his double-breasted navy suit coat and brushed it aside. Ramming one hand into his pants pocket, he crossed to the wet bar and poured himself two fingers of scotch. After taking a generous sip, he stared at the family portrait above the fireplace.

“Pa’s death had nothing to do with you,” he said in a deep, quiet voice.

Gianna peered at her brother, as surprised by his seeking alcoholic courage as by his confident tone. Paul sounded so sure, yet there was something else.

“How do you know?”

Paul took his monogrammed white handkerchief from his pocket and blotted the sweat from his forehead. Crossing to the window, he again watched the people. “I just know.”

Know what? What was he hiding? Why was he so nervous? Slowly Gianna approached. She tugged on his arm. “What do you know, Paulie?”

He looked down at her upturned face and then pulled away, turning his back on her. “Come on, Gianna, you can’t be that naive,” he snapped, taking another sip.

Her grief turned to impatient suspicion at her brother’s short temper and strange behavior. “Let’s pretend I am. Spell it out for me.”

He wheeled around. “It’s obvious.”

Coldness settled over Gianna, chilling her to the bone. She stared at her brother hard. “Enough innuendos, Paul. Who killed Pa? And why?”

Buy links

Kindle 

Paperback – Amazon US

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Q9pmSx

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/20XywJQ

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1XljNGo

 Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1WgbFWN

B&N UK: http://bit.ly/1O4KE2A

iBookstore: http://apple.co/1QtREHZ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1TakdPm

About the Author:

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 
Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty-three years. After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.

Connect with the Author:

 Facebook Twitter  Goodreads

Website:

 www.theresarizzo.com

GIVEAWAY!!

The author is giving an e-book copy of The Silent Sentry (Thank you Theresa!!) Click the link below to enter the giveaway

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[Book Spotlight & Giveaway] Voice of the Spirit

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Author: Charlotte Raines
Genre: Adult Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Arrabella Publishing
Release Date: January 30, 2016

Synopsis :

Tobias and Lauren have been together for four months since the end of Do You Want to Play. They’ve found rhythm in their relationship, but that rhythm comes to an abrupt stop when a body is found nailed to a cross inside Pious Church.

As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.

About the Author :

charlotte raine

Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

Buy links (Amazon) :

Kindle

Connect with the author :

Website Twitter Facebook

Giveaway : 

Win 1 of 3 signed copies of Teacher Beware by Charlotte Raine (USA) . Enter by clicking the link below:

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To follow rest of the tour, click here.

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[Blog tour] A Sudden Crush

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Rating :


Author : Camilla Isley
Published by : Pink Bloom Press
Publication date : February 4th 2016
Genres : Humor, Romance

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Joanna Price is a city girl with the perfect life. She loves her job as a book editor, she just married Liam, high profile bestselling author and the man of her dreams, and she’s headed to the Caribbean to enjoy two weeks of paradise for her luxurious honeymoon.
Connor Duffield is a gruff, grumpy rancher from the Midwest. He is a country boy who has a no-nonsense approach to life, more scars than he’d like to admit, and he hates city girls.

So it’s just a misfortune they have to sit next to each other for a six hour plane ride. Even more so when their flight is caught in the perfect storm and Joanna wakes up stranded on a desert island with Connor, the very man she hoped she would never have to see again.

Why are they alone on this forsaken island? What happened to Joanna’s husband?

When her dream honeymoon turns into a hilarious tropical nightmare, Joanna’s first thought is survival. However, she and Connor will quickly discover just how boring paradise can be. As the days turn to weeks, and then months, this mismatched pair will have to learn how to coexist and how to resist the sparkles of an attraction they weren’t prepared to feel.

When they are finally rescued will Joanna’s marriage be saved as well, or will the life she knew and loved be in ruins?

My Review

I think your expectations from a book are set right from the time you leaf through the synopsis. A Sudden Crush turns out to be exactly what it promises, a quintessential romantic comedy laced with humour that never seems out of place despite the outlandish circumstances. It is simple, light and an enjoyable read. The author, Camilla Isley, manages to suffuse a certain freshness to the oft-repeated guy n’ girl-stranded-in-an-island situation. I think what worked for me is that the whole island adventure was described without romanticising the ordeal of surviving in the wilderness. Nor does it delve too deeply into the grim circumstances. There is just enough information to convey how they are going about trying to stay alive till they are rescued without taking the focus away from the main story. In fact, it is effortlessly used to complement the strides Joanna and Connor make in their relationship – from barely managing to keep up polite appearances to slowly developing a warm friendship. The story is more Joanna-centric and she won me over on the island. I liked how earnest she was about doing her bit to help instead of playing damsel-in-distress. It ended up making Joanna and Connor equal partners and confidantes.

I also liked how the book manages to effectively get across some points which one might be aware of but it is nice to be reminded about occasionally:

  • Always have atleast one friend who is there to assure you that your life doesn’t suck as much as you think it does. Doesnt matter if that friend can appear only as a voice on the phone or a head in your Skype screen.
  • You owe it to your own conscience to do the right thing. Not for anyone else or not in expectation of being rewarded for that choice.
  • Always have a few e-books on your cell phone, you never know when they might come in handy to kill boredom. (Hehe…)

Speaking of books, well, there is quite a bit of writing, authoring and publishing talked about. Without revealing much, can I just say that I loved how charmingly the author used “writing” for two different purposes:

  1. To provide closure to one relationship.
  2. To provide wings to another.

A character rises above the stereotype meant to be disliked and that completely took me by surprise. I didn’t see that coming and wish that is done more often. I mean, I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like sometimes the story is so boxed in by the genre it is supposed to fit in that the characters forget to act and react in a way that doesn’t seem one-dimensional. The detective protagonists in murder mysteries don’t have to be robotic and boring. The female characters in chick lit don’t have to be rich airhead snobs. Similarly, the supporting cast of characters in a romance or romcom don’t have to be dumbed-down or made “evil” just to make the intended couple look good. Thankfully, that didn’t happen in this book.

There were a couple of things in the book which I found a bit unconvincing especially towards the end. I felt like some hurdles were glossed over and some things fall in place a bit too neatly. It works in the context of “stuck on a deserted island” situation in the first half of the book where suspension of disbelief is a given, but such convenient resolutions strike a discordant note when the story moves onto Joanna’s regular life.  Keeping these gripes aside, I had fun reading the book and would definitely recommend it. Especially for all the romcom lovers!

Buy Links (Amazon) :

Kindle
Paperback

*I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. This blog tour is hosted by Aimee (hellochicklit.com)*

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Visit all the stops on this tour:

02.08.16 02.08.16 (1)

02.08.16

Grass Monster/Selina – @Lost801_Oceanic – Review
Live, Laugh & Love Books/Rebecca – http://livelaughandlovebooks.wordpress.com – Excerpt
Literary Chanteuse/Margaret – www.literarychanteuse.blogspot.ca – Promo
Around the World in Books/Melissa – http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/ – Excerpt
Chick Lit Central/Melissa A. – http://chicklitcentral.com – Review

02.09.16

Bookmyopia/Ishita – https://bookmyopia.wordpress.com – Review
Calico Gifts Blog/Laura – Www.calicogiftsblog.WordPress.com – Review
Judging More Than Just the Cover/Amber – www.judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com – Author Q&A – Review
Pretty Little Book Reviews/Elle – http://www.prettylittlebookreviews.com – Review
Just a Book Lovin’ Junkie – http://jabooklovinjunkie.blogspot.com – Promo
Bookish Escapes/Leah – http://bookishescapes.weebly.com – Review

02.10.16

T & L Book Reviews/Tammy – http://tasz1976.wordpress.com – Promo
Romantic Reads and Such/Julie – http://romanticreadsandsuch.worpdress.com – Review
Boundless Minds/Shouryaman – www.boundlessminds.org – Author Q&A
Ali – The Dragon Slayer/Alison – http://cancersuckscouk.ipage.com/ – Review
Hello…Chick Lit/Aimee – http://hellochicklit.com – Review

02.11.16

On My Bookshelf/Agi – http://www.onmybookshelf.blog.pl – Review
Liz Ellen/Liz – http://lizellyn.com – Review
The Nest of Books Review/Petra – http://thenestofbooksreview.blogspot.com.au/ – Author Guest Post
ItaPixie’s Book Corner/Fede – https://www.facebook.com/itapixiesbookcorner/ – Review
I Heart Fictional People/Cheryl – http://iheartfictionalpeople.com/ – Review

02.12.16

Vvb32 Reads/Velvet – http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/ – Review
One Book at a Time/Bethany – http://Booksandwinearelovely.blogspot.com – Promo
A Writer’s Ramblings/Corinne – https://www.corinnedesjardins.wordpress.com – Excerpt
Book Groupies/Jazzy – http://bookgroupies2.blogspot.com/ – Promo
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’/Peggy – http://stormynightbloginandreviwing.blogspot.com/ -Promo
Hey Said Renee/Renee – http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au – Review

Your Dreams Are Mine Now – By Ravinder Singh

  Rating:

First, a li’l bit of background: Over the past decade, there has been a surge of debutant Indian authors whose books have made the bestseller list and landed them lucrative book deals. Some of them come from engineering or management backgrounds; some have left their cushy 9 to 5 jobs to pursue writing full-time. What they lack in highbrow literary skills, they make it up by writing stories in simplistic prose and set in backgrounds very relatable to the middle class Indian youth – about colleges, jobs, money crunches and first love. It has clicked with the crowds in a big way despite critics dismissing the books, and people who have stayed away from fiction because the likes of Jeffrey Archer intimidated them, picked up Chetan Bhagat paperbacks from bookstores. Unfortunately Bhagat’s later books turned out increasingly trite and aimed at landing contracts for movie adaptations. Thankfully, Ravinder Singh’s storytelling still has that inherent honesty which I remember from reading his first book I too had a love story. His debut novel was based on his real life and though I didn’t know at the time of reading it, I wasn’t too surprised when I learnt of it later. Was that a “good” book? Not really. But there was something charming and personal about the love story.

Your Dreams Are Mine Now follows an eventful year in the lives of Rupali and Arjun as they meet and fall in love. Born and raised in Bihar, Rupali’s dream comes true when she gets admission into the Delhi University. She has simple goals: to study well, get a good job, provide for her family and take them on a Euro trip. With a vibrant university campus, friendly roommate and a music club taking in new vocalists, she is looking forward to sing along the next few years in college. However, things don’t go as planned, when she is witness to aggressive youth politics and student union vandalism. It is in these circumstances that she meets Arjun, a second-year student who is heavily involved in the student union and election campaigns. Her unflattering opinion of him changes when he helps her out in a sticky situation involving a corrupt professor and what follows is a budding romance. Long bike rides, phone calls, messages, sharing their dreams for the future and their first kiss. And mutual respect for each other’s work. She helps out in his party’s campaign and he smoothens out his party’s frayed equation with the music club. It seemed like nothing could go wrong… until it did.. when what brought them together in the past turns their present into a nightmare.

The book’s prologue hints at a horrifying real-life incident that took place in the country’s capital and as I read the rest of the book, I almost didn’t mind the comforting stereotypes: rich ‘n generous roommate, affable n’ plump Punjabi bestie, studious and righteous heroine, rugged and “I don’t believe in God” hero. But some other things feel so convenient and unreal too .. especially regarding the youth politics of Delhi.. I mean, the scope and breadth of the problem the author is trying to convey seems huge (reservations, caste politics, quotas..) , and Arjun’s party is shown to be failing because the opposition has influential higher support. But once Rupali enters the party narrative and starts offering ideas, the party’s fortunes change.. It made the party of the “pre-Rupali era” look tactless and stupid. The book is short and maybe the author didn’t want to complicate things and take the focus off the love story… but it does come across as a gaping deficiency because though it is used mostly as a platform for the love story, politics DOES take up a lot of space in the book.

So why am I not being harsher on the book? I don’t know.. maybe it is because I anticipated the ending throughout the time I was reading book which made the experience of reading everything so bittersweet, maybe it is because I read all their moments together knowing how precious it was.. and how it is just so unfair… and maybe because it was partly derived from real life, though it is something that can happen with anyone . And that is so scary to think about…

You can buy the paperback at: Your Dreams are Mine Now by Ravinder Singh (1-Nov-2014) Paperback

Buy the kindle edition at: Your Dreams Are Mine Now – Kindle